Sunday, December 30

She Fought at the Side of the Prophet

Nusaybah Bint Ka'b's life and example as a Muslimah, wife and mother can be surpassed only by a few other women in the history of Islam.

She was one of only two women who traveled with seventy-three men to Makkah, and pledged allegiance to the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, to believe in Allah alone and not to associate others with Him. They also pledged themselves to jihad in complete obedience to the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, in ease and hardship and harsh circumstances. That historical meeting is known as the second pledge of al-Aqabah.

NuSaybah, known as Um Imarah, was a rare kind of Muslim. A pious and noble woman, Um Imarah was also a daring courageous fighter in the cause of Allah, and she proved more than once to be truthful to her pledge.

Hearing that the Makkan pagans were preparing for a great battle to take revenge for their heavy losses during the battle of Badr, and that they were moving towards Uhud, the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, mobilized the Muslim men in Madinah. Um Imarah went out with her husband and her two sons, `Abdullah and Habib, to join the fighters.

In the beginning she brought water to the wounded and tended to their needs, but as the battle raged, and the Muslims were being defeated, she saw that some were fleeing the enemy leaving the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam without protection. She tied her belt around her waist so that she would not trip, brandishing a sword at times and throwing arrows at others, she cut through the ranks of the enemy and took sides with the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam.

She fought fiercely that day, striking fatal blows to her opponents until she suffered many wounds, one of them left a deep gash in her shoulder, which took a whole year to heal. She herself related some of what had happened during that battle. "I realized that people fled leaving the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, exposed," she said, "So less than ten men remained to protect him, while the others were passing by, defeated. The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, saw me without a shield and saw a man leaving the battlefield carrying his shield, he said, 'Surrender your shield to the one who is fighting.’ He surrendered it and I picked it up and used it to shield the Messenger of Allah. But those who gave us the hardest time were the horsemen, if they were on foot like us; we would have defeated them, insha'Allah. A cavalier came towards me, but he was unable to strike at me because I protected myself with the shield. As he was turning back I dealt a blow to his horse's hamstring and he fell on his back. The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, cried out, 'O son of Um Imarah, your mother, your mother!' So he helped me kill the horseman."

Her own son related later more of her heroic behavior during the battle. He said, "I was wounded during the battle of Uhud, and the blood would not stop. The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, 'Bandage your wound.' My mother was busy fighting the enemy, but when she heard the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, she came toward me carrying bandages tied to her side, she bandaged my wound while the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, was standing by. She then told me, 'Get up my son, and fight’ The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, 'Who can endure what you are enduring, Um Imarah!' A short time later, the man who hit me was coming our way, so the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, 'Here is the man who hit your son, O Um Imarah.' She went up to him and hit him in the leg; she left him kneeling on the ground. The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, smiled at what she has done so broadly that his molar teeth were showing and said, 'You avenged yourself, Um Imarah.' Then more men came and struck the man and killed him. The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said to her, 'Praise is due to Allah Who gave you victory over your enemy and satisfied you by showing you his death.'"

A few months later when the call was announced to prepare for the battle of Hamra-ul-Asad, Um Imarah got ready but she was not able to continue in her way because her wound got worse and she was bleeding profusely.

The battle of Uhud was not the only occasion when Um Imarah showed her bravery. She was among those who gave the pledge of ar-Ridhwan, to fight until martyrdom. She also witnessed the battle of Hunayn.

When the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam passed away, some of the Arab tribes apostatized, at their head was Musaylimah The Liar. Khalifah Abu Bakr rallied the Muslims to fight the renegades. Um Imarah asked permission from Abu Bakr to join the army, accompanied by her two sons. "We knew your bravery during the war," he said, "Come on in the name of Allah."

This battle was a great test for Um Imarah. The fight was hard and the two parties adamantly set to win it. She held her grounds, always advancing. Now she heard that her son Habib fell prisoner to Musaylimah the liar. He asked him, "Do you testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah?" When he said that he did, he went on, "And do you testify that I am the messenger of Allah?" he answered, "I do not hear." So Musaylimah began to cut him to pieces, organ by organ until he died. He asked him the same questions over and over, but he could not get a different answer.

Um Imarah went to al-Yamamah with the Muslims and took part in the war against Musaylimah. She was eager to see the end of Musaylimah, and it was the will of Allah that he be slain by her other son `Abdullah, and another companion. Um Imarah returned from the war having suffered twelve wounds inflicted by spear and sword, and having lost an arm, and her beloved son.

Um Imarah, Nusaybah bint Ka'b, was a woman who was true to her words, a woman who occupies a special place in the history of Islam.

Compiled by Alia Amer - Al-Jumuah Magazine

Saturday, December 29


The servant's perfection lies in these two matters, which are: reliance (tawakkul) upon Allah, and striving diligently to obey Allah. The ser­vant's perfection is hindered by the loss of anyone of them.

The reality of reliance entails two matters: dependence upon Allah and trust in Allah. So he depends upon his Lord with his heart for procur­ing what will benefit him, in both his religious and worldly affairs. He acknowledges his lack of power and inability and instead places his trust in Allah in order to acquire what will benefit him or to repel what will harm him. Futhermore he strives to utilize those causes (asbab) that will lead him to what is sought after.

The details of this is that when he firmly resolves to perform an act of worship, he strives to complete it and beautify it, sparing no effort to do so. He frees himself from depending upon his own self and strength, but instead resorts to, and depends upon, his Lord in order to allow him to complete and perfect [that act]; having a good expectation of Allah. When he firmly resolves to leave an act of disobedience that his soul incites him to, he fulfills those causes that will lead him to leaving that sin; such as considering it and turning his limbs from it. Then, after this, he places his trust in Allah, resorts to Him in order that He may protect him from it, and has good expectations of Allah with regards to Allah protecting him.

If he does this in everything that he does and leaves, then success is to be hoped for him, if Allah the Exalted wills. But as for the person who seeks Allah's aid and relies upon Him, but leaves the striving that is a pre-requisite for it, then this is not reliance. Rather, it is mockery! Such is also the case of one who does strive, but depends upon his owns elf and does not rely upon his Lord; he is only deluding himself.

The Exquisite Pearl By Shaykh 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sa'di

Friday, December 28

"I have known people and kept company with groups who neither rejoiced when the things of this world came to them, nor grieved when they lost anything in this world. The life of this world was more insignificant to them than dust. One of them might live for a year or for sixty years without ever having a garment that would entirely cover him, and without ever having anything that would come between him and the ground, and without ever having any food that he could ask to be prepared for him in his own home. When night came, they would be on their feet, with their foreheads flat against the earth, tears rolling down their cheeks, secretly calling on Allah to save them on the Day of Judgement. If they did something good, they never stopped being grateful for it, and they were always asking Allah to forgive them for it. By Allah, they were not safe from wrong actions, and were saved only by their constant turning in repentance. May Allah be pleased with them and grant them His mercy..."

al-Hasan al-Basree rahimahullah

From the Benefits of Winter

It is reported from Abû Hurayrah – Allâh be pleased with him – that he said: "Shall I not point you to comfortable proceeds? People responded, “And what is that o Abû Hurayrah?” He replied, “Fasting in winter.”

The Arabs used to refer to matters which were relatively easy to gain as being cool. In this narration, the relative ease of fasting in winter and its consequent reward is likened to acquiring war proceeds without the heat of violence.

It is reported from ‘Umar – Allâh be pleased with him – that he said: "Winter is booty for the devout worshippers."

This is further explained in the following narration: It is reported from ‘Ubayd b. ‘Umayr – Allâh have mercy on him – that he said: "It used to be said when winter came: O people of the Qur`ân, the night has become long so you can pray (more) and the day has become short for you to fast."

Abû Nu’aym, Hilyah Al-Awliyâ`.

As with other experiences in this world, the Salaf used to be reminded of the hereafter when experiencing cold weather: It is reported from the famous worshipper Râbi’ah – Allâh have mercy on her – that she said: "I have never heard the adhân except that I remember the caller who will announce the Day of Resurrection, and I never see the falling snow except that I imagine the flying pages of the records of peoples deeds (on that day), and I never see swarms of locusts except that I think about the Great Gathering on the Last Day."

Ibn Al-Jawzî, Sifah Al-Safwah Vol. 2 p433.

Monday, December 24

“Whoever reflects will find that the noblest and most dignified person of every gathering is the one who is most silent, because silence beautifies the scholar and conceals the faults of the ignorant.” -Ibrâhîm an-Nakhâ‘î (rahimahullâh)

“A person speaking about unnecessary things is [an indication] of Allâh abandoning him.” -Ma‘rûf al-Kirakhî (rahimahullâh)

Bakr ibn ‘Abdullâh al-Muzanî (rahimahullâh) said, “If you see someone older than you then respect him saying, ‘He has beaten me to Islâm and righteous action.’ If you see someone younger than you then respect him saying to yourself, ‘I have beaten him in sins.’ If the people honour you then say, ‘That is from the grace of Allâh, but I do not deserve it.’ If they degrade you then say , ‘This happened as a consequence of a previous sin.’ If you throw a pebble at your neighbor’s dog, then you have harmed him.”

Friday, December 21

Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:

"The heart, in its journey to Allah, Majestic is He, is like that of a bird: love is its head, and fear and hope are its two wings. When the head and two wings are sound, the bird flies gracefully; if the head is severed, the bird dies; if the bird loses one of its wings, it then becomes a target for every hunter or predator"
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said: 'Zuhd is of three degrees: Firstly, to avoid the forbidden; this is the zuhd of the common people. Secondly, to avoid what is lawful but unnecessary; this is the zuhd of the elite. Thirdly, to avoid everything that distracts one from Allah; this is the zuhd of the gnostics.'

Thursday, December 20

Sincerity and Conforming to the Book and the Sunnah

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said in Madarij al-Salikin (2/68):

''Allah said: He Who created death and life, to test which of you are best in action. [al-Mulk 67:2]

Fudayl ibn 'Iyad said [about this verse]: 'It is what is most sincere and most correct.' They asked: O Abu 'Ali, what is most sincere and most correct? He replied: 'An action, if it is sincere but not correct, will not be accept­ed. If it is correct but not sincere, it will [also] not be accepted; until it is both sin­cere and correct. Sincere means that it is exclusively for Allah, and correct means that it conforms to the Sunnah.'"

Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said in Madarij al-Salikin (2/70):

"It has been said: 'Sincerity is to forget the creation seeing you because of contin­ually looking towards the Creator. Whoever adorns himself before the people with what he does not possess, has fallen from Allah's grace.'

From the words of Fudayl are: 'Leaving an action for people's sake is ostentation (riya'), whereas doing an action for people's sake is shirk. Sincerity is where Allah saves you from both of these.'

Al-Junayd said: 'Sincerity is a secret (sirr) between Allah and His servant which not even the angel knows so as to record it; nor does Satan know so as to corrupt it; nor is the desire (hawa) aware of it so as to influence it.'

It was said to Sahl: What is the hardest thing upon the ego (nafs)? He replied: 'Sincerity, because the ego has no share of it.'''

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said about conformity (2/348):

"The master of the spiritual faction (sayyid al-ta'ifah) and their shaykh - Al-Junayd ibn Muhammad, may Allah's mercy be upon him - said: 'The paths, all of them are closed to the creation, except for one who emulates the footsteps of the Messenger; may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him.'

He [also] said: 'Whoever does not memorize the Qur'an nor record the hadith should not be followed in this matter, because our science is confined to the Book and the Sunnah.'

Abu Sulayman al-Darani,may Allah have mercy upon him, said: 'Indeed a word of wisdom occurs to my heart as it does to the nation [of the righteous], but I do not accept it until it is supported by two just witnesses: the Book and the Sunnah.'

From the footnotes of The Exquisite Pearl By Shaykh 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sa'di

Friday, December 7

First Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah: Days of Virtue And Righteous Deeds

Ibn 'Abbas says about the Aayah, "Remember Allaah during the well known days," that it refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. [This is related by al-Bukhari]

Allaah swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "By the dawn; by the 10 nights" [al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Ibn Katheer said: "This is the correct opinion." [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/413]

Praise be to Allaah Who has created Time and has made some times better than others, some months and days and nights better than others, when rewards are multiplied many times, as a mercy towards His slaves. This encourages them to do more righteous deeds and makes them more eager to worship Him, so that the Muslim renews his efforts to gain a greater share of reward, prepare himself for death and supply himself in readiness for the Day of Judgement.

This season of worship brings many benefits, such as the opportunity to correct ones faults and make up for any shortcomings or anything that one might have missed. Every one of these special occasions involves some kind of worship through which the slaves may draw closer to Allaah, and some kind of blessing though which Allaah bestows His favour and mercy upon whomsoever He will. The happy person is the one who makes the most of these special months, days and hours and draws nearer to his Lord during these times through acts of worship; he will most likely be touched by the blessing of Allaah and will feel the joy of knowing that he is safe from the flames of Hell. [Ibn Rajab, al-Lataaif, p.8]

Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these days [meaning the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah]." The companions asked, "O Messenger of Allaah, not even jihad in the way of Allaah?" He said, "Not even jihad, except for the man who puts his life and wealth in danger [for Allaah's sake] and returns with neither of them." [This is related by the group except Muslim and an-Nasa'i]

Ahmad and at-Tabarani record from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "There is no day more honorable in Allaah's sight and no acts more beloved therein to Allaah than those in these ten days. So say tahlil (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allaah : Laa ilaaha illallaah), takbir (Allaah is the greatest : Allaahu Akbar) and tahmid (All praise is due to Allaah : alhumdulillaah) a lot [on those days]." [Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated it is saheeh]

Abu Hurairah relates that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "There are no days more loved to Allaah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijja. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of power. [i.e., Lailatul Qadr]." [This is related by at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi]

Ibn 'Umar narrated that at Mina, the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Do you know what is the day today?" The people replied, "Allaah and His Messenger know it better." He said, "It is the forbidden (sacred) day. And do you know what town is this?" They replied, "Allaah and His Messenger know it better." He said, "This is the forbidden (sacred) town (Mecca). And do you know which month is this?" The people replied, "Allaah and His Apostle know it better." He said, "This is the forbidden (sacred) month." The Messenger added, "No doubt, Allaah made your blood, your properties, and your honour sacred to one another like the sanctity of this day of yours in this month of yours in this town of yours."

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: On the Day of Nahr (10th of Dhul-Hijja), the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) stood in between the Jamrat during his Hajj which he performed (as in the previous Hadith) and said, "This is the greatest Day (i.e. 10th of Dhul-Hijjah)." The Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) started saying repeatedly, "O Allaah! Be Witness (I have conveyed Your Message)." He then bade the people farewell. The people said, "(This is Hajjat-al-Wada)." [Bukhari 2.798]

Fasting Day of ArafatAbu Qatadah reported that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Fasting on the day of 'Arafah is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it. Fasting the day of 'Ashurah is an expiation for the year preceding it." [This is related by "the group," except for al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi]

Hafsah reported, "There are five things that the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) never abandoned: fasting the day of 'Ashurah, fasting the [first] 10 [days of Dhul-Hijjah], fasting 3 days of every month and praying two rak'ah before the dawn prayer." [This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i]

'Uqbah ibn 'Amr reported that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "The day of 'Arafah, the day of sacrifice, and the days of tashreeq are 'ids for us--the people of Islam--and they are days of eating and drinking." [This is related by "the five," except for Ibn Majah. At-Tirmidhi grades it sahih]

Abu Hurairah stated, "The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) forbade fasting on the day of 'Arafah for one who is actually at 'Arafah." [This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah]

At-Tirmidhi comments: "The scholars prefer that the day of 'Arafah be fasted unless one is actually at 'Arafah."


It is Sunnah to say Takbeer ("Allaahu akbar"), Tahmeed ("Al-hamdu Lillaah"), Tahleel ("La ilaha ill-Allaah") and Tasbeeh ("Subhaan Allaah") during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allaah and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allaah, may He be exalted. Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"That they might witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e., reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the name of Allaah on appointed days, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice)..." [al-Hajj 22:28]
The majority of scholars agree that the "appointed days" are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, because of the words of Ibn Abbas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father), "The appointed days are the first ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah)."

The Takbeer may include the words "Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, la ilaaha ill-Allaah; wa Allaahu akbar wa Lillaahil- hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no deity worthy of worship but Allaah; Allaah is Most Great and to Allaah be praise)," as well as other phrases.

Takbeer at this time is an aspect of the Sunnah that has been forgotten, especially during the early part of this period, so much so that one hardly ever hears Takbeer, except from a few people. This Takbeer should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent. There is sound evidence that Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them. The idea behind reminding the people to recite Takbeer is that each one should recite it individually, not in unison, as there is no basis in Sharee'ah for doing this.

Monday, December 3

And From the Qualities of Umar ibn al-Khattab…

Umar (ra) would often hold a straw in his hand and say: “I wish I were a straw like this.”

Sometimes he would say: “I wish my mother had not given birth to me.”

Once he was busy with some important work when a person came to him and, complaining about some petty grievance, requested for its redress. Hadhrat Umar (ra) laid a lash across his-shoulders, saying:

“When I sit for that purpose, you do not come to me but when I am engaged in other important work you come with your grievances to interrupt me.”

The person walked away. But Hadhrat ‘Umar (ra) sent for him and, handing his whip over to him, said:

“You now lash me to even the matter.” He said: “I forgive you for the sake of Allah.”

Hadhrat Umar (ra) went home, prayed a Salaat of two rakaats in repentance and upbraided himself saying:

“Oh, Umar! You were low but Allah elevated you. You were wandering astray but Allah guided you. You were base but Allah ennobled you and gave you sovereignty over His people. Now one of them comes and asks you for redress of the wrong done to him, and you beat him? What answer have you to give before Allah?”

He kept on chiding himself thus for a very long time.

Once Hadhrat Umar (ra) was going on his usual round towards Harrah (a suburb of Madinah) with his slave Aslam, when he saw a distant fire in the desert. He said:

“There seems to be a camp. Perhaps, it is a caravan that could not enter the town due to night fall. Let’s go and look after them and arrange for their protection during the night.”

When he reached there, he found a woman and some children. The children were crying. The woman had a pan of water over the fire. Hadhrat ‘Umar (ra) greeted her with salaam and, with her permission, went near her.

Umar: “Why are these children crying?” The Woman: “Because they are hungry.” Umar: “What is in the pan?”

The Woman: “Only water to soothe the children, so that they may go to sleep in the belief that food is’being prepared for them. Ah! Allah will judge between Umar (ra) and me, on the Day of Judgement, for neglecting me in my distress.”

‘Umar (weeping): “May Allah have mercy on you! How can Umar know of your distress?”

The Woman: “When he is our Amir, he must keep himself informed about us.”

Hadhrat ‘Umar (ra) returned to the town and straightway went to Baitul-Mal to fill a sack with flour, dates, fat and clothes, and also drew some money.
When the sack was ready, he said to Aslam:

“Now put this sack on my back, Aslam.”

Aslam: “No please, Amir-ul-Mo’mineen! I shall carry this sack.”

‘Umar refused to listen to Aslam, even on his persistent requests to allow him to carry the sack, and remarked:

“What! Will you carry my load on the Day of Judgement? I must carry this bag, for it is I who would be questioned (in the Hereafter) about this woman.”

Aslam most reluctantly placed the bag on Umar’s (ra) back, who carried it with a swift pace right to the woman’s tent. Aslam followed at his heels. He put a little flour and some dates and fat in the pan and began to stir. He blew (with his mouth) into the fire to kindle it. Aslam says:

“I saw the smoke passing through his thick beard.”

After some time, the pottage was ready. He himself served it to the family. When they had eaten to their fill, he made over to them the little that was left for their next meal. The children were very happy after their meal and began to play about merrily. The woman felt very grateful and remarked:

“May Allah reward you for your kindness ! In fact you deserve to take the place of Khalifah instead of ‘Umar.”

‘Umar consoled her and said: “When you come to see the Khalifah, you will find me there.”

He sat for a while at a place close by and kept on watching the children. He then returned to Madinah. On his way back, he said to Aslam:

“Do you know why I sat there, Aslam? I had seen them weeping in distress; I liked to see them laughing and happy for some time.”

It is said that Hadhrat Umar (ra) while leading Fajr Salaat used to recite ‘Kahf, *Taha’ and other such Soorahs in his Salaat, and would weep so much that his crying could be heard way back to several rows. Once he was reciting Surah ‘Yusuf in Fajr. When he came to the verse:

“I only plead for my distress and anguish unto Allah,” (12: 86)

he wept so much that he could not recite any further. In Tahajjud, he would sometimes fall to the ground and would get indisposed with excessive weeping.

Such was the fear of Allah in Hadhrat Umar (ra) whose name struck terror in the hearts of the mightiest monarchs of his time. Even today, the people are filled with awe when they read about him. Is there any person in power today who is prepared to show such kindness to the people in his charge?