Among the most important values Islam implants in the minds of its followers are those that formulate the Islamic perception of our present life. Islam makes clear that this life is a test. If we pass this test, then we are ushered into a life of pure happiness in the hereafter.
Those of us who fail the test sink into perpetual misery. While Islam wants us to work hard in order to build a high standard of life worthy of man, the creature, God has placed in charge of earth, it also aims to give us the right perspective, viewing this life and all that it offers as transitory. Hence, all possessions and life itself can be sacrificed for a higher goal.
Umm Al-Dahdah and her husband and family were among the early Muslims from Madinah. After Islam began to establish itself in Madinah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent his companion, Musab ibn Umair, to teach the new Muslim converts there the Qur’an and how to lead an Islamic life. Among the first people to convert to Islam at the time was Thabit ibn Al-Dahdah, his wife Umm Al-Dahdah and their entire family.
When the Prophet immigrated to Madinah with his companions from Makkah, the process of learning about Islam among the Ansar took a much faster pace. The people there tried to catch up with their brethren from Makkah in understanding Islamic principles and putting them into effect.
Thabit read the Qur’anic verse that says: “Who will offer God a generous loan, which He will repay in multiples and will generously reward him?” (57: 11) He said to the Prophet: “How come God asks us for a loan when He is in no need for anyone?” The Prophet said: “He wants it so that He will admit you to heaven in return.”
Thabit said: “If I give a loan to my Lord, will He guarantee me heaven as well as to my children?” The Prophet said that it was so. Thabit said: “Give me your hand. I have two orchards: one in the highland and one in the lowland. I have no other possession. I am making them both a loan to God.”
The Prophet said: “Make one of them for God and hold on to the other for your family’s living.” Thabit said: “Then be my witness that I am making the better one for God. It is an orchard that contains 600 date trees.” The Prophet said: “Then God will reward you for it with admission into heaven.”
What Thabit did was exceptional by any standard. Yet what was his wife’s attitude? We can imagine any woman’s reaction when her husband tells her that he donated half his property to a noble cause. She would naturally think of the effect of such donation on her children’s lives. Yet Umm Al-Dahdah said to her husband: “You have done a profitable deal.”
She immediately gathered her children who were in that orchard, emptied their pockets of any dates they had gathered, and even took whatever was in their hands. She told them that that orchard no longer belonged to them.
In the Battle of Uhud, when Muslims were in chaos, Thabit was one of the few who remained steadfast. He gathered a group of the Ansar fighters around him and fought hard to repel the unbelievers’ attack. They were heavily outnumbered by enemy forces.
He was one of the Muslim martyrs. When the news of his death was broken to his wife, she did not lament, because she knew that a martyr remains alive in heaven. She was keen to know that the Prophet was safe. When she saw him, she said: “Any tragedy is light, as long as you are safe.”
We see her attitude toward sacrificing life and property. In both cases she was exemplary, demonstrating that Islamic values were deeply rooted in her heart.
ABU Bakr Al-Siddiq, on his deathbed, called Umar and said:
Fear Allah, O Umar. Know that there are deeds to be done in the day which Allah will not accept if done at night, and there are deeds to be done at night which He will not accept if done during the day. He will not accept extra (Nafl) deeds unless you fulfill the obligatory ones.
The scales of some will be weighty on the Day of Resurrection only because they followed the truth in this life and it was weighty to them. And the scales on which the truth will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be heavy. The scales of some will be light on the Day of Resurrection only because they followed falsehood in this life and it was a light matter to them. And scales in which falsehood will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be light.
Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Paradise and mentioned them in the context of their best deeds, and overlooked their evil deeds, so when I remember them I say to myself: I fear that I will not be included among them.
And Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Hell and mentioned them in the context of their worst deeds and rejected their best deeds, so when I remember them I say: I hope I won’t be amongst them. Allah’s worshipers should always be in a state of hope and fear, they shouldn’t entertain flimsy wishes about Allah and neither should they despair of Allah’s mercy.
If you keep to this advice of mine, no one who is not with you now should be more beloved to you than death – and it is sure to come to you. But if you disregard this advice, no one who is not with you now should be more hated to you than death – and you cannot escape it.
– Abu Nu’aym, Hilyah Al-Awliya Vol.1 p18; and Ibn Al-Jawzi, Sifah Al-Safwah.
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: We were sitting in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) one day, and he said, “A person is about to arrive from this mountain path who is from the people of Paradise.”
So a person from the Ansar arrived, his beard dripping with water from wudhu and his left hand carrying his sandals. He greeted us with salaams.
The second and the third day too the Prophet (peace be upon him) said similar words and the
same man appeared in the same condition.
Abdullah Bin Amr Bin Al-Aas followed the man sought his permission to stay with him for three days .
So Abdullah spent three nights with this person. But he did not see him stand up for the night prayer at all! All he did was, mention Allah and make takbeer when he turned sides on his bed. He would do this till he stood up for the Fajr prayer.
However, Abdullah said, “I never heard him speak anything except good.”
So when the three days were over, Abdullah told the man, “O, servant of Allah! I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying on three occasions, ‘A person is about to arrive who is from the people of Paradise,’ and you arrived on those three occasions.
But I have not seen you perform a great deal of deeds, so what is it that made the Prophet (peace be upon him) say that about you?” He replied, “I do not harbor disloyalty to any of the Muslims within me, and neither do I feel jealous for the wealth that Allah has bestowed upon them.”
Abdullah said, “This is what has (made you special) and it’s something we cannot endure.” (Musnad Ahmad – Hasan)
“Abu Hurairah was never tired of looking at the Prophet, whose face appeared to him as having all the radiance of the sun”
“Abu Hurairah, R.A. said: qala rasulu-llahi, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam…”
Through this phrase millions of Muslims from the early history of Islam to present day have come to be familiar with the name Abu Hurairah. In speeches and lectures, in Friday sermons and seminars, in the books of Hadith, seerah and fiqh, the name Abu Hurairah is mentioned in this fashion:
“On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) who said: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said… “Through his prodigious efforts, hundreds of hadiths have been transmitted to later generations. His is the foremost name in the roll of Hadith transmitters. Next to him comes the names of such companions as Abdullah ibn Umar, Anas ibn Malik, Aíishah (the Prophet’s wife), Jabir ibn Abdullah and Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, each of whom transmitted over a thousand hadiths of the Prophet.
Abu Hurairah became a Muslim at the hands of At-Tufayl ibn Amr, the chieftain of the Daws tribe to which he belonged. Abu Hurairah’s name was Abdu Shams (Servant of Sun) which changed, after embracing Islam, into Abdur-Rahman (the Servant of the Beneficent). However, he continued to be known as Abu Hurairah, “the kitten man,” literally “the father of a kitten” because he was fond of cats and since his childhood often had a cat to play with.
Abu Hurairah loved the Prophet a great deal and found favor with him. He was never tired of looking at the Prophet, whose face appeared to him as having all the radiance of the sun and he was never tired of listening to him. Often he would praise Allah for his good fortune and say, “Praise be to Allah Who has guided Abu Hurairah to Islam. Praise be to Allah Who has taught Abu Hurairah the Qur’an. Praise be to Allah who has bestowed on Abu Hurairah the companionship of Muhammad (peace be upon him).”
With his formidable memory, Abu Hurairah set out to memorize in the four years that he spent with the Prophet, the gems of wisdom that emanated from his lips. He realized that he had a great gift and he set about to use it to the full in the service of Islam.
ABDULLAH bin ‘Amr bin ‘Aas narrated that a woman came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) with her daughter. On the daughter’s wrist were two heavy gold bracelets. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked her, “Do you pay Zakat on this?” She replied, “No.” The Prophet said, “Would it please you that Allah will encircle you with two bracelets of fire?” The narrator commented that she took them off and threw them down in front of the Messenger, and said, “They are for Allah and his Messenger.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)
Think about this for a second – Fiqh of Zakah aside. Imagine if you were in this place. What would you do? Probably hum and haw, then half of Juz Amma (the last chapter of the Qur’an). Memorize the entire Qur’an (step by get them weighed, calculate the value, and give your Zakat.
But what did this Sahabiyyah (female Companion) do? She gave entire bracelets, both of them, as charity. She did not just pay the 2.5 percent of the value required for Zakah – she actually donated the whole thing in the way of Allah.
This is one of the things that makes the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) so special (and so much better than us). We do the bare minimum, just to scrape by, but they go for the maximum reward.
How you can apply this today
Read about Ihsan. Learn about it. Ask yourself frequently: “What would it mean to do Ihsan in this thing I’m doing right now?”
Aim for the gold medal. Don’t be satisfied with memorizing only step, of course).
Give a Little Extra. If someone asks you for help – with some project, essay, exam, task, chores around the house (parents) – don’t just do the bit they ask, do a little extra. As Allah says: “Is there any reward for good other than good?” (Qur’an, 55:60)
PROPHET MUHAMMAD (peace be upon him) described his Companions as the stars when he said, “My Companions are like the stars, whoever of them is taken as a role model will serve as a real guide.” In this article, we shall shed some light on the morals and manners of these real stars.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, movie stars, singers and footballers have been regarded as the stars in any society, but they are stars in terms of fame and popularity. But if we would like to talk about the real stars who should be taken as examples to be followed, we have to follow the Prophet’s description of the real stars, his Companions.
For example, Abu Bakr Al Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) spent almost all his wealth in supporting Islam and freeing Muslims who were still slaves of Makkah chieftains. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was the epitome of justice. During his reign, nobody dared to usurp the rights of another person because they knew that Omar would never tolerance that.
Othman Ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) was the ideal example of generosity; he was one of the richest Muslims and spent all his money to support Islam and help Muslims to the extent that he bought a well owned by a Jews when he knew that that Jew exploited Muslims’ needs for water.
Ali Ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) was an embodiment of deep knowledge of religion and erudition. After the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and especially in the reign of Omar Iban Al-Khattab, whenever Muslims faced a religious problem or had a question, Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was there to solve their problems and answer their questions. Many Western historians and Orientalists describe that the Companions were devoted followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and honest representatives of all his teachings and message. They encouraged other people including Persians, Romans, Egyptians, South East Asians etc. to embrace Islam by their good manners, morals and humane behavior.
In my opinion, the second important thing, after exploring why they were described as stars by the Prophet (peace be upon him) is to take these people as role models: ‘Muhammad is the apostle of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. You will see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward.” (Qur’an, 48:29)
KHADIJA Bint Khuwailed was the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) first wife. Reading the life story of this noble lady reveals that she was an ideal woman in the full sense of the word.
She was married twice before getting married to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Many of the nobles and rich men of Makkah proposed to her, but she rejected all of them.
She was a wealthy lady in possession of a big fortune and had her own private trade. She heard a lot about Prophet Muhammad’s integrity and honesty and that was why she chose him to conduct her business. Her admiration for the Prophet (peace be upon him) increased after what she had heard from her servant, Maisara, who accompanied the Prophet on his trade journeys. Maisara praised the Prophet’s manners and humane dealings with everybody and narrated some of the miracles that accompanied him (the Prophet) throughout the journey such as the cloud that kept hovering above the Prophet to protect him from the sun.
She sent a go-between to ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) to propose to her. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not hesitate to propose to this great lady, although she was 15 years older than him. She was his only wife for more than 25 years and the mother of all his children (except for Ibrahim who was the son of Maria the Copt).
She was known for her wisdom, common sense and balanced thinking. She was the Prophet’s wife for 25 years during which she never made him angry even once. She also supported him all through her life financially and emotionally. The year in which she died was called the Year of Sorrow because the Prophet (peace be upon him) was deeply grieved to lose this noble wife who had been the source of tenderness, love and support.
Even after her death the Prophet (peace be upon him) remained loyal to her memory. He used to warmly welcome her relatives and friends and when his other wife ‘Ayesha used to feel jealous because of this. Once she said, “Allah gave you a better wife, (meaning herself),” but he said, “This is not true, nobody is better than she was: for she helped me when other people let me down, and supported me when people abandoned me, and Allah made her the mother of my children.” He really respected her memory and never forgot her favors and love for him. May Allah be pleased with her.