Category Archives: Giants Amongst Men

‘But we didn’t see…’


Sa’eed bin Jubayr narrates: Ibn Abbas died while in At-Ta’if. I witnessed his funeral and then a bird came that I had never seen before.
The bird entered the burial site and we looked and waited to see if it would come out, but we didn’t see it come out of the hole. When Ibn Abbas was laid in the ground, we heard this verse being recited at the edge of his grave but we didn’t know who recited it:

يا أيتها النفس المطمئنة ارجعي إلى ربك راضية مرضية فادخلي في عبادي وادخلي جنتي

O satisfied soul, return to your Lord content and with pleasure. Enter among My servants. Enter among My garden.

Source: al-Mustadrak alaa al-Saheehayn #6312


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if you had one day left

لو قيل لك لم يبق من عمرك إلا يوم ، ما كنت صانعا ؟

Q: If you had one day remaining in your life, what would you do?

كنتُ أعلمُ الناس

Imam Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak: I would teach people.

Source: al-Madkhal by Imam al-Bayhaqee (380)

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“There is one time he speaks… “

2386091863_f402b7a93eI walked up the stairs along with my daughter Nour in the poorly lit corridor. I entered the room shyly and in broken Arabic greeted all the sisters in the room. A family in this Syrian village had invited me for dinner and I looked forward to such invites. Not only because I finally got to eat well-prepared food but also because I met new sisters in such gatherings. Some of these sisters and their stories in this war-ravaged country astonished me, and some ingrained themselves in me, forever changing me.

After we had eaten, a sister brought in a frail man and gently sat him against the cushions on the wall. I was struck by the noor emanating from the sister’s face. I stared at her in wonderment of why her face lit like a bright light. The brother had a white beard humbling resting on his face and the softness of his face resembled that of a child.

She fed him soup, and he barely moving, swallowed slowly. I assumed that this must be her frail father she is taking care of, though he looked too young to be her father.

When I got home, I couldn’t forget the sister and the brother. Coincidently, I found myself at her house few weeks later as we were passing through the village. I noticed the brother again in her house. white-flower-on-black-background

“Umm Muhammad, who is he, the one you take care of?”

“He is my husband. He wasn’t always like that. In the 80’s my husband was part of Muslim Brotherhood, he was an active da’ee and a hafidh al Qu’ran. When Bashar’s father released his relentless force against the Muslims in Hama, my husband was arrested. I was left with three young children. For nearly a decade, I had no idea if he was alive or dead.

She continued.

“One day, he was home. Just like that. But he had been tortured severely, he was beaten ruthlessly, electrocuted, and made to endure all sorts of psychological torture during his time in detention. Even though a year after his release, I was blessed with a son- his health started deteriorating every year. And today, he has lost all normal function. He doesn’t remember his children, he doesn’t speak at all, and he can barely comprehend anything around him. So I feed, bathe and take care of him as a child”

I couldn’t believe how much this sister had borne. A decade without a husband, and now have lost her home, her wealth and are refugees on the border of the country. Though her husband is now finally with her, he is not her companion in the loss and pain this war has brought her family. He can’t help her or their children nor even comfort her.

white-flower-backgrounds“SubhanAllaah, sister, how did you manage all these years?”

“I chose Quran, the words of Allaah to accompany me. I read Quran every single day, each day increasing in the amount I read. I found a teacher to teach me tajweed. And subhanAllah by the time my husband was released, I had memorised the whole Quraan and had raised our three children in his absence”

She got up to head for the kitchen and prepare the afternoon meal. I heard her reciting Quraan the entire time. She brought a tray of rice and soup. After we ate, I asked her more questions about her life.

“My 16 year old was shaheed few months ago. The son that was born after my husband’s release”

She said this with a smile and you could not find misery in any corner of her eyes.

“Would you like to see what happened to him? They caught it on video” 2q1e6xc

She pulled a laptop and searched his name on Youtube. She showed me the picture she took of him on the day he went out for the protest. In the video a young masked man is seen dragging an injured man on the street. But as soon as he brings the man to safety, he is shot and falls flat on the pavement. Her son was killed saving another. As this mother watched the video of her son getting shot, she did not wince, nor tear up. Rather she smiled, as if watching the moment she was given an award.

“Does your husband understand that his son is now killed?”

“No, he has no understanding. I buried my son and sat in his grave and asked Allaah to remove all grief in my heart and He did.”

This is why this mother’s face endeared me to her. Her patience, her tawakkul in Allaah, her love for the Quraan and her struggle and sacrifice in the path of Allah was inspiring.

black-and-white-flower-background-3 “There is one time though, my husband does speak”

“Oh, when is that?”

“I recite all day, reviewing a juz or two a day. No matter where in the house, I am reciting- if I make a mistake, he speaks up and corrects it.”

I felt hair on my arms stand up in amazement of their faith. These are the sisters in war that we do not hear of. We hear of misery and pain but we rarely hear of the sisters who are backbone of resistance, who are an inspiration not just to other women but to the men in their path.

This story was shared by sister Umm Nour as a recollection from her time in Syria .


Filed under From the Pages of History, Giants Amongst Men, Qur`an

She said ‘Decree and Destiny.’

IMG_2414Umm Aban bint Utbah rejected proposal from not just one man, but from three men from among Ashrah Mubasharah (The ten given glad tidings of Jannah)

Her insight into the men and their personalities is discerning. A righteous man, or a well known leader of the ummah doesn’t necessarily mean he will be the best husband for you. In fact Umar ibn khattab divorced many times – I’m sure the women who married him must’ve thought how amazing it is to be married to the Ameer al Mumineen. But in reality, what he does for the ummah and his station in akhirah may not necessarily mean any benefit for you.

Another striking part of the story is the flexibility in gender interaction. How often can brothers address their friend’s wives about her personal opinions and choices? It is unheard of. But yet we see Ali openly questioning Talha’s wife as to why she rejected his proposal and married Talha! He later on even comments that she married because of his good looks.

SubhanAllah, look at how relaxed and pure their interactions and communications were between genders. Today, we’ve made such rigid rules of interactions, and view everything of the opposite gender as suspicious and impure.

Please read the story below:

She journeyed to Syria and witnessed its opening to Islam with her brother Abu Hashim and her husband Aban ibn Sa’id. She was widowed on the day of the Battle of Ajnadayn. It is said that they were together no more than two nights before she was widowed. Another version says her husband who was killed was Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan. IMG_2425

When she was widowed, ‘Umar proposed to her and she rejected him. She was asked “Why?” She said, “When he enters, he enters sternly and when he leaves, he leaves sternly. He is preoccupied by his Hereafter from his worldly affairs, as if he were staring his Lord in the eye.” Another version has it, “He enters frowning and he leaves frowning. His doors are closed and his giving is little.”

Then Zubayr ibn al-Awwam proposed to her and she rejected him. She was asked, “Why?” She said, “A wife gets nothing from him but chores and work to secure his needs. And he says, ‘I did this’ and, ‘I did that’, and ‘I am this’, and ‘I am that’.”

Then ‘Ali proposed to her and she rejected him. She was asked, “Why?” And she said, “Women have no luck when they are with him … ” [abridgement]

Then Talhah proposed to her and she said, “Marry me, truly.” People said, “How is this?” She said, “I truly know his moral character. When he enters, he enters laughing and when he leaves he leaves smiling. When he is asked, he gives. When I withdraw, he inquires; when I work, he thanks; and when I do wrong, he forgives.”

‘Ali was visiting them in their home and he said [to her husband], “Abu Muhammad, may I speak to Umm Aban?” He said, “Speak to her.” ‘Ali said, “As-salamu alayki, oh woman who is dear to herself.” She said, “Alayk as-salam.” He said, “The Leader of the Believers, Chief of the Muslims, proposed to you and you rejected him.”

IMG_2393“That is so.”

“And I proposed to you and I am from the Prophet and you rejected me.”
“That is so.”

In another version, ‘Ali added, “You refused all those whom you refused, and married this son of the daughter of Al-Hadrami.” She said “Decree and destiny.” ‘Ali replied, “You know, you married the one of us who was most beautiful of face, the one with the best hand, and the one with the most goodness toward his family.”

[Translated and abridged from A’lam an-Nisa by ‘Umar Kahhala, vol. 1, p. 21]

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“Will You Keep a Secret?”

Quran-550x412  Abu az-Zahiriyyah narrated: “I went to Tarsus, so I entered upon Abu Mu’awiyah al-Aswad after he had become blind. In his house, I saw a Mushaf (copy of the Qur`an) hanging from the wall, so I said  to  him: “May Allah have Mercy upon you! A Mushaf while you cannot even see?”

 He replied: “My brother, will you keep a secret for me until the day I die?”

 I said: “Yes.” Then, he said to me: “Verily, when I want to read from the Qur’an, my eyesight comes back to me.”



  Abu Hamzah Nasir bin al-Faraj al-Aslami – and he was a servant of Abu Mu’awiyah al-Aswad – narrates something similar:  “Abu Mu’awiyah had lost his eyesight.

So, if he wished to read from the Qur’an, he would grab around the room for the Mushaf until he would find it.

As   soon as he would open it, Allah would return his eyesight to him. As soon as he closed it, his eyesight would leave him.”

[‘Sifat as-Safwah’; 2/413-414]

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“Running From Allah’s Qadr to Allah’s Qadr”

Repelling Qadr by Qadr… This is a concept that was mentioned by Imam Ibn al Qayyim rahimahullah in his book Madaarij Al Saalikeen.

There was a discussion between Abu Ubaidah and `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both). During this discussion`Umar decided not to proceed to his trip to ash-Shaam, when the news reached him that there was a plague spreading there. Thus he decided to go back to Madinah, telling the people “I’m returning back, thus you should return as well”. In this incident Abu Ubaidah did not attend Umar’s consultation with the people and the result of the consultation.

However, when Abu Ubaidah heard of Umar’s orders he came to `Umar asking him

“O `Umar, are you running away from Allah’s Qadr?”

By this he was objecting to `Umar’s decision to return back to Madinah. `Umar was amazed by this objection raised by Abu Ubaidah and `Umar said to him,

“O Abu Ubaidah. I wish someone other than you would have said this. Yes. I am running away from Allah’s Qadr to Allah’s Qadr”.

He explained this by saying, if you see a man coming to a place where there are two areas, one area is lush and the other barren. Don’t you see that if he takes his cattle to the lush area, he is doing so according to Allahs Qadr and if he takes his cattle to the barren area, he is also taking it by Allah’s Qadr.

Put it another way; sometimes a individual is confronted with a situation and it may be totally out of ones control. Although the individual accepts that it is from Allah, one does not just accept it and give up. No. Rather one repells the qadr of hunger with the qadr of eating, the qadr of being attacked with the qadr of defending oneself, the qadr of poverty with the qadr of searching for work in order to survive etc.

So whatever comes our way it is required for us to continue along the path seeking the pleasure of Allah by repelling one type of qadr with another type of qadr according to the situation that we’re in. If something does not work, one tries doing something else until one attains whatever it is they are trying to attain while being patient along the way.


Filed under .:Qadr - Divine Decree:., Classics, From the Pages of History, Giants Amongst Men, Ibn al-Qayyim, Polishing The Heart

“Ask Him From Whom You Have Need.”

When Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was asked about Tawakkul he said :

“It is abandoning dependence on Allah’s creation.”

“It was said to him: “Then what is the need for it?”

He replied: “It is implicit in the words of Ibrahim (alayhis salam ) when he was placed in the mangonel , then cast into the fire ,upon which Jibreel (alayhis salam) came to him and said: “Do you have any need?” He replied: “Not from you.”

Jibreel (alayhis salam) said: “Ask Him from whom you have need.”

He said: “Whichever of the two things is preferable to Him is preferable to me.” [1]

[1]  Al-bidayah Wan-Nihayah


Filed under Classics, Du`aa - Allah Always Answers., From the Pages of History, Giants Amongst Men, Polishing The Heart