The Blind Mu’adhin: Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (Hadith No. 591)
Narrated Salim bin Abdullah:
My father said that Allah’s Apostle said, “Bilal pronounces Adhaan at night, so keep on eating and drinking (Suhur) till Ibn Umm Maktum pronounces Adhaan.” Salim added, “He was a blind man who would not pronounce the Adhaan unless he was told that the day had dawned.”
Yes, a blind man. He only needed to be told of the time. Pronouncing the Adhaan does not require sight, does it? :)
Abd-Allah ibn Umm-Maktum was among the first converts to Islam. Muhammad (SAW) sent him and Mus`ab ibn `Umair to Medina for teaching Qur’an to the inhabitants before the Hijrah took place. He and Bilal ibn Rabah were chosen as mu’adhins in Medina by Muhammad (SAW). When Muhammad (SAW) left Medina for participating in battles, he was given the responsibility of leading the prayers. (Islam surely does NOT discriminate.)
Abd-Allah ibn Umm-Maktum requested Umar, the second Caliph of Islam, to let him take part in Jihad in spite of his blindness. Umar allowed him to take part in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in 636 C.E. He served in the battle as the standard bearer for the Muslim side, and he was killed in the fighting.
Allah (SWT) revealed a few verses about this awesome Sahabi (companion) as well. The story goes as follows:
Muhammad (SAW) was preaching Islam to Walid ibn al-Mughira and other Quraysh chieftains in Mecca. Abd-Allah ibn Umm Maktum came along and asked Muhammad (SAW) about something. Muhammad (SAW) did not want to turn his attention away from the chieftains and frowned at ibn Umm Maktum. Allah admonished Muhammad (SAW) for this action via the first ten verses of ‘Abasa:
He (Prophet s.a.w) frowned and turned (his) back,
Because there came to him the blind man.
And what would make you know that he would purify himself,
Or become reminded so that the reminder should profit him?
As for him who considers himself free from need (of you),
To him do you address yourself.
And no blame is on you if he would not purify himself
And as to him who comes to you striving hard,
And he fears,
From him will you divert yourself?
Another verse based on an incident involving ibn Umm-Maktum is the 95th verse of An-Nisa. As related by Ibn Kathir in his exegesis of the Qur’an, Al-Bukhari recorded that Sahl bin Sa`d As-Sa`di said, “I saw Marwan bin Al-Hakam sitting in the Masjid. I came and sat by his side. He told us that Zayd bin Thabit told him that Allah’s Messenger dictated this Ayah to him, Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and those who strive and fight in the Cause of Allah. Ibn Umm Maktum came to the Prophet as he was dictating that very Ayah to me. Ibn Umm Maktum said, `O Allah’s Messenger! By Allah, if I had power, I would surely take part in Jihad.’ He was a blind man. So Allah sent down revelation to His Messenger while his thigh was on mine and it became so heavy for me that I feared that my thigh would be broken. That ended after Allah revealed, … except those who are disabled and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah. [Qur’an, 4:95]
So that was Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum, the awesome Sahabi who did not let his blindness be his weakness. He did more than most ‘seeing’ men could ever do. May Allah be pleased with him. :)