Chapter: The (story of the) Dwellers of the Town (V.36:13)
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “(This is) a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariya (Zechariah)”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 640 :
Narrated by Malik bin Sasaa (radiallaahu `anhu)
That the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) talked to them about the night of his Ascension to the Heavens. He said, “(Then Gabriel took me) and ascended up till he reached the second heaven where he asked for the gate to be opened, but it was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel replied, ‘I am Gabriel.’ It was asked, ‘Who is accompanying you?’ He replied, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has he been called?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ When we reached over the second heaven, I saw Yahya (i.e. John) and Jesus who were cousins. Gabriel said, ‘These are John (Yahya) and Jesus, so greet them.’ I greeted them and they returned the greeting saying, ‘Welcome, O Pious Brother and Pious Prophet!’ “
The hadith mentions Prophet Yahya who was the son of Prophet Zakariya.
The Story of Prophets Zakariya [Zechariah] and Yahya [John]
The years had taken their toll on the Prophet Zakariyah (pbuh). He was now old and bent with age, in his nineties. Despite his feebleness, he went to the temple daily to deliver his sermons.
Zakariyah was not a rich man, but he was always ready to help those in need. His one disappointment in life was that he had no children, for his wife was barren. This worried him, for he feared there was no one after him to carry out his work. The people needed a strong leader, for it they were left on their own, they would move away from Allah’s teachings and change the Holy Laws to suit themselves.
During one of his visits to the temple, he went to check on Mary, who was living in a secluded room of the temple. He was surprised to find fresh out of season fruit in her room. Besides him, no one had entry to her room. When he inquired, she told him that the fruit was from Allah. She found it every morning. But why was he so surprised, she asked him. Did he not know that Allah provides without measure for whom He wills?
This noble girl had opened this eyes to a startling idea. Could he not ask his Lord to bless him with a child in his old age? Even if his wife was past childbearing age, nothing was impossible for his Gracious Lord!
Allah the Almighty revealed: ‘Kaf, Ha, Ya, Ain, Sad, (These letters are one of the miracles of the Quran, and none but Allah Alone knows their meanings). This is a mention of the Mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariyah. When he called out his Lord (Allah) – a call in secret, saying: “My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and gray hair has spread on my head, and I have never been unblest in my invocation to You, O my Lord! And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir, – who shall inherit me, and inherit also the posterity of Jacob (inheritance of the religious knowledge and Prophethood, not the wealth, etc.) And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are Well-pleased!”
Allah said: “O Zakariyah! Verily, We give you the glad tidings of a son. His name will be Yahya (John). We have given that name to none before him.”
He said: “My Lord! How can I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I have reached the extreme old age.”
He said: “So (it will be). Your Lord says, It is easy for Me. Certainly I have created you before, when you had been nothing.”
Zakariyah said: “My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.”
He said: “Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.”
Then he came out to his people from Al Mihrab (a praying place or a private room, etc.), he told them by signs to glorify Allah’s Praises in the morning and in the afternoon.
It was said to his son: “O John! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah).” And We gave him wisdom while yet a child, and made him sympathetic to men as a mercy or a grant from Us, and pure from sins (John) and he was righteous, and dutiful towards his parents, and he was neither an arrogant nor disobedient (to Allah or to his parents). And Salamun (peace) on him the day he was born, the day he dies, and the day he will be raised up to life again! (Ch 19:1-15 Quran)
Almighty Allah also said: At that time Zakariyah invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.”
Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in Al- Mihrab ( a praying place or a private room), saying: “Allah gives you glad tidings of John confirming (believing in) the Word from Allah (“Be!” – and he was! (i.e. the creation of Isa (Jesus), son of Mariam (Mary), noble keeping away from sexual relations with women, a Prophet, from among the righteous.”
He said: “O my Lord! How can I have a son when I am very old, and my wife is barren?”
Allah said: “Thus Allah does what He wills.” He said: “O my Lord! Make a sign for me.” Allah said: “Your sign is that you shall not speak to mankind for three days except with signals. And remember your Lord much (by praising Him again and again), and glorify Him in the afternoon and in the morning.” (Ch 3:38-41 Quran).
John (pbuh) was born a stranger to the world of children who used to amuse themselves, as he was serious all the time. Most children took delight in torturing animals whereas, he was merciful to them. He fed the animals from his food until there was nothing left for him, and he just ate fruit or leaves of trees.
John loved reading since childhood. When he grew up, Allah the Exalted called upon him: “O John! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah).” And We gave him wisdom while yet a child. (Ch 19:12 Quran).
Allah guided him to read the Book of Jurisprudence closely; thus, he became the wisest and most knowledgeable man of that time. Therefore, Allah the Almighty endowed him with the faculties of passing judgments on people’s affairs, interpreting the secrets of religion, guiding people to the right path, and warning them against the wrong one.
John reached maturity. His compassion for his parents, as well as for all people and all creatures, increased greatly. He called people to repent their sins.
There are quite a number of traditions told about John. Ibn Asaker related that one time his parents were looking for him and found him at the Jordan River. When they met him, they wept sorely, seeing his great devotion to Allah, Great and Majestic.
Ibn Wahb said that, according to Malik, grass was the food of John Ibn Zakariyah, and he wept sorely in fear of Allah. A chain of narrators reported that Idris Al Khawlawi said: “Shall I not tell you he who had the best food? It is John Ibn Zakariyah, who joined the beasts at dinner, fearing to mix with men.”
Ibn Mubarak stated that Wahb Ibn Al-Ward narrated that Zakariayah did not see his son for three days. He found him weeping inside a grave which he had dug and in which he resided. “My son, I have been searching for you, and you are dwelling in this grave weeping!” “O father, did you not tell me that between Paradise and Hell is only a span, and it will not be crossed except by tears of weepers?” He said to him: “Weep then, my son.” Then they wept together.
Other narrations say that John (pbuh) said: “The dwellers of Paradise are sleepless out of the sweetness of Allah’s bounty; that is why the faithful must be sleepless because of Allah’s love in their hearts. How far between the two luxuries, how far between them?”
They say John wept so much that tears marked his cheeks. He found comfort in the open and never cared about food. He ate leaves, herbs, and sometimes locusts. He slept anywhere in the mountains or in holes in the ground. He sometimes would find a lion or a bear as he entered a cave, but being deeply absorbed in praising Allah, he never heeded them. The beasts easily recognized John as the prophet who cared for all the creatures, so they would leave the cave, bowing their heads.
John sometimes fed those beasts, out of mercy, from his food and was satisfied with prayers as food for his soul. He would spend the night crying and praising Allah for His blessings.
When John called people to worship Allah, he made them cry out of love and submission, arresting their hearts with the truthfulness of his words.
A conflict took place between John and the authorities at that time. A tyrant king, Herod Antipas, the ruler of Palestine, was in love with Salome, his brother’s daughter. He was planning to marry his beautiful niece. The marriage was encouraged by her mother and by some of the learned men of Zion, either out of fear or to gain favor with the ruler.
On hearing the ruler’s plan, John pronounced that such a marriage would be incestuous. He would not approve it under any circumstance, as it was against the Law of the Torah.
John’s pronouncement spread like wildfire. Salome was angry, for it was her ambition to rule the kingdom with her uncle. She plotted to achieve her aim. Dressing attractively, she sang and danced before her uncle. Her arousing Herod’s lust. Embracing her, he offered to fulfill whatever she desired. At once she told hi: “I would love to have the head of John, because he has defiled your honor and mine throughout the land. If you grant me this wish, I shall be very happy and will offer myself to you.” Bewitched by her charm, he submitted to her monstrous request. John was executed and his head was brought to Salome. The cruel woman gloated with delight. But the death of Allah’s beloved prophet was avenged. Not only she, but all the children of Israel were severely punished by invading armies which destroyed their kingdom.
Hadith no. 2714 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 317 :
Narrated by Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) returned (from Jihad), he would say Takbir thrice and add, “We are returning, if Allah wishes, with repentance and worshipping and praising (our Lord) and prostrating ourselves before our Lord. Allah fulfilled His Promise and helped His Slave, and He Alone defeated the (infidel) clans.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 318 :
Narrated by Anas bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
We were in the company of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) while returning from ‘Usfan, and Allah’s Apostle was riding his she-camel keeping Safiya bint Huyay (radiallaahu `anhaa) riding behind him. His she-camel slipped and both of them fell down. Abu Talha (radiallaahu `anhu) jumped from his camel and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! May Allah sacrifice me for you.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Take care of the lady.” So, Abu Talha covered his face with a garment and went to Safiya (radiallaahu `anhaa) and covered her with it, and then he set right the condition of their she-camel so that both of them rode, and we were encircling Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) like a cover. When we approached Medina, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “We are returning with repentance and worshipping and praising our Lord.” He kept on saying this till he entered Medina.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 319 :
Narrated by Anas bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
That he and Abu Talha (radiallaahu `anhu) came in the company of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and Safiya (radiallaahu `anhaa) was accompanying the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), who let her ride behind him on his she-camel. During the journey, the she-camel slipped and both the Prophet and (his) wife fell down. Abu Talha (the sub-narrator thinks that Anas said that Abu Talha jumped from his camel quickly) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! May Allah sacrifice me for your sake! Did you get hurt?” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) replied,”No, but take care of the lady.” Abu Talha (radiallaahu `anhu) covered his face with his garment and proceeded towards her and covered her with his garment, and she got up. He then set right the condition of their she-camel and both of them (i.e. the Prophet and his wife) rode and proceeded till they approached Medina. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “We are returning with repentance and worshipping and praising our Lord.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) kept on saying this statement till he entered Medina.
“Take care of the lady” = How to be a gentleman 101.
Abu Aaliyah, blogger at The Humble “I”, talks about being a true gentleman under Islamic guidelines:
It is often claimed that in Victorian or Edwardian England, respectability essentially meant maintaining a reputable facade while encouraging all sorts of hypocrisies. How much or how little can one generalise in such a matter is up for debate. Yet at its core, the widely cherished notion that there was a respectable way to conduct oneself; that there was a decent and honourable way of being a true “gentleman” (as opposed to a hypocritical one) – well that’s a very Islamic idea. A gentleman was someone who was restrained, courteous, considerate, well mannered, had public dignity, and was aware of boundaries; particularly when in mixed company.
The Islamic concept of futuwwah, “spiritual chivalry,” is where we find the ideals of the true Muslim gentleman best expressed. Futuwwah embodies the virtues of dignity and respectability (haybah), refined and noble conduct (adab), and preferring others to oneself (ithar), along with courage (shaja‘ah), magnanimity (sakha’ah) and striving to destroy the idols of one’s ego (mujahadat al-nafs).
Society no longer speaks of a true gentleman. That’s of a bygone era – of Edwardian England; an Englishness long dead and buried. As a nation we need to review where this has led us: if it’s been, on balance, for our betterment? Furthermore, as Muslims themselves start to relax these principles, can we see in where it has led others, where we too might be heading?
An excerpt from an article written by Imam Khalid Latif on the same topic:
In the Qur’an, the Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him, is referred to in Arabic as fata, a young, noble man who knows how to handle his responsibilities. His sense of integrity and commitment are remarkable.
From this word fata is derived the Arabic word, futuwwa, which essentially translates as chivalry. Being gentle, loyal, modest, honest, compassionate, humble, trustworthy and selfless is having futuwwa. In the medieval period of Islam, orders were established around this principle of futuwwa that emphasized members uphold these traits and seek to serve society, putting their needs after the needs of those around them. They would teach young men how to honor their responsibilities while today we are forced to figure it out on our own. Chivalry is in our tradition. We just have to embrace it again and empower individuals to be those role models that our communities desperately need.
[Read more: Are You a ‘Muslim’ Gentleman?]
So chivalry is not just how the Western culture sees it; holding the door open, pulling out the chair, paying for dinner/date etc. This is all just one aspect of it. The true concept of being a gentleman has much more to it than appearances and treatment of women (not the least important by any means), it has to do with maturity, modesty, dignity, compassion, honesty etc.
An interesting blog I came across that gives equal importance to self-grooming for the “modern Muslim gentleman” and includes tips and how-to’s, check out “thegentlemuslimman“.
Ahadith 2686 – 2688 (below) are repeats. See linked text for related posts.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 290 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) and a group of the companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) set out with the Prophet to Ibn Saiyad. He found him playing with some boys near the hillocks of Bani Maghala. Ibn Saiyad at that time was nearing his puberty. He did not notice (the Prophet’s presence) till the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) stroked him on the back with his hand and said, “Ibn Saiyad! Do you testify that I am Allah’s Apostle?” Ibn Saiyad looked at him and said, “I testify that you are the Apostle of the illiterates.” Then Ibn Saiyad asked the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), “Do you testify that I am the apostle of Allah?” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to him, “I believe in Allah and His Apostles.” Then the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said (to Ibn Saiyad). “What do you see?” Ibn Saiyad replied, “True people and false ones visit me.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Your mind is confused as to this matter.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) added, ” I have kept something (in my mind) for you.” Ibn Saiyad said, “It is Ad-Dukh.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said (to him), “Shame be on you! You cannot cross your limits.” On that ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Allow me to chop his head off.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “If he should be him (i.e. Ad-Dajjal) then you cannot overpower him, and should he not be him, then you are not going to benefit by murdering him.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 290 :
Narrated by Ibn Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
(Later on) Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) (once again) went along with Ubai bin Ka’b (radiallaahu `anhu) to the garden of date-palms where Ibn Saiyad was staying. When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) entered the garden, he started hiding himself behind the trunks of the date-palms as he wanted to hear something from the Ibn Saiyad before the latter could see him. Ibn Saiyad was lying in his bed, covered with a velvet sheet from where his murmurs were heard. Ibn Saiyad’s mother saw the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) while he was hiding himself behind the trunks of the date-palms. She addressed Ibn Saiyad, “O Saf!” (And this was his name). Ibn Saiyad got up. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Had this woman let him to himself, he would have revealed the reality of his case.” Then the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) got up amongst the people, glorifying Allah as He deserves, he mentioned Ad-Dajjal, saying, “I warn you about him (i.e. Ad-Dajjal) and there is no prophet who did not warn his nation about him, and Noah warned his nation about him, but I tell you a statement which no prophet informed his nation of. You should understand that he is a one-eyed man and Allah is not one-eyed.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 291 :
Narrated by Usama bin Zaid (radiallaahu `anhu)
I asked the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) during his Hajj, “O Allah’s Apostle! Where will you stay tomorrow?” He said, “Has Aqil left for us any house?” He then added, “Tomorrow we will stay at Khaif Bani Kinana, i.e. Al-Muhassab, where (the Pagans of) Quraish took an oath of Kufr (i.e. to be loyal to heathenism) in that Bani Kinana got allied with Quraish against Bani Hashim on the terms that they would not deal with the members of the is tribe or give them shelter.” (Az-Zuhri said, “Khaif means valley.”) (See Hadith No. 659, Vol. 2)
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 292 :
Narrated by Aslam
Umar bin Al-Khattab (radiallaahu `anhu) appointed a freed slave of his, called Hunai, manager of the Hima (i.e. a pasture devoted for grazing the animals of the Zakat or other specified animals). He said to him, “O Hunai! Don’t oppress the Muslims and ward off their curse (invocations against you) for the invocation of the oppressed is responded to (by Allah); and allow the shepherd having a few camels and those having a few sheep (to graze their animals), and take care not to allow the livestock of ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf and the livestock of (‘Uthman) bin ‘Affan (radiallaahu `anhumaa), for if their livestock should perish, then they have their farms and gardens, while those who own a few camels and those who own a few sheep, if their livestock should perish, would bring their dependents to me and appeal for help saying, ‘O chief of the believers! O chief of the believers!’ Would I then neglect them? (No, of course). So, I find it easier to let them have water and grass rather than to give them gold and silver (from the Muslims’ treasury). By Allah, these people think that I have been unjust to them. This is their land, and during the pre-lslamic period, they fought for it and they embraced Islam (willingly) while it was in their possession. By Him in Whose Hand my life is! Were it not for the animals (in my custody) which I give to be ridden for striving in Allah’s Cause, I would not have turned even a span of their land into a Hima.”
Look at Umar’s (radiallaahu `anhu) instructions to his freed slave.. he’s asking him to prefer the weak and poor over the rich and powerful. Everything he did in his caliphate speaks volumes about his wisdom and remarkable justice. He raised the bar to such heights for all future leaders of the ummah. Has anyone even come close yet?
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 281 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira
Allah’s Apostle sent a Sariya of ten men as spies under the leadership of ‘Asim bin Thabit al-Ansari, the grandfather of ‘Asim bin Umar Al-Khattab. They proceeded till they reached Hadaa, a place between ‘Usfan, and Mecca, and their news reached a branch of the tribe of Hudhail called Bani Lihyan. About two-hundred men, who were all archers, hurried to follow their tracks till they found the place where they had eaten dates they had brought with them from Medina. They said, “These are the dates of Yathrib (i.e. Medina), “and continued following their tracks. When ‘Asim and his companions saw their pursuers, they went up a high place and the infidels circled them. The infidels said to them, “Come down and surrender, and we promise and guarantee you that we will not kill any one of you” ‘Asim bin Thabit; the leader of the Sariya said, “By Allah! I will not come down to be under the protection of infidels. O Allah! Convey our news to Your Prophet. Then the infidels threw arrows at them till they martyred ‘Asim along with six other men, and three men came down accepting their promise and convention, and they were Khubaib-al-Ansari and Ibn Dathina and another man So, when the infidels captured them, they undid the strings of their bows and tied them. Then the third (of the captives) said, “This is the first betrayal. By Allah! I will not go with you. No doubt these, namely the martyred, have set a good example to us.” So, they dragged him and tried to compel him to accompany them, but as he refused, they killed him. They took Khubaib and Ibn Dathina with them and sold them (as slaves) in Mecca (and all that took place) after the battle of Badr. Khubaib was bought by the sons of Al-Harith bin ‘Amir bin Naufal bin ‘Abd Manaf. It was Khubaib who had killed Al-Harith bin ‘Amir on the day (of the battle of) Badr. So, Khubaib remained a prisoner with those people. Narrated Az-Zuhri: ‘Ubaidullah bin ‘Iyyad said that the daughter of Al-Harith had told him, “When those people gathered (to kill Khubaib) he borrowed a razor from me to shave his pubes and I gave it to him. Then he took a son of mine while I was unaware when he came upon him. I saw him placing my son on his thigh and the razor was in his hand. I got scared so much that Khubaib noticed the agitation on my face and said, ‘Are you afraid that I will kill him? No, I will never do so.’ By Allah, I never saw a prisoner better than Khubaib. By Allah, one day I saw him eating of a bunch of grapes in his hand while he was chained in irons, and there was no fruit at that time in Mecca.” The daughter of Al-Harith used to say, “It was a boon Allah bestowed upon Khubaib.” When they took him out of the Sanctuary (of Mecca) to kill him outside its boundaries, Khubaib requested them to let him offer two Rakat (prayer). They allowed him and he offered Two Rakat and then said, “Hadn’t I been afraid that you would think that I was afraid (of being killed), I would have prolonged the prayer. O Allah, kill them all with no exception.” (He then recited the poetic verse):– “I being martyred as a Muslim, Do not mind how I am killed in Allah’s Cause, For my killing is for Allah’s Sake, And if Allah wishes, He will bless the amputated parts of a torn body” Then the son of Al Harith killed him. So, it was Khubaib who set the tradition for any Muslim sentenced to death in captivity, to offer a two-Rak’at prayer (before being killed). Allah fulfilled the invocation of Asim bin Thabit on that very day on which he was martyred. The Prophet informed his companions of their news and what had happened to them. Later on when some infidels from Quraish were informed that Asim had been killed, they sent some people to fetch a part of his body (i.e. his head) by which he would be recognized. (That was because) ‘Asim had killed one of their chiefs on the day (of the battle) of Badr. So, a swarm of wasps, resembling a shady cloud, were sent to hover over Asim and protect him from their messenger and thus they could not cut off anything from his flesh.
Isn’t it a beautiful end to a beautiful story? Here are the original verses of Khubaib’s (radiallaahu `anhu) poetry that he said before being martyred: