Guest post by Madiha Akhtar
Once my husband said, “Whenever you find yourself in a conservation, try to take something beneficial from it, something that can help you”. I know it sounds philosophical but the application that I saw him practice is what makes this a golden rule to live by. Let me explain further with examples.
I went to visit my grandparents and my husband accompanied me. After asking the usual questions of “how are you and kids, health, job” etc., my grandfather started to talk about his travel experiences. Right after that my husband asked him, “What do you think was their greatest strength and weakness?”. I looked at his face and then at my grandfather’s and was totally indulged in the way my grandfather explained what he found key to their success. A whole new paradigm of discussion opened up which was both interesting and beneficial.
So here is how he does it. In every gathering he asks questions which are related to the topic as well as the knowledge of the audience. This is the ultimate trick to learn from others’ years of experience. Let me share with you some more examples.
In a gathering of moms you can ask the question, “What is the single most important thing that one can give to their children?” or to a grandmother, “What is the one thing you never compromised on when it came to your children?”.
When accompanied by someone who loves cooking , “What is the simplest yet nutritious dish you make?”. In a group of friends, “How do you handle the situation when your husband is angry but you don’t know the cause?”.
So my dear friends, this is the key to learning. Now I enjoy having conversations and even making small talk with strangers when waiting in a queue or reception as I have found a way to tap others’ wisdom. Lastly, I will add just one more thing that most of the sins related to tongue are because of excessive talking and sometimes to avoid an awkward silence in the drawing room, we end up talking uselessly. SO THINK AHEAD!
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?
When the time came for the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, to migrate from Mecca to Medina, a plan was devised for him to migrate in secret with his great and loyal companion Abu Bakr as-Siddique. Though she was just a young girl at the time, it was the courageous Asma’ who gathered food and water for the great journey her father and The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, were about to make.
She was the sister of ‘Aishah bint Abu Bakr, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Her father Abu Bakr, her husband Az-Zubayr, and her son, Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr were all famous companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. After her parents accepted Islam, Asma’ and her siblings were raised in an atmosphere of Islamic faith and practice.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 222 :
Narrated by Asma (radiallaahu `anhaa)
I prepared the journey-food for Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) in Abu Bakr’s (radiallaahu `anhu) house when he intended to emigrate to Medina. I could not find anything to tie the food-container and the water skin with. So, I said to Abu Bakr (radiallaahu `anhu), “By Allah, I do not find anything to tie (these things) with except my waist belt.” He said, “Cut it into two pieces and tie the water-skin with one piece and the food-container with the other (the sub-narrator added, “She did accordingly and that was the reason for calling her Dhatun-Nitaqain (i.e. two-belted woman)).”
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) blessed her and said that in place of this one girdle that she sacrificed, she would get two in Paradise. So, he implied that she would go to Paradise. In this manner the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) gave the news of a glorious Hereafter to his faithful Companions.
In another narration, Aisha said about this time: “…One day, while we were sitting in Abu Bakr’s house, someone said to Abu Bakr, “This is Allah’s Apostle with his head covered coming at a time at which he never used to visit us before.” Abu Bakr said, “May my parents be sacrificed for him. By Allah, he has not come at this hour except for a great necessity.” So Allah’s Apostle came and asked permission to enter, and he was allowed to enter. When he entered, he said to Abu Bakr. “Tell everyone who is present with you to go away.” Abu Bakr replied, “There are none but your family. May my father be sacrificed for you, O Allah’s Apostle!” The Prophet said, “I have been given permission to migrate.” Abu Bakr said, “Shall I accompany you? May my father be sacrificed for you, O Allah’s Apostle!” Allah’s Apostle said, “Yes.” Abu Bakr said, “O Allah’s Apostle! May my father be sacrificed for you, take one of these two she-camels of mine.” Allah’s Apostle replied, “I will accept it with payment.” So we prepared the baggage quickly and put some journey food in a leather bag for them. Asma’, Abu Bakr’s daughter, cut a piece from her waist belt and tied the mouth of the leather bag with it, and for that reason she was named Dhat-un-Nitaqain (i.e. the owner of two belts)…”
It’s related in the Sahih of Bukhari that when Asma’ was married to Zubayr bin ‘Awam, he was a very pious but poor man.
Asma’ narrated: “When Az-Zubayr married me, he had neither land, nor wealth, nor slave, nor anything else like it, except a camel to get water and his horse. I used to graze his horse, provide fodder for it, look after it and ground dates for his camel. Besides this, I grazed the camel, made arrangements for providing it with water and patching up his leather bucket and kneading the flour. I was not very good at baking the bread, so my female neighbors used to bake bread for me and they were sincere women. And I used to carry on my head, the date-stones from the land of az-Zubayr which the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had endowed him and it was a distance of two miles from Madinah.
One day, as I was carrying the date-stones upon my head, I happened to meet Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, along with a group of his Companions. He called me and told the camel to sit down so that he could make me ride behind him. I felt shy to go with men and I remembered Az-Zubayr and his ghirah (ghirah is the sense of pride that a man has which causes him to dislike his wives, daughters or sisters from being seen or heard by strangers – it is this ghirah which makes a man protective about his women) and he was a man having the most ghirah. The Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam understood my shyness and left.
I came to Az-Zubayr and said, ‘The Messenger of Allah met me as I was carrying date-stones upon my head and there was with him a group of his Companions. He told the camel to kneel so that I could mount it but I felt shy from him and I remembered your ghirah.’ Upon this Az-Zubayr said, ‘By Allah, the thought of you carrying date-stones upon your head is more severe a burden to me than you riding with him.’
I led this life of hardship until Abu Bakr sent me a female servant who took upon herself the responsibility of looking after the horse and I felt as if she had emancipated me.”
Read more on her piety, patience and courage here.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 209 :
Narrated by Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
Today a man came to me and asked me a question which I did not know how to answer. He said, “Tell me, if a wealthy active man, well-equipped with arms, goes out on military expeditions with our chiefs, and orders us to do such things as we cannot do (should we obey him?)” I replied, “By Allah, I do not know what to reply you, except that we were in the company of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and he used to order us to do a thing once only till we finished it. And no doubt, everyone among you will remain in a good state as long as he obeys Allah. If one is in doubt as to the legality of something, he should ask somebody who would satisfy him, but soon will come a time when you will not find such a man. By Him, except Whom none has the right to be worshipped, I see that the example of what has passed of this life (to what remains thereof) is like a pond whose fresh water has been used up and nothing remains but muddy water.”
The narrator of this hadith, Abdullah, is none other than the famous Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (radiallaahu `anhu), about whom `Allaamah adh-Dhahabi writes:
“‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (ra), the learned leader (al-imam al-rabbani), Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Abdullah Ibn Ummi ‘Abd al-Hudhali; Companion and personal servant of the Messenger (saw); among the first to embrace Islam; among the veterans of the battle of Badr; among the expert jurists and teachers of the Qur’an; among those who strove to convey (the words of the Messenger – saw) very accurately; extremely scrupulous in (his) narrations; and one who would admonish his students upon their negligence in recording the exact words (of the Messenger – saw)…(Due to extreme caution) he would narrate very little (himself)… His students would not give preference to any Companion over him…. Surely he was from among the leading Companions, the bearers of sacred knowledge, and the exemplars (a’imma) of guidance.” (Tadhkirat al-Huffaz 1:13-16)
Hudhayfa (radiallaahu `anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“Whatever ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radiallaahu `anhu) narrates to you, accept it.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
Going back to the hadith, his reply to the questioner is basically in affirmative when he says that we used to do whatever the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to us. And that you would prosper as long as you obey Allah (by obeying the leader). Now we know from yesterday’s post that one must obey the appointed ruler as much as he can and as long as he doesn’t order you to do acts of kufr (disbelief) etc. Ibn Mas`ud (radiallaahu `anhu) did not say yes explicitly to not make it hard for the person to follow his fatwa. So he said when such things happen (I’m supposing this was a hypothetical question), ask someone who can satisfy you – meaning a scholar, who will be rare to find. And his parable of the life already lived as compared to the remaining portion adds weight to his point in my opinion – that the days are only getting worse. So it will definitely happen that rulers will ask of subjects what they cannot do resulting in disobedience of the subjects.
Volume 3, Book 36, Number 463 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Allah did not send any prophet but he shepherded sheep.” His companions asked him, “Did you do the same?” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) replied, “Yes, I used to shepherd the sheep of the people of Mecca for some Qirats.”
All prophets shepherded sheep at some point in their lives. It was important for their training. Some of them are mentioned here.
Watch this video for more: