بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

People feel envy for many reasons, including over those things that they see others possess, which they really covet. Envy, or “حسد” as it is called in the Qur'an, is a disease of the heart that manifests itself in the form of many an ugly behavior and word. Sometimes, the envy results in the person who is being envied to even undergo serious harm.

However, this post is not about envy, or rather, not about the destructive envy that we should all avoid feeling because of the blessings that we see another possess. This post is rather about how Prophet Muhammad [صلى الله عليه وسلم] showed his love and concern for some of his companions. Loving our Prophet and following him is a part of our faith in Allah and the Last Day and a means of gaining Allah's love:

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Say: 'If you love Allah, then follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Oft-Merciful.'” [Qur'an – 3:31]

More than just providing lip service as a testimony of our love for him [صلى الله عليه وسلم], we should focus on 'walking the talk', i.e. constantly analyzing ourselves to see whether this love for him that we profess actually makes us emulate him, imitate him, and obey his every command or not, even if this means going against the wishes of our loved ones, our societal norms, or our own desires.

Moreover, this love for the Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] should also make us feel an intense desire to meet him and see him in person, since one favor that his companions had the privilege of possessing, which we can never even hope to do in this worldly life, is the joy of beholding him in flesh and blood before their eyes, talking to him, and being in his company. Beyond that, of course, is the fortune of the even luckier ones among his companions who were graced with special favors as far as the Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] was concerned – namely, his close friendship, his counsel for problems, day-to-day guidance, and being related to him through matrimonial ties. Usually, his two friends Abu Bakr and Umar [رضى اللهُ عنهما] are mentioned foremost in this regard. However, there are some other, lesser-mentioned of his companions, who were at the receiving end of his special favor too.

A few ahadith that are narrated below describe this special attention dished out by the Prophet of Allah [صلى الله عليه وسلم] towards two of his companions. Below is the first of those ahadith.

The Messenger of Allah [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said:

“O Mu'adh! By Allah, truly I love you.”

[Abu Dawud, Al Nisa'i, Ibn Hibban, Abu Nu'aym, Ibn Khuzaimah and Al-Hakim, who declared its isnad to be sahih]

The Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said these words to his companion Mu'adh Ibn Jabal [رضى الله عنه], whom he eventually sent to Yemen during his life by appointing him as its governor. I cannot describe enough how my heart feels whenever I read this hadith! Can we even imagine the favor that Allah had blessed Mu'adh Ibn Jabal with? Think about it some more: the best man in the eyes of Allah expressing his love for this young man in clear, loving, sincere words, to his face – telling him that he loves him! Could anyone be more fortunate; greater in excellence? Very few, in my opinion.

Below is another hadith in which the love of Allah's Messenger [صلى الله عليه وسلم] for this young companion of his, is openly evident:

When Allah's Messenger sent him to Yemen, he went out with him giving him advice, Mu'adh riding and Allah's Messenger walking beside his riding beast. Then when he finished he said, “Perhaps, Mu'adh, you may not meet me after this year, but perhaps, you may pass this mosque of mine and my grave.” Mu'adh wept from grief over the departure of Allah's Messenger. The Prophet then turned facing Madinah and said, “Those nearest to me are the pious, whoever they are and whenever they are.” [Mishkat]

As Mu'adh was being sent off to Yemen, he was riding an animal, and the Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] walked by his side. They both knew that this was the last time they would meet in person. What an emotion-ridden, poignant moment in the lives of two people who loved each other purely for the sake of Allah!

I think it is enough for someone like me to feel a rush of “envy” – if an intense desire for a blessing that is possessed by another can even be labeled 'envy' – whenever I read the above ahadith.

First, to have the honor of Allah's beloved Messenger [صلى الله عليه وسلم] express his love for you in your life, then to have him see you off as you're going away to a far off place, and then to have him console you that despite being torn apart by the temporary life of this world, if you remain pious, you would still be among those who are “nearest” to him! If we think for a moment that this was the Prophet of Allah [صلى الله عليه وسلم] seeing off Mu'adh like this, we cannot help but feel overwhelmed at the extent of Allah's favor upon this young companion. May Allah be pleased with him.

The third hadith that fills me with supposed “envy” is the one in which Asma Bint Abi Bakr [رضى الله عنها] quotes her experience of taking care of her husband's horse in his absence: imam Bukhari reported in his sahih that Asma bint Abi Bakr [رضى الله عنها] said:

“I got married to Al-Zubayr, and he had no wealth on earth and no slaves, nothing except a camel for bringing water and his horse. I used to feed his horse and bring water, and I used to sew patches on the bucket. I made dough, but I was not good at baking bread, so my (female) neighbors among the ansar used to bake bread for me, and they were sincere women.
I used to bring date pits from Al-Zubayr's land that the Messenger of Allah had given to him, carrying them on my head. This land was two-thirds of a farsakh away. One day I came carrying the date pits on my head, and I met the Messenger of Allah [صلى الله عليه وسلم], who had a group of the ansar with him. He called me and made his camel kneel down for me to ride behind him, but I felt too shy to go with the men, and I remembered Al-Zubayr and his jealousy, for he was the most jealous of people. The Messenger of Allah realized that I felt shy, so he moved on.
I came to Al-Zubayr and told him, 'I met the Messenger of Allah when I was carrying date pits on my head, and he had a group of his companions with him. He made his camel kneel down for me to ride with him, but I remembered your jealousy.'
He said, 'By Allah, it bothers me more that you have to carry the date pits than that you should ride with him.'”
Asma said: “After that, Abu Bakr sent me a servant to take care of the horse, and it was as if I had been liberated from slavery.” [Sahih Bukhari, Fath, 9/319]

I know that this hadith of Asma is very well-known, but for another reason – the superiority of this hard-working Muslim wife who willingly toiled hard to serve her husband. There is no doubt that what she did was very praiseworthy, but that is not the point that draws my attention to this hadith.

Rather, what makes me dwell on her good fortune is the fact that our Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم], when he saw her walking alone carrying date pits on her head, stopped in his tracks, made his camel kneel down, and offered her a lift home!

We all know that whatever he did was according to the Haqq, and instead of letting her walk back alone carrying her burden, he stopped to make it easy for her.

The same goes for her “jealous” husband. When he heard of the incident, he immediately regretted his wife having to work so hard to maintain his horse, and expressed his concern for her hard work.

As for her other mahram, her father, when he heard of this incident, he immediately made her hardship easy by giving her a servant to do this manual work for her, so much so that in the words of this humble, hardworking wife and daughter (who probably used to hide the difficulty of her hard toil from not just her husband, but also her father): “…it was as if I was liberated from slavery!”

The kind, benign actions of all the three great Muslim men described in this hadith – the Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] (the best of men), Al-Zubayr, and Abu Bakr [رضى اللهُ عنهم] – are proof of the fact that, on witnessing or hearing of Asma's hard work with her husband's horse, all three either felt concerned or strove to help relieve her of her task. Contrast that to some modern-day Muslim men who shove this hadith in their wives' faces to remind them about how hard they are supposed to work to serve their husbands!

Regardless, this hadith makes me feel so “envious” of Asma Bint Abi Bakr because she had the honor of having none other than the Prophet of Allah [صلى الله عليه وسلم] stop what he was doing out of concern for her and offer her a ride home on his camel. Let us not forget another key point here that Asma was the daughter of the Prophet's best friend and close companion, Abu Bakr [رضى اللهُ عنه], and the older sister of his wife, A'ishah. He had close family ties with her, and hence his chivalry becomes even more justified and understandable. Indeed, she is fortunate to not just be honored because of the Prophet's concern for her, but also because she had the wisdom and innate shyness (haya) to refuse such an honorable and prestigious offer just for the sake of preventing her husband's jealousy, which is an indication of her lofty taqwa. What a great woman! May Allah be pleased with her.

As for us…we can only hope and pray to Allah that He enables us to love His Messenger [صلى الله عليه وسلم] as he should be loved; to emulate, obey and imitate him over and above anyone else – even over the desires of our own selves. Maybe then we can hope to be counted among those whom he mentioned in a positive light, expressing his desire to meet them, as is clear in the hadith below:

Anas Bin Malik [رضى الله عنه] narrates that the Messenger of Allah [صلى الله عليه وسلم] said: “I wish that I could meet my brothers.” The Companions of the Prophet asked, “Are we not your brothers?” He replied: “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who will believe in me, without having seen me.” [Musnad Ahmad]

May Allah guide us to love His Prophet [صلى الله عليه وسلم] so much so that it infuses us with an intense desire to behold him, meet him, and enjoy his company in the Akhirah, guiding us to those righteous actions that can help attain this ultimate culmination of success. ameen.

25 Responses

  1. Hena Zuberi

    Ameen- May we be like the Sahabah and earn the love of Habib Allah (SAW). May we be community members, wives, daughters like Asma (RA) so Allah (SWT) give us leaders, husbands, fathers like them.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  2. Mezba

    Whenever I read the Hadith concerning the incident with Asma bint Abu Bakr, to me it said three things:

    1. Women ARE allowed to work, outside the house.
    2. Men and women who are not mahram of one another ARE allowed to interact.
    3. Husbands and wives should take care of each other’s needs, including respecting their feelings and hardships.

    Compare these lessons to the way I sometimes see women running away at the sight of a non-mahram man, or refuse to talk to one, or use religion to justify their not going to work, and you just have to shake your head.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • abu Abdullah

      Salamualaikum Mezba.

      I choose to respect difference of opinions among scholars ( and their blind followers) respectfully.

      How would you justify Mariam AS living in her chamber ( Mihrab ) and worshipping Allaah and only to be regarded as epitome of female bashfulness , as confirmed in the Qur’an? Doesn’t word Mihrab comes from root word of Harb, meaning war… which war was Mariam AS ( or any Muslimah chooses to live in the house try to maintain their bashfulness) was waging in that chamber. She was fighting with herself. right? Jihad fi Nafs, the struggle against self. I think that is what is mentioned and valued.

      Its true that for requirement/need its ok to interact with opposite gender in a professional and non sweet language. But imagine the amount of fitna those women reduce by not going outside. Allaah gives us for our efforts right? Because both the efforts and result of those efforts are His dominion and will. Let those who choose to remain in their houses, without showing it off their concern of modesty, like niqabi women has this thing going between jilbabi and themselves and both together has it going with the non hijabi’s. I don’t have a name for this prude behavior but khayr, everyone puts their part and plays their role.

      NAK has a very good lecture contradicting community on youtube, on these interactions.

      No wonder the exemplary hadith of Asma, taught many lessons on spouses nice treatment towards each other. Guys please be grateful to Allaah for your spouses. They put up a lot of crap from you, knowlingly and unknowingly. I could tell you from experience, how much I regret my choices after having lost mine ( actually they stole her from me). Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli haal.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • ahlam

      Maybe they run because they all have jealous husbands or are shy like Asma (ra)? Bless them:)

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  3. abu Abdullah

    I am sorry for reading the last hadith in this article now. Some part of my comment above becomes irrelevant part with that explanation, like questioning the later ones having same opportunity in striving in good and reaping same rewards. The hadith Anas Ibn Malik explains it, alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli haal.

    Ameen to your adiyya in the end of this article. I remember someone posted a dua, prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught his best friend, Abu Bakr Radi Allahu anhu, About asking Allah to give Imaan that does not fade away , the nia’mah that does finish, and murafaqa with Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in the Jannah. Ameen.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  4. Ify Okoye

    I remember a few years ago, I was walking home from the masjid, one night after the tarawih and a car with three brothers also coming from the masjid stopped to offer me a lift. I declined because the walk wasn’t far and thought it’d be awkward and in these times maybe a little dangerous for your person and reputation but they insisted and they were most honorable, made sure to give me enough space in the car, dropped off me as promised, and then we exchanged salams.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Hello Kitty

      And there’s not a bit of shame to be felt for accepting the kindness of those semi-strangers.

      One thing I’ve always wondered about this hadith-did these events take place after Asma’s sister Aisha, married to our beloved Prophet, accepted the help of Safw’an bin Mu’attal? There is no woman more exemplary in behavior than Aisha-she’s an example to all Muslim women. Nor is there any man more exemplary in behavior than our beloved prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. None whatsoever. Yet he adored and trusted and believed in his beloved wife so vehemently, even in the face of gossiping fools who tried to slander his wife. The accusers were punished, not Aisha. The moral that I gathered from this incident anyways was that if you don’t have proof of misdeeds, it’s wrong to believe that anyone’s actions are anything but pure and good. As well, it’s a female’s prerogative to be as shy as she wants to be, or is comfortable for her, but she should never fear for anyone gossiping against her, slandering her, etc. if her deeds are pure, even if she’s accepting a ride from a man she’s neither married or related to. That seems to be her right, given the ayat revealed after Aisha accepted a ride from Safw’an, and those who make the accusations without proof are to be punished, never her. Aisha was certainly never punished for that. And our beloved Prophet never wavered in standing by her either. Isn’t it up to all men then to emulate our Prophet in this manner? Are they not required to stand by their wife in light of accusations or slander for which there is not a whit of proof or evidence? Really, Asma should have had nothing to fear if her intentions were nothing but pure. Especially in light of who it was offering her a ride. Anyways, it’s something I’ve wondered about, regardless.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Ify Okoye

        While the intentions of those involved may be pure, one can never be sure about the intentions of others, who may be like in the story of ifk prone to false insinuations, which bring harm to all but your point is well-taken.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • ahlam

        …but what stopped Asma from accepting the ride was two things 1) her shyness and 2) her fear of the jealousy of her husband. It seems that she did not fear accusations or slander but felt shy. And that combined with the fear of her husband’s jealousy froze her.
        Otherwise,apparently ,she would have accepted it.
        But your question on whether this happened before or after the incident with Aisha(ra) is a good one.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. ahlam

    The incident with Mu’adh ibn Jabal (radi Allahu anhu) is beautiful.
    The Prophet said: ”Ya Mu’adh, wallahi inni uhibuk”. Ya Allaaah:)

    JazakAllahu khairan.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  6. someone

    “O Mu’adh! By Allah, truly I love you.”

    fills my heart and my Iman flutters, when hearing those words. alhamdhoullilah ya rabb

    ameen to your duaa

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  7. someone

    Salamu alaikum, i am not going to attempt answering your questions, but i just wanted to say, May Allah ease your burden in this life and grant you patience . Ameen

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  8. Sabeen

    Mashallah a very moving article!
    “Indeed, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire – and never will you find for them a helper -” (4:145)
    I used to wonder why the hypocrites of Madinah were worse than the disbelievers. They were given the blessed company of the Prophet (saws). They could look in his face, shake his hands and ask him for advice. They could invite him to their homes for dinner. Yet they did not experience the love for the Beloved of Allah. This love that transcends the span of hundreds of years was within their reach but they failed to reach for it. So great was the darkness in their souls that the physical proximity to the Prophet (saws) did nothing to help them gain salvation. Instead it lowered them further in the levels of hellfire.
    May Allah protect us from the disease of hypocrisy, and fill our hearts with the love of the Prophet (saws).

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Sadaf Farooqi

      Interesting point you have brought to our notice. It indeed makes me shudder – they had the chance to interact with and behold Allah’s beloved yet they rejected him and the truth he brought.
      Jazakillahu khair.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  9. Mariam E.

    Asalamu Alikum

    Great reflections, jazaki Allah khayr.

    By starting with “O Mu’adh! By Allah, truly I love you” and then giving him words of advice, the Prophet sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam taught us how to capture the hearts of people in da’wah. Mu’adh radhiAllahu anhu probably never forgot the advice that came after such beautiful words, which was “not to miss supplicating after every Salat saying:

    اللهم أعني على ذكرك, وشكرك, وحسن عبادتك

    `Allahumma a’inee ‘ala dhikrika wa shukrika, wa husni ‘ibadatik’
    (O Allah, help me remember You, expressing gratitude to You and worship You in the best manner)”
    .(Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i).

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  10. Awais

    SubhanAllah, beautiful article. Seeing the mutual love and respect that the Companions had for their leader, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), is truly an example for us to see the ideal relationship between a leader and those he/she may lead. I hope we can all learn from this and apply it in our roles as parents, spouses, community leaders, and da’ees. Jazakum Allahu khayrun.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.