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7 Luminous Black Companions of the Prophet

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By Dawud Walid

During Black History Month, I have the intention of writing brief summaries, not in depth biographies, of some of the early figures in Islamic history who were black.  My usage of the word black, for the sake of what I plan on writing, will not be restricted to Nubians and Abyssinians but also for Arabs who had black and brown colored skin in which in contemporary times would be perceived as black such as Sudanese who are both Arabs and blacks.

Umm Ayman: Mother After the Prophet’s Mother

The first luminous figure in this series that was a companion is Barakah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) also known as Umm Ayman.  Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was Abyssinian and a servant of Abdullah bin Abdil Muttalib, the father of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). When Aminah, the mother of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) died, Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) took over as primary care-giver of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was later emancipated at the time of the marriage of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to Sayyidah Khadijah bint Khuwaylid raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her).

Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was one of the early adherents of Islam in Makkah and was one of those who faced persecution from Quraysh.  She raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was among those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah.

Umm Ayman’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) first marriage was to Ubayd bin Zayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who was from Bani Khazraj, a prominent tribe in the Hijaz.  According to ibn Kathir in Al-Bidayah wa An-Nihayah and others, Ubayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) himself was black in color or Al-Habashi though his lineage was from Bani Khazraj, a prominent Arab tribe in the Hijaz.  Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and Ubayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) bore a son named Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who was also black.  Ubayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was martyred at Ghazwah Khaybar, and Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was martyred at Ghazwah Hunayn.  Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) participated in Ghazwah Uhud and Ghazwah Khaybar.

After Ubayd’s raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) martyrdom, it’s reported by Ibn Sa’ad in At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to the companions that if anyone wanted to marry a lady from the People of Paradise then marry Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her).  Zayd bin Harithah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), the man who the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) emancipated and raised like a son, was then married to Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her).  Though Zayd raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was Arab and there are some conflicting descriptions about his physical appearance, Tanwir Al-Ghabash min Fadl Al-Sudan wa Al-Habash by ibn Al-Jawzi and others states that Zayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was short with a flat nose and had dark skin.

Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) had a particularly close relationship to Ahl al-Bayt, the Household of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  She shared intimate moments with Ahl al-Bayt such as being present at the marriage that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) conducted between his daughter Sayyidah Fatimah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and Imam Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).  At the time of the passing of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), she grieved alongside Ahl al-Bayt.

There are conflicting narrations about Umm Ayman’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) passing.

Usamah bin Zayd: Teenager General of the Prophet

Usamah bin Zayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was one of the beloved companions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Both of Usamah’s raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) parents, Zayd bin Harithah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who was Arab and Umm Ayman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who was Ethiopian, were freed from slavery by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). He was born in Makkah seven years prior to hijrah and is described as having black skin.

Much of Usamah’s upbringing was done in the house of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in the same time-frame as the rearing of the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) grandson Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him).

Usamah was later married by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to Fatimah bint Qays, who was Arab and from Quraysh. It is narrated that this marriage took place when Usamah was at the age of 15 years old and that on his ring was etched at the time of the wedding “Love of the Messenger of Allah.”

While a teenager, Usamah was elected by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to be a general of an expedition against the Romans in Syria. Some of the companions became extremely angry at Usamah being appointed as general over older companions from Quraysh. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said after praising and thanking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), “Oh People! Word has come to me that some of you mad that I appointed Usamah bin Zayd. I swear by Allah that surely your obeying Usamah is certainly your obeying me just as obeying his father before him.”

Usamah passed in 61 A.H. in Al-Madinah during the government of Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan.

Sa’ad Al-Aswad: Internally Oppressed to Martyrdom

One of the black companions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was Sa’ad Al-Aswad As-Sulami raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).
Sa’ad was from the Ansar and suffered discrimination in Al-Madinah.

Due to an inferiority complex, Sa’ad asked the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) if he too could enter into Jannah because of his low position among the Muslims. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied to him that he was entitled to the same reward as other believers. Sa’ad then inquired that if he was an equal believer then why would none of the Arabs allow him to marry one of their daughters.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)then told Sa’ad to go to the home of ‘Amr bin Wahb to ask him for his daughter for marriage. When Sa’ad told ibn Wahb that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) sent him to request for his daughter for marriage, Ibn Wahb became angry at the proposal. Ibn Wahb also stated to him that didn’t he know that his daughter is known for her beauty! When Ibn Wahb’s daughter heard this, she told her father that she could not turn down a proposal that came at the suggestion of the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)!

Sa’ad was later martyred in a battle in which it is narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wept over him while holding him in his lap.

Julaybib

One of the helpers of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who is mentioned in a number of texts is the companion known as Julaybib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

Julaybib accepted Islam in Al-Madinah, thus is described as one of the men from the Ansar. His lineage was unknown among the Arabs which made him an outcast. According to ibn Al-Jawzi in Tanwir Al-Ghabash, he was described as black (aswad). The companion Abu Barzah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) according to ibn Al-Athir also described him as short (qasir) and ugly (damim).

Being that Julaybib had no tribal and family connections in Al-Madinah as well as no wife, he spent more time in the company of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) than many of the other Ansar. In fact, the People of Al-Madinah used to ridicule Julaybib and would not befriend him.

In narrations that are deemed sound, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) proceeded to find a wife for the honorable Julaybib. When he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) went to the home of one of the Ansar, a father opened the door in which the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told him that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) came to him for a marriage proposal. The father immediately said yes thinking that his daughter would get the honor of being one of the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wives. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told him that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) did not come for himself but was asking on behalf of Julaybib. The father then said that he was going to defer the decision to his wife.

When the wife of the Ansari came, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told her that he had a marriage proposal. The wife also became happy and said yes. Then the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told her that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) came on behalf of Julaybib. The wife then replied that she would not allow her daughter to marry a man like Julaybib!

Upon hearing noise, the daughter of the two came out and asked the reason for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) coming to their home. The mother told the daughter that he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) came on behalf of Julaybib but that she was not accepting for her to marry him! The daughter replied, how can we turn down a proposal coming from the Messenger of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)? She said to send Julaybib to her, for surely he will not bring ruin to her!

In Al-Asabah by ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, it is mentioned in reference to this event the application of Surah 33, Ayah 36, “It is not fitting for a believing man or woman that when Allah and His messenger decree a matter that they should have an opinion about it from their matter. And whoever disobeys Allah and His messenger surely is in clear error.” It is mentioned in several texts including Al-Musannaf by ibn Abi Shaybah in the Chapter of Compatibility in Marriage that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then performed the marriage between Julaybib and the lady.

In a battle after the marriage, Julaybib achieved martyrdom. When the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saw the martyred Julaybib, he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said twice, “This [man] is from me, and I am from him.” An-Nanawi said in his commentary of Sahih Muslim that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used exaggeration (mubalaghah) showing the importance of Julaybib as if Julaybib was a member of his ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) own klan such as when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said about Salman [ranua], who was Persian, “Salman is from us, the People of the Household (Ahl al-Bayt).”

It is also narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) personally dug the grave of Julaybib and placed him in the grave without washing him, signifying his status as a martyr.

‘Ammar bin Yasir: the Man who the Prophet Predicted his Martyrdom

One of the companions who has several narrated merits pertaining to his faith, personality and resilience is ‘Ammar bin Yasir raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

‘Ammar is described in Al-Mustadarak ‘ala As-Sahihayn by Al-Hakim and authenticated by Adh-Dhahabi as being tall in stature, black in skin color and having kinky hair. His father Yasir raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was Arab.

‘Ammar was one of the earliest Muslims to accept Islam and was regularly tortured along with his family. Once while being severely tortured, he unwillingly recanted Islam. He later came to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in a state of tears saying that he verbally recanted Islam but did not mean it, in which the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wiped away his tears and recited Surah 16, ayah 106, “Whoever disbelieves in Allah after belief except who is forced and whose heart is still content with faith…”

After much persecution, ‘Ammar with other companions migrated to Abyssinia finding protection under a just Christian king though ibn Ishaq disputes that he was one of those companions in Abyssinia. He later migrated with other companions to Al-Madinah making him within a select group of companions that made two migrations for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

‘Ammar later participated in the major campaigns to protect the Muslim community including Badr and Uhud. He also was a witness to the Farewell Pilgrimage and the event of Ghadir Khumm.

Prior to the death of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), he told ‘Ammar, “You will be killed by a group of transgressors.” This hadith is sahih and mutawatir, meaning narrated so widely by many sound people that it is beyond doubt.

During the government of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, ‘Ammar was nominated to be the governor of Kufah in Iraq to be later removed from his position when ‘Umar consolidated the governorship of Kufah with Basrah under Abu Musa Al-Ashari.

During the government of ‘Ali bin Abi Talib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), ‘Ammar accompanied Imam Ali’s army at the Battle of Jamal and defended him against the Khawarij movement, the original takfiris. ‘Ammar later achieved martyrdom at the Battle of Siffin by being killed by a man from the army of Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan.

Mihja’: One of the Best of the Blacks

One of the famed companions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is Mihja’ bin Salih raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him). Mihja’ raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was one of the early adherents of Islam in Makkah, and one of those who migrated for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to Al-Madinah.

According to At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra of ibn Sa’ad, Mihja’s raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) lineage traces back to Yemen. He’s described as has having black skin (aswad al-lawn) and Arab. He was enslaved in the Hijaz and suffered as other enslaved (wo)men did. He was later emancipated by Umar bin al-Khattab.

In Makkah, Quraysh used to mock the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) because he used to sit and keep company with his poor followers who were formerly enslaved. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) told the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)in Surah 6, Ayah 52, “Do not repel those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening seeking His face.” According to Abdullah bin Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) in Zad Al-Masir fi ‘ilm At-Tafsir by ibn Al-Jawzi, those people that Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was referring to were Bilal, Suhayb, Khabbab, ‘Ammar, Mihja’, Salman, ‘Amir bin Quhayrah and Salim, who was freed by Abu Hudhayfah.

After migration according to At-Tabari and others, Mihja’ raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was the first to be martyred at Ghazwah Badr.

It is narrated by Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak ‘ala As-Sahihayn and authenticated as sahih by As-Suyuti in Al-Jami’ As-Saghir that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “The best of the blacks are three: Bilal, Luqman [who is mentioned in the Qur’an] and Mihja’.”

Abu Dharr: Man of Moral Courage

One of the honorable companions, who is known for his faithfulness and concern for the poor was Abu Dharr raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her).
Abu Dharr’s full name was Jundab bin Junadah from the Tribe of Ghifar. He was described by ibn Sa’ad in At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra and others as being tall with brown (asmar) skin.

In the Era of Ignorance, the Ghifari tribe was known for banditry and alcohol consumption besides worshiping idols. Abu Dharr, however, turned away from these tribal norms even before embracing Islam.

When a man from his tribe informed his people that he saw a man in Makkah, meaning the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), who he saw enjoining good and forbidding evil, Abu Dharr set off for Makkah. After meeting the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Abu Dharr swiftly accepted Islam. He went to the Ka’bah to publicly declare his faith in which Quraysh proceeded to beat him. He went the following day to proclaim his faith again in which he was beaten again. After days of doing this and facing beatings, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) told him to go back to his tribe, so he could declare his message to them.

He later migrated to Al-Madinah and participated in Ghazwah Badr and other expeditions with the companions.
During the government of ‘Uthman, Abu Dharr was one of the outspoken companions against the lavish lifestyle and large amounts of money which particular Muslims were receiving from the treasury. After conflict between Abu Dharr and Marwan in Al-Hakam, a cousin of ‘Uthman, over a payment that he received of 500,000 dirhams, Abu Dharr was sent away from Al-Madinah to Damascus. While in Damascus, Abu Dharr continued to speak out against luxuries and neglect of the poor which brought him into conflict with the Governor of Damascus, Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan, who was also a cousin of ‘Uthman.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) predicted to Abu Dharr, “You will live alone, die alone, rise from the dead alone, and enter Jannah alone.” This prediction of his living and dying manifested itself. Due to the circumstances of the time, Abu Dharr left Damascus for Ar-Rabathah desert with virtual no possessions in which he eventually died alone.

Ayman: The Brave Shepherd

One of the faithful companions of the Prophetṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was Ayman bin ‘Ubayd raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

Ayman’s roots were Abyssinian through his mother. He was born through the union of his mother Barakah, a woman who was eventually freed from slavery by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his father ‘Ubayd bin Zayd who was from the tribe of Harith bin Khazraj; their marriage took place in Makkah in the Era of Al-Jahiliyyah. Ayman was also born in Makkah.

Ayman embraced Islam in Makkah and made migration for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to Al-Madinah. He was a shepherd and was entrusted by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to look after his goats.

Ayman was a participant in the campaigns to defend Islam. At Ghazwah Hunayn when some of the Muslims became panicked, Ayman was one of eight Muslims who stood by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and defended him. The Muslims ended up winning the battle. In the process, Ayman achieved martyrdom.

After his martyrdom, Al-Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), one of the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) uncles who was one of those eight that stood firmly with Ayman to defend the Prophetṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), composed a poem praising the steadfastness and bravery of Ayman.

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Aminu Abubakar

    February 28, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    1st, i understand that without the intervention of prophet Muhammad (SAW), no white arab is willing to give marriage of his daughter to black man.

    2nd, no black name is mentioned without stamping him/her as slave.

    3rd, conclusively,i observed, blacks’ faith in Islam rated higher than that of the Arabs of their time. And Prophet Muhammad (Saw) has shown his ultimate love for black people.

  2. Avatar

    Aadil

    March 1, 2015 at 2:40 PM

    In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.
    Peace be upon you and the mercy and the blessings of God.

    I do not mean to be rude but how was Bilal ibn Rabah (ra)not mentioned fully. He was mentioned briefly twice but he deserves at least a section if not a whole article or series of articles.

    May God reward you well. Only God knows best.
    The good is only from God.The bad from elsewhere.
    Peace be upon you and the mercy and the blessings of God.

    • Avatar

      Aminu Abubakar

      March 3, 2015 at 6:28 PM

      One wonders why hadiths were not source from Bilal ibn Rabah (‘may Allah be pleased with him ) despite his closeness with Prophet Muhammad (SAW) day and Night.
      Can any one tell me why ? I am curious.

      • Avatar

        Rabi'u AbdulQadir

        March 9, 2016 at 10:41 AM

        Yeah same me post please when you get updatated

      • Avatar

        Yasser

        July 21, 2016 at 11:37 PM

        Not entirely sure, but it could be for the same reason Khalid Bin Walid was not sited often, memory of exact sayings. Not all close companions of the prophet narrated his sayings too. Allahu Alam. But there are quite a few hadiths about Sayidna Bilal and his conduct or place in paradise

      • Avatar

        Anwar Ali

        September 19, 2016 at 4:14 PM

        Assalamu Alaikum
        after co.pliments
        my dear brother
        In that case the most number of hadeeths should be recorded from none othervthan Sayyidina Abubakr Radhiyallahu Anhu. He was with the Prophet Swallallahu Alaihi wa sallam more than anybody.
        but Sayyidina Abu Huraira Radhiyallahu Anhu is seen to have recorded lots of hadeeth.
        There are reasons for that.
        if ur intrrested in this topic let me know. we shall talk
        my id anwarali_22@yahoo.com

    • Avatar

      Dawud Walid

      August 31, 2015 at 10:32 AM

      I specifically didn’t mentioned Bilal (RA) for two reasons: 1) Most Muslims know his story, but these other nobles are not as familiar. 2) Bilal (RA) is mentioned as the token black Muslim many times.

      • Avatar

        AbdulRasheed

        July 25, 2016 at 10:23 PM

        Salam alykum, In response to brother Aminu Abubakar; I do not think Bilal made it his primary focus to report everything he learnt from the prophet. His primary assignment was just being the best Muazzim he could be. In other words, he was not like Abu Hurairah, who focused very much on reporting what he learnt from the prophet. Something similar to this is the fact that Aishah reported more hadith than any of the other wives. Allah knows best.

  3. Avatar

    Hamid

    May 31, 2015 at 8:37 PM

    This article is misleading. It should be none that the original Arabs were black anyway and that the current Arabic speaking Europeans in the region were a mixture of Turks, Byzantines, Persians, etc, that adopted the Arabic language and culture, moved into the region and became the “new” Arabs. The other explanation of the new Arabs is when the original Arabs went on their conquests, they acquired a large amount of European slave women, especially with the spread of Islam in Moorish Spain. They had children with them and within 1 or 2 generations, the Arabs became white. This information is readily available and there is tons of documentation to prove it.

    • Avatar

      Dawud Walid

      August 31, 2015 at 10:34 AM

      5 of the 7 mentioned were “black Arabs.” I even mentioned the tribes that they were from.

    • Avatar

      Ibrahim

      January 30, 2016 at 4:08 PM

      So true, the original off-spring of Hajara (Haggar) were black the Ismailites, the children of Ibrahim. You will find difficulty among arabs to find a woman named Hajara because they do not want any association with blacks. When you read of the Islamic slaves, Arabs in disobedience of the Sharia took slaves from Blacks as far as China and then later America.

    • Avatar

      Fitzgerald Mistral

      February 23, 2016 at 11:43 PM

      The Prophet himself, the quintessence of the Arabian individual, was closer to a white complexion than black. There goes your whole theory about Arabs being white through European DNA!

  4. Avatar

    islam

    August 31, 2015 at 2:38 AM

    U forget Abu BAkar, Umar, Ali, Uthman, Ibn Masud, TAlah, Saeed bin Zaid, Abu TAlha, Anas bin Malik, etc.

  5. Avatar

    sara

    September 14, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    Tariq bin Ashyam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

    Whenever a man entered the fold of Islam, the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would show him how to perform Salat and then direct him to supplicate:

    “Allahumm-aghfir li, warhamni, wa-hdini, wa ‘afini, warzuqni (O Allah! Forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, guard me against harm and provide me with sustenance and salvation).”‘ [Muslim].

    In another narration Tariq said: A man came to the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and said to him: “O Messenger of Allah! What shall I say if I want to pray to my Rubb?”

    He said, “Say: ‘Allahumma-ghfir li, warhamni, wa ‘afini, warzuqni (O Allah! Forgive me, have mercy on me, protect me and provide me with sustenance).’ Surely, this supplication is better for you in this life and in the Hereafter.”

  6. Pingback: » Erasing Race: Problems with our Islamic History

  7. Avatar

    Abu

    February 27, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    Hamid is right ! The original Arabs were black as we would use the term today meaning shades of brown all the way to black. The evidence from the scholars and ahadith is vast . I can bring pages and pages of proof . Don’t be mislead by modern eurocentric agendas and fallacies in general.

    • Avatar

      Yasser

      July 21, 2016 at 11:59 AM

      I hated seeing the ethnicity panel in the US that lumps Middle East under Caucasian and white. Ok the Levant Arabs that immigrated to the States were mostly white mixed, but the Middle East is the oldest cosmopolitan society in the world, so they cannot be pure Caucasian. I myself, who’s a Saudi with a family is originally from the South of Iran am mixed (Persian, Bedouin, Ethiopian, Turkish and Levant Arab) others have Indian and south Asian among others, especially in Hijaz and East Saudi Arabia. Even if an Arab comes up to you and is red with ginger hair, trust that they have fifty other ethnicities in them. African is the most common, especially since our link to Africa precedes 3000 years. I read an article a few years ago that concludes a theory that the first settlers in south of Arabia came from the Horn of Africa and passed through sad Ma’rib during the low tides. Who knows? And No! Our link to Africa is not all slavery like the Europeans. We have ancient Afro-Arabic families who are originally tradesmen, pearl divers and merchants, sailors, kings and nobles of Abyssinian decent (Yemen and Ethiopia ruled each other and mixed) , and post Islamic we have a few Nigerian who Established hospitals in our region. i always struck out that stupid option on the Ethnicity section on those American forms and put in “Other” “non-white non-Caucasian Middle East” LOL! On another note, it’s completely FALSE to assume that all Caucasians are white. Only western Europeans. The term Caucasian refers to the skeletal refrences, not skin color. The Caucasians of the near east were brown and beige and you can see it in their art work and old pictures. Of course white exists all over the Islamic world as well as Asians, because Islam removed racism as a rule and encouraged marriage and friendship of all races for faith above all. We need to get back to that! Anyway, I applaud the effort of this article, even if there are some discrepancies. At the very least it forces Arabs to accept their ancestors were not Italian looking a they wish it to be. Uff! If we were white, why is the no. Cosmetic procedure skin whitening and nose jones in Arabia and the highest selling cream Fair and Lovely (ugly)

      • Avatar

        Black Lion

        August 20, 2016 at 2:27 PM

        Salam alaikum, Yasser. I’m just curious, since you were honest enough to admit this from inside of the region and its culture, how do others in Arabia treat you when they learn of your honesty on this subject?

  8. Avatar

    Rabi'u AbdulQadir

    March 9, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    Yeah same me post please when you get updatated

  9. Avatar

    Amal

    March 9, 2016 at 6:36 PM

    Thank you for this article. I love um Ayman, may Allah be pleased with her.

    Just a point: According to al-dhahabi in his book siyar a’lam al-nubala, Arabs used the following words to mean :
    Ahmar- white (like people from al-shaam)
    Abyad- wheat colour complexion
    Aadam and asmar – Indian colour
    Aswad – black

    Abu dharr is described as being Aadam by al-dhahabi. The dictionary lisaanul Arab describes asmar as being a stage between black and white. Therefore Abu dharr was most likely that type of colour. Not that it matters to me what colour he was, but just to add some accuracy and understanding to the terms being used and because I value academic rigour in research. And Allah knows best!

    Sr amina- regarding your question about bilal (ra) not narrating many hadiths. There are plenty of companions who were very close to the prophet and yet were not prolific hadith narrators, including Abu bakr, omar etc. Hadith narration depends on many factors, including when the companion died, if they were busy with other posts etc. In fact the most prolific hadith narrator was Abu huraira, who only knew the prophet in the last 3-4 years of the prophet’s life! You’ll generally find that the most famous hadith narrators were young companions such as Abdullah ibn omar, Abdullah ibn abbas, etc and those that spent intimate time with the prophet such as aisha, or those that specifically devoted their lives to learning hadith such as Abu huraira. I advise you to read Jonathan brown’s book ‘hadith’ if you want to learn more.

    And Allah knows best.

    • Avatar

      Ibn

      March 30, 2016 at 6:24 AM

      Amal, I want to correct you when you say aadam and asmar = “indian color” and aswad = “black”. By “black”, it is presumed you mean “black African.” You see, the color spectrum in India is the same as it is in Africa. There are millions of very light-skinned indians and there are millions of very light-skinned africans. there are hundreds of millions of brown skinned indians and hundreds of millions of brown skinned africans. there are tens of millions of black skinned indians and tens of millions of black skinned africans. this is a self-evident truth so anyone that would disagree needs to present evidence to the contrary.

      Aadam and asmar means “brown” color. Given the proximity and existing relations (cultural, economic, genealogical, etc) between the populations east and west of the red sea, we can safely assume that when the narrations say that so and so are “adaam” or “asmar” either they are ethnically Arab or ethnically African or some mixture of the two.

    • Avatar

      Solange

      November 24, 2018 at 9:32 PM

      Please note that ʿUmar (raḍī Allahu ʿanhu) was in fact the tenth most prolific narrator of āḥādīth, narrating
      537.

  10. Avatar

    Black Heart

    May 1, 2016 at 3:13 AM

    Arabs today call themselves white, and they don’t mean “Caucasian”, that to them nowadays means “not Black”. This is who they are. If you aren’t African Black, you’re white to them. This is not their concept of individual complexions, but of race. They see themselves as not European, but white none the less. They may not want to annihilate us the way white supremacists do, but they want to be accepted by whites as whites, and this is important to them. Not becoming darker is important to them. This by itself is enough for us to regard them as brothers in deem, but the kind of brothers you can’t expect much from.

  11. Avatar

    Ali Khan

    May 14, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    There is a problem with this article. Abu Dharr called Bilal (May Allaah be pleased with them) “SON OF A BLACK WOMAN” to which he was reprimanded by the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him)… So how was he Black?

    http://muslimmatters.org/2011/02/21/race-matters-colorblind-racism-in-the-ummah/
    “…“Abu Dharr, the leader of the tribe of Ghifar, and one who accepted Islam in its early days, narrates:

    Once I was conversing with Bilal. Our conversation gave way to a dispute. Angry with him, the following insult burst from my mouth: ‘You cannot comprehend this, O son of a black woman!’

    As Islam expressly forbade all kinds of racial, tribal and color discrimination, Bilal was both upset and greatly angered.

    Some time later, a man came and told me that the Messenger of God, upon him be peace and blessings, summoned me. I went to him immediately. He said to me:

    ‘I have been informed that you addressed Bilal as the son of a black woman.’

    I was deeply ashamed and could say nothing. God’s Messenger continued his reprimand: ‘This means you still retain the standards and judgements of the pre-Islamic days of ignorance. Islam has eradicated all those false standards or measures judging people by blood, fame, color or wealth. It has established that the best and most honorable of men is he who is the most pious and upright in conduct. Is it right to defame a believer just because he is black?’

    Abu Dharr felt profound remorse. He went straight to Bilal’s house and, putting his head on the threshold, said: ‘This head will not rise from here until the blessed feet of Bilal tread on the face of foolish, impolite Abu Dharr.’

    Bilal responded: ‘That face deserves to be kissed, not trodden upon,’ and forgave Abu Dharr.” …”

    • Avatar

      Ali

      June 23, 2016 at 7:14 PM

      Ali Khan, the writer mentioned in the intro that his usage of the term black is in accord with the way that we see “race” today. Meaning, today (especially in America) we generally classify anyone who is not white european looking as black. So according to this standard wheat completion, light brown, brown, and black are all classified as “black”. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, “race” was not classified the same. This is why people are discribed as abydh, asmar, aswad, ahmar, four different catagories. Being that Abu Dharr was classified as asmar, he was not viewed as black, in that place and time. So the article doesn’t contradict the narration if you look at it that way.

      • Avatar

        Yasser

        July 21, 2016 at 11:15 AM

        You are right. What we call “white” today was not called white by the Arabs and Africans. The Europeans were known as humor or Red people, Afranj, Ruman, Shuqur. Because they saw them red in their lands. White in Africa and Arabia was used to describe people of wheat or olive completion who tanned in the sun. Even so, the term black was used to insult, because the correct term for describing someone who is extremely dark skinned is Adam al lawn, like our father Adam (this is irrespective of African, Arab or Indian). Arab tribes, especially in the south were mostly Adam “black” skinned for the most part but their features were Semetic and had medium corse to ringlet hair. Think of India, the south are black skinned and the North are Asmar or wheat completion. Asmar was the norm for all Arabia. Only post Ottoman and colonial era saw an explosion of whiteness across the Arab world. It was rare prior to that with the exception of Areas like the Levant and some of North Africa.

  12. Avatar

    Yasser

    July 21, 2016 at 4:48 PM

    Overall I want to thank you for this article and thank everyone for the fruitful discussions in the comments section. This is how we will come together as an ummah insha Allah. It helps to get us all have a better appreciation for our four fathers in faith and respect the way God created all of us and that we are all beautiful when we allow each other to see that beauty. What I love about Islam and its people’s hostory is that it does not hide human error and mistakes and offers ways to rectify and change things for the better Insha Allah. As an Arab (of multi ethnicities) I am happy to read and share this, because I know many of my people are suffering from a poor self image in many ways, especially women and this article helps them see themselves in a better way.

    One last comment: someone said Arabs don’t like naming or avoid naming their daughter Hajar because of her darkness. This is not true and quite hurtful to say. Hajar is one of the most popular names in the Middle East for multiple reasons, most important: we walk her footsteps in Makkah, she is one of the most beloved Muslims, she is the mother of the Arabs. I have many cousins and acquaintances named Hajar. So please be more sensitive with your remarks

  13. Avatar

    Black Heart

    August 20, 2016 at 2:54 PM

    This article was necessary and helpful, and Dawud Walid’s work is very good for dispelling misconceptions. If you want to attack the issue without going too far and blaming non-Blacks for a level of bias they did NOT have, then his work is where you start.
    However, what we Black folks must keep in mind is that those semi-Black or non-Black fellow Muslims may not want to be freed from the brainwashing that has been successful against them. We need this kind of information for ourselves, but we do not need it for any “tragic mulattoes” of an Eastern background so that we can save them from becoming our enemies and we can all hold hands and sing “kumbaya”. Adam was Black, alayhi salaam. Hawa was Black, may Allah be pleased with her. If you were Shaytan and had argued with Allah over them and lost your seat in the heavens with the angels over them, you would hate them, too, and you would seek to turn their descendants against themselves, in degress, until they were most against the descendants who most resembled Adam and Hawa. You would even whisper self-hatred into the descendants who still resembled them. We must remember that there is an enemy who we cannot see and can see us, and can whisper directly into our subconscious minds without us knowing it’s him and his comrades. Do you think they will ever give up and surrender trying to get mankind to hate its darkest members the most? They cannot get back up to the heavens with the angels, and they cannot win against Allah. All they can do is take down as many of us as possible with them when they get thrown in to a fire whose fuel is men and stones.
    We need to remember that if any others want to accept these whispers and brainwashing, then let them, until they eventually becomes so attached to their idea of their own whiteness that they apostatize by going too far in their racism. If they want to confront this racism and brainwashing and save their religion, then let them, and share this with them. But this information is for our own benefit first and foremost. Because this same enemy we can’t see will whisper hatred into their hearts, or at the very least the idea that they are better-looking than us and we unfortunately ugly, and THEN will come to us and whisper to us to hate “them”, after which he will whisper to us that “Islam is responsible for their feelings about you.” Have we not seen this already? Have we not seen the Black consciousness movement turn against Islam and Muslims in degrees because of Arabs’ and Persians’ default pro-whiteness? Have they not won many apostates from our ranks? This info is needed, not to make some tragic mulatto love us since we have to pray in the same rows, but to combat the inferiority complex and self-hate with our enemy will whisper to us once we join other Muslims and find out how much these whispers have succeeded with them.
    I seek refuge with Allah from being oppressed and oppressing others.

  14. Avatar

    M. Husain Andu Nasir

    November 16, 2016 at 7:09 AM

    In the name of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful
    Infinite Thawab and Barakah be upon the Beloved of Allah, the Mercy to All the Worlds, Syedunna Muhammed Mustafa Sallulahu Alaiyhi Wa Salaam.

    Salaams all, just a small bit of advice, I do not feel it is proper to refer to any of these Noble Beings as “BLACK”. Black is not the color of any skin, rather out is a condition of the soul. Those with black souls are the people of Juhennum (Hell). You must always be very mindful of each and every word used when speaking of those whom Allah SWT loves. Better to say things such as darker in complexion or Of African tones. Even from a personal stand point I myself take offense to the word black being referred to when speaking in regards to my skin color. Common sense will tell you that our skin is lighter and darker shades of BROWN. Allah bless you all. Salaams

  15. Avatar

    Son of Arabia

    June 4, 2018 at 4:04 AM

    As a man from an Arabian tribe and lives in Arabia, I think the author mixed between Sahaba of African decent and very dark Arabs. I just want to clarify few things about Arabs in Arabia not any other place because it is very mixed in other places like Egypt and Iraq.

    1. Arabs especially in Arabia are the best in the world in tracing their heritage and ancestry and they take great pride in doing so. That makes it quite offensive when someone says that they are a mix of Europeans, African, and Asians.

    2. Arabs are descendants of Ibrahim and Ismail PBUH who are not African, European, or Persian. Also, Arabia and even Makkah at that time were not multi ethnic; they were Arab with small number of foreign slaves, mainly African but there are other ethnicities. Also, at that time every African was assumed to be from Habasha (Ethiopia).

    3. When it comes to skin complexion, Arabs have always been very diverse from pale white (but not reddish like europeans) to very dark which is a different shade of brown that is closer to Indian than African. They all however have more or less similar features of big noses and big eyes and they tan very easily. if you look at old images of Arabia you will see poor nomads with very dark skin. So, Darkness of the skin was a sign of working in the sun and poverty. This is why you don’t see very dark Arabs anymore; because they don’t work half naked in the sun all day not because of mixed genes.

    3. Arabs in Arabia are among the least mixed people because of their pride when it comes to marriage. People from one tribe may not marry their daughters to other tribes if they see them as a lower status tribe. So, the idea of marrying your daughter to a non-arab is near impossible. This is still valid today in Arabia, you rarely see anyone from a tribe marrying someone who has an immigrant heritage.

    4. Most available sources in English are tainted by orientalist views which are extremely biased and have ulterior motives. Most of the pre-islamic history of Arabia is lost because it was verbal and was never written. Remember to ask yourself is this source written by an Arab based on verbal history or by an orientalist 5-10 centuries later.

    5. There are plenty of sources about Arabian ancestry and pre-islmaic history but they are in Arabic and not translated.

  16. Avatar

    Dana

    September 25, 2018 at 3:00 PM

    The tribes of Sulaym and Hawazin, Harb, Ghatafan, Quda’a, Nubayt and Mudar-Qays tribes of Hawazin, Za’za, Kab Uqayl, Baliyy, Hashem, Utaybah, Qureish, Ans and Maddhij Murad, Tayy, Khazraj, Aus, Hamadha, Azd all from Qahtan . All are described as sumr and khudr and al udmah and thought the idea of a fair-skinned Arab was funny. Arabia was considered one of the zones of Bilad es Sudan. The idea of “black Sahaba” is as silly and redundant as the idea of “black Zanj”. Feel free to try and point out which Arab tribe was not called black or near black before the 15th century. It doesn’t exist. ; )

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#Islam

Lesson 11 From Surah Al-Kahf

Tafsir Verses 72-81

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

Published

on

Alhamdulillah last session we were able to explore the meanings and lessons of verses 60-70. InshAllah, we’ll try our best to cover the meanings of verse 71-82. As we learned in the last session, this passage of the Surah deals with a very unique and interesting episode from the life of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). It’s the story of his encounter and journey with a man of God known as Khidr or Khadir. We reached the point in the story where Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finally finds Khidr and asks with the utmost humility and respect to allow him to be his student. This highlights Musa’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) sincerity in seeking knowledge, his lack of pride and his willingness to humble himself in front of Khidr despite his own status as a Prophet.

But Khidr initially declined his request telling him, “Truly you will not be able to bear patiently with me. And how can you be patient with that which you have no knowledge?” Khidr recognized that he would do things that Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) would find to be illogical, irrational and even impermissible. Things that on the surface level seem to be horrible and despicable. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was sent as a Prophet of Divine Law, while Khidr had been entrusted with some unique knowledge and actions that seemed to be contradictory to that law. So he explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he wouldn’t be able to be patient with him and his actions. But Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was extremely eager to learn. He resolved to be patient and obedient while relying upon the will of Allah ﷻ.

He tells Khidr, “You will find me patient, if Allah wills, and I shall not disobey you in any matter.” Khidr finally gave in and both of them set off on their way. This is where we’ll pick up the story again. Allah ﷻ says,

Verse 71: So they both went on till, when they had embarked upon a ship, he made a hole in it. He said, “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.”

They set out walking together along the shore looking for a ship to ride. As they were walking a ship of sailors passed by them and Khidr asked for a ride. The sailors knew Khidr so they let both him and Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) come on board without any charge. After traveling for a while Khidr got up and pulled out one of the planks from the bottom of the ship using an ax making a hole in it. This placed everyone on the ship in danger of drowning. Obviously, this seemingly absurd and cruel behavior surprised Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). He was literally in shock. He couldn’t understand why Khidr would do such a thing to someone who helped him out. This went against his moral compass of what’s right and wrong. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) forgot about the conditions of his teacher and objected. These people gave us a free ride and you’re pulling a plank to drown their ship. You’ve done something bad. “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.” Khidr then reminded him gently with patience.

Verse 72: He said, “Did I not say that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to be patient with me and my actions? The way he says this shows that he was willing to overlook and tolerate Musa’s (as) impatience. Musa (as) felt a sense of regret and apologized to Khidr telling him that he completely forgot about his deal.

Verse 73: He (Musa) said, “Do not hold me responsible for what I forgot, and do not make my course too difficult for me.”

Basically he apologized. He said please don’t hold me responsible for what I forgot and allow me to continue travelling in your company. While telling the story the Prophet ﷺ says, “the first (question) was out of forgetfulness. While this conversation was taking place a bird came and sat on the side of the boat and took a sip of water from the ocean. Khidr said to Musa, ‘my knowledge and yours combined in comparison to the knowledge of Allah is like the sip of water compared to the ocean.’” Khidr accepting his apology and they continued travelling on their way.

Verse 74: So, they moved ahead until when they met a boy, he killed him (the boy). He (Musa) said, “Did you kill an innocent soul while he did not kill anyone? You have committed a heinous act indeed.”

“So they continued…” They both got off the ship and started walking along the shore until they came across a young boy playing with his friends. Khidr went up to this young boy and killed him by either strangling him to death or striking him on his head. This was too much for Musa (as) to handle. He objected even more vehemently. How can he kill an innocent young boy for no reason whatsoever? To Musa (as) this seemed absolutely absurd, cruel and unjustified. It was too much for him to tolerate patiently despite his promise not to question anything that he saw. So he said, How can you kill a pure innocent child for no reason whatsoever? You have done something unjustified and have committed a heinous act. Once again Khidr reminds him of the condition that he made and the promise that Musa (as) had given.

Verse 75: He said, “Did I not tell you that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I warn you that you wouldn’t be able to handle what I would do? Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to remain silent when I do certain things? In this reminder, Khidr added the word “laka” to show that this time his reminder is more severe and clearer. The first time someone forgets and makes a mistake it’s overlooked. The second time it’s also overlooked but with a sense of hesitation. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) again feels a sense of regret for breaking his word and not sticking to the conditions of Khidr. He’s now done this twice so he apologizes by saying,

Verse 76: He said, “If I ask you about something after this, do not keep me in your company. You have had enough excuses from me.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)(as) again apologizes but this time gives himself one last chance. He said if he questions Khidr one more time then Khidr can choose to part ways with him. Once again Khidr accepts his apology and they set off on their way. After commenting on this part ibn Kathīr narrates a hadīth from the Prophet ﷺ. He writes, “Ibn Jarir narrated from Ibn `Abbas that Ubayy bin Ka`b said: “Whenever the Prophet ﷺ mentioned anyone, he would pray for himself first. One day he said:

  • «رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى مُوسَى لَوْ لَبِثَ مَعَ صَاحِبِهِ لَأَبْصَرَ الْعَجَبَ، وَلَكِنَّهُ قَالَ:
  • ﴿إِن سَأَلْتُكَ عَن شَىْءٍ بَعْدَهَا فَلاَ تُصَاحِبْنِى قَدْ بَلَغْتَ مِن لَّدُنِّى عُذْراً﴾»

May the mercy of Allah be upon us and upon Musa. If he had stayed with his companion he would have seen wonders, but he said, (`If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.’))” That brings us to the third and last adventure they had together.

Verse 77: Then, they moved on until they came to the people of a town and sought food from them. But they refused to show them any hospitality. Then, they found there a wall that was about to fall down. So he (Khidr) set it right. He (Musa) said, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Khidr continued traveling until they came upon the people of a town that most commentators identify as the ancient city of Antioch. Being tired and hungry they asked them for some food but they refused to give them any or show them any hospitality whatsoever. As they were leaving the city they came across a wall that was about to fall down. Khidr stopped by it and repaired it. Now, this situation is also bizarre; Khidr is a complete stranger in a town that refused to give them food or host them yet he still stops and fixes their wall for nothing in return. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finds the situation full of irony. Why should a stranger exert so much effort in rebuilding a wall in a town where they were denied even a little food and all hospitality? He should have at least demanded some money for his labor and then they could have bought some food to eat.

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) couldn’t hold himself so he objected, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.” And that was the end of their relationship. Khidr responded,

Verse 78: He said, “This is the parting between me and you. I shall inform you of the meaning of that which you were unable to bear with patiently.”

Meaning, this is the end of our relationship and this is where we’ll part ways. But before we go our separate ways I’ll explain to you the wisdom and hidden meaning behind everything I did. Up till this point in the story, we’ve probably been just as impatient as Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him); we have no clue why Khidr did the things he did. But he then explains everything is detail; why he pulled a plank out of the bottom the ship, why he killed an innocent child and why he rebuilt the wall without taking anything in return.

Verse 79: As for the ship, it belonged to some poor people who worked at sea. I wanted to damage it, for just beyond them was a king who was seizing every ship by force.

Khidr is explained that his act of damaging the ship was, in reality, a means of saving it. It comes in a narration that these poor people were ten brothers, 5 of them were handicapped while the other five worked. The ship was their only source of income. The king was a cruel, tyrannical oppressor who would take ships by force. The damage done to the ship made it undesirable for the king and ultimately saved it for its owners. Had it been seaworthy, it would certainly have been confiscated by the tyrannical king. Perpetrating some small damage to the boat saved it from the greater harm and ruinous injustice which was certain to take place without it. Hence, causing such damage was a good and kindly action. So damaging the ship actually turned out to be a good thing.

Verses 80-81: And as for the young boy, his parents were believers and we feared that he would make them suffer much through rebellion and disbelief. So we desired that their Lord give them in exchange one who is better than him in purity, and nearer to mercy.

Although the young child seemed to be pure and innocent in reality the seeds of disbelief and wickedness were entrenched in his heart. If he had grown up he would have been a source of grief and sorrow for his parents who were believers. Their love for this child would have led them towards evil and wickedness as well. They would suffer because of the rebellion and disbelief. So Allah told Khidr to kill this boy to spare them that grief and to replace him with a child that would be better and more dutiful. Now obviously the parents weren’t aware of this at this time so to them this was a huge loss and tragedy. They weren’t aware of the future difficulties that they were saved from by his death.

Qatādah said, “His parents rejoiced when he was born and grieved for him when he was killed. If he had stayed alive, he would have been the cause of their doom. So let a man be content with the decree of Allah, for the decree of Allah for the believer, if he dislikes it, is better for him than if He were to decree something that he likes for him.” That’s why in connection to these verses ibn Kathīr رحمهم الله quotes the hadīth, “Allah does not decree anything for a believer, save that it is better for him.”

  • «لَا يَقْضِي اللهُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ مِنْ قَضَاءٍ إِلَّا كَانَ خَيْرًا لَه»

It is mentioned in a narration that the parents were blessed with a pious daughter who gave birth to a Prophet. So the murder of this child actually turned out to be something good in the long run.

Verse 82: And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and beneath it was a treasure belonging to them. Their father was righteous, and your Lord desired that they should reach their maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I didn’t do this upon my own command. This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.

Khidr explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that the wall that was about to fall that he rebuilt was covering a treasure that belonged to two orphan boys. If the wall had fallen down the treasure would be exposed and the orphan children would’ve been deprived of their wealth. By rebuilding the wall Khidr made it possible for them to access their treasure when they grew up. This was done partially because their father was a righteous and pious man. Khidr then explains to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he didn’t do any of these things based on his own accord or understanding. Rather he did them according to the Divine command, decree, and will of Allah ﷻ. “And I didn’t do this upon my own command.” He concludes by saying, “This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.” Meaning, this is the explanation of my actions that you didn’t understand and weren’t able to be patient with.

Lessons:

1) One of the most powerful and profound lessons we learn from this entire episode is that oftentimes a tragedy is a blessing in disguise. Everything that happens in this world, whether good or bad, happens according to the Divine will and decree of Allah ﷻ. There’s some deep divine wisdom behind every single thing that happens in this world. When something good happens we recognize it as a blessing. For example, if we get a good job, get a raise at work, purchase a new car or are blessed with the birth of a child. All of recognize this as something positive. On the other hand whenever we face setbacks, difficulties, hardships and tragedies we tend to lose patience.

This incident is teaching us that difficulties, tests, trials, and hardships are oftentimes blessing in disguise. The first thing to understand is that Allah isn’t sending these difficulties our way to break us or destroy us. Rather he’s sending them our way to test our patience and faith, as a source of mercy and a reminder. As a way of nurturing and training us. He’s reminding us to turn back to Him, to hold on to our faith, to be steadfast, patient, strong, and to persevere. When we’re struggling and going through difficult times we shouldn’t assume that somehow Allah is displeased with us. Similarly, when we’re comfortable and enjoying life we shouldn’t assume that Allah is pleased with us. The opposite can be true. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

  • « إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الْخَيْرَ عَجَّلَ لَهُالْعُقُوبَةَ فِى الدُّنْيَا وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الشَّرَّأَمْسَكَ عَنْهُ بِذَنْبِهِ حَتَّى يُوَفَّى بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

“If Allah wants good for his servant, He hurries on His punishment in this world, and if He wills ill for a servant, he holds back punishing him for his sin so He can give it to him in full on the Day of Resurrection.”

Everything we face in this world is actually a source of blessing for us. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

  • «مَا يُصِيبُ المُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ،وَلاَ وَصَبٍ، وَلاَ هَمِّ، وَلاَ حُزْنٍ، وَلاَ أَذًى، وَلاَ غَمِّ، حَتَّىالشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا؛ إِلاَّ كَفَّرَ الله بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ»

“No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it.”

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that the main tool, the key to deal with the world and all the problems it contains is through patience and turning towards Him. When we’re dealing with our problems we should turn to Allah. We should make dhikr, read Quran, spend time in prayer and reflection and try to be around good company. We should try to focus our attention, our spiritual and emotional energy on our relationship with Allah instead of our problem. By doing so we’ll find peace and comfort. True contentment. Part of patience is recognizing that whatever we’re going through is something that we can handle. Whatever we’re going through will not last forever. That’s why throughout the Quran whenever Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) consoles and comforts the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) He reminds him to be patient and to turn to him. “So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord.” (20:130) “So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth.” (30:60) “So be patient, [O Muhammad], over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” (50:39)

2) Being content with the Divine decree of Allah ﷻ.

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#Life

Why I Turned to Tech to Catch Laylatul Qadr

Make sure you maximize your sadaqah

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By Ismael Abdela

My life, just like yours, is sooo busy. So naturally, as the tech nerd I am, I turn to tech to help me manage my regular routine including project management apps to manage my daily tasks. I even have a sleeping app that wakes me up at the optimum time (whatever that means!). But even though tech has changed everything in all sectors and helped make efficiencies in my daily life, it had had little impact on my religious activities.

A few years ago, whilst I was preparing for the last 10 nights of Ramadan, it hit me – why doesn’t something exist that automates my donations during these blessed nights to catch Laylatul Qadr. Rather than putting a reminder on my phone to bring out my bank card every night and inputting it into a website – why doesn’t something exist that does it for me, solving the problem of me forgetting to donate. After all we are human and it’s interesting that the Arabic word for human being is ‘insan’ which is derived from the word ‘nasiya’ which means ‘to forget.’ It is human nature to forget.

So the techie in me came out and I built the first scrappy version of MyTenNights, a platform to automate donations in the last 10 nights of Ramadan (took two weeks) because I wanted to use it myself! I thought it would be cool and my friends and family could use it too. That same year, nearly 2000 other people used it – servers crashed, tech broke and I had to get all my friends and Oreo (my cat) to respond to email complaints about our temperamental site!

I quickly realised I wasn’t alone in my need  – everyone wanted a way to never miss Laylatul Qadr! Two years down the line we’ve called it MyTenNights, and our team has grown to 10, including Oreo, senior developers, QA specialists, brand strategists, creative directors and more. It fast became a fierce operation – an operation to help people all over the world catch Laylatul Qadr!

Last year alone we raised almost $2 million in just 10 days – and that was just in the UK. We’ve now opened MyTenNights to our American, Canadian. South African and Australian brothers and sisters and we’re so excited to see how they use it! We’ve made it available through all the biggest house name charities – Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, Helping Hand, Penny Appeal, you name it! All donations go directly to the charity donors choose – all 100% of it.

Looking back at the last couple of years – it feels surreal: The biggest charities in the world and tens of thousands of users who share my need to be certain they’ve caught Laylatul Qadr. Although I hear many impressed with the sheer amount MyTenNights has raised for charity (and that excites me too!), it’s not what motives me to go on. What excites me most is the growing number of people who catch Laylatul Qadr because we made it easier.

I often tell my team that the number of people that use MyTenNights is the only metric we care about, and the only metric we celebrate. It makes no difference to us whether you donate $1 or a million – we just want you to catch Laylatul Qadr and for you to transform your Akhirah, because (after Allah) we helped you do it.

To catch Laylatul Qadr with MyTenNights, visit their website MyTenNights.com

Ismael Abdela is a Law & Anthropology graduate from the London School of Economics. He spent some years studying Islamic Sciences in Qaseem, Saudi Arabia. He is now a keen social entrepreneur. Ismael likes to write about spiritual reflections, social commentary, and tafsīr. He is particularly interested in putting religion in conversation with the social sciences.

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Heart Soothers: Shaykh Noreen Mohamed Sideeq

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