Rumaysa Bint Milhan

July 4th, 2011
by Sufia

Umm Sulaym Radhillaho Anha

Even before Islam was introduced to Yathrib, Rumaysa was known for her excellent character, the power of her intellect and her independent attitude of mind. She was known by various names including Rumaysa and Ghumaysa, but these were possibly nickna mes. One historian says that her real name was Sahlah but later she was popularly known as Umm Sulaym. Umm Sulaym was first married to Malik ibn an-Nadr and her son by this marriage was the famous Anas ibn Malik, one of the great companions of the Prophet. Umm Sulaym was one of the first women of Yathrib to accept Islam.

She was influenced by the refined, dedicated and persuasive Musab ibn Umayr who was sent out as the first missionary or ambassador of Islam by the noble Prophet. This was after the first pledge of Aqabah. Twelve men of Yathrib had gone to Aqabah on the outskirts of Makkah to pledge loyalty to the Prophet. This was the first major break through for the mission of the Prophet for many years. Umm Sulaym’s decision to accept Islam was made without the knowledge or consent of her husband, Malik ibn an-Nadr. He was absent from Yathrib at the time and when he returned he felt some change had come over his household and asked his wife: “Have you be en rejuvenated?” “No,” she said, “but I (now) believe in this man (meaning the Prophet Muhammad).”

Malik was not pleased especially when his wife went on to announce her acceptance of Islam in public and instruct her son Anas in the teachings and practice of the new faith. She taught him to say la ilaha ilia Allah and Ash hadu anna Muhammada-r Rasulull ah. The young Anas repeated this simple but profound declaration of faith clearly and emphatically. Umm Sulaym’s husband was now furious. He shouted at her: “Don’t corrupt my son.” “I am not corrupting him ,” she replied firmly. Her husband then left the house and it is reported that he was set upon by an enemy of his and was killed.

The news shocked but apparently did not upset Umm Sulaym greatly. She remained devoted to her son Anas and was concerned about his. proper upbringin g. She is even reported to have said that she would not marry again unless Anas approved. When it was known that Umm Sulaym had become a widow, one man, Zayd ibn Sahl, known as Abu Talhah, resolved to become engaged to her before anyone else did.

He was rather confident that Umm Sulaym would not pass him over for another. He was after all a strong and virile person who was quite rich and who possessed an imposing house that was much admired. He was an accomplished horseman and a skilful archer and , moreover, he belonged to the same clan as Umm Sulaym, the Banu Najjar.

Abu Talhah proceeded to Umm Sulaym’s house. On the way he recalled that she had been influenced by the preaching of Musab ibn Umayr and had become a Muslim. “So what?” he said to himself. “Was not her husband who died a firm adherent of the old religion and was he not opposed to Muhammad and his mission?” Abu Talhah reached Umm Sulaym’s house. He asked and was given permission to enter. Her son Anas was present. Abu Talhah explained why he had come and asked for her hand in marriage. “A man like you, Abu Talhah ,” she said, “is not (easily) turned away. But I shall never marry you while you are a kafir, an unbeliever.”

Abu Talhah thought she was trying to put him off and that perhaps she had already preferred someone wealthier and more influential. He said to her: “What is it that really prevents you from accepting me, Umm Sulaym? Is it the yellow and the white metals (gold and silver)?” “Gold and silver?” she asked somewhat taken aback and in a slightly censuring tone. “Yes,” he said. “I swear to you, Abu Talhah, and I swear to God and His Messenger that if you accept Islam, I shall be pleased to accept you as a husband, without any gold or silver. I shall consider your acceptance of Islam as my mahr.” Abu Talhah understood well the implications of her words. His mind turned to the idol he had made from wood and on which he lavished great attention in the same way that important men of his tribe venerated and cared for their personal idols. The opportunity was right for Umm Sulaym to stress the futility of such idol worship and she went on: “Don’t you know Abu Talhah, that the god you worship besides Allah grew from the earth?” “That’s true,” he said.

“Don’t you feel stupid while worshipping part of a tree while you use the rest of it for fuel to bake bread or warm yourself? (If you should give up these foolish beliefs and practices) and become a Muslim, Abu Talhah, I shall be pleased to accept you as a husband and I would not want from you any sadaqah apart from your acceptance of Islam.” “Who shall instruct me in Islam?” asked Abu Talhah. “I shall,” Umm Sulaym replied. “How?” “Utter the declaration of truth and testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Then go to your house, destroy your idol and throw it away.” Abu Talhah left and reflected deeply on what Umm Sulaym had said. He came back to her beaming with happiness. “I have taken your advice to heart. I declare that there is no god but Allah and I declare that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Umm Sulaym and Abu Talhah were married. Anas, her son, was pleased and the Muslims would say: “We have never yet heard of a mahr that was more valuable and precious than that of Umm Sulaym for she made Islam her mahr.” Umm Sulaym was pleased and delighted with her new husband who placed his unique energies and talents in the service of Islam. He was one of the seventy three men who swore allegiance to the Prophet at the second Pledge of Aqabah. With him, according to on e report, was his wife Umm Sulaym. Two other women, the celebrated Nusaybah bint Kab and Asma bint Amr witnessed Aqabah and took the oath of allegiance to the Prophet.

Abu Talhah was devoted to the Prophet and took enormous delight in simply looking at him and listening to the sweetness of his speech. He participated in all the major military campaigns. He lived a very ascetic life and was known to fast for long periods at a time. It is said that he had a fantastic orchard in Madinah with date palms and grapes and running water. One day while he was performing Salat in the shade of the trees, a beautiful bird with brightly colored plumage flew in front of him. He became engrossed in the scene and forgot how many rakats he had prayed. Two? Three? When he completed the Prayer he went to the Prophet and described how he had been distracted. In the end, he said: “Bear witness, Messenger of Allah, that I hand over this orcha rd as a charity for the sake of Allah, the Exalted.” Abu Talhah and Umm Sulaym had an exemplary Muslim family life, devoted to the Prophet and the service of Muslims and Islam. The Prophet used to visit their home. Sometimes when the time of Prayer came, he would pray on a mat provided by Umm Sulaym. Someti mes also he would have a siesta in their house and, as he slept, she would wipe the perspiration from his forehead. Once when the Prophet awoke from his siesta, he asked: “Umm Sulaym, what are you doing?” “I am taking these (drops of perspiration) as a ba rakah (blessing) which comes from you ,” she replied.

At another time, the Prophet went to their house and Umm Sulaym offered him dates and butterfat but he did not have any of it because he was fasting. Occasionally, she would send her son Anas with bags of dates to his house. It was noticed that the Prophet, peace be on him, had a special compassion for Umm Sulaym and her family and when asked about it, he replied: “Her brother was killed beside me.” Umm Sulaym also had a well-known sister, Umm Haram, the wife of the imposing Ubadah ibn as-Samit. She died at sea during a naval expedition and was buried in Cyprus. Umm Sulaym’s husband, Abu Talhah, also died while he was on a naval expedition during the time of the third Caliph, Uthman, and was buried at sea. Umm Sulaym herself was noted for her great courage and bravery. During the Battle of Uhud, she carried a dagger in the folds of her dress. She gave water to and tended the wounded and she made attempts to defend the Prophet when the tide of battle was tur ning against him. At the Battle of Khandaq, the Prophet saw her carrying a dagger and he asked her what she was doing with it. She said: “It is to fight those who desert.”

“May God grant you satisfaction in that,” replied the Prophet. In the face of adversity, Umm Sulaym displayed a unique calmness and strength. One of her young sons (Umayr) fell sick and died while her husband was away looking after his orchards. She bathe d the child and wrapped him in shrouds. She told others at her home that they should not inform Abu Talhah because she herself wanted to tell him. Umm Sulaym had another son whose name was Abdullah. A few days after she gave birth, she sent Anas with the baby and a bag of dates to the Prophet. The Prophet placed the baby on his lap. He crushed the dates in his mouth and put some in the baby’s mouth. The baby sucked the dates with relish and the Prophet said: “The Ansar are only fond of dates.” Abdullah eventually grew up and had seven children all of whom memorized the Quran. Umm Sulaym was a model Muslim, a model wife and mother. Her belief in God was strong and uncompromising. She was not prepared to endanger her faith and the upbringing of her children for wealth and luxury, however abundant and tempting.

She was devoted to the Prophet and dedicated her son Anas to his service. She took the responsibility of educating her children and she played an active part in public life, sharing with the other Muslims the hardships and the joys of building a community and living for the pleasure of God. 


Hazrat Owais Qarni Radhi Allahu Anhu By Syed Hamza Ali Qadri

July 4th, 2011
by Sufia

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Assalamu ‘Alaykum

Hazrat Owais Qarni Radhi Allahu Anhu by Syed Hamza Ali Qadri

Hazrat Bilal ibn Rabah (RA)

June 30th, 2011
by Sufia

Bilal ibn Rabah 480x368 Hazrat Bilal ibn Rabah (RA)

Bilal ibn Rabah who is commonly known as Hazrat Bilal al-Habshi was among those people who accepted Islam in the early stages. He basically belonged to the area of Habash, nowadays known as Ethiopia. Being a slave of Umayyah ibn Khalaf who was indeed a cruel man, Hazrat Bilal’s life was very difficult.

His heart was pure so when Holy Prophet (PBUH) starts preaching Islam openly, His teachings inspired Bilal (RA) and he accepted Islam. This was a clear proof that Islam actually provides a scenario in which every person could live in equality. (more…)

Khalifa Abu Bakr – Abu Bakr in History

May 15th, 2011
by Sufia

Confrontation with Byzantium and Persia

International background. When Islam appeared on the world stage, the then world was dominated by two powers, Byzantium in the east and Persia in the west. There were spells of war as well as peace between these two years. During the sixth century, Justinian (507-565 C.E.) was the emperor of Byzantium, while Anaushirwan (531-579 C.E.) was the emperor of Persia. Both of them were contemporaries and great rulers of all world fame. In Byzantium, Justinian was succeeded by Maurice, and in Persia, Anaushirwan was succeeded by Khusro Perwez (Chosroes II).
Chosroes II was overthrown in a military coup in 590, and he had to seek refuge with Maurice, the Byzantine emperor. With the Byzantine help, Chosroes II was restored to the Persian throne. Maurice regarded Khusro as a son, and during the last decade of the sixth century the two countries forged strong links of friendship. In 602 C.E., there was a revolt against Maurice. Maurice was killed, and Phocas became the emperor.

There was another revolt in 610 C.E. when Heraclius became the Byzantine emperor. After the death of Maurice, the friendship between the two countries was over. In the second decade of the seventh century, Chosroes II invaded the Byzantine territories. Syria and Jerusalem fell to the Persians in 614 C.E. The Persians carried away the Holy Cross from Jerusalem. The Persians next marched to Egypt and annexed it in 616 C.E. For some time, the Byzantines lay low, but by 622 C.E. the Byzantines were strong enough to launch an attack against Persia. In the battle of Issus in 622 C.E., the Persians suffered a defeat. Other battles were fought during 623-625 C.E, which were not conclusive. The decisive battle was fought on the banks of the Tigris near the city of Mosul in 625 C.E.

when Persia surrendered and asked for terms. As a result of this reverse, there was a revolt against Chosroes II in 628 C.E., when he was killed by his own son Sheroyah. Sheroyah who ascended the Persian throne as Kobad II made peace with Heraclius. By the terms of the peace treaty Persia abandoned all the conquests that it had made earlier in the second decade of the seventh century. Sheroyah died within a year. After him there was complete anarchy in the Sassanian empire, and during the next four years, there were a dozen kings including, two women. The Byzantine Empire on the other hand enjoyed a measure of stability under Heraclius.

Arab buffer states. When the two empires of Persia and Byzantium expanded, these came to include territories populated by Arabs. As a matter of policy both the empires found it expedient to set up Arab buffer states at the periphery of their empires. In the sixth century, a Ghassanid Arab state was set up in Syria under Al Harith b Jabala. This state acknowledged the suzerainty of Byzantium. In the Persian Empire a Lakhmid state was set up in Iraq with the capital at Hira. The Lakhmids acknowledged the suzerainty of Persia. The Ghassanids and the Lakhmids were often at war with each other. When Islam appeared on the world stage, the position about these buffer Arab states was changed. In Syria after the death of their king Al Harith b Jabala the Ghassanid State split into fifteen principalities.

In Persia Chosroes II did away with the Lakhmid State, and took over the territory under the direct rule of Persia. The policy of the Holy Prophet was to win over the border Arab tribes to Islam. It was with a view to this end that the campaigns of Muta and Tabuk were undertaken during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. When Abu Bakr insisted on sending Usama’s expedition to Syria, it was in continuation of the policy laid down by the Holy Prophet. With the disintegration of the Persian rule, there was a power vacuum in the coastal areas of east and south Arabia. Islam succeeded in filling up this vacuum. In Iraq, Islam had yet to make headway.

Campaigns of Abu Bakr. When Abu Bakr became the Caliph in 632 C.E., Islam was threatened with disintegration. Within a year, Abu Bakr was strong enough to attack the Persian Empire on the northeast and the Byzantine Empire in the northwest. These were giant empires with history extending over hundreds of years. They had large resources at their disposal. But yet against the Arab hordes the Persian and the Byzantine forces were not able to take a stand. In Iraq the Muslim forces gave blows after blows to the Persian armies.

In Syria the same story was repeated and the Byzantine forces in spite of the superiority in strength and vastness of resources could not withstand the Muslim forces. The story of the victory of the Muslim armies in Iraq and Syria read very much like a tale of the Arabian Nights, too difficult to believe, but yet an established fact of history. In this respect, Professor Hitti observes as follows in his History of the Arabs: “If someone in the first third of the seventh Christian century had the audacity to prophesy that within a decade some unheralded, unforeseen power from the hitherto barbarians and little known land of Arabia was to make its appearance, hurl itself against the only two powers of the age, fall heir to the one-the Sassanids, and strip the other, the Byzantine of its fairest provinces, he would undoubtedly be declared a lunatic. Yet that was what happened.”

Causes of Muslim success. How the Muslims were able to overpower the gigantic empires of Persia and Byzantium is one of the great mysteries of history. Various western writers have tried to discover in their own way the causes of the astounding success of the Muslims. They have referred to four main causes, namely racial, political, economic and moral.

Racial affinity. Von Kremer has observed as follows in his book The Orient under Caliphs: “Instead of fighting their powerful kinsmen, the people of the frontier towns who were in the play either of the Byzantine or the Persian empire found it much more to their advantage to make common cause with the Arabs. It was thus that a comparatively smaller army which penetrated Syria and Iraq quickly grew like an avalanche, and crushed down all obstacles that stood in its way.”
In his book, The age of Faith, Will Durant has held that the racial factor was an important cause of the success of the Muslims, as both Syria and Iraq contained Arab tribes who had much in common with the Muslims.

In their book, World History, Flenley and Welch have held that the racial affinity of the people made the extension of the Muslim rule easier.
When Abu Bakr undertook campaigns in Iraq and Syria, these campaigns were really not directed against the Byzantine or Persian empires; these were really directed to bring the Arabs living in Iraq and Syria to the fold of Islam. In the wars in Iraq and Syria many Christian Arabs fought against the Muslims, but many of them sided with the Muslims as well. We can thus concede that in the success of the Muslim arms in Iraq and Syria, Arab nationalism played its part.
Political cause. Will Durant has held, in his book The Age of Faith, the political cause of the success of the Muslims was that both Byzantium and Persia exhausted by war and mutual devastation were in a state of decline.

In his book The History of the World H. G. Wells has observed as follows: “It (Islam) prevailed because every where it found politically apathetic people, robbed, oppressed, bullied, uneducated and unorganized and it found selfish and unsound governments out of touch with the people.” In their World History, Flenley and Weleh have also held that the political cause of the success of Muslims was that the Persian and Byzantine empires stood exhausted by mutual wars.

This analysis of the political situation is basically correct, and we can very well hold that when Islam appeared on the scene, these old empires were in the process of decline.

Economic causes. In his book The History of Syria, Professor P. K. Hitti has expressed the following views with regard to the economic causes about the success of the Muslims in Iraq and Syria: viewed in its proper perspective the Islamic expansion was one in a series of migration waves carrying a surplus population from a barren peninsula to a border fertile region with a more abundant life. It was in fact the last stage in the age long process of infitration which had begun with the Babylonians some four thousand years before the Islamic movement.

The Islamic movement, however, did possess one distinctive feature-the religious impulse. Combined with the economic factor this made the movement irresistible and carried it far beyond the confines of any preceding one. Islam admittedly provided a battle cry, a slogan comparable to that provided by democracy as a cohesive agency cementing tribes and heterogeneous masses never united before. But while the desire to spread the new faith or to go to paradise may have been the motivating force in the lives of some of the Bedouin warrior, the desire for the comforts and luxuries of settled life in the fertile Crescent was the driving force in the case of many of them.”

The analysis of Professor Hitti is at the most partially correct. In the context of the events that led to campaigns in Iraq and Syria, there is nothing to show that such campaigns were undertaken because of any economic considerations. As a matter of fact economic considerations were a consequence and not a cause of the wars in Iraq and Syria.

Religious and moral causes. About the religious cause, Will Durant observes as follows in his book The Age of Faith: “The Muslim leaders were passionate disciples of Muhammad; prayed even more than they fought, and in time inspired with a fanaticism that accepted death in a holy war as an open sesame to paradise.”

About the moral factors, Will Durant observes as follows in his aforesaid book: “Christian ethics and monasticism had reduced in the Near East that readiness for war which characterized Arab custom and Muslim teaching The Arab troops were more rigorously disciplined and more ably led; they were used to hardships and could fight on empty stomachs.”

In their World History, Flenley and Welch have observed that new religion Islam provided the necessary unity, leadership and driving force for the Arabian expansion. They also hold that the Arabs were brave and determined fighters, and were more mobile than the Persians or the Byzantines.

Whether Islam was spread through sword. Some western writers have taken pains to build up the thesis that Islam was spread at the point of sword. It is preposterous to hold that the Muslims won in Iraq and Syria because of their military strength. In the matter of military power and material resources the Arabs could never be a match for the empires of Byzantium and Syria with sophisticated military power and great economic resources.

Under these circumstances there was no question of a great power asserting its faith backed by military strength. Islam was on the other hand a revolt against power; a militarily weak people contended against mightier people, and surprisingly enough they won. In the conquered territories the Muslims did not insist on the people becoming Muslims. They were allowed to follow their religion subject to the payment of ‘Jizya’. As such there is absolutely no weight in the argument that Islam was at any stage spread through sword.

Fulfillment of history. Whatever the causes that led to the success of the Muslims when they emerged on the international horizon, so much is certain that the astounding success of the Muslim forces in Iraq and Syria reads very much like a tale from the Arabian Nights.

Truth is said to be stranger then fiction, and it was certainly so in the case of the Muslim conquests of Iraq and Syria. It appears that the Muslims were merely an instrument for the fulfillment of history. Iraq and Syria fell to the Muslims just as a ripe apple would fall to the ground under the law of gravitation. It is an undeniable fact that by overpowering the empires of Persia and Byzantium, Abu Bakr changed the course of history. The story of Abu Bakr is the story of faith that moved mountains.