nightmoondawnMu’aadhah’s (rahimahallah) Asceticism from this World

Although we know for sure that death is an impending event, anytime to take us into its clutches, how many of us are actually prepared for it? How many of us actually begin and end our day with this certainty in mind?

This great Muhaddithah Mu‘aadhah was a unique woman in this regard. She was a realistic woman, who knew the reality of this temporal life. That is why it has been narrated that Mu’aadhah [rahimahallah] would say at the advent of a new day:

“This is my day, in which I will die.”

In this way, all day she would stay awake, keeping in mind that the meeting with her Lord could be scheduled at any time, until the evening set in. Then she would say:

“This is my night, in which I will die.”

And in this way she wouldn’t sleep until the morning. (Sifah as-Safwah, vol 4 pg 22-24.) This doesn’t mean that she had a morbid fascination with death or that she knew for a surety when death was decreed for her, rather it meant that she would often remember the destroyer of pleasures, which pursues each child of Adam, just as Muhammad (sallallahu `alyhi wa sallam) commanded: “O People! Remember much the destroyer of pleasures, death.” (Tirmidhi, Nasaa’i, Ibn Maajah.) Her religious understanding, wisdom and acute intelligence had brought her to this conclusion. This is why she said the heart-striking statement:

“I befriended the world 70 years and I did not see in it qurratu-ayn [coolness of the eyes] at all.” (Ath-Thiqaat li ibn Hibbaan, vol 5, 466.)

In Arab culture the idiomatic expression ‘qurratu ayn’ (coolness of the eyes/ delight of the eye/ consolation for the eye) is used to refer to that which is a source of great joy, delight, coolness and pleasure, the untainted form of which Mu‘aadhah didn’t see throughout her journey in this life, as attested clearly by her words. This is because in desert life two things Bedouins aspire towards and in which they find great joy are: Coolness and drink. So, for example, when a Bedouins’ eyes are burning, and finally the sand-storm and heat is over, they say ‘my eyes became cool.’  Also, when we were living in the Western Sahara desert, our neighbors, the shaykhs family, sent us ice as a present and out of good gesture. For, they were from the few who owned a freezer in which they would make ice and sell it to vendees who were awaiting, ever-too-ready for this sale which would ‘cool their eyes’. This is why we find the Prophet (sallallahu a'lyhi wa sallam) referring to salaah, the prayer, as ‘the coolness of my eyes’. . “…the coolness of my eyes is in prayer.” [Ahmad and An-Nasa 'i]

Our Lord Above

Although many Muslims may know that Allah ('azza wa jall) is above the heavens, over His throne, sadly they don’t strive to keep this at the forefront of their minds in their daily lives. If they did, I’m sure our Ummah will see a huge shift in both the political and social arena.

In the time of the Prophet (sallallahu a'lyhi wa sallam), his Companions (radhi Allahu 'anhum) and the generation of the righteous believers after them - from among whom was Mu’aadhah, the believers had a pure and untainted understanding of both Allah’s names and characteristics. This knowledge led them to being continuously aware of Allah’s ('azza wa jall) presence above, and of His very existence.

Such was Mu‘aadhah’s reverence, veneration and awe of her Lord that she did not look up towards the sky for forty years: Abu al-Sawwaar said:

“The children of A’dee (i.e. the tribe of Adawee) are the strongest people in this country in struggling (ijtihaadan). This is Abu As-Sahbaa’ (the husband of Mu’aadhah), he does not sleep (during) his night nor break (fasting during) his day. And this is his wife Mu’aadhah, the daughter of Abdullah, she hasn’t raised her head towards the sky (for) forty years.” (Sifah as-Safwah, vol 4 pg 22-24.)

Mu’aadhah’s understanding of Allah ('azza wa jall) being above the heavens is not only a proof against those who say Allah is in everything or without a place, but an important mindset a believer should have. This is because such a realization within the life of a believer leads to ‘ibaadah (worship) which is sincere, full of contemplation, humility and deliberation.  It becomes so much so that between the takbeer and the salaam one’s heart is cleansed, darkness is lifted, realities are expounded and truths come to light. In this way a person not only prays the obligatory prayers with deep love and devotion, a heart longing for its beloved and attached to the Divine, but also the supererogatory prayers. These prayers will in fact begin a journey towards Allah (a'zza wa jall); a servant will continue to ascend the different levels of worship, so much so that from within the levels of supererogatory prayers, one reaches to the top: prayers offered within the stillness and darkness of the night. Within this time when all comes to a standstill and the darkness engulfs all, the believer arises from her slumber, and within the cold night goes towards the blessings and mercy of Allah (a'zza wa jall). A discourse, few have been blessed with, between the created and the Creator, the finite and the Infinite, the flawed and the Flawless and the one in dire need with the Self-sufficient. The darkness of the night then surely becomes a preliminary for that which waits in the dark grave.

Therefore, it is not surprising that even when it was cold Mu’aadhah [rahimahallah] would wear thin clothing so that the cold would prevent her from sleeping. (Sifah as-Safwah, vol 4 pg 22-24.) And that Mu’aadhah spent her wedding night, along with her husband Silah ibn Ashyam, praying until Fajr. When her husband and son were killed in the land of jihaad, she would spend the whole night in prayer, worshipping and beseeching Allaah, and she would sleep during the day. If she felt sleepy whilst she was praying at night, she would tell herself:

“O soul, there is plenty of sleep ahead of you.”

Also, a woman who served Mu‘aadhah (rahimahallah) and worked in her home said that Mu’aadhah would stay awake at night, and when sleep would overcome her she would push herself to stay awake and she would walk around her home saying:

“O my soul! The grave is in front of you. If you have sent forth (good deeds or bad deeds) then surely your sleep will be long in the grave, either upon hasrah (grief, misfortune, pain) or suroor (pleasure, happiness).”

Her maid said she would be in this state right until the morning. (Sifah as-Safwah, vol 4 pg 22-24.)

Imaam Adh-Dhahabi recounts, ‘It has reached me that she (Mu’aadhah) would stay awake at night and would say:

“I am amazed at the eye which sleeps and knows the long sleep in the grave.” (Tuhfah al Ahwazee, baab al istinjaa bil maa’, vol 1, pg 77.)

In another report, with similar meaning but more wording: Aasiyah bint Amr al Adawiyyah said: ‘She would pray every day and night (altogether) six hundred rak’ah (units of prayer). She would read her part of the Qur’aan at night, standing with it, and would say:

“I am amazed at the eye which sleeps and knows [of] the long sleep within the darkness of the graves." (Sifah as-Safwah, vol 4 pg 22-24.)

When the darkness would begin to disappear, dawn would meet Mu’aadhah in a state of fasting.  When people saw her state, they worried for her; she wouldn’t sleep much at night and would fast during the day. In response to concerned queries regarding the hardship she put herself through, she would reply:

“I delay a time for a time, I delay sleep from the night to the day and food from the day to the night.”{footnote}Tabaqaat as-Soofiyyah vol 1 pg 391.{/footnote}

Many people today would frown upon such a struggle in performing such extensive worship. They would readily leap into suggesting that Allah wants ease for us and not hardship, and that we should do as much as we are easily able and capable. I pose a question with the hope that we will give an honest reply with both introspection and truthfulness, and that is: are we truly doing as much as we are able and capable? Secondly, is it a weakness in our love, hope and/or fear of Allah which is impeding our worship and tainting our understanding of ‘ibaadah (worship)? For, the Prophet (sallallahu `alyhi wa sallam) would worship hours on end until his feet would swell. Upon observing this his wife ‘Aa’ishah asked him, "Why do you pray so much, when your Lord has forgiven your past sins and your future sins?" To this the Prophet (sallallahu a'lyhi wa sallam) replied:"Should I therefore not be a grateful servant of my Lord?" (Recorded in al-Bukhari). Not only this, sounds would be heard from the Prophet’s (sallallahu a'lyhi wa sallam) chest, like a "boiling pot"(Reported by Abu Dawud) due to his crying in prayer.

This is why Mu’aadhah [rahimahallah] would advise:

“O my daughter, be with regards to the meeting of Allah [azza wa jall] in [a state of] fear and hope. I certainly consider the one who has hope will be deserving of a beautiful zulfaa [being brought close/near] by Him [Allah [azza wa jall] on the day of meeting Him.

And I consider the one who fears, he will have hope of aman [security/peace/safety/shelter/clemency] on the day mankind will stand in front of the a’alameen [everything besides Allah [azza wa jall]]”.

Then she cried, until her crying overwhelmed her. (Sifah as-Safwah, vol 4 pg 22-24)

Mu’aadhah’s words are of exceptional advice for each believer; for, the Prophet (sallallahu a'lyhi wa sallam) said: "On the Day of Resurrection, a huge fat man will come who will not weigh the weight of the wing of a mosquito in Allah's Sight." and then the Prophet added, {We shall not give them any weight on the Day of Resurrection.} (Al Qur’aan: [18]:105 & Saheeh Bukhari, Book 6,chapter 60, hadeeth no 253.)

Patience, Despite Great Love

Many who read Mu’aadhah’s reaction to the death of Silah (rahimahullah) and her son As-Sahbaa’, may mistakenly think that she wasn’t attached to them, or didn’t love them as much as a normal wife and mother would love her husband and son. Rather, we will come to see that she did love them dearly, but her correct understanding and conviction in Islaam allowed her to put things into perspective. Hence, she knew that parting from them was only temporary and soon she was going to meet them in a realm which is neither temporary nor fleeting. For, such characteristics only apply to the life of this world. This is why Muaa’dhah (rahimahallah) would say:

“By Allah! I don’t love to stay [in this world] except to draw close to my Lord by [various] means. Maybe, He will join me, Abu As-Sahbaa’ and his son in Paradise.”{footnote}Taarikh al Islaam lil Imaam ad-Dhahabi vol 6 pg 198{/footnote}

Mu ‘aadhah didn’t marry again after Silah (her husband and the great taabi’ee) was martyred. This will, Allah Willing, ensure that she will be his wife in paradise, for the Prophet (sallallahu `alyhi wa sallam) said:“Any woman whose husband dies and she marries someone else after him, she will be with the last of her husbands.”{footnote}This was classed as saheeh by Al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) in Saheeh Al-Jaami’, 2704, and in Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 1281.{/footnote}

Abu’l-Darda’ said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that a woman will be with the last of her husbands.{footnote}The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-‘Allaamah Shaykh al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (1281).{/footnote} Also, Asmaa’ bint Abi Bakr (the sister of Aa’ishah) was married to al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwaam, who was strict with her. She came to her father and complained to him about that, and he said: “O my daughter, have patience, for if a woman has a righteous husband, then he dies, and she does not marry anyone after him, they will be joined together in Paradise.” {footnote}Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 3/276.{/footnote}

And this is what Mu’aadhah (rahimahallah) wanted, for her attachment and love for her husband was so much, that it has been recorded that:

‘She didn’t rest or put her head on a pillow after Abu as-Sahbaa’ [her husband] till she passed away.’{footnote}Tahdheeb at-Tahdheeb, vol 12 pg 401 and Mur’aat alMafaateeh Sharh Mishkaat al Masaabeeh vol 2, pg 138.{/footnote}

Also, Mu’aadhah [rahimahallah] breast-fed a girl from her tribe of A’dee. This girl said that Mu’aadhah said to her:

“By Allah, O Daughter! I do not love to stay in the world for pleasurable living nor for rowh naseem [refreshing breath of air] but by Allah! I love to stay so as to become near to my Lord, Strong and Exalted, by mediums - maybe He will unite between me and between the father of Sahbaa’ and his son in paradise.”{footnote}Sifah as-Safwah, vol 4 pg 22-24.{/footnote}

This can really happen, for the supplication of the angels who carry the Throne indicates that families will be united: {Our Lord! And make them enter the ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) which you have promised them — and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.}{footnote}Surat Ghaafir [40]:8{/footnote}

Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“(This means) bring them together so that they may find delight in one another in neighboring dwellings.”

Sa’eed ibn Jubair said:

"When the believer enters Paradise, he will ask about his father, son and brother and where they are. It will be said to him, they did not reach the same level of good deeds as you did. He will say, ‘But I only strove for my sake and for theirs.’ Then they will be brought to join him on the level where he is.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/73.)

How truthful is our Lord, the Loving!

{(There will be) therein all that innerselves could desire, and all that eyes could delight in and you will abide therein forever.} (Al-Zukhruf 43:71.)

Her Death

When death approached her she was seen crying, after which she began laughing! She was asked as to why she first cried and then laughed. To this she replied,

‘As for the crying which you all saw, then (it was because) I remembered the parting (from) fasting, praying and dhikr (remembering, glorifying Allah), so the crying was due to that.

As for what you saw of my smiling and my laughing, then certainly I saw Abu Sahbaa’ approach into the courtyard of the house. He had two green garbs on and he was in a nafr (group).

By Allah! I did not see the like of it from them in the world. Then I laughed for him (i.e. expressing happiness for him).

I don’t think I will reach after that (incident) an obligatory (prayer) (i.e. death is near).”

And she died before the time of the next salah entered. (Sifah as-Safwah, vol 4 pg 22-24.)

Ibn al Jawzi says she died 38AH. (Taarikh al Islaam lil Imaam ad-Dhahabi vol 6 pg 198.)

O Allah! Once again allow this Ummah to witness the likes of Mu’aadhah (rahimahallah).

O Allah! Make us of those who worship You sincerely, with all our strength, hope, love and faith!

O Allah, give us a true understanding of Your religion and unite us with the righteous, surely You are the Most Able.

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