ON THE STORY TELLING OF SAYYIDINA RASOOLULLAH SALLALLAHU ALAIHE WASALLAM
This chapter is
on the stories that Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam related.
The author has written two hadith here as specimens.
Aisha radiyallahu anha reports, “Once, at night, Rasoolullah sallallahu
alaihe wasallam related an event to his family members. One of the ladies
said, this story is just like the stories of Khuraafah. (The Arabs used
the stories of Khuraafah as proverbs). Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam
asked, “Do you know what is the original story of Khuraafah? Khuraafah
was a man from the tribe of Banu Udhrah, whom the jinns took away. They
kept him for some time, then left him among the people. He related to
the people strange things of his stay there. The people were astonished.
After that every amazing story is called Khuraafah.”
It is possible that the person had another name, and because the people
took his stories to be fables and amusing, he became famously known as
Khuraafah. In the time of the Jaahiliyyah, exorcism was widespread. The
jinns troubled humans very much, they took them away, spoke to them, had
intercourse with women, etc. of which there are many famous incidents.
After the appearance of Islam their strength subsided, till some people
began to believe that jinns existed before, and now they do not exist.
The fact is that they do exist, but do not have the power they possessed
previously. At the time of the birth of Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu
alaihe wasallam the events that took place, the wailing, trouble, etc.
that the jinns experienced is a testimony to this. In the Sahih Bukhari
a narration of Sayyidina Umar radiyallahu anhu is mentioned, where he
states about the poetry of a beloved woman of a magician, named Janiyah,
on grief, disgrace and the misfortune of the jinns. Imaam Suyuti has mentioned
many incidents of this nature in his book ‘Khasaa-is-Kubra’.
Hadith Ummi Zar’a. This is the second hadith of this chapter. Due to this
story being lengthy and famous, special books have been written on it.
Imaam Tirmizi has also given it a little prominence. This hadith has other
names too, but is well known by this name. Due to the story being lengthy,
every woman’s story is mentioned separately with its commentaries.)
Aisha radiyallahu anha reports, “Once eleven women assembled and made
an agreement, that each of them would describe the true state of their
husbands, without hiding any fact.”
The names of these eleven women are not confirmed in the sahih ahadith,
although the names of a few are mentioned in a few narrations. These women
were from Yemen or Hijaaz. There is a disagreement on their names, therefore
they are omitted here. Their husbands were all away for their needs. They
were alone and began talking of things to keep themselves occupied and
happy. They subsequently made an agreement that each one of them would
describe their husbands.
THE FIRST WOMAN
said, “My husband is like the meat of a useless camel. (As if he is a
piece of meat that has no life left in it, and also like the meat of a
camel that is generally not preferred). And the meat also put on top of
a mountain which is difficult to climb. The road to the top is not easy,
so that it may be possible to climb it, nor is the meat of much value,
that because of it one should separate it into a hundred lots and carry
That means he is so useless that no one can benefit from him materially
or otherwise, and besides this he is proud, arrogant and ill-mannered.
He is in such a state that it is difficult to contact him.
He is a medicine
of no use and utterly useless, and because of his pride and arrogance
it is difficult to reach him.
WOMAN said, “(If I do describe my husband what can I describe about him.
I have nothing to say about him). I fear if I begin to describe his faults,
there will be no end to it. If I begin I will have to mention all his
inner and outer faults.”
She means if she begins, no matter how many faults she describes, he is
full of faults. If somone has a few faults they could be described, but
the one that is only made of faults, how many of them could be described
or pointed out? It is such a long story that one would become bored. A
few commentators have made an objection to this that she broke her promise
by refusing to describe her husband. The fact is that, she described everything
in a few words, that he is a body full of faults and these are not countable.
THE THIRD WOMAN
said, “My husband is an ‘A-shannaq’ which means he is a very tall man.
If I do comment on anything he will immediately give talaaq (divorce),
and if I keep silent, I just hang around.”
The tallness of the husband must have been mentioned due to the popular
saying that tallness is a sign of stupidity. The statement made of the
height relates to his stupidity, or it is mentioned because he was ugly.
Like a tall tower that is without a suitable build, looks ugly and is
also bad mannered. If I say anything or express a need, he will immediately
divorce me. If I keep quite and do not express my needs, he does not care.
I am just hanging around. I cannot be counted among those who have a husband,
as there is nothing like a husband, nor among those who have no husbands
that I may look for one in another place. In some narrations there is
also a sentence which translates, “I am always in such a state as if I
am under a sharp sword. I do not know when my affair will come to an end.”
WOMAN said.. "My husband is mild mannered, like nights of Tihaamah.
He is not hot nor cold, nor is there anything to fear of him, nor any
He is mild natured and is not very cunning or dull. One does not fear
to live with him, nor do the nerves and mind become dull or tired. It
is said that the name of this woman is Mahd bint Abi Harumah. Makkah and
its surroundings areas are called Tihaamah. The nights of this area are
always mild even if the days are very hot.
THE FIFTH WOMAN
said: "When my husband comes into the house, he becomes a cheetah,
and when he goes out, he becomes a lion. He does not care to investigate
what happens in the house".
It is said that name of this woman is Kabshah. The 'ulama differ in whether
she praised her husband or criticised him. Both meanings can be derived
from it. It clearly seems that she praised him. If it is taken to be criticism
it will then mean that, when he comes into the house he becomes vicious
like a cheetah. He does not say anything, nor does he have anything to
do with the household affairs. When he goes out he is like a gentleman.
If any difficulty arises in.the house, he has nothing to do with it, he
does not inquire, nor is it his worry. If this is taken to be praise,
then it shall mean, that when he enters the house he becomes quiet, he
does not know of anything and does not utter a complaint on any word.
He does not become angry. He is so unaware, it is as if he is sleeping.
Whatever we cook or eat, he does not interfere in anything, nor does he
investigate anything, that, why was such a thing done, or why did this
happen? When he goes out he is like a lion. Presses his teeth and thunders
loudly. Whatever there is in the house for eating etc. he does not care,
nor inquires that how and why was this spent? Whatever was brought to
the house, was used by the household as they saw fit.
THE SIXH WOMAN
said: "When my husband eats, he eats everything. When he drinks,
he does not leave anything. When he sleeps, he sleeps in his own sheet.
He does not even touch me, so that he can know the disturbance in my mind".
In these words too, both praise and criticism could be derived. In the
fifth one there seems to be more praise, but in this one there seems to
be rnore criticism as can be seen from the translation. If praise is meant,
as is the view of some commentators, then it will mean the following:
That when he eats, he eats anything; he eats fruits, nuts, all types of
food etc. When he drinks, he sometimes drinks milk, sometimes a drink,
sometimes a sharbat etc. In short he drinks anything. All types of food
are on his table. He spends and is not a miser, if there is daal, there
is no meat. If there is water then there is no milk. He keeps away from
quarrels. He does not put his finger in other people's problems, that
is he does not look for the faults of others or their short commings.
If it is to be taken to be criticism, as is the view of the majority,
it will mean that the time of eating, whatever comes before him he polishes
it off, nothing is left for the family members. Like a buffalo he eats
up everything. When it is time to drink, he gulps down the whole well.
He sleeps like a stranger in his own sheets. Forget embracing me, he does
not even touch my body so that he may know or feel the heat or coldness
in my body.
WOMAN said: "My husband is impotent and unmanly. He is such a dunce
that he cannot even speak. Whatever sickness a person has in this world,
he possess it. His manners are such that he may break my head or injure
my body, or do both".
WOMAN said: "My husband is soft like a rabbit when I touch him. His
smell is like the fagrance ofe of za'faraan (saffron)".
It is said the name of this woman is Naashirah bint Aws. By her praise
she means he has a soft nature, he is not harsh and ill mannered. Both
pleasure of the body and soul are found in him. He has a tender body which
makes me want to embrace it, or he is soft-natured that there is no sign
of anger. Fragrance is constantly emitted from his body. In some narrations
this sentence is also added which means. "I dominate him, and he
dominates all other people. My domination is not due to his humbleness,
because he dominates others. My domination is because of love, or the
politeness in him."
THE NINTH WOMAN
said: "My husband is of high status, generous, hospitable, owner
of a high dwelling. He has a lot of ashes. He is tall built. His home
is near the majlis and Daarul Mashwarah (House of Counsel)'.
This woman has mentioned many praises. The first is that her house is
very high. If a big mansion is meant here, then it shall mean wealth and
leadership, because a high mansion can only be built by a wealthy person.
If by high dwelling it is meant that the house is built on a raised ground,
like it was common amonst 'Arabs for generous and hospitable people to
buils there houses non raised places, so that strangers and travellers
could see it and come to it. In this case it will mean he is generous
and hospitable. Some 'ulama state that by a high dwelling, it is meant
that he descended from a high and noble family.
The second praise is of his hospitality, due to this it is natural that
there will be a lot of ashes in the house, because a lot of food is cooked
The third praise is his height. To be tall, provided that it does not
exceed that which is deemed moderate, is laudable and praiseworthy for
a man. By this big house near the majlis (assembly) means that he is wise
and a man of counsel. There is always someone who comes to seek his advice.
The opinion of this humble servant, is that it is possible that this may
also mean that he keeps the Daarul Mashwarah (House of Counsel) near his
house, so that he will not say in humbleness etc. to those who gather
there, that my house is a distance away. He keeps his home near, so that
a long time is not spent in preparations for hospitality, and because
of it an occasion for an excuse may not arise.
THE TENTH WOMAN
said: "My husband is Maalik, and what can I describe about Maalik.
He is more generous than all those who have been praised, or he is more
praiseworthy than all the praises I may shower on him. He owns many herds
of camels, which are kept near the house. They are seldom taken out for
grazing. When the camels hear the sound of the mizhar, they are sure that
their end is near".
It is said that the name of this woman is Kabshah bint Maalik. She praised
the generosity of her husband, which is explained thus, if the camels
go out to graze in the fields, then at the time of hospitality and attending
to the guests, time is wasted in herding them back. There are allways
visitors at his home. The camels are not sent out to graze but fed in
their pans, so that when a visitor arrives a camel could be slaughtered
immediately. Some have translated the sounding of the mizhar as, that
whenever a visitor arrives, in happiness and in the visitors honour, this
instrument is sounded. By hearing the sound, the camels know that the
time of their slaughter is near, as a visitor has arrived. According to
'Arab custom this meaning seems more appropriate, that when a visitor
he is immediately entertained by being served drinks, tid-bits, music
etc. By the sound of the music the camels know that meal times are near,
and for its preparations, the time for their slaughter is near.
WOMAN Umm Zar-a, said: "My husband was Abu Zar-a', and how can I
praise Abu Zar-a'? He made my ears bow with jewels. He made my sides (by
feeding) full of fat. He kept me so happy and contented, that due to self
admiration and haughtiness I thought I was virtuous. He found me from
such a poor home, that lived with hardship, owning only a few goats for
a living. From there he brought me into such a prosperous family who owned
horses, camel oxen for ploughing, and gardeners (and possessed all types
of wealth. Besides all this he was so good natured) that he did not criticise
me scold me for anything. I slept till late in the morning, and no one
was allowed to wake me up. Food was so abundant that after filling myself
I just left it (and it never got finished). The mother of Abu Zar-a' (
mother-in-law), in what manner can I praise her? Her huge utensils were
always full. Her house was very spacious (She was very rich, and according
to the habit of women, was not a miser. By the vastness of the house it
is meant that many visitors were entertained). The son of Abu Zar-a',
in what manner can I praise him? He was also a light upon light. He was
so thin and skinny, the sleeping part of his body (ribs etc. was thin
like a branch, or a sword. A side of a lamb was enough to fill his stomach.
(i.e. There was no great formalities for a brave one to sleep like a soldier
he slept a little in a small place. In the same manner he ate simple food,
but befitting a warrior. Two or three pieces of meat was his food). The
daughter of Abu Zar-a', how can she be praised? She obeys her mother and
father. She is fat and healthy, and a jealousy for the second wife (The
second wife feels jealous on her excellence. Among the 'Arabs it is desirable
that a man be thin and tall, and a woman fat a healthy). And how can I
praise the slave girl of Abu Zar-a'? She never gossiped about our house
affairs to anyone. She did not even use foodstuffs without permission.
She did not let the house become dirty and untidy, but kept it clean.
(The days passed wonderfully). One morning whilst the utensils of milk
were being churned Abu Zara went out of the house. He found a woman, with
two cheetah like children playing with pomegranates. (The similarity of
cheetah is with playing, and the pomegranates are either in reality pomegranates
which the children were spinning and playing with, or breasts of the women
are intended here). He loved her so much, that he divorced me, a married
her. (I was divorced because as a second wife, she would become heartsore,
and by divorcing me the new wife would have greater regard for him). In
one narration it is mentioned that he married her. He then divorced me.
Subsequently I married another chief and noble man, who was a prince and
soldier. He showered on me many gifts. And from each type of animal i.e.
camel, cow, goat, etc. etc., he presented me a pair and said to me, 'Eat
as much as you want yourself, send to your parents as much as you wish'.
The fact is this, if I add up all his good qualities etc. then too he
will not excel the little thing that abu Zar-a' bestowed upon me".
Sayyiditina 'Aayeshah Radiyallahu 'Anha says: "After Sayyidina Rasulullah
Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallain completed this story, he said to me. 'I am
also to you as Abu Zar-a, had been to Umm Zar-a'
In another hadith it is stated that Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi
Wasallam also thereafter said: 'I will not divorce you'. It has been mentioned
in Tabraani that Sayyiditina 'Aayeshah Radiyallahu 'Anha replied: 'O Messenger
of Allah, what truth is there about Abu Zar-a'. May my mother and father
be sacrificed on you. You are much more to me than him'. May Allah Ta'aala
grant every Muslim husband and wife the following of the footsteps of
Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam on this subject, because
this is the result of chastity. Aameen. Some 'ulama are of the opinion
that those women who criticised their husbands committed backbiting, and
this was narrated in the assembly of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi
Wasallam. If Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam related
this story himself, then there is even a greater perplexity. But the fact
is, that this is not entering the boundaries of backbiting. To discuss
something about a person whose name or other details are not known to
the people, certainly cannot be included in the category of backbiting.
taken (with Thanks) from Darul-uloom Bury