Opinion, August 2003, www.aljazeerah.info
With Friends and Family
Arab News, 8/9/03
The Prophet was always loving and caring with his companions, but his loving feelings were at their strongest with members of his own family. He always wanted the best for everyone. He was pleased when he saw anyone in a good position and grieved if he saw someone in distress. A good example of his care is seen in the two Hadiths we are looking at today.
Abu Musa Al-Ashari reports that one day he followed the Prophet as he went into a date farm where he had some private matter to attend to. “I walked behind him. When he entered the farm, I sat at the door and thought that I would be the Prophet’s doorman for the day. He did not order me to do so. He went deep into the farm for his business and then returned and sat at the mouth of a well, baring his legs up to the knees and lowering them into the well. Abu Bakr came and told me that he wanted to go in. I told him to stand there until I asked the Prophet whether to permit his entry. He did while I went to the Prophet and said: ‘Messenger of God! Abu Bakr requests permission to enter.’ He said: ‘Let him in and give him the happy news that he will be in heaven.’ He came in until he was to the Prophet’s right and bared his legs and lowered them into the well.
Then Umar came and I told him to stand there at the door while I asked the Prophet if I could let him in. The Prophet said to me: ‘Let him in and give him the happy news that he will be in heaven.’ He went in until he was to the Prophet’s left and bared his legs and lowered them into the well. That side of the well was thus fully taken and no one else could sit there. Uthman then came, and I told him to wait at the door while I asked the Prophet if he could enter. The Prophet said: ‘Let him in and give him the happy news that he will be in heaven, but that he will have to endure some trouble.’ He went in and found that he could not sit on their side. So he moved to the opposite side, by the mouth of the well and bared his legs and lowered them into the well. I hoped and prayed that my brother should come, but he did not until they left.” Saeed ibn Al-Musayyib said: ‘I interpreted this as indicating their graves with the three being together while Uthman is buried away from them.’ (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Al-Tirmidhi).
This Hadith is reported in several versions, with the one we have just quoted being of middle length. It tells us how the Prophet’s companions used to behave when they were with him.
They showed him all the respect and love he deserved. Abu Musa sees the Prophet walking alone, and he walks behind him so that he could give him any help he required. When he enters the date farm, he decides to be the Prophet’s doorman so that he could have his privacy if he wanted. It so happened that this was a special occasion, because the Prophet received there three of his closest companions. Apparently the Prophet received special revelations on this occasion concerning the destiny of his three companions. Hence, every time one of them arrived, the Prophet told Abu Musa not only to let him in, but also to give him the happiest news any believer could receive from the Prophet himself, namely the promise of entry into heaven.
In the case of Uthman, however, the good news is coupled with a reference to the trouble he endured at the end of his reign as the third caliph, when he faced rebellion engineered by some hostile elements who falsely accused him of abuse of power. Thus, this Hadith provides a clear indication to all Muslims that Uthman was right and his accusers were in the wrong.
We also note how Abu Musa dearly loved that his brother should come next, hoping that if he did, the Prophet would give him the same happy news, but this was not to be. It is also interesting to read how Saeed ibn Al-Musayyib, a renowned scholar of the generation that followed the Prophet’s companions, sees the way the four sat at the well as mirroring their graves, because the Prophet, Abu Bakr and Umar were buried in Aishah’s room, with Abu Bakr to the Prophet’s right and Umar to his left. Uthman, however, was buried in Al-Baqee’, the Madinah graveyard where most of the Prophet’s companions are buried.
Abu Hurayrah reports the second Hadith, mentioning that “the Prophet went out on a hot day. He did not speak to me and I did not speak to him. He went up to the Qaynuqa’ market. He then went to Fatimah’s place and sat outside, and asked: ‘Is Luka’ there? Is Luka’ there?’ She kept him a little while and I thought she was either changing his clothes or washing him. He then came running and the Prophet took him close, hugging him and kissing him. He then said: “My Lord! Love him and love anyone who loves him.’” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
When Abu Hurayrah mentions that he did not speak to the Prophet as he walked by his side, he only indicates the attitude of the Prophet’s companions when they were with him. They always were in awe, speaking to him only when they realized that they had his permission to say what they wanted. The Prophet would have normally spoken to his companion, but on this occasion he might have been preoccupied with something. Hence, Abu Hurayrah did not venture to speak to him.
The reporter does not tell us what the Prophet did at the market place, perhaps because it was an ordinary matter which happened all the time. He is more interested in telling us about the Prophet’s action at his daughter’s place. He sits at the entrance and inquires whether her young son, Al-Hasan, was there. He then describes the meeting of the little boy with his grandfather, the Prophet. He is a loving grandfather who takes the little boy to himself, carries and kisses him. He then says a most caring prayer, appealing to God to love the little one and to love everyone who loves him. Needless to say, Al-Hasan was loved by everyone who knew him, and loved by countless millions of Muslims in the following generations.
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