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Al-Rubayyi' bint Al-Nadr: Should I Weep For My Son? An Oath About God's Future Action

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

Al-Rubayyi' belonged to a family from the Ansar that had several eminent companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Her brother Anas was well known among the Ansar, and her nephew, Anas ibn Malik, served the Prophet throughout his ten years in Madinah. She herself was among the early believers from the Ansar. Her son, Harithah, was a well brought up young man. He also was one of the people of Madinah who joined Islam early. He sought to learn from the Prophet and acquired a profound insight into the Islamic faith.

One day he attended the Prophet who asked him: "How are you this morning?" Harithah said: "I am a true believer." The Prophet said that such a statement should be based on solid facts. Harithah said: "I care little for what this life can offer. Therefore, I stay up late in worship during the night, and I am thirsty during the day (i.e. he fasted often). I can almost see the Throne of my Lord; and see the people of heaven exchanging visits and the people of hell hurling blame on one another." The Prophet said: "Since you have acquired such confirmed knowledge, stick to it." Harithah requested the Prophet to pray for him to be a martyr, which he did.

When the Battle of Badr, the first major battle between the Muslims and the unbelievers, took place, Harithah was in the Muslim army. He fought hard, but he was hit by an arrow in his neck and was killed. Thus, the prayer he requested the Prophet to say for him was fulfilled and he was one of the 14 martyrs who fell in that battle.

As the army returned to Madinah, it was received by its population who congratulated the Prophet on a splendid victory. News of the battle and how it went had already been received by them. On learning that her son has been killed in the battle, Al-Rubayyi' was eager to meet the Prophet and ask him about her son. She said to him: "Messenger of God, tell me about Harithah: If he is in heaven, I will bear my loss with patience. If it is the other, I will weep without remission." The Prophet reassured her: "It is heavens in the plural, and your son is in the highest one." The Prophet asked for some water. He put his hand in it, took some water to rinse his mouth and gave the cup to Al-Rubayyi' and her daughter to drink. He told them to sprinkle some of it on themselves. They did and felt much comforted.

Something happened to Al-Rubayyi' that shows that God cares for people as individuals. Some quarrel took place between her and a maid that belonged to Al-Ansar. The quarrel resulted in the maid's front teeth being broken. Her family complained to the Prophet and requested equal punishment. Al-Rubayyi's family tried to persuade the maid's family to forgo that, but they refused. The matter was put to the Prophet and he ruled that the principle of Ďan eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth...' applied. Anas ibn Al-Nadr, Al-Rubayyi's brother, said: "Messenger of God, will Al-Rubayyi's front teeth be smashed? By Him who sent you with the message of the truth they shall not be."

This is an oath about God's future action. How can anyone make such an oath? Shortly afterward, the maid's people came to the Prophet to tell him that they had pardoned Al-Rubayyi' and forgone their claim against her. The Prophet commented: "Some of God's servants are such that if they would swear about something to be done by God, God will honor their oath. One of them is Anas ibn Al-Nadr".

A few months later, the Battle of Uhud took place. Anas joined the Muslim fighters. Before the fighting started, he said to a friend: "I can smell heaven here, next to Mount Uhud." He fought very hard and was killed. After the battle no one could identify a martyr with over 80 wounds. Only Al-Rubayyi' could identify her brother, Anas, recognizing him by his index finger.

 

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