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A Partner to Paradise

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Riyaah bin ‘Amr Al-Qaisi (rahimahullah) was a student of the renowned saint, Maalik bin Dinaar (rahimahullah). He possessed such fear of Allah Ta‘ala that he once said, “I have committed more than forty sins, for every one of these sins, I have recited istighfaar one hundred thousand times.”

Riyaah was blessed to have married an exceedingly pious woman. On the first morning which he spent with his bride, she began kneading dough (to prepare bread). Observing this, he said, “Why don’t you look for a woman to do this work for you?” She immediately (declined and) said, “The man I married is Riyaah Al-Qaisi (rahimahullah) (i.e. a man known for piety). I do not think that I have married an obstinate tyrant (i.e. a man hankering after servants and the world).”

That night, Riyaah (rahimahullah) decided to test her. Hence, he went straight to bed (after ‘Esha Salaah), without performing any nafl salaah. As for his wife, she stood and commenced performing nafl salaah. After a quarter of the night had elapsed, she called out, “O Riyaah! Wake up (and engage in salaah)”. He replied, “I’m waking up,” (but remained in the bed). After the second quarter of the night had elapsed, she again called out to him, “Wake up, Riyaah!” Once again, he replied, “I’m waking up!” but did not leave the bed. When the third quarter had elapsed, she called out, “Wake up, O Riyaah!” When he again responded that he was waking up, but failed to leave the bed, she remarked, “The night is passing with the army of the righteous (engaged in righteousness), yet you remain asleep! If only I had not been deceived by the one who informed me about you (being a pious person)!” Saying this, she re-engaged in salaah, spending the last quarter of the night in ‘ibaadah as well.

As far as her disinterest and disinclination towards the material is concerned, then it once happened that Riyaah (rahimahullah) became grieved over a loss that he had suffered in something of the world. Seeing that he was affected by this loss, his wife remarked, “I notice that you are grieving over something of the world. Shumait deceived me regarding you (being a pious and saintly person).” Saying this, she took hold of a tassel on her scarf and said, “The entire world is more worthless and insignificant in my sight than even this tassel!”

As for her dedication to her husband, then Riyaah (rahimahullah) mentioned the following:

After she would perform the ‘Esha Salaah, she would apply perfume, wear (attractive) clothing and then present herself before me enquiring, “Do you have any need of me?” If I replied in the affirmative, then she would share the bed with me. Otherwise, she would remove the (attractive) clothing and stand in salaah until the morning. By Allah, she put me to shame!

(Sifatus Safwah vol. 2, pgs. 218 & 255)

Lessons:

1. One of the primary purposes of nikaah is to complete one’s imaan and draw closer to Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, when seeking a marital partner, one must ensure that they possess piety, as they will then assist one along the path to Jannah. They will carry out righteous actions and encourage one to do the same, and if they see one committing any evil action, they will immediately stop and prevent one from doing so. Such a marriage is not merely a ‘marital relationship’ – it is a partnership in the quest to earn Jannah.

2. The wife of Riyaah (rahimahullah) understood that her obligation to her husband took precedence over nafl ‘ibaadah. Hence, she would first adorn herself and present herself before her husband, and it was only if he had no need for her on that night that she would spend the entire night in ‘ibaadah. Similarly, despite spending the entire night in ‘ibaadah, she happily attended to her domestic chores by herself. Understanding one’s priorities in this manner is extremely essential. Otherwise, one may wrongly feel that one is gaining the proximity of Allah Ta‘ala by doing something which is optional while neglecting an obligation. 

3. The material possessions of this world are a mere necessity of life and not the objective of one’s existence. Hence, one should not become so consumed by worldly possessions, comforts and luxuries that one continuously chases after them and makes them the benchmark of one’s success or failure.