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The Ultimate Concern

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On the occasion of the Conquest of Makkah Mukarramah, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) granted general amnesty to the people. However, there were a few, select individuals who were exempt from this amnesty on account of the severe enmity they bore against Islam and the crimes they had perpetrated against the Muslims.

Among these people was Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), the son of Abu Jahal. Anticipating that the Muslims would kill him, Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) fled from Makkah Mukarramah, heading towards Yemen.

In the interim, his wife (who was also his cousin), Sayyidah Ummu Hakeem (radhiyallahu ‘anha), accepted Islam. She came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said, “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! ‘Ikrimah has fled from you towards Yemen, and he fears that you will have him killed, so please grant him amnesty!” On her request, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) granted amnesty to ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). She thereafter asked Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)s for permission to go after her husband and bring him back, and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) granted her permission.

As for Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he was traveling aboard a ship, and during the voyage, the ship encountered a storm. Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) began calling out to the idols, Laat and ‘Uzza, in prayer. Noticing this, the sailors said to him, “Make du‘aa sincerely to one God alone, as your different gods cannot avail you here.” Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked, “What words should I recite?” They replied, “Say ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah!’” Hearing this, Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) responded, “This is what I am trying to escape!”

It was then that Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had a change of heart. He remarked, “If it is Allah Ta‘ala alone who can avail at sea, then it is He alone who can avail on land as well!” He then said, “O Allah! I take an oath that if you rescue me from this storm, I will certainly go to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and place my hand in his hand, for indeed I will find him to be forgiving and noble!”

When he returned to land, his wife, Sayyidah Ummu Hakeem (radhiyallahu ‘anha), located him. She urged him saying, “O my cousin! I have come to you from the one who excels all people in joining ties and showing kindness, and he is the best of all people. Do not cast yourself into destruction (by refusing to accept Islam)!” She then informed him, “I have secured amnesty for you from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked, “Did you really do so?” She replied, “Yes, I spoke to him and he granted you amnesty.” When he heard this, Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) turned and began the journey back to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) with his wife.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), “‘Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahal, is coming to you, migrating to bring imaan. Do not speak ill of his father (i.e. do not taunt ‘Ikrimah regarding his father, Abu Jahal,) as speaking ill of the dead will cause pain to the living (relatives of the dead), and will not reach (i.e. affect) the dead.”

While returning with his wife, Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) wished to be intimate with her, but she refused and explained, “You are not yet a Muslim, and I have already accepted Islam.” Hearing this, Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) remarked, “Anything that causes you to remain away from me must be very important!”

When Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) finally arrived and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) caught sight of him, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was so pleased that he stood and hastened to meet him and even hugged him, saying, “Welcome to the one who sailed and migrated!” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) thereafter sat, while Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) stood before him, his wife at his side, wearing her niqaab.

Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked, “O Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! My wife has informed me that you have granted me amnesty?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) responded, “She spoke the truth, you have been granted amnesty.”

Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then asked, “What do you invite towards, O Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) answered, “I invite you to testify that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah and that I am the Rasul of Allah, and to establish salaah, discharge zakaah…” In this manner, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained the different aspects of Islam, to which Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) responded, “By Allah! What you have invited me to is nothing but the truth and that which is excellent and beautiful! By Allah! Even before you invited to Islam, you were the most truthful of us in speech and the most kind among us.”

Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then brought imaan by reciting the kalimah, and his imaan brought immense joy to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). After accepting Islam, Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) remained with his wife, Sayyidah Ummu Hakeem (radhiyallahu ‘anha), until he was finally martyred in the path of Allah Ta‘ala.

(Sunan Nasaai #4072, Sharhuz Zurqaani vol. 3, pg. 424, Taareekh Dimashq vol. 41, pg. 63 and Usdul Ghaabah vol. 3, pg. 270)

Lessons:

1. After accepting Islam, the ultimate concern of Sayyidah Ummu Hakeem (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was for the Islam and salvation of her husband, Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Hence, she secured amnesty for him from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and took the permission of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to bring her husband back – all with the hope of him bringing imaan. This should be the primary concern of every spouse – to assist one another in the journey to Jannah.

2. When Sayyiduna ‘Ikrimah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) intended to be intimate with his wife, she resisted, as he had not yet accepted Islam. Furthermore, when she and her husband came to the gathering of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), she ensured that she wore the niqaab (purdah). It is thus clear that although she had just become a Muslim, her loyalty to Islam was stronger than her loyalty to her husband, and she understood the great importance of hayaa and wearing the purdah.