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Slavery over Freedom

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(Sayyidah Safiyyah [radhiyallahu ‘anha] Part One)

Sayyidah Safiyyah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was the daughter of a Jewish leader, Huyayy bin Akhtab, who intensely hated and opposed Islam. He did his utmost to eradicate Deen and exterminate Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the Muslims. When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) attacked Khaibar, Sayyidah Safiyyah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was among the prisoners that were captured.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) invited her to accept Islam, in which case he would keep her for himself. He (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also allowed her to remain a Jew if she chose to do so, and even offered to free her, allowing her to reunite with her people.

However, her reply was, “O Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! I have fallen in love with Islam and I have accepted you as the true Nabi of Allah. I do not have any desire to be a Jew. You have given me the option to choose between disbelief and Islam. Allah and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) are more beloved to me than freedom and returning to my people.”

Hearing this reply of Sayyidah Safiyyah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) freed her and took her as his own respected wife.

(Saheeh Bukhaari #371 and Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 123)

Lessons:

1. Sayyidah Safiyyah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was given the choice between freedom with disbelief and slavery with Islam. Normally, a person would choose freedom over slavery. However, Allah Ta‘ala and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) meant more to her than even freedom and returning to her own people. At times in life, we face a similar situation, where we have to choose between the ‘restrictions’ of Deen with the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala and the ‘freedom’ of the lifestyle of the disbelievers. As believers, we need to realize that the ‘constraints’ of Deen bring freedom in the Hereafter, whereas the ‘freedom’ of the lifestyle of the disbelievers brings misery in this world and the next. We thus need to choose Allah Ta‘ala and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) over everything else.

2. When a person makes a sacrifice and gives preference to the happiness of Allah Ta‘ala and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), then apart from the rewards in the Hereafter, Allah Ta‘ala blesses the person in this world as well. Thus, in her situation, Allah Ta‘ala blessed her with one of the greatest bounties that a woman can enjoy – becoming the respected wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the mother of the believers!