On one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) visited a bedouin who received him warmly and honoured him. So, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) reciprocated and bade the bedouin to also visit him.

When the bedouin arrived, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to him, “If you have any need, you may ask me.” The bedouin replied, “I want a she-camel to use as a conveyance, and a few goats for my family to milk.”

On hearing his reply, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) addressed the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and said, “Why do you not be like the old woman of the Banu Israaeel?” The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) asked, “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Who was the old woman of the Banu Israaeel and what was her incident?”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied by relating the following incident:

When Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) departed from Egypt with the Banu Israaeel, they could not find the road (which they needed to travel on). So Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) asked the Banu Israaeel, “What is the matter (i.e. why is it that we cannot find the road)?” The learned among the Banu Israaeel answered, “When Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam) was close to passing away, he made us pledge in the name of Allah Ta‘ala that we will not leave Egypt, without taking his body with us.” Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) then asked, “Who knows the location of the grave of Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam)?” They replied that an old woman knew the location. Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) thus sent for her.

When she arrived, Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) requested, “Guide me to the grave of Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam).” However, the old woman responded, “(I will not do so) until you give me what I want.” Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) asked her, “What is it that you want?” She replied, “I want to be with you in Jannah.” Initially, Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) was reluctant to accede to her request, but Allah Ta‘ala sent revelation to him, commanding him to agree to the old woman’s request.

She then proceeded with them to a lake and instructed them to drain all its water. When this was completed, she instructed them to dig until they discovered the grave of Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam).

Once they recovered the body, removed it from the grave and carried it with them, the road became as clear as daylight for them.

(Saheeh Ibni Hibbaan #723)


Imagine that it was Lailatul Qadr (the Night of Power), or you managed to cling to the Ka’bah at the multazam, and you now had a ‘once in a lifetime chance’ to make a du‘aa that you greatly hope will gain acceptance. What would you ask for? Perhaps many of us would ask for something related to this world such as beauty, health, wealth, a dream home, etc.

However, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) praised the old woman of the Banu Israaeel and encouraged the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to be like her. When she saw the golden opportunity, instead of asking for something paltry and insignificant, she seized her chance to secure Jannah for herself.

Thus, when the hadeeth teaches us to make du‘aa for all our needs, whether big or small, we should not suffice on asking only for our small needs while neglecting to ask for Jannah. Instead, we must make it a priority to beg for Jannah, as this is the biggest need.