(Sisters of Bishr Haafi [rahimahullah] – Part Three)

Mukh-khah (rahimahallah) would constantly refer to Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal (rahimahullah) in order to ask him questions pertaining to piety and asceticism. Such was the depth of understanding behind her questions that Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) would express amazement over her outstanding intelligence.

Mukh-khah (rahimahallah) once went to Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) and posed the following question, “O Imaam! Tell me! Is the groan of a sick person in distress and discomfort not actually a complaint against the decree of Allah Ta‘ala?”

Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) replied, “I have hope that the groan of the sick person is actually a complaint addressed to Allah Ta‘ala, not against Allah Ta‘ala.” After hearing the answer of Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah), Mukh-khah (rahimahallah) left.

Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) then turned to his son, ‘Abdullah (rahimahullah), and exclaimed, “O my son! I have never heard a question as intelligent as this before! Follow this woman and see which home she enters so that you may identify her.” When ‘Abdullah (rahimahullah) followed her and successfully identified her, he returned to his father, Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah), and informed him that the woman was none other than the sister of Bishr Haafi (rahimahullah). When he heard this, Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) exclaimed, “It was impossible for her to be anyone but the sister of Bishr Haafi (rahimahullah)!”

(Sifatus Safwah vol. 1, pg. 577)


1. Despite her intelligence and piety, Mukh-khah (rahimahallah) ensured that she referred to Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) and did not attempt to apply her own mind and reasoning to understand matters of Deen.

Similarly, we should entrust our queries to the relevant, qualified authorities of Deen whenever we have something to ask and should not resort to “Googling” everything. The danger in referring to “Google” is that the internet is a public domain which is open for every Tom, Dick and Harry to air their views – as warped, misguiding and erroneous as they may be. We may thus be led into reading an article or post or listening to a clip which has the potential to cause irreparable damage to our Deen.

2. When referring to the learned, it is important to ensure that we do not trespass the bounds of Deen by being lax in regards to our hijaab, etc. If we are negligent in this regard, instead of this noble quest for knowledge earning us reward and the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala, it will become a burden in the Hereafter and earn us the anger of Allah Ta‘ala.

3. A Muslim must always remain pleased with the decision and decree of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence even a sick person, when groaning in pain or discomfort, should think to himself that on account of my own weakness, I am actually asking Allah Ta‘ala to substitute the mercy of sickness for the mercy of good health. In this way, even his groan will become a du‘aa and will not be a complaint against the decree of Allah Ta‘ala.