“Woe to you” exclaimed Abu Lahab, “Is it only for this that you have gathered us together?”
This was the response that Muhammad received. He had been commanded by Allah , “And warn your tribe (O Muhammad ) of near kindred” [1. Surah al-Shu’ara verse 214] yet when he announced that he was a Prophet he was met with disapproval and disappointment. This was just the start of the trials and tribulations that he was to face.
No sooner had he declared the truth but his reputation was tarnished. He was no longer referred to as ‘al amin’ [2. the Trustworthy] and ‘as Sadiq’ [3. the Truthful] but as a soothsayer, poet and a magician. Others would openly mock him saying, “Have you not been spoken from the heavens today!”
His suffering was not only limited to verbal abuse but also physical abuse. He was spat on the face. In another incident when the Prophet was praying besides the ka’bah and was in prostration, a member of the Quraysh – Uqbah – took the entrails of a camel and placed it on his back. So heavy was its weight that Muhammad could not get up. It was left to his daughter, Fatima to remove the filth from his back.
The abuse was not only targeted at him but those close to him. His two daughters, Umm Kulthoum and Ruqayyah who had just been married to Abu Lahab’s sons, Utbah and Utaybah were divorced. This was considered a huge shame in the society of that time.
Abu Bakr was beaten so badly that blood covered his face, to the extent that it was difficult to tell the back of his face to the front.
We complain when a fingernail is broken or at the pettiest of things, yet not once do we hear in the seerah of the Prophet or his companions complaining. In fact it added to their character and personality. They suffered in every possible way: physically, mentally and verbally but they bore it with patience.
This is the lesson that we need to learn dear sisters. When we go through any calamity, big or small Allah is testing as to how we react. Complaining seems to be the easy escape route, but when you feel that your life is tough remember the struggles of those who laid the foundations of our deen. It is their example that we should adhere to.
Finally remember that the Prophet said: “Whenever the believer is afflicted with (the pricking of) a thorn or anything greater than that (i.e. in terms of harm), because of it Allah raises him one ranking or removed from him one sin” [4. Saheeh Muslim].
A person might have a high ranking with Allah that he couldn’t have achieved through his deeds alone, and so Allah tests him with trials and raises him to that high ranking.
So let’s see trials and tribulations as a way of increasing our rank with Allah and may we inshAllah be raised close to the rank of the righteous who suffered the biggest calamities.
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