Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Story of Hadhrat Ka'b bin Maalik (r.a.)

Hadhrat Ka'b bin Maalik (r.a.) says, "Besides the military expedition to Tabook, I did not miss a single military expedition in which Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) participated. Of course, I did miss the Battle of Badr, but no one was reprimanded for missing that expedition because Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) had only intended to intercept a caravan of the Quraysh, after which Allaah brought the Muslims and their enemy together without any prearrangement. I was present on the night that the Pledge of Aqaba took place with Rasulullah (s.a.w.) this was the night that we pledged our allegiance to Islaam. I would not like to exchange that night for being at the Battle of Badr even though the Battle of Badr is more popularly spoken about amongst people. This is my story:

I was never more healthier or more financially prosperous than the time when I missed the (Tabook) expedition with Rasulullah (s.a.w.) I had never before owned two animals as I had at the time of the expedition. Until this expedition took place, it was always the practice of Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) to conceal the destination and make it seem that he was heading in a different direction. When Rasulullah (s.a.w.) intended to march on this expedition, the heat was extreme, the journey was long and across barren land and the enemy were large in number. Rasulullah (s.a.w.) therefore disclosed the matter to the Muslims so that they could make proper preparations for the expedition. He informed the Muslims exactly where he intended marching.

The Muslims marching with Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) were so many that a single register could not contain their names. In fact, anyone who intended absenting himself knew that his absence would not be noted unless Allaah sent revelation about it. Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) left on this expedition at a time when the date crop and the shade was most appealing (because the dates were ripe for the picking and the intense heat drew everyone towards the shade). However, the Muslims started their preparations along with Rasulullaah (s.a.w.). Each morning I left to start my preparations with the other Muslims but returned home every time without doing anything, telling myself that I have the means to prepare (and can even do so at short notice). This procrastination continued until others had prepared in earnest and the morning arrived when  Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) marched with the Muslims. By then I had still not yet made any preparations but told myself that I would get ready in a day or two and then catch up with them. After they had left, I started the morning with the intention of making preparations, but returned home without accomplishing anything. The next morning was the same and again I returned home without accomplishing anything. This continued happening to me and the Muslims marched very fast until every chance of catching up with the expedition was lost. I had a firm resolve to ride out to meet them and wish that I had. However, I was never destined to do so.

When I walked amongst the people after Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) had left, it saddened me greatly to see only people whose hearts were tainted by hypocrisy or ailing people whom Allaah had excused (staying behind). Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) made no mention of me until the Muslims had reached Tabook. As he was sitting amongst the others at Tabook, he asked, 'What has happened to Ka'b?' Someone from the Banu Salma tribe commented, '0 Rasulullaah! His fine clothing (wealth) has obstructed him.' Hadhrat Mu'aadh bin Jabal (r.a.) interjected by saying, 'You have made a terrible statement!, 0 Rasulullaah! I swear by Allaah that we only know him to be an excellent person.' Rasulullah (s.a.w.) remained silent."

Hadhrat Ka'b bin Maalik (r.a.) continues to narrate, "When the news reached me that Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) was returning, I became worried and started thinking of false excuses. I asked myself what I could do to avert the anger of Rasulullah (s.a.w.) and I also sought advice from every wise person of my family. When the news arrived that Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) was about arriving, all false excuses vanished from my mind and I knew that I could never come out of the situation with anything connected to lies. I therefore resolved to tell Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) the truth.

Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) arrived and according to his normal practice after returning from a journey, he proceeded to the Masjid where he performed two Rakaahs of salaah. He then sat to meet with people. As Rasulullah ( did this, those who stayed behind started approaching him and to present their excuses. They numbered eighty odd men and even took oaths before Rasulullah (s.a.w.) (to substantiate their excuses). Rasulullah (s.a.w.) accepted their excuses at face value, renewed their pledges of allegiance and sought Allaah's forgiveness on their behalf. He then handed over the inner details of their affairs to Allaah.

When I approached Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) and greeted him with Salaam, he smiled the smile of an angry person and said, 'Do come forward.' I walked to him and sat in front of him. He asked, 'What kept you behind? Had you not already purchased your conveyance?' I responded by saying, 'That's true. By Allaah! Had I been sitting before someone other than you from amongst worldly men, I would have certainly escaped your anger by making some excuse because I have been given the ability to present convincing arguments. However, I swear by Allaah that if I lie to you today and manage to secure your pleasure, the time will soon come when Allaah shall make you angry with me. On the other hand, if I tell you the truth and you become angry with me, I have strong hopes of Allaah's forgiveness. I swear by Allaah that I really had no excuse. By Allaah! I was never more healthier or more financially prosperous than the time when I missed the expedition.' Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said , 'At least this man had spoken the truth. You may leave (and wait) until Allaah decides your matter.'

As I stood up, some men from the Banu Salma tribe (to which I belonged) also stood up and followed me. They said to me, 'By Allaah! We have never known you to commit a sin before this! Could you not make an excuse like the others who stayed behind had made excuses? The forgiveness that Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) would
 have sought on your behalf should have then sufficed for our sin.' They kept scolding me in this manner so much that I actually made up my mind to return to Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) and deny whatever I had told him. I then asked them, 'Has anyone else experienced the same treatment as I have?' They replied, 'Yes. The others said what you did and received the same reply you received.' 'Who are they?' I asked. 'Muraarah bin Rabee Amri and Hilaal bin Umayyah Waaqifl,' came the reply. The two men they named were two righteous men who had participated in the Battle of Badr and who made excellent examples to follow. I therefore went on my way when they mentioned these two names to me.

Rasulullaah (s.a.w) subsequently prevented people from speaking only to the three of us as opposed to the others who had missed the expedition. People avoided us and ignored us so much so that even the earth seemed like a different place to me. It was not the same place I had been used to. We remained in this condition for fifty days. My two companions became helpless and confined themselves to their homes, weeping excessively. Since I was the youngest and most daring of us, I used to go out and join the Muslims for salaah. I even walked about in the marketplace but no one spoke to me. When Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) sat in gatherings after salaah, I would approach him and greet him with Salaam. I would then ask myself whether his lips moved in reply to my Salaam or not. I also performed salaah close to Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) and steal a glance at him. I noticed that whenever I was engaged in salaah, he looked at me and would avert his glance as soon as I turned towards him.

The time eventually arrived when the attitude of the people became too much to bear, I walked to the orchard of Abu Qataadah and scaled the wall. He was my cousin and my best friend. I swear by Allaah that he did not even reply to my Salaam when 1 greeted him. I protested by saying, 'O Abu Qataadah! I ask you in the name of Allaah to tell me whether I have love for Allaah and His Rasool (s.a.w.)? ' When he gave no reply, I repeated the question and again asked in the name of Allaah. He remained silent. Yet again, I repeated myself and took the name of Allaah. All he said was, 'Allaah and Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) know best.' My eyes welled with tears and I turned around to again scale the wall."

Continuing with the story, Hadhrat Ka'b (r.a.) says, "As I was walking in the marketplace one day, I heard the voice of a farmer from the farmers of Shaam who had come to Madinah to sell his grains. He was announcing, 'Who will show me where is Ka'b bin Maalik?' As the people pointed him in my direction, he handed over to me a letter from the king of Ghassaan (wrapped in a silken cloth).

The letter read:

'The news has reached me that your master is being harsh towards you. Allaah has not made you a lowly and ruined person. Join forces with us and we shall honour you.'

After reading the letter, I said to myself, 'This is part of the test.' I then went to an oven where I burnt the letter. when forty of the fifty days had passed, a messenger of Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) suddenly came to me with the message that  I was to separate from my wife. 'Should I divorce her?' I asked. 'No,' he replied, 'Just be separated from her and do not go near her.' The same message was sent to my two companions. I then said to my wife, 'Go to your family and stay with them until Allaah decides this matter.'

The wife of Hadhrat Hilaal bin Umayyah (r.a.) approached Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) and pleaded, '0 Rasulullaah! Hilaal bin Umayyah is an extremely old and helpless man who has no servant. Would you object if I serve him?' 'No,' replied Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) Just ensure that he has no intimate relations with you.' She commented, 'By Allaah! He has no inclination to do anything. By Allaah! He has wept continuously since this affair started and continues to do so."'

Hadhrat Ka'b (r.a.) continues, "Some of my family members advised me to also request that my wife stays to serve me as Hilaal bin Umayyah (r.a.) had requested permission. I told them that I would never seek such permission from Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) for I do not know what reply Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) would give me as a young man (who can care for himself). I then remained in this condition (without my wife) for ten days until full fifty nights had passed since Rasulullaah banned others from speaking to us.

After performing the Fajr salaah on the morning of the fiftieth night, I was still on the roof of my house and sitting there in the condition. that Allaah describes in the Qur'aan (in verse 118 of Surah Taubah); the earth had narrowed for me despite its vastness (I could find no place to hide myself) and my own soul had narrowed for me (I had become frustrated with myself). It was then that I heard the voice of a caller who had climbed to the top of Mount Sala. He announced at the top of his voice, 'Rejoice, 0 Ka'b!' I immediately fell prostrate in Sajdah for I knew that relief had arrived.

Afer performing the Fajr salaah, Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) had announced to the people that Allaah had accepted our repentance. Many people came to congratulate us and went to congratulate my two companions. As someone (Hadhrat Zubayr bin Awaam -) spurred his horse to reach me, a man from the Banu Aslam (Hadhrat Hamzah bin Amr Aslami (r.a.)) tribe rushed to climb the hill and his voice was faster than the horse. When the person whose voice I had heard came to me, I took off the two sheets of cloth I was wearing and gave them to him (in thanks) for the good news he had given me. I swear by Allaah that I had no other clothes besides this at the time. I therefore borrowed some clothes and went to Rasulullaah (s.a.w.).  Droves of people came to congratulate me on my repentance saying, 'Congratulations! Allaah has accepted your repentance.'

When I eventually reached the Masjid, Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) was sitting there surrounded by people. It was Talha bin Ubaydillaah (r.a.) who stood up and rushed towards me to shake my hands and to congratulate me. By Allaah! No other person from amoligst the Muhaajireen stood up to receive me. I shall never forget this gesture of Talha (r.a.). I then greeted Rasulullaah (s.a.w.). With his face beaming with delight, Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) said, 'Rejoice about the best day that has passed you since the day you were born. I asked, 'Is this from your side, O Rasulullaah or from Allaah?' Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) replied, 'It is from Allaah's side.' Whenever Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) was happy, his face would shine and appear to be a portion of the moon. We would therefore always recognise when he was happy. When I sat in front of Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) I said, 'O Rasulullaah (s.a.w.)! As part of my Taubah, I wish to give all my wealth as Sadaqah for the pleasure of Allaah and His Rasool.' Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) advised, 'It would be best if you keep some of your wealth for yourself.' 'I shall then keep my allotted piece of land in Khaybar,' I said. I added, 'O Rasulullaah! Allaah has saved me because of the truth I spoke and as part of my repentance, I shall speak only the truth as long as I live.'

By Allaah! I do not know of any Muslim whom Allaah had given a better reward than Allaah had given me from the time I spoke the truth to Rasulullaah (s.a.w.). From the time I mentioned this to, Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) I have not spoken any lies up to this day and hope that Allaah protects me from it as long as I remain alive.

Allaah has revealed the following verse to Rasulullaah (s.a.w.)

'Allaah has certainly turned in mercy towards the Nabi (s.a.w.) and towards the Muhaajireen and the Ansaar who followed him in the hour of difficulty (to Tabook) after the hearts of some of them were almost shaken (causing them to hesitate). Without doubt, He is Most Compassionate and Most Merciful towards them (by blessing them with steadhstness and devotion). And Allaah (has also turned in mercy to wards) the three (Sahaaba, namely Muraarah bin Rabee (r.a.), Kab bin Maalik (r.a.) and Hilaal bin Umayyah (r.a.)) whose matter (forgiveness for not marching to Tabook) was postponed (for fifty days) until the earth narrowed for them despite its vastness (and they could find no place to hide themselves), their own souls narrowed for them (they became frustrated with themselves) and they were convinced that there was no safety from Allaah except (in turning) towards Him. Then Allaah turned towards them (in mercy) so that they (could) turn to Him (in repentance). Indeed Allaah is Most Pardoning, Most Merciful. Oyou who have Imaan! Fear (the punishment of Allaah (by doing good and abstaining from sin) and stay (associate) with the truthful.' {Surah Taubah, verses 117-119}

I swear by Allaah that after guiding me to Islaam, Allaah has not granted me a greater blessing than making me speak the truth to Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) rather than lying, thereby causing me to be destroyed like those who had lied. When Allaah sent revelation, he used the worst of terms for those who had lied than for anyone else. Allaah states:

'When you (0 Rasulullaah) return to them (the Munaafiqeen) shortly (in Madinah) they will swear before you by Allaah (that they had valid reasons for not accompanyingyou), so that you may leave them alone (and do not admonish them). Pay no attention to them! They (their beliefs and actions) are impure! Their abode shall be Jahannam as a punishment forwhat (evil deeds) they earned. They swear (oaths) before you (0 Rasulullaah) that you may be pleased with them.
(However,) Even if you are pleased with them, Allaah is certainly not pleased with the disobedient ones (Muslims should therefore not maintain close ties with such people).' {Surah Taubah, verses 95,96}

The matter of the three of us was postponed until after the matter of those whose excuses Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) had accepted. When they swore oaths before Rasulullaah he renewed their pledges of allegiance and sought Allaah's forgiveness for them. Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) then postponed our matter until Allaah had passed judgement. It is with reference to this that Allaah says: 'And Allaah (has also turned in mercy towards) the three whose matter was postponed.. .' {Surah Taubah, verse 118)

In this verse, Allaah is not referring to our staying behind from the expedition but to the postponement of our case after deciding the case of the others who had sworn oaths before Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) and who had made excuses that Rasulullaah (s.a.w.) accepted.

Bukhari, Muslim and Ibn Is'haaq. Ahmad has also reported the narration with some additions, as quoted in Al Bidaaya wan Nihaaya (Vo1.5 Pg.23). Abu Dawood and Nasa'ee have also reported the narration in parts and with more brevity and Tirmidhi has reported a part of the beginning. These are quoted in Targheeb wat Tarheeb (Vo1.4 Pg.366). Bayhaqi (Vo1.9 Pg.33) has also reported the narration in detail.

(From Hayatus Sahabah by Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Khandhlawi)