Letters to Sahabah

Hazrat Ka?b bin M?lik R.A

By Khawlah Najeeb Maan

This article talks about a certain incident regarding the Tab?k expedition which was undertaken by Prophet Muhammad ? and the Muslims against Romans during the Madn? period. Every able Muslim had to join. It marked the hypocrites from the Muslims clearly since those who made excuses to absent themselves from this expedition were clear hypocrites. Except three Sahabah. These were Hazrat Ka?b bin M?lik ??? ???? ???, Hazrat Mur?rah bin Ar-Rabi? Al-?Amri ??? ???? ???? and Hil?l bin Umayyah Al- Waqifi ??? ???? ????. They were not able to join the expedition due to reasons of their own. However, they admitted their mistake clearly to Prophet Muhammad ? and their case was left to Allah SWT to judge since everyone had been obliged to join. During this time, The Prophet Muhammad ? and the Muslims did not talk to them and they faced a social boycott. This continued for fifty days in which they constantly repented to Allah SWT. On the morning of the fiftieth day, the Wah? of their forgiveness was revealed in Surah Tawbah:

“And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.”[9:118]

This article is based upon this incident as related in a hadith narrated by Hazrat Ka?b bin M?lik ??? ???? ????.  The hadith can be read from Riy?dh us S?liheen.

Dear Hazrat Ka?b,

Assalamu ?alaikum. May peace be upon you O truthful servant of Allah! It is this truth that you claim saved you. It is an honor to be writing a letter in your name. I cannot hope to meet you in my life for my time is very distant from yours. So this is my way of mitigating this distance.

It is incredible that you O Sa??b?, whom Allah SWT has praised in the Qur’an, made a mistake that so many of us in the world make every day; including me. Even more extraordinary are the dire consequences you had to face due to that one thing: PROCRASTINATION. I read the hadith you have narrated. It is as you have yourself said: you are gifted in language. Your silver tongue could have persuaded any person on any matter, any “man of the world” but not the Prophet Muhammad ?. And you knew that, so you chose the truth.

The Tab?k expedition took place in scorching heat over a route of waterless desert against an enemy whom the world feared. Yet, it was not the fear of the enemy which held you back, it was something most of us ignore as a trivial habit. I did too, till I read your story. I could not believe how much I could relate to you!

I also would set out in the morning to make preparations along with them but would come back having done nothing and said to myself ‘I have means enough to make preparations as soon as I like’  And I went on doing this till the time of departure came.”

Yet you still did not intend to stay behind. You wanted to go after them but could not make the decision. You did this once O Sa??b?, I do this every day! As I watch every deadline pass, as I delay my Salah, as I delay good deeds, as I delay doing tawbah, thinking I still have a lot of time….intending to do it, but not now.

However, the price you paid for it, only you truly know. When our Prophet ? left the city, you were left to walk the streets of Mad?nah with the most deceitful people, the hypocrites. Every true Muslim except the physically unfit was gone. You dreaded being equated with the hell-dwellers, while your every breath testified to the Oneness of Allah and the prophet hood of Muhammad ?. And you dreaded His Wrath and His beloved’s anger. You were tempted to make an excuse to RasulAllah ?. How human that impulse was! When I previously used to read about the Sah?bah, I forgot that they were humans too. You all seem so near perfection, that I forgot to marvel at that perfection, taking it as granted. Of course you all were noble. But you were noble while being human. That is why you are such ideal teachers.

While every hypocrite made excuses to RasulAllah ?, you did not. For you possessed something they did not: the light of Eman in your heart. You explained everything to RasulAllah ? in words so sincere that it brings tears to my eyes.

By Allah, there is no valid excuse for me.

You inspired me. There is no comparison between my silly story and your heartrending tale, but it is in these small ways as well that your lives serve as guidance. Once, I missed the deadline for a group project for two reasons: poor time management and procrastination. I wanted to email an excuse to the instructor and my group fellows; but Alhamdulillah, I ended up coming out clean to them. Allah truly aids those who speak the truth. Everything ended wonderfully. However, I wonder if I could have done the same thing if I were facing them personally. That would have required courage of a bigger level. You had the courage to admit your mistake while sitting in front of the most revered man to ever live. The consequences of that were a test for you. A trial that if, had affected anyone like me, he or she would have regretted his decision. Perhaps that is why Allah saves the most difficult battles for His toughest soldiers.

There were just two other people in the same situation. Two Badri Sah?bah[1]. Just the three of you faced a social boycott. How must it have felt to you to enter Masjid e Nabawi five times a day, offer sal?? with the most pious men, walk amongst the kindest people, sit in the most blessed company, all of whom were not allowed to talk to you anymore in the obedience to Prophet’s?  instruction. How must it have felt to have the mercy of worlds ? avert his loving gaze from you. I would have gone insane. Yet you persevered and sought Allah’s forgiveness constantly.

I imagine the fiftieth day of the boycott and wish I could have witnessed it. You were sitting on your rooftop in anguish. The earth seemed straitened to you. Then suddenly the winds of Madinah blew, finally with the proclamation of your maghfirah (forgiveness). A messenger from RasulAllah ? who could not wait cried out from the top of hill Sal’.  You fell down in prostration, but you were not the only one who was so thankful. Soon more Sa??bah came rushing to you, on foot and horseback, to give you glad tidings. How concerned every Muslim had been for you. They were waiting for this news, just as you were. And no one was more anxious than RasulAllah ? whose face glowed “as if it were a part of the moon”. How happy was that day! I wish I could have seen all that, heard that proclaimer’s call, seen my Prophet’s ? beaming face, and witnessed the expression of Sah?bah’s love for you. How sincere was your tawbah that Allah immortalized it in the Quran to be read till the end of times. He honored you and exposed the hypocrites whose deceit was hateful to Him.

I would love to see you Hazrat Ka?b, I really want to. And maybe hand over this letter to you, a letter which I can never hope for you to read except by the mercy of Al-Rahman. A letter for you to read, one day, in Jannah. For I can never expect myself to be anywhere near your place in Jannah, if I ever make it there. However, there is one beautiful hadith that tells me to hope:

You will be with those whom you love”.

May Allah SWT fill my heart with the love of all those dear to Him so that, one day, I can sit near you in the gardens of Jannah and hear your story from your own mouth.

Yours truly,

Khawjah Najeeb Maan

[1] Badri Sahabah: Those who had participated in the battle of Badr.