Rahmatullah Khan Shakir (1901-2000), Former Assistant Editor and Manager of Al Fazl
Waking up for Tahajud
About Hazrat Abu Hurairahra, it is recorded that he accepted Islam at a young age and to wake up for Tahajud was his favourite activity. His family consisted of three members only, i.e. himself, his wife and a servant. This noble family had divided their night-time into three equal portions, whereby the whole night was spent in worship. They would wake up in turns and spend their time in worship. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-At‘imah, Bab Al-Fatha‘u bir-Ratb)
Hazrat Haramra bin Malhan would deliver dars of the Holy Quran at night and spend his time in worship. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Imarah, Bab Thubut al-Jannati lish-Shahid)
Sleeping on the floor of mosque to wake up for Fajr
Even at a young age, Hazrat Abdullahra bin Umar was a very righteous and pious man. At night, he used to lie down on the floor of the mosque to be able to wake up for prayer in the morning. He had no interest in mundane fascinations and had full control over his emotions. The Holy Prophetsa was quite impressed by his prayerfulness and piety and gave expression to it. Once, he remarked before Hazrat Hafsahra that Abdullah was a righteous young man. (Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, p. 30; Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salat)
It has already been related that Hazrat Ikrimahra bin Abu Jahl had vowed after accepting Islam that he would serve Islam twice as much as he had worked against Islam earlier. The achievements he had on the battlefield in favour of Islam and the way he fought on every occasion is recorded in Islamic history. Besides that, very wholeheartedly, he kept his vow in regard to worship as well. Being a disbeliever, he had prostrated himself before idols of which he felt extreme remorse and was extremely restless and anxious to remove the stigma. So he prostrated his forehead before the Almighty Allah in such a way that he compensated all the bygone slips.
Authorities on biographies admit that he laboured for worship. He was madly in love with the Holy Quran and placing it on his face, he would cry profusely and say, “Kitabu Rabbi, Kitabu Rabbi”, i.e. “the Book of my Lord”. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 567, Zikr Ikrimah; Sunan Darmi, Kitab Faza‘il-ul-Quran, Bab fi Ta‘ahidil-Quran, p. 207)
Hazrat Abu Talhahra
Hazrat Abu Talhahra accepted Islam in his teenage years, but through worship, he had attained so high a standing in righteousness that even senior Companions would request him for supplication. On account of his profuse worship, he was called “Sajjad” – the one who prostrates a lot. (Mustadrak Hakim, Kitab Ma‘rifatus-Sahabah, Zikr Manaqib Talhah bin Ubaidullah At-Taimi)
Hazrat Abu Sufyanra
There’s no need to discuss how staunch an enemy Hazrat Abu Sufyan had been before accepting Islam. But after it, he became a living paragon of Islamic teachings. Most of his night and day hours would be spent in worship; for this reason, the Holy Prophetsa called him a youth among the youths of the Jannah. (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Zikr Abu Sufyan)
Concern for prayers
Hazrat Shaddad bin Ausra accepted Islam at a young age, and from then on, he was a very pious and devout believer. For long hours at night, he would remain in Salat. Mostly, he would get up from his bed again to busy himself in Salat, considering that he may not have done justice to the worship of God, so much so that sometimes, for the whole night, he prayed and kept himself occupied in worship. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 2, p. 355)
Nafl upon leaving and entering the house
Hazrat Abdullahra bin Rawahah’s wife relates that before going out, and after coming in the house, he would offer two rak‘aat [units] nafl [voluntary] prayer. (Tarikh Medina Dimashq, Vol. 28, p. 91)
Hazrat Huzayfara bin Yaman
Hazrat Huzayfara bin Yaman was a young Companion. He was very much enthusiastic in devotion and once, he prayed for the whole night in the company of the Holy Prophetsa. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salat, Bab ma Yaqular-Rajulu fi Raku‘ihi wa Sujudihi)
Acknowledging young companion’s piety
Hazrat Ataabra bin Usaid, too, was a young Companion. At the time of his death, he was only 25-26. But due to his piety and devotion, he was counted among the senior Companions. He had attained a high status on account of his devotion in worship. Due to his piety, the Holy Prophetsa appointed him the revenue collector of Mecca. At his appointment, the Holy Prophetsa said that if he had found a more appropriate man than Ataab, he would have appointed him for that office. In 8 A.H. he was appointed the first Amir of Hajj. (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 8, p. 8)
Reluctance to partake of worldly riches
Though Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf was a very rich man, his heart was permeated with the fear of Allah and piety. Instead of becoming a trial for him, the amenities of the world proved to be faith-enhancing for him. Frequently he would discuss the majesty and awe of God Almighty with tears rolling down his cheeks.
Once, after a fast, when the meal was laid out before him in the evening, he started crying and observed, “Mus‘ab bin Umair was better than me, but when he was martyred, he had only one sheet of cloth to cover his body. If his head was covered, his feet would be exposed and if his feet were covered, his head would be revealed. Similarly, when Hazrat Hamzara was martyred, the same was the situation. But now, an abundance of means is available to us and we have an abundance of amenities of the world. I am afraid that we may be rewarded in this very world. He was so overwhelmed by emotions that he withdrew his hand from the meal.”
He would offer his Prayers very fervently, especially before the Zuhr prayer, he would offer very lengthy optional prayer. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, Bab Ghazwah Uhud)
Hesitation in performing a “novel” form of prayer
The Companions would always try to follow the subtle ways of righteousness. And they were very conscious of not treading on the wrong.
Once, some Companions had to lodge in a village during the course of a journey. The chief of the village was bitten by a snake. The people of the village, surmising their religiousness from their getup, requested the Companions to do something for the patient. The Companions recited Surah al-Fatihah and blew on him; as a result, the patient recovered.
In lieu of this, they presented something as a gift to them. When the question of its distribution among them arose, some of the Companions objected that the Holy Prophetsa had forbidden from blowing as charm. “Therefore”, they said, “he must be consulted before its distribution. Maybe the use of such an earning is unlawful and we become sinful.”
On their return the Holy Prophetsa remarked, “It is not a charm. You may distribute it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tib, Bab Ar-Riqa bi-Fatihatil-Kitab)
Fear of God at signs of severity in nature
Despite being very brave and valiant, the Companions were always fearful of the Majesty of God Almighty. Hazrat Anasra bin Malik relates that in the time of the Holy Prophetsa, whenever a fierce wind blew, the Companions, trembling with the fear of God, would rush to the mosque. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salat, Bab al-Salatu inda zulmati wa nahwiha)
Fear of God upon reflecting over the dead
Hazrat Uthmanra was always so fearful of God Almighty that tears would roll down his cheeks whenever there passed a funeral before him. Whenever he passed through the graveyard, his beard would soak with tears due to crying. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 1, p. 64)
Despite the fact that Hazrat Alira was very young when he accepted Islam, he was a righteous and pious person. Without going into its detail, only this much will suffice to say that Hazrat Aishara reports, “So far as I know, he frequently observed fasts and worshipped profusely.” (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Manaqib, Bab ma ja‘a fi fazli Fatimah)
Hazrat Zubairra bin Saeed reports that according to his observation, no Hashimite was more worshipful than Alira. (Mustadrak Hakim, Kitab Ma‘rifah al-Sahabah, Bab min manaqib Ali bin Abi Talib)
Hazrat Abdullahra bin Zubair was very young in the time of the Holy Prophetsa, but was very prayerful. He offered the Prayer so attentively that he appeared to be like a lifeless pillar (in Prayer). His ruku‘s were so long that the whole of Surah al-Baqarah could be recited in it. He would be so engrossed in his prostrations that birds would perch on his back. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 138)
Not only men, but women too exhibited equal devotion in worship and attainment of divine pleasure. Women could never bear to lag behind men in attaining taqwa.
Accompanied by other women, when Hazrat Asmara bint Yazeed presented herself to the Holy Prophetsa to pledge the covenant, she submitted, “O Prophetsa of Allah! I want to say something on behalf of the Muslim women.” She said, “We too have pledged the covenant at your hand, but our state is different from that of men. The men can join in the congregational Prayers, Friday prayer and the funeral prayer. They can visit the sick and most important of all, they fight in the way of Allah. But we observe purdah, therefore cannot perform such acts of virtue. We stay at home and bring up children, protect the wealth and other valuables of our men. In this case, shall we be rewarded for all this?”
Addressing the Companions, the Holy Prophetsa asked, “Have you ever heard a woman presenting her case as well as she has presented?” They replied in the negative. The Holy Prophetsa said to Hazrat Asmara that if the wives honoured matrimonial rights and obeyed their husbands, then they would get as much reward as the husbands. (Usdul-Ghabah, Zikr Asma bint Yazid Al-Ashhaliyyah, Vol. 6, p. 19)
(Translated by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, Missionary in Ghana, from the original Urdu, Muslim Nau-jawanon kay Sunehri Karnamey)