We all know that most of the Sahabah Radiyallahu Anhum were very eloquent and articulate in giving out descriptions about events that have taken place during their time, hence the learning of ahadith became successfully delivered from generation to generation.
But did you know that there was this woman that gave such beautiful and articulate description on how the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam, that one who studies her description about the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam would still need the help of a dictionary or thesaurus.
Yes, this was the beauty that this wonderful and gracious woman embodied and she was none other than ’Atikah Bint Khalid Al Khuza'iyah or famously known as Umm Ma'bad Radiyallahu Anha.
You’re right, she is the same person whose kunyah is mentioned whenever you study the seerah of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam.
She was the lady who owned the tent where the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam together with Abu Bakr As Sideeq and their guide (the freed-slave of Abu Bakr), ‘Abdullah Ibn Urayqit took a rest at on their journey.
So if you are interested to know the greatest event in history of dawah, which is the Hijrah from Makkah to Medinah, then rest assured you will never miss out her name.
- Zohayma, Stories of The Sahaba
Who was Umm Ma'bad
mm Ma'bad Radiyallahu Anha was a gracious lady who sat at her tent-door with a mat spread out for any chance traveller that might pass by the way.
Was the Prophet (SAW) one such traveller?
Fatigued and thirsty, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam and his companions wanted to refresh themselves with food and some milk. Umm Ma'bad told them that the herd was out in the pasture and the goat standing nearby was almost dry since it was a rainless year.
The Prophet (SAW) and the goat...
The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam touched the goat’s udders, reciting over them the Name of Allah, supplicated, and to their great joy, plenty of milk flowed out of them. After seeing that every companion of his were satisfied and full that was the only time the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam drank and said, “The cup-bearer drinks last.”
Before he left, he milked the goat another time and filled the container and gave it to Umm Ma'bad.
What happened when Abu Ma'bad came home?
After their departure, Umm Ma'bad’s husband, Aktham Ibn Abi Al Jawn Al Khuza'i came herding an emaciated flock of sheep. When he saw the milk in the container he said, “Umm Mab'ad, what is this? Where have you got the milk while there is no goat with milk here?” His wife answered, “A blessed man passed by us.”
Abu Ma'bad who was delighted and have had his senses stimulated by the news told his wife, “Describe him”.
Umm Ma'bads description of the Prophet (SAW)...
Umm Ma'bad told her husband, describing the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam:
“I saw a man who is clearly handsome and with a beautiful face. He is well-built. He is neither blemished by a big belly nor disfigured by an unusually small head. The pupils of his eyes are very dark, the edges of his eyelids are long and the area around the pupils of his eyes is so white. His eyebrows are perfectly close. He has a very dark hair, a rather long neck and a thick beard.
When he kept silent he is always contemplative and when he speaks eminence and splendor show in his words. His words are like sliding stringed pearls. He is a gifted orator whose words are neither too few nor too much. He has the clearest wand and the most audible voice when he speaks. When you look at him from afar, he is the most handsome of all people, and when you move closer to him he is the most pleasant of them.
You will never be tired of looking at him. He is like a branch between two branches.
He is the most handsome of the three and the most important of them. He has Companions who honour him. When he speaks they listen to his words and when he commands they hasten to carry out his order. They serve him and rally around him. He does not frown or nag.”
What happened when Abu Ma'bad heard the description?
After listening to his wife’s account, Abu Ma'bad expressed a sincere wish to accompany the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam whenever that was possible, and composed his admiration in verses of poetry that echoed all over Makkah, to such an extent that the people therein thought it was a Jinn repeating words in their ears.
And indeed it happened, Umm Ma'bad and Abu Ma'bad headed for Madinah, embraced Islam and swore allegiance to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam and kept his company.
Subhan'Allah how beautiful was the description of Umm Ma'bad of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam. We all know that Ali Ibn Abi Talib Radiyallahu Anhu gave the most accurate and most comprehensive description of the Prophet in regards to his physical appearance because he had lived with the Prophet the most and also because he was very fluent and eloquent.
But what is amazing with the description of Umm Ma'bad was she described the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam with such delight that she observed every action of the Prophet and that show was a Bedouin living in an arid land, far from the people’s society yet she had this kind of awareness and accuracy in such field!
Indeed, with Allah Azza Wa Jall are blessings that we will always be amazed and Umm Ma'bad is such a great example of this! Allahu'akbar!
Also it is reported by Al Waqidi that the goat that was milked by the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam lived for many years giving abundant milk.
How blessed is our Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalaam, and how much beauty is there on a silver tongued woman, 'O Umm Ma'bad may Allah be truly pleased of you, you are indeed an inspiration that will continue to live in the hearts of Muslims.
And we pray that Allah Azza Wa Jall makes us appreciate all the blessings He has given us.
Story taken from Zadul-Ma'ad 2/54, Women Around the Messenger pp. 175-180
Recorded by Al-Hakim, and Adh-Dhahabi 3/9
Reported by Al-Baghawi in Sharhus-Sunnah 13/264