By WAEL HAMZA Dramatized from the authentic hadith narrated by al-Hakim*
A SMALL FRICTION
Rbi3ah ibn Ka3b al-Aslami, a 17 year old young man, a servant of the Messenger (pbuh). He was the one mentioned in my early post, Mega aspiration. He relates a very small but interesting story that happened between him and the great man, Abu Bakr, the one who outweighed the whole community of believers as reflected upon in my other post, number 2 person in the whole community, the very dear and close companion to the prophet, and the first caliph to succeed the Messenger (pbuh). Rabi3ah tells us the story … Abu Bakr and I got into a little dispute about the ownership of an amount of dates: I said it is mine and he said its his. He, then, told me a word that I did not like and he regretted saying it. And this dialog took place … Abu Bakr [regretful for the word he said]: Say it back Rabi3ah so you take your right from me! I said: No, I swear by Allah, I will not say to you except that which is good Abu Bakr: Say it, or otherwise I will take the issue to the Messenger (pbuh) I said: No, I swear by Allah, I will not say to you except that which is good
GETTING THE PROPHET INVOLVED
Abu Bakr left the meeting very determined to take the case to the prophet. I followed him there. While following him, a few people from my tribe, Aslam, asked me about what is going on. When I quickly told them the story, they say, “May Allah forgive Abu Bakr, he is the one who said the word and then escalates to the prophet?!” I told them, “You know who that person is? He is ‘one of the two.**’ Stay away from me, for he may look back seeing your support to me and he gets angry. I am afraid if he gets angry the prophet will get angry for his anger; then Allah will get angry because of their anger. I will, then, perish!” They went away and Abu Bakr went right ahead to the prophet and told him the story. When I came in, this is what happened … Prophet Muhammad [addressing me]: Why did you upset “as-Siddiq” [the most truthful]? I said: He told me a word that I did not like and he wanted me to say it back to him. I refused. The Prophet: Yes Rabi3ah, do not say it to him. Rather, say, “May Allah forgive you Abu Bakr” I said: May Allah forgive you Abu Bakr! Abu Bakr left the meeting CRYING … END OF STORY …
I SAY …
OH MY GOD!!! What a story! and what a people! Let us learn a bit!
- What a community! A community were a 17 year old servant is in a dispute with the number 2 person in the community who is also fifty something years old. This is what made the society a successful society and a safe society. Rabi3a wasn’t afraid that his right will be taken away just because the other party is a political or a religious figure.
- A word can slip. I am very anxious to know what kind of word this is. Knowing Abu Bakr, I am almost sure it wasn’t a big deal. But it slipped. It is very important that we are very mindful of what we say and think before we speak. But we are human beings and things happen. What is as important or more important is that one should be humble enough to admit the mistake and ask for forgiveness. Our ego stops us from admitting such mistakes and gets us into a huge argument of what we meant and legitimizing it. Abu Bakr is the farthest from ego and that is why it was natural for him to regret saying the word and demanding a revenge, not for himself but AGAINST himself.
- Quick repentance is a virtue! Repentance is a virtue. But we delay it for a long period of time. By postponing our repentance we are putting ourselves at a risk of not repenting or die before having the chance to do so. Abu Bakr, on the contrary, cannot imagine living a moment without correcting a mistake he made, even if as simple as a word. As I am amazed by Abu Bakr’s behavior, I am not surprised. A person with the caliber of Abu Bakr with his white, clean record cannot stand living a minute with something that may be a mistake. In other situations, which I will share on other posts, he even repents and asks people’s forgiveness even when he is not at fault.
- The young man was also amazing! Rabi3a is an example of how polite and how courteous a young person should be. Age had its value as the prophet mentioned, “He who does not respect our old and have mercy on our young is NOT one of us.” Also, seniority in Islam and position in the community is something to respect. Acknowledging the fact that Abu Bakr is “one of the two,” the one whom the prophet values and loves, and the second man in the society had value in the heart of Rabi3ah. Young people (including me 🙂 ), LEARN!
- How blessed you are Abu Bakr! Rejoice Abu Bakr with your position in the heart of the prophet. The prophet always puts Abu Bakr, publicly, in this position: “leave my companion alone,” “why did you upset Abu Bakr,” “Except that Allah is my close beloved ‘khalil,’ I would have taken Abu Bakr as such.” I do not know how it feels to have this relationship with the prophet. I am sure all of us would like to be in this position. Even other companions would have hoped to be there. As I acknowledge it is impossible to match or beat Abu Bakr, I say it is required to aspire to be like him.
What a heart Abu Bakr! Leaving such a meeting crying, crying because of a word you have said, crying for the forgiveness given to you by your young brother, or crying because of the high position you have in the hearts of the prophet. I would cry for all of them. Tears come out of my eyes when I read about you and your experience. May Allah give me a heart like yours and grant me kids like Rabi3ah, and gather me with both of you to listen to the wonderful environment you were living in. Amin!!!