Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Story Of Alqamah

A friend of mine once asked me how it is possible for me and my little family to live in my mother’s house. Actually, she was wondering about the relationship between my mother and my wife. She was about to start her own family and she will be staying with her in-laws too.

So I gave her a frank answer. I told her that there is no issue between them. On top of that, they have a symbiosis relationship. My mother likes to try new dishes (especially with the new food channels on Astro) and my wife is her official food taster. Whatever dish that my mother makes, my wife will certainly enjoy it.

Come to think about it, preferential choice between our wife and our mother is never easy. However, we are indeed lucky that the correct approach has been highlighted in one of Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) hadith. It is the story of Alqamah. It is a very long hadith but in it, the Prophet (saw) laid down the right priority. That priority must be applied justly. I can do no better than to reproduce the translation of the hadith for us to benefit from it. May Allah grant us the wisdom to benefit the Prophet's wisdom Insya Allah.

The Story of Alqamah

At the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw), there was a young man named Alqamah. He was very diligent in obeying Allah by engaging in prayer and fasting and spending in charity. Then he fell ill and his illness became serious. His wife went to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and said, "My husband, Alqamah, is on his deathbed. I therefore came to tell you, Messenger of Allah (saw), about his condition."

The Messenger of Allah (saw) sent forAmmar ibn Yasir, Suhaib and Bilal ibn Rabah, and told them to go to him (Alqamah) and have him repeat the Shahadah. They went to him and found him in the agony of death. They asked him to say, "La illaha illa Allah," but his tongue was unable to pronounce it. At that, they came and told the Messenger of Allah (saw) that he was unable to repeat the Shahadah.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) asked, "Is either of his parents alive?"

He was told, "Messenger of Allah (saw), his mother is, but she is very old."

The Messenger of Allah (saw) sent her a message that if it was convenient for her (if she was able to go out), she should come to him; otherwise she should stay in her house and the Messenger of Allah (saw) would come to her.

The Messenger of Allah's (saw) messenger came to her and informed her of the Messenger of Allah's (saw) message. She said, "May my life be a ransom for him, it is my pleasure to go to him!"

She stood up, leaning on her walking stick, and came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and greeted him. The Messenger of Allah (saw) returned her greeting and said to her, "Umm Alqamah, tell me the truth, for otherwise Allah Most High will reveal the truth to me! What is the situation concerning your son, Alqamah?"

She replied, "Messenger of Allah (saw), he prays much, fasts a great deal, and spends a great amount in charity."

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "And what about yourself?"

She said, "Messenger of Allah (saw), I am angry with him."

He said, "Why?"

She replied, "Messenger of Allah (saw), he has preferred his wife to me and has disobeyed me."

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Umm Alqamah, surely your anger has prevented Alqamah's tongue from pronouncing the Shahadah."

The Messenger of Allah (saw) then turned to Bilal ibn Rabah and said, "Bilal, go out and collect a quantity of firewood."

She said, "Messenger of Allah (saw), what do you plan to do?" The Messenger of Allah (saw) replied, "I will burn him in front of your eyes."

She said, "Messenger of Allah (saw), he is my son! My heart cannot bear your burning him in front of me!"

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Umm Alqamah, Allah's punishment is more severe and more lasting! Therefore, if you want Allah to forgive him, be reconciled to him. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the prayer, fasting, and spending in charity (which he has done) are of no benefit to Alqamah as long as you are angry with him!"

Thereupon she said, "Messenger of Allah (saw), I call upon Allah Most High and His angels and the Muslims who are present to be my witnesses that I am pleased with my son Alqamah."

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Bilal, go to him and see whether he is now able to say, "La illaha illa Allah" or not. It may be that Umm Alqamah is saying something for my sake which is not in her heart."

Bilal ibn Rabah went, and while entering the door he heard Alqamah saying, "La illaha illa Allah."

Bilal ibn Rabah remarked, "It is surely true that while Alqamah's mother was angry with him his tongue was tied, and now that she is pleased with him his tongue is freed."

Alqamah died the same day. The Messenger of Allah (saw) came to him and gave the order for his washing and shrouding, and then prayed the funeral prayer for him and buried him. The Messenger of Allah (saw) then stood by the side of his grave and said, "You company of Muhajirun (Emigrants) and Ansar (Helpers), if anyone favors his wife over his mother, Allah and His angels and all the people curse him! Allah does not accept his spending (in charity) and his uprightness unless he repents toward Allah, the Glorious and Majestic, and reconciles with her and attains her pleasure, because Allah's pleasure consists in her pleasure and Allah's anger consists in her anger."


We must always be respectful and obedient to our parents but at the same time, the Prophet (saw) said that “The best amongst you, are the best for their wives, and I am the best of you for my wives”.

In my opinion, the story of Alqamah tells us that one’s mother and wife must also play an active part in wanting to have a healthy relationship. Without such sincere intention from both sides, there won’t be any happy relationship and surely the husband’s life would be a living hell. (Na’uzubillah).

Maybe sometimes there may exist some form of tension but if we are sincere in wanting a healthy relationship, it can be resolved. All it needs is just one party to start the ball to roll and if both are sincere, the ball will continue to roll naturally.

I pray that the condition in my house won’t deteriorate. May Allah let us all love each other forever (and let my mother cook for my wife forever too!). At least, I get to taste the benefit and my tummy loves it too! J


Blog adjourned.

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