Why do we insist on working around the lifestyle prescribed in the Qur’an and sunnah?
By Umme Aiyman
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Once during winter, when the days were short and nights long, we had a study assignment for my degree in nutrition and dietetics. It was to visit a 5 star hotel in a nearby town and write an article on their kitchen. I did take permission for the trip, but on the day itself, my dad was busy and my brother was away for a meeting. My friend Sarah was in a similar situation but she didn’t wait for her dad to return from a field trip. So, she decided to go for the assignment, taking her seven-year-old brother along. I reminded her of the hadith in which RasoolAllah ﷺ instructed women to not travel without a mahram*. She replied that the city really wasn’t so far away and well, she did have her younger brother with her. She would return by the evening without any trouble at all.
This made me wonder: why do people find it difficult to follow the Sunnah, which is for our own good? Why are women in Saudi Arabia and people around the globe so keen that women drive? Isn’t it more safe to be in a company of mahram while traveling and driving? This flow of thoughts was abruptly ended by the ringing of my phone.
It was Sarah, informing me that she was on her way to the hotel and would return by the 5pm bus. I made dua for her and she for me and I bid her farewell.**
Lunch time was over and the rest of the afternoon passed by. At around 5:30, I was sitting in the garden sipping a cup of tea, thinking to myself: Sarah might be home by now. I wondered how her visit went and what points she might have collected. She would complete her assignment earlier! With all this on my mind, I was expecting a call from her anytime now. But the call didn’t come. After some more time passed, I began to get worried. I decided to call her and to make my worries worse the response was: “The number you are trying to reach is switched off”.
My heart skipped a beat … her phone was never switched off. Ya Allah! What could be the reason? Hurriedly, I caller her mom. She too was surprised to get a “phone not reachable” message. I and my parents reached her place and frantically called all our known contacts to try to track her whereabouts, but with no success.
Finally, we decided to call the bus station. That’s when we found out that the bus had a breakdown en route and the passengers were being transported in another bus, which had caused the delay.
Alhamdulillah! At last we were relieved to get some information and anxiously waited for her to return with constant duas on our lips. Dad went to pick her up from the bus station and soon she was home, safe. That’s when we found out that during the commotion of changing buses, Sarah had lost her phone.
But just imagine: what if this had happened at night? Or if there was no bus immediately available to transport the passengers? She would have been forced to stay at a location surrounded by strangers. What if there were no other women on the bus, except her? What if there was no help around?
Is it not wise to be happy within the folds of Islam and hold fast on to the Sunnah?
In fact, it is the way of obedience to Allah.***
Disclaimer: The story is not based on a real-life incident.
* Ibn ‘Abbaas (رضي الله عنه) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said:
No woman should travel except with a mahram, and no man should enter upon her unless a mahram of hers is present.” A man said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I want to go out with such and such an army and my wife wants to go for Hajj.” He said: “Go out (for Hajj) with her.”
(Al Bukhaari 1729 and Muslim 2391)
**Hisnul Muslim: Supplication of the traveller for the resident
أَسْتَوْدِعُكُمُ اللَّهَ الَّذِي لَا تَضِيعُ وَدَائِعُهُ
‘Astawdi’ukumul-laahal-lathee laa tadhee’u wadaa’i’uhu
I leave you in the care of Allah, as nothing is lost that is in His care.
*Ahmad 2/403, Ibn Majah 2/943)
Supplication of the resident for the traveller
أَسْتَوْدِعُ اللَّهَ دِينَكَ، وَأَمَانَتَكَ، وَخَوَاتِيمَ عَمَلِكَ
‘Astawdi’ullaaha deenaka, wa ‘amaanataka, wa khawaateema ‘amalika.
I leave your religion in the care of Allah, as well as your safety, and the last of your deeds.
(Ahmad 2/7, At-Tirmizi 5/499)
*** In the Qur’an, Allah describes obedience to the Prophet (peace be upon him) as being a part of obedience to Him.
مَّن يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّـهَ ۖ وَمَن تَوَلَّىٰ فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا
He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah; but those who turn away – We have not sent you over them as a guardian.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ
O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger …