Strength, a Product of Soul’s Purification


Asalamoalaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

The past few days have been difficult for me because of several reasons. Maybe it’s the ‘end-of-semester’ stress plaguing my body,or  maybe it’s lack of high level of Iman. Whatever it is, it’s been afflicting my body in a form of constant muscular aches. Not that I’m complaining. Alhamdolilah. It’s just that I have so much to do and sometimes commuting back and forth and running around on campus seems like an impossible task.

I have been questioning my strength and have been asking myself whether I should blame my feminity for being fragile. However, amidst these misleading thoughts, alhamdolilah, I stumbled upon a wonderful hadith:

Anas (radiAllahu anhu) said, “On the day of Uhud, when some of the people ran away from the Prophet, Abu Talhah stood before the Prophet, defending him with a shield. Abu Talhah was a highly-skilled archer, and on that day he broken two or three bows. Whenever a man passed by who had a quiver full of arrows, he would say, ‘Give it to Abu Talha.’ […]”

Anas further added, “I saw Aisha bint Abi Bakr and Umm Sulaym, both of whom who had tucked up their garments in a way that their anklets were not visible. They were carrying waterskins on their backs and were pouring water into the mouths of people. They would go back and fill the waterskins again, then come and pour water into the mouths of the people again. Abu Talha’s sword fell from his hands two or three times because of exhaustion.” [Faath Al Baari,7/361, Kitaab Al Maghaazi; Muslim, 12/18420; Ideal Muslimah pp.97-98]

The two women(may Allah be pleased with them both) were doing all this in the intense heat of the Hijaaz climate! They didn’t sit down and let the men do all the work. They didn’t worry about how they looked and they definitely didn’t care about any physical hindrance that definitely was there.

Imagine carrying a waterskin! It’s almost like carrying huge water bottle! I remember I had trouble doing that when I was working in a lab two summers ago and I had to use a cart and bring a 11L water bottle to the lab. The pushing part was hard because I had to bring it from the basement but what was even harder was lifting this bottle and placing it onto the working bench. I remember how physically demanding it was for me even though I had to do that once every two weeks. SubhanAllah! And the Companions of the Prophet were doing this back and forth tirelessly! They didn’t have meals three times a day, every single day, every single week and yet look at their strength! And they weren’t even doing it for themselves, they were helping out others in such a dangerous battle zone! Is this the pinnacle of Iman or what?

Ladies these days think that ‘equality’ to men lies in working in every field that a man works in at the expense of their modesty. What they don’t realize is that a true Muslimah is one who has the strength to withstand any physically demanding situation especially when it comes to doing anything for the Sake of Allah…(of course not at the expense of one’s modesty).

And whatever a Muslimah does should be for the Sake of Allah. This includes studying, working, cooking, raising children, writing etc. Therefore, I feel there’s a great lesson in just this one hadith. The Islamic History is filled with the stories of patience when it comes to women. Do you know who the first martyr was? Find out if you don’t already know! It was a Muslimah! SubhanAllah.

What about Pharoah’s wife who was tortured brutally? Recall what she asked of Allah:

“My Lord! Build for me, in nearness to You, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from the Pharoah and his doings, and save me from those who do wrong.” [Quran 66:11]

I know there’s a long way to go before I have such exalted character. But what I should not forget is that Allah has given me so many examples in the Seerah and the Quran not just to fascinate me or for my intellectual stimulation. These role models are there because Allah wants me and all the Muslimahs to emulate them, to try to be like them.

And when thoughts like these come, I get pumped up to overcome whatever challenge lies ahead of me InshAllah.

Truly, the only way to gain strength is through purification of one’s soul, especially when it gets clouded by doubts.

“By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it and by its enlightment as to its wrong and its right-truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!” [Quran, 91: 7-10]

[A gentle reminder to myself and then to everybody else]

And Allah Knows Best.

But how is this purification achieved? Stay tuned for the next post InshAllah =]


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