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In the Footsteps of Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam)

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(Abu Muslim Al-Khawlaani [rahimahullah] #1)

Towards the end of the blessed life of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), there was a man named Aswad ‘Anasi who took over Yemen by force and proclaimed prophethood. Among the people that he summoned was Abu Muslim Al-Khawlaani (rahimahullah).  

When Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) stood before him, he asked him, “Do you testify that Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the Rasul of Allah?” Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) replied, “Yes.” Aswad ‘Anasi next asked him, “Do you testify that I am the Rasul of Allah?” To this question, Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) replied, “I cannot hear.”

Aswad ‘Anasi thereafter repeated the same two questions to Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) for a second and third time and received exactly the same answers. Aswad ‘Anasi was now frustrated and had realized that Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) would not accept his self-proclaimed prophethood. He thus issued the command for a large fire to be lit. Once the fire was ignited and blazing, Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) was seized and cast into its depths! However, by the command of Allah Ta‘ala, the fire did not harm him. When the followers of Aswad ‘Anasi witnessed this, they said to him, “If you leave Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) in your land, he will cause corruption (i.e. the story of the fire not harming him will spread and he will cause people to turn away from you)”. Aswad ‘Anasi heeded their advice and commanded Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) to leave his land. Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) thus departed and set out for Madeenah Munawwarah.

When Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) arrived in Madeenah Munawwarah, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had already departed from this world and Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had been appointed as the khaleefah. Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) proceeded to Musjid Nabawi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and began to perform salaah near one of the pillars. After some time, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) caught sight of him and asked, “Where are you from?” Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) replied, “From Yemen.” Hearing this, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked, “What has the enemy of Allah (i.e. Aswad ‘Anasi) done with our friend who was cast into the fire without it harming him?” Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) replied, “Here he is, ‘Abdullah bin Thuwab.” When he heard this, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) exclaimed, “I ask you in the name of Allah Ta‘ala, are you really the same person?” When Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) confirmed that he was, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) kissed him between his eyes and thereafter proceeded with him to Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

When they came to Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) seated Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) between himself and Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). He then said, “All praise is due to Allah Ta‘ala who did not take my life before he allowed me to see, in the Ummah of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), a person who underwent the same experience as Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam).” (Sifatus Safwah vol. 2 pg. 370)

Lessons:

1. Just as Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) was firm in his imaan before the tyrant king, Namrood, Abu Muslim (rahimahullah) remained firm in his imaan and refused to support the false prophet, Aswad ‘Anasi. As a result, Allah Ta‘ala saved him from the fire, allowing him to follow in the blessed footsteps of Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam).

2. When the followers of Aswad ‘Anasi beheld the miraculous sight of the fire not harming Abu Muslim (rahimahullah), instead of recognizing the power of Allah Ta‘ala and realizing that they were in the wrong, they foolishly remained stubborn in their disbelief. In a similar vein, there are times in our own lives when Allah Ta‘ala sends us a ‘wake-up call’. Be it a close call with death or the demise of one who is near and dear, these ‘reminders’ are inspiration and encouragement for us to reform and come closer to Allah Ta‘ala. If we accept the encouragement, it will be to our own benefit, and if we reject it and remain obstinate in our sins, we will harm none but ourselves. 

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