On one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) came out of his home during the heat of midday, which was a time when he would normally not emerge, and found Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) in the masjid.

Upon enquiring about the reason for them leaving their homes at such an unusual time, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “I have come out to meet Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), look at his blessed face and make salaam to him (thereby bringing some relief to me, due to the severe hunger that I am experiencing).” Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) also explained that the reason for his emergence was the hunger that he was suffering from. When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) heard their replies, he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “By the Being in Whose control is my soul, the very same reason which has caused you to come out has also caused me to emerge.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then instructed them to come along with him. They proceeded to the house of Sayyiduna Abul Haitham Maalik bin Tayyihaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), an Ansaari Sahaabi who was the first to pledge allegiance on the hands of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) at ‘Aqabah and had also participated in the Battle of Badr and all the other battles.

Although Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) owned many date palms as well as sheep, he did not have a servant and would hence carry out his tasks on his own. Thus, when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) reached his home and asked for him, his wife welcomed Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and informed him that her husband had gone to fetch sweet (drinking) water from the well of the Banu Haarithah tribe and would be back shortly. She opened the door of the orchard, requested Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to enter and spread out a mat under a tree for them to sit on.

Just then Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) arrived carrying a water-bag on his back with difficulty. When he saw Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and his two companions, he joyfully exclaimed, “All praise is for Allah! No person has more honourable guests than me today!” He then placed the water-bag down and embraced Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

Thereafter, he went to one of the date palms and broke a bunch in which were dry, half-ripe and fresh dates. He presented it to them and requested them to partake of it. Looking at the variety of the dates, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Why did you not (merely) pick the fresh dates?” He replied, “(I did so because) I desire that you may choose (from the different types of dates).” After partaking of the dates and drinking the cool water which he had brought, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “By the Being in Whose control lies my soul, this is from the bounties which you will be asked about on the Day of Qiyaamah; cool shade, tasty fresh dates and cool water!”

Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then took a knife and proceeded to slaughter an animal. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) advised him not to slaughter a milk-giving animal (since slaughtering it would deprive him of the milk which he was enjoying from it). He thus slaughtered a young sheep (which was not giving milk), skinned it, cut it into pieces and began cooking it in a pot with water and salt, whilst instructing his wife to bake some barley bread. In the meanwhile, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) lay down and took some siesta.

When the meat and bread were ready, Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) broke the bread into small pieces over the meat and presented it to them. (This dish is known as thareed and was among the favourite foods of Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam]). He offered them water which he had cooled by hanging the water-bag on a date palm and allowing the cool breeze to blow on it, and also presented the bunch of dates which he had initially given them. When their hunger was satiated and their thirst had been quenched, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) addressed Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) saying, “All praise is due to Allah who had caused us to leave (our homes) due to hunger, but we did not return (home) until we had eaten this. This is from the bounties which you will be asked regarding on the Day of Qiyaamah.”

The wife of Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), Sayyidah Ummul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anha), then requested Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) for du‘aa, upon which he mentioned, “May the fasting ones break their fast by you (i.e. at your home), may the pious eat your food, and may the angels make du‘aa for you.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then turned to Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and said, “Don’t you have a servant who can spare you (the trouble of) this (work)?” When he replied in the negative, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) instructed him to visit him as soon as the captives arrive so that he may give him a servant. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then made salaam and left.

Not long thereafter, two captives came in the possession of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thus presented himself and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked him to choose one of them. However, Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) requested that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) choose on his behalf. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) responded saying, “Indeed the one who is consulted is entrusted (with giving the correct opinion). Take this one because I have seen him perform salaah.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also instructed him to treat him well.

Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) returned home (along with his new slave) and informed his wife regarding the advice that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had given about treating the slave well. When she heard this, she remarked, “You will not be able to (perfectly) fulfill the instruction which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has given you regarding him unless you free him.” Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) agreed and thus set the slave free for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala.

When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) learnt of this, he praised the wife of Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) for the excellent advice that she had offered to her husband.

Note: There is a similar narration regarding Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) going to the house of Sayyiduna Abu Ayyoob Ansaari (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Hence, this incident probably took place twice.

(Muwatta Maalik #1673, Saheeh Muslim #5313, Sunan Tirmizi #2369, Majma‘uz Zawaaid #18201, 18202, 18204 & 18207 and Awjazul Masaalik)


1. Although Allah Ta‘ala had offered the wealth and treasures of this world to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), he chose to live a life of simplicity and poverty to such an extent that at times he would experience hunger and starvation. Similarly, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) gave away so much of their wealth in the path of Allah Ta‘ala that they also underwent difficulty.

2. Such was the love that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) possessed for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that he left his home with the intention of bringing relief to himself from the pangs of hunger by meeting Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and looking at his blessed face, as looking at one’s beloved does definitely shift one’s attention away from the difficulty that he may be experiencing. (Awjazul Masaalik vol. 16, pg. 413)

3. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) choosing the home of Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is a great accolade and virtue for him, as it explains the strong relationship that he enjoyed with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the informality that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had with him.

4. Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was extremely delighted to find Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and his two companions at his home. He immediately presented to them a variety of dates and then made arrangements for a proper meal and saw to every other comfort of theirs as well. In the similar manner, we should be happy to receive guests and do our best to make them feel comfortable. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has mentioned, “Whosoever believes in Allah and the last day should honour his guest.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #6018)

5. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) expressed great appreciation to Allah Ta‘ala for these favours that he enjoyed and also reminded Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) twice that they should express gratitude to Allah Ta‘ala for this. How much more appreciation we should be showing to Allah Ta‘ala for the lavish meals and other comforts that we constantly enjoy! We also need to instil in our children the great quality of appreciating the favours and bounties of Allah Ta‘ala.

6. As per his noble habit, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) repaid Sayyiduna Abul Haitham’s (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) hospitality by making du‘aa for him and by gifting him a slave. Exchanging of gifts is an effective means of bringing about love and unity amongst people.

7. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) attached such importance to the words and instructions of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that they would go the extra mile in fulfilling it. Hence, not only did Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) treat the slave well, but he went to the extent of setting him free, despite him needing a slave to carry out his work.

8. The wives of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) fully supported their husbands in practicing Deen and sacrificing for Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, it was the wife of Sayyiduna Abul Haitham (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who encouraged him to free the slave. This had even earned her the praise of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). (Ashraful Wasaail pg. 550) Unfortunately, many a time it is the wife who gets the husband involved in impermissible business transactions and interest-bearing loans, by exerting pressure on him and making demands which are beyond his financial position.

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