Women and Islam
Loving the Prophet’s Family
After the tragic events of Karbala, a righteous man was appointed to escort the surviving members of the Prophet’s family (Ahl Al-Bayt) to Madinah. Throughout this arduous journey across the Arabian deserts, he tended to the needs of this noble family, treated them with kindness, and served them with sincerity. When their caravan reached Madinah, Sayyidatuna Fatimah Al-Sughra, the younger sister of Sayyidatuna Zaynab and the daughter of Sayyiduna Ali رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم, said, ‘This individual has looked after us throughout the journey; we should repay his kindness.’ Sayyidatuna Zaynab رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا replied, ‘We have nothing to give except our jewellery.’ Without any delay, both sisters removed their jewellery and handed them to the kind man while apologising for not offering anything more. Taken aback by this warm gesture, the man returned the gift, remarking, ‘If I had served you for worldly gain, then no doubt, I would readily accept your gift. However, I did what I did for the sake of Allah Almighty and because of your proximity with the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم,’ (Al-Kamil fi Tareekh, vol. 3, p. 440).
Loving and respecting the Prophet’s family are hallmarks of perfect faith and signs of being genuinely devoted to their forefather, the Final Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم; it is a duty for all of us that is prescribed in multiple hadith. For example, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘Make it binding on yourself to love us, the Ahl Al-Bayt, because the person who meets Allah Almighty [on the Day of Judgement] while loving us will enter Paradise through our intercession,’ (Mu’jam Awsat, vol. 1, p. 606, Hadith 2230). He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم also said, ‘Whosoever treated a member of my family in a good manner, I will reward him for that on the Day of Judgement,’ (Al-Kamil li Ibn ‘Adi, vol. 6, p. 425).
The lives of the pious predecessors are filled with practical examples for us to learn how to love and respect the Prophet’s family. For example, when a descendent (sayyid) of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم visited Sayyiduna Umar b. Abdul Aziz رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه regarding a matter, he said to the sayyid, ‘Whenever you have a need, ask for me or write to me; I feel ashamed when I see you standing at my door,’ (Noor-ul-Absar, p. 129). As a contemporary example, Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat ‘Allamah Muhammad Ilyas Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ shows much love and respect towards the living descendants from the Prophet’s family. If he learns that a sayyid is present during a meeting, he will kiss his hand, sit next to him, and show a great deal of love and affection towards his children.
True devotion to Allah Almighty and the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has tangible effects that are visible in a person’s behaviour. Loving the Prophet’s family and revering his offspring are natural effects of such true devotion. Set your heart alight with unbound love for the Prophet’s family, honour them, treat them in the best manner, and hold them in esteem. When appropriate, give gifts to the sayyids living in your neighbourhood. In particular, support those sayyids struggling financially, but remember to be thoughtful when doing this; never let them feel inferior or embarrassed. Invite them to events in your home and make them a part of your celebrations. Visit them in times of joy and grief, and at the time of need, help them in every way possible.