mohamed shareef:

Marriage today and example set by the Prophet.

Selecting a Spouse, Arrogance, Pride and Piety

In this post, I present to you a wonderful story about the marriage of one of our beloved prophet’s companions.  This story has within it multiple moral lessons, and requires careful reading and understanding.  This story is narrated by our Imam Abu Ja’far, peace be upon him, and it touches upon issues such as prejudice, racism, tribalism, arrogance, pride, piety and selecting a spouse for our children.

This tradition is very relevant to our contemporary societies and cultures and the conditions that parents set for selecting their children’s spouses.  It helps us notice that unfortunately even nowadays, engraved within many of us, is the tribal thinking from the age of ignorance, before the advent of Islam.  Many, if not most families, still value prestige, social status, beauty and wealth more, if not much more, than one’s piety and righteousness when contemplating about their children’s future spouses.  Our thoughts and values, with regards to selecting a spouse for our children, seem to have regressed back to the age of ignorance, and most of us don’t even recognise its deviant nature.   Many, if not most, of us seem to blindly follow cultural traditions and conditions in terms of marriage and selecting a spouse, and we then wonder, why there are many unsuccessful and unhappy marriages within our cultures and societies.   One of the main reasons is that, we have put the importance of piety on the backseat, and everything else seems to precede and override the spouse’s piety. 

 Let us read the following authentic tradition about marriage and finding a spouse, and then let us contemplate about what we do and what we think about when it comes to selecting a spouse for our children.  Let us not forget that selecting the right spouse for our children is the first step towards helping them have a successful and a happy marriage.

 Without any further ado, here’s a beautiful tradition from Imam Abu Ja’far, peace be upon him.

Narrated by Mohamed Ibn Yehya from Ahmed Ibn Mohamed Ibn Eissa from Al-Hassan Ibn Mahboub from Malek Ibn Attiya from Abu Hamza Al-Thamaly who said:

I was at the home of Abu Ja’far (peace be upon him) when a man arrived and asked his permission to enter. Upon receiving permission, the man entered and presented his greetings. Abu Ja’far welcomed him and asked the purpose of his visit.

The man said:

“May God bless you; I offered a proposal of marriage to so-and-so Ibn Abu Rafei’ for his daughter so-and-so. He turned me away, scorned me and treated me with contempt because of my ugliness, poverty and foreignness. The derogatory attack has greatly disheartened me and made me long for death.”

 Abu Ja’afar (peace be upon him) said:

“Go to him as my herald and tell him: Mohamed Ibn Ali Ibn Al-Hussein Ibn Ali Ibn Abu Taleb (peace be upon him) Asks you to permit the marriage Monjeh Ibn Rabah to your daughter so-and-so and do not reject him.” 

The man leaped up with joy and raced to deliver Abu Ja’far’s message. When he had gone Abu Ja’far narrated:

A man from Al-Yamama called Jubair came to the messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) seeking to embrace Islam. He embraced Islam and became a good Muslim. He was a short man, ugly, poor and destitute and was from the distant land of Sudan. The messenger of Allah embraced him to alleviate his alienation and poverty; he would send food to him, dried dates by the kilo and he clothed him with two robes and instructed him to reside in the mosque and sleep there at night. Thus he remained by the grace of God, until the numbers of poverty-stricken foreigners embracing Islam grew and the mosque became too crowded.

Allah the Most Exalted revealed to His prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “Cleanse your mosque and send out from it those who sleep there at night. Block the doors of all who have doors into your mosque except the door of Ali and the door to Fatima’s (peace be upon them) house. Let no stranger lodge or sleep therein.”

 The Prophet blocked all the doors except the door of Ali and instructed that Fatima’s house remain as it is. The prophet then instructed a shelter to be built and ordered the poor and needy to reside there by both day and night, and there they gathered. The prophet of Allah would give them charity; dates, barley and raisins when he had them. The Muslims were charitable to them, emulating the kindness of the Prophet (PBUH) and give them alms.

The prophet looked at Jubair one day with compassion and love and said, “O Jubair, should you not marry a woman to safeguard your virtue and be a helpmate to you in this world and the hereafter?”

Jubair said to him, “O Prophet of Allah, [upon] my father and mother, who would have me? By Allah, I have no lineage, name, wealth nor beauty. What woman would want me?”

 The Prophet said to him, “Jubair, with Islam, Allah has made those lowly who were noblemen in the age of ignorance, and elevated those who were inferior. Islam has renounced the arrogance and pride of the age of ignorance, the arrogance of tribalism and lineage. Today, all people, white, black, Quraishi, Arab and Ajamy are from Adam and Adam was created by Allah from clay. The most beloved by Allah the Exalted on the Day of Judgment are those most obedient to Him and the most pious. I know of no Muslim better than you, nor more pious or obedient to Allah.”

 He then said to him, “Go to Ziyad Ibn Lubaid for he is the most noble of lineage amongst Bani Bayada and say to him, ‘I am the herald of the messenger of Allah. He instructs you to marry Jubair to your daughter Alzhulfaa.’”

Jubair set out with the Prophet’s message to Ziyad Ibn Lubaid at his home, where he was in the company of some men from his tribe. He requested permission to enter and was granted it. He entered and greeted him upon which he said, “O Zubeid Ibn Lubeid, The messenger of Allah sends me to you as his herald with a request. Shall I reveal it or remain silent?” 

Ziyad said, “Reveal it for it is an honour and privilege to me.” Jubair said, “The Prophet says to you, give your daughter Alzhulfaa to Jubair in marriage.”

Ziyad said, “The prophet has sent you with this?” He said, “Yes, for I would not lie about the messenger of Allah.” Ziyad said, “We give our daughters in marriage only to the best amongst us of the Ansar. Depart, Jubair, and I will go to the Prophet and inform him of my reason.”

Jubair departed saying, “By Allah, not for this was the Quran revealed nor the prophethood of Mohammed (pbuh).” Alzhulfaa heard his utterance in her seclusion and sent for her father to come to her.

 When he came to her she said,

“What is this I heard you saying to Jubair?” He said, “He informed me that the messenger of Allah sent him, telling me ‘Give your daughter Alzhulfaa to Jubair in marriage.’”

She said to him, “By Allah, Jubair would not lie about the messenger of Allah. Send a herald to bring back Jubair.” Ziyad sent a herald who brought back Jubair. Ziyad said to him, “Welcome to you. Rest assured; I will return shortly.” 

Ziyad set off to see the Prophet (pbuh) and said to him, “Upon my father and mother, Jubair came to me with your message, saying, ‘the messenger of Allah instructs you to give you daughter Alzhulfaa in marriage to Jubair.’ I gave him not my consent and came to see you, for we do not give our daughters in marriage except to the best amongst us.” 

The Prophet said to him, “O Ziyad, Jubair is a believer; a believing man is best for a believing woman and a Muslim man is best for a Muslim woman. Give him consent to marry and do not reject him.” 

Ziyad returned to his home, went to his daughter and informed her what he had heard from the Prophet. She said “If you disobey the messenger of Allah you would be a disbeliever. Give me in marriage to Jubair.”

Thus he went out, took Jubair’s hand, brought him before his people and gave him in marriage according to the law of Allah and His prophet and pledged a dowry. Ziyad prepared for her marriage and his people gave her wedding gifts; they sent for Jubair and said, “Have you a house that we may bring her to you?” He said, “By Allah I have no house” And so they prepared a house for her with a bed and furnishings and provided Jubair with two new robes.

 Alzhulfaa was taken to her home and Jubair was brought in blindfolded. Upon seeing her and noticing  the house, furnishings and fragrant scent, he moved to a corner of the house and proceeded to recite the Quran, kneeling and prostrating until dawn. Upon hearing the call to prayer he went out. His wife performed ablutions and accompanied him to attend the morning prayers.

She was asked, “Has he touched you?” She responded, “He continued to recite the Quran, kneeling and prostrating until he heard the call to prayer and went out.” The next night he did the same and they hid this from Ziyad. 

Upon his doing the same on the third night, her father was informed. He went to the Prophet (pbuh) and said:

 “O messenger of Allah, you ordered me to give my daughter to Jubair when he was not of our people and I did so out of obedience for you.”

 The Prophet said, “What has displeased you about him?”He said, “We prepared a home and furnishings for him. I took my daughter to that home and he was led inside blindfolded. He spoke not to her nor did he approach her, but went into a corner and proceeded to recite the Quran, kneeling and prostrating until he heard the call to prayer and went out. He did the same on the second and third night. He has not touched nor spoken to her until this moment. We think he is not inclined to women, so resolve this affair.”

 The prophet sent for Jubair and said to him, “You do not have a passion for women?” 

Jubair said, “Meaning am I not virile? Verily, I have a great lust for women.” 

The prophet said, “I have been informed the contrary of how you describe yourself. I have been told that a house was prepared for you, with a bed and furnishings in which a pretty, scented girl awaited you. You were taken inside blindfolded. You looked not at her nor did you speak or approach her; what is amiss with you?”

Jubair said, “O messenger of Allah, I entered a spacious house; I saw a bed, furnishings and a lovely scented girl. I remembered my situation and my alienation, my poverty and lowly station amongst the poor and needy. Upon seeing how Allah has favoured me I desired to thank Him for His blessings and express my deep gratitude. I went to the side of the house and proceeded to pray and recite the Quran, kneeling and prostrating myself in thanks to Allah until I heard the call to prayer. I decided to fast that day in thanks, and continued to fast for three days in gratitude for what Allah has given me; but I shall satisfy her and them tonight, by the will of Allah.”

 The prophet sent for Ziyad and informed him what he had heard, and this found favour with them, and Jubair kept his word.

 At a later time, the Prophet went out to battle accompanied by Jubair who was martyred, may Allah have mercy on him, and Al-Ansar knew no bigger loss amongst them after Jubair.


Al-Kafi, Volume 5, Page 339, Tradition #1