Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine


 JAMADI-AWWAL / JAMADI THANI
JUNE 2004
Volume 17-06 No : 210

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Hadith


The Prophet's (Pbuh) Concern for his Companions

The Prophet’s (Pbuh) Concern for his Companions

Anas reports: “I took Abdullah ibn Abu Talhah to the Prophet the day he was born. The Prophet was wearing his top garment and applying tar to his camel. The Prophet asked me if I had a few dates and I answered that I had some. I gave him a few and he chewed them a little before opening the baby’s mouth and putting the dates in his mouth. The baby sucked them. The Prophet said: ‘How the Ansar love dates!’ He named the child Abdullah.” (Related by Al-Bukahri, Muslim, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah).

Commentary by Adil Salahi

The Prophet (peace be upon him) always took extra care of his companions, sharing in what pleased them and blessing what they had. Thus, they felt that they were very close to him, and he tried to help them in every respect. Such care is summed up by Asma bint Umays who said to Umar shortly after her return from Abyssinia: “You were with God’s Messenger (peace be upon him) who fed those of you who were hungry and admonished the ignorant, while we were in the land of hostile strangers, staying there only for the sake of God and His Messenger.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Indeed we see the truth of her description in every aspect of relation between the Prophet (Pbuh) and his companions. They put to him their problems and he did his best to alleviate their troubles, and shared in their pleasures. Perhaps the happiest moment of any person’s life is that of the birth of a child. When a baby is born, the parents’ first wish is that their baby should have a happy life, free of trouble.

This was true of the Prophet’s companions, as much as it is true of all loving parents. Abu Talhah was a companion of the Prophet who was close to him, and he fought hard in the Battle of Uhud to defend him when the unbelievers’ attack concentrated on trying to kill him. His step-son, Anas, served the Prophet for the length of his stay in Madinah, i.e. ten years. Anas reports: “I took Abdullah ibn Abu Talhah to the Prophet the day he was born. The Prophet was wearing his top garment and applying tar to his camel. The Prophet asked me if I had a few dates and I answered that I had some. I gave him a few and he chewed them a little before opening the baby’s mouth and putting the dates in his mouth. The baby sucked them. The Prophet said: ‘How the Ansar love dates!’ He named the child Abdullah.” (Related by Al-Bukahri, Muslim, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah).

We see here how the Prophet’s companions’ love for their children prompted them to send a newborn to the Prophet so that he would bless the child and pray for him. They knew that every prayer the Prophet said for anyone would be answered in the broadest and most complete way. We see also the Prophet very pleased with the child, responding to the parents’ wish. In one of the versions of this Hadith, Anas was told to take the baby to the Prophet “so that he gives him his finger to suck”, hoping that this would be a blessing for the child.

This version mentions that “the first thing the child swallowed was the Prophet’s saliva.” But in the version we have quoted, the child sucked the dates the Prophet had chewed a little, giving the same effect. The Prophet also blessed the child and named him.

It is interesting to ask what sort of man the child grew up to be. We have several reports, such as the one by Anas who says: “He was one of the best people in his time.” Al-Asbahani says: “He died a martyr in Persia.” Others, however, mention that he died in Madinah in 84 AH. Hadith scholars grade him as reliable but he reported only a few Hadiths.

Following such examples, it is only natural that people should request the most God-fearing people they know to bless their newly born children. Mu’awiyah ibn Qurrah reports: “When my son Iyas was born, I invited some of the Prophet’s companions and served them a meal. They prayed for me. I said: ‘You have prayed for me, and may God bless you for your prayer concerning my property. Now I am saying a prayer and hope that you will join me. I prayed long for my son, so that he would be a man of faith, and would have a sound mind, etc. I certainly see in him that God has answered our prayers on that day.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).On a totally different subject the following Hadith mentions some desirable practices. Abu Hurayrah quotes the Prophet as saying: “Five practices are naturally sound: trimming one’s moustache, clipping one’s nails, shaving the pubic area, plucking armpit hair, and brushing one’s teeth.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nassaie and Ibn Majah).

Scholars differ on whether it is preferable to shave the moustache or only to trim it. Many of them prefer that it should be shaved or trimmed very short, so as one’s upper lip is clear. What is certainly unacceptable from the Islamic point of view is to leave one’s moustache to grow over one’s lips and cover them. It thus becomes unhygienic as it would gather germs and would dip in one’s drink. Not so is the beard which is more desirable to grow. However, the Prophet makes it clear that we should take care of our hair, not leaving it to grow wild. This applies to facial hair as much as it applies to hair over one’s head. Hence, if one is having a beard, one should keep it tidy, and not allow it to grow very big as some people do.

As for the other practices, they are all part of normal hygiene. If one left one’s nails too long, they would gather dust and dirt, and if pubic hair is not shaved, the area becomes too smelly. Armpit hair also smells badly if left for long, without being plucked or shaved periodically. As for brushing one’s teeth, this is a very important part of hygiene. The Prophet used to brush his teeth often, several times a day. He used a miswak, which is a tooth stick, similar to a toothbrush. Today, we can use a toothbrush and toothpaste.

How often should one attend to each of these? We have a report that Abdullah ibn Umar, who always followed the Prophet’s guidance wherever possible, used to clip his nails once a fortnight, and to shave his pubic hair once a month.

The same applies to plucking armpit hair. As for trimming one’s moustache, it should be done as necessary so as to ensure that it does not grow long. The Prophet brushed his teeth more than once every day.

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