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The Heartrending Story of Umm e Rabaya.


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For no less than 27 years for Umm e Rabaya, that day was not to come. For 27 years she lay in wait for her husband, Abu Abdur-Rehman Farokh who as a pious young man had left her pregnant with his child in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, for close to three decades  years she lay in wait, or perhaps given up hope of ever seeing him again, alive.  


Yet all along, she persevered, she brought up her son in the best manner possible with the resources she had, she proved to be a great wife and a mother, but more than that, she proved to be a greater servant of Deen, a strong and intelligent woman, she well knew what it was to live and sacrifice for a bigger cause.


For close to three decades, she didn’t complain about the grievances, or inconveniences caused due to going through the rigors of life and bringing up a kid all by herself, living almost like a widow not knowing whether her husband was alive or dead, she didn’t complain, for she knew Deen didn’t and doesn’t spread by sitting at home, or doing empty talk, or through forums and blogs, for she knew Deen spread through sacrifice of one’s health, wealth and time, by leaving home and hearth, leaving family and relatives you lived with to live and work with total strangers and leaving familiarity and congeniality and embracing change, all for the sake of Deen, for she knew just as the Prophets (Peace be upon them all) did, Deen needed to be spread among the uninformed, the ignorant and even the hostile and for this she knew she had to leave conveniences and adopt inconveniences: Her husband leaving her young and pregnant was a great source of anxiety and inconvenience but she hung on, persevered, showing great patience for she knew this bearing of inconvenience was her sacrifice for the sake of DeenAnd more importantly, a lesson for all Muslim women to come until the Last Day.

She knew Inconvenience is Sacrifice. 





The Heartrending Story of Umm e Rabaya.


A Story Of Patience, Perseverance And Suffering for the Sake of Deen.


She was the mother of Imam Abu ‘Uthman Rabaya Ar-Rai (RA) (obit: 136 H / 753 AD). She was married to a pious young man Abu Abdur Rehman Farokh, a native of Madinah who was the slave of the Bani Tamim.


Imam Rabaya was still unborn when his father Abu Abdur Rehman Farokh had to leave for the campaign of Khurasan. He gave thirty thousand gold coins (in some accounts three thousand) to his wife before he left and told her that the money was all he had. He asked her to keep the money with care.


“I have the intention to enter upon business if I return safe from the battle field. You can spend, however, out of this money in my absence if ever it needs as much as you want. When you shall be blessed with son or daughter after me, let the child be brought up nicely.”



Saying this, he bade farewell to his wife and joined the Muslim troops in Damascus. A chain of conquests had opened loose for Muslims. One campaign after the other until twenty-seven years passed since he had left his home to participate in [email protected] During all those years, neither he could return home nor could establish any contact. A son was born to his wife back home who was named Rabaya.



Umm e Rabaya was a sagacious and farsighted lady. Though the distance between her and her husband had discolored her life yet she brought up her son excellently. She managed a high standard of education for her promising son until all the money her husband had left was spent.



Rabaya turned to be very intelligent and hard working. He memorized the Holy Quran in very early age and within a few years, mastered the learning of Quran, Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence and literature. The fame of his erudition spread across Arabia. He was a recognized as an Imam (authority). People called him Imam Rabaya Ar-Rai. Imam Rabaya delivered his discourse daily in Mosque of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) (Masjid e Nabwi in Madinah Munawwarah) and the seekers of knowledge would come from distant places to attend his lectures.



Some of those learners later became great Imam’s (leaders of Islam) themselves. The prominent among them were
Imam Malik
Imam Sufyan Thori
Imam Awzai


After a long twenty-seven years, Abdur Rehman Farokh could take leave of J!had and set out for his homeland. After a long journey he entered Madinah Munawwarah with elegance, riding on a thoroughbred horse, the sword fastened along his side and a long spear in his 
hand. He knocked at the door with the point of spear.



Imam Rabaya came out.

Both father and the son did not know each other.

Farokh’s hasty and un-hesitant entry into the house was checked by his son Imam Rabaya, who said.


“Who are you to enter my home without permission?” So asked Imam Rabaya.

Abdur Rehman Farokh replied: “I fear, you are not in your senses. I am entering my house not yours. Who are you, poking your nose?!”



The exchange of heated words raised their voices. The neighbors gathered to hear the uproar. Each of them was threatening the other to take him to the higher authorities. Some one informed Imam Malik. He immediately reached. He addressed Abdur Rehman Farokh tenderly and asked why he was entering the house of a noble man and why he does not go somewhere else.


At that, the stranger introduced himself and said. “I am Abdur Rehman Farokh”. This is my own house. I had gone to [email protected]
and now returned after 27 years but no one knows me.


(Pause here and try to feel the pain in his words^ – Blog author)

Hearing the voice of Abdur Rehman Farokh, his wife peeped through the chink of the door and recognized her husband at once.


She called in both Imam Rabaya and Abdur Rehman Farokh to tell Imam Rabaya that the elegant stranger was his father. She told Abdur-Rehman that the son was born a few months after his departure. Both the father and son embraced while the eyes of both were wet with tears of joy.


After he had dined and taken rest, he asked his wife about the thirty thousand gold dinars he had left. The great lady assured him that all the amount was safe.


Meanwhile time came of prayer and the lecture.


Imam Rabaya went to Mosque of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as he heard the Azaan (Call for prayer). The wife asked Abu Abdur Rehman to say prayer in the Nabwi Mosque. He went and saw there a graceful young man surrounded by respectful listeners. The speaker was his own son, the great Imam Rabaya but because he was putting on tarboosh on his head, he could not recognize him from the distance.


He asked someone who the noble man was?

“Do you not know him ?!!” the person said with surprise “He is Imam Rabaya Ar-Rai ibn Abdur-Rehman !!”


An un-narratable happiness overwhelmed him to hear this and the tears welled up from his eyes with gratitude to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.


He spontaneously said, “Great thanks be to Allah who raised the name of my son.”


He came home, delighted and told his wife that the reverence and veneration which was extended to his son, he never observed before anyone else.



“Do you prefer the dignity and respect of your son or the thirty thousand gold coins?” the wife put the meaningful question.


Abdur Rehman replied “I swear by Allah, the thirty thousands is equal to nothing compared to the honor and obedience accorded to him.”


“Then listen, I have spent all that money to educate him and adorn him with these qualities” the wife said.

Abdur Rehman Farokh replied: 
“No better use of the money could be done than this one. You, by spending the money have made my son,
The King of the Empire which has no fear of decline and fall


The.Ijtema® Conclusion


Imam Rabaya is counted among the A’immah Taba’in (The leader Successors to the Companions of the Prophet Muhammed [Peace be upon him]). He was a man of great knowledge. His erudition commanded veneration from most respected scholars, Islamic jurists and even from the kings and queens. He achieved this pride and glory because of the farsightedness, intelligence and most importantly the sacrifice of his mother who did not endear the wealth for the education of her child. Not only this but she proved to be a great servant of Deen, just imagine, 27 years…close to 3 decades spent (pause here and re-read) without the love and support of her husband  all through when she was young and middle aged, if Abdur Rehman Farokh had done that today, he’d have a flurry of fatwas against him and who knows, even protests from Women’s Rights Organizations !! People would even ask: “Is this Deen?”. Nay, this is the result of forgetting the Prophetic efforts.


YES, this is Deen and not for nothing did Allah – the Sustainer of the Worlds reward them with a son who would go on to become the Imam of Imam’s of Fiqh – No less than Imam Malik himself !! Just look how Allah rabbul izzat, right in this world itself, elevated the status of the slaves who committed to the efforts of Deen with sincerity, patience, and steadfastness.


I have seen this happening over and over again in the effort of Tabligh where normal people (slaves of today who are looked down upon by people) and who over generations have never even had a Hafidh of the Quran are now proud parents of Hafidh’s, Qari’s, Aalim’s and Mufti’s – The Imam’s of the Age – Due to the patience and perseverance of the men and more importantly the women of the house – inshaAllah a sign of acceptance. Ameen.


Sources: (Taba’in-Ghulaman Islam)

Leading Ladies: Women Who Made a Difference in the Lives of Others



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