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Why do you not be like the old woman of the Banu Israaeel?


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Seizing the opportunity
On one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) visited a Bedouin who received him warmly and honoured him. So, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) bade him to also visit him.
Accordingly, the Bedouin visited Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to him, “If you have any need, you may ask me.” The Bedouin replied, “I want a she-camel to use as a conveyance, and a few goats for my family to milk.”
Hearing the reply of the Bedouin, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) addressed the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and said, “Why do you not be like the old woman of the Banu Israaeel?” The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) asked, “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Who was the old woman of the Banu Israaeel and what was her incident?”
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied by mentioning the following incident: ‘When Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) departed from Egypt with the Banu Israaeel, they could not find the road (which they needed to travel on). So Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) asked the Banu Israaeel, “What is the matter (i.e. why is it that we cannot find the road)?” The learned among the Banu Israaeel answered, “When Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam) was close to passing away, he made us pledge in the name of Allah Ta‘ala that we will not leave Egypt, without taking his body with us.” Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) asked them, “Who knows the location of the grave of Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam)?” They replied that an old woman knew the location. Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) thus sent for her.
When the old woman arrived, Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) requested, “Guide me to the grave of Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam).” However, the old woman responded, “(I will not guide you to the grave) until you give me what I want.” Nabi Musa (‘alaihis salaam) asked her, “What is it that you want?” She replied, “I want to be with you in Jannah.” Initially, Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) was reluctant to accede, but Allah Ta‘ala then sent wahi to him, commanding him to agree to the request of the old woman.
The old woman then proceeded with them to a lake and instructed them to drain all the water from it. After they had drained all the water from the lake, she instructed them to dig. They then discovered the grave of Nabi Yusuf (‘alaihis salaam) and recovered his body.
Once they removed the body from the grave and carried it with them, the road became as clear as daylight for them.’ (Saheeh Ibni Hibbaan #723)
Imagine that it was Lailatul Qadr (the Night of Power), or you managed to cling to the Ka’bah at the multazam, and you now had a ‘once in a lifetime chance’ to make a du‘aa that you greatly hope will gain acceptance. What would you ask for? Perhaps many of us would ask for something related to this world such as beauty, health, wealth, a dream home, etc.
However, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) praised the old woman of the Banu Israaeel and encouraged the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to be like her. The reason is that when this woman saw the golden opportunity, then instead of asking for something paltry and insignificant, she seized her chance to secure Jannah.
Thus, when the hadeeth teaches us to make Dua for all our needs, be they big or small, we should not suffice on asking for only our small needs while neglecting to beg for Jannah. Instead, we must make it a priority to beg for Jannah, as this is the biggest need.


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