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The Great Example of  ʿAbdullāh ibn Ḥudhāfah in Dealing with Catastrophe and Affliction: Trivialising the Patience Exhibited in Comparison to the Greatness of Allāh

Imām Ibn al-Jawzī

A reminder of the unwavering faith exhibited by the companions in the face of immense hardship.

Imām Abū al-Farj ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597 AH) said:

From among the attitudes one should adopt when dealing with catastrophe and afflictions is to trivialise the patience exhibited with regards to it when compared to greatness of the Truth [Allāh]. Such that you behave like one who minimises his offerings before a great king.

Narrated by Ibn ʿAbbās (رضي الله عنهما): ʿAbdullāh ibn Ḥudhāfah (رضي الله عنه)—the companion of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم)—was once captured by the Romans. The heathens said to him: “Adopt Christianity, or I will throw you into a copper pit [with boiling oil]” He replied: “I will never.” So they called for the copper pit, filled it with oil, and allowed it to boil. They then called for another Muslim man and presented Christianity to him so he resisted. They threw him in the pit and his bones began to burn. Again, they said to ʿAbdullāh ibn Ḥudhāfah: “Adopt Christianity, or we will throw you in as well.” He replied: “I will never.” So they ordered him to be thrown in. They shackled his hands and he began to weep. Upon seeing this, they said: “He has finally lost hope; he weeps. Take him back.” ʿAbdullāh said: “Do not surmise that I weep from lost hope. Rather, I weep because I only possess a single soul which will receive this treatment for the sake of Allāh, the Exalted in Might. I would have loved had I been given as many souls as there are hairs on my body. Then, I may be subjugated and this could be done to me [over and over]. Upon this [Ibn ʿAbbās] said: They were impressed by this and wished to free him. One of them said: “Kiss my head and I will free you.” He replied: “I will never.” They said: “Adopt Christianity and I shall marry my daughter to you and allot you a portion of my wealth.” He replied: “I will never.” They said: ‘Kiss my head and I shall free you along with eighty of the Muslim captives.” He replied: “As for this, I shall do it.” So he kissed his head and he, along with eighty of the Muslim captives were freed. When they came upon ʿUmar (رضي الله عنه), he stood up and kissed the head of ʿAbdullāh ibn Ḥudhāfah. The companions of the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to banter with ʿAbdullāh after this occurrence, saying: “You kissed the head of an infidel.”

Source: al-Thabāt: 52-53
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: June 16, 2023
Edited: July 1, 2023

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