بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
In the name of Allah, the Giver and Owner of Loving Mercy.
Allah ﷻ says in the Glorious Qur’an:
وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ
and [We] raise your reputation high? (Qur’an 94:4)
Whenever I visit the life and times of Rasulullah ﷺ, I fall deeper in love with the man known as As-Saadiq wal-Ameen (The Honest and the Trustworthy). Scholars referred to him as a Ruby amongst stones, and he literally is the ideal human being in every aspect. When you seek an example of the perfect family man, just listen to the narrations of A’isha (RA) and his other wives of how loving and compassionate and dedicated he was towards the family. He was never too busy with the noble tasks he was always doing that he neglected familial duties. By Allah, never! How was Rasulullah ﷺ when it came to serving his community? Before Islam, Rasulullah ﷺ resolved so many conflicts between tribe leaders and was widely respected for his wisdom and peacemaking. During Islam, well – we can go all day with that, can’t we? Alayhi Salaatu Wa Salaam. In brief, it is absolutely established that if you want to aim towards perfection and brilliance, Rasulullah ﷺ is a nonfictional example of sheer perfection. This is the man honored with the title HabibAllah, the Beloved of Allah ﷻ. May Allah ﷻ send His Peace and Blessings and Loving Mercy upon our Beloved Prophet ﷺ.
Islam encourages the Muslim to constantly reflect on his or her actions and lifestyle. We are a people of self-improvement and we always strive to emulate the life of Rasulullah ﷺ. When we are trying to encourage ourselves towards good, we always visit his noble life and derive lessons from it. A story I have heard a few times but have recently re-encountered in the life of Rasulullah ﷺ is the story of a Sahabi named Julaybib (RA). This story was beautifully shared in our dear esteemed teachers Ahmad Mubark and Dawud Walid’s new book Centering Black Narrative: Black Muslim Nobles Among the Early Pious Muslims. I found this story to be very emotional and immersed in lessons for us to all benefit from alhamdulillah.
Julaybib (RA) was perhaps one of the most disenfranchised members of the Madinan community. Being described as aswad by companions meaning Black in complexion in addition to being unaware of his tribal lineage, Julaybib (RA) was socially an outcast. In addition, according to Companions of the Prophet ﷺ, he may have been deformed facially and short in height – the community was quite cold towards him. Often they ridiculed him, and none befriended him – except Allah’s Beloved, Rasulullah ﷺ. Despite being the leader of the first Muslim nation, in both political and spiritual aspects – Rasulullah ﷺ was even concerned with the severely socially disadvantaged like our beloved teacher, Julaybib (RA). Julaybib (RA) who was one of Rasulullah ﷺ’s more frequent helpers and companions had no family or spouse to look after, so Rasulullah ﷺ was all he had. However being quiet about his challenges, Rasulullah ﷺ was able to sense Julaybib (RA)’s need for a wife. Rasulullah ﷺ went to one of the Ansar (The Helpers/Natives of Madinah)’s homes and sought out the father to seek his daughter’s hand in marriage on behalf of Julaybib. The Father deferred the decision to his wife, and the wife replied saying she would never give her daughter to a man like Julaybib! The daughter then walked in towards the parents asking why Rasulullah ﷺ visited the home. Once realizing it was on behalf of Julaybib, and about seeking her hand for him – she replied to her parents saying how could we reject the offer of Rasulullah ﷺ. She demanded to be sent to Julaybib (RA) for surely Rasulullah ﷺ would never send her to ruin. Soon after, Rasulullah ﷺ married the daughter to Julaybib (RA).
Right after the wedding, the newly-wedded husband Julaybib (RA) joined the Muslims bravely in battle and achieved martyrdom. Following the battle, the Muslims began to check their casualties to see if family members were martyred. Rasulullah ﷺ asked the Muslims if they lost any family members, when they responded with no, he followed it with “but I have lost Julaybib.” When he found the martyred Julaybib (RA), he declared twice “this [man] is from me, and I am from him.” According to the commentary of the Sahih narration by Shaykh An-Ninawi, this was Rasulullah ﷺ giving Julaybib the status of Ahlul-Bayt (the Family of the Prophet) an honor also given to the Persian sahabi, Salman Al-Farisi (RA).
So what can we derive from this? I am sure we generally understand that Rasulullah ﷺ was a man who included all. He was a man that everyone thought they were his best friend! Not because he was manipulative or fake, but because he treated everyone with a tremendous amount of love and compassion! When I hear this story, I think about that antisocial kid in high school that struggles to have friends. Someone with the Prophetic example in mind would notice this kid’s struggles and be there for them. They would make that kid feel significant and important too.
When I think about the story of Julaybib (RA), I think about how diverse we are ethnically yet simultaneously so ethnocentrically exclusive as a community. I think about how Rasulullah ﷺ honored Black men who suffered complications such as Julaybib (RA) by claiming that he’s from his noble lineage but our communities wouldn’t dare to claim one another as from us, and us from them. When I think about this story, I think about how profoundly superior of a leader Rasulullah ﷺ was. He was handling so much but had time to focus on those who had no one. How often do we even think about those who are socially isolated? For example, during Ramadan, how often do we include our reverts and develop genuine relationships with them? Our conversations aren’t based on “hey, tell me your conversion story!” or trying to teach them about Islam like you know more than them but real, genuine friendships. Ones where we look at one another as equals, because you never know – being a revert does not imply they know less about Islam than you because you would be very surprised!
When I think about the story of Julaybib (RA), I mostly think about myself. Do I even have one-tenth of a droplet of Rasulullah ﷺ’s thoughtfulness? Who do I leave out in my social circle, and why? Do I treat people with the same level of respect or do I exclude those who are racially and socially different from me? My beloved sisters and brothers, let us strive to be like Rasulullah ﷺ and solve the paradox we suffer from in our communities. This apparent discrepancy, this reality that we are one of the most diverse amongst world religions but so stratified ethnically needs to stop. Let’s return to the Sunnah of “He is of me, and I am of him.” To solve that, it starts with our everyday interactions. So, invite the community’s reverts to your homes, for the sake of a real and long lasting friendship. When your business needs workers, do not just open it to people in your culture. When you see a lonely Muslim (of your gender), include them in your circle – make them feel significant and important. Islam is a religion that celebrates diversity, so long as it’s within the parameters provided by Allah ﷻ’s Qur’an and Rasulullah ﷺ’s Sunnah. And finally, send peace and blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ! Reflect on his life, and watch how your life will change.
إِنَّ اللَّـهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
“God and His Angels bless the Prophet so, you who believe, bless him too and give him greetings of peace.” (Qur’an 33:56)
If anything I have said was good, all praise is due to Allah ﷻ indeed all good comes from Him. However, if anything I have said offended you, or was incorrect – this comes from my human inclination to err and I seek your forgiveness and most importantly Allah ﷻ’s Mercy and Forgiveness. Ameen.
And Indeed, Allah ﷻ knows best.