Atikah bint Khalid al Khuzaiyah, or Um Mabad, was a strong courageous woman who lived in between Mecca and Medinah in a city called Qubayd. She used to run a small tent or camp on the road that served as a rest stop where she provided food and drink to travelers, sometimes for payment and sometimes for free.
It was Um Mabad’s camp that the Prophet ﷺ passed by on his Hijrah to Madinah, along with Abu Bakr (RA), Amir ibn Fuhayra and their guide Abdullah ibn Urayqit. Unfortunately during that time, the area was suffering from severe drought and when the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions asked to buy milk, meat or dates, she had none to offer. “By Allah, if we had anything to offer, we would not be lacking in hospitality,” said Um Mabad.
As she was saying this, the Prophet ﷺ was looking past her at a goat standing alone that was weak. He asked her if that goat has any milk and she told him that it is too weak to give anything. “Will you allow me to milk her?” asked the Prophet ﷺ. “May my mother and father be ransomed for you, if you see any milk in her, you may milk her,” replied Um Mabad. (This quote might sound a bit odd but it is an Arabic saying that doesn’t translate well in English that basically means she would be extremely grateful).
The Prophet ﷺ went to the goat and mentioned the name of Allah as he started to milk it (Bismillah). Upon the mention of Allah, the udders swelled and milk started flowing and the Prophet ﷺ filled a vessel for the entire group. They all drank very fast as they were so thirsty. It wasn’t until after the Prophet ﷺ had passed around the milk and ensured that everyone drank that he drank his fill saying, “The cup-bearer drinks last.” The Prophet ﷺ again filled the vessel and they drank much slower, savoring it now that they weren’t as thirsty as before. After they had enough, the Prophet (PBUH) again milked a large amount for Um Mabad and he and his companions mounted their camels and went on their way.
Later that day, Um Mabad’s husband, Abi Al Jawn Al Khuzai, came home and was stunned to find so much milk. “Um Mabad, what is this? From where have you gotten milk when there is no goat with milk here?”
“A blessed man passed by us,” she replied. Then she proceeded to tell him the whole story. Um Mabad’s husband was so intrigued by the story that he asked her to describe the man. This was Um Mabad’s reply:
“I saw a man who was clearly handsome with a beautiful face. His manners were fine and he was well built. He was neither blemished by a big belly nor disfigured by baldness. The irises of his eyes were very dark, the edges of his eyelids were long and the whites of his eyes were extremely white. His eyebrows were arched and perfectly close. He had very dark hair-glossy and inclined to curl, which he wore long-and a thick beard.
When he kept silent, his expression was contemplative, and when he spoke, eminence and splendor showed in his words. His speech was well formed and distinct, like sliding beads on a rosary. He was a gifted orator whose words were neither too few nor too many. He had the clearest wand and most commanding voice when he spoke. When you looked at him from afar, he was the most attractive of all people, and when you moved closer to him, he commanded your respect and devotion.
You would never be tired of looking at him. He was neither tall nor short; he was like a branch between other branches that stands out as uniquely bright. He was the most handsome of the three Companions and the most important of them. His Companions honored him, when he spoke, they listened to his words and when he commanded they hastened to carry out his order. They served him and kept close to him. He did not frown or nag, and his speech was truthful and sincere.”
Abu Mabad, after hearing this incredible description, said to his wife, “By Allah, this is the Qurayshi man. If I see him, I will follow him.”
Then the couple packed up and went to Madinah to find the Prophet ﷺ and swear their allegiance to Islam. It was Khunays ibn Khalid, who is Um Mabad’s brother, who accompanied them and related this story.
*In Arabic, we say “Al deen, Mu3amala” which means the religion is the way you treat and deal with people. Look at how one encounter with the Prophet ﷺ led these people to embrace Islam. We can set aside the part about the goat because when she described the Prophet ﷺ she mentioned his character and his speech. It something we should all keep in mind when we deal with people what an impact you can have just by the way you treat them -even if its only for five minutes.
*Um Mabad’s description of the Prophet ﷺ is one of the best ones, besides the descriptions by Ali. It was actually said in such eloquent, beautiful poetry that even after 1400 years, scholars still need to use resources in order to understand it (the way it was originally stated in Arabic).
*The goat that the Prophet ﷺ milked lived for many years after that and always had milk. What a blessing.
Quṭb, Muḥammad ʻAlī. Women around the Messenger. Riyadh: International Islamic House, 2007. Print.
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04 Jan 2016
28 Oct 2015