Among the most important values Islam implants in the minds of its followers are those that formulate the Islamic perception of our present life. Islam makes clear that this life is a test. If we pass this test, then we are ushered into a life of pure happiness in the hereafter.
Those of us who fail the test sink into perpetual misery. While Islam wants us to work hard in order to build a high standard of life worthy of man, the creature, God has placed in charge of earth, it also aims to give us the right perspective, viewing this life and all that it offers as transitory. Hence, all possessions and life itself can be sacrificed for a higher goal.
Umm Al-Dahdah and her husband and family were among the early Muslims from Madinah. After Islam began to establish itself in Madinah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent his companion, Musab ibn Umair, to teach the new Muslim converts there the Qur’an and how to lead an Islamic life. Among the first people to convert to Islam at the time was Thabit ibn Al-Dahdah, his wife Umm Al-Dahdah and their entire family.
When the Prophet immigrated to Madinah with his companions from Makkah, the process of learning about Islam among the Ansar took a much faster pace. The people there tried to catch up with their brethren from Makkah in understanding Islamic principles and putting them into effect.
Thabit read the Qur’anic verse that says: “Who will offer God a generous loan, which He will repay in multiples and will generously reward him?” (57: 11) He said to the Prophet: “How come God asks us for a loan when He is in no need for anyone?” The Prophet said: “He wants it so that He will admit you to heaven in return.”
Thabit said: “If I give a loan to my Lord, will He guarantee me heaven as well as to my children?” The Prophet said that it was so. Thabit said: “Give me your hand. I have two orchards: one in the highland and one in the lowland. I have no other possession. I am making them both a loan to God.”
The Prophet said: “Make one of them for God and hold on to the other for your family’s living.” Thabit said: “Then be my witness that I am making the better one for God. It is an orchard that contains 600 date trees.” The Prophet said: “Then God will reward you for it with admission into heaven.”
What Thabit did was exceptional by any standard. Yet what was his wife’s attitude? We can imagine any woman’s reaction when her husband tells her that he donated half his property to a noble cause. She would naturally think of the effect of such donation on her children’s lives. Yet Umm Al-Dahdah said to her husband: “You have done a profitable deal.”
She immediately gathered her children who were in that orchard, emptied their pockets of any dates they had gathered, and even took whatever was in their hands. She told them that that orchard no longer belonged to them.
In the Battle of Uhud, when Muslims were in chaos, Thabit was one of the few who remained steadfast. He gathered a group of the Ansar fighters around him and fought hard to repel the unbelievers’ attack. They were heavily outnumbered by enemy forces.
He was one of the Muslim martyrs. When the news of his death was broken to his wife, she did not lament, because she knew that a martyr remains alive in heaven. She was keen to know that the Prophet was safe. When she saw him, she said: “Any tragedy is light, as long as you are safe.”
We see her attitude toward sacrificing life and property. In both cases she was exemplary, demonstrating that Islamic values were deeply rooted in her heart.