CHAPTER ON THE STORY TELLING
OF SAYYIDINA RASOOLULLAH SALLALLAHU ALAIHE WASALLAM AT NIGHT
Shamaa-il Tirmidhi Contents
This chapter is on the stories that Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu
alaihe wasallam related. The author has written two hadith here as specimens.
(240) Hadith 1
Aisha radiyallahu anha reports, “Once, at night, Rasoolullah sallallahu
alaihe wasallam related an event to his family members. One of the ladies
said, this story is just like the stories of Khuraafah. (The Arabs used
the stories of Khuraafah as proverbs). Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam
asked, “Do you know what is the original story of Khuraafah? Khuraafah
was a man from the tribe of Banu Udhrah, whom the jinns took away. They
kept him for some time, then left him among the people. He related to the
people strange things of his stay there. The people were astonished. After
that every amazing story is called Khuraafah.”
It is possible that the person had another name, and because the people
took his stories to be fables and amusing, he became famously known as
Khuraafah. In the time of the Jaahiliyyah, exorcism was widespread. The
jinns troubled humans very much, they took them away, spoke to them, had
intercourse with women, etc. of which there are many famous incidents.
After the appearance of Islam their strength subsided, till some people
began to believe that jinns existed before, and now they do not exist.
The fact is that they do exist, but do not have the power they possessed
previously. At the time of the birth of Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu
alaihe wasallam the events that took place, the wailing, trouble, etc.
that the jinns experienced is a testimony to this. In the Sahih Bukhari
a narration of Sayyidina Umar radiyallahu anhu is mentioned, where he states
about the poetry of a beloved woman of a magician, named Janiyah, on grief,
disgrace and the misfortune of the jinns. Imaam Suyuti has mentioned many
incidents of this nature in his book ‘Khasaa-is-Kubra’.
(241) Hadith 2
Hadith Ummi Zar’a. This is the second hadith of this chapter. Due to
this story being lengthy and famous, special books have been written on
it. Imaam Tirmizi has also given it a little prominence. This hadith has
other names too, but is well known by this name. Due to the story being
lengthy, every woman’s story is mentioned separately with its commentaries.)
Aisha radiyallahu anha reports, “Once eleven women assembled and made
an agreement, that each of them would describe the true state of their
husbands, without hiding any fact.”
The names of these eleven women are not confirmed in the sahih ahadith,
although the names of a few are mentioned in a few narrations. These women
were from Yemen or Hijaaz. There is a disagreement on their names, therefore
they are omitted here. Their husbands were all away for their needs. They
were alone and began talking of things to keep themselves occupied and
happy. They subsequently made an agreement that each one of them would
describe their husbands.
THE FIRST WOMAN said, “My husband is like
the meat of a useless camel. (As if he is a piece of meat that has no life
left in it, and also like the meat of a camel that is generally not preferred).
And the meat also put on top of a mountain which is difficult to climb.
The road to the top is not easy, so that it may be possible to climb it,
nor is the meat of much value, that because of it one should separate it
into a hundred lots and carry it down.
That means he is so useless that no one can benefit from him materially
or otherwise, and besides this he is proud, arrogant and ill-mannered.
He is in such a state that it is difficult to contact him.
He is a medicine of no use and utterly useless, and because of his pride
and arrogance it is difficult to reach him.
THE SECOND WOMAN said, “(If I do describe
my husband what can I describe about him. I have nothing to say about him).
I fear if I begin to describe his faults, there will be no end to it. If
I begin I will have to mention all his inner and outer faults.”
She means if she begins, no matter how many faults she describes, he
is full of faults. If somone has a few faults they could be described,
but the one that is only made of faults, how many of them could be described
or pointed out? It is such a long story that one would become bored. A
few commentators have made an objection to this that she broke her promise
by refusing to describe her husband. The fact is that, she described everything
in a few words, that he is a body full of faults and these are not countable.
THE THIRD WOMAN said, “My husband is an
‘A-shannaq’ which means he is a very tall man. If I do comment on anything
he will immediately give talaaq (divorce), and if I keep silent, I just
The tallness of the husband must have been mentioned due to the popular
saying that tallness is a sign of stupidity. The statement made of the
height relates to his stupidity, or it is mentioned because he was ugly.
Like a tall tower that is without a suitable build, looks ugly and is also
bad mannered. If I say anything or express a need, he will immediately
divorce me. If I keep quite and do not express my needs, he does not care.
I am just hanging around. I cannot be counted among those who have a husband,
as there is nothing like a husband, nor among those who have no husbands
that I may look for one in another place. In some narrations there is also
a sentence which translates, “I am always in such a state as if I am under
a sharp sword. I do not know when my affair will come to an end.”
THE FOURTH WOMAN said.. "My husband is
mild mannered, like nights of Tihaamah. He is not hot nor cold, nor is
there anything to fear of him, nor any displeasure".
He is mild natured and is not very cunning or dull. One does not fear
to live with him, nor do the nerves and mind become dull or tired. It is
said that the name of this woman is Mahd bint Abi Harumah. Makkah and its
surroundings areas are called Tihaamah. The nights of this area are always
mild even if the days are very hot.
THE FIFTH WOMAN said: "When my husband
comes into the house, he becomes a cheetah, and when he goes out, he becomes
a lion. He does not care to investigate what happens in the house".
It is said that name of this woman is Kabshah. The 'ulama differ in
whether she praised her husband or criticised him. Both meanings can be
derived from it. It clearly seems that she praised him. If it is taken
to be criticism it will then mean that, when he comes into the house he
becomes vicious like a cheetah. He does not say anything, nor does he have
anything to do with the household affairs. When he goes out he is like
a gentleman. If any difficulty arises in.the house, he has nothing to do
with it, he does not inquire, nor is it his worry. If this is taken to
be praise, then it shall mean, that when he enters the house he becomes
quiet, he does not know of anything and does not utter a complaint on any
word. He does not become angry. He is so unaware, it is as if he is sleeping.
Whatever we cook or eat, he does not interfere in anything, nor does he
investigate anything, that, why was such a thing done, or why did this
happen? When he goes out he is like a lion. Presses his teeth and thunders
loudly. Whatever there is in the house for eating etc. he does not care,
nor inquires that how and why was this spent? Whatever was brought to the
house, was used by the household as they saw fit.
THE SIXH WOMAN said: "When my husband eats,
he eats everything. When he drinks, he does not leave anything. When he
sleeps, he sleeps in his own sheet. He does not even touch me, so that
he can know the disturbance in my mind".
In these words too, both praise and criticism could be derived. In
the fifth one there seems to be more praise, but in this one there seems
to be rnore criticism as can be seen from the translation. If praise is
meant, as is the view of some commentators, then it will mean the following:
That when he eats, he eats anything; he eats fruits, nuts, all types of
food etc. When he drinks, he sometimes drinks milk, sometimes a drink,
sometimes a sharbat etc. In short he drinks anything. All types of food
are on his table. He spends and is not a miser, if there is daal, there
is no meat. If there is water then there is no milk. He keeps away from
quarrels. He does not put his finger in other people's problems, that is
he does not look for the faults of others or their short commings. If it
is to be taken to be criticism, as is the view of the majority, it will
mean that the time of eating, whatever comes before him he polishes it
off, nothing is left for the family members. Like a buffalo he eats up
everything. When it is time to drink, he gulps down the whole well. He
sleeps like a stranger in his own sheets. Forget embracing me, he does
not even touch my body so that he may know or feel the heat or coldness
in my body.
THE SEVENTH WOMAN said: "My husband is
impotent and unmanly. He is such a dunce that he cannot even speak. Whatever
sickness a person has in this world, he possess it. His manners are such
that he may break my head or injure my body, or do both".
THE EIGHTH WOMAN said: "My husband is soft
like a rabbit when I touch him. His smell is like the fagrance ofe of za'faraan
It is said the name of this woman is Naashirah bint Aws. By her praise
she means he has a soft nature, he is not harsh and ill mannered. Both
pleasure of the body and soul are found in him. He has a tender body which
makes me want to embrace it, or he is soft-natured that there is no sign
of anger. Fragrance is constantly emitted from his body. In some narrations
this sentence is also added which means. "I dominate him, and he dominates
all other people. My domination is not due to his humbleness, because he
dominates others. My domination is because of love, or the politeness in
THE NINTH WOMAN said: "My husband is of
high status, generous, hospitable, owner of a high dwelling. He has a lot
of ashes. He is tall built. His home is near the majlis and Daarul Mashwarah
(House of Counsel)'.
This woman has mentioned many praises. The first is that her house
is very high. If a big mansion is meant here, then it shall mean wealth
and leadership, because a high mansion can only be built by a wealthy person.
If by high dwelling it is meant that the house is built on a raised ground,
like it was common amonst 'Arabs for generous and hospitable people to
buils there houses non raised places, so that strangers and travellers
could see it and come to it. In this case it will mean he is generous and
hospitable. Some 'ulama state that by a high dwelling, it is meant that
he descended from a high and noble family.
The second praise is of his hospitality, due to this it is natural
that there will be a lot of ashes in the house, because a lot of food is
cooked for visitors.
The third praise is his height. To be tall, provided that it does not
exceed that which is deemed moderate, is laudable and praiseworthy for
a man. By this big house near the majlis (assembly) means that he is wise
and a man of counsel. There is always someone who comes to seek his advice.
The opinion of this humble servant, is that it is possible that this may
also mean that he keeps the Daarul Mashwarah (House of Counsel) near his
house, so that he will not say in humbleness etc. to those who gather there,
that my house is a distance away. He keeps his home near, so that a long
time is not spent in preparations for hospitality, and because of it an
occasion for an excuse may not arise.
THE TENTH WOMAN said: "My husband is Maalik,
and what can I describe about Maalik. He is more generous than all those
who have been praised, or he is more praiseworthy than all the praises
I may shower on him. He owns many herds of camels, which are kept near
the house. They are seldom taken out for grazing. When the camels hear
the sound of the mizhar, they are sure that their end is near".
It is said that the name of this woman is Kabshah bint Maalik. She
praised the generosity of her husband, which is explained thus, if the
camels go out to graze in the fields, then at the time of hospitality and
attending to the guests, time is wasted in herding them back. There are
allways visitors at his home. The camels are not sent out to
graze but fed in their pans, so that when a visitor arrives a camel could
be slaughtered immediately. Some have translated the sounding of the mizhar
as, that whenever a visitor arrives, in happiness and in the visitors honour,
this instrument is sounded. By hearing the sound, the camels know that
the time of their slaughter is near, as a visitor has arrived. According
to 'Arab custom this meaning seems more appropriate, that when a visitor
he is immediately entertained by being served drinks, tid-bits, music etc.
By the sound of the music the camels know that meal times are near, and
for its preparations, the time for their slaughter is near.
THE ELEVENTH WOMAN Umm Zar-a, said: "My
husband was Abu Zar-a', and how can I praise Abu Zar-a'? He made my ears
bow with jewels. He made my sides (by feeding) full of fat. He kept me
so happy and contented, that due to self admiration and haughtiness I thought
I was virtuous. He found me from such a poor home, that lived with hardship,
owning only a few goats for a living. From there he brought me into such
a prosperous family who owned horses, camel oxen for ploughing, and gardeners
(and possessed all types of wealth. Besides all this he was so good natured)
that he did not criticise me scold me for anything. I slept till late in
the morning, and no one was allowed to wake me up. Food was so abundant
that after filling myself I just left it (and it never got finished). The
mother of Abu Zar-a' ( mother-in-law), in what manner can I praise her?
Her huge utensils were always full. Her house was very spacious (She was
very rich, and according to the habit of women, was not a miser. By the
vastness of the house it is meant that many visitors were entertained).
The son of Abu Zar-a', in what manner can I praise him? He was also a light
upon light. He was so thin and skinny, the sleeping part of his body (ribs
etc. was thin like a branch, or a sword. A side of a lamb was enough to
fill his stomach. (i.e. There was no great formalities for a brave one
to sleep like a soldier he slept a little in a small place. In the same
manner he ate simple food, but befitting a warrior. Two or three pieces
of meat was his food). The daughter of Abu Zar-a', how can she be praised?
She obeys her mother and father. She is fat and healthy, and a jealousy
for the second wife (The second wife feels jealous on her excellence. Among
the 'Arabs it is desirable that a man be thin and tall, and a woman fat
a healthy). And how can I praise the slave girl of Abu Zar-a'? She never
gossiped about our house affairs to anyone. She did not even use foodstuffs
without permission. She did not let the house become dirty and untidy,
but kept it clean. (The days passed wonderfully). One morning whilst the
utensils of milk were being churned Abu Zara went out of the house. He
found a woman, with two cheetah like children playing with pomegranates.
(The similarity of cheetah is with playing, and the pomegranates are either
in reality pomegranates which the children were spinning and playing with,
or breasts of the women are intended here). He loved her so much, that
he divorced me, a married her. (I was divorced because as a second wife,
she would become heartsore, and by divorcing me the new wife would have
greater regard for him). In one narration it is mentioned that he married
her. He then divorced me. Subsequently I married another chief and noble
man, who was a prince and soldier. He showered on me many gifts. And from
each type of animal i.e. camel, cow, goat, etc. etc., he presented me a
pair and said to me, 'Eat as much as you want yourself, send to your parents
as much as you wish'. The fact is this, if I add up all his good qualities
etc. then too he will not excel the little thing that abu Zar-a' bestowed
upon me". Sayyiditina 'Aayeshah Radiyallahu 'Anha says: "After Sayyidina
Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallain completed this story, he said to
me. 'I am also to you as Abu Zar-a, had been to Umm Zar-a'
In another hadith it is stated that Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu
'Alayhi Wasallam also thereafter said: 'I will not divorce you'. It has
been mentioned in Tabraani that Sayyiditina 'Aayeshah Radiyallahu 'Anha
replied: 'O Messenger of Allah, what truth is there about Abu Zar-a'. May
my mother and father be sacrificed on you. You are much more to me than
him'. May Allah Ta'aala grant every Muslim husband and wife the following
of the footsteps of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam on
this subject, because this is the result of chastity. Aameen. Some 'ulama
are of the opinion that those women who criticised their husbands committed
backbiting, and this was narrated in the assembly of Sayyidina Rasulullah
Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam. If Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi
Wasallam related this story himself, then there is even a greater perplexity.
But the fact is, that this is not entering the boundaries of backbiting.
To discuss something about a person whose name or other details are not
known to the people, certainly cannot be included in the category of backbiting.