Bismillahi Ar-Rahmani Ar-Raheem
It’s a dark pit – a deep dungeon – a whirlpool of hopelessness. A benighted tunnel which has no light at the end of it. A deep valley. Such is the feeling of being ‘unwanted, worthless, lonely, and misunderstood!’
I am sure I am not the only one contemplating on my plight so negatively. There are many who go through these questions in their minds; day in and day out. “Why were we born? Why aren’t we loved, wanted, cared for, or appreciated the way we deserve to be? Why are people always cornering us and making us feel undeserving and useless, unwanted and worthless?
This serious state can develop into a much bigger and more grievous problem and that is when one begins to loathe oneself. Self-esteem, self-respect, self-determination are all lost in self-pity, self-hatred and defiance of one’s existence. The reasons of these could be numerous; however, the outcome is detrimental to one’s physical potential and mental capabilities! Some may call it a disease, others may think we are being overly sensitive, yet there would be a handful few who would actually understand the tussle of a mind like such and thoughts which generate feelings of sheer helplessness and severe desolation.
Before coming closer to my Deen, I was very much the same person, the picture of whom I have portrayed above. This satanic trap enveloped me from all sides. Looking for love, craving for attention, trying hard to please everyone, yet failing to meet people’s expectations time and again, I kept losing hope in life, myself, my work, my worth and also my health, which wouldn’t allow me to bow down and prostrate to Allah , (as a result of dengue fever and severe arthritis in knees and back). I started thinking that I am so unwanted that even Allah , doesn’t want me to stand in front of Him. Today, when I think of the darkness that I was lost in, and how Allah pulled me out of that state, all praise is to Allah , I get goose bumps all over.
A few days ago, a story of a Sahaba caught my eye and when I read it my tears of shame, gratitude and fear of Allah , wouldn’t stop. I made up my mind that I would try and relate this story with my life, and narrate it, if possible through my writing, so that all those people who are drenched in self-misery and self afflicted, unnecessary, unwarranted pain, like myself, must learn to actually pay gratitude to Allah with every breath that we take, rather than complaining and whining all the time.
This is one of the most beautiful, precise stories of those rare companions of the Prophet Muhammad , who are not very well known to all. Nevertheless, the love of the Prophet of Allah for them was in no way less and we must acknowledge these beautiful souls and learn some important lessons from their lives, Allah willing. One such story that a person in despair, distress, loneliness and utter dismay may find inspiring and motivating is that of Julaybib .
*It is narrated in the Books of History that Julaybib was a Sahabi (companion) who was short in height, deformed in appearance, his lineage was not known, and no one knew who his parents had been, with no clan to protect him, no tribe willing to accept him as their own. Even the small children of Medina would tease and mock him, owing to his disabilities. No one would allow him to sit in their company.
After the arrival of the Prophet of Allah to Medina, things changed for Julaybib . He became a close companion of the Prophet , and found a friendship in him that he’d never before known. Now a Muslim, this humble and gentle man became part of a community: the ummah.
Acknowledging the need of love and companionship for this adorable soul, Prophet Muhammad arranged his marriage with one of the noblest Sahabia amongst the Ansar of the time. This marriage didn’t come easy as the parents were both opposing to the marriage of their beautiful daughter with Julaybib . It is said that she was so beautiful that there was none among the women of the Ansar who could compete with her looks. She was so shy and modest that perhaps the sky itself had never seen her head uncovered. She was so pious that she would spend her days and nights in worship. However, this girl who was chosen by the Prophet of Allah for his beloved companion, was a beautiful soul inside-out and did not think twice to say “YES” to the proposal that the Prophet of Allah had personally brought for her, considering the blessed status of Julaybib a privilege for herself, that Allah and his Messenger were asking her hand on his behalf.
A short time later, on an expedition Julaybib was martyred. On the day of the expedition his father in law tried stopping him from going to the voluntary jihad, by reminding him of his newly wedded wife. Although, Julaybib had found love and companionship in his life after great struggles and years of loneliness, he refused to stay at home, reasoning that he couldn’t enjoy the luxury of being at home while his beloved Prophet faced the enemies of Islam in the battlefield. So he joined the Prophet and the rest of the companions, fighting like a lion, serving the Muslims, the Messenger , the religion of Islam, and Allah excellently. After that battle the Prophet of Allah , asked the Sahaba to go and to see if anyone was missing from their families and clans. Each one returned accounting for all his family members. Then the Prophet spoke with tears in his eyes he said “But I have lost my beloved Julaybib. Go and find him.” They found his diminutive body lying next to seven Kuffar he had slain in the battle.
The Prophet of Allah asked for a grave to be dug, and as he held the body of Julaybib , he said, “O Allah he is from me and I am from him”, he repeated this three times. The companions wept profusely. “May our mothers and fathers be sacrificed for you, O’ Julaybib, how great is your status!”
There are so many lessons to learn from the life of this great human being. To name just a few:
I was put to shame, by the fact that I had been whining my entire life, although I was born to one of the noblest families of our times, all praise is to Allah . People would stand with respect when they would hear my father’s name. Such was his social standing and stature in his business circle, friends, relatives and family members. Look at the plight of the beloved companion of the Prophet , who was born an orphan and didn’t know anything about his lineage, in a time when family background was most important to be known. Yet, rather than being grateful to Allah for a happy, complete and respectable family, I spent my childhood counting my miseries over the countless blessings that I was bestowed with. May Allah forgive me! Ameen
I had been complaining of my ordinary looks all the time, while I had no less than average looks, an elegant personality and I was given the opportunity to study in good schools and universities to attain great mannerisms, way of talking and knowledge, alike. My deprivations were not even comparable with the diminutive deformities and features that are ascribed to Julaybib , the most beloved companion of the Prophet of Allah .
I used to make many friends because I was an attention seeker throughout my school life. I was so possessive about my friends that I couldn’t tolerate them talking to somebody else as closely as they would to me, lest I would loose them. This was nothing but my insecurity. How could I ever imagine being in the position of such a great, loving, humble and modest companion of the Prophet who spent his whole life being outcast by people who didn’t want to own him because of his unknown lineage, orphanage and displeasing looks? I have not even felt one percent of what this gentleman must have gone through all the years of his life that he spent in the shadows of darkness.
I considered myself lonely, if my sisters would ask me to leave them alone to have a private talk amongst each other or with their friends as they were ten plus years older to me. I felt alone, miserable and ignored when my brothers would go out of the house to play some boyish sport, leaving me with my books and thoughts, in one corner. I cannot even begin to comprehend the pain of the tears that our beloved Julaybib must have shed on the countless days and nights, when he had no food to eat, no one to speak to, no family to call his own, no one to hear him, nowhere to live and the only people who would talk to him would do so to mock at him.
“And He found you lost and guided [you]” (Qur’an 93:7)
He developed a sense of belonging to a community and brotherhood. He found a friend, confidant, family and mentor in the form of Prophet Muhammad , who returned his love, compassion, respect and adoration in a way that he deserved it. Islam brought a closure to the miseries of this great man of his time. Julaybib , ‘The Lonesome One’ had become a beloved of Allah , and his prophet , he was lonely no more. Such is the status of the lovers of the Prophet .
Islam also brought an end to my insecurities, expectations, loneliness and miseries that I felt were surrounding me at all times. When I started my journey towards learning the deen, I found a greater meaning to my existence, solace in the Qur’anic verses, guidance in the prophetic stories and sayings and a deeper understanding of the purpose of our creation. It is true that one must always keep praying to Allah , as Allah tells us to ask Him, in the Qur’an:
“Guide us to the straight path” (Qur’an: 1:6)
I got engaged at the age of 17, all praise is to Allah , and married at the age of 20. I found a very loving husband who proved to be a caring companion in my life, by the will of Allah . Hazrat Julaybib had no one to take care of him or love him back, until the time Prophet Muhammad asked for the noble sahabia’s hand in marriage for him. This marriage, like we said, was materialised after great debate and much hesitation on the part of the bride’s parents. However, what a lovely companion that Julaybib found in his wife, who gave him love, compassion, care and the merited understanding and respectful status that he actually and truly deserved. After Julaybib was martyred, it is said that there was no widow whose hand was more sought after in marriage than his wife’s.
Thus, a companion who had once lived as an outcast, shunned by the society around him, loved Allah and his Messenger and reached such a high status that he gave his life for Islam and was privileged to be laid in his grave by none other than the Prophet of Allah himself! He who had once lived in loneliness and despair, was loved by Allah and his messenger so much so that the Messenger of Allah said at his death, not once, not twice but thrice that: “O Allah he is from me and I am from him.” How beautiful an end, to a wonderful soul, who was so loved and adored by the one we all love and adore so much because he is the mercy for all the worlds and the best model of humanity to be sent on Earth.
I truly want to draw the attention of the readers of this note, that I did not compare my life or its shortcomings or miseries with that of this great companion, to seek sympathies from anyone. It wasn’t even my purpose to compare the two lives either. There is absolutely no comparison, whatsoever. The purpose of relating this story with my own life was just to enhance my acknowledgement, increase my gratitude, count my blessings and say thanks to Allah , from the bottom of my heart, for the innumerable chances that He gives us to run back to Him. He gives and gives, and we take and take, and yet, we do not pay heed to what we actually should. We do not understand the troubles, sacrifices, problems, pains, worries, anxieties, fears, torture, patience, tolerance and agony that people of Islam, people of our glorious past went through, just to give us the gift of freedom, the liberty to practice our deen and understanding the privilege which being born into a Muslim family, or being a revert brings us. Yet, what is it that we as Muslims are doing to give back to our deen?
I would like to conclude by begging forgiveness from Allah , for my ignorance of deen and knowledge and expressing gratitude for providing me with the opportunity of understanding the deen in greater detail and I pray from the bottom of my heart, that till the time I live, I can appreciate the countless blessings in my life and treasure them and value them, instead of cursing my fate or comparing my materialistic or other shortcomings (if any) with people around me. I really hope that the satanic trap that I have been able to pull myself out of, all praise is to Allah , and only by His will, does not absorb me or my brothers and sisters in Islam, who have emerged out of it, ever again.
“….Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” (Qur’an 7:23)
*This background is a summary derived from the narration of Shaykh Masood Azhar Mujahid, which can be found on the internet.
This article was originally published at Moments of Perfect Clarity.