Sunday, March 13, 2016

My Body, My Choice: the story of a woman's liberation

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Long ago, a man in Banu Israil had a stunningly beautiful wife. The man loved him to madness. But she died soon. The man was so out of his senses that he stayed at her grave spending many days crying, wailing, weeping. One day Hazrat 'Isa عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ passed by the man. Seeing his unbearable distress, his torment and laments, Hazrat 'Isa stopped to enquire him about the cause of his travails.

“Do you want me to try and bring her back to life?” asked Hazrat 'Isa عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ upon learning of the man’s cause of distress.
“Of course, Hazrat. That’s exactly what I long for.”
Hazrat 'Isa عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ called out to the resident of the grave. Out came an Abyssinian slave with flames erupting out of his nostrils, eyes and other body parts. When his eyes fell on Hazrat 'Isa, he immediately recited the then Kalimah (formula) of Islam:
لا إله إلا اللّٰه، عيسى روح اللّٰه.
There is no god other than Allah, and 'Isa is Allah-granted spirit.
“Oh no, Hazrat. I made a mistake. This is not my wife’s grave. It is this one,” said the Israili man pointing to another grave nearby. Hazrat 'Isa asked the slave to return to his grave. The slave died there and then falling over his grave. They covered his body with earth.
Turning towards the other grave, Hazrat 'Isa said: “O dweller of the grave! Come out alive by the command of Allah.” The grave cracked apart and the Israili’s wife came out dusting off her clothes. The man confirmed she was his wife. Hazrat 'Isa asked the man to return home with his wife. But the man had been awake for so many days. And just now his insomnia-causing anguish had evaporated. So, all of a sudden he felt uncontrollable sleepiness. He said to his wife, “Weeping and wailing and staying awake at your grave has killed me. Let me have some rest for a while.” The wife agreed, “Yes, please have some rest.” The man he lied down to sleep in the desolate graveyard keeping his head in his sitting wife’s lap.
As she sat a prince whose handsomeness was the tale of the town passed by the place riding his horse (the latest SUV of the age). The woman saw him, fell in love and lost control of her heart. Acting on the formula of My body, my choice, she slowly lifted her loving husband’s head off her thigh, placed it on the ground, and got up to meet the prince. The like saw like, and the prince too felt love for her gorgeous youth and charm. He helped the woman sit behind her on his horse and took her with him at her request.
The husband got up to find his wife nowhere in sight. Mad in love as he was, he began thinking frantically. He got the idea of following her footsteps, and then the horse’s. Ultimately, he met his wife at the prince’s palace. The Israili man submitted to the prince that the woman was his wife and implored him to let her return with him. Even before the prince could say anything, the woman shouted out, “I don’t know you. I am not your wife. I am the prince’s slave.”
The prince chided the Israili man. “Are you making a claim on my slave?”
“By Allah, she is my wife whom my leader Hazrat 'Isa has brought back to life after death,” said the man crying.
They were in the midst of this conversation when Hazrat 'Isa happened to pass by the place. The Israili asked Hazrat 'Isa, “O Allah-imparted spirit! Isn’t she my wife whom you brought back to life for me?”
“Yes, this is her,” said Hazrat 'Isa.
The woman denied vehemently saying, “O Allah-imparted spirit, this man is lying. I am a slave of this prince.”
“Aren’t you the woman whom I brought back to life by Allah’s command?” asked Hazrat 'Isa.
“By God, I am not her, for sure.”
“Give back the life which I had returned to your body by Allah’s command,” commanded Hazrat 'Isa.
No sooner had the words come out than the woman lost her balance and fell down dead.
“If one wants to see a person who died a Kafir then returned to life and embraced Islam, let him see the Abyssinian slave. If one wants to see a person who died a Muslim, then Allah returned her life which she used to turn apostate, let her have a look at this woman,” said Hazrat 'Isa عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ.
Shocked and dumbfounded, the Israili vowed never to marry again. He set out towards the forests where he kept worshipping Allah till he died. May He have mercy on him!
(Source: Hikayatus Salihin)
Lesson: The story shows the consequences of the acceptance and denial of the prophet of the time. It tells us that success lies in obeying and loving the prophet alone. We too should give precedence to obeying our Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ in all circumstances. Whether our heart likes or dislikes, we should always stay loyal to the path of the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ. May Allah help us learn from this story.
(Adapted from 101 Sabaq Amoz Waqi'at by Maulana Harun Mu'awiyah p. 16)

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