Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum رضي الله عنه
By Sr. Nadia Arif
Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum was a cousin of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Mother of the Believers, may Allah be pleased with her. His father was Qays ibn Za’id and his mother was Aatikah bint Abdullah. She was called Umm Maktum (Mother of the Concealed One) because she gave birth to a blind child. He was one of the early converts to Islam. Like the other companions of the Prophet, even he suffered the persecution at the hands of the unbelievers.
Abdullah being a faithful believer was always eager to learn the Quran. He once came to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to listen to the Quran while the Prophet was busy explaining it to the pagan Quraysh. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) so much wished that the pagans would accept Islam or at least call off their persecution of his companions. Therefore, when Abdullah came, the Prophet did not like his untimely arrival and spoke abruptly to him and turned his attention instead to the group of Quraysh.
After he finished speaking with them, Allah revealed to him Surah 80, Abasa (He frowned), expressing His displeasure at the Prophet’s attitude. The following verses were revealed:
“He frowned and turned away when the blind man approached him! Yet for all you knew, (O Muhammad), he might perhaps have grown in purity or have been reminded of the Truth, and helped by this reminder. Now as for him who believes himself to be self-sufficient to him you gave your whole attention, although you are not accountable for his failure to attain to purity. But as for him who came unto you full of eagerness and in awe of God, him did you disregard.Nay, verily, this is but a reminder and so, whoever is willing may remember Him in the light of His revelations blest with dignity, lofty and pure, borne by the hands of messengers, noble and most virtuous.”
Since then the Prophet (Peace be upon him) always treated Abdullah ibn Umm Makhtum with great respect. One of the responsibilities that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) placed on Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum was to put him in charge of Madinah in his absence. This was done more than ten times, one of them being when he left for the conquest of Makkah.
After the Battle of Badr, the Prophet received a revelation from Allah raising the status of the Mujahideen and preferring them over those who stay behind because of their laziness. When Abdullah heard this, he became very sad as he wanted to take part in Jihad. He told the Prophet (Peace be upon him) , “O Messenger of Allah. If I could go on jihad, I would certainly do.” He then earnestly asked Allah to send down a revelation about his particular case and those like him who were not able to fight in the way of Allah because of their disabilities. His dua was answered and Allah revealed to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) the following:
“Not equal are those who remain seated among the believers except those who possess disabilities and those who strive and fight in the way of God with their wealth and their persons…” (Surah an-Nisaa, 4: 95).
Abdullah’s faith was so deep that his heart was not accepting to stay behind when an expedition was in progress. Therefore, he fixed a role for himself on the battle field. He would say: “Place me between two rows and give me the standard. I will carry it for you and protect it, for I am blind and cannot run away.”
In the fourteenth year after the hijrah, Umar wanted to march against the Persians to bring down their State and open the way for the Muslim forces. So he wrote to his governors:
“Send anyone with a weapon or a horse or who can offer any form of help to me. And make haste.”
Crowds of Muslims from every direction responded to Umar’s call and converged on Madinah. Among all these was the blind Mujahid, Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum.Umar appointed Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas commander over the army, gave him instructions. When the army reached Qadisiyyah, Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum was present, wearing a coat of armour and fully prepared. He had vowed to carry and protect the standard of the Muslims or be killed in the process. The forces fought for three days. On the third day, Muslims achieved a mighty victory as one of the greatest empires in the world collapsed and one of the most secure thrones fell. The standard of Tawhid was raised in an idolatrous land. The price of this clear victory was hundreds of martyrs. Among them was Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum. He was found dead on the battlefield clutching the flag of the Muslims.
Abdullah ibn Umm Maktoum set an example for all the Muslims. If a Muslim loves Allah, then definitely his heart will not find peace until he plays his role in spreading the Word of Allah. He would be eager to give his life for Allah’s Sake if need be. He won’t be among the hypocrites those who say onething, and do something else. The story of Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum and the other companions should not be taken as bed-time stories rather these stories should motivate us and encourage us to live and die for the cause of Allah.