#7: Journey to Abwa


بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم
الحمد لله رب العالمين الذي منّ علی المؤمنين اذ بعث فيهم رسولا من انفسهم يتلوا عليهم ايته و يزكيهم و يعلمهم الكتاب و الحكمة و ان كانوا من قبلُ لفي ضلال مّبين

Every journey has a beginning, middle and end, and the journey to Abwa was no different. This journey began when Sayyidah Aaminah رضی الله عنها – along with Umm Ayman رضی الله عنها – took her beloved son on a memorable journey to the lands of Yathrib. Our Beloved Prophet ﷺ was only six years old, and this would be his first experience of a wonderful, exciting family trip with his mother and Umm Ayman رضی الله عنها who was extremely dear to him ﷺ, she was like family. They rode on two camels as they set off for the journey, eventually catching up and joining one of the northbound caravans. They reached her ancestral home and resided here for a month, before deciding to return back to Makkah Al-Mukarramah.

Arrival at Yathrib

Whilst in Yathrib they first stopped over at the residences of the Bani Adiyy ibn Najjar, whom were close relatives of both his ﷺ parents and his grandparents. Here the Prophet ﷺ enjoyed the wonderful company of his extended family, and their children with whom he ﷺ loved playing with. It had become a perfect scene to enjoy. The wonderful love and hospitality of his family, the smile of his beautiful mother رضی الله عنها and Umm Ayman رضی الله عنها, the fun and engaging activities, the laughter of the children playing and the warm ambience of the sunset. This was an absolutely pain-free period of pure happiness, near-perfect memories that would stay with the Prophet ﷺ for the rest of his blessed life.

At the Grave of Sayyidinaa Abdullah رضی الله عنه

However, in addition to acquainting her beautiful child with his extended family, Sayyidah Aaminah RA also had a second wish during this trip: to acquaint her innocent little boy with her beloved husband Abdullah رضی الله عنه, his dear father whom he had never seen or met. (Ibn Saa’d)

Here Our Beloved Prophet ﷺ learned of his father and was taken to the resting place of Sayyidinaa Abdullah رضی الله عنه in these very lands. This was a powerful moment in the life of the Prophet ﷺ, to stand in front of his father’s grave, to share the same space with the one who carried his light that illuminated his forehead for almost the entirety of his life. He ﷺ stood before his blood, his name and his lineage in this moment. Standing in the presence of one’s parent’s grave is an experiential reality that cannot be exemplified in words, but can only be understood by the heart that has broken in front of one, and the eyes that have flowed with tears in its presence.

Those whom have lost a parent will know that standing before them in death can be nothing short of standing before them in life. Their undying love, care and compassion transcends beyond soil and embraces the heart of their child. Our Prophet ﷺ stood in the presence of his father, resting in his grave, whilst he had spent six years without him, not knowing what his love was like, nor his care, nor his compassion, nor his shelter, nor his protection. But all these sentiments transcend beyond the grave and the Prophet’s ﷺ innocent heart now felt the true reality of being an orphan, living in this world without his father. It was moments like this which further intensified the assurance that he ﷺ would never ever allow another orphan to cry in his blessed presence.

But as painful as this moment was, we see that such is the reality of parents, who’s love and shelter transcends beyond their lives and beyond their soil. For he ﷺ would not know at this time, that years later, when his own relatives and his own people would break his heart and exile him from Makkah – the homeland of his father – it would be the soil wherein his father rested that would give him shelter and love like no other, and it would be the soil wherein his father rested that would become the soil chosen by Allah سبحانه و تعالی for him ﷺ to rest in till the day of Qiyaamah. The city that was more beloved to him than the whole world, the city that he called his own, the city… of Madinah Al-Munawwarah.

May Allah سبحانه و تعالی allow us all to visit and be allocated a spot near the beautiful resting place of Our Beloved Prophet ﷺ, to breathe our final moments in his blessed presence, with the pleasure of Allah سبحانه و تعالی Ameen Yaa Rabbal ‘Aalameen!

Leaving Yathrib

As this timeless moment came to pass, the Prophet ﷺ was taken by his mother when their stay in Yathrib concluded and the time had come to return to Makkah once again. Allah سبحانه و تعالی alone knows how it must have felt to bid farewell to the grave of Sayyidinaa Abdullah رضی الله عنه which slowly became farther and farther away as they walked, whilst the image of his resting place would remain etched in his blessed heart forever.

They once again traversed the path home with the caravan, heading towards Makkah Al-Mukarramah. The Prophet ﷺ sat in the loving care of his mother, concluding a journey that began with some of the most wonderful, pain-free memories, and concluded with a new found reality that was fresh in his innocent heart, too powerful to fade away.  

But during the course of this return journey, Sayyidah Aaminah رضی الله عنها herself was also naturally experiencing difficulty and pain. Having stood in the presence of her beloved husband, reliving the pain of losing him, recalling life without him by her side for all these years, and then bidding him farewell for a second time was no easy task in any measure. She began feeling a state of illness and fatigue that continued to intensify until they were forced to stop at a place known as Abwa, where they rested in the shade of a nearby tree.

The Farewell at Abwa

Fresh from the realisation of visiting his father’s grave, Our Prophet ﷺ now stood in front of his beloved mother, the only parent he has left, the only parent he grew up with, the only parent his heart is latching onto, ensuring he ﷺ never has to live without her too. But as her illness began to intensify, the scene became even more painful and worrying for the innocent heart of this six-year-old boy, whose angelic eyes filled with pain would now be moved to tears.

Umm Ayman رضی الله عنها also witnessed this scene and was likewise in a very difficult position. She also had the imperative task to ensure the safety and care of both Sayyidah Aaminah رضی الله عنها – who was like a sister and the closest thing to family she had – and also Muhammad ﷺ, whom she dearly loved as a son.

As Sayyidah Aaminah’s رضی الله عنها illness intensified, Our Prophet ﷺ innocently sat at the head of his beautiful mother, as he gazed upon the sheer pain and struggle she was facing. Our Prophet’s ﷺ blessed mother had now realised that this was no passing illness, but rather she was now experiencing her final moments. She painfully looked up to the innocent face of her beautiful boy who was sat so close to her, and as she gazed into his tearful eyes, she exerted every last drip of energy she had to deliver one last expression of her limitless motherly love and compassion. She delivered a heartful message that would be a form of her lasting companionship at the side of her son throughout his blessed life. She aimed to relieve his fears and sorrow, and motivate him for those beautiful moments she would not be able to witness and aid him in. She expressed the beautiful dreams she had seen and informed him of the greatness he was destined for, the importance of his life and the reason he ﷺ was sent to this world. As breathing became intensely difficult and she reached her final breaths, she then concluded to relieve the pain of her beautiful child as she gazed into his painful eyes one last time and said:

كل حي ميت وكل جديد بال وكل كبير يفنى وأنا ميتة وذكري باق وقد تركت خيرا وولدت طهرا

“(O my son!) Every living being will die one day, and everything new will wither. Every elder will one day disappear, and I too am dying… However, my remembrance will remain forever, for indeed I leave behind me the best, and I gave birth to the purest.” (Abu Nu’aym, Khasaais Al-Kubra)

With these heartfelt words she breathed her last and left this world at the head of the greatest of creation. It was here, at Abwa, where she was destined to return to her Lord, and reunite with her noble husband – Sayyidinaa Abdullah رضی الله عنها – and she is buried, to this day, in that very spot.

اِنَّا للّٰهِ وَ اِنَّا اِلَیْهِ رَاجِعُوْن

May Allah سبحانه و تعالی bless her and be pleased with her.

Our Beloved Prophet ﷺ had now been orphaned of both his parents, and his innocent heart – fresh from the pain of bidding farewell to his father’s grave – now bore the pain of witnessing his compassionate mother leave this world before his eyes.  

But Allah سبحانه و تعالی would never allow his beloved ﷺ to feel unsheltered in this world. Like the clouds that followed and the trees that curved their branches to shade him, Allah سبحانه و تعالی had selected and kept Umm Ayman رضی الله عنها by his ﷺ side to care and protect his beloved Messenger ﷺ. The one who he ﷺ referred to as: “my mother after my own mother.” (Ibn Asakir).

Burial at Abwa

She رضی الله عنها began preparation for burial as the Prophet ﷺ would now see his beloved mother being lowered into the grave and soil placed over her blessed body. This was a painful moment, as a six-year-old boy his heart had now not only experienced witnessing the grave of a deceased parent, but also witnessed how it feels to lower a parent into the grave, all in a short space of time.

After losing his father who he could not even meet, he had now lost the only other parent he did. Umm Ayman رضی الله عنها tried to comfort him as best she could, but the Prophet ﷺ now felt a sense of how alone he truly was in this world. A glimpse into how painful this moment truly was could be seen when he ﷺ returned almost fifty years later to this very spot, as an established leader and beloved Prophet. The Sahabah رضی الله عنهم saw him descend from his conveyance and sit down on the ground by the grave of his mother, and the tears that had flown from the pain in his heart were such that every single person who witnessed this scene burst into to tears. (Sahih Muslim)

Thus, Sayyidah Aaminah رضی الله عنها was buried at Abwa and the remaining two journeyed back to Makkah, wherein he ﷺ would now enter without a home to call his own, without a parent to run to in happiness or sorrow, and without the ability to see his mothers beautiful smile ever again.

The Greatest Example

Whist these experiences were unimaginably painful, Allah سبحانه و تعالی had destined them to pass in order to prepare his beloved ﷺ for the great mission ahead of him, and so that his Ummah may find companionship and direction in times of pain and sorrow, through the life of their beloved Prophet ﷺ.

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌۭ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلْيَوْمَ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرًۭا

“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent model for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (Surah Ahzab 33:21)

When we lose a parent, when we miss their love and compassion, we lower them into their graves, when we visit their graves as our hearts are captivated by their sentiments, when our tongues cannot express into words, the sorrows that lie within us, and when our minds cannot find clarity and direction… we can turn to the life of Our Beloved Prophet ﷺ, making his blessed Seerah our companion, find direction in his example, quantify the essence of our heart’s sorrow in his expressions, respond by following his example, and find purpose in his teachings.

May Allah سبحانه و تعالی bless and send the best of salutations upon our Beloved Prophet ﷺ, by the number of moments in his blessed life, multiplied by the number of difficulties he ﷺ endured, and grant him bountiful blessings in place of every sorrow he faced for us throughout his life. Ameen Yaa Rabbal ‘Aalameen!


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