In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
One of our pious predecessors, Thabit bin Nu’man, was hungry and tired as he was passing through a garden that bordered a river. He was so hungry that he could hear his stomach growling, and so his eyes became fixated on the fruits he saw on the various trees of the garden. In a fit of desperation, he forgot himself and extended his hand to an apple that was within reach. He ate half of it and then drank water from the river. But then he became overcome by guilt, despite the fact that he had only eaten because of dire need. He said to himself, “Woe unto me! How can I eat someone else’s fruits without his permission? I make it binding upon myself to not leave this place until I find the owner of this garden and ask him to forgive me for having eaten one of his apples.” After a brief search, he found the owner’s house. He knocked on the door, and the owner of the garden came out and asked him what he wanted.
Thabit bin Nu’man said, “I entered your garden that borders the river, and I took this apple and ate half of it. Then I remembered that it does not belong to me, and so I ask you now to excuse me for having eaten it and to forgive me for my mistake.” The man said, “On one condition only will I forgive you for your mistake.” Thabit bin Nu’man asked, “And what is that condition?” He said, “That you marry my daughter.” Thabit said, “I will marry her.” The man said, “But heed you this: indeed my daughter is blind, she does not see; mute, she does not speak; deaf, she does not hear.” Thabit began to ponder over his situation; a difficult predicament indeed did he find himself to be in now; what should he do? Not get out of it, thought Thabit, for he realized that to be tested by such a woman, to take care of her, and to serve her, are all better than to eat from the foul matter of the Hellfire as a reward for the apple that he ate. And after all, the days of this world are few and limited.
And so he accepted the condition to marry the girl, seeking his reward from Allah, Lord of all that exists. He was nonetheless somewhat anxious in the days prior to the marriage. He thought, “How can I have relations with a woman who neither speaks nor sees nor hears?” So miserable did he become that he almost wished for the earth to swallow him up before the appointed date. Yet despite such apprehensions, he placed his complete trust upon Allah, and he said, “There is neither nor power except with Allah. Indeed to Allah do we belong, and to Him do we return.” On the day of his marriage, he saw her for the first time. She stood up before him and said, “Peace be upon you, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.” When he saw her grace and beauty, he was reminded of what he would see when he would imagine the fair maidens of Paradise. After a brief pause, he said, “What is this? She indeed speaks, hears, and sees.” He then told her what her father had said earlier. She said, “My father has spoken the truth. He said I was a mute because I do not speak any forbidden word, and I have never spoken to a man who is not lawful to me. And I am indeed deaf in the sense that I have never sat in a gathering in which there is backbiting, slander, or false and vain speech. And I am blind in the sense that I have never looked upon a man who is not permissible for me.”
Noble reader, reflect on and learn a lesson from the story of this pious man and this pious woman and of how Allah brought them together. The fruit of this noble marriage was the birth of a child who grew up to fill the earth with knowledge; yes, their son was Imam Abu Hanifah An-Nu’man, may Allah have mercy on him.
Gems and Jewels
Compiled by: Abdul-Malik Mujahid
Publisher: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam