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Her name was ‘Aatikah bint Khaalid al-Khuza’iyyah and Ummu Ma’bad was her nick name. She was a famous, chaste, strong and courageous woman, who lived in between Mecca and Medinah in a city called Qubayd. She used to run a small tent or camp on the road that served as a rest stop where she provided food and drink to travelers, sometimes for payment and sometimes for free.

It was Ummu Mabad’s camp that the Prophet(peace be upon him)  passed by on his Hijrah to Madinah, along with Abu Bakr (RA), Amir ibn Fuhayra and their guide Abdullah ibn Urayqit. Unfortunately , this was at a time when people were suffering from a severe drought.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and his companions had stopped to ask her for some milk, meat or date, which they were even willing to pay for. Sadly she was unable to provide any of these things to them and apologetically said: " By Allah, if we had anything to offer, we would not be lacking in hospitality,”.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) then saw a lonely goat within the shaded side of the camp, which was being kept away from other sheep due to its weakness. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) asked Umm Ma’bad, “Does this goat have any milk?” Umm Ma’bad answered, “She is too weak to have any.” He then said, “Would you allow me to milk her?” The woman replied, “May my father and mother be ransomed for you, if you see any milk in her you may milk her.”

The Prophet(peace be upon him) went to the goat and mentioned the name of Allah as he started to milk it. Upon the mention of Allah, the udders swelled and milk started flowing and the Prophet(peace be upon him) filled a vessel for the entire group. They all drank very fast as they were so thirsty. It wasn’t until after the Prophet(peace be upon him) had passed around the milk and ensured that everyone drank that he drank his fill saying, “The cup-bearer drinks last.” The Prophet(peace be upon him) again filled the vessel and they drank much slower, savoring it now that they weren’t as thirsty as before. After they had enough, the Prophet (peace be upon him) again milked a large amount for Um Mabad and he and his companions mounted their camels and went on their way.

After they had left, Umm Ma’bad’s husband, Aktham ibn Abi al-Jawn al-Khuza’i came herding his emaciated flock of sheep. When he saw the milk or its remanants in the vessel he asked quite surprised, “Umm Ma’bad what is this? Where did you get this milk from... there is no goat with milk here?!” His wife answered; “A blessed man passed by us.”  

The word ‘blessed’ slipped out of her mouth spontaneously, as she was still emotionally influenced from what she had seen. Abu Ma’bad asked his wife, “Describe him.” She then explained and described to him what had happened in detail.

“I saw a man who was clearly handsome with a beautiful face. His manners were fine and he was well built. He was neither blemished by a big belly nor disfigured by baldness. The irises of his eyes were very dark, the edges of his eyelids were long and the whites of his eyes were extremely white. His eyebrows were arched and perfectly close. He had very dark hair-glossy and inclined to curl, which he wore long-and a thick beard.

When he remains silent he is ever contemplative and when he speaks, eminence and splendour exhibit in his words. His words are like sliding stringed pearls. He is a gifted orator whose words are neither too few nor too many. He has the clearest wand and the most audible voice as he speaks. When you look at him from afar, he is the most handsome of all people, and when you move closer to him, he is the most pleasant of them.

You would never be tired of looking at him. He was neither tall nor short; he was like a branch between other branches that stands out as uniquely bright. He is the most handsome of the three and the most important of them. He has companions who honour him; when he speaks they listen to his words and when he commands they hasten to carry out his order. They serve and gather around him. He neither frowns or nags.”

Abu Ma’bad exclaimed, “By Allah! This is the man of Quraysh! If I see him I will follow him.” In another narration he said, “I intend to follow him, if I am able to.” Then the couple packed up and went to Madinah to find the Prophet(peace be upon him) , embraced Islam and swore allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and stayed in his company as much as possible. It was Khunays ibn Khalid, who is Um Mabad’s brother, who accompanied them and related this story. He was honored with martyrdom on the day of the conquest of Makkah.

According to a report narrated by al-Waqidi and many others, the goat that the Prophet (peace be upon him) milked that day lived for a long time providing abundant milk. This is not surprising as Allah Almighty blessed the Prophet’s presence among the Companions.

Ummu Mabad’s description of the Prophet(peace be upon him)  is one of the best ones, besides the descriptions by Ali. It was actually said in such eloquent, beautiful poetry that even after 1400 years, scholars still need to use resources in order to understand it (the way it was originally stated in Arabic).

May Allah be pleased her.


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