Allâh chose Adam, Nûh (Noah), the family of Ibrâhim (Abraham) and the family of ‘Imrân above the ‘Alamîn (mankind and jinn) (of their times).Offspring, one of the other, and Allâh is the All-Hearer, All-Knower. (Remember) when the wife of ‘Imrân said: “O my Lord! I have vowed to You what (the child that) is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services (free from all worldly work; to serve Your Place of worship), so accept this, from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.” Then when she gave birth to her [child Maryam (Mary)], she said: “O my Lord! I have given birth to a female child,” – and Allâh knew better what she brought forth, – “And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Maryam (Mary), and I seek refuge with You (Allâh) for her and for her offspring from Shaitan (Satan), the outcast.” So her Lord (Allâh) accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariyâ (Zachariya). Every time he entered Al-Mihrâb to (visit) her , he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: “O Maryam (Mary)! From where have you got this?” She said, “This is from Allâh.” Verily, Allâh provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.” [Surah Ale Imraan, 3:33-37]
Some say behind every successful man is a woman. Of course I agree with that! Because it’s a given that if a woman maintains harmony at home and is patient then only a man would be able to work productively. Just like the amazing example of Khadija RA and how she gave Rasulalah SAW room when he sought isolation in Cave Hira.
Just to add to that: Behind every successful scholar who achieves acceptance in Ummah are parents who are devout worshippers of Allah SWT.
Remember the story I shared about Abu Hanifa (R)’s parents? You can refresh your memory here. And then the story of Imam Bukhari(R) and how his mother prayed hard and Imam Bukhari regained his sight. SubhanAllah!
So there’s a consistent pattern in the families of these successful men and a major lesson for parents.
If you submit to Allah SWT 100%, you’ll have children with exceptional memory and intellect. The beauty of obedience to Allah SWT is that it helps you overcome your smallness of means and do something so phenomenal that it is outside of an average human’s capability. And the best part is that the barakah in your life has a higher probability of being inherited by your generations. We have a huge example in Ibrahim AS. My point is that regardless of what you want to achieve, you must have faith that if you obey Allah SWT, it’s going to help you not only in Akhira but also in Dunia.
I’d like to share a small snippet from the life of ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (R). More precisely a story of his parents. But before that, notice what the scholar of ash-Shaam said about him. One thing to keep in mind is that at that time people were not extravagant with praise. When they praised someone, they meant it.
Isma’il ibn ‘Ayyash, the scholar of al-Sham said, “There is none like ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak on the face of this earth, nor do I know of a single good characteristic created by Allah except that He has put it in ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak.”
He was (as quoted in the book):
One of these rarities lies in the very being of that scholar from Khurasan, the Mujahid between the army ranks, the faQih (jurist) and muHaddith (narrator) of his time, the righteous ‘aabid (worshipper) of his Lord, the successful merchant across cities, the well-known zahid (ascetic), the poet and writer, the grammarian and linguist, the respected and the leader of the Pious – ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak.
He was born in the city of ‘Ilm which produced many scholars such as Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Sufyan al-Thawri and Ishaq ibn Rahawey.
The Story of his Parents:
His father, Mubarak was originally a Turk, belonging to a merchant from Banu Handhala as a slave  but he was known to be righteous and frequently in seclusion, worshipping Allah. Historical documentations and sources such as Shadharat al-Dhahab and Wafayat al-A’yan mention an interesting account that took place whilst Mubarak was working for his master in the fields/plantations: After having worked in those fields and tended to the fruits and crops for many years, he was one day approached by his master who requested a sweet pomegranate.
Mubarak went to the crops and brought back a pomegranate but as the master bit into it, he found it to be sour.
‘I request a sweet one and you bring me a sour one? Bring a sweet one!’
So he went and brought another pomegranate which again turned out to be sour. He rebuked him harshly and ordered a sweet one again.
This happened for a third time whereupon the master said,
‘Do you not know the difference between sweet and sour?’
‘How is that possible?’
He (Mubarak) said,
‘Because I have never eaten from it such that I should know the difference.’
His master said,
‘And why have you not eaten of it?’
‘Because you have never given me permission to eat it.’
This was the piety his father had that prevented him from eating the fruits which he had long tended to and cared for throughout the years that he worked in those fields – he wasn’t given permission to eat and so he refrained, out of obedience and fear of Allah `azza wa jall.
His master, upon seeing the righteousness of Mubarak requested him to marry his daughter but he replied,
‘The people in the time of ignorance used to marry for lineage, the Jews married for wealth and the Christians for beauty but this Ummah marries for Deen (religion).’
He became even more amazed at the attitude of Mubarak whereupon he informed his wife who said,
‘I do not see anyone else more suitable to marry her than Mubarak.’
He rahimahullah then married his master’s daughter (originally from Khuwarizm) who later gave birth to ‘Abdullah.
Fruit of Obedience
‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak was thus raised and brought up in a household known for its righteousness and nurtured by parents who were known for their piety, justice and humbleness.
‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak first received education in one of the many kuttab (local schools where children were taught to read and write). As a young child and student, Ibn al-Mubarak began to display intellect and powerful memory. One of his friends narrates an incident which took place whilst they were students in the kuttab. He says, ‘We were young boys at school when Ibn al-Mubarak and I passed by a man giving a khutbah (sermon). He gave a long khutbah, and when we dispersed, Ibn al-Mubarak said to me ‘I memorised it.’ A man overhead him and said, ‘Then bring it forth.’ So Ibn al-Mubarak repeated all of it to him, and indeed he had memorised it.’
…and his biography goes on.
[From: The Life of ‘Abdullah ibn al Mubarak, pp.5-7]
It’s amazing how Mubarak (R) responded to his master when approached for marriage. Anyone would blindly say yes without remembering Allah SWT. But it’s beautiful how he responded. He didn’t think twice before he told his master what he believed in and stood by his principles despite the fact that he was a very obedient slave. What’s even more shocking is that his master was noble enough to see Mubarak(R) as son-in-law material for his daughter. He didn’t think that what would the people say that I married off my daughter to my own slave. The master didn’t have ego issues. SubhanAllah! Such amazing people, may Allah SWT be pleased with them all.
It’s only obedience of Allah SWT that opens up doors for you.
It’s only obedience of Allah SWT that saves you.
So what if the whole world’s corrupted?
So what if nobody’s like you in your community?
Maybe you’re that ‘diamond in the rough’ whom Allah SWT will choose for His Work one day.
Allah SWT chose Musa AS not because of his eloquence. Rather He SWT looked into his heart. He SWT asked Musa AS to talk infront of the toughest audience, i.e. Pharaoh and his advisors! Musa AS who had stuttering or speech problems! Allahu Akbar!
You may be mediocre or may not have those skills but it’s Allah SWT who chooses people according to the level of Taqwa. Not on the basis of how they look and talk. And definitely not according to their social status.
Why not be a gem in Allah SWT’s sight?
And that can only be by having a strong relationship with Allah SWT.
And Allah SWT knows best.