Stellar Sahabah Al Anbar.
The patient ones will indeed be paid their wages without account. (39:10)
The Prophet Muhammad SallAllahu alaihi wasallam prepared an expedition of three hundred men, under the command of Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah RadhiAllahu anhu in 8 A.H. Their mission was to watch the caravan of the Quraysh pagans near the Red Sea. The Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam gave them a bag full of dates for their provisions, which they carried on the shoulders. They had been hardly out for fifteen days when they ran short of rations.
In order to provide the contingent with food, Qais RadhiAllahu anhu began buying three camels daily from his own men, to feed the Mujahideen, with a promise to pay for them on their return to Madinah. He slaughtered three camels each day a few times, but Abu Ubaidah RadhiAllahu anhu seeing that the slaughter of camels would deprive the party of their only means of transport prohibited him from slaughtering any more. The Amir then collected the dates that had been left with each person and stored them in a bag. He would issue one date to each man as his daily ration.
Jabir bin ‘Abdullah RadhiAllahu anhu was asked, "How could one date benefit you?" He replied, "We came to know its value when even that too finished. We longed even for that one date when the whole stock was exhausted. We were on the verge of starvation.
We stayed at the seashore for half a month and were struck with such severe hunger that we even ate the Khabt, the leaves of the Salam, a thorny desert tree. The army came to be known as Jaish-ul-Khabt.
When they reached this stage, Allah Ta’ala had mercy on them for He always brings ease after every hardship, provided it is endured patiently. A big fish known as Al-’Anbar was thrown out of the sea for them. The Sahabah RadhiAllahu anhum reported that it was like a small mountain. The fish was so big that they all lived on it for eighteen days and rubbed its fat on their bodies till they returned to their original state of being strong and healthy.
Abu Ubaida RadhiAllah anhu ordered two of its ribs to be fixed on the ground; then he went to the tallest man of his companions, and got him to ride on his she-camel under this arch formed by the two ribs. Another narration said that eighteen Sahabah could stand in the eye socket alone!
They also filled their satchels with the remaining portion, which lasted them right up to Madinah. When the episode was narrated to the Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam he said: "The fish was a provision arranged for you by Allah Ta’ala, feed us if you have some of it." He was given some of the fish and he ate it.
The road from Madinah to the Red Sea winds past extremely rugged terrain. Huge imposing mountains of rock and massive expanses of formidable desert sands. The satellite image gives a scant idea of how the geography is. The following two photos show the remains of Ottoman structures, rock buildings growing out from the mountains of rock. This old settlement was about half way between Madinah and Badr, which is then about half way to the Red Sea.
A contemporary whale story. A group of Saudi brothers were sitting with a visiting Sheikh, when the conversation turned to one of them relating a fishing trip he had recently been on with a group of friends. While they were out in the Red Sea they saw two huge whales, they were so big that that could have swallowed the whole boat and all that was in it in one gulp. This incident made them reflect on the story of Yunus Alaihis Salam, and the above account, saying to the Sheikh, how now they could comprehend the Qudrat of Allah Ta’ala. Whereupon the Sheikh asked them if they needed tangible proof for all that Allah Ta’ala has created?
The Red Sea, but no sign of any whales!
Insha’Allah we remember these events as a source of comfort whenever we too are faced with difficulties regarding practicing Islam. Insha’Allah we deeply ponder the numerous lessons Allah Ta’ala is offering us with the amazing examples the Stellar Sahabah RadhiAllahu anhum were put to test with. May Allah Ta’ala enlighten their graves and raise them to be with their Beloved Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. Ameen.
And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops, and give glad tidings to the steadfast, who say when misfortune falls on them: We belong to Allah and we shall indeed return to Him. Such are they on whom are blessings from Allah and they are the rightly guided ones. (2:155-157)
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. Ameen.