Child on the Verge of Death


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(Sayyidah Zainab [radhiyallahu ‘anha] bintu Rasulillah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam] – Part Five)

On one occasion, Sayyidah Zainab’s (radhiyallahu ‘anha) child, Sayyidah Umaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), became so ill that she was literally on the verge of death. Sayyidah Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha) sent a message to her father, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), requesting him to come.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) initially sent the messenger back instructing him to convey salaams to her and give her the following message, “Verily to Allah Ta‘ala alone belongs all that He gives and takes and everything has a prescribed time to remain. She should thus be patient and hope for reward (upon this calamity).”

Shortly thereafter, on the insistence of Sayyidah Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) arrived with a few Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). On arriving, he was handed the child whose breath was laboured and was making a gurgling sound similar to that of water being poured into an old water skin.   

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was affected by the plight of his grandchild and thus began to shed tears. Sayyiduna Sa’d bin ‘Ubaadah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) enquired from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) regarding his crying (assuming that crying was against the dictates of patience), to which he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied: “This is (due to) mercy which Allah Ta‘ala places in the hearts of His servants, and Allah Ta‘ala only showers His mercy on those servants of His who show mercy (to others).”

Allah Ta‘ala then granted the child, Sayyidah Umaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), complete cure and she lived for many years thereafter.

(Saheeh Bukhaari #1284 and Fat-hul Baari)


1. One should have full conviction in Allah Ta‘ala being the controller and in Him having the unequivocal right and prerogative to deal with His creation as He wishes. He may decree poverty for one and wealth for another, happiness for one and sadness for another, life for one and death for another, as He wishes.

2. When a person is loaned something, he cannot complain when the owner wishes to take it back. Similarly, a person does not have the right to object, complain or express dissatisfaction when Allah Ta‘ala wishes to take away from him that which He had Himself loaned to him.

3. One should always be patient and turn his focus to the great rewards that have been promised for being patient. At times, a person enjoys the fruits of his patience in this very world. Hence, it was perhaps on account of the patience of Sayyidah Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha) that Allah Ta‘ala restored the health of her daughter who was on the verge of death.

4. It is not only permissible, but also perfectly natural that one cries in expression of grief. Wailing and complaining against Allah Ta‘ala, however, are under no circumstances permissible.