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Story 78: Juwaybir And Zulfa

How beautiful it would be if you marry and take a wife, establish a family and end the lonely life so that you would be satisfied with a woman, and she would be of help to you in your needs, both in this world and in the hereafter.

"O Messenger of Allah! Neither I have wealth nor possess good and handsome personality, nor do I have a noble descent or lineage. Thus, who is prepared to give me his daughter? Moreover, no one would select me as a husband and to be my wife as I am poor, short, black and ugly?"

“O Juwaybir! Allah has changed the individual's value through Islam. Many people were respected in the time of "Jahiliyyah" pre-Islamic era, and Islam brought them down, many people were despised and degraded, but Islam elevated their status. Allah with the establishment of Islam abolished the vanity of the age of "Jahiliyyah", Ignorance and the pride relative to the familial lineage. Henceforth, people irrespective of their colour black or white, their origin Qurayshite or non-Qurayshite, Arab or non-Arab, are all equal: no-one is superior to another but through piety and obedience to Allah. I consider the one among the Muslims to be better than you, whose virtues and deeds will be better. At present, obey as I order you!”

Such was the words exchanged between Juwaybir and the Holy Prophet (S) who came to visit the Companions of '"Saffa".

Juwaybir was a native of Yammama, where he heard about the popularity and the reputation of Islam and the advent of the Seal of Prophets. Although he was indigent, black and short, he was intelligent, truth-seeking, and self-willed. On hearing the fame of Islam, he came directly to Madinah in order to observe closely the current circumstances.

It did not last long that he embraced Islam and was counted as one of the Muslims. Since he had no money to meet his expenses, nor did he have a house to lodge in, he was temporarily settled in the Mosque by the Prophet's (S) orders.

Eventually there were some other new converted Muslims to Islam in Madinah who were poor and indigent like Juwaybir living in the Mosque by the Holy Prophet’s (S) permission. It was revealed unto the Prophet (S) that the Mosque was not any more a residential place, and it became necessary to transfer them somewhere else.

The Messenger of Allah (S) chose a site outside the Mosque, made a shelter for them, and shifted the homeless there. The place was named "Saffa", and its inhabitants, the poor and the strange, were called the "Companions of Saffa". The Holy Prophet (S) and his Companions kept watching over their lives and needs.

One day, when the Holy Prophet (S) had come to visit them, his eyes were casted over Juwaybir. He thought to bring him out of this situation and make him marry. Juwaybir never thought or imagined that a day would come to have a wife, house and a peaceful life since he was well acquainted with his own situation that that was why when the Holy Prophet (S) suggested him to marry, he said surprisingly: "Is it possible for any woman to have a conjugal life with me!"

But the Holy Prophet (S) promptly informed him of his mistake and explained the changes made in the social conditions in Islam. After making him courageous and fully confident, the Holy Prophet (S) gave an order to him to go directly to the house of "Ziad Ibn Lubaid" and ask for his daughter's hand "Zulfa" in marriage.

Ziad Ibn Lubaid was counted among the richest and respectable inhabitants of Madinah and his tribe had a great consideration for him. When Juwaybir arrived in his house his relatives, tribes and a group of men surrounded him.

After taking a seat, Juwaybir paused for a moment then raised his head and said to Ziad: “I have brought a message from the Holy Prophet (S) for you, should I tell you confidentially or publicly?”

“The Prophet’s (S) message is an honour to me. Of course, you'd better tell it publicly.”

“The Holy Prophet (S) has sent me to ask your daughter’s hand for myself.”

“Did the Holy Prophet (S) personally talk to you about this suggestion?”

"I say nothing on my own authority, all know me. I am not a man to lie."

“It is strange! It is not our tradition to give our daughters in marriage to the others but to the persons of equal status from our own tribe. Go back, I will personally go to the Holy Prophet (S) and talk to him about the matter.”

Juwaybir stood up and then left the house, murmuring on his way: “I swear by Allah what the Holy Qur'an teaches and what the prophecy of Muhammad is alter, differs from what Ziad says.”

All those who were nearby heard the words which Juwaybir was murmuring.

Zulfa, Ziad's lovely daughter well-known for her beauty and charm, heard his words. She came to her father to inquire about the incident.

She said: “Father who was this man and what was he murmuring about and what did he mean by that?”

“This man came to ask your hand in marriage pretending that the Holy Prophet (S) had sent him.”

“And if the Holy Prophet (S) had truly sent him, thus your refusal may be considered as a rebellion against the Prophet’s (S) order.”

"In your opinion what shall I do?"

“My opinion is that you should make him return immediately before he reaches the presence of the Holy Prophet (S), therefore go to the Holy Prophet (S) personally and enquire into the matter?”

Then Ziad made Juwaybir return back to his house with respect and he personally hurried to the attendance of the Holy Prophet (S). As soon as he saw the Prophet (S), he said: "O Messenger of Allah! Juwaybir came to my house and brought such a message from you. I would like to inform you that our current custom and tradition is such: We give our daughters in marriage only to the persons of equal status with us from our tribesmen who are all your Companions and of the helpers (Ansar).”

“O Ziad! Juwaybir is a faithful believer. Those dignities which you are talking about have been abolished nowadays. A man mumin - Muslim believer - is equal in dignity to a woman mumin.”

Ziad came back home and went directly to his daughter, Zulfa, and related to her all the incident which took place.

Zulfa said: "In my opinion, do not refuse the Prophet’s (S) proposal. The question is concerning to me. Whoever Juwaybir may be, I should be pleased, since the Messenger of Allah (S) is pleased with this matter, so do I."

Ziad married Zulfa to Juwaybir, paid her dowry from his own wealth and offered the bride a good trousseau. And they asked Juwaybir: "Have you thought about a dwelling place where to take the bride?"

He said: "In fact, I never thought a day would come when I will have a wife and a domestic life. Suddenly the Holy Prophet (S) came, proposed that to me and sent me to Ziad's house."

Ziad arranged a house equipped with complete furniture, prepared two suitable suits of clothes for the bridegroom and shifted the bride to that house along with complete ornaments, jewellery, perfume and dresses. The night fell, Juwaybir did not know the address of the new house provided for him. He was guided to the new house and instructed to the bridal-chamber.

He made a glance at the new house, all those properties and such a beautiful bride, suddenly he remembered his past. He said to himself, “When I entered this city. I was a poor man and a stranger and I had nothing, neither wealth nor beauty, nor familial lineage, nor relatives. Allah bestowed upon me all these bounties through Islam. As a matter of fact, it is Islam engendering in people such transformations which are beyond anyone's imagination. How grateful I must be to Allah!”

He felt a strong sentiment of satisfaction and gratitude in his spirit regarding the Almighty Allah, went in a corner of the room and began reciting the Holy Qur'an and praying to Allah.

Suddenly, he realized that it was dawn. When he heard the call of the morning prayer, he made a vow to fast that day to express gratitude to Allah.

When women came to visit Zulfa, they found her untouched and a virgin, it became obvious that Juwaybir did not approach Zulfa. They kept the matter hidden from Ziad. Two nights and two days passed in the same manner while Juwaybir was fasting during the day and reciting the Holy Qur'an and praying throughout the night.

Little by little it came to the mind of the bride's family that Juwaybir was not in need of a woman or probably he is impotent.

At last, they exposed the matter to Ziad. Ziad informed the Holy Prophet (S) of the case. The Holy Prophet (S) called Juwaybir and asked: "Don't you have any desire for a woman?"

"Why not, this desire is incidentally intensive for me."

"Then why did you not approach your bride?"

"O Messenger of Allah! On entering that house and finding myself amid with all those bounties, I thought how great the Almighty Allah is and has granted His blessings to me, an insignificant creature. So, I felt a state of gratitude and servitude towards Him. I said to myself: "It is essential to pray in order to offer Him gratitude before doing anything else. Tonight, I shall go to my wife."

The Holy Prophet (S) informed Ziad of the incident. Juwaybir and Zulfa accomplished their marriage and lived a most happy life. Later on, a holy Islamic war "jihad" occurred. Juwaybir took part in it with the same zeal and enthusiasm and was martyred under the banner of Islam.

After his martyrdom, there was no woman in the city having so many wooers as Zulfa had, and they were ready to spend lot of money for her.1

  • 1. AI-Kafi, v. 5. p. 34.