Abdullah Bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.)

Abdullah Bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.) was a cousin of Khadijah bint-e-Khuwaylid (R.A.), Mother of the Believers. His (R.A.) father was Qays bin Zaid and his (R.A.) mother was Aatikah bint-e-Abdullah. She was called Umm-e-Maktum (Mother of the Concealed One) because she gave birth to a blind child. Abdullah (R.A.) witnessed the rise of Islam in Makkah. He (R.A.) was amongst the first to accept Islam. He (R.A.) lived through the persecution of the Muslims and suffered what the other companions (R.A.) of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) experienced. His (R.A.) attitude, like theirs, was one of firmness, staunch resistance and sacrifice. Neither his (R.A.) dedication nor his (R.A.) faith weakened against the violence of the Quraysh onslaught. In fact, all this only increased his determination to hold on to the religion of Allah and his (R.A.) devotion to His messenger (Peace be upon him).
Abdullah (R.A.) was devoted to the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) and he (R.A.) was so eager to memorize the Quran that he (R.A.) would not miss any opportunity to achieve his (R.A.) heart’s desire. Indeed, his (R.A.) sense of urgency and his (R.A.) insistence could sometimes have been irritating as he (R.A.) unintentionally, sought to monopolize the attention of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). In this period, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was concentrating on the Quraysh notables and was eager that they should become Muslims. On one particular day, he (Peace be upon him) met Utbah bin Rabiah and his brother Shaybah, Amr bin Hisham better known as Abu Jahl, Umayyah bin Khalaf and Walid bin Mughirah, the father of Khalid bin Walid (R.A.) who was later to be known as Sayfullah “The sword of Allah”. He (Peace be upon him) had begun talking and negotiating with them and telling them about Islam. He (Peace be upon him) wished that they would respond positively to him and accept Islam or at least call off their persecution of his companions (R.A.).
While he (Peace be upon him) was thus engaged, Abdullah Bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.) came up and asked him to read a verse from the Quran. “O messenger (Peace be upon him) of Allah,” he (R.A.) said, “Teach me from what Allah has taught you.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) frowned and turned away from him. He (Peace be upon him) turned his (Peace be upon him) attention instead to the prestigious group of Quraysh, hoping that they would become Muslims and that by their acceptance of Islam they would bring greatness to the religion of Allah and strengthen his (Peace be upon him) mission. As soon as he (Peace be upon him) had finished speaking to them and had left their company, he (Peace be upon him) suddenly felt partially blinded and his (Peace be upon him) head began to throb violently. At this point the following revelation came to him:
“He frowned and turned away. Because the blind man came unto him. What could inform thee but that he might grow (in grace). Or take heed and so the reminder might avail him? As for him who thinketh himself independent. Unto him thou payest regard. Yet it is not thy concern if he grow not (in grace). But as for him who cometh unto thee with earnest purpose. And hath fear. From him thou art distracted. Nay, but verily it is an Admonishment. So let whosoever will pay heed to it. On honoured leaves, Exalted, purified, (Set down) by scribes, Noble and righteous. ” (Surah Abasa 80: 1-16).
These are the sixteen verses which were revealed to the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) about Abdullah bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.) sixteen verses that have continued to be recited from that time till today and shall continue to be recited. From that day the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not cease to be generous to Abdullah bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.), to ask him about his affairs, to fulfil his (R.A.) needs and take him (R.A.) into his council whenever he (R.A.) approached. This is not strange. Was he (Peace be upon him) not censured by Allah in a most severe manner on Abdullah’s (R.A.) account? In fact, in later years, he (Peace be upon him) often greeted Bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.) with these words of humility:
“Welcome unto him on whose account my Sustainer has rebuked me.” When the Quraysh intensified their persecution of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and those who believed with him, Allah gave them permission to emigrate. Abdullah’s (R.A.) response was prompt. He (R.A.) and Musab bin Umayr (R.A.) were the first of the companions (R.A.) to reach Madinah. As soon as they reached Yasrib, he (R.A.) and Musab (R.A.) began discussing with the people, reading the Quran to them and teaching them the religion of Allah. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) arrived in Madinah, he (Peace be upon him) appointed Abdullah and Bilal bin Rabah (R.A.) to be Muazzins for the Muslims, proclaiming the Oneness of Allah five times a day, calling man to the best of actions and summoning them to success.
Bilal (R.A.) would call the Adhan and Abdullah (R.A.) would pronounce the Iqamah for the Prayer. Sometimes they would reverse the process. During Ramadan, they adopted a special routine. One of them would call the Adhan to wake people up to eat before the fast began. The other would call the Adhan to announce the beginning of dawn and the fast. It was Bilal (R.A.) who would awaken the people and Abdullah Bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.) who would announce the beginning of dawn.
One of the responsibilities that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) placed on Abdullah Bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.) was to put him in charge of Madinah in his (Peace be upon him) absence. This was done more than ten times, one of them being when he (Peace be upon him) left for the liberation of Makkah.
Soon after the battle of Badr, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) received a revelation from Allah raising the status of the Mujahideen and preferring them over the qaideen (those who remain inactive at home). This was in order to encourage the Mujahid even further and to spur the qaid to give up his inactivity. This revelation affected bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.) deeply. It pained him to be thus barred from the higher status and he (R.A.) said:
“O messenger (Peace be upon him) of Allah. If I could go on jihad, I would certainly do.” He (Peace be upon him) then earnestly asked Allah to send down a revelation about his particular case and those like him who were prevented because of their disabilities from going on military campaigns.
His prayer was answered. An additional phrase was revealed to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) exempting those with disabilities from the import of the original verse. The full ayah became: “Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives. Allah hath conferred on those who strive with their wealth and lives a rank above the sedentary. Unto each Allah hath promised good, but He hath bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary;” (Surah an-Nisaa, 4: 95).
In spite of thus being excused from jihad, the soul of Abdullah Bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.) refused to be content with staying among those who remained at home when an expedition was in progress. Great souls are not content with remaining detached from affairs of great moment. He (R.A.) determined that no campaign should by-pass him. He (R.A.) fixed a role for himself on the battle field. He (R.A.) would say: “Place me between two rows and give me the standard. I will carry it for you and protect it, for I am blind and cannot run away.”
In the fourteenth year after the Hijrah, Umar (R.A.) resolved to mount a major assault against the Persians to bring down their State and open the way for the Muslim forces. So he (R.A.) wrote to his governors: “Send anyone with a weapon or a horse or who can offer any form of help to me. And make haste.” Crowds of Muslims from every direction responded to Umar’s (R.A.) call and converged on Madinah. Among all these was the blind Mujahid, Abdullah bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.).
Umar (R.A.) appointed Sad bin Abi Waqqas commander over the army, gave him (R.A.) instructions and bade him farewell. When the army reached Qadisiyyah, Abdullah Bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.) was prominent, wearing a coat of armour and fully prepared. He (R.A.) had vowed to carry and protect the standard of the Muslims or be killed in the process.
The forces met and engaged in battle for three days. The fighting was among the most fierce and bitter in the history of the Muslim conquests. On the third day, the Muslims achieved a mighty victory as one of the greatest empires in the world collapsed and one of the most secure thrones fell. The standard of Tawhid was raised in an idolatrous land. The price of this clear victory was hundreds of Martyrs. Among them was Abdullah bin Umm-e-Maktum (R.A.). He (R.A.) was found dead on the battlefield clutching the flag of the Muslims.