One of our pious predecessors, Thabit Bin Nu’man, was hungry and tired as he was passing through a garden that bordered a river. He was so hungry that he could hear his stomach growling, and so his eyes became fixed on the fruits he saw on the various trees of the garden. In a fit of desperation, he forgot himself and extended his hand to an apple that was within reach. He ate half of it and then drank water from the river. But then he became overcome with guilt, despite the fact that he had only eaten because of dire need.
He said to himself, “Woe unto me! How can I eat someone else’s fruits without his permission? I make it binding upon myself not to leave this place until I find the owner of this garden and ask him to forgive me for having eaten one of his apples.“
After a brief search, he found the owner’s house. He knocked on the door and the owner of the garden came out and asked him what he wanted.
Thabit Bin Nu’man said, “I entered your garden that borders the river, and I took this apple and ate half of it. Then I remembered it does not belong to me, and so I ask you now to excuse me for having eaten it and to forgive me for my mistake.“
The man said, “On one condition only I will forgive you for your mistake.“
Thabit Bin Nu’man asked, “And what is that condition?“
Thabit Bin Nu’man said, “I will marry her.“
The man said, “But heed you this; indeed my daughter is blind, she does not see; mute, she does not speak;deaf, she does not hear.“
Thabit Bin Nu’man began to ponder over his situation; a difficult predicament indeed did he find himself in now; what should he do? Not get out of it, thought Thabit, for he realised that to be tested by such a woman, to take care of her, and to serve her, are all better than to eat from the foul matter of the Hellfire as a reward for the apple that he ate. And after all, the days of this world are limited.
And so he accepted the condition to mary the girl, seeking his reward from Allaah, Lord of all that exists. He was nonetheless somewhat anxious in the days prior to the marriage.
He thought, “How can I have sexual relations with a woman who neither speaks nor sees nor hears?“
So miserable did he become that he almost wished for the earth to swallow him up before the appointed date.
Yet despite such apprehensions, he placed his complete trust upon Allaah and he said, “There is neither might nor power except with Allaah. Indeed to Allaah do we belong and indeed to Him shall we al return.“
On the day of the marriage he saw her for the first time. She stood up before him and said, “Peace, mercy and blessings of Allaah be upon you.“
When he saw her grace and beauty, he was reminded of what he would see when he would imagine the fair maidens of paradise (i.e., the gorgeous hoor al-ayn). After a brief pause he said, “What is this? She indeed speaks, hears and sees.” He then told her what her father said earlier.
She said, “My father has spoken the truth. He said I was mute because I do not speak any forbidden word! And I am indeed deaf in the sense that I have never sat in a gathering in which there is backbiting, slander, or false and vain speech! And I am indeed blind, in the sense that I have never looked upon a man who is not permissible for me!“
The fruit of this marriage was the birth of a child who grew up to be known as Imaam Abu Hanifah.
The following story is an extract from a jummah sermon delivered by Shiekh Muhammad Rafi at Moor Street Jummah Masjid, Chilaw Sri Lanka. (Friday 7th September 2012)