Answering the Desert Call


“I Love You as Much as The Quraish Love Usman”

Abdullah’s mother crouched in front of the boiling pot, as she prepared a delicious broth for dinner.

With one hand she stirred its contents, while with the other, she wiped her sweaty brow with an already dampened cloth.

She eyed her children playing with pebbles and marbles nearby. “Someone get me a glass of water, oh, I’m melting!” she called out breathlessly.

Abdullah, her eldest son, shot like an arrow at the call of his beloved mother. He rushed to fill a glass of cool water from the earthenware pot.

“Ah, by the Most Merciful,  I love you as much as the Quraish love Usman,” she said, taking the refreshing glass of water and patting his head affectionately.

Meanwhile, not too far away, two Arab men were engaged in a hushed conversation. 

Akbar, with shoulders hunched and a heavy sigh, expressed to his friend Harisa, “I am knee deep in debt, no one is buying my merchandise,” Akbar cried in panic.

“How much time do you have to repay the money?” Harisa enquired compassionately. “I am already very late and they will not give me any more time,” Akbar confessed, feeling embarrassed.

“Well then, the only person who can help you out is Usman, son of Affan.”

“Give him your things to sell,” advised Harisa. “Oh gosh, why didn’t I think of this before?”

“Of course! Usman Ghani! He is the generous one, the helpful one! Oh yes!” cried Akbar in relief. Overcome with gratitude, Akbar grasped his friend’s hands in an over zealous handshake.

So who was this mystery man Usman that everyone was talking about? Who was this person that the Quraish loved so much?

He was Usman, son of Affan (May Allah be pleased with him).

He belonged to the powerful Banu Ummayah tribe of the Quraish. He was a strong and handsome man, everyone loved him and desired to be in his company.

He was very good at remembering important events of the past and even though he was a smart and rich businessman, he used very little money for himself.

He wore simple clothes that covered him properly and he was often found sleeping on the sand of the mosque, wrapped in a blanket.

Instead, he used his money to free the poor slaves and to give people food and water in times of drought and famine in the desert of Makkah.

This was why he was so beloved, so admired.

Usman Ghani, son of Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) was clearly one of the favorites of the Banu Ummayah tribe of the Quraish.


The Voice in the Desert

The rhythmic movement of the camel’s legs scooped up grains of the sandy desert, back and forth, as Usman, (May Allah be pleased with him) made his way through the Arabian desert.

He (May Allah be pleased with him) was lost in deep thoughts. A strange incident had happened with him the night before.

He (May Allah be pleased with him) and his companions had been on their way back home from Syria to Makkah after a successful business trip.

When they had reached a location between Ma’an and Al Zarqa, they had decided to set camp and rest for the night.

When suddenly, he was woken up by a voice calling out, “O sleepers, get up, for Ahmad has emerged in Makkah,” an unfamiliar voice echoed in the eerie silence of the cold desert.

“What was that? What did I just hear?”  he thought to himself in a disturbed astonishment.

The mysterious message had touched his heart and left a number of questions in his mind.

“Who is this Ahmad? What does it mean that he has emerged? I must find out,” he had thought to himself.

The next morning, Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) had instructed his fellow campers to pack their things and resume their journey.

So here he was, pacing on his camel, lost in his reverie, when a man’s voice calling his name, jolted him out of his thoughts.

It was Talhah, a fellow Makkan. Talhah seemed a bit disturbed himself. “I was passing through Bostra when a monk stopped me and asked me a strange question,” Talha told Usman (May Allah be pleased with him).

“He asked me if Ahmad had yet emerged,” Talha went on to say. Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) stopped in his tracks.

“Ahmad! It was the same name he had heard in his strange dream,” he realized.

“I asked him, who is Ahmad?” continued Talhah. “The monk went on to say that he is the grandson of Abdul Muttalib, he is the son of Abdullah,” said Talhah.

“The monk also told me that this was the month that the son of Abdullah would appear and that he is the last of the prophets!” declared Talhah, who himself was a bit shaken up by the bizarre conversation with the monk.

Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) also shared his own puzzling experience with him. “We must go to my cousin Abu Bakr. He can interpret dreams. He will tell us what your dream means.” Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) nodded in agreement.

He couldn’t wait for the mystery of the desert voice to be solved.

As soon as they entered Makkah, they went straight to meet Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) and narrated their experiences to him.

Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) listened with concentration. This was now a usual occurrence. It was not the first time someone had come to him, distressed at hearing a voice or seeing a similar dream.

He explained to them that Ahmad was actually Muhammad, son of Abdullah, and he was the last Prophet of Allah. Angel Gabriel had come down from the skies carrying the message of Allah Almighty, to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

Prophet Muhammad’s message was that there was only one god, Allah. Only Allah is worthy of worship and has no partners.

The idols that the Arabs were worshiping were made of lifeless objects like metal and stone. They had no power to bring any harm or good to the people.

Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) confessed that he had accepted Islam, but was keeping it a secret.

His fellow tribesmen were not ready to accept that their grandfathers had been wrong in worshiping so many idols. They would do anything to stop their brothers from following the message of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

The idea of one God was creating ripples of anger and unrest amongst the Arab tribes.

Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) absorbed the information he had just received. It all started to make sense to him and a feeling of calm enveloped his entire body.

Everyone in Makkah used to call Muhammad (Peace be upon him)  Al Amin, As Sadiq – The Trustworthy and The Honest. How could Mohammad claim something false?

Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) knew that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) could not utter a word of deceit.

So what, if his fellow tribesmen were opposed to the idea of one God. So what, if they would become his enemies.

Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) was not in the least bit afraid. He was not in the least bit hesitant.

The truth was laid out in front of him by Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) and he saw it clear as day. The voice in the desert had commanded Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) to get up.

He was ready to wake up to a new life, the beautiful enlightened life of Islam. With this move, he became the fourth man to embrace Islam.


The Test of Faith

Hakam Ibn Al Aas let out a frustrated sigh. He stared angrily at his brother Affan’s son, Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) tied in front of him.

He couldn’t believe his favorite nephew, the pride and glory of the Banu Umayyah tribe was following the footsteps of Muhammad, son of Abdullah, son of the Banu Hashims! Their rivals, their competitors in wealth and power, the Banu Hashims!

Hakam had been sure that keeping Usman locked up and tied in a corner would break his spirit in a few days. He had even tried filling up the room with dreadful smoke.

“When his breath will catch in his throat, he will give up Islam and forget what Muhammad is teaching,” Hakam had planned in his heart.

But contrary to his evil plans, Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) remained firm in his belief in Allah. “Will you turn away from the religion of your grandfathers for a new religion?” thundered Hakam at his unwavering nephew.

“I swear, I will not let you go until you give up this religion!” threatened Hakam menacingly. Usman declared resolutely, “By Allah, I will never give it up or leave it.”

Hakam stared at him in disbelief. “Where is this strength coming from?”, he thought to himself in distaste.

“This is useless, I will have to let him go, he will not give up,” Hakam thought in resignation. Hakam Ibn Al Aas gave up and set him free.

Very soon Usman’s (May Allah be pleased with him) mother also found that he had accepted Islam. She was very angry at him but even though mothers always want the best for their children, Usman’s mother was not following the right way at that time.

The people of Banu Umayyah who used to respect Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) turned against him. The same Usman who would help them with his wealth and generosity, they became his enemy.

They did not hesitate to hurt him. The mothers no longer sang lullabies to their children,  I love you as the Quraish love Usman.

However, Usman  (May Allah be pleased with him) was content as he was rewarded with a far more beneficial trade.

The praise of his tribe was replaced by the praise of the Prophet of Allah, Muhammad, (Peace be upon him). “For every Prophet there is a friend (Rafiq), and my friend is Usman,” said Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

He (May Allah be pleased with him) faced all problems with utmost will power. He never for a moment considered going back to his old ways to regain the love and respect of his people.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was deeply grieved by the ill treatment of Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) and the new Muslims by the Quraish.

He advised them to migrate to Abyssinia. “There is a righteous king there, in whose land no one is wronged,” the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) instructed.

So Usman (may Allah be pleased with him) prepared for the journey to Abyssinia, leaving behind his home and all his wealth.

A man from the Quraish tribe cried out in urgency, “Hurry, there are two ships docked at the Red Sea! They are leaving Makkah! We must catch them!”

“Usman is leaving too, along with his wife Ruqaiyyah”, shouted another. The Quraish dashed in urgency towards the sea to catch hold of the Muslims.

They couldn’t reach them on time, and the two ships set sail towards Abyssinia, towards safety.

This was the first migration in the history of Islam.

Usman (May Allah be pleased with him) embarked on a journey to the unknown. He left behind the prestige and respect of his tribe, the comfort and identity of his land.

What he didn’t leave was his devout sincerity to the promise he made to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to worship Allah, the One and Only Almighty God, till his last breath.

Written By:

Mahrukh Nida Ahsan


Muhammad by Martin Lings

The Biography of Uthman Ibn Affan by Dr Ali Muhammad As Sallabi

The Pious Caliphs by Dr Majid Ali Khan

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Mahrukh Nida Ahsan, MA Mass Communication A teacher, reader and writer who takes inspiration from classic English literature and poetry. A self help book with a warm cup of tea is her go-to combination. She enjoys spreading laughter and crafting pretty little things.

Zawjah Ammar, a self-taught writer and mother to mischievous kids who love to hear stories. She takes her inspiration from Pixar stories and fictional novels to re-tell true stories in a ‘new-generation friendly’ style with inspirational songs to go along.

Zahra Anjum, has contributed many remarkable stories to Luqmay, Battle of Badr and Prophet Musa (peace be upon him), are examples of her outstanding talent.

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