A Blind Companion of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)


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Ibn Umm Maktūm, a poor and blind man, once went to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and asked him repeatedly to teach him something of what the Prophet had been taught by God. The Prophet was very busy speaking to al-Walīd Ibn al-Mughīrah and a number of Quraysh notables, entertaining hopes that they might accept Islam. Ibn Umm Maktūm did not know that the Prophet was busy, but the Prophet was unhappy about his repeated request, and this was clear on his face. This was the subject of a strong reproach of the Prophet by Allah:

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰٓ (١) أَن جَآءَهُ ٱلۡأَعۡمَىٰ (٢) وَمَا يُدۡرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ ۥ يَزَّكَّىٰٓ (٣) أَوۡ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنفَعَهُ ٱلذِّكۡرَىٰٓ (٤) أَمَّا مَنِ ٱسۡتَغۡنَىٰ (٥) فَأَنتَ لَهُ ۥ تَصَدَّىٰ (٦) وَمَا عَلَيۡكَ أَلَّا يَزَّكَّىٰ (٧) وَأَمَّا مَن جَآءَكَ يَسۡعَىٰ (٨) وَهُوَ يَخۡشَىٰ (٩)فَأَنتَ عَنۡهُ تَلَهَّىٰ (١٠) كَلَّآ إِنَّہَا تَذۡكِرَةٌ۬ (١١) فَمَن شَآءَ ذَكَرَهُ ۥ (١٢

{He frowned and turned away when the blind man came to him. How could you tell? He might have sought to purify himself. He might have been reminded and the reminder might have profited him. But to the one who considered himself self-sufficient you were all attention. Yet the fault would not be yours if he remained uncleansed. As to him who comes to you with zeal, and with a feeling o f fear in his heart, him you ignore. No indeed! This is an admonition. Let him who will, bear it in mind.** [`Abasa: 1-12]
The Prophet’s behavior in this incident was corrected. His motive was his desire to see those Quraysh notables become Muslims, because that would have ensured that large numbers of their followers would do likewise. But Allah explained to the Prophet that maintaining the proper Islamic values in addressing the message to people is far more important than gaining a few notables to the cause. Allah made His message clear, and the believers were reassured. Subsequently, the Prophet treated Ibn Umm Maktūm very kindly, welcomed him whenever he saw him, saying: “Welcome to the man on whose account Allah reproached me.” The Prophet would ask him if he (PBUH) could help him in any way. Furthermore, the Prophet chose Ibn Umm Maktūm to deputize for him in Madīnah more than once when he (PBUH) was away on a journey or expedition.

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