Tahiyyah an-Nubiyyah

Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman Muhammad bin Husayn as-Sulami narrated:

I heard al-Malini say: “I went to visit Tahiyyah one time, so I heard her from outside the house, calling out: “O You who loves me, and I love Him!”

So, I went to her and said: “O Tahiyyah, it is good that you love Allah – the Exalted – but, from where do you know that He loves you?”

So, she said: “Yes, I used to live in the land of the Nubians, and my parents were Christians. My mother used to take me to church and bring me to the Cross and say to me: “Kiss the Cross!” So, when I was about to do this, I saw a hand come out of the Cross and push my face away so that I would not kiss it. At that point, I knew that it was Him protecting me.””

And another story of a devout female worshipper from the land of Egypt whose name is unknown:

Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad bin Shuja’ narrated:

“I was in Egypt during my travels there, and I had a strong desire for a woman. I mentioned this to some of my brothers, so they said to me: “There is a devout woman who has a daughter that is just like her and is beautiful, and she has reached puberty.” So, I found her, became engaged to her, and eventually married her.

When I entered upon her (so that I would sleep with her), I found her facing the Qiblah in prayer, so I became shy and embarrassed that she was a young girl such as herself at her age praying and I was not praying, so I also faced the Qiblah and prayed as much as I was destined to pray, until I was overtaken by sleep and fell asleep in my place of prayer. She also eventually fell asleep in her place of prayer.

The next day, the same thing happened. When it became too much, I said to her: “Will you not come to bed?” She replied: “I am in the service of my Lord who has a right which I will not prevent him from.” [*] So, I became shy from her words and continued like this for a month.

Then, it came time for me to leave, so I said to her: “O woman!” She replied: “At your service!” I said: “I wish to leave this place now.” She replied: “It was a mercy to have known you.”

When I got up to the door, she got up and said: “My master, there was a contract between us in this life that we did not complete (the marriage), but it might be that in the Paradise we will complete it, if Allah Wills.” So, I said to her: “Maybe.” So, she said to me: “I bid you farewell with the protection of Allah, and He is the best of protectors.” So, I bid her farewell and left.

I then returned to Egypt a few years later and asked about her. I was told that she was even better and more exerting in her worship than she was when I had left her.”

[*] Islamically, what she did is not correct, as a woman is obliged to answer her husband’s call to the bed at all times. However, the point here is to reflect on her level of devoutness and dedication to the worship of Allah.

[‘Sifat as-Safwah’; 2/455-456]

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