Thawban was one of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.*). He was also one of his freed slaves.
Thawban was almost always with the Prophet at home or in his journey. After the Prophet passed away, Thawban stayed for some years in Syria and later for some time in Egypt. He was also present at the time of the victory in Egypt. Thawban finally died at the age of 51 years.
It is found in a Rewayat* that Thawban adored the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) so much that he could not bear the Prophet’s long absence, even for a single moment!
One day, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) saw Thawban in a very sad mood. He appeared to be weak too. The Prophet (s.a.w.) asked him, “O Thawban! What has happened to you?”
Thawban replied, “O Messenger of Allah. I am not ill nor have I any pain, but, I am worried about your proximity* which I will be missing in the Paradise. As you will be in a higher station and I am in a lower position. I fear that I will not be able to see you over there.”
At the same moment, an Ayah* was revealed.
“And whoso obeys Allah* and the Messenger, and then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!”
[Bihar al-Anwar vol.2 pg.68)]
A similar story has also been narrated by Aishah (r.a.*), one of the wives of the Prophet (s.a.w.), but this time, Thawban’s name was not mentioned.
Aishah reported that a man came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Indeed, I love you more than I love myself. And I love you more than I love my family. And I love you more than I love my children. When I am at home and if I were to start thinking of you, I am unable to contain myself until I can come to you and look at you. When I think about my death and your death, I know that when you enter Paradise, you will be raised to where the Prophets are. But, if I enter Paradise, I am afraid – Will I be able to see you?”
The Prophet (s.a.w.) did not answer him at all until Jibril* revealed to him,
“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace – of the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!” [an-Nisa, 4:69]
[Silsilat al-Ahadith as-Sahihah; #2933]
This story has been adapted from Dr Reda Bedeir’s FaceBook post ;
- Allah = God. The only one worth being worshiped.
- proximity = closeness
- s.a. w. = sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam = Blessings of God be upon him (Prophet Muhammad) and peace
- Rewayat = narration (a.k.a. Riwayat)
- Ayah = verse of the Noble Qur’an
- r.a. = ra De Allaahu anha = May God be pleased with her
- Jibril = Gabriel, one of God’s angels. (a.k.a. Jibreel) . Jibril is the closest of God’s angels to God, the friend of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) and the Prophets before him, the messenger to the messenger. Jibril is one of the most magnificent creations of God. Jibril (alayhis salam, peace be upon him) has played an essential role in almost every aspect of our religion and is highly regarded in the other Abrahamic faiths as well.