A few weeks ago, I related a story of my wonderful matriarch cousin, “Aunt, Granny Hilda”, and how she served her Lord in many ways, even the ones that were not so glorified, like cleaning the church. 

This may not be so honourable in the eyes of most people but how honourable it is in the eyes of Allah. 

I want to tell you about another such person this time. Her name was never known but because of her good deeds the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) remembered and appreciated her just the same.

This lady held a very special place in the heart of our dearly beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The story is told of how she would come to the Prophet’s mosque in Medina. 

While Prophet Muhammad would teach his companions, she would clean and freshen up the mosque. 

Some may frown down upon cleaning the mosque, but know that it is quite a job. This black bondswoman offered her services to Islam in the only way that she could and this is what makes her deed so honourable. 

She did not possess the knowledge of Aisha, nor could she support Islam like Khadijah in the early days of Islam. She was not a great commander in the Army, nor could she offer charity in terms of wealth. She was not as wise as Umm Salamah, who gave the Prophet valuable advice, but what she could offer by cleaning the mosque, she did and she offered it with sincerity. 

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Prophet Muhammad recognized this and it caused her to become close to his heart. 

When the woman did not show up for a few days, the Prophet asked his companions about her and if anyone had seen her. This is when he was told that she was dead.  

The Prophet was surprised to hear that she had died some days before. 

He asked his companions why they had not told him about her death and they responded that she had died at night while he was asleep and they did not want to wake him, plus they did not want to bother him with such news. 

The Prophet was deeply upset and they tried to assure him by advising him that they had said the Janazah (funeral) prayers on her and buried her with dignity.

This was not enough for Prophet Muhammad; he asked to be taken to her grave. This shows the respect and appreciation the Prophet had for the woman who cleaned the mosque. Though this job might seem insignificant, it was held in high esteem by the wise and noble prophet. 

When the companions led him to the woman’s tomb, Prophet Muhammad offered prayers over her. 

On completing the prayers, the Prophet turned to his companions and said, “These graves are full of darkness for the dwellers (the dead) but Allah (God) illuminates them with my prayers for them.”

This story has been passed down through time by historians, biographers and recorders of Prophetic tradition, even right to where I am writing about it today in the 21st century. 

The only deed done by this woman was that she cleaned the mosque! 

Through this humble yet significant act this woman supported Islam in the best way she could. 

Today we need to show that same support, no matter how insignificant we think our contribution is when it comes to our worship. When our deeds are done with good intentions, it leads the way to Paradise, such as what happened with the black bondswoman who cleaned the mosque. Her grave was illuminated by the prayers of Prophet Muhammad and her destination is Paradise!

“Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward?” (57:10-11). Ameen.