Sayyiduna Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) was once travelling with his wife, Sayyidah Saarah (‘alaihas salaam), when they had an encounter with a tyrant king. His habit was that if any woman entered his kingdom and he was inclined towards her, he would abduct her. The news had reached the king that Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) was travelling with the most beautiful of women. On hearing this, he summoned Saarah (‘alaihas salaam).
She was indeed in a trying situation. However, her attention as well as that of Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) remained focussed towards Allah Ta‘ala. Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) remained engaged in salaah and du‘aa, and Allah Ta‘ala opened up the veils between him and Saarah (‘alaihas salaam). Hence he could see whatever was transpiring with her.
When Saarah (‘alaihas salaam) reached the king, he made evil advances towards her. She immediately made wudhu, performed salaah, and made du‘aa thus, “O Allah, You are fully aware, I have brought imaan in You and Your Rasool (Ebrahim [‘alaihis salaam]) and I have protected my chastity and reserved it only for my husband, so do not allow this disbeliever to have any power over me.”
This drew the assistance of Allah Ta‘ala. The king’s hand became paralysed, he choked and fell unconscious. Saarah (‘alaihas salaam) fearing that she would be accused of killing the king, made du‘aa for his health to be restored. The king’s health was restored and he once again made evil advances. Saarah (‘alaihas salaam) again resorted to du‘aa and the king fell unconscious for the second time. With her du‘aa his health was restored once again. When the same thing happened for the third time, he realised that he could not go any further. Thus he said to his people that she should be taken away as she is a jinn. The king then addressed Saarah (‘alaihas salaam) saying, “Your Rabb is so loyal to you, you made du‘aa against me and immediately His assistance had come.” Saarah (‘alaihas salaam) replied, “If you are obedient to him, He will be loyal to you as well.” The king also gifted her Haajar (‘alaihas salaam) to serve her.
(Reference: Saheeh Bukhaari #3358, Musnad Ahmad #9241, Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah vol. 1 pg. 184 & Tareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 69, pg. 185)
1. The solution to all our problems lies in resorting to salaah and du‘aa. Turning to Allah Ta‘ala is the actual solution to all our problems. Every other solution is temporary and short-lived.
2. Despite Saarah (‘alaihas salaam) having outstanding beauty, she preserved it and reserved it for her husband. She did not use this beauty in the disobedience of Allah Ta‘ala and display it to all and sundry. She had protected her chastity to such an extent that at the hour of dire need she was able to present it as a good deed before Allah Ta‘ala in order to draw His divine help.
3. When a person is firm on remaining chaste and pure, then even in the most impossible of situations, Allah Ta‘ala will come to the person’s assistance and create the means of preserving the person’s chastity. The evil and sinful environment of today should not be used as an excuse of falling into immodest behaviour. The important point is that we should keep on trying to preserve our chastity despite all odds.
4. The rewards for restraining one’s desires and carrying out the commands of Allah Ta‘ala are not restricted to the Hereafter. Rather we will enjoy the benefits in this very world as well, just as Saarah (‘alaihas salaam) received a servant in return.