You are on page 1of 7

We are still doing the battle of Tabuk, and it is in fact the final battle of th

e prophet PBUH and so much Qur'an came down, in fact basically the entire Surah
Tawbah came down because of Tabuk. So we'll have alot of discussion about this.
And the battle is not an actual battle. It's an expidition. No fighting took pla
ce but so many interesting stories happened within the expidition; the issue of
the hypocrites building a masjid etc. Today we will discuss one of the most popu
lar stories of the seerah, the story of Ka'ab ibn Malik and what happened to him
in Tabuk. And it's truly a lesson about commiting sins and how to make up for t
hem. Obviously it's a story that has been heard by many, but every time you read
it and refresh your memory, it truly hits you. It's such a soft and beautiful s
tory - so one never gets tired reading it. Therefore today we will spend the who
le lecture on this story (and possibly half of next lecture too).
Who is Ka'ab ibn Malik? He's one of the earliest converts of the Ansar, from the
tribe of Banu Salama. And they lived around masjid al Qiblatain, and they wante
d to move closer to the prophet PBUH, and the prophet PBUH said "Oh Banu Saluma,
stay where you are, your footsteps will record them". And some scholars say the
verses at the start of surah Ya Sin are a reference to the Banu Salame. So Ka'a
b is from this tribe; he converted to Islam before the Hijrah so he is one of th
e few ansar to have the honour of converting before the prophet PBUH immigrated
and he in fact took part in the bayaatul Akabah. So he's of the elite of the Ans
ar. And his story is mentioned in every book of hadith, and in sahih Bhukari we
have a three page narration from him in the first person, which is why this stor
y has been preserved. He himself narrated it in the first person - and because o
f this we have personal and intricate details. This is why one of the reasons th
is story is so painful; this, along with the story of Aisha, always hit home bec
ause they are both narrated in the first person.
So Abdullah ibn Ka'ab ibn Malik said "I heard my father narrate the story of the
gazwa of Tabuk". And now it becomes first person. "Ka'ab said: I never remained
behind any gazwa the prophet PBUH fought, except Gazwa Tabuk, but also Badr, bu
t Badr nobody criticised anyone for not participating because it was not meant t
o be a war. It was just a search for the caravans of the Quraysh and then the mu
slims met their enemy." So he begins by saying he never remained behing any gazw
a except Badr - but it was not a fight in the beginning; it was simply a raid of
the caravan of Abu Suffyan. And he said "I witnessed and I was there on the nig
ht of the bayaatul Akabah with the prophet of Allah when we pledged our alliegan
ce, and to me that is more precious than Badr, and I would not substitute that f
or Badr even though Badr is more popular among the people than the bayaatul Akab
ah". Note his own son is narrating the story in such vivid detail. How akward is
it to tell your son of your own mistakes but walahi this is the best tarbiya (m
annerisms) imagineable because you are teaching your son by example. The fact th
at Ka'ab is telling his son "I remained behind" and all of the punishments that
came; it's amazing. As a parent you always try to hide your faults from your chi
ldren but here is Ka'ab telling his son everything. Why? To give him the lessons
and morals to benefit from.
Also we have an interesting psychology of the pride of the sahabah. Note pride i
n doing a legitimate thing is not haraam, arrogance is haraam. You should feel p
roud of being a muslim meaning 'alhamdhulillah Allah has given you Islam'. Here
we have an interesting point. The sahaba have their CVs in their mind that what
have I done? And we learn this from Abu Bukr and Umar that once in a while they
list "I did this and that". This is natural that you are feeling a happiness of
your service to Islam. So Ka'ab mentions "I never remained behind in any battle;
I witnessed Akabah which makes up for Badr". Why? Because Akabah was smaller only 72 people. And also because in Akabah, the muslims converted before meeting
the prophet PBUH. So it's a big honour - therefore he said "I would never subst
itute Akabah for Badr". Note thinking about what positives you have done is a si
gn of Islam so they are preparing and increasing their resume for the akhira. He
re are the sahaba thinking "what have I done for the sake of Allah?"

We also have that, Ka'ab is setting up the stage for making an excuse for his la
ter mistake by mentioning the positives he has done. In other words, everyone ma
kes mistakes, but he is saying "overall look at my resume - I participated in ev
ery battle, and in Akabah etc". He mentions his good points, and indeed this is
human nature. Judging someone based on just one mistake is wrong. The schoalrs s
ay if a righteous person makes a mistake, it's not the same when an evil person
makes a mistake over and over again. Therefore history and habit plays a big rol
e in this world and the next - so if a pious man slips up but he repents, he wil
l have some laxity.
Ka'ab goes on with the story. "As for the battle of Tabuk and what happened to m
e, I was never more physically fit or wealthier than right before that battle."
So he's saying he had no excuse for not fighting. "By Allah I had never owned tw
o camels before this point but at the battle of Tabuk I had two camels". Now the
two legitimate reasons for not participating in Tabuk is: if you're disabled, o
ld or sick etc. Or if you don't have any money. In those days the battles were s
elf financed so if you didn't have a camel or any money, you simply could not go
. But Ka'ab says "I had no excuse - I was strong and wealthy". And he also said
he had two camels. It also shows us the poverty of the sahaba - the average saha
ba did not own a single camel. Even the prophet PBUH did not own a camel up unti
l the hijrah. Owning a camel was a bare luxury, and this shows us in early Islam
the poverty was well known. So it's a big deal he has two camels.
Then he goes on: "whenever the prophet PBUH wanted to undertake an expidition he
would always hide his intention and he would go to a different area until it wa
s time for the battle". Of course this is fine because the prophet PBUH dosen't
say anything. He just leaves Madinah in one direction, goes around and then anno
unced where they are going. This is a tactic of war for suprise attacks. So the
prophet PBUH would generally not announce, however when it came to Tabuk he anno
unced. Why? Because this was not a easy battle; it was the largest enemy, the fu
rthest they would travel, the harvest season etc. Thus all preperations need to
be done - you cannot just tell the sahaba to leave on a short notice, they need
time to prepare. Ka'ab gives four reasons: "because of the severe heat, and faci
ng a long journey, and the desert and the great number of enemy, the prophet PBU
H announced he is going to Tabuk". As we mentioned this battle was fard ayn on e
very single capable muslim. It was a major sin not to go because the prophet PBU
H is commanding the sahaba they have to go. Thus every single capable able bodie
d man must go, but Ka'ab made this mistake.
Ka'ab continues: "the prophet PBUH informed them of where he is going, and the n
umber of people who accompanied the prophet PBUH was so numerous that they could
not be listed in any book". So Ka'ab says the number was so large it couldn't f
it a register. As we said in the history of the seerah, the battle of Tabuk was
the largest number of soilders marching behind the prophet PBUH. As we said the
estimates of 25,000+ given in the books of seerah need to be taken with some sce
pticism. So the number reported typically is 30,000 but quite frankly this seems
to be too large; maybe there were around 15,000. But the numbers aren't importa
nt at the end of the day. The point Ka'ab is making is that "there are too many
to count". And he said "any man who intended to be absent assumed the matter wou
ld remain hidden unless Allah would reveal it with wahi". Meaning the numbers we
re SO much, whoever missed out no-one will notice. But there is the fear that Al
lah will expose them.
He goes on: "the prophet PBUH fought this gazwa at the time when the fruits had
ripened and the shade was so sweet, and I was more eager for those two than the
gazwa. And the prophet PBUH and the sahaba continued to prepare for the battle,
and I started to go out myself to prepare, but every day I would come back witho
ut doing anything". So around 10 days were given for preperation - every day peo
ple went to the marketplace to buy stuff for the journey, for your family, you n

eed to find people will look after your crops etc. So you have to arrange your a
ffairs and the sahaba were busy doing this. But Ka'ab said every day he would le
ave with his to-do-list and one thing led to another, and he didn't do anything.
And he said "every day I would say to myself I can do it the next day, no big d
eal. I kept on delaying until finally the people got ready to depart, and the pr
ophet PBUH and the sahaba left the next morning". So they left right after Fajr.
"And I had not done anything for preperations, and I said to myself 'ok I'll do
it today and tomorrow and I'll catch up to them'". Remember, there is 15,000+ m
arching so the march will be extremely slow. Therefore a single rider would not
have any problem catching up to them in a day or two. So when they leave Ka'ab s
aid "I'll do it today".
Ka'ab continues: "However the day they left went by and I did nothing, and the n
ext day aswell, I did nothing. How I wish I had done something back then". So he
's telling his son how much he regrets not doing anything. After two days the op
portunity is gone; you cannot catch up to the army. And this truly shows us the
evils of procastination. Delaying. This shows us the evils of delaying that whic
h you can do now. This issue of procastination, subhanAllah, if you look at the
text of the Qur'an and sunnah, it's all action based. Allah says "rush to do goo
d" and "stand up and go warn the people". And Allah tells Musa AS "I race to mee
t you oh Allah". So the whole Qur'an is full of action - therefore he who does n
ot have a zeal for action has a difficieny in imaan. And procastination is from
shaytan. Ibn Al Jawzi says "procastination is the most important weapon for shay
tan because he uses it for everything". Ibn al Qiyyam says "every time a door of
good opens up in front of you, the door of 'perhaps' and 'soon' also open up to
compete with it". Meaning shaytan tempts you with 'Do you really need to do it
now?' and 'Don't do it now - do it in a while'. We learn from this the dangers o
f procastination. Ka'ab did not intend to stay behind. Rather shaytan continued
to cause him to procastinate until it was too late and he realised he could not
do anything.
So Ka'ab goes on: "such was the case was me, until they departed and the battle
was completely missed by me. After the depature of the prophet PBUH, whenever I
went outside and walked amongst the remaining people, it hurt me that I could se
e no one left in the city except one who was known for his hypocrisy, or one who
was infirm and weak and so Allah had excused him". So the whole city is empty e
xcept for the weak and elderly, or those known for hypocrisy. And this shows us
the munafiqun were well known; even though in the shariah we do not announce the
ir hypocrisy. We leave their affair to Allah. Yet still the actions of the peopl
e of nifaaq are well known. And this is what they are saying: "the only people l
eft in the city are those known for the hypocrisy" i.e. they were known. Further
, the shias say "there are munafiqun amongst them" - this narration is an eviden
ce to show that the sahaba are not naive. They known who is a munafiq outwardely
, but the shariah says to leave their affair to Allah. The bulk of the people of
the munafiqs there names have not been recorded in the seerah, other than the l
eader Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salool. Why? It is not of the ettiquites of the saha
ba to mention evil by name. We just gloss over it and cover it up.
So Ka'ab is depressed at the fact he didn't go. He then says "the prophet PBUH
did not remember me until they reached Tabuk". There is a difference of opinion
but it's said the prophet PBUH camped at Tabuk for almost a month - in that time
, the prophet PBUH remembered and said "where is Ka'ab" - a man from the Banu Sa
lama (his own tribe) said "Ya RasulAllah his two garments, and his looking at hi
s property have kept him back". Meaning his fine clothes and cushions and sofas
have kept him back, i.e. he preferred this dunya. Then Mu'ad ibn Jabal said "woe
to you why are you saying this? Walahi I only know Ka'ab to be a good man". Not
e, we don't know the name of the man who criticised him. The one who praised we
know - Mu'ad ibn Jabal. But think about it, do you not think Ka'ab knows who cri
ticised him? Of course he does. Even though its someone from his own tribe who c
riticises him, when it comes to narrating the story, he simply says "one of the

people of the Banu Salama". SubhanAllah how many times in the seerah have we see
n this - this shows us the ettiquites of the sahaba. To overlook bad things. Jus
t simply not mentioning it, and if you have to mention, to be anonymous. No need
to go into detail and gossip etc. This culture of ours is the exact oppisite. T
here are shows and magazines dedicated to gossip. Islam is the exact oppisite.
So Mu'ad ibn Jabal defended him - this shows us aswell, Mu'ad ibn Jabal is the f
aqi, he is the aalim. The prophet PBUH said "the one who is most knowledgeable i
n my ummah is Mu'ad ibn Jabal". And the prophet PBUH said "whoever defends the h
onour of his brother in his absence, Allah will defend his face from the fire of
hell". Also notice the prophet PBUH is monitoring the sahaba - he notices the K
a'ab is missing (eventually). So he's told he isn't come and Mu'ad ibn Jabal def
ends Ka'ab. Then the prophet PBUH sees someone in the distance 'breaking the mir
aaj'. And the prophet PBUH saw the rider and said "let it be Abu Kaythama" and l
o and behold it was. Abu Kaythama didn't have the money to go, and when the prop
het PBUH called for donations, all he had was a handful of dates which he donate
d. And Abdullah ibn Ubay and the munfaiqun were in the masjid, and they made fun
of this and said "what will these dates do to finance the entire army?" So Alla
h revealed in the Quran "those who are sarcastic to those who donate of their ch
arity" i.e. Allah criticised Abdullah ibn Ubay and praised Abu Kaythama. SubanAl
lah eventually he manages to get a camel way after the prophet PBUH was gone, an
d single handedly he rides to Tabuk. And Allah mentions in the Quran of a group
who cried "we don't have anything" and Abu Kaythama was one of them. So single h
andedly he rides over 1000 miles, and the prophet PBUH wants him so bad when he
sees a single rider he said "let it be Abu Kaythama" and of course it was.
Eventually the prophet PBUH comes back to Madinah. Ka'ab continues that "when I
heard the prophet PBUH was on his way back, my concerns deepened, and my mind we
nt to every single excuse I could think off, saying to myself 'what can I say to
avoid the anger of the prophet PBUH when he returns?' And I took the advice of
the senior members of my tribe. But when I find out the prophet PBUH returned, a
ll of these false excuses went from my mind. And I knew I could never come out o
f this problem with any false statement. I made a decision I would confess and s
ay the truth". This shows us the reality of imaan. The mu'min might fall into a
mistake, but he dosen't remain in that mistake. This is clearly seen in the stor
y of Adam and Iblees. Both made a mistake. One asked Allah for forgiveness, the
other persisted in his mistake. Imaan, yes it can slip - nobody is perfect. But
imaan will cause you to rise up and ask for forgiveness. This also shows us noth
ing will save you from a mistake other than sincerity. This is why the prophet P
BUH said "feeling guilty is the essence of tawbah". Why do you feel guilty? When
you acknowledge you made a mistake. Feeling guilty is the essence of repentance
So Ka'ab tells the story: "when the prophet PBUH arrived in the morning he would
always pray two raka'at and then welcome the people in the masjid, and he would
sit in the masjid getting the visitors to come. So when he had done all of this
, those who remained behind all came the next day in a long line to offer our ex
cuses." And he said this line was around 80 in number. So out of the entire city
only 80 adult males remained. Those who had legitimiate excuses were not lining
up since they have already told the prophet PBUH. The bulk of the 80 were hypoc
rites. This shows us a very small number of the males in Madinah were actually h
ypocrites. Out of over 4000, just around 70-80 were hypocrites. So they all line
d up and gave their excuses, and they begged the prophet PBUH to ask Allah for f
orgiveness and the prophet PBUH accepted those excuses, and left their secrets t
o Allah.
Now we notice the following things from these narrations:
1. The neglected sunnah to pray two raka'at when one returns to their city. When
ever the prophet PBUH returned, the first thing he would do is pray two raka'at

in his masjid.
2. An interesting point which we'll come back to: Ka'ab narration does not menti
on the details but many verses were revealed for the battle of Tabuk. Of them is
that the prophet PBUH was midly chastised by Allah for forgiving:
"Allah will forgive you, why did you accept all of their excuses. You should hav
e waited until you test those who have legitimate excuse against those who don't
This shows us that the istjihad of the prophet PBUH: did the prophet PBUH practi
ce his own istjihad? Yes. Because Allah here is rebuking his actions. It's obvio
us the hypocrites were lying but the prophet PBUH with his tender heart accepted
Ka'ab continued: "then it was my turn, and, when I came up to him, he smiled to
me the way that an angry man smiles". When you are angry and irritated at someon
e, you would scowl. But the prophet PBUH is not like this - the fact that he is
angry at Ka'ab, firstly it's a positive sign because he's dissapointed in him. H
e isn't angry at the hypocrites because it's expected from them. But to Ka'ab he
is essentially saying "why you". So it shows that Ka'ab had a higher standard.
So he's irritated at Ka'ab, but he still smiles. But Ka'ab realises it's not the
smile of a happy person. So the prophet PBUH said "what is your excuse oh Ka'ab
? Did you not have good health? Didn't you purchase a camel?" Again it's amazing
the prophet PBUH is monitoring all the sahaba. So Ka'ab said "walahi ya RasulAl
lah, if I were sitting in front of any other person I would have been able to wr
iggle my way out and avoid getting his anger. By Allah I have been bestowed the
power to speak fluently and eloquently. But if I were to tell you a lie today to
please you, Allah would expose me and make you angry at me tomorrow. But if I t
ell you the truth, even though you might be angry at me today, I can hope Allah
will forgive me. Ya RasulAllah, I swear by Allah, I have no excuse. I have never
been healthier, stronger or wealthier than right before the battle of Tabuk". T
he prophet PBUH said "as for this man, he has spoken the truth". This shows he k
nows the hypocrites were lying.
One of the most profound points here really is the issue of tawheed of maqaam Al
lah VS maqaam nabi (SAW). Clearly we have this here. This distinction is essenti
al when we look at certain groups and their views on this matter. Especially the
sufi and brelvi groups. Here we have Ka'ab ibn Malik. What is he saying to the
prophet PBUH? He says "I can get out of your anger but Allah will know the truth
, and maybe Allah will forgive me even though you may be angry at me today". Cle
arly Ka'ab understands it is Allahs pleasure he needs to seek. Even if he convin
ces the prophet PBUH, Allah will know the truth and He will not be happy. Imagin
e that. These days so many groups have reversed the order; and they literally sa
y the prophet PBUH is in charge of who goes to heaven and hell. And he decides,
and they give him so many powers etc. This is not our religion. The prophet PBUH
is the greatest human being, but that's all. He is nothing above this - we don'
t worship him, we worship his Lord. Ka'ab understands this point and he summaris
es tawheed in this small incident.
So Ka'ab walks away, and when he walks away a group from this tribe followed him
home and said "Ya Ka'ab, you were a good man up until today. You were well know
n and were one of the best men. Why didn't you join the others with their excuse
s? Why did you embarras yourself and us?" Again there is a sense of tribalism. "
Surely you could have joined the rest of them, and the prophet PBUH would have a
sked for your forgiveness". And Ka'ab narrates his tribesman continued to pester
him and tell him to go back until he says he was almost going to. Notice here t
he effects of those who aren't that righteous. Until Ka'ab asks them "did anyone
of them also said 'I have no excuse?'" They said "yes - two other people: Murar
a ibn Rabiah, Hilal ibn Ummayah". Ka'ab said "walahi they mentioned two people o

f imaan and taqawah. They had both attended Badr". So he said "khalas if they ar
e in this position, I will stay with them rather than the munafiqun and their li
es". This shows us quality over quantity. 80 plus gave their random excuses whil
e just two others confessed. Yet those two are worth more than the 80 combined,
which shows us truth is not judged by numbers, it's by quality.
And so Ka'ab goes on and says "the prophet PBUH forbade all of the muslims to in
teract with the three of us". Notice the munafiqun do not get any punishment in
this world. This also shows us the wisdom of wordly punishments. This applies to
any pain and suffering of this world. The believer understands every punsihment
, pain and suffering in this world will eliminate the pain in the next world. Th
at is why the believers are the ones who are punished - as for the munafiqun the
y got away scott free. So Ka'ab says the command came down that "nobody was to i
nteract with us or speak with us until Allah allowed. So we kept away, and the p
eoples attitude towards us changed so much, that it appeared to me I am a strang
er in my own land. And the world, despite its vastness, became a constricted pla
ce for me". SubhanAllah this shows us, if one of our loved ones does not speak t
o us, how much does it hurt us? Imagine if everyone began boycotting you. All yo
ur friends, family etc, the whole society. Whenever you go, nobody can look at y
ou or speak to you. This is what happened to Ka'ab, Murara and Hilal. That is wh
y abandoning a person is an Islamic discipline. The Quran says when spouses are
having an argument one spouse can abandon the other. The general rule is that is
not allowed to abandon somebody for more than three days due to a personal disp
ute. However in an Islamic land, the khalifah could issue the punishment for a p
aticular person - it's called 'ta'zeer' and is one of the punishments for an Isl
amic state.
So Ka'ab says "we remained in our cities becoming strangers in our own lands and
nobody spoke to us". And it's amazing that in this whole city not a single pers
on disobeyed the prophet PBUH. There is nobody monitoring you - there is no secr
et NSA checking you. But when the prophet PBUH says "don't" - it's just 'we hear
and we obey', the whole city obeys. That type of leadership can only come from
imaan. This is something so difficult to imagine, that you are not supposed to l
ook at him, say anything to him etc and the whole city follows suit. And he said
"we remained in this condition for 50 nights". Imagine - 50 NIGHTS. For one day
, it's impossible to imagine, for 50 days. Ka'ab says "as for my other two compa
nions, Murara and Hilal, they locked themselves in their houses and did not inte
ract with the people because it was too painful. And they wept day and night. Bu
t for me I was the youngest and the most firmest. So I would intentionally walk
in the marketplace, and I would witness the salat of the prophet PBUH, but no on
e would look at me or talk to me. And I would go daily to the prophet PBUH and g
reet him in front of anyone, and I would wonder whether his lips would move in r
esponse but I wouldn't see it." Imagine that pain - when the prophet PBUH himsel
f is ignorning you. And note this is a punishment given by Allah. It's not expli
cit in the Quran, but the lifting of the punishment is in the Quran.
And Ka'ab says when he would pray salat he noticed the prophet PBUH looking at h
im stealthly, but when he looked at the prophet PBUH, the prophet PBUH turned aw
ay. Meaning Ka'ab wants attention and he is monitoring whether the prophet PBUH
is seeing him. And indeed when Ka'ab goes into a corner the prophet PBUH is look
ing at him, but when he looks at the prophet PBUH, the prophet PBUH turns away.
Meaning even the prophet PBUH himself wants forgiveness for Ka'ab. And it's said
one of the worst forms of toture is isolation. Solitary confinement in the US i
s said to be inhumane. That isolating somebody completely as in prisons with NO
human contact is the worst form of toture. So much so that some would say "I wou
ld not mind the toture be resumed if I had some human contact, that to be left f
or weeks without anything". Of course for Ka'ab he isn't imprisoned, he is able
to walk freely but no one can engage with him. Ka'ab said "with this harsh attit
ude, I felt to exasberated that I finally went to my best friend and my cousin A
bu Kutada. And I jumped over the wall, and my cousin Abu Kutada was sitting ther

e. But walahi he didn't even respond to my salaam." He is so desperate for human

contact that he goes to his best friend but even he ignores him.
Then Ka'ab says to Abu Kutada "I ask you by Allah don't you know me to be a musl
im who loves Allah and His messenger? You know me." Abu Kutada didn't even look
at him. So Ka'ab asks again. There is no response. For the third time Ka'ab is b
egging and pleading. So Abu Kutada just answers in the air "Allah and His messen
ger know best". He dosen't answer him because he cannot. But he just answers int
o the air and says a statement "Allah and His messenger know best". Then Ka'ab s
ays the tears began bursting forth, and he rushed home. We cannot even imagine t
he pain. For 50 days no one even speaks to you, including your best friend. And
of course this was the punishment - this was the expiation for their action. Ka'
ab said that in the last few days when he was walking in the marketplace, "I saw
a nabati (christian from up north)". And the nabati was asking "who can tell me
where is Ka'ab ibn Malik". And the people pointed "this is Ka'ab ibn Malik". So
the nabati told Ka'ab "I have a letter for Ka'ab ibn Malik from the king of the
gasaanids". The battle of Tabuk was against the gasaanids. So the prophet PBUH
has come back from trying to fight them (he didn't since they fled) - and the ga
saanids clearly have spies in Madinah. And they reporting what is going on - and
of the reports is that, one of the elite of the Ansar has been abandoned. So wi
thin the 50 days the spies go back and report and the king sends a letter to Ka'
And the king says "I have been informed that your friend has treated you coldly.
And Allah would not allow you to live at a place where you are inferior and you
r rights are lost. Join us and we will make you happy". The king wants to do thi
s for many reasons: to break the ranks and brotherhood of the ummah. It's a matt
er of pride that 'I have one of yours'. And of course to learn the inner mechani
sms and dynamics of the sahaba, and the prophet PBUH. Indeed how embarassing is
it when someone defects over to another land. So the king of the gasaanids sends
Ka'ab a letter to persuade him to come over. But Ka'ab said "as soon as I read
the letter I knew this is also of the tests". And he immediately burnt the lette
r in his oven. This is so beautiful that, it's one thing to pass the test, for w
hich you need imaan. It's another thing to recognise this IS a test - for that y
ou need knowledge. Knowledge will help you analyse the test, and help you unders
tand the dynamics of what is happening. We see this here: Ka'ab understands prec
isely what is going on and says "Allah is testing me even more with this issue a
nd I won't fall into any trap". And this shows us the best combination is true i
maan and genuine knowledge.
So Ka'ab says 50 days went by, but then, on the 50th day, a messenger came from
the prophet PBUH, and said "Oh Ka'ab, the prophet PBUH is commanding you to leav
e your wife". So he said immediately "shall I divorce her or send her to her par
ents?" The prophet PBUH said "no don't divorce, just don't have any relations wi
th her and send her back". So he sent his wife back. Again we see, walahi amazin
g: after 50 days a command comes that is so painful: boycotting of even the wife
. He will literally be alone in the house, yet as soon as the command comes, Ka'
ab dosen't say "why, for how long?" Rather he says "divorce or just send back?"
Meaning he wants to jump at the command of the prophet PBUH. Look at the imaan.
Then Ka'ab said "I found out that the wife of Hilal went to the prophet PBUH to
ask if she can take care of Hilal (since he was an old man). The prophet PBUH sa
id 'yes but do not sleep with him'. So he said 'ya RasulAllah ever since your co
mmand has come, he has had no need of me, he has been stuck to the wall for 50 d
ays crying' i.e. that will not happen. SubhanAllah for 50 days he has just been
crying - no sense of anything other than repentance. So she got permission to be
in the house and cook his food. Some of the women of Ka'ab said to him "why don
't you also get permission?" He said "what will I say as an excuse? I am the you
ngest of them, no I am not going to do that". So Ka'ab ibn Malik refused to do t
his and a further ten days went by. At the end of the 60th day two full months w
ent pass after which Allah accepted their repentance.