Speaking with the Word of God


I was on my way to the Pilgrimage (Hajj). As I was passing through the lands of Syria and Iraq, I came upon a lone woman. I greeted her and bade her peace.  She accepted this with:  “Peace! A word from the Lord of Mercy(36:58)

“What’re you doing around here?” I asked. She recited: “Whoever God leads astray, there is no guide for them(7:186) I understood that she had lost her way.

“Where are you headed?” I asked. She retorted with “Glory be to the Lord who took His servant from the Sacred Mosque [in Mecca] to the Farthest Mosque [in Jerusalem],” (17:1) she replied. I understood that she had finished her Pilgrimage and was bound for Jerusalem.

“How long has it been since you lost your way?” I queried. “For three full nights (and days),” (19:10) she answered.

I offered her food. She recited: “Complete your Fast until nightfall.” (2:187)

“Fine, but we’re not in the month of Ramadan,” I said. She came back with: “Whoever does more good than he is bound to, God is Appreciative and All-knoύwing.” (2:158)

“One can interrupt one’s Fast while on a journey,” I said. She recited: “But it is beter for you if you Fast.” (2:184)

I asked her why she wasn’t talking like me. She said: “Not a word leaves your mouth without a watcher recording it.” (50:18)

“Who are your people?” I asked. She replied with: “You have no knowledge thereof. Your hearing, sight and heart shall be called to account” (17:36) (for every misinformed judgment).

“I’ve erred. Forgive me,” I said. She replied, “No blame is upon you this day. May God forgive you(12:92)

I offered to take her on my camel and help her rejoin her caravan. She countered with “Whatever good you do, God surely knows it.” (2:215)

I brought my camel to her side. As she was mounting, she recited: “Tell male believers to lower their gaze(24:30)

I averted my eyes. As she was about to mount, the camel took fright and leapt away. Her garment was torn slightly. She muttered, “Whatever ill befalls you, it is what you earned by your own deeds(42:30)

“Be patient while I secure the camel,” I said. She recited “We gave Solomon greater understanding of the matter(21:79) implying that I would be more successful in guiding my camel.

She mounted the camel and, having done so, recited: “Glory be to Him who subdued this for us, otherwise we could not have done it on our own. Surely to our Lord we shall return(43:13-14)

I brought the camel up to speed with a “GiddupShe retorted: “Be modest in your bearing and lower your voice. The ugliest of voices is the braying of an ass(31:19)

As I was walking alongside, I began to recite a poem. She said: “Recite from the Koran what is easy for you(73:20)

I said, “It’s not Forbidden to recite poemsShe replied: “None will heed this but the wise(2:269)

After a while, I asked her if she was married. She recited: “Believers, don’t inquire after things which, if answered, would only pain you(5:101)

Finally we reached her caravan, and I asked: “Do you have anyone close in the caravanShe replied: “Wealth and children are ornaments of worldly life.” (18:46)

I understood that she had children. I asked her their names. She recited: “God took Abraham for a friend; God spoke to Moses; O John, hold fast to the Scripture(4:125, 164; 19:12)

I called out to the caravan: “Hey, Abraham, hey, Moses, hey, John!” Three youths with shining faces came up. She gave them money and said: “Send one of you into town with this. Let him find food that is purest, and bring you provisions thereof. Let him be careful(18:19)

When the food came, she turned to me and said: “Eat and drink with relish now, in return for what you have done(69:24)

I told the boys: “Unless you tell me what is going on here with your mother, I won’t eat a bite!”

“Our motherthey said, “has been speaking like this, only from the Koran, for forty years, out of fear that something wrong may emerge from her mouth that would attract the Lord’s displeasure


Related by Abdullah Ibn Mubarak, one of the Successors of the Successors. Mubarak used to tell this account in support of the claim that the Koran is applicable to every situation.