Nuaiman bin Amr Al-Ansari - The Trickster
Muslim Knights - Volume 1

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Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Where a man named Nuaiman lived the life of a trickster. Although Nuaiman was a brave man, and a good friend, he was also an irrepressible trickster who saw opportunities for mischief wherever he went. The stories of his tricks are many and varied so here we will make due with three:

Nuaiman was travelling with Abu Bakur Al-Siddiq and several other merchants on their way north to Al-Shaam. As he plodded along, his stomach took to growling so he approached Suwaibit bin Harmala, who was in charge of the caravan food supplies. Nuaiman tried to wheedle some food out the other man but Suwaibit, ever conscientious, demurred and refused to delve into the food stores until the caravan had stopped and the leader of the caravan, Abu Bakur, had given his permission.

Unable to convince Suwaibit to give him so much as a whiff of the food, Nuaiman retired in high dudgeon. Some days later, Nuaiman was sent along with Suwaibit to a nearby town to secure fresh supplies for the travelers. While in town, Nuaiman saw the potential for a hilarious practical joke and a little revenge too.

Smiling confidently, Nuaiman approached one of the more affluent looking townspeople and said, "Would you like to buy yonder handsome, young, able bodied Arabian slave from me?"

The man looked over the unaware Suwaibit then replied, "Ye-es."

"I must warn you," Nuaiman cautioned, "He has a bit of a mouth on him. When you go to collect him, he will probably object and try to convince you that he is a free man. If that will cause you to doubt me, then I will sell him to someone else."

"Not at all," the affluent man said with a laugh, "I will pay him no heed. How much would you like for him?"

After a bit of haggling, Nuaiman and the man agreed that the unsuspecting Suwaibit would be traded for ten young camels. The man had the ten camels brought and given to Nuaiman and then the man went and caught hold of Suwaibit.

Startled, Suwaibit demanded to know what was going on. When he learned of Nuaiman's little business transaction, he frantically said, "No! He's a liar!! I am no slave! I am a free man!!!"

The affluent man paid Suwaibit no heed and had him dragged off while Nuaiman gathered up the supplies for the rest of the caravan and then left the town with his ten camels in tow, snickering all the way.

Nuaiman returned to the caravan and could barely stop laughing long enough to recount the tale to his comrades. The men of the caravan guffawed encouragingly or frowned in disapproval as they listened to Nuaiman tell his story. Abu Bakur ignored the guffaws and frowns. He simply listened, then ordered the other members of the caravan to break camp and hurry to the town to straighten out Nuaiman's mischief. In due course, the unamused Suwaibit was freed and the ten camels were returned to the highly amused affluent man.

When the caravan eventually returned to Al-Madinah, the story of Nuaiman's latest trick became everyone's favorite joke for the rest of the year.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

A bedouin man went to Al-Madinah to visit the Prophet (peace be upon him). As soon as he arrived at Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque), he dismounted and left his camel tethered outside while he went in to talk to the Prophet PBUH.

Seeing the camel kneeling outside the mosque, some mischievous men asked Nuaiman to slaughter it. That way, they told him, they could feast on camel meat that night and the Prophet PBUH would cover the cost of the camel as an apology to his bedouin guest, so there really was no harm done.

Finding himself just as eager for a taste of some freshly cooked meat as the other men, Nuaiman agreed and without hesitation killed the camel. Soon after that, the bedouin man came out of the mosque and saw his camel lying there. In dismay, he cried out, "Oh, Mohammad! My camel is dead!!"

The Prophet PBUH hurried out of the mosque and when he saw the indignant bedouin man and the dead camel he turned to the people around him and demanded to know who had killed the camel. Almost as one, the people replied, "Nuaiman!"

"Where is Nuaiman?" the unsurprised Prophet PBUH said to the avid spectators who were fast growing in number. Helpfully, the people pointed in the direction Nuaiman had fled when he realized that this was one escapade he couldn’t easily talk his way out of.

The Prophet PBUH set out and began searching high and low for the missing trickster. He finally tracked Nuaiman to the home of his own cousin, Duba'a bint Al-Zubayr bin Abd Al-Muttalib. Not content to merely hide on the premises, Nuaiman had crawled into a hole and covered himself with leaves and palm fronds in order to make himself invisible. Such a breach of etiquette was no small matter, and Nuaiman feared the consequences of his impetuous actions.

The Prophet PBUH soon arrived and asked after Nuaiman, so one of the men living in that house said in a loud, exaggerated voice, "I haven't seen him, O' Messenger of God," all the while pointing to the suspicious pile of leaves and fronds.

The Prophet PBUH walked up to Nuaiman's hiding place and quickly unearthed him. He gravely asked the dusty, leaf-covered man, "What made you act the way you did?"

"The people who told you where I am did," Nuaiman ingenuously replied, his face yellow with dust and dotted with pieces of leaf and palm frond.

Laughing and dusting off Nuaiman's face, the Prophet PBUH didn't have the heart to further chastise the leafy miscreant. Instead, he returned to the bedouin man and compensated him for the camel he had lost. Satisfied, the bedouin man joined Nuaiman, the Prophet PBUH and the numerous instigators in feasting on freshly cooked camel meat and laughing at Nuaiman's endless capacity for mischief.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Makhrama bin Nofal Al-Zuhri was an elderly blind man of a reputed one hundred and fifteen years. One day Makhrama was in Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque) when he realized he needed to relieve himself, so he stood up and asked someone to take him out where he could do so.

Ever alert for the possibility of mischief, Nuaiman immediately volunteered. He then led Makhrama to a private corner of the Mosque and told him he could relieve himself there. Nuaiman then stood in front of Makhrama and carefully blocked the old man from any passerby's view. Unable to see he was still in the mosque Makhrama relieved himself while Nuaiman stealthily melted away. When others in the mosque became aware of what Makhrama had done, he was reproached and chastised for relieving himself in the Mosque.

Embarrassed and angry at Nuaiman's deception, the old man swore to avenge himself on Nuaiman by hitting him over the head with the stick he used to help him get around. He swore that when he found him he would hit Nuaiman so hard with the stick that he would never bother him again.

After some time had passed, Makhrama forgot about Nuaiman and the vengeance he had sworn to wreak on him. Then one day, Nuaiman entered Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi and he saw Makhrama seated there. He also saw Uthman bin Affan, the current Calipha, praying in the Mosque. Nuaiman, like many of the Sahaba knew that when Uthman bin Affan prayed such was his devotion and focus that he became unaware of what went on around him. Unable to resist such a golden opportunity, Nuaiman the irrepressible trickster walked up to Makhrama and said, "Shall I show you where Nuaiman is?"

Remembering the embarrassment Nuaiman had caused him, Makhrama eagerly agreed. So Nuaiman took Makhrama by the hand and guided him over to where the Calipha Uthman bin Affan was praying, and then said to the unsuspecting Makhrama, "That is Nuaiman, right there in front of you."

Makhrama firmly clutched his walking stick with both hands, raised it over his head and brought it down, as hard as he could on the hapless Calipha Uthman's head. Surprised and bleeding, Uthman looked around and demanded an explanation.

By then quite a few people had gathered around the three and Makhrama quickly explained that he struck Nuaiman as revenge for the trick Nuaiman had played on him when he had to relieve himself. One of the gathered men said, "You hit the Calipha Uthman bin Affan, not Nuaiman!"

For the second time, Makhrama found himself embarrassed and apologizing to the crowd in the Mosque. He was especially apologetic towards the Calipha Uthman bin Affan who comforted the mortified old man and assured him that he did not hold him responsible for the incident.

Makhrama's fellow tribesmen soon heard how Nuaiman had played his tricks, not once but twice, on this elder of their tribe, and they gathered before the Calipha and demanded vengeance for such an insult.

In reply, the Calipha Uthman bin Affan said to them, "Leave Nuaiman alone. He took part in the Battle of Badur and so is forgiven…" then he softly added in exasperation, “…curse Nuaiman."

*Written by © 2011. Care to read or leave Comments?

Notes:
  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Abu Bakur Al-Siddiq: أبو بكر الصديق عبد الله بن أبي قحافة
    • Duba'a bint Al-Zubayr bin Abd Al-Muttalib: ضباعة بنت الزبير بن عبدالمطلب
    • Makhrama bin Nofal Al-Zuhri: مخرمة بن نوفل الزهري
    • Muhammad : خاتم الأنبياء الرسول محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم
    • Nuaiman bin Amr Al-Ansari: نعيمان بن عمرو الأنصاري
    • Suwaibit bin Harmala: سويبط بن حرملاء
    • Uthman bin Affan: عثمان بن عفان

Sources:
  1. Al-Kandhalawi, M. (2004 AD). حياة الصحابة [Life of the Companions]. Beirut: International Ideas Home. Page 576-577.

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Tausif Ahsan
June 26, 2011 - 10:16
Subject: Salaam

good stories, thanks for putting them here

Anisha
July 16, 2013 - 19:19
Subject: BXClUeOzShDuqA

That's way more clever than I was exgtneicp. Thanks!

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