An elderly Arab lady was sitting alone at the trunk of a tree and Abdullah bin Mubarak also happened to pass that way. Seeing this lady in distress, he spoke to her. The discussion is recorded as follows:
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Asalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah.
The lady: The word from a merciful Lord is peace [Ya Sin 36/58]. She meant that the reply of salaam is from Allah, Most High, Himself. She said further: Those whom Allah sendeth astray, there is no guide for them. [Araaf 7/186]. She meant that she had lost her way.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Where are you coming from?
The lady: Glorified be He who carried His servant by night from the Masjid al-Haraam (inviolable place of worship) to Masjid al-Aqsa (Far distant place of worship) [Israa 17/1].
Abdullah bin Mubarak: How long have you been in this place?
The lady: For three nights [Maryam 19/10].
Abdullah bin Mubarak: What arrangements are made for your food?
The lady: And who (Allah) feedeth me and watereth me [Shu’ara 26/79]. She meant that her food was provided to her by Allah.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Is there any water for wudhu?
The lady: And if ye find not water, then go to high clean soil and (make tayamum) rub your faces and hands (therewith). [Nisaa 4/43]. She meant that she made tayamum because there was no water.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Here is some food, partake of it.
The lady: Strictly observe the fast till nightfall [Baqarah 2/187]. She indicated that she was fasting.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: This is not the month of Ramadan.
The lady: And he who does good of his own accord (for him) lo! Allah is responsive, aware [Baqarah 2/158]. Meaning that she had observed an optional (nafl) fast.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: It is permitted to break the fast when on a journey.
The lady: And that ye fast is better for you, if you did but know. [Baqarah 2/184].
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Speak in the manner that I speak.
The lady: He (man) uttereth no word but there is with him an observer ready [Qaf 50/18]. She meant that since every word of a person is observed and recorded, she took precaution by speaking only in the words of the Quran.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Which clan do you belong to?
The lady: Follow not that whereof thou hast no knowledge, lo! The hearing and the sight and heart of each of these it will be asked [Israa 17/36]. She meant that he should not inquire about that which he had no knowledge.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Forgive me. I have certainly made a mistake.
The lady: Have no fear this day. May Allah forgive you [Yusuf 12/92].
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Would you like to travel on my camel and meet your caravan?
The lady: And whatsoever good ye do, Allah knoweth it [Baqarah 2/197]. Meaning that if he if he did this good deed, Allah would recompense him for it.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Well, then you may mount it. Saying this he made the camel sit down on the ground.
The lady: Tell the believing men to lower their gaze. [Nur 24/30].
Ibn Mubarak understood, turned, and looked away. While she was mounting, the camel jerked, and her clothes got tangled in the saddle and she proclaimed: Whatever of misfortune striketh you, it is what your hands have earned. [Shura 42/30]. In other words, she was calling Abdullah bin Mubarak’s attention towards this mishap.
Abdullah bin Mubarak understood and he tied the legs of the camel and he straightened the straps of the saddle. She praised him for his understanding by saying: And we made Sulayman to understand [Anbiya 21/79].
When the journey was about to begin, the lady recited the ayat, which are read when undertaking a journey, Glorified be He who hath subdued these unto us, and we were not capable (of subduing them). And lo, unto our Lord we are returning. [Zukhruf 43/13].
Abdullah bin Mubarak held the bridle of the camel. He began to hum the Huddi, a famous Arabic song for travelling, and he started walking quickly alongside the camel.
The lady: Be modest in thy bearing and subdue thy voice [Luqman 31/19]. Abdullah bin Mubarak understood, so he began walking slower, and he lowered his voice.
The lady: Recite of the Quran that which is easy for you [Muzzamil 73/20]. She meant that instead of humming the Huddi, he should recite the Quran.
Abdullah bin Mubarak began reciting the Quran.The lady became very pleased and said: but none remember (accept advice) except men of understanding [Baqarah 2/269].
After reciting the Quran for a while, Abdullah bin Mubarak asked, O Aunt, have have you a husband (meaning is he alive)?
The lady: O you who believe, ask not of things, which if they were made known unto you, would trouble you [Ma’idah 5/101]. Meaning, he had most likely passed away.
At last, they caught up to the caravan.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Do you have any son or relative in this caravan that has connection with you?
The lady: Wealth and children are an ornament of life of the world [Kahf 18/46]. She meant that her sons were with this caravan and they had provisions with them.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: What work are your sons doing for the caravan?
The lady: And landmarks, and by the star they find a way [Nahl 16/16]. She meant that her sons were guides for the caravan.
Abdullah bin Mubarak: Can you tell me their names?
The lady: Allah chose Ibrahim as a friend [Nisaa 4/125]. And Allah spoke directly unto Musa [Nisaa 4/165]. O Yahya! Hold fast the Scripture [Maryam 19/12]. By reciting these ayat, the lady had informed him that her sons were named Yahya, Ibrahim, and Musa.
Abdullah bin Mubarak called out these names in the caravan and immediately three young people came walking quickly over to them.
The lady: (addressing her children) Now send one of you with this your silver coin unto the city. And let him see what food is purest there and bring you a supply thereof [Kahf 18/19]. In other words, she instructed them to feed bin Mubarak.
When the food was brought, she told Abdullah bin Mubarak: Eat and drink at ease for that which ye sent on before you in the past days. [Haqqah 69/24], and with this ayah she recited another ayah to convey her gratefulness to him for his good conduct and courtesy. The ayah was: Is the reward of goodness anything other than goodness? [Rahman 55/60]. And their conversation ended on this ayah.
The lady’s son informed Abdullah bin Mubarak that his mother has been speaking in this manner, using only the ayat of the Quran in her speech, for the last 40 years.