By: Abu Safiyyah
Umm Haram Bint Milhan (may Allah be pleased with her) was a maternal aunt of Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he would often visit her and would sometimes take a nap in her house. One day, the prophet came to visit her and she provided him with food and started grooming his head. The prophet fell asleep and a short while later woke up smiling. Umm Haram asked,
“What makes you smile, O Messenger of Allah?” He said,”Some people of my ummah were shown to me (in my dream) fighting in the way of Allah, sailing in the middle of the seas like kings on the thrones (or he said) like kings sitting on their thrones.” Umm Haram added, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Pray to Allah to make me one of them.’ ” So the Messenger of Allah prayed to Allah for her and then laid his head down (and slept). Then he woke up smiling (again). (Umm Haram added): I said, “What makes you smile, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Some people of my ummah were shown to me (in my dream) fighting in the way of Allah.” He said the same as he had said before. I said, “O Messenger of Allah! Pray to Allah to make me one of them.” He said, “You will be among the first ones.” (Reported by Bukhari)
Many years later after the demise of the Prophet, when the borders of Islam had reached Syria and beyond, Mu’awiyah (may Allah be pleased with him) who was the governor at the time was facing a growing problem of Byzantine attacks on Syria’s coastline who were using Cyprus as a launch point. He sought permission from the second caliph, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) to launch a naval attack against Cyprus to bring an end to attacks by the Byzantines. Umar didn’t give permission because of the dangers of the sea and the inexperience of the Muslims in naval warfare.