Once again we will take a trip back in time and visit another great woman, Asmaa' bint Abi Bakr , one of the Sahabah (female Companions) of the Prophet This journey requires that we free our minds from the ideas of modernists and pay special attention to the life this blessed companion led, and compare it to our own lives. As always, we will make this trip through the authentic narration from the Scholars of Hadith. Brace yourselves as we now journey back in time to the golden era at the time of the Prophet.
Asmaa' daughter of Abu Bakr said: "az-Zubair (Ibn al-`Awwam, the cousin of the Prophet , through his aunt) married me. He had neither wealth, slave or anything else like it, except a camel (to get water) and a horse. I used to graze his horse, [provide fodder to it and look after it, and ground dates for his camel. Besides this, I grazed the camel], made arrangements for providing [it with] water and patched up [his] leather bucket and kneaded the flour. But I was not proficient in baking the bread, so my female neighbors used to bake bread for me [and they were sincere women]. And I used to carry on my head the stones (seeds) of the dates from az-Zubair's land which Allaah's Messenger had endowed him, and it was at a distance of two miles (from Madinah).
"As I was one day carrying the stones of dates upon my head I happened to meet Allaah's Messenger along with a group of his Companions. He called me and said to the camel to sit down so that he should make me ride behind him. I felt shy to go with men and I remembered az-Zuhair and his gheerah(1), and he was the man having the most gheerah. When the Messenger of Allaah understood my shyness, he left. I came to az-Zubair and said: 'The Messenger of Allaah met me as I was carrying the stones of the dates on my head, and there was with him a group of his Companions, he said to the camel to sit down so that I mount it, I felt shy from him, and remembered your gheerah.' Whereupon he (az-Zubair) said: 'By Allaah, the carrying of dates' stone upon your head is more severe a burden on me than riding with him.' [And I led this life of hardship] until Abu Bakr sent afterwards a female servant who took upon herself the responsibility of looking after the horse and I felt as if she had emancipated me(2)." Remember that Asmaa' was the sister in law of the Prophet!
Asmaa' reported: "I performed the household duties of az-Zubair and he had a horse, I used to look after it. Nothing was (more) for me than looking after the horse. I used to bring grass for it and looked after it, then I got a servant as Allaah's Messenger had some prisoners of war in his possession. He gave me a female servant. She then began to look after the horse and thus relieved me of this burden. A person came and he said: 'Mother of Abdullah, I am a destitute person and I intend that I should start business under the shadow of your house.' I (Asmaa') said: 'If I grant you permission, az Zubair may not agree to that, so you come and make a demand of it when az-Zubair is also present there.'
He came accordingly and said: 'Mother of Abdullah, I am a destitute person. I intend to start small business in the shadow of your house. I said: 'Is there not in Madinah (any place for starting the business) except my house?' Az-Zubair said: 'Why is it that you prohibit the destitute man to start business here?' So he started business and he (earned so much) that we sold our slave-girl to him. Az-Zubair came to me while the money was in my lap. He said: 'Give this to me.' I said: '(I intend) to spend it in charity.'" [Muslim] Notice how Asmaa' had been in favor of allowing that person to start business under the shadow of their house, but she did not like to do anything which could be a source of annoyance or disgust to her husband. She, therefore, posed a question in order to solicit the opinion of her husband and when his reaction was found favorable, she agreed to this proposal.
Dear Sister, Allaah (T) has made you a protected jewel in Islam whom the liberalists are trying to make an object of trade, and the modernists [among Muslims] are trying to strip you of your modesty and shyness. Read these ahadith carefully, over and over, and ponder on them very deeply. They contain a gold mine for both women and men. Asmaa' had the following credits to her personality (among others):
She was one of the most noble women of Arabia at that time.
The daughter of the pure and the noble Abu Bakr , the leader of his tribe, and the first Caliph of Islam.
The sister-in-law of the best of mankind. Mohammad, who named her "Thaatun-Nitaaqayn" (the one with two belts), for her heroic act during the Hijrah [migration] of the Prophet and Abu Bakr , from Makkah to Madinah.
The sister of the most knowledgeable woman, 'Aishah who is among the only seven Companions of the Prophet who narrated more than a thousand ahadith.
The wife of az-Zubair Ibn al-`Awwaam, one of the ten people promised Paradise by the Messenger of Allaah . Az-Zubair was brave, courageous and defended the Prophet with his sword.
The Mother of ameerul-mu'mineen 'Abdullah Ibn az-Zubair who was given bay`a in Hijaz and was killed by al-Hajjaaj(3).
The mother of 'Urwah, who when he entered in prayer he would forget about this life. It was 'Urwah who when his leg had to be cut, was told to drink wine as an anesthesia but refused to drink wine and instead, gave instructions to cut it while he was in prayer. They did, and he did not feel anything until he woke up.
Asmaa', may Allaah (T) be pleased with her, was one of the most noble personalities, yet was veiled and shy in front of men. She refused to be with men, mingle with them, ride among them or go with them; and. by Allaah, the men being talked about were no ordinary men! They were the Messenger of Allaah , and his Companions. She served her husband as a true wife should, staying at home to take care of her household. She was very careful at guarding and preserving her honor, and the honor of her husband. Did she ever pressure az-Zubair by reminding him of her honorable lineage as the daughter of the noble Abu Bakr? She was patient for the hardship she went through, and was loving and respectful towards her husband. Can a woman be richer than Asmaa'?
Her father, Abu Bakr , was a rich merchant. Yet, she carried stones of dates on her head, and walked miles to get water and date seeds. She also dealt with horses and camels [which she did not do in her father' s house], baked bread, pleased her husband, yet would not take decisions without him, even if it were an obvious decision for the pleasure of Allaah (T).
Dear sister, wake up! Realize that the modernists and liberalists are leading you to a path other than the path of the Believers. Allaah (T) says (the meaning (of which is):
And whoever contends with, and contradicts the Messenger after guidance has been clearly conveyed to him, and chooses a path other than that of the Faithful Believers, We shall leave him in the Path he has chosen and land him in Hell, what an evil refuge!" [an Nisaa 4:115](4) .
Which path leads you to happiness of this world and the hereafter, to the pleasure of Allaah (T) and the company of Asmaa' in Paradise? Is it the path of tabarruj(5) and sufoor(6) and Ikhtilaat(7) or the path of Hijab and Modesty?
Remember the golden words of Asmaa' when she said: "I felt shy to go with men, and I remembered az-Zubair and his gheerah." Remember also what the Black woman said: "But I become uncovered, so please invoke Allaah for me [make du'a to Allaah for me] that I may not become uncovered." This illustrates what kind of a pure and clean society it was, and what kind of amazing women they were. They were the followers of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, the Salaf that we are proud to follow. We ask you to think about this, and pray to Allaah (T) to make us all among the pure women and men whom Allaah (T) is pleased with, and whom the Messenger of Allaah will be pleased and happy to meet in Paradise, for they followed his Sunnah. Though they never met him: and they followed the practice of his Companions, though they never met them either.
Imagine, dear sister, that you are among the blessed ones who succeeded in passing over the Sirat (8), and found in front of you the Hawdh (pool) of the Prophet and you drank from it. Imagine yourself entering Jannah? and finding RasoolAllaah who he is happy to see you. Imagine you are among those whom he called "my brethren"(9). Imagine yourself among the blessed ones when the veil will be withdrawn, and the people of the Paradise "will not have known anything dearer to them than looking upon the Countenance of their Lord." [Muslim] Indeed, the reward of Allaah (T) is invaluable; the reward of Allaah (T) is Paradise; its price is following and practicing the Qur'an and the Sunnah the way that Asmaa' and az-Zubair and all the Sahabah did (may Allaah (T) be pleased with them all).
(1) the feeling of honor a man has towards the female members of his family.
(2) al-Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad; additional narration in brackets "[ ]" are from Muslim.
(3) Abdullah Ibn az-Zubair (R) sought advice from his mother Asmaa' in fighting al Hajjaaj and his ameer AbdulMalik after these two called him to surrender in peace. She replied: lf you went out [in fighting] to revive the Book of Allaah (T) and the Sunnah of His Prophet, know that the goat does not get tortured by slaughtering [i.e. once slain, it does not feel anything when the skin is removed]. So die on the truth. But if you went out seeking the worldly life, then there is no goodness in you alive or dead. My Son! Die with honor and dignity and do not surrender. [Musnad al Haiku]. After this meeting with Asmaa'. Abdullah went out to fight ...he was killed in Makkah ... May Allaah (T) have Mercy on him and be pleased with him.
(4)The faithful believers are the Sahabah [the companions of the Prophet ]. Shaikh-ul-lslam Ibn Taymeeyah commented on this verse "All who contradict and oppose the Messenger after the right path has been clearly shown to them. Have followed other than the Path of the believers: and all who follow other than the Path of the believers have contradicted and opposed the Messenger after the right Path has been shown to them. If one thinks that he is following the Path of the Faithful believers and is mistaken, he is in the same position as one who thinks he is following the Messenger and is mistaken"
(5)Displaying one's beauty
(7)Mingling with men
(8)The narrow bridge hanging over hell.
(9)Part of the hadith from Sahih Muslim which continues: '...the Sahaabah replied "Aren't we your brethren?'' He said: "You are my companions; my brethren are people who come later, believe in me (and obviously follow me), even though they did not see me."' This hadith will be the subject of one of our future articles, where it will be referenced appropriately and mentioned in its entirety, insha'Allaah.