When the time came for the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, to migrate from Mecca to Medina, a plan was devised for him to migrate in secret with his great and loyal companion Abu Bakr as-Siddique. Though she was just a young girl at the time, it was the courageous Asma’ who gathered food and water for the great journey her father and The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, were about to make.
She was the sister of ‘Aishah bint Abu Bakr, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Her father Abu Bakr, her husband Az-Zubayr, and her son, Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr were all famous companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. After her parents accepted Islam, Asma’ and her siblings were raised in an atmosphere of Islamic faith and practice.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 222 :
Narrated by Asma (radiallaahu `anhaa)
I prepared the journey-food for Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) in Abu Bakr’s (radiallaahu `anhu) house when he intended to emigrate to Medina. I could not find anything to tie the food-container and the water skin with. So, I said to Abu Bakr (radiallaahu `anhu), “By Allah, I do not find anything to tie (these things) with except my waist belt.” He said, “Cut it into two pieces and tie the water-skin with one piece and the food-container with the other (the sub-narrator added, “She did accordingly and that was the reason for calling her Dhatun-Nitaqain (i.e. two-belted woman)).”
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) blessed her and said that in place of this one girdle that she sacrificed, she would get two in Paradise. So, he implied that she would go to Paradise. In this manner the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) gave the news of a glorious Hereafter to his faithful Companions.
In another narration, Aisha said about this time: “…One day, while we were sitting in Abu Bakr’s house, someone said to Abu Bakr, “This is Allah’s Apostle with his head covered coming at a time at which he never used to visit us before.” Abu Bakr said, “May my parents be sacrificed for him. By Allah, he has not come at this hour except for a great necessity.” So Allah’s Apostle came and asked permission to enter, and he was allowed to enter. When he entered, he said to Abu Bakr. “Tell everyone who is present with you to go away.” Abu Bakr replied, “There are none but your family. May my father be sacrificed for you, O Allah’s Apostle!” The Prophet said, “I have been given permission to migrate.” Abu Bakr said, “Shall I accompany you? May my father be sacrificed for you, O Allah’s Apostle!” Allah’s Apostle said, “Yes.” Abu Bakr said, “O Allah’s Apostle! May my father be sacrificed for you, take one of these two she-camels of mine.” Allah’s Apostle replied, “I will accept it with payment.” So we prepared the baggage quickly and put some journey food in a leather bag for them. Asma’, Abu Bakr’s daughter, cut a piece from her waist belt and tied the mouth of the leather bag with it, and for that reason she was named Dhat-un-Nitaqain (i.e. the owner of two belts)…”
It’s related in the Sahih of Bukhari that when Asma’ was married to Zubayr bin ‘Awam, he was a very pious but poor man.
Asma’ narrated: “When Az-Zubayr married me, he had neither land, nor wealth, nor slave, nor anything else like it, except a camel to get water and his horse. I used to graze his horse, provide fodder for it, look after it and ground dates for his camel. Besides this, I grazed the camel, made arrangements for providing it with water and patching up his leather bucket and kneading the flour. I was not very good at 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 date-stones from the land of az-Zubayr which the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had endowed him and it was a distance of two miles from Madinah.
One day, as I was carrying the date-stones upon my head, I happened to meet Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, along with a group of his Companions. He called me and told the camel to sit down so that he could make me ride behind him. I felt shy to go with men and I remembered Az-Zubayr and his ghirah (ghirah is the sense of pride that a man has which causes him to dislike his wives, daughters or sisters from being seen or heard by strangers – it is this ghirah which makes a man protective about his women) and he was a man having the most ghirah. The Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam understood my shyness and left.
I came to Az-Zubayr and said, ‘The Messenger of Allah met me as I was carrying date-stones upon my head and there was with him a group of his Companions. He told the camel to kneel so that I could mount it but I felt shy from him and I remembered your ghirah.’ Upon this Az-Zubayr said, ‘By Allah, the thought of you carrying date-stones upon your head is more severe a burden to me than you riding with him.’
I led this life of hardship until Abu Bakr sent me a female servant who took upon herself the responsibility of looking after the horse and I felt as if she had emancipated me.”
Read more on her piety, patience and courage here.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 98 :
Narrated by Ibn Aun
Once Musa bin Anas while describing the battle of Yamama, said, “Anas bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu) went to Thabit bin Qais (radiallaahu `anhu), who had lifted his clothes from his thighs and was applying Hunut to his body. Anas asked, ‘O Uncle! What is holding you back (from the battle)?’ He replied, ‘O my nephew! I am coming just now,’ and went on perfuming himself with Hunut, then he came and sat (in the row). Anas then mentioned that the people fled from the battle-field. On that Thabit (radiallaahu `anhu) said, ‘Clear the way for me to fight the enemy. We would never do so (i.e. flee) in the company of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam). How bad the habits you have acquired from your enemies!”
Applying Hunut = putting on perfume. It’s done in order to prepare oneself for the meeting with angels. Only a person eager for martyrdom, also sure of it, would care for such detail when putting on his armor in preparation for battle.
We see this eagerness again when Thabit (radiallaahu `anhu) marches towards the enemy while others were fleeing/backing away. As we get to know from the reports of the Battle of Yamama, Musaylamah’s army wasn’t easy to defeat. It took a lot of strategizing and and toil to corner the enemy. Being brave and enthusiastic in such circumstances isn’t an easy thing to do. When everyone around you is being negative, losing hope, it’s close to impossible to remain firm on your ground. Such was the character of this sahabi.
More on Thabit bin Qays (radiallaahu `anhu):
His full name was Thâbit bin Qays bin Shammas bin Zahîr al-Ansâri. He is also referred to as Abu Muhammad or Abu Abdul Rahmân, meaning the father of Muhammad or the father of Abdul Rahmân. Both his sons were killed in the battle of Harra while defending Madina. Thâbit bin Qays was known as the Speaker of the Ansâr (Khatîb al- Ansâr) as he would eloquently address the Ansâr on behalf of the Messenger, upon him be peace. He was also known as Khatib al-Rasûl, the one who gave the sermon for the Messenger, upon him be peace.
There were several verses of Qurân revealed about him. One of the verses related to divorce was revealed after his wife complained to the Messenger that ‘although she did not complain about his character or religion’, she did not want to remain married to him. The Messenger, upon him be peace, then asked her if she were willing to return the garden that he had given her in dowry. She agreed and the Messenger, upon him be peace, instructed him to ‘accept the garden and pronounce the divorce’.
Another verse was revealed with regard his generosity. When his fruit was ripe he decided he would give anyone that came to him that day some dates as a gift. By the end of the day he had no dates left for himself or his family and Allah revealed the verse, “It is He Who produces gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tilth with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in variety): eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loves not the wasters” (6:141).
There were two verses that were revealed about other people that he feared were about him. The first was where some companions were told ‘O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as you may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and you perceive not (49:2). He had a loud voice and was fearful that the verse was a direct rebuke to him. He hid away for some days until the Messenger; himself went to see what was wrong with him. Thâbit explained that he has a loud voice and was afraid that he would be one whose ‘deeds become vain’. The Messenger, upon him be peace, comforted him saying ‘you live well and you will die well’.
He also went into hiding after Allah revealed that He ‘loves not any arrogant boaster’ (39:18). On this occasion, the Messenger, upon him be peace, told him ‘you are not one of them, you live a praised life and you will die a martyr and enter the Garden.’ He was killed in the battle of Yamâma during the period of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq.
He was a man of great character and worship. On one occasion, the Messenger, upon him be peace saw a light emanating from a house and said ‘perhaps someone is reading Surat al-Baqara (the second chapter of the Quran)’. The next morning some of the companions went to the house and asked Thâbit what he was doing that night and he confirmed that he was indeed reading Surat al-Baqara.
Taken from Kitaba
Sparkling gems in their own times, they continue to glisten beyond their age, making their appeal everlasting...Each one a legend in her own right, they were declared the best of women by the Last Prophet (SAW)…So what were the special characteristics these illustrious women had and how can we follow in their footsteps in our times? Fatima Barakatullah looks for answers and finds inspiration and guidance.
What are the most famous women of today celebrated for? Those held up as role models for the modern woman include actresses, singers, footballers WAGs (wives and girlfriends) and glamour models – all celebrated for their physical appeal. Very rarely will a woman be deemed ‘successful’ for other than what is really just superficial and then, as is often the case, when she ages and her physical features fade, she will fall out of favour with the media and younger women will replace her as the icons of their era.
But Allah shows us in His Book that a woman is so much more than the outer shell that is her body. Our history is replete with examples of great women who were gems of their times and whose sparkling appeal is timeless. Islam defines for us that the truly successful are those of integrity, who fulfil the purpose of their creation and rise to the challenges that are presented to them throughout life with tenacity, thereby gaining the pleasure of their Creator and everlasting victory in the next life.
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said in an authentic Hadeeth:
“The best women from the people of Jannah are Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatima daughter of Muhammad, Aasiya bint Muzaahim – the Wife of Pharoah and Mary daughter of Imran, may Allah be pleased with them all.”
In fact Allah specifically mentions two of these great women in the Qur’an, as role models for believing men as well as women. In Surat ut-Tahreem Allah says:
“And Allah has set forth an example for those who believe: The wife of Pharaoh, when she said: “My Lord! Build for me a home with you in Paradise, and save me from the Pharaoh and his actions, and save me from the people who are oppressors.
And Maryam, the daughter of Imran who guarded her chastity. And we breathed into the sleeve of her garment through our Ruh, and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and believed in His books and was of those who are obedient to Allah.”
So what were the characteristics that made them worthy of such accolades? What made Allah and His Messenger single out these women above all others? And more importantly, how can we benefit and learn from their example?
They affirmed the Truth immediately
The four greatest women submitted to the Truth and to the commands of Allah immediate, without any hesitation. We see from their stories that Mariam accepted the huge task that Allah had set for her, of going through pregnancy and childbirth by herself, unsupported by a man and then of presenting her child to the people who would inevitably accuse her of being unchaste.
Khadijah accepted Islam immediately and was the first Muslimah. When the Prophet returned from Mount Noor having received the first revelation from Angel Jibreel, it was Khadijah who immediately accepted his message and believed in him even though he himself was shaken by the event.
Lesson I: Today, there is a culture amongst us of ‘Fatwa Shopping’. In other words, when an Islamic ruling makes us feel uncomfortable, instead of saying ‘We hear and we obey’, we just go and ask someone who has another opinion until we find the opinion that is most akin to our own desires. We must become women who, when faced with the truth in any matter, sincerely accept it and submit without hesitation.
They had a strong relationship with Allah
Their knowledge of Allah and His attributes made them close to Him. When the Prophet returned from the Cave of Hira, fearing something bad had happened to him Khadijah knew Allah would never forsake him. She said: “Allah would never humiliate you, for you are good to your relatives, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest and you answer the call of those who are in distress.” She knew that Allah is Just and does not humiliate the righteous.
Aasiya knew when Pharaoh was torturing her to turn her from her faith, that Allah could hear her cries and her du’a, she asked Allah to build for her, with Him a house in Paradise. During her ordeal, Allah showed her house in Paradise to her, which made her smile, just as she was martyred at the hands of her husband.
Mariam had such a close relationship to her Lord that he would provide her with the fruits of the Summer in the Winter and the fruits of the Winter in Summer. When the Prophet Zakariyyah (AS) saw this he quizzed her about the origin of the food she always had. She said, “This is from Allah. Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whomsoever He wills without limit.”
Lesson II: If we are to become close to Allah we too must have correct knowledge of Him and His names and attributes and mention Him often through His Dhikr. If we remember Him much in times of ease, only then will we be able to remember Him in times of difficulty.
They had Qunoot
Allah describes the True Believing women as being Qaanitaat and described Maryam in particular as having the characteristic of Qunoot. He says in Surah Aal Imran, Aayah 43:”O Maryam! Submit yourself with obedience (Uqnuti) to your Lord and prostrate yourself, and bow down along with those who bow down.”
Qunoot means to stand for long periods in prayer and this was particularly a characteristic of Maryam and Fatima. Qunoot also means to be devoutly obedient and to submit to Allah.
Lesson III: We must become true worshippers of Allah, not only striving to establish our prayers, but striving to concentrate and to lengthen our prayers, in particular, the Night Prayer (tahajjud). We must have soft hearts that accept Allah’s commands and obey him with devotion.
They supported the Believing men in their lives
Aasiya saved the baby Musa from Pharoah and brought him up & believed in him. Mariam was pivotal to the message of Eesa and she brought him to the people as a sign from Allah. Fatima defended her father when the idolators in Makkah threw the blood and carcass of a dead camel on her father’s back while he prayed. She removed the filth and stood up to the men who had attacked her father, only to be slapped in the face by Abu Jahl.
Khadijah stood by the Prophet (saw) and spent her wealth for the sake of his message. She endured the difficult boycott period when the Muslims and their supporters were forced to dwell in a valley away from the people of Makkah and were refused food or trade. The Muslims used to eat the leaves of the trees due to the extreme state of poverty they were in. Khadijah endured these hardships and stood by the Prophet (saw).
Lesson IV: We must support our men folk and help them to be ‘real men’. We must stand by them in times of difficulty and strengthen them when they feel weak in their Iman. It’s amazing the effect that a woman can have on a man’s self-esteem and confidence. Insha Allah, we will be rewarded for helping our men to be better servants of Allah.
They had Courage
Fatima was often seen in the wars that the Muslims fought, treating the wounded and stood up to Abu Jahl when he attacked the Prophet (saw). Mariam had the courage to bring Eesa to people after her difficult ordeal. She knew they would accuse her of being unchaste, yet she bravely obeyed Allah’s command. Khadijah had the courage to follow and encourage the Prophet (saw) in his mission even though she endured hardship due to it. Aasiyah courageously stood up to Pharoah, the greatest tyrant of that time and refused to become a disbeliever.
Lesson V: We have to be prepared to do difficult things in our lives. We must have the courage to speak out to defend the oppressed and to tell people about our Deen without watering it down and we must be prepared to sacrifice anything for the sake of the Truth.
They had Istiqamah and Sabr
Istiqamah means to stand firm upon the straight path and sabr is patient perseverance. In other words, they tenaciously held on to the truth come what may.
Asiyah stayed firm upon the Deen of Musa throught her torture and martyrdom. Mariam had sabr when facing her peoples’ accusations and stayed firm throughout the tests she faced. Khadijah and Fatima endured the three-year boycott that was imposed on them and went through the persecution of Makkah and kept their Iman.
Lesson VI: We live in a time when we need Istiqamah. We need to stay true to the message of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and not be tempted to water-down our Deen to appease other people. It will mean being patient and displeasing people sometimes, but ultimately we will have pleased Allah and He will give us success.
They had Tawakkul (Reliance Upon Allah)
When she was being persecuted for worshipping Allah, Aasiya’s reliance upon Allah made her stay firm upon Iman and not yield under the intense pressure. Fatima faced poverty and physical hardship after her marriage to Ali to the point that her hands became rough and her face changed colour due to the physically demanding work she was doing. Despite this she was not allowed to receive Zakah and was not granted a servant when she wanted one. Instead the Prophet taught her and Ali to say ‘Subhan Allah’ 33 times and ‘Alhamdulillah’ 33 times and ‘Allahu Akbar’ 34 times. He reminded them that Allah was the One who would make things easier for them so they should put all of their trust in Him. All four of the women persevered in the tests they faced due to their reliance upon Allah and knowledge that He would make their affairs right.
Lesson VII: We must learn to truly have tawakkul in Allah and trust that after we have done our bit, Allah will make everything turn out right as long as we are conscious of Him.
They had Zuhd (were not attached to the life of this world)
The Prophet (saw) once told Fatima to remove the gold bangles she was wearing as he wanted to teach her not to desire this life. She immediately removed the bangles and gave them away in charity. Khadijah spent her wealth in supporting the Da’wah during the Makkan period, she gave up her status as one of the most noble and esteemed women of the Quraysh in order to stand by the Prophet.
Aasiya could have had a life of luxury as she was married to the richest and most powerful man in the world. She gave up the material delights she could have enjoyed if she complied with Pharaoh’s wishes. Yet she chose what was with Allah over this worldly life.
Lesson VIII: We must be willing to give up all we have for the sake of Allah. We must avoid joining in the race to have the best and latest commodities and realise that what is with Allah is so much more.
[Source: Sisters Magazine]