INSPIRATION FOR WOMEN: ASMA BINT ABU BAKR (RA)
Authentic Islam as seen by a woman: Asma, r.a., the daughter of Abu Bakr, r,a.
“And their Lord has accepted of them, and answered them: ‘Never will I allow to be lost the work of any of you, be ye male or female: You are one body …” [The Qur’an 3:195]
- Islam is a way of life for all people. It is not restricted to some one category. It is for young and old, Arab and non-Arab, men and women.
- Asma, r.a., the daughter of Abu Bakr, r.a., encompasses in her life extremely important aspects of Islam as seen by a woman.
- A THOUGHTFUL AND SPIRITUAL CHILD
- When she was a child, she embraced Islam, right in the beginning of the Prophet’s mission [pbuh]. So it’s not correct to count only Khadija, Zayd, Ali and Abu Bakr [Allah be pleased with them] as the first Muslims. Islam does not disregard serious minded children. Ali, r.a., was only 12 when he accepted Islam. Asma, r.a., was even younger, perhaps. 7 or 8. Very intelligent and involved. So, let’s bring up our children to be serious.
- In his efforts to leave Makka for Madinah, the Prophet, pbuh, with Abu Bakr, r.a., Muhammad, pbuh, took refuge in a cave known as Thaur, going south of Makka. Thus the kuffar were deceived because they thought he would go north to get to Madinah. Deceive the oppressors.
- MOUNTAIN CLIMBING TO AID THE PROPHET PBUH IN HIJRAH
- There was no food or water for the two most blessed people in Islam hiding in the cave. Asma, r.a., brought them the food and water. She had to walk several miles in the desert, then climb a mountain, then slide down over rocks into the cave. To save the water from spilling and the food from falling into the sand, she tore her waistband into two. With one piece she tied up the mouth of the water skin, and with the other she tied up the food. Hence her nickname zaat-un-nataqain [the owner of the two waist bands].
- PHYSICALLY FIT
- She had to be extremely strong, able to walk for miles in the hot sand and climb into the mountain cave. Also, she was fearless knowing that the oppressors had set a bounty of a 100 camels on Muhammad, pbuh [which would be about $100 million today]. Her life was in danger for saving him.
- Asma, r.a., did the hijrah to Madina and took the oath of allegiance [ baiyah] to Muhammad, pbuh.
- She was married to Zubair, r.a.,and gave birth to eight children, 5 boys and 3 girls. Zubair, r.a., was one of the great mujahid sahaba of the Prophet, pbuh.
- AN INSPIRATION TO ALL WORKING WOMEN (MOTHERS)
- Even married, she was a working woman and went out several miles each day to collect dates to bring them back for her husband to take to the market. Thus Islam endorses working women.
- HEYA AND MODESTY WHILE WORKING
- Once she was walking home with a big pile of goods on her head when the Prophet, pbuh, saw her. He made his camel sit down and invited her to sit behind him. There was a group of men with him, so out of HAYA [modesty and shyness], she refused and walked back home alone. Later, her husband was sad that she carried such a burden. She said, she knew Zubair, r.a., was a man of honor and would not have liked her to be with a crowd of men. He replied that she should have accepted the ride and that it is a sin to refuse the Prophet’s invitation.
- Asma’s son Abdullah, was the first child born in the Islamic community after the hijrah. The Prophet, pbuh, loved the baby so much that he kissed him and put his saliva in the baby’s mouth.
- RAISING A GOOD SON:
- Asma, r.a., prepared Abdullah, r.a., to be a great scholar and a great mujahid.
- The khilafate Rashida [the rightly guided caliphate] ended and was followed by Kingship. The tragedy of Kerbala occurred when the grandson of the Prophet, pbuh, was martyred by the tribal army of the king.
- Most of our scholars do not notice that Asma’s son, Abdullah, fought the same dynasty as Hussain, r.a., did and defeated it. He set up an Islamic caliphate and scholars consider it the continuation of the righrly guided caliphate. He was extremely pious and brave and was well guided by the sublime Asma,r.a,
- As more and more wealth came into the Muslim domain, more and more corruption arose. Thus Abdullah, r.a., who was not corrupt lost followers while the tyrant in Syria became stronger.
- Finally a stage came when Abdullah, r.a., was left alone. He was faced with the same choice as Hussain, r.a.,: Accept the king’s corrupt power or go down fighting for Islam. Abdullah, r.a., chose to go down fighting.
- He went to say farewell to his mother, Asma, r.a., who was now 80 plus years old. When she embraced him, she felt the armor under his shirt. She told him: There is no need for this. You are not fighting for the world. You are fighting for shahadat. He took off the armor and fought for a very long time till he was brought down by missiles [arrows] fired by the Ummayeds.
- He was martyred in the Ka’aba, a much holier place than Kerbala. Isn’t it a shame that our sectarians cry over Hussain, r.a., but ignore Abdullah, r.a., when both were fighting the same enemy?
- After Abdullah, r.a., was killed, the king ordered his men to bring Asma, r.a., to his presence even if she had to be dragged by her hair. She refused to go and quoted a hadith that evil would arise from the tribe of the king. The historians do not divulge what happened to her after that. The hadith she quoted is in Sahih Muslim. She passed way soon after her son, in the year 73 after hijrah.
- Dear brothers, tell your mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, aunts, grandmothers the story of Asma.RA
- [Hadith narratives about Asma, r.a., are scattered in the books of authentic Hadith but they were collected by a great scholar, Muhammad ibn Sa’ad, in his monumental work known as the Tabaqat in the year 230 after the hijrah.]
Excerpt from a Jumma Khutbah given by Dr. Kaukab Siddique in Masjid Jamaat a-Muslimeen in Baltimore.
Some points are mentioned here: