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INSPIRATION FOR WOMEN: ASMA BINT ABU BAKR (RA)

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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:
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Is it time to recognize the “muslim” Rosa Parks?

December 1, 1955. That was the day when an unknown seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger beginning the Civil Rights Movement

 Rosa Parks: Symbol of Peaceful Resistance to Segregation & Racism.

Great Islamic Women who refused to go to the “back of the bus” Should be recognized

An African-American family I know stood for six hours in line for a final view of Rosa Parks before her burial. A simple, peaceful act of non-compliance with an oppressive law made this seemingly ordinary woman famous. The symbolism of her gesture [or non-gesture] caught the public imagination.

Rosa Parks was a kindly, soft-spoken woman but she knew what was right and was willing to stand [sit] for it. She refused to give up her seat in the bus to a White man and would not go to the back of the bus where the “law” said she belonged.

Segregation is a thing of the past but institutional racism refuses to go away. In spite of laws to the contrary, most American cities are unofficially segregated, with Black areas and White areas, blurred increasingly by Hispanic and Asiatic areas. Even churches remain Black and {largely} White churches.

There are no signs saying, “Whites only” but the “class” component of racism persists, and the aftermath of Katrina brought out the reality of institutional racism.

Within this American imbroglio, the power of Islam is emerging, slowly but surely. American women are saying a clear NO to the power of Madison Avenue, Hollywood and even Wall Street. I spoke at a mosque in Philadelphia and tried to explain the misunderstandings, which are prevalent in America about Afghanistan.

At this a woman got up and said: Bush should stop attacking the Taliban for making Afghan women wear the burqa. We are wearing it right here in Philadelphia.

Sure enough, she was wearing a head to foot covering but it did not stop her from being eloquent.

Eid prayers in Philadelphia and other big cities bring out the power of Islam in America. If Bush and Wolfowitz were to see the serried ranks of Muslim women in full hijab on these occasions, they would probably have nightmares about an end to their efforts to “liberate” women.

The history of Islam is replete with examples of women who stood up to power because they had faith in Allah and loved the messenger of Allah, Muhammad, peace be on him.

It’s not strange that the first person to advise and encourage Muhammad, pbuh, about the authenticity of his mission was his wife Khadija, r.a., who put her entire capital at his disposal. Here are a few salient examples we should recognize and honor:

  • Summayya, the first martyr of Islam. She was a slave woman but was liberated by Islam. [“Free the slave,” says The Qur’an, chapter 90.] When she refused to ‘go to the back of the bus,’ her slave master tortured her to death.
  • Fatima, the sister of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, defied him for the sake of Islam. He was a big, strong man. He beat her but his heart softened when he saw her bleeding. He accepted Islam, r.a., and sought Allah’s forgiveness. His life was transformed by her.
  • ‘Ayesha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, r.a., married the messenger of Allah at a very young age. Poet and genealogist, educated by the Prophet himself, she became teacher, leader, Hadith-transmitter, Qur’an-commentator. She led men at the battle of Jamal. Her oratory had no equal.
  • Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, pbuh, known for her great piety and wit, stood by him on the field of battle and at Uhud became the first Muslim physician. She, as the mother of Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain, is the symbol of sublime motherhood in Islam.
  • Umm Ammara shielded Muhammad, pbuh, at Uhud with her own body against the attacking oppressors when most of his male defenders had fled. She is known as a great warrior who participated in Islam’s classical battles even after the Prophet, pbuh, passed away.
  • Umm Waraqah was Hafiz of the Qur’an and led men and women in prayer as ordered by the Prophet, pbuh. [See Hadith in Sunan of Abu Dawud.]
  • Ghazala, in the era after the Caliphate of the Rashideen, defied the power of the kings, sword in hand. Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi has chronicled her exploits when she went to the main mosque in kufa [controlled by the King] and prayed two rakats and recited the longest chapters of the Qur’an in them. The historian attacks her as a “Kharijite.”
  • Nafisa [daughter of Hasan bin Zayd bin Hasan, r.a, son of Ali, r.a] great teacher and leader. Imam Shafi’ii was her devotee and student. She LED the JANAZA prayers of Imam Shafi’I. [There was a series of prayers for him that day.] Ibn Hajar Asqalani has listed 150 visionary aspects of her life. Ibn Khallikan described her as one of the Awliyya Allah.

In our own times, Chechen, Palestinian, Iraqi, Sudanese, Nigerian, Somali, Kashmiri, Pakistani, Afghan, African-American women devoted to the message of the Qur’an and the example of the Messenger, pbuh, have made great sacrifices to fight oppression, exploitation and imperialism/Zionism/occupation.

It’s about time we recognized our “Rosa Parks.”

SYRIAN WOMAN HADITH SCHOLAR: Bå’ i Khåtun bint Ali ad-Dimishqiyyah

Forecourt of the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus, 1890: Courtesy : http://gustav-bauernfeind.blogspot.com

Bå’ i Khåtun bint Ali ad-Dimishqiyyah: (775/1374-864/1461)

She was a  lady hadith scholar from Syria who lived in Damascus and studied with Abu Bakr Al Mizzi and other scholars.

She had a large number of ijåzas (PhD equivalent Degrees) from Hadith Scholars both men and women.

Al Azhar Mosque 972: Courtesy: http://islamic-arts.org/

She gave lectures in Syria and then in Cairo

She was a leader among her people and a woman of excellent character.

Excerpt from: Muslim Women, a Biographical Dictionary by Aisha Bewley

LALA GHÅYLANA: HADITH & QURAN SCHOLAR, TETOUAN, MOROCCO

The town today of Tetouan, Morocco.

GHAYLÅNA (D. 1189/1775)

Lala Ghaylana, daughter of Faqih Muhammad (Fatha) Ghaylan, in Morocco.

She was a scholar of the women of Tetouan. ( A city in Morocco)

Her father taught her the sciences of the Quran, Hadith, Arabic and Fiqh. Many women studied with her, and she gave them fatwas

Tetouan Morocco 2012

Molly Pitcher fighting in the War of independence against the British.: Courtesy: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/dinner_party/heritage_floor/molly_pitcher.php

 

Meanwhile 1775 in American history:

1775 The revolutionary war or the war of independence was being fought in North America against the British and American women were fighting for their life and their homes.

Asmå’ : Umar ibn Al Khattabs niece: Hadith transmitter

 

Asmå’ bint Zayd Al Khattab al-Adawiyya: The daughter of the elder brother of Umar ibn Khattab. She transmitted hadith.

Abu Dawud reports her hadith.

It is said that she was one of the Tabi’un although Ibn Hibban and Ibn Manda considered her to be one of the Companions. (Died 105/723)

Excerpt: Muslim Women : A biographical Dictionary

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