Noble Women Around The Messenger
Asma': The Lady of the Two Girdles
At the dawn of the Islamic call, some of the families of Makkah devoted all their members in the way of jihad and da'wah. The first of such families was the Prophet's. His wife, Khadijah, and his daughters embraced and supported it from the first moment. The second family was that of Abu Bakr, who believed as soon as the Prophet (peace be upon him) had told him about it. His wife, sons, and daughters all hurried to declare their faith and support Islam. The third family was that of Yasir, who were all tortured until the wife and mother, Sumayah, died under torture. She was recorded as the first martyr in the history of Islam. Sumayah's death did not hinder her husband Yasir or her son 'Ammar from continuing the long path of jihad. The fourth family was the Jahsh family, whose members were persecuted for their faith before they were permitted to perform hymh. When they left, the unbeliever Abu Sufyan took over their home, but they did not lament it, as it was forsaken for the sake of Allah. Each one of those great families had female members who were hailed for their unforgettable efforts in the field of da'wah and jihad. Abu Bakr's family presented to Islam both 'A'ishah and Asma' (May Allah be. pleased with both of them).
Asma' was strong in faith and jihad. She remained steadfast in situations where most men failed to do so. The greatness of that lady was derived from the greatness of her father, Abu Bakr, who was rich, good-natured, learned, and trustworthy. This paved the way to his submission to
Islam in such a quick manner that the Prophet (peace be upon him) praised him by saying, "Everyone whom I invited to Islam hesitated and took time except Abu Bakr. Islam was never doubtful to him and he did not hesitate to adopt it." Not only did he hurry to declare his faith, but he also convinced his wife, sons, and daughters. He was able to convince some of his close friends despite the obstacles the unbelievers put in his way. It was those who responded to him who were the true cornerstone on which Islam was based thereafter.
Asma', the daughter of this great man, was only fourteen when Makkah experienced the magnitude of revelation, and she sensed that her father played a role in it. She approached him and asked about his new-found busy life. After he explained the matter in detail, she accepted it without hesitation and took a solemn pledge to the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Asma' was the eighteenth person to embrace Islam. Thus she was considered one of those foremost in faith, an honor indeed. She was active in every field possible in the Muslim society and was one of the first women to many as a Muslim. Her marriage and family life, together with that of other Muslim families, were significant in the nascent Muslim society.
Most of the outstanding young men of Quraysh hoped to marry her, but because she was a Muslim, she refused to accept any polytheist as a husband while there were believing men in the small Muslim city.
Az-Zubayr bin Al-'Awam approached Abu Bakr to many Asmai. Abu Bakr accepted him immediately, as he was one of the Muslim youth who was sincere in faith and willing in sacrifice.
He was the son of a highborn man, Al-'Awam bin Khuwaylid. the brother of Khadijah and the son of Safiyah bint 'Abdul Muttalib, Hamzah's sister and the Prophet's aunt. Az-Zubayr's father died when he was young, so his mother, being keen to bring him up as an ardent champion, was severe with him until he became an outstanding warrior with distinguished moral values.
The new family continued on the path of jihad and da'wah. But at that time the Quraysh were so disturbed by the growing success of Islam that the mistreatment and torture only increased. Therefore, Allah commanded His Messenger to emigrate.
Az-Zubayr informed his wife that he was leaving for Madinah. She asked Allah to bless him and prepared the necessary provisions for him. As he left, he was given the happy news of her pregnancy.
It was joyous news for Az-Zubayr, and what excited him most was that the child would be raised as a Muslim from the moment of his birth. He yearned to reach Madinah and spread the good news to his brothers in Islam. He set off, leaving behind him his pregnant wife in her father's house.
Abu Bakr's family was waiting for the Prophet's instructions till, at last, the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to Abu Bakr's house at an unexpected time and told him, "Tell everyone in the room to leave."
Abu Bakr replied, "There is no one here but my two daughters. What is the matter, Messenger of Allah? Let my parents be sacrificed for you."
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, "Allah has now permitted me to emigrate."
Abu Bakr said anxiously, "I will accompany you, Messenger of Allah."
The preparations for the journey were handled by Abu Bakr and included two camels. Then he explained the matter to his sons and daughters, emphasizing that it was highly confidential. He assigned each one of them a role in order to secure the journey. As for his son 'Abdullah, he
was responsible for spying on the pagans of Makkah in order to know about their plots against the Prophet (peace be upon him). Asma' was responsible for taking provisions to the Prophet and her father during their stay in their hiding place. Again, he repeated that secrecy was foremost.
Asma's significant role in the success of the emigration was a great honor. This emigration changed the course of events in the history of Islam and turned a new page in the Islamic call that affected, to a large extent, the whole world at that time. This is proof that women can play important roles in the making of important events.
The two refugees, the Prophet and Abu Bakr, settled in the Cave of Thawr. It was there that they waited until the pursuers abandoned their search. During that time 'Abdullah mingled with the Makkans in the morning, as was his habit, so that at night he could go to the cave to apprise the two refugees of the latest situation in Makkah. Asma' was in the company of her brother to give them the daily provisions and any news that she might have heard from the Makkan women. On their way home, the sister and brother were followed by Abu Bakr's servant, 'Amir
bin Fuhajrah, in order to cover their tracks. All was done in secrecy.
After a few days, their opportunity to leave the cave came. They prepared for the wearisome journey and Asma' brought them the necessary provisions. Being at a loss to find a suitable cloth to tie the food and water onto the camel, she tore her girdle into two and tied the food and water with each strip. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw her, he blessed her saying, "May Allah give you two girdles in Paradise in the place of yours now."
Since that time, the appellation has remained with her: Asma' of the Two Girdles, which was like a badge of honor bestowed on her by the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Every woman is invited to have a badge of honor similar to the one Asma' got on the day of hijrah, especially since today the fields in which Muslim women can prove themselves are numerous.
After hearing this, Asma' returned home to tell her sister about it, as she was overwhelmed with pride and happiness, but before she could do that she heard a violent knock at the door. She opened it to find Abu Jahl with hateful, evil eyes in front of her, and behind him stood some men of the Quraysh. He harshly demanded, "Where is your father, daughter of Abu Bakr?"
She answered, "I don't know where my father is."
Her response drove him mad. He raised his hand and slapped her so severely that her earring broke. His display of boldness like that of a lion against poor Asma' was similar to Habbar's boldness against Zaynab, and only revealed the meanness in Abu J ahl that he would not have dared to show had Abu Bakr been in the house. lt also proved the Quraysh were out of their minds in no longer considering the established moral codes. Again, it proved the Muslim women to be as capable fighters and as damaging to polytheism as men.
Abu Jahl left disappointed, and she entered her house victorious. She succeeded in keeping the Prophet's secret, then stayed at home t0 await her permission to emigrate.
On his journey, Abu Bakr took all his money with him in order to spend it on the Islamic cause. He left his family penniless but in Allah's guardianship.
Abu Bakr's father, Abu Quhafah, was still an unbeliever and disapproved of his son's spending on preaching the new religion. He wanted him to invest his money in trade 0r in purchasing slaves. So after his son had left, he went to Asma' and asked after her, saying,
"I'm afraid Abu Bakr has left you without money."
Asma's attitude in this situation is worth telling, as she said, "No, Grandfather, he's left us a lot of money." she brought some little stones as small as coins, put them in a purse, covered it with a piece of cloth and placed it in a hole in the wall where Abu Bakr used to keep his money.
She then took the old blind man by the hand and guided him to touch the purse saying, "My father has left us a lot of money." Thereupon, the old man said, "That's good. He's left you all this. This is quite sufficient?
Asma' was pre-occupied with what was more important than money or food and drink. She was busy contemplating the Islamic call that was to be spread at the hands of the Prophet, her father, her husband, and the rest of her Muslim brothers and sisters.
Such was an example of a Muslim woman who did not care whether her father had left her money or not. He left her with faith in Allah, trust in Him, and a passion for the new religion. She did not care about being poor in money while she was rich in faith.
As soon as the Prophet (peace be upon him) had settled in Madinah with his brother immigrants, they started to build the first mosque. He commanded Zayd Ibn Harithah and Abu Rafi' to go to Makkah to bring those who were left behind from his family. Abu Bakr sent with them 'Abdullah bin Urayqit to be their guide. The three men reached Makkah in secret and returned back with the Prophet's daughters Fatimah and Umm Kalthum; his wife Sawdah bint Zam'ah; Zayd's wife Umm Ayman and his son Usamah; and Abu Bakr's wife Umm Ruman, his daughters Asma' and 'Aishah, and his son 'Abdullah. in the same way that Abu Bakr had the honor of emigrating with the Prophet (peace be upon him), his family was honored to emigrate with the Prophet's family. Asma' herself was proud of this blessed company. She yearned to reach Madinah to see the dawn of the Islamic state and wanted to have her role in the progressive Islamic work.
When she reached it, she found an active society with every one of the Muhajirun (Immigrants) and Ansar (Helpers) doing his or her best in raising high the words of Allah. She also saw the Munafiqun (Hypocrites) who declared their Islam in pretense due to fear of the Muslims, all the while having disbelief in their hearts. There were also the Jews, who were supposed to be the nearest people to the Muslims, but they held bitter animosity towards them instead. Spreading harmful rumors about the Muslims in order to discourage and waylay them was just one of their ploys. The Jews claimed that due to their witchcraft, the Muslims began to worry about the ironic
Absence of newborns since their settlement there. But soon after this rumor, the news broke out in Madinah that Asma' had given birth to a baby boy.
The Muslims praised Allah for the glad news. The Jews were silent. Asma' was overjoyed to be the first one to give birth in the new society and to disperse the false rumors of the Jews.
She took her baby to the home of the Prophet (peace be upon him) where he chewed a piece of date and wetted it with his noble saliva and put it in the baby's mouth, a practice called tahnik. Then he named him "Abdullah.
Asma' was kind to her husband, and, as they were very poor, she used to do all the chores by herself without complaining. She said concerning herself:
When Az-Zubayr married me, he had nothing on this earth, neither money, nor a slave, only his horse. I used to feed his horse, exercise it, plant the seeds and water them, and knead the dough. But I was not good in baking, so the true women of Ansar helped me in this. I also used to carry the palm tree seeds from his land (which was given to him by the Prophet - peace be upon him) on my head for two- thirds of a parasang [three and a half miles).
Asma"s ideal behavior should be an example to our women. She never complained about her husband's poverty Instead, she helped him and spared for him all means of happiness and peace of mind. She made an effort that might be hard enough for a group of women to make
Asma' succeeded in educating her own_ children in faith and maturity till they became bright stars in the sky of Islam. After 'Abdullah, she had Urwah, Al-Mundhir, Asim, and Al-Muhajir. They were all great leaders. 'Abdullah himself was so known for his piety and devotion that people called him "The Pigeon of the Mosque" for the long time he would spend in it for worship. His brothers were of similar standing. Asma' held fast to the same ideals throughout her life till she died.