Friday, April 11, 2014

Women companions of Prophet (pbuh): Asmaa bint Yazeed (ra), the women'€™s representative

A woman came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sitting with a group of his men companions. She said: “Messenger of God , I am sent by a group of Muslim women and we all share the same view and have the same concern. Allah has sent you to both men and women. We believe in you and follow you. Yet we, women, have to stay at home. We are the object of men's desire and we bear their children. Nevertheless, men have privileges, such as the obligatory Friday prayer, attending funerals and going on jihad campaigns. When they leave for jihad, we look after their property and we rear their children. Messenger of God , do we have a share of reward for doing so?”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)turned to the men attending him and said: “Have you ever heard a more eloquent woman putting a case concerning her faith?””They said: “We never thought that a woman can be so expressive”. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to her:“Asmaa, go and tell women that when any of you is a goodly wife, giving her husband a pleasant life and cutting out friction, she earns a reward equal to all that you have mentioned of men's reward”.She went away glorifying Allah and praising Him. The woman was Asmaa bint Yazeed ibn Al-Sakan (may Allah be pleased with her), a distinguished figure among the women of the Ansar.  She belonged to the clan of Abd Al-Ashhal of the Aws, whose chief was Saad ibn Mu'adh. She and Kabshah bint Rafi, Saad's own mother, were the first women of the Ansar to pledge their loyalty to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) after he arrived in Madinah.
The story we related about her question to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) tells us that she was outspoken and highly expressive, which suggests that she was well educated. Indeed, she was a most distinguished reporter of the Prophet's Hadiths, reporting no less than 81 Hadiths. This puts her among the top Ansari women in reporting Hadith, if not the top one. In one report she speaks of the revelation of Surah 5 of the Qur'an, Al-Ma'idah or the Repast. She reports: “I was holding the rein of Al-Adbaa, the Prophet's she-camel, when the Surah Al-Ma'idah was revealed to him in full. It was so heavy, that it almost broke the limbs of the she-camel”.This is a reference to the fact that the revelation was a hard experience for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), as it involved communication with the archangel Gabriel.
Asmaa (may Allah be pleased with her) belonged to a family of brave fighters. In the Battle of Uhud, when the Muslim army was in disarray, her brother, Imarah ibn Yazeed (may Allah be pleased with him), was one of the few who remained steadfast and defended the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) until he was killed. Her father and uncle were also killed in the same battle. Their bravery made her eager to follow their suit. Therefore, she went out with the Muslim army on several occasions during the Prophet's lifetime. She was also with the Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his companions when they aimed to visit Makkah, but Quraysh, the Arab tribe living in Makkah and opposed to Islam, stopped them. At one stage, the Prophet asked his companions to pledge to fight to the finish if the need arose. Asmaa (may Allah be pleased with her) was among the Muslims who gave the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that pledge. Three years after the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had passed away, Asmaa (may Allah be pleased with her)  joined the Muslim army heading to Syria to fight the Byzantine army. She (may Allah be pleased with her) took part in the fighting, using the pole of her tent to defend herself and the women with her. She (may Allah be pleased with her) was able to kill nine of the enemy soldiers. After the battle and when Syria came under Muslim rule, Asmaa stayed in Syria, teaching women about Islam. She (may Allah be pleased with her) lived until an advanced age. According to good reports, she died in Damascus in year 69, which means that she was around 90 or even older when she died. She is buried in Bab Al-Sagheer graveyard in Damascus.