The era of the Prophet was an era of knowledge. The Companions who were around the sublime Prophet learned many things from the source of knowledge. They asked the Messenger of Allah about the problems they encountered in daily life and asked him various questions. Not only men but also women went into the presence of the Prophet to ask them about their problems. For, they knew that modesty did not prevent learning one’s religion. There was no need to feel ashamed while learning one’s religion.
When the Prophet migrated to Madinah, the women of Ansar paid allegiance to him and promised that they would not
“cry out loud as if they were screaming after a dead person, follow a funeral, associate any partners with Allah, steal, commit adultery and kill their children”.
One of those women was Hz. Asma. She kept her promise throughout her life. Like the other female Companions, Asma loved the Messenger of Allah very much, served her and treated her some food whenever she could. She was not rich but she was generous. She took spiritual pleasure when she shared her food and drink with the Messenger of Allah. Once, she saw that the Messenger of Allah was performing the evening prayer at the mosque. She went home. She prepared some bread and raisins. She waited for him outside the mosque and invited him to her house. The Messenger of Allah did not want to break the heart of this self-sacrificing Companions. He went to her house with some Companions. Hz. Asma put the food she had prepared in front of the Messenger of Allah and said,
“O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Help yourselves.”
The Prophet said to his Companions
“Help yourselves! Bismillah!”
They ate the food. After narrating this incident, Hz. Asma said,
“I swear by Allah, in whose hand is my existence, that I saw with my own eyes. The group of 40 people could not finish the bread or the raisins. After eating, they drank water and left. When the people in my family got ill, we would drink the water that was left in the water-skin by the Messenger of Allah and the Companions and got well. Our sustenance increased thanks to it.”
( Tabaqat, 8: 319-320. )
When the Prophet married Hz. Aisha, Hz. Asma was there with some other female Companions. After the Prophet drank some milk, she gave the bowl of milk to Hz. Aisha. She did not want to take because she was feeling very shy. Thereupon, Hz. Asma said,
“O Aisha! Do not refuse the offer of the Messenger of Allah. Take it and drink it.”
Hz. Aisha took the bowl drank some milk and gave it back. This time, the Prophet gave the bowl to Hz. Asma. She took it and drank from the milk that the Prophet had left.
( Musnad, 6: 458. )
Therefore, she was known as “the Orator of the Women”. When the women of Madinah wanted to ask the Prophet something and learn from him, they would send her as their representative. She would go to the Prophet and tell the Messenger of Allah clearly about the issue.
Once, the women chose her as their representative and sent her to the Prophet to ask about an issue that occupied their minds. Hz. Asma appeared before the Prophet; when she was given permission to speak, she said,
“O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you!”
After expressing her respect, she spoke as follows:
“I am the representatives of some women. There is no doubt that Allah Almighty sent you as His Prophet for all mankind – men and women. We believe in you and your Lord. We, women, live within our houses and fulfill the legitimate wishes of our husbands. Men are superior to us in that they perform Friday prayers and attend congregational prayers in the mosques, visit ill people, take part in the janazah prayer and go to hajj many times. The most virtuous of all is taking part in jihad. When men go to hajj, umrah or jihad, we to protect their property, clean and repair their clothes. We look after their children. Are we going to be given the same rewards as men?”
After listening to Asma’s talk, the Prophet appreciated her intelligence and eloquence; he said to the Companions who were there,
“Have you ever heard any women asking a religious question to speak more eloquently than her?”
Then, he gave the following glad tiding to Asma and all believing women:
“Listen and tell the other women whom you are representing! If a woman gets on well with her husband and attains his consent, she receives the same rewards for the deeds that you have listed.”
( Usdu’l-Ghaba, 5: 398. )
Hz. Asma left joyfully after the answer of the Prophet. She wanted to give the glad tiding to her friends. She told them what she had heard from the Messenger of Allah. All of the women became very happy when they heard the glad tiding. From then on, they regarded housework as worshipping bringing them rewards not as burden.
Asma, who sometimes listened to the talks of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and learned from him, narrated 81 hadiths.
One of them is as follows:
“The Prophet said to his Companions, ‘Shall I tell you who are the best ones among people?’ They said, ‘Yes! O Messenger of Allah!’ He said, ‘The ones you see mentioning Allah (dhikr).’ Then, he said, ‘Shall I tell you who are the worst ones among people? They are the ones who drive a wedge between people who gossip and act as talebearers.”
( Musnad, 6: 459. )
Another hadith is as follows:
“When Ibrahim, the son of the Prophet, died, the Messenger of Allah wept. Hz. Abu Bakr or Umar said to him, ‘You are indeed the best of those who glorify Allah with what is due to him.’ Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: ‘The eye weeps and the heart grieves, but we do not say anything that angers the Lord. O Ibrahim! If death was not something that inevitably comes to all, and that the latter did not join the former, we would be sadder than we are now.’“
( Ibn Majah, Janaiz: 53. )
Hz. Asma, who was known for her braveness and heroism along with her intelligence, participated in the Battle of Yarmuk in order to take care of the wounded people and to give the mujahids water. Once, she grabbed a tent pole and went to the battlefield. She killed nine Byzantine soldiers.
( Hayatu’s-Sahaba, 1: 442. )
May Allah be pleased with her!
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