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The Faithful Wife

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(Sayyidah Asmaa bintu ‘Umais [radhiyallahu ‘anha] – Part Six)

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was fortunate to have been married to the best of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). Her first husband was Sayyiduna Ja’far (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). After his martyrdom, she married Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). After him, her third husband was Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). However, these three Sahaabah were also fortunate to be married to her, as she was not only pious, but was a most faithful and obedient wife, as is evident from the two incidents below:

- One day, during the period when she was married to Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), two of her children began to argue with one another regarding whose father was better. One was her son Muhammad (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), from Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), and the other was her son Muhammad (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), from Sayyiduna Ja’far (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Each son said to the other, “I have more nobility than you, and my father was better than your father!”

On observing this, Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said to Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), “O Asmaa, you pass the decision between them!” Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “I never saw a youngster, from the Arabs, better than Ja’far (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), and I never saw a middle-aged man better than Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

- When Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was about to pass away, he made a bequest that Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) should carry out his ghusl upon his demise. However, he also gave her the instruction that she should break the (nafl) fast that she was keeping so that she would have the strength to carry out the ghusl. When Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) passed away, she carried out the ghusl, but forgot to break her nafl fast and only remembered his instruction towards the end of the day. At that time, even though she had already carried out the ghusl, she broke her nafl fast, by drinking water, and remarked, “I will not follow the death of my husband today with disobedience to his instruction.”

Note: It is permissible to break a nafl fast for a valid excuse. In this case, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) regarded this to be a valid excuse to break her nafl fast.

(Musannaf Ibni Abi Shaibah #32871 & #11079 and Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 284 & 285)

Lesson:

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had such faithfulness and loyalty to her husbands that she upheld their honour even after their demise. Hence, when asked to decide which of her first two husbands was the best, she ensured that she did not honour one at the expense of the other, but rather honoured each of them without the other being dishonoured in any way.

Similarly, she ensured that she fulfilled the instruction of her husband, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), even after his demise. From these two incidents, it is clear that she possessed the qualities of faithfulness and obedience to the highest degree.