(Sayyidah Asmaa bintu Abi Bakr [radhiyallahu ‘anhuma] – Part Nine)

After Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) gave her son, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma), the advice that he requested, she said to him, “Come close to me so that I may bid you farewell.” He thus drew close to her for their final meeting. Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) kissed him and hugged him, and he hugged her as well.

As Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) hugged him, she perceived that he was wearing an iron armour (she was blind at this time, and hence did not know of the armour until she felt it while hugging him). She remarked, “O my beloved son! This is not worn by those who aspire for the martyrdom which you hope to acquire (i.e. if you are seeking martyrdom, then why are you wearing armour which will save your life?).” Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “O my beloved mother! I only wore it in order to bring some happiness and peace to your heart.”

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) responded, “No, remove it!” He thus removed the armour, and as he thereafter put his garments on again, she said to him, “Ensure that you secure your clothing tightly.” He thus ensured that his clothing was tightly secured so that when he would be killed and fall to the ground, his ‘awrah (private area) would not be exposed.

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) then gave him final words of encouragement, reminding him that after his martyrdom, he would be reunited with his father, Sayyiduna Zubair, his grandfather, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, his grandmother, Sayyidah Safiyyah bint ‘Abdil Muttalib, and his aunt, Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then turned and left, and that was the last time he met and spoke to his mother before he was killed. (Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah vol. 9, pg. 130)

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) then prepared a kafan for her son and appointed a few people to go out and await the news of his martyrdom so they could inform her of his demise. However, after killing him, Hajjaaj bin Yusuf decapitated (beheaded) him, sending his head to ‘Abdul Malik bin Marwaan, and crucifying his corpse on a hill called Hajoon.

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was deeply disappointed at this and remarked, “May Allah Ta‘ala destroy the ‘mubeer’ (the destroyer)! He is not even allowing me access to the body so that I may bury it!” (Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 28, pg. 227)

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) sent a message of complaint to Hajjaaj, asking him why he had crucified the body of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Hajjaaj arrogantly replied, “Your son and I were competing for this wood (on which the body was crucified i.e. we both wanted to kill each other), and he acquired it.” (Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 28, pg. 228)

During this period, when the body of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was being subjected to this abuse, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) came to Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and mentioned the following words to her in consolation, “This body is nothing (i.e. even if the body is mutilated by people, your son will not be harmed or suffer anything), it is the souls that are by Allah Ta‘ala (at this time), so you should hold onto taqwa and sabr (patience).” Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) replied, “Why should I not do so (i.e. remain patient), when even the blessed head of Nabi Yahya (‘alaihis salaam) was given to an immoral woman from the Banu Israaeel? (i.e. when even the head of a Nabi was treated in this manner, then I can be patient over my son’s head being ill-treated in the same way).” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 2, pg. 294)

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) came to her son’s headless corpse, stood before it and made a lengthy du‘aa for him. Such was her sabr (patience) that despite the grief that filled her heart, she did not shed a single tear. As she turned and left, she said, “The one who is killed on baatil (falsehood, then he has fallen into disaster and loss). You were killed upon the haqq (the truth, thus your death is a great blessing), and you had an honourable death – defending yourself with your sword.” (Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 28, pg. 227)

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) also came to his body, stood before it and said, “Assalaamu ‘alaika, O Abu Khubaib! By Allah! I only knew you to be one who kept abundant nafl fasts, performed abundant salaah and always maintained family ties. If you had to be the worst person in the Ummah, then that would be an excellent Ummah indeed! (i.e. Hajjaaj treated you as if you were the worst person, whereas you are among the best people in the Ummah.)” Saying these words, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) departed.

When Hajjaaj learnt of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) coming to the body and speaking these words in praise of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma), he had the body taken down and dumped in the cemetery of the Jews. (It was only after this that Sayyidah Asmaa [radhiyallahu ‘anha] could attend to his burial.)

Hajjaaj bin Yusuf then summoned Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and demanded that she come and present herself before him. However, she ignored the messenger and refused to go to him. He thus sent the messenger back with a threat saying, “Either you come to me, or I will send someone to drag you by your tresses!” Even then, Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) refused to come to him, until Hajjaaj was finally forced to come to her himself.

On coming to Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha), Hajjaaj began to gloat and said, “What do you think of the manner in which I dealt with the enemy of Allah (referring to Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Zubair [radhiyallahu ‘anhuma] – Allah Ta‘ala forbid!)?” Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) retorted, “What I see is that you destroyed his dunya, while he became the means of the destruction of your Aakhirah.”

She then said, “I hear that you (mockingly) refer to him as “the son of Zaatun Nitaaqain (the possessor of the two sashes)”. By Allah! I am the possessor of the two sashes (and this was a title of honour bestowed upon me by Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam] himself – see here, and was thus not a title of mockery). Know that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) informed us that a great liar and a great destroyer (‘mubeer’) will come from Thaqeef. We have already seen the great liar (referring to Mukhtaar bin Abi ‘Ubaid – the false prophet), and as for the great destroyer, then I am certain that it refers to you!”

(Hearing these words, boldly spoken by Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) who was one hundred years old, Hajjaaj was speechless and could find no reply. Hence,) he stood and stalked out in silence. (Saheeh Muslim #6496)

Within a month of her beloved son’s demise, Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) also passed away in 73 A.H. (Usdul Ghaabah vol. 5, pg. 210)


1. Even at the very end, the concern of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) and his mother was that his satr should not be exposed. In other words, hayaa was such an important quality in their lives that they held onto it until the very end – to their dying moments – and they were worried that their hayaa should not be compromised after their death as well (as seen here in the life of Sayyidah Faatimah [radhiyallahu ‘anha] as well).

2. Even as he prepared for his death, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was concerned for his mother’s comfort. Hence, he wore an armour merely to bring comfort to her heart, so that she would at least feel that he has some degree of protection and safety. However, on her part, Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was prepared to sacrifice her son for the sake of Deen and encouraged him to acquire the lofty rank of martyrdom.

3. Such was the imaan of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) that despite them suffering the greatest and most tragic of losses, they remained patient, steadfast and pleased with the decree of Allah Ta‘ala.