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

In the year 64 A.H., after Yazeed bin Mu‘aawiyah passed away, Sayyidah Asmaa’s (radhiyallahu ‘anha) son, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) became the khaleefah of the Muslims. His rule extended over majority of the Muslim lands.

After some time, Marwaan bin Hakam, who was opposed to his rule, rose against Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) and marched against him. Many wars were then fought, until eventually, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) was defeated and martyred, in the year 73 A.H., in the precincts of the Haram, in Makkah Mukarramah.

Marwaan had unleashed the notorious tyrant, Hajjaaj bin Yusuf, against Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma). Such was the reputation of Hajjaaj that when he surrounded the blessed city of Makkah Mukarramah, and defeat seemed imminent, then most of the supporters of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) deserted him. Approximately ten thousand people went to Hajjaaj and surrendered peacefully, fearing that if they raised arms against him and were thereafter captured, then he would subject them to excruciating torture and a gruesome death.

At this critical juncture, when his supporters had abandoned him, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) came to his mother, Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha), and mentioned his dire situation to her. He told her how his supporters had now abandoned him, practically guaranteeing his defeat, and also mentioned that the enemy were prepared to give him wealth in exchange of his surrender. He looked at his mother and asked her, “O my mother! What do you feel?”

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was approximately one hundred years old at this time, yet all her senses and faculties were intact (with the exception of her sight, as she had become blind,) to the extent that she still possessed all her teeth! (Usdul Ghaabah vol. 5, pg. 210 and Al-Isaabah vol. 8, pg. 14)

She addressed her son and said, “O my beloved son! You know yourself better than any other person. If you know that you are upon the haqq (the truth), and what you are calling the people towards is the haqq, then remain steadfast upon the haqq, for your companions were killed and gave their lives to remain upon the haqq. However, (since your death is most likely,) try to ensure that they do not get hold of your head (by beheading you), for the youngsters of the Banu Umayyah (the people of Marwaan) will make it into a plaything.

“On the other hand, if your motive (for becoming the khaleefah) was the dunya, then what an evil servant of Allah you are! You have destroyed yourself as well as those who followed you (as your cause was not a cause of haqq). If you are upon the haqq, then Deen has not become weak (hence, you should remain strong as well). How much longer do you hope to remain in this world? Being killed is better (than surrendering to the enemy).”

Hearing these words, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) drew close to his mother and kissed her head. He then said, “This is what I feel as well. By Allah! I am not inclined towards the dunya, nor do I love the life of this world. My sole motive for coming out and fighting was my displeasure and anger, which was for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala, over how the things which Allah Ta‘ala made haraam are now being taken as halaal. (Though this is how I feel,) I came to ask you as I wished to find out how you feel as well. (Now that you have given me your answer,) you have added your insight to my own.

“O my mother! I am going to be killed today! Do not allow your grief to become too severe, and express submission and acceptance before the decision of Allah Ta‘ala. Your son (referring to himself) has never deliberately committed a sin, nor carried out an act of shamelessness, nor surpassed the bounds in the commands of Allah Ta‘ala, nor has he violated a peace treaty. He has never deliberately oppressed a person, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. If I ever heard that one of my governors was guilty of oppression, then never was I pleased with his conduct, but rather I expressed displeasure and corrected him. I have never shown preference to anything over the pleasure and happiness of Allah Ta‘ala. O Allah! I do not say these things regarding myself in order to claim that I am pious and free of sin. O Allah! You know me better than myself and anyone else! I have only said these things so that they may serve as some consolation to my mother’s heart.”

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) replied, “I hope that Allah Ta‘ala will bless me to mourn over your death in a good manner.” She then encouraged him to go out and sacrifice his life in the path of Allah Ta‘ala. Before departing, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thanked her for her words of encouragement, and also said to her, “Do not forget to make du‘aa for me.”

She replied, “I will never cease making du‘aa for you.” She then made du‘aa saying, “O Allah! Have mercy on him, on account of the lengthy rakaats of salaah that he would stand and perform, his crying and sobbing (before You), and the raging thirst (he tolerated while keeping nafl fasts) in the heat of Makkah Mukarramah and Madeenah Munawwarah, and also on account of the obedience he showed to his mother and father. O Allah! I have submitted him to Your command, and I am pleased with Your decree, so bestow me with the reward of the patient and grateful ones in lieu of losing (my son,) ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma).”

(Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah vol. 9, pgs. 129 & 130)

(To be continued)


1. When Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) came to his mother, he explained to her that he had to make a choice between sacrificing his life for the sake of Deen, and surrendering to save his life and secure his dunya. At this critical crossroad, his mother urged and encouraged him to take the path of Deen – the path of sacrificing his life to please Allah Ta‘ala. In the same way, every parent should encourage their children towards making choices that will be pleasing to Allah Ta‘ala. At every turn in life, the child should be guided towards Deen. Be it in dressing, education, choice of friends or anything else – the child should always be encouraged to make the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala the goal.

2. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) valued Deen and loved Allah Ta‘ala above everything else. Hence, they were able to sacrifice their own lives and that of their beloved husbands, siblings and children for the sake of upholding Deen. Thus, we see that Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) encouraged her son to embrace martyrdom, for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala, rather than compromise on Deen and surrender to the enemy.

3. Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) consoled his mother by recounting the immense favours of Allah Ta‘ala on him, such as never deliberately committing a sin, etc. as it is these qualities of piety that would bring comfort and happiness to the hearts of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). A further point of reflection is that him possessing these qualities in his life actually reflects the outstanding upbringing that his mother and father had given him. In other words, it was the qualities that they invested in him that he continued to reflect throughout his life.

4. Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) requested his mother for du‘aa as he knew the great value of the mother’s du‘aa and the swiftness with which it gains acceptance. Hence, we should also ensure that we acquire the heartfelt du‘aas of our parents by serving them and pleasing them. As for parents, then they should never cease to make du‘aa for their children – for their spiritual and worldly progress, and for any other need that they may have.

5. When making du‘aa for her son, Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) made mention of his obedience to is father. In other words, though she was divorced from his father, she was pleased that her son was obedient and faithful to his father. From this, we learn that even if we separate from our spouse, we should not turn our child against his other parent. Rather, we must teach the child to fulfil the rights of both parents and remain obedient and faithful to both.

6. Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was a mother, and to bid her son farewell, knowing that he would be killed a short while later, could not have been easy – especially considering her age as well. However, through everything, she kept her focus on Allah Ta‘ala. She was completely pleased with His decree, as difficult as it may have been to bear, and she hoped that Allah Ta‘ala would reward her for her sabr (patience) over her tragic loss. Such was the exemplary level of her submission before Allah Ta‘ala.