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

Sayyidah Asmaa bintu ‘Umais (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and her husband, Sayyiduna Ja’far (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), had performed hijrah (migration) to Abyssinia together with some other Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to escape the persecution of the Quraish. Hence, they lived in Abyssinia, far from their homeland, until Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent Sayyiduna ‘Amr bin Umayyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to the King of Abyssinia, requesting him to send Sayyiduna Ja’far (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and his companions back to Arabia to join Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

They thus set off by ship and met Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) just after the Muslims conquered Khaibar. However, as they had migrated to Madeenah Munawwarah so late (approximately six or seven years after the hijrah of Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam]), many people would say to them, “We preceded you in performing hijrah.”

One day, while Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was visiting Sayyidah Hafsah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) arrived. Noticing that someone was in the home with his daughter, he asked her, “Who is this?” She replied, “Asmaa bintu ‘Umais (radhiyallahu ‘anha).” Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked, “Is she the one who lived in Abyssinia? The one who arrived via the ocean?” When she replied in the affirmative, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) remarked, “We preceded you in performing hijrah (to Madeenah Munawwarah), and hence we have a greater right to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) than you.”

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was upset at this remark and retorted, “Never, by Allah! While you were with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who fed the hungry among you and taught the unlearned among you, we were in the distant land of the enemies. (Our migration to Abyssinia) was for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” She thereafter said, “I take an oath by Allah – I will neither eat a morsel nor drink a sip until I mention your remark to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and ask him (whether your remark is correct or not).” However, Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) also mentioned, “By Allah! (When reporting your statement to Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam],) I will neither lie, nor twist your words, nor add to your remark (i.e. I will report exactly what you said, word-for-word, nothing more and nothing less).”

Hence, she later went to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and reported what had transpired between her and Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Hearing this, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked her, “What was your reply to him?” When she mentioned her response to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), he said to her, “He does not have a greater right to me than you. He and his companions have performed one hijrah, whereas you, O people of the ship, have performed hijrah twice.”

For the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who had arrived from Abyssinia, this testament to their virtue, on the blessed tongue of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) himself, held great importance and was an immense source of happiness.

(Saheeh Bukhaari #4230 & #4231 and Fat-hul Baari)


1. Today, a person’s greatest source of happiness may be his new car, or jewellery, or holiday trip, or house, etc. However, for the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), the greatest source of happiness was their progress in Deenand righteousness.

2. As the lives of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) revolved entirely around Deen, when they competed and vied with each other, it was also for progressing in Deen. For example, they never competed in acquiring wealth, but rather competed in spending their wealth for Deen.

3. When Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) went to report that remark of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), she ensured that she reported it verbatim, without exaggerating or misrepresenting the facts. The reason being that she was seeking the truth. On the contrary, a person will exaggerate and twist the facts when he is seeking to justify his own agenda.