Asma bint Abu Bakr: Role model for women

Updated 13 November 2015

Asma bint Abu Bakr: Role model for women

From Bilal to Sumayya, the history of Islam is replete with sacrifices rendered by the companions of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). Asma bint Abu Bakr has a special position among the early Muslims. Her sacrifices for Islam are numerous.
Asma was the daughter of Abu Bakr and sister of Ummul Momineen Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with them). She was the mother of Caliph Abdullah bin Zubair. Her four generations were companions. She was the 18th person to enter into the fold of Islam. Asma supported Islam from her early age. She played a key role in the migration of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Asma was entrusted to carry food for Abu Bakr and the Prophet (peace be upon him) who were hiding in Cave Thawr. The cave was about three miles away on a mountainous track. She carried food daily for three days, though she was pregnant of seven months.
The last day when Asma prepared their travel provisions and water skin there was no rope to tie them. She tore her Nitaq (waist belt) into two pieces and tied the bag with one. The Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) saw it, he smiled and told her, “Indeed, Allah has given you, in exchange for this girdle, two belts in Paradise.” And thus she was named as “Zu Nataqain” (Lady of Two Belts). She kept this honorable title for the whole life.
After the two left Thawr cave, Abu Jahl came in searching for them and slapped Asma so hard that blood oozed from her ears. Bearing the pain with courage and tolerance, she did not disclose the secret.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) reached Quba near Madinah, he invited a group that included his daughters and Asma accompanied them. When they reached near Quba, she gave birth to a boy named Abdullah bin Zubair. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was very happy. He took the baby in his lap and gave a bit of date chewed by him in the mouth of the baby. Abdullah was the first baby born to Muhajirin in Madinah.
Zubair ibn Al-Awwam, her husband, migrated to Madinah empty handed leaving everything in Makkah. Asma spent a hard time in the beginning. The daughter of a rich man found herself tending animals, kneading, grinding and fetching water. She used to carry on her head date-stones from their land at a distance of two miles from Madinah.
The real test of Asma’s tolerance and patience appeared after the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) at Karbala. She was then about 90 years of age. After the tragedy of Karbala, people gathered around her son, Abdullah bin Zubair knowing him as a learned, powerful and brave man. He succeeded in winning the support of Makkah and Madinah. Eventually, Abdullah consolidated his power in Iraq, Hijaz, southern Arabia, the greater part of Syria and parts of Egypt.
Asma advised her son before the fight against the Damascus ruler Abdul Malik bin Marwan saying she will be grieving for him only if he is killed in a vain and unjust cause. “Death with honor is better than a life of peace with dishonor.”
Abdullah went forward to fight against Marwan’s commander Hajaj bin Yusuf and kept fighting until he was martyred. The cruel Hajaj beheaded him and hanged his body on a tree. He declared, “No one should take down his body except Asma. She must come to me and ask my permission. Asma refused to go. Eventually Hajaj came to her and asked, “What do you say about this matter?” She boldly replied, “Verily, you have destroyed him and you have ruined his life, and with that you have ruined your Hereafter.”
She added that she had heard the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) saying that “A man would appear from the tribe of Banu Thaqif who would be a liar and a cruel and ignoble barbarian. Today she has seen him for herself.” Hajaj bin Yusuf left silently.
Later Hajaj dropped the body into the graveyard. She arranged for its bathing, funeral prayer and buried with her hands her son Abdullah bin Zubair in Makkah.
Asma died a few days after burying her son, in 73AH. She was 100 years old but never lost her memory and had a full set of teeth. She took part in the Battle of Yarmuk in 636AC and fought bravely which drove the Roman Empire out of Syria. She is the narrator of 58 Hadith, and many leading men related Hadith from her. In a corner of Jannatul Muala a small grave indicates toward this great lady. Asma bint Abu Bakr was really a great role model for the Muslim women.
While proceeding to Jabal Thawr you will find a sign on the road named Zu Nataqain Street. And this is the path which was trodden by this great lady to carry the provisions to Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) to Thawr Cave. Just wait for a moment in this place and pray for these noble souls. May Almighty Allah grant them the highest ranks in Paradise.

Gospels lead us to the Qur’an

Updated 23 September 2016

Gospels lead us to the Qur’an

Brandon Yusuf Toropov gives a vivid account of his personal quest to study the most authentic verses of the Bible — the Q verses — and his coming into the fold of Islam. Thhis is the concluding part of his story.

I WAS interested in the research being done that indicated that the oldest strata of the Gospels reflected an extremely early oral source known as Q (the Q source: Q from German, Quelle, meaning ‘source,’ is a hypothetical written collection of Jesus’s sayings) and that each of the individual sayings of Jesus (may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him) needed to be evaluated on its own merits, and not as part of the narrative material that surrounded it. This is because that narrative material was added many years later.

Wresting with the doctrine of the Trinity: The more I looked at these sayings, the more impossible it became for me to reconcile the notion of the Trinity with that which seemed most authentic to me in the Gospels. I found myself face-to-face with some very difficult questions. Where in the Gospels did Jesus use the word “Trinity”? If Jesus was God, as the doctrine of the Trinity claims, why did he worship God? And, if Jesus was God, why in the world would he say something like the following? “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mark, 10:18) Did he somehow forget that he himself was God when he said this?

The Holy Qur’an: In November of 2002, I began to read a translation of the Qur’an. I had never read an English translation of the entire text of the Qur’an before. I had only read summaries of the Qur’an written by non-Muslims. (And very misleading summaries at that.)
Words do not adequately describe the extraordinary effect that this book had on me. Suffice to say that the very same magnetism that had drawn me to the Gospels at the age of 11 was present in a new and deeply imperative form. This book was telling me, just as I could tell Jesus had been telling me, about matters of ultimate concern. The Qur’an was offering authoritative guidance and compelling responses to the questions I had been asking for years about the Gospels.
“It is not (possible) for any human being to whom God has given the Book and wisdom and prophethood to say to the people: ‘Be my worshippers rather than God’s.’ On the contrary, (he would say): ‘Be devoted worshippers of your Lord, because you are teaching the Book and you are studying it.’ Nor would he order you to take angels and prophets for lords. Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to God’s will?” (Qur’an, 3:79-80)
The Qur’an drew me to its message because it so powerfully confirmed the sayings of Jesus that I felt in my heart had to be authentic. Below, you will find just a few examples of the parallels that made my heart pliant to the worship of God. Each Gospel verse comes from the reconstructed text known as Q, a text that today’s scholars believe represents the earliest surviving strata of the teachings of the Messiah. Note how close this material is to the Qur’anic message.

On monotheism: In Q, Jesus endorses a rigorous monotheism. “Get thee behind me, Satan: For it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’” (Luke, 4:8) Compare: “Children of Adam, did We not command you not to worship Satan? He was your sworn enemy. Did We not command you to worship Me and tell you that this is the straight path?” (Qur’an, 36:60-61)

On Aqaba: Q identifies a right path that is often difficult, a path that unbelievers will choose not to follow. “Enter ye in through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there are who go in there. Narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew, 7:13-14) Compare: “The worldly life is made to seem attractive to the disbelievers who scoff at the faithful, but the pious, in the life Hereafter, will have a position far above them…” (Qur’an, 2:212)

On Taqwa: Q warns us to fear only the judgment of God. “And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear. Fear Him, which after He hath killed, hath the power to cast into Hell. Yea, I say unto you, fear Him!” (Luke, 12:4-5) Compare: “To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. God’s retribution is severe. Should you then have fear of anyone other than God?” (Qur’an, 16:52)

Earthly life: In Q, Jesus warns humanity plainly that earthly advantages and pleasures should not be the goal of our lives: “Woe unto you that are rich! For you have received your consolation. Woe unto you who are full! You shall be hungry. Woe unto you who laugh now! You shall weep and mourn.” (Luke, 6:24) Compare: “The desire to have increase of worldly gains has preoccupied you so much (that you have neglected the obligation of remembering God) – until you come to your graves! You shall know. You shall certainly know (about the consequences of your deeds.) You will certainly have the knowledge of your deeds beyond all doubt. You will be shown hell, and you will see it with your own eyes. Then, on that day, you shall be questioned about the bounties (of God).” (Qur’an, 102:1-8)

Crucifixion: We are left then with an amazing early Gospel, a Gospel that (non-Muslim) scholars believe is historically closest to Jesus, a Gospel that has the following characteristics: Agreement with the Qur’an’s uncompromising message of God’s Oneness; agreement with the Qur’an’s message of an afterlife of salvation or hellfire ... based on our earthly deeds; agreement with the Qur’an’s warning not to be misled by dunya, the attractions and pleasures of worldly life. A complete absence of any reference to Christ’s death on the cross, resurrection, or sacrifice for humanity! This is the Gospel that today’s most advanced non-Muslim scholars have identified for us ... and this Gospel is pointing us, if only we will listen to it, in precisely the same direction as the Qur’an! I became a Muslim on March 20, 2003. It became obvious to me that I had to share this message with as many thoughtful Christians as I could.