The daughter of Umays bin Sa’ad and Hind bint A’wf, Asma bint Umays (ra) was the sister of Prophet’s wife, Maimoona (ra). Her two other sisters were also married in the Prophet’s family. Prophet’s uncle Abbas bin Abdul Mutalib (ra) was married to her sister Umm Fadhl (ra), and Hamza bin Abdul Mutalib (ra) was married to Salma (ra). Asma bint Umays (ra), herself, was married to the Prophet’s cousin, Jafar bin Abi Talib (ra), about whom the Prophet (sa) said that his appearance and manners closely resembled his own.
The Prophet (sa) called Asma (ra) and her sisters: Al-Akhwat-ul-Mominaat, (the Momin Sisters). By saying this, he affirmed their faith. Allah (swt) truly honoured this family generously.
Let’s read some glimpses from her life.
Love for the Prophet (sa)
Asma (ra) and her husband Jafar (ra) were among those who migrated to Abyssinia in the early days of Islam. When they returned Islam had already spread to Madina. One day when Asma (ra) was visiting Hafsa bint Umar (ra), Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) also came to visit his daughter. Upon inquiring Hafsa (ra) who the other lady was, Umar (ra) boasted that they preceded the Abyssinian emigrant in migrating to Madina, and therefore, were closer to the Prophet (sa). This comment disturbed Asma (ra) greatly. She replied, “No, while you stayed with the Prophet (sa), he fed your poor and delivered sermons to the ignorant, we lived far away in a foreign land for the pleasure of Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa).” She was so perturbed by what Umar (ra) had said that she refused to eat or drink anything until the Prophet (sa) had sorted this out.
When the matter was brought to the Prophet (sa) he said, “He is not closer to me than you (the Abyssinian emigrants). He migrated only once, but you, the people of the ship, migrated twice.”
Lessons to draw: Sometimes we are so blinded by our own excellence that we forget to see the goodness in others. Have a big heart and compliment others generously.
The lives of the Companions (ra) revolved around excelling in religion. Hearing that one companion (ra) took precedence over them in a religious matter grieved them. Such is a healthy competition that we all should strive for.
Death of the Husband
After returning to Madina, Jafar bin Abi Talib (ra) participated in every battle against the unbelievers. He attained martyrdom in the battle against Byzantines. When the news reached Asma (ra), she lost her senses and started wailing for her loss. The Prophet (sa) instructed her to not utter any displeasing statement and to not beat her chest. He also instructed his family to visit them and prepare a meal for them.
Lessons to draw: In our society many such practices have crept in that were not taught by the Prophet (sa). We beat our chests and utter displeasing statements about Allah (swt). Crying is not forbidden. Islam acknowledges pain and allows room to express it. However, the key is to hold to the Sunnah. Some etiquette regarding death include visiting the family of the deceased and sending food for them. Sadly, today this has turned into a festivity that continues for forty days. People who are holding on to Sunnah must step forward and guide and stop people from following that which was not taught by the Messenger (sa).
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)