A Husband’s Testimony about His Wife
When Abdullah ibn Abu Bakr (ra) saw Umm Atikah (ra), he proposed her. The marriage proposal was accepted and she moved into the Abu Bakr (ra) clan. His fondness for his wife, however, made him slack in his religious duties. He would remain at home more often; reduced participation in the battles; and did not hasten for the prayers like before. When Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) noticed this, he was deeply upset and felt fear for his son’s religion. When he learnt that the slacking was due to Abdullah’s fondness for his wife, Abu Bakr (ra) instructed that they should be separated.
Obeying the father’s command, Abdullah (ra) divorced Umm Atikah (ra) and again became active in his religious commitments. However, this did not last long. Abdullah (ra), though actively performing his religious duties, missed his beloved wife deeply. Her absence also turned him into a poet. He uttered verses in her praise, and testified that she was a woman of good habits, wisdom and a high moral character. He admired her truthfulness and her acceptance of the separation without any fault on her part.
It was the late hours of the night when the entire family was asleep except Abu Bakr (ra). He had come on the roof to offer the tahajjud prayers when he heard Abdullah (ra) uttering these poetic verses. The man known for his generosity and soft-heartedness felt his son’s pain. He instructed Abdullah (ra) that he could consult his wife. Abdullah (ra) immediately consulted Umm Atikah (ra) and freed his slave Aimen, as an act of sadaqah.
One his way to his wife’s house, he again said some words of poetry this time praising Umm Atikah’s soft speech, temperament, and beauty. He complimented that she was among those whose matters Allah (swt) had resolved. And those who have been honoured by Allah (swt) cannot be disgraced.
Lessons to draw: Being appreciated and praised by one’s husband is an honour from Allah (swt). Not only does this strengthen marital ties, but the husband’s testimony raises a woman’s ranks with Allah (swt). How many wives are praised by their husbands? If not many, then why not? Abdullah (ra) not only praised Umm Atikah’s beauty, but also her fine character, wisdom and temperament. May Allah (swt) allow us to see our mistakes and reform ourselves, ameen.
We also see that Abdullah (ra) was obedient to his father. He did not argue when he was told to do that which displeased his heart. Here, a question might arise if Abu Bakr (ra) was unfair in his demand? Before answering the question, one must remember Abu Bakr (ra) was no ordinary person. He was someone who spent his entire day being on the side of the Prophet (sa). He would never advise something that could be in contradiction to our religious teachings. This act of Abu Bakr (ra) is verified by the Qur’anic verse: “Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa), and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment).” (9: 24)
Parents who force their son to divorce their wives must first check their level of Taqwa. Is it as high as Abu Bakr’s? Abu Bakr (ra) did not suggest separation on some egotistical motive. He felt danger for his son’s religious commitments. Allah (swt) must be given priority in every matter of life.
Martyrdom of the First Husband
Abdullah ibn Abu Bakr (ra) was martyred by an arrow that struck him in the Battle of Taif. It was now Umm Atikah’s turn to utter verses in praise of her husband. She called him the best man after the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (ra) and praised his gallantry in wars.
Lessons to draw: Wives too should appreciate their husbands. There is no shyness in expressing your love to your spouse.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)