Marriage to Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra)
When Umm Atikah (ra) had completed her mourning period, Umar (ra) proposed her. She informed him that she owned a garden that was gifted by her first husband on a condition. The condition was that she would not marry anyone in case he died. Umar (ra) advised her to consult a scholar. He held the opinion that she could not make something impermissible which had been made permissible by Allah (swt). Umm Atikah (ra) then consulted Ali ibn Abu Talib (ra) who advised her to return the garden to Abdullah’s family.
Marrying Umar (ra) opened up more doors of wisdom and knowledge for Umm Atikah (ra). She learnt asceticism through him.
Umar (ra) and Umm Atikah (ra) lived a happy marital life. Her second husband too was pleased with her companionship. Devoted to worship, Umm Atikah (ra) would seek her husband’s permission to pray in the mosque. Umar (ra) would say that even though he didn’t like her going to the mosque, he could not stop her from that which was permissible. In reply, Umm Atikah (ra) would say that she would keep seeking his permission.
After the martyrdom of Umar (ra), Umm Atikah (ra) said elegiac poetry in his memory too. She remembered him as the one with a radiant face; the one who recited the Qur’an; the one who turned to Allah (swt); kind to the weak and strong against the enemy; steadfast in trials; and agreeable. In his speech she found no contradiction. He would hasten to give charity and did not deal with callousness.
Lessons to draw: Abdullah ibn Abu Bakr (ra) was right when he called her a truthful woman. She did not conceal the property that she had been given or the condition that had been placed. She returned the property to the rightful owner when she could not longer fulfil the condition.
In Umar (ra), again we see honesty. While he was a learned man himself he advised Umm Atikah (ra) to consult someone else on the matter. He did not give her his own opinion. Secondly, he also did not make her break a promise because his argument was that we cannot make the permissible impermissible on our own. This is similar to the Prophet’s incident of honey mentioned in Surah at-Tahrim: “O Prophet! Why do you forbid (for yourself) that which Allah has allowed to you, seeking to please your wives?” (66: 1)
We also see the Umm Atikah (ra) was highly respectful to her husband. She did not stop asking Umar’s permission for going to the mosque. Umar’s stopping her from the mosque again was not due to his strictness but rather because of the ghairah that he had for his womenfolk.
Marriage to Zubair ibn Awwam (ra)
When her mourning period ended, Zubair ibn Awwam (ra) sent her the marriage proposal which she accepted. Zubair (ra) who was known for his heated temper did not allow Umm Atikah (ra) to pray in the mosque. Umm Atikah (ra) argued should she stop going to the Prophet’s Mosque while she used to offer prayers there behind the Prophet (sa), Abu Bakr (ra), and Umar (ra). Hearing this, Zubair (ra) did not stop her.
Next morning at Fajr, Zubair (ra) performed the ablution and left the house in a hurry. He hid himself in the street in order to watch Umm Atikah (ra). Due to darkness, Umm Atikah (ra) could not see him. When she passed by him he forcefully slapped his hand on her neck and ran to the mosque. Umm Atikah (ra) recited: Inna lillahi wa inna ilahi rajeoun and returned home.
When Zubair (ra) returned home, he inquired his wife why she had not come to the mosque. She replied that the Fitnah had spread and then narrated her morning incident. She concluded that it was better for her to pray at home. Zubair (ra) was delighted with her decision.
Lessons to draw: We learn that Umm Atikah (ra) was conscious about her modesty. When she felt that people are misbehaving and losing respect for women, she restricted herself to her home. She did not feel the need to argue or make a scene on the street. May Allah (swt) allow us to preserve our haya, ameen.
Marriage to Hussain ibn Ali (ra)
When Ali (ra) proposed her she turned down his proposal stating that he was the leader of the believers and the people needed him. Whoever married her soon passed away. Ali (ra) agreed, but Hussain ibn Ali (ra) took a chance. And later, he too was martyred.
Umm Atikah (ra) spent the rest of her days in worship, abstaining from the charms of this worldly life. She only stepped out of the house when it was absolutely necessary, and turned down any proposals that came her way.
Lessons to draw: We see that despite losing four husbands, one after another, she does not utter a word of displeasure or complaint. She accepted the decree of Allah (swt) in her tests and was steadfast in her worship. May Allah (swt) allow us to become His grateful servants and turn to Him in grief and joy, ameen.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)