Motherhood of Our Beloved Prophet Barakah [Umm Ayman] And Fatimah bint Asad

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Barakah [Umm Ayman] And Fatimah bint Asad

 

Muhammad (PBUH) said, "Umm Ayman is my second mother." Barakah came back to Makkah with Muhammad (PBUH) to his grandfather' Abdul-Muttalib. It was there that she showed all the love and affection she had to Muhammad (PBUH).

 

And any child in Muhammad's age then, no matter how intelligent and self dependent he may be, would still need someone to care of him. Abdul-Muttalib, as it was known of him that he extremely loved Muhammad was very keen in his care for him, especially since he had heard many sayings and news and signs from here and there about the importance and greatness of the future of Muhammad's life.

 

A group of men from Bani Mudlij tribe once told 'AbdulMuttalib, "Take care of him, for we have not seen a foot that resembles the feet that are at Maqlim (Ibraheem) more than his." 'Abdul-Muttalib looked at his son Abu Talib and told him, Listen to what these people are saying." It was there and then that Abdul-Muttalib entrusted the care of Muhammad (PBUH) to Abu Talib, after his death.

 

Muhammad was in a pre-adolescent age. He would come to his grandfather, Abdul-Muttalib in his court at the Ka'bah under whose shade they used to lay a carpet for him. His sons would sit around the carpet until he came out to them. And none of them would sit on this carpet as a sign of respect for him.

 

But Muhammad (PBUH) would come and sit on the carpet and his uncles would prevent him from doing so. 'Abdul-Muttalib would then tell them, "Leave my son alone. By Allah, he is going to be a greatly important person." He would then make him sit down beside him on the carpet, and he would pat him on the back and would be pleased with whatever he did. Never did 'Abdul-Munalib eat any food without saying, "Bring my son to me." And he would be brought to him.

 

During the years in which 'Abdul-Muttalib took care of this great orphan, he did not leave his domestic affairs or matters of his childhood unattended. He would command his nurse, Barakah to be cautious with and treat Muhammad (PBUH) with utmost kindness and gentleness. He told her once, "Barakah, Be mindful of my son, for I had seen him with children near the lotus tree. The people of the Scripture are saying that my son is the Prophet of this generation."

 

Perhaps Barakah understood what that meant or, to say it in a better way, had witnessed that with her own eyes, heard it with her ears and understood it with her heart. She had a narration regarding this. She said, "Two men from the Jews of Madeenah came to me one day and they told me, 'Bring out for us Ahmad so that we can see him. They then looked at him and scrutinized him. One of them told his companion, 'This is the Prophet of this Ummah and that is the place of his migration (referring to Madeenah). There will be a lot of killings and captive taking there'."

 

Barakah added, "When Aminah heard of that she was scared and took him away. She later died at Abwa while on her way back to Makkah.

 

Fatimah bint Asad

 

Barakah took Muhammad (PBUH) to the house of his uncle, Abu Talib who was entrusted with his care. It is here that a fourth mother entered the life of Muhammad (PBUH). This mother was Fatimah bint Asad ibn Hashim ibn 'Abd Manaf. She was the mother of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and his siblings.

 

Muhammad (PBUH) was then an eight-year-old boy. He was still in need of a warm bosom in which he could seek shelter, an affectionate breast in which he could express his pains and hopes and a compassionate and a loving hand that could assist him in meeting his needs.

 

Fatimah bint Asad was a good mother to him. She never differentiated between Muhammad and her own children and she would shower on him of her good nature, pleasant motherhood and noble breed.

 

She continuously played motherhood to him until he became a youth and he could stand on his own. He then married Khadeejah. Muhammad (PBUH) was however the embodiment of gratefulness and dutifulness. He buried her in his own garment when she died, and he had this to say about her, "No one took care of me after Abu Talib, better than her."

 

Here - again Muhammad (PBUH) enjoyed the motherly care of Barakah and Falimah bint Asad at almost the same time as his uncle Abu Talib also showed him great love and affection. All this compensated him for the pain of orphanhood he suffered, and served as an excellent consolation for him. Allah (S.W.T) says:

Did He not find you [0' Muhammad] an orphan and gave you a refuge? (Qur 'an 93: 6)

 

The most preponderant of the historical narrations is that Fatimah bint Asad embraced Islam and migrated. She died in Madeenah during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) after a ripe old age. As for Barakah, she remained with Muhammad (PBUH) as a shade over him, never leaving him or keeping far from him even while he was in the house of Abu TaUb.

 

When the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) married Khadeejah, he set her: free. She then married 'Ubayd ibn Zayd for whom she bore a son whose name was Ayman.

 

She was blessed with a long life and she became one of the earliest Muslims when the light of Prophethood emerged. Umm Ayman deserved being one of the first individuals to embrace Islam, for she used to feel and hear news and prophesies about the advent of Muhammad (PBUH) as a Prophet and a Messenger, and as a bringer of glad tiding and a Warner.

 

When it was time for migration, she migrated. Circumstances of her migration were really one of the signs of her deep faith. Ibn Sa'd recorded in his book Tabaqat: "When Umm Ayman migrated, she spent the evening at an-Nasr that lies before ar-Rawha.  She was thirsty and she had no water. Since she was fasting, and had been weakened by thirst, a container of water with a white rope was sent down to her from the sky. She said, 'And I took it and drank it until I was satisfied. I never felt any thirst after that. I had exposed myself to thirst through fasting in hot days but I did not feel thirsty. '"

 

In Madeenah, Umm Ayman would be kind to the Prophet (PBUH) and attend to him. Sufiyan ibn 'Uyaynah narrated that Umm Ayman would be kind to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) whenever he visited her inquiring about her conditions and remembering her motherly care for him, and her compassion. The Prophet would sometimes pass siesta at her house, showing kindness and cheerfulness to her.

 

She also would present him with food and drink that he loved and she would move up and down in front of him in the peak of happiness. Her house was one of the few houses in which the Prophet (PBUH) would seek succor and rest. Her friends among the female Companions always found blessings when he visited Umm Ayman as they were always happy by his giving them preference over others.

 

When her husband Abu Ayman died, she found some consolation in the fruit of this marriage which was her son Ayman. But she found greater consolation with Muhammad (PBUH) whose company she had been keeping since he was born and for whom she was a mother after the death of his mother Aminah. Muhammad (PBUH) would look at Umm Ayman with the eye of Prophethood that penetrates all screens, infiltrates all depths and sees what ordinary eyes could not see.

 

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said one day in Makkah, in the presence of some of his Companions before migration, "Whoever wishes to many a woman among the women of Paradise should marry Umm Ayman."

 

This is a noble statement that carries many great meanings. If we tried to understand the depths of this statement and its meaning, our understanding and our pens could not comprehend or encompass that. How can someone who wishes to marry a woman among the people of Paradise not himself be one of the people of Paradise?!!

 

Zayd ibn Harithah (Radiallahu-anhu) was one of those who heard this noble statement. As he was the first freed bondsman that accepted Islam, he was also the first to respond to this great prophetic call, hoping to enter Paradise and in faithful response to the call of Allah and His Messenger (PBUH).

 

Zayd married Barakah, Umm Ayman and she bore him Usamah ibn Zayd, who was popularly known as the dearest son of the dearest. The Prophet (PBUH) would give no one a preference over him in affection and would bring no one closer to him more than Usamah.

 

Barakah (which means blessing), as an ordinary meaning, perfectly corresponded with the situation of Barakah, Umm Ayman. This is because; the situation of some people greatly suits the meaning of the. names they bear.

 

However, there are others, the meanings of whose names are as far from their realities as the earth is far from the heaven and as the East is far from the West. The meanings of the names of some people are starkly different from their realities as the darkness is different from light. Many are the people named Sa 'eed (meaning prosperous) that have never tasted prosperity and have even had their names written among the miserable. Many are the persons named Ameen (meaning the trustworthy) whose deviation had plunged them into the abyss of treachery that is evil a place of return. Many are the persons named Khaleel (meaning the intimate friend) in whom you will find no meaning of friendship.

 

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said the truth. He was in fact, the truthful and the trustworthy who never spoke out of desire. He said that Zayd would be the fITSt of the martyrs in the Battle of Mu'tah, and it came to pass as he had said. He and his wife will be in the highest Firdaws, in a seat of honour near a Sovereign, Perfect in Ability.

 

Umm Ayman (Radiallahu-anhu) had another excellence. It is her son, Ayman whom she brought up upon Islam and faith and whom she nurtured with her known high motherliness and sublime manners.

 

This Ayman was martyred during the Battle of Khaybar. And his mother bore that with patience, hoping to get reward from Allah and feeling honoured by the Prophet's consolation for her. Yes, she had another excellence. She never agitated or got annoyed when the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) chose her husband, Zayd Ibn Harithah as the husband for his cousin Zaynab bint Jahsh. By that, the Prophet (PBUH) smashed the idolatry norms of the time of ignorance when distinction was made among people on the basis of lineage and family status. He thereby raised the banner of faith, Islam and piety and obeying the commandment of Allah that says:

... Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that [believer] who is most pious ... (Qur'an 49: 13)

 

Umm Ayman showed contentedness with the decision of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) and kept quiet. She was satisfied with the Prophet's choice and the reason behind that choice. She therefore, rightly deserved to be one of the leaders of Eeman who are at the forefront of those who love Allah and His Messenger (PBUH).Allah says:

Say [0' Muhammad to mankind], 'If you [really] love Allah then follow me [i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur'an and the Sunnah], Allah will love you ... (Qur'an 3: 31)

 

Umm Ayman wept in the fmal days of her life twice. And her crying on those two occasions was much. The first occasion was when the Prophet (PBUH) died. This is natural, for there is no believer who would not shed tears and be stricken with sorrow and pain for the death of the Prophet (PBUH). But Umm Ayman gave us the most wonderful example of deep faith.

 

Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) visited her to console her, and to show regard for the place she occupied in the heart of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH).

Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq told Umar, "Let us go and visit Umm Ayman as the Messenger of Allah used to do." When they entered her house she started crying and they asked her, "Why are you crying? What is with Allah is better for His Messenger (PBUH)."

 

Guess the answer this truthful and sincere believer who had been given the glad tiding of Paradise gave them? She said, "I am crying because the revelation from the heaven has stopped." By this statement of hers, she drove them into tears and she started crying again and they cried along with her.

The truth must be told. Umm Ayman had risen above all sentiments and feelings and above the materialism of this earth unto the horizons of the heavens and unto the highest places of Paradise.

 

The second occasion on which she cried was when 'Umar was martyred while he was standing in prayer. Her crying that day attracted attention. When she was asked about that she said, "Today, Islam has been weakened."

 

She said this because she knew through her insight and penetrating faith that 'Umar was a unique man in whose tongue and heart Allah has put the truth, as mentioned by the truthful and the trustworthy Prophet (PBUH). Yes, 'Umar bore faith in his heart and the sword of truth in his hand. He bore in his mind beams of certainty.

 

Umm Ayman lived a long life that spanned decades. The body could then no longer bear the vicissitudes of time. The time came for Umm Ayman to join her loved ones, Muhammad (PBUH) and his Companions. Death came to her with glad tiding and her soul departed from this world to its Lord. May Allah be pleased with her and please her. May He give her honourable entertainment and abode.

 

May He make us join her company of the righteous among the servants of Allah.

 

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