To be a Muhaajir is a great honor and privilege. Some of the Prophet’s companions had misunderstood that the concept of Hijrah was restricted to migrating from Makkah to Madeenah. They therefore assumed that those who migrated to Abyssinia and stayed there till the day of the battle of Khaybar had no reward for their migration.
This opinion worried and upset Asmaa’ and so she hurriedly went to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and asked him regarding what some of the Companions were saying, to which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) replied, “You have two migrations and the people had one.”
The Prophet’s words weren’t merely to make Asma (may Allah be pleased with her) happy. Rather, they were in-line with reality, a clarification concerning an ambiguous matter and a way of preventing a great misunderstanding. They proved that those who left Makkah for Abyssinia to safeguard their religion had really made Hijrah for Allah's sake. Allah Almighty says: “...was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?” (Qur’an 4:97)
The people who had made Hijrah to Abyssinia were indeed migrants who yearned to once again be with the Messenger (peace be upon him) and his Companions. When they heard that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had migrated to Madeenah and established a stronghold there, they rushed to once again be in the company of the man they loved the most. When they reached Madeenah, exhausted and tired by the long journey though land and sea, they were informed that Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Companions had set out for Khaybar. Even though they had just been through such an exhaustive journey, their limbs obeyed their hearts and hence all of them began their journey towards Khaybar.
When they arrived, it was too late; the battle had ended and Khaybar had been conquered. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then said, “I do not know for which I should be happier: the conquest of Khaybar or the arrival of Ja’far and his fellow emigrants who have just arrived from Abyssinia!”
Asmaa’ embraced Islaam very early on with her husband Ja’far. In fact, they were just newly-wed when they set out for Abyssinia as emigrants in the way of Allah. Their new marriage did not prevent them from taking this big step as Islaam had overwhelmed their lives. Instead of staying in Makkah and enjoying their first days of marriage, their honeymoon had been in the path of struggle and perseverance. This, according to a sincere believer who really loves Allah and his Messenger (peace be upon him), is more rewarding and pleasant experience as it entails the greatest reward.
Asmaa’ had the same level of greatness that manifested in her husband Ja’far. She was equally enduring, understanding and cognizant of her responsibility. The evidence for this can be seen in her pleasant character and deep faith. The Prophet (peace be upon him) even attested to her being one of the ‘believing sisters’.
If one counts the many years the immigrants to Abyssinia spent in a foreign land, among foreign people and if then one were to consider the Quraysh’s conspiracies against them, then we will come to see how strong and patient they were. For, their stay in Abyssinia was not a short one. Rather, Asmaa’ stayed there for fifteen years and it was there that her children were born. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to stay in contact with them by sending emissaries who would convey to them the news of how the Prophet and his Companions were doing. They would also be informed of new revelation and legislation that were revealed. One of these emissaries was the companion Amar ibn Umayyah ad-Damri.
When Asmaa’ left Abyssinia, she did so in the company of her three sons: ‘Abdullah, Muhammad and ‘Awn. Yet, she did not know of the test that was awaiting her in the near future. After some time, the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent her husband to the battle of Mu’tah, he was to take command if the commander Zayd ibn Haarithah was martyred. The battle of Mu’tah was the first of its kind between the Muslims and the Romans in the history of Dawah. The Muslims army consisted of 3000 soldiers while the Romans and their allies far outnumbered them with an army of more than 100,000 soldiers. The reason behind the occurrence of this war was because the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sent Al-Harith ibn ‘Umayr al Azdi (may Allah be pleased with him) to the king of Basrah with a letter inviting him to Islaam. Al-Harith was attacked and killed by Shurahbeel ibn ‘Amr al–Ghassani, who was an ally of the Romans. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was very upset and distressed by this incident. Thus he called upon the Muslims to set out and avenge the death of al–Harith. The Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed the Muslims that if the first commander was martyred the second should take up responsibility and if the second commander was martyred, the third one should take up the command and that if the third was also killed the Muslims would have to agree to a commander among themselves.
The three commanders were: Zayd ibn Haarithah, Ja’far ibn Abu Talib and Abdullah ibn Rawaahah, may Allah be pleased with them all. All three commanders were martyred, including the husband of Asmaa’. The Muslims then appointed Khaalid ibn al–Waleed as their commander and he was able, through his military ingenuity, to deceive the Romans and their Ghassanids allies. He then brought the Muslims out of this battle, in which the enemy was so large and powerful, victorious.
The Muslim loss was calamitous as three of their commanders were martyred. The battle of Mu’tah was the first (and the last) that Ja’far fought against the enemies of Allah and in the way of Allah.
Just as Ja’far’s performance had been great in Abyssinia, in the presence of the Negus, he had also been great in the battle field. When he realized that his horse was preventing him from moving freely in the battle he dismounted off of it, wounded it (so that the enemy could not use it) and then boldly rushed into the battle. His hand was cut off while he was holding the banner and eventually this is how he was killed as a martyr and is now flying in the hearts of green birds. We know this because the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) later informed the Companions that Allah had substituted the hands of Ja’far with two wings by which he could fly as he wished and wherever he wished in Paradise.
The Prophet's (peace be upon him) Support
His wife, Asmaa’ was overwhelmed by the news of the death of her beloved husband. Tears of pain, sadness and parting flowed from her blessed face. They had been companions in the true sense of the word. Asma’s tears never dried and she never ceased crying until Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) visited her on the third day and consoled her. He requested the presence of Ja’far’s sons and they all came.
Abdullah ibn Ja’far (one of the sons of Asma and Ja'far) narrates:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) gave Ja'far's family some time to mourn over his death and then visited them saying, ‘Do not cry over my brother after this day.’ He then said, ‘Bring the children of my brother to me,’ and we were brought to him like young birds. He then said, ‘Call the barber for me!’ And the barber came and shaved our heads.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then said, “As for Muhammed (one of Ja’far’s brothers), he looks like our uncle Abu Talib, as for ‘Abdullah he resembles me. O Allah! Be the supporter of Ja’far’s family and bless ‘Abdullah (his son) in the transactions undertaken by his hands.” The Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him, repeated this three times.
Then our mother came and mentioned how her children were now orphans and began crying. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to her, “Asmaa’, are your afraid of poverty for them while I am their guardian in this world and in the hereafter?”
Asmaa’ then devoted all her time in caring for herself and her children. She trained them and raised them well and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) never forgot about Asma’ and her sons as he was closer to the believers than their own selves. He would visit them whenever the opportunity arose; he would ask about them and how they were and would also show kindness to them by way of gifts.
Asmaa' Marries Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq
The situation continued in this manner until the day of the battle of Hunayn came. The wife of Abu Bakr, Umm Roomaan, died so the prophet (peace be upon him) married Asmaa’ (Ja’far's widow) to him, according to narrations.
Abu Bakr was the first man to embrace Islaam. He was the second of the two in the cave and the Prophets only Companion who was with him in the cave. He was the first minister and the most trusted Companion of the Prophet, who spent his wealth and his life in the cause of Islaam. Asmaa’ was also one of the early Muslims. She was persevering and knowledgeable and had migrated twice. She had also been the wife of Ja’far, the flying martyr.
Asma’ (may Allah be pleased with her) lived in the house of Abu Bakr as a satisfied, honorable and responsible wife. She knew his rights and fulfilled them dutifully. She had a son from Abu Bakr whose name was Muhammed.
Her Relationship with Aboo Bakr
A manifestation of good companionship that Asma’ enjoyed with her husband Abu Bakr became evident when he was in his final illness which was to cause his death. He ordered that Asmaa’ should wash him when he died. This was clearly a deep demonstration of his love and trust in her.
Her Marriage to 'Ali ibn Abi Taalib
Asmaa' was then married to ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allah be pleased with him) after the death of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and had a son with him named ‘Awn. Asmaa’ lived in the house of ‘Ali as a noble lady who fulfilled her marital obligations without negligence or sluggishness, in spite of difficult moments.
A Clever Woman
It was reported that her sons Muhammed ibn Ja’far and Muhammed ibn Abu Bakr were boasting to each other one day, each one of them saying to the other that he was better and that his father was better than the others. ‘Ali was present and asked Asmaa’ to judge between them.
The question arises: did ‘Ali want to test her intelligence or did he just want to know whose love and sense of obligation occupied her heart? Here Asma’ demonstrated worthy traits of a Muslim woman and a believing wife! She provided in her answer a lesson for every girl, every wife and every mother. She answered without hesitation or discrimination:
“I have never seen a young man better than Ja’far, and I have never seen a middle-aged man better than Abu Bakr.”
The two boys then went quiet and stopped their bragging.
It was then that ‘Ali jokingly asked, “What have you then left for us?” And of course, she loved him dearly too.
Asmaa’s journey from this world into the next started drawing nearer when the news of the death of her son Muhammed ibn Abu Bakr came to her from Egypt. She went to the prayer place in her house, performed some supererogatory prayers and held back her tears. All this had a negative effect on her body, which was already weak and aging. She then began bleeding from her chest and lost so much blood that eventually she died and her soul moved up high into the heavens.
May Allah be pleased with her and please her! Aameen.