I do not understand why the scholars of Seerah and history do not give Umm Manee, Asma bint Amr, her due right by mentioning her and throwing light on her personality. Perhaps they were more affected by the personality of her friend and Companion Umm Ammarah and her role in ‘Aqabah. Although Umm ‘Ammaarah deserves to also be mentioned, it is a historical negligence to not mention her among the female Companions who were around the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
This is because Umm Manee was the second woman from the Ansaari delegates who came from Yathrib (which was later to be known as Madeeah) to Makkah to pledge allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). She suffered the hardships of the journey and bore it with patience as she was driven by her love for Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). She yearned to meet her beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and to listen to his Prophetic Words.
Such was her sincerity that she embraced Islaam before she left Yathrib. This was because her soul was filled with the splendour of this pure religion. She used to listen to Mus’ab bin ‘Umayr, or those who narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him), and became emotionally prepared to receive the knowledge in its pristine form and to revolt against the filth of ignorance and idolatry.
When the announcer announced the journey to meet the Prophet (peace be upon him) and pledge allegiance to him, she quickly responded and joined the ranks of those travelling to Makkah with happiness and joy. She was one of the two Ansaari women who witnessed this great pledge, which was a crucial turning point in the path of Da’wah. It was Allah’s Will to make Madeenah and its inhabitants the first battalion of Islam, its first fortifying armoury and the base from which the religion spread all over the world in a manner unparalleled in human history.
In “Al-Isabah” Ibn Hajr (rahimahullah) wrote:
“Umm Manee is the mother of Shubath. Some say her name is Asma bint Amr. Ibn Sa’d reported on the authority of al Waqidi who also narrated with his chain of transmission reaching Umm Ammarah that she said,
“Men were shaking the hand of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) on the night of al-Aqabah while al-‘Abbaas was holding the Prophet’s hand. When it was my turn and that of Umm Manee, my husband, Arabah ibn Amr said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, these are two women who came with us and they also want to pledge allegiance to you. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) responded, ‘I have accepted your pledge. I do not shake women’s hands.’”Ibn Sa’d also said that Umm Manee attended the pledge of ‘Aqabah in the company of her husband Khadeej ibn Salamah, and that she also witnessed the battle of Khaybar. Ibn Hajr has also mentioned the lineage of Asma bint Amr and said that she was known as Umm Manee.
Ibn Ishaaq reported with a sound chain, on the authority of Ka’b ibn Malik that Umm Manee was one of the seventy people who witnessed the pledge of ‘Aqabah.
Umm Manee witnessed the pledge of Aqabah alongside the honourable companion Mu’aadh ibn Jabal. Likewise, she witnessed some wars that the Muslims fought against the enemy and participated in activities which involved providing aid, treating the wounded, giving water to the thirsty, preparing food and other activities that the circumstances called for.
Perhaps Ibn Hajar’s mention of her participating in the campaign of Khaybar and the fact that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) gave her a share of the booty of that campaign indicated that she had participated in previous wars. For, Umm Manee was one of the witnesses of the first Pledge which indicates to us that she would not avoid her responsibilities. Rather, she would carry them out selflessly.
If some aspects of Umm Manee’s life were clouded or overlooked, this is made up for by the personality of her son, Mu’aadh ibn Jabal. He was an amazing son that she sacrificed for the service of Islaam. He then became one of the most unique and outstanding Companions.
Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has the following to say about Mu’aadh:
‘He was the leader and an authority in the knowledge of the lawful and unlawful.’Abu Idrees al-Khawlaani (rahimahullah) said about him:
‘He was fair-complexioned and handsome. He had sparkling teeth and dark eyes.’Ka’b ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
‘He was a young and handsome man; one of the best youth of his clan.’Al-Waqidi (rahimahullah) said:
‘He was one of the most handsome men. He witnessed all the battles and narrated ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace be upon him).Some of those who narrated ahaadeeth from him were:
- ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas,
- Ibn Ady,
- Ibn Abi Awfa al-Ash’ari,
- ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Samurah and
- Jaabir ibn Anas.
He participated in the Battle of Badr when he was only twenty one years old. The Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) appointed him as the governor of Yemen, the hadith regarding which is found in Saheeh al-Bukhari on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas.
Saif Sadi reported, on the authority of ‘Ubayd ibn Sakhr, that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) told Mu’aadh when he was sending him to Yemen:
“Indeed, I have realised the affliction that you have suffered because of the religion and the debts that you have incurred. Gifts are therefore made lawful to you. If you are presented with a gift, you can take it.”
Therefore, when he returned from Yemen, he had thirty animals which were presented to him as gifts in Yemen.
Saif also reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) told him when he was bidding him farewell:
‘May Allah protect you from your front, your rear, your right, your left, above you and beneath you. May He guard you against the evils of men and jinn’.
Abu Daawood reported on the authority of Mu’aadh that he said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to me, ‘I love you’.
Anas Ibn Malik also counted him among those who compiled the Qur’aan during the time of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him).
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ‘Learn how to recite the Quran from four men’ and he counted Mu’aadh amongst them.
‘We were with ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood when he told us that Mu’aadh was a comprehensive leader and devoutly obedient to Allah. Farwah (one of those present) then said, ‘I forgot!’ ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood reported,
‘I did not forget. We used to liken him to the (Prophet) Ibraheem.” Abu Nu’aym said about Mu’aadh,
‘He was leader of the jurists and treasure of the scholars. He witnessed the Pledge of ‘Aqabah, the battle of Badr, as well as other campaigns. He was one of the best Ansaari youths in terms of forbearance, gentleness, modesty and generosity. He was very handsome. ‘Umar, Abu Qataadah, ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Samurah were some of the companions who narrated hadith from him.’Ibn Ka’b and Ibn Maalik said:
‘Muaadh was a handsome and magnanimous young man. He did not ask Allah for anything except that He (Allah) granted it (to him).’Abu Sufiyan narrated that some of his teachers narrated a story in which ‘Umar said:
‘Women were unable to give birth to the like of Mu’aadh. If it had not been because of Mu’aadh, ‘Umar would have perished.’At-Tirmidhi reported on the authority of Anas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘The most knowledgeable of them concerning the lawful and unlawful is Mu’aadh.’
Ibn Abu Shaybah and Ibn Asaakir reported on the authority of Abu ‘Awn ath-Thaqafi that the Messenger of Allah said (peace be upon him) said, ‘Mu’aadh will come on the day of resurrection a step ahead of other people.’
Ibn Sa’d also reported in his Tabaqaat, with a disconnected chain of transmission, that when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sent Mu’aadh to the people of Yemen as their governor he wrote to them: ‘I am sending to you the best of my family.’
These are just some of Mu’aadh’s virtues, may Allah be pleased with him and please him.
He arrived from Yemen during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, and died during the plague in Syria in the year 17 A.H. or shortly after, according to the opinion of most scholars and was thirty-four at the time.
In conclusion, I would like to ponder over the saying of ‘Umar,
“Women were unable to give birth to the like of Mu’aadh’.*Let’s not forget that the womb which bore Mu’aaadh was that of Umm Manee’s!
*The milk he drank from was that of Umm Manee’s.
*The arms that gently, kindly and affectionately cuddled him were those of Umm Manee’s.
*The heart that contained motherly love and compassion for him was that of Umm Manee’s!
*The tongue that taught him how to speak and instructed him to that which was right was Umm Manee’s.
Indeed she showered all the meanings of motherhood upon him. It was the combination of this love, affection and care that made Mu’aadh a unique man and the favour in all of this is from Allah alone.
Umm Manee being around the Messenger (peace be upon him) started from when she travelled to Makkah in order to pledge her allegiance, then in her participation within the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) campaigns, as much as is permissible for a woman in Islaam and in her rendering her son Mu’aadh to the service of Islaam. All this earned her a closeness to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), which is enough of a merit and virtue for her!
We pray that Allah honours the abode of Umm Manee, rewards her with the best and makes us join her among the company of His righteous servants. Aameen!