[Then] Asma bint Abi Bakr

Asma bint Abi Bakr was born seventeen years before the Prophet ﷺ began his message. She was fifteen years older than her sister Aishah (RA) and was like a mother to her. She is the only one of the Companions that had four generations of Companions in her family. Her grandfather was Abu Quhafah, her father was Abu Bakr Al-Siddique, her husband was Zubair bin Awam, her mother in law was Sophia bint Abdul Mutallib, and her son was Abdullah bin Zubair.

Asma was the 18th person to embrace Islam. Because she was of the valuable house of Abu Bakr, a place of refuge and rest for the Prophet ﷺ, she was a major participant in the Prophet’s ﷺ mission. One of her most important contributions came at the time of the migration.

Asma was 25 years old when the Prophet ﷺ was given the command to migrate. However, the migration had to be planned out strategically.  The Prophet ﷺ came to Abu Bakr’s house to lay the plans for the migration, which was done in the presence of Aishah (RA) and Asma. The plan was for Abu Bakr and the Prophet ﷺ to travel in the opposite direction of Madinah and wait in Cave of Thawr in order to lose anybody who might be tracking them. The only problem was that they would need someone to keep them in touch with what was going on in Mecca once they were at the cave so that they would know when to leave. They would also need someone to bring them food and a way to cover the tracks of those that were helping.  So it was decided that Asma’s brother, Abdullah, will be the one to bring the latest news from Mecca and Asma would be bringing the food, but they would go at different times. Amir ibn Fuhayrah, Abu Bakr’s freed slave who was the shepherd of his flock, would herd his sheep at their heels so that their tracks would be covered.

You would think that Abu Jahl would have them followed because it was obvious that if anyone was going to help, it would be Abu Bakr’s children. However, Abdullah was clever enough to escape suspicion and Asma had a very big reason as to why she wouldn’t be suspected at all- she was seven months pregnant. No one thought that it could possibly be her that would be helping out in any way. However, Asma, much like many of the women at the time was stronger than ten men. The Cave Thawr was three miles away (so six miles roundtrip, about 10 kilometers) and it was a rocky mountainous trail. However, Asma was able to do it every day for three days without any difficulty.

The last day in which the Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr were to stay in the cave, Asma prepared the food container and water skin. However, she had no rope to tie them closed. So she tore her girdle, or waist belt, and used half of it to tie up the provisions. When the Prophet ﷺ saw what she did he smiled and said to her, “Indeed, Allah has given you, in exchange for this girdle, two girdles in Paradise.” This is how she came to be known as “The Lady of Two Girdles.”

Asma, along with her brother Abdullah and sister Aisha (RA) were the only people who knew the whereabouts of the Prophet ﷺ. After they had taken off for Madinah from the cave, Abu Jahl grew frustrated at the fact that Mohammed (PBUH) had escaped.  He furiously went to Abu Bakr’s house and when he banged on the door, it was Asma who opened it. He asked where her father was, and since they were somewhere on the way to Madinah, she replied confidently that she didn’t know. He then slapped her so hard, he tore the earnings from her ears. He asked her again, and Asma, completely unfazed, again replied, “I do not know so go ahead, hit me as hard as you want.” Abu Jahl walked away in a fury.

Asma later ended up migrating to Madinah with a group that included the Prophet’s ﷺ daughters. She had her son, Abdullah, in Madinah and he was the first boy to be born there from the migraters.

Asma was one of the most brilliant female students of the Prophet ﷺ. She is the source of 58 Hadith, and many men related Hadith from her. Asma is a great role model because she was such a successful woman. She was not only successful as a wife and mother, but she also used to work with her husband, tending to his horse and picking and grinding grains from his field. Asma was successful in many different areas. She was also very active in the community and never let any food in her house stay overnight without donating it.

Asma was extremely pious and used to pray with full concentration. Her husband Zubair, said that he came home one day and found her praying and weeping and repeating this verse from the Quran:

“Allah has blessed us and saved us the torture of the burning winds.” {52:27}

He left to the market and came back much later to find her still praying and crying and repeating the same verse.

One day her mother came to visit her in Madinah. Her mother had not become a Muslim so Asma rushed to the Prophet (PBUH) and asked him if she could still embrace her mother in her life. The Prophet (PBUH) repeated three times that she should. So Asma welcomed her mother completely in her life and took care of her.

Asma raised her son, Abdullah ibn Zubair, in a household that taught him to be a good Muslim and a courageous and understanding person. He would later be involved in a huge battle against Hajjaj Ibn  Yousuf. Before her son went to battle, he told his mother that he was worried that they would cut up his body if he were to lose. She said to him not to worry about something like that, as just as the skinning of the sheep will not hurt him after he is dead, so he should not worry about what happens to his body after he passes. What he should be more concerned about is that he is doing the right thing and he dies an honorable death.

Abdullah did end up dying in that battle and Hajjaj had him crucified. He then said that he would not take him down until his mother came to request it, in order to crush her dignity. Asma, who was blind at the time, went to up to where her son was held and said, “Is it not time for the rider to dismount?” Al Hajjaj said to her, “Do you see how I have defeated your son?”

“You may have defeated him in this battle, but he has defeated you for eternity (in the hereafter),”replied Asma.

Asma passed away a day after burying her son, 75 years after Hijrah. She was 100 years old and never lost her memory and had a full set of teeth.


*I have noticed that most of the women at the time used to balance taking care of their household and working outside the house.  Even when you study the Muslims at the time of the Abbasid and Ottoman Empires, you notice the same thing about the women. They raised their children to be great people, took good care of their husbands and their houses and also contributed to their society, whether it be having a job or doing community work or research.  Its funny how at our time, you are either taking care of your kids and the house or you have a career. Society tells you that it is either or. However, when you think about it, women’s brains were created in a way where they can multi task, probably for this very reason. We are given the ability to balance several things in our life and just like any other issue with the human brain, you either use the ability to multi task or lose it. You do not have to have a career at the cost of your family and you do not need to take care of your family at the cost of your personal advancement in society. Almost all the examples we have of Muslim women are ones that did both. In fact, I feel that Islam tells us that we need to be constantly learning and applying, and learning and applying. Islam tells you to focus on your household but you are required just as much as men to gain knowledge and apply it to the society around you. You need to be constantly working your mind and growing. I truly believe that doing that will help you succeed in your role in the household. Be a role model for your children and be the person you want them to become.

*Don’t you think its interesting how Asma never lost her memory, even at the age of 100. I feel that my memory is horrible and I am in my early twenties. I think it has to do with the way they memorized the Quran. What are your thoughts?

Qub, Muammad ʻAlī. Women around the Messenger. Riyadh: International Islamic House, 2007. Print.

Ghadanfar, Mahmood Ahmad., Jamila Muhammad. Qawi, Sheikh Safiur-Rahman. Al-Mubarakpuri, Muhammad Ayub. Sapra, and Muhammad Farooq. Great Women of Islam: Who Were given the Good News of Paradise. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Darussalam, 2001. Print.
 “Asma bint Abi Bakr-Amr Khalid.” YouTube. YouTube, 22 July 2009. Web. 15 Feb. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUCfjK78Ulw&gt;.
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8 Responses to “[Then] Asma bint Abi Bakr”
  1. Aisha says:

    I loved the ad at the end.. i was all like “zeus wah?”. I think it is really interesting that she didn’t lose her teeth or her memories. I’m going to take a leaf out of my dad’s book and say “zamzam” and dates may have had something to do with that.

  2. Amal Alganem says:

    from when I was little, the story of Asma was the most complete of all stories, not pits and peices here and there. that’s why I like it so much.

  3. جزاک اللہ خیر۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔

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  2. […] Degel, which is 25 miles north west of Sokoto in what is now Northern Nigeria. She was named after Asma bint Abi Bakr and was the daughter of Uthman don Fodio, who was the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate. Nana […]

  3. […] consciousness was of her parents practicing Islam. Remember on Monday when we talked about how Asma, Aisha’s (RA), sister who was 100 years old and still had perfect memory? Aisha (RA) was the same […]

  4. […] Degel, which is 25 miles north west of Sokoto in what is now Northern Nigeria. She was named after Asma bint Abi Bakr and was the daughter of Uthman don Fodio, who was the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate. Nana […]

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