A Mother’s Courage and Sacrifice

Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (Radi Allahu Anhuma) was the mother of Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair (Radi Allahu Anhu) He was nephew of Aishah (Radi Allahu Anha), wife of the Prophet ((Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam). His birth alone was a miracle, he was the first Muslim to be born in the city of Al-Madinah and was a sign of the lies and deceptions of the Jews of the time.
Ibn Az-Zubair (Radi Allahu Anhu) became Commander of the Faithful with Holy Makkah as his capital, extending his rule over Hijaz, Yemen, Basra, Kufa, Khurasan, and Syria except Damascus. The inhabitants of all these provinces swore the oath of allegiance to him. But the Ummayyads were not satisfied. Restless, they waged continuous wars, most of which ended in their defeat. Nothing changed until Abd Al Malik Ibn Marawan ordered one of the most harsh, criminal, cruel, and merciless human beings to attack ‘Abd Allah in Makkah. This was Al-Hajaj Ath-Thaqafiy, who was described by 'Umar Ibn Abd Al-'Aziz: "If all nations were to weigh together their sins, and we came with Al-Hajaj only, the balance would sway to our part."
Al-Hajaj personally led his army to invade Makkah, Ibn Az-Zubair's capital. He besieged it nearly six months, preventing the provision of water and food to force people to abandon 'Abd Allah. Under the severe pressure of hunger, a large number of fighters surrendered and ‘Abd Allah found himself almost alone. Although chances to save his life and soul were still available, he decided to carry out his responsibilities to the very end. He went on fighting with legendary courage, although he was 70 years old at that time.
He went to meet his mother Asma now an old blind woman. Let’s reflect on this beautiful conversation between a mother and her son. We will only grasp the full image of that situation if we listen to the conversation which took place between Abdullah and his mother, the great and noble Asma' Bint Abu Bakr, a short while before his death. He went to her presenting the whole situation and what seemed to be his destiny.
"Peace be on you, Mother, and the mercy and blessings of Allah."
"Unto you be peace, Abdullah,” she replied. "What is it that brings you here at this hour while boulders from Hajjaj's catapults are raining down on your soldiers in the Haram and shaking the houses of Makkah?"
"I came to seek your advice," he said.
"To seek my advice?" she asked in astonishment. "About what?"
"The people have deserted me out of fear of Hajjaj or being tempted by what he has to offer. Even my children and my family have left me. There is only a small group of men with me now and however strong and steadfast they are they can only resist for an hour or two more. Messengers of the Banu Umayyah (the Umayyads) are now negotiating with me, offering to give me whatever worldly possessions I want, should I lay down my arms and swear allegiance to Abdul Malik ibn Marwan. What do you think?"
Raising her voice, she replied: "it's your affair, Abdullah, and you know yourself better. If however you think that you are right and that you are standing up for the Truth, then persevere and fight on as your companions who were killed under your flag had shown perseverance. If however you desire the world, what a miserable wretch you are. You would have destroyed yourself and you would have destroyed your men.”
"But I will be killed today, there is no doubt about it."
"That is better for you than that you should surrender yourself to Hajjaj voluntarily and that some favourite child or slave of Banu Umayyah should play with your head.
"I do not fear death. I am only afraid that they will mutilate me.”
There is nothing after death that man should be afraid of. Skinning does not cause any pain to the slaughtered sheep.”
Abdullah's face beamed as he said: "What a blessed mother! Blessed be your noble qualities! I have come to you at this hour to hear what I have heard. Allah knows that I have not weakened or despaired. He is witness over me that I have not stood up for what I have out of love for this world and its attractions but only out of anger for the sake of Allah. His limits have been transgressed. Here am I, going to what is pleasing to you. So if I am killed, do not grieve for me and commend me to Allah.
"I shall grieve for you," said the aging but resolute Asma’, "only if you are killed in a vain and unjust cause.
Be assured that your son has not supported an unjust cause, nor committed any detestable deed, nor done any injustice to a Muslim or a Dhimmi and that there is nothing better in his sight than the pleasure of Allah, the Mighty, the Great. I do not say this to exonerate myself. Allah knows that I have only said it to make your heart firm and steadfast. "
"Praise be to Allah who has made you act according to what He likes and according to what I like. Come close to me, my son, that I may smell and feel your body for this might be the last meeting with you.”
Abdullah knelt before her. She hugged him and smothered his head, his face and his neck with kisses. Her hands began to squeeze his body when suddenly she withdrew them and asked: "What is this you are wearing, Abdullah?"
"This is my armour plate.”
"This, my son, is not the dress of one who desires martyrdom. Take it off. That will make your movements lighter and quicker. Wear instead the sirwal (a long under garment) so that if you are killed your awrah will not be exposed.”
Abdullah took off his armor plate and put on the sirwal. As he left for the Haram to join the fighting he said: "My mother, don't deprive me of your dua (prayer).”
Raising her hands to heaven, she prayed: "O Lord, have mercy on his staying up for long hours and his loud crying in the darkness of the night while people slept... "O Lord, have mercy on his hunger and his thirst on his Journeys from Madinah and Makkah while he fasted... "O Lord, bless his righteousness to his mother and his father... "O Lord, I commend him to Your cause and I am pleased with whatever You decree for him. And grant me for his sake the reward of those who are patient and who persevere.
They embraced each other and exchanged a farewell look. After one hour of fierce, unparalleled battle, the martyr received a deadly stroke. By sunset, Abdullah was dead. Al-Hajaj, cruel, cunning, and deceiving as he was, insisted on crucifying the Lifeless body.
Abd Allah's mother, went to see her crucified son. Like a high towering mountain, his mother stood in front of him when Al-Hajaj approached with shame and humiliation and said, "O Mother, the Commander of the Faithful 'Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan has recommended me to treat you well. Do you need anything?"
She shouted, " I'm not your mother. I'm the mother of that one crucified on the cross. I don't need you. But I'm going to tell you a hadith which I heard from the Prophet (PBUH). He said, ‘He will emerge from Thaqif, a liar and a vicious one.’ We have already seen the liar and the vicious one. I don't think he's anyone else but you."
Just over ten days later, his mother joined him. She was a hundred years old. Age had not made her infirm nor blunted the keenness of her mind.
Contributed by: Mohamed Gowid / zaza100sa@yahoo.co.uk                                                       

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