Monday 7 April 2014

The Forgotten Heroes Behind #ForgottenHeroines

 "Behind every great man is a woman,” the saying goes. The truth is, neither heroes nor heroines are created in a void. Neither men nor women are able to succeed and achieve greatness without the support of their loved ones, family and friends, teachers and mentors.

The forgotten heroines of our Ummah are no exception. For every female scholar, for every woman warrior, for every devout worshipper there was a loving guardian, a firm mentor or a supportive spouse.

The sahabah and tabi’een were well aware of their duties towards their womenfolk. Keeping in mind the hadith that they were shepherds who will be held accountable for their flocks on the Day of Judgement, they made every effort to empower their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and anyone else under their guardianship.

The Sahabi Who Raised a Scholar

It is narrated from Ibn Jabir and ‘Uthmaan ibn Abi al-‘Aatikah that:

“Umm ad-Dardaa’ was an orphan under the guardianship of Abu ad-Dardaa’; she used to come to the mosques with Abu ad-Dardaa’ in two garments (i.e. her head was not covered; she had not yet attained puberty) and she prayed in the men’s rows and used to sit in the circles of the teachers learning the Qur’an.” This continued until she reached puberty and she then joined the women’s rows in prayer. (Al-Muhaddithaat; Jaami’ al-Hanabilah al-Muzaffaari).

This young orphan girl grew up to become a scholar of such knowledge that she would teach in the Grand Mosque of Damascus and the khalifah of the Islamic Empire, Abdul Malik ibn Marwaan, would sit at her feet as a student.

Without the foresight of Abu ad-Dardaa’, without his deliberate and conscious choices not only to teach her himself but also to create opportunities for her to study from others, Umm ad-Dardaa’ would never have become one of the greatest of the tabi’een. She was known not only for her depth of knowledge, but for the keenness of her mind and the intensity of her worship, even as an old woman.

Awn ibn Abdullah said of her, “We used to come to the assembly of Umm ad-Dardaa’ and remember God there.” Yunus ibn Maysarah reports, “The women used to worship with Umm ad-Dardaa’ and when they became weak from standing they would lean on ropes.”

Who was the man who raised such a prodigious woman? Abu ad-Dardaa’ was a sahabi of Rasul Allah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) - an Ansari man who was bound to Salmaan al-Faarsi when Rasul Allah r established the brotherhood (al-Mu’aakhaa’) between the Muhajiroon and the Ansaar.

The stories about his life are many: he was known for being dedicated to worshipping Allah with such fervor that Salmaan al-Faarsi grew alarmed and had to remind him that his wife and his body had a right over him as well. He was known to be courageous in battle, never forsaking an opportunity to offer his life for the sake of Allah I. He valued knowledge and is quoted as having said, “Be a scholar or a student or a person who loves [the scholars] or a follower [of the scholars], but do not be the fifth.” Humayd (one of the reporters) asked Al-Hasan (Al-Basri, who reported this from Abû Al-Dardâ`), “And who is the fifth?” He replied, “A heretic (mubtadi’, religious innovator).” (Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr, Jâmi’ Bayân Al-‘Ilm 1:142.)

Who else but such a man as Abu ad-Dardaa’ could have raised a woman such as Umm ad-Dardaa’?

Read the full excellent post @ The Salafi Feminist blog.

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