Asma' bint Amr: Witness To Two Momentous Pledges - Umm Manee', Very True To Her Pledge

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

One of the most momentous events in the history of Islam was the pledge given by the Ansar to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) at Aqabah in Mina. They pledged to him that when he would join them in Madinah, they would defend him and protect him like they protect their women and children. They were aware that their pledge meant giving their word of honor that they would spare nothing in providing him with such protection. They were ready to sacrifice their all in his defense. That pledge facilitated the immigration of the Prophet and his Makkan companions to Madinah, where he established the first Muslim state. That pledge was given by 73 men and two women from the Ansar. When those who gave the pledge to the Prophet finished their pilgrimage and returned home, the Prophet told his companions to immigrate to Madinah. They began to travel in small groups or individually, and when almost all those who could travel left Makkah, the Prophet himself immigrated with his companion Abu Bakr.

The two women who witnessed this momentous event were Naseebah bint Kaab, known as Umm Imarah, and Asma' bint Amr of the Sulaym clan of the Ansar. Asma' is the lesser known of the two. She converted to Islam in its early days in Madinah. In fact, the first Muslims from Madinah accepted Islam only two years earlier, when six of its people met the Prophet during the pilgrimage season in Makkah and he presented Islam to them. Asma' was a young lady, married to Khadeej ibn Salamah. Theirs was still a young family, but both husband and wife were eager to meet the Prophet. So they traveled with their people to perform the pilgrimage during which that pledge of protection was given to the Prophet.

By normal standards, Asma' was an unlikely traveler because she was advanced in pregnancy. However, her eagerness to meet the Prophet made her overlook the problems that she might encounter on her journey. It so happened that she gave birth to her son, Shabab ibn Khadeej, during the day preceding the night when the Ansar met the Prophet to give him their pledge. However, having just given birth was not to deter Asma' from attending that meeting. She wanted to be among those who witnessed that momentous event.

All those from Madinah who attended the meeting gave their pledges of loyalty to the Prophet, making clear that they would defend him like they would defend their own women and children. How did the two women give their pledges? The other lady, Naseebah, reports: "The men placed their hands on the Prophet hand when they gave their pledges at Aqabah. Al-Abbas, the Prophet's uncle, was holding his hand. When I and Umm Manee', i.e. Asma', were left, my husband, Ghuzayyah ibn Amr, called out, saying to the Prophet: ‘Messenger of God, here are two women who have attended with us to give you their pledges'. The Prophet said: ‘I accept their pledges on the same terms as I have accepted yours, but I do not shake hands with women.'

Asma' bint Amr, Umm Manee', was very true to her pledge. She served Islam well. When the Prophet traveled to Makkah for his first umrah, 1400 of his companions were with him. However, the Quraysh, the unbelievers who lived in Makkah, tried hard to stop them. Eventually, the Al-Hudaybiyah peace agreement was signed by the two parties. Prior to negotiating the terms of the agreement, the Muslims gave the Prophet another pledge, to fight to the finish, should there be a battle. Asma' was with the women who gave that pledge. She also joined the Prophet on his expedition to Khaybar, which took place a couple of months later.

We do not know when Asma' died, but it was enough honor for her to witness these two momentous pledges.


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