Saturday, July 05, 2014

Az-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam and Domestic Violence

On discussing domestic violence, there are some twisted individuals who try to protest that az-Zubayr ibn al-'Awwaam used to 'beat' his wife, Asmaa' bint Abi Bakr and use this as an 'example' of how RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) 'permitted' such behaviour from his Companions.

Quick research, however, proves that this narration - while quoted by Ibn al-'Arabi in his book "Ahkhaam al-Qur'an"; Ibn Kathir in "al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah"; and by al-Qurtubi in his tafseer - has been classified as "ghareeb" by Al-Qadhi Abu Bakr and is considered not to be authentic... nor is there any supporting evidence for this kind of behaviour from az-Zubayr (radhiAllahu 'anhu).

Though he was known to be harsh in nature, this harshness was extended to everyone around him and not characteristic merely of his relationship with his wives (there are far more authentic narrations which discuss his harsh nature with others).

There are at least two other clearly authentic ahadith which demonstrate the type of relationship which az-Zubayr had with his wife Asmaa'.

In the first, Asmaa' was traveling long distances regularly by foot so as to contribute to their livelihood; when RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) offered her a ride on his camel, she politely refused out of consideration for az-Zubayr, who was known to be a jealous man.
Yet when she returned home and related the incident to her husband, he wept and told her, 'By Allah, the carrying of date-stone upon your head is more severe a burden on me than you riding with him!'

In the second hadith, Asmaa' relates:
We left in the state of Ihraam (for Hajj).
RasulAllah said: "Whoever has hady (a sacrificial animal) should continue in ihram, and whoever doesn't have hady, he should come out of his ihram."

Asma says: "I did not have hady, so I became halal to my husband, but my husband Zubayr had hady, so he was not halal for me.
I put on my nice clothes and came out of ihram, then I went to Zubayr, so he said: "Stand away from me." She said: "What, are you afraid I'll jump you?" (Muslim)

Contrary to the claims of others, these ahadith clearly point out a far more caring relationship between Asmaa' and az-Zubayr.

Keep in mind that Asmaa' was no wilting wallflower: She was Dhaat an-Nitaaqayn, the woman who traveled long distances while pregnant to provide food for RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and her father during their Hijrah to Madinah. She actively took part in the Battle of Yarmuk, as well as being present during other military expeditions.

The ahadith that she narrates, and the stories of her biography, prove that she was no less strong-willed than her sister A'ishah. Amongst the authentic ahadith, there are no narrations (that I am aware of) that imply that she was an abused wife.

And Allah knows best.

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