Obedience of the women of the Ansar

Sayyidina Safia bint Shebah radiAllaahu anha reports:

We were sitting with Hazrat ‘Ayesha radiAllaahu anha and we described superiority of the womenfolk of the Quraish, but I, for one, by Allah! I did not find anyone more superior to the women of the Ansar in respect of confirming the Book of Allah, nor did I find anyone’s faith greater than theirs as regards the revelation of the Quranic verses. When the verses of surah Noor was revealed:

وَقُل لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ يَغۡضُضۡنَ مِنۡ أَبۡصَـٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحۡفَظۡنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبۡدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنۡهَا‌ۖ وَلۡيَضۡرِبۡنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِہِنَّ‌ۖ وَلَا يُبۡدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ ءَابَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ أَبۡنَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ أَبۡنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوۡ إِخۡوَٲنِهِنَّ أَوۡ بَنِىٓ إِخۡوَٲنِهِنَّ أَوۡ بَنِىٓ أَخَوَٲتِهِنَّ أَوۡ نِسَآٮِٕهِنَّ أَوۡ مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَـٰنُهُنَّ أَوِ ٱلتَّـٰبِعِينَ غَيۡرِ أُوْلِى ٱلۡإِرۡبَةِ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ أَوِ ٱلطِّفۡلِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يَظۡهَرُواْ عَلَىٰ عَوۡرَٲتِ ٱلنِّسَآءِ‌ۖ وَلَا يَضۡرِبۡنَ بِأَرۡجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعۡلَمَ مَا يُخۡفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ‌ۚ وَتُوبُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah that ye may attain Bliss. (31)

Their husbands went to them and recited before them whatever Allah had revealed regarding the women. On the one hand, every man recited this verse to his wife, his daughter, his sister and every relative. On the other, there was left no women who might not have stood up to take her sheet, her embroidered rug and might not have wrapped it to confirm whatever Allah Most Holy had revealed in His Book and to believe in it. Accordingly, in the morning (i.e. Fajr prayer) all of them stood behind the Holy Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam with hijab, maintaining it so cautiously as if there was a crow over their heads (which would peck as soon as the heads became bare).

There are many anecdotes regarding the spiritual devotion of the women of the Ansar, and while this might be among the most popular, it still bears repeating for the obvious lessons contained. The most overwhelming lesson is, of course, to obey Allah without feeling compelled to question every single little thing we “must” do, and to obey Him with complete sincerity and love. Some things are easier to obey than others, which just seem to beg endless questions. But we must learn to know the line between reasonable questions and strictly argumentative ones. It’s a tough process, sometimes, when the nafs wants to prove that it is smarter than its Creator; may Allah forgive us.


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