In this article, we look at certain beautiful qualities that every Muslim woman should look to attaining to make an astounding wife.
Some of these qualities are already familiar, but are presented to you through the life of Umm Atika bint Zaid (R.A). Umm Atika was one of the female companions of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and was fondly nicknamed Zawja Ash-Shuhada – the wife of the martyrs. This was so because all of her husbands attained martyrdom. She was married to Abdullah bin Abi Bakr, the son of Abu Bakr Siddiq; then Umar ibn Khatab, the second caliph; and Zubayr ibn Al-Awam, one of the ten companions that was promised paradise.
A lot can be coined from the beautiful life of our mother, Umm Atika, but her marital life will be our focus for the purpose of this article. The qualities highlighted below are some of her most redeeming qualities as a Muslim wife, and have been chosen as our top 5 traits every Muslim wife should have. These qualities include:
Of all that was known of Umm Atika, her love for Allah and her religion was most renowned. She let her conscience guide her in all of her actions and strove towards deeds that would earn her more rewards from Allah SWT.
Years after Abdullah bin Abi Bakr's death, she kept her promise to him to not marry anyone else. This was until she learnt that it was wrong of her to have made that promise. She had varying counsel and learnt that it was forbidden to make what Allah had made Halal, Haram. She then proceeded to marry Umar ibn Khattab. She gave up the garden that Abdullah bin Abi Bakr had bequeathed her in honor of the promise she made to him as she had broken the promise. When Umar bin Khattab gave her monetary rewards in return, she shared that money among the poor to retribute for breaking the promise. Even though the act itself was done in accordance with the counsel she had received as regards her promise being wrong, she understood that breaking a commitment was equally disliked by Allah. She gave all of the wealth that both her previous and then husband gifted her to rectify these errors and gain Allah's pleasure.
Another startling fact known to Umm Atika was her insistence on visiting the mosque despite her husbands' dislike of it. It was halal, and was made permissible by the Prophet, so none of them could command her to stop. She was especially enthusiastic about always going because the Prophet (SAW) had narrated to them the immense rewards of going to the mosque to pray compared to staying at home. So she always went to fully benefit from that reward.
Umm Atika is not renowned for her wealth today, but rather for her piety and acts of service to Allah. Also, she could have caved in to her husbands' desires for her to stay home, but because her goal was to worship Allah within the bounds that He had set, it never made her any less loved by her husbands or the Ummah.
She had brave, strong, conscious Muslim men as husbands, and they all loved her dearly. They however all died one after the other as Matyrs. When everyone leaves, only Allah remains, and this is demonstrated in Umm Atika's life. When Allah (SWT) is the center of your universe, your whole world falls into place. So repair your affairs with Allah, and watch Him repair your relations with everyone else. Such is the grace of our Rabb SWT.
Umm Atika was one of the most self aware women of her time. Her history depicts a deep sense of understanding of her religion and of herself, and shows a strong will to stay true to all that defined her as a person.
Whether it was in always striving to pray at the mosque, or refusing marriage proposals after Abdullah's death, or always saying the truth even when she knew it was disliked, Umm Atika was definitely not a woman to be swayed. When she was to marry Zubayr ibn Al-Awam, she made it a point to draft a contract stating that her rights would not be denied and that she would be allowed to go to the mosque for prayers. Those were the conditions under which she agreed to marry him. She was well aware of the rights that her religion afforded her as a woman and was going to go to such lengths to protect it. She did not expect her husband to know or automatically assume that he would honor them. She ensured that he did by clearly stipulating it before agreeing to be his wife.
Despite being in multiple marriages in her lifetime, Atika did not once lose her sense of self. This was regardless of who she was married to. This is contrary to the misconception that a lot of Muslim women have about marriage in Islam. It also dispels one of the fears that many a Muslim woman have today. Marriage should not in any way change the core of who you are, unless this serves to improve you in areas where you are deficient. In a world of constant disparity, the Muslim woman should learn to be her own constant, with Islam as her guide. She should take time to herself, know and accept herself; define her boundaries and own her beliefs. She should then ensure to carry everyone that comes into her life on board with who she is. That way, they can come to know her, and learn to respect her for who she is. This is especially important in marriage where a woman gets a completely new family.
Umm Atika was a woman of honor and she honored each of her husbands. Despite being known as a woman of her own, she was well known for keeping within the bounds of her marriages. Whether it was in protecting her social or religious rights, she ensured that she protected the integrity of her marriages by awarding her husbands respect. She was firm in her ways, but she was not obtuse or dismissive of her husbands.
She always sought permission before going to the mosque, and she went as far as making Zubayr sign a contract to ensure that he did not stop her from going. She was well aware of his character and his jealousy, and so took that as a measure to prevent it from hindering her from serving Allah in the way that she pleased.
This was a very necessary step to take as without it, a lot of conflict would have ensued as we see in marriages today where spouses are not very clear about their expectations, and they expect one another to be mind readers. Not only does it prevent conflicts, it makes it possible for you to fight your battles in a way that other people are able to stand by you and fight for your cause. It also helps women to stay true to themselves without jeopardizing their homes in the process.
None of her husbands loved Umm Atika like Abdullah bin Abi Bakr, but even he constantly sang praises of her that went beyond his appreciation of her beauty or his natural inclination towards her. All of her husbands attested to her piety, trustworthiness, and candor. She married multiple times before her death, and all of these men, despite their different temperaments and dispositions, acknowledged her as a honorable wife.
Every person is flawed, and so is every marriage as a consequence. However, marriage becomes more stable when each person is respected and given their due. Every woman should endeavor to learn the obligations of a wife to her husband in Islam and put into practice all the various ways to honor their husbands in Islam. May Allah SWT grant us ease in our affairs.
Umm Atika was a very honest wife who never shied away from telling her husbands the truth. Whether it displeased them or not, she was honest with them.
When she got married to Umar (RA), she told him about the garden her previous husband had bequeathed to her. She also told him when the chief of a prestigious clan gave her a beautiful rug even though it infuriated Umar (RA) and he took it right back to the chief.
She always told her husbands about her whereabouts even when she knew they would not be pleased. Once, Zubayr cunningly tried to persuade her against going to the mosque by laying in wait for her when she was going for Isha' prayers. He hid in the dark and smacked her from behind. She went home aghast and when he came back from the mosque and asked why she had not gone to the mosque, she replied that people have become evil. She didn't come up with a lie to save her face as she had been warned severally by her husband not to go. She stopped going to the mosque afterwards, and after some time had passed, Zubayr told her of his actions. That only resolved her decision to pray at home from then.
There is a lot to be learnt in Umm Atika's truthfulness. It is not always comfortable to say the truth to our spouses, especially when we are certain that they will be upset with our words or actions. However, saying the truth will not only earn you the trust of your husband, it will earn you Allah's pleasure and His infinite mercy.
Being truthful also protects your marriage as well as your spouse's interests. Umar (RA) was able to see through the seeming generosity of the chief as an act of bribery. He knew the consequences that could ensue if he accepted such gifts whether directly or indirectly as in the case of Umm Atika receiving the gift. When Umm Atika told him, he was able to quickly rectify the situation and call the chief to order. He also reprimanded Umm Atika for accepting the gift. That way, she knew the implications of her actions and knew never to receive such gifts again that could potentially harm her husband's reputation and dignity.
Being truthful also helps your spouse to help you. Umm Atika saw Zubayr's dislike of her attending the mosque as a mere act of jealousy, and this was in fact true. However, he was right in emphasizing the harm that could come of a woman walking in the dark. Since she was honest about her reasons, her husband was able to understand her insistence. He also knew that her actions were not prohibited by Islam. This was why he had to use the means which he used to portray to her his fears, and make her see things from his point of view.
When Zubayr was also honest with his wife, she made a resolution to stop the action which she loved to do so much for Allah's sake when she realized how affected her husband must be, if he had to go to such lengths to make her see reason.
These acts of truthfulness are also acts of worship, and they only serve to endear spouses to each other. Regardless of your excuses, as a Muslim woman, it is imperative that you learn to put your trust in Allah and be completely honest with your spouse. This will also encourage him to do the same.
Umm Atika was a loyal wife who loved her husbands and strove to honor them. She would continually sing their praises and bring light to their redeeming qualities. This she did with her beautiful poetry.
When Abdullah died, she wrote beautiful poems to praise him and kept her promise not to marry another, until she was counselled against it. Even after she agreed to marry, she agreed to return the garden she had gotten in exchange for the promise to Abdullah's family. She also gave away the wealth Umar gave her in exchange, to repent for breaking the promise in charity. This was a couple of years after Abdullah's death. He was not there to see her, but she did it anyway.
After Umar (RA)'s death, she also wrote poems describing his gallant nature, reminding people of what a great leader he was. She honored each of her husbands for the time they spent in her lives and loved them all accordingly.
It is easier to constantly pick on our spouses' faults than continually praise them for their good attributes. Such is the nature of humans. As Muslim women however, it is imperative to understand that it is beautiful to praise our spouses and encourage them when they do good deeds. Allah (SWT) has granted us to be garments for each other. A garment may not be as luxurious as we want, but it gives us all that we need in terms of covering ourselves (awrah), protecting our dignity, giving us warmth, and adding to our beauty. The Muslim woman must strive to be that to her husband.
Islam is a religion that allows us access to each other only when we are lawfully tied in marriage. This limits the access we have to praises and attention outside our marriage. Nobody can praise your husband the way you can as a wife. Nobody can know him as well as you do. Nobody has as many rights as you have over him. Lastly, nobody has as many obligations as he has towards you. Even on the days when there is nothing good to say to him, look to this and be loyal and kind to him. He is Allah's gift and mercy to you, and so are you to him.
May we all be beautiful spouses who carry loyalty in our hearts and honor in our beings. May Allah ease our affairs and grant us the ability to find mercy, comfort, love, and stability in our marriages.
There is a lot of questions Muslim women have about marriage and companionship. There is also a lot of fear associated with marriage in Islam, especially due to the high divorce rates and the stereotypes that a lot of people have come to associate with women in Islam.
What a lot of Muslim women do not realize is that Islam has an answer for every question you might have. Also, our Deen has enough role models to guide us through whatever confusion might trouble our minds. Islam itself is civilization, and no institution, religion, or culture caters to women the way that Islam does. We just have to trust that the answers are here and proceed to seek the knowledge.
May Allah make it easy for us to stay on the right path. May we continue to find wisdom in the lives of the best of mankind and his companions and the subsequent generations after them. Ameen.
This article was written by Sr. Rahmat Omole for ilmnikah.com. ilmnikah.com is a blog and a matrimonial platform for single Muslims living in the United States, Canada, UK, Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand or Germany. Visit our homepage and sign up to receive email updates from us. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Clubhouse and Telegram.
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