Monday, August 13, 2012

Ramadan Challenge Day 25 - Umm Darda as Sughraa

Like Amra whom I talked about yesterday, Umm Darda as-Sughraa was also a prominent jurist and yet again an example of a woman revered for her knowledge and intellect. From the seventh-century Damascus, she was the wife of the famous Companion of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) Abu Darda, She was someone with great knowledge of fiqh and in fact very young (around 18-20 perhaps) when Abu Darda passed away.

Extremely learned in fiqh and a scholar of hadith, like the women we have read about in this Ramadan Challenge series. In fact her authority in hadith was regarded more highly than many of the very renowned names of the time including Al-Hasan al-Basri and Ibn Sirin. The respected Imam Bukhari referred to her as an authority in Sahih al-Bukhari. He said, "Umm darda used to sit in tashahhud in her prayers like a man ( in worship) and she was an expert theologian." 

Umayyad mosque in Damascus, Syria
Umm Darda was also a much revered teacher, educating both male and female students sections separately on hadith, fiqh and law which she taught in Jerusalem and in the great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. One of the blogs records her sitting with male scholars in the mosque to discuss fiqh and hadith, hence showing that in the pursuit and disparting of knowledge there were no differences. I quote from this blog: ' “I’ve tried to worship Allah in every way,” she wrote, “but I’ve never found a better one than sitting around, debating other scholars.” '

One of her students was the powerful Caliph Abdul Malik b. Marwan of Spain. His rule extended from India to Span and he admitted openly that he would never feel ashamed of learning from her. Umm Darda was old by then and Abdul Malik would help her walk from the mosque to her own home, as she would lean against her shoulder.

Once Umm Darda heard Abdul Malik curse at his servant and she prohibited him from doing so by reminding him that: "I heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The invoker of curse would neither be witness nor intercessor on the Day of Resurrection."
(1- Suyuti, Tadrib, 215.
2 al-Musnad 7/448. Imam Muslim related something in his Sahih. See Sahih Muslim, the Book of Duty, Relationships and Etiquette, [Chapter] The Prohibition of Cursing Pulling Animals etc.. No. 85 (2598), 4/2006.)


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