A year ago a known brother passed away leaving his young wife and four children behind. Their families and friends grieved together and did everything to help them forget the absence of their beloved one.

As time passed her friends and relatives moaned expressing her struggle as a single mother. I asked a relative whether she considered remarrying. The relative looked shocked. ‘Don’t ever think of remarrying. Nobody will be like the husband.’

I did not find right words to press my point. However her expression made me feel guilty. Of course I can’t imagine a life with someone else other than the father of my children. But it wasn’t about what our emotions say. How practical it is to stay single while trying to fill the gap of your spouse? Who would support the woman financially? Education of those four children were interrupted. Family and friends cannot continue funding for their needs. Even if she is capable of some income would she find it easy to handle it alone? Let’s face the truth. Everything lasts a day or two. Kindness, generosity, sympathy…there’s always a limit one can stretch his or her hand. Everyone is shackled with their own dilemmas.

Although my mind was trying to justify my point the relative’s accusation remained there like that for sometime until I remembered the real life stories of sahabiyas- female companions of Prophet (pbuh). Most of them were widows. But they did not refrain from remarrying. Except for Ayisha (RA) every other wife of prophet Muhammad were once widows or divorcees. If remarrying is not acceptable he would have got revelations to prohibit it.

‘We aren’t like men. We have to wish to have our husbands in Jannah-paradise. Remarrying will not let us unite with our beloved husbands in Jannah.’ the widowed sister was further discouraged with emotional statements and opinions that aren’t Islamic at all.

Aathika bint Zayd (ra) was a poet who is notable for having married Muslim men who died as martyrs. She married Zaid bin Khattab but they divorced. Then she married Abdullah bin Abu Bakr. They were in so much love that he made her promise not to remarry after his death. She sang,

I vow that mine eye will not cease to weep for thee

and my skin will be covered with dust.

Umar bin Khaththab (ra) wished to remarry her but she refused. Then he told her that she had been wrong to renounce her right to remarry, “denying yourself what God has permitted.”

After the consummation of the marriage, when Umar held the marrige feast, Ali congratulated Umar, and sought his permission to talk to the bride. Umar permitted and Ali reminded Atika of her resolve not to marry any one after Abdullah. Thereupon Atika burst into weeping. Umar consolingly said:

“Atika do not be grieved. All women do like that. May God bless you. By re-marriage yau have conformed to the injunctions of Islam.”

He gave alms on her for breaking a promise. Umar (ra) was the second caliph (second successor after the prophet). And someone who got glad tidings from Allah (promised with Paradise). So, do you think he’d do something prohibited?

After Umar (ra)’s death she married Zubayr ibn Al-Awad (RA). It was at this point that people began to say: “Let a man who wants to be a shahid marry Aatika bint Zayd!” Ali (ra) himself proposed to her, but she told him, “I would not want you to die, O cousin of the Prophet.” Ali (ra) wished to marry her.

“Any woman who marries again after the death of her first husband will be with her last husband. (Imam Tabrani and Ibn Asakir) which is why the wives of the prophet (saw) were not allowed to remarry after the death of prophet (saw). As they were given the highest rank of jannah- being the wives of the prophet.

However, some other scholars believe that she will choose the husband from among those she likes the most. Then she will choose the best one who used to treat her most honorably.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim was inclined to this opinion by the hadith of Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) in which she asked Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

O! Prophet of Allah, a woman marries twice in this world, for whom she will be in Hereafter life after their death? The Prophet said: “She will be for the one who had the best character. Then he said: “O! Umm Salamah the good character takes both the goodness of this life and that of the Hereafter”. (Daruqutni)

The latter is said to be a weak hadeeth. But, if the former was pressed too hard then none of the female companions would have remarried. Because they were the ones who followed sunnah accurately.

No widow or a divorcee found it difficult to remarry in prophet (saw)‘s time and aftermath. It’s this society that makes it hard for one to lead a life the way islam teaches. It’s this society that expects others to live according to their whims and fancies. I might not want to think of a life without my husband. But I have no rights to stop someone from remarrying. I have no rights to discourage someone from doing what Islam permits.

Aisha (ra) reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would spend time with his wife Zainab bint Jahsh and he would drink a concoction of honey. Hafsa and I agreed that whomever the Prophet visited first, we would say, “I notice a strong odor of mimosa gum on you.” The Prophet visited one of them and she said this to him, so the Prophet said:

بَلْ شَرِبْتُ عَسَلًا عِنْدَ زَيْنَبَ بِنْتِ جَحْشٍ وَلَنْ أَعُودَ لَهُ

I have taken a honey drink at Zainab’s house and I will not do it again.

Upon that Allah sent a revelation

لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ

Why do you forbid yourself from what Allah has made lawful for you? (66:1)

It is always better to keep in mind that our opinions and Islamic teachings aren’t the same. Our views, opinions can vary. Without proper understanding it is not acceptable to pass false knowledge.

Zeneefa Zaneer

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