Women Who Took Directly From Imam Ahmad


al-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Other than the Mother of the Believers and a few other Companions (Allah be pleased with them all), little is told of our sisters' contributions to the religion. So here are a few examples of women who took directly from Imam Ahmad. These are taken from the work Muhya al-Din `Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad bin `Abd al-Rahman al-`Ulaymi (860 - 928 AH) wrote entitled Al-Manhaj al-ahman fi tarajim ashab al-imam ahmad.

[Note: the number before each entry corresponds to the serial order of the biographies in the book. Entries have been paraphrased and abridged, particularly the one for Bish al-Hafi's sister.]

573 - Maymunah bint al-Aqra`, al-muta`abbidah [a women devoted to pious works]. She wrote many things directly from our Imam, including [what] Al-Marwadhi said
Maymunah bint al-Aqrra` al-Muta`bbidah was mentioned to Abu `Abd Allah [Imam Ahad]. So I said to him that [once] she wanted to sell yarn that she had spun and she told the merchant "When you sell this, say that I may have been fasting [when I spun it] and so much hand became weak when doing it" and then departed. She returned and said, "Give me back the yarn. I fear that you will make this [story] clear to the weaver." And then Abu `Abd Allah [Imam Ahmad] said, "May Allah be merciful with her." He [also] said, "She has come to me and written things from me concerning washing the dead."
5 74 - Khadijah Umm Ahmad. `Abd Allah bin Ahmad narrated from her. He said that Khadijah Umm Muhammad directly narrated to me in 226 [AH]--and used to come to my father to listen to him and take hadith from him--and she said: Ishaq al-Azraq narrated to us, saying: al-Saw`ud narrated to us on the authority of `Aun bin `Abd Allah that he said
We used to sit with Umm Darda' [al-Sugha] and make dhikr in her presence. We said to her, "Perhaps you have become bored of us?" She replied, "Do you claim to have made me bored? Verily, I have sought worship through every [possible] thing and have found no better treatment for my heart and no means better in achieving what I desire than the assemblies of dhikr."
5 75 - Makhtah, the sister of Bishr bin al-Harith [al-Hafi]. She had two other sisters: Mudghah and Zubdah. The three sisters are mentioned for pious acts of worship and scrupulousness [war`]. Mughdah was the eldest, and she was older than Bishr. Zubdah had Umm `Ali as an agnomen.

576 - `Abbasah bint al-Fadl. She was Imam Ahmad's wife and Salih's mother. Imam Ahmad praised her and she took knowledge from him. She died during his lifetime. Ahmad said, "Umm Salih was with me for twenty years. The two of us never disagreed over a single word."

577 - Rayhanah, the daughter of Imam Ahmad's paternal uncle. Imam Ahmad married her and she is `Abd Allah's mother. He married her when Umm Salih died. She possess a single eye. She lived with him for seven years. A few days after her marriage she asked Imam Ahmad whether he found anything objectionable about her. He replied, "No. Nothing other than the sandals [na`l] you wear. They did not exist during the age of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)." So she sold them and bought maqtu` [I presume this is the name for the sandals during his time (Allah bless him and give him peace), sandals held on the foot by two peg-like strips]. She only gave birth to `Abd Allah.

578 - Husn, a slave that our Imam bought after the death of his wife Umm `Abd Allah. She gave birth to Umm `Ali, named Zaynab. She then gave birth to twins Al-Hasan and Al-Husein, who both died soon after their birth. She then gave birth to Al-Hasn and Muhammad, who matured and lived some forty years. She then gave birth to Sa`id, some fifty days before the Imam's death. Husn narrated many things from our Imam.
She said, "One day I made bread for our master [Imam Ahmad] while he was in pain from the sickness that he died from. He asked me where I baked the bread. I told him [I made it] in `Abd Allah's house. He ordered that it be removed, and ate nothing from it. [Note: Imam Ahmad objected profusely to his son taking a job with the government, and he refused himself any benefit from it.]
A nd
Our lord [Imam Ahmad] become joyful whenever he had no possessions.
( See Al-Minhaj al-ahmad, 1.347-51. Paraphrased and abridged.)

wa al-salamu `alaykum


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