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Meaning of Ahrar

Assalamua’laikum Mufti sahab

I read and heard a story of hazrat Asma bint Abu Bakr (Radiallahuanha) and his son hazrat Abdullah bin Zubair (Radiallahuanhu), the story is as follows.

Asma replied to her son:

You know better than me your circumstances. But I say to you this: if you know you are upon the truth, go forth and die like your companions; and if you are after this world, then you are the most wretched of men, for you have wasted yourself and those who are with you. And for how long shall you live in this world? And if you are upon the truth, but now that your companions have left you, you have become weak… this is not the action of free men and a man of the deen.
Then he said, “I am afraid I will be mutilated by the people of al-Sham”, to which she replied “My son, a slaughtered goat does not feel the pain when it is skinned”. He kissed her upon the forehead and said: 

I swear by Allah, this is my opinion. I have no desire to live in this world, for my aspiration is the life of the hereafter, and all my life I have stood up for truth. But I wanted to know your opinion so that your opinion strengthens my opinion!
And then his mother said, “Come closer my son!” When he came closer to her, she embraced him and when she did so, she felt that he had some metal armour on. And she said, “O’ my son! What is this? For people who want Shahaadah don’t wear this!” He said, “O’ my mother! I only did this to comfort you!” She said:

My son, take it off. Tie your belt so when you fall, your ‘awrah is not exposed! Fight with bravery for you are the son of Zubayr and the grandson of Abu Bakr and your grandmother was Safiyyah.

I want to ask about the meaning of Her words “this is not the action of free men and a man of the deen” 

What is meant by ahrar in her statement, I was moved to read this story and it has impacted my life and the eman of hazrat e Asma Radiallahuanha has shook my faith towards good alhamdulillah 

Please tell me the meaning of ahrar in this story (I thought it means free from the shackles of this dunya, its presets & worthless standards). 

الجواب وباللہ التوفیق

From the context of the usage of the word ‘احرار’, in the statement mentioned in the question i.e. ‘فليس هذا فعل الاحرار ولا أهل الدين ’ it is understood that its meaning is to get afraid, become awestruck, lose courage or determination, and consider oneself as weak and retreat because of the martyrdom of one’s companions. Which is not in accordance with the honor of free and brave individuals, is against the religious prestige and are the traits of the cowards and slaves. Therefore, Hazrat Asma RaziAllah Ta‘ala Anha asked him not to lose courage, not to retreat and to move forward with bravery and valor of free and men.

(تاریخ ابن خلدون۔۳/۳۸۔ الکامل :۴/۱۲۴۔تاریخ الامم والملوک:۳/۵۳۹)

واللہ اعلم بالصواب


This answer was collected from Shariahboard.org. It was established under the supervision of the eminent faqih of our era, Hazrat Shah Mufti Mohammed Navalur Rahman damat barakatuhum.

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