Ummul Baneen, a symbol of patience, sacrifice and strength.
We live in a society that encourages us to be very self-serving. To cater to our whims, and eliminate any causes for discomfort in our environments, whether they are physical, mental, or emotional. To gratify ourselves and amplify our individual experience of happiness and pleasure and ‘positivity’.
What we neglect to account for in that process is that as the social beings that we are, living in a society often involves encountering, managing, and even choosing negative emotions and experiences. Living harmoniously with others can involve making compromises to our own personal comfort and short-term happiness for longer-lasting peace.
And when your goal is not only to live in harmony with others, but to live for higher virtues and greater goals, then sacrificing the most beloved of your possessions can be a source of transcendent pleasure that is parallel to no other experience.
The Quran says “You will never attain righteousness until you give [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you give, indeed Allah is Knowing of it.” (3:92).
Lady Ummul Baneen, the mother of Usman, Jafar, Abdullah, and Abbas, the moon of the Bani Hashim, epitomized the meaning of giving and sacrificing for a greater purpose, in spite of the discomfort and pain that it may have brought.
While her birth name was Fatima, she gave up her name when she became the wife of Imam Ali (AS) so that her name would not serve as a painful reminder to the young children of Imam Ali (AS) and Lady Fatima (AS), who had tragically lost their beloved mother.
Her entire life and the lives of her children were dedicated to faithfulness, love, and loyalty to the Ahlul Bayt, the family of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), each of whom were beacons and living examples of immaculate morals, justice, and love. She brought up her four sons to stand by their brother Husayn (AS) in the fight for truth, knowing well that they would be killed in the battle of Karbala.
And ultimately, when they were killed, she also gave up her title “Ummul Baneen”, the mother of sons, requesting that she never be addressed by this name again.
There can be profound meaning and beauty in giving up what we hold dear to us, what we believe “belongs” to us. Lady Ummul Baneen demonstrated this by sacrificing for the sake of Allah, with the awareness that nothing was “hers” to keep, but belonged to Allah.
What are some of the things that we can give up for a greater purpose?