Hazrat Fizza فِضَّة (SA): Malka Habesha- The Black Queen
Hazrat Fizza (AS) goes by many titles in the Islamic world. The most common titles given to her are Janab (Urdu) and Bibi (Persian).
Bibi means Lady of the house. Janab is a title of honor and respect. I have chosen to use the word Hazrat which is the Arabic equivalent of Janab. She is also given the title of Amma due to her dedication and loyalty to the household of Prophet Muhammad (SAAS). Hazrat Fizza (AS) was Malka-e-Habash which means that she was an Ethiopian Queen. She had been enslaved. She was then purchased and freed by Prophet Muhammad (SAAS).
Hazrat Fizza (AS) was a strong Black Muslim sister of supreme intelligence and wisdom. Her qualities are seen in the various circumstances that she endured. Hazrat Fizza (AS) was a close companion to Hazrat Fatima (AS), daughter of Allah's Messenger (SAAS). She lived in the House of Hazrat Fatima (AS) and shared in the tasks of her home. Hazrat Fatima (AS) and Hazrat Fizza (AS) would care for the home on alternate days.
Hazrat Fizza (AS) was also a Hafiz (caretaker) and reciter of the Holy Quran. She had memorized the Quran in such a way that she would answer every question with a verse. This is the true meaning of a Hafiz which implies so much more than just committing the entire Quran to memory. It is reported that Hazrat Fizza (AS) exercised such mastery over the Quran that for twenty years she would talk by quoting its verses.
A Muslim writer named Abul Qasim Al-Qashiri narrates a story from Abdullah Bin Mubarak and his encounter with Hazrat Fizza (AS). Abdullah Bin Mubarak noticed Hazrat Fizza (AS) at some distance behind a caravan in the desert. He wanted to help her by taking her to the caravan. So he approached her.
Abdullah asked: Who are you?
Hazrat Fizza (AS) replied: وَإِذَا جَآءَكَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا فَقُلۡ سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَيۡكُمۡۖ
And when those who believe in Our revelations come unto thee, say: Peace be unto you! (6:54)
This was to correct the approach of Abdullah Bin Mubarak, reminding him of the proper Adaab (ethics) to be used before opening a conversation.
He then offered his salutations and asked: What are you doing here?
She replied: وَمَن يَهۡدِ ٱللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ ۥ مِن مُّضِلٍّۗ
And who Allah guides none can mislead (39:37)
Abdullah understood from this verse that Hazrat Fizza (AS) had not lost her way in the desert.
He then inquired: Are you a human being or a jinn?
Note: A jinn is a creation of Allah that once inhabited the earth before man. Their has since been a barrier placed between jinn and mankind. The jinn occupy the realm of ether. They are also known as demons.
Hazrat Fizza (AS) answered: يَـٰبَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ خُذُواْ زِينَتَكُمۡ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسۡجِدٍ۬
O children of Adam! Adorn yourself at every place of worship (7:31)
Thus confirming that she was indeed human.
He asked: Where are you coming from?
She said: أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يُنَادَوۡنَ مِن مَّكَانِۭ بَعِيدٍ۬
They are being called from a place far distant! (41:44)
He continued to inquire: Where do you want to go?
She informed him: وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ حِجُّ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ
And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind (3:97)
Hazrat Fizza (AS) was informing Abdullah that she was performing Hajj.
He asked: When did you leave for Mecca?
She replied: وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَمَا بَيۡنَهُمَا فِى سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ۬
And verily We created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them in six days (50:38)
He asked: Are you hungry?
She replied in the affirmative: وَمَا جَعَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ جَسَدً۬ا لَّا يَأۡڪُلُونَ ٱلطَّعَامَ وَمَا كَانُواْ خَـٰلِدِينَ
And we did not make for them a body that they can live without eating (21:8)
Abdullah Bin Mubarak waited at a distance on his horse while Hazrat Fizza (AS) ate the food that he offered to her.
When she finished her meal, he called out to her: Come running, hurry up!
She told him: لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَا
Allah burdens not a soul beyond its scope (2:286)
Abdullah was patient until she was able to arrive. Then he invited her to ride with him.
He said: Sit behind me on the horse.
Once again Hazrat Fizza (AS) had to remind Abdullah of the proper Islamic Adaab.
She refused and recited: لَوۡ كَانَ فِيہِمَآ ءَالِهَةٌ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا
If there were therein gods besides Allah there would have been disorder (21:22)
Notice how Hazrat Fizza (AS) glorifies the Oneness of Allah (SWT), while reminding Abdullah Bin Mubarak to guard his faith (Taqwa)! Indeed Hazrat Fizza has taken this conversation to a higher level, without straying from the specific address of Abdullah.
He took heed to the verse and dismounted his horse. After Hazrat Fizza (AS) was seated comfortably on the horse, she recited words of praise: سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱلَّذِى سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَـٰذَا
Glory to Allah Who has subdued these (animals) unto us (43:13)
When they caught up to the caravan that Hazrat Fizza (AS) was traveling with, Abdullah asked:
Do you have anyone in this caravan?
She informed him:
يَـٰدَاوُ ۥدُ إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَـٰكَ خَلِيفَةً۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ
O David, we have made you a Khalifah in the earth (38:26)
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ۬
Muhammad was but a Messenger (3:144)
يَـٰيَحۡيَىٰ خُذِ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبَ بِقُوَّةٍ۬
O John, hold fast to the Scripture (19:12)
يَـٰمُوسَىٰٓ إِنِّىٓ أَنَا ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ
O Moses, I am Allah, Lord of the worlds (28:30)
By reciting these verses, Hazrat Fizza (AS) named four people in the caravan. When David, Muhammad, John, and Moses saw Hazrat Fizza (AS), they ran towards her.
Abdullah asked: Who are they?
Hazrat Fizza (AS) answered: ٱلۡمَالُ وَٱلۡبَنُونَ زِينَةُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا
Wealth and children are the ornaments of (this) life (18:46)
Indeed, these were the sons of Hazrat Fizza (AS). Seeing that Abdullah Bin Mubarak had assisted their mother with kindness towards her, they treated him with due respect. Hazrat Fizza (AS) ordered her children:
ٱسۡتَـٔۡجِرۡهُۖ إِنَّ خَيۡرَ مَنِ ٱسۡتَـٔۡجَرۡتَ ٱلۡقَوِىُّ ٱلۡأَمِينُ
Hire him. the best person you should hire is one who is strong and trustworthy. (28:26)
In response to their mother's command, the sons of Hazrat Fizza (AS) bestowed gifts on Abdullah Bin Mubarak. But the generosity of Hazrat Fizza (AS) demanded that her sons should bestow upon him more lavishly. So she reminded her children of Allah's Grace by asking:
مَّن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يُقۡرِضُ ٱللَّهَ قَرۡضًا حَسَنً۬ا فَيُضَـٰعِفَهُ ۥ لَهُ ۥۤ أَضۡعَافً۬ا ڪَثِيرَةً۬
Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan, which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply many times? (2:245)
Her sons responded by giving money to Abdullah Bin Mubarak, in addition to the gifts he had recieved. Abdul Qasim wanted to know the identity of this magnifecent lady who rehersed the ayah of Allah (SWT) so well. Her sons informed him that she was Hazrat Fizza (AS), a slave who was set free by Prophet Muhammad (SAAS), the close companion of Hazrat Fatimah (AS), and caretaker of Ahlul Bayt (AS).
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