Women Companions of the Prophet (PBUH): Nusaybah bint Ka’ab
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Publié le 17 mai 2022, par Samir | 15 h 31 min
Temps de lecture : 9 minutes
In today’s world, when Muslim women have been under a strict radar regarding their religious, social, and emotional practices, they tend to look for role models and specific influential figures in history whom they can follow. If we conduct thorough research, we will find sufficient inspiring women who proved their excellence as mothers or wives in Islamic history. Besides, Islam will always remain in debt for their selfless services on the battlefield. This article will discuss one of the Prophet’s (PBUH) pious, relentless women companions, Nusaybah, also known as Umm Umarah.
The golden era of the Muslim women’s history will remember all such fearless women companions of the Prophet (PBUH) like Nusaybah bint Ka’ab for their outstanding services to Islam.
What is a Companion?
A companion implies a person who accompanies you, an associate. In Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) time, several people used to sit with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in Masjid Nabwi, accompany him during travel, or support him at times of battles. Each person would make sure he makes the most of the Prophet’s company and get his blessings and wisdom. They used to meet him eagerly and tried to stay close to the Messenger Muhammad (PBUH).
Besides men, women companions hold a significant position in the Prophet’s life. Allah (SWT) elevated the ranks of particular prominent Muslim women companions in this world and hereafter for their strength, faith, and exemplary services to the cause of Islam.
Women Companions of the Prophet (PBUH)
Before we discuss the first Muslim woman warrior in Islam, Nusaybah, let’s first understand how Islam elevated the rank of women in society and positioned them on the same level as of that men. However, they both carry particular duties concerning their capabilities and gender roles. Before Islam, women had a highly derogatory status in the Arab world, so much so that the Arab men would bury their daughters alive as soon they got their birth news.
« O Mankind! Fear your Lord who has created you from a single soul, and from it, He created its mate; and from them both, He brought forth multitudes of men and women. Be mindful of God through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and revere the wombs that bore you. Surely, God is ever watching over you » [Quran, 4:1].
In general, women never enjoyed a dignified position until the spread of Islam broke all barriers of cruelty and legal incapacity; women’s status rose to a dignified level in the Islamic society. Islam provided women with a separate identity and clarified that their moral benefits entirely depend on their deeds.
The Holy Quran states:
« Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds » [74:38]. It also states:
« … So their Lord accepted their prayers, (saying): I will not suffer to be lost the work of any of you whether male or female. You proceed one from another … » [3:195]
Thus Holy Book of Allah has given a straightforward narrative around women and their status as prestigious members of society. Following the Quranic teachings and Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad (PBUH), many Muslim women dedicated their entire life to the welfare of Islamic society. Also, they stayed active even on battlefields setting the highest records of brave, courage, and selflessness. One such warrior companion was Nusaybah bint Ka’ab.
Who was Nusaybah bint Ka’ab?
Nusaybah bint Ka’ab Al Maziniyyah, also known as, Umm Ammarah, hailed from the Banu Najjar tribe (Medina). She was one of the first women who embraced Islam and became Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) companion. Her brother was Abdullah bin K’ab, and her two children were Abdullah and Habib ibn Ziyad a-Ansari. Islamic books on history do not reveal much about her early life (before Islam), but her later life became a source of inspiration for the rest of the Muslim women.
Umm Ammarah earned many honors during her life, but the most significant was her participation in the Battle of Uhud, Hudaybiyyah, Khyber, Hunayn, and the Battle of Yamama. Amongst them, her most good presence emerged during the Battle of Uhud.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, « Wherever I turned, left or right, on the Day of Uhud — I saw her fighting for me. » She was inflicted with 13 wounds. At Nusaybah’s request, the Prophet (PBUH) asked Allah (SWT): « Oh Allah, make them my companions in the Garden. »
When 74 leaders, warriors, and statesmen of Medina descended on al-Aqabah to swear an oath of allegiance to Islam following the teaching of the new religion by Mus’ab ibn ‘Umair in the city, Nusaybah and Umm Munee Asma bint ʿAmr bin ‘Adi were the only two women to personally pledge directly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The latter’s husband, Ghaziyah bin ʿAmr, informed Muhammad that the women also wanted to give their bayah in person, and he agreed.
She returned to Medina and began teaching Islam to the city’s women. This bayah or pledge was the de facto handing over of power to Muhammad over the city by its key figures. Her most prominent role came in the battle of Uhud, where she defended the prophet. She also participated in the battle of Hunain, Yamamah, and the Treaty of Hudaybia.
The early advent of Islam proves that women had a massive contribution to establishing a real Islamic society. Umm Ammarah participated in the second covenant of Aqabah and fought a historic battle in Uhud along with her sons, and protected the Prophet (PBUH) in many instances. Although she had joined her husband, Ghaziya, and sons at the Battle of Uhud to offer water to the injured, Allah had planned something much more magnificent for her courage and strength.
At the beginning of the battle, she was bringing water and tending the wounded, as the other women were doing. When the battle was going in favor of the Muslims, the archers disobeyed the command of the Prophet (PBUH). It turned the victory into defeat, as the Qur’an described it:
“Behold! You were climbing up the high ground, without even casting a side glance at anyone, and the Messenger in your rear was calling you back . . .” [Qur’an 3:153]
At this point, Nasibah went forward, with her sword unsheathed and her bow in her hand, to join the small group standing firm with the Prophet (PBUH), acting as a human shield to protect him from the arrows of the mushrikin. Every time danger approached the Prophet (PBUH), she hastened to protect him. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) noticed this and later said, « Wherever I turned, to the left or the right, I saw her fighting for me. »
Her son Umarah also described what happened on that beautiful day: « On that day, I was wounded in my left hand. A man who seemed to be as tall as a palm tree struck me, then went away without pursuing me to finish me off. The blood began to flow copiously, so the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) told me, `Bind up your wound.’ My mother came to me, and she was wearing a waist-wrapper, which she had brought for wrapping wounds. She dressed my wound while the Prophet (PBUH) was looking on. Then she told me, `Get up, my son, and fight the people.’ The Prophet (PBUH) said, `Who could bear what you are putting up with, O Umm `Umarah?’ She said: The man who had struck my son came by, and the Messenger of Allah said,, `This is the one who struck your son.’ I intercepted him and hit him in the thigh, and he collapsed. I saw the Messenger of Allah smiling so broadly that I could see his back teeth. He said, `You have taken your revenge, O Umm `Umarah!’ Then we struck him with our weapons until we killed him. The Prophet (PBUH) said: `Praise be to Allah (SWT), who granted you victory over him, gave you the satisfaction of taking revenge on your enemy, and let you see the vengeance for yourself. »
It is said that her skills with the sword were so impressive that anyone who would see her on the battlefield of Uhud was left surprised.
On this day, Nusaybah herself received many wounds while fighting the people and striking their chests. The Prophet (PBUH) saw her and called to her son, « Your mother! Your mother! See to her wounds; may Allah (SWT) bless you and your household! Your mother has fought better than so-and-so. » When his mother heard what the Prophet (PBUH) said, she said, « Pray to Allah (SWT) that we may accompany you in Paradise. » He said, « O Allah (SWT), make them my companions in Paradise. » She said, « I do not care what occurs in this world.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) rewarded her with the great news that she would enter Jannah (Paradise), and later the Caliph Abu Bakr (RA) and Khaled Bin Waleed held her in high esteem, followed by the second Caliph, Umer ibn al-Khattab (RA).
In his book The Ideal Muslimah: The True Islamic Personality of the Muslim Woman, Dr. Al Hashimi writes that:
She was not only brave in battle, but she was also an advocate for Muslim women. She respectfully asked the Prophet (PBUH) why the Quran only addressed men and not women. Later, Allah (SWT) sent this revelation:
Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. [Quran 33:35]
Nusaybah as a Mother
It’s one thing for Nusaybah to be present on the battlefield enduring her wounds, but it’s entirely different to hear about her own son’s pain. Yet Nusaybah displayed a marvelous example of endurance and patience and received Prophet’s appreciation. She was a kind mother who taught her sons how to fight for Islam till the last breath.
Besides being a mighty warrior at battles, Nusaybah was active in the community from religious and social aspects. At the Battle of Hunayn, Umm Ammarah showed up as courageous as she did at the Uhud. During the caliphate of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA), she could be seen at Al-Yamamah fighting bravely and unfortunately lost her hand and got eleven significant injuries.
As Muslim women seek role models for their spiritual and worldly guidance; we have commendable personalities like Nusaybah bint Ka’ab. She taught women how to be fierce companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and played an integral role in clarifying the position of women in Islam.
Let’s strive to take inspiration from Nusaybah and realize her greatness as a means of personal strength and defy expectations to play an active role in the communities.
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