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Female Heroes Of Islam

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Asalaamu aleykum,



By Laila Nasheeba



(Taken from an Online Lecture given at AlQuran Wa Sunnah Islamic Site of Learning - you are not allowed to post links yetadly(contact admin if its a beneficial link))


Through out the history of Islam, numerous are the stories of Muslim men who put everything on the line for the sake of Allah and the Ummah. Men such as Umar Bin Al Khattab, Khalid Bin Walid, Amr al Aas and others. We read the exploits and achievements of such heroic men, and can not help but to wonder...Were there any heroic Muslim woman? Were Muslim women as active as their men in pursuing the establishment of Islam? After reviewing the lives of the Sahabiyat (women companions), one is surprised to learn that indeed they were as active as their male counterparts. In this lecture we shall visit the lives of some of these Sahabiyat, and review their exploits and achievements; and hopefully, by the end of the lecture, obtain not only knowledge of some of the heroines of Islam, but also a better understanding of Muslim women in general.




We begin with the story of Um Haram bint Malhan. She was the aunt of Anas bin Malik and her ambition was to be martyred in the way of Islam.


She was the first woman of the Ansar to embrace Islam and the Prophet (SA) held her in high regard. He used to visit her home and rest there when tired. Um Haram felt grateful for his presence and considered serving him to be a great honor. When asked why he would visit her home so often, the Prophet (SA) replied that he felt a sense of pity for the family ever since he saw two of her brothers martyred in the battle of Bir Maoonah. He visited her to see to her needs and comfort her.


Once while visiting, the Prophet (SA) said, “From among my Ummah an army will sail on the sea as a king sits on his throne.†Um Haram asked if she would be one amongst this army. “Yes,†he answered. “You will be one of the foremost amongst them.â€


Both Um Haram’s first husband and son fought with the Prophet (SA) during the battle of Badr. They were later martyred during the battle of Uhud. She remarried and had more sons.


During the Caliphate of Uthman, Muawiya the son of Abu Sufyan was given permission to conquer Cypress. For this battle the first Muslim naval force was put together. Um Haram along with her husband Ubadah bin Samit accompanied this naval force. After arriving in Cypress, the Muslim’s docked fleet of ships and set out to survey the enemy territories. Um Haram climbed onto a mule to travel on land, but unfortunately the mule became frightened by something and as a result Um Haram was thrown to the ground. In the process her neck was broken and she died. Thus she attained the martyrdom she desired, and the prophesy foretold by the messenger of Allah had come true. Um Haram was buried there in Cypress where her tomb remains to this day.


Um Haram was not the only woman in her family known for courage and dedication of faith. Her sister, Um Sulaym was just as God-fearing and daring.



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Like her sister, Um Sulaym was one of the first of the Ansar women to accept Islam; and her decision was made without the knowledge or consent of her husband who was away on a journey. Upon returning from his journey, Um Sulaym’s husband felt a change in his family. His wife explained to him that she has accepted the religion of Muhammad (SA).


Um Sulaym’s husband became furious especially after seeing the fervor in which is son Anas had for this new faith. After much domestic violence, Um Sulaym’s husband left the home and was later killed.


When it became known that Um Sulaym was widowed, a rich man named Abu Talha approached her for marriage. He was confident that she would accept his proposal being that he was not only rich, but handsome and popular amongst the people as well. Abu Talhah reached Umm Sulaym's house. He asked and was given permission to enter. Her son Anas was present. Abu Talhah explained why he had come and asked for her hand in marriage.


"A man like you, Abu Talhah ," she said, "is not (easily) turned away. But I shall never marry you while you are a kafir, an unbeliever."


Abu Talhah thought she was trying to put him off and that perhaps she had already preferred someone wealthier and more influential. He said to her:


"What is it that really prevents you from accepting me, Umm Sulaym? Is it the yellow and the white metals (gold and silver)?"


"Gold and silver?" she asked somewhat taken aback and in a slightly censuring tone. "Yes," he said. "I swear to you, Abu Talhah, and I swear to God and His Messenger that if you accept Islam, I shall be pleased to accept you as a husband, without any gold or silver. I shall consider your acceptance of Islam as my dowry."



Abu Talhah understood fully the implication of her words; and he thought about the idol he himself carved from wood in which he worshipped. As if reading his mind, Um Sulaym said; "Don't you know Abu Talhah, that the god you worship besides Allah grew from the earth?" "That's true," he said.


"Don't you feel stupid while worshipping part of a tree while you use the rest of it for fuel to bake bread or warm yourself? (If you should give up these Foolish beliefs and practices) and become a Muslim, Abu Talhah, I shall be pleased to accept you as a husband and I would not want from you any sadaqah apart from your acceptance of Islam."


"Who shall teach me in Islam?" asked Abu Talhah. "I shall," Umm Sulaym replied. "How?†he asked.


"Utter the declaration of truth and testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Then go to your house, destroy your idol and throw it away."


Abu Talhah left and reflected deeply on what Umm Sulaym had said. He came back to her beaming with happiness.


"I have taken your advice to heart. I declare that there is no god but Allah and I declare that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."


Thus, Umm Sulaym and Abu Talhah were married. Anas, her son, was pleased and the Muslims would say: "We have never yet heard of a dowry that was more valuable and precious than that of Umm Sulaym for she made Islam her dowry."



Abu Talhah and Umm Sulaym had an exemplary Muslim family life, devoted to the Prophet and the service of Muslims and Islam. The Prophet used to visit their home. Sometimes when the time of Prayer came, he would pray on a mat provided by Umm Sulaym. Sometimes also he would have a siesta in their house and, as he slept, she would wipe the perspiration from his forehead. Once when the Prophet awoke from his siesta, he asked: "Umm Sulaym, what are you doing?" "I am taking these (drops ofperspiration) as a barakah (blessing) which comes from you ," she replied.


In addition to her strength of faith, Um Sulaym was also noted for her courage and bravery. During the Battle of Uhud, she carried a dagger in the folds of her dress. She also gave water to and tended to the wounded. When the Prophet (sa) was left alone on the battlefield during this battle, she was one of the women who ran to protect him from the enemy.


At the Battle of Khandaq (also known as the battle of the ditch), the Prophet saw her carrying a dagger and he asked her what she was doing with it. She replied: "It is to fight those who run away from the battle field"


"May God grant you satisfaction in that," replied the Prophet.


Even in the face of adversity, Umm Sulaym displayed a unique calmness and strength. One of her young sons (Umayr) fell sick and died while her husband was away looking after his orchards. She bathed the child and wrapped him in shrouds. She told the others of her household to not say anything to Abu Talhah about what had happened. When her husband had returned home, she fed him a good meal and satisfied him as a wife. It wasn’t until afterwards that she told him of the death of their son. Not understanding why she waited till then to tell him, Abu Talhah went to the Prophet (SA) and told him what had happened. The Prophet (SA) prayed for the couple and then told Abu Talhah that as he stood there before him now, he wife was pregnant with another son.


Umm Sulaym was a model Muslim, a model wife and mother. Her belief in God was strong and uncompromising. She was not prepared to endanger her faith and the upbringing of her children for wealth and luxury.


Once the Prophet (SA) said that he had entered into Paradise and heard the footsteps of someone ahead of him. He asked whose footsteps those were and he was told they belonged to Um Sulaym. Such was the reward for her strength of faith and courage.



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Another heroine of Islam was Um Hakim. Umm Hakim was first married to Ikrama the son of Abu Jahl. The family was known for its opposition to Islam, and Umm Hakim opposed Islam tooth and nail. In the battle of Uhud she was with the Quraish of Mecca who fought against the Muslims. She along with Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, beat drums as they led the group of Quraish women onto the battlefield to urge the men on.


When the Muslims conquered Mecca, the Quraish converted to Islam. At that time Umm Hakim also became a Muslim. Her husband Ikrama, the son of Abu Jahl, being afraid of the wrath of the Muslims, fled to Yemen.


Umm Hakim waited on the Holy Prophet, and prayed for amnesty for her husband. The Holy Prophet granted her request, and She went to Yemen in person, and brought her husband back to Madina, where he was converted to Islam.


Thereafter, her husband Ikrama became a staunch Muslim, and he participated in all the wars undertaken by the Muslims. In the time of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr, Ikrama fought in the apostasy wars. Later he went to Syria and fought against the Byzantines. Umm Hakim went with Ikrama to Syria and remained in the military camp. Ikrama was martyred at the battle of Ajnadin.


After the death of her husband, Umm Hakim stayed in Syria. Khalid bin Saeed sent her a proposal of marriage. She accepted the proposal, but said that the marriage should be held after the war against the Byzantines was over. Khalid bin Saeed said that be had a feeling that he was not going to survive the battle, and as such, he wanted the marriage to be held immediately. Umm Hakim gave her consent and the marriage was celebrated.


The next day Khalid bin Saeed went to fight and he was martyred. The tent of Umm Hakim was surrounded by the enemy. Still dressed in her bridal clothes, Umm Hakim showed great presence of mind. She pulled the poles from the ground of the tent, and struck to death all the Byzantine soldiers who attempted to seek admittance to the camp. The Byzantine soldiers were confused and Um Hakim escaped and sought safety in the midst of the Muslim army.


When the Muslims returned back to Madina, the Caliph of the Muslims, Umar bin Al Khattab consoled with Um Hakim over the deaths of Ikrama and Khalid b. Saeed. He was impressed with her heroism in killing nine Byzantine soldiers with the poles of the tent at the time when she was dressed as a bride.


Umar proposed marriage to Um Hakim and after some consideration, she accepted the proposal. Umar and Umm Hakim were married in the third year of his caliphate.


Such is the story of Um Hakim a truly heroine of Islam.



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No lecture on Muslim female heroism would be complete without mention of this next woman known for her courageous exploits on the battlefield. She was a faithful wife and loving mother. She was also very learned in Quran and hadith. Her life makes pleasurable reading for the growth and development of faith. Her name was Um Ammarah Naseebah.


Um Ammarah took part in the battle of Uhud, the Battle of Hunain, the war of Yamamah and the treaty of Hudaibiya. Her skill with the sword in the battle of Uhud astonished everyone who saw her. She herself describes what happened at Uhud:


“The immigrant Muslims were on the verge of defeat and they were scattering across the battlefield. The Prophet (SA) was left open and alone. I and my husband and two sons ran onto the field and tried to surround the prophet in order to keep off any attacks against him. I had a sword in one hand and a shield in the other; and I was prepared to slay any who came near, be they on foot or horseback. Once an enemy on horse attacked me and I held him off with my shielded hand. I took the other hand which held my sword and plunged it into the back of the horse, and it went tumbling down to the ground. The Prophet (SA) saw what happened and called out to my son to come to my aid and together, I and my son finished off the enemy soldier.â€


After the battle the Prophet (SA) noticed Um Ammarah was bleeding from the shoulder. He asked her son to bandage her wound and then he said that they truly were a great family. The Prophet (SA) then invoked Allah to bless this noble family and he prayed that they should be his friends in Paradise as well.


Both Um Ammarah and her son were overjoyed to hear these words from the Prophet (SA). At the same time they were inspired from his words and preceded back onto the battlefield to continue the fight. This time the son of Um Ammarah was smitten by an enemy and received a wound to his arm. Um Ammarah bandaged his arm and told him to not lose courage but instead continue with his attack on the enemy.


The Prophet (SA) smiled when he saw the heroism and courage of both mother and son. “From where can anyone get courage like you oh Um Ammarah,†he called out to her.


Um Ammarah was standing in front of the Prophet (SA) with her sword when the man who had cut down her son came near them. The Prophet (SA) pointed to him and then told Um Ammarah that he was the man who injured her son. Um Ammarah dashed forward and struck a powerful blow to the man, cutting off his leg. The man fell to the ground and others then jumped on him and killed him.


The Prophet (SA) was very impressed with this display of strength and courage by Um Ammarah. He smiled and thanked Allah who gave her that success and had soothed her grief and avenged her with the death of that man. Umar bin Al Khattab said that the Prophet (SA) once told him that in the Battle of Uhud wherever he turned whether to the right or to the left, he saw Um Ammarah fighting to defend him.


Um Ammarah sustained at least 12 major wounds from this battle; the deepest one from the wound in the shoulder. She fainted from this wound and when she had come to the first thing she asked was how the Prophet (SA) was, not how were her husband or sons.


wa asalaamu aleykum,

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As salamu Alykum Sister,

JazakAllah Khair for this beautiful posts mashaAllah! May Allah bless our mothers and sisters with High Imaan and Bravery...i have no more words to say, dunno why this post is not rated?

was salam.

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