Muslimah: She Works To Support The Religion of Allah (SWT)

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The most important act of worship that the Muslim woman can do is to strive to establish the rule of Allah (SWT) on earth, and to follow the way of life that He has prescribed, so that Islam will govern the life of the individual, the family, the community and the nation. The sincere Muslim woman will feel that her worship is lacking if she does not strive to achieve the purpose for which Allah (SWT) created jinn and men, namely promoting the supremacy of the authority of Allah (SWT) on earth, which is the only way in which mankind can truly worship Allah


(I have only created jinns and men, that they may worship Me.) (Qur'an 51:56)

This is the only way in which the true meaning of the words "la ilaha ill-Allah" will be realized in our own lives. The first Muslim women had a sound grasp of this meaning, which penetrated deep into their souls. They were no less enthusiastic than the men when it came to sacrifice and courage for the sake of

Allah (SWT). Some of the women of the early generations of this ummah excelled many of the men in this regard.

Asma' bint `Umays, the wife of Ja`far ibn Abi Talib, hastened to embrace Islam along with her husband in the earliest days of Islam, the days of hardship and suffering. She migrated with him to Abyssinia, in spite of the risks and hardships involved, for the sake of Allah (SWT) and to support His religion. When `Umar ibn al-Khattab joked with her and said, "O Habashiyyah (Abyssinian woman)! We beat you to Madinah," she said, "You have most certainly spoken the truth. You were with the Messenger of Allah, feeding the hungry and teaching the ignorant, whilst we were far away in exile. By Allah (SWT), I shall go to the Messenger of Allah and tell him that." She came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, some men are criticizing us and claiming that we were not among the early muhajirin." The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "But you have two hijrahs; you migrated to the land of Abyssinia, whilst we were detained in Makkah, then you migrated to me afterwards."

Asma' bint `Umays was successful in establishing the virtue of those who had migrated to Abyssinia in the early days of Islam, and she understood from the Prophet (PBUH) that this distinguished group would have the reward of two hijrahs. This was a great honour which was theirs because they had not hesitated to support the Prophet (PBUH), even though it meant leaving behind their families and homeland for the sake of Allah (SWT). Muslim women were also present at the Treaty of Aqabah, which took place in secret, under cover of darkness, and which played such an important role in supporting the Prophet (PBUH). Among the delegation of Ansar were two women of status and virtue: Nasibah bint Ka`b al-Maziniyyah, and Umm Mani` Asma' bint `Amr al-Sulamiyyah, the mother of Mu`adh ibn Jabal (RAA); the latter was present with the Prophet (PBUH) at Khaybar, where she performed extremely well.

When the Prophet (PBUH) began his Mission, calling for pure Tawhid and the abandonment of idolworship, the mushrikin were very angry with him, and plotted to break into his house at night and kill him. The conspirators kept quiet and vowed to let their plot to kill the Prophet remain a secret amongst themselves. Nobody even sensed that there was a plot, apart from one Muslim woman, who was over one hundred years old. Her name was Ruqayqah bint Sayfi, and she did not let the weakness of old age stop her from hastening to save the Prophet's life. She made her way to him, and told him what the people were planning to do. He embarked upon his hijrah straight away, leaving the land that was the most beloved to him on earth, and leaving his cousin `Ali (RAA) sleeping in his bed, so that the conspirators surrounding his house would think that he was there, and this would keep them from following him and killing him on the road.

What a tremendous service this great woman did for Islam and the Muslims! How great was her jihad to save the life of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) at the most dangerous time he ever faced. When the Prophet (PBUH) and his companion left Makkah, and stayed out of sight in the cave of Hira' at the top of Mount Thawr, it was a young girl who brought them food and water, and news of the people who were lying in wait for. Her name was Asma' bint Abi Bakr al-Siddiq (May Allah be pleased with her). This brave young girl used to cover the great distance between Makkah and Mount Thawr at night; the difficulty and isolation of this journey, and the presence of watchful enemies, did not deter her. She knew that by saving the life of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companion, helping them to reach their goal of going to Madinah, she was supporting the religion of Allah (SWT), and working towards making His word supreme on earth. So she undertook her difficult mission every day, ever alert and striving to conceal herself as she walked and climbed up the mountain, until she had brought whatever supplies and news she was carrying to the Prophet (PBUH) and his companion.

Then she would go back down to Makkah under cover of darkness.

This mission, which even the strongest of men could have failed to achieve, is not all that Asma' did to support the Prophet (PBUH) and Islam. She was tested severely, and proved to be as solid as a rock, on the day when the mushrikin surrounded her and asked about her father. She denied knowing anything, and they placed severe pressure on her, so much so that Abu Jahl struck her a blow that sent her earring flying from her ear. But this did not weaken her resolve or her determination to keep her secret hidden. She kept up her mission of taking food and news to the Prophet (PBUH) and his companion, until the time came for them to leave the cave and head for Madinah. She had already brought them provisions for the journey, but when she checked the cloth in which they were wrapped, she found that she had nothing with which to tie it apart from her own girdle. She told her father, who told her to tear it in two and use one piece to tie the water skins and the other to tie the cloth holding the food. Hence Asma' became known as Dhat al-Nitaqayn (she of the two girdles).

It was the attitude of the early Muslim women to support the religion of Allah (SWT) and join the forces of da`wah, because their hearts were filled with strong, vibrant faith. They could not bear to stay in the land of kufr, far from the centre of Islam, so they migrated - with their husbands, if they were married - and their hijrah, like that of the men, was in obedience to Allah (SWT) and in support of His religion. Their faith was like that of the men, and they made sacrifices just as the men did.

This deep faith is what motivated Umm Kalthum bint `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu`ayt to migrate to Madinah alone, at the time of the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyah, where the Prophet (PBUH) had promised to return to the mushrikin anyone who came to him to embrace Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) had already kept his promise and sent two men back. When Umm Kalthum reached Madinah, she said to the Prophet (PBUH): "I have fled to you with my religion, so protect me and do not send me back to them, for they will punish me and torture me, and I do not have the patience and fortitude to endure that. I am a mere woman, and you know the weakness of women. I see that you have already sent two men back." The Prophet (PBUH) said: "Allah (SWT) has cancelled this treaty with regard to women."

Allah (SWT) knew the faith of Umm Kalthum bint `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu`ayt, and other muhajir women who had migrated solely out of love for Allah (SWT) and His Messenger and Islam.

He revealed Qur'an concerning them, abolishing the treaty between the Prophet and the mushrikin in the case of women only, and forbidding their being sent back to the mushrikin once the Prophet (PBUH) had tested them and ensured that they had not migrated for the sake of a husband or wealth or some other worldly purpose, and that they had indeed migrated for the sake of Allah (SWT) and His Messenger:

(O you who believe! When there come to you believing women refugees, examine [and test] them: Allah knows best as to their Faith: if you ascertain that they are

Believers, then send them not back to the Unbelievers. They are not lawful [wives] for the Unbelievers, nor are the [Unbelievers] lawful [husbands] for them. .) (Qur'an


One of those virtuous women who were among the first people to support Islam and the Prophet was Umm al-Fadl bint al-Harith, Lubabah, the full-sister of the Prophet's wife Maymunah. She was the second woman to embrace Islam: she became Muslim after Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her).

She was a source of great support and consolation for the Prophet (PBUH).

Lubabah was the wife of the Prophet's paternal uncle al-`Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, and was diametrically opposed to Umm Jamil bint Harb, the wife of his other paternal uncle Abu Lahab, whom the Qur'an described as the carrier of firewood who would have a twisted rope of palm-leaf fibre around her neck (see Qur'an 111:4-5), because of her determination to harm the Prophet (PBUH), whilst Lubabah was the first to come to his support and to make sacrifices to support his religion during the most testing days that the early Muslims faced. Lubabah, her husband al-`Abbas and their sons used to conceal their Islam, in obedience to the Prophet's command and in accordance with a well-thought-out plan.

Thus they were able to learn the secrets of the mushrikin and pass them on to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). When the battle of Badr was waged between the Muslims and the mushrikin, and news came of the defeat of Quraysh, Umm Fadl urged her sons and her freed slave Abu Rafi` to conceal their joy at this defeat, because she feared that the mushrikin, especially Abu Lahab who was filled with hatred towards Muhammad (PBUH), his companions and his message, might do them some harm. But her freed slave Abu Rafi` was not safe from the wrath of Abu Lahab; when he expressed his joy at the Muslims' victory, Abu Lahab was enraged and vented his fury on the poor man, beating him in the presence of Umm Fadl. At this point, Umm Fadl became like a fierce lioness, and attacked him shouting, "You pick on him when his master is absent!" She struck him with one of the (wooden) pillars of the house and dealt him a fatal blow to the head. Abu Lahab did not live more than seven days after that.

Umm Fadl bore her separation from her husband al-`Abbas with patience, for the sake of Allah (SWT) and in support of His religion, when the Prophet (PBUH) issued a command that al-`Abbas should stay in Makkah, and she should migrate to Madinah.

Their separation was a lengthy and difficult one, but Umm Fadl bore it patiently, hoping for reward and seeking help from Allah (SWT) through prayer and fasting, waiting for her beloved husband to finish what he had to do in Makkah and come to Madinah. As it turned out, he was one of the last to migrate to Madinah. The only thing that helped to ease the pain of this separation was seeing her eldest son `Abdullah, accompanying the Prophet (PBUH) daily and drinking deeply from the pure wellspring of Islam.

It never occurred to her that history was preparing her to enter its widest gate, for she was to be the great mother of the great authority on Islamic teaching and the interpretation of the Qur'an: `Abdullah ibn al-`Abbas (RAA).

Another one of the early Muslim women who thought little of the sufferings and torture they endured for the sake of Islam was Sumayyah, the mother of `Ammar ibn Yasir. When the mid-day heat was at its most intense, and the desert sands were boiling, Banu Makhzum would drag her and her son and husband out to an exposed area, where they would pour burning sand over them, place heated shields on them, and throw heavy rocks at them, until her son and husband sought to protect themselves from this appalling torture by saying some words to agree with the mushrikin, although they hated to do so. Concerning them and others in similar situations, Allah (SWT) revealed the ayah: (Anyone who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief, except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith . . .) (Qur'an 16:106)

But Sumayyah remained steadfast and patient, and refused to say what the mushrikin wanted to hear. The despicable Abu Jahl stabbed her with a spear, killing her, and thus she had the honour ofbeing recorded as the first martyr in Islam.

The history of Islam is filled with other women who endured even worse torture for the sake of Islam. This suffering did not weaken their resolve or exhaust their patience; rather they willingly accepted whatever befell them, hoping for reward from Allah (SWT). They never said anything that would undermine their religion, and they never humiliated themselves by begging for mercy. Historians record that many of the men who were oppressed - apart from Bilal, may Allah (SWT) have mercy on him - were forced to say something that would please their oppressors, in order to save their lives, but not one of the women who were similarly oppressed was reported to have given in.

These brilliant Muslim women welcomed the oppression they suffered for the sake of Allah (SWT) and making His word supreme on earth. They never stopped preaching the word of Islam, no matter what trials and suffering came their way.

In the story of Umm Sharik al-Qurashiyyah al-`Amiriyyah, Ibn `Abbas gives an eye-witness account of the depth of the women's faith and how they rushed to devote themselves to Allah's (SWT) cause, patiently enduring whatever trials this entailed.

Ibn `Abbas said:

"Umm Sharik began to think about Islam whilst she was in Makkah. She embraced Islam, then began to mix with the women of Quraysh in secret, calling them to Islam, until this became known to the people of Makkah. They seized her and said, `If it were not for your people, we would have done what we wanted to you, but we will send you back to them.' She said, `So they seated me on a camel with no saddle or cushion beneath me, and left me for three days without giving me anything to eat or drink. After three days I began to lose consciousness. Whenever they stopped, they would leave me out in the sun whilst they sought shade, and keep food and drink away from me until they resumed their journey . . .'"

This was not all that Muslim women did in support of Islam; they also went out on military expeditions with the Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions where, when the forces of iman and the forces of kufr met in armed combat, they performed the important duty of preparing the water skins and bringing water to the fighters, and tending the wounded, and carrying the dead away from the battlefield.

At the most critical moments, they never shrank from taking up weapons and entering the fray alongside the Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions.

Bukhari and Muslim narrate many Hadith which illustrate the brilliance of the Muslim women during that golden age, when hearts were filled with vibrant faith, deep love for Allah (SWT) and His Messenger, and the desire to make Islam victorious.

One of these reports is the account given by Imam Muslim of Umm `Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah, who said:

"I went out on seven military campaigns with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). I stayed behind in the camp, making food for them and tending to the sick and wounded."

Anas ibn Malik said:

"The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) used to go out on military campaigns accompanied by Umm Sulaym and some of the Ansar women; they would bring water and tend the wounded."

Imam Bukhari reported that al-Rubayyi` bint Mu`awwidh said:

"We were with the Prophet (PBUH), bringing water, tending the wounded, and bringing the dead back to Madinah."

Bukhari and Muslim report that Anas said:

"On the day of Uhud, when some of the people ran away from the Prophet (PBUH), Abu Talhah stood before the Prophet (PBUH), defending him with a shield. Abu Talhah was a highly-skilled archer, and on that day he broke two or three bows. Whenever a man passed by who had a quiver full of arrows, he would say, `Give it to Abu Talhah.' Whenever the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) raised his head to see what was happening, Abu Talhah told him, `O Prophet of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you! Do not raise your head, lest an arrow strike you. May it hit my chest rather than yours.'

He [Anas] said: I saw A'ishah bint Abi Bakr and Umm Sulaym, both of whom had tucked up their garments so that their anklets were visible.

They were carrying waterskins on their backs and were pouring water into the mouths of the people. They would go back and fill the water skins again, then come and pour water into the mouths of the people again. Abu Talhah's sword fell from his hands two or three times because of exhaustion."

What a noble deed these two great women did in quenching the thirst of the mujahidin in the midst of a raging battle and in the intense heat of the Hijaz climate. They were moving about the battlefield, not caring about the falling arrows and clashing swords that surrounded them.

For this reason, the Rightly-Guided khalifah `Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA) preferred Umm Salit over his own wife Umm Kalthum bint `Ali when he was sharing out some garments among the women of Madinah. Because she had sewn water skins on the day of Uhud, and this had played an important role in helping the mujahidin and renewing their energy.

Bukhari reports from Tha`labah ibn Abi Malik:

"Umar ibn al-Khattab shared out some garments among the women of Madinah. There was one good garment left, and some of the people with him said, `O Amir al-Mu'minin, give this to your wife, the grand-daughter of the Messenger of Allah,' meaning Umm Kalthum bint Ali. `Umar said, `Umm Salit has more right to it.' Umm Salit was one of the Ansari women who had pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (PBUH). `Umar said, `She carried the water skins to us on the day of Uhud.'"

At Uhud, the Prophet's cheek and upper lip were wounded and his tooth was broken. His daughter Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with her) washed his wounds, whilst `Ali poured the water. When Fatimah saw that the water only made the bleeding worse, she took a piece of matting, burned it, and applied it to the wound to stop the bleeding.

Among the women who stood firm at the most intense moments of the battle of Uhud was Safiyyah bint `Abd al-Muttalib, the (paternal) aunt of the Prophet (PBUH). She stood with a spear in her hand, striking the faces of the people and saying, "Are you running away from the Messenger of Allah?!" When the Prophet (PBUH) saw her, he gestured to her son al-Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam that he should bring her back so that she would not see what had happened to her brother Hamzah

(RAA). She said, "Why? I have heard that my brother has been mutilated, but that is nothing for the sake of Allah (SWT). We accept what has happened, and I shall hope for reward and be patient, in sha Allah."

Safiyyah was also present at the battle of al-Khandaq (the trench). When the Prophet (PBUH) set out from Madinah to fight his enemies, he put his wives and womenfolk in the fortress of the poet Hassan ibn Thabit, which was the most secure fortress in Madinah. A Jewish man came by, and began to walk around the fortress. Safiyyah said, "O Hassan, this Jew is walking around the fortress, and by Allah (SWT) I fear that he will go and tell the other Jews out there where we are.

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and his Companions are too busy to come and help us, so go down and kill him." Hassan said, "May Allah forgive you, O daughter of `Abd al-Muttalib. By Allah (SWT), you know that I am not like that." When Safiyyah heard this, she stood up, took hold of a wooden post, and went down from the fortress herself. She struck the Jew with the wooden post and killed him, then went back to the fortress and said, "O Hassan, go down and strip him of his arms and armour; the only thing that is preventing me from doing so is that he is a man." Hassan said, "I have no need of this booty, O daughter of Abd al-Muttalib." Safiyyah was also present at the battle of Khaybar.

One of the most distinguished women who took part in the battle of Uhud, if not the most distinguished of them, was Nasibah bint Ka`ab al-Maziniyyah, Umm `Umarah (May Allah be pleased with her). 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 the favour of the Muslims, the archers disobeyed command of the Prophet (PBUH), and this 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 who were 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 tremendous 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 the purpose of wrapping wounds. She dressed my wound, whilst 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, and 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."

On this day, Nasibah herself received many wounds whilst she was 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 befalls me in this world."

Umm `Umarah's jihad was not confined to the battle of Uhud. She was also present on a number of other occasions, namely the treaty of `Aqabah, al-Hudaybiyah, Khaybar and Hunayn. Her heroic conduct at Hunayn was no less marvellous than her heroic conduct at Uhud. At the time of Abu Bakr's khilafah, she was present at al-Yamamah where she fought brilliantly and received eleven wounds as well as losing her hand.

It is no surprise that the Prophet (PBUH) gave her the good news that she would enter Paradise, and that she was later held in high esteem by the khalifah Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (RAA) and his commander Khalid ibn al-Walid (RAA), and subsequently by `Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA).

During this golden age of the Muslim woman's history there was another woman who was no less great than Nasibah bint Ka`b: Umm Sulaym bint Milhan. Like Umm `Umarah, `A'ishah, Fatimah and the other women, she also brought water and tended the wounded, but here we will tell another story. When the Muslims were preparing to go out with the Prophet (PBUH) to conquer Makkah, her husband Abu Talhah was among them. Umm Sulaym was in the later stages of pregnancy, but this did not stop her from wanting to accompany her husband Abu Talhah and to earn alongside him the reward for jihad for the sake of Allah (SWT). She did not care about the hardships and difficulties that lay ahead on the journey. Her husband felt sorry for her and did not want to expose her to all that, but he had no choice but to ask the Prophet's permission.

The Prophet (PBUH) gave his permission, and Umm Sulaym was delighted to accompany her beloved husband and witness the conquest of Makkah with him, on that great day when the hills of Makkah echoed with the cries of the believers and mujahidin:

"There is no god but Allah (SWT) alone. He has kept His promise, granted victory to His servant, and alone has defeated the confederates.

There is nothing before Him or after Him. There is no god but Allah (SWT), and we worship Him alone, adhering faithfully to His religion although the disbelievers may hate this." This was the day when the bastions of idolatry and shirk in the Arabian Peninsula were forever destroyed, and the idols were thrown down by the Prophet (PBUH), as he declared, ( Truth has [now] arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is [by its nature] bound to perish.) (Qur'an 17:81)

These events filled Umm Sulaym's soul with faith, and increased her courage and her desire to strive for the sake of Allah (SWT). Only a few days later came the battle of Hunayn, which was such a severe test for the Muslims. Some of the people ran away from the battle, not caring about anything.

The Prophet (PBUH) stood to the right and said, "Where are you going, O people? Come to me! I am the Messenger of Allah, I am Muhammad ibn Abdullah." Nobody stayed with him except for a group of Muhajirin and Ansar, and members of his household, and Umm Sulaym and her husband Abu Talhah were among this group. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saw Umm Sulaym wrapping a garment around her waist; she was pregnant with `Abdullah ibn Abi Talhah, and she was trying to control Abu Talhah's camel, which she was afraid would get away from her, so she pulled its head down towards her and took hold of its nose-ring.

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) called her, "O Umm Sulaym!" and she replied, "Yes, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah."

A report in Sahih Muslim states:

"On the day of Hunayn, Umm Sulaym took hold of a dagger and kept it with her. Abu Talhah saw her, and said, `O Messenger of Allah, Umm Sulaym has a dagger.' The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) asked her, `What is this dagger?' She said, `I took it so that if any one of the mushrikin comes near me, I will rip his belly open with it.' The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) began to laugh. She said, `O Messenger of Allah, kill all of the tulaqa113 who have run away and left you.'

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, `Allah (SWT) is sufficient for us and He has taken care of us.'"

Umm Sulaym stood firm with the Prophet (PBUH) when the battle intensified and even the bravest of men were put to the test. She could not bear even to see those who had run away

and left the Prophet (PBUH), so she told him, "Kill those who ran away and left you . . ."

It comes as no surprise that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) gave her the glad tidings that she would enter Paradise. In a hadith reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others from Jabir ibn Abdullah (RAA), he (PBUH) told her: "I saw myself in Paradise, and suddenly I saw al-Rumaysa' bint Milhan, the wife of Abu Talhah . . ."

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) used to visit Umm Sulaym, and her sister Umm Haram bint Milhan.

Just as he gave glad tidings to Umm Sulaym that she would enter Paradise, so he also gave good news to Umm Haram that she would ride the waves of the sea with those who went out to fight for the sake of Allah (SWT).

Bukhari reports that Anas ibn Malik (RAA) said:

"The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) visited the daughter of Milhan, and rested there for a while.

Then he smiled, and she asked him, `Why are you smiling, O Messenger of Allah?' He said, `Some people of my ummah will cross the green sea for the sake of Allah (SWT), and they will look like kings on thrones.' She said, `O Messenger of Allah, pray to Allah (SWT) that I will be one of them.' He said, `O Allah (SWT), make her one of them.' Then he smiled again, and she asked him again why he was smiling. He gave a similar answer, and she said, `Pray to Allah (SWT) that I will be one of them.' He said, `You will be one of the first ones, not one of the last ones.'"

The Prophet's words came true, as Anas (RAA) reported: "She married `Ubadah ibn al-Samit, and went out for jihad with him, and she travelled across the sea with the daughter of Qarazah. When she came back, her riding-beast threw her, and she fell and died."

Her grave in Cyprus remains to this day as a memorial to a Muslim woman who fought in jihad for the sake of Allah (SWT).

When people visit the grave they say, "This is the grave of a righteous woman, may Allah (SWT) have mercy on her."

Another of the women who took part in military campaigns and jihad with the Prophet (PBUH), helping to defend Islam, was Umm Ayman, the nurse of the Prophet (PBUH). She was present at Uhud, Khaybar, Mu'tah and Hunayn, where she worked hard, tending the wounded and bringing water to the thirsty.

There was also Kabshah bint Rafi` al-Ansariyyah, the mother of Sa`d ibn Mu`adh (RAA). During the campaign of Uhud, she came running towards the Prophet (PBUH), who was on his horse, and Sa`d ibn Mu`adh (RAA) was holding onto its reins. Sa`d said, "O Messenger of Allah, this is my mother." The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "She is most welcome." He stopped for her, and she came closer; he offered his condolences for the death of her son `Amr ibn Mu`adh, told her and her family the glad tidings of the martyrs in Paradise, and prayed for them.

Among these great women are al-Furay`ah bint Malik, and Umm Hisham bint Harithah ibn al-Nu`man (RAA). They were among those who gave their oath of allegiance to the Prophet (PBUH) under the tree at Hudaybiyah. This was Bay`at al Ridwan, which the Prophet (PBUH) called for when the mushrikin prevented the believers from entering Makkah; the Prophet (PBUH) had sent `Uthman ibn `Affan to Quraysh, and they detained him for so long that the Muslims though Quraysh had betrayed their trust and killed him.

Allah (SWT) honoured His Messenger and those who were present on this blessed occasion, and He bestowed upon them His pleasure which many die before they can attain it, and beside which all other hopes and aspirations pale into insignificance. Allah (SWT) revealed ayat of the Qur'an on this occasion, which will be recited until heaven and earth pass away:

(Allah's Good Pleasure was on the Believers when they swore Fealty to you under the Tree: He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down Tranquillity to them; and He rewarded them with speedy Victory.) (Qur'an 48:18)

Umm al-Mundhir Salma bint Qays was present at Bay`at al-Ridwan, and had previously been present at Bay`ah al-Mu'minat, hence she was known as Mubaya`at al-Bay`atayn (the one who gave two oaths of allegiance).

When the Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions went out to besiege Banu Qurayzah, this great Sahabiyyah went with them, and earned the reward for jihad for the sake of Allah (SWT).

Asma' bint Yazid ibn al-Sakan al-Ansariyyah took part in the battle of al-Khandaq with the Prophet (PBUH). She was also present at al-Hudaybiyah and Bay`at al-Ridwan and at the battle of Khaybar.

She continued her worthy efforts for the sake of Islam until the Prophet's death, and he died pleased with her. After his death, she never stopped working in support of Islam.

In 13 AH, she travelled to Syria and was present at the battle of Yarmuk, when she brought water to the thirsty, tended the wounded and encouraged the fighters to stand firm.

Yarmuk is one of the most famous battles in which the Muslim women took part alongside the fighting men. The Muslim army was sorely tested, and some of them retreated. The mujahid women were fighting a rear-guard action, rushing towards those who were running away with pieces of wood and stones, urging them to go back and stand firm. Ibn Kathir noted the courage of the Muslim women and the important role they played in this battle:

"The Muslim women fought on this day, and killed a large number of Romans. They struck whoever among the Muslims ran away, and said, `Where are you going, to leave us at the mercy of these infidels?!' When they told them off in this manner, they had not choice but to return to the fight."

The Muslim woman's stance and encouragement played a major role in making the mujahidin stand firm until Allah (SWT) decreed that they would be victorious over the Romans.

On this tremendous day, Asma' bint Yazid did extremely well, and demonstrated a type of courage that was unknown among many of the men. She went forth into the battle lines, and struck down a number of the mushrikin. Ibn Hijr also noted her bravery:

"Umm Salamah al-Ansariyyah, i.e., Asma' bint Yazid ibn Sakan, was present at al-Yarmuk. On that day she killed nine Romans with her tent-pole. She lived for a while after that."

It seems that this great heroine spent the rest of her life in Syria, where the battle of Yarmuk took place, as she went with those of the Sahabah who went there. She lived until the time of Yazid ibn Mu`awiyah, and when she passed away, she was buried in the cemetery of al-Bab al-Saghir. Her grave is still there, bearing proud testimony to the jihad of Muslim women for the sake of Allah (SWT).

These golden pages of Muslim women's history were written by those virtuous women themselves, through the depth of their faith and the completeness of their understanding of the Muslim's woman's mission in life and her duty towards her Lord and her religion. What I have cited represents only a small part of a vast and noble record of rare sacrifice, proud determination, unique talents and deep faith. Undoubtedly Muslim women today may find in these accounts an example worthy of following as they seek to form their own modern Islamic character and identity.

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