Female Heroines of Islam - Part II
At the Battle of Khandaq (also known as the battle of the ditch), the Prophet -pbuh- 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 Allah grant you satisfaction in that," replied the Prophet -pbuh-.
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 (pbuh) and told him what had happened. The Prophet (pbuh) prayed for the couple and then told Abu Talhah that as he stood there before him now, his wife was pregnant with another son.
Umm Sulaym was a model of Muslim woman, 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 (pbuh) said that he had entered Paradise and heard the footsteps of someone ahead 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.
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 -pbuh-, and prayed for amnesty for her husband. The Holy Prophet -pbuh- 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 he 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 courage. 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 Um Hakim over the deaths of Ikrama and Jalid bin Said. 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.
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 provides a 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 (pbuh) was left uncovered and alone. Me 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 (pbuh) 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.”
After the battle the Prophet (pbuh) 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 (pbuh) 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 (pbuh). 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 (pbuh) 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 (pbuh) with her sword when the man who had cut down her son came near them. The Prophet (pbuh) pointed to him and then told Um Ammarah that he was the man who injured her son. Um Ammarah ran 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 (pbuh) 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 (pbuh) 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 recovered, the first thing she asked, how the Prophet (pbuh), not how were her husband or sons.
(Taken from an Online Lecture given at AlQuran Wa Sunnah Islamic Site of Learning)