Lessons of Courage from Umm Ummarah (ra)


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Uzma Awan

Uzma Awan is a freelance writer. She writes on sustainability and Qur’an lessons and reflections.

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rockshoreWe are told the women’s participation in the battles was limited to nursing the wounded and bringing water to the soldiers. Here is a woman who participated in the Battles of Uhud, Khyber, Hunayn, Yamamah and others. She entered the battlefield with no other intention than defending the Prophet (sa).

About her the Prophet (sa) said: “From where can anyone get courage like you, O Umm Ammarah?”

The Battle of Uhud

Umm Ammarah (ra) had entered the Battle of Uhud with her water-skin, undertaking the official duty of serving water to the soldiers. When she saw chaos and Muslims leaving the battlefield, she dropped the water-skin and picked up a sword and shield. She surrounded the Prophet (sa) with her husband and sons ensuring no harm reached him. Had the enemy soldiers not been on horsebacks, Umm Ammarah (ra) would have slain all of them. Their might, however, did not daunt her a bit. When an enemy came closer, she attacked the horse and made the rider fall. She then killed him.

Fighting along with their parents, Abdullah Ibn Zayd (ra) got injured. Umm Ammarah (ra) attended to the wounds of her son without panicking at all. The Prophet (sa) complimented: “From where can anyone get courage like you, O Umm Ammarah?”

The Prophet (sa) complimented: “From where can anyone get courage like you, O Umm Ammarah?”

Umm Ammarah (ra) smiled and turned her attention to the man who had attacked her son. Like a lioness, she assaulted the man and killed him. The Prophet (sa) commented that she was fortunate to have seen her enemy’s downfall right before her eyes. Seizing the moment, she requested him to supplicate for her family. The Prophet (sa) invoked Allah (swt) to make the Zayd (ra) family his companions in the hereafter.

Only a day had passed since the Battle of Uhud and the Prophet (sa) instructed the army to march toward Hamra Al-Asad. Umm Ammarah (ra) readied herself for the fight, but the wounds that she had suffered were deep. She had received thirteen wounds, one of which took a year to heal.

Lessons: The Sahabiyat (ra) inspire us to be courageous. We might not be required to participate in the battlefield, but we are tested every day by life’s challenges and global affairs. What is our reaction? Are we as composed in the midst of a trial as Umm Ammarah (ra) was in the battlefield?

The entire family’s encircling the Prophet (sa) at the same time did not happen by chance. This was the talk that they regularly held at their home. They knew that no matter what happens they had to defend the Prophet (sa), for they had given him their pledge of allegiance.

We are his nation. By being Muslims, we have pledged we will love the Prophet (sa) more than we love our parents. Do our lives reflect our promise? Are we as committed to his Sunnah as we should be? His Sunnah was not limited to a particular dress code. It was his character that touched the hearts.  It was his principles that made him the most dignified. What does our character say about us? What are our principles?

Umm Ammarah’s (ra) story teaches women to learn self-defence skills. This is more important today than it has been ever before. Are we trained to defend ourselves? Or are we the people who get scared of lizards and cockroaches, and feel it is the man’s job to protect us?

Umm Ammarah’s (ra) story teaches women to learn self-defence skills. This is more important today than it has been ever before. Are we trained to defend ourselves?

Umm Ammarah (ra) entered the arena to serve water; but as soon as she recognised that the Muslim army needed more soldiers, she left her water-skin and picked up her sword.

Here is a woman who was present in her mind. Swords were being waged to her left and right, but when the Prophet (sa) complimented her valour, she did not let the moment go by and requested him to supplicate for her family. How attentive are we to our situations?

When we are at work, we are thinking about family problems. When we are at home, we are thinking about office work. Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, said: “Wherever you are, be there!” He says, “We are so involved in yesterday and tomorrow that we never even notice that today is slipping by.” By not being ‘present’ we make wrong decisions. Let us free our minds from the sorrows of yesterday, and apprehensions of tomorrow. Let us live in our today, and make the right choices right now.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

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