The Nursing Mujahida – Rufaida Ansaria (ra)

whiteflowersAt a time, when Muslim girls have confusions about career choices, Rufaida Ansaria’s story can be an inspiration. She is the first Muslim nurse, who practiced nursing long before Florence Nightingale stepped up.

The Nursing Mujahida

After giving her pledge to the Prophet (sa), Rufaida (ra) chose a noble profession for herself. She dedicated her life to attending to the wounded soldiers and looking after their needs.

This was a period of numerous battles. Every year Muslims were being called for war. Rufaida (ra) felt the need of a nurse to look after the wounded soldiers. She set up her tent right next to the Prophet’s Mosque and equipped it with all the medical equipments and medicines of that time. And this was with the permission of the Prophet (sa).

Lessons to draw: We learn the lesson of not following the crowd or trends. One must analyse their own skills and gauge how they can positively contribute to the society. Many girls choose medicine, but do not practice it. Women do need female doctors at hospitals. Therefore, they should be encouraged to practice medicine even after marriage.

We learn the lesson of not following the crowd or trends. One must analyse their own skills and gauge how they can positively contribute to the society.

Some choose chartered accountancy or business studies, and then the corporate job, late sittings and frequent flying conflicts with their marital life. One should carefully evaluate her situation, interests and resources, and then pick a path. Our goal shouldn’t only be to earn money, but how we can contribute in the well-being of the society.

To pick this career, Rufaida (ra) must have obtained some kind of medical training. She was really confident and skilled in her work. We see in her story that there is no mention of a supervisor. She worked independently. Whenever one chooses a path they must strengthen their skills with all the necessary training required and then perform their task at the level of excellence. We should be confident in what we are doing and also ask Allah (swt) to make us strong, Insha’Allah.

Rufaida (ra) and the Battle of Trench

When the Muslim soldiers left for the Battle of Trench, Rufaida (ra) also went with them. She erected her tent near the soldier camps so that she could attend to the injured on the spot. Being honest to her profession, Rufaida (ra) desired only two things. She wanted to lessen the pain of the wounded and to help them recover quickly. She wanted to see them back on their feet, laughing and smiling, going on with their work.

In the Battle of Trendh, Saad ibn Muath (ra) got wounded by an enemy’s arrow. His nerve had been cut. The Prophet (sa) instructed that his nursing tent be placed in the Prophet’s Mosque so that he himself could attend to his needs. The Prophet (sa) would visit Saad (ra) twice a day. Each time he asked Saad (ra) how he was doing, Saad (ra) replied that all praise belongs to Allah (swt) and he was feeling alright.

Being honest to her profession, Rufaida (ra) desired only two things. She wanted to lessen the pain of the wounded and to help them recover quickly

Frequents visits of the Prophet (sa) to the camp cheered Rufaida (ra). She felt she was especially favoured by Allah (swt) to meet the Messenger of Allah (sa) twice in a day.

Lessons to draw: We see honesty to one’s profession. For what else is the purpose of doctors and nurses than to treat their patients and provide them relief? Whatever path that we choose in life, we shouldn’t solely look at it as a money-minting source. We should be sincere to our profession and to those that we are dealing with.

We also learn patience in pain. Considering the medical advancement of that age, one can imagine the pain that Saad ibn Muath (ra) must have been feeling. Yet each time that the Prophet (sa) asked him how he was doing, he replied with Alhumdulillah. He did not utter a word of complain.

We also learn that in situations of emergencies and in the absence of a male practitioner, a female doctor is allowed to attend to the male patients. Imam an-Nawawi explains: A woman may not touch the body of the person except at the place of necessity (i.e. the place of injury).

May Allah (swt) guide us all to the right path, and help us identify our special skills and how we can put them in good use for the larger benefit of the society, Ameen.

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

The Wow-Woman in You

wowWhat do we love the most in winter? Blankets, of course!

There must be a good reason for stepping out of the bed early on a Sunday morning and going all the way to the IBA main campus. However, I managed to go, as I had to attend a workshop about “Finding the Wow-Woman in You” – who wouldn’t want to attend an event that sounded so good?

In the workshop, five speakers gave talks on various topics related to women: the worth of a Muslim woman, Islamic perspective on woman’s career, stories of female companions (ra) and self-esteem issues in young girls. The actual workshop activities were carried out by a renowned former business journalist and sustainability consultant Khadijah Balkhi.

Following description is based upon the lessons that I learnt from her speech and the activities she conducted with us. Her session really helped me in analyzing myself from different perspectives. I hope it becomes beneficial for those sisters who could not attend the workshop. (Note: This is not a transcript of her speech.)

Activity 1:

  • Who is the ‘Wow-Woman’ in your life?
  • Mention three of her characteristics, which inspired you the most. Remember – three is just a number; you can go up to a hundred and above.

This will give you a clear idea about your understanding of a successful and influential woman, while also making a pathway for you to become one yourself. But what if you aren’t inspired by anyone? Well, that’s a problem in itself! Try to stay in the company of people, who are at a higher level than you religiously, and who can inspire you towards an Islamic lifestyle.

After this, she shared her experience of returning to the original practices of Islam, which meant that wearing Hijab became more important than conducting training sessions for hundreds of men. She continued saying that one cannot do everything in life, implying that we are always required to make certain choices in order to become the Wow-Woman.

Here, ‘wow’ symbolizes a state, where a woman is so close to Allah (swt) that we perceive her as ‘wow’.

Here, ‘wow’ symbolizes a state, where a woman is so close to Allah (swt) that we perceive her as ‘wow’. However, before working to get the Qurb of Allah (swt), it is important for us to identify the barriers, which are taking us away from His love and care. For instance, in case of Ms. Balkhi, it was her career, which she later chose to give up for the sake of Deen. It does not mean that every Muslim woman should quit her job; rather, it only means that if your job or your dream is based upon the violation of Allah’s (swt) Deen, then there is certainly no good in it. She further clarified that everyone has a different situation, and, therefore, a woman has to evaluate her career choices critically, so that she can pursue her passions, while remaining close to Allah (swt).

“Don’t feel the pressure to do things, which you aren’t required to do!”

Similarly, on the other side, Allah (swt) has blessed women with unmatched intellect and knowledge, so why use them for His disobedience?

This led us to another activity.

Activity 2:

  • List down things, which are holding you back from His Deen.
  • List down number of ways, which you can use to tune them.

Subsequently, Ms. Balkhi shared her valuable insight on Nafi – negation or canceling out something. Negation is important, because technically we can focus only on one thing, and our focus of attention should be on nothing else but the pleasure of Allah (swt). This helps us in developing clear values and preferences for the rest of our lives.

Make a mental note of things-to-do and things-not-to-do. Once this is done, aim to become a Wow-Woman. For achieving it, we need to make heavy investments in our environment, which is as simple as moving into gatherings which are filled with the Dhikr of Allah (swt) and the presence of His loving slaves. This will significantly help us in bringing out the best of ourselves, Insha’Allah.

Activity 3:

  • List down things which you think are positive in your life.
  • List down your wow-factors from an Islamic perspective.

Ms. Balkhi concluded her speech with a wonderful advice, which relieved my heart and truly became a source of inspiration for me. She said to do away with the useless messages of society (false ideologies, peer pressure, family traditions, social expectations, etc.), so that you are able to see yourself clearly and spend time with people, who help you in exploring yourself. Most importantly, pray for your guidance and remember that you can have Deen + career; however, at times, you have to choose one of them – so be ready for making the right choice, whenever required.

If People Could See Hell for Only a Few Minutes

Photo credit: Aztlek / iWoman / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Aztlek / iWoman / CC BY-SA

Imagine for a moment that life in this world had stopped. What if all the billions of people in the world could stand still and look at life in Hell for a few minutes? All the people in the U.S. stock exchanges; those shedding the blood of the innocent in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Syria; those cramming money into safe deposit boxes in European banks; people holding meetings in huge centers of business; those striving to perfect their bodies in gyms; those betraying the people closest to them for a tiny advantage in this world; those refusing to look their own brothers in the face because of disputes over their inheritance; those who become caught up in the life of this world and forget the hereafter, and those who dedicate themselves to having a good time…

Have you ever wondered how these people looking at the life of Hell for just a few minutes would react? At that moment, those people would realize that there is an absolute end to the life of this world and that real life will in fact begin after death. The screen of heedlessness between the life of this world and the Hereafter will be lifted. And with death, people will see how hollow the life of this world is and how everything they so desired, all their money, possessions, husbands and wives, friends and careers will be left behind; everyone will suddenly fall silent, their hearts in their mouths. People eating will be unable to swallow, people speaking will be unable to finish what they are saying, people standing will have to sit down, people walking on the streets will fall down and people lying down will leap to their feet in excitement. Everyone, without exception, will see that there is no place in Hell for all the wealth, delights, luxury homes, yachts and everything else that people yearn for in this world.

“Whoever wishes for the quick-passing (transitory enjoyment of this world), We readily grant him what We will for whom We like. Then, afterwards, We have appointed for him Hell, he will burn therein disgraced and rejected ( far away from Allah’s (swt) Mercy).” (Al-Isra 17:18)

What about those people who turn their backs on their brothers for the sake of money, who strive throughout their lives to pile one fortune on top of another, and refuse to spend that money for God’s approval? And what about those who do not feed the hungry, who do not protect the orphaned, and who spend their wealth on foul things instead? Will they not realize when they see Hell that all their money is of no value at all?

Money is only valid in the life of this world; it is of no use in Hell, even if one was the richest person in the world. Position is of no use either, even if one was once the most important person in the world. Even the most powerful friends and relatives in this world are of no use there. God reveals in the Quran that when people see the torments of Hell, they would want to pay a ransom to avoid it.

Money is only valid in the life of this world; it is of no use in Hell, even if one was the richest person in the world.

“For those who answered their Lord’s Call is Al-Husna (i.e. Paradise). But those who answered not His Call (disbelieved in the Oneness of Allah and followed not His Messenger Muhammad (sa)), if they had all that is in the earth together with its like, they would offer it in order to save themselves (from the torment, it will be in vain). For them there will be the terrible reckoning. Their dwelling place will be Hell; – and worst indeed is that place for rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:18)

What about people fighting all across the world, those raining bombs down on the innocent, those ruthlessly driving wretched women and children from their homes, those spreading evil for the sake of land or oil or gold or diamonds, those who fall out because of self-interest and those who incite civil strife and then watch from a distance? When these people see that there is an end to this world and look at Hell for just a few minutes, will they still continue fighting and slaughtering? Of course not!

At the moment, as required by the test, there is an invisible screen between us and Paradise and Hell. It is such a heavy screen that nobody without faith, who does not know that this world ends in the Hereafter and who imagines that life consists solely of the life of this world can lift it for even a moment- that is why everything seems so important in this world for these people. Such people strive to claim their little share of this world at the expense of the eternal life of the Hereafter.

However, there is no such screen of heedlessness for the believer who turns to God with a sincere heart between the life of this world and the Hereafter. The believer has filled his heart with love and awe of God. He has dedicated his life to God.

The believer lives with deep faith during the life of this world, he knows that he is on the very shores of Paradise and Hell. That knowledge shapes his entire life.

“He says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa): Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Anam 6:162) and continues on that same straight path.

There is no need for him to see Hell with his own eyes to believe in it. He sees it with his heart, since he already believes in it. In living with a deep faith during the life of this world, he knows that he is on the very shores of Paradise and Hell. That knowledge shapes his entire life.

“Nay! You shall come to know! Again, Nay! You shall come to know!

Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge (the end result of piling up, you would not have occupied yourselves in worldly things) Verily, You shall see the blazing Fire (Hell)!

And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight! Then, on that Day, you shall be asked about the delight (you indulged in, in this world)!” (At-Takathur 102:3-8)

Hell happily swallows up the unbelievers, while the gates of Paradise will open wide for believers. Believers will then have an absolute and certain faith in the Hereafter without yet seeing it and they will receive the reward for their sincerity for all time. There is no greater reward for a servant, of course, than God’s approval and love. A life spent with awareness and faith and reason will be fixed for all time in Paradise.

“Their reward with their Lord is ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (Gardens of Eternity), underneath which rivers flow, they will abide therein forever, Allah Well-Pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.” (Al-Bayyinah 98:8)