Lessons of Courage from Umm Ummarah (ra)

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)

Lessons of Patience from Hind bint Amr (ra)

flowerwiltBurial of Loved Ones

When the light of Islam enters the heart, even an unbeliever becomes convinced to fight in the way of Allah (swt). Amr ibn Jamuh (ra) who took his time to embrace Islam was then determined to fight in the way of Allah (swt). The Battle of Badr was all set to take place. Amr (ra) was also preparing to participate in the fight against the unbelievers. His family, however, feared for his safety. He had a fault in one of his legs, and could not walk properly. They pleaded before him to not participate in the battle. And,, when he did not listen to the family, the family took the case to the Prophet (sa). The Prophet (sa) looking at his condition advised Amr (ra) to stay behind. And so, the determined warrior surrendered before his leader (sa).

When the news of victory at Badr reached Madinah, Amr (ra) was both thrilled and saddened. He had missed his chance to participate in the first battle of Islam.

At one time where the family was concerned about Amr’s faith, Amr (ra) preceded the family in entering Jannah.

As determined as he was, he did not let go of his desire of martyrdom. The Battle of Uhud was around the corner. He again started preparing for it. His family again pleaded before him and recited the verse that excuses the weak from participating in a battle. Then Amr (ra) went to the Prophet (sa) to complain about his family. He shared that he wanted to see himself walking crippled in Paradise. When RasulAllah (sa) noticed his sincere desire, he stopped the family from preventing him from participating in the battle. He said that it might be that Allah (swt) willed martyrdom for him.

Amr (ra) was granted the permission. He entered the battlefield with his sons as a lion surrounded by his cubs. Since his intention was sincere, he was granted martyrdom along with Hind’s brother Abu Jabir ibn Abdullah (ra).

Aisha (ra) narrates that on the day of Uhud, she saw a woman leading two camels that were carrying some load. Aisha (ra) asked her what the news was. The woman replied that everything was alright. Allah (swt) had granted victory to His Messenger (sa) and the believers, and some people of the faith were granted martyrdom. Saying this, the woman started weeping. It was Hind (ra) carrying the bodies of her husband Amr (ra) and brother Abu Jabir (ra).

Hind (ra) did not immediately say that she was carrying the bodies of her loved ones, rather she said that Allah (swt) had granted victory to the believers and martyrdom to some.

Hind (ra) spent the rest of the days of her life in fasting and worship, until eventually she met her Lord (swt).

Lessons to draw: We learn that we should never underestimate the power of one’s goodness. At one time where the family was concerned about Amr’s faith, Amr (ra) preceded the family in entering Jannah. Moreover, we are again reminded of watching our tongues when we lose someone or something. Hind (ra) did not immediately say that she was carrying the bodies of her loved ones, rather she said that Allah (swt) had granted victory to the believers and martyrdom to some. Here was a woman clear in her mind about the reality of this life. She knew eventually all of us will leave this Earth. She continued performing her duties as life for her did not end.

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

From Ignorance to Enlightenment – Tumadir bint Amr (ra)

lilyfloThe daughter of Amr ibn Harith, and the wife of Rawaha ibn Abdul Aziz Sulma,  Tumadir (ra) was named so because of her extremely fair complexion. She is also known as “Khansa” because of her flat and short nose. This title was given to her by Rasulullah (sa).

The Arabic Poetess

Tumadir (ra) was a woman of multiple qualities. She was courageous, determined, strong, intelligent, eloquent, and beautiful. But what made her stand out was her poetry.

She had two brothers Sakhr and Muwaiya whom she dearly loved. When they were murdered, she recited elegiac verses that were later compiled as a Dewan. Whoever heard these verses would begin crying. Considered to be the best female poet in Arabic literature, her compositions have also been translated in the French language.

A Loving Sister

Tumadir (ra) was married to a rich man who did not know how to manage his wealth. His senseless spending led them to tatters. When he had wasted all his wealth, they approached Tumadir’s brother Sakhr for help. Her brother gathered all his belongings and divided them into two. He then asked his sister to choose whichever portion pleased her. They gathered the stuff and returned home. Soon they were back to poverty. The generous brother again gathered his belongings, divided them into two, and told his sister to take whichever portion pleased her. His wife complained, but the brother did not stop giving.

Therefore, when he passed away Tumadir (ra) commented: “My brother was so generous with me that each time we were in need, he gathered all his wealth and divided it into two. Can’t I be generous with him in my mourning?”

One day, Umar (ra) asked her about the dark circles around her eyes. She replied that it was due to her crying. Umar (ra) reminded her that they were dwellers of hell. Tumadir (ra) replied that earlier she used to cry on their murder, and then she cried because they died as unbelievers.

Tumadir (ra) replied that earlier she used to cry on their murder, and then she cried because they died as unbelievers.

Lessons to draw: What kind of siblings are we? Are we generous or stingy? Do we care about our siblings? And most importantly, do we care about our family’s and our own hereafter?

Tumadir’s Conversion to Islam

Tumadir (ra) converted to Islam along with her sons when a delegation of her tribe visited the Prophet (sa). When the Prophet (sa) met Khansa (ra), he requested her to recite some poetry. He also testified as her being the greatest poet when a delegation from Banuti claimed to be the best.

Lessons to draw: The Prophet (sa) encouraged people for their distinctive talents and did not keep back from complimenting them.

A Brave and Patient Mother

When the Battle of Qadsiyah was announced, her sons packed up to participate. Knowing that this might be her last meeting with her sons, Tumadir (ra) said,

“O my dear sons! You accepted Islam willingly and migrated on your choice. By Allah (swt), other than whom there is no real God, you are a son of man and a mother who gave birth to you.

Enter with complete willingness and valour when the battle becomes intense. Then you will either succeed as a victor bringing along war booty or you will return to your Lord as His guest and as a martyr.

I neither cheated your father nor humiliated your maternal uncles, and I did not let anything mix with your lineage. You know very well what great reward there is in fighting with the unbelievers. Know this too very well that the eternal house is better than the perishable house.

Allah (swt) says: O you who believe! Endure and be more patient (than your enemy), and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and fear Allah, so that you may be successful. (Al-Imran 3:200)

When you wake up in the morning with health and well-being, enter the battlefield while being conscious of fighting with your enemy. Enter with complete willingness and valour when the battle becomes intense. Then you will either succeed as a victor bringing along war booty or you will return to your Lord as His guest and as a martyr. In both the situations, success will kiss your feet.”

Her speech motivated the sons. They knew they were to return either as a victor or a martyr. They were obedient to their mother and strong in their faith. These qualities made them fearless and determined. The Muslims won the battle, but Khansa (ra) lost all four of her sons.

While earlier, she had violently mourned her brothers’ death, this time she neither tore off her clothes nor beat her chest or wailed. Her ignorance had ended with her conversion to Islam. She was a believer then. She knew that Islam did not accept such way of mourning.

She thanked Allah (swt) for choosing all four of her sons for martyrdom and honouring her by it

She had recited elegiac poetry in her brother’s remembrance but that time her words were different. She thanked Allah (swt) for choosing all four of her sons for martyrdom and honouring her by it. She also prayed for His Mercy and asked Him to allow her to enter Paradise with her sons.

Lessons to draw:This is called entering into enlightenment from ignorance. Her entire perspective about life changed with her conversion to Islam. She was not angry at Allah’s decision. She did not lose her senses. Rather used this painful time to supplicate to Him.

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