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.