Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) was a female companion of the Holy Prophet (sa) who was renowned for her un-paralleled bravery in protecting the Holy Prophet (sa) and the name of Islam. Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) was born in Medina, about 40 years before Hijrah (the migration of the Holy Prophet (sa) from Mecca to Medina). She belonged to a very respectable tribe in Medina called Najjaar, the same tribe to which the Holy Prophet’s (sa) great-grandmother belonged.
Acceptance of Islam
Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) had four children and accepted Islam alongside her husband, three months before Hijrah when a delegation of believers including Hazrat Mus’ab bin Umair (ra) travelled from Mecca to Medinah and gathered in the valley of Aqabah. She was one of only two females in that group to accept Islam. The Holy Prophet (sa) took bai’at from both women without holding their hands out of modesty and respect – the Holy Prophet (sa) considered a woman’s oral oath sufficient for bai’at.
Hazrat Umme Ummaarah’s (ra) bravery
Three years after Hijrah, the battle of Uhud occurred when an enemy of Islam called Abu Sufyaan approached the city of Medina for war against the Muslims. When women came to know about the war, a group of them including Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) requested permission to join the battle by tending to the wounded soldiers and giving them water.
Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) fought in the battle of Uhud alongside her husband and two sons. She was running between wounded soldiers to give them water when she saw that the Holy Prophet (sa) became surrounded by danger as there were less than 10 men left to protect him. She threw down her water pot and ran to stand in front of the Holy Prophet (sa) to defend him against the enemy. In this difficult moment when the Muslims were overpowered and were closing in on the Holy Prophet (sa), some brave men panicked and ran away, however Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) stood her ground and defended the Holy Prophet (sa). She picked up the shield of one of the men who had run away and defended the enemy’s blows. At one point, she swung her sword with such force at the feet of a horse that both the horse and the rider fell to the ground.
During this same battle, Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) saw her son Abdullah (ra) get injured. She put a bandage on her son’s wound and said “Son! Go fight till your last breath!” When the Holy Prophet (sa) witnessed her sacrifice, he said “O Umme Ummaaraah! No one has the strength you possess!” The same attacker who had injured her son returned and Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) launched her sword at the attacker with such vigour, she cut him into two pieces.
At another moment in the battle, the enemies of Islam started throwing stones at the Holy Prophet (sa), which broke his teeth and pierced his armour. As Muslim soldiers became distracted tending to the injured Holy Prophet (sa), an enemy of Islam swung his sword at the Holy Prophet (sa). Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) was standing close by and took the attack, ensuring the Holy Prophet (sa) was not reached. This resulted in a deep wound in her shoulder.
At the end of the Battle of Uhud, Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) had wounds in twelve places and was bleeding heavily. The Holy Prophet (sa) supervised to ensure she was bandaged properly and did not return home until he was informed that Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) was doing well. At the end of the battle, the Holy Prophet (sa) listed the names of many brave Muslim men and then said: “By God! Today Umme Ummaarah (ra) has preceded all those men in courage!” The Holy Prophet (sa) used to say, “On the day of Uhud, wherever I looked, I saw Umme Ummaarah (ra) fighting.”
Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) fought in all the battles in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (sa). After his death she took part in the battle of Yamama against a false claimant of prophethood. Hazrat Umme Ummaarah (ra) is thought to have passed away during the Caliphate of Hazrat Umar (ra).
May Allah increase Hazrat Umme Ummaarah’s (ra) status in Heaven as she increased the status of Muslim women by displaying immense courage in battle. May we all have the courage to defend the name of Islam in the same selfless, fearless manner. Ameen
By Mashel Maliha Chaudhry