During the life of the Messenger Muhammad (saw) there were many women who pledged their lives, wealth and family for the sake of Allaah (swt). One such woman who comes to mind is Nusaybah Umm Imarah (ra) who was an important Sahaabiyah and a great fighter in Allaah’s cause. Nusaybah (ra) was righteous and devoted to exerting herself for Allaah (swt)’s sake. She was present at the second pledge of al-‘Aqabah at which she swore allegiance to the Messenger Muhammad (saw). Nusaybah was also present at the Battle of Uhud with her husband and her two sons. Her intention had been to give water and tend to the wounded but Allaah (swt) had planned and prepared for her a more rewarding role.
Initially in the Battle of Uhud the Muslims had the upper hand but then they committed a fatal error, seeing the Quraysh on the retreat, they ran towards the booty, ignoring the Messenger Muhammad (saw)’s command to stay on the hill. Khaalid bin Waleed (who had not yet embraced Islaam) took control of the situation and made a charge against the Muslims and suddenly the Quraysh had the advantage.
Nusaybah (ra) participated in the battle physically, as the occasion demanded when the Muslims were being defeated. When the Messenger Muhammad (saw) was being attacked Nusaybah (ra) formed part of the human shield which protected our Messenger (saw). Even when her son ‘Abdullaah was wounded and his blood began to flow she was totally oblivious to his condition until Muhammad (saw) instructed: ‘bandage your wounded’. After dealing with his injury she said to him, ‘rise and fight the people’. Nusaybah (ra) showed great strength, perseverance and courage. The Messenger of Allaah (saw) showed great pleasure on seeing her determination and valour. On seeing this Nusaybah (ra) earnestly requested Muhammad (saw) to ask Allaah (swt) to make her family his companions in the garden. In this battle she was wounded thirteen times and one wound took one year to heal. This was the desire of Umm Imarah (ra) after which she said that she did not care what afflicted her in this world.
Nusaybah’s courageous character earned her the respect of all the Companions, especially the Khaleefs who would visit her and pay special attention to her. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (ra) narrated that on the day of Uhud I heard the Messenger (saw) say, ‘Whenever I looked to the right or left, I saw Umm Imarah fighting in front of me.’
During the time of Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq’s (ra) Khilaafah (Islamic rule), Nusaybah Umm Imarah (ra) went to seek permission to join the expedition of Khaalid bin Walid against Musaylamah al-Kadh-dhaab (The Liar), who claimed to be a Prophet in the battle of Yamaamah. Abu Bakr (ra) said, ‘we know your worth in war, so go out in the name of Allaah.’ She was wounded in eleven different places and had her hand cut off. Her son Habeeb was martyred. After the battle was over it was Khaalid ibn Waleed who came to treat her hand with hot oil to seal the wound and stop her bleeding. The hot oil was even more painful than having her hand cut off.
This is the life of Nusaybah Umm Imarah, the warrior who stood firm when many fled, who sent her wounded son back into the thick of the battle, and was prepared to lose her own life to save the life of the Messenger Muhammad (saw). In return, she received the du’aa of the Messenger Muhammad’s (saw) companionship in Paradise.
The question we need to ask ourselves today is whether we as Muslim Women would show such courage, self-sacrifice and perseverance in the face of struggle and would any of us be willing to die for the sake of Allaah (swt) alone? Al-Hamdu lillaah we have these great Sahaabiyaat to take as examples and to learn from the struggle they went through to seek none but Allaah (swt)’s pleasure.