Thursday, 14 June 2007

The Courage of Women

Many times in our outings to the local Masjid, we hear and learn about numerous events of bravery and heroism regarding the Noble Companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW. We learn about the heroism of Hamzah RA, the bravery of Bilal bin Rabah RA, and the steadfastness of Sa'ad RA. Rarely do we learn about the Female Companions of the Holy Prophet SAW - on the subject of courage and bravery.

Safiyyah RA

There are infact countless female Companions of the Holy Prophet SAW who demonstrated their bravery and courage for Islam. One of these was Safiyyah RA who was the daughter of Abdul Muttalib, hence the aunt of the prophet Muhammad SAW. She has the privilage and honour of being the only paternal aunt of the Prophet SAW to accept Islam. The pinnacle of her bravery became apparent during the famous Battle of Khandaq (Battle of the Trench). During this battle the women were being protected in the strongest fort of the Ansars, which belonged to Hassan RA. This fort happened to be adjacent to the Jewish tribe Banu Quraizah. During the onslaught, the Jews turned their attention to this fort. Safiyyah RA spotted one of the Jews approaching the gate of the fort, intending to attack. Therefore she informed Hassan RA to confront and kill the Jew. However, he was unable to carry out his protective duties due to him not being well. At this point the valour and bravery surfaced within Safiyyah RA. She took a large peg nail off the tent, went down to the gate, and amazingly confronted the Jew herself. She struck the Jew in his head with such force that he fell to the ground dead. Having returned to the fort she asked Hassan RA to go and bring the clothes, weapons and more importantly the head of the Jew. This he declined. So Safiyyah RA went herself and returned with the head of the Jew, after severing it herself. She then threw this head amongst the Jews, who became certain that there were fighters inside the fort, weakening their spirits. The Jews then never launched another attack.

Ummi Saleem RA

Another famous female Companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW was Ummi Saleem RA. She was not only amongst the blessed and honourable women, but also amongst the courageous and brave ones whom the Prophet Muhammad used to take along with him during battles to nurse the injured soldiers of Islam on the battlefield. This in itself requires a great deal of courage as well as conviction. Ummi Saleem participated in the battles of Uhud and Khaybar where her bravery was not signified as much as it was during the battle of Hunain, where after being asked why she was carrying a dagger, she replied:

"If any non-believer comes near me I shall tear open his abdomen with it!"

This is just one more of the numerous incidents highlighting the courage of the Muslim women in self-defense and the defense of other women during the time of the Holy Prophet SAW.

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