Stories of the Salaf
Nusaybah bint Ka’ab
She is referred to as Umm Ammarah/Ummarah
Umm Ammarah (R.A) was Ansariah. She was from the famous Banu Najjar tribe, that was an offshoot of the khazraj. Her brother Abdullah bin ka’ab(R.A) was a companion of the prophet (S.A.W) in the battle of Badr.
She was renowned for her courageous exploits in the battlefield. She was a faithful and loyal wife and a loving mother also remarkable for her patience and forbearance. She was also very learned in the Qur’an and Hadith. Her life makes pleasurable and instructive reading for the growth and development of one’s faith.
She was among the Ansar in Al-Madinah who were converted to Islam by the teachings of Mus’ab bin Omair, and these Ansari went to a particular mountain pass to pledge allegiance to Allah and His Messenger(S.A.W) for the second time. There were 72 men and 2 women one of which was Umm Ammarah
The second woman’s Husband Ghazyah bin Amr told the prophet(S.A.W) that these women also wanted to pledge allegiance on his palm. He said it is okay and for those women too the terms would be the same as the men with the exception of he took the men’s palm in his palm but he did not shake hands with women. This incident of the swearing of allegiance is called Bai’t-ul Aqabah Thaniah(second oath), in Islamic history.
Imam Thahbi in his book Siyar A’lam an Nubla’ writes that Umm Ammarah(R.A) took part in the second ba’it-ul Aqabah, the battle of Uhud, The battle of Hunain, The war of Yamamah and the treaty of Hudaibiyah. Her skill with the sword at the battle of Uhud astonished anyone who saw her.
She herself describes a very critical stage in the battle of Uhud. Mujahideen of Islam were on the verge of defeat and they were scattering. She along with her two sons and husband tried to surround the prophet(S.A.W) to ward off and repel any attack on him. She had a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. If the enemy had been on foot and not horse they would’ve slain all of them.
She was so focused on protecting the prophet(S.A.W) that Umm Ammarah’s son Abdullah got injured and the prophet(S.A.W) had to tell her to bandage him up. There was a point also when the prophet(S.A.W) told Abdullah to bandage his wounded mother up. The prophet(S.A.W) said they were a great family and Invoked the blessings of Allah upon them and asked that they should be friends with him in paradise as well.
The prophet(S.A.W) said from where can anyone get courage like you, O Umm Ammarah(R.A).
Umar bin Khattab(R.A) says that the prophet(S.A.W) once told him that in the battle of Uhud wherever he turned, whether to the right or to the left he saw Umm Ammarah(R.A) defending him.
During this battle she sustained atleast 12 major wounds, the deepest one, the one on her shoulder was inflicted by a disbeliever Ibn Qumiah. It was so deep that she fainted and it took a year to heal.
When she regained consciousness her 1st question was about the well being of the prophet(S.A.W) rather than about her own two sons or husband.
Umm Ammarah(R.A) was married the 1st time to Zaid bin Asim Mazni. She had two sons by him-Abdullah and Habib(R.A). Both were among the companions of the prophet. A boy Tameem and a girl Khawlah, were born from her 2nd marriage to Wahab Al-Aslamy
The prophet(S.A.W) sent Umm Ammarah’s son Habib bin Zaid(R.A) as his representative to Musailamah Khaththab, in order to bring him to the right path. Breaking all norms of diplomacy, the low down man captured Habib and tied him to a pillar.
He then asked him, Do you testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah? When he answered in the affirmative, he asked him if he also testified that he, Musailamah, was the messenger of Allah.
Habib replied that he was deaf and could not hear him. He kept on repeating the question and getting the same answer. Then this cruel man cut off each part of his body, one by one and gradually martyred him. When Umm Ammarah(R.A) got this news about her son she displayed exemplary patience.
Her second son Abdullah bin Zaid(R.A) was one of those who finally killed Musailamah, when Abu Bakr Siddique(R.A) sent an army to test the challenge of the army of Musailamah.
Umm Ammarah(R.A) held a very special place among the women companions.