Umm 'Umara was blessed with many honours, amongst
these her presence at Uhud, al-Hudaybiyya, Khaybar, the Fulfilled Umra, Hunayn, and the Battle of Yamama. But her most noble
role came about during the battle of Uhud.
Umm 'Umara set out to the battle with her husband,
Ghaziya, and her two sons. Her (task had) been to give water to the wounded, but All‚h had planned for her a more rewarding
So she set out with her family with a waterskin,
and arrived at the battle field during the beginning of the day. The Muslims had the upper hand, and she went to see how the
Messenger of All‚h sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam was. But then the Muslims committed a fatal error - seeing the Quraysh on
the retreat, they ran towards the booty, ignoring the Prophet's command to remain on the hill. Khalid bin Walid, (who hadn't
embraced Islam yet), seeing the open flank, made a charge against the Muslims and suddenly the tide had swung towards the
Quraysh. The Muslims panicked and began to flee, leaving behind only the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam and a handful
of his Companions. Among these was Umm Umara.
Seeing the Muslims flee, Umm Umara ran
to the defense of the Prophet and took up arms, along with her husband and two sons. The Prophet noticed that she had no shield,
and so said to one of the retreating men: "Give your shield to the one who is fighting." So he handed her the shield,
and she defended the Prophet of All‚h with it, using also the bow and arrow along with a sword. She was attacked by horsemen,
but never wavered nor felt fear. She later boldly claimed, "If they had been on foot as we were, we would have trounced them,
Abdullah ibn Zayed, her son, was
wounded during the battle. His wound bled profusely. His mother ran to him and bandaged his wounds, and then commanded him,
"Go and fight the people, my son!" The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam admired her sense of sacrifice, and commended
her, "Who can endure what you can endure, Umm 'Umara!"
Suddenly, the man who had struck
her son advanced, and the Prophet called out to her, "This is the one who struck your son." She bravely confronted
the man, who her very son described as being like a great tree trunk, and struck at his leg, sending him to his knees. The
Messenger of All‚h smiled so much his teeth became visible, and remarked, "You have retaliated, Umm 'Umara!". Having
finished him off, the Prophet then said "Praise be to All‚h who has given you victory and delighted you over your enemy
and let you enjoy your revenge directly."
At one stage, the Prophet sallallaahu
'alayhi wa sallam was left alone, so taking the opportunity, the enemy Ibn Qumay'a charged at the Prophet, shouting "Show
me Muhammad! I will not be saved if he is saved!" So Mus'ab ibn 'Umayr, along with some other of the Companions, dashed to
the protection of the Prophet. Umm 'Umara was among them, and began fiercely striking at the enemy of All‚h, even though he
was wearing double armour. Ibn Qumay'a managed to strike a blow at her neck, leaving a serious wound. The Prophet quickly
called on her son "Your mother! Your mother! Bind her wound! May All‚h bless you, the people of a house! The stand of your
mother is better than the stand of so-and-so. May All‚h have mercy on you, people of a house! The stand of your foster father
is better than the stand of so-and-so. May All‚h have mercy on you, people of a house!" Umm 'Umara, seeing the Prophet's
pleasure on her determination and valour, earnestly requested "Ask All‚h to make us your companions in the Garden!" So he
said "O All‚h, make them my companions in the Garden." And this was the desire of Umm 'Umara, to which she replied
"I do not care what afflicts me in this world!"
That day, she received thirteen wounds, and
was treated for her neck wound for a complete year. She also participated in the Battle of Yamama, where she received eleven
wounds and lost her hand.
Her courageous character earned her the respect
of all the Companions, especially the Khalifa's who would visit her and pay special attention to her.
'Umar bin Khattab (r.a.a) was brought
some silk garments which contained excellent quality material. One of the people remarked "This garment is worth such-and-such
(meaning how expensive it was). You should send it to the wife of 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, Safiyya bint Abi 'Ubayd." 'Umar radiallaahu
'anhu however did not desire such a garment for his daughter in law. "That is something which I will not give to Ibn 'Umar.
I will send it to someone who is more entitled to it than her - Umm 'Umara Nusayba bint Ka'b. On the day of Uhud, I heard
the Messenger of All‚h sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam say, 'Whenever I looked to the right or left I saw her fighting in
front of me'."
This was the life of Umm 'Umara, the warrior
who stood when many fled, who sent her wounded son back into the thick of the battle, and was prepared to lose her life to
save the Prophet's. In return, she received the du'a for the Prophet's companionship in Paradise.
May All‚h bless our women with such courage,
self-sacrifice and perseverance.