By Alina Din
It’s pretty incredible to think that the women from our Prophet Muhammad (saw)’s time were just as ambitious, intelligent and passionate as their male counterparts back then. They were doctors, writers, soldiers, merchants – you name it! Obviously, the most famous woman of this group is the Prophet’s beloved first wife, Khadijah (ra), who was a successful businesswoman and trader. Here are some other Sahabiyyat (companions of the Prophet) women, whose stories and backgrounds are just as awe-inspiring and eye-opening!
Image source: Ilm feed
1. Al-Khansa is one of the best-known poets in Arabic literature. She was a contemporary of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) who converted to Islam. She wrote moving poetry about death and mourning, which she performed before crowds at large competitions.
2. As-Shifaa bint Abdullah was a doctor and one of the few people who could read and write in her community. She was also a public administrator who accompanied Umar (ra) on his trips through the bazaar as an inspector. She was among the early converts to Islam and accompanied the Muslims in their first emigration to Madinah.
3. In addition to narrating hadith, Umm Atiyya al-Ansariyya treated the wounded in battle and gave ghusl to the martyred. Similarly, Umm Salit bint Ubayd brought water and sustenance to the soldiers during the battle of Uhud.
4. Umm Ayman, Barakah, was a former slave and Abyssinian nurse to the Prophet Muhammad (saw). She took care of Aminah (ra), when she was pregnant with the Prophet and continued to look after him after she died until he got married to Khadijah. She was one of the early converts to Islam, and was loyal to the Prophet throughout his lifetime.
5. Umm al-Darda, wife of Abu Darda, was a jurist in Damascus who lectured in the male section of the masjid. She issued fatwas, the most prominent one being that women are allowed to pray in the same section as men in the masjid.
6. Umm Umara bravely fought in the battles of Uhud, Al-Hudaybiyyah, Khaybar and the Battle of Yamama. During the battle of Uhud, the Muslims mistakenly retreated too early, leaving the Prophet Muhammad (saw) vulnerable and open to the enemy. She was one of the few people left behind who took it upon themselves to shield the Prophet from harm.
During this battle, she received 13 wounds, including one to her neck, which took a year to heal. In the battle of Yamama she was wounded 12 times and lost her hand! When the Prophet showed his admiration of her bravery and valor, she requested that he pray for her and her family to be his companions in Jannah, which he did.
Centuries have passed since these women lived, but their fierceness, dedication and strength is something we can continue to emulate and carry into our lives today. You can be rest assured that the old myth of the woman’s role being solely limited to the home is just that: a myth! Not only are we allowed to make headway outside of the home, we’re encouraged and even celebrated for doing so! (Of course attending to home and family solely is also noble and good work.)
So whether it's running your own business, writing a gripping novel, crafting legislation for policymakers, conducting scientific research, designing a snazzy marketing email – and everything else in between! – you have the Sahabiyyat to thank for paving the way forward.