Nusaybah al-Ansariyah is one of my favourite female companions. She was such an amazing woman, strong, confident, courageous and she didn’t let societal and cultural norms from achieving great things.
This was a woman who the Prophet (saw) prayed for her and her family that they will be his companions in Jannah.
She was an early convert to Islam, from among the Ansar. She was renowned for her courage on the battlefield and was present in many important events. She was at the pledge of Aqaba, battle of Uhud, Khaybar, treaty of Al-Hudaybiyyah and the battle of Yamama.
She was one of two women who pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (saw) at Aqaba, just like the men. The only difference being that the Prophet (saw) didn’t shake her hand. Once she became Muslim she dedicated her time to the education and training of women in Islam.
At the battle of Uhud she was one of the few companions who continued to fight when most started to retreat from the battle. She protected the Prophet (saw), fighting with a bow and arrow and then with a sword. Alongside her, her sons and husband also protected the Prophet (saw). During this battle she suffered from 12/13 wounds. She suffered from a similar number of wounds in the battle of Yamama. One of her wounds was so deep that it caused her to faint and took a year to heal. When she regained consciousness her first question was about the wellbeing of the Prophet (saw) even before asking about her family.
Speaking about the battle of Uhud, Umar (ra) said that he heard the prophet (saw) say “I did not turn right or left in the battle of Uhud but that I saw her fighting near me.”
After the death of the Prophet (saw) under the khalifah of Abu Bakr (ra) she fought against Musaylima and when asking for permission to fight, Abu Bakr (ra) said, “We know your worth in war, so go out in the name of Allah.” At this time she was around 60 years old. It was during this battle that her hand was cut off.
She was such a fierce, strong woman who even the most prominent companions respected and admired. She made such an impact that we still learn about her accomplishments today. For me one of the things i love about her most was that she didn’t allow culture to stop her from doing what needed to be done. She also didn’t allow her modesty as a Muslim woman from seeking knowledge and applying it in her life. She wasn’t afraid to go to the Prophet (saw) and ask questions or speak her mind about what was troubling her to gain clarity.
She was the one who went to the Prophet (saw) and to ask why the Quran only mentioned men and women were deprived of importance. This resulted in an ayah being revealed because of her.
Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. Quran (33:35)
There are so many more amazing women throughout Islamic history and we should spend time learning about them, who they were, what they were like, how they interacted with society. By doing this we can see that we are far more capable than we are lead to believe today. Learn about these amazing women and become empowered.