The first time the spotlight of history falls on her she is part of a delegation that has come from Madinah to secretly meet with the Prophet SAW. It is the 13th year of Hijrah and a group of over seventy men and two women is making its way to Aqabah. One of those women is Umm Ammarah RA. She chose to travel with her husband on this crucial mission and did not linger behind. The women swore allegiance when the men swore allegiance. The Prophet SAW did not admonish them for accompanying the men. In fact the oath of loyalty was the same for the men and the women except that out of respect the Prophet SAW did not hold their hand. He touched their hearts and they dedicated their lives for the service of the Deen.
She could have stayed at home and waited for her husband to inform her about the Messenger SAW, but Umm Ammarah was not of those who stay behind.
Seize the moment when Allah SWT gives it to you.
A few years pass in which significant events of Islamic history unfold: the Prophet SAW migrates to Madinah, the Islamic state is established, the battle of Badr takes place and then comes the battle of Uhud and the turning point in the life of Umm Ammarah RA and her whole family. Allah SWT gives her an opportunity and she seizes it. Initially the Muslims are winning, but the tide turns when the archers that the Prophet SAW had placed strategically on the hill of Uhud with instructions not to move under any circumstance, suddenly abandon their posts. This gives an opportunity for the enemy to attack from the rear. The Muslim army is suddenly surrounded and chaos ensues.
Umm Ammarah RA, who had joined the army to serve water to the soldiers, suddenly sees the Prophet SAW under attack with only a few of the Sahabah by his side. Her immediate response is to grab a sword and a shield or a bow (both are mentioned) and rush to his defense. She does not think, “Oh I am a woman, how can I protect the Messenger SAW? What use can I be to him?” Before the container of water hits the ground and spills its contents, Umm Ammarah’s RA name has been splashed across the pages of history and written in the scrolls of the righteous in the heavens. Umar RA would mention later that the Prophet SAW had said to him, “Whenever I turned left or right on the day of the Battle of Uhud, I always saw her (Umm ‘Ammarah RA) fighting in my defense.”
Do everything as a family.
Just as at the time of the Second Pledge of Aqabah, the family of Umm Ammara RA is together on the day of Uhud. Umm Ammarah’s two sons, Habib and Abdullah and her husband rush to where the small group of Sahabah stand to defend the Messenger of Allah SAW. Abdullah and Umm Ammarah are both wounded in the fighting. When her son is injured and blood gushes out from his shoulder, she ties up his wound and tells him to keep fighting and when she is injured, the Prophet SAW calls out to Abdullah RA to help his mother. Despite their injuries neither of them abandoned the defense of the Prophet SAW, and keep fending off the onslaught of the disbelievers.
The Prophet SAW is amazed by the courage displayed by this valiant family and sensing his pleasure, she makes a request. In the uproar of the battle, as the swords clash and the arrows fly overhead and men scream in agony and fall to their death this remarkable woman, wounded but determined, asks, “O’ Messenger of Allah, invoke Allah to make us your Companions in Paradise!”
The Messenger Rasulullah SAW replies, “O’ Allah, make them my Companions in Paradise.”
A guarantee of Paradise in the company of the Messenger Rasulullah SAW for the whole family! She could have asked merely for her own salvation but even at that point she is not selfish and includes her family in her prayer.
In our zeal for acquiring the knowledge of the Deen we sometimes become negligent of our families. It is important to pass on the knowledge to them as well and to include them in every beneficial activity that we participate in. Allah SWT commanded us,
“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.” (At-Tahrim 66:6)
She earned for her family Paradise. We can at least save ours from the fire, if Allah wills. Remain a grateful servant of Allah.
The Prophet SAW stood for so long in prayer at night that his feet were swollen and cracked. When asked by Ai’sha RA why he endured so much hardship when Allah SWT had forgiven all his later and previous sins, he replied, “Should I not prove myself to be a thankful servant?”
The Sahaba and the sahabiyat also acquired this characteristic of Shukr (gratitude). The family of Umm Ammarah RA did not cease to strive in the way of Allah SWT after receiving the guarantee of Paradise.
Ibn Hajar said: “She (Umm ‘Ammarah) witnessed the pledge of Aqabah and she also pledged allegiance. She participated in the battles of Uhud, Hudaybiyah and Khaybar and participated in ‘Umrat al Qada. She also witnessed the conquest of Makkah and participated in the campaigns of Hunayn and Yamamah.”
Both her sons were martyred: Abdullah in the battle of Hurrat and Habib at the hands of Mussaylamah the Liar. He tortured him to death, cutting off piece after piece of his body because every time he was asked, “Do you believe I am the Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “I can’t hear.”
When the Muslim army set out at the time of Saidina Abu Bakr RA to fight Musaylamah, Umm Ammarah RA at the ripe old age of sixty requested the Khalifah and joined them. She lost her arm in the battle but had the satisfaction of seeing the dead body of the man who defied the Messenger of Allah SAW and tortured her son.
Would any of us strive so hard and sacrifice so much, after receiving the promise of Paradise?
Umm Ammarah RA, may Allah be pleased with her, was a woman of exemplary courage and her life carries so many lessons for us.