As one of the few Sahabiyat (female companions) who physically fought in battle in defense of the Messenger of Allah (SWT) and an advocate for Muslim woman’s rights, Nusaybah bint Ka’ab was not only renowned for her courageous efforts on the battlefield, but was also as a loving wife and mother. She was an Ansariyyah from the Banu Najjar tribe. Her brother, Abdullah bin Ka’ab, was a companion of the Prophet (PBUH) alongside her two sons, Abdullah and Habib.
Nusaybah was one of one of two women who took a pledge of allegiance to Allah and His Messenger, known as the Second Bait-ul-‘Aqabah (Second Pledge of Mount Aqabah). She also took part in numerous major events, including The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Battle of Uhud, Battle of Hunayn, Battle of Khaybar, and Battle of Yamamah.
Nusaybah bint Ka’ab is most famous for her brave efforts in defending Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Battle of Uhud. Like many other Sahabiyat, Nusaybah was initially there to aide the soldiers during battle. In excitement of perceived victory, the Muslim archers on the hill deserted their positions and neglected Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) orders to never leave their position. This left him (PBUH), and a handful of companions vulnerable to their enemies — including Nusaybah. The tide of the battle had changed.
Nusaybah, then, picked up a sword and arrows, and rushed to the defense of the Messenger of Allah. She struck fatal blows to her opponents with her swords and shot arrows at them to protect the Prophet (PBUH). He (PBUH) himself said, “Wherever I turned, left or right, on the Day of Uhud — I saw her fighting for me.” Near the end, she was inflicted with 13 wounds. At Nusaybah’s request, the Prophet (PBUH) asked Allah (SWT): “Oh Allah, make them my companions in the Garden.” She was content, as this was her only aspiration.
She was not only brave on the battlefield, but also in her efforts as an advocate for Muslim women. She asked the Prophet (PBUH) why the Qur’an only mentioned men, and not women. Soon thereafter, Ayat 35 of Surah Al’Ahzab was revealed:
“Verily, the Muslims men and women, the believers men and women, the men and the women who are obedient (to Allah), the men and women who are truthful, the men and the women who are patient, the men and the women who are humble, the men and the women who give Sadaqat (i.e. Zakah and alms), the men and the women who observe fast, the men and the women who guard their chastity (from illegal sexual acts) and the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (Paradise).” (Qur’an 33:35)
Nusaybah bint Ka’ab was nothing short of a hero. She had a special place in the Prophet’s (PBUH) heart and his Khalifah to follow, and rightfully so. She let nothing stop her from defending Islam and the Messenger of Allah. Nusaybah was outspoken and remained true to her deen. She should serve as a role model for all Muslims, especially today’s women. Ambitious, loyal, devoted, brave and empowered, she possessed qualities we all strive to have. What is stopping you from bringing out your Nusaybah bint Ka’ab?
This piece is part of the MuslimGirl series: Influential Muslim Women. For more articles discussing the accomplishments of Muslimahs throughout history, click here.