One of the most righteous and devoted of people to the Prophet (sawa) was a female by the name of Nusaybah bint Ka‘b al-Māziniyyah, also known as Umm Ammaar, may Allah be pleased with her.
We previously related the story of the bravery of Imam Ali (as) and Abu Dujana (ra) who did not leave their posts and defended the Prophet (sawa) at the battle of Uhud while most of the companions turned on their heels.
Nusaybah bint Ka‘b (ra) was one of a handful who remained steadfast and did not turn on their heels, in particular the battle of Uhud and the Battle of Hunayn.
We read in Tafseer al-Qummi:
‘‘There (also) remained with the Messenger of Allāh Nusaybah bint Ka‘b al-Māziniyyah — and she used to go with the Messenger of Allāh (s.a.w.a.) in his battles to treat the wounded — and her son was with her. He wanted to retreat and go back (to Medina); but she attacked him and said: ‘O my son, where are you fleeing from Allāh and His Messenger?’ Thus she made him come back. Then a man attacked and killed him,. Thereupon, she took her son’s sword and attacked that man, and striking at his thigh she killed him. The Messenger of Allāh said (to her): ‘May Allāh bless you, O Nusaybah.’ She was protecting the Messenger of Allāh with her chest and breasts until she was extensively wounded.”
Source: Tafseer Al-Qummi, Volume 1, Page 155 (See Image below)
in the Battle of Hunayn, Nusaybah (ra) also we read:
“..Nusaybah bint Ka‘b al-Māziniyyah would throw dirt on those running away and say: “Where do you run away from Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sawa)?” (While running away) `Umar (bin Khattab) passed by her. She said to him: “Woe upon you! What is this you have done!” He said: “This is Allah’s Divine Will.”
Source: Tafseer Al-Qummi, Volume 1, Page 287 (See Image below)
We see Umar bin Khattab tries to blame the will of Allah (swt) for his cowardliness! We also find this in Sahih Bukhari (in numerous hadiths). Although the translation of “‘amr Allah” (أَمْرُ اللَّهِ) is different in each hadith, they all ultimately mean the Divine Decree, Order, or Will of Allah (swt):
“We set out in the company of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) on the day (of the battle) of Hunain. When we faced the enemy, the Muslims retreated … I followed `Umar bin Al Khattab and asked (him), “What is wrong with the people (fleeing)?” He replied, “This is the Will of Allah,”…” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3142)
“We set out along with the Prophet (ﷺ) during the year of (the battle of) Hunain, and when we faced the enemy, the Muslims (with the exception of the Prophet (ﷺ) and some of his companions) retreated (before the enemy)….I followed `Umar and said to him, “What is wrong with the people?” He said, “It is the Order of Allah…”(Sahih al-Bukhari 4321)
When it was the day of (the battle of) Hunain, … The Muslims (excepting the Prophet (ﷺ) and some of his companions) started fleeing and I too, fled with them. Suddenly I met `Umar bin Al-Khattab amongst the people and I asked him, “What is wrong with the people?” He said, “It is the order of Allah”..” (Sahih al-Bukhari 4322)
Abu Qatadah said “We went out with the Apostle of Allaah(ﷺ) in the year of Hunain. And when the armies met, the Muslims suffered a reverse… I then caught upon on “Umar bin Al Khattab and said to him “What is the matter with the people?” He said “It is what Allaah has commanded..” (Sunan Abi Dawud 2717, Albani says it is Sahih)
In Bihaar al-Anwaar we find another long hadith about Nusaybah bint Ka‘b:
Nasiba the daughter of ka’ab was present at the Battle of Uhud with her two sons Umara ibn-Ghuzya and Andullah ibn-Zayd, and her husband Ghuzya and she came out at the beginning of the day with the intention of serving drinks to the wounded, and (eventually) she fought and did well, she wounded twelve men, either by a cut with a sword or a stab by a spear, Um-Saad used to narrate and say :” I once visited her and asked her: “Oh auntie tell me your story.” She said: “At the start of the day, I went to Uhud and I was observing what the people are doing, and I had water carrier, I ended up near the prophet (sawa) and he was with the companions and the events unfolded in favour of the Muslims, but when the Muslims were defeated, I took myself near the Messenger of Allah (sawa) and I started fighting alongside him, and protect him with my sword and arrow until I was severely wounded.” Then (the narrator said): I saw a big wound on her shoulder, I asked: “Oh Um-Umara, who did this to you?” She said: “ibn-Qayma’a came forward and the people had already fled and he was shouting “guide me to Muhammad may i never live if he survived”, so Mus’ab ibn-Umayr and few people fought him and I was with them and he gave me this wound, and I struck him many times but the enemy of Allah had two (layers) of armour.” Then (the narrator asked) what happened to your hand? She said: “I injured it on the day (battle) of Al-Yamama, when the Arabs defeated al-Ansar, and they requested help, so we aided them, and I was with them. Then we ended up near “the garden of death” and we fought there for an hour until Abu-Dajjanah (ra) was killed at the gates of the garden, so I entered aiming for the enemy of Allah Musaylema (la). Then a man came forward and struck my hand and severed it. By Allah I didn’t mind what happened to it, and didn’t delay me until I found the malignant killed, and my son Abdullah wiping his sword with his clothes, so I asked:” you killed him?” He said:”yes.” So I prostrated thanking Allah (swt) and left.
He (the narrator) said:” Dumra ibn-Saeed narrates from his fathers, from his grand mother, and she had witnessed Uhud and she was giving water , she said, I heard the Messenger of Allah (sawa) saying:” the status of Nusaybah bint Ka‘b today is greater than the status of so and so.” And he saw her fighting bravely until she wounded thirteen men.
Ibn Abu Hadid said:” I wish the narrator didn’t give them this hidden name and I wish he mentioned them by name so it wouldn’t be so unknown who’s the Prophet (sawa) talking about, and for the trust of carrying a hadith is to never hide anything from it, so how could he hide the names of these two individuals?
I (al-Majlisi) say: that the narrator, was excused by using these sublime names because he was practicing Taqiyyah (righteous dissimulation), and how could he mention the names of the idols of Quraysh (Abu Bakr and Umar) while they use to favour them above Imam Ali (as)? Even tho the use of these names can only point to these two individuals.
Just to be clear, fighting for women is strongly discouraged and even forbidden according to some sources. However, when the life of the Prophet (sawa) is threatened and there are none to defend him, may everyone’s life be sacrificed for the sanctity of the Messenger of Allah (sawa). As mentioned, there was only a handful who remained behind to defend the Prophet (sawa) and Nusaybah bint Ka‘b al-Māziniyyah did what any believer should and would do – sacrifice themselves for the best of creations.