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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Nurse and a Pioneer Sea Adventuress

(d. 27 A.H)

Quba' (a suburb of Madinah) has been known for its greenery and for being the location of the first mosque ever erected in Islamic history. For it was there that Prophet Muhammad (salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam) spent his first few days at Madinah. Ever since he used to go there to spend the afternoon. One day he spent part of the day in the house of 'Ubadah ibn As-Samit, an early Madinite convert to Islam. After lunch the Prophet (saas) had a nap. He woke up laughing. Umm Haram who was the wife of 'Ubadah requested the Prophet to tell her the cause of his joy. He told her that some of his followers would ride the sea like kings on their thrones. She said: "O Messenger of Allah, Pray to Allah for me to be one of them." He told her, "You are one of the first." Let us now have a look at Umm Haram's story from the beginning.

Umm Haram was a lady from Madinah who was a member of the same family of Prophet Muhammad's mother, Bani Najjar. Her husband was one of the first Madinites who gave the oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam) before his migration to Madinah. As an early and devoted follower of the prophet, Umm Haram's husband actively participated in the missions of peace and the campaigns of war for the sake of the message of Islam. Umm Haram was not less devoted than her husband. For she, too was often in the company of the Muslims fighters helping them by offering Water to the thirsty, nursing the wounded and encouraging everyone in the battlefield.

With that mission in mind Umm Haram moved with the Muslim army from one place to another. Both she and her husband survived Prophet Muhammad (salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam). They also survived the first Caliph Abu Bakr As Siddeeq (radiy-Allahu 'anhu) and the second Caliph 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiy-Allahu 'anhu). But age could not prevent Umm Haram from actively participating in the affairs of the new Mulsim nation. For she dvoted all her life to the message she had accepted, Islam.

During the reign of the third Caliph, 'Uthman ibn 'Affan (radiy-Allahu 'anhu) Umma Haram settled in Damascus. It was then that the governor of Syria, Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufayan asked permission from Caliph 'Uthaman (radiy0Allahu 'anhu) to prepare the first Muslim navy in order to fight the Romans, who had attacked the newly-liberated lands on the Mediterranean sea from Cyprus. The Romans kept raiding the Muslim ports, ransacking them, killing people and looting, feeling secure because the Muslims then had no ships to intercept them in the high seas. The governor of Syria found it necessary to put the Roman navy in check, and their naval base had to be cleared from them. So the first navy in the history of Islam was formed.

The Arab Muslims were to ride the high seas for the first time in their history. Umma Haram (radiy-Allahu 'anhu) had grown very old by the time. Bus she remembered the prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wasallam) at her home in Madinah. A long time had elapsed, and she was already a long way from Qura'. Her birth-place. However, Umm Haram (radiy-Allahu 'anha)insisted on being in the company of the first naval mission in Islam along with her husband. Everybody welcomed having such a noble lady with them. For she was an early follower of Islam, a constant companion to the Prophet's armies, and an active participant in the major campaigns of Islam. People must have remembered this great lady who spent her life in the service of Islam, its prophet, and its fighters, who nursed many a wounded soldier in the battlefields and carried water to many a thirsty fighter at Badr, Uhud, Al-Khandaq (the Ditch), Hunain and many other places. Indeed, Umm Haram was a typical Muslim woman who considered her duty to serve her faith and help its followers. No wonder the Muslim fighters were happy to have Umm Haram (radiy-Allahu 'anha) on their first expedition at sea. For the majority of them must have been involved in many battles on land, but never at sea. They needed the moral support of such a blessed lady.

Umm Haram realized that this was the fulfillment of Prophet Muhammad's (salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam) prophecy many years before when he said: "Some of my followers will ride the sea like kings on their thrones." So despite her frailty and old age, she insisted upon joining in the campaign. The sea adventure presented no special difficulties to Umm Haram. The army safely arrived. But it was on land that Umm Haram (radiy-Allahu'anha) was destined to meet her death, or rather to gain martyrdom. For while the army was getting ready for the battle, Umm Haram was brought a ride to mount, but due to her weakness she fell off her ride. Her husband rushed to her side but only to find her dying with a happy face and the smile of a person finally realizing a long cherished dream. May Allah (swt) bless her and grant her Jannatul Firdous.. AMEEN.

Take From the Book of Heroes of Islam
Prof. Mahmoud Esma'il Sieny
King Saud University
Riaydh, K.S.A
Darussalam published

Shaik Sadik

O Allah! The (only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian, etc.) in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will), and join me with the righteous."


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