Local Time

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Second Female Convert To Islam In History

Like their male counterparts, the first generation of Muslim women played a great role not only in giving moral support to the message and its followers, but by offering material support as well. A listing for the women heroic personalities of Islam will be too long to make. It is enough for us to mention that the first person ever to follow Prophet Muhammad (sall-Llaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam) in history was a woman, his loyal wife Khadijah (radiy-Allahu 'anha) who gave him the moral and material support he badly needed at those critical moments of the early days of Islam. It is reported that the second woman to accept Islam was known in Islamic history by her title Umm-ul-Fadhl. Umm ul-Fadhl was the wife of Al-'Abbas ibn 'Abd-Al-Muttalib, uncle of the Prophet (salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam). She was to become later a sister-in-las to the Messenger of Islam as well. In addition to all these she was also the mother of 'Abdullah 'ibn 'Abbas known as Hibr-ul-Ummah, or the scholar of the Muslim Nation.

With her special traits and supporting attitude towards Islam, Umm-ul-Fadhl was in direct contrast to the wife of another uncle of the Prophet, namely Umm Jameel, the wife of Abu Lahab, who was one of the fiercest enemies of Islam and its Messenger. It was in reference to Umm Jameel and to her husband that Chapter 111 of the Qur'an was revealed, where the painful doom of those two ruthless antagonists of the faith was announced. Interestingly enough, Umm-ul-Fadhl had the honor of being responsible for liberating the Muslims from the cruel Abu Lahab, as we shall read later.

As pointed out earlier Umm-ul-Fadhl offered all the support she could to the prophet of Islam and to the early followers of Islam. While the Makkans were preparing for the battle of Badr, Al-'Abbas came to inform his wife that he had to join the Makkans in the war, and he bid her farewell after giving instructions regarding his will in case of his death. We said that Al-'Abbas had to join the Makkans, because, as history tells us 'Al-Abbas had already accepted Islam, but was asked to keep it a secret since he was to act as an eye for the Prophet (salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam) in Makkah. In fact, he was taken captive in the battle of Badr and was asked by the Prophet to pay ransom for himself and two of his nephews as well; thus, confirming the impression for the unbelievers of his role as a non-Muslim. Naturally, the battle of Badr was in favor of the Muslims and a disaster for the Makkan polytheists, who lost a sizable number of their leaders (including the notorious Abu Jahl). Umm-ul-Fadhl was very pleased with the news, and so was her servant and ex-slave Abu Rafi'.

When Abu Lahab learnt that a nephew of his managed to escape and come to Makkah, he came quickly to check the news about the battle of Badr. Abu Sufyan ibn Al-Harith told Abu Lahab about the bad news and the severe blow received by the polytheists. He continued, "But by Allah, I could not blame our fighters. For we saw white knights on white horse filling the horizon." Umm0ul-Fadhl kept all the while exchanging looks of delight with Abu Rafi (who was also a convert to Islam in secrecy). But though she had warned Abu Rafi of revealing his feeling of ecstasy to Abu Lahan and the other enemies of the faith, he could not control himself when he heard the words of Abu Sufyan Al-Harith concerning the men in white. He unconsciously exclaimed. "By Allah! Those must have been angels." Abu Lahab who was deeply disturbed and depressed and insanely mad at the Muslims found an opportunity to express his rage by beating the poor Abu Rafi, who was a helpless es-slave. Umm-ul-Fadhl could not stand the sight of Abu Lahab ruthlessly beating her poor Muslim servant. She immediately got hold of a heavy stick and hit Abu Lahab on the head, shouting: "You have taken the opportunity of the absence of his master to beat the poor fellow." Blood gushed forth from the head of Abu Lahab who hurried home. That wound proved fatal. For it caused Abu Lahab to suffer from a bad infectious disease that caused every on (including his own wife and children) to turn away from him, and he died like a worthless dog. Thus, Umm-ul-Fadhl was responsible for ridding the Muslims of a fierce antagonist of the faith, who had caused so much injury to Muhammad (salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam) and his followers in Makkah.

When Umm-ul-Fadhl learnt later from her husband Al-Abbas that he was instructed by the Prophet to stay in Makkah, she asked permission to take her children with her to join the Muslim community in Madinah; thus, suffering the pains of separation from her husband in order to give her children the opportunity to imbibe the teachings of the faith directly from the origin, Prophet Muhammad (salla-Llaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam).

Umm ul-Fadhl was fortunate in another way, since she was honored to feed one of the favorite grandsons of the Prophet, Al-Husain, of her milk. Thus, our heroine Umm ul-Fadhl was honored not only to be the second female follower of Islam (Khadijah being the first), but also to be a mother to two eminent heroes of Islamic history : 'Abdullah ibn Al-Abbas, her real son, and al-Husain ibn 'Ali who nursed by her and fed with her milk.


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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