Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ramadan Challenge Day 14: Umm Hakim, a heroine of Islam

In the last few days, I have been focussing on Muslim women in the battle-field or at times of war. We read about Umm Umarah who participated with exemplary courage in several wars including the Battle of Uhud where she protected the Holy Prophet (pbuh) when he was surrounded by enemies. We also learnt about Khawla, an amazing knight! Much was to be learnt from the stories of both these women.

Like Azdah bin Harith,  Umm Hakim's story from the Battle of Marj al-Saffar is also the story of a strategist in the times of war. Umm Hakim was a sahaba or a Companion of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). She was the wife of two martyrs of Islam and later was also married to Caliph Umar (RA).

Her first husband was Ikramah, a non-Muslim at the time who was imprisoned in Yemen. Upon receiving pardon from the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he returned to Medina with his wife. Umm Hakim had brought him from Yemen and touched him with the stories of the Prophet of Islam (pbuh). Upon his return he took allegiance to the Holy Prophet (pbuh), participated in several wars and worked for the cause of Islam. Ikrama was martyred at the battle of Ajnadin.

Umm Hakim continued to stay in Syria after her husband's death. Here she was proposed to marriage by Khalid bin Saeed. She accepted the proposal, but said that the marriage should be held after the war against the Byzantines in the south of Syria was over. Khalid bin Saeed, expected to not survive the Battle of Marj al-Saffar (fought in 634 AD) and wanted to consummate the marriage before going to war to which she agreed. It is believed, unfortunately, the following day of her marriage, Khalid bin Saeed was also martyred while her camp was attacked by the Byzantine enemies.

Umm Hakim was still believed to be dressed in bridal clothes when the Byzantines attacked her tent. Displaying great strength of mind, Umm Hakim pulled the poles from the ground of the tent and struck any Byzantine soldier that attempted to enter the tent. In this manner, she killed seven to nine men from the enemy army. The Byzantine soldiers were confused and Um Hakim escaped and sought safety in the midst of the Muslim army.

Impressed by her heroism and sympathizing with the loss of her martyred husbands, Umar (RA), Caliph at the time proposed for a hand in marriage to Umm Hakim who had returned to Medina with the Muslim army. Umm Hakim was married to the Caliph Umar in the third year of Caliphate.  

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