Al Shindagah Magazine Nosaiba Al Khazraajia
Umm Ammara

In our continuing series about exemplary women in Islamic history, Sheikh Faris Ali Al Mustafa turns the spotlight on Nosaiba

Manifesting the Spirit of Islam

MinaretOurs is an age of decline and absurdity, an epoch of intrigue with only a faint memory of morality, honour and dignity. Today's badges of pride are betrayal, ingratitude and cowardice. Money and sensuality are the false gods of materialistic men, so what fool would expect that a female in our lost epoch might find respect?

Woman has become a mockery, a spiritless doll, a victim of modern morality focused on the trivial instead of the supreme. The best skin care products and a nip here and a tuck there are essential. The motto of the liberated is flaunt it baby! What kind of silly female could imagine actually using her breast to nourish a baby, as her assets might start drooping. As a matter of fact, who even wants those little nuisances around anyway? There's much more important things to pursue in a busy career and social life.

How different from these wayward fashions was Nosaiba Al Khazrajia. She was fortunate to live at the time when Almighty God graced the Arabs with the Holy Word. Her family were among the earliest Muslims. Her brother Abdullah bin Kaab al Mazani fought with the Prophet in the crucial Battle of Badr, while her second brother Abdul Rahman was one of those devout early believers who would burst into tears when listening to the first recitations of the Holy Quran.

Nosaiba herself fought at the Battles of Aqaba, Ohoud, Hodaiba, Hunain and Al Yamama. The journals of the early believers do not rave about the beauty of her hair or the colour of her eyes or the smoothness of her skin. Instead many words have been written about the true values of womanhood which shone from her. Her glory was her courage and honour. The Prophet held this dear Woman of Distinction in such high esteem that he compared her piety and devotion to that of the greatest of his companions. In our so-called advanced civilisation, today's modern woman takes pride only in her physical beauty. Woe betide the poor soul who finds no envy or lust in the eyes of those who behold her! Her social role is to compete with friends to grab the latest fads of expensive perfumes and facial creams.

She doesn't even realise that her mindless pursuit of artificial beauty will leave nothing in her soul as a reward for old age. Nothing that is except the terror of the wrinkled signs of approaching death. The courage of Nosaiba shone forth when it counted most, which was in the defence of her new religion. During a battle against the non-believers, she suffered so many deep cuts that her wounds required one painful year to heal. When the call to arms came again, she tried to join the ranks of the faithful, but she failed because she was bleeding so much.

A chronicle of the early wars described how she and her husband and sons and a few companions struggled bravely to protect the Prophet who was being attacked. The enemy greatly outnumbered the Muslims, and some of their companions were abandoning the field of honour! The Prophet shouted to one of the cowards to throw his shield to Nosaiba so that she could defend herself. The battle was fierce, for the Muslims were on foot fighting for their lives against mounted soldiers.

At one point a horsemen galloped to Nosaiba and tried to slash her with his sword, but she fended off the blow with the shield. Twisting around as the beast charged past her, she wounded its hind leg and the fighter was thrown to the ground. Both she and the Prophet then leaped on the the infidel to slaughter him, dispatching him to his judgement. These are the sort of stories which true believers should grow up on, not advertisements for pretty new shades of lipstick! After such gory escapades, the legend of Nosaiba's courage grew. Men quavered in their sandals in front of her, in awe of her holy fury. Mohammed bin Yahya bin Habban wrote in the chronicle of the Battle of Ohod that this female battle axe received eleven wounds, and at the Battle of Yamama her hand was cut off. Her bloody stump was a badge of honour.

When Nosaiba was in Medina between campaigns, the Caliph Abu Bakr used to visit her often to encourage her. Even that token of respect could not make any easier the ultimate sacrifice for a mother, which was the life of her son. Abdullah had come to the aid of his brother fallen under the sword of the unbeliever Museilama, but fell himself mortally wounded. The mother cherished her son's martyrdom. She offered it proudly to the holy struggle to establish the Word.

Again and again I am overwhelmed by the utter contrasts between the modern day and the exploits of the early believers. What would our learned sociologists and psychologists comment about the motivation of a woman willing to sacrifice her life as Nosaiba did? What type of energy fires a human being to find ecstasy in suffering? Indeed, what is the proportion of holy power that would bind a family together to seek their holy annihilation?

I can find no answer in logic. The answer lies only in one sublime word. Islam. It is such an easy answer, for the definition of a Muslim is one who submits to the Creator. The surrender of a puny will to the infinite opens the source of joy which has no parallel.

The pure of heart can distinguish between truth and falsehood, good and evil. What little distraction to cleansed souls are the enticements of ads and the seducements of marketing. Women! Listen! Please! Free yourselves from false messengers and false gods. Allow the story of the Woman from Khazraj to inspire you to seek the blessed beauty of the Divine.