Nasibah belonged to the family of An-Najjar from the tribe of Khazraj. She was twice married. The first marriage was to Zayd bin 'Assim, a relative of hers, and she had two boys from him, 'Abdullah and Habib. Her second marriage was to Ghuziyah bin 'Amr, another relative, and from him she had two children, a son named Tamim and a daughter named Khawlah. lt is likely that her first husband died as an unbeliever, although his sons were among the Prophet's Companions. Her second husband was also a Companion, and so were his son and daughter.
Nasibah, as well as all her Arab contemporaries, acquired a different personality due to Islam. She matured and developed powerful characteristics. She became an activist and a fighter.
Nasibah bint Ka'b (Umm 'Imarah) is different from and often confused with Nusaybah bint Ka'b`(Umm 'Attiyah Al-Ansariyah), another exemplary female Companion. The two are not related.
Nasibah was one of the early Ansar who embraced Islam and gave a pledge to the Prophet in the Greater 'Aqabah Pledge, which was a significant moment in the history of Islam.
That pledge started a new phase in da'wah, as it changed the Muslim society from one of mere passive defensiveness characterized by silent patience to one of active defensiveness supported by an armed force. The pledge also raised the Islamic call from the phase of I preaching to phase of the building a state. All this justifies the importance of the Greater 'Aqabah Pledge to the extent that many of the Companions considered it to be more important than the Battle of Badr and that those who attended it should be considered higher in rank than those who fought in Badr.
There were seventy-two Muslims who swore allegiance in this pledge, seventy men and two women, namely Nasiybah bint Ka'b, otherwise known as Umm 'Imarah, and Asma' bint 'Amr, also known as Umm Mani?
After consultation between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Ansar, they rose to take the oath. Umm 'Imarah narrated the event as follows:
The men shook hands with the Prophet (peace be upon him) one after the other on the eve of 'Aqabah while Al-'Abbas was holding the Prophet's hand. They all finished except Umm Mani' and me. My husband Ghuziyah bin 'Amr called the Prophet (peace be upon him) and told him, "Messenger of Allah, here are two women who came with us to pledge to you." The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, "l take their pledge in the same way I takeyours except that l don't shake hands with women."
Those Ansar pledged with the Prophet (peace be upon him) to defend him with their swords, and the aspects of the pledge were dictated equally between men and women except for shaking hands, as a woman's pledge need only be verbal.
The Ansar, including Umm 'lmarah, devoted every moment of their lives to fulfill their oath. The following incidents only prove how far she went to do so.
When the Quraysh were defeated in the Battle of Badr, most of their chieftains were killed or captured. But they insisted on revenge and prepared a huge army. That army marched towards Madinah with the sole intention of uprooting Islam.
The Muslims prepared to face the army, and among them was Umm 'Imarah with the preparations for A emergency care, in particular water for the soldiers and wound dressings.
As she looked on, she rejoiced at the triumphant Muslims, but her joy diminished when the triumph started to turn into defeat. The archers disobeyed the Prophet's command and left their stations, putting the Muslim army in chaos. Most of the soldiers, with the exception of ten,
fled from the vicinity of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
On seeing this, Umm 'lmarah rushed to protect him (peace be upon him), lifting her dress to her waist.
The Prophet ordered one of the deserters to leave his weapon behind. Umm 'Imarah raced to pick up his shield, then screened the Prophet (peace be upon him) with her own body from the oncoming enemy.
Those who remained around the Messenger (peace be upon him) became fewer, but Umm 'Imarah, together with her husband and two sons, remained firm to the last. The situation proved difficult for anyone to tolerate, and only Umm 'Imarah and a few dauntless men could remain staunch.
The very few Companions who were left circled the Prophet (peace be upon him), shielding him with their spears and arrows. 'Abdullah bin Zayd was struck by a sword on his left arm but carried on fighting without a care.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw him bleeding, he ordered him to get his wound dressed. Umm 'Imarah hurried to her son, bandaged his wound, and then told him, "Rise up, son, and beat the enemies."
Hearing this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her in admiration, "Who can bear what you are bearing, Umm 'Imarah?" Then he pointed at the man who had injured her son and said, "There is the man who struck ybur son." Umm 'Imarah rushed at him and hit him in the leg. When he fell, she killed him with the help of others. The Prophet (peace be upon him) smiled at this scene and said, "You are burning with zeal, Umm 'Imarah!"
The Companions continued to defend the Prophet (peace be upon him), letting no one come near him. He (peace be upon him) saw 'Abdullah, the son of Umm 'Imarah, beside him and asked him, "Are you 'Abdullah, the son of Umm 'Imarah?"
He answered, "Yes."
The Prophet then told him, "Shoot!" 'Abdullah kept shooting his arrows.
One of the unbelievers, Ibn Qami'ah rushed towards the Messenger of Allah and shouted, "Where is Muhammad? Show us where he is. By Allah, if I don't kill him, I have no hope of living." Umm 'Imarah encountered him in a combat and he struck her with his sword on the shoulder. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw her wound bleeding, he called to her son, "You, son of Umm 'lmarah. Your mother! Bandage her wound! May Allah bless your family! Your mother is better than so -and-so (and he named many names). May Allah have mercy on your family! Your stepfather is better than so-and-so (and again he named many people). May Allah have mercy on your family!"
Umm 'lmarah turned to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said to him, "Pray to Allah that He makes us in your company in Paradise."
Thereupon the Prophet replied, "Oh Allah, make them in my company in Heaven."
Umm 'lmarah's heart was comforted by those words and she said in ecstasy, "By Allah, I don't mind any harm that may befall me in this life."
She is yet another bright example for women and girls to follow. She loved jihad without considering forsaking it. She deserves to be in Paradise with the one dearest to her, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). She did what many of her Muslim brothers could not.
The Battle of Uhud was an occasion for the unbelievers to retaliate after what had befallen them in Badr. Thanks to Allah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) survived.
A few hours later, the Prophet (peace be upon him) pulled his army together and ordered the Muslims to chase the army of the Quraysh before it reached Makkah. The command reached Umm 'Imarah. She tried to rise and join the army, but her wound disabled her. She fell on her bed and allowed herself to be nursed.
On his way back, the Messenger (peace be upon him) saw his prime task was to visit her, and he was pleased at her recovery. That visit gave her more strength to continue in jihad for the sake of Allah. She used to go with the other women in the company of the army to provide emergency care and fight when necessary.
She was present at A1-Hudaybiyah, Khaybar, Umratul-Qadiyah, Hunayn, and the Pledge of Ar-Radwan with the Prophet (peace be upon him). When Musaylamah the Liar appeared in the land of Yamamah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent him a message _with Umm 'Imarah's son, Habib bin Zayd.
Musaylamah did not respect the world-wide norms of that time of respecting messengers and guaranteeing their safety. He asked Habib, "Do you testify that I am the Messenger of Allah?"
Habib answered, "No."
"Do you testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah?"
"Yes, I do.
Then Musaylamah bound Habib's arms and legs and started to cut off his limbs one by one while asking, "Do you testify that I am the Messenger of Allah?"
Without faltering, he answered no to all the questions until he died as a martyr whose faith was as firm and steady as a mountain.
Umm 'Imarah's reaction to the terrible news was only the utterance of the disaster du `a': "To Allah we belong and to Him is our return. Allah, reward me for my disaster." She swore to get justice.
Time passed and the Prophet (peace be upon him) died. Some of` the Arabs declared apostasy, among them Musaylamah. The first caliph, Abu Bakr, prepared the army to fight him. Umm 'lmarah was the first one to volunteer in the army, due to her son's murder.
On the battlefield, Umm 'Imarah struck hard with her sword and relentlessly fought despite her wounds. The specter of her murdered son only spurred her on in the confrontation. After the battle, the victorious Muslim army managed to seize Musaylama. Many men wanted to have
the honor of killing him with their own hands, among whom were Wahshiy and Umm 'Imarah's son 'Abdullah, who were stabbing him to death. She reached the scene to find him torn into pieces. It was only then that her heart was relieved.
The soldiers noticed that she had lost her hand but was still standing firm, despite the wound. Her appearance reminded them of what the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said to her: "Who can endure what you are enduring, Umm 'Imarah?" Everyone hurried to attend to her wound, and they all returned victoriously to Madinah, where Abu Bakr received them with congratulations. He visited her many times during her illness.
When 'Umar succeeded to the caliphate, he did not forget to take care of her. He was even criticized for his over-attentiveness of her, but he only answered, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say, 'On the Day of Uhud, whenever I turned right or left, I saw her fighting to protect me."
Thus Umm 'Imarah deserves to be a model for all women in all eras. May Allah have mercy on her soul.
The principle of equality between men and women concerning rights vexed her somewhat. She once asked the Prophet (peace be upon him), "I see that men have all the privileges while women are not mentioned in anything?
The answer to her question was revealed in verses of Qur'an:
(For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for
true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God's praise,- for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward.)
Is there any formula for the equality between men and women which is more perfect than that for the contemporary women to strive for?
May Allah have mercy on Umm 'lmarah, her husband, and her sons, the great Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him).