A woman in the time of Rasulullah (Peace be upon him): One of the most distinguished women who took part in the battle of Uhud, if not the most distinguished of them, was Nasibah bint Ka'b al-Maziniyyah, Umm 'Umarah (May Allah be pleased with her). At the beginning of the battle, she was bringing water and tending the wounded, as the other women were doing. When the battle was going in the favor of the Muslims, the archers disobeyed the command of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), and this turned the victory into defeat, as the Qur'an described it: "Behold! You were climbing up the high ground, without even casting aside glance at anyone, and the Messenger in your rear was calling you back..." (Qur’an, Surah Al-‘Imran, 3:153)
At this point, Nasibah went forward, with her sword unsheathed and her bow in her hand, to join the small group who were standing firm with the Prophet (Peace be upon him), acting as a human shield to protect him from the arrows of the mushrekeen. Every time danger approached the Prophet (Peace be upon him) she hastened to protect him. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) noticed this, and later said, "Wherever I turned, to the left or the right, I saw her fighting for me."
What are we today compared to the Sahabas?
People of that time were warriors, took care of each other (were Awliayah), were parents and children who had to take care of their own parents, and they had their own daily jobs to take care of. Men and women were equal in their rights and completed each other and had the choice to make their own decisions as the example of Nasibah proves it. Not only people of that time did the minimum, but they did the extra, and doing the extra, they were happy and proud; they felt fulfilled both men and women.
Men defended the Muslim ummah and went to work outside the house every day; when they got home, they helped with the housework and the education of the children. Women gave birth to children and took care of the work at home and the fields whenever their husbands were at war. They made time also for visiting the sick, taking care of the wounded or even fought among the men.
Today, men complain about women and women complain about men. Doing the extra for each other has become a burden, so many people look for what Islam is expecting them to do. (What are my duties and my rights as a Muslim man or as a Muslim woman? Do I have to cook for my husband? Am I obligated to teach my wife? Etc.) This way, they lose the spontaneity of love and care. Marriage becomes a contract, not a means of gaining hasanaat. Our enemies succeeded in putting bad feelings of iniquity between couples and between parents and children.
The first Muslim man I met taught me one thing I have never forgotten in all my life: the pleasure of serving others. I was sick and he came to my place, cooked for me, prepared medicine for me, got my courses, talked to my teachers, cleaned my apartment and called my family! He did not do it out of pity or because he felt obligated, no, he did it out of compassion, with the smile on his face always, with kind words always and with the uplifting feeling of doing something (charity) for the sake of Allah. I will never forget his wonderful words when I asked him if he did not feel strange for doing those things for me. He said: “No, not at all! For each time I serve you, I gain hasanat. It is barakah. Maybe this way my sins will go away and I will reach Jannah, Insha Allah.” I smiled back and I promised to myself I would compete with him to serve him and to serve people. I never regretted this. Serving people is a pleasure and it is a blessing, Alhamdulillah, for both men and women. Serving one’s husband and serving one’s wife is the most beautiful gift of all. If I have to protect my husband, I will do it; I will begin by everyday tasks, with everything he likes, by kind words and good behavior and I will protect him from Shaytan, Insha Allah, by encouraging him in his Islam. I will do the same for my children. When he will serve me, he will do it by kind words and nice behavior, by listening and sharing, by helping and being happy doing it, Insha Allah. To be truly Muslims is to protect each other’s honor and to want for each other what we would like for ourselves. Protecting each other’s honor is to fight against the tricks of those who want us to forget about the true teachings of Islam, it is to fight against the dunyah (material life), it is to go beyond looking at what we do and what others do for us; it is to honor Muslims as brothers and our best brothers are our spouse and family. To want for each other what we would like for ourselves is to protect others from harm and one of the harms that we often overlook is our reputation. We Muslims should stop telling others or each other how much we do not love each other or how much we are disorganized or how much people have little faith, etc. Instead of tarnishing our reputation, let’s encourage each other to protect our reputation and encourage each other to love one another, to look at the good that is done, to organize things at our own level, maybe just one or two families who do halaqah once a week with each other. Changes can be made only at one’s level, with our small skills.
Nasibah was not expected to fight among the men, but she did it with happiness and determination, not because she tried to prove a woman could do it, but because she felt strong about her decision; she felt strong about protecting the man she considered a pearl for the whole humanity. Shouldn’t we consider each and every Muslim a pearl for humanity? Just feeling happy and grateful to be able to serve him or her. What purpose does our pride serve but the tricks of the Shaytan?
This is the important message we have to transmit to our children so they can be free individuals, free from what could spoil their entire lives.
Teaching our children begins by teaching ourselves. Teaching our children begins by gaining wisdom. And Islam is wisdom.
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