Islamic History and the Women You Never Hear About: Nusaybah bint Ka’ab

A warrior.

And a teacher, and a mother. She had 2 sons from one marriage, both of whom were killed in battle, and a son and a daughter from a later marriage. She was also involved in the treaties of Aqabah, Al-Hudaybiyah, Khaybar, and Hunayn. The battles in which she fought included the battles of Uhud, Hunain, and Yamama. The Battle of Uhud is the one for which she is most famous.

When the archers disobeyed orders and moved out of position to fight at the front as they overcome by excitement seeing that they were on the verge of victory, the enemy moved in from the back that they had left. And then the likely victory turned to impending defeat. It was then that Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, who had intended to only bring water to the fallen warriors, seized a sword and a shield and drove herself into the battle, primarily to protect the Prophet. She thrust herself before him and was immediately showered over by arrows.

Severely wounded, she carried on. Someone attacked her, and she threw her sword into his horse, who then fell back on the rider. The Prophet in the midst of war then yelled for her son to help her heave the horse off of the enemy on whom it had fallen, as he was beginning to suffocate painfully, and they promptly dispatched him. The two then proceeded to throw stones at the advancing enemy, and as they circled around the Prophet and came near him again he saw that Nusaybah bint Ka’ab’s wounds were grave. He ordered her to leave the battle while praising her courage and commanded that her son bandage the wounds.

As she did, she noticed her son was also wounded deeply across his arm and was bleeding uncontrollably, and she treated him and comforted him. But she returned to the battle, and the Prophet pointed out to her the man who had injured her son, and she struck her sword into his leg. He fell to the ground and was consequently killed by other warriors.

Somewhere in the midst she was struck unconscious, and she was moved away. The wound did not heal for a year.

Her heroism during the other battles was no different. She would always fight to defend. At the battle of Al-Yamamah, she lost her hand. The Prophet said, “Wherever I turned, to the left or the right, I saw her fighting for me.”

Nusaybah bint Ka’ab lived in Medina, and taught students there when she wasn’t on a battlefield.

the fatal feminist © Nahida S. N.

7 thoughts on “Islamic History and the Women You Never Hear About: Nusaybah bint Ka’ab

  1. Nahida, have you read the Forgotten Queens of Islam? I loved that book and this post is amazing. So full of interesting facts. I love warrior women :)

  2. Ingrid Mattson (love her) introduced me to the awesome story of Nusaybah (ra). I couldn't believe I had never heard of her before that! And I agree with lumosnox44; if I have a daughter (insha'Allah), I would love to give her Nusaybah as a first or middle name.

  3. Pingback: Hijab and Innocence (Part I) | The Almas Tree

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