The Role of Women in the Prophetic Hijrah

The sacrifices of Muslim women have emerged in the Islamic Dawah since the beginning of Islam, and they played a major role throughout Islamic history in sharing the message from the early times till our present. The first person ever to convert to Islam was Khadija ‘may Allah be pleased with her’, the wife of our beloved prophet ‘peace be upon him’, who believed in him when no one did and supported him in the first place.

The Islamic History mentioned all men and women that played roles in the Dawah and did not differentiate between them. And so, the names of women were present in many Islamic occasions, reaching the Hijrah journey in different situations where they played major roles and participated in primary missions, which contributed to the success of the journey. These women had a strong will and a sincere determination for the sake of Islam and the prophet, so they were given the power by Allah to endure the pressure and apply the effort.

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فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّي لَا أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ ۖ بَعْضُكُم مِّن بَعْضٍ ۖ فَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُوا وَأُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ وَأُوذُوا فِي سَبِيلِي وَقَاتَلُوا وَقُتِلُوا لَأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلَأُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ثَوَابًا مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الثَّوَابِ (195)
“And their Lord responded to them, "Never will I allow the work of any worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed - I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah, and Allah has the best reward" (Surah Aal Imran, Verse 195)

Women played a major role in the Hijrah Journey from Makkah to Medina, so we state below the role that some Muslim women played in the long migration trip:

1. Nusaiba bint Ka'ab (Umm Umarah) and Um Mani’i

 These two women played a major role in the events that preceded the Hijrah. They were the only two women who were present at the Aqaba Pledge, and swore allegiance to the prophet ‘peace be upon him’ among 73 other Muslim men. 

When they arrived at Yathrib (later called Medina), they worked on introducing the people to Islam and created a welcoming environment for the reception of the prophet ‘peace be upon him’. 

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2. Asmaa and Aisha Bint Abi Bakr ‘May Allah be Pleased with them’

 If we look deeply into the migration incident, we find that Asmaa bint Abi Bakr and Aisha played a prominent role. They were among the first to know the beginning of the migration journey, but they did not cling to the father or the husband, rather their stance was steadfastness, to distract the attention of Quraish for some time from the Messenger of Allah and his companion.

Aisha learned and narrated the story that is still reviving to date, so she was trusted with the secret of Hijrah and did not break the confidence.

The role of Asmaa shows a contributing woman that offers her all for the sake of religion. It was narrated on her authority that she said: When the Messenger of Allah and Abu Bakr went out, a group from Quraish, including Abu Jahl, came to Abu Bakr's house, so she went out to them. They said: Where is your father, daughter of Abu Bakr? She said: I do not know, by Allah, where is my father?  And then she narrated that Abu Jahl raised his hand, and slapped her cheek, that he took off her earring.

Although this was a very difficult moment for her and her sister, yet they remained strong and said no information about the plan of the prophet and her father. 

Although she was pregnant, Asmaa bint Abi Bakr was the person responsible for delivering the provision to the Prophet ‘peace be upon him’ and her father, Abu Bakr, when they were hiding in Ghar Thawr. Despite the long distance she had to cross to reach them, the mountain she had to climb, and the weight she had to carry, add to this that she was a woman, she was assigned this heavy task, and it was worth it. She took into consideration that she was under the supervision of Quraish, so she took care of all the details to prevent anyone from following her to the location of the prophet and her father, by getting some shape with her to erase her foot traces. She was brave, well trusted, powerful and influential. 

She was called Dhat al-Nitaqayn (she of the two belts) because she ripped her Nitaq (belt or a type of fabric that she used to wear) to use as a holder for the food and water.

May Allah be pleased with her, her sister, and her father.

Asmaa and Aisha Bint Abi Bakr

3. Assayida Raqiqa 

 Although she was an old woman who was nearly 100 years old, and despite her old age and not being assigned a task, she did on her own what she saw in the interest of her religion. 

When she knew about the conspiracy of the polytheists to kill the Prophet ‘peace be upon him’, she did not accept to share the secret with her son so he can inform the prophet, because he might be followed by the men of Quraish, so she took the initiative to go by herself and warn the prophet of the danger that was getting close to him.  

 And according to Assayida Raqiqa’s recommendation, the prophet ‘peace be upon him’ decided to let Ali Bin Abi Taleb replace him in bed on that day.

4. Umm Salamah

 While preparing for the Hijrah, the husband of Umm Salamah carried her on the camel, along with her baby. Yet the people of Umm Salama did not accept her to leave, so they kept her while the family of her husband took the baby and her husband left to the other side of the land. While she was unable to reach any of them, she cried for a long time until she got permission from her tribe to leave for Medina. 

After the death of her husband, the prophet ‘peace be upon him’ was told that she was extremely sad for her loss, so he told her to say “Oh Allah, reward me for my calamity and replace it with something better” - "اللهم أجرني في مصيبتي واخلفني خيرا منها"

But she taught that no one was better than Abi Salamah (her husband), until she got married to the prophet ‘peace be upon him’ and she became “Umm al Mu’iminin” (the mother of believers).

She is an example of resilience and patience. 

umm salamah

The woman was not prevented by pregnancy, old age, young age, beauty, youth, or anything from serving her religion, and everyone did what she could. No matter what age we are nor what position we are in, we must always create a change or participate in the decision-making.

Each woman of us is capable of contributing in spreading the beautiful message of Islam and protecting its principles, with minimal acts, even with words like giving advice, sharing a piece of knowledge or a hadith or offering a helping hand. Be like Asmaa ‘may Allah be pleased with her’ or like ‘Assayida Raqiqa’. Be a righteous Muslim woman who cares for her religion and her community.

🌴🌴 We ask Allah to grant us the characters of the women companions and steadfast our hearts like he did with their hearts in the middle of the hardships.🌴🌴

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