Sumayyah bint Khayyat

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Sumayyah bint Khayyat (Arabic: سمية بنت خياطّ‎, died 615 C.E.) is known in the Islamic traditions as the first person in history to be martyred for having adopted the faith of Islam,[1] in pre-Hijra Mecca. Sumayyah was the wife of Yasir ibn Amir and the mother of Ammar ibn Yasir, both well-known early entrants[1][2] The earliest reference to the incident is found in Ibn Ishaq's (died 761[3]) biography of Muhammad, Siratu Rasulullah (Meaning: Biography of the Messenger of God).[4]

Before Islam[edit]

She was slave of Abu Hudhaifah ibn al-Mughirah, who later gave her in marriage to Yasir ibn Amir. She bore Yasir three sons: Hurayth, Ammar and Abdullah. They were later freed by Abu Hudhaifah.[5]

Conversion to Islam[edit]

Yasir, Sumayyah and Ammar were well-known early entrants to Islam[1][2] all converted to Islam between 610 and 613.

Persecution and death[edit]

By 615 C.E, five years after Muhammad's declaration of prophethood, persecution of followers of the new faith came to an active phase when the weakest members of the young community,[2] such as the African slave Bilal, were subjected to torture and the local leaders proclaimed a ban of trade with the Muslims, prohibiting citizens of Mecca from providing food and medicine to members of the new movement. These were followed by the murder of Sumayyah by a Meccan tribal chief Abu Jahl and others.[1][6]

"The Makhzum clan used to take out Ammar ibn Yasir with his father and mother, who were Muslims, in the heat of the day and expose them to the heat of Mecca, and the Apostle passed by them and said, so I have heard, ′Patience, O family of Yasir! Your meeting-place will be Paradise.' They killed his mother, for she refused to abandon Islam."[7] The date assigned to Sumayyah's death is c. 615.

The name 'Sumayyah'[edit]

The name of the person Sumayyah is not explicitly mentioned in Ibn Ishaq. It is a deduction from the reference to her son as Ammar "ibn" Sumayya, meaning Ammar "son-of" Sumayya, in Ibn Ishaq.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Razwy, Sayed A.A. (1997). "Ammar ibn Yasser was also one of the earliest converts to Islam. As noted before, his mother and father were tortured to death by the pagans in Makkah. They were the first and the second martyrs of Islam, and this is a distinction that no one in all Islam can share with them.". A restatement of the history of Islam & Muslims : C.E. 570 to 661. Stanmore, Middlesex: World Federation of KSI Muslin Communities. ISBN 0950987913. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Razwy, Sayed A.A. (1997). "The family all members of which accepted Islam before any other family, was the Yasir family. Yasir, his wife, and their son, Ammar, all three accepted Islam simultaneously, and they were among the earliest Muslims.". A restatement of the history of Islam & Muslims : C.E. 570 to 661. Stanmore, Middlesex: World Federation of KSI Muslin Communities. ISBN 0950987913. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Robinson 2003, p. xv
  4. ^ Alfred Guillaume "The Life of Muhammad: A translation of Ishaq's (sic - should be Ibn Ishaq) Sirat Rasul Allah" Oxford 1955 ISBN 0-19-636033-1, 2003 reprint used - page 145
  5. ^ Muir, W. (1861). The Life of Mahomet, vol. 2, p. 125. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  6. ^ Razwy, Sayed A.A. (1997). ""The first victims of pagan attrition and aggression were those Muslims who had no tribal affiliation in Makkah. Yasir and his wife, Sumayya, and their son, Ammar, had no tribal affiliation. In Makkah they were “foreigners” and there was no one to protect them. All three were savagely tortured by Abu Jahl and the other infidels. Sumayya, Yasir's wife, died while she was being tortured. She thus became the First Martyr in Islam. A little later, her husband, Yasir, was also tortured to death, and he became the Second Martyr in Islam. Quraysh had stained their hands with innocent blood! In the roster of martyrs, Sumayya and her husband, Yasir, rank among the highest. They were killed for no reason other than their devotion to Allah and their love for Islam and Muhammad Mustafa. Those Muslims who were killed in the battles of Badr and Uhud, had an army to defend and to support them. But Yasir and his wife had no one to defend them; they bore no arms, and they were the most defenseless of all the martyrs of Islam. By sacrificing their lives, they highlighted the truth of Islam, and they built strength into its structure. They made the tradition of sacrifice and martyrdom an integral part of the ethos of Islam."". A restatement of the history of Islam & Muslims : C.E. 570 to 661. Stanmore, Middlesex: World Federation of KSI Muslin Communities. ISBN 0950987913. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad, p. 145. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  8. ^ Alfred Guillaume "The Life of Muhammad: A translation of Ishaq's (sic - should be Ibn Ishaq) Sirat Rasul Allah" Oxford 1955 ISBN 0-19-636033-1, 2003 reprint used - p 229