Nusaybah bint Ka'ab

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Nusseibeh bint Ka’ab (also Umm Ammarah[1]) was an early revert to Islam


A member of the Banu Najjar tribe living in Medina, Nusaybah was the sister of Abdullah bin K'ab, and the mother of Abdullah and Habib ibn Zayd al-Ansari.[1]

When 74 leaders, warriors, and statesmen of Medina descended on al-Aqabah to swear an oath of allegiance to Islam following the teaching of the new religion by Mus`ab ibn `Umair in the city, Nusaybah and Umm Munee Asma bint Amr bin 'Adi were the only two women to personally pledge directly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The latter's husband, Ghazyah bin 'Amr, informed Muhammad that the women also wanted to give their bayah in person, and he agreed .[1] She returned to Medina and began teaching Islam to the women of the city. This bayah or pledge was the de facto handing over of power to Muhammad over the city, by its key figures.

Her two sons, both later killed in battle, were from her first marriage to Zaid bin 'Asim Mazni. She later married bin 'Amr, and had another son Tameem and a daughter Khawlah.[1]

Battle of Uhud[edit]

Further information: Battle of Uhud

Initially, Nusaybah was attending the Battle of Uhud like other women, and her intention was to bring water to the soldiers, while her husband and two sons fought.[1] Template:Tabaqat al Kabir by Muhammad ibn Sa'd Vol. 8. English translation by Aisha Bewley; Ta-Ha Publishers, The Women of Madina pp 270–273But after the Muslim archers disobeyed their orders and began deserting their high ground believing victory was at hand, the tide of the battle changed, and it appeared that defeat was imminent. When this occurred, Nusaybah entered the battle, carrying a sword and shield.[1]

She shielded Muhammad from the arrows of the enemy, and received several wounds while fighting.[2][better source needed]

When a horse-mounted Quraish attacked her, she pulled on the horse's bridle and plunged her sword into its neck, toppling the horse on top of its rider. Witnessing this, Muhammad then yelled for Abdullah to help his mother and the pair dispatched the struggling rider.[1][better source needed] The pair then circled around Muhammad, throwing stones at the advancing Quraish troops, until Muhammad noticed Nusaybah's wounds and ordered her son to bandage them, and praised their heroism. Abdullah was wounded himself, as a Quraish cut across his left arm, and Nusaybah treated him and told him not to lose courage. Picking her sword back up, she was complimented by Muhammad on her own courage and he pointed out the man who had wounded her son. Advancing to him, she cut his leg off with a blow of her sword, and he fell to the ground where he was killed by other fighters.[1][better source needed]

Nusaybah's twelfth wound, cut across her shoulder by a Quraish named Ibn Qumiah, left her unconscious on the battlefield. When she awoke after the battle, her first inquiry was whether Muhammad had survived. The wound was not healed until the following year.[1][better source needed]

In Popular Culture[edit]

Faisal Tehrani named the central figure of his novel 1511HKombat as Hajjah Nusaybah. He once stated that he named the character thus because both of them showed limitless courage, as well as being visionary that far exceeds their own generation.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Ghadanfar, Mahmood Ahmad. "Great Women of Islam", Riyadh. 2001.pp. 207-215
  2. ^ Cichocki, Nina. Veils, Poems, Guns, and Martyrs: Four Themes of Muslim Women’s Experiences in Shirin Neshat’s Photographic Work. thirdspace