Sumayyah bint Khabbat

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Sumayyah bint Khabbat
سُمَيَّة ٱبْنَت خَبَّاط
Sumayyah name.png
Bornc. 550 C.E. (72 BH)
Diedc. 615 C.E. (7 BH)
Mecca, Hejaz
(present-day Saudi Arabia)
Known forBeing the first martyr of the Ummah (Community) of Muhammad, and a female companion of his
SpouseYasir ibn Amir
ChildrenAmmar ibn Yasir
ParentKhayyat (father)
RelativesHorayth ibn Yasir, Abdullah ibn Yasir (sons or stepsons)

Sumayyah bint Khabbāṭ (Arabic: سُمَيَّة ٱبْنَت خَبَّاط) or Sumayyah bint Khayyāṭ (سُمَيَّة ٱبْنَت خَيَّاط; c. 550 – 615 CE / 72 BH – 7 BH), was the mother of Ammar ibn Yasir and first member of the Ummah (Community) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad to become a shahidah (female martyr).[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

She was a slave in the possession of Abu Hudhaifah ibn al-Mughirah, a member of the Makhzum clan in Mecca.[4] Her master gave her in marriage to Yasir ibn Amir, who was from the Malik clan of the Madh'hij tribe in Yemen. After coming to Mecca to look for a lost brother, he had decided to settle there under Abu Hudhayfa's protection.[1]: 188 [4] Sumayyah gave birth to their son Ammar c.566.[1]: 188 [5][2][4] Yasir also had two brothers, Hurth and Abdullah,[1]: 189 [4]

At a later date, Abu Hudhayfa freed both Sumayyah and her son Ammar; but they remained his clients for the rest of his life.[1]: 188 [2][4][6] It is said that Abu Hudhayfa died "before Islam";[4] but it is also said that he was "one of those who mocked the Prophet".[4]

Conversion to Islam[edit]

According to one tradition, Sumayyah was one of the first seven "to display Islam," the other six being Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Bilal, Khabbab, Suhayb and her son Ammar.[1]: 178  "To display Islam" might refer to something other than conversion since, according to another tradition, Ammar was not converted until after the Muslims had entered the house of al-Arqam "after thirty men".[1]: 189  Yasir and his son Abdullah were also converted "on the rise of Islam,"[1]: 188–189 [2]: 185 [4][3][7] but Hurth had been killed by the Dil clan before 610.[1]: 189 [4]

The Quraysh persecuted Muslims of low social rank.[8]: 143 [7] Sumayyah's family was vulnerable after the death of their patron, and it was other members of the Makhzum clan who tortured them to pressure them to abandon their faith.[8]: 145 [2][3][9] On one occasion she was put inside a pitcher full of water and lifted so that she could not escape. She, Yasir and Ammar were also forced to stand in the sun in the heat of the day dressed in mail-coats.[8]: 145 [1]: 178 

Although described as "a very old and frail woman," Sumayyah remained steadfast and refused to abandon Islam.[8]: 145 [2]


One evening Abu Jahl, also a member of the Makhzum clan, came to watch her standing there and he began to insult her verbally. Then he killed her by stabbing and impaling her with his spear.[8]: 145 [1]: 178 [2] Arabic When Abu Jahl was killed at Badr, Muhammad said to Ammar, "Allah has killed your mother's killer."[2]: 186 

Tabari mentions an alternative account of Sumayyah's life. He says she married a Byzantine slave named Azraq after Yasir's death. She bore him a son named Salamah and their bloodline eventually married into the Umayyad family. Tabari also notes some stories as a case of possible confusion between two Meccan women named Sumayyah.[10]

Historical references[edit]

The earliest reference to the murder of Sumayyah is found in Ibn Ishaq's (died 761)[11] biography of Muhammad, Siratu Rasulullah ("Biography of the Messenger of God").[8]: 143 [12] Her name Sumayyah is not explicitly mentioned in Ibn Ishaq; it is a deduction from the reference to her son as Ammar "son of" Sumayya.[8]: 229  However, she is named as Sumayyah in the accounts of Ibn Saad[1]: 178, 188 [2] and Tabari.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Muhammad ibn Saad (2013), "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", in Translated by Bewley, A. (ed.), The Companions of Badr, vol. 3, London: Ta-Ha Publishers
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Muhammad ibn Saad (1995), "Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir", in Translated by Bewley, A. (ed.), The Women of Madina, vol. 8, London: Ta-Ha Publishers, pp. 185–186
  3. ^ a b c Razwy, Sayed A.A. (1997). A restatement of the history of Islam & Muslims : C.E. 570 to 661. Stanmore, Middlesex: World Federation of KSI Muslim Communities. ISBN 0-9509-8791-3. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 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.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari. Tarikh al-Rusul wa'l-Muluk. Translated by Landau-Tasseron, E. (1998). Volume 39: Biographies of the Prophet's Companions and Their Successors, pp. 29-30, 116-117. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  5. ^ Muhammad ibn Saad. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir vol. 3. Translated by Bewley, A. (2013). The Companions of Badr, p. 203. London: Ta-Ha Publishers. "Ammar was killed in Safar 37 AH at the age of 93."
  6. ^ Muir, W. (1861). The Life of Mahomet, vol. 2, p. 125. London: Smith, Elder & Co
  7. ^ a b 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 Muslim Communities. ISBN 0950987913. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Muhammad ibn Ishaq. Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-636033-1
  9. ^ 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 Muslim Communities. ISBN 0950987913. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  10. ^ History of al-Tabari Vol. 39, The: Biographies of the Prophet's Companions p.29-30, SUNY Press, 07-Jul-2015, ISBN 9781438409986
  11. ^ Robinson 2003, p. xv
  12. ^ University of Wisconsin-Madison