Brave and Courageous Women in Islam

There have been many brave and courageous women in Islamic history who dedicated their entire lives fighting for the survival of Islam with ability and intelligence. These women sacrificed everything for the sake of Allah and His Messenger and did not think twice about risking their lives for it. A few of these notable women are worthy of attention given the length of the article

Safiyya Bint Abu Al-Muttalib

Safiyya bint Abd al-Muttalib was the aunt of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). She was the daughter of Abd al-Muttalib who was the grandfather of the Holy Prophet. Her mother’s name was Halah bint Wuhayb who was the cousin of Aminah bint Wahb. In this sense, Safiyya bint Abd al-Muttalib was Holy Prophet’s cousin and the real sister of Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib. She was the mother of Zubayr ibn al-Awwam who was one of the Companions, who was promised paradise.  She was a very brave and courageous woman.


Battle of the Trench


In the incident of Battle of the Trench, the joint army of ten thousand fighters of the infidels was approaching like a storm to conquer Madina. The city had been properly shielded by a trench that was dug. She was concerned about the safety of Muslim women and children. At that time, the strongest and most secure fort among the Ansar forts was the fort of Hassan ibn Thabit “Fari” which was adjacent to the Jewish population of Banu Qurayza. Since there was a peace agreement with Banu Qurayza, the Holy Prophet left Madina with the Companions after moving all the women and children to the fort of Hassan.

According to Ibn Hisham, almost all the Muslim men of Madina were engaged in this campaign. As the infidel army had laid siege outside Madina, Banu Qurayza suddenly reneged on their agreement with the Holy Prophet and declared their support for the infidels of Makkah. At the same time, the Jews inside Madina planned an attack on the fort. They sent a spy to inspect the fort before the attack. There was a man who was trying to take assess of the military strength when Safiyya bint Abd al-Muttalib caught sight of him. She was a wise woman. She realised from the movements and gestures of the jew that he must be a spy. Safiyya immediately approached Hassan ibn Thabit who was the caretaker of the fort. She told him of her concerns and asked him to kill the man. Because of his old age, Hassan ibn Thabit remarked, “If I had been able to fight this Jew, would I not have engaged in fight alongside the Holy Prophet instead of sitting here?.” At the time, Safiyya was 58 years old but in good health. She remarked, “When I heard Hassan’s response, I myself decided to take necessary steps. There was a stick lying nearby. I held it tightly and went towards the door. The man tried to get inside when I had just barely opened the door, at that point I beat him to death with blows of the stick. Then I went to Hassan and told him that I have killed that Jew, now you must take off the weapons and other belongings of that Jew. I would have taken them off myself if he was not a man.” Hassan replied, “But I do not need his weapons and equipment.”

Furthermore Safiyya said, “My fear was right. The Jews believed there were Muslim soldiers within the fort after one of their comrades was killed. Hence, they lacked the guts to launch another attack.”

Who was the first Brave Woman in Islam?

According to Ibn al-Athir, Safiyya was the first Muslim woman to courageously kill an enemy of Islam due to which Muslim women became safe. The magnificent warrior who became the greatest role model for Muslim women in terms of bravery, patience and courage passed away in 20 Hijri at the age of 73 during the caliphate of Ameer-ul-Momineen Umar Ibn Khattab. She was buried in Al-Baqi Cemetery.

Asmaa Bint Yazeed

Asmaa bint Yazeed ibn Al-Sakan was Ansari woman. Yazeed ibn Al-Sakan was the name of her father. Abu Saeed Ansari was her husband. On Mus’ab ibn Umayr’s invitation, Asmaa accepted Islam and spent her time studying. Asmaa had the pleasure of pledging (pledge of the tree)  to the Holy Prophet in Ridwan’s pledge of allegiance.

Asmaa in Court of the Holy Prophet
present imam of islam

She used to frequently make an appearance to the Prophet’s gatherings and was never afraid to ask questions. She was aware that knowledge is increased through asking questions. She held a significant position in the understanding of Islam. She was a wise woman with unique abilities of eloquence, intelligence and wisdom and was known as “Atiyyah an-Nisa (Orator of Women)”. This was because She often used to present the questions of women in the court of the Holy Prophet.

Once Asmaa appeared in the court of the Holy Prophet and said:

“O Holy Prophet, May my parents be sacrificed on you. I have come to you representing many women. Allah has sent you for both men and women. We women have also received the honor of pledging allegiance to you. Also, we have vowed to abide by your teachings, your Sunna and to follow you. Now the situation is that we women live behind the veil in our homes, we serve our husbands, take care of their homes and protect their property. Whereas men are superior to us as they participate in Friday prayers as well as funeral prayers and get reward. Men are also privileged to participate in the war. Will we women receive a portion of the award granted to these men?”

As the Holy Prophet heard this, he turned to face the Companions and said, “See how thoroughly this woman has questioned about her religion.” Then he said to Asmaa, “Listen and then tell the other women, that they will be rewarded for the deeds of men if they serve their husbands, keep them happy, always seek their pleasure and obey them.” Asmaa left happily after the answer of the Prophet and told the rest of the women what she had heard from the Holy Prophet. All the women were delighted after hearing this wonderful news. Since that time, women have started to view chores as worship rather than a burden to be endured. Like many other female Companions, Asmaa also loved the Holy Prophet. She served him and arranged a meal for Him whenever possible.

Once the Holy Prophet offered Maghrib prayer in the house of Asmaa. He was accompanied by 40 companions. Asmaa offered a small portion of curry and a few pieces of bread to the Holy Prophet. Everyone ate from this food but still the food was left. After eating, he drank water from the water pot and left. According to Asmaa, “We used to drink the water that the Holy Prophet and His Companions had left in the pot when the members of my household were ill and they would recover and because of this our sustenance increased.”
(Tabaqat Ibn Saad 244|8)
Brave and Couragesous Women in Islam

Battle of the Yarmuk

Asmaa was also keen in war and joined the Muslim army on several occasions with her intelligence and bravery. During the reign of Umar ibn Khattab, she took part in the Battle of Yarmuk with the Byzantines to take care of the wounded and provide water to the warriors. When the enemy attacked the women’s tents, Asma took the pole of her tent and went to the battlefield and killed nine Byzantine soldiers.

Asmaa also had the privilege of narrating many Hadiths from the Holy Prophet which she had heard from him.

Baraka Bint Tha’Laba (Umm Ayman)
Baraka was a woman from Abyssinia. She was the daughter of Abyssinian Tha’labah Ibn Amr but she is better known by her teknonym Umm Ayman. She was the maidservant of Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib who was the father of the Holy Prophet. After the death of Aminah (the mother of the Holy Prophet) Umm Ayman took care of the Holy Prophet like a mother.
Baraka Bint Tha'Laba (Umm Ayman)

First Marriage of Umm Ayman

After marrying Khadijaw bint Khuwaylid, the Prophet freed Umm Ayman and married her to Ubayd ibn Zayd. From this marriage, her son Ayman was born and thus she became known as Umm Ayman (Mother of Ayman). Umm Ayman was also among those who embraced Islam after Prophet Muhammad’s declaration of Prophethood and after that her family also followed her.

Martyrdom of Ubayd and Son Ayman

Ubayd ibn Zayd was martyred in the Battle of Khaybar while fighting in defense of the Holy Prophet while Ayman was martyred in the Battle of Hunayn.

Second Marriage of Umm Ayman

After the martyrdom of Ubayd ibn Zayd, the Prophet married Umm Ayman to Zayd ibn Haritha. From this marriage her son Usama ibn Zayd was born. Usama ibn Zayd was appointed as the head of the army by the Holy Prophet and Usama ibn Zayd led a successful campaign in the Byzantine Empire.

Migration Towards Madina

When the Holy Prophet migrated to Madina, he left Umm Ayman in Makkah to take care of some special affairs of his household. After that, Umm Ayman migrated to Madina by herself. She made a difficult and long journey on foot through the desert and mountainous regions. The path was covered by the tremendous heat and sandstorms but she persisted because of her deep love and devotion to the Holy Prophet. When She reached Madina, her feet were sore and swollen and her face was smeared with dirt and mud. The Holy Prophet saw them and said:

”اُمُّ اَیْمَن اُمِّی بَعْدَ اُمِّی“

Meaning: (Umm Ayman! O mother of Ayman! O my mother!) Indeed, there is a place for you in paradise.”

Even in Madina, Umm Ayman played her full role in the affairs of the Muslims and defended Prophet Muhammad in every possible way to protect him from the attacks of the infidels. She also supported the Holy Prophet in various wars.

Migration Towards Madina

Battle of Uhud

In the Battle of Uhud, She used to bring water to the Muslim soldiers and helped treat the wounded. During the war, many Muslims fled from the battlefield when word of the martyrdom of the Holy Prophet spread but Umm Ayman stayed.

She threw dust on the fleeing soldiers and presented them with a spindle and said, “Give me your sword and you are out.” She along with some other Muslim women arrived at the battlefield intending to fight. She was shot by an enemy soldier’s arrow and got injured. Umm Ayman also protected Holy Prophet in every way during the Battle of Khaybar and Battle of Hunayn.

The Holy Prophet loved Umm Ayman and gave her the status of his mother. The Holy Prophet often visited her and asked her, “O mother! are you well?” and She used to reply, “O Holy Prophet! I am in good health as long as there is Islam.” After the Holy Prophet’s death, Abu Bakr and Umar ibn Khattab also visited her during sickness like the Prophet of Islam did.

Umm Ayman was unique in the sense that she was the only woman who stayed close to the Holy Prophet till death. Her life was spent in the selfless service of the Prophet’s house. She was very kind-hearted, patient and deeply devoted to the Holy Prophet. Above all, Her devotion to the religion of Islam was strong and unwavering. She died during the Caliphate of Uthman bin Affan.

Umm Ammarah Nusaybah Bint Ka’ab

Her name was Nusaybah bint Ka’ab and her teknonym was Umm Ammarah. She belonged to the Najjar family of the Khazraj tribe of Madina. She was one of those who accepted Islam in Madina. Several qualities were attributed to her because she was the Holy Prophet’s Companion. She participated fully in the Battle of Uhud and protected the Holy Prophet at all times. At the beginning of the war, She was fetching water for the warriors and took care of the wounded.

  • When the Battle of Uhud was going in favor of the Muslims, the archers disobeyed the order of the Holy Prophet and left the field. As a result, the victory turned into defeat. When Nusaybah came to know that the life of the Holy Prophet was in danger, She moved with her sword and bow in hands and joined the small group of those who were standing firmly with the Holy Prophet and were protecting him from the arrows of the infidels. Whenever the Holy Prophet was in danger, Nusaybah was there to protect him. She also endured many wounds and arrows to protect him. Regarding her bravery, the Prophet said, “Wherever I turned, left or right, I saw Umm Ammarah fighting for me. She became a shield for my protection.” (Tabaqat Ibn Saad 8|461)

Nusaybah participated in many Battles of Khaybar, conquest of Makkah and continued to fight the enemies of Islam with great strength and bravery. This great woman died in 13 Hijri and was buried in Al-Baqi Cemetery.

Brave and Couragesous Women in Islam
Khawla Bint Al-Azwar
Khawla bint al-Azwar was the daughter of a powerful chieftain of the Arab tribe known as Banu Sa’d. Her family was among the first to accept Islam. Khawla was a brave Companion of the Holy Prophet. Like many women, She is also included in the list of brave warriors of Islam.

Khawla bint al-Azwar was the sister of Dhiraar ibn al-Azwar who was a soldier and commander of the Muslim army in the 7th century. Dhiraar was a very skilled warrior of his time and he taught Khawla everything he knew about fighting. Spear, combat, sword fighting etc. Similarly, She also became a warrior. She loved her brother Dhiraar. She used to travel everywhere with her brothers including the marketplace and battlegrounds. She also had a talent for poetry and was a skilled nurse as well as excelled in these great arts.

Khawla Bint Al-Azwar

Bravery of Khawla Bint Al-Azwar

Khawla’s skills were comparable to her brother in the battlefield. In 636 AD, the Battle of the Yarmuk took place in the siege of Damascus against the Byzantine army. In this battle, Khawla supported the Muslim forces by providing medical aid to the wounded soldiers. Khalid ibn al-Walid was the commander in this war. Dhiraar was leading a detachment of the Muslim army. During the battle, Dhiraar fell off his horse after losing his spear and the Byzantium army captured him.

On this occasion Khawla put on the armor of a warrior, covered her face with a veil, wrapped her waist in a green shawl and galloped through the Roman ranks while riding her horse. She skillfully wielded her sword against anyone who tried to stop her and killed countless Byzantine soldiers. Shurahbil ibn Hasana who was there said, “This warrior fights like Khalid ibn al-Walid but I am sure he is not Khalid.”

Rafi ibn Umayra was one of the warriors who witnessed this event. He described how Khawla would split the opposing ranks and vanish into the soldiers midst only to later be discovered dripping with blood from her own spear. She then would make a second turn and repeat the action numerous times without fear. The entire Muslim army was worried about her and was praying for her safety. Rafi and the other fighters mistakenly believed that was Khalid but then Khalid and the army suddenly came. Rafi asked Khalid, “who is that soldier?  By Allah! he does not care about his safety.” Khalid replied that he does not know that person. When many Roman soldiers were coming after them, she turned and beheaded many Romans with a single blow. The Romans eventually lost the battle and fled. Many people were killed and injured in the battlefield. Khalid praised the bravery of Khawla and asked her to remove the veil, but she did not give any answer and tried to leave but on repeated insistence of Khalid, She replied, “I am Khawla bint al-Azwar. Sister of Dhiraar bint al-Azwar. When I learnt that the enemy had captured my brother while I was in the army with the women, I had to take the necessary action.”

Khalid ordered his army to follow the Roman who were escaping, and Khawla was in charge of this army. They were eventually caught while they were transporting the prisoners to their headquarters. Another battle started, the Roman soldiers were killed and Khawla saved her brother’s life.

Battle of Ajnadayn

Khawla’s spear broke in the Battle of Ajnadayn. She discovered herself as a prisoner after her horse was slain. She was shocked when she found out that the Romans had attacked the women’s camp and taken some of the women hostage. The Roman leader handed over the prisoners to his commanders and gave the order to move Khawla to his tent. Khawla was furious and decided that it was better to die with honour than to live in disgrace. She had no weapon yet she stood among the women and invited them to fight or die for their freedom and honour. The women agreed to her plan. They circled the tent poles and pegs, grabbed them, and attacked the Roman soldiers. Khawla led the attack. According to Al-Waqidi, She killed 30 Roman soldiers.

She is remembered as one of the greatest brave women warriors in history. In honour of her, Jordan released a stamp as part of “Arab Women in History.” Recently, a unit of female soldiers serving in the modern-day Iraqi army has been named the “Khawla bint al-Azwar unit” in honor of Khawla. The first military college for women in the UAE, “Khawla bint al-Azwar Training College” is also named after her.

The history of Islam remains incomplete without mentioning the sacrifices and services of women because these brave women devoted their entire lives and property to the religion Islam. The Holy Prophet made women the center of his religious, invitational, and preaching efforts in the same way he made men. Because of his education and training, women’s revolutionary spirits were awakened just as the ideal passion of worshipping Allah was awoken in men. Just as the male Companions gained spiritual training from Holy Prophet, female Companions also benefitted from his company and spiritual training and became enlightening guidance for other women.


Following the same Sunna of the Holy Prophet, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen (who is on the footsteps of Holy Prophet) also trains women in the same way as he trains men.

The word ‘man’ is a characteristic, it is not associated to the physical body or appearance. In fact, ‘man’ is the name of a special prestige and strong attribute which is present in every male and female. The way of Allah is adopted and traversed only by the real man (whether male or a female). On this basis, many males are actually females and females are males.
spiritual guide

Modern, liberal and independent women should not only read the biographies of these courageous Muslim women but also emulate their virtue in every aspect of their lives. The claim made by these women that Islam denies them the freedom to live independently and freely is entirely wrong. The respect, status and rights given to women by Allah and the Holy Prophet in the form of the religion Islam, any religion and society in the world is unable to equal it.

In today’s male-dominated society, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen accords women’s rights with the same reverence as Allah and the Holy Prophet. Holy Prophet ordered to respect and honor women. This is because today’s strong and independent woman can give birth to tomorrow’s bright future. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen instructs disciples to respect the rights of women in the light of the Quran and Hadith because this is not only the Sunna of the Prophet but also the command of Allah.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen has made the real spirit of Islam Faqr common to women and made them seekers of Allah from the seeker of world. In addition to men, many women have purified their self and inward from the pure and enlightened companionship of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. They have also received the gnosis of Allah as well as the presence in Mohammadan Assembly. In order to spread the message of Faqr, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen guided his followers outwardly and inwardly. Women are also included among these devotees.

In accordance with the instructions of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen, “Bazm-e-Sultan-ul-Ashqeen” and other annual gatherings are organized exclusively which women also attend. Separate section is dedicated to them where their pardah is honored. Apart from this, under the leadership of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen women are provided with opportunities for representation in every department to spread message of Faqr. Because of the spiritual and inward training of Sultan-ul-Ashqeen, many women are demonstrating their skills through social media, publications, short videos and websites. They are spreading the message of Faqr all over the world.

We pray to Allah Almighty that Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s beneficence always be with us. May Allah grant us the opportunity to serve our spiritual guide selflessly and allow us all to walk on the path of Faqr with steadfastness. (Ameen)

Who was the first brave women in Islam?

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