I have often been asked why I go by the name of Sumayah. I have never changed my name officially to Sumayah; however, this is the name I use when I write. I first came across the name of Sumayah when I first embraced Islam. I read the biography of this great woman. I was astonished by all the hardships she encountered for the sake of Allah (swt). I never forgot the significance behind her persona and name.

When I began writing I chose Sumayah because she not only was the first female martyr in Islam, but because her life expresses what courage and perserverance really signifies. Her name is a reminder for me that everything I encounter in my life will never add up to what this woman endured all in the name of Allah the one and only Creator of all that exists.

I wrote about her biography sometime ago and thought to share it with all of you, inshallah I hope you find it beneficial and enlightening. 

There were many women during the time of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him) who were strong, active and very courageous. They in my view demonstrated the quintessence of women in Islam. They carried water, nursed the wounded, and buried the dead during times of war among many other responsibilities. They were women who even fought in battles like Umm Umarah and Kanza (RA). The Sahabiyat (RA) devoted their lives and hearts to give all for the sake of Allah (SWT).

Sumayyah bint Kabbab (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anha) was one of these women and was the first woman to be martyred for Islam. Her story is of steadfastness and strength in faith when Islam was nascent and still had few followers.

Sumayyah bint Kabbab (RA) was the slave of Abu Hudhaifah ibn al-Mughirah ibn Abd’Allah ibn Amr ibn Makhyum and amongst his slaves was also Yasir ibn Amir (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anhu). Abu Hudhaifah married Yasir ibn Amir (RA) to Sumayyah bint Kabbab (RA), they soon conceived a son and named him Ammar ibn Yasir (RA) and their master freed them. The family was poor and didn’t have support from a tribe or family. Ammar a close companion to the Prophet (PBUH) heard the message of Islam and listened to the Qur’an and soon he and his parents were one of the early believers of Islam. The family would demonstrate how strong their iman was by worshipping Allah (SWT) openly. The city of Mecca was still largely polytheists who didn’t believe in the message of Muhammad (PBUH). As a result, the early believers would be harassed and tortured by the Meccans. Sumayyah, Yasir, and Ammar (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anhum) were not an exception. The al-Mughirah clan would torture and persecute Sumayyah (RA) in an endeavor for her to relinquish her faith of Islam. Yasir and Ammar (Radiya ‘Llahu ‘anhuma) would also be tortured aside Sumayyah (RA). This persecution would take place in the scorching dessert of Mecca and to increase the severity of their suffering iron shields would be used to make it even more agonizing. The Prophet (PBUH) and Abu Bakr (RA) were among the few that were protected by their own family (The Quraish).

There was a man named Abu Jahl. He was one of the leaders of Mecca before the city’s surrender to Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) army. Abu Jahl was known to ridicule and persecute new converts in front of his/her tribesmen so they would lose their honor. One of the harshest punishments was done to the poor freemen because he considered them to be the least important in the social ladder. This severe punishment was done in the blistering hot sands of the Meccan desert. When Abu Jahl heard about the conversion of Sumayyah (RA), he hit Sumayyah (RA) endlessly and she would not recant her firm belief in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger Mohammad (PBUH). She was an elderly woman when all these tortures took place; nevertheless, she refused to denounce Islam. She was a patient woman who endured endless hardships and Abu Jahl was so angry with her persistent oath for Allah (swt) and his messenger (PBUH) that he stabbed Sumayyah (RA) in her private parts which ultimately killed her. 

Sumayyah bint Kabbab (RA) was the first to be killed for the sake of Allah (SWT). She was also the seventh person to embrace Islam. Sumayyah (RA) demonstrated her bravery and patience in a time when Islam was beginning to emerge. She is an example for all in the present day. She was tortured only because she believed in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Her full submission to Allah (SWT) caused her to be blessed with martyrdom. Today you find Muslims who may have forgotten the true adversities of the early Sahaba (RA). Nowadays, we have become selfish, only attentive to our wants and to our needs seldom do we ask ourselves how we can contribute to Islam. When will we learn from our brothers, and sisters that were afflicted with such calamities in the time of the Prophet (PBUH)?  In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful, we really have to look within ourselves and learn to be patient when Allah (SWT) brings forth trials for us, and realize that the good and the bad come from Allah (SWT) and that this life is only a test to prove our obedience to Him. We have to keep in mind that this life is temporary, and we will return to our Creator who will question our deeds on the Day of Judgment. When will Allah (SWT) call us? We don’t know. We have to act now because this might be the one good deed that will save us from the hell-fire.

Al-Ankabut (The Spider), verses 2-3 “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).” (29:2-3)

Al-Anbiya (The Prophets) verse 35 “Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good. And to Us you will be returned.” (21:35)

May Allah (SWT) help us learn from the Prophet (PBUH), the Sahaba (RA) and may He grant us courage, patience, and strength to practice Islam purely and solely for His sake. Amin.