Inspirational People

Inspiring Women Throughout History – Sumayyah (ra)

Before I begin, I want to share that this discusses torture and murder so please only continue if you are okay to read about these topics.

This is a woman who suffered so much because she became Muslim and was eventually murdered by Abu Jahal. Sumayyah is the Aasiyah of our Ummah and she was murdered by the firawn of our ummah. She was about 60 years old when she died. We don’t know much about her life except after she became Muslim.

She was an Abyssinian woman, from modern day Ethiopia, and was a slave woman to one of the most powerful tribes of Makkah. Her master gave her in marriage to Yasir, who was under the protection of the tribe. She had a son, Amar, who was around the same age as the Prophet (pbuh).

The tribe that her family were in service to were the people who were most resistant to Islam and the Prophet (pbuh). When she became Muslim she was 60 and one of the first seven people to accept Islam publicly. Because she was a slave she had no protection or status to protect her and her master tortured her to try to get her to stop being Muslim.

TW: discussions of torture

She was forced to wear mailcoats under the blazing sun and was beaten publicly to deter others from becoming Muslim. She was tortured in many ways from physical torture of beatings, whips and more but also emptionally tortured by being forced to watch her husband and son (who also became Muslim) being tortured. They all had to watch each other being tortured and because of they were slaves there was no one to stand up for them.

They couldn’t even be bought by anyone to free them from this torture as their tribe refused to sell them. They experimented with different torture techniques on her but she refused to say that she would stop being Muslim or insult the Prophet (pbuh). When they tortured her she would respond with remembrance of Allah.

When she became Muslim she said to the Prophet (pbuh): I bear witness that you are the messenger of Allah and that your promise is true.

This is what she held onto as she was being tortured. Because she refused to do what they wanted when they tortured her, they became more and more angry with her. Eventually Abu Jahal became so mad with her that he speared her, killing her in front of her family. She was the first person to die for Islam. She may have spent her whole life as a slave and spent her last days being tortured but she was the first of this ummah to enter paradise.

This is a woman who had such strength in her faith that no matter what she went through she refused to say what her master wanted her to say about Islam. She died so early on in the call to Islam that she knew very little about it, she only saw the persecutions of the Muslims yet her faith remained true.

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