via my friend Zahra Murtaza (not my words).
‘Incredible story which highlights the honor of women in Islam and the impeccable character of the Prophet, peace be upon him via AnonyMouse Al-Majnoonah, from the book Al-Muhaddithat:
“Umayyah bint Qays was a young girl who joined the Muslim army on its way to Khaybar. RasulAllah (Prophet Muhammad) (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, peace be upon him) actually had her sit on his she-camel, and they rode for some time. When they paused for a reprieve, RasulAllah descended and had his camel kneel down, whereupon Umayyah got off as well. To her mortification, she noticed that the luggage she’d been sitting on was smeared with blood – her first period.
Umayyah sat back on the bag, leaning forward to try and hide the blood stain, her cheeks flushing with embarrassment.
RasulAllah – ever keen, ever kind – noticed both her actions and the bloodstain, and said gently, “Perhaps this is menstrual blood?” Umayyah nodded in confirmation, and RasulAllah suggested kindly, “Attend to yourself, then take some water, put some salt in it, and wash the bag, then return.”
Umayyah followed his instructions, and was once again seated upon RasulAllah’s camel.
After the Muslims were victorious at Khaybar, RasulAllah chose a necklace from amongst the spoils of war and summoned Umayyah, then placed it around his neck with her own hands. She wore that necklace until she died.”‘
‘”Source: Al-Muhaddithat; al-Tabaqat al-Kubra by Ibn Sa’d.
SubhanAllah. This story is so incredible, in so many ways.
1) Umayyah was what we would think of as a ‘tween’ today – a young girl straddling the line between childhood and womanhood. Whereas most girls of that age today are pushed away by their fathers and brothers to “go be with the women,” RasulAllah (saws) fondly had her accompany him on his own camel. Considering that even the great men of the Sahabah vied to be in RasulAllah (saws)’s presence and thought of it as a great honor, this shows how much RasulAllah (saws) valued every member of his Ummah – male and female, young and old.
Can you imagine how thrilled Umayyah must have been to be given this honor, how confident she must have felt at being chosen to ride with the Messenger of Allah himself? Every young girl wants to feel special and valued; and what better way to make this young believer love Allah and His Messenger than to choose her out of the throngs of adults who made up RasulAllah (saws)’s closest advisers and warriors?
2) A girl’s first period is a major turning point of her life. In many cultures, it is treated with shame and embarrassment, made to seem as though it is something evil or unfortunate – something to be hidden amongst women and kept a secret from men.
Imagine how moritified Umayyah was – not only had she just started her first period, but she wasn’t even with her mother or other women… in fact, she wasn’t even with a male family member! She was with the Messenger of Allah, and her menstrual blood had stained his luggage.
If RasulAllah (saws) was like many other men, he could have gotten angry and upset, or shooed her away and made her feel ashamed for what had happened. Instead, he was soft, gentle, and understanding; he didn’t blame her for anything, didn’t demand angrily “What have you done?! What is this mess?!” He didn’t even ask her for an explanation; he provided one for her, and was incredibly sweet about it. In fact, he gave her simple, practical advice on what to do, and actually told her to come back to him.
3) After the expedition of Khaybar was over and the Muslims had won the battle, RasulAllah (saws) didn’t simply forget Umayyah and never think of her again. Quite the contrary – he hand-picked jewelry for her, brought her forward to him again, and gave her the necklace himself. What better way to warm her heart and remind her of an experience that could have been a source of lifelong embarrassment, but was instead one of the most wonderful events of her life instead?
RasulAllah (saws)’s behavior with this young girl holds so many lessons for the Muslim men of this Ummah and how they should deal with their young sisters, daughters, and in fact, any young girl at all, whether she’s related to them or not. His actions are an example of how every girl should be honored and treasured as valued members of this Ummah.”‘