According to the connoisseurs of Arabic poetry, there has never been a woman whose poetry was as replete with knowledge, or who was more knowledgeable than Al-Khansaa’, may Allah be pleased with her. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) used to ask her to recite her poetry, which he admired, in front of him. She composed a great deal of poetry, and the most eloquent of her poetry were odes in lamentation of her two brothers, Sakhr and Mu`awiyah, who were killed during the pre-Islamic era.
She spent the greatest part of her lifetime during the pre-Islamic days, and when Islam appeared, she embraced it and went to the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) as a member of the delegate of her tribe, Banu Sulaim.
She was recognized for her deep faith in Allah the Almighty and His Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) and her zeal for Jihad (struggle) in the cause of supporting the truth. She attended the Battle of Qadisiyyah in 16 AH, in the company of her four sons. During the first part of the night, she said to them,
“O my sons! You have embraced Islam willingly and emigrated freely. By Allah, other than Whom there is none worthy of worship, you are the sons of one man and one woman. I have never betrayed your father nor have I disgraced your maternal uncle, nor have I dishonored your noble lineage, nor have I tampered with your parentage. You indeed know the abundant reward prepared by Allah the Almighty for the Muslims. It should be known to you that the everlasting abode is better than the perishable abode. Allah the Almighty says (what means):
“O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.” (Al `Imran 3:200)
Should tomorrow morning come upon you while you are safe, Allah willing, go early to fight your enemy with courage, and seek the support of Allah the Almighty against His enemies. When the battle becomes fierce, betake yourselves amidst it and be eager to fight bravely when the army is engaged in combat, perchance you receive gain and honor in the abode of eternity.”
Her sons set out in response to her advice, and continued fighting while reciting poetry in Rajaz (a meter employed in Arabic poetry), and did their best in combat until they were all martyred. When the news of their martyrdom reached her, she said, “Praise be to Allah the Almighty who honored me with their being killed in His cause, and I hope that He will join me with them in the resting place of His mercy.” `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) continued to give her the stipend of her four sons, two hundred dirhams each, until he died.
Al-Khansaa’ was a strong, believing woman, whose life was changed by Islam and who was turned by faith into an exemplary role model for Muslim women. When her brother, Sakhr, was killed in the pre-Islamic period, she composed many poems lamenting him. Yet, after she embraced Islam, she sacrificed her sons, the dearest of people to her, in the cause of Allah The Almighty. This is not strange. This is what Islam does to those who embrace and love it. It turns their lives into avenues for doing good deeds, plants in them patience and faith, and helps them to transcend afflictions and trials.
One day, Al-Khansaa’ (May Allah be pleased with her) visited `A’ishah, the Mother of the Believers (May Allah be pleased with her) and she was wearing a vest that was made of hair. `A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said to her, “O Khansaa’! The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) says that it is forbidden to wear such clothes.” She said,
“I did not know, but there is a story behind it. My father gave me in marriage to a spendthrift man, who wasted his wealth. I went to [my brother] Sakhr who divided his wealth into two halves, and gave me the better part. When my husband did the same once again and I went to Sakhr, my brother, who divided his wealth into two halves and once again gave me the better part. His wife said to him, ‘Are you not pleased to give her a half, why must you give her the better portion?’ He said, ‘By Allah, I shall never give her the worse, because I have never been put to shame because of her; and should I die, she would cut off her outer garment (in grief for me), and wear a vest of hair instead.’”
Her real name was Tumadir bint `Amr ibn Ash-Sharid ibn Al-Harith As-Sulamiyyah. She was nicknamed Al-Khansaa’ because of her bent nose bone and narrow nostrils. Al-Khansaa’ (May Allah be pleased with her) was a model of eloquence, and faithful patience in aspiring for the reward of Allah the Almighty, and was a virtuous woman who continues to inspire generations.
Taken with slight editorial modifications from www.islamweb.net.