Umm Wahab - The First Female Martyr in Ashura

Bismillahir Rahmanir-Rahim. Assalamu alaykum, wa Rahmatullahi 'ta'ala wa barakatuh.

The heroic women of Karbala must and should continue to be remembered for their bravery, dedication, and sacrifice in the path of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.

While some, such as Sayyida Zainab are well known, others who had such a pivotal role should not be forgotten as well.

The first female martyr in Karbala was a lady by the name of Umm Wahab, the wife of Abdullah Ibn-Umayr al Kalbi. It is important to point this out right at the beginning that she was not the mother of Wahab al-Kalbi, the young Christian man who became Muslim and then attained martyrdom. Often the two are actually confused.

This lady Umm Wahab is actually the wife of Abdullah Ibn Umayr al-Kalbi. This is their story. Abdullah Ibn Umayr, so people of Kufa preparing themselves for a battle in Nukhayla, he asked them what was going on and they replied, We are going to fight with Al-Husayn, the son of Fatimatu az-Zahra, the daughter of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon them all.

He said: I swear to Allah that I was looking forward to fight with the polytheists, and I hope the reward for fighting people who intend to fight against the Prophet's son is no less than fighting against polytheists. He went to his wife and told her the story and informed her about his intention to join Imam Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam. Umm Wahab said, God has led you to a good path. Do this, but also take me with you.

Abdullah Ibn Umayr and his wife went out of Kufa overnight and joined a caravan of Imam Al-Husayn. On the day of Ashura. Omar Ibn Sa'ad had been shot an arrow to Imam Al-Husayn's army, and thus the battle began. Two people by the name of Yasar, Ziyad Ibn Abi Sufyan's emancipated slave, and Saleem, Obaydillah Ibn Ziyad's emancipated slave, went to the battlefield and asked for a duel.

Habib Ibn Mudhahir and Burayr wanted to go and fight them. But Imam Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam, told them to stay. At this time, Abdullah Ibn Umayr, the husband of Umm Wahab, who had a muscular body and strong arms, asked for Imam Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam's permission to fight. The Imam, alayhi as-salam, gave him the permission and he, when he went to the battlefield, he was asked, Who are you? He introduced himself. They said, We do not know you, Zuhayr ibn Qain or Habib or Burayr should come to fight us.

He told Yasar, who was closer to him. These people are superior to you and they will not fight with you. He then attacked and killed Yasar. At the same time, the other man, Saleem, attacked Abdullah. Imam Al-Husayn's soldiers, companions shouted and tried to alert Abdullah about Saleem's attack. But Abdullah did not notice, and Saleem approached him and hit him with a sword. Abdullah tried to prevent the strike with his hand, but his fingers were cut. Thereafter, Abdullah attacked Saleem and killed him with one strike.

Umm Wahab, the wife of Abdullah went to the battlefield and took a baton. Abdullah asked her to go back to the camp, but she shook her husband's clothes and told him: "I will not leave you unless I am martyred with you". At this time, Imam Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam, called her and said: "may God give you a great reward on behalf of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhim us-salam, go back. May God have His mercy on you. Sit with the women, since it is not obligatory for women to fight". Therefore, she went back to the camp. Later on, however, Shimr ordered his army to intensify the attack.

Hani Ibn al Zubayd and Bukayr Ibn Hayyal Taymih attacked Abdullah Ibn Umayr and he was martyred. His wife Umm Wahab went to his corpse and wiped out the dust and the dirt from his head as well as his face, and said: May paradise be pleasant to you.

At this time, Shimr Ibn Dhil Jawshan told his servant Rustam to strike this woman's head with a spear. He did so, and Umm Wahab was martyred. This was the du'a of Imam Al-Husayn, that she attained martyrdom on the 10th of Muharram.

That may have been other female martyrs on the 10th, but Umm Wahab was certainly the first female to join the caravan of freedom and sacrifice in the path of Imam Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam.

Peace be upon her and all the companions and the shuhada of Karbala.