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Rufaida Al-Aslamiyyah (May Allah be please with her) was one of the outstanding female companions of the holy prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and salutations be upon him). She is depicted in Islamic history and civilization as a social and medical worker, the first female Muslim nurse and the first female surgeon in Islam.

Among the first people in Madina to accept Islam, Rufaida Al-Aslamiyyah was born into the Bani Aslam tribe of the Khazraj tribal confederation in Medina, and initially gained fame for her contribution with other Ansar women who welcomed Prophet Muhammad on arrival in Medina.

Rufaida Al-Aslamiyyah (May Allah be pleased with her) is depicted as a kind, empathetic nurse and a good organizer. With her clinical skills, she trained other women, including the famous female companions of Prophet Muhammad- Khadija, Ayesha, to be nurses and to work in the area of health care. She also worked as a social worker, helping to solve social problems associated with the disease. In addition, she helped children in need and took care of orphans, handicapped and the poor.

Her Familial Ties To Medicine.

Born into a family with strong ties to the medical community, Rufaida's father, Sa`ad Al Aslamy, was a physician and mentor under whom Rufaida initially obtained clinical experience. Devoting herself to nursing and taking care of sick people, Rufaida Al-Aslamiyyah became an expert healer. Although not given responsibilities held solely by men such as surgeries and amputations, Rufaida Al-Aslamiyyah practiced her skills in field hospitals in her tent during many battles as the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to order all casualties to be carried to her tent so that she might treat them with medical expertise. It has also been documented that Rufaida provided care to injured soldiers during the jihad (holy wars), as well as providing shelter from the wind and heat of the harsh desert for the dying.

Her Legacy

Rufaidah (May Allah be pleased with her) had trained a group of women companions as nurses. When the Prophet Muhammad's (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) army was getting ready to go to the battle of Khaibar, Rufaidah and the group of volunteer nurses went to Prophet Muhammad. They asked him for permission "O Messenger of Allah, we want to go out with you to the battle and treat the injured and help Muslims as much as we can". The Prophet gave them permission to go. The nurse volunteers did such a good job that he assigned a share of the booty to Rufaidah. Her share was equivalent to that of the soldiers who had actually fought. This was in recognition of her medical and nursing work (


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