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Khawlah bint Hakim was one of the female companions of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). she was the daughter of one of the chiefs of Banu Asad tribe and her tribe was among the first tribes to embrace Islam. Her father’s name is either Malik or Tareq Bin Awse. Al Azwar was his nickname. Her brother, Derar, was the knight and poet of his tribe, and was well known as well for his wisdom. His love for his sister and confidence in her capabilities was known throughout their tribe. In fact, the brother and sister were so attached to each other that she was his companion wherever he went. He trained her on all arts of swordsmanship and thus she became a perfect knight. Besides that, Khawla was also a distinguished poet.


Life as a Warrior and the Battle of Ajnadain


Khawla Bint Al Azwar was an extraordinary woman from the early years of Islam. Most of what history tells us about her childhood and environment is quite vague, but provides rich information about her courage that had most likely played a role in strengthening the new religion.


Khawla became a legend during her life and remains a legend to this day. She was a courageous leader, and set an example to men and women alike that one should fight for what they believe in, and never accept defeat. She stayed true to her principles and feared nothing but Allah.


The recorded history of that era mentions repeatedly the feats of Khawla in battles that took place in Syria, Jordan and Palestine. In one instance, she fought in disguise to rescue her brother Derar after the Romans captured him. Witnesses say that she was in fact much braver than many men. In addition to that, and whenever she did not carry her sword, she took the responsibility of organizing medical care to treat the wounded during the battles. Her name remained greatly unknown, until the battle of Ajnadin, not far from Jerusalem, where Derar lost his spear, fell from his horse, and was taken prisoner. She donned a male knight's attire, took her arms and rode her mare through the Roman ranks, using her sword skillfully against whoever tried to stop her. The Muslim soldiers, and their leader Khalid, watched her with great admiration, presuming that she was a man.


The Arab Historian, Al Waqidi, tells us in his book "The conquering of Al Sham (greater Syria)" that: "In a battle that took place in Beit Lahia near Ajnadin, Khalid watched a knight, in black attire, with a big green shawl wrapped around his waist and covering his bust. That knight broke through the Roman ranks as an arrow. Khalid and the others followed him and joined battle, while the leader was wondering about the identity of the unknown knight."


Rafe' Bin Omeirah Al Taei was one of the fighters. He described how that knight scattered the enemy ranks, disappeared in their midst, reappeared after a while with blood dripping from his spear. He swerved again and repeated the deed fearlessly, several times. All the Muslim army was worried about him and prayed for his safety. Rafe' and others thought that he was Khalid, who had won great fame for his bravery and genius military plans. But suddenly Khalid appeared with a number of knights. Rafe' asked the leader: “Who is that knight? By God, he has no regard for his safety!"


Khalid answered that he didn't know the man, though he greatly admired his courage. He called on the arm to attack as one man and to make sure that they protect their hero(ine). They were fascinated as they watched the knight appear with a number of Roman knights chasing him. Then he would turn around and kill the nearest before resuming his attacks.


The Romans eventually lost the battle and fled, leaving many dead and wounded in the battlefield. Khalid looked for the knight until he found him. By then he was covered in blood. He praised his bravery and asked him to remove his veil. But the knight did not answer, and tried to break away. The soldiers wouldn't let him do that. And everyone asked him to reveal his identity.


When the knight found that there was no way to avoid that, he replied in a feminine voice: "My prince, I did not answer because I am shy. You are a great leader, and I am only a woman whose heart is burning."


"Who are you?" Khalid insisted.


"I am Khawla Bint Al Azwar. I was with the women accompanying the army, and when I learnt that the enemy captured my brother, I did what I did."(


Her blessed marital life and episode.


Khawla was married to Uthman bin Maz'oon (may Allah be please with them), both being two of the earliest converts to Islam. She was the woman who dared asked the prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) whether He would like to marry any woman after the death of Khadija,as He was loving khadija dearly,and after the consent of prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) she conveyed the message to Sawda bint Zama widow of Sakran bin Amr and Abubakr Siddiq for his daughter's hand Aisha.


Uthman ibn Mazi’oon (may Allah be please with him) devoted himself to worship entirely and thus had neglected his family’s rights over him. One day, Khawlah bint Hakim visited Aisha (may Allah be please with her) ; the beloved wife of the Prophet and the Mother of the believers, in a distraught condition. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came home and saw Khawlah in such condition then he turned to Aisha (Allah be please with her) and asked:“O Aisha, what made her become this way? What has happened to her?” Aisha (may Allah be please with her), explained the following about Khawlah’s husband. “O Rasulullah, it is as if she is unmarried. In fact, she is like a married woman without a husband. Her husband spends his days in fasting and his nights in prayer. Therefore she is unable to control herself and as you can see, she is ruined.” Rasulullah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then sent a message to Uthman ibn Maz’oon saying:“O Uthman, we are not ordered to live as monks. Am i not enough for you as an example? or do you break off from my sunnah?” Uthman replied "No, O Messenger of Allah. On the contrary, I am trying to practice your Sunnah, letter by letter.” Then, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave the following advice:


“I am the one who, at the highest level, fears Allah (swt) and observes the boundaries of Allah’s deen among you. Yet I pray and sleep, fast and break my fast, and at the same time, I am married to women. Be afraid of Allah (swt), O Uthman. Because Your family members have rights over you. Your visitors have rights over you. Your own self has rights over you. Therefore you should fast some days but do not fast others and you should pray at a certain part of the night but also sleep at certain parts” [Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad 6:226 (25935); Ibn Hibban, Sahih, 1:185, 2:19]


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