Afraa' bint Ubayd: Mother Of 7 Fighters
- Accepting Her Sacrifices With Fortitude
Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals
Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi
We are speaking today about a highly distinguished
woman whose sons are identified by her instead of the
normal identification by their father. Afraa' belonged
to Madinah where she married Al-Harith ibn Rifa'ah
from the Najjar clan of the Khazraj. She gave him
three sons: Mu'adh, Mu'awwidh and Awf. These three are
always known by their mother. We say Mu'adh ibn Afraa'
and Awf ibn Afraa'. When she was divorced she went to
Makkah where she married Al-Bukayr ibn Abd Yaleel,
giving him four sons: Aqil, Khalid, Iyas and Amir. All
four embraced Islam in its early days and were among
the Muhajireen when the Muslims of Makkah immigrated.
The amazing thing is that those four lived in Makkah
and knew about Islam when it started. Nevertheless
they could not outbid their half brothers from Madinah.
In fact, Awf ibn Afraa' was among the six pilgrims who
met the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Makkah and were
the first people from Madinah to accept Islam. When he
went back home, his two brothers followed his example.
Thus none of the seven brothers hesitated to accept
Islam when they learned of it. Indeed, all seven
fought in the Battle of Badr, the first major battle
in the history of Islam.
The events of the Battle of Badr are amazing. Just
before the battle started in earnest, three
distinguished figures from the unbelievers came
forward and challenged the Muslims for duels. There
will always be Muslims to take up such a challenge.
Here we find that the three who came forward from the
Muslim side were Afraa's three sons from Madinah:
Mu'adh, Mu'awwidh and Awf. However, the challengers
wanted to fight some of their own people. Therefore,
these three did not take part in the individual duels.
When the battle started in earnest, the three showed
Two of them, Mu'awwidh and Awf, wanted the head of the
man who was most hostile to Islam, Abu Jahl. They
asked some of their fellow Muslims from Makkah to
identify him for them. He was surrounded by a number
of fighters who felt that he must be protected. Still
the two brothers aimed hard at him and were able to
get to him. They mortally wounded him, but both were
killed in the battle. Abu Jahl was finished off by
Abdullah ibn Masoud. The Prophet said: "May God bestow
His mercy on the two sons of Afraa', as they took part
in killing the Pharaoh of this nation, the most
hardened unbeliever.' He was asked who else took part
in his killing. He said: "The angels and Abdullah ibn
Was this all the sacrifice Afraa' offered in this
battle? By no means. One of her four Makkan sons, Aqil,
was also a martyr in the Battle of Badr. Thus, three
of her seven sons were among the 14 Muslim martyrs. As
martyrs, they are assured of an everlasting life in
heaven. Therefore, Muslim mothers are comforted by
this thought. When she met the Prophet after the
battle, she asked him: Are my sons who remained alive
my worst ones? He said: "No." It is as if she wanted
them all to earn the great prize of martyrdom. That
was a mark of her profound faith.
Yet, even when a mother is comforted by the thought
that her martyr son is in heaven, the loss is tragic.
For Afraa' to lose three of her sons was certainly a
painful tragedy. But she accepted that with fortitude.
Sawdah, the Prophet's wife, went to her and stayed
with her to give her support and solace. May God bless
Afraa's soul and accept her sacrifice.