The life of Rufaydah Al-Aslamiyyah
Fatwa No: 156919

Question

aslamoalikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, Was wondering if u could give some information about the life of rufaida al aslamia? Did she treat male patients in the holy battles during the life of prophet salal Allahu alyhi wassalm? If yes, was it because there were no males nurses at that time?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Rufayda Al-Aslamiyyah is a woman from the tribe of Aslam in Madeenah; it is for this reason that she was called Al-Aslamiyyah. She was a woman from the women of Ansaar, and she had a tent by the Prophet’s mosque (in Madeenah) where she used to treat the sick as reported by Al-Bukhari in “Al-Adab Al-Mufrad”, in a Hadeeth which was classified by Al-Albaani as Saheeh [sound]

When Sa’d Ibn Mu’aath  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was injured in the battle of Al-Khandaq (The Trench), the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) ordered that he be placed and treated in her tent.

However, we have not come across any evidence that suggests that she used to go out in some battles to treat the injured. However, this matter is confirmed about other female Companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them among whom was Umm ‘Atiyyah, Umm Sulaym, Hamnah Bint Jahsh, Layla Al-Ghifaariyyah (the wife of Abu Tharr), Umm Ayman, and Rubayyi’ Bint Mu’awwith, may Allaah be pleased with all of them.

Moreover, Anas Ibn Maalik  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to go out to the battles taking Umm Sulaym and some other women of the Ansaar with him; when he fights in the battle, they [i.e. the women] would give water to the soldiers and treat the injured.” [Muslim]

Besides, when An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commented on this Hadeeth, clarifying some of its benefits, he said: This is evidence that women used to go out in battles and the men benefit from them as they give water to the soldiers and treat the injured and the like, but this treatment was for their Mahrams and their husbands, and if they were to treat other than their Mahrams and their husbands, they would not touch the body of the person except at the place of necessity [i.e. the place of injury].”

However, the permissibility of women treating men is conditioned upon the necessity or dire need, like if there is no male doctor, and there is a need for the woman to treat a man, and what those women did at the time of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was when men were busy in the battle.

In addition to this, precautions were taken in this regard as it was only the elderly women who would do so. Al-‘Ayni  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him stated in his commentary (on Saheeh Al-Bukhari): "Her statement “and we treat the injured…”, if you say ‘how would this be permissible’, I would say: this was permissible for the women who were elderly amongst them…. Also, one generally does not feel a desire by touching the place of injury.” 

Allaah Knows best.

 

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