Having grown up in the US and successfully passed through the public education system, I can tell you more about US military conflicts than the sīrah. I wish I was alone in this, but it would seem that I belong to a generation of Western-educated Muslims who know more about 'Nam than Badr, and while modern US History is valuable knowledge for anyone living there, it makes poor material for Muslim baby names.
Searching for inspiring, easily spelled, and honorably heritaged names for our next child, inshā'Allāh, is what has lead me down the topic of today's post. My total knowledge of Muslim historical figures has been generally limited to The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him, his immediate family, and the most well-known companions (May Allāh be pleased with them all) so imagine how ecstatic I was to read about a certain young lady named Khawla bint Al Azwar.
Khawla travelled with her brother, a knight and famous warrior-poet named Derar in the army of Khalid bin Waleed, the Muslim hero that my first son is named for. She tended the wounded and sick, but one day, would move beyond that role when her brother went down in battle and was captured by Byzantine soldiers. Khawla, seeing him taken from a distance, dropped what she was doing, rode off and…
“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.” – Al Waqidi, The Conquering of Al Shaam
Other soldiers in the battle saw her fighting with such ferocity that they thought her to be Khalid Bin Waleed himself, and when Khalid Bin Waleed appeared with a number of knights to reinforce Khawla, one knight turned to him and said “Who is that knight? By God, he has no regard for his safety!”
Eventually the battle was won, but Khawla's brother was nowhere to be seen. Khalid Bin Waleed demanded that the unknown knight reveal his identity, and when Khawla was discovered to be the sister of Derar, Khalid ordered his army to chase the fleeing Roman Army with Khawla leading the attack.
I won't give the rest of her amazing story away, you can read the rest of it here and then you can let me know what other gems in Muslim history I've missed in my public school upbringing. So, who's your favorite Muslim hero?I