Muslim Women in History - Azdah bint al-Harith ibn Kaldah
Azdah bint al-Harith ibn Kaldah
The people of Maysan (a valley of many small towns between Basra and Wasit in Iraq) had collected an army against the Muslims. Mughirah bin Shu'bah took the Muslim army and went out to wait for them at Al-Murghab (a river) but the enemy did not appear right away. Azdah, who was with the women back at the Muslim base camp, said "Our men are busy in combat with the enemy and I do not feel secure that the enemy might not turn back upon us, and we do not have anyone here to prevent them. And I also fear that the enemy may be too many for the Muslims and that they may defeat them. If we go out, we can be secure from what we fear, and the pagans will think that we are reinforcements coming in aid of the Muslims, and this will breakthem." So she strategized.
The women responded to what she planned. She made a banner out of her khimar (headscarf) and all the women made banners out of their khimar and marched, with her in the lead, calling out poetry for the victory of Islam.
They reached the battlegrounds and the pagans were battling the Muslims. When the pagans saw the banners, they believed the Muslims were being reinforced with troops, so they retreated, and the Muslims pursued them. And the Muslims won that region.
[Translated and abridged from A'lam an-Nisa by 'Umar Kahhala, vol. 1]