In the initial days of Islam, the disbelievers of Makkah Mukarramah inflicted untold torture on the few individuals who had accepted Islam, many of whom were slaves or freed slaves. Among them were Sayyiduna Bilaal, Sayyiduna Khabbaab, Sayyiduna Suhaib, Sayyiduna Zaid bin Haarithah, Sayyiduna ‘Aamir bin Fuhairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), and others.

Although the disbelievers wished to harm Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), to an extent they were unable to do so because their families had been protecting them. However, these Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) did not have any protection. Hence they were subjected to various types of torture and oppression, to the extent that they were even made to wear coats of armour and left to burn in the scorching heat of Makkah Mukarramah. (Al-Isaabah vol. 8, pg. 190 and Subulul Huda war Rashaad vol. 2, pg. 306)

Sayyiduna Yaasir, his wife Sayyidah Sumayyah, and their son, Sayyiduna ‘Ammaar (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), were among these forerunners of Islam as well.

Sayyiduna Yaasir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had initially come to Makkah Mukarramah from Yemen with his two brothers, Haarith and Maalik, in search of their fourth brother. His two brothers then returned to Yemen while he remained in Makkah Mukarramah. He formed an alliance with Abu Huzaifah who was from the Banu Makhzoom tribe. Abu Huzaifah had a slave girl, Sumayyah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). He thus got Sayyiduna Yaasir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) married to her and Allah Ta‘ala had blessed this union with a son, Sayyiduna ‘Ammaar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). (Al-Istee‘aab vol. 3, pg. 227)

Thereafter, when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was blessed with nubuwwah, this household embraced Islam. However, the Banu Makhzoom were not in favour of their accepting Islam. Thus, they began torturing them in the hope that they will leave Islam. In fact, they would torture Sayyiduna ‘Ammaar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) until he would lose his senses and could not even comprehend what he was saying. (Sifatus Safwah vol. 1, pg. 214 and Subulul Huda war Rashaad vol. 2, pg. 360)

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would pass by the three of them whilst they were being mercilessly tortured on the scorching sands of Makkah Mukarramah. Witnessing what they were going through, he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would console them and give them glad tidings in the following words, “Be patient O family of Yaasir. Your promised abode is Jannah.” (Mustadrak Haakim #5646 and Shu‘abul Imaan #1515)

Sayyidah Sumayyah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), who was already old and weak, underwent immense persecution and torture at the hands of the disbelievers. However, she did not relent and give in. Eventually, one day, Abu Jahl pierced her with his spear in her most private area causing her to pass away. In this manner, she became the first martyr in Islam.

On the occasion of the battle of Badr, when Abu Jahl was killed, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) consoled Sayyiduna ‘Ammaar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) saying, “Allah has killed the one who killed your mother.” (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa‘d vol. 8, pg. 264)


1. A common feature in the lives of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and the pious was their steadfastness on Deen. No matter what difficulties and circumstances arose, they did not waver. Rather, they bore them with patience and remained firm. Similarly, Sayyidah Sumayyah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and her family were put through extreme torture and persecution, yet they persevered and were not deterred. The reason for this is that they had understood that the Hereafter is their goal and that this world is but a temporary abode, hence its difficulties and trials are short-lived. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also consoled them by giving them glad tidings of Jannah. Although we may not go through the same difficulties that they had underwent, we are also tested by means of various Deeni challenges and impermissible temptations etc. Hence, we too should remain steadfast on our Deen and turn away from these temptations by keeping our goal in mind – the Hereafter.

2. Throughout the history of Islam, women have always played a pivotal role and have many times even surpassed their male counterparts in certain achievements. Hence, the first one to accept the message of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was a woman – his respected wife, Sayyidah Khadeejah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). Similarly, in attaining the great and coveted rank of martyrdom, which is generally more common among males since they are the ones who go out to war, it was a woman who was the forerunner in this. Thus, although Islam has determined different roles for men and women, and has in some instances ordained different rulings for them, they have equal opportunity to gain the proximity of Allah Ta‘ala and the great ranks and rewards of the Hereafter.