There are some people who aren’t very popular even though an extensive and detailed study of their lives maybe available. Yet there are others who are famous only because of one incident, a single event or just because of an aspect of their life. This event, in spite of its short period, may well be more memorable than decades of other events.
Rufaydah al–Aslamiyah falls into this second category.
‘Rufaydah’s tent’ has become a title that is always mentioned alongside her name throughout the course of Islamic history. The first mention of her within Islamic history is made in the incident of the battle of the Trench (otherwise known as the battle of the Confederates) when Mu’aadh (may Allah be pleased with him) was struck with a spear in his arm’s vein, which turned into a severe wound. It was at this time when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Let him stay in Rufaydah’s tent in the Masjid until I soon return.”
Thereafter Rufaydah and her tent became popular. SubhaanAllah! Even the place where the tent was situated became famous! The companions became aware of this Sahaabiyyah and respected her for her care of the sick and wounded. This was because she sincerely treated them by whatever means possible to her. She was in fact considered a medical doctor of her time because of her knowledge and experience of medicine, the treatment of wounds and broken bones. What is amazing is that she became qualified in a very short period of time! She was indeed a clever woman.
Rufaydah (may Allah be pleased with her) actually spent out of her own pocket on her patients, seeking the reward of Allah Almighty. Therefore, she did not take any consultation or medical fees. Rather, she spent generously and hoped to get her reward from Allah alone. She was present and ever-ready within many of the battles that the Sahaabah fought in and so it was that ‘Rufaydah’s tent’ moved from one battleground to another.
When we read history, especially the Prophet’s biography, we find that there were a number of female companions who went out into the battlefields to take care of the wounded and give water to the thirsty. Yet it was Rufaydah’s tent which specifically specialised in this expertise and it was her tent which facilitated places for the injured to lye down and rest in. In Rufaydah's (may Allah be pleased with her) tent surgical equipment of the time was at-hand, as well as bandages for dressing wounds, special foods, availability of nurses, who were of course the righteous female companions. The Sahaabiyaat served the wounded and took care of them while hand-in-hand protecting their honor, safety, respect and covering (Hijaab and Jilbaab).
All this was under the supervision of Rufaydah (may Allah be pleased with her) and her personal participation. Rufaydah’s tent can be compared to what is known as field hospital in modern military terms.
May Allah be pleased with her and please her - the medical doctor of the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Aameen!