KUALA LUMPUR, 18 Mar 2013 — It was heartbreaking when news broke out in Malaysia that Ummu Nidal has passed away. The mother of three martyrs died at dawn on Sunday, March 17th, hours after admission to the intensive care unit of Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
It was over a year ago that the first team ever of HALUAN Malaysia paid a visit to her home. Three storeys above she lived with her children and grandchildren. Not a trace of regret or remorse did we see in her eyes. We were surprised to have been greeted by her at her door, so used to be hosted by men in the previous homes of martyrs we visited. Instead, this grandmother exuded a certain calmness as she spoke so softly as a mother would to a child. We were in our best behaviour, anxious to learn who this dignified woman was.
The cameras rolled. Our huge team of 11 volunteers were taken in by her comforting voice as she explained what unfolded before her very eyes; the manner by which she lost her husband and three sons as well as a son-in-law, the fourth son without two fingers, and then the third son under the unlawful detention of the Zionists for 11 years.
Such a composure by a woman who has seen so much grief and given back so much more for the liberation of the Palestinian homeland. Nothing could shake this woman of steel cloaked in a motherly love for freedom.
When we interviewed her, she was still the MP in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Her name was Miriam Farahat but more popularly known as Ummu Nidal Farahat as Arabs do taking after the name of the first born. In this whatever strip left called Palestine, she is affectionately called the “Khansa of Palestine”, because of her great sacrifices during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. She had six sons who are all freedom fighters, three of whom were martyrs.
It was in her home that her husband and she hosted many prominent liberators one of whom was their son-in-law Emad Akel who was a prominent leader of Al-Qassam Brigade much feared by Zionist Israel. He was martyred in the same home we visited, fighting till the last drop of his blood as Zionist commandos descended on her roof and swarmed him with bullets even after he had breathed his last.
It was in 1993 and Ummu Nidal succinctly remembered every instant of it. And it was perhaps these and many more killings before her very eyes that made her a grit of steel beneath the flowing feminine attire and soothing features we saw in her. Twas something in her face that you can’t help but to adore her; like a mother’s aura she was to us. She was calm, composed and a nerve of steel even as she described the ghastly murders of her own children by Israeli forces.
A team member from Indonesia choked as he translated her narrations to us. There was a 30-seconds silence in her living room as no one dared speak. Ummu Nidal then said,” get on with it. There is no reason for sadness.” Little did we know that was going to be the first and last time we see of this great lady of liberation.
The Israeli occupation forces assassinated her eldest son Nidal in 2003 and bombed the car of her third son Rawad in Gaza City in 2005, there in itself indicating how Ummu Nidal and kin we very high on the laundry list of the assassinators. Her second son Wesam was released from the Israeli prison in 2005 after serving 11 years for a crime of defending his homeland from the invaders.
Ummu Nidal was buried along with her three martyr sons in Al Shuhadaa (The Martyrs) eastern cemetery. She had been in and out of hospital here and in Egypt and the cause of death was said due to severe cirrhosis of the liver, and an inflammatory bowel disease.
According to a report from Gaza, Ummu Nidal was born in Shijaia neighborhood in Gaza City in 1949, and became a deputy in the Legislative Council for Hamas in the legislative elections that took place in 2006. She is one of the prominent female leaders in Palestine and looked upon as a leader.
May Allah SWT pardon all her sins, accept her sacrifices, bless her soul and emplace her along with those shuhadas who have given their lives to upholding Islam as the only true religion for mankind.
Her monicker Khansa’ was after a great woman who gave Islam four great boys during the era of the al-Qadisiyyah war whose real name was Tumazhir binti ‘Amru bin Sulami of the Bani Mudhar tribe. She was a revert to Islam after hearing of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, along with her husband Rawahah bin Abdul Aziz As Sulami and four sons. The sons became warriors as would be the Palestinian freedom fighters today and were martyred one after another in the war against the Persians. She was also a participant in the war.
It was her consoling speech that spurred sons of Arabia to stand up for Islam and fought till their dying breath. Among others, she said to her four sons: “… If you see war, then roll up your sleeves and go forth to the furthest frontier. For sure you will be rewarded in the hereafter, the final resting place. Oh my children, verily there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger. This is the absolute truth, hence go forth in war and in it fight till death comes. Oh my children, seek death (in defence of Islam) for surely you will find (in it) life…. Be known that the life hereafter is far supreme than this miserable world…”