Friday, April 21, 2017

R for Rufaida Al-Aslamia: Female Scientists Before Our Time

Rufaida Al-Aslamia was the first Muslim woman in the Middle East to become a nurse. Rufaida was born in Medina, Saudi Arabia around 620 AD into the Bani Aslam tribe of the Khazraj tribal confederation. Her people were among the first to accept Islam. Her father, a practicing physician, was an excellent mentor and gave Rufaida her first clinical experience.



Rufaida devoted her life to nursing and social work, caring for the sick and helping those in need, among these, orphans, the handicapped, and the poor. She was a keen promoter of community health and developed "the first code of conduct and ethics." Seeking permission first, she erected a tent outside a mosque and taught the public on health-related topics. Rufaida also organized the first mobile care unit in the community.

During wartime, Rufaida led groups of volunteer nurses into the battlefield. They used tents to shelter the soldiers and treat their injuries, concentrating on hygiene and stabilizing wounds, careful to only touch the injury site per Islamic religious rules for separation of men and women. They were not allowed to do surgeries or amputations, but would do prep work for the male physicians. A nurse's role involved providing physical comfort and emotional support, as well as serving food and giving medicine - "noninvasive duties." 

Rufaida and her team of volunteers participated in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaz, Khaibar, the Trench and others.
 
Mosque at Salaman, location of Battle of The Trench where Al-Aslami treated the injured



Source: http://sohabih.blogspot.com/2017/02/saidatuna-rufaida-al-aslamia-ra.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufaida_Al-Aslamia





20 comments:

  1. I guess having a father who was a doctor, this brave lady saw sick and needy first hand.It probably helped make her mind up as to what she wanted to do.
    Excellent choice Sharon, have enjoyed this challenge immensely.

    Yvonne.

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    1. She was fortunate to have an open-minded dad!

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  2. visiting from A to Z- just wanted to say again how much I love your theme this year- it is both informative and encouraging.

    Rowan of Rin

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    1. Thank you, and welcome! Too many stories go untold in history about women's accomplishments. I'm glad you found it informative and encouraging :)

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  3. Sounds like the Florence Nightgale of the White Crescent? I, too, am amazed at all that you have come up with in this theme. You have done incredible research.

    http://sagecoveredhills.blogspot.com/2017/04/r-is-for-get-this-reticulum.html

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    1. Love the reference :) Not much about this lady online, but hopefully more will surface over time. Was lucky to find what I did. Thanks!

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  4. You're hanging in there with the A to Z Challenge, only a week left!! Good Luck!

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    1. Yeah, hanging in there....but ready for a breather. Did not write three posts at the end, so better get cracking. Thanks, Cathrina for the encouragement!

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  5. Hi Sharon - yes Sage says it right ... but what an interesting woman to come across - fascinating read ... but even segregation back then ...how much more they could have done if both sexes worked together ... Cheer Hilary


    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/r-is-for-rare-breeds-survival-trust.html

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    1. My thoughts exactly when I read the sources, but as Nilanjana points out, equality may have existed more back then, so there may be more to the story :)

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  6. Another interesting woman to celebrate - I'm quite impressed with the diversity of inspiring females you're educating us about.

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  7. Interesting the diversity of communities the early women of substance came from. A good few examples among the early Arabs of women participating equally with men. Not sure that Rufaida would be wearing the full face veil though...I don't think that was common practice in the 7th century...the Prophet did not recommend the niqab according to what I've read/heard...

    Best wishes,
    Nilanjana.
    Madly-in-Verse

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    1. Hi Nilanjana. Thank you for input! I did wonder if the source writer had doctored Rufaida's story some to reflect current practices. I wouldn't be surprised. The image was from that source (see below). I would love to see examples of Arab women and men participating equally! But then again, I was confined to the alphabet :(

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  8. She seemed to have a lot more to do than many Christian women in the same field had. The building does not really look that old actually.

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    1. Hmm... not sure about the building. It was provided at the source, which was the only one with any real information. Thanks, Birgit!

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  9. Doesn't seem to read soemthing about the 600s. These woman's work was o modern.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

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