Al-Shifaa bint Abdullah al Qurashiyah al Adawiyah was one of the great and wise women of her time. Literate, skilled in medicine and involved in public administration, she had a strong presence in early Islamic history.
Al-Shifaa embraced Islam before the Hijra. She took the pledge (bay'ah) from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when it was a dangerous thing to do. She was also one of the earliest to migrate from Mecca to Madinah.
She was called Al-Shifaa (healing) because of her profession as a medicine woman. Before Islam, she used to use a preventative medicine against ant bites. After Hijrah, she approached the Prophet (PBUH), and said "O Messenger of Allah, I used to do preventative medicine for ant bites during Jahiliyya (period of ignorance), and I want to demonstrate it for you." He said, "Demonstrate it." Al-Shifaa said, "So I demonstrated it for him, and he said '[continue to] do this, and teach it to Hafsah [a wife of the Prophet].'" In another version he said, "Why don't you teach this one [indicating Hafsah] the preventative medicine against ant bites, just as you taught her how to write?"
The Messenger (PBUH) used to visit her in her frequently in her home. She had set aside a mat and a cover for his use when he took his nap there.
The Prophet's (PBUH) value for her company had influenced the caliphs. When Umar was caliph, he used to ask for her opinion. He even appointed her an officer, or wali, in the administration of the marketplace. Al-Shifaa was probably the first Muslim woman to hold an official position in public administration.