The other Friday, before Salatul Jumu’ah, I was feeling quite low. So as always, I randomly opened a Khutbah from my ‘watch later’ folder. I almost forgot when had I added this one!
By Allah! It charged me & I could not help but reflect and read more about the story. Insha Allah it will benefit you all…
It is the story of our mother… Ummul Mu’mineen- Umm Salamah Hind bint abu Umaiyyah (r.a.)
She was the daughter of Abu Umaiyyah Hudhayfah ibn al Mugheerah (of bani Makhzoom clan of Quraysh) –who was nicknamed ‘Zad ar-Rakib’ (Provision of the Traveller) because of his outstanding generosity and hospitality to the travellers.
Umm Salamah was noble and generous by birth, intelligent, learned, wise, skilful, and beautiful in character as well as appearance.
Her beloved husband- Abu Salamah R.A.
She was married to Abdullah ibn Abdul Asad (Abu Salamah) r.a. who was known for his integrity, valour, generosity, tolerance and patience. He was the son of Prophet’s ﷺ paternal aunt and was also a foster brother of Prophet ﷺ by suckling.
About Abu Salamah, Prophet ﷺ had once said, according to narrations, that he will be the first person to be given his record of deeds on the Day of Judgement. Subh’an Allah!
The household of Umm Salamah
Umm Salamah and Abu Salamah were a happy couple with a serene household. They loved eachother immensely. Later they were blessed with four children- two sons namely Salamah and Umar & two daughters namely Zainab and Durrah.
The first migration- hijrah to Abyssinia
Things started changing radically in Mecca as people started accepting Islam. The city was no more a secure place to reside in. So the Prophet ﷺ called for the first Hijrah to Abyssinia. Abu Salamah and Umm Salamah were honoured to be among the band of first sixteen Muslims to leave for Abyssinia.
The Christian King- Najashi (Negus), who was tolerant to the new religion, provided refuge to them in his kingdom. The life returned to its peaceful pace for Umm Salamah and others in Abyssinia. The news of kindness of the ruler to the Muslim migrants reached the disbelievers in Mecca. So a group of delegates were sent with expensive gifts for Najashi with the motive to have the custody of the migrants. They fabricated against the Muslims, to present them under bad light in front of Najashi and even tried to convince him that they could be a trouble to Abyssinia so they must be handed over to the Quraysh to deal with. But Najashi, being a just and fair king, called for a leader from the side of the migrants as well.
Jafar bin Abi Talib (r.a.) represented the Muslims in the court where he told Najashi about Islam and the Prophet ﷺ, & also recited to him some verses from Surah Maryam. He informed the king about the persecution in Mecca, and by the Mercy of Allah, Najashi refused to handover the refugees.
Again the disbelievers tried to enrage the king by telling him that Muslims deny Isa a.s. to be son of God and consider him an ordinary human being. On knowing this, Muslims were again called to the court to present their side. They informed Najashi about what status Isa a.s. is given in Islam and what is mentioned in the Quran concerning him. He was happy to hear the answer and again refused to hand over the Muslims to Quraysh. Najashi even returned the gifts of Quraysh and promised the Muslims that no one could harm them in the least.
The migration to Abyssinia and this incident of Najashi’s greatness was recorded beautifully and in a moving manner by Umm Salamah. She has also written how peaceful the life was in Abyssinia, but at the same time how homesick they were for Mecca.
Back home again…
One day, news reached that Umar ibn al Khattab r.a. & Hamza r.a. have accepted Islam. Due to the strong authoritative and influencial position they held among the people of the city, it seemed that good days for Muslims are finally back in Mecca.
Umm Salamah had written that they were so exited that they left for Mecca soon after the news.
On reaching their beloved city, they came to realise that the news was true but partially. Though the two personalities had accepted Islam, the conditions for Muslims were even worse.
Storm on the way to Medina
It was at this time that Prophet ﷺ ordered the Muslims for the Hijrah to Madina. Umm Salamah and Abu Salamah along with their children again set out for hijrah, unaware of the storm ahead which was about to break the family to pieces.
When the family of Umm Salamah –Banu Umaiyyah came to know about her migration, they couldn’t digest that after Abyssinia, Abu Salamah was now taking their daughter to Medina and so they set out to stop her. They caught hold of the camel & forced Abu Salamah to give them back their daughter and carry on with his journey without her.
When the family of Abu Salamah came to know of this, they were full of rage against the family of Umm Salamah but instead of convincing them to let her be united with her husband, they claimed for the children saying that the children were their blood by patriarchal lineage, to which Banu Umaiyyah agreed.
It was here that the household of Umm Salamah shattered to three pieces- Umm Salamah in Mecca with her family, her children in Mecca but with the family of Abu Salamah, & her husband in Medina.
This incident was a huge shock to Umm Salamah. She used to weep day and night. Each day she would go to the same spot where she was separated with her family, and cry there.
One day one of her cousins saw her grieving at that spot of separation. On knowing the reason of here immense despair, he rebuked her family for the cruelty they had done and finally succeeded in convincing them to let her go to her husband.
Her family then negotiated with Abu Salamah’s family to let her take the children along, to which they agreed too, by the Will of Allah.
All this made Umm Salamah so full of excitement that she immediately prepared the camel. Keeping all Faith in Allah and taking Him as her sole Protector, she left for Medina with her children, without any family member to escort her!
Uthman bin Talh’a r.a. & his outstanding manners
When she reached the Tan’eem, Uthman bin Talh’a (r.a.) recognised her, as she was the daughter of the well known Zad ar-Rakib. Although Uthman had not accepted Islam by that time, his humanity couldn’t let a lady with small children leave alone for such a long and risky journey. So he took the charge to escort her to her husband.
The journey began & lasted many days. Umm Salamah r.a. had written about this journey and the mannerism of this noble man.
She described that whenever she needed to stop, he would tie her camel and walk far away so that she could have some privacy. And when they needed to move ahead, he would make her camel sit and walk away again until she would get on it comfortably. Then he would come back again and they would continue the journey.
After several days, they reached Quba, which is located in the outskirts of Medina. Uthman queried about Abu Salamah to the people in that area and on knowing that he is in the city, he dropped her safely and returned.
Umm Salamah had said about Uthman bin Talh’a that it is difficult to find such a decent, pure-hearted man, with not even a trace of evil.
The much awaited reunion…
Now was the time for the much awaited moment for Umm Salamah, the moment of the reunion of the family after a long span of time. The family was full of joy to be together again. The peace and happiness in the household was re-established.
You might also like to read: The Sin of Shirk and Avoidance
Abu Salamah & the battles
After sometime passed, the battle of Badr was announced. Abu Salamah as always, went ahead enthusiastically to participate in it for the love of Allah and His messenger ﷺ.
After the victory of Muslims in Badr, came the time for the battle of Uh’ud. Abu Salamah again actively confronted the enemies, wherein he was wounded on his side with a spear. Even though he received treatment for about a month, he couldn’t recover his health like before. His wound apparently healed, but it was so only on the surface.
After barely a matter of two months of Uh’ud, news reached that some kuffar were planning on attacking the Muslims. For this, Prophet ﷺ ordered to prepare for a battle, for which Abu Salamah was chosen by the Prophet ﷺ, to be the commander in charge. Subh’an Allah!
He outlined the strategy and set out for the battle. The Muslims had not forgotten their defeat at Uh’ud so this battle was a crucial one for them. The battle was fought with all vigour by all Mujahideen. Abu Salamah forgot about his wounded side and fought valiantly. Muslims were victorious and they left for Medina with the riches of the war booty.
The wound of Abu Salamah r.a. had already started bleeding inside and the journey was also long & exhausting. When the army entered Medina, all Muslims were extremely happy including Umm Salamah. But the grievious condition of her beloved husband worried her.
Du’a of Abu Salamah R.A.
After some days, the poor health of Abu Salamah made it quite evident that he is nearing his time. The Prophet of Allah ﷺ visited him, prayed for him and asked him to make dua to Allah. Abu Salamah, being a responsible and caring husband & father, prayed to Allah to give for his family, a protector and provider, better than himself. Abu Salamah then turned to the Prophet ﷺ and asked him ﷺ to look for a better man for his family after he departs. After this prayer, he passed away.
Umm Salamah r.a. kept recalling her husband’s last prayer, wondering who could ever be better than Abu Salamah for her!
How she entered the household of Prophet ﷺ
After her Iddah, Abu Bakr r.a. proposed her to which she refused. Then Umar ibn al Khattab r.a. proposed. She again refused.
Then Prophet ﷺ sent her a proposal for marriage to him ﷺ, to which she refused at first saying that she had three issues- firstly, she was so well taken care & pampered by Abu Salamah r.a. that she feared that due to her temper, she might be rude to the Prophet ﷺ and lose the rewards for any of the good deeds that she may have done (Subh’an Allah!); secondly, she wasn’t a young woman anymore; & lastly that she had children.
To this, the Prophet ﷺ replied in a wise and beautiful manner. He said that he ﷺ would pray & Insha Allah she would overcome her temper. As for her age, he ﷺ said that he was also an elderly man. And regarding children, that was exactly the reason for proposing to her; he wished to be their guardian. Subh’an Allah!
Thus was Abu Salamah’s last prayer granted & she r.a. became a part of the household of the Prophet ﷺ in the month of shawwal, 4 years after Hijrah.
The exemplary wisdom of Umm Salamah
She was the wise lady who helped Prophet ﷺ in decision making at certain crucial events.
One such incident was after the truce of Hudaibiyah. Prophet ﷺ ordered the companions to sacrifice their animals and shave their heads. Everyone being upset with not being able to perform H’ajj that year, seemed reluctant to his ﷺ command. Nobody moved. This saddened our Prophet ﷺ. He entered the tent where Umm Salamah was present.
She suggested him to make the move himself- start sacrificing his animal and shaving his head. As he went outside and started doing the same, everyone followed the same. This made the Prophet ﷺ extremely happy, so much so that his smile extended from molar to molar.
Such was the wisdom of Umm Salamah r.a.!
Other appreciable facts about her
- She also accompanied the Prophet ﷺ during the battles of Bani Mustalaq, Ta’if, Khaibar, Hunayn, and the conquest of Makkah.
- She was very well known to be a woman highly dedicated to the destitutes and needy.
- She was a learned lady and was often consulted regarding matters of Shari’ah.
- She also remembered 387 Ah’adeeth of Prophet ﷺ by heart.
- She was the only lady among 19 companions known for their ability to give legal verdicts.
- She had a mastery over language, written as well as spoken.
She lived the longest among the Ummul Mu’mineen, nearly upto the age of 84 years. She passed away 62 years after Hijrah.
May Allah grant her highest of ranks in Jannat-ul Firdous!
May Allah help us to follow her excellent example of perseverance, wisdom & excellence in Deen…
Related Video: Life of Asmaa Bint Abi Bakr (R.A) and Umm Salamah (R.A) – Mufti Menk
I pray to Allah that may you & I succeed in the Aakhirah and get to listen to Umm Salamah’s story directly from her in her perfect words.
How beautiful a day that would be! How beautiful a company… insha Allah.