Hazrat Umme Salamah

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Awais Rabbani, Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat

 “You [as a wife] already have your own status and you are a lady of noble traits.” (The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa)

Full Name: Hind bint Abi Umayya

Appellation: Umm-e-Salamah (Mother of Salamah)

Father’s Name: Abu Umayya ibn al-Mughira

Mother’s name: Atka bint Amir

First marriage: Hazrat Abdullahra bin Abdil Asad (also known as Abu Salamah)

Marriage to the Prophetsa: Shawwal 4 AH

Early days

Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra was a wise and able lady from a noble and respectable family. Her father, Abu Umayya was an eminent member of his tribe known for his generosity, which earned him the title “Zad al-Rakib” i.e., the one who provides for travelers. She was amongst the first to have accepted Islam and the very first among the ladies to have migrated to Medina. Only few others had converted to Islam before her. Her first marriage was to Hazrat Abdullahra bin Abdil Asad (Abu Salamah) who was the cousin and foster brother of the Holy Prophetsa.

As the persecution intesified in Mecca, she, alongside her husband, migrated to Abyssinia. Later, they returned to Mecca upon hearing that Hazrat Umarra had converted to Islam and there had been a decrease in persecution. However, it turned out to be another ruse by the Quraish to lure Muslims back to their homeland and inflict further atrocities. At this, the couple, along with their son, decided to migrate to Medina. She relates the incident in the following words:

“Before we were out of Mecca, some men from my clan stopped us and said to my husband, ‘Though you are free to do what you like with yourself, you have no power over your wife. She is our daughter. Do you expect us to allow you to take her away from us?’ Then they pounced on him and snatched me away from him. My husband’s clan, Banu Abdul Asad, saw them taking me and became infuriated and enraged. ‘No! By Allah’, they shouted, ‘we shall not abandon the boy. He is our son and we have a first claim over him.’ They took him by the hand and pulled him away from me.” (Companions of the Prophet, Vol. 1, p.135)

Hazrat Abu Salamahra was forced to leave for Medina without his wife and son. She lived those years away from her husband in agony until the clan returned her child and permitted her to reunite with her husband.

Marriage

Hazrat Abu Salamahra had partaken in the Battle of Uhud and was severely wounded. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra recounts the demise of her husband in his book, The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets, on page 360 of the second volume:

“… in Muharram 4 AH, the Holy Prophetsa suddenly received news in Medina that Tulaihah bin Khuwailid, chief of the Asad tribe and his brother, Salamah bin Khuwailid were inciting the people of their region to wage war against the Holy Prophetsa. As soon as this news was received, the Holy Prophetsa, who, under the circumstances of his own country, understood the dangers of such news, immediately assembled a fast riding detachment of 150 companions and appointed Abu Salamah bin Abdul Asadra as their amir. The Holy Prophetsa emphatically instructed that they should march towards the enemy and cause them to disperse before the Banu Asad were able to practically execute their hostile motives. As such, Abu Salamahra advanced swiftly, yet silently and caught Banu Asad at a place called Qutn, situated in central Arabia, but no fighting took place. As a matter of fact, the people of Banu Asad dispersed as soon as they caught sight of the Muslims.

“After an absence of a few days, Abu Salamahra returned to Medina. Due to the strenuous labour of this journey, the injury sustained by Abu Salamahra at Uhud, which had apparently healed until then, began to deteriorate again. Despite medical treatment, the wound continued to worsen, and ultimately, in this very illness, a faithful and pioneer companion of the Holy Prophetsa, who was also the foster brother of the Holy Prophetsa, passed away.”

Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra was grief-stricken at the demise of her beloved husband. Together, they had faced severe oppositions at the hands of the adversaries of Islam and had been through thick and thin to preserve their religion. 

After her iddah i.e., when the time period prescribed by Islam for a widow or divorced woman which must elapse before she can remarry, had passed, she was approached by Hazrat Abu Bakrra with the proposal to marry. However, she rejected the proposal. Then, the Holy Prophetsa, on account of her many distinctive traits, which were befitting for a law-bearing prophet and the fact that she was the family of his foster brother, sent a marriage proposal to her. At first, she was reluctant in view of her children and her jealous disposition. The Holy Prophetsa told her that that he would pray for her latter concern and as for the former, he would treat them as his own. She ultimately accepted and her son acted as a guardian and married her to the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra narrates:

“When Abu Salamahra died, I went to the Messengersa of Allah and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, Abu Salamahra has died.’ The Holy Prophetsa told me to recite, ‘O Allah! Forgive me and him (Abu Salamahra) and give me a better substitute than him.’ So, I recited and Allah gave me in exchange [Hazrat] Muhammadsa, who is better for me than Abu Salamahra.”

Thirst for knowledge

Hardline mullahs and extremists opine that it is unlawful for women to leave her house and strive for knowledge. Conversely, the Holy Prophetsa was clear in his instructions for both men and women to attain education.

Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra knew how to read and played a significant role in educating and training the Muslim women. Many narrations and ahadith are related by her in the books of Hadith and in this respect, she stands second among the wives of the Holy Prophetsa and twelfth among all the companions in total (including both men and women). (The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets, Vol. 2, p.389)

She would never shy away from posing questions before the Holy Prophetsa to quench the thirst of her inquisitive nature.

Once, she asked the Prophetsa of Islam as to why the Holy Quran does not mention women as it did men. It was owing to her question that later, one afternoon, she heard the Holy Prophetsa reciting the following verses:

“Surely, men who submit themselves [to God] and women who submit themselves [to Him], and believing men and believing women, and obedient men and obedient women and truthful men and truthful women, and men steadfast [in their faith] and steadfast women, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their chastity and women who guard [their chastity], and men who remember Allah much and women who remember [Him] — Allah has prepared for [all of] them forgiveness and a great reward. (Surah al-Ahzab, Ch.33: V.36)

Wise disposition

She was extremely intelligent and sharp. Her insightful disposition had helped the Holy Prophetsa and his companions on various occasions. At Hudaybiyyah, the Holy Prophetsa instructed his companions to slaughter animals. However, not out of (God-forbid) disobedience, but because they were traumatised and extremely shocked at the terms of the treaty, they felt completely paralysed and did not move. When the Prophetsa disclosed his predicament to his wife Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra who had accompanied him to the journey, she lovingly replied to him:

“O Messenger of Allahsa! If you wish for this to be carried out, then my suggestion is that [you say nothing to them], rather go out and slaughter your animal and shave your head. Your companions shall automatically follow your lead.”

The Holy Prophetsa went out and without conversing with anyone, acted on the advice. Seeing this, the Companions rushed to follow in his footsteps in a frenzy as if woken up from a slumber. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 2731 and 2732)

Even after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, his companions and Khulafa would consult her for advice and guidance. Sahih Muslim mentions a hadith in which Hazrat Ibn Abbasra sent his freed slave Kuraib to Hazrat Aishara to enquire about the matter of offering two rak‘at after Asr prayers. Hazrat Aishara referred him to Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra who clarified to him that it was forbidden. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 834)

A noble woman in the eyes of her husband

She lived a long life and passed away in the era of Yazid bin Muawiyyah at the age of 84. She was alive at the time of Hazrat Hussain’sra martyrdom.

Her home was an abode of comfort and blessing for the Holy Prophetsa and angels would descend at her house.

It is narrated by Hazrat Umar bin Abi Salamahra that when the verses of purification (“Surely Allah desires to remove from you [all] uncleanness, O Members of the Household, and purify you completely”) were revealed at the house of Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra, the Holy Prophetsa gathered Hazrat Alira, Fatimara, Hassanra and Hussainra under a cloak and prayed to God to purify them. Hazrat Umm-e-Salamahra enquired of her husband if she was part of his household as well. To this the Holy Prophetsa replied:

“You [as a wife] already have your own status and you are a lady of noble traits.” (Tirmidhi, Book 49, Hadith 4156)

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