Umm Salamah al Makhzumiyah

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Umm Salamah al Makhzumiyah

 

Let us now delve into the life of this virtuous and patient woman, Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha. Her name is Hind bint Abu Umayyah al Makhzumiyah al Qurashiyyah, though she is famous by her kuniyah[1], Umm Salamah, and is no doubt amongst the most noble of women in character and mind. Her father, from the chiefs of the Quraysh and she, the cousin of both Khalid ibn Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Abu Jahal ibn Hisham. She was from amongst the first to accept the faith in Makkah in the early days of Islam, due to which she suffered various kinds of torment as was the case with the early Muslims. Before coming into the marriage of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam she was married to Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abdul Asad al Makhzumi, a pious man in his own right. She emigrated with him to Abyssinia fleeing the persecution of the Quraysh and safeguarding their faith. In the interim a son was born to her who was named Salamah.

News from several avenues reached those who emigrated to Abyssinia of the relative safety in Makkah for the Muslims, as their numbers had increased. Furthermore, news of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab and Hamzah ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib radiya Llahu ‘anhu embracing Islam, giving strength to the cause, and stopping the persecutions of the Quraysh spread like wildfire. A group of the recent emigrants decided to travel back to their home land in view of these changes, amongst them were Umm Salamah and her husband. No sooner had they reached Makkah, that the reality of the matter lay before their eyes. The news that had reached them was nothing more than a ploy, the polytheists had devised much more forbidding torments for them. At this sensitive juncture Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam now gave permission to his Companions to emigrate to Madinah. Umm Salamah and her husband resolved to be amongst the first to take part in this blessed journey, safeguarding their faith, and freeing themselves from the shackles of the Qurayshi torment. Unfortunately, the journey would not be an easy one for them as they had envisioned, it would in turn remain a bitter and arduous time for them.

Her clan, the Banu Makhzum refused to allow her to leave, forcing her husband to leave without her. As for their child, Salamah, the Banu ‘Abdul Asad—her husband’s clan—snatched him from his parents. This was the bitter breaking of her family; her test was a great one. She would go out to the empty plains of Makkah daily, crying and laying bare her pain. The moments of separation between her, her husband, and child would flash before her eyes and she would sob till the darkness of night covered her. She spent one year in this pitiable condition.

A man from her clan one day happened to pass by her in this condition and felt a twinge of mercy in his heart for her. He went to the clan asking them to free her from their captivity and to allow her to reunite with her husband and child. He continued softening their hearts and appealing to their emotions till they allowed her to leave if she so wished. She countered the following, “How can I join my husband whilst I leave my child, the apple of my eye in Makkah with the Banu ‘Abdul Asad?” Seeing her distress and grief some felt mercy for her and spoke to the clan regarding her plight till they returned her child, Salamah, to her.

She then left heading to Madinah towards her husband, a reunion of the separated after a lengthy exile. Her eyes were cooled by his sight and his heart gained strength by theirs. She was then blessed with two daughters and another son. Time seemed to fly, one incident after another like the blinking of an eye. Here we have the Battle of Badr in which Abu Salamah took part returning home safe and sound, the Muslims overcoming with divine assistance. This was followed by the Battle of Uhud, plunging into it not long after Badr, in which the Muslims were sorely tested. Returning from Uhud severely injured he appeared at first to respond well to treatment; however, the lasting effects would persist and Abu Salamah remained bed ridden.[2]

Facing these challenges and difficult days, Umm Salamah continued repeating the supplication she had heard from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

 

ما من مسلم تصيبه مصيبة فيقول ما أمره الله إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ اللَّهُمَّ أْجُرْنِي فِي مُصِيبَتِي وَأَخْلِفْ لِي خَيْرًا مِنْهَا إلا أجره الله في مصيبته وأخلف الله له خيرا منها

When a Muslim suffers from a calamity and utters, “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. O Allah! Compensate me in my affliction, recompense my loss and give me something better in exchange for it,” then Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala surely compensates him with reward and better substitute.

 

After some time, the fateful day of his journey from this world to the next came, his wife Umm Salamah patient and hopeful of reward from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala again repeating, “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. O Allah! Compensate me in my affliction, recompense my loss and give me something better in exchange for it.”

Umm Salamah remembered the prayer her husband had quoted on his deathbed from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and began repeating it, “O Lord, with you I leave this my plight for consideration” But she could not bring herself to continue … “O Lord give me something better from it”, because she kept asking herself, “Who could be better than Abu Salamah?” But it did not take long before she completed the supplication. The recompense for her would be the best of creation, Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[3]

The Muslims were greatly saddened by the plight of Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha. Both the Muhajirin and Ansar felt they had a duty to Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha. When she had completed the ‘iddah, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu proposed to marry her, see to her affairs and look after her children but she refused. Then ‘Umar asked to marry her, but she also declined the proposal. The Prophet then sent a proposal to her with Hatib ibn Abi Balta’ah radiya Llahu ‘anhu asking for her hand in marriage to which she replied, “I have a daughter and I am very possessive.” What she meant by this is that there are two factors which hold me back from accepting this proposal firstly, the fear of incompatibility due to my being preoccupied with my daughter and secondly, I am by nature a very possessive woman and this may cause you discomfort. The reply of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was as follows, “As for her daughter we will ask Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to make her independent of her mother and for her we will ask Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to remove her possessiveness.”[4]

In this manner they were forever joined by the blessed marriage. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala accepted both of their prayers; very soon her daughter became independent of her and her possessive nature was removed, and her prayer of a better recompense was accepted in the form of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The recompense of her sincere prayer and great patience. From that day onward, she was not simply Hind al Makhzumi, mother of Salamah; she was now Umm al Mu’minin, Mother of the Believers. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِالْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَأَزْوَاجُهُ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ

The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves, and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers.[5]

 

May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala enlighten her countenance in Jannat and may he be pleased with her.

She was granted the honour of seeing Jibril ‘alayh al Salam in the form of Dihya al Kalbi radiya Llahu ‘anhu and was blessed by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam attesting to her intellect and foresight.

Her wisdom and foresight were displayed on the Day of Hudaybiyyah when the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed his Companions to slaughter their animals and shave their heads. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam issued this instruction three times but the Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhu still clinging on to the hope that they may yet enter Makkah did not carry out this instruction immediately. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam returned to Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha and said, “O Umm Salamah, what is the matter with the people?”

She replied, “O Messenger of Allah, the conditions you have witnessed have come upon them. Do not speak to any of them but proceed to your animal and sacrifice it, thereafter shave your head. When they see that you have done so, they will follow suit.” The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then left and without speaking to anyone slaughtered his animal and shaved his head. As soon as the Companions saw this they too slaughtered their animals and shaved their heads.[6] The advice which she offered to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on this occasion indicates the intelligence and wisdom she was blessed with.

She possessed great beauty and was of high lineage, she lived a long life and was the last of the Ummahat al Mu’minin to leave this temporary abode. She lived till she heard of the murder of Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu at Karbala’ upon which she was rendered speechless and later unconsciousness. Her grief knew no bounds on this news and not long after she continued her journey to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala be pleased with her and shower her with his choicest blessings.

 

NEXT⇒Hafsah bint al Faruq


[1] Kuniyah is a teknonym in Arabic names, the name of an adult derived from his or her eldest child.

[2] For further reading see Sirah ibn Kathir, vol. 2 pg. 215, Sirah ibn Hisham, vol. 2 pg. 315.

[3] Sahih Muslim, 918.

[4] Sahih Muslim, 918.

[5] Surah al Ahzab: 6.

[6] Sahih al Bukhari, 2581.