Her name was Hind but she was known as Umm Salamah (Mother
of Salamah). Her father, Abu Umayah Suhayl bin Al-Mughirah Al-Makhzumi was
aprominent figure of the Quraysh known for his generosity. His family used to
call him Zad Ar-Rakb, which means "The Provision of the Trave1ers",
because when he went on any journey he insisted on providing for all his fellow
travelers, refusing to allow anyone to share with him in
the cost or responsibility. Her mother was 'Atikah bint 'Amir from the tribe of
Kinanah. Her grandfather, 'Alqamah, was called Jadhl At-Ta'an, which means
"The Spear Thrower", for his unparalleled excellency in chivalry and
Umm Salamah belonged to the clan of Banu Makhzum, one of
the three most honorable clans
branching from the tribe of the Quraysh. The others were Banu
Hashim and Banu Umayah. There was continuous hatred by the Makhzurn clan
towards Banu 'Abd Manaf, the two other clans with a common grandfather, as Banu
Makhzum thought they had more right to the leadership of the Quraysh. Such
tribal zeal made Banu Makhzum deeply hostile towards Islam, as the Prophet
belonged to the competing clan of 'Abd Manaf.
The enemy of Allah, Abu Jahl Al-Makhzumi, justified this
hostility when he was once asked to give his opinion of Muharnmad's
What do I say about this? Both our clan and the clan of 'Abd
Manaf were competing to attain leadership. When they fed people, we did the
same; when they helped people, we did the same; and when they gave people
money, we did the same till we became on equal footing, like two horses in a
race. But when they said, "We have among us a Prophet who receives
revelation from the heavens," we said, "We cannot have the same. By
Allah, we will never believe him or have any faith in him."
The competition between the two clans intensified, and the
hostility held by Banu Makhzum towards the call for Islam got more bitter as
they carried the banner of resistance to the new religion under the power of
Abu J ahl. The Prophet (peace be upon him) called him "The Pharaoh of this
Ummah" and the Muslims called him Abu Jahl, which means "The Man of
This fanatic strife did not stop one of the men of Makhzum,
Abu Salamah 'Abdullah bin 'Abdul Asad Al-Makzumi, a man of wisdom, from
embracing the new faith after realizing that Muhammad was on the right road.
His wife Umm Salamah was also wise enough to believe in the message of Muhammad
(peace be upon him). As a result, the couple suffered terribly from their
people, who tortured and abandoned Abu Salamah.
But the torture of the believers had become unbearable, so
the Prophet (peace be upon him)
commanded them to emigrate from Makkah to Abyssinia, and
Abu Salamah and Umm Salamah were among the first emigrants.
The Muslims were blockaded and boycotted in the narrow pass
of Abu Talib for three years. When the news of the blockade reachedÂ·the
Muslims in Abyssinia, they supplicated to Allah for their brothers and sisters
in Makkah. Many of the emigrants returned, including Umm Salamah, on hearing
that the boycott was over. But they were mistaken to think that the Quraysh had
softened towards the Muslims.
The treatment was as bad as-if not worse than- before, so
much so that they were plotting to assassinate the Prophet (peace be upon him).
It was at this point in time that Allah commanded His Messenger to emigrate to Madinah.
Abu Salamah and Umm Salama were the first Muslims to respond to that command.
The story of the small family's migration is a tragedy that
reveals the cruelty and heartlessness of the pagans, the enemies of Allah and
His Messenger. Abu Salamah had only just set out on his journey to Madinah with
his wife and son, Salamah, when a band of the Makhzum pagans approached him
asking, "Where are you going, Abu Salamah?"
"I'm leaving this land of oppression to my brothers in
The pagans replied, "You are free to do whatever you
like, but your wife is different. She belongs to us and we won't let her wander
with you in strange lands?
Compassion was not the essence of Banu Makhzum's interest
in 'Umm Salamah after she had converted; it was only their stubbornness and
hostility towards Islam. On hearing about Abu Salamah's ordeal, his family
hurried to support him to face his wife's family.
They said to them, "Don't dare touch the man!" For
the sake of tribal zeal, and not for the welfare of the couple, the two parties
began to wrestle. The struggle became fiercer and then one of Banu Makhzum
shouted,"By Allah, we won't let Abu Salamah take our relative with him. He
either leaves her behind or we will take her back by force." Before anyone
could answer, they hastened to Umm Salamah's camel and took its rein from her husband's
hand. Such an act drove Banu 'Abdul Asad, Abu Salamah's people, furious and
they said, "lf you want to take your relative, take her, we have no need
for her. Lt's her son who belongs to us, and we won't leave him to you."
Banu 'Abdul Asad snatched the child' from his mother's
arms. ln return Banu Makhzum, the child's maternal uncles, refused to be
defeated by the paternal uncles, and so they tried to grab the child. The two
parties kept pulling him by his two arms, ignoring his and his mother's cries.
Heartless and cruel, unrelenting in their zeal, they only let go when the
child's little hand was torn off. Banu 'Abdul Asad took the child, while Banu Makhzim
took his hand and mother with them.
Abu Salamah continued on his way, deeply hurt and forlorn
at leaving his wife and son behind. He was relieved to reach Madinah and set
about asking for the news of his child and wife.
Banu Makhzum had no interest in Umm Salamah but took her to
show their pride and mastery. Similarly, Banu 'Abdul Asad had no concern for
the little boy except as a tool of revenge on the other family. Awhole year passed
with Umm Salamah pained at her separation from her son and her husband. This
moved some of her kind friends, and they subsequently negotiated with their kinsmen
to allow her to reunite with Abu Salamah. Banu 'Abdul Asad were also
approached. At- last, both missions succeeded, and their family become one
again after a whole year of suffering for the sake of Allah
The Islamic state was established, and the Prophet (peace
be upon him), together with his Companions, waged many battles and campaigns as
jihad. Abu Salamah was part of this jihad, while Umm Salamah spent all her time
in educating her children on the principles of the new
faith. She was kind-hearted towards her husband and prepared
all the means of a comfortable life for him on his return from battle. They
were happily married and very much in love.
One day, after he had returned from the battlefield, they
had a discussion. She said to him, "I've heard that if a woman's husband
dies and enters Paradise and she doesn't marry after his death and also enters
Paradise, then she will be his wife in Paradise. And the same happens to him if
his wife dies and he does not remarry after her. Let us take a solemn vow that
you will not marry after my death and I will not marry after your death."
He looked at his loving wife and said, "Will you obey
me, Umm Salamah?"
She said, "Whenever you ask for anything, I always wish
to obey you."
He said, "Then remany after my death." He paused for
a moment and prayed, "Oh Allah, bless Umm Salamah after my death with a
better husband who never hurts or vexes her."
Hearing this, Umm Salamah wished him a long life.
On the day of Uhud, Abu Salamah was seriously wounded, but
his wound healed and he continued to perform jihad. Sometime later, the Prophet
(peace be upon him) ordered Â»him
to lead an army to invade Banu Asad, who were planning to attack Madinah.
Abu Salamah executed this mission and returned victoriously.
When he entered his home, he was received warmly by his wife. Noticing that he
was feeble, she asked about his weakness. He told her that it was from the wound
Sensing that death was near, Abu Salamah said to his wife,
'l heard the Prophet say, 'lf a disaster befalls any of you, you should say: We
belong to Allah and to Him we return. O Allah, reward me for having such a
disaster and bless me with something better instead of it.' O Umm Salamah, if l
die, hold fast to that du'a'."
He shut his eyes and murmured, "O Allah, bestow upon
my family all that is good after I die," then passed away.
Umm Salamah cried. She gathered her children and recited,
"To Allah we belong and to Him we return. O Allah, reward me for having
such a disaster. . ."
When she tried to continue, she couldn't, but could only
ask herself, "Who is better than Abu Salamah?" But she remembered
that it had been her husband's will to recite the whole du'a' , and she did.
"... and give me something better in its place."
The ideal Muslim society that existed in Madinah at that
time would not permit a lonely widow to struggle in life alone with her
children. When this happened everyone hurried to her support.
After Umm Salamah had finished her 'iddez a period of time
after the husband's death during which the widow cannot remarry], Abu Bakr
proposed to her, but she refused him. Then 'Umar proposed to her, and again she
refused. It was only after the Prophet himself (peace be upon him) sent a
messenger to propose for him that she responded.
To that she answered, "Welcome, Messenger of Allah and
welcome, messenger of the Messenger of Allah. Go and tell the Prophet of Allah
that I have three characteristics with which I should not marry the Prophet (peace
be upon him). I am an old woman, I am responsible for fatherless children, and
I am a very jealous woman."
Hearing this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent her
another message: "As for being an old woman, I am older than you, and it
is not usual that a woman marries one older than herself. As for being the
mother of orphaned children, Allah and His Messenger will sustain them. And as
for your jealous nature, I will pray to Allah to remove this from you."
Thus, Umm Salamah was married to the Prophet (peace be upon
him) and Allah gave her someone better in the place of Abu Salamah. Umm Salamah
continued to strive in jihad but this time with the Prophet (peace be upon
him). She accompanied him in all his battles, offering him the comfort and
peace of mind he needed in order to accomplish his holy mission. It was
rooting out the age-old ignorance and planting instead of
it the seeds of justice and righteousness of Islam.
Umm Salamah attended the Battle Hudaybiyah with the Prophet
(peace be upon him) and witnessed the long negotiations between him (peace be
upon him) and the delegates from the Quraysh in an attempt to prevent the
formidable war. After long talks, both the Muslims and
the Quraysh agreed to sign a peace accord, but many of the Muslims
considered such an agreement to be unfair to the Muslims.
This view was amplified by 'Umar bin Al- Khattab, who
exclaimed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), "Aren't you truly the
Prophet of Allah?"
"Yes," replied the Prophet.
'Umar continued, "Aren't we in the right and our enemies
are in the wrong?"
"Then why should we suffer humiliation in the matter
The Prophet replied, "I am the true Messenger of Allah.
I never disobey Him, and He will help me." After that, Muhammad (peace be
upon him) ordered his Companions to slaughter the sacrifices for the cancelled `Umrah
and share them out. He ordered them to do this three times, but no one
responded, even though he told them that his command was a command from Heaven.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was upset by his Companions'
disobedience, so he went to Umm Salamah to complain to her, but she advised him
wisely, "O Prophet of Allah, if you like to take my words, go out but do
not speak to any of them. Slaughter your camel and call for your barber to
shave your head."
In this way Umm Salamah's consultation solved a serious
problem. She already knew that the disobedience of the Companions was out of
pure love and enthusiasm for their faith, as they felt that the terms of the
treaty were humiliating to their religion. She also knew that they were
always ready to follow the Prophet (peace be upon him).
For her deep faith and love to her husband and her advice
that saved the Muslims, Allah made her a Mother of Faithful. May Allah be
pleased with her.