Noble Women Around The Messenger
Umm Salamah bint Zad Ar-Rakb
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 duels.
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 prophethood:
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 Ignorance".
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 reachedآ·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 Madinah."
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 آ»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 of Lihud.
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 amission
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 of faith?"
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.