Sawdah binti Zam’ah
In the Name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All praise and thanks are due to Allāh, May Allāh blessings and peace be upon His Messenger.
Sawdah binti Zam’ah (radiallāhu`anha) was the lady that the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) married after the death of Khadijah (radiallāhu`anha). Sawdah was the first woman to immigrate to Abyssinia in the way of Allah. Her husband had died and went to live with her aged father.
After the demise of Khadijah (radiallāhu`anha), Khawlah binti Hakim Al-Aslamiah suggested that the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) to marry Sawdah (radiallāhu`anha). Sawdah was middle-aged, rather plump, with a jolly, kindly disposition, and just the right person to take care of the Prophet's household and family.
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) then requested Khawlah binti Hakim Al-Aslamiah(radiallāhu`anha) to speak to Abu Bakar As-Siddiq (radiallāhu`anhu) and Sawdah (radiallāhu`anha).
Khawlah (radiallāhu`anha) went and approached Sawdah and reportedly said: "Would you like Allah to give you a great blessing, Sawdah?" Sawdah then enquired: "And what is that, Khawlah?" She disclosed to her that "The Messenger of Allah has sent me for a proposal asking for your hand to marry him!"
Sawdah tried to contain herself in spite of her amazement and then replied in a trembling voice: "I accepted the proposal! But, you must inform my father."
Khawlah went to Zam'ah, who was noted as a gruff old man, and she greeted him and then said: "Muhammad the son of Abdullah son of Abdul Muttalib has sent me to ask for Sawdah’s hand."
The old man Zam’ah was very excited and replied: "A noble match. What did she say?" Khawlah replied: "She accepted it." He told her to call for Sawdah. When she came, he said: "Sawdah, this woman claims that Muhammad the son of Abdullah son of Abdul Muttalib has sent me to ask for you to marry him. It is a noble match. Do you want me to marry you to him?" Sawdah again accepted it, with a great honor.
Sawdah (radiallāhu`anha) went to live in Muhammad's house and immediately took over the care of his daughters and household, while Aishah binti Abu Bakar (radiallāhu`anha) became betrothed to him and remained in her father's house playing with her dolls.
There was great surprise in Makkah that the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would choose to marry a widow who was neither young nor beautiful. The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), however, remembered the trials she had undergone when she had immigrated to Abyssinia, leaving her house and property, and crossed the desert and then the sea for an unknown land out of the desire to preserve her ‘deen’.
During the next two years, the Quraish increased their spiteful efforts to destroy the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his followers, in spite of the clear signs that beyond any doubt that Muhammad (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was indeed the Messenger of Allah.
Israk and Mi’raj
Perhaps the greatest of these signs during this period was the Prophet's Mi'raj, his journey by night on a winged horse called the Buraq, through the skies to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem where he led all the earlier Prophets who had lived before him in the prayer, followed by his ascent on the Buraq, accompanied by Jibril, through the seven heavens, and then beyond the world of forms, to the Presence of Allah where he was given the five prayers that all his true followers have done ever since.
When he described this miraculous journey to the people of Makkah, they just laughed at him, even though he accurately described the Al-Aqsa Mosque to them [and they knew that he had never been there before], and even though he described the place where he had stopped for a drink on the way to Jerusalem, and even though he told them how on the way he had told a man where his lost camel was, and even though he told them that he was seen a caravan, which no one knew about, approaching Makkah and that it should arrive later on that day. Even though the Quraish knew that the Prophet's description of the Al-Aqsa Mosque was completely accurate, and even when they eventually saw the caravan arrive, and met the man whom he had helped, and saw the place where he had stopped for a drink, the still refused to believe him.
Only Abu Bakar As-Siddiq (radiallāhu`anhu), his closest companion and future father-in-law, accepted the Prophet's account of his miraculous journey immediately he said, when some scornful Makkans first gave him the news: "If he had said this, then it is true!"
As the enmity of the Quraish increased, and while ‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) was still a young girl, Allah prepared the way for the future growth of the Muslim community in a place called Yathrib.
The Pacts Of Aqabah
During the time of pilgrimage in Makkah one year, twelve men from Yathrib, a small city of two hundred miles to the north of Makkah, secretly pledged allegiance, to the Prophet, known The First Pact of ‘Aqabah, swearing to worship no gods other than Allah, nor to steal, nor to tell lies, nor to commit adultery, nor to kill their children, nor to disobey the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) . They returned to Yathrib, accompanied by a Muslim called Mus'ab ibn Umair, who taught them that entire he had learned from the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) .
As a result, the numbers of Muslims in Madinah began to grow, and when the time of the pilgrimage came again, this time seventy five people from Yathrib- three of whom were women: Umm Sulaima, Nasaibah binti Ka'ab and Asmah binti Amr, pledged allegiance in Makkah to the Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) known The Second Pact of ‘Aqabah, this time also swearing that they would defend and protect him, even to the death if need be.
After this, the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) gave his followers permission to emigrate to Yathrib, and slowly but surely, in twos and threes, the Muslims began to leave Makkah.
The leaders of the Quraish realized what was happening, and decided to kill the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) before he had a chance to join them. However, Allah protected the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) , and on the very night before the morning on which they had planned to kill him, the Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and Abu Bakar (radiallāhu`anhu) slipped out of Makkah and hid in a cave called Thur, which was to the south of Makkah. Everybody knows what happened when the people who were hunting for them came to the cave: They found a wild dove nesting in the tree that covered the mouth of a cave, across which a spider had spun its web. Anyone entering the cave would have frightened away the dove and broken the spider's web, they thought, so they did and not bother to look inside it. Their pursuers were so close that if one of them had glanced down at his feet, he would have discovered them. By the decree of Allah, the Prophet and Abu Bakar were safe!
Once the Quraish had given up the search, the Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and Abu Bakar (radiallāhu`anhu) circled round the Makkah and rode northwards. Only one man, a warrior called Suraqah ibn Jusham, suspected their whereabouts and set off in hot pursuit, thirsting of the reward of 100 camels that the Quraish had offered to anyone who captured the two men for them. As soon as he reaching within shouting distance of the travelers, his horse suddenly began to sink into the sand, and, realizing that if he did not turn back, then the desert would simply swallow up both him and his steed, he gave up his pursuit, asked them to forgive him and returned home.
After a long, hard journey Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and Abu Bakar (radiallāhu`anhu) reached Yathrib amidst scenes of great rejoicing. Their era in Makkah had just come to an end, and their new period in Medinah had just unfold - for Madinah is the new name that was now given to Yathrib, Madinah Al-Munawarrah, which means 'The Illuminated City', the city that was illuminated by the light of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his family and his Companions, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him and on all of them. The journey of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and Abu Bakar (radiallāhu`anhu) is called the Hijrah, and it is at this point that the calendar of the Muslims begins, for it was upon the Hijrah that the first community of Muslims rapidly grew.
Sawdah (radiallāhu`anha) Gave Her Right To Aishah
The Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was worried that Sawdah might be upset about having to compete with so many younger wives, and offered to divorce her. She said that she would give her night to ‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha), of whom she was very fond, because she only wanted to be his wife on the Day of Rising. She lived on until the end of the time of Umar ibn al Khattab (radiallāhu`anhu) as the Khalifah. Sawdah (radiallāhu`anha) and ‘Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) always remained very close.
Allah Knows Best
[Via Umm Nurah]