Monday, October 29, 2007

Umm Salamah Binti Abu Mughirah

Umm Salamah Binti Abu Mughirah

In The name of Allāh the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.

Prologue: Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) has narrated 378 Hadiths of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). In moral excellence and nobility of conduct, she ranks, among the Prophet’s wives, next only to ‘Aishah (radiallāhu’anha). She was an excellent reciter of the Qur'an, and her style was much similar to the Prophet’s (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). She was endowed with exceptionally beautiful countenance, deep knowledge, intelligence and sound judgment.

Her real name was Hindun; while her title was Umm Salamah. She came from the family of Makhzum, which belongs to the Quraish tribe. Her father’s name was Abu Mughirah Ibn ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar Ibn Makhzum and her mother was ‘Atikah Bint ‘Amir who belonged to the family of Faras.

Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) was first married to her cousin Abu Salamah Ibn ‘Abdul-Asad. He was a young man with exceptionally good nature and unblemished conduct. It was improbable for this young man of exceptionally lofty morals to remain unmoved by the noble and life-giving message of the Noble Prophet, Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Defying his tribesmen, Abu Salamah embraced the new faith and entered the fold of Islam. Umm Salamah followed suit. Thus, the couple joined the rank of those noble souls, who had won the unique distinction of embracing the new faith in its early phase.

They suffered all kinds of hardships and harassment in the cause of Islam, but they did not budge even an inch from the right path. As the number of the people who had embraced the new life-giving faith increased, the persecution and torture meted out to them also increased in intensity.

When this persecution reached intolerable levels, the Noble Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)   gave permission to his followers to migrate to Abyssinia, which was ruled at that time by a kind-hearted king, in order to protect their lives and preserve their religion. Abu Salamah and Umm Salamah who has already entered the fold of Islam also migrated to Abyssinia. They came back to Makkah after spending some time in exile.

They left for Makkah for Madinah on their second migration. Abu Salamah had only one camel with him. They seated Umm Salamah and his young son, Salamah, at the saddle. Holding the reins of his camel, he started his long journey on foot.

When her family came to know about the couple’s planned destination, they intercepted the camel and told Abu Salamah that he could proceed, but they would not allow their daughter (Umm Salamah). They took away the reins of the camel from Abu Salamah and forced Umm Salamah to dismount.

In the meantime, Banu ‘Abdul-Asad, the members of Abu Salamah’s clan, appeared on the scene and snatched Umm Salamah’s child from his mother and threatened Banu Mughirah that if they did not allow their daughter to accompany her husband, they would also not allow the child to accompany his mother. As for Abu Salamah they said that he was free to go anywhere liked.

Abu Salamah left for Madinah, leaving his wife and child behind. Umm Salamah was staying with Banu Mughirah while her child was in the custody of Banu ‘Abdul-Asad. Thus, the three of them were undergone the pain of living separately.

Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha)  was grief-stricken due the separation from her child and husband. Every day she would go and sit forlorn on a hillock, crying and longing to join her husband and son. A whole one year passed like this.

One day, a kind-hearted and influential man from the clan of Banu Mughirah saw her pathetic condition and was moved by her agony. He called out the people of his tribe and said: “This woman is our own flesh and blood, how long will we keep her away from her husband and child? By Allah! Our tribe is very brave and honorable; we can’t tolerate persecution of innocent people.”

Hearing this, her tribesmen gave permission to Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) they to join her husband in Madinah. When Banu ‘Abdul-Asad heard of this, they also took pity and sent her child, Salamah, to her. She took the child and a camel to ride alone to Madinah. At At-Tana’im [in the outskirts of Makkah], she met ‘Uthman Ibn Talhah a chivalrous and decent man of Makkah. When he saw Umm Salamah traveling alone with a small baby, he thought: “How unbecoming of me, if I did not escort this lonely woman traveler of Quraish to Madinah!”

He took the reins of Umm Salamah’s camel and started for Madinah. Whenever they stopped on the way, ‘Uthman would withdraw to rest under the shade of a tree. When they reached Quba', where Abu Salamah was staying, ‘Uthman returned to Makkah and Umm Salamah rejoined her husband, who thanked Allah for once again reuniting his family.

Umm Salmah (radiallāhu’anha) always remained grateful to ‘Uthman for his thoughtful and kind gesture. She used to say: “I have never seen a more gallant and compassionate man than ‘Uthman Ibn Talhah.”

Her widowhood and marriage to the Prophet

In the third Hijrah, Abu Salamah (radiallāhu’anhu) fought in the Battle of Uhud. In that historic battle, his arm was wounded by a poisoned arrow shot by the enemy. He later recovered after treatment for a few months. His wound relapsed and ultimately died. Umm Salamah was immensely grief-stricken at the demise of her loving husband. When the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)   heard about this, he went to offer condolences to her and asked her to have patience and bear the calamity with fortitude.

According to one narration, when the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)   paid a condolence visit to Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha)  after the death of her husband, he asked her to pray Allah to grant Abu Salamah the lofty rank of the righteous and grant her a better husband than him.

At this, Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) wondered who could be a better husband for her than Abu Salamah. Seeing the forlorn state of Umm Salamah after she was widowed, Abu Bakar sent her a proposal for marriage, which Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) declined.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)   was greatly impressed with the courage, which Umm Salamah displayed in facing the misfortunes and adversities of life. He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)   was also highly moved for her tragic situation and sent the proposal for marriage to her through ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiallāhu’anhu). Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) consented, and in Syawal, the 4th Hijrah, her marriage to the Noble Prophet took place.

Her wisdom

In the 6th Hijrah, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)   accompanied by his 1,400 companions decided to perform ‘Umrah (minor Pilgrimage). When Quraish learned about this, they decided to stop the Muslims from performing the pilgrimage; but when the Muslims decided to fight them they feared and signed a treaty with the Muslims, which consisted of several terms and conditions which appeared to be unfair for the Muslims as it prevented them from performing 'Umrah that year.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)   accepted these conditions in adherence to the Divine Command instructing him to do so. Then the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)   ordered the Muslims to slaughter animals in sacrifice [indicating the end of the 'Umrah rites]. But the Muslims hesitated in offering the sacrifice, which had grieved the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha)  who was with the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)   on this journey, heard this and suggested to the Prophet to offer the sacrifice, shave his head and take off the Ihram. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) did so acting on her advice. When the companions saw that the Prophet’s command was irrevocable, they at once sacrificed their animals and shaved their heads.
Her Character.

Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) led a very simple and austere life. She was a devout worshiper. Every month, she fasted for three days [other than the fasting of Ramadhan]. Once, she wore a necklace, which had a little amount of gold in it. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not like her wearing even this little amount of gold. So Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) immediately took it out.

Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) was very generous. She implored others also to give away in the cause of Allah. Whatever she had, she would readily give away to a beggar or a needy person.

Once, a few destitute people came to her begging for charity importunately. Umm Salamah ordered her maid not to send them back empty-handed, and if there was nothing in the houses, she should give them just a few dates.

Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha) has narrated 378 Hadiths of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). In moral excellence and nobility of conduct, she ranks, among the Prophet’s wives, next only to ‘Aishah (radiallāhu’anha). She was an excellent reciter of the Quran, and her style was much similar to the Prophet’s. She was endowed with exceptionally beautiful countenance, deep knowledge, intelligence and sound judgment.

Her Death.

After a life filled with faith and righteous deeds, the Mother of the Believers, Umm Salamah (radiallāhu’anha)  died in the year 61 A.H., aged 84 and the venerable Companion, Abu Hurairah led the people in her funeral prayer, after which she was buried in Al-Baqi' Cemetery in Madinah.

Allah Knows Best

[Via Umm Nurah]

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