The Story of Umm Salamah (Radi Allahu anha)

A story of patience, trials, and testing times. The Hijrah of Umm Salamah (radi Allahu anha) and her husband was not as easy as imagined.Infact it was a bitter and painful experience. We witness the fruits of making supplication at times of hardship and the results of trust in Allah.

Let us leave the story now for Umm Salamah(radi Allahu anha)  herself to tell…..

When Abu Salamah(my husband) decided to leave for Madinah,he prepared a camel for me, hoisted me on it and placed our son Salamah on my lap. My husband then took the lead and went on without stopping or waiting for anything. Before we were out of Makkah,some men from the clan stopped us and said to my husband: though you are free to do what you like with yourself, you have no power over your wife. She is our daughter. Do you expect us to allow you to take her away from us?”

“They then pounced on him and snatched me away from him. My husbands clan,Banu Adbul-Asad,saw them taking both me and my child. They became hot with rage.

“No! By Allah,” they shouted,” we shall not abandon the boy. He is our son and we have first claim over him.”

They took him by the hand and pulled him away from me.Suddenly,in the space of a few moments, I found myself alone and lonely. My husband headed for Madinah by himself, and his clan snatched my son away from me. My own clan,Banu Makhzum, overpowered me and forced me to stay with them.

From the day when my husband and my son were separated from me, I went out at noon every day to that valley and sat at the spot where this tragedy occurred. I would recall those terrible moments and weep until night fell on me.

I continued like this for a year or so until one day a man form the Banu Umayyah passed by and saw my condition. He went back to my clan and said”: why don’t you free this poor woman? You have caused her husband and her son to be taken away from her.”

He went on trying to soften their hearts and play on their emotions. At last they said to me,” go and join your husband if you wish.”

But how could I join my husband in Madinah and leave my son, a piece of my own flesh and blood, in Makkah among the Banu Assad?How could I be free of anguish and my eyes be free from tears were I to reach the place of Hijrah not knowing anything of my little son left behind in Makkah?

Some realized what I was going through and their hearts went out to me. They petitioned the Banu Asad tribe on my behalf and moved them to return my son.

I did not even want to linger in Makkah until I found someone to travel with me, and I was afraid that something might happen that would delay or prevent me from reaching my husband. So I promptly got my camel ready, placed my son on my lap, and left in the direction of Madinah.

I had just about reached Ta’im(about 3 miles from Makkah) when I met Uthman ibn Talhah.(He was the keeper of the Kabah in pre-Islamic times and was not yet Muslim)

“Where are you going Bint Zad Ar Rakib?” he asked. I am going to my husband in Madinah.”

“And there isn’t anyone with you?”

“No,by Allah.Except Allah and my little son here.”

“By Allah,I shall never abandon you until you reach Madinah,”he vowed.

He then took the reins of my camel and led us on. I have, by Alah,never met an Arab more generous and noble than he. When we reached a resting place, he would make my camel kneel down, wait until I dismounted and. Lead he camel to a tree and tethered it. He would then go to the shade of another tree. When we had rested he would get the camel ready and lead u son.

This he did every day until we reached Madinah.

When we got to a village near Quba(about 2 miles from Madinah) belonging to Banu ibn Awf,he said, your husband is in this village. Enter it with the blessings of God.”

He turned back and headed for Makkah.

Umm Salamah was overjoyed to see her husband and he was delighted to see his wife and son.

Great and momentous events followed one after the other. There was the battle of Badr,in which Abu Salamah(r.a) fought. The Muslims returned victorious and strengthened. Then there was the battle of Uhud,in which he Muslims were sorely tested.Abu Salamah(radi Allahu anhu) came out of this severely wounded. He appeared at first to respond to treatment, but his wounds never healed completely and he remained bedridden.

Once while Umm Salamah was nursing him, he said to her: I heard the messenger of Allah Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam saying, whenever a calamity afflicts anyone he should say “surely from Allah we are and to him shall we return. “and he would pray,”O lord, give me in return something good from it which only you, exalted and mighty, can give.”

Abu Salamah(radi Allahu anhu) remained sick in bed for  several days. One morning the prophet Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam came to see him. The visit as longer than usual. While the prophet (s.a.w) was still at his bedside, Abu Salamah(radi Allahu anhu)  passed away. With his blessed hands, the prophet Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam closed the eyes of his companion. He then raised his hands to the heavens and prayed:

“O lord, grant forgiveness to Abu Salamah.Elevate him among those who are near to you.tak charge of his family at all times. Forgive us and him O lord of the worlds. Widen his grave and make it light for him.”

Umm Salamah(radi Allahu anha) remembered the prayer her husband had quoted on his deathbed from the prophet Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam 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 good from  it”.She kept asking herself, “who could be better than Abu Salamah?’’But it did not take long before she completed the supplication.

The Muslims were greatly saddened by the plight of Umm Salamah.She became known as “Ayyin Al-Arab”-the one who lost her husband. She had no one in Madinah except her children.

Both the Muhajireen and Ansar felt they had a duty to Umm salamah (radi Allahu anha).When she had completed her iddah,Abu bakr(radi Allahu anhu)  proposed marriage to her, but she refused. Then Umar(radi Allahu anhu)  proposed marriage to her, but she declined as well.

The prophet Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam then approached her and she replied:

O messenger of Allah,I have three characteristics’ I am a woman who is extremely jealous and I am afraid that you will see in me something that will anger you and cause Allah to punish me.I am a woman whois already advanced in age and I am a woman who has a young family.”

The prophet Sallallāhu Alayhi Wasallam replied:

“Regarding the jealousy you mentioned, I pray to Allah to let it go away from you. Regarding the question of age you have mentioned. I am afflicted with the same. Regarding the dependant family you have mentioned, your family is my family.”

They were married and so it was that Allah answered the prayer of Umm Salamah(radi Allahu anha)  and gave her better than Abu Salamah(radi Allahu anhu) .From that day on she was no longer only the mother of Salamah,but she became the Mother of all believers, Ummul Mu’mineen.


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