The Prophet Muhammad (saw)

Ummu Salama: Our Mother Who Ran

First she ran to Arkam's house with her husband Abu Salama; she had heard about the Prophet (pbuh)'s call to Islam. Later she went to Abyssinia with her husband because she was called to migrate. Just as she was getting accustomed to this land where Zainab had been born, she went to Mecca because of a new invitation...

But Mecca was on fire, and the Prophet was pointing to Medina. This time she was going to Medina with her husband and child Salama when her tribe stopped them on the road. Saying they would not send their daughter, they took Ummu Salama from her husband. In response the tribe of Abu Salama said, "Then we will not give our grandchild," and they took Salama from her mother's lap. But the command had already been made for migration.  Abu Salama continued on his way, leaving his family crying behind him. Thus, the family was divided into three: the father was in one place, the mother in another and the child in yet another. In order for these three pieces to come together again, Ummu Salama had to cry for days in the hills. An old person passing on the road had to protest against this injustice. The tribes had to soften their stand and give permission for the mother and her child to go to Medina. Osman bin Talha had to accompany Ummu Salama and her son and feel sorry for them throughout the trip.

 They embraced each other in Medina. But before long, Abu Salama fought at Uhud and returned home with an arrow wound. It adorned his chest for a month, and then Allah exchanged it with another medallion: martyrdom. His last migration was to heaven. The Prophet led the funeral prayer with nine takbirs. When asked, "Why nine takbirs?" he answered, "He is worthy of a thousand takbirs." Again Ummu Salama was alone. Moreover, she was carrying a child. In time, death followed the birth; her loneliness increased. Sad about Ummu Salama's situation, Abu Bakr offered to marry her to take her under his protection. Ummu Salama refused. This time, the Prophet asked her to become his wife. Ummu Salama was happy, but she said she was afraid that her jealousy, her children and her family's being far away would cast a shadow over this marriage. Saying that he would pray for her jealousy and take care of her children, and that no one from her family would oppose this marriage, the Prophet convinced her. The prayer Abu Salama made on his deathbed had been accepted: "My God! Give Ummu Salama a better husband than me!"

A bowl, a water jug, a hand mill, a pillow filled with palm fibers, a bed and one pot... The belongings in the home of the new bride. And see how Ummu Salama made the first meal: "There was some melted fat in the pot and some barley in the bowl. Grinding the barley in the hand mill, I made a thick soup. I added a little of the fat. This was the Prophet's wedding dinner."

Ummu Salama was 44 years old when she married. With her maturity, she was always a factor of balance in the Prophet's life- at Hudaybiyah, Khaybar, the conquest of Mecca, the siege of Taif, the Farewell Pilgrimage. Whenever the Prophet was sad, she relieved his sadness; whenever he was confronted by an obstacle, she sought a solution. During the agreement at Hudaybiyah, when the Prophet said to the sahaba, "Make your sacrifices here, and let's return," the sahaba pretended not to hear due to their sadness regarding the conditions of the agreement which appeared to be against the Muslims. In spite of the Prophet's repeating his words three times, no one thought of returning. Going to his tent, the Prophet explained the situation to Ummu Salama; as a solution she said, "Do not say anything to anyone. Make your sacrifice, take off your ihram and cut your hair." Muhammad (pbuh) took Ummu Salama's advice. Seeing that he had taken off the ihram and cut his hair, the sahaba naturally obeyed his command.

Ummu Salama was  generous enough to be called the "Traveler's Provision;" she got enough pleasure from being a servant to Allah that she fasted three days in the first week of every month; she was intelligent enough with 378 hadiths to be next after Aisha  in hadith narration. She was concerned with knowledge enough to make Abu Hurayra  say, "The knowledge of Aisha and Ummu Salama is greater than mine." She was sensitive enough to see Gabriel in the shape of Dihya from the sahaba and to see the Prophet speaking with a doe.  Her heart was clear enough to be informed in a dream by the Prophet that Hussain had fallen as a martyr at Karbala.

The Prophet pointed out the responsibility of women with the hadith, "A woman who dies with her husband approving of her will enter Heaven," and of men's responsibility in the hadith, "Fear Allah in regard to your women. You got them in trust from Allah and you made them halal with Allah's name." A person of balance, Ummu Salama conveyed this balance between men and women to all time. During their six years of marriage many fikh issues regarding women were explained by means of her. As the last of the Prophet's wives to die, perhaps by repeating these for years she enabled these hadiths that are like the mortar of a Muslim family to be passed down with unquestionable soundness.

She was in love with the Prophet and his words! Hearing a hadith from him and relaying it was more important than all other matters in her life. One day when she was about to wash her hair, she heard the Prophet's voice. He had mounted the pulpit and was addressing the Muslims: "Oh people!" As soon as she heard these two words, Ummu Salama was shaken. She tossed aside the things in her hand and ran straight to the mosque. She was running, on the one hand, and saying to herself, on the other hand, "Am I not one of the people?" 

Poet and writer Ali Ural continues to write about the Companions of the Prophet that reflect his light and radiance


fatima tijani
fatima tijani16.05.2012

it is good at least they gave me some of the things i needed to know.