Story No. 208 – Umm Salamah, Umme Salama, Umme Salma, Mother of the Believers, Mother of the Faithfuls
“Hind” – the daughter of Abu Umayyah ibn al-Mughirah al-Makhzumi and Atikah Bint Aamir, known as Umm Salamah (Umme Salama, Umme Salma, Umm-e-Salama) was the wife of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) after Hazrat Khadija (SA), who had distinguished and worthy qualities. Her family had such special greatness and nobility that her father, Abu Umayyah ibn al-Mughirah al-Makhzumi, was called “Zad-ar-Rakeb” which means the “owner of gifts and generosity towards his companions and fellow travelers”.
Umm Salamah (Umme Salama, Umme Salma, Umm-e-Salama) was one of the first believers who accepted Islam and migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and also to Medina for protecting the divine ideals of Islam. The Verse of Purification (33:33) in the Noble Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in her house. She was famous among her relatives and friends for her kindness, affection, and loyalty. The scholars have called her the great, the learned, and the visionary lady who had helped in different situations to solve various problems.
Umm Salamah’s first husband was her cousin, Abu Salamah ibn Abdul-Asad, who was obliged to migrate to Abyssinia because of the extreme oppression of the polytheists. And it was there that their daughter, Salamah was born and after her, their son, Omar was born. Omar was wise and reflective. Since he was brought up under his mother’s supervision, even in his youth he participated in all the battles along with Imam Ali (AS) and before that he had been the Governor of Bahrain.
Abu Salamah ibn Abdul-Asad participated in the Battle of Uhud and was badly injured and finally passed away. This learned Muslim had clear sighted vision that led to the uprooting of wrong traditions and tribal customs. Once when Umm Salamah wanted she and her husband to make a pact that upon the death of either of them the other would not remarry.
Her husband said never shall we make such a pact. He then stretched his hands towards the heavens and said: “O Allah! Please grant Umm Salamah a better husband after my death!”
After Abu Salamah ibn Abdul-Asad’s death, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) went to their house for offering his condolences to her and for soothing her pain and sorrow. He said: “O Allah! Please soothe her grief, compensate her suffering, and grant her a better substitute than her late husband. Umm Salamah was so distinguished in qualities of beauty, and the perfection of morals and because of that so many well-known personalities who were socially famous and wealthy asked to marry her. One can refer to Abu Bakr, the first caliph and Omar, the second caliph among them. But she accepted to marry the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) with a little dowry since she was a person of insight, reflective, and also learned. She was able to find an eminent place in the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) heart after Hazrat Khadija (SA), the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Umm Salamah was a pious and learned woman who possessed eloquence and rhetoric. She owned the elixir of devotion and affection of the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) house in a way that she was ready to do anything to make the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) heart happy and remove his sorrows and grieves. She always sympathized with her dear husband. Therefore, she accompanied him in the Battle of Ditch, the Conquest of Makkah, the Siege of Taif, the Battle of Hawazen, Saghif and then the Farewell Hajj Pilgrimage. She was literate during Al-Jahiliya (The age of Ignorance) of Arabia when women were looked down upon.
Treaty of Hudaibiyah, (Noble Qur’an, chapter Al-Fath, 48:1)In the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, when the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) commanded the Muslims to shave their heads, to make sacrifices, and to return from Makkah to Medina according to the settlement, most of them did not obey. When Umm Salamah saw the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) grief, she offered a wise suggestion and said:
“O Messenger of Allah! It is too hard for them to accept the settlement since they desired victory. You should stand up and go out without uttering a word, then sacrifice and shave your own head, and then they will obey!”
Afterwards all the Muslims stood up and obeyed Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) command.
Once she revealed her hidden thoughts to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and said: “O Messenger of Allah! Men struggle and participate in the battles, but women don’t, and they cannot be martyred. It is a great blessing that we are losing.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) explained to her the other substitute for women and said: “The woman’s struggle is in her relations to her husband.”
And afterwards Angel Gabriel (Hazrat Gibreel (as)) sent down the following words of Allah in the Noble Qur’an:
“And don’t covet that by which Allah has made some of you excel others; men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn; and ask Allah of His grace; surely Allah knows all things.” (Noble Qur’an, chapter An-Nisa, 4:32)
And then the follow verse was sent down.
“Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women, and the humble men and the humble women, and the alms giving men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah – has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward.” (Noble Qur’an, chapter Al-Ahzab, 33:35)
Umm Salamah: Her love and eagerness towards the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
By accepting Islam, Umm Salamah soothed her long thirst by drinking from the pure and rich fountain of leaning. She struggled towards attaining eminent morals with the passing of each day and added to her knowledge and faith in the presence of her husband. She saw emotions, knowledge, and faith as valuable keys for obtaining cognition and wisdom, and because of her experience and clear thought and she was able to obey Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his heavenly lessons by possessing those qualities.
After her marriage with the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) which made her superior to the rest of Prophet Muhammad Wives (Mother of the Believers, Mother of the Faithfuls) was her continuous attempt to obtain his satisfaction. She would like whatever the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) liked, and would avoid all the people and the objects, which he hated. Thus, she would always talk about the merits of Hazrat Khadija (SA), the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), would respect Imam Ali (AS), would show special affection towards Hazrat Fatima (SA) and would cook the favorite foods of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). And that was the reason that one could feel the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), had a special place for Umm Salamah in his heart.
This great lady Umm Salamah (Umme Salama, Umme Salma, Umm-e-Salama) was so eager to Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) words that she would leave all of her work and tasks half-done to use opportunities to listen to his great words. That was the kind of cognition and eagerness that put Umm Salamah among the reliable and truthful narrators. Some said that she narrated 378 Prophetic traditions and still some others believed that she had narrated 518, and all of them were heard from Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and from the members of the Prophet’s House, Ahlul Bayt (AS).
The five Holy Ones, Ahlul Bayt (AS)Umm Salamah’s competence – which can serve as an example – made all the five Holy Ones (AS) and the Imams trust in her. Thus, they would deposit their possessions with her and would even tell her their secrets. Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) informed her about events of Karbala and the martyrdom of his own dear grandson, Imam Hussain (AS), in advance. He entrusted some soil of Karbala in a glass to her and said: “Whenever you see that the soil of the glass changes to blood know that my grandson, Hussain (AS), has been martyred.”
On the 10th day of Muharram, 61 AD, Umm Salamah was sleeping in Medina in the afternoon. In her dreams she saw the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) while he was filled with sorrow and his clothes were dusty. He said: “I’m coming from Karbala and the burial of the martyrs.” Suddenly she woke up and looked at the glass, and she found that the soil had changed to blood. It was then that she knew that Imam Hussain (AS) was martyred. She started to mourn and cry. Others knew not about the event and Umm Salamah revealed the event. This event is famous as the “Gharoureh Tradition” in the narrations.
Umm Salamah: Love of Imam Ali (AS) and Hazrat Fatima (SA)
When Fatima bint Asad (mother of Imam Ali [AS]) passed away, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) chose Umm Salamah as the guardian of Hazrat Fatima (SA). Once this modest and concerned lady said: “I found Hazrat Fatima (SA) pouter than myself”. And also she herself said: “Hazrat Fatima (SA) is the only person who is most like Prophet Muhammad (SAW).”
When Umm-e-Ayman (Umm Ayman) asked for fixing the date of the marriage of Hazrat Fatima (SA), the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) asked: “Who is here?”
Umm Salamah (Umme Salama, Umme Salma, Umm-e-Salama) replied: “I’m here and this one is Zainab and those are such and such.”
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Prepare a room for my daughter (Hazrat Fatima (SA)) and my cousin (Imam Ali (AS)) in my own house!”
Umm Salamah asked: ‘Which room do you command?”
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) answered: “In your own chamber.” Then he asked his companions to go and get ready. This kind lady says: “I asked Hazrat Fatima (SA) if she had reserved some perfume for herself.” She answered: “Yes”.
And she brought a glass and poured some of it in my hands. It smelled very sweet and fragrant. I had never smelled it before. I asked where it had come from. She answered that it was a fragrance from Angel Gabriel’s (Hazrat Gibreel (as)) wings.
Marriage of Hazrat Fatima (SA)The night of her nuptial ceremony, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) asked for all the bowls and the dishes. He filled all and sent them to his wives (Umm al-Momineen) houses. Then he asked for another bowl and put some food in it, and then he said: “This food is for Fatima and her husband.” When the sun set, he asked Umm Salamah to bring Hazrat Fatima (SA). She said: “I went to Hazrat Fatima (SA) while her dress was sweeping the ground as she walked and took her hands in mine.” Sweat was running down her face because of modesty. When she reached the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), she slipped because of embarrassment. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “May Allah save you from all the mundane and other worldly slips!” When she was in front of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he put aside the veil from Fatima’s (SA) face so that Ali (AS) could see his wife’s face.”
Days and weeks after the marriage, Umm Salamah was still like a kind and compassionate mother to Hazrat Fatima (SA) and it was an honor for her to be at the service of Hazrat Fatima’s (SA) children when Imam Hassan (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS) were born. The reliance of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Hazrat Fatima (SA) and Imam Ali (AS) on Umm Salamah which could be easily seen in their words as well as their behavior can also be seen in the morals and words of Imam Hassan (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS). This shows the success and prosperity of this great lady who was always trustworthy for all the five Holy Ones.
Once the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) called his wife Umm Salamah (Umm al-Momineen) and entrusted her with the skin of a sheep on which was written many knowledgeable things. Then Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said to her: “Anyone who asks for this after me, he is Imam and the leader after me.”
Finally Umm Salamah, this distinguished and great lady passed away in Medina in 62 AD during Yazid’s regime when she was 84 years old. She was buried in the Baqi cemetery (Jannatul Baqi). She was the last surviving woman among the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) wives or the Mother of the Believers or Mother of the Faithfuls.
The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers. (Noble Qur’an, chapter Al-Ahzab, 33:6)
Translated by Ms. Sareh Yadegari