Hind bint Abi Umayya (Umm Salama): Mothers of the Faithful
Hind, the daughter of Abi Umayya Ibn Al-Mugheerah al-Makhzumiyyah of the Quraish tribe, who is most commonly known as Umm Salama, was one of the earliest Muslims. Prior to her marriage to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in 4 Hijri, she was married to Abu Salma (Abdullah) bin Abdul Asad who was also an early convert and a cousin of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Similarly to other early Muslims of the time, both Umm Salama and her husband suffered at the hand of the unbelievers and had to migrate to Abyssinia once, where they lived peacefully for a while and had several children. After a while they heard that circumstances had changed back home and it was now safe, they moved back to Makkah. When they reached Makkah, the tortures of the unbelievers continued and so they had to migrate again to Madina for the sake of safety.
Umm Salama was happy with her husband Abu Salma and lived with him until his death in the Battle of Uhad. He left Umm Salama as a widow with four children to care for. She was not eager to remarry after the death of her husband and refused the proposals of Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) and Umar bin Khattab (RA). Even when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) sent her a proposal, Umm Salama was initially a bit hesitant to marry him because of her old age and her four children, but when he insisted that he wanted to take them all under his protection, she accepted his proposal.
According to the Quran:
"And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allah an enormity” (Quran 33:53).
By this exclusivity, the Lord has exalted the status of all of the wives of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Umm Salama was also one of the “Mothers of the believers” and a role model for women to come in all ages and times.
It is well known that Umm Salama is one of the most influential wives of the Prophet (PBUH) only after Khadijah (RA) of course. Umm Salama was a staunch believer and is known to be an intelligent and wise woman who was also very aware when it came to politics. And although she could not read or write, she was a great orator and was among those few who knew the Islamic Law well. It is due to these reasons that she occasionally advised the Prophet (PBUH) when it came to matters of politics; she was the Prophet’s advisor in the case of the Treaty of Hudaibiya (which was a pact with the people of Makkah). Umm Salama is known to have participated in certain Battles for the cause of Islam namely the battles of Bani Mustalaq, Ta'if, Khaybar, Hunayn and the conquest of Makkah.
In addition to her political knowledge and wisdom, she was even exceptional in her duties as a wife and as a caretaker. Furthermore, she made sure that she did not neglect her duty towards her religion. Umm Salama is known to have narrated a total of around 378 ahadith from the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and that is also a reason why her status – among the Muslim Ummah – is so honorable. Among the hadith that she has narrated are the verses of Purification, the narrative of the Cloak and the narrative of
The Two Weighty Things.
In addition to these ahadith, several ayahs of the Holy Quran were revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) when he was in the company of Umm Salama. Among these ayahs is one from Surah Al-Ahzab:
“And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification” (Quran 33:33).
In addition to this, some verses of Surah Al-Tawbah were also revealed in front of her:
And [there are] others who have acknowledged their sins. They had mixed a righteous deed with another that was bad. Perhaps Allah will turn to them in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful (Quran 9:102).
“And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful” (Quran 9:118).
This particular ayah refers to the three companions – Kaab bin Malik, Hilal bin Umayyah and Mararah bin Ar-Rabi - who turned towards Allah for the repentance of their sins. The three of them had earlier avoided joining the Muslim army and refused to support them in the Battle of Tabuk. For this action, they were ostracized by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and so they prayed for forgiveness from Allah Almighty for a long time, until He finally granted it to these three men. And when this last verse was revealed, the Prophet (PBUH) was sleeping in Umm Salama’s house. The Prophet (PBUH) woke her up later to tell her that Allah had accepted the supplications of the three companions and forgiven them. She advised the Prophet (BUH) to convey the good news right away but he waited till Fajr and gave them the good news after the prayers.
It is not only the ahadith and the ayahs which made her important for us. In addition to all of this, she was also a very generous and charitable woman who always made sure to help the needy and the poor of her time and we too should follow in her footsteps.
Umm Salama lived until the age of 84 and died sometime between 58 – 62 A.H (the exact year remains a disputed topic). She lived to see the caliphates and even saw the grandchildren of the Holy Prophet grow up. Umm Salama is known to the Muslim Ummah as the last of the wives of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to pass away. She died during the rule of Yazid bin Muawiyah and was buried in Jannat-ul-Baqi, along with the other “Mothers of the Faithful”.
Credit: Omam Khalid