Abu Salama (r.a.)

In the first years of Islam, those who started to receive the lofty message of belief started to be Muslims one by one by breaking the chains of ignorance and to be so fortunate as to attain happiness in both the world and the hereafter. Abu Salama went to the Prophet with Abu Ubayda bin Harith, Arqam bin Abil-Arqam and Uthman bin Maz’un. Their intention was to listen to the Prophet (pbuh) and to enter his luminous circle. The Prophet told them about the principles of Islam and read some verses from the Quran. Those friends, in whose hearts the sun of guidance rose, became believers at once. [1]

The real name of Hz. Abu Salama was “Abdullah bin Abdulasad”. He had a child called “Salama”. Therefore, he was given the name “Abu Salama”, meaning “Salama’s father”. He was a close relative of the Prophet. He was the son of Barra, the paternal aunt of the Prophet. Abu Salama was also the milk brother of the Prophet. He was also breastfed by Lady Suwayba.

The life of Abu Salama, who put up with all kinds of hardship for belief, was full of struggle and efforts. When the oppression and pressure of the polytheists increased, and migration to Abyssinia started, Abu Salama joined the caravan of migration with his wife Umm Salama (Hind). They lived there for a long time. Finally, the migrants returned to Makkah. When Abu Salama returned to Makkah, he was oppressed by the polytheists again. Thereupon, the Prophet advised him to migrate to Madinah.

When Abu Salama was about to set off, he wanted to take his family with him. He placed his son Salama and his wife on a camel and he rode another camel. When they set off for Madinah, some relatives of his wife opposed it. They did not allow him to take Umm Salama to another city and took her with them. Abu Salama continued his journey alone in a sad and distressed way. After a year that passed with suffering and agony, Umm Salama also migrated to Madinah. Thus, the family reunited. [2]

Hz. Abu Salama was among the first muhajirs. After the Migration, the Prophet declared him as the brother of Sa’d bin Haythama of Ansar. [3] Abu Salama continued serving Islam and the Quran in Madinah too. He was among the Companions that could read and write. Thus, he served Islam with both his sword and pen. Abu Nuaym, the writer of “Hilya” lists Abu Salama among Ashab as-Suffa. [4] Abu Salama taught the Companions how to read and write since he was literate.

The Prophet loved Abu Salama a lot. Once, he appointed Abu Salama as his proxy in Madinah when left Madinah for the Expedition of Ushayra. This expedition took place 16 months after the Migration. [5]

Hz. Abu Salama was together with the mujahids who took part in the battles of Badr and Uhud. During a hot moment of fighting at the Battle of Uhud, he was hit by Abu Usama al-Jushani with a long and flat iron and was wounded in the biceps. After the battle, the Prophet followed the polytheists. All of the Companions that took part in this Expedition called “Hamraul-Asad” including the Prophet were wounded. When Abu Salama heard about this expedition of the Prophet, he got on his donkey and caught up with the Islamic army on the way. The love of jihad in his spirit could not stop him. Was it possible for him to remain behind when the Prophet was on an expedition though he was wounded? When the expedition ended and the army returned to Madinah, Abu Salama returned home. He took care of his wound for a month and recovered. [6]

However, after that, it was time for another duty. Sons of Asad, who lived in Qatan in the region of Najd, persuaded and encouraged the tribes around to fight against the Prophet. When the Prophet was informed about it, he called Abu Salama; he gave Abu Salama a standard and addressed him as follows:

“I appoint you as the commander. Take this military unit and enter the land of Sons of Asad before they catch you. Attack them and grab their property.”

Then, the Prophet told him not to act contrarily to Allah’s orders and advised him to treat the soldiers under his command well.

There were some notables of the Companions like Abu Ubayda bin Jarrah and Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas in the 150-people army of Abu Salama. All of them were from Ansar and Muhajirs. The army proceeded through desolate and off roads, and reached a watering place near Qatan where Sons of Asad gathered. They grabbed the people and their animals there. Those who escaped told their tribe that a big Islamic army was coming.  

When they arrived in Qatan, they met the tribe. Abu Salama besieged them before the sun rose in the morning. He told his soldiers to be careful and to allow anyone to escape. Then, they attacked. When Sons of Asad saw that the Islamic mujahids were coming, they scattered. Abu Salama followed them for a while.

After the tribe scattered, Abu Salama established his headquarters next to Qatan water. The Islamic soldiers spread to the area and collected a lot of camels and sheep.   Abu Salama returned to Madinah with booty, having fulfilled the duty given to him and having followed the advice of the Prophet. This expedition took place in the month of Muharram in the 4th year of the Migration. [7]

When Abu Salama returned from this expedition, the wound he got in Uhud got worse. He had to lie in bed. Five months later, at the end of the month of Jumadal-Awwal, he died.

When Abu Salama died, his eyes were fixedly open. According to what Umm Salama, his wife, narrates, the Prophet came, sat next to this self-sacrificing Companion and closed his eyes. Then, he said,

“When the soul is taken away, the sight follows it.”

Meanwhile, some of the people of Abu Salama’s family wept and wailed. The Messenger of Allah did not like the women’s wailing and warned them as follows:  “Do not want for yourselves anything but good because angels say "Amin" to what you say.” Then, he prayed as follows:

“O Allah! Forgive Abu Salama! Raise his degree among those who are rightly guided. Become a successor for his descendants who remain. Forgive us and him. O Lord of the Universe! Make his grave spacious, and increase his light in it.” [8]

When her husband died, Hz. Umm Salama became a widow. She was waiting for her iddah. It was necessary for a woman to wait until she gave birth if she was pregnant or four months and ten days if not in order to marry again.

Umm Salama would attain the honor of being a "mother of the believers". The greatest happiness for a woman Companion was to be a wife of the Messenger of Allah.  Umma Salama herself narrates how that happened as follows:

“Once, Abu Salama listened to the talk of the Messenger of Allah. He was very happy when he came home. After stating that he had heard something from the Messenger of Allah and expressing his joy, he narrated the following hadith:

"If any one of the Muslims is hit by a misfortune and says, ‘Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return)’ and then prays as follows, ‘O  Allah! Give me the reward of this misfortune and enable me to attain something better’, Allah will definitely accept his prayer.”

I memorized this prayer from Abu Salama. I read it when Abu Salama died: ‘O Allah! Give me the reward of this misfortune and enable me to attain somebody better than Abu Salama.’ Then, I started to think, ‘Who could be better than Abu Salama?" When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) wanted to marry me after my iddah ended, I realized that my prayer was accepted. [9]

[1]Usdul-Ghaba, 5: 218.
[2]Usdul-Ghaba, 5: 588.
[3]Tabaqat, 3: 239.
[4]Hilyatul-Awliya, 2: 3.
[5]Tabaqat, 2: 9.
[6]ibid, 3: 240.
[7]ibid, 2: 50.
[8]Muslim, Janaiz: 7.
[9]Musnad, 4: 27-28.

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