Sawda bint Zam’a (r.anha)

The Prophet became very sorry when Hz. Hz. Khadija died. A kind of hole occurred in his family life. The people around the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) thought of finding a woman that would console and help him. Hawla, Uthman bin Maz’un’s wife, went into the presence of the Prophet to talk about it. She felt the absence of Khadija immediately. She said, “O Messenger of Allah! I felt the absence of Khadija immediately when I arrived.” The Prophet said, “Yes, she was the mother of my daughters and the caretaker of my house.” Thereupon, Hz. Hawla told him about her idea: “O Messenger of Allah! Would you like to marry?” The Prophet said, “Yes, if a suitable woman is found.” Then, he asked her who was in her mind. Hz. Hawla said she was thinking of Abu Bakr’s daughter Aisha and Sawda bint Zam’a. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Go and talk about them for me.”[1] Hz. Aisha was very young at that time. She was not old enough to marry. The Prophet only wanted to get engaged with her.

Hz. Sawda, and her first husband Sakran bin Amr, who was her uncle's son, were among the first Muslims. When this fortunate couple gave up worshipping idols and became Muslims, they were exposed to various tortures by their relatives and polytheists. When the torture became unbearable, they had to migrate to Abyssinia with many other Muslims. When they returned to Makkah, Sakran bin Amar passed away. Thus, Hz. Sawda became a widow with five little children. She was in financial difficulty.[2]

With the approval of the Prophet, Hz. Hawla went to Sawda's house to ask her hand in marriage hurriedly to give her this good news. Hawla entered her house and said to her, “The Messenger of Allah sent me to you to ask your hand in marriage.” Hz. Sawda became very happy when she heard it.

However, she had a concern. Hz. Sawda expressed her concern to the Prophet as follows:

“O Messenger of Allah! By Allah, there is no important drawback to my marrying you. However, I think my children will talk, whine and disturb you all the time; therefore, I behave timidly.”

Thereupon, the Prophet, who was sent as mercy to all realms, said, “May Allah show mercy on you! The best one among women is the one who faces troubles due to her little children.” Thus, he stated that her concern was groundless.

Besides, Hz. Sawda had seen in her dream a few days before the death of her husband Hz. Sakran that the Prophet put his feet on her shoulder. When she told her husband about her dream, Sakran said,

“O Sawda! If you have really seen this dream, it means I will definitely die and you will marry the Prophet.”[3]

Hz. Sawda remembered this dream and appointed her brother-in-law Hatib bin Amr to marry her off to the Prophet.[4] Thus, Hz. Sawda had the honor of becoming the second wife of the Messenger of Allah in the tenth year of his prophethood.

When Sawda married the Prophet, she was quite old. She was over 50. Her only purpose in marrying the Prophet was to have the honor of becoming the wife of the Prophet. As a matter of fact, when the Messenger of Allah married Hz. Aisha three years later, she showed how sincere she was regarding the issue. She said to the Prophet,

“I only want to be one of the women who had the honor of becoming your wife in the hereafter. You can spend the nights when it is my turn to be with you in Aisha’s room.”[5]

On the other hand, the Prophet married this Companion, who was a defender of belief, in order to protect her from the oppression of her merciless relatives and in order to reward her due to migrating for her religion by facing all kinds of danger. Therefore, a feeling of protection and compassion was dominant in this marriage. The purpose of the Prophet was to protect a mujahid woman who was a widow and had five children. Besides, he was alone at that time since Hz. Khadija had passed away.

Hz. Sawda was very obedient to the Prophet. She served him very well and fulfilled his orders at once. She regarded serving him as great honor. She took part in the farewell hajj with the Prophet with his other wives. She did not perform hajj or umrah after the death of the Prophet. When they asked her why she did not want to perform umrah, she said, “I performed hajj and umrah. Now, I will sit at home as Allah orders.”

Hz. Sawda did give much importance to the world. She gave away the things that she did not need to the poor. Once, Hz. Umar sent her a lot of money to spend. First, she could not understand that it was money. She asked, “What is this?” They said it was money. She said, “Are they dates? Why did he send so much money?” Then, he gave away all of the money to the poor.

Hz. Sawda died in Madinah in the 54th year of the migration during the caliphate of Muawiyah when she was more than 100 years old.

May Allah be pleased with her![6]


[1] Tabaqat, 8: 57.
[2] ibid, 8: 52; Sirah, 2: 7.
[3] Tabaqat, 8: 57.
[4] Musnad, 4: 211.
[5] Tabaqat, 8: 53-54.
[6] ibid, 8: 56-57.

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