Umm Salama (r.anha)

Hz. Umm Salama was one of the first Muslims. She was married to Abdullah bin Abdulasad. When this lucky family accepted Islam, they were exposed to unbelievable torture of their relatives and other polytheists. However, they did not give up their belief. When tortures became unbearable, they migrated to Abyssinia. The Negus of Abyssinia welcomed the muhajirs who took refuge in him. He helped them. However, being away from their homeland and the Prophet distressed Umm Salama and her husband like the other muhajirs.

Hz. Umm Salama gave birth to four children outside her hometown: Zaynab, Salama, Umar and Durra. Her real name was “Hind”. She was given the name Umm Salama when she gave birth to her son Salama.[1]

After living in Abyssinia for a long time, the muhajirs returned to Makkah. However, they were tortured by the polytheists again in Makkah. Thereupon, the Prophet ordered the Muslims to migrate to Madinah. Abu Salama, Umm Salama's husband, wanted to take his wife and children to Madinah, too. He put his son Salama and his wife on a camel and set off for Madinah. However, after a whileone of Umm Salama's relatives stood against him and said they would not allow him to take Umm Salama.   Thereupon, Abu Salama left for Madinah sadly. Umm Salama narrated what happened after that as follows: "When my relative separated me from Abu Salama, his relatives got angry and said, 'They separated Umm Salama from our man. Therefore, we will separate our child from Umm Salama. They started to pull Salama away from me. They dislocated his arm and took him away. I cried for about a year. Finally, they felt pity for me and said to me, 'You can go to your husband if you want.' Abu Salama's relative brought my son to me. Then, I set off for Madinah.”[2]

After a long and tiring journey, Umm Salama arrived in Madinah and found her husband Abu Salama. Their longing and trouble ended. The family members rejoined. Umm Salama and Abu Salama served as a model family. They were very happy. Umm Salama did not think of marrying if her husband died before her. Once, she said to her husband the following:

“If a woman of Paradise whose husband is also a person of Paradise does not marry another person after his death, Allah will definitely bring them together in Paradise. Similarly, if a man of Paradise whose wife is also a person of Paradise does not marry another person after her death, Allah will definitely bring him together with his wife in Paradise. Then, let us make a deal. Do not marry anyone if I die first and I will not marry anyone if you die first.”

Abu Salama did not accept her offer and said,

“Obey my word and marry after I die.”

Then, Abu Salama prayed as follows for his beloved wife:

“O Allah! Give Umm Salama a better husband who will not despise or hurt her after me.”[3]

A short while after this talk, Abu Salama’s wound, which he received in Uhud, got worse. He had to stay in bed. Umm Salama looked after him. She did her best. She dedicated herself to him. However, Abu Salama died five months later. When the Prophet heard the death of this devoted Companion, he came and sat near Abu Salama. The Prophet closed his eyes with his hands and said, “When the spirit leaves, the eyes follow it.”

Meanwhile, some of the relatives of Abu Salama were crying. The Prophet did not like it when the women wailed. He said, “Ask only goodness for yourselves because the angels say ‘amin’ to your prayers.” Then, he prayed for Abu Salama as follows:

“"O Allah, grant forgiveness to Abu Salama; elevate him among those who are near to You; take charge of his family at all times; forgive us and him, O Lord of the worlds! Make his grave spacious for him and fill it with light!”[4]"

Umm Salama was a widow after her husband's death. When the period of waiting (iddah) ended after her husband's death, several Companions proposed to her. However, she did not accept any of them. She was going to attain the honor of being the mother of the believers but she did not know about it. She always thought about and said the following words that Abu Salama learned from the Prophet and taught her: The Prophet said,

"Whenever a calamity afflicts anyone he should say, 'Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun (Surely from Allah we are and to Him we shall certainly return); and he should pray, 'O Lord, give me in return something good from it which only You can give.' Allah will accept his prayer."

Umm Salama repeated the prayer advised by the Prophet and thought, “Who could be better than Abu Salama?”[5]

The Prophet did not want a mujahida like Umm Salama to be left alone with four children and to live miserably. He wanted to reward this self-sacrificing woman, who suffered a lot in the way of Islam, by marrying her. When Umm Salama saw the person sent by the Messenger of Allah, she realized that her prayer was accepted. She became very happy but she did not give a positive answer because she was worried that her children would disturb the Prophet. Umm Salama said to the Messenger of Allah,

"O Messenger of Allah! I am an old woman. I have children and I am extremely jealous."

Thereupon, the Prophet said, "You say you are an old woman. It is not a shame for a woman to marry a man older than her. You say you have children. Allah and His Messenger will look after your children. You say you will be jealous of my other wives. I will pray Allah to take this characteristic away from you."[6]

Thereupon, Umm Salama accepted the Prophet's proposal and they got married in the month of Shawwal. During, their marriage, the Messenger of Allah gave a feast. Umm Salama descibed this feast as follows:

“The room of Zaynab (the mother of the believers), who had died, was given to me. I found an earthen bowl, some barley in the bowl, a hand mill and a stone pot. I saw some melt butter in the pot. I ground the barley in the hand mill. Then, I made batter. I put some butter in it. This dish was the wedding meal of the Messenger of Allah and his household.”[7]

Hz. Umm Salama had a different place in the eye of the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah regarded her among Ahl al-Bayt, his closest relatives, and the means of continuation of his blessed progeny.

Once, when the Messenger of Allah was near Hz. Umm Salama, Hz. Fatima, Hz. Ali, Hz. Hasan and Hz. Husayn arrived. The Prophet ate a meal with them. Then, he surrounded Hz. Fatima, his son-in-law Hz. Ali, and his grandsons Hz. Hasan and Hz. Husayn with his cardigan and said, “O Lord! They are my Ahl al-Bayt (household) and my relatives; eliminate their sins and purify them. Umm Salama did not want to miss this virtue. She said, “O Messenger of Allah! I am of Ahl al-Bayt, too.” The Prophet honored her by saying, “Yes, I hope so.”[8]

Hz. Umm Salama was known for her closeness to the Prophet. Therefore, when the wives of the Prophet wanted to ask something from him, they asked it through Umm Salama.

Umm Salama observed some lofty scenes that many Companions did not attain. Once, while she was with the Prophet, Jibril was there disguised as Dihya al Kalbi, one of the Companions. She thought the person that came was Dihya. However, when the Prophet told her that he was Jibril, not Dihya, she became very happy. For, she had the opportunity to see the angel of revelation.[9]

Hz. Umm Salama, who lived with the Prophet until he died, learned a lot of things from him. She was one of the few Companions that knew Islamic fiqh, especially the issues regarding women, best.[10]

On the other hand, Umm Salama served the science of hadith a great deal. She is only second to Hz. Aisha in terms of narrating hadiths. Some of the hadiths reported by Umm Salama are as follows:

“A woman with whom her husband is pleased with goes to Paradise when she dies.”[11]

“O Allah, who converts hearts. Make my heart stable in your religion.”[12]

Umm Salama loved the blessed grandchildren of the Prophet a lot. When she saw them, she remembered the compassion of the Messenger of Allah to them. She protected them as if they were her own children and did her best to keep them away from any harms. She could not bear it when something happened to them. Once, some Companions saw her crying. They asked why she was crying. Umm Salama said,

“I saw the Messenger of Allah in my dream. He had some soil in his hair and beard. I asked, 'O Messenger of Allah! What happened to you?’ He said, ‘They martyred Husayn a little while ago.’ I am crying due to this dream.”

As a matter of fact, a little while after this dream, it was informed that Hz. Husayn had been martyred.

Umm Salama, who was the last one to die among the wives of the Prophet and who lived 84 years, died in Madinah in the 58th year of the Migration. She was buried in the cemetery of Baqi. Her janazah prayer was led by Abu Hurayra.

May Allah be pleased with her![13]


[1 ]Tabaqat, 1: 87; Usdu'l-Ghaba, 5: 588.
[2] Usdu'l-Ghaba, 5: 588.
[3] Tabaqat, 8: 88; Fathu’r-Rabbani, 22: 131.
[4] Muslim, Janaiz: 7; Ibn Majah, Janaiz: 5; Musnad, 6: 291, 297.
[5] Ibn Majah, Janaiz: 55.
[6] Tabaqat, 8: 89-91.
[7] ibid, 8: 92, 95.
[8] Musnad, 6: 292, 304.
[9] Muslim, Fadailu’s-Sahaba: 100.
[10] Tajrid Sarih Translation, 1: 27 (muqad.).
[11] Ibn Majah, Nikah: 5.
[12] Musnad, 6: 294.
[13] Tabaqat, 8: 96.

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