How did the Prophet (pbuh) make his first marriage after the death of Hz. Khadijah to Hz. Sawda bint Zam'a? What is the wisdom behind his marriage to this quite old woman?

Details of the Question
How did the Prophet (pbuh) make his first marriage after the death of Hz. Khadijah to Hz. Sawda bint Zam'a? What is the wisdom behind his marriage to this quite old woman?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Hazrat Sawda was Sakran bin Amr’s wife. She was among the first Muslim women and had migrated to Abyssinia with her husband. They returned to Mecca much later. After returning, Hazrat Sawda saw a dream in which the moon glided towards and then descended upon her. When she explained what she had seen to her husband, she received this response:

“If your dream is true, I will die soon. You will marry after me!”

Indeed, Sakran got ill after a while and died. Hazrat Sawda was a widow.

Lady Hawla, whom our Holy Prophet (PBUH) had sent, told her,

“Allah’s Apostle has sent me to ask your hand in marriage.”  Upon hearing this, Hazrat Sawda was immensely happy. However, she had one concern: Would our Holy Prophet (PBUH) accept her five small children?

Due to her worries, she did not immediately respond. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) wanted to honor and reward a mujahid (warrior) who had possessed the courage and devotion to leave her home, country, and family for the sake of her religion. For that reason, when our Holy Prophet (PBUH) did not receive a response he went to speak with her personally.

“What keeps you from marrying me?” he asked.

Hazrat Sawda said,

“By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, there is no important reason that prevents me from marrying you but I fear that my children will disturb you by whining; therefore, I hold back!”

Upon this, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) replied,

“May Allah show compassion to you! The most favorable of women are those who encounter difficulties due to their small children,” expressing that she had no need to worry.

Afterwards he said, “Arrange for someone within the tribe to marry us.”

Hazrat Sawda chose her former brother-in-law Hatib bin Amr. He married Hazrat Sawda to our Holy Prophet (PBUH) during the 10th year of the Islamic calendar. At that time, Hazrat Sawda was 55 years old. 1

As it is seen, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) married this elderly woman only due to the devotion and loyalty she had towards Allah and her faith and through such means, he was taking her under his protection and allowing her to attain the honor of being “a mother of the believers.”

1. Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 8, p. 52-53; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, V. 6, p. 211.

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