When, where and how did the mother of the Prophet (pbuh) die?

Details of the Question

When, where and how did the mother of the Prophet (pbuh) die?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

After spending a month in Medina with her son, the Pride of the Universe (PBUH), Hazrat Amina decided to return to Mecca. They said their goodbyes to their relatives and left the city.

There were three travelers in this desert:  Hazrat Amina, her glorious son, and Umm Ayman. They were all considered exceptional in the spiritual realm. The breeze of longing and separation was blowing close by.

Hazrat Amina’s eyes resembled a stream of overflowing water when she thought about her husband who passed away at a very young age during the first months of their marriage. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) could not bear seeing his saintly mother’s teardrops; thus he began to cry ardently as well. His garment was soaked by his teardrops that fell like the rain.

Instantly, Hazrat Amina became ill while they were halfway through the road. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Umm Ayman were alarmed. What could they do in the face of an illness that was only getting worse in its intensity of pain?

They had no solution other than to encamp underneath a tree’s shade that was 23 miles to the south of Medina. Strength and stamina had withdrawn from Hazrat Amina’s knees as she collapsed onto the ground without being able to contain herself. They covered her. Hazrat Amina was sweating due to the severity of her illness. Our Beloved Prophet’s (PBUH) teardrops fell out of fear of losing her and remaining motherless. It was as if everything came to a halt. There was no sound, and stillness dominated the sky.

Hazrat Amina lay on the ground in a weak state.

At one point, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was able to collect himself and he asked his mother,

“How are you, dear mother?”

The mother, whose heart was a trove of compassion, did not want her only child to be upset. In order not to rouse to her dear son the fact that she quivered with intense pain, she answered,

"I am fine, my dear, nothing is wrong”.

She lost consciousness after speaking those few words. This illness had now wrested her energy to speak. At one point, she was heard to have said “water”. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) brought water to his beloved mother at the speed of an arrow being sprung from its bow.

Hazrat Amina drank the water. She held the container of water and her beloved child’s very soft hands. She opened her eyes. She looked at our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) face that radiated noor (light) to her heart’s content, and caressed his hands with her motherly compassion. At one point, the Pride of the Universe (PBUH) slightly straightened out his mother’s position and put her head on his lap. The holy tears that dripped from his eyes were falling on his mother’s shoulders like April rain.

In addition to the anguish of losing her husband, was she now going to have to bid farewell to her son? This was an intolerable agony and an unbearable heartache. She was tormented more by this separation than the illness that she had been afflicted with. Yet, what could she do? This was an unchangeable decree of the Divine fate.

Hazrat Amina now understood that she could not be saved from this illness. In her final moment, with a feeling of deep longing, she looked at her radiant child’s face that shone like the sun, and as she smelled his hands to her heart’s content, the following words spilled from her tongue:

“You are the son of the man who was saved from the terrible arrow of death with Allah’s help and beneficence and in exchange for a hundred camels!.."

"May Allah render you glorious and relentless. If what I have seen in my dreams is true, then you will be sent as a Prophet by Allah to inform the sons of Adam of what is lawful and unlawful, and upon this, you will possess majesty and many gifts."

"You will be sent to complete the submission and religion of our forefather, Ibrahim."

"Allah is going to protect and withhold you and nations from idol worshipping and idols."

"Every living being will die and everything new will wear out. Everyone who becomes old will disappear. Everything is ephemeral, everything will leave."

"Yes, I am going to die as well. However, my name will remain forever because I have given birth to an immaculate child and am leaving a memorable and auspicious person behind me”.1

After speaking these painful and foretelling words, Hazrat Amina’s eyes lapsed and she surrendered her soul to Allah. Place: The Abwa Village, which is located in between Medina and Mecca. Date: 576 AD.

Hazrat Amina’s Burial

Our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) and Umm Ayman were frozen. In fact, their tongues were stiff. It was only our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) tears that spoke.

At one point, Umm Ayman was able to collect herself and she wiped the saintly child’s tears. Afterwards, she nestled and tried to comfort him.

She said, “Do not be sad, and do not cry, my precious, Muhammad. We must surrender to Divine fate. Both life and possessions belong to Him. Everything has been entrusted to us; He takes back a trust just as He has given it”. Our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) took a deep breath and said,

“I know. I will always submit to His authority. However, a mother’s face is unforgettable. I am sad that I will never be able to see her face again”. Afterwards, he immediately gathered himself, wiped his tears, and said to Ummi Ayman;

“Alright, she surrendered that trust to its owner. We should submit her corpse to the soil so that she can be in peace”.

They submitted the corpse of the world’s most fortunate mother, Hazrat Amina, to the bosom of the earth. Considering the fact that she gave birth to the Pride of the Universe (PBUH), who knows how and at what heights her soul rejoiced with the angels. 

After the Burial

The duty of taking this precious orphan to Mecca had fallen on his nanny, Umm Ayman. With all her effort, Umm Ayman was doing everything she could throughout the entire journey to not have him feel that he had been left motherless. She nestled him as if he was her own child and tried to comfort him. In fact, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) accepted her as a mother and began to refer to her with that title. Much later, he would pay her the compliment of being “the mother who came after my mother” each time he saw her.2

The radiant-faced Pride of the Universe (PBUH) was now an orphan without a father and mother. However, he had a true guardian and patron. That Guard kept our Holy Prophet (PBUH) under His impeccable custody and complete supervision and protected him from all kinds of danger and trouble throughout the his entire life.

We are reminded of this particular incident in the verse,

“Did your Lord not find you an orphan and give you shelter and care?”3

Years later, during the Hudaybiya Umrah, in the sixth year of the Hijra, the Pride of the Universe (PBUH) passed through Abwa once more. With Allah’s permission, he visited his mother’s grave and tidied it up with his hands. Afterwards, he cried out of deep emotion. The Sahaba (his companions) also cried after seeing his tears of longing and asked,

“Oh Messenger of Allah, why are you crying?” Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) responded,

“I remembered the compassion and mercy that my mother showed me and that is why I cried”.4

Footnotes:

1. Isfahani, Dalailu'n-Nubuwwah, p. 119-120
2. The Messenger of Allah said, "Anyone who wants to marry a woman to enter Paradise should marry Umm Ayman ". Later, the Prophet freed Umm Ayman. He made her marry Zayd Bin Haritha after the death of her first husband. Usama was born from this marriage.
3. ad-Duha, 6
4. Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 1, p. 116-117.

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