Umm Salamah was a very active and foremost Muslimah. She never hesitated when she had the chance of doing something good. She was involved in many battles, helping soldiers and the wounded. She was also very eloquent and had the gift of being able to speak and write beautifully, poetry and prose alike. Umm Salamah was very knowledgeable about religious matters and she narrated no less than 387 hadiths and issued many fatwahs.
After the death of Prophet Muhammad her scholarship became even more important and many people, men as well as woman, from all walks of life used to come to her to ask her counsel. She had many students and placed great emphasis on teaching women even though she taught men as well as women. Her daughter is said to be her greatest student.
Umm Salamah or Hind (her given name) was born to a rich and prestigious family from the Quraysh tribe and happily married Abdullah ibn Abdulasad from an equally wealthy family. They had a comfortable life until they accepted Islam along with a few other people. All of a sudden the once so popular couple became the target of the Quaraysh’s anger and persecution. The more they stayed steadfast with Islam, the more they got harassed until life in Mekkah became unbearable and they received the permission from Prophet Muhammad to emigrate to Abyssinia with a number of other Muslims. Their journey is passed on to us in detail thanks to Umm Salamah who documented their tales.
They soon returned from Abyssinia to be closer to Prophet Muhammad. During their absence many other great people accepted Islam, which strengthened the Muslim community. Unfortunately life has not become any easier for the Muslims in Mekkah, and the young couple, who had three children by now, decided to emigrate again, this time to Medina. When Umm Salamah’s family heard about this they became enraged and demanded she stay with them instead of leaving again with her husband who apparently didn’t give her the comfortable life she deserved. Her husband’s family in turn took away their children as revenge to her parents for not letting her leave with Abdullah. A big family feud ensued and Umm Salamah ended up being separated from her children as well as husband. She was in such despair about her situation that she went back to the spot where she got separated from her family every day to just sit down and cry and weep.
Eventually her tribe returned her children and Umm Salamah wasted no time in leaving with them to find her husband. Happily, they were reunited in Medina soon after. Umm Salamah fell pregnant once more and all was well until tragically her husband was injured in battle and passed away. Umm Salamah could not have been more devastated. She was pregnant, her young children were orphans now and she did not only lose her husband but also her best friend. She tried making the dua her husband had taught her while still alive: ‘Surely from Allah we are and to Him we shall certainly return. O Lord, give me in return something good from it, which only You, Exalted and Mighty, can give.’ However, every time she tried to utter the last part of the dua she would break down and ask ‘but who could be better than Abdullah?’ After a while her question was answered when the Prophet Mohammed asked for her hand in marriage and Umm Salamah became one of the mothers of the believers.
Sipra, M., (2014), ‘The precious Pearls', Darussalam Publishers
Webb, S. (2011) 'Mothers of the Believers', Audio Series