Umm Salamah bint Abu Umayyah (Part 2)
Abu Salamah took part in the Battle of Badr and once again had the honor of fighting for Islam in the Battle of Uhud. But in this last mentioned battle Abu Usamah Jashmi wounded him seriously in the side with his spear. He underwent treatment for a month but to no avail. The wound apparently healed, but that was only on the surface, and it continued to fester inside. Barely two months after the battle of Uhud the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) received news that Banu Asad was planning to attack the Muslims. He ordered his men to prepare for battle, and made Abu Salamah the Commander of the Islamic forces. The battle was won, and Banu Asad was crushed. The Muslims got the rich spoils of a war well fought. Abu Salamah was lying in a very serious condition when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to visit him. He realized that he was approaching death, and patting his hand consoled him. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed for him and Abu Salamah, also prayed and asked Allah to give his family a protector and provider like him. And he also asked Him to give Umm Salamah a husband who would give her neither sorrow nor hardship.
After this prayer he passed away. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) closed his eyes with his hands. Umm Salamah often thought of her husband’s last prayer for her and wondered who could possibly be better than Abu Salamah. She asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) what she should ask Allah for herself. He taught her to pray for forgiveness both for herself and for Abu Salamah and ask Allah to give her a better future.
Umm Salamah says that she prayed thus and Allah granted her prayer. When she finished the prescribed period of waiting, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq sent a proposal of marriage to her, but she refused. Then ‘Umar bin Khattab proposed and she refused him as well. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) proposed. She told him that she had three reservations regarding his proposal. She was hot-headed and had a temper; she felt she might be rude to the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), and thus lose the reward for all her good deeds. Secondly, she was an elderly lady; thirdly, she had, many children. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) answered that he would pray to Allah, and Allah willing, her temper would subside. As far as age was concerned, he was also an elderly man. Thirdly, as far as her children were concerned – that was the precise reason for proposing to her – he wished to be their guardian and share the responsibility. She writes that this answer gave her great happiness and thus she attained the honor of becoming part of the Prophet’s household. Thus Allah granted both hers and Abu Salamah’s prayer, and she married the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in the month of Shawwal, in the 4th, year after Hijrah.
‘Ayshah narrated that it was the habit of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to visit each of his wives in turn after the ‘Asr prayers. He would inquire about their welfare and if they needed anything. He would start from the apartment of Umm Salamah because she was the eldest among them, and finish his rounds at the apartment of ‘Ayshah.
Umm Salamah, because of her beauty, knowledge and wisdom held an eminent position. After the truce of Hudaybiyah, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered his Companions to sacrifice the animals they brought along for the purpose, and shave their heads. But they all seemed reluctant and did not rise to obey his command. When Umm Salamah saw the situation she suggested that he should not speak about the subject to anyone, but just go out from the tent and offer the sacrifice and shave his head. Then he could see the effect of his action. And what she expected happened – all the Companions followed suit.
Umm Salamah was a very astute and wise lady. She was educated and was very devoted to the welfare of the destitute and needy.
Several of the Ayat of the Noble Quran were revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when he was in her apartment. For instance, Ayat in Surat AI-Ahzab,
“And Allah only wishes to remove evil deeds from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet), and to purify you with a through purification.” [Noble Quran 33:33]
Also some of the Ayat of Surat At-Tawbah were revealed while he was with her.
“And (there are) others who have acknowledged their sins, they have mixed a deed that was righteous with another that was evil. Perhaps Allah will turn unto them in forgiveness. Surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Noble Quran 9:102]
He also said:
“And (He forgave) the three who did not join till for them the earth, vast as it is, was straitened and their own selves were straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah and no refuge but with Him. Then He forgave them that they might beg for His pardon. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” [Noble Quran 9:118]
This Ayah refers to the turning towards Allah of Ka’b bin Malik, Hilal bin Umayyah and Mararah bin Ar-Rabi’ in sincere repentance. These three Companions, without any valid reason, avoided joining the Muslim army in the Battle of Tabuk. They were therefore ostracized by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the rest of the Companions. They were so stricken by guilt that they kept praying for Divine Forgiveness, until finally Allah granted it to them. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sleeping in the apartment of Umm Salamah when this last Ayah was revealed to him. He woke up in the late hours of the night and told her that the supplications for forgiveness of these three Companions had been accepted. She asked him if this good news should be conveyed to them immediately. He said they should not be disturbed so late at night; after the Fajr prayers he sent for them and congratulated them. They were overjoyed and so were all the other Companions.
Umm Salamah also had the distinction of taking part in many battles of significance in the history of Islam. She was with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) during the Battles Bani Mustalaq, Ta’if, Khaybar, Hunayn and the conquest of Makkah. She was present at the signing of the historic treaty of Hudaybiyah or Ridwan the oath of allegiance taken place.
Salman Al-Farsi narrates that someone mentioned to him that the Angel Jibril had come down from the Heavens and was in conversation with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). When he went there he saw that the person with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was Dahiah Al-Kalbi, and that Umm Salamah was also present. When conversation ended, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked if they knew who that gentleman was. She said he was one of his most faithful followers, Dahiah Al-Kalbi. Thereupon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told her, smiling, that it was actually the Angel Jibril in human guise.
Umm Salamah was very learned in religious matters. She knew three hundred and eighty-seven Hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) by heart. She knew very well the finer points of Islamic law about foster-relations through suckling and divorce. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas used to consult with her for many points of Shari’ah, (Islamic law). Leading the list of names of Companions whose judgments on points of law were regarded as valid is the name of Umm Salamah.
Umm Salamah had hardly any equal in mastery over language. When she spoke her words and phrases were well chosen and exactly appropriate for the expression of ideas. Her written language was suited for literary expression. Many companions and followers have noted down traditions attributed to her.
She lived to the ripe old age of eighty-four and died in the year 62nd after Hijrah. She lived to see the rule Khulafa’ Ar-Rashidin. Zaynab bint Jahash was the first among the Mothers of the Believers to pass away and Umm Salamah the last. This was during the rule of Yazid bin Mu’awiyah and she was laid to rest beside the other wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in Jannatul Baqi’.
“O the one in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord – well pleased and well pleasing. Enter you then among My (honored) servants, and enter you My Paradise.” [Noble Quran 89:27-30]
Source: “Great Women of Islam” – by Dar-us-Salam Publications