Umm Kulthoom was a noble branch, which shot out from an ignoble radhiAllahuanhatree. She was a bird who was made to fly alone, outside of her flock. She was a rose exuding fragrance, surrounded by poisonous thorns!

Her father ‘Uqbah ibn Abi al-Mu’eet was among the sinful and evil men who waged war against Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the call to Islaam. His friends were Aboo Jahl, Aboo Lahab and Ubayy ibn Khalaf, the leaders of disbelief, obstinacy, arrogance, aggression and injustice and the staunch enemies of the Messenger of Allah and his noble Companions.

Umm Kulthoom was the al-Mumtahanah (the Woman who Complained), after whom the chapter of the Qur’aan, ‘al-Mumtahanah’ (chapter 60) was named. It was her case which prompted the revelation of these divine verses. Hence, her migration from Makkah to Madeenah and her company with Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) turned out to be a great blessing and asset for her, as well as the Ummah at large. This is because these verse from chapter 60 of the Qur’aan cover the ordinances pertaining to marital relationships between couples of different faiths and the laws concerning the women who pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), among other divine injunction.

Allah Almighty says:

{O you who believe! When believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them; Allah knows best as to their faith, then if you ascertain that they are true believers, send them not back to the disbelievers. They are not lawful [wives] to the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful [husbands] for them. But give the disbelievers [that amount of money] which they have spent [as their dowry] to them. And their will be no sin on you to marry them if you have paid their dowry to them. Likewise hold not the disbelieving women as wives, and ask for [the return of] that which you have spent [as dowry] and let them the disbelievers ask back for that which they have spent. That is the judgement of Allah. He judges between you. And Allah is All-Knowing and All-Wise.

And if any of your wives have gone from you to the disbelievers [as apostates and you ask them to return back your dowry but they refused] – then you went out for a Ghazwah [military expedition against them and] gained booty; then pay from that booty to those whose wives have gone, the equivalent of what they have spent [on their dowry]. And fear Allah on whom you believe.

O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the Bay’ah [pledge], that they will not associate anything in worship with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit any illegal sexual intercourse, that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood [i.e. by making illegal children belonging to their husbands], and that they will not disobey you in Ma’roof [Islamic Monotheism and all that which Islam ordains], then accept their Bay’ah [pledge], and ask Allah to forgive them, Verily Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

O you who believe! Take not as friends the people who incurred the wrath of Allah [i.e. Jews]. Surely they have despaired of [receiving any good in] the Hereafter just as the disbelievers have despaired of those [buried] in graves [that they will not be resurrected on the day of resurrection].} (Qur’an 60: 10-13)

Now that you have come across a glimpse of the greatness of this female Companion of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), let’s now uncover who exactly she was. Let us start with the life of Umm Kulthoom (may Allah be pleased with her) from the beginning.



She was one of the few early reverts to Islaam in Makkah and hence one of the very first Muslims. At that time she wasn’t married, although she was mature enough to realise where the truth is. Unlike many of the other Muslims, she was not persecuted nor did she show weakness to the non-Muslim, for none among her relatives dared coerce her or inconvenience her. She remained in Makkah for some time until the day of the Truce of Hudaibiyyah. That day was a decisive day for Umm Kulthoom in particular and a unique day for the Muslims in general.

When she learnt of the conditions of the truce, she realised that the truce offered her the opportunity to migrate to Madinah and finally join Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and her fellow Muslim brethren in Madeenah.

With a heart full of eemaan and conviction she set out towards Madinah, the city of the Noble Messenger Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

Ibn Sa’d wrote:

“She was the first person to migrate to Madeenah after the Prophet’s migration. We do not know of any other Muslim Qurayshi woman who left her parents house and migrated to Allah and His Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) except Umm Kulthoom. She left Makkah alone and only (later) travelled in the company of a man from Banoo Khuza’ah tribe until she arrived at Madeenah."

Her brothers, ‘Ammarah and al-Waleed, came after her. They arrived at al-Madeenah on the second day of her arrival. They went to Allah’s Messenger and told him, ‘O Muhammad, fulfil your obligation to us!’

They were referring to the condition of the truce which stipulated that he (the Prophet) must send back anyone from among the Quraysh who came to him as a migrant, even if that person was upon his religion (i.e. Islaam).

Umm Kulthoom immediately interjected,

‘O Messenger of Allah I am a woman. And women are naturally weak I fear that (if I am sent back) they may try and take me away from my religion and I may not be able to bear that.’

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) rejected the request of ‘Ammarah and al-Waleed. It was on this occasion that Allah revealed His saying, {O you who believe! When believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them}

The question remains: How did the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) examine the truth of her claim of faith and belief?

The Companion Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) was once asked about how the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon) examined the emigrant women and he answered:

Tell me by Allah! Did you migrate because you don’t like your husband? Tell me by Allah, did you migrate just because you want to abandon a land for another? Tell me by Allah did you migrate because of the material of this world that you wish to attain? Tell me by Allah you did not migrate but for your love of Allah and His Messenger?”


Al-Bazzaar narrated that the one who made the migrant women swear by these questions by the order of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him).

Umm Kulthoom was examined therewith and she passed the exam! Her examination in fact inculcated many tests and not just this. One of them took place on the day of the Truce of Hudaybiyyah and another after the Battle of Badr.

Perhaps the greatest test that Umm Kulthoom faced was the day her father, ’Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’eet was killed in captivity after the Battle of Badr as a captive. When brought forth for execution no ransom was accepted on his behalf, as a recompense for the evil transgressions he had committed against Allah Almighty and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Perhaps Umm Kulthoom cried when the she heard of her father’s death because he died as a disbeliever. Nevertheless his death did not affect her faith in Islaam, not even in the slightest!

This is because...

She did not migrate in order to escape from an oppressive husband!

She did not migrate in search of wealth!

And she did not migrate in search of worldly gain or for a husband she could marry!

Umm Kulthoom belonged to the Banoo Umayyah tribe, one of the leading tribes of Quraysh. She was of noble birth, yet she was pleased to marry a freed slave, Zayd ibn Haarithah, which was her first marriage after her migration to Madinah. After the martyrdom of Zayd in the Battle of Mu’tah, she married Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwaam from whom she had a daughter named Zaynab. But she was later widowed due to the the death of Zubayr.

After the death of Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), she married ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, in accordance with the Prophet’s instruction. This is evident by a narration reported by Ibn Mandah in which ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab asked Umm Kulthoom, “Did the Messenger of Allah ask you to marry the leader of the Muslims, ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘Awf?” To which she replied in the affirmative.

From ‘Abdur-Rahmaan she had two sons, Humayd and Ibraaheem. When ‘Abdur-Rahmaan passed away, ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas married her. Only after a month of their marriage she passed away.

Her marriages after Zayd’s martyrdom indicate that she was much sought for because of her religiosity, good morals and high standing. This is in addition to the fact that Arabs used to feel a sense of obligation towards their deceased friends' family and one of the ways they would fulfil this sense of obligation was by marrying their widows.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. May He be pleased with her and please her. Aameen!


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