radhiAllahuanha When Allah revealed the verse {And warn your tribe of near kindred}, Allah’s messenger (peace be upon him) went out, and ascended the mountain of as-Safa.

He then proclaimed, “Wa Sabaahah!” The people said, “Who is that?” and became worried as this was usually announced when an impending attack was sighted. They then gathered around him and he said, “Do you see? If I inform you that cavalrymen are proceeding up the side of this mountain, will you believe me?” They said, “We have never heard you telling a lie.” He then said, “I am a plain warner to you of the coming of a severe punishment.” Abu Lahab said, “May you perish! You gathered us only for this reason?” Abu Lahab then went away.

Allah Almighty then revealed: {Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab (an uncle of the Prophet) and perish he! His wealth and his children will not benefit him! He will be burnt in a Fire of blazing flames! And his wife, too, who carries wood (thorns of Sadan which she used to put on the way of the Prophet or used to slander him). In her neck is a twisted rope of Masad [palm fiber].} (Quran 111: 1-5)

The Ansaari poet has the following to say about the rope of Abu Lahab’s wife:

“What it is this rope that all the people see in the middle of Hell and which is not hidden to anyone?

All other ropes are made of animal fur, but the rope of Abu Lahab’s wife is made of palm fiber.”

When Umm Jameel, Abu Lahab’s wife, heard of these verses which were revealed concerning her, she came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as he was sitting down in the vicinity of the Ka’bah with Abu Bakr beside him. She was holding a small rock by which to injure the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). She was blinded by Allah from seeing the Prophet (peace be upon him) and could only see Aboo Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him).

Angrily she asked,

“Aboo Bakr, where is your companion? I was told that he disparaged me. By Allah, if I had found him I would have struck his mouth with this rock. By Allah, I am a poetess."

She then recited a poetic verse to deride the Prophet (peace be upon him), the meaning of which goes as follows:

“We disobey Mudhammam (which is the opposite meaning of Prophet’s name 'Muhammad' and means ‘the reprimanded, instead of ‘the praised’); we rejected his affair and we renounce his religion.”

Then she went away, not realising that it was her who was to be censured and reprimanded by the unchanged verses of Allah till the Day of Judgement!

Thereupon Aboo Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Messenger of Allah, do you think that she saw you?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “She did not see me. Allah blinded her eyes from seeing me.”


The above was just a preamble and an introduction to our discussion of Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom respectively.

 Ruqayyah was born after her sister Zaynab and was also a source of happiness for her noble parents. Soon afterwards, Umm Kulthoom was born, and both of them grew-up together as if they were twins. Their closeness to one another increased especially after their eldest sister Zaynab was married and moved away. They then became even closer and attached to one another. In fact, both of them had been destined to the same fate from the beginning to the end.

The books of Seerah testified to this unique closeness which existed between them; all historical narrations agree that these two sisters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom, shared almost everything in common.purplescenerywithpinkcolor

After Zaynab had been married to Abul-‘Aas ibn Rabee and Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom neared marriage age, Aboo Talib, who was the Prophet’s uncle, came to him seeking the hand of Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom in marriage to the sons of his brother, ‘Abdul-Uzza ibn ‘Abdul-Mutallib, otherwise known as Aboo Lahab. It must be remembered that this was before the advent of Islaam.

Aboo Talib said,

“We have come seeking the hands of our daughters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom in marriage. We hope that you will not make their marriage difficult to your cousins, ‘Utbah and ‘Utaybah, the sons of ‘Abdul-Uzza.”

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) asked for some time so as to speak to his daughters about what they thought. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then discussed this marriage proposal with them and took the advice of his family.

Khadeejah (may Allah be pleased with her) remained silent for sometime, pondering and contemplating. This was because she knew Umm Jameel, the wife of Abu Lahab and the mother of ‘Utbah and ‘Utaybah very well. She knew that she was a hard-hearted and brutal woman. Khadeejah (may Allah be pleased with her) also knew that she was sharp-tongued and foolish. Therefore, she was concerned about her girls going into the home of such a woman. But she did not to break her husba/nd’s ties of kinship with his family, for she was a righteous, wise and dutiful wife. She therefore remained silent, hoping in her Lord for only good.


The marriage contract took place in an atmosphere mixed with anxiety. The affectionate father prayed for blessings for his daughters and left them in the care of Allah.

In Makkah, a light gleamed that illuminated the city and removed its darkness. This was when Muhammad (peace be upon him) was commissioned a Prophet and Messenger.

Khadeejah (may Allah be pleased with her) then thought of her daughters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom and what their fate was most likely going to turn out to be in the house of  Umm Jameel and her compliant husband.

The Quraysh met and conspired on how to deal with Muhammad (peace be upon him). One of them said:

“You have saved Muhammad from his distress (i.e. by keeping his daughters)! Send his daughters back to him and keep him preoccupied with them!”

The two young ladies returned to their father’s home with great distress and sorrow.

After this, Aboo Lahab and his wife, the wood carrier, still did not stop bothering the Muslims and harming them. Aboo Lahab would incessantly attack the Prophet (peace be upon him) at every gathering and even in the streets. He would abuse and insult him without caring for their blood ties. This is because Allah had removed all sense of goodness and righteousness from his heart and from the heart of his vicious wife, who used to collect harmful thorns and throw them in the Messenger’s (peace be upon him) path.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) then announced to his loving and sincere wife, “The time for sleep is over, O Khadeejah!”

The vicious attack against him and his Companions had been intensified, especially against the weak ones.

Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom began feeling a great change in their father’s home as it had now become the main target for persecution, torment and mocking.

Yet Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom persevered throughout this time and endured this difficult situation hand-in-hand with their parents, hoping for their reward from Allah Almighty. It is amazing how they persevered through such pain, hardship and sacrifice. In fact, these tribulations further refined both of their characters.

Ruqayyah’s Marriage

flower-under-night-skyAllah (ta’aala) willed it such that Ruqayyah was to be married to one of the best and dearest Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). He was to be the love of her life, the one she was always in a way anticipating the arrival of, as she had not had a loving relationship with her former husband. The Quraysh were utterly disappointed over the marriage of Ruqayyah (may Allah be pleased with her) to ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan ibn Abul-‘Aas ibn ‘Abd Shams (may Allah be pleased with him).

The Messenger of Allah’s trust in his Lord did not let him down. He was wise in that he did not grieve over his daughters being sent back to him and being divorced from their husbands. Indeed, Allah soon compensated him with a husband for his beloved daughter who was better than the first two husbands. Allah Almighty compensated him with a righteous, dignified, gracious, highborn, abundantly rich, modest and amiable husband for his daughter. Yes, ‘Uthman was one of the most gracious Quraysh youths when it came to lineage, prestige and wealth.

In fact, the mothers of Quraysh had a well-known lullaby which they would sing to their children. The lullaby solely revolved around Uthman and went as follows:

“By Allah, I love you as the Quraysh love 'Uthman.”

But after the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) had given his daughter Ruqayyah to ‘Uthman in marriage the lullaby changed to:

“The best two persons who met each other were Ruqayyah and her husband, 'Uthman.

It became a traditional song upon every tongue which was free of malice and hatred for this blessed couple.

Az-Zubayr reported in a Hadeeth that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sent a man with a gift for ‘Uthman and Ruqayyah. The man then came back late. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to the man, “Shall I inform you of what delayed you?”

The man answered is the affirmative. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, “You stood there looking at 'Uthman and Ruqayyah admiring their beauty.” This was before the verses on Hijaab were revealed.

The First Migration

When the Quraysh’s persecution of the Muslims intensified, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) permitted his companions to migrate to Abyssinia. He said to them:

“If only you would go to Abyssinia, for there is a king there who does not allow for anyone to be wronged in his presence and it is the land of truth. If only you would go there until Allah provides a way out for you.”

‘Uthman migrated in the company of his wife Ruqayyah. She had her fears, yet continued on with strong faith and a stamina that could even shake the mountains. Yet, they were sad at having to leave their families and friends behind for a foreign and distant land.

Ruqayyah (may Allah be pleased with her) said to ‘Uthman,

“Allah is indeed with us and with those we are leaving behind in the vicinity of the Ancient House.”

desert1_optThe emigrants departed from Makkah and went towards Jeddah’s sea coast. It was from there that they boarded a ship towards Abyssinia’s seacoast. They disembarked at the shore and travelled towards the inland until they arrived at the palace of king Negus. They informed him of their migration to his land and their refugee status.

The distant between Makkah and Abyssinia was not short! Even today there is dry sand, scorching sun, deep sea, deserts and jungles between the two lands. In addition to being far, the roads were and are also intractable and full of hardships. Because of this long and difficult journey some of the emigrants fell ill and others passed away.

Back home in Makkah, the Quraysh found out about the emigration of the Muslims and sent a delegation after them so as to somehow bring them back. This delegation was led by ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas and ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Rabee’ah. ‘Amr was a close friend of the Negus and would visit him every now and then with special gifts for him.

‘Amr brought with him many valuable gifts for his friend - the Negus. He especially brought tanned leather with him as he knew that the Negus loved it and would be delighted to see it. ‘Amr entered and presented these gifts to him, in turn the Negus was very happy to receive his gifts and gave his old Arab friend a rousing welcome.

Then ‘Amr, cleverly choosing his moment, spoke to the Negus and informed him about how he had come to repatriate the Quraysh people, as they had escaped from Makkah to follow a religion that was different from their fathers’ and had disrupted their own people’s lives. He added that it was necessary that a just punishment be meted out on them for the evils that they had perpetrated.

The Negus, however, rejected this demand because he was a king that respected himself and his covenant. He was a just ruler who did not condone injustice or persecution and did not betray the lives of any person he had promised to give protection to. He was a wise, sensible and religious man.

‘Amr felt disappointed and being an expert in trickery, he informed the Negus about how these Qurayshi men had not only abandoned the religion of their ancestors but were also saying disrespectful things about Jesus and his mother.

It was then that the Negus became very angry and asked that these fugitive Arabs be brought to his court so that he could hear what they had to say. He decided that if ‘Amr’s accusation was true, he would surrender the fugitives to him.

When the guards came to the Sahaabah and demanded that they follow them to the King’s palace, the Sahaabah were surprised and became worried because they thought that they had fallen into hands of their enemy, namely ‘Amr and his companions.

It was then that Ja’far stood up courageously and strengthened the resolve of the Sahaabah. He asked them to allow him to speak on their behalf, the Sahaabah agreed and placed their trust in Allah.

At the Palace

courtroomJa’far stood up in front of the Negus; his fellow Muslims watched on as they saw Ja'far's head raised high and his heart pumping with full trust in Allah the Exalted. In front of him stood ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas and his companion; the Christian bishops and priests of Abyssinia were also standing beside them.

The Negus asked Ja’far about the allegation that ‘Amr had accused them of and whether it was true that they had renounced the religion of their forefathers and that they had disrupted their own society’s stability and prosperity thereby.

In response to this allegation, Ja’far informed the Negus about the truth of this change in his religion and way of life. He informed him how they had previously been in error and how Allah had then guided them. He told him how they used to be ignorant and when they saw the truth, they followed it and believed in it. He added that they used to commit adultery and fornication, drinking of intoxicants, gambling, worshipping idols, burying female new-born babies alive and committing other socials vices lightly, without any fear of Allah. It was then that Allah sent a Messenger from among them whose name is Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah (peace be upon him), with the Message of truth and light and thus did Allah guide them to the straight path. Ja'far (may Allah be pleased with him) also informed the Negus about how Muhammad (peace be upon him) forbade them from worshipping idols and commanded them to worship Allah alone.

The Negus was relieved and his face brightened up with joy when he heard this excellent presentation delivered by Ja’far. But suddenly he began frowning as he if he had remembered something. He then asked Ja’far:

“What do you say about Jesus and his mother? Do you have with you something of what Muhammad has brought?”

Ja’far answered:

“We believe Jesus, peace be upon him, was a word of Allah which He directed to the Virgin Mary and a soul created by a command from Him. We believe that he was a Servant and Messenger of Allah."

He then recited the beginning of Soorah Maryam.

Throughout the recitation of these verses, the Negus was listening and shaking his head out of admiration. He also shed tears out of humility and submission to the truth which he now realised and recognised.

When Ja’far finished reciting, the Negus said:

“Indeed, this and what Jesus brought come from the same source.”

He then dissolved the assembly and announced that he would never surrender these refugees to those who came to repatriate them. ‘Amr stood dumbfounded!

When he came out of the Negus’ palace, he then went to visit some of the influential church leaders of Abyssinia and attempted to entice them with gifts so that they could help him change Negus’s stance. Some of them accepted ‘Amr’s bribes and accompanied him to the Negus. They entered the palace of Negus in the company of ‘Amr once again. They attempted to convince him and mount pressure on him but they failed because the Negus was adamant on his stand to give refuge to the Muslims and to protect them.

Thus ‘Amr went back to Makkah empty-handed, and the Muslims continued to enjoy security and peace in Abyssinia.

An Attempt to Overthrow the Negus

tearsSuddenly one day, the environment of peace changed for the Sahaabah in Abyssinia. The pleasant air of peace unexpectedly turned into a violent storm that nearly swept them away.

A nephew of the Negus who had some supporters and followers attempted to violently seize his throne. This nephew had been extremely hostile towards the Muslims and had always wanted to get rid of them.

A war broke out between the Negus and this nephew of his, and the hearts of the Muslims were with the Negus as they were fervently hoping for his victory. Yet, they remained in their homes and did not participate in the war. However, they could not wait for the war to end. They feverishly waited to know who would be the victor and who would be the vanquished, as their fate in Abyssinia relied on that.

Though they couldn’t see what was happening in the battleground because of the river Nile, the brave and courageous Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwaam volunteered to attain information about the events of this war, even though, unfortunately, he could not swim. The question arose: how will he cross the river nile?

They filled up two water skins with air and put them under his armpits. With these, he was able to swim to the other side of the river. He came out of the water and stood at the top of the hill that overlooked the battle ground. He remained for a long time observing the war with a mixture of anxiety and hope. The war ended with the defeat of the Negus’s nephew and his followers, and the victory was for the Negus!

Zubayr (may Allah be pleased with him) immediately returned to his people and gave them the good news of the victory. The Muslims were celebrated so much that one would think that one of them was getting married!

In this way, the emigrants to Abyssinia witnessed both great events and a lot of difficulties during their stay there. They never became a burden on anyone for their sustenance, and never even asked the king who had given them shelter for anything. They worked and earned for themselves and every one of them took up a profession or job. In fact, some of them had brought money with them from Makkah and spent it on themselves and their families in Abyssinia.

‘Uthman and Ruqayyah’s return

kabahshareefThe Sahaabah in Abyssinia spent many days, months and even years of their life yearning to go back to their homeland, despite the security, peace and freedom that they enjoyed in Abyssinia.

When they heard of the acceptance of Islaam by Hamzah ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib and ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them), they were over the moon. Some of them hastily returned to Makkah hoping to take part in the Muslim efforts to establish Islaam in Makkah and to once again reunite with their loved ones, who they hadn’t met for a very long time. Others opted to stay in Abyssinia until the Prophet (peace be upon him) permitted them to come back to Makkah, such as Ja’far ibn abi Taalib. Whereas ‘Uthman and Ruqayyah agreed with the previous group and so decided to return home.

When they finally reached their homeland in which they had spent their childhood and when they finally once again saw their homes, tears of joy began to flow from their eyes. But they were disappointed when they came to learn that the Quraysh had actually worsened, rather than improved. But the saddest of them was Ruqayyah, the wife of ‘Uthmaan (may Allah be pleased with her). This was because her mother Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) had passed away while Ruqayyah was in Abyssinia. Her mother’s warmth now no longer engulfed her parent’s home.

Ruqayyah wept profusely but accepted Allah’s decision and decree submissively, just as a Muslim should.

A Lie Refuted

Shaykh Muhammad al-Khudari wrote in his book, "Noor al-Yaqeen fee Seerah Sayyid al-Mursaleen":

“Some people narrate a story which they believe to be the reason for the return of the Sahaabah from Abyssinia. This story mentions that information reached the emigrants in Abyssinia that their people had accepted Islaam in Makkah when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) had read Soorah an-Najm to them, saying nice things about their idols. They said that when Allah revealed the following verse: {Have you then considered al-Lat,and al Uzza [two idols of the pagans Arabs] and Manat [another idol of the pagan Arabs], the other third?} (Qur’an 53:23)

They Prophet (peace be upon him) had added, ‘These are the high–ranking angels and their intercession is sought for’. It was then that the polytheists prostrated in honour and Joy!”

In fact, this is a false story propagated by those who lack sincerity and knowledge. Both textual and logical proofs falsify these story altogether. The chain of narration for this narration, as well as the text, are fabricated. Qaadhi ‘Iyaadh has mentioned that none of the compilers of the authentic Prophetic Narrations (ahaadeeth) reported this narration, neither does it have a sound chain.

If we read the complete verse in Surah an-Najm, then we will also agree that this claim is unfounded: {They are but names which you have named, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority!} (Qur’an 53:23)

The Second Migration

madinah-954640‘Uthman and Ruqayyah (may Allah be pleased with them) did not stay in Makkah for long. The Muslims migrated to Yathrib because the Ansaar, who were the Aws and Khazraj, had given the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) their allegiance that they would support and help him in his mission. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) later joined the Ansaar in Madinah.

It was after two years in Madinah that Ruqayyah gave birth to her only child with ‘Uthmaan (may Allah be pleased with him). They named him ‘Abdullah and loved him dearly as he was their only child.

But, Allah (‘azza wa jall) had Willed it such that he was to test them once again.

Allah Almighty says: {(Allah) Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed……} (Qur’an 67: 2)

One day, while ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Uthmaan was sleeping in his cradle, a rooster pecked him in his eyes. This led to an infection which caused him to die two or three days latter. Ruqayyah, as a mother, was deeply moved by the death of her only child and soon later fell victim to a fever.

From this point on we come to really see how much ‘Uthmaan loved his wife Ruqayyah. For, he did not leave her side and with much love and affection nursed and looked after her. He was so attached to her that he was continuously asking Allah Almighty to cure her from her illness. But it was at this time that a call for Jihaad was made and the Muslims were rushing to comply to this command as the caravan of the Quraysh, which was coming from Syria, was to be intercepted due to all the harm they had caused the Muslims and which was later to result into the Battle of Badr. Even though ‘Uthmaan (may Allah be pleased with him) willingly responded to the call for Jihaad but the Prophet (peace be upon him) told him to stay with Ruqayyah and look after her.

The Departure

corpse1The Struggle between life and death was fierce. Eventually,Ruqayyah gave up and surrendered to Allah’s Will.

While ‘Uthmaan was crying, kissing his wife’s forehead and hands, the voice of the bearer of victory was heard from outside announcing the Muslim’s Victory in the Battle of Badr. The Prophet (peace be upon him) entered his daughter’s home, her presence not to be found. Sadness filled his heart as he prayed for her. He consoled her sister Faatimah, and compassionately wiped away the sadness from her heart by his comforting presence.

At this time women began sobbing loudly out of grief. When ‘Umar wished to stop them, as he felt that this may not be liked by Allah and his Messenger (peace be upon him), the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) held his hand and desisted him from doing so.

It was at this moment that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said his famous words:

‘Whatever tears the eyes shed and however much the heart grieves, it is from Allah. It is the motions of the hands and words uttered by the tongue that come from Satan”.

The Farewell

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) performed the funeral prayers over Ruqayyah and followed her funeral procession to Baqee’ where she was buried.

Thereafter, he returned to the struggle of delivering the message of Islaam to mankind.

May Allah be pleased with Ruqayyah, the Prophet’s daughter, the lady of the two emigrations and the wife of the owner of lights!

May He reward her for her faith, struggle, tribulations, and perseverance with the best reward! Aameen.


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