There was calmness, peacefuradhiAllahuanhalness and magnanimity in her nature and she was one of the early Muslims.

She migrated with her husband, 'Ubaydullah Ibn Jahsh to Abyssinia. She preferred the love of Allah and His Messenger (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) above the house of her father Abu Sufiyan, the Quraysh leader and above his wealth, influence and affluence. She endured the pain of being away from Makkah, her hometown and the difficulty of life in a strange land with poverty.

Her husband then became a Christian, indulged in drinking alcohol and then died. But who was better than the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) in healing the huge wound inflicted on the heart of Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha)?

{The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their [believers] mothers...} (Qur’an 33:6)

When the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) heard of Umm Habeebah’s loneliness and difficulty, he sent word to her asking for her hand in marriage. She willingly and happily accepted the proposal.

Here, dear reader, many people may read this event without taking a deep and reflective stance, especially in respect to the Negus, the Abyssinia King who paid the mahr (bridal gift) and witnessed the marriage contract. The gesture of the Negus was of high indeed!

We must nor forget that Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) was the daughter of the Quraysh chief and leader. She was the daughter of Abu Sufyan who became the leader of Quraysh after the death of Abu Jahl. And the suitor was Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Yet, Abu Sufyan was happy when he heard that his daughter had married Muhammad, the noble.

This reflects the psyche of Abu Sufyan in some aspects: One, implied psychological satisfaction with what had happened, and two verbal acknowledgement of the Prophet’s (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) wisdom and far-sightedness when he (Sufyan) said, “He is a stallion whose nose should not be cut off.”

Years passed until Khaybar was conquered and Ja'fr returned with Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) in his company. The Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) then consummated the marriage with her and gave her an apartment. He (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) would visit her and would express happiness in meeting her. Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) was a good role-model and good companionship.

Throughout more than fifteen years which Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) spent in the foreign land of Abyssinia, she did not see, hear nor sit with the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Instead, like fellow migrants, she received the new verses of the Qur'an from others and then memorized and understood them. News of events came to them successively, therefore they were in constant contact with and aware of the Da’wah movement happening in Makkah and Madinah.

Dear reader, i began mentioning Umm Habeebah's (radhiAllahu ‘anha) biography by mentioning that she was naturally calm, peaceful and magnanimous and that her heart was firm in faith, just like high towering mountains. Such a praise should not be taken lightly. You will come to see how true these words are, as she was indeed endowed with unique faith.

Her Dream

Her dream regarding her separation from her husband, 'Ubaydullah Ibn Jahsh and the Prophet’s (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) marriage proposal to her testifies to this. She narrates:

“I saw my husband in a worst figure in my dream and I was frightened. When I woke up in the morning I found out that he had become a Christian. I informed him of the dream and he disregarded it and became addicted to alcohol until he died.

Someone then came to me in my dream and said, ‘O mother of the faithful’, and I was frightened. And as soon as I finished my waiting period, a female messenger of the Negus whose name is Abrahah came to me and said, ‘The King said, ‘Appoint someone as your guardian in marriage.’ So I sent for Khalid ibn Sa’eed ibn al-As ibn Umayyah and I appointed him as my guardian, and I gave Abrahah two bracelets of silver.’”

In the evening, the Negus commanded Ja'far ibn Abi Talib (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) (to deliver a speech on his behalf). Ja'far (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) then praised Allah, extolled Him and read statements of testimony. He then said,

'To proceed; the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) sent a message to me requesting the hand of Umm Habeebah in marriage.’

So I granted his request.The Negus said:

'I am giving four hundred dinaar as bridal money (mahr) on behalf of the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam).'”

The Negus then poured the money. Khalid then said,

“I have accepted what the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and his wife Umm Habeebah called to.”

He therefore accepted the money. The Negus threw a banquet for them and they ate.

Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) said,

“When the money came to me, I gave Abrahah fifty dinaar therefrom. She returned the money and said that the King had commanded her to do so. She also returned what I had given her before.

On the following day, she came to me with aloes, wars, and ambergris, and many ziyad. I brought all of them with me when I came to the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam).”

This purity of faith transformed her into another person during the time of her confrontation with polytheism.  It is as if she was in a battlefield. Her weapon was the word of the truth that served like a sharp and stern sword. She feared no harm or difficulty, even with her closest relation.

The first thing Abu Sufiyan did when he arrived at Madeenah was that he headed for the apartment of his daughter, Umm Habeebah who he had not seen for many years. She coldly received him. When he wanted to sit on the Prophet’s (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) bed, she folded it up and did not allow him to sit on it.

He asked her astonishingly and sadly, “Daughter, do you love this bed more than me or do you love me more than this bed?!”

She answered resolutely, sincerely and courageously, without being influenced by any family sentiment:

“No! It is the Prophet’s bed and you are a filthy polytheist!”

Abu Sufiyan then said, “You have been afflicted by evil after me.” She resorted,

“No, I have rather been blessed with all goodness.”

Hgreenwhitee then left of her apartment. What Umm Habeebah had just done was just like what had happened in the battle of Badr; an encounter between father and son, a man and his brother and members of the same kith and kin. Such examples show that the bond of faith and the glory of Islaam are more sublime and stronger. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says: {The believers are nothing else than brothers...} (Qur’an 49:10)

Allah also says: {You [O’ Muhammad] will not find any people who believe in Allah and the last day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad] even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred [people]. For such He has written faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Rooh [proofs, lightandd true guidance] from Himself. And He will admit them to gardens [Paradise] under which rivers flow to dwell therein [forever]. Allah is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Verily, it is the party of Allah that will be successful.} (Qur’an 58:22)

In Badr Abu Bakr (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) and his son 'Abdur Rahman had confronted each other, Abu 'Ubaydah (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) and his father faced each other and 'Umar (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) and his maternal uncle had met head-on. There are more similar examples in which Islaam was the deciding factor between these confrontations. In the same way it was as if the mother of the faithful, Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) was raising the sword of Islaam in the face of her father, Abu Sufiyan.

Indeed, there is a lesson in this for those who are wise and there is, surely, in that a reminder for whoever has a heart or who listens while his mind is present.

Yet some may ask: was there extremism in her behaviour? Was there any rigidity? Or was she just adhering to the truth?

Allah indeed prevents the true believers from befriending those who challenge Allah and His Messenger even if they are their fathers, brothers or kindred. There is no friendship with disbelief; there is no truce with polytheism.

In spite of the few years that Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) spent with the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam), she memorised and narrated a considerable number of ahaadeeth. Those who heard from her narrated to us a number of narrations from the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam). She therefore faithfully and trustworthily took part in enriching the noble sunnah.

Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) lived for a while after the death of the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam). The most authentic narration is that she died in the year 44 after Hijrah.

She witnessed the crisis in which the commander of the faithful 'Uthman ibn 'Affaan (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) was martyred but she took no part in the conflict neither with an opinion nor with a stand. In spite of her family ties with 'Uthmaan (radhiAllahu ‘anhu), she kept herself away from the furnace of the crisis.

She also witnessed the crises that occurred between the leader of the faithful, 'Ali ibn Abi Taalib (radhiAllahu ‘anhu), and her brother, Mu'aawiyah (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) but she did not take part in it.

Umm Habeebah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) was indeed a noble woman. She had always wanted to meet Allah while her heart was free from malice against any Muslim. She was extremely delicate and sensitive. Her pure faith is rarely equalled.

Let's look towards one of her final actions in this world, just before she was about to leave this world: Aa’ishah said (radhiAllahu ‘anha): “Umm Habeebah called me when she was about to die and said,

‘There might have been between me and you what usually happens between rivals. Will you please absolve me?’

So I absolved her and asked Allah to forgive her. She then said,

‘You have made me happy.’

And she sent the same message to Umm Salamah.”

But where is Habeebah, her only child? There was a report that Umm Habeebah migrated to Abyssinia while she was pregnant with Habeebah and that she gave birth to her there. Habeebah was married to Dawood ibn Urwah ibn Masood ath-Thaqafi.

May Allah be pleased with Umm Habeebah, the mother of the faithful!

May He also please her and make her abode honourable!

May He let us join her among His righteous slaves! Aameen.


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