OUTSTANDING WOMEN Part II
Close to Muhammad’s Heart
(Sources taken from various internet sites especially Al-Islam.org, may Allah reward the writers with His abundance.)
Umm Salama (أم سـلمـه زوجه الرسـول (ص
|Marriage to the Prophet (pbuh):||Umm Salama’s Closeness to Ahlul Bayt|
Umm Salama was married to the Prophet in 4 AH at the age of twenty nine, after her first husband, (Abdullah ibn Abdul Asad) had died from wounds received at the battle of Ohod.
Umm Salama and her husband were among the first to embrace Islam. They suffered at the hands of the pagan Quraish who had tried to force them to abandon their new faith. They were among the first to seek refuge under the protection of the Negus in Abyssinia. After having returned from Abyssinia they had a unique family crisis (of separation then uniting) caused by tribal confrontations and stubbornness. After many difficult months of separation, Umm Salama and her son were reunited with Abu Salama, and in the next few years that followed, they were in the heart of the growing Muslim community of Medina. They were present when the Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr safely arrived from Mecca, and at the battle of Badr Abu Salama fought bravely. At the battle of Ohod, however, Abu Salama was badly wounded. At first his wound appeared to respond to treatment, but then his wounds re opened after an expedition against Benu Asad, and after that they refused to heal and he remained bedridden. Once, while Umm Salama was nursing him, he said to her, “I once heard the Messenger of Allah saying that whenever a calamity afflicts anyone he should say what Allah has commanded him to say: ‘Inna Lillaah wa inn Ilaaha Raji’oon!’ ‘Surely we come from Allah and surely to Him we return!’ and then he should say, ‘O Lord, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in return, which only You, the Exalted the Mighty, can give.'”
Abu Salama remained sick in bed for several days. One morning the Prophet (pbuh) came to see him. The visit was longer than usual, and while the Prophet was still at his bedside, Abu Salama died. With his blessed hands, the Prophet closed the eyes of his dead Companion and then raised them in prayer. “O Allah, grant forgiveness to Abu Salama; elevate him among those who are near to You; take charge of his family at all times; forgive us and him, O Lord of the worlds; make his grave spacious for him and fill it with light. Amen.”
Once again Umm Salama has become alone, only now she had not one child but several. There was no one to look after her and them. Recalling what her husband had told her while she was looking after him, she repeated the Du’aa that he had remembered: “Inna Lillaah wa inna ilaihi Raji’oon!” “Surely we come from Allah and surely to Him we return!” she repeated. “O Lord, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in return, which only You, the Exalted and Mighty, can give.” Then she thought to herself, “What Muslim is better than Abu Salama, for Abu Salama family was the first to emigrate to the Messenger of Allah?” All the Muslims in Medina were aware of Umm Salama’s situation, and when her idda (period of four months and ten days) were over, Abu Bakr proposed marriage to her, but she refused. Then Omar asked her to marry him, but again she refused.
Marriage to the Prophet (pbuh):
When the Prophet himself asked for her hand in marriage Umm Salama said, “O Messenger of Allah I have three troublesome qualities: I am a woman who is extremely jealous and I am afraid that you will see something in me that will make you angry and cause Allah to punish me; Also I am a woman who is already advanced in age; and thirdly I have many children.”
“As for your jealousy,” answered the Prophet, “I pray to Allah Almighty to take it away from you. As for your age, I am older than you. As for your children, they belong to Allah and His Messenger.”
The Prophet’s answer eased her heart, and so they were married in Shawwal, 4 AH, and so it was that Allah answered the prayer of Umm Salama and gave her what is better than Abu Salama. From that day on, Umm Salama was not only the mother of Salama, but also became the ‘Mother of all Believers’ ‘Umm al-Mu’mineen’ أم الؤمنــــيـن . Umm Salama was not the only wife to have been widowed as a result of the battle of Ohod, and thanks to this marriage, many of the Companions followed the Prophet’s example, marrying widows and thereby bringing them and their children into the circle of their families, instead of leaving them to struggle on their own.
A’isha said, “When the Messenger of Allah married Umm Salama, I felt very unhappy when he mentioned her beauty to us. I waited until I saw her and she was even more beautiful than his description.” She was also from a very noble family and known for her keen intelligence. On more than one occasion, the Prophet asked her advice in tricky situations.
Umm Salama learned the Quran by heart; she was with a high station with Allah, for in her house where Ayah of Tat’heer (Surah 33, Ayah 33) was revealed.
|… إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا
Verily, Allah has decreed to purify you, O’ Ahlul Bayt, and sanctify you in a perfect way”
Umm Salama tells about this revelation: “Allah revealed the verse: O Ahlul Bayt (People of the House)… There was none in the room at that time, except the Holy Prophet, Ali, Fatima, al‑Hasan and al‑Husain. I said: `O Prophet of Allah! Am I too one of the people of the House (Ahlul Bayt)?’ He replied: `Allah will reward you and recompense you.’ I wished that he might have said `Yes’ and would have valued such a reply much more than anything else in the world.'
Umm Salama had a home for her four children: Salama, Omar, Zainab, and Durra who were the foster children of the Prophet. Her daughter Zainab grew up in the care of the Messenger of Allah. Once Zainab came in while the Prophet was bathing and he splashed water in her face. Afterwards her face retained its youthfulness even into old age. Umm Salama was married to the Prophet (pbuh) for seven years until his death in 10 AH and she accompanied him on many of his expeditions: Hudaibiya, Khaybar, the Conquest of Mecca, the siege of Ta’if, the expedition against Hawazin and Thaqif, and the Farewell Haj. She continued to live for a long time, outliving all the other wives of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them, until she died in 61 AH, at the age of eighty four, may Allah be pleased with her.
Umm Salama’s Closeness to Ahlul Bayt
Umm Salama was very close to the family of the Prophet (pbuh), meaning Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husain and their children (Ahlul Bayt). When Imam Al-Husain was to leave Medina on his historic journey to Karbala, he visited Umm Salama at her home to bid her good bye. He entrusted with her the books treasury written by Imam Ali called al-Jami’ah الجـآمعـه . These include The Holy Quran in chronological order, the Tafseer, the Saheefa (consisting of Hadiths), the Ah’kaam, and the Jafr. These voluminous books were very precious and they took a large space to store.
After the renowned martyrdom of Imam Al-Husain and other members of the family of the Prophet in Karbala, and when the rest returned to Medina, Umm Salama returned the trusted books to Imam Zainul Abideen.
The house of Umm Salama was visited often by Ahlul Bayt both socially as well as to consult and seek her advice. It is said that Umm Salama reported 300 Hadiths because of her closeness to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Umm Salama was an outstanding example for women throughout the ages for her purity, dedication to Islam and for her wisdom. She narrated a total of 378 Hadiths.
Umm Salama was shocked and severely affected when she learned of the news of the horrendous and ghastly bloodshed committed by Yazid’s troops in Karbala. She loved Al-Husain and his family, and when she learned of al-Husain brutal slaying, even his baby, it was too much for her to take. This news was too much to bear for the old lady was frail and weak by age. She got ill and soon died, and was buried in Medina with the other Mothers of the Faithful who had preceded her. But her male and female students were among those who continued to work for Islam the way she had not only taught but also shown by her example.
A’isha (عائشـه زوجـه الـرسول (ص
A’isha and Hafsa
|The Jamal Confrontation|
Whereas Khadija was already a wise and mature woman when she married Prophet Muhammad, A’isha was a spirited young girl who still had a great deal to learn when she married the Prophet (pbuh) A’isha had a quick mind and a good memory. She was not afraid to talk back and argue in a move to learn (even to the Prophet).
The Prophet (pbuh) illuminated the hearts and minds of his followers, giving them insight without blinding them. He was truly a mercy to the world, and no one with a clean heart could possibly forget this, least of all the Prophet himself.
During the few years A’isha was married to the Prophet (pbuh) she witnessed many of the great events that shaped the destiny of the first Muslim community. A’isha was once asked to describe the Prophet (pbuh) and she replied that he was “the Quran walking”, meaning that his behavior was the Quran translated into action.
As a teenage, A’isha was small, slim, and graceful, and it was difficult for the men who carried her litter to know for certain whether or not she was actually inside it (when they lifted it up). On the way back to Medina, after the Benu al Mustaliq had been subdued, the Muslim army stopped for a rest, but then the Prophet unexpectedly ordered the army to continue the march. Unknown to everyone else, A’isha had already stepped out of her litter for a few minutes and had left the camp, seeking some privacy. On her way back she noticed that her onyx necklace was missing and so she retraced her steps trying to find it. When she found it she returned to the camp, but the camp was empty by then and everyone was gone. The men who had been carrying her litter had thought she was still in it, and had picked it up, strapped it to the camel and marched on. By herself now, A’isha sat down and waited, hoping that someone would notice her absence and come back for her. Fortunately she did not have long to wait, for a young Muslim man named Safwan صفـوان ibn al-Mu’attal, (who had fallen behind the army after taking a rest) reached the camp during the night and found her lying fast asleep. Safwan immediately recognized her; because he had seen her in the earlier days (before Allah had commanded Muslim women to wear the Hijab).
“Inna Lillaah wa inna Ilaaha Raji’oon!” – “Surely we come from Allah and surely to Him we return!” he exclaimed in surprise, waking A’isha up with the loudness of his voice. He did not say anything else, and A’isha put on the scarf over her head since it had fallen off while she was asleep. Safwan made his camel kneel close to her so she could climb up on to it. Then, leading the camel with his hand, Safwan set off on foot after the army, hoping that they would soon catch up with it. They eventually did but it was later the next morning, since the army had halted for a rest during the hottest part of the day. Unfortunately, some people (who had seen Safwan and A’isha arriving alone, together) began to gossip and spread slanderous remarks about them. Eventually the malicious rumor reached the Prophet (pbuh) and then the whole community.
As a result of the gossip the Prophet (pbuh) and his household came under a great strain. In fact A’isha herself fell ill out of worry because the Prophet did not seem to care for her as he had before (seemed to distance himself from her). Finally, someone told her what some people were saying. This made A’isha even more ill, so with the Prophet’s permission she went to stay at the house of her parents. When she arrived, she said to her mother, “Mother! What are the people saying?” Her mother replied “O’ daughter! Don’t make too much of this matter. By Allah, seldom has there been a woman of beauty with a husband who loved her (and who has other wives) but that people say a lot against her.” In the meantime, when Safwan was confronted with the allegations, he replied, “Glory be to Allah! By Allah, I have never removed the veil of any woman!”
Since there had been no revelation to clarify the matter, the Prophet (pbuh) asked Barira, who was A’isha’s maid servant, if she had seen anything in A’isha’s behavior that was at all suspicious. “By Him who sent you with the truth,” she replied, “I have seen nothing wrong with her, other than that she is a young girl and sometimes she falls asleep while she is kneading the dough and a lamb comes along and eats it!” Some of the companions scolded Barira and told her to come to the point. “Glory be to Allah!” she replied. “I know as much about her as a jeweler knows about a piece of pure gold!”
The Prophet also asked his other wife Zainab bint Jahsh for her opinion, since he highly valued Zainab’s opinions. Although she and A’isha were frequently at odds with one another and Zainab’s sister Hamna, was one of those who were actively gossiping and spreading the rumor, Zainab replied without hesitation, “O Messenger of Allah I will not repeat anything that I have not heard with my own ears and seen with my own eyes. By Allah, I find nothing in her but goodness.”
The Prophet (pbuh) then tried to defend A’isha’s honor by calling everyone to the mosque and publicly defend her reputation, but the people who had started the trouble in the first place only made matters worse, so arguments broke out all over the mosque, and people had almost come to blows over the matter before the Prophet calmed them down and silenced them.
The Prophet then came to Abu Bakr’s house, he saw A’isha crying, and in the presence of her parents said the shahaada, and then continued addressing her, “If you are innocent, then Allah Himself will protect your honor, and if by accident there has been a lapse on your part, then seek Allah’s forgiveness and He will pardon you, for when a creature admits a fault and turns to Allah in repentance, then Allah also turns and accepts that repentance.”
A’isha said, “I am a young girl who does not yet recite much of the Quran. By Allah, I know that you have heard this story and it has become fixed in yourself and you have believed it. If I were to say to you that I am innocent, you would not believe me. If I were to confess to something to you and Allah knows that I am innocent you would believe me. By Allah, I can only say what the father of Yusuf said (Quran 12:18),
|…فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ وَاللّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَى مَا تَصِفُونَ
…..Patience is most fitting: Against that which ye assert, it is Allah (alone) Whose help can be sought”
She had hardly finished speaking when the Prophet (pbuh) received a direct revelation of some more Ayahs of the Quran, and when it was over, he smiled and said, “Do not worry A’isha, for Allah has revealed proof of your innocence.”
A’isha’s mother, who had been standing next to her, said, “Get up and thank him [the Prophet].”
“By Allah,” exclaimed A’isha, “I will not thank him or praise him [the Prophet] but rather [thank and praise] Allah who has given the revelation that has protected my honor!” Then the Prophet (pbuh) went to the mosque and recited what had just been sent down.
Following Khaybar the inhabitants were to pay (according to agreement) a yearly tribute to the Muslims. As a result, the livelihood of some Muslims improved, some became wealthy. On one occasion, the Prophet’s wives, led by A’isha and Hafsa, asked him for some money which he did not have. The Prophet (pbuh) was distressed, not because he did not have the money to give them but rather because it was the demand of money they were after.
At this time, both Abu Bakr and Omar visited him and they found the Messenger of Allah seated, surrounded by his wives who were all silent and somber looking. Abu Bakr said to himself, “By Allah, I will say something to cheer up the Messenger of Allah!” So he said to the Prophet (pbuh): “O’ Messenger of Allah! If I were to see the daughter of Khadija asking me for money, I would strike her on the neck!” The Messenger of Allah smiled and said, ‘These ones you see have asked me for money.” So Abu Bakr went to grab A’isha and Omar went to grab Hafsa, both exclaiming, “Do you ask the Messenger of Allah for something he does not have!” The women said, “By Allah, we would never ask the Messenger of Allah for something he does not have!”
A’isha and Hafsa
This was not the single marital problem the Prophet experienced, for there were others. There was a great deal of rivalry between some of the wives. Also Hafsa had told A’isha something which the Prophet (pbuh) had told her not to disclose (since it was something that could increase friction between the wives). In any case, this hurt the Prophet’s feelings so much that he stayed away from them for a whole month, during which many of his Companions began to think either that the Prophet was going to divorce them or that he had already done so.
It is related by Omar that he went to visit the Prophet (pbuh) who was staying alone in a small upper room, for Omar wanted to find out what was happening. First of all Omar visited his daughter Hafsa, who was weeping, and asked her if the Prophet had divorced both her and A’isha. “I don’t know,” she sobbed. Then Omar asked to see the Prophet. After he was given permission, Omar entered the small room: “I visited Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) and he was lying on a mat. I sat down and he drew up his lower garment over him. He had nothing else on, and the mat had left its marks on his sides…and I was moved to tears. The Prophet said, ‘Ibn al Khattab, what is making you cry?’ I replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah, how can I not cry? This mat has left marks on your sides and I can only see what I have seen of your stores. Caesar and Chosroes are leading their lives of plenty, while you are the Messenger of Allah, His Chosen One, and look what you have!’ ‘Ibn al Khattab,’ the Prophet answered, ‘isn’t it enough for you that for us there is the next world, and for them there is this world?’ ‘Yes,’ I said. Then I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what has happened with your wives? If you have divorced them, then truly Allah is with you, and His angels, Jibreel and Mika’il and the believers.’ And seldom have I talked like that and hoped that Allah would testify to the words that I uttered”. And so it happened that the Ayahs of choice were revealed in regard to A’isha and Hafsa Surah 66 (al-Tahreem): Ayahs 4-5:
|إِن تَتُوبَا إِلَىَّ ِالله فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَاوَإِن تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ ِالله هُوَ مَوْلاهُ وَجِبْرِيلُ وَصَالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْملائِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ ظَهِيرٌ
If ye two turn in repentance to Him, your hearts are indeed so inclined; But if ye back up each other against him, truly Allah is his Protector, and Gabriel, and (every) righteous one among those who believe,- and furthermore, the angels – will back (him) up.
|عَسَى رَبُّهُ إِن طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَن يُبْدِلَهُ أَزْوَاجًا خَيْرًا مِّنكُنَّمُسْلِمَاتٍ مُّؤْمِنَاتٍ قَانِتَاتٍ تَائِبَاتٍ عَابِدَاتٍ سَائِحَاتٍ ثَيِّبَاتٍ وَأَبْكَارًا
It may be, if he divorced you (all), that Allah will give him in exchange consorts better than you, —who submit (their wills), who believe, who are devout, who turn to Allah in repentance, who worship (in humility), who travel (for Faith) and fast— previously married or virgins.
Returning to Omar’s account of his visit to the Prophet, Omar then asked, “O Messenger of Allah, have you divorced them?” and he replied, “No.” So they talked for a while longer, (and how in Mecca the men tended to dominate the women, whereas in Medina the women tended to dominate the men). Omar left. He stood at the door of the mosque and called out at the top of his voice: “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has not divorced his wives!” The Prophet then went to A’isha’s room. She was delighted to see him.
Abu Hurairah claimed that he quoted 2210 Hadiths as narrated from A’isha. However, Bukhari and Muslim accepted only 174 of these Hadiths as genuine according to their testimony and criteria. Therefore, of the 2210 Hadiths 2,036 were rejected by them as simply unacceptable.
Many of these Hadiths were about some of the most intimate aspects of personal behavior and hygiene of the Prophet (pbuh); which only someone in A’isha’s position could have learned. It is interesting to note that other wives of the Prophet narrated a very small numbers of Hadiths in this regard. Hafsa for instance related about 60 Hadiths, no more, while Maymuna narrated 40 Hadiths, and Zainab bint Jahsh narrated no more than 11 Hadiths.
The Jamal Confrontation
A’isha was one of the leaders in Jamal Confrontation against Imam Ali, the Khalifa then. A’isha عائـشـه , the Prophet’s widow for 24 years by now, became highly vocal against Imam Ali. She called for taking revenge for the blood of Uthman, even though Ali had nothing to do with that. As a result, a party of 3,000 insurgents (thousands others joined them later) supported by Sahaaba such as Talha طلـحه and Zubair زبـير, along with A’isha headed toward Basrah. A battle broke out though Zubair elected not to participate. Talha was wounded then bled to death. Thousands of people lost their lives. A’isha as the focal point and a rallying force in the engagement of the two sides, fell down from the camel (in the heat of the battle) after it was disabled; but luckily she was not hurt. Imam Ali asked Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, (A’isha’s brother, yet he was with the side of Ali) محمــد بن أبي بكـــر , to take A’isha to Basrah for a few days, and from there to escort her to Medina with full honor and respect. Upon leaving Basrah Al-Hasan and Al-Husain accompanied the Prophet’s widow for some distance before bidding her farewell. A’isha was escorted by many guards, but the closest were special guards. Upon arriving in Median, A’isha discovered that the closest 40 guards in her protection were women dressed like men as per order of Imam Ali. This was to protect her by women, but these were dressed as men to discourage other would-be highway robbers from daring to attack! Such was the regard of Imam Ali to the Prophet (pbuh) and therefore his wife.
Hafsa (حـفـصه زوجـه الـرسول (ص
Hafsa was the daughter of Omar. She had been married to someone else, but was widowed when she was still very young, only eighteen. Omar asked both Abu Bakr and Uthman, one after another, if they would like to marry her, but both of them declined. When Omar went to the Prophet complaining about their behavior, the Prophet smiled, and said, “Hafsa will marry one better than Uthman and Uthman will marry one better than Hafsa.” Omar was startled, for he found out that the Prophet was asking her hand in marriage. Omar was overcome with joy. They were married just after the battle of Badr, when Hafsa was about twenty years old and the Prophet was fifty-six. By this marriage, the Prophet strengthened the ties between him and his two close Companions.
Hafsa, like A’isha with whom she became close friends, was never at a loss for words, and was quite verbal to argue with the Prophet who was content to allow her say what she thought. One day, while speaking to Hafsa’s mother Omar said, “I think I shall do so and so.” His wife replied, “But it would be better if you did such and such.” “Are you arguing with me, woman?” Omar retorted angrily, for Omar was a fierce man (who did not expect his wives to even talk back at him). “Why not?” his wife retorted. “Your daughter keeps arguing with the Messenger of Allah until she upsets him for a whole day.” On hearing that, Omar was flabbergasted, and he immediately set off to face his daughter. “Is it true that you argue with the Messenger of Allah?” he asked her forcefully. “Yes I do.” She shot back.
Omar was just about to chastise her (for what he considered were bad manners), when the Prophet came into the room and broke up the would-be clash; he would not allow Omar to even touch her. So Omar went to visit Umm Salama the favorite wife of the Prophet. Omar related to her the event in a move that she may herself influence Hafsa to change this unthinkable behavior.
“I wonder at you, Ibn Khattab,” Umm Salama said bemused. “You have interfered in everything. Will you now interfere between the Messenger of Allah and his wives?”
Omar when relating this incident at a later date continued, “And she [Umm Salama] kept after me until she made me give up much of what I thought proper.” Some sources say that the Prophet even divorced Hafsa with a single divorce and that Omar was heart broken when this happened and began to throw dust on his head.
Hafsa memorized the Quran by heart. The written copy of the Quran which was recorded by Zayd ibn Thabit on Abu Bakr’s instructions, and which was then given to Omar for safekeeping, was then given by Omar to Hafsa to look after. When Uthman eventually became the Khalifa, he instructed several written copies of the Quran to be made to be sent to the main centers of the now rapidly expanding Muslim empire. It was the copy in Hafsa’s keeping that was used for the meticulous accuracy in reference to other written records of the Quran and to the Muslims who knew the Quran by heart.
Hafsa lived with the Prophet for eight years, became widowed at the age of 28, and lived on for thirty four years after the Prophet’s death. She witnessed with joy the victories and expansion of Islam during her father’s rule, and with sorrow the troubles that beset the Muslim community after the murder of Uthman. Her troubles were doubled when she witnessed the clashes initiated by A’isha, Talha, and Zubair, then by Mu’awiya against Imam Ali and the ensuing loss of numerous lives. She died in 47AH at the age of sixty-three.
 (See Mushkil al‑Athar, by al‑Tahawi, Vol. 1, Page 336.)
 Al-Saadiq and the 4 Madh’habs, Asad Haidar, Vol. 1, Page 612.
 (See Mish’kaat Al-Masabeeh, Translation by Fazlul Karim, Vol. 1, Page 63.)
 Al-Saadiq and the 4 Madh’habs, Asad Haidar, Vol. 1, Page 612.