Category Archives: Stories Of The Salaf

Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari

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Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari

In the Waddan valley which connects Makkah with the outside world, lived the tribe of Ghifar. The Ghifar existed on the meagre offerings of the trade caravans of the Quraysh which plied between Syria and Makkah. It is likely that they also lived by raiding these caravans when they were not given enough to satisfy their needs.

Jundub ibn Junadah, nicknamed Abu Dharr, was a member of this tribe.

He was known for his courage, his calmness and his far sightedness and also for the repugnance he felt against the idols which his people worshipped. He rejected the silly religious beliefs and the religious corruption in which the Arabs were engaged.

While he was in the Waddan desert, news reached Abu Dharr that a new Prophet had appeared in Makkah. He really hoped that his appearance would help to change the hearts and minds of people and lead them away from the darkness of superstition. Without wasting much time, he called his brother, Anis, and said to him:

“Go to Makkah and get whatever news you can of this man who claims that he is a Prophet and that revelation comes to him from the heavens. Listen to some of his sayings and come back and recite them to me.”

Anis went to Makkah and met the Prophet(S.A.W), He listened to what he had to say and returned to the Waddan desert. Abu Dharr met him and anxiously asked for news of the Prophet.

“I have seen a man,” reported Anis, “who calls people to noble qualities and there is no mere poetry in what he says.”

“What do people say about him?” asked Abu Dharr. “They say he is a magician, a soothsayer and a poet.”

“My curiosity is not satisfied. I am not finished with this matter. Will you look after my family while I go out and examine this prophet’s mission myself?”

“Yes. But beware of the Makkans.”

On his arrival at Makkah, Abu Dharr immediately felt very apprehensive and he decided to exercise great caution. The Quraysh were noticeably angry over the denunciation of their gods. Abu Dharr heard of the terrible violence they were meting out to the followers of the Prophet but this was what he expected. He therefore refrained from asking anyone about Muhammad not knowing whether that person might be a follower or an enemy.
At nightfall, he lay down in the Sacred Mosque. Ali ibn abi Talib passed by him and, realising that he was a stranger, asked him to come to his house. Abu Dharr spent the night with him and in the morning took his water pouch and his bag containing provisions and returned to the Mosque. He had asked no questions and no questions were asked of him.

Abu Dharr spent the following day without getting to know the Prophet. At evening he went to the Mosque to sleep and Ali again passed by him and said:

“Isn’t it time that a man knows his house?”

Abu Dharr accompanied him and stayed at his house a second night. Again no one asked the other about anything.

On the third night, however, Ali asked him, “Aren’t you going to tell me why you came to Makkah?”

“Only if you will give me an undertaking that you will guide me to what I seek.”

Ali agreed and Abu Dharr said:

“I came to Makkah from a distant place seeking a meeting with the new Prophet and to listen to some of what he has to say.”

Ali’s face lit up with happiness as he said, “By God, he is really the Messenger of God,” and he went on telling Abu Dharr more about the Prophet and his teaching. Finally, he said:

“When we get up in the morning, follow me wherever I go. If I see anything which I am afraid of for your sake, I would stop as if to pass water. If I continue, follow me until you enter where I enter.”

Abu Dharr did not sleep a wink the rest of that night because of his intense longing to see the Prophet and listen to the words of revelation. In the morning, he followed closely in Ali’s footsteps until they were in the presence of the Prophet.

“As-salaamu alayka yaa Rasulullah, (Peace be on you, O Messenger of God),” greeted Abu Dharr.

” Wa alayka salaamullahi wa rahmatuhu wa barakaatuhu (And on you be the peace of God, His mercy and His blessings),” replied the Prophet.

Abu Dharr was thus the f1rst person to greet the Prophet with the greeting of Islam. After that, the greeting spread and came into general use.

The Prophet(S.A.W) welcomed Abu Dharr and invited him to Islam. He recited some of the Qur’an for him. Before long, Abu Dharr pronounced the Shahadah, thus entering the new religion (without even leaving his place). He was among the first persons to accept Islam.

Let us leave Abu Dharr to continue his own story . . .

After that I stayed with the Prophet in Makkah and he taught me Islam and taught me to read the Qur’an. Then he said to me, “Don’t tell anyone in Makkah about your acceptance of Islam. I fear that they will kill you.”

“By Him in whose hands is my soul, I shall not leave Makkah until I go to the Sacred Mosque and proclaim the call of Truth in the midst of the Quraysh,” vowed Abu Dharr.

The Prophet remained silent. I went to the Mosque. The Quraysh were sitting and talking. I went in their midst and called out at the top of my voice, “O people of Quraysh, I testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

My words had an immediate effect on them. They jumped up and said, “Get this one who has left his religion.” They pounced on me and began to beat me mercilessly. They clearly meant to kill me. But Abbas ibn Abdulmuttalib, the uncle of the Prophet, recognised me. He bent over and protected me from them. He told them:

“Woe to you! Would you kill a man from the Ghifar tribe and your caravans must pass through their territory?”

They then released me. I went back to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and when he saw my condition, he said, “Didn’t I tell you not to announce your acceptance of Islam?”

“O Messenger of God,” I said, “It was a need I felt in my soul and I fulfilled it.”

“Go to your people,” he commanded, “and tell them what you have seen and heard. Invite them to God. Maybe God will bring them good through you and reward you through them. And when you hear that I have come out in the open, then come to me.”

I left and went back to my people. My brother came up to me and asked, “What have you done?” I told him that I had become a Muslim and that I believed in the truth of Muhammad’s teachings.

“I am not averse to your religion. In fact, I am also now a Muslim and a believer,” he said. We both went to our mother then and invited her to Islam.

“I do not have any dislike for your religion. I accept Islam also,” she said.

From that day this family of believers went out tirelessly inviting the Ghifar to God and did not flinch from their purpose. Eventually a large number became Muslims and the congregational Prayer was instituted among them.

Abu Dharr remained in his desert abode until after the Prophet had gone to Madinah and the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq had been fought. At Madinah at last, he asked the Prophet to be in his personal service. The Prophet agreed and was pleased with his companionship and service. He sometimes showed preference to Abu Dharr above others and whenever he met him he would pat him and smile and show his happiness.

After the death of the Prophet, Abu Dharr could not bear to stay in Madinah because of grief and the knowledge that there was to be no more of his guiding company. So he left for the Syrian desert and stayed there during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar.

During the caliphate of Uthman, he stayed in Damascus and saw the Muslims’ concern for the world and their consuming desire for luxury. He was saddened and repelled by this. So Uthman asked him to come to Madinah. At Madinah he was also critical of the people’s pursuit of worldly goods and pleasures and they were critical in turn of his reviling them. Uthman therefore ordered that he should go to Rubdhah, a small village near Madinah. There he stayed far away from people, renouncing their preoccupation with worldly goods and holding on to the legacy of the Prophet and his companions in seeking the everlasting abode of the Hereafter in preference to this transitory world.

Once a man visited him and began looking at the contents of his house but found it quite bare. He asked Abu Dharr:

“Where are your possessions?”

“We have a house yonder (meaning the Hereafter),” said Abu Dharr, “to which we send the best of our possessions.”

The man understood what he meant and said:

“But you must have some possessions so long as you are in this abode.” “The owner of this abode will not leave us in it,” replied Abu Dharr.

Abu Dharr persisted in his simple and frugal life to the end. Once the amir of Syria sent three hundred dinars to Abu Dharr to meet his needs. He returned the money saying, “Does not the amir of Syria find a servant more deserving of it than I?”

In the year 32 AH, the self-denying Abu Dharr passed away. The Prophet, peace be upon him, had said of him: 
“The earth does not carry nor the heavens cover a man more true and faithful than Abu Dharr.”

Barakah(Umm Ayman)

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Barakah(Umm Ayman)

We do not know precisely how the young Abyssinian girl ended up for sale in Makkah. We do not know her ‘roots’, who her mother was, or her father or her ancestors. There were many like her, boys and girls, Arabs and non-Arabs, who were captured and brought to the slave market of the city to be sold.

A few in that inhuman environment were rather more fortunate. They were taken into the homes of more gentle and caring people.
Barakah, the young Abyssinian girl, was one of the more fortunate ones. She was saved by the generous and kind Abdullah, the son of Abd al-Muttalib. ‘She became the only servant in his household and when he was married, to the lady Aminah, she looked after her affairs as well.

Two weeks after the couple were married, according to Barakah, Abdullah’s father came to their house and instructed his son to go with a trading caravan that was leaving for Syria. Aminah was deeply distressed and cried:

“How strange! How strange! How can my husband go on a trading journey to Syria while I am yet a bride and the traces of henna are still on my hands.”

Abdullah’s departure was heartbreaking. In her anguish, Aminah fainted. Soon after he left, Barakah said: “When I saw Aminah unconscious, I shouted in distress and pain: ‘O my lady!’ Aminah opened her eyes and looked at me with tears streaming down her face. Suppressing a groan she said: “Take me to bed, Barakah.”

“Aminah stayed bedridden for a long time. She spoke to no one. Neither did she look at anyone who visited her except Abd al-Muttalib, that noble and gentle old man. “Two months after the departure of Abdullah, Aminah called me at dawn one morning and, her face beaming with joy, she said to me:

“O Barakah! I have seen a strange dream.” “Something good, my lady,” I said.

“I saw lights coming from my abdomen lighting up the

mountains, the hills and the valleys around Makkah.” “Do you feel pregnant, my lady?”

“Yes, Barakah,” she replied. “But I do not feel any discomfort as other women feel.” “You shall give birth to a blessed child who will bring goodness,” I said.

 So long as Abdullah was away, Aminah remained sad and melancholic. Barakah stayed at her side trying to comfort her and make her cheerful by talking to her and relating stories. Aminah however became even more distressed when Abd al-Muttalib came and told her she had to leave her home and go to the mountains as other Makkans had done because of an impending attack on the city by the ruler of

Yemen, someone called Abrahah. Aminah told him that she was too grief-striken and weak to leave for the mountains but insisted that Abrahah could never enter Makkah and destroy the Kabah because it was protected by the Lord. 
Abd al-Muttalib became very agitated but there was no sign of fear on Aminah’s face. Her confidence that the Kabah would not be harmed was well-founded. Abrahah’s army with an elephant in the vanguard was destroyed before it could enter Makkah.

Day and night, Barakah stayed beside Aminah. She said: “I slept at the foot of her bed and heard her groans at night as she called for her absent husband. Her moans would awaken me and I would try to comfort her and give her courage.”

The first part of the caravan from Syria returned and was joyously welcomed by the trading families of Makkah. Barakah went secretly to the house of Abd al-Muttalib to find out about Abdullah but had no news of him. She went back to Aminah but did not tell her what she had seen or heard in order not to distress her. The entire caravan eventually returned but not with Abdullah.

Later, Barakah was at Abd al-Muttalib’s house when news came from Yathrib that Abdullah had died. She said: “I screamed when I heard the news. I don’t know what I did after that except that I ran to Aminah’s house shouting, lamenting for the absent one who would never return, lamenting for the beloved one for whom we waited so long, lamenting for the most beautiful youth of Makkah, for Abdullah, the pride of the Quraysh.

“When Aminah heard the painful news, she fainted and I stayed by her bedside while she was in a state between life and death. There was no one else but me in Aminah’s house. I nursed her and looked after her during the day and through the long nights until she gave birth to her child, “Muhammad”, on a night in which the heavens were resplendent with the light of God.”

When Muhammad was born, Barakah was the first to hold him in her arms. His grandfather came and took him to the Kabah and with all Makkah, celebrated his birth. Barakah stayed with Aminah while Muhammad was sent to the badiyah with the lady Halimah who looked after him in the bracing atmosphere of the open desert. At the end of five years, he was brought back to Makkah and Aminah received him with tenderness and love and Barakah welcomed him “with joy, longing and admiration”.

When Muhammad was six years old, his mother decided to visit the grave of her husband, Abdullah, in Yathrib. Both Barakah and Abd al-Muttalib tried to dissuade her. Aminah however was determined. So one morning they set off- Aminah, Muhammad and Barakah huddled together in a small hawdaj mounted on a large camel, part of a huge caravan that was going to Syria. In order to shield the tender child from any pain and worry, 
Aminah did not tell Muhammad that she was going to visit the grave of his father.

The caravan went at a brisk pace. Barakah tried to console Aminah for her son’s sake and much of the time the boy Muhammad slept with his arms around Barakah’s neck.

The caravan took ten days to reach Yathrib. The boy Muhammad was left with his maternal uncles of the Banu Najjar while Aminah went to visit the grave of Abdullah. Each day for a few weeks she stayed at the grave. She was consumed by grief.

On the way back to Makkah, Aminah became seriously ill with fever. Halfway between Yathrib and Makkah, at a place called al-Abwa, they stopped. Aminah’s health deteriorated rapidly. One pitch dark night, she was running a high temperature. The fever had got to her head and she called out to Barakah in a choking voice.
Barakah related: “She whispered in my ear: ‘O Barakah, I shall depart from this world shortly. I commend my son Muhammad to your care. He lost his father while he was in my abdomen. Here he is now, losing his mother under his very eyes. Be a mother to him, Barakah. And don’t ever leave him.’

“My heart was shattered and I began to sob and wail. The child was distressed by my wailing and began to weep. He threw himself into his mother’s arms and held tightly onto her neck. She gave one last moan and then was forever silent.”

Barakah wept. She wept bitterly. With her own hands she dug a grave in the sand and buried Aminah, moistening the grave with whatever tears were left in her heart. Barakah returned with the orphan child to Makkah and placed him in the care of his grandfather. She stayed at his house to look after him. When Abd al-Muttalib died two years later, she went with the child to the house of his uncle Abu Talib and continued to look after his needs until he was grown up and married the lady Khadijah.

Barakah then stayed with Muhammad and Khadijah in a house belonging to Khadijah. “I never left him and he never left me,” she said. One day Muhammad(S.A.W) called out to her and said: “Ya Ummah!” (He always called her “Mother”.) “Now I am a married man, and you are still unmarried. What do you think if someone should come now and ask to marry you?” Barakah looked at Muhammad and said: “I shall never leave you. Does a mother abandon her son?” Muhammad smiled and kissed her head. He looked at his wife Khadijah and said to her: “This is Barakah. This is my mother after my own mother. She is the rest of my family.”

Barakah looked at the lady Khadijah who said to her: “Barakah, you have sacrificed your youth for the sake of Muhammad. Now he wants to pay back some of his obligations to you. For my sake and his, agree to be married before old age overtakes you.”

“Whom shall I marry, my lady?” asked Barakah. “There is here now Ubayd ibn Zayd from the Khazraj tribe of Yathrib. He has come to us seeking your hand in marriage. For my sake, don’t refuse.”

Barakah agreed. She married Ubayd ibn Zayd and went with him to Yathrib. There she gave birth to a son whom she called Ayman and from that time onwards people called her “Umm Ayman” the mother of Ayman.

Her marriage however did not last very long. Her husband died and she returned once more to Makkah to live with her “son” Muhammad in the house of the lady Khadijah. Living in the same household at the time were Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hind (Khadijah’s daughter by her first husband), and Zayd ibn Harithah.

Zayd was an Arab from the tribe of Kalb who was captured as a boy and brought to Makkah to be sold in the slave market. He was bought by Khadijah’s nephew and put in her service. In Khadijah’s household, Zayd became attached to Muhammad and devoted himself to his service. Their relationship was like that of a son to a father. Indeed when Zayd’s father came to Makkah in search of him, Zayd was given the choice by Muhammad of either going with his father or staying with him. Zayd’s reply to his father was:

“I shall never leave this man. He has treated me nobly, as a father would treat his son. Not a single day have I felt that I am a slave. He has looked after me well. He is kind and loving towards me and strives for my enjoyment and happiness. He is the most noble of men and the greatest person in creation. How can I leave him and go with you?…I shall never leave him.”
Later, in public Muhammad proclaimed the freedom of Zayd. However, Zayd continued to live with him as part of his household and devoted himself to his service.
When Muhammad was blessed with prophethood, Barakah and Zayd were among the first to believe in the message he proclaimed. They bore with the early Muslims the persecution which the Quraysh meted out to them.

Barakah and Zayd performed invaluable services to the mission of the Prophet. They acted as part of an intelligence service exposing themselves to the persecution and punishment of the Quraysh and risking their lives to gain information on the plans and conspiracies of the mushrikin.

One night the mushrikun blocked off the roads leading to the House of al-Arqam where the Prophet gathered his companions regularly to instruct them in the teachings of Islam. Barakah had some urgent information from Khadijah which had to be conveyed to the Prophet. She risked her life trying to reach the House of al-Arqam. When she arrived and conveyed the message to the Prophet, he smiled and said to her:

“You are blessed, Umm Ayman. Surely you have a place in Paradise.” When Umm Ayman left, the Prophet looked at his companions and asked: “Should one of you desire to marry a woman from the people of Paradise, let him marry Umm Ayman.”

Ali the companions remained silent and did not utter a word. Umm Ayman was neither beautiful nor attractive. She was by now about fifty years old and looked rather frail. Zayd ibn al-Harithah however came forward and said:

“Messenger of Allah, I shall marry Umm Ayman. By Allah, she is better than women who have grace and beauty.”

Zayd and Umm Ayman were married and were blessed with a son whom they named Usamah. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, loved Usamah as his own son. Often he played with him, kissed him and fed him with his own hands. The Muslims would say: “He is the beloved son of the beloved.” From an early age Usamah distinguished himself in the service of lslam, and was later given weighty responsibilities by the Prophet.

When the Prophet migrated to Yathrib, henceforth to be known as al-Madinah, he left Umm Ayman behind in Makkah to look after certain special affairs in his household.
 Eventually she migrated to Madinah on her own. She made the long and difficult journey through the desert and mountainous terrain on foot. The heat was killing and sandstorms obscured the way but she persisted, borne along by her deep love and attachment for Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace. When she reached Madinah, her feet were sore and swollen and her face was covered with sand and dust.

You “Ya Umm Ayman! Ya Ummi! (O Umm Ayman! O my mother!) Indeed for you is a place in Paradise!” exclaimed the Prophet when he saw her. He wiped her face and eyes, massaged her feet and rubbed her shoulders with his kind and gentle hands.

At Madinah, Umm Ayman played her full part in the affairs of the Muslims. 
At Uhud she distributed water to the thirsty and tended the wounded. She accompanied the Prophet on some expeditions, to Khaybar and Hunayn for example.

Her son Ayman, a devoted companion of the Prophet was martyred at Hunayn in the eighth year after the Hijrah. Barakah’s husband, Zayd, was killed at the Battle of Mutah in Syria after a lifetime of distinguished service to the Prophet and Islam. Barakah at this time was about seventy years old and spent much of her time at home. 
The Prophet, accompanied by Abu Bakr and Umar often visited her and asked: “Ya Ummi! Are you well?” and she would reply: “I am well, O Messenger of Allah so long as Islam is.”

After the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had died, Barakah would often be found with tears in her eyes. She was once asked, “Why are you crying?” and she replied: “By Allah, I knew that the Messenger of Allah would die but I cry now because the revelation from on high has come to an end for us.”

Barakah was unique in that she was the only one who was so close to the Prophet throughout his life from birth till death. Her life was one of selfless service in the Prophet’s household. She remained deeply devoted to the person of the noble, gentle and caring Prophet. Above all, her devotion to the religion of Islam was strong and unshakable. She died during the caliphate of Uthman. Her roots were unknown but her place in Paradise was assured.

Abu Ayyub Al Ansari

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Abu Ayyub Al Ansari

Khalid ibn Zayd ibn Kulayb from the Banu Najjar was a great and close companion of the Prophet. He was known as Abu Ayyub (the father of Ayyub) and enjoyed a privilege which many of the Ansar in Madinah hoped they would have.

When the Prophet(S.A.W) reached Madinah after his hijrah from Makkah, he was greeted with great enthusiasm by the Ansar of Madinah. Their hearts went out to him and their eyes followed him with devotion and love. They wanted to give him the most generous reception anyone could be given.

The Prophet(S.A.W) first stopped at Quba on the outskirts of Madinah and stayed there for some days. The first thing he did was to build a mosque which is described in the Qur’an as the “mosque built on the foundation of piety (taqwa)”.

(Surah At-Tawbah 9: 108).

The Prophet(S.A.W) entered Madinah on his camel. The chieftains of the city stood along his path, each one wishing to have the honour of the Prophet alighting and staying at his house. One after the other stood in the camel’s way entreating, “Stay with us, O Rasulullah.”

“Leave the camel,” the Prophet(S.A.W) would say. “It is under command.”

The camel continued walking, closely followed by the eyes and hearts of the people of Yathrib. When it went past a house, its owner would feel sad and dejected and hope would rise in the hearts of others still on the route.

The camel continued in this fashion with the people following it until it hesitated at an open space in front of the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. But the Prophet(S.A.W) did not get down. After only a short while, the camel set off again, the Prophet(S.A.W) leaving its reins loose. Before long, however, it turned round, retraced its steps and stopped on the same spot as before. Abu Ayyub’s heart was filled with happiness. He went out to the Prophet(S.A.W) and greeted him with great enthusiasm. He took the Prophet’s(S.A.W) baggage in his arms and felt as if he was carrying the most precious treasure in the world.

Abu Ayyub’s house had two storeys. He emptied the upper floor of his and his family’s possessions so that the Prophet(S.A.W) could stay there. But the Prophet(S.A.W) preferred to stay on the lower floor.

Night came and the Prophet retired. Abu Ayyub went up to the upper floor. But when they had closed the door, Abu Ayyub turned to his wife and said:

“Woe to us! What have we done? The messenger of God(S.A.W) is below and we are higher than he! Can we walk on top of the messenger of God? Do we come between him and the Revelation? If so, we are doomed.”

The couple became very worried not knowing what to do. They only got some peace of mind when they moved to the side of the building which did not fall directly above the Prophet. They were careful also only to walk on the outer parts of the floor and avoid the middle.

In the morning, Abu Ayyub said to the Prophet:

“By God, we did not sleep a wink last night, neither myself nor Umm Ayyub.”

“Why not, Abu Ayyub?” asked the Prophet.

Abu Ayyub explained how terrible they felt being above while the Prophet was below them and how they might have interrupted the Revelation.

“Don’t worry, Abu Ayyub,” said the Prophet. “We prefer the lower floor because of the many people coming to visit us.”

“We submitted to the Prophet’s wishes,” Abu Ayyub related, “until one cold night a jar of ours broke and the water spilled on the upper floor. Umm Ayyub and I stared at the water. We only had one piece of velvet which we used as a blanket. We used it to mop up the water out of fear that it would seep through to the Prophet(S.A.W). In the morning I went to him and said, ‘I do not like to be above you,’ and told him what had happened. He accepted my wish and we changed floors.”

The Prophet(S.A.W) stayed in Abu Ayyub’s house for almost seven months until his mosque was completed on the open space where his camel had stopped. He moved to the rooms which were built around the mosque for himself and his family. He thus became a neighbour of Abu Ayyub. What a noble neighbour to have had!

Abu Ayyub continued to love the Prophet with all his heart and the Prophet also loved him dearly. There was no formality between them. The Prophet continued to regard Abu Ayyub’s house as his own. The following anecdote tells a great deal about the relationship between them.

Abu Bakr(R.A) once left his house in the burning heat of the midday sun and went to the mosque. Umar saw him and asked, “Abu Bakr, what has brought you out at this hour? Abu Bakr said he had left his house because he was terribly hungry and Umar(R.A) said that he had left his house for the same reason. The Prophet(S.A.W) came up to them and asked, “What has brought the two of you out at this hour?” They told him and he said, “By Him in Whose hands is my soul, only hunger has caused me to come out also. But come with me.”

They went to the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. His wife opened the door and said, “Welcome to the Prophet and whoever is with him.”

“Where is Abu Ayyub?” asked the Prophet(S.A.W). Abu Ayyub, who was working in a nearby palm grove, heard the Prophet’s voice and came hurriedly.

“Welcome to the Prophet and whoever is with him,” he said and went on, “O Prophet of God, this is not the time that you usually come.” (Abu Ayyub used to keep some food for the Prophet every day. When the Prophet did not come for it by a certain time, Abu Ayyub would give it to his family.) “You are right,” the Prophet agreed.

Abu Ayyub went out and cut a cluster of dates in which there were ripe and half-ripe dates.
“I did not want you to cut this,” said the Prophet. “Could you not have brought only the ripe dates?”

“O Rasulullah, please eat from both the ripe dates (rutb) and the half ripe (busr). I shall slaughter an animal for you also.”

“If you are going to, then do not kill one that gives milk,” cautioned the Prophet.

Abu Ayyub killed a young goat, cooked half and grilled the other half. He also asked his wife to bake, because she baked better, he said.

When the food was ready, it was placed before the Prophet and his two companions. The Prophet took a piece of meat and placed it in a loaf and said, “Abu Ayyub, take this to Fatimah. She has not tasted the like of this for days.”

When they had eaten and were satisfied, the Prophet said reflectively:

“Bread and meat and busr and rutb!” Tears began to flow from his eyes as he continued:

“This is a bountiful blessing about which you will be asked on the Day of Judgment. If such comes your way, put your hands to it and say, ‘Bismillah’ (In the name of God) and when you have finished say, ‘Al hamdu lillah alladhee huwa ashba’na wa an’ama a layna (Praise be to God Who has given us enough and Who has bestowed his bounty on us). This is best.”

These are glimpses of Abu Ayyub’s life during peace time. He also had a distinguished military career. Much of his time was spent as a warrior until it was said of him, “He did not stay away from any battle the Muslims fought from the time of the Prophet to the time of Mu’awiyah unless he;: was engaged at the same time in another.”

The last campaign he took part in was the one prepared by Mu’awiyah and led by his son Yazid against Constantinople. Abu Ayyub at that time was a very old man, almost eighty years old. But that did not prevent him from joining the army and crossing the seas as a graze in the path of God. 
After only a short time engaged in the battle, Abu Ayyub fell ill and had to withdraw from fighting. Yazid came to him and asked:

“Do you need anything, Abu Ayyub?”

“Convey my salaams to the Muslim armies and say to them:

‘Abu Ayyub urges you to penetrate deeply into the territory of the enemy as far as you can go, that you should carry him with you and that you should bury him under your feet at the walls of Constantinople.”‘ Then he breathed his last.

The Muslim army fulfilled the desire of the companion of the Messenger of God. They pushed back the enemy’s forces in attack after attack until they reached the walls of Constantinople. There they buried him.

(The Muslims beseiged the city for four years but eventually had to withdraw after suffering heavy losses.)

Asmaa Bint Abu Bakr

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Asmaa Bint Abu Bakr

Asmaa bint Abu Bakr belonged to a distinguished Muslim family. Her father, Abu Bakr, was a close friend of the Prophet and the first Khalifah after his death. Her half- sister, A’ishah, was a wife of the Prophet and one of the Ummahat al-Mu ‘m ineen. Her husband, Zubayr ibn al- Awwam, was one of the special personal aides of the Prophet. Her son, Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr, became well- known for his incorruptibility and his unswerving devotion to Truth.

Asmaa herself was one of the first persons to accept Islam. Only about seventeen persons including both men and women became Muslims before her. She was later given the nickname Dhat an-Nitaqayn (the One with the Two Waistbands) because of an incident connected with the departure of the Prophet and her father from Makkah on the historic hijrah to Madinah.
Asmaa became known for her fine and noble qualities and for the keenness of her intelligence. She was an extremely generous person. Her son Abdullah once said of her, “I have not seen two women more generous than my aunt A’ishah and my mother Asmaa. But their generosity was expressed in different ways. My aunt would accumulate one thing after another until she had gathered what she felt was sufficient and then distributed it all to those in need. My mother, on the other hand, would not keep anything even for the morrow.”
If the above incidents and aspects of Asmaa’s life may easily be forgotten, then her final meeting with her son, Abdullah, must remain one of the most unforgettable moments in early Muslim history. At that meeting she demonstrated the keenness of her intelligence, her resoluteness and the strength of her faith.

Abdullah was in the running for the Caliphate after the death of Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah. The Hijaz, Egypt, Iraq, Khurasan and much of Syria were favourable to him and acknowledged him as the Caliph. The Ummayyads however continued to contest the Caliphate and to field a massive army under the command of Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ath-Thaqafi. Relentless battles were fought between the two sides during which Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr displayed great acts of courage and heroism. Many of his supporters however could not withstand the continuous strain of battle and gradually began to desert him. 

Finally he sought refuge in the Sacred Mosque at Makkah. It was then that he went to his mother, now an old blind woman, and said:

“Peace be on you, Mother, and the mercy and blessings of God.”

“Unto you be peace, Abdullah,” she replied. “What is it that brings you here at this hour while boulders from Hajjaj’s catapults are raining down on your soldiers in the Haram and shaking the houses of Makkah?” “I came to seek your advice,” he said.

“To seek my advice?” she asked in astonishment. “About what?”

“The people have deserted me out of fear of Hajjaj or being tempted by what he has to offer. Even my children and my family have left me. There is only a small group of men with me now and however strong and steadfast they are they can only resist for an hour or two more. Messengers of the Banu Umayyah (the Umayyads) are now negotiating with me, offering to give me whatever wordly possessions I want, should I lay down my arms and swear allegiance to Abdul Malik ibn Marwan. What do you think?”

Raising her voice, she replied:

“It’s your affair, Abdullah, and you know yourself better. If however you think that you are right and that you are standing up for the Truth, then persevere and fight on as your companions who were killed under your flag had shown perseverance. If however you desire the world, what a miserable wretch you are. You would have destroyed yourself and you would have destroyed your men.”

“But I will be killed today, there is no doubt about it.”

“That is better for you than that you should surrender yourself to Hajjaj voluntarily and that some minions of Banu Umayyah should play with your head.”

“I do not fear death. I am only afraid that they will mutilate me.”

“There is nothing after death that man should be afraid of. Skinning does not cause any pain to the slaughtered sheep.”

Abdullah’s face beamed as he said:

“What a blessed mother! Blessed be your noble qualities! I have come to you at this hour to hear what I have heard. God knows that I have not weakened or despaired. He is witness over me that I have not stood up for what I have out of love for this world and its attractions but only out of anger for the sake of God. His limits have been transgressed. Here am I, going to what is pleasing to you. So if I am killed, do not grieve for me and commend me to God.”

“I shall grieve for you,” said the ageing but resolute Asmaa, “only if you are killed in a vain and unjust cause.”

“Be assured that your son has not supported an unjust cause, nor committed any detestable deed, nor done any injustice to a Muslim or a Dhimmi and that there is nothing better in his sight than the pleasure of God, the Mighty, the Great. I do not say this to exonerate myself. God knows that I have only said it to make your heart firm and steadfast. ”

“Praise be to God who has made you act according to what He likes and according fo what I like. Come close to me, my son, that I may smell and feel your body for this might be the last meeting with you.”

Abdullah knelt before her. She hugged him and smothered his head, his face and his neck with kisses. Her hands began to squeeze his body when suddenly she withdrew them and asked:

“What is this you are wearing, Abdullah?” “This is my armour plate.”

“This, my son, ls not the dress of one who desires martyrdom. Take it off. That will make your movements lighter and quicker. Wear instead the sirwal (a long under garment) so that if you are killed your ‘awrah will not be exposed.

Abdullah took off his armour plate and put on the sirwal. As he left for the Haram to join the fighting he said:

“My mother, don’t deprive me of your dada (prayer).” Raising her hands to heaven, she prayed:

“O Lord, have mercy on his staying up for long hours and his loud crying in the darkness of the night while people slept . . .

“O Lord, have mercy on his hunger and his thirst on his journeys from Madinah and Makkah while he fasted . . .

“O Lord, bless his righteousness to his mother and his father . . .

“O Lord, I commend him to Your cause and I am pleased with whatever You decree for him. 
And grant me for his sake the reward of those who are patient and who persevere.”

By sunset, Abdullah was dead. Just over ten days later, his mother joined him. She was a hundred years old. Age had not made her infirm nor blunted the keenness of her mind.

Rumaysa Bint Milhan

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Rumaysa Bint Milhan

Even before Islam was introduced to Yathrib, Rumaysa was known for her excellent character, the power of her intellect and her independent attitude of mind. She was known by various names including Rumaysa and Ghumaysa, but these were possibly nicknames. One historian says that her real name was Sahlah but later she was popularly known as Umm Sulaym.

Umm Sulaym was first married to Malik ibn an-Nadr and her son by this marriage was the famous Anas ibn Malik, one of the great companions of the Prophet.

Umm Sulaym was one of the first women of Yathrib to accept Islam. She was influenced by the refined, dedicated and persuasive Musab ibn Umayr who was sent out as the first missionary or ambassador of Islam by the noble Prophet. This was after the first pledge of Aqabah. Twelve men of Yathrib had gone to Aqabah on the outskirts of Makkah to pledge loyalty to the Prophet. This was the first major breakthrough for the mission of the Prophet for many years.

Umm Sulaym’s decision to accept Islam was made without the knowledge or consent of her husband, Malik ibn an-Nadr. He was absent from Yathrib at the time and when he returned he felt some change had come over his household and asked his wife: “Have you be en rejuvenated?” “No,” she said, “but I (now) believe in this man (meaning the Prophet Muhammad).”

Malik was not pleased especially when his wife went on to announce her acceptance of Islam in public and instruct her son Anas in the teachings and practice of the new faith. She taught him the shahadah. The young Anas repeated this simple but profound declaration of faith clearly and emphatically.

Umm Sulaym’s husband was now furious. He shouted at her: “Don’t corrupt my son.” “I am not corrupting him ,” she replied firmly.

Her husband then left the house and it is reported that he was set upon by an enemy of his and was killed. The news shocked but apparently did not upset Umm Sulaym greatly. She remained devoted to her son Anas and was concerned about his. proper upbringing. She is even reported to have said that she would not marry again unless Anas approved.

When it was known that Umm Sulaym had become a widow, one man, Zayd ibn Sahl, known as Abu Talhah, resolved to become engaged to her before anyone else did.

He was rather confident that Umm Sulaym would not pass him over for another. He was after all a strong and virile person who was quite rich and who possessed an imposing house that was much admired. He was an accomplished horseman and a skilful archer and , moreover, he belonged to the same clan as Umm Sulaym, the Banu Najjar.

Abu Talhah proceeded to Umm Sulaym’s house. On the way he recalled that she had been influenced by the preaching of Musab ibn Umayr and had become a Muslim.
“So what?” he said to himself. “Was not her husband who died a firm adherent of the old religion and was he not opposed to Muhammad and his mission?”

Abu Talhah reached Umm Sulaym’s house. He asked and was given permission to enter. Her son Anas was present. Abu Talhah explained why he had come and asked for her hand in marriage.

“A man like you, Abu Talhah ,” she said, “is not (easily) turned away. But I shall never marry you while you are a kafir, an unbeliever.”

Abu Talhah thought she was trying to put him off and that perhaps she had already preferred someone wealthier and more influential. He said to her:

“What is it that really prevents you from accepting me, Umm Sulaym? Is it the yellow and the white metals (gold and silver)?”

“Gold and silver?” she asked somewhat taken aback and in a slightly censuring tone. “Yes,” he said. “I swear to you, Abu Talhah, and I swear to God and His Messenger that if you accept Islam, I shall be pleased to accept you as a husband, without any gold or silver. I shall consider your acceptance of Islam as my mahr.”

Abu Talhah understood well the implications of her words. His mind turned to the idol he had made from wood and on which he lavished great attention in the same way that important men of his tribe venerated and cared for their personal idols.

The opportunity was right for Umm Sulaym to stress the futility of such idol worship and she went on: “Don’t you know Abu Talhah, that the god you worship besides Allah grew from the earth?” “That’s true,” he said.

“Don’t you feel stupid while worshipping part of a tree while you use the rest of it for fuel to bake bread or warm yourself? (If you should give up these foolish beliefs and practices) and become a Muslim, Abu Talhah, I shall be pleased to accept you as a husband and I would not want from you any sadaqah apart from your acceptance of Islam.”

“Who shall instruct me in Islam?” asked Abu Talhah. “I shall,” Umm Sulaym replied. “How?”

“Utter the declaration of truth and testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Then go to your house, destroy your idol and throw it away.”

Abu Talhah left and reflected deeply on what Umm Sulaym had said. He came back to her beaming with happiness.

“I have taken your advice to heart. I declare that there is no god but Allah and I declare that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

Umm Sulaym and Abu Talhah were married. Anas, her son, was pleased and the Muslims would say: “We have never yet heard of a mahr that was more valuable and precious than that of Umm Sulaym for she made Islam her mahr.”

Umm Sulaym was pleased and delighted with her new husband who placed his unique energies and talents in the service of Islam. He was one of the seventy three men who swore allegiance to the Prophet(S.A.W) at the second Pledge of Aqabah. With him, according to one report, was his wife Umm Sulaym. Two other women, the celebrated Nusaybah bint Ka’ab and Asma bint Amr witnessed Aqabah and took the oath of allegiance to the Prophet(S.A.W).
Abu Talhah was devoted to the Prophet(S.A.W) and took enormous delight in simply looking at him and listening to the sweetness of his speech. He participated in all the major military campaigns. He lived a very ascetic life and was known to fast for long periods at a time. It is said that he had a fantastic orchard in Madinah with date palms and grapes and running water. 
One day while he was performing Salat in the shade of the trees, a beautiful bird with brightly colored plumage flew in front of him. He became engrossed in the scene and forgot how many rakats he had prayed. Two? Three? When he completed the Prayer he went to the Prophet and described how he had been distracted. In the end, he said: “Bear witness, Messenger of Allah, that I hand over this orchard as a charity for the sake of Allah, the Exalted.”

Abu Talhah and Umm Sulaym had an exemplary Muslim family life, devoted to the Prophet and the service of Muslims and Islam. The Prophet used to visit their home. Sometimes when the time of Prayer came, he would pray on a mat provided by Umm Sulaym. Sometimes also he would have a siesta in their house and, as he slept, she would wipe the perspiration from his forehead. Once when the Prophet awoke from his siesta, he asked: “Umm Sulaym, what are you doing?” “I am taking these (drops of perspiration) as a barakah (blessing) which comes from you ,” she replied.

At another time, the Prophet went to their house and Umm Sulaym offered him dates and butterfat but he did not have any of it because he was fasting. Occasionally, she would send her son Anas with bags of dates to his house.

It was noticed that the Prophet(S.A.W) had a special compassion for Umm Sulaym and her family and when asked about it, he replied: “Her brother was killed beside me.”

Umm Sulaym also had a well-known sister, Umm Haram, the wife of the imposing Ubadah ibn as- Samit. She died at sea during a naval expedition and was buried in Cyprus. Umm Sulaym’s husband, Abu Talhah, also died while he was on a naval expedition during the time of the third Caliph, Uthman, and was buried at sea.

Umm Sulaym herself was noted for her great courage and bravery. During the Battle of Uhud, she carried a dagger in the folds of her dress. She gave water to and tended the wounded and she made attempts to defend the Prophet when the tide of battle was turning against him. At the Battle of Khandaq, the Prophet saw her carrying a dagger and he asked her what she was doing with it. She said: “It is to fight those who desert.”

“May God grant you satisfaction in that,” replied the Prophet. In the face of adversity, Umm Sulaym displayed a unique calmness and strength. One of her young sons (Umayr) fell sick and died while her husband was away looking after his orchards. She bathed the child and wrapped him in shrouds. She told others at her home that they should not inform Abu Talhah because she herself wanted to tell him.

Umm Sulaym had another son whose name was Abdullah. A few days after she gave birth, she sent Anas with the baby and a bag of dates to the Prophet. The Prophet placed the baby on his lap. He crushed the dates in his mouth and put some in the baby’s mouth. The baby sucked the dates with relish and the Prophet said: “The Ansar are only fond of dates.”

Abdullah eventually grew up and had seven children all of whom memorized the Quran.

Umm Sulaym was a model Muslim, a model wife and mother. Her belief in God was strong and uncompromising. She was not prepared to endanger her faith and the upbringing of her children for wealth and luxury, however abundant and tempting.

She was devoted to the Prophet(S.A.W) and dedicated her son Anas to his service. She took the responsibility of educating her children and she played an active part in public life, sharing with the other Muslims the hardships and the joys of building a community and living for the pleasure of God.

Abdullah Ibn Jahsh

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Abdullah Ibn Jahsh

Abdullah ibn Jahsh was a cousin of the Prophet and his sister, Zaynab bint Jahsh, was a wife of the Prophet. He was the first to head a group of Muslims on an expedition and so was the first to be called ‘Amir al-Mu’mineen’ Commander of the Believers.

Abdullah ibn Jahsh became a Muslim before the Prophet entered the House of al-Arqam which became a meeting place, a school and a place of refuge for the early Muslims. He was thus one of the first to accept Islam.
When the Prophet gave permission for his Companions to emigrate to Madinah to avoid further persecution from the Quraysh, Abdullah ibn Jahsh was the second to leave, preceded only by Abu Salamah. Emigrating was not a new experience for Abdullah. He and some members of his immediate family had migrated before to Abyssinia. This time, however, his migration was on a far bigger scale. His family and relatives men, women and children, migrated with him. In fact, his whole clan had become Muslims and accompanied him.
Abdullah’s clan were not long gone when the alerted Quraysh leaders came out and made the rounds of the districts in Makkah to find out which Muslims had left and who had remained. Among these leaders were Abu Jahl and Utbah ibn Rabi’ah. Utbah looked at the houses of the Banu Jahsh through which the dusty winds were blowing. He banged on the doors and shouted:
“The houses of the Banu Jahsh have become empty and are weeping for its occupants.”
‘Who were these people anyway,” said Abu Jahl derisively, “that houses should weep for them.” He then laid claim to the house of Abdullah ibn Jahsh. It was the most beautiful and expensive of the houses. He began to dispose freely of its contents as a king would share out his possessions .
Later, when Abdullah ibn Jahsh heard what Abu Jahl had done to his house, he mentioned it to the Prophet(S.A.W) who said:
“Aren’t you satisfied, O Abdullah, with what God has given you instead a house in Paradise?” “Yes, messenger of God,” he replied, and became at peace with himself and completely satisfied.
Abdullah ibn Jahsh had scarcely settled down in Madinah when he had to undergo one of the most testing experiences. He had just begun to taste something of the good and restful life under the sponsorship of the Ansar after going through persecution at the hands of the Quraysh when he had to be exposed to the severest test he had ever known in his life and carry out the most difficult assignment since he became a Muslim 
The prophet(S.A.W) commissioned eight of his Companions to carry out the first military assignment in Islam. Among them were Abdullah ibn Jahsh and Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas.
“I appoint as your Commander the one who can best bear hunger and thirst,” said the Prophet and gave the standard to Abdullah ibn Jahsh. He was thus the first to be made amir over a contingent of believers.
The Prophet gave him precise instructions on the route he should take on the expedition and gave him a letter. He commanded Abdullah to read the letter only after two days’ travel.
After the expedition had been on its way for two days, Abdullah looked at the contents of the letter. It said, “When you have read this letter, press on until you come to a place called Nakhlah between Ta’if and Makkah. From there observe the Quraysh and gather whatever information you can on them for us.”
“At your command, O Prophet of God,” exclaimed Abdullah as he finished reading the letter. Then he spoke to his colleagues:
“The Prophet(S.A.W) has commanded me to proceed to Nakhlah to observe the Quraysh and gather information on them for him. He has also commanded me not to go further with anyone of you who is against the purpose of this expedition. So whoever desires martyrdom and is in total agreement with this expedition can accompany me. Whoever is not in agreement, may turn back without blame.”
“At your command, O messenger of Allah,” they all responded. “We shall go with you, Abdullah, wherever the Prophet of God has commanded.”
The group continued until they reached Nakhlah and began to move along the mountain passes seeking information on Quraysh movements. While they were thus engaged, they saw in the distance a Quraysh caravan. There were four men in the caravan Amr ibn alHadrami, Hukm ibn Kaysan, Uthman ibn Abdullah and his brother Mughirah. They were carrying merchandise for the Quraysh, skins, raisins and other usual Quraysh stock in trade.
The Sahabah conferred together. It was the last day of the sacred months. “If we were to kill them,” they agreed, “we would have killed them in the inviolable months. To do so would be to violate the sacredness of this month and expose ourselves to the wrath of all Arabs. If we leave them alone for a day so that the month will be completed, they would have entered the inviolable precincts of Makkah and thus be secure from us.”
They continued consulting until finally they agreed to pounce on the caravan and take whatever merchandise they could as booty. Before long, two of the men were captured and one was killed; the fourth escaped.
Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men took the two prisoners and the caravan on to Madinah. They went to the Prophet(S.A.W) and informed him about what they had done. The Prophet was greatly upset and strongly condemned their action.
“By God, I did not command you to fight. I only commanded you to gather information on the Quraysh and observe their movements.” He granted a reprieve to the two prisoners and he left the caravan and did not take a single item from it.
Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men then knew that they had fallen into disgrace and felt certain that they were ruined because of their disobeying the command of the Prophet. They began to feel the pressure as their Muslim brothers censured them and avoided them whenever they passed one another. And they would say, “These went against the command of the Prophet.”
Their discomfiture grew when they learnt that the Quraysh had taken the incident as a means to discredit the Prophet and denounce him among the tribes. The Quraysh were saying:
“Muhammad(S.A.W) has defiled the sacred month. He has shed blood in it, plundered wealth and captured men.”
Imagine the extent of the sadness felt by Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men at what had happened, more so because of the acute embarrassment they had caused the Prophet(S.A.W) 
They were sorely tormented and the agony weighed heavily on them. Then came the good news that Allah Glorified be He was pleased with what they had done and had sent down revelation to His Prophet about this matter. Imagine their happiness! People came and embraced them, congratulating them on the good news and reciting to them what had been revealed in the glorious Qur’an about their action.
“They ask you about fighting in the sacred month. Say: Fighting therein is an enormity as well as preventing (people) from the path of God and disbelief in Him. Expelling people from the Masjid al Haram is a greater sin in the eyes of God. Moreover, persecution is greater than killing.”

(Surah al-Baqarah 2: 212).
When these blessed verses were revealed, the Prophet’s mind was eased. He took the caravan and ransomed the prisoners. He became pleased with Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men. Their expedition was certainly a major event in the early life of the Muslim community . . .
The Battle of Badr followed. Abdullah ibn Jahsh fought in it and was put to a great test, but a test to which his faith was equal.
Then came the Battle of Uhud. There is an unforgettable story involving Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his friend Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas concerning an incident that took place during the Battle of Uhud. Let us leave Sa’d to tell the story:
During the battle, Abdullah came to me and said, “Aren’t you making a du’a to God?”
“Yes,” said I. So we moved aside and I prayed, “O Lord, when I meet the enemy, let me meet a man of enormous strength and fury. Then grant me victory over him that I might kill him and acquire spoils from him.” To this my prayer, Abdullah said Ameen and then he prayed:
“Let me meet a man of great standing and enormous fury. I shall fight him for Your sake, O Lord, and he shall fight me. He shall take me and cut off my nose and ears and when I meet You on the morrow You will say, “For what were your nose and ear cut off?” And I would reply, “For Your sake and for the sake of Your Prophet(S.A.W) .” And then You would say, “You have spoken the truth . . .” Sa’d continues the story:
The prayer of Abdullah ibn Jahsh was better than mine. I saw him at the end of the day. He was killed and mutilated and in fact his nose and his ear were hung on a tree with a thread .
God responded to the prayer of Abdullah ibn Jahsh and blessed him with martyrdom as He blessed his uncle, the Leader of Martyrs, Hamzah ibn Abdulmuttalib. The noble Prophet buried them together in a single grave. His pure tears watered the earth earth annointed with the fragrance of martyrdom.
 

Ramlah Bint Abi Sufyan

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Ramlah Bint Abi Sufyan

 
Abu Sufyan ibn Harb could not conceive of anyone among the Quraysh who would dare challenge his authority or go against his orders. He was after all, the sayyid or chieftain of Makkah who had to be obeyed and followed.

His daughter, Ramlah, known as Umm Habibah, however dared to challenge his authority when she rejected the deities of the Quraysh and their idolatrous ways. Together with her husband, Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh, she put her faith in Allah alone and accepted the message of His prophet, Muhammad ibn Abdullah.
Abu Sufyan tried with all the power and force at his disposal to bring back his daughter and her husband to his religion and the religion of their forefathers. But he did not succeed. The faith which was embedded in the heart of Ramlah was too strong to be uprooted by the hurricanes of Abu Sufyans fury.
Abu Sufyan remained deeply worried and concerned by his daughter’s acceptance of Islam. He did not know how to face the Quraysh after she had gone against his will and he was clearly powerless to prevent her from following Muhammad(S.A.W). When the Quraysh realized though that Abu Sufyan himself was enraged by Ramlah and her husband, they were emboldened to treat them harshly. They unleashed the full fury of their persecution against them to such a degree that life in Makkah became unbearable.
In the fifth year of his mission, the Prophet, peace be on him, gave permission to the Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia. Ramlah, her little daughter Habibah, and her husband were among those who left.
Abu Sufyan and the Quraysh leaders found it difficult to accept that a group of Muslims had slipped out of their net of persecution and was enjoying the freedom to hold their beliefs and practice their religion in the land of the Negus. They therefore send messengers to the Negus to seek their extradition. The messengers tried to poison the mind of the Negus against the Muslims but after examining the Muslims beliefs and listening to the Quran being recited, the Negus concluded: “What has been revealed to your Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W) and what Jesus the son of Mary preached came from the same source.”
The Negus himself announced his faith in the one true God and his acceptance of the prophethood of Muhammad(S.A.W). He also announced his determination to protect the Muslim muhajirin.
The long journey on the road of hardship and tribulation had finally led to the oasis of serenity. So Umm Habibah felt. But she did not know that the new-found freedom and sense of peace were later to be shattered. She was to be put through a test of the most severe and harrowing kind.
One night, it is related, as Umm Habibah was asleep she had a vision in which she saw her husband in the midst of a fathomless ocean covered by wave upon wave of darkness. He was in a most perilous situation. She woke up, frightened. But she did not wish to tell her husband or anyone else what she had seen.
The day after that ominous night was not yet through when Ubaydallah ibn Jahsh announced his rejection of Islam and his acceptance of Christianity. What a terrible blow! Ramlah’s sense of peace was shattered. She did not expect this of her husband who presented her forthwith with the choice of a divorce or of accepting Christianity. Umm Habibah had three options before her. She could either remain with her husband and accept his call to become a Christian in which case she also would commit apostasy and – God forbid – deserve ignominy in this world and punishment in the hereafter. 
This was something she resolved she would never do even if she were subjected to the most horrible torture. Or, she could return to her father’s house in Makkah – but she knew he remained a citadel of shirk and she would be forced to live under him, subdued and suppressing her faith. Or, she could stay alone in the land of the Negus as a displaced fugitive – without country, without family and without a supporter.
She made the choice that she considered was the most pleasing to God. She made up her mind to stay in Abyssinia until such time as God granted her relief. She divorced her husband who lived only a short while after becoming a Christian. He had given himse lf over to frequenting wine merchants and consuming alcohol, the “mother of evils”. This undoubtedly helped to destroy him.
Umm Habibah stayed in Abyssinia for about ten years. Towards the end of this time, relief and happiness came. It came from an unexpected quarter. 
One morning bright and early, there was a loud knocking on her door. It was Abrahah, the special maid- servant of the Negus. Abrahah was beaming with joy as she greeted Umm Habibah and said: “The Negus sends his greetings and says to you that Muhammad(S.A.W), wants you to marry him and that he has sent a letter in which he has appointed him as his wakil to contract the marriage between you and him. If you agree, you are to appoint a wakil to act on your behalf.”
Umm Habibah was in the clouds with happiness. She shouted to herself: “God has given you glad tidings. God has given you glad tidings.” She took off her jewelry- her necklace and bracelets – and gave them to Abrahah. She took off her rings too and gave th em to her. And indeed if she had possessed all the treasures of the world, she would have given them to Abrahah at that moment of sheer joy. Finally she said to Abrahah: “I appoint Khalid ibn Said ibn al-Aas to act as wakil on my behalf for he is the clos est person to me.”
In the palace of the Negus, set in the midst of beautiful gardens and luxuriant vegetation and in one of the lavishly decorated, sumptuously furnished and brightly lit halls, the group of Muslims living in Abyssinia gathered. They included Jafar ibn Abi Talib, Khalid ibn Said, Abdullah ibn Hudhafah as- Sahmi and others. They had gathered to witness the conclusion of the marriage contract between Umm Habibah, the daughter of Abu Sufyan, and Muhammad(S.A.W). When the marriage was finalized, the Negus addressed the gathering: “I praise God, the Holy, and I declare that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger and that He gave the good tidings to Jesus the son of Mary.
“The Messenger of God(S.A.W) has requested me to conclude the marriage contract between him and Umm Habibah the daughter of Abu Sufyan. I agreed to do what he requested and on his behalf I give her a mahr or dowry of four hundred gold dinars.” He handed over the amount to Khalid ibn Said who stood up and said: “All praise is due to God. I praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness and I turn to Him in repentance. I declare that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger whom He has sent with t he religion of guidance and truth so that it might prevail over all other forms of religion even if the disbelievers were to dislike this.
“I have agreed to do what the Prophet, peace be upon him, has requested and acted as the wakil on behalf of Umm Habibah, the daughter of Abu Sufyan. May God bless His Messenger(S.A.W) and his wife.
 “Congratulations to Umm Habibah on account of the goodness which God has ordained for her.”
Khalid took the mahr and handed it over to Umm Habibah. The Sahabah thereupon got up and prepared to leave but the Negus said to them: “Sit down for it is the practice of the Prophets to serve food at marriages.”
There was general rejoicing at the court of the Negus as the guests sat down again to eat and celebrate the joyous occasion. Umm Habibah especially could hardly believe her good fortune and she later described how she was eager to share her happiness. She said: “When I received the money as mahr, I sent fifty mithqals of gold to Abrahah who had brought me the good news and I said to her: ‘I gave you what I did when you gave me the good news because at that time I did not have any money.’
“Shortly afterwards, Abrahah came to me and returned the gold. She also produced a case which contained the necklace I had given to her. She returned that to me and said: ‘The King has instructed me not to take anything from you and he his commanded the women in his household to present you with gifts of perfume.’
“On the following day, she brought me ambergris, safron and aloes and said: ‘I have a favor to ask of you.’ ‘What is it?’ I asked. ‘I have accepted Islam ,’ she said, ‘and now follow the religion of Muhammad(S.A.W) Convey to him my salutation of peace and let him know that I believe in Allah and His Prophet(S.A.W) Please don’t forget.’ She then helped me to get ready for my journey to the Prophet(S.A.W) 
“When I met the Prophet(S.A.W) I told him all about the arrangements that were made for the marriage and about my relationship with Abrahah. I told him she had become a Muslim and conveyed to him her greetings of peace. He was filled with joy at the news and said: ‘Wa alayha as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu and on her be peace and the mercy and blessings of God. ”