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Umm Salama

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Title: Umm Salama  
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Subject: Khadija bint Khuwaylid, Muhammad's wives, Zaynab bint Jahsh, Maytham al-Tammar, Shia Islam
Collection: 580 Births, 680 Deaths, Sahabah Favored by Shias, Wives of Muhammad
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Umm Salama

Umm Salama
al-Makhzumiyah, Ayyin al-Arab
Born 596
Mecca, Hejaz
Died 683 (64 AH)
Nationality Hijazi Arab
Known for Wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Mother of the Believers
Spouse(s) Abu Salama 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abd al-Asad
Children Zaynab (Barrah), Salama, Zarah, Umar and Ruqaiyyah (Durrah) (with Abu Salama ')
Parent(s) Abu Umayya ibn Al-Mughira
Atikah bint 'Amir ibn Rabi'ah

Hind bint Abi Umayya (Arabic: هند بنت أبي أمية‎), also known as Hind al-Makhzumiyah, Hind bint Suhayl or Umm Salama (Arabic: أم سلمة هند بنت أبي أمية‎)[1][2] (c. 596 AD – 64 AH)[3] was one of Muhammad's wives. Umm Salama was her kunya meaning, "mother of Salamah".[4][5] Umm Salama was one of the most influential wives of Muhammad, recognized largely for recalling numerous Hadiths, or stories about Muhammad.[6] The Shia belief is that Umm Salama was the most important wife of Muhammad, second to Khadijah.[7]


  • Before Marriage to Muhammad 1
    • Marriage to Abu Salama 1.1
    • Conversion to Islam 1.2
    • Death of Abu Salama 1.3
  • Muhammad's era 2
    • Umm Salama and the Wives of Muhammad 2.1
    • Impact on Muhammad and Society 2.2
    • Al-Hudaybiyya Treaty 2.3
  • After Muhammad 3
  • Hadith 4
    • Verse of Purification 33:33 4.1
    • 33:35 4.2
    • Umm Salama's contribution to Sunan Ibn Majah 4.3
  • References 5

Before Marriage to Muhammad

Her personal name was Hind.[1][2] Her father was Abu Umayya ibn Al-Mughira ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar ibn Makhzum ibn Yaqaẓah also known as Suhayl or Zad ar-Rakib.[8] He was an elite member of his Quraysh tribe, known for his great generosity, especially to travelers.[9] Her mother was 'Ātikah bint 'Āmir ibn Rabī'ah, of the Firas ibn Ghanam branch of the Kinana.[2][10]

Marriage to Abu Salama

Before her marriage to Muhammad, Umm Salama was married to Abu Salama ibn `Abdi'l-Asad al-Makhzumi, whose mother was Barrah bint Abdul Muttalib. Abu Salama was one of Muhammad's close companions.[11] Umm Salama bore for Abu Salama four children: Zaynab (Barrah), Salama,zarah Umar and Ruqaiyyah (Durrah).[12][13]

Conversion to Islam

Umm Salama and her husband Abu Salama were among the first who converted to Islam.[10] Only Ali, Abu Bakr and a few others were Muslims before them.[6][10] Despite intense anger and persecution from the powerful Quraysh in response to their conversions to Islam, Umm Salama and Abu Salama continued their devotion to Islam.[9]

As the persecution grew in severity, the new Muslims began to look for life away from Mecca. Muhammad instructed his newly converted followers, including Umm Salama and Abu Salama, to make a migration to Abyssinia. Umm Salama abandoned her honorable life in her clan in Mecca to make the migration. While in Abyssinia, these Muslims were told that there had been a decrease in persecution along with an increase in numbers of Muslims in Mecca. This information caused Umm Salama, her husband, and the rest of the Muslim emigrants to travel back to Mecca. Upon their return to Mecca, the Quraysh again began viciously persecuting the Muslims. In response, Muhammad gave his followers instructions to make a migration to Medina, also known as the hijra. Umm Salama, along with her husband and son planned to make the hijra together, however this was stopped when Umm Salama's clan forced her to stay in Mecca, while Abu Salama's clan took the child.[14]

Umm Salama recounted this story:

Before we were out of Makkah, however, some men from my clan stopped us and said to my husband: 'Though you are free to do what you like with yourself, you have no power over your wife. She is our daughter. Do you expect us to allow you to take her away from us?' Then they pounced on him and snatched me away from him. My husband's clan, Banu 'Abd al-Asad, saw them taking me and became hot with rage. 'No! By Allah' they shouted, 'we shall not abandon the boy. He is our son and we have a first claim over him.' They took him by the hand and pulled him away from me.[15]

Abu Salama made the trip to Medina alone, leaving his wife and child in Mecca. After some time, Umm Salama was permitted by the Quraysh to leave Mecca, and was given her son back by her husband's tribe. With her son, she competed the hijra and was reconnected with her husband.[16]

Death of Abu Salama

During her marriage to Abu Salama, Umm Salama (in a story related by Ziyad ibn Abi Maryam) is said to have asked her husband to make agreement that when either of them died, the other would not remarry. However, in this tradition, Abu Salama responded by instructing Umm Salama to remarry after his death. He then prayed, "O God, provide Umm Salama after me with a better man than me who will not grieve her or injure her!"[17]

During the Battle of Uhud (March 625), Abu Salama was severely injured. While Abu Salama was dying due to these wounds, he recalled a story to Umm Salama involving a message he had heard from Muhammad: "I heard the Messenger of God saying, 'Whenever a calamity afflicts anyone he should say, "Surely from God we are and to Him we shall certainly return."' And he would pray, 'O Lord, give me in return something better from it which only You, Exalted and Mighty can give'".[18] This traditional story has been transmitted with various differences, but the fundamental principles of the hadith remain intact.

Her husband eventually died from the wounds he received in the Battle of Uhud.[1][2] Umm Salama remembered the hadith recalled by her husband prior to his death, and began reciting the given prayer.[19]

Following Abdullah ibn Abdulasad's death in the battle of Uhud[1][2] she became known as Ayyin al-Arab - "the one who had lost her husband". She had no family in Medina except her small children, but she was given support by both the Muhajirun and Ansar. After finishing the iddah of four months and ten days, the sufficient amount of time that a woman must wait after the death of her husband before she can remarry, Umm Salama got offers of marriage.[19] Abu Bakr and then Umar asked to marry her, but she declined.[1] Muhammad himself then proposed to Umm Salama. She initially hesitated in her acceptance, stating, "O Messenger of Allah, I have three characteristics. I am a woman who is extremely jealous and I am afraid that you will see in me something that will anger you and cause Allah to punish me. I am a woman who is already advanced in age and I am a woman who has a young family."[19]

However, Muhammad appeased each of her concerns, "Regarding the jealousy you mentioned, I pray to Allah the Almighty to let it go away from you. Regarding the question of age you have mentioned, I am afflicted with the same problem as you. Regarding the dependent family you have mentioned, your family is my family."[19]

Muhammad's era

Umm Salama was married to Muhammad at the age of 29. Only his sixth and seventh wives (Umm Salamah and Zaynab, respectively) were his direct cousins whom he had known since their childhood. Umm Salamah was a widow with 3 children and a fourth born almost immediately after their marriage.[20]

When Fatima bint Asad (mother of the 4th Caliph Ali) died, Muhammad chose Umm Salama as the guardian of Al Sayeda Fatimah Al Zahra.[2]

The Verse of Purification (33:33) in the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad in her house.[2][21][22]

Umm Salama and the Wives of Muhammad

In the fourth year following the migration to Medina (4 AH), Umm Salama accepted a marriage proposal from Muhammad. After sharing her three reservations about the marriage, and hearing the response from Muhammad, Umm Salama was so pleased that she accepted the proposal. Umm Salama became the eldest of all of Muhammad's wives. She became the highest-ranking wife of Muhammad, only behind Khadija.[23] Her elevated status among the rest of the wives was a result of her presence in many wars and her defense of the household of Muhammad. Attributes that distinguish Umm Salama from the rest of the wives of Muhammad include the following: Her role in Fatima al-Zahra's upbringing (most prominent daughter of Muhammad, whom Umm Salama proclaimed displayed more knowledge than ever herself in all affairs), her political activism, her accounts of Muhammad's narrations (378 total narrations of Hadith), and her unwavering defense of Imam Ali's personality and leadership following Muhammad's death.[23]

The greatest attribute of the wives of Muhammad is demonstrated as being known as the "Mothers of the believers". They were also prohibited from marrying another man ever again. (33:53) The Qur'an indicates that the wives of Muhammad had to be role models in society (33:30-32). She was often looked up to by the rest of the wives of Muhammad due to her intelligence and political knowledge. Umm Salama herself narrated 378 Hadith, among them being some of the most important. She was the last of the wives of Muhammad to pass away.[23]

Impact on Muhammad and Society

Because of her beauty, knowledge, and wisdom, Umm Salama held a prominent role in the house of Muhammad and society. She was an exceptional wife of Muhammad in her faith and morals. As a woman, she carried out and completed all of her religious duties.[23] During her marriage to Muhammad, she strived to keep him happy. She always held the utmost respect for him.[23] She was known in society for her intelligence, political savvy, and activity in fighting for women's rights.[24] Umm Salama was a woman most gifted in judgment.[25] She was active in the movement for women's rights in early Islamic society too. She once asked Muhammad a very political question, "Why are men mentioned in the Koran and why are we not?"[25] In a response from heaven to Muhammad, Allah declares that the two sexes are of total equality as members of the community and believers. It doesn't matter the sex, as long as the person is faithful and has the desire to obey Allah, they will earn his grace. This act by Umm Salama, sets the precedence and shows that women could go directly to Muhammad when unsatisfied with a gender role associated with them in society. This action by Umm Salama represented a veritable protest movement by the women.[26] Umm Salama possessed very good judgment, rapid powers of reasoning, and unparalleled ability to formulate correct opinions.[27]

Al-Hudaybiyya Treaty

Umm Salama acted as Muhammad's advisor during negotiations concerning the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah with the Meccans in 628 AD (6 AH)[28] One of the main objects of this treaty was to determine the relations between Muhammad and the Muslims of Medina with the Quraysh in Mecca. The treaty was aimed at achieving peace between the two groups and allowing the Muslims to complete their annual pilgrimage to the Kaaba, known as Hajj, which they did the following year in 629 (7 AH). This treaty was essential since it established a 10 year peace deal between the two groups. The treaty was broken later in 629 (8 AH) which lead to the conquest of Mecca.

After Muhammad

After Muhammad's death, Umm Salama continued to have an influence on Islam. Her numerous Hadith transmissions have had a lasting impact on the future of the religion.[4] Umm Salama, along with one of Muhammad's other wives, Aisha, also took roles as imams, leading other women in worship.[29]

Umm Salama also took a strong position in the Battle of the Camel, in which the factions of Aisha and Ali were in direct opposition. Umm Salama openly disagreed with the involvement of Aisha in the battle. She strongly supported the faction of Ali, and is said to have recalled stories in which Muhammad favors Ali and Fatimah to back up her opinions on the battle.[30]

Umm Salama even sent her son, Umar, to fight for Ali's victory[5]

Umm Salama died around 64 AH. Although the date of her death is disputed, her son said that Umm Salama died at the age of 84.[3] She was buried in the Baqi Cemetery. She was the last surviving member of the Mothers of the Believers.[2]


Umm Salama and Aisha provided more Hadiths than any of the other wives of Muhammad. For Lady Umm Salama, 378 narrations have been reported through the Sunni sect.[5] Among the [Hadith] she narrated are:

Verse of Purification 33:33

And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.[31]

The verse of Purification (Ayat al-Tathir) verse is given its name due to the mentioning of purity in the last line. According to Umm Salama, the verse of purification was revealed in her home when only Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husayn were present. Scholars such as Tarbasi and Tha'labi have described Umm Salama narrating: "One day Lady Fatima having cooked some food brought it to my house for the Prophet. The Prophet said, 'O the light of my eyes, call Ali and your sons so that we may eat this food together.'"[5] When all had gathered and they had eaten from that food, Angel Jibra'eel descended and revealed the following verse: Indeed God desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification.[5]

Upon hearing the verse, the Prophet laid out a cloak over them and said: "O God, these are the people of my household. They are my confidants and my supporters. O God, remove impurity from them and keep them thoroughly pure." Umm Salama relates, "As I heard this prayer from the Prophet, I said: 'O Messenger of God! Am I also with you?' To which he replied: 'You do not have the level of my Ahlul Bayt, but you are a lady of noble traits.[5]

The verses significance stems from Muhammad's usage of the phrase "Ahl al-Bayt" meaning "people of the house" in the second part of the verse. The interpretation of "Ahl al-Bayt" establishes a critical difference between Sunnis and Shi'ites. Shi'ites believe the term refers strictly to Muhammad, Fatima, Ali, Hasan and Husayn implying they are only members of "Ahl al-Bayt". Under this dogma, only Muhammad's direct lineage holds a spiritual leadership and governorship over the Muslim community. In contrast, the Sunnis believe Muhammad was not referring solely to the five people in the room. Instead, Sunnis hold any muslim of good faith can attain spiritual leadership and governorship. The discrepancy between the two interpretations stems from Umm Salama's narration of the verse of purification and Hadith of Cloak.

Some exegesis, including Amina Wadud interpret the first line, "stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance" to imply women should not be aloud to go out at all, rather than stress the limitation of going out for the aim of wanton display.[32]


For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.[33]

Umm Salama sought out equality and autonomy for Muslim women and never hesitated to posit political questions to the prophet. This verse initiated when Umm Salama asked Muhammad, "why are men mentioned in the Koran and why are we not?"[34] She is quoted narrating, "I had asked the Prophet why the Koran did not speak of us as it did of men. And what was my surprise one afternoon, when I was combing my hair, to hear his voice from the minbar. I hastily did up my hair and ran to one of the apartments from where I could hear better"[34] It is there that Umm Salama heard the verse.

Some exegesis interpret this verse to indicate gender equality for Muslims. Amina Wadud has voiced her opinion that the verse places women on absolute par with man in regards to spiritual potential and ability to attain Paradise.[35]

Umm Salama's contribution to Sunan Ibn Majah

Abū ʻAbdillāh Muḥammad ibn Yazīd Ibn Mājah al-Rabʻī al-Qazwīnī, often referred to as Ibn Majah was a 9th-century scholar of hadith. He is most famous for assembling Sunni Islam's six canonical hadith collections, Sunan Ibn Majah. Listed below are the Hadiths narrated by Umm Salamah from Sunan Ibn Majah:

Hadith 603: "I said, O Messenger of Allah! I am a woman with tight braids. Should I undo them when I take a bath to cleanse myself from the state of sexual impurity?" He said: "Rather it is sufficient for you to pour three handfuls of water over them, then pour water over yourself, and you will be purified," or he said: "In that case you would have become purified."[36]

Hadith 623: "A woman asked the Prophet (saw): 'I bleed continuously and do not become pure. Should I give up the prayer?' He said: 'No, but leave off praying for the number of days and nights that you used to menstruate.'" (One of the narrators) Abu Bakr (Ibn Abu Shaibah) said in his Hadith: "Estimate the number of days in the month, then take a bath and cover your private part with a cloth and perform prayer."[36]

Hadith 637: "I was with the Messenger of Allah (saw) under his blanket, then I felt that I was menstruating as women do, so I slipped out from under the cover. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: 'Are you menstruating?' I said: 'I feel that I am menstruating as women do.' He said: 'That is what Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam.' So I slipped out and sorted myself out, then I came back, and the Messenger of Allah (saw) said to me: 'Come under the cover with me,' so I went in with him.'"[36]

Hadith 648: "At the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw), women in postnatal bleeding (after childbirth) used to wait for forty days, and we used to put Wars on our faces because of freckles."[36]

Hadith 491: "Some meat from the shoulder of a sheep was brought to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and he ate some of it, then he performed prayer without touching water (for ablution)."

Also included are Hadiths 499, 531, 925, and 932.


  1. ^ a b c d e Hazrath Umme Salma Umme Salma went through trials and tribulations following her conversion to Islam
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Umm Salamah, Umme Salama, Umme Salma, Mother of the Believers, Mother of the Faithfuls
  3. ^ a b Fahimineiad, Fahimeh; Trans. Zainab Mohammed (2012). "Exemplary Women: Lady Umm Salamah" (PDF). Message of Thaqalayn 12 (4): 127. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Sayeed, Asma (2013). Women and The Transmission of Religious Knowledge In Islam. NY: Cambridge University Press. p. 34.  
  5. ^ a b c d e f Fahimineiad, Fahimeh; Trans. Zainab Mohammed (2012). "Exemplary Women: Lady Umm Salamah" (PDF). Message of Thaqalayn 12 (4): 128. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Hamid, AbdulWahid (1998). Companions of the Prophet Vol. 1. London: MELS. p. 139.  
  7. ^ Sayeed, Asma (2013). Women and The Transmission of Religious Knowledge In Islam. NY: Cambridge University Press. p. 35.  
  8. ^ Muhammad, Shaykh; Hisham Kabbani; Laleh Bakhtiar (1998). Encyclopedia of Muhammad's Women Companions and the Traditions They Relate. Chicago: ABC International Group. p. 461.  
  9. ^ a b Hamid, AbdulWahid (1998). Companions of the Prophet Vol. 1. London: MELS. p. 133.  
  10. ^ a b c Abdul Wahid Hamid. Companions of The Prophet, volume=1. 
  11. ^ Sayeed, Asma (2013). Women and The Transmission of Religious Knowledge In Islam. NY: Cambridge University Press. p. 34.  
  12. ^ Ibn Hisham note 918. Translated by Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad, p. 793. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  13. ^ Tabari, Tarikh al-Rusul wa'l-Muluk. Translated by Landau-Tasseron, E. (1998). Vol. 39, Biographies of the Prophet's Companions and Their Successors, p. 175. New York: SUNY Press.
  14. ^ Hamid, AbdulWahid (1998). Companions of the Prophet Vol. 1. London: MELS. pp. 133–134.  
  15. ^ Hamid, AbdulWahid (1998). Companions of the Prophet Vol. 1. London: MELS. p. 135.  
  16. ^ Hamid, AbdulWahid (1998). Companions of the Prophet Vol. 1. London: MELS. pp. 135–136.  
  17. ^ Muhammad, Shaykh; Hisham Kabbani; Laleh Bakhtiar (1998). Encyclopedia of Muhammad's Women Companions and the Traditions They Relate. Chicago: ABC International Group. pp. 461–462.  
  18. ^ Hamid, AbdulWahid (1998). Companions of the Prophet Vol. 1. London: MELS. p. 137.  
  19. ^ a b c d Hamid, AbdulWahid (1998). Companions of the Prophet Vol. 1. London: MELS. p. 138.  
  20. ^ Marriage to a 'past': Parents should not reject a proposal without a good reasons - and being a revert with a past is not an acceptable one
  21. ^ The Verse of Purification in Sunni Sources
  22. ^ The Verse of Purification in Shia Sources
  23. ^ a b c d e Fahiminejad, Fahimeh. "Exemplary Women: Lady Umm Salamah" (PDF). 
  24. ^ "Hind bint Abi Umayya". The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. 
  25. ^ a b Mernissi, Fatima. The veil and the male elite :a feminist interpretation of women's rights in Islam. p. 118. 
  26. ^ Mernissi, Fatima. The veil and the male elite :a feminist interpretation of women's rights in Islam. p. 119. 
  27. ^ Mernissi, Fatima. The veil and the male elite :a feminist interpretation of women's rights in Islam. p. 115. 
  28. ^ "Hind bint Abi Umayya". The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. 
  29. ^ Ahmed, Leila (1992). Women and Gender in Islam. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 61.  
  30. ^ Sayeed, Asma (2013). Women and The Transmission of Religious Knowledge In Islam. NY: Cambridge University Press. p. 38.  
  31. ^ "Center For Muslim-Jewish Engagement". Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  32. ^ Wadud, Amina (1999). Qur'an and Woman. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 98. 
  33. ^ "Center For Muslim-Jewish Engagement". Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  34. ^ a b Mernissi, Fatima (1991). The Veil and the Male Elite. New York: Perseus Books Publishing LLC. p. 118. 
  35. ^ Wadud, Amina (1999). Qur'an and Woman. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 99. 
  36. ^ a b c d "ahadith". Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
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