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The Story of Barakah: The Prophet’s African Mother

Would you like to hear about the first person in the entire universe, who physically touched the Prophet (peace be upon him) before anyone else? She is Barakah.

She was the first one to lay hands on the Prophet Muhammad when he was born. An Ethiopian lady, she was only about 9 or 10 years old. Abdullah ibn Al Muttalib was extremely generous, he looked after Barakah as if she was his daughter, and Amina bint Wahb, the mother of Prophet Muhammad, also looked after her as if she was her daughter. So Barakah was raised among them.

There’s one thing to note about Barakah: she hardly spoke. She was also extremely optimistic, anything that happened, she always interpreted it in a good way. And Amina bint Wahb could not need anyone more than Barakah in her life.

The Positive Woman

Only in about a few months Amina became pregnant, and she saw a dream as though sunlight was emanating, coming out of her belly, and it lighted up the city of Makkah all the way to Iraq.

So she woke up, and the first person she came up to was who? Not her husband. Barakah.

She said to her: “O Barakah, come here. I’ve seen this dream, it lighted up throughout Makkah all the way to Yathrib and Iraq. What do you think this is?”

And Barakah’s first words were this, she smiled and put her hand on her shoulder saying to her:

“O Amina, this is a sign from above the heavens. You have someone important inside of you.”

The first woman to make this good news… the first woman to work it out, in fact, the first person on the face of the earth to work out that there is an important man more beloved and more special than anyone on the face of the earth to come out.

Then came the day, close to Syria, Abdullah died.

Now, can you imagine Amina, his wife? She was left alone, widowed, not knowing, not seeing her husband died, far away near Syria, and she was pregnant, and she’s sick already with the pregnancy, hearing about her husband Abdullah dying; she was bereaved for more than two months straight.

So Barakah said to her:

“Calm down. By Allah, this dream that you had, remember? It is only good news. Allah is with you.”

They knew who Allah was. They worshiped Allah but they worshiped alongside of Him idols.

When she gave birth to the Prophet (peace be upon him), Barakah was the Midwife of Amina, there was no one else.

Barakah was the first one to lay eyes on the Prophet, the first one to touch him, the first one to see, to smile to him, the first one to make the following comment:

“Oh Amina! By Allah, he is more beautiful than the moon. Allahu Akbar! O Amina, I told you your dream has come true.”

The Prophet’s Second Mother

Time passed, and the Prophet became six years old, but Amina became ill in Al-Abowa and she brought Barakah towards her. She said to her:

“O Barakah, I’m bout to pass away, I entrust Muhammad to you. Be to him a mother the way I was and better. For I do not trust anyone else who can carry this role.”

Barakah then went with the Prophet and raised him. Now, she was like a mother, and those who described the relationship, it is kind of a funny one: it’s like this child who speaks to his mother like a friend. He used to joke with her, she used to joke with him lightheartedly.

At the age of 25, the Prophet became married to Khadijah. He said to her:

This is Barakah, she is my mother after my mother.

So then she went to marry a man from Madinah and Allah gave her a child named Ayman, and so she was known as Um Ayman. Um Ayman lived with Abu Ayman for about two years and he died in a battle. So she became widowed again.

Back to the house of the Prophet, but this time with a child Ayman. And Ayman was a child raised in the household of the Prophet (peace be upon him). So he was among the young companions. Then he said to the people:

Who wants to marry a woman of Paradise?

They all put their hands up.

He said:

Good. She is my mother after my mother.

All the hands went down, but Zayd kept his hand. He said:

“O messenger of Allah, I will marry her.”

He said:

Would you marry a woman of paradise?

He said:

“No one but her.”

So she married Zayd, and from him came Osamah, and so she had her son Osama ibn Zayd, another young companion like Anas, and like Abdullah ibn Abbas, and Ayman, and the rest.

She grew up, and she was one of the people of paradise, the one whom the family of the Prophet could not live without, and the one whom the Prophet found comfort with, after the death of Abu Talib, Khadijah, and the other people around him.


About Bilal Assad

Bilal Assad was born in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia. He started his Islamic studies at a very early age and acquired his Shariah knowledge in Lebanon; and continued tertiary education in Bio-Medical Science in Australia. Bilal has been offering his service to the community for many years and has been working with the Islamic Society of Victoria for over ten years.

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