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The Prophet's Wives Series

Discovering the Personality of Umm Salama

Part six

She was valiant

Umm Salama (RA) was among those companions who migrated to Abyssinia and to Medina. She left her home and family twice to seek religious freedom.

Migrating to Abyssinia “for Umm Salamah, it meant abandoning her home and giving up the traditional ties of lineage and honor for something new, pursuing the pleasure and reward of Allah”.

Sixteen people set out on that historic first migration of the followers of Islam – twelve men and four women, Umm Salamah (RA) was one of those four brave women who faced the struggles of travelling and setting up life in a new and strange land.

After returning from Abyssinia to her home in Makkah, and seeing that things had not improved as the immigrants to Abyssinia had thought, she and her family set out to leave behind everything once again and emigrate to Madina.

But, as she wrote, her husband and children were met with opposition from her family and were torn apart. After days of mourning the incident, her family took pity on her and returned her son to her care. Wanting to reunite her entire family, she was determined to travel to Medina.

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And she did just that. Travelling through the desert in her day and age took time and was extremely dangerous. But still she bravely set out to travel alone with her child to Madinah trusting in Allah alone. And Allah provided her with safety in the form of  ‘Uthman bin Talhah ‘Abdari, who honorably accompanied her the rest of the way.

Not only did she show bravery in her travels and search for religious freedom, she was also a warrior and took part in many battles.

She fought next to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) during the Battles Bani Mustalaq, Ta’if, Khaybar, Hunayn, and the conquest of Makkah. And she was present at the signing of the treaty of Hudaybiyah.

She was wise

After the treaty of Hudaybiyah, many Companions of Prophet (peace be upon him) were extremely frustrated because they thought the treaty implied that the Quraysh were superior. They were also greatly disappointed because they saw the treaty as giving the Quraysh the upper hand.

This was despite the fact that the treaty was a full of wisdom and farsightedness. Allah calls it victory in the Quran:

{Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory.} (Quran 48:1)

The Companions could not see how this was the case, though. And in their frustration and disappointment, they failed to comply to the Prophet’s instructions after the treaty was finalized. The Prophet (PBUH) went to Umm Salama (RA). Seeing how distressed he was, she offered him some advice. She said he should go and have his head shaved in public.

She likely knew that if the companions would see him taking this action, and they would follow him as they always had. The Prophet (PBUH) took her advice, and the companions followed suit, setting everything to rights.

Umm Salam’s (RA) use of her natural inclination toward valiance, intelligence, and wisdom stands out for us today as an example of how to live a life that is pleasing to Allah.

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About Theresa Corbin
Theresa Corbin is the author of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book and co-author of The New Muslim’s Field Guide. Corbin is a French-creole American and Muslimah who converted in 2001. She holds a BA in English Lit and is a writer, editor, and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion to Islam, Islamophobia, women's issues, and bridging gaps between peoples of different faiths and cultures. She is a regular contributor for and Al Jumuah magazine. Her work has also been featured on CNN and Washington Post, among other publications. Visit her blog, islamwich, where she discusses the intersection of culture and religion.