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Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) A Unique Nikaah

 

Which of the blessed wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was closest to him, yet also the furthest from him, at the time of their marriage?

Which of the blessed wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was given the most mahr (dowry), yet Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not give her anything as a dowry?

The answer to both these questions is: Sayyidah Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) married her while she was in Abyssinia, having migrated to escape the persecution of the Quraish. She was thus the wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who was the furthest from him at the time of their marriage. However, from all the respected wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), she is the most closely related to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in lineage. She was given the most mahr of all the noble wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), as her mahr was four hundred dinaars (gold coins).

However, Najaashi (rahimahullah), the king of Abyssinia, had given her this amount from his own wealth, on behalf of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not personally give her the mahr. Sayyidah Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) is the daughter of Abu Sufyaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), sister of Mu‘aawiyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and first cousin of ‘Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). She was seventeen years old when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was blessed with nubuwwah (prophethood) by Allah Ta‘ala, and she accepted Islam during its initial period in Makkah Mukarramah. There is a difference of opinion regarding the name of Sayyidah Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). While some ‘Ulama have mentioned her name to be Hind, the preferred view is that her name was ‘Ramlah’. She was given the kunyah (filial title) ‘Ummu Habeebah’ after the birth of her daughter, Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).

(Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 2, pg. 219, Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 96, Al-Isaabah vol. 8, pg. 140, Usdul Ghaabah vol. 5, pg. 287 and Al Istee‘aab vol. 4, pg. 401)

Below is a lesson-filled incident from the life of our beloved mother, Sayyidah Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).

A Dream Come True Sayyidah Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was initially married to ‘Ubaidullah bin Jahsh, and it was from this union that her daughter, Habeebah, was born. ‘Ubaidullah bin Jahsh was a Muslim at the time, and he migrated to Abyssinia with Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) to escape the ruthless persecution of the Quraish. One night, Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had a dream in which she saw her husband, ‘Ubaidullah bin Jahsh, in an evil and terrible condition. She awoke perturbed and realized that the dream was indicative of her husband’s condition having changed for the worse. As she suspected, the very next morning, her husband announced, “O Ummu Habeebah! I had previously examined the different religions, and I had found no religion better than Christianity to which I subscribed and adhered. Thereafter, I left Christianity and followed the religion of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Now, I am returning to Christianity.” Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) attempted to stop him and save his imaan. She explained to him that leaving Islam would hold no good for him, and even related her dream depicting his distressful and lamentable condition. However, he paid no attention to her and left the fold of Islam, passing the remainder of his days drinking wine until he passed away. Sometime thereafter, Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) saw a dream in which she heard someone address her with the title “O Mother of the Believers”. She awoke with a shock, and understood that since it is the blessed wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who are the Mothers of the Believers, perhaps Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) intended marrying her.

As soon as her ‘iddat terminated, a messenger of Najaashi (rahimahullah), the King of Abyssinia, arrived at her door and sought permission to enter. On opening the door, she found that it was the slave girl of Najaashi (rahimahullah), named Abrahah (rahimahallah), who was in charge of his clothing and perfume. Abrahah (rahimahallah) entered saying, “The King conveys the message to you that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has written to him, instructing him to marry you to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was delighted and exclaimed, “May Allah Ta‘ala give you glad tidings (as well)!” Abrahah (rahimahallah) then said, “The King has requested that you appoint someone to represent you at the nikaah.” Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) thus appointed Khaalid bin Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) as her representative. Out of joy, she gave Abrahah (rahimahallah), the messenger who had delivered the glad tidings, two silver bangles, two anklets that she had been wearing and a few silver toe rings as well, as she had delivered the glad tidings.

That evening, Najaashi (rahimahullah) called Ja’far bin Abi Taalib (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and the other Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who were present to attend the nikaah. Najaashi (rahimahullah) delivered a khutbah (sermon) and thereafter said, “Indeed, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent me a letter instructing me to perform his nikaah to Ummu Habeebah bintu Abi Sufyaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma). I have thus fulfilled the instruction of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and I have given her four hundred dinaars (gold coins) as mahr (dowry).” Saying this, Najaashi (rahimahullah) placed the dinaars before them. Khaalid bin Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thereafter delivered a khutbah (sermon) after which he said, “I have fulfilled the command of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and I have made Ummu Habeebah bintu Abi Sufyaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) over into his nikaah. May Allah Ta‘ala bless Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in this nikaah.” Thereafter, the mahr was handed to Khaalid bin Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who received them on behalf of Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). When the mahr was handed to Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), she called for Abrahah (rahimahallah) and said to her, “When you delivered the glad tidings to me, I gave you certain items, as I had no wealth with me at the time (i.e. I gave you whatever I was able to. If I possessed more wealth, I would have given it to you. Now that this wealth has arrived,) this is fifty mithqaal (218.7g of gold). Take it and use it for your needs.” However, Abrahah (rahimahallah) refused to accept the gift. Furthermore, she produced a bag containing all the gifts that Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had given her and returned it saying, “The King has instructed me to abstain from taking anything that belongs to you. I am in charge of his clothing and perfume, and I have followed the Deen of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and accepted Islam for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala. The King has instructed his wives to send all the perfume that they possess to you.”

The following day, the wives of Najaashi (rahimahullah) presented ‘oud, ‘ambar and many other perfumes to her. Abrahah (rahimahallah) then said, “I have a request. My request is that you convey my salaam to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and inform him that I have followed his Deen.” Abrahah (rahimahallah) would always treat Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) with special kindness, and whenever she would visit her, she would remind her, “Do not forget my request.” After Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) left Abyssinia and was united with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), she narrated to him the manner in which her proposal was delivered and nikaah was performed, and the kindness that Abrahah (rahimahallah) had shown her. She also conveyed the salaam of Abrahah (rahimahallah) to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hearing this, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) smiled and replied to her salaam. (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pgs. 96 & 97)

Lessons:

1. No person should take his imaan for granted. Rather, we should all express appreciation to Allah Ta‘ala for this invaluable blessing, and beg Him to allow us to leave this world with imaan. Each spouse should be concerned for the Deen of the other. Thus, the husband and wife should encourage and motivate each other towards works of righteousness and piety while restraining one another from sin. If one spouse falls into sin and evil habits, the other should not view it as a convenient excuse to join in as well. Rather, as each person will have to bear his own burden on the Day of Qiyaamah, and blaming the next person will not absolve one of his own guilt, everyone should remain firm and safeguard his imaan and Deen. It is a teaching of Deen that we should give a gift to the person who delivers glad tidings to us.

2. Najaashi (rahimahullah) had such love and respect for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the respected wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), that he gave Sayyidah Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) a very substantial amount of gold as mahr from his own wealth. Furthermore, he instructed his own wives to give all their perfume to her, and did not allow his slave girl, Abrahah (rahimahallah), to take anything from Ummu Habeebah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). We should similarly cultivate the love for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and his blessed family, by making du‘aa for them, speaking of them with love and respect and holding them in the highest esteem.

3. The only desire that Abrahah (rahimahallah) had was that her salaam and news of her imaan be conveyed to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), so that he could be pleased with her and respond to her salaam. Our deeds are presented to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) regularly. We need to ask ourselves, “Will he be pleased with our deeds or will he be hurt and disappointed when he sees our condition?” Similarly, we all have the ability of securing the salaam of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Whenever we recite durood upon Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) from afar, it is conveyed to him by an angel, after which he responds with salaam. Hence, we should endeavour to recite as much durood as possible.

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