Mother of the believers Umm Habibah bint Abu Sufyan

(may Allah be pleased with her)

Umm Habibah’s (may Allah be pleased with her) Family

Father: Abu Sufyan

Mother: Safiya bint Abi al Aas

Umm Habiba (may Allah be pleased with her) was born in the year 596, 17 years before the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) announce Prophethood and 29 years before the migration.i As for his marriage to Umm Habiba bint Abu Sufyan (Ramla) (may Allah be pleased with her) this was a marriage to a believing woman who had migrated to Abyssinia fleeing with her religion intact. She had remained patient in the path of Islam after her husband had apostatised. She was the wife of ‘Ubaydullah bin Jahsh. ‘Ubaydullah embraced Islam with his wife whilst her father was still upon disbelief. She was afraid of hurting her father so she migrated, burdened by her pregnancy, with her husband to Abyssinia. There in the place of refuge, Ramla (Umm Habiba) (may Allah be pleased with her) gave birth to her daughter Habiba bint ‘Ubayd-Allah by whom she was named. So she came to be called Umm Habiba although her husband ‘Ubaydullah bin Jahsh did not take long before he left the fold of Islam and professed his belief in Christianity, the religion of the Abyssinians and tried to take his wife Ramla (may Allah be pleased with her) away from Islam, but she patiently persevered in her religion. Then the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) sent for Negus (Najjashi) delegating him to perform the marriage of Umm Habiba to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Negus informed Umm Habiba (may Allah be pleased with her) of this through Abrah, his personal slave girl to Umm Habiba (may Allah be pleased with her). She could not contain her excitement upon hearing this bless news and rewarded Abrah some of her jewelry, later making Khalid bin Sa’id bin al-’Aas (may Allah be pleased with him) to give her in marriage with the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Khalid undertook the marriage contract on her behalf and Negus for the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was 57 and Umm Habiba (may Allah be pleased with her) was 36.ii Umm Habiba (may Allah be pleased with her) was the daughter of the Qurayshi chief Abu Sufyan. It was after this marriage that Abu Sufyan never fought against the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). This marriage was largely responsible for the conquest of Makkah. Thus Umm Habibah joined the Prophet’s household as wife and student, and contributed much to the moral and spiritual life of the Muslims who learnt from her and, in their turn, passed on their knowledge to future generations. She has narrated 65 traditions from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) from which two are in the Sahih of Imam Bukhari and Muslim. Amongst her famous students are her brother, Ameer Mu’awiya (may Allah be pleased with him) her daughter, Habiba (may Allah be pleased with her) and nephew Abu Sufyan bin Saeed (may Allah be pleased with her). She passed away in 44 AH in Madinah and is buried with in Jannatul-Baqi.iii We learn from this marriage that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) wanted to support her as her husband became a disbeliever, to raise her status as the ‘Mother of the believers’ and to win the tribe of Abu Sufyan (may Allah be pleased with him).

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