Who IS this Umm Sulaim?

Bissmillah-irrahmanirahim

Asalamoalaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

You might be interested in knowing who this ‘Umm Sulaim (RA)’ is. Or you may not be. But since you clicked on this webpage, I’m assuming that you are. So with that assumption set, let’s go ahead.

In Arabic, ‘Umm‘ means ‘mother’ and ‘Sulaim‘ is the name. So if a lady had a title ‘Umm Sulaim’, that just means ‘Mother of Sulaim’. It actually is a kunya. The kunya is a nickname that is appended to the beginning of the name and starts with Abu (father), Umm (mother), Ibn (son of) or Bint (daughter of). It is done out of respect, like when you say ‘Ms.-so-and-so’ in our society, the Arabs used these honorific prefixes. Sometimes they were given even if the person did not have any child for example Prophet Mohammed (SAW) gave Aishah(RA) the kunya ‘Umm Abdullah’ when she demanded that she didn’t have any.

Regarding me,no, I have no son named Sulaim. Simply put I’m not Umm Sulaim.

But she is someone  I want to be before the Angel of Death visits me. She’s one of my role models.

Who is she really?

For that I would ask you to detach yourself from your current environment, probably grab something warm to drink or cold depending on where you live, and if you are a fan of popcorn, that’s another thing I recommend putting right next to you…why? Because obviously, it’s story telling time. Story which is 100% real, meaning no fiction or any funny business added to it InshAllah (God Willing). So we begin in a society definitely not advanced technology, just a simple location, with people who lived Islam, who breathed Islam and who walked on dust…and this is where my role model comes in…

Umm Sulaim (RA) was married to Malik ibn Nadhar and had a son called Anas (RA). The Light of Islam touched her heart and she became a Muslim .Umm Sulaim was one of the first of the Ansar women to accept Islam; and her decision was made without the knowledge or consent of her husband who was away on a journey. Upon returning from his journey, Umm Sulaim’s husband felt a change in his family. His wife explained to him that she has accepted the religion of Mohammed (SAW).

Her husband,polytheist, tried his best to make her renounce Islam but she remained firm. There were constant quarrels. In short, her marriage turned out to be very unhappy and painful. With such trying times, she didn’t give up and like any other revert who tries to preach or make Da’wah to his/her closest ones, she started talking about Islam to her son. Malik ibn Nadhar used to get mad because he said that now she was trying to ‘corrupt’ their son now. She, on the other hand, replied that she wasn’t ‘corrupting’ him, instead she was teaching him the true meaning of everlasting success for the HereAfter.

Her steadfastness bore fruit and her son, Anas (RA), became a Muslim. But problems did not end there. Things got worse. Her husband started becoming violent. At that time, it was the norm of the non-Muslim men of the society to oppress their women. However, Islam changed that and ordered Muslim men to take care of their mothers, wives,daughters and sisters. Did Umm Sulaim (RA) give up? Nopsie. She didn’t.

She told him that he could not perceive the nature of the Treasure she had found, meaning Islam. She further said that it was a kind of Treasure which was everlasting, a kind of a light that illuminated her heart. Her husband retorted that ‘she was not of any religion’ because in those days, the dominant religion was of worshipping more than one god which were all idols. To this she replied bravely that she had accepted the True Religion and that she would be successful even in the HereAfter.

Eventually, the arguments ended when her husband left Umm Sulaim (RA) to Syria, where he was heard of being later murdered. Unlike other women, she didn’t  make a huge deal about her husband leaving her. She instead concentrated on the bringing up of her son, Anas (RA) and so encouraged him to learn from the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) and gain whatever knowledge he could from him. She requested the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) to even pray for her son. Prophet Mohammed (SAW) made duaa’ for him that Allah SWT increases Anas (RA) ibn Malik in knowledge and riches.

Umm Sulaim (RA) was an Ansariyaah and the ladies of Ansar used to call her Sehla, Ghameesa, Rameesa, Ramlah and Sahlah but finally she became known as Umm  Sulaim. In Al-Madinah, there was a handsome young man called Abu Talhah , who was also the leader of his tribe. He was not a Muslim even though many people had reverted to Islam after being illuminated by the teachings of Musa’b bin ‘Umayr (RA). Abu Talhah knew that the widow, Umm Sulaim (RA), has many admirable qualities. Her integrity, her loyalty, her courage -all these appealed to him and he ended up sending her a marriage proposal! He was confident that she would accept his proposal being that he was not only rich, but handsome and popular amongst the people as well. Abu Talhah reached Umm Sulaim’s house. He asked and was given permission to enter. Her son Anas was present. Abu Talhah explained why he had come and asked for her hand in marriage.

And they lived happily-ever after.

NO! This is not a Disney cartoon movie.

So what did Umm Sulaim (RA) say then?

She said that it wasn’t possible because she was a Muslim and he was a disbeliever. Abu Talhah thought she was trying to put him off and that perhaps she had already preferred someone wealthier and more influential.

He said to her:“What is it that really prevents you from accepting me, Umm Sulaim? Is it the yellow and the white metals (gold and silver)?”

“Gold and silver?” she asked somewhat taken aback and in a slightly censuring tone.

“Yes,” he said.

“I swear to you, Abu Talhah, and I swear to God and His Messenger that if you accept Islam, I shall be pleased to accept you as a husband, without any gold or silver. I shall consider your acceptance of Islam as my dowry.”

Now notice, she’s talking to a man who’s respected by his tribe. A person of high status amongst his people. A person of power. Yet, she doesn’t waver like most ladies would  nowadays.

Abu Talhah understood fully the implication of her words; and he thought about the idol he himself carved from wood in which he worshipped.

As if reading his mind, Umm Sulaim said; “Don’t you know Abu Talhah, that the god you worship besides Allah grew from the earth?” “That’s true,” he said.

“Don’t you feel stupid while worshipping part of a tree while you use the rest of it for fuel to bake bread or warm yourself? (If you should give up these Foolish beliefs and practices) and become a Muslim, Abu Talhah, I shall be pleased to accept you as a husband and I would not want from you any sadaqah apart from your acceptance of Islam.”

“Who shall teach me in Islam?” asked Abu Talhah.

“I shall,” Umm Sulaim replied.

“How?” he asked.

“Utter the declaration of truth and testify that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah. Then go to your house, destroy your idol and throw it away.”

Abu Talhah left and reflected deeply on what Umm Sulaim had said. He came back to her beaming with happiness.

“I have taken your advice to heart. I declare that there is no god but Allah and I declare that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah.”

In another narration:

He asked, “Who could help me with that (i.e., to become Muslim)?”

She said, “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) will help you.”

So Abu Talhah (RA) went to look for the Prophet (SAW), who was sitting with his Companions.

When he (SAW) saw him, he said, Abu Talhah (RA) is coming to you with the light of Islam shining on his forehead. (This was one of the miracles of the Prophet (SAW): he knew that Abu Talhah (RA) would become a Muslim even before he spoke).

Abu Talhah (RA) told the Messenger of Allah (SAW) about what Umm Sulaim (RA) had said, and he married her on that basis.

Thabit bin Aslam Bannani, the famous successor and scholar says this was an excellent dowry an unique in the history of Islam.

***

Abu Talhah (RA) and Umm Sulaim (RA) were blessed with a son, whom they named Abu ‘Umayr. One day the Prophet visited Abu Talhah (RA)’s house and found Abu ‘Umayr looking very sad and dejected. He asked him why he was upset. Umm Sulaim (RA) told him that his pet bird, which he loved to play with, had died. The Prophet comforted the little child and consoled him lovingly.

After a few days, Abu ‘Umayr fell sick and one night his temperature shot up so high that the little child passed away. And this is where Umm Sulaim (RA) displayed the highest level of patience one could ever see in a woman. She did not inform anyone and nor did she scream and shout in grief. She did not want to upset her husband  when he came home after a hard day’s of work! She bathed the child and wrapped him in shrouds. She told others at her home that they should not inform Abu Talhah (RA) because she herself wanted to tell him.

She beautified herself (some historians say more so than before) and on his return home, served Abu Talhah (RA) dinner and chatted with him. It is said that she even fulfilled her marital relations and when Abu Talhah (RA) was satisfied and had enjoyed her company in peace and tranquility late at night, she brought up the topic.

She started off by saying that she wanted to ask him a question. Abu Talhah (RA) asked her what she wanted to know. She asked him whether if a person entrusted one with something, and then came back to claim it, should one return it?

He answered certainly one should return it gladly.

Then she took him to the room where their little one was lying in a peaceful eternal sleep. She removed the sheet from his face and said in a trembling voice that , “Then submit yourself to the death of your son because Allah SWT has taken back the son He had entrusted them with!”

And this is the part where my tears start rolling. What a mother and what an excellent wife! SubhanAllah!

Abu Talhah (RA), extremely shocked, said in anger, “You let me indulge myself and then you tell me about my son!”

Then he said, “Innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon (Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return) and he praised Allah. In the morning, he did ghusl (full ablution) then he went to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and prayed with him, and told him what had happened. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “May Allah bless you for last night.”

***

She conceived a child (thus the Prophet’s (SAW) prayer for them was answered). The Messenger of Allah (SAW) went on a journey, and she accompanied him. Whenever the Messenger of Allah (SAW) came back from a journey, he never entered Madinah at night. When they (the travelling-party) approached Madinah, her labour-pains started. Abu Talhah (RA) stayed with her, and the Messenger of Allah (SAW) went on ahead to Madinah. Abu Talhah (RA) prayed to Allah SWT, “O Lord, You know how I love to go out with Your Messenger when he goes out, and to come back with him when he comes back, and I have been detained, as You see.”

Umm Sulaim (RA) said, “O Abu Talhah (RA), I do not feel as much pain as I did before, so let us go on.” (this was one of her “miracles”; her labour pains ceased because she had asked Allah to enable her to catch up with the Messenger of Allah (SAW)

When they reached (Madinah), her labour-pains started again, and she gave birth to a boy.

Anas (RA) (RA) narrates that:

“My mother said to me, ‘O Anas (RA), nobody should feed him until you take him to the Messenger of Allah in the morning.’ (Because she wanted the first thing to enter the child’s mouth to be food from the Prophet (SAW); this was a sign of her great faith, because the woman’s natural instinct is to hasten to feed the baby as soon as it is born.)

The child cried all night long, and I [Anas (RA), the narrator of this story] stayed up all night taking care of him.

In the morning, I took the baby to the Messenger of Allah (SAW), who was wearing his burdah (a kind of cloak) and marking the camels and sheep that had been given to him (the animals had been given in charity and he was marking them so that they would not get lost or mixed with other flocks or herds).

When he saw him, he said to Anas (RA), “Has the daughter of Milhaan [i.e., Um Sulaym] given birth?”

He said, “Yes.”

The Prophet(SAW) said, “I will be with you in a minute.”

He put down the tool in his hand (with which he had been marking the animals) and took the child, then he (SAW) asked the people around, “Do you have something for him?”

They said, “Yes, dates.”

The Prophet (SAW) took some of the dates and chewed them, mixing them with his saliva (and the saliva of the Prophet (SAW) was blessed by Allah). Then he opened the child’s mouth and gave him some of the dates, wiping them inside his mouth. The infant began to smack his lips, sucking some of the sweetness of the dates and the saliva of the Prophet (SAW). Thus the first thing that entered that child’s stomach was mixed with the saliva of the Messenger of Allah (SAW).

He said, “See how much the Ansaar (the Muslims who were living in Madenah when the Prophet migrated there) love dates!”

I [Anas (RA)] said, “O Messenger of Allah, name him.”

He wiped his face and named him ‘Abd-Allaah.

There was no young man among the Ansaar who was better than him, and when he grew up he had a lot of sons, and was martyred in Persia (he died as a martyr when the Muslims conquered Persia; all of this happened as a result of the Prophet’s blessed du’aa’).

[The story was reported by Imaam al-Bukhaari, Muslim, Ahmad and al-Tayaalisi; this version was reported by al-Tayaalisi and others. Al-‘Allaamah al-Albaani collected all its isnaads in his book Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz, pp. 20].

***

—Note: Umm Sulaim (RA) was the maternal aunt of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) (SAW)

Once the Prophet (SA) said that he had entered into Paradise and heard the footsteps of someone ahead of him. He asked whose footsteps those were and he was told they belonged to Umm Sulaim. Such was the reward for her strength of faith and courage.

***

There are many stories associated with Umm Sulaim (RA) and I’m going to compile them if Allah SWT permits.

So this is why she’s my role model. A woman who was promised Paradise when she was alive!

Who’s yours?

26 Responses to “Who IS this Umm Sulaim?”

  1. Subhanallah, that was a beautiful read.

    • JazakAllahu khayran!
      Honestly, the male/female companions of the Prophet SAW inspire you to follow deen…we as an ummah–>need to emulate them and adopt them as role models inshaa’Allah =]

  2. I think my favourite part was the marriage, and most astounding was her patience.

    • Yeah…and if you read parts of Seerah, her husband, Abu Talhah…turned out to be the Sahabi who supported the Prophet SAW the most.
      It gives me the goosebumps…how she was patient when her child passed away! =]
      Patience = Jannah =]

  3. interesting mahshallah

  4. I have heard parts of this story before but I never knew that the womans name was Umm Sulaim. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that now. thank you for sharing = )

    • Dearest Sister: Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah!

      Welcome to my blog =]
      She’s not any woman. She’s been promised Jannah while she was alive , was an aunt of the Prophet SAW and is a Sahabiya radiaAllahu anha.
      Awesome! And you better not because she’s my favourite!
      You’re very welcome =]
      Looking forward to having more of your participation here and hope to have the honor of benefitting from your company inshaa’Allah.

      Have a great week,
      -UmmS.

  5. Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah.

    MashaAllah, a very good blog full of resources. We [Muslims] seriously do not have any excuse for not learning our deen.

    Wa jazakallah khair for linking MuslimManners.com :)

    Wa salaam,

    -Abu Sa’ad

    • Walaykum asalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

      JazakAllahu khayran but it’s nothing but an infitesimal amount of effort…and I pray it gets accepted.

      It’s His Extreme Mercy on all of us that He SWT provided us with so much at our fingertips. I think most of us take this for granted and don’t realize the struggle the pious predecessors went through just to learn about one hadith.

      May Allah SWT guide us abundantly and save us from ignorance and from knowledge that doesn’t benefit us.Ameen.

      It’s all part of khayr and I promote and am willing to promote any Muslim’s Da’wah work as long as it’s providing authentic info inshaa’Allah.
      Wa iyakum.

      Please remember all the Ummah in your duas.
      -UmmS.

  6. Asalamualaykum Umm sulaym,

    I hope you are well sister. I’ve been thinking about you lately. I have done what I didn’t want to do, I became inactive on my blog. I still come on yours though, and get plenty of encouragement. I really want to write, I really do, but it takes me so long to write something I would be okay with sharing. Any advice?

    How long does it usually take you to write up an original entry, if you don’t mind me asking? :)

    your sister,
    ommal muqarraboon

    • Walaykum asalam warahmatullah dearest,

      Just sent you an email in response.
      Love,
      -UmmS.

      • as-salam3laykum wa rahmatullah ukhtee :)

        I believed you asked me to let you know if I ever find out how to get the “read more…” thing :)
        So in sha Allah go to your Dashboard >> Appearance >> Theme Options
        And you’ll see it there in sha Allah :)

  7. Umm Moosa Says:

    Assalamualikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,
    SubhanAllah I was searching for something on google and Allah just made me bump into your blog. And I’m so happy about it.
    A wonderful article! What a great woman she was indeed. I pray Allah makes you like her and your children like her children. Ameen.
    Just had a baby recently and was thinking about homeschooling him in the future. SubhanAllah was glad to see so many resources on your blog.
    Wallahi I’m delighted I found you.
    Juzeeti khayran

    • Walaykumasalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh Dear Sister,

      Alhamdolilah thumma alhamdolilah that you found my blog to be of any use.

      JazakiAllahu khayran for such an amazing duaa! Same for you and even more!

      I have sent you an email and I hope to keep in touch with you inshaa’Allah through my new blog :)

      Take care and many duaas,
      -Umm Sulaym
      P.S. …and I’m delighted to have you, alhamdolilah!

  8. I was very happy for ur contribution

  9. fathima ramazaniya Says:

    walaikum warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu,
    very nice article sis, it was so interesting and nice. i hope you may post more articles in future insha allah. may allah bless you.

  10. mashAllah such a heart warming stort(true story)thank u for sharing it with us,i hav learnt so much,im a bit confused because i read on a muslim name site that umm sulaims real name was rumaisa,is this true,plz could u reply to me asap,thank u

    • Maashaa’Allah yes it is, isn’t it dear sister? And this is just one story. The stories of all sahaba and sahabiyaat are heart-warming mashaa’Allah, may Allah SWT be pleased with them all. For more you can click here.
      You’re welcome. JazakiAllahu khayran for stopping by.
      Umm Sulaim was her kunya and Rumaisa bint Milhan is what she is also known as (amongst many other names). And Allah SWT knows best.
      Wasalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullah,
      -Umm S.

  11. Shahzad Mehmood Says:

    Asalamoalikum,
    kindly tell me actual (Original) name of Hazrat Umm Sulaym (R.A)

  12. Ma Shaa Allah… Shukraan jazeelan ya ukhti for bringing this piece to us… JazakumuLlahu Khayr… Good to know that UmmSulaym(r.a) is a mutual role model… May Allah ease our affairs and make the this religion Al-Islam easy for us to practice with all sincerity… Ameen!!! Masalam.

  13. I cant stop crying subhanAllah! Even though Ive heard about this story before, it’s always different each time round.

  14. Abdullahi Usman saleh Says:

    assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabakaatuhu jazakallahu bikhair.my first daughter name is ummusulaim Abdullahi Usman. she is 13years,now.my Allah reward you ameen

  15. Akanbi aminat Says:

    I love this manner of presentation that makes listening to history not only interesting but educative

  16. ali ashraf Says:

    thanks

  17. Bilal Haider Says:

    how to write Rymaysa in Arabic? What does it mean?

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