Umm Salama Hind bint Abi Umayya, may Allah be pleased with her, was married to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in 4 AH at the age of twenty nine, after her first husband, Abdullah ibn Abdul Asad, had died from the wounds he had received while fighting at the battle of Uhud. Umm Salama and Abdul Asad had been among the first people to embrace Islam in the early days of the Muslim community in Mecca. They had suffered at the hands of the Quraish who had tried to force them to abandon their new faith, and had been among the first group of Muslims to seek refuge under the protection of the Negus in Abyssinia. When they had returned to Mecca, believing that the situation of the Muslims had improved, they had found instead that if anything it was worse. Rather than return to Abyssinia, Abdul Asad and Umm Salama had received the Prophet's permission to immigrate to Medina, but this proved not to be as easy as they might have imagined.
In the words of Umm Salama: "When Abu Salama (my husband) decided to leave for Medina, he prepared a camel for me, lifted me up onto it and put my son Salama on my lap. My husband then took the lead and went straight ahead without stopping or waiting for anything. Before we were out of Mecca, however, some men from my tribe, the Banu Mahkhzum, stopped us and said to my husband: "Although you may be free to do what you like with yourself, you have no power over your wife. She is our daughter. Do you expect us to allow you to take her away from us?' They then grabbed hold of him and snatched me away from him. Some men from my husband's tribe, the Banu Abdul Asad, saw them taking both me and my child and became hot with rage: "No, by Allah!' They shouted. 'We shall not abandon the boy. He is our son and we have a rightful claim over him.' So they took him by his arm and pulled him away from me. Suddenly, in the space of a few minutes, I found myself all alone. My husband headed out towards Medina by himself; his tribe had snatched away my son from me; and my own tribe had overpowered me and forced me to stay with them. From the day that my husband and my son were parted from me, I went out at noon every day and sat at the spot where this tragedy had occurred. I would remember those terrifying moments and weep until nightfall.
"I continued like this for a year or so until one day a man from the Banu Umayya passed by and saw my condition. He went to my tribe and said, 'Why don't you free this woman? You have caused both her husband and her son to be taken away from her.' He went on like this, trying to soften their hearts and appealing to their emotions, until at last they said to me, 'Go and join your husband if you wish.' But how could I join my husband in Medina, and leave my son, part of my own flesh and blood, in Mecca among the Banu Abdul Asad? How could I remain free from anguish, and my eyes free from tears, if I were to reach the place of hijrah not knowing anything of my little son left behind in Mecca?
"Some people realized what I was going through and their hearts went out to me. They approached the Banu Abdul Asad on my behalf and persuaded them to return my son. I had no desire to remain in Mecca until I could find someone to travel with me, for I was afraid that something might happen that would delay me or stop me from reaching my husband. So I immediately prepared my camel, placed my son on my lap, and set out in the direction of Medina. I just had just reached Tan'im (3 miles from Mecca) when I met Uthman ibn Talha (He as in charge of looking after the Ka'ba, but did not embrace Islam until the Conquest of Mecca). "'Where are you going, Bint Zad ar Rakib?' he asked. 'I am going to my husband in Medina.' 'And isn't there anyone going with you?' 'No, by Allah, except Allah and my little boy here.' 'By Allah,' he vowed, 'I will not leave you until you reach Medina.'
He then took the reins of my camel and led us on our way. By Allah, I have never met an Arab more generous and noble than he. Whenever we reached a resting-place, he would make my camel kneel down, wait until I had dismounted and then lead the camel to a tree and tether it. Then he would go and rest in the shade of a different tree to me. When we had rested, he would get the camel ready again and then lead us on our way. This he did every day until we reached Medina. When we reached a village near Quba (about two miles from Medina), belonging to the Banu Amr ibn Awf, he said, 'Your husband is in this village. Enter it with the blessings of Allah.' Then he turned round and headed back to Mecca."
Thus after many difficult months of separation, Umm Salama and her son were reunited with Abu Salama, and in the next few years that followed, they were always near the heart of the growing Muslim community of Medina al Munawarra. They were present when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) arrived safely from Mecca, and at the battle of Badr Abu Salama fought bravely. At the battle of Uhud, however, he was badly wounded. At first his wound appeared to respond well to treatment, but then his wounds re opened after an expedition against the Banu Abdul Asad, and after that they refused to heal and he remained bedridden. Once while Umm Salama was nursing him, he said to her, "I once heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that whenever a calamity afflicts anyone he should say what Allah has commanded him to say: 'Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un!' 'Surely we come from Allah and surely to Him we return!' and then he should say, 'O Lord, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in return, which only You, the Exalted the Mighty, can give.'"
Abu Salama remained sick in bed for several days. One morning the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to see him. The visit was longer than usual, and while the Prophet was still at his bedside, Abu Salama died. With his blessed hands, the Prophet closed the eyes of his dead Companion and then raised them in prayer. "O Allah, grant forgiveness to Abu Salama; elevate him among those who are near to You; take charge of his family at all times; forgive us and him, O Lord of the worlds; make his grave spacious for him and fill it with light. Ameen."
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