Umm Habibah

Country

Saudi Arabia

Known for

Early convert to Islam, Prophet Muhammad’s wife, and a Mother of the Believers

Dates

Hijri Unknown-44 (AH); Common Era Unknown-664 (CE)

Umm Habibah

Biography

Believer Against All Odds... Ramla bint Abu Sufyan, also known as Umm Habibah, was the daughter of Abu Safyan, a powerful man in Mecca and a bitter enemy of Islam. Umm Habibah and her initial husband, ‘Ubaydullah bin Jahsh, were among the first converts to Islam at a time when Muslims faced severe persecution. Umm Habibah and her husband immigrated to Ethiopia with other Muslim converts in order to flee this prosecution by the Meccans. In Ethiopia, Umm Habibah’s husband converted to Christianity and later died there. When the Prophet saw her strength in the midst of the very difficult situation, her father being the enemy of Islam and her husband a deserter, he sent an envoy to Negus, king of Ethiopia, requesting to arrange a marriage with her. Although the Prophet was in Arabia and Umm Habibah was in Ethiopia, they married and she later joined the Prophet back home. “Like many of his marriages, his marriage to Umm Habiba resulted in bringing a major tribe of the Quraysh, the Banu Abd al-Shams, toward Islam” (WISE 121). Even though her father, Abu Sufyan, converted to Islam after her marriage to the Prophet Muhammad, Umm Habibah’s life is a story of loyalty, endurance, and faith. One day her father came to visit her and the Prophet to renegotiate a settlement with the Muslims. Her father was about to sit down on a blanket that the Prophet and Umm Habibah slept on when she quickly folded it up. When Abu Sufyan asked why, she replied that an enemy of Islam should not sit on the bed of the Prophet. Despite, her father and first husband, Umm Habibah remained pious and dedicated to Islam and the Prophet.

Umm Habiba’s Room

“Was there a curse? a snarl? A back-

stop phrase of poetry? Or did she

just stand there for herself,

then walk to the door

to watch him stomp away,

and say to herself, The knife

of the family no longer cuts.”

  • Untold by Tamam Kahn

Sources

Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar, Great Women of Islam (Darussalam, DATE), 125-134. Ahmad Thompson, The Wives of the Prophet: Umm Habibah (Ta-Ha Publishers, Ltd.,DATE). http://www.a2youth.com/ebooks/wivesoftheprophet/wivesoftheprophet.009.php Kahn, Tamam. Untold: A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad. Monkfish Book Publishing Company, 2010.
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