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Known For: Early convert to Islam; Prophet Muhammad’s wife; a Mother of the Believers
Dates: Hijri Unkown-44 (AH)
Common Era Unkown-664 (CE)
Country: Saudi Arabia
Ramla bint Abu Sufyan, also known as Umm Habibah, was an early convert to Islam. She was known for her piety and endurance through the oppression faced by many of the early converts to Islam. Her strength impressed the Prophet, whom she later married, becoming the final ‘Mother of the Believers.’
Umm Habibah was the daughter of Abu Sufyan, the chieftan of the Quraysh tribeand the man who led many of the early wars against the Prophet before converting to Islam after his defeat in Mecca . Umm Habibah and her husband, ‘Obaidullah bin Jahash, were among the first converts at a time when Muslims faced severe persecution. Umm Habibah and her husband moved to Abyssinia with other Muslim converts after the Prophet urged his followers to safety. In Abyssinia, Umm Habibah gave birth to her daughter Habibah.
Once safe in Abyssinia, Umm Habibah’s husband reverted back to Christianity and started to drink heavily. They soon divorced and she was unable to return to her father because he was still fighting against the Muslims. She decided to live in isolation and raise her daughter.
After some time, Umm Habibah received a message from the Prophet asking for her hand in marriage. Although the Prophet was in Arabia and Umm Habibah was in Abyssinia, they married. Six years later, Umm Habibah joined the Prophet in Medina.
Stories about Umm Habibah relate her loyalty. For example, one day her father came to visit her and the Prophet to renegotiate a settlement with the Muslims. He 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.
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).
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