Umm Salamah! What an eventful life she had! Her real name was Hind. She was the daughter of one of the notables in the Makhzum clan nicknamed “Zad Ar-Rakib” (which means the provision for the traveler) because he was well known for his generosity, particularly to travelers.
Umm Salamah’s husband was Abdullah ibn Abdul-Asad and they both were among the first people to accept Islam. Only Abu Bakr and a few others, who could be counted on the fingers of one hand, became Muslims before them.
As soon as the news of their becoming Muslims spread, the Quraysh reacted with frenzied anger. They began hounding and persecuting Umm Salamah and her husband. But the couple did not waver or despair and remained steadfast in their new faith.
Permission to migrate to Abyssinia
The persecution became more and more intense. Life in Makkah became unbearable for many of the new Muslims. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then gave permission for them to immigrate to Abyssinia. Umm Salamah and her husband were in the forefront of these seekers of refuge in a strange land.
For Umm Salamah, it meant abandoning her home and giving up the traditional ties of lineage and honor for something new, pursuing the pleasure and reward of Allah.
Despite the protection, Umm Salamah and her companions received from the Abyssinian ruler, the desire to return to Makkah, to be near the Prophet and the source of revelation and guidance, persisted.
News eventually reached the emigrants that the number of Muslims in Makkah had increased. Among them were Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib and Umar ibn Al-Khattab. Their faith had greatly strengthened the community, and the Quraysh, they heard, had eased the persecution somewhat. Thus a group of the emigrants, urged on by a deep longing in their hearts, decided to return to Makkah.
Permission to Migrate to Madinah
The easing of the persecution was brief, as the returnees soon found out. The dramatic increase in the number of Muslims following the acceptance of Islam by Hamzah and Umar had infuriated the Quraysh more than ever. They intensified their persecution and torture to a pitch and intensity not known before. So the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave permission to his Companions to immigrate to Madinah.
Umm Salamah and her husband were among the first to leave. The hijrah of Umm Salamah and her husband, though, was not as easy as they had imagined. In fact, it was a bitter and painful experience and a particularly harrowing one for her.
Great and momentous events
Great and momentous events followed one after the other. There was the battle of Badr, in which Abu Salamah fought. The Muslims returned victorious and strengthened.
Then there was the battle of Uhud, in which Allah tested the Muslims. Abu Salamah came out of this very badly wounded. He appeared at first to respond well to treatment, but his wounds never healed completely and he remained bedridden.
Once, while Umm Salamah was nursing him, he said to her, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying whenever a calamity afflicts anyone he should say, ‘We belong to Allah and to Him shall we return; O Allah, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in exchange for it.’”
Abu Salamah remained sick in bed for several days and then he passed away. With his blessed hands, the Prophet closed the eyes of his dead Companion and invoked Allah to forgive Abu Salamah, raise his degree among those who are rightly guided, take charge of his descendants who remain, make his grave spacious, and grant him light in it.
Umm Salamah remembered the prayer her husband had quoted from the Prophet and began repeating it, “O Lord, with you I leave this my plight for consideration….” But she could not bring herself to continue with “O Lord, give me something better than it in exchange for it.”
She kept asking herself, “Who could be better than Abu Salamah?” But after a while she completed the supplication.
Umm Salamah did not know a person better than Abu Salamah. She was not aware that Allah spared for her the best ever person-the Prophet himself. He (peace and blessings be upon him) married her, and so it was that Allah answered the prayer of Umm Salamah and gave her better than Abu Salamah. From that day on, Hind Al-Makhzumiyah was no longer the mother of Salamah alone but became the Mother of All Believers (Umm Al-Mu’mineen).