The Faithful Woman (Umm Sulaim)

(Keywords: True patience, true endurance, wisdom and good sense, children’s death, pious women, righteous women, wise women, Umm Suleim, Umm Sulaim, Anas Ibn Malik, Al-Rumaisa, Abu Talha, Paradise, Obedience to God)

    عن أنس ‏قال: ( ‏مَاتَ ابْنٌ ‏لِأَبِي طَلْحَةَ ‏مِنْ ‏أُمِّ سُلَيْمٍ، فقالت لأَهْلِها: لا تُحَدِّثُوا أبا طَلْحَةَ ‏بِابْنِهِ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أنا أُحَدِّثُهُ، قال: فَجَاءَ فَقَرَّبَتْ إِلَيْهِ عَشَاءً فَأَكَلَ وَشَرِبَ فقالَ: ثُمَّ تَصَنَّعَتْ لَهُ أَحْسَنَ مَا كَانَ ‏تَصَنَّعُ قَبْلَ ذَلِكَ فَوَقَعَ بِهَا، فَلَمَّا رَأَتْ أَنَّهُ قَدْ شَبِعَ وَأَصَابَ مِنْهَا قالت: يا ‏أَبا طَلْحَةَ ‏أَرَأَيْتَ لَوْ أَنَّ قَوْمًا أَعَارُوا عَارِيَتَهُمْ أَهْلَ بَيْتٍ فَطَلَبُوا عَارِيَتَهُمْ أَلَهُمْ أَنْ يَمْنَعُوهُمْ؟ قال: لا، قالتْ: فَاحْتَسِبْ ابْنَكَ، قال فغضِبَ وقال: تَرَكْتِنِي حَتَّى تَلَطَّخْتُ ثُمَّ أَخْبَرْتِنِي بِابْنِي، فانْطَلَقَ حتى أتى رسولَ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ‏‏فَأَخْبَرَهُ بِمَا كانَ، فقال رسولُ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « ‏‏بَارَكَ اللَّهُ لَكُمَا فِي غَابِرِ لَيْلَتِكُمَا»)الحديث.  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

 وفي رواية عن أنس ‏قال: (‏ اشْتَكَى ابْنٌ لأبي طَلْحَةَ ‏فَخَرَجَ ‏أبو طلحة ‏إلى المسجدِ فَتُوُفِّيَ الغلامُ، فَهَيَّأَتْ أُمُّ سُلَيْمٍ المَيِّتَ وقالت لأهلها: لا يُخْبِرَنَّ أَحَدٌ منكم ‏‏أبا طلحة ‏بوفاة ابنه، فرجع إلى أهله ومعه ناسٌ من أهل المسجد من أصحابه، قال: ما فعل الغلام؟ قالت: خَيْرٌ مِمَّا كان، فَقَرَّبَتْ إليهم عشاءهم فَتَعَشَّوْا وخرج القومُ، وقامت المرأةُ إلى ما تقوم إليه المرأةُ فلما كان آخرُ الليل قالت: يا ‏أبا طلحة، أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى آلِ فُلَانٍ اسْتَعَارُوا ‏عَارِيَةً ‏ ‏فَتَمَتَّعُوا بِهَا فَلَمَّا طُلِبَتْ كَأَنَّهُمْ كَرِهُوا ذَاكَ؟ قال: ما أَنْصَفُوا، قالت: فَإِنَّ ابْنَكَ كَانَ ‏عَارِيَةً ‏مِنَ اللهِ تبارك وتعالى وإنَّ اللَّهَ قَبَضَهُ، ‏فَاسْتَرْجَعَ وحَمِدَ اللهَ، فلما أصبح غَدَا على رسولِ الله ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم فلما رَآهُ قال: « بَارَكَ اللَّهُ لَكُمَا فِي لَيْلَتِكُمَا». فَحَمَلَتْ ‏بِعَبْدِ اللَّهِ). الحديث.  رواه  أحمد. ـ

 قال عباية بن رفاعة: ( فلقد رأيت لذلك الغلام سبع بنين كلهم قد ختم القرآن). ـ

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Narrated Anas -Ibn Malik may God be pleased with him- said:

A son of Abu Talha who was born of Umm Sulaim died.  Umm Sulaim [The deceased child’s mother] said to the members of her family: ‘Do not inform Abu Talha about his son until I do so.’

Abu Talha came home.  She presented supper to him, and he ate and drank (water).  She then bedecked herself best like she did not do before, and he (Abu Talha) slept with her (shared bed with her). 

When she saw that he was full and had slept with her, she said: ‘O Abu Talha, if some people borrow something from another family and then they asked for its return, could they resist its return?’  He said: ‘No.’ She said: ‘Then seek the reward of the death of your son.’  He was annoyed, and said: ‘You did not inform me until I had slept with you and then you told me about my son.’

Abu Talha went to Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- and informed him about what happened.  Thereupon Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him-said: ‘May God bless you both in the night you spent together. ”The complete hadeeth.  Related by Al-Bukhari, and Imam Muslim.

And in another narration by Imam Ahmad: Narrated Anas -Ibn Malik may God be pleased with him- said:

A son of Abu Talha became ill.  Abu Talha went to the Mosque and the young boy died.  Umm Sulaim prepared the dead boy (washed and shrouded him) and said to her family: ‘Let none of you tell Abu Talha about the death of his son.’

Abu Talha came back home with some friends from the mosque.  He asked: ‘How is the young boy?’  She replied: ‘He is better than before.’  She presented their supper to them, they ate and then the group of people left.  She embellished herself like women do.  At the end of the night she said: ‘O Abu Talha, haven’t you seen the family of so and so who had borrowed something and enjoyed it, but when they were asked for the return of the loaned item they hated it?’  He replied: ‘They were not just.’  She said: ‘Then your son was a loan from God -the Exalted, and God has taken him.’  Abu Talha said: Inna li Allah wa inna ileihi raji’oon (To God we belong, and to Him we shall return), and he praised God.

When it was morning, Abu Talha went to Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- (and told him).  Upon seeing him the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: ‘May God bless both of you in your night.’  (As a result of blessing) Umm Sulaim became pregnant with Abdul-Allah.”

 

Obayah Ibn Rufa’ah said: “Afterwards I saw seven sons of that young boy, all of them had memorized the Qur’an.”

 


 

‏ أُمُّ سُلَيْم: هي الرميصاء امرأة أبي طلحة وأم أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنهم. وكانت قد رضيت بالزواج بأبي طلحة بشرط أن يسلم. فحملت فولدت غلاما صبيحا فكان أبو طلحة يحبه حبا شديدا، وهو أبو عمير. ـ

قال الإمام انووي: ( وفي هذا الحديث مناقب لأم سليم رضي الله عنها من عظيم صبرها، وحسن رضاها بقضاء الله تعالى، وجزالة عقلها في إخفائها موته على أبيه في أول الليل ليبيت مستريحا بلا حزن، ثم عشته وتعشت، ثم تصنعت له، وعرضت له بإصابته فأصابها .  وفيه استعمال المعاريض عند الحاجة وشرط المعاريض المباحة ألا يضيع بها حق أحد والله أعلم .  ثم دعا صلى الله عليه وسلم لهما بالبركة في ليلتهما، فاستجاب الله تعالى ذلك الدعاء، وحملت بعبد الله بن أبي طلحة، وجاء من أولاد عبد الله إسحاق وإخوته التسعة صالحين علماء رضي الله عنهم). ـ

 

Umm Sulaim:  

Her Name is Al-Rumaisa’ (and it is said Al-Ghumaisa’), and she is the wife of Abu Talha and the mother of Anas Ibn Malik -may God be pleased with them. 

When Abu Talha proposed to her she accepted his proposal with the condition that he would embrace Islam, and he did so.  She became pregnant and gave birth to a bright boy, whom Abu Talha used to love very much, and whose name was Abu Omair (but who later died in childhood).

The Scholar Al-Nawawi said:

“This hadeeth shows the virtues of Umm Sulaim -may God be pleased with her. 

It shows Umm Sulaim’s great patience and her acceptance of the destiny of God -the Exalted.

It also shows her wisdom and great sense in hiding their son’s death from his father at the beginning of the night so that he could spend the night without worry.  She then presented supper to him, ate her supper, and then bedecked herself and invited him, so he slept with her.

The hadeeth also shows that it is permissible to use pun [when she said ‘He is better than before’ which meant he was dead], on the condition that it does not violate the right of any Muslim.

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- then prayed God to bless their night together.  So God accepted the supplication of the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him, and Umm Sulaim became pregnant and then gave birth to Abdul-Allah Ibn Talha, who then fathered ten righteous and scholarly sons including Abdul-Allah Ibn Is-haq).”

 

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Families of the Righteous (Umm Sulaym and Anas Ibn Malik)

(Umm Sulaim, Umm Sulaym, Umm Suleim)

When the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his companions migrated to Medina, the Ansar tribe welcomed them with open arms and incredible hospitality.  Not only did they make the Muhajir migrants feel welcome, but the Ansar shared their homes and wealth with them. This happened to such an extent that Allah the Exalted praised their act of altruism in the Holy Qur’an: {And those who, before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given, and give them (the emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need. And whosoever is saved from the covetousness of his soul, then it is those who will be the successful} (59:9).

One of the leading Ansari families in Medina that showed such warm welcome and utmost altruism was the family of Umm Sulaym, may Allah be pleased with her.  When the Prophet ﷺ arrived at Medina, Umm Sulaym went to him with her son Anas Ibn Malik in tow.  Umm Sulaym was among the first group to accept Islam in Medina, and when Abu Talha proposed to her, she made his acceptance of Islam as her only dowry.  Having this strong faith, she offered the Prophet ﷺ the most precious gift as seen in this authentic hadith:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ immigrated to Medina when I was ten years old.  When he arrived at Medina, my mother Umm Sulaym took me to the Prophet ﷺ and said to him:

‘This is Anas, my young son.  I have brought him to serve you.’

So the Prophet ﷺ accepted her offer.”  (Related by Ibn Hajr Al-‘Asqalani in his book Al-Isaba fi Tamyiz As-Sahaba.)

What a great sacrifice by a mother! But she did it for the sake of Allah and in seeking His pleasure.  But ultimately, it was she who benefited most, for what greater blessing is there than being with the Prophet, listening to his blessed speech, and observing his noble action nearly all the time?

Umm Sulaym was also a great manifestation of patience and wisdom.  When her young son died, she did not wail and despair, but was calm and took matters into her hands to break the news to her husband Abu Talha in such a gentle and appealing way that the Prophet invoked Allah for her, as seen in the following hadith:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “A son of Abu Talha who was born of Umm Sulaym died. Umm Sulaym said to the members of her family: ‘Do not tell Abu Talha about his son until I do so.’  When Abu Talha came home, she presented supper to him, and he ate and drank water.  She then embellished herself as best like she did not do before, and he (Abu Talha) shared bed with her that night.  When she saw that he was full and had slept with her, she said: ‘O Abu Talha, if some people lent something to another family, and then they asked for its return, could the second family stop its return?’  He said: ‘No.’  She said: ‘Then seek the reward of the death of your son.’  He was angry, and said: ‘You did not inform me until I lay down with you and then you told me about my son.’  He went to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and informed him about what happened.  Thereupon the Messenger ﷺ said:

‘May Allah bless both of you in the night you spent together.’ ”

(Related by Bukhari and Muslim.)

Ubaya bin Rufa’a said: “Afterwards, I saw seven sons of that young boy. All of them had memorized the Qur’an.”

Umm Sulaym’s son, Anas Ibn Malik, benefited greatly from his association with the Prophet ﷺ, not only in terms of religious knowledge but also in worldly blessings.  Anas learned much while serving the Prophet ﷺ, and narrated over 2000 hadiths.  He is considered the third most prolific narrators of hadith (after Abu Hurayra and Ibn ‘Umar).  One of the greatest aspects he narrated of the Prophet ﷺ was his high morals and noble manners:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “I served the Messenger of Allah ﷺ for ten years, and he never said a word of displeasure to me (Uff), nor did he ever say to me concerning something I had done: ‘Why did you do that?’.  And he never said to me concerning something I had not done: ‘Why did you not do this?’. He had the best character. And I never touched silk or anything else that was softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.  And I never smelled any musk or perfume that had a better fragrance than the sweat of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.”  (Related by Al-Tirmidhi, also related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)


Umm Sulaym
then asked the Prophet  to invoke Allah to grant blessings upon her son, and so he did.  And Anas saw the result of that supplication in his life:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “My mother, Umm Anas, took me to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, having dressed me in upper and lower garments made from her headdress, and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, this is my son Unais; I have brought him to you to serve you. Invoke Allah’s blessings upon him.’ Thereupon the Prophet ﷺ supplicated: ‘O Allah, make abundant his wealth and progeny.’  Anas said: ‘By Allah, my fortune is huge and my children and grandchildren are more than one hundred today.”  (Related by Muslim.)

So Umm Sulaym was the one who gained most from her offer.  Indeed, not only did she see her son prosper in wealth and progeny, but she herself gained a high status with Allah.  She continued to obey Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and do all in her power to serve the Prophet.  She was given the glad tidings of Paradise by the Prophet ﷺ himself:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet ﷺ said:

“I entered Paradise and heard the sound of footsteps.  I said: ‘Who is that?’  It was said: ‘This is Al-Gumaysa’ Bint Milhan, the mother of Anas Ibn Malik.”

(Related by Muslim.)

Such people demonstrated the reality of having a good opinion in Allah (husn al-dhan billah), knowing that what little sacrifice they offer will result in blessings in both worlds, and that Allah will never put any deed to waste. Allah says: Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – indeed, We will not allow to be lost the reward of any who did well in deeds. (Qur’an 18:30).

May Allah be pleased with them all.