al-Sawād al-A’dham: Umm Ayman

Umm Ayman

Umm Ayman Barakah binṭ Thaclabah, may Allāh be pleased with her, took care of the Prophet ﷺ and helped to raise him.

While she was making hijrah from Makkah to Madīnah on foot she became extremely thirsty. She had no water with her and was fasting. Suddenly a white rope with a bucket of water came down out of the sky. She grasped the bucket and drank from it until her thirst was quenched. She used to say, “I never felt thirst after that even though I put myself [in conditions where one would normally] feel thirsty by fasting on very hot days.”

She participated in Uḥud, passing out water and treating the wounded, as well as the battle of Khaibar with the Prophet ﷺ.

The Prophet ﷺ married her to Ẓaid ibn Ḥārith, may Allāh be pleased with him, and she gave birth to Usāmah ibn Ẓaid, may Allāh be pleased with him,. He was seated behind the Prophet ﷺ when he triumphantly reentered Makkah, and accompanied him inside the Kabbah along with Bilāl and cUthmān ibn Talḥa, may Allāh be pleased with all of them.

The Prophet ﷺ made him the general of an army which had in it giants the like of Abu Bakr al-Ṣiddīq and cUmar al-Fārūq, may Allāh be pleased with them. Usāmah had two Muḥammad and al-Ḥasan, the latter of whom had also two sons: Ẓaid and Muḥammad.

Barkah also had a son, Ayman, may Allāh be pleased with him, from a previous marriage who made hijrah and fought in the way of Allāh; he was martyred in Ḥunain. From Ayman she had a grandson named Ḥajjāj.

Ayman and his half-brother, Usāmah, were amongst that group of Companions during the battle of Ḥunain who remained with the Prophet ﷺ when the tide of battle turned against the Muslims.

The Prophet ﷺ used to visit Umm Ayman, and after his death Abu Bakr and cUmar, may Allāh be pleased with them, went to visit her.

Tāriq ibn Shihāb relates that when the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ died Umm Ayman, that is Umm Usāmah ibn Ẓaid, wept. Someone asked her what made her cry. She replied, “The news from the heavens has been cut off from us.”

Muḥammad ibn cUmar said: Ibn Abī al-Furāṭ, the freed slave of Usāmah ibn Ẓaid, was arguing with al-Ḥasan ibn Usāmah ibn Ẓaid and while he was speaking he said: “Oh, Ibn Barakah (i.e. Umm Ayman).”

Al-Ḥasan immediately said, “Bear witness!” and took the matter before Abu Bakr ibn Muḥammad ibn cAmr ibn Ḥaẓm who was the judge of Madinah, or cUmar ibn cAbdul-Aẓīẓ’s governor, in those days.

Abu Bakr asked Ibn al-Furāṭ, “What did you intend by your statement: Oh, Ibn Barakah?”

Ibn al-Furāṭ replied, “I was mentioning her by her name.”

Abu Bakr retorted, “You only meant to belittle her when her status in Islām is [so great] and the Messenger of Allāh called her, ‘Oh, Mother,’ and ‘Oh, Umm Ayman’. Allāh will not release me if I let you go.” He then lashed him seventy times.

Ibn Mājah has narrated a ḥadīth from her in his Sunan. Imām Aḥmad relates the following ḥadīth from her in his Musnad, “Do not leave off ṣālah deliberately because the protection of Allāh and His Messenger are free from that one who deliberately leaves off ṣalāh.”