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Sawdah Bint Zam’ah

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Sawdah Bint Zam’ah

Post by Ithar Ghada Faied on Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:41 pm



Her name may Allah be pleased with her, is Sawdah bint Zam'ah ibn Qays ibn 'Abdush-Shams ibn 'Abdi Widdi ibn Nasr ibn Maalik ibn Hasl ibn 'Amir ibn Lu'ay (the Qurayshi). Her mother is Ash-Shamoos bint Qays ibn Zayd of Bani 'Adi ibn An-Najjar from Khazraj.

She married as-Sakran ibn 'Amr, the brother of Suhail ibn 'Amr. She was an early convert to Islam and it was by her persuasion that her husband embraced Islam. On the second emigration to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), Sawdah had accompanied her husband to escape the persecution of Quraysh and maintain their faith in the new religion. But not long after they settled in Abyssinia and felt secure, they heard that the idolaters had concluded a truce with the Muslims and agreed to let them practice their religion freely. The Muslims became very happy and decided to return to their homes. But when they reached Makkah, they were shocked by the awful reality. The idolaters were more bitter in their enmity towards the Muslims than ever, their aggression increased and their torture became unbearable. Sawdah's husband may Allah be pleased with him, died on the way to Makkah and left her in a terrible state of destitution.


Her second marriage

Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, retreated after the death of his wife Khadeejah may Allah be pleased with her, into himself and memories. His companions felt his sorrow and grieved for him, but they desired for him to marry and relieve himself from his solitude. They waited till the mourning period of Khadeejah may Allah be pleased with her, was over and Khawlah bint Hakeem, the wife of `Uthmaan ibn Math'oon may Allah be pleased with her, went to him sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and said: "O Prophet of Allah! I see you feel the loss of Khadeejah."; "Yes," he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said. "She was both mother and housewife". Khawlah suggested that he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, should marry and she offered to find him a bride. Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "Who could be that bride?" Khawlah may Allah be pleased with her, suggested `Aa'ishah bint Abu Bakr may Allah be pleased with her, the daughter of the first man to believe in Muhammad's Message sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and also his best friend. But `Aa'ishah may Allah be pleased with her was very young so he engaged her and left her in her parents' house till she matured. But Khawlah and the other Companions didn't want a delayed marriage, and wanted someone to comfort him sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and assist him in taking care of his children, especially at that time when his days were burdened with heavy struggle and toil.

She mentioned Sawdah bint Zam'ah may Allah be pleased with her the widow of as-Sakran ibn 'Amr may Allah be pleased with him. She was old and lacked beauty and wealth, moreover her father and brother were pagans so it was very difficult for her to survive and remain her faith in this environment. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam heard about her situation and felt sorry for this faithful widow. No sooner had Khawlah mentioned her name, than he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, stretched a merciful hand to her in her old age and asked Khawlah may Allah be pleased with her, to ask for her hand. Khawlah may Allah be pleased with her went to Sawdah may Allah be pleased with her, and said: "Allah has blessed you: Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) sent me to ask for your hand" Sawdah, may allah be pleased with her, was stunned and with trembling voice she said: “I love that, but go and ask my father.” When the father heard the news he was very happy and said: “This is a suitable match; Muhammad is an honorable and compatible person. Would you like me to wed you to him?" Sawdah may Allah be pleased with her replied with only one word, "Yes." The rumors of the proposed marriage spread around Makkah, some people could not believe their ears — how could an old widow without beauty and wealth succeed the noble and beautiful Khadeejah (may Allah be pleased with her)?

The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam married Sawdah may Allah be pleased with her, in Makkah in Ramadhaan in the tenth year of his Prophethood. Sawdah may Allah be pleased with her, found herself the wife of the chosen Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. She was overawed by him. From the beginning she knew that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, married her out of consolation and compassion and not out of desire and love and she knew that no one else could give her a more respectable shelter than the great Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. She, may Allah be pleased with her, was very content and very much satisfied to accept this offer, to marry the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and serve him and his daughters, but what made her happier was the fact that she gained the title of the Mother of the Faithful.

Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, liked the remarks she sometimes made. Once she, may Allah be pleased with her, told him, “I have prayed standing behind you, O' Prophet of Allah, and you made me kneel so long that I held my nose fearing that it will bleed" The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, laughed and Sawdah may Allah be pleased with her, was very happy. Sawdah may Allah be pleased with her, was generous and good-hearted. She, may Allah be pleased with her, remained in charge of Muhammad's house for three years till `Aa'ishah may Allah be pleased with her arrived to the house.

Then she, may Allah be pleased with her gave her the first place and did her best to comfort and assist the young and beautiful bride. Other wives with beauty, nobility and prestige came to the house of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, but Sawdah did not hesitate to favor `Aa'ishah may Allah be pleased with her without showing any hostility to the other wives. When every wife settled in her own chamber, Sawdah may Allah be pleased with her, felt that she cannot fulfill her duties toward the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his daughters. And she felt that she had no right to spend her night with him since the young and beautiful wives were available to him.

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, tried his best to open his heart to her but human nature would not let him. He sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, felt bad about her emotional deprivation and was kind enough not to mention anything that could hurt her feelings. So he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, thought of releasing her to relieve her from a situation which causes her pain and wounding her heart even though she never complained. He sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, suggested divorce to free her from her duties and spare her the pain.

Sawdah may Allah be pleased with her, was startled at hearing this, she kept quiet for moments then she pulled herself together and said to him, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: "Keep me please; I am not a selfish wife, but I wish to see Allah recognizing me as your wife on the Day of Judgment" She added gently and respectfully "Keep me, O' Prophet of Allah, and I will donate my night to `Aa'ishah as I do not demand that which women desire" The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, wondered with emotion for this overwhelming love and tolerance, kept her in his house and treated her with honor, dignity and respect.

Sawdah may Allah be pleased with her, spent her time praying in her chamber. She may Allah be pleased with her was happy and content. She thanked Allah Who Had inspired this successful solution which had saved her the ordeal of separation from the chosen Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, without feeling ashamed or undermining her position in the house. When she, may Allah be pleased with her performed pilgrimage with the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he allowed her because of her heavy weight and her age to precede the people to Muzdalifah. `Aa'ishah said: "I wish I had asked the Prophet to allow me to go to Muzdalifah like Sawdah did, so that I could pray Fajr (the morning prayers) in Mina before the people arrive.”

After the death of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, she, may Allah be pleased with her, vowed not to go to the pilgrimage nor to the lesser pilgrimage and she, may Allah be pleased with her said: "I have performed my Hajj (pilgrimage) and 'Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) so now it is time to stay home as Allah commanded me.”

She meant what Allah Says in His Quran (which means):{And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform the prayers and give Zakah and obey Allah and His messenger. Allah wishes only to remove ar-rijs [evil deeds and sins] from you, oh, members of the family [of the prophet], and to purify you with a thorough purification.}[Qur'an 33: 33]

She, may Allah be pleased with her, died in the reign of Mu'aawiyah ibn Abu Sufiyaan may Allah be pleased with him in 54 A.H. in Madeenah. 'Aa'ishah may Allah be pleased with her, mourned Sawdah and said: "No woman is more beloved to me than Sawdah, whose shoes I would rather be in than others." 'Aa'ishah may Allah be pleased with her, never forgot that Sawdah donated her night with the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to her.

The Mother of the Faithful was buried in al-Baqee` in Madeenah, May Allah be pleased with her, and may He please her.

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Ithar Ghada Faied
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