Her real name was Barakah bint Tha'labah, but she came to be known by her son Aiman's name as Umm Aiman
She was the lady who played the role of mother and took care of the young boy, Muhammad
when his mother Aminah bint Wahab passed away while travelling from Makkah to Al-Madinah.
used to address her as 'mother' and said she would go to Paradise in the Hereafter. She was a lady who was like a member of the Prophet's family over the years. When Khadijah
passed away, she was deeply affected and wept for her. She was the one who bathed and shrouded her, and prepared her body for burial. When the Prophet's daughter, Zainab
passed away, again she was as grief-stricken as any member of the family. She also prepared her body for burial, with the help of Mother of the Believers Saudah
and the Mother of the Believers Umm Salama
She took part in the Battles of Uhud, Khaiber and Hunain. She also had the distinction of migrating twice- once to Abyssiniah and again to Al-Madinah.
She had been a slave of the Prophet's father,' Abdullah bin' Abdul Muttalib. She was originally from Abyssiniah. According to the tribal customs prevailing in the Arabia of the time, the Prophet
spent his early years with the tribe Banu Sa'd. He was nursed by Halimah Sa'diah,
and was brought up by her. When he was five years old he was returned to Makkah to his mother. When he was six years old his mother decided to take him to Yathrib to meet his grandparents who were from the tribe of Banu Najjar. The slave girl Barakah bint Thu'labah also accompanied them. On the way back when they reached Abwa', his mother suddenly fell ill and died. They then buried her there. Barakah bint Tha'labah
consoled the little boy, and tried her best to fill the gap of his mother.
When the Prophet
grew up to be a young man he freed her and married to 'Obaid bin Zaid Khazarji. When Umm Aiman
converted to Islam differences developed between them. He was not willing to swear the oath of allegiance and accept Allah
and His Messenger
and so they separated.
By her first husband, 'Obaid, she had a son, Aiman. Thus she became known as Umm Aiman
. He grew up to be a very prominent Companion and was martyred in the Battle of Hunain. Her second marriage was to Zaid bin Harithah
He was the General of the Muslim army and was martyred in the battle of Mu'tah. They had a son, Usamah bin Zaid
who was another great General of the Muslim army.
When the Prophet
he asked Umm Aiman
for Zaid bin Harithah
to serve him. She was very happy to give her son to him. The Prophet
was aware of her exemplary character, noble manners and purity of heart. He said that whosoever wished to marry a lady of Paradise should marry Umm Aiman
When Zaid bin Harithah
, heard this statement of the Prophet
based not on her looks, but on her character, he developed a liking for her and was only too happy to marry her. Their son, Usamah bin Zaid
because of his praiseworthy character the was loved deeply by the Prophet
Zaid bin Harithah
became famous because of the Prophet's love for him; so also his son, Usamah bin Zaid
he became famous as the Prophet's favorite.
had great respect for Umm Aiman
and regarded her as his mother. Sometimes because of her nature, she would become insistent and stubborn. The Prophet
would then be very respectful and patient and try his utmost to please her. Anas bin Malik
says that the Ansar of Al-Madinah gave their date orchards to the Prophet
; he in turn distributed them among the Muhajirs(migrants) from Makkah. When the Muslims triumphed over Banu Quraidhah and Banu Nadheer, the Prophet
started returning their property to the generous Ansar owners. Anas bin Malik
relates that when he went to take back his orchards from Umm Aiman
, she refused point blank. On the other hand, she tied a cloth around his neck, jerked him and said that it was out of the question, that she would not return the orchards to him anyway.
When the Prophet
saw this he tried to persuade her to return the orchards. He said he would give her something of the same value in exchange, but she did not agree. Then he offered her something double the value; still she refused. Then he went on to offer three times the value and so on. At last, he offered her something ten times the value of the orchards, and she finally agreed. And Anas bin Malik
got his date orchards back.
often visited her. As soon as he saw her he would say that she was a reminder of his family and she was his mother who deserved respect. 'Aishah
narrates that one day when all of them were seated together, the Prophet
drank some water. Umm Aiman
asked him to fetch some water for her too. 'Aishah
asked in a rather shocked tone if she was asking the Messenger of Allah
to get some water for her. She said, "Why not? I have served him often." He
fetched the water for her and offered it to her in a very respectful manner.
Anas bin Malik
narrates that he would sometimes visit Umm Aiman
with the Prophet
She would express great pleasure on their arrival and serve delicious food and drinks. If the Prophet
refused to partake of it for some reason, she would be very angry and offended. She would ask him why he did not eat or drink. The Prophet
would smile at her getting upset in this manner. Sometimes it would so happen that he was fasting. Anas bin Malik
said that one day, she started kneading dough to make some bread. He
asked her what she was doing. She answered she was making some bread for him as was the custom in her country, Ethiopia.
resembled his mother rather than his father. So the hypocrites used to taunt him, saying that he was not really the son of Zaid bin Harithah
This used to upset the Prophet
very much. 'Aishah said that once, the Prophet
entered the house looking very happy and smiling. She asked him if there wa.s any special reason for this. He answered that something strange had happened. He said Zaid bin Harithah and Usamah bin Zaid (Radhi Allahu Anhuma) were lying asleep with their faces covered, but their feet could be seen from under the sheet. Majzaz Madalji, an expert in physiognomy saw them sleeping and said, "Looking at the bone structure of the feet: It seems that father and son are sleeping." The Prophet
said he was very pleased to hear this.
Some miracles associated with Umm Aiman
are to be found in books of history. In Tabqat lbn Sa'd it is mentioned that during her migration from Makkah to Al-Madinah, she experienced such severe thirst that she thought she would die. There were no signs of water in the vicinity. Suddenly she saw a bowl of water tied with an extremely beautiful pure white rope, descending gradually towards her from the sky. It came near her face and stopped. She put her lips to it and drank her fill to her heart's content. This cool water from the heavens was enough to ward off hunger, thirst and disease for the rest of her life. After that, she says she never experienced thirst for the rest of her life. Though she fasted during the hottest months possible she never experienced a desire for water.
Abu Nu'aym Asbahani, a noted biographer and historian, has mentioned this incident in his book Hiliyat-ul-Awlia'. He says Umm Aiman
was a God-fearing, good-hearted, pious woman of pure character who Umm Aiman
fasted during the day and spent her nights in prayer.To continue Insha Allah