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Women companions of the Prophet: Umaimah bint Khalaf: Twice immigrant

Published: 12/08/2011 01:31:00 AM GMT
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When Islam started most people took a hostile attitude to it, because they realized that it involved a total change of their way of life. People normally dislike radical changes of what they are used to and what they are familiar with. Yet people accept a total change if they are convinced that it will give them something better. The early Muslims felt that they were taking a highly unfamiliar road, but they realized that it led them to real happiness. Some of them had a special introduction to Islam. Among these were Umaimah and her husband Khalid ibn Saeed ibn Al-Aas.

By ADIL SALAHI Published: Aug 11, 2011 23:38 Updated: Aug 11, 2011 23:38

It all started with a dream. Khalid dreamt that he was standing close to a huge fire, while his father was trying to push him into it. Suddenly, the Prophet (peace be upon him) came over, held Khalid's robe and pulled him away from the fire. When Khalid woke up, the dream was still vivid before him. He thought it was a very significant dream. Therefore, he went to the best known interpreter of dreams in Makkah who was none other than Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr said to him: “It is certainly a significant dream which augurs well for you. Muhammad is God's messenger calling on people to believe in God's oneness to save themselves from the fire of hell. Go to him and follow him to save yourself. Your father will suffer it unless he believes. Khalid went to the Prophet, listened to his explanation of Islam and declared himself a Muslim. When he went back home, he told his wife and she accepted Islam without hesitation.

Once the couple were known to have accepted Islam, hardship started to be inflicted on them. Khalid's father rebuked him, punished him physically and ordered all his children to boycott Khalid. The father did not stop at that. He deprived him and his wife of food. Khalid stood firm and said to his father: “If you withhold my food, God will certainly give me enough to live on.”

Umaimah showed firm support of her husband during this difficult period. She was certain that it was all for a good cause and that their hardship will not last. In the fifth year of the start of the Islamic message, the Prophet recommended his followers to immigrate to Abyssinia. Umaimah and her husband were among the first to go. A total of 101 of the Prophet's companions immigrated to Abyssinia. They returned in several batches, at different times, but most of them returned after the Prophet's immigration to Madinah. However, the Prophet gave instructions that a group of them must remain in Abyssinia. They had a mission to fulfill, which was to advocate Islam among the Abyssinian population. Umaimah and her husband were among those who stayed. They only returned when the Prophet sent a message to Negus, the ruler of Abyssinia to send them back. Negus equipped two ships to take them together with a number of Abyssinian Muslims. When they arrived in Madinah, they discovered that the Prophet had gone with an army to Khaibar. They joined him there, arriving after the Battle of Khaibar was over. The Prophet considered that they were on a mission of jihad in Abyssinia and he gave them a full share of the booty.

Umaimah and her husband were part of the Muslim community in Madinah until Abu Bakr became the ruler of the Muslim state, after the Prophet had passed away. Later, when Abu Bakr sent four divisions to fight the Byzantines in Syria, Khalid ibn Saeed wanted to join the army. Abu Bakr asked him: ‘Under which commander do you like to be?' He said: ‘Amr is my cousin and I would like to be under him for that, but Shurahbeel ibn Hasanah is better on account of faith.' So he joined Shurhabeel's division. Khalid was a martyr in the Battle of Marj Al-Safar in Syria. After the battle, the soldier who killed him inquired about him. He said: “When I hit him, I saw a light going out of him and rising to heaven.” He asked questions about Islam and soon became a Muslim.

Umaimah was so pleased when she heard this. She realized that Khalid was a martyr, and she continued to lead an exemplary Islamic life.

Reproduced from Arab News




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