Umm-e-Habiba Ramla Bint-e-Abi Sufyan (R.A.)

Umm-e-Habiba Ramla bint-e-Abu Sufyan (R.A.) in fact married the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in 1 AH, although she (R.A.) did not actually come to live with him (Peace be upon him) in Medina until 7 AH. Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) was the daughter of Abu Sufyan (R.A.), who for some of his (R.A.) life was one of the most resolute enemies of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) spending much of his (R.A.) great wealth in opposing the Muslims, and leading the armies of the kafirun (Non Muslims) against the Muslims in all the early major battles, including the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq. Indeed it was not until the conquest of Makkah, when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) generously pardoned him (R.A.), that Abu Sufyan (R.A.) embraced Islam and began to fight with the Muslims instead of against them.
Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) and her (R.A.) first husband, who was called Ubaydullah bin Jahsh, the brother of Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.), were among the first people to embrace Islam in Makkah, and they (R.A.) were among those early Muslims who emigrated to Abyssinia in order to be safe. Once in Abyssinia, however, Ubaydullah abandoned Islam and became a Christian. He tried to make her (R.A.) become Christian, but she (R.A.) stood fast. This put Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) in a difficult position, since a Muslim woman can only be married to a Muslim man. She (R.A.) could no longer live with her (R.A.) husband, and once they had been divorced, she (R.A.) could not return to her (R.A.) father, who was still busy fighting the Muslims. So she (R.A.) remained with her (R.A.) daughter in Abyssinia, living a very simple life in isolation, waiting to see what Allah would decree for her (R.A.).
One day, as Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) sat in her (R.A.) solitary room, a stranger in a strange land far from her (R.A.) home, a maidservant knocked on her (R.A.) door and said that she (R.A.) had been sent by the Negus who had a message for her (R.A.). The message was that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had asked for her (R.A.) hand in marriage, and that if she (R.A.) accepted this proposal that she (R.A.) was to name one of the accepted this proposal then she (R.A.) was to name one of the Muslims in Abyssinia as her (R.A.) Wakil (Lawyer), so that the marriage ceremony could take place in Abyssinia even though she (R.A.) was not in the same place as the Prophet (Peace be upon him). Naturally Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) was overjoyed and accepted immediately. “Allah has given you good news! Allah has given you good news!” she (R.A.) cried, pulling off what little jewelry she (R.A.) had and giving it to the smiling girl. She (R.A.) asked her to repeat the message three times since she (R.A.) could hardly believe her (R.A.) ears.
Soon after this, all the Muslims who had sought refuge in Abyssinia were summoned to the palace of the Negus to witness the simple marriage ceremony between her (R.A.) and the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him). Khalid bin Said bin Al-As (R.A.) acted as Wakil (Lawyer) on her (R.A.) behalf. When the marriage was finalized, the Negus addressed the gathering with these words:
“I praise Allah, the Holy, and I declare that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His servant and His messenger and that He gave the good news to Jesus the son of Mary. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) requested me to conclude the marriage contract between him (Peace be upon him) and Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.), the daughter of Abu Sufyan (R.A.). I agreed to do what he (Peace be upon him) asked and on his (Peace be upon him) behalf I give her (R.A.) a dowry of four hundred gold dinars.” The Negus handed over the amount to Khalid bin Said (R.A.) who stood up and said:
“All praise is due to Allah. I praise Him and I seek His help and forgiveness and I turn to Him in repentance. I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His servant and His Messenger whom He has sent with the Deen of guidance and truth so that it may prevail over all other religions, however much those who reject dislike this. I agreed to do what the Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked and acted as the Wakil on behalf of Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.), the daughter of Abu Sufyan (R.A.). May Allah bless His Messenger (Peace be upon him) and his wife (R.A.). Congratulations to Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) for the goodness which Allah has decreed for her (R.A.).”
Khalid (R.A.) took the dowry and handed it over to Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.). Thus although she (R.A.) could not travel to Arabia straight away, she (R.A.) was provided for, by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) from the moment and that they were married. The Muslims who had witnessed the marriage contract were just about to leave, when the Negus said to them, “Sit down, for it is the practice of the Prophets (Peace be upon them) to serve food at marriages. (Valima)” Joyfully everyone sat down again to eat and celebrate the happy occasion. Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) especially could hardly believe her (R.A.) good fortune, and she (R.A.) later described how eager she (R.A.) was to share her (R.A.) happiness, saying: “When I received the money as my dowry, I sent fifty mithqals of gold to the servant girl who had first brought me the good news, and I said to her, ‘I gave you what I did when you gave me the good news because at that time I did not have any money at all.’
Shortly afterwards, she came to me and returned the gold. She also produced a case which contained the necklace I had given to her and gave it to me, saying, ‘The Negus has instructed me not to take anything from you, and he has commanded the women in his household to present you with gifts of perfume.’
“On the following day, she brought me ambergris, saffron and aloes wood oil and said, ‘I have a favor to ask of you.’
‘”What is it?’ I asked.
‘”I have accepted Islam,’ she replied, ‘and now I followed the Deen of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Please convey my greetings of peace to him, and let him
(Peace be upon him) know that I believe in Allah and His Prophet (Peace be upon him). Please do not forget.’”
Six years later in 7 AH, when the emigrant Muslims in Abyssinia were finally able to return to Arab, Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) came to Medina and there the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), who had just returned victorious from the battle of Khaybar, warmly welcomed her (R.A.). Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) relates: “When I met the Prophet (Peace be upon him), I told him (Peace be upon him) all about the arrangements that had been made for the marriage, and about my relationship with the girl. I told him (Peace be upon him) that she had become a Muslim and conveyed her greetings of peace to him (Peace be upon him). He (Peace be upon him) was filled with joy at the news and said, ‘Wa alayha as salam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh’ – ‘And on her be the peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessing.’”
The strength of Umm-e-Habiba’s (R.A.) character can be measured by what happened shortly before the conquest of Makkah, when her (R.A.) father, Abu Sufyan (R.A.), came to Medina after the Quraish had broken the treaty of Hudaybiyya, in order to try and re-negotiate a fresh settlement with the Prophet Muhammad
(Peace be upon him) and the Muslims. He (R.A.) first went to Umm-e-Habiba’s house and was about to sit down on the bedding of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), who had not seen her (R.A.) father for over six years, asked him (R.A.) not to sit on it and quickly folded it up and put it away. “Am I too good for the bed, or it is the bed too good for me?” he (R.A.) asked. “How can the enemy of Islam sit on the bed of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him)?” she (R.A.) replied.
It was only after Abu Sufyan (R.A.) had embraced Islam, after the conquest of Makkah and become the enemy of the enemies of Islam that Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) accepted and loved him (R.A.) again as her (R.A.) father. When she (R.A.) received the news that her (R.A.) father and brother Muawiya (R.A.), who later became the Khalifa (Caliph) of the Muslims, had become Muslims after the conquest, she (R.A.) fell down in prostration to Allah out of thankfulness. Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) spent four years of her (R.A.) life with Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and lived for another thirty-three years after he (Peace be upon him) died. She (R.A.) died at the age of seventy two in 44 AH, may Allah be pleased with her.
Like all the wives of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) Umm-e-Habiba (R.A.) spent much of her (R.A.) time remembering Allah and worshipping Him. She (R.A.) has related that once the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to her (R.A.), “A house will be built in the Garden for anyone who, in the space of a day and a night, prays twelve voluntary Rakats;” and she (R.A.) added, “I have never stopped doing this since I heard it from the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).”