Sawda bint-e-Zama (R.A.)

Sawda bint-e-Zama (R.A.) had been the first woman to immigrate to Abyssinia in the way of Allah. Her (R.A.) husband died and she (R.A.) was living with her (R.A.) aged father. She (R.A.) was middle-aged kindly disposition surely the right person to take care of the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) household and family. So Muhammad (Peace be upon him) accepted the request and gave permission to Khawla (R.A.) to speak to Abu Bakr (R.A.) and to Sawda (R.A.) on the subject of marriage. Khawla (R.A.) went straight to Sawda (R.A.) and said, “Would you like Allah to give you great blessing, Sawda (R.A.)?” She (R.A.) asked, “And what is that, Khawla (R.A.)?” She (R.A.) said, “The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) has sent me to you with a proposal of marriage!” Sawda (R.A.) tried to contain herself in spite of her (R.A.) utter astonishment and then replied in a trembling voice, “I would like that! Go to my father and tell him that.” Khawla (R.A.) went to her (R.A.) father, an old man, and greeted him and then said, “Muhammad (Peace be upon him) son of Abdullah son of Abdul Muttalib, has sent me to ask for Sawda (R.A.) in marriage.” The old man shouted, “A noble match. What does she (R.A.) say?” Khawla (R.A.) replied, “She (R.A.) would like that.” He told her (R.A.) to call her (R.A.). When she (R.A.) came, he said, “Sawda (R.A.), this woman claims that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) son of Abdullah son of Abdul Muttalib has sent me to ask for you in marriage. It is a noble match. Do you want me to marry you (R.A.) to him (Peace be upon him)?” She (R.A.) accepted, feeling it was a great honor. Sawda (R.A.) went to live in Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) house and immediately took over the care of his (Peace be upon him) daughters and household, while Aisha bint-e-Abu Bakr (R.A.) became betrothed to him (Peace be upon him) and remained in her father’s house playing with her dolls.
There was great surprise in Makkah that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would choose to marry a widow who was neither young nor beautiful. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) however, remembered the trials she (R.A.) had undergone when she (R.A.) had immigrated to Abyssinia, leaving her (R.A.) house and property, and crossed the desert and then the sea for an unknown land out of the desire to preserve her (R.A.) deen. During the next two years, the Quraish increased their spiteful efforts to destroy Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his followers (R.A.), in spite of the clear signs that confirmed beyond any doubt that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was indeed the Messenger of Allah. Perhaps the greatest of these signs during this period was the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) Miraj, his (Peace be upon him) journey by night on a winged horse called the Buraq, through the skies to the Al-Aqsa Masjid in Jerusalem where he (Peace be upon him) led all the earlier Prophets (Peace be upon him) who had lived before him in the prayer, followed by his ascent on the Buraq, accompanied by Jibril (A.S.), through the seven heavens, and then beyond the world of forms, to the Presence of Allah where he (Peace be upon him) was given the five prayers that all his true followers have done ever since.
When he (Peace be upon him) described this miraculous journey to the people of Makkah, they just laughed at him (Peace be upon him), even though he (Peace be upon him) accurately described the Al-Aqsa Masjid to them (They knew that he (Peace be upon him) had never been there before), and even though he (Peace be upon him) described the place where he (Peace be upon him) had stopped for a drink on the way to Jerusalem, and even though he (Peace be upon him) told them how on the way he (Peace be upon him) had told a man where his lost camel was, and even though he (Peace be upon him) told them that he (Peace be upon him) was seen a caravan, which no one knew about, approaching Makkah and that it should arrive later on that day. Even though the Quraish knew that the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) description of the Al-Aqsa Masjid was completely accurate, and even when they eventually saw the caravan arrive, and met the man whom he (Peace be upon him) had helped, and saw the place where he (Peace be upon him) had stopped for a drink, they still refused to believe him.
Only Abu Bakr (R.A.), his (Peace be upon him) closest companion accepted the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) account of his miraculous journey immediately: He (R.A.) said, “If he (Peace be upon him) said this, then it is true!” When some scornful Makkahns first gave him (R.A) the news. As the enmity of the Quraish increased
(While Aisha (R.A.) was still a small girl), Allah prepared the way for the future growth of the Muslim community in a place called Yasrib. During the time of pilgrimage in Makkah one year, twelve men from Yasrib, a small city of two hundred miles to the north of Makkah, secretly pledged allegiance to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) swearing to worship no gods other than Allah, nor to steal, nor to tell lies, nor to commit adultery, nor to kill their children, nor to disobey the Prophet
(Peace be upon him). They returned to Yasrib, accompanied by a Muslim called Musab bin Umar (R.A.), who taught them all that he (R.A.) learned from the Prophet (Peace be upon him).
As a result, the numbers of Muslims in Madina began to increase, and when the time of the pilgrimage came again, this time seventy five people from Yasrib (Three of whom were women: Umm-e-Sulaym, Nsayba bint-e-Kab and Asma bint-e-Amr (R.A.)) pledged allegiance in Makkah to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) this time also swearing that they would defend and protect him (Peace be upon him), even to the death if it was needed. After this, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) gave his followers permission to emigrate to Yasrib, and slowly but surely, in twos and threes, the Muslims began to leave Makkah. The leaders of the Quraish realized what was happening, and decided to kill the Prophet (Peace be upon him) before he (Peace be upon him) had a chance to join them (R.A.). However, Allah protected the Prophet (Peace be upon him), and on the very night before the morning on which they had planned to kill him (Peace be upon him), the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr (R.A.) moved out of Makkah and hid in a cave called Soor, which was in the south of Makkah.
Everybody knows what happened when the people who were hunting for them came to the cave: They found a wild dove nesting in the tree that covered the mouth of a cave, across which a spider had spun its web. Anyone entering the cave would have frightened away the dove and broken the spider’s web, they thought, so they did and not bother to look inside it. Their pursuers were so close that if one of them had glanced down at his feet, he would have find them. By the decree of Allah, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr (R.A.) were safe!
Once the Quraish had given up the search, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr (R.A.) circled round the Makkah and rode northwards. Only one man, a warrior called Suraqa ibn-e-Jusham, suspected their whereabouts and set off in hot pursuit, thirsting of the reward that the Quraish had offered to anyone who captured the two men for them. As soon as he as within shouting distance of the travelers, however, his horse suddenly began to sink into the sand, and, realizing that if he did not turn back, then the desert would simply swallow up both him and his steed, he gave up his pursuit, asked them to forgive him and returned home.
After a long, hard journey Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr (R.A.) reached Yasrib amidst scenes of great rejoicing. Their time in Makkah had just come to an end, and their time in Medina had just begun (Madina is the name that was now given to Yasrib). Madina al Munawarra, which means “The illuminated city”, the city that was illuminated by the light of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his family and his Companions (R.A.). The journey of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr (R.A.) is called the ‘Hijrah’ and it is at this point that the dating of the Muslims begins, for it was after the Hijrah that the first community of Muslims rapidly grew and flowered and bore fruit.
She (R.A.) gave her due time with Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) to Aisha (R.A.) and said that she (R.A.) would give her (R.A.) night to Aisha (R.A.), of whom she (R.A.) was very fond, because she (R.A.) only wanted to be his wife on the Day of Rising. She (R.A.) lived on until the end of the time of Umar bin Khattab (R.A.). She (R.A.) and Aisha (R.A.) always remained very close.