Ramlah Bint Abi Sufyan

One morning bright and early, there was a loud knocking on her door. It was Abrahah, the special maid-servant of the Negus. Abrahah was beaming with joy as she greeted Umm Habibah and said: “The Negus sends his greetings and says to you that Muhammad, the Messenger of God, wants you to marry him and that he has sent a letter in which he has appointed him as his wakil to contract the marriage between you and him. If you agree, you are to appoint a wakil to act on your behalf.”

Umm Habibah was in the clouds with happiness. She shouted to herself: “God has given you glad tidings. God has given you glad tidings.” She took off her jewelry- her necklace and bracelets – and gave them to Abrahah. She took off her rings too and gave th em to her. And indeed if she had possessed all the treasures of the world, she would have given them to Abrahah at that moment of sheer joy. Finally she said to Abrahah: “I appoint Khalid ibn Said ibn al-Aas to act as wakil on my behalf for he is the clos est person to me.”

In the palace of the Negus, set in the midst of beautiful gardens and luxuriant vegetation and in one of the lavishly decorated, sumptuously furnished and brightly lit halls, the group of Muslims living in Abyssinia gathered. They included Jafar ibn Abi T alib, Khalid ibn Said, Abdullah ibn Hudhafah as-Sahmi and others. They had gathered to witness the conclusion of the marriage contract between Umm Habibah, the daughter of Abu Sufyan, and Muhammad, the Messenger of God. When the marriage was finalized, th e Negus addressed the gathering: “I praise God, the Holy, and I declare that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger and that He gave the good tidings to Jesus the son of Mary.

“The Messenger of God, peace be on him, has requested me to conclude the marriage contract between him and Umm Habibah the daughter of Abu Sufyan. I agreed to do what he requested and on his behalf I give her a mahr or dowry of four hundred gold dinars.” He handed over the amount to Khalid ibn Said who stood up and said: “All praise is due to God. I praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness and I turn to Him in repentance. I declare that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger whom He has sent with t he religion of guidance and truth so that it might prevail over all other forms of religion even if the disbelievers were to dislike this.

“I have agreed to do what the Prophet, peace be upon him, has requested and acted as the wakil on behalf of Umm Habibah, the daughter of Abu Sufyan. May God bless His Messenger and his wife.

“Congratulations to Umm Habibah on account of the goodness which God has ordained for her.”

Khalid took the mahr and handed it over to Umm Habibah. The Sahabah thereupon got up and prepared to leave but the Negus said to them: “Sit down for it is the practice of the Prophets to serve food at marriages.”

There was general rejoicing at the court of the Negus as the guests sat down again to eat and celebrate the joyous occasion. Umm Habibah especially could hardly believe her good fortune and she later described how she was eager to share her happiness. She said: “When I received the money as mahr, I sent fifty mithqals of gold to Abrahah who had 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.’

“Shortly afterwards, Abrahah came to me and returned the gold. She also produced a case which contained the necklace I had given to her. She returned that to me and said: ‘The King has instructed me not to take anything from you and he his commanded the women in his household to present you with gifts of perfume.’

“On the following day, she brought me ambergris, safron and aloes and said: ‘I have a favor to ask of you.’ ‘What is it?’ I asked. ‘I have accepted Islam ,’ she said, ‘and now follow the religion of Muhammad. Convey to him my salutation of peace and let h im know that I believe in Allah and His Prophet. Please don’t forget.’ She then helped me to get ready for my journey to the Prophet.

“When I met the Prophet, peace be on him, I told him all about the arrangements that were made for the marriage and about my relationship with Abrahah. I told him she had become a Muslim and conveyed to him her greetings of peace. He was filled with joy a t the news and said: ‘Wa alayha as-salam wa rahmatullahi was barakatuhu and on her be peace and the mercy and blessings of God. “

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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