Umm Habibah Ramlah Bint Abu Sufyan | pt 7

Key Issues

Marriage to Umm Habibah
Her previous husband who apostated
Negus represents the prophet in the marriage ceremony
Her prophetic narrations

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51 min 33 secs



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Status: Edited

Key: Draft, Edited (by students), Checked (by the Shaykh)

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The Wives of the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) – Umm Habibah Ramlah Bint Abu Sufyan

After Juwayriyyah the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) married Um Habibah Ramlah bint Abu Sufyan. She had been previously married to Ubaidullah ibn Jahash who had formerly been a Christian in Makkah and accepted Islam. There they had their first daughter, Habibah, and migrated to Abyssinia. Almost all historians agree that in Abyssinia she saw a dream in which her husband started to drink alcohol and was holding filthy things. She woke up startled and told him of the dream. Within a few days he informed her that he had apostated from Islam, arguing that he had compared Christianity and Islam and found that Christianity is better.

A researcher recently wrote a thesis arguing that it is not possible that a Companion of Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) would apostate, citing weakness in the chain of the narration. Moreover Ubaidullah ibn Jahash was the brother of Zainab bint Jahash, one of the Wives of the Prophet (Peace and Saluations be upon him) and he was from the clan of the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him).  Also Ubaidullah was the brother of Abdullah ibn Jahash who was famously martyred at the Battle of Uhud. He had in fact made dua for martyrdom before the battle and he was also the first husband of Zainab Um Ul-Masakeen who became one of the Wives of the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him). However none of the classical scholars of Seerah stated that the incident is not authentic. The real lesson from this incident is that no person should feel secure that their faith is preserved. During our lives we should fear Allah more and at the time of death we should have more hope in Allah’s Mercy. The incident also illustrates the danger of intermingling with non-Muslims and the deadly effects of committing sins.

It is clear that Ubaidullah ibn Jahash was not executed for his apostacy because he was not in the land of Islam where the punishments of Islam are implemented. There is also the question of whether the ruling of apostasy had been revealed at this time. However, the fact that the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) married Ramlah bint Abu Sufyan in 5AH suggests he did denounce Islam after the ruling of apostasy had been revealed. 

Ramlah bint Abu Sufyan had seen a dream in Abyssinia that she was holding the moon and she was being called by the name ‘Um ul Mu’mineen (Mother of the Believers)’. A servant of the Najashee, named Abraha approached her and said that the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) had asked the Najashee for her hand in marriage. She instantly agreed and in her joy took off her silver bangles and rings and gave them as a gift to Abraha. The Najashee had of course converted to Islam secretly and in fact the servant also converted to Islam and she sent her salutations to the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) who duly replied when the Companions returned to Medina in 7AH. The Najashee gathered the Muslims for the Wedding Ceremony (Waleemah) and gave an eloquent Khutbah in which he bore witness that Jesus gave glad tidings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Salutations be upon him). Khalid ibn Saeed ibn al-Aas was the Guardian of Ramlah and it was a great honour for the Najashee that he represented the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) in this marriage ceremony. He also gave 400 dinars as a dowry, hence Um Habibah is the wife of the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) with the highest dowry.

The Companions returned to Medina in 7AH headed by Jafar ibn Abi Talib. The Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) said ‘I don’t know what is more pleasing, the Conquest of Khaybar or the return of Jafar’.

She was very generous, pious and wise and after returning from Abyssinia she took up her apartment with the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him). Abu Sufyan when he heard about the marriage of his daughter he praised the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) and said ‘that is the strong man who cannot be defeated’. There is a famous incident that when Abu Sufyan visited his daughter he was about to sit on the mattress of the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) and she pulled it away. Abu Sufyan became surprised and asked her whether she felt that he was not good enough for the mattress or the mattress was not good enough for him. She replied  that no idol worshiopper could sit on the mattress of the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him).

The story of Najaashee is an interesting story indeed. He was the only child of his father who was the king. His uncle assassinated his brother to assume kingship for himself and his 10 children and the Najaashee was sold as a slave. All of the 10 sons were found to be foolish and realising the peril of their kingdom they searched for the Najashee who had been sold to the Arabs as a Sheppard.  Some narrations indicate that it was during this time that the Najashee learnt Arabic whereas other narrations speak of Najashee learning Arabic because of trade links with the Arabs and Abyssinia.

The integrity of the Najashee can be seen in the incident involving Amr ibn al-Aas, who was a non-Muslim at the time, and from the true leaders of the Arab. He was sent to retrieve the Muslims from Abyssinia and in preparation for the trip he bribed the close Bishops to the Najashee with gifts of valuable leather. The Najashee however bore witness to the truth of the Muslim’s belief regarding Jesus and insisted that the gifts be returned, declaring that Allah returned his Kingdom to him with no effort on his part, so now that kingship was his, he was in no need to accept bribes.

The Muslims returned to Medina from Abysinnia in three phases, the last of which were the Companions returning during the Conquest of Khaybar. They had returned due to the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) sending a delegation ordering them to return. It is not clear if the apostacy of Ubaidullah ibn Jahash influenced the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him)’s decision and whether the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) feared the long-term effects of Muslims living in the land of the non-Muslims.

When the Muslims arrived to Medina they brought 40 Muslims converts from Abysinnia including two children of Najashee.

Ramlah bint Abu Sufyan came to the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) at the age of 36 and She died in 44 AH.

Among the famous hadeeth she narrated is that the Prophet (Peace and Salutations be upon him) said:

“A house will be built in Paradise, for anyone who prays in a day and a night twelve rak'ahs”
[1]; and she added: I have never abandoned (observing them) since I heard it from the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam). A narration by Tirmithi further adds, “Four before Zuhr, two rakats after it, two after maghrib, two after Isha and two before Fajr”.

She also narrated a very important hadeeth clarifying the rules of who is permissible for marriage:

“I said, "O Allah's Messenger! Marry my sister, the daughter of Abu Sufyan." The Prophet said, "Do you like that?" I replied, "Yes, for even now I am not your only wife and I like that my sister should share the good with me." The Prophet said, "But that is not lawful for me." I said, We have heard that you want to marry the daughter of Abu Salama." He said, "(You mean) the daughter of Um Salama?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Even if she were not my step-daughter, she would be unlawful for me to marry as she is my foster niece. I and Abu Salama were suckled by Thuwaiba. So you should not present to me your daughters or your sisters (in marriage)."

On the death of her father Abu Sufyan it is narrated by Zainab bint Abi Salamah:
Narrated Zainab bint Abi Salama: 

When the news of the death of Abu Sufyan reached from Sham, Um Habiba on the third day, asked for a yellow perfume and scented her cheeks and forearms and said, "No doubt, I would not have been in need of this, had I not heard the Prophet saying: "It is not legal for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to mourn for more than three days for any dead person except her husband, for whom she should mourn for four months and ten days."

[1] Saheeh Muslim, The Book of Prayer, hadeeth 1579
[2] Saheeh al-Bukhari (62:38)
[3] Saheeh al-Bukhari (23:370)

Review Questions


1) What was the dowry given to Umm Habibah by the prophet?

2) What was the name of her former husband?

3) Who was her father?

4) What year did she pass away?

5) What was the hadith reported by Muslim on the authroity of Umm Habibah about? 


1) 400 Dinars, the heighest for any wife of his

2) Ubaidullah ibn Jahash

3) Abu Sufyan

4) 44H

5) The Rawaatib prayers


Zad Text

وكان إذا أراد سفرا أقرع بين نسائه ، ولما حج سافر بهن جميعا...
فصل من مختصر زاد المعاد

"When he intended to undertake a journey, he would draw lots between his wives, but when he went for Hajj, he took all of them with him "
( Chapter: Regarding His Guidance in Travel, from the abridged version of Zad al-Maad )