Sawdah Bint Zam’a

Sawdah bint-Zam’a


    The mother of the believers Sawdah bint-Zam’a, her father is, Zam’a ibn Qays. He is from the Amir ibn Luayy clan of the Quraysh tribe in Mecca. Her mother, Al-Shamus bint Qays, is from the Najjar clan of the Khazraj tribe in Madina. She was a tall and large black-skinned woman. She is the first woman prophet Muhammad (pbup) married after the death of his first wife Khdija bint Khwailed (may Allah be pleased with her).

   Lady Sawdah bint-Zam’a (may Allah be pleased with her) had been one of the first women to immigrate to Abyssinia in the way of Allah. Before her marriage to Prophet Muhammad (pbup), she was married to her cousin who was called As-Sakran bin Amr. When she converted to Islam she took the oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (pbup) and her husband As-Sakran became a Muslim as well. They both migrated to Abyssinia where she suffered tremendously travelling with him till he died and left her behind sad with no assistance or profession, and an aged father.

    Prophet Muhammad (pbup) married Sawdah (may Allah be pleased with her) in Ramadan in the tenth year after his prophethood a few months after the death of Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her). The prophet was 50 years old at that time. In a narration by Aisha (may allah be pleased with her), reported by Khawlah bint Hakim Alsalmiah- Sawdah’s companion in the migration to Abyssinia-“when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was looking for a wife to run the household and take care of Fatima Al-Zahra’ (his daughter), He was told to marry Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), but he refused at that time because of her young age”. So Khawla told him about Sawdah bint Zam’a. She was a conscious middle aged lady, full of faith, even if her youth was gone and she was not much beautiful. Khawla did not even finish her speech when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) praised sawda and agreed to marry her. Sawdah went to live in Muhammad’s house and immediately took over the care of his daughter and household.

    Then the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married ‘Aishah bin Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) and years passed and the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) became a husband of other wives. When the mother of the believers ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) entered Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) house as a beloved wife filling the eyes with youthfulness, funniness and cleverness, Sawdah (may Allah be pleased with her) wanted to abandon her post in the prophet’s (pbuh) house in which she did not see except mercy and dignity for the sake of ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her). In a Hadith narrated by ‘Aisha: that “Sawdah bint Zam’a gave up her turn to me (`Aisha), and so the Prophet (PBUH) used to give me (`Aisha) both my day and the day of Saudah.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari].

    However,  the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not have affection for her, and he (PBUH) did not want to make her feel different from her peers, so one day he told Sawdah that he intended to divorce her. She begged him to keep her as his wife, because she aspired to be his wife in the paradise. Sawdah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “Messenger of Allah; I have no keenness to be your wife like ‘aisha, so keep me just to live near you, to love whom you love and to be pleased for your happiness.

    Sawdah (may Allah be pleased with her) was of praise worthy ethics, a good woman that loves charity so much. ‘Aisha talked about her and said: ”The wives of the Prophet (pbuh) told the Prophet one day ”O messenger of Allah, which one of us will be the next to die to follow you? he (pbuh) said: ”The one of you with the longest hand”. After the Prophet’s (pbuh) death we knew that the length of her hand was because of charity. After the Prophet’s (pbuh) death, Sawdah received a gift of money and she spent all on charity. Sawdah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated five hadiths from the Prophet’s. Abdullah bin Abbas reported from her. Also the verse of “Hijab” was revealed in her time. She died in Al Medina. May Allah be pleased with our Great Mother, and be pleased with mothers of believers.


Written by Ustatha Menna Kotb

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