Inspiring Muslim Women: Umm Haram bint Milhan (RA)

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Hz Umm Haram bint Milhan (RA) was the maternal aunt of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the wife of Hz Amr ibn Qais bin Zaid (RA). Both her husband and her son were martyred in the Battle of Uhud. Later, she married Hz Ubadah bin as-Samit (RA).

Hz Umm Haram (RA) and Hz Ubadah (RA) lived in a large, beautiful date palm orchard in the city of Quba, which was right outside Medina. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) regarded Hz Umm Haram (RA) in high esteem, and whenever he went to Quba, he used to visit Hz Umm Haram bint Milhan (RA).

One day he went to her house and she offered him a meal, and after that he slept, and then woke up smiling. She asked him, ‘What makes you laugh, O Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)?’ Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, ‘Some people of my followers were displayed before me as warriors fighting for Allah’s Cause and sailing over the sea, like kings on thrones.’ Hz Umm Haram (RA) said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Invoke Allah that He may make me one of them.’ He invoked (Allah) for her and the slept again, and then woke up smiling. she asked, ‘What makes you laugh, O Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)?’ He said, ‘Some people of my followers were displayed before me as warriors fighting for Allah’s Cause and sailing over the sea, like kings on thrones’, repeating the same dream. Hz Umm Haram (RA) said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)! Invoke Allah that He may make me one of them.’ He said, You will be amongst the first ones.” [1]

She was very pleased at this news.

Many years later, after the departure of the Prophet (PBUH) from this world, Hz Umm Haram (RA) used to accompany her husband through his travels. A request was made to Caliph Hz Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) that a scholar should be stationed in present-day Palestine, to educate the masses and be a judge among them. Hz Ubadahh (RA) was appointed by Hz Umar (RA) for this task, and he settled in Palestine itself, along with his wife.

By the time the third Caliph, Hz Uthman ibn Affan (RA), was in power, the Muslims had liberated lands far and wide. Yet, the Byzantines continued to launch unlawful maritime raids against civilians, generally from present-day Cyprus.

At that time, the governor stationed in Damascus was Hz Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (RA). After seeking permission of Caliph Uthman (RA), Muawiyah (RA) decided to launch a naval expedition and put an end to Byzantine treachery. A fleet was sent to Cyprus, and Hz Ubadah (RA) and Hz Umm Haram (RA) were part of this venture (it was the first official navy of Muslims).

It was at this point that Hz Umm Haram (RA) recalled the words of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). With tears in her eyes, she noticed that the boats indeed sailed through the waves like kings on their thrones! Hence, she actually witnessed the Prophet (PBUH)’s words come true right in front of her eyes, and she was also one of the first ones who departed on a boat.

The Muslim navy did not have to engage in warfare, since the local natives of Cyprus were already tired of Byzantine atrocities and welcomed the Muslims with open arms. Cyprus was peacefully liberated. Unfortunately though, Hz Umm Haram (RA)’s horse panicked whilst disembarking the ship, and she sustained fatal injuries.

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She was buried in Cyprus itself, and even to this day, her burial site serves as a memorial to a great Muslim lady. There is also a masjid there, The Hala Sultan Masjid, which was built by the Ottomans as a mark of respect for Hz Umm Haram (RA).

References

  1. Sahih Bukhari Vol 8, Book 74, Hadith 299

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