Saudah a wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Saudah bint Zam'ah

Heidi Mahmoud Kheyamy

22 Oct 2018

Saudah bint Zam'ah and her first husband and paternal cousin As-Sakran bin Amr, fled from Makkah and migrated to Al-Habashah (currently Ethiopia) complying with the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) order, to leave Makkah. Having embraced Islam at the early stages of the religion, they faced a constant threat from the Quraish polytheists.

Eight men and women of the same family made the journey to Al-Habashah: Saudah's brother Malek bin Zam'ah, and her husband's brothers Saleet, Hatib bin Amr and his nephew Abdullah bin Suhail. Three wives accompanied their three husbands; Saudah bint Zam'ah, Om Kalthoum bint Suhail and Omrah bint Al-Waqdan.

After the death of Khadijah bint Khuwailed, the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he (PBUH) felt great sadness and loneliness. No one dared to talk to him (PBUH) about marriage, but Khawlah bint Hakim Al-Salameyah suggested to look for a wife for the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). She recommended Saudah bint Zam'ah (after the death of her husband) and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) agreed. Due to the fact that Saudah was an old widow, people of Makkah expressed surprise when they learned of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) decision to marry her. She was the first wife the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) got married to after Khadijah's passing.

Then the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married 'Aishah bin Abi Bakr and years passed and the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) became a husband of other wives. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was fair with all of his wives in terms of money and time. He (PBUH) treated Saudah the same way he treated his other wives, as he (PBUH) provided for her and visited her on her day regularly. 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 Saudah that he intended to divorce her. Consequently, she felt terribly shocked and begged him to keep her as his wife, because she aspired to be his wife in the paradise. In return, Saudah asked the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to visit 'Aishah bint Abi Bakr on days he (PBUH) used to visit her. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) pitied her and made her wish come true. [Biographies of the Prophets' mothers, wives and daughters, by 'Aishah Abdu-Rahman, Daughter of the riverbank, page 233]

Allah says: "And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them - and settlement is best. And present in [human] souls is stinginess. But if you do good and fear Allah - then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted." [An-Nisa, 128]

Narrated by 'Aisha that "Saudah bint Zam’ah 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 5212, Book 67, Hadith 145]

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