The daughter of Harith ibn Hazan and Hind bint Awf, Umm Fadl was the wife of the Prophet’s uncle Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib (ra). Her sisters Maimoona, Salma and Asma bint Umays (ra) were all married in the Prophet’s family, as well.
Today, when raising one or two children has become troublesome for some women, Umm Fadl birthed seven. Her motherhood skills can be best assessed by looking at her children. Her son Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) is one of the greatest scholars of Islam, an authentic hadith narrator, and also the Qur’an translator. Her son Ubaidullah was a jurist. She is also the foster mother of the Prophet’s grandson Hasan (ra).
Her real name was Lubaba bint Harith but the birth of her first son Fadl gave her the title of Umm Fadl. She is also the narrator of approximately thirty ahadith.
The Lady of Goodness
Umm Fadl (ra) was the leader of the women of her tribe. She enjoyed great status and honour. When she heard the message of Islam she readily accepted it. By this virtue, she became the second woman after Khadija (ra) who embraced Islam. This shows the goodness of her character. She did not wait for others to tell her what she must do. She did not worry about what people are going to say. She followed her heart and accepted the path that Allah (swt) called her towards.
Lessons to draw: The forerunners are distinctively mentioned in the Qur’an. They are those who rush to do the good deeds. They are few in number and appear strange to others. But they do not worry about the people. They are only concerned with pleasing Allah (swt). We too should let go of our procrastination and laziness and hasten towards the path of goodness.
Strength, Courage and Physical Energy
Conversion to Islam brought along many hardships upon her and her family. They now belonged to the weakest and the most helpless segment of their society. Gifted by Allah (swt) in valour and physical energy, Umm Fadl used these characteristics for the service of Islam and the defence of the Prophet (sa). She would stand up against Abu Lahb and his wife Umm Jameel, the ferocious enemies of the Prophet (sa).
Her servant Abu Rafeh narrates an incident after the conquest of Badr. He was sitting in his den making bowls when Abu Lahb came strolling. Someone shouted, “Abu Sufyan,” and Abu Lahb signalled him to come and share the news of Badr. Abu Sufyan began by telling how the Muslims overcame them. He shared how horsemen dressed in white would not let anything stand in their way. Hearing this, Abu Rafeh jumped and screamed in joy, “By Allah! They were angels.” Abu Lahb slapped him violently. He got on top of him and started beating. Abu Rafeh, a feeble man, could not fight back. Umm Fadl who too was sitting in the den got up and hit Abu Lahb on the head. She said, “Did you consider him weak? Did you attack him because his owner is not here?” Badly bruised and humiliated, Abu Lahb left for home.
Lessons to draw: We learn that women should reflect on what skills and traits Allah (swt) has blessed them with, and how best they can use them for the sake of Allah (swt). We also learn one must stand up and defend the weak and the oppressed. We can begin by helping out our domestic helps and giving them a direction in life, in sha Allah.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)