Lessons of Patience from Umm Sulaym Bint Malhan (ra)


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Uzma Awan

Uzma Awan is a freelance writer. She writes on sustainability and Qur’an lessons and reflections.

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sabrMother’s love for her son

The Prophet (sa) would often visit Talha’s (ra) family; he would not go to any other home besides his wives’. The scholars explain that Umm Sulaym (ra) and her sister Umm Haram (ra) were maternal aunts of the Prophet (sa) either through breastfeeding or blood. Hence, they were Mahram.

One day, when the Prophet (sa) came, Umm Sulaym (ra) presented him with dates and Ghee (purified butter). The Prophet (sa) informed that he was fasting. He, then went in a corner, and offered two units of voluntary prayer. Anas (ra) and his mother joined him, as well. The Prophet (sa) prayed for Umm Sulaym (ra) and her family. Umm Sulaym (ra) then requested the Prophet (sa) to pray for her dear son Anas (ra). The Prophet (sa) said, “O Allah (swt)! Give him wealth and children, and bless him.” This Dua was accepted by Allah (swt). Anas (ra) grew up to be wealthy and there were many children from his lineage.

Lessons to draw: We see that Umm Sulaym (ra) misses no chance to seek the best for her son. When her husband rejected her, she dedicated herself to Anas’s upbringing. When Anas (ra) grew up a little, she sent him to the Prophet (sa) to serve him and to learn directly from him. When the Prophet (sa) visited their home, she requested prayers for her dear son.

We see that Umm Sulaym (ra) misses no chance to seek the best for her son. How attentive are we to the many opportunities around us?

How attentive are we to the many opportunities around us? How enthusiastic are we in seeking lasting goodness for our children?

Umm Sulaym’s (ra) patience

Umm Sulaym’s (ra) exemplary patience and strength at the passing of her son is an incident that she is most known for.

Allah (swt) blessed Umm Sulaym (ra) and Abu Talha (ra) with a beautiful son Abu Umair. He was the apple of their eyes. One day, Abu Umair fell sick and he died. Abu Talha (ra) was away on a business trip. Umm Sulaym (ra) instructed everyone not to send the news to her husband. She wanted to inform him herself.

When he returned home, Umm Sulaym (ra) served him and allowed him to rest. She then informed the father of their son’s passing away. She said, “O Abu Talha! What is your opinion if some people have trusted you with something, and then they demand to take it back? Should their property not be returned to them?”

Abu Talha (ra) replied that it was their right to claim it back. Umm Sulaym (ra) said, “See our son was Allah’s (swt) Amanah; today, He has taken back His Amanah. Our son has passed away.” She then advised him to be patient.

The next day when Abu Talha (ra) informed the Prophet (sa) about the night’s incident, the Prophet (sa) supplicated for the family.

When Allah (swt) tests someone and they clear their test, He rewards them with something better. After the passing of Abu Umair, Umm Sulaym (ra) and her husband were blessed with another little boy. The Prophet (sa) named him Abdullah ibn Abu Talha and gave him Tahneek.

When the child is taken back, the mother advises the father to be patient. Generally, it is the woman who seeks consolation from others, but here we see that the woman is giving comfort to the man.

Abdullah ibn Abu Talha lived a long life and had many sons – each of them a memoriser of the Quran. This was all because of the Prophet’s (sa) supplication for the family, and their admirable patience and generosity for the sake of Allah (swt).

Lessons to draw: People are inflicted with trials to ascertain their conduct. How are they going to react? Are we going to complain while we do not own anything in this world? All that we enjoy are special favours of Allah (swt). A couple cannot have a child, unless Allah (swt) wills. When the child is taken back, the mother advises the father to be patient. Generally, it is the woman who seeks consolation from others, but here we see that the woman is giving comfort to the man.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

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