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Emulating the Noble Woman: Sawdah Bint Zam’ah (R.A.)



In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. All praises and adorations are due to Allah alone. May His salutations and blessings be upon His messenger, his household, companions and those who tread their path till the day of recompense.

It is best for every Muslim to know more about the righteous predecessors (starting from the Prophet and his companions) through reading and understanding their lifestyles, and equally trying to emulate their good qualities (especially those that are referred to and regarded as distinct). This is a short biography of one of the Mothers of the Believers (wife of the Prophet), looking out for her distinct character and encouraging us- Muslimahs to embrace and emulate the character, In Shaa Allah.

Sawdah (R.A), the daughter of Zam’ah bn Qays bn ‘Abd shams; Al-‘amariyyah Al-Quraishiyyah and As-shammus bint Qays bn Zayd bn ‘Amr of Najjar was born in Makkah (25 BH). She is one of the wives of the Prophet, married to him before Hijrah, after the demise of Khadījah (R.A) in the month of Ramadan. Her proposal was sent together with Āishah’s through Khawlah bint Hakīm; and she was the first to be with the Prophet (for three years or more) before Āishah joined the family. She was formerly the wife of Sakrān bn ‘Amr, who was also a Muslim emigrant; she migrated with him to Abyssinia before his death and she also had a son with him, AbdurRahman bn Sakrān bn ‘Amr.

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She has been described as a great, noble and tremendous woman, who also had a share in sensitivity, as reported from Āishah through Hishām that “she has not seen any lady who she wishes to emulate except Sawdah … In her is sensitivity …”

Another distinguishable character is the fact that she still wished to stay with the Prophet, even when he (the prophet) considered divorce, and she rather sacrificed her nights for Āishah; hence her possession of a self-sacrificing character. Taking note of this brings to mind the current happenings in the sisters’ and Ummus’ world today, where divorce is the only solution or escapade if and when our husbands intend to practice polygyny. Let’s try to look into this; even as it has been reported that it is not every time they cook in the Prophet’s house, even with the fact that she had more than four “junior wives”, she did not play tantrums or seek divorce from her husband; she rather begged him to let her remain when he considered letting her go. Patience, endurance and perseverance can be seen here, so please, let us all try to create the peaceful and near-perfect home for our husbands even if they are married to more than one wife. We should also imbibe the traits of patience and endurance.

That aside, she has also been reported to be very kind, hospitable, affectionate and generous; she gives out in charity whatever she has without thinking twice. This was reported in the popular narration from Hishām that ‘Umar gave her some bags of money which she distributed at once in charity. She pleased the Prophet and her friends through healthy jokes and jests, proving to us how jovial she was to those around her.

It is best to also note that her compassion is emphasized here; creating a peaceful environment for those around her is also another character we should try to emulate as Muslimahs. It is a form of charity too because most times in such cases, we make people smile and happy, even when they feel things are going wrong and they seem not to be able to express themselves.

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Her charitable nature is also noteworthy, as she gave out immediately all that ‘Umar gave her (the purse full of money mentioned earlier). This should also be emulated for there are so many out there who do not have and would not want to beg, but, would really appreciate being gifted. May Allah assist us more on good deeds and in emulating the good traits for our benefits in this life and the hereafter.

She lived in Makkah, Abyssinia and Medina and died in the year 54 A.H. in Medina towards the end of the reign of ‘Umar’s caliphate.

Sawdah bint Zam’ah is a woman of nobility, hospitality, affection and kindness. She is really worth emulating for those characters and her submissiveness to her husband, together with her patience and perseverance.

May Allah’s blessings be upon her and the household of the Prophet and those who follow their path till the day of Resurrection.

Culled from:

Siyar ‘Alām Nubalā by Imam Dhabi

Adéyemí Islamiyah

IYANIWURA’S pen. A poet who deals in writing other genres. A graduate of the University of Ilorin and currently member of Al-Qasas Magazine’s.

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