her ancestral line and her upgrowth:
mother of believers, the veiled lady, one of the cousins of the prophet (pbuh), ramla bint abi sufyan (sakher-bin-harb, bin abdo manaf) called later ommu-habiba, one of the reverend women companions, a daughter of a leader, a sister of a caliph, and a wife of the last of prophets, muhammad peace and blessings be upon him.
her father, abu sufyan, the leader and president of quraish, who was at the beginning, a bitter enemy of the prophet (pbuh), and her brother, mo'aweya-bin-abi-sufyan was one of the ommayad caliphs. owing to the high status of ramla ommu-habiba in the state of her brother (in al-sham region, now called syria), mo'aweya used to be called "the uncle of muslims" (since his sister ramla ommu-habiba was a wife of the prophet (pbuh), and so, the mother of believers). above all, she was one of the wives of the prophet (pbuh). no other lady was so generous or truthful, as she was, and mong the wives of the prophet (pbuh), her house was the farthest. this is taken as a sign of self-denial, and of her preference of the permanent bliss of the hereafter to the passing worldly comforts.
ramla was among the prominent ladies of that time, who had wisdom and purity of expression. first she got married to obaydullah-bin-jahsh. when the prophet (pbuh) called the people of mekkah to islam, ramla, with her husband became muslims, in the house of al-arqam-bin-abee-al-arqam (where muslims used to meet secretly in the first days of islam). when harassment to muslims in mekkah was at its top; ramla, together with her husband, fled (to abyssinia). so, in order to keep the faith (of islam), she had to tolerate the difficulties of life in exile, leaving behind comfort and luxury. by that she went far away from the centre of calling for islam, and prophethood, travelling through long rugged roads, with several hardships and dangers, high temperatures, and scanty provisions, when she was in her first months of pregnancy (compared with the travel comfortable conveniences of these days, which made distances between countries much shorter). some months after arriving in abyssinia, ramla gave birth to her daughter habiba. from that time, she was called ommu habiba (arabic meaning the mother of habiba).
vision of ramla ommu-habiba:
one night, ramla ommu-habiba had a bad dream of her husband not being in good shape. she was horrified by that dream. in the morning, her husband told her that he found things in christianity better than islam. she tried to bring him back to islam, but she found that he went back to his old habit of drinking (wine). next night, she had another dream in which somebody called her by the name "mother of believers". ommu-habiba's interpretation of that dream was that the prophet (pbuh) would marry her. later when her husband died being a christian (in abyssinia), ommu-habiba found herself estranged in a country far from her homeland, alone, and without the protection of a husband, a mother of an orphan little girl in her first years of infancy, herself a daughter of a idolatry father (abu sufyan), to whom she could not return, for fear of punishment. only by patience, forbearance, and contentedness, she faced her ordeal, but above all her strong faith, and great trust in allah (the almighty).
the news of what happened to ommu-habiba reached the prophet (pbuh). so, he sent a message to al-najashi (the king of abyssinia) proposing to marry ommu-habiba. she felt so happy, finding her dream becoming true. the king al-najashi dowered her four hundred dinars (on behalf of the prophet pbuh), and she asked khalid-bin-saeed-bin-al-ass, her cousin, to be her proxy (that was taken as a proof that in islam the contraction of marriage in proxy is permitted). that marriage had a good role in bringing down the level of hatred of abu sufyan toward the prophet (pbuh). when abu sufyan heard of that marriage, he said proudly about the prophet (pbuh) "that brave man is not likely to have failure". that marriage also means that the most effective way to solve disputes and end up enmity will be to meet mistreatment by good deeds.
abu sufyan in the house of ommu-habiba:
when the idolaters in mekkah breached the hudeibiah peace treaty (with the new muslim state in al madinah), and for fear of revenge, they sent abu sufyan to try to persuade the prophet (pbuh) to renew the peace treaty. on his way to meet the prophet (pbuh), abu sufyan visited ommu-habiba (his daughter) in her house. abu sufyan wanted to sit on a mattress. ommu-habiba took the mattress away from her father and folded it aside. abu sufyan said: "my daughter, is it for the worth of the mattress or for my worth that you are unwilling that i sit on it?" "for the worth of the mattress" she replied, adding, "it is the mattress of the prophet (pbuh), and you are an impure disbeliever." abu sufyan became angry with her and said "i see that after you left me, something bad happened to you". she replied "i swear by allah, not bad, but good".
that faithful lady gives a great example that the ties of islamic faith should be stronger than any other ties, including blood ties. also, it means that muslims should not give support to disbelievers, even if those were relatives. (and if war is waged by disbelievers against muslims or their lands) muslims should fight disbelievers (in spite of blood ties) in support of islam.
after that breach of the hudeibiah peace treaty, the prophet (pbuh) recruited muslims to capture mekkah. ommu-habiba knew that secret, but she never told her father about it. she was keen to keep the secret of her husband and the secret of muslims. later, muslims were successful in capturing mekkah, and several idolaters joined the faith of islam. abu sufyan also became a muslim. by that the happiness of ommu-habiba was at its top. she was thankful to allah (the almighty) that her father at last was saved from idolatry. it means that the muslim lady should keep the secrets of her husband, and not let them out even to the closest relatives (of her first family). several ladies are divorced for letting the secrets of their husbands out, and as a result of the interference of their first families. non-disclosure of secrets is the key to save marriages from breaking.
her role in narrating the prophet's honourable sayings (hadith):
ommu-habiba, may allah be pleased with her, narrated sixty five honourable sayings of the prophet (pbuh), two of which al bukhari and muslim agreed upon. one of her famous narrations is about banning marriage to a step-daughter, and a sister of one's wife. zeinab-bint-jahsh narrated that ommu-habiba, may allah be pleased with her, said:
"when the prophet (pbuh) entered my room, "(how about) your marrying my sister (daughter of abu sufyan)?". "and you like that?" he asked. "indeed, i prefer it. i'm not leaving you, and the best with whom i like to share the bliss i enjoy is my sister". the prophet (pbuh) said "it is forbidden (for me) to do that". i said: "messenger of allah (pbuh), we were talking about your intention to marry dorrah, the daughter of (his other wife) ommu-salamah" "durrah, the daughter of ommu-salamah?" he asked. "yes!" i replied. the reply of the prophet (pbuh) was: "even if she is not my step-daughter, raised in my house, she is the daughter of my foster brother abu-salamah. i and her father abu-salamah (at babyhood) were together fed at the breast of the same nursemaid thowayba. do not ask me to marry your daughters or your sisters" (that means the daughters and sisters of his wives).
the narrator is ommu-habiba-bint-abee sufyan. level "authentic". the narrator is al bukhari. the reference book is (al-jameh-al-sahih) no. 5372.
also, she narrated sayings of the prophet (pbuh) about the virtue of the additional prayers before and after 5 main prayers, about pilgrimage (al hajj), about payment of "dahfa donation" by women and others from the town of mozdalifah until minah, at the end of the night before people are crowded (in hajj), and application of mourning to the wife, husband of whom has died, about rules of fasting, about angels not accompanying the caravan of camels with ringing bells, and a number of other narrations of what the prophet (pbuh) did and said.
ommu-habiba, may allah be pleased with her, died in the year 44 after hijra.
before her death, she called aisha (another wife of the prophet pbuh) and said: "probably, we had between me and you what usually happens between fellow wives. so, may i ask allah's forgiveness for both of us for that?" aisha, may allah be pleased with her, said: "may allah grant you forgiveness and absolve you of all that". ommu-habiba replied: "you have really pleased me. may allah also bring you all pleasure?" that indicates what muslims should do before death. it is tolerance and forgiveness like what ommu-habiba did with the other mothers of believers (other wives of the prophet pbuh), may allah be pleased with all of them.