After the death of Khadija رضي الله عنها and Abu Talib, the life of the Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم had become disturbed. The wounds of separation from two most dear ones were ever green. The defence walls of the interior and the exterior had crumbled down. Neither society, nor home were any longer providing companionship. The Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم was left alone in a hostile atmosphere. In these days, Khaula رضي الله عنها wife of Othman b. Mazoon رضي الله عنه visited the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم and found him dejected and depressed.
“O Prophet of Allah, I see you are quite withdrawn and sad after the death of
Khadija رضي الله عنها ”, Khaula رضي الله عنها asked. “Yes it is like that”, the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم said. “Then, why do you not marry again? I can arrange for that”, Khaula رضي الله عنها said.
She indicated that Saudaa’s hand can be asked. The Holy Prophet agreed. Then
Khaula رضي الله عنها passed this good news to Saudaa رضي الله عنها as well. She too agreed to the proposal and said, “Please enquire from my father about his views in the matter”. Zama‘a had no objection to the match. Eventually Saudaa رضي الله عنها became the first woman to be married to the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم after the demise of his first wife Khadija رضي الله عنها . Like Khadija رضي الله عنها , Saudaa رضي الله عنها was also a widow as she had first married her cousin Sukran, son of Amr. At the beginning of Islam, Saudaa رضي الله عنها and Sukran used to live in Makkah.
As a result of announcement of his Prophethood, the whole of Quraish and Makkans turned against him. All sorts of enmity against Muhammad صلّى الله عليه وسلّم and the Muslims became the order of the day. Muslims became an easy target for non-believers, because Muslims, economically, belonged to the lower
strata of the society. Saudaa رضي الله عنها although an ordinary woman, was
intelligent and pious. She had a great love for the teachings of the Holy
Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم . She knew that whole of Meccan Arab society call him ‘the trustworthy and the truthful’. Once she had the opportunity of listening to the sermon of the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم. It had such a great impact on her that she immediately embraced Islam. But this change created much trouble, because Sukran, her husband, was still a non-believer. Saudaa رضي الله عنها practiced Islam in secret and did not tell her husband about her change in faith. However, she never lost an opportunity to convince Sukran of the truth of Islam. Little by little Sukran started showing sympathy towards Islam and eventually became a Muslim. It was a great success for Saudaa رضي الله عنها
On learning about the conversion of Sukran رضي الله عنه and Saudaa رضي الله عنها the whole of Quraish tribe turned against them. They started an unending process of torture and social ex-communication against the couple. In the streets, they received indecent remarks, stones used to be thrown at them and their home was also assaulted by unruly elements. Once while the husband was reciting holy verses from the Qur’an, an arrow came suddenly from outside and pierced the pages of the Holy Book. Since both were too weak to resist the mob outside their house, they felt miserably the pangs of humiliation and helplessness. Both of them presented themselves before the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم and told about the event.
The Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم consoled them and asked them to be patient. But the hostility from Makkans kept on increasing until it reached to such a peak that it was no longer bearable for the Muslims. Thus the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ordered the Muslim men and women to migrate. The migration was ordered with a view to conserve the physical strength of the Muslims. As a result, eleven men and four women migrated to Abyssinia in self-defence. The Muslims and Makkans could no longer live together. Sukran and Saudaa رضي الله عنها were also among the emigrants. During their stay at Abyssinia, Sukran رضي الله عنه fell ill and died and so Sauda رضي الله عنها became a widow.
After some time, Makkan nobles, i.e. Hamza رضي الله عنه and Umar bin al Khattab رضي الله عنه also embraced Islam. These new converts had a great influence on the Makkans. Hostility against Islam decreased to a considerable extent and a few of the Muslim emigrants in Abyssinia returned to Makkah. Saudaa رضي الله عنها also returned and took up residence at her ancestral place in the company of her father Zama ‘a. She spent only two years as a widow and on the 10th year of the announcement of the Prophethood, she married the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم . By this time, three years had passed since the death of Khadija رضي الله عنها Historians are of the consensus that at the time of her second marriage, Saudaa رضي الله عنها was not less than fifty years old.
During her stay at Abyssinia, Saudaa رضي الله عنها had got the indication that her
marriage was going to take place with the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم . She had a dream about it. She described what she saw in the dream: that the Holy Prophet Muhammad صلّى الله عليه وسلّم visited her and placed his foot on her neck. Then she further dreamed that she is lying on a bed resting with a pillow and the moon had landed down from the sky to her lap.
She told these dreams to her husband Sukran رضي الله عنه , who explained these dreams in the following words, “I will die soon and after my death you will marry the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم”. The holy couple of Saudaa رضي الله عنها and the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم stayed for three years in Makkah after their marriage, and then the great event of migration to Madinah took place.
As a result of this migration, Madinah became the permanent abode of the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّمfor the rest of his life. At Madinah, Saudaa رضي الله عنها , and the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم were guests at the house of Abu Ayub Ansari, and he remained host of the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم till the Masjid an Nabawi – The mosque built by the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم– was constructed.When the mosque was ready the holy couple shifted to a closet, specially constructed for them.
Money, physical beauty and youth are strong motivations for marrying a
woman. Saudaa رضي الله عنها did not have any of these qualities except that she was a fifty years old pious woman and, further more, had undergone great mental and physical tortures for remaining steadfast in Islam at the hands of hostile society. These sacrifices were duly appreciated by the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم .
Apart from this, Saudaa رضي الله عنها was decent, well behaved, pleasant, kind and a virtuous lady. These qualities had raised her social status above the common lot of women of Quraish. She had a small son and a very old father to look after and she was facing a hard life alone. These conditions made the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم wish for this marriage and the moment, he received the suggestion through Khaula رضي الله عنها , he agreed to it.
History traces, that there is not much chronological difference in the dates of
Saudaa رضي الله عنها and Ayesha’s رضي الله عنها marriages. However, Ayesha’s رضي الله عنها marriage followed Saudaa’s رضي الله عنها marriage. These two wives of the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم were never jealous of each other. Saudaa رضي الله عنها was too old and Ayesha رضي الله عنها was too young to have these feelings. Both lived happily together with love, cooperation and understanding. Since Ayesha رضي الله عنها was quite young in age, she knew very little about the household tasks and problems, and Saudaa رضي الله عنها used to guide her in these matters.
Saudaa رضي الله عنها was the tallest among the Holy Prophet’s wives. She also had a heavy frame. Ayesha رضي الله عنها is quoted to have said. “Whoever saw Saudaa رضي الله عنها even once would recognize her ever after”. Perhaps it was due to her height and heavy build. There is a very interesting incident connected to her height. One evening she went outside the city dwellings to relieve herself. Obviously in those days, the modern sewerage facilities were not available, and people went outside the villages to relieve themselves. When she was coming back, she was seen by Umar Farooq رضي الله عنه who was to become the second Caliph. He was quite critical about the free movement of the wives of the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم
On seeing her, he said loudly, “Saudaa رضي الله عنها , I have seen you”. Saudaa رضي الله عنها was not happy about this and at home she complained to the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم about Umar’s رضي الله عنه critical remark.
“O Prophet of Allah صلّى الله عليه وسلّم , can we not go outside the home even to relieve ourselves, which is a necessity”, Saudaa رضي الله عنها asked.
“Oh, no, Saudaa رضي الله عنها I don’t hold the women back in their homes, while they need to go out for basic necessities”, the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم replied.
After some time, however, the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم received the divine revelation about Hijab (Orders of hiding one’s self meant for woman). On the revelation of the verses of Hijab from Allah, the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم addressed his wives and said: “Now after this order, don’t go out of your homes (without hijab)”
In compliance of this injunction Saudaa رضي الله عنها and Zainab رضي الله عنها , the daughter of Jahash, followed it very strictly and, after the death of the Holy
Prophet, did not even go to Haj. The rest of the wives, however used to
perform Haj. Saudaa رضي الله عنها used to say: “I performed Haj and Umrah (Visit of Ka’bah with certain conditions throughout the year except Haj days is called Umrah). Now I am sitting in my home alone isolated by the orders of Allah”.
This act of obedience on part of Saudaa رضي الله عنها shows, how truly she followed the orders of the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم even after his death. On Hajj at-ul-Wida (The last Haj performed by the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم) the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم cared much about Saudaa رضي الله عنها , and since she could not walk quickly because of her heavy physique the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم allowed her to leave Muzdalifa (To visit and stay here forms a part of the Haj) early so that she was not troubled by the rush of the people.
Ayesha رضي الله عنها praised Saudaa رضي الله عنها in these words, “Saudaa رضي الله عنها was a bit short tempered. Apart from this, there is none else to whom I would have praised, respected and envied more than her”. She further says:
“I have never seen a woman so devoid of jealousy as Saudaa رضي الله عنها”.
No doubt, Saudaa رضي الله عنها occasionally lost temper due to trivial matters;
nevertheless she was endowed by Allah with good sense of humour. Many a times, she moved the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّمto laugh by her pleasant remarks and jokes. For instance, once she said to the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم:
“Last night I offered my prayers as Muqtadi (The one who follows in prayer)
and you remained so long in Rukoo, that I feared lest my nose started bleeding. And I kept holding my nose clasped for the intervening period”.
On this simple remark, the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم smiled.
Saudaa رضي الله عنها was very kind-hearted woman and quite often she distributed her belongings, whether in cash or kind, to the poor. Umar Farooq رضي الله عنه , once, during his reign as caliph, sent a bag of dirhams (Coin of those days) to Saudaa رضي الله عنها. On this she asked, “Umar رضي الله عنه has perhaps sent dates for me?”. “No Madam, these are not dates but dirhams” the bearer replied.
“Oh, the dates would have a great use for me. They might have served as my
food. For what do I need these dirhams?”, she exclaimed and distributed all
dirhams among the poor and the needy.
Saudaa رضي الله عنها did not bear any child after her marriage to the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم. She had a son named Abdur Rahman as a result of her marriage with Sukran رضي الله عنه . Abdur Rahman رضي الله عنه was martyred in the battle of Jalola (The battle was fought in Persia 16 Hijra) during the reign of Umar Farooq رضي الله عنه .
Saudaa رضي الله عنها was never economically dependent on the Baitul-Mal
(Government Treasury) and earned her living by herself. She knew how to tan and mend the animal hides and earned her livelihood from this profession. She lived for ten years after the death of the Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّم.
The Holy Prophet صلّى الله عليه وسلّمand Saudaa رضي الله عنها enjoyed a married life of thirteen years.
Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه, the first Caliph and Umar Farooq رضي الله عنه , the second Caliph, always respected her during their Caliphate. Close to the martyrdom of Umar Farooq رضي الله عنه , she fell victim to a prolonged illness. Ultimately she died in the 22nd year of Hijrah. She was buried in Madinah, where she had lived since the migration from Makkah. May Allah rest her soul in peace. (Aameen)