Friday, 19 March 2021

Barakah - Umm Aymān by Suraya Griffiths-Adams



By Suraya Griffiths-Adams


A ‘ūdhu billāhi minash shayṭān nirrajīm

Bismillāh hirraḥ mān nirraḥīm.

(I seek the protection of Allāh from the accursed shayṭān).

(In the name of Allāh, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent)

Parents and birth

Barakah was born in the year 557. Her father was Tha’lalaba ibn Amr. Very little is known about her parents at all. She was from a region in Abyssinia (commonly known as Ethiopia). She was a slave of the Prophet Muḥammad’s (pbuh) parents, Āminah bint Wahb and Abdullāh ibn Abdul Muttalib.

Barakah’s spouses and children

Her first husband was Ubayd ibn Zayd.  They had a son named Ayman ibn Ubayd, hence she is also known as Umm Ayman (mother of Ayman).  Her second marriage was to Zayd ibn Ḥārithah with whom she had Usama ibn Zayd.

Barakah as a slave girl  

Barakah was an early convert to Islam.  She served Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) and his parents in the household of his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib ibn Hishām. Barakah was a very optimistic person and was the confidant of Āminah.

Shortly after the marriage of Āminah bint Wahb and Abdullāh ibn Abdul Muttalib, Abdullāh went to Ash-Shām (Syria) in the summer. Āminah had a dream of a bright light shining from her belly.  She told Barakah about it, who in return said, “You have someone important inside of you”.  

Barakah was also the bearer of the bad news to Āminah about the demise of Abdullāh (r.a), as he had not returned from Ash- Shām.

 When Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) was born, young Barakah took care of Āminah, hence she was the first to ever touch the blessed body of baby Muḥammad (pbuh). She carried him when he was born and nursed Āminah (r.a.) back to health.


Barakah as a worker and carer

When Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) was sent with a wet nurse Ḥalimah (r.a.), Barakah still took care of and stayed with Āminah as a worker and friend. When Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) returned from the desert it was Barakah (r.a.) who further looked after Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh).

When Āminah fell ill, Barakah was the one who once again nursed Āminah (r.a). One day Āminah called Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) and Barakah (r.a). She asked Barakah to look after the young Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh).  Āminah died in her son’s arms. He was witness to his mother’s request for Barakah to take care of him. After the demise of Āminah (r.a) at Al-Abwa, Barakah (r.a) and the young boy moved to the house of Abdul Muttalib (r.a).

Barakah (r.a) took very good care of the young Muḥammad (pbuh). She took up the role as his “second mother” indeed, even though she was never his milk mother.

Barakah gets her freedom


When Prophet Muḥammad married Khadijah he arranged for Barakah’s freedom.  He arranged her marriage to Ubayd ibn Zaid, a Khazrajite companion. It was through this marriage that she bore her first son Ayman. Her husband, Ubayd, was killed in the Battle of Khaybar. Ayman was later killed in the Battle of Hunayn.

She later married Prophet Muḥammad’s adopted son, Zaid ibn Ḥārith. Together they had a son named Usāma. Later in life Usāma was appointed as an army leader by Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh).



Barakah became one of the first female followers when Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) declared his prophethood. She later migrated to Madinah. 


Participation in battles

Barakah was present at the Battle of Uḥud. She carried water to the soldiers and helped to treat their injuries. She also accompanied Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) in the Battle of Khaybar.

She was injured after there was a rumour of the death of Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh). Some men ran away towards Madinah and she went towards the battlefield accompanied by several women.  The arrow that she was injured by was shot by Hebban bin Araqa.


Relationship with fellow early muslims

Prophet Muḥammad was fond of Barakah. He called her ‘sister’. He held her in high esteem. (ibn Sa’d vol 8, p.222). There are many aḥadith that mention his esteem for her.  He often visited her at her  house.  After his demise , Caliphs Abu-Bakr and Umar did the same.  Companions such as Anas ibn Malik, Abu Yazid Madani narrated about her.  Ibn Hajr, vol, 12, p.459.


Barakah’s death

Barakah’s death date is not so clear.  According to al-Tabarani, Volume 25, Page 86,  quoted from Zuhri, she died approximately five months after Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh).

Note:  She was a second mother to Prophet Muḥammad. She was the second woman to accept Islam- after Khadijah (r.a).  She is the only woman who was with Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) from his birth to his death.



Barakah was very valuable to Prophet Muḥammad’s family:

·          She was a therapist to Āminah.

·          She had Imān.

·         She was optimistic.

·         The Prophet's (pbuh) family loved her.

·         The Prophet (pbuh) found comfort in her company

·         She has merit with Allāh. Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) called her a woman of Jannah.

·         She stayed close to the Prophet (pbuh) even after she gained her freedom.

·         She was a sister and mother figure to the Prophet (pbuh).

·         She did not speak much.


1.     Wikipedia

2.    Shaykh Bilal Asad (lecture)

3.    Shaykh Dr Yasir Qadhi (lecture)

4.    Shakh Mufti Menk (lecture)


Sunday, 18 October 2020



By Tauhirah Adams

Around the time of the Mawlid celebrations in Cape Town, the familiar sounds or ‘lagus’ are heard, dedicating praises and honouring the Muḥammad (pbuh) with riwāya recitals.

Many of us have grown up with these sounds, verses and rampies scents of traditional Mawlid celebrations– riwayat being synonymous with Mawlid. But where do these riwayat come from?

A descendent of the Kurdish born Muḥammad ibn Abdul Rashid ibn Abdul Sayyid al Barzanji Imam As-Sayyid Ja’far ibn Hasan al Barzanji composed a Mawlid eulogy for  Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh). This eulogy is a biographical compilation with the birth of our

Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) as the central focus. The Barzanji Mawlid compilation consists of two books, namely part one and part 2, which is further divided into many chapters. These books comprise poetic verses and when recited in congregation the familiar chorus can be heard: “Sallallāhu alayhi”, or “ Allāhumma salli wa sallim alayhi”.

The compilation is originally in Arabic but translations can be found in English, Java dialect (Indonesian) and even Swahili. The ‘lagu’ or way of conducting the Barzanji Mawlid must have been influenced by our great forefathers from the Indonesian Islands and surrounding areas. When “Abtadi ul imlaa...” is recited, something resonates within all of us, whether we understand Arabic or not. It is the essence of this eulogy that transcends linguistic knowledge. The heart understands, and the heart knows that this is for our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) and our Rabb, Allāh Almighty's pleasure. Alḥamdulillāh.