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BARAKAH – UMM AYMĀN (r.a)
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.
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 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.
2. Shaykh Bilal Asad (lecture)
3. Shaykh Dr Yasir Qadhi (lecture)
4. Shakh Mufti Menk (lecture)