Umm Ayman (Barakah)
Barakah, daughter of Tha'alaba bin Amr, known as Umm Ayman (Arabic: أم أيمن), was an Abyssinian slave girl of Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib or his wife Aminah. Since Aminah died, Umm Ayman looked after her son, Muhammad, until he grown up. Later Muhammad freed her, but she fondly served Muhammad and his family for a long time. The Islamic Prophet has introduced her as a heavenly woman. Umm Ayman was present at the Battle of Uhud and the Battle of Khaybar.
Parentage and general description
Barakah, daughter of Tha'alaba bin Amr, known as Umm Ayman, was Abyssinian slave girl of Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib (the father of Islamic Prophet) or his wife Aminah. She was the servant of Muhammad after the death of Abdullah and then Aminah.
Caring of Muhammad in childhood
Since Aminah died in Al-Abwa, Barakah looked after Muhammad until entrance to Makkah. Also she served Muhammad for a long time and took over the caring of him until he grew up. Abdul-Muttalib had said to Barakah that don’t neglect my son, People of the Book think that my son is the prophet of this nation.
Marriage and children
When Muhammad married Khadija, he arranged for Barakah’s freedom and marriage to a Khazrajite named Ubayd ibn Zaid. Barakah bore a son named Ayman so she is known to be Umm Ayman means the mother of Ayman. shortly thereafter her husband, who was the companion of the Islamic Prophet, was killed in Battle of Khaybar. In addition his son was killed in Battle of Hunayn.
One day The Islamic Prophet said to his companions: “Should one of you wish to marry a woman of Paradise, he should marry Umm Ayman.” Zayd ibn Harithah took up the offer and married Barakah. they had a son named Usama who was to be one of the future leaders of Islam.
It also is said that she have been immigrants to Abyssinia. But since the migration to Abyssinia was five year after Muhammad's first revelation and immigrants directly back to Medina in 7 AH, this report is unacceptable and probably there is a mistake about it.
Participation in battles
In the battle of Uhud, many men ran away toward Medina after rumor of the death of Muhammad. Umm Ayman sprinkled dust on the face of some fugitives, gave them a spindle and told them: "give me your sword and [you] spin spindle." Then she went toward the battlefield along with several women. Subsequently she was injured by an arrow which Hebban bin Araqa, an enemy soldier, shot at her.
Relationship with the Ahl al-Bayt
The Islamic Prophet was very fond of Umm Ayman, and even it is said he sometimes called Umm Ayman as his mother. Some hadiths is quoted about her high dignity for the Islamic Prophet. The Prophet visited Umm Ayman at her house, and Following the Islamic Prophet, Abu Bakr and Umar did the same. Hence, in some hadiths sources, there is a chapter about the virtues of Umm Ayman. In Shia’s sources she is mentioned with respect too.
The Islamic Prophet has introduced her as a heavenly woman. After the Prophet's death and confiscation of Fadak by Abu Bakr, Umm Ayman along with Imam Ali were the only ones that testified the Prophet gave Fadak to Fatimah.
The exact date of Umm Ayman's death is not clear. Some have suggested she died approximately five months after the death of the Islamic Prophet. But according to ibn Sa'd quotes she was alive to the early days of the caliphate of Uthman.
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