Umm Saleem bint Malhan - A Unique Dowry
Lady Knights

Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Called Al-Madinah where lived a beautiful and strong-willed young widow named Umm Saleem. She had been widowed not long after becoming a Muslim because her husband, Malik bin Al-Nadir, disliked her audacity in embracing a new faith without his permission. He had raged at Umm Saleem, he had threatened her, and finally he had abandoned both her and their two young sons, Al-Bara'a and Anas. No one would ever know if he intended to return or not, because on his way north to Al-Sha'am, where he said he was going to start a new life, Malik was waylaid by bandits and killed.

Despite her husband's hard hearted and ultimately fatal actions, Umm Saleem mourned Malik's death deeply and she swore not to marry again until her tiny son, Anas, was old enough to give her his blessings. So for many years, the small family lived a quiet life. Umm Saleem devoted all her energies to her two small sons who grew quickly, as children were wont to do.

Then one day, Abu Talha Al-Ansari, a very rich and prominent landowner, decided the time had come for him to marry. After some thought, and a great deal of search, Abu Talha decided that Umm Saleem was the only woman for him.

Abu Talha proudly looked over his vast estates and felt sure that no woman could turn him down. He would go to Umm Saleem, Abu Talha decided, and he would propose to her and generously offer any amount of gold and silver she cared to name as her dowry. Umm Saleem would no doubt accept him on the spot, Abu Talha told himself with a satisfied nod.

Much to Abu Talha's surprise, things did not go as planned. When he arrived at Umm Saleem's house, he was cordially welcomed in by a smiling Anas. Umm Saleem, with Anas by her side, listened gravely to Abu Talha's offer of marriage.

As she listened, Umm Saleem's mind raced. She thought sadly of her dead husband and his reaction to her new faith. She was honored that Abu Talha, a handsome, kind and rich man would ask her to marry him. She felt sure that her sons would like this kind and caring man as a step-father, and that Abu Talha would care for them as if they were his own.

Yet in the end, Umm Saleem didn't see how she could accept Abu Talha's offer of marriage because for all of his many good qualities, he was not a Muslim. And that, Umm Saleem decided, was the most important attribute she was looking for in a potential husband for her, and step-father for her children.

Umm Saleem looked up at Abu Talha, who had finished speaking and was waiting anxiously for her answer, and she said steadily, "One such as you is not turned away...but you are not a Muslim, and I will only marry a Muslim."

Abu Talha brushed aside Umm Saleem's words, and said grandly, "O' Umm Saleem, I will give you any amount of gold and silver that you care to name as your dowry."

"My dowry is Islam," Umm Saleem said in an equally firm and serene voice, "and I will accept nothing less."

Abu Talha remained silent as he contemplated the implications of Umm Saleem's terms. He felt quite bewildered by this woman who didn't seem at all impressed by his riches and who was asking for such an unheard of dowry.

Umm Saleem continued in a soft voice, "You worship a piece of stone or a piece of wood which you take to a carpenter who shapes it for you. Can that piece of wood or stone help you? Can it harm you?"

Abu Talha felt a little uneasy as he listened to Umm Saleem's frank words and questions. He decided he needed time to consider what Umm Saleem had said, so he promised to think about her terms and he left the house feeling a little bewildered.

At first, Abu Talha thought about how unreasonable it was for Umm Saleem to ask him to change his faith. However, the more he considered the words she said to him concerning the stone and wood idols he worshipped, the more dissatisfied he became with his own faith. So why not become a Muslim? After all, Abu Talha reasoned, he already had a great deal of respect for both Islam and the Muslims. And did he not just propose marriage to a Muslim woman? So why shouldn't he become a Muslim?

Eventually, Abu Talha made his decision and returned to Umm Saleem's home. He told her with a bright and excited smile that he had accepted her terms, he would become a Muslim! Then he paused and asked her abashedly how he could officially fulfill said terms. Umm Saleem gave Abu Talha a radiant smile and told him to go see the Prophet Muhammad .

Young Anas bin Malik stepped forward and confidingly took his soon-to-be step-father's hand, then Anas proudly led Abu Talha to where Muhammad sat with the Sahaba. Muhammad looked up as the two approached and said, "Here comes Abu Talha with the signs of Islam between his eyes."

On that day, Abu Talha became a Muslim before all those present thus fulfilling the terms of the unique dowry Umm Saleem had requested. Not long afterwards, Umm Saleem married Abu Talha...with the blessings of her youngest son, Anas bin Malik, of course.

*Written by © 2012. Care to read or leave Comments?

  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Abu Talha: أبو طلحة الأنصاري.
    • Anas bin Malik: أنس بن مالك.
    • Al-Bara'a bin Malik: البراء بن مالك.
    • Malik bin Al-Nadir: مالك بن النضر.
    • Muhammad : خاتم الأنبياء الرسول محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم
    • Umm Saleem bint Malhan: أم سليم الغميصاء بنت ملحان بن خالد من بني عدي بن النجار.

  1. Al-Suhaibani, A. (2004 AD, 1425 H). صور من سير الصحابيات [Brief Biographies of Lady Contemporaries]. Riyadh: Dar Aalam Al-Kutub Publishing and Distributing. Page 135-136.
  2. Halbi, M. (2006 AD, 1427 H). المائة الأوائل من صحابيات الرسول [The Hundred First Lady Contemporaries of the Messenger] (2nd Ed). Beirut: Dar El-Marefah Publishing & Distributing. Page 95-98.
  3. Iskandari, Khalid bin Ibrahim. (2006 AD, 1427 H). صحيح الأثر في المواقف و العبر [True Heritage Events and (Their) Lessons]. Al-Madinha Al-Munawara: Dar Al-Uloom wa Al-Hikam. Page 380.

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