Al-Saabah Bint Al-Hadrami: The Mother Of Talhah One OfThe Earliest People To Embrace Islam

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

In pre-Islamic Arabia, divorce and polygamy were common practices. A man could marry any number of women he wanted. Women could be divorced for any reason, not least jealousy between a man's wives.

Al-Saabah's father, Abdullah ibn Imad, came from Hadramout in Yemen and settled in Makkah, where he became an ally of the Omayyad branch of Quraysh. He came to be known as Al-Hadrami, in reference to his former hometown. As an ally, he was of a lower rank in the very strict hierarchy of the Arabian society. Yet, his daughter, Al-Saabah, married Abu Sufyan, who was later to become the chief of Makkah. Abu Sufyan also married Hind bint Utbah, whose father was a highly distinguished figure in Makkah and the chief of the Abd Shams main clan of Quraysh. As Al-Saabah was a very pretty woman, Hind was very jealous of her. She continued to urge her husband until he succumbed to her wishes and unwillingly divorced Al-Saabah who later married Ubaydellah ibn Uthman. She gave him his son Talhah and several others. All this took place years before Islam, as Talhah was one of the earliest people to embrace Islam.

Al-Saabah did not take well to her son's conversion to Islam. She continued with her old pagan faith. In fact, she took a hard attitude toward him. Massoud ibn Harrash reports: "We were doing the sa'ie between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah when we saw a young man with his hands tied to his neck. He was driven somewhere, with many people following him. We inquired what was the matter with him. We were informed that he was Talhah and that he embraced Islam. There was a woman walking close to him. She was muttering abusive words at him. On inquiry, we were told that she was Al-Saabah bint Al-Hadrami, his mother." (Related by Al-Bukhari).

However, Talhah was able to influence his mother more than she could influence him. She began to see the truth of Islam, and it did not take her many years to discover the truth of Islam. She became a Muslim and joined the Muhajireen when it was time for the Muslims of Makkah to immigrate to Madinah. She continued to be a role model for Muslim women.

Talhah was a very dutiful son. In fact, he was a great servant of Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave him several titles. After the Battle of Uhud, he gave him the title ‘Talhah Al-Khair', or ‘the goodness' and on another occasion he called him ‘Talhah Al-Fayyad', which means ‘overflowing with goodness', and after the Battle of Hunayn, he called him ‘Talhah Al-Jood' which means ‘generosity'. We can see that all these descriptions were fitting of Talhah when we learn that a man appealed to him for help, mentioning his love of his mother. Talhah said: ‘No one ever made such an appeal to me. I will honor it. I have a plot of land which Uthman wanted to buy for 300,000 dirhams. You either take it, or I will sell it to Uthman and give you the price.' The man said: ‘I will take the price'. He gave it to him.

Al-Saabah lived until Ali's reign, although we are unsure of the date of her death. Yet at the time of the wicked rebellion against the third Caliph, Uthman, she passed by his house. She did not like what she saw. She told her son that the rebels were besieging the Caliph's home and told him to do something to help. He went and did his best to repel them and ease the Caliph's situation.


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