Arwa Bint Kurayz: Uthman's Mother - From One Of The Two Most Distinguished Clans Of Quraysh

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

We are speaking today about one of the most distinguished ladies of Makkah. She belonged to one of the two most distinguished clans of Quraysh, the Abd Shams clan. Her mother was Umm Hakeem al-Bayda' bint Abd Al-Muttalib, the Prophet's (peace be upon him) own paternal aunt. In fact Umm Hakeem is said to be the twin sister of Abdullah, the Prophet's father. Whether this is true or not, there is no doubt that Umm Hakeem was Abdullah's full sister. Umm Hakeem married Kurayz ibn Rabeeah and gave him four children one of whom was Arwa who later married Affan ibn Abu Al-Aas and gave birth to a daughter named Aminah and a son, who was none other than Uthman, the Prophet's early companion and the third Caliph.

There are reports that indicate that Arwa was well known for her generosity and hospitability: Two qualities that were shown in great measure by Uthman throughout the 23 years of his companionship with the Prophet and subsequently. Arwa's own hospitality has been authentically recorded. Prior to Islam, an Arab poet named Af'al ibn Qays visited Makkah and stayed in her house. When he left, he recorded his gratitude in a few lines of poetry in which he praises her hospitality in clear terms that also tell of her honourable conduct and manners.

Arwa's marriage to Kurayz did not last long. She then married Uqbah ibn Abu Mu'ayt, one of hardest opponents of Islam and the Prophet.

It is well known that Uthman was one of the very early Muslims. He spoke to his mother about Islam and she appreciated its message and what it meant. Yet she was living with her husband, Uqbah, who did his utmost to abuse the Prophet. Whether she became a Muslim at the time is not clear, but what is certain is that when Uqbah criticized Uthman for accepting Islam, she defended him and declared that she herself would support Muhammad.

Uqbah's opposition to Islam was unrelenting. He would do everything to undermine it and to abuse the Prophet. He continued to do so until he was taken prisoner by the Muslims in the Battle of Badr. He was one of two prisoners who were executed for their unwavering hostility. The other was al-Nadr ibn al-Harith who used to describe the Qur'an as ‘fables of the ancients'. Yet Uqbah's hostility did not prevent Islam from establishing roots within his own household. His daughter, Umm Qulthoom, became a Muslim and pledged herself as a Muslim to the Prophet before his immigration to Madinah. Umm Qulthoom, however, was unable to leave Makkah with the Muslims. She continued to live there, but her thoughts were always with the Muslims. She yearned for the day when she could join them. This was not to happen until six years later, when she managed to creep out of Makkah and travel to Madinah. She was welcomed there by the Prophet and by her half brother, Uthman.

Arwa herself was then able to do like her daughter, and she traveled to Madinah and pledged her loyalty to the Prophet as a Muslim. It was the most delightful day for Uthman to welcome his mother in Madinah. She lived with her son until her death during his own reign. Ibn Hajar, the great Hadith scholar, mentions that she was 90 when she died. Ibn Saad mentions a report by one of those who attended her funeral. He says that after her burial, people came to the mosque and prayed. Uthman was praying alone. The reporter says that he was praying close to him, and he heard Uthman appealing to God to grant mercy and forgiveness to his mother.


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