There were six sisters that the Prophet ﷺ called the ‘believing sisters.’ They were Um alFadl, Maymoonah (RA), Asma bint Umays, and Salama bint Umays, Zainab bint Khuzaymah, and Izzah. These are their stories.
Maymoonah (RA) was born six years before the start of the Islam and had reached adulthood before the migration. Her first husband was Masood bin Amr bin Omair Thaqafi. Their marriage was short and they separated on the grounds of incompatibility. Her second husband, Abu Raham bin Abdul Uzzah Amri Quraishi, passed away shortly after their marriage and left her a widow at a young age.
After her husband’s passing, Maymoonah (RA) moved in with her sister Um AlFadl, whose husband was the uncle of the Prophet ﷺ Al Abbas. She became very lonely and was not able to travel to Madinah. She asked her sister to find a husband for her and expressed her wish to marry the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ was coming to Mecca for the Compensatory Umrah, which was a make up for the Umrah that could not be performed in the year of the Truce of Al Hudaibiyyah. As part of his agreement with the leaders of Mecca, he was only to stay three days to do the Umrah then he must leave.
Al Abbas sent a message to the Prophet ﷺ informing him of Maymoonah’s (RA) wish to be his wife. The Prophet ﷺ sent a message back to Al Abbas with a request for Maymoonah’s (RA) hand in marriage. When Al Abbas delivered the good news to his wife, she rushed to tell her sister who was coming up riding on a camel. When Maymoonah (RA) heard the news she jumped off the camel and said, “The camel and that which was upon it are for the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.”
The Prophet ﷺ informed Al Abbas of his arrival in Mecca. After he performed his Umrah, he went to Al Abbas’s house to complete the marriage contract. Al Abbass presented 400 dirhams for Maymoonah’s dowry on behalf of his nephew. The marriage contract took place on the third day that the Prophet ﷺ was in Mecca and the leaders of Quraish sent him a message with Huwaitab bun Abdul Uzza reminding him of the contract and that he had to leave. The Prophet ﷺ wanted to celebrate the marriage and have the wedding in Mecca before they left so he sent a message back to Quraish saying, “What would it matter to you if you left me to marry while I am among you and we would prepare food for you and you would attend the celebration?” The leaders of Quraish replied that they were not interested in any dinner and that they just wanted him to leave.
So the Prophet ﷺ, his Companians, and his new wife Maymoonah (RA), left to Madinah. On the way, they stopped in a small town named Saref, where they had pitched a camp and had a small celebration. It was then also that the Prophet ﷺ changed her name. Her name was actually Barrah, which means righteous, and he changed it to Maymoonah, which means blessed. (Zainab bint Jahsh was also named Barrah and he changed her name as well. When his companions asked him why he changes the name Barrah, he replied, “Is she praising herself? It is Allah who can tell the righteous from the sinful and the pious from the corrupt.”) So Maymoonah (RA) moved into her own apartment near the other Mother’s of the Believers and was welcomed warmly.
Maymoonah (RA) was the last wife the Prophet ﷺ married and was only married to him for three years before his death, so there is not as much information on her as the other wives. However, we know that she was extremely pious and devoted to Allah and was a great lover of charity. She was also known for her great cooking. Aishah (RA) says of Maymoonah R(A), “She was the most pious and fearful of us towards Allah and the best of us in maintaining ties of kinship.” There is one story where Maymoonah (RA) found a pomegranate seed on the ground and picked it up and said, “ Verily Allah likes not corruption.”
Maymoonah narrated many hadiths. Her nephew Abdullah Ibn Abbas also narrated hadith from her as well as Abdullah bin Shaddad, Obaid bin Sabaq, Yazid bin Asam, AbdurRahman Saib Al Hilali, Obaidallah Khaulani, Sulaiman bin Yasar, and Ata bin Yasar. Her hadith were about 26 in total.
There was a hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas from Maymoonah (RA) that one time someone asked the Prophet ﷺ what do to regarding a mouse that had fallen into some butter. The Prophet ﷺ replied that the mouse and what surrounds it should be thrown out and the rest could be eaten.
Another hadith from Maymoonah is, “The Prophet ﷺ was praying while I was sleeping at his side, then when he prostrated, his garment touched me and I was in my menstrual period.” (Bukhari) This hadith was very important after the Prophet’s ﷺ death when a rumor started spreading that a man should not sleep next to his wife during her period. Maymoonah (RA) became very upset when she heard this and put the rumor to an end with her hadith.
Maymoonah (RA) passed away at the age of 85. She was performing Hajj in Mecca when she became ill. She was very restless and asked to be taken somewhere else and her family took her to Saref where she was married. She felt at ease and she passed away in the same place where she married the Prophet ﷺ.
May Allah be pleased with her and please her.
*I find it very interesting that the Companions used to ask the Prophet’s ﷺ advise on issues that were not really religious such as the mouse story. It shows you that our religion is not only about praying and fasting but having good nutrition and hygiene and eating habits are also forms of ibadah or religious acts. There is a book called the Prophetic Medicine that is really good and discusses a lot of the Prophet’s ﷺ advice regarding health and wellness.
*On the same note, we can add Maymoonah’s (RA) picking up litter from the ground. “Verily Allah likes not corruption.” This is another example of how taking care of the environment around us is also part of our religion. How can you be a pious Muslim but leave a mess everywhere you go and waste? Islam is not only about performing religious acts but also in the way you conduct yourself in the society and environment around you.
*Do you notice that at the time, divorced women got married again much easier than our time? And women had the courage to ask for a man’s hand in marriage. We don’t really see that nowadays.
Read the rest of the series:
Part 1: Um Al Fadl
Part 3: Asma bint Omays
Part4: Zainab bint Khuzaymah
Quṭb, Muḥammad ʻAlī. Women around the Messenger. Riyadh: International Islamic House, 2007. Print.
Darussalam. The Honorable Wives of the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him. 1st ed. 2004. Print.
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