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Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan

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Part of a series on Islam
Wives of Muhammad

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid

Sawda bint Zama

Aisha bint Abi Bakr

Hafsa bint Umar

Zaynab bint Khuzayma

Hind bint Abi Umayya

Zaynab bint Jahsh

Juwayriya bint al-Harith

Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan

Rayhana bint Zayd

Safiyya bint Huyayy

Maymuna bint al-Harith

Maria al-Qibtiyya

Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan, رملة بنت أبي سفيان, aka Umm Habiba, أم حبيبة, was the daughter of Abu Sufyan. She was born c. 589 and died in 666. She was one wife of Muhammad, the final prophet in Islam and therefore a Mother of the Believers.

Early life

She was the daughter of Saffiya bint abi al-'As and Abu Sufyan ibn Harb[1], the leader of Quraish and the most powerful opponent of Muhammad for most of his life. The First Ummayad ruler, Muawiyah I was her brother.

Ramlah was related to Uthman ibn Affan. They were first cousins on mother's side and second cousins by her father's side.

Marriage with Ubayd-Allah ibn Jahsh

Her first husband, Ubayd-Allah ibn Jahsh [2] was among the first people to accept Islam. Ubayd-Allah ibn Jahsh was the brother of Zaynab bint Jahsh, whom Muhammad married at some point.

In order to avoid hostilities from Quraish, they both emigrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), where she gave birth to her daughter, Habibah bint Ubayd-Allah[2].

Her husband, later, converted to Christianity[2]. He tried to persuade her to do the same, but she held on to Islam. His conversion led to their divorce. She continued to live in Abyssinia with her daughter until Ubayd-Allah's death sometime later[2].

Marriage to Muhammad

There are contradictory sources. One claim that when Muhammad came to know about what had happened to her, he got worried that she might turn back from her faith like her husband. He decided to propose to her through the Negus, who sent Abraha, one of his maids, with Muhammad's proposal. Ramlah gladly accepted the proposal, and gave her silver bangles and rings as a gift to Abraha[2].

The marriage ceremony took place in Abyssinia even though Muhammad was not present. Khalid ibn Said was chosen by her as her legal guardian at the ceremony. The Negus read out the Khutba himself, and Khalid ibn Said made a speech in reply. On behalf of Muhammad, the Negus offered a dowry of four hundred Dinars to Khalid. A huge wedding feast was given on behalf of Muhammad after the ceremony. the Negus also sent musk and ambergris to the bride through Abraha [2]. Muhammad had given no other wife a dowry larger than this.

Later, the Negus made arrangements to send Ramlah to Medina by boat. Shurahbil ibn Hasana accompanied Ramlah in her journey [2]. She was able to return to Medina six years later.

Life to Medina

According to some sources, she married Muhammad one year after the Hijra, though she didn't live with him until six years later when Muhammad was sixty years old and she was thirty-five. Other sources claim her marriage took place in 7 A.H., at an age of 30 years [3]. The marriage afforded protection to her.

On one occasion, Abu Sufyan visited Umm Habiba in her house. He went to sit on a chair, but Umm Habiba hastily removed Muhammad's blanket from that chair before Abu Sufyan could sit. Abu Sufyan criticized her for this, claiming that Islam had caused her to lose respect for her father. Umm Habiba replied that it was because she recognised the differing statuses of Muhammad and Abu Sufyan that she removed the blanket, implying that her father Abu Sufyan did not deserve to sit on the blanket of Muhammad.[4]

She died in the year 666 (45 A.H)[3], during the Caliphate of her brother, Muawiyah I and was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi cemetery next to other wives of Muhammad[2].


There are about sixty-five Hadith narrated by her in the Hadith literature. Muhammad al-Bukhari and Muslim b. al-Hajjaj agreed on two of them, and Muslim took two of them alone [2].

Sunni view

It is said that she was a courageous, virtuous, and charitable woman and that she was very attached to Muhammad.

Shi'a view

Shi'a respect her as a Mother of the Believers, but do not appreciate her gesture towards A'isha.


  1. الشبكة الإسلامية - (9) أم حبيبة رملة بنت أبي سفيان رضي الله عنها
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Islam online
  3. 3.0 3.1 AlMaghrib Forums
  4. John Glubb, The Life and Times of Muhammad, Lanham 1998, p. 304-310.

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