Ramla bint Abi Sufyan (RA) was one of the earliest individuals to enter the fold of Islam and had the blessed opportunity to become the wife of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Throughout her historical accounts, she was recognized for her gentle disposition and her nature was defined by serenity, tranquility, and magnanimity. She chose the love of Allah (SWT) and His beloved Messenger (peace be upon him) above all else- making her one of the highly esteemed women in the realm of Islam.
Ramla bint Abi Sufyan (RA) came into the world almost thirteen years before prophethood. She was born in the household of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, who was the chief of the most powerful tribe of Quraysh and was, at the time, one of the greatest enemies of Islam and the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Her mother, Safiyya bint Abil Aas, was the aunt of Usman bin Affan (RA). Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb out rightly shunned Islamic thought and denied the truthfulness of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and spent great wealth in oppressing the Muslims and persecuting them.
However, growing up in such an anti-Islamic environment did not hinder Ramla’s (RA) conversion to Islam when the time came. She became one of the earliest converts to Islam, along with her husband, Ubaydullah Ibn Jahsh, the brother of Zainab bint Jahsh (RA), who was a wife of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). She preferred the path of Allah (SWT) above her family and its materialistic gains. She had to endure great hardships because of her choice, but she did so with a brave heart and with her head held high.
Due to extreme backlash from the Quraysh, living in Mecca had become almost impossible for Muslims, therefore, Ramla (RA) migrated to Abyssinia, along with her husband. There, she gave birth to a daughter named Habiba, and hence, earned the title of Umm-e Habiba.
Soon after, her husband reverted back to his old ways; indulging in excessive drinking etc. He left the fold of Islam and decided to embrace Christianity instead. He tried to persuade her to follow suit but it was to no avail- Ramla (RA) refused to let go of her faith and ended up divorcing her husband. Ramla (RA) lived in Abyssinia till her Ubaydullah Ibn Jahsh’s death and became a widow.
After completing the period of waiting after the death of her husband (iddat), Ramla (RA) was welcomed with a marriage proposal made by Negus, the king of Abyssinia on behalf of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Ramla (RA) was overjoyed at the proposal and readily accepted. The ceremony was carried out in Negus’s palace where he conducted the marriage ceremony on Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) behalf and Khaled Ibn Sa’id acted on Ramla’s (RA) behalf, holding a great feast in the honor of the marriage. Hence, Ramla (RA) too, earned the title of “Ummul Mo'mineen”, mother of the faithful.
As the prevailing conditions had made it impossible for Muslims to go to Arabia, Ramla bint Abi Sufyan (RA) met the Prophet (peace be upon him) after six years- when she was 35 years of age and the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was 60 years of age. She got to spend only three years of her life with him.
Upon her acceptance of Islam, she consciously decided to leave her life of wealth and luxury behind and chose to tread on a purer path of righteousness guided by Allah (SWT).
She used to follow the instructions and teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) diligently. She was a pious and God fearing individual, performing Ibadaah in abundance and spending her days and nights in worship. She was a lady of grace and great dignity. She loved the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) very dearly and was a learned woman; she is known to have narrated around sixty-five ahadith on account of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Ramla bint Abi Sufyan (RA) passed away at the age of 70, in 44 AH. She, too, was buried in Jannat ul Baqi, just like the rest of the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) wives. May Allah (SWT) be pleased with her and bless her soul.