Amah bint Khalid: The last of the women


To start with, it is strange to have such a name, Amah, which means ‘slave woman’. Why would anyone call his daughter that? Yet the Arabs at the time used very strange names. Perhaps because of this she was better known by her nickname, ‘Umm Khalid.’

Her father was Khalid ibn Saeed ibn Al-Aas, one of the very early Muslims. She is reported to have said that he was the fifth man to embrace Islam. She reports: “Sometime before the start of Islamic revelations, my father saw in a dream as if Makkah was engulfed in total darkness to the extent that one could not see one’s own hand. Then suddenly a light came out of the well of Zamzam, going up into the sky and enlightening the Kaaba and the Haram. It spread further and enlightened the whole city of Makkah before moving much further away to enlighten Yathrib, i.e. Madinah. He could see its date trees. He reported his dream to his brother, Amr, who was a man of wisdom. Amr told him that such goodness will come out of the clan of Abd Al-Muttalib (the Prophet’s grandfather). He added: ‘Did you not see the light coming out of the well dug by their grandfather?’ Later, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) received his message, my father mentioned his dream to him. He said: ‘Yes, Khalid. I am that light, and I am God’s messenger’. He mentioned to him the main principles of Islam, and my father immediately accepted Islam.”

Her mother, Umaymah bint Khalaf, was also an early believer. Both her parents were among the Prophet’s companions who immigrated to Abyssinia, when the Prophet sought to establish a new base for Islam, away from the tyranny of Quraysh. Indeed, she was born in Abyssinia. She remained there until that immigration ended. The total duration of that immigration was 15 years. So, she was not more than 13 when she joined the Muslims in Madinah. She spoke the Abyssinian language, as a second mother tongue.

After the conclusion of the peace agreement between the Muslim state in Madinah and the Quraysh, the Prophet sent an envoy to Negus, the King of Abyssinia, to repatriate his companions who were in his country. Negus arranged their trip in two boats. As he bid them farewell, Negus asked them to give his greetings to the Prophet. Umm Khalid reports: “I was among those who gave Negus’ greetings to the Prophet”.


NOTE BY THE EDITOR: An interesting headline. No women was born after Amah?

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