Ummu Kulthoom bintu ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu‘ait (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was a Sahaabiyah who brought imaan, in Makkah Mukarramah, during the initial days of Islam. The following is her personal account of how she performed Hijrah to Madeenah Munawwarah. She recounts:
I would leave Makkah Mukarramah and go to an area on its outskirts, known as Tan‘eem, in which I had some family. Once there, I would remain with these relatives, spending three or four days with them. I would thereafter return to my family in Makkah Mukarramah who did not mind the time that I would spend in the outskirts.
This practice continued, until I one day decided to perform Hijrah to Madeenah Munawwarah, in order to join Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the other Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). With the aim of performing Hijrah, I exited Makkah Mukarramah and pretended as if I was going to the outskirts as normal. As soon as the person who had accompanied me out of Makkah Mukarramah had left, I continued to walk, until I finally encountered a man. As he sighted me, he asked, “Where are you going?” As I was weary of my family and the Quraish learning of my plan to perform Hijrah, I was reluctant to disclose my destination to him and thus replied by asking him who he was and what he wanted. When he replied that he was from the tribe of Khuzaa‘ah, I felt at ease, as I knew that the Khuzaa‘ah had entered into a peace treaty with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). I thus said to him, “I am a woman from the Quraish and I wish to join Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). However, I do not know the way.” Hearing this, he responded, “I will accompany you until I see to it that you enter Madeenah Munawwarah.”
Saying this, he brought me a camel on which I was to ride, and he would lead this camel himself. By Allah! (For the duration of our entire trip,) he never spoke even a word to me. Whenever I needed to dismount, he would make the camel kneel, and would thereafter go some distance away from me (so that he would not catch sight of my body while I was dismounting). After I had dismounted, he would return and tie the camel to a tree, after which he would again go some distance away from me and settle beneath the shade of a tree. When it was time to depart and recommence the journey, he would saddle the camel and bring it to me. He would then turn away until I had mounted the camel. Once I was seated on the camel, he would lead it by its head, and he would not once look back in my direction until it was again time to dismount. We continued in this manner until we arrived in Madeenah Munawwarah. May Allah Ta‘ala reward him well for the manner in which he accompanied me.
Once in Madeenah Munawwarah, I proceeded to the home of Ummu Salamah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). When I entered, however, she did not realize who I was as I was covered with my niqaab. Thus, she only realized who I was after I removed my niqaab and introduced myself to her. On learning of my identity, she immediately hugged me and asked, “Did you perform Hijrah to Allah Ta‘ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)?” I replied, “Yes, and I fear that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) will return me to the Quraish (on account of the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah which stipulated that those who fled from Makkah Mukarramah should be returned), just as he returned Abu Jandal and Abu Baseer (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma). The condition of men and the condition of women are not equal and the same (i.e. women are naturally weaker and will not manage being sent back). My people will look for me in the morning. It is now five days since I left them. They will wait for me to return for this same amount of time – five days (as this was perhaps the maximum amount of time that she would spend on the outskirts) – and they will thereafter search for me. If they do not find me, they will depart (for Madeenah Munawwarah).
Soon thereafter, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) entered the home of Ummu Salamah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and Ummu Salamah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) informed Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) of my Hijrah. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) welcomed me. I then said to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “I fled to you in order to safeguard my Deen. Thus, protect me and do not return me, as they will put me through trials and punish me, and I will not be able to bear their punishment. I am merely a woman and you know the natural weakness of women. I have seen you return two men (and I thus fear that you will return me as well.)” To this, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained that the clause of the Treaty did not apply to women.
Hence, When her brothers, Waleed and ‘Umaarah, arrived to take her back to Makkah Mukarramah, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not allow them to take her and sent them back without her.
(Reference: Sifatus Safwah, vol. 1, pg. 332 and Usdul Ghaabah, vol. 5, pg. 488)
Note: It was only permissible for Ummu Kulthoom (radhiyallahu ‘anha) to travel without a mahram as she was fleeing for the sake of saving her imaan and Deen (as she herself explained). Hence, this incident does not in any way show the permissibility of a woman travelling without a mahram.
1. Ummu Kulthoom (radhiyallahu ‘anha), in order to protect her Deen, had to perform Hijrah to Madeenah Munawwarah. Despite all the odds being against her (as she had nobody to accompany her, nor did she know the way, nor did she have a conveyance to ride upon), she did what was in her capacity and tried her utmost to please Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, she began the journey to Madeenah Munawwarah on foot. When she showed the eagerness, Allah Ta‘ala assisted her and sent someone who not only provided her with a conveyance but even accompanied and protected her.
2. No matter how trying her circumstances were, she did not sacrifice or compromise on her hayaa. When she ensured that she maintained her hayaa and also wore the niqaab, Allah Ta‘ala accordingly sent a person to assist her who also had a great degree of hayaa. Hence, despite travelling together for five days, their hayaa was such that they never spoke a word and he never once raised his gaze and looked at her. We also learn from Ummu Kulthoom (radhiyallahu ‘anha) that hayaa is not merely to wear the niqaab. Rather, when a woman has true hayaa, she will not make any form of contact with a strange man – be it verbal contact, eye contact or contact through any other medium (e.g. the cell phone, WhatsApp, e-mail, etc.).
3. After Makkah Mukarramah was conquered, the law of Hijrah ceased. However, if we cannot perform the Hijrah of Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), we can at least try to migrate away from sin to a life of obedience and pleasing Allah Ta‘ala.