GREAT WOMEN OF ISLAM: UMM SULAIM BINT MILHAN AL-ANSARIYYAH PART 1
Her first marriage was unhappy; there were constant quarrels between husband and wife because she became a Muslim. Her husband, Malik bin Nadhar, tried his very best make her recant and give up the new religion to which she had vowed allegiance, but he failed and she remained loyal to her new faith. On the other hand she started persuading her son, Anas as well to convert to Islam, . Her persistence finally paid off, and Anas read the words signifying acceptance of Allah as the One Supreme Being and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as His Messenger.
There were frequent violent scenes in the house, but she stood her ground, patiently and calmly. Finally her husband left her and migrated to Syria where he was murdered. The Ansari ladies used to call her Sehlah, Ghumiysa', Rumiysa' Ramlah and Sahlah, but finally she came to be known only as Umm Sulaim.
After her husband's murder in Syria she dedicated her son, Anas to the service of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Anas lived the next ten years of his life in his service, and these were the best years of his life. Umm Sulaim requested the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to supplicate to Allah for an increase in knowledge prosperity for him, both in this world and the next. And Allah answered his prayers in ample measure. Anas lived to the age of a hundred and three and had eighty children. He had a magnificent palace in Basrah and huge beautiful gardens. He was a fastidious man who loved to dress well and dye his hair with henna. Among his sons, many became learned scholars. After his death he became an heir to the gardens of Paradise.
In Al-Madinah there was a handsome young man called Abu Talhah, who was the leader of his tribe. He had not yet converted to Islam, but knew that the widow, Umm Sulaim had many admirable qualities. Her integrity, her loyalty, her courage, all of these appealed to him, and he sent her a proposal of marriage. She said it was not possible because she was a Muslim and he was a disbeliever. When he insisted she asked him what kind of a man he was; sometimes he worshipped trees growing in the earth, at other times he worshipped stone idols which other people carved out. She asked him if he had ever considered how these things could solve his problems when they were themselves helpless.
When Abu Talhah heard these arguments he had no answer. He tried his best to persuade her, but she was adamant. She told him that normally a proposal from a man of his stature would not be rejected, but she was helpless. She dedicated her life to Islam and he was, up to that time, deprived of this great blessing. Finally, he asked her if she would marry him if he converted to Islam. She was very happy at this; she said the Mahr (dowry) for her would be his acceptance of Islam, and told Anas to arrange for her marriage. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) often used to visit her and prayed for prosperity and the blessings of Allah for her.
After some time Abu 'Umair fell sick, and one night his temperature shot up very high and he passed away. Umm Sulaim displayed exemplary patience and control. She did not inform anyone or scream and shout in her grief. She did not want to upset her husband when he came home after a hard day's work. On his return home, he asked her how the child was and she told him he was better then before. Then she served him dinner and chatted with him. When he had enjoyed himself in her company in peace and tranquility, she asked him "whether, if a person entrusted one with something, and then came to claim it, should one return it?" He answered "that certainly one should return it gladly." Then she took him to the room where the son was lying in a peaceful eternal sleep and said in a trembling voice" that Allah had taken back the son He had entrusted to their care."
In the morning they went to see the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and he prayed for Allah's blessings and prosperity for the couple. And soon another son was born to them. Anas carried him in his lap to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him); he softened a piece of a date and gave it to the newborn, and named him 'Abdullah. He prayed that Allah grant him prosperity. And by the grace of Allah when he grew up and married he had nine sons; all of them were memorizers of the Quran.
Anas narrates that his mother had a goat. One day she made ghee from its milk and collected it in a little leather bowl. When it was full she sent it as a gift for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) with her adopted daughter. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), told his family to empty the bowl and return it with the little girl. She brought back the empty bowl and hung it by a nail on the kitchen wall.