Sawdah bint Zama’ah


Sawdah bint Zamaʿah (Arabic: سودة بنت زمعة : translit. inclide, Sawdah bint Zamʿah, Sawda bint Zamʿa‎) a widow who managed the affairs of the Prophet’s (ﷺ) household. She took care of Umm Kulthoom and Fatimah and eventually married the Prophet (ﷺ) making her one of the Mothers of the Believers.[1]Khawlah bint Hakim suggessted Sawdah as a wife as she considered her to be the ideal women to run the Prophet’s (ﷺ) household after the death of his first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid.


Sawdah was very dark in complexion, and slow moving due to been quite overweight. She was observant and was known for her humour. [2].

On one occasion Allah’s Messenger looked pale due to distress. Sawdah lifted his spirits with a joke that made him laugh to the point that his molars could be seen.[3]

“O Messenger of Allah! I prayed behind you yesterday and you prolonged the prostration so long that I felt that I was having a nose-bleed.”


Sawdah’s first marriage was to her paternal cousin As-Sakran ibn Amr. Upon As-Sakran’s death, in the month of Shawwal of the tenth year of Prophethood[4].

After the death of Khadijah, the Prophet (ﷺ) was approached by Khawlah who was aware of his loneliness.

“Messenger of Allah, it seems you have been afflicted by want since the death of Khadijah?”

He (ﷺ) replied,

“Yes, she was the mother of the household and the caretaker of the family.”

Khalwah suggested,

“If you like, you can marry a matron, and if you like you can marry a virgin, O Messenger of Allah.”

He (ﷺ) who she was suggesting, to which Sawdah stated the matron to fulfil the needs of his household, was Sawdah, and the virgin to mend his broken heart, would be Aishah bint Abu Bakr.[5]

The proposals were made, and accepted. Sawdah joined his (ﷺ) household immediately.

Fear of Divorce

Sawdah being older and not as healthy began to feel she was becoming a liability to the Prophet (ﷺ) and his family so she requested that she remain married and would relinquish her time to her best friend Aisha.


Sawdah’s death was prophesied by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). He was asked who amongst his wives would be the first to follow him to which he replied, “The one with the longest arms.” Believing this to be a literal statement they began to measure their arms with a stick not realizing the true meaning was the one who gave the most in charity. Her death came during the caliphate of Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan.

Narrations: Sahih (Authentic)

Chapters on Hajj Rituals

كتاب المناسك

It was narrated from ‘Aishah that Sawdah bint Zam’ah was a slow-moving woman, so she asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) for permission to depart from Jam’ ahead of the people, and he gave her permission.[6]

حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ الْقَاسِمِ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّ سَوْدَةَ بِنْتَ زَمْعَةَ، كَانَتِ امْرَأَةً ثَبِطَةً فَاسْتَأْذَنَتْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ أَنْ تَدْفَعَ مِنْ جَمْعٍ قَبْلَ دُفْعَةِ النَّاسِ فَأَذِنَ لَهَا

The Book of Hajj

كتاب مناسك الحج

It was narrated that Aishah said: “The Prophet allowed Sawdah to leave Jam (Al-Muzdalifah) before dawn because she was a heavyset woman.[7]

أَخْبَرَنَا يَعْقُوبُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا هُشَيْمٌ، قَالَ أَنْبَأَنَا مَنْصُورٌ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ الْقَاسِمِ، عَنِ الْقَاسِمِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ إِنَّمَا أَذِنَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِسَوْدَةَ فِي الإِفَاضَةِ قَبْلَ الصُّبْحِ مِنْ جَمْعٍ لأَنَّهَا كَانَتِ امْرَأَةً ثَبِطَةً

Chapter: The Skin Of Dead Animals (Those Not Slaughtered Or Killed Properly)

باب جُلُودِ الْمَيْتَةِ

It was narrated that Sawdah, the wife of the Prophet, said:”A sheep of ours died, and we tanned its skin, and continued to make Nabidh in it until it wore out.” [8]

أَخْبَرَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ بْنِ أَبِي رِزْمَةَ، قَالَ أَنْبَأَنَا الْفَضْلُ بْنُ مُوسَى، عَنْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ بْنِ أَبِي خَالِدٍ، عَنِ الشَّعْبِيِّ، عَنْ عِكْرِمَةَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، عَنْ سَوْدَةَ، زَوْجِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَتْ مَاتَتْ شَاةٌ لَنَا فَدَبَغْنَا مَسْكَهَا فَمَازِلْنَا نَنْبِذُ فِيهَا حَتَّى صَارَتْ شَنًّا

Chapter: The Book of Zakah

كتاب الزكاة

It was narrated from ‘Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that the wives of the Prophet “gathered around him and said: “Which of us will be the first to following you (in death)?” He said: “The one of you who has the longest arms.” They took a stick and started to measure their arms. But Sawdah was the first one to follow him. She was the one who had the longest arms, because she used to give in charity a great deal.[9]

أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو دَاوُدَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ حَمَّادٍ، قَالَ أَنْبَأَنَا أَبُو عَوَانَةَ، عَنْ فِرَاسٍ، عَنْ عَامِرٍ، عَنْ مَسْرُوقٍ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، رضى الله عنها أَنَّ أَزْوَاجَ، النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم اجْتَمَعْنَ عِنْدَهُ فَقُلْنَ أَيَّتُنَا بِكَ أَسْرَعُ لُحُوقًا فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ أَطْوَلُكُنَّ يَدًا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَأَخَذْنَ قَصَبَةً فَجَعَلْنَ يَذْرَعْنَهَا فَكَانَتْ سَوْدَةُ أَسْرَعَهُنَّ بِهِ لُحُوقًا فَكَانَتْ أَطْوَلَهُنَّ يَدًا فَكَانَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ كَثْرَةِ الصَّدَقَةِ

Chapters on Tafsir

كتاب تفسير القرآن عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: “Sawdah feared that the Prophet (ﷺ) was going to divorce her, so she said: ‘Do not divorce me, but keep me and give my day to ‘Aishah.’ So he (ﷺ) did so, and the following was revealed: Then there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves, and making peace is better (4:128). So whatever they agree to make peace in something then it is permissible.” [10]

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو دَاوُدَ الطَّيَالِسِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ، عَنْ سِمَاكٍ، عَنْ عِكْرِمَةَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ خَشِيَتْ سَوْدَةُ أَنْ يُطَلِّقَهَا، النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَتْ لاَ تُطَلِّقْنِي وَأَمْسِكْنِي وَاجْعَلْ يَوْمِي لِعَائِشَةَ فَفَعَلَ فَنَزَلَتْ ‏:‏ ‏(‏ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَنْ يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحًا وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ ‏)‏ ‏.‏ فَمَا اصْطَلَحَا عَلَيْهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَهُوَ جَائِزٌ كَأَنَّهُ مِنْ قَوْلِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ غَرِيبٌ


  1. Jump up↑ Women Around the Messenger by Muhammad Ali Qutb pg.62
  2. Jump up↑ Women Around the Messenger by Muhammad Ali Qutb pg.62
  3. Jump up↑ Women Around the Messenger by Muhammad ‘Ali Qutb, pg.63
  4. Jump up↑ Safi-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri (2002), Al-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, The Sealed Nectar: Biography of the Noble Prophet, Revised Edition, Darussalam Publications, ISBN 9960-899-55-1, pg. 562
  5. Jump up↑ Women Around the Messenger by Muhammad Ali Qutb pg.61
  6. Jump up↑ Sahih (Darussalam) Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 4, Book 25, Hadith 3027: Arabic reference: Book 25, Hadith 3142
  7. Jump up↑ Sahih (Darussalam) Sunan an-Nasa’i 3037: Book 24, Hadith 0 NEED VERIFICATION on Reference
  8. Jump up↑ Sahih (Darussalam) Sunan an-Nasa’i 4240: Book 41, Hadith 19: The Book of al-Fara’ and al-‘Atirah – كتاب الفرع والعتيرة
  9. Jump up↑ Sahih (Darussalam) Sunan an-Nasa’i 2541: Book 23, Hadith 0: The Book of al-Fara’ and al-‘Atirah – كتاب الفرع والعتيرة
  10. Jump up↑ Sahih (Darussalam) Jami` at-Tirmidhi Hadith Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3040; Arabic reference: Book 47, Hadith 3314