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Halima al-Sa'diyya

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Halima al-Sa'diyya
Wet-nurse of the Prophet (s)
قبر حلیمه.jpg
A grave in al-Baqi' Cemetery in Medina attributed to Halima al-Sa'diyya
Full Name Halima bt. Abu Dhu'ayb b. Harith al-Sa'diyya
Religious Affiliation Islam
Lineage Hawazin
Birth Before Islam
Place of Birth Mecca
Places of Residence Mecca, Medina
Death/Martyrdom 8/630
Burial Place Al-Baqi' Cemetery in Medina
Era Early Islam

Ḥalīma al-Saʿdīyya (Arabic: حَلیمة السَعدیّة) is the Prophet's (s) wet nurse and foster mother. She fed the Prophet (s) after Thuwayba.

Soon after she started nursing the Prophet (s), many blessings showed up in her life.

The Prophet (s) stayed in Banu Sa'd tribe until he was 4 or 5. Historians related the fabricated event of Shaqq al-Sadr to this period.

The Prophet (s) respected Halima, and on several occasions helped her generously.

Family and Lineage

Her father was Abu Dhu'ayb b. al-Harith b. Shijna al-Sa'di from Sa'd b. Bakr b. Hawazin tribe. Her husband was al-Harith b. 'Abd al-'Uzza who was nicknamed as Abu Kabsha. Apparently, this is one of the reasons Quraysh called the Prophet (s) as "Ibn Abi Kabsha".

Halima wet-nursed the Prophet (s) after Thuwayba (Abu Lahab's handmaiden) fed him for a few days.

Infancy Narrations

The events of this period, in all sources, are narrated by Halima.

Because the Prophet (s) had spent his infancy and childhood in Banu Sa'd b. Bakr b. Hawazin tribe; he considered himself as the most eloquent Arab.

Wet-Nursing Muhammad (s)

Apparently, people of Mecca would send their children to Bedouin tribes so that they will be more eloquent.

Banu Sa'd suffered from a severe famine, so Halima and nine other women of the tribe headed to Mecca to make a living by wet-nursing children of wealthy tribes of Mecca. Due to poverty and famine, her camel was very weak and skinny so she was left behind and consequently arrived late to Mecca. When she arrived, the grandson of 'Abd al-Muttalib was the only child left, because he was an orphan and they were afraid not to receive an appropriate fee. Halima wet-nursed Muhammad (s).

Blessings in Life

Immediately after she accepted wet-nursing of Muhammad (s), blessings showed up in her life. Her milk that was barely enough for her own child, due to poverty, now was easily fed the Muhammad (s) and his son. Even her emaciated camel overflowed with milk and got so strong that she overtook other women on the way back. While other wet-nurses were wondering about the reason of these sudden changes in her life, Halima believed that they were because of the child of Banu Hashim, and she repeated that several times.

Emphasizing on Keeping Muhammad (s)

When Muhammad (s) was 2, she weaned him and took him to Mecca to his mother, Amina bt. Wahb. Since the child Muhammad caused Halima's herd of sheep to be more productive than any other's in Banu Sa'd, she preferred to keep the child with her. Eventually, at her insistence and also because of the outbreak of cholera in Mecca; Amina was convinced to let Halima take care of her baby again for a few more years.

Event of Shaqq al-Sadr

It is said that when Muhammad (s) was living with Halima, a strange incident happened to the child Muhammad (s), which is known as "Shaqq al-Sadr" (split of the chest). Man-like angels dressed in white appeared, split his chest, took a dark clot out of his heart, washed it in a gold tub, put it back in his chest and then healed his chest. His foster brother, who witnessed this in a valley near their house, informed Halima frantically.

Halima got very nervous and took him to a soothsayer. After listening to the child, the soothsayer warned her that he will change people's religion. Halima got more nervous and decided to return him to his mother in Mecca to protect him.

Authors have mentioned ample evidence that disproves this event –which is said to have happened several times in Prophet's life- and also demonstrated that the narrations about this event are fabricated.

The prophet Muhammad (s) was among Banu Sa'd tribe for 4 or 5 years and then Halima returned him to his mother and grandfather, 'Abd al-Muttalib.

Prophet's Respect for Halima

A few years after Muhammad (s) married Khadija (a), Halima went to him in Mecca complaining about the difficulties of life. The Prophet (s) talked with Khadija about her and Khadija gave her some sheep and camels. After the emergence of Islam, Halima and her husband came to the Prophet (s), converted to Islam and swore allegiance to him. Sometimes, when Halima visited the Prophet (s), he laid his cloak on the ground –as a sign of respect-, so that she would sit on it.

After Hawazin were defeated in the Battle of Hunayn, the Prophet (s) renounced all Banu Hashim and his shares of booties and slaves, due to his respect for Halima, his relation with that tribe and the request of her foster sister, Shayma'. Consequently, all the Muslims did the same to have followed the Prophet (s).

Demise

According to one narration, Halima passed away before the Conquest of Mecca by Muslims in Ramadan, 8/January, 630. After the conquest of Mecca when the Prophet (s) visited Shayma' –his foster sister- asked her about Halima and she told him that she has passed away. The Prophet's (s) eyes filled with tears as he heard the news and then asked about her next of kin. Afterward, Shayma' asked him a favor and the Prophet (s) fulfilled her request.

But another narration reports that after the Battle of Hunayn in Shawwal, 8/February 630, Halima came to the Prophet (s) in al-Ji'irrana and he respected her. There is also a narration which says that Halima experienced the caliphate period of Abu Bakr and 'Umar and they treated her with respect.

References