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The wives of Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal (rahimahullah)

Question

There is a famous story of Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) getting married to Ummu Salih who was one eyed but her din was strong .

Can you please confirm this story, because Rayhanah (his second wife) is also reported to be one eyed.

Answer

Ummu Salih was not one eyed, rather it was Rayhanah. The following narrations will clarify this insha Allah.

Historians mention that Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) married twice only.

He first married ‘Abbasah bintul Fadl. She bore Imam Ahmad’s son ‘Salih’, hence her title Ummu Salih.

Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) was married to her for twenty years (some narrations suggest thirty years). When she passed away Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) said: ‘In the twenty (or thirty) years that we were together, not once did we have a disagreement’

After her demise Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) asked a family member to go to his cousin and propose to her for marriage. She accepted the proposal. However when the Family member returned Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) asked her “Was her younger sister, who only had one eye, listening to what you were saying as well”? (ie. showing some interest). When the family member replied in the affirmative, Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah)  said: “Go and propose to the one with one eye“. She accepted the proposal and Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) married her.

Her name was Ummu ‘Abdillah Rayhanah bintu ‘Umar,  the mother of Imam Ahmad’s son ‘Abdullah (rahimahumallah). Reports suggest that they were together for seven years.

(Refer: Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 16 pg. 626, Siyaru A’alamin Nubala, vol. 11 pg. 332, Tabaqatul Hanabilah, vol. 1 pg. 384-385 and Manaqibul Imam Ahmad of Ibnul Jawzi)

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best

 

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar