She was the wife of Abu Bakr Siddique and the mother of ‘Aishah. Thus she was the Prophet’s [sallallahu Alayhi wa sallam] mother-in-law. Her son, ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Bakr Siddique, was an excellent horseman, and master strategist in war. It was she who taught him the meaning of valor and courage. Her real name was Zainab, but she came to be known by her family name. She was a patient and tolerant lady who did not jump to hasty conclusions but gave matters deep thought. This was evident in the way she handled the incident when people of loose tongues and small minds accused ‘Aishah of adultery. When her husband explained to her the teachings of Islam she did not linger with doubts about giving up the religion of her forefathers. She immediately saw the greatness of Islam and accepted it.
She was brought up in an area of Arabia known as Sarat. When she grew up she married a young man from her tribe named ‘Abdullah bin Harith bin Sakhbarah Azdi. She had a son by him, who was named Tufail bin ‘Abdullah. They then moved to Makkah, where he became the partner and companion of Abu Bakr Siddique. However, soon after this, ‘Abdullah bin Harith passed away, and his widow and son were left with no support. Seeing her precarious condition Abu Bakr Siddique married her. Umm Rooman was very happy in her marriage and soon, a son, ‘AbdurRahman, and a daughter, ‘Aishah was born. Before he came into the fold of Islam, Abu Bakr Siddique was married to Qateelah bint Abdul-‘Uzza by whom he already had a daughter Asma’ and a son, ‘Abdullah.
Umm Rooman had accepted Islam in its earliest days. It is written in Tabaqat Ibn Sad that Umm Rooman accepted Islam in the very early days in Makkah. She swore allegiance at the hand of the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] himself and then migrated with the blessed group of immigrants.
When she witness the terrible atrocities committed by the Quraish against the Muslims she would suffer and weep for the innocent victims, but she gained courage when she saw the moral strength and exemplary sacrifice of her husband for the cause of Islam. She drew inspiration from him and found peace in his presence.
The Prophet [sallallahu Alayhi wa sallam] also used to exhort his faithful followers not to waver, but to be patient and hold steadfast to their faith, for they would surely in the Hereafter be rewarded with Paradise.
During this long period, Umm Rooman remained an image of patience, forbearance, courage, and bravery. Most of her time was spent in earnest supplications and prayers to Allah. When she saw her husband’s devoted efforts for the propagation of Islam she expressed her admiration and gave him moral support. She devoted her time to the nurturing of her children in the traditions of Islam. The Prophet [sallallahu Alayhi wa sallam] often used to visit the house of his illustrious follower, Abu Bakr Siddique. He would advise Umm Rooman to keep encouraging and instilling the love of goodness in ‘Aishah. Khadijah passed away three years before the migration of the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] to Madinah. The Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] spent a year as an unmarried person He then married Aisha at the command of Allah as delivered by the Angel Jibril, that on three consecutive nights he saw her in his dreams. The Angel Jibril brought a picture of hers wrapped in a silken cloth and told him that this was an image of his bride. When he removed the cover he saw that it was her image. ‘Aishah was elated to hear that she was chosen to be the Prophet’s [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] wife by Allah himself. Khawlah bint Hakim told him there were two proposals for him, that of ‘Aishah bint Abu Bakr Siddique and Saudah bint Zam’ah. He accepted both, and thus Umm Rooman’ had the honor of becoming his mother-in-law.
When the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] was ordered by Allah to migrate to Madinah he went to the house of his closest friend and Companion, Abu Bakr Siddique. Without any questions or hesitation, he prepared to accompany the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam]. He packed a few things and took all the cash there was in the house. He left his father, wife, and children in the trust and care of Allah and set off for an unknown and unseen destination.
It was a very tough time for Umm Rooman she was separated from her husband; and there was a lack of money for household expenses since he had taken all the available cash with him. But what predominated all other thoughts in her mind were supplications to Allah and for the safe arrival of the Prophet [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] and her husband in Madinah. On reaching their destination safely, she and her family were told to follow Madinah.
When they reached Al-Madinah they stayed at the house of Abu Bakr Siddique arranged for his family. And it was from this house that ‘Aishah left as a bride to the Prophet’s [sallallahu alayhi wa sallam] house. Thus this house became the focal point for the revelations of Allah. Umm Rooman expressed great happiness at the thought that her daughter would be one of those who joined the ranks of the blessed.