Kindly share with us some information on the life of Sayyidah Sarah, the wife of Sayyiduna Ibrahim (‘alayhimas salam). What does Sarah mean? Is it true that she was extremely beautiful? Does she have any special virtues
The name Sarah has been documented to have two pronunciations:
- سارَّة – with a tashdeed on the letter ra (Sarrah).
- سارَة – without a tashdeed [as is more famously used and heard] i.e, Sarah.
(Kitabul Mughni pg. 147)
A few different meanings can be attributed to the name Sarah. Amongst them are: One who is cheerful or rejoices, One who cheers others up [i.e makes others happy], One who is faithful, One who keeps a secret.
(Tajul ‘Urus vol. 6 pg. 517, Arabic Lexicon vol. 4 pg. 1338, Fatawa Darul ‘Ulum Zakariyya vol. 7 pg. 590)
Despite many of the Muhaddithun having acknowledged the name of Sarah’s father (‘alayhas salam) to be Haran, there still existed a difference of opinion as to precisely who he was. Some mentioned that he was the king of Harran. Others mentioned that he was the paternal uncle of Sayyiduna Ibrahim (‘alayhis salam). Additional opinions have also been recorded on this matter.
Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has stated that the more popular [Mashur] opinion was that Sarah’s father was the paternal uncle of Ibrahim (‘alayhimas salam) [this means that she was the cousin of Ibrahim –‘alayhis salam] .
(Qasasul Ambiya of Ibn Kathir pg. 127, Fathul Bari, Hadith: 3358)
Sayyidah Sarah (‘alayhas salam) was indeed extremely beautiful. In fact, it has been mentioned that there wasn’t a single female [before her], since the time of Hawwa (‘alayhas salam), more beautiful than her. Imam Hakim (rahimahullah) has recorded a Hadith on authority of Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu ‘anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said: ‘Yusuf and his mother [‘alayhimas salam] have been granted half of [all] the beauty’.
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has mentioned that the words ‘and his mother’ refers to Sayyidah Sarah (‘alayhas salam).
This Hadith has been declared authentic by both Imams Hakim and Dhahabi (rahimahumallah).
(Mustadrak Hakim, vol. 2 pg. 570, Qasasul Ambiya of Ibn Kathir pg. 130, Fathul Bari, Hadith: 3358)
Besides Sayyidah Sarah’s (‘alayhas salam) beauty, there were many other qualities of hers that stood out. She was known to have been a very chaste woman. In fact, she even sought refuge in Allah Ta’ala by means of the virtue [i.e through wasilah] of her chastity. She was known to be a sincere devout worshiper of Allah Ta’ala. The effects of her sincerity and piety were such that Allah Ta’ala readily accepted her du’a. It has also been mentioned that she was extremely dutiful to her husband and never ever disobeyed him. She was the mother of an entire lineage of prophethood.
(Refer: Sahih Bukhari along with Fathul Bari, Hadith: 3358, Qasasul Ambiya of Tabari pg. 161, Qasasul Ambiya of Ibn Kathir pg. 129 – 130)
Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has mentioned that there are records from the Ahlul Kitab [referring to the Christians and Jews] that Sayyidah Sarah (‘alayhas salam) lived for a total of 127 years and passed away somewhere in the Levant (Sham). Some ‘Ulama have further specified that she passed away in the city of Hebron [like is claimed today].
(Qasasul Ambiya of Tabari pg. 202-203 and Qasasul Ambiya of Ibn Kathir pg. 162)
And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar