Her real name was, according to some authorities, Rumaylah, and according to others, Sahlah and Maleekah. She was also called Umm Sulaym, which was her kunyah. She was the daughter of Milhaan ibn Haraam, a prominent member of Banu an-Najjaar who were closely associated with the Prophet’s house and family.
Umm Sulaym’s first husband was Malik ibn an-Nadhr. She bore him Anas, the famous companion of the Prophet She embraced Islam at an early period, while her husband remained a disbeliever. After his death, she received a marriage proposal from Abu Talhah, but she refused because he was an idolater. However, when he embraced Islam, she readily consented to marry him. She regarded his acceptance of Islam as her only dowry (mah).
Umm Sulaym (is)had an unusually strong personality. She had the determination and a will of a man. She accepted the call to Islam independently of her husband, Malik ibn an-Nadr. He was, it seems, not aware of the upheaval taking place around him in Madinah as a result of the coming of the Prophet (pbuh)
Umm Sulaym was a very brave woman. She was a staunch Muslim fighter. She took part in several of the Prophet’s campaigns. In the midst of the fight, she would attend to the wounded and give water to the warriors. she would fight if necessary. She took part in the Battle of Uhud, and in the Battle of Hunayn she was seen carrying a dagger. When asked about the weapon in the presence of the Prophet (pbuh), she answered that she might have to defend herself if one of the disbelievers tried to harm her. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) smiled on hearing her reply. He remarked that Allah had taken care of that.
Umm Umayr was high-minded. When Abu Umayr, one of her children from Abu Talhah, died, she behaved in a very brave manner. She did not break the sad news to her husband when he came back home. She acted as if nothing had happened. She served him his dinner and let him relax. Later on that night, she asked him, “If a person entrusted another one with something and then he came to claim it, should he return the trust?” Abu Talhah replied, “Certainly, he should return it gladly.” Then she told him about the death of their son whom Allah had taken back after He had entrusted him to their care. When he told this to the Prophet (pbuh), the Prophet (pbuh) prayed for them, and they had another son, Abdullah, who had ten sons, all of whom learned the whole Quran by heart and learned religious knowledge from him.
When the Prophet (pbuh) came to Madinah, she said to him, “O Allah’s Messenger, here is Anas to serve you.” Anas, who was at that time ten years old, served the Prophet (pbuh) for ten years until he passed away. Anas then came to be known as ‘the servant of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh)’
Once, she requested the Prophet (pbuh), “Anas is your servant Pray for him.” The Prophet (pbuh) prayed, “O Allah Give him a lot of wealth and children and bless anything that You give him.” Anas lived on to a very advanced age. He was (according to various accounts) somewhere between 97 and 107 years old when he died in around 91 – 93 A.H.; he also became very rich and had scores of descendants.
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) praised Umm Sulaym’s i merits and sincere devotion to lslam on several occasions. Umm Sulaym sailed with the Muslim army, which invaded Cyprus, during the reign of Mu’aawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan. She is buried in Cyprus.