Al-Shifa bint Abdullah

Al-Shifaa bint Abdullah;

(Arabic: الشفاء بنت عبد الله‎), whose given name was Layla, was a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

She was the daughter of Abdullah ibn Abdshams and Fatima bint Wahb and a member of the Adi clan of the Quraysh in Mecca. She married Abu Hathma ibn Hudhayfa, and they had two sons, Sulayman and Masruq.

She had a reputation as a wise woman. Her by-name Al-Shifaa means “the Healer” and indicates that she practised folk-medicine. At a time when barely twenty people in Mecca could read write, Al-Shifaa was the first woman to acquire this skill. She taught calligraphy to many others, including, her relative, Hafsa bint Umar, and the two women remained friends.

Al-Shifaa became a Muslim in Mecca and was among the first to join the emigration to Medina. There she had a house between the mosque and the market. Muhammad used to visit her there and he sometimes consulted her about best practice in business matters.

When Umar became caliph, he sometimes would consult with her regarding some matters of the marketplace. She recalled of him: “When Umar talked, he was loud; when he walked, he was fast; when he beat, he hurt.” He also used to visit her in her home. On one occasion he asked why her son Sulayman had been missing from morning prayers; she replied that Sulayman had been praying all night and had given way to sleep in the morning.