Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum was a cousin of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. His father was Qays ibn Za'id and his mother was Aatikah bint Abdullah. She was called Umm Maktum (Mother of the Concealed One) because she gave birth to a blind child.

Ibn Umm Maktum grew up as a blind man who converted to Islam later is his life. After having been ignored by the prophet for some time, he eventually became a close friend and companion to the prophet.

For more details on his life, the reader may want to consult Companions of the Prophet Abdul Wahid Hamid, Vol. 1; online, e.g., here: 1, 2, 3.)

At least two passages of the Qur'an are believed to have been revealed or changed due to this blind man: S. 80:1-16 and 4:95.

Regarding S. 80:1-16, see the entry ABASA and this tradition:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa that his father said that Abasa (Sura 80) was sent down about Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum. He came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and began to say, "O Muhammad, show me a place near you (where I can sit)," whilst one of the leading men of the idol worshippers was in audience with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, began to turn away from him and give his attention to the other man, and he said to him, "Father of so-and-so, do you see any harm in what I am saying?" and he said, "No, by the blood (of our sacrifices) I see no harm in what you are saying." And Abasa - "He frowned and turned away when the blind man came" - was sent down. (Malik's Muwatta, Book 15, Number 15.4.8)

Regarding S. 4:95, see the article A blind man reminds Muhammad and corrects the Qur’an. Here we will quote just one of these traditions:

Narrated Al-Bara:

There was revealed: 'Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and those who strive and fight in the Cause of Allah.' (4.95)

The Prophet said, "Call Zaid for me and let him bring the board, the inkpot and the scapula bone (or the scapula bone and the ink pot)." Then he said, "Write: 'Not equal are those Believers who sit...", and at that time 'Amr bin Um Maktum, the blind man was sitting behind the Prophet. He said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is your order for me (as regards the above Verse) as I am a blind man?" So, instead of the above Verse, the following Verse was revealed:

'Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame etc.) and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah.' (4.95) (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 61, Number 512)

In some traditions he appears as Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum while in others he is called 'Amr Ibn Umm Maktum, thus raising the question: What was his real name?

He is best known under the name Abdullah, and the above linked biographical chapter uses only this name. Most traditions in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that mention him refer to him simply as Ibn Umm Maktum (without stating his first name) but in some narrations we find the name 'Amr Ibn Umm Maktum (e.g. Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 61, Number 512) and Sahih Muslim, Book 9, Number 3523).

This Muslim scholar states the obvious:

There is a difference of opinion regarding the name of Ibn Umm Maktum. Some say that his name is ‘Abdullah, and others say that it’s ‘Amr. (Umm ‘Abdillah al-Waadi’iyyah, Commentary on Buloogh al-Maraam, source, *)

These two versions of his name apparently confused Muslims already very early on since there is at least one well-known hadith which combines both names:

Amir b. Sharahil Sha'bi Sha'b Hamdan reported that he asked Fatima, daughter of Qais and sister of ad-Dahhak b. Qais and she was the first amongst the emigrant women: Narrate to me a hadith which you had heard directly from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and there is no extra link in between them. She said: Very well, if you like, I am prepared to do that, and he said to her: Well, do It and narrate that to me. She said: I married the son of Mughira and he was a chosen young man of Quraish at that time, but he fell as a martyr in the first Jihad (fighting) on the side of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). When I became a widow, 'Abd al-Rahman b. Auf, one amongst the group of the Companions of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), sent me the proposal of marriage. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) also sent me such a message for his freed slave Usama b. Zaid. And it had been conveyed to me that Allah's Messenger (way peace be upon him) had said (about Usama): He who loves me should also love Usima. When Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) talked to me (about this matter), I said: My affairs are in your hand. You may marry me to anyone whom you like. He said: You better shift now to the house of Umm Sharik, and Umm Sharik was a rich lady from amongst the Anqir. She spent generously for the cause of Allah and entertained guests very hospitably. I said: Well, I will do as you like. He said: Do not do that for Umm Sharik is a woman who is very frequently visited by guests and I do not like that your head may be uncovered or the cloth may be removed from your shank and the strangers may catch sight of them which you abhor. You better shift to the house of your cousin 'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. Umm Maktum and he is a person of the Bani Fihr branch of the Quraish, and he belonged to that tribe (to which Fatima) belonged. So I shifted to that house, and when my period of waiting was over, I heard the voice of an announcer making an announcement that the prayer would be observed in the mosque (where) congregational prayer (is observed). ... (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 7028)

Now, the interesting question is: Who was confused here, and who was only passing on the confusion by repeating it? Was Muhammad himself confused about the name of one of his closest companions? Or was Fatima bint Qais confused about the name of her own cousin? Or was it "only" Imam Muslim who was confused for including such a clearly wrong statement from Muhammad in his sahih (trustworthy) collection of narrations from the prophet of Islam?

Clearly, he cannot have the name 'Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum and 'Amr Ibn Umm Maktum and 'Abdullah Ibn 'Amr Ibn Umm Maktum and also be the son of Qays ibn Za'id as stated in his biography that was quoted above.

This last hadith is narrated in many different versions in Sahih Muslim. Here are some of them:

Fatima bint Qais (Allah be pleased with her) reported: My husband Abu 'Amr b. Hafs b. al-Mughira sent 'Ayyish b. Abu Rabi'a to me with a divorce, and he also sent through him five si's of dates and five si's of barley. I said: Is there no maintenance allowance for me but only this, and I cannot even spend my 'Idda period in your house? He said: No. She said: I dressed myself and came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). He said: How many pronouncements of divorce have been made for you? I said: Three. He said what he ('Ayyish b. Abu Rabi'a) had stated was true. There is no maintenance allowance for you. Spend 'Idda period in the house of your cousin, Ibn Umm Maktum. He is blind and you can put off your garment in his presence. And when you have spent your Idda period, you inform me. She said: Mu'awiya and Abu'l-Jahm (Allah be pleased with them) were among those who had given me the proposal of marriage. Thereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Mu'awiya is destitute and in poor condition and Abu'l-Jahm is very harsh with women (or he beats women, or like that), you should take Usama b. Zaid (as your husband). (Sahih Muslim, Book 9, Number 3527)

Fatima bint Qais (Allah be pleased with her) reported: My husband divorced me with three pronouncements. I decided to move (from his house to another place). So I came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: Move to the house of your cousin 'Amr b. Umm Maktum and spend your period of 'Idda there. (Sahih Muslim, Book 9, Number 3523)

Fatima bint Qais reported that her husband al-Makhzulmi divorced her and refused to pay her maintenance allowance. So she came to Allah's Messenger (may peace he upon him) and informed him, whereupon he said: There is no maintenance allowance for you, and you better go to the house of Ibn Umm Maktum and live with him for he is a blind man and you can put off your clothes in his house (i. e. you shall not face much difficulty in observing purdah there). (Sahih Muslim, Book 9, Number 3514)

In conclusion, it appears that the people of Madina called him Abdallah and the people of Iraq call him 'Amr. This still doesn't answer the question what his original given name was, though it might be a fair analysis of most of the data. On the other hand, since Ibn Umm Maktum died in Madina, and never lived in Iraq, the question still is why he got a different name there. Moreover, there exists simply no coherent explanation for the version 'Abdullah Ibn 'Amr Ibn Umm Maktum found in Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 7028.

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