The village was situated on the coastal plain in a flat area that was slightly higher than the terrain to the south and southeast. Wadi al-Sarar ran about 1 km southwest of it. A secondary road linked Shahma to a highway that led to Ramla and the coastal highway. Just north of the village was 'Aqir military airport, built by the British during World War II; Shahma military base lay to the north and east. In the late nineteenth century, Shahma was a small village built of adobe bricks; its inhabitants drew their water from a well to the south.
Classified as a hamlet by the Mandate-era Palestine Index Gazetteer, the village was divided into two sections, north and south, by the secondary road mentioned above. Some of its houses were built in part with the stone remains of previous settlements on the site. Shahma's entire population was Muslim. Its economy was based on agriculture, especially grain cultivation, and to a lesser extent on animal husbandry. In 1944/45 a total of 152 dunums was devoted to citrus and bananas and 4,911 dunums were allotted to cereals; 33 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.