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Muhammad's Wives in the Books of al-Sira

Table of Contents

1. Khadija Bint Khuwailid: Muhammad married Khadija Bint Khuwailid when he was 25 years old.(1 ) She was a merchant and enjoyed a high position among the people. She hired men for her business and competed with others. She was a forty-year-old widow when she married him.(2 ) She offered to let Muhammad go out as a merchant with one of her mercantile caravans to Syria.(3 ) Muhammad was offered the chance of marrying her, but he was not sure of himself and said, "I possess nothing whereby I can marry."(4 ) Khadija, however, took the initiative(5 ) and expressed her desire to marry him.

Muhammad married no one else till Khadija died.(6 ) One tradition says that Khadija said to her sister, "Go to Muhammad and make a mention of me to him." Her sister went to Muhammad, and he answered her according to God's will. They made an agreement that the Messenger of God would marry her. Khadija's father was given wine to drink. When he was overcome by wine, they called Muhammad and her father wedded them as he was intoxicated. Muhammad gave him a suit of clothes, so when he woke up, he asked, "What is this suit?" They answered, "This is the gift of your son-in-law, Muhammad." He grew angry and picked up his sword, as Banu Hashim also did. Afterward they were reconciled.(7 ) Khadija gave Muhammad all his children, except for Ibrahim: al-Qasim, al-Tayyib, Zainab, Ruqayya, Umm Kalthum, and Fatima.(8 ) Ibrahim, however, was the son of Maria, the Copt.(9 ) She was fair-skinned, curly- haired, and beautiful. `A´isha narrated: "When Ibrahim was born, the Messenger of God came to me and said, 'See how much he resembles me!' I said, 'I see no resemblance.' The Messenger of God said, 'Don't you see how white and robust he is?' I replied, 'Anyone would turn white if he received so much semen.' "(10) As to al-Qasim, al-Tahir and al-Tayyib, they perished in Jahiliya [the period preceding Islam], while all his daughters lived, attained Islam and migrated with him.(11) Strange things were told concerning Ibrahim, of all of Muhammad's children. These reports were told about him by Muhammad himself. Muhammad said, "Had Ibrahim lived, he would have cancelled the tribute that all the Copts pay."(12) When he died at the age of sixteen months, Muhammad said that he would continue to be nurtured in paradise.(13) Al-Suddi narrated: "I asked Anas Ibn Malik whether the Prophet prayed over his son Ibrahim. He answered, 'I don't know. May the mercy of God fall upon Ibrahim. Had he lived, he would have been a righteous man and a prophet.' "(14)

2. Sawda Bint Zam`a: She was the first woman Muhammad married after the death of Khadija. He married her after her husband's death. Muhammad sent a message of proposal to her in Ramadan in the tenth year after the Migration, before his marriage with `A´isha. According to `A´isha, "It was Sawda Bint Zam`a and the Messenger of God did not lie with her much. Knowing my importance to the Messenger of God, she was afraid he would leave her, so she said, 'O Messenger of God, give the day allotted to me to `A´isha [from now on], and you are under no obligation to me.' The Prophet accepted it and this verse was revealed: 'If some woman fears abuse or desertion by her husband, it should not be held against either of them if they should try to come to terms: coming to terms is best.' "(15) Al-Nu`man Ibn Thabit al-Taymi said, "The Messenger of God said to Sawda Bint Zam`a, 'Start you legal period [i.e., you are divorced].' So she waited for him on the road, and said, 'O Messenger of God, I do not love [the relationship with] men; I rather love to be resurrected among your wives, so please take me back.' The Messenger of God took her back."(16)

3. `A´isha Bint Abi Bakr: She was Muhammad's third wife. `A´isha herself narrated, "The Messenger of God married me in Shawwal in the tenth year after of his prophethood, three years before the Migration as I was six years old. I was nine years old when he consummated the marriage with me.(17) Ibn Hisham holds that "Muhammad married her when she was seven years old and consummated the marriage with her when they were in Medina when she was nine years old. The Messenger of God did not marry any other virgin but her.(18) `A´isha narrated, "The Messenger of God married me when I was still playing with the girls. I did not know that the Messenger of God married me until my mother took me and locked me up in the house. Then I realised that I was married."(19) There is another tradition by `Atiyya: "The Messenger of God proposed to `A´isha Bint Abi Bakr while she was a little girl. Abu Bakr said, 'O Messenger of God, can a man marry his brother's daughter?' Muhammad replied, 'You are my brother in my religion.' So he [Abu Bakr] married her off for the chattel of a house, fifty [dirhams] worth, or so."(20) "I was playing with the girls during the lifetime of the Messenger of God. The Messenger of God came to me when I was playing with the girls, and asked me, 'What is this, `A´isha?' I said, 'The horses of Solomon.' He laughed."(21)

`A´isha said, "I am held superior to the wives of the Prophet for ten things." She was asked, "What are they, mother of believers?" She replied, "He did not marry any virgin but me, he did not marry someone whose parents were migrants [that is from Mecca to Medina] but me. God revealed my innocence [of adultery] from heaven, and Gabriel brought him my image in a piece of silk and said, 'Marry her; she is your wife.' So I used to bathe with him from the same receptacle. He never did that with anyone else but me. He used to pray while I was lying between his hands, which is something that he never let any of his other wives do. The inspiration used to come down upon him while he was with me. He passed away when he was in my bosom during the night when he was supposed to have intercourse with me, and he was buried in my home."(22)

Once `A´isha asked the Prophet, "Who will be your wives in paradise?" He answered, "You will be one of them."(23) We learn from the stories that `A´isha was Muhammad's favourite wife. `Amr Ibn al-`As asked him, "O Messenger of God, who is your favourite among people?" He replied, "`A´isha." `Amr said, "I meant male ones." He answered, "Her father."(24) And lastly, we mention the following, "The superiority of `A´isha to other women is like the superiority of tarid [a meal of bread and meat] to other kinds of food."(25) Another tradition says that he died before he had enough of tarid.(26) `A´isha was eighteen years old when the Prophet died.(27)

4. Hafsa Bint `Umar: It was `Umar, Hafsa's father, who wedded them, and the Messenger of God gave her 400 dirhams. Before she married him, she was married to Khanis Ibn Huzafa al-Sahmi.(28) Salim narrated, according to Ibn `Umar, "When Hafsa was widowed, `Umar met `Uthman and offered her to him. `Uthman said, 'I have no need of women.' He met Abu Bakr and offered her to him, but he kept silent. He was angry at Abu Bakr. But shortly afterward the Messenger of God proposed to her and married her. Later `Umar met Abu Bakr and said to him, 'I offered my daughter to `Uthman but he refused my offer, and offered her to you but you kept silent!' Abu Bakr said, 'It was the Prophet. He mentioned something about her, and it was a secret and I disliked to divulge a secret.' "(29)

`A´isha narrated: "The Messenger of God liked sweets and honey. Whenever he performed the afternoon prayer, he would visit his wives and have intercourse with them. Once he went to Hafsa and was delayed there more than usual. I asked about that, and I was told that a woman gave her [Hafsa] a pot of honey, from which she gave the Messenger of God to drink. So I said, 'By God! I am going to trick him.' I told the incident to Sawda and said to her, "When he comes to you, he will try to have intercourse with you. Then say to him, "O Messenger of God, have you eaten euphorbia?" He will answer you, "No." So say to him, "Then what is that bad smell?" [The Messenger of God disliked to smell bad.] So he will say to you, "Hafsa gave me honey to drink." Then say to him, "The bees that produced it must have licked euphorbia." I will say likewise and Safiyya as well.' He came to Sawda and she said to him, 'Have you eaten euphorbia?' He said, 'No.' She said, 'What is this bad smell then?' He answered, 'Hafsa gave me honey to drink.' She said, 'The bees that produced it must have licked euphorbia.' When he came to me, I said the same and Safiyya said the same. Later when he came to Hafsa, she said to him, 'O Messenger of God, shall I give you a drink from it?' He replied, 'No. I don't need it.' Sawda said, 'Praise be to God. We managed to prevent him [from delaying].' And I told her to keep silent."(30)

5. Umm Salama: Her name is Hind Bint Abi Umayya. Muhammad visited her after the death of her husband and the completion of her legal period [of cleansing]. He asked her if she would marry him.(31) He had heard that she refused many men and that she had no desire for them. So he asked her, "What is it that keeps you [from marrying], Umm Salama?" She replied, "I have three characteristics: I am old, with a child, and jealous." He said, "As to jealousy that you mentioned, I will call on God to take it away from you. As to old age, I am older than you; and as to the child, leave him to God and His Messenger."(32)

`A´isha said, "When the Messenger of God married Umm Salama, I was deeply grieved because she was said to be so beautiful. I spoke nicely to her till I was able to see her. When I saw her, I found out she was much more beautiful and fair than I had heard. So I mentioned this to Hafsa [the two of them were in league]. She said, 'No by God! This is nothing but jealousy. She is not as [beautiful as] they say.' So Hafsa spoke nicely to her till she was able to see her, and then she said, 'I have seen her; she is not as [beautiful as] you said. She is just beautiful.' I saw her later, and I swear by God that she was as Hafsa said, and it is I who was jealous."(33)

`Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Harith narrated, "The Messenger of God was on some of his travels, and took with him on this specific journey Safiyya Bint Huyay and Umm Salama. The Messenger of God approached Safiyya's hawdaj [camel litter] thinking it was Umm Salama's. This was Umm Salama's day [on which Muhammad was supposed to have sex with her]. So the Messenger of God started to talk with Safiyya which provoked Umm Salama to jealousy. When the Messenger of God knew it was Safiyya, he came to Umm Salama, who said, 'You talk with the daughter of the Jew on my day, you who are the Messenger of God?' She later said, 'But I regretted what I had said, and kept asking for pardon for it.' She said, 'O Messenger of God, it was only jealousy that caused me to do this.' "(34)

6. Umm Habiba (Ibn Abi Sufyan's widow): She was the wife of `Ubaid Allah Ibn Jahsh who migrated to the land of Ethiopia, where he adopted Christianity and died. Umm Habiba remained in her religion.(35) She said, "In my sleep I saw my husband, `Ubaid Allah Ibn Jahsh, in the worst and most contorted shape, so I was appalled. I said, 'By God, he has surely changed!' When he woke up he said, `Umm Habiba, I considered [the issue of] religion and came to the conclusion that Christianity is the best religion.' So I said, 'By God, it can't be the best for you!' I told him about the dream, but he cared nothing for it and took to wine till he died. I saw in my sleep as though he came to me and said, 'O mother of believers,' so I was terrified, and took it to be that the Messenger of God will marry me. As soon as my legal period was finished the messenger of the Negus came knocking at my door asking for admission. It was a slave named Abraha who attended to his clothes and ointment. She entered in and said, 'The king says to you that the Messenger of God wrote him to give you to him in marriage.' I said, 'May God carry good tidings to you.' The slave said, 'The king says to you that you should appoint a guardian to wed you.' " So she sent for Khalid Ibn Sa`id Ibn al-`As and appointed him guardian, and gave Abraha two bracelets of silver, two bangles that were round her legs, and silver rings that were round her toes out of joy at what she heard. When it was night, the Negus ordered Ja`far Ibn Abi Talib and the Muslims that were there to come. On their arrival, he said, "Praise be to God, the Holy, the Peace-Maker, the Believing, the Sovereign, the Powerful, and the Mighty. I bear witness that there is no god other than Allah and that Muhammad is the Servant and Messenger of Allah, and that he is the one who was foretold by Jesus son of Mary. Now then, the Messenger of God wrote me to give him Umm Habiba Bint Abi Sufyan in marriage. I answered him positively and gave her four hundred dinars as dowry. Then he poured the dinars into the hands of the people. Khalid Ibn Sa`id spoke and said, "Praise be God, whom I thank and lean on for help and victory. I bear witness that there is no god other than Allah and that Muhammad is the Servant and Messenger of Allah, who was sent by Him with the guidance and the religion of truth to help him overcome all religions to the chagrin of idolaters. Now then, I have answered what the Messenger of God asked, and have given him Umm Habiba Bint Abi Sufyan."

He paid the dinars to Khalid Ibn Sa`id Ibn al-`As. They wanted to rise up, but he said, "Sit down; it is the tradition of the prophets that people eat at their wedding." He called for food, they ate and dispersed. Umm Habiba said, "When the money came to me, I sent for Abraha, who gave me the good tidings, and said to her, 'I gave you what I could that day, but I had no money in my possession. Here are fifty; take them and use them.' But she refused. I brought out all that I said I would give her, but she gave it back to me and said, 'The king made sure that I do not burden you with anything; for I am the one responsible for his clothes and ointment, and I follow the religion of Muhammad, the Messenger of God, and I have surrendered to God. The king has also ordered his wives to send you all the perfume they have.' The next day she brought me alone juniper and amber, and a great deal of civet. I went to the Prophet with all this; he used to see it on me and with me and did not complain.' Abraha said, 'What I request of you is to greet the Messenger of God from me, and to tell him that I followed his religion.' She treated me kindly and equipped me [for the journey]. Every time she entered my room she would say, 'Do not forget what I need of you!' So when I came to the Messenger of God, I told him how the speech was and how Abraha dealt with me. The Messenger of God smiled and, when I passed on her greetings to him, he said, 'Peace be upon her, the mercy of God, and His blessings.' "(36)

7. Zainab Bint Jahsh: Muhammad's marriage with Zainab Bint Jahsh was the strangest and most critical one. We know from the stories told about her that she was a beautiful woman. Muhammad had wedded his adopted son Zaid Ibn Haritha to her in spite of her displeasure with it, for she said, "O Messenger of God, I don't like this for myself, as I am a Kuraishite widow."(37)

Muhammad Ibn Yahya Ibn Hayyan narrated, "The Messenger of God came to Zaid's house seeking him. [Zaid was then called Zaid Ibn Muhammad]. Perhaps the Messenger of God missed him at that time, that is why he said, 'Where is Zaid?' He went to his house seeking him and, when he did not find him, Zainab Bint Jahsh stood up to [meet] him in a light house dress, but the Messenger of God turned away from her. She said, 'He is not here, Messenger of God, so please come in; my father and mother are your ransom.' The Messenger of God refused to come in. Zainab had hurried to dress herself when she heard that the Messenger of God was at her door, so she leapt in a hurry, and the Messenger of God was deeply moved by her when she did that. He went away muttering something that was hardly understandable but for this sentence:'Praise be to God who disposes the hearts.' When Zaid came back home, she told him that the Messenger of God came. Zaid asked, 'You asked him to come in, didn't you?' She replied, 'I bade him to, but he refused.' He said, 'Have you heard [him say] anything?' She answered, `When he had turned away, I heard him say something that I could hardly understand. I heard him say, "Praise be to God who directs the hearts." ' Zaid went out to the Messenger of God and said, 'O Messenger of God, I learned that you came to my house. Did you come in? O Messenger of God, my father and mother are your ransom. Perhaps you liked Zainab. I can leave her.' The Messenger of God said, 'Hold on to your wife.' Zaid said, 'O Messenger of God, I will leave her.' The Messenger of God said, 'Keep your wife.' So when Zaid left her, she isolated herself and finished her legal period. While the Messenger of God was sitting talking with `A´isha, he was taken in a trance, and when it was lifted, he smiled and said, 'Who will go to Zainab to tell her the good news that God wedded her to me from heaven?' The Messenger of God recited, 'Thus you told someone whom God had favoured and whom you yourself have favoured: "Hold on to your wife."?' "(38) `A´isha said, "I heard a great deal about her beauty and, moreover, about how God wedded her from heaven, and I said, 'For sure she will boast over this with us.' Salama, the slave of the Messenger of God, came out running and I told her about that. She gave me some silver jewellery for her."(39) Zainab Bint Umm Salama narrated, "I heard my mother, Umm Salama, say, 'I once mentioned Zainab Bint Jahsh and asked for God's mercy upon her soul, and narrated some of the things that happened between her and `A´isha. Zainab said, "By God, I am unlike any of the wives of the Messenger of God; he was given them in marriage by dowries and needed guardians to wed them. As for me, it was God who wedded me to the Messenger of God and revealed the scripture on my account; Muslims will continue to read with no change or alteration- 'Thus you told someone whom God had favoured.' " Umm Salama said, "The Messenger of God found her desirable and used to visit her frequently. She was a good woman and used to fast regularly, did good and gave her money away to the needy." ' "(40)

The traditions tell us that Muhammad sent Zaid to propose to her. Anas narrated: "When the legal period of Zainab Bint Jahsh was finished, the Messenger of God said to Zaid Ibn Haritha, 'I have none that I can trust, other than myself, but you. Go to Zainab and propose to her for me.' So Zaid went off and came to her while she was leavening dough. Zaid said, 'When I saw her, she became greater in heart, and I could not look at her since I knew that the Messenger of God mentioned her. So I turned my back on her and said, "O Zainab, rejoice; the Messenger of God has mentioned you." ' She said, 'I shall do nothing until I ask the advice of my Lord.' She rose up and went to pray [or to her mosque]. Then the verse was revealed:'Once Zaid has accomplished his purpose with her, We married her off to you.' Then the Messenger of God came and entered without permission."(41)

Muhammad's marriage with Zainab Bint Jahsh was the reason why some of the Qur´anic verses were "revealed". One of these verses is the "verse of the curtain", which can help us understand what kind of curtain [Arabic hijab means either curtain or veil] was meant by Muhammad at first. Sulaiman Ibn Harb narrated, quoting Hammad Ibn Zaid, quoting Ayyub Ibn Abi Qulaba that Anas said, "I know about this verse, 'the verse of the curtain', more than anyone else. When Zainab was given to the Messenger of God, he held a banquet on the night he married Zainab, invited the people and served them a meal. He wished that they leave afterward, because his mind was set on his bride. He stood up to let them know he wanted to leave, so some left. He stood up once more, but some stayed. He stood up a third time, and then they all left. So he entered his house [where the bride was] and Anas followed him, but he prevented him [from coming in] by letting down the curtain and said, "You who believe do not enter the Prophet's [private] quarters unless an invitation had been extended to you for a meal, though still without watching how it was prepared. However once you have been invited, then go on in; and once you have been fed, then disperse, not indulging in conversation. That has been disturbing the Prophet and he feels ashamed [to tell] you so. Yet God is not ashamed [to raise] the Truth. Whenever you ask [his wives] for any object, ask them for it from behind a curtain."(42) The people arose and he let the curtain down.(43)

Another tradition by Anas says: "The Messenger of God held a banquet for Zainab and fed the Muslims bread and meat. Then he went out to the quarters of the mothers of believers to greet them and bless them, and be greeted and blessed by them. He used to do that in the morning following his consummation of marriage. He and I returned together. When we reached Zainab's house, we found two men indulging in conversation at one side of the house. On seeing them, the Messenger of God returned from his house, when the two men saw this, they hurried away. I cannot remember whether it was I who told him that they left or someone else. As soon as he entered the house, he let the curtain down between him and me, and God revealed the verse of the curtain."(44)

One tradition says that Muhammad said, "The most generous among you is the one who will be the closest in catching up with me."(45) So his wives used to act generously toward everything. The Messenger of God meant alms-giving when he said that, and Zainab was a choice woman who used to give alms to the people, and was therefore the closest in keeping up with him.(46)

`A´isha narrated: "May God show mercy on Zainab Bint Jahsh; she has received in this world an honour that no one else received- namely that God married her off to His Prophet in the world and expressed this in the Qur´an, and that the Messenger of God said to us when we were around him, 'The fastest one in keeping up with me is the most generous one among you,' and then the Messenger of God gave her the good news that she was the fastest one in keeping up with him and that she will be his wife in paradise."(47)

`Urwa narrated, quoting `A´isha concerning the latter: "When Zainab Bint Jahsh died, she [`A´isha] started to weep and remember Zainab and ask the mercy of God on her soul. `A´isha was asked why she wept, and she answered,'She was a good woman.' I said to her, 'My aunt, which of the wives of the Messenger of God was his favourite?' She replied, 'I did not have a lot of him. Zainab Bint Jahsh and Umm Salama, however, had a [special] place in his [heart]. They were the most favoured by him after me as far as I know."(48)

8. Zainab Bint Khuzaima (who was called "the mother of the poor"): She was the divorcee of al-Tufail Ibn al-Harith. She was known in the Jahiliya as "the mother of the poor". She was married to Muhammad in Ramadan 31 months after the Migration, remained eight months with him, and passed away at the end of the month of Rabi` al-Awwal. The Messenger of God prayed over her and had her buried in al-Baqi`.(49) Muhammad Ibn `Umar narrated that he asked `Abdullah Ibn Ja`far about her age when she died. He answered that she was thirty years old, or so.(50)

9. Juwairiyya Bint al-Harith: `A´isha narrated: "The Messenger of God fell upon the women of Banu al-Mustaliq, took one fifth of them and distributed them among the people. He gave the horse one portion and the man two portions. So it happened that Juwairiyya Bint al-Harith fell to the lot of Thabit Ibn Qais Ibn Shammas the Ansarite. She had been married to her cousin Safwan Ibn Malik Ibn Judsaima Dsu al-Shifr, who was killed. So Qais offered to free her for the sum of nine ounces [of gold]. Now she was a lovely woman; all who saw her were struck by her loveliness. So while the Messenger of God was at my place, Juwairiyya came asking him concerning the offer that was made her to be freed, and as soon as I saw her, I hated that she had come to the Prophet and knew that he would see in her exactly what I saw. She said, 'O Messenger of God, I am Juwairiyya Bint al-Harith, the master of his people, and you know that I fell to the lot of Thabit Ibn Qais, who offered to free me for nine ounces [of gold]. So please help me to be freed.' He said, '[Do you want] something better than this?' She asked, 'What is it?' He said, 'That I pay your ransom for you and marry you.' She replied, 'Yes, Messenger of God.' The Messenger of God said, `This is done.' The news was spread around and the people said, 'The in-laws of the Messenger of God are made slaves!' So they freed all Banu al-Mustaliq that were captured by them, around a hundred, just because of his marriage with her. I do not know of any woman who was more of a blessing to her folk than her. This is a result of the raid of al-Marisa`."(51)

The traditions make it obvious to us that Muhammad's wives ridiculed him and said that he married her out of pity and to show his graciousness. So Juwairiyya said, "O Messenger of God, your wives boast over me. They tell me that the Messenger of God has not married me." He replied, "Have I not paid you a costly marriage dowry? Have I not freed forty of your folk?"(52)

Abu Qulaba narrated that the Prophet took Juwairiyya Bint al-Harith captive, and her father came to the Prophet and said, "The like of my daughter should not be taken captive. It is beneath my dignity to have something like this done to me; so release her and let her go." Muhammad replied, "Wouldn't it be better if we give her the choice?" He said, "Yes, and you have done what you ought to." So her father went to her and told her, "This man has given you the choice, so do not dishonour us." She replied, "I have chosen the Messenger of God." So he said, "You have surely dishonoured us."(53)

The traditions attest that she enjoyed the treatment of a wife since he covered her under the curtain and divided things equally between her and the rest of his wives.(54)

10. Safiyya Bint Huyay Ibn al-Akhtab: "When the Messenger of God raided Khaibar, and God gave him their possessions as booty, he took away Safiyya Bint Huyay and one of her cousins from al-Qumus, and ordered Bilal to carry them to his own camel. [The Messenger of God had a choice of every booty and Safiyya was one of those who were chosen in the battle with Khaibar.] The Prophet offered her freedom if she chose God and His Messenger, so she surrendered [adopted Islam], was freed by him, was married to him, and her dowry was her freedom. He saw in her face, near her eyes, a green scar, and asked, 'What is this?' She answered, 'O Messenger of God, I saw in a dream a moon from Yathrib that fell in my lap, and I related this to Kinana, my husband. He said, "You like to be under that king who hails from Yathrib, don't you?" He hit me on the face, and I started to count my legal period.' The Messenger of God had not left Khaibar till she was cleansed of her menses. The Messenger of God went out of Khaibar before he consummated the marriage with her. When the camel was brought near the Messenger of God to go out, he put out his leg for Safiyya so that she could put her feet on his thigh, but she refused and rather put her knee on his thigh. The Messenger of God covered her, carried her behind him, put his raiment upon her back and face and then pulled it tightly under her legs and took her as one of his wives. When he reached a house called Tabar, six miles away from Khaibar, he turned to it wanting to consummate the marriage with her. Nevertheless, she refused, even though he was eager. On coming to al-Sahba´, which is four leagues away from Khaibar, the Messenger of God said to Umm Salim, 'You must tend your friend and comb her.' The Messenger of God wanted to consummate the marriage with her there. Umm Salim said, 'But we have neither tent nor pavilion.' So she took two covers or raiments, hung them to a tree, combed her and perfumed her there. Umm Sinan al-Aslamiyya said, 'I attended the wedding ceremony of the Messenger of God and Safiyya; we combed and perfumed her. She was the sort of woman who looks brilliant when she is adorned. I have not found a better smelling ointment than that night. Before we were aware of it, we heard someone saying, "The Messenger of God is consummating the marriage with his wife; we have plucked the hair over her under a doom palm." The Messenger of God went forward to her, and she stood up to meet him [we had told her to do so], we went out and left them together, and the Messenger of God consummated the marriage with her there and spent the whole night with her. We passed by her in the morning when she was about to wash. We took her along till we were hidden from the soldiers. She did what she needed to do and washed herself. I asked her about what she saw in the Messenger of God, and she told me that he was so pleased with her that he did not sleep the night, but kept on talking to her and said to her, "Why did you do that when I wanted to enter upon you [marry you] in the first house?" She answered, "I feared for you because the Jews were near." This endeared her more to the Messenger of God.' When the morning came he held a banquet for her there. The banquet consisted of nothing else but pressed dates and the only bowls they had were animal skins. The people there and they all went on their journey till they reached al-Qasiba which was 16 miles away."(55)

Abu Huraira narrated: While the Messenger of God was consummating the marriage with Safiyya, Abu Ayyub spent the night at the door of the Prophet. When the Messenger of God woke up and he said, "Allahu akbar," there was a sword with Abu Ayyub. Abu Ayyub said, "O Messenger of God, she was a newly married woman, and you killed her father, brother, and husband, so I did not feel secure about you with her." The Messenger of God laughed and said, "It all went well."(56)

11. Rayhana Bint Zaid: `Umar Ibn al-Hakam narrated: "The Messenger of God freed Rayhana Bint Zaid Ibn`Amr Ibn Khunaqa. She had been married to a loving and honouring husband. She said, 'I shall never have a husband after him.' She was beautiful. When Banu Quraiza were taken captive, the booty was shown to the Messenger of God, and she was among the captives that were shown him so he commanded her to be set aside. He used to have a choice from each booty. She herself narrated, 'When I was set aside, he chose me and sent me to the house of Umm al-Mundsir Bint Qais for some days till he had the captives killed and the spoils distributed. Then the Messenger of God entered upon me, and when I was too shy to meet him, he called me and sat me between his hands. He said, "If you choose God and His Messenger, the Messenger of God will choose you for himself." I said, "I choose God and His Messenger." So when I surrendered, he freed me, married me, and gave me twelve ounces [of gold] as a bridal gift as he would do with his wives. He consummated the marriage with me in the house of Umm al-Mundsir, and he used to distribute for me as he did all his wives, and commanded me to be veiled.' The Messenger of God was fond of her and he granted her all she asked for. She was told, 'Had you asked the Messenger of God for Banu Quraiza, he would have freed them.' She answered, 'He reclined with me after he had already distributed the booty.' He reclined with her frequently and she remained with him till she died. He buried her in al-Baqi`. He married her in Muharram, six years after the Migration."(57)

Muhammad Ibn Ka`b narrated: "Rayhana was among those God gave him as captives. She was a beautiful woman. When her husband was killed, she was taken captive and became the choice of the Messenger of God in the battle with Banu Quraiza. When the Messenger of God gave the freedom to choose either Islam or her religion, she chose Islam. Then the Messenger of God freed her, married her and had her veiled. She was strongly jealous over him once, which made him divorce her one time while she was still at her place. She could not bear that and wept profusely, then the Messenger of God entered on her when she was in that state and remarried her. She remained with him till she died."(58)

12. Maimuna Bint al-Harith: She was the last woman the Messenger of God married. This took place the seventh year during Umrat al-qadhiyya. `Ali Ibn `Abdillah Ibn Abbas narrated: When the Messenger of God wanted to go out to Mecca in the year of the Qadhiyya, he sent Aws Ibn Khuli and Abu Rafi` to al-Abbas who wedded him off to Maimuna. Their camels went astray and they had to spend some days till the Messenger of God reached them with slices of meat and found that they had bound their two camels together. They went with him to Mecca where Muhammad sent for al-Abbas and mentioned what happened to him. Maimuna surrendered herself to the Messenger of God. The Messenger of God came to the house of al-Abbas and proposed to her from al-Abbas who wedded her to him. The importance of this marriage lies in the question whether a Muhrim can marry during the Pilgrimage, since the traditions have it that Muhammad married Maimuna while he was muhrim (that is, abstinent while on a pilgrimage).

go to CHAPTER 26 - Muhammad's Further Attempts to Marry

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