Muhammad's Marriages and Poor Widows

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This article analyzes the often-asserted claim that most of Prophet Muhammad’s wives were poor widows whom he married to save from a life of destitution.

Introduction[edit]

The perpetual state of war created disparity between the male and female elements of society. Husbands having fallen on the field of battle, their widows had to be provided for … This is the reason that [Muhammad] himself took so many women to be his wives during the period when war was raging. Nearly all of his wives were widows.
Ali, M. M. (1924, 1993). Muhammad the Prophet, pp. 192-193. Columbus, Ohio: The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Islam Lahore.
Wars and persecution burdened the Muslims with many widows, orphans and divorcees. They had to be protected and maintained by the surviving Muslim men … One course of relief was to take them as his own wives and accept the challenge of heavy liabilities.
Abdallati, H. Islam in Focus, pp. 177-179.

People who assert that Muhammad “married poor widows” do not include Khadijah or Aisha. Everyone agrees that “Khadijah was a merchant woman of dignity and wealth”[1] who eventually expended all that wealth on maintaining Islam.[2] It is also agreed that Aisha, beside being a spinster,[3] was the daughter of “a man of means,”[4] “a merchant of high character” with “experience in commerce.”[5] She already had a fiancé at the time of Muhammad’s proposal, and her father had to break off this engagement before marrying her to Muhammad,[6] so she was certainly not looking to Muhammad to take care of her.

As for Muhammad’s other wives, it is true that most of them were widowed, divorced or both. Only Mariyah,[7] Mulaykah[8] and Fatima[9] are not recorded as previously married.[10]

Whether these widows were “poor” depends on how one defines poverty. Is a slave poor, even though she serves in the household of the wealthy, because she has no legal rights? Is a Bedouin poor, even though she eats every day, because she has few material possessions? Is a victim of a theft considered poor if she was wealthy before the thief came? However personally poor a widow might be, does she qualify as “destitute” if she has living relatives who can guarantee that they will take care of her? When the question is whether these widows needed Muhammad to support them, we also need to know whether Muhammad had enough wealth to be able to support these women.

Analysis[edit]

Sawdah bint Zamaa[edit]

Muhammad married Sawdah in May 620.[11] It is not known how Muhammad was making his living in his last few years in Mecca, but he does not seem to have been able to re-launch Khadijah’s merchant business. If it is true that all of Khadijah’s wealth had been expended in the days of the blockade,[12] Muhammad was now bankrupt. He certainly did not seem to have any resources of his own by the time of the Hijra in September 622: all the expenses of his journey were paid by Abu Bakr.[13]

By contrast, Sawdah was a tanner[14] and a perfume-mixer.[15] So she was not in penury; she had the means to earn her own living. Nor was she alone, for she lived with her father and brother.[16] It is not stated that they were wealthy, but they were respectable. Sawdah also had a son, Abdulrahman ibn Sakhran,[17] who is never mentioned as being part of Muhammad’s household. This suggests that by 620 he was an adult who did not need to move in with his new stepfather if he preferred to remain with his blood-relations; therefore he was also old enough to work to contribute to the family expenses. Sawdah’s father approved of her marriage to Muhammad, but her brother did not. Sawdah and Muhammad took care to finalize their union on a day when her brother was out of town; when he returned home and heard the news, he poured dust on his head.[18] It seems he would rather have taken financial responsibility for his sister for the rest of his life than seen her married to his enemy.

So Sawdah had no economic need to marry Muhammad. On the contrary, it seems that he rather than she was the one who gained financially from this marriage.

As a general commentary on the social problems in the Muslim community, it should be noted that at this early date, the Muslims had not fought a single battle. No Muslim “died in the wars” before the Battle of Badr in 624,[19] an event that nobody could have foreseen in 620. In fact the only Muslim who had so far died violently was a woman.[20] So it is not true that there was a problem with finding enough men to take care of the numerous widows. On the contrary, the gender imbalance appears to have been in the opposite direction. The Egyptian scholar Al-Suyuti compares different traditions about Umar’s conversion in 616: “He embraced the faith early — after the conversion of 40 men and 10 women — or as some say, after 39 men and 23 women, and others, 45 men and 11 women.”[21] In fact all these numbers are wrong, for Ibn Ishaq’s list of Muslims who emigrated to Abyssinia in 615 includes 83 men and 18 women.[22] His list of Muslims converted by Abu Bakr has 41 men and 9 women.[23] One consistency among all these lists, however, is that the early Muslims seemed to comprise far more men than women, probably twice as many. Besides, many of the Muslim women whose names are missing from these early lists[24] were married to pagan men; so even if they had been “numerous” (although they probably were not), they would not have been part of any problem of “homeless widows”.

Therefore the issue of how to provide for single women would not have been on Muhammad’s mind in 620. Rather, the problem was how to find anyone at all who was available to marry him. Even as the leader of the community, he apparently had to take anyone whom he could get. The problem of finding wives for the rank and file of Muslim bachelors is reflected by the reality that Muslims were permitted to marry polytheists right up to the year 628.[25]

Hafsah bint Umar[edit]

Hafsah’s first husband, Khunays ibn Hudhayfa, died of battle-wounds in mid-624.[26] He seems to have been a man of humble means who relied on the patronage of Hafsah’s father Umar.[27] This suggests that his death did not make much change to Hafsah’s economic situation. Before, during and after her marriage, she was dependent on her father. Umar claimed to be “one of the richest of the Quraysh”[28] and he could well afford to keep his daughter.

In addition, Hafsah was one of only four Muslim women in the whole of Medina who knew how to write.[29] If she had wanted (or been permitted) to set herself up as a career woman, she would have been in demand as a clerk.

By contrast, Muhammad could not afford to keep his wives. Aisha claimed that they never ate bread for more than three successive days, and sometimes the family did not light a fire for a month on end because they had nothing to cook but lived off dates and water.[30] By marrying Muhammad, Hafsah was accepting a significant cut in her standard of living. In fact Umar later warned her never to ask her husband for money: “If you need something, come and ask me.”[31]

Muhammad did not marry Hafsah for her father’s money. He already had complete access to this.[32] But nor did he marry her in order to provide for her. He was not able to do this.

Zaynab bint Khuzayma[edit]

Zaynab’s husband was killed at Badr; he was Ubayda ibn Al-Harith, the first Muslim to die in battle.[33] She should have been available for remarriage by late July 624. But she did not marry Muhammad for another seven months.[34] So she was obviously not starving in that period, and the early Muslim chronicles quickly show us why not.

Zaynab had plenty of family in Medina. At her funeral, just eight months after her wedding, “three of her brothers” were present.[35] Her deceased husband Ubayda also had two brothers, Al-Tufayl and Al-Husayn, who had accompanied him to Medina[36] and had fought with him at Badr.[37] Further, Zaynab was on good terms with her pagan relatives in Mecca. Her cousin Qubaysa ibn Amr made the journey out to Medina so that he could arrange her marriage to Muhammad,[38] even though this could have easily been done by one of her brothers in Medina.

Zaynab was from the wealthy Hilal tribe,[39] and it seems that her own family had as much money as any of them. This family never stopped supporting her; there was always someone to ensure her subsistence. As we have seen, Muhammad was impecunious and could not afford to feed his wives properly. So whatever Zaynab’s reason for marrying Muhammad, it was certainly not economic necessity.

Hind (Umm Salama) bint Abi Umayya[edit]

Hind was born into the wealthy Makhzum clan of the Quraysh, and her husband, Abdullah ibn Abdulasad, was a second cousin from the same clan.[40] Since their family rejected them when they became Muslims,[41] it is not clear whether they were still wealthy when, ten years later, they arrived in Medina; but they owned the camels that transported them.[42]

Abdullah died from battle wounds in November 625.[43] Hind wanted to pledge never to remarry so that they might be reunited in Paradise; but the dying Abdullah would not accept the pledge.[44] The very fact that Hind believed she would not want to remarry suggests that she was not worried about poverty. It is quite possible that Abdullah had some savings to leave to his widow. She was pregnant,[45] so if she needed to generate extra income, perhaps she planned to hire herself out as a wet nurse. However, neither of these options was her main plan.

As soon as Hind was free to remarry (18 March 626)[46] she received a marriage-proposal from Abu Bakr. Then she received a proposal from Umar. Then she received a proposal from Muhammad. She refused all of them. Muhammad then came to visit in person.[47] In Hind’s own words: “When my idda was over, Allah’s Messenger asked to come to see me while I was tanning a hide I had. I washed my hands clean of the tanning solution and asked him to come in ...”[48] Like Sawdah, Hind was a tanner. Muhammad happened to call on her while she was in the very act of working to support her children, which suggests that she had long since established the routine on which they would all depend.

When Muhammad repeated his marriage-proposal, Hind gave him a string of reasons for why she wanted to refuse, and he left her house disappointed. Muhammad had to argue her out of her excuses and propose a third time before she finally accepted him.[49] They were married on or before 6 April 626.[50] Of course, this raises the question of whether Hind truly wanted to marry Muhammad or whether she simply gave in to the pressure from the most powerful man in the community. Regardless of why she changed her mind, her on-principle reluctance to remarry indicates that she had been managing quite well on her own.

Zaynab bint Jahsh[edit]

Zaynab bint Jahsh was a career-woman. She was a tanner and leather-worker who was well able to support herself.[51] She lived under the protection of her two brothers, Abu Ahmad and Abdullah.[52] She had no need to remarry unless she chose. It is even said that she proposed marriage to Muhammad and that she offered not to take any dower.[53]

If this story is true, Muhammad declined the offer. He told Zaynab that she had a “duty” to marry his son Zayd because that was what “Allah and his apostle” wished for her.[54] At first she refused, supported by her brother Abdullah.[55] But Abdullah was killed in the battle of Uhud,[56] and at about this time, Zaynab was talked into marrying Zayd.[57] Zayd divorced her within two years, after which, according to Muhammad, Allah commanded her to marry Muhammad himself.[58]

Muhammad’s inability to provide for his growing family was not as serious for Zaynab as for some of his other wives. She continued to work at her leather-crafts after her marriage, and she gave away all her profits in alms.[59]

Although it was obvious that Zaynab had no economic need of a new husband, modern historians sometimes claim that she might have had a social or moral need to remarry. They report such claims as, “Before Islam, the Arabs did not allow divorcees to remarry,”[60] and that her divorce “made her unfit to marry a status conscious Arab.”[61] This is an imaginary problem. There is no evidence that the Arabs forbade divorced women to remarry. On the contrary, Abu Sufyan’s favourite wife, Hind bint Utbah, had been a divorcée.[62] Abu Sufyan's clan, the Umayyads, had been the dominant clan of the Quraysh even before Abu Sufyan became the high chief of Mecca;[63] what was socially acceptable for the Umayyads was, by definition, acceptable for everyone. Muhammad did not marry Zaynab to rescue her from social disapprobation; rather, he created significant social disapprobation in order that he might marry her.[64]

Rayhanah bint Zayd[edit]

To claim that Muhammad married Rayhanah because she was “a poor widow” is perverse. Rayhanah was a member of the Jewish Qurayza tribe,[65] whom Muhammad besieged in 627. When the tribe surrendered, Muhammad ordered that every adult male should be decapitated, that every woman and child should become his slave and that all the property was forfeit to the Islamic state.[66] So Rayhanah was only a widow because Muhammad had killed her husband and she was only poor because Muhammad had appropriated her property.

If Muhammad had made enquiries about how to help the Qurayza slaves, he would have quickly realized that Rayhanah was one of the least destitute, for she was only a Quraziya by marriage. By birth she belonged to the Nadir tribe,[67] who were currently residing in the date-farms of Khaybar.[68] If Muhammad had wanted to provide for Rayhanah, he would have sent her back to her own family. The Nadir were making every effort to assist the surviving Qurayza. They searched the Arabian slave-markets and they bought back as many Qurayza women and children as they found there.[69] Since Rayhanah was a Nadriya by birth, her tribe would certainly have ransomed her too if only she had been for sale.

But Muhammad had selected Rayhanah for himself. She showed “repugnance towards Islam” and refused to marry him, but he kept her as a concubine anyway.[70]

After Muhammad defeated the Qurayza, he was no longer poor[71] and he could afford to keep his family. Although Aisha claims, as noted above, that he never did this very adequately, he had at least in theory the means to support his wives. It is also likely that the Muslim men no longer outnumbered the women, as the acquisition of hundreds of female slaves[72] had redressed the gender imbalance. There is therefore some justification for the claim that, from 627 onwards, Muhammad was in a position to provide a home for the “excess women” who were unable to marry monogamously. What remains to be established, however, is whether or not the particular widows whom he married were the ones who would have been otherwise left destitute.

Juwayriyah bint Al-Harith[edit]

Juwayriyah was in a similar situation to Rayhanah. She was only a widow because the Muslim raiders had killed her husband.[73] Unlike Rayhanah, Juwayriyah was not poor. She knew that the raiders had only carried off a fraction of her tribe’s wealth and that they had only killed a few of the men. Her father, the chief, had survived the raid, and he was willing and able to pay the ransom set on her head.[74]

But Muhammad refused to accept the ransom. He gave Juwayriyah the choice of marrying himself or marrying another Muslim.[75]

Ramlah (Umm Habiba) bint Abi Sufyan[edit]

Ramlah and her first husband, Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh, were among the early converts to Islam who emigrated to Abyssinia in 615.[76] “They were safely ensconced there and were grateful for the protection of the Negus [King]; could serve Allah without fear; and the Negus had shown them every hospitality.”[77] It is not known how the exiles earned their living, but they must have found a means of subsistence, for they all stayed at least four years. Forty of them returned to Arabia in 619, only to discover that Mecca was still not a safe place for Muslims.[78] After the Muslim victory at Badr in 624, however, the exiles realized that they would be safe in Medina, and they began to leave for Arabia in small groups.[79] About half of them remained in Abyssinia, Ramlah and Ubaydullah among them.[80] There is no obvious reason why they could not have gone to Medina, where all of Ubaydullah’s siblings lived,[81] so presumably their continuation in Abyssinia was voluntary.

Ubaydullah died in Abyssinia.[82] This should not have made much difference to Ramlah’s economic position. If he had been running some kind of business, she could have taken it over; and if he had had any savings, she would have inherited them. In fact he had been an alcoholic,[83] so it is possible that she had already needed to fend for herself for several years. She had chosen to remain in Abyssinia rather than join her family in Medina, so presumably she could have continued to do whatever she was doing indefinitely. Widowhood now gave her the option of remarriage. There were twelve single men in the community but only four single women, of whom two were elderly, so Ramlah and her teenaged daughter could have easily found suitors had they wished to marry.[84]

Muhammad’s marriage proposal arrived on the day Ramlah completed her 130-day waiting-period.[85] She was so pleased that she gave her silver bracelets, anklets and rings as gifts to the messenger.[86] The Negus himself hosted the proxy-wedding feast, gave Ramlah presents of perfume and underwrote her dower.[87] He appears to have misunderstood how much dower a bride of Ramlah’s station expected, for he gave her 400 dinars[88] (about £20,000) when the usual sum was only 400 dirhams[89] (about one-tenth of this). All these details indicate that the Negus had protected his Muslim guests very well and that they were in no danger of destitution as long as he had his eye on them.

Muhammad must have heard from the returned emigrants about their lives in Abyssinia, so he could not have been under any wrong impression that Ramlah was in need of “rescuing”. In fact, even if she had needed to be rescued, there is no real reason why she would have had to marry Muhammad; she could have simply gone to Medina and lived with her family. Further, if Muhammad had for some reason believed that Ramlah needed to marry, and to marry himself, as a matter of survival, this opens the question of why he did not also propose marriage to the other two widows. They were elderly and of the peasant class,[90] but this should not have mattered to someone who did not care about youth, beauty, rank or wealth.

The answer is, of course, that there is no evidence that Muhammad married Ramlah for economic reasons.

Safiyah bint Huyayy[edit]

Safiyah was a prisoner of war whom Muhammad captured at the siege of Khaybar.[91] She was only a widow because Muhammad had killed her husband.[92] She was only poor because Muhammad had appropriated the wealth of Khaybar to himself.[93] However, her poverty had not reached the level of absolute destitution, for many of her relatives were still alive in Khaybar. They had persuaded Muhammad to let them remain on the land and farm the dates in exchange for giving him half the revenues.[94] If Safiyah had remained in Khaybar, she too could have farmed dates.

The claim that Safiyah “needed” to marry Muhammad because her high rank meant “it would be inappropriate for her to be assigned to anyone other than the Prophet”[95] assumes that Safiyah “needed” to be taken prisoner. But Muhammad did not need to take prisoners, even from his own point of view. He had already won the war and taken control of the city. The Jews in Khaybar had no further means to fight back, and Muhammad did not need hostages to ensure their future cooperation.

Once Muhammad had decided that Safiyah was his hostage, he had to feed and shelter her. There was no need to marry her; he had to provide for her material needs regardless. The claim that “this marriage protected her from humiliation”[96] shows a strange perception of what is “humiliating”. Safiyah might not have liked to be a domestic slave or a commoner’s concubine, but she surely would have found these options less humiliating than her actual fate of being married to the man who had just killed her husband. Safiyah’s husband was not, as is sometimes claimed, “killed during the battle of Khaybar”;[97] he had been personally murdered by Muhammad after the declaration of truce.[98]

Muhammad’s family – not only his wives and descendants, but his extended family too – lived off the wealth of Khaybar for the rest of their lives.[99] Since Safiyah represented the leading family of Khaybar,[100] there is a very real sense in which Muhammad’s whole clan was living at her expense. Muhammad was not providing for Safiyah; it was she who provided for him.

Maymunah bint Al-Harith[edit]

Maymunah was never poor; she was born into the bourgeois Hilal tribe.[101] After her husband died, she became the guest of her married sister Lubabah.[102] Lubabah’s husband was Muhammad’s uncle, Abbas ibn Abdulmuttalib, who was “one of the richest of the Banu Hashim.”[103] He “used to go often to the Yaman to buy aromatics and sell them during the fairs”[104] and was also apparently a banker: “he had a great deal of money scattered among the people.”[105] Maymunah offered to marry Muhammad without taking any dower.[106] Muhammad agreed, but this was not acceptable to Abbas, who unexpectedly provided Maymunah with a dower anyway.[107]

It has never been entirely clear why Muhammad married Maymunah. What is clear is that she was not poor or homeless and did not need rescuing.

Mariyah bint Shamoon[edit]

In one sense, Mariyah was poor. She was a slave in Egypt, and the Governor sent her to be a slave in Arabia, a gift from one powerful man to another.[108] She possessed nothing of her own. She was herself property.[109]

Muhammad sent his delegation to the Governor of Egypt in the final month of 6 A.H. (April or May 628).[110] It was 7 A.H. by the time the Governor responded by sending Mariyah to Medina,[111] but presumably he did this fairly soon after receiving the delegation. So Mariyah was probably in Medina by the summer of 628. It is not certain what services Mariyah performed for Muhammad’s household in exchange for being fed and sheltered. It is never indicated that she sang or danced or similar. Rather, the statement “The Messenger of Allah was alone with his slavegirl Maria in Hafsa’s room”[112] suggests that Mariyah did housework for Hafsah, much as Barira did for Aisha.[113] Whatever the arrangement was, it saved Mariyah from destitution. However, if Muhammad's intentions were to save her from destitution, he would have manumitted her and sent her back to her family in Egypt. But he did not do this.

It was several months, perhaps over a year, before Muhammad took Mariyah as his concubine. Her son was born between 25 March and 22 April 630.[114] This suggests that her month alone with Muhammad, when he refused to speak to his official wives,[115] was around July 629. The wives’ strong reaction to the situation[116] indicates that they had only just found out that the housemaid had become a concubine - that is, she had not been a concubine for very long. So in this preceding year before becoming his concubine, Mariyah had nevertheless lived at Muhammad’s expense; and she continued to live at his expense afterwards.

Mariyah obviously did not “need” to be Muhammad’s concubine. He had already spent a year demonstrating that it was possible for her to live in his household without having sex with him.

Mulaykah bint Kaab[edit]

Not much is known about Mulaykah’s background, but her father appears to have been at least a minor chief. Although he was killed in battle in January 630,[117] Mulaykah had plenty of other relatives to care for her. One of these was a cousin from the Udhra tribe, and he wanted to marry her.[118]

So Mulaykah’s family did not give her to Muhammad because she was at risk of starvation or because there was nobody else to care for her. They did it because they had offended Muhammad by resisting his invasion of Mecca[119] and they hoped to appease him quickly by giving him a pretty girl.

This marriage ended in divorce after only a few weeks.[120] So whatever Muhammad’s reasons for marrying Mulaykah, they were evidently not very compelling. Whatever he thought she gained by marrying him, he ultimately declared himself not willing to provide it.

Fatima (Al-Aliyah) bint Al-Dahhak[edit]

Fatima’s father was a minor chief, and he was still alive when she married Muhammad.[121] So she was not poor.

This marriage also ended in divorce after only a few weeks.[122] At this point, Fatima became poor. Muhammad had no legal obligation to maintain her as the divorce had severed all ties between them. Strictly speaking, she should have returned to her father. But Al-Dahhak settled near Mecca[123] and he left his daughter in Medina.[124]

There is no record that Fatima ever remarried; men were forbidden to approach a woman who had once been the wife of the Prophet.[125] She had to work for a living. Muslim women were not forbidden to work, but the obligations of the Veil made most kinds of work difficult for them. Fatima eventually set up a business in collecting camel-dung, drying it out and selling it as fuel.[126] She apparently disliked this work, for she used to complain, “I am wretched! I am miserable!”[127] But it seems she had difficulty in finding any other kind of work, for she continued with the camels all her life. While she lived another fifty years,[128] and therefore did not starve, it is unlikely that this kind of work brought in huge profits.

Neither Muhammad nor any other Muslim leader ever showed any interest in saving Fatima from her life of poverty.

Asma bint Al-Numan[edit]

Asma was a wealthy princess from Yemen who had lived all her life in luxury.[129] Her father hinted that he found Muhammad’s standard 12½ ounces of silver a “stingy” dower, but was forced to accept that this was all Asma would be paid.[130]

Amrah bint Yazid[edit]

Not much is known about Amrah’s background. But this is not really relevant here. Muhammad divorced her on the first day,[131] and therefore, whether she was poor or not, he certainly did not provide for her materially.

Tukanah al-Quraziya[edit]

Like Rayhanah, Tukanah was a prisoner-of-war from the Qurayza tribe.[132] She was only poor because Muhammad had attacked her tribe, killed its men and confiscated its property.

Muhammad selected Tukanah as one of his personal slaves. After that he had to feed her whether he had sex with her or not. So the fact that she became his concubine did not reduce her poverty. She would still have been living at his expense if she had only been his housemaid.

An alternative way to save Tukanah from poverty would have been not to attack her tribe in the first place.

The Other Concubine[edit]

Nothing is known about this woman except that she was a domestic maid (a slave) before she became a concubine.[133] So Muhammad had to support her whether he had sex with her or not. Once again, he could have equally well “saved her from poverty” if he had simply left her as a domestic maid.

Conclusion[edit]

Prophet Muhammad himself never claimed that he married women out of compassion for their poverty. On the contrary, he asserted that he, and men in general, chose their wives for four basic motives: for their money, for their family connections, for their beauty and for their piety. He added: “So you should marry the pious woman or you will be a loser.”[134] The suggestion that Muhammad’s many marriages were motivated by a charitable concern for the welfare of widows is not found in the early sources. This theory seems to have been devised by a few modern historians and then uncritically accepted by others.

Nevertheless, the widely held view that “Muhammad married poor widows to provide them with a home” is not supported by the historical evidence.

See Also[edit]

  • Muhammad's Wives - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Muhammad's wives and concubines

References[edit]

  1. Guillaume/Ishaq 82.
  2. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad vol. 6 pp. 117-118.
  3. Ibn Hisham note 918.
  4. Guillaume/Ishaq 223.
  5. Guillaume/Ishaq 114.
  6. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 129-130.
  7. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, 193-195; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 137, 141.
  8. Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 187.
  9. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, 136-139; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 186-188.
  10. Since so little is known about these women, it cannot be asserted that they were not widows. We only state here that no previous marriages are recorded.
  11. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 170.
  12. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad vol. 6 pp. 117-118.
  13. Guillaume/Ishaq 223
  14. An-Nasa’i vol. 5 #4245
  15. Tirmidhi 927.
  16. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 130.
  17. Zarqani 2:260 states that he was killed at the Battle of Jalula in 637. If Sawda was born c. 580, she could easily have given birth to a son before 600.
  18. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 130.
  19. Guillaume/Ishaq 289ff.
  20. Guillaume/Ishaq 145.
  21. Al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa. Translation by Jarrett, H. S. (1881). History of the Caliphs, p. 112. Caclutta: The Asiatic Society.
  22. Guillaume/Ishaq 146-148.
  23. Guillaume/Ishaq 115-117.
  24. There is no mention of Khadijah and her daughters, nor of Umm Ruman, nor of the numerous sisters of Lubabah bint Al-Harith (Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 201).
  25. Guillaume/Ishaq 509-510.
  26. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:342. Bewley/Saad 8:56: "He died, leaving her a widow after the Hijra when the Prophet arrived from Badr."
  27. Guillaume/Ishaq 218.
  28. Guillaume/Ibn Ishaq 216.
  29. Baladhuri, Conquest of the Lands, cited in Mutahhari, S. A. M. The Unschooled Prophet. Tehran: Islamic Propagation Organization. There were also eleven Muslim men who could write. The other seven names on Baladhuri’s list are of people who did not convert to Islam until after Hafsah had married Muhammad.
  30. Sahih Muslim 42:7085; Sahih Muslim 42:7083; Sahih Muslim 42:7086; Sahih Muslim 42:7084; Sahih Muslim 42:7087; Sahih Muslim 42:7089; Sahih Muslim 42:7092; Sahih Muslim 42:7093; Sahih Muslim 42:7097; Sahih Muslim 42:7098.
  31. Sahih Bukhari 7:62:119.
  32. Guillaume/Ibn Ishaq 216.
  33. Guillaume/Ibn Ishaq 506.
  34. Bewley/Saad 8:82. “He married her in Ramadan at the beginning of the 31st month of the Hijra.”
  35. Bewley/Saad 8:82.
  36. Guillaume/Ishaq 218.
  37. Guillaume/Ishaq 328.
  38. Ibn Hisham note 918.
  39. Ibn Hisham note 918; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 138.
  40. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 132.
  41. Guillaume/Ishaq 169, 170.
  42. Guillaume/Ishaq 213-214.
  43. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 175; Bewley/Saad 8:61.
  44. Bewley/Saad 8:62.
  45. Bewley/Saad 8:66: “When I gave birth to Zaynab, the Messenger of Allah came and proposed to me.” There is some confusion here, as both Hind's daughters appear to have been sometimes known as Zaynab, although the first was originally named Barrah and the second Durrah. Obviously, Hind is here referring to her younger daughter.
  46. Bewley/Saad 8:61.
  47. Bewley/Saad 8:63.
  48. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, cited in Ibn Kathir, Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya. Translated by Le Gassick T. (2000). The Life of the Prophet, p. 123. Reading, U.K.: Garnet Publishing.
  49. Bewley/Saad 8:63.
  50. Bewley/Saad 8:61.
  51. Bewley/Saad 8:74, 77.
  52. Guillaume/Ishaq 214-215.
  53. Ibn Hisham note 918.
  54. Qur'an 33:36.
  55. Jalalayn's Tafsir on Q33:36.
  56. Guillaume/Ibn Ishaq 607.
  57. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 180.
  58. Ibn Hisham note 918; Sahih Bukhari 9:93:516; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 180-181.
  59. Bewley/Saad 8:74, 77.
  60. Abdallati, H. Islam in Focus, pp.177-179, cited in “Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun’s Article Muhammad’s Multiplicity of Marriages” in Answering Christianity.
  61. Aly, A. (1999). The Real Men of the Renaissance, p. 26. Belhamissi.
  62. Bewley/Saad 8:165; Al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa. Translated by Jarrett, H. S. (1881). History of the Caliphs, pp. 200-201. Calcutta: The Asiatic Society.
  63. E.g., see Guillaume/Ishaq 82.
  64. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 9. "The Munafiqun made this a topic of their conversation and reviled the Prophet, saying, 'Muhammad prohibits (marriage) with the (former) wives of one's own sons, but he married the (former) wife of his son Zayd.'"
  65. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 164-165.
  66. Guillaume/Ibn Ishaq 689-692.
  67. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 164-165.
  68. Guillaume/Ishaq 437-438.
  69. Cited in Kister, M. J. (1986). The Massacre of the Banū Qurayẓa: A Re-Examination of a Tradition. Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 8, 61-96.
  70. Guillaume/Ishaq 466.
  71. Guillaume/Ishaq 466.
  72. Guillaume/Ishaq 466.
  73. Bewley/Saad 8:83.
  74. Ibn Hisham note 739.
  75. Guillaume/Ishaq 629; Ibn Hisham note 918; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 182-183.
  76. Guillaume/Ishaq 146; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 177.
  77. Guillaume/Ishaq 148.
  78. Guillaume/Ishaq 167-168.
  79. Guillaume/Ishaq 527-529.
  80. Guillaume/Ishaq 527.
  81. Guillaume/Ishaq 214-215. Ubaydullah’s eldest brother was married to Ramlah’s sister.
  82. Bewley/Saad 8:68.
  83. Bewley/Saad 8:68: “He gave himself over to drinking wine until he died.”
  84. Guillaume/Ishaq 526-527. This list shows that the group also included four married couples and six children under 13.
  85. Bewley/Saad 8:68. “When my waiting period came to an end, I was aware of the messenger of the Negus at the door … She said, ‘The King says to you that the Messenger of Allah has written to him to marry you to him.’”
  86. Bewley/Saad 8:69.
  87. Bewley/Saad 8:69.
  88. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 133.
  89. Ibn Hisham note 918.
  90. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 179, 526-528. The details here show that the two ladies had been married to a pair of brothers, i.e. were probably of a similar age. One of them was the older sister of the mother of Ramlah’s foster-mother. Hence she must have been at least 30 years, and more likely 40 years, older than Ramlah, who was then 35. The family is described as “freed”, i.e. ex-slaves.
  91. Guillaume/Ishaq 511.
  92. Guillaume/Ishaq 515.
  93. Guillaume/Ishaq 521-523.
  94. Guillaume/Ishaq 515.
  95. “The Prophet’s Marriages and Wives” in Akhter, J. (2001). The Seven Phases of Prophet Muhammad’s Life. Chicago: IPSI.
  96. Al-Jibouri, Y. T. “Marriages of the Prophet” in Muhammad. Qum, Iran: Ansariyan Publications.
  97. E.g., Jibouri.
  98. Guillaume/Ishaq 515.
  99. Guillaume/Ishaq 521-523.
  100. Guillaume/Ishaq 437-438.
  101. Ibn Hisham note 918; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 135.
  102. Bewley/Saad 8:94: “Al-‘Abbas ibn al-Muttalib married her to him. He took care of her affairs.”
  103. Guillaume/Ishaq 114.
  104. Guillaume/Ishaq 113.
  105. Guillaume/Ishaq 309-310.
  106. Bewley/Saad 8:97: “Maymuna bint al-Harith was the woman who gave herself to the Messenger of Allah.” Also: “‘Amra was asked whether Maymuna was the one who gave herself to the Messenger of Allah. She said, ‘The Messenger of Allah married her for 500 dirhams and the guardian for her marriage was al-‘Abbas ibn al-Muttalib.’”
  107. Ibn Hisham note 918 says the dower was 400 dirhams, like that of all Muhammad’s other wives. Bewley/Saad 8:97 says it was 500 dirhams, in keeping with Ibn Saad’s other traditions that Muhammad’s wives received 12½ ounces of silver. The higher sum is from the later histories, suggesting that the chroniclers adjusted it for inflation.
  108. Guillaume/Ishaq 653.
  109. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 194. “He had intercourse with her by virtue of her being his property.”
  110. Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 98.
  111. Bewley/Saad 8:148.
  112. Bewley/Saad 8:149.
  113. Guillaume/Ishaq 496.
  114. Bewley/Saad 8:149.
  115. Bewley/Saad 8:136-137.
  116. See the story in Bewley/Saad 8:49. It is also told in Sahih Bukhari 3:43:648, although Mariyah’s part in the story is minimised.
  117. Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 187; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 165; Bewley/Saad 8:106.
  118. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 165; Bewley/Saad 8:106.
  119. Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 187; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 165; Bewley/Saad 8:106.
  120. Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 187; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 165; Bewley/Saad 8:106.
  121. Guillaume/Ishaq 570ff shows her father as a military commander of some authority. Sunan Abu Dawud 18:2921 shows that he survived to the caliphate of Umar.
  122. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 138; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 186-188; Bewley/Saad 8:100-101.
  123. Al-Muwatta 43:9.
  124. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 186-188; Bewley/Saad 8:100-101.
  125. Qur'an 33:53.
  126. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 186-188; Bewley/Saad 8:100-101.
  127. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 186-188; Bewley/Saad 8:100-101: “She used to collect the camels and say, ‘I am the wretch.’”
  128. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 186-188; Bewley/Saad 8:100-101.
  129. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 189. Her tribe, the Kindah, were the rulers of Yemen.
  130. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 189.
  131. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 188; Bewley/Saad 8:101.
  132. Al-Majlisi, Hayat al-Qulub vol. 2 chapter 52. Translation by Rizvi, S. A. H. (2010). Life of the Heart. Qum, Iran: Ansariyan Publications.
  133. Ibn Al-Qayyim, Zaad Al-Maad vol. 1 p. 29, cited in Al-Mubarakpuri, S. R. (2002). The Sealed Nectar, pp. 564-565. Riyadh: Darussalam.
  134. Sahih Bukhari 7:62:27.