Mariyah the Sex Slave of the Holy Prophet
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The following is Muhammad’s scandalous love affair with Mariyah the Copt who was one of the prophet’s wives’ maids. Muhammad slept with her without any ceremony, which caused uproar among his wives and finally was settled by Divine intervention. This story is recorded in an authenticated Hadith and is reported by Omar.
This Hadith is describing the reason for the revelation of verse 66: 4 of the Qur'an. The verse says:
Omar explains that these two women were Hafsa and Aisha who became disrespectful of the prophet causing him grief until he thought of divorcing all of his wives. Here is the full story.
I had been eager to ask 'Umar about the two ladies from among the wives of the Prophet regarding whom Allah said (in the Qur'an saying): If you two (wives of the Prophet namely Aisha and Hafsa) turn in repentance to Allah your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes) (66.4), till performed the Hajj along with 'Umar (and on our way back from Hajj) he went aside (to answer the call of nature) and I also went aside along with him carrying a tumbler of water. When he had answered the call of nature and returned. I poured water on his hands from the tumbler and he performed ablution. I said, "O Chief of the believers! ' Who were the two ladies from among the wives of the Prophet to whom Allah said:
'If you two return in repentance (66.4)? He said, "I am astonished at your question, O Ibn 'Abbas. They were Aisha and Hafsa."
Then 'Umar went on relating the narration and said. "I and an Ansari neighbor of mine from Bani Umaiya bin Zaid who used to live in 'Awali Al-Medina, used to visit the Prophet in turns. He used to go one day, and I another day. When I went I would bring him the news of what had happened that day regarding the instructions and orders and when he went, he used to do the same for me. We, the people of Quraish, used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the Ansar, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the Ansari women. Once I shouted at my wife and she paid me back in my coin and I disliked that she should answer me back. She said, 'Why do you take it ill that I retort upon you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet retort upon him, and some of them may not speak with him for the whole day till night.' What she said scared me and I said to her, 'Whoever amongst them does so, will be a great loser.' Then I dressed myself and went to Hafsa and asked her, 'Does any of you keep Allah's Apostle angry all the day long till night?' She replied in the affirmative. I said, 'She is a ruined losing person (and will never have success)! Doesn't she fear that Allah may get angry for the anger of Allah's Apostle and thus she will be ruined? Don't ask Allah's Apostle too many things, and don't retort upon him in any case, and don't desert him. Demand from me whatever you like, and don't be tempted to imitate your neighbor (i.e. 'Aisha) in her behavior towards the Prophet), for she (i.e. Aisha) is more beautiful than you, and more beloved to Allah's Apostle.
In those days it was rumored that Ghassan, (a tribe living in Sham) was getting prepared their horses to invade us. My companion went (to the Prophet on the day of his turn, went and returned to us at night and knocked at my door violently, asking whether I was sleeping. I was scared (by the hard knocking) and came out to him. He said that a great thing had happened. I asked him: What is it? Have Ghassan come? He replied that it was worse and more serious than that, and added that Allah's Apostle had divorced all his wives. I said, Hafsa is a ruined loser! I expected that would happen some day.' So I dressed myself and offered the Fajr prayer with the Prophet. Then the Prophet entered an upper room and stayed there alone. I went to Hafsa and found her weeping. I asked her, 'Why are you weeping? Didn't I warn you? Have Allah's Apostle divorced you all?' She replied, 'I don't know. He is there in the upper room.' I then went out and came to the pulpit and found a group of people around it and some of them were weeping. Then I sat with them for some time, but could not endure the situation. So I went to the upper room where the Prophet was and requested to a black slave of his: "Will you get the permission of (Allah's Apostle) for Umar (to enter)? The slave went in, talked to the Prophet about it and came out saying, 'I mentioned you to him but he did not reply.' So, I went and sat with the people who were sitting by the pulpit, but I could not bear the situation, so I went to the slave again and said: "Will you get he permission for Umar? He went in and brought the same reply as before. When I was leaving, behold, the slave called me saying, "Allah's Apostle has granted you permission." So, I entered upon the Prophet and saw him lying on a mat without wedding on it, and the mat had left its mark on the body of the Prophet, and he was leaning on a leather pillow stuffed with palm fires. I greeted him and while still standing, I said: "Have you divorced your wives?' He raised his eyes to me and replied in the negative. And then while still standing, I said chatting: "Will you heed what I say, 'O Allah's Apostle! We, the people of Quraish used to have the upper hand over our women (wives), and when we came to the people whose women had the upper hand over them..."
'Umar told the whole story (about his wife). "On that the Prophet smiled." 'Umar further said, "I then said, 'I went to Hafsa and said to her: Do not be tempted to imitate your companion ('Aisha) for she is more beautiful than you and more beloved to the Prophet.' The Prophet smiled again. When I saw him smiling, I sat down and cast a glance at the room, and by Allah, I couldn't see anything of importance but three hides. I said (to Allah's Apostle) "Invoke Allah to make your followers prosperous for the Persians and the Byzantines have been made prosperous and given worldly luxuries, though they do not worship Allah?' The Prophet was leaning then (and on hearing my speech he sat straight) and said, 'O Ibn Al-Khatttab! Do you have any doubt (that the Hereafter is better than this world)? These people have been given rewards of their good deeds in this world only.' I asked the Prophet . 'Please ask Allah's forgiveness for me. The Prophet did not go to his wives because of the secret which Hafsa had disclosed to 'Aisha, and he said that he would not go to his wives for one month as he was angry with them when Allah admonished him (for his oath that he would not approach Mariyah). When twenty-nine days had passed, the Prophet went to Aisha first of all. She said to him, 'You took an oath that you would not come to us for one month, and today only twenty-nine days have passed, as I have been counting them day by day.' The Prophet said, 'The month is also of twenty-nine days.' That month consisted of twenty-nine days. 'Aisha said, 'When the Divine revelation of Choice was revealed, the Prophet started with me, saying to me, 'I am telling you something, but you needn't hurry to give the reply till you can consult your parents." 'Aisha knew that her parents would not advise her to part with the Prophet . The Prophet said that Allah had said:--'O Prophet! Say To your wives; If you desire The life of this world And its glitter, ... then come! I will make a provision for you and set you free In a handsome manner. But if you seek Allah And His Apostle, and The Home of the Hereafter, then Verily, Allah has prepared For the good-doers amongst you A great reward.' (33.28) 'Aisha said, 'Am I to consult my parents about this? I indeed prefer Allah, His Apostle, and the Home of the Hereafter.' After that the Prophet gave the choice to his other wives and they also gave the same reply as 'Aisha did."
The above Hadith is significant as it contains two important historic points. First it reveals, by Omar’s own admission, that “Ansari women had the upper hand over their men”. Even if we consider that to be an exaggeration, it is clear that women in Medina had more rights and authority than their Quraishy counterparts. Mecca, the home of the Quraish tribe, where Omar and Muhammad came from was a religious hob. People living in religious towns are more bigots than those living in other cities. Religion has always played a role in subjugating women and taking away their human rights. So it is natural that women in Mecca were more subdued than those living anywhere else in Arabia and especially Medina that was a more cosmopolitan city having civilized nations like Jews and Christians as its inhabitants. Omar and Muhammad’s wives enjoyed this emancipating atmosphere and were starting to exercise their relative freedom. This attitude, of course, did not sit well with the two misogynist men of Mecca, namely Omar and Muhammad and as this Hadith demonstrates, they were angry of their wives newfound liberties and rebelliousness.
The importance of this Hadith is in the fact that it proves that women prior to Islam had much more freedom, which was taken away from them by Muhammad and his misogynistic khalifas. It becomes clear that the deplorable status of women in Islam is not a divine verdict but a reflection of how women were treated in Mecca 1400 years ago.
The fact that there is so much emphasis in the Qur'an and in Ahadith about the importance of women being obedient to their husbands is indeed an indication of Muhammad’s own desire to control his young and rebellious wives. (See Quran 4:34)
The other important point of the above Hadith is that it reveals yet another sexual scandal of the prophet.
One-day Muhammad goes to his wife’s house Hafsa the daughter of Omar and finds her maid Mariyah attractive. He sends Hafsa to Omar’s house, telling her that he wanted to see her. When Hafsa leaves, Muhammad takes Mariyah to bed and has intercourse with her. Meanwhile Hafsa, who finds out that her father was not expecting her, returns home much sooner than expected, and to her chagrin finds her illustrious husband in bed with her maid.
She becomes hysteric and forgetting the station of the prophet she shouts and causes a scandal. The prophet pleads with her to calm down and promises not to sleep with Mariah anymore and begs her also not to divulge this secret to anyone else.
However, Hafsa would not control herself and relays everything to Aisha who also turns against the prophet and jointly with his other wives cause him much anguish. So the prophet decides to punish all of them and not sleep with any one of his wives for one month. Depriving one’s wives sexually is the second grade of punishment recommended in Qur'an. The first level is admonishing, the second level is depriving them of sex and the third level of punishment is beating them. Quran 4:34
Of course when a man decides to punish a wife with sexual deprivation he can satisfy himself with his other wives. But Muhammad’s anger had made him make the oath not to sleep with any of them for one month. That of course would have been too much of hardship for the beloved messenger of God (peace be upon his immaculate soul), therefore God in his mercy came to the aid of his prophet and revealed the Surah Tahrim (Banning). In this Surah Allah rebukes Muhammad for being hard on himself and for depriving himself from what he really likes and has been made lawful for him, in order to please his wives.
This is the text of the Surah Tahrim: 66:1-5.
2. Allâh has already ordained for you (O men), the dissolution of your oaths. And Allâh is your Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.) and He is the All-Knower, the All-Wise.
3. And (remember) when the Prophet (SAW) disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another i.e. 'Aishah), and Allâh made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: "Who told you this?" He said: "The All-Knower, the All-Aware (Allâh) has told me".
4. If you two (wives of the Prophet SAW, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah turn in repentance to Allâh, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet SAW likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad SAW), then verily, Allâh is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers.
Although Muhammad gave his word to Hafsa, not to have sex with her maid he could not resist the temptation. Especially now that he had taken another oath not to sleep with all of his wives. It was a difficult situation and no one but Allah could help him. Well, nothing is impossible when you are the prophet of Allah. Leave everything in the hands of the Almighty and let him take care of it. And that is exactly what happened. Allah himself intervened and gave him the green light to follow his heart's desire. In the Surah Tahrim God licensed his beloved prophet to have his flings and not pay attention to his wives. What can a prophet ask more? Allah was so concerned about Muhammad's carnal pleasures that he even allowed ALL MEN to break their oaths as a bounty. Isn't Allah great?
It is also worthy of mention that Muhammad who came to know that Hafsa did reveal the secret to Aisha, lied to her by pretending that it was Allah who told him so (Ayat 3) while he actually learned it from Ayisha. But of course Muhammad is not the author of the Qur'an. It is Allah himself who is lying for his prophet.
In reaction to the above verses, Aisha, who was not only young and pretty but also clever, is reported to have said to Muhammad, "Your God indeed rushes in coming to your aid!"
The above story must have been also embarrassing for Muhammad’s followers even when they gobbled mindlessly everything he told them that they made other hadiths to explain away those verses of the Qur'an that were already explained by Omar.
The existence of the above Hadith and its difference with the one narrated by Omar reveals yet another fact that the companions of Muhammad were willing to lie, (as Muslims are today) to save the image of their prophet from blemish. It would be foolish to accept the excuse of drinking honey to justify those Ayat. First of all honey does not smell bad. But above all it is inconceivable that a trivial incident like drinking honey could cause such an upheaval in the household of Muhammad to the extend that he decides to divorce all of his wives or to punish them for one month by not sleeping with them. Could such an insignificant incident like drinking honey provoke so much uproar that the creator of this universe be forced to intervene with a warning to Muhammad’s wives that he would divorce all of them and He (Allah) would give him virgin and faithful wives? This explanation is absurd unless honey is a code name for what Muhammad drank from between the legs of Mariyah, which incidentally is very likely when you consider the following hadith:
Yet some Muslims still claim that the Hadiths quoted above narrated by Abdullah bin 'Abbas are false and the correct version is the one about honey. This is a nonsense. This hadith is recorded by both Bukahri and by Muslim. Furthermore it is the only logical explanation of the sha'ne nozool (context) of the Surah Tharim. According to Muslim scholar Asif Iftikhar "a Hadith can be regarded as a source of religious guidance only `if the basis of that Hadith exists in the Quran or the Sunnah or the established principles." We can clearly see that the Qur'an allows having sex with the "right hand possessions" i.e. slaves (Quran 4:24) and it was Muhammad's habit to have sex with his slave women. The text of the Surah makes it also clear that it is about having sex and not eating honey which is a silly explanation. Asif Iftikhar writes:
The story of honey is ludicrous and makes no sense. Why so much ado about honey? And who said honey smells bad? This hadith has been forged because obviously even in those early days, Muslims felt embarrassed about the actions of their prophet. However the hadiths about Muhammad sending Hafsa out so he could have sex with Mariyah makes perfect sense. It is in accordance with the Qur'an and in conformity with Muhammad's depravity of conduct. It was not unusual for Muhammad to solicit sex from women whom he found attractive.
This story is also reported by Ibn Sa'd in Tabaqat:
Qasim ibn Muhammad of course tries to find justification for Muhammad's breach of his own premise. His words had no validity why he gave them and if they were valid why he broke them?
My copy of the Qur'an contains the following tafseer side by side with the Surah Tahrim.
Mariyah was a white Coptic young woman and very beautiful. She bore Ibrahim to Muhammad. I had my doubt about Ibrahim being Muhammad's son. As per my research, Muhammad, during the last years of his life was suffering from acromegaly. One side-effect of this degenerative disease is impotence. He had erectile dysfunction. Note that Muhammad had seven children with Khadijah who was already forty years old when she married him, but no children with more than twenty young women with whom he had sex in the last ten years of his life. There are hadiths that show he actually did not have intercourse with his wives but “fondled” them, and often he would go from one wife to another in one night touching their genitals but not practicing the intercourse. Another hadith says he used to imagine having sex when in reality he did not (Sahih Bukhari 7:71:660). Aisha says “none of you have the self control of the Prophet for he could fondle his wives but not have intercourse” The young and inexperienced woman did not realize that her illustrious husband, was not controlling himself, but simply could not do it. Cialis and Viagra were not yet invented.
There was a hole in my theory. If Muhammad was impotent how could he sire Ibrahim? I suspected that the child could have belonged to someone else, but had no evidence to prove it. I finally got the evidence. The same Tabaqat when talking about Mariyah says that there was a Coptic man in Medina who used to visit Mariyah and rumor circulated that he was her lover. Mariyah was relocated to a garden to the North of Medina apparently because Mo's other wives did not like her. The rumor reached Muhammad who sent Ali to kill the man. The story says that the man exposed himself and Ali saw that he was an eunuch and spared his life.
Apparently this was a convenient alibi to silence the crowd. Also Aisha was accused of having an affair with Safwan a young man from Medina also. Later she claimed that Safwan was eunuch. How could he become an eunuch in Medina and no one know? Only Aisha can explain that.
The story is clearly forged. How could this Coptic man know why Ali wants to kill him? Ibn Sa'd the author of Tabaqat says that he saw Ali with his sword in his hand and climbed a date tree with fear and from there he exposed his genital (awrat). There is no conversation exchanged. The man simply knew why Ali wants to kill him. This does not sound a true story. Why would a messenger of God want to kill an innocent man and how did this man know why Ali wants to kill him? Looks like this Coptic man had a better understanding of the unknown than the prophet of Allah.
The following hadith adds that when the sun eclipsed Muhammad...
Ghaira is the very thing for which Muslims commit honor killing. If you look at a Muslim's wife or daughter, it is his ghaira that is being offended. If he does not react, it shows that he has little ghaira. The greater is his ghaira the more violent will be his reaction.
The discussion about adultery at this time is quite revealing. Why would he choose to talk about adultery, of all things, in this moment? It’s not hard to imagine that Muhammad was thinking about it and was not very sure whether Ibrahim was his son or not. In this sermon Muhammad talked about Allah having a lot of ghaira and then speaks of prohibition of adultery. He concludes his sermon by saying he knows of very sad things that others don't know.
Another point to bear in mind is that despite the fact the Mariyah was the only women who bore Muhammad a child, he did not marry her. Doesn't this tell us that he was not very sure about her loyalty?
In another version of this hadith it says.
As these hadiths reveal, in this occasion Muhammad did not speak much about his only son' death. The death of his only son, must have been devastating for him, especially when we know he did not have much respect for girls and thought it is degrading for Allah to have only daughters when ordinary men have sons. But on the day of death of his only son, he chooses to speak about adultery and how women will be sent to hell because they are ungrateful to their husbands.
The story is not important especially since Ibrahim died at infancy and left no descendants. And of course I can't prove it either. But if true, it validates my finding that Muhammad, in his advanced age suffered from acromegaly, of which he died and was impotent. His insatiable lust for sex was due to his frustrated sexual impulse.
- Understanding Muhammad - Description of the book by Ali Sina
- Muhammad's Wives - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Muhammad's wives and concubines
- Tabaqat v. 8 p. 223 Publisher Entesharat-e Farhang va Andisheh Tehran 1382 solar h ( 2003) Translator Dr. Mohammad Mahdavi Damghani
- Published by Entesharat-e Elmiyyeh Eslami Tehran 1377 lunar H. Tafseer and translation into Farsi by Mohammad Kazem Mo’refi