OUTSTANDING WOMEN Part III
Close to Muhammad’s Heart
(Sources taken from various internet sites especially Al-Islam.org, may Allah reward the writers with His abundance.)
Maymuna (ميـمـونه وجـه الـرسول (ص
Maymuna bint al-Harith, married Prophet Muhammad in 7AH, when the Prophet (pbuh) was sixty years old and she was thirty six years old. Maymuna’s sister, Umm al-Fadl Lubaba لبـآبـه , was the mother of Abdullah ibn Abbas عبـد الله بن عبـــاس , the son of one of the uncles of the Prophet and the one of the wisest of his Companions. Umm al-Fadl was one of the earliest Companions of the Prophet. Once Abu Lahab أبو لهـب , (the enemy of Allah and His Messenger) entered the house of his brother, Abbas, and proceeded to attack Abbas client Abu Rafi, because he had embraced Islam. Abu Lahab knocked Abu Rafi to the ground and knelt on him, continuing to beat him. Flabbergasted, Umm al-Fadl grabbed a post and cracked it powerfully across Abu Lahab’s head, screaming at him, “You have no right whatsoever to victimize this man, just because of his faith, and just because his master happens to be absent?” Being stood up so powerfully, Abu Lahab retreated in disgrace, and deflated, and quietly left the house.
Another sister of Maymuna was Asmaa bint Umays أســـمآء بنـت عـمـــيـس , the wife of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (the brother of Imam Ali). Asmaa bint Umays later married Abu Bakr, and after Abu Bakr died she married Imam Ali.
Maymuna yearned to marry the Prophet. She went to her sister, Umm al Fadl to talk about the matter who in turn spoke to her husband, al-Abbas. Al-Abbas immediately went to the Prophet (pbuh) with Maymuna’s offer of marriage to him. The Prophet accepted her proposal. When the good news reached Maymuna, she was on a camel, and she immediately got off the camel and said, “The camel and what is on it is for the Messenger of Allah.” They were married after the treaty of Hudaibiya. Allah Almighty sent the following Ayah about this (Quran 33:50):
|يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَاجَكَ اللاتِي آتَيْتَ أُجُورَهُنَّ…..
وَامْرَأَةً مُّؤْمِنَةً إِن وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِيِّ إِنْ أَرَادَ النَّبِيُّ أَن يَسْتَنكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَّكَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ…..
And a believing woman who dedicates herself to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her, that is only for thee and not for the believers.
The Prophet gave her the name, Maymuna, meaning “blessed”, and Maymuna lived with the Prophet for just over three years, until his death. She was very good natured and got on well with everyone, and no quarrel or disagreement with any of the Prophet’s other wives has been related about her. A’isha said about her, “Among us, Maymuna had the most fear of Allah and did the most to maintain ties of kinship.” It was in her room that the Prophet first began to feel the effects of what became his final illness and asked the permission of his wives to stay in A’isha’s room while it lasted.
After the Prophet’s death, Maymuna lived in Medina for forty years, dying at the age of eighty, in 51AH. She asked to be buried where she had married the Prophet at Saraf and her request was carried out. It is related that at the funeral of Maymuna, Ibn Abbas said, “This is the wife of Allah’s Messenger so when you lift her bier, do not shake her or disturb her, but be gentle.”
It is also related by Ibn Abbas that, as a child he once stayed the night as a guest of Maymuna and the Prophet (pbuh). While the Prophet and Maymuna slept on their blanket lengthways, Ibn Abbas slept at the end by their feet, crossways. After they had all slept for a while, the Prophet rose in the middle of the night to pray the Tahajjud prayer, and Ibn Abbas joined him.
They both did Wudu, and prayed eleven Rak’as for Tahajjud and Witr. Then they both went back to sleep again until dawn. Bilal called the Athan, and the Prophet did another two short Rak’as, before going into the mosque to lead the Fajr Prayer.
Ibn Abbas related that one of the Du’aas the Prophet said during that night was: “O Allah! let Thy light be in my heart, and this light to be in my tongue, and my hearing, and my sight; and this light be behind me, in front of me, on my right, on my left, above me and below me. O’ Allah, also let Thy light be in my sinew, in my flesh, in my blood, in my hair and in my skin; and place it in my soul and make it abundant for me.”
It is commonly agreed that it was after the Prophet had married Maymuna that the following was revealed (Quran 33:52):
|لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكَ النِّسَاء مِن بَعْدُ وَلا أَن تَبَدَّلَ بِهِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ حُسْنُهُنَّ إِلا مَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ
وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ رَّقِيبًا
“It is not lawful for you (O Muhammad, to marry more) women after this, nor to exchange them for other wives, even though their beauty is pleasing to you, except those whom your right hand possesses (as maid servants); and Allah is always watching over everything.”
After this, the Prophet (pbuh) did not marry again.
The Christian ruler of Egypt, in response to the Prophet’s letter inviting him to embrace Islam, sent him two Christian slave girls sisters as a gift, along with a fine robe and some medicine. The Prophet (pbuh) accepted one of the slave girls, Maria ماريـه into his household; and he gave her sister Serene to a man whom he wished to honor, namely Hassan ibn Thabit حـسان بن ثآبتت .This occurred in 7 AH, when the Prophet was sixty years old and Maria was twenty years old.
Umm Habiba (أم حبـيـبـه زوجـه الرسـول (ص
Umm Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufyan, was married to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in 1AH, although she did not actually come to live with him in Medina until 7AH, when the Prophet was sixty years old and she was thirty‑five. Umm Habiba was the daughter of Abu Sufyan أبـوسـفـيان, who for most of his life was one of the worst enemies of the Prophet, spending much of his effort and great wealth in opposing Islam. Abu Sufyan and his son Mu’awiya مـعآويـه led the armies of the pagan Quraish against the Muslims in all early major battles, including the battles of Ohod and al‑Khandaq. Indeed it was not until the conquest of Mecca, when the Prophet generously pardoned him, that Abu Sufyan embraced Islam.
Umm Habiba and her first husband (who was called Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh, the brother of Zainab bint Jahsh) were among the first people to embrace Islam in Mecca. They were among the early Muslims who had to immigrate to Abyssinia seeking safety. Once in Abyssinia, however, Ubaydullah abandoned Islam and became Christian. He tried to make her become Christian, but she stood fast. She could no longer live with him, and once they got divorced, she could not return to her father ِAbu Sufyan either, since her father was an infidel pagan, busy trying to destroy Islam and the Muslims. So Umm Habiba remained with her daughter in Abyssinia (living a very simple life, deprived and in isolation), waiting to see what Allah would decree for her.
Proposal of Marriage
One day, as Umm Habiba sat in her solitary room, —a stranger in a strange land far from her home— a maidservant knocked on her door and said that she had been sent by the king of Abyssinia Negus who had a message for her. The message was that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had asked for her hand in marriage. And that if she accepts this proposal she was to name one of the Muslims in Abyssinia as her Wakeel (representative), so that the marriage ceremony could take place in Abyssinia (even though she was not in the same place as the Prophet). Naturally Umm Habiba was overtaken with joy, overwhelmed by the proposal. She accepted immediately. “Allah has given me good news! Allah has given me good news!” she cried, pulling off what little jewelry she had and gifted it to the smiling maidservant who brought the news to her. Actually, she asked the girl to repeat the message three times before she could even believe it herself!!
Soon after this, the Muslims who had sought refuge in Abyssinia were summoned to the palace of Negus the king to witness the simple marriage ceremony in which the king on the Prophet’s behalf and her Wakeel, Khalid ibn al‑Aas, acting on her behalf. When the marriage ceremony was finalized, Negus addressed the gathering with these words:
“I praise God, the Holy”
“The Messenger of Allah requested me to conclude the marriage contract between him and Umm Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufyan. I agreed to do what he requested, and on his behalf I give her a dowry of four hundred gold Dinars.” The Negus handed over the amount to Khalid ibn Aas who stood up and said:
“All praise is due to Allah. I praise Him and I seek His help and forgiveness and I turn to Him in repentance. I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger whom He has sent with the deen (religion) of guidance and truth so it may prevail over all other religions, no matter how much the disbelievers dislike this. “I agreed to do what the Prophet (pbuh) requested and acted as the Wakeel on behalf of Umm Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufyan. May Allah bless Allah’s Messenger and his wife! Congratulations to Umm Habiba for the goodness which Allah has decreed for her.”
Khalid took the dowry and handed it over to Umm Habiba. Thus although she could not travel to Arabia straight away, she was supported financially by the Prophet (pbuh) from the moment they were married. The Muslims who had witnessed the marriage contract were just about to leave, when the Negus said to them, “Sit down, for it is the practice of the Prophets to serve food at marriages.” Joyfully everyone sat again to eat and celebrate the happy occasion. Umm Habiba could hardly believe her good fortune, and she later described how eager she was to share her happiness, saying: “When I received the money as my dowry, I sent fifty mithqals of gold to the maidservant who had first brought me the good news, and I said to her, “I gave you what I did when you gave me the good news because at that time I did not have any money at all.” Shortly afterwards, the maidservant came to me and returned the gold. She also returned a case which contained the necklace I had given her, saying, “The Negus has instructed me not to take anything from you, and he has commanded the women in his household to present you with gifts of perfume.”
On the following day, the maidservant brought me ambergris, saffron and aloes wood oil and said, “I have a favor to ask of you.”
“What is it?” I asked curiously.
“I have accepted Islam,” she replied, “and now I follow the deen of Muhammad (pbuh). Please convey my greetings of peace to the Prophet (pbuh) and let him know that I believe in Allah and His Prophet. Please do not forget.”
Six years later, in 7AH, when the emigrant Muslims in Abyssinia were finally able to return to Arabia, Umm Habiba arrived in Medina and there, the Prophet (pbuh) (who had just returned victorious from Khaybar) warmly welcomed her. Umm Habiba relates: “When I met the Prophet (pbuh) I told him all about the arrangements that had been made for the marriage and about my relationship with the girl. I told him that she had embraced Islam and conveyed her greetings of peace to him. He was filled with joy at the news and said, “Wa alayha al salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakatuh”: meaning ‑And on her be the peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessing.
The intensity of Umm Habiba’s character can be measured by what happened shortly before the conquest of Mecca, when her father, Abu Sufyan the enemy of Islam, came to Medina after the mighty Quraish had broken the treaty of Hudaibiya. He came in hopes of re‑negotiating a fresh agreement with Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims. He went to Umm Habiba’s room and was about to sit on the bed of the Prophet (pbuh). Umm Habiba had not seen or communicated with her infidel father for more than 10 years. It was a tense moment when they met, and when Abu Sufyan tried to sit on the bed of the Prophet (pbuh), Umm Habiba cried out indignantly in a fit of anger. She strongly ordered her father never ever to sit on Allah’s Messenger’s bed for it is the bed of purity. Quickly she folded the bed up and put it away. Taken aback but keeping his furor inside Abu Sufyan said, “Am I too good for the bed, or is the bed too good for me?” Umm Habiba shot back with a piercing answer, “How can the enemy of Islam sit on the very bed of the Holy Prophet?”
It was only after Abu Sufyan had embraced Islam, (after the conquest of Mecca) and had become Muslim rather than the enemy of Islam, that Umm Habiba accepted him again as her father. When Umm Habiba received the news that her father and brother Mu’awiya, had become Muslims after the conquest, she fell down in prostration to Allah out of thankfulness. Umm Habiba spent four years of her life with the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and lived for another thirty‑three years after he had died, dying at the age of seventy‑two in 44AH, may Allah be pleased with her. Like all the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) Umm Habiba spent much of her time remembering Allah and worshipping Him. Umm Habiba narrated 65 Hadiths.
Zainab Bint Jahsh (زينـب بنت جحـش زوجه الرـسول (ص
Zainab bint Jahsh married Prophet Muhammad in 5 AH. She was thirty-five years old and the Prophet was fifty-eight, when her pervious marriage, (which had been arranged by the Prophet himself) had ended in divorce. As with all the marriages of the Prophet Muhammad, there was much for all the Muslims to learn from it. Zainab bint Jahsh was the Prophet’s cousin. Thus Zainab bint Jahsh came from a noble family of Quraish, and everyone expected her to eventually marry a man with the same high social status.
The Prophet (pbuh) was well aware that it is a person’s standing in the eyes of Allah that is important, rather than his or her status in the eyes of the people. To apply that, the Prophet wanted her to marry Zaid ibn Harith, whose background was very different to that of Zainab. Zaid was taken as a prisoner while still a child during one of the inter-tribal wars before the advent of Islam. Zaid was sold as a slave to a nephew of Khadija; who then gave Zaid to Khadija as a gift. In turn, Khadija gave Zaid to Muhammad; all of this was in the days of Jahiliya and before the revelation of the Quran had begun. The Prophet (pbuh) gave Zaid his freedom and adopted him as his own son, when Zaid was about eight years old. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) watched both Zaid and Zainab grow up, and thought they would make a good couple. He thought their marriage would demonstrate that it was not the status of the ancestors but rather their standing in the sight of Allah that mattered. When the Prophet (pbuh) asked for her hand on behalf of Zaid, her family was shocked, for the man was no more than a freed slave. Moreover, Zainab had wanted to marry the Prophet (pbuh) himself and in fact he had already been asked by her family whether or not he would like to marry her. At first both she and her brother refused, but then the following Ayah was revealed:
“It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any say in their decision; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has most clearly gone astray.” (Quran 33:36)
When Zaid, who had also had misgivings about the proposed match, and Zainab realized that there was no difference between what the Prophet wanted and what Allah wanted, they both agreed to the marriage. Although both Zainab and Zaid were the best of people, who loved Allah and His Messenger, they were very different and in the end they could not overcome their incompatibility. Zaid asked the Prophet’s permission to divorce Zainab more than once, and although the Prophet advised him to hold onto his wife and to fear Allah, in the end the divorce took place.
Following the divorce, the Prophet (pbuh) was commanded by Allah to marry Zainab bint Jahsh; he was 53 years old, and she was 35. That took place in the 5th Hijrah year. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) received the command to marry Zainab while he was with A’isha. After he had received the revelation, he smiled and said, “Who will go and give Zainab the good news?” and he recited the Ayah he just received. When Zainab heard the news, she stopped what she was doing and prayed to thank Allah. Afterwards, she was fond of pointing out that her marriage had been arranged by Allah in heaven. It was at this point that the Prophet changed her name from Barra to Zainab.
Zainab’s wedding feast was also the occasion for another Ayah of Quran to be sent down. The Prophet (pbuh) sacrificed a sheep and then commanded his servant, Anas, to invite the people to partake of it. After they had eaten, two men remained there after the meal chatting. The Messenger of Allah went out and said goodnight to his other wives and then came back and the two men were still there chatting. It was very hard on the Prophet who did not like to criticize people directly, and so he waited patiently until they left. Then Allah sent down the following Ayah which is known as “The Ayah of Hijab”:
“O you who believe! Do not go into the Prophet’s rooms except after being given permission to come and eat, not waiting for the food to be prepared, However, when you are called, then go in and when you have eaten, then disperse, and do not remain wanting to chat together. If you do that, it causes injury to the Prophet though he is too reticent to tell you. But Allah is not reticent with the truth. When you ask his wives for something, ask them from behind a screen. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. It is not for you to cause injury to the Messenger of Allah nor ever to marry his wives after him. To do that would be something dreadful in the sight of Allah. Whether you make something known or conceal it, Allah has knowledge of all things. There is no blame on them regarding their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their brother’s sons or their sister’s sons or their women or those whose their right hands own. Have fear of Allah. Allah is witness over everything. Allah and His angels pray blessings of the Prophet. O you who believe! Pray blessings on him and ask for peace for him”. (Quran 33:53-56)
Zainab was a woman who was constantly immersed in the worship of Allah. It is related by Anas ibn Malik that once the Prophet (pbuh) entered the mosque and found a rope hanging down between two of the pillars, and so he said, “What is this?” He was told, “It is for Zainab. She prays, and when she loses concentration or feels tired, she holds onto it.” At this time the Prophet said, “Untie it. Pray as long as you feel fresh, but when you lose concentration or become tired, you should stop.”
Zainab bint Jahsh was with the Prophet (pbuh) for six years, and lived for another nine years after his death, dying at the age of fifty, in 20 AH, and thus fulfilling the Prophet’s indication that she would be the first of his wives to die after him. Zainab bint Jahsh was very generous to the poor, and indeed the Prophet said, when speaking of her to his other wives, “She is the most generous among you.”
It was related by A’isha that the Prophet (pbuh) once said to his wives, “The one who has the longest hands among you will meet me again the soonest.” A’isha added, “….. because Zainab used to work by hand and give away (what she earned) in charity.” A’isha also said “I have never seen a woman so pure as Zainab, so God-fearing, so truthful, so attentive to family ties, so generous, so self-sacrificing in everyday life, so charitable, and thus so close to Allah, the Exalted.”
Several years after the Prophet (pbuh) had died, when Omar was the Khalifa, great wealth came to the Muslims as a result of their victories in fighting the Persians. The immense treasures of Chosroes, the Persian Emperor, fell into their hands, and when Omar sent Zainab a pile of gold as her share of the treasure, she called her maidservant and told her to take a handful of it to so-and-so, naming one of the poor people of Medina. One after another, she named all the poor people whom she knew, until they had all received a share of the treasure. Then she told her maidservant to see what was left. All that remained of the large pile of gold was eighty Dinars, and this she accepted as her share, thanking Allah for it; but, because she believed so much money was a temptation, she asked Allah that she would never witness such a large distribution of wealth again.
By the time a year had passed, when Omar again came to distribute money amongst those wives of the Prophet who were still alive, her prayer had been granted for she had already passed away, and may Allah be pleased with her. Zainab bint Jahsh narrated 11 Hadiths.
Under one religion, Islam, the adherents of its two branches, (Shi’a and Sunni), feverishly hold to the Sunnah (Tradition of Prophet Muhammad) as had been interpreted long time ago.
The Shi’a follow the Sunnah (Tradition) as explained mainly by the family of the Prophet (Ahlul Bayt). They taught it over a period of 12 generations (329 years).
The Sunni, on the other hand follow the Sunnah as was taught mainly by the Companions of the Prophet, over two generations.
This timely book explains the Faith of both sides, the evolution of the schools of thought. This information is a welcome addition to the readership of both the Shi’a and Sunni, as well as to the non-Muslims who want to understand the basis and the subtleties of the differences and similarities of these schools of thought. The book also deals with the manner the registering the Hadith of the Prophet, the status of and contribution of Ahlul Bayt (family of the Prophet), as well as the history of the major shrines, among other things.
The book shows that the similarities between the two branches (the Shi’a and the Sunni) far out way the differences. The differences are often, but not exclusively, in the technique of expressing the acts of worship.
The writer tried his best to present an evenhanded approach to this usually emotionally charged field.
 Al-Saadiq and the 4 Madh’habs, Asad Haidar, Vol. 1, Page 612.
 Al-Saadiq and the 4 Madh’habs, Asad Haidar, Vol. 1, Page 612.