Sunday, July 28, 2013

Safiyyah issues revisted

Narrated Abdul Aziz:
Anas said, "When Allah's Apostle invaded Khaibar, we offered the Fajr prayer there (early in the morning) when it was still dark. The Prophet rode and Abu Talha rode too and I was riding behind Abu Talha. The Prophet passed through the lane of Khaibar quickly and my knee was touching the thigh of the Prophet. He uncovered his thigh and I saw the whiteness of the thigh of the Prophet. When he entered the town, he said, ‘Allahu Akbar! Khaibar is ruined. Whenever we approach near a (hostile) nation (to fight) then evil will be the morning of those who have been warned.’ He repeated this thrice. The people came out for their jobs and some of them said, ‘Muhammad (has come).’ (Some of our companions added, ‘With his army.’) We conquered Khaibar, took the captives, and the booty was collected. Dihya came and said, ‘O Allah's Prophet! Give me a slave girl from the captives.’ The Prophet said, ‘Go and take any slave girl.’ He took Safiya bint Huyai. A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Allah's Apostle! You gave Safiya bint Huyai to Dihya and she is the chief mistress of the tribes of Quraiza and An-Nadir and she befits none but you.’ So the Prophet said, ‘Bring him along with her.’ So Dihya came with her and when the Prophet saw her, he said to Dihya, ‘Take any slave girl other than her from the captives.’" Anas added: "The Prophet then manumitted her and married her."

Thabit asked Anas, "O Abu Hamza! What did the Prophet pay her (as Mahr)?" He said, "Her self was her Mahr for he manumitted her and then married her." Anas added, "While on the way, Um Sulaim dressed her for marriage (ceremony) and at night she sent her as a bride to the Prophet. So the Prophet was a bridegroom and he said, ‘Whoever has anything (food) should bring it.’ He spread out a leather sheet (for the food) and some brought dates and others cooking butter. (I think he (Anas) mentioned As-Sawaq). So they prepared a dish of Hais (a kind of meal). And that was Walima (the marriage banquet) of Allah's Apostle." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Number 367)

Narrated Anas bin Malik:
We arrived at Khaibar, and when Allah helped His Apostle to open the fort, the beauty of Safiya bint Huyai bin Akhtaq whose husband had been killed while she was a bride, was mentioned to Allah's Apostle. The Prophet selected her for himself, and set out with her, and when we reached a place called Sidd-as-Sahba,' Safiya became clean from her menses then Allah's Apostle married her. Hais (i.e. an 'Arabian dish) was prepared on a small leather mat. Then the Prophet said to me, "I invite the people around you." So that was the marriage banquet of the Prophet and Safiya. Then we proceeded towards Medina, and I saw the Prophet, making for her a kind of cushion with his cloak behind him (on his camel). He then sat beside his camel and put his knee for Safiya to put her foot on, in order to ride (on the camel). (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 522)

Safiyyah had been married to Sallam b. Mishkam al-Qurazi, who divorced her, whereupon she was married to Kinanah b. al-Rabi‘ b. Abi al-Huqayq al-Nadari. The latter was killed in the battle of Khaybar leaving her a widow. (The History of al-Tabari: Biographies of the Prophet’s Companions and Their Successors, translated by Ella Landau-Tasseron [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1998], Volume XXXIX (39), p. 185)

(2991) Anas said: A beautiful slave-girl fell to Dihyah. The Apostle of Allah purchased her for seven slaves. He then gave her to Umm Sulaim for decorating her and preparing her for marriage. The narrator Hammad said: Safiyyah daughter of Huyayy should pass her waiting period in her (Umm Sulaim’s) house. (Sunan Abu Dawud, English translation with Explanatory Notes by Prof. Ahmad Hasan [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters; Lahore, Pakistan, 1984], Volume II, Book XIII. Kitab al-Kharaj (Book of Tribute, Spoils & Rulership), Chapter 1109: On the Special Portion of the Prophet Taken Exclusively By Him From The Booty, p. 848)

 Safiyyah established a warm and sympathetic relation with the Prophet's household. She presented Fatimah az-Zahra' a gift of jewels expressing her affection to her, and she also gave some of the Prophet's wives gifts from her jewels that she brought with her from Khaybar. (Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat, vol.8, p.100, Cited in Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, p.172)

Safiyyah was a humble worshiper and a pious believer. About her ibn Kathir said, "She was one of the best women in her worship, piousness, ascetism, devoutness, and charity. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, vol. 8, p. 47, Cited in Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, p.177)

Safiyyah was a very charitable and generous woman. She used to give out and spend whatever she had for the sake of Allah to the extent that she gave out a house that she had when she was still alive. (Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat, vol. 8, p. 102, Cited in Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, p.178)

She still underwent difficulties after the death of the Prophet. Once a slavegirl she owned went  to the Amir Al Muminin Umar and asked, "Amir al Muminin! Saiffya loves the Sabbath and maintains ties with the Jews!" Umar asked Safiyya about that and she said, "I have not loved the Sabbath since Allah replaced it with Friday for me, and I only maintain ties with those Jews to whom I am related by kinship." She asked her slavegirl what had possessed her to carries lie to Umar and the girl replied, "Shaitan!" Safiyya said, "Go, you are free."
This shows and proves that Safiyyah remained a loyal Muslim even after the Prophet's death.

Ibn 'Umar [al-Waqidi] - Kathir b. Zayd - al-Walid b. Rabah - Abu Hurayrah: While the Prophet was lying with SafiyyahAbu Ayyub stayed the night at his door. When he saw the Prophet in the morning he said "God is the Greatest." He had a sword with him; he said to the Prophet, "O Messenger of God, this young woman had just been married, and you killed her father, her brother and her husband, so I did not trust her (not to harm) you." The Prophet laughed and said "Good". (The History of al-Tabari, Volume XXXIX (39), p. 185; bold and underline emphasis ours)

According to al-Waqidi: In this year the Messenger of God married Mulaykah btDawud al-Laythiyyah. One of the Prophet's wives came to Mulaykah and said to her, "Are you not ashamed to marry a man who killed your father?" She therefore "took refuge [in God]" from him. She was beautiful and young. The Messenger of God separated from her. He had killed her father the day of the conquest of Mecca. (The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, Translated by MichaelFishbein, Volume VIII (8), p. 187; underline emphasis ours)

nterestingly, the authors didn't refer to the more popular name of the narrator. They mention the name "MuhammadIbn 'Umar" but didn't indicate to the reader that this man is more popularly known as al-Waqidi. What is the Muslim verdict about this man?
Abd Allah Ibn Ali al Madini and his father said: "Al-Waqidi has 20,000 Hadith I never heard of." And then he said: "His narration shouldn't be used" and considered it weak.
Yahya Ibn Muaen said: "Al-Waqidi said 20,000 false hadith about the prophet."
Al-Shafi'i said, "Al-Waqidi is a liar."
Ibn Hanbal said, "Al-Waqidi is a liar."
Al-Bukhari said he didn't write a single letter by Al-Waqidi. (Siar Aalam al nublaa - althagbi - biography of Al-Waqidi)
The following Muslim author writes:
As a report of history, this narration suffers from two fatally serious defects. The first is the UNIVERSALLY RECOGNISED UNTRUSTWORTHINESS OF AL-WAQIDI. Details of his unreliability as a narrator would probably fill several pages, but all of it may be suitably condensed into a statement by Imam ash-Shafi'ee, who was his contemporary, and who knew him personally. Ash-Shafi'ee has the following to say: "In Madeenahthere were seven people who used to forge chains of narration. One of them was al-Waqidi."3 (Sources:" and; bold emphasis ours)
Others say:
Al-Waqidi (130/747-207/822-23), who wrote over twenty works of an historical nature, but only the Kitab al-Maghazi has survived as an independent work. His reputation is marred by the fact that he relied upon story tellers; viz., those who embellished the stories of others. Al-Waqidi did such embellish, such as by adding dates and other details onto the account of Ibn Ishaq (at pages 25-29) (
Even the English translator of Ibn Sa'd's work had this to say about al-Waqidi:
: The chain of the narrators is not reliable because the person who narrated to Ibn Sa'd was Waqidi WHO IS NOTORIOUS AS A NARRATOR OF FABRICATED hadithes. The next one Ya'qub is unknown and 'AbdAllah Ibn 'Abd al-Rahman is not a Companion. Consequently this narration is not trustworthy. (Ibn Sa'd's Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, Volume I, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan MahalDaryaganj, New Delhi, 110 002 India], p. 152, fn. 2; capital emphasis ours)
And the list goes on of those who called him a liar.
Al-Waqidi was also one of those that narrated the story of the Satanic Verses. The most amazing part of this is that the authors' friend, MENJ has a response on the same web site where this rebuttal appears from G.F. Haddad seeking to deny the historicity of the Satanic Verses where he calls into question al-Waqidi's reliability! Here is what Haddad says about al-Waqidi:
[(*) Muhammad ibn `Umar al-Waqidi (d. 207), Ahmad ibn Hanbal said of him: "He is A LIAR." Al-Bukhari and Abu Hatim al-Razi said: "DISCARDED." Ibn `Adi said: "His narrations ARE NOT RETAINED, AND THEIR BANE COMES FROM HIM." Ibn al-Madini said: "HE FORGES HADITHS." Al-Dhahabi said: "CONSENSUS HAS SETTLED OVER HIS DEBILITY." Mizan al-I`tidal (3:662-666 #7993).] (Source:; capital emphasis ours)

It seems that when it is convenient the authors will quote al-Waqidi to support their position, discarding the Muslim scholarly opinion regarding his unreliability. When al-Waqidi fails to serve their purpose the authors are only too glad to call him into question. What is also interesting is the authors' use of Ibn Sa'd. In this articleAzmy claims that Mohammad's murders of Abu Afak and Asma bint Marwan, both of which are reported by Ibn Sa'd, are not historical because they do not have isnads. However, we see that Ibn Sa'd is suddenly reliable here since he provides information about an alleged tradition regarding breast milk being placed into containers. This appears to be once again a case of the authors' arbitrarily accepting and rejecting information from their sources, and doing so in whatever way that they feel best suits their purposes. Utilizing such a double standard and practicing such inconsistency appear to be rather hypocritical and neither this paper nor this Muslim site will have much of a chance to get a recommendation for scholarly integrity (cf. also the appendix on plagiarism).

However, we do need to put this in perspective. Al-Waqidi may have been considered a liar without this necessarily implying that everything he reported was a lie. As the following Muslim writes:
Al-Waqidi is reliable for purely historical reports. Ahl al-Hadith consider him too honest and too rich a source to be discarded especially in light of Ibn Sa`d's accreditation, which lent him huge credit--but they unanimously discard him with regard to ahkam reports which are uncorroborated by other narrators e.g. wiggling the index finger in Salat. It is the latter category they meant when they called him a liar, i.e. thoroughly unreliable and/or inaccurate in his isnads, not at all that he was dishonest. Al-Dhahabi said: "I have no doubt in his sidq." And Allah knows best. (Source:; bold emphasis ours)

As for the issue of Saffiyah and her being widowed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) explained the situation to Saffiyah:

Here is Umm al- Mu'mininSafiyyah, relates those moments when she hated the Prophet for killing her father and her ex-husband. The Prophet apologized to her saying, "Your father charged the Arabs against me and committed heinous act," he apologized to the extent that made Safiyyah get rid of her bitterness against the Prophet.(Al-BayhaqiDala'il an-Nubuwwah, vol. 4, p. 230, Cited in Muhammad Fathi Mus'adThe Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, p.166)

Even though it was her father and brother that got killed, she did realize and understand that it was their crime that led to their death. 

 At the end of the day the Prophets wives had the freedom to leave:

Surah 33:28-29
Prophet ! say to thy wives, `If you desire the life of this world and its adornment, come then, I will provide for you and send you away in a handsome manner; `But if you desire ALLAH and HIS Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, then, truly, ALLAH has prepared for those of you, who do good, a great reward.'

The wives were given a choice. They easily could have left and no one could have done anything to them because a Quranicverse, a command from Allah gave them that choice. They could have walked away. Instead, they did not. They could have easily divorced the Prophet and still pretended to be Muslims and then travel and run away. They could have found a way. But they didn't. They wanted to remain as Muslims. 

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