Five Weddings and Two Massacres
Jewish Bride # 1 - Rayhanah
Of all the Prophet's female conquest, Rayhanah's is the most pathetic. This is why I wanted to say a few words about her and the man who orchestrated the massacre of her kin even if they are not directly concerned with the arguments contained in my submission to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Motion 103 . B. P.
Tamam Kahn, the author of Untold - A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad, admits, in what is very much a panegyric to the man and his wives, that Rayhanah is “not usually listed as a wife” of God’s Messenger.
She agreed to become the Prophet's concubine, seeing it as unseemly to accept his marriage proposal after he had just ordered and supervised the beheading of all the men and boys (males with traces of pubic hair) of her tribe after the battle of the Ditch. Also referred to as the battle of the Trench as in the following:
After the battle of the Trench [Rayhanah was] marched into the courtyard with the several hundred other women and their children to be claimed as a reward by the Muslim soldiers, while the Qurayzah man were led away to be executed.
Rayhanah was not only a beautiful young woman. Rayhana’s name means ‘extremely fragrant’ and Muhammad loved perfumes” making her even more irresistible to God’s Messenger.
The Holy Prophet said: "From the things of the world, I regard women and perfume highly, but prayer is the light of my eyes."
You might call it an obsession:
The Most Noble Messenger was so fond of applying perfume that he would skip his supper so as to procure his needed perfume. If perfume was not at his disposal, he would soak the perfumed scarf of his wife and rub his face with it so as to be perfumed. Likewise, before going out he would always look at himself in the mirror or water, and groom himself to such an extent as to always be an embodiment of adornment and dressing well. He would apply so much perfume that his beard had turned white as a result.
Rayhanah’s life with the Prophet was short and tumultuous: some say she converted to Islam, others that she died as a slave of Muhammad, and still others that she was allowed to rejoin her Jewish community. This is somewhat unlikely as she is buried, along with other wives of God’s Messenger, in Baqi cemetery of Medina.
She died a short two years after the massacre of the men and boys of her tribe. Her age and how she died remains a mystery. All that we know is that the beautiful, tragic Rayhanah died young.
I would not exclude suicide. It must have been difficult to be intimate with a man who was responsible for the death of your father, your husband, your male relatives and the enslavement of your female kin.
Jewish Bride # 2 - Safiyyah
Safiyyah was the next young Jewish female to join the Prophet stable of wives, concubines and slave-girls as a result of the murder of her husband and kin at the behest of God’s Messenger.
Shortly after the massacre of the men of the Banu Qurayzah, the Prophet successfully attacked the unsuspecting Jewish farming community of Khaibar (also spelled Khaybar).
The Prophet set out for Khaibar and reached it at night. He used not to attack if he reached the people at night, till the day broke. So, when the day dawned, the Jews came out with their bags and spades. When they saw the Prophet; they said, "Muhammad and his army!"
The Prophet said, Allahu Akbar! (Allah is Greater) and Khaibar is ruined, for whenever we approach a nation (i.e. enemy to fight) then it will be a miserable morning for those who have been warned."
He spared some of the survivors as part of an agreement whereby they were to continue farming the land and give half their annual production to the Muslims. The land itself became the property of God’s Messenger (the Prophet’s successor Abu Bakr took the land for himself earning the enmity of Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter and wife of Ali).
Not so lucky were the men of the Jewish tribe which the Prophet had forced out of Medina, the Banu Nadir and who found shelter with the farmers of Khaibar. They were given no quarter. And, just like after the massacre of the Banu Qurayzah, God’s Messenger took a young widow, Safiyyah bint Huyayy, as his bride.
Unlike Rayhanah, tradition has it that the eighteen or nineteen year old was more than happy to become the eleventh wife of the now sixty year old Messenger of God because her dead husband is said to have beaten her at least once.
The Christian - Mariya
On or about the time of the signing of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Prophet felt confident enough of an impending overwhelming victory to send to the various rulers of the kingdoms which bordered Arabia a letter inviting them, and their subjects to become Muslims or else.
From Muhammad the servant and Prophet of Allah, to Muqawqis, the leader of the Coptic tribe. There is safety and security for those believers who follow the correct path. Therefore I invite you to accept Islam. If you accept it, you shall find security, save your throne, and gain twice as much reward for having introduced Islam to your followers. If you refuse this invitation, let the sin of calamity which awaits your followers be upon you. You too are People of the Book; therefore let us come to a word common between us that we worship none but Allah and shall equalise anything with him. Let us not abandon Allah and take others for lords other than him. If you do not consent to this invitation, bear witness that we are Muslims.
Allah echoed His spokesperson’s explicit threat “bear witness that we are Muslims” in a revelation.
3:64 Say: "O People of the Book, come to an equitable word between you and us, that we worship none but Allah, do not associate anything with Him and do not set each other as lords besides Allah.” If they turn their backs, say: "Bear witness that we are Muslims.”
Muqawqis (also known as Cyrus of Alexandria), the de-facto governor of Egypt and head of the Coptic Church, upon receiving the letter, as a sign of respect for God’s Messenger and knowing his affection for young women, sent a tribute to the Prophet which included two sisters, Sirin (also spelt Shirin) and Mariya:
From Muqawqis I read your letter and understood what you have written. I know that the coming of a Prophet is still due. But I thought, he would be born in Syria – I have treated your messenger with respect and honor. I am sending two maids (Maria al-Qibtiyya and her sister Sirin) for you as presents. These maids belong to a very respectable family amongst us. In addition I send for you clothes and a Duldul (steed) for riding. May God bestow security on you.
The Prophet took Mariya for himself and gave her sister to Hasan b. Thabit, his favorite scribe.
The Cousin - Zaynab
The Prophet's marriage to Zaynab which was so harmful to orphans, like his acquisition of Rayhanah, is even more damning evidence that many of his matrimonial excesses were not about cementing alliances as apologists for his behavior such as author Karen Armstrong have claimed, but unbridled lust.
God’s Messenger walked in on his daughter-in-law Zaynab, who was then married to his adopted son Zayd, when she was almost naked and “was troubled by her beauty”.
Zaynab was a cousin of the Prophet, the daughter of his paternal aunt Omayma.
It was God’s spokesperson himself who had insisted she be given in marriage to Zayd. Barnaby Rogerson author of The Prophet Muhammad – A Biography writes that “Zayd soon divined that Muhammad had become entrance by Zaynab’s beauty and at once offered to divorce his wife … Zayd would do anything to please his adopted father whom he revered above all else on earth.”
Marrying your son’s former wife was taboo. It did not matter if he was adopted; the same ethical and moral restrictions applied as to a natural born son.
The Prophet refused Zayd’s offer until he received revelation 33:5 which changed the status of adopted sons from sons to “brothers in religion” (see Allah Loves His Messenger Perhaps More Than He Loves Orphans which follows for the relevant revelations and their impact on orphans to this day) and revelation 33:37 in which God commands His spokesperson to marry Zaynab (underlining mine).
33:37 … Then, when Zayd had satisfied his desire for her, We gave her to you in marriage; so that the believers should not be at fault, regarding the wives of their adopted sons, once they have satisfied their desire for them. For Allah’s Command must be accomplished.
After divorcing the adopted son and marrying the father who adopted him, Zaynab, according to Aisha, was not beneath using her status as both a wife and a cousin of the Messenger to lord it over the other wives. Zaynab died in 642, ten years after her husband/cousin's passing.
Allah Loves His Messenger Perhaps More Than He Loves Orphans
(From: Getting to Know Allah, Boreal Books, 2015)
2:220 .... And they ask you about the orphans, say: “To improve their condition is better for them. And if you associate with them, they are your brethren.” Allah knows the dishonest and the honest. And if Allah wills, He would overburden you with restrictions. Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Orphaned boys were almost unknown in the Arab world until Allah changed their status so that His Messenger could marry his adopted son's wife.
33:4 Allah did not create two hearts within the breast of any man; and He did not make your wives, whom you compare to your mothers’ backs; and He did not make your [adopted] sons your sons in fact. That is your own claim, by your words of mouth. Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the Right Path.
33:5 Assign them to their own fathers. That is more equitable in the sight of Allah; but if you do not know their real fathers, then they are your brothers in religion, your adopted fellow Muslims. You are not at fault if you err therein; but only in what your hearts intend. Allah is ever All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.
Before Allah changed the status of adopted sons from sons to “brothers in religion”, revelation 33:5, Arab fathers made no distinction between adopted sons and those they had fathered.
Demoting adopted sons to “brothers in religion” not only made their wives, upon divorce, eligible to be taken in marriage by their “adoptive” father, but also disinherited them as confirmed by the following hadith:
Abu Hudhaifa, one of those who fought the battle of Badr with Allah's Apostle, adopted Salim as his son and married his niece Hind bint Al-Wahd bin Utba to him and Salim was a freed slave of an Ansari woman.
Allah's Apostle also adopted Zaid as his son.
In the Pre-Islamic period of ignorance the custom was that, if one adopted a son, the people would call him by the name of the adopted-father [from] whom he would inherit as well, till Allah revealed: "Call them (adopted sons) By (the names of) their fathers." (33:5)
The revelations changing the relationship between adopted sons and their surrogate parent so that God’s spokesperson could add to his collection of wives, concubines and slave-girls his former daughter-in-law have been interpreted to mean that Islam is against Western style adoption resulting in an untold number of children in the Islamic world who have no one to call father.
The Childe - Aisha
Much of Islam was literally dreamt into existence.
The commencement (of the Divine Inspiration) to Allah's Apostle was in the form of true dreams in his sleep, for he never had a dream but it turned out to be true and clear as the bright daylight. Then he began to like seclusions, so he used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship Allah continuously for many nights before going back to his family to take the necessary provision (of food) for the stay.
And whenever the Prophet used to sleep, nobody would wake him up till he himself used to get up as we did not know what was happening (being revealed) to him in his sleep …
One of the very first, if not the very first communication from Allah made in this manner to the man who would become famous as the Prophet Muhammad, was to introduce him to his child bride when she was still a baby.
That the Prophet said to her, "You have been shown to me twice in my dream. I saw you pictured on a piece of silk and someone said (to me). 'This is your wife.' When I uncovered the picture, I saw that it was yours. I said, 'If this is from Allah, it will be done.'"
Aisha was the daughter of the Prophet’s good friend and close collaborator Abu Bakr. Aisha was the first child born to parents who were believers. The progeny of believers are born Muslim. The founder of Islam would marry the first child born a Muslim.
Tradition has it that a grateful Abu Bakr offered his nine-year-old daughter, with whom Muhammad had fallen in love, to the Prophet to cement his relationship with God’s Messenger. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in The Caged Virgin, writes that Aisha’s father pleaded with the Prophet to wait until his daughter reached adulthood before marrying her.
... he fell in love with Aisha, his best friend's nine-year-old daughter. Her father said: "Please wait until she has reached adulthood." But Muhammad would not wait... By our Western standards Muhammad is a perverse man. Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The Caged Virgin, p. 81
In his own mind God's Messenger was not a pervert for the child had given her consent.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission."
The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! How can we know her permission?"
He said, "Her silence (indicates her permission)."
Aisha knew from experience that this was a specious justification for having your way with a child.
I said, "O Allah's Apostle! A virgin feels shy." He said, "Her consent is (expressed by) her silence."
By Ali’s standard of decency sheltering God’s spokesperson from criticism would makes us an accomplice to the rape of children as the Prophet’s example is along with the Koran the basis of Sharia Law. The Ayatollah Khomeini would lower the age at which a girl could be legally married to nine years of age to make Iranian law conform to the Prophet Muhammad’s example.
Aisha’s recollection of her wedding day is further evidence that the bride was not yet a teenager when she joined God’s Messenger on the matrimonial mat.
My mother came to me while I was being swung on a swing between two branches and got me down. My nurse took over and wiped my face with some water and started leading me. When I was at the door she stopped so I could catch my breath. I was brought in while Muhammad was sitting on a bed in our house. My mother made me sit on his lap. The other men and women got up and left. The Prophet consummated his marriage with me in my house when I was nine years old. Neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered on behalf of me.
The fact that her wedding was not celebrated, the meaning of "Neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered on behalf of me" may also be an indication that the Prophet was not proud of what he was about to do or that his people did not approve of their 50+ tribesman marrying and having sex with a child.
While all the marriages mentioned here and the circumstances of their consummation should be cause for consternation, it is the betrothal of a six year old girl Aisha bint Bakr to a fifty-something man that has been the most quoted by those who find pedophilia abhorrent as the ultimate sign that God’s Messenger is not worthy of being revered as the perfect human being. Far from it!
God’s Messenger, for the believers, is the personification of the perfect human being. Being perfect, like his Patron, he cannot be faulted for anything he has said or done. In fact, what he said and did, along with the Koran, is the foundation of Islamic law. No Muslim can be faulted for emulating perfection, that would be illogical.
No man has had more of an impact on an imperfect world than the perfect human being. Today, what God’s spokesperson did to a child 1,400 years ago is being repeated over and over in many parts of the believers' world with disastrous consequences.
Where Islam is making the greatest advances is in Africa where we are now seeing an extraordinary increase in a condition called vesicovaginal fistula or VVF where the inflicted experience "the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault."
In Nigeria's Islamist north, for example, according to ModernGhana, “thousands of underage child-wives are abandoned by their pedophile husbands when these little girls develop VVF and dribble urine - a complication of obstructed labour during underage child birth.”* These child-mothers and their female offspring are largely doomed to a short miserable existence and an ignominious death. This cannot be what God or His alleged perfect spokesperson intended.
Mutilated children are only one of the real world consequences of continuing to show a man undue reverence. Another is murder by the State of those who dare challenge an undeserved reputation for being an example to emulate.
'Facebook blasphemer' given death penalty
A man accused of posting blasphemous content to Facebook has been sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan.
Taimoor Raza was convicted after allegedly posting remarks about the Prophet Muhammad, his wives and companions within the site's comments.
The public prosecutor involved said he believed it was the first time the death penalty had been awarded in a case related to social media.
BBC June 12, 2017