Thursday, 22 March 2012

What Does Mother Of Believers Really Mean?

ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ امْرَأَتَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَتَ لُوطٍ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَـلِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِينَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئاً وَقِيلَ ادْخُلاَ النَّارَ مَعَ الدَخِلِينَ 

Allah sets forth an example for those who disbelieve: the wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut. They were under two of our righteous servants, but they both betrayed them. So, they availed them not against Allah and it was said: "Enter the Fire along with those who enter!"

Holy Qur'aan: {66.10}

To begin this discussion, we feel it crucial to ask some basic questions in order to stimulate our readers' thoughts on this contentious issue.

  • Is it possible for a believer to have a mother who is not a believer?
  • Is it possible for a Muslim to have a mother who is not a Muslim?
  • Is it possible for a Muslim to have a mother who was a Muslim and then choose to no longer be a Muslim?

Can anyone say 'No' to the above propositions? Of course not. The answer to all 3 possibilities has to be an affirmative YES.

A believer can indeed have a mother who is not a believer. A Muslim can have a mother who is not a Muslim. A Muslim can have a mother who was a Muslim who then chose to abandon Islam.

We would like our readers to contemplate the concise deductive logic we have laid out here, as they will be key in evaluating the rest of the arguments we shall present. As you can see before we even come to the Qur'aan itself, we have already established that the title, "mother of the believers" does not in any way establish infallibility, innocence, or even piety in the mothers themselves.

The position of the Shi'ee in regards to the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) is that of the Holy Qur'aan. The righteous wives are those who are devoutly obedient to Allah (swt) commands and to their husband, and guard in his absence what Allah (swt) orders them to guard (i.e. their honour).

All the wives of the Prophet (saw) are mothers of believers and there was a variety of reasons for this. From a domestic perspective, it was a means to preserve the Prophet's (saw) honour in society during and after his life. Unfortunately, people have fallen in to the misconception that these women were chosen by Allah (swt) and there was not a remote chance of any of them going astray during or even after the death of the Prophet (saw). We shall now evaluate the true significance behind the title, 'Ummal Mo'mineen' and the actual context behind the revelation of this verse.

What Does The Term Really Mean? 

النَّبِىُّ أَوْلَى بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَأَزْوَجُهُ أُمَّهَـتُهُمْ

‘And his (saw) wives are their mothers’

Holy Qur'aan: {33:6}

وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تؤْذُواْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلاَ أَن تَنكِحُواْ أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَداً إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيماً

And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allah's Messenger; nor that you should ever marry his wives till eternity 

Holy Qur'aan: {33:53}

The wives of the Prophet (saw) are Ummuhat Al-Momineen (Mother of believers). The status as a "mother" here is only one in a juristic sense, to place a remora on any person marrying them after the Prophet (saw). In other words, marrying a wife of the Prophet (saw) was tantamount to marrying ones biological mother, thus rendering such a union forbidden. It should be noted that a wife of the Prophet (saw) is not a biological mother except to whom she gave birth to, and therefore does not have the same rights as one. This is why we find that the wives of the Prophet (saw) were ordered to conduct Hijab as mentioned in the Holy Qur'aan {33. 53 /59} for we are well aware that biological mothers are not required to cover themselves before their children. 


"His wives are their mothers" meaning the prohibition like that of their mothers.

Source: Tafsir Al-Qur'aan. Vol. 3, Pg. # 38.


"His wives are their mother's." This is in prohibition of the wives like the prohibition of their mother’s, which mean after his (saw) death they are forbidden to marry his wives in the manner they are forbidden to marry their own mothers. Younis Narrated from Aboo Wahhab from ibn Zaid who said, "his wives are their mothers, meaning they are prohibited on them in marriage."

Source: Tafsir Al-Tabari Jamia Al-Bayan An Ta'wil Al-Qur'aan. Vol. 19, Pg. # 16.


(And his wives are their mothers 33.6). This is forbidding any marriage with them.

Source: Tafsir Al-Jalalayn. Pg. # 418.


Are The Wives The Mothers Of All Believing Men And Women?

Ibn Abi Zaminayn:

"The Prophet (saw) is closer to the believers than themselves." Tafsir Mujahid: 'It means he is their father and his wives are their mothers.' This is reference to the prohibition in marriage to them. Narrated from Yahya from Sufyan Al-Thawri, from Firas, from Al-Sha'abi, from Masrooq from A'isha that a woman said: "O Mother." A'isha replied, "I'm not your mother but rather the mother of your men."

Source: Tafsir Qur'aan Al-Aziz Zaminain. Vol. 3, Pg. # 387 - 388.

Ibn Arabi:

People disagreed as to whether the wives are mothers of both men and the women. Based on two accounts, they are the mother of men. Some said: 'It is general for both the men and women.' Some said: 'It is for the men only because the meaning is to point out that it's prohibited for men whereas for women it's expected to be prohibited (due to sodomy being explicitly haram).' And it is recorded a woman said to A'isha: "O mother." She said: "I'm not your mother but I'm the mother of your men." And that is the right opinion.

Source: Tafsir ibn Arabi. Vol. 3, Pg. # 542.

Ibn Sa'ad:

Masrooq said: A woman said to A'isha: "Oh mother." She replied: "I'm not your mother, I'm the mother of your men."

Source: Tabaqat Al-Kabir. Vol. 10, Pg. # 64 - 65.


Masrooq narrated that a woman said to A'isha: "O mother." She (A'isha) said: "I am not your mother, rather I am the mother of your men." This is in reference to the motherhood in regards to the prohibition of marriage.

Source: Tafsir ibn Jawzi. Vol. 6, Pg. # 353.

Ibn Adil Al-Damishqi Al-Hanbali:

Al-Sha'bi said from Masrooq that a woman said to A'isha: "O mother." She (A'isha) said: "I am not your mother, rather I am the mother of your men." This is in reference to the motherhood in regards to the prohibition of marriage.

Source: Tafsir Al-Baab. Vol. 15, Pg. # 503 – 504.


We were told by Alee bin Ahmad bin Abdan: Ahmad bin Abeed reported: ibn Abi-Qimash commended, ibn A'isha commended, Aboo Awwana commended, of Firash, of Aamer, of Masruq, of A'isha, that a woman said to her: "O mother!" Then she said: "I am a mother to your men. I am not your mother."

Source: Sunan Al-Bayhaqi. Vol. 7, Pg. # 111, H # 13422.

Al-Baghui said: They were the mothers of the believers from among the men, not the women. It was narrated of A'isha [1]: "O mother [2]!" Then she said: "I am not a mother to you. I am only a mother to your men." [3]. And that is currently authentic for our people and others from among the 'Ahlul-Usool' (people of the authenticity): that the women do not enter the speeches of men. And Al-Marudi said in his Tafsir that they are not the mothers of the believers, and he is outside, on the sect of those that made them enter the speeches, due to glorifying them. And on the other hand, he said the advantages of the motherhood for the men are not present for the women: Our people said that the motherhood is of three types and its judgments are different:

A - The motherhood of birth, in which all the judgments of motherhood is confirmed. [4]
B - The motherhood of his  wives, in which only the prohibition of marriage is confirmed.
C - The motherhood of breast-feeding, which is between the two. [5]

Al-Baghawi said: And the Prophet (saw) was the father of all the men and women.


[1] This tradition was narrated of her by ibn Sa'ad in Al-Tabaqat 8/68: Narrated Al-Fadhl bin Dakkeen, of Sufyan, of Faris, of Al-Sha'yi, of Masruq, who said: "A woman said to A'isha: 'O mother!' She said: 'I am not a mother to you. I am only a mother to your men.'

[2] It was a woman who said to her: "O mother."

[3] They argue on this by His Word, the Most Exalted: "O you who believe! Let not (some) people among you laugh at (another) people; it may be that they (i.e. the latter) are better than them (i.e. the former). Nor let (some) women laugh at other women; it may be that they (i.e. the latter) are better than them (i.e. the former)." – (Qur'aan 49:11)

[4] From the prohibition of marriage and the confirmation of heritage and the rest of the judgments.

[5] In which the sanctity of marriage is confirmed, and its spreading to the brothers and the sisters. However, heritage is not confirmed, and Allah (swt) knows best.

Source: Ghayatul-Sool Fi Khasa'is Al-Rasool. Pg. # 250.


Al-Shafi'i said: Zubayr married Asma, the daughter of Aboo Bakr, and she is the sister of the mother of the believers, and he did not say that she is the 'aunt of the believers.' [2]

And they conflicted on that if they were mothers for the believing women. It was said that they were the mothers of all believing men and women. And it was said that they were the mothers of the believers, except of the women. 

Al-Shu'bi narrated of Masruq, that a woman said to A'isha "O mother!" Then she said: "I am not a mother to you. I am only the mother of your men." [3] So it was clarified by this that the meaning of the 'mothership' is that marrying them is prohibited.

[2] Look up in Al-Qurtubi. Vol. 14, Pg. # 123.

[3] It was narrated by Al-Suyuti in Al-Durr al-Manthur. Vol. 6, Pg. # 567 of Ibn Sa'ad, ibn Al-Mundhir, and Al-Bayhaqi in his 'Sunan.' Also look up in Al-Kafi Al-Shaf, Pg. # 132.

Source: Tafsir Al-Baghawi. Vol. 5, Pg. # 315.

Abi Yahya Faras:

Narrated from Aboo Muhammad son of Hayan, from Aboo Ya'la narrated from Ibraheem son of Al-Hajaj narrated from Aboo Awana from Faras from Al-Shabi from Masrooq that a woman said to A'isha: 'Oh Mother!' She (A'isha) replied: "I am not your mother, rather I am the mother of your men."

Footnote: Hadeeth Saheeh (Authentic).

Source: Musnad Abi Yahya Faras Bin Yahya Al-Maktab Al-Kufi. Vol. 1, Pg. # 85.

Objection One:

The motherhood is not just on the prohibition of marriage rather it is a spiritual status as mentioned in Nahjul Balaghah, that Imam Alee (a.s) held a status of respect towards A'isha even after the battle of Jamal (Camel).

وَ أَمَّا فُلَانَةُ فَأَدْرَكَهَا رَأْيُ النِّسَاءِ وَ ضِغْنٌ غَلَا فِي صَدْرِهَا كَمِرْجَلِ الْقَيْنِ وَ لَوْ دُعِيَتْ لِتَنَالَ مِنْ غَيْرِي مَا أَتَتْ إِلَيَّ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ وَ لَهَا بَعْدُ حُرْمَتُهَا الْأُولَى وَ الْحِسَابُ عَلَى اللَّهِ تَعَالَى

As regards to a certain woman (A'isha), she is in the grip of womanly views, and malice is boiling in her bosom like the furnace of the blacksmith. If she were called upon to deal with others as she is dealing with me she would not have done it. She has the same honor afterwards as she had earlier, and the accountability is on Allah (swt) to take.

Response One

Authenticity of Nahj Al-Balaghah

Other than Nahj Al-Balaghah, this sermon is mentioned by Al-Tabarsi in his Al-Ihtijaj. However, the word 'fulaanah' is replaced with A'isha. 


Narrated from Yahya ibn Abdullah ibn Hassan from his father Abdullah ibn Hassan who said the commander of the faithful (Alee (a.s)) delivered a sermon in Basra.

Source: Al-Ihtijaj. Vol. 1, Pg. # 222 - 223.


Al-Suyuti has also recorded this Hadeeth in his famous works Jami Al-Hadeeth. He also replaced the word 'fulaanah' with A'isha. The sanad he gives for this khutbah is: 


Narrated from Yahya ibn Abdullah ibn Hasan from his father Abdullah ibn Hassan from Imam Alee (a.s)

Source: Jamia Al-Hadeeth. Vol. 16, Pg. # 432 / 434 / 441. H. # 8601.


Muttaqi Al-Hindi in his Kanz Al-Ummal also replaces the word 'fulaanah' with A'isha. The sanad he gives for the khutbah is as follows:

Muttaqi Al-Hindi:

Narrated from Yahya ibn Abdullah ibn Hassan from his father Abdullah ibn Hassan who said the commander of the faithful (Alee (a.s)) delivered a sermon in Basra.

Source: Kanz Al-Ummal. Vol. 16, Pg. # 183 / 186 / 197.


Sayyed Abd Al-Zahra:

As for the sources to the sermon, and some of it is narrated by Al-Tabarsi in his Al-Ihtijaj, Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi Kanz Al-Ummal.

Note: He did not mention Al-Suyuti as another source as we have shown above.

Source: Masadir Nahj Al-Balaghah Wa Asaniduh. Vol. 2, Pg. # 358. 

Sayyed Al-Razi has not taken this narration from Suyuti or Kanz Al-Ummal. He lived much before them. However, all the later scholars narrated it from Wakee as mentioned by Suyuti and Muttaqi Al-Hindi. According to all three alternative sources, the two people in the chain of narrators are:

Yahya ibn Abd Allaah ibn Al-Hassan from his father (Abd Allaah b. Al-Hasan).

In terms of the first narrator Yahya ibn Abdullah ibn Al-Hassan, there is no attribute of trustworthiness for him according to Shi'a sources, which means he is unknown. His Father (Abdallah ibn Al-Hassan) is said to be a companion of the 5th and 6th Imams (a.s). He is heavily condemned by Imam Sadiq (a.s), because he claimed divine leadership for himself. This is what famous Shi'a Rijal scholars such Al-Khoei has said about him:

Sayyed Al-Khoei

I say (Al-Khoei): These narrations show that Abdullah ibn Al-Hassan appointed (made) himself for Imaamah, and that he gave fatwas by other than what Allah (swt) has revealed.

Source: Mu'jam Rijal Al-Hadeeth. Vol. 11, Pg. # 161, Person # 6794.

According to the Rijal books, Abdallah ibn Al-Hassan ibn Al-Hassan was born in the year 70 A.H and he died in the year 145 A.H. Therefore, he was born 30 years after Imam Alee (a.s) had died, rendering it impossible for him to narrate this sermon.

Ibn Hajar:

Abdullah ibn Al-Hassan ibn Al-Hassan ibn Alee ibn Abi Talib Al-Hashimi, Al-Madani, Aboo Muhammad, he is an esteemed, trustworthy narrator. He died at the beginning of the year 145 A.H at the age of 75. The authors of the 4 Sunan have narrated from him.

Source: Taqreeb Al-Tahdheeb. Pg. # 242, Person # 3274.

Based off all these sources, the 'fulaanah' is A'isha, but it has been taken out of the current versions of Nahj Al-Balaghah. The chain of narrators are weak because of the following reasons:

1. There exists no complete chain from the narrator to the author of the book Sayyed Razi.

2. There is an unknown narrator, and a narrator who claimed divine leadership for himself.
3. The primary narrator was born 30 years after Imam Alee (a.s) had died.

If the usage of the term "honour" precludes anyone from criticising A'isha, then it should be pointed out that this very sermon destroys such a feeble argument. It is amazing that some have relied on this testimony of Alee (a.s) to prove the "honour" of A'isha, but on reading the entire paragraph, it clearly underlies her callous, evil nature from his sharp words:

"Malice is boiling in her bosom like the furnace of the blacksmith."

It is also worth mentioning that after Imam Alee (a.s) mentioned the malice in A'isha's bosom, he (a.s) then made very clear her animosity towards him (a.s) in that the enmity which she bore was solely towards Imam Alee (a.s), for if it was that she had to deal with anyone else, she would not have possessed this same gross conduct as she had with him (a.s). Does this not show her hatred towards the Imam of her time? Something which the so-called 'Ahl us Sunnah' abhor. Nevertheless, anyone holding a grudge towards Imam Alee (a.s) was undoubtedly recognised as a hypocrite, which most fail to comprehend.

Muslim ibn Hajjaj:

Imam Alee (a.s) said, "By Him who split up the seed and created something living, the Apostle (saw) gave me a promise that none but a believer would love me, and none but a hypocrite would nurse grudge against me."

Source: Saheeh Muslim. Chapter 'Book of Faith.' H. # 131, Pg. # 51.

The "honour" that Imam Alee (a.s) was alluding to was just that, an honour she was due for exclusively being the spouse of the Prophet (saw) that no other man could marry. Nawasib may seek to offer deeper interpretations of the term "honour" in this context, but the fact of the matter is, A'isha herself qualified what her status meant when women said to her, "Oh mother of believers" to which A'isha replied, "I am not your mother, rather the mother of your men!" (as we shall see further into the article).

Now as per this text, A'isha herself provides her own commentary of precisely what is meant by 'Ummul Mo'mineen' by making it clear that the Mo'mineen element relates ONLY to men, meaning that the honour linked to the term relates to the honour of exclusively being the wife of the Prophet (saw). The usage of the term "mother" thus underlines the fact that no man can marry her. 

But here, A'isha via her unequivocal words made it clear that the honour she possessed related to the fact no other man could marry her. When A'isha provides absolute clarity on what is meant by 'Ummul Mo'mineen' in the context of this verse, it renders any efforts of her advocates to offer a further deeper meaning to complete otiose.

Why did Maula Alee (a.s) make reference to this same honour whilst at the same time launching into a critique of her conduct? The answer is simple, the Imam (a.s) under no circumstances wanted any form of scenario wherein this honour was violated. One should understand that A'isha had co-ordinated an armed rebellion against the State causing the deaths of thousands. The concern that Imam Alee (a.s) had was over a possible scenario of his supporters taking her as captive and treating her as booty, such actions would violate the honoured status afforded to her on account of her relationship to the Prophet (saw) and would have undoubtedly led to further sedition and opposition to him from her relatives and supporters. Therefore, Imam Alee (a.s) had a religious obligation to remind the people that whatever her failings, the honour of A'isha could not be violated under any circumstance. This was a general view held even for polytheist women as presented in the following narration using the same source, Nahjul Balaghah:

Shareef Razi:

At Siffin, Imam Alee (a.s) gave the following instructions to his soldiers before the battle.

Do not take the initiative in fighting, let them begin it. It is because by the Favour of Allah (swt) you are on the side of truth and justice. Leave them until they begin their hostilities and then you are at liberty to take to fighting. Their keenness to begin a battle will be another proof of your sincere belief in the orders of Allah (swt).

If Allah (swt) favours you with success and inflicts defeat to the enemy, then do not attack those who have surrendered, do not injure the disabled and weak, do not assault the wounded, do not excite women and do not make them angry with rude behaviour even if they use harsh and insulting words against your commander and officers because they are physically and mentally weak and get excited easily and frightened quickly. During the days of the Holy Prophet (peace of Allah (swt) be upon him and his descendants) we had strict orders not to touch, molest or insult women though they were unbelievers. Even in pre-Islamic days it was the custom that if a man struck a woman even with a stick or a stone, the revenge had to be taken by his sons and descendants.

Source: Nahjul Balaghah. Letter # 6.

Imam Alee (a.s) warned people about the danger that A'isha posed, underlying the fact that despite her acquiring the honour of being a wife of the Prophet (saw), she should not be under any delusion that she would be protected from the punishment of Allah (swt) nor held accountable for her actions.

"And the accountability is on Allah (swt) to take.”

Imam Alee (a.s) was warning the Ummah of what a volatile and dangerous woman she was. A woman who, through her hatred was misleading the masses to take up arms against him even though he (a.s) was the legitimate head of state and to whom obedience was compulsory. A'isha was exploiting her position as the wife of the Prophet (saw) as a means of convincing people of the correctness of her opposition to Imam Alee (a.s), and in consequence people were being led astray. Even according to Ammar ibn Yasir (r.a), there was a set division on either obeying Allah (swt) or obeying A'isha.


Narrated Aboo Maryam Abdullah bin Ziyad Al-Aasadi: When Talha, Az-Zubair and A'isha moved to Basra, Alee (a.s) sent Ammar bin Yasir (r.a) and Hassan bin Alee (a.s) who came to us at Kufa and ascended the pulpit. Al-Hasan bin Alee (a.s) was at the top of the pulpit and Ammar (r.a) was below Al-Hasan (a.s). We all gathered before him. I heard Ammar (r.a) saying, "A'isha has moved to Al-Basra. By Allah (swt)! She is the wife of your Prophet in this world and in the Hereafter. But Allah (swt) has put you to test whether you obey Him (Allah) or her (A'isha)."

Source: Saheeh Bukhari. Vol. 9, Book 88, Number 220.

Some may understand this narration to prove that A'isha will remain a wife of the Prophet (saw) in the hereafter, but we find Allah (swt) Himself explains how despite being a wife of the Prophet (saw), Allah (swt) would punish them double. According to some reports found in our books of Hadeeth, Imam Alee (a.s) was given the authority to divorce A'isha after his death. If this ever took place, it would in fact be favourable towards her, since the wives of the Prophet (saw) who commit immorality or obscenity receive double the punishment.

ينِسَآءَ النَّبِىِّ مَن يَأْتِ مِنكُنَّ بِفَـحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ يُضَاعَفْ لَهَا الْعَذَابُ ضِعْفَيْنِ وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيراً

O wives of the Prophet! Whoever of you should commit a clear immorality for her the punishment would be doubled two fold, and ever is that, for Allah, easy. 

Holy Qur'aan {33.30}

It is totally justifiable for a wife of the Prophet (saw) to receive double punishment due to their high status and the extra responsibility held in society in leading people. Hence, if they were to commit any Fahisha' (بِفَـحِشَةٍ), immorality or obscenity, they would be punished for their own as well as their adherents deviancy who blindly binded themselves to their honour and status into assuming adhering to their commands guaranteed success. Likewise, when they have done good, they are rewarded for their own good and those who have been led aright. 

On Whom Was The Verse Revealed About?


Qatada said: A man said: "If Allah's messenger (saw) died, I would marry A'isha." Hence Allah (swt) revealed, '{Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah's Messenger}' then revealed, '{and his wives are their mothers.}'

Source: Tafsir Al-Qurtubi. Vol. 17, Pg. # 209.


Nor to marry his wives after him at all. [Al-Ahzab 53] its reason (i.e. reason for it being revealed) was that some people said that if the Messenger of Allah (saw) would die, then they would marry A'isha. So Allah (swt) forbade the people from marrying the wives after him (saw), as an honour to him (saw).

Source: Tafsir Al-Kalbi. Vol. 2, Pg. # 195.

Ibn Sa'ad:

It is narrated by Muhammad bin Umar who said that Abdullah bin Ja'far told me that from the authority of ibn Abi Awn from Aboo Bakr bin Mohammed bin Amr bin Hazm about the verse of Allah (swt), "It is neither permissible for you to annoy the messenger of Allah (swt) nor that you should marry his wives after him for ever." (33:53) He said, "This verse was revealed against Talha bin Ubaydullah, hence he is the one who said, "If the Messenger of Allah died, I will marry A'isha."

Source: Tabaqat Al-Kabir. Vol. 10, Pg. # 191.


'The Chapter on what he (the Prophet (saw) has confirmed regarding that his wives are the mothers of the believers and that marrying them after him is prohibited for all the creation.'

Allah (swt) revealed: The Prophet (saw) has a greater authority upon the believers than they have on themselves, and his wives are their mothers. [Al-Ahzab 47] And He (swt) revealed: And it is not for you that you should hurt the Messenger of Allah, nor to marry his wives after him at all. [Al-Ahzab 53]

We were told by Alee, the son of Ahmad, the son of Abdaan, that Sulayman, the son of Ahmad Al-Lakhmi, said that Hassan, the son of Abbas Al-Razi, commended, Muhammad, the son of Hamid, commended, Mahran, the son of Abi-Umar, commended, Sufyan al-Thawri commended, of Dawud, the son of Abi-Hind, (who narrates) of Ikrima, of ibn Abbas said: A man from the companions of the Prophet (saw) said: "If the Messenger of Allah (saw) would die, I would marry A'isha or Umm Salama!" Then Allah the Exalted revealed the following verse: "And it is not for you that you should hurt the Messenger of Allah (saw), nor to marry his wives after him at all." Truly, that is in Allah's (swt) sight an enormity.

Source: Sunan Al-Bayhaqi. Vol. 7, Ch. 54, Pg. # 110, H. # 13418.

Abi Hatam:

"And his wives are their mothers" Qur'aan {33:6}

(17763) From ibn Abbas (r.a) in the saying of "And it not permitted for you to bother the Messenger of Allah." It was sent down to a man, that thought about marrying some of the Prophet's women (saw) Sufyan says: It was mentioned to be A'isha.

(17764) From Abdul Rahman son of Zaid ibn Aslam he said: It was reported that the Prophet (saw) was confronted with a man saying: "If the Messenger of Allah (saw) passes away, I shall marry a certain woman after him," and that used to bother the Prophet (saw), "It is not permissible for you to bother the Messenger of Allah."

(17765) From Al-Sada he said: It was reported that Talha son of Ubaydullah saying: "Would Muhammad back us away from the children of our uncle, and marry our women before us? If something happens to him we shall marry the women after him." And so the verse was revealed.

(17766) It was reported from Alee son of Hussain narrated from Muhammad son of Abi Hamad narration from Mahran from Sufyan from Dawood son of Abi Hind from Ikrimah from ibn Abbas in the saying, "And it is not permissible for you to bother the Messenger of Allah." He said: "It was speaking of a man that desired to marry some of the women of the Prophet (saw)." A man said to Sufyan and said: "Is it A'isha?" He said: "They mentioned that."

Source: Tafsir Al-Qur'aan ibn Abi Hatam. Vol. 9, Pg. # 3150.

Who Is The Mystery Man?

Ibn Kathir:

Allah (swt) had revealed these verses to expose the evil wish of 'Talha ibn Ubaydullah' who made a remark that he would marry A'isha after the death of the Prophet (saw). Thus Allah (swt) sought to remove such an option. This fact has been documented plethora in the books of Sunni sources:-

Abdul-Razzaq and Abdul bin Hamid and ibn Mundhir from Al-Qatadah who said, "Talha bin Ubaydullah said, if the Prophet (saw) will die, I will marry A'isha." Then the verse, 'It is neither befitting for you to annoy the messenger of Allah (saw) nor that you marry his wives after him for ever' was revealed!" And so Muqatel son of Hayan and Abdul Rahman son of Zaid son of Aslam he mentioned with his sanad that the one who said it was Talha son of Ubaydallah until the caution came in forbidding it. Therefore, the scholars unanimously agreed that if the Messenger of Allah (saw) dies, it is forbidden to marry any of his wives. It was reported from Alee son of Hussain narrated from Muhammad son of Abi Hamad narration from Mahran from Sufyan from Dawood son of Abi Hind from Ikrimah from ibn Abbas in the saying, "And it is not lawful for you to bother the Messenger of Allah (saw)." He said: It was speaking to a man that desired to marry some of the women of the Prophet (saw). A man said to Sufyan: "Is it A'isha?" He said: "They mentioned that."

Source: Tafsir ibn Kathir. Vol. 6, Pg. # 455.


Ibn Abi Hatim and ibn Mardawiya reported from ibn Abbas that Allah's (swt) words in, "It is neither befitting for you to annoy the messenger of Allah (saw) nor that you marry his wives after him for ever." Ibn Abbas said that the verse was revealed in connection to a man who vowed that he will marry some of the Prophet's (saw) wives after his demise. Sufyan said, "the wife who was to be married was A'isha!"

Ibn Jarir and ibn Abi Hatim narrated from Abdul Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam who said that, the Prophet of Allah (saw) was informed about a man who said, "If the messenger of Allah (saw) died, I will marry so and so after him." This statement used to annoy the messenger of Allah (saw) a lot, then the verse, "It is neither befitting for you to annoy the messenger of Allah (saw) nor that you marry his wives after him for ever" was revealed.

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated from As-Sadee who said that, "We heard that Talha bin Ubaydullah said that, is Muhammad has kept a partition from our uncle’s daughters and then marries our women after that? But if anything happened to him I will marry his wives after him."

Abdul-Razzaq and Abdul bin Hamid and ibn Mundhir from Al-Qatadah who said that, Talha bin Ubaydullah said, "If the Prophet (saw) will die, I will marry A'isha." Then the verse, 'It is neither befitting for you to annoy the messenger of Allah (saw) nor that you marry his wives after him for ever' was revealed!

Source: Al-Durr Al-Manthur Fi Tafsir Bil-Ma'thur. Vol. 12, Pg. # 112. 

Allamah Sanhani:

Abdul Razzaq, of Mu'ammir, of Qatada, that a man said: "If the Prophet (saw) was catched (i.e. his life would be catched by Allah (swt)), then 'fulana' (such a woman) would marry, meaning A'isha." Then Allah (swt) sent down: "And it is not for you that you should hurt the Messenger of Allah (saw), nor to marry his wives after him at all." [Al-Ahzab 53]. Abdul Razzaq: Mu'ammir said: "I heard that this man was Talha bin Ubaydullah."

Source: Tafsir Al-Qur'aan. Vol. 2, Pg. # 122.

We appeal to justice. An individual that openly declares his intention to marry his friend’s wife whilst his friend is alive well evidences what a shameful, disrespectful individual he is towards his friend, since he is openly declaring that he has designs on his spouse in the eventuality of him dying. From a cultural perspective, the wife of a friend affords the utmost respect and is 'out of bounds' for one to even contemplate forming any form of marital bond with her. No man with an iota of decency would ever contemplate developing such form of a relationship with his friend’s wife and to make matters worse, to go and make such a public declaration. This shows what utter disregard such an individual has for his friend, since it is in effect a public declaration of his desire to develop a spousal relationship with his wife. It could well be that this friend may develop a relationship and marry the widow after the husbands demise with no bone of contention were such a relationship to develop. BUT to openly declare one’s intention whilst the friend remains alive is an open declaration that feelings for your friends wife exist which serves to prove what a shameless, disloyal individual this friend is. This open intention invites others to question the character of a completely innocent woman, which is humiliating, embarrassing and completely unacceptable.

No decent man would ever contemplate conducting himself in such a shameless manner towards a friend. The more one respects or loves such a person, the more remote such a likelihood becomes. Yet here, we have an alleged Sahaba openly declaring his intention to marry the wife of the Prophet (saw) when he dies. In doing so, he has in effect compared her to some household item that he so desires and has set down a deposit for it to ensure that he can collect it at a later date! The relationship between a Prophet and his subject is far greater than one involving friendship, one wherein the subject must profess and exhibit the utmost respect and love for the Prophet (saw). Additionally, an individual should never do anything that would impede on that relationship, and worse still, cause embarrassment and humiliation to the Prophet (saw).  

A few points to consider:

  • What sort of respect for the Prophet (saw) was Talha seeking to evidence when he was openly stating that he would marry his (saw) wife when he (saw) departed? 

  • Would the Prophet (saw) appreciate such a public declaration, or would he be embarrassed and humiliated by it? 
  • How would A'isha feel by the fact that another man was openly declaring his desire to marry her were she to become widowed? Would she feel comforted and impressed by such a declaration or would she be outraged and appalled by it? 

And what about the onlookers:

  • Would they feel that Talha's intention was a noble act or one that was shameful and unacceptable? 

  • What attitude would they form of A'isha? Would they not start questioning her character, wondering why Talha took it upon himself to profess his desire to have A'isha in his grasp in the future? 
  • Would such a declaration not lead people to ponder what A'isha may have done which caused Talha to publicly profess his future desire to marry her in the future? After all, as they say, "there is no smoke without fire."

  • If all the Sahaba are just and truthful, were Talha's actions pursuant to the action of a just and truthful individual?

  • If they have no umbrage with Talha's actions, can Salafi's notify us how often they have implemented the Sunnah of Talha and openly declared their intentions to marry their Shaykh's wives when they die?

The fact is, Talha's conduct was inexcusable. We are yet to find any form of Sunni mitigation that might justify his shameless conduct. One would have assumed having publicly declared his affection for A'isha, she would have sought to distance herself from him as much as possible so as to prevent people from questioning about her character. Yet we learn, in despite of this, A'isha happily chooses Talha as her journey companion in her nefarious, seditious campaign against Imam Alee (a.s). A journey wherein Talha accompanied her from her home in Madinah up to the plains of Jamal! The verse and their respective Sunni commentaries shed light on the fact that:

1. The nexus between the Prophet (saw) and his wives is an unbreakable one.
2. No man can marry a wife of the Prophet (saw) after his death.

and we are yet to see that:

3. This rule extends to those the Prophet (saw) divorced.

This makes logical sense. Once the wives have been given the moniker of 'mothers of the believers,' the believers are precluded from ever forging marital links with them even if he (saw) divorced them. It is just like a son who is prohibited from marrying any woman that his father had. With this fact in mind, allow us to now present some facts on the history of a less famous wife of the Prophet (saw) who once was Ummal Mo'mineen but later apostatized from the path of Allah (swt).

Prophet (saw) Died Angry With Talha ibn Ubaydullah For Wanting To Marry A'isha!

Abdullah ibn Wahab:

Ibn Wahab narrated to us, who said: Al-Layth bin Sa'd narrated to me that Talha bin Ubaydullah said: "When the Prophet (saw) passes away, I will marry A'isha." And the Qur'aan revealed: "And it does not behove you that you should give trouble to the Messenger of Allah (saw), nor that you should marry his wives after him ever; surely this is grievous in the sight of Allah (swt)!" {33:53}. Al-Layth said: "A'isha, the daughter of his uncle, because he is from her tribe!" He said: "And I thought that Umar, when he said, "The Prophet (saw) has died while he was mad at Talha," was about this situation.

Source: Tafsir Al-Qur'aan. Vol. 2, Pg. # 164 - 165.

Aboo Ja'far Al-Tahawi:

A chapter on revealing the disagreement from what Aboo Bahriyyah narrated from Umar about Talha bin Ubaydullah about the death of the Prophet (saw), that he was angry on him.

Narrated to us by Ibraheem bin Abi Dawood, who said: Narrated to us by Ahmad bin Shu'aib bin Sa'eed, who said: Narrated to us by my father, from Yunus bin Yazeed, from ibn Sahaab, who said: Abd Al-Malik bin Marwan used to narrate from Abi Bahriyyah that Umar went to a gathering wherein Uthman, Alee (a.s), Talha, Al-Zubair and Abd Al-Rahman bin Awf were present. So Umar said to them: "All of you ascribe the leadership to yourselves after me!" So they remained silent. So Umar said to them: "Do all of you ascribe the leadership to yourselves after me?" So Al-Zubair said: "Yes." And he viewed it to be a good thing to him. He said: "Shall I not tell you about yourselves?" So Al-Zubair said: "Tell us, and if we remain silent keep on telling us." He (Umar) said: "As for you O Zubair! You are a believer when satisfied, a disbeliever when angry, one day you're a devil, and one day a human being. So have you witnessed (yourself) one day being a devil? To whom will be the leadership that day? As for you O Talha! Wallahi, the Prophet (saw) died while he was displeased with you. As for you O Alee (a.s)! You joke too much. As for you O Abd Al-Rahman! Wallahi, you are worthy of it because of what Allah Almighty has given you. And among you is a man (i.e. Uthman), if his belief were to be divided among a soldier of the soldiers, he would encompass them.

Al-Zubaydi narrated this Hadeeth from Al-Zuhri. And Umro bin Al-Harith Al-Fahmi entered in the chain of narrators between Al-Zuhri and Abd Al-Malik. Narrated so and so from Umro bin Al-Harith Al-Fahmi that Abd Al-Malik bin Marwan used to narrate from Abi Bahriyyah Al-Kindi that he told him that Umar went to a gathering wherein Uthman bin Affan and Alee bin Abi Talib (a.s) were present. He mentioned the Hadeeth, and he added at its end that Uthman bin Affan is the one that would encompass them.

Source: Sharih Mashakil Al-Athar. Vol. 12, Pg. # 477 - 478.

Arna'ut says that Yunus ibn Yazeed is Munkar Al-Hadeeth when narrating from Al-Zuhri whereas he himself authenticates his narrations in Musnad Ahmad and in Tahreer Taqreeb Al-Tahdheeb and says that Yunus is trustworthy in his narrations from Zuhri and from others. He also somewhat degrades Abdul Malik ibn Marwan their Khalifa, whereas ibn Umar and Mu'awiyah praise him and say that he is a Faqih. Why the double standards?

Authentication Of Yunus ibn Yazeed

Ibn Hajar:

'..Yunus has told me from Al-Zuhri' 

Authentic hadeeth: Alee ibn Ishaq and he is Al-Salmi Mulhim Al-Murzi, he is Thiqah (trustworthy), one of the narrators of Al-Timridhi and above him are Thiqah (trustworthy) narrators from Shaikhayn i.e (Saheeh Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim). Abdullah, he is ibn Al- Mubarak and Yunus he is son of Yazeed Al-Yali.

Source: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Vol. 10, Pg. # 113.

Ibn Hajar:

"Yunus bin Yazeed bin Abi Al-Nijaad Al-Ayli, servant of the family of Aboo Sufyan; He is Thiqah, but only in his narrations from Al-Zuhri, and those are only a few. And in (the narrations from) others than Al-Zuhri, there are mistakes. He is of the greatest of the seventh generation, he died in the year 59 A.H, which is the correct view. It is also said that he died in the year 60 A.H."

Rather, he is Thiqah and an Imam in (his narrations from) Al-Zuhri and others. The Imams have consensus about him being trusworthy. And a group of scholars have taken his narrations as proofs. And he is in the high levels of the companions of Al-Zuhri. Ibn Mo'een said: His narrations from Al-Zuhri, Malik, Mu'ammar, Yunus, Aqeel and Shu'ayb ibn Abi Hamza and ibn Uyaina are the best memorised narrations. And Ahmad mentioned in a narration that most of his from Al-Zuhri are from Aqeel. Ibn Mubarak counted him as the person who narrated the most from Al-Zuhri, because an abundance of his narrations are from Al-Zuhri. Some Hadeeths that he narrates from Al-Zuhri may go against some other companions of Zuhri, but so what? (i.e. it is a normal thing).

Source: Tahreer Taqreeb Al-Tahdheeb. Vol. 4, Pg. # 141 - 142.

Here, the Sahaba, Mu'awiyah and Ibn Umar praise Abdul Malik Al-Marwan, yet we have Ar'naut do the opposite. 


Mu'awiyah And Ibn Umar Talk About Abdul Malik ibn Marwan.

Ibn Al-Fadhl Al-Qattan told us, he said; Abdullah ibn Ja'far ibn Darstuweyh narrated to us, he said; Ya'qoob ibn Sufyan told us, he said; Sa'eed ibn Asad told us, he said; Damra narrating Raja' ibn Aboo Salama narrating Ubada ibn Nusay, narrated to us, he said; ibn Umar has been told, "You, the folk of Quraysh! Old men are about to disappear [die], therefore whom should we ask after your demise?" Then he said, "Marwan has a son knowledgeable about [religious] jurisprudence, so ask him."

Aboo Al-Husayn ibn Beshran told us, he said; Al-Husayn ibn Safwan Al-Burdu'i told us, he said; Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Aboo Dunya narrated to us, he said; Alee ibn Muslim told me, he said; Abdullah ibn Bakr Al-Sahmi told us, he said; Bishr Aboo Nasr narrated to us that Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan came to Mu'awiyah and Amr ibn Al-Aas was present too. Then he made salutations and sat down, then he stood up and Mu'awiyah said, "How complete is the manliness of this young man?" Then Amr said, "O prince of believers! He sticks by four traits and has abandoned three. He abides by the best of cheerfulness when meeting someone, and the best speech when he talks, and the best listening when being talked to, and the least arguments if being disagreed with, and abandoned joking with someone whom intellect and religion cannot be entrusted, and he abandoned sitting with sordid [mean] people, and he abandoned talks that [he] he must ask excuse for [saying it]."

Source: Tarikh Al-Baghdad. Vol. 12, Pg. # 127 - 128.

Authentication of Aboo Bahriyyah


Aboo Bahriyyah, he is Abdullah bin Yunus bin Qays Al-Kindi Al-Turaghimi Al-Himsi; He is from the greatest Tabi'een, he witnessed the sermon of Umar in Jabi'ah (a place in Syria). He narrated from Umar, Ma'aadh, Aboo Darda, Aboo Huraira and some people.

Source: Siyar A'lam An-Nu'bala. Vol. 4, Pg. # 594, Person # 332.

Allah (swt) clearly states that it is not permissible to marry any of the wives of the Prophet (saw) after his demise, so why even contemplate on such an idea in the first place? Why make a public declaration of it?

يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ بُيُوتَ النَّبِىِّ إِلاَّ أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَى طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَـظِرِينَ إِنَـهُ وَلَـكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُواْ فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانْتَشِرُواْ وَلاَ مُسْتَأْنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِى النَّبِىِّ فَيَسْتَحْيِى مِنكُمْ وَاللَّهُ لاَ يَسْتَحْىِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَـعاً فَاسْـَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَآءِ حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تؤْذُواْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلاَ أَن تَنكِحُواْ أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَداً إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيماً

O you who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses, unless permission is given to you for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation. But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse without sitting for a talk. Verily, such (behavior) annoys the Prophet, and he is shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allah is not shy of (telling you) the truth. And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allah's Messenger, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him (his death). Verily, with Allah that shall be an enormity.

Holy Qur'aan: {33.53}


"And his wives are their mothers" Qur'aan {33:6} means that they are like their mothers in the sanctity, equaling His Word - may He be praised: "And a Garden as wide as the Heavens and the Earth" Qur'aan {3:133} meaning like the Heavens. Allah (swt) wanted to maximize their right and sanctity, and that marrying them is not allowed neither during the life of the Prophet (saw) if he would have divorced them, nor after his departure. They are prohibited for every believer like the sanctity of his mother, and the evidence for this deeper interpretation is that it is not prohibited for a child to see his mother, meanwhile Allah (swt) had made it prohibited for strangers to see them, neither should they (the mothers) inherit them (the strangers), nor should they (the strangers) inherit them (the mothers). So they are the mothers of the believers from the aspect of the sanctity, and the prohibition of their marriage of them. Sufyan narrates of Kharash, of Al-Sha'bi, of Masruq, who said: "A woman said to A'isha: 'O mother!' Then she said: 'I am not a mother to you. I am only a mother to your men.'

Source: Al-Kashf Wa'l-Bayan an Tafsir Al-Qur'aan. Vol. 8, Pg. # 9.


And ibn Abi-Hatim narrated of a fighter, on His Word: And his wives are their mothers Qur'aan {33:6}, who said: "They are their mothers in the sanctity. It is not allowed for any believer to marry a woman from the wives of the Prophet (saw) during his life if he would have divorced her, and neither after his demise. She is prohibited for every believer similarly as the sanctity of his mother."

Source: Al-Durr Al-Manthur Fi Tafsir Bil-Ma'thur. Vol. 11, Pg. # 728. 

Objection Two

Just because a man has the intention to marry someone elses wife, it does not mean that the wife of that person would have behaved immodestly. All the narrations that suggest this was the same Talha ibn Ubaydullah who was guaranteed paradise are weak, rather it was a different Talha. Either way he repented for his actions.

Response Two

Ibn Taymiyyah:

It is obvious that what has been narrated in Tafsir most of it is like what has been narrated about Maghazi and future prophecies and that is why Imam Ahmad said: "Three things have no chain: Tafsir, Prophecies and Al-Maghazi, he believed that there is no chain in them because most of them are Mursal 'hurried'."

Source: Majmu' Al-Fataawa. Vol. 13, Pg. # 346.

Ibn Hatim:

A group of my brothers requested me to write a brief commentary on Qur'aan with the most authentic chains, therefore I respond to their request and Allah (swt) grants success.

Source: Tafsir Al-Qur'aan Al-Adheem. Vol. 1, Pg. # 14.

The fact that some narrations also mention that Talha wanted to marry A'isha or Umm Salma merely shows what a horrendous individual he was, treating the wives of the Prophet (saw) like goods in a supermarket that he could put a deposit down for now and pick up at a later date! Whether it was one Talha or another Talha is an irrelevant issue. The fact of the matter is, it was the shameless comments of a companion called Talha that caused the revelation of this verse. The identity of the true Talha is completely irrelevant for the purpose of this discussion. The fact is, this verse descended to counter the machinations of a shameless individual who openly declared his desire to marry a wife of the Prophet (saw). This verse therefore descended as a forthwith rebuttal to his shameless intentions, by declaring wives of the Prophet (saw) as Mothers of the Believers a permanent remora was placed on the matters, no believer was permitted to marry any wife of the Prophet (saw) from thereon in. The cause for the revelation is thus simply to curtail any man from marrying any wife of the Prophet (saw) after him, it has no other significance other than that, if it did then the duty to honour and respect the wives of Prophet (saw) would be one incumbent upon all believers irrelevant of gender and yet, as discussed earlier, A'isha ruled that out by making it clear that the title, 'Ummul Mo'mineen' only referred to male believers not females!

As for the suggestion that we are alleging immodesty on the part of A'isha that caught the eye of Talha, we wish to make it clear that this was not our intention, rather it was simply to point out that a man that publicly declares his interest in the wife of another man, will automatically cause tongues to wag, with people becoming suspicious of the wife, with the thought of, "there is no smoke without fire." Clearly such a public declaration would be damaging to the character of A'isha and Umm Salma, and we were seeking to reflect what people may have thought. We know that the community were not particularly sympathetic or supportive towards A'isha, if one for example looks at the incident of Ifk as narrated by her in Saheeh Bukhari, we see how there was no showing of public support for her when she had been accused of zinah. Not a single Sahabi sought to silence the tongue of the man behind the slander even when the Prophet (saw) appealed for retribution in a public sermon in the mosque of the Prophet (saw).

One finds it ironic that our critics are seeking to accuse the Shi'a of attributing immodesty to A'isha when it is their very own books that state that widow A'isha breast fed her male servant and allowed three different men to have a sleep over at her apartment on three separate occasions all of whom experienced wet dreams whilst residing therein. Perhaps the Nawasib can enlighten us on what they would opine if they witnessed a widow of their Shaykh placing her nipples in the mouth of another man, or saw men having sleep overs in her home who thereafter returned home in a sexually impure state. Would they uphold such a woman as a beacon of morality? Despite this, you have no qualms about portraying the wife of the Prophet (saw) in such a manner.

Who was Qutaylah bint Qays bin Ma'd Yakri al-Kindiya?

Mohibuddin Tabari:

Qutaylah bin Qays (r.a)

Qutaylah bin Qays (r.a) or Fatilah bint Qays ibn Ma'dikarab Kindiyah was the eight women. She was the sister of Ash'ath ibn Qays Kindi. The Prophet (saw) married her in 10 A.H but even before she could come to her native land Hadramawt, the Prophet (saW) died in 11 A.H. It also said that he married her just two months before his death. Some authorities state that before his death, the Prophet (saw) had given instructions concerning her that she should be given the option to adopt veil and enlist among the mothers of believers or to separate and marry whoever she like.

She opted to separate and married Ikrimah ibn Hadramwat. When Aboo Bakr learn of it, he said "I shall burn her house too. Why did she do such a thing?" Umar dissuaded him from carrying out his intentions because she was not one of the mothers of believers. She had not been alone with the Prophet (saw) (consumated the marriage) and the veil of his wives had not been imposed on her.

Some scholars argue that the Prophet (saw) had not given any instruction about her. When her brother apostate, she also chose to apostate. This is why Umar advised against punishing her. Jurjani said that her brother had married her to the Prophet (saw) but before she could be taken to him, he died. Then Ikrimah married her but they had no children.

Ibn Sa'd narrated from Ibn Abbas that when Asma bint Numan sought refuge from the Prophet (saw), he came our, anger visible on his face. When Asht'ath ibn Qays (r.a) saw him, he offered to marry his sister to him and he agreed. After the marriage was contracted, Ash'tah returned to his native land Hadramwat to bring his sister to the Prophet (saw).

While they were on their journey to Madinah, they learn the Prophet (saw) death. He took his sister home and both of them became apostate. Naturally, her marriage to the Prophet (saw) became void and she married Qays ibn Maksuh. 

Source: The Mother of the Believers. Pg. # 192 - 193.


Ibn Athir:

Qutaylah is the daughter of Qays son of Ma'ad Yukrib Al-Kindya; sister of Ash'ath son of Qays. Messenger of Allah (saw) married her in the 10th year (of Hijra) but soon complained, he passed away; she wasn't brought to him and he never saw her neither did he enter her. It was said that he married her a month before his death. It is also narrated that The Prophet (saw) willed to let her choose, if she wanted she could wear the veil and so she becomes forbidden for the Muslims, or if she wants she can divorce him so she can choose who she wants to marry. She chose to be seperated, so she was given a divorce and Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl married her. So Aboo Bakr was informed of this and he said: "I was urged to (thought of) burning the house over them." Umar in response said: "She is not the mother of believers, he didn't enter into her, or make her wear the veil." 

It was said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) did not will for her anything, but did not enter into her, she apostatized with her brother when he apostatised and so then Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl married her. Aboo Bakr wanted to stone her but Umar said, "The Holy Prophet (saw) did not enter her and she isn't the Mother of the Believers so Allah (swt) is innocent of the apostatised so Aboo Bakr was silent.

With regards to her (Qutaylah) and other wives of the Holy Prophet (saw) whom were not entered there is great debate and skepticism, that has not resulted in any further benefit to the validation of the issue, and we have mentioned about every wife what  has been narrated about her. And Allah  (swt) knows. Narrated by Abu Naim and Aboo Umar and Aboo Musa.

Source: Usud ul-Ghaybah. Pg. # 234 - 235, Person # 7219. 

Abd al-Barr:

Qutaylah bint Qays bin Ma'd Yakri al-Kindiya

She was the sister of Al-Ash'ath bin Qays.

And the correct is Qatila. She married the Messenger of Allah - may blessings be upon him - in year 10...She had not come forth to him, and neither did he see her, nor 'enter' upon her. And some said: His marriage to her took place two months before his demise. And others claimed that he married her during his sickness.

And some of them said: That he (saw) ordered that she should be left to choose; if she wished, he would cast the veil on her and she would be prohibited for the believers; and if she wished, she would marry whoever she liked. So she chose marriage, then Ikrimah bin Aboo Jahl married her in Hadhramut, and when it (the news) reached Aboo Bakr, he said: "I will burn their house upon them." Then Umar said to him: "She is not of the mothers of the believers, and neither did he (the Prophet) 'enter' upon her, nor did he cast the veil on her!"

And Al-Jarjani said: Her brother married her to him (saw) then he (saw) died before she went out of Yemen. Then 'Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl succeeded him (i.e. succeeded the Prophet (saw) in marrying her).

And some of them said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) did not order her anything, but she apostasized when her brother apostasized, so Umar argued to Aboo Bakr that she is not of the wives of the Prophet (saw) due to her apostasy. And she did not give birth from Ikrimah bin Aboo Jahl, and there is a lot of of disagreement on her.

Source: Al-Isaba Fi Tamyiz Al-Sahaba. Vol. 2, Pg. # 1903 - 1904, Person # 4069.

وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تؤْذُواْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلاَ أَن تَنكِحُواْ أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَداً إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيماً

And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allah's Messenger, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him (his death)

Holy Qur'aan: {33:53}
The Qur'aan and Hadeeth confirm that the believers are prohibited from marrying the wives of the Prophet (saw) as infinitum. However, the companions ignore this and allow for a wife of the Prophet (saw) to be married to a Sahabi (companion). If any Sunni mitigation is submitted suggesting that this was acceptable as the marriage was never consummated, there is nothing in Shari'ah to suggest that a marriage is only valid if it is consummated. Once the Nikah of the Prophet (saw) has been read, that bond is created, meaning that it is Haraam for any believer to marry her thereafter. The fact that the Nikah has been entered automatically means the rule applies and there exists no exemption to it. Even if he (saw) subsequently divorces that woman, the fact that she had at one point in her life become a spouse of the Prophet (saw) precludes the men of the Ummah from marrying them from that date. From a legal perspective, we know that a man is prevented from marrying any woman his father marries. She becomes automatically Haraam to the son even if the marriage is never consummated or he divorces her at a later date. This fact is also confirmed from the rulings of the so-called 'Ahl us Sunnah' scholars themselves:-

A few points to consider:

  • The Prophet (saw) married Qutaylah during his life.

  • Qutaylah apostated after the death of the Prophet (saw).
  • This wife married Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl a Companion.
  • The Sheikhayn, namely Aboo Bakr threatened to burn her house down. Who else's house did they burn? Was this a common practice?

  • Is it in the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) to burn the house of those who apostated, especially a wife of a Prophet?
  • Would the Present day Nawaasib refer to Qutaylah as, 'Ummal Mo'mineen?'

Objection Three

There are no specific narrations pertaining to Qutayla's marriage with the Prophet (saw). It remains an uncertainty that she was included in the mothers of the believers. When the Prophet (saw) took a woman as his wife, he would veil her and it has been mentioned that Qutayla was not veiled and hence was not a wife of the Prophet (saw).

Response Three

It seems like the opponents have not quite understood the sequence of events which took place between the Prophet (saw) and Qutayla bint Qays.

The narration in Usdul Ghaba indicates that the Prophet (saw) gave Qutayla an ultimatum of whether she wished to remain his (saw) wife or not. The mention of 'divorce' in the narration pertains to the fact that Qutayla was married to the Prophet (saw), and thus held the title of 'Ummul Mo'mineen.' It was during his (saw) marriage that this choice was put before her in that she could either remain married to the Prophet (saw) and wear the veil which meant it would become forbidden for any other man to marry her, or she relieves herself of the bond with the Prophet (saw) and thus no longer falls under the category of being 'Ummul Mo'mineen' and is free to marry whosoever she wills. 

Qutayla chose to free herself from the Prophet (saw) and thereafter married Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl. Thus Aboo Bakr became infuriated at the thought of the whole incident and threatened to burn her house down. Umar then confirms that Qutayla no longer held the status of being 'Ummul Mo'mineen' and the Prophet (saw) did not make her wear the veil since he (saw) was no longer married to her and hence she was free to do what she so desired. In no way do these hadeeth quoted refer to Qutayla not being married to the Prophet (saw) but in fact, quite to the contrary.

Now consider the facts we have before us. We have a wife who has apostatized from the path of Allah (swt), and a companion marrying a wife of the Prophet (saw) with the blessing of another companion by the name of Umar ibn Shoo'haq, who according to some sources actively arranged this union. Is this not a flagrant violation of Surah Ahzab? Does the ruling of the Sahabah being 'just and truthful' apply to the two men that openly defy a Divine Qur'aanic ordinance prohibiting the believers from marrying the wives of the Prophet (saw)? What is the Sunni verdict on any man that openly acts against a Qur'aanic injunction? If we can apply this very same principle of apostasy with this wife who is no longer considered 'Ummal Mo'mineen' why shouldn't the other wives be exempt from this very rule? The Holy Qur'aan is rather clear and has left an injunction. Now, did individuals such as A'isha and Hafsah adhere to what was revealed upon them, despite the fact that the Holy Qur'aan (33.33) ordered them to stay in their houses? These are the very same individuals who lied upon the Prophet (saw) for having bad breath as revealed in Surah Tahreem which is confirmed by all Sunni sources, and in this very same chapter they are compared to the women of Hell fire. Do these really sound like women who should be addressed as 'Mothers of Believers?' How can these very same individuals who are capable of lying to the Prophet (saw) with no mention in the Holy Qur'aan pertaining to their repentance of this incident, be deemed trustworthy in what they narrate? We leave it for the Sunnis to try and justify it to their adherents!

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