Thursday, 9 April 2009

Did Muhammad commit adultery? Part two

Not only, he married his adopted son’s former spouse...                    

Some answers to common ways of “damage control” by Muslims:

Some Muslims, in seeking to justify this marriage of Muhammad to Zaynab, argue that the latter was not happy with her marriage due primarily to her status. It is claimed that Zaynab came from a wealthy tribe and influential background, whereas Zayd, Muhammad’s adopted son, was poor and had at one time been Muhammad’s slave. She had married Zayd on the orders of Muhammad since he wanted to use this marital bond for the purpose of destroying class barriers. In the words of professor Jeffery Lang, a convert to Islam with several books under his belt:

… Muslim writers assert that the Prophet had arranged the marriage with the idea of shattering the ancient Arabian barrier against a slave or even a former slave marrying a "free-born" woman. Tradition says that Zaynab and her brother were at first against the marriage, as Zaynab had always desired to marry Muhammad, but in deference to the Prophet and with great reservation, Zaynab and her brother (acting as Zaynab’s.. guardian) finally consented to it. Zayd was also not disposed to the union, for he was already happily married to another freed slave, Umm Ayman. As much as the Prophet wanted to use the marriage to break down class barriers, the betrothed were still conditioned by them. For Zayd, the marriage was a source of embarrassment and humiliation, and Zaynab made no secret of her dislike of Zayd. On several occasions the couple were about to divorce, but each time the Prophet persuaded them to persevere and not to separate, for "he was apprehensive of the talk that would arise if it became known that the marriage, arranged by him had turned out to be unhappy." Eventually, after several years of marital strife, Zayd divorced Zaynab, and shortly thereafter the Prophet married her. While the Qur’an indicates the divine purpose of marrying Zaynab to the Prophet was to "show that--contrary to what pagan Arabs believed--an adoptive relationship does not involve any of the marriage-restrictions which result from actual, biological parent-and-child relations," it also allowed the Prophet to "make mends for Zaynab’s past unhappiness."
(Lang, Losing my Religion: A Call For Help [Amana Publications, 2004], pp. 159-160)

We will show why Lang’s explanation of the situation that led to Muhammad marrying Zaynab doesn’t really resolve the problem for Muslims. In fact, it actually further complicates matters and introduces additional problems. Lang apparently didn’t realize the problems that the stated Muslim position presents since his appeal to the Muslim view casts Zaynab, one of "the mothers of believers", in a very negative light, one in which I am sure that Muslims will not be pleased with.

The first problem with Lang’s claim is that it implies that Muhammad forced Zaynab and Zayd into personal unhappiness merely to "make a point". He sacrificed the happiness of two people close to him for his own purposes. Now, if two people from different backgrounds had been in love, and Muhammad had helped them to overcome the resistance and obstacles placed before them by their families that would have been great, and he could have made the same point much more strongly that way. But forcing people to marry who do not want to be married is not acceptable. The very formulation, "to make mends …" reveals that Muhammad had acted wrongly and unjustly, since why would he have to make amends if what he did was right?

Secondly, the later divorce showed that he failed. Even though there was a good motivation behind it in some respect, the fact that the very purpose of it was not established shows that Muhammad misjudged the situation, and acted wrongly.

More importantly, the most incriminating aspect of Lang’s version of the events is that it shows Zaynab looking down on one of the most beloved persons to Muhammad and one of the most outstanding of the Muslims. In order to see just how incriminating Lang’s version of the story is, all we need to do is to recall who Zayd ibn Harithah was. Zayd was a freed slave of Muhammad’s who was then adopted by the latter to be his son. Zayd was even called the son of Muhammad for a period of time until the verse prohibiting adoption was given:

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar: We used not to call Zaid bin Haritha the freed slave of Allah's Apostle except Zaid bin Muhammad till the Qur’anic Verse was revealed: "Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers. That is more than just in the Sight of Allah." (33.5) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 305 )

Yahya related to me … the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, adopted Zayd ibn Haritha. He thought of him as his son, and Abu Hudhayfa married him to his brother's sister, Fatima bint al-Walid ibn Utba ibn Rabia, who was at that time among the first emigrants. She was one of the best unmarried women of the Quraysh. When Allah the Exalted sent down in His Book what He sent down about Zayd ibn Haritha, 'Call them after their true fathers. That is more equitable in the sight of Allah. If you do not know who their fathers were then they are your brothers in the deen and your mawali,' (Surah 33 ayat 5) people in this position were traced back to their fathers. When the father was not known, they were traced to their mawla… (Malik's Muwatta, Book 30, Number 30.2.12 )

And: Ibn al-Qayyim said: Zayd ibn Haarithah ibn Shuraaheel, the beloved of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He freed him and arranged his marriage to his freed slave woman Umm Ayman, and she bore him Usaamah. His other slaves include Aslam, Abu Raafi', Thawbaan, Abu Kabshah Sulaym, Shaqraan (whose name was Saalih), Rabaah (who was Nubian), Yassaar (who was also Nubian and was killed by the 'Arniyeen); Mid'am and Kirkirah (another Nubian) – these two were killed at Khaybar. They also included Anjashah al-Haadi and Safeenah ibn Farookh, whose real name was Mihraan, but the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called him Safeenah (="ship") because they used to make him carry their luggage when they traveled, so he said, "You are a ship (anta safeenah)." Abu Haatim said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) freed him; someone else said that Umm Salamah freed him. The Prophet's slaves also included Anasah, whose nickname was Abu Mashrah; Aflah; 'Ubayd; Tahmaan – also known as Keesaan; Dhakwaan; Mihraan; Marwaan – although it was said that this was another name of Tahmaan, and Allaah knows best; Hunayn; Sandar; Fudaalah (who was Yemeni); Maaboor (who was a eunuch); Waaqid; Abu Waaqid; Qassaam; Abu 'Usayb and Abu Muwayhabah. His female slaves included: Salma (Umm Raafi'); Maymoonah bint Sa'd; Khadrah; Radwa; Razeenah; Umm Dameerah; Maymoonah bint Abi 'Usayb; Maariyah and Rayhaanah. Zaad al-Ma'aad, 1/114-116 ...

Islam Q&A ( (Source;

What most people may not be aware of is the reason why Muhammad freed Zayd and then adopted him into his family. According to Muslims sources, sometime before professing to be Allah's apostle, Muhammad had adopted Zayd after the latter had expressly refused to be freed and returned to his family. Another renowned Muslim author, Martin Lings, gives us the details: When the pilgrims returned home with their tidings, Harithah at once set off to Mecca with his brother, Ka‘b; and going to Muhammad they begged him to allow them to ransom Zayd, for as high a price as he might ask. "Let him choose," said Muhammad, "and if he chooses you, he is yours without ransom; and if he chooses me, I am not a man to set any other above him who chooseth me." Then he called Zayd and asked him if he knew the two men. "This is my father," said the youth, "and this is mine uncle." "Me thou knowest," said Muhammad, "and thou hast seen my companionship unto thee, so choose thou between me and them." But Zayd’s choice was already made and he said at once: "I would not choose any man in preference to thee. Thou art unto me as my father and my mother." "Out upon thee, O Zayd!" exclaimed the men of Kalb. "Wilt thou choose slavery above freedom, and above thy father and thine uncle and thy family?" "It is even so," said Zayd, "for I have seen from this man such things that I could never choose another above him."

ll further talk was cut short by Muhammad who now bade them come with him to the Ka‘bah; and, standing in the Hijr, he said in a loud voice: "All ye who are present, bear witness that Zayd is my son; I am his heir and he is mine."

The father and the uncle had thus to return with their purpose unachieved. But the tale they had to tell their tribe, of the deep mutual love which had brought this adoption, was not an inglorious one; and when they saw Zayd was free, and established in honour, with what promised to be a high standing amongst the people of the Sanctuary such as might benefit his brothers and other kinsmen in years to come, they were reconciled and went their way without bitterness. From that day the new Hashimite was known in Mecca as Zayd ibn Muhammad. (Lings, Muhammad: His Life based on the earliest Sources [Inner Traditions International, Ltd., Rochester, Vermont 1983], p. 38)

Zayd refused to be emancipated by his own family but chose, instead, to remain Muhammad’s slave. This is all about love and devotion, and this was what precipitated Muhammad’s releasing Zayd and adopting him as a son.

There are other reports which show just how much Muhammad loved Zayd and his offspring:

Narrated Aisha: Zayd ibn Harithah came to Medina when Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was in my house. When he came to him and knocked at the door Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) got up and went to him naked, trailing his garment. I swear by Allah that neither before nor after that did I ever see him naked. He then embraced him and kissed him.
Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 1220- ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: Umar allotted to Usamah three thousand five hundred and to Abdullah ibn Umar three thousand, so Abdullah ibn Umar said to his father, "Why have you treated Usamah as superior to me? I swear by Allah that he has never reached to any battle before me." He replied, "It is because Zayd was dearer to Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) than your father and Usamah was dearer to Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) than you, so I have given preference to the one who was beloved by Allah's Messenger over the one who is loved by me." Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 1633- ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Narrated 'Aisha: The people of Quraish worried about the lady from Bani Makhzum who had committed theft. They asked, "Who will intercede for her with Allah's Apostle?" Some said, "No one dare to do so except Usama bin Zaid the beloved one to Allah's Apostle." When Usama spoke about that to Allah's Apostle Allah's Apostle said, (to him), "Do you try to intercede for somebody in a case connected with Allah's Prescribed Punishments?" Then he got up and delivered a sermon saying, "What destroyed the nations preceding you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict Allah's Legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut off her hand." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, 
Number 681 )

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Dinar: One day Ibn 'Umar, while in the Mosque, looked at a man who was dragging his clothes while walking in one of the corners of the Mosque He said, "See who is that. I wish he was near to me." Somebody then said (to Ibn 'Umar), "Don't you know him, O Abu 'Abdur-Rahman? He is Muhammad bin Usama." On that Ibn 'Umar bowed his head and dug the earth with his hands and then, said, "If Allah's Apostle saw him, he would have loved him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 80

Narrated Usama bin Zaid: That the Prophet used to take him (i.e. Usama) and Al-Hassan (in his lap) and say: "O Allah! Love them, as I love them." The freed slave of Usama bin Zaid said, "Al-Hajjaj bin Aiman bin Um Aiman and Aiman Ibn Um Aiman was Usama's brother from the maternal side, and he was one of the Ansar. He was seen by Ibn 'Umar not performing his bowing and prostrations in a perfect manner. So Ibn 'Umar told him to repeat his prayer. Harmala, the freed slave of Usama bin Zaid said that while he was in the company of 'Abdullah bin 'Umar, Al-Hajjaj bin Aiman came in and (while praying) he did not perform his bowing and prostrations properly. So Ibn 'Umar told him to repeat his prayer. When he went away, Ibn 'Umar asked me, "Who is he?" I said, "Al-Hajjaj bin Um Aiman." Ibn 'Umar said, "If Allah's Apostle saw him, he would have loved him." Then Ibn 'Umar mentioned the love of the Prophet for the children of Um Aiman. Sulaiman said that Um Aiman was one of the nurses of the Prophet. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 81)

When certain people complained about Usama, Zayd’s son, leading a military expedition, Muhammad sharply criticized them:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle sent an army unit headed by Usama bin Zaid and the people criticized his leadership. The Prophet said (to the people), "If you are criticizing his leadership now, then you used to criticize his father's leadership before. By Allah, he (Usama's father) deserved the leadership and used to be one of the most beloved persons to me, and now his son (Usama) is one of the most beloved persons to me after him. " (See Hadith No. 745, Vol. 5) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 89,
Number 297)

Salim reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said on the pulpit: You object to the command of Usama b. Zaid as you had objected before to the command of his father (Zaid). By Allah, he was most competent for it and, by Allah, he was dearest to me amongst people and, by Allah, the same is the case with Usama b. Zaid. He is most dear to me after him and I advise you to treat him well for he is pious amongst you. (Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 5959)

Interestingly, a similar thing happened to Zayd’s son, Usama. According to certain other narrations, Muhammad insisted that a specific woman marry Usama despite her unwillingness to do so:

. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) also sent me such a message for his freed slave Usama b. Zaid. And it had been conveyed to me that Allah's Messenger (way peace be upon him) had said (about Usama): He who loves me should also love Usama. …(Sahih Muslim, Book 041, Number 7028)

…, whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: As for Abu Jahm, he does not put down his staff from his shoulder, and as for Mu'awiya, he is a poor man having no property; marry Usama b. Zaid. I objected to him, but he again said: Marry Usama; so I married him. Allah blessed there in and I was envied (by others). (Sahih Muslim, Book 009, Number 3512).

Fatima bint Qais (Allah be pleased with her) reported that her husband divorced her with three, pronouncements and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) made no provision for her lodging and maintenance allowance. She (further said): Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to me: When your period of 'Idda is over, inform me. So I informed him. (By that time) Mu'awiya, Abu Jahm and Usama b. Zaid had given her the proposal of marriage. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: So far as Mu'awiya is concerned, he is a poor man without any property. So far as Abu Jahm is concerned, he is a great beater of women, but Usama b. Zaid...She pointed with her hand (that she did not approve of the idea of marrying) Usama. But Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Obedience to Allah and obedience to His Messenger is better for thee. She said: So I married him, and I became an object of envy. (Sahih Muslim, Book 009, Number 3526)

… She continued, "When I was free to remarry, I mentioned to him that Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan and Abu Jahm ibn Hisham had asked for me in marriage. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'As for Abu Jahm, he never puts down his stick from his shoulder (i.e. he is always travelling), and as for Muawiya he is a poor man with no property. Marry Usama ibn Zayd.' I objected to him and he said, 'Marry Usama ibn Zayd,' so I married him, and Allah put good in it and I was content with him." (Malik's Muwatta, Book 29, Number 29.22.67) 

Notice the outcome and result of this marriage. After insisting that she marry Usama despite her reluctance to do so, Fatima became quite happy and blessed when she did as Muhammad commanded. In light of the foregoing, why didn’t Zaynab learn to be content with the decision made for her by Muhammad? No one would argue that Muhammad’s attempt of trying to destroy social barriers is a positive move, an admirable act. But to claim that Zaynab had problems with marrying a former slave and that Muhammad then tried to make amends for causing Zaynab to marry such a person is anything but praiseworthy. Why would Muhammad need to make amends to someone who was being discriminatory to a person of lower status and ranking? Why should it have mattered to Zaynab that Zayd was a former slave seeing that he was a fellow Muslim and, at that time, even Muhammad’s adopted son? Why was Zaynab unhappy about marrying someone so loved and dear to Muhammad? Wouldn’t it have been rather an honor for her to marry someone that was so close to Muhammad? Are we to assume that rewarding someone who was that proud and conceited, who looked down on a fellow Muslim, especially one who was so close to Muhammad, was a praiseworthy act? Or should Zaynab have been rebuked for being so conceited — provided that Lang’s version of the story is correct!?

What’s more, in Islam the only requirement in a woman marrying a man is that the latter happens to be a devout, God-fearing Muslim. His social status should not play a factor in deciding whether the person is compatible.

Some quotes on that:

"The believers are nothing else than brothers" [al-Hujuraat 49:10]

What matters with regard to compatibility is religious commitment, first and foremost. No Muslim woman should marry a kaafir man, and no chaste woman should marry an immoral man. The Qur'aan and Sunnah do not pay attention to any other factor in compatibility apart from that. Islam forbids a Muslim woman to marry a fornicator and does not give any consideration to his lineage or occupation, or whether he is rich or poor, free or slave. IT ALLOWS A SLAVE TO MARRY A FREE, RICH WOMAN OF NOBLE LINEAGE, IF HE IS CHASTE AND IS A MUSLIM, and it allows non-Qurayshis to marry Qurayshi women, and non-Haashimis to marry Haashimi women, and poor men to marry women who are well off. End quote. Zaad al-Ma’aad, 5/158-160

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married Usaamah ibn Zayd ibn Haarithah, who was his freed slave, to Faatimah bint Qays who was from Quraysh. Similarly, Abu Hudhayfah ibn ‘Utbah ibn Rabee’ah, who was from Quraysh, married his freed slave Saalim to the daughter of his brother al-Waleed ibn ‘Utbah, and he did not care that he was a freed slave. What matters is choosing someone who is fit because of his character and religious commitment. If he meets these criteria then he is suitable, whether he is an Arab or a non-Arab, a freed slave or a non-tribal, or whatever. This is the basic principle. If some people do not want to marry anyone except someone from their own tribe, there is no sin in that. And Allaah is the Source of strength. End quote

Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 5/146, 147…

Islam Q&A ( (Source)

In light of the foregoing, Zaynab had absolutely no right to complain about Zayd’s status seeing that:
He was one of the first to embrace Islam.
He loved Muhammad so much that he refused to be emancipated by his family but chose to remain a slave of Muhammad’s.
As a result of this act of love, Muhammad freed Zayd and adopted him to be his son.
He was one of the most beloved and dearest persons to Muhammad.
The only compatibility that Islam requires for a Muslim woman to consider when marrying someone is if the person is a righteous, devout Muslim.

By being unhappy with Zayd, Zaynab only showed that she was conceited and lacked the humbleness demanded of Muslim women. After all, didn’t Zaynab’s strife and discontent show that she was NOT the model Muslimah? That she was not pious, since she was not content with Muhammad’s (and Allah’s!) decision for a husband for her? If the criterion for Muslims in their choice of marriage partner is piety, why did Muhammad then marry her who had just showed her lack of piety? That aspect makes it even more obvious that Muhammad married her for carnal reasons, because she was very beautiful. In this case for sure, it was not her piety that moved him.

Again, this is the natural conclusion and outcome of Lang’s version of the events. If Muslims have a problem with our statements, they need to take it up with professor Lang and all the other Muslims who are circulating such stories, since it is their own words which damage Zaynab’s reputation and credibility.

Finally, the Qur’anic justification given for Muhammad marrying his adopted son’s divorcee fairs no better. The Qur’an in Surah 33:37 says that Muhammad was to set a practical example for others that marrying their adopted son’s divorcees is not a sin. In our previous articles, the links of which are given at the top, we saw why such an explanation is weak and provides no justification for this marriage between Muhammad and Zaynab. In addition to the points we already raised previously, we would like to also state that Muhammad didn’t need to marry Zaynab in order to set precedence for others to emulate. All he needed to do was to claim that Allah had made it lawful for adoptive fathers to marry their adopted children’s divorcees.


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