By Shaikh Abdullah Faisal
THE WIVES OF THE PROPHET (SAWS) :: SAWDA BINT ZAM’A
By Shaykh Abdullah Faisal
PalTalk – April 22, 2013
Sawda Bint Zam'a
Sawda Bint Zam'a - the second woman that the Prophet (saws) married
-famous for her Taqwa
-she wasn't famous for her beauty and youthfulness
-she married the Prophet (saws) @ age 50
-she was the wife the Prophet (saws) married after Khadeejah
-the Prophet (saws) married a mature woman who could look after his four daughters
-Zaynab, Raquia, Umm Kalthoum and Fatima were the four daughters of the Prophet
-Shia say that Zanynab, Raquia and Umm Kalthoum were not biological daughters of Muhammad
-do not read the history books of the Shi'ites
'Abdullah ibn 'Umar ibn Aban al-Ju'fi said: My paternal uncle Husayn al-Ju'fi said to me: "O my son, do you know why 'Uthman was called Dhu al-Noorayn (the one with the two lights)?" I said: "I do not know." He said: "No one else was ever married to two daughters of a Prophet, from the time Allah created Adam until the Hour will begin, except 'Uthman. Hence he was called Dhu al-Noorayn." [al-Sunan al-Kubra al-Bayhaqi (7/115-116) No. 13427]
She was a noble and venerable lady. She first married as-Sakran Ibn Amr, the brother of Suhail Ibn ‘Amr al-’Amiriy whom she accompanied when emigrating to Abyssinia among the eight people of Banu ‘Amir who left their homes and their properties and crossed the sea to escape torture and preserve their religion. No sooner was her affliction in Abyssinia over than her husband died and she became a widow.
The Prophet (pbuh) sympathized with this faithful widow immigrant. Therefore, as soon as Khawla bin Hakim mentioned her before him, he offered to help and stand by her especially because she grew old and needed someone to look after her. In the books of the prophetic biography it was narrated that none dared to speak to the prophet about marriage after the death of Khadija, who alone believed him when the people rejected him. She enriched him, when he was poor and from her did Allah grant him his offspring.
After such grief, Khawlah went to the Prophet (pubh) and leniently said, “Would you not marry Messenger of Allah?” He sadly answered, “Who could replace Khawlah?” She said, “Whoever you like a virgin or non-virgin. He said, “Who is the virgin?” She answered, ”The daughter of the one you love most, Aisha bint Abi Bakr.”
After a while the Prophet (pbuh) asked, “Who is the non-virgin? She replied, “Sawda bint Zam’ ah (may Allah be pleased with her).” Then, the Prophet (pbuh) betrothed’ Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) and married Sawda who remained his only wife for about three years until he married ‘Aisha. All the people of Makka wondered how the prophet would get married to such an old widow who lost all her beauty! How could she succeed, the mistress of Quraish?
As a matter of fact, Sawda or any other wife could not succeed Khadija. But this was a kind of charity and mercy from the Prophet of mercy (pbuh).
Sawdah served the household of the Prophet and his daughters. She pleased the Prophet’s heart and helped him go on calling for Allah. Three years later, ‘Aisha, Hafsa, Zaynab, Umm Salama and others came to the Prophet’s house as wives. Then, Sawdah realized that the Prophet (pbuh) had only married her out of sympathy, after her husband’s death. She knew this fact clearly when the Prophet (pbuh) wanted to kindly separate from her to release her of such critical position. Being informed of the Prophet’s intention of divorce, she felt that as if she was living in a nightmare. Therefore, she entreats the prophet, by saying, O Messenger of Allah, hold me. By Allah, I did not seek to have a husband but I just hope that Allah may resurrect me as your wife on the Day of Judgement.” Thus she (may Allah be pleased with her) preferred the Prophet’s desire and granted her night to ‘Aisha to please the Prophet’s heart. The Prophet (pbuh) responded to her noble feelings. Then Allah revealed,
(There is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves, and settlement is best; )
Sawadah remained in the Prophet’s house thankful and grateful to Allah that He inspired such solution to her in order to be with the best of Allah’s creatures and to be mother of the faithful and a wife of the Prophet in Paradise. She (may Allah be pleased with her) died at the late years of Umar’s era. ‘Aisha, the mother of the faithful kept on remembering her favor as saying,
“No woman I would like to imitate her save Sawdah bint Zam’ah who said when she grew old, “O Messenger of Allah I granted my day to ‘Aisha. But she has some kind of harshness.” (Reported by Muslim)
Biography by Ibn Kathir Sawda bint Zam'a, may Allah be pleased with her had been the first woman to immigrate to Abyssinia in the way of Allah. Her husband had died and she was now living with her aged father. She was middle-aged, rather plump, with a jolly, kindly disposition, and just the right person to take care of the Prophet's household and family.
So Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave permission to Khawla to speak to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and to Sawda on the subject. Khawla went straight to Sawda and said, "Would you like Allah to give you great blessing, Sawda?" Sawda asked, "And what is that, Khawla?" She said, "The Messenger of Allah has sent me to you with a proposal of marriage!" Sawda tried to contain herself in spite of her utter astonishment and then replied in a trembling voice,
"I would like that! Go to my father and tell him that." Khawla went to Zam'a, ad gruff old man, and greeted him and then said, "Muhammad son of Abdullah son of Abdul Muttalib, has sent me to ask for Sawda in marriage." The old man shouted, "A noble match. What does she say?" Khawla replied, "she would like that." He told her to call her. When she came, he said, "Sawda, this woman claims that Muhammad son of Abdullah son of Abdul Muttalib has sent me to ask for you in marriage. It is a noble match. Do you want me to marry you to him?" She accepted, feeling it was a great honor. Sawda went to live in Muhammad's house and immediately took over the care of his daughters and household, while Aisha bint Abu Bakr became betrothed to him and remained in her father's house playing with her dolls. There was great surprise in Mecca that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would choose to marry a widow who was neither young nor beautiful. The Prophet, however, remembered the trials she had undergone when she had immigrated to Abyssinia, leaving her house and property, and crossed the desert and then the sea for an unknown land out of the desire to preserve her deen.
During the next two years, the Quraish increased their spiteful efforts to destroy the Prophet and his followers, in spite of the clear signs that confirmed beyond any doubt that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was indeed the Messenger of Allah. Perhaps the greatest of these signs during this period was the Prophet's Mi'raj, his journey by night on a winged horse called the Buraq, through the skies to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem where he led all the earlier Prophets who had lived before him in the prayer, followed by his ascent on the Buraq, accompanied by Jibril, through the seven heavens, and then beyond the world of forms, to the Presence of Allah where he was given the five prayers that all his true followers have done ever since.
When he described this miraculous journey to the people of Mecca, they just laughed at him, even though he accurately described the Al-Aqsa Mosque to them (and they knew that he had never been there before), and even though he described the place where he had stopped for a drink on the way to Jerusalem, and even though he told them how on the way he had told a man where his lost camel was, and even though he told them that he was seen a caravan, which no one knew about, approaching Mecca and that it should arrive later on that day.
Even though the Quraish knew that the Prophet's description of the Al-Aqsa Mosque was completely accurate, and even when they eventually saw the caravan arrive, and met the man whom he had helped, and saw the place where he had stopped for a drink, the still refused to believe him. Only Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, his closest companion and future father in law, accepted the Prophet's account of his miraculous journey immediately:
"If he had said this," he said, when some scornful Meccans first gave him the news, "then it is true!" As the enmity of the Quraish increased, (and while Aisha was still a small girl), Allah prepared the way for the future growth of the Muslim community in a place called Yathrib. During the time of pilgrimage in Mecca one year, twelve men from Yathrib, a small city of two hundred miles to the north of Mecca, secretly pledged allegiance to the Prophet, swearing to worship no gods other than Allah, nor to steal, nor to tell lies, nor to commit adultery, nor to kill their children, nor to disobey the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
They returned to Yathrib, accompanied by a Muslim called Mus'ab ibn Umayr, who taught them all that he had learned from the Prophet. As a result, the numbers of Muslims in Madina began to increase, and when the time of the pilgrimage came again, this time seventy five people from Yathrib- three of whom were women: Umm Sulaym, Nsayba bint Ka'b and Asma bint Amr - pledged allegiance in Mecca to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) this time also swearing that the would defend and protect him, even to the death if need be. After this, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave his followers permission to emigrate to Yathrib, and slowly but surely, in twos and threes, the Muslims began to leave Mecca.
The leaders of the Quraish realized what was happening, and decided to kill the Prophet before he had a chance to join them. However, Allah protected the Prophet, and on the very night before the morning on which they had planned to kill him, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) slipped out of Mecca and hid in a cave called Thawr, which was to the south of Mecca. Everybody knows what happened when the people who were hunting for them came to the cave: They found a wild dove nesting in the tree that covered the mouth of a cave, across which a spider had spun its web. Anyone entering the cave would have frightened away the dove and broken the spid's web, they thought, so they did and not bother to look inside it. Their pursuers were so close that if one of them had glanced down at his feet, he would have discovered them. By the decree of Allah, the Prophet and Abu Bakr were safe! Once the Quraish had given up the search, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) circled round the Mecca and rode northwards. Only one man, a warrior called Suraqa ibn Jusham, suspected their whereabouts and set off in hot pursuit, thirsting of the reward that the Quraish had offered to anyone who captured the two men for them.
As soon as he as within shouting distance of the travelers, however, his horse suddenly began to sink into the sand, and, realizing that if he did not turn back, then the desert would simply swallow up both him and his steed, he gave up his pursuit, asked them to forgive him and returned home. After a long, hard journey Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) reached Yathrib amidst scenes of great rejoicing.
Their time in Mecca had just come to an end, and their time in Medina had just begun - for Madina is the name that was now given to Yathrib, Madina al Munawarra, which means 'the illuminated city', the city that was illuminated by the light of the Prophet Muhammad and his family and his Companions, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him and on all of them.
The journey of the Prophet Muhammad and Abu Bakr is usually called the hijrah, and it is at this point that the dating of the Muslims begins, for it was after the hijrah that the first community of Muslims rapidly grew and flowered and bore fruit. When she was older, the prophet was worried that Sawda might be upset about having to compete with so many younger wives, and offered to divorce her.
She said that she would give her night to Aisha, of whom she was very fond, because she only wanted to be his wife on the Day of Rising. She lived on until the end of the time of Umar ibn al Khattab. She and Aisha always remained very close.
-The purpose of the marriage with Aaisha was to teach her because she was young and to make ties with Abu Bakr closer
-Zainab bint Jash used to boast to other wives of the prophet that she was married to the Prophet from above the seven heavens
-Umm Salama was the first woman to migrate from Makkah to Madinah
-Umm Salamah succeeded in migrating to Madinah
-Sawda served the household of the prophet and was not a stepmother from hell.
-After the prophet married other wives, Sawda realised that the Prophet married her out of sympathy.
-The love the Prophet had for Sawda was spiritual love.
-Sawda found it difficult to compete with the other young wives of the Prophet.
-Sawda granted her night to her co-wife, Aaisha (ra) because they got along like peas in a pod.
-Sawda was afraid the Prophet would divorce her because of her old age.
-Sawda didn't divorce the Prophet so she will be his wife in this life and the next.
-The lesson learned is that if a woman becomes old, she can give her night to a co-wife
And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves; and making peace is better. And human inner-selves are swayed by greed. But if you do good and keep away from evil, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do. (4:128)
LESSONS from the Life of Sawda Bint Zam'a
1 - THE IMPORTANCE OF HIJRA IN ISLAM
Verily! As for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (angels) say (to them) : "In what (condition) were you?" They reply: "We were weak and oppressed on earth." They (angels) say: "Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?" Such men will find their abode in Hell - What an evil destination! (An-Nisa 4:97)
2 - THE WISDOM OF THE PROPHET (SAWS) TO MARRY A MATURE WOMAN TO LOOK AFTER HIS DAUGHTERS
3 - THE PROPHET (SAWS) USED MARRIAGE, AS AN ACT OF CHARITY, TO HELP WIDOWS WHO NEEDED PROTECTION AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
4 - THE PROPHET (SAWS) DID NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST OLD WOMEN
5 - NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE, A WOMAN SHOULD NOT GIVE UP ON MARRIAGE
6 - WOMEN IN THEIR 50's AND 60's HAVE A LIBIDO
7 - THE PROPHET (SAWS) WAS MERCIFUL TO THE WOMEN OF THE UMMAH
8 - A WOMAN IS ALLOWED TO GIVE HER NIGHTS WITH HER HUSBAND TO HER CO-WIVES
9 - TWO WOMEN FROM TWO DIFFERENT GENERATIONS CAN GET ALONG BECAUSE OF TAQWA
10 - A WOMAN CAN GET ALONG WITH HER CO-WIFE; POLYGAMY IS NOT WAR
On the authority of Abdullah ibn Umar (RA), who said: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) took me by the shoulder and said, “Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.” And Ibn Umar (RA) used to say, “In the evening do not expect [to live until] the morning, and in the morning do not expect [to live until] the evening. Take [advantage of] your health before times of sickness, and [take advantage of] your life before your death.” [Sahih Bukhari (8/89) No. 6416, Sunan Tirmidhi (4/567-568) No. 2333, Sunan Ibn Majah (5/232) No. 4114, Musnad Ahmad (2/132) No. 6156]
LESSON 11 - THE PROPHET (SAWS) ONLY MARRIED WOMEN OF TAQWA; HE CHERRY PICKED HIS WIVES
LESSON 12 - A WOMAN SHOULD REMAIN MARRIED TO HER HUSBAND IF SHE DESIRES TO BE HIS WIFE IN PARADISE