Friday, November 6, 2015

097 - Maria the Copt & Death of Ibrahim

Today and the next lesson we will catch up with issues in the life of the Prophet PBUH we previously overlooked. We discussed the Battle of Tabuk and then the delegations which spanned 4 years. There are things happening in the life of the Prophet PBUH during this time that we have missed out. Today we will do one particular issue that spanned the course of around 2½ years (8-10 AH).

We begin by discussing the death of the son of the Prophet PBUH, Ibrahim. And in order to talk about Ibrahim, we need to discuss Maria, and of course this topic is very sensitive. Nonetheless, we would rather you hear these things from us than to be exposed by people who do not believe in Allah and His Messenger. It's better to discuss the topic here and now in the confines of an Islamic ethos rather than hear it from someone who misinterprets the event.

The Prophet's PBUH Letter to Jurayj ibn Mina the Muqawqis of Egypt

Maria's name was Maria bint Sham'un (مارية بنت شمعون). She was gifted to the Prophet PBUH by Jurayj ibn Mina (جريج بن مينا), who was the Muqawqis of Egypt. The "Muqawqis (مقوقس)" is a title just like the Caesar. The books of seerah say this is the "ruler" of Egypt, but this is incorrect because even Egypt at the time was not independent. It was under Byzantine rule. So Jurayj was not a king, rather, he was a governor appointed by Rome. Of course back then they appointed religious people, so they appointed Jurayj who was a patriarch. And if we look at the books of history, it looks like Jurayj was Cyrus of Alexandria. Cyrus was his actual Latin name. And because the Muslims conquered Egypt within 20 years, it just turned out this was the final Byzantine prefect over Egypt. And Cyrus was a Melkite Christian. (Notes: The Melkites then became Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics; and to this day the Greek Orthodox church admires this person, Cyrus.)

So the Prophet PBUH sent him a letter to Islam. This letter was sent probably around the 8th year of the Hijrah. We have no reports from Egypt about him receiving the letter and what his response was, unlike the Caesar, we know what his response was in Rome. However, it's not too far-fetched to assume he recognized the Prophet PBUH as being true, and that is why he was so polite to him PBUH. [Transcriber's note: another possibility is he was being polite because Heraclius told him to be polite.] Neither did he tear the letter up nor did he reject it. Rather, he gifted a mini-fortune with highly expensive gifts, and wrote back a very polite letter to the Prophet PBUH. Note he is well known as being an alim (knowledgeable person) in Christianity; therefore, it's not too much of a stretch to make an assumption that he recognizes the Prophet PBUH as a true prophet. However, as is typical [of the Christians at the time], he didn't want to convert.

So what did he do? He sent a mini-fortune: 1,000 mithqal (مثقال) (4.25 kg) of gold and many fine garments. And he sent a donkey called Duldul (which was to become the famous donkey of the Prophet PBUH). And he sent a servant by the name of Ma'boor (مأبور). And he sent honey. And he sent many other gifts. And among those gifts, he sent two sister slave girls by the name of Maria and Sirin (سيرين). These two girls were of course Christians. (Note: Some later books mention that these girls were gifted to the church by their nobleman father. They had this tradition where they would gift their child for the sake of worship, just like Maryam AS in Surah Ali-Imran. So Maria and Sirin are daughters of a noble family gifted to the church, and the patriarch then gifts them to the Prophet PBUH.)

Ibn Sa'd mentions when the Prophet PBUH received the letter from Cyrus, it was a polite letter with all these gifts, so the Prophet PBUH said, "This evil person has managed to preserve his kingdom by being polite to me, but his kingdom will not last." Meaning he will be the last of his dynasty, but because he was polite, he won't be harmed himself. This is a prophecy. And of course this is what happened: Cyrus died a natural death, and Amr ibn al-As conquered Egypt years later.


Maria and Sirin al-Qibtiyya

The books of seerah mention that these two young ladies were exceedingly beautiful.

And because they were two sisters —and you cannot 'have' two sisters at one time— so the Prophet PBUH gifted Sirin to Hassan ibn Thabit the poet, and they had a child by the name of Abd al-Rahman ibn Hassan ibn Thabit (عبد الرحمن بن حسان بن ثابت). And the Prophet PBUH kept Maria for himself.


Tangent: The Notion of 'Slavery' in Pre-Modern Islam

The difficult issue for today is of course the whole concept of gifting Maria and Sirin. The fact of the matter is this is a topic that is simply impossible to talk about without some type of bias. We are all biased in one direction —and that is, we obviously believe the Prophet PBUH is a prophet (and that is a legitimate bias) and therefore we will automatically view everything he has done as permissible and sanctioned by Allah at least for his time and place— and the orientalists are biased in another direction. The fact of the matter is no amount of sugar-coating removes the reality that Maria and her sister were not wives, but they were milk al-yamin (ملك اليمين - those whom your right hands possess, i.e., concubine). It does appear Maria later on converted to Islam, but she was not a Muslim when she came to Madinah. (Side note: In our shariah, one cannot take a Muslim as a milk al-yamin.)

Whenever a Christian or a Jewish person says to us, "How could your prophet have so many wives and a concubine?" we as Muslims like to point out that, "Look at Solomon. Look at David. The basic ruling is that the biblical prophets had multiple wives and most of them had concubines. David had over 700 ladies and Solomon had over 1,000 according to the Bible. So how can you criticize our Prophet PBUH for having 1 for most of his life, and then marrying 9 later on in his last few years? How can you compare 9 to 700 or 1,000?" And this is a valid point made to a faithful Christian or Jew, but the problem is, in our times, there are few faithful Christians and Jews. More and more people are turning agnostic, and in today's society, they have no problem criticizing biblical figures as well. So to that person, all we can say is, "That was a different world in a different time, place, and custom. And people across the globe had different views about the notion of slavery/concubine."

On a Jewish website, a questioner asked a rabbi, "How can I understand that Solomon used hundreds of thousands of slaves to build the temple? Doesn't this go against humanism? How can I be a Jew after this?" And this rabbi, Rabbi Perry Rank from New York, responds —and this response applies to us as well—: "The thing about history is it does tend to be brutal, and it strips us of our most cherished illusions about the past. So whenever we delve into history, we have to approach it cautiously knowing that we might not return the same way we entered it — it's going to change our perception. Solomon was a great builder, and as such, he needed workers whom he secured through the institution of slaves/forced labor. This was not an uncommon practice in ancient times. So how shall we read this? Shall we read it as slavery? Or as employment? Has Solomon enslaved the masses or has he provided them jobs? We tend to think of slavery as an ultimate evil of sorts, but the fact is this was an accepted form of labor for thousands of years, and our disillusionment with it is only recent (300 years old; and only about 150 years in America)." So the rabbi is basically defending the classical notion of slavery — because they have the same 'problem' we do. Now, of course we don't have any equivalent of a hundred thousand slaves being used in mass labor; we only have one Maria —who was treated very nicely and been given her own house— but at the end of the day, it's not something modern-humans would find palatable. So we do need to, as much as we can, explain. The rabbi continued, "This is not a defense of slavery. I, like you, am a child of the antislavery movement of modern times (meaning we are living in modern times where everybody has agreed we should be anti-slavery, but let's realize once upon a time that wasn't the notion in history). To read what goes on in ancient times through our contemporary eyes, and then to judge it, is really not fair to our ancestors"—meaning you cannot look through the lens of the 21st century as you look at the 7th century and then expect your ancestors to have everything like you did — the world was a very different place, and everybody, even the slaves of the time, accepted it.

Also we have to point out that the way that slavery existed in America in the 1800s was perhaps the most brutal manifestation of slavery in the history of humanity. Realistically speaking, the way that America caught free people and enslaved them, imported them, used them worse than cattle and animals, mistreated them and consider them to be subhumans... even the ancient Greeks were better to their slaves than this reality. And one of the byproducts of being so harsh toward slaves was the abolitionist movement that came out of it — and there's nothing wrong with it, but the point is, slavery did not exist in Islamic lands the way it existed in America. That's for sure. This is not sugar-coating. It is very true, historically speaking, that the first Europeans that visited Muslim lands were amazed at how the slaves were treated. They were amazed at how kindly and gently they were treated. One of them remarked, "The slave speaks back to the master." And we know from our Islamic history that some slaves even became kings. The Mamluk Dynasty (الدولة المملوكية - the Slave Dynasty), which was the most prestigious dynasty that fought against the Mongols (Genghis Khan's hordes), was a dynasty of slaves that eventually rose to power and ruled over the Muslim world for almost 500 years, up until the advent of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1792.

At the end of the day, there is only so much rationalization we can do. If somebody wants to find fault with what happened, then honestly, it's just the perspective of the 21st century being back-projected onto the 7th century, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Note the shariah uncategorically forbids taking a free person and making them into a slave. The only source of legitimate slave in the shariah is prisoners of war who are not ransomed off [see episode 54].

Further, scholars in our era have agreed that slavery is a thing of the past, just like in other faith traditions. We don't know of a single scholar or alim who is calling for a return of slavery. Things have moved on. When the Bosnian war was taking place in the 1990s (and that, by the way, was a *legitimate* jihad — everybody acknowledges that the Serbs were massacring the Muslims, and the Muslims had to defend themselves; there was so much bloodshed, and the UN has done a tribunal and crimes court against the Serbian leaders), Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen was very much involved with giving advice to the people, and he was asked by some of the people on the ground, "We have prisoners of war and we cannot ransom them off — can we take them as milk al-yamin?" The Sheikh said, "No, this is not allowed in our times." And this is a sheikh that is generally considered ultra-conservative (by some). Even he understands that you can't do this and resurrect it from the books of fiqh. It was permissible in the past, but not now.

The point is the Prophet PBUH was indeed gifted Maria. And note she was not considered as the wife of the Prophet PBUH, so we don't view her as being one of the Mothers of the Believers. She remained a milk al-yamin. And we know she gave birth to the son of the Prophet PBUH, Ibrahim.


In Our Day and Age, It Is Better to Not Hide 'Problematic' Seerah Events

No doubt, if we lived in a different time and place, not everything needs to be mentioned. However, Sh. YQ feels very strongly from his own experiences that in the time and place we live in, it is better that we talk about 'problematic' seerah events in a frank manner. We don't want our youth to turn away from religion because of something they hear from someone else (i.e., the Islamophobes).

Sh. YQ then shares a story about a young boy who phoned him and told him, "I've left Islam"—he left Islam because he heard something about the seerah that he could not fathom. And he quoted a number of things from the seerah — and these are legitimate things in the book. But the question is where did he hear these things from? Not from a scholar or an alim, but rather, Islamophobes and people that have a certain agenda. And these people put all 'problematic' narrations together and ignore everything else that forms the true character of the Prophet PBUH. And they concentrate on these 2-3 events, which aren't necessarily lies (often quoted directly from the source, e.g., al-Tabarani, Ibn Ishaq, etc.), but they form an evil narrative that is not holistic.

So in all honestly, no doubt, if we lived in a different time and place, not everything has to be mentioned; but we don't. So it is better to talk about these things in a frank manner, clarify them, and understand them properly. Whoever then wants to have a different position on the matter, that's their right and we leave them be. Our job is to convey the message.


Ali RA Dealing With Ma'boor, the Distant Relative of Maria

It's reported that Maria, who isn't a Muslim at the time and is coming to a strange land, rumors began to spread that the servant gifted along with her, Ma'boor, was 'visiting' her. Some reports also mention this servant Ma'boor was a distant relative of Maria. And the following hadith is reported in Sahih Muslim, that the Prophet PBUH commanded Ali RA to take his sword and find Ma'boor, i.e., to deal with him. And of course Ali RA is assigned these tasks because anything to do with the personal family of the Prophet PBUH, it was Ali RA who was the man. Because he is Ahl al-Bayt. So Ali RA took the sword, and he asked a very intelligent question, "O Messenger of Allah, should I go as a silent person who just obeys the command, or should I go as somebody who hears and sees what the person absent will not hear and see?" Meaning he is asking the Prophet PBUH, "Do you want me to investigate the rumors, or shall I just kill him?" The Prophet PBUH said, "No, go as somebody who hears and sees." So Ali RA was told to investigate.

Note, because of this phrase, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Hazm, and others say the Prophet PBUH was NOT sending Ali RA to execute Ma'boor. He was sending him to frighten him and to find out. The other position is that he was indeed sent to execute him. This is a bit of a controversy because there are fiqhi ramifications: the main one is, Ma'boor was not given a trial. Evidence was not presented, but Ali RA here is being told, "Take your sword and find Ma'boor." So:

1. One opinion says the Prophet PBUH sent Ali RA to kill Ma'boor (and they say nobody has the right to do this except the Prophet PBUH).

2. The other opinion, by Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Hazm, and others, is that no, this is not judge, jury, and executioner. The Prophet PBUH did not send Ali RA to kill Ma'boor, rather to investigate and frighten him to find out what is happening.

So Ali RA finds Ma'boor, and according to one report, he was in a date grove collecting dates or getting water. When Ma'boor saw Ali RA, he became terrified. There are multiple reports here. One says he tried to climb a tree but fell down, another mentions he intentionally exposed his awrah. In either case, his awrah was exposed, and lo and behold, it was obvious that he had been mutilated, i.e., he did not have the man's organ. (Note: This was done to slaves of the past, and then Islam came and prohibited mutilation of any sort to any slave or any human in general.) It was then clear to Ali RA that the rumors simply can't be true. He returned to the Prophet PBUH and informed him of this.


The Birth of Ibrahim ibn Muhammad RA

In any case, in Dhu al-Hijjah of the 8th year, Maria gives birth to the Prophet's PBUH son, Ibrahim, and of course, the Prophet PBUH was especially happy. We don't know when Maria embraced Islam. Was it before this or after? We don't know. One can assume, living with the Prophet PBUH, obviously you will embrace Islam. So one can assume by the time Ibrahim is born, Maria is a different person with Iman. In Sahih Muslim, it's reported the Prophet PBUH came to the masjid beaming with joy, and he said, "Last night, a baby boy was born to me, and I shall call him the name of my father, Ibrahim." And he said about Maria, "Her child has freed her"—meaning in the shariah of Islam, if a concubine gives birth, she automatically gets a free upgrade and becomes an "umm al-walad (أم الولد)," meaning she is no longer a concubine — she cannot be sold or transferred, and she will become free as soon as her husband/owner passes away. So you simply cannot get rid of the lady who gives birth to your child. This is a ruling our religion has, which again shows slavery in Islam was completely different to other civilizations. Our Prophet PBUH gave this fiqh ruling through Maria.

One of the ladies of the Ansar volunteered to become a foster mother. In fact it's mentioned there was a competition to be the foster mother of the Prophet's PBUH son. This also shows that it was very common for ladies to volunteer to help out and be foster mothers. Every mother knows it's difficult to raise a newborn alone, so this is what was done; women would offer to help each other out. So one of the ladies of the Ansar became the wet nurse of Ibrahim, and the Prophet PBUH gave her a stipend because of this.


The Death of Ibrahim ibn Muhammad RA

Now, Ibrahim lived for a year and four months; other reports say a year and six months. And to the best of our knowledge, there is no hadith mentioning any incident within this year and a half regarding Ibrahim. And the reality of the seerah is we only have what the sahaba told us about.

What we do know is that in the first quarter of the 10th year of the Hijrah, the Prophet's PBUH son passed away. We all know that not only is the passing of a child the most painful thing, but that the age of around 1½ years is the most tender and cute, adorable age. It is at that age where the child is walking, laughing, recognizes you, etc. That is the cutest age; yet Allah willed that at the most beautiful age Ibrahim passes away. There are many reports in the seerah about his death. (Side note: We assume the sahaba didn't narrate much about Ibrahim's life because there was nothing to really report. He was just a normal baby.)

The death of Ibrahim is reported in every book of hadith including Bukhari and Muslim. Some of the books mention that the news came that Ibrahim has fallen sick and was about to die, so the information is conveyed to the Prophet PBUH. The Prophet PBUH visited Maria, and she lived in a place in Madinah called al-Awali (العوالي). Some of the sahaba went with him to see Ibrahim, and he held Ibrahim in his hand. And Ibrahim was wheezing and coughing — you could tell that the pangs of death had begun. So at this, the tears of the Prophet PBUH began to fall. This was when a sahabi asked, "You also cry, O Messenger of Allah?"—and this shows us the Prophet PBUH rarely cried in public, and that to see him cry was a shock to some sahaba. And the Prophet PBUH responded with the famous phrase, "The eyes cry, and the heart is sad, but we only say that which pleases our Lord. Were it not for the decree of Allah to pass, and that the later amongst us shall meet the earlier (meaning eventually we will all be together), we would have been much more grieved at your departure." Thus there are two things to console us when someone dies:

1. The belief that it is the qadr of Allah, i.e., Allah has decreed it to happen.

2. Insha'Allah it's only a matter of time and then all of us will be together in Jannah. Death isn't a permanent departure, you will also die — so when your loved one departs, it's only a matter of time before you depart as well, and then you will both be together. This is what the Prophet PBUH is saying.

And then the Prophet PBUH reiterated, "Truly we are sad, but we only say that which pleases our Lord." This shows us what sabr (صبر - patience) really means. It means you control your tongue and actions. Sabr has nothing to do with emotions. You can feel sad, cry, etc., but you control what you say and do. This is sabr. You don't start wailing and saying things that go beyond what is permissible. We control our tongue and limbs. (And alhamdulillah, by and large, most Muslim societies have stopped the practice of wailing.)

The books of hadith mention Salat al-Janazah was prayed for Ibrahim — thus we learn we can pray janazah for a young boy. And the Prophet PBUH used four takbirat as per normal. And Ibrahim was buried in Baqi', a graveyard still known to this day.

And subhan'Allah, look at how many deaths of the family the Prophet PBUH had to suffer. From the beginning to the end. His mother died when he was at a young age, then his grandfather, then his wife of 25 years Khadija RA and his uncle Abu Talib, and every single son and daughter of his besides Fatima RA, and then literally at 62 years old, less than one year before he PBUH himself passes away, Allah tested him once more with the death of Ibrahim. All of this, of course, is to raise his ranks PBUH in Jannah.


Solar Eclipse That Coincided With the Death of Ibrahim RA

What is perhaps even more amazing is that, as reported in Musnad Abi Dawud al-Tayalisi (مسند أبي داود الطيالسي), on the day of the death of Ibrahim, there was a solar eclipse. Within a few hours of Ibrahim's death who died in the morning, there is a solar eclipse. Note the solar eclipse is also reported in Bukhari and Muslim, but Ibrahim's death is not linked to the eclipse in them. Other books of hadith mentioned the eclipse took place on the day Ibrahim died, and the people began to say, "The sun is grieving at the sorrow of the Prophet PBUH. Even the sun is sad and shielding itself because it's crying." So the news spread in Madinah that the sun is crying because of the death of Ibrahim. At this, the Prophet PBUH gathered all of the people and he gave a khutbah. He said: "The sun and the moon are among Allah's (SWT) signs that don't eclipse for the death or the life of someone. So when you see an eclipse, hasten to do dhikr of Allah and perform the salah." The khutbah is in Bukhari; Ibrahim's death isn't linked to this hadith in Bukhari, but it is in Musnad Abi Dawud al-Tayalisi.

And wallahi, incidents like these prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Prophet PBUH was a sincere prophet. He didn't even have to repel against the rumors; he could have just been quiet; what does it lose him? He could just let the world think the sun is crying because of the death of Ibrahim; but subhan'Allah, he did not do this because he is a true Messenger. And so he called the people and literally says, "The moon and sun never eclipse for the death or birth of anyone." This is one of millions of evidences that show he is a true prophet. How else do you explain this? The miracle of the eclipse is taking place, and he says, "No no, it's not for Ibrahim, it's just a coincidence."


Theories: Wisdoms Why Ibrahim Died Young

1. Of course, the fact that Ibrahim could not become a young man is something that, one can say, has already been decreed by Allah SWT explicitly in the Quran. In Surah al-Ahzab, He SWT says:

مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
"Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing" [33:40].

This verse was revealed even before the birth of Ibrahim. And if Ibrahim had become a young man, this would have contradicted the verse. Notice the precision of the Quran; Allah didn't say, 'The father of a young boy.' Rather, He SWT said Muhammad is not the father of any of your rijal (رجال); and rijal is by definition a grown man. If the Qur'an had said he isn't the father to a boy/child/offspring, this could be a contradiction. And subhan'Allah, Ibrahim was never a rajul (رجل), he was always a walad (ولد), a baby. And therefore, one could say, the Quran explicitly says it was impossible for Ibrahim to live to become a grown man.

2. And then one can also derive another wisdom from a report found in Ibn Majah, that Anas ibn Malik narrated the Prophet PBUH said, "Allah has given Ibrahim a murdi'ah (مرضعة - wet nurse) in Jannah. If Ibrahim had lived, he would have been a righteous prophet." Note some of our scholars, including Sh. al-Albani, have made this hadith hasan, but the majority of scholars say this is in fact a statement of Anas ibn Malik, not the Prophet PBUH himself; and this is proven in other narrations that in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, they mention it as a statement upon Anas; that Anas said if Ibrahim had lived, he would have been a prophet. And that's just an ijtihad Anas is making.

3. Also, one can add, there's a political wisdom in not having male lineage of the Prophet PBUH — because if there was male lineage, there's no doubt immediately that would have been the next khalifa, and the next khalifa, and the next khalifa, and so on; and as it is, look at the controversies that erupted from the descendants of the Prophet PBUH through his daughter. Look at how groups formed; look at how groups exalted the status of the Ahl al-Bayt to above what is even human. No doubt, we Sunnis too respect and admire the Ahl al-Bayt, however, there's a big difference between us and the Shia. We say the Ahl al-Bayt are special and blessed IF they are holy, whereas the bulk of the Shia say the Ahl al-Bayt are special and blessed BECAUSE they are holy. We say you being a descendant of the Prophet PBUH does not make you righteous in itself — blood does not make you righteous; rather, your good deeds do. If you have good deeds *and* you are Ahl al-Bayt, then no doubt, نور على نور, you have double blessing; but if you are not a good person, then your blood will not save you. And there's a hadith of course in Tirmidhi which proves this: "Whosoever's good deeds hold him back, his lineage will not push him forward"—this is what the Prophet PBUH himself is saying.


Incident of the Jealousy of Hafsa RA & the Revelation of Surah al-Tahrim

There's one more incident narrated about Maria. The books of tafsir mention it more than the books of seerah because Qur'an was revealed for it. Again, it's a 'problematic' story, but it's in the Qur'an, so you can't sweep it under the carpet. It's narrated in al-Tabari that one day, Hafsa went away and she was not going to be at home, so the Prophet PBUH called Maria to the house of Hafsa. And it so happened Hafsa returned earlier than she was supposed to, and she saw Maria leaving her house. So she became enraged and said, "Ya Rasulullah, is that how much respect you have for me? In my house and on my day?" And so the Prophet PBUH continued to placate her and calm her down, until eventually she made the Prophet PBUH promise to never ever see Maria again. So the Prophet PBUH said, "I have made Maria haram for myself," i.e., "I swear by Allah I won't see her again." And he PBUH made Hafsa keep this between the two of them. And he said, "Do not tell Aisha."

But Hafsa did go and tell Aisha. Why? To make Aisha jealous of her that, "I caused the Prophet PBUH to give up Maria." Note Hafsa and Aisha had an interesting relationship: at times they were the best of friends, but at other times they were at each other. So Hafsa is boasting to Aisha that she got rid of Maria. And both of them were jealous of Maria since she had her beauty. In fact it's mentioned it was because of this the Prophet PBUH moved her away to al-Awali, i.e., far away from the masjid.

The Prophet PBUH told Hafsa not to tell, but Hafsa spills the beans and tells Aisha. Then what happens? Allah reveals in the Qur'an:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ ۖ تَبْتَغِي مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَاجِكَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
66:1. O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

قَدْ فَرَضَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ تَحِلَّةَ أَيْمَانِكُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ
66:2. Allah has already ordained for you [Muslims] the dissolution of your oaths. And Allah is your Protector, and He is the Knowing, the Wise.

وَإِذْ أَسَرَّ النَّبِيُّ إِلَىٰ بَعْضِ أَزْوَاجِهِ حَدِيثًا فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَتْ بِهِ وَأَظْهَرَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ عَرَّفَ بَعْضَهُ وَأَعْرَضَ عَن بَعْضٍ ۖ فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَهَا بِهِ قَالَتْ مَنْ أَنبَأَكَ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَ نَبَّأَنِيَ الْعَلِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ
66:3. And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement; and when she informed [another] of it and Allah showed it to him, he made known part of it and ignored a part. And when he informed her about it, she said, "Who told you this?" He said, "I was informed by the Knowing, the Acquainted."

— Note here, after Hafsa told Aisha, when the Prophet PBUH asked her, "Why did you tell Aisha?" she replied, "Who told you that I told her?" And what is Hafsa thinking? That Aisha told the Prophet PBUH. But the truth is, as the Prophet PBUH said, "I was informed by the Knowing, the Acquainted."

إِن تَتُوبَا إِلَى اللَّهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا ۖ وَإِن تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ مَوْلَاهُ وَجِبْرِيلُ وَصَالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ ظَهِيرٌ
66:4. If you two [wives] repent to Allah, [it is best], for your hearts have deviated. But if you cooperate against him — then indeed Allah is his Protector, and Jibril and the righteous of the believers and the angels, moreover, are [his] assistants.

— This verse is meant to bring some fear in the wives of the Prophet PBUH, that, don't conspire against him or go behind his back. There is no denying Allah AWJ is showing the status of our Prophet PBUH even to his wives.

عَسَىٰ رَبُّهُ إِن طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَن يُبْدِلَهُ أَزْوَاجًا خَيْرًا مِّنكُنَّ مُسْلِمَاتٍ مُّؤْمِنَاتٍ قَانِتَاتٍ تَائِبَاتٍ عَابِدَاتٍ سَائِحَاتٍ ثَيِّبَاتٍ وَأَبْكَارًا
66:5. Perhaps his Lord, if he divorced you [all], would substitute for him wives better than you — submitting [to Allah], believing, devoutly obedient, repentant, worshiping, and traveling — [ones] previously married and virgins.

So through these verses, Allah revealed the command for the Prophet PBUH to break the oath. So the Prophet PBUH gave the kaffarah and Maria returned to him.

But note there is an alternative version to the tafsir of these verses. The opinion that these verses relate to Maria is the stronger opinion, but some sahaba said these verses relate to some honey given by Sawda, and Aisha and Hafsa conspired against the Prophet PBUH — but this interpretation doesn't fit the events of these verses as perfectly as the story of Maria, and also it doesn't seem that big of a deal that the Prophet PBUH says, "I'll never eat honey again," versus the issue of never seeing Maria again. Why would the wives get so jealous that the Prophet PBUH had honey at the house of Sawda?

Also note some scholars say the private issues of the Prophet PBUH are private so they shouldn't be discussed. In response Sh. YQ says, if Allah willed, they would be private, but He revealed Surah al-Tahrim because of it. And according to Sh. YQ, even some of the sahaba were not of the opinion that this matter should be kept private: Ibn Abbas said, "I was waiting for an opportunity for years to ask Umar ibn al-Khattab about Surah al-Tahrim, until finally one opportunity came; I found him by himself, so I asked him, 'Ya Amir al-Mu'minin, who are the two women in Surat al-Tahrim?'" And Umar RA says, "Aisha and Hafsa"—subhan'Allah, it's his own daughter, yet Umar RA answered. Even he didn't keep it private.

If we look at the story of Maria, we see that even the wives of the Prophet PBUH were regular human beings. They felt jealous about their husband like every wife would, that our Prophet PBUH is a human being. And here is the whole point: If we portray the Prophet PBUH the way that our books of seerah portray him, then everything fits into place; but if we make an imaginary perspective and formulate a person who never actually existed, then when we read the books of seerah or when some person comes and gives us an incident, it completely shakes *our understanding*. And in Sh. YQ's opinion, this is a problem. One of the goals of this seerah series is to increase the Iman of our young brothers and sisters — to make them realize the true message of our Prophet PBUH, to not make him into something that he wasn't. Our Prophet PBUH was a human being [see also: episode 54]. And again, it's not like he PBUH did something haram; he had halal access to Maria.


Death of Maria al-Qibtiyya RA

Maria lived for only 4-5 years after the death of the Prophet PBUH. So she died relatively young in the khilafa of Umar ibn al-Khattab RA. Umar RA prayed janazah for her, and they buried her in Baqi' al-Gharqad. Therefore this clearly shows us she converted to Islam. When? We assume before the birth of Ibrahim, but Allah knows best.

[Transcribed by Br. Safwan Khan & Faizan]
[Revised by Br. Syed Haq & MAR, February 2022]

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