Counter Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun on "Mary, Muhammad's Concubine"

By Umar

[Part I]


Round 2





The Article is located here at : 



He Wrote:

On Mary, Muhammad's Concubine

Sam Shamoun

A writer by the name of Umar has taken issue (*) with my response to two Muslims regarding Mariyah's status, i.e. whether she was a slave or wife of Muhammad's. What makes this particular rebuttal amusing is that the author essentially concedes that Muslim sources are contradictory regarding Mariyah's exact status, a point which I acknowledged, but still decided to write a rebuttal anyway.




My Response:

Dont you just love introductions!


He Wrote:

Umar begins his response with:

My Response:

Ali Sina is a liar, and an Islamophobe ( Note: later on in the Article Shamoun will agree that Sina is a liar :>) Now coming to Maryiah[sic] the Copt, its either she was just a servant, and not part of the Holy Prophet (S) household, or she was his wife. Shedding more light , an Islamic site says this:

"As for the Egyptian Mariyah, she was offered to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as a slave gift from Al-Muqawqis, the leader of the Copts, in return for the Prophet's message calling them to Islam. Instead of taking her to serve in his household, he kindly settled her in a house of her own. She embraced Islam. Some sources say that she was freed and was one of the Mothers of the Believers. She bore the Prophet his son Ibrahim, who died early."


I will further touch on these points, since its an intro, let me not make it TOO long,

He again says:

My Response:

Well about Mariyah being a maid, I already posted a scholars[sic] view, on Mariyah the Copt, and he agrees that "Some sources say she was freed". So, while some sources say she was freed, others will say she wasn't. So Sam will post the ones which will show she WASN'T freed.

After citing Muslim sources which agree that Mariyah was not Muhammad's wife, the author writes:

My Response:

These are the sources which agree she was just a concubine.


My Response:

More sources which agree with Sam that Mariyah was just a concubine.

My Response:

Now, the fun begins...


Since I never denied that there are sources which claim that Mariyah was Muhammad's wife, this shows that Umar's paper is nothing more than an exercise in futility. He is addressing a point that was never contested, so this is nothing more than a straw man and a red herring. After all, to cite more references stating that Mariyah was Muhammad's wife does absolutely nothing to refute those other Muslim sources that I cited which contradict this position.



My Response:

Let us remind Sam Shamoun what he DID say:

"  Since we have documented that Mariyah was indeed Muhammad's maid, his slave or concubine, this means that we certainly do have a problem. Mr. Sina stands vindicated at least in regards to her status as a maid, even though he mistakenly assumed that she was Hafsah's maid. "


(Source located at :


Sam, according to your words, it seems as if you did pretty much deny the sources which say she is Muhammad (S) wife.




He Wrote:

And the fun indeed begins, but not for Umar! (Note: later on we will expose Umar's lie that I agreed with Sina being a liar).

My Response:

Now, here is where Sam shoots himself in the foot, he quotes Ibn Kathir. The fact is that Ibn Kathir in his book located here:, dedicates ONE part of his book to Mariyah the Copt , and the name of the book is... Well , you guessed it , " Muhammads[sic] Life: The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad". Now coming to "IS SAID" and uncertainty, well don't blame Ibn Kathir , since Muslims agree that some sources say she was freed, others don't. But even if she wasn't freed, if she had a child with him, she would've have[sic] been freed:

Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal Nadvi, Imam of Calgary Mosque, Canada, and Former Professor at King Saud Univ., Saudi Arabia, answers:

This question is only of academic value now. It is most likely that people know about this issue theoretically, because some of the critics of Islam raise this question to attack Islam and its principles.

The situation of having concubines is related to several things: First, if the Islamic state exists. Second, if the Islamic state makes offers for other territories to join Islam or enter into treaties with them. Third, if those territories refuse all kinds of peace and amicable offers, or if they announce war. Fourth, during the time of war, both sides capture prisoners that are exchanged mutually, then there's no concubines. Fifth, if the prisoners have no possibility of being exchanged and they are kept under the conquered army, then the following things happen: Either they are killed, as what happened in Siberia, or they are put in prison where they are humiliated to death or the females are used as concubines.

Here it's to be stressed that Islam has no double standards, and the situation of concubines is not a desirable option in Islam. If it happens, however, Islam solves it in a way akin to Islamic philosophy. That is, Islam deals with the issue on individual basis in the sense that the captives are distributed to Muslim individuals who can take care of them, teach them, and when they feel safe, free them. For this purpose, Islam related the freedom of slaves, with many Kaffarat (expiations) of sins.

Coming to your questions, there are two cases of concubine: one is a slave-girl living with a person as a maid only, in which case she will serve him, but he is not allowed to establish any sexual relationship with her. The other case is, if he decides to keep her as a partner, then he can establish a relationship with her, and then she will be freed as soon as she delivers any baby for him. Also, he will be the only person who has a relationship with her. This solution prevents any kind of prostitution, and at the same time, it finally leads towards the freedom of these concubines.

Currently, the conditions mentioned above do not exist, so no one can have concubines nowadays. That is why I consider the issue of concubines to be only of academic value, meaning that you only know it theoretically, because some of the critics of Islam raise this question to attack Islam.


So either way, since she bore him Ibraheem, she would've been freed.


To see who shot what in who's foot, let us quote once again what Ibn Kathir wrote both in the link provided by Umar (which we even quoted in our initial article):

Maria al-Qibtiyya (may Allah be pleased with her) IS SAID to have married the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and certainly everyone gave her the same title of respect as the Prophet's wives, 'Umm al Muminin' 'Mother of the Believers'.

And in his commentary:

<those (slaves) whom your right hand possesses whom Allah has given to you,> means, ?the slave-girls whom you took from the war booty are also permitted to you.' He owned Safiyyah and Juwayriyah, then he manumitted them and married them, AND HE OWNED Rayhanah bint Sham`un An-Nadariyyah AND MARIYAH AL-QIBTIYYAH, the mother of his son Ibrahim, upon him be peace; THEY WERE BOTH AMONG THE PRISONERS, may Allah be pleased with them. (Ibn Kathir's Commentary on Sura 33:50; online edition)




My Response:

Oh, yes the fun did begin, but what I find funny is that, Ibn Kathir dedicated one chapter of his book, located here>> , to Mariyah the Copt, and the name of the book is " Muhammads[sic] Life: The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad". And, as I said in my previous rebuttal to Sam, on Maryiah the Copt, there is no doubt that there are sources which say she is his wife, and others which say she ISN'T his wife,




He Wrote:

These comments should make it evident that Ibn Kathir wasn't stating that he believed Mariyah was Muhammad's wife, but was reporting what some Muslims had said. If his comments on Sura 33:50 leave any room to doubt what Ibn Kathir believed about Mariyah's status then the following statements from his biography on Muhammad should settle it:

Besides these, the Prophet HAD TWO CONCUBINES. The first was Mariyah Bintu Sham'un the Coptic, Umm Ibraheem. She was a present from Al-Muqawqis, the commander of Alexandria and Egypt, along with her sister Shereen, a horse named Mabur and a mare named Adduldul. The Prophet offered Shereen to Hassan Ibn Thabit and she gave birth to their son Abderahman. Mariyah died in the month of Muharram in year 16 A.H. and it was Omar Ibn Al-Khattab who assembled people for her funeral, performed Salat for her and buried her in Al-Baqee'. As for the second concubine, she was Rahanah Bintu ?Amru, and it was said Bintu Zaid, he chose her among the captives from Bani Quraidha, and he later set her free to join her people. (The Seerah of Prophet of Muhammad (S.A.W.), abridged by Muhammad Ali Al-Halabi Al-Athari [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2001: First Edition], Part II, pp. 32-33: capital and underline emphasis ours)



My Response:

Now read what Sam Shamoun states here:

" These comments should make it evident that Ibn Kathir wasn't stating that he believed Mariyah was Muhammad's wife, but was reporting what some Muslims had said. If his comments on Sura 33:50 leave any room to doubt what Ibn Kathir believed about Mariyah's status then the following statements from his biography on Muhammad should settle it:"


  Now, let us ask Sam, how does he know this? Did Ibn Kathir come in a dream of his and told him this? Or is he just making this up?  He quotes the biography, which say she was his concubine, which contradicts Ibn Kathir's other book, where he dedicated one whole chapter to Maryiah Al Qibti, as being the Wife of Prophet Muhammad (S).




He Wrote:

The foregoing should make it abundantly certain that Ibn Kathir DID NOT believe that Mariyah was Muhammad's wife.

Moreover, Umar exposes his fundamental ignorance of Islamic law regarding the status of a slave woman who gives birth to her master's child (known as an umm walad, "mother of child"). He is not to be entirely blamed, though, since it is the sheikh that has misinformed him.

We will let Sunni writer G.F Haddad set him straight on this issue as he answers questions regarding slavery in Islam:

His and her desires, yes, but within certain parameters including rights. This will be detailed insha Allah. However, it seems that intercourse with slaves was probably considered a method of contraceptive sexual enjoyment through coitus interruptus (`azl), since the slave owner could practice `azl without prior permission from his slave mate while he could not do so with his free wife without prior permission from her. And if the contraception intended by this `azl failed and the slave woman still bore a child from her master, her child was automatically freed and obtained a son or daughter's rights including inheritance. In addition, the mother herself could no longer be sold and was freed upon the owner's death.

. Yes, the word concubine literally means bed-mate and applies to any female slave that shares the bed of her master. The man is liable to support any child of his and whatever need of its mother that is related to that liability. He is not obliged to marry her but is definitely held to the responsibilities of a father including inheritability whether the mother is a Muslim or not, her child being Muslim. Nor is she entitled to any inheritance unless he decides to marry her AND she is Muslim. Allah knows best.


I read that the Prophet had a male child from his slave (Mariah). Why should a married man have sex with a salve woman? arent there limitaions to sexual desire?

Precisely, these limitations are those mentioned by the Qur'an.

Doesn't the slave have any rights?

Of course the slave has rights as we have already mentioned. In addition, in Islam, the slave even has rights to bring his or her owner before a law-court.

what happened to human rights in this whole scenario?

As we mentioned already, slavery and ransom were the alternatives to killing in war, but the slaves had to be fed and clothed with the same food and clothing as their owner, they could not be burdened with inhumane tasks, they could buy their freedoms, sue for their rights, and had other human rights that place Islamic ethics in the context of slavery above anything comparable in the ancient and modern worlds.

and when the slave gets pregnant there why doesnt the man have to marry her?

She and her child do obtain other rights as already mentioned but this is not one of them. (Haddad, Sex with slaves and women's rights; online source; bold and underline emphasis ours)




My Response:

And your point is? If the Sheikh was wrong, saying that the will automatically be freed AS SOON as she delivers the baby, then so what, bottom line is, she still would've been freed:

Title of Fatwa

Status of Slave Women in Islam

Date of Reply


Topic Of Fatwa


Country Applied

United Kingdom

Question of Fatwa

Is it true that Islam permits Muslim men to own slave women, and permits them to have sex with them without marrying them? And that this was carried out by the Prophet's Companions with his approval? Surely, this is in contradiction of the Qur'an's condemnation of zina. Could you please clarify this issue?

Name of Mufti

A Group of Islamic Researchers

Content of Reply

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, thank you very much for having confidence in us and we hope our efforts, which are purely for Allah's Sake, meet your expectations.

When Islam was reveled to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), slavery was a worldwide common social phenomenon; it was much older than Islam. Slavery was deeply rooted in every society to the extent that it was impossible to imagine a civilized society without slaves.

In spite of this social fact, Islam was the first religion to recognize slavery as a social illness that needed to be addressed. Since slavery was deeply rooted in the society, Islam did not abolish it at once. Rather, Islam treated slavery in the same manner it treated other social illnesses. Islam followed the same methodology of gradual elimination in dealing with this social disease as it did with other social illnesses, for example: the prohibition of alcohol in three steps.

Concerning having slave women, we would like to let you know that it happens to be a practice necessitated by the condition in which early Muslims found themselves vis--vis non-Muslims, as both parties engaged in wars. Slave women or milk al-yameen are referred to in the Qur'an as "Those whom your right hand possess" or "ma malakat aymanukum"; they are those taken as captives during conquests and subsequently became slaves, or those who were descendants of slaves.

Thus, it was a war custom in the past to take men and women as captives and then turn them into slaves. Islam did not initiate it, rather, it was something in practice long ago before the advent of Islam. And when Islam came, it tried to eradicate this practice, bit by bit. So it first restricted it to the reciprocal practice of war, in the sense that Muslims took war captives just as the enemies did with Muslims.

But as it aimed at putting an end to such issue, Islam laid down rules which would eventually lead to eradicating the practice. So it allowed Muslims to have intercourse with slave women taken as captives of just and legitimate wars. In so doing, the woman would automatically become free if she got pregnant (NOTE: The Sheik in this fatwa, makes clear later on, how she is to get free). What's more, her child would also become free.

Not only that, Islam also ordered a Muslim to treat the slave woman in every respect as if she were his wife. She should be well fed, clothed and given due protection. In the family environment, she had the opportunity to learn about Islam and was free to accept it or reject it. She also had the opportunity to earn her freedom for she could be ransomed.

In the light of the above-mentioned facts, and the nature of the question posed by people, it's clear that some people misunderstand the wisdom behind the permissibility of having female slaves and think that it is meant to unleash men's desires and give them more enjoyment. Never! That is not the point! It is, rather, means of freeing slaves; and this is clarified above in the fact that if a master got a female slave pregnant, then he could neither sell her nor give her away as a present. And if he died, she would not be considered part of his property. She'd receive her freedom and her baby would also be free.

But, we have to stress that this case should not be confused with that of female servants or maids, for they are free and not slaves. Therefore, it is forbidden to engage in sexual relations with them except through an Islamic marriage.

Slavery has been abolished by international conventions, and goes in line with aims and objectives of Islam, as it has called for centuries ago.

As for marrying slaves, it is something permissible under two conditions: first, if one is unable to pay the dowry of a free woman. Second, if there is fear of committing adultery if one doesn't get married. This is clarified by the following verse: "And whose is not able to afford to marry free, believing women, let them marry from the believing maids whom your right hands possess. This is for him among you who feareth to commit sin. But to have patience would be better for you." (An-Nisaa': 25)

This verse shows that Muslim men should abstain from illicit relations and seek enjoyment through marriage to free women or through their female slaves.

In conclusion, Allah has forbidden certain types of behavior and permitted other kinds of behavior as a safeguard to the individual and to the society. Allah has forbidden fornication and adultery. However, in the case of captives whom your right hands posses, it's something necessitated by the special circumstances which were created when the Muslims were at war."





He Wrote:

According to the above source a slave isn't set free just because she gives birth, only the child is free. She only became free when her master died, a position which is supported by the following Islamic narrations:

Section: Idda of an Umm Walad when Her Master Dies

Yahya related to me from Malik that Yahya ibn Said said that he had heard al-Qasim ibn Muhammad say that Zayd ibn Abd al-Malik separated some men and their wives who were slave-girls who had borne children to men who had died, because they had married them after one or two menstrual periods. He separated them until they had done an idda of four months and ten days. Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said, "Glory be to Allah! Allah says in His Book, 'Those of you who die, leaving wives, THEY ARE NOT WIVES.'" (Malik's Muwatta, Book 29, Number 29.30.91)

Since umm walads are not wives they do not have to observe the iddah, or waiting period, prescribed by the Quran for widows.

108 Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, visited Umm Salama while she was in mourning for Abu Salama and she had put aloes on her eyes. He said, "What is this, Umm Salama?" She said, "It is only aloes, Messenger of Allah." He said, "Put it on at night and wipe it off in the daytime."

Malik said, "The mourning of a young girl who has not yet had a menstrual period takes the same form as the mourning of one who has had a period. She avoids what a mature woman avoids if her husband dies."

Malik said, "A slave-girl mourns her husband when he dies for two months and five nights like her idda."

Malik said, "An umm walad does not have to mourn when her master dies, and a slave-girl does not have to mourn when her master dies. Mourning is for those with husbands." (Malik's Muwatta, Book 29, Number 29.33.108)




 My Response:

Okay, we obviously agree on that.




He Wrote:

Since an umm walad wasn't married to the father of her child she wasn't required to mourn his death. This next narration says that an umm walad only goes free when her master dies:

Section: Freeing Slaves who are Umm Walad and a General Chapter on Freeing

Malik related to me from Nafi from Abdullah ibn Umar that Umar ibn al-Khattab said, "If a slave-girl gives birth to a child by her master, he must not sell her, give her away, or bequeath her. He enjoys her and when he dies she is free." (Malik's Muwatta, Book 38, Number 38.5.6)

The foregoing presupposes that a man wasn't required to marry a concubine that had mothered his child, but could continue to keep her as a slave until he died. Basically this means that Mariyah didn't automatically become free when she birthed Muhammad's son, and could still be kept as his slave until he died. Yet even after he died Mariyah was still not free to remarry since the Quran prohibited any man from marrying or sleeping with Muhammad's women:

O you who believe! do not enter the houses of the Prophet unless permission is given to you for a meal, not waiting for its cooking being finished -- but when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken the food, then disperse -- not seeking to listen to talk; surely this gives the Prophet trouble, but he forbears from you, and Allah does not forbear from the truth And when you ask of them any goods, ask of them from behind a curtain; this is purer for your hearts and (for) their hearts; and it does not behoove you that you should give trouble to the Apostle of Allah, nor that you should marry his wives after him ever; surely this is grievous in the sight of Allah. S. 33:53 Shakir

Although the text says wives, this would also include his female slaves since no Muslim would dare sleep with women whom their prophet had been sexually intimate with.




My Response:

Is it me, or is Sam Shamoun blind, and can't read the Ayat properly? It clearly says his "wives"... Sam Shamoun is making his own Tafsir of the Holy Quran.




He Wrote:


Moreover, it seems that all these Muslim sources that listed Mariyah as Muhammad's slave despite knowing full well that she had given birth to his son were quite ignorant in comparison to Umar and his source!

All Umar has managed to prove by quoting this modern Muslim sheikh is that Muslim sources are confused and contradictory, and can't get their facts straight. Worse still, Umar has provided additional evidence proving that Muhammad was inconsistent and didn't follow his own rules, since he didn't set Mariyah free after giving birth to his son! (Assuming, of course, that all these Muslim sources are correct that she remained a slave, a point that Umar has yet to refute).

Finally, EVEN IF Muhammad had set her free at some later time he still slept with her while she was a slave for a considerable time. He did not marry her and then have intercourse with her, but FIRST had intercourse with her without being properly married. The original claim was that Muhammad slept with a maid. And that is true, even if Muhammad changed the matter of her status later on. However, reading the Muslim sources carefully, it seems that he never set her free while alive, but she only became free after his death. Yet, what did that freedom mean if she was not able to marry and have a family?




My Response:

For the first 2 paragraphs, I already showed that the Fatwa, was wrong, and I corrected myself. But now, its time to prove once again, that Mariyah the Copt, was indeed Prophet (S) wife, and wasn't his concubine, for the response to the last paragraph. Firstly, there are 2 cases of concubines:

1) Slave-girl who is living as a maid only, in which she will serve him, but will not have any relationship with him, (which is obviously not the case with Mariyah, since she bore him Ibraheem)

2) And the final case is if he decides to keep her as a partner, (Note: She will still be his slave)

No.1, is obviously not the case, so we are left with no.2. But, a question arises, how can Mariyah the Copt, who is said to be a "slave girl", render any service to the Prophet (S), or any of his wives, when she herself resided in the outskirts of the city. M. Tayyib Baksh Budayuni, the translator of Sirat-Un-Nabi, says something similar, here is what he says:

 " The Author discusses the report about Mariyah Qibtiyah mainly on the basis of weak reports. As to circumstantial evidence, he only points out that it is unthinkable in the case of a character so superbly moral and modest as of the Prophet. But it may also be pointed out that the holy wives are said to begin their protest against Mariyah some two years after her coming over to the Prophet, which makes the whole story extremely doubtful. Again that Mariyah has been living as a slave-girl, is higly improbably as was residing away from the Mosque on the outskirts of the city and could not 'therefore, render any domestic service to the Prophet or any of the other wives. The situation of her residence also rules out the probability of Hafsa breaking into her privacy. Moreover, the 'Allamah has already proved that Mariyah Qibtiyah was not a slave-girl, but a duly wedded wife of the Prophet and that she came of a respectable family of the Egyptians. To call her a slave-girl is in itself a distortion of facts- Translator"

(Source: Sirat Un Nabi, Vol.II, p.233-234, Footnote#2)



He Wrote:

Next, the author now thinks he has me but in reality he has only helped to further expose just how chaotic and contradictory the Quran and the sources of Islam truly are:

My Response:

Now, watch this missionary tactic, first Sam quotes Ibn Kathirs[sic] commentary, for Sura 33 Ayat no 50. But lets ask Sam why he didn't[sic] quote the commentary for Ayat no 52? Heres[sic] why :

"More than one of the scholars, such as Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd, Ibn Jarir and others stated that this Ayah was revealed as a reward to the wives of the Prophet expressing Allah's pleasure with them for their excellent decision in choosing Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, when the Messenger of Allah, gave them the choice, as we have stated above. When they chose the Messenger of Allah their reward was that Allah restricted him to these wives, and forbade him to marry anyone else or to change them for other wives, even if he was attracted by their beauty -- apart from slave-girls and prisoners of war, with regard to whom there was no sin on him. Then Allah lifted the restriction stated in this Ayah and permitted him to marry more women, but he did not marry anyone else, so that the favor of the Messenger of Allah towards them would be clear. Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: "The Messenger of Allah did not die until Allah permitted (marriage to other) women for him.'' It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i in their Sunans. On the other hand, others said that what was meant by the Ayah "


Ibn Kathir also says:

"(nor to change them for other wives even though their beauty attracts you, ) He was forbidden to marry more women, even if he were to divorce any of them and wanted replace her with another, except for those whom his right hand possessed (slave women)."

So this will silence Sam on his interpretation.


Speaking presumptuously, Umar doesn't realize that this severely embarrasses Muhammad. Not only have I actually quoted in my articles what Ibn Kathir said regarding Sura 33:52 being abrogated, I even used this to expose Muhammad's inconsistency and the corrupt nature of the Quran. I had written in response to one Muslim writer:

What is even more astonishing is that S. 33:50 was revealed before 33:52 and yet the earlier verse canceled a verse that came later! The late Iranian Muslim scholar Ali Dashti writes:

"In Zamakhshari's opinion, ?A'esha's words show that verse 52 was abrogated by custom and by verse 49 (?O Prophet, We have made lawful for you .'). But an abrogating verse ought to come after the abrogated one. Nevertheless Soyuti, in his treatise on Qor'anic problems entitled ol-Etqan, maintains that in this case the earlier verse abrogated the later one." (Ali Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, Mazda Pub; ISBN: 1568590296, p. 128; bold emphasis ours)

Talk about confusion! (Source)

Since Umar wanted some fun we will now give him plenty of it! The following Christian source notes that there are two places where the abrogated verses come before the verses that they abrogate!

The Abrogative Before the Abrogated

Strangely enough, we find two incidents in the Quran where the abrogative comes before the abrogated. Sura al-Baqara 2:234, "Such of you as die and leave behind them wives, they [the wives] shall wait, keeping themselves apart, four months and ten days," .

Abrogated Sura al-Baqara 2:240, which says: "Those of you who die and leave widows should bequeath for their widows a year's maintenance and residence if they leave." .

The second case is Sura al-Ahzab 33:50: "O Prophet, We have made lawful to you your wives.and those whom your right hand possesses.and daughters of your paternal uncles.and any believing woman if she give herself to the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage." .

According to Muslim theologians, this verse abrogated Sura al-Ahzab 33:52, which says: "Thereafter women are not lawful [for] you, neither for you to take other wives in exchange for them, though their beauty please you." .

Strangely enough, Muslim theologians placed the nasikh before the mansukh. Ibn al-Arabi said: "A peculiar thing about the mansukh is what the Quran says in Sura al-A?raf 7:199: ?Take the abundance, and bid to what is honourable, and turn away from the ignorant.' The first and the third parts of this verse are abrogated, while its middle is not. Another strange verse is Suras 5:105: ?Guard your own souls [an abrogated part]; if you follow guidance, no hurt can come to you [the abrogative part]'" (Al-Itqan by al-Suyuti; chapter on the abrogative and the abrogated verses). (True Guidance: An Introduction to Quranic Studies [Light of Life P.O. Box 13, A-9503, Villach, Austria, 1981], part 4, pp. 89-90)

It is little wonder that the following writer could incredulously ask:

1) The abrogator precedes the abrogated

In part 3, p. 69 the Suyuti remarks,

"In the Qur'an there is no abrogator (verse) without being preceded by an abrogated (verse) except in two verses, and some added a third one, while others added a fourth verse" (Al Itqan).

Then the Suyuti recorded these verses. We tell him that even if there is only one verse (not four) this matter is incomprehensible and unacceptable. Why should an abrogating verse (with which Muslims are to comply) precede the abrogated verse? How would an abrogating verse abolish something which is not yet in existence, then later, the abrogated verse is revealed and recorded in the Qur'an? Why should it be recorded if it is already abrogated? (Behind The Veil, Chapter Ten, "The Abrogator and Abrogated Qur'anic Verses"; online edition)




My Response:

This Part of the rebuttal will be divided into 2 sections:

1) Sura 33:52 was "abrogated"

2) Sura 33:52 wasn't abrogated




" More than one of the scholars, such as Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd, Ibn Jarir and others stated that this Ayah was revealed as a reward to the wives of the Prophet expressing Allah's pleasure with them for their excellent decision in choosing Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, when the Messenger of Allah , gave them the choice, as we have stated above. When they chose the Messenger of Allah their reward was that Allah restricted him to these wives, and forbade him to marry anyone else or to change them for other wives, even if he was attracted by their beauty -- apart from slave-girls and prisoners of war, with regard to whom there was no sin on him. Then Allah lifted the restriction stated in this Ayah and permitted him to marry more women, but he did not marry anyone else, so that the favor of the Messenger of Allah towards them would be clear. "



Now, here is what we should ask ourself, "How is saying a man can marry more wives a good thing?". In response to this question, Hammudah Abdallati, in his book Islam in Focus says:

"As far as the issue of the Prophet's marriages is concerned (peace and blessings be upon him) it is not problem for a Muslim who understands the ideal character of the Prophet and the circumstances under which his marriages were contracted. Quite often they stand as a stumbling block for non-Muslims to understand the personality of the Prophet, causing one to reach the wrong conclusion, which is not to the credit of Islam or the Prophet.

We will not give any conclusions of our own or denounce the conclusions of others. We shall present certain facts and allow the readers to see for themselves.

1. The institution of marriage enjoys a very high status in Islam. It is highly commendable and essential for the sound survival of society.

2. Prophet Muhammad never said that he was immortal or divine. Time and time again, he emphasized that he was a mortal being chosen by Allah to deliver His message to mankind. Although unique and distinguished in his life, he lived like a man and died as a man. Marriage, therefore, was natural for him, and not a heresy or anathema.

3. He lived in an extremely hot climate where the physical desires press hard on men, where people develop physical maturity at an early age, and where easy satisfaction was a common thing among people of all classes. Nevertheless, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had never touched a woman until he was 25 years of age when he married for the first time. In the whole of
he was known by his upright character and was called Al-Amin (the trustworthy), a title which signified the highest standard of moral life.

4. His first marriage at this unusually late age was to Khadeejah, who was twice widowed and 15 years his senior. It was her who initiated the contract, and he accepted the proposal in spite of her age and marital status. At the time he could have quite easily found more beautiful women to be much younger wives, if he was inclined towards his physical desires.

5. He lived with Khadijah as her husband until he was over 50 years of age, and by her he had all his children with the exception of Ibrahim. She remained his wife until her death when she was over 65 years, and throughout her marriage the Prophet never took another wife or had any other intimacy.

6. Persecutions and perils were continually inflicted on him and the believers, particularly at the end of Khadijah's life. It was during this time that his wife died and after her death, he stayed without re-marrying for some time. Sawdah, who had emigrated with her husband to Abyssinia in the early years of persecutions, sought shelter on her way back after her husband died. The natural course for her was to turn to the Prophet himself for whose mission her husband had died. The Prophet extended his shelter and married her. She was not particularly young or beautiful. She was an ordinary widow with a quick temper. Later in the same year, the Prophet proposed to `A'ishah who was seven years old and the daughter of his beloved Companion, Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). The marriage was not consummated until sometime after the emigration to Madinah and when she had reached maturity. The motives of these two marriages can be understood to be anything except passion and physical attraction. However, he lived with the two wives for five to six years, when he was 56 years of age, without taking any other wife.

7. From the age of 56 to 60, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) contracted nine marriages in quick succession. In the last three years of his life he contracted no marriages at all. Most of his marriages were contracted in a period of about five years when he was passing the most difficult and trying stage in his mission. At that time the Muslims were engaged in decisive battles and entangled in an endless circle of external and internal problems. It was at that time that the Islamic legislation was in the making, and the foundations of an Islamic society were being laid down. The fact that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was the most dominant figure in these events and the center around which they revolved, and that most of his marriages took place during this particular period is an extremely interesting phenomenon. It invites the serious attention of historians, sociologists, legislators, psychologists, etc. It cannot be interpreted simply in terms of physical attraction and lust.

8. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) lived a simple and modest life. During the day he was the busiest man of his era as he was Head of State, Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, instructor, etc. At night he was spiritually devoted to Allah as he used to stay one to two-thirds of every night vigilant in prayer and meditation (Qur'an, 73: 20). His furniture consisted of mats, jugs, blankets and other simple things, although he was the king and sovereign of
. His life was so severe and austere that his wives once pressed him for worldly comforts, but they never had any (cf. Qur'an, 33: 48). Obviously, that was not the life of a lustful and passionate man.

9. The wives he took were all widows or divorced with the exception of `A'ishah. None of these widowed and divorced wives was particularly known for physical charms or beauties. Some of them were senior to him in age, and practically all of them sought his hand and shelter, or were presented to him as gifts, but he accepted them as legal wives.

This is the general background of the Prophet's marriages, and it cannot give any impression that these marriages were in response to physical needs or biological pressures. It is inconceivable to think that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) maintained so large a number of wives because of personal designs or physical wants. Anyone, friend or foe, who doubts the moral integrity or the spiritual excellence of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) on account of his marriages has to find satisfactory explanations of questions like these. Why did he first marry at the age of 25 after having had no association with any female? Why did he choose a twice-widowed woman, 15 years his senior? Why did he remain with her until her death when he was over fifty without having another wife? Why did he accept all those helpless widows and divorcees who possessed no particular appealing qualities? Why did he lead such an austere and hard life, when he could have had an easy and comfortable one? Why did he contract most of his marriages in the busiest five years in his life when his mission and career were at stake? How could he manage to be what he was, if the harem life or passions overtook him? There are many other points that can be raised and the whole subject cannot be simply interpreted in terms of masculine love and desire for women. It calls for serious and honest consideration.

Reviewing the marriages of Prophet Muhammad individually one does not fail to find the actual reasons behind these marriages. They may be classified as follows:

1. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to the world as an ideal model for mankind, and he was in all aspects of his life. Marriage in particular is a striking illustration. He was the kindest, most loving and charitable husband. He had to undertake all stages of human experience and moral tests. He lived with one wife and with more than one, with the old and the young, with the widow and the divorcee, with the pleasant and the temperamental, and with the renowned and the humble. But, in all cases be was the epitome of kindness and consolation, and so designated to experience all the different aspects of human behavior and situations. This could not have been a physical pleasure; it was a moral trial as well as a human task, and a hard one too.

2. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to establish morality and assure every Muslim of security, protection, moral integrity and a decent life. His mission was put to the test in his life and it did not stay in the stationary form of theory. As usual, he took the hardest part and did his share in the most inconvenient manner. Wars and persecution burdened the Muslims with many widows, orphans and divorcees. They had to be protected and maintained by the surviving Muslim men. It was his practice to help these women become resettled by marriage to his Companions. The Companions rejected some women and so some of those women sought his personal patronage and protection. Realizing fully their conditions and sacrifices for the cause of Islam, he had to do something to relieve them. One course of relief was to take them as his own wives and accept the challenge of heavy liabilities. So he did so and maintained more than one wife at a time when it was no fun or easy course. He had to take part in the rehabilitation of those widows, orphans and divorcees because he could not ask his Companions to do things that he himself was not prepared to do or participate in. These women were trusts of the Muslims and they had to be looked after jointly. What he did, then, was his share of responsibility, and as always his share was the largest and heaviest. That is why he had more than one wife and more than any of his Companions.

3. There were many prisoners of war captured by the Muslims who were entitled to security and protection. They were not killed or denied their rights: human or physical. On the contrary, they were helped to settle down through legal marriages to Muslims instead of being taken as concubines and common mistresses. That also was another moral burden on the Muslims, which had to be shouldered jointly as a common responsibility. Here, again, Muhammad carried his share and took some responsibilities by marrying two of those captives.

4. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) contracted some of his marriages for sociopolitical reasons. His principal concern was the future of Islam. He was interested in strengthening the Muslims by all bonds. That is why he married the young daughter of Abu Bakr, his First Successor, and the daughter of `Umar, his Second Successor. It was by his marriage to Juwayriyyah that he gained the support for Islam of the whole clan of Bani Al-Mustaliq and their allied tribes. It was through marriage to Safiyyah that he neutralized a great section of the hostile Jews of
Arabia. By accepting Mariyah, the Copt from Egypt, as his wife, he formed a political alliance with a king of great magnitude. It was also a gesture of friendship with a neighboring king that Muhammad married Zaynab who was presented to him by the Negus of Abyssinia
in whose territory the early Muslims found safe refuge.

5. By contracting most of these marriages, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) meant to eliminate the caste or class system, racial and national pride and superiority, and religious prejudices. He married some of the humblest and poorest women. There was his marriage to Mariyah from
Egypt, a Jewish woman of a different religion and race, and a Negro girl from Abyssinia
. He was not satisfied with merely teaching brotherhood and equality: actions speak louder than words.

6. Some of the Prophet's marriages were for legislative reasons and to abolish certain corrupt traditions. Such was his marriage to Zaynab, divorcee of the freed slave Zayd. Before Islam, the Arabs did not allow divorcees to remarry. Zayd was adopted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and called his son as was the custom among the Arabs before Islam. But Islam abrogated this custom and disapproved of its practice. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was the first man to express this disapproval in a practical way. So he married the divorcee of his "adopted" son to show that adoption does not really make the adopted child a real son of the adopting father and also to show that marriage is lawful for divorcees. Incidentally, this very Zaynab was Muhammad's cousin, and had been offered to him in marriage before she married Zayd. He refused her then, but after she was divorced he accepted her for the two legislative purposes: the lawful marriage of divorcees and the real status of adopted children. The story of this Zaynab has been associated in some minds with ridiculous fabrications regarding the moral integrity of Muhammad. These vicious fabrications are not even worth considering here (see Qur'an, 33: 36, 37, 40).

These are the circumstances accompanying the Prophet's marriages. For the Muslims there is no doubt whatsoever that Muhammad had the highest standards of morality and was the perfect model for mankind under all circumstances. To non-Muslims we appeal for a serious discussion of the matter. Then, they may be able to reach sound conclusions."

(Source: Islam in Focus, p.177-179 by Hammudah Abdallati)

So we must ask Sam Shamoun, how is marrying to show there is no difference between two races " severely embarrasses " Muhammad (S)??

Sura 33:52 was NOT "abrogated":


Here is the complete commentary of Sura 33:52, by Ibn Kathir:

"The Reward of His Wives for choosing to stay with the Messenger

More than one of the scholars, such as Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd, Ibn Jarir and others stated that this Ayah was revealed as a reward to the wives of the Prophet expressing Allah's pleasure with them for their excellent decision in choosing Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, when the Messenger of Allah , gave them the choice, as we have stated above. When they chose the Messenger of Allah their reward was that Allah restricted him to these wives, and forbade him to marry anyone else or to change them for other wives, even if he was attracted by their beauty -- apart from slave-girls and prisoners of war, with regard to whom there was no sin on him. Then Allah lifted the restriction stated in this Ayah and permitted him to marry more women, but he did not marry anyone else, so that the favor of the Messenger of Allah towards them would be clear. Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: "The Messenger of Allah did not die until Allah permitted (marriage to other) women for him.'' It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i in their Sunans. On the other hand, others said that what was meant by the Ayah,

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(It is not lawful for you (to marry other) women after this,) means, `after the description We have given of the women who are lawful for you, those to whom you have given their dowery, those whom your right hand possesses, and daughters of your paternal uncles and aunts, maternal uncles and aunts, and those who offer themselves to you in marriage -- other kinds of women are not lawful for you.' This view was narrated from Ubayy bin Ka`b, from Mujahid in one report which was transmitted from him, and others. At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: "The Messenger of Allah was forbidden to marry certain kinds of women apart from believing women who had migrated with him, in the Ayah,

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(It is not lawful for you (to marry other) women after this, nor to change them for other wives even though their beauty attracts you, except those whom your right hand possesses.) Allah has made lawful believing women, and believing women who offered themselves to the Prophet for marriage, and He made unlawful every woman who followed a religion other than Islam, as Allah says:

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(And whosoever disbelieves in faith, then fruitless is his work) (5:5). Ibn Jarir, may Allah have mercy on him, stated that this Ayah is general in meaning and applies to all the kinds of women mentioned and the women to whom he was married, who were nine. What he said is good, and may be what many of the Salaf meant, for many of them narrated both views from him, and there is no contradiction between the two. And Allah knows best.

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(nor to change them for other wives even though their beauty attracts you, ) He was forbidden to marry more women, even if he were to divorce any of them and wanted replace her with another, except for those whom his right hand possessed (slave women).

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(53. 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.) (54. Whether you reveal anything or conceal it, verily, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything.)"

According to Ibn Kathir, and common sense, Sura 33:52 prohibited the Prophet (S) from marrying free women, except those whom his right hand possessed. So he was allowed to mary Mariyah the Copt, as Yusuf Ali says in his commentary for Sura 33:52:

"This was revealed in A.H. 7. After that the Prophet did not marry again except the handmaiden Mary the Copt, who was sent as a present by the Christian Muqauqas of Egypt. She became the mother of Ibrahim, who died in his infancy.

(Source: The Quran: Text translation and Commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Footnote#3754)

But.. Contradiction! Mr. Umar you said that Mariyah wasn't a slave (handmaiden etc.), you quoted from Allama Shibli Numani's book which said she was "highly respected among the Qibtis, you also posted the footnote, where he says that the words "highly respected" dont apply to slave girls, now you say Muhammad (S) WAS allowed to marry those who his right hands possessed, and you quote Yusuf Ali who calls Mariyah a "hand maiden", please explain yourself!

Answer: First of all, let us examine Sura 33:52 again. According to Abdullah Yusuf Ali, some Ayats in Sura 33 were revealed in A.H. 7, particularly Sura 33 Ayat 52. This itself refutes the fact that Muhammad (S) was going against Holy Quran to marry Mariyah, since we believe that Mariyah the Copt arrived in the year 6 A.H:

"The year 6 A . H.

Treaty of Hudaibiya, Bait-e-Ridwan
In the beginning of the month Zi Qa'ad in 6 A.H., the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) made up his mind to go to Mecca for performing Umrah, and put on Ihram for that purpose. About fourteen to fifteen hundred Sahabah are also stated to have accompanied him.

Hudaibiya is in fact the name of a well at some short distance from Mecca and the name its village also goes by the name Hudaibiya. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions had a stop there before proceeding to Mecca.

His Miracle
There was an absolutely dry well, which was so much filled with water by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) that all of them used its water to their complete satisfaction.

On their arrival at Hudaibiya, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) sent Hadrat Uthman to Mecca with the message that they had come only for visiting the Baitullah (Ka'bah) and for performing Umarah without any political interest involved therein. When Hadrat Uthman reached Mecca, the infidels detained him, but rumour spread in Hudaibiya that Uthman was murdered by the infidels. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) apprehending it a factual news, assemble his Sahabah and took the oath of allegiance is called " Bait-e-Ridwan". The news was later on found a false one. On the contrary, the Quraish sent Sohail bin Amr as their representative for setting the conditions of treaty. And a treaty was written for ten years' reconciliation under the following conditions:

Muslims shall go back this time without entering Mecca.

Next year they would come for three days stay in Mecca in order to perform Umrah.

They shall not come equipped with weapons except their swords and they too will be sheather.

They shall not take alongwith them any Muslim from Mecca.

If any of the Muslims wanted to stay in Mecca he shall not be prohibited from doing so.

If any Muslim reached Medina from Mecca he shall be sent back.

If any one came from Medina to Mecca he should not be returned.

Although all these conditions were apparently below the dignity of the Muslims, Almighty Allah called this Treaty as the Victory and during the same journey Surah Fateh (Victory) was revealed. The Sahabah very much disliked any Treaty under duress. Hadrat Umar insistingly submitted his aversion before the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) but he replied that he was ordained so by Almighty Allah and their future success and victory was hidden in this very Treaty. The future events unveiled this secret, because it was due to this Treaty that there was a free traffic between Mecca and Median. The infidels started meeting the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and other Muslims. The Islamic conduct had a magnetic attraction for them. The historians have stated that never before had so many people embraced Islam as after this Treaty. And the fact is that this Treaty proved as a precursory step for the victory of Mecca.

Letters to the Kings inviting them towards Islam

        After the Treaty of Hudaibiya the travel had become safe. So the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) made up his mind to convey the truth of Islam to all the Kings of the world. Accordingly he sent Amr bin Umayyah to Ashama, called Negus, the King of Abyssinia with a letter of initiation towards Islam. He respected the letter from the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) by touching his both eyes to it and stepping down from his throne. He gladly embraced Islam and later died during the life-time of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

        Wahyah Kalbi was sent to Heraclus, the King of Rome. He too was convinced by solid arguments and attestation from the former Scriptures that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was indeed a Prophet of Allah. There fore he showed his willingness to embrace Islam, but all his subjects got enraged on his this gesture. Smelling the impending danger of getting himself dethroned by them, declined to embrace Islam.

        Hadrat Abdullah ibne Huzafah was sent to Chosros, Chosro Pravez, the Emperor of Iran. This wretched King tore off the Holy Prophet's (peace be upon him) Letter disgracefully When the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) came to know about it he said, " May Allah turn his empire into pieces in the same manner as he has done with our letter." how could a curse from the greatest messenger of Allah go ineffective? After a short time Chosro Parvez was cruelly killed by his own son Sheroyah.

        Hatib bin Abi Balta' was sent to Maqauqus, King of Egypt and Alexandria, He was also blessed by Almighty Allah with the truth of Islam and righteousness the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). There fore, he conducted in response very nicely, and, after showing a very good hospitality towards Hadrat Hatib, he sent to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) some presents, including a slave-girl Maryah Qibtiyah and whit mule named ' Duldul'. According to a version, he also sent one thousand Dinars and twenty two suits as parts of his presents.

        Hadrat Amr bin Aas was sent to Oman's King Jaifar and King Abdullah. They also believed in the Pophethood of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) after verification from the former Scriptures and personal satisfaction. Both of them embraced Islam and right from that time they started collecting Zahat and handed it over to Hadtat Amr bin Aas.

Embracing Islam by Khailid bin Waleed and Amr bin Aas
Before the Treaty of Hudaibiya Khaild bin Waleed was against the Muslims in every battle and particularly in the battle of Uhad, it was due to valour and strategy that the fleeing infidels regained power and firmness in the field.

But after the Treaty of Hudaibiya, he voluntarily travelled to Medina to embrace Islam. On his way, he met Amr bin Aas and came to know that he was also travelling towards Medina with the same intentions. So both of them, after reaching Medina."

(Source:, bold emphasis ours)

(NOTE: We will address this "slave-girl" issue, in the paragraphs below)

Now, coming to the main point, Yusuf Ali calls Mariyah the Copt, a "handmaiden", and he says:

 "This was revealed in A.H. 7. After that the Prophet did not marry again except the handmaiden Mary the Copt, who was sent as a present by the Christian Muqauqas of Egypt. She became the mother of Ibrahim, who died in his infancy.

(Source: The Quran: Text translation and Commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Footnote#3754)


In Sura 33:52, we read that Prophet (S), could only marry women who were his right hand possessions, his servants. We already showed, that Sura 33:52, does not mean that Mariyah The Copt couldn't have been his wife, since according to Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Ali, that particular Ayat was revealed in A.H. 7, which is AFTER Mariyah the Copt, arrived in Medina. We also proved in the above paragraphs, that Mariyah the Copt, couldn't have been a slave, since she herself resided outside of Medina, therefore she couldnt render any domestic service to the Prophet (S). But, Yusuf Ali, however, calls Mariyah a "handmaiden", he also says " the Prophet did not marry again except the handmaiden Mary the Copt". In my previous article, I showed that Mariyah was a respected person among the Qibtis, and not a handmaiden, I posted the letter of Muqauqas, and the commentary of it, found in the biography "Sirat Un Nabi by Allama Shibli Nu'Mani". I will post it again:


" To Muhammad Ibn 'Abdullah from Muqaudis, the chief of Qibt. Peace to you. I have read your letter and have noted the contents. I knew this much that a prophet was to come. But I had expected him to appear in Syria. I have extended an honourable welcome to your messenger and am sending two girls who are higly respected among the Qibtis (Egyptians) and I offer as a present some cloth and a mule to ride on."

(Sirat Un Nabi, p.153 Vol.II)

And, here is the commentary:

" We have translated the word "Jariyah" in the original sense meaning girl. In Arabic it may be used for a slave girl as well. Historians have on this account declarled Mariya to have been a slave girl. But the words used by the Potiphar about these girls are ' Who are higly respected among the Qibtis or Egyptians". These are not the words that may possibly be applied to slave girls."

(Ibid, p.153 Vol.II)

This letter itself refutes that Mariyah was a handmaiden. Now, coming to when Yusuf Ali says ," .. did not marry again EXCEPT the handmaiden...", we already showed with ample proofs, that Mariyah arrived in Medinah before this Ayat was revealed, so Yusuf Ali was mistaken.


Thus we have ended Part 1 of our rebuttal