Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Muhammad's Marriage to Safiyyah"

By 

Bassam Zawadi

 

Sam Shamoun has replied to parts of my article regarding the marriage of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to Saffiyah

Sam Shamoun threw in several topics into this short article of his.

1) Argument of Quran affirming the Bible

2) Argument that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not foretold in the Bible

3) Argument that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) didn't adhere to the Torah

 

Each one of these topics will just expand and divert from the main issue, and that is whether there was anything wrong with the Prophet's marriage to Safiyyah

I won't even be presenting new arguments from whatever I already have done in my first article. I will simply point out Sam Shamoun's inconsistent method of argumentation (picking and choosing narrations that support his argument). I will also expose Sam Shamoun for appealing to sources narrated by liars by his own admission. And for also taking ridiculous arguments from other people and presented it as his own.  

 

Sam Shamoun said:

If it hadn't been for Muhammad, Safiyyah would not have been widowed at seventeen and then taken as a slave, nor would Juwayriyyah have felt the need to marry Muhammad in order to procure her freedom.

My Response:

As for Juwayriyyah, she belonged to the tribe of Bani Mustaliq. Why did the Muslims attack that tribe?

 

It was Bani Al-Mustaliq who FIRST started, read the following.

News reached the Prophet [peace be upon him] on Sha?ban 2nd. to the effect that the chief of Bani Al-Mustaliq, Al-Harith bin Dirar had mobilised his men, along with some Arabs, to attack Madinah. Buraidah bin Al-Haseeb Al-Aslami was immediately dispatched to verify the reports. He had some words with Abi Dirar, who confirmed his intention of war. He later sent a reconnoiterer to explore the positions of the Muslims but he was captured and killed. The Prophet [peace be upon him] summoned his men and ordered them to prepare for war. Before leaving, Zaid bin Haritha was mandated to see to the affairs of Madinah and dispose them. On hearing the advent of the Muslims, the disbelievers got frightened and the Arabs going with them defected and ran away to their lives. Abu Bakr was entrusted with the banner of the Emigrants, and that of the Helpers went to Sa?d bin ?Ubada. The two armies were stationed at a well called Muraisi. Arrow shooting went on for an hour, and then the Muslims rushed and engaged with the enemy in a battle that ended in full victory for the Muslims. Some men were killed, women and children of the disbelievers taken as captives, and a lot of booty fell to the lot of the Muslims. Only one Muslim was killed by mistake by a Helper. Amongst the captives was Juwairiyah, daughter of Al-Harith, chief of the disbelievers. The Prophet [peace be upon him] married her and, in compensation, the Muslims had to manumit a hundred others of the enemy prisoners who embraced Islam, and were then called the Prophet's in-laws. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/112,113; Ibn Hisham 2/289,290,294,295]  

 

This was also narrated by Aasim bin Amr bin Qutada and collected by Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani in Fathul Bari (496/7).

Taken from http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/companion/04_abu_bakr.htm ..

The Banu Mustaliq, a branch of Banu Khuza'a occupied the territory of Qadid on the Red Sea shore between Jeddah and Rabigh. In 527 C.E. news was brought to Madina that the Banu Mustaliq in alliance with some other tribes were gathering to make a raid on Madina. The policy of the Holy Prophet was that the Muslims should not lose the initiative in such cases, and should take such tribes by surprise. Another aspect of the policy was that action against individual tribes should be taken before they could effect an alliance.

They were all eventually set free. Taken from http://www.islamonline.com/cgi-bin/news_service/profile_story.asp?service_id=1110 ..


Although Juwayriyya was young and beautiful and of noble lineage, Prophet Mohamed (PEACE BE UPON HIM) was not thinking of all that, he was thinking of how to save her and all her tribe from an ignoble fate.

By marrying Juwayriyya, the Banu Mustaliq were able to enter Islam with honor, and with the humiliation of their recent defeat removed, and it was not necessary for them to embark on a war of vengeance that would have continued until one of the two parties had been annihilated.

All the booty that had been taken from the Banu Mustaliq was returned, and all the captives were set free, as soon as the marriage took place, for they were now the in laws of Prophet Mohamed (PEACE BE UPON HIM).

The Prophet did not marry for beauty only. 

 

The Prophet married Sauda bint Zuma when she was 50 years old and  she was a widow. She was also not an attractive woman. 

 

Ibn Kathir says...

There was great surprise in Mecca that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would choose to marry a widow who was neither young nor beautiful. (Ibn Kathir, Wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Source)

As for the wisdom behind the marriage to Juwayriyah....

 

The aim of the Messenger of Allah to marry Juwayriyah was mainly to propagate and extend the word of Monotheism to every corner. Even though Juwayriyah was beautiful, and some of the Prophet's wives were even more beautiful, the criteria for marriage, according to the Islamic legal system, must not be based on one's physical beauty only. 

 

Choosing a wife from the Muslim women should be based on the good Deen and good morals. Imam Bukhari, Muslim, and others reported that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said, "The woman is sought for marriage because of four reasons: her wealth, her noble family, her beauty and her Deen (religion). Marry the one who has a good Deen (religion); you will succeed."

 

We all know that Juwayriyah was the daughter of the leader of her tribe and she was part of Thabit bin Qay's booty. She bargained for her freedom, but because of her nobility and that of her father, Thabir asked her to pay an exorbitant sum of money as a ransom. She asked the Prophet to help her, and he did by paying her ransom and then marrying her. 

 

Had it been that the Prophet wanted her for her beauty, he would have selected her before distributing the booty. However, the Prophet's marriage to her as far beyond that. It was for a noble cause, to influence her tribe to embrace Islam. 

 

So, it was a noble cause the Prophet had in mind. He did all this to attain people's support, attracting their attention to his call and seeing different tribes responding to it, and these objectives were achieved. In light of this, the Prophet catered only for the interest of Islam and not self-prejudice or personal aspiration to satisfy any sexual desire as misconceived by orientalists and westerners. 

 

The Prophet's marriage to Juwayriyah was graced and blessed by Allah, because of the sincerity that characterized the Prophet's act. Moreover, the intended objective was achieved as all the members of Banu al-Mustalaq, including Juwayriyah's father, embraced Islam.

 

Could this have happend if Juwayriyah had remained in the captive of Thabit ibn Qays?! (Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, pp. 151-152)

 

 

The Prophet's marriage with Juwairiyah was a marriage which strengthened relations with the tribe, and ended hostilities. (Abdul Hameed Siddiqui, The Life of Muhammad PBUH, p. 42).

 

Taken from http://muslims.ws/win/biographies/bio-Jawairiah.html

But according to another story, which is more probable, after the arrest of his daughter, Haris the father of Hazrat Juwairiyah, approached the Holy Prophet (sallal alaho alahie wasallam) and asserted that "his daughter could not be made a slave, as she was the daughter of the tribal chief, and that she should be freed". The Holy Prophet (sallal alaho alahie wasallam) said that "Would it not be better to leave the matter on the choice of his daughter". Haris then went to his daughter and told her that the Holy Prophet (sallal alaho alahie wasallam) had left the matter to her free will, and hoped that she would not bring disgrace to him. The prisoner replied that she preferred to remain in the services of the Holy Prophet (sallal alaho alahie wasallam). Thereafter the Holy Prophet (sallal alaho alahie wasallam) married her. Ibn-i-S'ad in his 'Tabaqat', states that the father of Hazrat Juwairiyah paid her ransom amount, and when she became free, the Holy Prophet (sallal alaho alahie wasallam) married her. As a result of this marriage all the prisoners of war numbering about 600 were freed by the Muslims as they did not like that any member of the family in which the holy Prophet (sallal alaho alahie wasallam) was married, be made a slave.

 

 

 

As for the issue of Saffiyah and her being widowed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) explained the situation to Saffiyah...

 

Here is Umm al- Mu'minin, Safiyyah, relates those moments when she hated the Prophet for killing her father and her ex-husband. The Prophet apologized to her saying, "Your father charged the Arabs against me and committed heinous act," he apologized to the extent that made Safiyyah get rid of her bitterness against the Prophet. (Al-Bayhaqi, Dala'il an-Nubuwwah, vol. 4, p. 230, Cited in Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, p.166)

 

Even though it was her father and brother that got killed, she did realize and understand that it was their crime that led to their death. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Again, Safiyyah wasn't the only female captive whose name Muhammad changed:

Ibn Abbas reported that the name of Juwairiya (the wife of the Holy Prophet) was Barra (Pious). Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) changed her name to Juwairiya and said: I did not like that it should be said: He had come out from Barra (Pious). The hadith transmitted on the authority of Ibn Abi 'Umar is slightly different from it. (Sahih Muslim, Book 025, Number 5334)

It seems that Muhammad's conscious was bothering him and that the name Barra, which means pious, made him quite uncomfortable since he knew that what he had done to her was anything but pious!

 

My Response:

 

Shamoun is only paraphrasing Ali Sina's ridiculous argument...

 

Interestingly, the name of Juwairiyah was originally Barra (Pious). Apparently Muhammad did not like this name and so changed her name to Juwairiyah. Even the two Zeinabs who were his wives were previously called Barra and he changed their names as well to Zeinab, It would appear the Prophet had some guilt in becoming sexually intimate with women that were called "Pious". (Source)

 

But I already refuted this silly argument that Shamoun just blindly copied off Ali Sina.

 

The explanation of this hadith could be found by looking at the other hadiths regarding Zaynab.

 

The same issue with Zaynab could be found in these hadiths...

 

Saheeh Bukhari 

Volume 008, Book 073, Hadith Number 212.

Narated By Abu Huraira : Zainab's original name was "Barrah," but it was said' "By that she is giving herself the prestige of piety." So the Prophet changed her name to Zainab.

 

And...

 

Saheeh Muslim

Book 025, Hadith Number 5337.

Muhammad b. 'Amr b. 'Ata' reported: I had given the name Barra to my daughter. Zainab, daughter of Abu Salama, told me that Allah's' Messenger (may peace be upon him) had forbidden me to give this name. (She said): I was also called Barra, but Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Don't hold yourself to be pious. It is God alone who knows the people of piety among you. They (the Companions) said: Then, what name should we give to her? He said: Name her as Zainab.

 

The reason the Prophet (peace be upon him) changed it was to teach them humility. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

It is a sad fact that there are Muslims who are aware of these events in their prophet's life but think nothing about them and/or are not troubled in the least by what Muhammad did. What is sadder still is the attempt of some Muslim polemicists who try to justify Muhammad's cruel and inhumane acts in the eyes of non-Muslims.

 

My Response:

 

What is sad is the fact that Shamoun is not bothered by the fact that women are ordered to be raped in his Bible...

 

http://islamic-answers.com/more_rape_in_the_hebrew_bible__

http://islamic-answers.com/haughty_women_are_punished_in_the_bible_with_rape___

http://islamic-answers.com/women_are_punished_again_with_rape_in_the_bible__

http://www.load-islam.com/artical_det.php?artical_id=742&section=memberbase&subsection=myarticle

 

What is sad is the fact that Shamoun is not bothered by the fact that pregnant women are ordered to be ripped open in his Bible...

 

http://www.authenticsunnah.org/karim/pregnant_women_ripped_open.htm

 

What is sad is the fact that Shamoun is not bothered by the disgusting punishments in his Bible...

 

http://www.load-islam.com/artical_det.php?artical_id=740&section=memberbase&subsection=myarticle

 

 

That is what is sad. That is cruel and inhumane. Even the false accusations leveled against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are not half as bad as the torture, rape and disgust found in the Bible. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

These Muslim sources would want us to really believe that a woman whose husband, father and brother were killed, within a couple of days gladly and voluntarily chose to marry and have sex with the very man who caused the deaths of her family members!

 

My Response:

Selectively choosing narrations that support his argument. How convenient. Shamoun would accept the source that says the Prophet killed her father and brother and not consider it a possibility of it being made up by someone to try and ruin the reputation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) but when narrations that show that Safiyyah understood that it was her family's fault and the Prophet was justified in what he did, he would reject it. 


Just as Sam Shamoun referred to James White, I would do the same...

 

Inconsistency is a clear sign of a failed argument.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Ibn ?Umar [al-Waqidi] - Kathir b. Zayd - al-Walid b. Rabah - Abu Hurayrah: While the Prophet was lying with Safiyyah Abu Ayyub stayed the night at his door. When he saw the Prophet in the morning he said "God is the Greatest." He had a sword with him; he said to the Prophet, "O Messenger of God, this young woman had just been married, and you killed her father, her brother and her husband, so I did not trust her (not to harm) you." The Prophet laughed and said "Good". (The History of al-Tabari, Volume XXXIX (39), p. 185; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Not only were some of the companions troubled, but one of Muhammad's wives was also disturbed by the fact that a woman would want to marry her family's murderer:

According to al-Waqidi: In this year the Messenger of God married Mulaykah bt. Dawud al-Laythiyyah. One of the Prophet's wives came to Mulaykah and said to her, "Are you not ashamed to marry a man who killed your father?" She therefore "took refuge [in God]" from him. She was beautiful and young. The Messenger of God separated from her. He had killed her father the day of the conquest of Mecca. (The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, Translated by Michael Fishbein, Volume VIII (8), p. 187; underline emphasis ours)

 

 

My Response:

Shamoun the forgets his own articles that he has written. 

 

Notice the narration Shamoun quoted...

 

 

Ibn ?Umar [al-Waqidi] - Kathir b. Zayd - al-Walid b. Rabah - Abu Hurayrah: While the Prophet was lying with Safiyyah Abu Ayyub stayed the night at his door. When he saw the Prophet in the morning he said "God is the Greatest." He had a sword with him; he said to the Prophet, "O Messenger of God, this young woman had just been married, and you killed her father, her brother and her husband, so I did not trust her (not to harm) you." The Prophet laughed and said "Good". (The History of al-Tabari, Volume XXXIX (39), p. 185; bold and underline emphasis ours)

 

According to al-Waqidi: In this year the Messenger of God married Mulaykah bt. Dawud al-Laythiyyah. One of the Prophet's wives came to Mulaykah and said to her, "Are you not ashamed to marry a man who killed your father?" She therefore "took refuge [in God]" from him. She was beautiful and young. The Messenger of God separated from her. He had killed her father the day of the conquest of Mecca. (The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, Translated by Michael Fishbein, Volume VIII (8), p. 187; underline emphasis ours)

 

Note how I highlight the person narrating this story. Now I want everyone to see what Shamoun said about this very person in one of his articles...

 

Interestingly, the authors didn't refer to the more popular name of the narrator. They mention the name "Muhammad Ibn ?Umar" but didn't indicate to the reader that this man is more popularly known as al-Waqidi. What is the Muslim verdict about this man?

Abd Allah Ibn Ali al Madini and his father said: "Al-Waqidi has 20,000 Hadith I never heard of." And then he said: "His narration shouldn't be used" and considered it weak.

Yahya Ibn Muaen said: "Al-Waqidi said 20,000 false hadith about the prophet."

Al-Shafi'i said, "Al-Waqidi is a liar."

Ibn Hanbal said, "Al-Waqidi is a liar."

Al-Bukhari said he didn't write a single letter by Al-Waqidi. (Siar Aalam al nublaa - althagbi - biography of Al-Waqidi)

The following Muslim author writes:

As a report of history, this narration suffers from two fatally serious defects. The first is the UNIVERSALLY RECOGNISED UNTRUSTWORTHINESS OF AL-WAQIDI. Details of his unreliability as a narrator would probably fill several pages, but all of it may be suitably condensed into a statement by Imam ash-Shafi'ee, who was his contemporary, and who knew him personally. Ash-Shafi'ee has the following to say: "In Madeenah there were seven people who used to forge chains of narration. One of them was al-Waqidi."3 (Sources: http://www.allaahuakbar.net/shiites/vicious_unscrupulous_propaganda_of_shiia-2.htm and http://www.ansar.org/english/hasan.htm; bold emphasis ours)

Others say:

Al-Waqidi (130/747-207/822-23), who wrote over twenty works of an historical nature, but only the Kitab al-Maghazi has survived as an independent work. His reputation is marred by the fact that he relied upon story tellers; viz., those who embellished the stories of others. Al-Waqidi did such embellish, such as by adding dates and other details onto the account of Ibn Ishaq (at pages 25-29) (http://jeromekahn123.tripod.com/enlightenment/id3.html)

Even the English translator of Ibn Sa'd's work had this to say about al-Waqidi:

... The chain of the narrators is not reliable because the person who narrated to Ibn Sa'd was Waqidi WHO IS NOTORIOUS AS A NARRATOR OF FABRICATED hadithes. The next one Ya'qub is unknown and 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Abd al-Rahman is not a Companion. Consequently this narration is not trustworthy. (Ibn Sa'd's Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, Volume I, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi, 110 002 India], p. 152, fn. 2; capital emphasis ours)

And the list goes on of those who called him a liar.

Al-Waqidi was also one of those that narrated the story of the Satanic Verses. The most amazing part of this is that the authors' friend, MENJ has a response on the same web site where this rebuttal appears from G.F. Haddad seeking to deny the historicity of the Satanic Verses where he calls into question al-Waqidi's reliability! Here is what Haddad says about al-Waqidi:

[(*) Muhammad ibn `Umar al-Waqidi (d. 207), Ahmad ibn Hanbal said of him: "He is A LIAR." Al-Bukhari and Abu Hatim al-Razi said: "DISCARDED." Ibn `Adi said: "His narrations ARE NOT RETAINED, AND THEIR BANE COMES FROM HIM." Ibn al-Madini said: "HE FORGES HADITHS." Al-Dhahabi said: "CONSENSUS HAS SETTLED OVER HIS DEBILITY." Mizan al-I`tidal (3:662-666 #7993).] (Source: http://bismikaallahuma.org/Polemics/haddad.htm; capital emphasis ours)

It seems that when it is convenient the authors will quote al-Waqidi to support their position, discarding the Muslim scholarly opinion regarding his unreliability. When al-Waqidi fails to serve their purpose the authors are only too glad to call him into question. What is also interesting is the authors' use of Ibn Sa'd. In this article, Azmy claims that Mohammad's murders of Abu Afak and Asma bint Marwan, both of which are reported by Ibn Sa'd, are not historical because they do not have isnads. However, we see that Ibn Sa'd is suddenly reliable here since he provides information about an alleged tradition regarding breast milk being placed into containers. This appears to be once again a case of the authors' arbitrarily accepting and rejecting information from their sources, and doing so in whatever way that they feel best suits their purposes. Utilizing such a double standard and practicing such inconsistency appear to be rather hypocritical and neither this paper nor this Muslim site will have much of a chance to get a recommendation for scholarly integrity (cf. also the appendix on plagiarism).

However, we do need to put this in perspective. Al-Waqidi may have been considered a liar without this necessarily implying that everything he reported was a lie. As the following Muslim writes:

Al-Waqidi is reliable for purely historical reports. Ahl al-Hadith consider him too honest and too rich a source to be discarded especially in light of Ibn Sa`d's accreditation, which lent him huge credit--but they unanimously discard him with regard to ahkam reports which are uncorroborated by other narrators e.g. wiggling the index finger in Salat. It is the latter category they meant when they called him a liar, i.e. thoroughly unreliable and/or inaccurate in his isnads, not at all that he was dishonest. Al-Dhahabi said: "I have no doubt in his sidq." And Allah knows best. (Source: http://mac.abc.se/home/onesr/f/Al-Waqidi%20and%20Sira.htm; bold emphasis ours)

It may be the case that this narration from al-Waqidi is sound. But the burden of proof is upon the authors to show that it is, especially when the other so-called "sound" collections do not report this version of the story. (Sam Shamoun, Revisiting the Issue of Islam and the Nursing of Adults, Source)

 

Notice what Shamoun says in the end regarding this unreliable narrator...

 

It may be the case that this narration from al-Waqidi is sound. But the burden of proof is upon the authors to show that it is, especially when the other so-called "sound" collections do not report this version of the story. 

 

So the burden of proof is on Shamoun to show that these versions of the story are reliable. 

 

Conclusion

The rest of Shamoun's arguments were basically trying to cast doubt on the narrations that refute his position by appealing to other topics, which would only divert away from the topic.

 At the end of the day the Prophets wives had the freedom to leave...

Surah 33:28-29

O Prophet ! say to thy wives, `If you desire the life of this world and its adornment, come then, I will provide for you and send you away in a handsome manner; `But if you desire ALLAH and HIS Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, then, truly, ALLAH has prepared for those of you, who do good, a great reward.'

 

The wives were given a choice. They easily could have left and no one could have done anything to them because a Quranic verse, a command from Allah gave them that choice. They could have walked away. Instead, they did not. They could have easily divorced the Prophet and still pretended to be Muslims and then travel and run away. They could have found a way. But they didn't. They wanted to remain as Muslims. 

Shamoun already has enough disgusting things from his Bible to deal with first...

http://www.load-islam.com/artical_det.php?artical_id=740&section=memberbase&subsection=myarticle

 

http://www.authenticsunnah.org/karim/pregnant_women_ripped_open.htm

 

http://islamic-answers.com/more_rape_in_the_hebrew_bible__

 

http://islamic-answers.com/haughty_women_are_punished_in_the_bible_with_rape___

 

http://islamic-answers.com/women_are_punished_again_with_rape_in_the_bible__

 

http://www.load-islam.com/artical_det.php?artical_id=742&section=memberbase&subsection=myarticle

 

http://www.authenticsunnah.org/sami_zaatri/one_night_stand.htm

 

http://www.authenticsunnah.org/sami_zaatri/disturbing_stories_in_the_book.htm

 

http://www.authenticsunnah.org/sami_zaatri/ezekiel_23.htm

 

http://www.authenticsunnah.org/sami_zaatri/terrorinthebible.htm

http://www.authenticsunnah.org/sami_zaatri/book_with_no_limits.htm

 

So even if Shamoun is successful in proving his arguments to the Muslims that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was cruel and unjust, he's even pushing us further away from his Bible, because it is much worse than the false accusations put against the noble Prophet. Shamoun shouldn't expect people running to the Bible by giving these kind of arguments against Islam.

 

The rest of Shamoun's arguments were the Prophet giving Saffiyah the name "safi" because he selected her as his slave. No objective argument there. Just Shamoun committing the "appeal to emotion" fallacy and disagreeing or not liking something. Lets hope Shamoun can come up with proper objective arguments.

 

In order to know more about why the Prophet conquered Khaybar (Saffiyah's people) please read the following article http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2005/the-conquest-of-khaybar-and-of-the-remaining-jewish-strongholds-in-al-hijaz/.

 

 

 

Feel free to contact me at b_zawadi@hotmail.com