Muhammad’s Marriage to Safiyyah Revisited

Sam Shamoun

Bassam Zawadi has written a response (*) to my analysis of Muhammad’s marriage to Safiyyah (*). Zawadi will attempt to point out my so-called inconsistent method of argumentation, i.e. that I pick and choose narrations that support my argument (a case of the pot calling the kettle black!), and expose me for citing sources which even I deem to be lies on the basis that they were narrated by deceivers (i.e. al-Waqidi). Let us see how well he does.

Banu al-Mustaliq: Oppressors or Oppressed?

Zawadi justifies Muhammad’s actions against the tribe of Juwayriyyah, the Banu al-Mustaliq, on the grounds that her people were planning to attack the Muslims.

He cites sources which make this claim but conveniently overlooks what the so-called sound narratives say about this (this is the same gent who accuses me of selectively citing my sources!):

Narrated Ibn Aun:

I wrote a letter to Nafi and Nafi wrote in reply to my letter that the Prophet had suddenly attacked Bani Mustaliq WITHOUT WARNING WHILE THEY WERE HEEDLESS and their cattle were being watered at the places of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet got Juwairiya on that day. Nafi said that Ibn 'Umar had told him the above narration and that Ibn 'Umar was in that army. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 46, Number 717)

Here is another version of this hadith:

2403. It is related that Ibn 'Awn said, "I wrote to Nafi' and then he wrote to me that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had launched A SUDDEN ATTACK on the Banu'l-Mustaliq WHILE THEY WERE UNWATCHFUL and their herds were being watered at the watering-place. He killed their fighters and took their women and children captive. He got Juwayriyya [in his share] on that day. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar reported it to me, and he was in that army." (Aisha Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 52. Book of Setting Free, XIII: The one who owned Arab slaves and gave, sold or had intercourse with them or took their ransom and their offspring as captives; source)

And now this one from Muslim:


Ibn 'Aun reported: I wrote to Nafi' inquiring from him whether it was necessary to extend (to the disbelievers) an invitation to accept (Islam) before engaging them in fight. He wrote (in reply) to me that it was necessary in the early days of Islam. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) made a raid upon Banu Mustaliq WHILE THEY WERE UNAWARE and their cattle were having a drink at the water. He killed those who fought and imprisoned others. On that very day, he captured Juwairiya bint al-Harith. Nafi' said that this tradition was related to him by Abdullah b. Umar who (himself) was among the raiding troops. (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4292)

The English translator of Muslim says regarding this specific narrative:

2220. According to Imam Nawawi, this hadith shows that those unbelievers who have received the message of Islam can be attacked UNAWARE if the need so arises. The correct view is that those who have not received the message of Islam, it is essential to give them the Divine Message before giving them the ultimatum of war, but for those who have received this message, it is desirable to inform them before entering the battle. Exception can, however, be made in this case, when there is a dire necessity (Vol. II, p. 81). (Sahih Muslim by Imam Muslim, Rendered into English by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi [Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 11th reprinted 1995], Volume III & IV, Kitab Al-Jihad Wa’l-Siyar (The Book of Jihad and Expedition), Chapter DCCIV: Regarding Permission To Make A Raid, Without An Ultimatum, Upon The Disbelievers Who Have Already Been Invited Accept Islam, p. 942, fn. 2220; bold, capital and italic emphasis ours)

In other words, Muhammad’s example set precedence for other Muslims to attack unsuspecting victims who refused to embrace Islam!

And here is what even one of Zawadi’s own sources says:

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 [sic] 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.

It is hard to accept that Banu al-Mustaliq posed a threat to the Muslims in light of the fact that when Muhammad’s band of thugs came upon them they were busy tending their flocks! One would think that the Banu al-Mustaliq would be readying themselves for battle and arming their men with weapons if the Muslim assertion was true.

Zawadi also tries to justify Muhammad’s murdering the family of Safiyyah on the grounds that her father had instigated the Arabs against him. He then cites a quote which says that Safiyyah was satisfied by this answer:

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 [sic] and understand [sic] that it was their crime that led to their death.

In response to such assertions, one needs to put things into perspective which Zawadi conveniently fails to do. Even supposing that Juwayriyyah’s tribe and Safiyyah’s family were planning to attack Muhammad and his band of killers one still needs to ask the reason why they would want to fight the Muslims in the first place.

A careful examination of the Islamic sources reveals that the Arab tribes, specifically the Meccans, were fed up with Muhammad’s threats and hostile attitude towards them. Let us not forget that the Meccans tried to work out a peaceable solution with Muhammad while the latter was in Mecca, one which he refused to accept. On top of that, Muhammad started sending his men on raids against Meccan caravans, looting and (at times) murdering helpless victims who were carrying property and merchandise back to their tribes and peoples. For more details please read the following articles:

Basically, Muhammad was the problem since he was the one who threatened and then later attacked people who didn’t want to be bothered by his prophetic ambitions and aspirations. But Muhammad couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to meddle into other people’s lives.

Is it any wonder that these tribes all got fed up with Muhammad and wanted to do something about him? Were these people wrong for wanting to put an end to the harassment by the Muslims? Were they wicked for wanting to insure the safety of their tribes and families from the bloodlust and greed of Muhammad and his henchmen?

Zawadi shouldn’t have a problem with grasping this logic since he uses this same line of reasoning to justify Muhammad’s violent actions against others. Zawadi wants his readers to believe that Muhammad was just in attacking pagans, Jews and Christians on the grounds that these groups fought and threatened the lives and safety of the Muslims.

Yet Zawadi needs to be consistent and accept the fact that these same groups were completely justified in wanting to exterminate the Muslims since it was Muhammad’s men, not them, who started the aggression and hostilities.

Moreover, it will not do to say that Muhammad was a true prophet and therefore had every right to interfere in the lives of people since Muslims have yet to prove that he was a prophet. In fact, all the evidence shows that he was actually a false prophet who is under the wrath of the true God of the Holy Bible.

This is precisely why the Jewish tribes rejected Muhammad since they knew from their Scriptures that the true God that spoke to Abraham and Moses didn’t commission him to be his spokesperson. They had no choice but to reject him as an imposter.

For more on this issue we recommend the following articles:

Muhammad: Juwayriyyah’s Savior?

Zawadi wants us to believe that Muhammad married Juwayriyyah because he wanted to save her and her tribe from their fate:

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.

This response basically ignores or overlooks the fact that it was Muhammad’s decision to attack the Banu al-Mustaliq that led to her dire situation! Neither Juwayriyyah nor her tribe would have been in such a predicament, i.e. captivity, had Muhammad decided not to attack them.

Moreover, there was no need for Muhammad to marry her in order to free her since he could have simply paid the price of her ransom and she would have gained her freedom.

Better still, Muhammad could have simply commanded the Muslims to set her and her entire tribe free and they would have done exactly as they were told. After all, the Muslims would have no choice but to obey Muhammad’s orders since the Quran likens obedience to Islam’s prophet to obedience to Allah himself, and even threatens those who disobey Muhammad with severe punishment:

And obey God and the Apostle; that ye may obtain mercy. S. 3:132

Those are limits set by God: those who obey God and His Apostle will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath, to abide therein (for ever) and that will be the supreme achievement. But those who disobey God and His Apostle and transgress His limits will be admitted to a Fire, to abide therein: And they shall have a humiliating punishment. S. 4:13-14

All who obey God and the apostle are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of God, - of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful fellowship! S. 4:69

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by God and His Apostle to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys God and His Apostle, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path. S. 33:36

In light of the foregoing doesn’t it become obvious that the real reason why Muhammad didn’t order Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas to free Juwayriyyah is because he was too mesmerized by her beauty and wanted her for himself? This leads us to our next point.

Did Muhammad Marry Women For Their Beauty?

Zawadi asserts that Muhammad didn’t marry Juwayriyyah only for her beauty. He quotes:

The Prophet did not marry for beauty only… 

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.

We are at least thankful that he qualified his statement by adding the word "only," which is an implicit admission that her beauty was part of the reason Muhammad married her. He also cites the following:

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.

Zawadi conveniently ignores Aisha’s own words which corroborate the fact that it was Juwayriyyah’s beauty which led Muhammad to propose marriage:

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin:

Juwayriyyah, daughter of al-Harith ibn al-Mustaliq, fell to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, or to her cousin. She entered into an agreement to purchase her freedom. She was a very beautiful woman, most attractive to the eye.

Aisha said: She then came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) asking him for the purchase of her freedom. When she was standing at the door, I looked at her with disapproval. I realised that the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) would look at her in the same way that I had looked.

She said: Apostle of Allah, I am Juwayriyyah, daughter of al-Harith, and something has happened to me, which is not hidden from you. I have fallen to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, and I have entered into an agreement to purchase of my freedom. I have come to you to seek assistance for the purchase of my freedom.

The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Are you inclined to that which is better? She asked: What is that, Apostle of Allah? He replied: I shall pay the price of your freedom on your behalf, and I shall marry you.

She said: I shall do this. She (Aisha) said: The people then heard that the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) had married Juwayriyyah. They released the captives in their possession and set them free, and said: They are the relatives of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) by marriage. We did not see any woman greater than Juwayriyyah who brought blessings to her people. One hundred families of Banu al-Mustaliq were set free on account of her. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 29, Number 3920)

As one translator noted:

… Similar frankness appears in the account in A.H. 6 of Muhammad’s marriage to Juwayriyah, "a sweet, beautiful woman, who captivated anyone who looked at her" (the words of ‘A’isha’s). She had been captured during the raid on the Banu al-Mustaliq and, in accordance with custom, became the slave of one of her captors. The latter agreed to free her in exchange for a sum of money. Juwariyah approached Muhammad for help, and the latter, CAPTIVATED BY HER BEAUTY, offered her "something better" then payment of the price of her freedom–namely, marriage with himself… (The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1997], Volume VIII (8), p. xiii; capital emphasis ours)

As for Muhammad not selecting Juwayriyyah before distributing the booty is concerned, there is a very logical reason why he didn’t do so. He may have not seen her at the beginning since if he had he would have immediately set her aside for himself. In fact, Aisha’s own reported words substantiate the fact that Muhammad hadn’t seen her at first, and only saw her after she had been taken captive:

According to Ibn Humayd–Salamah–Muhammad b. Ishaq– Muhammad b. Ja‘far b. al-Zubayr–the Prophet’s wife ‘A’ishah, who said: When the Messenger of God divided the captives of the Banu al-Mustaliq, Juwayriyah bt. Al-Harith fell to the share of Thabit b. Qays b. al-Shammas (or to a cousin of his), and she contracted with him for her freedom. She was a sweet, beautiful woman who captivated anyone who looked at her. She came to the Messenger of God seeking his help in the matter of her contract. By God, as soon as I saw her at the door of my chamber, I took a dislike to her, and I knew that he would see in her what I saw… (The History of al-Tabari, Volume 8, pp. 56-57; bold and italic emphasis ours)

Aisha’s statement, that Muhammad would see her as she did, implies that he was seeing Juwayriyyah for the first time.

Interestingly, this is similar to the situation with Safiyyah since Muhammad only found out about her after Dihya had selected her for himself. When he was told about her nobility and beauty Muhammad demanded that Dihya give her to him in exchange for other slave girls:

… We conquered Khaibar, took the captives, and the booty was collected. Dihya came and said, ‘O Allah's Prophet! Give me a slave girl from the captives.’ The Prophet said, ‘Go and take any slave girl.’ He took Safiya bint Huyai. A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Allah's Apostle! You gave Safiya bint Huyai to Dihya and she is the chief mistress of the tribes of Quraiza and An-Nadir and she befits none but you.’ So the Prophet said, ‘Bring him along with her.’ So Dihya came with her and when the Prophet saw her, he said to Dihya, ‘Take any slave girl other than her from the captives.’" Anas added: "The Prophet then manumitted her and married her." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Number 367)

Narrated Anas bin Malik:
We arrived at Khaibar, and when Allah helped His Apostle to open the fort, the beauty of Safiya bint Huyai bin Akhtaq whose husband had been killed while she was a bride, was mentioned to Allah's Apostle. The Prophet selected her for himself… (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 522)

Zawadi brings up the example of Sauda bint Zamah as further evidence that Muhammad didn’t necessarily marry women for their beauty:

The Prophet married Sauda bint Zuma [sic] 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)

Zawadi couldn’t have chosen a worse example to support his case than that of Sauda bint Zamah, for at least two reasons. First, Zawadi conveniently forgot to quote the reason that Ibn Kathir provided for this marriage:

And so it happened. After three years of constant struggle, a relative of his, called Khawla, went to him and pointed out that his house was sadly neglected and that his daughters needed a mother to look after them. "But who can take the place of Khadijah?" he asked. "Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, the dearest of people to you," she answered. Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) had been the first man to accept Islam and he was the Prophet's closest companion. Like Khadijah, he had done all that he could do to help the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and had spent all his wealth in the way of Allah. However, while the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was now fifty-three years old, Aisha as only a little girl of seven. She was hardly in a position to look after either the Prophet's household or children. "She is very young." Replied the Prophet. Khawla had a solution for everything. She suggested that he marry at the same time a lady called Sawda, the widow of Al-Sakran ibn 'Amr… Sawda bint Zam'a, may Allah be pleased with her had been the first woman to immigrate to Abyssinia in the way of Allah. Her husband had died and she was now living with her aged father. She was middle-aged, rather plump, with a jolly, kindly disposition, and just the right person to take care of the Prophet's household and family… Sawda went to live in Muhammad's house and immediately took over the care of his daughters and household, while Aisha bint Abu Bakr became betrothed to him and remained in her father's house playing with her dolls. (Wives of the Prophet Muhammad; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

We, therefore, see that Muhammad’s reason for marrying Sauda was out of purely selfish reasons, since he needed a caretaker for his young daughters.

Second, Zawadi also forgot to mention that Muhammad later wanted to divorce Sauda because he was no longer attracted to her. Sauda worked out a deal with Muhammad to remain his wife by relinquishing her visitation rights to Aisha, a proposal Muhammad all too happily accepted:

Making peace is better than separation. An example of such peace can be felt in the story of Sawdah bint Zam'ah who WHEN SHE BECAME AGED, THE PROPHET WANTED TO DIVORCE HER, but she made peace with him by offering the night he used to spend with her to A'isha so that he would keep her. The Prophet accepted such terms and kept her.

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said, "Sawdah feared that the Messenger of Allah might divorce her and she said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do not divorce me; give my day to 'A'ishah.’ And he did…

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that 'A'ishah said that when Sawdah bint Zam'ah BECAME OLD, she forfeited her day to 'A'ishah and the Prophet used to spend Sawdah's night with 'A'ishah…

<And making peace is better>. It refers to the wife relinquishing some of her marital rights and his acceptance of the offer. Such compromise is better than total divorce, as the Prophet did when retained Sawdah bint Zam'ah. By doing so, the Prophet set an example for his Ummah to follow as it is a lawful act ... (the preceding citation taken and adapted from Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Abridged, Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147 [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; first edition March 2000], pp. 599-601, and Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 5, Sura An-Nisa, ayat 24-147, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa’i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2000 first edition], pp. 193-194; bold and capital emphasis ours)


… One day, while the Prophet was staying with 'A'ishah, his other wives delegated Zaynab, daughter of Jahsh, to go in and, in their name, to accuse him of injustice and unfairness to them, and to plead that his love for `A'ishah was a violation of the code which he himself had set down of a day and night for each of his wives. On the other hand, realizing that the Prophet did not care very much for her charms, and being no longer anxious to please him, Sawdah had given up her day and night to `A'ishah… (Muhammad Husayn Haykal, The Life of Muhammad, tran. Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi [American Trust Publications, USA 1976; Malaysian edition by Islamic Book Trust], Chapter 26: Ibrahim and the Wives of the Prophet, "The Rebellion", p. 437; source; bold emphasis)

Thus, Sauda’s example provides further corroboration for the fact that most, if not all, of Muhammad’s marriages were done out of selfish motives and/or lustful desires. It is little wonder that Muhammad’s contemporaries accused him of being a womanizer:

… Layla bt. al-Khatim b. ‘Adi b. ‘Amr b. Sawad b. Zafar b. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj approached the Prophet while his back was to the sun, and clapped him on his shoulder. He asked who it was, and she replied, "I am the daughter of one who competes with the wind. I am Layla bt. al-Khatim. I have come to offer myself [in marriage] to you, so marry me." He replied, "I accept." She went back to her people and said that the Messenger of God had married her. They said, "What a bad thing you have done! You are a self-respecting woman, but the Prophet is a womanizer. Seek an annulment from him." She went back to the Prophet and asked him to revoke the marriage and he complied with [her request]… (The History of Al-Tabari: The Last Years of the Prophet, translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1990], Volume IX, p. 139; bold emphasis ours)

For more on Muhammad’s mistreatment of Sauda please read the following article:

And if being fifty is a reason to complain then Muhammad’s wives had plenty of reasons to be angry in light of the fact that some of them were still teenage girls (with Aisha being a girl of nine!) when Muhammad, who was well into his fifties, decided to marry them!

A Question On Juwayriyyah’s [Lack Of] Piety

Zawadi gets upset at me for paraphrasing Ali Sina’s statement that Muhammad changed Juwayriyyah’s original name Barra, on the grounds that he was convicted and felt guilty for what he did to her and to her tribe (*). He even claims to have refuted Sina’s article (*).

How does Zawadi attempt to explain the name change? By quoting hadiths that say that Muhammad changed the names of one of his wives, Zainab, who was also named Barra, on the grounds that this was a sign of arrogance on her part. To think that a person would actually have the audacity to name herself pious!

Zawadi then makes the bold assertion that Muhammad was trying to teach them humility.

It is truly amazing how Zawadi doesn’t see that such assertions only further undermine Muhammad’s credibility.

In the first place, how can a birth name be a sign of arrogance when a person doesn’t have a say in the name that the parents decide to give him or her? In what way does the name Barra imply that Zainab or Juwayriyyah were arrogant when this name would have been given to them by their parents at birth? Was this a sign of arrogance on their parents’ part?

Furthermore, if this reasoning is sound then does this mean that Muhammad and Abu Bakr were arrogant individuals in light of their names and titles? For instance, Muhammad gave Abu Bakr the title As-Siddiq ("The Truthful/Upright") whereas Muhammad was allegedly called Al-Amin ("The Faithful/Trustworthy ", see also the discussion in this article).

Moreover, Muslim sources say that the name Muhammad itself is an honorific title taken from one of Allah’s own names, thereby associating Islam’s prophet with deity:

Yet he has preferred our Prophet Muhammad…since He has adorned him with a wealth of His names in His Mighty Book and on the tongues of His Prophets… We have recorded some of these names in this section. There are about thirty of them…

One of His names is the Praiseworthy (al-Hamid). This means the One who is praised because He praises Himself and His slaves praise Him. It also means the One who praises Himself and praises acts of obedience. The Prophet is called Muhammad and Ahmad. Muhammad means praised, and that is how his name occurs in the Zabur of Da’ud. Ahmad means the greatest of those who give praise and the most sublime of those who are praised. Hassan ibn Thabit indicted this when he said:

It is taken for him FROM HIS OWN NAME in order to exalt him.

The One with the Throne is praised (Mahmud) AND HE IS MUHAMMAD. (Qadi ‘Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], pp. 126-127; capital and underline emphasis our)

Why would Muhammad allow himself to be called by such names and titles and why would he give his companion the title as-Siddiq if proper nouns that convey a spiritual or moral quality imply arrogance and pride? Or is it only pride and arrogance when women are given such names and titles, but completely justifiable for men to have them?

And since we are on the subject of humility, note just how arrogant the following assertions truly are:

Ye have indeed in the Apostle of God a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in God and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of God. S. 33:21

And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character. S. 68:4

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I shall be pre-eminent amongst the descendants of Adam on the Day of Resurrection and I will be the first intercessor and the first whose intercession will be accepted (by Allah). (Sahih Muslim, Book 030, Number 5655)

The Prophet said, "I will be the master of the people on the Day of Rising." He will be their master in this world and on the Day of Rising.

However, the Prophet indicated that he alone will have mastery and intercession on that day since people will take refuge with him and will not find anyone but him. On that day he will be the only master among mankind. No one will compete with him about it or lay claim to it, as Allah says, "Whose is the Kingdom today? Allah’s, the One, the Conqueror." (40:16) The Kingdom is His in this world and the Next World. However, in the Next World the claims of those who made them in this world will be cut off. Furthermore, all people will seek refuge with Muhammad to intercede for them. He will be their master in the Next World without any pretension.

Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said, "On the Day of Rising, I will come to the Gate of the Garden and ask it to be open. The Guardian will say, ‘Who are you?’ I will reply, ‘Muhammad.’ He will say, ‘Because of you I was commanded not to open the door to anyone before you.’" (Qadi ‘Iyad, p. 109)

Muhammad’s boasting that he has an exalted character that should be emulated and that he is pre-eminent among all human beings is the height of pride and arrogance. Thus, if anyone needed to die to arrogance and pride and learn humility it was Muhammad, not Juwayriyyah or Zainab.

Al-Waqidi: A Case of Selectively Citing My Sources?
Or Further Evidence of A Muslim’s Inability to Address the Real Issues?

Zawadi chides me for quoting narrations to support my position, without first assessing whether such sources are reliable, while ignoring other statements which justify Muhammad’s murderous ways.

He writes:

Shamoun the[sic] forgets his own articles that he has written.

Notice the narration Shamoun quoted...

Actually, it is Zawadi who has forgotten what he has written and failed to carefully read what I stated (a common habit of his). After quoting from one of my articles where I cited Muslim authorities that questioned the reliability of al-Waqidi, he states that:

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.

Let me repeat the specific part of my article that Zawadi cited:

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:; 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.

As I stated, and as Zawadi himself noted, I clearly said that not everything that al-Waqidi narrated can be considered unreliable, especially when we have corroborating evidence to support his reports.

Moreover, if Zawadi bothered to read carefully what I said in my initial article he would have found that I did supply the burden of proof to show that these quotes from al-Waqidi have a very high degree of probability of being reliable.

I had noted that it is rather unreasonable to assume that a woman would want to sleep with the person responsible for killing her family. After all, what pious and moral woman would not be repulsed, and outright disgusted, at the idea of sleeping with the very person responsible for the death and plundering of her family and tribe? Common sense(1) tells us that Muslims made up the story of Safiyyah agreeing to be Muhammad’s wife within a few days after the murder of her family in order to salvage their prophet’s reputation. Common sense further says that people would be taken aback by a woman’s willingness to have sex with and be married to the very person responsible for the death of her family.(2)

In light of this, al-Waqidi’s reports comport perfectly with the reality of the situation since individuals normally do not want to sleep with their family’s murderer and that such willingness to do so would be quite shocking to people.

Finally, we would like to expose Zawadi’s inconsistency and outright dishonesty by quoting a portion of his "rebuttal" to me where he approvingly cites my reference from al-Tabari, which has al-Waqidi as a narrator, to prove his point:

Secondly, notice what Tabari said:

They tried to drive each other away and fought. Quraysh aided the Banu Bakr with weapons, and some members of Quraysh fought on their side under cover of darkness until they drove Khuza’ah into the sacred territory.

According to al-Waqidi: Among the members of Quraysh who helped the Banu Bakr against Khuza’ah that night, concealing their identity, were Safwan b. Umayyah, ‘Ikrimah b. Abi Jahl, Suhayl b. ‘Amr, and others, along with their slaves.

When Quraysh leaguered together [with Banu Bakr] against Khuza’ah and killed some of their men, breaking the treaty and covenant that existed between them and the Messenger of God by violating the Khuza’ah, who had a pact and treaty with him.

So this even goes to show that the Quraysh did help Banu Bakr in attacking the Banu Khuza'ah and this went against the truce they made with the Muslims. ("Muhammad and the Treaty of Hudaybiyya" Revisited; source)

He even cites this very quote again in the following "rebuttal":

How convenient of Zawadi to use my reference to al-Waqidi to justify Muhammad’s treachery and dishonesty! Since Zawadi now demands of me to provide proof that al-Waqidi’s narrations are reliable he should have likewise demanded of me to substantiate the above quote regarding Banu Bakr and the Quraysh as well, as opposed to merely taking it at face value.

By now it should be obvious to the readers why Zawadi didn’t question this particular narrative seeing that it provided him with what he felt was evidence that Muhammad wasn’t acting treacherously against the Quraysh. In other words, Zawadi is not interested in whether a specific report is reliable since his real intent is to find any piece of information that will help his cause in defending Muhammad’s inhumane and barbarous crimes against humanity, even if such info happens to come from sources which Zawadi is only too willing to reject in other contexts.

Putting it simply, that which is inauthentic to Zawadi when it proves inconvenient for his agenda suddenly becomes authentic/authoritative when it suits his purpose.

And this is the gent who has the audacity to accuse me of doing the same!

Did Muhammad’s Wives Really Have A Choice To Leave?

Zawadi argues that since the Quran gave Muhammad’s wives the freedom to leave no one would have the right to harm them if they decided to walk away:

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.

Zawadi, once again, brushes aside comments I made regarding this very point in my initial article. I had stated that the Quran threatens Muhammad’s wives with double punishment if they chose to disobey, and even cited Q. 33:28-29 to establish my case!

Now does this specific passage support Zawadi’s contention that Muhammad’s wives were free to leave? Not at all since implicit in this very reference is the threat of punishment:

But if ye seek God and His Apostle, and the Home of the Hereafter, verily God has prepared for the well-doers amongst you a great reward. S. 33:29

The Quran is basically telling the wives that to walk away from Muhammad is to lose eternal life, to incur eternal judgment. This is what is known as the carrot or the stick approach, the definition of which is:


Combining a promised reward with a threatened penalty: took a carrot-and-stick approach to the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.

Business Terms

Strategy often used in negotiations where one side offers the other something it wants while threatening negative sanctions if the other side does not comply with its requests. Thus a union could offer wage concessions in exchange for better work rule provisions while threatening to strike if no accommodation can be reached.


Reward and punishment used as persuasive measures, as in Management dangled the carrot of a possible raise before strikers, but at the same time waved the stick of losing their pension benefits. This term alludes to enticing a horse or donkey to move by dangling a carrot before it and, either alternately or at the same time, urging it forward by beating it with a stick. [Late 1800s]


Carrot and stick is a term (idiom) used to refer to the act of simultaneously rewarding good behaviour while punishing bad behaviour. For example, if a worker is slacking off using a company provided privilege or asset, the company may give the worker something similar (usually allowance of use or a certain discount) at home while restricting his access to the privilege at work. Effectiveness generally varies per worker.

An older interpretation is the use of a carrot dangling on a stick in front of an uncooperative mule, so that the encouragement is constant, but the satisfaction is permanently elusive. (Source)

Muhammad’s wives were basically being told that they could walk away and lose eternal life, or stick with Muhammad and gain eternal bliss.

In light of such options, it is not hard to see why the wives would choose to remain in their condition since having come to the erroneous conclusion that Muhammad was the Messenger of God they felt that abandoning him was a sure way of going to hell. As Aisha, Muhammad’s child bride, put it:

Narrated 'Aisha:

(the wife of the Prophet) when Allah's Apostle was ordered to give option to his wives, he started with me, saying, "I am going to mention to you something, but you shall not hasten (to give your reply) unless you consult your parents." The Prophet knew that my parents would not order me to leave him. Then he said, "Allah says: ‘O Prophet (Muhammad)! Say to your wives: If you desire the life of this world and its glitter...a great reward.’" (33.28-29) I said, "Then why I consult my parents? Verily, I seek Allah, His Apostle and the Home of the Hereafter." Then all the other wives of the Prophet did the same as I did. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 309)

Aisha did the only wise thing a person could do in light of her beliefs and circumstances. Due to the fact that the wives were convinced that Muhammad was a legitimate prophet of God, they would have been foolish to reject their only hope of eternal bliss. (Or so they erroneously thought. The fact of the matter is that their belief in Muhammad actually caused them to lose eternal bliss, since salvation comes from believing and trusting in the living and risen Son of God, the immortal Lord Jesus Christ.)

Moreover, even though this command was given to the wives during the lifetime of Muhammad this doesn’t imply that they continued to have the freedom to abandon Islam and remarry after the death of their prophet. The evidence we presented indicates that the wives would have been severely punished if any of them decided to leave their religion or marry someone else.

Bassam’s Tirade Against the Holy Bible:
More Evidence Of Zawadi’s Inconsistency

Bassam posted a series of article which attempt to "expose" the Holy Bible’s inhumane and wicked teachings. All the arguments used by him are already thoroughly refuted in the following links:

Even more, in many of the above articles we turn the very same arguments of the Muslims against the Quran and Muhammad to show how Islam’s prophet and sources fail to pass the Muslim test of decency and morality.

What makes this rather interesting is that, in the introduction to his article, Zawadi made the following comments regarding my appeal to the Torah to analyze Muhammad’s morality:

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.

In light of his assault against the Holy Bible the readers should be able to see why the issue of what the Quran says about the Jewish-Christian Scriptures is pertinent and relevant to this subject. After all, if Muhammad did confirm the authenticity of the Holy Bible then Zawadi’s attack on it simply provides more evidence that Muhammad was a false prophet or wicked.

To put it another way, Zawadi’s position basically implies that Muhammad believed in a book that (according to Zawadi) contains gross, immoral teaching, which shows that either Muhammad was immoral himself or a false prophet for thinking that such a book was from God.

But the flip side of this argument is equally damaging to Zawadi’s beliefs as a Muslim: Muhammad was correct that the Holy Bible is God’s Word which means that he was a false prophet since he contradicted and violated its express teachings.

Either scenario leaves Zawadi in a dilemma which he will not be able to get out of. It is therefore not surprising that he didn’t want to address this issue and tried to brush it aside as being irrelevant to our topic. For more on the Islamic view of the Holy Bible we recommend the following links:,

Moreover, Zawadi must have forgotten that he was the one who provided an Islamic reference showing how the Torah supposedly established that Muhammad was a true prophet and that Safiyyah’s Jewish tribe was, therefore, guilty for rejecting him. This approach presupposes that the Torah is authoritative and can be used as evidence either for or against Muhammad. Yet when this same Torah exposes Muhammad as a false prophet Zawadi decides to abandon it as a reliable source to judge Muhammad’s prophethood. In other words, Zawadi is clearly trying to have his cake and eat it too.

Finally, Zawadi’s onslaught on the Holy Bible is nothing more than the fallacy of tu quoque (; To argue that the Holy Bible contains evil and wicked commands, as Zawadi tries to show, does absolutely nothing to justify Muhammad’s vile and immoral behaviour. The most this proves is that both the Holy Bible and the primary sources of Islam are evil and not worthy of our belief.

Zawadi says:

Lets hope Shamoun can come up with proper objective arguments.

Hopefully, this rebuttal will meet his standard of what he considers to be proper objective arguments. (We know that this is wishful thinking on our part since if Zawadi were to concede this point then he would be basically admitting that Muhammad is a false prophet and that the religion of Islam is a fraud.)

Since Zawadi quoted me quoting Dr. James R. White regarding the inconsistency of Muslim polemics being a sign of a failed argument, I would like to conclude with these words in light of Zawadi’s dishonest and inconsistent use of Islamic sources:

Zawadi, your inconsistency is a clear sign of your failure as an apologist and writer.

All verses from the Quran taken from the Abdullah Yusuf Ali version.


(1) Muslims may want to question our appeal to the use of common sense and say that we are being rather subjective and unscholarly in our approach. Yet our use of logic and common sense to sift through authentic and inauthentic material from the primary sources of Islam is one of the criteria employed by Muslims themselves, just as the following quotes demonstrate:

That is the very reason why, in my opinion, all narratives, even if they have been reported by people of impeccable character, integrity and honesty should not only be considered in the light of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), but also in the light of common sense. Any narrative reporting anything against the Qur'an, the Sunnah or common sense, even if reported by highly truthful and honest people is wrongly ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh). I would like to ask "The Doubter" to provide me with the basis relying on which he is so sure that the saying [under consideration] is correctly ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh). I am sure that if he has any communicable and comprehendible basis of this certainty, I will also be able to understand these basis and the problem shall stand resolved without much discussion. Till such time, I have no option but to repeat again that "It is not the understanding of Mohammad (pbuh) but the understanding ascribed to Mohammad (pbuh) that has been reported in the narrative under consideration. This ascription, obviously, may or may not be correct". (Moiz Amjad, Questions & Comments on 'The Length of God's Days'; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)


As far as the Matn is concerned, the following principles of criticism of the Hadith are laid down:

(1) The Hadith should not be contrary to the text or the teaching of the Qur'an or the accepted basic principles of Islam.
(2) The Hadith should not be against the dictates of reason or laws of nature and common experience.
(3) The Hadith should not be contrary to the Traditions which have already been accepted by authorities as reliable and authentic by applying all principles.
(4) The Hadith which sings the praises and excellence of any tribe, place or persons should be generally rejected
(5) The Hadith that contains the dates and minute details of the future events should be rejected.
(6) The Hadith that contains some remarks of the Prophet which are not in keeping with the Islamic belief of Prophethood and the position of the Holy Prophet or such expressions as may not be suitable to him, should be rejected. [2] 'Abdur Rahman I. Doi, Introduction to the Hadith (A.S. Nordeen, 2001), p. 15 (Hesham Azmy & Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, Were She-Monkeys Stoned For Adultery?; source; bold and italic emphasis ours)

The main problem that Muslims have with employing this criterion is that much of the teachings of the Quran and Muhammad go against the dictates of reason, common sense and the laws of nature!

(2) Interestingly, Zawadi himself provides a quote that corroborates the veracity of al-Waqidi’s narratives. One of Zawadi’s sources admits that Safiyyah hated Muhammad for killing her family. Capital and underline emphasis is ours:

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)

This source expects us to really believe that Safiyyah was satisfied with Muhammad’s explanation when he was the one who started the hostilities against the Arabs and Jews, bullied the Jews into believing in him and threatened them with banishment or violence if they didn’t accept his prophetic claims:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

While we were in the Mosque, the Prophet came out and said, "Let us go to the Jews." We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras. He said to them, "If you embrace Islam, YOU WILL BE SAFE. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 392)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

While we were in the mosque, Allah's Apostle came out to us and said, "Let us proceed to the Jews." So we went along with him till we reached Bait-al-Midras (a place where the Torah used to be recited and all the Jews of the town used to gather). The Prophet stood up and addressed them, "O Assembly of Jews! Embrace Islam AND YOU WILL BE SAFE!" The Jews replied, "O Aba-l-Qasim! You have conveyed Allah's message to us." The Prophet said, "That is what I want (from you)." He repeated his first statement for the second time, and they said, "You have conveyed Allah's message, O Aba-l-Qasim." Then he said it for the third time and added, "You should Know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to exile you from this land, so whoever among you owns some property, can sell it, otherwise you should know that the Earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle." (See Hadith No. 392, Vol. 4) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 85, Number 77)

In light of these circumstances, what else could these Jews do but try to seek a means of escaping the tyranny of Muhammad? (This assumes, of course, that these Muslim sources are accurately relaying events as they transpired as opposed to rewriting history to their liking.)

Be that as it may, this reference supports our argument that the last thing in a woman’s mind, who has seen her family murdered and has been taken captive, is to marry and sleep with the very person who caused the events which led to her tragic circumstances (provided that such a woman is sane and moral!).

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