The Prophet’s Wives -Sawda Bint zam’a


February 4, 2013 by theislampost

She was Sawda bint Zam’a Ibn Qays Ibn ‘Abd Shams Ibn ‘Abdul of Banu Amir, Quraish. Her mother was ash-Shamus bint Qaus Ibn Zayd Ibn Amr of Banu an-Najjar.

She was a noble and venerable lady. She first married as-Sakran Ibn Amr, the brother of Suhail Ibn ‘Amr al-‘Amiriy whom she accompanied when emigrating to Abyssinia among the eight people of Banu ‘Amir who left their homes and their properties and crossed the sea to escape torture and preserve their religion. No sooner was her affliction in Abyssinia over than her husband died and she became a widow.

The Prophet (pbuh) sympathized with this faithful widow immigrant. Therefore, as soon as Khawla bin Hakim mentioned her before him, he offered to help and stand by her especially because she grew old and needed someone to look after her. In the books of the prophetic biography it was narrated that none dared to speak to the prophet about marriage after the death of Khadija, who alone believed him when the people rejected him. She enriched him, when he was poor and from her did Allah grant him his offspring.

After such grief, Khawlah went to the Prophet (pubh) and leniently said, “Would you not marry Messenger of Allah?” He sadly answered, “Who could replace Khawlah?”

She said, “Whoever you like a virgin or non-virgin. He said, “Who is the virgin?” She answered, ”The daughter of the one you love most, Aisha bint Abi Bakr.”

After a while the Prophet (pubh) asked, “Who is the non-virgin? She replied, “Sawda bint Zam’ ah (may Allah be pleased with her).” Then, the Prophet (pbuh) betrothed’ Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) and married Sawda who remained his only wife for about three years until he married ‘Aisha. All the people of Makka wondered how the prophet would get married to such an old widow who lost all her beauty! How could she succeed, the mistress of Quraish?

As a matter of fact, Sawda or any other wife could not succeed Khadija. But this was a kind of charity and mercy from the Prophet of mercy (pbuh).

Sawdah served the household of the Prophet and his daughters. She pleased the Prophet’s heart and helped him go on calling for Allah. Three years later, ‘Aisha, Hafsa, Zaynab, Umm Salama and others came to the Prophet’s house as wives. Then, Sawdah realized that the Prophet (pbuh) had only married her out of sympathy, after her husband’s death. She knew this fact clearly when the Prophet (pbuh) wanted to kindly separate from her to release her of such critical position. Being informed of the Prophet’s intention of divorce, she felt that as if she was living in a nightmare. Therefore, she entreats the prophet, by saying, O Messenger of Allah, hold me. By Allah, I did not seek to have a husband but I just hope that Allah may resurrect me as your wife on the Day of Judgement.” Thus she (may Allah be pleased with her) preferred the Prophet’s desire and granted
her night to ‘Aisha to please the Prophet’s heart. The Prophet (pbuh) responded to her noble feelings. Then Allah revealed,

(There is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves, and settlement is best;)
(An-Nisa’: 1218)

Sawadah remained in the Prophet’s house thankful and grateful to Allah that He inspired such solution to her in order to be with the best of Allah’s creatures and to be mother of the faithful and a
wife of the Prophet in Paradise.

She (may Allah be pleased with her) died at the late years of Umar’s era. ‘Aisha, the mother of the faithful kept on remembering her favor as saying,

“No woman I would like to imitate her save Sawdah bint Zam’ah who said when she grew old, “O Messenger of Allah I granted my day to ‘Aisha. But she has some kind of harshness.”
(Reported by Muslim)

AI-Qur’an AI-Karim

Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani. Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Matba’at al-Bab al-Halabi, Egypt, 1959.

Ali A. Yusuf. The Holy Qur’an. Trans. Hafner Publishing CO., New York, 1946.

‘Ilwan Abdullah Nasih. Polygamy in Islam and the Rationale of the Prophet’s Marriage to More than One Wife, Matba’at Dar al-salam, Cairo

Al-Siba’ I Mustafa. The Woman Between th Muslim Man-made laws, Maktab al-Islam

Bint ash-Shati’, ‘Aisha. The Prophet’s Wives.

Al-Istanbulli M. Mahdi and Mustafa Shilbi, Women Around the Messenger. Dar Ibn Kathir, Bairut.

Al-Qaradawi Yusuf. Believing Women, Dar. Wahba. Cairo.

Sherif Abde-Azeem. Women in Islam versus Women in the Jaudeo-Christian Tradition, El- Falah,Cairo.


2 thoughts on “The Prophet’s Wives -Sawda Bint zam’a

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