On Mary, Muhammad's Concubine (Round Two)

Sam Shamoun

The following is our response to Umar's rebuttal to our initial rebuttal to his response to my rebuttal to two Muslims' accusations (1; 2) against Ali Sina!

Umar writes:

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 : http://www.answering-christianity.com/umar/mary_concubine_rebuttal.htm)

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


Let me remind him what I said IN CONTEXT. I had said that Tabari placed Mariyah's arrival at 7 A.H., with Maududi stating that Surah 33 was written or composed during 5 A.H. This means that if Muhammad had married her then he was in express violation of Allah's command. Thus, unless a Muslim wants to say that Muhammad broke Allah's command this shows that Mariyah could not have been his wife. In fact, this is what led Umar to mention Ibn Kathir's comments that Sura 33:52 had been canceled, a position which he has now abandoned! More on this later.

More importantly, it is Umar that doesn't know what he wants to argue. He admits that there are plenty of Muslim sources affirming that Mariyah was a concubine, but then tries desperately to refute this by posting sources contradicting these Muslim writers and scholars. The only thing that Umar has managed to do is to further highlight the mass confusion which exists among Muslim sources. He has yet to prove that Mariyah was anything but a sex slave.

He responds to my analysis of Ibn Kathir's position with:

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>> http://www.islamic-paths.org/Home/English/Muhammad/Book/Wives/Chapter_12.htm#maria , 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,


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).


What else is there to say to such argumentation? If citing what Ibn Kathir wrote elsewhere to prove that he held to the view that Mariyah was Muhammad's concubine isn't good enough to convince Umar that the former wasn't suggesting that she was one of Muhammad's wives, then there is nothing that will convince him. It seems that it is Umar that is looking for Ibn Kathir to come to him in a dream or perhaps to be conjured up from the dead in order to be convinced that Ibn Kathir's wording in his chapter on Mariyah strongly implies that he wasn't stating that she was one of the wives.

Here is how Umar responds when I exposed his ignorance regarding the status of a concubine who gives birth to her master's child:

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:

He then cites irrelevant material on the status of slave women in Islam. Let us highlight specific parts of the material in order to show how this backfires against him:

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?

How do these Muslims answer the charge that sleeping with captives seems to be a violation of the Quran's condemnation of zina? By basically saying that Islam didn't create this system but simply permitted it as it did other social ills, while allegedly providing principles which would lead to its eventual abolishment! This is a lie which Muslims love to use. There is nothing in the Quran which says that sleeping with (note: raping) captive women or slaves has been abrogated.

Moreover, imagine if someone tried to use this excuse in relation to child molestation and homosexuality, that Islam didn't create these evil immoral acts but permitted it as it did other social ills, while providing principles for their eventual abolishment! In the meantime, young children get molested and raped, while individuals engage in same sex relations!

Umar's source also stated:

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...

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 consiered part of his property. She'd receive her freedom and her baby would also be free.

Umar's source is contradicting itself since it claims that a woman is automatically freed when she gets pregnant, but then goes on to say that she is free when her master dies! Umar agrees with the latter position since he says in response to my highlighting the fact that a slave is not set free upon pregnancy, but upon her master's death:

My Response:

Okay, we obviously agree on that.

We are glad that Umar is honest enough to admit that he was wrong for initially citing a source which claimed that a woman becomes free when she is pregnant. Anything to help a Muslim to know his religion better!

Umar responds to my claim that the prohibition to marry Muhammad's wives includes his slave girls:

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.


It is really Umar who can't read what I had written:

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.

So let me challenge Umar to address what I wrote:

Please tell your readers that you are essentially advocating the position that it was permissible for Muslim men to marry or have sex with the slaves of Muhammad after his death.

He tries to refute the idea of Mariyah being Muhammad's sex slave on the grounds that she resided in the outskirts of Medina, away from the other wives:

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 ditortion of facts- Translator"

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


Umar has actually proven that Mariyah could not have been a wife, but a slave. After all, how could Muhammad situate one of his wives far away from the place where all of his other wives lived? Moreover, if Mariyah could not render any domestic service to Muhammad then how could she function as his wife? If she couldn't cook or clean for Muhammad (i.e., "domestic service") then in what way did she fulfill her duties as a wife? If anything, this supports the position that she was nothing more than his sex slave, his concubine which he would visit anytime he wanted to have sex with her.

More importantly, weren't all the other Muslim writers and scholars aware that Muhammad had situated Mariyah in the outskirts of the city? Of course. And yet they still didn't see this as a problem for their position that Mariyah was nothing more than Muhammad's slave? Obviously not.

In light of the foregoing, we conclude that what Umar has basically shown by his comments is just how cruel Muhammad truly was for making Mariyah reside by herself far away from himself and his wives.

Regarding whether Sura 33:52 was abrogated or not, Umar says:

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

After citing the view which says that the reference has been abrogated Umar provides a lengthy reference on the reason for Muhammad marriages, which is irrelevant to the issues that I raised, and then asks:

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


It is easy to see why Umar needed to bring up this red herring since all he is able to do is attack straw man. I didn't say that Muhammad's multiple marriages were an embarrassment, but the claim that Sura 33:52 had been abrogated by Sura 33:50 is what I said was embarrassing. After all, the sources I cited claimed that Sura 33:52 came after 33:50 chronologically, and yet 33:50 abrogated that which came afterwards! How can an earlier verse cancel out a passage which came later, when it is supposed to be the other way around? That was the severe embarrassment I was referring to.

But since Umar raised the issue of Muhammad's marriages, let us briefly show why not everything is as Umar would like to make it seem. For example, it is stated that the fact that Muhammad remained married to one wife, Khadijah, till the death of the latter somehow proves that his multiple marriages were not motivated by sexual gratification. In the first place, it is easy to see why Muhammad never married anyone else while with Khadijah. Khadijah was a wealthy businesswoman who provided Muhammad the financial stability needed to pursue his dreams and ambitions. Can you imagine how Khadijah would have felt if Muhammad decided to marry a younger, more attractive woman? And do you think Muhammad would want to jeopardize his relationship with Khadijah seeing that she was the financial backbone of the family?

Moreover, many do not realize that there is a passage in the Quran which gave Muhammad sanction to mistreat and neglect any wife he no longer deemed attractive:

And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband, there is no blame on them, if they effect a reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better, and avarice has been made to be present in the (people's) minds; and if you do good (to others) and guard (against evil), then surely Allah is aware of what you do. You will not be able to be equitable between your wives, be you ever so eager; yet do not be altogether partial so that you leave her as it were suspended. If you set things right, and are godfearing, God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. But if they separate, God will enrich each of them of His plenty; God is All-embracing, All-wise. S. 4:128-130

In the above text, instead of warning the men against mistreating their spouses, women who fear mistreatment or desertion are told that they can seek a means of reconciliation. According to Muslim sources this text actually refers to Muhammad’s mistreatment of his wife Sauda bint Zamah because she had gotten old:

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 recent Muslim author says in a caption that:

Muhammad's personal and family life were not always smooth. His wives sometimes bickered amongst themselves and even once engaged in a petty plot against him. A'ishah, for example, disliked her Jewish co-wife, Safiyah, and insulted her periodically. Muhammad had to defend her status and honor a number of times and scold the youthful A'ishah. Hafsah became jealous of her co-wife, Maria, when she found her and Muhammad resting[sic] in her apartment one day. Sawdah gave up her allotted day with the Prophet WHEN SHE REALIZED HE WAS NOT REALLY ATTRACTED TO HER. As for the conspiracy, A'ishah agreed with two other co-wives to convince the Prophet that eating honey made him unpleasant to be around. When Muhammad vowed to never eat honey again, she privately repented to her co-conspirators. Though these incidents were not the norm, they demonstrate that the women in Muhammad's life were as human as the rest of us. (Yahiya Emerick, Critical Lives: Muhammad [Alpha Books, A Member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2002], p. 263; capital and underline emphasis ours) {1}

Commentator Al-Tabari stated that:

Umra bin Ali & Zaid bin Ahram said: second by Abu Dawud, said: second by Sulaiman bin Mu'ath, from Simak bin Harb, from Ikrimah, from Ibn Abbas, said: Saudah feared divorce by the messenger of Allah, so she said: Do not divorce me, and do not share with me! And he did, and this verse was revealed: And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband.

Muhammad bin Husain said: He claimed that this verse came down in reference to the messenger of Allah, and Saudah bint Zama'h who became old, then the messenger of Allah wanted to divorce her, but they agreed that he will keep her but give her day to Ai'sha. (Arabic source; translated by Mutee’a Al-Fadi)

Al-Qurtubi wrote:

In this verse there are four issues: the first, Al-Tirmidhi told that Ibn Abbas said: Saudah feared that the messenger of Allah will divorce her so she said, "Do not divorce me and keep me, and give my day with you to Ai'sha." He did and this verse came down: "there is no blame on them, if they effect a reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better." He said: this is a good and strange hadith. (Arabic source; translated by Mutee’a Al-Fadi)

The two Sahih collections confirm that Sauda gave up her conjugal rights in order to please Muhammad:

Narrated Aisha:
Whenever Allah's Apostle wanted to go on a journey, he would draw lots as to which of his wives would accompany him. He would take her whose name came out. He used to fix for each of them a day and a night. But Sauda bint Zam’a gave up her (turn) day and night to ‘Aisha, the wife of the Prophet in order to seek the pleasure of Allah's Apostle (by that action). (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 766)

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Never did I find any woman more loving to me than Sauda bint Zam'a. I wished I could be exactly like her who was passionate. As she became old, she had made over her day (which she had to spend) with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to ‘A’isha. She said: I have made over my day with you to ‘A’isha. So Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) allotted two days to ‘A’isha, her own day (when it was her turn) and that of Sauda. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3451)

The Salafi scholars that write for www.islamqa.com cite references agreeing that Sura 4:128 referred to Muhammad’s mistreatment of Sauda:

Al-Tirmidhi reported via Sammaak from ‘Ikrimah from Ibn ‘Abbaas that he said: “Sawdah was afraid that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would divorce her, so she said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, do not divorce me; give my day to ‘Aa’ishah.’ So he did so. Then this aayah was revealed.” Al-Tirmidhi said: “(This is) hasan ghareeb.” I say: there is corroborating evidence in a hadeeth from ‘Aa’ishah narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim, without referring to the revelation of the aayah. (From Fath al-Baari).

The hadeeth mentioned by al-Haafiz ibn Hijr (may Allaah have mercy on him) is in Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 2966, where it is reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “Sawdah was afraid that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would divorce her, so she said: ‘Do not divorce me. Keep me and give my day to ‘Aa’ishah.’ So he did so, then Allaah revealed the aayah: ‘… there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves; and making peace is better…’ [al-Nisaa’ 4:128]. So whatever they agreed upon was permissible.” It is as if the last sentence was the comment of Ibn ‘Abbaas. Abu ‘Iesa said: this is a hasan ghareeb hadeeth.

Al-Mubaarakpoori said, commenting on this hadeeth:

‘Sawdah was afraid…’ This refers to Sawdah bint Zam’ah ibn Qays al-Qurashiyyah al-‘Aamiriyyah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her in Makkah after Khadeejah had died, and consummated the marriage there. The scholars agree that he consummated his marriage to her before he consummated his marriage to ‘Aa’ishah, and she migrated to Madeenah with him. She died at the end of the khilaafah of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab.

‘…was afraid that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would divorce her, so she said…’ Al-Bukhaari and Muslim reported from ‘Aa’ishah that Sawdah bint Zam’ah gave her day to ‘Aa’ishah, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to give ‘Aa’ishah her own day and that of Sawdah. Al-Haafiz said in al-Fath: Abu Dawood reported this hadeeth (from ‘Aa’ishah): ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never used to prefer any of us over others in sharing his time (i.e., he was fair in dividing his nights among his wives, and each one of them had her allotted night). When Sawdah bint Zam’ah grew old and feared that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) might divorce her, she said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, my day is for ‘Aa’ishah,’ and he accepted this from her. Then concerning this and similar cases, the aayah was revealed (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part…’ [al-Nisaa’ 4:128]. These reports agree that she feared divorce and so gave her day to ‘Aa’ishah.

Then al-‘Allaamah al-Mubaraakpoori said: The aayah may be explained thus: ‘If a woman fears’ means if she expects. ‘Cruelty’ means that he spurns her by refusing to sleep with her or by spending less on her than he should, because he dislikes her and wants to marry someone more beautiful. ‘Desertion’ means that he turns his face away from her. ‘There is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves’ means with regard to the sharing of his time and his spending on her, i.e., he should still give her something in this regard (sharing time or spending) in order to preserve the relationship: if she accepts, this is OK, otherwise the husband must either give her her full rights or divorce her. ‘Making peace is better’ means better than separation, cruelty and desertion. Whatever they agree upon between themselves is permissible. (Tuhfat al-Ahwadi Sharh Jaami’ al-Tirmidhi). (Question #2218: A man doesn’t want to live with his wife but doesn’t want to divorce her for the sake of the children; online source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The hadiths also mention that Sauda was an overweight woman:

Narrated Aisha:
Sauda (the wife of the Prophet) went out to answer the call of nature after it was made obligatory (for all the Muslims ladies) to observe the veil. She was a fat huge lady, and everybody who knew her before could recognize her. So ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her and said, "O Sauda! By Allah, you cannot hide yourself from us, so think of a way by which you should not be recognized on going out. Sauda returned while Allah's Apostle was in my house taking his supper and a bone covered with meat was in his hand. She entered and said, "O Allah’s Apostle! I went out to answer the call of nature and 'Umar said to me so-and-so." Then Allah inspired him (the Prophet) and when the state of inspiration was over and the bone was still in his hand as he had not put in down, he said (to Sauda), "You (women) have been allowed to go out for your needs." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 318)

The foregoing proves that Muhammad essentially abandoned Sauda because he no longer desired her sexually due to her being old and "fat"! In fact, Muhammad's treatment of Sauda provides support for what we stated earlier regarding the reason for his remaining monogamous during his marriage with Khadijah. After all, had Khadijah not been wealthy Muhammad may have treated her the same way he treated Sauda.

Furthermore, this means that Sura 4:128-130 gives Muslim men the sanction to simply ignore any wife whom they no longer feel attracted to, thereby denying them the pleasure of love and intimacy!

Finally, even Aisha realized that Muhammad's marriages weren't as innocent as Umar wants us to believe. The Quran says that Muhammad could have any woman who voluntarily gave herself to him and defer from spending time with any wife he chose:

O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her -- specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. You may put off whom you please of them, and you may take to you whom you please, and whom you desire of those whom you had separated provisionally; no blame attaches to you; this is most proper, so that their eyes may be cool and they may not grieve, and that they should be plased, all of them with what you give them, and Allah knows what is in your hearts; and Allah is Knowing, Forbearing. S. 33:50-51 Shakir

To which Aisha responded:

Narrated Aisha:
I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily)." (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311)

'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: I felt jealous of the women who offered themselves to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Then when Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, revealed this: "You may defer any one of them you wish, and take to yourself any you wish; and if you desire any you have set aside (no sin is chargeable to you)" (xxxiii. 51), I ('A'isha.) said: It seems to me that your Lord hastens to satisfy your desire. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3453)

Interestingly, Sura 33:52 itself shows that Muhammad married women for their beauty:

Thereafter women are not lawful to thee, neither for thee to take other wives in exchange for them, though their beauty please thee, except what thy right hand owns; God is watchful over everything. Arberry

For more on Muhammad's marriages please read the following articles:


Umar concludes his section with the following interesting remarks:

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:


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:

It is really hard to address such distortions and contradictions. Umar approvingly cited Yusuf Ali's position that Muhammad married Mariyah after Sura 33:52 was "revealed" in 7 A.H. Now he wants to argue for the fact that Muhammad married Mariyah before Sura 33:52 was given, which means that Ali was wrong. But if Ali was wrong regarding Muhammad marrying Mariyah after the giving of this verse then it is also possible that he was wrong regarding the dating of this verse. With this being a possibility then this means that Maududi's dating may be the correct one:

Period of Revelation

The Surah discusses three important events which are: the Battle of the Trench (or Al-Ahzab: the Clans), which took place in Shawwal, A. H. 5; the raid on Bani Quraizah, which was made in Dhil-Qa'dah, A. H. 5; and the Holy Prophet's marriage with Hadrat Zainab, which also was contracted in Dhil-Qa'dah, A. H. 5. These historical events accurately determine the period of the revelation of this Surah. (Source)

Yet Maududi's position means that Muhammad took Mariyah in sometime after Sura 33:52 was given, and shows that no matter how Umar wants to argue his case he is left with major problems. Since he seems to not want to see how confusing and contradictory his arguments truly have been, and just how chaotic and confusing Muslim sources really are, we will highlight them for him:

  1. Muslim sources present contradictory dates for Surah 33, specifically 33:52.
  2. Muslim sources contradict one another regarding whether Sura 33:52 was abrogated by Sura 33:50 or not.
  3. Muslim sources indicate that Sura 33:50 was given before Sura 33:52, which means that the abrogating verse actually came before the verse which it was suppose to abrogate!
  4. Muslim sources contradict one another whether Mariyah was Muhammad's wife or concubine.

We will address the quotes from Sirat Un Nabi later on in the rebuttal.

We now turn our attention to part 2 of his rebuttal (here). When I exposed him and his colleagues for contradicting one another, Umar responds with:

My Response:

Whatever you just said was refuted, in Part 1 where I showed 2 cases,

1) Sura 33:52 was "abrogated"

2) Sura 33:52 WASN'T abrogated

Reason why I divided it into 2 sections, was so that people can see both side of the story, and quite honestly, the second part made more sense. It was proven that Sura 33:52 wasnt abrogated, and Muhammad (S) didn't go "against" the Quran.


My Response:

(Yawn)..... This was already dealt with above.


And this gent claims to have refuted us!

My Response:

First of all, the first link given by Shamoun, isnt Brother Osama's own article, infact he made it pretty clear that the information was from http://www.usf.edu.pk/wives.html.

The second link given by Shamoun is also not Brother Osama's own article, Brother Osama also made it clear that the information was from another website, specifically http://www.usf.edu.pk/wyw-42.html.


First, to say that these articles are not Osama's is irrelevant and does nothing to refute my position. It only provides additional evidence that Muslims cannot help but contradict one another. Second, a person normally places a disclaimer in order to indicate to his readers that he or she doesn't accept everything written in a given link or article. Osama provided no such disclaimer, showing that he was in full agreement with these Muslim links. It seems that it is Umar who can now read minds since he seems to know what was or wasn't in Osama's mind when he approvingly posted these links!

Umar quotes another source which admits that Muslims are confused and contradicting one another regarding Mariyah's status. Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera admits that:

There seems to be some difference of opinion regarding whether she remained a slave or was she taken as a wife. BOTH OPINIONS ARE TO BE FOUND AMONG THE SCHOLARS AND BIOGRAPHERS.

In the year 6 AH, after the treaty of Hudaibiya, the Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) sent letters to the various rulers and governors around the world. The Roman governor of Alexandria, Muqawqas, sent two slave girls to the Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) as a gift with Hatim ibn Abi Balta'a who was the courier of the Messenger (upon him be peace). The two slave girls were Mariya and Shirin Qibtiyya. On the way to Madina, both embraced Islam at the preaching of Hatim (may Allah be please with him). Shirin Qibtiyya was given to Hassan ibn Thabit and the Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) kept Mariya Qibtiyya and married her (according to one opinion) or kept her as a slave girl (according to the other opinion). (About Mariya Qibtiyya: Source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Since Umar has essentially been conceding throughout his "responses" that Muslims are contradicting one another we again need to ask him what was the reason for writing a paper on this issue?

My Response:

I am glad that Sam Shamoun posted Muhammad Asad's commentary, since Muhammad Asad himself says the Ayat was revealed in 7 A.H. And once again, as shown in Part 1, Mariyah arrived before this Ayat was revealed, so Prophet Muhammad (S) didn't violate anything.


First, to say that Mariyah was sent to Muhammad before this verse was composed tells us absolutely nothing about her status up to that point, i.e. whether she was a slave whom he later married etc. In fact, Umar initially tried to say that Mariyah became Muhammad's wife upon giving birth to their son Ibrahim, who was born 9 A.H., two years after Sura 33:52 is said to have been recited according to Asad. Furthermore, the noted historian and commentator al-Tabari stated that Mariyah arrived in the year A.H. 7:

Mariyah, the Prophet’s CONCUBINE and the mother of his son, Ibrahim.

Al-Muqawqas, lord of Alexandria, gave her with her sister Sirin and other things as a present to the Prophet.

According to Ibn ‘Umar [al-Waqidi] – Ya‘qub b. Muhammad b. Abi Sa‘sa‘ah – ‘Abdallah b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Sa‘sa‘ah: IN THE YEAR 7/May 11, 628-April 30, 629, al-Muqawqas, lord of Alexandria, sent to the Prophet Mariyah, her sister Sirin, a thousand gold coins, twenty fine robes, his mule Duldul, and his donkey ‘Ufayr, or Ya‘fur. With them was Mariyah’s brother, a very old eunuch called Mabur. Al-Muqawqas sent all this [to the Prophet] with Hatib b. Abi Balta‘ah. The latter suggested to Mariyah that she embrace Islam and made her wish to do so; thus she and her sister were converted, whereas the eunuch adhered to his religion until he was [also] converted later in Medina, while the Prophet was [still] alive.

The Prophet admired Umm Ibrahim, who was fair-skinned and beautiful. He lodged her in al-‘Aliyah, at the property nowadays called of Umm Ibrahim. He used to visit her there and ordered her to veil herself, [but] he had intercourse with her BY VIRTUE OF HER BEING HIS PROPERTY… (The History of Al-Tabari: Biographies of the Prophet’s Companions and Their Successors, translated by Ella Landau-Tasseron [State University of New York Press (SUNY) Albany 1998], Volume XXXIX, pp. 193-194; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

In light of the foregoing, how does Umar know for certain that Mariyah arrived before the "revelation" of Sura 33:52 especially when one of his own sources, Yusuf Ali, expressly said that Muhammad married her after this verse was given?

"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.

Hence, Yusuf Ali's position means that Muhammad violated the commands of the Quran!

Finally, not all Muslims agree that Sura 33:52 was composed at 7 A.H. As we mentioned both here and in our first rebuttal to the two Muslims, Maududi placed the composition of this Sura at 5 A.H.

My Response:

Now, let me give you a reason, as to why Sina is a liar. Now, as made clear, there are sources which say Mariyah was a slave, and others which say she was Prophet Muhammad (S) wife, YET,,,,, YET,, I dont know of any Sheikh, Historian, Allama, etc. which says that Mariyah was Hafsa's maid. If Ali Sina, made this claim to anyone, particularly to a knowledgable Muslim, they would laugh at him in the face, that is why noone cares about his website. So yes, in this case, Sina was "mistaken", in the sense that he lied, to put more "juice" in his story, of Hafsa (R) running into Prophet (S) having private time with "Hafsah's maid" (As Ali Sina blindly states). And this story itself is ALSO refuted, read below:

" 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 distrtion of facts- Translator"

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


It gets rather tiring having to constantly repeat ourselves and address gross errors in logic. To say that Sina is wrong because Umar is unaware of any source which says that Mariyah was Hafsa's slave is the fallacy of hasty generalization and the fallacy of ad argumentum ignorantiam (argument from ignorance). As we have stated, Sina could have been citing a source which (whether correctly or wrongly) claimed that Mariyah was Hafsa's maid. Until Sina comes forward and addresses this issue we simply do not know the reason why he made such a claim. We have already addressed the quote from Sirat Un Nabi so no need to repeat ourselves.

My Response:

First off, read this what Shamoun states>> " To quote a source that challenges Maududi doesn’t prove that the latter was wrong, but only proves that Muslims are a confused bunch!"

So, any source which contradicts Maududi shows Muslims are wrong? Is Maududi the best of the best? Everything Maududi says is true, while everything else is just hoaxes???


When you cannot refute someone you simply decide to attack straw man, which is what Umar has done here. I didn't say Maududi is the best of the best, or that what anyone else says is simply a hoax. As the reader can see it is actually Umar who thinks that the claims made by his source are more accurate than that of Maududi's position, or that all the other writers that I cited which agree with Maududi are hoaxes. Since Umar decided to distort my point and attack straw man, let me repeat it one more time. To cite a source (or sources) which contradicts Maududi, doesn't mean that Maududi is wrong. It doesn't even mean that the other source(s) is(are) wrong simply because they disagree with Maududi. It simply means that Muslim scholars are confused and are contradicting one another on whether Mariyah was Muhammad's wife or sex slave.

Now read this>> " Moreover, Umar wants to infer from the above that Mariyah wasn’t a slave due to the exalted language used to describe her and her sister. In so doing, he only exposes his low view and disdain of slaves since his comments presuppose that there is nothing highly respectable about being a slave! This slip by Umar implies that Mariyah could not be highly respected if she were a slave, which presupposes that slaves are low in class and dignity! Why can’t one be a highly regarded slave, a slave known for his or her outstanding qualities and piety, as for example Muhammad’s adopted son Zaid ibn Haritha who use to be Khadijah’s slave that showed outstanding virtue and devotion to Muhammad? In fact, it was because of his devotion to Muhammad that the latter adopted him as a son. "

First of all, it was the Potiphar of Egypt who used the "exalted language". So whatever Shamoun says, is just gibberish and utter nonsense, since Islam respects slaves, and it was the Potiphar of Egypt who used the "exalted language".

We have to disagree on Sam, and Maududi, because proof was shown that Mariyah was indeed the Prophet (S) wife. Once again, we have to remind Shamoun that there are sources which say she was his wife, and others who disagree.


Umar obviously didn't bother reading either what I had written or his own source carefully. In the first place, the Muqauqis never said anything about the exalted language proving that Mariyah couldn't have been a slave, but rather Umar's source, Sirat Un Nabi, made that claim. This exposed the prejudice of Umar and this author since they obviously assumed that slaves are somehow inferior due to their status and therefore could not be spoken of in such a manner.

Secondly, neither Umar nor the author of Sirat Un Nabi have refuted Maududi, or the rest of the Muslims which agree with him for that matter. The argument which Sirat Un Nabi tried to use to prove that Mariyah wasn't a slave was shown to be prejudicial in nature and unfounded (a non sequitur), since it assumed that Mariyah could not have been spoken of in such a praiseworthy manner if she were a slave. Moreover, this logic apparently went unnoticed or unheeded by all the other Muslim writers and scholars who believed Mariyah remained Muhammad's concubine.

In light of the foregoing, we have to disagree with the position taken by Umar and Sirat Un Nabi, since neither party gave any convincing proof showing that Mariyah was Muhammad's wife. It seems that we need to once again remind Umar that there are a host of sources which say she was a slave of Muhammad's, and that those who disagree do not do so because of any convincing evidence to the contrary. Hence, all Umar has done is to expose the chaotic nature of Islamic scholarship due to all of its gross contradictions and inconsistencies.

Umar concludes:

My Response:

We will also summarize this rebuttal into 3 points:

1) It was proven that Mariyah was Muhammad (S) wife, common sense itself refutes that Mariyah was just a slave, since she lived in the outskirts of Medina, and therefore couldn't render to any domestic service to the Prophet (S) or his wives.

On the contrary, this argument actually proved that Mariyah must have been a slave since Muhammad would have been cruel to banish her from the company of his other wives. This shows that the only service which Muhammad sought from her was sexual in nature, since she wouldn't be able to perform all the other duties of a wife such as cooking, cleaning etc. Muhammad would only visit her for sex.

2) It was shown that Sura 33:52 WASN'T abrogated. Muhammad Asad and Abdullah Yusuf Ali both agree that the Ayat of Sura 33:52 came after the arrival of Mariyah.

It seems that Umar doesn't know what he wants his readers to believe, since he is obviously confused. He admitted that there are scholars who believe that this verse has been abrogated, which is the position he initially took since he chided me for not quoting Ibn Kathir's statements that Sura 33:52 had been canceled. But now he wants to insist that it wasn't abrogated! So we again need to ask, which position should the readers of www.answering-christianity.com take? Should they agree with Umar's initial position that the text had been abrogated? Or should they agree with his most recent stance that it isn't abrogated? And if this text has not been abrogated then why in the world did he complain about me not quoting Ibn Kathir who said that it had been?

Moreover, Yusuf Ali did not say that Sura 33:52 came after Mariyah's arrival, nor did Muhammad Asad. We already quoted Yusuf Ali in our initial response to Umar (as well as here) showing that he expressly stated that Muhammad took Mariyah after Sura 33:52 was given. Umar is deliberately distorting what these scholars wrote.

3) I never contradicted my colleagues, it was made clear that I didn't contradict Brother Bassam or Brother Osama. Just because Bro Osama has some links which doesn't cite Mariyah the Copt as Prophet (S) wife, doesn't mean he doesn't think she is his wife.

Umar did in fact contradict his colleagues and to say that Osama doesn't necessarily agree with everything in the links which he posted on his own site is nothing more than a desperate attempt of trying to cover up his gross errors. A person normally places a disclaimer in order to indicate to his readers that he or she doesn't accept everything written in a given link or article. Did Osama post such a disclaimer? No, not at all. Did Osama present these links as an authoritative listing of the names of Muhammad's wives? Yes he did, since this is the title of one of the articles: Details about the history of Muhammad's wives peace be upon him. (On this page) Moreover, he did not merely link to this outside page, he thought it to be so important, that he included this table on his own site.

Umar wants us to actually believe that Osama posted an article where he claims it gives details about the history of Muhammad's wives, but which he didn't completely agree with, and yet said absolutely nothing about his disagreements! He must really think that we are all naive.

So Umar, previously we responded that the joke is on you and your colleagues. In light of this rebuttal, we too will conclude with the words of your brother Osama, whom you contradicted time and time again, and add a few words of our own:

Checkmate, Buddy!

In Fact, You Need to Start Learning How to Play Chess

Before You actually Play the Game!

And the Triune God, Yahweh Elohim, always knows best!


{1} The Council of American Islamic Relationships (CAIR) actually distributes this book free of charge for the asking (here). We encourage our readers to request their free copy of this book.

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