Mary, Muhammad's Concubine

Sam Shamoun

It has become quite popular for Muslims to slander Ali Sina, the founder of, by accusing him of being a liar or an Islamophobe because he supposedly distorts Muslim sources. For example, this following article was written to "expose" Ali Sina’s "lie" that Muhammad had intercourse with Mariyah the Copt, "one of the prophet’s wives’ maids", specifically Hafsa’s maid(*), without being properly married to her:

Now, if Mariyah (RA) really was just a maid, THAT WOULD CERTAINLY BE A PROBLEM. Certainly, every anti-Islamic writer out there takes great delight in printing this allegation. But does Ali Sina provide any proof of this? Do any of the Islamophobic writers who mindlessly repeat this allegation provided any proof? After searching on and off for the best part of two months, the answer would seem to be a resounding NO.

Looking at any reputable source will tell you that Muhammad (PBUH) and Mariyah (RA) were legally married. In one example, the noted historian Ibn Kathir records:

Ibn Kathir wrote:
Maria al-Qibtiyya (may Allah be pleased with her) is said to have married the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and certainly everyone gave her the same title of respect as the Prophet's wives, 'Umm al Muminin' 'Mother of the Believers'. Maria was born in upper Egypt of a Coptic father and Greek mother and moved to the court of the Muqawqis when she was still very young. She arrived in Medina to join the Prophet's household just after the Prophet returned from the treaty with Quraish which was contracted at al-Hudaybiyya.

(The full text can be found at, plus a number of other sites.)

A brief search at non-Islamic resources will also confirm this fact - for example, the Human Family Project ( and the Maximillian Genealogy Project ( both list Mariyah (RA) as one of the Prophet's (PBUH) wives.

Ali Sina is even contradicted by his anti-Islamic partner-in-crime Ibn Warraq, who describes her as his 'legal concubine' in his book "Why I’m Not a Muslim". Whilst the term 'legal concubine' is a somewhat crude euphemism for 'wife', it certainly puts paid to the theory of Mariyah (RA) being nothing more than a maid. (Bahagia, Muhammad (PBUH) and Mariyah (RA); source; capital emphasis ours)

So this Muslim ADMITS that if Mr. Sina were right that Mariyah was only a maid, then there would be a problem, thereby vindicating Mr. Sina. Fair enough.

Another Muslim writes (quite passionately I might add):

Ali Sina said:

The following is Muhammad’s scandalous love affair with Mariyah the Copt who was one of the prophet’s wives’ maids. Muhammad slept with her without any ceremony, which caused uproar among his wives and finally was settled by Divine intervention. This story is recorded in an authenticated Hadith and is reported by Omar.

Our Response:

Ali Sina begins his article, with a CLEAR-CUT LIE! Mariyah the Copt wasn't just a servant, she was the Prophet’s (S) own Wife!

(Bassam Zawadi, Rebuttal to Ali Sina's article: "Mariyah the Sex Slave of the holy Prophet"; source)

Is Sina really lying? Could it be that Sina was perhaps mistaken? Maybe he read a source that erroneously claimed that Mariyah was Hafsa’s maid and failed to verify it? This doesn’t excuse Sina but only shows that he is fallible like the rest of us, and much like these Muslims as we shall see.

However, both of these Muslim reactions protest against the statement that she was only a slave or maid, and instead claim that she was Muhammad’s wife. Sina made a mistake. Mariyah was not Hafsa’s maid, she was Muhammad’s slave girl. But those Muslims do not attack this mistake, i.e. whose maid she was, but attack the claim that she was only a concubine and not a proper wife.

Are these Muslims correct that Mariyah wasn’t a maid at all? Is it true that Mariyah was Muhammad’s wife and not his concubine? Or could it be that these Muslims are not revealing everything by quoting only partially what is found in the early sources of Islam?

Well, in the final analysis, it is these Muslims who are trying to pull a fast one over their readers. They apparently assumed that their readers would blindly accept everything they wrote without verifying it for themselves. If they thought their readers weren’t naļve, gullible pawns, then they wouldn’t have dared to withhold the following important piece of data. There are MANY MUSLIM SCHOLARS that specifically deny that Mariyah was Muhammad’s wife, and have no shame admitting that she was nothing more than Muhammad’s slave. To silence this slander of Ali Sina we will quote some Muslim writings and websites which agree with him. All bold, underline and capital emphasis will be entirely ours.

The scholars that write for the website received a question regarding whether Mariyah was Muhammad’s wife to which they answered:


There is no doubt that Mariyah al-Qibtiyyah was the concubine of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and she bore him his son Ibraaheem. Can the title of "Mother of the Believers" be given to Mariyah al-Qibtiyyah or not?


Praise be to Allaah.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) DID NOT MARRY MARIYAH AL-QIBTIYYAH, RATHER SHE WAS A CONCUBINE who was given to him by al-Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt. That took place after the treaty of al-Hudaybiyah. Mariyah al-Qibtiyyah was a Christian, then she became Muslim (may Allaah be pleased with her).

Ibn Sa’d said:

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) lodged her – meaning Mariyah al-Qibtiyyah and her sister – with Umm Sulaym bint Milhaan, and the Messenger of Allaah (S) entered upon them and told them about Islam. He took Mariyah AS A CONCUBINE and moved her to some property of his in al-‘Awaali… and she became a good Muslim.

Al-Tabaqaat al-Kubra, 1/134-135

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said:

Mariyah died during the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, in Muharram of 16 AH. ‘Umar gathered the people himself to attend her funeral, and he led the funeral prayer for her. She was buried in al-Baqee’.

Al-Isti’aab, 4/ 1912

Mariyah (may Allaah be pleased with her) WAS ONE OF THE PROPHET’S CONCUBINES, NOT ONE OF HIS WIVES. The Mothers of the Believers are the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"The Prophet is closer to the believers than their ownselves, and his wives are their (believers’) mothers (as regards respect and marriage)"

[al-Ahzaab 33:6]

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had four concubines, ONE OF WHOM WAS MARIYAH.

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

Abu ‘Ubaydah said: HE HAD FOUR (CONCUBINES): MARIYAH, who was the mother of his son Ibraaheem; Rayhaanah; another beautiful slave woman whom he acquired as a prisoner of war; and a slave woman who was given to him by Zaynab bint Jahsh.

Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/114

For more information of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – the Mothers of the Believers – please see the answer to question no. 47072

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A (

(Question #47572: Was Mariyah al-Qibtiyyah one of the Mothers of the Believers?)

Here are Ibn al-Qayyim's words taken from his own book:

The Prophet's Slave-Girls

Abu 'Ubaidah said that the Prophet had four slave girls, MARIYAH, who gave birth to Ibrahim, the Prophet's last son, Ra'ihanah, another slave-girl he got during one of his battles and another slave-girl whom Zainab bint Ja'hsh gave to him as a gift. (Zad-ul Ma'ad, translated by Jalal Abualrub, edited by Alan Mencke & Shaheed M. Ali [Madinah Publishers & Distributors, Orlando Florida: First Edition, December 2000], Volume I, p. 178; capital emphasis ours)

The website Islamic Question Online with Mufti Ebrahim Desai says that:

Because of the prevalence of slavery in the initial stages of Islam the necessity of educating the people about the treatment of slaves also arose. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam taught his followers how the slaves should be treated with kindness, etc. In fact, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam himself possessed slave girls. In this way, he was able to demonstrate practically how kindly and politely the slave should be treated. Because it is relevant to the topic, it would be appropriate to mention here that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam also had four slave girls. One was Hazrat Maria Qibtiyya Radhiallahu Anha who was the mother of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam's son, Ibrahim Alayhis Salaam who passed away in infanthood. The others were, Hazrat Rayhaan binte Samoon; Hazrat Nafisa and a fourth, whose name has not been recorded in History.

(Question 17298 from South Africa: what is the Islamic law with regard to slave-women? Was It permissible to have relations with these slave-women without a formal marriage ceremony?; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)


Maariya al-Qibtiyya was a slave female and was given as a gift to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) by the Roman king. She bore the son of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) who passed away during infancy. (Question 1071, Maariya al-Qibtiyyah; source)

Another online Islamic Fatwa site also concurs with Mariyah being a slave whom Muhammad enjoyed:

Fatwa # 20780
Fatwa Title: His wives "Alayhi wa-Salat wa-Salam" who were slaves
Fatwa Date: 04 Jumady al-Thania 1423


There are two slave women that the messenger (SAW) married, who are they?


Thanks be to Allah and prayer and peace be upon the messenger of Allah and on his family and companions. As to this:

If the questioner meant that Allah’s messenger (SAW) married two slave women while they were still slaves? This cannot be of the messenger of Allah (SAW), and this is not permitted in Islam except to those who cannot marry a free woman and fears immorality.

And if he meant that he [Muhammad] married those women after they were freed from slavery? Hence Juwayrah bint al-Harith al-Mustaliqia was from those who were enslaved (captured) from Bani al-Mustaliq (the tribe of Mustaliq), and she was the daughter of their leader, the prophet (SAW) freed her and married her. Same with Safiyah bint Huyay bin Akhtab who was one of the slaves of Khaybar, and the prophet (SAW) freed her and married her.

But if he meant the slaves that the messenger used to enjoy (ya ta sarra behina), meaning sleeping with them by virtue of their being his right hand possession? It was said four: Mariyah al -Qibtiyah, and Rayhanah from Bani Quraytha (the tribe of Quraytha), and a third slave woman whom he slept with during her slavery, and a fourth one who was given to him by Zaynab bint Jahsh. (Arabic source; translated by Mutee’a Al-Fadi)

After mentioning his eleven wives, The Concise Encyclopaedia of Islam (ed. Cyril Glassé, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989), says under Wives of the Prophet, p. 419:

In addition, the Prophet had at least two concubines, Rayhanah, captured from the Banu Qurayzah, who was originally Jewish, and Maryah, a Christian slave wo was a gift from the Muqawqis, the Byzantine viceroy ruling the Copts in Egypt. She bore the Prophet a son, Ibrahim, who died before his second year.

Here is a modern Muslim biographer who lists Mariyah as one of Muhammad's slave women:

Besides these, he had two concubines. The first was Mariyah, the Coptic (an Egyptian Christian), a present gift from Al-Muqauqis, vicegerent of Egypt - she gave birth to his son Ibrāhim, who died in Madinah while still a little child, on the 28th or 29th of Shawwal in the year 10 A.H., i.e. 27th January, 632 A.D. The second one was Raihanah bint Zaid An-Nadriyah or Quraziyah, a captive from Bani Quraiza. Some people say she was one of his wives. However, Ibn Al-Qaiyim gives more weight to the first version. Abu 'Ubaidah spoke of two more concubines, Jameelah, a captive, and another one, a bondwoman granted to him by Zainab bint Jahsh. [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 1/29] (Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (THE SEALED NECTAR) Biography of the Noble Prophet, Saif-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri [Maktaba Dar-us-Salam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition 1995], "The Prophetic Household", p. 485; online edition; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Another scholar who clearly listed Mariyah as Muhammad's concubine was the late Mufti Shafi Uthmani:

... (And those (bond women) whom you own out of the captives Allah has given you as spoils of war)

The word ... used here for the spoils of war is fai' which in its technical sense is restricted to the wealth acquired from the enemy without actual fighting. But at times it is used for the spoils of war acquired through actual fighting. Here the word is used in a general sense. Moreover, it does not mean that only those slave-girls will be lawful for him who would come to him as a share in the spoils of war, but the permissibility covers those bondwomen also who were purchased by him. But, apparently, in this injunction, there is nothing particular for the Holy Prophet because this is a rule for all Muslims and the whole Ummah that those bondwomen whom they own as their share in the spoils of war or those who are purchased for a price are lawful for them. At the same time the style of the context indicates that the injunctions contained in these verses should have some special applications for the Holy Prophet. As such it is stated in Ruh ul-Ma'ani' as a particularity of the Holy Prophet that just as the nikah of any of his wives with any other Muslim is not lawful after him, similarly any of his bondwomen is not lawful for any Muslim after him. Accordingly, the nikah of Sayyidah Mariyah al-Qibtiyyah who was sent by the Roman Emperor Muqauqis as gift to the Holy Prophet WAS NOT LAWFUL FOR ANYONE AFTER HIM.

At the age of fifty, after the death of Sayyidah Khadijah, he married Sayyidah Sawdah who was also a widow.

After the migration to Madina, at the age of fifty-four, in the second year of Hijrah, Sayyidah 'A'isha came to the Holy Prophet's home as a wife. He married Sayyidah Hafsah a year later and Sayyidah Zaynab bint Khuzaymah a few days after that, who expired a few months later. He married Sayyidah Umm Salamah, a widow with children, in the year 4 of Hijrah. In the year 5 when he was fifty eight years old, he marred Zaynab bint Jash in accordance with Allah's order, as detailed in the beginning of the present surah. The rest of the blessed wives entered his house in the last five years. (Maariful Quran, Volume 7, pp. 191-192, 197-198; source; capital emphasis ours)

Sunni Muslim writer G.F. Haddad answers to the question:

Was Mariya al-Qibtiyya ever a spouse?

No. Mariya al-Qibtiyya was never a spouse but rather a surriyya - with tashdid of the ra and its kasr - until the passing of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, as explicitly stated by al-Zubayr ibn Bakkar in his al-Muntakhab min Kitab Azwaj al-Nabi salla Allahu `alyhi wa-Sallam (Risala 1983 ed. p. 60):

„Wa-tuwuffiya Rasulullah (salla Allahu `alayhi wa-Sallama) wa-Mariyatu fi mulkih, fa`ataqat, fa`taddat `alayhi thalatha hiyadin ba`dah.“

„The Messenger of Allah passed away as Mariya was in his possession (as a slavewoman), whereupon she became free then observed, after her widowhood of him, three menstrual periods of home seclusion.“
Important notes:

1- The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, made her wear hijab (contrary to the normal ruling for slaves).

2- At one time, because of one of his wives‘ complaint, he swore that he would stay away from Mariya then Allah Most High ordered him to cancel that oath without kaffara. (This may have been confused with a revocable divorce by some; in reality it confirms that a self-pronounced tahrim of mulk al-yamin is inconsequential. Imam Malik said: „Haram is halal with regard to slavewomen.“)

3- When Ibrahim, alyhi as-Salam, was born the Prophet said of her, upon him blessings and peace: „Her son freed her.“ (This may have been interpreted as a cancellation of her slavehood tantamount to a declaration of marriage but is confirmed by the narrations to apply to her status after the passing of the Holy Prophet, upon him blessings and peace.)

4- When the Prophet died, upon him blessings and peace, she observed three menstrual periods of `idda in complete home seclusion (contrary to the normal ruling for slaves because at that time she became a freedwoman).

5- Our liege-lords Abu Bakr and  `Umar in their caliphates spent lavishly on her (in resemblance of the duty to support the Mothers of the believers) until she died in Muharram of the year 16. `Umar gathered the people himself, she was buried in al-Baqi`, and he prayed over her. Allah be well-pleased with her.

6- The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, did free and marry the surriyya Rayhana bint Zayd ibn `Amr of the Banu al-Nadir. This case may have been confused with that of Mariya. And Allah knows best.

- The Hafiz, Qadi of Makka, and genealogist al-Zubayr ibn Bakkar (172-256) in his al-Muntakhab min Kitab Azwaj al-Nabi salla Allahu `alyhi wa-Sallam.

- Hafiz Sharaf al-Din al-Dimyati (613-708), Nisa‘ Rasul Allah salla Allahu `alayhi wa-Sallam.

- Hafiz Muhibb al-Din al-Tabari (615-694), al-Samt al-Thamin fi Manaqib Ummahat al-Mu‘minin.

- Hafiz Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Salihi (d. 942), Subul al-Huda wal-Rashad fi Sirat Khayr al-`Ibad.

gibril   (Was Mariya al-Qibtiyya ever a spouse?; bold emphasis ours)


12. Marya al-Qibtiyya, she was a surriyya (concubine). She gave birth to Ibrahim. (Who are Ahl al-Bayt?)

Here is what one modern commentary says regarding Sura 33:52:

74. It means handmaid. Two handmaids of the Holy Prophet are well known:

 (i) Maria Qibtia … of whose womb Hazrat Ibrahim was born;
(ii) Rehana …

(Noble Qur’an: Tafseer-E-Usmani by Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, English translation by Mohammad Ashfaq Ahmad, M.A.M.Sc. [Idara Isha’at-e-Dinyat (P) Ltd., New Delhi, India 1992], p. 1854)

In an article found at the Understanding Islam site, Mr. Amar Ellahi Lone says:

As far as the slave girl Hadhrat Maria Qibtia (ra) is concerned, the Prophet (pbuh) kept her as a slave girl because he was barred from marrying those slave girls who were not part of the booty of war, in the same verse that governed his marriage regulations. Hadhrat Maria Qibtia (ra) was presented to the Prophet (pbuh) by the ruler of Egypt. He loved her very much and treated her very well, in order to set an example for the Muslims in treatment of their slaves.

It should be kept in mind that although Islam condemned slavery, it did not abolish it instantly. The institution of slavery was so deep rooted in the society that it was not possible to do away with it at once. In fact Islam adopted a gradual approach towards it by giving incentives to free slaves in return for reward in the hereafter or by treating them fairly and respectably. It was during this intermediary period that the Prophet (pbuh) set an example of good treatment of the slaves, in the case of Hadhrat Maria Qibtia (ra), for the Muslims to follow. The other example of the he set in relation to slaves was in the case of Hadhrat Zayed (ra), whom he freed and made his adopted son. There is no strong evidence of any other slave girl in the household of the Prophet (pbuh). (The Marriages of the Prophet (pbuh); source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Moiz Amjad of Understanding Islam writes:

Nevertheless, the Prophet (pbuh) could indeed have freed Maria Qibtia and subsequently married her, yet this is not supported by the historical accounts. (Maria Qibtia (RA); source; bold emphasis ours)

A companion of Mr. Amjad concurs:

Maria the Coptic
Question asked by Mumtaz Ahmad.
Posted on: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - Hits: 404

I am confused about the Status of Maria the Coptic. She was a gift to the Prophet from Egypt. She gave birth to male children of the Holy Prophet. In books written about the Prophet or his wives, or on 'Sahabiat', Maria the Coptic is neither mentioned in the list of wives nor in the list of Sahabiat. Kindly explain the status of the lady.

Please refer to: The Case of Maria the Coptic and

Maria the Coptic was not taken in marriage by the Prophet (sws). However, she was, of course, a companion of his. She embraced Islam and lived with the Prophet (sws) as his slave girl for a considerable time. Some authors may have left her for they might have considered her in the list of his slaves. But we do not think that a slave girl or man cannot be considered a Companion of the Prophet (sws).

Tariq Mahmood Hashmi
Research Assistant, Studying Islam (Source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The famous Sunni commentator and historian al-Tabari wrote:

God granted Rayhanah bt. Zayd of the Banu Qurayzah to his Messenger [as booty]. Mariyah the Copt was presented to the Messenger of God, given to him by al-Muqawqis, the ruler of Alexandria, and she gave birth to the Messenger of God’s son Ibrahim. These were the Messenger’s wives; six of them were from the Quraysh. (The History of Al-Tabari: The Last years of the Prophet, translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1990], Volume IX, p. 137)

At first sight, Tabari seems to agree with Ali Sina’s Muslim detractors since he says that Mariyah was Muhammad’s wife. Yet, this impression is wrong, and changes when we read his later comments:

An Account of the Messenger of God’s
Slave Concubines

They were Mariyah bt. Sham‘un, the Copt, and Rayhanah bt. Zayd al-Quraziyyah who, it is said, was of the Banu al-Nadir. An account of them has been given above. (Ibid., p. 141)

The Messenger of God also had a eunuch called Mabur, who was presented to him by al-Muqawqis WITH TWO SLAVE GIRLS, ONE OF THEM WAS CALLED MARIYAH, WHOM HE TOOK AS A CONCUBINE, and the other [was called] Sirin, whom he gave to Hassan b. Thabit after Safwan b. al-Mu‘attal had committed an offense against him. Sirin gave birth to a son called ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Hassan. Al-Muqawqis had sent this eunuch with the two slave girls in order to escort them and guard them on their way [to Medina]. He presented them to the Messenger of God when they arrived. It is said that he was the one [with whom] Mariyah was accused of [wrongdoing], and that the Messenger of God sent ‘Ali to kill him. When he saw ‘Ali and what he intended to do with him, he uncovered himself until it became evident to ‘Ali that he was completely castrated, not having anything left at all of what men [normally] have, so [Ali] refrained from killing him. (Ibid., p. 147)


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 ["Mother of Ibrahim," Mariyah’s title], 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; bracketed statements ours)

845. That is, Mariyah was ordered to veil herself as did the Prophet’s wives, BUT HE DID NOT MARRY HER … (Ibid., p. 194)

It is obvious what Tabari meant when saying that Mariyah was one of Muhammad’s wives. He wasn’t denying she was his slave girl, his concubine, but was using "wife" in the sense of one whom Muhammad slept with and who mothered his child.

The Tafsir al-Jalalayn ("Commentary of the Two Jalals") is another source which states that Mariyah was a concubine. Here is what the commentary says in reference to Sura 33:52:

"It is not lawful for thee women after this" after the nine who have chosen you
"nor to change them for wives," by divorcing all or some of them to marry others
"even though their beauty attract thee except any thy right hand should possess" of female slaves they are lawful for you and the prophet possessed Mariyah after them who gave birth to his son Ibrahim who died in his life time.
"and Allah does watch over all things." (Arabic source; bold emphasis ours)

After mentioning Khadijah, Muhammad’s first wife, this next Muslim site lists his wives at ten, a number which excludes Mariyah:

He married Hadhrat Sawdah and Ćaisha (Radhiallaahu Ćnhuma). Sawda (Radhiallaahu Ćnha) lived with him immediately but Ćaisha (Radhiallaahu Ćnha) came to live with him in the year 2 AH. when he was approximately 54 years of age.

55 YEARS (3 AH.)
He married Hadhrath Hafsa (Radhiallaahu Ćnha). After a few months, he married Hadhrat Zaynab bin Khuzaymah (Radhiallaahu Ćnha) who lived with him for only 3 or 18 months (as recorded in different narrations) before she passed away.

56 YEARS (4 AH.)
He married Umme Salma (Radhiallaahu Ćnha)

57 YEARS (5 AH.)
He married Zaynab (Radhiallaahu Ćnha)

58 YEARS (6 AH)
He married Hadhrat Juwayriyah (Radhiallaahu Ćnha)

59 YEARS (7 AH.)
First he married Umme Habibah then Safiyyah then Maymoonah (Radhiallaahu Ćnhunna) in one year. (Polygamy in Islam, Jamiatul Ulama; source)

More importantly, both Bahagia and Zawadi quoted Ibn Kathir and gave the impression that he denied that Mariyah was Muhammad’s slave. Notice the quotation provided by these Muslims:

Maria al-Qibtiyya (may Allah be pleased with her) IS SAID TO HAVE MARRIED the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and certainly everyone gave her the same title of respect as the Prophet's wives, 'Umm al Muminin' 'Mother of the Believers'. Maria was born in upper Egypt of a Coptic father and Greek mother and moved to the court of the Muqawqis when she was still very young. She arrived in Medina to join the Prophet's household just after the Prophet returned from the treaty with Quraish which was contracted at al-Hudaybiyya.

The careful reader will see Ibn Kathir’s qualification, "IS SAID", which shows uncertainty on his part whether she did indeed become his wife. Now here is what Ibn Kathir does explicitly say, which the authors again failed to share with their readers:

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

Ibn Kathir expressly says that whereas Muhammad owned and then married Safiyyah and Juwayriyah he doesn’t say this for Mariyah. He simply says that Mariyah was one of those prisoners whom he owned.

In fact, Ibn Kathir in his biography of Muhammad reiterated his position that Mariyah was a concubine, not a wife:

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

This should now make it abundantly clear what Ibn Kathir’s position was regarding Mariyah’s status.

Finally, al-Tabari’s date poses major problems for those who wish to assert that Muhammad married Mariyah. According to Sura 33:52 Muhammad was forbidden from taking on anymore wives with the exception of concubines:

It is not allowed to you to take women afterwards, nor that you should change them for other wives, though their beauty be pleasing to you, except what your right hand possesses and Allah is Watchful over all things. Shakir

According to the late scholar Sayyid Abu Ala’ Maududi this Sura was compiled in A.H. 5 or A.D. 627/628:

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)

Tabari says that al-Muqawqis sent Mariyah as a gift to Muhammad in the year A.H. 7, or roughly two years after the composition of Sura 33. The Muslim authors quote one online source which places Mariyah’s arrival to Medina after the signing of the treaty of Hudaibiyah, also implying that she arrived roughly around the time of A.H. 7:

Maria al-Qibtiyya (may Allah be pleased with her) is said to have married the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and certainly everyone gave her the same title of respect as the Prophet's wives, 'Umm al Muminin' 'Mother of the Believers'. Maria was born in upper Egypt of a Coptic father and Greek mother and moved to the court of the Muqawqis when she was still very young. She arrived in Medina to join the Prophet's household just after the Prophet returned from the treaty with Quraish which was contracted at al-Hudaybiyya. Maria gave birth to a healthy son in 9 AH, the same year that his daughter Zaynab died, and the Prophet named his new son Ibrahim, after the ancestor of both the Jews and the Christians, the Prophet from whom all the Prophets who came after him were descended. Unfortunately, when he was only eighteen months old, Ibrahim became seriously ill and died. Even though he knew that his small son would go to the Garden, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) could not help shedding some tears. When some of his Companions asked him why he was weeping, he replied, "It is my humanness." (Muhammad’s Life: The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad, "MARIA al-Qibtiyya"; source)

Thus, if Muhammad did marry Mariyah he did so in clear violation of the Quranic command forbidding him from taking any more wives!

Maududi even emphatically denied that Mariyah was Muhammad’s wife:

(1) The woman who came into his possession from among the slave-girls granted by Allah. According to this the Holy Prophet selected for himself Hadrat Raihanah from among the prisoners of war taken at the raid against the Banu Quraizah. Hadrat Juwairiyyah from among the prisoners of war taken at the raid against the Bani al-Mustaliq, Hadrat Safiyyah out of the prisoners captured at Khaiber, and Hadrat Mariah the Copt who was presented by Maqauqis of Egypt. Out of these he set three of them free and married them, but had conjugal relations with Mariah on the ground of her being his slave-girl. In her case THERE IS NO PROOF that the Holy Prophet set her free and married her. (Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur’an, English rendered by the Late Ch. Muhammad Akbar, edited by A.A. Kamal, M.A. [Islamic Publications (Pvt.) Ltd., Lahore Pakistan, 4th edition, August 2003], Volume IV, fn. 88, p. 124)

In light of the foregoing, it is time to return to the comments made by one of Sina’s detractors. Bahagia stated that:

Now, if Mariyah (RA) really was just a maid, THAT WOULD CERTAINLY BE A PROBLEM.

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 regard to her status as a maid, even though he mistakenly assumed that she was Hafsah’s maid.

This article resulted in further rounds of discussion: One, Two, Three, Four.

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