Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Was Safiyyah Forced Or Did She Marry Muhammed Freely?

Kaleef K. Karim


1. Introduction
2. What Led to the Battle of Khaybar
3. Why was Kinana And Safiyya’s father killed?
4. Did Safiyyah marry Prophet Muhammed Freely?
5. Did Safiyyah Hate Prophet Muhammed (p)?
6. Conclusion

1. Introduction

This article seeks to examine Safiyya’s marriage to Prophet Muhammed, the death of Huyayy Ibn Akhtab, kinana, and the events that occurred prior to the marriage. More importantly we will analyse some key details surrounding the Khaybar affair and the aftermath.

2. What Led to the Battle of Khaybar

Before analysing crucial details on Safiyya, her father, and Kinana, let’s revisit some important details surrounding the battle of Khaybar.

When the Muslims fled persecution from Makkah to Madinah, they made treaties with the Banu qaynuqa, Banu Nadir, and other tribes. It was stipulated that they would not help any enemy against the Muslims.

To recap, in previous years, the Banu Qaynuqa were expelled due to waging war against the Muslims and giving the Quraysh military supplies.

The Banu Nadir on the other hand, gave over information to the Quraysh on the weak spots of the Muslims, at the battle of Uhud. So as to give the Quraysh advantage over the Muslims. And they further, also tried assassinating the Prophet (p). With these treacheries committed by them, the Prophet (p) expelled them.

With them getting expelled, some among Banu Qaynuqa and many of the Banu Nadir’s leaders settled in Khaybar. Having the enmity and hatred towards the Muslims, they hatched up plots, and incited other tribes in Arabia to attack the Muslims. Let me just highlight few instances before, where they attacked and killed Muslims, while they were in Khaybar:

2.1 The people and the chief leaders of Khaybar were involved in the Battle of Trench, when the Muslims were attacked in Madinah with ten thousand troops, again here they sided and waged war against the Muslims.

2.2 They made the Banu Qurayzah break their pact, and made them side with enemies in attacking the Muslims.

2.3 Al-Yusayr Ibn Rizam, one of their leaders gathered Banu Ghatafan to attack the Muslims.

We see from the above, that these people were not a peaceful lot. Instead of moving to Khaybar for peace, and get on with their life, they used Khaybar as a military headquarters to attack and kill Muslims.

3. Why was Kinana And Safiyya’s father killed?

Why was Safiyya’s father (Huyayy ibn Akhtab) and Kinana killed? In short, they were criminals of the highest order. Let’s look into some of the things they had done.

After Huyayy Ibn Aktab and Kinana were banished from Madinah, for their treachery in trying to murder the Prophet (p), they further went ahead to Quraysh this time around to incite the Quraysh to kill Muslims.

The following historical reports tell us that these people, Huyayy and Kinana were active warmongers, who constantly fought against the Muslims.

Fath al-Bari:

“‘HUYAYY IBN AKHTAB after the eviction of the Banu Nadir WENT TO MECCA TO INCITE THE QURAISH TO FIGHT THE HOLY PROPHET (p). KINANA Ibn Rabi, Ibn Abi al-Huquaiq went to the tribe of Ghatfan and incited them against the Prophet the Prophet and promised to pay them half the yield of dates of Khaibar. Uaina Ibn Hisn, Ibn Hudhaifa and Ibn Badr agreed to this and they wrote to their allies, the Banu Asad and they and their followers came under the command of Talha Ibn Khuwailid…’” [1]


Ibn Ishaq:

A number of Jews who had formed a party against the Apostle, among whom were Sallan b. Abu’l-Huqayq al-Nadri, andHUYAYY B. AKHTAB al-Nadri and KINANA b. Abu’l-Huqayq al-Nadri, and Huadha b. Qays al Wa’ili, and Abu Ammar al-Wa’ili with a number of B. al-Nadir and B. Wa’il went to Quraysh at Mecca and INVITED THEM TO JOIN THEM IN AN ATTACK ON THE APOSTLE so that they might get rid of him altogether. …” (Ibn Ishaq, page 450) [2]


Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-Kabir – Ibn Sa’d:

Then (occurred) the ghazwah of the Apostle of Allah known as al-Khandaq (the trench) or al-Ahzab (armies) in Dhu al-Qa’dah in the fifth year from his hijrah. They (narrators) said: When the Apostle of Allah banised Banu al-Nadir, they went to khaybar. Some of their chiefs and heads went to Makkah, stayed with the Quraysh and induced them to march against the Apostle of Allah. They made a pact with them, and all of them agreed to fight with him and made a promise of fixing time. Then they went from there to Ghatafan and Sulaym, and after making similar pacts with them also, they departed from there. The Quraysh made preparations and mobilized forces of their followers from among the Arabs; they were four thousand men. They prepared a standard in the Dar al-Nadwah and it was borne by Uthman Ibn Talhah Ibn Abi Talhah. They had three hundred horses and one thousand five hundred camels. They marched under the command of Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb Ibn Umayyah. Banu Sulaym joined them at Marr al-Zahran; they were seven hundred men under the command of Abu Sufyan Ibn Abd Shams, an all of Harb Ibn Umayyah. He was the father of Abu al-A’war al-Sulami who was (later) with Mu’awiyah at Siffin. The Banu Asad marched under the command Talhah Ibn Khuwayid al-Asadi. The Fazarah, with one thousand camels, marched under the command of Uyaynah Ibn Hisn. The Ashja numbering four thousand men marched under Mas’ud Ibn Rukhaylah. The Banu Murrah, numbering four hundred men, marched under al-Harith Ibn Awf. Besides them, others also marched. … Hassan Ibn Thabir satirised him (Harith). All the people who mobilized at the Ditch, were ten thousand strong. They are known as Al-Ahzab, they were three armies and they were under the command of Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb. When the news of their departure from Makkah reached the Apostle of Allah, he called the people and furnished them with the information about their enemy. He consulted them about their affair. Salman al-Farisi advised the digging of a ditch. The Muslims approved it. The Apostle of Allah encamped with them in the valet of Sal, having Sal, on their rear. The Muslims on that day were three thousand. He (Prophet) appointed Abd Allah Ibn Umm Maktum, as his vicegerent at al-Madinah and had the ditch dug around it. The Muslims dug the ditch hurriedly with the idea of completing it before the arrival of their enemy. The Apostle of Allah, worked with them, with his hand to encourage the Muslims. He assigned each side to a tribe. The Muhairs were digging from the side of Ratij to Dhubab and the Ansar were digging from Dhubab to the mountain of Banu Ubayd. In the whole of Madinah the buildings were so closely constructed that it appeared to be a fort. The Banu Abd al-Ashal dug from behind Ratij carrying the ditch beyond the mosque. The Banu Dinar dug close to Jurba to the site of the hoyse of Ibn Abi al-Janub (as it stands today) today (i.e., in the house of Ibn Abi al-Janub). They completed its digging in six days. The Muslims removed their women folk and children to fortresses. The Apostle of Allah, emerged on Monday 8 Dhu al-Qa’dah. His standard for the Muhajirs was borne by Zayd Ibn Harithah and that of al-Ansar by Sa’d Ibn Ubadah. Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb SENT HUYAYYI IBN AKHTAB ON A SECRET MISSION TO BANU QURYZAH REQUESTING THEM FOR VIOLATING THE AGREEMENT THEY HAD MADE WITH THE APOSTLE OF ALLAH, AND JOIN THEM (polytheists). (At first) they declined, but subsequently THEY AGREED. When it (the news) reached the Prophet, he said: ‘Allah suffices for us and He is the best Guardians.’ He (Ibn Sa’d) said: The hypocrisy became manifest, the people dispersed, the calamity enhanced and the fear became intense; they feared about their children and women folk, and they were as Allah, the Exalted the Most High, has said: ‘When they came upon you from above and from below you, and when eyes grew wild and hearts reached to the throats.’ The Apostle of Allah, and the Muslims did not cease resisting the enemy except when they went behind the Ditch and defended it. The Apostle of Allah, used to despatch Salamah Ibn Aslam with two hundred men and Zayd Ibn Harithah with three hundred men to guard al-Madinah. They used to recite Takbir (Allah is Great) loudly. This they did because they FEARED THE BANU QURAYZAH (MIGHT ATTACK) THEIR CHILDRED. Abbad Ibn Bish with other Ansar guarded the tent of the Apostle of Allah, and they kept watch throughout the night. The Polytheists attacked by turn. One day Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb led the charge. One day Khalid Ibn al-Walid led the charge. One day Amr Ibn al-As led the charge. One day Hubayrah Ibn Abi Wahb led the charge. One day Dirar Ibn al-Khattab al-Fihri led the charge. They did not cease dashing their horses; sometimes they were separated and sometimes they were joined. They encountered the Companions of the Apostle of Allah, and sent their archers in advance who shot arrows. Hibban Ibn al-Ariqa shot an arrow on Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh and it pierced in the median vein in his arm. … The Battle of the Ditch was fought at al-Madinah. He (sa’id) said: Then came Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb and those of the Quraysh who were with him and those of the Kinanah who followed him, Uyaynah Ibn Hisn and those of the Ghatafan followed him, Tulayhah and those of Banu Asad who followed him. As regards the Qurayzah clan, there was a treaty between them and the Apostle of Allah. They VIOLATED IT AND ASSISTED THE POLYTHEISTS. …” (Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, volume 2, page 80 -87) [3]



The Messenger of God gathered an army on Tuesday, the eighth of Dhu l-Qa’da. They (the Meccans and their allies) besieged him for fifteen days. He turned back on a Wednesday, with seven days remaining in year five AH. He appointed Ibn Umm Maktum over Medina. … They said: When the Messenger of God cast out the Banu Nadir, they went to Khaybar where there were a number of steadfast people among the Jews. But none of their houses possessed the esteem that had accrued to the Banu Nadir. The Banu Nadir and the Qurayza were the original Jews, from the children of the Kahin of the Banu Harun. When they arrived in KHAYBAR, HUYAYY B. AKHTAB, KINANA B. ABI L-HUQAYQ, HAWDHA B. AL-HUQAYQ, AND HAWDHA B. QAYS AL-WA’ILI FROM AL-AWS OF THE BANU KHATMA, AND ABU AMIR, THE MONK, WITH SOME TEN MEN SET OUT FOR MECCA, AND ASKED THE QURAYSH AND THEIR FOLLOWERS TO JOIN THEM IN FIGHTING MUHAMMAD. They said to the Quraysh, ‘WE WILL BE WITH YOU UNTIL WE DESTROY MUHAMMED.’ Abu Sufyan said, ‘Is this what brought you here?’ They replied, ‘Yes, we come as your confederates, in ENMITY AGAINST MUHAMMAD IN ORDER TO FIGHT HIM.’ Abu Sufyan said, ‘Greetings. THE MOST LOVED OF THE PEOPLE TO US ARE THOSE WHO HELP US AGAINST THE ENMITY OF MUHAMMED.’ The group said, ‘Take fifty men, all of them from the tribes of the Quraysh, including yourself. We will enter under the curtains of the Ka’ba with you until we touch our hearts to it. Then we will together swear by God that we will not abandon each other. Our words will be as one against this man as long as one of us remains.’ And so they did: they swore to that and made an agreement. Then some of the Quraysh said to some, ‘The heads of the people of Yathrib, the people of knowledge and the first books, have come, so ask them about how we stand against Muhammad. Which of us is more guided?’ The Quraysh agreed; so Abu Sufyan said, ‘O community of Jews, you are the people of the first books and knowledge, so inform us of what we have become, for we are in dispute with Muhammed. Is our religion good or is the religion of Muhammed good?’ We are the keepers of the house, we slaughter the cattle, we quench the thirst of the pilgrims, and we worship images.’ The Jews replied, ‘By God, you are the first in truth about it. Indeed, you magnify this house, you maintain the provision of water, you slaughter the sacrifice, you worship what your forefathers worshipped. You, rather than he, are the first in truth.’ And God most high revealed about: ‘Have you not considered those who were given a portion of the book? They believe in sorcery and evil and say to the unbelievers that they are better guided in the right path than the believers (Q. 4:51). They prepared to set an appointed time, Safwan b. Umayya said, ‘O community of Quraysh, surely you have promised those people this time and they have departed from you on that basis. So fulfil for them. This will not be as it was when we promised Muhammad to appear at Badr al-Safra and did not keep the appointment. He was bold in that against us. Indeed, I detested the promise of Abu Sufyan, at that time.’ The Ghatafan set out until they came to Ghatafan, while the Quraysh began preparations. They sent to the Bedioun asking for their help. They invited the Ahabish (a mixed group of different tribal backgrounds) and those who followed them. Then, the Jews set out until they came to the Banu Sulaym and the latter promised that they woud join when the Quraysh marched. They went to the Ghatafan and promised them dates of Khaybar for a year, if they would help them and march with the Quraysh to Muhammad when they marched. The Ghatafan agreed to that, and there was not one more swift to that than Uyayna b. Hisn. The Quraysh, and those who followed them from the Ahabish, set out, four thousand in all. They established their flag in the Dar al-Nadwa. They led three hundred horses, and behind them were one thousand five hundred camels. The Banu Sulaym came forward and joined them at Marr al-Zahran. The Banu Sulaym numbered seven hundred at that time. Leading them was Sufyan b. Abd Shams, the ally of Harb b. Umayya, who was the father of Abu l-A’War – who was later with Mu’waiya b. Abi Sufyan at Siffin. The Quraysh set out, led by Abu Sufyan b. Harb. The Banu Asad set out led by Talha b. Khuwaylid al-Asadi, and the Banu Fazara, all of them, set out, and they numbered a thousand, and they were led by Uyayna b. Hisn. The Ashja – not all of them, but four hundred, were led by Mas’ud b. Rukhayla. And al-Harith b. Awf set out leading his people, the Banu Murra, and they numbered four hundred. When the Ghatafan gathered for the march, al-Harith b. Awf refused to march with them, saying to his people, ‘Disperse in your land and do not attack Muhammad. Indeed I think that Muhammad will be victorious. Even if those between the east and west oppose him, he will still win.’ So they dispersed in their land and not one of them was present. Thus al-Zuhri and the Banu Murra related the tale of the Banu Murra. Abd al-Rahman b. Abd al-Aziz from Abdullah b. Abi Bakr b. Amr b. Hazm and Asim b. Umar b. Qatada, both, both related to me saying that the Banu Murra witnessed al-Khandaq; they numbered four hundred, and their eader was al-Harith b. Awf al-Murri. Hassan insulted them pronouncing poetry, and they mentioned an agreement of the Prophet at that time. This was confirmed with us, that he witnessed al-Khandaq with his people … They said: The People were all those who appeared at al-Khandaq from the Quraysh, Sulaym, Ghatafan and Asad: ten thousand. There were three cmps, and the management of the affair was with Abu Sufyan. The Quraysh approached and alighted in Ruma and Wadi al-Aqiq with the Ahabish and those who had recourse to them from the Bedouin. The Ghatafan approached with their leader and alighted at al-Zaghaba by the side of Uhud. The Quraysh began to dispatch its riders to Wadi al-Aqiq with its thorn trees. There was nothing here for the horses except the fodder they brought with them – namely corn. The Ghatafan dispersed their camels to the wild Tamarisk and Athal trees on the slopes. They had arrived at a time when there was no wild or cultivated crop. The people had harvested a month before and brought in the harvest and straw. The Ghatafan sent their horses to the remnants of the harvest, and there were three hundred in the valley and it was barely sufficient for them. Their camels were almost destroyed by starvation. The noght they arrived there was a drought in the city. When the Quraysh departed from Mecca to Medina, a group of riders from the Khuza’a set out to the Prophet and informed him of the departure of the Quraysh. They went from Mecca to Medina in four days. That was when the Prophet called and informed them of the news of their enemy. He consulted them about the affair with seriousness and effort, and he promised them help if they were patient and God fearing. He commanded them to obey God and His Prophet. The Messenger of God consulted them frequently in matters of war. He said: ‘Should we go out to them from Medina or should we stay inside and build a ditch around us?’ Or shall we stay close and keep our backs to the mountain?’ And they argued. And a faction said: We will stay close to Bu’ath in Thanniyat al-Wada, on the slopes. Another said: Let us leave Medina behind. Salman said, ‘O Messenger of God, when we were in Persia and feared a cavalry, we built a ditch around us. Do you think we should dig a ditch around us?’ Salman’s suggestion pleased the Muslims. They remembered when the Prophet had asked them to stay in Medina on the day of Uhud and that they had set out. The Muslims hated going out, and desired to stay in Medina. Abu Bakr b. Abi Sabra related to me saying: Abu Bakr b. Abdullah b. Jahm related to me that the Messenger of God went on a horse of his with a group of his companions from the Muhajirun and the Ansar, until he came to a place where he alighted. The place that pleased him was that which placed Sal to his back, where he could build the trench from al-Madhad to Dhubab to Ratij. At the time, the Messenger of God was working in the trench. He called the people and informed them of the approach of their enemy and he gathered the forces at the foot of Sal. The Muslims began to work hurriedly to confront the daring of the enemy. … The Muhajirun dug from Ratij to Dhubab, and the Ansar, from Dhubab to Mount Banu Ubayd. The attached buildings protected the rest f Medina. … I observed the Muslims and the youth transport the soil, and the trench grew, more or less, to the height of a man. The Muhajirun and Ansar transported the soil in baskets on their heads, and when they returned they brought stones from Mount Sal’ in the baskets. They were taking the soil from near the Prophet and his companions, and arranging the stones there as though they were a pile of dates – and the stones were among their best weapons with which they aimed. … The Muhajirun controlled the area from Dhubab to Ratij. The Ansar dug in the region between Dhubab to Khurba. All this was what the Messenger of God and the Muslims dug. Medina was inter-locked with the buildings in every direction, so that it was like a fortress. The Banu Abd al-Ashhal dug the trench from around Ratij to what came after, until the trench came from behind the Mosque; the Banu Dinar dug from Khubra to the place where the house of Ibn Abi l-Janub stands today. The Muslims took the women and children up to the fortresses. The Banu Haritha took their children up to their fortress, which was a forbidden one; Aisha was there, at that time. The Banu Amr b. Awf took their women and children up to the fortresses. Some of them dug a ditch around the fortresses of Quba. The Banu Amr b. Awf together with the Khatma, the Banu Umayya, Wa’il and Waqif fortified the fortresses. Their children were in their fortresses. … The elders of the banu Waqid informed me that they took their women and children to the fortress while they were with the Prophet, but they had promised to meet their families at mid day, with the permission of the Prophet. The Prophet, however, forbade them, but when they begged, he commanded them to TAKE THEIR WEAPONS, FOR FEAR THAT THE BANU QURAYZA MIGHT ATTACK THEM. Hilal b. Umayya used to say: I approached with a group of my people and the Banu Amr b. Awf. We had deviated from al-Jasr, and from Safna and we took the road to Quba. When we reached Aswa, all of a sudden, A GROUP OF THEM (THE BANU QURAYZA), INCLUDING NABBASH B. QAYS AL-QURAZI SPRAYED IS WITH ARROWS FOR W WHILE, we aimed back at them, and SOME OF US WERE WOUNDED. Then they withdrew to their garrison and we returned to our familes. … While the Messenger of God and the Muslims were in al-Khandaq, Umar b. al-Khattab came to the Messenger of God who was in his tent – the ten was made of leather and had been put up beside the masjid, which was at the bottom of the mountain. With the Messenger of God was Abu Bakr. The Muslims at their trench were taking shifts. With them were some thirty horses. … They employed men and placed them in positions at the trench, until Umar arrived. He said, ‘O Messenger of God, it has reached me that the BANU QURAYZA HAVE DESTROYED THE AGREEMENT ARE PREPARING FOR WAR. That distressted the Messenger of God and he said, ‘Whom shall we sent to seek out information about them?’ Umar said, ‘al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam.’ The first of the people that the Messenger of God sent was al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam. He said, ‘God to the Banu Qurayza.’ Zubayr went and observed, then he returned and said, ‘O Messenger of God, I saw them putting their fortresses in order, and preparing the roads and they have herded their cattle.’ That was when the Messenger of God said, ‘Indeed for every Prophet is a disciple. Al-Zubayr is my disciple and the son of my aunt.’ Then the Messenger of God called for Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh and Sa’d b. Ubada and Usayd b. Hudayr. He said, ‘Indeed it has reached me that the Banu Qurayza have destroyed the agreement which was between us, and gone to war. Go and observe if what has reached me is true. If it is baseless, proclaim it aloud. If it is true say it in code and I will know. Do not undermine the support of the Muslims. … … The Messenger of God said: Indeed I hope to circumambulate the ancient house and take the key, for God will destroy Khusrau and Ceasar and their wealth will be paid in the way of God. He was saying that when he saw the suffering of the Muslims, and Mu’attib heard him and repeated what he said. Ibn Abi Sabra related to me from Harith b. al-Fudayl saying: The Banu Qurayza intended to raid the main part of Medina by night. They sent HUYAYY B. AKHTAB TO THE QURAYSH TO BRING WITH THEM A THOUSAND MEN, and from the Ghatafan a thousand, to attack them. News of that great misfortune came to the Messenger of God, so he sent Salama b. Aslam b. Huraysh al-Ashhali with two hundred men, and Zayd b. Haritha with three hundred, to protect Medina while proclaiming takbir, and with them were cavalry of the Muslims. When it was morning, they were safe. Abu Bakr al-Siddiq used to say: We feared more our children in Medina from the Qurayza than from the Quraysh and Ghatafan. I used to go to the hill of Sal’ and look at the houses of Medina. When I saw them calm, I would praise God.” (Waqidi, volume 2, page 216 – 226) [4]


Reading the above reports we get a clear picture that Huyayy and Kinana were not innocent. These individuals had constantly, at every opportunity they had, attacked the Muslims. Hence, they were killed for constant attacks against the Muslim community.

Another claim made by critics in regards to Kinana is that the Prophet (p) tortured him for his treasure. However, this claim is not true as we have seen throughout the above reports. He was killed for inciting war, and killing Muslims. Furthermore, the claim that he was tortured for his ‘treasure’ has no historical truth to it. See the following article wherein scholars state that this story is a ‘fabrication’: “Baseless Story Of Kinana

Similarly, why the ‘torture’ claim cannot be true, the Prophet (p) himself in a number of authentic reports prohibited such heinous acts. The Prophet sent out detachment to an enemy who was at war with the Muslims, he ordered his Companions not to burn people:

“He (the Prophet) said: … If you find so-and-so, kill him, and DO NOT BURN, for no one punishes with fire except the Lord of the fire.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 14, Hadith 2667 (Sahih Albani))

4. Did Safiyyah marry Prophet Muhammed Freely?

We have read so far why Safiyya’s father and husband were killed.

Before the battle of Khaybar ensued, Safiyya had a dream that a ‘moon’ had landed on her lap:

Safiyyah said, ‘It was caused by my ex-husband when I told him of my dream in which I saw as if a moon had fallen into my lap, he [Kinana] slapped me and said, ‘Do you aspire to marry the king of Yathrib?’ (At-Tabarani, Al-Mu’jam al-Kabir, volume 24, page 67) [5]

Ibn Ishaq:

“…Safiya had seen in a dream when she was the wife of Kinana b. al-Rabi b. Abu’l-Huqayq that the moon would fall into her lap. When she told her husband he said, ‘This simply means that you covet the king of the Hijaz, Muhammad.’ He gave her such a blow in the face that he blacked her eye. When she was brought to the apostle the mark was still there, and when he asked to cause of it she told him this story.” (Ibn Ishaq, page 515) [6]

Sira al-Nabwiyya:

“While still the bride of Kinana b. al-Rabi b. Abu al-Huqayq, Safiyya had seen a vision in her sleep that a moon dropped into her lap. She told her husband of her vision and he replied, ‘That’s only because you desire the ‘King of HIjaz’, Muhammad!’ He then gave her a slap on her face that blackened her eye. The mark of this was still upon her when she was brought to the Messenger of God (SAAS). He asked her how it had happened, and she told him.’” (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, volume 3, page 267)[7]


And this report:

“When Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) reached Khyber while Safiya was a bride at her place. She saw in her dream that a sun came into her lap. She mentioned it before her husband. He said; ‘By Allah you do not wish for anyone except the King who has come upon us.’ Allah’s Messenger conquered Khyber and her husband was killed. From that time (of dream) she loved that the Prophet (pbuh) may marry her. (Tabarani Kabeer, Hadith 19667)

Ibn Umar narrates: In the eye of Sayyidah Safiya was a scar. Holy Prophet (pbuh) said to her, ‘What is this scar in your eye?’ She said, ‘I mentioned before my husband that I saw a moon falling into my lap in a dream so he slapped me and said; ‘Do you long for the King of Yathrib [i.e. Holy Prophet pbuh]’ (Tabarani Kabeer, Hadith 19668. Albani classified it as Sahih in his Silsala Sahiha H. 2793)


Reading the above narrations, we see that her affection towards Prophet (p) grew long before the Prophet met her in the battle of Khaybar. These above reports also highlight that Safiyya was in an abusive relationship, where her husband, Kinana beat her up.

After the battle of Khaybar, the people surrendered, in this event the Prophet seen Safiyya and she was in the hand of Diyhah bin Kalbi, some companions suggested that the woman (Safiyyah) should be in his possession since she was a daughter of a high-ranking chief. The Prophet (p) asked Dihya for Safiyya, Dihya agreed.

When Safiyyah was brought to Prophet Muhammed (p), she gave her a choice of staying in her religion and set free or accept Islam and the Prophet (p) would marry her, she chose the latter.

Ibn Saad:

When Safiya came to the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he said to her; ‘Among the Jews your father did not stop in his enmity towards me until Allah destroyed him.’ She said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Indeed Allah says in His book, ‘No one will take anyone else’s burden’. So the Holy Prophet (p) said to her: ‘MAKE YOUR CHOICE, if you will chose Islam I’ll select you for myself and IF YOU CHOSE JUDAISM, I WILL SET YOU FREE AND SENT YOU TO YOUR PEOPLE.’ She said; ‘O Allah’s Messenger indeed I longed for Islam and testified for you even before you gave me this invitation when I came to you. I have no guardian among the Jews, neither father nor brother and I prefer Islam over disbelief. Allah and His Messenger are dear to me then freedom and to return to my people.” (Ibn Saad volume 8, page 123)


“When Safiyya was brought to the Prophet (p), he gave her a choice of either to stay with her Judaic faith and set free or voluntarily accept Islam and be the Prophet’s wife. Safiyya accepted the latter, as a number of reports tell us:… I saw in my sleep that the moon had approached from Yathrib and fallen in my lap. I mentioned that to Kinana, my husband, and he struck my eye and it turned green. The Messenger of God looked at it when I came to him and he asked me, and I informed him. … I was taken prisoner from al-Nizar before the prophet reached al-Katiba. The Messenger of God sent me to his saddle, then he came to us in the evening and called to me. I came, modestly veiled, and sat before him. He said, ‘if you stay in your religion, I will not force you from it, but if you choose God and His Messenger it will be better for you.’ Safiyya said: ‘I chose God and His Messenger and Islam, and the Messenger of God set me free and married me, and he made manumission my bridal price. (Waqidi, volume 2, page 332) [8]


Ibn Sa’d:

“O Nabi of Allah! You have given to Dihya Safiyya bint Huyay who is the leader of the Banu Qurayzah and Banu Nadheer tribes. She is suitable only for you.’ The Messenger of God then sent for her and he saw her, he instructed Dihya to take another woman. The Messenger of God then SET HER FREE and married her.” (Ibn Sa’d, volume 8, page 104) [9]


Sunan Ibn Majah:

It was narrated from ‘Aishah: that the Messenger of Allah set Safiyyah free, and made her ransom her dowry, and he married her. (Sunan Ibn Majah volume 3, Book 9, Hadith 1958 (Sahih, Albani))

Sahih al-Bukhari:

Narrated Anas: Allah’s Messenger manumitted Safiyya and then married her, and her Mahr was her manumission, and he gave a wedding banquet with Hais (a sort of sweet dish made from butter, cheese and dates).(Sahih al-Bukhari volume 7, Book 62, Hadith 98)

The Prophet (p) even made wedding feast for Safiyyah:

Jabir reports, ‘When Safiyyah Huyay bin Akhtab entered the Messenger of God’s tent (as his wife), many people including myself presented ourselves there to have a share (of the waleemah food). When he emerged from the tent, the Messenger of God said, ‘Leave your mother (my wife) alone’ (they all therefore left). When we gathered at the time of Isha, the Messenger of God came ut to us carrying in the edge of his shawl close to one and a half mudd of Ajwah dates. (Hading them over to us) the Messenger of God said, ‘Eat from the waleemah of your mother.’” (Ahmad. Reported from reliable sources: Haythami volume 9, page 251) [10]

5. Did Safiyyah Hate Prophet Muhammed (p)?

Another thing that is brought up to discredit the many narrations wherein Safiyya had affection towards and voluntarily married the Prophet, is the report wherein Safiyya hated the Prophet for what he had done to her father and husband:

Safiyya bint Huyay narrtes, ‘There was no one more loathsome in my eyes than the Messenger of God, who had killed both my father and husband. However, THIS FEELING DISAPPEARED FROM MY HEART when the Messenger of God repeatedly clarified his position to me by telling me that my father had been responsible for instigating the Arabs against and for numerous other felonies. (Tabraani, reported from reliable sources: Haythami volume 9, page 251) [11]

Kitab Futuh al-Buldan:

Once the Prophet, noticing a green spot in the eye of Safiyah, daughter of Huyai, asked her about it, and she said, ‘As my head lay in the lap of Ibn Abi-l-Hukaik [Kinanah], I saw in my sleep as if a moon fell in my lap. When I told him of what I saw he gave me a blow saying, ‘Art thou wishing to have the King of Yathrib [Muhammed]? Safiyah added, ‘Of all men the Prophet was the one I disliked most, for he had killed my husband and father. But he kept on say, THY FATHER EXCITED THE ARABS TO UNITE AGAINST ME, and he did this and that,’ until all HATRED WAS GONE FROM ME.’” (Kitab Futuh al Buldan, volume 1, page 44 – 45) [12]

Al-Bayhaqi, Dala’il an-Nubuwwah:

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, volume 4, page 230) [13]


Ibn Umar narrates: In the eye of Sayyidah Safiya was a scar. Holy Prophet (pbuh) said to her, ‘What is this scar in your eye?’ She said, ‘I mentioned before my husband that I saw a moon falling into my lap in a dream so he slapped me and said; ‘Do you long for the King of Yathrib [i.e. Holy Prophet pbuh]’ She said: ‘There was none more hateful to me then Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) as he killed my father and husband. [But] the Prophet (pbuh) explained, ‘O Safiya your father instigated the Arabs against me and did so and so…’ He kept on explaining until that feeling (of hatred) vanished from me.’ (Tabarani Kabeer, Hadith 19668. Albani classified it as Sahih in his Silsala Sahiha H. 2793)


As a human being, of-course it is natural, normal to have these feelings towards the Messenger (p). What the critics conveniently leave out in the same report, she goes on to accept that her father and others were guilty of many heinous crimes, in which led to the Prophet (p) to take action against them. Safiyya no longer had such feelings towards Prophet Muhammed (p) when she understood what they had done. Furthermore, if she had hated the Prophet (p) as critics claim, then why didn’t she go back to her family when Muhammed (p) gave her the choice to be free, but she choice to stay? From here on, Safiyya praised Prophet, to the extent she said:

Safiyyah moved to the house of the Prophet. He loved, appreciated and honored her to the extent that he made her say, “I have never seen a good-natured person as the Messenger of Allah. (Abu Ya’la al-Mawsili, Musnad, volume 13, page 38) [14]

As a result of Safiyyah’s marriage, the Prophet (p) signed a peace treaty and set everyone else free.

6. Conclusion:

As we have examined the historical side relating to the battle of Khaybar, Kinana and Huyayy Ibn Aktab’s death, one thing that can be drawn is that these criminals were only killed as a result of them constantly persecuting and killing Muslims. The Muslims, 1400 years ago, had no choice left but to deal with them for the safety of the community.

Furthermore, Safiyya’s affair with Prophet as we have seen was mutual, the Prophet (p) gave her a choice to stay on her religion and set free or accept Islam and be the Prophet’s wife, she accepted the latter.

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[1] Sirat -un- Nabi By Shaykh Allama Shibli Numani, volume 2, page 106
[2] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad Translated by A. Guillaume page 450
[3] Kitab Al-tabaqat Al-Kabir, Ibn Sa’d, volume 2 – Page 80 – 87
[4] The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab Al-Maghazi [Translator: Rizwi Faizer], volume 2, page 216 – 226
[5] The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, by Muhammed Fathi Mus’a, page 167
[6] Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad [Translated by A. Guillaume], page 515
[7] The Life Of The Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), by Ibn Kathir, volume 3, page 267
[8] The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab Al-Maghazi [Translator: Rizwi Faizer], volume 2, page 332
[9] Hayat Us Sahabah – (English) – by Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf Kandhelvi (r.a), volume 2, page 673
[10] Hayat Us Sahabah – (English) – by Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf Kandhelvi (r.a), volume 2, page 674
[11] Hayat Us Sahabah – (English) – by Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf Kandhelvi (r.a), volume 2, page 674
[12] The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, By Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, [1916], volume 1, page 44 – 45
[13] 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) Quote retreived from the following site: http://bit.ly/29PDMfq
[14] Abu Ya’la al-Mawsili, Musnad, vol. 13, p. 38, Cited in Muhammad Fathi Mus’ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, p.172), quote retrieved from the following site: http://bit.ly/29VIJWV

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