Muslims claim that Muhammad's second marriage, to Sawda, an elderly and uncomely divorced woman, was purely based on altruistic trait of Muhammad. Is that true? Not at all, if we have to believe Islamic literature...
Introduction: According to Muslims, Muhammad’s marriage to Sauda bint Zam’a, his second wife, was an act of compassion for a woman, who did not possess much beauty and was older in age (some narrations put her age in her fifties). Is this, in fact, what happened regarding this marriage? I investigate this matter in this present article.
What do Muslims say regarding Muhammad’s marriage to Sawda?
Wiki Islam quotes Ibn Kathir:
“Sawda bint Zam’a, may Allah be pleased with her had been the first woman to immigrate to Abyssinia in the way of Allah. Her husband ha died and she was now living with her aged father. She was middle-aged, rather plump, with a jolly, kindly disposition, and just the right person to take care of the Prophet’s household and family. So Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave permission to Khawla to speak to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and to Sawda on the subject. Khawla went straight to Sawda and said, “Would you like Allah to give you great blessing, Sawda?” Sawda asked, “And what is that, Khawla?” She said, “The Messenger of Allah has sent me to you with a proposal of marriage!” Sawda tried to contain herself in spite of her utter astonishment and then replied in a trembling voice, “I would like that! Go to my father and tell him that.” Khawla went to Zam’a, ad gruff old man, and greeted him and then said, “Muhammad son of Abdullah son of Abdul Muttalib, has sent me to ask for Sawda in marriage.” The old man shouted, “A noble match. What does she say?” Khawla replied, “she would like that.” He told her to call her. When she came, he said, “Sawda, this woman claims that Muhammad son of Abdullah son of Abdul Muttalib has sent me to ask for you in marriage. It is a noble match. Do you want me to marry you to him?” She accepted, feeling it was a great honor. Sawda went to live in Muhammad’s house and immediately took over the care of his daughters and household, while Aisha bint Abu Bakr became betrothed to him and remained in her father’s house playing with her dolls.”
Here, we can read between the lines and see why Muhammad married Sawda. His first wife, Khdija, had just died, and he needed some woman to help take care of the kids, and provide him with meals. Sawda was an easy target. She was a Muslim and an older woman that will have a hard time finding a husband. There was no love involved. Muhammad had no strong sexual desires for her, but being an older woman, he saw that she can take care of his household and children. Sex-wise, she was no more than a “filler”, till he gets a hold of the young child Ayesha.
Wikipedia on-line presents the following quote about Sawda:
“After Sawda’s menopausal, she offered to give her turn of Muhammad’s conjugal visits to the youthful Aisha.”
Is this the truth?
The above quote is actually a blatant lie by a Muslim trying to put Muhammad in good light with regard to Sawda.
Here is my proof from Ibn Kathir:
“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, and later on Allah sent down,
﴿وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَـفَتْ مِن بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزاً أَوْ إِعْرَاضاً فَلاَ جُنَاْحَ عَلَيْهِمَآ﴾
(And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no sin on them both) Ibn Abbas said, “Whatever (legal agreement) the spouses mutually agree to is allowed.” At-Tirmidhi recorded it and said, “Hasan Gharib”. 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.
Summary of our findings: Muhammad married Sawda, because he needed some woman to take care of his daughters and cook him meals. Sex-wise, Sawda was only a “filler” till he got a hold of the little girl; Ayesha. When Sawda got old, Muhammad wanted to get rid of her by divorcing her. He just wanted to dispose of her. She was in need of economic support in her old age. So, she pretty much begged him not to divorce her. In return, he had Sawda’s night free for the younger Ayesha.
So, was Muhammad’s marriage to Sawda a great act of altruism? Hardly! Ineed, not at all. As soon as he had his hand on Aisha, he was ready to dump her.
Supplementary Hadith about Sawda being a heavy woman in her old age
Malik’s Muwatta’-Book 20, Number 20.40.131:
Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa that Sawda bint Abdullah ibn Umar, who was in the household of Urwa ibn az-Zubayr, set off walking between Safa and Marwa when doing either hajj or an umra. She was a heavy woman and she began when everybody was leaving after the isha prayer, and she still had not completed her circuits when the first call was given for subh, but finished them between the two calls to prayer.
If Urwa saw people doing circuits on riding beasts he would tell them in very strong terms not to do so, and they would pretend to be ill, out of awe of him.
Hisham added, "He used to say to us about them 'These are unsuccessful and have lost.'"
Malik said, "Someone who forgets say between Safa and Marwa in an umra, and does not remember until he is far from Makka, should return and do say. If, in the meantime, he has had intercourse with a woman, he should return and do say between Safa and Marwa so as to complete what remains of that umra, and then after that he has to do another umra and offer a sacrificial animal."
Malik was asked about someone who met another man when doing say between Safa and Marwa and stopped to talk with him, and he said, "I do not like anyone to do that."
Malik said, "If anyone forgets some of his tawaf or is uncertain about it and remembers only when he is doing say between Safa and Marwa, he should stop the say and complete his tawaf of the House apart from that about which he is certain. After that he prays the two rakas of the tawaf, and then begins his say between Safa and Marwa."
written by fineliving56 , September 22, 2010