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saadiamalik

PAKISTAN
Topic initiated on Tuesday, December 21, 2004  -  7:47 PM Reply with quote
Slavegirls/Concubines...Maria Qibtia?


Assalaamu Alaikum.

Is there enough evidence that the Prophet kept her as a slavegirl, in order to avoid offending the Egyptian ruler? I suppose he was also in a marriage contract with a lady at the time?

What I don't get from the argument, in this case, that slavery was abolished slowly (which as an independent fact seems right) is that the Prophet, sws, despite being the messenger of Allah's laws, kept such relations while trying to establish an anti-slavery trend in the society. Is the argument of evolutionary inducement justification enough for us, for him to have kept relations with her in order to demonstrate how slaves ought to be treated? Do we see him demonstrating how to gradually rid oneself of alcoholism?

The Qur'an suggests that Prophets are God's chosen ones on the basis of their character and purity prior to their first wahi. So why would he even be inclined to keep slavegirls?

Wasalaam.
[P.S. I love my Prophet (sws), so please refrain from blaming me of blasphemy. If anything, I'm either trying to understand why he kept a slavegirl if he did, or to abssolve him of a possible myth.]
Junaidj

CANADA
Posted - Wednesday, December 22, 2004  -  7:26 AM Reply with quote
http://www.understanding-islam.org/related/text.asp?type=question&qid=371

I'll try to extrapolate based on the above link.

1) The Prophet could not marry her, why?

..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.

2)So why keep her as a slave girl at all?

Hadhrat Maria Qibtia (ra) was presented to the Prophet (pbuh) by the ruler of Egypt.

Comments: Perhaps here lies the not-offending part. But then another question could be raised, what if other rulers wanted to give their slave girls?

3) There is no strong evidence of any other slave girl in the household of the Prophet (pbuh).

Comment: One example was sufficient.

Lastly, drinking was forbidden during the time of the Prophet, hence his example was to be to NOT drink at all.

But slave girl marriages were not abolished during his time, perhaps not even long later, i.e., perhaps hundreds of years later, perhaps a model was needed for all those following times, i.e. that of Tabain and Taba Tabain etc.

Edited by: junaidj on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 7:29 AM
zest

PAKISTAN
Posted - Wednesday, December 22, 2004  -  10:29 AM Reply with quote
salams

It is not only the practice of the Prophet (sws) and the ideals he set for the society that are conflicting.
The problem lies with the process the Almighty seems to have adopted in eradication of slavery. The Qur'an states in no unclear terms that Muslims can keep slave girls and establish sexual relations with them. Doesn't it? We know that almost all those companions of the Prophet (sws) who could afford salve girls kept them. If keeping slave girls was a declared sin then why would any of them keep slave girls. In fact the Qur'an does not seem to give an impression that it is a sin (see 33:51 below). It only introduces measures which finally led to abolishment of the institute.
I do not think it was an ideal approach for the Prophet (sws) to free any slave girls he had and declaring that that was what piety demanded. That would then set the standard of piety and the streets would be jammed with thousands of them.
Another thing i would like to point out is the view that the Prophet (Sws) married her. What is wrong with this view.
In this regard Brother Junaid writes:
..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.

What do you say about the highlighted portion of the following verse of the Qur'an? Does not it permit him to take in marriage any believing woman who presents herself to the Prophet??????:

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 migrated 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. 33.051

Junaidj

CANADA
Posted - Wednesday, December 22, 2004  -  10:46 AM Reply with quote
I'll be a happy man if you can conclusively show that the Prophet married her. We won't be having this discussion then :)

PS: The Koran also asks to slay the infidels. Right? Perhaps the keeping of slave girls is also time specific.

Edited by: junaidj on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 10:50 AM
saadiamalik

PAKISTAN
Posted - Wednesday, December 22, 2004  -  11:59 AM Reply with quote
Unfortunately, my questions stand unanswered.

Also, yes, there are many scholars who hold that Maria Qibtia was, in fact, married to the Prophet (sws). That she was his slavegirl, is something that many history books say(not any hadith compilations still); and similarly, other history books say he married her.

So it would be a good idea to keep ourselves open to that possibility.

Wasalaam.
saadiamalik

PAKISTAN
Posted - Wednesday, December 22, 2004  -  5:17 PM Reply with quote
One reference:
“There were many war prisoners captured by the Muslims and entitled to security and protection. They were not killed or denied any right, human or physical. On the contrary, they were helped to settle down through legal marriages to Muslims instead of being taken as concubines and common mistresses. That also was another moral burden on the Muslims and had to be shouldered jointly as a common responsibility. Here, again, Muhammad carried his share and took some responsibilities by marrying two of those captives.

The Prophet contracted some of his marriages for sociopolitical reasons. His principal concern was the future of Islam. He was most interested in strengthening the Muslims by all bonds. That is why he married the minor daughter of Abu Bakr, his First Successor, and the daughter of Umar, his Second Successor. It was by his marriage to Juwairiah that he gained the support for Islam of the whole clan of Bani al-Mustaliq and their allied tribes. It was through marriage to Safiyah that he neutralized a great section of the hostile Jews of Arabia. By accepting Mary the Copt from Egypt as his wife, he formed a political alliance with a king of great magnitude. It was also a gesture of friendship with a neighboring king that Muhammad married Zaynab who was presented to him by the Negus of Abyssinia in whose territory the early Muslims found safe refuge.”
(based on the late Dr. Hammudah `Abdul-`Ati's book Islam in Focus.)
saadiamalik

PAKISTAN
Posted - Wednesday, December 22, 2004  -  5:20 PM Reply with quote
Another reference:

Salem Al-Hasi, Lecturer on Islam has to say:

"Some books list Mariya as a concubine, yet the opinion I more lean toward is that she was one of the prophet’s wives and was not a concubine. Mariya was honored and respected by the prophet (pbuh), as well as his family and companions.

She also gave birth to the prophet’s son Ibrahim. As any of the prophet’s wives, she is known as Um al-Mo’meneen (Mother of the believers). She spent three years of her life with the prophet, until his death, and died five years later in 16 AH.

After her death, `Umar ibn al-Khattab – the second caliph -led her funeral prayer and she was buried in al-Baqi, like many other companions and the rest of the wives of the prophet. Because she was the prophet’s wife and the mother of his son Ibrahim, Caliph Mu`awiyah ibn abi-Sufyan exempted her hometown in Egypt from taxation, as a sign of honor.”
Junaidj

CANADA
Posted - Wednesday, December 22, 2004  -  6:28 PM Reply with quote
So he was married to her then? Right??Perhaps then the concubine myth is as apocryphal as the tradition of the Holy Mother Aisha marrying at age 9.
Junaidj

CANADA
Posted - Wednesday, December 22, 2004  -  7:30 PM Reply with quote
I am changing my opinion here.

>>Is the argument of evolutionary inducement justification enough for us, for him to have kept relations with her in order to demonstrate how slaves ought to be treated?

Not for me.

Some say the Prophet and the Companions made mistakes so as to teach others etc. etc. otherwise they were perfect.

If I don't buy this argument, I should not be buying the one in the context of the evolutionary whatever. :)

>>The Qur'an suggests that Prophets are God's chosen ones on the basis of their character and purity prior to their first wahi. So why would he even be inclined to keep slavegirls?

I am inclined to believe he married her, especially given the dearth of evidence otherwise.

However, the problem with my belief here is that I would get very disappointed if the alternative were to be proved.
saadiamalik

PAKISTAN
Posted - Wednesday, December 22, 2004  -  11:21 PM Reply with quote
So you're standing at the crossroads on this issue, just as I have been for some weeks now. To be honest, I'm trying to keep myself open to all possibilities (because otherwise, the risk could be too high), and I would recommend you to do the same. At the moment, I'm just glad someone is willing to stand where I am, at the moment. I haven't found any convincing replies on the issue - in favour of Maria Qibtia as a slavegirl - so far. If you'd like, I could email those to you personally. Perhaps, you could get something from them, and then, try and convince me.

One thing more: I love my Prophet. You do too.

And I know you won't, and neither would zest, but if anyone is even slightly inclined to, do not dare say otherwise.

Wasalaam.

Saadia
oosman

USA
Posted - Saturday, December 25, 2004  -  8:18 PM Reply with quote
http://www.angelfire.com/on/ummiby1/wives4.html#maria


MARIA al-Qibtiyya

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."

As Ibrahim's body was being buried, the sun was eclipsed and it grew dark and gloomy. Some people thought this was connected with Ibrahim's death, but the Prophet soon clarified this. "The sun and the moon are two of Allah's signs," he said, "they are not eclipsed because of anyone's birth or death. When you see these signs, make haste to remember Allah in prayer." Although the kafirun used to mock the Prophet Muhammad because he had no sons, and say that he was 'cut off' , Allah made it clear in the following surah that the station of the Prophet Muhammad was far above that of any other man;

In the name of Allah, The Merciful, the Compassionate: Surely We have given you AL Khawthar, so pray to your Lord and offer sacrifice. Surely he who mocks you is the one cut off. (Quran 108:1-3)

Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets, and Allah has knowledge of all things. (Quran 33:40)

Maria was honored and respected by the Prophet and his family and Companions. She spent three years of her life with the Prophet, until his death, and died five years later in 16 AH, (may Allah be pleased with her) For the last five years of her life, she remained a recluse and almost never went out except to visit the grave of the Prophet or her son's grave. After her death, Umar ibn al Khattab led the prayer over her and she was buried in al Baqi.
saadiamalik

PAKISTAN
Posted - Sunday, December 26, 2004  -  9:18 PM Reply with quote
I have bothered Bro Tariq Hashmi quite a lot on this issue. He is of the opinion that the Prophet (sws) did, in fact, keep slaves. Of course, he has bases for his opinions and I totally respect that.

One leg of the Q/A and is as follows:

Question:

Thanks for responding. I've read just about any answer on the issue of slavery, and the Prophet (sws) having kept concubines. The one reason that is given again and again, as do you, is that slavery was an established institute worldwide at the time, and by keeping one for himself, the Prophet (sws) was able to pave the way for its eradication, by first teaching people how to treat their slaves. Fortunately or unfortunately, the argument doesn't appeal to me.

If slavery were to exist in the world today, and you had a leader, trying to convince his people to rid themselves of slavery, how much would you listen to him, if he were to say, "For starters, I'm keeping a slave and demonstrating to you, how they ought to be treated!" That's the very first criticism you - or at least, I - will level against him i.e. hypocricy. Please don't construe this as an attempt to defile our dearest Prophet (sws). I love him, and I am only attempting to either understand what he did, oMy r perhaps, whether he did this at all.

The argument for demonstrating the fair treatment of slaves has been taken up by many Shia leaders to the level of practicality. They have kept slavegirls, in order to demonstrate to people how they ought to be treated!

Also, there are many books today that suggest Maria Qibtia was a wife, and not a concubine. Why would you disagree with those?

My questions, I must humbly declare, remain unanswered.


Answer:

I think I have not been able to explain certain points.

I understand you think it very odd that a person advocating abolition of slavery would keep one himself. This issue cannot be solved if we suppose that the Prophet married Maria the Copt for he is reported to have kept a number of slaves. Your objection is not to keeping Maria the Copt but to keeping the slaves. Right?

You say that the Prophet’s kept a slave girl and this was a step taken in the process to eradicate the institution of slavery. You are told this he did to present before the people how to deal with the slaves. His behaviour and the ideal he is out to advocate are not mutually compatible. His act cannot be explained merely to consider it setting example to follow.

This is just to suppose that the Prophet drank wines etc.

I think you miss a point there (though owing to my inadequate explanation I must admit). Keeping slaves may be a graver sin than drinking alcohol but the two are different in nature.

The former is a social problem. It is not personal one unlike the latter one. I mean that if the Prophet (Sws) or anyone else stops drinking wines that would not harm any party. But if he frees all his slaves instantly and sets an example for people to follow then all pious people would do so thus throwing in the streets millions of the slaves impossible for the state and the society to cope with. Such a directive can be difficult to impose in fact. The society never accepts any directive that is against its trends and ideals. The Messengers of God never take drastic acts in such situation where the whole social and financial structure is involved.

Take for example the problem of child labor today. It is a general consensus that it is an evil. But what would a wise and pious person do when a child comes to him for employment? Will he drive him away?

I do not think so for you know that the child is resolved upon working and if you not take him he can to some cruel person. He can be made to work unpaid and can be forced to go through many other social hardships and psychological traumas.

Take another example. Everyone knows that participating in financial transactions in which interest is involved is a grave sin. Do all the pious people and ideal personalities of today not benefit from the same banking system? Do we find any way out? Yet another example. We all believe that jahez (dower) is a great curse for the society. Do not we give our daughters and sisters enough to save them from being driven mad by the people?

All such social ills can be treated through affective education and gradual process. Many particles of social fabric of the society, various aspect of the common mind need to be changed first many developments in the financial set up of the society has to be achieved first.

It will of course take considerable time to make the society feel that such and such thing is an evil and to pave the way for the new ideals to materialize. Before that is achieved this time of progress and development the slaves will of course remain in the society. If God gives him any the Prophet (sws) needs to keep them. That is why we see that the Prophet (sws) kept them, gave them respect and treated them as family members.

This question bothers all and so it did bother me. I discussed it with my teachers and fellows and finally Mr. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi who pointed to these facts. I have tried to mention the important points he pointed out. I would suggest you try to discuss this with him. May be I am missing some important things and the point remains always unexplained.

Regards,
Tariq Mahmood Hashmi
Research Assistant


Now, my concern was and is:

Thanks a lot for your patience. What you are answering is why he chose not to free his slaves. Reasonable arguments for that. But why did he keep any in the first place? And once that answer is solved, the next question would be, if he did keep them, why have sexual relations with them, when he had so many wives (not that not having any would justify relations with the former)? Fidelity to one's spouse is not just an Islamic virtue, but a universal thing, which many Muslims scholars will refer to as "human nature". Why is it so conveniently shunned when it comes to the Prophet (sws)? Or is this just a myth we insist on developing and developing and developing just to satify our conscience, since no other answer has so far been effectively derived?



I would request your(i.e. all those involved here and all those interested) insights.

Wasalaam.
karime

PAKISTAN
Posted - Saturday, January 01, 2005  -  12:14 PM Reply with quote
Dear broth Tariq & Si Sadia
A.A

You both bothered well & I appreciate this, but these are not new questions and answers of the subject. I do agree with Broth Tariq Hashmi; and would not say or add more different than this except some of them.

As I understand Saadia’s main points are following:

1. But why did he keep any in the first place? And once that answer is solved, the next question would be,
2. if he did keep them, why have sexual relations with them, when he had so many wives (not that not having any would justify relations with the former)? Fidelity to one's spouse is not just an Islamic virtue, but a universal thing, which many Muslims scholars will refer to as "human nature". Why is it so conveniently shunned when it comes to the Prophet (sws)? Or is this just a myth we insist on developing and developing and developing just to satisfy our conscience, since no other answer has so far been effectively derived?
3. If slavery were to exist in the world today, and you had a leader, trying to convince his people to rid themselves of slavery, how much would you listen to him, if he were to say, "For starters, I'm keeping a slave and demonstrating to you, how they ought to be treated!" That's the very first criticism you - or at least, I - will level against him i.e. hypocrisy. Please don't construe this as an attempt to defile our dearest Prophet (sws). I love him, and I am only attempting to either understand what he did, oMy r perhaps, whether he did this at all.


Regarding 1st Q, we refer to Surah Nisa ( 24), as it is called HALAL to marry those of (slave girls).
So it is clear that prophet did not keep but it was according to the wishes of Allah. Here one thing we have to accept these verses were sent to Rasul after a war fought. War were fought by Holy Prophet as AMIR or Governor of the state or during his time. Slaves were not kept by soldiers, it was duty of Amir to give out these salves to others or to exchange with enemies to have their own slaves back.
So it is again clear that prophet did not ask any one to give him slaves as he show them how to treat this.
But if we want to know y Allah has given him this order or judgment to keep slaves; this shows us that this was the requirement of circumstances or to over come situation; and maintain a well society, because he was not for one or two but for ALL.

If again we do not agree, then we should give our own suggestion what should be done there at the time?

Regarding 2nd Q, it is also shown in the Holy Quran (I can quote if you want) that one can have sexual relations with them. So again this shows that Holy Prophet did not do this according to his own wishes but Allah. If any one, of his family members or society made objection, he must have explained them in the light of Holy Quran; and they understood.
And holy prophet did according to the wishes of Allah, so there is nothing more important to him than wishes of Allah.

Then again, if we think this did not suit our Rasul; and it was not good for a status of women of that time and now. So I think he is wrong. (this all was according to Allah, and Allah knows better what it is good for us).

Because, if Holy prophet was wrong, then Allah must have told this, or if the explanation of the verses subjected in this regard are wrong, then one should explain these again but not according to his own wishes.
As Allah regarded his prophet “ who he obeyed Rasul, obeyed Allah” so there is not doubt to him.

And as women status is concerned, it is beatitude for her that Allah sent instruction to His Nabi to help him; and showed a way in the regard when these women are to be seen respectable.

But, if one woman say, I do not like that kind of life, where my emotions, feelings are destroyed, then
First, she can run away from her master, but he will not let her go, if he lets her go,
Then,
She need a lot more things to lead a life except freedom, she need shelter, and safety of her life; and when she goes to earn, how people will receive, treat her. However we accepted that she would manage this, but when she comes back, she is alone at home, no relations behind, if anyone comes she could do nothing but wept and no one will come to help her. Again accepted she faced this, but eyes of predators will not leave her, if she not wanted to have relations with them, but they would try to do the same, and one-day she will loose.

And accept again if she faces all, but no one marry her, and she will loose nature requirement of her body forever, which she gave priority first.

And this is quran and sunnat that gave her all above requirements and a respectable life.

If u do not agree, then ask a woman of to day like that………

Regarding 3rd Q, No one will dare to do this job, and no one is able to be so, if there are, then wait for time, when it comes we will agree too.


One thing last: if you find any answer then, tell me too. And then answer the following:

1. When you know (prophet did or did not) this, then your love will be less/more/same about?

One thing more, please,

It is said that we should search Allah then to ask, “where Allah lives? Where Allah lives? As a poet says “ I sought to hear the voice of God, and climbed up the topmost steeple, but God declared go down again, I dwell among the people”

So search, if you find him, then surely you have already known Holy Prophet coming to HIM. Because Allah tells about his rasules and rasules about Allah.

(if I can not get you, please do explain)
Regards,

A.karime
Jacobabad
Junaidj

CANADA
Posted - Saturday, January 01, 2005  -  8:12 PM Reply with quote
>>But why did he keep any in the first place?

I am merely elaborating on Mr. Hashmi's comments.

Had the Prophet not kept one, the others would have immediately followed suit.

i.e., he left praying Tarawih in the mosque after three days for the fear that the Companions would follow suit and hence make it obligatory for themselves.

we know how zealous they were??

Edited by: junaidj on Saturday, January 01, 2005 8:16 PM
saadiamalik

PAKISTAN
Posted - Sunday, January 02, 2005  -  8:48 AM Reply with quote
There are three different points (perhaps, independent) that I'd like to put here for everyone's consideration:

1) Verses 33:50-52 (which are three of those that talk on slavery, aside from others) use the words, "Ma Malakat Aymanukum".

Bro Layth at Free-Minds:

"Ma Malakat Aymanukum" is literally = 'what your oaths have commited/ and or/ those whom you are responsible for'.

Prisoners is 'asra' in Arabic and this does not exist in the entire wording
or context mentioned...

Slaves/servants (abd) and Captives (asra) never occur in any of these verses but are a fact if wishful thinking and preverted imagination...


I am obviously not an Arab or an Arabic genius, so your comments on the above are welcome.

2) Even if you do not accept this, why would you not accept an understanding of the Qur'anic verses on slavery being made temporarily permissible for the general public (till such time that abolishment was practical), and not for the Prophet (sws). Was he allowed consumption of alcohol? Or, did he consume alcohol prior to its complete ban under Islam?

3) Yusuf Ali's translation of verse 33:50 follows:

O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Couldn't this suggest that marriage with 'those whom the right hand possesses' is permissible? Since their mention is followed by the mention of daughters of paternal/maternal uncles and aunts, and preceded by the mentioned of 'those who dowers have been paid', why can't we assume marriage for those mentioned in between too?
saadiamalik

PAKISTAN
Posted - Sunday, January 02, 2005  -  8:53 AM Reply with quote
P.S. Still awaiting Br. Tariq Hashmi's response to the (email) query placed in the forum earlier.

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