The Heart's Witness Against Muhammad: Safiya and the Law of Booty
might be noted that this was not the first time Muhammad had ruined Safiya's peace. Safiya's father, Huyayy ibn Akhtab, had been one of the chiefs of the Jewish Banu al-Nadir tribe. He was, moreover, an implacable foe of Muhammad, and he suffered death at Muhammad's bloody hand.
Similarly, her uncle Abu Yasir suffered death at Muhammad's sanguinary policies. Huyayy and Yasir and their tribe, which would have included Safiya, had been forced to emigrate from Medina and settled at Khaibar.
Eventually, Huyayy was captured, taken to Medina, and, bound hand and neck by rope and in a tattered flowered robe, put to death (by decapitation) along with between 600 to 800 of his fellow tribesmen. Safiya's relationship with her father and her uncle had been close, as based upon her testimony, she was the favorite of both her father and her uncle.
According to Sahih Bukhari 2.14.68, Safiya was captured at the battle of Khaibar and allotted to Dihya al-Kalbi, but the nearly sixty-year-old Muhammad made arrangements to have this young, attractive seventeen-year-old to be given to him, apparently being struck with her great beauty. (See Sahih Muslim 8.3329, Sahi Bukhari 3.34.437)
Safiya, in fact, is an example of how Muhammad had different categories of relationships with women. Originally, his sexual rights over her were as a result of her being a captive of war. She was one of those whom his right hand possessed. Qur´an 33:50. Subsequently, she became one of Muhammad's wives, apparently his ninth, her freedom or manumission being considered the dowry or mahr since all her family was slain and so no one could pay her dowry. (Sahih Bukhari 5.59.524, 1.8.367) Although it is not clear when Muhammad married her, it was shortly after his conquest of the town of Khaibar. This means that he would have had sexual relations with Safiya by right of capture prior to that marriage and while the death of her husband and his beheaded and burnt corpse was fresh on her mind.
It is impossible to believe that the seventeen-year-old captive Safiya engaged in sexual relations with the nearly sixty-year-old Muhammad, murderer of her father, her uncle, her husband, and her male kinsmen of her own free will and happily. It is not likely that her marriage (and her conversion to Islam) was much of a choice either. These were survival tactics of a woman who had no real choice. Muhammad's behavior toward Safiya is nothing less than exploitative and clearly a form of rape.
Indeed, Ibn Ishaq relates how there was initially some fear for Muhammad's life from this relationship, though Muhammad seemed oblivious to it. On the night of her marriage to Muhammad, the faithful Abu Ayyub stood guard outside the tent of Muhammad, and when Muhammad saw him and inquired why Abu Ayyub did so, the latter replied: "I was afraid for you with this woman for you have killed her father, her husband, and her people, and till recently she was in unbelief, so I was afraid for you on her account." (Ibn Ishaq, pp. 241-42). Had Safiya loved Muhammad, or had she been pleased with her situation, whence this fear on the part of Abu Ayyub?
Particularly abhorrent is Muhammad's self-justification, nay, self-adulation regarding his treatment of Safiya. Apparently, the nearly sixty-year-old Muhammad believed that in emancipating the seventeen-year-old Safiya (a woman whose father, uncle, and husband he had caused to be killed, whom his men had captured, and whom he then traded for and treated as a captive over whom he had sexual rights) and in marrying her he was building himself two rewards in Paradise.
Abu Musa reported according to Sahih Muslim 8.3327, that Muhammad maintained that he who freed a slave woman and then married her would obtain two rewards in paradise. The self-adulation of Muhammad in his doing wrong is evidentiary of an utterly blind conscience and an errant, perhaps narcissistic personality.
Poor Safiya who was forced to satisfy the sexual yearnings of Muhammad, the slaughterer of her father, uncle, husband, male kinsmen and tribesmen, and the captor and trader of her female cousins and friends, who handed them out to his minions as if chattel. But-when it comes to female "booty"-Allah knows best, Alahu 'a'lam, the natural law notwithstanding.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at email@example.com.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Muhammad, natural law, safiya, polygamy, concubinage, Andrew M Greenwell, Esq.
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