Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

10/23/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Safiya, in fact, is an example of how Muhammad had different categories of relationships with women

Muhammad's sexual behavior and his multiple marriages are not the kind of thing we would expect in someone whom was supposedly revealed as a perfect human being and prophet of God.  Some of Muhammad's sexual behavior and treatment of women, however, goes even beyond what is unseeming to what is clearly abhorrent under any standard of civility and morality, modern or ancient.  The story of Muhammad's relationship with his wife Safiya bint Huyayy ibn Akhtab is one such incident. 

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/23/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Muhammad, natural law, safiya, polygamy, concubinage, Andrew M Greenwell, Esq.


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - As we discussed in our last article on Muhammad, the sheer number of marriages and concubines that Muhammad had sexual relations with offers sufficient evidence of a man who did not conform himself to the natural moral law in regard to marriage and family life.  Apologists for Muhammad's life find themselves in losing battles trying to justify this aspect of their alleged prophet's life.

As we mentioned in our last article, Muhammad lived a life of clear monogamy with his first wife Khadija, but after her death engaged during the last ten years of his life in relationships with other women of a variety of categorizations, but all of which have one common denominator: Muhammad had sexual access to these women. 

According to the Islamic scholar Montgomery Watt, Qur'an 33:50 (a supposed revelation which addresses Muhammad's unique law of marriage and sexual relations separate and apart from the law of marriage allowed to Muslims in general), describes a number of categories of women who were sexually allowed to Muhammad.  These included: (i) wives for whom Muhammad paid ujur [dowry or hire] (ii) those "whom your right hand possesses--whom Allah has given to you," meaning captives of war or slaves, (iii) the daughters of paternal and maternal uncles and aunts (i.e., cousins), (iv) those who emigrated with Muhammad, (v) believing women who gave themselves to the prophet, provided the prophet wanted to marry them, and (vi) a privilege special for Muhammad apart from the other believers, the khalisatan la-ka min dun al-mu'minin.

Muslim apologists defend Muhammad's multiple sexual relations by arguing that he was not motivated by lust, but rather by pure motives.  This seems disingenuous in light of the evidence to the contrary.  According to Muslim sources, Muhammad seems to have been afflicted with a voracious sexual appetite or perhaps merely delusions associated with it.  It is hard to tell, and the sources appear to conflict.  Either way it is unseemly.

For example, we might cite to the hadith evidenced in Sahih Bukhari and related by Muhammad's wife 'A'isha : 07.71.660: "Magic was worked on Allah's Apostle so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not . . . ." 

There is evidence, however, that there was something that mere magic here and mere delusions.  In Sahih Bukhari (01.05.268) we read: "The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number.  I asked Anas, 'Had the Prophet the strength for it?' Anas replied, 'We used to say that the Prophet was given the [sexual] strength of thirty (men).' . . . ." 

There is further evidence that Muhammad lacked control in the area of the sexual urges.  Three hadith found in Sahih Muslim suggest impulsivity.  As reported by Jabir, Muhammad once saw a woman who sexually fascinated him and captivated his heart, "retiring in the shape of a devil."  So he went home to his wife Zainab as she was tanning leather and had sexual intercourse with her to relieve himself of his desire.  His instructions to his Companions were that when any of them were to have such an urge he "should come to his wife, for that will repel what he feels in his heart."  08.3240, 08.3241, 08.3242. 

Muhammad's sexual behavior and his multiple marriages are not the kind of thing we would expect in a perfect human being and supposed prophet of God.  Some of his sexual behavior and treatment of women, however, goes even beyond what is unseeming to what is clearly abhorrent under any standard of civility and morality, modern or ancient.  The story of Muhammad's relationship with his wife Safiya bint Huyayy ibn Akhtab is one such incident. 

Safiya was a seventeen-year-old Jewess who lived in the town of Khaibar with her husband Kinana bin al-Rabi' bin Abu'l-Huqayq.  After Muhammad's troops captured the city of Khaibar, Muhammad ordered Kinana to be tortured to death to make him reveal where the treasure of the town was kept.  (For those who might be curious, no doubt with the instructions or approval of Muhammad, Khaibar was tortured by having a fire lit on his chest and then killed by decapitation.)  (Ibn Ishaq, pp. 515-17)

According to the Muslim biographer of Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, after Muhammad and his followers captured the town of Khaibar, Safiya would have been led past the bodies of her Jewish tribesmen, which would have included the mutilated and decapitated body of her husband, Kinana.  Safiya displayed tremendous control and behaved stoically, unlike her cousin whose sorrow so consumed her that she was inconsolable, and Muhammad, irritated by her crying, called her a she-devil and asked her to be taken away from him.

It 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. QurŽan 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 agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Middle East

Islamic State threatens to execute U.S. woman if ransom demands not met Watch

Image of In addition to the ransom money, Islamic State is also demanding the release of MIT-trained neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted in 2010 of trying to kill two U.S. officials.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State is threatening to execute a 26-year-old American woman if it does not receive $6.6 million in ransom. Remaining unidentified, at the request of her family, the woman was reportedly doing humanitarian relief work in Syria when she went missing ... continue reading


Casualty of War: Iraq's rich, culturally diverse society destroyed by IS Watch

Image of Yazidis who were assisted by the YPG are now shifting their allegiance to the group. Since coming off the mountain, hundreds of Yazidi have received training at YPG military training camps; some have already returned to Mount Sinjar to fight as new recruits for the YPG.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State forces have advanced further into Syria and overtaken cities in northern Iraq. Those who don't submit to their militant cause are tortured, imprisoned or killed. The border between northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria has effectively ... continue reading


MADE in AMERICA: American man killed fighting alongside Islamic State rebels Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Douglas McAuthur McCain, an American, has been reported killed fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria. McCain, the U.S. government believes, belonged to a small number of Americans that have traveled to Syria to fight for extremist groups. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Evaluating the enemy: U.S. military officials declare ISIS 'incredible fighters' Watch

Image of One unnamed official says that ISIS probably learned its sophisticated military methods from the Chechens.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When doing battle, it is never wise to underestimate your enemy. As monstrous and inhumane as Islamic State is, military experts are conceding that they are formidable opponents. Described as "incredible fighters," IS forces are merely "tactically withdrawing" ... continue reading


Watch as Iron Dome intercepts a dozen Hamas rockets simultaneously (VIDEO) Watch

Image of The Iron Dome system has intercepted hundreds of terror rockets in the most recent clash with Hamas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A dramatic video shows what appears to be the interception of multiple rockets, allegedly fired by Hamas into Israel, intercepted en masse by the Iron Dome defense system. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The wail of air raid sirens is frightening in itself, and the ... continue reading


ATROCITY ACCUSATIONS: U.N. accuses Islamic State of mass killings Watch

Image of U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay condemned

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United Nations condemned the "appalling, widespread" crimes committed by Islamic State forces in Iraq. Officials say that the mass executions of prisoners that could amount to war crimes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay ... continue reading


U.S. officials admit that the Islamic State is a greater threat than previous terrorist groups Watch

Image of President Obama has authorized aerial reconnaissance over Islamic State fighters in Syria, a move which has led some to predict that the president will soon use airstrikes in that country to stop the spread of the Islamic State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report done by ABC news, U.S. military officials have said that fighters from the Islamic State are "incredible fighters" who are merely "tactically withdrawing" in the face of new U.S. airstrikes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Islamic ... continue reading


After three years of fighting, Syria may be ready for some help Watch

Image of Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the U.S. has been opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, usually funding pro-Western rebel groups like the Free Syrian Army.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Syrian government has stated that it is now ready to accept support from the United States and the United Nations to fight the Islamic State, which government forces have been so far unable to defeat. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Syria's Foreign Minister ... continue reading


NOT INVULNERABLE: Islamic State's thriving bootleg oil operations may not be unsustainable Watch

Image of Analysts say ISIS' fledgling petro-state is already running into problems.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Declared by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday called the group "as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we've seen" and "beyond just a terrorist group," the Islamic State is using a vast network of stolen petrochemical goods to keep ... continue reading


Could this tiny object reveal a undiscovered ancient civilization? Watch

Image of This copper awl, discovered in Israel near the Jordan River suggests that metal use occurred earlier than previously thought.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A copper awl unearthed in the Middle East suggests that metals were exchanged across hundreds of miles in the region more than 6,000 years ago, centuries earlier than previously thought. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This artifact was unearthed in Tel Tsaf, ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge you, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 128:1-2, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents] How blessed are all who fear ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 23:27-32
27 'Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 27th, 2014 Image

St. Monica
August 27: St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter