The Prophetโ€™s conduct with his wife Sawdah: The issue of divorce

๐“๐ก๐ž ๐๐ซ๐จ๐ฉ๐ก๐ž๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐๐ฎ๐œ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž ๐’๐š๐ฐ๐๐š๐ก: ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐๐ข๐ฏ๐จ๐ซ๐œ๐ž

By Waqar Akbar Cheema

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


With their efforts to malign the Prophet of Islam having failed on the oft-discussed issues, the critics now pick on lesser known aspects of his life. One such issue is about the Prophetโ€™s conduct with his wife Sawdah. It is alleged that the Prophet divorced her after years of marriage solely because of her advancing age.

This paper critically analyzes the available information and shows how the revocable divorce pronounced by the Prophet was meant only to bring out some practical lessons for the Muslim community. It also shows that the Prophet continued to show his love and affection for Sawdah even after the said incident.

1. Introduction

Failing to come up with objections having the potential to cause real consternation with Muslims on general aspects of Islamic teachings and the highlights of the Prophetโ€™s (may the peace and blessings of Almighty Allah be upon him) family life, critics of Islam have turned to lesser-known issues. Other than asking for a critical and thorough response from Muslims, it shows the new levels of frustration reached by anti-Islamic polemicists.

One such issue is the blessed Prophetโ€™s alleged divorce from Sawdah and the subsequent settlement among them. It is alleged that while she remained faithful to the Prophet, he divorced her because of her age. They say this was unjust on his part, and therefore, a violation of the Qurโ€™anic instruction of justice among multiple wives (Qurโ€™an 4:3).

In this article, we shall discuss this issue, analyze the available evidence on the details of it, and to try to see the real picture of the alleged episode.

2. Did the Prophet divorce Sawdah?

There is contradicting evidence on whether the Prophet actually divorced Sawdah. Most authentic sources do not clearly indicate anything like this. They suggest Sawdah merely feared for it.

ุนู† ุงุจู† ุนุจุงุณุŒ ู‚ุงู„: โ€ ุฎุดูŠุช ุณูˆุฏุฉ ุฃู† ูŠุทู„ู‚ู‡ุง ุงู„ู†ุจูŠ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู…ุŒ ูู‚ุงู„ุช: ู„ุง ุชุทู„ู‚ู†ูŠ ูˆุฃู…ุณูƒู†ูŠุŒ ูˆุงุฌุนู„ ูŠูˆู…ูŠ ู„ุนุงุฆุดุฉุŒ ููุนู„ โ€ ูู†ุฒู„ุช: {ูู„ุง ุฌู†ุงุญ} [ุงู„ู†ุณุงุก: 128] ุนู„ูŠู‡ู…ุง ุฃู† ูŠุตู„ุญุง ุจูŠู†ู‡ู…ุง ุตู„ุญุง ูˆุงู„ุตู„ุญ ุฎูŠุฑ ูู…ุง ุงุตุทู„ุญุง ุนู„ูŠู‡ ู…ู† ุดูŠุก ูู‡ูˆ ุฌุงุฆุฒ

Ibn โ€˜Abbas said: Sawdah feared that the Prophet was going to divorce her, so she said: โ€˜Do not divorce me, but keep me and give my day to โ€˜Aโ€™ishah.โ€™ So he did so, and the following was revealed: โ€˜Then there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves, and making peace is better.โ€™[4:28] So whenever they agree to make peace in something, then it is permissible.[1]

There are, however, some reports with mursal (disconnected) chains of narrators that indicate the divorce did happen. One of them states:

 ุญุฏุซู†ุง ุงู„ู‚ุงุณู… ุจู† ุฃุจูŠ ุจุฒุฉ ุฃู† ุงู„ู†ุจูŠ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ุจุนุซ ุฅู„ู‰ ุณูˆุฏุฉ ุจุทู„ุงู‚ู‡ุง ูู„ู…ุง ุฃุชุงู‡ุง ุฌู„ุณุช ุนู„ู‰ ุทุฑูŠู‚ู‡ ุฅู„ู‰ ุจูŠุช ุนุงุฆุดุฉ ูู„ู…ุง ุฑุฃุชู‡ ู‚ุงู„ุช: ุฃู†ุดุฏูƒ ุจุงู„ุฐูŠ ุฃู†ุฒู„ ุนู„ูŠูƒ ูƒุชุงุจู‡ ูˆุงุตุทูุงูƒ ุนู„ู‰ ุฎู„ู‚ู‡ ู„ู… ุทู„ู‚ุชู†ูŠุŸ ุฃู„ู…ูˆุฌุฏุฉ ูˆุฌุฏุชู‡ุง ููŠุŸ ู‚ุงู„: ยซู„ุงยป ู‚ุงู„ุช: ูุฅู†ูŠ ุฃู†ุดุฏูƒ ุจู…ุซู„ ุงู„ุฃูˆู„ู‰ ุฃู…ุง ุฑุงุฌุนุชู†ูŠ ูˆู‚ุฏ ูƒุจุฑุช ูˆู„ุง ุญุงุฌุฉ ู„ูŠ ููŠ ุงู„ุฑุฌุงู„ ูˆู„ูƒู†ูŠ ุฃุญุจ ุฃู† ุฃุจุนุซ ููŠ ู†ุณุงุฆูƒ ูŠูˆู… ุงู„ู‚ูŠุงู…ุฉ ูุฑุงุฌุนู‡ุง ุงู„ู†ุจูŠ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ู‚ุงู„ุช: ูุฅู†ูŠ ู‚ุฏ ุฌุนู„ุช ูŠูˆู…ูŠ ูˆู„ูŠู„ุชูŠ ู„ุนุงุฆุดุฉ ุญุจุฉ ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู…

Al-Qasim ibn Abi Bazzah narrated: The Prophet sent for Sawdah regarding divorce. When she learnt of this, she sat on his way towards the house of โ€˜Aโ€™ishah. Upon seeing the Prophet, Sawdah said: โ€˜I urge you, in the name of the One Who revealed His book to you and chose you from amongst His creation, why have you divorced me? Did you find some fault with me that made you angry?โ€™

He said: โ€˜No.โ€™ She said: โ€˜I urge you to take me back. I have become old and I have no desire for men, but I wish to be raised among your wives on the Day of Judgment.โ€™ Therefore, the Prophet took her back. So she said: โ€˜Verily, I give the day of my turn to โ€˜Aโ€™ishah, the beloved of the Messenger of Allah.โ€™[2]

Referring to such reports through this and other chains of narration,[3] al-Albani (d. 1420 AH) states:

ูˆู„ุนู„ ู‡ุฐู‡ ุงู„ุทุฑู‚ ูŠุชู‚ูˆู‰ ุฃุตู„ ุงู„ู‚ุตุฉ ุจู‡ุง ูˆู‡ู‰ ุชุทู„ูŠู‚ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ู„ุณูˆุฏุฉ ูˆู…ุฑุงุฌุนุชู‡ ุฅูŠุงู‡ุง

These chains of narration together support the proof of the Prophetโ€™s divorce to Sawdah and his revoking her.[4]

Reconciling the two reports, โ€˜Ali ibn Sulแนญan al-Qari (d. 1014 AH) stated that first the Prophet made the pronunciation of a revocable divorce, which does not imply separation by itself. Fearing that the waiting period (โ€˜iddah) may pass and result in separation, Sawdah approached the Prophet and had the conversation reported in the narration of al-Qasim ibn Abi Bazzah. When the Prophet revoked the divorce, she gave up her night turn, saying she had become old of age and did not need intimacy.[5]

From the above, it is clear that divorce happened first and when it was revoked, Sawdah offered to give up her turn in favor of โ€˜Aโ€™ishah. The sequence is of critical importance.

3. Reason for the divorce of Sawdah

There is no authentic report giving the reason for the divorce to Sawdah or her fear concerning the same. It is, therefore, upon us to analyze different pieces of evidence and find some answer to this question.

Mufti Muhammad Taqi โ€˜Uthmani writes:

ูˆุฃู…ุง ุงู„ุญูƒู…ุฉ ููŠ ุทู„ุงู‚ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ุฅูŠุงู‡ุงุŒ ู…ุน ูƒูˆู†ู‡ุง ุฃู‚ุฏู… ู†ุณุงุฆู‡ ุตุญุจุฉุŒ ูุงู„ุฐูŠ ูŠุธู‡ุฑ ู„ู‡ุฐุง ุงู„ุนุจุฏ ุงู„ุถุนูŠู ุฃู†ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ู„ู… ูŠูƒู† ูŠุฑูŠุฏ ุฃู† ูŠูุงุฑู‚ู‡ุง ุฑุฃุณุงู‹ุŒ ูˆู„ูƒู†ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ุจูุนูุซูŽ ู…ุนู„ู…ุงู‹ ู„ู„ูƒุชุงุจ ู…ูุณุฑุงู‹ ู„ู‡ุŒ ูˆู„ูˆ ู„ู… ูŠุทู„ูู‘ู‚ ุฃุญุฏุงู‹ ู…ู† ู†ุณุงุฆู‡ ุจู‚ูŠุช ุฃุญูƒุงู… ุงู„ุทู„ุงู‚ ุฎุงู„ูŠุฉ ุนู† ุฃุณูˆุชู‡ ุงู„ุญุณู†ุฉุŒ ูุทู„ู‚ู‡ุง ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู…ุŒ ุซู… ุฑุงุฌุนู‡ุงุŒ ู„ุชุชุจูŠู† ุณู†ุชู‡ ููŠ ุงู„ุทู„ุงู‚ ูˆุงู„ุฑุฌุนุฉ ูƒู…ุง ุชุจูŠู†ุช ููŠ ุณุงุฆุฑ ู†ูˆุงุญูŠ ุงู„ุญูŠุงุฉุŒ ูˆู„ูŠุนู„ู… ุชูุณูŠุฑ ู‚ูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนุฒ ูˆุฌู„: {ูˆูŽุฅูู†ู ุงู…ู’ุฑูŽุฃูŽุฉูŒ ุฎูŽุงููŽุชู’ ู…ูู†ู’ ุจูŽุนู’ู„ูู‡ูŽุง ู†ูุดููˆุฒู‹ุง ุฃูŽูˆู’ ุฅูุนู’ุฑูŽุงุถู‹ุง ููŽู„ูŽุง ุฌูู†ูŽุงุญูŽ ุนูŽู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ูู…ูŽุง ุฃูŽู†ู’ ูŠูุตู’ู„ูุญูŽุง ุจูŽูŠู’ู†ูŽู‡ูู…ูŽุง ุตูู„ู’ุญู‹ุง} ูˆุฅู„ุง ูู„ุง ูŠุชุตูˆุฑ ู…ู† ู…ุซู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ุฃู† ูŠูุงุฑู‚ ุฒูˆุฌุชู‡ ุทุงู„ุช ุตุญุจุชู‡ ู…ุนู‡ุง ู„ู…ุญุถ ูƒุจุฑ ุณู†ู‡ุงุŒ

As to the wisdom of the Prophetโ€™s divorce to her while she was the oldest in company among his wives, it appears to me that the Prophet did not intend to part with her in the first place. However, since he was sent as the teacher of the Book and the commentator to it, had he not divorced any of his wives, the rulings of divorce would not find a place in his perfect life-example.

Therefore, he pronounced the divorce and then revoked it to make the way of divorce and its revoking known, as happened with other aspects of his life. Likewise, [he did it] to make known the meanings of the verse: โ€˜If a woman fears ill treatment or aversion from her husband, then, there is no sin on them in entering into a compromise between them.โ€™ (4:128) Otherwise, it cannot be thought of someone like the Prophet to part with his wife after a long companionship merely for her old age.โ€[6]

This is not just the good faith of a believer. Reason supports it fully. Generally, there can be three possible reasons for divorce:

  1. Not feeling attracted anymore.
  2. Financial constraints.
  3. In order to marry someone else.

Letโ€™s analyze the given situation against these three possibilities.

Firstly, lack of attraction on account of Sawdahโ€™s advancing age cannot be the reason because Sawdah was already quite old and not particularly attractive when the Prophet married her.

There is no evidence of any pressing financial constraints that would make the Prophet consider divorcing her.[7]

Certainly, the Prophet did not need to divorce her and any other of his wives solely for marrying some other woman. Furthermore, he never married another woman after this event.

In fact, the Prophet was under no obligation to treat his wives equally though he always did so. Therefore, it is clear that no possible reason of divorce was there and there is no such suggestion in any of the reports. All this supports the idea that the Prophet did this only to bring out some practical lessons for the Muslim community. Al-Qasim ibn Abi al-Bazzahโ€™s narration also confirms that the Prophet had no negative feelings against Sawdah.

One might say that the revocable divorce happened in the case of Hafsah as well. It is, however, to be noted that this incident happened during 8 A.H.,[8]whereas the divorce to Hafsah and its eventual revoking happened during 9 A.H.[9] This means by the time it happened the incident was the first and only instance of the Prophet teaching his community about the conduct of divorce.

4. Report alleging the Prophet divorced Sawdah for her old age

There is, however, a report alleging Sawdahโ€™s old age as the cause of divorce.

Ibn Saโ€˜d (d. 230 AH) has related a narration of โ€˜Aโ€™ishah through his teacher al-Waqidi:

ุนู† ุนุงุฆุดุฉ ู‚ุงู„ุช: ูƒุงู†ุช ุณูˆุฏุฉ ุจู†ุช ุฒู…ุนุฉ ู‚ุฏ ุฃุณู†ุช. ูˆูƒุงู† ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุต. ู„ุง ูŠุณุชูƒุซุฑ ู…ู†ู‡ุง ูˆู‚ุฏ ุนู„ู…ุช ู…ูƒุงู†ูŠ ู…ู† ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ โ€“ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… โ€“ ูˆุฃู†ู‡ ูŠุณุชูƒุซุฑ ู…ู†ูŠ. ูุฎุงูุช ุฃู† ูŠูุงุฑู‚ู‡ุง ูˆุถู†ุช ุจู…ูƒุงู†ู‡ุง ุนู†ุฏู‡ ูู‚ุงู„ุช: ูŠุง ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูŠูˆู…ูŠ ุงู„ุฐูŠ ูŠุตูŠุจู†ูŠ ู„ุนุงุฆุดุฉ ูˆุฃู†ุช ู…ู†ู‡ ููŠ ุญู„. ูู‚ุจู„ู‡ ุงู„ู†ุจูŠ โ€“ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… โ€“ ูˆููŠ ุฐู„ูƒ ู†ุฒู„ุช: ยซูˆุฅู† ุงู…ุฑุฃุฉ ุฎุงูุช ู…ู† ุจุนู„ู‡ุง ู†ุดูˆุฒุง ุฃูˆ ุฅุนุฑุงุถุงยป ุงู„ู†ุณุงุก: 128.

Narrated โ€˜Aโ€™ishah: Sawdah became older and the Messenger of Allah did not visit her frequently. She knew my status in the eyes of the Messenger of Allah and that he frequently visited me. She became fearful that the Prophet may divorce her and wanted to keep her status with him. She said:

โ€˜O Messenger of Allah, make the day of my turn for โ€˜Aโ€™ishah and you are at ease regarding this.โ€™ The Prophet accepted this. In this context, the verse, โ€˜If a woman fears ill treatment or aversion from her husband, then, there is no sin on them in entering into a compromise between them.โ€™ (4:128) was revealed.[10]

However, this report is very weak because it includes a much-criticized narrator, al-Waqidi.[11]

Moreover, it even contradicts an authentic hadith in stating that the Prophet did not frequently visit Sawdah even before the divorce happened.

ุนู† ุนุฑูˆุฉุŒ ู‚ุงู„: ู‚ุงู„ุช ุนุงุฆุดุฉ: ยซูŠุง ุงุจู† ุฃุฎุชูŠ ูƒุงู† ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ู„ุง ูŠูุถู„ ุจุนุถู†ุง ุนู„ู‰ ุจุนุถ ููŠ ุงู„ู‚ุณู…ุŒ ู…ู† ู…ูƒุซู‡ ุนู†ุฏู†ุงุŒ ูˆูƒุงู† ู‚ู„ ูŠูˆู… ุฅู„ุง ูˆู‡ูˆ ูŠุทูˆู ุนู„ูŠู†ุง ุฌู…ูŠุนุงุŒ ููŠุฏู†ูˆ ู…ู† ูƒู„ ุงู…ุฑุฃุฉ ู…ู† ุบูŠุฑ ู…ุณูŠุณุŒ ุญุชู‰ ูŠุจู„ุบ ุฅู„ู‰ ุงู„ุชูŠ ู‡ูˆ ูŠูˆู…ู‡ุง ููŠุจูŠุช ุนู†ุฏู‡ุงยป ูˆู„ู‚ุฏ ู‚ุงู„ุช ุณูˆุฏุฉ ุจู†ุช ุฒู…ุนุฉ: ุญูŠู† ุฃุณู†ุช ูˆูุฑู‚ุช ุฃู† ูŠูุงุฑู‚ู‡ุง ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ูŠุง ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ุŒ ูŠูˆู…ูŠ ู„ุนุงุฆุดุฉุŒ ูู‚ุจู„ ุฐู„ูƒ ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ู…ู†ู‡ุงุŒ ู‚ุงู„ุช: ู†ู‚ูˆู„ ููŠ ุฐู„ูƒ ุฃู†ุฒู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุชุนุงู„ู‰ ูˆููŠ ุฃุดุจุงู‡ู‡ุง ุฃุฑุงู‡ ู‚ุงู„: {ูˆุฅู† ุงู…ุฑุฃุฉ ุฎุงูุช ู…ู† ุจุนู„ู‡ุง ู†ุดูˆุฒุง} [ุงู„ู†ุณุงุก: 128]

Narrated โ€˜Urwah: โ€˜Aโ€™ishah said: โ€œO nephew! The Messenger of Allah would not prefer any one of us to another with regards to spending time with us. Hardly a day would go by without him visiting all of us. He would come close to each woman, without touching her, until he reached the one whose turn it was, then he would spend the night with her. When Sawdah bint Zamโ€˜ah had become old,

and feared that the Messenger of Allah would leave her, she said: โ€˜O Messenger of Allah! My day is for โ€˜Aโ€™ishah.โ€™ So the Messenger of Allah accepted that. We would say, concerning that [incident] that it was regarding her, and others in her situation for which Allah revealed: โ€˜And if a woman fears separation from her husbandโ€ฆโ€™[12]

โ€˜Touchingโ€™ here refers to intercourse. The wording with ad-Daraquแนญni (d. 385 AH) explains that during these regular day-time visits:

ููŠู‚ุจู„ ูˆูŠู…ุณ ู…ู† ุบูŠุฑ ู…ุณูŠุณ ูˆู„ุง ู…ุจุงุดุฑุฉ

The Prophet would kiss and touch without having intercourse.[13]

This authentic report says before Sawdah gave up her turn the Prophet would not prefer one of his wives over others with regards to spending time. It is, therefore, apparent that Ibn Saโ€˜dโ€™s report, besides being weak due to al-Waqidi, contradicts authentic narrations as well.

5. Why Sawdah?

Finding all their arguments rebuffed, the skeptics may even ask: if the purpose was to bring out practical lessons for the community, why was it only the aged Sawdah who was chosen for this? The answer is simple; Sawdah was advanced in her age and did not find herself inclined to men.

This fact must have been known to the Prophet before her stating it as such changes never occur overnight. If the Prophet were to choose another of his wives, she would have to give up some right without feeling free of the need for it. Therefore, the choice was perfect.

6. The Prophet continued to visit and behave affectionately toward Sawdah

Despite all this, the Prophet continued to visit Sawdah, even though he spent the night of her turn with โ€˜Aโ€™ishah. โ€˜Urwahโ€™s report above states that the Prophet used to visit all his wives every day and spent nights with them turn wise. While Sawdah gave up her night turn saying she had no desire for intimacy,

the Prophet did not stop caring for her or giving her time. As stated earlier, the incident with Sawdah happened during 8 A.H., yet in the reports of the incident of honey which happened during 9 A.H.,[14] we find evidence of the Prophet visiting her just as he visited his other wives every day.

โ€˜Aโ€™ishah reports:

ูƒุงู† ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ูŠุญุจ ุงู„ุญู„ูˆุงุกุŒ ูˆูŠุญุจ ุงู„ุนุณู„ุŒ ูˆูƒุงู† ุฅุฐุง ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ุนุตุฑ ุฃุฌุงุฒ ุนู„ู‰ ู†ุณุงุฆู‡ ููŠุฏู†ูˆ ู…ู†ู‡ู†ุŒ ูุฏุฎู„ ุนู„ู‰ ุญูุตุฉุŒ ูุงุญุชุจุณ ุนู†ุฏู‡ุง ุฃูƒุซุฑ ู…ู…ุง ูƒุงู† ูŠุญุชุจุณุŒ ูุณุฃู„ุช ุนู† ุฐู„ูƒุŒ ูู‚ุงู„ ู„ูŠ: ุฃู‡ุฏุช ู„ู‡ุง ุงู…ุฑุฃุฉ ู…ู† ู‚ูˆู…ู‡ุง ุนูƒุฉ ุนุณู„ุŒ ูุณู‚ุช ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ู…ู†ู‡ ุดุฑุจุฉุŒ ูู‚ู„ุช: ุฃู…ุง ูˆุงู„ู„ู‡ ู„ู†ุญุชุงู„ู† ู„ู‡ุŒ ูุฐูƒุฑุช ุฐู„ูƒ ู„ุณูˆุฏุฉุŒ ู‚ู„ุช: ุฅุฐุง ุฏุฎู„ ุนู„ูŠูƒ ูุฅู†ู‡ ุณูŠุฏู†ูˆ ู…ู†ูƒุŒ ูู‚ูˆู„ูŠ ู„ู‡: ูŠุง ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ุŒ ุฃูƒู„ุช ู…ุบุงููŠุฑุŒ ูุฅู†ู‡ ุณูŠู‚ูˆู„: ู„ุงุŒ ูู‚ูˆู„ูŠ ู„ู‡: ู…ุง ู‡ุฐู‡ ุงู„ุฑูŠุญุŒ ูˆูƒุงู† ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ูŠุดุชุฏ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ุฃู† ูŠูˆุฌุฏ ู…ู†ู‡ ุงู„ุฑูŠุญุŒ ูุฅู†ู‡ ุณูŠู‚ูˆู„: ุณู‚ุชู†ูŠ ุญูุตุฉ ุดุฑุจุฉ ุนุณู„ุŒ ูู‚ูˆู„ูŠ ู„ู‡: ุฌุฑุณุช ู†ุญู„ู‡ ุงู„ุนุฑูุทุŒ ูˆุณุฃู‚ูˆู„ ุฐู„ูƒ:

ูˆู‚ูˆู„ูŠู‡ ุฃู†ุช ูŠุง ุตููŠุฉุŒ ูู„ู…ุง ุฏุฎู„ ุนู„ู‰ ุณูˆุฏุฉุŒ ู‚ู„ุช: ุชู‚ูˆู„ ุณูˆุฏุฉ: ูˆุงู„ุฐูŠ ู„ุง ุฅู„ู‡ ุฅู„ุง ู‡ูˆุŒ ู„ู‚ุฏ ูƒุฏุช ุฃู† ุฃุจุงุฏุฑู‡ ุจุงู„ุฐูŠ ู‚ู„ุช ู„ูŠ ูˆุฅู†ู‡ ู„ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ุจุงุจุŒ ูุฑู‚ุง ู…ู†ูƒุŒ ูู„ู…ุง ุฏู†ุง ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุตู„ู‰ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ุนู„ูŠู‡ ูˆุณู„ู… ู‚ู„ุช: ูŠุง ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ุŒ ุฃูƒู„ุช ู…ุบุงููŠุฑุŸ ู‚ุงู„: ยซู„ุงยป ู‚ู„ุช: ูู…ุง ู‡ุฐู‡ ุงู„ุฑูŠุญุŸ ู‚ุงู„: ยซุณู‚ุชู†ูŠ ุญูุตุฉ ุดุฑุจุฉ ุนุณู„ยป ู‚ู„ุช: ุฌุฑุณุช ู†ุญู„ู‡ ุงู„ุนุฑูุทุŒ ูู„ู…ุง ุฏุฎู„ ุนู„ูŠ ู‚ู„ุช ู„ู‡ ู…ุซู„ ุฐู„ูƒุŒ ูˆุฏุฎู„ ุนู„ู‰ ุตููŠุฉ ูู‚ุงู„ุช ู„ู‡ ู…ุซู„ ุฐู„ูƒุŒ ูู„ู…ุง ุฏุฎู„ ุนู„ู‰ ุญูุตุฉ ู‚ุงู„ุช ู„ู‡: ูŠุง ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡ุŒ ุฃู„ุง ุฃุณู‚ูŠูƒ ู…ู†ู‡ุŸ ู‚ุงู„: ยซู„ุง ุญุงุฌุฉ ู„ูŠ ุจู‡ยป ู‚ุงู„ุช: ุชู‚ูˆู„ ุณูˆุฏุฉ: ุณุจุญุงู† ุงู„ู„ู‡ุŒ ู„ู‚ุฏ ุญุฑู…ู†ุงู‡ุŒ ู‚ุงู„ุช: ู‚ู„ุช ู„ู‡ุง: ุงุณูƒุชูŠ

Allahโ€™s Messenger used to like sweets and also used to like honey, and whenever he finished the โ€˜asr prayer, he used to visit his wives and approach (fayadnu) them. Once he visited Hafsah and remained with her longer than the period he used to stay, so I enquired about it. It was said to me, โ€˜A woman from her tribe gave her a leather skin containing honey as a present, and she gave some of it to Allahโ€™s Messenger to drink.โ€™ I said, โ€˜By Allah, we will play a trick on him.โ€™ So I mentioned the story to Sawdah and said to her,

โ€œWhen he enters upon you, he will come near (sayadnu) to you, whereupon you should say to him, โ€˜O Allahโ€™s Messenger! Have you eaten maghafir?โ€™ He will say, โ€˜No.โ€™ Then you say to him, โ€˜What is this bad smell?โ€™ It would be very hard on Allahโ€™s Messenger that a bad smell should be found on his body. He will say, โ€˜Hafsah has given me a drink of honey.โ€™ Then you should say to him, โ€˜Its bees must have sucked from al-โ€˜urfuแนญ (a foul smelling flower).โ€™ I too, will tell him the same. And you, O Safiyah, say the same.โ€

So when the Prophet entered upon Sawdah, (the following happened). Sawdah said, โ€œBy Him except Whom none has the right to be worshipped, I was about to say to him what you had told me to say while he was still at the gate because of fear from you. But when Allahโ€™s Messenger came near to me (dana), I said to him, โ€˜O Allahโ€™s Messenger! Have you eaten maghafir?โ€™ He replied, โ€˜No.โ€™ I said, โ€˜What about this smell?โ€™

He said, โ€˜Hafsah has given me a drink of honey.โ€™ I said, โ€˜Its bees must have sucked al-โ€˜urfuแนญ.โ€™ โ€œWhen he entered upon me, I told him the same as that, and when he entered upon Safiyah, she told him the same. So when he visited Hafsah again, she said to him, โ€˜O Allahโ€™s Messenger! Shall I give you a drink of it (honey)?โ€™ He said, โ€˜I have no desire for it.โ€™ Sawdah said, โ€˜Subhan Allah! We have deprived him of it (honey).โ€™ I said to her, โ€˜Be quiet!โ€™โ€[15]

Commenting on this hadith, Ibn Hajar (d. 852 AH) writes:

ูˆููŠู‡ ุฃู† ุนู…ุงุฏ ุงู„ู‚ุณู… ุงู„ู„ูŠู„ ูˆุฃู† ุงู„ู†ู‡ุงุฑ ูŠุฌูˆุฒ ุงู„ุงุฌุชู…ุงุน ููŠู‡ ุจุงู„ุฌู…ูŠุน ู„ูƒู† ุจุดุฑุท ุฃู† ู„ุง ุชู‚ุน ุงู„ู…ุฌุงู…ุนุฉ ุฅู„ุง ู…ุน ุงู„ุชูŠ ู‡ูˆ ููŠ ู†ูˆุจุชู‡ุง โ€ฆ ูˆููŠู‡ ุงุณุชุนู…ุงู„ ุงู„ูƒู†ุงูŠุงุช ููŠู…ุง ูŠุณุชุญูŠุง ู…ู† ุฐูƒุฑู‡ ู„ู‚ูˆู„ู‡ ููŠ ุงู„ุญุฏูŠุซ ููŠุฏู†ูˆ ู…ู†ู‡ู† ูˆุงู„ู…ุฑุงุฏ ููŠู‚ุจู„ ูˆู†ุญูˆ ุฐู„ูƒ ูˆูŠุญู‚ู‚ ุฐู„ูƒ ู‚ูˆู„ ุนุงุฆุดุฉ ู„ุณูˆุฏุฉ ุฅุฐุง ุฏุฎู„ ุนู„ูŠูƒ ูุฅู†ู‡ ุณูŠุฏู†ูˆ ู…ู†ูƒ ูู‚ูˆู„ูŠ ู„ู‡ ุฅู†ูŠ ุฃุฌุฏ ูƒุฐุง ูˆู‡ุฐุง ุฅู†ู…ุง ูŠุชุญู‚ู‚ ุจู‚ุฑุจ ุงู„ูู… ู…ู† ุงู„ุฃู†ู

In this hadith is the evidence that equal distribution of time between wives is basically about the night. As for the day, it is permissible to make it common to all with the condition that one would not have intercourse except with the one whose turn it is for the nightโ€ฆ.In this report, there is use of euphemism for what one feels shy to mention [openly]. The wording โ€˜he approached (fayadnu) themโ€™ means โ€˜he kissed themโ€™ and similar to it.

It is confirmed by โ€˜Aโ€™ishahโ€™s saying to Sawdah, โ€˜when he enters upon you, he will come near (sayadnu) you whereupon you should say to him I find such and such.โ€™ This [feeling of odor] is confirmed [only] when the mouth comes closer to the nose.[16]

 Therefore, the hadith confirms two things. First, even when Sawdah felt no desire for intimacy and gave up her night turn for โ€˜Aโ€™ishah, the Prophet used to visit her regularly during the day like his other wives. Secondly, it tells us that the Prophet, nevertheless, continued to express his feelings for her by affectionately getting close to her and kissing her.

7. Summary and conclusion

Sawdah was already quite advanced in age when the Prophet married her.

 The general practice of the Prophet was to visit all his wives every day and Sawdah was no exception.

 The Prophet made the pronouncement of the revocable divorce to Sawdah only to practically teach the community how to go about the issue.

 It was only after a dialogue between the blessed Prophet and Sawdah resulted in revoking the divorce that she offered to give up her night turn, saying that she felt no desire for intimacy.

 Even after Sawdah had given up her night turn, the Prophet used to visit her and showed her affection and love.

ย All these observations conclusively overturn any suggestions of the Messenger of Allahโ€™s impassionate behavior toward his longtime companion and wife, Sawdah โ€“ may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both.


Paul the False Apostle of Satan


The Incident of Ifk= the Slander incident of Prophet Muhammedโ€™s wife Our Mother Aishah

.How Prophet Muhammed treated his wives.

References and Notes:

[1] at-Tirmidhi, al-Jamiโ€™, Translated by Abu Khaliyl (Riyadh: Maktabat Dar-us-Salam, 2007) Hadith 3040; classified as sahih by al-Albani

[2] Ibn Saโ€˜d, at-Tabaqat al-Kubra, (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-โ€˜Ilmiyyah, 1990) Vol. 8, 43; al-Albani said it is sahih mursal in Irwaโ€™ al-Ghalil, Vol. 7, 147

[3] as-Sanโ€˜ani, Abdur-Razzaq, al-Musannaf, (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1403 A.H.) Hadith 10657 on the authority of Haitham/Abu Haitham; al-Baihaqi, Sunan al-Kubra, (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-โ€˜Ilmiyyah, 2003)  Hadith 13435 on the authority of โ€˜Urwah

[4] al-Albani, Irwaโ€™ al-Ghalil, (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1985) Vol. 7, 147

[5] al-Qari, โ€˜Ali bin Sulแนญan, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih, (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 2002) Vol. 5, 2116

[6] โ€˜Uthmani, Muhammad Taqi, Takmila Fath al-Mulhim,  (Beirut: Dar al-Ihyaโ€™ al-Turath al-โ€˜Arabi, 2006) Vol. 1, 117-118

[7] Details in the authorโ€™s forthcoming article, โ€œWere the wives of the Prophet dissatisfied with him?โ€

[8] al-Kinani, al-Mukhtasar al-Kabir fi Sirat ar-Rasul, (Amman: Dar al-Bashir, 1993) 92; al-Maqrizi, Imtaโ€˜ al-Asmaโ€˜, (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-โ€˜Ilmiyyah, 1999) Vol. 6, 33; Ibn al-Mulaqqan, Ghayat as-Sul fi Khasaโ€™is ar-Rasul, (Beirut: Dar al-Bashaโ€™ir) 119; ad-Diyarbakri, Tarikh al-Khamis fi Ahwal Anfas Nafis, (Beirut: Dar Sadir) Vol. 2, 65

[9] The divorce took place in the backdrop of what Qurโ€™an 66:3 relates to (the incident of the honey which happened during 9 A.H.). See: ad-Diyarbakri, Tarikh al-Khamis fi Ahwal Anfas Nafis, Vol. 2, 122

[10] Ibn Saโ€˜d, at-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 8, 43

[11] al-โ€˜Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, (Hyderabad: Daโ€™ira Maโ€™arif an-Nizamiya, 1326 AH) Vol. 9, 366-367

[12] as-Sajistani, Abu Dawud, as-Sunan, Hadith 2135; Translated by Yasir Qadi and Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Riyadh: Maktabat Dar-us-Salam, 2008) classified as hasan sahih by al-Albani

[13] ad-Daraquแนญni, as-Sunan, (Beirut: ar-Risalah, 2004) Hadith 3735-3736. See also, Ahmad Hasanโ€™s translation of Sunan Abu Dawud, (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 1990) Hadith 2130, where he aptly uses the word โ€˜intercourseโ€™ instead of โ€˜touching.โ€™

[14] ad-Diyarbakri, Tarikh al-Khamis fi Ahwal Anfas Nafis, Vol. 2, 122

[15] al-Bukhari, as-Sahih, Translated by Muhammad Muhsin Khan (Riyadh: Darussalam, 1997) Hadith 6972

[16] al-โ€˜Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1379 AH) Vol. 9, 380