Mariyah, the Sex Slave of the Holy Prophet
The following is Muhammad’s scandalous love affair with Mariyah the Copt who was one of the prophet’s wives’ maids. Muhammad slept with her without any ceremony, which caused uproar among his wives and had to be settled through the “Divine intervention.” This story is recorded in an authenticated Hadith and is reported by Omar.
This Hadith is describing the reason for the revelation of the quranic verse 66: 4.
If ye two turn in repentance to Him, your hearts are indeed so inclined; But if ye back up each other against him, truly Allah is his Protector, and Gabriel, and (every) righteous one among those who believe,- and furthermore, the angels – will back (him) up.
Omar explains that these two women were Hafsa and Aisha who became disrespectful of the prophet causing him grief until he thought of divorcing all of his wives. Here is the full story.
Bukhari Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas:
I had been eager to ask ‘Umar about the two ladies from among the wives of the Prophet regarding whom Allah said (in the Qur’an saying): If you two (wives of the Prophet namely Aisha and Hafsa) turn in repentance to Allah your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes) (66.4), till performed the Hajj along with ‘Umar (and on our way back from Hajj) he went aside (to answer the call of nature) and I also went aside along with him carrying a tumbler of water. When he had answered the call of nature and returned. I poured water on his hands from the tumbler and he performed ablution. I said, “O Chief of the believers! ‘ Who were the two ladies from among the wives of the Prophet to whom Allah said:
‘If you two return in repentance (66.4)? He said, “I am astonished at your question, O Ibn ‘Abbas. They were Aisha and Hafsa.”
Then ‘Umar went on relating the narration and said.
“I and an Ansari neighbor of mine from Bani Umaiya bin Zaid who used to live in ‘Awali Al-Medina, used to visit the Prophet in turns. He used to go one day, and I another day. When I went I would bring him the news of what had happened that day regarding the instructions and orders and when he went, he used to do the same for me. We, the people of Quraish, used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the Ansar, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the Ansari women. Once I shouted at my wife and she paid me back in my coin and I disliked that she should answer me back. She said, ‘Why do you take it ill that I retort upon you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet retort upon him, and some of them may not speak with him for the whole day till night.’ What she said scared me and I said to her, ‘Whoever amongst them does so, will be a great loser.’ Then I dressed myself and went to Hafsa and asked her, ‘Does any of you keep Allah’s Apostle angry all the day long till night?’ She replied in the affirmative. I said, ‘She is a ruined losing person (and will never have success)! Doesn’t she fear that Allah may get angry for the anger of Allah’s Apostle and thus she will be ruined? Don’t ask Allah’s Apostle too many things, and don’t retort upon him in any case, and don’t desert him. Demand from me whatever you like, and don’t be tempted to imitate your neighbor (i.e. ‘Aisha) in her behavior towards the Prophet), for she (i.e. Aisha) is more beautiful than you, and more beloved to Allah’s Apostle.
In those days it was rumored that Ghassan, (a tribe living in Sham) was getting prepared their horses to invade us. My companion went (to the Prophet on the day of his turn, went and returned to us at night and knocked at my door violently, asking whether I was sleeping. I was scared (by the hard knocking) and came out to him. He said that a great thing had happened. I asked him: What is it? Have Ghassan come? He replied that it was worse and more serious than that, and added that Allah’s Apostle had divorced all his wives. I said, Hafsa is a ruined loser! I expected that would happen some day.’ So I dressed myself and offered the Fajr prayer with the Prophet. Then the Prophet entered an upper room and stayed there alone. I went to Hafsa and found her weeping. I asked her, ‘Why are you weeping? Didn’t I warn you? Have Allah’s Apostle divorced you all?’ She replied, ‘I don’t know. He is there in the upper room.’ I then went out and came to the pulpit and found a group of people around it and some of them were weeping. Then I sat with them for some time, but could not endure the situation. So I went to the upper room where the Prophet was and requested to a black slave of his: “Will you get the permission of (Allah’s Apostle) for Umar (to enter)? The slave went in, talked to the Prophet about it and came out saying, ‘I mentioned you to him but he did not reply.’ So, I went and sat with the people who were sitting by the pulpit, but I could not bear the situation, so I went to the slave again and said: “Will you get he permission for Umar? He went in and brought the same reply as before. When I was leaving, behold, the slave called me saying, “Allah’s Apostle has granted you permission.” So, I entered upon the Prophet and saw him lying on a mat without wedding on it, and the mat had left its mark on the body of the Prophet, and he was leaning on a leather pillow stuffed with palm fires. I greeted him and while still standing, I said: “Have you divorced your wives?’ He raised his eyes to me and replied in the negative. And then while still standing, I said chatting: “Will you heed what I say, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! We, the people of Quraish used to have the upper hand over our women (wives), and when we came to the people whose women had the upper hand over them…”
‘Umar told the whole story (about his wife). “On that the Prophet smiled.” ‘Umar further said, “I then said, ‘I went to Hafsa and said to her: Do not be tempted to imitate your companion (‘Aisha) for she is more beautiful than you and more beloved to the Prophet.’ The Prophet smiled again. When I saw him smiling, I sat down and cast a glance at the room, and by Allah, I couldn’t see anything of importance but three hides. I said (to Allah’s Apostle) “Invoke Allah to make your followers prosperous for the Persians and the Byzantines have been made prosperous and given worldly luxuries, though they do not worship Allah?’ The Prophet was leaning then (and on hearing my speech he sat straight) and said, ‘O Ibn Al-Khatttab! Do you have any doubt (that the Hereafter is better than this world)? These people have been given rewards of their good deeds in this world only.’ I asked the Prophet . ‘Please ask Allah’s forgiveness for me. The Prophet did not go to his wives because of the secret which Hafsa had disclosed to ‘Aisha, and he said that he would not go to his wives for one month as he was angry with them when Allah admonished him (for his oath that he would not approach Mariyah). When twenty-nine days had passed, the Prophet went to Aisha first of all. She said to him, ‘You took an oath that you would not come to us for one month, and today only twenty-nine days have passed, as I have been counting them day by day.’ The Prophet said, ‘The month is also of twenty-nine days.’ That month consisted of twenty-nine days. ‘Aisha said, ‘When the Divine revelation of Choice was revealed, the Prophet started with me, saying to me, ‘I am telling you something, but you needn’t hurry to give the reply till you can consult your parents.” ‘Aisha knew that her parents would not advise her to part with the Prophet . The Prophet said that Allah had said:–
‘O Prophet! Say To your wives; If you desire The life of this world And its glitter, … then come! I will make a provision for you and set you free In a handsome manner. But if you seek Allah And His Apostle, and The Home of the Hereafter, then Verily, Allah has prepared For the good-doers amongst you A great reward.’ (33.28) ‘Aisha said, ‘Am I to consult my parents about this? I indeed prefer Allah, His Apostle, and the Home of the Hereafter.’ After that the Prophet gave the choice to his other wives and they also gave the same reply as ‘Aisha did.”
It is significant as it contains two important historic points. First it reveals, by Omar’s own admission, that “Ansari women had the upper hand over their men”. Even if we consider that to be an exaggeration, it is clear that women in Medina had more rights and authority than their Quraishy counterparts. Mecca, the home of the Quraish tribe, where Omar and Muhammad came from was a religious hub. People living in religious towns are more bigots than those living in other cities. Religion has always played a role in subjugating women and taking away their human rights. So it is natural that women in Mecca were more subdued than those living anywhere else in Arabia and especially Medina that was a more cosmopolitan city having civilized nations like Jews and Christians as its inhabitants. Omar’s and Muhammad’s wives came to like this emancipating atmosphere and wanted to exercise their relative freedom. This, did not sit well with the two misogynist men of Mecca, namely Omar and Muhammad, and as this Hadith demonstrates they were alarmed by their wives’ newfound liberties.
The importance of this Hadith is in the fact that it proves women prior to Islam had much more freedom, which were taken away from them by Muhammad and his misogynistic successors. It becomes also clear that the deplorable status of women in Islam is not a divine verdict, but to a great extent a reflection of how women were treated in Mecca 1400 years ago.
The fact that there is so much emphasis in the Quran and the hadith about the importance of women being obedient to their husbands is indeed an indication of Muhammad’s own desire to control his young and rebellious wives.
This hadith is that it reveals yet another sexual scandal of the prophet.
One-day Muhammad goes to the house of his wife, Hafsa daughter of Omar and finds her maid Mariyah attractive. He decides to get rid of Hafsa so he can be alone with Mariyah. He lies to her saying her father Omar has called for her. When Hafsa leaves, Muhammad takes Mariyah to bed and has intercourse with her. Resisting for Mariyah would have been unthinkable. She was a slave girl away from her family and Muhammad was the law in that town. So technically, Muhammad raped Mariyah.
Meanwhile, Hafsa who had found out that her father had not send for her and was not expecting her returns home sooner than expected and to her chagrin finds her illustrious husband in bed with her maid.
She becomes hysterical and forgetting the station of the prophet she shouts and causes a scandal. The prophet pleads with her to calm down and promises not to sleep with Mariyah again. He begs her also not to divulge this secret to anyone else.
However, Hafsa who was unable to control herself relays everything to her friend Aisha and the two teens confabulate with their other co-wives and cause the “Mercy of Allah of Earth” much anguish. The “Mercy of Allah” decides to punish all his wives and declares that he is not going to sleep with any one of them for one month. This is second level of punishment recommended in the Quran. The first level is admonishing them and the third level is corporal punishment. Q. 4: 34.
When a man decides to punish a wife with sexual deprivation he can satisfy himself with his other wives. But Muhammad’s anger had made him make the oath not to sleep with any of them for one month. That of course would have been too much hardship for the beloved messenger of God (peace be upon his immaculate soul). Do God in his mercy came to the aid of his prophet and revealed the Surah Tahrim (Banning). In this Surah Allah rebukes his prophet for being so harsh to himself and for depriving himself from what he really likes, which has been made “lawful” for him, in order to please his wives.
1. O Prophet! Why do you ban (for yourself) that which Allâh has made lawful to you, seeking to please your wives? And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
2. Allâh has already ordained for you (O men), the dissolution of your oaths. And Allâh is your Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.) and He is the All-Knower, the All-Wise.
3. And (remember) when the Prophet (SAW) disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another i.e. ‘Aishah), and Allâh made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: “Who told you this?” He said: “The All-Knower, the All-Aware (Allâh) has told me”.
4. If you two (wives of the Prophet SAW, namely ‘Aishah and Hafsah turn in repentance to Allâh, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet SAW likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad SAW), then verily, Allâh is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers.
5. It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, Muslims (who submit to Allâh), believers, obedient to Allâh, turning to Allâh in repentance, worshipping Allâh sincerely, fasting or emigrants (for Allâh’s sake), previously married and virgins.(Q. 66:1-5)
Although Muhammad gave his word to Hafsam not to have sex with her maid he could not resist the temptation. He had savored the sweetness of her forbidden fruit and had to have his fill. This became more urgent since he had taken another oath not to sleep with all of his wives. How could the “Best of creation” not have sex for one whole month?
This was a difficult situation and no one but Allah could help him. Well, nothing is impossible when Allah is right in your pants. Leave everything in the hands of your “almighty” friend and let him take care of it.
That is exactly what happened. Allah himself intervened and gave his prophet the green light to follow his heart’s desire. In the sura Tahrim Allah licenses his beloved prophet to have his flings with Mariyah and not pay attention to his wives. What can a prophet ask more? Allah was so concerned about Muhammad’s carnal pleasures that he even allowed ALL MEN to break their oaths as “a bounty.” Alhamdulillah! Subhanallah. Isn’t Allah great?
It is also worthy of mention that Muhammad who came to know Hafsa had revealed his secret to Aisha, lied again and said that it was Allah who informed him (verse 3) wheras it was Aisha who told him. But of course Muhammad is not the author of the Quran. It is Allah himself who is lying for his prophet.
In this sura Muhammad portrays the maker of the universe as a pimp, a gossiper and a liar – all that to cover up his own depravity and adultery.
In reaction to the above verses, Aisha, who was not only young and pretty, but also clever, is reported to have said to Muhammad, “Your God indeed rushes in coming to your aid!”
The above story must have been also embarrassing for Muhammad’s followers even when they gobbled mindlessly everything he told them. To conceal his lewdness they made up other hadiths to explain away those verses of the Quran that were already explained by Omar.
Muslim 9: 3496
‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) narrated that Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) used to spend time with Zainab daughter of Jahsh and drank honey at her house. She (‘A’isha further) said: I and Hafsa agreed that one whom Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) would visit first should say: I notice that you have an odour of the Maghafir (gum of mimosa). He (the Holy Prophet) visited one of them and she said to him like this, whereupon he said: I have taken honey in the house of Zainab bint Jabsh and I will never do it again. It was at this (that the following verse was revealed): ‘Why do you hold to be forbidden what Allah has made lawful for you… (up to). If you both (‘A’isha and Hafsa) turn to Allah” up to:” And when the Holy Prophet confided an information to one of his wives” (lxvi. 3). This refers to his saying: But I have taken honey.
The existence of the above Hadith and its difference with the one narrated by Omar reveals yet another fact that the companions of Muhammad were willing to lie, (as Muslims are today) to save the image of their prophet from blemish. It would be foolish to accept the story of drinking honey to justify the sura Tahrim. Honey does not smell bad. But above all it is inconceivable that a trivial incident like drinking honey could cause such an upheaval in the household of Muhammad to the extent that he decides to divorce all of his wives or to punish them for one month by not sleeping with them. Could such an insignificant incident like drinking honey provoke so much uproar that would require the intervention of Allah with a warning to Muhammad’s wives that he would divorce all of them and He (Allah) would give him virgin and faithful wives? This explanation is absurd unless honey is a code name for what Muhammad drank from between the legs of Mariyah.
Several Muslims have claimed that the Hadiths quoted above narrated by Abdullah bin ‘Abbas are false and the correct version is the one about honey. This is nonsense. This hadith is recorded by both Bukahri and by Muslim. Furthermore it is the only logical explanation of the sha’ne nozool (context) of the Sura Tharim. According to Muslim scholar Asif Iftikhar “a Hadith can be regarded as a source of religious guidance only `if the basis of that Hadith exists in the Quran or the Sunnah or the established principles.” The Quran allows having sex with the “right hand possessions” i.e. slaves (Q. 4:24) and it was Muhammad’s habit to have sex with his slave women. The text of the Sura makes it also clear that it is about having sex and not eating honey, which is a silly explanation. Asif Iftikhar writes, “Imam Ibni Ali Jauzee is reported to have said: “If you find a Hadith against the dictates of common sense or contrary to a universal rule, consider it a fabrication.”
The story of honey is ludicrous and makes no sense. Why so much ado about honey? And which honey smells bad? In fact it honey is mildly fragrant. This hadith has been forged because obviously even in those early days, Muslims felt embarrassed about the actions of their prophet. However, the hadiths about Muhammad lying to Hafsa to get rid of her so he could have sex with Mariyah makes perfect sense. It is in accordance with the Quran and in conformity with Muhammad’s depravity of conduct. It was not unusual for Muhammad to solicit sex from women whom he found attractive.
This story is also reported by Ibn Sa’d in Tabaqat:
Waqidi has informed us that Abu Bakr has narrated that the messenger of Allah (PBUH) had sexual intercourse with Mariyah in the house of Hafsah. When the messenger came out of the house, Hafsa was sitting at the gate (behind the locked door). She told the prophet, O Messenger of Allah, do you do this in my house and during my turn? The messenger said, control yourself and let me go because I make her haram to me. Hafsa said, I do not accept, unless you swear for me. That Hazrat (his holiness) said, by Allah I will not contact her again. Qasim ibn Muhammad has said that this promise of the Prophet that had forbidden Mariyyah to himself is invalid – it does not become a violation (hormat). [Tabaqat v. 8 p. 223 Publisher Entesharat-e Farhang va Andisheh Tehran1382 solar h ( 2003) Translator Dr. Mohammad Mahdavi Damghani]
Qasim ibn Muhammad of course tries to find justification for Muhammad’s breach of his own promise. If his words had no validity why he gave them and if they were valid why he broke them?
My copy of the Qunan contains the following tafseer side by side with the Sura Tahrim.
Also it is reported that the Prophet had divided his days among his wives. And when it was the turn of Hafsa, he sent her for an errand to the house of her father Omar Khattab. When she took this order and went, the prophet called his slave girl Mariyah the Copt who bore his son Ibrahim, and who was a gift from the king Najashi and had sexual intercourse with her. When Hafsa returned, she found the door locked. So she sat there behind that locked door until the prophet finished the business and came out of the house while pleasure[?] was dripping from his face. When Hafsa found him in that condition she rebuked him saying you did not respect my honor; you sent me out of my house with an excuse so you could sleep with the slave girl. And in the day that was my turn you had intercourse with someone else. Then the Prophet said, be quiet for although she is my slave and halal to me, for your contentment I at this moment make her haram to myself. But Hafsa did not do this and when the Prophet went out of her house she knocked at the wall that separated her room from that of Aisha and told her everything. She also gave the glad tiding about what the Prophet had promised about making Mariyah haram to himself.[Published by Entesharat-e Elmiyyeh Eslami Tehran 1377 lunar H. Tafseer and translation into Farsi by Mohammad Kazem Mo’refi]
Mariyah was a white Coptic young woman and very beautiful. She bore Ibrahim to Muhammad. I had my doubt about Ibrahim being Muhammad’s son. As per my research, Muhammad, during the last years of his life was suffering from acromegaly. One side-effect of this degenerative disease is impotence. He had erectile dysfunction. Note that Muhammad had six children with Khadijah who was already frothy years old when she married him, but no children with more than twenty young women with whom he had sex in the last ten years of his life. There are hadiths that show he actually did not have intercourse with his wives, but “fondled” them, and often he would go from one wife to another in one night touching them and playing with them, “drinking their honey,” but not having intercourse. (For more details about Muhammad’s sex life see my book Understanding Muhammad).
Another hadith says the Prophet used to “imagine having sex” when in reality he did not.
Bukhari Vol. 7: 71:660:
Narrated Aisha: 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 .”
Aisha has also said “none of you have the self control of the Prophet for he could fondle his wives but not have intercourse” The young and inexperienced woman did not realize that her illustrious husband was not controlling himself; he simply could not do it. Cialis and Viagra were not yet invented.
However, there was a hole in my theory. If Muhammad was impotent how could he sire Ibrahim? I suspected that the child could have belonged to someone else, but had no evidence to prove it. I finally got the evidence. The same Tabaqat, when talking about Mariyah says that there was a Coptic man in Medina (the person who accompanied her from Egypt to Medina) who used to visit Mariyah and rumor circulated that he was her lover.
After the brawl with his wives, Muhammad relocated Mariyah to a garden to the North of Medina. There he could visit her without being accosted by his wives. This situation provided ample opportunity for Mariyah’s lover to sneak in her house without being noticed. But someone must have seen him entering Mriyah’s house and the rumor reached Muhammad who sent Ali to kill the Coptic man. The story says that the man exposed himself and Ali upon seeing he was an eunuch spared his life.
Apparently, this was a convenient alibi to silence the crowd. Also Aisha was accused of having an affair with Safwan a young man living in Medina. Later she claimed that Safwan was eunuch. This affair caused also a huge scandal which vexed Muhammad for over a month until Allah had to intervene and testify on behalf of Aisha. So how no one know that Safwan was a eunuch?
The story is clearly forged. How could this Coptic man know why Ali wanted to kill him for him to show his male organ (or lack of it) as soon as he saw Ali? Ibn Sa’d, the author of Tabaqat says, he saw Ali with his sword in his hand and climbed a date tree with fear and from there he exposed his private parts (awrat). No conversation is exchanged. The man simply knew why Ali is coming towards him and that he wants to kill him. This does not sound a true story. Why would a messenger of God want to kill an innocent man and how did this man know why Ali wants to kill him? Looks like this Coptic man had a better understanding of the unknown than the prophet of Allah.
Bukhari 2.018.153 Says that “The sun eclipsed in the life-time of Allah’s Apostle on the day when (his son) Ibrahim died. So the people said that the sun had eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim. Allah’s Apostle said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of the death or life (i.e. birth) of some-one. When you see the eclipse pray and invoke Allah.”
Bukhari 2.018.154 adds,
when the sun eclipsed he [Muhammad] led the people in prayer,… by then the sun (eclipse) had cleared. He delivered the Khutba (sermon) and after praising and glorifying Allah he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs against the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse on the death or life of anyone. So when you see the eclipse, remember Allah and say Takbir, pray and give Sadaqa.” The Prophet then said, “O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! There is none who has more ghaira (self-respect – honor) than Allah as He has forbidden that His slaves, male or female commit adultery (illegal sexual intercourse). O followers of Muhammad! By Allah! If you knew that which I know you would laugh little and weep much.
Ghaira is the very thing for which Muslims commit honor killing. If you look at a Muslim’s wife or daughter, his ghaira (roughly translated as honor) is injured. If he does not react, it shows that he has little ghaira. The greater is his ghaira the more violent will be his reaction.
The discussion about adultery at this occasion is quite revealing. Why would Muhammad talk about adultery, of all things, in the unreal of his son? It’s not that hard to imagine that he was thinking about it and perhaps knew Ibrahim was not his son. In this sermon Muhammad talks about Allah having a lot of ghaira and then speaks of prohibition of adultery. He concludes by saying he knows of very sad things that others don’t know. Well, it took 1400 years, but I think we have finally discovered those “sad things.”
Another point to bear in mind is that despite the fact the Mariyah was the only women who bore Muhammad a child, he did not marry her. Why would not he marry the mother of his only son?
Bukhari 2.018.161 in another version of this hadith says. “Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abbas:
“The Prophet then said, “The sun and the moon are two of the signs of Allah. They eclipse neither because of the death of somebody nor because of his life (i.e. birth). So when you see them, remember Allah.” The people say, “O Allah’s Apostle! We saw you taking something from your place and then we saw you retreating.” The Prophet replied, “I saw Paradise and stretched my hands towards a bunch (of its fruits) and had I taken it, you would have eaten from it as long as the world remains. I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that most of the inhabitants were women.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why is it so?” The Prophet replied, “Because of their ungratefulness.” It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet said, “They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds. If you are benevolent to one of them throughout the life and if she sees anything (undesirable) in you, she will say, ‘I have never had any good from you.’ “
In the funeral of his only son Muhammad does not speak about him. The man who thought it is unfair to say God has only daughters when men can boast with having sons, has lost his only son, but on the day of his death he chooses to speak about adultery and the punishment awaiting women who are ungrateful to their husband. That is quite revealing.