Sunday, July 5, 2009

Muslim Women to Look Up to: Hazrat Safiyaah

Insha' Allah this will be a recurring feature. It's important that as Muslimahs we have our own role models to look up to. We don't look to the latest stars, celebrities, models and politicians for our examples. Instead we look to the Muslimahs of yesterday and today. We are beautiful, strong, intelligent women with voices to be heard. Always have been and always will be. We are the mothers, the teachers, the listeners, the supporters and the backbone of our Ummah.

Our first Muslim Woman to Look Up To is Hazrat Safiyaah

Hazrat Safiyaah (Radi’Allahu Anha)

Her name and lineage
Her real name was Zainab (Radi’Allahu Anha). Any booty obtained after a battle was known as Safiyyah in Arabia, and as she fell captive to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), in the Battle of Khyber, she was thus named Safiyyah.

Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha)’s father was Hayye Bin Akhtab, the chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu Nazeer. He was considered to be a descendant of Prophet Aaron (as). Her mother Zarrah was the daughter of Samwal, the chief of the Jewish tribe Quraizah. Both were distinguished tribes of Banu Israel and had resided in the north of Arabia for a long time.

Marriage to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)
She first married a man called Islam, son of Mashkam Al-Qarzi who divorced her. She was then married to Kinanah Bin Abi-Haqiq, who was killed in the Battle of Khyber. Her father and brother were also killed in the battle. She was arrested alongside all the other war prisoners. As she was the daughter of the Chief of Khyber, she was thought fit only for the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha) was set at liberty and the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) took her into wed-lock.

Features and Character
She was short of stature, but beautiful. Like the other wives of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), she was looked upon as a center of light and learning. A few Traditions were narrated by her on the authority of Hazrat Zain-ul-Abideen, Ishaq Bin Abdullah Bin Haris, Muslim Bin Safwan, Kinanah and Yazid Bin Mu’tab.

When Hazrat Sohairah Bint Teyfer returned to Medina after performing Hajj, she found Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha) surrounded by women from Kufa to ask questions on religious matters.

Her character was very high and she contained many virtues. Imam Zarqani described her as intelligent, forbearing and scholarly. Patience and forbearance were her permanent features. At Khyber, when she and her sister were coming along with the captives, her sister cried and shrieked at seeing the dead bodies, but Hazrat Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha) walked past the dead body of her husband and displayed exemplary patience and forbearance.

Safiyya (Radi’Allahu Anha) loved the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) very dearly. When he (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) fell ill, Safiyya (Radi’Allahu Anha) said, ‘I pray that your affliction had befallen me’. The other wives started looking at her, but the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘She is only saying the truth’. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) also loved her very much. Once, on the eve of a journey, the camel of Hazrat Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha) fell ill. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) asked Zainab (Radi’Allahu Anha) who had many camels to lend one to Hazrat Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha). Hazrat Zainab (Radi’Allahu Anha) declined and called Hazrat Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha) a Jewess. This offended the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and he did not visit Zainab (Radi’Allahu Anha) for two months.
On another occasion, Aisha (Radi’Allahu Anha) made remarks about the short stature of Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha) and the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) disliked this, saying, ‘You have said something which, if sunk in the sea-water, would make it muddy’.

Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha) was also an expert cook and used to send dishes to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in the apartments of the other wives.

Her Death
Safiyyah (Radi’Allahu Anha) was 60 years old when she passed away in Ramadhan, 50AH. She was buried in Jannat-ul-Baqi.

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Asalaamu alaikum
Nadira & Najwa