In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful
The Battle of Bani Mustalaq
The sixth year of Hijrah arrived, and in the Sha’baan of that year, news came to Madinah that Haarith ibn Abi Diraar, head of the Bani Mustalaq tribe, was gathering arms and military forces to attack Madinah. The prophet decided to defeat them in their own land and so, the army of Islam, along with the prophet, moved towards them until they confronted them at one of the springs in their land by the name of Muraysi’ in the Qadid region. First, the prophet ordered that they be called to Islam, but they turned down the call , and so the battle ensued. The Muslims came out victorious, gaining many war spoils and prisoners; two thousand camels, five thousand sheep and two hundred families of prisoners. Among these prisoners, was the twenty year old daughter of Haarith ibn Abi Diraar, head of the tribe. His full name was Haarith ibn Abi Diraar ibn Habib ibn Ha’idh ibn Maalik ibn al-Mustalaq ibn Sa’id ibn Amr ibn Rabi’ah ibn Haarithah ibn Khuzaa’ah.
What Sparked the Battle
The tribe of Bani Mustalaq, who resided five ‘stations’ (manzil) from Madinah, plotted to siege Madinah by surprise with the help of other Arab tribes. The prophet was informed of this and dispatched an individual by the name of Barid to their land to look into the matter. He contacted the head of the tribe unidentified and learned of the plot. After returning to Madinah, he confirmed the reports. He brought some beneficial news to the prophet. At the same time, their spy was caught among the Muslims, leaving them without any news of what had transpired. Because of their plot, the prophet took the offensive and attacked them first instead. The Muslim army’s valiance and the fear they struck into the hearts of the Arab tribes resulted in the dispersal of the opposition’s army after a brief conflict which yielded ten deaths from their side and one from the Muslim side. With their defeat, much wealth came into the hands of the army of Islam and their women were taken as prisoners.
The Causes of Battle for the Muslims
The military capability and power of Islam was very significant in the sixth year of Hijrah, to the extent that a special group of them could freely and easily go to near Makkah and back without a problem; but their military power wasn’t for the purpose of conquering lands and looting their wealth. If it wasn’t for the polytheists depriving the Muslims of their freedom and if they had just allowed the Muslims to propagate and peach their religion without harassment, the prophet would have never been compelled to resort to force, however, since the Muslims and their propagators were continuously in danger and threatened by their enemies, the leader of the Islamic nation had no choice but to strengthen the defensive forces of Islam.
The true reasons for the battles that took place up until the prophet’s final days were always one of the following:
a) Retaliation for the unmanly and inhumane transgressions of the polytheists, as was the case in the battles of Badr, Uhud, and Khandaq.
c) To punish transgressors who had wither killed the Muslims and the propagating delegations in the deserts and remote areas, or broken their treaties with the Muslims and endangered Islam, as was the case in the battles with the three Jewish tribes and Bani al-Hayyaan.
c) To neutralize the developing mobilization of opposing tribes who were making preparations to attack Madinah after gathering the necessary arms and military resources.
Lady Juwayriyah bint Haarith (d. 670 or 677 AD) was an Arab princess and the elder daughter of the Khuzaa’ah tribe. Her father was head of the Bani Mustalaq tribe. After defeat in the battle, their wealth was seized and their men and women were taken as prisoners, one of the women being Barrah, the daughter of Haarith who later took on the name Juwayriyah. She was the wife of Naafi’ ibn Safwaan, her paternal cousin, who was killed in the battle.
She became the share of the spoils of Thaabit ibn Qays ibn Shammaas Ansaari and his cousin. They agreed that she be free upon paying seven mithqaals of gold. In those times, prisoners of war could free themselves by paying a ransom.
The ransom determined by Thaabit for Barrah’s freedom was several times more than the usual amount and she was unable to pay it, so she took recourse to the prophet through Ali (AS) to ask for help.
The Story as Recounted by Lady Aishah:
Halabi recounts the story through the words of Lady Aishah in such manner:
Lady Aishah has been reported to say that Juwayriyah was a good-looking woman. All who would see her would be attracted to her. In a journey with the prophet, when we were close to the Muraysi’ waterhole, Juwayriyah came to the prophet and asked for him to contract mukaatabah (a contract of freedom in return for money from a slave) with her, by God as soon as I laid eyes upon here I became upset and knew that the prophet would see the same beauty I had seen.
In another report, Lady Aishah has said that Juwayriyah stood behind a curtain to contract a mukaatabah with the prophet. When I looked at her, I saw in her face a beauty and was sure that when the prophet also sees her, he will also be pleased. He said to her: “I will pay the ransom of your mukaatabah contract and will also marry you. He married the daughter of the head f the rebels and this resulted in an unbreakable bond between the prophet and this tribe, and many of the women who had been taken prisoner were unconditionally set free just because of this relation. One of the blessed outcomes of this wedlock was the freedom of one hundred female prisoners.
Lady Aishah has been reported as saying: “I don’t know of any woman who was more blessed for her tribe than Juwayriyah.”
The Bani Mustalaq tribe all embraced Islam and were subsequently blessed by Allah. Lady Juwayriyah moved the home of the prophet. Her home was in proximity of the houses of the ‘mothers of the believers’ (Umm al-Mu’minin) Umm Salmah, Aishah and Hafsah.
The Accounts of Historians
There is no difference of opinion among historians regarding this story up until the captivity of Lady Juwayriyah and her coming to the prophet; they all agree on all of what has been reported to have taken place. There is however, a difference regarding what happened afterwards; there two accounts here:
The first account:
The prophet chose Juwayriyah for himself and after dividing the war spoils and prisoners among the Muslim troops, he returned to Madinah. Later Juwayriyah’s father, Haarith, came to Madinah with a number of camels to pay for the freedom of his daughter. On the way, he hid two of these camels in the area of Aqiq due to his affection for them, and came to the prophet with the rest of the camels, asking for his daughter at their ransom, saying: “O prophet of Allah, my daughter cannot become prisoner of war, because she is a noble and honorable girl.” The prophet replied, “If so, then where are the tow camels that you hid in so and so valley?!” Upon hearing this, Haarith and his sons embraced Islam. The prophet proposed giving Juwayriyah the choice of remaining with him and returning to her father. Haarith acknowledged that as a fair decision. He then went to Lady Juwayriyah and said: “My daughter! Don’t humiliate your tribe by staying here!” Lady Juwayriyah responded: “But I have chosen God and His prophet.” Her father said: “May you be cursed! Do whatever you wish!” The prophet then freed Juwayriyah and she became one of his wives.
The second account:
After splitting the spoils, Juwayriyah was allocated to Thaabit and his cousin as their share of the spoils. They set a ransom of seven mithqaals of gold for her freedom. She came to the prophet who was sitting at the water. She announced her embracing Islam and told the prophet of the ransom, asking for help. The prophet said: “I will pay your ransom and will also take you as my wife.”
She was the first wife of the prophet not to be from the tribe of Quraysh.
Lady Aishah who was with the prophet in this battle along with Lady Umm Salmah, describes the story like this:
“Juwayriyah was a beautiful girl who whoever would see, would fall in love with. Me and the prophet were sitting next to the Muraysi’ spring when she entered the ten and asked him to help her with her ransom. She said: “O messenger of Allah, I am a newly converted Muslim and I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that you are his messenger. I am Juwayriyah, daughter of Haarigh ibn Abi Diraar, who was head of his tribe and you know what has befallen us. I have been allocated as the share of Thaabit ibn Qays and his cousin and they have set a ransom for my freedom that I am not capable of paying. I am hoping that you aid me. The prophet said: “There is a better option too.” She asked: “And what is that?” He replied: “That I pay your ransom and free you and then marry you.” Juwayriyah said: “Very well, do so.” The prophet sent a message to Thaabit asking for her. Thaabit said: “May my mother and father be your sacrifice, she is yours O messenger of Allah!” The prophet paid the ransom and freed her. When the people learned that he had married here and become the groom of the Bani Mustalaq tribe, the freed their prisoners they had taken as war spoils and it was as a result of this that one hundred families of the Bani Mustalaq were set free. Thus, I don’t know any other woman more blessed and beneficial for her tribe than Juwayriyah.”
When returning from Muraysi’, the prophet left her with a man of the Ansaar and ordered she be protected and went on to Madinah. Her freedom was determined as her dowry, and according to some accounts, the freedom of forty, or all of the prisoners of Bani Mustalaq.
But Juwayriyah herself describes the scenario like this: “When the prophet set me free and married me, by God I made no mention of my tribe [who had been taken as prisoner]. It was the Muslims themselves who [voluntarily] set them free. A little girl who was my paternal cousin came to me and informed me of their freedom, and I thanked God.
It has also been said that her dowry was four hundred dirhams, and that he changed her name from Barrah to Juwayriyah , because as the prophet had said, Barrah, which literally means ‘reputable’, was a form of self admiration, although this name was a common one then. He ordered her to observe the hijab and made it obligatory upon her the same way it was obligatory on the rest of his wives.
The Reason for the Change in Name
We don’t exactly know why her name was changed. The prophet changed the names of a number of his wives, such as Zaynab bint Jahsh, Umm Salmah, Maymunah and Juwayriyah, while keeping the names of others, such as Barrah bint Abi Najwah and Barrah bint Sufyan, etc.
From Marriage till Demise
She lived with the prophet for five years but had no children from him and eventually, in the year 56 AH and according to some reports, 50 AH , passed away in Madinah. Her body was escorted till the Baqi’ graveyard and was buried there. It is said that Marwaan al-Hakam, the ruler of Madinah at the time, and Abu Haatam Hayyaan prayed over her body.
Juwayriyah was a pious and righteous woman who fasted most of her days and spent most of her nights in worship. There are reports of her piety and worship that show her degree and high rank after becoming wife of the prophet.
In his book Rayahin al-Shari’ah, Dhabihullah Mahallati says: Juwayriyah was a charming and sweetly speaking and attractive woman.
She has narrated hadiths from the prophet; Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Ubayd ibn Sabbaaq, her nephew Tufayl and others have also narrated from her. Shaykh Tusi has counted her as one of the As’haab (companions) in his rijal book.
She was a well-learned and hadith narrating woman who lived 39 years after the prophet.
Dhahabi, Taarikh Islam wa Wafayaat al-Mashaahir wa al-A’laam, second edition, 1992, vol. 2, p. 259/ Khalifah ibn Khayyaat, Taarikhe Khalifeh, vol. 1, p. 36/ Ibn Hishaam, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 2, p. 290.
Maghaazi, second edition, vol. 1, p. 407.
Maghaazi, ibid, p. 410./ Tabaqaat al-Kubraa, p. 49.
Dayyar Bakri, Shaykh Husayn. Taarikh Khamis vi Ahwaal Anfus al-Nafis, p. 474./ Shaafi’i Halabi. Abu al-Faraj. Sirah Halabiyyah, second edition, vol. 2, p. 380.
Taarikh Tabari, vol. 2, p. 260.
Shahid Khatibi, Husayn, Shureshiyane Bani Mustalaq, chapter 34.
Miqrizi, Ahmad ibn Ali, Imtaa’ al-Istimtaa’, p. 84.
Halabi Ali ibn Burhan al-Din, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah min Sirat al-Amin al-Ma’mun, vol. 2, pp. 86-87.
Shaykh Mufid, Al-Irshaad fi Ma’rifat Hujajillah ala al-Ibaad, vol. 1, p. 118.
Sirah Halabiyyah, ibid, p. 295./ Ibn Hishaam, vol. 2, p. 290./ Manaaqib, p. 201.
Ibn Hishaam, vol. 2, p. 295./ Ibn Asaakir. Taarikh Damishq. vol. 3. p. 218.
Sirah Halabiyyah, ibid, p. 382./ Manaaqib, p. 201./ Al-Irshaad, p. 118.
Ibn Hishaam. Ibid.
Maghaazi, p. 411./ tabaqaat al-Kubraa, vol. 8, p. 92./ Ibn Hishaam, ibid, p. 294.
Abd al-Rahmaan Suhayli, Al-Ruwad al-Alf fi Sharh al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 6, p. 406./ Ibn Hishaam, p. 295.
Imtaa’ al-Asmaa’, vol. 1, p. 206./ Baladhuri, Ansaab al-Ahraaf, vol. 1, p. 443.
Sirah Halabiyyah, ibid, p. 383.
Ansaab al-Ashraaf, p. 442, Taarikh Khamis, p. 474.
Maghaazi, p 307. Ansaab al-Ashraaf, pp. 441-442.
Tabaqaat al-Kubraa, vol. 8, p. 94./ Maghaazi, p. 413.
Al-Sahih min Sirat al-Nabiyy al-A’dham, p. 313.
Taarikh Khamis, vol. 1, p. 475.
Sirah ibn Ishaaq, p. 263.
Tabaqaat al-Kubraa, p. 95./ Ansaab al-Ashraaf, vol. 1, p. 443
Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Al-Isaabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahaabah, vol. 8, p. 74.
Ibn Athir, Usd al-Ghaabah, vol. 6, p. 57./ Al-Isaabah, ibid.
Compiled by: Maryam Masdari