By Ali Sina
The following is the story of Safiyah Bint Huyeiy Ibn Akhtab, the Jewish woman who was captured when Muhammad’s troops attacked Kheibar and brought her to the Prophet as part of his share of the booty. Muhammad ordered Kinana, the young husband of Safia to be tortured to death to make him reveal the whereabouts of the treasure of the town. On the very nigh of that murder, he took Safia to his bed and claimed that young girl as his trophy. This story is reported by Tabari in detail. It can also be found in Sira of Ibn Ishaq. The following is reported in the Book of Tabaqat compiled by Ibn Sa’d and is published in the Islamic site. http://www.muslimunited.org/topics/prophet/wives.html Two years earlier, Muhammad had beheaded Huyeiy, the father of Safia along with 900 men of Bani Quraiza.
Safiyah was seventeen and very beautiful when Muslims killed her father, husband and many of her relatives. In the same day the Prophet of Allah wanted to sleep with her. Here is the exact text of the story.
“Safiyah was born in Medinah. She belonged to the Jewish tribe of Banu ‘I-Nadir. When this tribe was expelled from Medinah in the year 4 A.H, Huyaiy was one of those who settled in the fertile colony of Khaibar together with Kinana ibn al-Rabi’ to whom Safiyah was married a little before the Muslims attacked Khaibar. She was then seventeen. She had formerly been the wife of Sallam ibn Mishkam, who divorced her. One mile from Khaibar. Here the Prophet married Safiyah. She was groomed and made-up for the Prophet by Umm Sulaim, the mother of Anas ibn Malik. They spent the night there. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari guarded the tent of the Prophet the whole night. When, in the early dawn, the Prophet saw Abu Ayyub strolling up and down, he asked him what he meant by this sentry-go; he replied: “I was afraid for you with this young lady. You had killed her father, her husband and many of her relatives, and till recently she was an unbeliever. I was really afraid for you on her account”. The Prophet prayed for Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Ibn Hisham, p. 766) Safiyah had requested the Prophet to wait till he had gone a stage away from Khaibar. “Why?” asked the Prophet. “I was afraid for you on account of the Jews who still happened to be near at Khaibar!”
The reason Safiyah rejected the sexual advances of the 57-year-old Muhammad should be obvious to any objective person. I believe most women prefer to mourn than jump into bed with the killer of their father, husband and many relatives on the same day of their death. But the fact that the prophet of Allah could not contain his sexual urges for one day to let this young girl grieve, says a lot of his thinking and moral character. However as for the rest of the story we are not sure whether it is true or was fabricated by Muslim historians to wipe the impression of rape. But this is all we have and to find the truth we have to rely on these biased documents written by Muslim historians. The story goes on to say that Abu Ayyub was concerned for the safety of the prophet because he (Muhammad) had killed Safiyah’s father, husband and many of her relatives. This is logical. It is foolish to sleep with a woman after killing her loved ones. But Safiyah’s excuse for rejecting Muhammad’s advances towards her seems unreasonable. When Muhammad took this young girl into his tent, he had already killed many Jews and was winning the war. If there were any Jews left, they probably were more worried for their own lives than Safiyah’s chastity. Also she was already in the tent alone with Muhammad, how the Jews would have known if they were engaged in sex or not? I wonder what other excuse could she make to a man who was the murderer of her father, husband and many of her relatives to let her alone at least that night?
“The next day a Walima (we dding-feast) was arranged on behalf of the Prophet…
Note that the historian is saying that the wedding took place one day after the prophet got private with Safiyah and made his moves to have sex with her. This presented no problem for the prophet as he had his Allah reveal a verse saying it is okay to sleep with women captured in war without marrying them even if they are married.
“And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess…” (Q. 4:24 )