The Mother of the Faithful ‘Aa'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) once said,
“I do not know of a woman who brought greater blessing to her people more than Juwayriyah.”
"Juwayriyah" is the diminutive form for the term Jaariyah. The diminutive form in Arabic language can be used for two opposing purposes. It can either be used as an expression of praise, commendation and to show love or it can be used to show disdain and derogation.
As for her name "Juwayriyah", the Prophet (peace be upon him) named her so. Before this, her name was Barrah, which was the name her father had given to her. Changing the names of his companions was a known habit of the Prophet (peace be upon him), whether male or female. He did this so that his Companions would shun anything which was related to the time of ignorance. As for why he changed the name of a number of his female Companions from ‘Barrah’ to another name, then there are different opinions in this regard, some of which related to the individuals and some are due to the intended meaning.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) disliked that a person should praise himself and the name ‘Barrah’ is derived from the term birr, which means righteousness. How then can a person openly be called "righteous" by the usage of such a name, where is the modest"y and humility?
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also disliked for a person to say: “He just left the house of ‘Barrah’ (which means: a righteous woman).”
Who Was She?
Juwayriyah was the daughter of the chief of Banoo al-Mustaliq al-Haarith ibn Abi Diraar. She was married to Mani ibn Safwaan, one of their leaders and most influential men.
Banoo al-Mustaliq was one of the tribes which waged war against Islaam, wanting to extinguish the light of Allah by both their mouths and hands. They stubbornly remained on the state of ignorance and paganism and gathered weapons to prepare their attack on Madeenah.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), with the capabilities and extraordinary leadership qualities he was endowed with, had appointed highly qualified men among his companions to monitor the movement of the enemy so that he could accurately estimate their situations and plan accordingly. This is how the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to know of Banoo al-Mustaliq’s intentions and their coordinated preparations - through one of the Prophet’s intelligence.
As an experienced commander, the Prophet (peace be upon him) decided to launch a sudden attack on them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions arrived near them, near a well called al-Muraysee. There he attacked them and put an end to their hopes and dreams.
Dear reader it is from here that Juwayriyah entered the company of the women around the Messenger (peace be upon him). And it is from here that she attained the great honor and title of being the ‘Mother of the Faithful’.
Let’s listen to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) as she explains to us what happened on that momentous day:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) took the women of Banoo al-Mustaliq as captives. He them took out one fifth of them and divided the remaining ones among his companions, giving the cavalry soldiers two shares and the infantry soldiers one share.
Juwayriyah fell into the share of Thaabit ibn Qays al-Ansaari. She was formally married to a cousin of hers known as Mani ibn-Safwan ibn Maalik ibn Judaymah, who is also known as Dhu Ash-Shafra. She was bereaved of him and so agreed with Thaabit ibn Qays to buy her freedom with nine Ooqiyah.”
A’ishah describes her saying, “She was a pleasant woman. No one saw her except he became captivated by her. While the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was sitting, suddenly Juwayriyah entered asking him concerning her ransom agreement (with Thaabit). By Allah, as soon as I saw her, I disliked her entering in front of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) for I knew that he would see what I saw in her.
She then started addressing the Prophet (peace be upon him),
‘O’ Messenger of Allah! I am Juwayriyah, the daughter of al-Haarith - the leader of his people. You are not oblivious of what has happened to me. I fell in the share of Thaabit ibn Qays and agreed with him to ransom myself with nine Ooqiyah. So help me to free myself.’
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) replied, ‘Do you want what is better than that?'
‘What is it?’
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘I will pay on your behalf and then marry you.’
‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah.’
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, ‘I have done that.’"
This event leads us to a brief discussion about some of the Prophet’s marriages. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is in all of his marriages an excellent example for all men. His desire for any woman was only in accordance with the natural inclination that Allah had created in him as a human being, though the desire was not the dominating factor behind his marriages.
There are many harmonious evidences for this since his first marriage to Khadeejah was when he was in the prime of his youth, active and energetic, while Khadeejah was forty years old and close to menopause. Then he married Sawdah, a rather overweight woman. She was, however, one of the earliest Muslims and immigrants and was also one of the believing women who devotedly worshipped and emigrated in the way of Allah.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then married ‘Aa’ishah and the command to marry her had come from above the heavens, but he did not consummate their marriage until after more than two years of contracting the marriage. Even this was when her father, Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) reminded him to do so. It should be remembered that there was a strong relationship between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr’s household. Strengthening this relationship was a necessity as ties should be kept alive, especially in a tribal society which was still impacted with clan inclinations. This was to help the cause of Islamic propagation and foster harmony among its supporters.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also joined ties with the Ummayyad household when he successively married his two daughters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom, to ‘Uthmaan, who was one of the leading Umayyads in status, wealth and influence.
Consider also, his marriage to Umm Habeebah, who was suffering from loneliness, widowhood, emigrations and great tribulations. She was a daughter of Abu Sufiyaan, an heir to the Quraysh’s leadership in politics and war and the chief of the Banu Umayyah. We have already mentioned the statement that he made when he heard of the Prophet’s marriage proposal to his daughter, and his acknowledgement of the Prophet’s farsightedness and wisdom.
Giving solace is a human tendency and strengthening relationships is one of the necessities of promoting the cause of Islaam. These two were the major factors behind the Prophet's (peace be upon him) marriages.
Let us now go back to our discussion regarding Juwayriyah and of her being around the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
We saw that the first statement with which she addressed the Prophet (peace be upon him) with was,
“O Messenger of Allah!”
This statement indicated her belief in Islaam.
She then added, “I am Juwayriyah, the daughter of al-Haarith who is the leader of his people and I have been affected with something (captivity) that is known to you. For, I fell into the share of Thabit ibn Qays and I have agreed with him to ransom myself with nine Ooqiyah. So help me to free myself.”
She came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) seeking that which is good but returned with something much better and greater.
There is no doubt that this action of the Prophet (peace be upon him) had left its impacts and far-reaching effects on her heart and in the hearts of her family and hence by extension on her tribe.
‘Aa’ishah said: “When the news of this marriage came to the people they began saying,
‘Will the Prophet's in-laws be held as captives?!’
Then the people freed all the captives that were with them from the tribe of Banoo al-Mustaliq, and the number of those who were freed reached one hundred households because of the Prophet’s marriage to Juwayriyah.”
It was at this point that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said,
“I know of no other woman who brought greater blessing to her people than Juwayriyah. And that was when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was returning from the Battle of Muraysee’.”
She had yet another credit which demonstrated her excellence in adherence to the teachings of Islaam and the truthfulness of her Eemaan (faith). This was because she was in the household of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and in a place where Allah’s clear verses were being revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Ibn Abbas narrated that Juwayriyah’s name was ‘Barrah’, So the Messenger of (peace be upon him) named her Juwayriyah. He then said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed the Fajr prayer and then left her apartment. He stayed out until forenoon and then came back while she was still at her place of prayer. She told him,
‘I have stayed here since you left.’
The Prophet (peace be upon him) thereupon told her, ‘I have recited four words three times after I left you and if these were to be weighed against what you have recited since morning, (then) these words would outweigh them and (these words) are, ‘Praise be to Allah according to the number of His creation and according to the pleasure of His Self and according to the weight of his Throne and according to the ink (used in recording) words (for His Praise)’.’”
In addition to her great piety and deep worship, she was also a treasure-chest as she had memorized many narrations of the Prophet (peace be upon him)
An example of one such Hadeeth narrated from her is the one narrated by Abu Ayyob al-Atakee, which he narrated from Juwayriyah who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) visited her on a Friday while she was fasting. He asked her, “Did you fast yesterday?” She said, “No.” He said, “Are you going to fast tomorrow?” She said, “No.” Thereupon he said, “Then break you fast.” There are other aHaadeeth narrated from her wherefrom Islamic legal rulings are derived, be they in acts of worship or in social interactions. Such aHaadeeth are considered by the erudite scholars to be important and fundamental sources of Fiqh.
Even with the issue of coitus interruptus, which is a subject of wide controversy as some scholars support it and others oppose it, was elaborated on by the Prophet (peace be upon him) after the Battle of Banu al-Mustaliq of which Juwayriyah was one of its major personalities.
Bukhaari and Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri who said, “We went out with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) for the campaign of Banoo al-Mustaliq and received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired woman and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus. When we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said (i.e. asked each other), ‘How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) who is present among us (i.e. with regards to its ruling)?’ We asked (him) about it and he said, ‘It is better for you not to do it, for if any soul (till the day of resurrection) is predestined to exist, it will exist.’”
The Prophet’s statement, “If any soul (till the day of resurrection) is predestined to exist, it will exist” means: Whether you practice coitus interruptus or not, it is the same in this regard. For some sperms may sneak into the women before the withdrawal and unwanted conception may still occur. The fact that this incident took place during the Battle of Banu al-Mustaliq is the correct opinion.
Juwayriyah’s father, al-Haith ibn Abi Diraar knew of his daughter’s movements, from the possession of Thaabit ibn Qays to the house of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and that she had become one of the Prophet’s wife. He decided to go to Madeenah to ransom her with one hundred camels, hoping that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would accept this ransom from him.
When he came close to Madeenah, he looked at his camels and those that impressed him. He made up his mind to put aside the ones he liked so that they wouldn't be among those camels which he was going to offer for his daughter's ransom. He set the best of them aside, tied them up in a safe place and assigned some guards to watch over them.
He then entered into the presence of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sitting in the Masjid, he then greeted him and begged him to accept the ransom and return his daughter back to him. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) welcomed him and asked him with a smile, “What about the two camels you set aside and tied up in such and such a place?”
He suddenly became speechless and was visibly amazed. His tongue was unable to lie. He then said:
“I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that you, Muhammad are a Messenger of Allah! By Allah! No one knows of this matter except Allah alone.”
Following al-Haarith’s Islaam, all of the members of Banoo al-Mustaliq tribe also embraced Islaam after he informed them about what had happened and invited them to Islaam. This is a clear manifestation of Allah’s blessing on Juwayriyah and her tribe through His Messenger (peace be upon him).
Juwayriyah lived for fifty years after the Hijrah. It is said that she was sixty-five when she died. Marwaan ibn al-Hakam, the governor of Madinah at that time performed the funeral prayer and then she was buried in al-Baqee.’
May Allah be pleased with her and please her.
May He also honor her abode and place of rest. Aameen!