After thradhiAllahuanhae truce of Hudaybiyyah which took place in the month of Shawwal of the year 6 A.H., the Mes senger of Allah (peace be upon him) invited the kings and rulers of the world to Islaam and warned them against delaying their response to his call. The question as to: 'Why didn't the Prophet (peace be upon him) invite them to Islaam at the beginning of his mission?' needs one to ponder of the biography of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

The struggle in the early days of Islaam between the Muslims and the leaders of the Quraysh was both intense and difficult. The Muslims stayed firm and strong upon the truth and endured the persecutions patiently without physically retorting with fighting and aggressiveness. This was because at that time the laws pertaining to Jihaad hadn't been revealed and weren’t going to be revealed until much later on. That is why for thirteen years in the Meccan period Muslims suffered patiently.

Then Allah Almighty decreed it such that the migration to Madeenah took place after the pledge of the Ansaar, Aws and Al- Khazraj to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), which is referred to as the pledge of ‘Aqabah. They pledged to the Prophet (peace be upon him) their full support and that they were ready to fight anyone and everyone for Islaam and the Prophet's (peace be upon him) protection. This is when Allah revealed the verse:

{Permission to fight [against disbelievers] is given to those [believers] who are fought against because they have been wronged. And surely, Allah is able to give them [believers] victory.} (Qur’aan, 22:39)

Now Muslims were allowed to defend themselves and stand up for their rights. They were now able to do so as they had now founded an Islamic state, with its own geographical boundaries, people and system. This situation is corroborated by the agreements the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered into with the Jews of Madeenah: Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nadeer and Banu Quraydhah. Both the texts and articles of these agreement testified to this. They were agreements of alliance, non-aggression and acknowledgement of each party’s authority over its followers. However, the aversive Quraysh - who turned away from the truth and guidance and instead inclined towards ignorance, error and desire - were still hostile towards Islaam, its' Messenger and the Muslims. They engaged the Muslims in battles from Badr to Uhud and even the battle of the Trench! Their hostility towards the Muslims continued on until the day of Hudaybiyyah. It was in Hudaybiyyah that a truce took place between the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and the Quraysh represented by Suhayl ibn ‘Amr.

This truce recognized the political entity of the Muslims and the Messenger of Allah’s leading authority, but did not recognize him to be a Prophet and Messenger. We can observe this in Suhayl’s rejection of the expression: 'Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah' when the truce was being drafted. He said,

'If we had acknowledged you as being the Messenger of Allah, we would not have waged war against you. You should therefore instead write your name and the name of your father!'

Even though they didn't accept the Prophet (peace be upon him) as a Messenger of Allah, nevertheless the result of this truce was that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was acknowledged by the Quraysh as the leader of an Islamic State.

madinah67The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) henceforth was ready to address letters to the leaders of the nations. No doubt, although he was greater and nobler than the need for a mere political title, it was a necessity for international relations.

Dear reader, this introduction is of historical necessity when discussing Maariyah, the Copt, and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) was a blessing for her, as had it not been for the Prophet’s letter to Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt, there would not have been any mention of Maariyah in the history of Islaam.

Muqawqis was based in Alexandria, as he had taken this city as his headquarters. He held the religious and political leadership over the Egyptian Copts, in spite of the Roman occupation of their land and their usurpation of the Egyptian people for years. The church was divided into groups as far as belief, conducts and rituals were concerned: The Western Church, under the leadership of the Romans and the Eastern Church, under the leadership of its patriarchs and bishops. The Muqawqis belonged to the latter group.

It was Haatib ibn Abi Baltah who was sent with the Prophet’s letter to the Muqawqis. It should be remembered that all letters that were sent to the various kings and rulers were of the same content. The Muqawqis received the letter of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and read it. He hosted the envoy and honored him but did not accept the Message of Islaam. He then sent some gifts with the envoy to the Messenger of Allah. The gifts were:

  • Mariyah and her sister Seereen.
  • A mule named Dudul.
  • A donkey named Ya’foor.
  • An old eunuch known as Ma’boor. Some said he was Mariyah’s brother but the correct view is that he was her relative.
  • 1000 mithqal of gold.
  • Twenty-five cloths

Who Was She?

purpleflowerwaterMariyah was a Copt girl from a village situated in upper Egypt and her name was Ansana. She was fair-complexioned and beautiful with curly hair. It was said that her mother was of Roman descent and this is why she had such white skin. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) kept her as his right-hand-possessed. But in spite of this she fully covered, as was the command for the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave her sister Seereen as a gift to Hassaan ibn Thaabit.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) first sheltered her in the apartments of his wives, but this made his other wives very jealous of her. He then took her to a place in the outskirts of Madeenah called 'Al-Aliyah' and would visit her there. Mariyah embraced Islaam and practiced the religion excellently.

Maariyah then became pregnant and none of the Prophet’s other wives had become pregnant since he had migrated to Madinah. She gave birth to a boy and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)) named him Ibraaheem after his ancestor, the Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him). The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then said about Mariyah,

“Her son has set her free.”

This is an Islamic legal rule concerning the right-hand-possessed. If they deliver a child to their master, they become free. In this aspect, we can say that Maariyah’s presence in the Prophet’s household not only freed her and gave her a totally new life, but also enriched Islamic jurisprudence and the different forms of social relations.

Ibraaheem was born in the 8th year of Hijrah, which was the year of the conquest of Makkah in which the Ancient House was purified from the filth of statues and in which the last bastion of polytheism was eradicated from the Arabian Peninsula. It was an occasion in which the veil of polytheism, which had overwhelmed the Quraysh for generations since their deviation from the pure monotheism of Prophets: Ibraaheem and Ismaa’eel was removed.

The Prophet’s joy at the birth of his son Ibraheem has been clearly recorded. He would visit Maariyah's house in order to see his son Ibraheem and would affectionately carry him and give him a lot of love. Indeed the Prophet (peace be upon him) was father unlike any other and is truly a role model for all of mankind!

Let’s not also forget about how he would take time out of his busy schedule to play with his granddaughter Umamah, the daughter of Zaynab and how he would carry her on his back while he was praying. Let's recall the love and affection he had for Hasan and Husayn, the sons of Faatimah and he descended from the pulpit when he saw Husayn entering the Masjid just so that he could carry him in his hands!

In light of all the above memorable incidences, we should realise how strongly the Prophet (peace be upon him) must have been attached to his son Ibraheem, especially in that he had lived for eighteen months! Yes! He was the warmth of his heart and his only son to survive! But...

{Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last [end] of the Prophets...} (Qur’an 33:40)

Though this verse was revealed for a specific reason relating to Zayd ibn Haarithah it still heralds a divine rule: The seal of the Prophets would not have any sons of his own who would live after him.

When Ibraaheem was eighteen-months old, he was afflicted by a fever. The remedies they tried on him were of no avail. He breathed his last in the hands of his father as his soul departed towards its Creator. The women wept, as did the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).

Later, the Prophet's (peace be upon him) eyes were overflowing with tears at the grave of his son, but he did not say anything other than,

“The eyes shed tears and the heart grieves. We are saddened by your departure, O Ibraheem. And we shall not say except that which pleases Allah.”

When Ibraaheem died an eclipse occurred, which wasn't due to the death of the Prophet’s Ibraheem. Rather, it was coincidental and merely an orbital movement. Thereupon some people said,

“The sun eclipsed for the death of Ibraheem!”

When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) heard this he announced,

“The sun and the moon are two of the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse due to the death or life of anyone.”

Maariyah lived for many years after the death of Allah’s messenger (peace be upon him). Abu Bakr used to pay for her maintenance, and ‘Umar did so after Abu Bakr and in the year 6 A.H, she passed away.

Al-Waqidi said,

“She died in Muharram, the 6th year of Hijrah. ‘Umar gathered people to witness her funeral. He led the prayer on her [i.e. her funeral prayer] after which she was buried in al-Baqee’.”

May Allah be pleased with her and make the highest level of paradise her abode!