Safiyyah bint Abd al-Muttalib al-Qurshiyah
صفية بنت عبد المطلب القرشية
Safiyah (radiAllahu anha), the daughter of Abd al-Muttalib, was an honorable companion of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam).
Her mother, Hala was the daughter of Waheeb, and cousin of the Holy Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) revered mother Amina.
In consanguinity, Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) was cousin as well as aunt of the Holy Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), Hamza (radiAllahu anhu) was her real brother.
Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) married Haris bin Harb Umavi and a son was born out of this wedlock, Haris died after some time. Thereafter she married Awwam bin Khuwlayd Qarshi Al-Asadi who was a brother of Khadijah Kubra (radiAllahu anha).
A son was born to them who was named Zubair, Awwam also died when Zubair was very young, She did not marry thereafter though young, and remained widow for the rest of her life.
Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) brought up her son Zubair in a very disciplined manner. Her aim was to make him a brave and fearless soldier, very often she subjected him to hard work and sometimes beat him also, Once his uncle Naufil could not bear and asked her angrily, "Do you want tobeat him to death'!" He also requested the other members of the tribe to prevent her from beating the boy.
Then Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) realized that the people had come to know of the fact that she beats her son, expressed her feeling and explained, "Whoever thinks that I beat Zubair with ill intention, he is mistaken. I beat him so that he may become wise and brave and defeat the army of the enemies and capture booty."
Ibn Hajar Asqalani in his book, 'Isabah' relates that once Zubair (radiAllahu anhu) had to fight, while he was still very young, with a very strong man. He broke his hand.
The people complained to Safiyah (radiAllahu anha), She replied, "How did you find Zubair, brave or coward?". Thus her training made her son very brave and courageous.
When Almighty Allah chose Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) as his Prophet, he started calling people to Islam. In the very beginning Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) and her sixteen year old son, Zubair (radiAllahu anhu) embraced Islam and became true companions of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam).
Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) was reckoned among those who were the fore-runners of the Islamic Movement , Zubair (radiAllahu anhu) had great admiration and love for the Prophet of Islam.
When he was too young about 15 years old, he heard a rumor that enemies had either captured or martyred the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam).
He became restless, took out his sword and rushed towards the residence of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) where he found him safe and sound. He finally felt relieved of his agony and his face became cheerful.
When the Blessed Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) saw him with a naked sword in his hand, he asked him, "What's the matter, Zubair?"
The latter replied; "O Messenger of Allah, may my parents be sacrificed upon you. I heard a rumor that enemies of Islam have either captured or martyred you."
The Blessed Prophet smiled and asked, "Had it been so, what would have you done?"
He replied zealously," O Messenger of Allah! I would have fought with Makkans till death."
When the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) left Makkah for good, and migrated to Madinah in hijrah, Zubair was on a business tour of Syria.
While returning, Zubair (radiAllahu anhu) met the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) and Abu Bakr Siddiq (radiAllahu anhu) on the way. He was very much pleased to see them and presented white dresses to the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) and Abu Bakr. They put on these white clothes and went to Madinah. Zubair bade them farewell and returned to Makkah.
After a few days in Makkah, Zubair (radiAllahu anhu) along with his mother, Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) and his wife Asma (radiAllahu anha), daughter of Abu Bakr (radiAllahu anhu), migrated to Madinah.
On the way they stayed at Quba for sometime, where his wife gave birth to a son named Abdullah bin Zubair (radiAllahu anhu).
The birth of this grandson of Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) has a great significance in the history of Islam, because the Jews claimed they had prevented the birth of any male child to the Muslims by their magical power.
So the Muslims were overjoyed at the birth of Abdullah (radiAllahu anhu) and chanted, 'Allah Akbar' - 'Allah is Great' very loudly.
In Madinah Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) lived with her son, Zubair (radiAllahu anhu) and her daughter-in-law Asma (radiAllahu anha) who looked after her very well.
Safiyah had to face separation of her beloved son, while she was in Makkah, because when they embraced Islam, the Makkans, including Naufil became their enemies and oppressed them. Hence, under the instructions from the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), Zubair joined a caravan of the Muslims and migrated to Habasha (Ethiopia).
After three months they heard that the Makkans had embraced Islam. Therefore, they decided to return to Makkah. However, when they approached Makkah they learnt that the news was totally false. They found themselves in trouble and had no alternative but to seek the shelter of some chiefs of Quraysh.
Zubair (radiAllahu anhu) took shelter of a Qurayshi chief named Zam'a bin al Aswad, Safiyah was pleased to sec her son again and thanked Allah for his safe return.
Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) was a very brave and courageous lady In 3.A.H. when some disturbance took place in the battle of Uhud, she came out with a spear and put to shame those Muslims who were running away from the battlefield, She angrily remarked, "Are you leaving the Holy Prophet?" In that angry mood she proceeded towards the battlefield.
Then the Blessed Prophet saw Safiyah coming towards the battlefield, he called Zubair (radiAllahu anhu) and instructed him to take care of her so that she may not see the dead body of her brother Hamzah (radiAllahu anhu).
Hamzah (radiAllahu anhu) was killed at the hands of Wahshi bin Harb. To avenge the death of her father, Utbah who was killed during the battle of Badr by Hamzah, Hind had dropped off the nose and ears of Hamzah's (radiAllahu anhu) dead body. She had also removed the liver after cutting open his stomach and chewed it.
Zubair (radiAllahu anhu) informed his mother of the decision of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam). She at once understood the reason behind it.
She said, "I know that my brother's dead body has been disfigured. It is unbearable for me, However, Allah willing, I shall have patience,"
When the Blessed Prophet became confident, he allowed Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) to see the corpse of her brother. Her eyes were filled with tears. On seeing the dead body in a miserable state she recited, "Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi Raji'oon", and stood stunned.
After a little while she prayed for the salvation of his brother and burst into tears again. Seeing her weeping bitterly, the Holy Prophet could not control himself and his eyes too were filled with tears.
While consoling her, he said, "I have been informed by Jibrail that in Heaven, Hamzah bin Abdul Muttalib (radiAllahu anhu) has been called the 'Lion of Allah' and the 'Lion of the Messenger of Allah'."
Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) was also a poetess, She has written interesting and lucid poems. She has also composed heart touching elegies.
When she saw the dead body of her brother, Hamzah (radiAllahu anhu), she recited an elegy, a line of couplet;
'Today, you had seen day with dark sun through it was shining brilliantly before.'
She also wrote an elegy in memory of her late father, Abdul Muttalib;
'At night a wailing woman made me cry, She was wailing at brave man;
My tears came upon my cheeks like pearls
I pity the death of this brave man who was not bad and his fame had spread everywhere.
He hailed from a noble family and was very generous who helped people in famine
Had there been a lasting life owing to his greatness
But there is no way for lasting life
otherwise that brave man would have lived longer
owing to his nobility and gentle manliness.'
The Blessed Prophet and Safiyah loved each other very much because they were brought up together in the same house. Therefore, when the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) away from this world, in 11 A.H. she was deeply shocked.
The few verses of the elegy composed on the occasion is:
'O Messenger of Allah, thou wert our hope,
Thou wert our benefactor and not ill-wisher
Thou wert merciful, guide and teacher
Today, every one must weep upon thy demise.
May I, my mother, uncle, aunt and maternal uncle
and my wealth be sacrificed upon thee.
Alas! had Allah kept our master amongst us
We would have been fortunate,
But the commandment of Allah is final,
May Allah bless thee and grant abode in Heaven.'
Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) hailed from a noble family. She was respected by all She was a very brave and courageous lady. Her services to the cause of Islam and the Muslims can never be forgotten.
During the battle of Ahzab (Ditches) in 5 A.H., all non-believers and Jews of Arabia had united and launched attack on the center of Islam – Madinah. The rebellious Jews of Banu Quraizah were after the lives of the Muslims.
It was a very critical time for the Muslims. But they lost no courage. They sacrificed their lives and wealth for the sake of Allah and were determined to fight against the enemies of Islam until death.
At this critical situation, it was essential to protect women and children from the evil designs of the enemies within and the Jews of Banu Quraizah. Therefore they were shifted to the Fort of Fara'a by the Holy Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) and Hassan bin Thabit was appointed as their guard.
Though the Fort was very strong, yet it was not free from danger. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) with all his companions was busy in defending Madinah from the enemies of Islam.
There was no barrier between this fort and the area of Banu Quraizah, One day a Jew happened to come this way, who tried to assess the situation in the fort.
By chance, Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) noticed him and at once realized that he was a spy. And if he went back and informed the Jews of Banu Quraizah of the fact that there are only women and children in the fort, they might attack.
Therefore, she asked the guard Hassan (radiAllahu anhu) to kill that Jew. But he expressed his inability, perhaps owing to his physical or mental weakness caused by some disease that he had suffered from.
It is also related that on this occasion he replied to her, "Had I been in a position to fight with this Jew, I would have accompanied the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) at this juncture."
After receiving an unfavorable reply from Hassan (radiAllahu anhu), that bold lady came forward, pulled out a pole of the tent and hit on the head of the Jew who fell and died on the spot.
After killing that Jew she ordered Hassan (radiAllahu anhu) to chop off his head, but again he showed his reluctance Finding no alternative, Safiyah herself cut off his head and threw down the fort.
When the Jews of Banu Quraizah saw the head of their fellow, they concluded that a battalion of the Muslim army was present in the fort, Therefore, they had no courage to attack.
According to another report, the noble lady asked Hassan to remove the belongings from the dead body of the Jew hut he replied that he did not wish to have them.
Thus Safiyah (radiAllahu anha) thwarted the impending danger through her courage and valor and saved the Muslim women and children from the mischief of the Jews.
This noble Muslim lady passed away at the age of 73 years during the caliphate of Umar Farooq (radiAllahu anhu) and was buried in the graveyard of Baqi.
She will be remembered in the Muslim Ummah until the Day of Judgment as a brave and courageous aunty of the Beloved Prophet, full of wisdom, strength and valour and honour.
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