Safiyah (R.A.A.), the daughter of Abdul Muttalib, was an honorable companion
of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). Her mother, Hala was the daughter of Waheeb and
cousin of the Holy Prophets (S.A.W.) revered mother Amina. In consanguinity,
Safiyah (R.A.A.) was cousin as well as aunt of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), Hamza
(R.A.A.) was her real brother.
Safiyah (R.A.A.) married Haris bin Harb Umavi and a son was born out of this
wedlock, Haris died after some time. Thereafter she married Awwam bin Khuwailid
Qarshi Al-Asadi who was a brother of Khadija Kubra (R.A.A.) 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 (R.A.A.) 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 (R.A.A.) 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."
Hafiz Ibn Hajar Aqalani in his book, "Isabah" relates that once Zubair (R.A.A.)
had to fight, while he was still very young, with a very strong man. He broke
his hand The people complained to Safiyah (R.A.A,), She replied, "How did you
find Zubair, brave or coward?" Thus her training made her son very brave and
When Almighty Allah chose Muhammad (S.A.W.) as his Prophet, he started preaching
Islam. In the very beginning Safiyah (R.A.A.) and her sixteen year old son
Zubair (R.A.A.) embraced Islam and became true companions of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.),
Safiyah (R.A.A.) was reckoned among those who were the fore-runners of the
Islamic Movement , Zubair (R.A.A.) had great admiration and love for the Prophet
of Islam (S.A.W.). When he was too young about 15 years old, he heard a rumor
that enemies have either captured or martyred the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) he
became restless, took out his sword and rushed towards the residence of the Holy
Prophet (S.A.W.) where he found him safe and sound. lie felt relieved of his
agony and his face became cheerful. When the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) saw him with
a naked sword in his hand, he (S.A.W.) asked him, "Whats the matter, Zubair?"
The latter replied; "0 Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), may my parents be sacrificed
upon you (S.A.W.). I heard a rumor that enemies of Islam have either captured or
martyred you." The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) 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 (S.A.W.) left Makkah for good, and migrated to Madina, Zubair
was on a business tour of Syria While returning Zubair (R.A.A.) met the Holy
Prophet (S.A.W.) and Abu Bakr Siddiq (R.A.A.) on the way. He was very much
pleased to see them and presented white dresses to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and
Abu Bakr (R.A.A.) They put on these white clothes and went to Madina. Zubair (R.A.A.)
bade them farewell and returned to Makkah,
After a few days in Makkah, Zubair (R.A.A.) along with his mother, Safiyah (R.A.A.)
and his wife Asma (R.A.A.), daughter of Abu Bakr (R.A.A.), migrated to Madina.
On the way they stayed at Quba for sometime, where his wife gave birth to a son
named Abdullah bin Zubair (R.A.A.). The birth of this grandson of Safiyah (R.A.A.)
has a great significance in the history of Islam, I)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 (R.A.A) and
chanted, Allah is great very loudly.
In Madina Safiyah (r.a.a.) lived with her son, Zubair (R.A.A.) and her
daughter-in-law Asma (R.A.A.) who looked after her very well.
Safiyah (R.A.A.) 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 Holy
Prophet (S.A.W.), Zubair (R.A.A.) 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 Quraish.
Zubair (R.A.A.) took shelter of a Quraishi chief named Zamaa bin al Aswad,
Safiyah was pleased to sec her son again and thanked Allah for his safe return.
Safiyah (R.A.A.) 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 Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) saw Safiyah (R.A.A.) coming towards the
battlefield, he (S.A.W.) called Zubair (R.A.A.) and instructed him to take care
of her so that she may not see the dead body of her brother Hamzah (R.A.A.).
Hamzah (R.A.A.) got martyrdom 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 Hamzahs (R.A,A.) dead body, She had
also removed the liver after cutting open his stomach and chewed it.
Zubair (R.A.A.) informed his mother of the decision of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).
She at once understood the reason behind it. She said, "I know that my brothers
dead body has been disfigured. It is unbearable for me, However, Allah willing,
I shall have patience,"
When the Holy Prophet became confident, he (S.A.W.) allowed Safiyah (R.A.A.) 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 Lillahe wa Inna Ilayhe
Rajeoon", 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 (S.A.W.) said, "I have been informed by Gabriel that in
Heaven, Hamzah bin Abdul Muttalib (R.A.A.) has been called the Lion of Allah
and the Lion of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.)."
Safiyah (R.A.A.) 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 (R.A.A.), she recited an elegy, a couplet of which is
rendered here in English.
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. The
English version of the same is.
"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 Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and Safiyah (R.A.A.) loved each other very much
because they were brought up together in the same house, Therefore, when the
Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) away from this world, in 11 A.H. she was deeply shocked.
The English version of a few verses of the elegy composed on the occasion is:
"0 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
May I, my mother, uncle, aunt and maternal uncle and my wealth be sacrificed
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 (R.A.A.) 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 infidels and Jews of Arabia
had united and launched attack on the center of Islam – Madina. 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 Ash 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 Faraa by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and Hassan
bin Sabit was appointed as their guard.
Though the Fort was very strong, yet it was not free from danger. The Holy
Prophet (S.A.W.) with all his companions was busy in defending Madina 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 (R.A.A.) 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 (R.A.A.) 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 Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) at this juncture,"
After receiving an unfavorable reply from Hassan (R.A.A.), 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 (R.A.A.) to chop
off his head, but again he showed his reluctance Finding no alternative, Safiyah
(R.A A.) 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
Thus Safiyah (R.A.A.) 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 (R.A.A.) and was buried in the graveyard of Baqie She will be
remembered in the Muslim Ummah until the Day of Judgment.