She is Safiyah bint Huyai bin Akhtab. Her decent goes back to prophet Harun (Aaron), peace be upon him.
Lady Safiyah – May Allah be pleased with her – said: “I was the sweetheart of my father and uncle, Abu Yaser. Whenever they are with their children and see me, they take me and leave them. When the Prophet – peace be upon him – came to Medina, my father and uncle went to him from the morning and did not come back until the sunset time. They were very tired and walking slowly. Seeing that, I met them courteously as I usually do, but no one cared about me due to their dejection. I heard my uncle, Abu Yasser, saying to my father: Is it he? My father said: yes he is (the Prophet). My uncle said: do you know him surely? My father said: yes. My uncle said: then what will you do? My father said: He will be my enemy forever “.
Her Birth & Upbringing Place
The exact date of birth of Lady Safiyah – May Allah be pleased with her – is not known, but she was brought up in Al-Khazraj, and was of great dignity before Islam. She was Judaist by religion and lived in Medina. Her mother’s name was Burra bint Samwal.
Lady Safiyah – May Allah be pleased with her – was known of her virtuous character, beauty, forbearing and sublime honor.
Her Life Before Islam
She was of a high dignity for her family. It is mentioned that she has got married twice before Islam; the first husband was called Salam ibn Mushkim; the knight and poet of his people. Then, she separated from him and married Kinanah bin Al-Rabi bin Ubai Al-Haqiq Al-Nasri, the owner of the Qomos Fortification; the most important fortification for the Jews. He was killed in the battle of Khaibar.
Knowing the Prophet – Peace be upon him
In the month of Moharram, the 7th year after Hijra, the Prophet – peace be upon him – got ready to fight the Jews in Khaibar. When the Prophet – peace be upon him – approached Khaibar he said: “Allah Akbar (Allah is The Greatest), Khaibar will be vanished because if we (the Muslims) fight any people – after being duly warned and notified and after their incompliance – we will surely prevail”.
The fight flared up between the Muslims and the Jews and the result was the triumph of the Muslims. The men of Khaibar were killed and their women were taken as captives including Lady Safiyah – May Allah be pleased with her – and the fortifications of Khaibar were opened, including the fortification of Ibn Abi Al Haqiq. When the companion Bilal – May Allah be pleased with him – came back with the captives, he passed them by some of their killed people. Seeing that, the cousin of Safiyah cried and poured dust on her face. The Prophet – peace be upon him – was disturbed of that and ordered to take her away from him. The Prophet – peace be upon him – told Safiyah to stand behind him and covered her with his cloth in order not to see the killed; therefore, it is said that the Prophet – peace be upon him – has selected her for himself.
It is mentioned also that the Prophet – peace be upon him – has invaded Khaibar and prayed Al-Fajr prayer (dawn) there with his companions. The Prophet – peace be upon him – and Abu Talha rode, and I rode behind Abu Talha and walked around the lane of Khaibar. My knee was so close to the thigh of the Prophet – peace be upon him – then the cover shrank and I saw the white thigh of the Prophet – peace be upon him – and when we entered the village, the Prophet – peace be upon him – said: ” Allah Akbar (Allah is The Greatest), Khaibar will be vanished because if we (the Muslims) fight any people – after being duly warned and notified and after their incompliance – we will surely prevail” three times. Then, the people went to their duties and the army invaded the village and collected the captives. Then Dohia came and said: O Prophet of Allah, give me one of the captive women, the Prophet – peace be upon him –said: go and take one. Then Dohia has taken Safiyah bint Huyai, but a man came to the Prophet – peace be upon him and said: O Prophet of Allah, you have given Safiyah bint Huyai to Dohia, she is the lady of Quraidha and Al Nadhir people, she is suiting you only. The Prophet – peace be upon him – said: call him to bring her. When he looked at her, the Prophet – peace be upon him – told Dohia: take another one of the captives. The Prophet – peace be upon him – has set her free and married her. In the way, Um Sulaim has prepared the bride for marriage and took her to the Prophet at night and he married her. In the morning, the Prophet – peace be upon him – stretched out his gown and asked for some food. Some men brought dates, some brought butter and some brought flour. Then, they made a banquet for the Prophet – peace be upon him.
Narrated by Anas Bin Malek – the tradition is (True) – the narrator is: Al–Bukhari – the Source: AlJame‘ Al Sahih – page or No.: 371.
The Prophet – peace be upon him – was not obliging any person to embrace Islam by force until such person became fully convinced with the revelations of Allah and the Sunna (way) of the Prophet, peace be upon him. The Prophet – peace be upon him – asked her about that and gave her the free choice between remaining a Judaist or embracing Islam. If she choose Judaism, the Prophet – peace be upon him – will release her and if she embrace Islam, the Prophet will marry her. She chose Islam by her own will faithfully and sincerely out of her wish to repent and out of her love to the guidance of the Prophet –peace be upon him.
Having came from Khaibar, she lived in the house of Haritha bin An No’man, and the women there came to see her after hearing something about her beauty, including Lady Aisha – may Allah be pleased with her – and it is mentioned that she were wearing a veil. After she went out, the Prophet asked Aisha about Safyiah, she replied: I saw a Judaist woman. The Prophet – peace be upon him – said: “She embraced Islam and became a good Muslim”.
The Day of Wedding
The Prophet – peace be upon him – has taken her to a house in Khaibar in order to marry her but she refused and the Prophet was disturbed for this. Then, they continued their way toward Al-Sahbaa’. There, Um Sulaim bint Malhan combed the hair of Safiyah, dressed and perfumed her and this made Safiyah look very beautiful & attracting. She was very happy to the degree that she forgot the misfortune of her family. Then the banquet was made, and her dowry was a servant called Razina. When the Prophet entered, Safiyah told him that at the night of her wedding with Kinana (her previous husband), she saw in her dream a moon falling on her lap. She told her husband who became very angry and said: Do you wish to marry Muhammad, the King of Hijaz? And slapped her.
The Prophet – peace be upon him – asked her about the reason of her refusal to the wedding while they were in Khaibar, she replied that she feared something happened to the Prophet by the Jews.
Umayah bint Qais said: “I heard that Safiyah was less than seventeen years old when she married the Prophet – peace be upon him.
Her Stances with the Wives of the Prophet – Peace be upon him
Safiyah – may Allah be pleased with her – heard that Hafsa (one of the Prophet’s wives) – May Allah be pleased with her – said about her “the daughter of a Jew”, so she cried and the Prophet – peace be upon him – entered while she was crying and asked her: Why are you crying? She replied: Hafsa said that I am the daughter of a Jew. The Prophet – peace be upon him – said: Your decent goes back to a father prophet (Moses) and uncle prophet (Aaron) and your husband is a Prophet – peace be upon them all –then why is she taking pride? The Prophet – peace be upon him – then told Hafsa: Fear Allah”.
Narrated by: Anas bin Malek – a true tradition – the relator: Al–Albani – The Source: Mishkat AlMasabih – Page or number: 6143.
The Prophet – peace be upon him – went to pilgrimage (Hajj) with his wives. In the way, a man got down and drove the caravan quickly. The Prophet said: are you driving the caravan of women like this (quickly). On the way, the camel of Safiyah, which was the best of the camels, knelt down; and she started crying. The Prophet peace be upon him – came when he was advised and began wiping her tears with his hand but she was even crying more and the Prophet was telling her to stop. However, when she continued crying – and though camping in this place was not the Prophet’s wish- he told his people to camp. That day was the share of Safiyah to be with the Prophet peace be upon him. The Prophet made a tent for him and entered it. Although that day was her share with him, Safiyah – May Allah be pleased with her – was hesitant to enter to the Prophet fearing that he is angry, therefore she went to Lady Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her – and told her: You know that it is impossible for me to waive my day with the Prophet but for the purpose of making him forgive me, I will give my day to you. Aisha agreed and took her veil, after putting some saffron and spraying water on it in order to have a good smell, and worn her clothes and went to the Prophet . Reaching there, the Prophet told her: It is not your turn today. Aisha replied: “That is the grace of Allah which he bestows on whom he pleases“. When the caravan resumed its way, Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her – told Zainab bint Jahsh, who was having camels more than them: Give a camel to your sister Safiyah, but Zainab replied: I will not give a camel to a Jew. Hearing that, the Prophet became angry, deserted Zainab and did not speak with her until they arrived Makka, and during the days of Mina (pilgrimage days) until they reached Medina, and continued like this in the months of Moharram and Safar. During such days, the Prophet – peace be upon him – did not sleep with her until she became hopeless. In the month of Rabi’ Al-Awal, the Prophet entered to her room. Seeing the shadow, she said: this is a shadow of a man and I am sure it is not the Prophet because he does not enter my room. Seeing him, she said: O Prophet of Allah, I do not know what to do. Zainab had a slave girl and was hiding her in order that the Prophet will not see her, but at that moment she said: this slave girl is my gift to you. The Prophet walked toward the bed of Zainab which was folded – since the Prophet peace be upon him did not enter her room for a long time – then he unfolded it, slept with his wife and forgave her.
Narrated by: Safiyah bint Huyai – the validity of the tradition: the series of narrators containedShumiya or Sumiya (the one who narrated from Safiyah), if they were the same person, then thetradition is true – the Relator: Al–Albani– the Source: Al–Silsila Al–Sahiha – Page or number: 7/621.
The Death of the Prophet – Peace be upon him
Zaid bin Aslam said: The wives of the Prophet – peace be upon him – assembled together during the illness of his death. Then Safiyah bint Huyai – May Allah be pleased with her – said: O Prophet of Allah, I swear by Allah that I wish to bear your illness and relive you if I can. Hearing that, the wives of the Prophet – peace be upon him – winked at that i.e. looking at each other as if they are not believing her. Then the Prophet – peace be upon him – said: Rinse out your mouths. They said: For what? He said: of your winking at her, I swear by Allah that she is truthful.
Narrated by: Zaid bin Aslam – the validity of the tradition: good – the Relator: Ibn Hijr Al–Askalani –the Source: Al–Isabah – Page or number: 7/347.
After the death of the Prophet – peace be upon him – she lost the protection and security and people continued mocking her origin.
The Prophet – peace be upon him – was making Itikaf (i.e. seclude himself in the mosque for the worship of Allah). Safiyah – May Allah be pleased with her – said: I went at night to visit the Prophet and speak with him, after that, I went to my home – in the house of Osama bin Zaid – and the Prophet – peace be upon him – accompanied me. In the way, we passed by two men from Al-Ansar (i.e. the people of Medina) who walked quickly when they saw us. The Prophet – peace be upon him – told them: wait, she is Safiyah bint Huyai (i.e. Don’t think I’m walking at night with a strange woman, I am walking with my wife), the two men replied: O Prophet of Allah, you are the prophet of Allah, how can we doubt you!! The Prophet – peace be upon him – said: The devil is all the time accompanying the man, just like his blood, and all the time whispering evil to him; therefore, I feared that the devil whispered any evil thoughts to you.
Narrated by: Safiyah– the validity of the tradition: true – the Relator: Al–Albani– the Source: Sahih AbiDawood – Page or number: 4994.
At the reign of Omar Bin the Khattab – May Allah be pleased with him – the slave girl of Safiyah told him that Safiyah – May likes Saturdays and do visit the Jews. By asking her about that she replied: “As for Saturdays, I do not like them anymore because Allah The Almighty has blessed me with Fridays instead, and as for visiting the Jews, I am just visiting my family”. Thereafter, she asked her slave girl about the reason of doing so, the slave girl replied: it is the devil who whispered this to me; therefore, Safiyah – May Allah be pleased with her – has set her free.
Narrating the Traditions (Hadith) of the Prophet – Peace be upon him
She has ten narrations of traditions in the books of the Prophet’s traditions. One of them was narrated by Muslim & Al Bukhari. The persons who reported her narrations are: her nephew Kinana, Yazid bin Moteb, Zain Al-Abdin bin Ali bin Al Hussein, Ishaq bin Abdullah bin Al-Hareth and Muslim bin Safwan.
She died in Medina, at the reign of Mo’awiah, May Allah be pleased with him – in the 50th year after Hijrah, and was buried beside the other Mothers of Believers (the wives of the Prophet peace be upon him) may Allah be pleased with them all.
The most attractive thing of what I have read about Safiyah bint Huyai – May Allah be pleased with her –is her attitude when Omar bin Al-Khattab – May Allah be pleased with him – asked her about Saturdays and visiting the Jews. In spite of embracing Islam, she did not forget her family, and this is one of the important things emphasized in Islam.