Juwayriya bint al-Harith (r.anha)

In the 5th year of the Migration, Banu Mustaliq clan of the Khuzaa tribe took action in order to eliminate the Muslims; thereupon, the Muslims organized an expedition against them. This expedition ended with the victory of the Muslims thanks to the help of Allah Almighty. A lot of captives and booties were obtained.

Among the captives was Barra (Juwayriya), the daughter of Harith b. Abi Dirar, the leader of the Sons of Mustaliq. Barra's husband was killed during the battle. Juwayriyah was widowed.

The captives were distributed among the mujahids. Barra was given to Thabit b. Qays bin Shammas and his cousin. Barra made a deal with her masters to be freed in return for a certain amount of money. However, it was quite a large amount of money and she could not afford to pay it. Thereupon, she applied to the Prophet and told him about her situation.

"I am the daughter of Harith b. Abi Dirar, the leader of the Sons of Mustaliq. As you know I was given to Thabit b. Qays bin Shammas and his cousin. I made a deal with them to be freed in return for a certain amount of money. I came here to ask you to help me pay my ransom.

The Prophet said to her, “Is there not anything better than that for you?” Barra asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What is it?" The Messenger of Allah said, “Freeing you by paying your ransom and accepting you as my wife.”

Barra started to meditate. Three days before the battle, she saw in her dream that the moon rose from Madinah and fell on her bosom. When she heard the proposal of the Prophet, the light of guidance started to shine on her face. She accepted the proposal of the Prophet. Then, she uttered kalima as-shahadah and attained the honor of becoming a Muslim.[1]

Meanwhile, Harith b. Abi Dirar, Juwayriyah’s father, set off toward Madinah with some people from his tribe and some camels in order to save his daughter. When he reached the valley of Aqiq, he looked at his camels. He hid two of the most beautiful camels there. He did not want to give these nice animals as ransom. Then, he arrived in Madinah. He found the Prophet and said to him, "My daughter cannot be held as a captive. It does not fit my rank and honor. Free her." The Messenger of Allah said, "Do you want me to give her the right to decide?" Harith said, "Yes, if you do so, you will perform your duty." Thereupon, Harith went to his daughter and said to her,

"This man gave you the right to decide. Do not disgrace us."

However, it was impossible for Barra to prefer anything to the Prophet. As a matter of fact, she uttered the following at the risk of embarrassing her father:

"I prefer the Messenger of Allah." 

Harith was annoyed and said, “You disgraced us!”[2] Then, he turned to the Prophet and said, “These camels are ransom for my daughter. Take them and give my daughter to me.” Allah Almighty informed the Prophet that Harith had hidden two of the camels. He said to Harith, “Where are the two camels you hid in Aqiq Valley? Why did you not bring them?" This miracle caused Harith and the people with them to become Muslims. With great excitement, Harith said, “I witness that there is no god but Allah; you are definitely the Messenger of Allah! I swear by Allah that nobody but Allah knew what I had done.” He became a Muslim. Two of his sons who were with him and some people from his tribe also became Muslims.[3]

Then, the Prophet asked Barra's father to marry her off to him. Harith said, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah! I have given her to you.” Thereupon, the Prophet married Barra in the 5th year of the Migration. He changed her name as “Juwayriya”. For, “Barra” means “good deed, goodness” and the Prophet did not like it when people said, “Barra left the house of the Messenger of Allah.”

Juwayriya was 20 years old then.

When the Companions saw that the Prophet married Juwayriya and became a relative of the tribe of Banu Mustaliq, they freed all of the slaves by saying, “The relatives of the wife of the Prophet should not be kept as slaves.” Thus, Hz. Juwayriya caused 700 captives from her tribe to be freed. Besides, many people from her tribe became Muslims. Hz. Aisha appreciated Hz. Juwayriya because of this.

Hz. Juwayriya performed fasting and prayers a lot. She also gave great importance to mentioning the names of Allah and glorifying Him. One morning, after performing the morning prayer (fajr), she started to say prayers and dhikr; meanwhile, the Prophet left. When he returned later that morning, he saw that she was still mentioning the names of Allah. He asked, "Have you been sitting in the same place since I left you?" She replied, "Yes, I have." Thereupon the Prophet said,

"I recited four phrases three times after I left you, and if these were to be weighed against what you have been reciting since dawn, they would still outweigh them. They are as follows:

‘Subhanallahi adada khalqihi, subhanallahi rida nafsihi, subhanallahi zinata arshihi wa subhanallahi midada kalimatihi ['Glory be to Allah and Praise be to Him as much as the number of his creations, and His pleasure, and the weight of His Throne, and the ink of His words.]”[4]

After this advice of the Prophet, Hz. Juwayriya, started to utter those words.

Juwayriya was a very charitable woman like the other wives of the Prophet. She would give the food she had to the poor though she was hungry. Once, the Prophet came to her room and asked, “Do you have anything to eat?” Hz. Juwayriya said, “By Allah, I have no food. I had some bones but I gave them away to a poor person.”[5]

This blessed wife of the Prophet's died in the 56th year of the Migration at the age of 65. Her janazah prayer was led by Marwan bin Hakam.

May Allah be pleased with her!

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[1] Tabaqat, 8: 116; Usdu'l-Ghaba, 5: 320.
[2] Tabaqat, 8: 118.
[3] Sirah, 3: 308.
[4] Muslim, Dhikr: 79; Musnad, 6: 325, 430; Tabaqat, 8: 119.
[5] Musnad, 6: 429-430.

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