Did Umar get married to Atiqa by force?

The Details of the Question

1. Did Umar do such a thing?
- Affan bin Muslim told us: “It was narrated to us by Hammad bin Salama: Ali bin Zayd told us: Atiqa was the wife of Abdullah bin Abu Bakr. Abdullah died, but he made a deal with Atiqa before his death that she would not marry anyone else after that. People wanted to marry her, but she refused. Umar (ra) said to her guardian: “Talk to her about me.” Atiqa’s guardian spoke to her but Atiqa objected. Umar (ra) said: “Marry her off to me.” Thus, he married Atiqa off to Umar. When they were alone, Atiqa objected to having sexual intercourse. Umar used force until she surrendered to him. After the intercourse, Umar said, “Oh. Oh. Oh.” Then, he left Atiqa.” (Muhammad ibn Sad, Tabaqatul-Kubra, Vol-8, p-208)
2. Could you give some information about Atiqa?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer 1:

First of all, we should state that this information is not sound.

a) There are other narrations that do not include the use of force in Tabaqat. These narrations, which are more than one, are more likely to be sound.

b) “Ali b. Zayd (b. Jad’an)” included in the narration in the question, is a rather weak narrator. (see Ibn Hajar, Taqribut-Tahdhib, 1/401)

c) There are expressions in the narration of the story that the mind will not accept. For example; “After the intercourse, Umar said, “Oh. Oh. Oh.” Then, he left Atiqa.” Who heard it from whom? Although it is not acceptable - in many aspects - to go near a newly married ordinary couple at midnight, no one can dare to get close to a distinguished, majestic caliph, Umar - on the first night of his marriage.

d) It would only fit Shiites who hold a grudge against Umar (ra) to claim that someone like Umar did such ugly things as forcibly marrying a woman and having a fight in the nuptial chamber and forcibly going to bed with a woman though she did not want to.

Answer 2:

Atiqa bint Zaid (r. anha)

Atiqa bint Zayd b. Amr al-Qurashiyya (d. 40/660) is the sister of Said b. Zayd, one of Ashara al-Mubashshara; she was one of the first women Companions who embraced Islam and was a poet.

After becoming a Muslim in Makkah, she migrated to Madinah. She married Abdullah, son of Abu Bakr (ra), there. When she impressed her husband with her beauty and charm, causing him not to fulfill his jihad duty and similar responsibilities properly, Abu Bakr forced his son to divorce Atiqa. Abdullah felt very upset and divorced his wife. However, one night when Abu Bakr heard his son’s touching poems expressing the pain of this separation, he allowed his son to marry Atiqa again.

When Abdullah died in Madinah from an arrow wound he received during the Siege of Taif, Atiqa felt very sad and sang an elegy for her husband, stating that she would cry until she died.

However, a year later (12/633) she married Umar (ra). Before getting married, she got a promise from Umar that he would not prevent her from praying in congregation in Masjid an-Nabawi. As a matter of fact, Atiqa was in the mosque when Umar (ra) was martyred by Abu Lulu in the mihrab.

It is also narrated that before Umar, she married Zayd b. Khattab, Umar’s elder brother and that when Zayd was martyred in Yamama, Umar married her.

After the martyrdom of Umar, Atiqa made her third (or fourth) marriage with Zubayr b. Awwam. Upon the martyrdom of Zubayr, she sang an elegy for him too.

It is said that, after Zubayr, Ali b. Abu Talib wanted to marry her, but she did not consent to this marriage by reminding him the widespread rumor among the people of Madinah that Ali (ra) said, “Whoever wants to be a martyr should marry Atiqa.”

It is also narrated in some sources that Atiqa married Ali’s son Husayn, that she even saw Husayn being martyred in Karbala, that she lifted his face from the ground, that she cursed those who committed this terrible murder, and that she cried for Husayn by singing an elegy.

Atiqa, who was a very good poet who sang elegies for each of her deceased husbands and whose poems could be shown as good examples of elegy, also wrote an elegy about the Prophet (pbuh).


Ibn Sa’d, at-Tabaqat, II, 332.
Ibn Qutayba, Uyun al-Akhbar, IV, 114-115.
Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani, al-Aghani, Beirut 1959, XVIII, 7- 13.
Abdulqadir al-Baghdadi, Khizanatul-Adab, IV, 350-352.
Ibn Abdulbarr, al-Isti’ab, IV, 364-367.
Ibnul-Athir, Usdul-Ghaba, VII, 183-185. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, VII, 250.
Ayni, Umdatul-Qari, Cairo 1348, VI, 194-195.
Zaynab bint Yusuf, ad-Durrul-Manthur, Bulaq 1312.

(See TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi, Atike bint. Zeyd item)

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