Will you give information about Mariya, the Prophet’s wife?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Apart from his wives, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had a female slave called "Mariya". She was the mother of Ibrahim, the Prophet’s son.

Three weeks after the Treaty of Hudaybiyya was signed in March 628, the Muslims returned to Madinah. The Prophet (pbuh) was busy with spreading Islam during this period of peace. It was time to inform the world about his prophethood. He had been sent as mercy to all realms. During this period, he sent letters to the Kaiser of Byzantium, Chosroes of Iran, Muqawqis of Eqypt, Negus of Abyssinia and Arab chiefs. For, Islam had developed and it was time to spread this religion of oneness.

Muqawqis, the king of Egypt, one of the rulers to whom the Prophet (pbuh) had sent letters of invitation to Islam, sent some gifts to the Prophet (pbuh) along with two female slaves called Mariya and Sirin. Hatib bin Abi Baltaa, who had been sent as the envoy to Egypt, told those female slaves about Islam while returning from Egypt. They were Christians but their hearts warmed toward Islam and became Muslims before they arrived in Madinah. When the gifts sent by Muqawqis came to the Prophet (pbuh), the Prophet gave Sirin to the poet, Hassan b. Thabit; she had a child called Abddurahman from Hassan. The Prophet (pbuh) himself took Mariya and he had a son called Ibrahim from Mariya.

Mariya bint Shamun was born in the region of Ansina, in Egypt, in the village of Hafin, opposite Ashmunin and opposite the Nile. She was born of a Coptic father and a Roman Christian mother. Before she was taken to the palace of Muqawqis, she lived in this village with her sister Sirin. Then, they were taken to the palace together. When Hatib, the envoy of the Prophet, arrived in Egypt, those sisters were in the palace. Muqawqis did not accept Islam but she sent many precious gifts to the Prophet.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had Mariya settle in Haritha b. Numan's house, which was near the mosque. Then, she lived in the date orchard that remained from Sons of Nadr and that was allocated to her in the part of Madinah called Awali. She took care of the dates there. Mariya was very beautiful. The Prophet often visited her since she pleased the Prophet very much.

When Mariya realized that she was pregnant, she became very happy. The Prophet (pbuh) became very happy too. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had a child named Ibrahim from Mariya in the eighth year of the Migration (A.D. 630 April). Thus, Mariya became the second woman who gave birth to a child from the Prophet. Salma, who was the wife of Abu Rafi, one of the freed slaves of the Prophet, was the midwife of Ibrahim. She gave the good news to the Prophet immediately after his birth. The Prophet gave her a slave. She also freed Mariya due to giving birth. Then, he said to the people around him, “I had a son last night, and I gave him the name Ibrahim, the name of my ancestor.” Jibril arrived and said, ’Assalamu alayka O Aba Ibrahim (Peace be upon you O Ibrahim's father!) An animal was sacrificed on the seventh day of his birth. His hair was cut by Abu Hind, and silver equaling the weight of his hair was given to the poor as sadaqah. Many women wanted to be his wet nurse but Umm Burda Hawla bint Munjir was preferred. Her husband was a blacksmith. The Prophet (pbuh) visited his son almost every day and usually had a siesta there.

It is reported that Hz. Aisha said,

“Then, Allah rewarded Mariya by granting her a child. We were deprived of it.”

Mariya’s happiness lasted a bit more than a year. When Ibrahim approached the age of two, he got ill. The Prophet (pbuh) took him on his lap. He was about to die. The Prophet started to shed tears. He said,    

“O Ibrahim! By Allah, we are very sad because of your death. Ibrahim is my son. He is a lamb. Two wet nurses were appointed for him in Paradise to complete breastfeeding.”

When Ibrahim died, the sun was eclipsed. People said, “The sun was eclipsed due to the death of Ibrahim.” The Prophet (pbuh) said,

“O people! The sun and the moon are two signs of Allah. They are not eclipsed because of the birth or death of anybody.”

Mariya returned home. She showed patience. She acted carefully so as not to sadden the Prophet and not to remind her of his son. When she could not show patience, she would go to her son’s grave, trying to felt relieved there; she shed tears to lessen her pain.

The marriage of the Prophet (pbuh) with Mariya had a positive effect on the Egyptians. During the conquest of Egypt, the Egyptians remained neutral, which was one of the factors that made it easy for the Muslims to defeat the Byzantines.

Mariya led a quiet and calm life after the death of the Prophet (pbuh). She lived on the salary allocated to her from the Treasury. She died in 16 H, during the caliphate of Hz. Umar. She was buried in the Cemetery of Baqi.

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