‘Infertility’ Among The Mothers of The Believers

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By Pure Matrimony -

Author: Nzingha Shabaaz

Source: idealmuslimah.com

The wives of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) are often understood as examples for Muslim women to follow. When Muslim women are given models of performance they turn to these women to show piety, steadfastness, honesty and obedience. However what appears to be forgotten among many is that most Mothers of the believers would be defined as infertile today. Among these women are two who would be classified as having secondary infertility, both having children prior to their marrying Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam). All others bearing no children at all. Let us take a look at these women.

Sawdaa’: She was married to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) shortly after the death of Khadijah, three years before the hijrah (migration). She was a widow having married once before. There are conflicting reports in reference to her having children. Those that claim she had a child attribute one son to her. She bore no children while married to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam).

‘Aa’ishah: She was married to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) in the same year as Sawdaa’, although her marriage was not consummated until after the migration to Madinah. She was the youngest wife of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) and the only virgin. She bore no children in her marriage.

Hafsah: She was married to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) after becoming a widow at the time of the battle of Badr. She is said to have been around the age of nineteen at the time. She had no children in her first marriage to Khumays b. Hudhafah and she bore no children in her marriage to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam).

Umm Salamah: She married Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) in the year 4 AH. She was previously married to ‘Abdullah ibn Abdul Asad and they had four children together, Zaynab, Salamah, Umar and Durra. She married Muhammad after becoming a widow and was still nursing Zaynab. She bore no children with Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam).

Zaynab bint Jahsh: She was a cousin of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) and previously married to his adopted son Zayd bin Thabit. After Zayd had divorced her in 5AH she was married to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) by the decree of Allah. She bore no children in either marriage.

Juwayriyyah: She was married to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) after the Battle of the Ditch in 5 A.H. She was captured and then freed by Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam); she then converted to Islaam and married the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah, the Mighty, be upon him). She was previously married before being a Muslim to Musafi’ ibn Safwan. She bore no children in either marriage.

Umm Habibah: She married Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) in the year 7 A.H. She was previously married to ‘Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh who turned apostate after migrating to Abyssinia. She bore one daughter, Habibah after her emigration to Abyssinia. She bore no children in her marriage to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam).

Safiyyah: She was a Jew and captured during the attack on Khaybar in 7 A.H. She was freed and converted to Islaam then married Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam). She was married twice before her conversion she bore no children in any marriage.

Maymoonah: She married Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) in 7AH. She was the last to be married by Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam). She was previously married to Ma’sood ibn ‘Amr ath-Thaqafi and Abu Ruhm ibn ‘Abdul Uzza. She bore no children in any marriage.

We can make the assumption that a fertility problem did not lie in Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam). He had children with his first wife Khadijah, four girls and two boys. And he had one child, Ibraaheem, with Maryam the Copt slave who was given to him as a gift after 7 A.H.

When we take these women as examples such exemplary women it’s strange as to why some people place so much emphasis on a woman’s ability to procreate and actually make her feel as if she has failed if she hasn’t!! Here we have the life of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) who is the best of examples, and yet we have the desire to measure the worth of a Muslim women by her ability to produce children. Yes, these examples of Muslim women did not produce children in their marriage to Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam). They (may Allah be pleased with them) can be defined as infertile in light of the common day definition of infertility. Yet, Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not divorce them, nor did he demean them for not having children. Their status as Muslim women was in no way defined by their ability or inability to have children. We have no record of this even being an issue among these women, yet we make it an issue between every couple even if we hardly know them.

It is my hope that all of my fellow infertile Muslim sisters find strength in the memory of these women. Even though they bore no children with Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam) he loved and respected them and they are given a status unlike other women in our Ummah (Muslim nation).

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4 Comments to ‘Infertility’ Among The Mothers of The Believers

  1. I wonder why having children is seen as a do-or-die matter. What if the children die before you? Would you kill urself? In my country, Nigeria, lots of women, even muslims, would do anything to have kids. From visiting spirituals and churches to commiting zina. Some things are beyond our control and the sooner we accept and rise above them, the better.

  2. Asalamu alaikum,
    Thank you for such a beautiful article. Its very much informative. And that we should trust Allah and do not take to wrong path to fulfill our mere desires. I just want to make one point that, in this article you mentioned Zayd bin Thabit was the adopted son of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him). It needs to be corrected because our Prophet did considered Zayd as like his son, but he never ‘adopted’ him. Both have a vast difference.

  3. Musa Garba Kuta

    D story on Infertility among d mothers of d believers is indeed an edifying n eye-opening experience 4 me. Im truly glad n grateful 2 u 4 disseminating dis hitherto unknown info. I believe a lot of people would benefit 4rm it. Tanx n God bless.

  4. Assalamu Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

    I had always thought about this alhamdulillah first time actually find an article on it.

    I just want to add that Aasiyah, the wife of pharoah, who is mentioned as one of the
    three great women in a hadith, was also childless. Her husband was a ruthless king
    yet she found in her to placate her husband, defy him even and bring up & nuture
    an abandoned infant. She chose to adopt Musa (a.s).

    As a sonologist (Scan Dr) i found myself confronted by many helpless couples making
    scan visits month after month in vain. I would always encourage them to do lots of duas,
    and not to give up, deciding their destiny for themselves, as, was not Prophet Ibrahim (a.s)
    dua not answered in his old age when his wife thought she was barren? So dont give up
    hope and make plently of duas dear sisters.

    But even as you wait for Allah to bestow you a child of your own, please do consider adopting.
    I know its easy for me to say but extremely difficult for anyone to think of it in our society.
    The prothet praised the virtues of looking after an orphan. Mothering is such an innate desire
    a fitra insilled by Allah in every female. If not by giving birth, by nuturing a child somewhere
    a musa can be fostered.

    I apologise if i hurt somebody here. its my earnest wish that Allah bless every couple.


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