Juwayriyyah Bint Al-Harith

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The fifth year of Hijrah (the Migration of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Al-Madeenah) was a year rich in major events. During its second half, the Muslims were busy fighting the enemies of outside as well as within (coalitions of different tribes of infidels and hypocrites that rallied against Muslims to impede the spread of Islam).

Muslims dug a trench around Al-Madeenah to defend it against the enemies outside. But a greater danger was facing them from inside, that of the Jewish tribes who breached the peace treaty. After defeating the enemies, the Prophet rallied the Muslims against the Jewish tribe of Banu An-Nadheer first. They blockaded their fortress for twenty-five days until they all surrendered. Then the Muslims set off towards the tribe of Banu Al-Mustaliq who were gathering forces to fight them.

The two armies met at a watering well called Al-Muraysee'. A fierce battle took place which ended by a heavy defeat of Banu Al-Mustaliq. Most of their fighters were killed and their women were taken captives. Their leader, Al-Harith Ibn Dhirar, escaped, but his daughter, Barrah, fell to the hands of the Muslims.

The Prophet distributed the captives among the Muslims. The daughter of Al-Harith fell to the lot of Thabit Ibn Qays . 'Aa'ishah who accompanied the Prophet on this expedition, related: "When the Prophet distributed the captives of Banu Al-Mustaliq, she (Barrah) fell to the lot of Thabit Ibn Qays . She was married to her cousin, who was killed during the battle. She gave Thabit a deed (document), agreeing to pay him for her freedom. She was a very beautiful woman. She captivated every man who saw her. She came to the Prophet to ask for his help in the matter. As soon as I saw her at the door of my room, I took a dislike to her, for I knew that he would see her as I saw her. She went in and told him who she was, the daughter of Al-Harith Ibn Dhirar, the chief of his people. She said: 'You can see the state to which I have been brought. I have fallen to the lot of Thabit, and have given him a deed for my ransom, and I have come to ask your help in the matter.' He said: 'Would you like something better than that? I will discharge your debt, and marry you.' She said: 'Yes, O Messenger of Allah!' 'Then it is done.'  He replied." [Ahmad]

This was the event that turned Barrah's (later named Juwayriyyah by the Prophet ) life around. For not only did she accept Islam, thus saving herself from Hellfire, but by accepting the Prophet for her husband and thus became Umm Al-Mu'mineen (Mother of the Believers).

The news that the Prophet had married Juwayriyyah spread out, and now that Banu Al-Mustaliq were the Prophet's relatives by marriage, the Muslims found it hard to keep them as their captives. "The relatives of the Messenger of Allah!" They exclaimed. They set them free. A hundred families were released from captivity because of this blessed marriage. "I do not know a woman who was a greater blessing to her people than she." Said 'Aa'ishah .

Juwayriyyah was a woman of exceptional beauty, and because she belonged to the highest class of her society, she acquired the best upbringing and education that was available during her time. She was twenty years old when the Prophet married her. No doubt, she was the source of jealousy for his other wives but this did not prevent them from appreciating her good character and companionship.

When the Prophet went back to Al-Madeenah after that raid (on Banu Al-Mustaliq), with Juwayriyyah and was at a place called 'Thatul-Jaysh', he entrusted her to one of the Ansar (supporters of the Prophet from Al-Madeenah). Her father, Al-Harith, discovered that she had been captive and went back to Al-Madeenah, bringing his daughter's ransom. When he reached Al-'Aqeeq (a place near Al-Madeenah), he looked at the camels he had brought as her ransom and admired two of them greatly, so he hid them in one of the passes of Al-'Aqeeq. Then he came to the Prophet dragging the camels behind him, and told him: "My daughter is too noble to be taken as a captive. Set her free by this ransom." The Prophet replied: "Isn't it better that we let her choose for herself?" "That is fair enough," said Al-Harith. He came to his daughter and said: "This man is letting you choose so do not dishonor us!" "I choose the Messenger of Allah," she replied calmly. "What a disgrace!" he exclaimed.

The Prophet then said: "Where are the two camels which you have hidden in Al-'Aqeeq in such-and such a pass?" Al-Harith exclaimed: "I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, and that you Muhammad are the Messenger of Allah! For none could have known of this but Allah." He and his two sons who were with him and some of his men accepted Islam. The Prophet asked him again for his daughter's hand and he accepted. The Prophet gave his new bride four hundred Dirhams as her dowry.

Juwayriyyah accepted Islam wholeheartedly and followed the excellent example of her husband in the worship of her Lord, trying to even compete with him at times. He left her room once for Fajr (dawn prayer) and came back after Dhuha (forenoon): "I spent all the time you were absent supplicating," she told him . He said: "Shall I tell you a few words, if you say them they will be heavier in the scale (on the Day of Judgment) than what you have done? You say; 'Subhana Allahi 'adada khalqih, subhana Allahi ridha nafsihi, subhana Allahi zinata 'arshihi, subhana Allahi midada kalimatih." (Exalted (and Praised) is Allah as many times as the number of His creatures, and as much as pleases Him, and as much as the weight of His Throne, and as much as the ink for His Words). [At-Tirmithi]

Juwayriyyah spent her life in seclusion after the Prophet passed away. The Caliphs would provide for her sustenance, but she would spend it all for the sake of Allah. She performed Hajj many times, and was known for her passionate worship.

She kept away from all the trials that raged later during her life. She died during the caliphate of Mu'awiyah at the age of sixty five.

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