Infertility Among The Mothers of The Believers

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).

Original article

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