Hind bint Utbah

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Hind bint ‘Utbah (هند بنت عتبة) was an Arab woman who lived in the late 6th and early 7th centuries CE; she was the wife of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, a powerful man of Mecca, in western Arabia. She was the mother of Muawiyah I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty, and of Hanzala,[1] Juwayriya and Umm Hakam.[2] Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan, who became one of Muhammad's wives, was her stepdaughter.[3]

Both Abu Sufyan and Hind originally opposed the Islamic prophet Muhammad before their conversion to Islam.

Life[edit]

She was born in Mecca, daughter of one of the most prominent leaders of the Quraysh, 'Utba ibn Rabi'ah. She had two brothers: Abu-Hudhayfah ibn 'Utbah and Walid ibn 'Utbah. Her paternal uncle Shaibah ibn Rabī‘ah was also one of the chief adversaries of Islam who eventually was killed by 'Ali in the Battle of Badr.

It is not known exactly when she married Abu Sufyan, one of the leading authorities in the tribe of Quraysh, but it is most probable that the marriage occurred in her early years of youth. But before that, she was married to Fakīhah ibn Mughīrah of Banu Makhzūm.

The Battle of Yarmouk[edit]

The Battle of Yarmouk is regarded as one of the most decisive battles in military history where the Muslims were hugely out numbered by the Romans but with the help of the women and the young boys amongst them, finished off the Eastern Roman Empire.[4][5] The battle is also considered to be one of Khalid ibn al-Walid's greatest military victories. It cemented his reputation as one of the greatest tacticians and cavalry commanders in history.[6]

Two of the earliest history books on Islam like Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi and al-Baladhuri pay great tribute to Hind for her action in the middle of the battle. They show how the Early Muslim women including Hind bint Utbah [7][8][8][9][10][11] and Asma bint Abi Bakr [12] were instrumental in the Battle of Yarmouk. Hugely out numbered, every time the men ran away the women turned them back and fought fearing that if they lost, the Romans will enslave them. Under desperate circumstances and heavily outnumbered ever time the men would flee the women would sing: [13]

O you who flee from his loyal lady

She is beautiful and stands firmly

Your abandoning them to the Romans

to let them the forelocks and girls seize

They will take what they want from us to the full

[13]

And start fighting them selves.

Hind sang the same song she sang when she found against the Muslims in the battle of Uhud: [13]

Night star's daughters are we

Who walk on carpets soft they be

Our walk does friendliness tell

Our hands are perfumed musk smell

Pearls are strung around these necks of us

So come and embrace us

Whoever refuses will be separated forever

To defend his women is there no noble lover? [13]

After seeing the women fight the men would return and said to each other "If we do not fight then we are more entitled to sit in the women's quarter than the women."[14]

At one point when arrows started raining down on Abu Sufyan and he tried to turn his horse away and Hind struck his horse in the face with a tent-peg and said "Where do you think your going, O Sakhr? Go back to battle and put effort into it until you compensate for having incited people in the past against Muhammad. An arrow later hit Muawiyah's father Abu Sufyan in the eye and he went blind [15]

Controversies from Shia Sources[edit]

Hind is infamous in Islamic history for her exultation at the defeat of the Muslims at the Battle of Uhud when she ate the liver of Muhammad's slain uncle Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. Although she later converted to Islam, the founder of the Umayyad Caliphate was thus later slandered to be an illegitimate son of a cannibal. Even in the modern age, arguments continue to be raised about whether Hind bint ‘Utbah was a Sahaba or not because of her pre-Islamic actions.[citation needed]

In the earlier Sunni reference Istīʻāb fī Maʻrifat al-Aṣḥāb, Islamic scholar Yusuf ibn abd al-Barr (978-1071) lists summaries for the biographies of the Sahaba, and Hind is indeed mentioned as one of Muhammad's Sahaba.[citation needed]

Reports that Hind ate the liver of Hamza[edit]

During the Battle of Uhud, Mūsá ibn ‘Uqbah narrated that Wahshi gouged out the liver of Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and took it to Hind bint ‘Utbah and she spat it out Ibn Kathir mentions this in his Al-Bid‘ayah wa n-Nihaayah (4/43).

Ibn Ishaq narrated with a broken isnād that Hind was the one who gouged the liver of Hamza.[16]

Earlier hostility against Muslims[edit]

From 613 to 622, Muhammad preached the message of Islam publicly, in Mecca. As he gathered converts, he and his followers faced increasing persecution. In 622 they emigrated to the distant city of Yathrib, now known as Medina. They were at war with the Meccans and attacked Meccan caravans.

The Meccans sent out a force to defend the caravans. The Meccans and the Muslims clashed at the Battle of Badr. The Muslims defeated the Meccans and Hind's father, brother and uncle were all slaughtered in that battle. Hind's anger at the Muslims was of the greatest and most intense; she kept wailing publicly in the open desert and pouring dust over her face and her clothes, while lamenting her deceased relatives; and she did not stop not until her husband Abu Sufyan urged her to weep no more and promised her to avenge the death of her father and brother.

She is claimed to have been the one responsible for inciting Wahshy ibn Harb to murder Muhammad's uncle Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib, who was claimed responsible for the death of her father, and she offered Wahshi his freedom and her jewelry in return if he managed to murder Hamza and bring back his heart to her.

Wahshi eventually did so by hiding behind a tree and striking Hamza with a spear which left him dead; Wahshi then split open Hamza's belly and took out his raw heart and brought it back to Hind as promised. Hind was claimed to have tasted the raw heart as a prominent sign of revenge, but was said to have not relished it and immediately spat it out.

One of the earliest chronicles of Islamic history, Ibn Ishaq's Sirah Rasul Allah, a life of Muhammad, says that Hind accompanied the Meccan forces that went to besiege the Muslims in Medina. At the Battle of Uhud, Hind and her women sang and danced, urging on their warriors. The Muslims were forced to flee and, according to Ibn Ishaq, Hind and the others mutilated the Muslim corpses, making garlands of ears and noses.

According to Ibn Ishaq, after the battle, Hind cut open the body of Muhammad's uncle Hamza, whom she believed responsible for the death of her relatives, cut out his heart, and gnawed on it. According to Ibn Ishaq, she couldn't swallow it and spat it out. Ibn ‘Abdu l-Barr states in his book "al-Istī‘āb" that she cooked Hamza's heart before eating it. This report has been widely copied by Muslim historians.

After the incident at the Battle of Uhud, however, Hind accepted the message of Islam and is now considered to be among the ranks of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad by Sunni Muslims.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad, pp. 337, 385. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina, p. 169. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  3. ^ Tabari, Tarikh al-Rusul wa’l Muluk. Translated by Landau-Tasseron, E. (1998). Biographies of the Prophet's Companions and Their Successors, vol. 39, p. 177. New York: SUNY Press.
  4. ^ Walton, Mark W (2003), Islam at war, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-275-98101-0, p. 30
  5. ^ Walton, Mark W (2003), Islam at war, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-275-98101-0 page 6
  6. ^ Nicolle, David (1994), Yarmuk 636 A.D.: The Muslim Conquest of Syria, Osprey Publishing, ISBN 1-85532-414-8 Page 19
  7. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 325 [1]
  8. ^ a b al-Baladhuri 892 [19] [2]
  9. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 331 to 334 [3]
  10. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 343-344 [4]
  11. ^ al-Baladhuri 892 [20] from The Origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic of the Kitab Futuh al-Buldha of Ahmad ibn-Jabir al-Baladhuri, trans. by P. K. Hitti and F. C. Murgotten, Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, LXVIII (New York, Columbia University Press,1916 and 1924), I, 207-211
  12. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 352-353 [5]
  13. ^ a b c d Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 331-332 [6]
  14. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 353 [7]
  15. ^ Islamic Conquest of Syria A translation of Fatuhusham by al-Imam al-Waqidi Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi Page 332 [8]
  16. ^ Sīrah ibn Hishām: 3/133

Notes[edit]

  • Guillaume, A. -- The Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press, 1955
  • Madelung, Wilferd -- The Succession to Muhammad, Cambridge University Press, 1997
  • Watt, W. Montgomery -- Muhammad at Medina, Oxford University Press, 1956

External links[edit]