Fakhitah bint Abi Talib

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Fākhitah bint Abī Tālib (also known as Hind) (فاختة بنت أبي طالب) was a cousin and companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Early life[edit]

She was the eldest daughter of Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and Fatima bint Asad,[1]:35,109[2]:196 hence a sister of Ali.

Marriage[edit]

Before 595 the young Muhammad asked Abu Talib's permission to marry Fakhitah, but Abu Talib accepted an alternative proposal from Hubayra ibn Abi Wahb, a member of the wealthy Makhzum clan. Muhammad asked: "Uncle, why have you married her off to Hubayra and ignored me?" Abu Talib replied: "Nephew, they are our in-laws, and the noble is an equal for the noble."[1]:109 This cryptic reply might have meant that Abu Talib owed a favour to the Makhzum clan; but the more likely meaning was that Muhammad had no money.[3]

Hubayra, who was a poet,[4]:404,557 is described as "wise and influential".[4]:356 He and Fakhitah had at least four sons: Hani (from whom she took her kunya Umm Hani), Yusuf, Umar and Jaada.[1]:110 Bukhari also mentions a son named Fulan;[5] it is not clear whether this was a fifth son or an alternative name for one of the first four; and it is not clear whether they also had daughters.

Muhammad was a guest in Fakhitah's house one night in 621. The next morning he told her that he had miraculously travelled to Jerusalem and then to Heaven during the night. She urged him not to tell anyone, as the Quraysh would only laugh at him, and she tried to restrain him physically. Muhammad ignored this advice.[4]:184

Conversion to Islam[edit]

Fakhitah became a Muslim when Muhammad conquered Mecca in January 630.[6]:417[2]:197 Hubayra did not want to convert, so he fled from Mecca and took refuge in the Christian city of Najran.[4]:557[6]:417-418 This caused an automatic divorce.[1]:109 Muhammad proposed to Fakhita again, but she refused him, saying that she would not be able to do justice to both young children and a new husband. Muhammad responded: "The Quraysh are the best women on camel-back! They are so kind to their children and so careful of their husbands' property!"[1]:109-110[7][2]:197

Later Fakhitah told Muhammad that her children had grown up and she was now ready to marry him. He told her that she was too late, since a new revelation had forbidden him to marry any first cousin who had not emigrated to Medina before the Conquest.[1]:110[2]:197

Death[edit]

Her date of death is unknown; however, she outlived her brother Ali,[8] who was killed in 661.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Muhammad ibn Saad. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  2. ^ a b c d Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari. Tarikh al-Rasul wa'l-Muluk. Translated by Landau Tasseron, E. (1998). Volume 39: Biographies of the Prophet's Companions and Their Successors. Albany: State University of New York University Press.
  3. ^ Lings, M. (1983). Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources, p. 33. Islamic Texts Society.
  4. ^ a b c d Muhammad ibn Ishaq. Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  5. ^ Bukhari 1:8:353. Bukhari 4:53:396.
  6. ^ a b Muhammad ibn Umar al-Waqidi. Kitab al-Maghazi. Translated by Faizer, R., Ismail, A., & Tayob, A. K. (2011). The Life of Muhammad. London & New York: Routledge.
  7. ^ Muslim 31:6139, 6140, 6141.
  8. ^ Tirmidhi 3:23:1841.
  9. ^ Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari. Tarikh al-Rusul wa'l-Muluk. Translated by Hawting, G. R. (1996). Volume 17: The First Civil War: From the Battle of Siffeen to the Death of ‘Ali, pp. 213-216, 226-227. Albany: State University of New York Press.