Layla bint al-Minhal

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Layla bint al-Minhal (also Laila) (Arabic: ليلى بنت المنهال‎) was a sahabia (female companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad)[citation needed] and the wife of Malik ibn Nuwayra.

Layla was the daughter of Al Minhal and was later also known as Umm Tamim. Because of her beauty, she was pursued by many men, but rejected their advances. Finally, she met and married Malik ibn Nuwayra.

Malik bin Nuwayra[edit]

Malik was a chief of some distinction; a warrior, noted for his generosity; and a famous poet. Bravery, generosity and poetry were the three qualities most admired among the Arabs. During the lifetime of Muhammad, he had been appointed as a tax collector.

Attack on Malik ibn Nuwayra's tribe[edit]

During the Ridda wars, which broke out in Arabia after the death of Muhammad, Abu Bakr sent his most talented general Khalid ibn Walid into Najd with 4000 men to submit the tribes of the surrounding areas. Malik was guilty for his acts against the state of Medina. After the death of Muhammad, he broke in open revolt against Medina. As soon as Malik heard of the death of Muhammad, he gave back all the tax to his tribesmen, saying that "I will only pay taxes to the man chosen at Ghadeer" (Ali ibn Abu Taleb).[1] Moreover, he was to be charged because he signed a pact with the self-proclaimed prophetess Sajjah. This agreement stated that first they would deal with local enemy tribes together, and then they would confront the state of Medina.[2] When Malik heard about Khalid ibn Walid's victories against powerful Arab tribes, he ordered his tribesmen not to engage the approaching Khalid ibn Walid in battle, to stay at home and hope for peace.[3] He himself apparently moved away across the desert with his family. Also, so as to prove himself loyal to the state of Medina (the future Islamic empire), he collected the tax and sent it to Medina. His riders were stopped by Khalid ibn Walid's army at the town of Battah. Khalid asked them about the signing of a pact with Sajjah but they said it was only to exact revenge on their terrible enemies.[4] When Khalid reached Najd, he found no opposing army, so he sent his cavalry to nearby villages and ordered them to call the Azaan (call for prayer) to each party they meet. Zirrar bin Azwar, a group leader, arrested the family of Malik claiming they did not answer the call to prayer.

Malik ibn Nuwayra's Death[edit]

Shia view[edit]

When arrested, Malik was asked by Khalid about his crimes. Malik's response was "your master said this, your master said that" referring to Abu Bakr. Khalid declared Malik a rebel apostate and ordered his execution.[5] Khalid bin Walid killed Malik ibn Nuwayra and raped[6] his wife, Layla bint al-Minhal. Although Sunnis claim that Khalid married his wife on the same night, the Shias argue that Islamically, Khalid would have had to wait for her to complete the waiting period or iddah of a widow which is four months and ten days before he would have been able to marry her. Abu Qatada al-Ansari was a companion of Muhammad who accompanied Khalid from Medina.[7] He was so shocked at Malik's murder by Khalid that he immediately returned to Medina and told Abu Bakr that he would not serve under a commander who had killed a Muslim.[8] The death of Malik and Khalid's taking of his wife Layla created a controversy. Some officers of his army—including a prominent companion of Muhammad, Abu Qatadah—believed that Khalid killed Malik to take his wife. After the pressure exerted by Umar—Khalid's cousin and one of Caliph Abu Bakr's main advisors—Abu Bakr called Khalid back to Medina to explain himself.[9] In Medina, ‘Umar told Khâlid: “You enemy of Allâh! You killed a Muslim man and thereafter took his wife. By Allâh, I will stone you.[10]'Umar demanded from Abu Bakr the immediate dismissal of Khalid. He said that Khalid had to be put on trial for the twin crimes of murder and adultery. According to Islamic law, Khalid had to be stoned to death, but Abu Bakr defended Khalid and said that he had simply made "an error of judgment." [11]

Sunni view[edit]

When arrested in November 632 AD, Malik was asked by Khalid ibn Walid about his crimes. Khalid's interpretation of Malik's response was that although he and his followers were Muslims, they did not wish to pay taxes to Abu Bakr. Khalid understood this to be a transparent attempt by Malik to save his own life by any means at his disposal. Khalid having clear evidence of Malik's distributing the tax money on getting news of Muhammad's death[5] and of his pact with Sajjah,[2] declared Malik an apostate and ordered his execution.[5]

Layla and Khalid After Malik's Death[edit]

The same night Khalid killed Malik, he married his widow, Layla bint al-Minhal, who was said to be one of the most beautiful women in Arabia at the time.[5] The marriage of Khalid with Layla later became a controversial issue because there was a group of people who thought that Khalid had killed Malik to get Layla. This group also included Khalid's cousin and later Caliph Umar. Khalid was called by Caliph Abu Bakr to explain the matter. After due consideration, the Caliph decided that Khalid was not guilty. He did, however, upbraid his general for marrying Layla and thus leaving himself open to criticism, and since there was some possibility of a mistake, as certain people believed that Malik was a Muslim, Abu Bakr ordered the payment of blood-money to the heirs of Malik.


  1. ^ reference=al-Balazuri: book no: 1, page no:107.
  2. ^ a b reference=al-Tabari: Vol. 2, page no: 496.
  3. ^ reference= Tabari: Vol. 2, Page no: 501-502.
  4. ^ reference= Tabari: Vol) p. 501-2.
  5. ^ a b c d reference=Tabari: Vol. 2, Page no: 5)
  6. ^ "liable for rape", Shattered: The Sectarian Divide and Start of the Feminist Revolution in Islam By Syed Abbas Rizvi, S. Khasim T. Rizvi, p. 51
  7. ^ (A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims, Ali Razwy, Chapter 55)
  8. ^ (A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims, Ali Razwy, Chapter 55)
  9. ^ Akram 2004, p. 183
  10. ^ reference=Tabari: Vol. 2, Page no: 274)
  11. ^ (A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims, Ali Razwy, Chapter 55)

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