ACCOUNT OF THE WOMAN WHO OFFERED HERSELF TO `ABD ALLAH IBN ‘ABD AL-MUTTALIB

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There is a difference of opinion about the woman who offered herself (to `Abd Allah). Some say that it was Qutaylah (Al-Tabari gives the name as Umm Qital, see Vol. II, p. 174) Bint Nawfal Ibn Asad Ibn `Abd al-‘Uzza Ibn Qusayyi, the sister of Waraqah Ibn Nawfal, while others told that it was Fátimah Bint Murr of the Khath`am tribe.

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He (Ibn Sa`d) said: Muhammad Ibn `Umar Ibn Waqid al-Aslami informed us; he said: Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah, the nephew of al-Zuhri related to me on the authority of al-Zuhri, he on the authority of `Urwah; (second chain) he (Ibn Sa`d) said: `Ubayd Allah Ibn Muhammad Ihn Safwan related to us on the authority of his father; (third chain) he (lbn Sa`d) said: Ishaq Ibn `Ubayd Allah related to us on the authority of Sa’id Ibn Muhammad Ibn Jubayr; they all said:

She was Qutaylah Bint Nawfal, sister of Waraqah Ibn Nawfal; she was well versed in divination. `Abd Allah Ibn `Abd al-Muttalib happened to pass by her, so she invited him to have sexual intercourse with her and seized his sheet from one side, but he declined and said: [P. 59] (Wait) till I return. Then he went hastily and had intercourse with ‘Aminah Bint Wahb who became pregnant with the Prophet. Then `Abd Allah Ibn `Abd al-Muttalib returned to the woman who was waiting for him and said to her: What do you say now for what you had suggested to me? She said: No, when you went from here there was brightness in your face, now on your return, it has vanished. Some (narrators) said: She said: When you went there was a light between your eyes like that of a horse and when you returned, it had disappeared.

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He (Ibn Sa`d) said: Hishŕm Ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi informed us on the authority of his father, he on the authority of Abu Sŕlih, he on the authority of Ibn `Abbas:

Verily the woman who had proposed to `Abd Allah Ibn `Abd al-Muttalib what she had proposed, belonged to the tribe of Banu Asad Ibn ‘Abd al-`Uzza, and she was sister of Waraqah Ibn Nawfal.

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He (Ibn Sa`d) said: Hishám Ibn Muhammad Ibn al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi informed us on the authority of Abu al-Fayyád al-IKhath`ami; he said:

`Abd Allah Ibn `Abd al-Muttalib passed by a woman of the Khath`am (tribe) whose name was Fatimah Bint Murr and who was the prettiest of all women, in the full bloom of her youth and the most pious and had studied the scriptures; she was the subject of talk among the youth of the Quraysh. She perceived the light of Prophethood in the face of `Abd Allah and inquired: 0 young man ! who art thou? He informed her. Then she proposed to him if he would have intercourse with her and said that she was ready to present one hundred camels to him. He looked at her and said:
“What is forbidden (shall not be done), and death is preferable to it.
And as regards the lawful, there is no way for it.
So how can I do what you want” (Cf. Al-Tabari, Vol. 11, p. 175)
Then he went to his wife ‘Aminah Bint Wahb and was with her. Then he recollected the Khath’ami woman and her exquisite beauty and what she had proposed. He returned to her and did not perceive the former warmth in her countenance; he said to her: Do you still like to propose what you had done once; she said: It was only once and that opportunity is no more. (The saying) has become a proverb.
She said: what did you do after me. He said: I had sexual intercourse with my wife ‘Aminah Bint Wahb. She (Fatimah) said: By Allah ! my character is above suspision, but I had perceived a glow of the brightness of prophethood in your countenance, and 1 desired to have it; Allah however denied it to me and placed it where it now rests. The youth of the Quraysh received the information of the circumstance of her proposal to `Abd Allah Ibn `Abd al-Muttalib and his refusal; they spoke to her about it and she recited the following verses:
“I perceived a dark cloud with bright blessed drops;
Its water was so bright that it made its surroundings shine like that of morning.
I considered it an honour to obtain it, but every person striking fire with a flint does not succeed.
With the grace of Allah, how fortunate is the woman of the Banu Zuhrah who seized this blessing; (0 ‘Abd Allah) and you were unconscious.”
[P. 60] She also recited:
“0 Banu Hashim ! do you know that Umaynah (diminitive of ‘Aminah) has seized the brightness and light of your brother.
Like the wicks of the lamp which remain dipped in oil after its being extinguished.
If a person acquires ancestral property it is not always due to his shrewdness; and if he loses it, it is not necessarily due to his fault.
When you seek an affair, do it efficiently because if two fortunes conjoin it is a great blessing.
Either the hand fully closed or the hand fully stretched, to the fingers’ tip will benefit you.
When Umaynah snatched what she had snatched, then my eyes were closed and my tongue tied.”

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He (Ibn Sa`d) said: Wahb Ibn Jarir Ibn Hazim informed us: My father informed me; he said:

I heard Abu Yazid al-Madani saying: I have been informed that `Abd Allah, the father of the Prophet, may Allah bless him, passed by a woman of the Khath’am tribe who perceived brightness between his eyes, shining upto heaven. She said to him: Do you feel any passion for me? He replied: Yes, but after throwing pebbles. (The throwing of pebbles is an important part of the performance of Hajj, but sometimes people do it at other times also). So he went away and threw the pebbles, and returned to his wife ‘Aminah Bint Wahb. Then he thought of the Khath’ami woman and came to her. She asked him: Have you cohabited with a woman since you talked to me? He replied: Yes, with my wife ‘Aminah Bint Wahb. Thereupon she said: 1 require you no more, because there was a light between your eyes, shining upto heaven, when you left me, after your cohabiting with her, it has departed; inform her that she has conceived the best of mankind.

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