Maymūnah bint Al- Ḥārith (r.a.)
By Zaida Julius-Parker
In the name of Allāh, the Most Merciful, the Most Affectionate
Assalāmu alaykum wa raḥma tullāhi wabarakātuhū.
May Allāh Almighty's peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s) his beloved family, companions and all believing men and women. Alḥamdulillāh.
Today we will explore the life of one of the wives of our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s): Maymūnah bint Al- Ḥarith (may Allāh be pleased with her and her parents. Amīn).
Maymūnah bint al- Ḥarith (594-673) was born in Makkah six years before the mission of Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s). Her father was Al- Ḥarith ibn Hazan and her mother was Hind bint 'Awf ibn Zuhayr, who was referred to as the grandest mother-in-law on earth due to her sons-in-law being of the companions of Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s.) Maymūnah’s (r.a.) birth name was Barrah, but Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s) later changed her name to Maymūnah, meaning “’good tidings, glad tidings, goodness”, as his marriage to her marked the first time in seven years since he (s.a.w.s) could enter his hometown, Makkah, after the treaty of Hudaybiyyah. Māshā Allāh.
Hence, the wisdom behind the verse where Allāh Almighty says: “Certainly has Allāh showed to His Messenger the vision in truth. You will surely enter al-Masjid al-Haram, if Allāh wills, in safety, with your heads shaved and hair shortened, not fearing (anyone). He knew what you did not know and has arranged before that a conquest near (at hand).” (Qur’ān 48:27).
Here we are shown by Allāh Almighty that everything has already been decreed. Alḥamdulillāh, and Allāh knows best.
Maymūnah bint al- Ḥārith (r.a.) was one of the four sisters whom Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s.) had acknowledged and referred to as “the believing sisters”. Maymūnah was endowed with sound judgement and noble character. She was known to be loyal and devoted. It was narrated by ʿĀʾishah (r.a.): “Among us, Maymūnah had the most fear of Allah and did the most to maintain ties of kinship.”
Although she was married twice before, her first husband divorced her and didn’t embrace Islam. Her second husband also didn’t embrace Islam and died, making her a newlywed widow. She sought the Prophet's (s.a.w.s) hand in marriage through her sister Umm al-Fadl, who was married to Al-Abbās (r.a). Al-Abbās gave the dowry gift to Maymūnah from our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s.) and married them in Saraf after Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s.) completed umrah. It is believed that the the verse (Qur’ān 33:50) that reads, “ …and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet (s.a.w.s) and if he wishes to wed her, this is only for you, and not for the believers (at large),” was revealed in honour of Maymūnah (r.a.) who is said to be the woman who gave herself to the Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s.) unreservedly. Their marriage would render her Umm al -Mu'minīn and represent for her the course of prosperity in this life and in the next.
Additionally, it is commonly agreed upon that it was after Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s.) married Maymūnah (r.a.), bringing his total to nine wives at the time, that the following āyah was revealed: “It is not lawful for you (O Muḥammad, to marry more) women after this, nor to exchange them for other wives, even though their beauty is pleasing to you, except those whom your right hand possesses (as maid servants, and Allah is always watching over everything. (Qur’ān 33:52)
Maymūnah was known for her knowledge and wisdom. She is known as a narrator and teacher of a number of aḥadīth, some of which can be found in Saḥiḥ-Bukhari and Saḥiḥ Muslim. To reflect on a well-known ḥadīth, it is reported on her own authority: “I heard the Prophet of Allāh say, ‘A prayer offered in this mosque [Masjid al-Nabawi] is better than a thousand prayers in any other mosque, except Masjid al-Ḥaram.” (Sunan al-Nasai, Ḥadīth 2898)
After Prophet Muḥammad's (s.a.w.s) death, Maymūnah continued to live in Madīnah to the age of eighty. She was the last of the wives of our beloved prophet and the last to die. She requested to be buried at the place where she had married Prophet Muḥammad (s.a.w.s.) and it was granted. Māshā Allāh. Furthermore, it is narrated that at the funeral of Maymūnah Ibn Abbās said, “This is the wife of Allāh’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) so when you lift her bier, do not shake her or disturb her, but be gentle.”
In conclusion, one can see that Maymūnah (r.a.) sets an excellent example for every Muslim woman, in her fearing Allāh and in being a courteous person. Maymūnah (r.a.) was also someone who thanked Allah constantly for His blessings. Mūsa ibn Abu ʿĀʾishah related that a man said, “When Maymūnah saw a grain of pomegranate on the ground she would pick it up and say, “Allāh does not like corruption.” Here once again we are reminded to give thanks to Allāh Almighty for His many blessings and bounties upon us. Shukr, Alḥamdulillāh. The life of Maymūnah teaches us as women to go for what we want, to choose what is best for the sake of Allāh and to always keep the love in our relationships among family and neighbours.