Safiyyah (R): The 9th wife of the Prophet

Islam Contributor

Safiyyah (R) bint Huai was a descendant of Harun bin Imran (AS). Originally the real name of Safiyyah (R) was Zaynab. But she came to the Muslims as booty in the battle of Khaibar and was given to the Prophet (peace upon him) during the distribution. And in Arabia at that time the booty of the leader or part of the king was called ‘Safiyyah’. So from there she became known as Safiyyah and her real name was lost.

Marriage to the Prophet

When the Muslims won the battle of Khaibar in the year 7 AH, Safiyyah (R) was captured by the Muslims as booty. As she was the daughter of a tribal chief, the Prophet (peace be upon him) freed her and then married her. According to a narration from Bukhari, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stopped at a place called ‘Saba’ on his way back to the Madinah after completing the expedition to Khaibar. There Umme Sulayim (R) combed the head of Safiyyah (R), changed her clothes, and applied perfume on her body. Then send her to the Prophet. For the sake of Olima, some brought dates, some brought meat, some brought food. When everyone’s food was gathered, everyone took to sit and ate together. This was basically the Olima of that marriage.

Mutual love and understanding with the Prophet

Safiyyah (R) had an endless love for the Prophet (peace be upon him). When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was in his last bed at the house of Ayesha (R), one-day Safiyyah (R) and other wives gathered to see and serve the Prophet (peace be upon him). At that time Safiyyah (R) said in a very heavy heart: “O Prophet of Allah! If I had suffered all your troubles, I would have been satisfied. ” Hearing this, the other wives of the Prophet looked at each other as if they had doubt in her words. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “By Allah! She told the truth.”

Such was the state of love of the Prophet (peace be upon him) for Safiyyah (R). He liked the company of Safiyyah (R) and always tried to keep her happy.

Safiyyah (R) faced criticism within family

The Prophet (peace be upon him) went on Hajj with Safiyyah (R) and other wives. On the way, the camel of Safiyyah fell ill and sat down. Safiyyah (R) got scared and started crying. Upon hearing the news, the Prophet (peace be upon him) came there and wiped away her tears with his holy hand.

But even this did not stop her crying but increased. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stopped there without seeing any change. In the evening, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his other wife, Zaynab bint Jahash (R), “O Zaynab, give Safiyyah a camel.” Zaynab (R) replied, “Shall I give a camel to this Jewish woman?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) was very displeased with her reply and refrained from talking to her for about two or three months. Eventually, with the help of Ayesha (R), this dissatisfaction of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was removed with great difficulty.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once expressed his dissatisfaction when Ayesha (R) commented on the physical appearance of Safiyyah (R).”

Character traits of lady Safiyyah (R)

Ummul Muminin Safiyyah (R) was a very determined woman. She has never been impatient in her life.

She was by nature very generous. It is said, she donated the house in which she lived during her lifetime. After coming to Madinah as the mother of believers, she also divided the two gold earrings between Fatima (R) and another daughter of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

All the Sirah experts have praised Safiyyah (R) for her moral qualities. Allama Ibn Abd Al-Bar said, “Safiyyah (R) was a patient, intelligent and wise woman.”

Ibn al-Asir said, “She was one of the most intelligent women.”

Allama Zahabi said, “Safiyyah (R) was a polite, intelligent, high-ranking, beautiful and pious woman.”


Safiyyah (R) passed away in Madinah in the month of Ramadan in the year 50 AH at the age of 60. According to Saeed Ibn al-As, Muawiyah (R) led her funeral prayer. She was buried in Jannat Al-Baki Cemetery.

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