Ruqayya bint Muhammad

Quranic Islamic Woman

Name:Ruqayya bint Muhammad
Clan/Origin:Banu Hashim of Quraysh
Birth:ca. 601
Marriage:ca. 608, Utbah ibn Abu Lahab, divorce on/aft. 613
Marriage:on/bef. 615, Uthman ibn Affan
Children:Abd’Allah, (619-625)
Status:Companion and Family of Muhammad
Death:13 Mar 624
Other:Muhammad’s daughter

Ruqayya was married to Utbah ibn Abu Lahab ibn Abd al-Muttalib, in the Days of Ignorance. Her younger sister Umm Kulthum married Utbah’s brother Utaybah. She was taken to her husband’s house at some point–likely after 610, when Muhammad’s behavior started concerning her father-in-law.

In 613, when Muhammad brought the Quraysh together and urged them all to convert, Muhammad had a vicious falling out with Abu Lahab, who repulsed him, and Abu Lahab ordered his sons to divorce the daughters of Muhammad. Ruqayya and her sister Umm Kulthum were returned without a mahr (bride-price gift) because they were still virgins, which means that they were still pre-pubescent at this point. Note that Abu Lahab’s sons had not had sex with their pre-pubescent wives.

But Ruqayya did not stay divorced long. She was married to one of the three most important early Muslims, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan. She migrated with him to Abyssinia in 615 when things began to get uncomfortable for some of the Companions in Mecca. She had one miscarriage there and later had a son, she had a son, Abd’Allah, who died in childhood. They returned briefly after Muhammad placated the people of Mecca with the so-called Satanic verses, but as relations broke down again, many people returned to Abyssinia. The timeline is very murky because she is listed as being among the first who traveled from Mecca to Medina, which doesn’t make sense if they’d gone back to Abyssinia again, since they would not have returned (with a newborn, no less!) right back into poor treatment.

Ruqayya was so ill during the Battle of Badr that ‘Uthman stayed behind. She died that same day. The Shias say that Ruqayya died from a beating that Uthman had given her, but there’s no mention of him being a wife-beater in the Sunni sources, unlike Umar, who was notorious for beating his wives.

Author: Marya Harb