Date of Marriage
(before Hijra/before 622)
Mārīya bt. Shamʿūn (Arabic: ماریة بنت شمعون), known as Mārīya al-Qībṭīyya (Arabic: ماریة القبطیة), was one of the Prophet's (s) wives. She was a bondwoman sent to the Prophet (s), along with other gifts, by al-Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt and Alexandria of the time, in response to the Prophet (s)'s letter. Among the Prophet's (s) wives, in addition to Khadija, Mariya was the only one who gave birth to a child, called Ibrahim.
Before marriage with the Prophet (s)
Mariya bt. Shahm'un was born in the villege, Hufn, in the area of Ansina in Egypt. In 7/628, the Prophet (s) sent Hatib b. Abi Balta'a to al-Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt and Alexandria with a letter calling him to Islam. In response to the Prophet (s)'s call, al-Muqawqis sent him Mariya together with her sister, Sirin or Shirin, and other gifts. He also sent the Prophet (s) a letter which read: "I honored your messenger and sent you two bondwomen who are of prestige in the great land of Aegyptos or al-Qibt". It is reported that Hatib b. Abi Balta'a introduced the two bondwomen to Islam, and they converted to Islam on their way to Medina.
Marriage with the Prophet (s)
When they arrived in Medina, the Prophet (s) chose Mariya for himself, and bestowed Sirin to Hassan b. Thabit. The first house in which Umm al-Mu'minin Mariya resided was the house of Haritha b. Nu'man. She stayed there for one year. The merits of Mariya and the Propeht (s)'s special attention to her intrigued the jealousy of the other wives of the Prophet (s), especially 'Ayisha and Hafsa.
Mariya was a pious, righteous and a beneficent lady, and was specially favored by the Prophet (s). Historiographers and biographers have appreciated her piety. The Prophet (s) is quoted as saying to Muslims: "When you conquer Egypt, treat them kindly, because I am their son in law".
The revelation of some verses of the Qur'an regarding Mariya
It is reported in sources that one day Hafsa went to the Prophet (s) on the day allocated to her to spend with the Prophet (s). She asked him the permission to go to her father, 'Umar, for some job. When she left, the Prophet (s) asked Mariya to go to him. When Hafsa went back home, the door was closed and she had to wait outside. When the Prophet (s) saw Hafsa, she was upset. In order to attract her satisfaction, the Prophet (s) forbade Mariya to himself but asked her not to reveal this to others. But Hafsa immediately revealed the news to 'Ayisha, saying that "Let me give you the good news that the Prophet (s) has forbidden his bondwoman to him and we have finally got rid of her". At this point, the first verses of Sura al-Tahrim of the Qur'an were revealed. The verses reproached Hafsa and 'Ayisha, telling the Prophet (s):
O' Prophet! Why do you forbid that which Allah has made lawful to you? You seek to please your consorts. But Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful
|— The Qur'an, 66:1|
The divine command not to forbid Mariya shows that the Propeht (s)'s emotional relation with Mariya was desirable in itself. Mariya stayed with the Prophet (s), but his favoring of Mariya was discomforting for some of the Prophet (s)'s wives. The condition was deteriorated when it was announced that Mariya was pregnant. The Prophet (s) had to send Mariya out of Medina—in the north of Medina in small palm groves called 'Aliya, which was gained by Muslims in the battle of Banu Nadir (known today as Mishraba Umm Ibrahim)—and frequently went there to visit her.
Today the place is a ruined cemetery where the grave of Imam al-Rida (a)'s mother and some children of Imams (a) and friends of Ahl al-Bayt (a) are located. Since Iranian Shiite pilgrims used to visit the place, the Saudi government has built long walls around it in order to prevent people from visiting the place.
The birth of Ibrahim
After being settled in her new house, Mariya gave birth to the Prophet (s)'s son, Ibrahim, in Dhu al-Hijja of 8/629. According to hadiths, at this time, Gabriel appeared to the Prophet (s) and greeted him as Aba Ibrahim" (the father of Ibrahim). It is reported that the Prophet (s) showed Ibrahim to 'Ayisha and told her: "Look how similar he is to me". 'Ayisha rejected the Prophet (s)'s statement out of jealousy and said: "He has no resemblance to you".
Ibrahim died on 18 of Rajab in 10/March, 9, 631 when he was only 18 months old. He was buried in al-Baqi'. The Prophet (s) was very saddened by his death and said: "This grief makes tears flow from eyes and saddens the hearts; I will not say anything that brings about the Lord's anger".
The story of ifk (defamation)
- Main article: Ifk
Ifk or defamation is a story at the time of the Prophet (s) to which some Quranic verses (24: 11-26) refer. Some people had spread rumors that one of the wives of the Prophet (s) had affairs, but the Qur'an seriously condemned the rumors. Some hadiths regarding the occasion on which these verses were revealed take them to concern 'Ayisha, while others take them to concern Mariya al-Qibtiyya.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from ماریه دختر شمعون in Farsi Wikishia.