Prophet of “Sensuality” and “Inconsistency”? Refuting Sam Shamoun’s Incompetence and Deception

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم

Prophet of “Sensuality” and “Inconsistency”? Refuting Sam Shamoun’s Incompetence and Deception

Originally posted on the Quran and Bible Blog

“And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. […] And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [he may marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. And Allah is most knowing about your faith. You [believers] are of one another. So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. [They should be] chaste, neither [of] those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take [secret] lovers.”

– Surah An-Nisa, 4:24-25

            The pseudo-scholar and professional liar Sam “The Scam” Shamoun is at it again. Like many Christian apologists with too much time on their hands, Shamoun is obsessed with accusing the blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) of “sexual deviancy”. In the present case, Shamoun’s accusation centers around Maria the Copt (may Allah be pleased with her).[1] It is well-known that Maria was given to the Prophet by the ruler of Alexandra, and she was his concubine. For some reason, Bible-believing Christians like Shamoun have a problem with this. But Shamoun has something else up his sleeve. He appealed to a potentially scandalous story involving Muhammad (peace be upon him), his wives Hafsa and Aisha, and Maria (may Allah be pleased with them). In this article, we will expose Shamoun’s hypocrisy in criticizing the permissibility of concubinage in Islam by comparing it to the Biblical view and demonstrate Shamoun’s dishonest cherry-picking of Islamic sources to appeal to the unreliable story involving the Prophet’s wives and Maria.

Concubines in the Quran, the Sunnah, and the Bible

            Of course, having concubines was allowed in the Quran and Sunnah (Surah An-Nisa, 4:24-25). This is not a matter of debate. It was also allowed in the Bible (as we will see later). First, let us deal with Shamoun’s criticisms of Muhammad’s practice of concubinage and his alleged “inconsistency”.

            Shamoun claimed that Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not follow his own “advice” to his followers to free and marry their concubines. Shamoun appealed to the following hadith:

“Narrated Abu Musa: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “He who has a slave-girl and educates and treats her nicely and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward.””[2]

As we can see, this was a suggestion, not a command. Muslims had the choice of freeing and marrying their concubines or to keep them as concubines while treating them with kindness. Nevertheless, it was greatly encouraged to marry them. So, how exactly was the Prophet not following his own advice? He gave his followers the choice but also encouraged them to marry their concubines if they had the means. Furthermore, it was not just about marrying them. The hadith also encourages the Muslims to “educate” their concubines and treat them kindly. As in the Bible, the Quran and Sunnah provide legal rights and protections for concubines.[3] However, as demonstrated below, Islamic law provided more rights than the Bible, especially concerning the rights of the children born to a concubine.

            Owning concubines was also allowed in the Bible. The Compact Bible Dictionary states that a concubine was (emphasis ours):

“[i]n Old Testament times, a female slave or mistress with whom a man was lawfully permitted to have sexual intercourse. […] The Law of Moses also recognized the rights of concubines and guarded them from inhumane and callous treatment (Ex. 21:7-11; Duet. 10-14).”[4]

Among the Biblical prophets that owned concubines were Abraham (Genesis 25:6), Jacob (Genesis 35:22), and David (2 Samuel 5:3).[5] During the period of the Judges, legendary figures like Gideon also had concubines (Judges 8:31). There is absolutely no indication in the Tanakh that these men were sinful for owning concubines nor did the New Testament declare them as such.

            According to the Law of Moses, as mentioned in the Bible, a woman could become a concubine by different means and be from different backgrounds. According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary (emphasis ours):

“[a] concubine would generally be either (1) a Hebrew girl bought of her father; (2) a Gentile captive taken in war; (3) a foreign slave bought; or (4) a Canaanitish woman, bond or free. The rights of the first two were protected by the law, (Exodus 21:7; 21:10-14) but the third was unrecognized and the fourth prohibited. Free Hebrew women also might become concubines.”[6]

            Also, as stated above, both the Quran/Sunnah and the Bible provide legal protections to the rights of concubines. However, Islamic law provided more protection to the children born to a concubine. According to Ingrid Mattson:

“[a]ll children born to concubines had rights equal to children born of free wives to support and inheritance. A woman who became pregnant by her master acquired the status of umm al-walad (mother of a child) and could not be sold or given away for the rest of her life.”[7]

            In contrast, Biblical law provided no such protection for children. In fact, from the few examples found in the Bible, inheritance was usually not given to children of concubines (see Genesis 25:6 and Judges 11:2). According to one Christian source (emphasis ours):

“[a] concubine’s children were legitimate, but they may have been socially considered secondary to the children born from a wife. They were not legally entitled to an inheritance but were sometimes included in their father’s will.”[8]

In this way, Biblical views on the inheritance rights (or lack thereof) of the children of concubines were no different than those of other ancient near eastern cultures. As Josue J. Justel states:

“…in the Ancient Near East the descendants of a concubine did not have the same hereditary rights as those of the lawful wife. Nonetheless, it was possible to legitimize them via adoption or by granting them a special status.”[9]

            Moreover, early Christian views on concubinage were diverse. As professor James A. Brundage (University of Kansas) explains:

“[t]he Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries disagreed about the moral status of concubinage. One view held that concubinage was an alternative form of marriage, created because civil law prohibited marriage between persons of certain social classes; hence Christians should accept these de facto unions and assimilate them to formal marriage by recognizing concubinage as a variant form of marriage. The other viewpoint held that concubinage was morally wrong…”[10]

Brundage also explains that (emphasis ours):

“[t]he Church during the first two centuries of its existence had encouraged its members to marry according to the prescriptions of civil law, but had not frowned upon legally tolerated concubinage.”[11]

In fact, concubinage presented a practical solution for many Christians of higher social status, especially women, and was endorsed by Callistus, the bishop of Rome (early 3rd century). Peter Lampe explains that (emphasis ours):

“[a] Christian woman who wished to retain the title ‘clarissima’ had two options. She could marry a pagan of the same social status and forgo marriage with a socially inferior Christian. Or she could live in concubinage with a socially inferior Christian without being legally married. The second option received the blessings of Callistus in Rome. In this way he prevented two things: mixed marriages with pagans and the social decline of Christian women. Both were in the interests of the community.”[12]

            Finally, Brundage notes that while the Council of Toledo forbade married men from having concubines, it allowed unmarried men to have one concubine at a time.[13] It should also be noted that Maria the Copt was sent to Muhammad (peace be upon him) by the Coptic patriarch. Thus, Christian views on concubinage were dynamic and changed over time.[14] Sometimes it was tolerated and even encouraged, while at other times, it was shunned. So, what is Shamoun’s problem with Islam? Hypocrisy and inconsistency seem to be second nature to this deceitful missionary.

Shamoun’s Criticisms of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

On freeing concubines –    

Was the Prophet being hypocritical for not freeing his concubine Maria, as he advised his followers? Shamoun claimed the following:

“…instead of following his advice, Muhammad chose not to free his slave-girls but to keep them as his sex slaves, as in the case of Maria the Copt…”

As usual, Shamoun exposes his selective and sloppy research. While it is true that Maria the Copt probably a concubine, there is no indication that the Prophet “chose not to free his slave-girls”. As a matter of fact, he clearly did free some concubines, such as Safiyah and Juwairiyah (may Allah be pleased with them).

            After the conquest of Khaibar, the Prophet took Safiyah as a captive but later freed and married her, as we can see in a hadith from Sunan An-Nasa’i (emphasis ours):

“Dihyah came and said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, give me a slave girl from among the captives.’ He said: ‘Go and take a slave girl.’ He took Safiyyah bint Huyayy. Then a man came to the Prophet and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you gave Dihyah Safiyyah bint Huyayy, and she is the chief mistress of Quraizah and An-Nadir, and she is fit for no one but you.’ He said: ‘Call him to bring her.’ When the Prophet saw her, he said: ‘Take any other slave girl from among the captives.'” He said: “The Prophet of Allah set her free and married her.””[15]

            As for Juwayriyyah, she was freed after her tribe, the Bani al-Mustaliq, were defeated. She went to the Prophet to buy her freedom from Thabit ibn Qays. Not only did the Prophet pay for her freedom, he then proposed marriage to her, which she accepted (emphasis ours):

“She said: Messenger of Allah, I am Juwayriyyah, daughter of al-Harith, and something has happened to me, which is not hidden from you. I have fallen to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, and I have entered into an agreement to purchase my freedom. I have come to you to seek assistance for the purchase of my freedom. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Are you inclined to that which is better? She asked: What is that, Messenger of Allah? He replied: I shall pay the price of your freedom on your behalf, and I shall marry you. She said: I shall do this.[16]

            Ironically, even one of the sources Shamoun quoted in support of another criticism (regarding the reason for the revelation of Surah 66)) shows that the Prophet also freed and married Rayhana bint Zayd! According to Shaykh Gibril Haddad:

“[t]he Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, did free and marry the surriyya Rayhana bint Zayd ibn `Amr of the Banu al-Nadir.”[17]

            But it gets worse for Shamoun. Another case of delightful irony can be seen in the fact that one of his favorite sources, the Tafsir Ibn Abbas (note that the latter was not actually written by Ibn Abbas), clearly states that the Prophet actually did marry Maria! The commentary on verse 2 states (emphasis ours):

“…the Prophet (pbuh) absolved himself from his oath and married Maria the Copt…”[18]

Now, even though the majority of scholars believe that the Prophet did not marry Maria but that she remained his concubine, it is delightfully ironic that the same source Shamoun uncritically used to criticize the Prophet in one way actually refutes him in another way! Shamoun’s selective and sloppy research is beginning to crumble.

On the incident with Aisha and Hafsa and the revelation of Surah at-Tahrim

            Shamoun then resorted to even more selective and sloppy research by appealing to an unreliable story involving an alleged “scandalous” incident (it was not “scandalous” at all) which prompted the revelation of Surah at-Tahrim (Surah 66). He claimed:

“…Muhammad’s lust for Maria was so great that he even had his deity justify his violating his promise to never sleep with her again after dishonoring one of his wives by having sex with Maria on the day assigned to that specific spouse, in the house and on the very bed of that particular wife!”

He then states that “Muslim sources” explain that Surah 66 was revealed “to bail Muhammad out…” In short, as Shamoun tells the story, on the day it was Hafsah’s turn to stay with the Prophet, she happened to be away from her home when he came by. Maria was brought in Hafsa’s absence and engaged in sexual intercourse with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on Hafsah’s bed. When she walked in on them, she was angry. This prompted Muhammad (peace be upon him” to take an alleged oath to never have intercourse with Maria again. He also asked Hafsah to not tell anyone about the incident.

            Yet the only sources for this story that Shamoun mentioned were the Tafsir Al-Jalalayn and Tafsir of Ibn Abbas as well some modern Islamic sources and even some non-Muslim sources. He also exposed his deception in changing details while engaging in his storytelling. Shamoun should take heed of the warning of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

“The tale-bearer shall not enter Paradise.”[19]

Of course, since Shamoun is already a man-worshiper, he is not eligible for Paradise anyway, unless he repents.

            Here are some examples of Shamoun’s deliberate lies:

Lie #1 (emphasis ours):

“[w]hen the day came for Muhammad to spend time with Hafsah, the daughter of Umar bin al-Khattab, Muhammad’s wife decided to visit her father. Muhammad took this as an opportunity to bring his sex-slave Maria the Copt to Hafsah’s home…”

However, according to the story as provided in some Islamic sources, Maria came herself. In a separate article,[20] Shamoun quoted Muhammad Husayn Haykal’s biography of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which clearly states that Maria came to the Prophet, not that he “brought” her to Hafsah’s home himself (emphasis ours):

“One day Hafsah went to her father’s house complaining about this situation. While the Prophet was in her room, Mariyah came to him and stayed with him some time.”

Lie #2 (emphasis ours):

“In order to diffuse the situation, Muhammad swore an oath to never sleep with his concubine again and banish her to a house in the outskirts of Medina to be left there all alone…”

However, in the other article, Shamoun quoted the Tafsir Ibn Abbas, which clearly states that the oath was to not marry Maria, though other sources state that the oath was to refrain from sexual intercourse. The commentary on Surah 66:1 states (emphasis ours):

“[a]nd from his narration on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah’s saying (O Prophet!): ‘(O Prophet!) i.e. Muhammad (pbuh). (Why bannest thou that which Allah hath made lawful for thee) i.e. marrying Maria the Copt, the Mother of Ibrahim; that is because he had forbidden himself from marrying her…”[21]

Lie #3 (emphasis ours):

“He specifically ordered her not to share this scandal with his childbride, Aisha. Though she had sworn not to do so, Hafsah couldn’t help herself and ended up telling Aisha anyway.”

However, in the other article, Shamoun quoted the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, which clearly states that the request to Hafsah to not tell Aisha was regarding the oath to keep away from Maria, not that he had sexual intercourse with her in Hafsah’s home! The commentary on Surah 66:3 states (emphasis ours):

“[a]nd mention when the Prophet confided to one of his wives namely Hafsa a certain matter which was his prohibition of Māriya telling her ‘Do not reveal it!’;”[22]

So, according to the source that Shamoun appealed to, the Prophet had asked Hafsah not to tell Aisha about his oath!

            Either Shamoun is a pathological liar, or he has problems with reading comprehension of the same sources he selectively quotes. The Prophet did not “bring” Maria to Hafsah’s home intentionally. She came herself. Nor did he take an oath never to have intercourse with her again. Rather, he said that he would not marry her. Finally, he did not ask Hafsah to not tell anyone about him having sex with Maria in Hafsah’s home, but rather, about his oath.

            But, as it turns out, the story probably did not happen at all, or at least the version that Shamoun uses uncritically for his nefarious agenda. Perhaps Shamoun already knows this and deliberately kept it hidden from his brainless followers.         

The Historicity of the Maria-Hafsa-Aisha Incident

            While some Islamic scholars and sources did mention the story, others maintained that it was unreliable. Moreover, the narration is not found in the authentic hadith sources. Instead, the authentic sources state that Surah 66 was revealed in a different context altogether, but one which still involved Hafsah and Aisha (may Allah be pleased with them).

            First, let us see the evidence for the unreliability of the story involving Maria (may Allah be pleased with her). As mentioned already, numerous scholars questioned its authenticity. Ibn Hajar stated that the narration was “mursal”, meaning that it came from a third-generation Muslim (Zaid ibn Aslam). In other words, the “chain of authorities is incomplete (mursal)…”[23] In his commentary on Surah 66:1, al-Qurtubi stated that in relation to other narrations, the Maria-Hafsah story was:

“…the weaker of them…”[24]

Ibn al-Arabi came to the same conclusion. He stated that:

“…the only authentic narration is that it was about honey, that the Prophet drank it with Zainab, and Aisha and Hafsa pretended to be offended by it. There occurred what occurred and the Prophet made an oath never to drink it again. He confided that to his wife and the verse was revealed regarding all of them.”[25]

Maududi also stated that the verses were revealed after the “honey” incident and that the incident with Maria was “unreliable”.[26] He cited Imam Nasa’i, who stated that (emphasis ours):

“[a]bout honey the Hadith reported from Hadrat ‘A’ishah is authentic, and the story of forbidding Hadrat Mariyah for himself by the Holy Prophet has not been narrated in a reliable way.”[27]

Qadi Iyad and Imam Nawawi concurred as well.[28]

            Moreover, Shamoun only quoted certain Islamic commentaries (Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Tafsir Ibn Abbas) and some modern scholars (e.g., Muhammad Husayn Haykal), but ignored others. One of the most famous commentaries is that of Ibn Kathir. When discussing the reason for the revelation of Surah 66, Ibn Kathir said nothing about Maria. Instead, he states that it was regarding the oath to not drink honey (this was part of Hafsah and Aisha’s plot against the Prophet for staying at Zaynab’s house longer).[29] Mufti Muhammad Shafi also related the same story, without mentioning anything about Maria.[30]

            The “honey” incident, unlike the incident with Maria and Hafsa, has been narrated in multiple authentic ahadith from Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. Here is one example from Bukhari (emphasis ours):

“Narrated `Aisha: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to drink honey in the house of Zainab, the daughter of Jahsh, and would stay there with her. So Hafsa and I agreed secretly that, if he comes to either of us, she would say to him. “It seems you have eaten Maghafir (a kind of bad-smelling resin), for I smell in you the smell of Maghafir,” (We did so) and he replied. “No, but I was drinking honey in the house of Zainab, the daughter of Jahsh, and I shall never take it again. I have taken an oath as to that, and you should not tell anybody about it.””[31]

As we can see, Aisha and Hafsa (may Allah be pleased with them) did not like that the Prophet would stay at Zainab’s house for a long time. Thus, they came up with a plan to get him to stop, which prompted him to take an oath to not drink honey again (since that was the reason he was staying longer with Zaynab). Due to this oath, he would not stay at Zainab’s house for as long as he used to. Finally, he told one of them to not tell anyone about the oath.[32] This fits well with the revelation of Surah 66. The Prophet forbid honey for himself, even though it was not forbidden (verse 1). He also asked one of his wives (Hafsa; see note #32) to keep the oath a secret, but she did not (verse 3).

            In conclusion, we have authentic narrations that state very clearly that the reason for the revelation of Surah 66 had mainly to do with the “honey” oath. In contrast, the only evidence for the “Maria” incident is from a mursal hadith from a third-generation Muslim. Perhaps Shamoun the pseudo-scholar needs to be reminded that mursal ahadith do not overrule sahih ahadith!

            However, there is another authentic hadith from Sunan an-Nasa’i which lends credence to the view that Surah 66 was revealed in regards to two incidents, the incident of the honey oath and another incident involving a certain “slave girl” of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The hadith states (emphasis ours):

“It was narrated from Anas, that the Messenger of Allah had a female slave with whom he had intercourse, but ‘Aishah and Hafsah would not leave him alone until he said that she was forbidden for him. Then Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, revealed: “O Prophet! Why do you forbid (for yourself) that which Allah has allowed to you.’ until the end of the Verse.”[33]

All we can determine from this hadith is that the Prophet had a concubine with whom he maintained legal sexual relations, but his wives apparently felt jealous and kept bothering him about it. As a result, he declared that he would no longer have sexual relations with her to appease his wives. There is no reason to deny that the “female slave” in the narration was Maria. Thus, it seems that Surah 66 was revealed regarding both issues: the honey oath and the oath to not maintain sexual relations with Maria. However, no other details regarding the latter can be determined from the authentic narrations. The only source for the Hafsah-Maria incident is a mursal narration from a 3rd-generation Muslim. Notice that the above hadith indicates that the Prophet made an oath that Maria was “forbidden for him” only after his wives’ persistence. Ergo, it was not due to one particular incident (i.e., the alleged incident at Hafsah’s house).

Shamoun’s Absurd Non-sequitur

            Naturally being a biased and deceptive Christian missionary, Shamoun implies that the revelation of Surah 66 was faked by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) “to permit him to indulge his perverted sexual fantasies…” He then appealed, for some reason, to other issues that were completely unrelated to Surah 66, including temporary marriage (which was literally a temporary allowance and was outlawed later), “raping” female captives (Shamoun must have confused Islamic law with Deuteronomy 21), and “lusting for and marrying his adopted son’s wife…” (another Christian lie that has been thoroughly refuted by others already).[34]

            But what about the occasion of the revelation of Surah 66? As we have seen, the purpose of the revelation was most likely concerned with both oaths (not to drink honey and not to have intercourse with/marry Maria). However, Shamoun’s argument that Muhammad (peace be upon him) faked the revelation because he wanted to maintain sexual relations with Maria is a non-sequitur for several reasons:

  1. He did not need to fake the revelation since concubinage was already allowed, as it was in the Bible as well, and no one would have criticized him for it. Even Hafsa had asked him how he could forbid something that was allowed by God.[35]
  2. The Quran had already declared in the Meccan Surah al-Baqarah that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) had imposed no blame on people for unintentional oaths:

“Allah does not impose blame upon you for what is unintentional in your oaths (لَّغْو), but He imposes blame upon you for what your hearts have earned. And Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing.”[36]

In his commentary on the verse,[37] Ibn Kathir stated that “لَّغْوِ” included vows where a person even swore in the name of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) and cited a hadith from Sunan Abu Dawud, which states:

“Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said about the futile oath: It is man’s speech in his house: No, by Allah, and Yes, by Allah.”[38]

More importantly, Ibn Kathir quoted the view of Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that unintentional vows included those in which a person prohibits something that Allah has allowed! Ibn Abbas stated that:

“[t]he Laghw vow includes vowing to prohibit what Allah has allowed, and this type does not require a Kaffarah (expiation).”[39]

Therefore, there was no blame on the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for canceling the oaths to not drink honey or to prohibit having sexual relations with Maria and there was no need for him to “fake” a new revelation. These oaths had no lawful status in the first place. It is understandable that he had made the oaths in the heat of the moment to please his wives.

  1. Verse 3 proves that Surah 66 was, in fact, a true revelation from the All-Knowing Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), since it states that Muhammad (peace be upon him) already knew that Hafsah had broken her promise not to tell Aisha or anyone else about the oath even before Aisha told him (emphasis ours):

“And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement; and when she informed [another] of it and Allah showed it to him, he made known part of it and ignored a part. And when he informed her about it, she said, “Who told you this?” He said, “I was informed by the Knowing, the Acquainted.“”

The Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Tafsir Ibn Abbas, which Shamoun likes to quote, both agree that Muhammad (peace be upon him) had been informed of Hafsah’s decision to tell Aisha and that Hafsah wondered how the Prophet had known (emphasis ours):

“And mention when the Prophet confided to one of his wives namely Hafsa a certain matter which was his prohibition of Māriya telling her ‘Do not reveal it!’; but when she divulged it to ‘Ā’isha reckoning there to be no blame in doing such a thing and God apprised him He informed him of it of what had been divulged he announced part of it to Hafsa and passed over part out of graciousness on his part. So when he told her about it she said ‘Who told you this?’ He said ‘I was told by the Knower the Aware’ namely God” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn).

“(When the Prophet confided a fact unto one of his wives) i.e. Hafsah (and when she afterward divulged it) Hafsah divulged to ‘A’ishah what the Prophet (pbuh) told her in confidence (and Allah apprised him thereof) and Allah informed him that Hafsah informed ‘A’ishah, (he made known (to her) part thereof) part of what she said to ‘A’ishah regarding the leadership of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar; and it is said: about seeing Maria the Copt on his own (and passed over part) he did not mention making forbidding Maria the Copt on himself nor what he told her concerning the leadership of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar after him, for he did not reproach him for this. (And when he told it to her) when the Prophet (pbuh) informed Hafsah about what she said to ‘A’ishah (she said) Hafsah said: (Who hath told thee) that I informed ‘A’ishah? (He said) the Prophet (pbuh) said: (The Knower, the Aware hath told me) what you divulged to ‘A’ishah” (Tafsir Ibn Abbas).

  1. The Prophet’s request to Hafsah to not tell anyone was regarding his other wives. Again, since concubinage was allowed and was not a matter of controversy even among the pagans and Jews, there was nothing that Muhammad (peace be upon him) needed to be concerned about. Haykal (whom Shamoun quoted) stated that (emphasis ours):

“[a]t the moment Muhammad realized that such deep-lying jealousy might even move Hafsah to broadcast what she had seen among the other wives. In an attempt to please her, Muhammad promised that he would not go unto Mariyah if she would only refrain from broadcasting what she had seen. Hafsah promised to comply.”

  1. Verse 4 warns the wives against “cooperating” against the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In the story of Maria, there was no plotting or “cooperation” at all. Shamoun’s favorite source, the biography of Muhammad (peace be upon him) by Haykal, makes several assumptions that are not supported by the available evidence. For example, Haykal claims that:

“[p]erhaps the affair did not stop with Hafsah and `A’ishah but spread to the other wives. Perhaps, too, all of them had noticed the high esteem in which Mariyah was held and sympathized with `A’ishah and Hafsah’s opposition to the Prophet.”

There is no evidence for this.[40] In contrast, the authentic narrations about the honey oath specifically mention that the wives of the Prophet (Hafsa and Aisha according to most versions) had cooperated together because the Prophet had started staying longer than usual at Zaynab’s house to drink some honey.


            In this article, we have seen even more examples of Shamoun’s shameless deception and incompetence, in addition to those we have already seen in previous refutations. Overcome with blind hatred and his Christian bias, Shamoun cannot be counted on to provide honest feedback on anything related to Islam. We have seen that his criticism of Muhammad (peace be upon him) for having Maria as a concubine is based on nothing but fallacies and deception. We have seen that the Bible allowed concubinage and that Islam improved the rights of children born in such circumstances. Moreover, we have seen that Christian views on concubinage varied throughout history. Taken together, the evidence shows that Shamoun’s criticisms of Muhammad’s practice of concubinage are not based on any objective standards, only personal opinion. Finally, we have seen that the story of the alleged “scandalous” incident at Hafsah’s house was based on a mursal hadith and was contradicted by authentic narrations which mention the honey oath and, at most, that the wives of the Prophet had pressured him to sever sexual relations with one of his concubines (most likely Maria). Even if we accept the authenticity of the mursal tradition, we have seen evidence that Shamoun’s accusation of a fake revelation to cancel the oath is a non-sequitur that falls apart when analyzed objectively. And Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He knows best)!


[2] Sahih Bukhari, 49:28,


[4] Ronald F. Youngblood, F.F. Bruce, and R.K. Harrison, Compact Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004), pp. 144-145.

[5] All three were prophets. David is clearly called a prophet in Acts 2:30. Christians have been burned on the status of David as a prophet before: (mark 10:00 onwards)


It should also be noted that, contrary to the Christian apologists’ ludicrous claims of a “new covenant” where the Law of Moses no longer applies, the Tanakh maintains that the laws and precepts of the Torah were to remain for all time (Jeremiah 31:35-36). See the video “A modern-day miracle: The “new covenant” in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hebrews” for more on this fatal contradiction between Judaism and Christianity, which completely destroy the Christian excuses for not following the Law of Moses.

[7] Ingrid Mattson, “Family Law, 7th-Late 18th centuries”, in Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures: Family Law and Politics, Volume 2, ed. Suad Joseph (Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklinke Brill NV, 2005), p. 454.

However, Mattson notes that the Hanafi school allowed a man “to deny paternity of his concubine’s child”. Nevertheless, she also notes that this was a minority view (Ibid.).


[9] Josue J. Justel, “The Rights of a Concubine’s Descendants in the Ancient Near East”, Revue Internationale des droits de l’Antiquité, LX (2013), p. 36,

[10] James A. Brundage, Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 98.

Certainly, the views of Paul influenced the second view, given that he clearly limited legal sexual intercourse to one man and one woman (1 Corinthians 7:2). Nevertheless, the fact remains that concubinage was never identified in the Bible as a sinful practice.

[11] Ibid., p. 99.

[12] Peter Lampe, Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries: From Paul to Valentinus, trans. Michael Steinhauser (London: Continuum, 2003) p. 121.

[13] Ibid., p. 101.

[14] Jewish views were also dynamic. In the Talmudic period and during the Middle Ages, rabbinical views ranged from being permissible to discouraged to completely forbidden (

[15] Sunan An-Nasa’i, 26:185,

[16] Sunan Abu Dawud, 31:6,



[19] Sahih Muslim, 1:196,





[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.



[28] Ibid.


[30] Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi, Ma’ariful Qur’an: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. 8, trans. Muhammad Shamim (Karachi, Pakistan: Maktaba-e-Darul-‘Uloom, 2010), pp. 518-522.


[32] A lengthy hadith from Bukhari indicates that Hafsa had told Aisha about the oath (

Now, some ignorant Christians such as Shamoun, may point out that this hadith “clearly” mentions the Maria incident (emphasis ours):

“The Prophet (ﷺ) did not go to his wives because of the secret which Hafsa had disclosed to `Aisha, and he said that he would not go to his wives for one month as he was angry with them when Allah admonished him (for his oath that he would not approach Maria).”

But the part about Maria is the interpolation of the translator (note the parentheses) and is NOT in the Arabic text of the hadith:

Bukhari hadith - Maria.

“فَاعْتَزَلَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَلِكَ الْحَدِيثِ حِينَ أَفْشَتْهُ حَفْصَةُ إِلَى عَائِشَةَ، وَكَانَ قَدْ قَالَ ‏”‏ مَا أَنَا بِدَاخِلٍ عَلَيْهِنَّ شَهْرًا ‏”‏‏.‏ مِنْ شِدَّةِ مَوْجَدَتِهِ عَلَيْهِنَّ حِينَ عَاتَبَهُ اللَّهُ‏”

As we can see, “Maria” is not mentioned at all.

[33] Sunan an-Nasa’i, 36:21,

[34] It is interesting that Shamoun ignored the authentic narrations about the honey oath which involved Zaynab, Hafsa, and Aisha. While accusing the Prophet of “lusting” after Zaynab, the irony does not dawn on Shamoun that the Prophet used to stay at Zaynab’s house for a longer time not for sexual reasons but to indulge his sweet tooth. He liked honey and Zaynab used to serve it to him. Of course, she was his wife and there was nothing wrong with having sexual intercourse with her, but it is delightfully ironic that Shamoun accused Muhammad (peace be upon him) of “lusting” after her and yet he stayed at her home for longer periods to indulge in some honey.

[35] Tabari stated in his tafsir that Hafsah had said: “يا رسول الله كيف تحرّم عليك الحلال؟” (

[36] Surah al-Baqarah, 2:225.


[38] Sunan Abu Dawud, 22:13,


[40] On a side note, Haykal claimed that Aisha had told the Prophet that Hafsah had told her about the oath to sever sexual relations with Maria. This clearly contradicts what the Quran says in verse 3 (emphasis ours):

“And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement; and when she informed [another] of it and Allah showed it to him, he made known part of it and ignored a part. And when he informed her about it, she said, “Who told you this?” He said, “I was informed by the Knowing, the Acquainted.“”



Categories: Anti-Islam, Bible, Christianity, God, Hadith, History, Islam, Islamophobia, Jews, Muhammad, Qur'an, Sam Shamoun, Slavery

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1 reply

  1. From the Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity:

    If we are to believe *Hippolytus (Elenchos 9,12,24-25), to prevent Christians from marrying *pagans, even of the same social class,
    concubinage was recognized by Pope *Callistus as
    “marriage” in the eyes of the church. It was still practiced at the time of *Augustine: see his personal example, or Serm. 224, where he specifies that concubinage was so common that it would have been
    impossible to *excommunicate all the Christians
    living in such unions. It was tolerated, on the condition that the man did not have a concubine and a wife simultaneously, by canon 17 of *Toledo (400),
    and under certain conditions by the *Apostolic Traditions and the *Apostolic Constitutions 8,32, but some bishops also fought against it, wanting the
    man to marry his concubine, having redeemed her,
    or to send her away and marry another woman according to the law. Concubinage was finally rejected
    by Pope *Leo I (Ep. 167, to Rusticus of Narbonne,
    4-6). Two imperial concubines played a role in the
    history of the church: *Marcia, companion of *Com-
    modus; and *Helena, companion of *Constantius
    Chlorus and mother of *Constantine the Great.

    Liked by 1 person

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