what is the Safiyyah and Rayana story?
It is difficult to try to be neutral when describing the enslavement and rape of Safiyyah. I generally try to let the ahadith speak for themselves, which is bad enough, but I think that the story of Safiyyah needs to be told in a manner that portrays its repulsive nature. Feel free to cross-reference everything that I say with Islamic sources.
After years of virtual stalemate between himself and the Meccan army, Muhammad decided to plunder the Jewish village of Khaybar, to the north of Madinah. Khaybar was a fertile oasis filled with lush palm trees flourishing vegetation. Furthermore, the Jewish inhabitants, many of whom were expelled from Madinah by Muhammad just a few years earlier, were skilled craftsmen with stores of gold and valuable weaponry. Muhammad gathered his troops on the outskirts of the town. Preparing his armies for a surprise raid at dawn, he shouted “When we descend upon their precincts, terrible indeed shall be the morning of those who had been warned!”
With that, Muhammad’s men descended upon the sleeping town, wreaking havoc, cutting palm trees, killing men, and enslaving women. One of the men that was captured was Kinana. Kinana was rumored to have knowledge of the location of a great treasure. Muhammad had his men torture Kinana to learn the treasure’s location, threatening him with death if he refused to disclose it. After finding the treasure, Muhammad had Kinana killed.
As the village lay in defeat, the bloodied and bruised bodies of the dead scattered about the rode, Muhammad had his men tie up the women and force them into sexual slavery. The women, bounded by rope and completely distraught, were screaming, wailing, pulling at their own hair and rubbing their faces in dust. Walking by, Muhammad referred to them as “she devils.” He gave orders to his companions to “chose whatever women they wanted.”
One of those women was 17 year old Safiyyah Bint Huyay. Safiyyah was the daughter of the tribe’s chief. She was also the wife of Kinana, whom Muhammad had tortured and killed earlier. Once Muhammad learned of her status, and of her striking beauty, he ordered her to be reserved for himself. He threw his cloak over her to show that she was his property.
She was cleaned, beautified, and prepared for the pleasure of the 60 year old self proclaimed prophet—the same man who ordered the raiding of her village, the enslavement of her friends, the murder of her father, and the torture and death of her husband.
Al- Bukhari Narrates:
Narrated Abdul Aziz:
Anas said, "When Allah's Apostle invaded Khaibar, we offered the Fajr prayer there (early in the morning) when it was still dark. The Prophet rode and Abu Talha rode too and I was riding behind Abu Talha. The Prophet passed through the lane of Khaibar quickly and my knee was touching the thigh of the Prophet. He uncovered his thigh and I saw the whiteness of the thigh of the Prophet. When he entered the town, he said, ‘Allahu Akbar! Khaibar is ruined. Whenever we approach near a (hostile) nation (to fight) then evil will be the morning of those who have been warned.’ He repeated this thrice. The people came out for their jobs and some of them said, ‘Muhammad (has come).’ (Some of our companions added, ‘With his army.’) We conquered Khaibar, took the captives, and the booty was collected. Dihya came and said, ‘O Allah's Prophet! Give me a slave girl from the captives.’ The Prophet said, ‘Go and take any slave girl.’ He took Safiya bint Huyai. A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Allah's Apostle! You gave Safiya bint Huyai to Dihya and she is the chief mistress of the tribes of Quraiza and An-Nadir and she befits none but you.’ So the Prophet said, ‘Bring him along with her.’ So Dihya came with her and when the Prophet saw her, he said to Dihya, ‘Take any slave girl other than her from the captives.’" Anas added: "The Prophet then manumitted her and married her."
Thabit asked Anas, "O Abu Hamza! What did the Prophet pay her (as Mahr)?" He said, "Her self was her Mahr for he manumitted her and then married her." Anas added, "While on the way, Um Sulaim dressed her for marriage (ceremony) and at night she sent her as a bride to the Prophet. So the Prophet was a bridegroom and he said, ‘Whoever has anything (food) should bring it.’ He spread out a leather sheet (for the food) and some brought dates and others cooking butter. (I think he (Anas) mentioned As-Sawaq). So they prepared a dish of Hais (a kind of meal). And that was Walima (the marriage banquet) of Allah's Apostle." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Number 367)
Ibn Hisham states:
“Safiyah was born in Medinah. She belonged to the Jewish tribe of Banu 'I-Nadir. When this tribe was expelled from Medinah in the year 4 A.H, Huyaiy was one of those who settled in the fertile colony of Khaibar together with Kinana ibn al-Rabi' to whom Safiyah was married a little before the Muslims attacked Khaibar. She was then seventeen. She had formerly been the wife of Sallam ibn Mishkam, who divorced her. One mile from Khaibar. Here the Prophet married Safiyah. She was groomed and made-up for the Prophet by Umm Sulaim, the mother of Anas ibn Malik. They spent the night there. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari guarded the tent of the Prophet the whole night. When, in the early dawn, the Prophet saw Abu Ayyub strolling up and down, he asked him what he meant by this sentry-go; he replied: "I was afraid for you with this young lady. You had killed her father, her husband and many of her relatives, and till recently she was an unbeliever. I was really afraid for you on her account". The Prophet prayed for Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Ibn Hisham, p. 766)