Sunday, 11 April 2010

Hadith of Jabir

Jabir b. Abdillah was the son of a famous warrior, Abdullah b. Haram. Jabir was from the Ansar, and accepted Islam as a young boy. He was blessed to participate in the Treaty of Aqaba, and lived an extremely long life. Because of this, Jabir became one of the most profuse narrators of hadith, earning his name in the top five companions in terms of quantity of hadith narrated.

Jabir married young - he was probably seventeen when he got married. His marriage occurred shortly after his father died a martyr in the Battle of Uhud. His story is mentioned in most books of hadith, including the two Sahihs:

Jabir b. Abdillah reported that once he was on an expedition with the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and when they were close to the city of Madinah, he sped on his mount. The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam asked him why he was in such a hurry to return home. Jabir replied, "I am recently married!" The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam asked, "To an older lady or a younger one?" [the Arabic could also read: "To a widow or a virgin?"], to which he replied, "A widow." The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, "But why didn't you marry a younger girl, so that you could play with her, and she could play with you, and you could make her laugh, and she could make you laugh?" He said, "O Messenger of Allah! My father died a martyr at Uhud, leaving behind daughters, so I did not wish to marry a young girl like them, but rather an older one who could take care of them and look after them." The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa salam replied, "You have made the correct choice..."

This is part of a much larger hadith, known as the 'hadith of Jabir'. It is a hadith full of benefits, and in fact separate treatises have been written by our scholars just on this one hadith. Some of the benefits we can derive from the portion cited above include:

The frankness of the Prophet's salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam question. He is encouraging Jabir to find a playful wife, and wants the both of them to enjoy each other. This clearly shows that it is one of the primary goals of a marriage that each party find satisfaction in the other.
The connotation of being sexually playful is clearly implied, without any direct reference. From this, and many other references, we see that the Quran and Sunnah are frank about sexuality, but never vulgar. This should be our attitude and tone as well.
The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam clearly mentioned that both parties should be satisfied with each other. In many Muslim cultures, women's sexuality is sidelined or even suppressed (through such barbaric practices as FGM - female genital mutilation). Women's sexuality is no less important than men's, and it is essential that a woman also be given her due right.

1 comment:

Muhammad said...

Does it mean that female genital mutilation is not part of practice of a good muslim? I may be wrong to think otherwise.