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Umme Kalthum's Marriage To Umer

One of the major disputes between the Shia and the Sunni is the position of a certain group of companions, Umer ibn Khattab being one of them. Ironic is the fact that any faith/belief/opinion related to Umer is not a part of religion, yet the two school of thoughts clash when it comes to people who have nothing to do with Islamic belief/fundamentals.

You talk about what certain people did after the demise of the Prophet and how they transgressed against Allah, His Prophet (SAW), his ahlulbayt and the Quran, and you are given a reply that no matter what, these people were the in-laws of the Prophet (SAW) himself. What merit does it bring? Does it take them above the laws of Quran?

This article is not to discuss who did what, it is here to discuss the fact that some people force certain companions into relationships with the Ahlulbayt in order to save them from the blame of their deeds. One such an example is the myth that Imam Ali (as) married one of his respected and beloved daughters Hz Umme Kalthum to a man, Umer, with whom Imam Ali did not share a healthy relation.

It is reported by Zuhri that this tradition was narrated to him by Malik b. Aus who said: Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) had said:" We do not have any heirs; what we leave behind is (to be given in) charity." So both of you (Ali and Abbass) thought him to be a liar, sinful, treacherous and dishonest. And Allah knows that he was true, virtuous, well-guided and a follower of truth. When Abu Bakr passed away and (I [Umer] have become) the successor of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him), you thought me to be a liar, sinful, treacherous and dishonest. And Allah knows that I am true, virtuous, well-guided and a follower of truth. .......
Sahih Muslim , Book 19, Number 4349

Given the fact that Mawla Ali had not a good opinion about Umer, let us concentrate on the issue. Did mawla Ali (AS) really wed his daughter to a man who was too old to marry her mother and who was thought to be a liar and sinful.

when Abubakr and Umar asked the holy Prophet[saww] for his daughter, Lady Fatima[sa]'s hand the Prophet[saww] replied she is too young to marry.
Mishkat Shareef

If this is correct then think rationally over the fact that, Umme Kulthum [sa] whose mother was too young to marry these people, marries these same personalities, does this make sense?

Umm Kulthum was the daughter of Ali Ibne Abi Talib. Sunni Historical evidence shows that:

The marriage of Umm Kulthum and Umar took place in the year 17 Hijri when Umm Kulthum was 5 or 4 years of age. This would put her date of birth to 12 or 13 Hijri. History of Abul Fida, vol I p 171
al Farooq by Shibli Numani, vol II p 539

However, contrary to the above statistics;

Hazrat Fatima ( May Allah bless her ) passed away 6 month after the demise of his father, and thus her date of death was in the year 11 Hijri, and that Umm Kulthum, daughter of Ali was born in the year 9 Hijri.
Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English Version, Tardition 5.546
Anwarul Hussania, v3, p39

Then how is it possible for Umm Kulthum to be born after the death of Hazrat Fatima (as) if the Sunnis claim that she was married to Omar in the year 17 Hijri at an age of 4 or 5 years, that would put the date of birth as 12 or 13 Hijri, which is long after the death of her mother?!

Umm Kulthum (the so-called wife of Umar) died before 50 Hijri, since Imam Hasan (as), Abdullah ibn Umar and Sa'ad bin Abi Waqs offered the funeral prayers. Also it is worthy to note that Imam Hasan (as) was martyred in the year 50 Hijri.
Al Istiab by Ibn Abdul Barr Volume 2 page 795
Tareekhe Khamees vol II p 318
History of al-Tabri vol 12 p 15

But then other references show that Hazrat Umm Kulthum ( Blessings on her, the daughter of Imam Ali and Fatima Az Zahra ) were present in Kerballa during the year 61 Hijri. Long after the incident of Kerballa Hazrat Zaineb binte Ali ( blessings on her ) died, then it was that Hazrat Abdullah bin Jafer Tayyar were married to Hazrat Umm Kulthum binte Ali (blessings on her ).

There is no contradiction to the fact that before Umm Kulthum binte Ali (blessings on her), Hazrat Zaineb ( blessings on her ) were married to Abdullah bin Jafer ( blessings on him ). Also it is true that till the year 61 Hijri ( incident of Kerballa ) Hazrat Zaineb were alive, and that Umm Kulthum binte Ali were married after the year 61 Hijri to Hazrat Abdullah bin Jafer.

But where does the contradiction lie ? With respect to the first references, the lady married to Omar by the name Umm Kulthum died in the year before 50 Hijri, as Imam Hasan ( as ) had offered her funeral prayers. This leaves us to believe that the Umm Kulthum married to Omar were in fact some other lady and NOT the daughter of Imam Ali (as).

All the daughters of Imam Ali(as) were married to the sons of Aqeel and Abbas with a few exceptions, The exceptions were for Ummul Hasan binte Saeed and Fatima.
al-Maarif, Ibn Qutaybah, p 80

He did not mention the claim that Umm Kulthum (May Allah bless her) were married to Umar. For those who claim that such marriage happened; kindly answer the following questions.

  • What was the age for Omar at the time of the marriage ?
  • When Omar died what was the age of Umm Kulthum ?
  • Could you briefly state the names of the wives of Omar?
  • Could you assert to the truthfulness of the character of the person who narrated this story ? ( I am talking about Zubair bin Bakar ) ?
  • Do you know how many children were born of Umm Kulthum with the marriage to Omar?

It would be appropriate to mention the other wives of Omar at this juncture, not only during his pagan days but also after embracing Islam.

His first wife was Zainab sister of Uthman b. Mazun.
His second wife was Qariba, daughter of Ibn Umait ul Makzami, and sister of the Holy Prophet's ( saw ) wife Umm Salma ( May Allah be pleased with her ). She was divorced in 6 A.H after the conclusion of the Truce of Hudaibiya.
His third wife was Malaika, daughter of Jarul al Khuzai, who was also called Umm Kulthum, also she did not embrace Islam and was divorced in 6 A.H.
On arrival at Medinah he married Jamila, daughter of Asim b. Thabit who was high placed Ansari and had fought at Badr. Jamila first name was Asia which the Holy Prophet ( saw ) changed to Jamila on her conversion to Islam. Omar divorced her also for some unknown reason.
Omar also had other wives namely, Umm Hakim, daughter of al Harith b. Hisham al Makhzumi, Fukhia Yamania and Atika, daughter of Zaid b. Amr b. Nafil.
Al Faruq - Volume II by Shibli Numani English Translation

There was another Umm Kulthum who had been his wife but Historians make a clear distinction between the two.

Who is this other Umm Kulthum that has been mentioned in the historical references ? Is she the same Umm Kulthum that was divorced ( Malaika the third wife ) in 6 A.H ? We also know that there were ' two ' Umm Kulthum's as Shibli Numani writes above, correct ? Or is she the same Umm Kulthum that is the daughter of Abu Bakr ? If yes then why doesn't the author point out so ? What is the clear distinction then ?

Here is the answer by from the historical documents:

After the death of Abu Bakr a daughter was born to him that was named Umm Kulthum. Please refer to the following Sunni references to confirm this fact.
History of al-Tabari Volume 3 page 50, Printed in Egypt
Tareekhe Kamil Volume 3 page 121, Printed in Egypt
Al-Isaba, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Volume 3 page 27

Please also do bear in mind that Abu Bakr died in the year 13 A.H. This would imply that the original claim made by the first references I gave for the age of Umm Kulthum at the time of marriage of 4 or 5 years would stand correct. Since for Umm Kulthum binte Abu Bakr to be born in 13 A.H and married in 17 A.H would give her an age of 4 years.

Since Aisha was the elder sister of Umm Kulthum binte Abu Bakr, for this reason Omar had sent for Umm Kulthum hand's to Aisha, and Aisha had accepted this. Tareekhe Khamees Volume 2 page 267
Tareekhe Kamil Volume 3 page 21
Al Istiab by Ibn Abdul Barr Volume 2 page 795

This leaves us no doubt to believe that Umm Kulthum who was the daughter of Abu Bakr was married to Omar and NOT Umm Kulthum the daugher of Imam Ali (AS)! You may believe else wise.

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