Hind bint Utbah

Hind bint Utbah

Hind bint Utbah (هند بنت عتبة) was an Arabic woman who lived in the late 6th and early 7th centuries CE; she was the wife of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, a powerful man of Mecca, in western Arabia. Both Abu Sufyan and Hind originally opposed the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

She was the mother of Muawiya I (founder of the Umayyad dynasty), and of Umm Habiba bint Abu Sufyan Fact|date=February 2007, who was one of the wives of Muhammad.


She was born in Mecca, daughter of one of the most prominent leaders of Quraysh Utba ibn Rabi'ah. She had two brothers: Abu Hudhaifa ibn 'Utba and Walid ibn Utba. It is not known exactly when she married Abu Sufyan, one of the leading authorities in the tribe of Quraysh, but it is most probable that the marriage occurred at her early years of youth.


Many historians have taken a dim view of Hind. Hind is remembered primarily for two accusations:

# That she was a wild, wanton woman, probably a prostitute, and Muawiyyah may have been the son of any one of four men, or, the son of someone other than his reputed father, Abu Sufyan (shi'ite view).
# That she exulted in the defeat of the Muslims at the Battle of Uhud, and ate the liver of Muhammad's uncle Hamza.

The founder of the Ummayyad dynasty was thus claimed to be an illegitimate son of a cannibal.

In the modern age, arguments have been raised about whether Hind bint Utbah was to be considered one of Muhammad's Sahaba or not, based upon her earlier hideous deeds against Muslims.

However, in earlier Sunni reference al-Isti'ab fi Tamyeez al-Sahab, Islamic scholar Ibn abdul Barr lists summaries for the biographies of the Sahaba, and Hind is indeed mentioned as one of Muhammad's Sahaba.

Alleged Claims about adultery

Shi'ite Scholars quote earlier sources which claim that Hind had relations with men other than her husband Abu Sufyan, and that her son Muawiya might have been the result of any of those illegitimate relations.

In Thanzeeya al Nasab fi Kubul al Arab, there is the following claim::"In relation to the birth of Muawiya, four men were viewed to have been his father Umar ibn Walid, Musafir Abu Umar, Abu Sufyan and another fourth individual. Hind was a prostitute and had sex with black men; if any children were born from such a union she would kill them." [ [http://www.answering-ansar.org/answers/muawiya/en/chap11.php Answering-Ansar.org :: Mu'awiya ] ]

Other scholars say that she became pregnant from Abu Sufyan out of wedlock, and that Abu Sufyan was bribed to marry her. [ [http://www.answering-ansar.org/answers/muawiya/en/chap11.php Answering-Ansar.org :: Mu'awiya ] ]

We also find in earlier trusted Sunni references an incident related at the time of Muhammad which refutes the claims that Hind was an adulteress. The incident mentioned is the following: "When in the time of Fath Makka (the conquer of Mecca), Abu Sufyan's wife Hind went to Muhammad to embrace Islam, and she asked him what her duties as a Muslim woman would be. So among the others, Muhammad told her that a Muslim woman must not steal or commit adultery. Hind then replied in a shock "And do free women (wives who are not slaves) also steal and commit adultery?"

References: Tazkira Khawass Page 62 Chapter Zikr al-Khwarij — al-Isti'ab fi Tamyeez al-Sahab Chapter 8 Kitab al-Kuna.

Claims about Hind chewing the liver of Hamzah

Moosaa' ibn 'Uqbah narrated that Wahshi gouged the liver of Hamzah and took it to Hind bint 'Utbah and she tried to chew on it, but she was unable to do so. Ibn Katheer mentions this in his "Al-Bidaayah wal-Nihaayah" (4/43) without an "isnaad", thus weakening it's authenticity.

Ibn Ishaaq narrated with a broken "isnaad" that Hind was the one who gouged the liver of Hamzah. ("Seerah Ibn Hishaam": 3/133).

Thus based on what was previously stated, there is no authentic source showing that Hind indeed chewed or attempted to chew the liver of Hamzah. It's worthy to note that Ibn Al-Atheer stated the following in her biography,

Earlier hostility against Muslims

From 613 to 622, Muhammad preached the message of Islam publicly, in Mecca. As he gathered converts, he and his followers faced increasing persecution. In 622 they emigrated to the distant city of Yathrib, now known as Medina. They were at war with the Meccans and attacked Meccan caravans.

The Meccans sent out a force to defend the caravans. The Meccans and the Muslims clashed at the Battle of Badr. The Muslims defeated the Meccans and Hind's father, brother and uncle were all slaughtered in that battle. Hind's anger at the Muslims was of the greatest and most severe intense; she kept wailing publicly in the open desert and pouring dust over her face and her clothes, while lamenting her deceased relatives; and she did not stop not until her husband Abu Sufyan urged her to weep no more and promised her to avenge the death of her father and brother.

She is claimed to have been the one responsible for inciting Wahshi to murder Hamzah ibn Abdul Muttalib (Muhammad's uncle) who was claimed responsible for the death of her father and brother, and she offered Wahshi his freedom and her jewelry in return, if he managed to murder Hamzah and bring back for her his liver.

Wahshi eventually did so by hiding behind a tree and striking Hamzah with a spear which left him dead; Wahshi then split open Hamzah's belly and took out his raw liver and brought it back to Hind as promised. Hind was claimed to have tasted the raw liver as a prominent sign of revenge, but was said to have not relished it and immediately spat it out.

One of the earliest chronicles of Islamic history, Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", a life of Muhammad, says that Hind accompanied the Meccan forces that went to besiege the Muslims in Medina. At the Battle of Uhud, Hind and her women sang and danced, urging on their warriors. The Muslims were forced to flee and, according to Ibn Ishaq, Hind and the others mutilated the Muslim corpses, making garlands of ears and noses.According to Ibn Ishaq, after the battle, Hind cut open the body of Muhammad's uncle Hamza, whom she believed responsible for the death of her relatives, cut out his liver, and gnawed on it. According to Ibn Ishaq, she couldn't swallow it and spat it out. Ibn Abdul Birr states in his book "Al-Isti'ab" that she cooked Hamza's liver before eating it. This report has been widely copied by Muslim historians. However, neither Watt nor Madelung mention it.

Sunni historians and theologians claim that in spite of all those signs of hatred against Muslims, it appeared that those were all nothing more than cravings of revenge for her father and brother, but nothing of real hatred. As later when the Muslims conquered Mecca in 630 CE, Hind gave her submission to Muhammad and accepted the religion of Islam and became a Muslim herself, along with her husband Abu Sufyan and their son Muawiya.

ee also



* Guillaume, A. -- "The Life of Muhammad", Oxford University Press, 1955
* Madelung, Wilferd -- "The Succession to Muhammad", Cambridge University Press, 1997
* Watt, W. Montgomery -- "Muhammad at Medina", Oxford University Press, 1956

External links

* [http://www.answering-ansar.org/answers/muawiya/en/chap11.php Answering Ansar - a Shi'a site]

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