Umar’s Marriage to Umm Kulthum


By Nader Zaveri:

The marriage of `Umar to Umm Kulthoom, daughter of Imaam `Alee (عليه السلام), is seen as very controversial. Unfortunately, our Shee`ahs, try their very best by taking shaadh (odd/rare) historical accounts in order to prove that Umm Kulthoom did not marry `Umar. This is utterly wrong both historically and through our Shee`ah books.
In this article, my concern is not on the books of history written by Sunnees or any other sect, my concern, as it is always, is what is said about the marriage between Umm Kulthoom and `Umar in the Shee`ah books. Have the Imaams talked about this?
I will present SaHeeH (Authentic), Hasan (Good), Muwaththaq (Reliable) aHaadeeth from the books of the Shee`ah in which it clearly states that `Umar married Umm Kulthoom.
I want to merely discuss whether the marriage occurred or not, because this seems to be the main concern amongst the shee`ahs. I do not want to get into if this is a faDaa’il (merit) of `Umar or if it isn’t.
Here are two aHaadeeth that talk about where women should stay during her `iddah, when her husband dies. Notice whose example the Imaams give to answer the question.

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى وَ غَيْرُهُ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنِ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ سَعِيدٍ عَنِ النَّضْرِ بْنِ سُوَيْدٍ عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ سَالِمٍ عَنْ سُلَيْمَانَ بْنِ خَالِدٍ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع عَنِ امْرَأَةٍ تُوُفِّيَ زَوْجُهَا أَيْنَ تَعْتَدُّ فِي بَيْتِ زَوْجِهَا تَعْتَدُّ أَوْ حَيْثُ شَاءَتْ قَالَ بَلَى حَيْثُ شَاءَتْ ثُمَّ قَالَ إِنَّ عَلِيّاً ع لَمَّا مَاتَ عُمَرُ أَتَى أُمَّ كُلْثُومٍ فَأَخَذَ بِيَدِهَا فَانْطَلَقَ بِهَا إِلَى بَيْتِهِ
From Sulaymaan bin Khaalid he said: “I asked Abaa `Abd Allaah (عليه السلام) about a woman whose husband dies, where should she do her `iddah, in the house of her husband, or wherever she wants? He (عليه السلام) said: “Yes, wherever she wants”, then he (عليه السلام) said: “That `Alee (عليه السلام) brought Umm Kulthoom to his home when she became free, when `Umar died”

Source: Al-Kulayni, Al-Kaafi, vol. 6, pg. 115, hadeeth # 1
Grading:
1.       Al-Majlisi said this hadeeth is Muwaththaq (Reliable)
à Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 21, pg. 197
2.       Al-Majlisi I (Al-Majlisi’s Father) said this hadeeth is SaHeeH (Authentic)
à RawDah Al-Muttaqqoon, vol. 9, pg. 89

حُمَيْدُ بْنُ زِيَادٍ عَنِ ابْنِ سَمَاعَةَ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ زِيَادٍ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ سِنَانٍ وَ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ عَمَّارٍ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ سَأَلْتُهُ عَنِ الْمَرْأَةِ الْمُتَوَفَّى عَنْهَا زَوْجُهَا أَ تَعْتَدُّ فِي بَيْتِهَا أَوْ حَيْثُ شَاءَتْ قَالَ بَلْ حَيْثُ شَاءَتْ إِنَّ عَلِيّاً ع لَمَّا تُوُفِّيَ عُمَرُ أَتَى أُمَّ كُلْثُومٍ فَانْطَلَقَ بِهَا إِلَى بَيْتِهِ
From `Abd Allaah bin Sinaan and Mu`aawiyah bin `Ammaar from Abee `Abd Allaah (عليه السلام): He said: I asked about the women whose husband dies, can she do her `iddah in her house or wherever she wants? He (عليه السلام)said: “It is wherever she wants, that `Alee (عليه السلام) brought Umm Kulthoom to his home when she became free, when `Umar died”

Source: Al-Kulayni, Al-Kaafi, vol. 6, pg. 115, hadeeth # 2
Grading:
1.       Al-Majlisi said this hadeeth is SaHeeH (Authentic)
à Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 21, pg. 199
2.       Al-Majlisi I (Al-Majlisi’s Father) said this hadeeth is Muwaththaq Kal-SaHeeH (Reliable like a SaHeeH (hadeeth))
à RawDah Al-Muttaqqoon, vol. 9, pg. 89

عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي عُمَيْرٍ عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ سَالِمٍ وَ حَمَّادٍ عَنْ زُرَارَةَ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع فِي تَزْوِيجِ أُمِّ كُلْثُومٍ فَقَالَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ فَرْجٌ غُصِبْنَاهُ
From Zuraarah from Abee `Abd Allaah (عليه السلام) said about the marriage of Umm Kulthoom. So he (عليه السلام)said: “That this was the faraj* that was usurped from us”

Source: Al-Kulayni, Al-Kaafi, vol. 5, pg. 346, hadeeth # 1
Grading:
1.       Al-Majlisi said this hadeeth is Hasan (Good)
à Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 20, pg. 42
*Faraj – Literally means “vagina”, but Al-Majlisi contends that the word “faraj” does not mean “vagina” as this is a disrespectful way of putting it and our Imaam’s were the most eloquent of speakers. Instead Al-Majlisi says “faraj” means “honor”. (See: Al-Majlisi, BiHaar Al-Anwaar, vol. 42, 106 – 109)
Here is an interesting Hadeeth. This Hadeeth is weak, due to Ja`far bin Muhammad Al-Qummee being majhool (unkown) according to Al-Majlisi (Milaadh Al-Akhyaar, vol. 15, pg. 382), and Al-Khoei (Mu`jam Rijaal Al-Hadeeth, vol. 4, pg. 128, person # 2305), but it is interesting to take out nonetheless since we already have SaHeeH hadeeth proving the marriage took place.

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ يَحْيَى عَنْ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ الْقُمِّيِّ عَنِ الْقَدَّاحِ عَنْ جَعْفَرٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ ع قَالَ مَاتَتْ أُمُّ كُلْثُومٍ بِنْتُ عَلِيٍّ ع وَ ابْنُهَا زَيْدُ بْنُ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ فِي سَاعَةٍ وَاحِدَةٍ لَا يُدْرَى أَيُّهُمَا هَلَكَ قَبْلُ فَلَمْ يُوَرِّثْ أَحَدَهُمَا مِنَ الْآخَرِ وَ صَلَّى عَلَيْهِمَا جَمِيعاً

From Al-QadaaH from Ja`far (Al-Saadiq) (عليه السلام) from his father (عليه السلام) He said: “Umm Kulthoom, daughter of `Alee (عليه السلام), and her son Zayd bin `Umar bin Al-KhaTTaab died at the same time. They did not know who passed away before, so they did not inherit from one another, and they prayed (the funeral prayer) upon them together”

Source:
1.     Al-Toosi, Tahdheeb Al-aHkaam, vol. 9, ch. 36, pg. 362, hadeeth # 15
Grading:
1.       Al-Majlisi said this hadeeth is Majhool (Unknown)
à Milaadh Al-Akhyaar, vol. 15, pg. 382
Look at the name of the son of Umm Kulthoom, the Imaam has said, “her (Umm Kulthoom) son, Zayd son of `Umar bin Al-KhaTTaab”. This is another proof to show that the marriage had indeed taken place, as it is only one majhool narrator.
Here is a Hasan hadeeth in which it is giving the background on how the marriage came into fruition. This sheds some light into the narration about “usurpation”.

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ أَبِي عُمَيْرٍ عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ سَالِمٍ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ لَمَّا خَطَبَ إِلَيْهِ قَالَ لَهُ أَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِنَّهَا صَبِيَّةٌ قَالَ فَلَقِيَ الْعَبَّاسَ فَقَالَ لَهُ مَا لِي أَ بِي بَأْسٌ قَالَ وَ مَا ذَاكَ قَالَ خَطَبْتُ إِلَى ابْنِ أَخِيكَ فَرَدَّنِي أَمَا وَ اللَّهِ لَأُعَوِّرَنَّ زَمْزَمَ وَ لَا أَدَعُ لَكُمْ مَكْرُمَةً إِلَّا هَدَمْتُهَا وَ لَأُقِيمَنَّ عَلَيْهِ شَاهِدَيْنِ بِأَنَّهُ سَرَقَ وَ لَأَقْطَعَنَّ يَمِينَهُ فَأَتَاهُ الْعَبَّاسُ فَأَخْبَرَهُ وَ سَأَلَهُ أَنْ يَجْعَلَ الْأَمْرَ إِلَيْهِ فَجَعَلَهُ إِلَيْهِ
Hishaam bin Saalim from Abee `Abd Allaah (عليه السلام) he said: “When he (`Umar) address (proposed) to him (`Alee). Ameer Al-Mu’mineen (عليه السلام) said to him “She is a child”. He said: So he (`Umar) met Al-`Abbaas and he said to him: “What is wrong with me? Is there a problem with me?” He (Abbaas) said: “And what is the matter?” He (Umar) said: “I addressed (proposed) before your brother’s son (nephew), and he denied me. I swear by Allaah, I will fill the zamzam, leave no honor for you without being destroyed. I will bring two witnesses upon him and (prove) he (is guilty) of theft, and I will cut his right (hand)!” Then Al-`Abbaas went to him (Imaam `Alee) and gave him the news (of what happened). And he (Abbaas) asked him (`Alee) to put the matter to him (Abbaas). And he (`Alee) agreed.”

Source: Al-Kulayni, Al-Kaafi, vol. 5, pg. 346, hadeeth # 2
Grading:
1.       Al-Majlisi said this hadeeth is Hasan (Good)
à Mir’aat Al-`Uqool, vol. 20, pg. 42
Based off other SaHeeH narrations and history, this is in reference to `Umar’s marriage or what led up to `Umar’s marriage with Umm Kulthoom. Al-Kulayni has put this under the chapter of بَابُ تَزْوِيجِ أُمِّ كُلْثُومٍ “Marriage of Umm Kulthoom” . Historically, Umm Kulthoom has been said to marry `Umar at a very young age, while he was much older.
Our classical scholars have talked about this marriage taking place as well.

و روى أن عمر تزوج أم كلثوم بنت على عليه السلام
“And it is narrated that `Umar married Umm Kulthoom, daughter of `Alee (عليه السلام)”
Source: Al-Toosi, Al-MabsooT, vol. 4, pg. 272

As you can see, Umm Kulthoom, daughter of Imaam `Alee (عليه السلام), did indeed marry `Umar, and this isn’t some made up thing by the Sunnees to put `Umar at a higher status.
Al-Shareef Al-MurtaDa (d. 436 AH) has also commented on the marriage taking place in his book,Risaa’il Al-Shareef Al-MurtaDa. And here is what he said regarding the narration of “faraj being usurped from us”. He talks about the how it is “attested” in the SaHeeH narration from Abee `Abd Allaah (عليه السلام).

ويشهد بصحته ما روي عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام

Source: Al-Shareef Al-MurtaDa, Risaa’il Al-Shareef Al-MurtaDa, pg. 148 – 150.

Here are some contemporary scholars who have talked about this marriage taking place.
Here are some contemporary scholars who have talked about this marriage taking place.
Question: Is it SaHeeH (authentic) that the second caliph (`Umar) married the daughter of Imaam `Alee (عليه السلام)?
Answer: Such has been mentioned in history and narrations.
Question: Is it SaHeeH (authentic) that Sayyidah Umm Kulthoom, peace be upon her, married `Umar bin Al-KhaTTaab or are these allegations?
Answer: That is what is mentioned in SaHeeH narrations.

As to the issue of marriage I believe it is also wrong. But if anyone wants to use this kind of events against more basic idea he must know that first of all it was Omar himself who married Ali  and Fatemeh’ (AS) daughter, Ume Kulsum. Secondly When Omar asked Imam’s (AS) permission to marry her, Imam (AS) refused and said she is too young for marrying him.

As you can see, Umm Kulthoom, daughter of Imaam `Alee (عليه السلام), did indeed marry `Umar, and this isn’t some made up thing by the Sunnees to put `Umar at a higher status.
And Allaah knows best.