There is a hadith where the Prophet asked Asma if she wanted a ride in his camel but she refused because her husband doesn't like her being with other men.

This is the hadith which is narrated by Asma herself:

"When az-Zubayr married me, he had neither land, nor wealth, nor slave, nor anything else like it, except a camel to get water and his horse. I used to graze his horse, provide fodder for it, look after it and ground dates for his camel. Besides this, I grazed the camel, made arrangements for providing it with water and patching up his leather bucket and kneading the flour. I was not very good at baking the bread, so my female neighbors used to bake bread for me and they were sincere women. And I used to carry on my head, the date-stones from the land of az-Zubayr which the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam had endowed him and it was a distance of two miles from Madinah. One day, as I was carrying the date-stones upon my head, I happened to meet Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, along with a group of his Companions. He called me and told the camel to sit down so that he could make me ride behind him. I felt shy to go with men and I remembered az-Zubayr and his ghirah (ghirah is the sense of pride that a man has which causes him to dislike his wives, daughters or sisters from being seen or heard by strangers - it is this ghirah which makes a man protective about his women) and he was a man having the most ghirah. The Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam understood my shyness and left. I came to az-Zubayr and said, 'The Messenger of Allah met me as I was carrying date-stones upon my head and there was with him a group of his Companions. He told the camel to kneel so that I could mount it but I felt shy from him and I remembered your ghirah.' Upon this az-Zubayr said, 'By Allah, the thought of you carrying date-stones upon your head is more severe a burden to me than you riding with him.' I led this life of hardship until Abu Bakr sent me a female servant who took upon herself the responsibility of looking after the horse and I felt as if she had emancipated me."

[Reported in Sahih al-Bukhari (eng. trans.) vol. 7, p. 111, no. 151]

The reason I asked if it would have been a sin is that sister in laws are not mahrams as stated before on this site in this question:Is the brother in law (sister's husband) a mahram in Islam? and Asma was a half-sister-in-law of the Prophet as Wikipedia states:

Her half-sisters were Aisha and Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr, and her half-brothers were Abdul-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr and Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr.

Also the Prophet forbade being alone with a non-mahram. He said:

“No man should be alone with a woman unless there is a mahram with them.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1862) and Muslim (1341).

And he (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“No man is alone with a woman but the Shaytaan is the third one present.”

Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1171) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

The above states that it is haram to be alone with a non-mahram.

Question: If Asma bint Abu Bakr accepted the Prophet's offering of a ride, would the Prophet have committed a sin?

My guess is that in the hadith, it mentions that the Prophet was with Companions and one the Companions might have been a mahram so it wouldn't have been a sin but I'm not sure.

  • 2
    If the prophet was with the Companions, what makes you think the rulings on "being alone" would even apply here?
    – goldPseudo
    May 13, 2017 at 19:55
  • None of the Companions might have been mahram to Asma. May 13, 2017 at 19:56
  • "unless there is a mahram with them" is contingent on being alone; if they're with the Companions, they're not alone.
    – goldPseudo
    May 13, 2017 at 19:58
  • Yeah, but the hadith would apply to more than one man as it can be a modern situation where a group of non-mahram men where standing somewhere and a woman who knows them and was alone would not be allowed to be with them as they are all non-mahram a, there is no mahram. May 13, 2017 at 20:00
  • The (prohibitting) hadith apply only for a one to one situation. Else you'll have ahadith praising being in a company or group. Therefore some scholars permit women to meet men in an open space where others can see tgem
    – Medi1Saif
    May 13, 2017 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


The hadith is quoted in both sahihs (al-Bukari and Muslim)

Let's start by quoting the ahadith prohibiting what scholars call "Khulwa or Khulwah":

Ibn 'Umar narrated: " 'Umar delivered a Khutbah to us at Al-Jabiyah. He said: 'O you people! Indeed I have stood among you as the Messenger of Allah(s.a.w) stood among us, and he said: "I order you (to stick to) my Companions, then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then lying will spread until a man will take an oath when no oath was sought from him, and a witness will testify when his testimony was not sought. Behold! A man is not alone with a woman but the third of them is Ash-Shaitan. Adhere to the Jama'ah, beware of separation, for indeed Ash-Shaitan is with one, and he is further away from two. Whoever wants the best place in Paradise, then let him stick to the Jama'ah. Whoever rejoices with his good deeds and grieves over his evil deeds, then that is the believer among you.'" (Jami' at-Tirmidhi)

So the hadith already showed that what is prohibited is the one-to-one situation of a man alone with a woman:

"Behold! A man is not alone with a woman but the third of them is Ash-Shaitan.".

While a group is a walk around for such a case:

"Adhere to the Jama'ah, beware of separation, for indeed Ash-Shaitan is with one, and he is further away from two".

So of course neither the Prophet nor the sahaba in his company (nor Asma' at least from this point of view) would have committed any sin if Asma' accepted the offer.

Note that al-Bukhari and Muslim have compiled a similar hadith on the authority of ibn 'Abbas, which sounds more strict (here for example in sahih al-Bukhari).

From hadith commentaries

Imam an-Nawawi said in his commentary (on sahih Muslim) of the hadith (my own translation take it with the necessary care:

وفيه جواز إرداف المرأة التي ليست محرما إذا وجدت في طريق قد أعيت ، لا سيما مع جماعة رجال صالحين ، ولا شك في جواز مثل هذا

From this we can conclude that it is permissible to seat a non-mahram woman (behind one on a mount) if she is exhausted on the road, especially in a company of good or upright people, and there's no doubt that such things are permissible!

and he quoted a rather opposite statement of qadi 'Iyad saying:

وقال القاضي عياض : هذا خاص للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بخلاف غيره ، فقد أمرنا بالمباعدة من أنفاس الرجال والنساء ، وكانت عادته صلى الله عليه وسلم مباعدتهن لتقتدي به أمته ، قال : وإنما كانت هذه خصوصية له لكونها بنت أبي بكر ، وأخت عائشة ، وامرأة الزبير ، فكانت كإحدى أهله ونسائه ، مع ما خص به صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه أملك لإربه . وأما إرداف المحارم فجائز بلا خلاف بكل حال

And al-Qadi 'iyad said: this is special for the Prophet (Allahs prayers and blessings be upon him) in contrary to others, as he asked us to create a distinction between men and women, and it was his custom to do so, so that his Ummah may follow him. He further said: and the special for him () here was that she was the daughter of abu Bakr, the sister of 'Aishah and the wife of az-Zubair, so she was as one of his family or wives, plus the special about him () that he had most control of his desires (see for example sunan abi Dawod). When it comes to seat a mahram this is permissible without any opposite view in any case.

Ibn hajjar al-'Asqalani concluded with a more general statement in his fath al-Bari (again my own translation):

وفيه جواز ارتداف المرأة خلف الرجل في موكب الرجال

From this we can conclude that it is permissible to seat (on a mount) a woman in a group of men

He also pointed ta the fact that Asma' didn't hide herself or use a hijab or something similar, before commenting that this might have happened before the order for hijab!

  • If Asma did accept it and went with the Prophet leaving the Companions behind, would that have been a sin? May 14, 2017 at 9:35
  • @Armaan That should be a separate question.
    – Kilise
    May 21, 2017 at 19:16

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