Both al-Bukhari (in the Book of Wedlock, Marriage (Nikaah) / Chapter: To treat the family in a polite and kind manner) and Muslim (in The Book of the Merits of the Companions / Chapter: The Hadith Of Umm Zar) have quoted this long hadith -here just a shortened version-:
'A'isha reported that (one day) there sat together eleven women making an explicit promise amongst themselves that they would conceal nothing about their spouses. The first one said: My husband is a sort of the meat of a lean camel placed at the top of a hill ...The second one said: My husband (is so bad) that I am afraid I would not be able to describe ... . The third one said: My husband is a long-statured fellow (i. e. he lacks intelligence). .... The fourth one said: My husband is like the night of Tihama .... The fifth one said: My husband is (like) a leopard as he enters the house .... The sixth one said: So far as my husband is concerned, he eats so much that nothing is left back... . The seventh one said: My husband is heavy in spirit, having no brightness in him ... . The eighth one said: My husband is as sweet as the sweet-smelling plant .... The ninth one said: My husband is the master of a lofty building ... . The tenth one said: My husband is Malik .... The eleventh one said: My husband is Abu Zara'. How fine Abu Zara' is! He has suspended in my ears heavy ornaments and ... that my sinews and bones are covered with fat. So he made me happy. He found me among the shepherds living in the side of the mountain, and he made me the owner of the horses, camels and lands and heaps of grain and he finds no fault with me. ... . The mother of Abu Zara', how fine is the mother of Abu Zara'! Her bundles are heavily packed ... and the house quite spacious. So far as the son of Abu Zara' is concerned, his bed is as soft as a green palm-stick drawn forth from its bark .... So far as the daughter of Abu Zara' is concerned ... . As for the slave-girl of Abu Zara', how fine is she; .... One day Abu Zara' went out (of his house) when the milk was churned in the vessels, that he met a woman, having two children like leopards playing with her pomegranates under her vest. He divorced me (Umm Zara') and married that woman (whom Abu Zara') met on the way. I (Umm Zara') later on married another person ... he bestowed upon me many gifts ... and said: Umm Zara', make use of everything and send forth to your parents (but the fact) is that even if I combine all the gifts that he bestowed upon me, they stand no comparison to the least gift of Abu Zara'.
'A'isha reported that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to me: I am for you as Abu Zara' was for Umm Zara'.
Now I have a few questions about this hadith:
- The hadith seems like a story told by 'Aisha and the only real hadith related words is the comment of our Prophet () "I am for you as Abu Zara' was for Umm Zara'", is this correct? Maybe one of the arguments to explain this is the language used which seems a bit more complex than in most ahadith.
- Is there any explanation or comment, why the hadith was arranged by al-Bukhari in a chapter about marriage and manners between spouses while Mulsim arranged it in a chapter about virtuous of the sahabah?
- What is the quintessence of this hadith?
- Why is it known as hadith Umm Zar'a while we don't even know the name of the 11th woman?