Surah 9:49 And “The Blonde Women”

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Kaleef K. Karim


1. Introduction
2. Background: Surah 9:49
3. Banu Asfar’s Impending Army
4. The Report of Jadd b. Qais, And Excuse of Staying
5. Where is “Enslavement of the Blonde Women”?
6. Conclusion

1. Introduction

It is really worrying how some Christian missionaries use our Quran and Hadith text to deliberately and deceptively twist our scriptures for their own propagandist’s gains. This type of malicious lies has real affect on those who have no knowledge about our scripture. This may even lead some into extremism, all thanks to some Christian missionaries who want to lead innocent people astray to make few shekels on Youtube.

Not long ago the Yazidi minority group were persecuted and subjected to all kinds’ of horrendous treatment by Daesh in Iraq, who claim to follow Islam. Muslim scholars around the world have condemned this cultish group, who are no different from Christian missionaries who twist Islamic scripture for their own evil gains. The missionaries and this cult group are two sides of the same coin. The only difference is, one carries out the evil work, while the missionaries’ reinforce their cult interpretation online and giving them a pat on the back.

Coming back to the minority Yazidi group in Kurdistan-Iraq: as mentioned, they have been persecuted by Daesh.

I don’t know why there is no mention of the fact that Yazidis have been protected by Muslims in Kurdistan for centuries. To the present day, it is the Kurdish Muslim forces who rescue and have protected Yazidis from this cult. It seems ‘Muslim’ only gets mentioned when there is bad, but when there are 10.000s of Kurdish Muslims fighting against Daesh, they are not mentioned.

The claim by this particular missionary is that the Yazidi women who were raped by Daesh, have Islamic scriptural backing. [1]

The evidence presented for this claim is Surah 9:49. The critic claims that Prophet Muhammed (p) enticed and ‘promised’ his men to do Jihad against the Banu Al-Asfar (Byzantines/Romans), by giving them ‘blonde female slaves’. His assertion is that the sole purpose for this war was to enslave ‘blonde women’.

The next line of evidence he presents comes from a commentary on Surah 9:49, that Qays didn’t want participate in the war because he may be tempted by the Byzantine women, and may “sin”. The Prophet (p) allowed him to stay.

The critic’s conclusion from this is that Muhammed (p) enticed and encouraged his men to go to war, basically to enslave/rape ‘blonde women’.

2. Background: Surah 9:49

Let’s read Quran 9:49,

“And among them is he who says:”Grant me leave (to be exempted from Jihad) and put me not into trial.” Surely, they have fallen into trial. And verily, Hell is surrounding the disbelievers.” – Quran 9:49

This verse was revealed about Jadd b. Qays. The commentators of the Quran say that he was requested by Prophet Muhammed (p) to join the expedition to Tabuk, but instead made excuses that he didn’t want to come because he wouldn’t be able to hold back if he sees the ‘Banu Asfar’ women. He was excused from joining this expedition, hence for the revelation of this verse.

As mentioned, Surah 9:49 was revealed in connection with the expedition of Tabuk, this is reported to us by many of the classical scholars (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, and Ibn Juzayy).

We have written a comprehensive article on the Tabuk expedition. Please click on the following article: “Answering Jihad: ‘Fight Against Those Who Do Not Believe’ – Quran 9:29“. This expedition took place as a result of the aggression and impending army of Byzantine (Roman) Empire, who had reached Balqa, ready to attack the Muslim community. The Prophet (p), upon receiving news of them got his people ready to engage the enemy.

3. Banu Asfar’s Impending Army

The evidence of the impending army by the Byzantines (Banu Asfar) is related to us in a number of authentic reports.

Sahih Muslim:

“I never remained behind Allah’s Messenger from any expedition which he undertook except the Battle of Tabuk and that of the Battle of Badr. So far as the Battle of Badr is concerned, nobody was blamed for remaining behind as Allah’s Messenger and the Muslims (did not set out for attack but for waylaying) the caravan of the Quraish, but it was Allah Who made them confront their enemies without their intention (to do so). I had the honour to be with Allah’s Messenger on the night of ‘Aqaba when we pledged our allegiance to Islam and it was more dear to me than my participation in the Battle of Badr, although Badr was more popular amongst people as compared with that (Tabuk). And this is my story of remaining back from Allah’s Messenger on the occasion of the Battle of TABUK. Never did I possess means enough and (my circumstances) more favourable than at the occasion of this expedition. And, by Allah, I had never before this expedition simultaneously in my possession two rides. Allah’s Messenger set out for this expedition in extremely hot season; the journey was long and the land (which he and his army had to cover) was waterless and HE HAD TO CONFRONT A LARGE ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual situation (they had to face), so that they should adequately equip themselves for this expedition, and he also told them the destination where he intended to go. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 37, Hadith 6670)

Riyad as-Salihin:

“Abdullah bin Ka’b, who served as the guide of Ka’b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) when he became blind, narrated: I heard Ka’b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) narrating the story of his remaining behind instead of joining Messenger of Allah when he left for the battle of Tabuk. Ka’b said: “I accompanied Messenger of Allah in every expedition which he undertook excepting the battle of Tabuk and the battle of Badr. As for the battle of Badr, nobody was blamed for remaining behind as Messenger of Allah and the Muslims, when they set out, had in mind only to intercept the caravan of the Quraish. Allah made them confront their enemies unexpectedly. I had the honour of being with Messenger of Allah on the night of ‘Aqabah when we pledged our allegiance to Islam and it was dearer to me than participating in the battle of Badr, although Badr was more well-known among the people than that. And this is the account of my staying behind from the battle of TABUK. I never had better means and more favourable circumstances than at the time of this expedition. And by Allah, I had never before possessed two riding-camels as I did during the time of this expedition. Whenever Messenger of Allah decided to go on a campaign, he would not disclose his real destination till the last moment (of departure). But on this expedition, he set out in extremely hot weather; the journey was long and the terrain was waterless desert; and HE HAD TO FACE A STRONG ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual position so that they should make full preparation for the campaign.” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 21)

Notice, the Prophet and his companions had to confront Banu Asfar’s army, who were ready and equipped to go to war against the Muslim community.

Let’s look further in other reports, that the real reason behind Tabuk expedition was to do with aggression and hostility of Byzantines, who were ready and equipped to attack the Muslim community.

Ibn Sa’d (784-845 AD), in his book Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir states that news had reached Prophet Muhammed that the Byzantine (banu Asfar) had ‘concentrated large forces’, and Heracluis had sent some his military to ‘Balqa’. This is when the Muhammed (p) ‘summoned’ his people to the expedition of Tabuk:

“They (narrators) saud: It (report) reached the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the ROMANS HAD CONCENTRATED LARGE FORCES IN SYRIA had, that Heraclius had disbursed one year’s salary to his soldiers, and that tribes of Lakhm, Judham, ‘Amilah and Ghassan had joined hands with him. THEY SENT HAD SENT THEIR VANGUARDS TO AL-BALQA. THE MESSENGER Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, SUMMONED THE PEOPLE TO MARCH. He set out and informed them about the place which he intended, so that they could make necessary preparations. He sent (messengers) to Makkah and to the tribes of Arabia (asking them) to send help. This took place in the days of intense heat.” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 2, pp. 203-204) [2]

9th Century historian Ahmad Ibn Yaḥya al-Baladhuri (D. 892 AD), also reports in his book, ‘Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan’, in clear words that the Prophet (p) learned that the Byzantine army ‘had assembled against him’:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to TABUK in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others WHOM HE LEARNT HAD ASSEMBLED AGAINST HIM, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” (Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, vol. 1, p. 92) [3]

This is also reported in al-Zurqani:

“…the Apostle was informed by the Nabataeans that Heraclius was, after stocking one year’s provisions for his army and drafting the pro-Byzantine tribes of the Lakhm, Judham, Amla and Ghassan under his banner, INTENDING TO COME UPON and that his advance columns had already reached Balqa.” (Al-Zurqani, commentary on Al-Mawahib, volume 3, page 63 – 64) [4]

From this section we get a clear picture that the war was about one side (Banu Asfar) trying to attack and overthrow the Muslim power In Madinah, while the other group (Muslims) tried defending themselves against the aggression of the Banu Asfar, by fighting back in self-defence.

4. The Report of Jadd b. Qais, And Excuse of Staying

Let us now look at the second claim why Qays did not participate in this expedition, and the claim that Muhammed (p) only went to war because of ‘blonde women’. The report from Tabari says,

“…Everyone transmitted what he had learned about the expedition to Tabuk and some people reported whats others did not. All the reports agree, however, that the Messenger of God ordered his companions to prepare for the military expedition against the Byzantines. This was a season when people were hard pressed; the heat was oppressive and the country was passing throuhg a dry spell. At the time, fruit was ripe and shade was dearly sought. People love to stay where they have shade and fruit [trees], and find leaving them distasteful. The Messenger of God would seldom go out on a military expedition without alluding to a destination and announcing [publicly] that he meant [a place] other than that intended.
The Tabuk expedition was the exception, in that he explained [the particulars of the expedition openly] to the people. This was because of the long distance, the difficult season, and THE ENEMY’S NUMERICAL SUPERIORITY. He wanted the people to be fully prepared, so he ordered them to make ready and informed them that his objective was the Byzantines. They prepared themselves despite their dislike for that approach and what it entailed, as well as their respect for the Byzantines and their fighting ability. One day, while the Messenger of God was making preparations for this expedition, he said to Jadd b. Qays, brother of the Banu Salimah: ‘Would you like, O Jadd, to fight the Banu Asfar this year?’ He said: ‘O Messenger of God, please excuse me [from this] and do not tempt me. By God my folk know no better admirer of women than I. I fear that if I see the women of the Banu of Asfar I shall not be able to control myself.’ The Messenger of God turned away from him saying, ‘I excuse you.’ It was about al-Jadd that the following verse was revealed:
‘Among them is a man who says, ‘Grant me exemption [to stay at home] and tempt me not [into trial].’ Have they not already fallen into trial? Indeed hell encompasses the unbelievers.’ [‘Tempt me not’] meant that he feared temptation from the women of the Banu Asfar. But was it not [also] temptation that he had fallen into, by staying behind [while] the Messenger of God [went to battle]? By falling prey to human desires, he had fallen into a greater temptation. Indeed, hell is at his back. (Tabari vol. 9, page 47 – 48[5]

This report on Jadd b. Qays mentions nothing about Muhammed going to war for the enslavement of “blonde women”.

Furthermore, towards the end of Tabari’s quote it says that Qays didn’t want to go because he may be tempted by the Banu Asfar women, and may lead him to sin. If as the critic claims that rape of these women were allowed, why would Qays say that he didn’t want to go, as it may lead him to touch women? Doesn’t this report show that rape was forbidden, for why would Qays not be willing to join the expedition if this heinous act was permissible?

The critic’s sole claim that Muhammed (p) went to this expedition to ‘enslave blonde women’, has no historical backing from the report.

5. Where is “Enslavement of the Blonde Women”?

As we have seen from the above evidences, the expedition of Tabuk was started as a result of Banu Asfar’s impending army. Let’s look at a further evidence when the Muslims got to the territory of Banu Asfar, what did the Muslims do to the enemy? Did their ‘blonde’ women get enslaved?

Historical Reports

Sahih al-Bukhari:

“We accompanied the Prophet in the Ghazwa of Tabuk and the king of ‘Aila presented a white mule and a cloak as a gift to the Prophet. And the Prophet wrote to him a peace treaty allowing him to keep authority over his country.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 4, Book 53, Hadith 387)

Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to Tabuk in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others whom he learnt had assembled against him, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” (Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan volume 1, page 92) [10]


“In the name of Allah, The most Merciful, The Most Compassionate. This is a covenant of security from Allah and Muhammed, the Messenger of Allah, to Yuhanna Ibn Ru’ba and the people of Alya. Their ships and their journeys by land and sea shall be under the safe protection of God and Muhammed, as shall the people of Syria and Yemen and the coastal dwellers who accompany them. His assets shall not protect the perpetrator of a crime and it shall be lawful to confiscate his wealth.” (Kitab al-Maghazi, by al-Waqidi, volume 3, page 1031)

Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya:

“Then the Governor of Ayla came to the Messenger of God (SAAS) and presented to him a while mule. The Messenger of God (SAAS), presented him with a robe of honour and wrote a document for him giving them protection.” (Al-Sira an-Nabawiyya, volume 4, page 14)

With the Prophet (p) and his army’s arrival in Banu Asfar’s territory, we read that he made peace treaties with the tribes that had allegiance to them. These reports are very interesting! It thoroughly debunks the myth perpetuated by the critic that Prophet Muhammed (p) conquered, and sole purpose was to enslave ‘blonde women’.

We have to also remember that these tribes were guilty of siding with the Byzantine (Banu Asfar) in harming the Muslims, yet when the Prophet (p) had the opportunity to avenge them for what they did (i.e., siding with Byzantine in killing Muslims), he left them alone.

Furthermore, if the claim as the critic claims that the sole purpose of this expedition was for women as he quotes one commentary, why do our most authentic reports tell us the opposite of what he claims? Why is that none of the perverted assertions he made is not backed historically?

6. Conclusion:

The conclusion that can be drawn from all the above proofs is that the purpose of Tabuk expedition was to do with the Byzantine (Banu Asfar) preparing their people to attack the Muslim community. The claim that Muhammed (p) and his companions set out on the expedition to Tabuk to ‘enslave blonde women’, has no historical truth to the event.

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[1] A narration reported by Abu Dharr tells us that:
“The Prophet (p) said: “Feed those of your captives who please you from what you eat and clothe them with what you clothe yourselves, but sell those who do not please you and DO NOT punish Allah’s creatures.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 5142. Albani classified it as Sahih)
This report tells us if a captive-woman were to refuse to please her master, by making food or getting intimate, he was NOT allowed to force her. God orders Muslims to sell her and move away from her. The Prophet also recommended to set free captives. They were NOT to punish. From leaving each other, maybe the second person she goes to may have a better relationship. The idea about ‘raping’ captive-women is described by God to be “punishing Allah’s creatures”, which is the most heinous crime to do.
[2] Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Translated by S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2009) Volume 2, page 203-204
[3] The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, By Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, [1916], volume 1, page 92
[4] Muhammad Rasulullah: The Apostle Of Mercy, [Translated by Mohiudin Ahmad, Academy of Islamic Research And Publications, Lucknow (India) – Series No. 126 – Edition English 2nd Lucknow, 1982]S. Abul Hasan Ali, page 349
[5] History of al-Tabari: The Last Years Of The Prophet – [Translated And Annotated By Ismail K. Poonawala, Suny – Series in Near Eastern Studies, University Of California, Los Angeles – State University of New York, 1990], volume 9, page 47 – 48
[6] The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, By Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, [1916], volume 1, page 92



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4 Responses »

  1. Salam Alikum I’m going to dedicate a refutation to his video and send it to you in email ones I’m done with TMA

  2. May Allah reward you. Christians are so hypocrites. All the system which the world is forced to live by was done by FORCE of their countries.They guaranteed their security, economy on accounts of other nation by force, yet they complain about age was so normal to conquer others.

    • In our “christian” countries the law is laic. And you and your stupid religion of pigs was legal. All of muslim countries the Christinity was legal? Thanks.

      A Christian hypocrite….


  1. Banu Asfar: Jadd B. Qays And The ‘Blonde Women’ Claim – Discover The Truth

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