Hind bint ‘Utbah
هند بنت عتبة
Sahabiyyat: Hind bint ‘Utbah – هند بنت عتبة
The Female Compaions of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)
The Wife of Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb
Hind bint ‘Utbah (هند بنت عتبة) was an Arab 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 Muawiyah I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty, and of Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan, who was one of Muhammad’s wives.
Her status as a Sahaba (companion of Muhammad) remains questioned because of actions she took against the Muslim community before her conversion, particularly an incident of alleged battlefield cannibalism.
She was born in Mecca, daughter of one of the most prominent leaders of the Quraysh, ‘Utba ibn Rabi’ah. She had two brothers: Abu-Hudhayfah ibn ‘Utbah and Walid ibn ‘Utbah. Her paternal uncle Shaibah ibn Rabī‘ah was also one of the chief adversaries of Islam who eventually was killed by ‘Ali in the Battle of Badr.
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 in her early years of youth. But before that, she was married to Fakīhah ibn Mughīrah of Banu Makhzūm.
Controversies from Shia Sources
Hind is infamous in Islamic history for her exultation at the defeat of the Muslims at the Battle of Uhud when she ate the liver of Muhammad’s slain uncle Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. Although she later converted to Islam, the founder of the Umayyad Caliphate was thus later slandered to be an illegitimate son of a cannibal. Even in the modern age, arguments continue to be raised about whether Hind bint ‘Utbah was a Sahaba or not because of her pre-Islamic actions.
In the earlier Sunni reference Istiʻib fī Maʻrifat al-Ashab, Islamic scholar Yusuf ibn abd al-Barr (978-1071) lists summaries for the biographies of the Sahaba, and Hind is indeed mentioned as one of Muhammad’s Sahaba.
Alleged claims about adultery
Shiʻi scholars quote earlier sources which claim that Hind had relations with men other than her husband Abu Sufyan, and that her son Mu’awiya might have been the result of any of those illegitimate relations.
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.
Other scholars say that she became pregnant from Abu Sufyan out of wedlock and Abu Sufyan was bribed to marry her.
When in the time of Fath Makka (conquest 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?
Claims that Hind ate the liver of Hamza.
During the Battle of Uhud, Mūsá ibn ‘Uqbah narrated that Wahshi gouged out the liver of Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and took it to Hind bint ‘Utbah and she spat it out Ibn Kathir mentions this in his Al-Bid‘ayah wa n-Nihaayah (4/43).
Ibn Ishaq narrated with a broken isnād that Hind was the one who gouged the liver of Hamza.
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 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 Wahshy ibn Harb to murder Muhammad’s uncle Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, 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 Hamza and bring back his heart to her.
Wahshi eventually did so by hiding behind a tree and striking Hamza with a spear which left him dead; Wahshi then split open Hamza’s belly and took out his raw heart and brought it back to Hind as promised. Hind was claimed to have tasted the raw heart 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 Sirah Rasul Allah, 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 heart, and gnawed on it. According to Ibn Ishaq, she couldn’t swallow it and spat it out. Ibn ‘Abdu l-Barr states in his book “al-Isti’ab” that she cooked Hamza’s heart before eating it. This report has been widely copied by Muslim historians.
After the incident at the Battle of Uhud, however, Hind accepted the message of Islam and is now considered to be among the ranks of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad by Sunni Muslims.
- a b Answering-Ansar.org :: Mu’awiya
- Tazkira Khawass Page 62 Chapter Zikr al-Khwarij — al-Isti’ab fi Tamyeez al-Sahab Chapter 8 Kitab al-Kuna.
- Sīrah ibn Hishām: 3/133