6. Barking of Hawa’b's dogs

Tabari in vol.3, pp.490-497 has recorded from Saif that Umm Zemal Salma, a girl prisoner of war, was given to ‘Ayesha (The Prophet's wife) as her share of war spoils. ‘Ayesha gave her freedom, but she stayed in ‘Ayesha's house.

One day the Prophet came home and found women gathered together. The Prophet pointed to them and said, "One of you makes the dogs bark in the land of Haw’ab." After the Prophet passed away Umm Zemal Salma gathered an army to take her revenge upon the Muslims who had killed her relations.

While she was collecting her army from Zafr and Haw’ab the dogs barked at her camel in Haw’ab (fulfilling the Prophet's prophecy). Khalid (The General) learned of Umm Zemal Salma and fought against her. Khalid's soldiers cut off her camel's feet and killed her.

Hamawi in his book Mo‘jamul Boldan has recorded the above story from Saif. Bin Hajar in Esaba vol.2, p.325 has briefly recorded without mentioning the source.

The source of Saif's story

Saif has narrated the above story from Sahl son of Yusuf and Abu Ya‘qub whose identities are not documented. Bin Hajar and Bin Abdul Berr have said, "Neither Sahl nor his father Yusuf is known to anybody." Abu Ya‘qub in Saif's stories is "Sa‘eed Bin Obaid" that Dhahabi says, "He is un- known." Some other biographers say, "There is one Sa‘eed Bin Obaid but not known as Abu Ya‘qub."

At whom did the dogs bark in Haw’ab?

Saif in his story of Haw’ab has combined two events together. First, the event of Umm Qerfa, the second, Haw’ab's dogs.

1) Umm Qerfa.
According to Bin Sa‘d and Bin Hesham a merchant caravan belonging to Muslims on their way to Damascus was looted by the Fazara tribe at Wadilqora. The Muslims in charge of the caravan, Zaid, was badly wounded.

Ya‘qoubi says that the Prophet was going to send an expeditionary army under Zaid's command to discipline the Fazara tribe. Umm Qerfa the wife of the tribal chief on learning of the Prophet's intention sent an army under the command of forty of her own children to meet the Muslim army near Medina. A pitched battle took place and all the men of the Fazara tribe were killed and their women were taken into captivity.

Except for Umm Qerfa and one daughter called Jariah the whole family was killed. These two were captured unhurt. Zaid ordered Umm Qerfa to be executed and took the daughter Jariah to the Prophet who gave her to his own uncle, and son was later born to them and named Abdul Rahman.

This event took place in the year six of Hejrah during the Prophet's life time.

2) Haw’ab's dogs.
Haw’ab is a place near Basrah. According to Bin ‘Abbas the Prophet said to his wives, "One of you will ride a hairy camel, the dogs will bark at her in Haw’ab, many people will be killed at your right side, and at your left death will threaten you, but you will remain safe."

According to Umm Salama (one of the Prophet's wife) the Prophet mentioned the revolt of one of his wives, the mothers of the believers, (as they are called) ‘Ayesha (one of the Prophet's wives) laughed. The Prophet made a remark to her saying, " It seems to me that the dogs bark at you in Haw’ab while you are rioting unjustly against ‘Ali . " Then the Prophet look at ‘Ali saying," If ‘Ayesha's affair comes into your hands be tolerant with her."1

According to Tabari vol.3, p.475 and some other historians the story is as follows:-
‘Orani the man who sold his camel to ‘Ayesha was on a journey riding on his camel. A man approached him, and wanted to buy his camel. " A thousand Dirhams is the price," said Orani. "Are you mad?" said the man, "Who pays a thousand Dirhams for a camel?" ‘Orani said, "This camel is worth a thousand Dirhams because when I race with my rider I overtake him, and no one can catch me when I am riding the camel." The man said, "You will deal better with me if you know for whom I want your camel."

‘Orani : For whom do you want it? Arab : For your mother:

‘Orani : I left my mother an invalid at home.

Arab : I want your camel for the mother of believers, ‘Ayesha.

‘Orani : Then take it as a present from me.

Arab : No, come with me, I will give you a camel and some money as well.

‘Orani : I went with the man, he gave me a she-camel which belonged to ‘Ayesha and her baby camel and four hundred or six hundred Dirhams as well. Then the man asked me if I knew the roads there, and I replied in the affirmative. He asked me to guide them, and I told them the name of every desert and river we passed. We were passing through Haw’ab water when the dogs barked. They asked me "What was the name of that water?" I answered "Haw’ab." Then ‘Ayesha screamed and made her camel sit and said, "By God, I am the one at whom the dogs barked in Haw’ab, take me back." Other people made their camels sit around ‘Ayesha. ‘Ayesha never moved from that place until the next day. Her nephew Ibn Zubair came and told her, "Move on quickly," because ‘Ali was after them, and he would reach them soon. Orani then said, "they left that place and cursed me."

According to Musnad of Hanbal (vol.6, p.97) Ibn Zubair told ‘Ayesha, "This is not the time to let us down, perhaps God wishes you intercede between Muslims to and make peace amongst them.

In Ibn Kathir (vol.7, p.230) is written that Shaykhain have not recorded this narration in their books although it has all the necessary conditions to be accepted as authentic to them.

In Tabari (vol.3, p.485) is recorded from Zohri that when ‘Ayesha heard the dogs barking she asked, "What is the name of that place?" After they told her ‘Haw’ab' she regretted and said, "We belong to God and we return to Him." Then she continued saying, "I am surely the one the Prophet spoke of to his wives saying he wished to know at whom the dogs would bark in Haw’ab." ‘Ayesha wanted to return from that place, but Ibn Zubair persuaded her to march forward.

In another place Ibn Kathir (vol.7, p.230) and Abulfaraj (p.173), it is written that ‘Ayesha regretted saying, "I am that woman," but Ibn Zubair betrayed her saying that the place was not Haw’ab.

In Morujudh-Dhahab (vol.2, p.248), it is written that Ibn Zubair and Talha swore by God that the place was not Haw’ab, and brought fifty Arabs to swear the same and that was the first lie sworn in Islam.

In Yaqubi (vol.2, p.1 57) and Kanzol-‘ummal (vol.6, pp. 83-84) it is written that ‘Ayesha said, "Let me go back. This is the same water that the Prophet spoke of, warning me about the barking dogs." They brought forty Arabs to swear by God that the place was not Haw’ab. In al-Imamah wal-Siasa (vol.l, pp.59-60), it is written that when ‘Ayesha heard the dogs barking she asked Muhammad Bin Talha about the place and so on. Muhammad told her "Blessed be your soul. Forget about these tales." Abdullah Bin Zubair witnessed falsely, and they brought lying witnesses. That was the first false witness in Islam.

Other historians have also narrated the above story from the Prophet of God such as Ibn Athir in al-Nehaya, Hamawi in Mo‘jamul-Boldan, Zamakhshari in al-Fa’eq, Ibn Taqtaqi in al-Fakhri (p.71) Cairo volumes, Zobaidi (vol.l, p.195) under the word Haw’ab, Musnad Ahmad (vol.6, pp. 52,97), A‘tham (pp.168—169), Sam‘ani in al-Ansab, Sira Halabiyya (vol.3, pp.320—321) and Muntakhab Kanz (vol.5, pp.444-445).


The historians unanimously have recorded that (the wife of the Prophet) ‘Ayesha was the only person at whom the dogs barked in Haw’ab, as prophesied by the Prophet and have taken the event as one of the signs of the apostleship of the Prophet Muhammad.

Only Saif has attributed the event of the dogs to Umm Zemal Salma, a fictitious woman to please those, who for one reason or other, loved Saif's fictions.

Tabari in this case fortunately, has recorded the story by other narrators as well as Saif. Therefore, the intention of Saif to subvert stories is disclosed. By recording the stories of Orani, the previous owner of the camel rode by the mother of the believers, and Zohri's saying about the dogs, Tabari has

shown the true face of Saif to his readers, despite other occasions when Tabari has recorded from Saif only and has hidden the truth.

So far we have written some stories told by Saif in the time of Abu Bakr, now follows some of his stories in the time of ‘Omar.

  • 1. Salati in Khasais (vol.2, p.137) and Ibn ‘Abd Ber in the al- Esti‘ab