lady maria – may allah the almighty be pleased with her – came to al-madina after the event of al-hudaibiah treaty, in the seventh year after hijra. the explainers & scholars mentioned that her name was: maria d/o shamoun, the coptic. after making al-hudaibiah treaty between the prophet – peace be upon him – and the polytheists in makkah, the prophet – peace be upon him – started the propagation to the islamic religion, and sent several letters to the kings worldwide inviting them to embrace islam. the prophet – peace be upon him – has paid a great attention in this regard, and elected the most experienced and skilful persons of his companions and assigned them with the task of delivering the message of islam to the kings worldwide, such as hercules; king of rome, kisra; king of persia, al-moqawqas; king of egypt, and al-najashi (negus); king of habasha (abyssinia). those kings have received the letters of the prophet – peace be upon him – kindly and replied kindly except kisra – king of persia – who has torn the letter.
the prophet – peace be upon him – assigned hateb bin abi balta'ah, may allah be pleased with him, who was well-known of his wisdom, eloquence and fluency, to deliver his letter to al-moqawqas, ruler of alexandria and the general deputy of the byzantine empire in egypt. hateb took the letter of the prophet – peace be upon him – to egypt, and entered to al-moqawqas who welcomed him and heard his speech and replied saying: "we have our own religion and we will not convert to another religion if not better than ours"
al-moqawqas has admired the speech of hateb and said: "i thought in the affair of this prophet and found that he does not guide to bad things and does not prevent good things, he is neither magician nor soothsayer. i found the signs of prophethood in him such as telling the hidden things and the confidential talk, so i will think".
al-moqawqas has taken the letter of the prophet, stamped it, and wrote the following reply to the prophet – peace be upon him:
"in the name of allah; most gracious, the most merciful
to muhammad bin abdullah, from al-moqawqas; the king of the copts. firstly, peace be upon you. after complements,
i have read your letter, understood the meaning thereof, realized what you are propagating for, and knew that there is still a prophet to be sent, but i thought he will come from ash-sham region. i entertained your messenger and sent you two slave girls of a high dignity for the copts, clothes and a mule to ride it. peace be upon you".
the gift was two slave girls: mariah d/o shamoun, the coptic, and her sister sirin. in their way to madina, hateb, may allah be pleased with him, told them about islam and encouraged them to be muslims; therefore, they embraced islam under the blessings of allah the almighty.
in madina, the prophet – peace be upon him – elected maria to himself, and gave her sister sirin to his great poet; hassan bin thabit al ansari – may allah be pleased with him. maria – may allah be pleased with her – was beautiful with white skin, and her arrival made aisha – may allah be pleased with her – jealous, and made her all the time watching the signs of interest & care by the prophet – peace be upon him – toward her. aisha – may allah be pleased with her – said: "i was jealous of no woman except maria, she was beautiful, and the prophet – peace be upon him – admired her. he accommodated her firstly in the house of haritha bin al no’man – may allah be pleased with him – therefore, she was our neighbour, and the prophet – peace be upon him – was staying with her day and night until we prepared a room for her in the house of prophethood , but she was afraid; therefore, the prophet – peace be upon him – moved her to the upper room and was going there every time and then, but this was even more difficult for us".
maria giving birth to ibrahim
one year after her arrival to madina, maria – may allah be pleased with her- became pregnant. the prophet – peace be upon him – was very happy to hear that; because he was in the sixties of his age and lost all his sons & daughters except fatima al-zahra, may allah be pleased with her. maria – may allah be pleased with her – gave birth in the month of thul hijja of the eighth year after hijra, to a beautiful child looking like the prophet – peace be upon him- who named him ibrahim "following the example of his forefather prophet ibrahim- peace be upon him – and after this birth mariah became free from slavery.
ibrahim, the son of the prophet – peace be upon him – lived one year and few months under the care of the prophet – peace be upon him – but he got sick before completing the second year of his life, and the disease became more severe and caused his death while still eighteen months old. he died on tuesday, 10th day of rabi al awal, ten years after hijra" and marria was very sad for the death of ibrahim.
the dignity of maria in the holy quran
maria – may allah be pleased with her – has a great dignity in the verses of the holy quran and the biography of the prophet, peace be upon him. allah the almighty has revealed the sura of at tahrim because of maria the coptic as mentioned by the scholars, jurists, narrators and explainers in their narrations and books. the prophet – peace be upon him – died while being pleased of maria – may allah be pleased with her – therefore, she was honored of being in the honorable house of prophethood, and was considered a member in that blessed house. maria – may allah be pleased with her – was keen to gain the pleasure of the prophet – peace be upon him – and was known of her piety, worship and devoutness.
maria – may allah be pleased with her – lived five years in the era of the righteous caliphs and died in the month of moharram, sixteen years after hijrah. omar bin al khattab – may allah be pleased with him – invited all people to perform prayer on her, and a large number of the companions – the immigrants and the local companions in madina – gathered to witness the funeral of maria the coptic, may allah be pleased with her. omar bin al khattab – may allah be pleased with him – performed prayer with the companions on her in al baqie'