Juwayriyah bint Al-Harith (RA) tied the marital knot with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in 5 AH, soon after his marriage to Zaynab bint Jahsh. Juwayriyah (RA) was only 20 years of age when she married the Prophet (PBUH), while the Prophet (PBUH) himself was fifty-eight.
She was the daughter of chief of the tribe of Banu Mustaliq, Harith ibn Abu Dharar, who was a staunch enemy of Islam at the time and was planning to attack Medina. Juwayriyah (RA) was brought up in great wealth and luxury. She had a strong grasp on her language and literature and was happily married to Musafa bin Safwan, a fellow tribesman.
When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was made aware of Banu Mutaliq’s plan, he sent one of his men, Buraidah ibn Haseeb (RA) to see whether they were preparing for an attack. Upon investigation, Buraidah (RA) returned to confirm the news, hence, the Prophet (PBUH) told his men to prepare for battle. The Prophet (peace be upon him) advanced with his army of men and put forth his terms; Banu Mustaliq could either embrace Islam or surrender to live in peace. They declined both and declared war. The battle commenced and the Muslims came out victorious. Juwayriyah’s (RA) husband died on the field and she found herself among the 600 who taken into captivity by the Muslims.
Juwayriyah (RA) fell into the share of Thaabit ibn Qays al-Ansaari (RA), upon which Juwayriyah (RA) sought out the Prophet (peace be upon him) to get herself out of this predicament. She pleaded her case to the Prophet (peace be upon him), explaining how she had fallen from a life of luxury to a life of servitude, and wanted to free herself by paying the ransom money, which she did not possess. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) ended up presenting her with two choices; he could either free her by paying the ransom on her behalf, or she should agree to marry him. She chose the latter without hesitation. Thereafter, Juwayriyah (RA) accepted Islam. She was then freed and got a better bargain than she could have ever hoped for; she became the wife of our beloved Prophet (PBUH).
Before her marriage to the Prophet (peace be upon him), she was previously known by the name “Bara”, meaning a “righteous and good woman”, which the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) then changed to Juwayriyah (RA) after their wedding. Once the news of the Juwayriyah’s (RA) conversion and their marriage spread, the rest of the Muslims freed their prisoners of war from the tribe of Banu Mustaliq as well. The Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) action of marrying Juwayriyah (RA) had far reaching results not only in the hearts of Muslims, but in the hearts of the people of Banu Mustaliq as well, as over a hundred households were eventually set free.
It seemed Juwayriyah (RA) had become a source of blessing for her tribe; her whole tribe converted to Islam, including her father, and became God-fearing Muslims.
And so, she too joined the blessed ranks of the Mothers of the Believers. Not only was she beautiful and captivating, she proved herself to be a smart individual and a fast learner. She would listen to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and learn the teachings of Islam and acted accordingly. She is known to have been very knowledgeable when it came to Fiqh (jurisprudence) and was a devout and pious woman. She has narrated a number of ahadith of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), which were later narrated by Islamic scholars and companions on her authority. Her reported ahadith can be found in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim as well.
Juwayriyah bint Al-Harith (RA) was married to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) for 6 years, and lived on for another 39 years after his demise. She passed away at the age of sixty-five, in 50 or 56 AH, in Medina (may Allah be pleased with her).