Umar’s Marriage to Umm Kulsoom binte Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) – Verdict of the Intellect

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Some Muslims portray a harmonious relationship between Ameerul Momineen – Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) and Fatima Zahra (s.a.) on the one hand and Umar b. Khattaab on the other hand. They grope at any excuse possible to show this non-existent harmony even to the extent of inventing a marriage between Umar b. Khattaab with one of Imam Ali b. Abi Taalib’s (a.s.) daughters – Janabe Umm Kulsoom.


1. Umar marries his granddaughter?!
2. Irreconcilable differences between Umar and the Ahle Bait of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
3. Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) in the footsteps of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
4. Shura
5. Janabe Umm Kulsoom in Karbala

Given that Bani Hashim were hardly on speaking terms with Bani Adi – Umar b. Khattaab’s tribe, marriage between two very important members of their respective tribes is inconceivable. This much is evident to any student of Islamic history without examining a single chain of narration on the topic.

Once we scrutinize historical documents, this becomes even more apparent.

As per universally accepted rules for the analysis of traditions both Shias and Sunnis agree that a tradition or report is acceptable only if it has a reliable chain of narrators and is rational or ties up with the Quran and accepted traditions.

Hence this alleged incident is rejected outright as it defies all forms of rationality and reasoning and neither do the reports stand up to scrutiny.

We have dealt with this subject in two parts. The first part presents arguments that reject the marriage on the grounds of irrationality and inconsistency with facts of history. In others the marriage between Umar and Umm Kulsoom bint Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) never happened because it was rationally impossible.

Back to Top1. Umar marries his granddaughter?!

In 17 A.H. when this incident is supposed to have occurred, Umar b. Khattab was over fifty years old. And more importantly, Janabe Umm Kulsoom Bint Ali b. Abi Talib (s.a.) was his granddaughter – since the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had married Umar’s daughter – Hafsah and Umm Kulsoom was the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) granddaughter.

Does it make sense that a man should propose marriage to his own granddaughter?

Hafsa was the wife of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a,) and Janabe Umm Kulsoom was the granddaughter of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Hence Hafsah was the grandmother of Janabe Umm Kulsoom. If Umar were to marry Janabe Umm Kulsoom she would then be called the mother of Hafsah. Does this make any sense?

Back to Top2. Irreconcilable differences between Umar and the Ahle Bait of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)

There were irreconcilable differences between Umar b. Khattaab and the Ahle Bait (a.s.) of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) due to which it is inconceivable for any formal association between the two parties let alone matrimony.

a. Umar abandoned the body of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to attend the caliphate proceedings at Saqifah making a mockery of companionship of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Janabe Umm Kulsoom (s.a.) and her father Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) who was the rightful successor are unlikely to associate with someone who did not even qualify to the basic tenet of companionship i.e. attending the funeral of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) which was attended by Jibraeel and other select angels of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

b. Umar fetched wood to burn the house of Janabe Fatima Zahra (s.a.) – Janabe Umm Kulsoom’s mother. A house whose residents included Umm Kulsoom herself, Umar’s future wife?!

  • Al-Musannif by Ibne Abi Shaybah – teacher of Bukhaari, vol. 7, p. 232,
  • Taarikh-e-Tabari, vol. 3 p. 202
  • Addendum to Kaamil-e-Ibne Athir
  • Ansaab al-Ashraaf, vol. 1 p. 586
  • Al-Iqd al-Fareed, vol. 5, p. 13
  • Al-Mukhtasar fi Akhbaar al-Bashar, vol. 1, p. 156

After this it is anyone’s guess whether Umm Kulsoom would want to associate with a person who only 6 years earlier burnt her house with the explicit aiming of killing its residents.

3. Umar grievously injured Janabe Fatima Zahra (s.a.) leading to the death of her son ‘Mohsin’ immediately and her own death eventually. Mohsin was the brother of Janabe Umm Kulsoom and Janabe Fatima Zehra was her mother. It is should be clear from this incident alone why Janabe Umm Kulsoom would not even want to be in the same land as Umar let alone live in the same house with him.

  • Sair-o-A’laam al-Nobala, vol. 14, p. 309,
  • Al-Milal wa al-Nehal, vol. 1, p. 59

4. Fatima Zehra(s.a.) remained displeased with Umar after the incident of burning of the door and cursed him after every prayer and never communicated with him. One who displeases Fatima has displeased not just the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) but Allah Himself.

  • Sahih-e-Bukhaari, vol. 4, book 53, trad325

When Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) have shown their displeasure with a person for displeasing Fatima – why would Janabe Umm Kulsoom choose to marry that person of all people?

5. Fatima Zehra(s.a.) had willed Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) not to allow Umar to attend her funeral.

  • Sahih-e-Bukhaari, vol. 5 under the chapter of “The Battle of Khaibar”

How can Janabe Umm Kulsoom enter into matrimony with someone not deemed fit to attend her mother’s funeral? How can Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) give his daughter to his wife’s murderer, whose very existence evoked memories of the tragic circumstances of her death?

Back to Top3. Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) in the footsteps of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)

There are numerous traditions to the effect that Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) lived his entire life in the footsteps of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).


He (Imam Ali b. Abi Talib) treads the footsteps of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 99 p. 106)

This means that when the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has performed an action or abandoned it, Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) can be expected to follow the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) wholeheartedly.

So if the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not give his daughter Fatima to Umar despite his constant beseeching and imploring, how is it possible that Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) would give his and Fatima’s daughter to Umar?

When Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) have decided a matter against an individual how can Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) choose otherwise?

Back to Top4. Shura

While analyzing the Shura, the consultative council set up by Umar to select his successor, historians have dissected the role and relationship of each member and the chances of each for assuming the caliphate.

But none of them have made any observation to the effect that Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) being the father-in-law of Umar was a strong candidate for caliphate. Nor did Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) in his analysis of the situation in front of Abdullah b. Abbas made any such conclusion. On the contrary, he was most reluctant to participate in the Shura. He only participated to prove the contradiction in Umar’s stand who all along had maintained that both Prophethood and caliphate cannot be from Bani Hashim.

Also, the condition laid down by Umar to kill dissidents of the Shura’s verdict, means that Umar was satisfied with the killing of Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) – his own “father-in-law”, should he be among the dissidents. This is hardly an example of Arab affinity for relations.

Back to Top5. Janabe Umm Kulsoom in Karbala

All historians are unanimous that Umm Kulsoom was present in Karbala.

Yet, no historian records any argument presented by Imam Husain (a.s.) in Karbala to avert the battle on the basis of Janabe Umm Kulsoom’s marriage with Umar and his own relationship as Umar’s brother-in-law. Among Arabs such an argument is sufficient to secure peace in the most impossible of situations. It’s a different matter that being the grandson of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not prove a strong enough relation to prevent them from shedding Imam Husain’s (a.s.) blood.

In fact, it would have been a blunder for Yazid’s army to wage battle against a side which had in it Umar’s wife and brother-in-law, as their enmity was with Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) and his children but since these children were also related to Umar they should have averted battle at least on this count.

Nor do we see Janabe Umm Kulsoom and Janabe Zainab bint Ali (a.s.) present the marriage argument in Yazid’s court to secure release.

The reason why the marriage argument was never presented was because the marriage never happened.

Thus far, we have rejected the marriage of Janabe Umm Kulsoom with Umar b. Khattaab purely on the basis of rationality and history. We do not need to venture into any historical document after this. Nonetheless, we will complete our argument by refuting the spurious historical records of marriage advanced by some Muslims.

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