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Khalifa Abu Bakr - Apostacy Campaign Against Musailma

Sajjah, the False Prophetess

Sajjah. Among the false prophets who rose in Arabia as a result of the apostasy movement, a lady named Sajjah claimed to be a prophetess. She was the daughter of Al-Haris who belonged to the Bani Yarbu section of the Bani Tamim. On her mother's side she belonged to the Banu Taghlib tribe who inhabited Iraq. Sajjah and her father lived with Banu Taghlib in Iraq, the tribe of her mother. Sajjah and her tribe were Christians.

Sajjah was beautiful and endowed with an attractive personality. She dabbled in clairvoyance, and professed to predict future. She was a poetess, and mostly talked in verse. She had qualities of leadership, and was popular with her people. When she came to know that after the death of the Holy Prophet, Taleaha and Musailma had declared themselves as prophets, she also declared herself as a prophetess. Soon she succeeded in mustering a good following from among the Banu Taghlib, the clan of her mother.

Malik bin Nuwera. In her attempt to gather some followers from her father's clan as well, Sajjah contacted Malik bin Nuwera the chief of the Bani Yarbu section of the Bani Tamim the clan of her father. At the invitation of Malik bin Nuwera Sajjah came to Bataha, the headquarters of the clan and entered into a pact with him. Malik was a very handsome man, and Sajjah was physically attracted to him. Malik felt that with the help of Sajjah and her people he could overpower such of the sections of the tribe who were opposed to him. The terms of the pact between Sajjah and Malik are not known. Presumably Malik acknowledged Sajjah as a prophetess, and she undertook to help him in asserting his authority over the section of the Bani Yarbu who were opposed to him. The combined forces of Malik and Sajjah received some initial success. They, however, received a set back at a confrontation that took place at Nibhaj. Peace was won on the condition that Sajjah left the region at once. Sajjah accordingly decided to proceed to Yamama, the stronghold of the false prophet Musailma.

Musailma. Musailma a cunning man did not go to war against Sajjah. Instead he invited Sajjah to visit Yamama as his honored guest. Sajjah accepted the invitation and proceeded to Yamama in Central Arabia. Musailma held a royal reception in her honor. Musailma was a handsome man of attractive personality. Sajjah was beautiful and passionate. Both were mutually attracted. Musailma pattered the vanity of Sajjah. He argued that as the Muslims were their common enemy, it would be to their mutual interest to join forces, and overpower the Muslims by united action. The idea appealed to Sajjah, and she said that she was prepared to make common cause with him. Musailma recited the verses that he claimed to have been revealed to him. Sajjah also recited her verses. Musailma applauded the verses and said, "Sajjah, you are verily a prophetess." Sajjah complimented him by saying, "I have no doubt that you are indeed a prophet." Then Musailma took another step forward and suggested that in order to strengthen their alliance it was but meet that they should be physically united as well and become husband and wife. Sajjah fell in line with his way of thinking, and agreed to become his wife. Musailma said that in view of their mutual concurrence, it was necessary that such holy alliance should take place at once without losing any time. Under the spell of the magnetic personality of Musailma, Sajjah agreed that the marriage should take place at once. Musailma took Sajjah to his camp where she remained with him for three days and three nights as his wife.

As a wedding gift, Musailma declared that for their common followers the prayers in the morning and in the evening were no longer obligatory and that henceforward the number of prayers per day was to be reduced from five to three. He also agreed to pay Sajjah a share out of the revenues of Yamama.

The end of the adventure. What happened next is not exactly known, for Sajjah instead of remaining with Musailma at Yamama as his wedded wife decided to return to her people in Iraq. The followers of Sajjah felt frustrated at this turn of events, and they did not like their prophetess becoming mistress of Musailma. Presumably Sajjah also realized that in marrying Musailma she had lost the battle. From some accounts it appears that Sajjah was already married, and she surrendered to Musailma under some hypnotic influence. When this spell was over, and she realized the depth to which she had degraded herself she found safety in returning to Iraq. That presumably explains her strange conduct, for if she had been lawfully wedded to Musailma she would have stayed with him in Yamama. When she returned to her people in Iraq that was the end of the adventure of prophethood. She lived in obscurity for the rest of her life. When the Muslims conquered Iraq she became a Muslim along with the other members of her tribe. During the caliphate of Muawiyiah she resided at Kufa, where she died at a sufficiently advanced age.

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