In al-T.abarı-’s sı-ra account of Muh. ammad’s conception, there are three women – the sister of a Christian, a Jewish soothsayer, and a pagan – and each one attempts to engage in sexual intercourse with Muh. ammad’s father, ʿAbd Alla-h b. ʿAbd al-Mut.t.alib, in order to obtain the light she sees in his face, while Ibn Kathı-r’s account relates only the stories of the Christian and Jewish women. The attempts of the women connected to Judaism and Christianity are closely related to the story of ʿAbd al-Mut.t.alib’s attempted sacrifice of his son, ʿAbd Alla-h, while the third woman’s attempt is separated by time and circumstance, and this may be one of the reasons that Ibn Kathı-r does not include her story in his sı-ra. In all three cases, ʿAbd Alla-h attempts to engage the women in sexual intercourse after initially refusing their offers, but by this time the light has moved on to its intended destination – A

- mina bt. Wahb –

and the women are no longer interested. For medieval Muslims, each of these women serves as an example, not of an individual attempt at simple seduction, but of the attempts by Judaism, Christianity, and Arabian paganism to intercept the light of prophecy for their own religious traditions. In both authors’ accounts, however, the light ends up exactly where it was always intended and the story of Muh.ammad’s conception is endowed with divine sanction.1