Praise be to Allah.
There are three scholarly opinions on this matter:
That she will be with the one who was best in character and conduct with her in this world;
That she will choose between them;
That she will be with the last of her husbands.
The best and most correct of these views is the third one, concerning which there is a hadeeth attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) (marfoo’): “Any woman whose husband dies and she marries someone else after him, she will be with the last of her husbands.” This was classed as saheeh by Al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) in Saheeh Al-Jaami’, 2704, and in Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 1281.
This is by way of general response to the question. A detailed discussion of the evidence for the three points of view follows:
The evidence for the first view:
Abu Bakr ibn al-Najjaad said: Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Shaakir told us, ‘Ubayd ibn Ishaaq al-‘Attaar told us, Sinaan ibn Haaroon told us, from Humayd from Anas: that Umm Habeebah the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O Messenger of Allaah, if a woman had two husbands in this life, then they all died and came together in Paradise, with which of them would she be – the first or the last?” He said: “With the one whose attitude and conduct with her was best, O Umm Habeebah; a good attitude brings one the best of this world and the Hereafter.”
(Al-Tadhkirah fi Ahwaal al-Mawtaa wa’l-Aakhirah, 2/278).
I say: this hadeeth is da’eef jiddan (very weak), and has two things wrong with its isnaad: ‘Ubayd ibn Ishaaq al-‘Attaar and Sinaan ibn Haaroon. The former is da’eef jiddan, and the latter is da’eef.
The views of the ‘ulamaa’:
It was reported that Yahyaa ibn Ma’een said: ‘Ubayd ibn Ishaaq al-‘Attaar is nothing (i.e., what he says is not to be taken into account).
Abu Haatim al-Raazi said: we think that he is a good person, but he is not very reliable and there are some odd things in his ahaadeeth.
In al-Du’afaa’ wa’l-Matrookeen by al-Nasaa’i (p.72), it says: his hadeeth is matrook (to be ignored, not accepted).
Al-Dhahabi said: he was classed as da’eef (weak) by Yahyaa. Al-Bukhaari said: he has some some munkar ahaadeeth. Al-Azdi said: his hadeeth is matrook. Al-Daaraqutni said: (he is) da’eef. Abu Haatim, on the other hand, accepted him! Ibn ‘Udayy said: in general his ahadeeth are munkar.
(Meezaan al-I’tidaal, 5/24)
Ibn ‘Udayy said in al-Kaamil (5/347): this hadeeth is one of his munkar reports. And he said: most of what he reported is either munkar with regard to the isnaad (chain of narrators) or munkar with regard to the matn (text of the hadeeth).
With regard to Sinaan ibn Haaroon:
Ibn Hibbaan said:
His ahaadeeth are very munkar, he narrated munkar reports from al-mashaaheer.
Yahyaa ibn Ma’een said: the hadeeth of Sinaan ibn Haaroon al-Burjami are nothing (are not to be accepted).
al-‘Aqeeli mentioned him in al-Du’afaa’ (2/171) and mentioned this hadeeth narrated by him.
= Therefore, this hadeeth is not valid to be used as evidence. It is da’eef jiddan (very weak), so this opinion does not count.
The second view
which is that a woman will choose between her husbands.
I could not find any evidence for those who state this.
In al-Tadhkirah fi Ahwaal al-Mawtaa wa’l-Aakhirah (2/278), this matter is mentioned, then the author says: and it is said that she will have the choice, if she had a husband.”
Al-‘Ajlooni said: … and it was said that she will be with the best of them in character and conduct, and it was said that she will have the choice. (Kashf al-Khafaa’, 2/392).
This is the view regarded as most correct by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah preserve him), as stated in his Fataawaa, 2/53)
The third view
This view is supported by plenty of evidence:
Imaam al-Tabaraani said:
3130 Bakr told us, he said, Muhammad ibn Abi’l-Sirri al-‘Asqallaani told us, he said, al-Waleed ibn Muslim told us, he said, Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Maryam told us, from ‘Atiyah ibn Qays al-Kilaa’i who said: Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan proposed marriage to Umm al-Darda’ after Abu’l-Darda’ had passed away. Umm al-Darda’ said: I heard Abu’l-Darda’ say: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: any woman whose husband dies and she marries someone else after him, she will be with the last of her husbands, and I would not choose you over Abu’l-Darda’. So Mu’aawiyah wrote to her (saying), you have to fast, for it is a protection.
(al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, 3/275)
I say: there are two problems with this hadeeth: the fact that Abu Bakr ibn Abi Maryam is da’eef, and the fact that al-Waleed ibn Muslim did not clearly state haddathanaa ([So and so] told us) in the rest of the isnaad.
The views of the ‘ulamaa’:
Ibn Hibbaan said:
Abu Bakr ibn Abi Maryam was one of the best of the people of al-Shaam, but he had a bad memory and would narrate things about which he was obviously confused. The problem is not so bad that everything he narrated deserves to be rejected (matrook), but neither is he so trustworthy that what he says can be taken as evidence. In my view his reports should not be used as evidence if the isnaad is only through him. (al-Majrooheen, 3/146)
The tadlees (deception) of al-Waleed ibn Muslim is well known. His tadlees gives the impression that all the narrators are equal, by inserting the name of a da’eef narrator between the names of two thiqah (trustworthy) narrators. Hence the scholars stipulated that the reports of narrators of this type can only be accepted if they clearly state “haddathanaa” ([So and so] told us) in every stage of the isnaad after their name is mentioned.
(See: al-Tabyeen li Asmaa’ al-Mudalliseen, by Sabt Ibn al-‘Ajami, p. 235; and Tabaqaat al-Mudalliseen, by al-Haafiz ibn Hajar, p. 51)
Imaam Abu’l-Shaykh al-Asbahaani said:
Ahmad ibn Ishaaq al-Jawhari told us, he said, Ismaa’eel ibn Zaraarah told us, he said, Abu’l-Maleeh al-Raqqi told us from Maymoon ibn Mahraan from Umm al-Darda’ from Abu’l-Darda’ that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that a woman will be with the last of her husbands.
(Tabaqaat al-Muhaaditheen bi Asbahaan, 4/36)
I say, the men of the hadeeth (isnaad) are thiqaat mashhooroon (trustworthy and well known), apart from Ahmad ibn Ishaaq al-Jawhari, for whom I cannot find any biographical details apart from the fact that Abu’l-Shaykh himself stated that this was one of his hasan ahaadeeth.
If this is indeed the case, then this is the best isnaad concerning this matter. And Allaah knows best.
Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadi said:
4803 Samurah ibn Hajar Abu Hajar al-Khurasaani went and settled in Al-Anbaar, where he narrated from Hamzah ibn Abi Hamzah al-Nusaibi and ‘Ammaar ibn ‘Ata’ al-Khurasaani and al-Rabee’ ibn Badr; Ishaaq ibn Bahlool al-Tanookhi narrated from him, he informed us, ‘Ali ibn Abi ‘Ali told us, Abu Ghaanim Muhammad ibn Yoosuf al-Azraq told us, my father told us, he said, my grandfather told us, Samurah ibn Hajar Abu Hajar al-Khurasaani told us from Hamzah al-Nusaibi from ibn Abi Maleekah from ‘Aa’ishah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“A woman will be with the last of her husbands.”
(Taareekh Baghdaad, 9/228)
I said, this hadeeth is da’eef jiddan (very weak); it includes Hamzah al-Nusaibi, who is da’eef jiddan.
The views of the ‘ulamaa’:
Imaam al-Nasaa’i said:
The hadeeth (of Hamzah ibn al-Nusaibi) is to be rejected (matrook).
(al-Du’afaa’ wa’l-Matrookeen, p. 39)
Ibn al-Jawzi said:
Ahmad said: the hadeeth (of Hamzah ibn al-Nusaibi) is to be rejected (matrooh). Yahyaa said: he is nothing, he is not even worth a penny. Al-Bukhaari and al-Raazi said: his hadeeth is munkar. Al-Nasaa’i and al-Daaraqutni said: the hadeeth (of Hamzah ibn al-Nusaibi) is to be rejected (matrook). Ibn ‘Udayy said: he fabricates ahaadeeth. Ibn Hibbaan said: he is the only thiqah (trustworthy) narrator who transmitted fabricated ahaadeeth and it looks as if he is deliberately narrating them; it is not permissible to report from him.
(al-Du’afaa’ wa’l-Matrookeen by Ibn al-Jawzi, 1/237)
Muhammad ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Haafiz informed us, Abu’l-‘Abbaas Muhammad ibn Ya’qoob told us, Yahyaa ibn Abi Taalib told us, Ishaaq ibn Abi Taalib told us, Ishaaq ibn Mansoor told us, ‘Eesaa ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sulami told us, from Abu Ishaaq from Silah from Hudhayfah (may Allaah be pleased with him), that he said to his wife, “If you want to be my wife in Paradise, do not marry anyone after I die, for in Paradise a woman will be with the last of her husbands in this world. This is why Allaah forbade the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to marry anyone after he died, because they will be his wives in Paradise.” (al-Sunan, 7/69)
I say: the isnaad includes Abu Ishaaq al-Subay’i, who is mudallis and may mix things up, so the report is da’eef.
The views of the ‘ulamaa’:
See: Man rumiya bi’l-Ikhtilaat by al-Taraabulsi (p. 64) and Tabaqaat al-Mudalliseen by Ibn Hajar (p. 42).
It was classed as da’eef by al-‘Allaamah al-Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (1281).
A report narrated by Ibn ‘Asaakir (19/193/1) from ‘Ikrimah:
Asmaa’ bint Abi Bakr was married to al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwaam, who was strict with her. She came to her father and complained to him about that, and he said: O my daughter, have patience, for if a woman has a righteous husband, then he dies, and she does not marry anyone after him, they will be joined together in Paradise.
Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The men of this report are thiqaat (trustworthy), but there is Irsaal ( a break in the chain), because ‘Ikrimah never met Abu Bakr, but he may have heard this report from Asmaa’ bint Abi Bakr. And Allaah knows best.
Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 3/276.
The view that a woman will be with the husband who was best in character and conduct with her in this world has no saheeh evidence to support it.
The view that a woman will have the choice of whichever husband she wishes to be with has no evidence to support it at all.
The view that she will be with the last of her husbands is the view that is most likely to be correct, because the hadeeth of Umm al-Dardaa’ is likely to be hasan and marfoo’ (attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)). It is supported by the reports of Hudhayfah and Asmaa’ which are mawqoof (their isnaads stop at the Sahaabi and are not directly attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)). They are fit to be taken as a corroboration of the marfoo’ report and as proof that there is a reasonable basis for this view.
The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-‘Allaamah Shaykh al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (1281).
In any case, we prefer it to mere opinion.
And Allaah knows best.
O Allaah, bestow Your blessings and peace upon Muhammad and his family and companions.