Feb 1, 2012

In Defence of Prophet's Multiple Marriages Part 2

by Hiba Khan

Read part 1 HERE

Prophet Muhammad was not the only Prophet

Previous prophets, whom other Semitic religions also accept, had multiple wives too - such as Ibraheem (Abraham) (a.s.) who had two wives, and Sulaymaan (Solomon) (a.s.) who had up to ninety-nine wives or more.

Almost all his wives had been previously married

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam married eleven times in his lifetime. Out of all his wives, only one was a virgin when he married her – that is, 'Aa'ishah (r.a.a.). The rest of the wives were either divorcees or widows, or both.

Getting to know the Ummahaat ul Mu’mineen (Mothers of the Believers)

The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers…” [Al-Qur'aan- Soorat-ul-Ahzaab 33: 6]

1. Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid (r.a.a.) - A young man marries an elderly lady

At the youthful age of 25, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam married Khadeejah, who was around 40 at the time. Not only that, but he stayed married to her – taking no other wife while he was with her – for twenty-five years, until she died.

Can there be any doubt about the virtuous character of such a man? A man who, at an age where hormone levels are high and younger women are available, married a woman fifteen years older than him, and stayed MONOGAMOUSLY committed to her for twenty-five whole years?

Still grateful years after she passed away…

The year in which Khadeejah passed away became known as “the year of grief”. That was because she had been Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam's biggest supporter in the advent of Islam and when believers were being severely persecuted by the idol-worshippers. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was 50 when she died.

Even years after Khadeejah’s death, he would incite the envy of his youngest wife by being still grateful and remembering Khadeejah in the highest terms of praise:

“I have not yet found a better wife than her. She had faith in me when everyone, even members of my own family and tribe, did not believe in me; and she accepted that I was truly a Prophet and Messenger of Allah. She converted to Islam, spent all her wealth and worldly goods to help me spread this faith, and this too at a time when the entire world seemed to have turned against me and persecuted me. And it is through her that Allah blessed me with children.”

2. Sawdah bint Zam’ah ibn Qays (r.a.a.)

After the death of Khadeejah, the lonely Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam married Sawdah, who was a widow in her mid-fifties. She came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam’s household at a time when he needed the most comfort as well as someone to look after his children.

A wonderful, light-hearted companionship

It says in the book, Great Women of Islam by Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar:

“Once she (Sawdah) was offering voluntary night prayers, standing behind the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The next morning she told him how his very long prayer made her fear that her nasal vein would burst and her nose would bleed! So she said that while in the bowing position, she held on to her nose! This comical image that she presented of herself made the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam burst into laughter...”

3. 'Aa'ishah bint Abi Bakr As-Siddeeq (r.a.a.) - The youngest and most controversial wife

Soon after Sawdah, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam married 'Aa'ishah who was barely nine years of age. Again, a lot of the enemies of Islam feel disgusted regarding this age difference, whereas some Muslims feel embarrassed. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed or disgusted about. As mentioned before, it was an accepted norm in the society, and it was Allah’s divine wisdom that she married the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam at such an early age. Even today, it is well known that young girls mature very early in hot, tropical climates.

Her formative years spent in the Prophet’s household

With the keen observation and intelligence of a child, along with the blessing of an excellent memory, 'Aa'ishah practically grew up in the company of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and rapidly absorbed everything she learnt from him. Hence she had the answers to a lot of questions regarding his family- and personal life, his routine and habits, which Qur'anic verse was revealed when and in what context - and many other things she learnt from him on a one-to-one basis.

One of the foremost scholars of Islaam

She was only 18 when the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam died, and hence she was greatly instrumental in the spreading of Islaam in the coming generations. She taught Islam for almost FIFTY years after his death, armed by knowledge that many of his companions didn’t even have. Moreover, she transmitted over 2000 ahadeeth.

Anyone who reflects on these facts will realize that there was definitely great wisdom in Allah’s selection of 'Aa'ishah to be the wife of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam at such an early age.

Glimpses of the love in their relationship

When 'Aa'ishah was young, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam raced her and she won; when she grew up and had grown heavier, he raced her again and this time he won, saying, “this victory is for that.”

He would also entertain her youthful wishes. On one occasion when a team of Abyssinians were in town providing entertainment, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam took 'Aa'ishah to watch, and he stood there with her for a long time, until her heart was satisfied.

At night, when the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam would be lying beside 'Aa'ishah, he would seek her permission to go worship his Lord in prayer. Although she’d admit that she’d rather have him all to herself, she’d oblige. This was the beautiful balance the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam struck in his marital life!

To be continued, inshaAllah. Please take this discussion forward with me and post your views regarding this issue in the comments section!


Jazak Allah Khair for this! So important for us as Muslims to know the facts and not be uncomfortable when  answering questions about Islam and the life of the Prophet (Saw). 

Masha'Allah I absolutely love reading about Rasul SAWS and his life! I find this so informative and this information is much needed especially with so many misconception about Polygamy among the Muslims and non Muslims.

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