>> Monday, March 28, 2011
Well, it's simple really. Arm yourself with knowledge :) Nah, don't worry. I'm not going to leave you like that. I'll give you a sample answer :)
"Let’s start off by discussing the Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam’s) first marriage. When we examine it closely, we can understand his character and his other marriages better.
The very first wife of the Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) was Khadija (Radiya Allah Anha). He married her when he was in his ‘prime youth’. He was 25 years old and she was 40. In fact, it was she, Khadija radiya Allah Anha, who proposed the marriage; she had heard from her servant of the great manners and trustworthiness of the Prophet. Now, despite living in a culture that had no limit to wives and concubines and had no problems with men ‘inheriting women’, (remember the Prophet did not receive the revelation until he was 40 years old- that means, after fifteen years of his marriage to Khadijah), the Prophet remained married to her alone until she passed away (25 years). He loved her dearly and remained faithful to her and her memory long after her death. (We can see this from many narrations but perhaps the most obvious one is the one where Aisha, Radiya Allah Anha, says that she was never jealous of any of the other Prophet’s wives as much as she was of Khadija, though Khadija had passed away before he even married Aisha. (It can be found recorded by al-Bukhaari, 3815. )
So let’s stop for a moment and ponder this. The Prophet first of all married a woman who was 40 years old, older than him by 15 years. Not only was she older than him, but she had previously been married and had two children. Does that sound like a man with a ‘lustful’ nature? Second of all, during the time when the Prophet could have married hundreds of women and had as many concubines as he wanted, before the Revelation was revealed and he ‘became’ a prophet, he chose to remain married to a single woman and to enjoy a monogamous relationship. Does that sound like a man who would go around marrying just any woman he wanted to? Hardly!
The fact of the matter is that the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam married the other wives after Khadijah not out of ‘lust’ or because he was after ‘collecting as many women as possible’. Not at all. He married them first and foremost because Allah chose these women to be examples to the believers and to be his wives. Furthermore, if we examine these marriages, we see much wisdom and many logical general and individuals reasons for the marriages.
So let's do it. Let’s take a brief look at these general and individual reasons, the Prophet’s wives roles, and who these women were.
In order to give the general reasons, we have to first agree that we as Muslims believe that the Prophet sallah Allah alyhee wa salam lived his life in the best manner and that we are to emulate his teachings and behavior.
Alright, so now that we have established that, we need to understand the very important role the wives of the Prophet had to Islam; these women were the women who preserved, recorded and took note of every aspect of the Prophet’s sunnah or example of living within the home. Outside of the home, there were hundreds of Companions memorizing his every gesture, word, etc. But what about inside the home? We as people do not only have roles outside, right? When we divide the Prophet’s life as ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of the home, we realize that these few women preserved 50% of the sunnah! Who could tell us that the Prophet would ‘sew’, help his wives with the chores, treat his wives during their menustration cycles very lovingly (he used to make sure to drink from the exact same place that his wife’s lips had touched the cup), how he would perform the ghusul ritual (washing one’s self after being intimate, etc.), how he would stand most of the night in prayer , etc. except for his wives? Who could tell us how he performed the role of a husband better than his wives? In fact, the books of authentic Hadith attribute more than 3,000 narrations and Prophetic traditions to his wives alone.
Not only did they preserve Islam, these women acted as witnesses to the Prophet’s character within the home. How many times lately have there been news stories about celebrities or very famous people who it turned out abused their wives, treated them unfairly, etc. The wives of the Prophet attested to the fact that not only was the Prophet a gentle, loving man on the outside, he was the same on the ‘inside’.
Let’s think about this more deeply for a moment. The Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam married two women who were the daughters of his arch-enemies. These women had a high rank in their societies and their fathers held the highest positions. If these women so much as complained to somebody or grumbled once that the Prophet treated them unfairly, etc. there would be major doubt that he really was a Prophet. But instead, they only affirmed his wonderful character again and again. Now, if the Prophet had married only one woman, people could say that it was difficult for her to speak up, to admit that she didn’t think he treated her right, etc. But for 11 women to ‘hold on to a lie’ would be really ridiculous, especially when we take into consideration that one of the wives was her tribe’s leader,( and as we mentioned before), 2 of them were his arch-enemies’ daughters, and that the Prophet’s wives were known not to live a life of luxury at all. Instead, they had to live as the Prophet did, and that was extremely simple. Why would they continue to live without ever fully satisfying their thirst or hunger, if not that the Prophet was truly a wonderful man, both inside and outside of the home?
Specific and Individual Reasons..
Now, let’s be a little more specific and go over a few of these marriages:
After Khadijah Radiya Allah Anha passed away, the Prophet first married Sawdah bint Zam’ah ibn Qays. She was fifty five years old and was a widow. One of the ways that we know that in Hajj elderly and large women may go ahead and perform the tawaf earlier than others is because the Prophet gave Sawdah bint Zam’ah, Raidya Allah Anha, permission to do so. From this, though, we can also conclude that Sawdah Radiya Allah Anha was ‘elderly’ and mashaAllah, slightly ‘heavy’. Now, the question arises- do you think the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam,a man who any Muslim woman would have found it an honor to marry (and in fact, many proposed to him, but he declined), would choose to marry an elderly widow, for ‘lust’s sake’? Of course, not. The Prophet’s marriage to Sawdah in fact served as a way to help Sawdah and to honor her. It also showed Muslims the important duty of taking care of the widows. (Remember, during that time, especially, many Muslim men would die due to the wars that were fought against the Muslims; it was critical that the Prophet established in the community the importance of caring for the widows.)
The Prophet also married Umm Habibah, the daughter of Abu Sufyan, the ‘original’ arch-enemy of Islam. He married her after her husband `Ubaydullaah Ibn Jahsh apostated when they were in Ethiopia. Can you imagine? Umm Habiba was stuck in a foreign land, without any husband to support her, with a child, Habiba, and without her family’s help (obviously since her father was originally a terrible enemy of Islam).
Even while she was far away from him, the Prophet never forgot any of the followers of Islam. Instead, he comforted her and helped her out in her great trouble- he sent a message to Negus authorizing him to marry her to him (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and the marriage contract was made while she was still in Ethiopia.
What else can we realize about this marriage? The Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam married her while she was far away from him- does that sound like the act of a womanizer who simply had a weakness for women and had lust problems? No. Because in the beginning of the marriage, they weren't even 'together'!
Another woman the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam married was Juwayriyah bint al-Haarith. Juwaryirah was like the leader of her tribe and she had also been previously married. Her tribe, including her, were all taken as captives during the Battle of Banu Al-Mustaliq. After Juwaryirah went to the Prophet asking for his help, he freed her as a captive. She converted to Islam and he married her. Right after he did that, all of the Companions freed all of the other captives; Juwaryirah’s people then all embraced Islam. Thus, the Prophet Sallah Allahoo Alyhee’s marriage to Juwayriyah helped him in his role as a messenger of God whose job is to deliver and spread the message.
What about the Prophet’s marriage to Zaynab bint Jash? Zaynab bint Jash was the Prophet’s cousin and she was a woman of high status. She had at first married the Prophet’s adopted son, Zayd ibn Haritha, Radiya Allah Anhoo. However, Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala abolished that type of ‘adoption’ and Zayd was no longer thought of as Prophet Mohammed's son. Zayd and Zaynab did not enjoy marital stability and they ended up divorcing. Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala then commanded the Prophet to marry Zaynab, Radiya Allah Anha and He clearly says His reason in the Qur’an:
… We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished. (33: 36).
That is, with Zaynab’s marriage, a legal ruling in Islam became more clear and the Muslims had no reason to feel ‘uncomfortable’ with it (since the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) himself did it.
The wife that has had one of the biggest impacts on Islam, of course, was Aisha, the daughter of the great Companion, Abu Bakr As Siddique Radiya Allah Anhoo. Aisha, Radiyia Allah Anha was extremely intelligent and after the Prophet’s death, she proved to be the first jurist in Islam. The senior companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, used to ask her about difficult juristic cases. Aisha also preserved much of the Sunnah of the Prophet, Sallah Allahoo alyhaee wa salam. She, along with the other wives, helped explain women’s fiqh in Islam.
So far, I’ve covered 6 of the Prophet’s wives, Radiya Allah Anhum ajamee’n, these wonderful Mothers of the Believers. It should be clear from these that the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam had the most excellent character and that his marriages were all decreed by Allah for a great purpose :)