The wisdom behind the Prophet marrying more than four wives

The wisdom behind the Prophet marrying more than four wives

by | Dec 2, 2020 | For the non-Muslims, Miscellaneous, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 0 comments

The wisdom behind the Prophet marrying more than four wives

Why did the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) marry a number of women?

Praise be to Allah.

Allah’s wisdom is great, and part of His wisdom is that He has permitted men, in previous divine laws and in the sharee‘ah of our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), to marry more than one wife. Plural marriage was not something done only by our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). Ya‘qoob (peace be upon him) had two wives. Sulaymaan ibn Dawood (peace be upon him) had one hundred less one wives; he went around to all of them in a single night, hoping that Allah would bless each one of them with a boy who would fight for the sake of Allah.

This is not something that is limited to Islam and it is not contrary to reason or the natural inclinations of man; rather it is what wisdom dictates. Women are more numerous than men, according to what is indicated by ongoing statistics, and a man may have the strength that prompts him to marry more than one woman so as to fulfil his desires in permissible ways, instead of fulfilling them in haraam ways or suppressing them. A woman may fall ill or there may be reasons that prevent her from engaging in intercourse, such as menses and nifaas (post-partum bleeding); this prevents a man from fulfilling his desire with her, so he needs to have another wife with whom he can fulfil his desires instead of suppressing them or committing immoral actions. So plural marriage is permissible and is justifiable in terms of reason, natural human inclinations and laws. It is something that was done by the earlier Prophets and in some cases it may be dictated by necessity or need. So it should come as no surprise that this was done by our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). And there are other reasons for his having several wives, which have been discussed by the scholars. These include the following:

  • Strengthening the ties between him and some tribes, in the hope that this would make Islam stronger and help to spread it, because ties of marriage increase the bonds of friendship, love and brotherhood.
  • Taking care of some widows and compensating them with something better than what they had lost, because this would bring peace of mind and consolation at times of calamity. It also set a precedent for the ummah of how to show kindness to those whose husbands were killed in jihad and so on.
  • Hoping to increase the numbers of offspring, which is in accordance with human inclinations, increasing the numbers of the ummah and supporting it with those who it is hoped will support and spread the religion.
  • Increasing the number of female teachers who would convey to the ummah what they had learned from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and what they knew of his private life.

The motive for him having more than one wife was not mere desire, because it is proven that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not marry any virgin or young woman apart from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). The rest of his wives were previously married women. If he had been controlled by his desires and that is what had motivated him to have many wives, he would have chosen young virgins in order to fulfil his desires, especially after he migrated and began to engage in jihad, and the Islamic state was established and the Muslims grew stronger and more numerous, in addition to the fact that every family would have welcomed ties through marriage with him. But he did not do that; rather he married for noble and sublime reasons, which are clear to anyone who studies the circumstances of his marriage to each of his wives.

Moreover, if he had been a man driven by desires, that would have been known from his life during the days when he was young and strong, at which time he had only one wife, Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, who was older than him. (If he had been a man driven by desires), he would also have been known to show favouritism and be unfair in dividing his time among his wives, who varied in their ages and degree of beauty. But he is known only to have been completely chaste and honourable in his conduct, both in his youth and when he grew older, which is indicative of his complete decency and sublime character, and his upright nature in all his affairs. In fact he was well-known for that even among his enemies.

And Allah is the source of strength. May Allah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions. End quote.

Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Qa‘ood, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Ghadyaan

Fataawa al-Lajanah ad-Daa’imah, 19/171-173

 

The wives of the Prophet

Praise be to Allah.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married the following women:

1 – Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid (may Allaah be pleased with her)

She was the first of his wives. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her when he was twenty-five years old, and he did not take another wife until after she died. All his children were born from her, except Ibraaheem.

Al-Bukhaari entitled a chapter in his Saheeh: “The marriage of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to Khadeejah (may Allaah be pleased with her), and her virtues,” in which he narrated a hadeeth from ‘Aa’ishah who said: “I never felt jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) as I did of Khadeejah, although she died before he married me, because of what I heard him say about her.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3815.

2 – Sawdah bint Zam’ah ibn Qays (may Allah be pleased with her)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her in the tenth year of his Prophethood. Tabaqaat Ibn Sa’d, narrating from al-Waaqidi, 8/52-53; Ibn Katheer in al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah, 3/149

3 – ‘Aa’ishah bint Abi Bakr al-Siddeeq (may Allaah be pleased with her)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her in Shawwaal of the tenth year of the Prophethood. Ibn Sa’d, 8/58-59. She herself said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married me when I was six years old, and consummated the marriage with me when I was nine.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3894; Muslim, 1422. Al-Bukhaari (5077) also narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (S) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not marry any virgin apart form her.

4 – Hafsah bint ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with her)

It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that Hafsah’s husband Khunays ibn Hudhaafah, who was one of the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and had been present at Badr, died in Madeenah. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: I met ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan and offered Hafsah to him in marriage. I said: If you wish, I will marry Hafsah bint ‘Umar to you. He said: I will think about it. Several nights passed, then he said: I think that I do not want to get married at this time. ‘Umar said: Then I met Abu Bakr and I said: If you wish, I will marry Hafsah bint ‘Umar to you. Abu Bakr kept quiet and did not give me any response. I was more upset about him than about ‘Uthmaan. Several nights passed, then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) proposed to her and I married her to him. Then Abu Bakr met me and said: Perhaps you felt upset when you offered Hafsah in marriage to me and I did not reply? I said: Yes. He said: Nothing prevented me from responding to your offer but the fact that I knew that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had mentioned her, and I did not want to disclose the secret of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). If he had decided not to marry her, I would have accepted your offer.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4005.

5 – Zaynab bint Khuzaymah (may Allaah be pleased with her)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her in Ramadaan, thirty-one months after the Hijrah. Tabaqaat Ibn Sa’d, 8/115

6 – Umm Salamah bint Abi Umayyah (may Allaah be pleased with her)

Muslim (918) narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:  I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “There is no person who is faced with a calamity and says Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon, Allaahumma ujurni fi museebati w’ukhluf li khayran minha (Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return; O Allaah, reward mein this calamity and compensate me with something better than it) but Allaah will reward him in his calamity and will compensate him with something better than that.” She said: When Abu Salamah died, I said what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had commanded me, and Allaah compensated me with someone better than him: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

According to another report: when Abu Salamah died, I said: Who is better than Abu Salamah, the companion of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? But Allaah decreed that I should say it. Then I got married to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

7 – Juwayriyah bint al-Haarith (may Allaah be pleased with her)

She fell prisoner to the Muslims during the battle of Banu’l-Mustalaq, and she came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to ask him to help her to manumit herself and buy her freedom. He offered to buy her freedom and marry her, and she accepted. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her and made her manumission her dowry. When the people came to know of that, they set free their own prisoners, so as to honour the in-laws of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). No woman brought a greater blessing to her people than she did. Narrated by Ibn Ishaaq with a hasan isnaad. Seerat Ibn Hishaam, 3/408-409.

8 – Zaynab bint Jahsh (may Allaah be pleased with her)

Concerning her Allaah revealed the words (interpretation of the meaning):

“So when Zayd had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them)”

[al-Ahzaab 33:37]

She used to boast about this to the other wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), saying: “Your families arranged your marriages but Allaah arranged my marriage from above the seven heavens.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 7420.

9 – Umm Habeebah bint Abi Sufyaan (may Allaah be pleased with her):

Abu Dawood (2107) narrated from ‘Urwah from Umm Habeebah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that she was married to ‘Ubayd-Allaah ibn Jahsh, who died in Abyssinia. Then the Negus married her to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and gave her a mahr of four thousand on his behalf, and sent her to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with Shurahbeel ibn Hasanah. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.

10- Maymoonah bint al-Haarith (may Allaah be pleased with her)

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married Maymoonah when he was in ihraam. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1832; Muslim, 1410.

The words “when he was in ihraam” are a mistake. In fact the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her after he exited ihraam following ‘Umrat al-Qada’.

See Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/113; Fath al-Baari, hadeeth no. 5114.

11 – Safiyyah bint Huyayy ibn Akhtab (may Allaah be pleased with her)

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) set her free and married her after the battle of Khaybar. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 371.

These are the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with whom he consummated marriage. Two of them died during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), namely Khadeejah and Zaynab bint Khuzaymah (may Allaah be pleased with them both). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) left behind nine wives when he died; there is no difference of scholarly opinion on this matter.

See Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/105-114

It was said that Rayhaanah bint ‘Amr al-Nadariyyah (or al-Quraziyyah) was also one of his wives. She was taken prisoner during the battle of Bani Qurayzah, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) chose her for himself and married her, then he divorced her then took her back. Tabaqaat Ibn Sa’d , narrating from al-Waaqidi, 8/130

And it was said that she was a concubine. This was regarded as more likely by Ibn al-Qayyim in Zaad al-Ma’aad.

https://islamqa.info/en/answers/47072/the-wives-of-the-prophet-peace-and-blessings-of-allaah-be-upon-him-the-mothers-of-the-believers-may-allaah-be-pleased-with-them

 

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