When people hear that the prophet had many wives they conclude without much
thought that the prophet was a sensuous man. However, a quick historical
review of his marriages, proves otherwise.
When he was twenty-five years old he married for the first time. His wife,
Khadijah, was fifteen years older than he. She remained the only wife of the
prophet for the next twenty-five years, until she died (may Allah be pleased
Only after her death, did the prophet marry other women. Now, it is obvious
that if the prophet was after physical pleasure he did not have to wait
until he was more than fifty years old to start marrying more wives. He
lived in a society in which it was quite acceptable to have many wives. But
the prophet remained devoted to his only wife for twenty-five years. When
she died she was sixty-five years old.
His later marriages were for various reasons. Some marriages were with the
view to help the women whose husbands had been killed while they were
defending their faith. Others were with a view to cement relationships with
devoted followers like Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. Yet others
were to build bridges with various tribes who were otherwise at war with the
Muslims. When the prophet became their relative through marriage, their
hostilities calmed down, and much bloodshed was averted.
Recent non-Muslim writers who had the opportunity to study the life of the
prophet first-hand reach a similar conclusion about his plural marriages.
John L. Esposito, Professor of Religion and Director of the Centre for
International Studies at the College of the Holy Cross, says that most of
these marriages had
"political and social motives" (Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University
Press, 1988, p. 19). This he explained as follows: "As was customary for
Arab chiefs, many were political marriages to cement alliances. Others were
marriages to the widows of his companions who had fallen in combat and were
in need of protection" (John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, pp.
19-20). Esposito reminds us of the following historical fact: "Though less
common, polygyny was also permitted in biblical and even in postbiblical
Judaism. From Abraham, David, and Solomon down to the reformation period,
polygyny was practiced" (p. 19).
Another non-Muslim Caesar E. Farah writes as follows: "In the prime of
his youth and adult years Muhammad remained thoroughly devoted to Khadijah
and would have none other for consort. This was an age that looked upon
plural marriages with favor and in a society that in pre-Biblical and
post-Biblical days considered polygamy an essential feature of social
existence. David had six wives and numerous concubines
(2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3) and Solomon was said to have had
as many as 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Solomon's son
Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines (2 Chronicles 11:21). The New
Testament contains no specific injunction against plural marriages. It was
commonplace for the nobility among the Christians and Jews to contract
plural marriages. Luther spoke of it with toleration" (Caesar E. Farah,
Islam: Beliefs and Observances, 4th edition, Barron's, U.S. 1987, p. 69).
Caesar Farah then concluded that Muhammad's plural marriages were due
"partly to political reasons and partly to his concern for the wives of his
companions who had fallen in battle defending the nascent Islamic community"
1. KHADIJAH : She was 40 years old when she
proposed to marry the Prophet when he was 25 years old. After 15years of
their marriage he became a prophet. She had been married twice before she
married Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Her first husband was Aby Haleh Al Tamemy
and her second husband was Oteaq Almakzomy. They had both died leaving
Khadijah a widower. Khadijah died in 621A.D. This was the same year the
Prophet ascended into heaven (Meraj).
2. SAWDA BINT ZAM'A: Her first husband was Al
Sakran Ibn Omro Ibn Abed Shamz. He died within a few days after his return
from Ethiopia. She was 65 years old, poor, and had no one to care for her.
This was why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married her.
3. AISHA SIDDIQA: A woman named Kholeah Bint
Hakeem suggested that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) marry Aishah, the daughter of
Aby Bakr, to form a close relationship with Aby Bakr's family. She was
already engaged to Jober Ibn Al Moteam Ibn Oday. At this time Jober was not
yet a Muslim. The people of Makkah did not object to Aishah becoming married
because although she was young, she was mature enough to understand the
responsibility of marriage. Prophet Muhammad (bpuh) was engaged to Aishah
for 2 years before he married her. Aby Bakr was the first leader after
Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) death.
4. HAFSAH BINT U'MAR : She was the daughter of
Omar, the second Calipha. Omar asked Othman to marry Hafsah. Othman refused
because his wife had recently died and Othman did not want to remarry. Omar
then went to Aby Bakr but he also refused to marry Hafsah. Aby Bakr knew
that the Prophet had already considered marrying Hafsah. Omar then went to
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and complained that Othman and Aby Bakr did not want
to marry his daughter. The Prophet told Omar that his daughter will marry
and Othman will also remarry. Othman married the daughter of Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh), Om Kolthoom, and Hafsah married the Prophet. This made Omar
and Othman both happy.
5. ZAYNAB BINT KHUZAYMA: Her husband died in
the battle of Uhud, leaving her poor and with several children. She was old
when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married her. She died 3 months after she
married the Prophet 625 A.D.
6. SALAMA BINT UMAYYA: Her husband, Abud Allah
Abud Al Assad Ibn Al Mogherah, died leaving Hend poor and with many
children. Hend was at least 65 years old at the time. Aby Bakr and several
others asked her to marry them, but because she loved her husband very much,
she refused the marriage's offers. But finally she accepted Prophet
mohammad's offer to marry her and take care of her children.
7. ZAYNAB BINT JAHSH: She was the daughter of
Prophet Muhammad's aunt, Omameh Bint Abud Almutaleb. The Prophet arranged
for Zaynab to marry Zayed Ibn Hareathah Al Kalby. This marriage did not last
and the Prophet received a verse in the Quran which stated that if they
became divorced, then the Prophet must marry Zaynab (Sura 33:37).
8. JUWAYRIYA BINT AL-HARITH: Her first
husband's name was Masafeah Ibn Safuan. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wanted
Juayreah's tribe (Beni Al Mostalag)to convert to Islam. Juayreah became a
prisoner after the Muslims won the Battle of Al Mostalaq. Juayreah's father
came to the Prophet and offered a payment for her return. The Prophet asked
her father to give her a choice. When she was given a choice she said she
accepted Islam and Prophet Muhammad as the last God's Messenger. The Prophet
then married her. Her tribe of Beni Almostalag accepted Islam.
9. SAFIYYA BINT HUYAYY: She was from the tribe
of Beni Nadir, who were from the children of Levi (Israel). She was married
twice before, then she married Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Her first husband
Salam Ibn Moshkem, and her second husband was Kenanah Ibn Al Rabeeah.
10. UMMU HABIBA BINT SUFYAN: Her first husband
was Aubed Allah Jahish. He was the son of the aunt of Prophet Muhammad
(pbuh). Aubed Allah died in Ethiopia. The king of Ethiopia arranged the
marriage of Ramelah to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
11. MAYAMUNA BINT AL-HARITH : She was 26years
old when she married Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Her first husband was Abu
Rahma Ibn Abed Alzey. When the Prophet opened Makkah in 630 AD , she came to
the Prophet, accepted Islam and proposed to marry him. Her actions
encouraged Many Makkahans to accept Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
12. MARIA AL-QABTIYYA : She was sent to
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a hand maid servant from the king of Egypt. Maria
had a son from the Prophet. His name was Ibrahim.