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Saturday 13th of August 2022
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THE NUMBER OF WIVES OF THE HOLY PROPHET

THE NUMBER OF WIVES OF THE HOLY PROPHET

After Khadija passed away, when the Holy Prophet was 53 years old, he took other wives including `Aisha, Hafsa, Zaynab hint Khuzayma, Umm Salma, Sauda hint Zama, Zaynab hint Jahash, Juwayriya, Safia, Maymuna, Umm Habiba and Marya.

The conditions and circumstances that necessitated the several marriages of the Prophet should be studied. The main reasons for his marriages are the following:

1. To take care of the orphans and the destitute

The Prophet took some of his wives in order to maintain the prestige and reputation they had when they previously had been living in comfort and honour but whose faith and honour were endangered due to the loss of their guardians - husbands, fathers, sons and their tribes - forcing them to abandon Islam and select polytheism and atheism. Sauda was like this. Her husband passed away in Ethiopia, where they had migrated, leaving her alone and without support. The Prophet, who had lost Khadija and had no other wife, married Sauda.

Zaynab the daughter of Khuzayma was a widow who had, after her husband's death, fallen into poverty. She had always been a generous and benevolent woman, known as `the mother of the poor'. To guard her honour and reputation, the Prophet took Zaynab as his wife. She passed away in the lifetime of God's Messengers. Umm Salma, too, was faithful and aged and had helpless orphans. She was another wife of our Prophet.

2. To establish proper laws and customs

Another reason was to establish proper laws and customs and to nullify wrong customs and beliefs of the period of ignorance and idol-worship. At the Holy Prophet's order, Zaynab, the daughter of Jahash and the Prophet's cousin, married Zayd ibn Harith. This was an example of annuling class differences which Islam forbids. Zaynab was a granddaugher of the Quraysh chieftain Abdul Muttalib and Zayd's family were slaves. The Holy Prophet had bought his freedom. For these reasons, Zaynab considered herself superior to her husband, Zayd, thus making her marital life bitter and unbearable. No matter how much the Holy Prophet advised them, she did not change her manners, so finally Zayd, feeling no love for her any longer, divorced her.

At God's command, the great Prophet of Islam married Zaynab after her husband, Zayd, had divorced her in order to wipe out the custom of not marrying the former wives of adopted sons (for they regarded their adopted sons as their real sons), which custom was unduly prevalent among the people in the dark periods of paganism.

False Accusations

Some Christian writers have, in their dishonest judgments and accusatory remarks, gone so far as to claim that the Holy Prophet of Islam had fallen in love with Zaynab's beauty. This claim is so far from the truth that it is clearly rejected by all authentic histories and logical indictions because if the Prophet of Islam were a slave to his passions and entangled in such sensual thoughts, or if Zaynab were so attractive as to fascinate him, he would have fallen in love with her when she was still a maiden, when he himself was young and more vivacious, especially considering the fact that Zaynab was a close relative of his and usually relatives know about each other's beauty or lack of it.

3. To set free the slaves like Juwayriya

Juwayriya was from the famous tribe called the Bani Mustalaq who were defeated and taken captive in their fight with the Islamic forces. The Prophet married Jawayriya the daughter of Harith, who was their chief. When the Muslims observed that the captives had thus become relatives of the Prophet, they freed many of them. According to Ibn Hisham, this blessed marriage resulted in freedom for one hundred families from that tribe.

4. To form friendly relations

Some marriages occurred to form friendly relations with great Arab tribes, to hinder their obstruction, and to maintain internal policy. For these reasons, the Holy Prophet of Islam married `Aisha, Hafsa, Safia, Maymuna, and Umm Habiba.

Umm Habiba was the daughter of Abu Sufyan, whose family members were bigoted enemies of the family of the Holy Prophet of Islam and especially of our Prophet himself. Umm Habiba's husband gave up Islam in Ethiopia, became a Christian, and died there. She was then extremely troubled and worried for she was herself a Muslim while her father, Abu Sufyan, was rated among the greatest enemies of Islam. Thus she could not take refuge with him and was alone and helpless. Therefore, to help and support this poor woman and to make friends with the Bani Ummayad, the Prophet married her.

Safia was the daughter of Hayy ibn Akhtab, the head of the Bani Nazir tribe. To guard her prestige, the Prophet took her as his wife after the Jewish captives were scattered among the Muslims, thus establishing family relationships with one of the greatest Bani Israel tribes.

Maymuna, whom God's Messenger married in the year 7 AH, was from the tribe of Bani Makhzum. With the exception of `Aisha, most of the wives of the Holy Prophet were either widows or divorcees at , the time they were married to the Prophet and most of them had lost their beauty and youth, proving that the marriages of the Holy Prophet had been out of sacred motives and for benevolent reasons, so that no one can bring such accusations as sensuality and seeking of false pleasure against him.

The Character of the Holy Prophet before the actualization of the prophetic mission

THE PRINCIPLE OF HARMONY

Psychologists believe that the environment lays the foundations of people's character and their way of thinking and that the principle of harmony causes the people to follow the society's dominant patterns of thought and behaviour.

Although some of these psychologists have gone to extremes in this matter and have regarded this theory as a general and all-embracing principle, according to which all social phenomena without exception may be analyzed, the principle of the effect of the society on people's morale is undeniable.

Therefore, an environment of virtue and health produces pious and normal offspring, and a corrupt, deviated society will naturally lead people into the pit of corruption and deviation.

Thus, those who remain untouched by the society's deviating factors, must be exceptional people.

THE ENVIRONMENT OF ARABIA BEFORE THE ADVENT OF ISLAM

At that time, the whole world, especially Arabia, was steeped in ignorance, corruption, and turmoil. The Arabs were suffering immensely from superstitions and unchasteness. Ignorance had darkened the lives of the Arabs, who were leading tormented lives. Plunder and murder were quite prevalent - plunder of the people's meager properties and unjust killing!

Most shameful of all was their worship of lifeless statues -idols. False beliefs and class differences were strong. What was lacking was law and justice. The apathetic, wealthy people amassed wealth by exploiting the weak and by overcharging the orphan and the widow. They lorded over the poor class and exploited them.

Their manners in business were so illogical and unjust that they would hold women responsible for their husbands' debts and would detain the husbands for the indebtedness of their poor wives .

Instead of acquiring knowledge and virtue, they prided them‌selves in their ancestors and in the large numbers of their relatives; sometimes they even went to cemeteries  and counted the number of their dead relatives to prove there were more people in their tribe than in other tribes.

Murder, bloodshed, drinking, and illegitimate sexual intercourse were quite ordinary and commonplace. Amr ul-Qays, the famous Arab poet, discussed his satanic sexual relationships with his cousin `Anizah. Curiously, such poems were ranked among the greatest works of literature and were hung in the Ka'aba.

Such was the situation and moral conditions of a miserable society out of whose dark horizon came the light of Islam.

It is crystal clear that a person who not only is not affected by such a corrosive society, but also grieves over it and attempts to combat it, possesses a great divine character and is competent to lead people and guide them onto the path of salvation:

PROPHETS WERE NOT PRODUCTS OF THEIR ENVIRONMENTS: THEY CREATED THEM

All went to the idol-temples except the Prophet who, without being taught by anybody, made his way to Mount Hira, the mountain where he devotedly worshipped the Creator of the universe and praised His glory and power.

`And you did not recite before it any book, nor did you transcribe one with your right hand, for then could those who say untrue things have doubted (29:48).

Favoured by Almighty God, he distinguished his path from the very beginning, denounced the wrong manners of his people without any hesitation or fear, and proceeded against those wrong deeds and beliefs.

Not only was not one single moment of his blessed life spent in idolatry, but, as we have already mentioned, he hated to hear the names of idols.

His chasteness and purity were known to all. His extreme honesty led the people to give him the title of `the Trustworthy', and this great virtue led Khadija to trust him with her commercial property.

The behaviour of the Prophet toward the people and his manners were so pleasant and excellent that they attracted all people. 'Ammar said, `The Prophet and I were engaged as shepherds before the advent of the prophetic mission. One day I suggested to him, `Let's go to the Fakh pasturage'. He agreed.

`The next day I went there and saw that he had preceded me but prevented his sheep from grazing there. I asked him the reason. He replied, `I did not wish my sheep to graze here before your sheep because we had taken this decision together' .

Thus the Prophet took a different direction than his people and was by no means infatuated with tribal customs and moods. In reality, under the control of the divine power, he advanced on his path of evolution and perfection.

For all these reasons, people had great respect for him and relied heavily on his views in solving their problems.

THE INSTALLATION OF THE BLACK STONE

When the Holy Prophet was 30 years old, the Quraysh decided to repair the House of God, the Ka'aba, and since all the tribes of the Quraysh wished to have the honour of this great task, each took on the task of repairing one part of the House of God.

First Walid started to demolish the House and then the others helped him until the pillars that the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had laid down, appeared. Now it was the time for the reconstruction of the Holy House, and each tribe undertook one part of it. When the process of construction reached the point where the Black Stone was to be installed, severe disputes arose among the Quraysh tribes. All of them wanted to have the honour of completing the task.

Little by little, the dispute turned into harsh enmity, and the various tribes got ready for a bloody war. The sons of Abdul Dar filled a large jar with blood and put their hands into it, thereby giving each other a pledge of death at the battlefield.

This terrible discord went on for four or five days until Abu Amayah, who was the oldest of the Quraysh, said, `My proposal is that we select the first person who enters the mosque as an arbiter and that all of us accept his view on the problem so it will be solved'.

The Quraysh accepted his proposal and waited to see who would enter the mosque first. Suddenly the Holy Prophet of Islam came in. As soon as the people caught sight of him, they said, `This is the Trustworthy one. This is Muhammad. We will accept his decision'.

The Prophet did not know about the matter. When they explained their problem to him, he said, `Bring me a piece of cloth'. Although the Quraysh did not know what he meant by that order, they brought the cloth immediately. The Holy Prophet spread the cloth, put the Black Stone in the middle of it, and said, `Each tribe should take hold of one side of the cloth so all can share in the honour'. The Quraysh did as he had told them and lifted the Black Stone to the point where it was to be installed. Then the Holy Prophet, who observed that if he let any of them install it, conflict and disputes would arise, himself lifted the Black Stone and installed it in its place. Through this excellent device, he put an end to the terrible enmity and conflicts.

This incident clearly demonstrates the supreme character of the Holy Prophet of Islam and his excellent thought and intelligence, which ended a serious dispute without any bloodshed.

The Beginning of the Revelation

We have so far taken a glance at the earlier part of the blessed life of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Now we must talk about some of the most momentous phases of his life. By the age of 40 he was still living among an extremely backward people who were devoid of any traces of civilization and humanity. These hard conditions severely tormented his pure soul. He observed nothing in that society but the darkness of ignorance. He would go to the Ka'aba, but instead of witnessing the worship of God, he witnessed. idolatry. He would then leave the Ka'aba and go among the people. But there, too, he was troubled by what he saw. He was pained by the ugly customs and false thoughts of his people. The pitiable condition of the poor and the destitute caused him great anguish. The deplorable situation of women, who were treated worse than animals, as well as the prevalence of gambling, wine drinking and murder tortured his blessed heart.

When he dealt with people as a merchant, their immoral behaviour gave so severe an emotional shock to him that he had to go to a lonely place where he would not be tormented by people's inhuman behaviour. For these reasons and to find peace of mind, he would go to Mount Hira and there think deeply about the amazing phenomena of nature and the vestiges of God's All-Embracing Compassion.

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