The Philosophy of Marriages of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.)
List of Wives of the Prophet of Islam
After the death of his first wife, Khadijah, he married upto twelve wives in this order:-
(1) Sawdah (2) `A'ishah (3) Umm-Salamah (4) Hafsah (5) Zaynab bind-Khuzaymah ( 6) Zaynab bint-Jahsh (7) Umm-Habibah (Ramla) ( 8) Maymunah (9) Zaynab bint-`Umais (10) Juwayriyah (11) Safiyah (12) Khawlah bint-Hakim
Let us examine the circumstances and con- ditions under which these marriages had taken place.
In principle, it can be stated that the marri- ages were contracted with one or more of the following objectives:-
(1) For the sake of caring for the orphans and looking after the poor widows. These were some Muslim women who had earlier enjoyed high dignity in the Arab society.
But on the death of their husbands, their status and even faith were in jeopardy, because their tribal chiefs would take them back and compel them to renounce Islam, thus converting them back to polytheism.
For example, Sawdah had migrated to Abys- sinia where her husband died, and she became absolutely without helper. It was the time when the Prophet had lost Khadijah, his first wife; so he married Sawdah.
Likewise, Zaynab daughter of Khuzaymah, was an old-aged widow, who after the death of her husband was inflicted with poverty, despite her being amiable and being known as 'Ummul-Masa- kin' ( Mother of the poor).
The Prophet married her to uphold her dignity and she died of old age only after two years of that marriage.
(2) For the sake of enacting a new law and eradicating injustice by the ignorant tribes. For example, Zaynab bint-Jahsh was the daughter of the Prophet's aunt.
She was married, at the reco- mmendation of the Prophet, to Zayd ibn-Harithah, the freed slave and adopted son of the Prophet.
This marriage was contracted to eradicate the dis- crimination against slaves and poor and to empha- size the Islamic equality and brotherhood, as Zay- nab was from the family of `Abd al-Muttalib, the grandfather of the Holy Prophet and the Chief of Quraysh, whereas Zayd was a slave who was freed by the Prophet.
Unfortunately, Zaynab due to her family pride, did not get along well with Zayd despite Prophet's persuations. The rift between the two culminated into divorce.
Meanwhile, the system of adoption of children was expressly forbidden by Allah. So, when Zayd divorced Zaynab, the Pro- phet of Islam,
at the express command of God, married Zaynab; and, thus, put an end to the then prevalent belief that adopted sons were like real sons and that wives or widows of adopted sons were like daughters-in-laws.
(3) For the sake of freeing prisoners and slaves. For example, 'Juwayriyah' was from a pro- minent tribe of Banul-Mustalaq. In a war against Islam this tribe was defeated; and Juwayriyah, the daughter of their Chief, was held in captivity.
The Prophet married her to set an example of protection and good treatment to prisoners of war. On seeing that the prisoners had become relatives of the Holy Prophet by marriage, the Muslims released all the prisoners of war held by them. According to Ibne Hisham, over one hundred families of Banul-Mustalaq were freed from cap- tivity as a result of this marriage.
(4) For the sake of uniting some prominent Arab tribes who often were at logger heads with each other and to safeguard the internal political status of Islam.
The Prophet married `Aishah daughter of Abu Bakr from the tribe of Bani Tim, Hafsah daughter of `Umar ibn AI-Khattab from the tribe of Adi, Umm-Habibah daughter of Abu Sufyan from the tribe of Umayyah, Safiyah daughter of Huaiy bin Akhtab of the Jewish tribe of Bani an-Nadir, and Maymunah from the tribe of Bani Makhzum.
Umm-Habibah (i.e. Ramla) was daughter of Abu Sufyan of Bani Umayyah who was the bitte- rest enemy of the Prophet and had repeatedly fought against him.
She, as a Muslim, was in great distress since she was divorced from her original husband (who had become a Christian in Abyssi- nia) and her father was a great enemy of Islam.
Seeing her deprived of every help from parent and divorced from husband, the Prophet married her in sympathy. This marriage also gave a chance to the people of Bani Umayyah to soften their hearts for Islam.
Safiyah was widowed daughter of Huaiy bin Akhtab, one of the chiefs of Jewish tribe of Bani an-Nadir.
When the prisoners of this tribe were released by the Muslims, the Prophet married her in order to safeguard her status; and, thus, also linking himself with one of the great Jewish tri- bes of that time, and paving the way for , them to come nearer to Islam.
Maymdnah was 51 years of age and from a prominent tribe of Bani Makhzum whom the Prophet married in the year 7 after Hijrah. The above marital history of the Prophet clearly shows the ndble aim and objectives for which he married a number of wives.
It i s not diffi cult to see that none of these marriages was for personal satisfaction of sexual desires as unjusti- fiably accused by the Christian writers.
Also, it is important to remember that all of these marriages, except that with `Aishah, were contracted with women who were widowed not only once, but often twice or thrice.