Social. Political. Economic. Career| Seyed Ibrahim

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Why did Mohamed (pbuh) marry so many women?

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“Why did Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) have many wives?” is a question on some people’s minds. Before we get into the specific answer for that, let’s understand a few facts.

1- The Prophet married for the first time when he was 25 years old

2- The first woman he married , Khadijah, was 40 years old. She was married twice before him. He stayed married to her alone for 25 years, until she died. He stayed single after her death for two years in grief and mourning over her death. He was then 52 years old

3- From 52 till 60, he married several times for political and social reasons

After two years of living single , he married Sawdah, an 80 year old widow in order to honor her because she was the first widow in Islam. Not an act of a lustful man after a period of living single. It’s not logical to say that lust had appeared suddenly at the Prophet’s life at 52, and at the middle of the fierce physical and psychological struggle to spread Islam.

There is only one conclusion we can extract from the above:

1- Mohammad (pbuh) the man married Khadijah
2- Mohammad (pbuh) the Prophet married the rest of his wives.

Q: Was Muhammad (pbuh) the only Prophet to have multiple wives?
A: NO. Polygamy was the norm at the times of Abraham, David, Solomon, etc. all known in the Bible to have been polygamists.

Q: Did the Prophet (pbuh) marry young and virgins?
A: Only one, Aaishah, was a virgin. The rest were either widows or divorcees. Please also see Allegations on Marrying Young Aisha/Aysha

Now, let’s see the political, social and religious reasons the prophet had these marriages.

First: To spread the culture through eyewitnesses with all the details known only to intimate people. Aaishah (Aysha), being so young, was able to tell all those details to the Muslims for more than 42 years. She had seen and learnt so much from him. Her young age was a great advantage in this respect. She could tell what the Prophet used to do or say in all aspects of life, so that people do and say the same in the similar situations.

Second: To strengthen the relationships with his companions, he married Abu Bakr’s daughter (Aysha) and Umar’s daughter (Hafsa), married his daughters to Uthman and Ali, May God be pleased with them all.

Third: out of mercy and rewarding the early Muslim widows and divorcees he gave them the honor of marrying them himself (Husbands either died in battles or were non Muslims who divorced them.). Sawdah, Umm-salama and Habeebah (Habiba) were widows.

Fourth: The Prophet was being a role model for the Muslims being kind to the widows and to the people of the book who newly embraced Islam. He married Safiyah after her father , a Jew, embraced Islam , so giving him and his daughter the honor among his people

Fifth: He wanted to have ties and links with the different nations of the world. When he married Mariya, all Egyptians were on his side, and when he married Gowayriyah, all her people (they were called the Bani Almustalaq), they all embraced Islam

Source: Extracted and edited from a Preso prepared from a lecture by Amro Khalid about the Mothers of the Believers ( the Prophet’s wives ).

In Arabian culture, marriage was contracted in accordance with the larger needs of the tribe and was based on the need to form alliances within the tribe and with other tribes. Virginity at the time of marriage was emphasized as a tribal honor. Watt states that all of Muhammad’s marriages had the political aspect of strengthening friendly relationships and were based on the Arabian custom. Esposito points out that some of Muhammad’s marriages were aimed at providing a livelihood for widows. He noted that remarriage was difficult for widows in a society that emphasized virgin marriages. (’s_wives)

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Written by S Ibrahim

2013-03-02 at 5:52 PM

One Response

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  1. Waalikumasalam … Mashallah … very nice write up. Imam Anwar had a very similar set of listing given in the “life of prophet Muhammad PBUH” lecture series.

    Sahaba’s … with the teaching of prophet built a closely knit society. None of the widows would be left alone. There would be someone to take care of the wife and kids of the deceased. This guarantee was very much required when sahaba go out on wars etc. He has the comfort in his heart that even if I am killed, my family would be taken care off. I do not have to worry that my wife and kids will be forced to beg for their living.

    Almost every sahaba had more than one wife. Unfortunately we are in a society where porn is available within seconds of someone wanting it where as legal marriages have so many clauses and trouble. Forget out second marriage. This is killing our ummah within although it does not show up openly.


    Abdul Hakeem

    2013-03-04 at 11:45 AM

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