بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Wives of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Allah says about the Pure Wives (Wives of the Prophet PBUH) in the Holy Quran (Al-Ahzab: 30-32)

O ye wives of the Prophet! Whosoever of you committeth manifest lewdness, the punishment for her will be doubled. And whosoever of you is submissive unto Allah and His messenger and doeth right, We shall give her reward twice over, and We have prepared for her a rich provision. O ye wives of the Prophet! Ye are not like any other women (Means you hold a high status).

The Holy Quran addresses the people till the Day of Judgment: Allah says: Nor that ye should ever marry his wives after him.(Al-Ahzab: 53)

It means that the status of Pure Wives (Wives of the prophet (PBUH) is that, they are the mothers of all the believers.

Allah's Messenger (PBUH) married a number of women. Among them the only virgin was Ayesha (RA), while others were either widow or divorced. Allah's Messenger (PBUH)was first married to Khadijah (RA) at the age of 25 years. She was 40 at the time of her marriage to Allah's Messenger (PBUH), i.e. Khadijah (RA) was older than Allah's Messenger (PBUH) by 15 years. In addition she was married two times before her marriage to Allah's Messenger (PBUH), and had children from these marriages. When Allah's Messenger (PBUH) reached 50 years of age, Khadijah (RA) died. Thus Allah's Messenger (PBUH) spent the days of his youth (From the age of 25 to the age of 50 years) with a widow woman Khadijah (RA).

Allah's Messenger (PBUH) from 50 to 60 years of his age, contracted a few marriages. Theses marriages were not contracted to satisfy any sexual needs which he suddenly felt after reaching the age of 50. Had these marriages been for the satisfaction of sexual needs, he would have married virgin women. In addition, it has been mentioned in Ahadeeth that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) never married a woman nor gave the hands of any of his daughters in marriage to anybody unless Jibra'el (AS) descended with revelation from Allah. These marriages were contracted taking into consideration some political, religious and social reasons. These political, religious and social reasons will be mentioned subsequently in this article.

Brief Introduction of the Wives of Allah's Messenger (PBUH):

  1. Ummul Mu'mineen (Mother of Believers) Khadijah (RA):
  2. Ummul Mu'mineen Saudah (RA)
  3. Ummul Mu'mineen Ayesha (RA):
  4. Ummul Mu'mineen Hafsah bint Umar (RA):
  5. Ummul Mu'mineen Zainab bint Khuzaimah (RA):
  6. Ummul Mu'mineen Umme Salmah (RA):
  7. Ummul Mu'mineen Zainab bint Jahash (RA):
  8. Ummul Mu'mineen Juwairiyyah (RA):
  9. Ummul Mu'mineen Safiyyah bint Huyai bin Akhtab (RA):
  10. Ummul Mu'mineen Umme Habibah (RA) :
  11. Ummul Mu'mineen Maimounah (RA):
    1. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) married the daughter of the first caliph Abu Bakr (RA) Ayesha (RA), and the daughter of the second Umar Farooq (RA) Hafsah (RA). Allah's Messenger (PBUH) gave the hands of her daughters in marriage to the third caliph Usman (RA) and to the fourth caliph Ali (RA). Theses marriages established the relationship of either a son-in-law or a father-in-law with all the four caliphs who took the reign of power after the demise of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). This strengthened the relationship between the companions of Allah's Messenger (RA) and the Muslim Ummah enjoyed unity.
    2. Some of the companions of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) died in the battlefields or some of the believing women were divorced by disbelievers. Allah's Messenger (PBUH)dealt with these widows and divorced women with kindness and married them to mitigate their suffering. In addition, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) by his act encouraged the people to marry widows and divorced women.
    3. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) contracted all his marriages with either widows or divorced women except one virgin Ayesha (RA) who gained knowledge spending her life with Allah's Messenger (PBUH). There is a saying in Arabic "العلم في الصغر كالنقش في الحجر". "Learning in childhood, like carved in stone". There are as many as 2210 Ahadeeth narrated by Ayesha (RA). She died 42 years after the demise of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). She spread the message of Islam to the nation of Islam up to 42 years after the demise of Allah's Messenger (PBUH).
    4. Those who accepted Islam from among Jews and Christians, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) treated them with kindness. When Safiyah (RA) accepted Islam, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) set her free and married her with her consent. Likewise Mariyah (RA) who was a Christian. When she accepted Islam, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) accorded her great respect and married her. Ibrahim (RA) one of the sons of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was born from Mariyah (RA).

She was the first wife of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). She herself proposed to marry Allah's Messenger (PBUH) taking into consideration the honesty, perfectness and blessing she had observed in the personality of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 25 at the time of his marriage with Khadijah (RA). Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was blessed with four daughters from her i.e., Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umme Kulsoom and Fatimah (RA) andtwo sons i.e. Qasim and Abdullah (RA) were born form Khadijah (RA), except for Ibrahim (RA). All the children of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) died in his life, except for Fatimah (RA) who died six months after the death of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 50 when his first wife died. Khadijah (RA) died in the 10th year of Hijrah at the age of 65. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) used to remember the truthfulness and companionship of Khadijah (RA) after her demise.

She accepted Islam with her husband (Sakran bin Amr). Her mother also accepted Islam. She migrated to Abyssinia with her mother and husband, where her husband died. When, obviously, there was nobody to support her in the world, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) married her after the death of Khadijah (RA) in the 10th year of Hijrah. At the time of their marriage, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 50 and Saudah (RA) was 55, and she was the first widow in Islam. After the demise of Khadijah (RA), Allah's Messenger (PBUH) spent his life exclusively with Saudah (RA), because Ayesha (RA) joined Allah's Messenger (PBUH) after 3 or 4 years of her marriage with Allah's Messenger (PBUH) in Madinah Munawwarah. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) spent his life up to 55 years of age with one wife only who was a widow. Saudah (RA) died in 54th year of Hijrah.

She was the daughter of the first caliph Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA). He wished that his daughter be in the house of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). Accordingly, the marriage was contracted between Allah's Messenger (PBUH) and Ayeshah (RA) while they were in Makkah Mukarramah. However, she entered the house of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) in Madinah Munawwarah in the 2nd year of Hijrah, i.e. she joined Allah's Messenger (PBUH)after 3 or 4 years of her marriage. At that time, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 55. Like her father who rendered great service to the cause of Islam, the daughter also became a great scholar to the extent that even high ranking companions of Allah's Messenger (RA) used to consult her in religious issues. She narrated as many as 2210 Ahadeeth. She was next to Abu Hurairah and Abdullah bin Umar (RA) in sequence in the narration of Ahadeeth. She was the lone virgin wife of Allah's Messenger (PBUH), all others were either widow or divorced. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) loved Ayeshah (RA)very much. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) died in the room of Ayeshah (RA) and was buried therein. Ayesha (RA) died in the year 57th or 58th of Hijrah.

She was the daughter of the second caliph Umar Farooq (RA). She migrated to Abyssinia and thereafter to Madinah Munawwarah with her husband. Her husband succumbed to his injuries in the battle of Uhud. Thus Hafsah (RA) became a widow. Therefore, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) married her in the 3rd year of Hijrah. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 56 at the time of this marriage. Hafsah (RA) was very pious woman. She died in the year 41st or 45th of Hijrah.

She was first married to Tufail bin Haris, then to Obaidah bin Haris. These two were real cousin of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). She also married for a third time with Abdullah bin Jahash (RA), who was cousin (son of paternal aunt) of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). He was martyred in the battle of Uhud. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) married Zainab (RA) after the death of her third husband in the 3rd year of Hijrah. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 56 at the time of this marriage. She lived only three months after her marriage with Allah's Messenger (PBUH). She used to help the poor excessively due to this, she was named Ummul Masakeen (Mother of the poor).

She was first married to Abu Salmah (RA), who was a cousin (son of paternal aunt) of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). He succumbed to his injuries in the battle of Uhud, leaving behind four orphans. When she was left with no support in the world, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) married her out of his mercy on the widow and her orphans in the 3rd year of Hijrah. At the time of their marriage, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 56 and Umme Salmah was 65.  She died in the year 58thor 61st of Hijrah. She was the last to die among the mothers of believers.

Husbands of Hafsah, Zainab bint Khuzaimah and Umme Salmah (RA) succumbed to their injuries in the battle of Uhud. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) married these widows for the sole reason of supporting them in this world.

She was the real cousin (daughter of paternal aunt) of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). Allah's Messenger (PBUH) gave her hand in marriage to his freed slave Zaid (RA). However, the husband did not inclined to Zainab (RA) and divorced her. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) tried to reconcile between them, but their marriage did not succeed. Allah compensated Zainab (RA) for this grief by giving her hand in marriage to His messenger (PBUH) in the 5th year of Hijrah, when Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 58. During the time of ignorance, an adopted son was treated as the real son and accordingly they would regard marriage with a widow of the adopted son or his divorced woman unlawful. By this marriage, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) taught the Muslim Ummah that an adopted son is not like a real son and therefore it is lawful to marry a widow of the adopted son or his divorced woman. It is worth mentioning that a father cannot marry the divorced woman or widow of his real son forever. Zainab (RA) died in the 20thyear of Hijrah during the time of Caliphate of Umar Farooq (RA).

She was captured in a battle and given to Sabit bin Qais (RA) as a war booty, who was 20 years of age. Sabit bin Qais (RA) asked for some money for her emancipation. Juwairiyyah (RA) went to Allah's Messenger (PBUH) seeking monetary assistance telling him she had accepted Islam. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) paid the whole money and set her free. Thereafter, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said "It is better that I should marry you". Therefore, she married Allah's Messenger (PBUH), in the 5th year of Hijrah. At the time of their marriage Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 58. When the soldiers came to know that all the captives had become relatives of Allah's Messenger (PBUH), the companions of Allah's Messenger (RA) set all of them free. Thus a small trick of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) set more than hundred souls free from becoming slaves. In addition, due to marriage of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) with Juwairiyyah (RA) a big group of Banu Mustaliq (a clan to which she belonged) accepted Islam. Juwairiyyah (RA) died in the 50th year of Hijrah.

She belonged to Jewish tribe of Banu Nadheer, from the descendants of Haroon (AS). Her father, brother and husband all were killed in the battle. She was captured in a war. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) gave her option either to accept Islam or remain in the fold of her previous religion, adding if she accepted Islam, he (PBUH) would marry her, otherwise she would be set free to rejoin her family. Safiyyah bint Huyai bin Akhtab (RA) preferred to accept Islam and to marry Allah's Messenger (PBUH) over her returning to her family. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) set her free and married her in the 7th year of Hijrah. At the time of her marriage, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 60. Safiyyah bint Huyai bin Akhtab (RA) died in 50th year of Hijrah.

She was the daughter of Abu Sufyan Umawi (RA). During the days when her father would fight with Allah's Messenger (PBUH) she was a believer and she bore the brunt of being a believer severely. Her husband migrated to Abyssinia with her, where he became apostate. How severe was her strife that she bade goodbye to her father, brother, family, clan and even her country for the cause of Islam. In abroad, the only support was her husband whom she also lost due to his apostasy. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) married her in the 7th year of Hijrah while she was still in Abyssinia. At the time of their marriage, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 60. Umme Habibah (RA) died in 44th year of Hijrah.

She was married twice before her marriage with Allah's Messenger(PBUH). One of her sisters was married to Abbas (RA), other was married to Hamzah (RA), and another one was married to Jafar Tayyar (RA). One of her sisters was mother of Khalid bin Waleed (RA). Allah's Messenger (PBUH) married Maimounah (RA) upon the advice of his uncle Abbas (RA) in the 7th year of Hijrah. At the time of their marriage, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) was 60. Maimounah (RA) died in the 51st year of Hijrah.

Out of the above-mentioned mothers of believers, Khadijah and Zainab bint Khuzaimah (RA) died in the life of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). Others died after the demise of Allah's Messenger (PBUH).

It is worth mentioning that all these marriages took place before the revelation of the verse in which the number of wives was limited to four for the believers (with the condition of exercising equal treatment among them). It should also be borne in mind that Allah made wives of His Messenger (PBUH) unlawful for others as mentioned in the beginning of this article. In addition, Allah says in verse 52 of Surah Al-Ahzab.

It is not allowed thee to take (other) women henceforth, nor that thou shouldst change them for other wives even though their beauty pleased thee”.

Allah prohibited His Messenger (PBUH) to marry others besides these wives (who were 9 when this verse was revealed),whether marrying in addition to the said wives or marrying others after divorcing some of them. Allah's Messenger (PBUH) did not contract any marriage after the revelation of this verse.

It is also to be borne in mind that Allah's messenger (PBUH) contracted all marriages by the order of Allah. In addition, at that time it was the norm of the Arab society to marry more than one woman. It has been mentioned in a Hadeeth narrated in Bukhari that Allah's messenger (PBUH) had the strength equal to that of 40 men. Just think that despite having a strength equal to that of 40 men, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) spent his entire days of youth with a widow who was married twice before her marriage to Allah's Messenger (PBUH) and had children from those marriages. Thereafter, Allah's Messenger (PBUH) spent another 3-4 years with another widow Saudah (RA). Thus up to age of 55 Allah's Messenger (PBUH) had only one wife who was a widow. 

Marriages of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) between 50-60 of age were due to some political, religious and social reasons. These reasons are as under:

In short, Allah's Messenger (PBUH)in his capacity as a man contracted only one marriage, i.e. with Khadijah (RA) and spent his entire youth with her who was a widow. All other marriages were contracted in his capacity as a messenger of Allah (PBUH), the details thereof has been given above.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (www.najeebqasmi.com)