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The wisdom of multiple marriages of prophet Mohammad (PBUH)

Dr. Sumayya Reyaz Falahi

Arazibagh, Azamgarh

The  modern era is a materialistic era where the status of religion and its philosophy has become secondary. As a result, today’s Muslims are unaware of the life of the leader of Islam Mohammad( PBUH). And the layer of ignorance and neglect has become so deep that when there is any insolence in the honor of the Prophet, the Muslim Ummah does not have any valid and authentic argument to use as a defense to stop  the insolence of Prophet. 

Nowadays one of the raised objections upon the personality of the Benefactor of Humanity and the Guide of the Universe (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is polygamy.

Today, the higher criticism attempted by non Muslims upon the pious personality of the Holy Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is due to disobedience to the religion and ignorance of muslims about the Prophet’s character.

Therefore, before considering the wisdom of polygamy, it would be appropriate to carefully examine whether this practice is an invention of Islam or existed before it?

A study of historical evidence reveals that the practice of polygamy has existed in all ages since long before Islam. Thus, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, according to a 1949 report by the famous linguist George Murdoch, polygamy is found in 415 out of 554 nations.[1]

In the same way, polygamy is also practiced in Judaism, even though there is no limit to it, however, according to the Talmud, a limit of four has been set. Apart from this, there is evidence of multiple wives of Hazrat Dawood (peace be upon him) and Hazrat Sulaiman (peace be upon him).

Polygamy is found even in Christianity, which continued until the seventeenth century, then it was prohibited in 1750. At first this ban was limited to the priests and then it spread to the common people.

Before Islam, even in the era of ignorance (Jahiliyyah), the Arabs often practiced polygamy without any conditions.

Today, if we examine the religion of Hinduism, the religion of the nation that has raised the most objections to the personality of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), then this fact comes to light that the  polygamy is  found in Hinduism from ancient times and it’s importance since ancient times to the present day is clear.

Dr A. S. Altekar authour of ” The position of women in Hindu Civilization ” points out the fact and expresses that the references to polygamy are fairly numerous in the Vedic literature. And the rich persons involved in this practice to support the several wives and enhance their popularity of wealth and social positions. This took place among Hindu civilization when some women could not give birth of a son.[2]

Besides this information we all know that the followers of Hindu religion consider Ramachandraji as their Lord and his father Raja Dasharatha had many wives and similarly Sri Krishnaji also had thousands of gopis and many wives while Hindus consider him as their avatar.

Similarly, they have the rules of having wives according to each class, like four wives for a Brahman, three for a Kshatriya, two for a Vaishya and one for a Shudra.

As it is known that the religion of Islam is a universal religion and has come to set the affairs of the people and to imply  their conditions, it also limited polygamy and determined four. Keeping in mind the precautionary aspect Islam put some limitations such as equality among them so that the society could be safe from all evilness. And in the case of inequality, only one was determined. As Almighty Allah said: و إن خفتم ألا تعدلوا فواحدة أو ما ملكت أيمانكم” (Surah Nisa: 19)

It means:And if you are afraid of injustice, then only one  is permissible, or else be satisfied with slaves.

The purpose of polygamy is not to fulfill youth and sexual desireness or change women, but it is a necessary solution to enrich various needs so that the religion of Islam does not become a tackle to complete  the needs and to solve the problems of life.

In order to understand the wisdom of polygamy, it is necessary to briefly shed light on the  marriages of the Prophet (PBUH) in various periods so that aspects of its wisdom become self-evident.

First Marriage: To Hazrat Khadija, who was 40 years old at that time and had been widowed twice, when he was 25 years old. Also, the message of marriage did not come from the Prophet but from Hazrat Khadijah whom he entrusted to his uncle and then his uncle arranged his marriage, saying that  it a better relationship. Except  Ibrahim, all his children were from her womb and he was not inclined towards any other marriage during her life and happily spent time with her and he was so affected by her death that year until It was declared by him as a year of grief.( aame huzn)

Second Marriage: At the time of Hazrat Khadija’s death, probably two daughters were married or according to some narrations three were married. However he needed a decent caretaker i.e. a woman to take care of the children, so on the advice of Khaula bint Hakeem (RA) he married Hazrat Souda (RA) who was 51 years old at that time or 55 years according to some narrations and had become a widow. She was completely helpless economically and socially. He married her  when he had the option of adopting Hazrat Aisha, a virgin, and Hazrat Souda, a widow, but he chose Hazrat Souda to fulfill the basic need.

The third marriage: with Hazrat Aisha (RA) in connection with which he had received a hint from Hazrat Jibril (AS) twice in a dream that she is his wife. And he changed the friendship of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) into a relationship because he was the only person who acknowledged the prophethood without hesitation and confirmed him on the occasion of the Ascension.

The wisdom behind this marriage was that a young woman who opened her eyes in an Islamic environment should enter the Haram of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and then grow up in the family of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so that her education and training will be complete and ideal in all respects and she will become a Muslim. To become the most effective means of spreading Islamic teachings among women and men.

4th Marriage: To Hazrat Hafsa (RA) who was the daughter of Hazrat Umar (RA) and had become a widow and Hazrat Umar was very worried about her. He sent a marriage message to Hazrat Uthman, but he rejected it. Then he sent to Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) and he too became silent, so he (PBUH) asked Hazrat Umar to marry his daughter so that he could remove his worries and the friendship would also be strengthened and thus Islam would get a leader whom the world is fond of even today.

The fifth marriage: to Hazrat Zainab bint Khuzaima, who was a widow. She was very generous and helpful woman, and that’s why she got the title of Umm Al-Masakeen. It is because of these virtues that he took decision to marry  to support a widow.

Sixth marriage: To Hazrat Umme Salma (may God be pleased with her) whose husband was probably martyred in the Battle of Uhud and she was pregnant. After delivery the child, prophet Mohammad (PBUH)married her.

Seventh marriage: To Hazrat Zainab bint Jahash who was divorced by Zaid bin Haritha .

There are two reasons and philosophy behind this marriage. One is that Zainab was from a noble family while Zaid was a slave, so they got married to each other, while this was a bad thing among the Arabs. The second was the abolition of the ritual which was related to the divorce or widow of adopted son , that one could not marry the widow or divorce of his adopted son. So this marriage took place to end such these customs and traditions from the society.

Eighth marriage: Had with Hazrat Jawaria who came from prison. She was the daughter of the chief of Bani Mustalaq tribe. Therefore, looking at his honor and stature, the Companions advised him to marry. In this way, the enmity ended because there was a prejudice among the Jews and Christians regarding prophethood that how a prophet could come to an uncircumcised and uncivilized nation.

Ninth marriage: He was with Hazrat Safiya, who was the daughter of a Jewish chief, Haiy bin Akhtab. When she was released from prison, he married her diplomatically so that the bloodshed and killings would end.

The tenth marriage: to Hazrat Umm Habiba who was the daughter of Abu Sufyan and Hind bint Utbah. He married the daughter of the ruler of Makkah while she was a widow because it was a habit and behavior of the Arabs to stop fighting after marrying the daughter to a tribe or family.

11th marriage: with Hazrat Maimuna bint Harisa who was divorced.

Two of them Hazrat Khadija and Hazrat Zainab bint Khuzaima were died during Prophet Mohammad’s life while rest of them lived with him happily and joyfully.

He had been married before revelation of the ayah ( verse ) which consists of conditional limit of four marriages for Muslims .

Some of the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) were martyred or the infidels  of Makkah divorced Muslim women, so he married them and encouraged Muslims to marry widows and divorced women.

He not only encouraged in this matter but also showed it by doing it first because in the words of the Qur’an “لقد كان لكم فى رسول الله أسوة  حسنة ” ( Surah ahzab,21)

there is  a role model for you ( muslim ummah ) in the Prophet’s life which applies to all matters of life. Therefore, if he married only a virgin, how would he become a role model for the divorced, and if he married only a divorced woman, how would he set a practical example for the Ummah for a virgin, and if he did not marry other wives together, then how he would offer the measure of equality and justice before ummah.

Now there is the matter of the age of Hazrat Aisha (RA) at the time of her marriage to Ayesha (RA) which is on the focus  today and accused by non Muslims of the whole world and specifically indian Hindus. According to most of the narrations, her age at the time of marriage was 6 years and her departure was at the time of 9 years. While according to Tarikh Tabari, it was 17 years at the time of marriage and 19 years at the time of departure. Therefore, according to Tabari’s history, there is no conflict.

And as for marriage at the age of nine, it was a common culture among Arabs. So, according to some historical narrations and knowledge, some girls used to become mothers at the age of 12 or 13 and even some of them become grandmother at the age of 17 or eighteen.

Because Arab girls were grown up early and got puberty so they had a common culture for early marriage.

This is the reason why no one has objected to it since then. The Arabs gave him the title of Sahir, Kahin or Majnoon ( mad) , but no one pointed a finger at him in this context and did not interpret it as cruelty because  it was not a bad thing for them.

Those who object Aisha’s (RA ) age at the time of marriage, they neglect their beliefs and culture about the girl’s age at marriage time because their scriptures shows that Sita was 6 years old when she got married and according to Vedic literature and British rules as well as Consent Committee of 1929 computed that about 39% girls were married before the age of 10. And most of them preferred the girls puberty for marriage. [3]

( In the 21st century, an Orientalist raised a question first time that has become a topic of debate today.

And in modern times, according to a Google survey, every eighth girl is married as a child hood. And according to Indian laws, the age of a girl for marriage was 10 years until 1980, then it was increased to 12, then it was increased to 18 and now to 21 years. Although these marriage legislation there is a every eighth girl victim of child hood.

The unwarranted objections thrown by non Muslims become clear when we look at the biography of the Prophet and briefly examine the events of the beginning of the prophethood, when the infidel chiefs offered him some conditions as well as they tried to attract him by offering to marry a beautiful girl of a high tribe and conveyed message him through his uncle Abu Talib. Saying that If you want to do it, do it, but leave the work of prophethood, then the Prophet (PBUH) replied: ” If they put the moon on one hand and the sun on the other, even then I will not leave the work of prophethood.”[4]

He ( PBUH) was a very handsome and dignified young man from a respectable family and honored tribe who had no dearth of beautiful and younger girls, but marrying a woman twice his age and twice a widow indicates that the purpose of polygamy is not the fulfillment of sexual lust, but a fundamental development in the formation of a righteous and stable society.

Briefly, the wisdom behind his multiple marriages is:

An end to enmity

Wide spread of Islam

Abolition of unnecessary customs and traditions

An end to war

Support to divorcees and widows

Prosperity of society

An end to pride in lineage

Provide facilities of Islamic teachings about women through his wives.

In the context of the above-mentioned arguments, it can be said that polygamy is not an agenda invented by him( PBUH), but it has been practiced since ancient times, and the implementation of it by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was merely to create a strong and stable society and present an excellent example for this. This is the reason that when those who dishonored him all over the world , the eyes of the nations also saw that the truth of his pious  nature was revealed to others and his honesty overcome and millions of people  desire to get acquainted with Islamic teachings and the Prophet’s life, and as a result, the number of followers of Islam increased


تم جتنا گرانا چاہو گے وہ اتنا ہی اوپر اٹھے گا

ہو شمع ہدایت گُل کیسے، خود ذات ہی جس کی فائق ہو

بے نام ہوئے اعدائے دیں، نابود ہوئے گستاخ رسول

اس ذات کا بگڑے کیا جس کا،  الله محافظ، واثق ہو

If you want to fall him down , he will rise higher more.

How can the candle of guide off , the one who is superior himself.

The enemies of islam has become nameless , and the insolent of messenger are destroyed

What is wrong with the person whom Allah is the protector of?





[2] see,the position of women in Hindu Civilization by  Dr.A.S.Altekar, pp 123-124),

[3] see the position of women in Hindu Civilization, written by Dr. A.S. ALTEKAR, pp 73-88)

[4] see Tafseer e Taseerul Quran, Maulana Abdurrahaman Keelani , surah Isra: 74 and Al-Raheeq-ul-Makhtoom, Maulana Safiyurrahman Mubarakpuri)