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Following Jews and limiting the maximum number of wives to 4

The Romans were pioneers in ending polygamy, and their influence led to the Christians also abandoning the practice. Similarly, Jews were moving away from polygamy and attempting to restrict it to a maximum of four wives.

Shulchan Aruch by Yosef Karo (link):

"Paragraph 9 — A man may marry a number of women provided that he has the means to sustain them, and what we find is that the sages gave worthy suggestion that a man marry no more than four women so that he may fulfill his sexual obligation once a month. In a place where they are accustomed to only marry one woman they are not permitted to marry another woman."

Upon arriving in Medina, Muhammad incorporated several Jewish customs to appease the Jewish community. As a result, in the 3rd Hijri year, Muhammad implemented the restriction of having a maximum of four wives, following the revelation of verse 4:3. At that time, Muhammad himself already had four wives: Sawdah, 'Aisha, Hafsa, and Umm Salama.

However, this limitation on the number of wives posed a predicament for Muhammad when he found himself attracted to Zaynab, the wife of his adopted son, after seeing her while she was not properly dressed.

The 1st Role of Revelation about Zaynab bint Jahsh

Zayd, who was previously a slave, was adopted by Muhammad as his son. Later, Muhammad proposed to his cousin sister Zaynab that she marry Zayd. However, Zaynab expressed her disinterest in the proposal, as she came from a respected family and was considered a beautiful woman.

In response to Zaynab's refusal, Muhammad promptly claimed to receive a new revelation, which seemed to fulfill his own desire. This revelation implied that Zaynab had no further say in the matter and was compelled to abide by Muhammad's decision, despite her personal preferences.

(Quran 33:36):
It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.

Despite Muhammad's success in enforcing Zaynab's marriage to Zayd, their union was plagued by unhappiness. The circumstances deteriorated to such an extent that even Zayd himself desired to end the relationship.

Sahih Bukhari:
Zaid bin Haritha came to the Prophet complaining about his wife. The Prophet kept on saying (to him), "Be afraid of Allah and keep your wife."

The 2nd Role of Revelation when Muhammad fell in love with Zaynab

Initially, Zaynab was married to Zaid ibn Haritha, who was adopted by Muhammad as his son. One day, Muhammad went to Zaid's house seeking his counsel on a matter, but Zaid was absent. Unexpectedly, Zaynab, dressed in revealing attire, answered the door. It was at this moment that Muhammad developed a strong attraction towards her.

Using a revelation once again, Muhammad managed to marry Zaynab as his fifth wife, surpassing the earlier limit of four wives. Notably, Muhammad did not give Zaynab the option to consent to the marriage; instead, he claimed that Allah had already decreed their marriage in the heavens. This marriage occurred without Zaynab's consent, without the customary Haq-Mehr (bride price), and without any witnesses present.

Muslim historian al-Tabari recorded in his book (link):

The Messenger of God came to the house of Zayd b. Harithah. (Zayd was always called Zayd b. Muhammad.) Perhaps the Messenger of God missed him at that moment, so as to ask, “Where is Zayd?” He came to his residence to look for him but did not find him. Zaynab bt. Jash, Zayd’s wife, rose to meet him. Because she was dressed only in a shift, the Messenger of God turned away from her. She said: “He is not here, Messenger of God. Come in, you who are as dear to me as my father and mother!” The Messenger of God refused to enter. Zaynab had dressed in haste when she was told “the Messenger of God is at the door.” She jumped up in haste and excited the admiration of the Messenger of God, so that he turned away murmuring something that could scarcely be understood. However, he did say overtly: “Glory be to God the Almighty! Glory be to God, who causes the hearts to turn!” When Zayd came home, his wife told him that the Messenger of God had come to his house. Zayd said, “Why didn’t you ask him to come in?” He replied, “I asked him, but he refused.” “Did you hear him say anything?” he asked. She replied, “As he turned away, I heard him say: ‘Glory be to God the Almighty! Glory be to God, who causes hearts to turn!’”
So Zayd left, and having come to the Messenger of God, he said: “Messenger of God, I have heard that you came to my house. Why didn’t you go in, you who are as dear to me as my father and mother? Messenger of God, perhaps Zaynab has excited your admiration, and so I will separate myself from her.” Zayd could find no possible way to [approach] her after that day (i.e. to have sex with her). He would come to the Messenger of God and tell him so, but the Messenger of God would say to him, “Keep your wife.” When Zaid mentioned his intention to separate from Zainab to the prophet, the prophet told him, “Retain thou thy wife” even though the prophet desired that they separate so that he could marry her. Zayd separated from her and left her, and she became free.

Muhammad then claimed the revelation of the following verse, in which he tried to shift the blame from himself to the command of Allah. 

(Quran 33:37)
And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, "Keep your wife and fear Allah," while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So, when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. 

Muhammad, being concerned about public perception, faced several reasons for apprehension:

  • Firstly, marrying one's daughter-in-law contradicted the moral standards of that society.
  • Secondly, Muhammad's utterance of the phrase "Glory be to God, who causes the hearts to turn!" upon leaving Zaynab was considered inappropriate and shameful, particularly towards his daughter-in-law.
  • Furthermore, Muhammad already had four wives at that time, and he had previously declared through a revelation that the maximum number of wives allowed was four, including himself.

Initially, Muhammad attempted to resolve and conceal the issue by advising Zayd not to divorce Zaynab. However, the matter eventually became public knowledge, exposing Muhammad's words.

Realizing that the issue could no longer be hidden and that his desire for Zaynab persisted, Muhammad resorted to the familiar approach of claiming a "Revelation" in order to take Zaynab as his fifth wife.

Islamic apologists present an argument that Allah intended to break the custom of prohibiting marriage with the wives of adopted sons during the era of ignorance, using this as a justification for Muhammad marrying Zaynab.

However, the Quran itself contradicts this excuse put forth by Islamic apologists. The Quran acknowledges that Muhammad's primary motivation was his personal desire for Zaynab. While the issue of marrying the wives of adopted sons was secondary, Muhammad did not need to carry it out practically. It would have been sufficient for him to communicate it orally, as he did with all other matters such as abstaining from alcohol or avoiding fornication. All of his companions (Sahaba) accepted his verbal instructions, so there was no reason why they would not have accepted his verbal instructions regarding the wives of adopted sons.

The 3rd Role of Revelation: Verse 33:38 declares that Allah commanded Muhammad to marry Zaynab

The matter of Muhammad falling in love with Zaynab raised significant doubts about his prophethood and his character. Its repercussions were so profound that Muhammad found himself resorting to repeated use of revelations to extricate himself from this uncomfortable situation.

In an effort to absolve himself of responsibility for this marriage, Muhammad went a step further and proclaimed that it was Allah who had ordained it upon him, attributing it to his predestined fate.

(Quran 33:38):
مَّا كَانَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّ مِنْ حَرَجٍ فِيمَا فَرَضَ ٱللَّهُ لَهُۥ ۖ سُنَّةَ ٱللَّهِ فِى ٱلَّذِينَ خَلَوْا۟ مِن قَبْلُ ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ ٱللَّهِ قَدَرًا مَّقْدُورًا
There is not to be upon the Prophet any discomfort concerning that which Allah has imposed upon him. [This is] the established practice of Allah with those [prophets] who have passed on before. And the commandment of Allah is certain destiny

The 4th Role of Revelation: The wedding took place directly in the heavens 

The process of marriage typically involves several steps, such as:

  1. The man proposing to the woman.
  2. The woman accepting the proposal.
  3. Agreeing upon the Haq-Mehr (bride price).
  4. Pronouncing the Nikah (marriage contract) with the consent of both parties.
  5. Having witnesses present to validate the marriage.
  6. Often followed by a wedding feast or celebration.

However, Muhammad's eagerness to marry Zaynab was such that he did not wait for the customary procedures, including obtaining proper consent, settling the Haq-Mehr, or having witnesses present. Instead, he directly entered Zaynab's room, asserting that Allah had already united them in marriage in the heavens.

Sahih Bukhari:
Zainab used to boast before the wives of the Prophet and used to say, "You were given in marriage by your families, while I was married (to the Prophet) by Allah from over seven Heavens."

Sahih Muslim:
When the 'Iddah of Zainab was over, Allah's Messenger said to Zaid to make a mention to her about him … Zaynab replied (to Zaid about the proposal): I do not do anything until I solicit the will of my Lord. So she stood at her place of worship and the (verse of) the Qur'an (pertaining to her marriage) were revealed, and Allah's Messenger came to her without permission (i.e. he entered her room without permission). 

The 5th Role of Revelation: Declaring Adopted Children are not part of the families 

More verses were then revealed to sweep away any doubt about the lawfulness of the marriage between Mohammed and his adoptive son’s wife. How did it work? That’s pretty simple: every adoption was called off and therefore Zayd’s status changed, from “adoptive son” to “former adoptive son”.

(Quran 33:40):
Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets

(Quran 33:4):
Allah has not made for a man two hearts in his interior. And He has not made your wives whom you declare unlawful your mothers. And he has not made your adopted sons your [true] sons. That is [merely] your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [right] way.

Ibn Kathir says in Tafsir of verse 33:4 (link):

Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) narrated that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said: "Zayd bin Muhammad, may Allah be pleased with him, the freed servant of the Messenger of Allah was ALWAYS CALLED Zayd bin Muhammad, UNTIL (the words of the) QUR'AN WERE REVEALED …
<Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allah.>"
This was also narrated by Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i. They used to deal with them as sons in every respect, including being alone with them as Mahrams and so on. Hence, Sahlah bint Suhaly, the wife of Abu Hudhayfah, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: "O Messenger of Allah! We used to call Salim our son, but Allah has revealed what He has revealed. He used to enter upon me, but I feel that Abu Hudhayfah does not like that." The Prophet said ...
((Breastfeed him and he will become your Mahram.))

Muhammad's desire for Zaynab led to the complete dismantling of the institution of adopted children in Islam

Modern psychologists unanimously agree that when parents raise an adopted child, a unique parent-child bond is formed, which remains intact even as the child grows into adulthood.

However, Muhammad did not confine his actions to himself and Zaynab alone. In order to shield himself from criticism, he outright rejected the entire concept of "adopted children." This had devastating consequences for all orphaned children who were adopted.

According to Sharia law:

  1. If a woman adopts an orphan child and raises him as her own throughout his life, the adopted son becomes non-Mahram (non-prohibited for marriage) to the mother once he reaches adulthood (around 12-13 years of age). Consequently, the mother is no longer permitted to have any contact with her adopted son. He is forced out of the house, as it is deemed inappropriate for him to reside under the same roof where his non-Mahram mother lives.

  2. It is not just the mother who becomes non-Mahram; even the adopted child's sisters also become non-Mahram. Thus, the adopted child loses his entire family and he is kicked out of the house, and he becomes an orphan once again.

  3. The treatment of adopted daughters is even more distressing. Muhammad made it permissible for a foster father to marry his adopted daughter, particularly if she is attractive or wealthy, even if she is still a minor. The foster father is not required to obtain the consent of the adopted daughter, any court, his wife (who is a foster mother to that minor orphan girl), or society at large. The adopted girl is left completely vulnerable to the whims of her foster father. This is an extremely abhorrent practice.

These rules and permissions imposed by Muhammad upon adopted children, particularly the adopted daughters, are deeply troubling and inhumane.

Please read our articles:

The 6th Role of Revelation: Driving people out of his home quickly, so that he could enjoy Zaynab

Initially, Muhammad declared that Allah had already united him with Zaynab in celestial matrimony, enabling him to enter Zaynab's quarters directly, without the formalities of a marriage contract or witnesses.

Nevertheless, later on, Muhammad organized a marriage feast, known as the Walima. However, as the guests lingered in his house following the meal, Muhammad's desire to be with Zaynab again grew impatient.

When the guests overstayed their welcome, Muhammad promptly invoked a revelation once more, in order to hasten their departure from his residence.

(Quran 33:53):
O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have eaten, disperse without seeking to remain for conversation. Indeed, that [behavior] was troubling the Prophet, and he is shy of [dismissing] you. But Allah is not shy of the truth.

Also see this Hadith of Sahih Bukhari (link),  in which Anas recounts the aforementioned incident, including the revelation of the verse when people failed to promptly vacate the prophet's house after the meal.

The 7th Role of Revelation: Making marriage lawful for himself with women who presented themselves as a gift (Arabic: هبة)

Having already surpassed the limits of four wives in the case of Zaynab through the aid of revelation, Muhammad became aware of the immense potential these revelations held in fulfilling his desires.

Then, a captivating woman approached Muhammad and expressed her desire to offer herself as a gift (هبة). As a normal wife, one has some rights like Haq Mahr at the time of Nikah, and then Maintenance Money till she stays as a wife. And then Muhammad had to divide his time equally between them. But the women who gifted themselves to Muhammad, they didn't have any right to anything. In simpler terms, these women were solely intended for sexual services.

Muhammad found the proposition enticing.

However, a predicament arose. The restriction of having only four wives still remained, and Muhammad had not explicitly abrogated it for himself in the case of Zaynab.

Another complication emerged as well. 'Aisha and the other wives grew upset following the incident with Zaynab, and they expressed their anger towards Muhammad for taking another wife.

Nevertheless, Muhammad once again invoked revelation, disregarding the limitations of four wives, and declared all women who offered themselves as gifts permissible for him to marry. This time, Muhammad claimed that Quranic verses 33:50 and 33:52 were revealed to justify his actions.

(Quran 33:50) …  (O Prophet, indeed We have made lawful to you) any believing woman who presents her soul to the Prophet (as a gift), and if the Prophet also wishes to wed her;- [this is] only for you [O Muhammad], excluding the [other] believers. We certainly know what We have made obligatory upon them concerning their wives and those their right hands possess, [but this is for you] in order that there will be upon you no discomfort.
(Quran 33:51) …..
(Quran 33:52) Not lawful to you, [O Muhammad], are [any additional] women after [this], nor [is it] for you to exchange them for [other] wives, even if their beauty were to please you, except the slave women.

As a result of this revelation:

  • Once again, Muhammad freed himself from the limitation of having only four wives.
  • Muhammad also cunningly ensured that other Muslim men were denied the opportunity to enjoy women who offered themselves as gifts, reserving such women exclusively for himself.
  • Another shrewd aspect of this revelation was the condition that Muhammad would only accept those women as gifts whom he found desirable. This meant that if a woman presented herself to Muhammad but did not meet his standards of beauty, he had the full right to reject such individuals.
  • Furthermore, Muhammad left the door open for engaging in sexual relations with slave women.
  • To appease his wives, including 'Aisha and the other wives, Muhammad also claimed that verse 33:52 was revealed, which prohibited him from marrying any additional women, even if their beauty pleased him, similar to how he was pleased by Zaynab's beauty and married her earlier. Through this verse, Muhammad conveyed that he would remain with his five permanent wives, along with women who presented themselves as gifts, and slave women. Nevertheless, at a later time, Muhammad abrogated verse 33:52 through the revelation of another verse, allowing him to marry women of all types without any restrictions.

In his commentary on verse 51 of Surah Al-Ahzab, according to Zamakhshari, he mentions 4 women who gave their bodies to Muhammad for sex (link):

وقيل الموهوبات أربع ميمونة بنت الحرث، وزينب بنت خزيمة أمّ المساكين الأنصارية، وأمّ شريك بنت جابر، وخولة بنت حكيم -

It is said that the four women, who gifted themselves to Muhammad, were: Maymunah bint Al-Harith, Zaynab bint Khuzayma (Umm Al-Masakin Al-Ansariyyah), Umm Sharik bint Jabir, and Khawlah bint Hakim

The revelation remained absent for an entire month during the allegations against 'Aisha, but miraculously appeared instantly when it came to fulfilling Muhammad's sexual desires.

Despite the presence of verse 33:52, Muhammad's wives, particularly 'Aisha, became enraged when he declared those women who presented themselves as gifts permissible for him.

'Aisha, in particular, expressed her strong displeasure by publicly shaming those women for their actions. Furthermore, she directly criticized Muhammad by sarcastically remarking that Allah promptly fulfills his sexual desires.

Sahih Bukhari:
Khaula bint Hakim was one of those ladies who presented themselves to the Prophet for marriage. `Aisha said, "Doesn't a lady feel ashamed for presenting herself to a man?" But when the Verse: "(O Muhammad) You may postpone (the turn of) any of them (your wives) that you please,' (33.51) was revealed, " `Aisha said, 'O Allah's Messenger! I do not see, but this, that your Lord hurries in pleasing you (by sending revelations quickly on the spot)' "

This proves that even ‘Aisha knew very well that Muhammad was making those revelations on his own. 

The 8th Role of Revelation: Muhammad made all types of women permissible for him to marry without any restrictions

Remember:

  • Muhammad first limited himself to 4 wives.
  • But then he added Zaynab as his 5th wife. 
  • Then he added those women who presented themselves as a gift to him. 
  • But later he made all women lawful for him to marry and without any limits of any number (i.e. he abrogated verse 33:52 too). 

Subsequently, with Muhammad's rise to power in Medina, verse 33:52 remained an obstacle for him to pursue other women.

In response, Muhammad once again employed the familiar tactic of revelation and effectively abrogated verse 33:52 by claiming the revelation of a different verse. It is noteworthy that through this revelation, Muhammad seemingly manipulated and exerted control over his wives, coercing them to find contentment with what little he provided them.

(Quran 33:51) You, [O Muhammad], may put aside (from your wives) whom you will of them or take to yourself whom you will. And any that you desire of those [wives] from whom you had [temporarily] separated - there is no blame upon you [in returning her]. That is more suitable that your wives should be content and not grieve and that they should be satisfied with what you have given them - all of them. And Allah knows what is in your heart. And ever is Allah Knowing and Forbearing.

Please be aware that according to Muslim Quran Interpreters, verse 33:52 was originally revealed before verse 33:51, despite the current arrangement in the Quran where they appear in the opposite order.

Sunnan Tirmidhi and Sunnan Nisai:
حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ أَبِي عُمَرَ حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ بْنُ عُيَيْنَةَ عَنْ عَمْرٍو عَنْ عَطَائٍ قَالَ قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ مَا مَاتَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّی اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ حَتَّی أُحِلَّ لَهُ النِّسَائُ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَی هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ
It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “The Messenger of Allah did not die until Allah permitted him to marry whatever women he wanted.”
Grade: Sahih (Authentic) Hadith

In Ibn Kathir's account, Umm Salama, another wife of Muhammad, confirms that all types of women became permissible for Muhammad to marry without any restrictions on the number. Additionally, Ibn Kathir documents that verse 33:52 was revealed prior to verse 33:51, as noted in his commentary.

Ibn Kathir writes under the commentary of verse 33:52:

قال الإمام أحمد حدثنا سفيان عن عمرو عن عطاء عن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت ما مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى أحل الله له النساء، ورواه أيضاً من حديث ابن جريج عن عطاء عن عبيد بن عمير عن عائشة، ورواه الترمذي والنسائي في سننيهما، وقال ابن أبي حاتم حدثنا أبو زرعة، حدثنا عبد الرحمن بن عبد الملك بن شيبة، حدثني عمر بن أبي بكر، حدثني المغيرة بن عبد الرحمن الحزامي عن أبي النضر مولى عمر بن عبيد الله عن عبد الله بن وهب بن زمعة عن أم سلمة أنها قالت لم يمت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى أحل الله له أن يتزوج من النساء ما شاء، إلا ذات محرم، وذلك قول الله تعالى { تُرْجِى مَن تَشَآءُ مِنْهُنَّ } الآية، فجعلت هذه ناسخة للتي بعدها في التلاوة كآيتي عدة الوفاة في البقرة، الأولى ناسخة للتي بعدها، والله أعلم
‘Aisha said that Allah permitted him to marry whatever women he wanted before his death. Same is also narrated by Umm Salama. And the verse which is making women lawful to him is 33:51, which is although present earlier than verse 33:52, but it was revealed later than 33:52. This same thing happened in Surah Baqara too, where the new verse which is abrogating the older verse of Iddah (waiting period) is present earlier in order than the one which was abrogated. 

Consequently, with the revelation of verse 33:51, all restrictions were lifted, granting Muhammad the freedom to marry women in any quantity. This served as the pathway for Muhammad's journey from having four wives to eventually having nine.

Following this development, Muhammad married Juwayriyyah, Ramlah (Umm Habiba), Safiyyah, Maymunah, and various others.

The 9th Role of Revelation: Muhammad found a way to get rid of his old wife

As Muhammad grew stronger and wealthier in Medina, he began marrying multiple young and beautiful women, despite his own age ranging between 58 and 63 years. The women he married were generally between the ages of 17 and 35, making Muhammad double, triple, or even four times their age. Islamic traditions highlight that these women, such as Juwayria, Safiyyah, Rehana, Zaynab, and Umm Habiba, were not only young but also exceptionally beautiful.

However, Sawdah was the only wife of Muhammad who was older than the newlywed ladies, though still younger than Muhammad himself. In the presence of his young and attractive wives, Muhammad desired to part ways with Sawdah. Muhammad had married Sawdah in Mecca during a time of weakness and poverty when he faced opposition from the entire city.

To fulfill his wish of separating from Sawdah, Muhammad once again invoked revelation and claimed that Allah had sent the following verse:

(Quran 33:51) You, [O Muhammad], may put aside whom you will of them or take to yourself whom you will.

Therefore, after the revelation of this verse, the only wife whom Muhammad chose to divorce, was the old lady Sawdah. It was despite the fact that Sawdah was serving Muhammad from the time of Mecca, when Muhammad was poor and weak, while other wives were new, and they hardly lived with Muhammad for a few years in Medina. 

According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Verse 4:128), upon learning of Muhammad's intention to divorce her, Sawdah sought refuge in 'Aisha's house. When Muhammad arrived, Sawdah expressed her willingness to give up her turn to 'Aisha but pleaded with him not to divorce her. Muhammad readily agreed and promptly claimed the revelation of the following verse:

(Quran 4:128-129) And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them (i.e. woman agrees upon leaving some of her rights) … And you will never be able to do Justice (Arabic: تَعْدِلُوْا) between wives, even if you should strive [to do so].

Furthermore, do you notice the contradiction? Previously, the author of the Quran (Muhammad) had established the condition of justice ('adl) for having multiple wives (Quran 4:3). However, in this particular verse (Quran 4:128-129), he permits a husband to manipulate his wives by threatening divorce, thus pressuring them into relinquishing their rights in the name of a settlement. This undermines the requirement of justice, as the husband retains control over the right to divorce, resulting in settlements that consistently favor him.

(Quran 4:3) If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.

Practically, the verse (Quran 4:128-129) has abrogated the verse of doing justice among multiple wives.

The 10th Role of Revelation: Muhammad deprived his wives of the right to equal time and their turns

In verse 4:3, Muhammad initially established the condition that husbands must divide their time equally among their four wives, ensuring each wife had her designated turn.

However, he later invoked verse 33:51 to completely exempt himself from this condition, without seeking any consent from his wives.

In the commentary of verse  33:51, Ibn Kathir writes:

{ تُرْجِى مَن تَشَآءُ مِنْهُنَّ } الآية، أي من أزواجك، لا حرج عليك أن تترك القسم لهن، فتقدم من شئت، وتؤخر من شئت، وتجامع من شئت، وتترك من شئت، هكذا يروى عن ابن عباس ومجاهد والحسن وقتادة وأبي رزين وعبد الرحمن بن زيد بن أسلم وغيرهم
Allah’s saying in Quran (i.e. You can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them,) means, 'your wives: there is no sin on you if you stop dividing your time equally between them, and delay the turn of one of them and bring forward the turn of another as you wish, and you have intercourse with one and not another as you wish.' This was narrated from Ibn 'Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Abu Razin, 'Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and others.

Consequently, not only Sawdah but all of Muhammad's wives lost their entitlement to equal time and turns.

The 11th Role of Revelation: Making slave-woman Mariyah again lawful for himself (for sexual intercourse) through the Revelation

Muhammad had 9 wives and 21 slave women (Source: Ibn Kathir). One of them was Maria. She was a beautiful lady, and 'Aisha was jealous of her. 

Maulana Maudodi recorded in his Tafhim under the commentary of verse 66:1:

Hafidh Ibn Hajr recorded this saying of Hadirhat 'Aisha in his book al-Asaba: "The arrival of any other wife of the prophet did not displease me as much as the arrival of Maria did, because she was beautiful and charming, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) was very fond of her."

Muhammad followed a rotational schedule to visit each of his wives. On one such occasion, it was Hafsa's turn, but she had temporarily left to visit her father. Upon her return, Hafsa discovered Muhammad engaged in sexual relations with his slave woman, Maria, in her room. This incident deeply upset Hafsa, prompting Muhammad to swear an oath to refrain from further relations with Maria in order to regain Hafsa's happiness. However, Muhammad requested that Hafsa keep this matter confidential.

Nevertheless, Hafsa shared the incident with 'Aisha, and it is possible that 'Aisha later observed Muhammad breaking his promise by continuing a discreet relationship with Maria.

Sunan Nisai, Hadith 3959:

It was narrated from Anas, that the Messenger of Allah had a female slave with whom he had intercourse, but 'Aishah and Hafsah would not leave him alone until he said that she was forbidden for him. Then Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, revealed: "O Prophet! Why do you forbid (for yourself) that which Allah has allowed to you.' until the end of the Verse.
Grade: Sahih (authentic)

In response to that, Muhammad's anger surged, prompting him to assert the revelation of the following verses:

(Quran 66:1-4):
O Prophet, why do you forbid what Allah has made lawful for you? Is it to please your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Allah has prescribed for you a way for the absolution of your oaths (i.e. the Prophet can make Mariyah permissible again for himself through this process). And Allah is your protector, and He is the Knowing, the Wise. And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement; and when she informed [another] of it and Allah showed it to him, he made known part of it and ignored a part. And when he informed her about it, she said, "Who told you this?" He said, "I was informed by the Knowing, the Acquainted." If you two [wives] repent to Allah, [it is best], for your hearts have deviated. But if you cooperate against him - then indeed Allah is his protector, and Gabriel and the righteous of the believers and the angels, moreover, are [his] assistants. Perhaps his Lord, if he divorced you [all], would substitute for him wives better than you - submitting [to Allah], believing, devoutly obedient, repentant, worshipping, and traveling - [ones] previously married and virgins

Therefore, Muhammad achieved the following goals through this revelation:

  • He succeeded in making beautiful and young Mariyah again permissible for him. 
  • He succeeded in threatening his wives so that they feared him and never dared to criticize and put any restrictions on his sexual activities. 
  • He also taunted them that they were not VIRGINGS. Also, the threat was that Muhammad could divorce all of them and would get a lot more new wives who were better than them in every regard. 

Muhammad also had four concubines with whom he engaged in sexual relations

Ibn al-Qayyim recorded in his book Zaad al-Ma’aad (link):

قال أبو عبيدة : كان له أربع : مارية وهي أم ولده إبراهيم ، وريحانة وجارية أخرى جميلة أصابها في بعض السبي ، وجارية وهبتها له زينب بنت جحش .

Abu ‘Ubaydah said: He had four (concubines): Mariyah, who was the mother of his son Ibraaheem; Rayhaanah; another beautiful slave woman whom he acquired as a prisoner of war; and a slave woman who was given to him by Zaynab bint Jahsh. 

Please read more details here

It is important to note that Muhammad's living quarters were limited as he had a small house attached to the mosque. Due to the lack of space, there was no room for additional concubines. However, on one occasion, Muhammad engaged in sexual relations with Mariyah in Hafsa's room. Hafsa unexpectedly returned and discovered them together. This incident ignited her anger, leading her to inform Aisha as well. Consequently, both Hafsa and Aisha prevented Muhammad from being alone with Maria, prompting Muhammad to make a solemn oath not to have sexual relations with her.

Sunan Nisai, Hadith 3959:

It was narrated from Anas, that the Messenger of Allah had a female slave with whom he had intercourse, but 'Aishah and Hafsah would not leave him alone until he said that she was forbidden for him. Then Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, revealed: "O Prophet! Why do you forbid (for yourself) that which Allah has allowed to you.' until the end of the Verse.
Grade: Sahih (authentic)

The 12th Role of Revelation: Getting rid of old wife Sawda through the Revelation

When Muhammad became stronger and richer in Medina, and he started marrying multiple young and beautiful ladies, at that time his own age was between 57 and 63 years. While the young ladies, with whom he was getting married, were of age between 17 and 35 years (i.e. Muhammad was double, triple and 4 times the age of those ladies). And in Islamic traditions, we find that all those ladies were not only young but also very beautiful, like Juwayria, Saffiyyah, Rehana, Zaynab and Umm Habiba.
But Sawdah was the only wife of Muhammad, who was an old lady (but still she was younger than Muhammad, but she was an old lady as compared to the newlywed ladies). 
Therefore, in the presence of young and beautiful wives, Muhammad wished to get rid of old lady Sawdah. Muhammad married Sawdah in Mecca when he was weak and poor, and the whole of Mecca was his enemy. 
In order to get rid of Sawdah, Muhammad again used the drama of revelation, and claimed that Allah sent the following verse:
(Quran 33:51)
You, [O Muhammad], may put aside whom you will of them or take to yourself whom you will.
Therefore, after the drama of this verse, the only wife whom Muhammad chose to divorce, was the old lady Sawdah. It was despite the fact that Sawdah was serving Muhammad from the time of Mecca, when Muhammad was poor and weak, while other wives were new, and they hardly lived with Muhammad for a few years in Medina. 
According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Verse 4:128), when Sawdah came to know that Muhammad intended to divorce her, she sat in ‘Aisha’s house, and when Muhammad came she told him that she was ready to give her turn to ‘Aisha, but requested Muhammad not to divorce her. Muhammad immediately agreed upon it, and he immediately did the drama of revelation of the following verse:
(Quran 4:128-129)
And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them (i.e. woman agrees upon leaving some of her rights) … And you will never be able to do Justice (Arabic: تَعْدِلُوْا) between wives, even if you should strive [to do so].
Are you able to see the contradiction? In verse 4:3, the writer of the Quran puts the condition of ‘ADL (i.e. Justice) for having more than one wife.
If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.
But later he allowed the husbands to blackmail the wives in the name of giving her divorce, and thus compelling her to give away her rights in the name of settlement. Thus, the condition of Justice was abrogated for the so-called settlement which is always going in favour of the husband while he controls the right to give divorce.

 

16 Special Privileges, which Muhammad reserved for himself through Revelation

Al-Qurtubi is a famous Quranic Scholar. He lists those 16 special privileges, which Muhammad reserved only for himself through revelation, including the right to take another man’s wife if he so desired:

  • First: To be fair with the spoils.
  • Second: To (forcefully) take a fifth of a fifth or just a fifth (of the spoils of war).
  • Third: "Al Wisal" (Dimitrius- the fast or fasting. This usually refers to fasting or abstaining from food.)
  • Fourth: To take more than four women.
  • Fifth: To marry, "Yas-tan-kih" (or have intercourse), with a woman who verbally pronounces her dedication (to the prophet).
  • Sixth: To marry, "Yas-tan-kih," without the presence (or permission) of a legal guardian.
  • Seventh: To marry, "Yas-tan-kih," without a dowry.
  • Eighth: To marry (and have intercourse) during a state of ritual consecration and purification.
  • Ninth: The annulment of an oath he may make to his wives.
  • Tenth: If Muhammad looks at a woman (and desires her) THEN IT IS NECESSARY FOR HER HUSBAND TO DIVORCE HER AND FOR MUHAMMAD TO MARRY HER. Ibn Al A’raby said, "This is what the servant of the two holy mosques has also said, as was clear to the scholars FROM THE STORY OF ZAID which also had this meaning."
  • Eleventh: That the prophet released Safiyyah (from her captured status) and he considered her release as her dowry.
  • Twelfth: To enter Mecca without being in a state of ritual purification.
  • Thirteenth: To fight in Mecca.
  • Fourteenth: That he is not inherited by anyone at all. This was mentioned in the oath of absolution for when a man approaches death due to illness, most of his possessions are taken away, so that he does not have more than a third left for him. But the possessions of the prophet remained for him, as is evidenced in the verse of inheritance and in Surat Mariam.
  • Fifteenth: His marriage is still considered effective after his death (i.e. his widows were not allowed to marry any other man after him).
  • Sixteenth: If he divorces a woman, she remains prohibited to everyone and may not be married, to someone else.

Excuse by Islamic apologists: The Prophet wed only the widows, in order to support them

This excuse is false. Here we ask this question from the Islamic apologists:

Why didn’t Muhammad marry any older widow from his own age group to provide her support?

Islamic apologists are faced with the question: Why didn't Muhammad marry an older widow from his own age group to provide her support?

It is noteworthy that all of Muhammad's newly-wed wives were significantly younger than him, with age differences of double, triple, or even four times their age.

Sawdah was the only wife of Muhammad who was relatively older (though still younger than Muhammad himself). However, she was considered older compared to the other newly-wed wives.

Hence, in the presence of his young and beautiful wives, Muhammad desired to distance himself from Sawdah. He had married Sawdah in Mecca during a time when he was weak, impoverished, and facing opposition from the entire Meccan community. Muhammad sought a woman who could take care of his household and his daughters during those challenging times, and Sawdah fulfilled that role admirably.

To bring about the separation from Sawdah, Muhammad once again employed a revelation, claiming that Allah sent down the following verse.

(Quran 33:51) You, [O Muhammad], may put aside whom you will of them or take to yourself whom you will.

Consequently, following the revelation of this verse, Muhammad made the decision to divorce the elderly Sawdah. This action is particularly striking considering Sawdah's long-standing service to Muhammad, starting from their time in Mecca when he was impoverished and vulnerable. In contrast, his other wives were relatively new to the marriage, having spent only a few years with Muhammad in Medina.

What Muhammad did with Sawdah, is not known as supporting the alone woman, but it is known as taking away the support from a woman and making her lonely. 

Muslim Excuse: Muhammad's decision to divorce Sawdah served the purpose of demonstrating the process of "revocable divorce" to the Ummah

First and foremost, it is important to acknowledge that there is a lack of definitive evidence regarding whether Muhammad actually pronounced the first or second Talaq to Sawdah. According to the mentioned traditions, his intention to divorce her was expressed, but before Muhammad could initiate the divorce, she voluntarily offered her turn to Aisha.

Secondly, it could have been adequate for Allah and Muhammad to orally convey the ruling of revocable Talaq to the Muslims. There was no necessity for Muhammad to practically demonstrate it to the Sahaba. Their compliance would not have been compromised if he had not carried out a practical demonstration.

In the case of Halala, for example, neither Muhammad nor any of his wives needed to provide a practical demonstration to the Muslims. The ruling of Halala was simply conveyed orally by Muhammad or through the Quran, and the Muslims accepted it without requiring a practical demonstration. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the ruling of Halala is significantly more intricate and complex than the ruling of revocable divorce.

Muslim Excuse: Prophet married all these ladies due to Political Reasons

The claim that Prophet Muhammad married all those women solely for political reasons is a false assertion propagated by Islamic apologists.

In reality, Prophet Muhammad never justified his marriages by citing political motivations. He married women based on his personal preferences and inclinations, without considering any political necessity.

For instance, in terms of political alliances, the most significant one should have been between Muhammad and the Ansar. However, Muhammad held a strong personal aversion towards marrying women from the Ansar community. He held the belief that Ansar women had certain eye-related issues (link), the had jealousy (link), and they had upper hand over their husbands (link). 

Therefore, it is clear that Prophet Muhammad's marriages were not driven by political considerations, as he chose to marry women he liked and refrained from marrying those he had personal reservations about, regardless of any political advantages that could have potentially been gained.

Sahih Muslim, 1424a:

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported: I was in the company of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) when there came a man and informed him that he had contracted to marry a woman of the Ansar. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: Did you cast a glance at her? He said: No. He said: Go and cast a glance at her, for there is something in the eyes of the Ansar.

Hence, Muhammad refrained from marrying any Ansar women, despite the considerable political necessity involved. This is particularly noteworthy as he formed alliances with Abu Bakr and Umar through his marriages to 'Aisha and Hafsa. When questioned about his decision to not marry any Ansar women, he offered the following explanation:

Sunan Nasai, 3233:

Narrated Anas: It was narrated from Anas that they said: "O Messenger of Allah, why don't you marry a woman from the Ansar?" He said: "They are very jealous."
Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)

Both of these statements made by Muhammad regarding Ansar women can be considered discriminatory.

The Ansar provided significant support to him, and this is how he repaid their assistance.

The brave Ansar women actively aided Muhammad even in times of war and remained loyal allies. They did not abandon their commitment to supporting him. (Sahih Muslim, 1810)

And then Muhammad called women ungrateful.

Additionally, after gaining power in Medina, Muhammad married several women. Let us examine whether these marriages were truly motivated by political reasons or if they were driven by Muhammad's personal attraction to these beautiful ladies.

Zaynab bint Jahsh

The marriage between Muhammad and Zaynab bint Jahsh cannot be attributed to political motivations in any way. It occurred because Muhammad developed a personal desire for Zaynab after seeing her in revealing attire within her own home.

Juwayriya bint al-Harith

Juwayriya was known for her exceptional beauty, to the extent that 'Aisha harbored concerns from the outset that Muhammad might develop a desire for her. Unfortunately, her fears eventually proved to be justified.

Sunan Abi Dawud:

Juwayriyyah, daughter of al-Harith ibn al-Mustaliq, fell to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, or to her cousin. She entered into an agreement to purchase her freedom. She was a very beautiful woman, most attractive to the eye.
Aisha said: She then came to the Messenger of Allah asking him for the purchase of her freedom. When she was standing at the door, I looked at her with disapproval. I realised that the Messenger of Allah would look at her in the same way that I had looked.
She said: Messenger of Allah, I am Juwayriyyah, daughter of al-Harith, and something has happened to me, which is not hidden from you. I have fallen to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, and I have entered into an agreement to purchase of my freedom. I have come to you to seek assistance for the purchase of my freedom.
The Messenger of Allah said: Are you inclined to that which is better? She asked: What is that, Messenger of Allah? He replied: I shall pay the price of your freedom on your behalf, and I shall marry you.

Juwayriya was married to Muhammad at the age of 20  (link). 

Some Islamic apologists argue that Muhammad's marriage to Juwayriya was not solely based on her beauty, citing the subsequent freeing of 100 women from her tribe as a benevolent act by Muslims. However, this argument does not hold up under scrutiny.

Firstly, there is no evidence to suggest that Muhammad had any political intentions when he expressed his desire to marry Juwayriya. It is important to note that the men of Juwayriya's tribe had been slain by Muhammad's forces, while the women had already been taken as slaves and subjected to rape by Muslim jihadists. Juwayriya herself was a slave owned by another companion. When Juwayriya approached Muhammad, he was captivated by her beauty and it was primarily for this reason that he desired to marry her. The slave women from Juwayriya's tribe (known as Banu al-Mustalaq) no longer held any political power or influence.

Secondly, it is important to consider the authenticity and reliability of the tradition in question. Even by Muslim standards, this particular tradition has a weakness and is narrated by Ibn Ishaq with the use of "An عن" in Sunan Abu Dawud (source).

The largest Fatwa website IslamQ&A (link) writes about Ibn Ishaaq: 

... he (i.e. Ibn Ishaaq) used to do Tadlees, (deliberately using ambiguous words in order to mislead) in reports from da‘eef (weak) and majhool (unknown) narrators, and from narrators who were worse than them ... Hadith may be accepted from one who engaged in tadlees a great deal if he clearly states that he heard the hadith directly; rather what is to be rejected is the reports he narrated by saying ‘an (from, i.e., stating that a report was narrated from So and so without stating that he heard it, and so on). 

Therefore, it is evident that this particular tradition lacks reliability and should not be given significant weight or considered as a strong basis for any argument.

Thirdly, it is worth noting that there are alternative traditions within the Muslim sources that contradict the tradition of Ibn Ishaq. According to one such tradition, it was not Muhammad but rather the Jewish relatives of the women from Banu al-Mustalaq who paid the ransom money to secure the freedom of those 100 women. Another tradition suggests that it was not Muhammad who paid for Juwayriya's freedom, but rather her own father who provided the ransom money (source).

These conflicting traditions indicate a lack of consensus or clarity regarding the circumstances surrounding the emancipation of the captured women. They raise questions about the accuracy and reliability of the specific tradition of Ibn Ishaq. It becomes apparent that different accounts exist within Muslim sources, leading to divergent narratives regarding the involvement and actions of Muhammad in relation to the release of these women.

Fabricating traditions to defend and promote their religion may not have been difficult for some Muslims, which can explain the contradictions found among them.

Fourthly, it is notable that Muhammad also married Safiyyah (who was also the daughter of the leader of her tribe), but there are no reports of any Muslims freeing slaves from her tribe. This further undermines the credibility of the tradition regarding Juwayriya. If the tradition about Juwayriya is true and women from her tribe were freed due to her marriage to Muhammad, then it would be logical to expect a similar outcome for the tribe of Safiyyah too.

Fifthly, if Juwayriya held significant political importance, it raises questions as to why she was initially owned by other Muslims. She remained as a slave woman for a period of time and later entered into a contract of Mukatabah, where her owner agreed to set her free upon earning a specified amount of money. If Juwayriya truly held political significance, it would have been expected for Muhammad to select her as a wife right from the beginning, openly acknowledging her as the daughter of a Jewish leader.

Safiyyah:

Muhammad's marriage to Safiyyah was primarily driven by her beauty, as her tribe had already been defeated and her father, brother, and husband had all been killed, leaving no one to protect her.

Initially, Muhammad's interest in Safiyyah was not influenced by her being the daughter of a Jewish leader, similar to his approach with Juwayriyya. Consequently, Safiyyah, like other women, was distributed among the Muslims.

However, according to Muslim traditions, it was only after someone mentioned Safiyyah's beauty that Muhammad developed an interest in her.

Sahih Muslim:
Allah, the Majestic and the Glorious, defeated them (the inhabitants of Khaibar), and there fell to the lot of Dihya a beautiful girl (i.e. Safiyyah), and (when the beauty of Safiyyah was mentioned to Muhammad, then) Allah's Messenger got her in exchange of seven heads (i.e. seven other slave women). 

Sahih Bukhari:
The Prophet came to Khaibar and when Allah made him victorious and he conquered the town by breaking the enemy's defence, the beauty of Safiya bint Huyai bin Akhtab was mentioned to him and her husband had been killed while she was a bride. Allah's Messenger selected her for himself

Safiyyah was only 16 years old when Muhammad married her (link). 

After the defeat of Safiyyah's tribe, all the men had either been killed or enslaved, rendering Safiyyah politically insignificant.

Maymunah bint al-Harith

There was no political necessity to marry Maymunah, as she held no political significance. Maymunah, a middle-class widow from Mecca, took the initiative to propose marriage to Muhammad by presenting herself as a gift. Their marriage took place when Maymunah was 35 years old, while Muhammad was 58 years old.

Ramlah (Umm Habiba) bint Abi Sufyan

Contrary to the claim made by Muslims that Umm Habiba, daughter of Abu Sufyan, was married to the prophet for political reasons, it is once again incorrect. Muhammad's marriage to Umm Habiba was primarily driven by her beauty, as supported by the following tradition:

Sahih Muslim:
Ibn Abbas reported that the Muslims neither looked to Abu Sufyan (with respect) nor did they sit in his company. he (Abu Sufyan) said to Allah's Apostle:
Allah's Apostle, confer upon me three things. He replied in the affirmative. He (further) said: I have with me the most handsome and the best (woman) Umm Habiba, daughter of Abu Sufyan; marry her, whereupon he said: Yes. And he again said: Accept Mu'awiya to serve as your scribe. He said: Yes. He again said: Make me the commander (of the Muslim army) so that I should fight against the unbelievers as I fought against the Muslims. He said: Yes. Abu Zumnail said: If he had not asked for these three things from Allah's Apostle, he would have never conferred them upon him, for it was (his habit) to accede to everybody's (earnest) request.

Hence:

  • It was not Muhammad who initiated the marriage proposal, but rather Abu Sufyan approached him.
  • By this time, Muhammad had already conquered Mecca and held absolute power, while Abu Sufyan sought political support.
  • The words of Abu Zumnail further clarify that Muhammad had no intention of pursuing a marriage for political reasons. It was only after Abu Sufyan's request and upon learning about Umm Habiba's beauty that Muhammad agreed to the marriage.

Therefore, Muhammad's marriage to Umm Habiba was primarily driven by her beauty, and the political aspect was not as significant.

Note:

It is important to note that Muslim historian al-Waqidi recorded a fabricated hadith contradicting the aforementioned reliable hadith from Sahih Muslim. This fabricated hadith suggests that Umm Habiba married Muhammad in the 6th year of Hijri and that Najashi, the Christian King of Habsha, officiated their marriage. However, the tradition in Sahih Muslim states that Muhammad married Umm Habiba after the victory of Mecca in the 8th year of Hijri when Abu Sufyan requested the marriage due to his daughter's beauty.

The purpose of fabricating the Najashi-related hadith was to support the claim that this marriage occurred solely for political reasons, aiming to foster a friendly relationship between Abu Sufyan and the Muslims through his daughter's marriage to Muhammad.

Due to the pervasive influence of Muslim propaganda, a significant majority is unaware of the authentic tradition found in Sahih Muslim and instead believes in the fabricated tradition by al-Waqidi.

First 6 wives of Muhammad, their ages, and their political influence: 

Before becoming stronger and richer in Medina (after the battle of Trench and looting Banu Qurayzah), Muhammad married the following 6 women. 

(1) Khadijah:

The only marriage in Muhammad's life that had a political influence was his marriage to Khadijah. Initially, Muhammad married her primarily for her wealth, but later it also served him politically after he claimed prophethood. Muhammad was in such a state of poverty that no one wanted to give their daughter's hand in marriage to him. He desired to marry Umm Hani, the daughter of his uncle Abu Talib, but Abu Talib refused and married Umm Hani to someone else. At the age of 25, Muhammad then married Khadijah, who was much older at 40 years old. However, Khadijah was a wealthy woman who provided financial support to Muhammad, and he became fully dependent on her. As a result, while Khadijah was alive, Muhammad was unable to take another wife or have any slave woman for intimate relations. When Khadijah passed away, Muhammad was already 50 years old.

(2) Sawdah:

Sawdah was 37 years old (link) when she married Muhammad, who was over 50 years old at the time. There were no political motives behind this marriage. Muhammad sought a wife who could help him in managing the household and raising his daughters.

(3) 'Aisha:

Once again, there were no political reasons for Muhammad's marriage to 'Aisha. She was only 6 years old at the time, and the marriage occurred solely because Muhammad desired her. There was a huge age difference between Muhammad and ‘Aisha (Muhammad was of her grandfather’s age). In order to convince and get the attention of ‘Aisha, he told her that he married her only after the revelation from Allah in a form of a dream.

Sahih Bukhari:

Narrated `Aisha: Allah's Messenger said to me, "You were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said to him, 'Uncover (her),' and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), 'If this is from Allah, then it must happen.' Then you were shown to me, the angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said (to him), 'Uncover (her) and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), 'If this is from Allah, then it must happen.' "

(4) Hafsa bint Umar:

Hafsa was 19 years old when she married Muhammad (link), who was 53 years old. Her previous husband had died in the Battle of Uhud during the 3rd year of Hijri. Some Islamic apologists argue that the prophet married her to provide support as a widow. However, it raises the question as to why Muhammad did not marry any other older widows within his age group if his intention was solely to support them through marriage.

(5) Zaynab bint Khuzayma:

Zaynab was another wife of Muhammad who held no political influence. She was a middle-class widow who married Muhammad at the age of 28, while he was 53 years old at the time. Zaynab passed away shortly after their marriage.

(6) Hind (Umm Salama):

Hind's husband also died in the Battle of Uhud. She was 28 years old when Muhammad married her, while he was 55 years old (link). Like the previous wives mentioned, Hind did not possess any political influence.

Therefore, the question remains as to why Muhammad did not marry any widows within his own age group if his true intention was to support widows. In fact, he intended to divorce the only older lady among his wives, Sawdah, without providing any reason, despite her continuous support to him during the most challenging times.

Note:

Among these six wives, both Khadijah and Zaynab bint Khuzayma passed away during Muhammad's lifetime. As a result, Muhammad was left with only four wives. It was during this period that Muhammad claimed the revelation of verse 4:3, which limited the maximum number of wives to four.

You could read more at WikiIslam.Net

Why didn’t Muhammad marry the virgin girls?

An argument presented by Islamic apologists is that if Muhammad married multiple women for their beauty, he should have also married more virgin girls. However, the historical context reveals a different picture:

  • Even during that time, women generally did not approve of their husbands having multiple wives. When Muhammad married the wealthy Khadijah, he became financially dependent on her. Even then, Khadijah, who was 15 years older than Muhammad, did not allow him to marry any other older widows or take slave girls for pleasure. Muhammad did not dare to oppose her in matters of marrying other women.
  • Similarly, when Muhammad sought the hand of the virgin 'Aisha, her father Abu Bakr was surprised by the proposal. Abu Bakr asked him in surprise how could he marry her while he was her uncle (as recorded in Sahih Bukhari). Although Abu Bakr eventually allowed the marriage, he did not send 'Aisha to Muhammad's house for consummation. Muhammad had to wait for three years before this took place. Clearly, marrying a virgin girl was not an easy task for Muhammad.
  • By the time Muhammad gained power in Medina and started taking multiple wives, he was already well past the prime age of marriage and was an old man at 58 years old.
  • He had already married Hafsa and Umm Salama before the revelation of verse 4:3, which stipulated the maximum number of wives to be four.
  • When Muhammad attempted to marry Zaynab bint Jahsh with the help of a revelation, thus surpassing the limit of four wives, 'Aisha reacted unfavourably. 'Aisha did not approve of Muhammad taking any additional wives.
  • When Muhammad again used the claim of another revelation allowing him to marry women who presented themselves as gifts, he imposed another limit upon himself (to please 'Aisha and other previous wives), stating that he could not marry any more women even if he was pleased with their beauty (Verse 33:52).  But 'Aisha still became furious upon hearing this. 'Aisha mocked those women who presented themselves to Muhammad as a gift.
  • .Subsequently, Muhammad made all types of women lawful for himself and married Juwayriya, a young woman of 20, Safiyyah, a young woman of 16. 'Aisha mocked Muhammad by suggesting that Allah hastened to fulfil his sexual desires (Sahih Bukhari)
  • Then Muhammad got Mariyah, a virgin and beautiful slave girl.

In brief, as the number of Muhammad's wives increased, the dissatisfaction among 'Aisha and the other wives also grew. It was not easy for Muhammad to acquire another young virgin girl after having so many wives and concubines. Despite claims of revelations, his actions were questioned by his wives, and they discouraged him from taking new wives. Muhammad always needed an excuse to satisfy his previous wives to exceed the limit of four wives.

Moreover, please read this hadith:

Musnad Ahmad, hadith number 25636:

“Muhammad saw Um Habiba the daughter of Abbas while she was fatim (breastfeeding age) and he said: 'If she grows up while I am still alive, I will marry her.'” 

Please ponder upon this question:

  • If Muhammad wanted to marry her while he also dreamt about her and she was necessary to outlive Muhammad and spread the knowledge of Islam (like Islamic preachers claim about 'Aisha)? 
  • Or Muhammad's desire was only sexual in nature and his intention was only to enjoy her? 

The Huge Scandal of the secret sexual relationship of Mariya deterred Muhammad from any more adventures of marrying more women

Muhammad passed away at the age of 63, but his last marriage took place when he was 60 years old. This raises the question of why he did not marry another woman during his last few years.

The answer can be found in the significant scandal surrounding a secret sexual relationship of Mariyah, his slave girl, with her Coptic cousin. This scandal likely played a role in Muhammad's decision not to enter into any further marriages during his remaining years.

Sahih Muslim:

Anas reported that a person (a Coptic slave, who was the cousin of Maria al-Qibtiyya) was charged with fornication with the slave girl of Allah's Messenger (i.e. Maria al-Qibtiyya). Thereupon Allah's Messenger said to 'Ali: Go and strike his neck. 'Ali came to him and he found him in a well making his body cool. 'Ali said to him: Come out, and as he took hold of his hand and brought him out, he found that his sexual organ had been cut. Hadrat 'Ali refrained from striking his neck. He came to Allah's Apostle and said: Allah's Messenger, he has not even the sexual organ with him.

The Coptic slave was accused of fornication with Mariya, Muhammad's slave girl. This accusation emerged due to the fact that Muhammad had been unable to father any children with his existing wives for the past decade, leading people to speculate about his fertility. When Mariya became pregnant, rumors circulated suggesting that she had engaged in a secret sexual relationship with her cousin, the Coptic slave.

These allegations were taken seriously, and even Muhammad himself believed in them. As a result, he ordered the execution of the Coptic slave without providing him with a fair trial or presenting any witnesses. For more information on this topic, please refer to our article: 

 Muhammad ordered the killing of a person without any court trial & witness in his personal case

Despite evidence suggesting that the Coptic slave was incapable of engaging in sexual activity, Muhammad continued to suspect Mariya of having an illicit relationship. However, without witnesses, Muhammad was unable to punish Mariya for the alleged misconduct. This led to further rumours circulating among the people.

In an effort to quell the rumours and silence the gossip, Muhammad claimed to receive a revelation. He asserted that the angel Gabriel (Jibrael) had come to him and confirmed that Mariya was indeed pregnant with his child.

Ibn Kathir recorded the following tradition:

Anas said, when Ibrahim was born to Muhammad (from his slave-girl Maria al-Qibtiyya), then Muhammad became doubtful if Ibrahim was really his son or not. Upon that angel Jibrael came to him and confirmed to him that Ibrahim was indeed his son. Only after that Muhammad believed that Ibrahim was his son.
Reference: al-Baday wa al-Nahaya by Ibn Kathir, under the Incidents of 11th Hijri year.

But Muhammad himself kept on doubting the parentage of Ibrahim (his son from Mariya) even till his death.

Sahih Muslim:

فلما توفى إبراهيم قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ان إبراهيم ابني وانه مات في الثدي وان له لظئرين تكملان رضاعه في الجنة

"... then when Ibrahim demised the holy prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said, " Ibrahim was indeed my son and passed away at the age of infancy"

The scandal surrounding the alleged illicit sexual relationship of Mariya appears to have put an end to Muhammad's pursuit of marrying any additional women. With rumours circulating and questions arising about Muhammad's fertility, the controversy surrounding Mariya likely deterred him from engaging in further marriages. The scandal had a significant impact on Muhammad's personal life and public perception, ultimately influencing his decision to refrain from entering into any new marital relationships.