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What were the reasons for the Prophet’s marriages?

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  • What were the reasons for the Prophet’s marriages?


    Excerpt from the book “Islamic facts refuting allegations against Islam“, by Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Hamdy Zakzouk, Chapter 2, pages 23-25:

    The Prophet Muhammad was twenty-five years old when he married Khadija, his first wife, who was fifteen years his senior and had been married twice. She remained his wife for twenty-eight years until she died and he did not marry any other woman during this period of his life. He was always faithful to her memory, so much so that this loyalty provoked jealousy among some of his wives in later years.

    The Prophet’s nature, character, and way of life before and after his prophethood are absolute proof that he was neither lustful nor sensuous. How could a man who was more than fifty years old suddenly change and become a slave to lust, when he had had every opportunity as a young man to follow his desires, in common with the other young men of his tribe. On the contrary, Muhammad was well known for his virtue, and his only wife who was a virgin was ‘Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, while most of his wives were widows whom he married for humane reasons or in order to enforce a religious observance or ruling and not for any sensuous desire on his part.

    As regards his marriage to Sawda, daughter of Zam’a, ‘ who was the widow of one of his companions, he was more than fifty years old at that time, and she was neither beautiful, wealthy, nor of noble descent. He married her in order to care for and support the family of his companion, who had suffered torture and death for his faith in God. His marriage to ‘Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, and Hafsa, daughter of ‘Omar, at later dates were in order to strengthen the ties between himself and his companions Abu Bakr and ‘Omar.

    As regards to Um Salama, she was the widow of a martyr who had been mortally wounded in the battle of Uhud. She was an old woman, and when the Prophet proposed marriage to her she tried to excuse herself from accepting because of her age, but the Prophet consoled her and married her for humane reasons.

    The Prophet married Ramlah, daughter of Abu Sufyan, who had emigrated to Abyssinia with her husband who had renounced Islam, become a Christian, and had abandoned her, leaving her without any maintenance. The Prophet sent a message to al-Najashi, who ruled Abyssinia, requesting Ramlah’s return to her homeland to deliver her from the estrangement which she felt in a foreign land and to deliver her from the persecution of her own Pagan family in Makkah, had she been forced to return to them. The Prophet also hoped that by this marriage his influential father in Makkah might be induced to embrace Islam.

    The Prophet married Jawayriyya, daughter of Al-Harith, who was among the captives captured at the battle of Bani Al-Mustalaq. Her father was the chief and master of his tribe, and the Prophet married her in order to liberate her from captivity, and he requested the Muslims to liberate their captives and set them free.

    The Prophet married Safiyya who was the daughter of the chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. She was allowed to choose between returning to her people or being set free by marrying the Prophet and she preferred to marry the prophet to returning to her tribe.

    The Prophet’s marriage to his cousin Zaynab, daughter of Jahsh, was in order to establish a religious ruling. She had been married to Zayd Ibn Haritha, the Prophet’s adopted son. Their marriage did not last long and she was divorced. It was the custom of the Arabs during that period to prohibit any marriage between a man and his adopted son’s divorced wife. The Prophet was ordered by God to marry Zaynab in order to abolish this ruling which was totally unnecessary. The following Qur’anic verse established this ruling: ” … Then when Zayd had dissolved his marriage with her, with the necessary formality, We joined her in marriage to you: in order that in the future there may be no difficulty in the matter of marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary formality their marriage with them and God’s Command must be fulfilled.” [33/37]
    أشهد أن لا إله إلاَّ الله و أشهد أن محمد رسول الله