The Marriages Of Prophet Muhammad: Social, Political, Humanitarian, And Spiritual Perspectives

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Muhammad is known as the prophet and the founder of Islam, he was born in 570 AD in Mecca which is now in Saudi Arabia. Like all great civilization have been able to reform their society through the rule of law and human rights, Prophet Muhammad has also been able to do the same and he laid foundation of the Muslim ad Arab civilizations. However the modern extremism from some Muslims has obliterated the Prophet’s contribution to humanity . Readings have shown that in the pre-Islamic society some proud people would practice female infanticide to diminish their shame, observers have pointed out the viciousness in modern Muslim society where women are coerced into marrying abusive husbands. Ironically, the modern cruelty against the women in the Islam society is exactly the same as the one which Prophet Muhammad eradicated. Prophet Muhammad fought against abuse towards women, specifically not to be coerced into marriage and be given a right to divorce husbands if their husbands were abusive .

Prophet Muhammad’s marital history has been the focus of critics throughout the modern era, he was married to 14 women for different reasons. During this time, women needed husbands for shelter, spirituality and emotional support. Muhammad, as a humanitarian was obligated to help them, some orphans who were vulnerable were married off to men and were subjected to exploitation. The prophet married for spiritual reasons for instance his marriage to Aisha was through divine revelation, it is said that the angel Gabriel appeared to him in a dream and presented Aisha to him. Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad would marry for political alliances. It can be based from the fact that his wives came from different societies, tribes and countries, thereby strengthening the religion through these alliances. It should be noted that Muhammad’s marriages were in peace, love and mutual agreement and not in way for sexual desires. Therefore, they were for political, social, spiritual and humanitarian reasons .

Some writings say that Prophet Muhammed had 9 wives simultaneously, when critics started to question why he did not stick to what the Islamic law prescribes which limits only to 4 wives, it can simply be answered by the fact that all his wives were taken before the divine legislation of limiting marriages4. One of his early marriages was with Aisha 9 years old at that time and the daughter of Abu Bakr, his closest companion and adviser who Muhammad was particularly fond of. It was Abu Bakr who fulfilled his spirituality and was a continuous source of support both financially and morally during the persecution of Quraysh the ruling tribe of Mecca when Muhammad was born. The story of love between Aisha and Prophet Muhammad was built on spirituality as Aisha proved to be insightful and scholarly. One incident that sticks to historians is the change of the Ka’ba’s covering from white to something else year in and out. This relationship with Aisha is further emphasized by historian Al Zuhri, who mentions that Aisha’s knowledge far outweighs all the other wives of Muhammad. Spiritually, Aisha’s relationship with Muhammad was even further strengthened when the Prophet decided to die in the arms of Aisha. 4 Through his marriage with Aisha, critics continue to believe the idea that spiritual enrichment is an important category in his decision to add more wives.

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Muhammad’s marriage was also tainted by political reasons, writer Tamam Kahn writes about Muhammad’s marriage to two Jewish wives. History dictates that Muhammad had an early battle with a Jewish tribe in which he was betrayed, this may have been the reason for his marriage with Rayhana, a Jewish national. Through Rayhana, Muhammad learned about the Jewish culture, he later on marries another Jew, Safiyya. It is rather unfortunate, according to Kahn’s book, that most of his biographers are anti-Jewish. The whole marriage with Jewish women widened his political clout as he no longer just serves his Arab and Muslim tribe but he was able to gain access to his rival tribe. To date, there are no positive stories that can be read about his Jewish wives. However, Moroccan Sufis, according to Kahn, view Safiyya as a spiritual teacher as well.5 Using the example shown by Muhammad’s marriage of 2 Jewish women following a battle against their race, it is difficult to set aside his political reasons for taking in wives as well.

His humanitarian reasons for marriage are also put forward by many of his critics. After the death of his first wife Khadija, Kahn continues to write that Muhammad married twelve more wives, ten of which are widows6. This develops a humanitarian reason because Muhammad believes that being left as a widow in Arabia was a difficult situation. Hence, Muhammad provided these ten widows his affection, protection, and spiritual community. This can further be supported by his first marriage with Khadija, his first wife with whom he had four daughters, was wealthy and with children in her previous marriage. It was said that Khadija always had Muhammad’s happiness at heart, she was never after the fine garments, finery, or exotic gifts. It has always been for the love of Muhammad. Coming from similar background, both orphaned early on their marriage is built upon the desire to provide love to other orphans of the world . Amidst all the difficulties that Muhammed had to face in the eyes of his idolaters, it was Khadija who has restored his morale and rebuilt his courage when the situation became very difficult. Because of Khadija’s commitment and support, Muhammad was able to channel all his focus and attention to being the messenger of God7. It is easy therefore to say that Khadija was a strong support for his preparation to prophethood.

The marriage of Muhammad continues to be presented in many different perspectives, today the legal and social systems of the Muslims has become more progressive. This has become an issue for gender equality advocates of the Muslim feminist groups. Looking back at the marriages of Muhammad, it can be seen that the present fight for social equality of Muslim women, to a certain extent can be traced to Muhammad’s history. To all these he remains much respected for the reasons stated above. It is indeed truly interesting to see how his marriage has been subjected to many criticisms and questions and yet with careful research, there is so much that people can learn from the goodness of Muhammad’s heart and his purpose of taking on all of his wives.

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The Marriages Of Prophet Muhammad: Social, Political, Humanitarian, And Spiritual Perspectives. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
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