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The Wives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad – Brief History

The Wives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad – Brief History
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This article will cover the wives of the holy Prophet Muhammad – PBUH into two parts in Chorological order. The first part will cover Lady Khadijah, Aisha & Sawdah, Umm Habiba and Hafsa. Part 2 will cover Umme Salamah, Zainab, Safia, Maria, Juwairriyah, Maymoonah and Rayhaanah.

INTRODUCTION:

The women who married Muhammad – PBUH were indeed ladies with exceptional characters and who contributed a lot in the life of the Prophet Muhammad – PBUH. They were also great Muslims and exemplars. The prophet had 11 wives. He only married after Lady Khadijah passed away after several years.

The wives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad – PBUH were as follows:

  1. Lady Khadijah
  2. Lady Aisha&Sawdah
  3. Umme Habiba
  4. Hafsa
  5. Umme Salamah
  6. Zainab
  7. Safia
  8. Maria
  9. Juwairriyah
  10. Maymoonah
  11. Rayhaanah

 

1.     Lady Khadijah

Khadijah was the first wife of Muhammad – PBUH.  She was the daughter of Khuwayleed.  She was born in a noble and wealthy family. When her father passed away she inherited the wealth of her father. Khadijah was a widow as well. She met Muhammad – PBUH when she was 40 years old and Muhammad – PBUH was 25 years old. They were introduced to each other and it was love at first sight. Khadijah was beautiful, gracious and very kind. The holy Prophet – PBUH married her with the blessings of Abu Talib.

Khadijah was also the first lady who accepted Islam and believed in Muhamad – PBUH revelation. She supported him throughout the three years of persecutions in Mecca. She saw Muhammad- PBUH spending her wealth in the name of Islam. She was also very patient and caring towards Muhammad – PBUH and suffered together with him. Their marriage lasted for 27 years. It was an exemplar marriage where there was love and respect. Muhammad – PBUH was very happy with Khadijah and when she passed away, Muhammad – PBUH was deeply affected.

2.     Lady Aisha & Sawdah

After the demise of Lady Khadijah, Muhammad- PBUH was very sad and Khadijah left him with four beautiful daughters. There was no one to look after the daughters and the house. Muhammad – PBUH was 53 years old at that time. Then one day, a relative called Khawla approached Muhammad – PBUH and suggested to him that he should consider remarrying. Muhammad – PBUH was conscious that his house and his children needed a mother, however, he had never considered of re- marriage until Khawla suggested him to marry Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr Siddiq. At that time, Aisha was only seven years old of age and as she was young herself, she was not able to look after the children. Therefore Khawla suggested that Sawdah married Muhammad – PBUH in order to take care of Muhammad, the children and his household.

Aisha who was the daughter of Abu Bakr Siddiq, the closest and dearest friend of Muhammad – PBUH, accepted the proposal and felt greatly honoured.  Sawdah who was a widow accepted the proposal and wedded Muhammad – PBUH. Sawdah moved in Muhammad – PBUH and took care of his children and household, whilst Aisha stayed at her dad’s place.

After some years, after the Hijrah, Aisha became officially the bride of Muhammad – PBUH at the request of Abu Bakr Siddiq.

3.     Umm Habiba

Umme Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufiyan, who was once the greatest opponent of Muhammad – PBUH was also married to Muhammad – PBUH. Umme Habiba was previously married and during the early years of persecutions, she migrated with her husband to Abyssinia. Unfortunately, her husband was influenced by Christianity, he embraced Christianity. As Umm Habiba was a sincere Muslim, she could no longer stay with an unbeliever and she divorced her husband for the sake of Islam. Umm Habiba took her daughter away and secluded herself. She was forgotten by all the men at that time.

Almighty Allah however did not forget her and her sacrifice. One day a slave came to her and informed her that the King wanted to see her and there was a message for her. When she went to see the king, she was told that Muhammad – PBUH had asked for her hand and wanted to marry her. Umm Habiba was very honoured and happy and Muhammad – PBUH also sent 400 dinars as dowry for her.  Six years later, after the Hijrah took place, Umm Habiba went to Medina to join Muhammad – PBUH and she received a great welcome.

4.     Lady Hafsa

Hafsa was the daughter of Umar ibn Al- Khattab. Hafsa was also previously married.  Hafsa became a widow at a very young age. Her father was worried and decided to look for a husband for her. In the beginning, Umar thought of Abu Bakr and Uthmaan, but they both excused themselves. Umar was disappointed and angry too. So he went to see Muhammad – PBUH to discuss the matter with him.  Muhammad – PBUH explained to him that Abu Bakr and Uthmaan refused him because they knew that Muhammad – PBUH wanted to ask for the hand of Hafsa. So Hafsa was then married to Muhammad – PBUH.

5.     Umme Salamah

Umme Salamah was the widow of Abu Salamah who died in the holy battle of Uhud. She was left on her own with many children and with no money and resources as well. Abu Bakr and Umar offered to marry her but she refused.

Muhammad – PBUH knew about her situation and he therefore sent a proposal of marriage to Umme Salamah. Once again Umme Salamah refused saying that she is old and that she was of a jealous nature as well as having many children. In fact, when Muhammad – PBUH heard this he sent his reply by stating that as for her children, he will take care of them as his own children as they are the children of Allah and His Messenger and in regards to her age, Muhammad – PBUH stated that he himself was older and that Allah would remove the jealousy from her heart. Umme Salamah accepted and she wedded Muhammad – PBUH. As usual, Muhammad – PBUH kept his word, and he cared for the children as if they were his own.

6.     Lady Zaynab

Zaynab was the little cousin of Muhammad – PBUH. She was from the noble family of the Qurayshi and her father was Jahsh. Zaynab grew up in front of Muhammad – PBUH and he wanted Zaynab to marry his adopted son Zayd.

The marriage between Zayd and Zaynab took place as Muhammad – PBUH wish but unfortunately the marriage was later dissolved as they were not both happy due to class barrier. In fact, when the marriage got dissolved, Allah ordered Muhammad – PBUH to ask for the hands of Zaynab. Muhammad – PBUH obeyed Allah’s as usual and he married Zaynab.

Zaynab was known for her talent with her hands. She was good at making clothes and gave them out to the poor and needy. The prophet Muhammad – PBUH used to say that Zaynab was the most generous and charitable amongst all his wives. She was given the title as the ‘mother of the poor’ by Muhammad – PBUH.

7.     Safiyya

Safiyya was the daughter of a Jew who was known as Huyayy Ibn Akhtab, the chief of the tribe of Banu Nadir who was also the other cousin of Muhammad – PBUH.  Huyayy was also the enemy of Islam and the Messenger and he fought the Muslims in the Battle of Trench and he eventually died.

After the death of Huyayy, his daughter was brought back to Muhammad – PBUH by Bilal. Muhammad – PBUH knew that Safiyya was alone and he could not leave her on her own. Therefore Muhammad – PBUH asked her if she would care for him and she replied positively. She then embraced Islam and married Muhammad – PBUH. When she entered Muhammad – PBUH house, she was given the title of ‘Mother of the Believers’. After the demise of Muhammad – PBUH, she mourned for him a lot and she served Islam with great sincerity and deep faith.

8.     Maria

Maria was from Egypt. She was a slave and she was sent with her sister Serene to Muhammad – PBUH as a present from the Ruler of Egypt. Muhammad – PBUH accepted them and he gave Serene to a man that he honoured greatly in marriage. Muhammad – PBUH kept Maria and married her. When he was nearly sixty, Muhammad – PBUH was informed that Maria was expecting a child and she eventually gave birth to a baby boy. Muhammad – PBUH was very happy and he gave the child the name of Ibrahim. After giving birth to Ibrahim, Maria was given the title of ‘Mother of Believers’. Unfortunately, Ibrahim did not live long. The child fell ill and passed away.

9.     Juwairriyah

Juwairriyah was a captive and prisoner after a holy war known as Banu Mustalaq.She came to Muhammad – PBUH and asked for her freedom. Muhammad – PBUH bought her and set her free and eventually married her. Juwairriyah accepted Islam.

10.     Maymoonah

Maymoonah was another woman who the Prophet – PBUH married too. Muhammad – PBUH married her after accomplishing pilgrimage and after exiting his Ihram.

11.     Rayhaanah bint ‘Amr al-Nadariyyah

Rayhaanah bint ‘Amr al-Nadariyyah was made captive in the battle of Qurayzah. The Messenger – PBUH married her and then later divorced her, however it was narrated that Muhammad – PBUH married her again after the divorce. She was therefore one of the wives of Muhammad – PBUH.

Conclusion

Muhammad – PBUH marriages have a clear rationale. He married several women to save them from distress, financial difficulties and to support them after losing their husbands and fathers in holy wars. Muhammad – PBUH made sure he treated them all fairly and protected them. They all earned the title of ‘Mothers of the Believers’.