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Why did the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have 11 wives




Why did the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have 11 wives? Some people say that the Prophet was lustful and he used to ask his companions to divorce their wives to marry him, as he asked Zaid to divorce his wife and then he married her? Is it correct? Is it right for a Muslim to ask such questions?



Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.


Dear brother what your friend is saying is nothing but a big lie and an enormous slander. Probably he is talking about the marriage of the prophet with Zainab Bint Jahsh who was the wife of Zaid Ibn Harethah who was known as Zaid Ibn Muhammad because the Prophet adopted him. In fact, an important legislation was passed through this marriage whereby the tradition of adopting children was annulled. Zaid used to come to the prophet and make complaints about his wife Zainab. Allah had made known to the prophet that Zaid would divorce his wife Zainab and that she would become his (The Prophet's) wife, but still the Prophet kept replying to Zaid's complaints by saying: "Keep your wife to yourself and fear Allah". But Zaid decided finally to divorce Zainab. After Zaid divorced her, the prophet married her to annul the tradition of adoption that was considered as a real family tie.


As for the large number of marriages the Prophet had, it is not surprising. What is really astonishing is the fact that some people deny the prophet's right to marry 12 women who were all divorced or widowed except Aisha who was the only virgin among them. Here I would like to quote a story of what happened between a Muslim scholar and an expert in Oriental studies. The man said: "How do respect a man who married nine women? "The scholar did not explain immediately the reasons for the Prophet's marriages because he knows that this man is blinded by his extremist views about Islam. So he replied by another question "Do you respect the Torah Prophets? "The man said: "Yes." The scholar said: "Do you respect Prophet David?" The man said: "Yes; "The scholar said: "Do you respect Prophet Solomon? "The man said: "Yes; "The scholar said: "David had ninety nine wives to whom he added another wife so he had a hundred wives. Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred Jaria (women slaves that can be used as wives.)"The man kept silent and he did not utter any word.


In fact, the life of the prophet went through three stages as far as his marriages are concerned:


First: the pre-marriage period. It is known that the prophet grew up in the Arab peninsula, which is a very hot region. In this region adolescents and youngsters reach the age of puberty very early. Their emotional feelings and sexual desires are usually very strong. So they get married at early ages or become perverted, going astray because of their desires and pleasures. Although The Prophet grew up in such an environment until the age of 25 without getting married, he never deviated from the right way as recognized by the orientalist MOLLER who said: "All sources concord that the prophet-while young- was marked by calmness, gentleness and by keeping away from sins that Quraish used to commit ".


The second phase or the phase of monogamy:


The Prophet worked before his marriage in the trade of a wealthy, honorable and noble lady: Khadijah. She was 15 years older than himself. She noticed his honesty, his chastity and his good qualities. So, she sent to him proposing herself in marriage. He married her and had all his children from her except his son Ibrahim, whose mother was Mariya, an Egyptian. He stayed with his wife Khadijah till she died. He was over 50 years old then. He never thought of marrying any other lady with her, although polygamy was common practice during those days. Even after her death, he stayed faithful to her and used to remember her often and spoke of her good character. Some of his wives became jealous when he spoke of her.


The third phase or the phase of polygamy:


When Khadijah died the Prophet became very sad and felt much sorrow. Because of this great sadness, his companions called this year: "the year of sorrow". When they noticed his grief they sympathised with him. They sent Khawla Bint Hakim; the wife of Abdalla Ibn Madhoun to urge him to marry. But he said: "A wife after Khadijah? She said: Aisha the daughter of Abu Bakr, the person you like the most; He said: But she is young; She said: The young will mature; He said: And who will look after the daughters of The Prophet until Aisha matures, She said: Sawda Bint Zam'ah, Sakran's widow who was left after Sakran's death with his family whose members are all polytheists. Sakran died after returning from the first Hijra. The prophet married Sawda Bint Zam'ah. When the people heard about this marriage, all agreed that he did so pitying her, in order to protect her from being driven away from Islam by Sakran's family as she was old and not beautiful. He stayed with her as his only wife for 4 years until Aisha matured. This is sound evidence that the polygamy he did after the age of 54 was not for pleasure or sexual desire. It was rather for humanitarian, political and legislative reasons. As for Hafsa, the daughter of Omar. Her husband Khunays was killed as a martyr in the battle of BADR. She was only 18 then. So her father proposed her to Abu bakar who did not reply to him. Then he proposed her to Uthman, whose wife had just died. Uthman did not reply to him either. He gave him a "cold shoulder". Omar was not pleased with his companions' replies. So he went to the prophet and complained to him about what happened. The prophet replied with an answer that both pleased Omar and healed his wounds, he said: "Hafsa will be married to a better person than Uthman. And Uthman will marry a better person than Hafsa". Then the prophet himself married Hafsa. So the fact that Omar proposed his daughter to his companions shows how important it was for the Muslims to marry the widows of the martyrs in order to console them and protect their chastity.

As for Zeinab Bint Khuzaima Al Hilaliya, she was the widow of Ubaida Ibn Al Harith; the cousin of The Prophet. Omu Salama, The Prophet's other wife, was the wife of Abdalla Ibn Abdul Assad, the son of the paternal aunt of The Prophet. Abdalla was killed after the battle of Uhud. Both Abu Bakr and Omar proposed to marry her but she turned down their offers. When The Prophet proposed to marry her, she said that she was old, jealous and had many children. The Prophet said to her: "As for your age I am older than you are, as for your jealousy, Allah will take it away, as for your children, they are to Allah and his messenger". Then the marriage took place. This is yet another reason proving that he was not driven in his marriages by desire or pleasure but rather for protecting the widows and their children. So, all his marriages were either consoling the women he married or for arousing the interest of their tribes in Islam. Had their been any place for lust, he would not have chosen to marry the elderly and the widows. As a matter of fact, he did not marry but one virgin, Aisha.

Allah knows best.


Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at

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