Page 135 - Islam In Focus

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9. The wives he took were all widows or divorced with the exception of one minor
girl, Aishah. None of these widowed and divorced wives was particularly known for
physical charms or beauties. Some of them were senior to him in age, and practically
all of them sought his hand and shelter, or were presented to him as gifts but he took
them as legal wives
This is the general background of the Prophet’ s marriages, and it can never give any
impressions that these marriages were in response to physical needs of biological
pressures. It is inconceivable to think that he maintained so large a number of wives
because of personal designs or physical wants. Anyone, a friend or a foe, who doubts
the moral integrity or the spiritual excellence of Muhammad on account of his
marriages has to find satisfactory explanations of questions like these: Why did he
start his first marriage at the age of 25 after having had no association with any
female? Why did he choose a twice-widowed older lady who was 15 years senior to
him? Why did he remain with her only until her death when he was over fifty? Why
did he accept all those helpless widows and divorcees who possessed no particular
appealing qualities? Why did he lead such an austere and hard life, when he could
have had an easy and comfortable course? Why did he contract most of his marriages
in the busiest five years in his life, when his mission and career were at stake? How
could he manage to be what he was, if the harem life or passions overtook him? There
are many other points that can be raised. The matter is not so simple as to be
interpreted in terms of manly love and desire for women. It calls for a serious and
honest consideration
Reviewing the marriages of Muhammad individually one does not fail to find the
actual reasons behind these marriages. They may be classified as follows:
1. The Prophet came to the world as an ideal model for mankind, and so he was in all
aspects of his life. Marriage in particular is a striking illustration. He was the kindest
husband, the most loving and cherishable partner. He had to undertake all stages of
human experience and moral test. He lived with one wife and with more than one,
with the old and the young, with the widow and the divorcee, with the pleasant and
the temperamental, with the renowned and the humble; but in all cases he was the
pattern of kindness and consolation. He was designated to experience all these variant
aspects of human behavior. For him this could not have been a physical pleasure; it
was a moral trial as well as a human task, and a hard one, too
2. The Prophet came to establish morality and assure every Muslim of security,
protection, moral integrity and a decent life. His mission was put to the test in his life
and did not stay in the stationary form of theory. As usual, he took the hardest part
and did his share in the most inconvenient manner. Wars and persecutions burdened
the Muslims with many widows, orphans and divorcees. They had to be protected and
maintained by the surviving Muslim men. It was his practice to help these women get
resettled by marriage to his companions. Some women were rejected by the
companions and some others sought his personal patronage and protection. Realizing
fully their conditions and sacrifices for the cause of Islam, he had to do something to
relieve them. One course of relief was to take them as his own wives and accept the
challenge of heavy liabilities. So he did and maintained more than one wife at a time
which was no fun or easy course. He had to take part in the rehabilitation of these
widows, orphans and divorcees because he could not ask his companions to do things
which he himself was not prepared to do or participate in. these women were trusts of