Page 136 - Islam In Focus

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the Muslims and had to or participate in. These women were trusts of the Muslims
and had to kept jointly. What he did, then, was his share of responsibility, and as
always his share was the largest and heaviest. That is why he had more than one wife,
and had more wives than any of his companions
3. There were many war prisoners captured by the Muslims and entitled to security
and protection. They were not killed or denied any right, human or physical. On the
contrary, they were helped to settle down through legal marriages to Muslims instead
of being taken as concubines and common mistresses. That also was another moral
burden on the Muslims and had to be shouldered jointly as a common responsibility.
Here, again, Muhammad carried his share and took some responsibilities by marrying
two of those captives
4. The Prophet contracted some of his marriages for sociopolitical reasons. His
principal concern was the future of Islam. He was most interested in strengthening the
Muslims by all bonds. That is why he married the minor daughter of Abu Bakr, his
First Successor, and the daughter of Umar, his Second Successor. It was by his
marriage to Juwairiah that he gained the support for Islam of the whole clan of Bani
al-Mustaliq and their allied tribes. It was through marriage to Safiyah that he
neutralized a great section of the hostile Jews of Arabia. By accepting Mary the Copt
from Egypt as his wife, he formed a political alliance with a king of great magnitude.
It was also a gesture of friendship with a neighboring king that Muhammad married
Zaynab who was presented to him by the Negus of Abyssinia in whose territory the
early Muslims found safe refuge
5. By contracting most of these marriages, the Prophet meant to eliminate the caste
system, the racial and national vanities, and the religious prejudices. He married some
of the humblest and poorest women. He married a Coptic girl from Egypt, a Jewess of
a different religion and race, a negro girl from Abyssinia. He was not satisfied by
merely teaching brotherhood and equality but he meant what he taught and put it into
6. Some of the Prophet’s marriages were for legislative reasons and to abolish certain
corrupt traditions. Such was his marriage to Zaynab, divorcee of the freed slave Zaid.
Before Islam, the Arabs did not allow divorcees to remarry. Zaid was adopted by
Muhammad and called his son as was the custom among the Arabs before Islam. But
Islam abrogated this custom and disapproved its practice. Muhammad was the first
man to express this disapproval in a practical way. So he married the divorcee of his
"adopted" son to show that adoption does not really make the adopted child a real son
of the adopting father and also to show that marriage is lawful for divorcees.
Incidentally, this very Zaynab was Muhammad’s cousin, and had been offered to him
for marriage before she was taken by Zaid. He refused her then, but after she was
divorced he accepted her for the two legislative purposes: the lawful marriage of
divorcees and the real status of adopted children. The story of this Zaynab has been
associated in some minds with ridiculous fabrications as regards the moral integrity of
Muhammad. These vicious fabrications are not even worth considering here (see
Qur’an, 33:36,37,40)
These are the circumstances accompanying the Prophet’s marriages. For the Muslims
there is no doubt whatsoever that Muhammad had the highest standards of morality
and was the perfect model for man under all circumstances. To non-Muslims we