Translated from the Urdu by Ayyaz Mahmood Khan
Polygamy Practised by the Holy Prophetsa and its Wisdoms
Along with the Rukhsatanah of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra, the practice of polygamy began in the life of the Holy Prophetsa. Therefore, at this instance, it would not be inappropriate to write a brief note on this issue. However, prior to mentioning anything with regards to polygamy, it seems necessary to mention the purposes of marriage, as stipulated in the Islamic Shari‘at. The reason being that along with all its additional purposes, to some extent, polygamy depends upon reasons which are an offshoot of these very same original purposes. As such, it should be known that there are four purposes of marriage, which are derived from the Holy Qur’an. Firstly, for an individual to be safeguarded from various physical, moral and spiritual ailments and from their ill consequences. This aspect is referred to as Ihsan in the Arabic language, which literally means to be protected within a fortress. Secondly, the continuation of human life. Thirdly, life-long companionship and peace of heart. Fourthly, the growth of relations of love and compassion. The Holy Qur’an states:
“O Ye Muslims! Allowed to you are all those women, except for those which have been alluded to above, that you appoint for them their dowries and marry them. However, the purpose of your marriage should be so that you may be safeguarded from ailments and evils, not that you should succumb to a life of lust and follow a way of pleasure and sensuality.”
In this verse, the purpose of Ihsan has been mentioned. In other words: firstly, so that through marriage an individual may be safeguarded from falling victim to certain specific ailments of a physical nature, which develop as a result of celibacy; secondly, so that an individual may be safeguarded from certain spiritual and moral ailments, and does not become indulged in impure thoughts and lewd relations. This very fundamental purpose has been described in another verse as follows:
“O Ye Muslims! Remember that your wives are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them.”
In other words, spouses are a means of safeguarding one another from evils and ailments, just as garments protect an individual from the hardships of cold and heat. In this verse, since women were also to be addressed, the manner of description has been made more subtle. Furthermore, this verse also alludes to the fact that men and women are also a means of hiding the weaknesses of each other, just as garments are also a means of concealment.
Then, He states:
“O Ye Muslims! Your wives are a tilth for you, from which the harvest of your future generation is to be reaped; so now you may deal with your tilth how you like, and reap the harvest of your choice.”
In this verse, the purpose of the continuation of human life has been mentioned. In other words, it must be ensured that the line of human offspring continues to flourish. Along with this, God the Exalted has also mentioned in a very subtle manner that when future progeny is to be brought into existence through wives, an individual should maintain relations with his wife in such a manner that future progeny is not ruined, rather, the best possible offspring is brought into existence.
Then, He states:
“Allah the Exalted has created wives for you from among yourselves, so that you may find peace of heart in your relation with them, then God has made this relationship a means of love and tenderness between you.”
In this verse, the third and fourth purposes of marriage have been mentioned; in other words, so that a husband and wife may find a life-long companion in one another, and may find comfort in their relationship with one another. Secondly, so that through marriage, a relationship of love and unity may be created between the relatives of both husband and wife, and in addition to blood-relations, through other ties, various families and various nations may receive opportunities to come together in a bond of love and companionship.
Therefore, in the Islamic Shari‘at, four purposes of marriage have been mentioned: firstly, Ihsan, i.e., to be safeguarded from various physical and spiritual ailments and their consequences; secondly, the continuation of human life; thirdly, life-long companionship and peace of heart; fourthly, the joining of different families and different nations through a relationship of love and compassion. If one contemplates, not only are all of these purposes absolutely permissible and appropriate; rather, they are extremely pure and in complete accordance with human nature and the needs of mankind. Through these aspects, the relationship of husband and wife has been planted upon a most excellent foundation and a means has been developed by which the best possible fruit may be procured as a result of this relationship. Furthermore, in contrast to these purposes, the purpose which the Holy Qur’an has deemed as being unlawful, and Muslims have been instructed to abstain from it, is the one of lust and sensuality.
Now we allude to the purposes which have been taken into consideration by Islam in granting permission for polygamy. As such, a study into the Islamic Shari‘at demonstrates that these purposes are two-fold. Firstly, the very same general purposes which have been stipulated for marriage, and which have already been mentioned above; secondly, those specific purposes which particularly relate to polygamy. The purposes mentioned first have been maintained in the case of polygamy, because at times, the purpose of marriage is not fully attained through one wife alone and it is due to this very reason that the need for another wife arises. For example, one purpose of marriage is Ihsan, i.e., that by this means a person may be safeguarded from various ailments, evils and illicit deeds. However, it is possible that a person is confronted with circumstances whereby he is unable to uphold his righteousness and purity, whilst maintaining relations with a sole lady, who happens to undergo periods of menstruation, pregnancy, delivery, suckling, and other forms of ailments, etc. Then, even if by an extraordinary effort he is able to safeguard himself from practical indecency, in the least, one aspect of impurity continues to dominate his thoughts, or perhaps there is a risk of him becoming afflicted by some physical ailment. Hence, the correct remedy for such a person is none other than polygamy. In other words, for such a person, the very same purpose which was the motivating factor for one marriage, shall become the catalyst for another marriage in this case. Similarly, one purpose of marriage is the continuation of human life. However, if a certain individual is unable to have children from one wife, or is unable to attain male offspring, this very purpose shall become a lawful basis for another marriage. In the same manner, one purpose of marriage is life-long companionship and peace of heart. However, if a person’s wife is terminally ill, and her ailment has reached such a state that she remains completely bedridden, or she becomes mad, then in this case, such a person would require another wife in order to fulfill the purpose of life-long companionship and peace of heart. Similarly, one purpose of marriage is the joining of various families and to create opportunities of expressing love and compassion to one another. However, it is possible that initially a person married in to such a family where it was necessary to develop this relationship of love; but afterwards he is presented with situations of even greater importance and significance, where the establishment of this relationship is extremely important and preferable with respect to the welfare of family, country, nation, government or religion. In this case, it would be necessary for such a person to act upon the teaching of polygamy. Hence, all of the purposes which have been mentioned by Islam with respect to marriage may become a basis for polygamy in special circumstances as well. The cases mentioned above are only by way of example, otherwise, there can be other instances as well where the purpose of marriage is not fully attained or acquired in the best possible manner by one wife alone, and the legitimate need for another wife arises. However, in addition to these purposes, Islam has also alluded to various exceptional grounds for polygamy, and they are three: firstly, the protection of orphans; secondly, the welfare of widows; thirdly, the increase of progeny.
Hence, Allah the Exalted states:
“O Ye Muslims! (In these wars which you are confronted with, there shall inevitably be an increase of orphans, and you shall be required to practice polygamy in order to safeguard these orphans). Hence, if you fear (that whilst remaining limited to one wife) you shall be unable to protect orphans and sufficiently fulfill the rights due to them, then marry of women as may be agreeable to you, two, or three, or four, (but not more than this, because in the sight of God this limit is sufficient to fulfill your exceptional requirements; however, if you fear that due to your financial, physical or administrative weakness, or due to the weakness of your disposition) you shall not be able to deal justly between more than one wife, then you must only marry one wife.”
In this verse of the Holy Qur’an by attaching the injunction of polygamy to the mention of orphans, it has been indicated that in actuality, an abundance of orphans is also a major reason from among the reasons for polygamy. On the one hand, since an abundance of orphans naturally equates to an abundance of widows, and results in the risk of a scarcity of progeny on the other, and all these three cases are the natural result of war; for this reason, in this single verse, Allah the Exalted has gathered all of the additional purposes for polygamy in a very subtle manner, as it were. These additional purposes are the protection of orphans, the welfare of widows and a remedy for the scarcity of offspring. Then, for further elaboration and clarification, He has alluded to each one of these purposes separately as well. Hence, Allah the Exalted states:
“O Ye Muslims! (Now that we have proposed the remedy of polygamy for you in exceptional circumstances) you should make arrangements whereby no woman should remain without marriage inasmuch as possible, whether she be unmarried or a widow.”
In this verse, attention has been drawn to the marriage of unmarried women, with specific mention to the marriage of widows.
Then, it is related in a Hadith:
“Ma‘qal bin Yasarra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa would say to his Companions, “You should marry loving women who are fertile, so that your number may increase, and I can take pride in the number of my Ummah on the day of resurrection.”
In this Hadith, the purpose of an increase in progeny has been mentioned.
In this manner, there are a total of seven purposes, which have been mentioned by Islam with respect to polygamy. In other words, protection from physical and spiritual ailments, continuation of human life, life-long companionship and peace of heart, growth of relations of love and compassion, welfare of orphans, welfare of widows and increase of progeny. However, the question which arises now is how these purposes may be attained. In other words, upon what basis should a wife be selected so that these purposes may be attained in the best possible manner? In this regard, the Holy Prophetsa states:
“In marriage, the selection of a wife is based on four considerations. Some people select their wives on the basis of her financial status, others give consideration to her family status, some take an interest in beauty and charm, while other people take a woman’s moral and religious state into consideration. But O Ye Muslims! You should always give precedence to the religious aspect. This is the pathway to your success, and this is the manner by which you may save yourself from worldly and religious destruction.”
In this Hadith, the principle for selecting a wife so that the purposes of marriage may be attained has been mentioned. That principle stipulates that the religious aspect should be given precedence. The word ‘Din’ does not only infer the individual religious or moral state of a women, nor is the word ‘Din’ used in the Arabic language merely in terms of religion or belief. Rather, as it has been expounded in a renowned Arabic lexicon known as Aqrabul- Mawarid, that the word ‘Din’ is used in the Arabic language to express the following meanings: firstly, morals and customs; secondly, spiritual purity and cleanliness; thirdly, religion; fourthly, nation and community; fifthly, government and rule. Hence, the statement of the Holy Prophetsa that in selecting a wife the aspect of ‘Din’ should be given precedence implies that a wife should be such that she is excellent in her individual morals and customs, righteousness and purity as well as in religion and belief, so that healthy relations between husband and wife are maintained and so that a positive influence is etched upon their children as well. On the other hand, however, this also implies that in selecting a wife, the aspect of ‘Din’ in general, which relates to the needs of religion, the welfare of nation and community, and the interest of government and rule, should also be taken into consideration at its appropriate occasion. At this instance, if someone is skeptical that although these meanings may all be correct linguistically, how can it be accepted that all these meanings are implied by one word simultaneously? The answer to this is that since the Holy Prophetsa was a law-giving Prophet, his words were of a legal nature, which are always comprehensive in meaning and vast in implication, and numerous aspects are inferred in each and every word. It is in this light, therefore, that we should understand the words of the Holy Prophetsa. In any case, when these meanings are linguistically correct, then no one has the right to raise an objection.
In summary, Islam has alluded to four purposes of marriage and seven purposes for polygamy. In order to attain these objectives in the best possible manner, Islam has taught that whilst selecting a wife, in addition to the individual merit of the lady herself, the needs of religion, the welfare of nation and community, and the interest of government and rule should also be given importance. This does not imply that in the matter of marriage, other merits should not be taken into account, because it is proven from other Ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa that he has permitted Muslims to take the other qualities of a lady into consideration as well. As a matter of fact, at times, he has himself encouraged that a person should take these other characteristics into consideration as well. Hence, despite the injunction of Pardah, the Holy Prophetsa would encourage that before marriage, a person should see his wife, so that afterwards his disposition was not disturbed in any way due to a displeasure in her physical appearance. Similarly, to an appropriate degree, it has been encouraged that financial status be taken into account as well.[9, 10] In the same manner, to a degree, it has also been advised that suitability of age and disposition should also be given regard.
This principle is applicable in the case of polygamy as well. However, the guidance given by Islam is that these things should not be given precedence over the religious aspect. The reason being that if qualities of a religious nature are not present, then these merits alone cannot become the foundation of true and everlasting happiness; rather, in certain cases, they prove to be injurious and harmful.
Now, if the purposes of polygamy are kept in mind, along with the principle which has been proposed by Islam for the selection of a wife, every sensible individual can appreciate that this is a very blessed system, which has been instituted by God the Exalted, through the person of the Holy Prophetsa. Moreover, in this system, the greater good for the largest segment of society has been taken into account. In actuality, those people who have voiced their opinions against the concept of polygamy, have done so with a very narrow frame of mind, and they have not given regard to anything except for the emotional relationship of husband and wife. Nor have such people ever contemplated the purposes of marriage and the needs of humanity with an objective heart. Otherwise, this issue was not such that a person of understanding could find room to reject its merits. Furthermore, another aspect which has not been taken into account is that the system of polygamy in Islam is not a rule; rather, it is an exception, which has been instituted whilst taking into account very specific circumstances, in order to attain the lawful purposes of marriage and cater for the legitimate needs of humanity. Hence, prior to voicing an opinion against this practice, one should contemplate that in the entire world, can an individual never be faced with such circumstances where polygamy proves to be a necessary remedy; and the benefit of a person’s own being, or his family, or his nation, or his country demands that he marry a second wife? I cannot forget the instance from the life of Emperor Napoleon, when he felt the need for a second wife in order to attain an heir for the benefit of his country. How was this requirement fulfilled? Even the thought of it causes me to tremble. The divorce of Empress Josephine is among the darkest tales in history and at its depth lies the very same false emotional notion that a person should not marry a second wife under any circumstances. Alas! This false emotional notion robbed the virtue of many a weak people, as it were. It left many families without progeny and expunged them from the earth. It destroyed the happiness of many homes. It ruined hopes of unity for many households, many nations and many countries. It turned many orphans into vagabonds and many widows were left in a state of helplessness. It led the progenies of many nations to downfall and sowed the seed of their destruction. And all of this took place only because a lady desires to be the sole owner of her husband’s attention! This is indeed a strange sacrifice, where a greater thing is sacrificed for a lesser one. Although, what should have been the case is that material gains should have been sacrificed for moral benefits, worldly benefits should have been sacrificed for religious benefits, personal interests should have been sacrificed for the welfare of family, and personal gain should have been sacrificed for the welfare of nation. As a matter of fact, the institution of polygamy is in itself a system which is a complete embodiment of sacrifice. By this system, through the individual and physical sacrifice of both husband and wife, a pathway in the interest of morality, religion, family, nation and country has been paved. In summary, the institution of polygamy in Islam is a practice to be employed in exceptional circumstances, which has been instituted whilst taking into account the specific needs of people. This is a sacrifice which both husband and wife are compelled to make in special circumstances for the sake of their morality, religion, family, nation and country. Moreover, Islam expects that when such circumstances arise as are necessary for the practice of polygamy, all people shall sacrifice their desires and physical comforts for a greater good, without hesitation. Furthermore, that when the occasion calls for it, they shall demonstrate that their lives are not only limited to their own persons, or their own homes; rather, that they are members of the vast humanity of the world, for the sake of which one should not hold back from sacrificing his individual interest.
Then, it should also be remembered that even when the legitimate need for polygamy arises, Islam has not made the practice of polygamy an obligation. Rather, as mentioned above, it has tied the practice to the condition that only if a person is able to maintain justice should he practise polygamy; otherwise, he should in all cases, suffice with one wife alone. In this respect, justice does not merely infer equality amongst various wives, rather, implies the fulfillment of all those rights which fall upon an individual in the case of polygamy. Hence, there are two conditions for polygamy. Firstly, for any cause to arise from among the legitimate causes stipulated by Islam for the practice. Secondly, for an individual to be able to administer justice. Furthermore, in the fulfillment of these two conditions, with the exception of a person’s heart-felt love (which a person has no control over), he must treat his wives with absolute equality in terms of his time, attention, wealth and apparent treatment.
If one contemplates, this very limitation is in itself a grand sacrifice, which a husband is compelled to offer, especially when due to a difference in the individual characteristics and aptitude of his wives, a person loves one more than the other. Yet despite this, he is compelled to distribute all of his things equally amongst his wives, as if they were measured on a scale. This sacrifice is not only one of the husband, rather his wives equally share in this sacrifice as well. In these circumstances, every sensible individual can understand that not only has Islam forbidden the very thought of lust in the matter of polygamy; rather, it has practically stipulated such conditions, that whilst adhering to them, no individual can indulge in lust and indulgence.
At this instance it also seems necessary to mention that prior to Islam, there was no limit to polygamy among the Arabs, or among any nation of the world for that matter. Every individual was permitted to keep as many wives as he so desired. However, in addition to specifying other conditions, in terms of number as well, Islam placed a restriction of up to four at most. As such, it is ascertained from history that as for those Muslim converts who had more than four wives, they were ordered to divorce the rest. For example, when Ghailan bin Salamah Saqafiyy became a Muslim he had ten wives, out of whom, six were divorced on order.
Now we explain the purposes that were in consideration by the Holy Prophetsa in his marriages, because this is our actual subject. It should be known, therefore, that the general purposes behind the marriages of the Holy Prophetsa were the very same ones which Islam has mentioned for marriage and for polygamy; and which have already been mentioned above. Among these purposes, the ones under special consideration by the Holy Prophetsa were the continuation of human life, a growth in relations of love and compassion, and the protection of orphans and widows. In order to fulfill the purpose of the growth of relations of love and compassion, the Holy Prophetsa considered such ladies as were best suited with respect to the needs of religion, the welfare of nation and community, and the interest of government and rule. However, in addition to these general purposes, under specific circumstances, there were specific reasons behind the marriages of the Holy Prophetsa as well. These specific reasons were twofold: firstly, the practical repudiation of various ignorant customs and erroneous beliefs through the personal example of the Holy Prophetsa; secondly, to keep various suitable women under the direct training of the Holy Prophetsa, and then through them to strengthen that aspect of the Islamic Shari‘at which relates specifically to women, as well as to educate and train other Muslim women. Allah the Exalted states in the Holy Qur’an:
“O Messenger! When your adopted son Zaid bin Harithahra divorced his wife Zainabra, We joined her in marriage to you, so that the ignorant custom may be removed that an adopted son becomes an actual son, and the divorced wife of such a person no longer remains lawful for the one who adopts him, so that there may be no hindrance or reluctance in the hearts of the believers with respect to this issue.”
In this verse, the first purpose has been mentioned, whereby through the practical example of the Holy Prophetsa such ignorant practices be uprooted, which had become so firmly embedded in the Arab disposition, that their true eradication was impossible unless the Holy Prophetsa was to establish a practical example himself. For example, the custom of adopting a person as one’s own son was very deeply rooted and prevalent in Arabia. Prior to the revelation of divine command in this respect, the Holy Prophetsa had taken his freed slave, Zaid bin Harithahra, as his own son. Therefore, when the injunction was revealed that merely by taking someone as a son, that person does not become a real son, and later on it so happened that Zaid bin Harithahra divorced his wife Zainab bint Jahashra, the Holy Prophetsa married Zainabra under divine command. In this manner, the Holy Prophetsa uprooted this ignorant custom, the complete eradication of which was impossible without his own practical example. In addition to this, by marrying Zainabra, the Holy Prophetsa also established by practical example that there is nothing wrong with marrying a woman who has been divorced.
Then, He states: “O Messenger! Say unto your wives, if you desire the life of this world and its adornment, come then, I will provide for you, but in this case you cannot remain my wives, and I will send you away with benevolence and generosity. If, however, you desire God and His Messenger, and desire the reward of the hereafter, then remember that God has prepared a great reward for those of you who do good and fulfill the desire of God…O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women if you are righteous, and offer Prayer in its true essence, and offer Zakat, and fully obey God and His Messenger (because God has selected you for a special purpose). O members of the Prophet’s Household! Allah the Exalted desires to remove from you all of your weaknesses and shortcomings and purify you completely, so that you may convey the Signs of Allah and words of wisdom to the people, which are disclosed to you in your houses through the Prophet. God the Exalted desires to fulfill this task through you because although He is unseen and hidden from the eyes of people due to his being most Subtle, He is also aware of the needs of people due to his being All-Aware. Hence, it is necessary that he fulfill the task of the guidance of mankind by means of people.”[15, 16]
In this verse of the Holy Qur’an, the second and greater purpose from among the specific reasons of the Holy Prophetsa for practising polygamy has been mentioned. In other words, so that suitable ladies could live with the Holy Prophetsa as his wives and be prepared for the education and training of other Muslim women. This is the very distinct purpose for which the marriages of the Holy Prophetsa took place. Furthermore, every individual can understand that this purpose was such as was specific to the person of the Holy Prophetsa. It is for this reason that the Holy Prophetsa was exempt from the limitations generally placed on Muslims in the practice of polygamy. In actuality, since the Holy Prophetsa was a law-bearing Prophet and through him the foundation of a new law, and a new society and civilisation was to be placed, it was not sufficient for these new injunctions to merely be propagated by the Holy Prophetsa. As a matter of fact, it was also necessary for this new Shari‘at to be intricately instituted under the direct supervision of the Holy Prophetsa and for him to practically lead people onto these new road marks, which had been chalked out by Islam. This was a very difficult and delicate task, and although there were hurdles which confronted the Holy Prophetsa with respect to men, with regards to women especially, this was an even greater challenge. The reason being that firstly, due to their generally remaining at home and being engaged in affairs of the household, they did not have as many opportunities to benefit from the company of the Holy Prophetsa. Secondly, due to the inherent shyness of women, they were unable to openly inquire of the Holy Prophetsa as regards to those specific issues which related to women. Comparatively, owing to a lack of education prevalent amongst women and their tendency to hold fast to ignorant customs, due to which it is difficult for them to quickly bring about any sort of reform in their practice, a special system was required for the education and training of women. In this respect, the most effective means was for the Holy Prophetsa to marry suitable women, and prepare them for this task under his own training, so that these wives could then carry out the role of educating and training other Muslim women. As such, this scheme proved to be successful, and the Muslim women very wonderfully and in a very short time span, transformed their lives according to this new Shari‘at. Such an example cannot be found in any nation of the world, where the female-class began to practise a completely new law, and adopted a new culture and civilization so quickly and so fully.
One practical proof that the marriages of the Holy Prophetsa were not due to lustful intentions, rather, they were purely on religious grounds is that the Holy Prophetsa married some women, who had so advanced in age that they were no longer able to bear children. For example, Hazrat Ummi Salamahra, who the Holy Prophetsa married in 4 A.H. had surpassed the age of bearing children at the time of her marriage. As such, she even excused herself on this very basis, but since the fundamental purpose of the Holy Prophetsa was purely religious, and for this purpose she was very suitable, the Holy Prophetsa insisted, and married her upon her consent.
Hence, those purposes under which the marriages of the Holy Prophetsa took place were immensely blessed and pure, and the fulfillment of the obligations of prophethood were predominately in consideration. Not only in his marriages, rather, even if an individual studies the lifestyle of the Holy Prophetsa in general, it becomes evident that everything he did whether it apparently related to the world or to religion, the principal and governing objective of the Holy Prophetsa, be it directly or indirectly, was the fulfillment of the obligations of prophethood. The Holy Prophetsa was never preoccupied with the comforts of the world. The following Hadīth is indeed a most accurate portrait of the life of the Holy Prophetsa:
“Ibni Mas‘udra relates that on one occasion, the Holy Prophetsa lay down on a thick and rough mat and fell asleep. When the Holy Prophetsa woke up, the mat had left marks on his body. Upon this, I submitted, ‘O Messenger of Allah! If you so desire, we can arrange means for your ease and comfort.’ The Holy Prophetsa responded, ‘Ibni Mas‘ud! What have I to do with the comforts of this world? The similitude of the world and I is like that of a rider on journey, who stops to catch his breath beneath the shade of a tree, and then stands up again to continue his journey.’”
This Hadith does not imply that it is forbidden to benefit from the comforts of this world. For Islam does not forbid a person from lawfully seeking benefit from a legitimate comfort of the world. As a matter of fact, the Holy Qur’an itself teaches the following prayer:
“O our Lord! Grant us a portion of the good things of this world, as well as the blessings of the world to come.”
The only thing which is implied in the above-mentioned Hadith is that a person should not consider the acquisition of worldly comforts as being the actual purpose of his life. Furthermore, it also proves that the Holy Prophetsa had absolutely no personal interest in the comforts of this world, and as far as the comforts of the world were concerned, the life of the Holy Prophetsa was merely like that of a traveller.
In this note relevant to polygamy, it would also not be out of place to mention that Islam is not alone in permitting the practice of polygamy. As a matter of fact, a majority of the world religions have permitted the practice of polygamy. For example, the Mosaic law grants this permission, and many prophets from the Banu Isra’il practically acted upon this.
In the Hindu religion, polygamy has been permitted and many holy men from among the Hindus had more than one wife. For example, Krishan Ji practised polygamy. Even to this day, Hindu kings and princes practise polygamy. Similarly, no statement of the Messiah of Nazareth has been related either, which speaks against the practice of polygamy, and since this practice was permitted by the Mosaic law, and practically as well, polygamy was prevalent during the time of the Messiah of Nazareth, it shall be inferred from his silence that he considered it lawful. Therefore, Islam has not introduced a novel practice. Albeit, what Islam did do was set limitations and attached such conditions to the practice that a beneficial and blessed system for the exceptional circumstances of individuals and nations was established.
At the conclusion of this note, it is also necessary to mention that although opponents have levelled very grave allegations upon the marriages of the Holy Prophetsa and every individual has understood the issue of polygamy practised by the Holy Prophetsa according to his own disposition and thoughts, even still, the truth has managed to reign supreme over the pen and tongue of the opponents. If not fully, they have at least been compelled to accept the truth partially. As such, even Mr. Margoliouth whose eye generally tends to see all straightforward things in a twisted manner is compelled to confess the truth in this regard. He writes in his book ‘Mohammed’:
“Mohammed’s [May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] numerous marriages after Khadijah’s death have been attributed by many European writers to gross passion, but they would seem to have been mainly dictated by motives of a less coarse kind. Several of his alliances were political in character, the Prophet being anxious to bind his chief followers more and more closely to himself. This was doubtless his object in marrying the daughters of Abu Bakr and Omar; while a political motive of a different sort is to be found in his alliances with the daughters of political opponents or fallen enemies… The remainder are to be explained by his extreme anxiety to have a son, and thereby escape a reproach to which he was keenly sensitive.”
This is the opinion of that person who perhaps stands at the forefront with respect to his opposition and prejudice amongst the biographers of the Holy Prophetsa. Although this view of Mr. Margoliouth is not completely correct, it does indeed prove how the truth can even overcome an opposing heart.
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Nisa, Verse 25.
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 188.
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 224.
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Rum, Verse 22.
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Nisa, Verse 4.
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Nur, Verse 33.
- Mishkatul-Masabih, Volume 1, Al-Fasluth-Thani, p. 570, Kitabun-Nikah, Al-Fasluth-Thani, Hadith No. 3091, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2003).
- Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabun-Nikah, Babul-Ikfa’i Fid-Din, Hadith No. 5090.
- Sunanut-Tirmidhi, Kitabun-Nikah, Babu Ma Ja’a Fin-Nazari Ilal-Makhtubah, Hadith No. 1087.
- Sahihul-Muslim, Kitabut-Talaq, Babul-Mutallaqati Thalathan La Nafaqatan Laha, Hadith No. 3697.
- * Sahihul-Muslim, Kitabur-Rada‘a, Babu Istihbabi Nikahil-Bikr, Hadith No. 3638.
* Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabun-Nikah, Babu Tazwijith-Thayyibat, Hadith No. 5079.
- Mishkatul-Masabih, Volume 1, Part 2, p. 593, Kitabun-Nikah, Babul-Qasam, Al-Fathluth-Thani, Hadith No. 3235-3236, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2003).
- Sunanut-Tirmidhi, Kitabun-Nikah, Babu Ma Ja’a Fir-Rajuli Yuslimu Wa ‘Indahu ‘Ashru Niswatin, Hadith No. 1128.
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab, Verse 38.
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab, Verses 29-30.
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab, Verses 33-35.
- * Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, by Allamah Shihabuddin Al-Qastalani, Volume 4, pp. 398-400, Ummu Salamah Ummul-Mu’minin, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996).
* At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, by Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Volume 8, p. 289, Dhikru Azwaji Rasulillahisa / Ummu Salamah bintu Abi Umayyah, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996).
- Mishkatul-Masabih, Volume 2, Part 3, p. 247 Kitabur-Riqaq, Al-Fasluth-Thani, Hadith No. 5188, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2003).
- Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 202.
- * Holy Bible, Deuteronomy, 21:15.
* Holy Bible, Kings I, 11:3.
- For example, refer to the lives of Prophet Abraham, Prophet Jacob, Prophet David, Prophet Solomon, and others (may peace be upon them).
- Manusamarti Adhya’ai, (9:121, 148, 181), Gilani Electric Press, Lahore.
- Shri Krishan, by Lalah Lajpat Ra’ai.
- Mohammed and The Rise of Islam, by David Samuel Margoliouth, pp. 176-177, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York & London, The Knickerbocker Press, Third Edition (1905).
- An Arabic proverb which means, “True superiority is that to which even enemies attest.”