Facts From Fiction

The Esteemed Moral Character of the Holy Prophet (sa) and his Respect for Women


Shahrukh Abid, Canada

شہوت شاں  از سر  آزادی است

‘The zeal of these lovers of God is due to their emancipation;

نے  اسیر آں چو تو آں قوم مست

They are not the slaves of passion like the uninformed people of your ilk.’

-The Promised Messiah (as) [1]

Background to the Allegation:

Perhaps no one’s life has been as meticulously documented, studied, analyzed and criticized as the founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (sa). For this reason, when allegations arise, it is not difficult to delve into the matter and bring forth proofs that attest to his sublime and pure nature. In his lifetime, his bitterest enemies could not find any fault in his character and attested to his high moral qualities. Even non-Muslim scholars who have studied his life are awed by the beauty of his character. For example, in The Life of Muhammad the Orientalist Sir William Muir writes:

‘A remarkable feature was the urbanity and consideration with which Muhammad treated even the most insignificant of his followers. Modesty and kindliness, patience, self-denial, and generosity, pervaded his conduct, and riveted the affections of all around him.’ [2]

The complaint of the Pagans of his time was against the establishment of a religion that rejected their cherished idols and immoral lifestyle. For the Christians and Jewish tribes, they too could not bear to let go of their cherished beliefs and lifestyle to which they were accustomed. But modern-day critics who merely cast a rudimentary glance at his life have mistakenly concluded that the character of the Holy Prophet (sa) was morally defective (God forbid). In particular, they allege that he was a womanizer, and had no control over his desires (God forbid). However, history bears witness that he led a pious life and exercised the highest moral standards, even under circumstances that would have caused many to falter.


When the Quraish at the time of the Holy Prophet (sa) noticed that Islam was getting stronger after the conversion of Hazrat Umar (ra) and Hazrat Hamzah (ra), they became worried and decided to send a delegation to bribe the Holy Prophet (sa). The delegation spoke to the Holy Prophet (sa) in the courtyard of the Ka`bah. They tried to entice the Holy Prophet (sa) with wealth, power, and with the most beautiful women in all of Arabia. Yet the Holy Prophet (sa) refused all their offers and held fast to his faith. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) relates this incident in his book, The Life and Character of the Seal of the Prophets:

‘After their traditional greetings, the Quraish began their discourse saying:

“O Muḥammad [sa]! Look at how you have created dissension and division amongst your people. Betraying the religion of your forefathers you have slandered the great men of our nation. You have cursed at their honourable gods and labelled their respected men as those who think not. What greater defamation and humiliation can a people face than what you have done and continue to do?  But in your case, we are bewildered as to what we should do and what we should not do. If your endeavour is with the purpose that you might gather riches and become wealthy, then we shall give you such wealth as you may be deemed the wealthiest of us all. If you seek power and respect, we are prepared to make you our leader and chieftain. If you desire authority, we are not even reluctant in declaring you as our king. If your uproar and disturbance is due to an illness or you have been possessed, we can arrange for your cure at our own expense. If marrying a beautiful girl shall make you content, we can find you the most beautiful girl in all of Arabia.”

The Holy Prophet (sa) listened to this address by the chieftains of the Quraish quietly, and when they finished, he said:

“O Party of the Quraish! I do not desire any one of these things, nor have I been possessed or fallen victim to an ailment. I am a messenger from God and have brought the message of God to you. My heart is satiated in sympathy for you. If you take heed and believe, you shall acquire the good of this world and the next. But if you reject it, I shall wait upon the verdict of my Lord with patience and forbearance.”‘ [3]


Had the Holy Prophet (sa) been a womanizer and had no control over his desires, then he would have surely accepted the demands of the Quraish and left his prophethood. Yet, he did no such thing! On the contrary, he chose to remain patient and continued to spread his message.

The Holy Prophet (sa) would not even touch the hands of women when they came to pledge their allegiance to him. He was very careful and even informed the women that he would not touch their hands. The following is related by his wife Hazrat Aisha (ra):

‘By Allah, the hand of Allah’s Messenger (sa) never touched the hand of any woman, but he only used to take their pledge of allegiance orally. By Allah, Allah’s Messenger (sa) did not take the pledge of allegiance of the women except in accordance with what Allah had ordered him. When he accepted their pledge of allegiance he would say to them, ‘I have accepted your oath of allegiance.’ [4]

In another narration it is stated:

‘Umaimah bint Ruqaiqah says: “I came to the Prophet (sa) with some other women, to offer our pledge to him. He said to us: ‘(I accept your pledge) with regard to what you are able to do. But I do not shake hands with women.”’ [5]

Responding to this allegation of opponents, The Promised Messiah (as) states:

‘Look at the righteousness of our master, the greatest of all the prophets Muhammad (sa) the chosen one, he would not even hold hands of those pious women who would come to pledge their allegiance to him, rather he would make them sit at a distance and advise them.’ [6]

Another instance that proves this allegation is baseless is an incident that took place with a woman named Asmaa bint Nu’maan, who was considered to be the most beautiful woman in Madinah. Her marriage had been solemnized with the Holy Prophet (sa) but before the marriage could be consummated the relationship ended. Explaining the circumstances of this incident and responding to the allegation, the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) states:

‘Another allegation raised is that the Holy Prophet (sa) was a womaniser and objections are raised against his marriages. Allah the Almighty knew, however, that such allegations and questions would be raised in the future and so facilitated such incidents which provide the rebuttal to these allegations. It is said regarding Asmaa bint Nu’maan bin Abi Joan that she was amongst the most beautiful women of the Arabs. When she came to Madinah her beauty was praised by every woman who saw her. They would say that they had never seen such a beautiful woman in their lives. On the wish of her father her nikah [Islamic official marriage pronouncement] was solemnised with the Prophet (sa) for a dowry of 500 dirhams. When the Holy Prophet (sa) went to her she said, ‘I seek God’s refuge from you.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) replied, ‘You have sought the refuge of a Great Sanctuary.’ and then left. He then said to one of his companions, Abu Usaid, to take her back to her family. It has been recorded in history that her family were extremely happy that their daughter was being married to the Holy Prophet (sa). When she returned however, they were extremely upset. Thus, this was that great person about whom dreadful allegations are made, that he was a womaniser; whilst he married according to God’s command.’ [7]

These few examples point to the beautiful character of the Holy Prophet (sa) and his pure nature. Far from being a womanizer, he treated all women in his family and community with unprecedented care and respect. His loving devotion to his Creator was his only intoxication and it was this strong faith and love that prevented him from acting unjustly in situations that could easily be the point of moral lapse for ordinary men.

About the Author: Shahrukh Abid is a graduate from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology in Canada. He currently serves as an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Brampton, Canada. He has also co-authored two books titled ‘Quest of Curious Muslim’ and ‘Folly of Atheism’.


1. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya—Part IV (UK: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2016), 410.

2. Sir William Muir. Life of Muhammad.(Volume IV). Smith, Elder and Company., London.p.305 (1861)

3. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophetssa—Volume I, trans. Ayyaz Mahmood Khan(UK: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2017), 223.

4. Sahih Al Bukhari, Book of Divorce, Chapter: Chapter: If an idolatress or a Christian woman becomes a Muslim while she is the wife of Dhimmi or a Mushrik at war with the Muslims? [https://sunnah.com/bukhari:5288]

5. Sunan Ibn Maja, Book of Jihad, Chapter The pledge of women [https://sunnah.com/ibnmajah:2874]

6. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Noor-ul-Quran (number II) (UK: Islam International Publications Ltd, 2009), 449.

7. Friday Sermon, September 21, 2012 https://www.alislam.org/archives/sermons/summary/FST20120921-EN.pdf