Women and Islam

The Noble Wives of the Holy Prophet (sa)

Mother of the Believers – Hazrat ‘A’ishahra

Part 3 OF 3

Translated from the Urdu by Murtaza Ahmad

© Illustrations by Masood Tahir (Waqfe Nau), London, UK.
© Illustrations by Masood Tahir (Waqfe Nau), London, UK.

The lives of the Prophet Muhammadsa, his wives and the women of early Islam are often portrayed by numerous Western historians and scholars largely based on inaccurate historical material or without consulting original sources. This misinformation has been disseminated in the media, magazines and news reports forming an adverse image of the women of early Islam to the world. The Review of Religions has commissioned a special series on the wives and female Companions of the Holy Prophetsa to present the true life stories of the noble women of early Islam. Our purpose is not to individually respond to such historians, but only to present the actual history and to let our readers make up their own minds.

This article details the life of A’ishahra.


Justice with Wives

Muhammadsa loved ‘A’ishahra due to her piety, righteousness, intelligence, oratory and humanity but he also strove to discharge the rights of all his wives in as equitable a fashion as humanly possible. When setting out to fight battles, he would draw names to decide which of his wives would accompany him and would take along whoever’s name was then drawn.1

In the Holy Qur’an, Muhammadsa was told:

“Thou mayest defer the marriage of any of them that thou pleasest, and receive unto thyself whom thou pleasest; and if thou desirest to take back any of those whom thou hast put aside, there is no blame on thee. That is more likely that their eyes may be cooled, and that they may not grieve, and that they may all be pleased with that which thou hast given them. And Allah knows what is in your hearts; and Allah is All-Knowing, Forbearing.”2

According to this verse, Muhammadsa had the option of postponing any one of his wives’ turns and allow whoever he wished a place with him; however, he never once exercised this right. ‘A’ishahra used to state: “If I had this option, I would have only used it in his favour.”3

The fact is that the Holy Prophetsa had been elevated to such a state of righteousness that despite the fact that he tried to treat them all equally, if he ever felt more inclined towards any of his wives over the others, he would fear lest God become angry with him. He would pray, “O Allah! You know and see that as far as humanly possible, I try to treat them in an equitable manner and that I have absolved myself from using my right. My God! I have no control over my heart. If my heart inclines towards any qualities or worthy distinctions, please forgive me.”4

An Understanding Wife   

In the company of ‘A’ishahra, Muhammadsa felt a sense of peace and calmness.

Near the end of his life, when he was in distress because of his illness Muhammadsa, would continually ask, “When is ‘A’ishah’s turn?” Sensing his discomfort, his wives permitted him to receive treatment at ‘A’ishah’sra house.5

‘A’ishahra states that after mutual consultation, the rest of the wives felt that because the Holy Prophetsa was ill, for the sake of treatment, he needed peace and calm. So they said to him, “O Messenger of Allah! We now wish that you receive treatment only at the house of ‘A’ishah.” Therefore, during his last days, ‘A’ishahra continuously cared for the Holy Prophetsa. She used to recount, and aptly so, that she took great pride in the fact that the Holy Prophetsa passed away in her house and within her bedroom in a condition where his blessed head lay upon her lap.

Once, while the Holy Prophetsa lay in her house, ‘A’ishahra’s brother, ‘Abdul Rahman paid a visit. He had a miswaak6 in his hand. Due to his illness, the Holy Prophetsa had not been able to brush his teeth (using the miswaak) as regularly as usual. ‘A’ishahra realised that he wanted to use the miswaak and took it from ‘Abdul Rahmanra and softened it by biting into it. She then gave it to the Holy Prophetsa and he then used it.

‘A’ishahra used to say: “The Holy Prophetsa passed away while he was resting his head upon my bosom. The following words were flowing from his tongue: ‘I am now going to my Exalted Friend, The Great and to my Best friend.’ As he uttered this, he departed from this world.”

Station of Knowledge

Muhammad’ssa major objective in marrying ‘A’ishahra was so that she could acquire knowledge from the beneficence of his companionship and training, thereby enabling her in the future to become a teacher for all Muslims. This purpose was perfectly fulfilled. The Prophetsa noted that half of the faith could be learnt through ‘A’ishahra.

Imam Zuhri narrates that on one occasion, the Holy Prophetsa stated that if the knowledge of all the women in the Islamic faith were to be gathered together, ‘A’ishah’sra knowledge would exceed them all.

‘Urwahra was ‘A’ishah’sra nephew and like a son to her. Somebody once said to him, “You have memorised many verses which you read eloquently.” He responded, “My value is worthless as compared to my aunt, ‘A’ishahra, who recites verses with the perfection and eloquence of the Arab poets in any incident or circumstance.”

On another occasion, ‘Urwahra said to ‘A’ishahra, “O Mother of the Faithful! Your knowledge of Fiqh7 does not surprise me, since you are the noble wife of the Holy Prophetsa and you have learnt the issues throughout your life. Nor does your appreciation of poetry, literature, your interest in Arabic and understanding of the history against which battles were fought, surprise me, for you are indeed the daughter of Abu Bakrra, who was very learned. But where did you learn the science of medicine?”

‘A’ishahra replied, “O my nephew! During the latter part of the Holy Prophet’ssa life, as he became ill, delegations would come very frequently from different areas. They would suggest various remedies for the Holy Prophetsa andI used to prepare those remedies with my own hands. It was during this period that I developed an interest and skill in medicine.”

Abu Musa Al-Ash‘arira used to say that whenever the companions of the Prophetsa would be confronted with a difficulty concerning any matter, they would consult with ‘A’ishahra. This illustrates how great her memory was. Amir Mu‘awiyah, who was a prolific speaker himself, said, “I have never heard any speaker more eloquent than ‘A’ishahra nor anyone more intelligent.”

As mentioned above, ‘Urwahra noted that he had never seen anyone whose knowledge of the Qur’an, Islamic jurisprudence, poetry and literature, expertise on medicine, the history of the Arabs, and the science of genealogy, had surpassed that of ‘A’ishahra, who possessed full competence over all these sciences.


Similarities with the Knowledge of ‘Alira

The extraordinary knowledge which had been bestowed to ‘A’ishahra  by God was a result of her being in Muhammad’ssa company from a young age. In this respect, she also shared a similarity with ‘Alira, since he too acquired a vast amount of knowledge, thus exemplifying the words of the Muhammadsa, “I am the city of knowledge and ‘Ali is its door.”

It is a matter of surprise that some writers only refer to certain disputes between ‘Alira and ‘A’ishahra that late arose, but do not pay attention to the similarities in their knowledge and their dispositions.

Indeed, their scholastic views can guide us on important and difficult issues pertaining to knowledge. For instance, one important issue is the question of what the real meaning of Khatm-e-Nubuwat is. Both of these revered personalities expanded on its meaning. ‘Alira instructed the teacher of his children, “Do not allow my children to read the word Khatam as Khatim in the expression ‘Khatamunabiyeen.’” This was because the word Khatam (which appears in chapter 33, Al Ahzab, verse 41 of the Holy Quran) means a signet-ring; a seal or stamp and mark. Khatim means one who terminates and ends something.8 Similarly,  ‘A’ishahra also drew the attention of the Muslim community towards this important subject by saying, ‘‘Say, by all means that he is Khatamun Nabiyyeen – The Seal of the Prophets – but do not say that there will be no prophet after him.”9

Another example of their similar stance on matters is as follows:  It was ‘Ali’sra opinion that the verse, “O Prophet! Say to thy wives, ‘If you desire the life of this world and its adornment, come then, I will provide for you and send you away in a handsome manner,’”10  did not refer to divorce; rather, to a preference to choose the world or the hereafter. This was also the view held by ‘A’ishahra 11.

In addition, both Alira and ‘A’ishahra agree that the Holy Prophetsa worshipped at night, in that he used to offer voluntary prayers throughout the night at different times.12

Both ‘A’ishahra and Alira also state that whenever Muhammadsa would visit a sick person he would recite the prayer: “O Lord of the men! Ward off the illness. Bestow cure for the ailment! For thou art the only granter of cure. There is no cure save thine. Grant such a cure as leaves no illness!”13

‘A’ishahra and ‘Alira also had a mutual bond of respect [for each other].  Miqdaad bin Shareehra narrates from his father:  “I asked ‘A’ishahra, ‘Could you tell me a person who I could ask about the issue of ‘Masaa alaal Khaffain?’ [wiping the hands over the shoes or leather socks]. She replied, ‘Go to ‘Ali, he had such a close relationship with the Holy Prophetsa and most of his time was spent in the company of the Holy Prophetsa.’ I went to Ali and asked him. He responded, ‘The Messenger of Allahsa instructed us to perform the Masaa over stockings (or shoes) on journeys.’”14

Generosity and Spending in the Way of Allah

Aside from being an excellent scholar, ‘A’ishahra was extremely God-fearing and had perfect trust in God and spent in His way graciously and was also a rather generous woman. One,  Abdullah bin Zubairra sent her two sacks of Ashrafees [coins] containing one hundred and eighty thousand dirhams. That day, ‘A’ishahra was fasting, and she sat down and did not get up again until every single dirham had been distributed. At Iftari [opening of the fast] time, her servant said, “O Mother of the Faithful! If you had at least kept a Dirham for yourself, you could have bought some meat and then opened your fast.” ‘A’ishahra replied, “If you had reminded me, we could have kept one.” In other words, she did not care even for her own needs and spent everything in the way of God.15

On one occasion Amir Mu’awiyyah sent a necklace to ‘A’ishahra that was worth a hundred thousand dirham. Although she accepted it, she distributed it (its value) equally among all the wives. This highlights not only how just and selfless she was, but also shows her care for all the other wives of the Prophetsa. She had respect for them all.16

‘A’ishahra would not save anything for the future. When something came, she would give it all to charity. This is a lesson she had learnt from the Holy Prophetsa, who even during his last period of illness in ‘A’ishah’sra house, stated, “O ‘A’ishahra! Where are those dirhams which I had left with you?”  He instructed for the money to be brought to him and he gave this last amount to charity as well.17

‘A’ishahra states: “At the time of the demise of the Holy Prophetsa there was nothing to eat in the house other than one sack of barley. Eventually God the Exalted put so many blessings in the sack that they would seem to never end. One day, the thought occurred to me, let’s at least check to see how much barley remains. When I took it out and measured it, it finished in only a few days.”18 It seems that God the Exalted conferred a blessing therein.

Prayer and Interest In Worship

The Holy Prophetsa would continue to find particular opportunities to train his wives. In one such incident, with reference to nurturing in their hearts the love of God and cultivating an interest of remembering God and worship, ‘A’ishahra states that once the Holy Prophetsa said, “O ‘A’ishah! I know of an attribute of God the Exalted; if a prayer is made with the pronouncement of this, Allah the Exalted will certainly accept it.”  ‘A’ishahra responded with great immediacy and interest, “O Messenger of Allahsa! Please, you should certainly inform me of that attribute.” The Holy Prophetsa answered, “O ‘A’ishah! I deem it not apt to inform you of this attribute lest you use it to ask for a worldly thing.”  ‘A’ishahra, as if she took offense, sat in a corner. When the Holy Prophetsa did not pay attention to her for some time, she arose and kissed the forehead of the Holy Prophetsa.It was as if she were trying to beg him, and she said “O Messenger of Allah! Look, please tell me that attribute.” The Holy Prophetsa said, “O Aishah!  I have already told you that I do not think it proper that you seek or implore a worldly thing by means of this attribute. Thus, I do not wish to disclose this to you.”  ‘A’ishahra, once again, became agitated and sat aside in one corner and said, “If you are not willing to tell me, then fine.” She then performed ablution and laid out the prayer mat. In her prayer, she prayed, “O Allah! For the sake of all your attributes; those attributes which I know and also those which I know not, please deal with your servant compassionately.”

During this prayer, the Holy Prophetsa was sitting to one side, listening to ‘A’ishahra, and was very pleased. And he stated that ‘O ‘A’ishah! That attribute is one from among them, which you have just included and recounted.”19

Spiritual Rank

The spiritual rank of ‘A’ishahra is evident from the coming and going of angels in her house. Once, ‘A’ishahra saw the angel Gabrielas and the angel Gabrielas conveyed his ‘Salam’ [peace] unto ‘A’ishahra.20

‘A’ishahra states:

“Once I saw the Holy Prophetsa mounted upon a horse. There was also a man mounted on a horse with him. He had placed his hand upon the mane of the horse and his countenance resembled Dahya Al-Kalbira, who was a very handsome companion of the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa was talking to him. I mentioned to the Holy Prophetsa that I saw him speaking to Dahya Al-Kalbira.”

He replied, “O ‘A’ishah! That was Gabrielas and he was saying “Salam” to you.”  Aishahra said, “O Messenger of Allah! May Allah the Exalted reward him. Please convey my “Salam” to him as well.’”21

‘A’ishahra relates another incident: “The Holy Prophetsa was offering his prayers. I noticed a man standing outside wearing white clothes. I mentioned it to the Holy Prophetsa and he went outside and said that he was Gabrielas.” For some reason, he did not enter the house, but he conveyed “Salam” to ‘A’ishahra through the Holy Prophetsa. This was that blessed household of the Holy Prophetsa, where owing to the presence of the Holy Prophetsa angels descended and there were meetings with angels who would convey their message of Salam (salutation of peace) to ‘A’ishahra. 22

Humility and Meekness 

Despite this great status and rank, ‘A’ishah’sra state of humility and meekness was quite incredible, and was a lesson she had learnt from the Holy Prophetsa.

During her latter days when she was in poor health, ‘A’bdullah bin ‘Abbasra wanted to visit and enquire about her health. ‘A’ishahra was hesitant to grant him permission because he used to come and praise her and this was something she could not tolerate as it was contrary to her disposition; however, ‘A’ishahra sent for him.

Upon his arrival, Abdullah bin Abbasra said, by way of consolation and encouragement, “It is now only a matter of the soul departing from the body to meet the Messengersa of Allah and other beloveds. You were the most beloved wife of the Prophetsa. What doubt is there concerning the choice of the Holy Prophetsa that it was of a really elevated status; what worries could you possibly have?” She asked, “Is there anything else you would like to say?”  Abdullah bin Abbasra said, “How many blessings were granted to us through you! The instruction to perform Tayammum was given to us when you lost your necklace.”

Moreover, Allah the Exalted mentioned her in the Qur’an and with reference to clearing her from the charges he revealed various verses in Surah Al-Nur (Chapter 24 of the Holy Qur’an). Upon hearing all these things, ‘A’ishahra said with the utmost meekness and humility, “O Abdullah bin Abbas! Leave these things alone, will you? Do not talk about my innocence and piety. By God! I would like that I become a thing forgotten and that there is no trace of me and that I just disappear.”23

The Morals of the Messenger                     

‘A’ishahra studied the morals and the life of the Holy Prophetsa and stated that his morals were the Qur’an. In great detail, ‘A’ishahra conveyed a treasure in terms of relating the practices of the Holy Prophetsa and his example by narrating 2200 Hadith.24

‘A’ishahra would frequently mention that she was most impressed by the passion that the Holy Prophetsa had for the worship of God. She repeatedly said that the Holy Prophetsa lived like an ordinary person in his home. He would help in the household chores; however, when it was the call to prayer, the Holy Prophetsa would be pulled towards prayer in such a way that upon hearing the word prayer, he would jump, stand up and leave all the household chores.25

‘A’ishahra has also mentioned his worship at night, saying, “Whether it was the month of Ramadan or not; how lengthy his prayers and worship would be!” She mentions that:

“The prayer would be extremely beautiful and lovely. Many a time, I would ask, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Your feet are swollen. Why do you go through such effort and burden?’ He responded, ‘O ‘A’ishah! Should I not be thankful to that God who bestowed so many favours unto me!’ 26 This was a mention of the discharge of the rights of Allah the Exalted.”  On the other hand, he would also take care of the household in the same way.

As has been mentioned, when ‘A’ishahra was asked about the morals of the Holy Prophetsa, she responded by saying, “His morals were the Quran.” That is to say, all the commands or morals laid down in the Qur’an were present in the Holy Prophetsa to a degree of perfection. In other words, he was a practical illustration of the teachings of the Qur’an. When she was asked how the Holy Prophetsa used to engage himself while he was in the house, ‘A’ishahra states that his lifestyle was like the common man who displayed no arrogance nor was there any greatness. While he was living in the house, he would do his personal work himself. He would patch the clothes himself. He would milk the goats himself, and laid out the fodder. He would repair shoes, fill the buckets of the house and patch the clothes. Upon returning home at night from religious duties or gatherings, he would not wake his family up and create discomfort for them. Rather, he had some milk to drink or ate some food or drink and went to sleep. He was very mindful of the training of the people in his house.27

‘A’ishahra states that upon waking up for prayer, he would pray for a long time, and then,  when there was a little time remaining until sunrise, “he would awaken us as well so that we could also offer some voluntary prayers, etc.” 28

Polygamous Marriages

Among the wives of the Holy Prophetsa, Khadijahra has the honour that during her lifetime, the Holy Prophetsa did not marry anyone else. After her, he was married to Saudahra and then ‘A’ishahra. ‘A’ishahra was the only virgin wife of the Holy Prophetsa. His other wives were widows or divorcees. With his marriage to ‘A’ishahra, polygamous marriages were allowed.

In Islam, marriage to more than one wife is not a commandment; rather, it is an exception, the permission of which was given in certain circumstances for attaining the objectives of the Nikah and for the appropriate fulfilment of the needs of procreation. Islam has made it a necessary condition of marrying more than one wife that a man be able to do justice to all of them. Otherwise, one wife should suffice for him. Furthermore, this convenience was granted in Islam at a time when Arabs would marry as many wives as they wished. During this period, every person could keep an unlimited number of wives. Based on these circumstances, then, Islam limited this to four wives, with the condition that justice be maintained and a man keep his obligations to each of his wives.

As far as the number of women the Holy Prophetsa married, it must be remembered that as a religious head and leader, his marriages also served specific objectives such as bringing to an end some of the ignorant traditions practiced by the Arabs. One example is his marriage to   Zainab bint Jahshra, which ended the custom of Mutabanna.29

The second major objective of the marriages of the Holy Prophetsa was the education and training of Muslim women. Through him the foundation of a new law, civilization and way of life was about to be laid; thus, the Holy Qur’an declared him an exception to the limit of the number of wives allowed to Muslims.30

Had the marriages of the Holy Prophetsa taken place for carnal pleasures the Holy Prophetsa would not have married older women, widows and divorcees. And in fact, when the Holy Prophetsa married Saudahra, his first wife after Khadijahra, she was past her child-bearing years.

The following incident should make even those who object to the Prophet’ssa marriages, question whether his marriage to ‘A’ishahra was one for the purposes of fulfilling carnal pleasures rather than just the pleasures of the soul.

Abdullah bin Umarra narrates that once he asked ‘A’ishahra to share something admirable and beautiful concerning the Holy Prophetsa.  ‘A’ishahra said that “Each action of his was admirable. One night, it was my turn to be with him; he came and entered my bed with me. His body started touching my body. Then, he said, ‘O ‘A’ishah! Will you permit me to spend this night in worshiping my Lord?’ I said, ‘Your wish is dear to me.’”   ‘A’ishahra says, “‘Then he stood up, performed ablution from the water-sack, stood in prayer and started reciting the Qur’an. Then he began to cry to the extent that the edges of the garment became wet with water. Then he leaned on his right side and waited a little and started crying so much that the floor was drenched with his tears. In the morning, Bilalra came to make the call for prayer. He saw him crying and asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Do you cry as well? Even though Allah has forgiven you?” He replied, ‘Should I not be a thankful servant of Allah?’ He then said, ‘Why should I not cry while this night the following verses have been revealed to me:

“In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding…”’31 He read these verses from the last section of Aal-e-Imran and said that ‘Curse be onto the person who recited these verses and did not ponder over them.’” 32

These are the facts, which are accepted by even those most hostile to the Holy Prophetsa.

Karen Armstrong writes, in response to objections of polygamous marriages:

“But, seen in context, polygamy was not designed to improve the sex life of the boys. It was a piece of social legislation. The problem of orphans had exercised Muhammad since the beginning of his career and it had been exacerbated by the deaths at Uhud. The men who had died had left not only widows but daughters, sisters and other relatives who needed a new protector. Their new guardians might not be scrupulous about administering the property of these orphans: some might even keep these women unmarried so that they could hold on to their property. It was not unusual for a man to marry his women wards as a way of absorbing their property into his own state.”33

Laura Veccia Vaglieri writes:

“Enemies of Islam have insisted in depicting Muhammad as a sensual individual and a dissolute man, trying to find in his marriages evidence of a weak character not consistent with his mission. They refuse to take into consideration the fact that during those years of his life when by nature the sexual urge is strongest, although he lived in a society like that of the Arabs, where the institution of marriage was almost non-existent, where polygamy was the rule, and where divorce was very easy indeed, he was married to one woman alone Khadija who was much older than himself, and that for twenty-five years he was her faithful, loving husband. Only when she died and he was already fifty years old did he marry again and more than once. Each of these marriages had a social or political reason, for he wanted through the women he married to honour pious women, or to establish marriage relations with other clans and tribes for the purpose of opening the way for propagation of Islam. With the sole exception of Ayesha, he married women, who were neither virgins, nor young nor beautiful. Was this sensuality?”34

Mirza Bashir Ahmadra writes in his epic biography The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets:

“It should be understood that in their prejudice, opponents have raised allegations against many principles of Islam, but have never contemplated their reality with a cool heart, nor have they examined them in light of experience or observation. Among them, polygamy is also one issue, which is generally considered to be against nature. In this regard, first and foremost, it should be understood that ‘nature’ is no doubt a light, which Allah the Exalted has instilled into every human being for the purpose of guidance. However, at times, this light, suppressed by conflicting elements, is weakened or exhausted, and in the following case, its verdict cannot be accepted, until it is purified of prejudice. Thus, regarding the concept of divorce, the Christian nature was weakened by the suppression of conflicting elements. Consequently, to this day, the precedent verdict has been that with the exception of a wife committing adultery, it is unlawful to seek divorce. Therefore, Christians made alterations to their laws accordingly. However, now, after being jostled by observation and experience, their sleeping nature has awakened to some extent. They are beginning to realise that, not only adultery, rather, other circumstances in this world can also make it difficult for a husband and wife to live together in domestic harmony. Therefore, in accordance with Islamic teachings, Christian countries are now beginning to pass laws regarding divorce.

The fact of the matter is that there are many things which seem beneficial to the ear and the heart experiences an inclination towards them, but in actuality they are deception, because the secrets of their reality are revealed in the practical world. Among them is the issue of divorce, which has been mentioned above, and among them is the issue of polygamy, about which this brief note is being written. As a mere assertion, it seems like a very good teaching that in all events, an individual keeps only one wife, and should not have the permission to keep more than one wife in any circumstance. However, if we contemplate further, and look towards the various requirements of mankind, it must be accepted that, in certain cases, man is confronted with such circumstances as not only himself, but the prosperity and benefit of society demand that he marry more than one wife. For example:

There is a man who has one wife, but due to a physical defect, she is unable to bear children. She does have children, but due to an ailment of the mother, the children die time and time again. There is a man whose wife has fallen victim to a disease, due to which she is deserving of her husband’s special sympathy and attention, but is no longer capable of rightful spousal intercourse. A man, on account of his unique circumstances, cannot maintain his level of righteousness and morality with one wife alone. With a man’s second marriage, there is a domestic or national benefit attached. In a particular era, if the circumstances of a country or people demand that men generally marry more than once, for the progression of progeny or for the protection of national morality. If there are any other reasonable grounds behind a second marriage, which common sense declares permissible. In such circumstances, the conscience of any man in his rightful mind, provided that it has not been suppressed by prejudice and died, will not only accept polygamy as lawful, but will deem it necessary. Moreover, in such circumstances, it shall be expected of both men and women that they prepare themselves to sacrifice their passions for the acquisition of higher purposes.

Islam is a practical religion and fulfils the lawful requirements of mankind. Furthermore, gratitude is due here for the fact that after centuries of stumbling, the Christian world is slowly but surely progressing towards Islamic teachings. That day is not far when the entire world shall realise that the pure and complete teaching, which remained the target of allegations for centuries on account of religious prejudice and politics, is the only one which is capable of establishing the true foundation of peace by satisfying all of the lawful requirements of mankind.

Alas! Opponents have falsely concluded, without due consideration and contemplation, that the Islamic issue of polygamy is God forbid a pathway to pleasure and lust, opened by Islam for its followers. If the conditions with which Islam has permitted polygamy are closely analysed, it becomes evidently apparent that for a true Muslim, a second marriage cannot be a means of pleasure and lust. Rather, in actuality, this is a sacrifice which must be made under special circumstances and requirements. If a Muslim breaks these conditions and marries more than once for the fulfillment of his pleasure and lust, this is his individual action, and cannot be considered Islamic conduct. He commits a deed, just as the liberal people of other religions do, who do not permit polygamy in any case, but incur dishonour upon themselves here and there through illicit intercourse, while their wives remain at home. In addition to this, it must not be forgotten that Islam has not commanded polygamy, in other words, it has not been declared obligatory that every Muslim must marry more than once. Instead, this is an exception, which has been made lawful in special circumstances. However, practically, a better part of the Muslims today limit themselves to one marriage alone.”


‘A’ishahra passed away on the 17th day of the month of Ramadan, 58 years after the migration, around half a century after the Holy Prophetsa. Abu Hurairahra was the Ameer of Madinah at the time, on the authority of Marwan. She was buried in Janatul Baqee according to her will. In fact, she had reserved a place for herself in her room where the Holy Prophetsa and Abu Bakrra were buried. When Umarra was attacked, he sent her the message, “O mother of the faithful! How wonderful it would be if I were granted permission to be buried alongside my friends.”  ‘A’ishahra replied, “I had reserved this place for me but I give preference to you over myself.” Prior to her death, her will was that she did not desire for any preference over the rest of the wives. Thus her will was to be buried among the rest of the noble wives of the Prophetsa in Janatul Baqee.


1. Bukhari Kitaabul Jihaad baab Hamlul Rajul Imratuhu fil ghazwa

2.  The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab, Ch.33:V.52

3.  Bukhari Kitaabut-Tafsir Surah Al-Ahzaab

4.  Abu Daud, Kitaabunikaah filqismi bainanisaa

5.  Bukhari Kitaabul Manaaqib Baabu Fadhle ‘A’ishah

6.  Teeth cleaning twig made from a twig of the Salvadora persica tree

7.  The study of Islamic jurisprudence

8.  Tafsir Durr-e-Manthur by Imam Suyuti on the verse Khatamunabiyeen. V. 6 p.618

9.  Compiler Ibn Abi Shaiba V5 p.336; and Al-Durrul Manthur V6 p.618

10.  The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al Ahzab, Ch.33:V.29

11.  Musnad Ahmad, V.1, p.78; V6, p.185

12.  Musnad Ahmad, V.1, p.147; V6, p.185

13.  Musnad Ahmad, V.6, p.44; V1, p.76

14.  Musnad Ahmad, V.1 p.118

15.  Tabaqatul V8, p.67

16.  Mustadrak Hakim V.4, p.15

17.  Majmaul-Zawaid V.3, p.308

18.  Bukhari Kitaabul Khumus Baab Nafqatul Nisaa

19.  Ibn Majah Kitaabul Duaa Baabu ismillah ila izm

20.  Bukhari Kitabu Badul Khalqi Babu Dhikrul Malaikah

21.  Bukhari Kitabu Badul Khalqi Babu Dhikrul Malaikah

22.  Muslim Kitabul Libaas Baau La tadkhulul Malaikah

23.  Tabaqaatul Kubra V.8, p.174

24.  Azwaajunabi p.125

25.  Bukhari Kitaabul Adabi baab kaifa yakunu alrajulu fi ahlihi

26.  Bukhari Kitabul Tahajjud Baabu Qiyaamunabi

27.  Muslim Kitabul Ashribati Baabu Namaaz Baby Ikraamuzaif; Musnad Ahmad, V.5, p.116; V.6 p.256

28.  Bukhari Kitabul Ilm Babul Ilm wal azyatu billayli

29.  During the time of the Holy Prophetsa, it was a widespread belief among the pagan Arabs and many other sections of society that a Mutabanna i.e. an adopted son was equal to that of a real/physical son, not only with respects to his rights to becoming heir to properties but also his biological relationship (Mahrem) with other members of the family. The fact of the matter is that Zainabra was first married to Zaid bin Haarithara. Eventually they divorced owing to their incompatible circumstances. The Holy Prophetsa then decided to marry Zainab bint Jahshra for the purpose of ending this question of whether or not one is permitted to marry the the wife of the adopted son. The Qur’anic verse to this effect is: Surah Al-Ahzab:V.5 [This topic will be taken up in greater detail in the author’s forthcoming article in the series regarding Zainab bint Jahsh—Ed]

30.  Holy Qur’an, Surah Ahzab, Verse 51

31.  Holy Quran, Surah Al Imran, Verse 191

32.  Tafseer Durrul Manthur V2 pp.195

33. Karen Armstrong; Muhammad A Biography of Prophet, (London:Phoenix Press, 2001) 180.

34.  Laura Veccia Vaglieri, An Interpretation of Islam, Volume III (New Delhi: Goodword Books, 2004), 24, 28, 67, 68.