Posted on February 11th, 2012

By A. Abdul Aziz.

 At the age of twenty-five Prophet Muhammad was employed by Khadijah, a noble lady of Mecca, as her agent  in a caravan that was about to set out for Syria on a mercantile mission. And Muhammad acquitted himself so well in the discharge of his duties that she was deeply impressed by his  honesty, integrity, business acumen and his pleasing and attractive personality.  Khadijah was a widow, after married twice, and had children from both marriages. Now she  sent the proposal of marriage to Muhammad through one of her maids. Muhammad (peace and  blessings of Allah be upon him) was surprised and took counsel with his uncle, who favored the  proposal and the match was arranged. At that time Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was twenty-five years of age and Khadijah was forty. That was the first marriage of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The marriage, despite the disparity in age and prosperity, proved to be a very happy one. This marriage lasted for 25 years. 

 The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was 50 years old when Hadrat Khadijah died at the age of 65 years. After the death of Hadrat Khadijah, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) married to an old lady named Sowda Binte Zamah. She was the widow of Sakran Bin Amar, who was one of the servants of the Holy Prophet (peace and  blessings of Allah be upon him).

Up to the age of 50 years the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had only one wife. After the death of Hadrat Khadijh, he married more wives. Polygamy was a ommon practice of the society. There was not any limit to the number of wives one could have.  Abraham had three wives, David and Solomon had number of wives. But the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), according to God’s command limited  polygamy to marry up to four wives. All his wives when he married were widows or divorced, except Hadrat “ƒ”¹…”Aisha, the daughter of his beloved companion,Abu Bakr Siddique, who became the first successor after the demise of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon  him). She was about nine years old when her parents requested to perform her Nikah, and that was according to the Arab customs. But she was married to the Holy Prophet (peace and  blessings of Allah be upon him) when she was 12 years of age and well matured. That was the time when people used to arrange marriages for their girls at a very young age. Because of the hot environment of that land the girls reach to the age of puberty in a very young age. And that is the natural  phenomenon of maturity of age, or the age of marriage by nature. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had a very successful and happy married life. It was a personal sacrifice on the part of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to have  contracted the marriage, and especially with the women older in age to him. The ladies who married the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did so of their own preference.  None of them was forced into marriage.   The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was extremely kind and fair towards his wives. He established an excellent  example in respect of dealing with wives of  different age groups having different temperaments and social status.

 Hadrat Khadija was his first wife, and she had made great sacrifices in his cause. She was much older than the Prophet. After her death he married younger women but he always remembered her. Whenever any of Hadrat Khadija’s friends visited him he would stand up to receive her.  If he chanced to see any article that had  belonged to or had been connected with  Hadrat Khadija, he was always overcome by emotion. He often praised Hadrat Khadija to his other  wives and stressed her virtues and admired the sacrifices that she had made in the cause of Islam.

 On one such occasion, Hadrat “ƒ”¹…”Aisha was irritated and said, “O Messenger of Allah, why go on talking of the old lady? God has bestowed better, younger and more attractive wives upon you.”  The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was overcome by emotion at hearing this and said: “O no, Aisha! You have no idea how good Khadija was to me.” The similar love and affection he had for the other wives.   He was very cooperative to his wives in his day-to-day life. He not only helped them in their household activities, but also he always tried to do his personal works with his own hands. In this regard Hadrat “ƒ”¹…”Aisha says: “ƒ”¹…”He would patch his garments and sole his sandals.’ She was once asked, “ƒ”¹…”How was he with his family?’ She responded, “ƒ”¹…”He was in the service of his family until it  was time for Prayer, at which time he would  go and pray.’ The Messenger of Allah never  denigrated any type of food, if he liked it he ate it, and if he disliked it he left it alone. (Bukhari  and Muslim)

 There is another similar statement of  Hadrat “ƒ”¹…”Aisha, the wife of Muhammad (peace and  blessings of Allah be upon him): 

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to patch his sandals, sew his garment and conduct himself at home as anyone of you does in his house. He was a human being, milking his sheep, and doing his own household tasks. (Tirmidhi). 

 Polygamy and the Prophet of Islam

 Long before the appearance of the prophet of Islam polygamy was being practiced by the Biblical prophets. As mentioned Abraham had three wives, David and Solomon had number of wives. That was a very common practice of the society to marry more than one wife, and there was not any limit for that. And polygamy was not only in Arabia rather it was being practiced in the entire world.  So according to the custom of the time prophet of Islam also practiced polygamy, and it was when he was over fifty years old. But later it was revealed to the prophet, as God’s command that the Muslims can practice polygamy, under certain restrictions as the Holy Quran says:

And if you fear that you will not be just in dealing with the orphans, then marry

of other women as may be agreeable to you, two, or three, or four; and if you fear  you will not be able to do justice, then marry only one or marry what your right hand  possess. Thus it is more likely that you will not do injustice. And give the women  their dowries willingly. But if they, of their own pleasure, remit to you a part thereof,  then enjoy it as something pleasant and wholesome.(Holy Quran, 4:4-5) 

 So Islam permitted polygamy, and the limit of wives was narrowed down to four, while there was not any such limit before. And that permission was under certain conditions, like to take care of the wives properly and to deal with them justly. Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) married more than one wife according to the Arab culture, but of course he had some other privileges also. 

  1.  The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was required to present to humanity an ideal and perfect model for all stages of human experience. As a husband he was kind, he lived with one wife and with more than one, with the old and the young, with the widow  and the divorced, with the pleasing and the moody, with the overconfident and the humble; but in  all cases he was the symbol of benevolence and comfort.
  2. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) observed the Quranic commands and regulations and solved difficult problems concerning Muslims, in social and political life. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged Muslims to convey the knowledge they had gained to other Muslims. To educate the female population he needed female helpers, and for that purpose the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be  upon him) required fully trained ladies. The ideal way to solve this problem was to personally train some ladies, and no one can be better in this field, than the wives.
  3. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) eliminated racial, ethnic, cultural, tribal and national distinctions and prejudices through these marriages, and encouraged  piousness as criterion of reliability and superiority. He married some of the humblest and poorest women, a Coptic girl from Egypt and a Jewess. That was the time when divorced women were looked down upon as inferior in status and were usually not allowed to remarry. By marrying a divorced lady the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught that such a marriage is not only lawful but also desirable to grant a divorced woman an honorable status in the society. 
  4. Islam spread rapidly as compared to any other religion, and because a number of commandments and regulations concerning women could be propagated only through wives, so the wives of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from different places and clans having diverse tastes, habits and temperaments, became helpful to educate the women folks properly.
  5. Some of the Holy Prophet’s marriages were in order to wipe out certain prevailing evil customs and practices. For example, there was a common practice that an adopted son was considered as a real son, and he was entitled to all civil liberties like a real son, while the other close relatives were ignored and their rights were neglected. So Islam drew the line between blood relations and the adopted children, and gave them proper rights what they deserved. Practically to make the difference between the real children and the adopted ones, Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) married Hadrat Zainab, the divorced wife of Hadrat Zaid, a freed slave and the adopted son of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon  him). This way he established correct status of an adopted child. Before that it was not allowed to marry the widow or the divorced wife of the adopted son. 
  6. Widows and the orphans were totally neglected in the Arab society, so the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) tried his best to elevate their status, to help solve the problem of providing care and protection to widows and their children in peace as well as in war when due to death of large number of male members, women were left without any support. He made his followers realize that they should take care of them with respect, dignity and honor. And one of the best possible ways to establish the relation with them was through marriages. So Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set up his own example for his followers by  marrying with widows. 
  7. In the time of the prophet of Islam the prisoners of war were taken as slaves. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set up an example by freeing them on ransom and on several occasions without charging any thing. They were also encouraged to settle down by working, educating people or through legal marriages. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings  of Allah be upon him) not only set the slaves free, but also married two of the captive women, to  set up a personal example for the believers.
  8.  Some of the marriages of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were to unite his followers with different clans and tribes in mutual love and affection, and that was the object in marrying Juwairiyah (may Allah be pleased with her), daughter of Harith, the Chief of Bani al-Mustaliq. Similar was the reason of marring Safiyah (may Allah be pleased with her) who belonged to a Jewish tribe. And by marrying Maria the Copt, (may Allah be pleased with her) the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) established close relations with an Egyptian ruler.


  1. S de Silva Says:

    Well Rohana – the answer to your query is implied in the text above as “12 years of age”. How about leaving matters at that! – (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)!! – S de Silva – London

  2. aravinda Says:

    No doubt Islam is a great religion. In human history, only two men conquered with war and peace. Prophet Mohammed and Emperor Asoka. Obviously, Prophet Mohammed gave great laws and way of life to 1.5 billion people. Man of great strength and wisdom. But I have two questions for Mr. Abul Aziz.

    1. The writer insists, “The ladies who married the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did so of their own preference. None of them was forced into marriage.” Are teenage kids old enough to marry fifty year olds? What would happen if this is done now? Were girls more mature thousand years ago than now? Same can be said about old Brahmans in India marrying teenagers.

    2. World roughly consist of 3.5 billion women and 3.5 billion men. If the rich marry four wives each, what will happen to poor men? Especially when, as in middle eastern customs, man has to pay dowry?

    I empathize with great challenges facing Muslims and Arabs in on-going European and American attacks to rob oil. But shouldn’t Islam change with time? To face these unending attacks on Arabs, (because they have worlds greatest treasure, OIL), the Arabs must modernize and do away with arcane laws.

    Please no FATWA for Aravinda F, S deSilva and Rohana.

  3. desh Says:

    I don’t give a damn on fatwas, but why are we so tolerant on this barbaric religion? Maybe that’s why my comment was not published. Will you publish it, Lankaweb?

  4. desh Says:

    First of all your Muhammad was not holy, but a sex-crazed maniac. He didn’t marry a noble lady in Makah, but a sex-starved Kadhijah took a bedfellow of her servant. There was no such thing as wife in those days, as the bedfellow (wife) was equal to camel. This Kadhijah surely was more interested in what he carried between his legs, rather than his honesty. He was never a honest man.
    Second, if you the mortal sinning man has to “give” peace and blessings of Allah be upon this Muhammad, he must be hanging around the Hell these days.
    Third, once Kadhijah died, this Muhammad “legalized” his night time extra work with Sowda Binte Zamah, who was a widow and a servant. Kadhijah must have taught him how to sleep with servants.
    Fourth, don’t talk bullshit, Muhammad “married” Aisha when she was 6 and had sex with this child when she was 9. Look around ans check how tall 9 year old girls are. Would allow your 9 year old girl to be raped by a 56 year old man? Would you?
    Fifth, you guys are given the “holy” sanction to marry 4 wives (or camels?) and throw them away at will. All you have to say Talat 3 times and the wife has no home. Then, you go on and “marry” another child. And this goes on and on. Your religion is a soft porn narrative, and how to hate women.
    Sixth, you sex-crazed “prophet” hated women, so he told that when he “visited” the Hell, he found mostly women, and why? Because women are inferior. Do you want me to show you the Surah number or the Hadith number.
    Seventh, Muhammad was not a holy man, but a messenger, a postman, a peon. Your god made a mistake again by choosing a illiterate man, thinking the bugger would do as he say, but failed again as the bugger started having a Hugh Hefner type sex life and told the guy, Jibril to go to hell and went on having sex 24/7.
    Eighth, the Jibril chap could not show his face as he couldn’t breath this world’s air, and this Muhammad knew that, so he took advantage of that situation. He knew neither Jibril nor his Allah cannot show their faces to the masses as they had to wear helmets, and there was those two to punish him for kicking them out and making his own religion. Have look around, how many Muslims are murdered just as you read this comment, Aziz?

  5. desh Says:

    Well Aziz, got any replies? Aren’t you going to defend that poor chap and his sex life?

  6. aravinda Says:

    Desh, you obviously not read the Koran. It is a very small book. Read it. It gives practical aspects of life.

    Secondly, you have never lived in Middle-East. In a normal Arab household, house hold staff is treated as members of the family. I had Arab friends whose families, once had slaves. ( Pre-1970). It is not the Western context of servant or slave. In middle east they were extended family. Islam is a great religion, but it is misinterpreted and abused. Definitely it needs modernization.

    And remember, prophet preached illiterate nomads, over thousand years ago. Main factor was the practical application of the religion.

  7. cassandra Says:

    It is heartening to hear from you that “In a normal Arab household, house hold staff is treated as members of the family.” On that basis, and judging from the way so many of the SL maids have been treated in the ME, it must seem there must be many ABNORMAL houselhods, there!

  8. Muhammad FS Says:

    Take a look at the number of house maid getting abused in the context of the total number of house maids. It is very small. Most of them work without any problem. Most of them are safer in Saudi Arabian houses than garment workers in Srilanka. Lets be practical here.


    Not true. He was an ordinary man of the then Arabic society. Look at Hinduism. There are huge penises in Kovils and people worship them! How primitive and uncivilised is that? Look at Hindu religious stories of animals and sexual activities that are simply distasteful. Male figures having plenty of wives is another recurrent theme in Hinduism. Why single out Islam to vent your anger?

    I’m a 21st century moderate Muslim and don’t support polygamy. Concentrate on the religious aspect of Islam than the medieval Arabic life style.

  9. desh Says:

    Oh really, Aravinda?
    Which Qur’an are you talking about? The one published in Saudi, or in Iran, or in Pakistan, or in India, or in the USA, Aravinda?

    Find the surah, which talks about the “what the right hand possesses, okay Aravinda?

    Muhammad FS, are we talking about Hindus or the sex-crazed Muhammad?
    Have you heard of how your prophet had the strength of 30 men, running from one mat to the other? Have you pal? Do you want me to say which surah or which hadith?

  10. desh Says:

    Muhammad FS,

    Ha, ha…Moderate Muslims, eh?
    Where can you find them?
    If you have 1,3 billion followers, you should have more than 350 million Muslim households, right Muhammad FS? So, how many animal’s neck is slit commemorating one cowardly Jewish guy called Abraham in one day? And that Abraham was NOT even a Muslim! More than 350 million animals, eh?

    Can you tell us why one single “merciful” god needs more than 350 million animal necks slit in just ONE day?

    He is merciful, right?

    Or was Muhammad, your prophet didn’t know addition and multiplication?

  11. desh Says:

    Muhammad FS and Aravinda(?)

    Now go outside and look at a 9 year old girl from any Arabic country.

    How tall is she?

    120-130 cm?

    So, how can a “tall” man–Muhammad was of a height a little above the average–have sex with such a child?

  12. cassandra Says:

    Muhammad FS
    I am being practical. It is not a matter of the percentage of house maids who are being abused; it is about the FACT that they are being abused. And on what sound basis do you say that the house maids working in the ME are safer that garment workers in Sri Lanka? The fact is – as borne out in case after case – that these house maids have been subjected to the most terrible sorts of cruelty. And while they are in the ME they have little scope to get any redress for their suffering. We can all look virtuous if we compare ourselves to others who are worse than we are (like you have tried to do with a comparison with workers in the garment industry) but that does not make us good.

  13. desh Says:

    Well Aziz, got any replies? Aren’t you going to defend that poor chap and his sex life?

  14. Muhammad FS Says:


    Unfortunately you have been a racist. It is a sad fact women and vulnerable men get abused daily everywhere in the world. In most cases they have no recourse to legal action or protection. There are millions of housemaids in Arabia. Only a very small percentage is abused. Others go back again and again. They are treated like part of the family. Have you heard the Russian woman’s incident on Xmas day? Did that happen in Arabia? Don’t find fault just because it is a Muslim country. Look at the big picture.

  15. Muhammad FS Says:


    You know what I’m talking about.

    Animals are not just killed for the sake of killing. They are consumed while sharing with the poor. How good is that? I have not seen such generosity from others.

    Please stop making hateful and hurtful comments about Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

  16. Nesta Says:

    Muhammad FS

    Good comments. True presentation by the author of the article. Allegations against Islamic Prophet untrue. Learn Islam with pious heart. Truth will definitely prevail. Really Prophet of Islam being a model for mankind – a mercy for all. Blind fellows will not see the light.I can never ready to accept any blame on this holy Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him.

  17. desh Says:

    If this sex-crazed Muhammad need ” blessings of Allha be upon him” by a biilion Mulsims, he must be in the right bottom of the HELL. Poor chap and his penis!

  18. Naram Says:

    My respected Islamists woulld agree that laws of marriage would and should change with realities of society.

    IN Sri Lankan society in Kandyan districts in tinmes of war polyandry was common as land had to be cultivated while sons are required for KIng´s service. In Hindu societies the womenfolk were kept down and burnt in the funeral pyre of the man as ruling class of Brahmins could not accept land owning rich class of widows.

    MUslims, We Sri Lankans believed along with e society should enact laws to design the family size so that each child wold be treasured, valued and provided with parental attention in the infant days and education by the state in the childhood and adolesence including university for the most able. Laws are abused by macho men who go to the extent of changing the religion to enjoy company of many women. Surely there should be consent of women in such events and also that of the state, who have a responsibility to ensure the health and well being of the whole society – not only Muslims-

  19. cassandra Says:

    Muhammad FS,

    I don’t know on what basis you say I have been a racist. So, now you have taken to name calling. I also don’t know what you mean by “a very small percentage” but when we are talking of human lives, it is no use trying to hide behind the truth by quoting percentages. It is not just simple physical abuse that has been visited on some of the SL maids. Many have returned to the island as corpses.

    And what about the barbaric system of justice in the Middle East, where women are stoned to death if caught in adultery and thieves have their hands cut off? Don’t try to tell us these are enlightened practices.

  20. desh Says:

    Muhammad FS, who the hell cares about this womaniser?!

  21. Muhammad FS Says:


    On the basis of your anti-Islamic statements. They are clearly racist.

    But most have returned with wealth. Am I correct? Otherwise why do you send your women to Middle East?

    Which is the most barbaric the Christian west or the Islamic Middle east? You know the answer. Many more people die in USA of violence than the very few number of sinners stoned in the middle east.

    Islamic countries don’t send their army to other countries to kill, burn, rape, abuse, torture, humiliate civilians. But the Christian west does it. So who are the barbarians Cassandra?

  22. cassandra Says:

    Muhammad FS,

    So, who is being the racist now? You ask, “why do you send your women to Middle East?” Note that you say “your women”. Clearly, our women – Sri Lankan women – are not YOUR women. I don’t know if you are a Sri Lankan but it is obvious that if you are, you only consider Muslim women as being YOUR women.

    Of course more people die of violence in the US than those who are stoned to death in the ME. But the deaths in the US are not due barbaric laws like those that obtain in the ME.

    Oh, so, “Islamic countries don’t send their army to other countries to kill, burn, rape, abuse, torture, humiliate civilians”. So, how then did you fellows make converts of those in Africa and in Malaysia and Indonesia? Come on, talk some sense for a change.


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