Why did the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) have so many Wives?
Written by Sami Zaatari
A common critique that is brought forth against the
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is that he married several women, and a true prophet and man of morals would do no such thing. So why did the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) have several wives? When we examine the women he married, we can divide them into 3 categories, and then we shall be able to properly understand the issue.
The First Category: In the first category of wives in which he married, we find that some of his wives were widows, they were women who had children, and their husbands had been killed so they were now left alone. So the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would marry these widows, and take them into his care, he would look after them, and their children as his own family now. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a leader, so he took it as a duty upon himself to help as many people as possible, now he was 1 man off course, so he couldn’t marry every widow!
The Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) marriages to these widows also served as an example to the Muslims as well. Widows with children are often viewed as high maintenance, and men often don’t look to widows and their children because it has too much responsibility. So the Prophet was using his marriages to the widows as an example to the Muslims that they too should marry widows, and should not shun them for fear of too much responsibility etc. Throughout Islam we find several teachings from the Prophet in which he advocates and encourages the community to look after the widows, so his marriages to widows was him further advocating that lesson to his people, and he was doing it by example.
So this was the wisdom in his marriages to the widows, it was to serve as an example to the other Muslims, and it also showed his great mercy and kindness! He should be praised for his marriages to the widows rather than attacked for it!
The Second Category: In the second category of wives, we see that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would often marry women of tribes and people with whom he was in conflict with. Now if anyone studies the history of the time, marrying a women of a certain tribe/people would tie you would them, it would create bonds between the two, especially if you were a man of high ranking, and the Prophet was certainly a man of high ranking, he was the leader of community etc.
So the Prophet would marry women of certain tribes who were at war with the Muslims, and by marrying these certain women, he ensured the peace and prosperity with the warring factions. So essentially these marriages were a way of bringing peace, and ending hostility, so therefore there is nothing wrong with this, and rather than condemning this we should praise these acts.
The Third Category: In the third category of wives, we see that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married the daughters of his closest companions, namely Abu Bakr, and Umar. These men were his close companions, they were his right hand men, and they would even eventually become the leaders after the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) death, with Abu Bark being the 1st caliph, and Umar the 2nd.
By marrying the daughters of his close companions, he cemented and strengthened the bond and relationship, these men became part of his family, and after all, what is the best way of strengthening your companionship with your closest friends and right hand men?
Conclusion: So in conclusion all of the marriages of the Prophet had a wisdom and context behind them, and when we analyze the wisdom and reason behind these marriages, then we see that there was nothing wrong with the marriages and that they were perfectly reasonable.
And Allah Knows Best!