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the Prophet and the circumstances under which his marriages were contracted. But quite often they stand as a stumbling block for non-Muslims to understand the personality of the Prophet, and cause irresponsible and premature conclusions, which are not to the credit of Islam or the Prophet. Here we shall not give any conclusions of our own or denounce the conclusions of others. We shall present certain facts and let the readers see for themselves 1. The institution of marriage as such enjoys a very high status in Islam. It is highly commendable and essential for the sound survival of society 2. Muhammad never said that he was immortal or divine. Time and again, he emphasized the fact that he was mortal chosen by God to deliver God’ s message to mankind. Although unique and distinguished in his life, he lived like a man and died as a man. Marriage, therefore, was natural for him, and not a heresy or anathema 3. He lived in an extremely hot climate where the physical desires press hard on man, where people develop physical maturity at an early age, and where easy satisfaction was a common thing among people of all classes. Nevertheless, Muhammad had never touched women until he was twenty-five years of age, when he married for the first time. In the whole Arabia he was known by his unimpeachable character and called al-Ameen, a title which signified the highest standard of moral life 4. His first marriage at this unusually late stage in that area was to Lady Khadeejah, an old twice-widowed lady who was fifteen years senior to him. She herself initiated the contract, and he accepted the proposal in spite of her older age and in spite of her being twice- widowed. At the time he could have quite easily found many prettier girls and much younger wives, if he were passionate or after things physical 5. With this lady alone, he lived until he was over fifty years of age, and by her he had all his children with the exception of Ibraheem. She lived with him until she passed the age of sixty-five, and in her life he never had any other marriage or any other intimacy with anybody besides his only wife 6. Now he proclaimed the message of God, and was well over fifty and she over sixtyfive years of age. Persecutions and perils were continually inflicted on him and his followers. In the middle of these troubles, his wife died. After her death, he stayed without any wife for some time. Then there was Sawdah, who had emigrated with her husband to Abyssinia in the early years of persecutions. On the way back her husband died and she sought a shelter. The natural course for her was to turn to the Prophet himself for whose mission her husband had died. The Prophet extended his shelter and married her. She was not particularly young or pretty and pleasant. She was an ordinary widow with a quick and loose temper. Later in the same year, the Prophet proposed to a minor girl of seven years, Aishah, the daughter of his dear companion Abu Bakr. The marriage was not consummated till some time after the migration to Medina. The motives of these two marriages can be understood to be anything except passions and physical attractions. However, he lived with the two wives for five to six years, up to his fifty-sixth year of age, without taking any other wife 7. From his fifty-sixth year up to the sixtieth year of his life, the Prophet contracted nine marriages in quick succession. In the last three years of his life he contracted no marriages at all. Most of his marriages were contracted in a period of about five years, when he was passing the most difficult and trying stage in his mission. It was at that time that Muslims were engaged in decisive battles and entangled in an endless circle of trouble from within as well as from without. It was at that time that the Islamic legislation was in the making, and the foundations of an Islamic society were being laid down. The fact that Muhammad was the most dominant figure in these events and the center around which they revolved, and that most of his marriages took place during this particular period is an extremely interesting phenomenon. It invites the serious attention of historians, sociologists, legislators, psychologists, etc. It cannot be interpreted simply in terms of physical attractions and lustful passions 8. Muhammad lived a most simple, austere, and modest life. During the day he was the busiest man of his era as he was Head of State, Chief Justice, Commander-in-

Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II

Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II

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