The wives of the Prophet (saw) at a glance
The wives of the Prophet (saw) are called ‘Ummuhatul Mu’minin’ or ‘mothers of believers’. But sadly, the truth is that most Muslims don’t know about these virtuous wives of the Prophet (saw). So the subject of this article is to give some idea about the virtuous wives of the Prophet (saw). They were his wives in this world and will be his wives in the Hereafter.
1) Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (R)
At the age of twenty-five, the Prophet (saw) married Khadijah, a noble widow of Makkah. At that time Khadija (R) was forty years old, that is, fifteen years older than the Prophet (saw). From twenty-five to fifty years, Khadija (R) was the only life partner of the Prophet (saw). Khadijah (R) was married twice before marrying the Prophet. The name of the first husband is Abdullah. In this family Khadija (R) had two sons. After the death of her first husband, she married another man named Atiq. He had an only daughter in this family. It is to be noted that in the womb of Khadija (R) all the children of the Prophet (saw) were born (four daughters and two sons) except one son. This majestic woman died at the age of sixty-five, shortly before the Prophet’s migration to Madinah (Hijrah).
2) Sawdah bint Jam’a (R)
A few months after the death of Khadija (R), Sawdah (R) returned from Taif after being tortured and married the Prophet (saw). She was the widow of Sakban (R). Sakban (R) migrated to Abyssinia and died there. After the death of her husband, Sawdah (R) became helpless and the Prophet (saw) married her.
3) Ayesha bint Abu Bakr (R)
The following year, he married Ayesha, the minor daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr. At that time, Ayesha was seven years old or nine years old. This marriage was made possible because Abu Bakr (R) expressed his desire to surrender Ayesha (R) to the Prophet (saw). As a minor, she stayed at her father’s house. In the second year after the migration, Ayesha (R) came to the house of the Prophet. And for the first time in the life of the Prophet (saw) two wives came together. At that time the Prophet (saw) was forty-four years old. Ayesha (R) was the only wife of the Prophet (saw) whom he married as a virgin and in whose house Gabriel used to bring revelation.
4) Hafsa bint Umar (R)
The following year the battle of Badr took place. In this battle, the son-in-law of Hazrat Umar (R) and the husband of Hafsa (R) Khunaij (R) were martyred. Hafsa (R) was a widow and stayed in her father’s shelter for a year. It is said that Hafsa (R) was a little stubborn like his father. Umar (R) requested Abu Bakr (R) and later Uthman (R) to marry Hafsa. When both of them disagreed with the marriage, the Prophet (saw) once proposed to marry with her. Then the marriage is consummated.
5) Zaynab bint Khuzaymah (R)
The following year, in the battle of Uhud, Abdullah bin Jahash, the husband of Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, was killed. Then the Prophet (saw) married her. Zaynab (R) was very generous. That is why she was called ‘Ummul Masakin’ or the mother of the poor. He died a few months after the death of the Prophet (saw).
6) Umme Salamah (R)
The following year, Umme Salamah’s husband, Abu Salamah, was martyred. After the death of Abu Salamah (R), Umme Salamah (R) married the Prophet (saw) along with her children and joined the Prophet’s court. The Prophet (saw) took good care of the children of Umme Salama (R).
7) Zaynab bint Jahash (Rh)
Then, by the command of Allah, the Prophet married Zaynab bint Jahash, the divorced wife of his adopted son Zayd. She was about the Prophet’s cousin. Zaynab’s (R) was not happy with Zayd (R). A few days after the marriage, Zayd (R) complained to the Prophet (saw) about Zaynab (R) and the Prophet said, “Do not forsake him, or you will be held accountable by Allah. So, be careful.” But even after that, Zayd (R) divorced Zaynab (R). Then Allah commanded His Messenger (saw) to marry the divorced wife of his foster son and break the Arab custom of foster children. Then the marriage of Zaynab (R) with the Prophet (saw) was consummated.
8) Zuairiyah bint Haris (Rh)
Then in the sixth Hijri, the Prophet (saw) married Zuairiyah (R). Zuairiyah (R) was the daughter of Haris, the chief of the Banu Mustaliq tribe, and the ex-wife of Musafir bin Safwan. During the suppression of the rebellion, Zuairiyah (R) was captured by the Muslim forces along with others. She came to the share of Thabit bin Kayes (R) as booty. He made a ransom agreement with Zuairiyah (R) and agreed to release her for a certain amount of money. Then Thabit (R) appealed to the Prophet (saw) and he paid the ransom. Zuairiyah (R) was impressed by the generosity of the Prophet (saw) and proposed marriage to the Prophet herself, and the Prophet accepted her. As a result of this marriage, all the captives of Banu Mustaliq were released without ransom due to their kinship with the Prophet and they entered into friendly relations with the Muslims.
The Prophet (saw) married with three women in the seventh year of the Hijra. These are Umme Habiba (R), Maymuna (R) and Safiya (R).
9) Umme Habiba bint Abu Sufyan (R)
Umme Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufyan, the chief of the Quraysh tribe, was the wife of Ubaydullah bin Jahash. Ubaydullah converted to Christianity after his migration to Abyssinia and abandoned Umme Habiba (R). In this situation, the Prophet (saw) married her. It is said that King Najjashi of Abyssinia paid his dowry and arranged for him to be sent to Madinah. Umme Habiba (R) used to say proudly, “My marriage has been mediated from the seven heavens, but not to you (i.e. the other wives of the Messenger).”
10) Safiya bint Huwai (R)
After the conquest of Khyber, the Prophet (saw) married Safiya (R), the daughter of the Jewish Huwai ibn Akhtar. He had been married twice before. First with Salama and then with Kinana. Safiya (R) was a very simple woman. Coming from a different tribe, the other wives of the Prophet (saw) often had some disagreements with her. Besides, as she is more beautiful than the other wives of the Prophet (saw), she also had some misunderstandings with other wives of Prophet due to human weakness. But the Prophet (saw) solved them very wisely.
11) Maymuna bint Haris (R)
Maymuna (R), daughter of Haris of Helal tribe, was a well-educated woman. She had been married twice before. Her first husband Masud bin Amr divorced her
and later married Abdur Rahman and became a widow. The famous Khalid bin Walid (R) was the son of the sister of Maymuna (R). After her marriage to the Prophet (saw), Khalid (R) also converted to Islam. It is said that after accepting Islam, the Prophet (saw) presented a white horse to Khalid (R). Maymuna (R) was the sister-in-law of Abbas (R), the younger uncle of the Prophet (saw).
These 11 are the virtuous wives of the Prophet (saw). In addition, the then Governor of Egypt, Muqawakis, sent a woman named Maria Kibtiya as a gift for the Prophet (saw) according to the custom of the time. Later, the Prophet (saw) married her and gave her the status of wife. In the womb of Maria Kibtiya was born Ibrahim (R), the son of the Prophet (saw), and he died in infancy.
After the revelation of verse 52 of Surah Ahzab, the Prophet (saw) did not marry again. The verse is,
“O Prophet, then no woman will be valid for you except those who are in your possession.”
In short, the Prophet (saw) spent the first 54 years of his life with a wife. Twenty-five years with Khadija (R) and four years with Sawdah (R) after her death. He married Ayesha (R), the only of these 11 wives, as a virgin. All the others were divorced or widowed.
The scholars have mentioned various wisdoms and reasons behind these 11 marriages of the Prophet (saw). Each of which is based on reasonable justice.