Wives of the Prophet – their number and a brief account of them
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that the Holy Prophet (S) married fifteen women and established relations with thirteen of them. He left nine widows and two ladies with whom the Holy Prophet (S) had not established relations. One was Umrah and another was Shanawa.
The remaining thirteen are as follows: Khadija binte Khuwailad, Sauda binte Zamaa, Umm Salma, who was named Hind, she was the daughter of Abi Umayyah, Ayesha binte Abu Bakr, whose agnomen was Umm Abdullah, Hafasa binte Umar bin Khattab, Zainab binte Khuzaimah al-Harith, who was referred to as Ummul Masakeen, Zainab binte Jahash, Ramla binte Abu Sufyan, whose agnomen was Umm Habib, Maimoona binte Harith, Zainab binte Umais, Juwairiya binte Harith, Safiya binte Huyy bin Akhtab, Salma binte Hakim who gifted her self to the Prophet; and there were two special slave girls who also had their turns as the wives had.
One was Mariya and another was Raihana Khadafiya. And the nine wives who survived the Prophet are as follows: Ayesha, Hafasa, Umm Salma, Zainab binte Jahash, Maimoona binte Harith, Umm Habib binte Abu Sufyan, Safiya binte Huyy bin Akhtab, Juwairiya binte Harith. Saudah binte Zamaa. The best of all was Khadija binte Khuwailid, after her was Umm Salma.
It is narrated from through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that he said: “May Allah have mercy on the sisters of the folks of Paradise and then he mentioned their names as follow: Asma binte Umais Khathimiya, who was initially married to Ja’far, Salma binte Umais, a sister of Asma who was initially married to Hamza. And five ladies from Bani Hilal tribe; one of them was Maimoona binte Harith, a wife of the Prophet, second Ummul Fazl, wife of Abbas, she was named Hind. Third was Amisa, mother of Khalid bin Walid, fourth was Gharra, wife of Hajaz bin Galaz. Fifth was Hamida who had no issue.
Kulaini has through authentic chains of narrators, narrated about the wives of the Prophet and their number that at the time of the passing away of the Prophet, he was having nine wives: Ayesha, Hafasa, Umm Habib binte Abu Sufyan, Zainab binte Jahash, Saudah binte Zamaa, Maimoona binte Harith, Safiya binte Huyy bin Akhtab, Juwairiya binte Harith. Ayesha was from Bani Tamim tribe, Hafasa was from Adi, Umm Salma from Bani Makhzum, Saudah from Bani Asad bin Abdul Uzza.
Zainab binte Jahash also was from Bani Asad but she was considered to be from Bani Umayyah. Umm Habib binte Abu Sufyan was from Bani Umayyah. Maimoona was from Bani Hilal and Safiya from Bani Israel. In addition the Prophet had married some other women. One of them had gifted her self to the Prophet. Another one was Khadija binte Khuwailid who was the mother of the children of the Prophet and the third was Zainab binte Jahash, whom people instigated and deprived from having relations with the Prophet. The fourth was a lady from Kinda tribe.
Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated that the first lady whom the Prophet married, was lady Khadija. At that time, the Messenger of Allah (S) was aged twenty-five. Before that she was the wife of Atiq bin Ayad Makhzumi and had a daughter from him. After Atiq, Abu Hala Asadi married her. From this husband Hind bin Abu Hala was born. Then the Holy Prophet (S) married her and took her son, Hind under his charge.
Sayyid Murtaza and Shaykh Tusi have narrated that when the Holy Prophet (S) married Lady Khadija, she was a virgin and she did not marry anyone before the Prophet, but the first report is more famous. And the Messenger of Allah (S) did not take another wife as long as she was alive. She spent twenty-four years and one month with the Holy Prophet (S). The amount of her dower was 12.5 Awqiya. Which was according to the value of that time 1500 dinars. Same was the amount of the dower of all the wives of the Prophet and the first son born of her was Abdullah, whose titles were Tayyib and Tahir. Qasim was born after him.
Later it is mentioned that Qasim was elder to Abdullah. And four daughters were also born from her: Zainab, Ruqaiyyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatima Zahra. The next wife of the Prophet was Sauda binte Zama-a; before marrying the Messenger of Allah (S) she was the wife of Sakran bin Umar. Sakran embraced Islam and died in Abyssinia. The third wife was Ayesha binte Abu Bakr. His Eminence had married her in Mecca when she was seven years old. Except for Ayesha the Prophet did not marry any virgin lady. Seven months after migration to Medina, the Prophet consummated his marriage to Ayesha, when she was nine years old.
She lived to a ripe age of seventy, till the time of Muawiyah’s reign. The fourth wife of the Prophet was Umm Shareek, who had gifted her self to the Prophet. Her name was Ariya binte Dauran bin Abir. Before marrying the Prophet, she was the wife of Abul Askar bin Sami al-Azdi, through whom a son named Shareek was born. The fifth wife of the Prophet was Hafasa binte Umar bin Khattab. Her first husband was Khanees bin Abdullah, after whose death the Messenger of Allah (S) married her.
His Eminence had sent Khanees to serve as a barber to the King of Iran. He died in that same journey without leaving any issue. Hafasa stayed in Medina till the reign of Uthman and Ibn Shahr Ashob has said that she survived till the last period of the Caliphate of Amirul Momineen (a.s.). The sixth wife of the Messenger of Allah (S) was Umm Habiba binte Abu Sufyan and her name was Ramla. Before coming into the marriage of the Holy Prophet (S), she was married to Abdullah bin Jahash.
Abdullah had migrated with her to Abyssinia, where he embraced Christianity and died. The Holy Prophet (S) then married her and the attorney was Amr bin Umayyah. The seventh wife of the Prophet was Umm Salma. Her mother, Atika was the sister of Abu Talib, the paternal aunt of the Prophet and some have said that Atika was the daughter of Amir bin Rabia and she was named Binte Abu Umayyah. She was the daughter of Abu Jahl’s uncle.
It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S) proposed to Umm Salma through her son to marry her to the Prophet. So Umm Salma appointed her son as the agent, and he married Lady Umm Salma to the Messenger of Allah (S). King Negus of Abyssinia sent 400 gold coins as her dower at the time of her marriage. Some say that King Negus had sent gold coins for the dower of Umm Habiba. Umm Salma survived all the wives of the Prophet.
Before marrying the Prophet, she was the wife of Abi Salma bin Abdul Asad. Abu Salma’s mother was Baraa the daughter of Abdul Muttalib. From Abu Salma a daughter, Zainab and a son Umar was born to Umm Salma. In the Battle of Jamal, Umar was in the service of Amirul Momineen (a.s.). Imam Ali (a.s.) appointed him as the governor of Bahrain. The eighth wife, was Zainab binte Jahash from the Bani Asad tribe.
Her mother was Maimoona, daughter of Abdul Muttalib, the paternal aunt of the Holy Prophet (S). Ibn Shahr Ashob has referred to Amima as the daughter of Abdul Muttalib. She was the first to pass away from the wives of the Prophet during the reign of Umar Ibn Khattab. Before she married the Holy Prophet (S), she was the wife of Zaid bin Haritha. Her story will be quoted after this. The ninth wife of the Holy Prophet (S) was Zainab binte Khuzaimah Hilaliya and before that she was married to Ubaidah bin Harith bin Abdul Muttalib.
Some have said that she was the wife of Tufayl Ibn Harith’s nephew and she was called Ummul Masakeen. She also died during the lifetime of the Prophet. The tenth wife was Maimoon binte Harith. The Messenger of Allah (S) married her in Medina and consummated his marriage with her at Saraf which is at a distance of three Farsakh from the holy city of Mecca. Her death also occurred at that same place in 36 Hijri and she was buried there.
Before marrying the Prophet, she was married to Abu Sira bin Abu Daham Amir. The eleventh wife of the Prophet is Juwairiya binte Harith from Bani Mustaliq tribe; she had come to the Prophet as a captive in that battle. The Holy Prophet (S) emancipated her and then took her as his wife. She died in 56 A.H. The twelfth wife was Safiya binte Huyy bin Akhtab, who was chosen by the Prophet for himself from the booty of Khyber and he fixed her emancipation as her dower. She passed away in 36 A.H. The Holy Prophet (S) had consummated his marriage to all of them. He had performed Nikah with eleven of them and one wife had gifted herself to the Prophet.
Those ladies with whom the Holy Prophet (S) did not consummate his marriage were as follows: The first was Aliya binte Tabiyan. When she was brought to the Holy Prophet (S) he divorced her before consummating marriage. The second lady was Qeela, sister of Ashath bin Qays, who died before her marriage was consummated and some say that the Holy Prophet (S) divorced her before consummating marriage with her. It is said that the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S) Akrama bin Abu Jahl proposed to her.
Third is Fatima binte Zahak, whom the Holy Prophet (S) married after the death of her sister, Zainab. And when the verse of Takhyyur (choice) was revealed and the Holy Prophet (S) gave choice to his wives to either select him or the world, she chose the world and she separated from the Prophet. After that she became involved in such hard times that she used to dry camel dung into fire wood and lived on the income. She used to say that she was unfortunate to have chosen the world. The fourth was Shaniya binte Sult whom the Holy Prophet (S) married but before she could be brought into the household of the Prophet, she passed away.
The fifth was Asma binte Noman bin Sharjeel. When the Prophet married her, Ayesha and Hafasa felt jealous of her and deceived her that when the Holy Prophet (S) comes to her house she must not let him overpower her immediately. In this way he would be attracted to her and the unfortunate woman was deceived by her. When the Holy Prophet (S) came to her, she said: “I seek the refuge of Allah from you.” The Prophet said: “You have adopted a very strong refuge, I give refuge to you; go back to your house.” The sixth was the princess of Lithia.
It is narrated that when she was brought to the Prophet he told her to gift her soul to him, but she said, can a princess gift herself to a common man? When the Prophet came to her, she said “I seek the refuge of Allah from you.” So the Prophet divorced her and after paying her some money sent her home. The seventh was Umra binte Yazid. When she was brought to the Holy Prophet (S) he noticed white patches on her and did not consummate the marriage, and divorced her.
The eighth was Laila binte Khateem Ansariya. When she was brought to the Holy Prophet (S) she expressed dislike from him and he sent her back. Ibn Shahr Ashob says that her house was attacked by a wolf. The ninth was a woman of Bani Hamza tribe, who proposed to give herself to the Prophet but her father didn’t like the match and made an excuse that she had white spots.
When he went home he saw that by the miracle of the Prophet she really got the white spots. The tenth report is that there was a woman named Umra and her father used to describe her good qualities and one of them was that she had never fallen sick. When the Holy Prophet (S) heard this, he said: “Such a woman has no merit in the sight of Allah.”
And he did not take her in marriage. Some have said that the Holy Prophet (S) had married her, but he divorced her when he came to know this fact. Thus on the basis of this report, the Messenger of Allah (S) had twenty wives. Shaykh Tusi says that the Holy Prophet (S) married eighteen women, and some have mentioned fifteen as mentioned previously.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) had two slave girls, with whom he had established relations and as he had fixed nights for his other wives, he had fixed nights for them also. One of them was Mariya binte Shamoon the Copt and the other was Raihana binte Zaid Qardiya.
The two of them were sent to the Prophet by Maqooqas, King of Alexandria. Some have said that the Holy Prophet (S) had emancipated Raihana and then married her. Mariya died five years after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S). Some have narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) selected a slave girl from Bani Quraiza, named Tukana. She was under the charge of the Holy Prophet (S) till he passed away. After the passing away of the Holy Prophet (S), Abbas married her.1
Kulaini has narrated through good chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that a lady from Ansar came to the Prophet in perfect make-up and in a very fine dress. At that time the Prophet was in Hafasa’s room. She said: “It is not appropriate for the woman to offer herself to a man, but a long time has passed, and I have neither a husband nor any issue. If you like, I can gift myself to you.
The Holy Prophet (S) prayed for her and said O Ansari lady, may the Almighty Allah give you a good reward. Indeed your men helped me and your women were inclined to me. But Hafasa began to condemn that lady and said: “How shameless you are and how desirous you are of men that you present yourself with such audacity. The Prophet said: “Be quiet, Hafasa, she is better than you as she is inclined to the Prophet of Allah and you condemn her and pick defects in her.”
Then he addressed her and said: “Go, may Allah have mercy on you, indeed Allah had decreed Paradise to you as a reward of being inclined to me and you preferred my love and happiness. And my intercession will be there for you, Insha Allah.” At that juncture, the following verse was revealed:
وَامْرَأَةً مُؤْمِنَةً إِنْ وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِيِّ إِنْ أَرَادَ النَّبِيُّ أَنْ يَسْتَنْكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَكَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“And a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her- specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers.”2
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) has said that the Almighty Allah has made lawful for women to gift themselves to the Prophet and not for anyone else. Ali bin Ibrahim has also narrated this report but he has mentioned Ayesha instead of Hafasa.
Kulaini etc. have narrated through authentic chains of narrators that the Almighty Allah has only allowed women to gift themselves to the Holy Prophet (S) and it is not allowed to marry women without paying the dower. There is consensus of Shia and Sunni scholars that marriage with the word of Hiba (gift) is among the specialties of the Holy Prophet (S).
Kulaini has through authentic chains of narrators, narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) married a woman named Sanat from Bani Aamir bin Saa-a tribe. She was the most beautiful woman of her time. When Ayesha and Hafasa saw her, they said that she would overpower them, because she was more beautiful and attractive and that she would take away the Prophet from them.
So they resorted to trickery and deceived her that she must not express her love for the Holy Prophet (S). When the Prophet came to her, the unfortunate deceived woman said: “I seek the refuge of Allah from you.” So His Eminence divorced her and sent her to her relatives. After that the Holy Prophet (S) married a woman of Kinda, binte Abil June when his son, Ibrahim died, that woman said that if he had been a Prophet, his son would not have died.
So the Prophet divorced her before consummating the marriage and sent her home. When the Holy Prophet (S) passed away from the world, both ladies of Bani Aamir and Bani Kinda came to Abu Bakr and asked him that people wanted to marry them, so what was his advice. Abu Bakr and Umar discussed among themselves and said: “You have the choice of remaining unmarried or to marry.” The unfortunate women got married.
At last by the miracle of the Prophet one of their husbands contracted leprosy and the other suffered from insanity. Umar bin Azina, who is the narrator of this report says: “When I mentioned this tradition to Zurarah and Fazl, they narrated it to Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and the Imam said: “The Almighty Allah has not prohibited anything but that people committed it and disobeyed Him, so much so that they even married the wives of the Prophet after him.”
Then the Imam narrated the incident of the women of Bani Aamir and Bani Kinda. And he said: “If you ask Sunni scholars that if a man marries a woman and divorces her without consummating the marriage, would that woman be lawful for the son of that man? They will reply in the negative. Then the sanctity of the Holy Prophet (S) is more than fathers.3
Barqi has through correct chains of narrators and Kulaini has narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that when Najjashi married Amina binte Abu Sufyan, who was also known as Umm Habiba, to the Holy Prophet (S), the latter organized a dinner (Walima) and he said: “It is from the practice of the prophets to call people to dinner on the occasion of marriage.”
And the same authors have narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that when the Messenger of Allah (S) married Maimoona binte Harith, he held a dinner and served half ground cereal, oil etc. to the people.
Kulaini has narrated through reliable chains of narrators that when the Holy Prophet (S) used to propose to any woman, he used to send a lady to see her telling her to smell her neck, if it is fragrant, her whole body will be fragrant; and to pay attention to her shank, if it is meaty, her whole body will be meaty.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated that during the battle of Hunain, Safiya, the wife of the Prophet arrived and said: O Prophet of Allah, I am like other women. I bore the killings of my father, uncle and brothers for the sake of Holy Prophet (S). If something happens to you, who will get your Caliphate and successorship? The Holy Prophet (S) pointed out to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and said: “Imamate and all matters related to your Ummah will be related to him.”
It is narrated through authentic chains of narrators that Safir bin Shajra Amari, came to the wife of the Prophet, Maimoona daughter of Harith in Medina and after taking permission entered the house. Maimoona asked him from where he was coming? He replied: “From Kufa.” “What tribe are you from?” she asked. “Bani Aamir,” he replied. She said that his arrival was welcome but what was the purpose of his visit.
Safir said: “O Mother of believers, when dispute erupted among the people, I was afraid of getting involved in some trouble. So I have come to you.” She asked, “Have you paid allegiance to Ali?” “Yes,” he replied. She said, “Go back and don’t leave the army of Ali. By Allah, neither he has deviated nor can anyone be deviated because of him.”
Safir said, “O Mother of believers, will you narrate a tradition about Imam Ali (a.s.) that you have heard from the Messenger of Allah (S)?” “Yes,” she said, “Listen, the Messenger of Allah (S) said: Ali is a sign of truth, and the standard of guidance, Ali is the sword of Allah, which Allah removes from the scabbard to slay infidels and hypocrites.
So one who is devoted to Me, will be devoted to him because of My love and one who is inimical to him, has in fact been inimical to Me. Indeed one who is inimical to Me is inimical to Ali. When he meets the Lord on Judgment Day, he will have nothing to justify his stand.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that Ayesha and Hafasa used to harass Safiya, abuse her and call her a daughter of a Jew. Safiya complained to His Eminence, who asked her why she did not reply to them. She asked, “O Prophet of Allah, what reply shall I give?”
He replied: “My father, Harun was the prophet of God and my Uncle, Musa (a.s.) was the Kalimullah (one spoken to by Allah) and my husband, Muhammad, is the messenger of Allah. So what do you deny and what defect can you see in me?” When Lady Safiya replied to them in this manner, they said, “These are not your words, the Holy Prophet (S) has taught you.” At that juncture, the following verses were revealed in their condemnation:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِنْ قَوْمٍ عَسٰى أَنْ يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِنْ نِسَاءٍ عَسٰى أَنْ يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ ۖ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ ۚ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
“O you who believe! let not (one) people laugh at (another) people perchance they may be better than they, nor let women (laugh) at (other) women, perchance they may be better than they; and do not find fault with your own people nor call one another by nicknames; evil is a bad name after faith, and whoever does not turn, these it is that are the unjust.”4
Shaykh Tabarsi has mentioned the following as the context of revelation of this verse: One day Umm Salma had a white cloth around her waist, whose both end were hanging behind. And the garments were trailing on the ground. Seeing this Ayesha said to Hafasa: “See what she is hanging behind her, it seems to be the tongue of a dog.” Some say that Ayesha ridiculed her for her short stature.
Himyari and Kulaini etc. have narrated from correct and very reliable chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) did not fix more than five hundred dirhams as the dower of any of his daughters or wives.
Kulaini has narrated through correct chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that people asked him about the exegesis of the following verses:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَاجَكَ اللَّاتِي آتَيْتَ أُجُورَهُنَّ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ مِمَّا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمِّكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمَّاتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالَاتِكَ اللَّاتِي هَاجَرْنَ مَعَكَ وَامْرَأَةً مُؤْمِنَةً إِنْ وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِيِّ إِنْ أَرَادَ النَّبِيُّ أَنْ يَسْتَنْكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَكَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۗ قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا فَرَضْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِي أَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ لِكَيْلَا يَكُونَ عَلَيْكَ حَرَجٌ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
“O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her- specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”5
The narrator asked Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.): “How many women were lawful for the Holy Prophet (S).” Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) replied: “As many as he liked.” The narrators asked him what is the meaning of the following statement of Allah:
لَا يَحِلُّ لَكَ النِّسَاءُ مِنْ بَعْدُ وَلَا أَنْ تَبَدَّلَ بِهِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ حُسْنُهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ
“It is not allowed to you to take women afterwards, nor that you should change them for other wives, though their beauty be pleasing to you, except what your right hand possesses…”6
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) replied: “It was allowed for the Messenger of Allah (S) to marry the daughters of his uncle and paternal aunts, paternal uncles and maternal aunts and marry the ladies who had migrated with him to Medina.
And it was lawful for him to marry believing ladies and it is in form of a gift. And no lady is allowed to gift her self to anyone except the Holy Prophet (S) and no one is allowed to do Nikah without paying the dower (maher) as the Almighty Allah has said in the Holy Qur’an.” The narrator then asked: “What is the meaning of the following verse:
وَتُؤْوِي إِلَيْكَ مَن تَشَاء
“…and you may take to you whom you please…”7
The Holy Imam (a.s.) replied: “It implies that the Holy Prophet (S) can marry anyone. And the statement of Allah that after that it was not lawful for them implies those who are made unlawful for others in the next verse; that is mothers, daughters and sisters, and all prohibited women.
If the verse had implied that which Ahle Sunnat think it does, that after the revelation of this verse it became unlawful for the Holy Prophet (S) to propose to any woman. And the women he had as his wives cannot be changed. Then indeed the Almighty Allah must have made lawful for you the women that were not allowed for the Prophet. Because you have the choice to change the aged wife and you can send proposal to anyone you like.”8
Kulaini has narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that the Holy Prophet (S) had the sexual prowess of forty men. And he had nine wives and he used to meet them every day.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that when the Messenger of Allah (S) returned from the Battle of Khyber and the treasure of the sons of Abil Haqiq fell into his hands, the wives asked him to distribute that treasure among them. The Holy Prophet (S) said that he has distributed it all among the Muslims. The wives were angry and they said: “You think that if you divorce us, we would not find anyone according to our status.”
The Almighty Allah did not like this reply and He commanded the Messenger to become aloof from those wives and stay in the house of the mother of Ibrahim. The Holy Prophet (S) separated from those wives and started to reside in the chamber of Ibrahim’s mother, which was near to the mosque. So much so that those women had their menses. The Almighty Allah revealed the following verse of choice at that juncture:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ إِنْ كُنْتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا فَتَعَالَيْنَ أُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَأُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيلًا. وَإِنْ كُنْتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْمُحْسِنَاتِ مِنْكُنَّ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا.
“O Prophet! say to your wives: If you desire this world’s life and its adornment, then come, I will give you a provision and allow you to depart a goodly departing; And if you desire Allah and His Apostle and the latter abode, then surely Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a mighty reward.”9
When the Holy Prophet (S) recited this verse to them, Umm Salma arose first of all and she said: “I chose the Prophet over the world.” After that all the women embraced the Prophet and repeated the same sentence. At that moment the following verse was revealed:
تُرْجِي مَنْ تَشَاءُ مِنْهُنَّ وَتُؤْوِي إِلَيْكَ مَنْ تَشَاءُ
“You may put off whom you please of them, and you may take to you whom you please…”10
Then the Almighty Allah addresses the wives of the Prophet:
يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ مَنْ يَأْتِ مِنْكُنَّ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ يُضَاعَفْ لَهَا الْعَذَابُ ضِعْفَيْنِ ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا. وَمَنْ يَقْنُتْ مِنْكُنَّ لِلَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا نُؤْتِهَا أَجْرَهَا مَرَّتَيْنِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لَهَا رِزْقًا كَرِيمًا.
“O wives of the prophet! Whoever of you commits an open indecency (like going out to Basra to confront Ali), the punishment shall be increased to her doubly; and this is easy to Allah. And whoever of you is obedient to Allah and His Apostle and does good, We will give to her reward doubly, and We have prepared for her an honorable sustenance.”11
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) through correct chains of narrators that “Fahisha Mubaiyyana” (open indecency) and the sins which exposes is to undertake armed uprising which was committed by Ayesha.
Kulaini has narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that Allah was ashamed about His Prophet that some of his wives said that Muhammad thinks that if he divorces them, they would not find any man in the community willing to marry them. According to another tradition Zainab said: “In spite of being the Prophet of Allah, you are not just among us.”
Hafasa said: “If he divorces us we can choose someone else from our community.” According to another traditions this statement was also made by Zainab. When the verse of choice was revealed the Holy Prophet (S) separated from all his wives for 29 nights and resided in the chambers of Maria. And according to another report no revelation descended on the Prophet for twenty days. After that, when the verse of choice was revealed, the Prophet summoned his wives and gave them choice of himself or the world.
If they had chosen the world, they would have become unlawful on the Prophet, which means irrevocable divorce. And according to another report, if they had chosen the world, the Prophet would have divorced them and then it would never have been possible for them to choose the Prophet and he never could have inclined to them. According to another report, when Zainab binte Jahash’s turn arrived, she came running to the Prophet, kissed his hands and said: “I choose Allah and His Prophet.”
It is mentioned in many reliable traditions that this was a command restricted only for the Prophet and not for others to give such choice to their wives.12
Ibn Babawayh etc. have narrated from reliable chains of narrators from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that one day the Holy Prophet (S) went to the house of Zaid bin Haritha bin Sharjeel Kalbi. When he entered, he saw that the wife of Zaid was taking a bath. The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Glory be the one Who has created you.” By this statement he meant that she must consider the Almighty Allah as pure and free from the saying of infidels who say that angels are the daughters of God, as the Almighty Allah has Himself said:
أَفَأَصْفَاكُمْ رَبُّكُمْ بِالْبَنِينَ وَاتَّخَذَ مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنَاثًا ۚ إِنَّكُمْ لَتَقُولُونَ قَوْلًا عَظِيمًا
“What! has then your Lord preferred to give you sons, and (for Himself) taken daughters from among the angels? Most surely you utter a grievous saying.”13
When the Holy Prophet (S) saw her bathing, he said: “I consider pure the one who has created you from the fact that he should have a son who is needful of purification and bath.” When Zaid returned home, Zainab told him about what the Prophet had said. Zaid thought that the Prophet had stated thus because he found Zainab beautiful. Then he came to the Prophet and said: “My wife is having a bad nature, I want to divorce her.”
The Prophet said: “Protect your wife and fear the Almighty, because the Almighty Allah had revealed to him the number of his wives and their names of the world and the hereafter, and Zainab was among them and the Prophet knew this, but he did not reveal this to Zaid or anyone else fearing that people would say that Muhammad tells his slave that “your wife will be married to me one day.”
And according to another report, the Prophet feared that the hypocrites will say that Muhammad considers wives of others as his wife and mother of believers. And thus they would make allegations about the Prophet. Therefore the Almighty Allah ordered His Prophet to keep the matter concealed, that which the Almighty Allah was about to reveal and the Prophet continued to fear the allegations of the people.
Thus Zaid bin Haritha divorced Zainab and after the waiting period the Almighty Allah married her to the Prophet and revealed those verses, because He knew that the hypocrites will make allegations against the Messenger of Allah (S), so He revealed the following verse:
مَا كَانَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ مِنْ حَرَجٍ فِيمَا فَرَضَ اللَّهُ لَهُ ۖ سُنَّةَ اللَّهِ فِي الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قَدَرًا مَقْدُورًا
“There is no harm in the Prophet doing that which Allah has ordained for him; such has been the course of Allah with respect to those who have gone before; and the command of Allah is a decree that is made absolute.”14
Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) said that the Almighty Allah never became a guardian for the marriage of anyone of His creatures except for Hawwa and Adam and for Zainab and the Messenger of Allah (S) because He has said:
“We gave her to you as a wife…”
And married Lady Fatima Zahra to Imam Ali (a.s.).
Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated that since Zainab binte Jahash whose mother was Amima binte Abdul Muttalib, and the Holy Prophet (S) has asked for her hand for Zaid, but she furiously declined to become Zaid’s wife. And Zainab’s brother, Abdullah bin Jahash also said the same thing, upon which the following verse was revealed:
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ
“And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman…”15
Thus Zainab said: I have agreed and given authority to the Holy Prophet (S). The Prophet married her to Zaid and sent ten gold coins and sixty silver coins as her dower and a veil and a covering sheet, a shirt and a pair of pajama, fifty seers of food and thirty Saa-a (120 seer) dates.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that when the Holy Prophet (S) married Zainab himself, since he liked her very much, he gave dinner in which he invited the companions. When all companions has finished eating they wanted to remain with the Prophet and converse with him, whereas the Holy Prophet (S) wanted privacy with Zainab. At that moment the following verse was revealed:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ إِلَّا أَنْ يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَاظِرِينَ إِنَاهُ وَلَٰكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُوا فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانْتَشِرُوا وَلَا مُسْتَأْنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِي النَّبِيَّ فَيَسْتَحْيِي مِنْكُمْ ۖ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَنْ تَنْكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا
“O you who believe! do not enter the houses of the Prophet unless permission is given to you for a meal, not waiting for its cooking being finished- but when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken the food, then disperse- not seeking to listen to talk; surely this gives the Prophet trouble, but he forbears from you, and Allah does not forbear from the truth. And when you ask of them any goods, ask of them from behind a curtain; this is purer for your hearts and (for) their hearts; and it does not behove you that you should give trouble to the Apostle of Allah, nor that you should marry his wives after him ever; surely this is grievous in the sight of Allah.”16
It is narrated by Ibn Babawayh from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) through authentic chains of narrators that one day Umm Salma came to know that one of her emancipated slaves had said something against Amirul Momineen (a.s.). She summoned him and said: “Sit down, may your mother mourn for you, let me narrate for you a tradition of the Holy Prophet (S): after that you may choose whatever you like. Indeed, we nine women were married to the Prophet.
On one of my turns, the Holy Prophet (S) came to my place. And Noor (light) was shinning from his forehead and he was holding the hand of Imam Ali (a.s.). He said to me: “O Umm Salma. Go away from here and leave the house for us.: So I went out from there and the Prophet began to converse with Imam Ali (a.s.) in private. I could hear their voices but I was not able to make out what they were saying.
When it got very late I went to the door and said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), can I come in?” My heart was full of joy, but I turned back thinking that the Prophet might have been angry at me or some bad news had been revealed to him about me from the heavens. After sometime, I again came to the door and sought permission, but no permission was forthcoming. And I was happier than before. Then I went there for the third time and asked for permission.
This time the Prophet told me to enter. When I entered, I saw Imam Ali (a.s.) kneeling before the Prophet and saying: “May my parents be sacrificed on you, what do you advise me to do in such circumstances?” He replied: “I advise you patience.” Ali (a.s.) again asked the same question and the Prophet again advised patience to him.
When on the third time he asked the same question, the Prophet said: “O Ali, O my brother, when it comes to this, you must take out the sword and prepare to fight. You must not worry even if blood is dripping from your sword when you come to me.” Then the Messenger of Allah (S) turned to me and asked: “O Umm Salma, why are you so sad?” I replied, “Because you sent me away a number of times.”
The Holy Prophet (S) said, “By Allah, I did not send you away because I was angry with you, and you have no defect in my view. Indeed you are on the good for Allah and His Prophet. But when you came, Jibraeel was to my right and Ali was on the left and Jibraeel was informing about the events that are to occur after me. And had emphasized me to make bequest to Ali (a.s.) what he should do in those mischiefs. O Umm Salma, listen to this and be a witness that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) is my Vizier in the world and the hereafter.
O Umm Salma, listen to this and be a witness that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) is my standard bearer in the world and the hereafter. O Umm Salma, listen to this and be a witness that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) is my successor and legatee after me and one who would fulfill my promises and one who will drive away the enemies from Hauz Kauthar. O Umm Salma, listen to this and be a witness that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) is the chief and leader of Muslims and the leader of the pious, one who will take the believers to Paradise and who is the killer of Nakiseen, Qasiteen and Mariqeen.”
I asked, “O Messenger of Allah (S), who are the Nakiseen?” He replied: “Those who will pay allegiance to Ali (a.s.) at Medina and break the pledge at Basra,” I asked, “Who are the Qasiteen?” He replied: “Muawiyah and the Syrians obedient to him.” I asked, “Who are the Mariqeen?” He replied: “The Khawarij of Nahrawan.” When Umm Salma narrated this traditional report to her slave, he said, “You have delivered me and opened the knot of my heart. May Allah give prosperity to you. By Allah, I will never say anything wrong about Ali (a.s.).”
Shaykh Tusi has narrated through reliable chains of narrators from the slave of Abu Dharr that he said: “I was fighting on the side of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in the Battle of Jamal. When I saw Ayesha in the front ranks of our enemies, a doubt appeared in my heart, like other people were in doubt with regard to her. When afternoon came, the Almighty Allah removed that doubt from my heart and became busy in fighting the opponents with the army of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
After that when I came to Umm Salma, the wife of the Prophet and narrated my position, she asked: “What did you do when the hearts of the people had flown away from their abodes?” I said that I had also fallen into doubt and I thank the Almighty that He removed that curtain and I fought the enemies of Imam Ali (a.s.) well.” Umm Salma said, “You have done a nice thing.” I have heard the Messenger of Allah (S) that he used to say: “Ali is with Qur’an and Qur’an is with Ali. They will not separate from each other till they reach me at Hauz Kauthar.”
It is mentioned in Qurbul Asnad Himyari from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) through authentic reports that there was a lady among the Ansar, named Hasrat. After the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S) she used to visit the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and was deeply devoted to them. One day Abu Bakr and Umar saw her on the way and asked where she was going.
She said that she was going to the Progeny of Muhammad to fulfill their rights and to renew her pledge. They said, “Woe be upon you, they don’t have any right. It was only restricted to the lifetime of the Prophet.” Hasrat returned on hearing this. After some days she again came to the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet. Umm Salma asked her, “It had been a long time.” She said, “I had met so and so and they had said this and that.” Umm Salma said, “They made a wrong statement, the right of the progeny of Muhammad is incumbent on Muslims till Judgment Day.”
Umar bin Abi Salma, son of Umm Salma is quoted in Basairud Darajat to have said that Lady Umm Salma said: One day the Holy Prophet (S) made Ali (a.s.) to sit in my quarters and called for a sheepskin. The Holy Prophet (S) was dictating and Ali was writing, till the skin was full. The Messenger of Allah (S) gave that skin to me and said: “After me a person will come to you and mention such and such signs, so you give this skin to him.”
When the Messenger of Allah (S) passed away from the world, and Abu Bakr usurped his Caliphate, my mother, Umm Salma told me to go and see what that person does in the mosque. I came to the mosque and saw Abu Bakr mounting the pulpit, delivering a sermon, then he came down and went home. I returned to my mother and narrated what all I had seen or heard. She fell silent. When Umar became the Caliph, again my mother sent me to the mosque.
I returned and told her that Umar has also done what Abu Bakr had done. Again my mother fell silent. When Uthman became the Caliph, like before, my mother again sent me to the mosque and I returned and reported that he also acted like his two predecessors. When Amirul Momineen (a.s.) became the Caliph, my mother sent me to the mosque and said: “See what this man does.” I came to the mosque.
Imam Ali (a.s.) recited a sermon and upon descending from the pulpit summoned me and said: “Go and take permission from your respected mother that I want to meet her in short while.” I came to my mother and delivered the message of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
She said, “By Allah, I wanted to call him myself. Then Ali (a.s.) arrived and asked her for the writing that the Holy Prophet (S) had entrusted to her. My mother arose, opened a casket, removed another casket from it, opened it and taking out the sheepskin, gave it to Ali (a.s.). Then she said to me: “Always remain in the service of Ali and never leave his side, because after the Holy Prophet (S), I don’t see anyone as his successor.”
Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) proposed to Umm Salma through her son, Umar bin Abi Salma and he married her to the Prophet even though he was not yet mature.
Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that one day Abu Bakr and Umar came to Lady Umm Salma and asked her, “You were married to someone else before the Holy Prophet (S), tell us whether the Prophet was sexually stronger than him or not?” Lady Umm Salma said, “He is also like other men.”
After that the Holy Prophet (S) arrived and Umm Salma regretted what she had said. And she feared that some verse might be revealed about her, so she herself told the Prophet about what those two had said. The Messenger of Allah (S) was so infuriated that his complexion changed and there was perspiration on his brow. He came out of the house in such a way that his cloak was dragging on the ground. Then he came into the mosque ascended the pulpit and called the Ansar.
When they saw the Prophet in this condition, all armed themselves and presented themselves before the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah (S) praised and glorified the Almighty, why are some hypocrites busy to find some defects in me.
By Allah, I am greatest among you from the aspect of lineage and most pure of you from the aspect of birth and the most obedient one to the Almighty in the absence of the people. Of one of you asks me who his father is, I can tell you about it.” A person asked, “Who is my father?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “It is so and so shepherd.”
Another man asked, “Who is my father?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “So and so black slave.” Then a third person asked, “Who is my father?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Your father is same that people relate you to.”
Then Ansar arose asked, “O Prophet forgive us so that Allah may exalt your ranks, indeed the Almighty Allah has sent you as a mercy.” Since the Prophet had a habit that when people spoke to him in humility and requested him, due to shame, the forehead of the Prophet used to perspire and he used to conceal their defects.
Thus the Messenger of Allah (S) descended from the pulpit and went to his house. Next morning Jibraeel (a.s.) came down with a bowl of Paradise food and said: O Messenger of Allah (S), this is prepared for you by the Houries. You may eat it and except for you, Ali and his sons, no one may eat from it, because except for you no one is capable of it.
Thus the Holy Prophet (S), Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain (a.s.) sat down to eat from that bowl. Due to this, the Almighty Allah gave to the Prophet, the sexual power of forty men. After that it was such that whenever the Holy Prophet (S) wanted he could have intercourse with all of his wives on a single night.
It is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) through authentic chains of narrators that Mughaira’s son, Walid died. Umm Salma said to the Prophet: “Mughaira’s family has organized a condolence meeting, please allow me to go.”
The Prophet allowed her. Umm Salma dressed up to go there. She was as beautiful as a fairy. When she used to stand up and untie her hair, her whole body used to be covered with them. She used to tie up the ends of her hair with her anklets. Thus she began to weep and wail for her son and the Prophet did not restrain her and neither did he say that she had committed any mistake.
It is narrated from the same Imam through authentic chains of narrators that one day the Messenger of Allah (S) came to the house of Umm Salma and asked her, “Why don’t I see any barakah in your place. Umm Salma, said, “There is a lot of barakah in my house due to your presence. The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Allah, has sent three blessings, water, fire and sheep.”
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) through authentic chains of narrators that one day the Messenger of Allah (S) saw a woman that he liked. So he came to the house of Umm Salma, and it was her turn that day; and the Holy Prophet (S) associated with her, then he performed the ritual bath and came out of the house. The water of his bath was dripping from his head. Then he said: “O people, glancing is due to the Shaitan, therefore if on seeing a woman, one of you feel desirous of sex he must come to his wife and sleep with her so that his desires are cooled.”
The Almighty Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ ۖ تَبْتَغِي مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَاجِكَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ. قَدْ فَرَضَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ تَحِلَّةَ أَيْمَانِكُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ.
“O Prophet! Why do you forbid (yourself) that which Allah has made lawful for you; you seek to please your wives; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Allah indeed has sanctioned for you the expiation of your oaths and Allah is your Protector, and He is the Knowing, the Wise.”17
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) through authentic chains of narrators that the above verses were revealed at the time when Ayesha and Hafasa came to know that the Prophet had had relations with Mariya.
And the Prophet swore to them that he will never again go to Mariya. So the Almighty Allah revealed the following verses so that he may pay the penalty for his oath and he must not give up his relations with Mariya. It is also narrated that these verses were revealed when one day the Holy Prophet (S) was at Hafasa’s place and Mariya the Copt was in his service.
During that time Hafasa went out on some errand and the Prophet had relations with Mariya. When Hafasa came to know about this, she was very angry and she said: O Messenger of Allah (S), you had relations with a slave girl on my bed, and on the day of my turn?” The Prophet was embarrassed at this and he said, “Cool down, I will not have relations with Mariya again. I have made her unlawful for myself.” These verses were revealed at that time.
It is narrated from Shaykh Tabarsi that after the Morning Prayer the Prophet used to visit all his wives and ask about their well being. And if someone sent honey to Hafasa, he used to spend a few moments at her place to have some honey.
When Ayesha saw this, she conspired with some other wives that when the Prophet comes to them they must say that his mouth is smelling of ‘maghafeer’, which is a smelly gum on which if the honeybee sits, the honey becomes so smelly. And Ayesha knew that the Prophet disliked mouth odor. Thus when the Holy Prophet (S) went to Saudah, she said due to the fear of Ayesha, what smell was it that she could perceive from the mouth of the Prophet?
Perhaps he has eaten Maghafeer. The Prophet said: “No, I have consumed honey at Hafasa’s.” After that whenever the Prophet visited any of his wives they told him the same thing. Till he came to Ayesha. She closed her nose and said: “Why do I smell Maghafeer from your mouth?” the Holy Prophet (S) said that he had taken honey at Hafasa’s place. Ayesha said that perhaps that honeybee has sat on Maghafeer.
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “By Allah, I will never taste honey again.” Some say that the Prophet had taken honey at Umm Salma’s and some say that he had taken it at Zainab binte Jahash’s and Ayesha and Hafasa had conspired that when the Prophet comes to them both should issue the same statement that his mouth smells of Maghafeer. It was for this reason that the Holy Prophet (S) made honey unlawful for himself.
Shaykh Tabarsi and Sunni commentators have reported that one day the Messenger of Allah (S) was in Hafasa’s place and she asked the Prophet if she could visit her father. The Prophet allowed her and she departed. The Prophet called for Mariya and remained in privacy with her. Hafasa returned to find the door closed till the Prophet opened it. Perspiration was dripping from his face. Hafasa was extremely angry at the Prophet. the Holy Prophet (S) said: “She is my slave girl and the Almighty Allah has made her lawful for me. But I have made her unlawful to me for your sake. However you don’t mention this to anyone.”
After that the Holy Prophet (S) went away from there. Immediately she began to beat with a stone the wall separating her quarter from that of Ayesha’s and she said: “Congratulations to you O Ayesha, the Holy Prophet (S) has made his slave girl, Mariya, unlawful from himself. It is good riddance for us.” Then she narrated the whole story to Ayesha as the two of them were united in harassing the other wives of the Prophet. At that time, the following verses were revealed. So the Holy Prophet (S) divorced Hafasa and kept away from all his wives for 29 days.
He stayed in the attic of Mariya till the Almighty Allah revealed the verse of choice. Some have said that the Prophet had relations with Mariya on the day of Ayesha’s turn and Hafasa had come to know about it. The Holy Prophet (S) had told Hafasa not to mention it to Ayesha as he has made Mariya unlawful for himself. But she immediately informed Ayesha and told her not to mention it to anyone. At that juncture, the Almighty Allah revealed the following verses:
وَإِذْ أَسَرَّ النَّبِيُّ إِلَىٰ بَعْضِ أَزْوَاجِهِ حَدِيثًا فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَتْ بِهِ وَأَظْهَرَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ عَرَّفَ بَعْضَهُ وَأَعْرَضَ عَنْ بَعْضٍ ۖ فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَهَا بِهِ قَالَتْ مَنْ أَنْبَأَكَ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَ نَبَّأَنِيَ الْعَلِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ
“And when the prophet secretly communicated a piece of information to one of his wives- but when she informed (others) of it, and Allah made him to know it, he made known part of it and avoided part; so when he informed her of it, she said: Who informed you of this? He said: The Knowing, the Aware one, informed me.”18
Ali bin Ibrahim and Ayyashi have narrated that when Hafasa came to know about Mariya and she became infuriated at the Prophet, he told her to drop the matter as he was making Mariya unlawful for himself for her sake. But he told her that she must keep this matter concealed otherwise the divine curse will be upon her and the anger of the angels and the ridicule of all people. Hafasa said that she will maintain the secret.
But what is the secret? The Prophet said: “It is that Abu Bakr will become the Caliph after me through injustice and oppression and after him, your father will become the Caliph.” Hafasa asked him, “Who has told you this?” The Holy Prophet (S) said that “the Almighty Allah has informed me about it.” Hafasa revealed this secret to Ayesha the same day and she mentioned it to her father, Abu Bakr.
Abu Bakr came to Umar and said that “Ayesha has quoted Hafasa thus, but I don’t trust her statement, you ask Hafasa directly if this is true.” Umar came to Hafasa, “Is it true what Ayesha has mentioned on your authority?” Initially Hafasa denied having said any such thing to Ayesha. Umar said, “Don’t conceal this from us if it is true, so that we may plan about it beforehand.”
Hafasa said, “Yes, the Holy Prophet (S) had mentioned thus.” Then the two men and their daughters plotted to poison the Prophet. Jibraeel came down with those verses. And the secret that the Almighty Allah had mentioned is the same secret. And apart from that the Almighty Allah had informed His Messenger about some other secrets. And they had decided to expose the secret and to eliminate the Prophet.
And the saying of the Almighty Allah that the Prophet had mentioned some things and left out some, means that His Eminence, asked Hafasa why she revealed the secret and did not fear the curse of Allah and His angels? And those who had planned to eliminate the Prophet and the Almighty Allah had informed the Prophet about this plot of theirs; so the Almighty Allah in order to punish Ayesha and Hafasa said:
إِنْ تَتُوبَا إِلَى اللَّهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا ۖ وَإِنْ تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ مَوْلَاهُ وَجِبْرِيلُ وَصَالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ ظَهِيرٌ. عَسٰى رَبُّهُ إِنْ طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَنْ يُبْدِلَهُ أَزْوَاجًا خَيْرًا مِنْكُنَّ مُسْلِمَاتٍ مُؤْمِنَاتٍ قَانِتَاتٍ تَائِبَاتٍ عَابِدَاتٍ سَائِحَاتٍ ثَيِّبَاتٍ وَأَبْكَارًا.
“If you both turn to Allah, then indeed your hearts are already inclined (to this); and if you back up each other against him, then surely Allah it is Who is his Guardian, and Jibraeel and the believers that do good, and the angels after that are the aiders. Maybe, his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your place wives better than you, submissive, faithful, obedient, penitent, adorers, fasters, widows and virgins.”19
After that the Almighty Allah in order to remove the doubt that ignorant people may not ask how is it possible that wives of the prophet can be infidels and hypocrites? The Almighty Allah has mentioned an example for them in which their disbelief was revealed for every sane person. As mentioned after these verses that:
ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا امْرَأَتَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَتَ لُوطٍ ۖ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ
“Allah sets forth an example to those who disbelieve the wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut: they were both under two of Our righteous servants, but they acted treacherously towards them so they availed them naught against Allah, and it was said: Enter both the fire with those who enter.”20
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that one of their dishonesty was Ayesha’s going to Basra with Talha and Zubair in order to fight Amirul Momineen (a.s.). And the Imam of the Time (a.s.) will enliven Ayesha by the permission of Allah and would issue a penalty for this dishonesty.21
Shaykh Tusi and Sayyid Ibn Tawus have narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that he said: One day I was with the Prophet when Abu Bakr and Umar were also present there. I also sat down between the Prophet and Ayesha. Ayesha said: “Did you not get any place except for the lap of the Prophet and me?”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Shut up, Ayesha, don’t hurt me about Ali, indeed in the hereafter he is my brother and chief of the believers. On Judgment Day, the Almighty Allah will make him sit on the Sirat Bridge and he will send his friends to Paradise and send his foes to Hell.
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that three persons had attributed falsehood to the Prophet most: Abu Huraira, Anas bin Malik and Ayesha.
And Ibn Babawayh and Barqi have narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that when the Qaim of Aale Muhammad will reappear, he will enliven Ayesha and punish her and take the revenge for Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.). The narrator asked, “May I be sacrificed on you, why would he punish her?”
Imam (a.s.) said, “She had made allegations against Mariya, the Copt also.” The narrator asked why the Prophet had not punished her? And why did the Almighty Allah postpone this matter till the time of the Qaim. Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) replied, “Because the Almighty Allah sent the Prophet as a mercy and appointed the Qaim Aale Muhammad for taking revenge.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Umm Salma that the Messenger of Allah (S) had taken all his wives for the Farewell Hajj and he used to live with each of them for a day and a night, because he was married to them and he wanted to be equitable among them.
When it was Ayesha’s turn, the Prophet conferred secretly with Imam Ali (a.s.) for a long time, so this act of his was very hard for Ayesha. Umm Salma says that Ayesha told me: “I feel like going to Ali and calling him cruel and lazy, why he has kept away the Messenger of Allah (S) from me?” I tried all means to restrain her from this but she did not refrain. She rode her camel to him and returned soon to me crying. I asked her why she was weeping.
She said that when she went to the Messenger of Allah (S) and told Ali (a.s.): O son of Abi Talib, you always keep away the Holy Prophet (S) from me, but the Prophet said: O Ayesha, don’t come between me and Ali; indeed no one is apprehensive about me with regard to him.
By the one in whose hands is my life, no believer hates him and no infidel loves him. Indeed, after me truth is with Ali, in whichever direction he turns, the truth will turn with him and truth will never separate from him till they both come to me at Hauz Kauthar.” Umm Salma said: “O Ayesha, I had stopped you from this, but you never paid any heed to me.”
Ibn Tawus has narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) through reliable chains of narrators that he said: Before the revelation of the verse of Hijab, once I went to the Prophet when he was seated in Ayesha’s room. I sat down between Ayesha and the Prophet. She said, “O son of Abu Talib, did you not get any seat except my lap? Go away from here.” The Prophet immediately slapped her back and said, “Woe be on you, what do you want from the King of believers and one who is more superior to successors of prophets and one with an illuminated face and limbs?”
Kulaini has narrated through reliable chains of narrators that Ibn Umm Maktum, who was a blind Muezzin of the Prophet came to the Prophet one day. Ayesha and Hafasa was with the Prophet. The Prophet told them to go inside. They said, “But he is blind.” The Prophet said, “Even though he cannot see you, you can see him.” According to another report he said, “Even though he is blind, you are not.”
Through reliable chains of narrators it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) married Ayesha in the month of Shawwal. Also through reliable chains of narrators it is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that one night the Holy Prophet (S) was sleeping with Ayesha.
He arose during the night and began to pray the supererogatory prayers. When Ayesha awoke, she did not see the Prophet on his bed. She thought that he must have gone to his slave girl. So she arose in fury and began to search for the Prophet. Suddenly she placed her foot on the neck of the Prophet when he was weeping in Sajdah and imploring the Lord:
“My body and soul and all prostrate to You. And my heart has brought faith on You. I confess for all the bounties from You to me and I confess to all sins and I have done and oppressed my soul to forgive me.
Except for You no one can forgive this great sin. I seek refuge in Your forgiveness from Your chastisement. And I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your anger. And I seek Your refuge in Your mercy from Your anger. And I seek Your refuge and I cannot reach Your praise and glorification. You are same as You have praised Yourself and I seek Your forgiveness and turn to You.”
When the Prophet completed the Sajdah, he said, “O Ayesha, you have hurt my neck. Did you think that I had gone to some slave girl of yours?”22
- 1. It is possible that the Holy Prophet (S) had not taken that maid slave as his wife and she was only appointed to serve him, or it would not have been possible from Abbas to marry her, as according to the Holy Qur’an she would have been among the mothers of believers and she would have unlawful for every person of the Ummah.
- 2. Surah Ahzab 33:50
- 3. The author says: Ibn Idris etc. have narrated this tradition from reliable sources and there is no difference of opinion among the Shia and Sunni scholars. There is no doubts in it that the woman with whom the Holy Prophet (S) had consummated the marriage, she would remain in the marriage of the Prophet till her death. No one is allowed to marry her. And the woman whom the Prophet has divorced during his lifetime or has not consummated her marriage with him, there is difference of between Shia and Sunni scholars whether she can marry anyone else or not. Most Sunni scholars believe that she is lawful for others. But in the view of Shia, the most common opinion is that she is unlawful for others; even the tyrant rulers had not opposed the Holy Prophet (S) in this matter. And they married to others the women with whom the Prophet had not consummated the marriage. This does not prove any deficiency of the Prophet and Ayesha’s mounting the camel and in the company of thousands of infidels and hypocrites, and going out to fight Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and to martyr the beloved grandson of the Prophet is much worse. Therefore, it is not lawful to reject all these reports due to improbability. Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that when the Almighty Allah said: “And his wives are their mothers,” and made it unlawful to marry them, Talha was very angry at this. And he said: “Muhammad has made his women unlawful to us, and he marries our women. If Muhammad dies, I will also do what he does with our women. At that moment this verse was revealed by the Almighty Allah:
وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَن تَنكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا
And it does not behove you that you should give trouble to the Apostle of Allah, nor that you should arry his wives after him ever; surely this is grievous in the sight of Allah. (Surah Ahzab 33:53)
- 4. Surah Hujurat 49:11
- 5. Surah Ahzab 33:50
- 6. Surah Ahzab 33:52
- 7. Surah Ahzab 33:51
- 8. The author says: There are many traditions on the subject and some commentators have explained this verse in the same way and some say that after that the Holy Prophet (S) gave choice to his wives either to choose him or choose the world. And if they chose the Holy Prophet (S) the Almighty Allah made it lawful for him to take up other women or to replace them with other women. Some have said that it was applicable at the beginning and then abrogated later on. And whatever is mentioned in the tradition is reliable and in agreement with other statements of Ahle Sunnat.
- 9. Surah Ahzab 33:28-29
- 10. Surah Ahzab 33:51
- 11. Surah Ahzab 33:30-31
- 12. The author says: It is famous among Imamite jurist that the choice to separate from her husband was only available for the wives of the Prophet. But some have said that this rule is also applicable for others, but there is difference of opinion in its application whether it can be effected through revocable or irrevocable divorce. And more clear is that this order was restricted to the Prophet, therefore it is useless to think upon its derivations or make any comments about it. The Almighty Allah is more cognizant of what is best.
- 13. Surah Isra 17:40
- 14. Surah Ahzab 33:38
- 15. Surah Ahzab 33:36
- 16. Surah Ahzab 33:53
- 17. Surah Tahrim 66:1-2
- 18. Surah Tahrim 66:3
- 19. Surah Tahrim 66:4-5
- 20. Surah Tahrim 66:10
- 21. The author says: The Almighty Allah has in these verses explained the infidelity and hypocrisy in these verses and their unity on conspiring to harass the Prophet in such a way that it is not concealed from any sane person. And due to the clarity of these verses their infidelity is obvious. Zamakhshari and Fakhre Razi in spite of extreme bias have said that the Almighty Allah has mentioned about the wife of Firon in this verses and the verse after this, it is a great indication about the two mothers of believers, who had united to harass the Prophet and their exposure of the secret they were supposed to maintain. The Almighty Allah has explained it in these examples that due to infidelity and hypocrisy, relationship of lineage or marriage ties does not give any advantage. If that relationship is even with the greatest creation, who are prophets and messengers and due to having faith, relationship with infidels does not create any harm even if that infidel was like Firon.
In the beginning of the Surah, the scolding that the Almighty Allah has mentioned to the Holy Prophet (S) is obviously extremely kind: That is, O my beloved, why do you, for the sake of those women, forsake the pleasures that the Almighty Allah has made lawful for you? And the Prophet’s forsaking of those pleasures, especially when there be some exigency, was not unlawful. And neither that act of the Prophet can be disobedience of Allah. And the scolding that appears in the verses is in fact applicable to the same wives. As for their sake why should he refrain from those pleasures? And their statement about the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar, if it is really a tradition there are many exigencies in it, in which there is trial for them and an expression of their infidelity and hypocrisy. And there are many exigencies, which cannot be understood by the people, for example the purpose behind the creation of Satan, presence of desires in human psychology and their control on evil actions. And the believer, must in all matters, remain steadfast on faith and he should not leave any scope for doubts on himself and must not be caught in the instigations of Satan, and he must not deny whatever he obtains from the Imams of religion and he should leave the knowledge of those things to the Imams.
- 22. The author says: Many examples of Ayesha’s cruelty and deviation will be mentioned in the account of the Battle of Jamal, if Allah wills.