Why did prophet Mohammad (pbuh) marry many wives, and who were they, their names and brief background on each one of them (may Allah bless them all).
When people hear that the prophet had many wives they conclude without much thought that the prophet was a sensuous man. However, a quick historical review of his marriages, proves otherwise.
When he was twenty-five years old he married for the first time. His wife, Khadijah, was fifteen years older than he. She remained the only wife of the prophet for the next twenty-five years, until she died (may Allah be pleased with her).
Only after her death, did the prophet marry other women. Now, it is obvious that if the prophet was after physical pleasure he did not have to wait until he was more than fifty years old to start marrying more wives. He lived in a society in which it was quite acceptable to have many wives. But the prophet remained devoted to his only wife for twenty-five years. When she died she was sixty-five years old.
His later marriages were for various reasons. Some marriages were with the view to help the women whose husbands had been killed while they were defending their faith. Others were with a view to cement relationships with devoted followers like Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. Yet others were to build bridges with various tribes who were otherwise at war with the Muslims. When the prophet became their relative through marriage, their hostilities calmed down, and much bloodshed was averted.
Recent non-Muslim writers who had the opportunity to study the life of the prophet first-hand reach a similar conclusion about his plural marriages.
John L. Esposito, Professor of Religion and Director of the Centre for International Studies at the College of the Holy Cross, says that most of these marriages had "political and social motives" (Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1988, p. 19). This he explained as follows: "As was customary for Arab chiefs, many were political marriages to cement alliances. Others were marriages to the widows of his companions who had fallen in combat and were in need of protection" (John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, pp. 19-20). Esposito reminds us of the following historical fact: "Though less common, polygyny was also permitted in biblical and even in postbiblical Judaism. From Abraham, David, and Solomon down to the reformation period, polygyny was practiced" (p. 19).
Another non-Muslim Caesar E. Farah writes as follows: "In the prime of his youth and adult years Muhammad remained thoroughly devoted to Khadijah and would have none other for consort. This was an age that looked upon plural marriages with favor and in a society that in pre-Biblical and post-Biblical days considered polygamy an essential feature of social existence. David had six wives and numerous concubines (2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3) and Solomon was said to have had as many as 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Solomon's son Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines (2 Chronicles 11:21). The New Testament contains no specific injunction against plural marriages. It was commonplace for the nobility among the Christians and Jews to contract plural marriages. Luther spoke of it with toleration" (Caesar E. Farah, Islam: Beliefs and Observances, 4th edition, Barron's, U.S. 1987, p. 69). Caesar Farah then concluded that Muhammad's plural marriages were due "partly to political reasons and partly to his concern for the wives of his companions who had fallen in battle defending the nascent Islamic community" (p. 69).
1. Khadijah: She was 40 years old when she proposed to marry the Prophet when he was 25 years old. After 15years of their marriage he became a prophet. She had been married twice before she married Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Her first husband was Aby Haleh Al Tamemy and her second husband was Oteaq Almakzomy. They had both died leaving Khadijah a widower. Khadijah died in 621A.D. This was the same year the Prophet ascended into heaven (Meraj).
2. Sodeah Bint Zamaah Al Amreah: Her first husband was Al Sakran Ibn Omro Ibn Abed Shamz. He died within a few days after his return from Ethiopia. She was 65 years old, poor, and had no one to care for her. This was why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married her.
3. Aishah: A woman named Kholeah Bint Hakeem suggested that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) marry Aishah, the daughter of Aby Bakr, to form a close relationship with Aby Bakr's family. She was already engaged to Jober Ibn Al Moteam Ibn Oday. At this time Jober was not yet a Muslim. The people of Makkah did not object to Aishah becoming married because although she was young, she was mature enough to understand the responsibility of marriage. Prophet Muhammad (bpuh) was engaged to Aishah for 2 years before he married her. Aby Bakr was the first leader after Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) death.
4. Hafsah: She was the daughter of Omar, the second Calipha. Omar asked Othman to marry Hafsah. Othman refused because his wife had recently died and Othman did not want to remarry. Omar then went to Aby Bakr but he also refused to marry Hafsah. Aby Bakr knew that the Prophet had already considered marrying Hafsah. Omar then went to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and complained that Othman and Aby Bakr did not want to marry his daughter. The Prophet told Omar that his daughter will marry and Othman will also remarry. Othman married the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Om Kolthoom, and Hafsah married the Prophet. This made Omar and Othman both happy.
5. Zaynab Bint Kozameh: Her husband died in the battle of Uhud, leaving her poor and with several children. She was old when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married her. She died 3 months after she married the Prophet 625 A.D.
6. Hend Bint Omeah Ibn Almogereahk (Omsalameh): Her husband, Abud Allah Abud Al Assad Ibn Al Mogherah, died leaving Hend poor and with many children. Hend was at least 65 years old at the time. Aby Bakr and several others asked her to marry them, but because she loved her husband very much, she refused the marriage's offers. But finally she accepted Prophet mohammad's offer to marry her and take care of her children.
7. Zaynab Bent Jahish: She was the daughter of Prophet Muhammad's aunt, Omameh Bint Abud Almutaleb. The Prophet arranged for Zaynab to marry Zayed Ibn Hareathah Al Kalby. This marriage did not last and the Prophet received a verse in the Quran which stated that if they became divorced, then the Prophet must marry Zaynab (Sura 33:37).
8. Juayreah Bint Al Hareath: Her first husband's name was Masafeah Ibn Safuan. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wanted Juayreah's tribe (Beni Al Mostalag)to convert to Islam. Juayreah became a prisoner after the Muslims won the Battle of Al Mostalaq. Juayreah's father came to the Prophet and offered a payment for her return. The Prophet asked her father to give her a choice. When she was given a choice she said she accepted Islam and Prophet Muhammad as the last God's Messenger. The Prophet then married her. Her tribe of Beni Almostalag accepted Islam.
9. Safia Bint Hoyah Ibn Ahtab: She was from the tribe of Beni Nadir, who were from the children of Levi (Israel). She was married twice before, then she married Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Her first husband Salam Ibn Moshkem, and her second husband was Kenanah Ibn Al Rabeeah.
10. Ramelah Bint Aby Sofian (Om Habebah): Her first husband was Aubed Allah Jahish. He was the son of the aunt of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Aubed Allah died in Ethiopia. The king of Ethiopia arranged the marriage of Ramelah to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
11. Maria Al-Qubtia: She was sent to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a hand maid servant from the king of Egypt. Maria had a son from the Prophet. His name was Ibrahim.
12. Maymonah Bent Al Hareath: She was 26years old when she married Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Her first husband was Abu Rahma Ibn Abed Alzey. When the Prophet opened Makkah in 630 AD , she came to the Prophet, accepted Islam and proposed to marry him. Her actions encouraged Many Makkahans to accept Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).