The Messenger's marriages

Q 2: Why did the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) have more than one wife?

(Part No. 19; Page No. 171)  A: With Allah is the Perfect Wisdom. It is His Wisdom that He (Glorified be He) made it Mubah (permissible) for men to marry more than one wife, whether in the previous Shari`ahs (Divine laws) or in the Shari`ah (Islamic law) that was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Polygamy was not thus peculiar to our Prophet (peace be upon him). Rather, Ya`qub (Jacob, peace be upon him) had two wives. Also, Sulayman (Solomon, peace be upon him) married ninety nine wives at the same time, and he had sexual intercourse with all of them on the same night hoping that Allah would grant him a son from each one of his wives that would fight for the cause of Allah. Polygamy is not a Bid`ah (innovation) in Din (religion). It is not against sound mind or the requirements of Fitrah (natural disposition). Rather, permissibility of polygamy is a manifestation of Allah's Wisdom. The number of women is more than that of men as statistics always show. Man may have the energy that requires him to have more than one wife to satisfy his sexual appetite through the Halal (lawful) means instead of committing something Haram (prohibited) or repressing his needs. A wife may fall sick or have menstruation or postpartum that prevent sexual intercourse, a husband then may need to have another wife to satisfy his sexual appetite instead of repressing his desire or committing adultery. Since polygamy is Mubah and acceptable by sound minds, Fitrah and Shari`ah; some of the previous prophets practiced it, and necessity may require its practicing; so it is not strange that our Prophet Muhammad (Part No. 19; Page No. 172) (peace be upon him) practiced it. Scholars mention some other wisdoms for which the Prophet married more than one wife at the same time. Amongst these wisdoms was to strengthen the relations between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and some tribes through marriage, hoping that doing so would add to the power of Islam and help in its spread as it increases friendliness and consolidates ties of love and brotherhood. Another wisdom was to support some widows and compensate them with that which is better than what they lost, as a consolation for them to help them endure their misfortunes, and legislating a Sunnah (a commendable act) for the Ummah (nation) to do good to widows whose husbands are killed in Jihad (fighting in the Cause of Allah) etc. Besides, scholars mention that amongst the wisdoms for which the Prophet (peace be upon him) practiced polygamy was to increase his offspring as to respond to the call of Fitrah, to increase the number of the Ummah, and to reinforce the latter with those who may help it to support and spread Din. Finally, increasing the number of female knowledgeable believers who would teach and advise the Ummah according to what they learnt from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and knew about his personal character was one of the wisdoms for which the Prophet (peace be upon him) married more than one wife. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not marry more than one wife at the same time to satisfy his sexual appetite, for it is narrated that the Prophet did not marry a virgin or a young woman except `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her). The rest of the Prophet's wives were not virgins. Had the Prophet's sexual appetite been the reason for his practicing polygamy; he would have chosen only the young virgins to satisfy his appetite. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not choose to marry young virgins even though after migration many lands were opened, (Part No. 19; Page No. 173) Muslims started to have their own state, became more powerful, their number increased, and every family wished if they could have a relationship by marriage with the Prophet. Nevertheless, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not marry such young virgins but he only married for good purposes which are obvious for whoever considers the circumstances of the Prophet's marriage to each one of his wives. Similarly, had the Prophet been lustful, this would have been known from his biography during his youth and physical strength, but at that time, he (peace be upon him) had no wives at all other than his honorable wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid who was older than him. Likewise, had he (peace be upon him) been lustful; he would have been known for doing injustice to his wives regarding dividing his time and care between them. They were of different degrees of beauty and age but the Prophet was known for his justice to them, for his perfect chastity, and protection of his private parts when he was a young man and during his old age. This signifies that the Prophet was on an exalted standard of character and acted righteously with regard to all his affairs until he was renowned for this amongst his enemies. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.