Rebuttal to "The Dissatisfaction of Muhammad's Wives: Being A Response to the Challenge of a Muslim"
Sam Shamoun wrote a response to my article here.
Shamoun tried to meet my challenge to him, which was...
I challenge Shamoun to show evidence that the wives wished that they had divorced the Prophet or were displeased in their marriage to him.
Shamoun in his article shows instances in which the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were jealous and sometimes disappointed with the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, this is no way meets my challenge. Shamoun hastened to try to understand what I was asking for. My challenge was for him to show that they were displeased in their marriage in the sense that they wanted it to end and not displeased at certain times. Spouses always have ups and downs and quarrel with each other but that does not mean that they are displeased in their marriage. For conflicts do arise in marriages and any one who is married will most likely tell you that this is so.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was no different. That is the reason why he is such a good example for us to follow. He was a human being that went through the same troubles in life that others go through and we can learn from him how he dealt with it unlike taking a "godman" as an example to follow and you can't relate to him because he is nothing like you.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) acknowledges to Aisha that they have ups and downs...
Volume 7, Book 62, Number 155:
That Allah's Apostle said to her, "I you are pleased with me or angry with me." I said, "Whence do you know that?" He said, "When you are pleased with me, you say, 'No, by the Lord of Muhammad,' but when you are angry with me, then you say, 'No, by the Lord of Abraham.' " Thereupon I said, "Yes (you are right), but by Allah, O Allah's Apostle, I leave nothing but your name."
So yes the Prophet (peace be upon him) did have difficulties in his marriage. This is absolutely fine. If he didn't then he wouldn't have been a good example for us to follow since we can't look up to him in order to know how to deal with difficult situations that arise between spouses.
So I can just stop right here if I wanted to and not go any further. Because Shamoun did not meet the challenge. However so, we will address some of the points being raised.
Shamoun argues that the Prophet should have had provisions to give to his wives. He quotes the following verse as evidence...
Did He not find you as an orphan and give you shelter? Did He not find you wandering about and give you guidance? And did He not find you in need AND MAKE YOU RICH? S. 93:6-8 Muhammad Sarwar
However, this verse was referring to a certain period...
And he also said: (Did He not find thee) O Muhammad (destitute) poor (and enrich (thee)) with the wealth of Khadijah; and it is also said this means: and made you content with that which He gave you? The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Yes, O Gabriel!" (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ?Abbâs, Commentary on Surah 93:8, Source)
So this was way before the Prophet's migration to Medina. So this verse can't be used to show that he was rich in Medina.
Or it could simply mean.
And did He not find you needy, poor, and enrich you?, [and] made you content with the spoils and other things which He gave you - in a hadith [it is stated], 'Wealth comes not from the proliferation of transient [worldly] goods, but wealth comes from the contentedness of the soul'. (Jalal ud-Din Siyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 93:8, Source: www.altafsir.com)
So its possible that God made the Prophet rich with the guidance He has bestowed upon him.
Shamoun then quotes quranic verses that talk about how one fifth of the booty was given to Allah and His Messenger. This issue is addressed here http://www.authenticsunnah.org/muhammads_share.htm
Shamoun then quotes the following hadith...
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Whenever a dead man in debt was brought to Allah's Apostle he would ask, "Has he left anything to repay his debt?" If he was informed that he had left something to repay his debts, he would offer his funeral prayer, otherwise he would tell the Muslims to offer their friend's funeral prayer. When Allah made the Prophet wealthy through conquests, he said, "I am more rightful than other believers to be the guardian of the believers, so if a Muslim dies while in debt, I am responsible for the repayment of his debt, and whoever leaves wealth (after his death) it will belong to his heirs." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 37, Number 495)
I will not lay any criticism on Shamoun for he is ignorant of the Arabic language and therefore he would not have been able to verify if this was a correct translation or not.
The hadith in Arabic is here http://hadith.al-islam.com/Display/Display.asp?Doc=0&Rec=3606 and it does not say that the Prophet became wealthy through conquests. It says that God made the Prophet victorious in his conquests. Sam Shamoun could verify this with his translator Dimitrius if he wishes to do so.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) tried his best to not live a luxurious life...
Volume 002, Book 022, Hadith Number 312.
Narated By 'Uqba bin Al-Harith : I offered the 'Asr prayer with the Prophet and after finishing the prayer with Taslim he got up quickly and went to some of his wives and then came out. He noticed the signs of astonishment on the faces of the people caused by his speed. He then said, "I remembered while I was in my prayer that a piece of gold was Lying in my house and I disliked that it should remain with us throughout the night, and so I have ordered it to be distributed."
If the Prophet was rich then he would never have borrowed money off people...
Volume 001, Book 008, Hadith Number 434.
Narated By Jabir bin 'Abdullah : I went to the Prophet in the mosque (the sub-narrator Mas'ar thought that Jabir had said, "In the forenoon.") He ordered me to pray two Rakat. He owed me some money and he repaid it to me and gave more than what was due to me.
Read more here http://www.iqra.net/Hadith/zuhd.php
The reason why the Prophet (peace be upon him) got irritated when extra money was being asked from his side was his fear that his wives were beginning to become materialistic, especially since he already got used to the fact of living simple. The Prophet gave Aisha a simple dowry...
Book 008, Number 3318:
Abu Salama b. 'Abd al-Rahman reported: I asked 'A'isha, the wife of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him): What is the amount of dower of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him)? She said: It was twelve 'uqiyas and one nash. She said: Do you know what is al-nash? I said: No. She said: It is half of uqiya, and it amounts to five hundred dirhams, and that was the dower given by Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to his wives.
Even Aisha herself said that women should be easy in expenditure...
Aisha narrated that the Prophet said: "The most blessed woman is the easiest in her expenditure." (An Nasa'i, Ishrat an'Nisa', vol. 5, p.402, cited in Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, pp. 44)
So the Prophet had a good reason to get upset at this sudden materialistic request from his wives.
Shamoun then goes on to quote Surah 4:2-5 to show that the Prophet did not treat his wives fairly when it came to materialistic provisions, however I failed to see where he showed that the Prophet (peace be upon him) didn't.
Shamoun then talks about how the Prophet married more than four wives. This issue was touched upon here http://www.load-islam.com/artical_det.php?artical_id=654§ion=memberbase&subsection=myarticle
Shamoun then discusses Surah 33:51...
The Quran granted Muhammad the right to ignore any wife he chose:
You may put off whom you please of them, and you may take to you whom you please, and whom you desire of those whom you had separated provisionally; no blame attaches to you; this is most proper, so that their eyes may be cool and they may not grieve, and that they should be pleased, all of them with what you give them, and Allah knows what is in your hearts; and Allah is Knowing, Forbearing. S. 33:51 Shakir
Ibn Kathir gives the historical context of this verse...
The Prophet has the Choice of either accepting or rejecting Women who offer Themselves to Him
Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, used to feel jealous of the women who offered themselves to the Prophet . She said, "Would a woman not feel shy to offer herself without any dowery'' Then Allah revealed the Ayah,
(You can postpone whom you will of them, and you may receive whom you will.) She said, "I think that your Lord is hastening to confirm your desire.'' We have already stated that Al-Bukhari also recorded this. This indicates that what is meant by the word:
(postpone) is delay, and
(whom you will of them) means, `of those who offer themselves to you.'
(and you may receive whom you will.) means, `whoever you wish, you may accept, and whoever you wish, you may decline, but with regard to those whom you decline, you have the choice of going back to them later on and receiving them.'
(And whomsoever you desire of those whom you have set aside, it is no sin on you (to receive her again).) Others said that what is meant by:
(You can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them,) means, `your wives: there is no sin on you if you stop dividing your time equally between them, and delay the turn of one of them and bring forward the turn of another as you wish, and you have intercourse with one and not another as you wish.' This was narrated from Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Abu Razin, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and others. Nevertheless, the Prophet used to divide his time between them equally, hence a group of the scholars of Fiqh among the Shafi`is and others said that equal division of time was not obligatory for him and they used this Ayah as their evidence. Al-Bukhari recorded that `A'ishah said: "The Messenger of Allah used to ask permission of us (for changing days) after this Ayah was revealed:
(You can postpone whom you will of them, and you may receive whom you will. And whomsoever you desire of those whom you have set aside, it is no sin on you.)'' I (the narrator) said to her: "What did you say'' She said, "I said, `If it were up to me, I would not give preference to anyone with regard to you, O Messenger of Allah!''' This Hadith indicates that what is meant in this Hadith from `A'ishah is that it was not obligatory on him to divide his time equally between his wives. The first Hadith quoted from her implies that the Ayah was revealed concerning the women who offered themselves to him. Ibn Jarir prefered the view that the Ayah was general and applies both to the women who offered themselves to him and to the wives that he already had, and that he was given the choice whether to divide him time among them or not. This is a good opinion which reconciles between the Hadiths. Allah says:
(that is better that they may be comforted and not grieved, and may all be pleased with what you give them.) meaning, `if they know that Allah has stated that there is no sin on you with regard to dividing your time. If you wish, you may divide you time and if you do not wish, you need not divide your time, there is no sin on you no matter which you do. Therefore if you divide your time between them, this will be your choice, and not a duty that is enjoined upon you, so they will feel happy because of that and will recognize your favor towards them in sharing your time equally among them and being fair to all of them.'
(Allah knows what is in your hearts.) means, `He knows that you are more inclined towards some of them than others, which you cannot avoid.' Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah said: "The Messenger of Allah used to divide his time between his wives fairly and treat them equally, then he said:
(O Allah, I have done as much as I can with regard to what is under my control, so do not blame me for that which is under Your control and not mine.)'' It was also recorded by the four Sunan compilers. After the words "so do not blame me for that which is under Your control and not mine,'' Abu Dawud's (Tafsir ibn Kathir, Source)
So here we see that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has a choice of accepting or rejecting which women he would like to marry. Also, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not obliged to divide his time fairly amongst his wives, however he still did and this made the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) appreciate him even more since he did something that he was not obliged to do and did it out of the willingness of his good heart.
Then Shamoun talks about how the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not treating his wives on equal terms and how his wives were jealous.
First of all, when the Qur'an commands that we treat our wives fairly it means in a financial and time allocation sense...
However, Surah 4:3 is saying that the person should be fair when it comes to things such as providing food, water, shelter etc. and spending equal time with them (unless they give permission otherwise)...
(And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans) and if you fear that you will not preserve orphans' wealth, you should also fear not dealing fairly with women in relation to providing sustenance and apportionment. This was because they used to marry as many women as they liked, as many as nine or ten. Qays Ibn al-Harth for example had eight wives. Allah forbade them from doing so and prohibited them from marrying more than four wives, saying: (marry of the women, who seem good to you) marry that which Allah has made lawful for you, (two or three or four) marry one, two, three or four but do not marry more than four wives; (and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice) to four wives in relation to apportionment and providing sustenance (then one (only)) then marry only one free woman (or that your right hands possess) of captives, and in that case you do not owe them any apportionment, and they need not observe any waiting period. (Thus it) marrying just one woman (is more likely that ye will not do injustice) that you will not incline to some at the expense of others or that you transgress regarding the provision of sustenance and apportionment to four wives. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ?Abbâs, Commentary on Surah 4:3 Source)
It is not speaking about treating them equally when it comes to emotions. You cannot EQUALLY love two people. You cannot control your heart. Even most parents would tend to love one child just a little bit more than the other while loving them all very much at the same time. So when it comes to emotions you cannot be equal...
You will never be able to be just to, to treat equally, your wives, in terms of love, even if you be eager, for this; yet do not turn altogether away, towards the one you love with respect to the shares and maintenance expenses, so that you leave her, the one from whom you turn away, like one suspended, one that is neither a slavegirl nor a woman with a husband. If you set things right, by being just with the shares, and are wary, of injustice, surely God is ever Forgiving, regarding the inclination in your hearts, Merciful, to you in this respect. (Jalal ud-Din Siyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 4:129, Source: www.altafsir.net)
(Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives) as regards love, (however much ye wish (to do so)) even if you exert your efforts: (But turn not altogether away) with your bodies ((from one)) in favour of the young wife, (leaving her) the other one: the old wife (as in suspense) like a prisoner: neither unmarried nor married. (If ye do good and keep from evil) if you treat them equally and avoid transgression and aversion, (lo! Allah is ever Forgiving) of those who repent of transgression and aversion, (Merciful) towards those who die in a state of repentance. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ?Abbâs, Commentary on Surah 4:129 Source)
The meaning of Allah's statement,
(But if you do good and have Taqwa, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do) if you are patient with the wife you dislike and treat her as other wives are treated, then Allah knows what you do and will reward you for it perfectly. Allah's statement,
(You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire,) means, O people! You will never be able to be perfectly just between wives in every respect. Even when one divides the nights justly between wives, there will still be various degrees concerning love, desire and sexual intimacy, as Ibn `Abbas, `Ubaydah As-Salmani, Mujahid, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim stated. Imam Ahmad and the collectors of the Sunan recorded that `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah used to treat his wives equally and proclaim,
(O Allah! This is my division in what I own, so do not blame me for what You own and I do not own) referring to his heart. This was the wording that Abu Dawud collected, and its chain of narrators is Sahih. Allah's statement,
(so do not incline too much to one of them) means, when you like one of your wives more than others, do not exaggerate in treating her that way,
(so as to leave the other hanging. ) referring to the other wives. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that Mu`allaqah [hanging] means, "She is neither divorced nor married.'' Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever has two wives and inclines to one of them (too much), will come on the Day of Resurrection with one of his sides dragging.) Allah's statement,
(And if you do justice, and do all that is right and have Taqwa, then Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) The Ayah states: If you do justice and divide equally in what you have power over, while fearing Allah in all conditions, then Allah will forgive you the favoritism that you showed to some of your wives. (Tafsir ibn Kathir, Source)
As for the Prophet's wives being jealous, this is something absolutely normal...
Why did Sarah feel jealous of Hajar even though she was a woman of such righteousness and virtue?
When Hajar gave birth to Ismaeel (upon him be peace) was Sarah jealous of her? If so why would a noble lady like Sarah get jealous? Is her jealousy the reason why Ibraheem (upon him be peace) was ordered to send Hajar and Ismaeel (upon him be peace) to the desert?.
Praise be to Allaah.
A woman's jealousy towards her co-wives is something that is entirely natural, and it is not something that only some women feel and not others. Hence she will not be called to account for it unless she transgresses the limits and lets it lead to wronging her sister, which is something that Allaah has forbidden, by backbiting or spreading gossip or demanding the divorce of her co-wife or plotting against her and so on.
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Basically, jealousy is natural and is not something that only some women feel and not others, but if a woman oversteps the mark then she is to be blamed. The guideline concerning that is the hadeeth which was narrated from Jaabir ibn ?Ateek al-Ansaari, who attributed it to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): "There is a kind of jealousy which Allaah loves, and a kind which Allaah hates. As for the kind of jealousy which Allaah loves, it is jealousy when there are grounds for suspicion. And as for the kind of jealousy which Allaah hates, it is jealousy when there are no grounds for suspicion."
Classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in al-Irwa', 7/80.
So jealousy on the part of the husband and wife, if it is of the type that is part of human nature which no woman is free from, then it is excused, so long as she does not overstep the mark and do or say anything that Allaah has forbidden. This is the way in which the reports from the salaf which speak of women's jealousy are to be understood.
Fath al-Baari, 9/326.
Ibn Muflih (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Al-Tabari and other scholars said: Jealousy on the part of women is to be overlooked and they are not to be punished for it because it is part of their nature.
Al-Adaab al-Shar'iyyah, 1/248
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, commenting on the hadeeth which describes ?Aa'ishah breaking the vessel of one of her co-wives:
They - i.e., all those who commented on this hadeeth - said: this indicates that the jealous women is not to be taken to task for what she does, because in that case her reasoning is overshadowed by the strong anger that was provoked by jealousy. Abu Ya'la narrated from ?Aa'ishah with an isnaad with which there is nothing wrong a marfoo' report which says: "A jealous woman cannot tell the bottom of the valley from its top." Fath al-Baari, 9/325
The jealousy that occurred on the part of the best of women is something which no one can avoid, and they will not be taken to ask for it because it is not an action that transgresses the laws of Allaah.
The jealousy that Sarah felt towards Hajar comes under this heading. For a woman to ask her husband not to let her see her co-wife and not to make her live with her is something that cannot be denounced. It should be noted that the scholars said that Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) is the one who took Hajar and her son away, and Sarah did not ask for that.
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
And it is said that Sarah was intensely jealous, so Ibraaheem took Ismaa'eel and his mother to Makkah because of that.
Fath al-Baari, 6/401
This is also indicated by the words of Hajar: "O Ibraaheem, will you go and leave us in this valley in which there are no people and nothing?" She said that to him several times, and he did not answer her. Then she said to him: "Is it Allaah Who has commanded you to do this?" He said: "Yes." She said: "Then He will not forsake us." Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3184.
It was narrated that Ibn ?Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: When what happened between Ibraaheem and his wife happened, he went out with Hajar and Ismaa'eel, carrying a skin full of water.. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3185.
The words of Ibn ?Abbaas - "When what happened between Ibraaheem and his wife happened" - "his wife" refers to Sarah and "what happened" refers to Sarah's jealousy when Haajar bore Ismaa'eel.
Fath al-Baari, 6/407 (Source)
So as we see, it is perfectly understandable for women to be jealous as long as it does not cross any illegal boundaries set by God...
Anyway, we should learn from the above-mentioned hadith that a Muslim woman should be moderate in her jealousy on her husband in all her affairs as well. Moderation is a token of perfection of religion and mind. If jealousy exceeds the limits of moderation, it will be an accusation against the husband. It may kindle fire within the heart of the wife, and ignite the fire of discord and dissension between spouses. (Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, pp. 47)
Verily, jealousy comes as a result of a woman's imagination that her husband loves another woman more than her. this is a natural behavior that is usually committed by high virtuous women, not to mention the ordinary ones. As we have mentioned before, when talking about Aisha' that a wife's jealousy is of no harm so long as its reason is loving the husband and it does not exceed the limits of moderation. (ibid. pp. 85)
This jealousy of Aisha would not stop her from speaking kindly about her husband...
Once Karimah bint Hammam asked Aisha about the permissibility of using Henna. She replied, "There is no objection to it but I do not like it because my beloved, Muhammad, did not like its smell. (Ibn Al Jawzi, Ahkam an-Nisa', p.145, cited in Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, pp. 48)
So Shamoun is trying to magnify a small problem here. Yes, there were difficulties in the marriages of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This is only natural. It would be surprising that a man married to that big number of women wouldn't face difficulties. But we learn from them and see how the Prophet (peace be upon him) remained patient and continued to have a prolonged marriage with them all until either one of them died. The Prophet (peace be upon him) didn't go around cheating on his wives just like David allegedly did according to Shamoun's Bible and whom he respects as a Prophet. Lets see how the Biblical God's treats the wives of David...
The second book of Samuel basically talks about how God is rebuking David for the sin he committed (2 Samuel 11:2-26). Surely, indeed David does deserve a rebuking if he did commit this crime. However, what shocked me was when I read the following verses...
2 Samuel 12:11-12
11 "This is what the LORD says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.' "
God is basically saying that He would take David's wives to those who are 'close to David'. Some commentaries defined this as possibly referring to David's neighbors...
and I will take thy wives before thine eyes; which is so expressed, because it was done in his lifetime, and he knowing it, but not able to hinder it, though he did not, strictly speaking, see it with his eyes:
and give [them] unto thy neighbour; or friend, meaning his son Absalom, as they were: (John Gill's Exposition to the Bible, Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:11, Source)
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give [them] unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun (The Geneva Study Bible, Commentary on 2 Samuel 12:11, Source)
So God is threatening David by having his wives commit adultery with his neighbours. Something that basically goes against two of the ten commandments...
You shall not commit adultery.
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
Even though David later repented and the punishment was not carried out, how on earth could God have made such a threat? One might argue back that it was done in order to put David to shame and to make him think about the consequences of his actions. However, this is no Godly way of doing it. God could have simply rebuked him by threatening to punish him in hell, taking his kingdom away etc. God can't threaten to commit a sin or violate His own law, especially when God wants to punish innocents (David's wives) for doing absolutely nothing. It makes no sense. It does not behoove such holiness to utter such statements.
Shamoun links to his article, which is already refuted here.
I also wanted to clarify the difference between treating one's wives EQUALLY and FAIRLY. Treating people equally does not necessarily mean that you are treating them fairly.
For example, I can't give the marketing manager of a company the same equal salary that I give to the executive. Its not fair, because one works more than the other.
Similarly, you might have one wife who has 3 kids and another wife with no kids. Its not fair that you give both of them a one bedroom apartment for the wife who has 3 kids needs a larger house while the one with no kids does not.
So just because someone might not treat his wives EQUALLY, that does not meant that he is not treating them FAIRLY. He might be treating them differently according to specific situations and contexts that deem it suitable.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org