FAMILY OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD ﷺ
Messenger of Allah ﷺi.e., Muhammad Bin Abdullah , who was sent 1400 years ago to call all mankind to follow the true path, no matter where or when; no matter if white or black, his message is for all whetherMuslimor Non-Muslim, Male or Female. His message is the last and the lasting one, no messenger will come after him, he is the last Messenger. Success in the hereafter is only possible through the way which He has shown.
Knowing his family is an important aspect. Family is a unit in which a person builds up his/ her personality. Family helps in an overall development of an individual. Keeping in view, all these facts, the importance of family cannot be denied or overlooked and that is the reason why Islam has given utmost importance to family and family-life.
Prophet’s father was Abdullah, who was the son of Abdul Muttalib. Prophet’s mother was Aamena, daughter of Wahb Ibn Abd Manāf. His father died before he was born. He was suckled by Halimah As-Sa’diyyah. Prophet’s mother died when he was six years old. After that his grandfather took care of him. But he too died when the Prophet ﷺwas eight years old. After that his uncle, Abu Tālib, maintained him, took care of him in the best possible way and supported him greatly when he was enlightened with Prophethood. However, Abu Tālib remained a polytheist till death.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺhad more than one wife. Along with talking about his wives, its important to know the reason and rationale behind each of his marriages.
She was the first of the Prophet’s wives. The Prophet ﷺwas twenty five years of age when he married Khadija (RA) who was forty by then. She was a twice widow when he married her and they lived twenty five years together.
She is one of the greatest women known to the mankind. The Prophet ﷺloved her a lot and he did not marry any other woman during her life. She died one year and a half before the emigration to Madinah.
The reason behind Prophet’s marriage to Khadija was only that he wanted a pure and a chaste woman as his life partner.
Shortly after Khadija’s death, Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib died. The Prophet ﷺbecame alone at the loss of two of his close companions. On the other hand, when Sawdah’s husband, As-Sakran, died, she feared to return to her family lest they may torture her and force her to convert. Being informed about her case, the Prophet ﷺoffered to marry her in order to defend her. Moreover, he wanted to honour her and her husband for their strong faith and their immigration in the cause of Allah. She was fifty five years at the time the Prophet ﷺmarried her. She died during the last days of Umar’s Caliphate.
The Prophet ﷺmarried this solitary and poor widow to be an example before all people to put before their eyes the noble goals behind marriage(s).
She was the only virgin woman whom the Prophet ﷺmarried. She was daughter of Abu Bakr (RA) and was nine years old when the Prophet ﷺmarried her. He abolished the Pre-Islamic system of brotherhood, where the people were accustomed to befriending one another to such an extent that they could not marry daughters of their friends whom they took as their brothers.
Aishah (RA) went on to become the most knowledgeable of Muslim women in sacred law, religion etc., having married the Prophet ﷺin the second year after Hijrah, becoming one of the dearest wives of the Prophet ﷺ. She related more than two thousand ahadith of the Prophet ﷺ, and after his death, leading figures of the companions of the Prophet ﷺwould come and ask her for legal opinions. It was a great rationale behind such a marriage!
Hafsa (RA) was widow of Khanis Ibn Hudhaifah, who died in Madinah due to wounds he received during the Battle of Uhud. Umar (RA) offered Uthman Ibn Affan (RA) to marry his daughter, but he apologized. Then Umar (RA) approached Abu Bakr (RA) to marry his daughter; he too didn’t answer him. Umar (RA) was very upset at their refusal. This has been reported in Hadith No. 5122, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7 in the Book of Nikah, and the narrator is Abdullah Ibn Umar (RA). Then the Prophet ﷺmarried Hafsa (RA) to give equal honours to both of his friends, having married daughters of both.
Hafsa (RA) is the only wife whom Prophet Muhammad ﷺdivorced, however he revoked the divorce and took her back later.
Her name was Hind bint Abu Umayyah (from Quraish). She was the first Muslim woman to immigrate to Abyssinia. She had been married to Abdullah Ibn Abd-Al-Asad who was martyred in the Battle of Uhud. When he died, she was sixty five years old. She had two boys and two girls. There was no one who could suffice her after the death of her husband. Therefore, the Prophet ﷺoffered to marry her. She first apologized to the Prophet ﷺdue to her old age, her orphans and the jealousy she had. But the Prophet ﷺsaid, “I am older than you and as for jealousy, I will supplicate Allah to remove it from you, and the orphans will be to Allah and His Messenger ﷺ.” Thus the wisdom behind this marriage was to look after the widow and her orphan kids. Narrators say that she died during the Caliphate of Yazid Ibn Muawiyah.
She was Prophet’s cousin. The Prophet ﷺmarried her to his adopted son Zaid Ibn Harith (RA). During those times the adopted sons were treated as real sons, with all rights of inheritance etc. Zaid’s marriage with Zaynab (RA) did not turn out happy, due to incompatibility among the two. The result was a divorce. Then Muhammad ﷺmarried Zaynab (RA). She was the only wife whose Waliyy was Allah, as narrated in following Aayah of Qur’an:
وَإِذْ تَقُولُ لِلَّذِي أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْسِكْ عَلَيْكَ زَوْجَكَ وَاتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَتُخْفِي فِي نَفْسِكَ مَا اللَّهُ مُبْدِيهِ وَتَخْشَى النَّاسَ وَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشَاهُ فَلَمَّا قَضَى زَيْدٌ مِنْهَا وَطَراً زَوَّجْنَاكَهَا لِكَيْ لا يَكُونَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ حَرَجٌ فِي أَزْوَاجِ أَدْعِيَائِهِمْ إِذَا قَضَوْا مِنْهُنَّ وَطَراً وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ مَفْعُولاً
“And remember when you said to him (Zaid bin Harith, RA) on whom Allah bestowed Grace and you have done favour: ‘Keep your wife to yourself & fear Allah.’ But you did hide in yourself that which Allah will make manifest, you did fear the people whereas Allah had a better right that you should fear Him. So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her, We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them. And Allah’s Command must be fulfilled.” Qur’an Surah Al-Ahzab 33:37
Subhan-Allah, the pagan superstition and the taboo about adopted sons had to be destroyed as Allah willed and this marriage took place as an example.
She was married to one of the severest opponents of Islam who was killed during the Battle of Banu Al-Mustalaq. Juwairiya (RA) was taken as a prisoner-of-war. She was under Thabit Ibn Qays, who wrote a contract for her emancipation. She went to the Prophet ﷺfor help. Prophet Muhammad ﷺoffered to marry her, and she said ‘yes’. So, he married her. No sooner did the Prophet ﷺdeclared his marriage to Juwairiya (RA) the companions of the Prophet ﷺcame with her tribe and set them free saying, “these prisoners are Prophet’s relatives by marriage.” Then all her people (of her tribe) accepted Islam willingly. Aishah (RA) used to say that there is no other woman who blessed her tribe more than Juwairiya (RA). That was the rationale behind this marriage: to disseminate the word of Allah all over the world and to multiply the Muslims and the helpers of Islam.
She was the widow of Ubaidallah Ibn Jahsh with whom she escaped to Abyssinia to escape torture. There her husband converted to Christianity and died soon after. She was left alone. Then Prophet Muhammad ﷺsent to Negus, the King of Abyssinia, to give him Umm Habiba (RA) in marriage. She agreed in overwhelming happiness.
Therefore, this marriage took place to honour the patient woman, to protect her from trials in religion and to please the hearts of her family.
She was daughter of leader of Banu Quraidah (or Banu Nadir). She was taken as a prisoner-of-war after the murder of her husband in the Battle of Khaybar. When she was brought to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, he said to her, “Your father was a great Jewish enemy to me until Allah slayed him.” She replied, “Allah says in Qur’an:
قُلْ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْغِي رَبّاً وَهُوَ رَبُّ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَلا تَكْسِبُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ إِلاَّ عَلَيْهَا وَلا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
“Say: ‘Shall I seek a lord better other than Allah, while He is the Lord of all things? No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. Then unto your Lord is your return, so He will tell you that wherein you have been differing.” Surah Al-An’am 6:164
Then the Prophet ﷺgave her choice of either to be his wife or to return to her family, as two conditions of setting her free. She said, “O Prophet Muhammad ﷺ! I liked Islam and believed you before you invited me. Moreover, I have nothing in Judaism, no father or brother; you have given me a choice between Disbelief and Islam. Allah and His Messenger ﷺare more beloved to me than return to my tribe.” Then the Prophet ﷺmarried her. Her emancipation was her Mahr.
She was the widow of Abu Ruham Ibn Abdel Uzza. She was the last wife of the Prophet ﷺ. The motivation behind this marriage was that the Prophet ﷺwanted to attract the people’s hearts to Islam. Maymuna (RA) had many relatives and kin in Banu Hashim and Banu Makhzum. It is said that Prophet Muhammad ﷺmarried Maymuna (RA) while in state of Ihram. However, other narrations tell us that he was not in state of Ihram at the time of marriage and consummation of marriage.
Having talked about Umm-ul-Mu’mineen (RA), let us summarize the goals which were aimed at behind these marriages of our beloved Prophet ﷺ.
a) Spreading education among women: the situation required that some women should take charge of guiding and teaching other women, especially in feminine matters which they may feel shy to ask the prophet ﷺ, such as marriage affairs, menstruation, child-birth, purification etc.
b) Perfection of legislation: Prophet’s wives narrated more than three thousand hadiths, and this explains it all.
c) Social solidarity: The Prophet ﷺconsolidated the bonds of friendship with his companions by marriages.
d) Political aims: The Prophet ﷺgained support of leaders of different tribes from whom he married. Furthermore, they willingly embraced Islam.
e) Humanitarian purposes: Prophet’s marriages were also a mercy to those old women who could not find any care or shelter for themselves and their orphans after the loss of their husbands.
f) Setting up an example for Muslim men and women: Prophet’s behaviour with his wives and in turn the behaviour of Umm-ul-Mu’mineen (RA) with the Prophet ﷺand with each other, are examples for us. Muslim men should learn a lesson from our beloved Prophet ﷺif they come across a situation where they have to marry more than once. Similarly, Muslim women should learn from Umm-ul-Mu’mineen (RA) about how to live with their husbands along with their other wives happily in harmony.
g) Removal of superstitions and things of the Period of Ignorance: Some marriages of the Prophet ﷺwere supported by ayath of Qur’an, thereby removing some of the traditions of Pre-Islamic period of Ignorance.
A slave woman with whom a man has intercourse is known as a sariyyahfrom the word sirr, which means marriage. Prophet Muhammad ﷺhad two Surriyyahs:
She was sent to the Prophet ﷺas a gift from Al-Muqawqis, the ruler of Alexandria and Egypt.She gave birth to Ibraaheem, who died later.
The Prophet ﷺchose her for himself from Banu Quraidah. Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 3/500
The Prophet ﷺhad seven children: four daughters and three sons. Six children were from his first wife, Khadija (RA); one son was from Mariyah Al-Qibtiyyah. All three of his sons died at young age. And except Fatima (RA), all children of the Prophet ﷺdied before him.
Al-Qasim was Prophet’s eldest son and because of him the Prophet ﷺwas also called Abul-Qasim.
She was born ten years before the Prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ. She was the eldest daughter of the Prophet ﷺ. She got married to Abu Al-As, her cousin from maternal side, who did not accept Islam at first but became a Muslim later on.
She was born after Zaynab. She was married to Abu Lahab’s son. Muhammad ﷺwas not a Messenger by then; he accepted the proposal for her daughter’s marriage. After the call for Islam came from Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Abu Lahab asked his son to divorce Muhammad’s daughter. And the divorce took place. She was then married to Uthman Ibn Affan (RA).
She was born shortly after Ruqayyah. Therefore, they were brought up together like twins. On similar lines, she too was married to another son of Abu Lahab and was divorced later on when the call for Islam came from Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. When her sister, Ruqayyah, wife of Uthman Ibn Affan died, Prophet Muhammad gave Umm Kulthum to Uthman (RA) in marriage. From that time onwards, Uthman Ibn Affan (RA) was called Zu-Nurayn i.e. the possessor of two lights (because he married two daughters of the Prophet, PBUH).
She was the fourth daughter of the Prophet ﷺ, born to Khadija five years before the Prophethood of her father. Fatima (RA) is one of the best women known to the mankind. Along with Maryam (mother of Prophet Isa, AS), Khadija (Prophet Muhammad’s first wife) & Asiyah (Pharaoh’s wife who took care of Prophet Musa, AS), Fatima (RA) is the purest and the best of women kind.
Many great companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, including Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar bin Khattab (RA), asked for her hand in marriage, but the Prophet ﷺkindly apologized. Then came Ali Ibn Abu Talib (RA) and Prophet Muhammad ﷺgave her to Ali (RA) in marriage when she was eighteen years old.
She is the Chief of the Women in Paradise and was the first among the Prophet’s family to die after him. She died very soon after her father’s death, at the age of twenty seven.
Abdullah was born after the Prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ. He was also called At-Tayyib or At-Tahir, because he was born in Islam.
Mariyah Al-Qibtiyyah gave birth to Ibrahim, the son of Prophet ﷺ. He was born in Madinah and he died when he was one year and ten months old.
Zaid Ibn Harith (RA) was adopted by Prophet Muhammad ﷺas a son. As soon as Muhammad ﷺwas shouldered with the responsibility of Prophethood, Zaid submitted himself to Islam. He was probably the second man to embrace Islam (first being Abu Bakr Siddiq, RA). He was one of the most beloved to the Prophet and the companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺused to call him ‘The Beloved’.
Zaynab (RA) gave birth to two sons: Ali & Umamah.
Fatima (RA) gave birth to four children, two sons and two daughters. The first child to be born was Al-Hassan, in the third year after Hijrah. A year later, Al-Hussain was born in the fourth year of Hijrah. The Prophet ﷺwas very (sentimentally) close to Al-Hassan and Al-Hussain. In the fifth year of Hijrah, Fatima (RA) gave birth to Zaynab, the first grand-daughter of the Prophet ﷺ. Two years later, the fourth child was born, a girl, whom the Prophet ﷺcalled Umm Kulthum.
Son of Zaid Ibn Harith (RA) was Usama Ibn Zaid. Prophet Muhammad ﷺloved him too much and would keep him with himself along with Al-Hassan and Al-Hussain.
This is a brief description of the family members of our beloved prophet ﷺ. The lives of these persons are a testimony to their greatness. May Allah have mercy on the great Muslim personalities mentioned above.
(Other references: ‘Prophet Muhammad’s Biography’ by Imam Ibn Kathir).