Khadijah is the mother of all the Messenger’s children except Ibrahim, whose mother was Maria. After the death of Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), the Messenger (peace be upon him) married again, more than one time. Khadijah is the best woman from the Islamic nation, and she is different from ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) as she was the first woman to believe in Allah and His Messenger. Khadijah never disobeyed him and never made him angry. And Khadijah did not receive any harm at all from him or blame, and he never abandoned her. This, in itself, is sufficient to indicate her virtue. Allah sent His greetings of peace to her through Gibrael (peace be upon him), which Allah’s Messenger relayed to her. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said,
Gibrael came to the Messenger (peace be upon him) and said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, this is Khadijah coming to you with a container holding meat soup, or food or drink. When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord and on my behalf and give her the good news of a house in paradise made up of Qasab, i.e. a hollow pearl that looks like a splendid palace, where there will be no noise or fatigue’ related by Al-Bukhari.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) married Sawda bint Zamʿa after Khadijah died and before he immigrated to Medina. She was the same age as Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with them both), i.e. 66 years old. The Messenger (peace be upon him) married Sawda bint Zamʿa because she had immigrated with her husband to Abyssinia in order to escape torment from the tribe of Quraish. But when her husband died and she returned to Quraish, her family nearly made her leave Islam and return to her family’s religion. This is why the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) married Sawda bint Zamʿa, in order to protect her religion from the difficulties she was experiencing.
Prophet Mohammed and Aisha married when Aisha was about nine years old, but the marriage was not consummated until after the immigration to Medina.
The aim of marrying her was to strength his friendship with Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). All the wives of the Messenger (peace be upon him) had previously been married except Aisha, she was the only virgin the Messenger (peace be upon him) married.
Some of her special qualities included: she was the only wife for whom revelation came down to the Messenger (peace be upon him) when he was in her bed. Allah announced her innocence from the slanderous lie that was spread about her, and this announcement was in the form of revelation in Surah Nur that will be recited until the Resurrection Day. Moreover, whenever the elderly Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) did not understand any matter in the religion, they used to ask Aisha for her opinion and they found that Aisha was knowledgeable.
The noble Messenger (peace be upon him) married Hafsa bint Umar after the immigration. The aim of marrying Hafsa bint Umar was to strength his friendship with Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him). Umar was the second closest advisor for the Messenger (peace be upon him).
Zaynab bint Khuzayma was in her sixtiess when she married the Messenger (peace be upon him), and she did not live with him for more than two years.
Zaynab bint Khuzayma was called the mother of the poor. Her husband died in the battle of Uhud and the Messenger (peace be upon him) married her to help and encourage her to keep giving aid to the poor.
She was from the tribe of Banu Makhzum. Her husband died when she was still young. The Messenger (peace be upon him) saw that she had young children and needed someone to look after them. She and her husband were among those who immigrated and were separated from her parents and relatives, so the Messenger (peace be upon him) married her in order to protect and look after her and her children.
Ramla bint Abu Sufyan had travelled with her husband to Abyssinia, but he became a Christian there.
Consequently, Ramla bint Abu Sufyan had the choice to return to her father, who was still fighting the Messenger (peace be upon him) at that time, or experience difficulties in holding on to her religion when her husband had left Islam. As a result, the Messenger (peace be upon him) married Ramla bint Abu Sufyan in order to protect her from these difficulties and to protect her from returning to polytheism. This marriage to one from the family of Abu Sufyan also softened Abu Sufyan’s heart; at that time it was an Arab custom to respect the in-laws, and marriage between families was a way of the two families becoming close.
The Messenger (peace be upon him) married Juwayriyya bint Al Harith after the battle of Bani Al-Mustalaq.
Juwayriyya bint Al Harith entered Islam and, as a result, the Companions freed what prisoners of war they had, saying, “How can the Messenger’s in-laws be held as captives?!” Consequently, the Messenger’s marriage to Juwayriyya bint Al Harith resulted in a hundred of her relatives being freed.
Maymunah bint Al Harith is the one who offered herself to the Messenger (peace be upon him). And when Maymunah bint Al Harith learned that the Messenger (peace be upon him) had agreed to marry her, Maymunah bint Al Harith said, “The camel and what is on it is for the Messenger (peace be upon him).” Then Allah revealed:
…and any believing woman who offers herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desires to marry her. This is a privilege only for you and not the other believers Surah Al-Ahzab: 50.
Safiyya bint Huyayy was captured
[became a prisoner of war]
along with her sister during the battle of Khaybar. From the prisoners who were captured in the battle, Safiyya bint Huyayy was initially allocated to Dahiya Al-Kalby.
Ibn Hajar in the book Al-Fath explains: his allocation is what he (Dahiya Al-Kalby) chose for himself. This is because he asked the Messenger (peace be upon him) to give him a slave girl, so the Messenger (peace be upon him) permitted him to take a slave girl and he took Safiyya bint Huyayy. But after the Messenger (peace be upon him) was told that she was the daughter of a king, he realized that Safiyya bint Huyayy was not suitable for Dahiya as there were many Companions like Dahiya or even more noble than him, and there were few captives that were as noble as Safiyya bint Huyayy. Therefore, if the Messenger (peace be upon him) had singled him out by allocating Safiyya bint Huyayy to him, others might become upset. Consequently, it was for the benefit of everyone in general to change his mind about allowing Dahiya to take Safiyya bint Huyayy, and to keep her for himself (peace be upon him) instead. This was to make everyone satisfied.
Fath Al-Bari by Ibn Hajar.
For this reason, the Messenger (peace be upon him) dealt with her well by freeing her, making her freedom her dowry in his marriage to her, as is narrated in the authentic books of Al-Bukhari and Muslim as well as other books.
Zaynab bint Jahsh was married to Zaid ibn Haritha [who was the adopted son of the Messenger (peace be upon him) before adoption was forbidden]. And when Zaid divorced her, an ayah (verse) in the Quran was revealed ordering the Messenger (peace be upon him) to marry her. This was in order to establish a rule in the Islamic legislation: for the believers not to feel embarrassed if they wanted to marry the ones who their adopted sons had divorced.
The following was revealed about this. Allah (Gorified is He) says:
Then when Zayd divorced her, We married her to you so that there should be no restriction for the believers regarding the wives of their adopted sons when they have divorced them. Allah´s command is always carried out
Surah Al-Ahzab: 37
What do you think the wisdom behind allowing the Messenger (peace be upon him) to marry more than four wives may be?
After considering every circumstance of the marriages the Messenger (peace be upon him) entered into, do you think that they were carried out to benefit the call?
These are the eleven wives that the Messenger (peace be upon him) married and with whom he consummated the marriage. Two of them--Khadijah and Zaynab, the Mother of the Poor--died during his life, and nine of them survived him.
The conclusion is that the Messenger (peace be upon him) married for the benefit of Islam and the call, for noble motives and sublime reasons, like solving disagreements, avoiding calamities, strengthening relationships for the benefit of Islam, and some of them due to revelation from Allah. They were not due to just physical desires, as it has been recorded that the Messenger (peace be upon him) did not marry any virgin or young lady but ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her). All the other wives had been previously married. If the Messenger (peace be upon him) married because of his desire, he would have chosen young virgins to marry, especially after he immigrated and started to liberate many cities, the Islamic nation became established and the Muslim military became strong, their numbers becoming large. Moreover, we know from his biography that when he was young and strong he only had one wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, and she was even older than him. Furthermore, we know that he was very fair and never abusive with regards to how he distributed his time etc. among his wives, although they were of various age and beauty. What is more, the permission to have many wives was not just for our Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), but for some of the earlier Prophets too (taken from Fatwas of the Standing Committee: 19/171-173).