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The Justice of the Prophet with his wives

Friday 26/03/2010

In a Hadeeth on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, she said that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), would divide the days between his wives equally and was just. He would say: “O Allah! This is my division in what I can control, so blame me not for what You control, while I cannot.”[Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi, An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah]

 
The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), was just with his wives. I heard Shaykh Ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him saying,
 
By stating this part of the Hadeeth: “Do not blame me for what You can control”, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) meant the heart and what is related to it. Love and affection lie in the heart and the husband cannot be just in this regard. There are many reasons that endear the wife to her husband such as her religion, youthfulness and the like. The husband can be just in dividing the time among his wives, providing for them and treating them well, but for matters that pertain to the heart and desire, he can not control them.
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “If a man has two wives whom he does not treat fairly, he will come on the Day of Judgment dragging one of his sides which will be fallen or sloping” [Ahmad, Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi, An-Nasaa’i, and Ibn Maajah, Al-Albaani - Saheeh]
This Hadeeth indicates prohibition of willingly inclining to one wife. However, as for the inclination that man can not control, Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
  • {Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.} [Quran 2:286]
  • {And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one] and leave another hanging.} [Quran 4:129]
  • {So fear Allah as much as you are able and listen and obey and spend [in the way of Allah]; it is better for your selves.} [Quran 64:16]
 
This Hadeeth threatens anyone who intentionally oppresses his wife and states that he will come on the Day of Judgment with half of his body inclining, and this is a real punishment.
 
The Sunnah of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), is to stay with the virgin wife after marriage for seven days and then begin dividing the days equally between his wives if he has more than one. In a Hadeeth on the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “If a man marries a virgin while having another wife, he should stay seven days with her [the virgin] then start dividing the days between his wives. If a man marries a non-virgin, he should stay with her three days then start dividing the days.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] This is the wording of Al-Bukhari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, she said that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), stayed with her for three days when he married her and said to her: “I would not do anything that might humiliate you. If you wished, I would stay with you for seven days. If I did so, I would do the same with my [other] wives.” [Muslim]
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, she said that Sawdah bint Zam‘ah, may Allah be pleased with her, gave up her turn to ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, and that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), would therefore stay with ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, for two days (i.e. her day and the day of Sawdah, may Allah be pleased with her). [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, she said,
 
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would treat us fairly with regard to staying with us. He would visit all of us every day and approach each one of us without having sexual intercourse with any one of us, then go to the one with whom he would spend the night and stay with her. When Sawdah bint Zam‘ah became old and was afraid that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) might leave her, she said, “O Messenger of Allah, I will give up my day to ‘Aa’ishah.” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) agreed. She said that for this case and similar ones, Allah The Almighty Says (what means):{And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion.} [Quran 4:128] [Abu Daawood, Al-Albaani - Hasan Saheeh]
 
I heard our Shaykh Ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him saying,
 
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) married Sawdah, may Allah be pleased with her, after Khadeejah, may Allah be pleased with her, and before ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, and she lived with the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) for a long time. When she got old and was afraid that he might divorce her, she said to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) that she would give up her day to ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her. This was narrated by Abu Daawood with a good chain of narrators. This Hadeeth indicates that it is permissible for the wife to give up her day to one of her co-wives if the husband agrees. In this case, the woman who is granted this extra day would have two days while the other wives would still have one day.
 
The shared time among the wives of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), was in the afternoon after the ‘Asr prayer as ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would visit all his wives after Al-‘Asr prayer then approach them…”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim] This is the wording of Muslim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him. I heard Shaykh Ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him saying,
 
This indicates how well the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) treated his wives. He was the best one with regard to the treatment of his wives. He would go to each one of them in the afternoon to see if they needed anything without having sexual intercourse with them. In the Hadeeth that was narrated by Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, he said that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) might have had sexual intercourse with them and performed Ghusl just once. Perhaps this happened on rare occasions as the meaning of this Hadeeth and the other one that was narrated by ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, indicate that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would most probably visit his wives without having sexual intercourse with them, although there was a possibility that he might have had sexual intercourse with them. The affirmation takes precedence over the negation.
 
The wording of the Hadeeth of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, reads, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would have sexual intercourse with all of his wives in just one hour during the morning or the evening when they were eleven [in number].” The narrator of this Hadeeth asked Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, “Could he do this?” He replied, “We would say that he was given the strength of thirty men.” Sa‘eed narrated that Qataadah said that Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, told them that the wives of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), were nine at that time. [Al-Bukhari] Al-Haafith ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said that Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, added Maariyah and Rayhaanah, his bondwomen. Hence, this woud have made eleven.
 
I heard Shaykh Ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him saying, “This was indeed a great ability as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had nine wives and two maids, namely, Rayhaanah and Maariyah. This proves that it is permissible for the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wives at the time that is shared between them, following the example of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).”
 
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had nine wives and would go to each one of them one night until the turn of the first one would come again. So, his wives would meet every night at the house of the wife with whom the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would spend the night…”[Muslim] I heard Shaykh Ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him saying, “This meeting was in addition to passing by them in the afternoon. This made them know each other more and not feel alienated, as there is usually alienation among co-wives and meeting every night would result in harmony between them.”
 
Another aspect of the Prophet’s justice with his wives was that he would cast lots among them to see which of them he would take on his travels. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would cast lots before traveling and would take the one whose lot was chosen.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
Another proof of his justice is the following story that was narrated by Anas, may Allah be pleased with him; he said,
 
While the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was in the house of one of his wives, another of the Mothers of the Believers sent some food in a dish. The wife at whose house the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was struck the hand of the servant, causing the dish to fall and break into two halves. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) gathered the broken pieces of the dish and then began collecting the food, and said: “Your mother [my wife] felt jealous.” Then he kept the servant until an unbroken dish was brought from the wife at whose house he was. He gave the unbroken dish to the wife whose dish had been broken and kept the broken one at the house where it had been broken.[Al-Bukhari]
 
These Hadeeths indicate the greatness of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), and his justice, good morals, gentleness and his fulfillment of his wives’ rights.

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