Warning - Contents may have images/information that some viewers may find disturbing. Proceed with caution. One of the principles of sharee’ah (law) is that whatever leads to haraam deeds is itself haraam, so everything that leads to the provocation of haraam desires is haraam, because it may lead to a person falling into evil things. If you feel erotic while reading the post, please leave/close the page.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Setting Her Own Standards - Lady Hafsah - Prophet Muhammad's Wives

Lady Hafsah

The Prophet's Fourth Wife
(Setting Her Own Standards)

Umar ibn Al-Khattab was dreaming of marrying his daughter to the Prophet and obtaining the great honor of being in-laws.

Ever since he embraced Islam, Umar ibn Al-Khattab was a most remarkable and dedicated advocate of the new faith. A man with clear and direct vision, Umar could always come up with sensible ideas to sort out difficult questions.

As a close companion of Prophet Muhammad, he always advocated direct action, reflecting strong commitment to the cause. The same sort of attitude could only be expected in his private life.

Umar's daughter, Hafsah, was married to Khunays ibn Hudhafah, who adopted Islam in its early years and was among those who immigrated to Abyssinia in response to the Prophet's advice.

After rejoining the Muslim community in Madinah, Khunays took part in the first two major battles the Muslims fought at Badr and Uhud. In the second of these, he was badly injured and died soon afterward, leaving behind his young wife, Hafsah, who was perhaps in her early twenties.

Looking at his daughter's misfortune, Umar thought that he should find her a good husband. He thought of his friend Abu Bakr, as he knew him to be wise, caring and most dedicated to the Islamic cause.

The fact that Abu Bakr was ten years older than him was not a point of issue with Umar. He knew that Abu Bakr would take good care of Hafsah. Therefore, Umar went to him and spoke about her and his concern for her wellbeing. Abu Bakr listened attentively, perhaps guessing Umar's drift. Umar, however, soon made his purpose clear, saying to his friend:

"I will give you Hafsah in marriage if you wish to take her."

Perhaps Umar could not foresee that his proposal would not be met with ready acceptance. Yet Abu Bakr remained silent. To Umar, that was baffling. Therefore, the conversation ended and Umar left, feeling rather upset.

His daughter's future happiness remained his main preoccupation. Therefore, he went to Uthman, who had suffered the loss of his own wife around 18 months earlier.

When Umar suggested to him that he could marry Hafsah, Uthman requested a few days to think it over. Uthman then met Umar and told him that he did not wish to marry for the present.

Someone Better Than Uthman

Hafsah will marry someone better than Uthman, 
and Uthman will marry someone better than Hafsah

Umar was very upset at this double rejection. He went to the Prophet, seeking the comfort of his company. The Prophet received him well, recognizing that he was upset. Umar soon poured out the reason, perhaps adding that it was rather humiliating to face such rejection.

The Prophet smiled and said to him:
"Hafsah will marry someone better than Uthman, and Uthman will marry someone better than Hafsah."

These words took Umar by surprise. What? Who? Could it be true? Does the Prophet mean himself? Who else?

The Prophet soon put all these questions out of Umar's mind and said that he wanted Hafsah to be his wife. Umar was overjoyed and went to his daughter giving her the happiest news. She was to be the wife of none other than Prophet Muhammad.

Soon afterward, Abu Bakr and Uthman made their positions clear. Both had heard the Prophet mentioning Hafsah and realized that he wanted to marry her. They could not speak out until the Prophet had made his intention clear to Umar.

Therefore, they would rather accept that Umar might feel upset at their lack of response, realizing that the matter would soon come to a very happy conclusion. Thus, the third of the Prophet's marriages after Khadijah took place.

After he adopted Islam and experienced the happiness provided to him by his close association with the Prophet (peace be upon him), nothing gave Umar ibn Al-Khattab greater pleasure than his daughter's marriage to the Prophet. This was beyond his wildest dreams.

Hence, he was always keen to ensure that the Prophet should find in Hafsah a wife that brought him comfort and happiness. He kept counseling her to do her duty to her husband and not to engage in anything that would displease him.

After all, she was married to the man God had chosen to deliver His last message to mankind and to provide, by word and action, a perfect model of Islamic refined manners and serious morality. Young people, however, do not look at things in the same way as their elders. They may acknowledge that their parents have had more experience, but they tend to dismiss such experience as irrelevant to their own situation.

A Strong Character

How come you object to something that I say 
when it is none of your business?

Hafsah, a young wife in her early twenties coming into a home where there were already two wives, appears to have tried to carve a strong position for herself.

One day Umar said something to his wife, but she objected to it. Brought up in the Makkan traditions of the time, he said to her:

"How come you object to something that I say when it is none of your business?"

She said: "Why should I not object when the Prophet’s wives may object to him? In fact, any of them might sulk and the Prophet might remain upset all day."

Umar felt that was very serious. He feared that his daughter could do that when it was very unpleasant to any husband. Moreover, he loved the Prophet so much that he would try to remove anything that could displease him.

Therefore, he went to Hafsah and said to her:

"Is it true that you might sulk all day long?"

When she acknowledged that, he admonished her with all the love and care a father feels when he realizes that his daughter was on a dangerous course. He said:

"Daughter! I warn you against incurring God's punishment and the displeasure of His messenger."

Referring to Lady Aishah, he counseled her not to join her into action motivated by jealousy:

"Do not be tempted by your mate who is proud of her beauty and the Prophet's love. You know that the Prophet does not have the same love for you. Had it not been for me, he might have divorced you."

She was ready to express her opinion, 
even in objection to the Prophet

Yet Hafsah had inherited a strong character. How could she miss out when she was Umar's daughter? She was ready to express her opinion, even in objection to the Prophet on a matter of religion. The Prophet once said:

"None of my companions who gave me their pledges under the tree will ever be in hell."

This was a reference to the Prophet's 1400 companions who tried to do the Umrah with him in Makkah, but the unbelievers tried to prevent their entry into the city.

The standoff threatened to culminate into a battle and the Prophet sought a pledge from his companions to fight until death. They all readily gave him that pledge when he was standing under a tree.

Shortly afterward, the Treaty of Hudaibiyah was signed between the two parties. In the Quran, God states clearly that He was pleased with those Companions of the Prophet. When the Prophet said this, Hafsah said:

"Yes, they will do."

The Prophet was displeased with her, but she recited the verse that says in reference to hell:

{There is not one among you who shall not pass over it: This is, for your Lord, a decree that must be fulfilled} (19:71)

The Prophet answered:
"But God also said: {But We shall save those who are God-fearing, and leave the wrongdoers there, on their knees} (19:72)"

Reports of Divorce

God commands you to take Hafsah back, 
for she is a highly devoted servant of God

Hafsah was the only one among the Prophet's wives who was divorced by the Prophet (peace be upon him). There are several reports suggesting the reason for the divorce, but none of them carries much weight so as to be more probable.

It is perhaps better to say that the main reason was Hafsah's own character, while one or the other of these suggested reasons triggered the Prophet's action. She was a woman of strong character, bold and self-assured. When the Prophet divorced her, she was extremely sad.

However, it was her father who felt the divorce to be his own personal catastrophe. He threw dust over his own head and lamented:

"Why will God care for Umar and his daughter now that she is divorced?"

However, the divorce did not last long. The angel Gabriel came to the Prophet with this order:

"God commands you to take Hafsah back, as a kindness to Umar."

Another report suggests that Gabriel said:

"God commands you to take Hafsah back, for she is a highly devoted servant of God and she is your wife in heaven."

Needless to say, the Prophet immediately carried out God's order and Hafsah was back as one of the Prophet's wives, the mother of all believers, as Muslims refer to the Prophet's wives.

We should reflect a little on these two reports. The first tells us that God Almighty sent His angel with the command that the Prophet should take back his divorced wife in kindness to her father.

God knew that Umar would spend the rest of his life in sorrow, should the divorce be made permanent. He felt that the great love he felt toward the Prophet was cemented by this marriage. Now that the marital bond was severed, he felt lost, uncared for by God or His messenger. Hence, his lamentation.

The other report mentions the virtues of Hafsah and her dedication to the cause of Islam and continuous devotion. She was a woman worthy of being a wife of God's messenger and a mother of all believers. Hence Gabriel tells the Prophet that she will be among his wives in heaven.

The two reports are not mutually exclusive. In fact both could be true. The angel might have said both statements when he brought to the Prophet God's command to reinstate his marriage to Hafsah.

When the Prophet had several wives, mutual jealousy was inevitable. We need to remember that none of them thought that it was wrong for a man to marry more than one wife. Polygamy was the normal practice in Arabia and many other parts of the world.

Islam simply restricted it, allowing a man no more than four wives. The Prophet, however, had an exemption because of his special status and the needs of his message.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Why The Prophet Married Lady Aishah? - Prophet Muhammad's Wives

Aisha bint Abi Bakr

Why The Prophet Married Lady Aishah?

Society’s norms of sexual relationships and family life are in a state of continual change. Living in the 21st century, we find that these changes that used to be slow and gradual in the past are gaining more and more speed. We have already been into Future Shock and the Third Wave of dramatic and catastrophic changes in the way of thinking, in our attitudes and approaches to life and the world. (Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock [1970] and The Third Wave [1989] are path-breaking books that describe the effect of fast changes that overtake modern societies.)

In most of the so-called civilized countries, family values seem to have lost all worth for most people. In the post–World War II generation of the United States, 80 percent of children grew up in a family with both the parents. Now that number has dipped to 60 percent or more. Before declining slightly in recent years, divorce rates had soared more than 30 percent since 1970. Today nearly half of American marriages are projected to end in divorce or permanent separation. Nearly half of people between ages 25 and 40 at some point have lived with a member of the opposite sex outside of marriage.

Please notice that we take the American statistics for the following reasons: 

(1)Reliable statistics are available there;

(2) Most countries and peoples of the world imitate the Americans and are facing the same results;

(3) Most of the critics of Islam come from America and so they are expected to have first-hand experience of the situations described.

Ninety percent of women born between 1933 and 1942 were virgins when they married; now over half of all teenage girls in the United States have sexual intercourse with some man before age 17. More dramatically, the percentage of teen girls who said that having a child out of wedlock is a “worthwhile lifestyle” rose from 33 to 53 in the past two decades. And what about same-sex marriage? It is being accepted even by the conservatives and the clergymen as perfectly normal. Such findings lead many people to conclude that “the institution of marriage is in serious trouble.” (Michael A. Fletcher, “Study: Marriage Rate Is at Its Lowest Ever—Findings Are Proof of Changing Attitudes, Report’s Authors Say,” Washington Post; published Friday, July 2, 1999, in The San Jose Mercury News.)

To speak of the age of consent for women in the United States: A 20-year-old woman who marries in Nebraska breaks the law because there the age of consent is 21, while a woman in Alabama can legally marry at that age, as the age of consent there is only 18. A hundred years ago, under the common law in the United States, the age of consent was just 10 years. Ancient Jewish law permitted girls to be wives at a much younger age. In ancient India girls as young as five and six were married to much older men. Even now the practice continues among some Hindus.

The foregoing shows that the minimum age for girls to be married varies from culture to culture and from age to age. Against this background, there seems to be no point in holding a particular age as the right age of consent in the post-modern world. But people who want to impose one on a different culture or religion would make it a big issue. It is surprising how even the intellectuals show a tendency to judge others by their own culture-specific standards as though these should be accepted universally binding on the whole of mankind!

This is not to argue that today girls should be married off at nine or ten years, for no one can ignore that the times, the social conditions, and the cultural milieu have undergone immense changes. But the very same fact should help us to realize that in another age and in another cultural setting, marrying a girl at the age of nine was quite the norm and there could be nothing surprising about that.

The events of the Prophet’s life (as also is the case of the lives of other prophets of the past) should be interpreted in the light of the socio-historical conditions of the times. What people often miss is the absurdity of trying to assess an event of sixth century Arabia, as though it happened the other day in downtown Manhattan or Birmingham.

It is worth stating here that it was Abu Bakr, the father of Aishah, who gave her in marriage to Muhammad (peace be upon him), and that she remained a faithful and loving wife until death parted her from her husband. And of the wives of the Prophet, none was so mature and knowledgeable as Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her).

As for your other point, it is a well-acknowledged principle that a hadith should be interpreted against the background of the actual context that led the Prophet to say or do what he did. Furthermore, when applying the hadith to the present situation, we need to consider the changed circumstances. It is meaningless to expect the Prophet to have explained all in advance; rather, it is the duty of modern scholars to do this interpretation in the right way, so as to make the example of the Prophet relevant to the present times.

It is only natural that some of the things that the Prophet did or said may not correspond to a particular time or situation; but that does not make such examples insignificant or irrelevant. In the future, situations and conditions may arise that call for decisions or rulings based on those examples.

And Allah knows best.