Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Equal treatment of Wives by the Prophet Muhammad

Shamoun usually refers to commentaries in his articles. He is usually a big fan of Ibn Kathir. If he just saw Ibn Kathir’s commentary then he wouldn’t need to have written that argument.
Ibn Kathir says…

The Prohibition of Marrying Female Orphans Without Giving a Dowry
Allah said,
[وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تُقْسِطُواْ فِى الْيَتَـمَى فَانكِحُواْ مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِّنَ النِّسَآءِ مَثْنَى]
(And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two) Allah commands, when one of you is the caretaker of a female orphan and he fears that he might not give her a dowry that is suitable for women of her status, he should marry other women, who are plenty as Allah has not restricted him. Al-Bukhari recorded that `A'ishah said, "A man was taking care of a female orphan and he married her, although he did not desire to marry her. That girl's money was mixed with his, and he was keeping her portion from her. Afterwards, this Ayah was revealed about his case;
[وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تُقْسِطُواْ]
(If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly)'' Al-Bukhari recorded that `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr said that he asked `A'ishah about the meaning of the statement of Allah,
[وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تُقْسِطُواْ فِى الْيَتَـمَى]
(If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls.) She said, "O my nephew! This is about the orphan girl who lives with her guardian and shares his property. Her wealth and beauty may tempt him to marry her without giving her an adequate dowry which might have been given by another suitor. So, such guardians were forbidden to marry such orphan girls unless they treated them justly and gave them the most suitable dowry; otherwise they were ordered to marry woman besides them.'' `A'ishah further said, "After that verse, the people again asked the Messenger of Allah (about marriage with orphan girls), so Allah revealed the Ayah,
[وَيَسْتَفْتُونَكَ فِى النِّسَآءِ]
(They ask your instruction concerning the women..) [4:127].'' She said, "Allah's statement in this Ayah,
[وَتَرْغَبُونَ أَن تَنكِحُوهُنَّ]
(yet whom you desire to marry) [4:127] refers to the guardian who does not desire to marry an orphan girl under his supervision because she is neither wealthy nor beautiful. The guardians were forbidden to marry their orphan girls possessing property and beauty without being just to them, as they generally refrain from marrying them (when they are neither beautiful nor wealthy).'' (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Source)

The Permission to Marry Four Women
Allah's statement,
[مَثْنَى وَثُلَـثَ وَرُبَاعَ]
(two or three, or four), means, marry as many women as you like, other than the orphan girls, two, three or four. We should mention that Allah's statement in another Ayah,
[جَاعِلِ الْمَلَـئِكَةِ رُسُلاً أُوْلِى أَجْنِحَةٍ مَّثْنَى وَثُلَـثَ وَرُبَـعَ]
(Who made the angels messengers with wings, - two or three or four) [35:1], does not mean that other angels do not have more than four wings, as there are proofs that some angels do have more wings. Yet, men are prohibited from marrying more than four wives, as the Ayah decrees, since the Ayah specifies what men are allowed of wives, as Ibn `Abbas and the majority of scholars stated. If it were allowed for them to have more than four wives, the Ayah would have mentioned it. Imam Ahmad recorded that Salim said that his father said that Ghilan bin Salamah Ath-Thaqafi had ten wives when he became Muslim, and the Prophet said to him, "Choose any four of them (and divorce the rest).'' During the reign of `Umar, Ghilan divorced his remaining wives and divided his money between his children. When `Umar heard news of this, he said to Ghilan, "I think that the devil has conveyed to your heart the news of your imminent death, from what the devil hears during his eavesdropping. It may as well be that you will not remain alive but for a little longer. By Allah! You will take back your wives and your money, or I will take possession of this all and will order that your grave be stoned as is the case with the grave of Abu Righal (from Thamud, who was saved from their fate because he was in the Sacred Area. But, when he left it, he was tormented like they were).'' Ash-Shafi`i, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ad-Daraqutni and Al-Bayhaqi collected this Hadith up to the Prophet's statement, "Choose any four of them.'' Only Ahmad collected the full version of this Hadith. Therefore, had it been allowed for men to marry more than four women at the same time, the Prophet would have allowed Ghilan to keep more than four of his wives since they all embraced Islam with him. When the Prophet commanded him to keep just four of them and divorce the rest, this indicated that men are not allowed to keep more than four wives at a time under any circumstances. If this is the case concerning those who already had more than four wives upon embracing Islam, then this ruling applies even more so to marrying more than four. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Source)

Surah 4:129 is talking about men not ever being able to fair emotionally towards their wives. This is something natural. You cannot EQUALLY love two people. 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.
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. (Tafsir Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 4:129, Source)
(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)

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)

The meaning of Allah's statement,
[وَإِن تُحْسِنُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيراً]
(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,
[وَلَن تَسْتَطِيعُواْ أَن تَعْدِلُواْ بَيْنَ النِّسَآءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ]

(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,
«اللَّهُمَّ هَذَا قَسْمِي فِيمَا أَمْلِكُ، فَلَا تَلُمْنِي فِيمَا تَمْلِكُ وَلَا أَمْلِك»

(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,
[فَلاَ تَمِيلُواْ كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ]

(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,

[فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ]
(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,

«مَنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ امْرَأَتَانِ فَمَالَ إِلى إِحْدَاهُمَا، جَاءَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَأَحَدُ شِقَّيْهِ سَاقِط»
(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,

[وَإِن تُصْلِحُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً]
(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)

Making peace is better than separation. An example of such peace can be felt in the story of Sawdah bint Zam’ah who WHEN SHE BECAME AGED, THE PROPHET WANTED TO DIVORCE HER, but she made peace with him by offering the night he used to spend with her to A'isha so that he would keep her. The Prophet accepted such terms and kept her.

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said, "Sawdah feared that the Messenger of Allah might divorce her and she said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do not divorce me; give my day to ‘A'ishah.’ And he did…

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that ‘A’ishah said that when Sawdah bint Zam'ah BECAME OLD, she forfeited her day to ‘A’ishah and the Prophet used to spend Sawdah's night with 'A'ishah

<And making peace is better>IT REFERS TO THE WIFE RELINQUISHING SOME OF HER MARITAL RIGHTS and his acceptance of the offer. Such compromise is better than total divorce, as the Prophet did when retained Sawdah bint Zam'ah. By doing so, the Prophet set an example for his Ummah to follow as it is a lawful act ... (the preceding citation taken and adapted from Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Abridged, Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147 [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; first edition March 2000], pp. 599-601, and Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 5, Sura An-Nisa, ayat 24-147, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa’i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2000 first edition], pp. 193-194; bold emphasis ours)

The two Sahih collections provide additional corroboration for Sauda relinquishing her day to Aisha:
Narrated Aisha:
Whenever Allah’s Apostle wanted to go on a journey, he would draw lots as to which of his wives would accompany him. He would take her whose name came out. He used to fix for each of them a day and a night. But Sauda bint Zam’a gave up her (turn) day and night to ‘Aisha, the wife of the Prophet in order to seek the pleasure of Allah's Apostle (by that action). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 766)

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Never did I find any woman more loving to me than Sauda bint Zam'a. I wished I could be exactly like her who was passionateAs she became old, she had made over her day (which she had to spend) with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to ‘A’isha. She said: I have made over my day with you to ‘A’isha. So Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) allotted TWO DAYS to ‘A’isha, her own day (when it was her turn) and that of Sauda. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3451)

Ibn 'Abbas's Hadith, may Allah be pleased with them. 'Ata' related:
We were with Ibn 'Abbas at a funeral in Sarif, Ibn 'Abbas said: This is the wife of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him); so when you lift her bier, do not shake her or disturb her, but be gentle, for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had nine wives, with eight of whom he shared his time, but to one of them, he did not allot a share. (Hadith number in Sahih Muslim [Arabic only]: 2660(Source)

First of all we need to make one thing clear. There is no evidence what so ever to suggest that the Prophet Muhammad ever intended to divorce Sauda. I searched the complete Tafsir of Ibn Kathirregarding this verse and there is only one narration that suggests that the Prophet wanted to divorce Sauda…

حَدَّثَنَا الْقَاسِم بْن أَبِي بَرَّة قَالَ : بَعَثَ النَّبِيّ صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِلَى سَوْدَة بِنْت زَمْعَة بِطَلَاقِهَا فَلَمَّا أَنْ أَتَاهَا جَلَسَتْ لَهُ عَلَى طَرِيق عَائِشَة فَلَمَّا رَأَتْهُ قَالَتْ لَهُ : أَنْشُدك بِاَلَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْك كَلَامه وَاصْطَفَاك عَلَى خَلْقه لَمَا رَاجَعْتنِي فَإِنِّي قَدْ كَبِرْت وَلَا حَاجَة لِي فِي الرِّجَال . لَكِنْ أُرِيد أَنْ أُبْعَث مَعَ نِسَائِك يَوْم الْقِيَامَة فَرَاجَعَهَا فَقَالَتْ : فَإِنِّي جَعَلْت يَوْمِي وَلَيْلَتِي لِحِبَّةِ رَسُول اللَّه
Al-Qasim ibn Abi Beza said the prophet sent to Sauda a message divorcing her. So she waited for the prophet on his way to ‘Aisha. When she saw him she said I implore you by Him who revealed His words to you and chose you above all his creation why did you divorce me. I have become old and have no need of men but I wish to be resurrected amongst your wives in the last day. So he changed his mind and she said I have given my day and night to [‘Aisha] the prophet’s beloved...
This is the only narration that shows that the Prophet intended to divorce Sauda, however notice what Ibn Kathir says at the end of the narration…

وَهَذَا غَرِيب مُرْسَل
And this is ghareeb mursal.

That means that the hadith is a mursal and ghareeb hadith. 
What does that mean?
mursal or "unattached" hadeeth is one that contains a gap of one generation (according to both Azami and Hasan it is a hadeeth reported by a Successor who drops the Companion from whom he learned it in the isnad).
among them ghareeb ("scarce" or "strange"), 
So you can't use a hadith that has a gap in it and is scarce to prove a point. 

So it was only Sauda’s fear that the Prophet would divorce her. That does not mean that the Prophet was actually going to do so.
The fact that the Prophet wanted to divorce her because of her bad looks is a lie, because from the very beginning when he married her she was unattractive.
Ibn Kathir says...
There was great surprise in Mecca that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would choose to marry a widow who was neither young nor beautiful. (Ibn Kathir, Wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)Source)

It was a habit of the wives of the Prophet to give up their days in order to try and satisfy the Prophet. Here is an example...
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was, once, angry with Safiyyah and so Safiyyah went to Aisha and said to her, "Could you make the Prophet (peace be upon him) forgive me and I would give up my day for you?" Aisha said, "Yes." Aisha then took her yellow veil and perfumed it and then sat beside the Prophet (peace be upon him) who said, "O Aisha, keep away from me, it is not your day". Aisha said, "It is Allah's Grace and He bestows it upon whomever He wants," and then she told him the whole matter and he forgave Saffiyyah. (Ibn Majah, An-Nikah, vol. 1 p.634, Cited in Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, p.174)
This shows that the Prophet was strict in keeping his days to his wives. The only reason why he agreed to not give it to Sauda is because SHE IS THE ONE that offered to give up her day. Read the hadith carefully...
Sahih Bukhari
Volume 3, Book 47, Number 766:
Narrated Aisha:
Whenever Allah's Apostle wanted to go on a journey, he would draw lots as to which of his wives would accompany him. He would take her whose name came out. He used to fix for each of them a day and a night. But Sauda bint Zam'a gave up her (turn) day and night to 'Aisha, the wife of the Prophet in order to seek the pleasure of Allah's Apostle (by that action).

Volume 3, Book 48, Number 853:
Narrated Aisha:
Whenever Allah's Apostle intended to go on a journey, he used to draw lots among his wives and would take with him the one on whom the lot fell. He also used to fix for everyone of his wives a day and a night, but Sauda bint Zam'a gave her day and night to 'Aisha, the wife of the Prophet intending thereby to please Allah's Apostle.

Sahih Muslim
Book 008, Number 3451:
'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Never did I find any woman more loving to me than Sauda bint Zam'a. I wished I could be exactly like her who was passionate. As she became old, she had made over her day (which she had to spend) with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to 'A'isha. She said: I have made over my day with you to 'A'isha. So Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) allotted two days to 'A'isha, her own day (when it was her turn) and that of Sauda.

These women of such high faith would do anything to keep their husbands happy. Especially if your husband happens to be the glorious Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Especially due to the fact that there is such a great reward for obedience to husbands…
A woman’s being patient in obeying her husband is one of the means of entering Paradise, as it says in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn Hibbaan: “If a woman offers her five daily prayers and fasts her month (i.e., Ramadaan) and guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: ‘Enter Paradise from whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.’” This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, no. 660. (cited here 

The Prophet thought highly of Sauda...

Sahih Bukhari

Volume 2, Book 24, Number 501:
Narrated 'Aisha:
Some of the wives of the Prophet asked him, "Who amongst us will be the first to follow you (i.e. die after you)?" He said, "Whoever has the longest hand." So they started measuring their hands with a stick and Sauda's hand turned out to be the longest. (When Zainab bint Jahsh died first of all in the caliphate of 'Umar), we came to know that the long hand was a symbol of practicing charity, so she was the first to follow the Prophet and she used to love to practice charity. (Sauda died later in the caliphate of Muawiya).

So there is no evidence at all that the Prophet was ever unfair to Sauda. On the contrary, his marriage to her was nothing but an act of mercy...

The Wisdom Behind This Marriage
Imagine what the situation would have come to if the Prophet (peace be upon him) had not married Saudah. Had she been safe from the torture and persecution of her relatives who were still disbelievers?
She belonged to a disbelieving family; her father was an aged disbeliever; and so was her brother. Her husband died and she became a widow having a little girl without a supporter or a provider. 
No doubt, her marriage to the Prophet (peace be upon him) was mercy and protection for her from the torture of her family. Perhaps if she had stayed, they would have killed her or tried her in her belief.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) sympathized with this faithful widow immigrant. Her married her to save her from the oppression of her family. (Muhammad Fathi Mus'ad, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: Their Strives and Their Lives, p.32)

It is related that the Prophet (refrained from sexual intercourse and) put off temporarily the following wives: Sauda, Juwairiya. Safiyya, Maimuna, and Umm Habiba. In so doing he used to grant them a share (of sexual intercourse) according TO HIS WISH. Among the wives whom the Prophet preferred to take to himself belong ‘A’isha, Hafsa, Umm Salama, and Zainab (bint Jash). Thus, he used to put five off temporarily in order to take four to himself. (On the other hand) it is related that, disregarding divorce and the selection concerned with it, the Prophet treated (all his wives) the same, with the exception of Sauda, who relinquished the night belonging to her to ‘A’isha and said (to the Prophet): ‘Do not divorce me but let me remain in the company of your wives!’… (Helmut Gätje,The Qur'an and Its Exegesis, translated and edited by Alford T. Welch [Oneworld Publications, Oxford England], pp. 90-91; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Sauda offered this to the Prophet and he accepted it. There is nothing wrong with this at all. But if the Prophet did it without Sauda’s permission then Sam would make a point.
Maybe Sam could tell us how Prophet Solomon (1Kings 11:3) treated his 700 wives equally. (I will be nice and forget about the 300 concubines)

Well again like I mentioned before, when it comes to ‘love’ and sexual inclination one cannot control his heart and natural desires that easily.
Again, I need to remind you that Sauda is the one who gave up her day…
Thus, he used to put five off temporarily in order to take four to himself. (On the other hand) it is related that, disregarding divorce and the selection concerned with it, the Prophet treated (all his wives) the same, with the exception of Sauda, who relinquished the night belonging to her to ‘A’isha and said…

Narrated ‘Urwa from ‘Aisha:
The wives of Allah's Apostle were in two groups. One group consisted of 'Aisha, Hafsa, Safiyya and Sauda; and the other group consisted of Um Salama and the other wives of Allah's Apostle. The Muslims knew that Allah’s Apostle loved ‘Aisha, so if any of them had a gift and wished to give to Allah's Apostle, he would delay it, till Allah’s Apostle had come to ‘Aisha's home and then he would send his gift to Allah’s Apostle in her home. The group of Um Salama discussed the matter together and decided that Um Salama should request Allah's Apostle to tell the people to send their gifts to him in whatever wife’s house he was. Um Salama told Allah’s Apostle of what they had said, but he did not reply. Then they (those wives) asked Um Salama about it. She said, "He did not say anything to me." They asked her to talk to him again. She talked to him again when she met him on her day, but he gave no reply. When they asked her, she replied that he had given no reply. They said to her, "Talk to him till he gives you a reply." When it was her turn, she talked to him again. He then said to her, "Do not hurt me regarding Aisha, AS THE DIVINE INSPIRATIONS DO NOT COME TO ME ON ANY OF THE BEDS EXCEPT THAT OF AISHA." On that Um Salama said, "I repent to Allah for hurting you." Then the group of Um Salama called Fatima, the daughter of Allah’s Apostle and sent her to Allah’s Apostle to say to him, "Your wives request to treat them and the daughter of Abu Bakr ON EQUAL TERMS." Then Fatima conveyed the message to him. The Prophet said, "O my daughter! Don’t you love whom I love?" She replied in the affirmative and returned and told them of the situation. They requested her to go to him again but she refused. They then sent Zainab bint Jahsh who went to him AND USED HARSH WORDS SAYING, "Your wives request you TO TREAT THEM and the daughter of Ibn Abu Quhafa ON EQUAL TERMS." On that she raised her voice AND ABUSED ‘Aisha TO HER FACE so much so that Allah’s Apostle looked at ‘Aisha to see whether she would retort. ‘Aisha started replying to Zainab till she silenced her. The Prophet then looked at ‘Aisha and said, "She is really the daughter of Abu Bakr." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 755)

My Response:

What are these equal terms that the wives of the Prophet were demanding?

, والمراد به التسوية بينهن في كل شيء من المحبة وغيرها
And the intended meaning is equal terms on everything from love and anything else. (Ibn Hajar, Fathul Bari, Source)

However, we already mentioned that it is impossible for one to love someone equally as the other. So they were demanding something beyond the control of the Prophet.

Umar gave this advice to his daughter Hafsa, one of Muhammad’s wives:
… Then ‘Umar went on relating the narration and said. "I and an Ansari neighbor of mine from Bani Umaiya bin Zaid who used to live in ‘Awali Al-Medina, used to visit the Prophet in turns. He used to go one day, and I another day. When I went I would bring him the news of what had happened that day regarding the instructions and orders and when he went, he used to do the same for me. We, the people of Quraish, used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the Ansar, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the Ansari women. Once I shouted at my wife and she paid me back in my coin and I disliked that she should answer me back. She said, ‘Why do you take it ill that I retort upon you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet retort upon him, and some of them may not speak with him for the whole day till night.’ What she said scared me and I said to her, ‘Whoever amongst them does so, will be a great loser.’ Then I dressed myself and went to Hafsa and asked her, ‘Does any of you keep Allah’s Apostle angry all the day long till night?’ She replied in the affirmative. I said, ‘She is a ruined losing person (and will never have success)! Doesn’t she fear that Allah may get angry for the anger of Allah's Apostle and thus she will be ruined? Don’t ask Allah’s Apostle too many things, and don't retort upon him in any case, and don't desert him. Demand from me whatever you like, and don’t be tempted to imitate your neighbor (i.e. ‘Aisha) in her behavior towards the Prophet), for she (i.e. Aisha) IS MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU, AND MORE BELOVED to Allah’s Apostle. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648)
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
that ‘Umar entered upon Hafsa and said, "O my daughter! Do not be misled by the manners of her who is proud of her beauty because of the love of Allah’s Apostle for her." By ‘her’ he meant ‘Aisha. ‘Umar added, "Then I told that to Allah’s Apostle and he smiled (on hearing that)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 145)

My Response:

I don’t see the problem with the hadith posted. The hadith in no way show that the Prophet loved Aisha more just simply because she was more beautiful. He had other wives who were beautiful as well such as Safiyah for example.
Notice what the hadith says…

Demand from me whatever you like, and don’t be tempted to imitate your neighbor (i.e. ‘Aisha) in her behavior towards the Prophet), for she (i.e. Aisha) IS MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU, AND MORE BELOVED to Allah’s Apostle. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648)

The Prophet loved Aisha more because of her behavior and personality.

The Prophet emphasized more on the importance of marrying a woman based on her personality (a religious one of course)…

Sahih Muslim

Book 008, Hadith Number 3457.
Chapter : Excellence of contracting marriage with a pious lady.
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A woman may be married for four reasons: for her property, her status, her beauty and her religion,so try to get one who is religious, may your hand be besmeared with dust.

The Prophet loved Ayesha more than all the women…

Sahih Bukhari
Volumn 005, Book 057, Hadith Number 014.
Narated By 'Amr bin Al-As : The Prophet deputed me to read the Army of Dhat-as-Salasil. I came to him and said, "Who is the most beloved person to you?" He said, " 'Aisha." I asked, "Among the men?" He said, "Her father." I said, "Who then?" He said, "Then 'Umar bin Al-Khattab." He then named other men.


As his wife and close companion she acquired from him knowledge and insight such as no woman has ever acquired…
Marriage to the Prophet did not change her playful ways. Her young friends came regularly to visit her in her own apartment.
"I would be playing with my dolls," she said, "with the girls who were my friends, and the Prophet would come in and they would slip out of the house and he would go out after them and bring them back, for he was pleased for my sake to have them there." Sometimes he would say "Stay where you are" before they had time to leave, and would also join in their games. Aishah said: "One day, the Prophet came in when I was playing with the dolls and he said: 'O Aishah, whatever game is this?' 'It is Solomon's horses,' I said and he laughed." Sometimes as he came in he would screen himself with his cloak so as not to disturb Aishah and her friends.
Aishah's early life in Madinah also had its more serious and anxious times. Once her father and two companions who were staying with him fell ill with a dangerous fever which was common in Madinah at certain seasons. One morning Aishah went to visit him and was dismayed to find the three men lying completely weak and exhausted. She asked her father how he was and he answered her in verse but she did not understand what he was saying. The two others also answered her with lines of poetry which seemed to her to be nothing but unintelligible babbling. She was deeply troubled and went home to the Prophet saying:
"They are raving, out of their minds, through the heat of the fever." The Prophet asked what they had said and was somewhat reassured when she repeated almost word for word the lines they had uttered and which made sense although she did not fully understand them then. This was a demonstration of the great retentive power of her memory which as the years went by were to preserve so many of the priceless sayings of the Prophet.
Of the Prophet's wives in Madinah, it was clear that it was Aishah that he loved most. From time to time, one or the other of his companions would ask:
"O Messenger of God, whom do you love most in the world?" He did not always give the same answer to this question for he felt great love for many for his daughters and their children, for Abu Bakr, for Ali, for Zayd and his son Usamah. But of his wives the only one he named in this connection was Aishah. She too loved him greatly in return and often would seek reassurance from him that he loved her. Once she asked him: "How is your love for me?"
"Like the rope's knot," he replied meaning that it was strong and secure. And time after time thereafter, she would ask him: "How is the knot?" and he would reply: "Ala haaliha in the same condition."
As she loved the Prophet so was her love a jealous love and she could not bear the thought that the Prophet's attentions should be given to others more than seemed enough to her. She asked him:
"O Messenger of God, tell me of yourself. If you were between the two slopes of a valley, one of which had not been grazed whereas the other had been grazed, on which would you pasture your flocks?"
"On that which had not been grazed," replied the Prophet. "Even so," she said, "and I am not as any other of your wives. "Everyone of them had a husband before you, except myself." The Prophet smiled and said nothing. Of her jealousy, Aishah would say in later years:
"I was not, jealous of any other wife of the Prophet as I was jealous of Khadijah, because of his constant mentioning of her and because God had commanded him to give her good tidings of a mansion in Paradise of precious stones. And whenever he sacrificed a sheep he would send a fair portion of it to those who had been her intimate friends. Many a time I said to him: "It is as if there had never been any other woman in the world except Khadijah."
Once, when Aishah complained and asked why he spoke so highly of "an old Quraysh woman", the Prophet was hurt and said: "She was the wife who believed in me when others rejected me. When people gave me the lie, she affirmed my truthfulness. When I stood forsaken, she spent her wealth to lighten the burden of my sorrow.."
Despite her feelings of jealousy, which nonetheless were not of a destructive kind, Aishah was really a generous soul and a patient one. She bore with the rest of the Prophet's household poverty and hunger, which often lasted for long periods.

So you see it is natural for women to be jealous. They can even get jealous of ex wives who died (like how Aisha did with Khadija). However, this jealousy was not destructive and was only out of great love for the Prophet.

The Prophet had more love for Aisha than the others due to her great character. Something that the Prophet found unique in her that he might not have found in his other wives, however that does not mean that he did not love his other wives. His wives did not have destructive jealousy and hatred for Aisha. They got jealous because it was natural and out of love for the Prophet.
Also Shamoun emphasized on this part of the hadith…

We, the people of Quraish, used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the Ansar, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the Ansari women.

I don’t know what point Sam was trying to make. Aren’t men supposed to have authority over their wives? (Ephesians 5:22)

Notice what Qadi says…

and then he indicated that his love was for women and scent which are worldly things for other people whereas his occupation with them was not for this worldly life, but rather for the life of the Next World because of the otherworldly benefits of marriage already mentioned and his desire to come to the angels wearing scent.

Unlike Paul who thought that marrying women was only good for satisfying your sexual desires…

1 Corinthians 7:1-2;8

   1Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.[a] 2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.     8Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

This actually contradicts what Genesis says…

Genesis 2:18

And the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet for him."

As for why the Prophet was able to marry more than four wives, well there is more to it than you think. Read about it here.

Narrated Aisha:
I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily)." (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311)

My Response:

‏أي ما أرى الله إلا موجدا لما تريد بلا تأخير
I see that Allah is always present for what you need without delay. (Fathul Bari, Source)

This was a remark by Aisha. However, the Prophet did go through many hardships and had to endure patience through rough times. So it is not entirely true that Allah always ‘hastened’ to fulfill the Prophet’s wishes.

Secondly, even if God did. What is the problem? Why would God do otherwise? He is the Messenger of God and deserves such honor and privileges from the Almighty God.

I already quoted Ibn Abbas’s commentary…

(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)

This is what Sam Shamoun says about Ibn Abbas…

Hence, the commentary of Abdullah Ibn `Abbas who is one of the Sahaba (companions) and Mohammed's cousin. His opinions are held to be above the opinions and commentaries of all other Sheiks who are not Sahaba. (Sam Shamoun, The Quranic Witness To Biblical AuthoritySource)

So according to Sam we should take what Ibn Abbas said and see how the companions of the Prophet understood how the Prophet explained the Quran (Surah 16:44).


People would still might see it as unjust that a husband could love one wife more than the other. However, we have to understand that this is one of the tests for women here on earth. The woman who pleases her husband is such great honor that it could lead her straight to paradise. For a Muslim man to achieve that he would have to die a martyr! So just imagine how much easier it is for the woman to do so in order to attain paradise. If she is in a polygamous marriage it would actually be easier for her because she has other women helping her in pleasing her husband. Only if women truly understood this they would all want to be in a polygamous marriage. Earning paradise is not easy and requires the woman to be patient with her husband. This is her test in life.

A woman’s being patient in obeying her husband is one of the means of entering Paradise, as it says in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn Hibbaan: “If a woman offers her five daily prayers and fasts her month (i.e., Ramadaan) and guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: ‘Enter Paradise from whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.’” (This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, no. 660, Cited here)  

A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): "Who has the greatest rights over a woman?" He said, "Her husband." She asked, `And who has the greatest rights over a man?" He said, "His mother." (Reported by al-Bazzar with a hasan isnad. See Majma' al-Zawa'id, 4/308, Bab haqq al-zawj 'ala'l-mar'ah, Cited here)

Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) said:

"The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: `Any woman who dies, and her husband is pleased with her, will enter Paradise.'" (Ibn Majah, 1/595, Kitab al-nikah, bab haqq al-zawj 'ala'l-mar'ah; al-Hakim, 4/173, Kitab al-birr wa'l-silah; he said its isnad is sahih, Cited here)

A woman came to ask the Prophet (PBUH) about some matter, and when he had dealt with it, he asked her, "Do you have a husband?" She said, "Yes." He asked her, "How are you with him?" She said, "I never fall short in my duties, except for that which is beyond me." He said, "Pay attention to how you treat him, for he is your Paradise and your Hell."13 (Reported by Ahmad and al-Nisa'i with jayyid isnads, and by al-Hakim, who said that its isnad was sahih. See al-Mundhiri, Al-Targhib wa'l-Tarhib, 3/52, Kitab al-nikah, Cited here)

Its also ironic to mention that no where in the Bible is polygamy condemned. Read this.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bukhari the most autentic book after the Quran

It is often claimed that al-Bukhari was the most careful collector of Muslim traditions, omitting thousands of hadiths that did not meet his strict specifications of authenticity. To help illustrate this fact we quote from the Muslim translator of Al-Bukhari's hadith collection:

It has been UNANIMOUSLY AGREED that Imam Bukhari's work is the most authentic of all the other works in Hadith literature PUT TOGETHER. The authenticity of Al-Bukhari's work is such that the religious learned scholars of Islam said concerning him: "The most authentic book after the Book of Allah (i.e., Al-Qur'an) is Sahih Al-Bukhari." .

Before he recorded each Hadith he would make ablution and offer two Rak'at prayer and supplicate his Lord (Allah). Many religious scholars of Islam tried to find fault in the great remarkable collection- Sahih Al-BukhariBUT WITHOUT SUCCESS. It is for this reason, they UNANIMOUSLY AGREED that the most authentic book after the Book of AllahIS Sahih Al-Bukhari. (Translation of the Meanings of Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Islamic University, Al-Madina Al-Munawwara, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; compilation: Al-Imam Zain-ud-Din Ahmad bin Abdul-Lateef Az-Zubaidi [Maktaba Dar-us-Salam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, 1994], pp. 18-19; bold and capital emphasis ours)

James White's repsonses to Ehteshaam Gulam

I had not intended to utilize this material. I commented on what brought this “discussion” about right after it took place, here. This morning Mr. Gulam posted on our Facebook page a question. He asked why I was “hiding” our “debate.” Well, this isn’t a debate, of course, and we have been hiding nothing. I was given the DVD of this encounter, as well as the one with Sheikh Ahmed Awal, last evening, before we began recording the next episodes of Answering Islam for ABN. But since Mr. Gulam made the accusation, I took the time to do a quick burn of the encounter and upload it to YouTube. It is one hour fifty-one minutes in length (I am surprised YouTube accepted the single file upload). At least the questions at the end are educational, and somewhat entertaining. Unless Mr. Gulam develops the personal ability to reflect upon his own worldview, this will be the only encounter we will be having.

James Whites Responses to me

I’m a “Who Moved My Cheese?” type of guy. Don’t let me plan and plan and prepare and then, at the very last second, change everything around. As it was this evening I was having to adjust to the movement of my cheese in adjusting to Sheikh Awal’s sudden and dishonorable withdrawal from our debate. But I at least had a few hours to adjust, plan on what to do, etc. So I drive to the location, set up to do my presentation, play some clips, take some questions, try to make something positive happen. I am ready to start—it is just before 7pm—when I walk back to the TV cameraman to explain what I want to do at the beginning. My plan was to explain the empty desk and chair, explain why I found Sheikh Awal’s explanations wanting, etc. Then I would give my presentation, play the clips of Awal, respond to them, and take questions.
Right as I get to the cameraman I am informed that “We have a Muslim.” Eh? Well, evidently, someone, who is a dear brother in the Lord, but someone who does things without even bothering to ask me about it first, had called a Muslim to see if they would “fill in” at the last minute. Now, that is not how I do things. I spent quite some time, weeks, in fact, preparing to debate Sheikh Awal. That way my opening can be directly relevant and the resultant exchange meaningful. So I am told that he will just do some “cross-fire” with me. I see. Then I am told he will do a five minute presentation on Jesus in Islam. Then there will be audience questions. In other words, a debate, without him having to do an opening presentation (i.e., give me enough material to even get a bead on where he’s coming from).
At this point I should have said, “No way, it is too late, we go with the plan agreed to after Awal bailed out.” But I didn’t. My mistake. I began my presentation, and a few minutes after I started I see a young man come and come down to the other debate table. He is not really listening to me, but he is surely distracting the audience. The gentleman’s name is Ehteshaam Gulam. When he got up to speak it was, “Throw all the atheistic, materialistic stuff you can into a blender, sprinkle in Bart Ehrman and a few others, and throw it on the wall to see what sticks.” No critical thought, no concern about consistency, just a royal mess, all the way through half an hour of cross-examination. The audience eventually started chuckling at the constant self-contradiction and failure to engage the subject. It was very disappointing, and I believe a solo presentation with questions from the audience, especially with Sam Shamoun in attendance to join me, would have been significantly more useful. But, in the providence of God, this is what happened.
So tomorrow I travel home, Lord willing, and get back into my routine. I am preaching a good bit in July at PRBC, have Hitchens coming up, the conference in Manhattan at the beginning of August, and a busy fall ahead as well.
Finally, the video of the last two episodes of Jesus or Muhammad? I was on have been posted, and I provide them below. Once again, my sincere thanks to the folks at ABN for a great series of shows, and I look forward to returning and working with them again in the future.

James Whites Response to Ehteshaam Gulam

Message: Mr. White
If you want me to stop spamming and telling everyone you have a Bogus and Fake PhD and ThD then take down that discussion video. If not, the spamming continues. You have till Friday to do so.
You meet some interesting folks on Twitter these days. I received this e-mail from Ehteshaam Gulam, a less-than-pleasant young man I had the misfortune of encountering last June in the Detroit area. I reported on our encounter here.
A little while ago Mr. Gulam started showing up in my Twitter feed, rehashing decades old (and long refuted) foolishness. I would simply block him and move on, but over the past few days he has seemingly had nothing better to do with his life than open Twitter accounts and spam everyone who follows me with the same lies. So this morning I get this e-mail, sent through the ministry contact page, in essence demanding that I remove the video from my YouTube page showing our “discussion.” Now, let me be very clear: I do not include our “discussion” as one of my debates (though some people I could mention would count it as half a dozen debates, in Arabic, in Nebraska). It was not helpful outside of exposing the confusion, double standards, and darkness of the mind of a young Muslim who shows not the slightest bit of interest in self-reflection. It was never, ever my intention to post the video, and I never would have, except, I was challenged to do so by none other than Ehteshaam Gulam! Yes, on our FaceBook page back in August of 2010 Gulam accused me of “hiding” the video of our encounter! So, what do you do when someone accuses you of hiding something? You produce it, of course, and that is what I did, posting it on YouTube. Now, when I wrote to Mr. Gulam expressing my amazement at his having made such an accusation, his response was just as confused and muddled as his responses had been in Detroit. Here is what he wrote when I asked him directly if he had been the one to make the accusation on our FaceBook page:
Dr. White,
No, it was unintentional. I apologize. In any case you own the rights to the footage thus you have every right to do what you please with it. I would however in the future like to do a debate on that topic or the preservation of the N.T.— if your interested.
Thank You
Ehteshaam Gulam
This was August 20, 2010. His tone hardened, and harshened, in follow up e-mails. But note the first statement: how can you “unintentionally” post such an accusation on FaceBook? Did his fingers just start typing it out and he could not stop them? Did a jinn take over his computer because he did not utter the proper pleas for protection from them? It is hard to say, but what does seem obvious is that in August of last year Mr. Gulam himself challenged us to provide the video of our discussion, and we did so.
Now, all of a sudden, Mr. Gulam has become an Internet stalker making blackmail demands that we remove the video that he himself demanded we post in the first place! At one point Ehteshaam said I had “ruined his life” by posting it–and in the next tweet said he was kidding. In any case, he has taken to creating new Twitter accounts each time I, and others, block him, all to spam everyone with links to his lame attempts to attack me personally, all because he won’t do his own homework and deal with what I have said openly and consistently about my educational background. The cost for him to start acting his age and not like a twelve year old with a fast internet connection? I must remove that video.
Now, some might be tempted to connect Ehteshaam’s behavior to Islam, and say he is seeking to put me in a position of dhimmitude. Well, he may well be thinking that, but I do not see it that way. There are lots of immature, mean-spirited people out there who harass us regularly. Many of them claim to be Christians and wouldn’t know how to spell dhimmitude, let alone know what it means. So I see Mr. Gulam as simply an angry cyber-stalker who, for some reason, has decided to lash out at some perceived injury, all the while knowing inside he is the one who brought the injury on himself, both by foolishly engaging in the “discussion” we had, and then foolishly demanding I post it publicly!
Now this has become a matter of principle. The video is entertaining, but it really has no major theological worth. It shows Ehteshaam Gulam throwing out a wild variety of inconsistent and self-contradictory arguments, and as such is a good warning against this kind of unthinking, non-reflective anti-Christian rhetoric. But there are far better sources for that on our video page already. Nothing would be lost by pulling it down, to be sure.
So why not do so? Simple. You don’t negotiate with terrorists is the old adage, and there is a reason for that. Let’s say I remove the video. What surety do I have that Ehteshaam will stop his spamming runs if I do so? None. He’s the one who demanded it be posted in the first place. And what if he decides he doesn’t want to see something else on my YouTube page, and starts again? I’ve already started down the road of compromise, and there is no logical stopping point. You can only negotiate with someone who has honor and is rational in his behavior and thinking, and neither of those elements are present here.

Instead, I will gather up all his tweets where he has made it very clear he is violating Twitter’s TOS, along with this e-mail, and submit it to Twitter, hoping there is a way to identify his IP address and block his further childish behavior. Will that work? I don’t know. Might I eventually just have to leave the Twitter world because of his cyber-stalking? It’s a possibility. I guess that’s what Google+ is for! You can pick and choose who gets in your “circles,” and it would be easy to exclude Gulam, no matter how many different screen names and accounts he wasted his life creating on different computers. We will just have to see.