A common accusation brought against Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in our contemporary age is that he had multiple wives. Non-Muslims often ask as to why Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had more wives at one time than what is allowed for common Muslim i.e. four . And also they throw another argument against Prophet Muhammad ﷺ regarding his marriage to Hazrat Aisha(R.A.).Some of them even yell obscenities alleging that these were sensual passions that made the Prophet ﷺ polygamous. Can there be any greater lie?
First of all, it should be known that those who talk like that are either those who do not accept any principles and religions or are members of other religions based on different books. The former have no right whatsoever to reproach something like that because they themselves are involved in casual relations with numerous sexual partners without obeying any laws or rules; they even have incest relationships;. The attack of the latter is also unjust, malicious and impulsive; it is something sorrowful for them. There are so many great prophets accepted by the books they have and the congregations that follow those books that married more than one woman and made so many marriages.
Now I will teach you how to tackle and shut the mouth of both Christians and Hindus as these are the two groups who brings up this issue every time. And eventually turn the tables.So, first am going to start with the Christians on Biblical basis.
Polygamy in Bible
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not start polygamy; besides, polygamy is not contrary to the spirit of prophethood. For instance, when Prophet Solomon and David are taken into consideration, it becomes clear that those who are members of those religions do not act justly when they oppose polygamy.
Let us look at some of the verses from the Bible that allows polygamy:
In Exodus 21:10, a man can marry an infinite amount of women without any limits to how many he can marry.
In 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3, King David had six wives and numerous concubines.
In 1 Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
In 2 Chronicles 11:21, King Solomon’s son Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines.
In Deuteronomy 21:15 “If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons….”
There are a lot more verses from the Old Testament that allow polygamy, but I think that the above are sufficient enough to prove my point.
In a sense, polygamy is necessary especially for the prophets who brought new religious decrees and shariahs because there are many issues of the religion that take place within the privacy of the family; those issues can only be learned fully by the spouse of a prophet. Therefore, there is a need for women teachers who will explain those aspects of the religion clearly without having to use hints or innuendos – that kind of narration usually makes it difficult to understand and to practice those issues.
Now rather than trying to explain or defend this issue, I am going to do something else, and simply ask the Christian critics for the basis, or should we say, the biblical basis of these arguments.
In other words, where does the Bible explicitly, and specifically condemn the above mentioned actions? Now surely since Christian critics bring these arguments up on a regular basis, then it must be in the Bible right? So we lay out two simple requests.
1-Produce any verses from the Bible that give a specific set age of marriage above 9 years old, and forbids marriages to 9 year olds.
2-Produce any verses from the Bible that gives a set number of how many women a man can marry, and explicitly forbids the marriage to more than 1 woman, and also says that men are only allowed to have 1 wife.
These requests surely shouldn’t be hard for our Christian critics to respond to, after all, they regularly make arguments against these positions, so one would naturally assume that it’d be very easy for them to produce the verses we have requested for.
Now assuming they can’t produce the verses, then we ask our Christian critics on what criteria are they basing these arguments from? If the Bible doesn’t outright condemn these things, then from where are they condemning it? If it’s not a biblical basis, then what is their foundation for these attacks?
We eagerly await for the verses.
Polygamy in Hinduism
Nowadays, some Hindu fanatics have learned some criticism about the multiple marriages of the Prophet ﷺ from some orientalists and biased western writers to alienate people from the charms and attraction of the Islamic message, especially when people are noticeably attracted to Islam and to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) all over the world. I think those Hindu fanatics have forgotten that their Lord Krishna was a polygamous who had numerous wives. A Hindu writer says about the marriages of Krishna: “Krishna had mainly eight wives, he was called Ashtabharya (ashta=eight, bharya=wife) because of that. Different scriptures list their names differently.”While some Hindu scriptures say that Krishna married 16008 wives when he killed an evil king, Narakasur and liberated the captive women he married them all. As a Hindu writer said in this regard: “When Krishna asked them what they wanted to do, they all wanted Krishna to marry them. Krishna married them all at the same auspicious time. So, they could gain status of married women and live in the society with honor again.”
If this is true, then why all these defaming campaigns against Islam and the Prophet of Islam ﷺ? It is strange to find this about Krishna that when the girls and women who went to take bath in the river Yamuna; Krishna took their clothes until they came out of the river totally naked. A Hindu writer says in this regard: “For example, there is an instance, when the mischievous Krishna steals the clothes of the milkmaids, who were bathing in river Yamuna. He forced them to come out unclothed to beg for their clothes.”Hindu scriptures and Hindu writers depict their gods in a way that is not worthy of even a common person, not to mention the prophets and apostles. Do you not agree with me that the story of Krishna with Gopis is a shameful story; even a common person who has the lowest degree of modesty and purity will look down upon such acts?
Manu Smriti chapter 9, shloka 149 gives directions about the distribution of property among the sons of a Brahmin from his four wives. In fact the Maharishi Manu himself has 10 wives as is mentioned in another Shamhita (version) of Yajurveda, Maitrayani Samhita 1/5/8.
Following is the practical manifestation of the above mentioned scriptural permission regarding polygamy, by the great ancestor of the Vedic people:
The great Rishi of Shatapath Brahman, Yajnavalkya, practiced polygamy and had two wives namely ‘Maiteryi‘ and ‘Katyayani‘. This is mentioned in Brihadaranyak Upanishad 4/5/1.
अथ ह याज्ञवल्क्यस्य द्वे भार्ये बभूवतुर्मैत्रेयी च कात्यायनी च
“Yajnavalkya had two wives: Maitreyi and Katyayani”
As per the belief of Aryas. Rishi Yajnavalkya was a true devotee of Ishwara. On top of it he was a Rishi, which means an expert in all the sciences and thereby a teacher. Had polygamy been prohibited by the Vedic religion, then Rishi Yajnavalkya would not have practiced it and if polygamy be a sin and an evil deed then he is disqualified from the position of a Rishi. Rishi Yajnavalkya was present in the times when Vedic civilization was at its zenith. So his action directly gives proof of polygamy being Vedic.
Another great icon of Hindus, Sri Krishna, had eight principle wives, which is accepted by all Hindu scholars. They were Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Satya, Lakshmana, Kalindi, Bhadra, Mitravinda. He further married 16,100 women whom he rescued from Narakasur as is clearly mentioned in the Anushana Prav of Mahabharata. The Pandavas also had many wives besides Draupadi who was their common wife (polyandry).Even Ram’s father also had four wives.
So I therefore ask all Hindus on what basis they malign our beloved Prophet when their Lord Krishna had 16008 wives and also Krishna steals women’s clothes and loves to see nude women.
All the above evidences prove that Vedic religion does not prohibit Polygamy and the great icons of Vedic religion practiced polygamy perfectly according to the teachings of Vedic religion. Those who claim that Vedic religion/Hinduism prohibits polygamy have no proper evidence.
A brief on Prophet’s Marriage with Hazrat Aisha (R.A.)
I will not go to much detail because there are many websites by Muslim scholars who have sufficiently dealt with this issue. So am going very briefly.So,it is noticeable that the most fierce opponents of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never accused him of polygamy or marriage with `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), even though they fought him and his followers and killed many of them and tried their best to spread lies and baseless accusations against him and his followers in order to keep the people away from him and his message. This means that his marriage with `A’ishah never was a blemish; otherwise his opponents of his time would have been the first to raise such accusation.
Why all these illusions after 1400 years, while he was known before his marriage and after his marriage with chastity? Why these suspicions now while he was a symbol of purity, honesty, truthfulness and all kinds of good qualities? He was more popular with the word “the Honest” “the Truthful” than his original name. People used to point to him as “the Just” and “the Rightful”. It was the Quraysh and the people of Mecca who trusted in his words and deeds fully before he declared his prophethood. And when they became his bitter enemy after the declaration of the prophethood, they never accused him of polygamy, although they were very eager to find any flaw in his character. This denotes that it never was a point of weakness in his personality; rather they were confident that it is a sort of perfection and a kind of philanthropy, as he cared for the widows, divorcee, helpless and needy through these marriages. If it was any sort of flaw, they would have been the first to raise such questions, but it never happened.
I think if the critic looked at his own character, do you remember! How many sanctities have been violated by you? How much trusts have been breached by you? How many sins were committed by you intentionally or unintentionally? How much people were hurt by your words, deeds and actions? If the critic will account his own character, he would be ashamed of his criticism to this Great Prophet whose purity and truthfulness were acknowledged and admired by his enemies before his friends and who was praised by his opponents before his lovers. Then, how do you justify criticizing this symbol of purity and truthfulness while you are steeped in sins and misdeeds?
I ask those who raise such questions have you lovers and admirers from across the world like he has? Are you trustworthy among your friends and colleagues as he was? The admirers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) all over the world were and are and would be countless. Is this possible according to your mind for a person who was devoid of perfection and divine support? If you do not believe in his purity, then you are unable to believe in anything in this world or you are totally unaware of his life and it will never affect Islam at all, but surely you your self would be the loser.
Infact all the marriages of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had great wisdom behind them, not only for his own time but also for the times to come. It has great effect with regard to spiritual and social growth of the Muslim Ummah which is undoubtedly the best nation as far as family setup is concerned.
I wonder what trouble hounds Christians from recognizing the simple truth that Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) marriages were not for sensual reasons but other prudential reasons. If Martin Luther can say that;
“The polygamy of the patriarchs, Gideon, David, Solomon & c., was a matter of necessity, not of libertinism.” (Table Talk, DCCXLII.p.304 Translated by William Hazlitt, Bell & Daldy, London 1872)
Why the same cannot be said of the marriages of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when even many of the die-hard critics also recognize the ‘necessities’ in those cases?
I am sure that only if our Christian and Hindu fellows can put off the goggles of prejudice they would be able to see things in a much realistic and just manner. Therefore, I call on Hindus & Christians to look into their beliefs and scriptures for a second time independently. We should be courageous and leave behind the habit of blind following; because it requires some bravery and courage. Now the selection has become easier than before by the Grace of Allah the Almighty; the sources of religious information are available in front of you that was not available to your predecessor, still, many of them looked into their beliefs and religious norms and when they found them useless and distorted, they accepted Islam after serious thinking and rational criticism, leaving behind all kinds of contradictory and tattered beliefs. Indeed, they were brave and fearless heroes. Do not listen to anyone, listen to your mind and intellect, it will lead you to the right path.
May Allah guide us all to the right path. Aameen!!