Marriage and things connected with it

The second category of necessities daily life is praised and boasted of when it is abundant and includes such things as marriage and rank. The necessity for marriage is agreed upon in the Shari`ah and in custom. It is a proof of perfection and sound masculinity. It has always been customary to boast of and praise a lot of it and, as far as the Shari`ah is concerned, it is a transmitted sunna.

Ibn `Abbas said, “The best of this community is the one with the most wives,” indicating the Prophet. [1] The Prophet said, “Marry and procreate. I want to increase communities by you.” [2]

He forbade celibacy. This is because marriage brings with it restraint of the appetites and lowering the eye as the Prophet pointed out. He said, “Whoever has the capacity should marry. It lowers the eyes and protects the private parts.” [3]

For this reason the `ulema’ do not consider it something that detracts from the virtue of abstinence. Sahl at-Tustari said, “Women were loved by the Master of the Messengers,  so how could we abstain from them?” Ibn `Uyayna says something to the same effect.

The most ascetic of the Companions had a lot of wives and slave-girls and had much sexual intercourse with them. More than one of them disliked the idea of meeting Allah unmarried.

It might be asked, “How can it be that marriage has so many virtues when Allah praised Yahya, son of Zakariyya, for being chaste? How could Allah praise him for not  doing something considered to be a virtue? Furthermore, `Isa ibn Maryam remained celibate. If things were as you claim, would he not have married?”

The answer is this. It is clear that Allah did praise Yahya for being chaste. It was not as someone has said, that he was timid or without masculinity. Astute commentators and critical scholars reject this assertion, saying that it would imply an imperfection and a fault that is not fitting for one of the prophets. It means that he was protected from wrong actions, i.e. it was as if he were kept from them. Some say that he was from all his bodily appetites, and some say he did not have any desire for women.

It is clear from this that the lack of the ability to marry is an imperfection. Virtue lies in its taking place. Therefore the absence of it can only be through the existence of a counter virtue, either striving as in the case of `Isa, or by having sufficiency from Allah as Yahya did, since marriage frequently distracts from Allah and brings a person down into this world.

Someone able to marry and carry out the obligations incurred by marriage without being distracted from his Lord has a lofty degree. Such is the degree of our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Having many wives did not distract him from worshipping his Lord. Indeed, it increased him in worship in that he protected his wives, gave them their rights, earned for them and guided them. He clearly stated that such things were not part of the portion of his earthly life but that they are the part of the portion the the earthly life of others.

He said, “He made me love in this world of yours, women and scent, and the coolness of my eye (i.e. my delight) is in the prayer,” [4] and then he indicated that his love for women and scent are worldly things for other people whereas his occupation with them was not for his worldly life, but for the life of the Next World because of otherworldly benefits of marriage already mentioned and his desire to come out to the angels wearing scent. Scent also encourages intercourse, assists it and stimulates it. He loved these two qualities for the sake of others and for the restraint of his appetite. His true love, particular to him, lay in witnessing the Jabarut of his Lord and intimate conversation with Him. That is why he made a distinction between the two loves and separated the two conditions, saying: “and the delight of my eye is in the prayer.”

Yahya and `Isa were on the same level regarding the trial of women. However, there is an extra virtue in satisfying women’s needs. The Prophet was among those who have been given the ability to do so and he was given it in abundance. This is why he was allowed a greater number of wives than anyone else.

It is related from Anas, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to visit his wives in one hour of the day or night, and there were eleven of them.” [5]

Anas said, “We used to say that he had been given the power of thirty men.” [6] Something similar was related from Abu Rafi`. Tawus said, “The Prophet was given the power of forty men in intercourse.” A similar statement came from Safwan ibn Sulaym.

Salama, the female client of the Prophet, said, “The Prophet would go around in the night to nine of his wives and then purify himself from each of them before going to the next. He said, ‘This is better and purer.'” [7]

The Prophet Sulayman said, [8] “I went around in the night to a hundred or ninety-nine women.” So he had that capacity as well. Ibn `Abbas said, “There was the semen of a hundred men in the loins of Sulayman, and he had three hundred wives and three hundred slave-girls.” An-Naqqash and others related that he had seven hundred wives and three hundred slave-girls.

While the Prophet Da’ud was being ascetic and eating from the work of his own hands, he had ninety-nine wives and he completed the hundred by marrying Uriya’. Allah mentions that in His Mighty Book when He says, “This brother of ours had ninety-nine ewes.” (38:23)

In the hadith of Anas, the Prophet said, “I have been preferred over people in four things: generosity, courage, much intercourse and great power.” [9]

As for rank, it is normally praised by intelligent men. There is esteem in the hearts according to rank. When He described `Isa, Allah said, “He is noble in this world and the Next.” (2:45)

However, it is also the cause of much misfortune and is harmful for some people in relation to the Next World. That is why people have censured it and praised its opposite. The Shari`ah also praises obscurity and censures exaltedness in the earth.

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, possessed modesty, position in the hearts of men and their esteem both before his prophethood, during the Jahiliyya, and after it. Then they rejected him, injured him, injured his Companions and tried to harm him secretly. But whenever he encountered them face to face, they showed him respect and gave him what he needed. The traditions about this are well-known and we will give some of them.

Anyone who had not seen the Prophet before would become perplexed and terrified when he saw him. This was related about Qayla. When she saw the Prophet she trembled with terror. He said, “Poor girl, you must be calm.” [10]

In the hadith of Abu Mas`ud, it tells of a man who stood before the Prophet and trembled. He said to him, “Relax, I am not a king.” [11]

As for his inestimable worth by reason of his being a Prophet, the honour of his position by being a Messenger, his exalted rank being chosen by Allah and his honour in this world. It is as great as it is possible to be. And in the Next World, he will be the master of the Children of Adam. [12] The implication to be drawn from this section forms the basis of this entire chapter.


[1] al-Bukhari.

[2] Ibn Mardawayh in his Tafsir from ibn `Umar, marfu` with a weak isnad. at-Tabarani also has something similar in al-Awsat.

[3] at-Tabarani, and Muslim and al-Bukhari.

[4] al-Hakim and an-Nasa’i.

[5] al-Bukhari and an-Nasa’i

[6] an-Nasa’i related that. It is also in al-Bukhari.

[7] Sound hadith related by Abu Dawud.

[8] Ibid.

[9] at-Tabarani.

[10] In ash-Shama’il of at-Tirmidhi and the Sunan of Abu Dawud. Ibn Sa`d transmitted it.

[11] Mursal hadith from Qays in al-Bayhaqi. al-Hakim has it and says it is sound.

[12] As in the hadith of al-Bukhari.

(Qadi `Iyad ibn Musa al-Yahusubi, Kitab ash-Shifa’ bi-ta`rif huquq Mustafa , translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley and published by Madinah Press, as Muhammad Messenger of Allah, Ash-Shifa of Qadi `Iyad. p.46-49)


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Filed under Aqidah/Belief, Hadith, Islam, Marriage, Nikah, Religion, Seerah, Sunnah

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