[Note:- This article was first published in Faith Freedom, on Dec 8th, 2004]
If we talk about the subjects Quran narrated the most, certainly sex is one of them. I would like to explain my point of view and of course would appreciate comments from people all around. In this exercise, may be I am able to get answers or explanation of my point of view. I shall be grateful if somebody (Muslim) proves me wrong and makes me understand the true message/lesson of the following teachings/principles relating to sex. But if the Muslims don’t answer me, it’s my request to them to ponder with a neutral and logical sense.
Four Wives At A Time
First of all, I discuss the subject of “permission for having four wives”. I fail to find out any positive aspect of this thing. Being a dweller of the same planet earth where Islam came into being 1400 years ago, I do know a little bit about human instincts, nature, behavior, etc.
I claim that a husband, does not matter what country or continent he comes from, can never think or bear his wife’s sexual relations with some one else. It happens because of the possessive instinct/behavior of the human beings which equally exists in both the genders. Therefore, my question is, that how can a woman think or bear her husband’s sexual relations with some one else?
In addition, if we talk about sexual desire of the human beings, both the sexes are even. Just imagine the situation that a man having four wives fulfills his sexual desire of four times with four wives. How can each of the four wives satisfy their sexual desire of four times? Does it not look unnatural, illogical and discriminatory and violation of women’s rights?
It is a fact that sex is one of the primary instincts of human beings (male, female). It has been given so much importance but all with irrationality. I think it objectionable for two reasons. One—A large number of verses revealed wrongfully (ignoring women’s rights) in favor of sexual lust of male Muslims? Whereas, lot of other important matters including religious tolerance, peace, equality, justice etc. are discussed with less or little emphasis. Two—there are millions of couples all over the world who married and spent whole life with each other. It is not understandable that why Muslim shave been permitted to marry as many as four women simultaneously and can keep countless maids with rightful permission to have sexual intercourse.
My Analysis: What I understand there are two main reasons behind the permission to have four wives and countless female captives (maids) in Islam:
(i)— obviously, for the sexual lust of men and to attract more and more people (men) to accept Islam. I would say that this was a kind of bribe offered to the men of a society which was male dominated.
(ii)— To produce more and more children to maximize the strength of Muslims in a short span of time.
No one can deny that sex is one of the primary instincts and I think this can be done with just one wife, which is more feasible, logical, economical and based on equality. As I have stated above there are millions of couples around the world living happily and satisfactorily with regard to sex. Although, in this way, the Muslims have been able to increase themselves in numbers, yet they failed to establish themselves as good human beings and beneficial to others. Muslims could not visualize the bad impact of this rapid birth rate. Today, most of the problems like, social, health, education etc. are because of the growing population.
Uncontrollable Sexual Desire of a Prophet
Muhammad being a prophet should have been a role model for the Muslims in all respect including sex. But it is astonishing that he could not control his sexual desire and married to nine women, many more than a common Muslim. He was also allowed to keep countless maids. See the following Quranic verse Muhammad told his followers to justify his marriages and keeping of maid captives.
“O Prophet! We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have given their dowers; and those ladies whom your right hands possess (from the prisoners of war) whom Allah has assigned to you; and the daughters of your paternal uncles and aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and aunts, who have migrated with you; and the believing woman who gave herself to the Prophet if the Prophet desires to marry her – this permission is only for you and not for the other believers; we know what restrictions We have imposed on the other believers concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess. We have granted you this privilege as an exception so that no blame may be attached to you. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful”. (Quran 33:50)
Marriage with 9-Year Old Aisha
Furthermore, his marriage with Aisha seems to be very funny when he was 53 and she was 9.
Sahih Bukhari (8.151)
“I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me”. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.)
Sahih Bukhari (5.234)
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.
Sahih Bukhari (9.140)
“Allah’s Apostle said to me, “You were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said to him, ‘Uncover (her),’ and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), ‘If this is from Allah, then it must happen.’ Then you were shown to me, the angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said (to him), ‘Uncover (her), and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), ‘If this is from Allah, then it must happen.”
Is this not something shameful for Muslims to narrate that their Prophet married a 9 year old little girl when he was 53 years of age? Is there any logic to marry a minor? Can Muslims give just one example that any of them married his 9 years old daughter to a man of fifty plus. Is it medically right to marry a minor girl, before she reaches the age of puberty? It is absolutely immoral, uncivilized and unethical.
Muhammad’s marriage with his adopted son’s wife
Zaid Ibn Harith was Muhammad’s adopted son. Zaid married with Zainab Bint Jahsh. Zainab was a very pretty woman. Muhammad could not refrain from his desire to marry her. Zaid, somehow or the other came to know the intention of Muhammad and divorced Zainab. After he divorced her, Muhammad told his followers about the revealation of the following verse to justfy his unethical, immoral and an ashamed action of marrying his adopted son’s wife:
“O Prophet, remember when you said to the one (Zaid, Prophet’s adopted son) whom Allah as well as you had favored: “Keep your wife in wedlock and fear Allah”. You sought to hide in your heart what Allah intended to reveal; you were afraid of the people whereas it would have been more appropriate to fear Allah. So when Zaid divorced his wife, we gave her to you in marriage, so that there remains no hindrance for the believers to wed the wives of their adopted sons if they divorced them. And Allah’s Command had to be carried out.”
In my opinion no one can even think of such an action when one is already enjoying company of more than one wife. Firstly, to justify his marriage Muhammad brought the following sura to declare the status of adopted son:
“God did not make your adopted son as your own sons. To declare them so is your empty claim. God’s word is righteous and constitutes true guidance.”
Secondly, this episode gives a message to the adopted sons all over the world not to trust their fathers with regard to their wives. Is this not a matter for the Muslims to be ashamed of?
After going through the above paragraphs, at least I am unable to comprehend the positive message of Muhammad’s nine marriages, his keeping of countless maids, marriage with a 9-year old minor girl and marriage with his adopted son’s wife. It should have been a matter of proud for the Muslims if Islamic history was full of stories of Muhammad’s patience, self-control and sexual disinterest.
For Muslims, each and every word of Quran is a lesson to follow. I ask the Muslims do they still need the following suras and many more alike to follow, which describe/justify/forbid:
- Muhammad’s marriage with his adopted son’s wife. (Quran 33:37)
- Muslims cannot marry Muhammad’s wives (Quran 33:53).
- Permission to Muhammad to marry as many as women as he can (Quran 33:50)
- Do not enter in to the house of Prophet without his permission (Quran 33:53)
According to Muslims Quran was revealed for the guidance of the people of Muhammad’s time and for the people to come hundreds of thousands of years later. Revelation of the above said suras has no impact in today’s life because there is no Muhammad, his adopted son and his wife and Muhammad widows. There are no more wives of Muhammad. Muhammad is not there to marry as many as women as he can. What I understand is that these are the suras which do not have anything to guide the people of present time. These suras ware revealed for that specific time. Therefore, if Muslims claim that Quran, as a whole, has been a source of guidance for them, I believe, is wrong.