The Seventh Letter explains the wisdoms behind the polygamy of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) and especially his marriage with Zaynab.
The Seventh Letter
In His Name, be He glorified!
And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.
May peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings for ever and ever.
My Dear Brothers!
I gather you told Samli Hafiz1 to ask me two things:
“Like the dissemblers in early times, the people of misguidance of modern times make the marriage of Allah’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) with Zaynab a pretext for criticism, considering it to have been to satisfy the lusts of the soul.”
T h e A n s w e r : God forbid, a hundred thousand times! Such vile doubts cannot be directed at that lofty one! Yes, he was such that from the age of fifteen to forty when the blood is fiery and exuberant and the passions of the soul enflamed, he sufficed and was content with a single older woman like Khadija the Great (May Allah be pleased with her) with complete chastity and purity-as is agreed by friend and foe alike. His then having numerous wives after the age of forty, that is, when bodily heat subsides and the passions are quietened, is evidence proving decisively and self-evidently to those who are even a little fair-minded that such marriages were not to satisfy the carnal appetites, but were for other important reasons and instances of wisdom.
One of those instances of wisdom is this: like his words, the actions, states, conduct, and deeds of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) are the sources of religion and the Shari‘a, and the authority for its injunctions. While the Companions transmitted the outward, public things, the transmitters and narrators of the private matters of religion and injunctions of the Shari‘a which were manifested from his private conduct in the personal sphere, were his wives; they performed this function. Perhaps half of the personal matters of religion and the injunctions concerning them come from them. That is to say, numerous wives of differing temperament were required to perform this necessary duty.
Now let us consider his marriage with Zaynab. In connection with the verse,
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but [he is] the Messsenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets,2
which is one of the examples given in the Third Ray of the First Light in the Twenty-Fifth Word, it is written that with its many aspects, a single verse states meanings appropriate to the understandings of all classes of men.
One class’s share of understanding of the above verse is this: according to a sound narration based on his own admission, Zayd, the Noble Messenger’s (Upon whom be blessings and peace) servant whom he addressed as “my son,” divorced his proud wife because he did not find himself equal to her. That is to say, with his perceptiveness, Zayd realized that Zaynab had been created with an elevated character different to his and that it was in her nature to be a prophet’s wife. Since he found himself to be by nature unequal to her as a spouse and this caused incompatibility, he divorced her. At Allah’s command, His Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) took her. That is, as indicated by the verse,
We joined her in marriage to you3
showing that it was a heavenly contract, this marriage was out of the ordinary, above external relations, and purely on the orders of Divine Determining. Thus, the Most Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) submitted to the decree of Divine Determining and was compelled to do so; it was not at the behest of carnal desire.
In order that [in future] there may be no difficulty to the believers in [the matter of] marriage with the wives of their adopted sons4
comprises an important injunction of the Shari‘a, a general instance of wisdom, and a comprehensive, general benefit pertaining to this decree of Divine Determining; it indicates that adults calling the young “my son” is not forbidden, as is the matter of zihar, that is, a man saying to his wife “you are like my mother,” so that ordinances should change due to it. Also, great ones looking to their followers and Divine Messengers looking to their communities and addressing them in fatherly fashion, is due to the functions of leadership and messengership; it is not in respect of their human personalities so that it should be inappropriate for them to take wives from them.
Another class’s share of the understanding of this verse is this: a great ruler looks on his subjects with paternal compassion. If he is a spiritual king holding both outward and inward rule, since his compassion is a hundred times greater than that of a father, his subjects look on him as their father, as though they were his real sons. A father’s view is not easily transformed into that of a husband, and a girl’s view into that of a wife. So, since according to this it is inappropriate in the public view for a prophet to take in marriage the believers’ daughters, with the purpose of repelling such a doubt, the Qur’an says: “On account of Divine mercy the Prophet has compassion for you, he deals with you in fatherly fashion, and in the name of messengership you are like his children. But in regard to his human personality he is not your father so that it should be inappropriate for him to take a wife from among you. And if he calls you “Son,” in respect of the rulings of the Shari‘a, you cannot be his children!...”
The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One!
S a i d N u r s i
1.One of the students of the Risale-i Nur, his proper name was Tevfik Göksu. He was known as Samlı since he had lived in Damascus for twenty years, where his father had ben an army officer. He was born in Barla in 1887, and died there in 1965. See, N.Sahiner, Son Sahidler, i(new ed. 1993), 288.
3. Qur'an, 33:37
4. Qur’an, 33:37.
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The Eighth Letter states that compassion is more elevated, brilliant and sincere than love, which is a means of the names in basmala by interpreting the names the Merciful and the Compassionate in basmala.
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