Is it true that the Prophet loved Hz. Aisha most among his wives?

The Details of the Question

- Is it compatible with prophethood for him to distinguish between his wives?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The peace of the family established by a man who are married to more than one woman depends primarily on the equality to be applied between women. The Prophet (pbuh) acted meticulously to fulfill this equality in material issues that were seen related to outward appearance.

It is true that the Prophet (pbuh) loved Hz. Aisha very much among his wives. However, it did not bring about unequal treatment among them. It starts with the mahr paid to them (1). It continues with food, clothing, dwelling, sustenance, the time allotted for conversation, the night spent together, etc. Hz. Aisha states clearly that the Prophet (pbuh) did not grant any privileges to any of his wives and that he treated all of them equally related to the division he made about staying together with them. (2)

When he went on an expedition, he would determine the woman who would accompany him by drawing lots. When his illness increased so much that he could not walk around the cells of his wives in the last days of his life, he obtained the consent of his other wives in order to stay with Aisha. (3)

Justice and equality became so established in the issues mentioned above and everybody became so accustomed to it that rare disruptions that occurred from time to time led to severe reactions from his wives. The Prophet (pbuh) met those reactions with a kind of psychology of error and assumed the attitude of persuading them.

Besides, when he lengthened the conversation the due to the honey sherbet offered by one of his wives, Hz. Aisha and his other wives immediately reacted just because of this delay and made him swear never to eat honey again.

Likewise, when it was Hz. Hafsa’s day, his conversation with Hz. Mariya in Hafsa’s room caused Hafsa to show such a harsh reaction that in order to make up for it, the Prophet swore that he would never have any relationship with Mariya forever and requested her not to tell his other wives about that mistake. The revelation sent down upon the issue interfered with the incident.

It will be useful to mention the following: that the incidents that took place among the wives of the Prophet due to jealousy did not lead them to be ruthless toward one another, did not cause them to denigrate one another and to be cross with one another for a long time. Perhaps it was one of the aims of the evening conversations that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) made regularly with all his wives in the house of one of the rooms of his wives in turn. This policy of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) achieved its goal in such a way that during “the Incident of Ifk”, which was the best opportunity they could use against Aisha, there was not even a negative hint from any of the women.

On the morning of his marriage to Umm Salama, the Prophet said to her, “If you want, I can stay with you for seven nights, but I will increase the rights of others to seven too; if you say three nights and want me to continue in order after that, I will do so.” Umm Salama said three would be all right. (4)

The Prophet (pbuh) respected this justice and equality that he practiced among his wives throughout his life. There were only two exceptions and both of them were based on consent:

1. Since Hz. Sawda was very old, she voluntarily waived her right and allowed Hz. Aisha to spend the night with the Prophet (pbuh). And, the Prophet (pbuh) accepted it.

2. When his illness increased so much that he could not walk around the cells of his wives in the last days of his life, he asked permission from his other wives in order to stay in Aisha’s room and they showed consent to it. (5)

The Boundaries of Equality

While explaining that the Prophet (pbuh) treated his wives equally, it is necessary to mention one point: The equality was about material issues, not related to his heart. Justice and objectivity are possible in issues such as the mahr to be paid, meeting material needs, favors and treats, the night to be spent with them and the wife he will take with him when he goes on an expedition. The Messenger of Allah observed justice related to those issues.

As for the heart, justice is not possible about it. The feelings to be nurtured for each of the wives, the feelings of love and appreciation to be shown to them could change according to the virtues and characteristics affecting the heart in women. There is no claim of equality related to it and it is not permissible to seek it.

It was something involuntary for the Prophet (pbuh) to love or appreciate Aisha very much. It is out of the question for anybody to dominate the heart’s inclinations. Nobody is expected to do so. That is why the Prophet (pbuh) asked forgiveness by saying, “I can love one of them more than the other without realizing it, and that would be unfair. O Lord! I seek refuge in your mercy regarding this issue, which I cannot help.”

In that case, it is necessary to consider the excessive love and appreciation of the Prophet (pbuh) for Aisha (ra) from such a point of view and explain it with the virtues she has. Then, we will see that the Prophet (pbuh) gave priority to giving Aisha (ra) her due, with that behavior. (6)

If the Prophet (pbuh) did not observe justice, who would? See what he says:

“If a man is married to two women and does not observe justice between them, he will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment with one side of his paralyzed.” (7)

Justice is a command of the Quran:

“If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with women), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.” (8),

“Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire...”(9)

Footnotes:

1. Muslim, Nikah 78. (Umm Habiba was paid more but Negus gave it from his own property.
2. Azimabadi, Sharhu Sunani Abu Dawud, 10/392.
3. Ibn Majah, Janaiz, 64.
4. Ibn Sad, Tabaqat, 8/92.
5. Ibn Majah, Janaiz, 64.
6. İbrahim Canan, (Prof Dr.), Aile Reisi Olarak Hz. Peygamber (Makale).
7. Ibn Majah, Nikah, 47; Mishkatul-Masabih, 2/196.
8. an-Nisa, 4/3.
9. an-Nisa, 4/129.

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