Why Did Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Have More Than Four Wives? By Bassam Zawadi
Some Islamic critics tend to criticize Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) because he had more than four wives. They ask, "If the Quran limited each man to have 4 wives (Surah 4:3) then how come the Prophet was able to have more?"
Some people may see this as a privilege to the Prophet. However, with privileges did come restrictions as well.
Qiyam Al Layl (prayers at two third of the night) are not compulsory on Muslims, however they were compulsory on the Prophet.
And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory.
This verse is directly addressed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). (See Tafsir of Ibn Kathir)So here we see an example of God making exceptions to Prophet Muhammad in certain situations.
Back to the issue of the exception of why the Prophet was allowed to keep more than four wives. Well there was wisdom behind the marriage to each of the wives of the Prophet (see http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2005/why-was-the-prophet-polygamous/)
Taken from http://www.messageonline.org/2002augsept/cover3.htm
It should be noted that the special exception to the prophet concerning the maximum number of wives [Qur'an, 33: 50] includes also special restrictions on him and his wives from privileges available to all others. For example, his wives as "mothers of the believers" were not allowed to remarry after him [Qur'an 33: 53]. If the Prophet were required to divorce wives beyond the maximum of four, it would have done them injustice; to be divorced and disallowed to remarry. Furthermore, for each of the Prophet's marriages there was a specific lesson, social or legislative. By divorcing some of his wives, those lessons are effectively negated, especially the unifying function of marrying women from different clans and backgrounds. This diversity allowed close observation of his private life and teachings and communicating them to their respective folks. Also, unlike any ordinary Muslim, the Prophet was not allowed to divorce any of his wives and marrying others [33:52].
People may ask why the Prophet's wives were not allowed to remarry. Well just think about how much fitna (corruption) would have occurred when people would want to fight over who is going to marry the Prophet's former wife. Also imagine the fitna that might occur when people might begin to idolize children being born from the Prophet's wives just like how Shias today do with the Prophet's grandchildren.
We can try and guess the wisdom behind Allah's rulings, however no one has any right to criticize the Prophet Muhammad for being a hypocrite in any way for having more than four wives.
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