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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

The Wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW): Ummahatul Momineen

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Introduction

The wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) hold a significant position in Islam. They are respected as the Ummahatul Momineen, which means “Mothers of the Believers.” Ummahat means mothers, showing their spiritual motherhood to all Muslims, and Momineen refers to those who follow Islam. In Islamic tradition, this title is given to the wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), highlighting their elevated status and role as spiritual mothers to the Muslim community.

The wives of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) were not just kind observers but active participants in the spread of Islam. They had a deep understanding of Islam, particularly the Quran and Hadith (the sayings and actions of the Prophet). Their homes were not just places of residence but centers of learning and personal growth. Their exemplary traits of kindness, patience, and generosity served as guideposts, leading others to live righteous lives.

As spiritual and moral leaders, they exercised significant force over the behavior and treatment of individuals in the Muslim community. Their teachings, even in the present day, continue to inspire and guide Muslims worldwide.


Mothers of Believers in the Quran

The wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) hold a unique and honored position, a status Allah (SWT) awarded to them.

One of the most significant verses is in Surah Ahzab verse 6;

Surah Ahzab verse 6 about the mothers of Belivers in the Quran.
The Prophet has a stronger affinity to the believers than they do themselves. And his wives are their mothers. As ordained by Allah, blood relatives are more entitled (to inheritance) than (other) believers and immigrants unless you (want to) show kindness to your (close) associates (through bequest). This is decreed in the Record. [Surah Ahzab verse 6]

This verse highlights the special connection between the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) wives and the believers. It compares their relationship to that of a mother and her children, which implies a deep sense of respect, love, and obedience. Just as children look up to their mothers with love and affection, believers are encouraged to show respect and love towards the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) wives.


The Names of Prophet Muhammads (SAW) Wives

Multiple marriages marked Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) family life, each serving a significant purpose in the early Muslim community. His marriages helped strengthen ties between different groups, supported widows and orphans, and aimed to build unions that would benefit the Muslim community.

Here is a list and short biography of Hazrat Muhammad’s (SAW) wives;

  • Hazrat Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (RA)
  • Hazrat Sawda bint Zam’a (RA)
  • Hazrat Aisha bint Abi Bakr (RA)
  • Hazrat Hafsah bint Umar (RA)
  • Hazrat Zaynab bint Khuzayma (RA)
  • Hazrat Umm Salama (RA)
  • Hazrat Zaynab bint Jahsh (RA)
  • Hazrat Juwayriya bint al-Haris (RA)
  • Hazrat Umm Habiba (RA)
  • Hazrat Safiyya bint Huyayy (RA)
  • Hazrat Maymunah bint al-Haris (RA)

Hazrat Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (RA)

Hazrat Khadijah (RA) was the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) first wife and the Mother of his children. She was a wealthy and successful businesswoman who employed Prophet Muhammad (SAW) before their marriage. Hazrat Khadijah (RA) was the first woman to convert to Islam and supported the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) through the early years of his mission. Their marriage lasted for 25 years until her death.


Hazrat Sawda bint Zam’a (RA)

Hazrat Sawda bint Zam’a (RA) was a widow and one of the early converts to Islam. After Hazrat Khadijah’s (RA) death, she married the Prophet (SAW) and provided companionship and support during a difficult time.

Hazrat Sawda bint Zam’a (RA) had the great honor of immigrating for the sake of Islam twice, first to Abyssinia and then to Medina. She was the first widow whom Prophet Muhammad (SAW) married. She was known for her kindness, charity, and friendly nature.


Hazrat Aisha bint Abi Bakr (RA)

Hazrat Aisha (RA) was the daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA), who was a close companion of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and one of the Ashra Mubashra Sahabi. She is credited with narrating more than 2000 hadiths and became noted for her sharp intelligence, love of learning, and perfect judgment. She was one of only three of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) wives who memorized the Quran.

For more information about the Life and Legacy of Hazrat Aisha (RA), visit this link.


Hazrat Hafsah bint Umar (RA)

Hazrat Hafsah (RA), the daughter of one of Prophet Muhammad’s closest friends, Hazrat Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA), was Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) fourth wife. Their marriage was a brilliant political cooperation. She married at a young age and participated in migrating to both Abyssinia and Medina. Sadly, she became widowed at the age of eighteen. However, she had the honor of marrying Prophet Muhammad (SAW), which connected the Al-Khattab family with the Prophet’s (SAW) family.


Hazrat Zaynab bint Khuzayma (RA)

Hazrat Zaynab (RA) was the first of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) wives who did not come from the crew of Quraish. She was known as the Mother of the Low-Income People for her work with them and her generosity towards them.

Unfortunately, she passed away less than a year after her marriage, so very little is known about her. Her last husband died in battle, and her marriage to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) set an example for others to follow. Muslim men no longer feared that their deaths in battle would mean hunger and neglect for their families. It became honorable to marry the widows of the deceased.

For further information about widows and divorces in Islam, you can visit this blog post: Islamic Perspective on Marrying a Divorced Woman.


Hazrat Umm Salama (RA)

Hazrat Umm Salama (RA) married Prophet Muhammad (SAW) when she was twenty-nine. Umm Salama (RA) and her husband were part of the migration to Abyssinia. Her life was filled with examples of patience in the face of hardships and difficulties.

Her first husband died from the wounds he received while fighting in the Ghazwa of Uhud. At the death of her husband, she prayed to Allah (SWT):

“O Lord, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in return, which only You, the Exalted and Mighty, can give.”

Allah (SWT) answered her prayer by blessing her with marriage to the Prophet (SAW). Hazrat Umm Salama (RA) narrated over 300 hadiths, many of which discuss women. She outlived all the other wives and passed away at the age of eighty-four.


Hazrat Zaynab bint Jahsh (RA)

Hazrat Zaynab bint Jahsh (RA) was a young girl from the noble line of Quraish. She was once married to Hazrat Zayd bin Haris (RA), Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) formerly enslaved person and adopted son. After their divorce, she married the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), a marriage that served to cancel the pre-Islamic practice of believing adopted sons as biological sons.

To please all parties, including Zaynab’s family, she married Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Verses in the Quran (Al-Ahzab-37) were revealed to deal with this matter, and by marrying Hazrat Zaynab (RA). She was known for her faith and piety.

Divorce in Islam is permissible but discouraged. Quranic guidance and legal systems provide fairness and dignity. For further information on divorce in Islam, visit this blog post: Divorce in Islam.


Hazrat Juwayriya bint al-Haris (RA)

Hazrat Juwayriya (RA) was a prisoner of the Banu Mustaliq crew. She was the 20-year-old daughter of the crew’s chief, and her marriage to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) helped establish peace and cooperation between her crew and the Muslims.

When Prophet Muhammad (SAW) married Hazrat Juwayriyah (RA), the crew embraced Islam, and the dishonor of their defeat was removed. As a gesture of goodwill, all the war spoils taken from Banu Mustaliq were returned, and all the prisoners were set free.

She was married to the Prophet (SAW) for six years and lived for another thirty-nine years after his death, passing away at the age of sixty-five.


Hazrat Umm Habiba (RA)

Hazrat Umm Habibah (RA) was the daughter of Abu Sufyan, a leader of the Quraish and, at that time, an enemy of Islam. Despite the potential consequences, she fearlessly declared her faith and continued to hold fast to her beliefs through challenging times.

Hazrat Umm Habibah (RA) and her husband faced continuous oppression after accepting Islam, leading them to migrate to Abyssinia. Unfortunately, her husband passed away shortly after their arrival, leaving her alone in a foreign land with a young daughter to care for and no visible means of support.

Upon hearing of her difficulty, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) offered to marry her, and she accepted. Hazrat Umm Habibah (RA) remained married to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for four years until his passing.


Hazrat Safiyya bint Huyayy (RA)

She was born in Madinah to Huyayy ibn Akhtab, the chief of the Jewish crew Banu Nadir. Banu Nadir had been displaced from Madinah and settled in Khaybar. In 629 CE, the Muslims conquered Khaybar, and Hazrat Safiyyah (RA) was taken captive. Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) offered to marry Hazrat Safiyyah (RA), and she agreed, accepting Islam.

Hazrat Safiyyah (RA) was twenty-one years old when the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) passed away. She lived for another 39 years and died in Medina at the age of 60.


Hazrat Maymunah bint al-Haris (RA)

Hazrat Maymunah bint al-Haris (RA) wanted to marry the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and offered herself to him. He (SAW) accepted her proposal, and they were married. Hazrat Maymunah (RA) lived with the Prophet (SAW) for over three years until his death. She was known for her piety and strong connection to the Prophet’s (SAW) family.


Lessons from the Lives of the Mothers of Believers

The lives of the Ummahatul Momineen offer deep lessons in faith, strength, wisdom, and morality. Each wife had unique qualities and experiences, but together, their lives provided many key lessons:


Devotion to Faith

The mothers of believers showed strong faith in Islam. Their lives were deeply rooted in their belief in Allah (SWT) and their support for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This teaches us the importance of faith, even when facing hardship.


Support and Partnership

The wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) exemplified the role of supportive partners. They stood by the Prophet (SAW) during times of hardship, especially in the early years of Islam. This highlights the value of partnership, mutual support, and union in marriage.


Education and Knowledge

Many of the Prophet’s (SAW) wives, especially Hazrat Aisha (RA), were known for their knowledge and scholarship. Aisha (RA) was a key narrator of Hadith and played a significant role in educating the Muslim community. This emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge, educating others, and recognizing the vital role women play in the intellectual and spiritual development of society.


Resilience and Patience

The Ummahatul Momineen faced numerous challenges, including social boycotts, poverty, and personal losses. Their patience and strength during these times remind us of the importance of being steadfast and patient in facing life’s trials.


Charity and Compassion

The mothers of believers were known for their charitable activities and compassion towards the needy and low-income people. They often gave away their possessions in charity, which taught the value of empathy, generosity, and social responsibility.


Role Models for Women

Each wife of the Prophet (SAW) had a different personality and played different roles, from Hazrat Aisha’s (RA) scholarship to Hazrat Khadijah’s (RA) business sense and loyalty. Their diverse contributions show that women can excel in various fields while being righteous and moral. They serve as role models for Muslim women to aspire to.

The lives of the Mothers of Believers offer valuable lessons in strength, wisdom, mercy, and faith. Their exemplary conduct and contributions continue to inspire and guide Muslims worldwide.


Conclusion

The wives of Prophet Muhammad (PBU) were more than just companions. They were the cornerstone of the early Muslim community, shaping its spiritual and moral foundation. Their wisdom, firm faith (iman), and faithfulness to Allah (SWT) symbolized guidance during Islam’s early years.

Their lives, characterized by strong faith, faithfulness, and virtuous deeds, serve as a model for Muslims to emulate. They weren’t just historical figures; their impact continues to show how faith can be powerful.

We can draw on their legacy in our daily lives, seeking wisdom in our faith by turning to their teachings and finding strength in their firm faithfulness to Allah (SWT). By studying their stories and following their exemplary lives, we can guide our journeys as Muslims.

Let us remember the profound impact of the Mothers of the Believers on Islam. Their example is not a memorial of the past but a guiding light for us all. May their stories inspire Muslims to live with piety and devotion to Allah (SWT).

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