an apologist: a straight reply
By Abul Kasem
abul88 (at) hotmail.com
Mr. Parvez Ahmed of CAIR recently wrote a bizarre
article entitled, ‘Muhammad’s wives: Background you need to know’
for the Sentinel magazine, which I guess, is mostly read by the Americans
of non-Muslim background. Somehow or other this small piece of essay was
posted in NFB on December 12, 2002 (http://www.bangladesh-web.com/news/dec/12/f12122002.htm
I read this essay from this University academic (he
is reported to be a faculty member of the University of North Florida’s
Coggin College of Business) with great hilarity. I found his essay to be
totally unreliable and full of distortion of facts, which compelled me to
write this rebuttal to make matters straight.
Although Mr. Parvez mentioned that one needs to know
about the background of Muhammad’s wives, he never cited any background
information on this. Not only this, but he also never gave a single
reference/sources of his concocted tales on Muhammad’s wives. One simply
wonders why an academic of his calibre failed to do so!
It is also quite remarkable to note that Mr. Parvez
quite cleverly uses single quotes by the Occidental apologists like John
Esposito and Karen Armstrong to portray them as the true representatives
of Islam. He thought that if he uses some favourable quotes on Islam from
these western (non-Muslim) apologists, then the Americans and other
infidels (as well as many non-practising Muslims) will form a very cool
and benign idea about Islam.
Let me ask him a few questions: If Islam is such a
fantastic and the greatest religion on world, why do these two ‘great’
Islamic scholars not convert to Islam? Why do they still remain
unbelievers? What prevents them from becoming Muslims? Which are the
principle sources of Islam? Is it in the writings of infidels like John
Esposito and Karen Armstrong or in the Qur’an, the Ahadith and in the
writings of a few celebrated Islamic scholars who have unparallel
knowledge and understanding of Islam?
How come when the secularists use the writings of
Occidental experts on Islam like Daniel Pipe, Sir William Muir and others
like them, the writers such like Mr. Parvez Ahmed & company deny
anything and all things that they say? Why is it that when a ‘Murtad’
such as me present utterly irrefutable evidence/s from the principal
sources of Islam exposing the ‘real Islam,’ then the Islamists hide
their head under sand like the proverbial ostrich as if nothing has
happened? Why such double standard?
When one peruses this response to his rather
un-academic discourse, one will find the answer to the above questions.
Mr. Parvez’s essay can be summarised in the
following sections: (Note: I used this method instead of quoting from his
essay in order to conserve space.)
- Muhammad was monogamous as
long as his first wife, Khadija was alive.
- Muhammad married 12 wives.
- Muhammad married Sauda (or
Sawda) when she was a 65 yeas old widow.
- Most of Muhammad’s wives
were over the age 40 when they married him.
- Muhammad married Aisha when
she was between 16 to 19 years old and not between 6 to 7 years as
written in Sahi ahadith.
- Muhammad married Zainab (or
Zaynab), his adopted son’s wife to set an example; it was not a
marriage out of love/lust.
Let me present clear answers
to the above issues.
Muhammad was monogamous
while Khadija was alive.
It is true that Muhammad had no choice but to be
satisfied with only one wife as long as Khadija was alive. Why was it so?
Why did he not get permission from Allah to acquire many other wives
during her lifetime? Why did his harem become so crowded immediately after
In order to answer those questions, we must
understand the power of money and wealth. In this mortal world, whoever
has those two commodities make the rules. We find no exception in the case
of Muhammad-Khadija relationship. Khadija was a very wealthy merchant lady
when she married Muhammad. He was her third husband. The Sirat (Reference
3) gives the names of his two other husbands without giving much detail
about them. When Khadija married Muhammad, he was a virtual indigent.
Therefore, he was completely under the control/mercy
of Khadija. In reality, Muhammad was a househusband while Khadija was his
sole provider. He was totally dependent on Khadija for his survival.
Therefore, if Muhammad ever dared to go for other women, Khadija would
have eaten him alive, that was for sure. Besides, Khadija was 15 years
senior to him; almost like his mother. So, how could Muhammad raise his
voice against her? Here is a quote from the biography of Muhammad written
by Maxime Rodinson (Ref.5).
All around him Muhammad
saw the wealthy Qurayshites using and abusing the pleasures of love. Each
man, merchants and travelers especially, was allowed by custom to take
wives for a limited period. Polygamy was perhaps less widespread than has
been suggested, but divorce was simple and frequent. Outright
prostitution, not readily distinguishable from temporary marriage, also
occurred. Religious rites seem to have involved occasional ritual
copulation. Young and beautiful slave-girls were easily bought. But
Muhammad was wedded to Khadija and to her alone. It is possible that their
marriage contract involved an obligation on his part to take no second
wife. The wealthy Khadija was in a position to make demands (Ref 5, Page
It is now abundantly clear that Muhammad had no
choice but to remain a monogamous when he was under the control of a rich
and powerful lady like Khadija.
married 12 wives
This is not a true picture of Muhammad’s
collection of wives. Muhammad married between 13 to 22 wives. The most
authentic biography of Muhammad (Ref. 3) tells us that Muhammad had at
least 13 (when I counted, I found this to be 14) wives (see Ref.3 page
794). Some writers even suggest that Muhammad had up to 28 wives. This is
not to say that the only women Muhammad had in his harem.
He had at least two concubines namely Maria and
Rayhana. Maria was presented to Muhammad by the Coptic head of Egypt while
Rayhana was a booty from the genocide of Banu Qurayza, a Jewish tribe that
lived in Medina. Both these sex slaves were of extreme beauty and very
young when Muhammad possessed them.
Many Islamists often object vehemently when we
mention that Muhammad had concubines besides his regular wives. They will
often give convoluted logic to demonstrate that the Prophet of Islam never
had concubines. Well, here is what Ibn Ishak writes about Maria:
Ibn Hisham’s note 129
Ibrahim’s mother was
Mariya the Copt. Abdullah b. Wahb from I Lahia told me that Mariya was the
prophet’s concubine. The Muuqauqis presented her to him from Hafn in the
province of Ansina. (Ibid, page 711).
Muhammad married Sauda
when she was 65 years old.
This is a big joke. Here is the truth about Sauda:
Saudah Bint. Zama: She was neither young nor
beautiful. She was the right lady to take care of Mohammad's young
children after the death of Khadijah. They got married in 620 A.D. She was
middle aged, plump, jolly and of kindly disposition. She was a widow who
lived until the end of time of Umor. Mohammad married Sauda when he was 53
and she was 50 almost the same time when he married Aisha. It is stated
that Sauda "gave" her "nights" to Ayesha to have him
for sex (http://www.islamic-paths.org/Home/English/Muhammad/Book/Wives/Chapter-02.htm).
That meant that old Sauda was a maidservant while young Aisha was for
having good time (speaking in today’s parlance).
Most of Muhammad’s wives were over the age 40
whey they married him.
This is not completely true. We can find at least
three women who were quite young when Muhammad married them. Here are a
Maimunah (or Barra) Bint. Al Harith: Mohammad
married her when he was 60 and she was 36 in 629 A.D. (7 A.H). Zainab Bint
Khuzaima was her half sister. She was the last woman the prophet married
due to the restriction imposed on him by Allah (33:50, 33:52). She lived
with Mohammad for just 3 years. After Mohammad died, Maimunah lived for
another 40 years. She died at an age of 80 (51 A.H.). She was Mohammad's
last wife to die.
Rayhana: She was not a real wife. Some authorities
say that she eventually converted to Islam and married Muhammad. She was a
booty from a battle. She was a Jewish girl of extreme beauty; so, Mohammad
proposed to marry her. However, she refused to covert to Islam and marries
Mohammad. Therefore, she became a sex slave of Mohammad. She was probably
a teenager when Muhammad captured her.
Safiyah Bint Huyay: She was also a war booty. She
was taken a captive after the slaughter in Khybar. In that battle, she
lost her father, recently married husband and all other close relatives.
This captured Jewish woman was given to a Muslim soldier called Dahia.
However, when Mohammad saw her pulchritude, he immediately bought her from
Dahia and proposed to marry her. She was in a state of shock when brought
to Mohammad. Safiyah's cousin sister was also brought along with Safiyah
but Mohammad was not interested in her cousin as she was not that pretty.
Safiyah had no choice but to marry Mohammad to save
her life. She was 17 years old when she married the 60 years old Mohammad.
She was with Mohammad for 4 years. She was 21 when the prophet of Islam
died. She lived as a widow for the next 39 years. She died in 50 A.H (673
A.D.) at the age of 60.
If you want to read more about Muhammad’s wives
please read ‘Holy and Blessed Family’, NFB August 20, 2001 or e-mail
That Safiya was a very young girl when Muhammad
possessed her can also be traced from the following quote of Sira by Ibn
‘Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b.
Muhammad b. ‘Amr b. Hazm told me that he was told that Safiya d. Huyayy
b. Akhtab said ‘I was the favourite child of my father and my uncle Abu
Yasir. When I was present they took no notice of their other children.
When the apostle was staying in Quba with the B. ‘Amr b. Auf, the two
went to see him before daybreak and did not return until after nightfall,
weary worn out, drooping and feeble. I went up to them on childish
pleasure as I always did, and they were so sunk in gloom that they took no
notice of me. I heard my uncle say to my father, "Is he he? Do you
recognize him, and can you be sure?" "Yes!" "And what
do you feel about him?" "by God I shall be his enemy as long as
I live." (Ref: 3, page 241-242)
Muhammad married Aisha
when she was between 16 to 19 years old.
This is the biggest joke or fib I have ever read.
The author (Parvez Ahmed) wrote that the marriage age of Aisha to be 6 to
7 years is based on apocryphal traditions. How funny! Does Mr. Parvez
contend that Sahi Bukhari, and Sahi Muslim are apocryphal? How strange and
outrageous! All the Sahi ahadith including Shahih Bukhari and Shahih
Muslim are the foundations of Islam. Their position is just after the Holy
Qur’an. All Islamic rules/regulations/Sha’ria laws are based on these
Sahi traditions. How can Mr. Parvez deny this? I am at a loss here! Has he
invented a new tradition by reading the biography of Muhammad by
Hussain Haykal of Egypt?
Let us review a few Sahi traditions:
This one is from the most Sahi of all traditions,
that is, Shahih Bukhari:
Volume 5, Book 58, Number 236:
Narrated Hisham's father:
Khadija died three years
before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so
and then he married 'Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he
consumed that marriage when she was nine years old.
Here is another hadis from Shahih Bukhari from the
very mouth of Aisha. Does Mr. Parvez say that the Ummul Mumenin, Aisha was
lying through her teeth?
Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64:
that the Prophet married
her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she
was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e.,
till his death).
Here is another Sahi hadis from Shahih Muslim in the
very words of Aisha. Is Aisha a lier and fibber? Tauba! Tauba!
Book 008, Number 3311:
'A'isha (Allah be pleased
with her) reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) married
her when she was seven years old, and he was taken to his house as a bride
when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy
Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.
Want to hear more? Here is Sira by Ibn Ishak:
He married ‘Aisha in
Mecca when she was a child of seven lived with her in Medina when she was
nine or ten. She was the only virgin that he married. Her father, Abu Bakr,
married her to him and the apostle gave her four hundred dirhams.(Ref. 3,
I am just wondering why the Mullahs are not issuing Fatwas
demanding the blood of Mr. Parvez Ahmed for transgressing the Holy
Scriptures and distorting the truth. Is it because he is the
communications director CAIR for the Florida chapter? What a shame and
double standard played by the Islamic apologists!
If any so-called ‘Islam basher’ ever dares to
write a single line contradicting the Qur’an and the ahadith, then the
Mullahs will not spare even an hour to issue Fatwa demanding the
head of the Murtad or of the ‘blasphemy’ writer. Is this how Islam
wants to convert the world to its fascistic doctrine?
Now back to child marriage again. While we are on
this topic let us briefly review the provision/s of child/underage
marriage in Islam. You may be greatly surprised to learn that you thought
this could have never existed in Islam!
The first important point is that there is no
minimum age for marriage in Islam. This truth can be found in many
Sha’ria books. Here is what the Dictionary of Islam writes:
There is no particular age for marriage (Ref. 4,
So, what should be the age of a woman/girl/child
when an adult Muslim male can marry her? Is it possible to marry a newly
born suckling infant? What? Naujubillah! This is very contemptible!
Islam can never allow such perversion, you say. Perish this thought. Read
for yourself the following Sha’ria rule on marrying an infant girl who
is still suckling her mother’s milk. This Sha’ria rule clearly
demonstrates that an adult Muslim man can marry an infant girl and an
adult woman at the same time but the infant cannot suckle the adult’s
milk. How disgusting!
Hedaya Vol. I Book III,
page 71 (Ref. 6)
Case of one of two
wives suckling the other-If a man marry an
infant and an adult and the latter should give milk to the former, both
wives become prohibited with respect to that man [their husband], because
if they were to continue united in marriage to him, it would imply the
propriety of joint cohabitation with the foster-mother and her
foster-daughter, which is prohibited, in the same manner as joint
cohabitation with a natural mother and daughter-It is to be observed on
this occasion, that if the husband should not have had carnal connexion
with the adult wife, she is not entitled to any dower whatever, because
the separation has proceeded from her, before consummation :-but the
infant has a claim to her half dower.
Many Muslims will be greatly enraged as to what I
wrote in the previous paragraph. They will still deny the truth. Some may
even want proof of this type of child abuse and pedophiliac trend in any
follower of Islam.
Well, I would like them to read the following:
Umme Kulthum: Umme Kulthum was 4 or 5 years old when
Umor married her. This child was his most favourite wife (just like
prophet Mohammad). There is a great controversy about the identity of this
child bride of Umor. Many Islamists claim that she was the daughter of Ali
and Fatima. Others claim that Umme Kulthum was the posthumous daughter of
Abu Bakar and Habiba. Abu Bakar died (13 A.H.) a few months before Umme
Kulthum was born. She was the half sister of Ayesha. So, Umor asked Ayesha
for the hand of Umme Kulthum when she (Umme Kulthum) was only 4 - 5 years
old. Ayesha agreed and Umor and Umme Kulthum got married.
It is not known at what age of Umme Kulthum, Umor
consummated the marriage. I could not find any reference as to the age of
Umor when he married this child. However, we can make some calculations to
find out his age at the time of marriage.
Umor was born 13 years after prophet Mohammad.
Mohammad was born in 570. So, Umor must have been born in 583 A.D. (other
records show that Umor was born around 580 A.D.)
Let us assume that Umor married Umme Kulthum bt.
Ali. Sunni references (Al Farooq vol. II by Shibli Numani p 539. History
of Abul Fida, vol. I p 171) suggest that this marriage took place in 17
A.H (623 A.D.). Sunni references also suggest that Umme Kulthum was 4 to 5
years old when Umor married her. Let us say that she was 5 years old when
the marriage took place. This will put the date of birth of Umme Kulthum
as 12 A.H, which is 634 A.D.
Therefore, Umor was 51 years (634 - 583 = 51) when
Umme Kulthum was born.
Thus, Umor was at least 56 years old (51+ 5 = 56)
years old when he married this child.
Now, let us assume that Umor married the posthumous
daughter of Abu Bakar. Historical record suggests that Abu Bakar died in
13 A.H and Umme Kulthum Bint Abu Bakar was born a few months after his
death. That is, we can safely say that Umme Kulthum was born in 13 A.H.,
which is 635 A.D.
Sunnis suggests that this marriage took place in 17
A.H. = 639 A.D.
Umor must have been at least 56 years (639 - 583 =
56) years old when he married this child of 4 to 5 years old.
Whichever version of the marriage we accept, it is
abundantly clear that Umor was very much past his 50's when he married
Umme Kulthum. Incredible! Umor surpassed his master when it came to child
marriage. However, Islamic history and Hadith are absolutely and
positively silent on when Umor consummated this marriage.
If we assume that Umor followed the example of the
prophet (pbuh) and consummated the marriage when Umme Kulthum was 9 years,
he must had been at least 59 years when he did that. Even if we assume
that Umor had sex with Umme Kulthum just before he was assassinated (he
was 61 years when he died), she could be only around 10 (5+5 =10) years
Thus, Umor probably had sex with a 9 or 10 years old
child when he was 59/60! Get it folks?
Still not convinced? Well, here is what Muhammad,
the Prophet of peace and mercy wanted to do with a baby girl who just
started to crawl. It was just the good luck for this baby girl that the
Last Prophet died before he could fulfil his dream.
Muhammad wanted to marry a crawling baby. This is
from the book of Sira by Ibn Ishak, the most authentic biographer of
Muhammad. Most other biographies are based on this monumental work by Ibn
(Suhayli, ii.79: In the riwaya
of Yunus I.I recorded that the apostle saw her (Ummu’l-Fadl) when she
was baby crawling before him and said, ‘If she grows up and I am still
alive I will marry her.’ But he died before she grew up and Sufyan b.
al-Aswad b. Abdu’l-Asad al-Makhzumi married her and she bore him Rizq
and Lubaba….(Ref.3, page 311)
Why should the Islamic apologist like Mr. Parvez
Ahmed and his organization CAIR try to fool the gullible and little
informed western non-Muslims? Do they think that their misinformation and
blatant distortion of facts will go unchallenged? I would request Mr.
Perevz to write a few words about what the authorities like Hedaya and Ibn
Ishak had written.
Let us now take up the last
misinformation/disinformation propagated by Mr. Parvez/CAIR.
Muhammad married Zainab
(or Zaynab), his adopted son’s wife to set an example; it was not a
marriage out of love/lust.
This is an absolute nonsense. We can demonstrate
from various authentic Islamic sources that Muhammad’s marriage to
Zaynab was completely based on his desire to have a ‘good time’ with
her (I’m borrowing this term to be in tune with modernity!) and nothing
else. This truth can never be suppressed no matter how much any Islamic
apologist tries to the contrary.
First, we turn to Qur’an. This unholy union was a
matter of great shame in the Arab society of that time. The Arab society
of those days could never imagine that the father of an adopted son would
marry his wife. It was because the Arabs treated their adopted children as
Thus, this type of marriage was completely
unacceptable to them. Muhammad knew about this and feared that he would be
ostracised/shunned by his community if he plunged into fulfilling his
carnal desire for Zaynab without the intervention of Almighty Allah. So,
Allah promptly sent down 33:37 that permitted Zayd to divorce Zaynab and
gave the licence to Muhammad to sleep with her. Here is the complete
YUSUFALI: Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received
the grace of Allah and thy favour: "Retain thou (in wedlock) thy
wife, and fear Allah." But thou didst hide in thy heart that which
Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is
more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah. Then when Zaid had dissolved
(his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We joined her in
marriage to thee: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to
the Believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted
sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their
marriage) with them. And Allah's command must be fulfilled.
This verse is very clear in disclosing the secret
carnal desire of Muhammad for Zaynab.
Ali Dashti, sourcing from authentic sources like
Jalalyn and Zamakshari (the two great writers of Tafsir Qur’an that ever
The Prophet’s love for
Zaynab arose later, and the time and circumstances of its incidence are
diversely reported. The account in the Tafsir al-Jalalayn suggests
that his attitude began to change soon after her marriage to Zayd.
"After a time (probably meaning a short time) his eye fell on her,
and love for Zaynab budded in his heart. (Ref. 7, page 132)
Citing the work of Zamakhshari, Ali Dashti continues
in his comment on verse 37 sura 33, states that it was after Zaynab’s
marriage to Zayd that the Prophet’s eye fell on her. She pleased him so
much that he could not help saying, "Praise be to God who makes
hearts beat!" The Prophet had seen Zaynab before but she had not then
pleased him; otherwise he would have asked for her hand. Zaynab heard the
Prophet’s exclamation and told Zayd about it. Zayd knew intuitively that
God had cast an unease with Zaynab into his heart. He therefore went in
haste to the Prophet and asked whether he might divorce his wife. The
Prophet asked what had happened and whether he suspected her. Zayd replied
that he had met with nothing but kindness from her, but was distressed
because she considered herself more noble than himself and more suitable
for the Prophet. It was then that the words "Keep your wife for
yourself and fear God" in verse 37 came down. (Ref. 7, page 132-133)
To be fair with Muhammad, Ali Dashti makes the
following comment regarding the honesty of Muhammad’s desire for Zaynab
as expressed in 33:37
This meaningful verse is
an impressive example of the Prophet Mohammad’s honesty and candor.
(Ref. 7, page 133)
My rebuttals of what Mr. Parvez of CAIR had been
trying to propagate are in no way designed to malign and/or demean Islam
and Muhammad. I have tried to elucidate from the primary/authentic sources
of Islam a truer picture of what Mr. Parvez tried to distort. I did not
invent anything new, neither did I write anything original/earth
If the Mullahs have the right to issue Fatwa for the
head of secularists for writing ‘blasphemous’ essays, why not the
secularists now issue directives (read Fatwa) when the Islamic
apologists write totally distorted and misinformed articles to fool the
un-informed Muslims and non-Muslims alike? Of course, our Fatwa
will not ask for blood (read beheading) from the apologists. All we want
is this, ‘please reply to this essay refuting its content.’
1. Shahih Bukhari; Translation by Dr. Muhammad
2. Shahih Muslim; Translation by Abdur Rahman
3. SIRAT RASUL ALLAH by Ibn Ishaq Translated by A.
Guillaume. Fifteenth Impression, 2001 Published by Oxford
University Press, Karachi, Pakistan
4. DICTIONARY OF ISLAM by Thomas Patrick Hughes ,
1994 Published by KAZI Publications, Inc., Chicago, IL, USA
5. MUHAMMAD by Maxime Rodinson: Translated from the
French by Anne Carter, 2002 Published by the NewYork Press, New York
6. THE HEDAYA COMMENTARY ON THE ISLAMIC LAWS
(reprint 1994) Translated by Charles Hamilton, Published by Kitab Bhaban ,
1784 Kalan Mahal, Darya Ganj, New Delhi
7. 23 YEARS: A Study of the Prophetic Career of
Mohammad by Ali Dashti (1994) Translated from the Persian by F.R.C.
Bagley, Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, California.