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Propaganda from an apologist: a straight reply

By Abul Kasem

Sydney, Australia

E-mail: 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 - A4).

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.)

  1. Muhammad was monogamous as long as his first wife, Khadija was alive.
  2. Muhammad married 12 wives.
  3. Muhammad married Sauda (or Sawda) when she was a 65 yeas old widow.
  4. Most of Muhammad’s wives were over the age 40 when they married him.
  5. Muhammad married Aisha when she was between 16 to 19 years old and not between 6 to 7 years as written in Sahi ahadith.
  6. 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 Khadija’s death?

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 54-55)

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.

Muhammad 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 few samples:

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 me.

That Safiya was a very young girl when Muhammad possessed her can also be traced from the following quote of Sira by Ibn Ishak:


‘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:

Narrated 'Aisha:

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, page 792)

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, page 315)

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 old!

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 Ishak/Ibn Hisham

(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 their own.

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 verse:

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 lived) writes:

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 further:

Zamakhshari, 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 shattering/revolutionary.

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 Muhsin Khan


2. Shahih Muslim; Translation by Abdur Rahman Siddiqui


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

110002 [India]

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.





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