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How many wives did the Prophet Muhammad have?

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One possible answer is twenty-six.

In fact the answer to this question depends on how we define a “wife”. Only eleven of Muhammad’s wives are officially known as “Mother of the Faithful”, which is why the number eleven appears so frequently among traditional Muslim answers. However, Muhammad was legally married to at least twelve other women, although nine of these marriages were never consummated. He also had three concubines, which is the opposite situation – sexual partners who did not hold the status of wife. These 11 + 3 + 9 + 3 add up to a total of 26. Here are their names.

1. Khadija bint Khuwaylid (Asad clan of Quraysh tribe) (c.568–620), Mother of the Faithful. A wealthy merchant from Mecca, she was about 27 while Muhammad was 24 when they married in July 595. Khadija was the mother of seven of his children (Zaynab, Ruqayya, Umm Kulthum, Qasim, Abdmanaf, Abduluzza and Fatima) and she remained his only wife as long as she lived. It was at her urging that Muhammad declared himself a prophet. At her death on 22 April 620, he was distraught. (Ibn Ishaq 69, 82-83, 106–107, 191. Ibn Hisham #127; #918. Ibn Saad 1:150-152; 8:10-12, 44, 54. Muslim 31:5975. Tabari 39:4, 161. Ibn Kathir 4:417, 436-437.)

2. Sawda bint Zama’a (Amir ibn Luayy clan of Quraysh tribe) (c.581–674), Mother of the Faithful, but later retired from active service. She was a tanner and perfume-mixer from Mecca. Muhammad married her within three weeks of Khadija’s death, when he was 49 and she was about a decade younger. He considered divorcing her in late 626 but she talked him out of it. She died “at a great age”. (Ibn Ishaq 148, 530. Ibn Hisham #918. Ibn Saad 8:39-43, 55, 99, 152. Bukhari 2:26:740; 3:47:766; 3:48:853; 7:62:5, 134; 8:78:677. Muslim 8:3312, 3451, 3452, 3455. Abu Dawud 2:2130. Tirmidhi 6:44:3040, 3108. Tabari 9:128-130; 39:170-171. Tabrizi 1:662. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir on Q4:128.)

3. Aïsha bint Abi Bakr (Taym clan of Quraysh) (614–678), Mother of the Faithful. She was the favourite wife (after Khadija). The daughter of Muhammad’s best friend, Aïsha was 6 when Muhammad married her legally in May or June 620 and 9 when the marriage was consummated in April 623 (he was 52). Muhammad died when Aïsha was 18, having forbidden his widows to remarry, and her father succeeded him as leader of the Muslim community. Among Muhammad’s widows, Aïsha was recognised as first among equals. She proved an expert on Islam, becoming a career-teacher and a developer of Islamic law. She opposed Ali, for which she became hated by the Shia. She died on 16 July 678. (Quran 33:53. Ibn Ishaq 117. Ibn Saad 2:480-481; 8:45-47, 55, 124, 148. Bukhari 1:3:103; 1:5:251; 3:47:755; 6:61:515; 7:68:473. Muslim 8:3311; 31:5984. Tirmidhi 6:46:3883, 3884. Ibn Maja 3:9:1877. Tabari 9:129, 183-184; 39:171-173. Ibn Kathir 2:91.)

4. Hafsa bint Umar (Adiy clan of Quraysh) (605–665), Mother of the Faithful. The daughter of Muhammad’s close friend, the future Caliph Umar, Hafsa married Muhammad in January or February 625 when he was 53 and she was 19 or 20. He considered divorcing her in July 629 but retracted the divorce in August. Hafsa’s claim to fame lies in her having been the custodian of the first written Quran. (Quran 66:3-5. Ibn Ishaq 329. Ibn Hisham #918. Ibn Saad 8:56, 58-59, 82-83, 124-125, 134-140, 149, 152. Bukhari 1:8:395; 3:43:648; 5:43:648; 5:59:342; 6:60:10, 201, 434, 435; 6:61:509; 7:62:55, 60, 75, 119; 7:63:192, 193; 7:72:734; 8:78:682; 9:86:102. Muslim 9:3496, 3497, 3506, 3507, 3508, 3511. Abu Dawud 12:2276. Nasaï 4:36:3410, 3411. Tabari 7:105; 9:131 f 884; 39:174).

5. Zaynab bint Khuzayma “Mother of the Poor” (Hilal tribe of Amir group) (c.596–625), Mother of the Faithful. She was in her late 20s when Muhammad married her, a month after Hafsa. It was at this point that he decreed that a Muslim should not have more than four wives. Zaynab died in September or October 625 after only eight months. (Quran 4:3. Ibn Hisham #918. Ibn Saad 8:82. Tabari 7:150 f 215, 216; 9:138ff; 39:163-164.)

6. Umm Salama (Hind) bint Abi Umayya (Makhzum clan of Quraysh) (597–679), Mother of the Faithful. Muhammad married her c.28 March 626 when he was 55 and she was about 28. A tanner, wool-carder and date-merchant who brought four children into the marriage, she was one of Muhammad’s favourites. She is revered by the Shia as a partisan of Ali. She died in September 679. (Ibn Ishaq 41, 44, 56, 146. Ibn Hisham #918. Waqidi 167, 186-187. Ibn Saad 1:583; 2:70-71; 3:183; 8:6, 61-67, 81. Bukhari 9:83,commentary between #6512 and #6513. Muslim 4:1999. Abu Dawud 19:2998. Tabari 7:167; 39:175-176. Ibn Kathir (Le Gassick) 3:123-124.)

7. Zaynab bint Jahsh (Ghanm clan of Asad tribe, but allied to the Umayya clan of Quraysh) (590–641), Mother of the Faithful. Muhammad married her on 27 March 627 when he was 55 and she was about 37, soon after receiving a revelation from Allah that the limit of four wives did not apply to prophets. She was his first cousin and she was another of his favourites. She worked as a tanner and leather-worker and gave away all her profits to charity. She died in summer 641. (Quran 33:37-38, 40, 50. Ibn Hisham #918. Ibn Saad 8:74, 77, 81, 123, 143. Bukhari 3:48:829; 5:59:462; 6:60:274, 310; 9:93:516. Muslim 1:338 f 358; 8:3240, 3241, 3330; 31:5984. Abu Dawud 32:4060. Tabari 8:1-4; 39:180-182. Tabari, Tafsir on Q33:37. Qurtubi, Tafsir on Q33:37. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir on Q 33:37-38.)

8. Rayhana bint Zayd (Nadir tribe) (died 632), a Jewish slave. Her first husband was one of the 600 men of Qurayza who were beheaded in Qaynuqa Market in May 627. Rayhana’s status is controversial. Some say that Muhammad manumitted and married her in May or June 627. Others say that she was only a concubine. A third variant is that Muhammad later divorced her and sent her back to her family. Possibly, after divorcing her, he recaptured her at Khaybar, hence it was as his concubine that she died in late March 632. (Ibn Ishaq 464-466, 693. Waqidi 250, 254-256. Ibn Saad 8:92-94, 129-130, 133. Bukhari 5:59:448, 362. Tabari 8:39; 9:137, 141; 39:164-165. Ibn Kathir 4:416, 426, 433-435. Ibn Hajar, Isaba #11197)

9. Juwayriya bint al-Harith (Mustaliq clan of Khuza’a tribe) (608–670 or 676), Mother of the Faithful. The daughter of a pagan chief, she was captured at the Ambush of Muraysi on 13 January 628 (but some variants claim it was in 627), where her first husband was killed. Muhammad married her on the same day: he was 56 and she was 19 or 20. (Ibn al-Kalbi 12-13. Ibn Ishaq 490, 493. Ibn Hisham #918. Waqidi 198-201. Ibn Saad 2:77-78; 8:83–85. Bukhari 3:46:717. 718; 5:59:459; 9:93:506. Muslim 2:2349, 3371; 19:4292. Abu Dawud 14:2627; 29:3920. Tabari 8:57; 9:133; 39:182-184. Ibn Kathir 4:420. Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib #13754.)

10. Umm Habiba (Ramla) bint Abi Sufyan (Umayya clan of Quraysh), Mother of the Faithful (594–664). She was a noblewoman from Mecca, sister of the future Caliph Muaawiyah. Muhammad married her by proxy in May 628, when he was 57 and she was 34, and she arrived in Medina in July. This marriage had a clear political motive, as Umm Habiba was a devout Muslim while her father, Abu Sufyan, was the leader of the opposition to Muhammad in Mecca. (Ibn Ishaq 99, 146, 168, 187, 203, 210, 274, 277, 323, 526–530, 784. Ibn Hisham #918. Ibn Saad 8:68-71. Bukhari 7:62:38. Muslim 2:3413, 2963, 1581, 3539; 31:6905. Abu Dawud 11:2081, 2102, 2103. Nasaï 4:66:3352. Ibn Maja 5:3974. Tabari 8:109-110; 9:133-134; 39:177-180. Ibn Hajar, Isaba #11185.)

11. Safiya bint Huayy (Nadir tribe) (612–672), Mother of the Faithful. Originally a Jew from Medina, she was among the war-captives from Khaybar. Muhammad married her in July 628 when he was 57 and she was 16, on the same day as he killed her second husband. He had previously killed her first husband, father, brother, three uncles and several cousins. (Malik 21:3:8. Ibn Ishaq 367-368, 464-465, 511, 515-517. Ibn Hisham #760, #918. Waqidi 91-95, 179, 193, 251-252, 278-279, 318-319, 328-334, 348-349. Ibn Saad 2:37, 112-113, 139-140, 144-145; 8:85-89, 129–130. Baladhuri 1:41-48. Bukhari 1:8:367; 2:14:68; 3:12:2272; 3:34:431, 437; 3:45:687; 4:52:143; 5:52:143; 5:59:369, 370, 371, 372, 512, 513, 522, 523, 524, 622; 7:62:22, 89, 98; 7:65:299, 336; 8:75:374. Muslim 8:3325, 3328, 3329; 19:4436. Abu Dawud 19:2991, 2992, 2994, 2999, 3000; 27:3735. Nasaï 4:26:3382, 3383, 3384. Tirmidhi 2:6:1095. Ibn Maja 3:9:1957. Tabari 9:120, 134-135; 39:184-185. Bayhaqi 4:1575, 1576. Ibn Kathir 3:265, 268, 271.)

12. Maymuna bint al-Harith (Hilal ibn Amir tribe) (593–671), Mother of the Faithful. She was a middle-class widow from Mecca whom Muhammad married in March 629 when he was 57 and she was 36. She died on 21 December 671. (Malik 20:20:70. Ibn Ishaq 531. Ibn Hisham #782; #918. Waqidi 363-365. Ibn Saad 2:152; 8:94-99. Bukhari 3:29:63; 5:59:559. Muslim 8:3284. Tirmidhi 2:9:845. Tabari 8:136-137; 9:135; 39:185-186, 201. Dhahabi 2 #118. Ibn Kathir 3:310-311; 4:419-420. Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib 12 #13898.)

13. Mariya bint Shamoon (died 637), an Egyptian concubine. The Governor of Alexandria gave her to Muhammad as a gift in April 628 and she had become his concubine by July 629. She gave birth to his last son, Ibrahim, in March or April 630. Along with Muhammad’s his other slaves, Mariya was manumitted at his death. She died in February or March 637. (Quran 66:1-4. Ibn Ishaq 653. Ibn Ishaq, cited in Guillaume (1960) 55. Ibn Hisham #129. Ibn Saad 1:151-153, 160, 163; 8:59, 77, 124-125, 135-138, 148-151. Bukhari 3:43:648; 6:60:434; 7:62:119; 7:63:192, 193; 8:78:682; 9:86:102. Muslim 9:3496, 3497. Nasaï 4:36:3410, 3411. Tabari 8:100, 131; 9:38-39, 141, 147; 10:58–59; 13:58; 39:22, 161, 193-195 & f 845. Ibn Kathir 4:431, 433.)

14. Mulayka bint Kaab (Layth clan of Bakr ibn Kinana tribe) (c.617–630), wife. Her father was killed at the Khandama resistance to Muhammad’s conquest of Mecca in January 630. Muhammad married Mulayka a few days later when he was 58 and she was about 13. He divorced her at her own request a few months after that, and she died before she had completed her three-month waiting period. (Ibn Ishaq 291, 549, 566. Waqidi 406. Ibn Saad 2:167-168; 8:106, 154. Baladhuri 1:64. Tabari 8:176, 187; 39:165.)

15. Fatima “al-Aliya” bint al-Dahhak (Abu Bakr clan of Kilab ibn Amir tribe) (died 680), wife. She was the daughter of a middle-weight Muslim warrior who had settled in Medina. Muhammad married her in late March 630 and divorced her about six months later for not veiling properly. She too seems to have been a teenager. After working for a while as a gong-woman, she remarried and returned to her ancestral tribe. At her death in 680 she had outlived all Muhammad’s other wives. (Ibn Saad 8:100-101, 153-154. Nasaï 4:27:3446. Tabari 9:39, 136-138; 39:186-188. Ibn Kathir 4:420-428, 509.)

16. Jundub’s Daughter (Layth clan of Bakr ibn Kinana tribe). This marriage was never consummated, but the details are unknown. (Ibn Saad 8:100, 106.)

17. Asma bint al-Numan (Jaown clan of Kinda tribe), wife. She was a Bedouin noblewoman from southern Arabia. Muhammad married her in June or July 630, when he was 59 and she was “most youthful”. He divorced her on the wedding night because she misspoke. She remarried twice and died during the caliphate of Uthman (644–656). (Ibn Ishaq, cited in Guillaume (1960) 55. Ibn Hisham 794 #918 (but note that Ibn Hisham makes a mistake over the name). Ibn Saad 8:101-104. Bukhari 7:63:181, 182; 7:69:541. Tabari 9:137; 10:190; 39:188-191. Ibn Kathir 4:421, 423.)

18. Umm Sharik (Ghaziya) bint Jabir (Amir ibn Luayy clan of Quraysh). Muhammad married her not earlier than 629 and divorced her on the wedding day. She seems to have been about forty years old at the time; she died in 670. (Ibn Ishaq 176-177. Ibn Hisham 794 #918. Waqidi 313. Ibn Saad 8:110-114. Muslim 26:5561. Tabari 9:136-139; 39:204. Ibn Kathir, Bidaya 8:50.)

19. Sana or Saba (“al-Nashshat”) bint Asma (RIfa’a) ibn al-Salt (Sulaym tribe). Muhammad married her legally but he divorced her before they met. She seems to have been a teenager. (Ibn Saad 8:106-107. Tabari 9:135-136; 39:166. Ibn Kathir 4:423.)

20. Khaowla bint al-Hudhayl (Thalaaba clan of Taghlib tribe), a princess from Mesopotamia. She died on the way to the wedding, so Muhammad never met her. (Ibn Saad 1:373; Ibn Saad 8:116. Baladhuri 1:284-286. Tabari 39:166 and Landau-Tasseron’s commentary in f 748.)

21. Sharaf bint Khalifa (Kalb tribe), a noblewoman from northern Arabia and maternal aunt of Khaowla. She also died before Muhammad could meet her, immediately after the wedding contract was finalised. (Ibn Saad 8:116. Tabari 9:138.)

22. Amra bint Yazid (Kaab clan of Kilab ibn Amir tribe), wife. She was probably a Bedouin. Muhammad married her in late 630 or early 631, when he was 59 and she was about 15. He divorced her on the wedding night when he saw that she was leprous, and she died a few months later. (Ibn Ishaq, cited in Guillaume (1960) 55. Ibn Hisham 794 #918 (note that Ibn Hisham mistakes the name). Ibn Saad 8:100-101. Ibn Maja 3:2054; 3:2030. Tabari 9:137-139; 39:95-96, 186-188, 201-202. Ibn Kathir 4:416, 421-427.)

23. Tukana “Jamila” (Qurayza tribe) was a Jewish war-captive who became a concubine. She was captured in May 627 at the siege of Qurayza but she probably did not become a concubine before 630. Muhammad manumitted her on his deathbed, and she married his uncle Abbas. (Ibn Kathir 4:435. Majlisi 2:1180.)

24. Al-Shanbaa bint Amr (Ghifar clan of Bakr ibn Kinana tribe). Muhammad married her in January 632, when he was 60 and she was of childbearing age, but he divorced her on the wedding day. (Tabari 9:136.)

25. Qutayla bint Qays (Jabala clan of Kinda tribe), a princess from Yemen. Muhammad married her legally in April 632, when he was 61 and she was presumably a teenager. He never met her because he died that June while she was still travelling toward Medina for the wedding. She was still alive in 635, after which no more is recorded of her. (Ibn Saad 8:105. Tabari 9:138; 39:87, 302. Ibn Kathir 4:424.)

26. Nafisa (of unknown origin), concubine. This slave was given to Muhammad as a gift in May 632 and she immediately became his concubine. Nothing is known about her family or subsequent career. (Ibn Hanbal #26908. Ibn Saad 8:90. Dhahabi 2:117. Ibn Kathir 4:435.)

We cannot be certain that there were not other wives; historians had a hard time keeping track of so many. But it’s unlikely that there were any others who actually lived in Muhammad’s household as his companions.



Source: http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2021/07/how-many-wives-did-prophet-muhammad-have.html


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