Zaynab, the fifth wife of Islam’s prophet Muhammad
This post is also available in: Indonesia (Indonesian)
Muhammad’s Marriage to Zaynab bint Jahsh
One of the wives of Islam’s prophet Muhammad was Zaynab bint Jahsh.
Clifford E. Bosworth, English historian and specialist in Arabic studies, gives the following account of Muhammad’s marriage to Zaynab:
In the year 4/626 Muhammad saw Zaynab alone in her house, was taken with her and had Zayd [Muhammad’s adopted son] divorce her so that he himself might marry her, she being at that time about 35 years old. Zayd’s scruples were set aside by the Kuranic revelation XXXIII, 37-8, and she received a dowry of 400 dirhams. Zaynab is reported as being proud of the circumstances of her marriage, and as saying that her marriage to the Prophet was superior to the other ones because it had the confirmation of divine revelation (“Zaynab” in the Encyclopaedia of Islam).
Muhammad’s fifth marriage to Zaynab was polygamous, and it violated Jesus’ teaching about lust, divorce, and remarriage,
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.
30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”
4He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
7They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?”
8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
10The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
11But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.
12For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
I’ve counted five ways Muhammad’s marriage to Zaynab violated the 7th Commandment and Jesus’ teaching,
- unlawful lust
- unlawful divorce
- unlawful remarriage
- multiple wives and concubines
- marriage to the wife of one’s adopted son
Was Muhammad an exception to God’s Law?
Muhammad’s recitation made a special exemption for Muhammad’s marriage to Zaynab (Quran 33:4,37-40). Furthermore, it permitted him to have more than four wives, which is the limit it set for other men (Quran 4:3). 1Additionally, the Quran gave an additional prohibition from anyone marrying Muhammad’s widows (Quran 33:53).
Being able to recite and change rules to justify sinful behavior doesn’t sound like divine revelation.
How should we think about Muhammad’s prophetic claim and his recitation that makes him an exception to divine revelation? Can Muhammad be a prophet when he contradicted Jesus’ teaching about adultery?2It is true that some Old Testament prophets had multiple wives and violated the 7th commandment. One difference is that, unlike Muhammad, they did not recite revelation to justify their actions. How can Muhammad guarantee Paradise to others given his immorality and changing of God’s Revelation to suit his circumstances? 3Muhammad is reported to have said, “Whoever can guarantee (the chastity) of what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 481).
Here is a short video about Muhammad’s Marriage to Zaynab and discussion of David and Solomon’s marriages.
You may also be interested in:
References [ + ]
|1.||↥||Additionally, the Quran gave an additional prohibition from anyone marrying Muhammad’s widows (Quran 33:53).|
|2.||↥||It is true that some Old Testament prophets had multiple wives and violated the 7th commandment. One difference is that, unlike Muhammad, they did not recite revelation to justify their actions.|
|3.||↥||Muhammad is reported to have said, “Whoever can guarantee (the chastity) of what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 481).|