From Merchant to Messenger
Wives of the Messenger
and revelations they inspired
Maymuna (also born Barra) was given to the Prophet by his uncle Abbas on the occasion of the first pilgrimage to Mecca by God’s Messenger since the migration to Medina. The pilgrimage had been negotiated under the short-lived treaty of Hudaibiyah.
Maymuna was thirty years old when she joined the Prophet’s household. She was the last of the Prophet’s wives to pass away. She died in 681 at the age of 81. She was buried in Sarif, a town near the southern tip of the Peninsula.
Asma' b. an-Nu`man could be considered the half-married wife of the Prophet. Her impending marriage to God’s Messenger was part of a negotiated alliance with her tribe. She would have been God’s Messenger’s last wife since the Prophet died the next year.
Asma’ is said to have been a naïve young girl who was pranked by Aisha and Hafsa who convinced her that repeating the formula for divorce when she was with her husband “would make the Prophet love her more. He, of course, heard the formula as powerful repudiation and sent her away.”
Is it conceivable that anyone, even the densest of girls would mistake a formula for divorce as a turn-on for her husband, unless the story about Asma’ being pranked is simply someone’s way of preserving the Prophet’s perfect, if somewhat contrived marriage record?
Whatever … God’s Messenger may have sent her away, but the people considered her married. Allah in revelation 33:53 decreed that: “… You should never hurt the Messenger of Allah, nor take his wives in marriage after him. That is truly abominable in the sight of Allah.” This revelation given to a man who may have sought to control the sex life of his widows from beyond the grave may explain why some sources claim that “No one sought to marry her and she was not seen by anyone except relatives until her death … she died desolate.”
Tamam Khan in concluding her homage to “the Complete Man” and his wives writes that the Prophet’s marriages “serve as an example to countless Muslims and to humanity.”
Except for perhaps Khadijah and the love he may have developed for his child bride, God’s Messenger did not marry for love – it was all about lust, strategic alliances and control – and in the end, he condemned his still young brides to the care of relatives and to never again knowing the joy of being intimate with another man, the young Asma' being the most pathetic.