These tidbits have been compiled from the life of prophet Muhammad (saaw) to help Muslims and non-Muslims get a glimpse of the example that ALLAH has given us in prophet Muhammad (saaw) when it comes to marriage. May ALLAH bless us all to learn from these tidbits depicting different aspects of the Prophet’s (saaw) dealing with his wives.
These examples are taken from the book "The Prophet Muhammad - The Best of all Husbands" by Dr. Ghazi Al-Shammari
On the Prophet’s favoritism for Aisha:
Although the Prophet (PBUH) treated his wives with perfect equity in what he could control, he apologized to Allah the Almighty that he could not be equitable in what he could not control. Lady A'isha, may Allah be pleased with her, reported that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) used to treat his wives equally and say: "O Allah, this is how I divide what I can control. O Allah do not blame me for what You control and I cannot control." Abu Dawoud said: "Prophet Muhammad meant what is in his heart." Allah controls our feelings and hearts and made the love of Lady A'isha greater in the heart of the Prophet than the love of any other woman. That he could not control indeed.
Because feelings are out of our hands and in the hands of Allah; men married to more than one wife are not obliged to equally love each wife but to be equal in spending time with them and expenses. However, the Prophet implores Allah to forgive him for loving Lady A'isha more. Allah says: "And the ones who bring whatever they bring with hearts tremulous that they are returning to their Lord" (Al-Mu'menun:60).
Amr Bin al Aas – may Allah be pleased with_ asked the Prophet :” O Prophet of Allah who is the woman you love most?” the Prophet replied: “Aisha”. Amr said:” And from men,?” he said:” her father.” Narrated by At-Tirmidhi
A few days before his death, he said, "A servant has been allowed to choose this world or his Lord. He chose his Lord" (Al-Bukhari). Abu Bakr, intelligent and smart, began to cry, understanding that the Prophet was talking about himself. His illness got worse daily, and his severe headache caused him to writhe in pain. But even during this difficult period, he continued to treat his wives with kindness and gentleness. He asked for permission to stay in one room, as he had no strength to visit them one by one. His wives agreed, and the Messenger spent his last days in `A'ishah's room.
Each of his wives thought that she was his most beloved.
Each wife, because of his generosity and kindness, thought she was his most beloved. The idea that any man could show complete equality and fairness in his relationships with nine women seems impossible. For this reason, the Messenger of Allah asked God's pardon for any unintentional leanings. He would pray, "I may have unintentionally shown more love to one of them than the others, and this would be injustice. So, O Lord, I take refuge in Your grace for those things beyond my power." (At-Tirmidhi).
What gentleness and sensitivity! I wonder if anyone else could show such kindness to his children or spouses. When people manage to cover up their lower inborn tendencies, it is as if they have done something very clever and shown tremendous willpower. But they sometimes expose these very defects unconsciously while bragging of their cleverness. The Messenger, despite showing no fault, sought only God's forgiveness.
His gentleness penetrated his wives' souls so deeply that his departure led to what they must have felt to be an unbridgeable separation. They did not commit suicide, as Islam forbids it, but their lives now became full of endless sorrow and ceaseless tears.
The Messenger was kind and gentle to all women, and advised all other men to follow him in this regard. Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas described his kindness as follows:
`Umar said: One day I went to the Prophet and saw him smiling. "May God make you smile forever, O Messenger of God," I said, and asked why he was smiling. "I smile at those women. They were chatting in front of me before you came. When they heard your voice, they all vanished," he answered still smiling. On hearing this answer, I raised my voice and told them, "O enemies of your own selves, you are scared of me, but you are not scared of the Messenger of God, and you don't show respect to him." "You are hard-hearted and strict," they replied. (Al-Bukhari )
On showering loving words and affection to his wives:
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) dealt justly with his wives, loved them, fondled them, and was patient and loyal with them. His actions sprang from a feeling of responsibility and because Allah the Almighty has created him righteous and equitable by nature.
A man's nature dictates him a certain way of expressing his feelings and it is different from a woman's. A woman expresses her love with words like, I love you, I miss you, I need you, etc. On the other hand, a man expresses love in action and production and seldom with words. If a man wants to tell his wife that he loves her he buys her something she wants or brings some food and drinks or furniture to the house. According to a man, this is a form of expression.
The generous Prophet has indeed overcome this negative trait in the nature of men. He used to describe his love and passion verbally for Lady Ai'sha may Allah be pleased with her, treated her kindly, pampered her, and let his wives hear what they wished for from their beloved husband. This is an important aspect in a relationship. Ibn Assaker narrated that Lady Ai'sha may Allah be pleased with her said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told her: "I could not care less to die knowing that you are not my wife in heaven." Imagine Lady Ai'sha's emotions having heard the words that guaranteed her security, love and peace in this life and in the hereafter.
Spending equal time with his wives:
Lady A'isha said that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) never preferred one wife more than the others and used to see them all in their homes everyday although he used to spend the night with one only.
Treating his wives with equity never changed according to the change in his conditions. Whether he was traveling or present he was equitable. When he wanted to travel he used to pick without personal preference (through some way like drawing straws) which wife to accompany him.
The Prophet used to gather his wives everyday in the house of the one he will spend the night with. He eats dinner with them sometimes then everyone leaves to her home. He was sleeping with his wife under one slogan, which is; to take off his rope from his shoulders. After praying al Ishaa prayers (which is the last prayer of the day), he goes home and sits with his family a little before he goes to sleep.
On Dealing with his wife’s anger towards him:
It was reported that Umar Bin Al Khattab may Allah be pleased with him said: "We-the tribe of Quraish used to overpower our wives. When we were encountered by 'Al Ansar' we found out that the women overpowered the men. So our wives started to learn from 'Al Ansar's' women their ethics. Umar also said that once his wife shouted at him and disagreed with him on something, he disapproved. She asked him why he disapproves; whereas the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) sometimes disagree with him and abandoned him for a whole day. Umar was dismayed and told her that whoever did this did it to her loss. Then he went to Lady Hafsa and told her: O Hafsa, do any of you stay angry with the Prophet (PBUH) a whole day? She said: "Yes". He said: "You are in loss, don’t you fear Allah’s anger because of the Prophet’s, so that you will be doomed? “.This saying 'Hadith is taken from Al Bukhari.
Note how Umar may Allah be pleased with him was angry because of a simple disagreement from his wife, while the Prophet (PBUH) accepts the same from his wives with great patience being the generous Prophet and great 'Imam'.
Moreover, in such situations he used to treat them kindly. Lady ‘A’isha, May Allah be pleased with her, said: "Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told me: "I can tell when you are pleased with me and when you are not.” I said: "How can you tell?" He said: "If you are pleased with me you swear saying: "No, by Muhammad's Lord" and if you are not, you swear saying: "No, by Abraham's Lord."" She said: "Yes by Allah, Prophet of Allah. I can only abandon your name." This saying 'Hadith' is from Al Bukhari.
Anas, May Allah be pleased with him, reported: "The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) was with one of his wives then another wife sent him a plate of food. The one that the Prophet was at her home hit the hand of the servant who was carrying the plate. It fell down and broke into two pieces. The Prophet collected the broken pieces and the food and said: "Your mother [His wife] is jealous." He then kept the servant until he brought a new plate from the wife who broke the plate to give it to the other wife and kept the broken one at the home of the one who broke it." Narrated by Al Bukhari
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) overlooked all the doings of his wives, forgave them and was ever patient, even though he was capable of leaving them. Allah would have compensated him with better worshipping, Muslim, believing women, virgins and non virgins as promised in case he divorced them.
“And (remember) when the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another i.e. 'A’isha), and Allah made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: "Who told you this?" He said: "The All-Knower, the All-Aware (Allah) has told me (3)If you two (wives of the Prophet , namely 'A’isha and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allah, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad ), then verily, Allah is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers.(4)It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, Muslims (who submit to Allah), believers, obedient to Allah, turning to Allah in repentance, worshipping Allah sincerely, fasting or emigrants (for Allah's sake), previously married and virgins.(5) “ ( At Tahrim: 3-4-5)
But he (PBUH) was merciful and the more he was mistreated the more he was patient.
On Consulting his wives:
The Prophet did consult with his wives. The Messenger discussed matters with his wives as friends. Certainly he did not need their advice, since he was directed by revelation. However, he wanted to teach his nation that Muslim men were to give women every consideration. This was quite a radical idea in his time, as it is today in many parts of the world. He began teaching his people through his own relationship with his wives.
For example, the conditions laid down in the Treaty of Hudaybiyah disappointed and enraged many Muslims, for one condition stipulated that they could not make the pilgrimage that year. They wanted to reject the treaty, continue on to Makkah, and face the possible consequences. But the Messenger ordered them to slaughter their sacrificial animals and take off their pilgrim attire. Some Companions hesitated, hoping that he would change his mind. He repeated his order, but they continued to hesitate. They did not oppose him; rather, they still hoped he might change his mind, for they had set out with the intention of pilgrimage and did not want to stop half way.
Noticing this reluctance, the Prophet returned to his tent and asked Umm Salamah, his wife accompanying him at that time, what she thought of the situation. So she told him, fully aware that he did not need her advice. In doing this, he taught Muslim men an important social lesson: There is nothing wrong with exchanging ideas with women on important matters, or on any matters at all.
She said, "O Messenger of God, don't repeat your order. They may resist and thereby perish. Slaughter your sacrificial animal and change out of your pilgrim attire. They will obey you, willingly or not, when they see that your order is final" (Al-Bukhari).
He immediately took a knife in his hand, went outside, and began to slaughter his sheep. The Companions began to do the same, for now it was clear that his order would not be changed.
Counsel and consultation, like every good deed, were practiced by God's Messenger first within his own family and then in the wider community. Even today, we understand so little about his relationships with his wives that it is as if we are wandering aimlessly around a plot of land, unaware of the vast treasure buried below our feet.
On showing respect for his wives:
Some writers demonstrate the respect of the West to women by giving examples like a husband opening the door to the car for his wife. At the surface, this is respect. However, a mature person can see many aspects in which a woman is being offended and disrespected in the West. Muslims do not have the issue of man/woman conflict because they believe each one completes the other and that mutual respect is a must.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is our example in this. One time during his stay alone in adoration of Allah in the last ten days of Ramadan, his wife Lady Safeya came to visit him and spoke with him for some time then went to the door. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) led her to the door to say goodbye. In another narration, he told her: "Do not hurry to leave till I come with you." Her house was at Ussama's and he (PBUH) left with her. Respect is the source of continual love and stability in a family. Therefore we wish it to prevail between a man and a wife.
If spouses treated each other in such way, a marriage would definitely be beautiful. We desperately need to search through the life of the Prophet (PBUH) and the Islamic history to discover the most beautiful theories in the art of marriage.