Love Like a Knot

Editor

Monday, February 20, 2012

Love Like a Knot

Prophet Muhammad is an example for people of every social status and walk of life. Spouses leading a family life with their wives and children can also gather a great deal of lessons and examples from his life. The Prophet received with patience and a warm disposition any possible jealousy, rivalry, and trying behavior coming from his wives. He never resorted to reproach or violence. He treated his wives in a very warm and sincere fashion, seeing them as his confidants and those with whom he shared his pain and his joy. He gave his wives’ dowry to them at the time of their marriage and conversed with them both as a group and individually, consulting them on matters concerning them. He displayed affection towards each and every member of his family and all his wives, in addition to those close to his family, complimenting them and showing them respect. He was always good towards his wives and responded with understanding when faced with their jealousy, and he helped them with household duties.

An Example of Love and Respect

Prophet Muhammad’s first wife Khadija was well-suited to God’s Messenger in every respect. Even before accepting Islam, she never embraced the ways of the Age of Ignorance and led a very pure life. The love and respect that characterized the relationship between her and the Prophet, in their marriage of 25 years, has served as an example to all people. Such was the degree of this love and esteem that it has actually become customary to pray for God to grant couples that are marrying the same degree of love and affection that existed between the Prophet and Khadija. There are many accounts from that era that speak of this love. The following is one such example:

When her husband sought refuge in the cave of Hira, Khadija would take food for him herself, even though she had many attendants at her service. Sensing the arrival of his wife, the Prophet would then walk down to the foot of the mountain in order to greet her, for he knew how grueling the trek up the mountain was and could not bear the thought of his wife enduring this.

On another occasion, Khadija was waiting for the Prophet on a rooftop like she always did and her friends and family said, “Oh Khadija, why are you doing this? It is hot and your old body will become weary.” Responding by saying, “I can’t stand in the shade when my beloved stands under the sun,” Khadija was a living example of the meaning of love and oneness between spouses.

The Race Challenge

Prophet Muhammad maintained a very close relationship with his wives, consolidating the love and affection between them. One of the best examples of this was a race that took place between him and ‘A’isha during the first years of their marriage. According to ‘A’isha, the Prophet took her along with him on one of his journeys. The Prophet instructed his Companions to go on ahead. After they had proceeded some distance, the Prophet asked ‘A’isha if she would like to race him. ‘A’isha gladly accepted and won the race.

Years had passed and ‘A’isah again accompanied Prophet Muhammad on a journey. He asked again if she should like to race. Reminding her husband of the race that she once won, she readily accepted his offer. They raced but this time ‘A’isha lost. According to ‘A’isha, this was due to the weight she had gained since the first race. Afterwards, the Prophet, smiling, said: “This is in return for that race.”

"Anjasha, take care lest the crystals may break!”

“Don’t Break the Crystals!”

Safiyya narrates: God’s Messenger took me upon his camel during one night journey. I started to get sleepy on the way. (So as to keep me from falling asleep) he began stroking me on the one hand, and saying “O Safiyya, daughter of Huyayy!” on the other.

Even a single word that the Prophet use when referring to his wives is sufficient to demonstrate how he viewed each and every one of them. While setting off for the Farewell Pilgrimage, an Abyssinian slave named Anjasha who, reciting poetry with his beautiful voice, caused the camels to speed up and the Prophet’s wives to become anxious. Thereupon the Prophet said:

"Anjasha, take care lest the crystals may break!”

The Soup Joke

One day ‘A’isha had cooked a thick soup. Prophet Muhammad sat to eat along with his wide Sawda. He was sitting between his two wives. Sawda did not eat any of the soup while Aisha insisted that she do so. Sawda was adamant about not having any. ‘A’isha said, “I will smear it on our face if you don’t have any.” And when Sawda insisted on not eating, ‘A’isha did exactly as she said. The Prophet then placed Sawda’s hand into the paste, saying, “You do the same to her.” And, smiling, he watched them both.

Whose arm is longer?

Another incident constituting an example of the sense of humor that Prophet Muhammad exhibited in the company of his wives is as follows:

According to the narration of ‘A’isha, the pure wives of the Prophet (Azwaj at-Tahirat) had gathered around the Prophet one day. They asked, “O God’s Messenger! Which one of us will be united with you first after your death?” He answered saying, “The one among you with the longest hand.” Aisha continues: “We took a reed and began to measure our arms. We found out that the one among us with the longest arm was Sawda bint Zam. We later on found out that the one with the longest hand meant the one who gave most in charity, the one that was most generous. With that being said, it was again Sawda who was reunited with the Prophet after his demise. For she loved to give away in charity.”

While there is no information about in collections of Prophetic Traditions about how Prophet Muhammad responded to his wives as they were measuring each others’ arms, it is not difficult to imagine that he watched on with a pleasant smile.

The Value He Placed on Safiyya: Coming out of Retreat

One day when God’s Messenger was at his customary retreat in the mosque for the last ten days of Ramadan, his wife Safiyya came to visit him. After sitting for while, she asked for permission to go back home. Prophet Muhammad left the mosque in order to see her off. They had only just taken a few steps when a couple of Companions passing by saw them and distanced themselves without stopping. Prophet Muhammad stopped them immediately and unveiling the face of Safiyya he said, “Look this is my wife Safiyya.”

The Companions were taken aback and stated, “God forbid! O Prophet of God, how can one ever expect an evil deed from you?” With this action, as with all his others, the Prophet wanted to impart a very important lesson. He said, “Satan continues to circulate through the blood vessels of people.” Since Satan is concerned and involved with people to such a degree, he can place many things in a person’s mind. Even if there was a one in a million chance of it happening, doubt or hesitation regarding the person who was with God’s Messenger could As such, the Prophet immediately intervened in the situation, both exemplifying his assurance and protecting the faith of his congregation.

‘A’isha once asked Prophet Muhammad: “O God’s Messenger, how is your love for me?” “Like a strong binding knot,” the Prophet replied.

The Understanding and Love that the Messenger had for his Wives

‘A’isha explains:

 “God’s Messenger seated when he suddenly heard the noise of people and children. We then saw that an Abyssinian was dancing and people had gathered around him. He said, “’A’isha, come take a look,” to me. I placed my cheek on his shoulder and began watching from between his two shoulders. “Have you not had enough, ‘A’isha?” he said. And I was saying, “No!” in order to test his love for me. I saw that he was shuffling his feet, and leaning on each side out of fatigue.”

Again, ‘A’isha narrates: “When alone with his wives, God’s Messenger was the most polite and genial of people. Without fail greeting his wife upon entering the house, when he arrived at night, the Prophet would convey greetings in such a way as to not disturb one who was sleeping, but that could be heard from one who was awake.”

 “My Love is Like a Strong Binding Knot”

The Prophet showed special care in the education of ‘A’isha. After adorning ‘A’isha – who possessed many superior virtues such as intellect, memory, understanding and perception – with a much material and spiritual knowledge, he said: “Learn half of your religion from Humayra (‘A’isha).” Aside this care and assiduousness, his love of and attention to her were also remarkable.

‘A’isha once asked Prophet Muhammad: “O God’s Messenger, how is your love for me?”

“Like a strong binding knot,” the Prophet replied.

‘A’isha again asked, “How is the knot?”

“Like the first day,” he replies.

When eating with ‘A’isha, the Prophet would especially want her to consume a beverage first and would later drink from the very same spot her lips had touched. If she wre eating meat, he would take the meat from her hands and bite from it where she had bitten. Herself explaining these events, ‘A’isha adds that the Prophet remained unchanged even during the time of her menstruation.

Our Prophet’s Loyalty to Khadija

Speaking from time to time about the occasional incident of jealousy experienced among ummahat al-mu'minin (mothers of believers), ‘A’isha explains that she was not jealous of any of the Prophet’s wives in the way she was jealous of Khadija. Explaining that the Prophet would remember Khadija frequently, send sacrificial meat to Khadija’s friends, ‘A’isha states that there were times in which she could not bear such attention and say, “It is as though there are no other women on Earth other than Khadija.”  She sometimes she would even take it a step further and say: “I don’t know why you would keep mentioning a woman so old that she had no teeth in her mouth, when God has given you a younger and more beneficial one in her place.” The Prophet would respond to these words as follows:

“Indeed God did not grant me better than her: she accepted me when people rejected me, she believed in me when people doubted me, she shared her wealth with me when people withheld theirs from me, and God granted me children through her."

The wives of the Helpers, the natives of Madina, had said that, “He was more merciful to us than us ourselves.”

Some individuals and groups try to depict the Prophet has being a womanizer due to his multiple marriages, are so narrow-minded and so deprived of such elevated feeling that that they refuse to understand this love and loyalty that he felt towards his wife Khadija, with whom he shared his life, with all the good and bad. Despite the fact that he loved ‘A’isha more from than his other wives, the great love and devotion which he had for the mother of his children, remained firm, even at the risk of ‘A’isha’s taking offense. He did not allow for ‘A’isha to speak ill of his loyal partner, with whom he spent 25 years of his 38 years of married life.

Prophet Muhammad acted with mercy and love not just towards his wives, but also towards the Companions’ daughters and wives. The wives of the Helpers, the natives of Madina, had said that, “He was more merciful to us than us ourselves.”

Upon returning from his travels, he would first stop by the house of his daughter, Fatima. And when Fatima came to visit him, he would stand up to receive her and kiss her on the forehead. He would advise his Companions to begin distributing gifts to their children, beginning with their daughters.

One of the male Companions of the Prophet said: “We began to treat our wives very well during the time of the Prophet. We became scared that a verse regarding women would be revealed and us men would be ruined...”


 Sources

1. Professor M. Yaşar Kandemir, Hz. Peygamber ve Aile Hayatı, (The Prophet and his Family Life), Ensar Publications, İstanbul, 2006.

2. Saliha Akgül, Ezvac-ı Tahirat, (The Pure Wives), Gül Yurdu Publications, İzmir, 2008.

3. S. M. Madni Abbasi, Hz. Peygamber (sav)'in Aile Hayatı, (Prophet Muhammad and his Family Life) Kayıhan Publications, İstanbul, 2000.

4. Afzalur Rahman, Mükemmel Bir Eş Olarak Hz. Muhammed, (Prophet Muhammad as the Perfect Husband) İnkilab Publications, İstanbul, 2010.

5. Dr. Huriye Martı, "Kutlu Doğum Haftası Açılış Tebliği", (Noble Birth Week Opening Statement) Balıkesir, 2009.

عَنْ أَبِي مَسْعُودٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ إِذَا أَنْفَقَ الرَّجُلُ عَلَى أَهْلِهِ يَحْتَسِبُهَا فَهُوَ لَهُ صَدَقَةٌ ‏"
Narrated Abu Mas'ud: The Prophet said, "If a man spends on his family (with the intention of having a reward from Allah) sincerely for Allah's sake then it is a (kind of) alms-giving in reward for him.” (Bukhari, Belief, 41)

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