How to Owe Respect to the Prophet?

20 October, 2016
Q Assalamu Alaykum. I have a friend who was once a devout Muslim but now he does not think that our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a perfect man and Islam is a perfect religion. He does not accept the fact that Muhammad (peace be upon him) had multiple wives because of Islamic motives and I was told by him that our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) forced his adopted son to divorce his wife so that he (the Prophet) could marry her. Is it true? Where can we find reliable information on this issue so that I can recommend him to read?


Salam Dear Samira,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

First, we all have to ask God for faithfulness. No one can guarantee being religious all the time, so it is Allah’s mercy to us that He renders us steady.

Allah says what means:

{And ye have no good thing but is from Allah.} (An-Nahl 16:53)

Regarding your important question and this special issue about our Prophet’s multiple marriages and the false accusation that he forced his adopted son to divorce his wife to marry her, we have to ask ourselves one question and be honest with ourselves: Do we really believe what God Almighty says? If the answer is yes, then we have to read Him telling our Prophet what means:

{And thou [standest] on an exalted standard of character.} (Al-Qalam 68:4)

If our Prophet had an exalted character and if his ethics were like what the Quran teaches (as his wife A’ishah said when she was asked about his morals), how can we believe that he forced his adopted son to divorce his wife? Was it not Muhammad who told Zayd several times not to divorce her? The fact is that Prophet Muhammad did not force Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) to divorce our mother Zaynab bint Jahsh. Allah says what means:

{Behold! thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favour: “Retain thou [in wedlock] thy wife, and fear Allah.” But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah. Then when Zaid had dissolved [his marriage] with her, with the necessary [formality], We joined her in marriage to thee: in order that [in future] there may be no difficulty to the believers in [the matter of] marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary [formality] [their marriage] with them. And Allah’s command must be fulfilled} (Al-Ahzab 33:37)

So it was Allah’s will to let Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) marry our mother Zaynab bint Jahsh to let all people know that it is not forbidden in Islam to marry one’s adopted son’s wife if they divorce.

Allah (all praise be to Him) has prohibited adoption in Islam, but the Arabs believed that they could not marry their adopted sons’ wives if their husbands died or divorced them. Allah wanted to rectify this false belief and Allah chose our mother Zaynab bint Jahsh for the Prophet.

Muslims believe that all prophets are infallible. Allah says about Prophet Joseph (Yusuf—peace be upon him) what means:

{And [with passion] did she desire him, and he would have desired her, but that he saw the evidence of his Lord: thus [did We order] that We might turn away from him [all] evil and shameful deeds: for he was one of Our servants, sincere and purified.} (Yusuf 12:24)

Like Joseph, all the prophets of Allah are purified. If we really believe this, we will totally know that all these false allegations are made by Islam’s enemies in an effort to distort our Prophet’s image, but they can’t do this. Allah says what means:

{It is He Who hath sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest [it].} (At-Tawbah 9:33)

Do you believe that Allah will send His Messenger—His last Messenger to all people— and will not preserve him from all bad deeds? I advise your friend to look deeply inside himself again and read about our Prophet’s life and his purified wives, to read authentic books, not books that aim at distorting the image of Islam.

Finally, I am reminding myself, and you as well, that our Prophet really loves us and that he is the one who will intercede for us on the Day of Judgment. Thus, the least we can do is to love him more than any other one. Believe it or not, we are even ordered to do this! Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said:

“No person is a truthful believer, till I become dearer to him than the members of his household, his wealth and the whole of mankind” (Muslim).

May Allah accepts our steps towards Him and show us the right path. Ameen.

Thank you and please keep in touch.