Love, Muhammad, Marriage, the Quran, and the Bible
Muslims believe Muhammad is an example for mankind to follow (Quran 33:21). But was Muhammad the ideal husband? Were all Muhammad’s marriages exemplary?
According to Jesus’ teaching about the law, divorce, remarriage, and polygamy, Muhammad was not the ideal husband and his marriages were not all exemplary because they were not all lawful (Matthew 5:27-32; 19:3-12). One way this can be seen is Muhammad’s marriage to his fifth wife, Zaynab bint Jahsh, and the revelation Muhammad recited in Quran 33:4,37-40 to justify it.1
Clifford E. Bosworth, English historian and specialist in Arabic studies, gives the following circumstances of what led to Muhammad’s fifth marriage:
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 the Quran).
If we believe what Jesus taught about marriage, then Muhammad was guilty of violating the 7th Commandment (unlawful lust, unlawful divorce, unlawful remarriage, multiple wives and concubines, and marriage to the wife of one’s adopted son). Of course, Muslims might say Jesus’ teaching about marriage was corrupted, and the Quran offers something superior. But does Islam really offer something superior? Is Muhammad really the best of examples when it comes to marriage?
Muhammad’s Guarantee of Paradise
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).
Muhammad’s marriage to Zaynab bint Jahsh shows he did not control what was between his legs. Of course, Muslims will point out that the Quran makes special exceptions for Muhammad – but this is too convenient – the reciter of the Quran also recited personal exceptions? This is not exemplary. It sounds like what was between Muhammad’s legs dictated what came from between his two jaw bones.
The fact is that Muhammad and the Quran contradict Jesus’ teaching about marriage and divorce. Muhammad’s marriages and concubines are not all exemplary but proof that his revelation came from below and not from above.
- The Quran seems to have made a special exception for Muhammad having more than four wives – the limit for other men (4:3). Furthermore, the Quran gave an additional prohibition from anyone marrying Muhammad’s widows (Quran 33:53). [↩]