Date: 04 Aug 2008


Mohammad married his Daughter in Law

Zainab, the daughter of Jahsh, was a young and beautiful girl, coming from a respectable family of Quraish. She was a virgin cousin of Muhammad.

Muhammad wanted to marry her, and he might also have proposed to her. Perhaps, after being rebuffed, he vowed to avenge the insult at any cost. To fulfill his vow, he designed a trap to escape from which she would have no route. 

Zaid, a freed slave and an adopted son of Muhammad, was married to Umm Ayman and they were leading a happy life with their son, Ayman. Muhammad decided to turn Zaid, into a pawn in a game that he had devised to bring his passion, Zainab, to his harem.

Knowing that the aristocratic men of Mecca did not marry the former wives of their slaves, Muhammad proposed to Umaymah bint Abdul Muttalib, Zainab's mother, that she let Zaid marry her daughter. She and Abdullah, her son, declined the proposal (Maulana Muhammad Nazimuddin, Quran Majid, p. 612) on the round that Zaid was a former slave; and also that he was ugly to look at. Undaunted, Muhammad produced a revelation, in the name of God, which required Zainab's mother and brother to submit to his wish. The revelation read:

It is not fitting 
For a Believer, man or woman,
When a matter has been decided
By God and His Apostle,
To have any option
About their decision. 
If anyone disobeys God
And His Apostle, he is indeed
On a clearly wrong Path (33:36).

Frightened by Muhammad's potent determination, the family gave in, and Zainab became Zaid's second wife. Soon afterwards, Zaid realized that his adoptive father nurtured a tremendous lust for Zainab and that he was dying to have sex with her. Knowing that his refusal to please Muhammad could cost him his life, he volunteered to divorce Zainab so that he could fulfill with her his heart's desire.

Muhammad was delighted at the prospect of having Zainab in his grip, but an age-old pagan custom doused his sadistic plans; they believed it was unethical and also a sin for an adoptive father to marry his adopted son's divorced wife. Fearing a storm that his marriage with Zainab was going to create, he advised Zaid to retain her in his marriage until such time he was able to find a solution of the problem. 

He tried but found no solution. Unable to control his passion for Zainab any longer, he decreed, "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men," . . . (33:40), thus paving the way for him to have his adopted son's divorced wife in his bed.  Zaid heard the decree, and while he was on way to his home to divorce Zainab, "the power of Revelation overwhelmed him." When he came to himself, his first words were: "Who will go unto Zainab and tell her the good tidings that God hath given her to me in marriage, even from Haven?" (Martin Lings, op. cit. p. 213).

Zaid wasted no time in pronouncing "I divorce thee," perhaps, three times. The divorce formality over, he handed over his former wife to Muhammad. Claiming that his marriage with her had already been contracted in heaven (33:37: "We have joined in marriage to thee"), the best man among all mankind took her, without bothering for a formal marriage, to his quarters for inflicting on her all sadistic tortures that he could conceive of.  Thus, in the manner we have described, Muhammad fulfilled his vow of revenge on Zainab, which he had taken when she rejected his marriage proposal.

The divorce formality that we say Zaid had followed needs some clarification. Traditionally, a Muslim husband is required to pronounce the words of divorce three times over a period of time. Thereafter, the divorcee needs to wait for a term of three months (2:228) in order to make sure she was not pregnant at the time of her divorce. Only after completion of the waiting term, can a divorcee contract a new marriage. Conversely, a widow has to wait four months and ten days (2:234) to clear up the question of her pregnancy viz a viz a divorcee who is required to wait just three months to achieve the same result.

Contiguous nature of verses 33:36 and 37 gives us the impression that immediately after Zaid's marriage with Zainab, Muhammad made it clear to him that he wanted his wife to be his bed partner. His announcement forced Zaid to avoid a physical contact with his wife. Since there was no possibility for Zainab to become pregnant and as her marriage with Muhammad had already been contracted in heaven, we believe, Zaid took a shortcut in divorcing his wife. He did not divorce Zainab in the traditional manner, for doing that would have delayed Zainab's availability to Muhammad. Having seen him react against those people who failed to measure up to his expectation, Zaid knew any delay on his part would bring him a serious problem from his highly enraged mentor. Zaid must have hastened the divorce to save himself from Muhammad's wrath.

Zainab's procurement gave Muhammad immense pleasure and happiness. To celebrate his victory, he threw a grand party to which he invited all the people of Medina. Interestingly, this was the only party, related to his marriage, which has found a place in the pages of the Quran (33:53).