MUHAMMAD�S SEPARATION FROM HIS WIVES
IlA� is a temporary separation from one�s wife. In this sense of the term, the believers are indeed fortunate in having a �model pattern� in an example provided by the Prophet.
Muhammad himself had to undergo separation from his wives for a period which lasted twenty-nine days. The SahIh Muslim narrates this incident in several ahAdIs; but before we take them up, let us provide some background information.
In visiting his numerous wives, Muhammad observed a rough-and-ready rule of rotation. In fact, the days in his life were known by the name of the wife he was visiting. One day Muhammad was supposed to be with Hafza, but instead she found him with Mary, the beautiful Coptic concubine. Hafza was furious. �In my room, on my day and in my own bed,� she shouted. Muhammad, trying to pacify her, promised never to visit Mary again, but he wanted Hafza to keep the incident a secret.
Hafza, however, told �Aisha, and very soon everybody knew about it. Muhammad�s Quraish wives detested Mary and were jealous of the servile wretch, who had even given Muhammad a son. Soon the harem was filled with gossip, excitement, and jeering. Muhammad was very angry, and he told his wives that he would have nothing to do with them. He separated himself from them, and soon the news was afloat that he was divorcing them all. In fact, in the eyes of the believers this rumor was more newsworthy and significant than the reports that Medina was soon to be attacked by GhassAn (the Arab auxiliaries of Byzantium).
In a long hadIs, �Umar b. al-KhattAb (Hafza�s father) reports: �When Allah�s Apostle kept himself away from his wives, I entered the mosque, and found the people striking the ground with pebbles and saying: Allah�s Messenger has divorced his wives.� �Umar decided to find out what was actually happening. First he asked �Aisha if she had �gone to the extent of giving trouble to Allah�s Messenger.� �Aisha told him to mind his own business. �I have nothing to do with you. You should look to your own receptacle [Hafza].� �Umar next sought out Hafza and chided her. �You know that Allah�s Messenger does not love you, and had I not been your father he would have divorced you,� he told her. She wept bitterly.
Then �Umar sought permission to be admitted into the presence of Muhammad. The request was disregarded, but he insisted. �O RahAb, seek permission for me from Allah�s Messenger. I think that Allah�s Messenger is under the impression that I have come for the sake of Hafza. By Allah, if Allah�s Messenger would command me to strike her neck, I would certainly do that,� he told RahAb, Muhammad�s doorman. He was admitted.
As �Umar entered, he saw �the signs of anger on his [Muhammad�s] face,� so he tried to calm him down. He told him �how we the people of Quraish had domination over women but when we came to Medina we found people whom their women dominated. So our women began to learn from their women.�
He also told him: �Messenger of Allah, what trouble do you feel from your wives, and if you had divorced them, verily Allah is with you, His angels, Gabriel, Mika�il, I and AbU Bakr and the believers are with you.�
Muhammad relaxed. �I went on talking to him until the signs of anger disappeared on his face . . . and he laughed,� �Umar narrates. In this new mood, the famous verses descended on the Prophet, freeing him from his oath respecting Mary, threatening his wives with divorce, and incorporating �Umar�s assurance that all the angels and believers supported him: �O Prophet!� said Allah. �Why do you prohibit thyself what God has made lawful to you, craving to please thy wives? . . . Allah has already ordained for you the dissolution of your oaths.� Allah also told the Prophet�s wives in no uncertain terms that �his Lord if he divorces you will give him in exchange wives better than you.� Allah warned them, particularly �Aisha and Hafza, in the following terms: �If ye both turn repentant unto God,-for your hearts have swerved!-but if you back each other up against him, verily, Allah, He is the sovereign; and Gabriel, and the righteous of the believers, and the angels after that will back him up.� Allah also told them that if they misbehaved, being the Prophet�s wives would avail them nothing on the Day of Judgment. �God strikes out a parable to those who misbelieve: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot; they were under two of our righteous servants, but they betrayed them: and they availed them nothing against God; and it was said, �Enter the Fire with those who enter� � (QurAn 66:1-10).
The matter blew over, and they became his wives again. The Holy Prophet �had taken an oath of remaining away from them [his wives] for a month, and by now only twenty-nine days had passed, [but] he visited them.� �Aisha mischievously reminded the Prophet that it was not yet one month but only twenty-nine days, to which Muhammad replied: �At times, the month consists of twenty-nine days� (3507-3511).
Now �Umar stood at the door of the mosque and called out at the top of his voice: �The Messenger of Allah has not divorced his wives.� A verse chiding his followers for so readily believing in rumors also descended on Muhammad: �And if any matter pertaining to peace or alarm comes within their ken, they broadcast it. But if they had only referred it to the Apostle, or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would indeed know it� (QurAn 4:83; hadIs 3507).
author : ram swarup