Abdullatif Aljibury, Phd.
Danville, California

As of late, there have appeared many articles in the written media, the web as well as on the video in a concerted smear campaign that is intended to accuse Prophet Mohammad of devious and lustful behavior towards women. This campaign which has been gathering steam has a clear agenda to smear the behavior of Prophet Muhammad, point out apparent inconsistencies in the Quran that tend to imply that the Quran was meddled with and eventually to discredit Islam as a legitimate religion.
The accusations against the character of the Prophet center around three issues:

  1. He is a womanizer who indulged in erotic sexual activities with a whole host of beautiful women of his time whom he had married over and above the allowed number of four wives which is permitted by the Quran and he had somehow manipulated to his advantage.
  2. He had perverse pedophilic tendencies and sexual desires towards young and beautiful women, to wit, his wife A’isha.
  3. He broke rules and prevalent customs to achieve his voracious desires and nabbed the wife of his adopted son, Zaid.

Let us take each of these accusations separately and try to analyze them to see if any one of them holds any substance. It will then be left to the reader to make his or her judgment regarding the credibility of these accusations.

Our guide posts in the discussion are the Quranic verses and their logical interpretations. The pertinence of the sayings as well as the actions of the Prophet or whatever was related to him are judged relevant to what God has revealed in the Quranic verses. This protocol is necessary due to the fact that many of the sayings of the Prophet have been fabricated and tampered with and found to be unreliable and must, therefore, be rejected outright. These sayings and stories are inclusive of those that have been related in the well-known books of Bukhari and Muslim. To wit, many of the most abhorrent acts that have been related to the Prophet can be found recorded in Volume 1, Book 6 of Bukhari. These acts, as will be shown below, are in utter contradiction to the substance and the spirit of the Quranic verse 2:222 which states:

وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْمَحِيضِ ۖ قُلْ هُوَ أَذًى فَاعْتَزِلُوا النِّسَاءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَطْهُرْنَ ۖ فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
AND THEY will ask thee about [woman’s] monthly periods. Say: “It is a vulnerable condition. Keep, therefore, aloof from women during their monthly periods, and do not draw near unto them until they are cleansed; and when they are cleansed, go in unto them as God has bidden you to do.”
Verily, God loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.

The verse is a clear statement, which does not require scholarly interpretation, of the respect and sensitivity that the believers, let alone the Prophet, are required to observe during the natural phenomenon of the woman’s monthly period. The believers are ordered by God Almighty to “keep aloof from women during their monthly periods, and do not draw near unto them until they are cleansed;” This transparency is significant in demonstrating to all the dignity and respect that women in general are accorded in the Islamic value system. Yet, in spite of the clarity of the verse, we find there are many sayings that are reported in Volume 1, Book 6 of the Bukhari that are in complete contradiction in substance and spirit of this Quranic verse! In these sayings, the Prophet presumably fondles and sleeps under the same cover as his spouses during their monthly periods. This can only mean that these sayings, and perhaps others, have been fabricated to smear the character of the Prophet and must, consequently, be completely rejected. It is illogical that the Prophet through such presumed actions can violate such clear statements that have been revealed by God through him!

Let us take the first accusation that the Prophet was a womanizer and married many women to satisfy his voracious appetite for sex.

In looking at the adult life of the Prophet, we can see that he went through three distinct periods which we can analyze separately and see if the accusations hold true in any of these three periods. See the chronology of the life of the Prophet below.

Chronology of the life of the Prophet Chronology of the life of the Prophet
Event Year and age
Birth 570ad
Marriage to Khadija: 595ad Age 25
Advent of Prophethood 610ad Age 40
Death of Khadija 619ad Age 49
Marriage to Sawda 620ad Age 50
Immigration to Medina 622ad Age 52
Marriage to A’isha 624ad Age 54
Battle of Badr 624ad Age 54
Battle of Ohud 625ad Age 55
Marriage to Hafsa, 626ad Age 56
Marriage to Um Salama,

Zainab Bint Jahsh,

Marriage to Juwaira,

Safia, Um Habiba

Marriage to Maimoona
The fall of Mecca 630ad Age 60
Death 632ad Age 62

The first period is his growing up period as a single man and until he was twenty five years of age. During this period it is known that he was honest, truthful and trustworthy and whose wisdom was sought by his elderly contemporaries to resolve their disputes ( the peaceful resolution of the placing of the “Black Stone” in the corner of Ka’ba.)

He never indulged in the fun and play of his contemporaries. This is in spite of the fact that Meccan society tolerated at that time womanizing and the patronizing of the houses of prostitutions that were marked with colored flags. It is in fact reported that he once went with friends of his age to a place of entertainment were there was plenty of women and drinks. While his friends and contemporaries indulged in the fun and game, he was so not enticed but fell asleep and was awakened by his friends to take him home.

The second period in his adult life was between the ages of 25 and 49 when he was married to his wife Khadija who was 15 years his senior and was a widow and had children of her own from her previous marriage. It is obvious that had he had any skewed intentions to the opposite sex, surely, he would not have married a woman who was a widow and was 15 years older! She was also the mother of all of his children, except his youngest son, Abraham, who did not survive him.

During this second period, he was known to have been very reclusive and preferred to be alone. He often reverted to a cave in a mountain where he received his first revelation “Read in the name of your Lord…” When the Prophet came home, his wife Khadija was the first person to believe in the message. She comforted him and supported him in his quest to spread the message of Islam. In fact during his entire years of marriage to Khadija, who died when he was 49 years of age, he was known to be a constant and loving husband. He did not get married after the death of Khadija until he was 50 years of age. He took care of his young children and at the same time was under heavy pressure from the Meccans who persecuted him and his followers. One of the Muslim women suggested to him to get married so that he can get help in taking care of his household. He, again, chose a widow with children of her own from her earlier marriage. She had recently lost her husband and her name was Sawda daughter of Zama. She was one of the early Muslim women who immigrated to Abyssinia to escape the torture of the Meccans. It is noteworthy that his new spouse was of good character but not known for her good looks or beauty. This is again a strong evidence that if the Prophet had any inclination towards sex and beautiful woman, that would have been a most opportune time for him to marry a beautiful young virgin. As a matter of fact, the person who mediated his marriage to Sawda, had earlier suggested to the Prophet that he consider A’isha for marriage. A’isha was at the time twelve years old. She was born around 608 ad. as she was one of the earliest of the persons who converted to Islam. Her father, also suggested that she join the early Muslims who immigrated to Abyssinia to escape the terror and torture of the pagan Meccans. (See the chronology of the life of the Prophet.) The Prophet declined and mentioned that A’isha was not mature enough to get married and take care of his household and his children at the same time. It is abundantly clear from the above facts, that his decision to marry Sawda was to address his concern to have a mature woman to take care of his household. His decision to marry Sawda, besides his concern for his children and household, must have been out of compassion to support a widow with children who were left alone after the sudden death of their provider to fend for themselves.

The Prophet remained married to his only wife, Sawda, through the remainder of his stay in Mecca and for two years in Medina where he has become the political and social leader of the young Muslim state in addition to his religious position as a Prophet.

It is clear to the objective observer that in his early life and before shouldering the weight of a statesman and leader of the young State, the Prophet lived his life with one wife in his household, first with Khadija, and then after her death, with Sawda. It is interesting to point out that he spent his youthful and early life and until the age of 54 married to widows, who were not known in their society as sex symbols, but rather women of good character and who were strong believers in the message of Islam. It is these criteria that attracted the Prophet towards his spouses and not their looks or sex appeal! The Prophet has set a clear example as to how to live a normal monogamous family life.
After two years of his arrival in Medina his family life began to change in order to accommodate the hefty requirements of his duties. One of these changes was in his married life, for reasons that will be mentioned below.

  1. Married A’isha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, the first Khalifa. The marriage was consummated in the year 624 ad when A’isha was around 18 years of age. The marriage was expected as a normal consequence of the strong relationship between Abu Bakr and the Prophet. A’isha was instrumental in providing food and information during the secretive journey from Mecca to Medina that the Prophet and Abu Bakr took to escape the gathering danger towards the life of the Prophet from the disbelievers of Mecca. A’isha was beautiful and intelligent and of a strong character. The consummation of the marriage further cemented the strong relationship between the Prophet and his long- time companion, Abu Bakr, the first Khalifa. See When was A’isha Born?
  2. Married Hafsa, a young widow who was the daughter of Omar Ibn Alkhttab, the second Khalifa. She had lost her husband in the battle of Ohud. Her father was anxious for her not to stay unmarried and had approached Abu Bakr and Uthman to marry her. They both refused and Omar then offered her hand to the Prophet who graciously accepted the offer out of kindness and consideration as well as the dedication that Omar had rendered to the new faith.
  3. Married Um Salama, a widow who, with her deceased husband, were one of the early Muslims to immigrate to Abyssinia to escape the torture of the Meccans. She had a boy and was under heavy duress before she was asked to join the Prophet’s household.
  4. Married Zainab bint Jahsh, a divorcee of Zaid who was a close companion of the Prophet and his cousin. Zaid was previously the Prophet’s adopted son. Adoption was abrogated by this example, as is amplified by the following verse: Quran 33:5;.
ادْعُوهُمْ لِآبَائِهِمْ هُوَ أَقْسَطُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا آبَاءَهُمْ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَمَوَالِيكُمْ ۚ وَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ فِيمَا أَخْطَأْتُمْ بِهِ وَلَٰكِنْ مَا تَعَمَّدَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
[As for your adopted children,] call them by their [real] fathers’ names: this is more equitable in the sight of God; and if you know not who their fathers were, [call them] your brethren in faith and your friends. However, you will incur no sin if you err in this respect: [what really matters is] but what your hearts intend – for God is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!

God wants us to make it clear in an adoptive relationship that the adopted person knows whose real parents are and that the adopted person does not lose their true identity. God wants to make it clear that an adoptive relationship does not entail the usual customary biological restrictions that are normally observed between the person and the biological parent. In this instance, the couple ( Zayd and Zainab) who had serious marital problems, when an effort was made by the Prophet himself to correct the problem but failed despite many attempts to save the marriage. It is very clear that the Prophet had no intention to marry Zainab, because of her beauty or attractiveness, prior to the heavenly intervention to exemplify a cannon law. Finally, the coupe divorced each other. Zainab married the Prophet while Zaid preserved his relationship with the Prophet as a close companion and a brother in Islam. The exemplification of this law is in the following verse:
Quran 33:37:

وَإِذْ تَقُولُ لِلَّذِي أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْسِكْ عَلَيْكَ زَوْجَكَ وَاتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَتُخْفِي فِي نَفْسِكَ مَا اللَّهُ مُبْدِيهِ وَتَخْشَى النَّاسَ وَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشَاهُ ۖ فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ زَيْدٌ مِنْهَا وَطَرًا زَوَّجْنَاكَهَا لِكَيْ لَا يَكُونَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ حَرَجٌ فِي أَزْوَاجِ أَدْعِيَائِهِمْ إِذَا قَضَوْا مِنْهُنَّ وَطَرًا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ مَفْعُولًا
[But] then, when Zayd had come to the end of his union with her, We gave her to you in marriage, so that [in future] no blame should attach to the believers for (marrying] the spouses of their adopted children when the latter have come to the end of their union with them. And [thus] God’s will was done.


Married Juwaira bint Alharith, a war captive who was assigned and freed by the Prophet. By freeing and marrying her, the Prophet restored her self-esteem as she was the daughter of the leader of the defeated army. Perhaps, the Prophet wanted to show kindness and mercy to an honorable person who had fallen in stature. At the same time, the Prophet had helped the other captives to be freed from bondage, as they have become the relatives of the Prophet’s wife.

Married Safiya bint Hay, a war captive, who was assigned and freed by the Prophet. She willingly converted from Judaism to Islam which caused the Prophet to marry her out of compassion and to show kindness to a person of stature who had fallen into disgrace. Safiya was the wife of the leader of the Jewish tribe who was killed in battle of Bani Nadheer.

Married Um Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufian, the leader of the Meccans, who defied her father from the beginning of the advent of the new faith and adhered to her faith even when her husband converted to Christianity while they were both immigrants in Abyssinia under the protection of the ruler. She had the added burden of taking care of her baby girl, Habiba. By marrying Um Habiba, the Prophet was kind enough to offer her to live in his household to provide for her and to alleviate her sufferings and remove the burden of living alone and fending for herself and her daughter in those harsh circumstances.

Married Maimoona bint Alharith, a widow who lived in the house of the Prophet’s uncle Abbas. She was a strong believer in the new faith, but was lonely and missing a family life. The Prophet’s uncle mediated the marriage which was consummated out of kindness and consideration to a lonely woman who begged to get married.

Maria the Coptic. She was a slave and was sent to Prophet Muhammad, the leader of the New State, as a gesture of goodwill and to cement the good relations between the Byzantine Empire and the New Islamic State in Medina. The Prophet freed Maria and married her and later, she bore him a baby boy, named Abraham. The boy did not survive and died of natural causes.

Considering the list of the names of the woman that the Prophet had married in his later period of his life and after immigrating to Medina and establishing the New Islamic State, it is clear that these marriages were consummated primarily for political as well as humanitarian reasons.

The Prophet had spent most of his life (between the ages of 25 and 54 i.e. 29 years) married to one woman at a time. In each case the women were both widows and were not known for their beauty or sex appeal. During those 29 years of his youthful years he spent them happily married and appreciative of his spouses and their dedication to his household and the care they rendered to their off springs. In his early youth, prior to 25 years of age, he was never known or reported to have sought or was associated with any woman. Clearly, if he was a womanizer or had perverse or lustful or abnormal tendencies towards the opposite sex, it would have shown especially during these periods when a person is sexually most active.

The years during which the Prophet was married to more than one woman was between the ages of 54 and 62 years i.e. 8 years which were his most demanding years for his energy to be spent as a statesman, leader, judge, army commander, social worker, father and husband and spiritual leader of a young Nation! Besides, these latter years are the years in one’s life when the urge for sex wanes and becomes less urgent compared the earlier years of life. To the fair minded, the accusation of womanizing does not hold and cannot be justified based on the above facts and circumstances.

The second accusation that has been leveled against the Prophet is him being pedophilic who had special liking to marrying young girls.

This accusation has been going around for a while as if to give the impression that the person of the Prophet is unworthy to be a Prophet and to sow the seeds of doubt and uncertainty of his message in the minds of the weak and doubter. The implication being that how could a sane person be a follower of a perverse individual and a sex maniac. The whole thesis is based on the contention that the Prophet married a girl, his third wife A’isha, when she was only nine years of age and possibly seven!
It will be shown here that this accusation about the age of A’isha is not only ludicrous, but in fact is untrue. Furthermore, this accusation does not hold water for the simple reason that had the Prophet been pedophile, it would have come out when he was young and single. That this was not the case is well documented that during those years as he was growing up and until his first marriage he was a normal and person of good and worthy character who was not interested in games and play. He was thoughtful and shunned the life of fun and game that his compatriots indulged in as was the norm in those days.

One may question the accusation of his, so called, pedophile tendencies in the light of his first marriage to his wife Khadija who was a widow and his senior by fifteen years. He was married to khadija for twenty four years until her death. He was very happily married and had many children from her. After the death of Khadija, the Prophet, again, did not choose to marry a child, but again a widow with grown-up children and who was known for her good character but not for her looks. Again, had the Prophet have any pedophilic tendencies, it would have shown at that time when A’isha was suggested to him to consider for marriage.

From this fact we can bring to light two points that are relevant to our findings. First, it is obvious that the Prophet, in choosing to marry Sawda, did so in placing the dictates of the comfort and well-being of his orphaned children in the forefront of his decision. Henceforth, there is no vestige of the notion that the Prophet had any pedophilic tendencies. It would have shown by now! The second point that is brought out to light is that the age of A’isha must have been at a normal age for her to be considered by the go in between person as a candidate for marriage. As a reasonable and conservative estimate of A’isha’s age was 12 years, if not 13 or 14. This estimate is also supported by the fact that A’isha, being on of the earliest converts to accept Islam and was encouraged by her father to immigrate to Abyssinia which took place in 615 A.C. A’isha must have been 9 or 10 years old then, which makes her age at the time when the Prophet married Sawda at 14 years of age. By the time A’isha was married to the Prophet four years after his marriage to Sawda, she (A’isha) should have been 18 years of age. This is an age of maturity, especially in those early desert days, but certainly not that of a child!

The third accusation that the Prophet broke rules and prevalent customs to achieve his voracious desires and somehow, God Almighty, had bent the rules in favor of the Prophet and done him a special treatment.

The accusation had within it a hidden agenda to discredit the Quran and belittle its edicts as God’s final and true message to mankind. The accusation centered, in the main, on two issues. The first is that the Prophet married more than four; the number of wives allowed in the Quran and had to have special verses added in the Quran to allow for this departure from the norm. The second issue is the Prophet’s marriage to Zainab, the estranged wife of his adopted son. The Prophet, according to the accusation, had somehow maneuvered his way to marrying Zainab, who was known for her youth and beauty. Again these accusations are, on both counts, far removed from the truth.

First, the issue of marrying more than four was done under the special circumstance of the Prophet being a head of state and after the death of his first wife Khadija. Perhaps, it is helpful to remember that his first marriage to Khadija lasted for 24 years as she was his only and loving wife. It is in the opinion of the writer that the example of the Prophet’s first marriage to Khadija, serves to indicate to the believers that a monogamist relationship between married couples is the norm. On becoming the head of state, out of necessity, the Prophet had to take on many of his marriages to save war victims or widows of war, who would have, otherwise suffered, financially or otherwise, from the loss of their husbands during the early battles of the new faith, See above.

Most of his marriages were to widowers as there was none of the unusual satisfaction for youthful lust and fun. Khadija, his first wife, was a widow and fifteen years older than he was. Sawda, his second wife, was middle aged with grown up children and the list of widows goes on. The marriage to A’isha, Hafsa and Mary were political. The first two, were mainly to cement political relations with his two influential companions, Abu Bakr and Omar who both succeeded him in heading the new State. The marriage to Mary, the Copt, was to free her from bondage and to cement good relations with the Byzantines who sent Mary as a gift slave to the Prophet. Many of the marriages, to wit, the one with maimoona and um Habiba were consummated out of compassion and to help alleviate suffering and loneliness of devout middle aged Muslim women.

As to the second issue, that is his marriage to Zainab, the motive becomes very clear that it was God’s will to bring out an edict which is that an adoptive relationship does not involve any of the marriage rules and restrictions that result from actual biological parent to son or daughter relations. If we look closely to verse 33:37(see above) which was revealed when the marriage between Zaid and Zainab was falling apart, the verse contained a reprimand to the Prophet for his embarrassment and inclination to suppress the announcement of this revelation. It was a divine purpose to assert a position towards a restrictive relationship that the pagan Arabs believed. This is quite apart from the Prophet’s desire to make amends to his cousin Zainab. The Prophet felt responsible for causing his cousin distress and unhappiness upon the insistence of the Prophet that she marry Zaid who was a freed slave and was happily married to another freed slave. The Prophet‘s desire was to show the world the complete emancipation of freed slaves to the point that a freed slave can betroth a free and a noble woman who was a first cousin of the Prophet. Rather than bring on himself the embarrassment and the reprimand of the Creator, the Prophet could have, to begin with, marry his cousin Zainab himself before asking her hand to marry his adopted son. This would have been quite acceptable in the norms of the Arab culture!

In the final analysis, what the smear campaign which has been directed, for a long time and also of late, against the Prophet is to degrade his character by unfairly leveling against him accusations that are baseless and are not accord with actual happenings. In fact, what we have learned in this exposure is that the Prophet has shown us through his behavior and quality of character many examples that we do well to emulate. He showed us that a happy marital relationship is monogamous. When he was faced with the problem of the loss of the mother of his children, he opted to marry a believing woman of character and integrity and preferred her over a woman who possessed youth, beauty and intelligence. He demonstrated in his handling of the case of his adopted son a noble aim of full emancipation. The incident ended in a revelation which reprimanded him, yet and at the same time, together with numerous other revelations,(80:1-4…) proved beyond any doubt that he was the final messenger of the true and authentic word of God.

عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ {1}
أَنْ جَاءَهُ الْأَعْمَىٰ {2}
وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّىٰ {3}
أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنْفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ {4}
HE FROWNED and turned away (80:2) because the blind man approached him! Yet for all you knew, [O Muhammad,] he might perhaps have grown in purity, (4) or have been reminded [of the truth], and helped by this reminder.

In the final analysis, let us not forget that, the Prophet’s high character and behavior or his way of life and the divine ethics which he lived up to; have been attested to by none other than God Himself in the Quranic revelation (68:4.)


وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
” You are indeed of sublime character.”

One cannot but stand at awe and admiration to the shining example of an orphan, who never saw his father and who lost his mother when he was a child, and who grew up in the austere desert environment of the pagan Arabs who has risen to such a height on the moral grounds and whose character and behavior have, up to this day, withstood the test of times. Surely, it must have been God’s Will.