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Mohammed already had nine wives and several concubines. Nevertheless, Allah gave him a special pass that would allow him to have all the wives he wanted.
«O Prophet, indeed We have made lawful to you your wives to whom you have given their due compensation and those your right hand possesses from what Allah has returned to you [of captives] and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who emigrated with you and a believing woman if she gives herself to the Prophet [and] if the Prophet wishes to marry her, [this is] only for you, excluding the [other] believers. We certainly know what We have made obligatory upon them concerning their wives and those their right hands possess, [but this is for you] in order that there will be upon you no discomfort. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.» (Quran 33:50)
The following hadiths describe the episode, thanks to Aisha’s trash talk.
Sahih Muslim Book 8, Number 3453:
Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: I felt jealous of the women who offered themselves to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Then when Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, revealed this:” You may defer any one of them you wish, and take to yourself any you wish; and if you desire any you have set aside (no sin is chargeable to you)” (xxxiii. 51), I (‘Aisha.) said: It seems to me that your Lord hastens to satisfy your desire.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 48:
Narrated Hisham’s father:
Khaula bint Hakim was one of those ladies who presented themselves to the Prophet for marriage. ‘Aisha said, “Doesn’t a lady feel ashamed for presenting herself to a man?” But when the Verse: “(O Muhammad) You may postpone (the turn of) any of them (your wives) that you please,’ (33.51) was revealed, ” ‘Aisha said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I do not see, but, that your Lord hurries in pleasing you. “
These sorts of particularly convenient “divine interventions” show up quite often throughout the Quran.
The primitive Arab tribes used to follow few rules and traditions. However, they had an ethical code that they carefully honoured. For example, they would refrain from any hostility during the holy months. Mecca was a holy place for them, thus they would never wage war against it. Moreover, the wife of an adoptive son was conceived as a proper daughter, who the in-laws were not allowed to get married with.
Despite all of this, Allah allowed Mohammed to marry Zaynab, the beautiful wife of his adoptive son, i.e. his daughter in law.
«And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favour and you bestowed favour, “Keep your wife and fear Allah ,” while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished.» (Quran 33:37)
For more on this episode, click here.
It was a widespread custom for close friends to develop some sort of fraternal relationship, which would then give rise to actual brotherhood-like deals. Nevertheless, the prophet never bothered to respect those deals whenever they got in the way between him and his interests or desires. Since Abu Bakr and Mohammed had a deal of brotherhood, Aisha would then be expected to be just like a niece to the Holy Prophet, as this Hadith shows.
Volume 7, Book 62, Number 37:
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
It was said to the Prophet, “Won’t you marry the daughter of Hamza?” He said, “She is my foster niece (brother’s daughter).”
Both Hamza and Abu Bakr were Mohammed’s “adoptive brothers”. However Aisha, Abu Bakr’s daughter, was maybe too beautiful for the prophet to follow any ethical codes and respect the traditions. Hence he had no hesitation in proposing to her, even though she was only six years old.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 18:
The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for ‘Aisha’s hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said “But I am your brother.” The Prophet said, “You are my brother in Allah’s religion and His Book, but she (Aisha) is lawful for me to marry.”
In the following hadith Mohammed tells Aisha that he had dreamt of her before asking Abu Bakr for her hand.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 87, Number 140:
Allah’s Apostle said to me, “You were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said to him, ‘Uncover (her),’ and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), ‘If this is from Allah, then it must happen.’ Then you were shown to me, the angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said (to him), ‘Uncover (her), and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), ‘If this is from Allah, then it must happen.’ “