(50) يَآ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّآ أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَاجَكَ اللاَّتِي ءَاتَيْتَ اُجُورَهُنَ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ مِمَّآ أَفَآءَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمّـِك َوَبَنَاتِ عَمَّاتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالاَتِكَ اللاَّتِي هَاجَرْنَ مَعَكَ وَامْرَأَةً مُّؤْمِنَةً اِن وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِيِّ اِنْ أَرَادَ النَّبِيُّ أَن يَسْتَنكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَّكَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا فَرَضْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِي أَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ لِكَيْلاَ يَكُونَ عَلَيْكَ حَرَجٌ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً
50. "O'Prophet! Verily We have made lawful to you the wives whom you have paid their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses of those whom Allah has assigned to you, and (marriage with) the daughters of your paternal uncle, and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and daughters of your maternal uncle, and the daughters of your maternal aunts who have emigrated with you, and a believing woman if she gives herself unto the Prophet, if the Prophet desires to wed her, for you exclusively, not for the (rest of the) believers.
Indeed We know what We have ordained for them about their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that there should be no difficulty for you. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
It is only Allah Who defines what is lawful and what is unlawful. (Even the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), in his personal subjects, obeys the law of Allah.)
Islam has appointed some duties and also some special privileges for the Prophet (p.b.u.h.).
This verse explains seven instances that marriage with them was allowed for the Prophet (p.b.u.h.).
1- At first, it says:
whom you have paid their dowries, …"
As the next sentences indicate, the objective meaning of these wives is those wives who were not the Prophet's relatives and got marriage with him. Perhaps, mentioning the payment of dowry is for the same reason, because it had been customary then that, at the time of marriage with women other than relatives, the dowry should be paid in cash. Moreover, hastening in giving the dowry is better, specially that the wife is in need of it. But, however, this action is not among obligatory deeds, and with mutual agreement the dowry, partly or wholly, can remain as a debt that the husband is charged with it.
2- The second instance is as follows:
whom Allah has assigned to you, …"
The Arabic phrase /'afā'allah/ is derived from /fay'/ which is called to the properties that are gained without trouble, therefore, it is used for the spoils of war and also the natural wealth and properties which belong to the Islamic government and have not a proper possessor.
Rāqib in Mufradāt says: "The Arabic word /fay'/ means 'return to a good state and if a shadow is called /fay'/ it is for the sake that it returns." Then, he adds: "It is also called to the easy gained properties, since, with all goodness it has, again it is, like shadow accidental and fleeting."
It is true that sometimes there are many troubles in spoils of war, but since in comparison with other properties there is less difficulty in them, and sometimes it happens that in a single attack a lot of properties are gained, the word /fay'/ is used for it.
Concerning this fact that which one of the holy Prophet's wives this ordinance was about, some of the commentators have said that one of the Prophet's wives named "Māriyah Qibtiyyah" was from spoils of war and two other his wives named: "Safiyyah" and "Juwayriyyah" were from /'anfāl/ whom the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) had manumitted and accepted them as his wives. This itself was a part of general program of Islam for gradual manumitting of slaves and returning their humane personality to them.
3- The third instance of those who are also lawful for him to marry with are mentioned as follows:
uncle, and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and
daughters of your maternal uncle, and the daughters of
your maternal aunts who have emigrated with you, …"
Thus, among all his relatives only marriage with daughters of his paternal uncle, and the daughters of his paternal aunts, and the daughters of his maternal uncle, and the daughters of his maternal aunts with the condition that they had emigrated with the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) were permissible and lawful for him.
The restriction being laid on these four groups is clear, but the condition of emigration is for reason that in that time emigration was an evidence for faith, and the lack of emigration was as a sign of disbelief. Or it is for the reason that emigration would give them some more privileges to them, and the aim in
this verse is to state the noble and virtuous women who are worthy of marriage with the Prophet (p.b.u.h.).
That whether these four groups are mentioned as a general ordinance in the verse and they were practically amongst the Prophet's wives or not, we can mention only the marriage of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) with 'Zaynab-bent-i-Jahsh', the story of which was stated in this very Sura, because Zaynab was the daughter of the Prophet's maternal aunt and Jahsh was the spouse of his aunt.
4- The fourth instance is announced as follows:
Prophet, if the Prophet desires to wed her, …"
Then the Qur'ān continues saying:
Indeed we know what We have ordained for them about
their wives and those whom their right hands possess …"
Therefore, if Allah has assigned some limitations in same instances in the affairs concerning their marriage, it has been for some things that were existed in their life and the life of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), and none of these ordinances and rules was undue. Then, the verse adds:
"… And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
By the way, the following points must be considered about the recent group (the women with no dowry):
First: No doubt the permission of 'wedding a wife without dowry' was one of the specialties of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), and the verse expresses it explicitly; that is why it is one of the 'certain issues' of the Islamic jurisprudence. Thus, no one is allowed to marry with if the dowry is not mentioned at the time of reciting the formula of marriage, and there is not any frame of reference to determine it either, he must pay 'suitable
dower'. The purpose of 'suitable dower' is the dowry which the women of the same conditions and specialties of her usually appoint for them.
Second: commentators are divided in that whether this general ordinance was practised by the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) or not. Some of them, such as Ibn-'Abbās, believe that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) did not marry any woman in this way. Therefore the above ordinance was only a general permission for the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) which was never practically applied. Some other commentators have mentioned the names of three or four women among the Prophet's wives who married with him (p.b.u.h.) with no dowry. They were "Maymūnah" the daughter of Hārith, "Zaynab" the daughter of "Khuzaymah" who was from the tribe of Ansār, a woman named 'Umm-i-Sharīk, Jabir's daughter who was from the tribe of Banī 'Asad, and "Khūlah", the daughter of Hakam.
It is evident that such women only desired to earn spiritual honour which could happen by the way of marriage with the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). Therefore, they accepted to marry with him without any dowry.
Third: It is clearly understood from this verse that the recitation of the formula of marriage by the expression of /hibih/ (gift) had only been specialized to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and no other person can recite the formula of marriage with such an expression. But if the recitation of the formula of marriage is performed with the expression of marriage, it is allowed even though the dowry is not mentioned, because, as it was said, if the dowry is not mentioned, the 'suitable dower' must be paid. (In fact, it is like that 'the suitable dower' has been stipulated.)
Fourth: The Qur'ānic sentence: "… in order that there should be no difficulty for you …" is a hint to the polygamy of
the Prophet and the philosophy of these ordinances that are specialized to the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.). This sentence indicates that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has some conditions that others have not, and this very difference has caused the difference in such ordinances. In other words, it more clearly says that: the aim had been that a part of the restrictions and difficulties could be decreased for the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) by means of these ordinances.
This is a delicate meaning which shows that the Prophet's marriage with different women had been for the removal of a series of social political difficulties from his life.
We know that when the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) announced Islam he was alone, and it took a long time that people did not believe in him, except a few persons. He roused against all the superstitious beliefs of his time and his environment, and proclaimed the declaration of war against all. It was natural that all the families and tribes in that place to be mobilized against him. He had to use all possible means to break the evil unity of the enemies, one of which was creating relation by the way of marriage with the women of different tribes of Arab, since the most stable relation among the Arabs of the Age of Ignorance was counted the relative relation. There are many evidences which show that the Prophet's marriages were mostly done politically.
Some of his marriages, like marriage with Zaynab, were for breaking the rules of pagan Arab, the explanation of which was stated in the commentary of verse 37 of the current Sura.
Some of his other marriages were for the sake of decreasing the level of the enemies' hostility or attracting the affection of individuals or that of the obstinate zealous tribes.
In some history books we even read that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) married with numerous women but there happened
nothing save the ceremonies of wedding, and he had no sexual intercourse with them. In some instances he sufficed only with marriage proposal from the women of some tribes.
They were happy and boasted only with this that a woman from their tribe was called as the Prophet's wife and they were honoured with it. Thus, their social relation with the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) became closer and they were more decided to defend him.
The enemies of Islam had intended to use the numerous marriages of the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) as a means for their most horrible attacks and to make some false stories from them, but referring to history and the manner of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), makes the fact fairly manifest and introduces the anonymous plots.
* * * *
 Bihār-ul-'Anwār, Vol. 22, PP. 191-192