Hazrat Dr Mir Muhammad Ismailra, the author of this article, was born on 18 July 1881 and was the brother of Hazrat Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahibara, the noble wife of the Promised Messiahas. He was among the 313 Companionsra of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. Whilst studying in the Medical College, Lahore in 1905, the Promised Messiahas received a revelation about him, “Assistant surgeon”. As a result, in the whole of Punjab, he came first in his medical exam. Hazrat Mir Sahibra was an extremely pious and devoted servant of the Promised Messiahas and authored many books in the service of Islam Ahmadiyyat. He was famous for his knowledge of Hadith and the life of Prophet Muhammadsa, which can be ascertained in his writings and compilation of poetry called Bukhar-e-Dil. He passed away in July 1947. This article was originally published in Urdu in Al Fazl on 12 June 1928
Hazrat Dr Mir Muhammad Ismailra
Aryas have followed the Christians in raising an assault on the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that he was, God forbid, licentious and lived a luxurious lifestyle. To rebut this heinous allegation, we need not go far, nor do we need to present subtle arguments in response because when something is already so clear, it only requires us to point in the right direction.
We shall prove, from the noble life of the Holy Prophetsa and his sayings, practices and Quranic testimonies, that to launch such attacks is the typical cold-bloodedness of spiteful enemies and nothing more.
The personality of a prophet is much like a mirror and opponents only see their own reflection or the reflection of their nation in them. The nations that used force, deception and the sword to gain control over other nations accuse the Holy Prophetsa of using the sword and force. The nations that are consumed by indecency, adultery, fornication and other moral vices are the ones who accuse the Holy Prophetsa of living a luxurious and lascivious lifestyle.
Who stopped adultery in Arabia?
There was so much salaciousness in Arabia that only God could protect one from it. Not only were people immersed in adultery, but they would proudly boast of this. Brothels and other such businesses that promoted this were available in every tribe and group, so much so that once, a group came to visit the Holy Prophetsa in Medina and told the Prophetsa, “Ya Rasulallah [O Prophet of Allah]. We are extremely adulterous. Please permit us this and we shall all accept Islam.”
Not only did the Prophetsa not accept this request, but in a matter of only a few years, he destroyed this tendency in all of Arabia, to the extent that a woman could travel from one end of the country to the other, without any fear, save for the fear of Allah. This example, in which the entire Muslim world was cleansed, cannot be found by any reformer in any country. This was only through the spiritual power of one exemplary, chaste and pure individual. Otherwise, to achieve such a feat is the task of no ordinary human. Is it possible to suggest that a licentious individual eradicated the lasciviousness of a nation and replaced the people’s indecency with purity?
Criteria for licentiousness
Those who have a licentious nature never limit themselves to “Halal” licentiousness. When the circumstances become favourable for them, it extends to adultery. Without alcohol and dancing, such shameless people cannot fully enjoy their indecent acts.
Can any rightminded person accept that the individual who eliminated adultery, consumption of alcohol, dancing and even trespasses of the eye from his nation, was himself addicted to such a lifestyle?
The pure lifestyle of the Prophetsa
Until the age of 25 – that is, the complete age of youth – the Prophetsa remained completely chaste. Neither did he commit any wrongful act, nor did he ever succumb to any indecency. He never committed any sin.
When he was divinely commissioned with prophethood, he openly challenged his nation and said, “I spent my entire life among you. Tell me, what sin have I ever committed?” This challenge is in the Quran today.
Marriage to a 40-year-old woman
At this age, he married and that too a 40-year-old widow who had lost two husbands previously. He loyally and purely remained with this lady for 25 years. When Hazrat Khadijara passed away, he was 50 years old – he had reached old age.
Polygamy was common in Arabia. He was from among the elite of his city and was the chief of his nation. Could he not have married another young wife during this time? However, he did not. Despite being young, he lived his life with an older lady.
Nikah with Saudahra and Aishara
After the demise of Khadijara, he married Hazrat Saudahra and Hazrat Aishara. Saudahra was elderly and not physically very attractive. Her husband was a companion and after his demise, the Prophetsa deemed it appropriate to marry Saudahra. This was his favour upon her. His marriage with Aishara was in fulfilment of a dream. Although the marriage took place straight away, Aishara was sent off to live with the Prophetsa three or four years later.
The other noble wives
Many among the other noble wives who married him later in Medina were widows. While some had lost one husband, others had lost two and they were all old in age. The reason for their Nikah with the Prophetsa is summarised as follows:
1. To promote education of the new religion among women
2. As a favour and courtesy on those women
3. As their entire people had accepted Islam, for example Hazrat Juwairiyahra
4. To inform others about the Prophet’ssa practices, manners and worship at home
5. To set a precedent and example for those who desired to marry more than once
6. For some women, there was no other guardian
7. To break some trends from the era of misguidance and disbelief, for example the marriage with Hazrat Zainabra
Thus, in his entire lifetime, he only married one virgin. If he was addicted to a life of licentiousness, then there were thousands of women he could have chosen. Why would he fix assign his night at the house of a virgin after nine days?
Hazrat Aisha’sra testament
I address our opponents and quote a narration of Hazrat Aishara, which has been included in Sahih al-Bukhari, a most authentic and accurate book, so that they may feel some shame and they may know through Hazrat Aishara that the person who had the most self-control and tamed his carnal instinct was none other than Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
With regard to the Prophetsa, Hazrat Aishara says, “He had the most control over his carnal desires.”
This is the statement of a wife and that wife for whom he had the most love. This is narrated by that wife, concerning whom this allegation against the Prophetsa is made in the first place. This is a testimony regarding his extraordinary character from a person who was most acquainted with him. This testimony bears more weight than a thousand other testimonies. Is there anyone who can accept it?
The Prophet’ssa love for Aishara
People have mentioned various reasons behind the Prophet’ssa love for Aishara. Friends say that as she was extremely intelligent, a scholar of religion and the Prophetsa loved her more, whereas the foes say he loved her more as she was young and attractive.
The Holy Prophetsa himself answered this question, which is quoted in the authentic book of Sahih al-Bukhari.
It is said that once, he was asked by a lady, “Why do you not love your other wives as you do Aisha?” He replied, “When I am with the others, the angel that brings me God’s revelation does not descend upon me. When I am with Aisha, the angel comes to me.”
This means that Hazrat Aisha’sra physical and spiritual states were so high that even Gabrielas did not hesitate in visiting her house. The condition of other wives was not the same.
This clears the matter; the Prophet’ssa love for Aishara was in fact a result of his love for Allah as his Most Beloved’s words would be revealed to him in her abode. His love for her was not because of her youthful looks, attractiveness or beauty, but rather due to the revelation of God. This love was thus due to his love for Allah and not because of physical beauty or any carnal passion.
Other characteristics and attributes
Once, the companions asked Hazrat Aishara, “How were the Prophet’ssa morals?” Hazrat Aishara replied:
کَانَ خُلُقُہُ الْقُرْآن
[His conduct was the Quran (personified).] His morals were in complete harmony with the teachings of the Holy Quran. Whatever the Quran considered bad, he stayed away from it and whatever the Quran instructed, he always acted accordingly.
Now, let us take a look at the Quran and see what commandments there are concerning licentiousness.
Firstly, the Quran is replete with instructions about refraining from adultery, trespasses of the eye and indecency (both inward and outward). Secondly, the Quran contains the instruction of Nikah and it is said that it should be performed not out of any carnal passions, but for Taqwa [fear of Allah] and to protect oneself from harm. The condition for Nikah, as mentioned in the Quran, is “Ghaira musafiheen”, that is, “O Muslims. Do not perform Nikah due to carnal passions, but rather do it so that you may suppress and tame such passions.”
Therefore, if his conduct was in accordance with the Holy Quran, as Hazrat Aishara pointed out, then there is no doubt that he was not licentious or filled with lustful desires as the Holy Quran forbids licentiousness and lust, not only with other women but also with one’s wives.
His brother-in-law – Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra, who was highly intelligent, intellectual, close to the Prophetsa and would often visit him at home – says:
لم یکن النبی صلی اللہ علیہ و الہ وسلم فاحشا و لا متفحشا
“The Holy Prophetsa neither spoke indecently, nor was he indecent in any way.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
This means that neither was anything foul or indecent heard from his mouth, nor was it ever noticed in his conduct. Who can say concerning a person who was piety and purity personified that he was prone to lasciviousness and lust? For these to exist requires some elements of indecency and obscenity as these are the first traces.
Due to my profession, I come across many immoral people and I have reached the conclusion that immorality and licentiousness and obscenity all go hand in hand. Without entering the realms of obscenity and indecency, a person cannot be licentious.
During his youth, his modesty was such that once, his uncle, Abbasra removed the Prophet’ssa clothes. Due to the shame, the Prophetsa fainted. An example of his modesty in later years, in the words of Hazrat Aishara, is, “The Holy Prophetsa never removed his clothes entirely in front of me, nor would he expect me to do so.” The Companionsra attest to the fact that the Prophetsa was more modest than a young, virgin girl.
In response to these facts, how is it acceptable to hear an immoral person suggest that the Prophetsa was licentious or lustful? If a person is called modest by his relatives, peers, friends and wives, how is it justified to attack that person’s modesty? Only such a person can do so who is himself shameful.
Licentiousness is against the Islamic teaching of polygamy
If the Holy Prophetsa had married all his wives out of lust and because of their physical beauty, then why is it that he had an inclination only to Aishara? And if he was only attracted to Aishara, then why would he marry more wives and form a sort of barrier between him and Aishara?
No matter which angle this allegation is seen from, it just doesn’t fit right. His marriages were a great sacrifice which he made for the sake of Islam’s tabligh, to flourish religious education among women and to promote his practices. Due to these marriages, he always suffered pain and never was able to experience pleasure that husbands experience. He endured these great challenges for us as he was an example for us all and the first perfect model for equality and justice.
The people of his time never made such allegations
All those allegations that were levelled against the character of the Prophetsa by the disbelievers and the People of the Book have been mentioned in the Holy Quran. At times he was called a poet, while also being called insane, a soothsayer and at other times, allegations were raised on his prophecies and other prophecies contained in earlier books.
Thus, there is a long list of allegations that were levelled against him, but never did anyone raise the allegation that he had lustful tendencies or a licentious attitude. Jews lived with him in Medina for a long period and were present at Khaybar when he passed away; they never desisted in raising allegations against him.
This allegation is a creation of that period. Do these ignorant people not ponder over the fact that a lustful person always stays at home at the threshold of his beloved as opposed to staying out all day and parting from his dear wives at night to worship Allah to the extent that his legs and feet begin to swell? Is this the definition of a lascivious person?
Did anyone ever say, “O Prophet, do not stay with your wives so much as this does not behove you.” It is unfortunate that if such individuals who raised these allegations knew the truth about him and saw the actual love and desire he had in his heart, they would never allow such crude remarks to slip the tongue.
The Prophet’ssa relationship with the world
The Holy Prophetsa describes his relationship with the world by saying, “The relationship I have with this world is similar to a person riding a camel for an important task and on his way, due to the intensity of the heat, he stops in a jungle beneath a tree to catch his breath under some shade so that he may carry on his journey.”
How can a person whose worldly life and worldly pleasures are described in this manner and who has such concern for his mission be accused of licentiousness and fulfilling his carnal passions? This can only be the work of a bitter and rancorous foe.
He was king in his final years
In his final years, the whole of Arabia had come under his rule. At one gesture, all comforts and luxuries could have been afforded to him, however he never turned towards worldly luxuries. His house always experienced a lack of wealth.
When Muslims saw great victories in his time and a large amount of wealth had been gathered, his wives came to request him for money as now, all Muslims in general had better living standards. “Can you please give us more food and clothes?” The Prophetsa was displeased at this request, so much so that he began staying in a separate house.
Hazrat Umarra came to see the Prophetsa and noticed that there was nothing in his house except a coarse rug, which had left marks on the Prophet’ssa body. Observing this state of the king of both worlds, Umarra began to cry. The Prophetsa enquired, “Why are you crying, Umar?” He replied, “While Caesar and Khosrow live in luxury, you live like this.” The Prophetsa responded, “For them is this world and for me is the Hereafter. What benefit can worldly comforts bring to us?” Was this a lascivious person?
If he was, then whatever wealth came in the central reserve, he would have first distributed it between his wives to get better clothes, jewellery, ornaments and beautification for their homes. He would have celebrated that wealth and enjoyed a licentious lifestyle.
In contrast, however, they requested for a bit more food, which displeased him and even caused him to stop visiting them. When, after a month, he revisited them, he said to one of his wives, “If you require the pleasures and delights of this world, then come, let me give you wealth so that I may free you. If, however, you desire God, His Prophet and an abode in the Hereafter, then you must reside in these very conditions. And if you commit any act of indecency, then you will face double the prescribed punishment.”
He then said, “The make-up and beautification of the Jahiliyya period is forbidden for you. You should offer Salat, Zakat and recite the Quran. God desires to rid you of your sins and weaknesses and cleanse and purify you in every way.”
Are these the words of a licentious person? Can this be the reaction of an immoral person? Can the person, who warns his wives of a dual punishment for indecency, himself be indecent and obscene towards them? This is a point for deep reflection.
His family life
Hazrat Aishara says, “In the Holy Prophet’ssa home, the stove would sometimes not function for two months. At times, we would have to survive on milk and dried dates or we would fast or stay hungry. During his life, we never ate to the full, nor did we ever drink water so that it would fill us.”
Once, a guest came to visit at a time when there were nine houses. The guest went to every house and upon returning, conveyed the news that there was nothing to eat and that there was only water and if they wanted that, it was available.
During the Battle of the Ditch, some people complained of hunger and lifted their shirts to show that they had tied rocks to their abdomen to eradicate the hunger. When the Holy Prophetsa heard their complaints, he too lifted his shirt up and showed that he had, in fact, tied two rocks to his abdomen. His poverty, and self-imposed poverty, proves the fact that he disliked the comforts and luxuries of this world, something he moulded his wives to be like.
Advice to others
The Holy Prophetsa would always advise the younger generation to practice chastity and piety and would say, “O youth, get married or observe fasts as fasting eliminates carnal passions. Steer clear from every form of indecency.” The Holy Prophetsa himself would profusely observe fasts.
Commandments of the Holy Quran
By saying “Ghaira musafiheen”, the Holy Quran not only forbade indecency with one’s wives, but also said, “Nisa‘ukum harthun lakum”, that is, “Your wives are a tilth for you.” This means that not only should men not use their wives to satisfy carnal desires, they should benefit from them as their tilth. Aside from the appropriate relationships, inappropriate limits should not be crossed even in appropriate relationships.
Thus, the purpose should be to have offspring, tame one’s carnal instincts, develop the fear of Allah and to increase in love and mercy for one another, as opposed to unleashing one’s carnal passions uncontrollably.
The Holy Quran states that Allah prohibits us from every form of immoral vice. Salat has been made incumbent upon us so that we may refrain from every form of indecency. Thus, the Holy Quran – which our opponents suggest was designed and written by the Holy Prophetsa – in fact discourages the untamed expression of one’s carnal passions.
Thus, if the “author” lived by this and taught the world to live by this principle, then what sort of a person would he have been?
A European author writes, “Is it not astonishing that among all heavenly books, it is only the Holy Quran that is free from indecent and immodest subjects? Take other heavenly books for example and one is left stunned.”
A tree is known by its fruit
The mass transformation that the Holy Prophetsa made in the whole of Arabia with regard to chastity is unparalleled. If one, however, reads about those who had the honour of being in his company, the world will be even more amazed. One or two examples are presented below:
During the Jahiliyya period, a companion fell in love with a woman in Mecca and would often visit her. After the migration to Medina, he returned to Mecca for some errands. Whilst in Mecca, that same woman noticed him and lovingly called him over. However, he replied, “Now I am a Muslim and we consider this Haram. Therefore, I cannot come to visit you.” She replied, “If you do not cooperate, I will cry aloud. These Meccans are thirsty for your blood and they will capture you and kill you. If you wish to avoid this, then come inside.” The companion replied, “I may be killed, but I will not let my faith be compromised.” That lady then screamed out aloud, but God protected the companion and he clandestinely left the area. Had he not, he would surely have been killed.
Hazrat Abu Musa Ash‘arira says, “There was once a time when adultery was deemed to be a decent act. Now we live in a time when I can swear on oath and say that I would prefer to smell carrion as opposed to smelling the scent of another woman, who is unlawful for me.”
One companion felt the need for Nikah. With great difficulty, he found a suitable match (as he was not physically attractive). One day, when he went out to purchase a dress for her to wear when she would leave her home and finally enter his, he heard a loud cry, “O Muslims, listen! Come to Jihad. The Prophet is leaving for Jihad.” With the money he intended to purchase the dress, the companion bought a horse and artillery and immediately joined the ranks of the Muslim army. During that same battle, he was martyred; may Allah be pleased with him!
How great was the person whose followers sacrificed their desires and worldly comforts for the sake of Allah the Almighty? Tell me!
His Companionsra were such that one of them once said, “During the life of the Holy Prophetsa, we would not even fulfil our lawful desires out of fear because we could see God before our eyes. After his demise, the situation changed; otherwise, that period was very different.” Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him …
Some opponents raise a foolish allegation by confusing sexual intimacy with lasciviousness. Such ignoramuses do not stop to think how the person with unparalleled qualities and morals must be in his treatment with his wives. To understand, this sentence should suffice and there is no need to break this down further.
A principal rebuttal
Friend or foe, everyone is in agreement that the Holy Prophetsa spent his entire life, every day of his life and every moment of each day, in the concern of how to glorify the name of Allah throughout the world; how the world can be freed from the shackles of Shirk and establish the unity and oneness of Allah on this earth.
He could see the works of only one single power – Who is free from any need and blemish, adorned with every beauty and quality and equipped with all knowledge and all power – in the heavens, the earth, the wind, water, natural phenomena, daily affairs, the rain in spring, the intensity of summer heat, the cold of the winter season, blades of grass, the hairs on a camel, the birth and death of humans and animals, the existence of the universe and every natural occurrence; he was immersed in His love. Apart from Him, nothing else was visible.
In His name, out of love for Him and for His worship, this ardent devotee of God sacrificed his entire life. When God made a decision, that was his decision. When God was displeased, this servant of God was displeased. He was content in complete submission to his Master. The state of this love had reached such a stage that even the enemies would say, “Muhammad is immersed in the love of his God.”
Every action, every word uttered by him, every movement and every pause was for his Most Beloved. It was to the point that when death approached him and his breathing became difficult, even at that point, the words “Bil-Rafiq-il-A‘la” [with the Most Noble Companion] were being uttered by him in reverence of his Master.
When this love is part of the equation and the servant has completely absorbed himself in the love of his Master, friend and foe both proclaim that he was a fervent lover of God.
He sacrificed every fibre of his body for the love and service of his Lord. Then how can it be said about such a person that he had any attachment with this world? If he was truly a servant of God, then he cannot be considered worldly, licentious, a status seeker or wealth chaser. When true love comes into consideration, then any question on the subject holds little weight, rather it has no weight.
When such a person performs a task, he does so in obedience to the Master’s instructions and for attaining His pleasure and not for his own sake or for fulfilling his lustful desires. All pleasure, for such a person, is in attaining the nearness of the Beloved as opposed to the nearness of anyone else.
The relationship the Prophetsa had with his wives was due to God’s command and to show a perfect example to his Ummah, otherwise the true happiness for this servant of God was in acquiring the pleasure of his Lord and not in this inferior life.
Therefore, never forget this true and unique aspect of the Prophet’ssa life for allegations are raised only when this aspect is not borne in mind. Muhammadsa was devoted to his Lord. He could not find pleasure in anyone else’s company. The person who says anything contrary to this is a liar for the devotee himself says, “Qurratu ‘aini fil-Salah”, that is “The delight of my eyes is in presenting myself before my Lord in prayer.” May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
The leaders of the Quraish once called him and asked, “O Muhammad, you must cease from promoting Islam. We shall proclaim you king. We shall gather wealth for you. You may select the most beautiful of women in Arabia and we shall arrange them for you.” When this offer was presented to him, how did he respond? He completely rejected it and said, “The most beautiful woman of Arabia! If you were present women as beautiful as the sun and moon in my right and left hands, even then I shall not desist in spreading the message of God. And if I am to be slain in this way, even then I cannot cease from this task.”
I ask our opponents, even after reading this response in the Prophet’ssa own words, will you continue to make obscene assertions?
May God guide you and those of similar mindsets and may He remove the veils of prejudice from over your eyes so that you may see the true face of this light personified, which is not only pure and cleansed itself, but through its effect has purified and cleansed millions of humans. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him!