SHAFAQNA-Ali’s regard for Fatema was the same as was the regard of the Holy Prophet for Lady Khadija. Until the life of Lady Khadija, the Holy Prophet did not accept the hand of any other woman and likewise until the life of Fatema, Ali did not marry any other woman.
The critics of Islam, in their ignorance of the truth, betray their prejudice in their venture to criticise saying that the Holy Prophet was extremely polygamous. Such prejudiced critics should know that when the Holy Prophet was in the bloom of his youth, he was not only contented but was the happiest husband of a lady in the decline of her age and the death of the lady who was older than himself, he observed the whole of the year following the death, as Aamul-Huzn, i.e., the Year of Grief. It is an elementary truth of human life that if a man be lusty in his sensual desires, particularly matrimonial, he would be such in his youth. When the Holy Prophet was in the fullness of his youth and when he had an aged wife, and if he had only desired to have a young lady, there was already the offer from the people of Mecca to give the fairest woman of his own choice, if he only spares his condemning idolatry, but he bluntly refused. The fact is that the attachment of the Holy Prophet to Lady Khadija was so much that none dared to offer his daughter and no woman had the courage of even thinking of offering herself. It was only at the departure of Lady Khadija that Abu Bakr could offer his daughter Ayesha who was of about nine years. History is there to vouch that when Ayesha was offered to him, at Mecca, the Holy Prophet refused and it was only in Madina after the migration that the Holy Prophet could not reject the offer of Abu Bakr any longer, just to please the companion that the offer was accepted, otherwise he would not have asked for the hand of a girl of only nine, when he had already crossed the fiftieth year of his age and when there were only a few years before his departure from this world. And the alliance of Hafsa with the Holy Prophet, was only to please his other companion Omar. Similarly, came one after another, ladies, some of them far advanced in age imploring the Holy Prophet to give them the honour, privilege and the pride to be the wives of the Apostle of God. As the Mercy unto the Worlds which he was, the Holy Prophet could not deny the grace asked for, from him.
To know how happy and harmonious was the life of the Holy Prophet with -his aged wife Khadija let us hear what Carlyle reports about it:- “This young brilliant Ayesha was, one day, questioning him: “Now am not I better than Khadija? She was a widow; old, and had lost her looks: you love me better than you did her ?”- “No by Allah!” answered Mahomet: “No, by Allah I She believed in me when none else would believe. In the whole world I had but one friend, and she was that! – Seid, his Slave, also believed in him; these with his young Cousin Ali, Abu Taleb’s son, were his first converts”. Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus.
It is unimaginable that one who did not think of any other woman besides his wife, when he was a full-grown youth, to have ever thought of any woman, in the age of about 55 years. The truth is that none of the ladies besides Lady Khadija, did the Holy Prophet desire to marry. They were either offered by their parents or the ladies themselves volunteered with prayers to accept them. The Holy Prophet, the Mercy unto the Worlds, could say no to none.
It was perhaps a providential plan to prove to man the weakness in women that even the Apostle of God who never talked or acted but by the revealed will of the Lord, having mercifully accepted the ladies in matrimony, could not escape the miseries that these ladies inflicted on him which went to the extent that for about a full month or even more, he discarded all of them and the suspension of his connection with the ladies was so long, that people even suspected him to have divorced the ladies and it was at the revelation of verse (66:I) that he resumed his connections with them. See the interpretation of this in any commentary of the Holy Qur’an by any commentator of any school of thought, be he a Muslim or a non-Muslim.
This was definitely to show to man that when even an apostle of God who is the most balanced head and the divinely conditioned personality, inspite of maintaining full justice among them, could not escape the torment of the envy of the women against each other, how can an ordinary man manage with more than one wife at a time. Even the sanction of having four wives at a time is only a sanction under emergencies and exigencies and not an order. The closing clause of the verse (4:3) clearly says that if equity could not be maintained then, man should take only one wife and the verse further clearly asserts that man will never be able to maintain equity among the women, which means that he can take only one at a time. If any one misinterprets the law to suit his own fancy, law can never be responsible nor the Law-giver.
It must also be remembered that it was not Islam that started Polygamy in the world. Most of the ancient prophets and even the great sages in India who are worshipped as gods or the incarnations of gods, were polygamous. On the other hand, Islam is the first of all the religious orders of the world, which controlled and regulated the matrimonial life of man and woman, protecting the rights of woman and restricted the unbridled and unlimited polygamy in such a logical and realistic way that it made man either naturally monogamous or got the lust in man for sexual enjoyment, fully harnessed, loaded with heavy responsibilities to his wives, safeguarding the rights of woman. The responsibilities or the restrictions imposed on polygamy are such that the Holy Qur’an clearly warns man saying it will be impossible for him to bear them. What Islam has done for woman, no other religion in the world had even thought of.
Source – Husain The Saviour of Islam, by S.V. Mir Ahmad Ali.