This is in response to my friend's mail - http://debatebasedonscriptures.blogspot.in/2012/01/mail-18-part-2.html
I Wrote -
There had been a bunch of good lessons for this world in all the marriages of prophet Mohammad. Among many other things, he exemplified before this world, how to rehabilitate a widowed woman and her children. His wives played a vital role in taking forward the prophetic mission to the next generation who in turn carried the message to the rest of the world. The wives of prophet Mohammad became role models for the women community of all times and most of them became scholars of their times.
Here comes yet another marriage in dealing with the centuries old culture on Adopted Children. Prophet Mohammad had an adopted son named Zayd who was a slave freed by the prophet himself. Hence he was known as Zayd son of Mohammad. It was prophet Mohammad who arranged his marriage with a lady from within his own family. Her name was Zaynab daughter of Jahsh.
One key aspect of this marriage was that the male candidate Zayd was a freed slave and the female candidate Zaynab was from a rich and noble tribe. In the time of prophet Mohammed, freed slaves were treated as inferior second-class people, as it had been for centuries. The marriage didn't last for long.
"The marriage, however, was not a success. Although both Zaynab and Zayd were the best of people, who loved Allah and His Messenger, they were very different and in the end they could not overcome their incompatibility. Zayd asked the Prophet's permission to divorce Zaynab more than once, and although he was counselled to hold onto his wife and to fear Almighty God" - Ibn Kathir.
The social status of these two people created cracks in their marriage relation and it lasted only for one year.
The Seventh Marriage
The adopted son Zayd divorced his wife who was a cousin of the prophet. Here comes the crucial decision of marrying this divorced lady by prophet Mohammed himself. This marriage of prophet Mohammad was nothing but a demonstration of Islamic morals on the treatment of adopted children.
The society during the time of prophet Mohammad treated their adopted son just like how they treated their natural son, in every aspect of their life. In general it is a very good practice and that is exactly what prophet Mohammad was doing.
But when it comes on the moral side, there is a big difference in treating an adopted son, just like a natural son. In a single sentence, the Islamic morality says that -
• What kind of moral distance is kept before the adoption of a male/female, should be kept even after the adoption.
It was for the materialization of this moral principle that prophet Mohammad married the divorced wife of his adopted son. A messenger who came to deliver the message of Almighty God by words and actions had to took the pain of marrying the divorced wife of his adopted son.
The Morale Behind The Morality
The morale is very high for this particular marriage of prophet Mohammad with the divorced wife of his adopted son. The 6th century adoption culture that didn't keep the moral distance, was in sharp contrast with the Morality Principles that Islam portrayed before this world.
Islam has unambiguously defined the moral spectrum that should be maintained between men & women and for that, it brought forth the principal concept of 'Mahram'.
• The word 'Mahram' denotes the person with whom a man/woman cannot marry.
The word 'Mahram" denotes an unmarriageable person (male/female). For a male it is forbidden to marry his mother, his sisters, his daughters, his brother's daughters, his sister's daughters etc.
In order to maintain the Moral Integrity of the society, it has defined set of rules with respect to the concept of 'Mahram'. It clearly defines the Moral Distance that should be kept by a woman when dealing with a person whom she can marry. The moral distance should be kept in all the corners of life. For instance -
"She should address marriageable men in a manner in which there is no softness, i.e. a woman should not address a marriageable man in the same way that she addresses her husband." - Ibn Kathir.
The Moral Spectrum
It is a spectrum of people with whom a woman can interact as if she is at home. The following verse gives a glimpse on the extend of spiral of this moral spectrum.
"And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment except that which is apparent, and to draw their veils all over their Juyub (chests and ribs) and not to reveal their adornment except to
• their husbands, or
• their fathers, or
• their husband's fathers, or
• their sons, or
• their husband's sons, or
• their brothers or
• their brother's sons, or
• their sister's sons, or
• their women, or
• their right hand possessions, or
• the servants and the like among men who do not have desire, or
• children who are not aware of the nakedness of women." - Quran 24:31
The above verse explains the classes of people before whom a woman can interact in her homely appearance. Notably, an adopted son doesn't fall into this moral spectrum. Islam sees any person who is outside this spectrum as a stranger in the exact sense that the moral distance should be kept when dealing with such people.
Inducting an adopted person (male/female) into this spectrum is a morality leak. In order to resolve this moral defect, Islam declared that the adopted son should be treated equally as that of a natural son except that he/she is out of this moral spectrum and hence the moral distance should be kept.
This marriage of prophet Mohammad undoubtedly established the completeness of the moral spectrum.
will be continued ...