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Muhammad's Sexual Stamina

   Sahih Bukhari

Narrated Qatada: Anas bin Malik said, "The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number." I asked Anas, "Had the Prophet the strength for it?" Anas replied, "We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men)." And Sa'id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven). Volume 1, Book 5, Number 268.

Narrated Muhammad bin Al-Muntathir: on the authority of his father that he had asked 'Aisha about the saying of Ibn 'Umar (i.e. he did not like to be a Muhrim while the smell of scent was still coming from his body). 'Aisha said, "I scented Allah's Apostle and he went round (had sexual intercourse with) all his wives, and in the morning he was Muhrim (after taking a bath)." Volume 1, Book 5, Number 270.

A Muslim's comments.

This is an accusation against the Prophet of Allah who spent his life in struggle, worship and in instructing and teaching his Umma. What do these ignorant ones think when they narrate such disgraces? It is as if their minds are corrupted by their animalistic lusts. They used to take pride with their mates of their over indulgence in sex and strength of intercourse when, in reality, these are narrations falsified to demean the sanctity of the Prophet.

The Muslim's comments above reflect the sentiment of a human conscience which affords us a natural sense of right and wrong. This natural sense of right and wrong has been divinely implanted into human nature by Allah. All human beings are born with this sense. It is inescapable. Some Muslim scholars who write on human psychology affirm that human beings have an intellect ('aql), free-will (irâdah) and fitrah by birth. These are an internal source of truth, whereas prophets and divine revelation are external sources of truth.  In an article entitled, The Definition of Fitrah, Yasien Mohamed wrote the following on Fitrah and Human Responsibility

Man is distinguished from the rest of the creation because he has been endowed with intellect (‘aql) and free-will (irâdah). The intellect enables him to discern right from wrong. He can use these faculties to complement his fitrah and to please Allâh or to be untrue to it and displease Allâh. The choice is his. The prophets and Divine revelation are external sources of guidance to guide the intellect and will of man.

Holy Scripture calls the human sense of right and wrong, the law written on the heart.  This law written on the heart is an internal moral law that every human being possess. Just as every human person has an intellect ('aql) and free-will (irâdah), so every person is born with this moral sense of good and evil.  The human intellect, free-will, and moral sense do not depend upon the office of a prophet, because a person is naturally born with all of these human powers.

since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) Rom 2:15 (NIV)

فَهُمْ يُظْهِرُونَ جَوْهَرَ الشَّرِيعَةِ مَكْتُوباً فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ، وَيَشْهَدُ لِ ذلِكَ ضَمِيرُهُمْ وَأَفْكَارُهُمْ فِي دَاخِلِهِمْ، إِذْ تَتَّهِمُهُمْ تَارَةً، وَتَارَةً تُبْرِئُهُمْ. ٢ :١٥

The above-mentioned Muslim makes a moral evaluation of this hadith's report of Muhammad's sexual behavior and finds it morally repugnant. This is the natural reaction of the moral conscience that Allah has imparted into human nature. And, as human beings, we should never violate our Allah-given sense of right and wrong.  So, rather than coming to the logical conclusion that Muhammad had behaved with unbridled lust, this Muslim decided to reject the historical record of this hadith.  He is willing to discard the historical Muhammad to maintain an idealized, but fictional, Muhammad.  

A more typical Muslim's response is to justify Muhammad's sexual behavior.  This is seen in the following paragraph where a Muslim writes that the hadith is no more than a husband satisfying his wife.  

What the narrator implied is nothing more than his own opinion. The prophet used to visit all his wives to check on them, which is part of his duty. The addition is only the opinion of the narrator who might have thought highly of a husband who would satisfy all his wives.

First of all, the narrator was not merely narrating an opinion.  The narrator was narrating the actual sexual history of Muhammad who would perfume himself and then have sex with all of his wives in one night without washing between his sexual acts with his many wives. The hadith notes that some of Muhammad's contemporaries praised his sexual stamina. So, we need to ask ourselves if Muhammad's behavior exemplified high moral character, demonstrating to all the world that he is the Light of Allah? Are Muhammad's deeds the timeless expression of the Will of Allah?  This seems questionable, since polygamy is contrary to human Fitrah. In the beginning of creation, Allah created Adam (one man) and Eve (one woman) to be the prototypical marriage for all the rest of humanity.  If Allah had chosen to create humanity polygamous, he would have created Adam (one man) and several women to be Adam's wives. This was not the case.  As humanity became distant from the law of Allah, polygamy became more prevalent with its attendant evils. Polygamy is a violation against the original fitrah given to human nature by Allah as well as the moral order of the universe.  Thus, this hadith is evidence that Muhammad chose to violate Allah's moral law, and he became a morally depraved example for all who follow his example.

Isa noted that, in the beginning, it was one man with his one wife (not wives).  It was the two (husband and wife) who would be the one flesh (one biological unit).  It wasn't the man and the nine or eleven wives who would be the one flesh. 

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Matthew 19:4-6 (NIV)

فَأَجَابَهُمْ قَائِلاً: «أَلَمْ تَقْرَأُوا أَنَّ الْخَالِقَ جَعَلَ الإِنْسَانَ مُنْذُ الْبَدْءِ ذَكَراً وَأُنْثَى، ١٩ :٤
وَقَالَ: لِذَلِكَ يَتْرُكُ الرَّجُلُ أَبَاهُ وَأُمَّهُ وَيَتَّحِدُ بِزَوْجَتِهِ، فَيَصِيرُ الاثْنَانِ جَسَداً وَاحِداً؟ ١٩ :٥
فَلَيْسَا فِي مَا بَعْدُ اثْنَيْنِ، بَلْ جَسَدٌ وَاحِدٌ. فَلاَ يُفَرِّقَنَّ الإِنْسَانُ مَا قَدْ قَرَنَهُ اللهُ!» ١٩ :٦

The Apostle Paul wrote that spiritual leadership in the Church was restricted to husbands who have only one wife.  In addition, the Old Testament prophets warned against increasing the number of wives, even though their warnings were not always heeded.

Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 1 Timothy 3:2 (NIV)

إِذَنْ، يَجِبُ أَنْ يَكُونَ الرَّاعِي بِلاَ عَيْبٍ، زَوْجاً لامْرَأَةٍ وَاحِدَةٍ، نَبِيهاً عَاقِلاً مُهَذَّباً مِضْيَافاً، قَادِراً عَلَى التَّعْلِيمِ؛ ٣ :٢

During the time of Muhammad, there was gossip among the pagans about the number of his wives.  This gossip would be natural, since Muhammad's behavior was contrary to Allah's moral order and human fitrah.  Even by ancient Arabian standards, the pagans were shocked by Muhammad's moral behavior. As often happened, Muhammad would claim that Allah revealed a new Surah to approve of what he had already decided to do.  The Surahs would seem to come at  just the right time.  This case was no different.  Muhammad recited that Allah wanted him to ignore the pagans' noxious talk and to be privileged with as many wives as would make him happy. Was this really the divine will of Allah?  Does Allah change?  Or, were these ayat more a hiss of Shaitan or a voice from hell, encouraging Muhammad to violate the immutable will of Allah, the Lord of Creation?  Does Allah smile and encourage morally depraved behavior for those who are his true prophets?

And incline not to the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Disregard their noxious talk, and put thy trust in Allah. Allah is sufficient as Trustee. 

O ye who believe! If ye wed believing women and divorce them before ye have touched them, then there is no period that ye should reckon. But content them and release them handsomely. 

O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. 

Thou canst defer whom thou wilt of them and receive unto thee whom thou wilt, and whomsoever thou desirest of those whom thou hast set aside (temporarily), it is no sin for thee (to receive her again); that is better; that they may be comforted and not grieve, and may all be pleased with what thou givest them. Allah knoweth what is in your hearts (O men), and Allah is ever Forgiving, Clement.  Surah AL-AHZAB 33:48-51.

وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَدَعْ أَذَاهُمْ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا ٣٣ :٤٨
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَمَسُّوهُنَّ فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ وَسَرِّحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيلًا ٣٣ :٤٩
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَاجَكَ اللَّاتِي آتَيْتَ أُجُورَهُنَّ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ مِمَّا أَفَاء اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمِّكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمَّاتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالَاتِكَ اللَّاتِي هَاجَرْنَ مَعَكَ وَامْرَأَةً مُّؤْمِنَةً إِن وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِيِّ إِنْ أَرَادَ النَّبِيُّ أَن يَسْتَنكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَّكَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا فَرَضْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِي أَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ لِكَيْلَا يَكُونَ عَلَيْكَ حَرَجٌ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا ٣٣ :٥٠
تُرْجِي مَن تَشَاء مِنْهُنَّ وَتُؤْوِي إِلَيْكَ مَن تَشَاء وَمَنِ ابْتَغَيْتَ مِمَّنْ عَزَلْتَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكَ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَن تَقَرَّ أَعْيُنُهُنَّ وَلَا يَحْزَنَّ وَيَرْضَيْنَ بِمَا آتَيْتَهُنَّ كُلُّهُنَّ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَلِيمًا ٣٣ :٥١

Please notice the words of the Apostle Paul in contrast to the words of the Qur'an.  In Second Corinthians, it is written that "we commend ourselves to every man's conscience."  Allah requires that we conduct our moral lives in a manner that commends itself to every man's conscience.  And, the phrase, every man, includes atheists, pagans, Gentiles, agnostics, etc.  It is not permissible for human beings to ignore our neighbor's conscience, no matter who they are.  By contrast, the voice that spoke to Muhammad said, in essence, "Ignore the moral conscience of other men and do what is sensually pleasurable to you. Since you are superior to the moral law of Allah, you may disregard human reason and ethical morals."

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)

وَلَكِنَّنَا قَدْ رَفَضْنَا الأَسَالِيبَ الْخَفِيَّةَ الْمُخْجِلَةَ، إِذْ لاَ نَسْلُكُ فِي الْمَكْرِ، وَلاَ نُزَوِّرُ كَلِمَةَ اللهِ، بَلْ بِإِعْلاَنِنَا لِلْحَقِّ نَمْدَحُ أَنْفُسَنَا لَدَى ضَمِيرِ كُلِّ إِنْسَانٍ، أَمَامَ اللهِ&#. ٤ :٢

Last edited 10/25/2000
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