the prophet (saas)'s wives are the mothers of all believers, models for all muslim women, possessed of true godliness. there is a considerable amount of information about the behavior and faith of the prophet (saas)'s wives, the way they cared for him, their own wisdom and their excellent morality, to be found in the qur'an, the hadiths, and accounts about the life of the prophet (saas).
one of the facts about the prophet (saas)'s wives in the qur'an is that they are the mothers of all the believers:
the prophet (saas) has closer ties to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers... (surat al-ahzab: 6)
in another verse, allah forbids the believers to marry his wives after he has passed on:
… it is not right for you to cause annoyance to the messenger of allah or ever to marry his wives after him. to do that would be a dreadful thing in allah's sight. (surat al-ahzab: 53)
other verses of the qur'an reveal that the wives of the prophet (saas) are not like other women, and describe how they ought to behave. the description reads:
wives of the prophet! you are not like other women provided you heed allah. do not be too soft-spoken in your speech lest someone with sickness in his heart becomes desirous. speak correct and courteous words. remain in your houses and do not display your beauty as it was previously displayed in the time of ignorance. establish prayer [salat] and pay welfare tax [zakat] and obey allah and his messenger. allah desires to remove all impurity from you, people of the house, and to purify you completely. and remember the signs of allah and the wise words which are recited in your rooms. allah is all-pervading, all-aware.(surat al-ahzab: 32-33)
the behavior of the godly wives of the prophet (saas), as revealed in these verses, in other words, their goodwill, intelligence and conscientiousness, their dignified behavior, their modesty, the care they took over their religious observances, and their obedience of the prophet (saas), and their knowledge of the qur'an and the sayings of the prophet (saas), should set an example for all muslim women.
allah has revealed in the qur'an that the wives of the prophet (saas) will be doubly rewarded:
wives of the prophet! if any of you commits an obvious act of indecency she will receive double the punishment. that is an easy matter for allah. but those of you who are obedient to allah and his messenger and act rightly will be given their reward twice over; and we have prepared generous provision for them. (surat al-ahzab: 30-31)
nor does he speak from whim. it is nothing but revelation revealed.
(surat an-najm: 3-4)
muhammad is the messenger of allah, and those who are with him are fierce to the disbelievers, merciful to one another…(surat al-fath: 29)
the first of the wives of the prophet (saas) was khadija (ra). she was also one of the very first muslims. when the prophet (saas) received his first revelation he immediately told her of it. khadija (ra) is known for her intelligence, perceptiveness, foresight and wisdom, and she immediately believed, offering the prophet (saas) enormous support in the days that followed and expending great physical and spiritual effort to help spread the morality of the qur'an.
other wives of the prophet (saas), such as sauda, aisha, hafsah, umm habiba, umm salama, safia, moyomuna, zainab bint jahsh, juwairya (ra) are also mentioned for their self-sacrifice, patience, and loyalty to the prophet (saas), and were also excellent role models for the faithful.
the prophet (saas) displayed great interest in his wives as well as children, and was a means whereby their faith, health, happiness and knowledge were all increased. it is reported that the prophet (saas) would play with his wives and run races with them. his companions described the prophet (saas)'s great interest in his wives in the words, " the prophet (saas) used to joke with his wives..."202
according to aisha (ra), "i have never seen a man who was more compassionate to his family members than muhammad (saas)."203
another characteristic the prophet (saas) is known to have possessed is his great justice towards his wives. it is reported that he divided his visits between them equally.
anas bin malik (ra) says:
"allah's apostle (saas) had nine wives. so when he divided (his stay) with them, the turn of the first wife only came on the ninth (day). they (all the wives) used to gather every night in the house of the one where he had to come (and stay that night)."204
many of the words of the prophet (saas) make it clear just how valuable devout women are. for instance, one of his sayings was as follows: "the whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman."205
the prophet (saas) also told his companions how they should treat their own wives:
"the most perfect believer in faith is one who is the best of them in good conduct. the best of you is one who treats best with his wife among you."206
"the best of you, is the one who is best to his wives, and i am the best of you toward my wives."207
this is news of the unseen which we reveal to you. you were not with them when they decided what to do and devised their scheme.
(surah yusuf: 102)