Moderation and Magnanimity:
“In the exercise of an autocratic power Muhammad was just and temperate. Nor was he wanting in moderation towards his enemies, when once they had cheerfully submitted to his claims. The long and obstinate struggle against his mission, maintained by the inhabitants of Makkah, might have induced its conqueror to mark his indignation in indelible traces of fire and blood. But Muhammad, excepting a few criminals, granted a universal pardon; and nobly casting into oblivion the memory of the past, with all its mockery, its affronts and persecution, treated even the foremost of his opponents with gracious and even friendly consideration. Not less marked was the forbearance shown to Abdallâh and the disaffected citizens of Medina, who for so many years persistently thwarted his designs and resisted his authority, nor the clemency, with which he received the submissive advances of tribes that before had been the most hostile, even in the hour of victory.”
However, as one instance of the false charge of cruelty, brought against the Prophet or his followers without foundation, I quote a statement on the subject by Mr. George Sale: - “Dr. Prideaux, speaking of Muhammad’s obliging those of Al Nadir to quit their settlements, says that a party of his men pursued those who fled into Syria, and having overtaken them, put them all to the sword, excepting only one man that escaped. “With such cruelty,” continues he, did those barbarians first set up to fight for that imposture they had been deluded into.” But a learned gentleman has already observed that this is all grounded on a mistake which the doctor was led into by an imperfection in the printed edition of Elmacians; where after mention of the expulsion of the Nadirites, are inserted some incoherent words, relating to another action which happened the month before, and wherein seventy Moslems, instead of putting others to the sword, were supervised and put to the sword themselves, together with their leader Al Mondar Ebn Omar, Caab Ebn Zeid alone escaping. [Vide Gagnier, not in Abulf. Vit Moh. P.72].”  Sir William Muir continues his remarks on the person and character of the Prophet as follows:
“In domestic life, the conduct of Muhammad was exemplary. As husband his fondness and devotion were entire. As a father he was loving and tender. In his youth, he lived a virtuous life; and at the age of twenty-five he married a widow, forty years old, during whose lifetime, for five and twenty years, he was a faithful husband to her alone. Yet it is remarkable that during this period were composed most of those passages of the Qu’ran, in which the black eyed “Houries” reserved for Believes in Paradise, are depicted in such glowing colours.”
Sir William Muir, following the example of other Christian writers, has attributed the Prophet’s polygamy to ‘unchecked range of his uxorious inclinations’ and when viewing the social and domestic life of Muhammad, ‘fairly and impartially’, he saw it to be chequered by light and shade; and that, ‘while there is much to form the subject of nearly ‘unqualified’ praise, there is likewise much cannot be spoken of but in terms of reprobation.’
Sir William Muir himself, as quoted above, states that in his youth the Prophet lived a virtuous life; and at the age of twenty five married a widow, forty years old, during whose life time, for five and twenty years, he was a faithful husband to her alone. It is obviously absurd, to think that a man whose character was such, could have any ‘range of uxorious inclinations’.
Sir William Muir asserts, that it was not until the mature age of fifty-four, that the Prophet made the ‘Trials of Polygamy’. It is obviously a contradiction, unworthy of a fair and impartial critic, to think for a moment that at such an advanced age, a man who had ‘lived in his youth a virtuous life’, and who, at the age of twenty five, married a widow, forty years old, during whose life time, for five and twenty years, he was a faithful husband to her alone,’ should have sexual inclinations. To any really impartial biographer and also to any thoughtful reader, this is quite impossible.
But the marriages of the Prophet have furnished his critics with their chief weapons of attack, and the interested missionary has gone so far as to call him a voluptuary, although some of his own revered spiritual leaders and Prophets were chronicled to possess even as many as a few hundred wives.  For this reason I give here a few particulars regarding the Prophet’s marriages.
His first marriage was contracted when he was twenty five years of age, and the widow, Khadija whom he married was forty years old, that is fifteen years his senior. It was with her alone, that he passed all the years of his youth and manhood, until she died three years before the Hijra or emigration to Medina, when he was already an old man of fifty. This circumstance alone is sufficient to give the lie to those who would belittle him and call him a voluptuary. After her death, while still at Makkah, he married Sauda and Ayesha, the latter of whom was his only virgin wife, and she was the daughter of his intimate and illustrious friend and helper Abu Bakr. Then followed the emigration to Medina, and subsequent to be emigration, he had to fight many battles with his enemies, the Quraish, or such sided with the Quraish and persecuted the Muslims. The result of these battles, was a great discrepancy between the number of males and females, and his favourite followers fell in the field of battle, fighting his enemies, the care of their families devolved upon the Prophet and his surviving companions. In the battle of Badr fell Khunais, son of Huaifa, and the faithful Omar’s daughter Hafsa was left a widow. Omar offered her to Othman and Abu Bakr in turn, and she at last was married to the Prophet in the third year of the Hijra.
Obaida, son of Harith, fell a martyr at Badr, and his widow Zainab, daughter of Khuzaima, was taken in marriage by the Prophet in the same year. In the next year, Abu Salma died, and his widow Um-i-Salma was taken to wife by the Prophet. As Christian criticism lays too much stress upon the Prophet’s marriage with Zainab daughter of Jahsh, a full explanation of the events in connection with this marriage is necessary: Zainab was the daughter of the Prophet’s own aunt; she was one of the early converts to Islam, and the Prophet proposed to her brother that she should be given in marriage to Zaid, his adopted son and freedman. Both brother and sister were averse to this match, and only yielded under pressure from the Prophet. It is related, that they both desired that the Prophet himself should marry Zainab  but the Prophet insisted that she should accept Zaid.
The marriage was, however, not a happy one. Zainab was harsh of temper, and she never liked Zaid, on account of the stigma of slavery which attached to his name. Differences arose, and Zaid expressed a desire to the Prophet of divorcing Zainab. The news was grievous to the Prophet, for it was he who had insisted upon the marriage, and he therefore advised Zaid not to divorce her. He feared that people would object that a marriage which had been arranged by the Prophet was unsuccessful. It is to this circumstance, that the verse in Qu’ran refers; “And, you feared men, and God had a greater right that you should fear Him.” [33:37]. Let us now revert to Sir William Muir’s views of the character of the Prophet.
Conviction of Special Providence:
“Proceeding now to consider the religious and prophetical character of Muhammad, the first point which strikes the biographer is his constant and vivid sense of a special and all pervading Providence. This conviction moulded his thoughts and designs, from the minutest actions in private and social life to the grand conception, that he was destined to be the reformer of his people and of all Arabia. He never entered a company but he sat down and rose up with the mention of the Lord. When the first fruits of the season were brought to him, he would kiss them, place them upon his eyes and say: “Lord as You have shown us the first, show unto us likewise the last.”
In trouble and affliction, as well as in prosperity and joy, he ever saw and humbly acknowledged the hand of God. A fixed persuasion that ever incident, small and great, is ordained by the divine will, led to the strong expressions of predestination which abound in the Qu’ran. It is the Lord Who turns the hearts of mankind; and alike faith in the believer, and unbelief in the infidel, is the result of the divine fate. The hour and place of everyman’s death, as all other events in his life, are established by the same decree; and the timid believer might in vain seek to avert the stroke by shunning the field of battle. But this persuasion was far removed from the belief in a blind and inexorable fate; for Muhammad held the progress of events in the divine hand to be amenable to the influence of prayer. He was not slow to attribute the conversion of a scoffer, like Omar, or the removal of an impending misfortune [as the deliverance of Medina from the Confederate hosts], to the effect f his own earnest petitions to the Lord.”
 Vide Sir William Muir’s “The Life of Mohammad”
 Prideaux, Life of Mah. P. 82.
 G. Sale, Trans of Al Qu’ran P. 405, Fred. Warne & Co.
 David had six wives and numerous concubines, [2 Sam. v. 13. 1 Chron, iii 1-9; xiv 3] Solomon had as many as 700 wives and as many as 300 concubines, [Kings xi: 3] Rehoboams had 18 wives and sixty concubines [2 Chron, xi 21].
 Al Razi; Abul Fida; Ibn Athir etc.
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