Sheikh Nâsir al-Mâjid, professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh
The number of women with whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) had actually consummated his marriage was eleven, and when he died he had only nine wives, whom we call the Mothers of Believers. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was never married to more than nine women at one time.
As for why it was permissible for the Prophet (peace be upon him) to have nine wives at one time, we must mention that this is one of many rulings that applied to him alone. Among these rulings were the following:
· A woman could offer herself to him in marriage without dowry.
· He could marry a woman without the presence of her guardian.
· He was not allowed to receive charity.
· He was not allowed to leave an inheritance to anyone.
· He was obligated to pray the night prayer.
· He could fast consecutive days without breaking his fasts at night.
Likewise, his marriage with this number of women is something specially granted to him.
The wisdom behind his having these special rulings is consideration for his status as a prophet. Prophets have unique responsibilities not shared by anyone else, so they consequently have legal rulings that are specific to them.
Being distinguished in such a way is a mark of nobility and honor. In fact, our Prophet (peace be upon him) had many distinctions not shared by other prophets.
Allah, in this way, blessed the Islamic nation with the Mothers of the Believers. They were a great source of knowledge to the Muslims and taught the Muslims a number of aspects of their faith that no one outside the household would ever have been able to know. In this way, they preserved an important part of our religion. That is why the Companions used to come to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) wives to ask them on matters about which they differed regarding his private life.
The wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in chronological order are:
1. Khadîjah bint Khuwaylid
2. Sawdah bint Zam`ah
3. `A’ishah bint Abî Bakr
4. Hafsah bint `Umar b. al-Khattâb. It is related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) divorced Hafsah then took her back. [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (2283), Sunan al-Nasâ’î (3560), Sunan Ibn Mâjah (2016)]
5. Zaynab bint Khuzaymah. She passed away two months after he married her.
6. Umm Salamah Hind bint Abî Umayyah. She lived the longest time after his death.
7. Zaynab bint Jahsh. She was his cousin.
8. Juwayriyyah bint al-Hârith
9. Umm Habîbah Ramlah bint Abî Sufyân
10. Safiyyah bint Hayyî
11. Maymûnah bint al-Hârith
Ibn al-Qayyim writes in Zâd al-Ma`âd:
These are the well-known wives with whom he consummated the marriage. There were about four or five other women to whom he either proposed or who offered themselves to him in marriage but he did not marry. There was al-Jawniyyah to whom he proposed to marry, but who sought refuge with Allah from him, so he did not marry her. Likewise there was al-Kalbiyyah. Then there was the woman on whose hip he saw a sign of leprosy so he returned her without consummating the marriage. Then there was the woman who offered herself to him in marriage, but he married her to someone else.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today