Feminine Intuition and Divine Light
To speak of the Prophet of Islam and his relation to femininity is in truth to speak of the prophetic nature and of his own femininity. This should also allow us to understand how all women can effectively recognize themselves, in all simplicity, through the Prophet and find fulfillment there.
“ O you, the Prophet! We have declared lawful for you: the wives to whom you have given their dowry, the captives whom God has destined for you, the daughters of your paternal uncle, the daughters of your maternal uncle, the daughters of your maternal aunts – those who had emigrated with you – as well as any believing woman who would have given herself to the Prophet provided that the Prophet had wanted to marry her. This is a privilege granted to you, to the exclusion of other believers. » (Koran XXXIII, 50).
If God made lawful to the Prophet “any believing woman who would have given herself to him provided that he wanted to marry her”, it is because these believing women intuitively understand the prophetic luminous reality, and therefore, spontaneously consider giving themselves to him, if he accepts, before any other believing man. God, here, therefore only authorizes the Prophet to accede to the legitimate desire of these believing women who seek in the union of a “divine” marriage the supreme realization.
Ibn al ‘Arabi tells us about this: “Now, as the divine reality cannot be approached directly in relation to the Essence, and as there is no attested contemplation except in a substance, the contemplation of God in women is the most intense and the most perfect; and the most intense union (in the sensible order which serves as a support for this contemplation) is the conjugal act”.
In fact, there is “conaturality” between the Prophet of Islam and women as regards the divine Light. Indeed, the Prophet was created from this Light and women are its privileged support in this world, especially when they become mothers and when a soul relies on one of them, as evidenced by the hadith : “Paradise is under the feet of mothers”.
The first explicit manifestation of the privileged link between femininity and the inner and outer full reality of the Messenger of God is related as follows: The scene takes place on the wedding day of the future father of the Prophet, ‘Abd Allah, with his future mother, Amina. On this blessed day, ‘Abd Allah passes by Qutaylah, sister of the believer Waraqah – recognized by all as a hanif 1 –, in order to go to Amina’s father. Qutayla then sees, emanating from ‘Abd Allah’s face, a light from another world.
Troubled in the depths of herself and convinced of having perceived the very announcement of the long-awaited Prophet, she proposes, in all intuitive spontaneity, to give herself to him by marriage, so that the father of the future Prophet deposits in her this Light, which she is the only one to have seen directly. But God had not decided so and Amina became the mother of the future Prophet while ‘Abd Allah died even before his birth.
The most remarkable thing is to note that this prophetic “light” is always perceived and gathered by a woman, before the men; whether it was for Qutaylah, Amina who knew she was the bearer of this light, or Khadija, the Prophet’s first wife, who saw the “light” emanating from him. This truth is also perpetuated through the believers mentioned in the Koran.
Marriages and concubinages
In order to bring the status of the Prophet of Islam into external conformity with the divine Law (Sharia), stated for all believers, namely: “Marry, as you please, two, three or four women. But if you are afraid of not being fair, take only one wife” (Koran IV, 3), the Prophet is commanded to: “You are no longer allowed to change wives or take other wives, except your slaves, even if you are charmed by the beauty of some of them. God sees everything perfectly.” (Koran XXXIII, 52).
These verses are to be compared to the one where it is said without ambiguity, against the mores of the time and against the recurring behavior of men which is established according to the law of the strongest: “You can’t be perfectly fair to each of your wives, even if you want to.” (Koran IV, 129). This is a strong indication in favor of monogamism.
And that is to say that men must control their desire rather than persist in wanting to control another being – here the woman – object of their desire, which socially they wanted to establish and institute against all truth.
“If you want to substitute one wife for another, and if you have given a quintar of gold to one of the two, do not take anything back (…) and besides, how would you take it back, in truth, when you were bound to one another and your wives benefited from a solemn covenant contracted with you”(Koran IV, 20-21). These verses insist on the essential, definitive and irreversible character of any union, however brief, between a man and a woman; and thereby, beyond the vicissitudes of life, insists on the monogamous ideal of a single true union, of which earthly attempts are like successive facets or approaches.
Regarding the prophetic example itself, he had only four surviving children (Zainab, Ruqayya, Umm Kaltoum and Fatima) whom he had with his first wife, Khadija, in a monogamous marriage, based on personal affinity, and which lasted until her death. Subsequently, ten other marriages and two concubinages were concluded with the Prophet.
These unions did not obey Muhammad’s passionate desires, but responded to necessities imposed by circumstances: help in raising children and keeping the home, extension of spiritual companionship, generosity granted to the widows of his companions who died as martyrs, prior to changing mores or political alliances favorable to the expansion of religion (see box).“The Prophet is closer to the believers than they are to each other, his wives are their mothers” (Koran XXXIII, 6). Each of these wives, “mothers of believers”, were loved for themselves. ‘Ali specified that the Prophet, of whom he was the son-in-law, never struck with his blessed hand one of his wives, nor even one of his slaves who were all freed.
Illiterate and maternal
According to Tradition, the Prophet of Islam offered a set of very diverse and varied character traits, always arranged harmoniously and without excess; like a diamond with these different facets, always transmitting the same unique and unifying light, at the same time soft, soothing and exhilarating for those who received it in contact with it. He is a brilliant luminary (Coran XXXIII, 46), he transforms and leads believers from darkness to light (Coran II, 257). He is the “hinge” between men and Heaven. Thus, if he knew how to show himself fully “virile” in combat or in his “harem”, he was always accessible, considerate, attentive and welcoming as a mother can be towards her children (Koran XXIV, 62).
In this regard, the Prophet is said to ummi “, which can be translated as: who can neither read nor write, ignorant, or in another sense, maternal. He is thus able to receive and welcome perfectly, without mental or affective interference, the Revelation of God descended on his Heart (Koran II, 97). He is “Mother” in the order of divine Manifestation and man in the order of Creation, while women are mothers in the order of Creation alone. Everything in truth was formed and is formed in the order of Creation from him, from his light. He is therefore the “matrix” of our return to God (Coran XXXVI, 22 & 83), as, in the earthly order, is the mother for her children who always come back to her.
Thus, according to ‘A’isha, the character of the Prophet was like the Qur’an, and by nature he was like the Guarded Table (Qur’an LXXXV, 22) where rests the Mother of the Book (Qur’an III, 7; XLIII, 2-4), or Archetype of the Sacred Books, one might say. “Who has seen me, has seen the Truth” : the Prophet of Islam is in truth the Sublime Door which leads to the Great Mysteries.
The Prophet’s wivesby Magali Moroy, ed. Mercury of France
Women in Islamby W. Walter, ed. Sindbad
Sufi women and the passion of Godby N. and L. Amri, ed. Dangles
1 hanif : attached to the spiritual path going back directly to Abraham.