As well as his divine role as a prophet, one thing we love to share about the Prophet ﷺ is that he lived a regular human life. Some of his roles included that of relative, father and husband. As others around him did at the time, and as we continue to do today, he embraced these additional roles and fulfilled the relevant responsibilities. Obviously, however, the way he carried out these very human roles was exemplary. The way he conducted himself as a husband is one such example. He set a beautiful example as a husband through his actions, as well as through his teachings. He taught us both what to do and what not to do.


His first marriage was to Khadijah, after she proposed to him at the age of 40. At the time, the Prophet ﷺ was a poor young man, aged 25. Just as he did not care about the age gap, Khadija, who was a wealthy tradeswoman, did not care about the wealth gap. Khadijah had been attracted to his trustworthy and gentle character, and the Prophet ﷺ appreciated her sedateness and her beauty, together with her caring nature. Their marriage was known to be one filled with love, affection and trust.


When he ﷺ received his first revelation from Allah, Khadija was the first one who witnessed the aftermath. Such a supernatural experience left the Prophet ﷺ shaken, and Khadijah was the one he trusted to comfort him. When he talked about what had happened during that shocking experience, he said, “Khadijah, what has happened to me? I fear for myself.”  Khadijah soothed him by saying “I swear by Allah that He shall never humiliate you. By Allah, you join ties of relationship, you speak the truth, you bear people's burden, you help the destitute, you entertain guests, and you help against the vicissitudes which affect people.” [Muslim, Iman, 253]


The respect that the Prophet ﷺ showed his wives was evident on many occasions, and this is significant when we consider what the default attitude was in those days towards women in that area. His treatment of women was as revolutionary as it was kind. In those days, women in Arab society were considered unfit to be around while they were on their period. The Prophet’s ﷺ wife Aisha narrated that when she was on her period, he drank from her cup where she placed her lips, and ate meat from the same bone and from the same place as her. [Ibn Majah, Taharah, 125]


He enjoined upon believers to emulate his gentle attitude towards his wives with these words: “Fear Allah regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of Allah, and made their bodies lawful with the word of Allah. You have got (rights) over them, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means.” [Abu Dawud]

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was also the most generous when it came to expressing his affection for his wives. Throughout his marriages he never held back from expressing his fondness of his wives. He did this when he was alone with them as well as in public. He praised his wife Khadija with words such as, “Mary, the daughter of `Imran, was the best among the women (of the world of her time) and Khadija is the best amongst the women. (of this nation).” (Muslim, Fadail As-Sahabah, 69)


Later when one of his companions, Amr Ibn Al-'As asked him “Oh The Messenger of Allah, who is the most beloved of the people to you?” he answered clearly and sincerely with the words, “It's Aisha.” (Ibn Sa’d, VIII, 67)  It is also narrated that he used terms of endearment for his wives, to show his love for them and make them happy. For instance, he used nicknames for his wife Aisha such as “Uwaysh”, “Aish” or “Humeira”. (Suyutî, II, 419)


As a caring husband, he also made sure to spend time having fun together with his wife. Aisha's narration gives us a glimpse into this: “I raced him on foot and I outran him, but when I gained some weight, I raced him again and he outran me. The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘This is for that race.’” (Ahmad ibn Hanbal, VI, 39, 264)


Another way he excelled as a husband was his efforts to ensure other members of the family did not have to take care of the things he needed done. He also made sure to contribute to the household. When Aisha was asked about what he occupied himself with at home, she said, “He would milk his sheep, patch his garment, serve himself and mend his shoes.”


All in all, we can see that he considered the ideal relationship between husband and wife to involve sharing happiness as well as struggles, mutual respect, valuing the other person’s opinions and suggestions, and open displays of affection. His marriages were, of course, perfect examples of this.