The following incident concerns a lady called Sauda bint Zam'ah. She was first married to one of the early Muslims, as-Sakran ibn 'Amr ibn 'Abd Shams, who took her and seven of his friends and emigrated to Ethiopia to escape persecution. In Ethiopia Sauda's husband died and she returned to her homeland.
At about the same time Muhammad lost his first wife Khadijah. Not long after, Muhammad married Sauda. No doubt because of their common experience, they could understand each other's pain and were able to comfort one another.
Why did the Prophet of Allah want to divorce Sauda? And if he did not want to divorce her why did she fear him divorcing her so that she gave up her day to 'Aisha? What was her fault?
There was no fault on Sauda's part except that she became old according to Ibn Kathir.
Some reports say that Muhammad did actually divorce Sauda but she negotiated a settlement with him which he accepted.
Of Q. 4:128 Razi said:
Did Muhammad treat Sauda as Razi commented? Sauda must have seen the writing on the wall so she decided to salvage some protection from Muhammad.
Ibn Kathir also said:
Indeed the nation of Muhammad has imitated him. Razi informs us:
And here is what Ibn al-'Arabi, a great Muslim scholar has said:
So the nation of Muhammad has innocently and completely imitated his action, and did not forget to give Allah the praise. Dr bint ash-Shati' the author of the book The Wives of the Prophet (nisaa' an-Nabi) described Sauda as an unattractive old widow and overweight.175 (Bukhari tells us that Sauda was a tall176, fat and very slow lady177)
Dr bint ash-Shati'said that Khola bint Hakim was the one who suggested to Muhammad marrying Sauda and 'Aisha who was seven years old at the time. "Muhammad commented on her suggestion saying: 'but who will look after the house and who will serve the daughters of the prophet?'" At this Khola suggested the marriage of Sauda... and the prophet agreed. "And Sauda was completely satisfied to take her place in the house of the prophet and to serve his daughters."179
l74 Ahkam al-Qur'an, Abi Bakr Ibn 'Abd Allah known as Ibn al-'Arabi, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, commenting on Q. 4:128.
175 Nisaa' 'an-Nabi, Dr. Bint ash-Shati', Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabi, 1985, p. 62, 67.
176 Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 4, Hadith No. 148.
177 Bukhari, Vol. 2, Book 26, Hadith No. 740.
178 Nisaa' 'an-Nabi, Dr. Bint ash-Shati', Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabi, 1985, p. 64.
179 Nisaa' 'an-Nabi, Dr. Bint ash-Shati', Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabi, 1985, p. 64.
180 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al-'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p. 278.
181 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al-'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p. 281.