Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sincerity of the Prophet Muhammad Examined

Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: 

Wives of Muhammad are considered the mother of the believers. They are Muslism spiritual mothers. 
Muhammad's wives were the eleven or thirteen women married to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Muslims refer to them as Mothers of the Believers (Arabic: Ummahāt ul-Muʾminīn). Muslims use the term prominently before or after referring to them as a sign of respect. The term is derived from Quran 33:6:
The Prophet is closer to the believers than their selves, and his wives are (as) their mothers.[1]

Muhammad's life is traditionally delineated as two epochs: pre-hijra (emigration) in Mecca, a city in northern Arabia, from the year 570 to 622, andpost-hijra in Medina, from 622 until his death in 632. All but two of his marriages were contracted after the Hijra (migration to Medina).

O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the captives of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makkah) with thee; and any believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Thou mayest defer (the turn of) any of them that thou pleasest, and thou mayest receive any thou pleasest: and there is no blame on thee if thou invite one whose (turn) thou hadst set aside. This were nigher to the cooling of their eyes, the prevention of their grief, and their satisfaction - that of all of them - with that which thou hast to give them: and Allah knows (all) that is in your hearts: and Allah is All- Knowing, Most Forbearing. It is not lawful for thee (to marry more) women after this, nor to change them for (other) wives, even though their beauty attract thee, except any thy right hand should possess (as handmaidens): and Allah doth watch over all things. Quran S. 33:50-52

Sura 33 was revealed before Suras 4 and 24 (*,*,*). So this was before it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad that you can only have up to four wives. 

Also, let us say for sake of argument that none of the solutions above work and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) really did do what was forbidden for the rest of the Muslims. So what? There are already examples of these kinds of things.

One example being that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was allowed to have more than 4 wives, while the rest of the Muslims don't. Wow! Should I become an apostate now? This is a privilege bestowed upon him from God and who am I to question it? (See this)

To use this as evidence against the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to commit the fallacy ofcircumstantial ad hominem. Just because it appears that Muhammad (peace be upon him) might have a motive for doing something, that doesn't make that something false.

Plus, I can give several examples of my own, which show that certain laws and commands found in the Qur'an and authentic Prophet traditions were not in the favor of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). So if I show these, will Shamoun accept them as valid circumstantial evidence for Muhammad's Prophethood? 

Narrated Aisha: 
I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily)." (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311)

This has already been refuted and answered over here: 

Aisha's (RA) statement "Lord hastens in fulfilling your desires" explained

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله وحده و الصلاة و السلام على من لا نبي بعده و على آله و أصحابه أجمعين

Understanding the reality and meanings of the statement of Sayyidah Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), “I see that your Lord hastens to confirm your desires.” The issue is explained through literary analysis of the words used and in the light of the contextual significance along with other related proofs.

1. Introduction

There are numerous people and groups who harbor a disliking for Islamic personalities while there are some who have taken it as the ultimate mission of their life to hate and preach hatred. The claim addressed here is one such example.

Even though the Qur’an defends Aisha[1] –may Allah be pleased with her, from a heinous allegation leveled by the enemies of Islam, the hate preachers do not desist from this practice thereby enrolling themselves in the list of enemies of Islam.

We find a statement from Aisha –may Allah be pleased with her- as follows:

"I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires."[2]

2. The baseless allegation

Based on this statement, the hate preachers reach at a few unfounded conclusions. Those in the guise of Muslims claim that this statement denotes disbelief in revelation by the pious mother of the believers whereas other groups state that they understand it to mean that Prophet Muhammad -on him be the peace and blessings of Allah- made up revelations and the people around him doubted his prophethood. Analyzing the statement within context and looking properly at the bigger picture reveals that the allegations are baseless as proven in this article.

3. The full narration

Narrated Aisha: I used to be jealous of those ladies who had given themselves to Allah's Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).' (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes."[3]

4. Inclinations/Wishes/Choices or desires?

Before the narration is analyzed, the word for ‘wishes’ needs to be understood in its proper meaning. The word هوى has been used in the Qur’an as well:

فلا تتبعوا الهوى

"So follow not [personal] inclination ..."[4]

The word has been repeated several times in the Qur’an and among a number of meanings, carries the meaning of an innocent wish, likeness or preference for any consideration, personal opinion or likeness for a particular opinion when other opinions are more valid and strong. We find in Saheeh Bukhari:

Narrated Ibrahim bin Sad from his father from his grand-father: Abdur Rahman bin Auf said, "When we came to Medina as emigrants, Allah's Messenger established a bond of brotherhood between me and Sad bin Ar-Rabi'. Sad bin Ar-Rabi' said (to me), 'I am the richest among the Ansar, so I will give you half of my wealth and you may look at my two wives and whichever of the two you may choose (هوى - hawa) I will divorce her, and when she has completed the prescribed period (before marriage) you may marry her.' Abdur-Rahman replied, "I am not in need of all that. Is there any market-place where trade is practiced?'[5]

Furthermore, Ibn Rajab writes:

قالت عائشة للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : ما أرى ربك إلا يسارع في هواك . وقال عمر في قصة المشاورة في أسارى بدرفهوى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ما قال أبو بكر ، ولم يهو ما قلت ، وهذا الحديث مما جاء في استعمال الهوى بمعنىالمحبة المحمودة ، وقد وقع مثل ذلك في الآثار الإسرائيلية كثيرا ، وكلام مشايخ القوم وإشاراتهم نظما ونثرا يكثر في هذاالاستعمال ، ومما يناسب معنى الحديث من ذلك قول بعضهم : 
إن هواك الذي بقلبي
صيرني سامعا مطيعا
أخذت قلبي وغمض عيني
سلبتني النوم والهجوعا
فذر فؤادي وخذ رقادي
فقال لا بل هما جميعا

'Aishah said to the Prophet (peace be upon him) commenting on this verse (i.e. 33:51), "I see that Allah fulfills your inclinations."

Commenting on the Prophet's (peace be upon him) consultation with his Companions regarding the captives of Badr, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "The Prophet (peace be upon him) inclined 
(hawiya) to Abu Bakr's opinion and he did not incline (lam yahwa) to what I said." With such a connotation of good/innocent inclination, the term has been used in the Reports of the People of the Book and also frequently in the poetry and prose of the Pious Predecessors. From what relates to the Hadith are the words;
"Your inclination (hawaka) in my heart made me to listen to You and obey You.
You have my heart and I was deprived from sleeping.
Leave my heart and let me sleep.
Yet, He said: I will take both."

The Prophet - on him be the peace and blessings of Allah- did not take her statement as an insult or criticism as he did not react to it. If this had been a real insult, as the opponents of Islam claim, then the Prophet –peace be upon him- would have considered this as a blasphemy and, at worst, declared her renegade or, at best, given her sincere advice and guidance so she may repent. However, nothing of this sort happened indicating clearly that this was a casual discussion between a husband and wife.

Therefore, if someone understands the statement of Aisha –may Allah be pleased with her- to allege lust or passion, then there appears to be no cure for such ignorance.

5. The background to the statement

"Imam Ahmad recorded that A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, used to feel jealous of the women who offered themselves to the Prophet. She said, "Would a woman not feel shy to offer herself without any dowry!'' Then Allah revealed the verse, (You can postpone whom you will of them, and you may receive whom you will.) She said, "I think that your Lord is hastening to confirm your desire.' “And whomsoever you desire of those whom you have set aside, it is no sin on you (to receive her again)”. Others said that what is meant by: (You can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them), means, `your wives: there is no sin on you if you stop dividing your time equally between them, and delay the turn of one of them and bring forward the turn of another as you wish, and you have intercourse with one and not another as you wish.' This was narrated from Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Abu Razin, Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and others.[7]

6. Natural spousal jealousy

As has been stated earlier that the pious mother of the believers, Aisha –may Allah be pleased with her- had a natural jealousy that all women have. This matter should be sufficient for any rational person. A private matter and discussion between a husband and wife that meant nothing more than that to themselves should not be taken up by others to justify hidden motives in the first place. It was his wife who had said this and that is the bottom line. The Prophet -on him be the peace and blessings of Allah- is loved, honored and respected by all Muslims who would definitely not speak about him in such words but the statement came from his wife and hence the same yardstick does not apply. He used to be frank and informal with his wives and likewise, they were with him. The simple and only conclusion is that there was certainly no disrespect but only frankness and natural spousal jealousy. Had it been an angry or insulting statement, she would have not narrated it to others. Besides, there are further evidences that she did not speak in an angry tone.

7. An ordinary matter between spouses without any real ill-feelings or even anger

Narrated Aisha:
That Allah's Messenger said to her, "I know whether you are pleased with me or angry with me." I said, "Whence do you know that?" He said, "When you are pleased with me, you say, 'No, by the Lord of Muhammad,' but when you are angry with me, then you say, 'No, by the Lord of Ibrahim.' "Thereupon I said, "Yes (you are right), but by Allah, O Allah's Messenger, I leave nothing but your name."[8]

The Prophet -on him be the peace and blessings of Allah, as a husband, understood his wife and he knew whether she was angry or not. When she had spoken the words, she used the words “I feel that your Lord instead of saying the 'Lord of Ibrahim' or any other such words indicating that hers was a casual discussion with her husband.

8. Fulfillment of desires?

Even after the verse was revealed, Prophet Muhammad -on him be the peace and blessings of Allah- used to divide his time equally as mentioned by the pious mother of the believers herself:

‘Aisha said: "O my nephew, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him) did not prefer one of us to other in respect of his division of time of his staying with us. It was very rare that he did not visit any of us any day. He would come near each of his wives without having any intercourse with her until he reached the one who had her day (i.e. her turn) and passed his night with her...."[9]

Furthermore, Ibn Kathir states:

Nevertheless, the Prophet used to divide his time between them equally, hence a group of the scholars of Fiqh among the Shafi`is and others said that equal division of time was not obligatory for him and they used this Ayah as their evidence.[10]

Maulana Maududi writes:

This verse was meant to relieve the Holy Prophet of the domestic worries and anxieties so that he could carry out his duties with full peace of mind. When Allah clearly gave hire the power and the authority to treat any of his wives as he liked, there remained no chance that those believing ladies would trouble him in any way, or would create complications for him by their mutual rivalries and domestic squabbles. But in spite of having this authority from Allah the Honorable Prophet meted out full justice to his wives. He did not prefer one to the other and would visit each of them regularly by turns. Bukhari, Muslim, Nasa'i, Abu Da'ud and others have reported on the authority of 'A'ishah that even after the revelation of this verse the Honorable Prophet's practice was that whenever he wanted to visit any of us, his wives, on the turn of another wife, he would first ask her permission for it. Abu Bakr al-Jassas relates from 'Urwah bin Zubair that Hadrat 'A'ishah told him, "As to our rants the Honorable Prophet never preferred any of us to the other, although it seldom happened that he did not visit all his wives on the same day, but he never touched a wife unless it was her day by turn." And this also is a tradition from 'A'ishah that during his last illness when it became difficult for him to move about he asked for his other wives' permission to stay with her, and only on their approval he passed his last days in her apartment. Ibn Abi Hatim has cited this from Imam Zuhri that the Honorable Prophet is not known to have deprived any of his wives of her turn.[11]

Another point that is important here is the fact that revelation did not always make things what ‘we may call’ ‘easy’ or ‘favorable’. For example, the Prophet –peace be upon him- was not allowed to marry Christian and Jewish women[12] and was commanded to pray the night prayer[13] which he did during the late-night. If he was fabricating revelation at all, then surely these difficulties and restrictions would not have been imposed on him by himself. This order coupled with strict implementation is rather evidence that he was not the originator of the Qur’an but the Messenger of Allah.

Another example of ‘unfavorable revelation’ is as follows:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Whenever a meal was brought to Allah's Apostle, he would ask whether it was a gift or Sadaqa (something given in charity). If he was told that it was Sadaqa, he would tell his companions to eat it, but if it was a gift, he would hurry to share it with them.[14]

Prophet Muhammad -on him be the peace and blessings of Allah- was not allowed by Allah to take from charity and the believers were forbidden to give him charity. The kind of life that he lived would force a person to accept that the absence of such a kind of revelation would have made life much easier for him as we find in other narrations:

'A'isha reported: Never had the family of Muhammad (may peace be upon him) eaten to the fill since their arrival in Medina with the bread of wheat for three successive nights until his (Holy Prophet's) death.[15]

Nu'man b. Bashir said: Don't you eat and drink according to your heart's desire, whereas I saw that your prophet (may peace be upon him) (at times) could not find even an inferior quality of the dates with which he could fill his belly?"[16]

Throughout the Muslim history, we find several false claimants to prophethood making things easy for their followers. They removed the things people find difficult such as praying and charity. Even several fake scholars have done the same i.e. turned the Islamic teachings into metaphors and giving to the people what they want to hear. However, the apparent difficult orders of the Qur’an for the Messenger of Allah –peace be upon him- are a strong proof of the truthfulness of the Qur’an and the Messenger.

Another example of revelation which can be considered difficult for the Prophet -on him be the peace and blessings of Allah- was the Qibla used. The change of Qibla from the sacred Masjid to the Noble Ka’abah in Makkah did not happen when he was in Makkah and which would have suited him as well but happened in Madina when the change of Qibla was disliked, criticized and ridiculed by the disbelievers and hypocrites.

Allah chooses the best of the people to be His Messengers. What the Messenger teach is the Message from the Creator. Hence if the Creator mentions that He chose the best from mankind to convey His Message, then who would be unwise enough to allege self-praise? Prophet Muhammad -on him be the peace and blessings of Allah- was the representative of Allah on earth and all laws had to come through him alone and therefore not making an issue of extra responsibility on the Messenger of Allah and making an issue of some concessions appears to be an unwise thing to do.

-- by Adeel Tariq Khan

[1] Qur’an 24:11-26
[2] Saheeh Bukhari, book 60, Hadith 311
[3] ibid.
[4] Qur’an 4:135
[5] Saheeh Bukhari, book 34, Hadith 264
[6] Jami' Al-'Ulum wal-Hikam , Al-Resalah Publications, Beirut, 2001 vol.2 p.399
[8] Saheeh Bukhari book 62, Hadith 155
[9] Sunan Abu Dawud Hadith 2135
[11] Tafhim ul Qur'an: Surah Al-Ahzab
[12] Qur’an 33:50-52
[13] Qur’an 17:79
[14] Saheeh Bukhari, book 47, Hadith 750
[15] Saheeh Muslim book 42, Hadith 7083
[16] Saheeh Muslim book 42, Hadith 7099

11 wives of the Prophet Muhammad? 

Narrated Qatada:
Anas bin Malik said, "The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were ELEVEN IN NUMBER." I asked Anas, "Had the Prophet the strength for it?" Anas replied, "We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men)." And Sa'id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 5,Number 268)

Prophet Muhammad visiting all his wives in one night?

Some of the Christians use the following tradition and yell obscenities against the Holy Prophet, may Allah bless him, saying that he had passion for women.
Narrated Anas: "The Prophet I used to go round (have sexual relations with) all his wives in one night, and he had nine wives."
But as a matter of fact this is clearly wrong translation and the words within parenthesis do not find any place here.
Actual text of the Hadith and correct translation:

Now the Hadīth goes as;
أَنَّ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يَطُوفُ عَلَى نِسَائِهِ فِي اللَّيْلَةِ الْوَاحِدَةِ وَلَهُ يَوْمَئِذٍ تِسْعُ نِسْوَةٍ
The word, يَطُوفُ like طواف i.e. circumambulating the Holy Ka’ba only refers to going around and has no other nuance whatsoever. So the correct translation of the Hadīth is:
Narrated Anas: The Prophet I used to go round all his wives in one night, and he had nine wives.”(Bukhari, Hadīth 275)
There is nothing special in the Hadīth. It infact shows that he cared for all his wives and went to see them.
The query probably rises from the famous translation of this Hadīth which is there in well known software. In that software it reads;
"The Prophet I used to go round (have sexual relations with) all his wives in one night, and he had nine wives."
One can clearly see that the words ‘have sexual relations with’ are in parenthesis, that is to say these are not the direct meanings of the Arabic words but addition by the translator to help understand according to his understanding.
But I disagree with his understanding and thus believe that these words in the parentheses are not helping to understand better but are rather misleading. Holy Prophet, may Allah bless him, did visit them all but its not that he had sexual relations with each of them.
Details of Prophet’s visits to his wives:
Urwa reported on the authority of his father:
‘Aisha said: "O my nephew, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bdid not prefer one of us to other in respect of his division of time of his staying with us. It was very rare that he did not visit any of us any day. He would come near each of his wives without having any intercourse with her until he reached the one who had her day (i.e. her turn) and passed his night with her...."
(Sunan Abū Dawūd Hadīth 2135. Albāni classified it as Hasan Sahih)
Besides Sunan Abu Dawud the narration is found in ,
Musnad Ahmad (No. 23621)
Baihaqi's Sunan Al-Kubra (No. 13434, 14754)
Mustadrak Al-Hakim (No. 2710)

It is found in Sunan Darqutni (No.3781) too with more explicit wording.

Imam Shaukani has taken the hadith on same account. He writes;

وَكَذَلِكَ يَجُوزُ لِلزَّوْجِ دُخُولُ بَيْتِ غَيْرِ صَاحِبَةِ النَّوْبَةِ وَالدُّنُوُّ مِنْهَا وَاللَّمْسُ إلَّا الْجِمَاعَ كَمَا فِي حَدِيثِ عَائِشَةَ الْمَذْكُورِ

"Similarly it is allowed for the husband to enter upon the wife [even if, it being] without her turn [to spend night with] and to come closer to her and touch her except the intercourse as in the Hadith of Aisha mentioned above." (Nayl al-Awtar 10/213)

It makes it clear beyond all doubt here that he visited all of them just to see them and dint have intercourse with each of them but only with the one whose turn was it that day.

Further clarification:
One may refer to the narration from Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, in which he related the same issue of Prophet, may Allah bless him, all his wives in a single with him being given the "strength of thirty men." One may say this implies the Prophet, may Allah bless him, used to have intercourse with all his wives. But how can the implied understanding of some other companion be taken in precedence over a direct authentic report from none other than the wife of the Holy Prophet, may Allah bless him? Who else would have been more knowledgeable of such intimate details of the Prophet's personal life?
Similarly even the word يَطُوفُ implies 'intercourse' when used in relation to a person going to his wife [or wives] it will not work here for an explicit authentic report from the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him, bars us.

Did He not find you as an orphan and give you shelter? Did He not find you wandering about and give you guidance? And did He not find you in need AND MAKE YOU RICH? Quran S. 93:6-8 Muhammad Sarwar

They would then argue that this refers shows that Allah made the Prophet (peace be upon him) wealthy.

However, we have to put into consideration that this Surah was revealed early in Mecca and that is why Ibn Abbass was of the opinion:
And he also said: (Did He not find thee) O Muhammad (destitute) poor (and enrich (thee)) with the wealth of Khadijah; and it is also said this means: and made you content with that which He gave you? The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Yes, O Gabriel!" (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ?Abbâs, Commentary on Surah 93:8, Source)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) married Khadija who was wealthy. However, the Prophet married Khadija way before he became a Prophet. So it's not like the Prophet (peace be upon him) used Islam to gain wealth.

Or it could simply mean that Allah made him rich in a spiritual sense:

وَقَالَ اِبْن عَطَاء : وَوَجَدَك فَقِيرَ النَّفْس , فَأَغْنَى قَلْبك

And Ibn Attaa' said: And He found you poor in spirit, so He enriched your heart. (Abu 'Abdullah Al-Qurtubi,Tasfir al Jami' li-ahkam al-Qur'an, Commentary on Surah 93:8, Source)

One way Allah made Muhammad rich was to command the Muslims to give a fifth of the booty to his so-called “messenger”:

They ask you (O Muhammad) about the spoils of war. Say: "The spoils are for Allah AND THE MESSENGER." So fear Allah and adjust all matters of difference among you, and obey Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad SAW), if you are believers... And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah,- AND TO THE MESSENGER, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer,- if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing,- the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things. S. 8:1, 41

He also made his “prophet” wealthy through pillaging, raiding, and ransacking caravans, villages etc., Why did the Prophet Muhammad wage war against the Arab, Jewish, Meccans and Hypocrites, Persian and Roman empires was because they posed a threat to Islam first. 

Narrated Abu Huraira… Allah made the Prophet wealthy through conquests… (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 37, Number 495)

However, as we can see the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not take this money in order to live luxuriously. He used to take that money and give it away in charity instead of keeping it for himself. (See Saheeh Bukhari, Volume 4, Book of One-fifth of Booty to the Cause of Allah, Hadith number 326, where Umar ibn Al Khattab says "So this property was especially given to Allah's Apostle, but, by Allah, neither did he take possession of it and leave your, nor did he favour himself with it to your exclusion, but he gave it to all of you and distributed it amongst you till this property remained out of it. Allah's Apostle used to spend the yearly expenses of his family out of this property and used to keep the rest of its revenue to be spent on Allah's Cause. Allah's Apostle kept on doing this during all his lifetime.")

The Prophet (peace be upon him) would use whatever wealth was necessary in order to take care of his family. Now one may argue that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used this (i.e. fabricating Islam) as a means to take care of himself and family.

However, this doesn't seem to be very convincing. Couldn't the Prophet (peace be upon him) find an easier way to earn a living? Why did he go through years of persecution in Mecca and endure humiliation and ruin his reputation amongst his friends and relatives for this purpose?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to actually be wealthy before his Prophethood (while he was trading with his wife Khadija). Thus, why the need to fabricate a religion?

 in order to comply with the Quranic injunction of Q. 4:3, which limits the number of wives to a maximum of four:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar
Ghaylan ibn Salamah ath-Thaqafi accepted Islam and that he had ten wives in the pre-Islamic period who accepted Islam along with him; so the Prophet told him to keep four and separate from the rest of them.
Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi, Number 945: taken from the Alim CD-ROM Version)

Narrated Al-Harith ibn Qays al-Asadi
I embraced Islam while I had eight wives. So I mentioned it to the Prophet. The Prophet said: Select four of them. (Sunan of Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2233)

However it has already been refuted above why the Prophet married more than four wives above.

Notice that Muhammad’s justification for loving and favoring Aisha more than the rest of his spouses was because Allah singled out and specifically chose Aisha’s bed to send down his revelations to him! Allah refused to do this for any other wife! However This is Allah's own wisdom in doing so, Why Allah chose Aisha over the other wives of the Prophet-- who knows. Only Allah knows why he did what he did. 

Narrated 'Urwa from 'Aisha:
The wives of Allah's Apostle were in two groups. One group consisted of 'Aisha, Hafsa, Safiyya and Sauda; and the other group consisted of Um Salama and the other wives of Allah's Apostle. The Muslims knew that Allah's Apostle loved 'Aisha, so if any of them had a gift and wished to give to Allah's Apostle, he would delay it, till Allah's Apostle had come to 'Aisha's home and then he would send his gift to Allah's Apostle in her home. The group of Um Salama discussed the matter together and decided that Um Salama should request Allah's Apostle to tell the people to send their gifts to him in whatever wife's house he was. Um Salama told Allah's Apostle of what they had said, but he did not reply. Then they (those wives) asked Um Salama about it. She said, "He did not say anything to me." They asked her to talk to him again. She talked to him again when she met him on her day, but he gave no reply. When they asked her, she replied that he had given no reply. They said to her, "Talk to him till he gives you a reply." When it was her turn, she talked to him again. He then said to her, “Do not hurt me regarding Aisha, AS THE DIVINE INSPIRATIONS DO NOT COME TO ME ON ANY OF THE BEDS EXCEPT THAT OF AISHA.” On that Um Salama said, “I repent to Allah for hurting you.” Then the group of Um Salama called Fatima, the daughter of Allah's Apostle and sent her to Allah's Apostle to say to him, “Your wives request to treat them and the daughter of Abu Bakr on equal terms.” Then Fatima conveyed the message to him. The Prophet said, “O my daughter! Don’t you love whom I love?” She replied in the affirmative and returned and told them of the situation. They requested her to go to him again but she refused. They then sent Zainab bint Jahsh who went to himand used harsh words saying, “Your wives request you to treat them and the daughter of Ibn Abu Quhafa on equal terms.” On that she raised her voice and abused 'Aisha to her face so much so that Allah's Apostle looked at 'Aisha to see whether she would retort. 'Aisha started replying to Zainab till she silenced her. The Prophet then looked at 'Aisha and said, “She is really the daughter of Abu Bakr.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 755)

Narrated Anas:
There was a Christian who embraced Islam and read Surat-al-Baqara and Al-Imran, and he used to write (the revelations) for the Prophet. Later on he returned to Christianity again and he used to say: “Muhammad knows nothing but what I have written for him.” Then Allah caused him to die, and the people buried him, but in the morning they saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, "This is the act of Muhammad and his companions. They dug the grave of our companion and took his body out of it because he had run away from them." They again dug the grave deeply for him, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, “This is an act of Muhammad and his companions. They dug the grave of our companion and threw his body outside it, for he had run away from them.” They dug the grave for him as deep as they could, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. So they believed that what had befallen him was not done by human beings and had to leave him thrown (on the ground). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 814)

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