One of the more interesting (and startling) things I came across when reading the Qur’an was the revelation unto Muhammad permitting him to marry his own divorced daughter-in-law. It is important to note that this particular episode dealt with Muhammad’s adopted son, the freedman Zaid bin Muhammad and his wife Zainab (also Muhammad’s first cousin). Up until the revelation of this particular verse (Chapter 33, Verse 37) it was forbidden unto Muslims to marry their sons and daughters-in-laws regardless of them being biological parents or not (as was customary in Arabia at the time):
Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of God and thy favour: “Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear God.” But thou didst hide in thy heart that which God was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear God. Then when Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We joined her in marriage to thee: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the Believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their marriage) with them. And God’s command must be fulfilled
Even with Yusuf Ali’s meticulous bracketed polishing of the verse, the account still disgusts me. Not just because a man is being commanded by God Himself to marry his own daughter-in-law but also because of the seemingly self-serving nature of the Qur’an. This theme is repeated in several verses and seem to benefit Muhammad in a variety of ways ranging from being allotted spoils (of war) to prohibiting too much questioning to not bothering him at home.
I found the following comic which graphically (and somewhat irreverently) tells the story and also delves into certain other oddities in the Quranic narration. Devout Muslims should proceed with caution.