Zaynab Bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.)

Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.) married the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in 5 AH. After her (R.A.) previous marriage, which was arranged by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself and ended in divorce. As with all the marriages of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), there was much for all the Muslims to learn from it. Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.) was the Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) cousin, her mother Umayma (R.A.) was the daughter of Abdul Muttalib, Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) grandfather, who, while he was alive, had ensured the safety of his grandson; he had the high position as one of the most respected leaders of the Quraish. Thus Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.) came from one of the noblest families of the Quraish, and everyone expected her (R.A.) to eventually marry a man with the same high social status.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was well aware that it is a person’s standing in the eyes of Allah that is important, rather than his or her status in the eyes of the people. He (Peace be upon him) wanted her to marry a young man called Zayd bin Haris (R.A.), whose background was very different to that of Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.). Zayd (R.A.) was taken prisoner while he (R.A.) was still a child during one of the inter-tribal wars those were common before the coming of Islam. He (R.A.) was sold as a slave to a nephew of Khadijah (R.A.) who had given Zayd (R.A.) to her (R.A.) as a gift. And Khadijah (R.A.) gave him (R.A.) to the Prophet Muhammad
(Peace be upon him) in the days before the revelation of the Quran had begun, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had given him (R.A.), his freedom and adopted him (R.A.) as his (Peace be upon him) own son, at the age of eight.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had watched both Zayd and Zaynab (R.A.) grow up, and thought they (R.A.) would make a good couple, and that their (R.A.) marriage would demonstrate that it was not who their (R.A.) ancestors were, but rather their (R.A.) standing in the sight of Allah, that mattered. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked for her (R.A.) hand on behalf of Zayd (R.A.), Zaynab (R.A.) and her family were shocked at the idea of her (R.A.) marrying a man who in their eyes was only a freed slave. Moreover Zaynab (R.A.) had wanted to marry the Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself and in fact he (peace be upon him) had already been asked by her (R.A.) family whether or not he (Peace be upon him) would like to marry her (R.A.). At first both she (R.A.) and her brother refused, but then the following Ayat was revealed:
It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any say in their decision; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has most clearly gone astray. (Quran 33:36)
When Zayd (R.A.) who also had misgivings about the proposed match, and Zaynab (R.A.) realized that there was no difference between what the Prophet (Peace be upon him) wanted and what Allah wanted, they (R.A.) both agreed to the marriage, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) provided a handsome dowry for Zaynab (R.A.) on Zayd’s (R.A.) behalf. The marriage however was not a success. Although both Zaynab (R.A.) and Zayd (R.A.) were the best of people, who loved Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him), they (R.A.) were very different and in the end they (R.A.) could not overcome their (R.A.) incompatibility. Zayd (R.A.) asked the Prophet’s
(peace be upon him) permission to divorce Zaynab (R.A.) more than once, and although he (R.A.) was counseled to hold onto his wife (R.A.) and to fear Allah, in the end the divorce took place. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) then was ordered by Allah to marry Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.), which he (peace be upon him) did in 5 AH. In doing so, Allah through Prophet (peace be upon him) demonstrated beyond doubt that in Islam an adopted son is not regarded in the same light as a natural son, and that although a father may never marry a woman whom his natural son has married and then divorced, the father of an adopted son is permitted to marry a woman who was once, but is no longer, married to that adopted son. Furthermore by marrying Zaynab (R.A.) the Prophet (Peace be upon him) also confirmed that it is permissible for cousins to marry and at the same time Zaynab (R.A.) was given her (R.A.) heart’s desire to be married to the Best of Creation (Peace be upon him).
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) received the command to marry Zaynab (R.A.) while he (Peace be upon him) was with Aisha (R.A.). After he
(Peace be upon him) had received the revelation, he (Peace be upon him) smiled and said, “Who will go and give Zaynab (R.A.) the good news?”
and he (Peace be upon him) recited the Ayat that he (Peace be upon him) had received. Some say that it was Zayd (R.A.) himself who told her the good news.
When Zaynab (R.A.) heard the news, she (R.A.) stopped what she (R.A.) was doing and prayed to ask Allah (Salat-ul-Istikhara) about it. Afterwards Prophet
(Peace be upon him) entered her house as their wedding (Nikah) was arranged by Allah. She (R.A.) was fond of pointing out that her (R.A.) marriage had been arranged by Allah.
Zaynab’s (R.A.) wedding feast was also the occasion for another Ayat of Quran to be sent down. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) sacrificed a sheep and then commanded Anas (R.A.) to invite the people to partake of it. People come in shifts and have food and then left. In one shift the Companions (R.A.) had eaten, two men remained there after the meal chatting. It was very hard on the Prophet (Peace be upon him) who did not like to criticize people directly, and so he (Peace be upon him) waited patiently until they (R.A.) left. Then Allah sent down the following Ayat which is known as “The Ayat of Hijab”:
O Ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless permission be granted you. But if ye are invited, enter, and, when your meal is ended, then disperse. Linger not for conversation. Lo! that would cause annoyance to the Prophet, and he would be shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allah is not shy of the truth. And when ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not for you to cause annoyance to the messenger of Allah, nor that ye should ever marry his wives after him. Lo! that in Allah’s sight would be an enormity. Whether ye divulge a thing or keep it hidden, lo! Allah is ever Knower of all things. It is no sin for them (thy wives) (to converse freely) with their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or the sons of their sisters or of their own women, or their slaves. O women! Keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is ever Witness over all things. Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. (Quran 33:53-56)
Zaynab (R.A.) was a woman who was constantly immersed in the worship of Allah. It is related by Anas bin Malik (R.A.) that once the Prophet (Peace be upon him) entered the mosque and found a rope hanging down between two of the pillars, and so he (Peace be upon him) said, “What is this?” He (Peace be upon him) was told, “It is for Zaynab (R.A.). She (R.A.) prays, and when she (R.A.) loses concentration or feels tired, she (R.A.) holds onto it.” At this time the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “Untie it. Pray as long as you feel fresh, but when you lose concentration or become tired, you should stop.”
Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.) was with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for six years, and lived for another nine years after his (Peace be upon him) death, dying at the age of fifty, in 20 AH, and thus fulfilling the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) indication that she (R.A.) would be the first of his (Peace be upon him) wives to die after him. Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.), like Zaynab bint-e-Khuzayma (R.A.) before her (R.A.), was very generous to the poor, and indeed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, when speaking of her (R.A.) to his (peace be upon him) other wives, “She (R.A.) is the most generous among you.”
It has been related by Aisha (R.A) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once said to his (Peace be upon him) wives (R.A.), “The one who has the longest hands among you will meet me again the soonest.” Aisha (R.A.) added, “They (R.A.) use to measure each other’s hands to see whose as longest, and it was the hand of Zaynab (R.A.) that was the longest, because she (R.A.) used to work by hand and give away what she (R.A.) earned in charity.” The Messenger of Allah
(Peace be upon him) said to Umar (R.A), “Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.) is one who is full of prayer.” A Companion (R.A.) said, “Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), what is that?” He (Peace be upon him) said, “The one who is humble and earnest in prayer.” Aisha (R.A.) also said about Zaynab (R.A.), “I have never seen a woman so pure as Zaynab (R.A.), so God-fearing, so truthful, so attentive to family ties, so generous, so self-sacrificing in everyday life, so charitable, and thus so close to Allah, the Exalted.”
Several years after the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had died, when Umar (R.A.) was the Khalifa (Caliph), great wealth came to the Muslims as a result of their victories in fighting the Persians. The immense treasures of Chosroes, the Persian Emperor, fell into their hands, and when Umar (R.A.) sent Zaynab (R.A.) a pile of gold as her (R.A.) share of the treasure, she (R.A.) called her (R.A.) maid servant and told her to take a handful of it to so-and-so, naming one of the poor people of Medina. One after another, she (R.A.) named all the poor people whom she (R.A.) knew, until they had all received a share of the treasure. Then she (R.A.) told her maidservant to see what was left. All that remained from the large pile of gold was eighty dinars, and this she (R.A.) accepted as her (R.A.) share, thanking Allah for it; but, because she (R.A.) believed so much money was a temptation, she (R.A.) asked Allah that she (R.A.) would never witness such a large distribution of wealth again.
By the time a year had passed, when Umar (R.A.) again came to distribute money amongst those wives (R.A.) of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) whom were still alive, her (R.A.) prayer had been granted for she (R.A.) had already passed away, may Allah be pleased with her (R.A.).
(Peace be upon him) in the days before the revelation of the Quran had begun, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had given him (R.A.), his freedom and adopted him (R.A.) as his (Peace be upon him) own son, at the age of eight.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had watched both Zayd and Zaynab (R.A.) grow up, and thought they (R.A.) would make a good couple, and that their (R.A.) marriage would demonstrate that it was not who their (R.A.) ancestors were, but rather their (R.A.) standing in the sight of Allah, that mattered. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked for her (R.A.) hand on behalf of Zayd (R.A.), Zaynab (R.A.) and her family were shocked at the idea of her (R.A.) marrying a man who in their eyes was only a freed slave. Moreover Zaynab (R.A.) had wanted to marry the Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself and in fact he (peace be upon him) had already been asked by her (R.A.) family whether or not he (Peace be upon him) would like to marry her (R.A.). At first both she (R.A.) and her brother refused, but then the following Ayat was revealed:
It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any say in their decision; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has most clearly gone astray. (Quran 33:36)
When Zayd (R.A.) who also had misgivings about the proposed match, and Zaynab (R.A.) realized that there was no difference between what the Prophet
(Peace be upon him) wanted and what Allah wanted, they (R.A.) both agreed to the marriage, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) provided a handsome dowry for Zaynab (R.A.) on Zayd’s (R.A.) behalf. The marriage however was not a success. Although both Zaynab (R.A.) and Zayd (R.A.) were the best of people, who loved Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him), they (R.A.) were very different and in the end they (R.A.) could not overcome their (R.A.) incompatibility. Zayd (R.A.) asked the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) permission to divorce Zaynab (R.A.) more than once, and although he (R.A.) was counseled to hold onto his wife (R.A.) and to fear Allah, in the end the divorce took place. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) then was ordered by Allah to marry Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.), which he (peace be upon him) did in 5 AH. In doing so, Allah through Prophet (peace be upon him) demonstrated beyond doubt that in Islam an adopted son is not regarded in the same light as a natural son, and that although a father may never marry a woman whom his natural son has married and then divorced, the father of an adopted son is permitted to marry a woman who was once, but is no longer, married to that adopted son. Furthermore by marrying Zaynab (R.A.) the Prophet (Peace be upon him) also confirmed that it is permissible for cousins to marry and at the same time Zaynab (R.A.) was given her (R.A.) heart’s desire to be married to the Best of Creation (Peace be upon him).
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) received the command to marry Zaynab (R.A.) while he (Peace be upon him) was with Aisha (R.A.).
After he (Peace be upon him) had received the revelation, he (Peace be upon him) smiled and said, “Who will go and give Zaynab (R.A.) the good news?” and
he (Peace be upon him) recited the Ayat that he (Peace be upon him) had received. Some say that it was Zayd (R.A.) himself who told her the good news. When Zaynab (R.A.) heard the news, she (R.A.) stopped what she (R.A.) was doing and prayed to ask Allah (Salat-ul-Istikhara) about it. Afterwards Prophet (Peace be upon him) entered her house as their wedding (Nikah) was arranged by Allah. She (R.A.) was fond of pointing out that her (R.A.) marriage had been arranged by Allah.
Zaynab’s (R.A.) wedding feast was also the occasion for another Ayat of Quran to be sent down. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) sacrificed a sheep and then commanded Anas (R.A.) to invite the people to partake of it. People come in shifts and have food and then left. In one shift the Companions (R.A.) had eaten, two men remained there after the meal chatting. It was very hard on the Prophet (Peace be upon him) who did not like to criticize people directly, and so he (Peace be upon him) waited patiently until they (R.A.) left. Then Allah sent down the following Ayat which is known as “The Ayat of Hijab”:
O Ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless permission be granted you. But if ye are invited, enter, and, when your meal is ended, then disperse. Linger not for conversation. Lo! that would cause annoyance to the Prophet, and he would be shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allah is not shy of the truth. And when ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not for you to cause annoyance to the messenger of Allah, nor that ye should ever marry his wives after him. Lo! that in Allah’s sight would be an enormity. Whether ye divulge a thing or keep it hidden, lo! Allah is ever Knower of all things. It is no sin for them (thy wives) (to converse freely) with their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or the sons of their sisters or of their own women, or their slaves. O women! Keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is ever Witness over all things. Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. (Quran 33:53-56)
Zaynab (R.A.) was a woman who was constantly immersed in the worship of Allah. It is related by Anas bin Malik (R.A.) that once the Prophet (Peace be upon him) entered the mosque and found a rope hanging down between two of the pillars, and so he (Peace be upon him) said, “What is this?” He (Peace be upon him) was told, “It is for Zaynab (R.A.). She (R.A.) prays, and when she (R.A.) loses concentration or feels tired, she (R.A.) holds onto it.” At this time the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “Untie it. Pray as long as you feel fresh, but when you lose concentration or become tired, you should stop.”
Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.) was with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for six years, and lived for another nine years after his (Peace be upon him) death, dying at the age of fifty, in 20 AH, and thus fulfilling the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) indication that she (R.A.) would be the first of his (Peace be upon him) wives to die after him. Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.), like Zaynab bint-e-Khuzayma (R.A.) before her (R.A.), was very generous to the poor, and indeed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, when speaking of her (R.A.) to his (peace be upon him) other wives, “She (R.A.) is the most generous among you.”
It has been related by Aisha (R.A) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once said to his (Peace be upon him) wives (R.A.), “The one who has the longest hands among you will meet me again the soonest.” Aisha (R.A.) added, “They (R.A.) use to measure each other’s hands to see whose as longest, and it was the hand of Zaynab (R.A.) that was the longest, because she (R.A.) used to work by hand and give away what she (R.A.) earned in charity.” The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said to Umar (R.A), “Zaynab bint-e-Jahsh (R.A.) is one who is full of prayer.” A Companion (R.A.) said, “Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), what is that?” He (Peace be upon him) said, “The one who is humble and earnest in prayer.” Aisha (R.A.) also said about Zaynab (R.A.), “I have never seen a woman so pure as Zaynab (R.A.), so God-fearing, so truthful, so attentive to family ties, so generous, so self-sacrificing in everyday life, so charitable, and thus so close to Allah, the Exalted.”
Several years after the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had died, when Umar (R.A.) was the Khalifa (Caliph), great wealth came to the Muslims as a result of their victories in fighting the Persians. The immense treasures of Chosroes, the Persian Emperor, fell into their hands, and when Umar (R.A.) sent Zaynab (R.A.) a pile of gold as her (R.A.) share of the treasure, she (R.A.) called her (R.A.) maid servant and told her to take a handful of it to so-and-so, naming one of the poor people of Medina. One after another, she (R.A.) named all the poor people whom she (R.A.) knew, until they had all received a share of the treasure. Then she (R.A.) told her maidservant to see what was left. All that remained from the large pile of gold was eighty dinars, and this she (R.A.) accepted as her (R.A.) share, thanking Allah for it; but, because she (R.A.) believed so much money was a temptation, she (R.A.) asked Allah that she (R.A.) would never witness such a large distribution of wealth again.
By the time a year had passed, when Umar (R.A.) again came to distribute money amongst those wives (R.A.) of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) whom were still alive, her (R.A.) prayer had been granted for she (R.A.) had already passed away, may Allah be pleased with her (R.A.