Zaynab bint Jahsh

Heidi Mahmoud Kheyamy

04 Feb 2018

Zaynab bint Jahsh, the beautiful young lady descending from Banu Asad ibn Khuzaymah, was one of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wives and a mother of the believers. Her marriage to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was ordained by Allah in the Quran.

She was the granddaughter of Abdulmuttalib bin Hisham. Her mother, Umaima bint Abdulmuttalib, was the paternal aunt of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).  Before she ultimately married The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), The Prophet himself had chosen Zaynab to be Zayd bin Harethah's wife. She and her brother Abullah bin Jahsh accepted reluctantly; as she was a noble relative of the Messenger Muhammad (PBUH) while Zayd was a previous slave who had converted to Islam, and was adopted as a son to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). Zaynab obeyed the Messenger of Allah’s (PBUH) order and complied with the Islamic rule of being modest as there is no superiority between two Muslims except in terms of piety. Allah Says: “It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.” [Al-Ahzab, 36]

Zayd bin Harethah suffered during his marriage as Zaynab gave him a hard time, and he went to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to complain about her being intolerable, but the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) told him to be patient. In this occasion Allah Says: “And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, "Keep your wife and fear Allah," while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So, when Zayd’s desire for her had been extinguished (i.e. he divorced her), We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they have been divorced from them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished.” [Al-Ahzab, 37]

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) did not tell what Allah revealed to him as he was anxious about the people reaction to his marriage with Zaynab, his adopted son's wife. Allah wanted to prohibit adoption and its applied laws which existed since Jahiliyah (the period of Ignorance preceding the revelation of Islam to the prophet). Allah Says: “Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing.” [Al-Ahzab, 40]

When the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married his cousin Zaynab bint Jahsh, after her becoming divorced from Zayd bin Harethah, she was called Barra at that time. Muhammad ibn 'Ata' related that he visited Zaynab bint Salama and she asked him about the name of one of his sisters. He reports:

"I said, 'Her name is Barra.' She said, 'Change her name. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, married Zaynab bint Jahsh. Her name was Barra and he changed it to Zaynab. I visited Umm Salama when she married him and my name was Barra. He heard her call me Barra and said, 'Do not adorn yourselves. Allah is the One who knows those who are pious (barra) among you and those who are deviant. Call her Zaynab.' Umm Salama said, 'She is Zaynab.' I said to Zaynab, 'Give her a name.' Zaynab said, 'Change it to what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, changed it.'" So he called her Zaynab. [Sahih Muslim. Reference: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 821. Book 34, Hadith 11]

Zaynab bint Jahsh was known of being charitable and she was the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wives to pass away after his passing.

'A'isha, the Mother of the Believers, reported that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said:

The one amongst you would who has the longest hands (this also means most charitable in Arabic) will be the first to follow me (i.e. in death). She further said: They (the wives of Allah's Messenger) used to measure the hands as to whose hand was the longest and it was the hand of Zainab that was the longest amongst them, as she used to work with her hand and Spend (that income) on charity. [Sahih Muslim 2452. Book 44, Hadith 146] 

She died in 20 After Hijra and was buried in Al Baqi’.


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