Zainab bint Jahsh

I have seen in people qualities I like, that I like to model. But from what history has told us of  Zainab bint Jahsh, I have a complete role model. I see her as a pious woman, an achiever, an industrialist and a giver. I hope everyone gets to learn something significant from her life.

Early life

She was the cousin of the prophet (SAW). Her mother, Umayma being the daughter of Abdulmuttalib, the prophet’s Grandfather. Abdulmuttalib was one of the respected leaders of the Quraysh. Thus Zaynab bint Jahsh came from one of the noblest families and everyone expected her to eventually marry someone with the same high social status.
The prophet was aware that a person’s standing in the sight of Allah is important rather than his or her status in the eyes of people. He therefore wanted her to marry a young man, Zayd ibn Harith, whose background was very different from hers.
About Zayd
Zayd had been taken prisoner as a child during one of the inter tribal wars that had been common before the coming of Islam. He had been sold as a slave to the nephew of Khadija who had given Zayd to her as a gift and She In turn, had given him to the prophet(SAW).The prophet gave him his freedom and adopted him as his own son @ the age of eight.

The prophet had watched both of them grow and wanted to demonstrate to the people that their  parenthood is not what matters but their standing in the sight of Allah. He asked for Zaynab’s hand in marriage on behalf of Zayd. She and her family refused until the following aaya 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 clearly gone astray’.(33:36)

After this verse was revealed, both Zayd and Zaynab agreed to the marriage and the prophet provided an handsome dowry to Zaynab on Zayd’s behalf.  The marriage however wasn’t a success. Although Both Zayd and Zaynab were the best of  people who feared Allah and his messenger, they were very different and in the end could not overcome their incompatibility. Zayd asked the prophet’s permission to divorce Zaynab more than once, and although he was counseled to hold on to his wife and fear Allah, in the end the divorce took place.

The prophet was then ordered by Allah to marry Zaynab which he did in 5A.H, when he was 58 years old and she was 35.Before Zaynab’s marriage to Zayd, she had wanted to marry the prophet and he had even been asked by her family if he would like to marry her or not. It was therefore a ‘dream come true’

When the prophet received the command to marry her, he smiled and said who will go and give Zaynab the good news? and he recited the aaya. Some say it was Zayd himself who took her the good news. When Zaynab heard the news, She stopped what she was doing and prayed to thank Allah. Afterwards she was fond of pointing out that her marriage was arranged by Allah.
  Her lifestyle

  • Zaynab was a woman who was always immersed in the worship of Allah.

It was related by Anas ibn Malik that once the prophet entered the mosque and found a rope hanging down between two pillars, so he said,” what is this?” He was told ,’It is for Zaynab. She prays and when she losses concentration or feels tired she holds on to it.’ The prohet said ‘untie it. Pray as long as you feel fresh but when you lose concentration and become tired then you should stop. ’

  • She was also very generous to the poor and the prophet said this about her to his other wives, ‘She is the most generous of you’

The prophet said to Umar, ’Zaynab bint Jahsh is one who is full of prayer.’ A man said “messenger of Allah, what is that?”. He said ‘the one who is humble and earnest in prayer.
Aisha also said of her ‘I have never seen a woman so pure as Zaynab, 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.’

As with every marriage of the prophet, there is always at least, a lesson to learn. His marriage to Zaynab confirmed that it is permissible for cousins to marry. It also demonstrated that in Islam, an adopted son is not regarded in the same light as a natural son and that although a man may never marry a woman whom his natural son was married to and then divorced, the father of an adopted son is permitted to marry a woman who was once married, but is no longer married to that adopted son.
Her wedding feast was another occasion for an ayah to be revealed. After the walimat (wedding feast ),two men remained chatting and it was very hard for the prophet, who finds it hard to criticise people to ask them to leave. Allah then revealed the ayah known as the ayah of the hijab (33:53-56)
Her Death
Zaynab was with the prophet for six years and lived for another nine after his death, dying @ the age of 50.
Several years after the prophet had died, during d reign of Umar, great wealth came to the Muslims as a result of fighting the Persians. The treasures of the empire fell into their hands. Umar sent a pile of gold to Zaynab which she sent to all the poor people she knew until what remained was only eighty dinars. Because she believed so much money was a temptation, she asked Allah that she would never witness such a large distribution of wealth again.
Her prayer was granted. She wasn’t alive the following year when Umar was there to distribute money among the wives of the prophet.

It was related by Aisha that the prophet once said to his wives, ‘The one who has the longest hands among you will meet me again the soonest.’ Aisha added that they used to measure each other’s hands to see which was the longest and it was the hand of Zaynab, because she used to work by hand and give away in charity.



Ref- The wives of the prophet Muhammad by
Ahmad Thomson (Ta-ha publishers, uk)


OURS is the religion of PeaCe- what is yours??

31st July, 2011
Since it wasn’t announced by the wee hours of today that the moon was sighted, it is obvious that tonight is the first taraweeh and fasting starts tomorrow. HURRAYY!!!!!!!!!!

I am in a village, starting a one week posting on Primary health care (PHC). I had felt bad at the thought of fasting here but on arrival, the thought faded, replaced by the awesome feel of the blessed month!

I had shed some tears earlier today because of the thoughts of how very hopeful I was at the beginning of the last ramadan, and how much  I believed I was going to continue with my good deeds after it and how much I did not succeed in doing that. But then, alhamdulillah that I have been given the grace to be alive now with the opportunity to be forgiven, get great rewards, work for aljannah and probably make better, more achievable resolution for the months before the next ramadan.

At d time for solatul Ishai, I felt so good, in my newly sewn Jilbab(I was going to be praying in this!). I walked towards the mosque happy, joined the many Muslims in the congregation in Observing Ishai and then taraweeh.

I did notice a lot here, but the most interesting to me was the kids I saw. The inner part of the mosque is for the men while the women and children are at the outer part, children in front and women at the back. I saw the children were in really lovelly clothes, I could have called new but wasn’t sure they are. One particular boy was donning a spotless white jalabiyya, I couldn’t but admire. This is a village but the sense of dressing well, even if occasionally is definitely not eluded.

Looking at this innocent children takes me back to the good old days (old?? Can’t believe am already talking dat way!!) when I was very young and together with my siblings and other children around, was Innocently devoted to Allah.
Our dressing was never without hijab and the boys would occasionally wear caps. We already could perform ablution, pray salat, recite certain verses of the Qur’an off hand. We particularly knew the stories of the prophets, thanks to ’the rope of Allah’(a series of textbooks on primary school Islamic studies curriculum).We would compete on our knowledge of these and  on the number of days we fasted.

I can remember I made a resolution to never break my fast again when while in JSS2, my younger brother who was in pry 5 fasted throughout ramadan. It was painful hearing him boast of that while I looked on, ashamed to mention how many I missed.

We would go for Arabic/Quranic  classes(ile keu) after school and during holidays attend Islamic vacation course(IVC)..hmmn d good childhood days!!!! How Important IVCs were! Majority of the day to day supplications we use now were learnt there.

we looked like this

If you didn’t know ‘bismillahi wa ala barakatullah’, You did not attend IVC, I assure you :)!

These days, it is rare to see children go to these kind of Arabic schools and the number of people who go for IVC is in decline. So many reasons are given by parents for this but I tell you, not justified.

The basics of Islam we learnt, at a time when our minds were not filled with how the day to day affairs of the world are run, when we didn’t know if anything became expensive nor were we aware of anything called terrorism.

Our Islam was the religion of peace, one that teaches good neighbourliness, good character, respect for parents, teachers and the elderly. One that provides solution to even the biggest of our problems.

Afterall if an ant was to attack you, all you have to say is-
‘Audhubikalimatillahitamat min sharri ma khalaqa’
And it did work and still does.

These learnt early on, am sure have kept many of us in the deen. We have been able to differentiate the Islam we knew from the one the world is making us see, d minstream media trying to make us believe.

We have remained steadfast and protective of our own because ours is the religion of PEACE!

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