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Zaynab bint Jahsh, may Allah be pleased with her

Tuesday 30/03/2010

In previous articles, we talked about some of the wives of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), and here we are going to introduce another one of the Mothers of the Believers, who had a pure soul and a transparent character.

 
She was the Mother of the Believers, Zaynab bint Jahsh ibn Riyaab ibn Ya‘mur from Banu Asad. Her mother was Umayyah bint ‘Abdul-Muttalib, a paternal aunt of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). Her brother was ‘Abdullaah ibn Jahsh, the first military leader in Islam. She was born in the year 33 before Hijrah (emigration). She was called Barrah but the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), later changed her name to Zaynab. She was nicknamed Umm Al-Hakam and was one of the first women to emigrate.
 
Zayd ibn Haarithah, may Allah be pleased with him, the freed slave of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), married her in order to educate her in the Quran and the Sunnah. Afterwards, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), married her by a Divine Order from above the seven heavens in the third year after Hijrah. Regarding her, Allah The Almighty Revealed the verse (what means):{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 had no longer any need for 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 no longer have need of them. And ever is the Command of Allah Accomplished} [Quran 33:37]
 
The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), had adopted Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him, who was consequently called Zayd ibn Muhammad. However, when the saying of Allah The Almighty (what means):{Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah} [Quran 33:5] was revealed, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), married Zayd’s wife after he divorced her, and thereby wiped out the type of adoption which was prevalent in the pre-Islamic era.
 
Since Allah The Almighty chose her to be a wife for the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), she would boast of this favor over the other Mothers of the Believers. It was narrated that she said, "Your families married you off, but Allah The Almighty married me off from above seven heavens." [Al-Bukhari]
 
The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), called her ‘Zaynab’ after marriage and served bread and meat at her marital banquet.
 
It was with regards to her that Allah The Almighty revealed the order to women of covering their whole bodies with an outer garments, and explained the rights of the wives of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, was one of the leading women in religious practice, piety, generosity and goodness. She was a refuge of orphans and widows and surpassed her counterparts in her physical and spiritual attributes.
 
The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), would visit her, stay with her and drink honey in her house - something which provoked the jealousy of some of his wives who, therefore, wanted to prevent him from doing so. ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said,
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would stay with Zaynab bint Jahsh and drink honey in her house. Together with Hafsah, I agreed that when the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) came to either one of us, we would say, 'I smell Maghaafeer [edible gum which is delicious but smelly] from you. Have you eaten Maghaafeer?' He went to one of them, and she said these words to him. He replied:'No, I drank honey in the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh. I will never do it again.' Accordingly, Allah The Almighty revealed the verses (what mean):{O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful... If you two [wives] repent to Allah, [it is best], for your hearts have deviated}[Quran 66:1-4] [These verses refer to the two wives: ‘Aa'ishah and Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with them. The verse (what means):{And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement}[Quran 66:3]refers to the saying of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), “No, I drank honey.” ]” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
One of the commendable deeds of Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, was her praise of ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, when the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), consulted her during the Al-Ifk incident (the falsehood which was claimed against the honor of ‘Aaishah, may Allah be pleased with her). In the relevant Hadeeth, ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said,"The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked his wife Zaynab about me and about what she saw or knew. She said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I protect my hearing and sight [against telling anything that I neither saw nor heard]. By Allah, I have not known except good [things about her].'” Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “She was the wife of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) who would vie for superiority with me. Despite that, Allah The Almighty protected her by virtue of her piety." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
In addition, Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, was known for her piety, performance of extra night prayers, fasting, giving in charity, and generosity. She was also a craftswoman who would tan and sew leather and then give in charity the money which she got from their sales. The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), praised her for her charity, saying metaphorically that she had the longest arms (i.e. that she was the most generous and charitable wife). It was narrated on the authority of ‘Aa'ishah, the Mother of the Believers, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: "The first of you who will die after me is the one who has the longest arms.” The wives of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) consequently measured their arms to find out who had the longest.” ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, had the longest arms because she would work manually and give (the revenues) in charity. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, also highly praised Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her. She said, ''I have never seen a woman who is religiously better, more fearful of Allah The Almighty, more truthful, better in maintaining kinship ties, more charity-giving and more striving in the work through which she gives in charity and gets closer to Allah The Almighty than Zaynab.''
 
When her death came, her love of generosity prompted her to say: "I have prepared my shroud. If ‘Umar sends a shroud for me, give one of the two shrouds away in charity. If you can take my loincloth and give it in charity after burying me, do so."
 
Barzah bint Raafi‘, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "When it was the time of distributing gifts and quotas from the Muslim Public Treasury, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, sent to Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, her share. It was sent to her while we were present with her. She asked, ‘What is this?’ I replied, ‘Umar sent it to you.’ She said, ‘May Allah forgive him! By Allah, other [Muslim] sisters are more able to divide and distribute this than me.’ We said to her, ‘All of this is for you.’ She replied, ‘Exalted is Allah!’ and covered it [the money] with her garment, and then began to distribute it in charity to her kinship and orphan relatives, saying, ‘Go with this to so and so!’ Some money remained under the garment. We counted it and found it over eighty dirhams. She raised her hands and said, ‘O Allah, Let no gift from ‘Umar [i.e. from the Muslim Treasury] reach me after this year!’"
 
She was indeed the first wife of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), to die after him. She passed away in the year 20 after Hijrah when she was over fifty years of age. ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, led her funeral prayer. She was the first woman to be put in a bier and she was buried in Al-Baqee‘ in Madeenah.  
 
May Allah The Almighty be pleased with her and with all the Mothers of the Believers.

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