Zaynab bint Jahsh
|Wives of Muhammad|
Zaynab bint Jahsh (Arabic: زينب بنت جحش, born c. 593) was a wife of Muhammad and therefore a Mother of the Believers. Prior to this, she was briefly married to Muhammad's adopted son, Zayd ibn Harithah for about a year. She was also Muhammad's first cousin. Muhammad's father Abd Allah ibn Abd al Muttalib was the brother of Zaynab's mother Umaimah bint Abd al-Muttalib.
Her parents had died after her birth, when she was a little girl. Her brother, Ubayd-Allah ibn Jahsh, went on the migration to Abyssinia and there left Islam for Christianity. His wife, Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan, later married Muhammad.
She had a sister named Hammanah bint Jahsh.
Marriage with Zayd ibn Harithah
After her migration to Medina, she became part of the newly founded Muslim community. There, Muhammad proposed to Zaynab's family the marriage of his freed slave and adopted son, Zayd ibn Harithah. While Zayd was a former slave. Zayd was son of Harithah ibn Shurahbil, a person of the Kalb tribe, and his mother, Su'da bint Tha'labah, was from the Bani Ma'n, a branch of the Tay tribe. When he was eight years old, she took him along to her parents. There the people of Bani Qain bin Jasr raided their camp, plundered their goods and took some men as captives, which Zayd was included. Then they sold Zayd at the fair of 'Ukaz near Ta'if. His buyer was Hakim ibn Hizam, a nephew of Khadija. Hakim brought him to Makkah and presented him to his paternal aunt. When Muhammad married Khadija he found Zayd in her service and was so impressed by his good manners and conduct that he asked him of her.
Zaynab had an aristocratic lineage, thus having a higher social status. On these grounds her brothers rejected the proposal and she disapproved of it.
Montgomery Watt discusses other reasons for Zaynab's initial disapproval. He points out that Zayd, despite his social status, was held quite high in Muhammad's esteem. Thus, Watt concludes that one reason for Zaynab's disapproval was that she may have wanted to marry Muhammad herself.
Whatever the reasons, Muhammad insisted on the marriage. When Qur'an 33:36 was revealed, Zaynab acquiesced and married Zayd in the year 626. However, Zayd divorced Zaynab and their marriage lasted just over a year.
Marriage with Muhammad
According to the English translation of the book, The Wives of the Messenger of Allah by Muhammad Swaleh Awadh, it states that she was married to Muhammad in Dhul Qa'adah, in the fifth year of Hijra. Since Zaynab was the wife of Muhammad's adopted son, pre-Islamic practices frowned upon such her marriage with the prophet. The marriage was used by Munafiqs of Medina in an attempt to discredit Muhammad on two fronts, one of double standards as she was his fifth wife, while everyone else was restricted to four, and marrying his adopted son's wife.. This was exactly what Muhammad feared and was initially hesitant in marrying her. The Qur'an, however, confirmed that this marriage was valid. Thus Muhammad, confident of his faith in the Qur'an, proceeded to reject the existing Arabic norms. When Zaynab's waiting period from her divorce was complete, Muhammad married her.
Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favour: "Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah." But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah. 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 Allah's command must be fulfilled.
In Pre Islamic Arabia adoption was common and Zayd was given to him as a slave by his wife Khadija. Muhammad freed him and took him to Kaaba in Mecca and declared Zayd his son (thus becoming one who received Muhammad's grace). With coming of Islam all relations of adoption were nulled. And Muhammad himself started calling Zayd Zayd ibn Harithah instead of Zayd bin Muhammad (Zayd was known as Zayd bin Muhammad i.e. son of Muhammad). Since Zayd's background was a slave, and Muhammad wanted to lift the social status of freed slaves (like Zayd) he asked for Zaynab's hand in marriage for Zayd. Zaynab was Muhammad's first cousin, daughter of his aunt Umaima bint Abdul Muttalib. Zaynab had initially refused to marry Zaid because of his slave background and the same displeasure had come from her brother, 'Abdullah bin Jahsh. However on insistence of Muhammad, Zaynab and everyone else agreed. The marriage was a failure as Zaynab found it extremely difficult to accept a freed slave as her husband. Zayd got tired of her and the bitterness had left him with no desire for her eventually leading to their divorce.Zaynab being Muhammad's first cousin was no stranger for him, he had seen her hundreds of time in his aunt Umaima bint Abdul Muttalib's house for over thirty years before she became Zayd's wife.
She was the first of Muhammad's wives to die after him. She died during the caliphate of Umar bin Khattab in the 23rd year of Hijra. However, other narrators say she died in the 21st year of Hijra.
- Rosalind Ward Gwynne (2004). Logic, Rhetoric, and Legal Reasoning in the Qur'an: God's Arguments. Routledge. p. 45. ISBN 0-415-32476-9.
- Maududi (1967), Tafhimul Quran, Chapter Al Ahzab
- Watt (1974), page 158.
- Caesar E. Farah, Islam: Beliefs and Observances, p.69
- Watt (1974), page 157-158.
- Maududi (1967), vol. 4, p. 108
- Haykal, p.295
- Maududi (1967), vol. 4, p. 112-3
- Watt, "Aisha bint Abu Bakr", Encyclopaedia of Islam Online
- Watt(1956), p.330-1
- Watt, page 156.