Zaynab bint Khuzayma

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Zaynab bint Khuzaymah
Mother of the Believers
زينب بنت خزيمة
Zaynab bint Khuzayma.png
Zaynab bint Khuzaymah

595 AD
Mecca, Hejaz, Arabia
present-day Saudi Arabia
DiedRabiʽ al-Thani 4 AH ; c. September 626 AD
Medina, Hejaz, Arabia
(present-day Saudi Arabia)
Resting place
Jannat al-Baqi, Medina, Hejaz, Arabia
(present-day Saudi Arabia)
Known forWife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Mother of the Believers
Titleʾumm ul-mumineen
ʾumm ul-masakin
Spouse(s)Ubaydah ibn al-Harith
Muhammad (m. 624-626 AD)
ChildrenMuawiya, Awn, Munqidh, Ibrahim, Harith, Rabta, Khadija, Sukhayla, Amina, Safiya
Parent(s)Khuzayma ibn Al-Harith
Hind bint Awf
FamilyHouse of Muhammad

Zaynab bint Khuzaymah (Arabic: زينب بنت خزيمة‎), also known as Umm al-Masakin, "Mother of the Poor",[1] born 595[2]) was one of the wives of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. As a result of her early death, less is known about her than any of his other wives. Her children were Muawiya, Awn, Munqidh, Ibrahim, Harith, Rabta, Khadija, Sukhayla, Amina, Safiya. All of these children were fathered with her previous husband, Ubayda ibn al-Harith.[3][4]


Typically described as being in her late 20s, although occasionally said to be 48,[5] she was described as "beautiful".[6] She was known for her "compassion and pity" for the poor.[6][7][8][9]

Zaynab was first married to Tufail bin Harith, who either divorced her[10] or died shortly afterward.[5] Zaynab then married her first husband's brother, Ubaydah ibn al-Harith.[10] In 624, her husband died of wounds received in the Battle of Badr, and she began to live in poverty.[10] Ibn Kathir, in his 14th century Sira, referred to Zaynab's first husband as being Husayn bin al-Harith, and her third marriage to Abdullah ibn Jahsh, who was killed at the Battle of Uhud.[11]

There are conflicting reports as to whether she was shunned and sought marriage, or whether she turned down many offers of marriage.[10][12] Some even suggest she had a third husband, who also died.[5]

Marriage to Muhammad[edit]

The following year shortly after his marriage to Hafsa bint Umar,[13][14] Muhammad approached her with a mahar of either 400 dirhams or 12 ounces of gold, and offered to marry her.[10][15] There has been debate about how the marriage was proposed, in Ibn Kalbi's al-Isaba, he claimed that Muhammad proposed to her directly - while Ibn Hisham wrote that her uncle, Quobaisa bin Arm al-Hilali had arranged the marriage proposal.[4]

It was said the marriage, which took place during the month of Ramadan,[4] was meant to assure his followers that their deaths in battle would not mean their families would starve and be neglected.[6] She was the first of his wives to come from outside the Quraysh tribe.[5][16] At one point, a poor man came to her house to beg for some flour, and she gave him the last of her own, and went without food that night. Muhammad was moved by her compassion, and told his other wives about it and preached that "if you have faith in Allah...he would provide for your sustenance, even as he doeth for the birds, who leave their nest hungry in the morning, but return full at night".[10]


Jannat al-Baqi cemetery, where Zaynab is buried.

She died less than two years later, the second of Muhammad's three wives that died before him. It has been suggested she died during the month of Rabi' al-thani, four years after the Hijra.[4]

She was buried in Jannat al-Baqi, carried into her grave by Muhammad.[3][10]

After her death, her household in Muhammad's circle remained empty for a notable period of time, before his sixth wife, Umm Salama was moved in, and noted "He married me and moved me to the chamber of Zaynab bint Khuzayma, the Mother of the Poor".[17]


  1. ^ Lings, Martin, "Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources", 1983. p. 201.
  2. ^ Awde, Nicholas. "Women in Islam", 2000. p. 10
  3. ^ a b Khaled, Amr. The Mothers of the Believers: Zaynab Bint Khuzayma
  4. ^ a b c d, Lady Zainab bint Khozaima
  5. ^ a b c d Prophet Muhammad for All, Hadrat Zainab
  6. ^ a b c Wessels, Antonie. "A Modern Arabic Biography of Muhammad", p. 107
  7. ^ Ibn Hisham, The Life of the Prophet, Book IV. c. 833.
  8. ^ Kloppenborg, Ria. "Female stereotypes in religious traditions", p. 89
  9. ^ Marriage to Daughter-in-law
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Ahmed, M. Mukkaram. "Encyclopaedia of Islam", 2005. p. 141
  11. ^ Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad, p. 419
  12. ^ Hatimy, Said Abdullah Saif. "Woman in Islam", 1979. p. 105
  13. ^ Isaba, Isti'ab, Jamhara, 262 and Tabari III, 179
  14. ^ Sharma, KM. Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, "What's In a Name?", 1997.
  15. ^ Muslim World League Journal, 1998
  16. ^ Bodley, Ronald V. "The Messenger: The Wives of Mohammed", 1946.
  17. ^ Ibn Hisham I, 345. II, 294. Tabari III, 177. Nasab Quraysh, 316