Prophet Muhammad’s Marriage with Zainab bint Jahsy

Hi all readers! In this article I will convey about the movement of social paradigm change behind the marriage of the Prophet Muhammad with Zainab binti Khuzaimah. What is interesting in this discussion is that we will see how Islam erases the differences in social status that were previously highly upheld by the people at that time. Even today we still find an attitude that distinguishes one person from another because of differences in social status.
Okay! This wife of the Prophet Muhammad named Zainab bint Jahsy bin Ri’ab bin Ya’mar bin Shabirah bin Murrah bin Kutsair bin Ghanam bin Daud bin Asad bin Khuzaimah. Her real name is Barrah. Her mother is Amimah binti Abdul Muthallib bin Hasyim, the aunt of the Prophet Muhammad.
 
Zainab bint Jahsy is a beautiful white woman. She was a noble woman at that time. One day the Prophet Muhammad came to her to ask for her hand for Zaid bin Harithah. At first, she didn’t know about that. She thought that he came to apply for himself. After she knows the truth, she rejects the application. Her brother also refused. He then left leaving them both in a state of anger. After that came the word of Allah Ta’ala;
 
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤۡمِنٖ وَلَا مُؤۡمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى ٱللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُۥٓ أَمۡرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ ٱلۡخِيَرَةُ مِنۡ أَمۡرِهِمۡۗ وَمَن يَعۡصِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ فَقَدۡ ضَلَّ ضَلَٰلٗا مُّبِينٗا ٣٦  
 
And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying. (Al-Ahzaab [33]; 36)

Read; Prophet Muhammad’s Lake

 

After Zainab bint Jahsy and her brother heard the verse, they were both afraid of being exposed to the wrath of Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger. They both finally agreed with his proposal.
 
Actually, the Prophet Muhammad proposed to Zainab bint Jahsy was to apply the standard of obedience and glory according to Islam, that in essence all humans were the same. What distinguishes them is the devotion to Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala said;
 
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقۡنَٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٖ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلۡنَٰكُمۡ شُعُوبٗا وَقَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓاْۚ إِنَّ أَكۡرَمَكُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتۡقَىٰكُمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٞ ١٣  
 
O you men! Surely, We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware. (Al-Hujuraat [49]; 13).
 
Zaid bin Harithah was a slave who had been freed by the Prophet Muhammad. At first he was a slave sold at the ‘Ukadh market in Mecca. He became a slave because one day his mother, Sa’di binti Tsa’labah bint Aflat, took him to visit his family. On the way they were attacked by al-Qain bin Jasr’s group. He is then captured and sold. He was then bought by Judge bin Hizam bin Khualid al-Makhzumi, who was then given to Khadijah binti Khualid. Khadijah bint Khualid then gave it to the Prophet Muhammad.
 
The incident occurred before the Prophet Muhammad was appointed as a Prophet and Apostle. Zaid bin Haritsah was still 8 years old.
 
The family of Zaid bin Harithah missed him very much. His father had done various ways to find it, but it didn’t work. One day some people from Bani Kalb went to Mecca to perform the Hajj. They see him (Zaid) there. He also recognized them. He then revealed his longing for his people. Long story short, they then returned home and told them what they had seen.
 
Zaid’s father and uncle then came to Mecca. The two of them then looked for the Prophet Muhammad to redeem Zaid. They were both told that he was at the mosque. The two of them then met him and revealed their arrival. When he heard the testimony of the two of them, he told Zaid to come to meet them. He said to both of them, “Give him a choice! If he chooses you then he becomes yours without ransom. But if he chooses me, then for the sake of Allah, I am not the person who chooses the ransom and leaves the person who has chosen me.” They both said, “Really, you are fair to us.”

Read; The Resurrection of All Beings from the Grave

When Zaid came to them, the Prophet Muhammad asked him, “Do you recognize the two of them?” He replied, “Yes. This is my father and this is my uncle.” The Prophet Muhammad said, “I am the person you know. You have known my friendship to you. Then choose me or choose them!” He said, “I am not a person who will choose someone else and leave you; to me you are in the position of father and uncle.” His father and uncle said, “Woe to you, O Zaid! Do you choose to be a slave to an independent person, rather than your father, uncle, and family?” He said, “Yes. Really I have seen something from this person that made me not choose someone else and leave him.”
 
When the Prophet Muhammad knew Zaid’s answer, he then went out to Hajar Aswad and said, “You witness! That Zaid is my child. He can inherit me and I can inherit it.” When his father and uncle saw that, their hearts were both calm. The two of them then left. From that time Zaid bin Harithah was called Zaid bin Muhammad to descend the word of Allah Ta’ala;
 
وَإِذۡ تَقُولُ لِلَّذِيٓ أَنۡعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡهِ وَأَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِ أَمۡسِكۡ عَلَيۡكَ زَوۡجَكَ وَٱتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ وَتُخۡفِي فِي نَفۡسِكَ مَا ٱللَّهُ مُبۡدِيهِ وَتَخۡشَى ٱلنَّاسَ وَٱللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخۡشَىٰهُۖ فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ زَيۡدٞ مِّنۡهَا وَطَرٗا زَوَّجۡنَٰكَهَا لِكَيۡ لَا يَكُونَ عَلَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ حَرَجٞ فِيٓ أَزۡوَٰجِ أَدۡعِيَآئِهِمۡ إِذَا قَضَوۡاْ مِنۡهُنَّ وَطَرٗاۚ وَكَانَ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ مَفۡعُولٗا ٣٧  
 
And when you said to him to whom Allah had shown favor and to whom you had shown a favor: Keep your wife to yourself and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; and you concealed in your soul what Allah would bring to light, and you feared men, and Allah had a greater right that you should fear Him. But when Zaid had accomplished his want of her, We gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished their want of them; and Allah´s command shall be performed. (Al-Ahzaab [33]; 37)
 
ٱدۡعُوهُمۡ لِأٓبَآئِهِمۡ هُوَ أَقۡسَطُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِۚ فَإِن لَّمۡ تَعۡلَمُوٓاْ ءَابَآءَهُمۡ فَإِخۡوَٰنُكُمۡ فِي ٱلدِّينِ وَمَوَٰلِيكُمۡۚ وَلَيۡسَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ جُنَاحٞ فِيمَآ أَخۡطَأۡتُم بِهِۦ وَلَٰكِن مَّا تَعَمَّدَتۡ قُلُوبُكُمۡۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَفُورٗا رَّحِيمًا ٥  
 
Assert their relationship to their fathers; this is more equitable with Allah; but if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brethren in faith and your friends; and there is no blame on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, but (concerning) that which your hearts do purposely (blame may rest on you), and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Al-Ahzaab [33]; 5)
 
When the great title as “Son of Muhammad” was revoked, surely, he felt sad. But Allah Ta’ala replaced his sadness with other joys and pride which I will explain later.
 
In short, Zaid is married to Zainab bint Jahsy. Nevertheless, she feels she has married a man who is not worth it. She married Zaid only because he was obedient to Allah Ta’ala and Prophet Muhammad. Their marriage was not based on mutual love. This marriage without romance finally found his destiny. She was tortured by the marriage and did not give her husband the love she expected from Islam from marriage. Allah Ta’ala said;
 
أَوَ لَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَبۡسُطُ ٱلرِّزۡقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَقۡدِرُۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَٰتٖ لِّقَوۡمٖ يُؤۡمِنُونَ ٣٧  
 
Do they not see that Allah makes ample provision for whom He pleases, or straitens? Most surely there are signs in this for a people who believe. (Ar-Rum [30]; 37).
 
Zaid then complained to the Prophet Muhammad. He hoped the Prophet Muhammad gave him permission to divorce his wife. The Prophet Muhammad told him to defend the marriage. But he continued to complain about the problem to the Prophet Muhammad. Allah Ta’ala said;
 
وَإِذۡ تَقُولُ لِلَّذِيٓ أَنۡعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡهِ وَأَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِ أَمۡسِكۡ عَلَيۡكَ زَوۡجَكَ وَٱتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ وَتُخۡفِي فِي نَفۡسِكَ مَا ٱللَّهُ مُبۡدِيهِ وَتَخۡشَى ٱلنَّاسَ وَٱللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخۡشَىٰهُۖ فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ زَيۡدٞ مِّنۡهَا وَطَرٗا زَوَّجۡنَٰكَهَا لِكَيۡ لَا يَكُونَ عَلَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ حَرَجٞ فِيٓ أَزۡوَٰجِ أَدۡعِيَآئِهِمۡ إِذَا قَضَوۡاْ مِنۡهُنَّ وَطَرٗاۚ وَكَانَ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ مَفۡعُولٗا ٣٧  
 
And when you said to him to whom Allah had shown favor and to whom you had shown a favor: Keep your wife to yourself and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; and you concealed in your soul what Allah would bring to light, and you feared men, and Allah had a greater right that you should fear Him. But when Zaid had accomplished his want of her, We gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished their want of them; and Allah’s command shall be performed. (Al-Ahzaab [33]; 37).
 
In the end Zaid bin Harithah divorced Zainab bint Jahsy. Their household only lasted about one year.
 
In the few paragraphs above, I convey, that when the nickname “Zaid bin Muhammad” was deleted by the Qur’an, Allah Ta’ala gave him another joy and pride. When we look at the verse above, we know that his name is mentioned in it;
 
فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ زَيۡدٞ مِّنۡهَا وَطَرٗا
 
At least there are three virtues with the mention of the name Zaid in the verse;
 
1. Allah Ta’ala has mentioned the name Zaid.
 
2. Zaid is the only friend of the Prophet Muhammad whose name is mentioned in the Qur’an.
 
3. His name is enshrined in the Qur’an and read by Muslims throughout the world until the Day of Judgment.
 
After Zaid bin Harithah divorced Zainab bint Jahsy, Allah Ta’ala married her with the Prophet Muhammad. It was explained in the verse before Zaid divorced her. Thus, the marriage of the Prophet Muhammad with him was the command of Allah Ta’ala.
 
The meanings of the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage with Zainab bint Jahsy are as follows;
 
1. Obeying Allah’s commands as explained in the verse of the Qur’an above, that after Zain bin Harithah divorced Zainab bint Jahsy then Allah would marry the Prophet Muhammad with his ex-wife.
 
2. Removing the ban on marrying the adopted wife’s ex-wife. In the tradition of the ignorant people it is prohibited because the adopted child degree is the same as the biological child.
 
3. Equate human degrees. In the tradition of the jahilia’s people, if an independent woman marries a male slave, then the woman’s degree falls according to her husband’s position.
 
With the marriage, Zainab binti Jahsy was the wife of the Prophet Muhammad who had many privileges which his other wives did not have. Among those features are;
 
1. She was the wife of the Prophet Muhammad who had family relations with him.
 
2. Their marriage is without a guardian. The one who mediated their marriage was Gabriel. The one who married was Allah Ta’ala.
 
Zainab bint Jahsy is a woman who is very fond of charity, zuhud woman, and very afraid of Allah Ta’ala. Many historical narratives say that.
 
This Prophet’s wife died in 20 hijria during the reign of Umar bin Khattab. Before she passed away, she had prepared a shroud to wrap his body. She is the wife of the Prophet Muhammad who first followed him.
 
May Allah’s mercy and forgiveness be poured out on the mother of believers, Zainab bint Jahsy. May the mercy and forgiveness also be poured out on Zaid bin Harithah. Amen!
 
I think that is enough for this article. May be useful! Amen!
 
See you again in the next article!
 
Note; We can also find the information above in, Ali Yusuf as-Subki, Zaujaatu an-Nabiy ath-Thaahiraat wa Hikmatu Ta’addudihinna, al-Iman Publishing, Cairo, p. 143

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