Zaynab (R.A)’s Kuniyat was Al Hakam. Her mother’s name was Umaimah, a daughter of Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of Muhammad (S.A.W). Zaynab (R.A) was therefore a first cousin of the Nabi (S.A.W).
She was influenced by the teachings of her brother, Abdullah bin Jahsh, to become a Muslim. Beautiful, intelligent and of noble birth, she was the envy of many. Zaynab (R.A) was also a woman who was constantly immersed in the worship of Allah.
Zaynab (R.A) was of a short stature but beautiful and balanced in appearance. She was careful in narrating Traditions and only eleven sayings of Nabi (S.A.W) are reported by her on the authority of Umm-e-Habibah (R.A).
She was generous by nature and most contented in life. She earned livelihood by dent of hard work and whatever she earned; she gave away in charity in the way of Allah. A’isha (R.A) stated that with the sad death of Zaynab (R.A), the poor and destitute in Madinah Munawwarah were disturbed and became sad.
A’isha (R.A) also mentioned that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) once said to them, “The most immediate of you to join me is the one with the longest hand.”
She went on to mention how the Ummahatul Mu’mineen began to stretch their hands up onto a wall in order to know which of them had the longest hand. Zaynab (R.A), being the shortest, had the shortest arms. However, she was the first wife to pass away after Nabi (S.A.W). It was then understood what Nabi (S.A.W) had used the term ‘long hands’ as a reference to one who had the greatest characteristics of generosity.
Nabi (S.A.W) was well aware that it is a person’s standing in the eyes of Allah that is important, rather than his or her status in the eyes of the people. He therefore wanted her to marry Zayd ibn Harith, although his background was very different to that of Zaynab bint Jahsh. Their marriage lasted a year before ending in divorce.
Nabi (S.A.W) received the command to marry Zaynab while he was with A’isha. After he had received the revelation, he smiled and said, “Who will go and give Zaynab the good news?” and he recited the Ayat that he had received. When Zaynab heard the news, she stopped what she was doing and made Shukr to Allah. Afterwards, she was fond of pointing out that her marriage had been arranged by Allah.
Zaynab bint Jahsh (R.A) married Muhammad (S.A.W) in 5 AH, when she was 35 and Nabi (S.A.W), 58. As with all the marriages of Nabi (S.A.W), there was much for all the Muslims to learn from it.
By marrying Zaynab (R.A), Muhammad (S.A.W) demonstrated beyond doubt that in Islam, an adopted son is not regarded in the same light as a natural son, and that although a father may never marry a woman whom his natural son has married and then divorced, the father of an adopted son is permitted to marry a woman who was once, but is no longer, married to that adopted son. Furthermore, by marrying Zaynab (R.A), Nabi (S.A.W) also confirmed that it is permissible for cousins to marry.
Zaynab (R.A) passed away during the Khilafat of Umar Farooq (R.A) at the age of 53. Before her death, she told the people around her that she already prepared a kafn for herself and that if Umar (R.A) sent one for her, they should use one and give the other away in charity
Don’t forget to recite as much Durood as you can!
Love and Duas,