HAZRAT ZAYNAB BINT HAJSH (Razi Allah-o-‘Anha)
Hazrat Zaynab Bint Hajsh was the cousin of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) being the daughter of his fathers’ real sister. She was among the early converts to Islam. She was bred and brought up under his supervision and care, she was beautiful and slim although a bit short-statured. Her marriage had some uniqueness not to be found elsewhere, as it was solemnized after the revelation of the following verse of Surah Ahzab.
“You are not disclosing the thing which Allah is going to divulge, and you are afraid of the people, although you need to fear only Allah.”
As is well-known that she was first married to Hazrat Zaid apparently a freed slave but really a pious Muslim and the adopted son of the Holy Prophet. This marriage was not a happy union, and it was broken after a year or so and ended in a divorce.
After the revelation of the verse quoted above the Holy Prophet sent the proposal of marriage to Hazrat Zaynab through Hazrat Zaid. She replied to wait till she would have her consultation with Allah on the prayer carpet. In the meantime another revelation was received by the Holy Prophet on this subject.
“Then when Zaid has dissolved (his marriage) with her, with necessary (formality), we rejoined 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 necessary formality (their marriage) with them, and Allah’s command must be fulfilled.” (3.3:37).
Next day after this revelation the marriage was solemnized and after that a walima (feast after marriage) was arranged with the following menu of Bread, Meat Curry and a Sweet dish. The sweet dish Usud-ul-Ghaba was sent by Umm Sulaim, the maternal aunt of the Holy Prophet and the mother of Hazrat Anas. The gathering at this feast comprised of 300 persons.
In this Walima feast the verse on Purdah (seclusion) was also revealed. In this verse Allah ordered the faithfuls not to visit the house of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) without invitation, and also when invited they should not waste his time in idle gossips causing inconvenience to his family. The Holy Prophet asked to hang a curtain on the door, indicating prohibition of entrance inside the house to outsiders. This event occurred in the month of Zulqader of 5A.H.
Hazrat Zaynab was among the most prominent persons among the wives of the Holy Prophet, even Hazrat Ayesha acknowledged her claim of parity with her. (Muslim)
Once Hazrat Zaynab pleaded the cause of other wives of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) very daringly and effectively and endeavoured to prove that Hazrat Ayesha did not deserve the status enjoyed by her. At this time Hazrat Aveshah was hearing the argument and was looking towards the Holy Prophet.
After Hazrat Zaynab completed her arguments, Hazrat Ayeshah with the permission of the Holy Prophet, answered her questions in a most logical way and the Holy Prophet was induced to remark “Why not! Is she not the daughter of Abu Bakr?” (Muslim)
Hazrat Umm Salamah said about Hazrat Zaynab, “Zaynab was good-natured, fast keeping and prayer offering.” (Zurqani)
Hazrat Ayeshah remarked about her, I have not seen a woman more religious-minded, more pious, more truthful, more generous and more dedicated in the service of Allah than Zaynab. The only drawback in her was her very sensitive nature, but she was good to acknowledge her mistake and would repent”. (Muslim). She was a very truthful lady and her attitude in the case, involving the honour of Hazrat Ayesha, although her own sister Hamnah was one of the accusers. When the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) asked her about the character of Hazrat Ayeshah, she immediately testified that: “I have seen nothing but goodness in Ayeshah and Hazrat Ayeshah was much obliged and thankful to her for being honest and lover of truth.
Hazrat Zaynab was a very generous lady and she used to earn her living by herself and to spend the income on the poor people. After her death the poor persons of Madina were extremely worried, because they had lost a real benefactor. (Isaba).
The author of Tabaqat states that she was the patron of destitute and poverty-stricken people. Hazrat Ayeshah praised her very much among all the wives of the Holy Prophet. She openly admitted that only Hazrat Zaynab was at par with her in all respects. (Usud-ul-Ghaba)
Hazrat Umar fixed her annual allowance at 12,000, Dirhams, but she accepted this allowance only for once. She was an expert tanner and the income which she derived from this trade was all given to the poor.
Hazrat Zainab R.A. died at the age of 53 years during the Caliphate of Hazrat Umar in the year 20 A.H. She left only her residential house as legacy and this house was purchased for 50,000 dirhams from her inheritors by Caliph Walid bin Abdul Malik for extension of the Holy Prophet’s Mosque. (Tabaqat).
According to her desire her body was carried to graveyard on the same coffin on which the body of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was carried. Caliph Umar led her funeral prayers, and she was laid to rest in the grave yard of Jannatul Baqi. Grieved at her death Hazrat Ayeshah remarked: “The respected lady is no more and left the orphans and widows broken-hearted.” (Tabaqat)