Zaynab bint Jahsh: Wikis


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Part of a series on Islam
Wives of Muhammad

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid

Sawda bint Zama

Aisha bint Abi Bakr

Hafsa bint Umar

Zaynab bint Khuzayma

Hind bint Abi Umayya

Zaynab bint Jahsh

Juwayriya bint al-Harith

Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan

Rayhana bint Zayd

Safiyya bint Huyayy

Maymuna bint al-Harith

Maria al-Qibtiyya

Zaynab bint Jahsh (Arabic: زينب بنت جحش‎, born c. 593) was a wife of Muhammad and therefore a Mother of the Believers.[1] Prior to this, she was briefly married to Muhammad's adopted son, Zayd ibn Harithah.


Early life

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 an Abyssinian and a former slave, Zaynab had an aristocratic lineage, thus having a higher social status. On these grounds her brothers rejected the proposal and she disapproved of it.[2]

Muhammad, however, was determined to eliminate such class distinctions under pre-Islamic Arab custom. He also wanted to establish the legitimacy and right to equal treatment of the adopted.[3]

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.[4]

Whatever the reasons, Muhammad insisted on the marriage. When Qur'an 33:36 was revealed, Zaynab acquiesced and married Zayd in the year 626.[5][6] However, Zayd divorced Zaynab and their marriage lasted just over a year.[7]

Marriage with Muhammad

Since Zaynab was the wife of Muhammad's adopted son, pre-Islamic practices belonging to a lower, communalistic level of familial institutions where a child's paternity was not definitely known, considered such a marriage to be a taboo. Such a view considered a biological son to be the same as an adopted one. The idea, was she was the wife of his adopted son, and the adopted sons were counted the same as a biological son.[8]

It has been suggested that Muhammad initially feared public opinion. The Qur'an, however, indicated that this marriage was valid. Thus Muhammad, confident of his faith in the Qur'an, proceeded to reject the existing Arabic norms.[9] When Zaynab's waiting period from her divorce was complete, Muhammad married her.[10]

We read in Sura Al-Ahzab 33:3733:37,

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.

See also


  1. ^ Rosalind Ward Gwynne (2004). Logic, Rhetoric, and Legal Reasoning in the Qur'an: God's Arguments. Routledge. p. 45. ISBN 0415324769.  
  2. ^ Watt (1974), page 158.
  3. ^ Caesar E. Farah, Islam: Beliefs and Observances, p.69
  4. ^ Watt (1974), page 157-158.
  5. ^ Maududi (1967), vol. 4, p. 108
  6. ^ Haykal, p.295
  7. ^ Maududi (1967), vol. 4, p. 112-3
  8. ^ Watt, "Aisha bint Abu Bakr", Encyclopaedia of Islam Online
  9. ^ Watt(1956), p.330-1
  10. ^ Watt, page 156.

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