|Part of a series on Islam
Wives of Muhammad
Zaynab bint Jahsh
Zaynab bint Jahsh (Arabic: زينب بنت جحش, born c. 593) was a wife of Muhammad and therefore a Mother of the Believers. Prior to this, she was briefly married to Muhammad's adopted son, Zayd ibn Harithah.
She had a sister named Hammanah bint Jahsh.
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.
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.
Whatever the reasons, Muhammad insisted on the marriage. When Qur'an 33:36 was revealed, Zaynab acquiesced and married Zayd in the year 626. However, Zayd divorced Zaynab and their marriage lasted just over a year.
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.
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. When Zaynab's waiting period from her divorce was complete, Muhammad married her.
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.