August is Women`s Month and therefore we will focus this week on the life of one of the outstanding Muslim women.
Zainab bint Muhammed ﷺ – Early Life and Marriage
The Prophet ﷺ had four daughters all whom were born to his first wife Khadeejah (RadhiyAllahu ‘anha). The oldest of his daughters was Zainab (radhiAllahu anha) and the youngest of his daughters was Fatimah (radhiAllahu anha). Ruqayyah and Ummu Kulthoom (radhiAllahu anhuma) were second and third oldest, respectively. All of them passed away within his lifetime, expect for Fatimah (radhiAllahu anha) who died 6 months after his death.
Zainab (RadhiyAllahu ‘anha) was born ten years before the Prophethood, when Rasoolullah ﷺ was 30 years old. The name Zainab is a combination of two different words; ‘Zain’ which means ‘ornament’, and ‘Ab,’ which means ‘father;’ thus her name means ‘the ornament or the jewel of her father.’
She was the very first child born to the noblest and best parents in the world. Her father, Muhammad ibn Abdullah ﷺ is the one who Allah sent as a mercy to mankind. He is the Leader of all the Prophets and the Seal of the Messengers (Alayhis Salaam).
Zainab (radhiAllahu anha)’s mother, Khadijah (radhiAllahu anha) is from amongst the leaders of all the women of the world. She had an honourable lineage, nobility, virtue and knowledge. She was also married to the dearest of Allah’s servants to Him.
Having the greatest parents in the world, Zainab (radhiAllahu anha) grew up in a household of righteousness, wisdom and love. Like other children of noble Arabs, she was given to a wet nurse. And when she had had her share of that, the gracious house of her parents embraced her with great love and affection once again.
When she grew up to be an adolescent, her mother started training her on how to look after the household responsibilities. She tried to keep her away from childish nonsense. While she was still a young girl, Zainab (radhiAllahu anha) was, to her younger sister Fatimah (radhiAllahu anha), a great educator and a caring sister. She would take care of her affairs and play with her. This responsibility became greater after the death of their mother, Khadijah bint Khuwailid (radhiAllahu anha).
When Zainab (radhiAllahu anha) was old enough for marriage, she was married to Abul -‘Aas ibn al-Rabee’ al-Qurashi, who was the son of her maternal aunt Haalah bint Khuwailid. He was very close to his aunt Khadijah (radhiAllahu anha) who treated him like her own son and showed love and compassion to him.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was also pleased with his good character and pleasant nature.
They cherished one another, and she had a special place in the hearts of her husband, her mother-in-law, and her own parents. The joy between the two families increased when the couple was blessed with two beautiful children.
Zainab (radhiAllahu anha) and Abul-Aas had two children: a boy named ‘Ali and a girl named Umamah. This brought even more happiness and delight to their blessed household. The two children were the Prophet’s first grandchildren.
But due to a being a trader and a well-placed person among his people, Abul-Aas travelled a lot. He would be away in Syria for many days and nights due to which Zainab (radhiAllahu anha) would feel sad and worried about his condition.