Zainab bint Muhammad
Hazrat Zainab (r.a) was the eldest daughter of Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Khadija (r.a). Abu al-‘As ibn Rabi’ was the cousin of Hazrat Zainab (r.a), and Prophet (PBUH) loved him so much. One day he asked Prophet (PBUH) to marry her daughter Zainab. Prophet (PBUH) replied, let me first ask from Zainab. When the Prophet (PBUH) asked Zainab (r.a), she smiled, and her face turned red with bashfulness.
So Hazrat Zainab married Abu al-‘As ibn Rabi’. They had two sons, Ali and Omama. When Prophet (PBUH) became a prophet, Abu al-‘As ibn Rabi’ was not in Makah. Zainab Bint Muhammad (RA) accepted Islam. When her husband returned home, she told her that there was great news that my father became a Prophet and now I am Muslim.
He stood up and left her; she ran before him he said that why didn’t you inform me first. So the battle of religion and belief began between the two. She told her that now I would not believe my father because my father is an honest and trustworthy man. She told him that I am not only a believer; my mother and sisters too became Muslim; in fact, your friend Abu Bakar and Ali ibn Abi Talib also became Muslim.
He did not accept Islam, and migration came. Hazrat Zainab went to his father and asked him to stay with her husband. Prophet (PBUH) gave her permission to stay with her husband and children. So Zainab (RA) stayed with her family in Makah till the battle of Badar occurred. Her husband fights against the Muslims with the army of Quraysh. For Zainab Bint Muhammad, it meant that her husbands were fighting her father, a time Zainab Bint Muhammad had continuously feared. She cried out
“O Allah, I fear one day the sun may rise, and my children become orphans, or I lose my father.”
Then the battle started and ended in victory for Muslims. Her husband got captured by Muslims, and this news spread in Makah. So Zainab Bint Muhammad asked, “what did my father do,” they said their father and Muslims won. She thanked ALLAH and then asked what did my husband do? They told her that “he got captured by Muslims.” She replied that I would send some payment to release him. She did not have anything of value; she took off her mother’s necklace and sent it to the Prophet.
When Prophet (PBUH) saw the Khadija’s necklace and asked whose payment was, he informed that “Abu AL ‘As ibn Rabi.” When the Prophet saw the necklace, he went from great compassion. Prophet stood up and asked his companions, “People, this man is my in-law, should I release him? And do you accept the return of this necklace to my daughter?” they replied, yes, Messenger of ALLAH.
Prophet (PBUH) gave the necklace back to Abu al-‘As and said that tell my daughter Hazrat Zainab Bint Muhammad not to give away the necklace of Khadija then Prophet asked him that can we talk privately he said yes, the Prophet told him that ALLAH told me to separate between believer and non-believer so could you return me, my daughter, he agreed.
Hazrat Zainab Bint Muhammad was waiting for her husband when he finally came and told her that “I am going away” she asked where he said it was not me who was going. Instead, you are going to your father. We can’t stay together because you are a Muslim and I am not. She asked her, “will you accept Islam and come with me?” but he rejected.
So Hazrat Zainab Bint Muhammad went to Madinah with her children and didn’t marry for six years because she was waiting for her husband to come back one day. After six years, Abu al-‘As traveled from Makah to Syria and got captured by some of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH). He escaped and searched for Zainab’s home. He knocked on the door before the dawn prayer. Zainab Bint Muhammad opened the door and asked whether he accepted Islam. He replied, no, I come as an offender. She again insisted on him, “can you become Muslim?” again, he replied no.
When the Prophet and his companions prayed the dawn prayer in the congregation, they heard a voice from masjid’s back that “I have freed Abu AL ‘As ibn Rabi.” Zainab Bint Muhammad had granted his freedom. Prophet (PBUH) asked his companions have you heard what I heard? They all replied yes. Zainab Bint Muhammad (RA) said that as he is the father of my children, I have freed him.
The Prophet asked people that this man was the perfect son-in-law and never told lies, so if you all accept, I will let him go to his home and return his money to him, but if you refuse, I will not blame you. They all agreed. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) went to Zainab Bint Muhammad and told her that we had freed him O Zainab. Then the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, don’t let him come near you because he is prohibited for you. She replied I would do as you say.
She went to her husband and asked him to accept Islam and stay with them. But he refused to become Muslim, took his money, and returned to Makah.
When he went to Makah, he announced that o people here is your money. Is there anything that is left there? They all thanked him and said nothing was left there. Then Abu AL’ As said,
“I testify that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger.”
After that, he went back to Madinah and ran to Prophet (PBUH) and said that he freed me. Now I accept that there is no God but Allah, and you are the messenger of ALLAH.
Then he asked that you permit me to go back to Zainab Bint Muhammad. Prophet (PBUH) smiled and replied, come with me. They went to Zainab’s house, knocked at the door, and the Prophet told her that he had come to me and asked if he could return to you. She smiled, and her face turned red, just like 20 years.
After one year of this incident, Hazrat Zainab Bint Muhammad died. Abu AL ‘As shed hot tears due to her death and drove people around him to tears. The Prophet came to him with eyes full of tears and consoled him.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told the lady, who gathered around Hazrat Zainab’s corpse, to Wash her three times and use the camphor in the third wash.” After funeral prayers, Abu AL’ As returned to his children’s kissing them with eyes full of tears. People saw Prophet (PBUH) weeping and calming him down. Abu AL’ As would say,
“By Allah, I cannot stand this life anymore without Zainab.”
He died a year after Zainab’s death.