Zaynab was born ten years before her father was commissioned as a Prophet. She was the first child born to Muhammad (PBUH) and Khadeejah, and she belonged to the noblest parents in the world. Her father, Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah (Peace Be Upon Him) was the one Allah sent as a mercy to the all humanity. He was the chief of the Prophets and the Seal of the Messengers.
Her mother, Khadeejah, was the best of all females of the human race. She was superior in lineage, nobility, virtue and knowledge. She was married to the dearest of Allah's creatures to Him.
She was born to a great Qurayshi man, of a noble descent that had no equal in all Arabia. She was well received by that home of unparalleled repute, because she was a product of a happy marriage that was based upon mutual love, sincere affection and great respect.
Zaynab, when she arrived at her parent's home, was a sweet basil that exuded a lovely fragrance and an overwhelming splendor. Like other children of noble Arabs, she was given to a wet nurse. When she had had her share of that, the gracious home of her parents embraced her with great love and affection once again.
As she grew into an adolescent, her mother started training her to shoulder domestic responsibilities. She tried to keep her away from childhood frivolities. While she was still a young girl, Zaynab was an attentive teacher and a caring sister to her younger sister Fatimah. She would take care of her needs and play with her. This responsibility became greater after the death of their mother, Khadeejah.
When Zaynab was old enough for marriage, her cousin (the son of her maternal aunt), Abu al-'Aas ibn Rabee' came forward, asking for her hand in marriage. He was very close to his aunt Khadeejah, who treated him like her own son and showed love and compassion to him. He was - despite his young age - one of the leading merchants, a wise young man who commanded the respect of the people and their elders.
Abu al Aas came forward and asked for Zaynab's hand in marriage. The Messenger of Allah Peace Be Upon Him received him well and listened to him attentively, but he requested that he be allowed to ask the person most concerned.
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) went to his daughter Zaynab aud told her, "Daughter, your cousin, Abu al-Aas Ibn Rabee', is interested in you." Zaynab kept quiet out of shyness, and she did not utter a word. Her face became red, but the beating of her pure heart and the shutting of her eyes were the best answer.
The Messenger of Allah Peace Be Upon Him smiled, and did not repeat the question. He then went back to Abu al-Aas and gave him a congratulatory handshake and supplicated for blessings.
In the matrimonial home
In their matrimonial home, Zaynab and her husband, Abu al' Aas enjoyed extreme happiness and mutual love. Zaynab bore two children to Abu al Aas a boy named 'Ali and a girl named Umamah. This brought: the happiness of their household to perfection, and the entire household was full of cheerfulness and delight. The two children were the Prophet's first grandchildren.
One day, when Abu al-Aas was on one of his journeys. a great event happened: The Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) was called to Prophethood and was commissioned to deliver a divine message. Zaynab followed her father and embraced Islam, as did her mother and her sisters. When her husband came back from his journey, she told him what had happened while he was away. He also heard the same news from other people.
Abu al-Aas told his beloved wife, Zaynab, "By Allah, I have nothing against your father, and nothing would be dearer to me than following the same path with you, my dear. But I would hate for people to say that r have disappointed my clan by disbelieving in the deities of my ancestors in order to please my wife. Can you please excuse me?" They then embraced each other.
Suddenly, they separated as if a barrier had been erected between them. On that night, neither of them slept. Nor did they sleep on subsequent nights.
Zaynab awoke one morning to hear that the Quraysh were in pursuit of the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him), who had left Makkah for Yathrib (Medinah) as an emigrant. When she heard of his safe arrival there, she was happy. After some days, an envoy'?' came from Yathrib and escorted Zaynab's sisters, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah, to Madinah. Zaynab remained in Makkah in her husband's house, waiting for Allah's decision concerning her situation.
Battle of Badr
After the immigration of Prophet Peace Be Upon Him and Companions to Medinah, the Quraish of Mecca wanted to destroy this small and growing power for ever so that their supremacy remain in the Arab World. Quraish of Makkah launched an attack on Medina. When Prophet Peace Be Upon Him heard he decided to confront the arriving army out of Medinah at a place called Badr and this Battle was called battle of Badr. It was 17th Ramdan. Muslim army camped there, waiting for arrival of the Quraysh.
Abu al-'Aas, the captive!
Abu al- 'Aas had set out in the company of Quraysh during their mobilization to protect their caravan that was being threatened by the Muslims. A fight at Badr; the Muslims won, and Abu al-Aas was taken captive at the hands of Muslims.
When the captives were: paraded before the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him), told those who were holding him, "Treat the captives well."
Back in Makkah, Zaynab was in an unenviable position. When it was time to ransom the captives, she wanted her husband returned to her, and by that aroused the concern of her great father. She brought out from her jewelry box a necklace that used to be her mother's, and which Khadeejah had presented to her as a gift on her wedding day. She gave this necklace to her brother-in-law, "Amr ibn Rabee', and asked him to take it and present it as ransom for her husband.
As soon as the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) saw that necklace, he had a feeling of extreme compassion, and his heart palpitated from the vivid memory. The Companions who were present gazed in amazement, having being captivated by the significance of the situation. After a long silence, the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) addressed the Companions who were holding Zaynab's husband, saying, "If you can release your captive to her and return her property (the necklace) to her, do so."
They all said, "Yes, we will do so, Messenger of Allah!"
Nevertheless, the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) requested that Abu al-'Aas send Zaynab to him, because Islam had already separated them. Abu al-Aas made a pledge that he would do so.
Abu al-'As returned to Makkah, and his wife was very happy to have him back; but sorrow and distress could be seen all over his face. He told his wife, "Zaynab, I have come to bid you farewell," and he told her of the pledge he had made to her father that he would send her to him.
Zaynab reluctantly departed from Makkah and bade Abu al' Aas an emotional farewell. He told her, "Zaynab, whatever happens, I shall always love you as long as I live. However, as she was on her way out of the city, the Quraysh accosted her, and returned her forcibly to Makkah. She was terrified by what had happened. Abu al-'Aas gave her protection in his house and took care of her until she regained some of her health and strength.
One day, he seized upon Quraysh's inattention and sent her out of Makkah in the company of his brother Kinanah, who brought her safely to the Messenger of Allah.
Captive once again
Abu al-'As travelled to Syria with a Qurayshi caravan. When information reached the Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) that the caravan was on its way back from Syria, he sent Zayd ibn Harithah, in the company of one hundred and seventy riders, to waylay it. They met the caravan at a place called 'Ees. They overcame the caravan and returned to Medinah, taking those who were guarding the caravan as captives.
As for Abu al- 'Aas, he was able to escape, and that night sought refuge in the house of his former wife, Zaynab. Who gave him protection. It was in the night. When the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) finished the fajr prayer, Zaynab stood up in the mosque and called out, interceding on behalf of her former husband: "I have given protection to Abu al-'Aas ibn Rabee'!"
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said, "0 people, did you hear what I have just heard?" The people answered in the affirmative. He then said, "I swear by Him in Whose Hand is my life, I knew nothing of this matter until I heard what you have also heard now." He added,
"The Muslims are like one hand against those who are inside their community, and the lowest of the Muslims is entitled to give protection on behalf of the rest of his fellow Muslims. So we give protection to the one to whom she has given protection."
When the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) returned home, his daughter Zaynab came to him and requested that Abu al-'Aas be given back the property that had been taken from him in the raid on the caravan. He agreed, but warned her that she should not allow him have any conjugal relations with her, because she was not lawful for him as long as he was still a polytheist.
How did he escape to Zaynab?
After those who were with him had been either killed or captured, Abu al-' Aas could no longer face the situation. He used the cover of the night to escape into what looked like a thicket of heavily branched trees, and hid there. He stayed there in a chilling cold, fearing what might be his fate.
After a part of the night had passed, the Muslims who had attacked him, killed his companions and prevailed over their property had left. Abu al- 'Aas thought hard: what should he do now? Should he come out of his hiding place and head for Makkah alone, with no provisions and no mount to ride on? Or should he go to the house of Zaynab, his beloved and dutiful former wife, who would never refuse to give him shelter and protection?
He was overwhelmed by love and sincere feelings, so he sneaked to her house under the cover of night and knocked at her door. The throbbing of his disturbed heart could be heard louder than his knocking on the door.
Zaynab woke up in fear, wondering who could be knocking at her door at this hour of the night. She asked who it was at the door, and the voice was one she recognized: - the sonorous, shaking voice of Abu al-'Aas
She opened the door and met her beloved husband. In this encounter, It was their eyes that talked, rather than their tongues; it was their two hearts that took hold of one another, rather than their hands; and it was their souls that embraced one another, rather than their arms. And the eyes shed plentiful tears.
Zaynab brought Abu al-' Aas in, fed him, offered him a seat and did all that she could to make him comfortable and relaxed. In spite of having regained some peace of mind, Abu al- 'Aas was still anxious and afraid, and he could utter only a few Worlds. Zaynab knew that he had come to seek her protection and shelter and to ask her to intercede with her father on his behalf. She assured him that, if Allah willed, she would do alleviate his suffering and doubts.
When Abu al- 'Aas felt that he could attain security in Medinah and that the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) had provided refuge and shelter to him, he experienced the magnanimity and truthfulness that were part of Islam, and he realized that the blind state of ignorance in which he was living had misled him for too long.
He also realized that Zaynau's love for "him, and his love for her, was full' rooted in both their hearts. When he realized this, he wanted to enter into the fold of this pure religion willingly; there was no coercion. Be wanted to proclaim his acceptance of Islam,
But he thought,
'but' that Abu al- 'Aas hesitated a little. His Arab gallantry and tribal pride swirled up in him. He resolved that he would not allow his proclamation of Islam to be attributed to any influence or pressure. He did not want anyone in Makkah to claim that he had accepted Islam far the love of this wife, or the fear of death Or anything else. He decided to proclaim his Islam in the assemblies of Makkah, in front of all and sundry.
There was another issue that concerned him: he had the property of other people in his trust. If he remained in Medinah and announced his Islam there, people would say that he wanted [0 escape from returning this property to those to whom they were due. His sense of honor would not permit this. Therefore, he returned to Makkab, returned the trusts to whom they were due and then proclaimed his Islam in the assembly of the Quraysh, in the presence of many people. He did so in a dignified and honorable manner. Once he had done all that, he went to Madinah as a Muslim and an immigrant, upon his arrival in Madinah. The Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) gave Zaynab back to him. The happy reunion took place, and the marriage contract was completed anew. The happiness and prosperity for which their household had been known before, returned.
The final separation
For a whole year afterwards, the loving couple lived in Medinah in happiness and contentment. Then came the eternal separation after which there is no reunion except in the abode of the Hereafter. Zaynab died at the beginning of the 5th year of the Hijrah from complications of a hemorrhage from which she had been suffering since her migration.
Abu ai-'Aas shed hot tears because of her death, which drove those who were around him to tears of sympathy. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) came with eyes full of tears and a heart full of sorrow. Zaynabs death reminded him of the death of his wife, Khadeejah. He told the women gathered around Zaynab's corpse, "Wash her three times, and use camphor in the third wash."
He performed funeral prayers over her and escorted her to her final resting place.
Abu al- 'Aas returned to his children, 'Ali and Umamah, kissing them and wetting them with his tears while remembering the face of his departed darling.
May Allah reward Zaynab, the Prophet's daughter, with Paradise for her patience, endurance and struggle! May Allah be pleased with her, and please her!