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Holy Prophet’s marriage with Zainab binte Jahash

Hayat Al-Qulub Vol. 1,
By: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi

Ibn Babawayh etc. have narrated from reliable chains of narrators from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that one day the Holy Prophet (S) went to the house of Zaid bin Haritha bin Sharjeel Kalbi. When he entered, he saw that the wife of Zaid was taking a bath. The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Glory be the one Who has created you.” By this statement he meant that she must consider the Almighty Allah as pure and free from the saying of infidels who say that angels are the daughters of God, as the Almighty Allah has Himself said: “What! has then your Lord preferred to give you sons, and (for Himself) taken daughters from among the angels? Most surely you utter a grievous saying.”[537]
When the Holy Prophet (S) saw her bathing, he said: “I consider pure the one who has created you from the fact that he should have a son who is needful of purification and bath.” When Zaid returned home, Zainab told him about what the Prophet had said. Zaid thought that the Prophet had stated thus because he found Zainab beautiful. Then he came to the Prophet and said: “My wife is having a bad nature, I want to divorce her.”
The Prophet said: “Protect your wife and fear the Almighty, because the Almighty Allah had revealed to him the number of his wives and their names of the world and the hereafter, and Zainab was among them and the Prophet knew this, but he did not reveal this to Zaid or anyone else fearing that people would say that Muhammad tells his slave that “your wife will be married to me one day.”
And according to another report, the Prophet feared that the hypocrites will say that Muhammad considers wives of others as his wife and mother of believers. And thus they would make allegations about the Prophet. Therefore the Almighty Allah ordered His Prophet to keep the matter concealed, that which the Almighty Allah was about to reveal and the Prophet continued to fear the allegations of the people.
Thus Zaid bin Haritha divorced Zainab and after the waiting period the Almighty Allah married her to the Prophet and revealed those verses, because He knew that the hypocrites will make allegations against the Messenger of Allah (S), so He revealed the following verse: “There is no harm in the Prophet doing that which Allah has ordained for him; such has been the course of Allah with respect to those who have gone before; and the command of Allah is a decree that is made absolute.”[538]
Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) said that the Almighty Allah never became a guardian for the marriage of anyone of His creatures except for Hawwa and Adam and for Zainab and the Messenger of Allah (S) because He has said: “We gave her to you as a wife…”
And married Lady Fatima Zahra to Imam Ali (a.s.).
Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated that since Zainab binte Jahash whose mother was Amima binte Abdul Muttalib, and the Holy Prophet (S) has asked for her hand for Zaid, but she furiously declined to become Zaid’s wife. And Zainab’s brother, Abdullah bin Jahash also said the same thing, upon which the following verse was revealed: “And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman…”[539]
Thus Zainab said: I have agreed and given authority to the Holy Prophet (S). The Prophet married her to Zaid and sent ten gold coins and sixty silver coins as her dower and a veil and a covering sheet, a shirt and a pair of pajama, fifty seers of food and thirty Saa-a (120 seer) dates.
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that when the Holy Prophet (S) married Zainab himself, since he liked her very much, he gave dinner in which he invited the companions. When all companions has finished eating they wanted to remain with the Prophet and converse with him, whereas the Holy Prophet (S) wanted privacy with Zainab. At that moment the following verse was revealed: “O you who believe! do not enter the houses of the Prophet unless permission is given to you for a meal, not waiting for its cooking being finished- but when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken the food, then disperse- not seeking to listen to talk; surely this gives the Prophet trouble, but he forbears from you, and Allah does not forbear from the truth. And when you ask of them any goods, ask of them from behind a curtain; this is purer for your hearts and (for) their hearts; and it does not behove you that you should give trouble to the Apostle of Allah, nor that you should marry his wives after him ever; surely this is grievous in the sight of Allah.”[540]
[537] Surah Isra 17:40
[538] Surah Ahzab 33:38
[539] Surah Ahzab 33:36
[540] Surah Ahzab 33:53

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