The Prophet sallahu alayhi wasalam had four daughters all whom were born to his first wife Khajidah radhiallahu anha. The oldest of his daughters was Zaynab and the youngest of his daughters was Fatimah. Ruqayah and Umm kulthum were second and third oldest, respectively. All died within his lifetime, expect for Fatimah who died 6 months after his death.
The name Zaynab is a combination of 2 different words; Zayn which means ornament, and Ab, which means father; thus her name means the ornament or the jewel of her father.
Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, was born ten years before the Prophethood. She married Abul-Aas ibn al-Rabee al-Qurashi (may Allah be pleased with him), who was the son of her maternal aunt Haalah bint Khuwaylid. However, when the Message was revealed, Zaynab and Abul Aas were temporarily separated due to the Abul-Aass refusal to accept Islam. He justified his refusal by saying:
By Allah (SWT) I trust in your father but I fear that they might circulate that I left my fathers religion to please my wife.
Zainab, may Allah be pleased with her was shocked by the disbelief of her husband. Afterwards, in the battle of Badr, Abul-Aas was taken prisoner of war. The Prophet, sallahu alayhi wasalam, recommenced to treat the prisoners kindly. Meanwhile Zaynab sent some money and a necklace to ransom her husband. It was her wedding present from her mother. No sooner did the Prophet, see this necklace he remembered his earnest loyal wife, Khadijah.
Thereupon, after a long period of pause the Prophet sallahu alayhi wasalam, said,
| If you would like to release her prisoner and repay her money you could do so|
They all said, yes messenger of Allah ( salalahu aleyhi wa sallam). Then the Prophet sallahu alayhi wasalam, took a pledge from Abul Aas to release Zainab as Islam put a barrier between them.
Having returned to Makkah, he was received by his wife with a great joy. He was very sad, he told her that he came to bid farewell to her, Zainab asked,
Where and why are you going?
You not me, I promised your father to return you to him because Islam put a barrier between us and I never break a promise.
Zainab, may Allah be pleased with her set out from Makkah to Madina but some people from the Quraysh tribe obstructed her. They terrified her until she fell off her camel while she was pregnant, she had a miscarriage. She went back to Makkah under the shelter of Abul Aas. When she recovered, he took her accompanied with his brother Kinana ibn ar-Rabei until he brought her to the Prophet, Sallalahu aleyhi wa sallam.
As years passed Zainab lived with her father in Madina hoping that Allah open the heart of Abul Aas to Islam. After 6 years Abul Aas knocked on Zainabs door. She did not believe her eyes when she found him on her door, she was about to approach him for greeting but she stopped suddenly to check his belief.
All of a sudden Abul Aas said,
I did not come to Madina as a warrior but as a merchant. Never-the- less a squad belonging to your father obstructed us and robbed my caravan as a spoil of war. But I managed to escape. I came to you to seek your intersession on the part of the Muslims.
Welcome my cousin, welcome father of Ali and Umamah.
She went forward to the Prophet after he had performed the dawn prayer. She shouted
O people I patronize Abul Aas ibn ar-Rabie.
Thereupon the Prophet, peace be upon him, went out and said,
O people did you hear what I heard?
Yes Messenger of Allah,
Then he said,
By whom in whose hand is Mohammads soul, I had not known anything about that before I heard what you heard. Muslims are one party against others. They permit the patronage of any one of them, however lower. Thus we patronize who ever she patronized.
Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, went to his daughters home and said,
Be hospitable towards him but do not be alone with him since you are not lawful to him.
Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her) asked her father to give Abul Aas his property back. Accordingly the Prophet, peace be upon him, went to his companions and said,
You know this man, whose property you took, I would like to give back his property. But if you dont like to do that it will be your booty given to by Allah.
They all replied,
We would like to give it back messenger of Allah.
Afterwards Abul Aas bid farewell to Zainab and set out for Makkah. Having arrived there with his prosperous caravan he began to give back what he had taken from people. Then he stood and shouted
O people of Quraysh is there anyone in debts to me?
No you are loyal and generous
Then he said,
I testify that there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is His messenger. By Allah I was about to embrace Islam but I feared that you might say he wanted to misappropriate our property. But when Allah helped me give it back to you I embraced Islam.
Accordingly Abul Aas went forward to Madina to join the Muslim community. There The Prophet (peace be upon him) returned Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her) to him. The spouse met again and continued to live in happiness and felicity under the shade of an unblemished belief.
A year later Zainab, radhiallahu anha, died affected by her fall from the previous year when she was about to emigrate from Madina but Quraysh obstructed her. Abul Aas became so sad he caused the people at her funeral to weep. Then came The Prophet, (peace be upon him) her father, to farewell her. He said to the women,
Wash her thrice for 5 times and let the last wash be mixed with camphor and tell me when youre finished.
Having washed her, he prayed over her.
Adapted from protected pearls