Mention of the Children of Sayyidah Zaynab

The Biography of Sayyidah Zaynab bint Rasulillah
August 27, 2015
Removing Doubts Regarding Sayyidah Zaynab
August 27, 2015

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Mention of the Children of Sayyidah Zainab

Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha bore many children of Sayyidina Abu al ‘As ibn Rabi’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Among them was a boy by the name of ‘Ali and a girl by the name of Umamah bint Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhum. We will speak about Umamah further on. Besides these, Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu had another child from Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha who passed away in infancy. The Muhaddithin narrate an incident regarding this infant which we will reproduced to the readers.

 

The Love of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Possessed for the Children of Sayyidah Zainab

The Muhaddithin write on the authority of Usamah ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu that an infant of the daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was on his deathbed. She sent a message to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam requesting him to come to her home. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in response sent salam and this message:

Be patient. Whatever Allah takes belongs to Him and whatever Allah gives belongs to Him. Every person has an appointed time recorded by Allah. Adopt patience in every situation.

 

Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha was restless. Hence, she sent someone and took an oath that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would definitely come to her. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stood up. With him were Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah, Muaz ibn Jabal, Ubay ibn Ka’b, Zaid ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhum, etc., who also accompanied him to the residence of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha. The infant was in his last moments. He was placed in the blessed lap of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam while he was breathing his last and about to leave this world. Seeing this, tears began to flow from the eyes of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah radiya Llahu ‘anhu asked: “O Rasulullah! What is this? You also cry?” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied: “This is mercy which Allah placed in the hearts of His servants.”

فانما يرحم الله من عباده الرحماء

Allah only has mercy on those who are merciful.[1]

 

The readers should be aware that this very incident where Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam out of love, affection and mercy accompanied by his Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum goes to the house of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha, whose child is on his deathbed, weeps and encourages her to have patience, has been narrated with all its details by the senior Shia scholars with their chains going right until Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[2]

By this incident, the immense love and affection Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam possessed for his daughter Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha and her children and the strong deep loving connection he had with them is clearly evident.

 

Brief Biography of the Son of Sayyidah Zainab – Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi al ‘As

His name was ‘Ali ibn Abi al ‘As ibn Rabi’ ibn ‘Abdul ‘Uzza ibn ‘Abdul Shams. His beloved mother was Sayyidah Zainab bint Rasulillah radiya Llahu ‘anha and he was the brother of Umamah bint Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

فكان على مترضعا فى بنى غاضره فضمه رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم اليه

He was sent to the tribe of Banu Ghadirah to be breastfed. After the breastfeeding period had ended, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam kept him at his house.

 

At this time Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was still residing in Makkah. He had not yet accepted Islam. ‘Ali ibn Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was brought up under the guardianship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and obtained training from him. After the Conquest of Makkah, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam put him to sit at the back of his conveyance. Some ‘ulama’ state that he passed away in the lifetime of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam whilst others are of the opinion that he passed away just before reaching puberty.[3]

 

Biography of Sayyidah Umamah bint Abi al ‘As

Her name was Umamah bint Abi al ‘As ibn Rabi’ radiya Llahu ‘anha and her mother is Sayyidah Zainab bint Rasulillah radiya Llahu ‘anha.

She was born in the sacred era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and was nurtured in the blessed house of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Shia scholars even write that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would show great affection and love to Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha.

Abu Qatadah al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu reports:

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to us [to lead the salah] whilst Umamah bint Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhuma was on the blessed shoulders of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam continued to performed salah. When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would go into ruku’, he would place her on the ground and when he would stand up, he would pick her up.

 

The ahadith books are replete with incidents regarding Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam carrying Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would show great love and affection to this small girl. Check the following references:

  1. Tanqih al Maqal vol. 3 pg. 69 – The section concerning women, sec. 4
  2. Bukhari vol. 1 pg. 74 – The chapter if a person carries a young girl on his shoulder while performing salah
  3. Bukhari vol. 1 pg. 74 –The chapter of having mercy for a child, kissing him and hugging him
  4. Muslim vol. 1 pg. 205 – Kitab al salah, chapter concerning the permissibility of carrying children in salah
  5. Musnad Abu Dawood Tayalisi pg. 85 – Under the hadith of Zaid ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  6. Abu Dawood vol. 1 pg. 132 – The chapter concerning actions during salah
  7. Sahih Ibn Hibban – vol. 2 pg. 313 – Mention of the narration proving the non-obligation of performing ablution after touching
  8. Al Musannaf ‘Abdul Razzaq vol. 2 pg. 33, 34 – Chapter concerning the breakers of salah
 

In these narrations, mention is made of how Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam displayed affection to Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha and how he repeatedly picked her up with love. Just as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would carry Sayyidina Hasan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu on his blessed shoulders, he would carry their cousin, Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha. All these children benefitted from the kindnesses of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and this display of love remained intact. Just as how Sayyidina Hasan radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu are the descendants of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, similarly Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha is also a descendant of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Another amazing incident about Sayyidah Umamah bint Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anha has been recorded by the Muhaddithin and the writers in their respective words. Sayyidah ‘Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha narrates that an expensive necklace was given to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as a gift. By coincidence, all the pure wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were present. Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha was a little girl playing on one side of the house. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked, “How precious is this necklace?” We replied: “We have not seen anything more valuable than it! It is extremely precious.” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then held the necklace and said:

لادفعنها الى احب اهلى الى

I will give it to my most beloved family member.

 

All the pure wives radiya Llahu ‘anhunna anxiously waited as to who will receive this necklace. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called his granddaughter, Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha, and put the necklace on her.

This incident can be viewed in the following references with slight variations:

  • Majma’ al Zawa’id vol. 9 pg. 254 – The chapter concerning the virtue of Zainab bint Rasulillah radiya Llahu ‘anha
  • Al Fath al Rabbani Tartib Musnad Ahmed vol. 22 pg. 420 – Chapter concerning the biography of Umamah bint Zainab bint Rasulillah radiya Llahu ‘anha
  • Usd al Ghabah vol. 5 pg. 400 – Umamah bint Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anha
  • Al Isabah vol. 4 pg. 230 – The daughter of Abu al ‘As ibn Rabi’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu
 

The degree of love Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam possessed for the daughter of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha, Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha, is abundantly clear from this incident. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam referred to her by the words “my most beloved family member”. What words of affection in the favour of daughter and mother, and what a high level of fondness!

All of this is due to Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha. Thus the lofty status Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha enjoys in the sight of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is clearer than daylight. All of the pure wives radiya Llahu ‘anhunna and Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were well aware of these virtues. They informed the Muslim ummah of these and the consensus of Muslims was upon this. But sadly, today some ‘mourners’ are rejecting these great virtues of the offspring of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Remember that the honour and nobility of these blessed offspring will not be decreased by these rejections.

If in broad daylight, you cannot see the light,

Then what sin is it of the sunlight?

 

The Bequest of Sayyidah Fatimah in Favour of Sayyidah Umamah

Although the following incident occurred after the demise of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, however, since the biography of Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha is being mentioned, hence to mention this incident here is quite appropriate. Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha is the daughter of Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu from Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha.[4] Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away at the end of 12 A.H.

و امامة بنت ابى العاص و اوصى بها ابو العاص الى الزبير بن عوام

He bequeathed before his death that his daughter Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha be given in the guardianship and care of Sayyidina Zubair ibn ‘Awwam radiya Llahu ‘anhu.[5]

 

Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha bequeathed to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu that if he were to marry after her demise, then he should marry her sister Sayyidah Zainab’s radiya Llahu ‘anha daughter, Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha. She will be her replacement for her children. The Shia scholars have written about this incident several times. These words appear in the book of Sulaim ibn Qais, Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha requests Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

و انا اوصيك ان تزوج بنت اختى زينب تكون لولدى مثلى

I bequest you to marry my sister Zainab’s daughter. She will be my replacement for my children.[6]

 

Therefore, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in compliance with this bequest married Sayyidah Umamah bint Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anha in 12 A.H. Sayyidina Zubair ibn ‘Awwam radiya Llahu ‘anhu got her married to ‘Ali under his supervision. This marriage is agreed upon by both parties. The Ahlus Sunnah and the Shia relate this incident respectively. Read the following books of the Shia scholars for confirmation of this marriage:

  • Muruj al Dhahab vol. 2 pg. 298 – The chapter concerning matters and events from the birth to the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam
  • Anwar al No’maniyyah vol. 1 pg. 367
 

Sayyidah Umamah bint Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anha remained in the nikah of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. However, it was Allah’s decree that he had no children from her. When Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was martyred in Kufah, among the wives of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu she was even alive. After the martyrdom of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, she was married to Sayyidina Mughirah ibn Nowfal ibn Harith ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. She passed away while in Mughirah’s nikah.[7]

 

Point of Reflection

If we ponder at this point, the following family connections were built due to Sayyidah Umamah bint Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anha:

  • Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha was the niece of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha.
  • (Prior to nikah) she is the daughter of Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu sister-in-law, Sayyidah Zainab and after nikah the wife of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu becomes the father-in-law of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
  • She is the cousin of Sayyidina Hasan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma prior to nikah and their step mother after nikah, making Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu their step grandfather.
 

Due to Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha, many family links were made between Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his children which have to be honoured and respected.

 

The Demise of Sayyidah Zainab

According to the familiar view, Sayyidah Zainab bint Rasulillah radiya Llahu ‘anha was the eldest daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. She was a noble woman and was blessed with the honour of iman in the initial stages of Islam. She is reckoned among the early Muslim women. She also has the privilege of pledging allegiance to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Abu Jafar al Baghdadi has enumerated all the four daughters of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam viz. Sayyidah Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhunna among those women who pledged allegiance to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[8]

 

The Cause of Death

After emigrating from Makkah Mukarramah, she stayed in Madinah Munawwarah. She bore the difficulties of hijrah with great perseverance. In that incident, she was severely wounded at the hands of enemy. The historians write that this very wound of hers was healing at one stage but then opened up and proved fatal. She passed away in Madinah Munawwarah in 8 A.H.

 

Encouragement to Adopt Patience and the Prohibition of Complaining

The ‘ulama’ write that Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha passed away in Madinah Munawwarah in 8 A.H. Due to her demise, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was extremely sorrowful and her surviving sisters viz. Sayyidah Umm Kulthum and Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma were stricken with grief and perturbed due to this sudden calamity. The other Muslim women gathered at the demise of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha and began to cry uncontrollably until they began to wail and scream. Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu began to forbid the women harshly. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stopped Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and prevented him from being harsh at such occasions.

و قال مهلا يا عمر ثم قال اياكن و نعيق الشيطين ثم قال انه مهما كان من العين و من القلب فمن الله عز و جل و من الرحمة و ما كان من اليد و من اللسان فمن الشيطان رواه احمد

“O ‘Umar! Do not adopt such harshness.” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam addressed the women saying: “Refrain from making satanic sounds.” He then said: “The tears that flow from the eyes and the grief stricken heart are from Allah and due to mercy. And whatever wrong is done by the hands or uttered by the tongue [i.e. striking the chest with the hands and complaining with the tongue] is from Shaitan.”[9]

 

In short, at the death of his daughter, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught the ummah that to display impatience by the actions of the hand and statements of the tongue is never permissible for a Muslim. These are the customs of the era of ignorance which they would do at the death of their friends and close ones. Islam came and encouraged patience and perseverance which are found in these statements of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

 

Arrangements for the Ghusl and Kafn of Sayyidah Zainab

Preparations for the ghusl of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha took place under the supervision of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In this virtuous ghusl, Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Saudah bint Zama’ah, Umm al Mu’minin Umm Salamah and the pious lady Umm Ayman radiya Llahu ‘anhunna were active participants who carried out the ghusl of this chaste woman in a dignified and praiseworthy manner.[10]

In some hadith books, it is recorded that Umm ‘Attiyah Ansariyyah radiya Llahu ‘anha also participated in this ghusl. Umm ‘Attiyah radiya Llahu ‘anha relates:

When Sayyidah Zainab passed away, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to us and said: “Arrange for the ghusl of Zainab. Prepare water and lotus tree leaves. Bath her in the boiled water thereof three of five times and apply scented camphor at the end. When you are complete, inform me.”

فلما فرغنا اذناه فاعطانا حقوه فقال اشعرنها اياه تعنى ازاره

When we were complete, we informed him salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave us (one of) his lower garments with orders to place it in her kafn (shroud).[11]

 

Deriving Blessings

At this juncture, Hafiz Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani mentioned something amazing:

 

ولم يناولهن إياه أولا ليكون قريب العهد من جسده الكريم حتى لا يكون بين انتقاله من جسده إلى جسدها فاصل , وهو أصل في التبرك بآثار الصالحين

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not remove his lower garment and give it to them from the very beginning to put it in the kafn but rather informed them that when they are complete, they should inform him. The wisdom behind this is that so the lower garment can remain on the blessed body of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for a longer period and as soon as it is removed from his body it should be placed on Sayyidah Zainab’s radiya Llahu ‘anha body; there should be no delay in this. This is the basis for deriving blessings from the belongings of the pious.[12]

 

Coffin Built for Sayyidah Zainab

When the ghusl and kafn of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha was completed, Sayyidah Asma’ bint ‘Umays radiya Llahu ‘anha (who was at that time the consort of Sayyidina Jafar al Tayyar radiya Llahu ‘anhu) was present. She suggested: “We saw in Habshah that to veil women, a type of coffin was placed over their body so that the size of the woman should not become apparent.” In compliance with her suggestion, a type of coffin was arranged to be placed on the body of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha. This was the first Muslim woman whose bier was lifted with such honour and veneration.

Al Baladhuri has narrated this incident is Ansab al Ashraf:

و جعل لها نعش فكانت اول من اتخذ لها ذلك و الذى اشارت باتخاذه اسماء بنت عميس رأته بالحبشة و هى مع زوجها جعفر بن ابى طالب

A coffin was prepared for her. She was the first woman for whom a coffin was made. The one who suggested to make it was Asma’ bint ‘Umays who had seen this in Habshah while she was there with her husband Jafar ibn Abi Talib.[13]

 

The suggestion to make a coffin to veil the deceased, which Sayyidah Asma’ radiya Llahu ‘anha suggested here, was suggested again by Sayyidah Asma’ radiya Llahu ‘anha at the demise of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha. There too a coffin was made in compliance with her suggestion. This will be mentioned further on in the biography of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, Allah willing. Remember that Sayyidah Asma’ radiya Llahu ‘anha was the wife of Sayyidina Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu at the demise of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha.

 

The Janazah of Sayyidah Zainab and the Participation of Sayyidah Fatimah

When the bier of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha was ready, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself performed the Salat al Janazah on Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha, which is a great honour attained by only the special individuals of the ummah.

و صلى عليها رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself performed the Salat al Janazah on Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha.[14]

 

Just as the Muslim men of Madinah Munawwarah participated in the blessed funeral of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha, the Muslim women of Madinah also participated in performing the Salat al Janazah. All of these women came with Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha who participated in the Salat al Janazah of her eldest sister and gave full substantiation to her love and affection for her sister.

This incident of the Salat al Janazah has been documented by the Shia scholars in full detail. Hereunder, some texts will be reproduced from their usul arba’ah so that there remains no uncertainty whatsoever.

فقال يا ابا عبد الله اتصلى النساء على الجنازة قال فقال ابو عبد الله عليه السلام و ان زينب بنت النبى صلى الله عليه و اله توفيت و ان فاطمة عليها السلام خرجت فى نسائها فصلت على اختها

Someone asked Imam Jafar al Sadiq: “Can women participate in the Salat al Janazah?” Sayyidina Jafar al Sadiq replied: “When the daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Zainab passed away, Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha accompanied by the women came and performed came and Salat al Janazah on her sister.[15]

 

From the above it is clear that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself performed the Salat al Janazah of the pure and chaste Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha and sought forgiveness on her behalf wherein there is no room to doubt that Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha performed the Salat al Janazah on her sister, thereby fulfilling the right of sisterhood. She sought forgiveness for her together with the Muslim men and women of Madinah. These are great noble accolades in favour of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha which cannot be denied by any Muslim. If the pathetic mourners and eulogy writers of today deny these virtues, then it is befitting for them who have no concern for the actions and statements of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, no need for the actions and statements of their leaders and the Ahl al Bayt and no respect for the rulings of the Shia mujtahidin. In fact, they are self-appointed mujtahids who do not have the support of their seniors.

 

Descending into the Grave of Sayyidah Zainab and Supplicating

After the Salat al Janazah of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha was complete, her burial took place. The ‘ulama’ have narrated this incident with much detail from the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

Sayyidina Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates: “When the daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha passed away, we – the group of Sahabah – were present with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at her burial. We reached the grave. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was extremely grieved. None of us had the courage to utter a word in front of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The niche in the grave was still being dug. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sat down by the grave and we sat around him. We were all struck with a type of bewilderment. Meanwhile, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was informed that the grave was now ready. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself descended into the grave and after a short while came out of the grave. The radiant face of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was shining, the effects of grief had disappeared and he was delighted.

فقلنا يا رسول الله رايناك مهتما حزينا فلم نستطع ان نكلمك ثم رايناك سرى عنك فلم ذلك قال كنت اذكر ضيق القبر و غمه و ضعف زينب فكان ذلك يشق على فدعوت الله عز و جل ان يخفف عنها ففعل

We submitted: “O Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ! We saw that you were stricken with grief and sorrow, hence did not have the courage to speak to you. We now see that you are happy. What is the reason for this?” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam answered: “The narrowness and terror of the grave was in front of me and I knew well the weakness and feebleness of Zainab. This was troubling me. I thus supplicated to Allah to make it easy for her. Allah accepted (and removed the terror from Zainab).”[16]

 

The above narration has been documented by the Shia in their reliable books. The text from the Shia books will be quoted verbatim for the benefit of the readers so that they are rest assured that this incident is agreed upon by both the Shia and Sunni sects.

Al Mamaqani writes in the biography of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha:

ماتت سنة ثمان فى حيوة رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و اله و نزل فى قبرها و هو مهموم محزون فلما خرج سرى عنه و قال كنت ذكرت زينب و ضعفها فسالت الله تعالى ان يخفف عنها ضيق القبر و غمسه ففعل و هون عليها

She passed away in the lifetime of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the year 8 A.H. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam descended into her grave, stricken with grief and sorrow. When he came out, he was relieved. He salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam explained: “I was concerned about the weakness of Zainab. Hence, I supplicated to Allah to lessen the narrowness and terror of the grave. Allah accepted and made it easy for her.”[17]

 

It is clear from the books of both sects the amount of affection and love displayed by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for his beloved daughter from the time of demise right until her burial. The kind gestures of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were present at every step which were explained in detail in the above references. In the last stage, the grave, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave special attention and with his special intercession made this stage of Sayyidah Zainab’s radiya Llahu ‘anha journey towards the hereafter easy for her and announced the acceptance of his intercession right here in this world.

This is a great accolade in favour of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha from the station of nubuwwah and a reason for the Muslim women to reflect. The reason being that the stage of the grave is no playground. To contemplate about it and prepare for it is an important part of din. When these are the experiences of the children of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then there is a great need to give special thought about these situations.

 

The Special Virtue of Sayyidah Zainab of Being Termed Shahidah

A brief biography of Sayyidah Zainab bint Rasulillah radiya Llahu ‘anha has been presented before the readers. Every event in her life carries much weight. From the initial days of Islam until hijrah is the first phase and the period after hijrah is the second phase of her life. If we look at those incidents which took place while living in Madinah, we will find that the most arduous was her hijrah wherein she was severely injured which she bore with unrelenting perseverance. The ‘ulama’ write that it was the same injury she suffered in hijrah which freshened prior to her demise and proved fatal. Therefore, renowned senior authors have used these words in her favour:

فلم تزل وجعة حتى ماتت من ذلك الرجع فكانوا يرون انها شهيدة

She remained ill due to that wound until she passed away because of it. Hence, the Muslims regard her to be a Shahidah (martyr).[18]

 

Hafiz Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah has articulated the very same message in al Bidayah vol. 5 under the biography of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha in the following words:

فكانوا يرونها ماتت شهيدة

They (the Muslims) are of the opinion that she died a martyr.[19]

 

A Synopsis of the Biography of Sayyidah Zainab

The biography of the beloved daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha was mentioned before. We wish to present a synopsis of it to the readers so that the different aspects of her life can appear in one glance.

The ‘ulamaʾ have written:

1. Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha was the eldest daughter of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

2. She was born when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was 30 years of age.

3. She was brought up and nurtured by her respected mother Sayyidah Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha.

4. She reached her adolescence and became mature in her care.

5. In compliance with the suggestion of Sayyidah Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam married Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha to Sayyidina Abu al ‘As ibn Rabi’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu. According to some views, revelation did not yet begin at that time.

6. When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam announced his nubuwwah, Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha accepted Islam from the very beginning and his daughters were honoured with Islam together with their mother. All of them witnessed the arduous days and bore the difficulties thereof.

7. Some points were enumerated regarding the son-in-law of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam Sayyidina Abu al ‘As Rabi’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu (in the footnotes).

8. The Mushrikin of Makkah plotted to get Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu to divorce Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha using every possible means and to achieve this presented different girls to him. Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu remained steadfast and was not prepared to severe the relationship he enjoyed with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

9. The Battle of Badr took place in the year 2 A.H. Until then, Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu had not yet accepted Islam. He joined the battle after being coerced by the kuffar and was captured at the hands of the Muslims and brought to Madinah. Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha sent her necklace as ransom to free Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This necklace formerly belonged to Sayyidah Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha which she gave as a wedding gift to her daughter, Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha. When the blessed necklace was presented to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he became extremely emotional and the memory of Sayyidah Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha was revived. After consulting the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum the sentimental necklace was returned after which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam took a pledge from Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu that Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha will be sent to him in Madinah.

10. Therefore, Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu made arrangements to dispatch Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha to Madinah. The kuffar stood as an obstacle in the journey of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha. Habbar ibn Aswad severely injured her. Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha passed through those trying times, traversed that strenuous journey with utmost perseverance and reached Madinah Munawwarah accompanied by Zaid ibn Harithah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, etc.

11. After this incident, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam duly praised his son-in-law, Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and appreciated the fulfilment of his pledge

12. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam expressed his gratitude in favour of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha for bearing those difficulties in the following words:

هى خير بناتى اصيبت فى

هى افضل بناتى اصيبت فى

She is the best or the most superior of my daughters who suffered on account of me.

The tongue of nubuwwah gave testimony of enduring hardships in favour of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha and announced this great virtue

13. Once, Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu reached Madinah and was given protection by Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha which was acknowledged and passed by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is a great accolade in her favour.

14. After this incident, Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu went to Makkah, returned the trusts of the people, accepted Islam and then returned to Madinah in the service of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

15. In a footnote, mention was made about Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha been given back to Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu in a new nikah with a new dowry. Other views are also found regarding this.

16. Some points regarding Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha and Sayyidina Abu al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu were noted.

17. Mention has been made of the children of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha, a brief biography of Sayyidah Umamah bint Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anha and Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu together with Sayyidah Fatimah’s radiya Llahu ‘anha bequest in favour of Sayyidah Umamah radiya Llahu ‘anha.

18. The death of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha took place in 8 A.H in Madinah. The injury sustained in hijrah ripened which proved fatal. The ‘ulama’ explain that Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha reached the age of approximately 30 years.

19. The women began to wail at her demise which was forbidden by the statement of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

20. The ghusl and kafn of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha took place under the supervision of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha etc.

21. The shawl of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was placed in her kafn which is a great source of blessings.

22. Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha participated in the Salat al Janazah of her sister, Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha.

23. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam descending into the grave of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha, supplicating for her and announcing the acceptance of his supplication are great accolades for her.

24. In the virtues of Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha, the ‘ulama’ mention that she is a woman who was martyred in the path of Allah and titled as Shahidah

رضى الله تعالى عنها و عن جميع اخواتها

May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with her and all her sisters!

 

Ponder for a Moment

The readers have read about Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha. She has attained all of these virtues and excellences. She bore adversities and difficulties for the sake of din and steadfastness was her trait. She spent her entire life in serving and obeying her father salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam referred to her with the unique compliments of ‘my best daughter’ and ‘my most superior daughter’ due to her accepted actions. The kind gaze of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam remained on her till death. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam kindness and affection reached its peak after her death in all the stages of kafn and burial until Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself descended into her grave and announced the glad tidings of the acceptance of his honoured intercession.

Some contemporaries spoil their tongues by slandering these daughters radiya Llahu ‘anhunna and write that these are the customary daughters of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and there is no virtue in their favour in the Qur’an and hadith. They mean to say that Sayyidah Zainab, Umm Kulthum and Ruqayyah radiya Llahu ‘anhunna are not the offspring of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and no virtue of them can be found in any book.

استغفر الله العظيم

O readers! This is the indecent attitude they display to the blessed children of the merciful kind Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They openly reject the relationship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with these daughters. They have absolutely no fear for Allah. And they have the audacity to claim that no virtue of these girls can be found in the books, neither in Shia books nor in Sunni books, when the reality is quite the opposite.

I have gathered these incidents from Islamic books and presented it to the readers together with references from reliable Shia sources. A just, noble, sensible man should decide for himself as to what the truth is and what has been fabricated. There is no need for further elucidation and explanation. But a little fear of Allah is necessary, and if one is somehow able to obtain such fear then — and all praise belongs to Allah — hold on to it firmly.

Hereafter, the title ‘removing doubts’ will be discussed.

 

NEXT⇒ Removing Doubts Regarding Sayyidah Zainab


[1]Mishkat pg. 150 – The chapter concerning crying over the deceased (with reference to Bukhari and Muslim)

Abu Dawood vol. 2 pg. 90 – The chapter concerning crying over the deceased

[2]Al Jafariyyat wa al Ash’athiyyab pg. 208 – The chapter concerning leeway in crying without wailing

[3]  a) Usd al Ghabah vol. 4 pg. 41 – ‘Ali ibn Abi al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu

  1. b) Al Isabah 2 pg. 503 – ‘Ali ibn Abi al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu
  2. c) Nasab Quraysh 22 – The children of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib

[4]  a) Al ‘Ibar vol. 1 pg. 15

  1. b) Jamharah Ansab 77, 78

[5]Kitab Nasab Quraysh pg. 22 – The children of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib

[6]Kitab Sulaim ibn Qais al Kufi pg. 226 – The chapter of the bequest of Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu

[7]  a) Al Isabah vol. 3 pg. 433 – Mughirah ibn Nowfal

  1. b) Usd al Ghabah 4 pg. 407, 408 – Mughirah ibn Nowfal

[8]Kitab al Muhbir pg. 406 – The names of the women who pledged allegiance to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

[9]Mishkat pg. 152 – The chapter concerning crying upon the deceased, section 3

[10] Ansab al Ashraf vol. 1 pg. 400 – The wives and children of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

[11]  a) Bukhari vol. 1 pg. 167 – The chapter concerning washing the deceased and making his ablution

with water and lotus tree leaves

  1. b) Muslim 1 pg. 304 – Kitab al Janaʾiz
  2. c) Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d 8 pg. 334 – Umm ‘Attiyah Ansariyyah radiya Llahu ‘anha
  3. d) Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d 8 pg. 22 – Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha
  4. e) Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah 3 pg. 243 – Kitab al Janaʾiz

Similarly, this incident can be found in other books of hadith

[12] Fath al Bari Sharh Bukhari vol. 3 pg. 101 – Kitab al Janaʾiz, the last chapter concerning washing and performing ablution of the deceased

[13]Ansab al Ashraf vol. 1 pg. 400 – The wives and children of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

[14]Ansab al Ashraf vol. 1 pg. 400 – The wives and children of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

[15]Tahdhib al ahkam pg. 215 – The last chapter concerning salah upon the deceased

Kitab al Istibsar vol. 1 pg. 245 – The chapter concerning salah upon the deceased by a woman

Muntaha al Maqal pg. 434 – The women related to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

[16]Majma’ al Zawa’id vol. 3 pg. 47 – The chapter concerning the squeeze of the grave

Kanz al ‘Ummal vol. 8 pg. 120 – The questioning in the grave and the punishment therein

Usd al Ghabah vol. 5 pg. 468 – Zainab bint Rasulillah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

Dhakha’ir al ‘Uqba pg. 160 – The death of Zainab bint Rasulillah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

[17]Tanqih al Maqal vol. 3 pg. 79 – The section concerning women, Zainab bint Rasulillah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

[18]Majma’ al Zawa’id vol. 9 pg. 216 – The chapter concerning the virtue of Zainab bint Rasulillah radiya Llahu ‘anha

[19]Al Bidayah vol. 5 pg. 308 – The chapter of the children of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

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