Daughters of the Prophet ﷺ
ZAYNAB BINT RASOOLALLAH ﷺ
She was the oldest daughter of the Prophet. She was born after Qasim. When Zaynab was born, Allah’s Messenger was thirty years old – ten years before he was given Prophethood.
When Zaynab was old enough for marriage, her cousin (son of her maternal aunt), Abu al-‘As 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.
Abu al-‘As came forward and asked for Zaynab’s hand in marriage. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ received him well and listened to him attentively but he requested that he be allowed to ask the concerned person.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ visited his daughter Zaynab and told her, “Daughter, your cousin, Abu al-‘ As ibn Rabee’ is interested in you.”
Zaynab kept quiet out of shyness, and she did not utter a word. Her face became red … but beatings of her pure heart and her shutting of her eyes were the best answer.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ smiled and did not repeat the question. He then went back to Abu al-‘As and gave him a congratulatory handshake and supplicated for blessings.
At their matrimonial home, Zaynab and her husband, Abu al ‘As enjoyed an extreme happiness and mutual love.
Abu al-‘As, being a trader and a well-placed person among his people, travelled a lot. He would be away in Syria for days and nights making his wife suffer the agony of separation.
One day, when Abu al-‘As was on one of his journeys, a great event happened: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was called to Prophethood and was commissioned to deliver a divine message. As did her mother and her sisters, she also followed her father and embraced Islam.
When her husband came back from his journey, she told him of what had happened while he was away. He also heard the same news from the people.
Abu al-‘ As told his beloved wife, Zaynab, “By Allah, I have nothing against your father and nothing is dearer to me than following the same path with you, my dear. But I hate that people should say that I 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, none of them slept. Neither did they sleep on subsequent nights. The atmosphere of their household was filled with anxiety, sorrow and caution.
It should be noted here that this decision of Abu al-‘As to follow the path of his people was a product of haughtiness of the time of ignorance that had prevailed over many others like him. This arrogance was caused by tribalism and utter superciliousness.
When the Prophet ﷺ migrated to Madinah, an envoy came and accompanied Zaynab’s two sisters, Umm Kulthoom and Fatima to Madeenah. Zaynab remained in her husband’s house waiting for Allah’s decision concerning her situation.
As Abul’as did not leave idolaters at first; he was caught as prisoner of war in the Battle of Badr, and when he was saved, he promised to send Zaynab to Madinah.
He told his wife, “Zaynab, I come here to bid you farewell.” And he told her of the pledge he had sworn to his father that he would sent her to him.
Zaynab reluctantly departed Makkah and bade Abu al-‘ As an emotional farewell.Zaynab went to Madinah but her husband, Abul ‘As, stayed in Makkah.
Abul ‘As was captured again as prisoner by Muslims but was freed because of Zaynab’s protection. When Abul ‘As was saved from being prisoner once again, and felt that he could attain security in Madeenah and that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ had provided refuge and shelter to him, and he experienced the quality of magnanimity and truthfulness that Islam possessed, he realised that the blind state of ignorance in which he was living had misled for a long time.
When he realised all this, he wanted to enter into the fold of this pure religion willingly, not out of coercion. He wanted to proclaim his acceptance of Islam, but he confided it to himself that he would not allow his proclamation of Islam to be attributed to any influence or pressure. He would not want anyone in Makkah to claim that he accepted Islam for the love of this life and fear of death or anything.
He resolved to proclaim his Islam in the assemblies of Makkah and in front of all and sundry.
There was other issue that attracted his concern: He had properties of people in his trust. If he remained in Madeenah and announced his Islam there, people would say that he wanted to escape from giving the trusts to whom they were due. And this is what his sense of honour would not permit.
Therefore, he returned to Makkah, returned the trusts to whom they were due and then proclaimed his Islam in the assembly of Quraysh and in the presence of many people. He did so in a dignified and honoured manner. After that, he went to Madeenah as a Muslim and an immigrant.
He migrated to Madinah. As he became a Muslim, their marriage (his with Zaynab) was renewed. Abul ‘As behaved well toward Zaynab. For this reason, he earned the appreciation of the Prophet.
After reuniting with her husband, Zaynab could not live long, because of the complications of haemorrhage which she had been suffering from since her migration.
Abu al-‘ As shed hot tears because of her death and drove those who were around him to tears.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ came with eyes, full of tears and a heart full of sorrow. Zaynab’s death reminded him of the death of his wife, Khadeejah.
He told the women, who gathered around Zaynab’s corpse, “Wash her three times and use the camphor in the third wash.”
He performed funeral prayers on her and followed her final resting place.
May Allah be pleased with Zaynab, the Prophet’s daughter! May He reward her with Paradise for her patience, endurance and struggle!
RUQAYYAH BINT RASOOLALLAH ﷺ
Ruqayyah was born after her sister Zaynab. She was also a source of happiness for her noble parents. Soon afterwards, Umm Kulthoom was born, and both of them grew together as if they were twins.
Their closeness to one another greatly increased especially since their eldest sister, Zaynab had married and moved to her matrimonial home. They then became ever more closed and more attached to each other. It is as if both of them had been destined for the same fate from the beginning to the end.
The books of Seerah testified to this unique closeness that was between them, for, all historical narrations agreed on the fact that the two noble sisters – Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom – shared almost everything in common.
After Zaynab had been married to Abu al-As ibn Rabee’ and Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom neared marriage age, Abu Talib, Prophet’s uncle came to him seeking the hands of the two girls in marriage to sons of his brother, ‘Abdul-‘Uzza ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib, otherwise known as Abu Lahab.
Abu Tlilib said, “We came to ask for the hands of our daughters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom in marriage. We hope that you will not make their marriage difficult to your cousins, ‘Utbah and ‘Utaybah sons of ‘Abdul-‘Uzza.”
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ responded, “Uncle, can you please give me some time so that I can talk to my daughters?“
The Prophet ﷺ proposed the matter to his family, his wife and her daughters, the concerned ones. Even though Khadeejah R.A. was a little reluctant because she knew Umm Jameel – the wife of Abu Lahab and the mother of Utbah & Utaybah – that she was herd hearted and arrogant, she agreed because she did not want to cause divide in the family of her husband.
In Makkah, a light gleamed that illuminated the city and removed its darkness. That was when Muhammad ﷺ was commissioned a Prophet and a Messenger of light and guidance.
When the Verse: “Perished be the hands of Abu Lahab.” (Masad: 1) was revealed , his (Utbah’s) father said: “My head is lawful to your head if you do not divorce his daughter.” So he parted from her without having consummated the marriage. She became a Muslim with her mother and her sisters.
Abu Lahab and his wife, the wood-carrier, did not stop at bothering of the Muslims and harming them; they also extremely hurt the Prophet ﷺ. In fact, the two young ladies felt a fundamental change in the house. Their house was now surrounded with cruelty from all angles. It had become the main target of persecution, torment and mocking.
These two ladies endured the situation with their parents, doing so as an act of worship for Allah. They bore it with perseverance, in the cause of Allah, pains, hardship and sacrifice. And they were refined by this tribulation.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ did not grieve because of his daughters that were sent back to him for Allah soon compensated him with a husband who was better than the first two husbands. He compensated him with a righteous, dignified, gracious, highborn, abundantly rich and amiable husband who was very bashful. The person was ‘Uthman ibn ‘Aff’an ibn Abu al-‘As ibn ‘Abd Shams.
The first migration
When the Quraysh’s persecution of the Muslims intensified, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ permitted his Companions to migrate to Abyssinia in order to escape with their religion so that they would not be tempted.
Ibn Sa’ d said: She made hijrah with him i.e. with ‘Uthman, to Abyssinia and the two hijrahs together. Allah’s Messenger said: “Both of them were the first to make hirah toward Allah after Lut. “
The distant between Makkah and Abyssinia was not short! There are, between the two lands, dry sand, scorching sun, deep sea and deserts and jungles. In addition to its farness, the road was also intractable and full of hardships.
This had made some emigrants fall ill and some of them almost perished, all in the cause of Allah.
‘Uthman and Ruqayyah’s return
The emigrants spent days, months and years of their life yearning to go back to their homeland, despite the security, peace and freedom that they enjoyed.
When they heard that Hamzah ibn’ Abdul-Muttalib and ‘Umar had accepted Islam, they were very happy. Some of them hastily returned to Makkah hoping to part take in shaping the future of the war that was raging in Makkah between the truth and falsehood or to see their missed families they had left for a long time.
Other opted to stay until the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would permit them to come back home. This latter group was led by Ja’far ibn Abi Talib. ‘Uthman and Ruqayyah were among those who decided to return.
However, the returning refugees were stunned by the increase in the Quraysh’s heartless persecution of the Muslims. So they were greatly disappointed.
The saddest of these returnees was Ruqayyah. For, when she entered her father’s house and kissed her sisters, Umm Kulthoom and Fatimah, she anxiously asked of their great mother. Her sisters remained silent and did not respond to her question. Their tears served as the most vivid answer. Their mother, Khadeejah was dead!!!
‘Uthman and Ruqayyah did not stay long in Makkah. The Muslims migrated to Yathrib after the Ansar – the Aws and Khazraj – had given the Messenger of Allah ﷺ their allegiance that they would support him and help his cause. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ himself followed them soon afterwards.
Two years before migration to Madeenah, Ruqayyah gave birth to her only child for ‘Uthman, ‘Abdullah.
She had a child from ‘Uthman R.A. named ‘Abdullah and he was nicknamed by that. The child lived up to six years of age but was pecked in the face by a rooster and his face became swollen and he died.
Afterwards, she emigrated to Madinah after ‘Uthman. She took ill just before the battle of Badr. Consequently, the Prophet left ‘Uthman behind to take care of her. She eventually died while the Muslims were still at Badr.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ, the bereaved father, performed funeral prayers on his daughter and followed her corpse to the Baqee’ until she was buried.
May Allah be pleased with Ruqayyah, the Prophet’s daughter, the lady of two emigrations and the wife of the owner of the lights! May He reward her for her faith, struggle, tribulations, and her perseverance with the best and the fullest reward!
UMM KULTHUM BINT RASOOLALLAH ﷺ
She was the Prophet’s fourth child, and the third daughter. She accepted Islam and migrated after the Prophet.
Though Umm Kulthoom did not migrate to Abyssinia and face the pain of being away from homeland and family, Umm Kulthoom remained with her younger sister, Fatimah in their father’s house in Makkah. She was assisting her mother, Khadeejah in shouldering the household responsibilities and easing the impacts of the Quraysh’s persecution on her father with her love and compassion.
Therefore, Umm Kulthoom lived, with her father, the severest periods of persecution, the hardest conditions in the cause of calling people to Islam and the cruelest days.
She had suffered what was greater than that migration and exile. For, she and her fellow Muslims, and the members of Banu Hashim clan were confined to the valley of Abu TaIib where they suffered indescribable hunger, starvation and isolation for three years. During this period, they suffered the cruelest treatment that we can imagine.
There, they lived in the most difficult form of embargo. They suffered the pangs of hunger so much so that some of them eat tree lives. They remained in this pathetic situation for about three years. Sometimes, food was smuggled to them, especially by some Makkans who had relatives among them.
The Muslims and Banu Hashim, lived in a place whose surface was harsh, suffering from scorching sun during the day and biting cold of the night. They lived in tents they erected for themselves.
How did they bring water to that arid place, how did they get their meals and what did they eat?
Had the boycott lasted for only few days, the answer to the above questions would have been easy, but they lived there for three years! This choking atmosphere had an adverse effect on many Muslims physically, psychologically and socially. A prominent manifestation of this evil effect was Khadeejah’s illness.
Umm Kulthoom’s role became manifest here, for she took care of her mother with all the experience, love and compassion that she possessed. In addition to this onerous and time-consuming task, she was also responsible for taking care of her younger sister, Fatimah.
Umm Kulthoom spent three years of her youthful life in struggle, patience and perseverance. Therefore, she suitably deserved the title: ‘The Confined of the Valley’.
Moreover, had Khadeejah recovered from her illness, the matter would have been easier for Umm Kulthoom and her patience would have been adequately compensated for. But the loving and affectionate mother could no longer bear the illness. She died soon after the end of the boycott.
A careful review of the life of Umm Kulthoom would show us that she had had the bitterest experience and trial: Her parents were living in sadness and pain; her sister, Zaynab and her husband were in Makkah and she could do nothing to help them; her childhood and life companion, Ruqayyah was away in a foreign land; her mother, Kbadeejah – mother of the faithful- was in a struggle with death in a severe illness; and the little Fatimah needed care and support!
Throughout these periods, Umm Kulthoom shouldered some of the greatest responsibilities. Yet, she was patient hoping to get her reward from Allah. She alleviated the sufferings, pains and sorrows of her father and she consoled her mother with these soothing words: “You won’t be any harm, mother!”
Two years that were full of great events passed after the migration. During these two years, Umm Kulthoom witnessed the return of her father victorious from the battle of Badr. She also witness the death of her sister and companion Ruqayyah. When her sister Ruqayyah died, ‘Utlunan married her while she was a virgin in Rabi’ ul Awwal in the year 3 AH and she did not bear any children for him.
One day, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab R.A. came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ enraged and complaining. When the Prophet ﷺ asked him of the matter, he informed him that he offered his daughter, Hafsah R.A. who had just been widowed in marriage to Abu Bakr and ‘Uthmfin and that both of them rejected. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ soothed him and said: “Hafsah will marry someone who is better than ‘Uthman and ‘Uthman will marry someone who is better than Hafsah.”
The Prophet said: “Had we ten daughters, we would have married them to ‘Uthman.”
She lived with ‘UtJnnan for six years and saw how the glory of Islam reached the peak of power. She witnessed her father moving from one battle to another victorious, and her husband as favoured Companion and a selfless warrior who fought with his life and wealth.
She died in Sha’ban, the 9th year of hijrah. The Messenger of Allah buried her beside the remains of her beloved sister, Ruqayyah. Both of them were brought together, by Allah’s decree, in the house of ‘Uthman; and both of them were sheltered by one grave!!
May Allah be pleased with Umm Kulthoom the Prophet’s daughter and the Confined Lady of the Valley! May He let her reside in the abode of His righteous and pious servants!
Next class we will read about Some other Great Believing Women