lady zainab bint-jahsh was a woman of dignity among her tribe quraish, disciplined herself by islam which enlightened her heart and bestowed her with allah fearing and goodness to be a rare precious woman. she was one of the ladies of present life for her being pious, allah fearing, generosity and charity for the poor. as the prophet (bpuh) married her, she became one of the believers’ mothers. her dignity and nobility became greater and the historians wrote about her frequently, because her marriage was mentioned in the holy quran, and because of her, the hijab became obligatory. she used to invoke allah with humanity, forbearing, fasting and praying voluntary night prayer. she was very generous with the poor and needy people which made her a great ideal of generosity, bounty and good manners. so, she was called: the mother of needy people, orphanage and shelter of widows. thus, she had the priority in righteous deeds, had a perfect autobiography in our islamic history. she is a splendid example for all other muslim women to follow her characteristics and her guidance in order to obtain the contentment of allah and his messenger (pbuh).
her name and lineage:
“zainab bint-jahsh bin-rbab bin-ya’mur bin-murrah bin-katheer bin-ghanam bin-doran bin-asad bin-khuzaima”, her nickname is um al-hakam. her uncles (mother’s brothers) are: 1-hamzah bin-abdulmuttalib- may allah be pleased with him- called “allah’s lion” and the “master of martyrs“ in the battle of uhd. 2-alabbas bin-abdulmuttalib who was known of his generosity and donation in times of need. her aunt (mother’s sister) is safiyah bint- abdulmuttalib alhashimeah, the mother of azzubair bin-alauam alasadi, the prophet’s (pbuh) disciple. her brothers are: abdullah ibn-jahsh alasadi who held the first banner in islam and one of the martyrs. and abd ibn-jahsh one of the first muslims who emigrated to madinah. she has two sisters; umaimah bint- abdulmuttalib the prophet’s (pbuh) aunt. and hemnah bint-jahsh one of the first muslim women. lady zainab-may allah be pleased with her- was born in makkah seventeen years before emigration and in some narrations “thirty years“ before emigration. she grew up in a house full of dignity, pedigree and nobility, she was so proud of her family and said once :”i am the lady of abd shams family”.
her embracing islam:
she was one of those who had preceded to embrace islam. she has a pure heart full of sincerity to allah and his messenger (pbuh). she was a loyal muslim woman, endured quraish’s harm and torture until she emigrated to madinah with her emigrant brothers and sisters in islam who were accommodated by alanssar (the supporters) who shared with them their homes, money and residences.
the virtuous lady’s manners and good deeds:
the believers’ mother zainab was characterized of high and great status, specially when the prophet (pbuh) married her and became the believers’ mother. she was a pious woman fasting and praying voluntary night prayer, giving charity to the poor, needy people and miserable. she used to work hand works such as tanning and sewing, then sold them and gave them as charity. she was a believer, allah fearing and honest who keeps kinship ties.
zainab bint-jahsh as a generous and bounteous woman.
there are many examples of her great and limitless generosity for the poor. muslim narrated that aisha may allah be pleased with her said: “the prophet (pbuh) said to his wives: (the first one who will die after me is the one who has the longest hand”. “so, they used to measure their hands to see who has the longest one”. aisha said: “this one was zainab because she used to do hand work and give charity from selling them“. in another narration aisha said: “after the death of the prophet (pbuh) we used to gather at the home of one of us and stretched our hands to the wall in order to measure them. we kept doing that until zainab bint-jahsh died, although her hand was the shortest in measure. at that time we realized that the prophet meant by “the longest hand” the one who gives charity more. aisha may allah be pleased with her said: “zainab used to sew garments and gave them to the army to use them”.
another example, what barzah bint-rafie narrated: “when the gain had been came, omar send to zainab bint-jahsh her portion. so she said: may allah forgive omar ibnul-khattab, maybe another one of my sisters could distribute this portion. they said: no, all of them are for you. she said: “glorified be allah, put them away and cover them”. then she said: “take a handful of them and give it to so-and-so (some of her kinships and orphans)”. she distributed it until she only a small portion was left. so, barzah said: “may allah forgive you, o believers’ mother, we must have a part of this money. zainab said: “so take what is left”, we find only 580 dirhams. then zainab raised her hand supplicating allah saying: “o, my lord make me die before getting another gain by omar”.
aisha may allah be pleased with her said: “zainab bint-jahsh was my peer with the prophet (pbuh). i have never seen such a religious, allah fearing, honest, keeping kinship ties and giving charity as much as she did- may allah be pleased with her.
abdullah bin shadad narrated that the prophet (pbuh) said to omar: “zainab bint-jahsh is “awahah“. the prophet was asked: what does “awahah” mean? he said: “the most plaintive”. as allah says: “surely ibrahîm is indeed constantly forbearing, most plaintive, constantly penitent”. (hud: 75)
also aisha said: “she was a benign, worshiper and a shelter for orphans and widows“. ibn saad said: “when zainab bint-jahsh died, she did not leave any money, for she used to give charity of all what she had, and she was the shelter for poor people”.
zainab as the noble hadith narrator :
lady zainab may allah be pleased with her was one of those who memorized the prophet’s sayings, and narrated them. she narrated 11 hadiths, and al bukhari and muslim agreed upon two of them. many companions of the prophet (pbuh) narrated from her such as: her niece muhammad bin-abdullah bin-jahsh, alqassim bin-muhammad bin-abu bakr and her servant mathkur. also many companions women narrated from her such as: “zainab bint-abi sallamah and her mother um sallamah the believers’ mother, the believers’ mother ramlah bint-abusufian known as um habibah may allah be pleased with her and also kulthoum bint-almusttalik.
some of these noble hadiths: zainab bint-abu sallamh said: “i had visited zainab bint-jahsh after the death of her brother, she perfumed herself and said: i swear i do not need this perfume but i heard the prophet (pbuh) once saying: “it is forbidden for any woman -who believes in allah and the day of judgment- to mourn more than three days except for her husband she must mourn four months and ten days”.
al bukhari narrated: um habibah bint-abu sufian reported from zainab bint-jahsh that the prophet (pbuh) came frightened and said: “there is no god to be worshipped but allah, o grief to be to the arab, for closing evil, today the dam of yagog and magog had punctured like this –he circled his thumb and another finger- zainab bint-jahsh said: i asked the prophet (pbuh): o messenger of allah would we be ruined while there are good people? he said: “yes, if there is more evil”.