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Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) marriage to Hazrat Zaynab(ra) – Question 1

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The orientalists and some muslims raise lots of questions about the marriage of prophet Muhammad(pbuh) with hazrat Zaynab(ra).Could you kindly explain why prophet(pbuh) had to marry Zaynab(ra)?Couldn’t there be another solution to the problem?There are lots of stories about this event which i cannot mention.Hope you can give a detailed answer.

Jazak’Allah Khairan


To form an opinion about an event which took place 1400 years ago it would be unjust to overlook the circumstances in which the event took place. With regards to Islam if an event is mentioned in the Quran then it is imperative that both muslims and people belonging to other faiths look at the infallible Quran before exploring other sources of information.

The event of Prophet’s(pbuh) marriage to Hazrat Zainab(ra) is mentioned in the Quran which highlights the fact that Almighty wanted to apprise the world of the  sacrifices prophet(pbuh) made to raise the standard of slaves in a society where they were at the very bottom and also what prophet(pbuh) went through to abolish unintelligible and fallacious custom to give the world a religion which was completely rational and free from any absurdity.


Prophet(pbuh) had urged Hadhrat Zaynab bint-i-Jahash (ra),who was his cousin, to marry Hazrat Zayd(ra)who was a freed slave of prophet(pbuh) and also his adopted son. The reason prophet(pbuh) wanted this marriage to take place was to give respectability to slaves in the Arab society as Zainab(ra) belonged to the elite of Makkah and this marriage could have removed a lot of disparity which existed in the Arab society between the slaves and free people .Unfortunately, the marriage remained on rocks throughout the period that they lived together because Zaynab (ra) considered herself socially superior to Zayed (ra) and could not reconcile to the fact that she is wife of a freed slave. Tired by their regular clashes and Zaynab’s (ra) indifference towards him, Zayed (ra) showed his intention to divorce Zaynab (ra) time and again. However, the Prophet (pbuh) persuaded him not to do so, because he felt responsible for any mishap, as the marriage had taken place on his insistence. Secondly, the message of equality of slaves and free humans that he wanted to practically communicate through this marriage would fail in case of divorce. Nevertheless, because of these troubles of the marriage, foreseeing divorce as inevitable in the near future, the Prophet (pbuh) thought that the only way to console Zainab(ra)would be to marry her.This was an incredibly difficult decision to make but prophet(pbuh) was guided by Allah to do this as Allah had decided to raise status of slaves in the society and also wanted to to put an end to this custom that the adopted sons be considered as real sons of their adopted fathers. Prophet(pbuh) was also aware, keeping in mind the social status of slaves, that it was highly unlikely that any person of a good social standing would take Zaynab(ra) in marriage, as she would then be a divorcee of a slave. The only reluctance, which the Prophet (pbuh) had in this regard, was that marriage with the divorcee or the widow of one’s adopted son was considered prohibited, exactly like marriage with the divorcee or the widow of one’s real son. However, when ultimately,  Zayed (ra) divorced Zaynab (ra). It was at this juncture that the Qur’an intervened and in order to correct the wrong tradition (of holding the divorcee or the widow of one’s adopted son prohibited), the Prophet (pbuh) was directed to marry Zaynab(ra). While directing the Prophet (pbuh) to marry Zaynab (ra), the Qur’an has specifically mentioned that because as the last prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is also supposed to correct all the wrong traditions that are followed in the name of the Shari`ah and thereby complete God’s religion in totality, therefore it is essential that this tradition be corrected by the Prophet (pbuh).


This is the background of prophet’s(pbuh)marriage to Zainab(ra).It is disappointing that such a great sacrifice of prophet(pbuh)is often seen in a negative way.Zainab(ra)being prophet’s(pbuh) cousin was seen by him grow up as a child into womanhood. If he, at any stage of his life, wanted to marry her she would never have refused but, instead, the prophet(pbuh) got her to marry his freed slave to eradicate the class divide in that society.


Hope this answer clarifies misconception about Hazrat Zainab’s(ra) marriage to prophet Muhammad(pbuh).Please, do come back to us if you are still unclear about this issue.

Kind regards

UIUK team



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