ZAYNAB BINT JAHSH
"It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error." (The Qur'an, Surah al-Ahzab, 33:36)
This verse was revealed in connection with the marriage of Zaynab bint Jahsh and Zayd ibn al-Harithah which was arranged by the Prophet to show the egalitarian spirit of Islam. Zaynab at first was highly offended at the thought of marrying Zayd a former slave and refused to do so. The Prophet prevailed upon them both and they were married. The marriage however ended in divorce and Zaynab was eventually married to the Prophet himself. It is said that the Ansari girl read the verse to her parents and said: "I am satisfied and submit myself to whatever the Messenger of Allah deems good for me." The Prophet heard of her reaction and prayed for her: "O Lord, bestow good on her in abundance and make not her life one of toil and trouble." Among the Ansaar, it is said that there was not a more eligible bride than she. She was married by the Prophet to Julaybib and they lived together until he was killed.
And how was Julaybib killed? He went on an expedition with the Prophet, peace be upon him, and an encounter with some mushrikin (polytheists) ensued. When the battle was over, the Prophet asked his companions: "Have you lost anyone?" They replied giving the names of their relatives or close friends who were killed. He put the same questions to other companions and they also named the ones they had lost in the battle. Another group answered that they had lost no close relatives whereupon the Prophet said: "But I have lost Julaybib. Search for him in the battlefield." They searched and found him beside seven mushrikin whom he had struck before meeting his end. The Prophet stood up and went to the spot where Julaybib, his short and deformed companion, lay. He stood over him and said: "He killed seven and then was killed? This (man) is of me and I am of him." He repeated this two or three times. The Prophet then took him in his arms and it is said that he had no better bed besides the forearms of the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet then dug for him a grave and himself placed him in it. He did not wash him for martyrs and not washed before burial.
Julaybib and his wife are not usually among the Companions of the Prophet whose deeds are sung and whose exploits are recounted with reverence and admiration as they should be. But in the meagre facts that are known about them and which have here been recounted we see how humble human beings were given hope and dignity by the Prophet where once they was only despair and self-debasement. The attitude of the unknown and unnamed Ansari girl who readily agreed to be the wife of a physically unattractive man was an attitude which reflected a profound understanding of Islam. It reflected on her path the effacement of personal desires and preferences even when she could have counted on the support of her parents. It reflected on her part a total disregard for social pressures. It reflected above all a ready and implicit confidence in the wisdom and authority of the Prophet in submitting herself to whatever he deemed good. This is the attitude of the true believer.
In Julaybib, there is the example of a person who was almost regarded as a social outcast because of his appearance. Given help, confidence and encouragement by the noble Prophet, he was able to perform acts of courage and make the supreme sacrifice and deserve the commendation of the Prophet: "He is of me and I am of him."
Transcribed from: Da'wah Publications, Issue #7, July 2008