Page 218 - Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum

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His marriage to his paternal cousin Zainab bint Jahsh was a peculiar case which aimed at eradicating
a deeply rooted pre-Islamic tradition — i.e. the adoption of children. In
the Arabs used
to consider an adopted person exactly like a real son or daughter as far as rights and sanctities are
concerned. That
tradition had been so deeply rooted in their hearts that it was not easy to
remove or uproot it. This tradition in fact affronts the basic principles of Islam; especially those
concerned with marriage, divorce and inheritance and some other cases, and brought about lots of
corruptions and indecencies. Naturally Islam stands against such deeds, and attempts to remove
them from the Islamic society.
For the eradication of this tradition, Allâh, the Exalted, bid His Messenger (Peace be upon him) to
marry his cousin Zainab bint Jahsh, who was an ex-wife to Zaid. She was at variance with Zaid to an
extent that he intended to divorce her — that was at the time when the Confederates (
were making an evil alliance against the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) and against the
Muslims. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) feared that the hypocrites, the idolaters, and
the Jews would make a propaganda out of it and try to influence some Muslims of weak hearts. That
was why he urged Zaid not to divorce her, in order not to get involved into that trial.
Undoubtedly this hesitation and partiality were alien to the character of the Prophet (Peace be upon
him). They did not apply to the power of determination and will with which he had been sent. Allâh,
the Exalted, blamed him for that by saying:
“And (remember) when you said to him [Zaid bin Haritha (May Allah be pleased with him)
— the freed slave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) ] on whom Allâh has bestowed grace
(by guiding him to Islam) and you [O Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ] have done favour
(by manumitting him), ‘Keep your wife to yourself, and fear Allâh.’ But you did hide in
yourself (i.e. what Allâh has already made known to you that He will give her to you in
marriage) that which Allâh will make manifest, you did fear the people [i.e. Muhammad
(Peace be upon him) ] married the divorced wife of his manumitted slave] whereas Allâh
had a better right that you should fear him.” [33:37]
Finally Zaid divorced Zainab and the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) married her at the
time he laid siege to Bani Quraiza. That was after she had finished her
(i.e. period during
which a widow or a divorcee may not remarry). Allâh Himself had already ordained it, and so gave
him no other alternative. Allâh had even started the marriage Himself by saying:
“So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to
you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of
(the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep
them (i.e. they have divorced them).” [33:37]
And that was in order to break down the tradition of child adoption in practice after He had done it
in words:
“Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just near Allâh.”
“Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ] is not the father of any man among you, but he is the
Messenger of Allâh, and the last (end) of the Prophets.” [33:40]
Lots of deeply-rooted traditions cannot be uprooted or demolished or even adjusted bymere words.
They must be matched and associated with the action of the advocate of the Message himself.
This could be perceived through the deeds practised by the Muslims at Al-Hudaibiyah
(Lesser Pilgrimage) during which ‘Urwah bin Mas‘ud Al-Thaqafi saw certain Muslims tend to pick up
any expectoration that fell down from the Prophet Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã . He also saw them race to
the water of his ablution and they almost quarrelled for it. There were others who competed to
pledge allegiance to death and some others pledged not to flee from (the battlefield). Among those
people, were eminent Companions like ‘Umar and Abu Bak, who although dedicated all their lives to
the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and to the cause of Islam, but refused to carry out the
Messenger’s ordres with respect to slaughtering sacrificial animals after the ratification of Al-
Hudaibiyah Peace Treaty, the thing that perturbed and caused the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to
feel anxious. However, when Umm Salamah (May Allah be pleased with her) advised that he take
the initiative and sacrifice his animals, his followers raced to follow his example; a clear evidence in
support of the saying: Actions speak louder than words, in the process of exterminating a deeply-
established tradit ion.
Hypocrites aroused a lot of suspicions and made a broad false propaganda against that marriage.
Their acts and talks about that marriage had ill-effects on those Muslims whose Faith was still weak,
particularly that Zainab was the fifth wife — and the Noble Qur’ân limited the number up to four
only; Zaid was traditionally his son, and so a father marrying his son’s divorcee was a heinous sin in
the eyes of the Arabians.
was revealed to shed full light on the two issues, i.e. Islam does not recognize
adoption of children, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is given (by Allâh) more freedom as
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