Prophet Muhammad married Lady Khadijah when he was twenty-five years old, fifteen years before prophethood. She was the best of all women in terms of her excellent morals, manners, and appreciation of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Khadijah led an elegant and happy life with the Prophet and she gave birth to four girls and two boys. The boys were Al-Qasim and Abdullah who – by Allah’s Will – died young one after the other.
As for the girls, they lived in an honorable house and had a happy childhood with a kind father and a noble mother. They all married excellent husbands.
Three of the Prophet’s children died during his lifetime and the fourth died six months after his death. Three of them had children. They are Zaynab, Ruqayyah, and Fatimah Az-Zahra’.
Here are some detailed biographies of the Prophet’s children, starting with the eldest.
She is the eldest daughter of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Before Islam, she married her maternal cousin.
Abu Al-`Aas Ibn Ar-Rabee’. After the prophethood, she, as well as her mother Khadijah and her three sisters, embraced Islam while her husband remained a disbeliever. She stayed with him in Makkah and did not emigrate with the Prophet to Al- Madeenah.
Abu Al-`Aas marched with Quraysh when they fought the Prophet in the Battle of Badr.
He became a prisoner of war and Zaynab sent her necklace to ransom him. This very necklace was the gift of her mother Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, on the occasion of her wedding.
When the Prophet saw it, he remembered his wife Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, felt great tenderness and said to his companions:
If you consider that you should free her prisoner for her and return to her what belongs to her (the necklace), then do it. (Ahmad)
The companions immediately responded to the Prophet and released Abu Al-`Aas. The Prophet stipulated – in return – that Abu Al-`Aas send Zaynab to Al- Madinah.
So Zaynab emigrated to Al-Madinah and lived with her father. In the 6th year A.H., the Muslims captured a Quraysh caravan but Abu Al-`Aas – being one of the men of the caravan – managed to escape. He waited until it was dark and then went to Zaynab’s house and sought her refuge.
She provided him with refuge and she went out to the mosque for the Dawn prayer. While the Muslims were performing the prayer behind the Prophet Zaynab said in a loud voice:
“O people, I have given a promise of protection to Abu Al-Aas Ibn Ar-Rabee.”
When the Prophet finished the prayer, he directed his face towards his companions, and said:
By Him in whose Hand my soul is, I have not known about this until I heard what you have just heard. The lowest of Muslims is entitled to give protection and refuge on behalf of them. We provide refuge to the one who you have provided refuge (Zaynab).
Then the Prophet went to his daughter and Abu Al-Aas was there. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her:
Treat him kindly.
The Prophet also told her that she could not have a husband-wife relation with him because she is a Muslim while he is a polytheist. The Prophet treated Abu Al-Aas gently and he took permission from his companions to return to him all that they had taken from his caravan.
The Muslims instantly complied and gave him everything back, even the small things like a rope and a buckle. When Abu Al-Aas returned to Makkah, he gave the people of Quraysh all their belongings, and said to them:
“O people of Quraysh! Do I still owe money to any of you?”
They said: “No.”
“I testify that none is worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. I swear by Allah that what prevented me from embracing Islam (before this moment) is that you might think that I have done so in order to keep your money. Once Allah (enabled me to) return it to you and I am done with this, I hereby embrace Islam.”
Abu Al-Aas emigrated to Madinah and the Prophet allowed him to have his wife Zaynab back. Zaynab did not live long after her husband embraced Islam. She died in the 8th Hijri year and left a little daughter, Umaamah.
The Prophet used to play with her with the memory of her late mother in his mind. The Prophet used to carry her during prayer and when he prostrated, he would put her on the ground until he had finished his prayer and then pick her up again.
Ruqayyah – The Immigrant
`Uthman Ibn `Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, married her and they both migrated to Abyssinia when the polytheists were severely inflicting torture on the Muslims.
`Uthman Ibn ‘Affan, and his wife were among the first to migrate in order to save their religion.
In Abyssinia, she gave birth to her son `Abdullah who filled her life with joy. He also alleviated her suffering which emanated from loneliness and being far away from her family.
Later, all the immigrants returned to Makkah including `Uthman Ibn ‘Affan and his wife Ruqayyah. They hoped that the people of Makkah would no longer inflict torture on the Muslims. Yet, they found that things were the same as far as torture and harm inflicted on the Muslims were concerned.
Ruqayyah became more grieved when she came to know that her mother had died. Yet, she found in her father, the Prophet, all that could alleviate the pains of the death of her dear mother.
The Prophet’s kindness and parental care did away with her sadness and sorrow. Ruqayyah did not stay in Makkah for a long time as she migrated with her husband to Al-Madinah where she found rest and stability.