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Torn Between Two Loves

The Story of Zainab's Marriage

The Family Reunion

Kinanah later transported Zainab and Umamah by night where they safely arrived at Madinah to be reunited with her family. By then, her sister Ruqayyah had died, but she still had father and her youngest two siblings. She also had Umamah.

Zainab was finally able to live her life as a liberated Muslim, attending prayers with her family and working towards the betterment of a progressive society.

During her time at Madinah, she also experienced a perilous siege upon the Muslim community. The people of Makkah were back to attack the Muslims in Madinah. Her father along with his consultative panel strategized to play on the defensive, digging a trench around the vulnerable border of Madinah. “The Battle of the Trench,” as it was called, marked a disfavorable turning point for the army from Makkah.

After approximately two weeks of attempts to attack, the Quraish failed miserably to penetrate Madinah, but the siege was not over. A Jewish tribe living within Madinah had allied with the foreign influence and was prepared to attack the Muslims from within. By the grace of Allah, Prophet Muhammad and his men were able to intercept the attacks.

From then on, the Arabs of Makkah had lost all integrity as a nation; they even lost credibility in their trades – which was their livelihood all this while.

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The Second Reunion

Months followed and the Muslims were instructed to sabotage trade caravans from Makkah that were travelling past Madinah. A caravan returning from Syria was captured by Zaid, one of the Prophet’s companions. The merchandise and employees were brought to Madinah.

However, one man, amongst a few, escaped.

He made his way carefully to Madinah in the middle of the night, and by some miracle he knocked on the right door. Zainab let him in. In all of his despair, he knew he could trust her.

He told her that he was troubled by the confiscation of many goods that were held in his trust as a result from barter trades in Syria. The people of Makkah trusted him and he needed to return the goods to their purchasers. He also feared for his safety.

Zainab left quietly for dawn prayers with her family members. She stood amongst the female congregation, in the front row, with her sisters and the Mothers of Believers (the Prophet’s wives). As she saw her father with a congregation of men, Zainab waited for a moment of silence and cried out with all her heart, “O people, I give protection to Abul-Aas, the son of Rabi.”

Concerned by her situation, her father hurried over to Zainab. She repeated her message to the Prophet and he calmly reminded her “Receive him with all honor, but let him not come to you as a husband, for you are not his by law.” He then turned to his followers and beseeched them to have mercy upon his former son-in-law who was also his late wife’s nephew. He was still a relative.

All of the merchandise that fell under Abul-Aas purview was returned to him, in hopes he would embrace Islam. When asked whether he would join them as a brother in faith and acquire the goods that he possessed, he answered, “It were a bad beginning to my Islam, that I should betray my trust.”

After returning the goods to Makkah, Abul-Aas made his way back to Madinah and embraced Islam. The Prophet reinstated his marriage to Zainab. It was one of the happiest days of his family and the city of Makkah rejoiced at their reunion.

Love Lives On

Zainab died not long after she was reunited with her husband, but her love stretches beyond her lifetime. Women today face all sorts of dilemmas and atrocities with respect to their families, marriages, statuses, careers and personal lives; those who have faith pull through.

Zainab, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad, persevered through the most horrific mental torture that her marriage could endure during the advent of Islam. She watched her family suffer as they were marginalized from society.

She was abandoned several times, forcing herself to live amongst non-Muslims who despised her father. And she feared her father’s life as she did for her husband’s on several occasions and sometimes at the same time.

There were times when her own life was threatened and her divorce took a toll on her mental and physical self. She was torn between two loves time and time again; yet she chose each time – and chose wisely – one man above the other man, both whom she loved dearly.

The driving force behind Zainab’s steadfastness could only be one thing – her faith – her undying love for the one religion that saved her life on many occasions, her father’s life and her husband’s life – it was the choice of Islam.

(From Discovering Islam archive)

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About Maria Zain
Maria Zain author who passed away in December 2014.