The Prophet (peace be upon him) had four daughters all whom were born to his first wife Khajidah radhiallahu anha.2 The oldest of his daughters was Zaynab and the youngest of his daughters was Fatimah. Ruqayah and Ummukalthum were second and third oldest, respectively. All died within his lifetime, expect for Fatimah who died 6 months after his death.
The name Zaynab’ is a combination of 2 different words; ‘Zayn’ which means ‘ornament’, and ‘Ab,’ which means ‘father;’ thus her name means ‘the ornament or the jewel of her father.’
Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, was born ten years before the Prophethood. She married Abu’l-‘Aas ibn al-Rabee’ al-Qurashi (may Allaah be pleased with him), who was the son of her maternal aunt Haalah bint Khuwaylid. However, when the Message was revealed, Zaynab and Abul ‘Aas were temporarily separated due to the Abul-‘Aas’s refusal to accept Islam. He justified his refusal by saying: “By Allah (SWT) I trust in your father but I fear that they might circulate that I left my father’s religion to please my wife.”
Zainab, may Allah be pleased with her was shocked by the disbelief of her husband. Afterwards, in the battle of Badr, Abul-‘Aas was taken prisoner of war. The Prophet, peace be upon him, recommenced to treat the prisoners kindly. Meanwhile Zaynab sent some money and a necklace to ransom her husband. It was her wedding present from her mother. No sooner did the Prophet, see this necklace he remembered his earnest his loyal wife, Khadijah.
Thereupon, after a long period of pause the Prophet, said, ‘If you would like to release her prisoner and repay her money you could do so, they all said, ‘yes messenger of Allah ( salalahu aleyhi wa sallam).’ Then the Prophet, took a pledge from Abul ‘Aas to release Zainab as Islam put a barrier between them.
Having returned to Makkah, he was received by his wife with a great joy. He was very sad, he told her that he came to bid farewell to her, Zainab asked, ‘Where and why are you going?’ He replied “You not me, I promised your father to return you to him because Islam put a barrier between us and I never broke a promise.”
Zainab, may Allah be pleased with her set out from Makkah to Madina but some people from the Quraysh tribe obstructed her. They terrified her until she fell off her camel while she was pregnant, she had a miscarriage. She went back to Makkah under the shelter of Abul ‘Aas. When she recovered, he took her accompanied with his brother Kinana ibn ar-Rabei’ until her brought her to the Prophet, Sallalahu aleyhi wa sallam.
As years passed Zainab lived with her father in Madina hoping that Allah open the heart of Abul ‘Aas to Islam. After 6 years Abul ‘Aas knocked on Zainab’s door. She did not believe her eyes when she found him on her door, she was about to approach him for greeting but she stopped suddenly to check his belief.
All of a sudden Abul ‘Aas said, “I did not come to Madina as a warrior but as a merchant. Never-the- less a squad belonging to your father obstructed us and robbed my caravan as a spoil of war. But I managed to escape. I came to you to seek your intersession on the part of the Muslims.” Zainab said “Welcome my cousin, welcome father of Ali and Umamah. She went forward to the Prophet after he had performed the dawn prayer. She shouted “O people I patronize Abul ‘Aas ibn ar-Rabie.” Thereupon the Prophet, peace be upon him, went out and said, “O people did you hear what I heard?” They replied “Yes Messenger of Allah,” Then he said
“By whom in whose hand is Mohammad’s soul, I had not known anything about that before I heard what you heard. Muslims are one party against others. They permit the patronage of any one of them, however lower. Thus we patronize who ever she patronized. ”
Then the Prophet, peace be upon him, went to his daughter’s home and said, ‘’Be hospitable towards him but do not be alone with him since you are not lawful to him.“
Zainab, (may Allah be pleased with her), asked her father to give Abul ‘Aas his property back. Accordingly the Prophet, peace be upon him, went to his companions and said, “ You know this man, whose property you took, I would like to give back his property. But if you don’t like to do that it will be your booty given to by Allah.” They all replied, “We would like to give it back messenger of Allah.”
Afterwards Abul ‘Aas farewelled Zainab and set out for Makka. Having arrived there with his prosperous caravan he began to give back what he had taken from people. Then he stood and shouted ‘O people of Quraysh is there anyone indebts me?” They replied, “No you are loyal and generous. Then he said, “I testify that there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is His messenger. By Allah I was about to embrace Islam but I feared that you might say he wanted to misappropriate our property. But when Allah helped me give it back to you I embraced Islam. Accordingly Abul ‘Aas went forward to Madina to join the Muslim community. There The Prophet (peace be upon him) returned Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her) to him. The spouse met again and continued to live in happiness and felicity under the shade of an unblemished belief.
A year later Zainab, radhiallahu anha, died affected by her fall from the previous year when she was about to emigrate from Madina but Quraysh obstructed her. Abul ‘Aas became so sad he caused the people at her funeral to weep. Then came The Prophet, (peace be upon him) her father, to farewell her. He said to the women, “Wash her thrice for 5 times and let the last wash be mixed with camphor and tell me when you’re finished. Having washed her, he prayed over her.
Both her and her sister Ummukalthum (May Allah be pleased with them) were married to the sons of Abu Lahab, Utaybah and Utbah respectively, whom, upon the revelation of Islam their hateful father forced them both to divorce the girls, threatening to disown them if they didn’t comply.
Allah later replaced both girls with 2 righteous husbands. He married Ruqayyah to ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (May Allah be pleased with him) one of the ten promised Jannah.
'Uthman was one of the most gracious Quraysh youths in terms of lineage, prestige and wealth.
The Quraysh mothers had a well-known lullaby they sung for their children. The lullaby revolved around 'Uthman. It means: "By Allah, I love you as the Quraysh love 'Uthman." But when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) gave his daughter, Ruqayyah to 'Uthman in marriage the lullaby changed to what means: ''The best two persons who met each other were Ruqayyah and her husband, 'Uthmaan."
Az-Zubayr reported in a hadith that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sent a man with a gift to 'Uthman and Ruqayyah. The man then came back late. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) told the man, "Do you want me to inform you about what delayed you?" The man answered is the affirmative. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, "You stood there looking at 'Uthman and Ruqayyah admiring their beauty."
Later, When Ruqayyah died, he gave Ummukulthum (May Allah be pleased with her) to him in marriage.
Ruqqayah (May Allah be pleased with her) experienced and participated in the two migrations. The first migration occurring as a result of the polytheist persecution of the Muslims in Mecca, where some of the Muslims were given permission by The Prophet (peace be upon him) to flee to Abyssinia The emigrants spent days, months and years of their life yearning to go back to their homeland, despite the security, peace and freedom that they enjoyed, returning upon hearing the news that Hamzah ibn' Abdul-Muttalib and 'Umar had accepted Islam. Upon returning, they again faced persecution. In addition to that, Ruqqayyah (May Allah be pleased with her) was suprised at the death of her mother, Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her)
Uthman and Ruqqayah did not stay long in Makkah, as the Muslims migrated to Yathrib after the Ansar - the Aws and Khazraj - had given the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) their allegiance that they would support him and help his cause. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) himself followed them soon afterwards.
Two years before migration to Madinah, Ruqayyah gave birth to her only child for 'Uthman, 'Abdullah, who died soon after.
Ruqayyah was soon stuck with a fever that eventually claimed her life. The Messenger of Allah, sallalahu aleyhi wa sallam, the bereaved father, performed funeral prayers on his daughter and followed her corpse to the Baqee' until she was buried.
Ummukalthoom, (May Allah be pleased with her) was born soon after Ruqqayyah, and both of them grew together as if they were twins. Their closeness to one another greatly increased especially since their eldest sister, Zainab had married and moved to her matrimonial home. They then became ever more closed and more attached to each other. It is as if both of them had been destined for the same fate from the beginning to the end.
The books of Seerah testified to this unique closeness that was between them, for, all historical narrations agreed on the fact that the two noble sisters - Ruqayyah and Ummukalthoom - shared almost everything in common.
As mentioned previously Umukalthum was, like her sister, married to one of the sons of Abu Lahab (Utbah) however due to his enmity towards the Revelation, Abu Lahab forced his son to divorce Ummukalthum.
Whilst Ruqqayah and Uthman migrated to Abyssinia, Umukalthum stayed home, shouldering the burdens of life with her mother, Khadija and relieving her fathers’ grieves because of the polytheist’s rejection.
Meanwhile the people of Quraysh decided to boycott Muslims and Banu Hashim as well. They suffered an economical and social siege in the valley of Banu Talib for three years. There Umukahtum (May Allah be pleased with her) suffered a lot like other Muslims. She endured the afflictions of the siege of the pains of hunger all the time side by side with her father and the whole Muslim community.
Meanwhile, she shouldered the responsibility of her family because of the sickness of her mother. Shortly after the end of the wrongful boycott, Khadija's (May Allah be pleased with her) disease grew fatal and died. Ummkalthum became responsible for the Prophet’s household affairs.
Later on, when the people of Quraysh felt that all there tricks went in vain they decided to assassinate the Prophet, (Peace be upon him). There upon, the Prophet decreed mass migration to Madina. He and Abu-bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) migrated together leaving his own daughters Ummkalthum and Fatimah. Having arrived at Madina, he sent Zayd Ibn Haritha to bring his daughters from Makkah.
In Madina, Ummukalthum led a life of happiness and victory after the Muslims had defeated Quraysh.
All of Sudden, her sister, Ruqayyah, Uthmans wife, died. Afterwards, she noticed that Uthman kept giving frequent visits to the prophet, seeking patience and consolation.
One day, Umar ibn al-Khattab came enraged and angry. He was annoyed of Abubakr and Uthman because they refused his offer of marrying his daughter Hafsa. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him, “Hafsah will get married to someone who is better than Uthman and Uthman will get married to someone who is better than Hafsah.”
Then, the Prophet gave Uthman, Umukalthum in marriage. Thereby Uthman was called ‘Dhu-Nurayan’ the possessor of the two lights because he married two daughters of the prophet.
Ummukalthum lived in her husband’s house for six years. She witnessed the great victories of the prophet and the Muslims.
When Ummukalthum passed away she was buried next to her sister Ruqqayyah (May Allah be pleased with her
She was born shortly before the beginning of the Mission of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and she married ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (May Allah be pleased with him) her father’s cousin after the battle of Badr. Unlike her sisters, she died 6 months after her father, sallahu aleyhi wa sallam, had passed away.
Faatimah had 2 sons and 2 daughters. Her sons were al-Hasan and al-Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with them) and her daughters were Umm Kulthoom, who was wedded by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him), and Zaynab who was wedded by ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ja’far ibn Abi Taalib.
Among the things that prove her virtue is that which was reported in al-Saheehayn from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray at the Ka’bah, and Abu Jahl and his companions were sitting there. They said to one another, ‘Who will bring the intestines of the camel of So and so and put it on Muhammad’s back when he prostrates?’ So the most wretched of people went and brought it and waited until the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prostrated, then he put it on his back, between his shoulders. I was watching but I could not help him because I did not have any power.
They started laughing and leaning against one another (because of their laughter), and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was prostrating and did not raise his head until Faatimah came and removed it from his back. Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) raised his head, and said, ‘O Allaah, deal with Quraysh,’ three times. They became worried when he prayed against them, because they used to believe that du’aa’s made in that land would be answered…”
Fatimah enjoyed the love of her father. He would shower on her his affection and compassion, for she was the only favoured daughter of her father since her other sisters had died. Therefore, she deserved that great love, favour and joy.
The Messenger of Allah, sallalahu aleyhi wa sallam, would express his live for his dear daughter in the most intense and the most suitable situations. In spite of this great love, the Messenger of Allah, sallalahu aleyhi wa sallam, would explain that good deeds and piety were indispensable.
It is reported in the books of Seerah that a Qurayshi woman committed theft. So members of her family came to Usamah ibn Zayd, the Prophet's favourite and the son of his favourite, requesting him to intercede with the Messenger of Allah on behalf of the woman who committed theft. Usamah went to Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) begged him not to cut the hands of that woman. But the Prophet said angrily, "Usamah! Are you interceding concerning one of Allah's ordained punishment?! "
He then rose up and addressed the people. After he had praised Allah as it is due he said: "O people! The nations before you were destroyed because if a noble person committed theft, they used to leave him, but if a weak person among them committed theft, they used to inflict the legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad committed theft, I will cut off her hand! ”
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) expressed his love for his dear daughter one day when he told her, "Indeed, Allah is pleased with your pleasure and He is angered if you are angry.”
The Messenger of Allah also said once: ''The best women of mankind are four: Maryam, A.siyah, Khadeejah and Fatimah."
Abu Tha'labah al-Khushani said: "Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came back from a journey or war he would first visit the mosque where he would pray two rak'ahs. He would then visit his daughter, Fatimah. And finally, he would visit his wives."
And of course there is the intimate moment between Faatimah and when the Prophet (peace be upon him) fell ill, and was nearing his death. When she visited him, he smiled at her cheerfully. He then took her hand, kept it on her side, drew her near to himself and told her something in confidence that made her cry. He again told her another secret that made her smile.
Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) said: "I have never seen a day in which joy as close to sorrow as I have seen today. I wanted to know the reason so I asked Fatimah to tell me what made her cry and smile. But she said: 'I could not reveal the secret of the Messenger of Allah, sallalahu aleyhi wa sallam.'”
But after the Prophet's death, Aisha asked Faatimah to tell her that secret and she said,
“Now I can tell you. He told me, 'Angel Jibreel used to revise the Qur'an with me once every year, but this year, he reviewed it with me twice. And the interpretation I could give this is the end of my life in this world is near.' That was the reason for my crying.' He then told me, 'You will be the first of the members of my household to join me; and I am an excellent predecessor for you.' That was the reason for my smiling.’"
The Prophet's pain increased and Faatimah’s sorrow increased over the imminent departure of the greatest father and the most honourable Prophet.
The Messenger of Allah sallalahu aleyhi wa sallam then departed for the Highest Companionship; and all that Faatimah could repeat were these sorrowful and painful words:
"My father! My father! He answered the call of his Lord; Paradise is his abode; how close he is to his Lord!" She was extremely grief-stricken, shedding bitter tears.