Who was the 5th wife of the Prophet Muhammed? The 5th wife of the Prophet was Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, the daughter of Khuzayma ibn Al-Harith and Hind bint Awf. She was the first of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) wives that did not come from the Quraish tribe. Sadly, she died less than one year after her marriage and because of this, very little is known about her marriage to the Prophet. We do, however, know a bit about her personality and her marriage to her first husband! In this series: The Mother of Believers, we will talk about every wife the Prophet has married and hopefully, we will do them justice. So let’s get to it!
1. Who was Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, the Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) 5th wife?
1.1 Zaynab’s early life and personality
Zaynab, derived from the Arabic “zayn” meaning, “beauty” & “fragrant flower”, which sets the stage for Zaynab bint Khuzaymah. She is typically described as being in her late 20s or 30s (sometimes said to be 48) and being “beautiful”. Mostly, Zaynab was known for her kindness and generosity, even before the age of Islam. Her compassion and pity for the poor were shown through all her kind deeds.
I should however make clear that she was not generous for rewards. She was generous even before Allah and His Messenger stated that we should help the weak and needy of society. When the Quran affirmed that this was the duty of Muslims, it made her even more generous! Because of this, she was also known as Umm al-Masakin, which translates to “Mother of the Poor”!
She was a kind soul, but she was far from weak! She converted to Islam in a time where this could cost your life. Muslims who lived in Mecca were persecuted, intimidated and even tortured! Zaynab still chooses to convert and hold tight to her faith, which is something not everyone dared at the time. She was brave and although her name means fragrant flower, she was a lot stronger than she let on. She and her first husband were part of the migration to Abyssinia, which in that day and age, cannot be compared to travel now.
1.2 Zaynab’s first marriage
Zaynab’s first husband was Abdullah bin Jahash, who was a cousin of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH). Zaynab’s marriage to Abdullah was stated to be a clear example of love and self-sacrifice. Her husband was truly a good Muslim and had an amazing personality, it made her want to be more humble as a person. Zaynab, who was already renowned for her kindness, her piety and her humbleness want to be even more humble because she saw how great her husband was! Her love for Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) gave her and her husband strength, which in turn made their marriage even stronger.
Sadly, Zaynab bint Khuzaymah’s first husband died in the third year after the Hijrah. Her husband had been killed in the Battle of Uhud, which left Zaynab a grieving widow without support. When the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) heard of this, knew what he needed to do.
2. Becoming the Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) 5th wife
The Prophet Muhammed is known to be the best of men and knew that Zaynab needed support. Shortly before, he had married Hafsa bint Omar. The Prophet proposed marriage to Zaynab with a Mahr (an allowance for the bride) of which the exact amount is not clear, but between 400 / 500 dirhams is what the Prophet often used to give. This marriage was not only to help the saddened and pious Zaynab, it was also an example for all Muslims to follow. The Prophet wanted to show his followers that their death in battle would not automatically result in their families starving. As long as there are good Muslims, they will take care of the widows they leave behind.
2.1 Zaynab’s death
Zaynab’s marriage to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was short-lived since she passed away a few months after their marriage. The Prophet led her funeral prayers and she was buried in Jannat-ul-Baqi. She was his second wife who died before him (after Khadijah bint Khuwaylid). Interestingly, the Prophet did not perform the Janaza [funeral] prayer for Khadijah, since this form of prayer was not yet revealed to the Prophet. This means that Zaynab, the 5th wife of the Prophet, was the only wife whose funeral prayers were led by the Prophet Muhammed himself!
3. What can we learn from the Prophet’s 5th wife and what was their marriage like?
Since Zaynab died quite early after their marriage, not a lot is known about her marriage to the Prophet. What we can learn from her though, is that being a kind person and a good Muslim makes you unforgettable. Although she was gone so soon, she left a mark on many peoples lives. She cared for the poor, who called her “the Mother of the Poor”. Sisters, you can always give to the poor. It doesn’t have to be much, but everything you give them will help them In Sha Allah.
Sadaqa (charity) is given voluntarily in order to please Allah. Sadaqa can be given through generosity (money), but also trough love and compassion. If you are short on money, you don’t necessarily have to give money. You can help a struggling mother out by not asking for money while you babysit her kids. Whilst you stand in line at the supermarket you can help an elderly man with packing his things in his bags! You can give your seat in the metro to a pregnant woman. These acts are not monetary but are considered Sadaqah. Simple good deeds, like giving someone a smile, or a helping hand, are seen as acts of sadaqah.
3.1 Charitable spending
Sisters, I do advise you to not be arrogant or loud about your charity. Charity is meant to be personal. Don’t go out screaming to such and such that you donated over a million dollars or euro’s to a charity. The best thing would be to give charity anonymously. This way you know you are not doing it to better your reputation. Your intention will remain pure. If this is hard for you and you want to receive credit for your charity, you need to take a look at yourself and your Iman. Isn’t Allah’s approval enough for you? Because then you have a bigger problem sister and you will need to work on that.
4. Who were the Prophet’s other wives?
The Prophet married 11 wives in total (although there are some discussions on the exact number).
- Khadijah bint Khuwaylid
- Sawdah bint Zam’a
- Aisha bint Abu Bakr
- Hafsah bint Umar ibn Al-Khattab
- Zaynab bint Khuzaymah
- Umm Salamah bint Abu Umayyah
- Juwayriyah bint al-Haarith
- Zaynab bint Jahsh
- Umm Habibah bint Abu Sufyan
- Safiyyah bint Huyayy ibn Akhtab
- Maymunah bint al-Haarith
I talk about the other women in the category “Mother of Believers“. If you want to know more, please have a look! Do you want to help the other Muslim sisters in your life acquire more knowledge on this topic? Share my blog with them and follow me on Social Media!
Your Classy Muslim Sister