(Sayyidah Zainab [radhiyallahu ‘anha] bintu Rasulillah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam] – Part One)
Among the respected daughters of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Sayyidah Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha) enjoyed the privilege of being the eldest. She was born when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was approximately 30 years of age. (Al-Istee‘aab vol. 4, pg. 409 and Al-Isaabah vol. 8, pg. 151)
Hence, when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was blessed with nubuwwah (prophethood), Sayyidah Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was 10 years old. She could thus understand and comprehend the difficulties and persecution that her father (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was undergoing. Furthermore, being the daughter of the Nabi, she too suffered social persecution by the enemies of Islam. Her childhood and teens were thus a very challenging period as can be gauged by the following incident:
Sayyiduna Haarith bin Haarith (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) explains that he and his father had seen Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) inviting a group of people around him to bring imaan in the oneness of Allah Ta‘ala, whilst they persisted in rejecting and harming him. Their ill treatment continued until midday when they eventually dispersed. At that point, a girl came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) carrying a bowl of water and a cloth, while the area below her neck had become exposed. He took the bowl from her, drank some of the water and then made wudhu. He thereafter raised his blessed head and said to her, “O my beloved daughter! Cover your neck and do not fear for your father!” When they enquired as to who the girl was, they were told, “This is Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha), his daughter.” (Tabraani – Majma‘uz Zawaaid #9897)
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had great love for Sayyidah Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and would praise her for the great sacrifices that she underwent and the patience that she exercised for the sake of Deen. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) thus mentioned, “She is the most virtuous of my daughters (with regards to fact that) she suffered for me (i.e. for my Deen).” (Mustadrak Haakim #2812)
1. Sayyidah Zainab’s (radhiyallahu ‘anha) patience and perseverance for the sake of Deen serves as a great inspiration for all, especially those young girls and teenagers, who want to lead their lives according to Deen and the dictates of modesty, but are opposed and pressurised by their peers, family or society.
2. Despite the fact that the people had been, just moments before, relentlessly harming and rejecting him, the priority of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was to make his beloved daughter, Sayyidah Zainab (radhiyallahu ‘anha), aware that the area beneath her neck was exposed so that she may cover it. Even under these circumstances, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) could not tolerate the body of a woman being exposed.
3. As parents we need to be firm in ensuring that our children, especially our daughters, are dressed correctly and appropriately. This even relates to ‘small things’ such as deep necklines and short sleeves.
4. When the correct ways and values are instilled in our children from a young age, they become deeply rooted in them and remain with them throughout their lives. Making excuses such as “she’s still small” result in their cultivating bad habits until they become “too big” to be told.