Qadi Iyad on the Sto­ry of Zayd and Zaynab

Trans­lat­ed by Aisha Bew­ley from Muham­mad, Mes­sen­ger of Allah, Ash-Shi­fa of Qadi Iyad, Mad­i­nah Press, Grana­da (1991), pp. 352 – 354 

If you asked what Allah means in the sto­ry of Zayd ibn Haritha by His words,

When you said to the one whom Allah had blessed and you have blessed, Keep your wife’ and you were con­ceal­ing in your­self what Allah should reveal, fear­ing oth­er men ; and All?has a bet­ter right for you to fear Him. When Zayd had accom­plished what he would of her, then We gave her in mar­riage to you, so that there should not be any fault in the believ­ers, con­cern­ing the wives of their adopt­ed sons when they had accom­plished what they would of them ; and Allah’s com­mand must be per­formed.” (Qur’an, 33:37)

know with­out doubt that the Prophet(P) is inno­cent of the appar­ent mean­ing and he ordered Zayd to keep his wife when Zayd want­ed to divorce her, as a group of com­men­ta­tors have mentioned.

The sound­est ver­sion con­cern­ing this mat­ter is in what the com­men­ta­tors have relat­ed from ?Ali ibn Husayn. Allah knew bet­ter than His Prophet that Zaynab would be one of his wives. When Zayd com­plained about her to the Prophet(P), he told him, Keep your wife and fear Allah” He hid in him­self what Allah had inti­mat­ed to him about his mar­riage to her but All?brought it into the open by bring­ing her mar­riage to an end through Zay­d’s divorc­ing her.

Amr ibn F?d said that Az‑Z???? said that Jib­ril came to the Prophet(P) to tell him that Allah would make him mar­ry Zaynab bint Jahsh. That was what he con­cealed in him­self. The com­men­ta­tors ver­i­fy this by All?s say­ing, The com­mand of Allah must be per­formed”, i.e. you must mar­ry her. This makes it clear that the only thing Allah revealed about the mat­ter was that he was going to mar­ry her. He indi­cat­ed that what the Prophet(P) con­cealed was part of what All?had inti­mat­ed to him.

All?continues in this sto­ry, There is no fault in the Prophet in what Allah has decreed for him.” (33:37) He indi­cates that the Prophet(P) was in no way at fault in the mat­ter. At-Tabari said that All?would not say His Prophet(P) had act­ed wrong­ly by doing some­thing He had made law­ful for Mes­sen­gers before him. Allah then con­tin­ues, The sun­na of All?with those who passed away before” (33:38) i.e. among the Prophets regard­ing what He had made law­ful for them.

If it had been the way it is relat­ed in the hadith of Qata­da, where it talks of what hap­pened in the heart of the Prophet(P) when he admired her and want­ed Zayd to divorce her, there would have been a great fault in it and which would not befit him. That would rather have been the action of some­one who extends his eyes to what has been for­bid­den to him of the fruits of the life of this world.See Qur’an, 20:131 Doing this would have been man­i­fest­ing in respect of Zayd that same blame­wor­thy envy referred to in the ayah allud­ed to above, which is not pleas­ing to Allah and to which no god­fear­ing per­son is prone. How then could that be the case with the Mas­ter of the Prophets ?

Al‑Q????yr?aid that say­ing such a thing is a great audac­i­ty on the part of the one who says it and a lack of recog­ni­tion of what is due to the Prophet(P) and of his supreme excel­lence. How could it be said that he saw her and admired her when she was his cousin and he had been see­ing her since the time when she was born ? Women did not veil them­selves from him and he him­self had mar­ried her to Zayd.

Allah made Zayd divorce Zaynab and mar­ry the Prophet(P) to remove the bar­ri­er set up by ties of adop­tion and inval­i­dat­ing its cus­toms. He says, Muham­mad is not the father of any of your men.” (33:40) And He says, So that there would not be any fault for the believ­ers regard­ing the wives of their adopt­ed sons.” (33:37)

Ab????Layh as-Samarq?? said that if peo­ple ask what is the ben­e­fit in the Prophet(P) com­mand­ing Zayd to keep Zaynab when Allah had informed him that she was to be his wife, it is that the Prophet(P) for­bade Zayd to divorce his wife because of the dishar­mo­ny between Zayd and her while con­ceal­ing in him­self what Allah had informed him about. When Zayd divorced her, her feared that peo­ple would say he was mar­ry­ing his son’s wife, so Allah com­mand­ed him to mar­ry her to make what he was doing law­ful for his com­mu­ni­ty as Allah said, So that there would not be any fault for the believ­ers regard­ing the wives of their adopt­ed sons.” (33:37)

It is said that the Prophet’s(P) com­mand to Zayd to keep Zaynab was to restrain the appetite which comes to the self from its desire. If we allow this, it must be that he saw her and sud­den­ly thought her beau­ti­ful. Things like this are unob­jec­tion­able since it is the nature of the Banu AdamThe sons of Adam, i.e. mankind. to find beau­ty beau­ti­ful. The sud­den glance is for­giv­en. Then he restrained him­self from her and told Zayd to keep her.

Abu Bakr ibn F???? said that the Prophet(P) was free from hypocrisy and man­i­fest­ing the oppo­site of what was inside him. Allah freed him of that when He said, There is no fault in the Prophet in what Allah has decreed for him.” (33:38) Who­ev­er thinks that about the Prophet(P) has lied.

He said that the timid­i­ty (khashya) referred to here does not mean fear itself (khawf). It means to be mod­est or shy, i.e. he was shy before them because they would say, He has mar­ried his son’s wife.” The Prophet’s(P) fear of peo­ple was because of the lies spread by the hyp­ocrites and Jews when they made con­tro­ver­sies for the Mus­lims by say­ing, He has mar­ried his son’s wife” after he had for­bid­den them to mar­ry the wives of their sons. Allah cen­sured him for this and freed him from pay­ing any atten­tion to them con­cern­ing what He had made law­ful for him as He cen­sured him for his def­er­ence to his wives’ plea­sure in Sura at-Tahrim when He said, Why do you make haram what Allah has made halal for you?” (66:1) This is the same as when Allah says to him, You fear peo­ple and it is more fit­ting to fear Allah.” (33:37)

Al-Hasan ibn Ali and Aishah elat­ed, If the Mes­sen­ger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had con­cealed any­thing, he would have con­cealed this ayat since it con­tains blame of him and uncov­ers what he had concealed.”Endmark


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One response to “Qadi Iyad on the Sto­ry of Zayd and Zaynab”

  1. Light-of-Mustafa Avatar

    Please cor­rect the miss­ing char­ac­ters on this page. Jazakallah.

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