orders—all direct communications from God—are announced.

Sometimes certain revelations also came to justify the actions of the Prophet in his domestic life. Those in connexion with events which happened about this time at Madina will serve as an illustration, and may be conveniently mentioned here, though they actually occurred later on, in the year A.D. 626, and after the battle of Uhud. The story goes that, on visiting the house of Zaid, his adopted son, Muhammad was struck with the beauty of his wife, Zainab. Zaid offered to divorce her, but Muhammad said to him, 'keep thy wife to thyself and fear God.' Zaid now proceeded with the divorce, though from the implied rebuke in the thirty-sixth verse of Sura Al-Ahzab (xxxiii) he seems to doubt the propriety of his action. In ordinary cases this would have removed any difficulty as regards the marriage of Zainab and Muhammad, and little or no scandal would have followed; but the marriage of a man with the wife of his adopted son, even though divorced, was looked upon by the Arabs as a very wrong thing indeed. However, Muhammad did this, and had to justify his action by alleging that he had for it the direct sanction of God. It was first necessary to show that God did not approve of the general objection to marriage with wives of adopted sons, and so the revelation came thus:—

Nor hath He made your adopted sons to be as your sons. Sura Al-Ahzab (xxxiii) 4.

According to Arab custom and usage Zaid was to Muhammad 'as his son,' but in Islam such a


view was by divine command to be set aside. Having thus settled the general principle, the way was clear for Muhammad to act in this particular case, and to claim divine sanction for setting at nought the sentiment of the Arab people. So the revelation goes on to say:—

And remember when thou (i.e., Muhammad) said to him (i.e., Zaid) unto whom God had shown favour1 and to whom thou also hadst shown favour,2 'Keep thy wife to thyself and fear God;' and thou didst hide in thy mind what God would bring to light and thou didst fear man;3 but more right had it been to fear God.4 And when Zaid had settled to divorce her, we married her to thee, that it might not be a crime in the faithful to marry the wives of their adopted sons when they have settled the affairs

1 In allowing him to become a Muslim.
2 In adopting him as a son. He had been called Zaid bin Muhammad; now he reverts to his old name, Zaid bin Haritha.
3 Both in the Tafsir-i-Husaini, and the Sahihu'l-Bukhari, it is stated that the words, 'God would bring to light,' refer to the fact that Zainab would become Muhammad's wife, and also that the words, 'thou didst fear man,' have reference to the fear Muhammad felt at breaking through a custom held in such esteem by the Arabs; that is, the refraining from marrying the wife of an adopted son. Thus Bukhari says:—
وَتُخْفِى فى نَفْسِكَ ما الَّة مُبْدِة نزلت في شانِ اِبْنةَ جَحْش وزيد بن حارثة
'Thou didst hide in thy heart that which God would bring to light in the matter of the daughter of Jahsh and Zaid bin Haritha.' Sahihu'l-Bukhari, vol. iii, p. 312.
Husain says:—
وَتُخْفِى في نَفْسِكَ وبنهان ميكردى در نفس خود ماَ الَّة مُبْدِيْةِ انجة خدا بيدا كنندة آن است يعنى آنرا كة زينب داخل ازواج طيبات تو خواهد بود و َتَحْشَى النَّاسَ وبترسيدى از سرزنش مردم كة كويد زن بسر خواندة را بخواست
'And didst conceal in thy heart that which God made plain, and that is, that Zainab should join the company of the excellent wives, and didst fear the reproach of men who said, "He has asked for the wife of an adopted son."' Tafsir-i-Husaini, vol. ii, p. 201.
4 i.e. to have had no hesitation in the matter.