Abu-l Aas belonged to the Abd ash-Shams clan of the Quraysh. He was in the prime of his youth, handsome and very impressive looking. He was the epitome of Arab chivalry and was endowed with all the characteristics of pride, manliness and generosity. He took great pride in the traditions of his ancestors.
Abu-l Aas inherited the Quraysh love for trade. The Quraysh of course were known to be masters of the two annual trading expeditions, the winter expedition to the south, to Yemen, and the summer expedition to the north, to Syria. These two expeditions are mentioned in the Quran in the chapter named after the Quraysh.
The caravans of Abu-l Ads always plied between Makkah and Syria. Each caravan was made up of two hundred men and a hundred camels. People would entrust their wealth and their goods to him to trade on their behalf because of his skill as a merchant, his honesty and his trustworthiness.
The maternal aunt of Abu-l Aas was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the wife of Muhammad ibn Abdullah. She treated him like a mother would her own son, with love and affection. Muhammad too was extremely fond of him.
The years went by quickly in the household of Muhammad and Khadijah. Zanaib, their eldest daughter, soon grew up and blossomed forth like a lovely flower. She was much sought after in marriage by the sons of respectable Makkan nobles. And why not? She was one of the most distinguished Makkan girls in lineage and social standing. She was blessed with the most honorable father and mother. And she had the finest morals and behavior.
Which one of these scions of Makkan nobility would win her hand? Abu-l Aas ibn Rabi'ah was the one who did.
Abu-l Aas and Zaynab were only married a few years when the Divine light of Islam radiated over Makkah. Muhammad, the father of Zaynab, was now the Prophet of God, sent to convey the religion of guidance and truth. He was commanded to convey the message of Islam first to his family and nearest relatives. The first women to believe in him and accept Islam were his wife Khadijah and his daughters Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah. Fatimah was very young at the time.
Zaynab's husband however did not like leaving the religion of his forefathers and he refused to adopt the religion which his wife now followed although he was completely devoted to her and loved her dearly with a pure and sincere love.
Before long, the confrontation between the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the Quraysh developed and grew bitter. The Quraysh felt that it was intolerable for their sons to remain married to Muhammad's daughters. They also considered that it would be an embarrassing and difficult situation for Muhammad if his daughters were to be returned to his household. So they went to Abu-l Aas and said:
"Divorce your wife, Abu-l Aas, and send her back to her father's house. We shall then marry you to any of the most charming and noble women of the Quraysh you desire."
"No, by God," said Abu-l Aas firmly. "I shall not divorce my wife and I do not wish to have in her place any woman in all the world." Read the conclusion here insha'Allah*Attempts were made to contact the owners of islamiska.org to obtain permission to list the biographies here. Each email came back with a failure. We have listed the source in hopes that this is sufficient and ask Allah to forgive us if we have made an error.*