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The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had watched both Zayd and Zaynab grow up, and thought they would make a good couple, and that their marriage would demonstrate that it was not who their ancestors were, but rather their standing in the sight of Allah, that mattered. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked for her hand on behalf of Zayd, Zaynab had her family were shocked at the idea of her marrying a man who in their eyes was only a freed slave. Moreover, Zaynab had wanted to marry the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself and in fact he had already been asked by her family whether or not he would like to marry her. At first both she and her brother refused, but then the following ayat was revealed:
It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any say in their decision; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has most clearly gone astray. (Quran 33:36)
When Zayd, who had also had misgivings about the proposed match, and Zaynab realized that there was no difference between what the Prophet wanted and what Allah wanted, they both agreed to the marriage, the Prophet providing a handsome dowry for Zaynab on Zayd's behalf.
The position of this link in lineage is Authentically Verified. References to this person can be found in:
Wives of the Prophets by ibn Katheer
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