Syeda Zainab binte Amir-ul-Momineen-asws



Umm-ul-Masseib[1] Syeda Zainab Binte Ali-asws by the grace of the Lord-azwj Almighty was gifted (Zahoor[2]) to Amir-ul-Momineen Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talib-asws and her pious mother Syeda Fatima binte Muhammad Al- Zahra.-asws  in Medina on Friday, the 1st of Shabaan, 6 AH ; 625AD.

The divine baby-asws would not open her-asws  eyes until she-asws was held by 3 year old Imam Hussain-asws and gazed adoringly at her brother-asws. Mola Hussain; “ Father-asws,Allah-azwj the Almighty has gifted me-aswswith a sister.”Imam Ali-asws  and Syeda Fatima Zahra-asws began to weep on seeing them together.

Angel Jibra’il-asws came to the Prophet Muhammad-saww and conveyed Allah’s-azwj   glad tidings and gave the name that was to be hers-asws  , and then he-saww began to weep.  The Prophet-saww  asked Angel Jibra’il-asws why he wept and he answered, “O Prophet of Allah-saww  From early on in the life, this girl-asws  will remain entangled in tribulations and trials in this world.  First she-asws   will weep over your-saww  separation from this world; thereafter she-asws  will bemoan the loss of her mother-asws , then her father-asws  , and then her brother Hasan-asws.  After all this she -asws will be confronted with the trials of the land of Karbala and the tribulations of that lonely desert, as a result of which her-asws   hair will turn grey and her-asws   back will be bent.

The Prophet-saww took the blessed baby-asws  and embraced her-asws while his tears were flowing on his-asws holy face.

Syeda Fatima -asws asked him, ‘What makes you-asws cry? May Allah -azwj  not make your eyes cry!

He-asws said to her-aswsgently, ‘O Fatima-asws, Know that, after me-aswsand after you-asws ,misfortunes and calamities would engulf this daughter of yours-asws .

Prophet Muhammad-saww named the baby ‘Zainab-asws which means ‘father’s adornment’. Imam Ali-aswsand his-asws  daughter-asws  were so close, so germane attached that even the alphabetical distance of ‘Alif cannot set them apart. It is for this reason that in Arabic ‘Zainab’ is written without the alphabet ‘Alif in between. Amir-ul-Momineen-asws was the adornment of excellences and Syeda Zainab-aswswas his-asws  adornment.Syeda Zainab-asws had brothers-asws who were the youths of paradise namely Imam Hasan-asws, Imam Hussain-asws  and a sister-asws  who was a year younger Syeda Umm-e-Kulsoom-asws . Syeda Zainab-asws had many titles of which we have listed some below;

 Waliyatul Allah-azwj

Syeda Zainab-asws has the title of ‘Waliyatul Allah’-azwj and is vested with authority on the universe and moreover she-asws  also has the authority over this authority. Her-asws authority is such that in Kufa, when she-asws wished to deliver a sermon, the whole atmosphere was rife with shrieking noises and loud sounds. Men and animals, both were making a lot of noises. Nobody could have quelled such a noisy mob. Man may become dumb of fear of tyranny but same cannot be said with animals.Imam Ali Ibn Hussain-asws said; “The moment my aunt Zainab-asws gesticulated at the people, then their breathing slowed down and bells which were dangling in the necks of animals stopped ringing……..”[3]

These words of the Holy Imam-aswsclearly shows the extent of authority, which Syeda Zainab-asws wields over this Uni­verse. Her-asws  mere gesture was enough to quell the bedlam.

Aminatul Allah -azwj

Divine secrets can be inquired by either the Holy Prophet-saww or Imams-asws Other than infallibles-aswsnone can carry any such divine secrets. Imam Hussain-asws assigned the secrets of Divine leadership and vicegerency to Syeda Zainab-asws. Because a fallible human cannot bear the secrets of Imamat. Syeda Zainab-asws was pure ‘Noor’ and infalliable.  One of the Divine trusts is the office of Imamat. Syeda-asws saved and protected the Imam Zainul Abideen-asws  several times, when infidels set fire to their tents on the eve of 11th of Moharram and in the courts of Ibn Ziadla and yazeedla. Syeda Zainab-asws indeed was the successor to Syeda Fatima Zahra-asws  and hence had the title ‘Sani-e-Zahra’. -asws

 Aalematun-Ghaira Muallamah Wa Fahimatun Ghaira Muffahamah-asws  [4]

Syeda Zainab-asws was a scholar without having a Worldly-teacher and an intellectual without an explanator. This title was accorded to her-aswsby Imam Zainul Abideen-asws. This shows that Syeda Zainab-asws never received education from any non-masomeen teacher. But she-asws was divinely blessed with knowledge and education.. The sermons that Syeda Zainab-asws delivered in Kufa and Sham were equivalent in eloquence and wisdom to that of Imam Ali-asws.When those who had been in audience to the sermons of Mola Ali-asws, heard the sermons of Syeda Zainab-asws they remarked ‘Has Ali come to life again?’ Because her-asws eloquence, her oration, her delivery, depth of her meaning and everything reflected that of Amir-ul-Momineen-asws

Sharikatul Hussain -asws

Syeda Zainab-asws stayed with Imam Hussain-asws throughout Mola’s-asws life and went through all hardships and calamities with Mola Hussain-asws.The way Syeda Fatima Zahra-asws  shared the responsibilities of her father’s Prophethood. Before she-asws would pray she-asws used to first cast a glance at the face of her beloved brother-asws

Syeda Zainab’s-asws other titles include; Aqeelat Bani Hashim-asws, Al-Aalimah-asws (learned), Aabidat Aal Ali-asws (the worshipper of Ali’s-asws family), Al-Kamilah-asws (perfect), Al-Fadhilah-asws (worthful)

When Syeda Zainab-asws was 3 years old she-asws  had a dream and told her-asws grandfather the he Holy Prophet-saww:

“O Messenger of Allah-saww! Last night I dreamed of a severe hurricane blowing over the entire earth. I took shelter from the sandstorm under a gigantic tree but even that got uprooted and collapsed to the ground. I-asws then took refuge under a fallen branch of that tree but that too did not last long. I-asws sought shelter under a third branch of the same tree but it was crushed into pieces due to the severity of the wind. I-asws continued to seek refuge under two entangled branches but the hurricane simply blew them away..”

The Holy Prophet-saww  heard the narration and wept uncontrollably. Then he-saww answered:

“Zainab-asws  ! The tree under which you were sheltered is your grandfather-saww who will leave this world shortly. The other two branches were your parents-aswswho will also leave this transient world. And the two entangled branches are your brothers Hasan-asws and Hussain-asws , under the trials and difficulties faced by whom, the world will be enveloped in darkness.”

Syeda Zainab-asws  was only five years old when she-asws  saw the funeral of her grandfather Prophet Muhammad-saww  in 10 AH. Her-asws  mother Syeda Fatima-asws  mourned day and night and would not stop crying. The surrounding people used to complain to Amir-ul-Momineen-asws  about her-asws  crying, so he built her a shade outside Medina for this purpose called ‘Bait-ul-Huzn’(House of mourning). Syeda Zainab-asws  used to accompany her-asws  mother-asws  to that shade everyday. Ten days after the Prophet’s-saww  Martyrdom, Umar ibn Khattab(L.A)  and his followers(L.A) attacked the house of Syeda Fatima-asws, and caused the martrydom of Hazrat Shehzada Mohsin-asws, then tied a rope around the neck of Amir-ul-Momineen-asws  and dragged him-asws  out of the house. Syeda Zainab-aswsalso had to witness her mothers-asws  visit to the court of  Abu Bakr (L.A)  to claim back the land of ‘Fadak’ gifted to Syeda-asws  by the Prophet-saww When Syeda Fatima-asws  returned from the court ,Syeda Zainab-asws  saw that her mothers-asws  hair had turned grey due the way she had been treated by the enemies of the Ahle Bait-asws.Less than three months later in 10 AH, Syeda Zainab-asws  had to bear the loss of her mother-asws Syeda Fatima Zahra-asws at the age of six.

Syeda Zainab grew up in Medina under the watchful eye of Amir-ul-Momineen-asws and Syeda Umm-ul-Baneen-asws , As decreed by Allah-azwj  she-asws was given in wedlock to Hazrat Abdullah ibn Ja’far Tayyar-asws.Hazrat Abdullah-asws   had been brought up under the direct care of the Prophet-asws . After his-asws martrydom, Mola Ali-asws became his supporter and guardian until he-asws came of age. Syeda Zainab-asws   had two sons named Hazrat Aun Ibn Abdullah-asws   and Hazrat Muhammad ibn Abdullah-aswsboth of her-aswsyoung sons-aswssacrificed their-asws lives for Imam Hussain-asws   on the battlefield of Karbala

In the thirty-seventh year A.H. Amir-ul-Momineen-asws agreed to lead the people and moved to Kufa and the Ahl-e-Bait accompanied Mola-asws., Including Syeda Zainab-asws  and Hazrat Abdullah-asws  On the night before Friday the 19th of Ramzan in the 40 AH, Amir-ul-Momineen-asws  went to the mosque for morning prayers.  Shortly after the azan, She-asws heard a heart-rending cry from Angel Jib’raeel that “ Amir-ul-Momineen-asws  had been Struck with the poisionous sword of Ibn Muljim(L.A).  Mortally wounded, he was carried back home on the shoulders of Imam Hasan-asws  and Imam Hussain-asws . On the twenty-first night of the Month of Ramzan Amir-ul-Momineen-asws  was Martryed. Syeda Zainab-asws and he Ahle-Bait-asws returned to Medina.

Some ten years later, Syeda Zainab-asws was once again stricken with a grievous loss, that of her-asws  brother MoIa Imam Hasan-asws  .  Mu’awiya(L.A)  was intent on converting the caliphate into a hereditary kingship so as to retain the seat of power within his clan(L.A).  To achieve this it was necessary that he(L.A)  secure allegiance of the people for his son Yazid(L.A).  This proved to be impossible as long as Imam Hasan-asws was alive and thus he had Mola Hasan-asws  poisoned by his wife Jo’dah binte Ash’ath.(L.A) .Syeda Zainab-aswswitnessed the returning of the coffin of Imam Hasan-asws  from burial, as it had been shot at by the arrows of Aisha(L.A)  and her(L.A)  henchmen(L.A)  who refused that Mola Hasan-asws be buried next to his grandfather-saww  the Prophet Muhammad-saww. Syeda Zainab-asws suffered and wept as she removed the arrows from his-asws blood stained shroud. Mola Imam Hasan-asws  was laid to rest in Jannatul Baqi.

In the month of Rajab in the sixtieth year after Hijrah, the Bani Hashim-asws were confronted with the caliphate of Yazid(L.A). Yazid(L.A)  did not have the forbearance of his father-asws, and was not content to let Imam Hussain-asws stay in Medina in peace.  The day after his(L.A) father’s(L.A)  death he wrote to Walid ibn ‘Utba ibn Abu Sufyan(L.A), the governor of Medina, asking him(L.A)to pursue Imam Hussain-asws, Abdullah ibn Umar(L.A), and Abdallah ibn Zubayr(L.A), and compel them to swear allegiance to him(L.A).  Mola Hussain-asws  refused.  He-asws decided to leave Medina, and, at the behest of other oppressed people, to go to Kufa where, he-asws had been led to believe, there were many who wished to combat the tyrannical rule of the transgressing Bani Umayya(L.A) .

When Syeda Zainab-asws  learnt of Imam Hussain’s-asws she requested Hazrat Abdullah-aswsto give her-aswsleave to accompany her-aswsbrother-asws. Hazrat Abdullah-asws  pointed out that such a journey was fraught with difficulties and hardship. Syeda Zainab-asws said, “My-asws  mother-asws  did not leave me-asws  to watch from afar as recreation the day when my brother-asws  is all alone, surrounded by enemies with no friend or supporter.  You know that for fifty-five years my brother-asws  and I-asws  have never been separated. If I -asws leave him-asws  now, how shall I-asws  be able to face my mother-asws, who at the time of he-asws r death had willed, ‘Zainab, after me-asws  you are both mother-asws  and sister-aswsforHussain(asws)”
Hazrat Abdullah-asws  himself had wanted to accompany the Imam-asws, but since he had been weakened by illness, he gave her-asws  permission to go on this destined journey.  With her-asws  he sent his two son Hazrat Aun-asws  and Hazrat Muhammad-asws  to be sacrificed for Imam Hussain-asws. Syeda Zainab-asws  prepared all her-asws  life for what was written for her-asws and her brother-asws. She-asws  preferred to face the trials of Karbala than to ever be separated from him-asws.
Having decided to leave, Imam Hussain-asws  ordered that litters be prepared for the ladies-asws  of his family-asws.

Hazrat Abbas Ibn Ali-asws, raised the call to the people of Medina saying;

O’People lower your eyes for the Household-asws of the Prophet-saww is leaving Medina

Mola Abbas-asws  helped Syeda Zainab and Syeda umm-e-Kulthum-asws  into their litter. They were followed by two young girls, Syeda Fatima Kubra Binte Hussain-asws and Syeda Sakina Binte Hussain-asws.

Imam Hussain-asws  reached Karbala on the second of Muharram. Yazid(L.A)  appointed Ibn Ziyad(L.A), governor of Kufa, to carry out orders to subvert their plans, and this they had achieved successfully.
The tents were pitched and at night Imam Hussain-asws  sat cleaning his sword and reciting couplets forecasting his martyrdom.  His son Imam Zainul Abideen -asws listened quietly but in sorrow.  When Syeda Zainab-asws heard him she could not restrain her-asws  tears.

On the eve of the tenth day of Muharran, Imam Hussain-asws addressed his-asws  followers, the Ansar and the Bani Hashem-asws.  It had become clear that this was to be a battle unto martyrdom. He-asws  therefore released them from any obligation to remain by his side, When Syeda Zainab-asws  heard the battle – cries of their approaching troops she-asws  ran to her brother’s-asws  tent and found that he had fallen asleep while cleaning his sword.  She stood there quietly for a moment.  He-asws  woke up, and seeing her-asws  said that he had just had a dream in which he saw his grandfather-asws, the Holy Prophet-saww, his father Mola Ali-asws, his mother Syeda Fatima-asws, and his brother Imam Hasan-asws  telling him-asws  that he-asws  would soon join them-asws. Syeda Zainab-asws   wept on hearing these words, Mola Hussain-asws  said to her, “The blessings of Allah-azwj  are upon you-asws.  Do not worry about the troubles these wretched people will cause.”

That same day, Syeda Zainab-asws   brought to him-asws her-asws  two sons Hazrat Aun-asws   and Hazrat Mohammad-asws   and said to him-asws  , “O my brother, if women were permitted to fight, I would have courted death to save you.  But it is not allowed.  Accept therefore the sacrifice of my two sons.” Both young brothers fought like the grandson of Jafar-e-Tayyar-asws  and were martyred, Syeda Zainab-asws   raised her-asws hands in Praise of Almighty Allah-azwj

When the holy body of Hazrat Ali Akbar-asws was brought to the tents of the women, Syeda Zainab-asws wept with grief.  She -asws clasped the body saying, “O my son-asws, would that I-asws  had become blind, or had been buried beneath the ground so as not to have seen this day”

When her-asws  brother Mola Abbas-aswsapproached Syeda Zainab to bid farewell, she fell to the ground and wept. Mola Abbas-asws was also martyred

When all the ansar and Bani Hashim-asws  had been matryed and only Imam Hussain-asws remained he-asws approached the tents of Syeda Zainab-asws  to bid farewell . Mola Hussain-asws  said, “Take heed and remember that this my son-asws  is my-asws  successor and Imam-asws  and is to be followed., After killing me-asws, my enemies(L.A)  would take off the clothes from my-asws  body and trample me-asws  under hooves.   Therefore please bring me some old and tattered dress to wear so that they might spare me-asws.”
Imam Hussain’s-asws  enemies(L.A)  surrounded him-asws  and attacked him-asws    with swords and spears.  When Syeda Zainab -asws  saw her brother-asws  from her-asws    tent door she-asws went to ‘tila zainabiya’ , and she-asws  said, “O’ my brother-asws , my master-asws , would that the sky fall down on the earth and the mountains toppled to the ground.”

The Holy Imam’s-asws body was trampled by his enemies(L.A) ’ horses, his pious head-asws was severed, and even the tattered cloth were taken At the moment of the Imam’s-asws  Martrydom, Angel Jibra’il proclaimed, “Beware,our Lord Hussain-asws has been martyred in Karbala.”
 Upon hearing this Syeda Zainab-asws    rushed to Imam Zainul Abideen-asws  and told him-asws about the tragedy that had just occurred.  At his asking she-asws  raised the curtain of the tent door for him-asws and, looking towards the battlefield, he exclaimed, “My Aunt-asws  , my father-asws    had been matryed, and with him the spring of generosity and honor to has come to an end.  Inform the women and ask them to conduct themselves with patience and forbearance; let them be prepared to be plundered and taken captive.”

Umar ibn Sa’d(L.A)    gave the order to loot and set fire to the tents.  Barging in, they plundered what they could and set the tents on fire.  They beat the Ahl-e-Bait-asws    with their spears and snatched away their-asws  veils. Imam Zainul Abideen’s-asws    bedding was ripped from beneath him-asws    and he-asws    was left lying feeble, weak and unable to move.  Both Sakina’s-asws  earrings were wrenched from her-asws  ears, making them bleed.  While the tents burned away, Syeda Zainab-asws  gathered the women-asws  near to the Holy Imam-asws who was unconscious, Shimr(L.A)  had come to behead him. Syeda Zainab-asws    threw herself on her sick nephew-asws  to protect him-asws  and Shimr(L.A)   was stopped from carrying out his(L.A)  evil intention.

As night fell, Syeda Zainab-asws collected them all together, but could not find Syeda Sakina-asws .She-asws  was greatly perturbed and called on her martyred brother-asws  to tell her where the child-asws was.  A voice replied, “O my sister-asws   , my-asws  daughter-asws  is with me-asws   .”

The next day, Syeda Zainab-asws and the Prophet’s family-asws were made to leave for Kufa to be presented to Ibn Ziyad(L.A)  .When, on their way, they reached the battlefield, a heart-rending sight met their-asws eyes.  The bodies of the martyrs-asws lay on the burning sand, covered with dust and blood. Syeda Zainab-asws  lifted her-asws  head and saw the face of her brother-asws  and hit her-asws  head upon the wooden pillar of the litter. Blood started flowing from her and she-asws said;

“O crescent who did not even rise when it was eclipsed and it set! O piece of my heart! I-asws had not presumed that the pen of destiny would have written this. O brother-asws! Speak to the young Fatema-asws  so that her heart may find solace. O brother-asws! What has happened to the heart that was merciful and kind towards us-asws, that it has hardened? O brother! I wish you would look at Ali-asws  (Zainul Abedeen) when he was being captivated while he-asws  was also orphaned. He-asws  possessed no strength to retaliate; when he was being flogged he-asws  was calling out to you helplessly, while his tears were flowing. O brother-asws! Take him-asws  into your fold and bring him-asws  close to you-asws.”

.When the caravan travelled to kufa  they met many hardships along the way. Numerous Children-asws of the Prophet-saww were made martyrs as they fell in the burning desert from the saddless camels backs as their Mothers-asws hands were tied and the infidels made the camels travel quickly. Syeda Zainab-asws gave the following speech to the traitors of Kufa;

Syeda Zainab-asws glorified Allah-azwj and sent salutations upon the Prophet of Allah-sawwand said;

“Now then! O Kufans! O men of vaunt! O treacherous men! O retreaters! Beware! May your lament never cease and may your wailing never end. Verily your similitude is that of a woman who untwirls the threads spinned by herself. You have broken your pledges by deceit and there remains nothing in you except pretense, self-conceit, exorbitance and dishonesty. You have adopted the flatter of maids and coquettishness of the enemies as your customs. Your similitude is of that of the expanse vegetation or jewellery in the graveyard. Beware! What an evil have you brought forth for yourselves that has invited Allah’s wrath upon you and you have earned a place of fury in the hereafter. You weep for my brother? Verily yes by Allah! You should weep, for you deserve it. Weep abundantly and laugh less, thus you are tainted with disgrace and trapped in contempt that you shall never be able to wash off. How will you wash off the blood of the son of the ‘Seal of Prophethood (s.a.w.s)’ and the ‘Mine of Apostleship’ from yourselves, who was the Master of the youth of Paradise, the General of the battlefield, and an Asylum of your group. He was a residence of repose for you and your well-being. He healed your wounds and safeguarded you against whatever evil came towards you. You approached him when you quarreled among yourselves. He was your best counsel and you relied upon him, and he was a lantern of your path. Beware! What evil have you brought forth for yourselves and what load have you put upon your neck for the day of Qiyamah. Perdition! Perdition! Destruction! May your search go vain and may your hands paralyse that you have handed over the affairs of your provisions to the wind. You have occupied a place in Allah’s wrath, while the stamp of contempt and misfortune is sealed upon your forehead. Woe be to you! Do you know that you have amputated the dear child of Mohammads.a.w.s)? And what pledge have you broken off from him? And what endeared family of his have you brought out onto the streets? And what veil of sanctity have you snatched away from them? And what blood have you shed from him? What an awry thing have you brought forth that it is likely that the heavens would fall down and the earth would disperse, while the mountains would crumble down as much as the fill of the earth and the heavens. The bride of your affairs is hairless, unfamiliar, indecent, blind, ugly and sullen. You wonder why the heavens rain blood. The chastisement of the hereafter is more disgraceful and there will be no helper. Let not this respite make you frivolous, for none has the power to anticipate upon Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, and seeking vengeance does not lapse from him. No, not at all, your Lord is in ambush for you.What will you reply when the Prophet shall ask you, how did you fair, while you were the last nation, with my progeny and my children, the noble ones, that some of them are captivated and some drenched in their blood, this is not the recompense regarding which I adviced you with which you treated my ‘Near-ones’ , I fear that a wrath similar to the people of Iram might descend upon you”.

Saying this Syeda Zainab-asws turned her-asws face away from them. The Ahl-e-Bait-asws were then taken before Ibn Ziyad(L.A)  

Ibne Ziyad(L.A) asked, “Who is this woman sitting alongwith the other women in the corner?” Syeda Zainab-asws did not answer him(L.A) . He repeated his question for the second and third time, when one of the maids said, “She is Zainab, -asws   the daughter of Fatima-asws , the daughter of the Prophet of Allah-saww. Ibne Ziyad(L.A) turned towards her-asws   and said, “Praise be to Allah that He has humiliated you, killed you and has brought forward the lie of your appearance”.

Syeda Zainab-asws replied, “Praise is due to Allah-azwj who has endeared us through His Prophet-saww and cleansed us from all filth. Verily the dissolute is humiliated and a tyrant speaks a lie, while this is far away from us-asws . And praise be to Allah-azwj “.

Ibne Ziyad(L.A)  said, “What did Allah-azwj  do to your family-asws?”

Syeda Zainab-asws “I have not seen anything except fairness in it. They-asws  were men for whom Allah-azwj had preferred martyrdom and they prepared to leave for their place of repose. And Allah-azwj will gather you all(L.A)  and you(L.A)  shall be tried and interrogated. Then see who will have succeeded on that day, O son of Marjanah(L.A)! May your mother mourn you(L.A)

Ibne Ziyad(L.A)  was silent.

The caravan was then taken to Damascus to be presented before Yazid(L.A) . Syeda Zainab-asws and the Ahle-eBait-asws   were subjected to the full tyranny of Yazid(L.A). As they-aswspassed throught the city as prisoners, they had stones hurled at them-asws,fire was thrown on them as was boiling water, Syeda Sakina-asws and Imam zainul abideen-aswswere constantly harrased by the tyrant shimr(L.A) who whipped Imam Zainul Abideen-aswsat every chance. On entering the bazaar of Hamidiya they-aswswere made to wait outside the entrance to Yazid’s palace for 3 continous days in the scorching sun with a single rope attached to each member of the Ahle Bait.-asws  

Syeda Zainab-asws  the daughter of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib-asws gave the following sermon in Yazids(L.A) palace,

“All praise be to the Lord-azwjof the worlds! And blessings of Allah-azwjupon His Messenger-saww and his entire progeny-asws! How true has Allah-azwj, the Glorious, said: Then evil was the end of those who wrought evil, for they belied the Signs of Allah, and at them they used to mock.[5] O Yazeed! Now when you have locked the paths of the earth and the horizon of the heavens upon us, and driven us similar to the captives, do you presume that we are degraded in the eyes of Allah while you are endeared? While you have acquired an eminent and lofty status near Allah due to this? So you look down upon us and become arrogant, elated, and you rejoice that the world has turned towards you? You assume that your task is organized, while your sovereignty and kingdom pleases you? Gradually you seem to have forgotten the words of Allah-azwj , the Mighty, the Sublime, Let not those who disbelieve think that Our giving them respite is good for their selves; We only give respite to them that they may increase in sins, and for them is a disgraceful chastisement.[6] Is this the custom of justice that you sit your women-folk and maids behind the veils, while you captivate and parade the daughters-asws of the Prophet of Allah-asws? You snatch the veils off them-aswsand leave them open, while their enemies(L.A) parade them from one town to another, and the inhabitants of every stream and town have a glimpse of them? And all intimate and non-intimate look at them-asws, as also the mean and noblemen, when they do not have alongwith them their men or support? What vigilance can one expect from them who have eaten the liver of the virtuous ones, and whose flesh has emerged (by cosuming) from the blood of martyrs? How could he lessen his envy towards us, who looks at us, the Ahlulbayt-asws , with the sight of arrogance, enmity and resent? And he boldly declares that ‘they would have hailed me with cries and said: O Yazeed(L.A) may your hands never stupefy’! Then you turn towards the teeth of Abu Abdullah, -asws  the Master of the youth of Paradise, and strike it with the stick of your hand? Then why would you not say so? You have sent the wound to its bottom, and you have uprooted the origins by shedding the blood of the Progeny of Mohammad-asws and the stars of earth from the descendants of Abdul Muttalib. Then you call out to your forefathers and in your assumption you summon them? Very soon you too shall face their conclusion, and then you will desire you were paralysed and were dumb so as not to have uttered these words, nor would you have possessed this character.

O Lord-azwj! Take away our rights from them and seek revenge from our oppressors, and send forth Your wrath upon those who have shed our blood and killed our aides. By Allah-azwj! You have torn your own skin and have ripped your own flesh, and you shall go to His presence with the heavy burden of having shed the blood of the progeny of the Prophet-saww and violating the sanctity of his family and adherents, at a place where Allah-azwjwill have united their dispersed ones and increased the quantity of their scattered ones, and present to them their rights. And reckon not those who are slain in the way of Allah, to be dead! Alive they are with their Lord being sustained. [7]Allah-azwj is sufficient as a judge upon you and the Prophet will be your enemy supported by Jibra’eel. Very soon will your father(L.A) , who set forth the kingdom for you(L.A)and sat you upon the neck of the Muslims, realise what an evil place awaits the oppressors.

What an evil place you have acquired and what a feeble army you possess. Nonetheless, the unpleasant circumstances have made me speak to you; while I consider your status to be quite low and your reproach to be large, as also I consider scoffing you abundantly. But the eyes are manifest and hearts volley. Beware! It is astonishing that the army of the noblemen of Allah-azwj be killed at the hands of the army of the freed-ones, the Satans. These are the very hands that have clenched our blood, and these are the very jaws that have devoured our flesh. While these are the chaste and radiant corpses who are guarded, time and again, by the wolves, and hyenas strew sand upon them. And now when you consider us to be booty, this is for what sent before your hands (what you did in your life), and that (verily) Allah is not unjust to his servants.[8] I complain to Allah-azwj and rely on Him Alone. Then you may lay whatever traps you have, and take thou whatever steps you desire, and endeavor as much as you want. By Allah-azwj! You shall never be able to wipe out our remembrance nor oust our inspiration from the midst, nor will you be able to wipe off the disgrace of this episode. Your opinion is erroneous, and your days less, while your group is scattered on the day when the caller will announce: Beware! (Now) Verily the curse of Allah is on the unjust.[9] Praise be to the Lord of the worlds, Who ended felicity upon our beginning with forgiveness, and Who destined martyrdom for our conclusion with blessings. I desire from Allah-azwj to complete His reward upon them, and increase it further, and to turn with fairness their succession upon us, for He is Merciful and a Friend. Allah is (quite) sufficient for us and the most Excellent Protector is (He)”.[10]

On the 13th of Safar with in the walls of the prison Syeda Zainab-asws had to bear the grief of the martyrdom of Syed Sakina binte Hussain-asws, her brother’s-asws beloved daughter-asws, the grief stricken 4 year old child-asws was martyred in the darkness of the prison and was buried there by Imam Zain-ul-Abideen-asws After some time Yazid(L.A) sent for Imam Zainul-Abideen.-asws  He(L.A) informed him of his-asws impending release and asked if he wished for anything.  Mola-asws   replied, “O Yazid(L.A), since the day our leader-asws  and our Master Hussain-asws was butchered we have not had any opportunity to mourn for him-asws.”
A house was therefore provided for them in the residential sector of Damascus and here Syeda Zainab-asws held her-asws  first ‘ majalis’ gathering for the mourning and remembrance of Imam Hussain-asws.  The women of the Quraysh and Bani Hashim-asws  arrived clad in black, with their heads uncovered, weeping wretchedly.
Imam Sajad-asws  sat on the carpet of Imam Hussain-asws  and then Syeda Zainab -asws told the women of Syria what had befallen them.  They shed tears and mourned.  They had not known about the events of Karbala and Kufa, but when they went home, they told their men folk.  Gradually, illusions of Yazid’s good intentions were dispelled.  It was fear of revolt that caused Yazid(L.A)  to release the members of the family of the Holy Prophet -asws

Yazid (L.A)  gave them-asws   the choice of remaining in Damascus or returning to Medina.  In accordance with Mola Sajad’s-asws   instructions the Ahl-e-Bait-asws  returned to Medina, he called Nu’man ibn Bashir, who had been a companion of the Holy Prophet-asws  , and ordered him to make suitable arrangements for their journey.  A contingent of horsemen, foot soldiers and adequate provisions were made available.  Gaily decorated litters with velvet seats were provided, but Syeda Zainab-asws ordered that these should be covered in black so that people would know the travelers were in mourning.

During the journey, Nu’man ibn Bashir showed the travelers every consideration and respect.  Whenever they stopped, the tents of the men were pitched a mile away from those of the women so that  the women could move unhindered and unobserved by strangers.  Gatherings of mourners were held wherever they stopped and many people came, listened and learned the truth.  The travelers returned to Medina via Karbala.  When they reached Karbala, they found Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari(ar) and some of the chiefs of Bani Hashim were already there for they had come to pay homage at the grave of Imam Hussain-asws  .  It is related that they  had brought the severed head of the chief of martyrs-asws  with them from Damascus and that in Karbala, and were buried by his son Imam Zain-ul Abideen-asws .  A great majlis was held before they resumed their journey.  When the time came to leave Karbala, Syeda Zainab-asws wanted to remain near her brother’s-asws grave till the day of her-asws death.  But Imam Zain-ul-Abideen-asws pleaded with her-asws not to leave them , she-asws agreed to return to Medina.

Wherever the caravan stopped on its way to Medina, a majlis-e-aza’ was held.  When the city was in sight, Syeda Zainab-asws   bade the women alight from their camels and pitch their tents.  Black flags were raised.  On learning of their arrival the people of Medina came out in droves, and once again Syeda Zainab-asws  recounted to them the events at Karbala and the hardships of their subsequent captivity. Syeda Zainab-asws said;

“O city (Madinah) of our grandfather! Do not accept us, we have returned alongwith regret and sorrow; beware, go and relate to the Prophet that we were subjected to severity due to (the enmity of) our father; when we departed from you, we had everyone accompanying us; but now we return back devoid of men and our sons; when we went from here we were together, and now we return accompanied by losses with belongings having being plundered; we were under the protection of Allah, and we now return with the separation of our near-ones and in fear; Our master Hussain-asws    was our protector and aide, and we return back having left him smeared in dust; we have been plundered and ruined while having no guarantor or aide, and we weep upon our brother; O grandfather! The enemies have killed Hussain, and they have not considered us near the Almighty Allah. O dear grandfather! Our enemies have fulfilled their desires and they have found relief by violating our sanctity, they un-veiled the womenfolk of the Ahlulbayt-asws  and forcefully made them mount upon Camels devoid of litters”.

After some time, Imam Zainul-Abideen-asws asked the women-asws to ready themselves for entering Medina.  Then they entered the city on foot, with black flags raised aloft.  Syeda Zainab-asws  went straight to the grave of the Holy Prophet -saww  where she prayed and told him of the massacre of his beloved grandson.. Syeda Zainab -asws did not live long after the tortuous trials she-asws   had to bear.

In Medina Syeda Zainab-asws, would weep and cry all. day and night,. Her-asws tears were always flowing for her brother-asws  and family-asws  whose heads were harvested by the Umayyad(L.A)  swords, and whose bodies were maimed severely.Those painful scenes often and always attacked her until she-aswswas too weak that she-aswscould tolerate those distresses no more. She-asws  often said , ‘O my brother-asws!’

‘O my Hussain-asws!’

‘O my Abbas-asws!’      

‘O my family-asws!’

and then she(asws)  would fall to the ground. The most beloved thing to her(asws) was to leave this world and join her(asws)  grandfather(asws)  to complain to him(asws) about the disasters, the capture, the killing, and the maiming that she(asws) and her family(asws) faced.. A year and half after the tragedy of Karbala, Syeda Zainab -asws returned to Damascus where an evil woodcutter(L.A) struck her-asws with his blade and caused her-asws  martyrdom on 16th Zil-Hijjah 62 the age of 56 years. Mola Imam Zainul Abideen-asws and Syeda Fiza-asws performed the burial rites and laid Syeda Zainb binte Amir-ul-Momineen-asws to rest.

We end with the following tradition of Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq-asws who said to a companion;

“O Zurarah! Verily the heavens wept blood for forty mornings upon Hussain-asws. The earth turned dark for forty mornings, and the sun was eclipsed and turned red for forty mornings, while the mountains crumbled and scattered and the seas exploded. The Angels wept for forty mornings upon Hussain-asws, and until the head came to us, our women-asws  did not dye or oil they hair nor did they apply colyrium or comb their hair. We always remained grief-stricken after him, while my grandfather (Imam Zainul Abdeen-asws) wept whenever he remembered him until his beard was soaked in his tears. And whoever would see him would become sorrowful and weep. The Angels at the head of his grave weep too, and whoever is there in the environment and heavens weep due to their weeping. And it is said that: No tears or eyes are more cherished near Allah than these eyes, which shed tears upon him. Then whoever weeps upon him, Fatema-asws  receives news regarding it, while this being the cause for his felicity. And this news reaches the Prophet of Allah-saww, and it is as if he has fulfilled our rights. There is no man who shall not arise weeping on the day of Qiyamah, except those who weep upon my grandfather-asws, while they shall arise with enlightened and illuminated eyes and a cheerful countenance. The people will be in fright, while they will be in peace. Others would be standing for accounting, but they will remain alongwith Hussain-asws among his associates under the empyrean and it’s shade, while they shall not be fearful of the evils of accounting. It shall be said to them: Proceed towards paradise. They shall not pay any heed and their hearts will not detach from the companionship of Imam Hussain-asws  and conversing with him. The houries will send invitation to them that they, alongwith the ‘the youths of unchanging bloom’, are anxious to have a view of them, but they shall not lift their heads and shall remain engrossed in joy and mercy of the companionship of Imam Husain (a.s). While some of his enemies shall be seized by their disheveled hair and thrown into hell, while some will call out that they do not have any intercessor or a friend in need for them. Their (the mourners of Imam Hussain-asws) friends in Paradise will behold their (exalted) status, but will not be able to near them or inquire from them. The Angels of paradise will bring forth good-tidings for them from their mates (houries) and the bearers of their wealth as to what pleasantries awaits them. They shall reply that, Allah-azwj  willing, we shall come to you. The Angels shall convey their messages to the houries, whose eagerness will increase after they hear regarding their excellence due to their proximity with Imam Hussain-asws Then they shall say: Praise be to Allah-saww, that He has delivered us from the great calamity and the frightful desert of Qiyamah and savedus from what we feared. Then their mounts shall be brought forth and they shall sit upon them, while eulogising Allah,-azwj  the Praiseworthy, and greeting Mohammad  -saww and his Progeny -asws and shall reach their destination”.

[1] Arabic word meaning: ‘mother of mourning and hardships’

[2] Transfer/descent of the divine and sacred ‘Noor’ to this earth as decreed by our Lord(swt).

[3] Maqtal At Husain, Al Muqarram, pg 311

[4] Arabic transalates; ‘A scholar without teacher and an intellectual without an instructor’

[5] Surah ar Room: 10.

[6] Surah ar Room: 10

[7] Surah Ale Imran: 169

[8] Surah al Haj: 10

[9] Surah al Hud: 18.

[10] Surah Ale Imran: 173.