News ID: 112136
Publish Date : 05 February 2023 - 21:52

Hazrat Zainab’s (SA) Immortal Legacy

Seyyed Ali Shahbaz

Today, the 15th of the sacred month of Rajab is the sad anniversary of the departure from the mortal world of Hazrat Zainab (SA), the Impeccable Granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).
On a visit to Syria, a few years after the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, she reportedly achieved martyrdom when an enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt struck her head with a pickaxe while she was mourning her brother Imam Husain (AS) under a tree in a garden where the Omayyads had hung head on their way to Damascus.
Born in Medina in the year 6r AH, she was 5 years old when she lost her maternal grandfather, the Prophet. Within a few months, another tragedy struck the blessed household when the little girl witnessed the martyrdom of her beloved mother, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), upon whom the enemies of humanity had battered down the burning door of her house. Nonetheless, she patiently endured these sufferings while growing up under the loving care of her father, Imam Ali (AS), along with her elder brothers, Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS). She reportedly greatly resembled her maternal grandmother, the Mother of all True Believers, Hazrat Khadija (SA).
On growing up, she married her first cousin, Abdullah the son of Ja’far at-Tayyar, and became the mother of several children. After 25 years of usurpation when the caliphate came begging at the doorstep of her father and he reluctantly took up the reins of political power, she and her family moved along with him to Kufa in Iraq the new capital of the Islamic realm.
Imam Ali (AS), during his four-and-a-half year rule of social justice revived the genuine teachings of Islam in society, before being martyred in the Mosque while in the state of prayer in the blessed month of Ramadhan in 40 AH. It was a great blow to Hazrat Zainab (SA) and the rest of the family. Some six months later, her elder brother, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS) relinquished the caliphate, because of adverse political circumstances and returned to Medina with the family members. Ten years later in 50 AH Imam Hasan (AS) was martyred through poisoning. It was another tragedy for Zainab (SA). She, however, remained steadfast beside her other brother, Imam Husain (AS). Ten years later when he had to leave Medina, she took the permission of her husband, Abdullah, to accompany Imam Husain (AS) to Mecca and then Karbala along with two of her sons, Aun and Muhammad.
In Karbala, she witnessed the heartrending tragedy of Ashura on the 10th of Moharram, when within a space of few hours 18 of her family members, including her two sons Aun and Muhammad, achieved martyrdom along with the Chief of Martyrs, her brother Imam Husain (AS). She was a picture of patience and endured the equally tragic aftermath of the tragedy. She and the rest of the womenfolk and children of the Prophet’s Household were forced to march as captives along with the severed heads of the martyrs, all the way from Karbala to Kufa, and thence to Damascus in Syria, to the court of the tyrant Yazid.
Zainab (SA) was now the leader of the caravan, and she bravely rose to the occasion to unmask hypocrisy and tyranny in its true colours. In such a situation, she took the battle to the enemy’s camp and triumphed. Her words in the court of the tyrant Yazid resonantly ring out to this day, as she said, “Is it justice O’ sons of freed slaves (yabna at-tulaqa).”
This phrase is part of an eloquently moving sermon in the presence of the ruler of a realm that was the superpower of the age. She delivered it when she was in chains and fetters, while the heads of her brother, nephews, sons, and others lay in a tray, in a gory spectacle, in front of the elated tyrant.
The granddaughter of the Prophet exposed Yazid and his Omayyad clan as nothing more than a bunch of ingrates, sired by Mu’awiyya, Abu Sufyan, and the liver-eater Hend, who were actually slaves freed by the Prophet, following the peaceful surrender of Mecca to Muslims in 8 AH. She meant to say that Islam had spared their rotten life, but in turn, these Godless Omayyads had martyred the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Husain (AS).
The eloquence of Hazrat Zainab (SA) was comparable to that of her parents. Her clarity of language and choice of words to expound the mission of her brother in the court of the tyrant Yazid is rather unique. History is incapable of doing full justice to her sermons that ensured eternity for the mission of Imam Husain (AS). Scholars, pointing to her memorable sermon in the court of Damascus, say that besides being an indicator of her firm faith, trust in God, sincerity of purpose and dauntlessness under the most adverse circumstances, it shattered to pieces the power and pride of Yazid. Her bold address to the arrogant
caliph shook the very foundations of Omayyud rule and exposed its illegitimacy not only for the courtiers, but also for all generations to come.
Earlier in Kufa, following the entry of the caravan of captives of Karbala in the city, where Hazrat Zainab (SA) used to be the leading lady during the caliphate of her father Imam Ali (AS), she delivered a resounding sermon in the most eloquent manner that made people still unaware of her identity, dumbstruck. When the unsuspecting Kufans who had turned out to witness what appeared to them a scene of amusement, threw dates towards the captives as sadaqa (or alms), the granddaughter of the Prophet could no longer keep silent. She said in a commanding tone, “We are the daughters of the Messenger of God, alms-taking is certainly forbidden for us.”
The effect was electrifying on the crowd and tears rolled down their eyes. They froze into silence, and even horses and camels stopped neighing and whinnying. A narrator says that he had never heard anyone deliver such a highly eloquent speech and it made him recall the matchless eloquence of Imam Ali (AS). After praising God and sending blessings on the Prophet and his infallible progeny, she reprimanded the Kufans for their weak faith and double crossing. She questioned the reason for their tears now when it was because of their treachery the Ahl al-Bayt have suffered and the tears of the blessed household have never stopped flowing. She likened their tears to moonlight that falls on a grave but has no benefit for the buried corpse. She said, the Kufans because of their dubious traits invited Imam Husain (AS) and then deserted him to be tragically martyred, thereby earning for themselves divine wrath.
“May your tears never run dry,” she said in her highly eloquent speech likening the treacherous Kufans to a woman who after toiling to weave the thread undoes her endeavours herself. She reprimanded them for their sedition, hypocrisy, and sycophancy. She said they resembled the grass that grows in unclean soil that even animals are unwilling to smell. She told them that their crime of inviting Imam Husain (AS), then betraying him to the forces of Yazid, and participating in the shedding of his innocent blood remains until the Day of Resurrection as an ugly blot upon them, since they have badly hurt the soul of the Prophet.
She warned the deceitful Kufans that if today blood has fallen from the sky because of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS), tomorrow they should be prepared for the more grievous punishment of afterlife. Hazrat Zainab (SA) would have continued this highly eloquent sermon of her if her nephew Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) had not implored her for patience.
Later, in Damascus she gave another remarkable display of her faith, virtue and knowledge, as could be gleaned from her memorable sermons that finally forced Yazid to release the noble household and allow them to return to Medina. Upon release, the noble lady laid the foundations of the mourning ceremonies for the Martyrs of Karbala – ceremonies that continue to inspire the faithful in the months of Muharram and Safar.
Thus, it was the sister’s patience, which made the message of the brother resound with glory in the courts of the perpetrators of history’s most heart-wrenching tragedy. It ensured that as long as the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) is commemorated the name of Zainab (SA) shines with radiance.
Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) laid her to eternal rest at the same spot on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, where her shrine is the site of pilgrimage today despite the plots of modern-day terrorists to stop the faithful. Now we understand why dedicated youths from around the world, including Iran, assembled in Damascus over the past few years at the risk to their life in order to defend the sanctity of the shrine of the Prophet’s granddaughter from the mischief of Takfiri terrorists.