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Newsletter for January 2016
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THE LION-HEARTED LADY OF KARBALA-SAYYIDA ZAYNAB BINT ALI (S.A.)
Lady Zaynab (s.a.) was the third child of Lady of Paradise, Sayyida Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.). She was born on 5 Jamadi al-Awwal 5 A.H. At that time the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) was not in Madinah. On his return, he was informed about her birth and on receiving the Divine Decree, he named the baby as Zaynab. He cried when Arch-angel Jibra'ee informed about the calamities to befallen this little girl.
When she was 5 years old, she had a dream which the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) interpreted as the demise of the Panjetan, except the Infallible Imam Husayn (a.s.).
She was raised in a unique pious, pure and prophetic environment. Hence, in her character, she reflected the best attributes of those who raised her. In sobriety and serenity, she was likened to Ummul Mumineen Sayyida Khadija (s.a.); in chastity and modesty to her mother Fatima Zahra (s.a.); in eloquence to her father Imam Ali (a.s.); in forbearance and patience to her brother Imam Hasan (a.s.); and in bravery and tranquility to the heart Imam Husayn (a.s.). Her face reflected her father's awe and her grandfather's reverence.
When the time came for marriage, she was married to her first cousin, Abdullah ibn Ja'far Tayyar. Together this young couple had five children; four sons, Ali, Aoun, Muhammad, and Abbas and one daughter, Umme Kulsoom.
In Madinah, she shared her knowledge with the women and taught them about Islam and was known as Fasiha and Baligha for her clarity and eloquence. For her depth and certainty of her knowledge, Imam Zayn-al-Abedin (a.s.) called her “A'limah Ghair Mu'allama” meaning one who has knowledge without being taught. Also because ofher piety and lack of interest in worldly adornments, she was called “Abidah” and “Zahidah”. She always preferred Bliss and comfort of the life hereafter.
When the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.) was requested by the Muslims to accept the responsibilities of Khilafah, she moved to Kufa with her family. Unfortunately, his khilafah lasted for about 5 years and was filled with wars and the world was deprived of a chance to witness a complete and through implementation of a Divine System of Social Justice. He was martyred in the Mosque while prostrating. It was a calamity for her and she moved back to Madinah.
In a blatant contravention of the Peace Agreement with the Infallible Imam Hasan (a.s.), Muawiya appointed Yazid as his successor. As soon as Yazid became caliph, he demanded allegiance from the Infallible Imam Husayn (a.s.). The Imam naturally refused and decided to move out of Madinah. Sayyidah Zaynab (s.a.) accompanied her beloved brother.
After the tragedy of Karbala, she became the defacto leader of the remaining family and exhibited exceptional patience, fortitude and bravery. After the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.), members of Bani Hashim and the companions, the Muslims looted the sacred belongings, set on fire the camps, imprisoned the daughters of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) and others and were made captives and led towards Kufa on camels without seats! Only recently, she was in Kufa as the daughter of the Caliph and now she was brought in as a captive. But she addressed the people who had betrayed her brother after inviting him to Kufa and were now celebrating. She said in a piercing eloquent insight: All Praise be to Allah and blessings be on my grandfather Muhammad (s.a.w.a.s.) and his purified and chosen Progeny. O people who deceive, forsake and contrive, it is you who will weep. May Allah not stop your tears and may your chests burn incessantly with the fire of grief and sorrow. You have earned the shame of killing the Imam of age. The stains of his blood are on your clothes and you cannot remove it, nor can you secure acquittal from the charge of slaying the son of the last Prophet of Allah, the Chief of the Youths in Paradise.
Similarly, when in Yazid's court when he was boasting and said: “My ancestors who were killed at Badr have been avenged today. It is clear that Bani Hashim had played a game to gain power and there was no divine revelation!”
Sayyida Zaynab stood up boldly while her hands were tied in a rope and said: “Praise be to Allah and blessings on my grandfather, the chief of Divine Prophets. O Yazid! Allah says: “Then evil was the end of those who did evil because they rejected the communications of Allah and used to mock them.” (30:10) “O Son of freed slaves, is this your justice that you keep your daughters and slave maids veiled while the daughters of the Prophet of Allah are being paraded from place to place exposed.” “Remember that the evil deeds and sinful acts you have committed are the result of unbelief and old rancor you bear because of your ancestors who were killed in Badr.”
Imagine the courage and fortitude of a lady whose brothers, sons, nephews and other members of Bani Hashim and the companions of her brother, seventy two in all, were ruthlessly martyred after being deprived of food and water for three days. She was physically, mentally, and emotionally tortured but still retained her family bravery and eloquence and unnerved by the events.
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