Hadrat Zainab bint Ali(A.S.):The Greatest Messenger of the Hussaini Revolution

Sayyeda Zainab(A.S.) was born in the holy city of
Madina on 5th Jamadi-ul-Awwal in the 5th year of
Hijrah/627 A.D.
Her Holiness became famous for her knowledge of
the Holy Qu'ran and virtuous life.In her character
she reflected the best attributes.In sobriety and
serenity she was likened to Umm-al-Mumineen
Hadrat Khadija(A.S.),her grand-mother,in chastity
and modesty to her holy mother Hadrat Fatima
(A.S.) and in eloquence to her holy father Imam Ali
Hadrat Zainab(A.S.) proclaimed to the world the
greatest sacrifices made by Imam Husayn(A.S.)
and other members of the family of the Holy Prophet
of Islam(S.A.W.) who were brutally martyred at
Karbala in 61 A.H by the Yazidi forces.
Zainab's story is the story of victory of truth. It is the
story of a unique woman whose own fate was
inextricably bound with the historical events of
Karbala that have impressed upon mankind the true
reality of living Islam.
It was on the plains of Karbala that the battle
between Imam Husayn (a.s) and the
pretender to the caliphate, Yazid ibn Mu'awiya, was fought. Imam Husayn had steadfastly
refused to pay homage to Yazid and acknowledge
him as leader of the Muslim world. It was no secret
that Yazid flagrantly flaunted the laws of Islam and
even publicly derided its beliefs. His claim to the
caliphate bore no legitimacy or acceptability in the
eyes of Imam Husayn,(a.s)
This story unfolds through the life of Zaynab Kubrah,
grand-daughter of the Holy Prophet,(s.a.w.a) daughter of Sayyidah
Fatima and Imam Ali, (a.s). From what
we know of her actions and speeches, it is clear
that in her was reflected the divine prophetic light
that was her heritage.
In writing on Zaynab bint Ali,(a.s), we
must first bear in mind an unalterable fact: that is,
despite the efforts of numerous biographers, very
little actual recorded historical fact is available
about her. Even the exact dates of her birth, death,
marriage, or number of children, cannot be
ascertained with complete confidence.
Oral tradition about Zaynab (A.S.) has gradually
evolved to a point-of subjective elaboration and
emotional hyperbola that have eventually clouded
her real persona and the context from which we
have come to know her.
According to the shari'ah (revealed law) of Allah
women are hidden treasures, neither to be
displayed nor advertised. Theirs is a subtle,
fundamental and discreet domain. Imam Ali,(a.s) once asked Hadrat Fatima, (a.s) "Ma khayru 'n-nisa (who are the best among women)?"
She replied, "La yarina 'r-rijala wa la yarunahunna
(those who do not see men nor are seen by them)."
This then is another reason why so little is known
about Zaynab (A.S.) or any other women
throughout the history of Islam. But this rule can
only apply if all the other elements of a pure Muslim
society are equal. If the application of the divinely
directed formula is chaotic and imbalanced, then
that is the time when a woman feels compelled to
emerge into the open arena. This is the situation in
which Zaynab (A.S.) found herself. After Karbala no
one was left that had the courage to stand up to
tyranny, speak the truth, and submit to the
Zaynab (A.S.) shared with her brothers and sister
the extraordinary position of having such examples
to look up to, emulate and learn from, as her
grandfather, the Prophet of Allah [s.a.w.], her
mother Fatima (A.S.), daughter of the Prophet, and
her father Imam Ali (A.S.), cousin-brother of the
In the pure environment that enveloped her, she
absorbed the teachings of Islam that her
grandfather imparted and after him her father. Here
too she learnt to master all household skills with
great proficiency. She had barely attained the
tender age of seven when her beloved mother
passed away. Her mother's death had closely
followed her cherished grandfather's passing away.
Some time later Imam Ali [a.s ] married Umm ul-
Banin, whose devotion and pledge encouraged
Zaynab (A.S.) in her learning.
Whilst still a young girl she was fully able to care for
and be responsible for the running of her father's
household. As much as she cared for the comforts
and ease of her brothers and sisters, in her own
wants she was frugal and unstintingly generous to
the poor, homeless and parentless.
After her marriage her husband is reported as
having said, "Zaynab is the best housewife."
From very early on she developed an unbreakable
bond of attachment to her brother Imam Husayn
(A.S.). At times, when as a baby in her mother's
arms she could not be pacified and made to stop
crying, she would quieten down upon being held by
her brother, and there she would sit quietly gazing
at his face. Before she would pray she used to first
cast a glance at the face of her beloved brother.
One day Fatima (A.S.) mentioned the intensity of
her daughter's love for Imam Husayn (A.S.) to the
Prophet [s.a.w.]. He breathed a deep sigh and said
with moistened eyes, "My dear child.
This child of mine, Zaynab, would be confronted with
a thousand and one calamities and face serious
hardships in Karbala."

Sayyeda Zainab (sa) is the shining sun in the
history of Islam and of humanity. Her brother's
name and Karbala associate the idea of freedom,
justice, humanity, virtue, fighting against despotism,
with the realization of the sovereignty of Allah (SWT)
. The history of Karbala is based on two pillars: the
rising of Imam Hussein (as) and the rising of
Sayyeda Zainab (sa). She was an outstanding figure
in the history of Karbala endowed with divine
steadfastness and fortitude. She sacrificed her two
sons and one should not say anything if one
devoted his life for the cause of Allah (SWT). After
the martyrdom of her brother and her two sons,
she said: "O my Lord! Accept our humble sacrifice
to You."
When Zainab reached Kufa, she addressed people
with fury words: "Praise to Allah, and may the
blessing of Allah be upon Muhammad and his
progeny. O people of Kufa, you are hypocrites and
deceitful. You feign to be sorry for the death of my
brother and his companions. May you always shed
tears. I find nothing in you but flattery, evil acts and
thoughts, pride and spite and ill will. By Allah (SWT)!
You deserve lasting sorrow instead of joy. Shames
on you, your hands are imbrued with the blood of
the son of Prophet Muhammad (saw), the one who
was your sole refuge in case of adversity. By your
evil act and disloyalty, you incurred the wrath of
Allah (SWT) against you. Woe betides you! No one
will intercede with Allah (SWT) for you." Her furious
words provoked people of Kufa to avenge Imam
Hussein's martyrdom. This frightened Ubaidullah
ibn Ziyad and his cruel agents. She also delivered a
furious sermon in the court of the caliph that made
his authority and despotic rule feel undermined. She
said: "I fear no one but Allah (SWT). Make whatever
evil plot you can. Blazes are waiting for you in the
hereafter. You'll he accountable to Allah (SWT) for
your atrocities."
The Foundation of Mourning (Majalis-E-Aza) of
Imam Hussein (as) Another unique feature of Sayyeda Zainab's (sa) character was her establishment of mourning ceremonies .This tradition which has
lived in the memories and hearts of millions of
Muslims to this day, has kept the sacrifices of
Imam Hussein (as) alive, and brought dynamism to
every movement that aimed at removing injustices
on earth.
After every Majlis, the women would offer their
condolences to Sayyeda Zainab (sa) and the men to
Imam Zainul Abedeen (as). These majales made
quite a stir in the cities, and the sound of crying and
beating of chests and heads affected the minds of
the inhabitants, and made them sadder and wiser to
the events of Karbala.