Hadrat Zeinab (pbuh)
Our heroine of Karbala, Lady Zeinab has been quoted as having said, after the
slaughter of her Holy Brother, Imam Hussein:
"Oh people of Kufa! Oh you deceivers! You traitors! You sinners! Now you weep?
May God never diminish the flow of tears and may your hearts forever burn with
grief and sorrow!
Your false pledges contain no element of truth and sincerity. Know that you are
as disgraceful and devoid of good moral character as the low and despicable
purchased slave girls. Now you are weeping for my brother and raise wailing
cries after him? Yes, by God you weep because you deserve it. Yes, weep more and
laugh less because you have contaminated yourself in the ignominy of slaying the
Imam of the time. The stain of the unjustly shed blood of my brother is on your
forehead and you can never wipe it off.
Oh Kufians! Woe be upon you! Do you know which part of Mohammad you have cut and
the vow that you have broken and whose blood you have shed and whose sanctity
you have violated?
By killing your Imam you have assumed responsibility for such a disgraceful,
grievous and gruesome deed.
Would you doubt if after all blood rains from the skies above.
Remember! The punishment of the Day of Judgment which will be more severe and
The lunar month of Jamadi-Awwal 5th marks the birth anniversary of Hadrat Zeinab
(pbuh) the magnanimous daughter of Imam Ali (pbuh). The noble Lady of Islam
safe-guarded the holy religion by conveying the message of the martyrs of the
Karbala Movement through her fervent speeches which served to awaken Muslims all
over the world.
Zeinab (pbuh) was the auspicious offspring of the unique couple, the Commander
of the Faithful, Imam Ali (pbuh) and Hadrat Fatima (pbuh).
When the baby-girl was brought before the Prophet (pbuh&hh), he held her in his
lap and kissed her. Angel Gabriel came to him and conveyed the name that was to
be hers and then began to weep. The Prophet (pbuh&hh) asked Angel Gabriel why he
wept and he answered:
“O Prophet of Allah! From early in her life, this girl will remain entangled
in tribulations and trials of this world. First she will weep over your
separation (from this world). Thereafter she will mourn the loss of her mother,
then her father, and then her brother Hasan. After all this she will be
confronted with the trials of the land of Karbala and the tribulations of that
lonely desert, as a result of which her hair will turn gray and her back will be
The life and example of Zeinab (pbuh) crystallized the figure of the ideal
woman in Islam. Her versatile and innumerable virtues and sublime personality,
modesty, chastity and knowledge reminded one of her mother, Fatima (pbuh). In
the realm of devotion and dignity, she followed the example of Lady Khadija
(pbuh) (Zeinab’s grandmother). Traces of her father’s awe-inspiriting speeches
can be found in her eloquent, fervent orations. Her revolutionary patience and
forbearance was a reminder of her brother, Imam Hussein (pbuh).
During her childhood, Zeinab (pbuh) used to rest on her father’s bosom,
listening carefully to register his esteemed teachings in her fresh and keen
Once Imam Ali (pbuh) asked his beloved daughter to repeat the number “one” after
him. Zeinab (pbuh) obeyed the father’s order. However, she refused to reiterate
number “two” after the Imam (pbuh).
When she was asked to justify her deed, she said:
“Dear father, how can a tongue which has got used to saying “one” (referring to
the Unity of Allah), reiterate word “two”.
Upon hearing his daughter’s meaningful assertion, Imam Ali (pbuh) became
delighted and caressed and kissed her. Monotheism, in its truest sense, was
deeply-rooted in her pure soul since her early childhood.
Another day, she asked her father: “O, father! Do you like me?”
“Sure, how can I not like you?” Imam Ali (pbuh) replied.
Zeinab (pbuh) said: “Dear father, affection and the feeling of devotion only
befit Allah, the Great, and what I request is your kindness.”
Such a belief reflects the height of Gnosticism and insight in Zeinab (pbuh). It
also bespeaks of her monotheistic beliefs in other dimensions. However, the
perception of such unique and exalted merits in her is not surprising since she
was an offspring of Fatima (pbuh) and was nourished at the virtuous lap of such
a magnanimous mother. Zeinab’s (pbuh) noble character was thus instructed by the
spirit of her mother, Fatima (pbuh).
Besides, she was brought up in the company of two great Imams: Imam Hasan (pbuh)
and Imam Hussein (pbuh) and enjoyed the companionship of the Holy Prophet
(pbuh&hh), Imam Ali (pbuh), Fatima (pbuh).
In her character she reflected the best attributes of those who raised her. In
sobriety and severity, she was likened to Hadrat Khadija (pbuh) - her
grandmother. In chastity and modesty to her mother Fatima Zahra (pbuh); in
eloquence to her father Imam Ali (pbuh); in forbearance and patience to her
brother Imam Hasan (pbuh) and in bravery and tranquility of the heart to Imam
Hussein (pbuh). Her face reflected her father’s awe and her grandfather's
In Medina, it was Zeinab’s (pbuh) practice to hold regular meetings for women in
which she shared her knowledge and taught them the precepts of the religion of
Islam as laid out in the Holy Qur’an. Her gatherings were well and regularly
attended. She was able to impart the teachings with such clarity and eloquence
that she became known as Fasihah (Skillfully fluent) and intensely eloquent (Balighah).
The depth and certainty of her knowledge earned her epithet given to her by her
nephew, Imam Zeinul-Abidin (pbuh) of‘Alimah ghayr Mu’allamah’ - she who has
knowledge without being taught by anyone.
Zeinab (pbuh) also Nicknamed Zahidah
She was also named Zahidah (Abstemious) and Abidah (Devoted) because of her
abstemiousness and piety. She found little interest in worldly adornments. She
always preferred the bliss and comfort of the next world over that of this
world. Zeinab (pbuh) held such an elevated position in the field of science as
well as insight and wisdom that she was usually referred to as an all-knowing
scientist whose overflowing knowledge was not acquired from any specific school
The indisputable competence, insight and mental growth seen in Zeinab (pbuh)
were so noteworthy that her brother, Imam Hussein (pbuh) revealed his secret
will to her before attaining martyrdom. In a bid to safeguard the life of the
4th Imam (pbuh) who would take over the Imamate after Imam Hussein (pbuh), he
called Zeinab (pbuh) his successor for a while.
Gnosticism and Devotion to Allah
Hadrat Zeinab (pbuh) in her great enthusiasm to fulfill religious duties
including daily obligatory prayers, etc. had taken example from her beloved
mother, Hadrat Fatima (pbuh). Even on the very same night when her brother. Imam
Hussein (pbuh) attained martyrdom on the Day of Ashoura indeed one of the most
distressing and arduous nights of her life, she prayed her mid-night prayers. It
is narrated that, on that night her brother Imam Hussein (pbuh) asked her to
remember praying for him in her mid-night prayers.
Her Devotion and Self-sacrifice
Although her husband, Abdullah bin Ja’far Tayyar, was a wealthy man and enjoyed
a comfortable life, Zeinab (pbuh) preferred to accompany her brother on his
tiresome and adventurous trip to Karbala. She even sent her two beloved sons,
Mohammad and Oun to help Imam Hussein (pbuh) in carrying out his mission at the
desert of Karbala. Both her two sons were martyred in the battlefield.
Her Role in the Negation of Oppression
Zeinab (pbuh) assumed the task of delivering the message of the martyrs of
Karbala to the people of her time and to the generation to come. She spared no
time disclosing the plots hatched by the ruling system to distort the real
importance of the Karbala Movement. Her provocative speeches delivered in the
Court of Yazid in Kufa, when taken as a captive, still echo throughout the
Delivering a fiery speech in Kufa, at the seat of Bin Ziyad, she condemned and
unveiled his inhumane attitude. In a long speech in Damascus at Yazid’s court,
she castigated vicious Yazid and cursed him because of his mischievous acts. She
“O Yazid! You are an oppressor and have inherited cruelty and atrocity from your
ancestors. You are the grandson of “Hind” who disemboweled the martyr of Uhud
(referring to Prophet’s uncle, Hamzah) and ate his liver. Hence, we cannot
expect more than this from you. I regard confronting you as a shame. Now that I
have been brought here at your court as a captive you and your gaudy court seem
so worthless to me and I still curse and rebuke you with all my might.”
Thus was how Zeinab (pbuh) relayed the message of the martyrs of Karbala to the
people, enlightening their minds towards the realities. Through her
awe-inspiring speeches, she sought to disclose the tyranny of Umayyad’s rulers.
Like sparks of fire, her fiery speeches would penetrate deep into the hearts of
the staunch enemies, making them tremble on their feet.
Indeed, it is with the deepest feeling of sorrow that we condole on this day,
commemorating the death anniversary of this great lioness to Muslims all over
the world, especially to those devoted women who are making her an example and
are striving to carry out her holy mission.