Martyrdom of Hazrat Zainab (SA)

Condolences to you all on a poignant occasion, since today the 15th of Rajab is the anniversary of the martyrdom of a very venerable lady, who nursed back Islam and humanitarian values to life.

Here we present you a special feature on the Heroine of Karbala, Hazrat Zainab (SA), the granddaughter of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).

“Whoever cries on the sufferings of this girl is like the one cried for (the sufferings of)] her two brothers, Hasan and Husain –peace upon them.”

These words were expressed by the Prophet on the birth of his granddaughter, Zainab (SA), whose martyrdom anniversary we commemorate every year on the 15th of Rajab. It is said that after naming her, he took her in his arms, pressed his cheek to her cheek and cried incessantly until his beard was soaked with tears. Asked by his daughter, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), the reason for his grief, he said: “Gabriel has just informed me that after you, she will suffer from great afflictions.”

Hazrat Zahra cried as well, along with her husband, Imam Ali (AS), and had inquired her father about the divine reward for those who would shed tears for her daughter’s sufferings.

The Heroine of Karbala needs no introduction. Her saga is eternal. Till the end of the world, wherever the heartrending tragedy of Karbala is commemorated, and whenever the name of Imam Husain (AS) is mentioned, his sister’s name will be there as well. It was Zainab (SA), who with patience carried the battle to the enemy’s camp, and through her eloquent sermons in the courts of the tyrants in Kufa and Damascus, shook the foundations of the Omayyad regime. By holding the life-inspiring mourning ceremonies she universalized and immortalized the message of the Martyr of Karbala. She was a paragon of patience, who endured the most tragic events in the history of mankind with dignity, and firm faith in the Lord Most High. The phrase that the Lord of the Age, the Prophet’s 12th and Last Heir, Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance) has used in the famous Ziyarat-e Nahiya for Imam Husain (AS) could also be applied for Hazrat Zainab (SA). It reads: “Indeed, the angels of heaven wonder at your patience.”

Hazrat Zainab (SA) was undoubtedly the paragon of patience and never for a moment did she ever show emotion or other negative traits. In accordance with the benefits of patience as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an (over 70 ayahs) she exercised self-control in the midst of most menacing calamities. On the Day of Ashura in Karbala, she gave permission to her two young sons, Aun and Mohammad, to march to the battlefield and when after a brave fight the two achieved martyrdom, the aggrieved mother prostrated in thanks to God for having accepted her sacrifice.

Hazrat Zainab (SA), like a true scion of the family of Prophets Abraham and Ishmael (peace upon them), demonstrated to the world the practical meaning of patience throughout all those heart-rending scenes at Karbala when her dear brother Imam Husain (AS) achieved martyrdom; when almost all male members of the household were gruesomely killed in front of her eyes; when the heads of martyrs were inhumanly mounted on lances; when the encampment was burned by enemy soldiers; when the orphans were mercilessly thrashed for crying; when her bed-ridden nephew Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) was flogged by the seemingly victorious hordes, and last but not the least; when the captives were deliberately taken past the unburied corpses of their dear ones lying without shrouds under the hot and burning sun. Never for instance did her feet falter.

It was thus the sister’s patience that made the message of the brother resound with glory in the courts of the perpetrators of history’s greatest tragedy and ensured that as long as the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) will be commemorated around the world, the name of Hazrat Zainab (SA) will also shine with radiance. Although, the Prophet, his daughter and the Infallible Imams of his blessed Household were pictures of paramount patience and endured the greatest of hardships for the sake of God, the patience of Imam Husain and Hazrat Zainab (peace upon them) was rather unique. Never can history present an example of such a peerless pair of brother and sister whose patience made Islam triumphant forever. It could be said that if the patience of the brother ended in Karbala with his tragic martyrdom on the afternoon of Ashura, the patience of the sister was put to more grueling tests and had to pass through the ordeal of captivity including dungeons, mockery by the captors, presentations at the courts of tyrants in a humiliating manner and moreover the sight of the severed heads of the martyrs mounted on lances and paraded before the bereaved household.

Finally, four years after Karbala, the sister also achieved martyrdom. It is said that during the rule of Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan, because of famine in the Hijaz, Hazrat Zainab (SA) and her husband Abdullah ibn Ja’far at-Tayyar came to Syria where in a place called Rawiyah on the outskirts of Damascus the latter owned an orchard – said to be the property of her and her husband’s paternal grandfather Abu Taleb who had bought it during his frequent trade trips to Syria before the advent of Islam). It proved to be the last rendezvous of Hazrat Zainab (SA) who left the world on the 15th of Rajab, 65 AH and was laid to rest in this place, where now stands her magnificent shrine, revered by all as Seyyedah Zainab (SA).

According to an account, it was the same orchard where she and the other captives had been interned for a while in the aftermath of Karbala before being taken to the Omayyud court, and where the severed head of Imam Husain (AS) had been hung from a tree by the accursed soldiers of Yazid. She sat under the tree lamenting in remembrance of the gruesome spectacle. A worker at the orchard, who was an avowed enemy of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, on learning of her identity, struck her head with a pickaxe. The blow proved fatal and the noble lady collapsed with her soul flying to the ethereal heavens.

Peace upon Hazrat Zainab, whose golden-domed mausoleum has rallied the seekers of freedom and truth from all over the world to defeat the dastardly plot of the Takfiri terrorists to desecrate its sacred precincts.

“Peace upon you O’ Daughter of him who was made to ascend to (highest) heaven and reached the station of two bows’ length (to Allah) or even closer,

“Peace upon you O’ Daughter of the Commander of the Faithful,”

“Peace upon you O’ Daughter of him who struck with the twin-bladed sword”

“Peace upon you O’ Daughter of him who prayed towards the Two Qiblahs (Bayt al-Moqaddas and the Ka’ba),

“Peace upon you O’ Daughter of the Radiant (az-Zahra),

“Peace upon you O’ the Learned, the Rightly Guided One,

“Peace upon you O’ you who were thoroughly tested by sufferance like Husain (AS) the Oppressed,

“Peace upon you O’ you who were held captive in (different) cities.”


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