The greatness of Lady Zaynab (s.a.) is a fact. That she achieved it through being brought up in the lap of Lady Az-Zahra and Imam Ali (A) is also a decided matter. However, after the Karbala tragedy, Zaynab (s.a.) had changed a lot i.e. the greatness she achieved after Karbala was much more.
We have seen that Lady Zaynab (s.a.) could not control herself two or three times on the Ashura eve. Once she cried so much that she fell unconscious in the lap of Imam Al-Husayn (A) who consoled her through his words later on. Imam Al-Husayn (A) said, “I fear Shaitan would overcome you and snatch away your patience.”1
When Imam Al-Husayn (A) asked Lady Zaynab (s.a.), “Why do you do like this? When the Holy Prophet (S) could not live forever, who would? Didn’t you see grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S) pass away?
My grandfather was better than me, my father was also better than me and my brother Hasan and mother Fatimah were also better than me.” Lady Zaynab (s.a.) replied, “O brother! When they all passed away you were my last refuge but after you go away there would be no refuge for me.”
However, as soon as the sun arose on the Ashura day and she saw Imam Al-Husayn (A) moving towards his goal with a strong determination: such a change occurred in her personality that even the least personality did not remain for one who opposed her.
Imam Al-Sajjad (A) says, “We were twelve persons in all, and we were all tied with a single rope. One end of this rope was tied to my arm and the other to the arm of my aunt, Zaynab (s.a.).”2
It is narrated that the prisoners, tethered in a rope reached Damascus on the 2nd of Safar.3 Thus, Lady Zaynab (s.a.) had remained captive for twenty-two days. She was suffering constant harassment and hardships for twenty-two days.
The prisoners were brought into Yazid’s court in a very bad condition. Yazid’s palace was named as ‘Qasr al-Khadhra’ (Green Palace), and it was built by his father, Mu’awiyah. The grandeur of the palace dazzled the eyes of the onlookers.
Some historians have mentioned that people had to pass through seven huge courtyards to reach the last one where Yazid was seated on a gem-studded throne. Apart from the rich, representatives of other countries used to sit on gold or silver chairs.4 The situation was same on the day the prisoners were brought to his palace.
When the grief-stricken Zaynab (s.a.) reached this magnificent palace, a storm brewed up in her soul as a result of which she delivered a sermon that created so much tumult that Yazid was taken aback and could not speak a word in spite of being famous for his eloquence.
When Yazid had no reply for Lady Zaynab (s.a.), he began to humming the verses of Abdullah Ibn Zibari Sahmi,5 which were full of polytheism and he had composed them when he was a polytheist. He was proud of his apparent victory. Suddenly, Lady Zaynab (s.a.) raised her voice,
“O Yazid! Do you think that you have closed for us the paths of the earth and heaven by making us roam here and there like ordinary prisoners? Do you think that your honour would increase and our dignity would decrease because of this?”
“O Yazid! You have filled some more air in your brain.6 You think that you have closed all the paths for us by imprisoning us and we are in the custody of your servants. By Allah, at this moment you are an extremely immoral and lowly person in my view. I don’t even consider you worthy enough to speak to.”
Look, these people have sacrificed everything in the way of Allah except their faith and spiritual personality. Even after knowing this, can’t you believe that such a paragon personality can create such fervor in the people that they bring a revolution, like she brought a revolution in Syria?
The speech of Lady Zaynab (s.a.) had shaken the people so much that Yazid feared public reaction and was forced to change his ways and send the prisoners back to Medina respectfully. Then he tried to dissociate himself from this heinous crime by saying, “May Allah curse Ibn Marjana.
All this happened because of him. I didn’t order him this.” Whose handiwork is it? Who compelled Yazid to say this? It was the achievement of Ali’s (A) daughter.
Lady Zaynab (s.a.) said at the end of her speech: “O Yazid! So scheme whatever you wish to scheme, and carry out your plots, and intensify your efforts, for, by Allah, you shall never be able to obliterate our mention, nor will you ever be able to kill the revelation (that was revealed to us).”7
Lady Zaynab (s.a.) had dared to speak in front of that unjust ruler whom people feared for a thousand reasons and called him “the Commander of the Faithful”.
“O Yazid! Use all the deceit you have to your heart’s content. Try all the means. Increase the speed of your struggle and fulfill your wishes. However, remember that in spite of all this, you would neither be able to destroy our name from this world nor would be able to decrease our dignity or stop our views from spreading. It is you who is going to be destroyed.”
As the poet Iqbal says:
The tradition of love consists of two chapters: Karbala and Damascus.
One was written by Al-Husayn and the other by Zaynab.
Lady Zaynab (s.a.) delivered such a sermon in the court that Yazid was at his wit’s end and the air of pride filled inside his head was removed. He became enraged. He committed a very cowardly and shameless act in order to silence Lady Zaynab (s.a.); he lifted his cane started misbehaving with the holy lips and teeth of Imam Al-Husayn’s (A).8
In the name of Allah and by Allah and on the religion of the Messenger of Allah (S)
- 1. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 232; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 2.
- 2. Lohoof, Pg. 178; Damaus Sujum, Pg. 247-248; Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 764.
- 3. It is written as follows in Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 248: They entered Damascus on 1st of Safar and were stopped at Baabus Saa’at.
- 4. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg 759.
- 5. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg 766.
- 6. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 133; Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 358.
- 7. Lohoof, Pg. 185; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 135.
- 8. Maqtal e Husayn, Muqarram, Pg 354