The Wives of Imam Husayn (a)

Bismillah ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim, as-salamu alaykum, wa rahmatul-Lahi Ta'ala, wa barakatu.

A key dimension of the successful movement of Imam Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam, is the role of women both before his martyrdom as well as the aftermath of the 10th of Muharram. Perhaps what is not well-known is the identity and achievements, for example, of some of these females, including the wives of Sayyid ash-Shuhada', alayhi as-salam.

Despite continuous attempts by Bani Umayya to confuse history on their identity by encouraging fabricated stories and testimonies, we are able to get a general idea of who they were and some important aspects of their lives.

Four Women are documented in historical sources as being the wives of Imam Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam. Indeed, there may have been others.

Number one. Shaharbanu, the daughter of Yezdegerd the third. She is the mother of Imam Ali Al-Sajjad, peace be upon him. There is much discussion in historical records regarding her real name, her date of marriage, and when she passed away. There is a popular opinion that she was a slave girl captured after the defeat of the Persians during the khilafat of Umar al-Khattab, the second khalifa, and that she chose to marry Imam Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam, after being taken to Medina. However, the date for this would make the age of Zain al-Abidin 36 in Karbala on the 10th, which is not accepted by many historians. Hence, as suggested by Sheikh al-Mufid, she was sent by Huraith ibn Jabir to Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, in the year 37 after Hijra. She then married the Imam, alayhi as-salam. Muhammed ibn Abi Bakr married her sister as well. Unfortunately, though after giving birth to Imam al-Sajjad, she died.

Two. Umm Is-haq bint Talha al-Tamimi. This honorable Lady was initially the wife of Imam al-Hasan, alayhi as-salam. Her daughter Fatima later married Imam al-Sajjad, alayhi as-salam, and therefore Fatima is the mother of Imam al-Baqir, alayhi as-salam. Before his martyrdom, Imam Hasan asked his brother Imam Al-Husayn, to marry Umm Is-haq after him. She was a devoted female who was likely to have been present in Karbala and was taken as one of the captives by the army of Yazid. She had one daughter from Imam al-Husayn by the name of Fatima.

Three. Al-Rabab bint Imri' al-Qays. She was an outstanding lady, known for her eloquence beauty and courage. Al-Rabab was the mother of Sukaina and Ali al-Asghar, according to many historians of scholars, she was very much beloved to Imam al Husayn, alayhi as-salam. It is narrated that he wrote the following lines of poetry about her and his daughter, Sukaina.

I swear, I love the house in which Al Rabab and Sukaina are living. I loved them dearly and I sacrifice all my belongings to them and no one can disapprove my admiration towards them.

This great lady was a witness to the tragedy of Karbala, and was amongst the captives paraded from one city to another. It is said that she held the Holy head of Imam al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam, in the palace of Ubaidallah ibn Ziyad and said, 'Oh Husayn, I will never forget you. Your body was hurt by the enemy's spears. They betrayed him in Karbala and martyred him.'

When Al-Rabab came back to Medina, she was offered requests for marriage, yet she refused them all. She said: "I want no other father in law after Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa aali wa sallam". In Al Kafi it is narrated that Imam al-Sadiq, alayhi as-salam, said, when Imam al Husayn, alayhi as-salam, was martyred, his kilabiyah wife held morning ceremonies, and they all wept for Imam until their tears became dry, except for one of the servants who are still constantly weeping for Imam.

When they asked her about the reason, she replied, I drank the saweeq syrup. Afterwards, she ordered to prepare, the wife of Imam al-Husayn ordered to prepare the syrup, and it helped people weep for Imam al-Husayn, alyahi assalam. Al Rabab passed away a year after Ashura.

Layla bint Abi Murra ibn 'Urwa ibn Mas'ud al-Thaqafi. Layla was the mother of Ali al-Akbar peace be upon him. She is paternally from the Thaqafi tribe and maternally from Banu Umayya. Despite some suggestions that she was not present in Karbala, it is likely that she was. Layla had a close relationship with her son Ali, prayed for him, saw him, according to some narrations, before his martyrdom, and was later part of the caravan of captives that was taken away from Karbala and paraded from one city to another. She was known for her nobility and upright character.

May Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala, bless the souls of the wives of Imam Al-Husayn, who dedicated their lives, who brought up these righteous children, in the path of Allah, Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala.