Zainab bint Ali: The Symbol of courage and resistance to oppression
Sayyida Zainab (May God be pleased with her) was the third child of Hadrat Ali bin Abi Talib (pbuh) and Sayyida Fatimah (pbuh). Zaynab was named by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) just as with her two elder brothers, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain. Zaynab lost her mother when she was only seven years old. She grew extremely close to her full brothers, the Imams Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali.
After Husayn and all his 72 companions were brutally martyred at the Battle of Karbala by the tyrant, Yazid, Sayyida Zaynab was taken captive by the army of Yazid. Sayyida Zaynab and the other survivors of Husayn's expedition, most of them women and children, were marched to Damascus, Yazid's capital, where they were held hostage.
At the plush seat of government, Yazid, proud of himself, surrounded by men of influence, was seated in wait. When the head of Al-Husain was brought to him on a golden tray. He, playfully touched the Imam's teeth with the end of his stick and said:
"O Husain! You have paid the price of your revolt."
Taken aback at this audacity, Zainab and her companions were inflamed. Present were many sympathizers who felt sorely aggravated. But Yazid carried on gloating over his victory. He said to his subjects: "An avenge for my ancestors killed at Badr. Now Banu Hashim had staged a ploy to gain power." Zainab, however, was incensed. She drew herself up and said aloud:
"Praise be to Allah (God), the Lord of the worlds and blessings on my grandfather, the Master of divine Prophets."
"O Yazid, Allah says, and His word is true, that:
In the long run evil in the extreme will be the End of those who do evil; for that they rejected the Signs of Allah, and held them up to ridicule. [Quran 30:10]."
"O Yazid, do you believe that you have succeeded in closing the sky and the earth for us and that we have become your captives just because we have been brought before you in a row and that you have secured control over us? Do you believe that we have been afflicted with insult and dishonor by Allah but that you have been given honor and respect by Him? You have become boastful of this apparent victory and you feel jubilant and proud over this honor. You think that you have achieved worldly good, that your affairs have become stable and that our rule has fallen into your hands. Wait for a while. Do not be so joyful. Have you forgotten Allah's saying:
Let not the Unbelievers think that our respite to them is good for themselves: We grant them respite that they may grow in their iniquity: But they will have a shameful punishment. [Quran 3:178]”
"O son of freed slaves, is this your justice that you keep your own daughters and slave-maids veiled while the daughters of the Prophet of Allah are being paraded from place to place exposed.”
"You have dishonored us by unveiling our faces. Your men took us from town to town where all sorts of people, whether they be residents of the hills or of riversides have been looking at us.”
"The near as well as the remote ones, the poor as well as the rich, the low as well as the high - all casting their glances at us while our position is such that there is no male relative of ours to render us help or support”.
"O Yazid, whatever you have done proves your revolt against Allah and your denial of His Prophet (pbuh) and of the Book and Sunnah (the teachings of Prophet Muhammad) that the Prophet brought from Allah. Your deeds should not cause amazement because one whose ancestors chewed the livers of the martyrs, whose flesh grew up on virtuous people, who fought against the Master of the divine Prophets, who mobilized parties for fighting against him and drew swords against him, should conspicuously excel all Arabs in unbelief, sinfulness, excesses, and enmity against Allah and His Prophet.”
"Remember that the evil deeds and sinful actions that you have committed are the result of unbelief and old rancor you bear because of your ancestors who were killed in Badr.”
"One who cast his glance of enmity, malice and rancor upon us does not lag behind in practicing enmity against us. He proves his unbelief, declares it with his tongue and jubilantly proclaims: 'I have killed the sons of the Prophet of Allah and made his progeny captive,' and wishes that his ancestors had lived to see his achievement and to have exclaimed, 'O Yazid, may your hands not lose their strength, you have wreaked good vengeance on our behalf.'
"O Yazid, you are striking the lips of Imam Al-Husain with your stick in front of this crowd while these very lips used to be kissed by the Prophet of Allah, and yet your face reflects pleasure and glee.”
"By my life, by killing the Master of youths of Paradise, the son of the Master of Arabs (Imam Ali) and the shining sun of the progeny of Abdul Mut’talib, you have deepened our wound and uprooted us completely.”
"By killing Al-Husain ibn Ali you have gained nearness to the state of your unbelieving ancestors. You proclaim your deed with pride and if they were to see you they would approve of your action and pray that Allah may not paralyze your arms.”
"O Yazid! If you had heart enough to take account of your horrendous deeds, you yourself would surely wish your arms to be paralyzed and severed from your elbow and you would wish that your parents had not given birth to you because you would know that Allah has become displeased with you. Allah, Grant us our rights. Avenge those who have oppressed us.”
"O Yazid! you did what you wished, but remember that you have cut your own skin and your own flesh to pieces. Soon you will be brought before the Holy Prophet (pbuh). You will be overwhelmed with the weight of the sins committed by shedding the blood of his progeny and by dishonoring his family. The place to which you will be taken will be before all the members of his family. The oppressed will be avenged and the enemies will be punished.”
"O Yazid ! It is not seeming for you to swell with joy after slaying the Prophet's progeny. 'Reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead; nay, they are alive and are provided sustenance from their Lord; rejoicing in what Allah has given them out of His grace' [3:169-170].”
"Allah is sufficient to deal with you. The Messenger of Allah is your antagonist and Jubra’eel is our support and help against you”.
"Those who have made you the head of state and burdened the Muslims with your leadership will soon find out what awaits them. The end of all tyrants is agony.”
"O Yazid. I speak not to you thus to warn you of the severe chastisement in store for you so that you should be regretful for you are one of those whose hearts are hardened, souls are rebellious and whose bodies are busy in Allah's disobedience while they are under the curse of the Prophet of Allah. You are from among those in whose heart Shaitan (the devil) has made his abode and has been breeding young ones”.
"How amazing it is that the virtuous people, sons of the divine prophets and vicegerents are killed at the hands of liberated slaves, evil-doers and sinners. Our blood is shed by their hands and our flesh serves as food for them. We feel grieved for those whose bodies are lying uncovered and unburied in the battlefield, wounded with arrows.”
"O Yazid, if you consider our defeat is your achievement then you will have to pay its price”.
"Allah commits not injustice to His servants. Our reliance is on Allah. He alone is our Relief and abode of Protection, and in Him alone do we repose our hope.”
"You may contrive and try however much you can. By Him who honoured us with revelation, the Book and Prophethood, you cannot achieve our status, nor reach our position, nor can you effect our mention, nor remove from yourself that shame and dishonour that is now your lot because of perpetrating excess and oppression on us. Your word now is weak and your days are counted. Beware of the day when the announcer would announce the curse of Allah on the tyrants and the unjust.”
"Praise be to Allah who gave good end to His friends and granted them success in their aims, and thereafter called them back to His Mercy, Pleasure and Bliss, while you hurled yourself into evil and mischief by committing injustice against them. We pray to Allah to favour us with full recompense through them and grant us the good of Khilaafah and Imamah. Surely Allah is Kind and the Most Merciful over His creatures."