Birth Anniversary of Sayeda Zainab binte Ali (as)
Dated: May 9, 2016
On the auspicious occasion of the birth anniversary of Sayeda Zainab bint Ali (s.a), the sister of Imams Hasan and Hussain (as), World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League (WABIL) congratulates the Imam of our time, Imam Mahdi (atfs), the Ahlul Bayt (as), our righteous scholars, and all believers.
Lady Zainab was the daughter of Imam Ali and Sayeda Fatima (as), born in 5 AH in Madinah. She was a devout, pious, private, humble woman, raised under the shade of her grandfather the Prophet (saww) and her very pious, infallible parents. It was the fact that she lived in the shade of the Five Holy Infallibles that she was a woman of such great qualities and fortitude as demonstrated throughout her life and especially Karbala. The tragedy of Karbala was so great that any average person would have been crumbled by it: it took a lady like Sayeda Zaynab, with the inherited courage and patience of her father, mother, and brothers to be able to bear the oppression of Karbala, support the rest of the captives, and ensure that Imam Hussain a.s’s message of Islam continued.
On her birth, neither of her parents named her, but left the decision to the Prophet (saww) who was away from Madinah at the time. The Prophet (saww) himself deferred the matter to Allah, who revealed that her name ought to be Zainab, "the adornment of her father". This name contained no small feat: the man who was the most exemplary follower of the Prophet (saww), the most brave warrior of his time, the first Imam, a humble just ruler, was given a daughter named as his adormment. We cannot begin to imagine the position thus accorded to Lady Zainab (sa).
Sayeda Zainab was a most unique woman and an upright outstanding role model for all Muslims, men and women. She is remembered mostly for her role in exposing the oppression of Yazeed on Imam Husain (as) through the way in which she challenged Ibn Ziyad and Yazid in their palaces with such courage and defiance, listing the praises of the Ahlul Bayt (as), their heritage as inheritors of the Prophet (sawa) where even men did not dare to speak in front of the caliph. It was her commitment to the message of Islam that ensured that azadari (mourning) for Imam Hussain was established. Indeed on returning to Madinah after a year’s captivity, she was exiled by Yazid due to her constant recounting of Banu Umayya’s oppression of the Ahlul Bayt (as).Whilst we commemorate her life, it is important to remember that when she was asked about the tragedy of Karbala, her reply was ‘I see nothing but beauty’. To be as fierce as a lion and yet sacrifice everything for Allah never leaves us at a loss but indeed as she showed us, we gain God’s pleasure.
But Sayeda Zainab (as) also was a remarkable woman before the tragedy of Karbala. She taught women the faith while she lived both in Madinah and Kufa, and provided immense support to her brothers, sisters, and father. She was gifted her mother Sayeda Fatima (sa)'s veil on the latter's death, and was always respected by her brothers for the dignity of this veil.
Perhaps people often forget that Lady Zainab was married to a very wealthy man, her cousin Abdullah ibn Jafar al-Tayyaar. However despite her riches she lived extremely simply, generously giving her wealth continuously to those on need. That is, she withheld her hand from herself, but never from others. She truly was the daughter of Ali (as) in her kindness.
Lady Zainab is a great role model for all Muslims, both men and women. Her life was a paradigm of fighting injustice and never giving up hope. Blessed was the home that held her presence. Indeed we are blessed as believers that she was gifted to this universe.
WABIL extends its felicitations to all believers and prays that our sisters and daughters follow Sayeda Zainab (sa)’s example in humility, modesty, knowledge and serving the faith, and that our brothers take courage and devotion from her life of perseverance.
Sayed Mohammad Al-Musawi
World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League (WABIL)