the Message Continues ... 12/32
The Role of Zainab binte Ali (a)
(the author unknown)
courtesy: Ali Hassan Jarchvi, CA
The ruin and confusion brought about by the atrocious army was so great that Zainab, the daughter of Ali (a.s.), had great difficulty in gathering the orphaned children, whom she had to appease and to appease and console till late midnight. Ali ibnul Husain (a.s.) says, ''My aunt Zainab always performed her prayers standing. But on that night, intense grief and the extra-ordinary effort
of gathering, guarding and consoling the children and women had made her so tired that she performed her night prayers sitting, for she could stand only with great effort. Late after midnight, she sat facing the Qiblah and raised her trembling hands with a voice that spoke of her grief and fatigue, and yet determination. Allaho akbar! One can only guess the feelings of this great daughter of Ali (a.s.) when she spoke to God during those prayers. Was she complaining of the destruction and death the oppressive regime had brought upon the household of the Messenger of God? Was she pleading with her God to accept all those sacrifices made by Husain (a.s.) and his companions for the sake of Islam?
Was she asking God to bestow a greater determination and strength to this daughter of Ali (a.s.) and sister of Husain (a.s.) to enable her to fulfil this mission which had been brought upto this point by the martyrs and the most difficult part of which remained for her to complete? Was she beseeching the Almighty to give patience and forbearance to the hearts of the women and children
whose sole guardian she had become? Was she praying that God may take His revenge from the oppressors and tyrants who had not heeded the exalted station of the House of the Prophet and had shed the blood of their heir of the Prophet?
When we observe the dishonorable deeds of the evil regime of Yazid against the Household of the Peophet, there is no need to be surprised, for the foundations of disrespect and injustice towards them had been laid a long time before.
The regime of Yazid and Ibn Ziyad was only the successor of its predecessors. We need not be surprised at the hideous acts of the agents of Yazid for the sake of his political power and position. Don't we know about the conspiracies which had started even before the death of the Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.)? Don't we know about the insulting fashion in which the Prophet (sa.w.a.s.) himself, on
his death bed, was treated by his so-called 'companions? Had not the dictates of political conspiracy demanded that Ali's (a.s.) house be broken into? That his wife and children be threatened with death? And that Ali (a.s.) be pulled out of his house with a rope around his neck? Who was it who cried from outside his door, By God, I will set fire to his house.''? If, after Ashura, almost 50 years after the Prophet's (s.a.w.a.s) death, the women and children of his house hold were taken prisoner and paraded through the streets and bazaars of Kufa and Damascus, was not Fatima(a.s.), the Prophet's beloved daughter, mistreated and beaten only days after her father's death? Shall we be surprised when, in the year 61 A.H., the so - called Muslims of Kufa, fighting under the command of Omar ibn Sa'd did not abstain from burning down the tents which housed the women and children of the Prophet's House hold, when the companions of the Prophet, soon after his death, threatened to burn down the house of Ali and Fatima (a.s.)? Why must we be surprised at the looting and pillaging of the tents after the martyrdom of Husain (a.s.), when we know that the Prophet's daughter was deprived of her rights of inheritance and her property confiscated by the companions of the Prophet himself? There is no reason to be surprised
at the daughter of Ali (a.s.) the grandson of Ali (a.s.) and the women and children of his household being taken as prisoners from Karbala to Kufa and from Kufa to Damascus into the presence of the caliph of Muslims! Was not Ali (a.s.) himself taken into the presence of an earlier caliph with a rope clasping his neck...when the swords came out of their scabbards threatening his life and that of his household: either allegiance or...? The same condition and the same demand and a similar threat!?
The morning of 11th of Muharram dawned and Zainab took up the mission where Husain ibn Ali (a.s.) had left it. Husain (a.s.) had played his part and from this juncture Zainab assumed her important role in the struggle for Islam, so that the mission that had reached this point, with so much sacrifice of noble lives, could be brought to its fruitful conclusion. It was possible that even now, the smallest amount of oversight and neglect might make the whole venture fruitless and render the martyrs' sacrifices futile. With supreme courage and determination, she resolved not to be overcome by griet and be crushed by the weight of the tragedies that had befallen her family, and with the iron will she had inherited from her father and grandfather was determined to make the
best use of every opportunity to propagate the mission of Imam Husain (a.s.) It had remained for Zainab (a.s.) to utilise every opportunity to counteract the deceptive propaganda of the regime, by which it sought the bloodshed of Husain (a.s.) and his companions, and make the truth shine forth for people. It was her mission to dispel the doubts and misunderstandings sown into the public
mind by the propaganda of the regime and to make known for the people the objectives and ideals which lay behind Husain's martyrdom. Her role was to make people understand that the oppressive and exploitive regime had falsely introduced Husain (a.s.) and his companions to the people as opponents of Islam and enemies of its progress. She had to make it known to the people who were ignorant of the truth that it was the Household of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.), the home of Revelation, that was the true upholder and the source of the values and teachings of Islam, for the protection of which they did not refrain even from sacrificing their lives and every thing else they had. The martyrs gave away their lives and departed from the scene of oppression, but it remained for the
women and children, in the leadership and guardianship of this great daughter of Ali (a.s.), to pursue the most difficult and the most tormenting part of the mission. Had it not been for Zainab, we would not have known the objectives of the qityam of Husain ibn Ali (a.s.). His aim would have been lost and this event of great tragedy would have been buried under the mountain-load of distortions and misinterpretations-a thing which many have nevertheless tried to do but have failed miserably. Thus it was a great responsibility that lay on Zainab's shoulders-the great woman who, in addition, was also the kind and compassionate guardian and leader of this group of unhappy prisoners in their journey from Karbala to Kufa, from Kufa to Damascus, from Damascus to Karbala and from there to Madina, the home of the Prophet's family. This job required great strength and forbearance and qualities which cannot be found in an ordinary woman.
But Zainab too was no ordinary lady, she was the daughter of Ali (a.s.) and had been reared by a mother like Fatima (s.a.)-the same Ali and Fatima (a.s.) who had spent all their lives in struggle and had fought their way in the midst of political crises and conspiracies. Zainab (a.s.) was a true daughter of her mother, who, through her active and passive struggle, had forced the regime
of her time to take a defensive stand and had shown to posterity the ways of struggle in difficult times as well as their immense value, a fact to which history bears testimony! Thus it was Zainab (a.s.), the daughter of Ali and Fabima (a.s.), the wife of such a valuable man of renown as Abdullah ibn Ja'far, and the mother of such brave youthful martyrs as 'Aun and Muhammad and the beloved sister of such a man as Imam Husain (a.s.) who pursued the mission with immense care and wisdom and who at last brought it to its sublimely fruitful conclusion. As we have indicated before, our intention here is not by any means story-telling. The only objective is to illuminate the aims and objectives of the qiyam of Imam Husain (a.s.) Till now, we have accompanied Husain (a.s.), on
his journey which as we have said, had no other than a sacred and heavenly objective and purpose. We have seen how Husain (a.s.) constantly struggled for the sake of upholding the sanctity of the laws of Islam and the survival of its sublime values. We have observed how he stood up to safeguard the rights of Muslims and ideals of social justice and human liberty. From this point, we shall accompany Zainab (a.s.) in her journey from Karbala to Madina and see how Zainab pursued the same ideals as her brother, Imam Husain (a.s.)
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