A Glance At The Life Of Hazrat Zaynab (AS)

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Birth of Hazrat Zaynab

Hazrat Zaynab (AS) was the third child of Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talib (AS) and Hazrat Fatimah Zahra (AS). There is divergence of opinions about the actual birth date of Hazrat Zaynab (AS). However, the popular opinion is that Hazrat Zaynab (AS) was born in Medina on the 5th day of the month of Jumada al-Awwal, 5 AH. She had barely attained the age of seven when her beloved mother passed away. Her mother's death had closely followed her cherished grandfather's passing away.

According to some reports, when Hazrat Zaynab (AS) was born, Imam Ali AS) asked for the Prophet's advice as to her name, the same as it was in the case of Hassan and Hussain. They gave Hazrat Zaynab in swaddling clothes to the Prophet (SAW) and he likewise waited for Allah's message. Gabriel appeared and said she should be named Zaynab. The Prophet (SAW) kissed her and wept. The Prophet (SAW) kissed her and wept. They asked why he wept. He (SAW) said Gabriel told me Hazrat Zaynab would be an eyewitness of the fate of her brother Hussain in Karbala.

Hazrat Zaynab’s marriage

After receiving her father’s consent, Hazrat Zaynab (AS) married her first cousin, Abdullah, the eldest son of Imam Ali (AS)’s elder brother Ja'far al-Tayyar. Abdullah was brought up under the direct care of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Imam Ali (AS). He never prevented his wife from accompanying her father, and two brothers, Imam Hassan (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS). It has been narrated that Hazrat Zaynab (AS) asked Abdullah, as a marriage stipulation, to always let her accompany Imam Hussain (AS); Abdullah accepted it wholeheartedly and some years later, also sent their two sons with her to support Imam Hussain (AS) at the battle of Karbala.

Personality of Hazrat Zaynab

Hazrat Zaynab found little of interest in worldly adornments, always preferring the bliss and comfort of the Next World to that of this world. Being Humble and of high morals, her main concern was to strive to please Allah and in doing so she avoided anything which was the least bit doubtful.

Without any doubt, her personality and character reflected the best attributes of those of her parents and her grandfather, Hazrat Muhammad (SAW). In sobriety and serenity, she was likened to her grandmother, Hazrat Khadija (AS), in chastity and modesty to her mother Fatimah Zahra (AS), in eloquence to her father Imam Ali (AS), in forbearance and patience to her brother Imam Hasan (AS), and in bravery and tranquility of the heart to Imam Hussain (AS). Her face reflected her father's awe and her grandfather's reverence.

Likewise, Hazrat Zaynab (AS) absorbed the Islamic teachings that the Prophet (SAW) imparted. Accordingly, she was endowed with abundant amount of knowledge she shared with women in regular meetings in Medina and later in Kufa. In her well-attended gatherings, Hazrat Zaynab (AS) conveyed the precepts of the religion of Islam as explained in Holy Quran with absolute clarity, eloquence and fluency. She has also narrated many quotes (hadiths) from her grandfather Muhammad (SAW), her mother Fatimah Zahra (AS) and her father Imam Ali (AS).

Hazrat Zaynab (AS) always appeared in modest clothes in the society and spoke firmly in a non-provocative way. In observing such rules and principles about Hijab, she was exemplary and so she became a role model for all Muslim women.

The life of Hazrat Zaynab (AS) was always laden with hardship, but she never feared coping with difficulties. As a young seven- year- old girl, she lost her beloved mother, only a few months after the demise of her grandfather. Some years later in Kufa, she had to bear the loss of her father who was martyred by a stroke of a poisoned sword on his head in the mosque while he was praying. Then she was faced with another hardship, when her older brother, Imam Hassan (AS) was killed by poison. And the hardest suffering she went through was when she witnessed her younger brother’s and his companions’ martyrdom in the battle of Karbala. Hazrat Zaynab (AS)’s conscious patience made her endure all such difficulties just for God’s satisfaction. This kind of patience is achieved only through strong faith in Allah.

Hazrat Zaynab and the battle of Karbala

Imam Husain (AS) stood up against Yazid Ibn Muawiyah in 680 AD (61 AH). And upon his invitation by the people of Kufa, Imam Hussain (AS) decided to move to Kufa. Hazrat Zaynab for the love and submission she had for her brother, she accompanied him to Kufa. The history of Karbala is based on two pillars: the rising of Imam Hussein (as) and the rising of Hazrat Zaynab. She was an outstanding figure in the history of Karbala endowed with divine steadfastness and fortitude. She sacrificed her two sons and one should not say anything if one devoted his life for the cause of Allah (SWT). After the martyrdom of her brother and her two sons, she said: "O my Lord! Accept our humble sacrifice to You". After the battle of Karbala, Hazrat Zaynab in many ways functioned as a model of defiance against oppression and other forms of injustice. When she reached Kufa, she addressed people with fury words. Her furious words provoked people of Kufa to avenge Imam Hussein's martyrdom.

Death of Hazrat Zaynab

According to a report, the exact date and place of her death is not clear but it is probable that she died in the year 62 A.H, some six months after her return.

Peace be upon you, O daughter of Muhammad al-Mustafa.

Peace be upon you, O daughter of Ali al-Murtadha

Peace be upon you, O daughter of Fatimah al-Zahra.

Peace be upon you, O daughter of Khadijah al-Kubra.

Peace and Allah's Mercy and Blessings be upon you, O mother of misfortunes; Zaynab.

For further reading, check:

https://www.al-islam.org/victory-truth-life-zaynab-bint-ali