Rafed English

Imam Khomeini and Hazrat Zaynab (s.a.)

Adapted from: "The Position of Women from the Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini (r.a.)"


Tomorrow is Women’s Day; it is the day when (the birth of) a woman is commemorated of whom the world is proud. It is the day commemorating a woman whose daughter stood against tyrannical rulers, who recited that sermon and uttered those words, words of which you are all aware---a woman who stood up to a tyrant who would kill anyone who breathed a word against him. She was not afraid; she held her ground and condemned him, condemned Yazid and his leadership. She lambasted him saying he was not fit to be called a human being.
This is what women should be like, and, praise be to God, this is how the women of our day are. They stood against the tyrant with clenched fists carrying their infants in their arms and helped the movement. (34)
16 May 1979 (26 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)
The Lord of the Martyrs, his followers and the members of his household taught us our duty: sacrifice on the field of battle, propagation off it. The sacrifice made by Imam Husayn, upon whom be peace, was of great value before God the Blessed and Exalted and helped advance his movement. So too, almost to the same degree, the sermons delivered by Hazrat Sajjad49 and Hazrat Zaynab were just as effective.
They taught us that women and men should not be afraid before a tyrant or a tyrannical government. Hazrat Zaynab, upon whom be peace, stood up to Yazid and humiliated him in a way that his tribe, the Bani Umayyads, had never before experienced.
They both made it clear, along the way to Kufa, in Kufa itself, in Damascus and in the address Hazrat Sajjad delivered from the pulpit, that they had been misrepresented, that the battle was not one of right against wrong, but that was what the regime wanted people to think it was. It wanted to make it seem that the Lord of the Martyrs had risen up against the ruler of the time, against the successor of the Messenger of God. This both Hazrat Sajjad and Hazrat Zaynab revealed in public. (35)
17 October 1982 (25 Mehr 1361 AHS)
The manner of the struggle, how a struggle between a small number of people and a large group should be waged, how an uprising against a tyrannical regime with wide-reaching control should be carried out with only a limited number of people, are things which the Lord of the Martyrs has taught the nation. And after that tragic event took place, his noble household and his greatly esteemed son demonstrated what must be done.
Should there be surrender? Should there be a letup in the struggle? Or should one act as Zaynab, upon whom be peace, or Hazrat `Ali ibn Husayn, upon whom be peace, did? Following that great tragedy, beside which others pale, Hazrat Zaynab persevered and spoke out against atheism and freethinking, she spoke out at every opportunity, throwing light on the issue. And Hazrat `Ali ibn Husayn, though still convalescing, spoke out whenever appropriate, informing people of the facts. (36)
17 October 1982 (25 Mehr 1361 AHS)
Observe that the best of God’s creatures of his age His Holiness the Lord of the Martyrs, upon whom be peace, and the finest youth of the Bani Hashem tribe and his followers left this world as martyrs. Yet in that abominable court ceremony before Yazid, Hazrat Zaynab, upon whom be peace, swore that what she had witnessed at Karbala was nothing other than a beautiful event. The death of a perfect being, the martyrdom of a perfect being, is beautiful in the eyes of the friends (awliya50) of God, not because he fought and was killed but because he fought for God, he rose up for God, and was killed. (37)
10 February 1987 (21 Bahman 1365 AHS)
We have repeatedly seen great Zaynab-like women cry out that they have lost their children and sacrificed everything they have in the way of God the Exalted and beloved Islam, and are proud to have done so. They realise that what they have achieved instead is higher even that the gardens of paradise, let alone the unimportant chattels of this world. (38)
5 June 1989 (15 Khurdad 1368 AHS)


  • 50. - The word awliya - like the cognate wilayat - has numerous different meanings. It is used here in the general sense that can be deduced from Qur’an 10:62-63: “Verily the friends (awliya) of God - those who believe and guard against evil - shall suffer no fear nor shall they grieve.”


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