Lady Zaynab (s.a.) in Karbala
- :Ansariyan Publications
Imam al-Husayn (a) wanted to reside in a place near a spring or a shelter, but al-Hurr pervented him and recited 'Ubaydullah's message. as the situation attained its climax, Zuhayr ibn al-Qayn, one of the sincere companions of the Imam, suggested that they would fight against al-Hurr and his troops, but the Imam (a) rejected saying, "I will never being fighting."1
Al-Hurr then obliged the Imam (a) to reside in a place, and the Imam (a) had to respond.
"What is this place called," asked the Imam (a).
"This is Karbala," answered one of the companions.
"O Allah: I seek Your protection against agony and ordeal," supplicated the Imam (a) with teary eyes.2
He then turned towards his companions and said:
This is the place of agony and ordeal. This is the place where we, as our riding animals, will reside and our blood will be shed.
Al-'Abbas, accompanied by the horses of the Prophet's household and the Imam's companions, hurried to pitch tents for the harem, headed by Lady Zaynab, who were reigned by horror as they imagined the coming events on this land.
The Imam (a) then raised his hands upward for supplicating to Allah and said:
O Allah: We, the household of Your Prophet Muhammad, have been banished away from the sanctum of our grandfather and have been aggressed by the Umayyads. O Allhah: Take vengeance upon those who oppressed us and support us against the wrongdoers.3
He then turned his face towards his household and companions and said:
This world has changed, snubbed, and its good has turned tail. Nothing has remained from it except a thing that is as scanty as the leftover of a cup and a mean life that is like a noxious grazing . Have you not noticed that the right is ignored and the evil is not forbidden? This is sufficient for making the believers desire for meetiing Allah rightfully. I do not see death but as happiness and do not consider life with the wrongdoers but as boredom. People are certainly slaves of this world. The religion is only a slaver on their togues. They turn it wherever their livelihood demands. If they are examined by misfortunes, the religious will be very little.4
By these words, Imam al-Husayn (a) informed his household and companions about the coming ordeals they would face, and declared his readiness to fight against the wrongful party to the last spark of his life. As they heard his words, those unmatched individuals who paved the way of freedom to humankind through their unparalleled situations spoke before their leader to show him their readiness to participate and continue the way whatever the sacrifices would be. The first companion to speak was Zuhayr ibn al-Qayn:
"Son of Allah's Messenger: We have undrestood your words. We may stop supporting you if we undrestand that this world will perpetuate for us for good ... etc."
Another hero, namely Burayr ibn Khudayr, said similar words. The other heroes declared their situation of perseverance on their principles and readiness to sacrifice their souls for their leader. The Imam (a) thanked them for their feelings and blessed them.
In Kufa, 'Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad felt happy when he was informed that the vanguards of his army seized Imam al-Husayn. He therefore began to plan for the next step; whom should he choose for the commandment of the army to kill the Prophet's dearest one? As he reviewed the names of the candidates, he could not realize any individuals meaner and more vicious than 'Umar ibn Sa'd. At first, 'Umar refused to fight against the Imam (a), but 'Ubaydullah threatened he would dismiss him from the governorship of Ray -currently Tehran-. Thus, he accepted and began his campaign towards Karbala' with four thousand horsemen who joined the army of al-Hurr there. 'Umar ibn Sa'd was chosen for the most horrible crime, and he showed no blemish when he led armies to fight against the divinely selected Imam. he surrounded the Imam (a) from every side, laid siege to him, and blocked all the ways in order to prevent anybody from joining or supporting him.
In kufa again, 'Ubaydullah gathered people and spoke : "O people: As you tried the descendants of Abu Sufyan, you have found them as exactly as you like. You have also known your leader, yazid, as good and praiseworthy man. he treats his subject kindly, gives everybody his deserved share of the public treasury, and honors people out of his wealth. He has ordered me to give each of you one hundred dirhams monthly as an addition to your fixed shares of the participate in the campaign against his enemy al-Husayn. Hence, you should listen to and obey him..."5
Unfortunately, most of them carried out these orders and composed a huge army against the Imam's small group. Afterwards, they traveled to Karbala' and occupied the two banks, as well as all the branches, of the River Euphrates.
Some historians, however, have mentioned that three days before the encounter, Imam al-husayn (a) was deprived of water.6 This in fact was the most horrible misfortune he had fo face. The strange thing is that the band of the Umayyad army took pride in this criminal act that challenged all humanitarian values. One of them, for instance, shouted at Imam al-Husayn (a), "Husayn: you can see water flow like reptiles. You will not taste it before you die..."7
Expressing his joy at this situation, 'Amr ibn al-Hajjaj addressed, "Husayn, this is the Euphrates.Dogs, donkeys, and even pegs are licking its water. But we shall prevent you from having a single drop from it ..."8
No single law or code on this earth allows any person, under any circumstances, to deprive women and children of water except the laws of the Umayyad dynasty whose individuals, from the first spark of Islam, advised each other to prevent the Prophet's household from holding any position of leadership.
Facing this ordeal of the scarcity of water, Lady Zaynab undertook the difficult mission of gathering the thirsty children and women and trying to comfort them and promise with water. Her heart melted away as she saw those children and babies cry out of thirst while she had nothing to give.
Imam al-Husayn (a) then asked 'Umar ibn Sa'd to meet him individually. The criminal came with his son and servant to the Imam (a) who asked his brother al-'Abbas and his son 'Ali al-Akbar to attend that meeting. The Imam (a) then asked 'Umar to think about the matter more seriously and to anticipate the inescapable misfortunes that he would certaninly face in this world and the world to come if he would fight against him. 'Umar however tried to tender his excuses, but the Imam (a) proved all them worthless.
Finally, the Imam (a) recognized that 'Umar would never change his mind; therefore, he said to him, 'What is matter with you? My allah kill you on your bed~ May allah never forgive you on the day when you will be resurrected! I foresee that you, If you do it, will not even be able to satisfy your appetite from the wheat of Iraq."
Mockingly, 'Umar answered, "It will be enough for me to have from its barely!"9
Indeed, Almighty Allah responded to the supplication of Imam al-Husayn concerning 'Umar: the sodiers of al-Mukhtar slew him in his bed.
In the land of Karbala', Lady Zaynab faced the progression of calamities with the weapon of patience and steadfastness. At the night of the ninth of Muharram, the Umayyad armies advanced towards Imam al-Husayn's small group. The Imam (a) was about to take a nap when his sister, Lady Zaynab, hurried to him with horror after hse had heard the souds of the foes coming towards them. She waked him up saying, "Brother the enemies are approaching us." He answered, "I have just seen the Messenger of Allah, my father 'Ali, my mother Fatima, and my brother al-hasan in sleep and they told that I will join them very soon." these words acted as a thunderbolt on Lady Zaynab and tore her sensitive, tortured heart. She therefore had nothin to do but slapping her face, shouting, "Alas for this!" The Imam (a) tried to relieve her by saying, "Alas is not yours, sister. Please, be quiet. May the All-beneficent have mercy upon you."10
Al-'Abbas, who did not leave his brother for a songle moment, turned his face to him and said, "They have come to you." The Imam (a) asked him to identify their intents.
He said to him, "May I sacrifice myself for you, brother! Ride on and meet them to ask about their intentions."
With twenty horsemen, al-'Abbas hurried towards that army and asked wht they wanted.
"The governor has ordered us to call you to submit to his orders, therwise we will fight you," answered they.11
Al-'Abbas turned back to tell his brother about their intention. Meanwhile, Habib ibn Muzhahir delivered a sermon to that army; he admonished and warned them against the divine punishment they should face if they fight against the family of the Prophet (s). However, some of them answered him impudently.
When he heard the words of his brother, Imam al-Husayn said to him, "Go back to them and try your best to delay them until tomorrow morning so that we, on this night, will have time to pray to our Lord Who knows that I love praying to Him, reciting His Book, and supplicating to Him."
Al-'Abbas conveyed these words to the Umayyad army 'Umar ibn Sa'd, because he feared that others would report his situation to the governor, offered the suggestion to Shamr who was his only competitor. He did not say anything, but 'Amr ibn al-Hajjaj intruded, "How strange this is! Even if they are from the non-Arabs, we will respond to their demand!
In fact, 'Amr did not want to confess that their adversary pary was the beloved grandson of the Prophet (s) and the Chief of the Youth of Paradise. This is because he anticipated that others would report any single word he would say to the ruling authorities.
Because many others supported 'Amr's opinion, 'Uma ibn Sa'd accepted to postpone waging war against the camp of the Imam (a). he ordered one of his soldiers to approach the camp of the Imam (a) and declare that the fighting would be postonet to the next day.
Thus, the fighting was postponed for a night and 'Umar ibn Sa'd's army waited whether the Imam (a) would respond to them or fight.
The Imam gathered all of his followers and gave a sermon:
I praise Allah with the best words of praise and thand Him for good times and bad times. o Allah: I do praise Youfor Youhave honored us with prophecy, have taught us the Qur'an, have given us undestanding of the religion, have conferred upon us with ears and hearts, and have not made us idol-worshippers.
Indeed, I so not know any followers better than my followers nor any family better than my family. May allah reward you all. Indeed, I think tomorrow will be the deciseve day with these people, I have allowed you all to leave me alone and go on your own way. During this night, any one of you may leave. Any of you may take one of my family and leave and you may scatter in the murk of this night. Indeed, I am the one they want. When they get me, they will not go after anyone else.12
As soon as the Imam (a) finished his sords, Abu'l-Fadl Al-'Abbas, representing the Ahl al-Bayt, said to his brother:
"Why should we do so? Is it for that we will live after you? No! We supplicate to the Lord to forbid it."13
The same situation was shown from the sons of 'Aqil, and the other companions who showed their readiness to sacrifice their souls for their Imam (a). Hence, everybody spent that night with worship and acts of obedience to Allah. They were waiting for the dawn of that day on which thy sould obtain their highest goal in this life; martyrdom.
1- See al-Fadl ibn Hasan al-Tabarsi, I'lam al-Wara bi A'lam al-Huda, vol. 1, 451.
2- The Arabic 'karb' means 'agony', and the Arabic 'bala' means 'ordeal'. Hence, the word 'Karbala' is a combination of these two words. In fact, 'Karbala' is an ancient name of the region it refers to. For more information about the origion of 'Karbala', refer to Sayyid Sami al-Badri, the Holy Qur'an and Archaeology, Translated by Badr Shahin, Issue No, 1, Chapter: Karbala' in the Ancient Orient Linguistic Heritage, First Edition, 1421.
3- See Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.44, p.383.
4- See Ibn Shu'bah al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-"Uqul; 287.
5- See Abu-Hanifah al-Daynuri, al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, p.253.
6- See sibt ibn al-Jawzi, Mir'at al-Zaman fi Tawarikh al-'A'yan, p.89.
7- See Shaykh al-Saduq, al-Amali, p.221.
8- See Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Baladhiri, Ansab al-Ashraf, vol.3, p.181.
9- See Ibn Shahrashub's Manaqib Al Abi-Talib; 3:213.
10- See Shaykh al-Shurayfi, Mawsu'at Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, p.391 as quoted from Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, vol. 2,p.558.
11- See Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Irshad, vol.2,p.90.
12- See Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi al-Tarik, vol. 3, p.285.
13- See Abu-Mikhnaf al-Azdi, Maqtal al-Husayn, p.177.
Adopted from the book : "Lady Zaynab" by : "Ansariyan Publications"
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