Rafed English

Lady Zaynab's Panic

Imam 'Ali ibn al-Husayn zayn al-'Abidin (a), the only survivor of th tragedy of Karbala', later on reported :

My aunt Zaynab was nursing me on that night (the night before the tenth of Muharram) when my father isolated himself in a tent. Only Juwayn, the servant of Abu Dharr, was with him mending his sword. The Imam (a) then cited ( the following poetic verses):

O days, fie upon you! How bad mates you are!
Too many those who, in morns ad even, are
Dead of alone in isolation
Days never chage and never alternation
Every mortal shll take a way to termination
The inevitable shall imminently occur
All matters to the Most High recur.

He repeated these words twice or thrice until I undestood his purpose. Hence, I could not control my tears. However, I tried my best to stop weeping and keep silence. I understood that we would suffer horrifying ordeals after him. My aunt Zaynab, like other women who are prevailed by tenderheartedness, could not control herself. She ran towards him with uncovered head and souted berore him:

Oh, for my losing you! Oh, for my grief for you! May demise deprive me of life! Oh, for al-husayn! Oh, for my master! Oh for the only remaining one of my family members! Is it true that you have submitted to death and despired of life? Only this day have my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, my mother, Fatimah al-zahra, my father, 'Ali al-Murtada (the Pleased One), and my brother, al-Hasan al-Zaki (th ePure) died. You are the successor of the bygone ones and the lasting of the survivors."

Hearing these words from his beloved sister, Imam al-Husayn (a) looked at her and said:

"O dear sister: do not let Shaitan seize your toleration."

The Imam's eyes overflowed with tears and added, "After they had made me revolt, they wronged me."

She then shouted:

Oh, woe! Do you take your soul by force? This is indeed more painful and more difficult for me to tolerate.

She then slapped her face, tore her cloth, and fell to the ground losing conscoiusness. The Imam (a) hurried to pour water on her face. Ehen she regained consciousness, he consoled her with the following words :

O dear sister: Fear Allah, console yourself with the consolation of allah, and know that inhabitants of this earth shall inexorably die and the inhabitants of the heavens shall not survive forever. Also, be it known to you that everything shall perish except Almighty allah Who has created all the creatures out of His omnipotence and they all shall return to Him. He is Single and One. My father is better than I am and my brother is better than I am, and every Muslim must take and example from the messenger of Allah (s).

O dear sister: I put you under this oath and please you not to breat it: never tear a piece of your cloth (as a sign of your sadness for me), never slap your face (for mourning at my death), and never invoke woe and perdition when I willbe slain.

Imam al-Husayn (a), then, accompanied her to my tent.

To the conpanions of the Imam(a), that night was the brightest in their lives; they could not wait for the dawn of the next day on which they would join the heavens and settle in the endless bliss. Habib ibn Muzhahir, for instance, was so cheerful, and when he was asked why, he answered, " It is only a few ours and those tyrants attack us withh their swords to made us embrace the women of Paradise. This time then is the worthiest of cheer." Similar words were said by the other companions who were full of deep-rooted and unshakable faith.1

At that night, too, Imam al-Husayn (a) took a nap, and when he woke up, he told his family members and companions about his dream:

"I dreamt that dogs attacked me so savagely that they bit me. The most savage among them was a spotted one. As much as I understand from this dream, I foresee that I wil lbe slain by a leprous man, I then saw, in dream too, my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (s), with a group of his companions addressing to me: You are the shahid of Muhammahd's family: The inhabitants of the heavens, especially th elevated ones, are glad because they anticipate thay you will join them very soon. Tonight , be my guest. Please, hurry up and do not be slow.2

At that night, too, clouds of panic and terror covered the harem totally. They did not see a single moment of ease as each one of them imagined the horrifying future after te demise of their lord, Imam al-Husayn (a),and their protector, Abu's-Fadl al-'Abbas, as well as their family men, They had no weapon other than weeping and praying to Almighty Allah.

The most grievous one among them was their chiefess, Lady Zaynab, who watched all the evbet so attentively and already knew that all the resposibility would be hers. She also anticipated that none of her family men would survive after tomorrow; the black tomorrow.

Owing to her great concent about her brother, Lady Zaynab, on that night, watched the tents of the companions and the Hashemites so that she would be aware of their real situation and, hence how would they behave tomorrow. She first went slowly near the tent of her brother, Abu'l-Fadl al'Abbas, to listen to in while he was delivering instruction to Hashemite warriors:

Al-'Abbas asked, "Brothers, nephews, and cousing: what are you goning to do in the morning?"
"You decided, and we carry out," they said.

Couragieously, al-'Abbas said, "Our companions and supporters are not our relatives, And a heavy burden must be carried by its own people. Next morning, we will be the first to fight and will precede our companions to death so that people will not blame us."

Before he ifnished, they all shouted in one voice, "We all agree to this opinion."

This conversation gave some hope to Lady Zaynab who, then, directed towards the tent of the companions to listen to them.They were gathering in the tent of their head, Hbib ibn Muzhahir, who asked them, "O companions: what are you going to do in the morning?"

"You decide, and we carry out," they said.

Habib spoke, "Next morning, wewill be the first to fight and will precede the Hashemites to death. We should never see a Hashemite person stained with blood. Otherwise, people will blame us and say that we made them fight before us so that we sould save our souls."

All the conpanions shouted in one voice, "We all agree to this opinion, Habib."

Lady Zaynab hence understood that the companions would never let Imam al-Husayn (a) down and would defend him to the last spark of their lives. She therefore directed towards the tent of the leader, Imam al-husayn 9a), to report these news to him, The Imam (a) thanked for them these situation and told his sister that those individuals were the choice of the Almighty Allah.3


1- See Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari Tarikh al-Umam wa al-Muluk; 6:241.

2- See Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.45,p.3.

3- See Shaykh al-Shurayfi, Mawsu'at Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, p.409.

Adopted from the book : "Lady Zaynab" by : "Ansariyan Publications"

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