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Scholarly Capacities of Lady Zaynab (s.a)

From early life, Lady Zaynab was marvelous in intelligence and cleverness. She learnt by heart the holy qur'an and the Prophet's sayings regarding Islamic laws, rules of education, and priciples of ethics. she also memorized the famous, confounded the speech of her mother, Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (a), that she delivered in the Propht's Masjid protesting against Abu Bakr's usurpation of the Islamic ummah's leadership, which was the right of Imam 'Ali according to the instruction of Almighty Allah and Prophet Muhammd (s), as well as confiscation of Fadak that the Holy Prophet (s) had given to her as gift whithin earshot of all Muslims . In addition to many other narrations, she narrated her mother's speech when the Muslim ladies visited her in her final disease.

Her father, too, was greatly admired by her sharp cleverness. One day, she asked him, "Father, do you love us?"he answered, "Of course I do, daughter. I do love you because you are the fruit of my heart."she replied politely, "Father, love is exclusively for Almighty Allah, while it is compassion which is for us."1

As he was teaching her the numbers, he asked "say: one." She said, "one." As he asked her to say "two", she kept silent. "Why do you not say: two?" asked the father. She answered "tongue which pronounces 'one' cannot say 'two.'"2

As he heard this great answer, the father kissed and emraced her.3 She also used to say:

"Anyone who intends not to have the creatures as interceders for him before Allah should praise Him.Listen to His saying:'Allah listen to anyone who praises Him.' Hence, one should fear Allah for He has ability over him, and should feel shy of Him for He is very close to him."4

This statement in fact implies that she was so virtuous and perfectly adhered to Allah.

Moreover, she represented her brother, Imam al-Husayn (a)whenever he would be absent. Hence, Muslims used to refer to her in the questions of the Islamic laws. For her extensive knowledge, Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a), 'Abdullah ibn Ja'far, Lady fatimah daughter of Imam al-Husayn, Muhammad ibn 'Amr, and 'Ata ibn al-Sa'ib used to report her sayings.5

In Kufa and during her father's reign. Lady zaynab had special session to which Muslim ladies used to come for listening to her precious lectures about Islam and exegesis of the Holy Qur'an. She thus was the most trustworthy reference from whom Muslim ladies used to take concerning questions about Islam, moral instrucions, and general ethics.

For her tremendous virtue too, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas6 frequently asked her for answers of qrestions that he ignored.

He also reported, proudly, a good number of narration on her authority. In this regard, he would say:

"Our 'Aqilah7 (i.e. the honorable gentlewoman), Zaynab daughter of 'Ali narrated to us that...etc."
One of his reports that he related on the authority of Lady zaynab was Lady fatimah al-Zahra's famous speech in the Prophet's Masjid.

She also represented Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a) during his illness. About her, he (a) said:

"She is so knowledgeable that she does not need other's knowledge."8

Finally, was the most eloquent speaker in Islam; she could shake the enemies' emotions, disorder the public opinion, and provoke the publics against the Umayyad ruling regime when she delivered her famous speeches in Kufa and Damascus. In fact, these speeches hint at her precious cultural and literate fortunes.

In addition, the reason beyond her peculiar scholarly capacity may be mentioned in the following points:

1) She was always pious and observant towards the Almighty Allah's commandments and instructions. To be God-fearing and pious achieves knowledgeability and notable learning. This is clear in Almighty Allah's saying:

"And be careful of (your duty) to Allah, Allah teaches you, and Allah knows all things." (2:282)

Lady Zaynab was so God-fearing and pious. She dedicated a good time of her daily activities to her Lord; she was sinking in praising and glorifying Him. At night when sounds calm and eyes sleep, she used to turn her face and heart towards her Lord with teary eyes, fearful heart, and hopeful mind to say confidently:

"O You Who dresses and adorns Himself with valor! O You Who designs and dons Himself with glory! I implore to You by the seats of might in Your Throne, by the utmost of mercy in Your Book, by Your Grandest Name, by Your most high Majesty, and by Your Perfect Words that have been accomplished truly and honestly,[I implore to You] to send blessings upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and to arrange for me the good of both this world and the world to come.

2) Lady Zaynab was well known of her unparalleled intelligence, apposite opinion, and wisdom, Her words were as regulated as necklace and her opinions were to the point. She was the ideal of eloquence and expressiveness. Allah gifted her the utmost of knowledge, morality, composure, religiousness, and etics. This is not strange since she was the grandfaughter or the Holy Prophet, the daughter of the model parents of Islam, and the sister of the two Chiefs of the Youths of Paradise, In her granfather, Lady Zaynab takes pride saying:

"None is like my grandfather; the Arab, the Hashemite, and the Qurayshite Prophet whom is selected by Allah, the Elevated, for guiding people to the path of life in its good and evil branches, and he did in such a handsome approach and pleasant, sympathy, and compassion."9

3) She was taught by the most knowledgeable pair in Islam; her father and mother, and it is so natural that a student of these persons would be so intelligent and knowledgeable.

About Lady Zaynab's acumen and sagacity, let us listen to the following narration recorded by Ibn Humayd in his book entitled al-Musnad, and al-Yafi'i in Mir'at al-Zaman:

One day, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn were discussing some of their grandfather's saying, "The Halal is obvious and the Haran is also obvious, but between these two there are many dubious matters most of people ignore. To avoid such duboius matters is acquittal for the religion and the honor, while to fall in such dubious matters is plunging into the Haram. A shepherd who grazes about a shelter will decisively pasture in it. There is a shelter to every kingdom, and the shelter of Allah is what He deems unlawful. there is too a single morsel in each one's body; when this morsel be good, the whole body will be so, and when this morsel be bad, the whole body will be so. This is the heart."10

Commenting in this statement, Lady Zaynab said:

Listen to me, Hasan and Husayn! Your grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, has acquired the ethics of the Lord. It is Almighty Allah Who disciplined him so perfectly. In this regard, the Prophet says, 'My Lord has diciplined me, and he has done so perfectly.'None is like my grandfather; the Arab, the Hashemite, and the Qurayshite Prophet whom is selected by Allah, the Elevated, for guiding people to the path of life in its good and evil branches, and he did in such a handsome approach and pleasant, articulate statements full of softness, tenderness, sympathy, and compassion.

The Halal is obvious and the Haram is also obvious, but between these two, there are many dubious matters. Accordingly, the religion is of three degrees; Halal, Haram, and duboius matters. The Halal is what Allah, the Exalted, has deemed lawful by way of a text in the Holy Qur'an or through the explanations of the Prophet, such as the legality of purchase and vendition ...

The Haram is whatever Allah has deemed unlawful in the Holy Qur'an. It is also the contrary of the Halal.

The dubous matter is everything that is unknown whether Halal or Haram.

A faithful believer who intends to achieve happiness in this world and bliss in the world to come must perform all that which Allah has made incumbent, follow the path drawn by the Holy Qur'an, take my grandfather, the Prophet, as example, and go away from the duboius as much as one can.
To avoid the dubious matters is acquittal for the religion and the honor and also purity for both. It also achieves sincere obedience to the Lord. "Now, surely, sincere obedience is due to Allah alone. (Qur'an; 39:3)"

For those who follow the line of the dubious matters, it is not safe to have their feet slipped and, thus, they commit unlawful deed. There is a shelter veside each possession, but the shelter of the All-king is what He deems unlawful. The Holy Prophet says, 'Avoid the Unlawful and you will be the most pious.'

Allah the Exalted has put in each human being a minute gem and morsel; when it be good, the whole body will be good, pure and clear from filth, impairments, and acts of disobedience to the Lord of the Worlds, This is the heart. If one's heart is sound, he will be attentive to the affairs of his religion and the principle of its law, and will see real happiness lie in straightness on the lights of the guidance of the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah, Those who follow this straight path and these divine instruction will be whithin the winners on the Day of Resurrection.Our life is in fact only a stage among many stages that lead either to Paradise or to Hell. Death will be the end, and no blame falls after it. Nothing is after this world except Paradise or Hell."

As she finished, Imam al-Husayn said to her,: How great you are! you are surely from the tree of prophecy and the core of the Divine Message."

She once said:

"My grandfather has decided for us (i.e. women) rights that are incumbent upon our husbands in the same way as he has decided rights for our husbands that are incumbent upon us." In this regard, the Holy Qur'an says:

And they have rights similar to those against them in a just manner, and the men are a degree above them. (2:228)

My noble Grandfather also says:

'A woman who offers the five obligatory prayers, observes fasting on the month of fasting, guards her chastity, and obeys her husband shall have the choice to enter Paradise from any gate she likes.'

Ibn 'Askir, in his al-Tarikh, records the following:

After she arrived in Egypt, Lady Zaynab once came over an indisposition. The chiefs of Egypt decided to fetch her a physician, but she refused saying:

"We are not among those who hope for this world or for perpetuation in it. We are the Household of Prophecy and the most desirable meeting for us is the meeting of our Lord. A physician, however, cannot change one's decided term of death."

Ibn Humayd, Abu 'Asim, and Ibn Abu Shaybah narrated that 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas said:
Once, Lady zaynab recited Allah's saying:

O you who have wrapped up in your garments... and (also) a party of those with you.

She then commented:

"Thanks to Allah, we are included with this party [of those who are with the Prophet]."

The evidences on Lady Zaynab's eloquence and rhetoric are her addresse in more than one occasion. These addresses changed the public opinion against Yazid and the Umayyad State and showed the real goals of Imam al-Husayn's revolution. Later on, these addresses will be referred to in details.
Lady Zaynab enjoyed a peculiar rank in the world of mysticism, In this regard, 'Allamah al-Burghani says:

"Lady Zaynab's spiritual rank is very night to that of the immaculate Imams ..."

Al-Rawandi, in al-Tiraz al-Mudhahhab, says:

"In addition to her high spiritual rank, Lady Zaynab come after her mother in virtue, high merit, peculiarity, majesty, knowledge, infallibity, chastity, illumination, light, honor, and splendor."
Muhammad Rida al-Isfahani, in Jannat al-khulud, records:

"Lady Zaynab was the nearest to her parents in eloquence, asceticism, management, and courage. After the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn, she was the custodian of her family members and, furthermore, the Hashemites."

Ibn'Anbah, in Ansab al-Talibiyyin, says:

"Lady Zaynab is distiguished by her innumerable merits, elevated peculiarities, praiseworthy characters, admirable habits, remarkable prides, and manifest virtues."


1- see zaynab al-Kubra; 53.

2- This means that one who believes honestly in the oneness of Almighty Allah must never betake another as god.

3- See Rayahin al-Shari'ah; vol. 3 p.54, and Hajj 'Abd-ul-Hadi al-Shehristani's Yanabi' al-Rahmah (3) p.8. This narration is also recorded by Ibn 'Asakir, Ibn Mandah, and 'Ali Mullah al-Qari.

4- See Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin al--Amili, A'yan al-Shi'ah; vol. 7, p, 140.

5- See Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi's al-Sayyidah Zaynab.

6- 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas is regarded as the grand authority of the Islamic ummah for his knowledge in Hadith and Islamic laws.

7- Abdullah ibn 'Abbas used to say "our Aqilah" because he belonged with a kinship to Prophet Muhammad (s).

8- See al-Tabirsi's al-Ihtijaj, p.166.

9- See Musa Muhammad 'Ali, al-Sayyidah Zaynab, 69.

10- This hadith is recorded by al-Bukhari in his al-Sahih.

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

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