Story No. 500 – Hazrat Zainab (sa): Characteristics and Titles [Zahidah and Aabidah]

Of her physical appearance little is known. When the tragedy of Karbala befell, Hazrat Zainab (sa) is in her mid-fifties she was forced to go out. It was then that some people remarked that she appeared as a ‘shining sun’ and a ‘piece of the moon’.

In her character she reflected the best attributes of those who raised her. In sobriety and serenity she was likened to Ummul Momineen Hazrat Khadijah (sa), her grandmother; in chastity and modesty to her mother Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa); 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.

In Madina it was Hazrat Zainab’s (sa) practice to hold regular meetings for women in which she shared her knowledge and taught them the precepts of the religion of Islam as laid out in the Noble Qur’an. Her gatherings were well-known and regularly attended. She was able to impart the teachings with such clarity and eloquence that she became known as Fasihah / Faseeha (Skillfully Fluent) and Balighah / Baleegha (Intensely Eloquent).

In the thirty-seventh year A.H. (after Hijrah), Imam Ali (as) moved to Kufa to finally take up his rightful position as Caliph (Khalifah). He was accompanied by his daughter Hazrat Zainab (sa) and her husband, Abdullah ibn Jafar.

Her reputation as an inspiring teacher among the women had preceded her. There too women would throng to her daily sittings where they all benefited from her erudition, wisdom and scholarship in the exegesis of the Noble Qur’an.

The depth and certainty of her knowledge earned her the name given to her by her nephew, Imam Zain al-Abideen, of ‘Alimah Ghayr Mu’allamah’, meaning ‘she who has knowledge without being taught’.

Hazrat Zainab (sa) was also titled Zahidah (Abstemious) and Aabidah (Devoted Worshiper) because of her abstemiousness and piety. She found little of interest in worldly adornments, always preferring the bliss and comfort of the Next World over that of this one. Humble and of high morals, her main concern was to strive to please Allah (SWT) and in doing so she avoided anything which was the least bit doubtful.

Story No. 499 – Hazrat Zainab (sa): Wedding with Abdullah ibn Jafar son of Jafar-e-Tayyar

As Hazrat Zaynab (sa) grew up, many of the noblemen and great men of Arabia asked for her hand in marriage. They thought that due to their wealth and high social position they would be successful in marrying Hazrat Zaynab (sa).

For example, Ash’ath ibn-Qeis, who was one of the wealthiest men and a close relative to the first caliph, Hazrat Abu Bakr, was very dignified, and thought his closeness to the first caliph would made it possible for him to become the son-in-law of Amir Al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as).

It is said that one day he was in Imam Ali’s (as) house while he saw Hazrat Zaynab (sa) passing by from a distance. Then he asked her father if he could marry her, but Amir Al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) refused and reproached him for his arrogance.

Among the men who were eager to marry Hazrat Zaynab (sa) was Abdullah ibn Jafar. He was a close companion to Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Amir Al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as).

Abdullah ibn Jafar was the son of Jafar-e-Tayyar, the martyr whom Prophet Muhammad (saw) had mentioned that he flies in the heavens with his two wings. Jafar-e-Tayyar was the brother of Amir Al-Muminin, Imam Ali (as) and was a forerunner in Islam and Jihad. His munificence and generosity had made him very famous among the Arabs so much so that they called him “the father of the poor.” His son Abdullah ibn Jafar had inherited this attitude.

All the historians refer to Abdullah ibn Jafar as a very gracious person. They have especially written about his generosity and benevolence. According to the historians, he was the foremost generous people of his time, to the extent that some have called him “the master of generosity.”

Abdullah ibn Jafar was a person whom Imam Ali (as) had trust in. Later he took a great part in the Jihads along with Imam Ali (as). In the battle of Siffin he was one of the commanders of the Imam Ali’s (as) army.

Like other suitors, Abdullah ibn Jafar was interested in marrying Hazrat Zaynab (sa), but felt embarrassed to state his request directly. He sent a courier to Imam Ali (as) and offered the proposal. Imam Ali (as), who saw him the best, accepted his request. But how much was the marriage-portion? Imam Ali (as) put Hazrat Zainab’s (sa) dowry equal to her mother’s. However, this auspicious wedding had one condition. Hazrat Zaynab (sa) should be allowed to travel along with her brother Imam Hussain (as). She should be allowed to visit her brother too. In fact, it rarely happened that they didn’t meet everyday.

Finally, this wedding took place, and Hazrat Zaynab (sa) went to her husband’s house. Of course, the house of Abdullah ibn Jafar, who was a very wealthy man, was a big house with lots of servants, but history witnesses that Hazrat Zaynab (sa) never got attached to worldly life.

She was a pious woman in the perfect sense. Piety (Zuhd) in her vocabulary was exactly what her father depicted, “Zuhd is that one owns the world, not that the world and its charms become the owner of the person.”

The best evidence of Hazrat Zaynab’s (sa) piety was that she left her comfortable and prosperous life with servants and wealth for a divine and holy goal. Just like a person who is aware of the future and its happenings, she put her condition for marriage that she should be allowed to travel with Imam Hussain (as) to fulfill that goal.

Like other women, she was very affectionate. However, whenever necessary, she was strong like a mountain in the path of Islam. Like other mothers, she was a kind and loving mother, but when it came to defending Islam and the Noble Qur’an and her religious duty, she would sacrifice her children as well.

Who is like Hazrat Zaynab (sa) in having all that wealth and not being attached to it? Who is like her, having a warm house, nice husband and children, and bear hunger and homelessness in order to fulfilling her holy goals? Is this anything except Islamic piety?

Together this young couple had five children, of whom four were sons, Ali, Aun, Muhammad, and Abbas, and one daughter, Umm-e-Kulsoom.

Story No. 498 – Two devotions in one Heart can not exist; Love for the sake of Allah (SWT)

The Fitra (A soul that was inspired with the faculty of knowing what is evil and what is good) of each person constantly yearns to reach perfection. In order to reach the degree of perfection however, one should seek to find the means of approach to the Allah Almighty. The first step in seeking closeness to Allah (SWT) is to gain knowing of Allah (SWT). One of the great persons who have gained this knowing and closeness to Allah (SWT) after the fourteen Infallibles – Prophet Muhammad (saw), Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa), and the Imams (pbut) – is Hazrat Zainab Kubra (sa). Though we cannot fully describe her status and knowledge about Allah (SWT), we will only touch on a few cases to illustrate this knowledge.

She was famous for her knowledge during her childhood ages. Once she asked her father Imam Ali (as): “Do you like me?”

Imam Ali (as) replied, “Yes.”

Then she continued, “There are two affections – the love of Allah (SWT) and the love for children – that overflow the heart of every believer. Thus the base of this affection is that the actual and main affection is for Allah (SWT), and the sympathy and compassion is for the children. And this affection (to the children) is based on this main affection to Allah.”

Imam Ali (PBUH) confirmed her and praised her. This degree of knowledge in this young period of her life is a proof for her deep inward knowing of the creator.

Another case is on the day of Ashura, when she offered her young son to Imam Hussain (as) to fight in the battle of Karbala, she said, “If fighting in war (Jihad) was allowed for women, I would have sacrificed thousands of (my) lives for the Lord!” What wisdom and courage Hazrat Zainab Kubra (sa) has to sacrifice her young son in the way of Allah (SWT). It is clear that her patience and devotion derives from the wisdom she has in knowing Allah (SWT) and His Hujjah – chosen representative of Allah (SWT) – Imam Hussain (as).

Story No. 497 – Sayyida Zainab (sa) and her dream at young age [Hazrat Zainab Kubra (sa)]

One day, when Sayyida Zainab (sa) was about five years old, she had a strange and terrible dream. A violent wind arose in the city and darkened the earth and the sky. The little girl was tossed hither and thither, and suddenly she found herself stuck in the branches of a huge tree. But the wind was so strong that it uprooted the tree. Sayyida Zainab (sa) caught hold of a branch but that broke. In a panic she grabbed two twigs but these too gave way and she was left falling with no support.

Then she woke up. When she told her grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (saw), about this dream he wept bitterly and said, “O my daughter that tree is me who is shortly going to leave this world.

The branches are your father Ali and your mother Fatima Zahra, and the twigs are your brothers Hasan and Hussain. They will all depart this world before you do, and you will suffer their separation and loss.”

Sayyida Zainab (sa) was only five or six when her grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (saw) passed away. Just six months later, she lost he mother, the Prophet’s daughter, Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa). When on her death bed, Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) said: “My dear, do not leave your brothers alone, take good care of them, be a loving sister and be so kind to them as if you were a mother to them.” Sayyida Zainab (sa) followed her mother’s advice as long as she lived.

It is important to note that both Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) and Hazrat Zainab Kubra (sa) lost their respective mothers at the age of only five years old. Hazrat Umm-e-Kulsoom (sa) was four years old at the time of her mother’s martyrdom.

Story No. 496 – Birthday of Sayyida Zainab (sa) is observed as Nurse’s Day in Iran

Nurse a word full of meaning, a word that is a correct and accurate definition of friendship, generosity, sacrifice and forgiveness. A nurse does not distinguish between night and day. As an angel, she appears at the bedside of the sick, stroking their head. A nurse spends her life on people. The moment of a patient’s release from a hospital is the sweetest moment in a nurse’s life. If her patient suffers, a nurse shares in the suffering. In certain situations, a nurse shows such benevolence toward her patient that the patient’s closest kin are not prepared to render such service.

A nurse’s occupation is not an ordinary one. Nursing is a sacred and valuable profession. A nurse does not work for money or material benefits, for the wages she receives do not compensate of her untainted labors. When a nurse sees that her patient’s life is in danger, she forgets everything and becomes selfless. Birthday of Sayyida Zainab (sa) is observed as Nurse’s Day in Iran.

At the height of the Islamic month of Muharram, in the year 61, after Hijrah, on the night of Ashura, when the devilish enemy set the Ahlul Bayt’s (as) tent on fire and drove the children to the desert in the night, Sayyida Zainab (sa) tended women and children in a half-burnt tent, shared in their sorrow with patience and endurance, and nursed the feverish patient of Karbala, Imam Sajjad (as). Perhaps the endurance, love and sacrifice of a nurse at the bedside of the sick is a manifestation of the patience, endurance and boundless sacrifice of Sayyida Zainab (sa).

Therefore, it is appropriate that observing and honoring this toiling stratum of society have named the auspicious birth of the Lady of Islam named ‘Nurse’s Day’. Sayyida Zainab (sa) was the founder of the struggle and achievements of martyrs, one who was able to cast to the wind the empty and chimerical desires of Yazid son of Muawiya and his followers, and not only preserve Islam, Prophet Muhammad (saw), and the blood of Imam Hussain (as) in our memories, but bring a thousand messages of bravery, resistance and struggle for human rights to her descendants.

She is a model of resistance and sacrifice; in the rebellion of Ashura and in the most turbulent conditions, she nursed the injured in the best possible manner, one of the most beautiful manifestations of nursing.

When a nurse is a model, with special characteristics gathered within her, it is as if she were the protector of moral values, law abidance, the protector and executor of our higher duties, sympathetic, kind, conscientious, independent, shouldering responsibility, hard-working and untiring.

Sayyida Zainab (sa) was not only a nurse for women and children. She nursed those who had suffered in body and soul, those whose clothing and skin had burned in the frightening tent fire at dusk on Ashura, those who had suffered mentally, those who had heard rejoicing in their miseries. This nursing began at dusk on the day of Ashura and continued to Kufah, Karbala and Medina.

An important lesson one can learn from this strange life full of vicissitudes is that no difficulty prevented Sayyida Zainab (sa) from carrying out her responsibilities – not the death of her dearest kin, not her physical and mental sufferings.

Story No. 495 – Naming the Child and meaning of Zainab (Adornment of her Father)

It was five years after the Muslims had accompanied Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his family in the migration (Hijrah) to Medina from Makkah, when Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) daughter, Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa), gave birth to a little girl. When her father, Imam Ali (as), saw his daughter for the first time Imam Hussain (as), who was then almost three years old, was with him. The boy exclaimed in delight, “O father, Allah (SWT) has given me a sister.” At those words Imam Ali (as) began to weep, and when Imam Hussain (as) asked why he was crying so, his father answered that he would soon come to know.

At the time when Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) gave birth to Sayyida Zainab (sa), Prophet Muhammad (saw) was not in Medina. When Sayyida Zainab (sa) was born, Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa) told Imam Ali (as), “Since my father is on the trip and is not present at this moment, you choose a name for this child.” Imam Ali (as) said, “I will not precede your father (in naming this child); wait until he [Prophet Muhammad (saw)] returns. Then he will name this child whatever he prefers best.”

Three days later Prophet Muhammad (saw) returned from his trip and like all other times, he first went to Hazrat Fatima Zahra’s (sa) house to greet them. Imam Ali (as) told Prophet Muhammad (saw) about the newborn baby and how they waited for his return, to name this baby.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “even though Fatima Zahra’s (sa) children are my children, I will wait for a revelation because this matter is with Allah (SWT).” At this moment Gabriel (Jibreel) descended and said, “O Messenger of Allah, the Lord sends his regards upon you and says, “Name this child ‘Zainab’ because we have written this in a preserved tablet (Lauh-e-Mehfooz).”

Then Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked them to bring the newborn baby. He held her close to his chest, kissed her, and named her Zainab. Afterwards he said, “My will to the people, to those who are present and to those who are absent is to keep the respect for this child, for she truly resembles Khadijah.”

Then Gabriel (Jibreel) began to weep. Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked why Gabriel (Jibreel) wept and he answered, “O Messenger of Allah, from early on in life this girl will remain entangled in tribulations and trials in this world. First she will weep over your separation (from this world); thereafter she will bemoan the loss of her mother, then her father, and then her brother Hasan. After all this she will be confronted with the trials of the land of Karbala and the tribulations of that lonely desert, as a result of which her hair will turn grey and her back will be bent.”

When the members of the family heard this prophecy they all broke down in tears. Imam Hussain (as) now understood why earlier his father had also wept.

Note: The name Zainab is derived from the two root words “Zain” and “Ab”, which means the Adornment of her Father.

Story No. 494 – Sayyida Zainab (sa): Date of Birth, Family members and Relationship

There is divergence of opinions about the date of birth of Sayyida Zainab (sa) / Hazrat Zainab Kubra (sa). Some say it was 5th in the month of Jamadi Al-Awwal of Islamic calendar, and others say it was 1st in the month of Shabaan, in the 6th Hijrah year 625 AD.

Sayyida Zainab (sa) is the elder daughter of Imam Ali (as) and Hazrat Fatima Zahra (sa), and eldest granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Ummul Momineen Hazrat Khadijah (sa). She was the third child of the family i.e. she was born after Imam Hussain (as). She is the sister of Imam Hasan (as) and Imam Hussain (as), Sayyid Shabab ul Jannah. Her younger sister is Hazrat Umm-e-Kulsoom (sa).

Story No. 493 – Fourteenth Infallible: Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (as) Sayings:

  • Keep prayers to Allah (SWT) for hastening the reappearance, hence it is your victory.
  • Rest assured that no one has a special relationship with Allah (SWT). Whoever denies me is not my (follower). The appearance of the Relief (al-Faraj) depends solely upon Allah (SWT); therefore, those who propose a certain time for it are liars. As to the benefit of my existence in Occultation (Ghaibat), it is like the benefit of the sun behind clouds where the eyes do not see. Indeed, my existence is an amnesty for the people of the earth. Pray much to Allah (SWT) to hasten the Relief, for therein also lays the release from your sufferings.

Story No. 492 – Imam al-Mahdi (as): This is me the promised one!

The heat of the sun burned the surface of the desert and made it actually impossible for any living thing to carry on. He missed his caravan and didn’t know the way. Wherever he turned, he saw the endless desert.

He lost his patience because of the great thirst and felt himself somehow on the verge of death. He thought for a while and said to himself: “I must die. Those vultures flying over my head and these ants are all after my dead body. There is no way out and death is irresistible.

Suddenly, he came to himself by the neigh of a horse. Then he gathered all his power to open up his eyes and look at the horizon. Suddenly he saw a handsome young horseman who was coming toward him. He said to himself: “Is it an illusion? Am I dreaming? Is he really coming to help me?”

The horseman approached and gave him a bowl of water. He drank it up and said “What a fine water! How cold and sweet it is! Who are you, O man?!”

You actually rescued me!

The stranger answered: “It is me who shall fill the world with justice. This is me, Allah’s true reason and proof for His servants. I am Allah’s Remainder.”

All at once the man began to tremble. He felt himself as a drop before an ocean of firmness and generosity. The 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as) then told him: “Close your eyes!” He closed his eyes and when he opened them upon the Imam’s command, he found himself in front of his missing Caravan. The moment he really came to and looked around to thank 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as), he found that the Imam (May God hasten his glad advent) was gone and disappeared

Story No. 491 – Imam al-Mahdi (as) and Circumambulating (Tawaf) Holy Kaaba

Imam al-Mahdi (as)A little ten year old girl was accompanying her mother to visit the House of Allah, Holy Kaaba. All the people had white seamless rips (Ehraam) on.


Suddenly she found that she had lost her mother. She looked every where but couldn’t see her so she cried: “O mum! O dear mother…”


The people were circumambulating (Tawaf) Holy Kaaba and were shouting “Labbaik, Here I am.” So no one could hear her cries.


So she said to herself: “O my Allah! What should I do now”? I can neither go back, nor do I know how to circumambulate Holy Kaaba.


Once again she went here and there and looked for her mother hopping that she would be able to find her, but it was useless, there were no sign of her at all. She suddenly remembered her aunt who while biding her farewell had told her: “When you reached Holy Kaaba, extend my greetings to my Master, 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as)!”


She raised her little hands to the sky and cried out sorrowfully “O Imam al-Mahdi, rescue me. O you, the Expected Imam helps me out.”


Suddenly she heard a voice which was calling her by her name.


She raised her head and saw a handsome man in Ehraam who was standing before her.


Circumambulating Holy KaabaThe stranger said: “little girl rise and circumambulate Holy Kaaba.”


The little girl said: “But I do not know how to Circumambulate. Moreover, I can not circumambulate Holy Kaaba alone among this crowd.”


The stranger said: “Come with me and act just as I do.” Thus she rose and circumambulated Holy Kaaba along with 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as). When they circumambulated Holy Kaaba for the seventh time the stranger told the girl, “Dear little girl! Your mother and friends are there. So hurry up and join them.”


She looked that way. Yes, he was right. Her mother was among the women standing there in with dresses, she recognized her mother at first sight so she turned to the stranger to thank him, but had disappeared.


She looked every where, but she could not find him and thus she ran to her mother, embraced her and kissed her face. Her mother said: “Where were you, O my daughter? I was so anxious about you that I was about to give up my hope.”


12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as)The little girl quite happily explained whatever had happened to her for her mother. When she finished speaking, her mother took her in her arms and began to cry. She then said: “O my dear daughter! You called your 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as) and the Imam helped you. You really met the Expected Imam al-Mahdi (as). O my daughter!”


“You mean I have circumambulated Holy Kaaba along with 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as)! I do not believe it!”


She suddenly remembered that she had to extend her aunt’s greetings to 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as). Thus she turned to the people who were circumambulating Holy Kaaba and shouted. “O my Master! I beg your pardon! I nearly forgot, my aunt has extended her greetings to you.”

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