The Great Patience of Hadrat Zainab (A.S.)
When Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (A.S.) wanted to offer Ismai'l/Ishmael (A.S.) as a sacrifice, he said to Haajar, Isma'il's mother, Haajar: "Adorn our son, because I want to take him to party of the Beloved (Allah (SWT))."
Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) refrained from sacrificing Ismai'l (A.S.) by the order of Allah (SWT). When Ibrahim (A.S.) brought Isma'il back, Haajar fainted and fell onto the floor as she saw his son's neck and the red trace of the knife...
Patience is one of the most important virtues. It is so great that some great men believe that reaching high status is fulfilled only by being patient and the one who gives up being patient is deprived of excellence. In regards to the importance of patience, several Hadiths have been narrated, such as: "Patience is half of faith."
In another Hadith, it is narrated: "The relation between patience and faith is similar to relation between head and body."
And it is narrated in a Qudsi (1) Hadith: "O Jesus! Be endowed with My Moralities; Indeed patience is one of My moralities."
According to the mentioned Hadiths, other Hadiths, and verses of the Holy Quran, the patient will receive significant rewards. These advantages are for all the patient people; however, some of the patient people receive more rewards for the quality and quantity of their patience. Hadrat Zainab (A.S.) has a special position amongst all the patient people.
It is the day of Ashura and the battlefield is Karbala. It is the time when the number of the enemies is great and the number of companions is few. The enemy increases the pressure constantly and the companions become martyred one after another. In this situation, Hadrat Zainab (A.S.) takes the hands of his son, the son who is similar to the Ismai'l in his time. She comes to her brother and asks for permission to let her son go to the battle while murmuring in her heart: If Jihad was set for women, I would definitely sacrifice myself thousands times.
How amazing! What a patience that a mother sacrifices her son and sees his ragged body with her own eyes, but never looses her patience, never complains, and never says something against the Divine will. She is a mother, but gives her son for the sake of Allah (SWT), and does not express her feelings so that her brother would not feel ashamed of her.
This is only one scene of her great and stunning patience. She was examined many times, and she remained patient continuously. She was examined with hunger and thirst, with difficulty and hardship, with loss in properties, and with loss of a brother like Imam Hussain (A.S.) as the most important matter. She was examined and was patient for the sake of Allah (SWT), and chose the struggle as a mean to achieve her goal, as she said:
"I will practice patience to the extent that patience becomes tired of my patience."
But how do we act? Everyone of us has simple or complex difficulties in his/her life. How do we encounter with these difficulties?
"And be patient, for surely Allah does not waste the reward of the righteous." (The Holy Quran, 11:115)
(Selection taken from the book “Khasa'is Zainabiah", by Ayatullah Sayyed Noor al-Din Jazayeri)
1- Classification of a Hadith that are believed to be stated by Allah (SWT).