Zainab (S.A.), Ornament of Her Father
By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
Today, the mid of Rajab, while we are still basking in the blessings of the birth anniversary of Imam Ali (AS) – the person who was the mirror of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) in faith, knowledge, piety, prudence, valour, patience, magnanimity, eloquence, foresight, kindness, generosity, truthfulness, trustworthiness, and all other noble characteristics – a tinge of sadness momentarily clouds our thoughts.
From the Holy Ka'ba in Hejaz and from Holy Najaf in Iraq – respectively, the birthplace and resting place of the Commander of the Faithful – our attention is turned towards Damascus.
Our eyes become moist when we visualize the golden-domed shrine on the outskirts of the capital of Syria, where reposes in eternal peace, the lady who was martyred this day.
She is none other than Zainab (SA), the daughter of the Imam of the Pious and the grand-daughter of the Seal of all Divine Messengers.
She is the Heroine of Karbala, who immortalized and universalized the message of her martyred brother, Imam Husain (AS) for all posterity, to the extent that when we commemorate history's most heart-rending tragedy every year in the months of Muharram and Safar, our grief multiplies at the calamities she endured in order to make truth triumph over falsehood.
We all know how bravely she defeated the perpetrators of the tragedy of Karbala and unmasked their hypocrisy in front of the whole court, thereby forcing the accursed Yazid to release the captive women and children of the Prophet's Household and allow them safe passage back to their hometown Medina.
We are also aware of how she held the first ever mourning assembly for Imam Husain (AS) in Damascus itself and recounted to the people of Syria the blasphemy and brutality of the Omayyads against the chosen of God.
However, a few years after her return home, when circumstances compelled her to travel to Damascus, Hazrat Zainab (SA) decided to visit the tree in the garden where in 61 AH the head of Imam Husain (AS) had been briefly hung by perpetrators of the tragedy of Karbala, while Damascus was being bedecked by the Omayyads to mock and humiliate the captives of the Prophet's Household.
Alas, here she was destined to be struck the fatal blow by a malicious enemy of God, who learning of her identity decided to kill the Prophet's venerable grand-daughter.
"Zainab" means Ornament of the Father, a name that the Prophet had chosen for her on God's command, because of the resemblance of so many of her characteristics with that of Imam Ali (AS).
Like Father like Daughter!
Thus, while she reminisced the blood-stained sight of the severed head of her brother under this very tree, the cowardly assassin (in the manner of her father's assassin, Ibn Muljam), struck a deadly blow on her head with a pickaxe, as a result of which her soul flew to the ethereal heavens.
She was laid to rest in this place where soon a grand mausoleum grew over her blessed tomb. Today, it beckons pilgrims from all over the world, while there is no trace of the graves of the Omayyads in Damascus.
"Peace be upon you O’ Sister of Husain (AS), the Oppressed Martyr,
"Peace be upon you O’ the Patient and the Ever-Striving (in the way of Allah),
"Peace be upon you and upon your Grandfather, your Father, your Mother and Two Brothers,"