Thought-Provoking Sermon of Zainab (S.A.)
By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
“Those who have helped you to become the head of the Muslim State have done a big disservice to Islam and will soon know what awaits them. The end of all tyrants is terrible…”
The person addressed in the above passage is not any of the presidents, prime ministers, kings, and sheikhs of our times, although the words exactly fit them for their incompetence, embezzlement of state funds, hypocrisy, indifference to, or violation of the principles of Islam, brutal trampling of the rights of Muslims, and above all, their subservience to the US – the modern day archenemy of Islam and Muslims.
These words were expressed over a millennium, three centuries and seventy-two lunar years ago to be exact, and have remarkably retained their vigour and freshness, jolting consciences in every era and place as to what went wrong in Islamic history and where.
The one, who spoke in such an eloquently electrifying manner, to the tyrant himself in front of the whole court, was a lady and that too in a state of captivity.
She wasn’t the least afraid, despite the fact that the tyrant had massacred almost all male members of her household, including her two young sons.
She had complete trust in the Will of God Almighty, in carrying the fight to the enemy’s camp, in order to safeguard truth and expose falsehood, as is evident by her words: “God is sufficient and will deal with you as befitting your monstrosity, the Prophet is your antagonist and the angel Gabriel our supporter and helper against you.”
As the readers of this column may have understood by now, especially since yesterday was the 1st of Safar, the anniversary of the pathetic spectacle of the entry of the survivors of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala in Damascus, she was none other than Zainab (SA), the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).
She was exposing in their true heathen colours, not just Yazid but the whole system that had brought him to power, after the self-styled caliph, with a crucifix dangling around his neck and a glass of wine in one hand, dared to blaspheme the head of her martyred brother, Imam Husain (AS), by putting the cane in his other hand to the lips that the Prophet used to frequently kiss. He didn’t stop at this sacrilege, as he gloatingly blurted out: La’bat Banu Hashem bi’l-mulk; fa la khabar ja’a wa la wahy nazal (The Hashemites had played the game of kingdom; neither any message descended [from heaven] nor revelation).
The son of the charlatan Mu’awiya and the grandson of the accursed pair, Abu Sufyan and Hind (the chewer of the liver of the Prophet’s uncle Hamza), longing for his infidel ancestors who were slain over a half-a-century ago when they imposed the Battles of Badr and Ohad upon the Prophet, then added: had my forefathers seen this action of mine (massacre of the Ahl al-Bayt), they would have been filled with pride and would have said, ‘O Yazid, you have avenged us!’
Now we understand the foresight of Imam Husain (AS) in taking the womenfolk of his household to the fateful field of Karbala, well knowing that martyrdom awaited him and his male companions. He was aware that after killing him in a desolate spot, Yazid and the Omayyad state apparatus had planned to suppress all news of the tragedy, as part of an intricate plot to distort forever the face and fundamentals of Islam, which would have met the fate that befell the messages of Moses, Jesus, and other Prophets of the past – that is, a creed devoid of the spirit of justice, equality, fraternity, moral virtues, and the clear concept of monotheism.
This was indeed the divinely-inspired prudence of the divinely-decreed 3rd Infallible Successor of the Prophet – the Prophet who on divine commandment had proclaimed the Immaculate Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) as his vicegerent at Ghadeer-Khom while returning from his Farewell Pilgrimage, after explicitly telling his companions that they and the Muslims of all generations will never go astray if they hold fast to the Thaqalayn (the holy Qur’an and his progeny the Ahl al-Bayt).
Here the question might arise as how the Godless Yazid rose to power over the Muslim ummah, and what role was played in the rise of his clan, the Omayyads, by the Prophet’s ‘venerable’ companions, the neo Muslims (to be honest, many of them reluctant converts to Islam, from ages of idol-worship and indulgence in all immoral pagan practices).
These are issues to be researched by the respected scholars of Islam and out of the scope of this brief newspaper column, since they concern our very faith and the journey of our soul in afterlife – either to the perennial bliss of paradise or eternal damnation in pandemonium.
However, since Safar 1 was a day of fresh calamity for the Prophet’s Household, veneration for whom is not something to do with narrow tribal prejudices but is an article of faith enshrined in the holy Qur’an (42:23), I would like to quote here the words of Imam Husain’s (AS) son and successor, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) on the sufferings of this day when the streets of Damascus were specially decorated for making a mockery of the Prophet’s progeny: “We were taken like sheep tied with ropes towards (the court of) Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah. My neck and that of (my aunt) Omm Kulsoum (SA) was tied with one rope, while the hands of (my elder aunt) Zainab (SA) and (my sister) Sakina (SA) were bound along with the other ladies (of the Prophet’s Household). We were at times whipped for walking slowly and when we reached the court we saw Yazid sitting on a throne while in front of him lay the head of (my father) Imam Husain (AS) in a golden tray. He had a cane in his hand and was showing disrespect to the severed head."
Thus, in order to cut down to size the inflated infidel and to rip the mask of hypocrisy off the face of the system that had brought him to power, the Prophet’s grand-daughter dauntlessly continued in her memorable sermon: “O Yazid! My disrespect towards you and my warning you of the punishment awaiting you, is neither with the hope that you will change your attitude nor for the reason that you will repent. You are one of those in whose heart Satan nests and procreates.
“It is surprising that the devotees of God, the progeny of Prophets and their successors should be slain by the sons of despicable and vile freed slaves (tulaqa)… Do not feel puffed up with pride at our (apparent) defeat, for you will have to pay dearly on the day of Judgement. God is not unjust to anyone. We trust in Him and He is our refuge and only in Him rests our Hopes.
“Your heart deceives you for you will not accept our superiority, but I swear by God that he has honoured us with revelation of the Book, with Prophethood and His approved Successors. You can never reach this lofty position, nor can you make people forget our superiority, nor can you wipe your ignominy, which you have earned for yourself by your abominable and vile attitude. Your days are numbered and your party is doomed to destruction.”