The fifth of Jumada al-Ula marks the birth of a great figure whose existence in history gave meaning to being a woman! A personification of courage and patience, and a teacher of chastity; also, a role model for the followers of authority and leadership.
Pages from the Life of Hazrat Zainab, peace be upon her
From the confluence of two seas of light and knowledge, Ali and Fatimah (peace be upon them), a gem stepped into existence. This bud, grown in the garden of the Prophet’s lineage, carried the fragrance of Muhammad (peace be upon him), the nature of Ali (peace be upon him), and the character of Fatimah (peace be upon her). With her birth, a new chapter in the history of ‘chastity’ was written… On the fifth of Jumada al-Ula in the fifth year of Hijra, Zainab al-Kubra (peace be upon her) blossomed on the branch of Fatimah’s (peace be upon her) existence. Usually, parents choose the name for their child, but in the case of Hazrat Zainab’s birth, her parents left this task to her noble grandfather, the Prophet of Islam. The Prophet, peace be upon him, and his family, who were on a journey, rushed to Ali’s (peace be upon him) house upon his return and hearing the news of the birth. He held the newborn in his arms, kissed her, and then chose the name Zainab (Zain + Ab), meaning ‘Adornment of the Father’, for her.
The family environment of Zainab (peace be upon her) was unparalleled in terms of honor, virtue, and humanity. The gem of the Prophet’s lineage was nurtured in the loving lap and warm embrace of Ali and Fatimah, and she acquired countless virtues from her grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). From her early childhood, she had a radiant and dignified presence, was similar to Al-Zahra the Satisfied in modesty and purity, and like Ali Al-Murtaza in eloquence and articulacy of speech.
Hazrat Zainab (SA), the Noble Lady of Bani Hashim
Zainab (SA), the daughter of Amir al-Mu’minin (AS), was the embodiment of goodness, blessing, vitality, faith, and truth wherever she went. When she married Abdullah ibn Ja’far, she created such a warm and lively household that others took inspiration from her life.
In her personal life, Zainab (SA) perfectly fulfilled her duties. Wherever she needed to uphold the rights of a wife, she did so in the best manner, and wherever her maternal duties called, she was the best mother. The foundations of Zainab’s (SA) life were faith, respect for her husband, consultation, care for her children, and freedom of speech even for the servants in her home. The spirit of life in Zainab’s (SA) house was vibrant, and all family members were content with each other; such a family was pleasing and satisfying to Allah.
Zainab (SA), nurtured in the family of revelation, learned and practiced the ethics of Muhammad, the actions of Haider, and the patience and perseverance of Fatima. She always respected both the young and old, never showing a sour face. She was the first to greet [ladies and mahrams], and she would stand up in the presence of a guest, honoring their status. Although her husband, Abdullah ibn Ja’far, was one of the elite and wealthy individuals in Medina, with servants and slaves in the house, Zainab (SA) would help with household chores and inquire about their wellbeing, addressing any problems they might have.
Hazrat Zainab (SA), the Learned Lady Who Was Not Formally Taught
The scholarly ranks and high virtues of Hazrat Zainab (SA), her ability to interpret the verses of revelation, her knowledge of religious laws, and her eloquence and rhetoric, undoubtedly reflecting the eloquence and rhetoric of her esteemed father, are among the most significant aspects of her existence.
We substantiate this claim with a few words from Imam Sajjad (AS):
After Hazrat Zainab (SA) delivered her famous sermon in Kufa, Imam Sajjad (AS) addressed her saying: ‘O aunt! By the grace of Allah, you are learned without having been formally taught, and you are wise without having been instructed.’
Considering that Imam Sajjad (AS) would not bestow such a title based on ordinary courtesies, even to his own aunt, there is undoubtedly a mystery in Zainab’s being learned without a formal teacher and being wise without an instructor.
Hazrat Zainab (SA), the Eternal Role Model
Hazrat Zainab (SA) is one of the prominent figures in the Islamic world and, due to her unique characteristics in all aspects, can be considered a true role model for all ages.
Just as this esteemed lady, during one of the most critical periods in Islamic history, managed to avert a danger threatening the essence of Islam through her wisdom, sacrifice, and bravery. Today, the women of the Islamic community can also neutralize all the malevolent schemes of global arrogance by following the life, actions, and virtues of the lioness of Karbala, Hazrat Zainab Kubra (SA).
Sips from the Sayings of Hazrat Zainab (Peace be Upon Her)
“All praise and thanks to Allah, and blessings and salutations upon my father Muhammad and his pure and chosen family. O people of Kufa! O masters of deceit and trickery! Do you weep for us? May your tears never dry up, and may your lamentations never cease. You are like a woman who weaves her threads finely only to unravel them herself. You used your faith as a means of deceit and betrayal among yourselves, tying the thread of faith and then undoing it twice. Among you, there is nothing but self-praise and flattery like that of slaves and collusion with enemies. You are like the plants of rubbish heaps, not fit for consumption, and you resemble silver that adorns graves and is not used. Eternal punishment has been prepared for you.”
In the Melody of Poetry
In the garden of virtue and piety, a flower blossomed, Adding to the light of her master and her Imam.
When that beautiful Fatimid flower bloomed, She laid her head down by the decree of her valiant Imam.
As she opened her eyes, she inherited bravery, From her father Murtaza Ali, the magnanimous.
Nurtured in the lap of infallibility, by the hand of revelation, She took and poured the honey of allegiance into her own mouth.
In the dignity and grandeur of Zainab, this is enough, That she has taken her name from the court of revelation.
Droplets from the Pen O lady of dignity! Lady of patience! Oh, the adornment of your father’s house!
You came to embody the concept of ‘patience’ in the lexicon of beliefs.
You came to make the beautiful term ‘Ashura’ flow in the mind of time.
You came so that the scent of apples accompanies the caravan, house to house.
You came to experience the lament of chains, the splendor of becoming ‘Karbala’.
You came so that the pride of palaces finds no place in the lexicon of humanity.
You came to awaken those sleeping in ignorance with the last good news, promising freedom.
You came to plant the concept of ‘thirst’ in the desire for ‘martyrdom’.