By Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
17 March 2013
“Ma ra’itu illa jameela (I have seen nothing but the grace – of God),”
The above phrase is proof enough of the identity of the Great Lady whose birthday we mark on the 5th of Jamadi al-Awwal every year with celebrations for her nurturing Islam back to life after history’s most heartrending tragedy.
She expressed this phrase not in a state of ease, comfort, joys, and amenities, but in a state where the weak of heart, mind and soul, would wish death to be a welcome relief.
But how could Zainab (ra), whose faith in God, in her grandfather Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), in her mother Fatema Zahra (ra), in her father Imam Ali (AS), and in her own mission to universalize and immortalize the message of her martyred brother, Imam Husain (AS), was more firmer than slabs of steel, long for any abrupt end of life!
She had to unmask hypocrites and tyrants in their own courts and shake to its foundations the Godless Omayyad regime, so that in a distant future when ungodly terrorists target her shrine in Damascus with rockets and bombs, Islam and Muslims remain safe and secure, while Salafism is exposed as a mere tool of the Zionists and the Crusaders.
No doubt, her nephew, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), had said: “Ya Ammate, ante be-hamdillah, alematun ghaira mu’allema, wa fahmatun ghaira mufahema (O Aunt! You are by the grace of God a scholar unschooled by anyone and a sage by connation).
No wonder, over a century ago, the famous Sunni Hanafi Palestinian scholar, Shaikh Abdul-Ghani Nablousi, after initial doubts that disabled one of his legs, literally crawled to her shrine for forgiveness and burst out saying the following couplet, when miraculously cured:
“Zainab bint Haider, ma’dan al-‘ilm wa’l-huda,
“Indaha Bab Hitta, Fa adkhulu al-Bab sujjada.”
“(Zainab the daughter of Haider, the Mine of Knowledge and Guidance, Her threshold is like the Bab Hitta, so enter the door in prostration.)”
He was referring to ayah 58 of Surah al-Baqara, which preserves God’s commandment to the Israelites: “…enter prostrating at the gate, and say, ‘‘Relieve [us of the burden of our sins],’’ that We may forgive your iniquities, and soon We will enhance the virtuous.’
In view of these undeniable facts, it is a shuddering thought to imagine the intensity of the eternal inferno awaiting the desecraters of the sacred shrines of the Prophet’s blessed household in the Hereafter.
Born in Medina in 6 AH, her proud parents waited anxiously for the Prophet to come from a trip outside the city, and when he returned to Medina, as usual he first visited his daughter’s house, where he took the newborn into his arms, saying he had been informed by Archangel Gabriel that God in the Eternal Tablet (Lowh al-Mahfouz) has named her Zainab, meaning Ornament of the Father.
The Prophet took his granddaughter in his arms and pressing his cheek to her cheek cried incessantly until his beard was soaked with tears. On being asked by Hazrat Zahra (ra) the reason of grief, he said: “Gabriel has just informed me that after you she will suffer from great afflictions.” He added: “man baki ala masa’eb hazehi’l-bint kaana kaman baki ala akhawaiha al-Hasan wa’l-Husain (whoever cries on the sufferings of this girl is like the one cried for [the sufferings of] her two brothers, Hasan and Husain –peace upon them).”
Now we know why she is called in books of Hadith as “Aqueelat-al-Bani Hashem” (The Wise Lady of the Hashemite Clan), by narrators including the celebrated exegete, the Prophet’s cousin, Abdullah Ibn Abbas, when quoting a Hadith on her authority.
A brief newspaper column cannot do justice to the granddaughter of the one and only Mother of all True Believers (Omm al-Momineen), Hazrat Khadija (SA) – the lady who sacrificed her legendry wealth for the feeding, clothing and sheltering the neo-Muslim community from persecution and definite death at the hands of the infidel Arabs and the ever-intransigent Israelites.
Of flawless pedigree; if Zainab (SA) as the paternal granddaughter of that primordial Muslim, Abu Taleb (the uncle, guardian and protector of the Prophet and early Islam), had as her paternal grandmother the immaculate Fatema bint Asad (the lady who raised the Prophet as her own son), she was married to her impeccable first cousin, Abdullah – son of the lofty martyr Ja’far at-Tayyar – and was blessed by God with three virtuous sons, of whom two attained martyrdom in Karbala in front of her eyes.
In short, the immortal saga of Karbala would have remained incomplete if not for the endeavours of Hazrat Zainab (SA), who refused to let the mission of her martyred brother be confined to the epic Day of Ashura as the cowardly enemies of humanity had planned.