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Lady Zaynab (a.s): An Icon and a Role Model to the Women

Lady Zaynab (A.S) proved that the woman is not in the peripheries of history, but in the core of it. She humiliated and mortified, in his place, the enemy who had apparently gained victory on the battlefield.

It’s well known and accepted, most of famous and great leaders of human kind are AHLUL-BAYT or people from the lineage or from their school of thought.

Lady Zaynab is one of Ahlul Bait (A.S), she was born in the house of prophethood, and she is one of greatest women of all human kind such as Lady Fatemah bint Muhammad(prophet Muhammad’s daughter), Lady Khadija bint Khuwaylid (Prophet Muhammad’s wife), Lady Asiya (wife of Pharaoh), and Lady Maryam (Prophet Isah’s Mother).

History will not forget the great bravery and leadership of Lady Zaynab (A.S), she is an Icon and a role model to the women as well as humankind. There is a lot of lesson in her life, but before we go further, we will like to go through her profile.
Name: Zainab/ Title: al-Aqilah/ Kunya:  al-Hawraa’/ Father: Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S)/ Mother: Sayyida Fatimah bint Muhammad (A.S)/ Born: 5 Jamadi al-Awwal, 5 A.H/ Death: 15 Rajab, 62 AH/ Age at Death: 57
Buried: Damascus, Syria (per most historians), however, it is also said that she was buried in Madinah, in the Arabian Peninsula, or Cairo, Egypt.
Every child is representing his parent, you don’t need to surprise how strong soul lady Zaynab (A.S) has.

With parents such as Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S) and Sayyida Fatima (A.S) and grandparents such as Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and Lady Khadija (A.S), there is no doubt that the upbringing of Lady Zaynab (A.S) would be beyond exemplary.
She grew up in Medina, where she was married to Abdullah ibn Jafar al-Tayyar (A.S), who was brought up under the direct care of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H).  Together they had five children, four of whom were sons, Ali, Aun, Muhammad, and Abbas, and one daughter, Umm Kulthum(A.S).

Lady Zaynab (A.S) was no stranger to death or oppression. Through her life, she faces most of the difficult and tough times, which if it was not her, none of the human being can survive. I will like to mention the difficult and tough time of her life, and there are five in number, she survives in it and continue struggling in the path of god and her parents.

1-Lady Zaynab was there when her noble grandfather Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was poisoned, and he was about to demise (martyr). Can you imagine how strong soul she has, although she was a kid, she started experiencing the Bitterness of life?
2-All the difficulties that her Beloved Mother Lady Zahra was, she was Also there with her to the last moment of her life. And we should know it was less than 70 days after the departure of her noble Grand Father (P.B.U.H).
3-After she witnessed and had the most painful memories, her Noble Father just left her House, Ibn Muljam (may Allah curse him) Strike Imam Ali (A.S) on his great forehead,  she just heard news about the event. Can you imagine how pain she feels?
4-Imagine how the relation is between brother and a sister, at the same time as a Father. Imam Hassan (A.S) also was poisoned to the extent that his body turns into green color. Lady Zaynab she witnessed this painful event.
5-The last event she survived into was the event of KARBALA, she faces the most difficult and painful time in her life, after the event of Karbala she said ”it’s today I lost My Grandfather Muhammad (P.B.U.H), My Father Ali (A.S), My Mother Fatemah (A.S), and My Brother Hassan (A.S) with the loss of My Brother Hussein (A.S)”.
We know her best for the crucial role she played during the events of Karbala in 61 A.H. when she was 55 years old. She witnessed the martyrdom of her own children, her nephews, companions, and most significantly her beloved brothers Abbas ibn Ali Talib (A.S) and Imam al-Hussain (A.S). Sayyida Zainab’s (A.S) strong upbringing, piety, and nobility ensured she was not weak in the face of adversity. Therefore, after Imam Hussain (A.S) was mercilessly martyred, she became the pillar for the other women and children. She, therefore, serves as an example of steadfastness, courage, humility, and strength for all of us.
The following is an excerpt of the sermon Lady Zainab (A.S) gave in the courtyard of Yazid’s (L.A) palace in Damascus after they were brought as prisoners:
“Whatever you consider today, as a bounty would turn into reparation for tomorrow, whatever you have sent in advance would be received by you. Allah does not like oppression toward his servants. I complained to Him and put my trust upon Him; thus whatever deceit you want to practice, go ahead and do it; whatever endeavors and efforts you can make, try them. By Allah you would never be able to remove our remembrance from the hearts [of the believers], nor would you ever be able to destroy our revelations; you would never reach our splendor and majesty; you would never be able to wash this ugly spot of tyranny from your [dress]; your opinion and suggestions are invalid and unstable. The duration of your rein is very short, and your assembly would soon be scattered; on that day when the heavenly crier would announce: ‘Praise be upon the Lord of the Worlds, and are beginning- with prosperity and salvation-and our end-with martyrdom and blessing. I beseech the Almighty to bestow upon them [Imam Hussain (A.S), his family (pbut), and his loyal companions] His best recompense and may [He] increase their rewards. O You, Who is just and righteous toward us, and who is the most compassionate among all the compassionate ones, we put our trust only upon you.”
Lady Zaynab (A.S), in particular, holds a special place in many of our hearts due to the hardships she faced during the tragic events of Karbala and while she was taken captive to Damascus. What do we know about the qualities she possessed that enabled her to conduct herself with strength and conviction of faith? And how can we do our best to embody the characteristics she manifested to improve our lives today?
Some of us may feel we cannot live up to these ideals, that they are unattainable and beyond our reach. Having ideals or high moral standards to look up to give us helpful guidelines as we develop who we are and how to conduct ourselves. When we think about who we should look up to, God has provided us with role models such as Lady Zainab bint Ali (A.S).
Lady Zainab bint Ali (A.S) has several attributes and titles associated with her such as, Al-Aqilah means noble woman, Al-Aalimah or the most knowledgable woman, and Aminatu al-Allah means the faithful of God.

 Noble Woman (al-Aqilah) of her time

We know that Lady Zainab bint Ali (A.S) was of the purest lineage. After all, her grandfather was the Messenger of God, the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), and her parents were the Lady of Light, Fatimah al-Zahra (A.S) and the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S). However, Lady Zainab bint Ali’s (A.S) nobility was also rooted in her own moral excellence. She was so trustworthy that Imam Hussain ibn Ali (A.S) entrusted her with his will. Someone once asked Hakimah bint Muhammad ibn Ali (A.S) if a woman was capable of being entrusted with someone’s will. She referred to Imam al-Hussain (A.S) who entrusted his sister Lady Zainab bin Ali (A.S) with his will.
Imam Hussain (A.S) would not have trusted her with guarding his secrets or looking after the remaining family members if she was not an honorable and noble human being. Her decision to accompany Imam Hussain ibn Ali (A.S) with her sons to Karbala also required the highest strength of character and trust in the Almighty. She knew that to protect the religion of Islam, a great sacrifice would be made.

 The Most Knowledgeable Woman (al-Aalimah) of her time

Lady Zainab bint Ali (A.S) had her grandfather, parents, and brothers (A.S) as her teachers. When you have such magnanimous guides sharing and imparting their knowledge to you there is little doubt that you will become illustrious yourself. Lady Zainab bint Ali (A.S) thus served as the source of knowledge for Muslim women regarding religious affairs and other matters.
The Messenger of God (P.B.U.H) has said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim. (People should) know that God loves those who seek knowledge.”
Whether you are a man or woman, seeking and acquiring knowledge is a duty. Seeking knowledge is a gift that you benefit from without expiration or diminished value. Lady Zainab bint Ali’s (A.S) possessing such a high level of knowledge and being fully supported by her family is a true inspiration to us all.

The Faithful of God (Aminatu al-Allah) of her time

Aminatu al-Allah is the faithful of God, which is a testament to Lady Zainab bint Ali’s (A.S) unyielding devotion to the Lord of the worlds. Lady Zainab bint Ali (A.S) was recognized among Muslim believers as being a devout and committed worshipper. Her worship was so sincere and distinguished that even her brother Imam Hussain ibn Ali (A.S) asked her to pray for him in her nightly prayers.

It was narrated that Imam Hussain ibn Ali (A.S) said to his sister Lady Zainab (A.S): “Oh sister do not forget to pray for me in your night prayer”

This kind of devotion to God is also what gave Lady Zainab bint Ali (A.S) the strength and firm conviction she needed to endure the merciless slaughter of her children, brothers, and other family members (A.S). This is what gave her composure and conviction of faith when she and the remaining family members were taken as prisoner. And finally, it is why she remained composed and eloquent while delivering her speech in the courtyard of Yazid (L.A) to the accomplices and bystanders of the events of Ashoora.

Worship strengthens the connection and relationship we have with the Almighty. And it is with this connection that we are able to endure life’s many challenges. Although it is a very private practice, it exhibits itself by making the worshiper grounded and mindful of themselves and their surroundings. It is what builds our resilience to life’s challenges and gives us peace through our conviction and trust in the Lord of the universe.

Although we know that as human beings we are bound to make mistakes, we should strive to be the best version of ourselves using the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S) as our guides. Their lives were not without a multitude of difficulties and challenges, yet they never compromised on their morals, ethics, principles, and belief in God. Although we do not face the same challenges as they did, we can still derive the same lessons. Their illustrious lives serve as a ‘how to’ manual to navigate life’s many obstacles. Reflecting on the epithets or titles of Lady Zaynab bint Ali (A.S) allows us to appreciate her life, understand the challenges she faced, and learn from the way she conducted herself. This provides the blueprint we need to seek nobility, knowledge, and complete devotion to and worship of God in our own lives.

Lady Zaynab (A.S) was a visionary

To be a visionary, you should think beyond the here and now and be a forward thinker. The preservation of the Imamate was paramount to the survival of the religion of Islam.  Lady Zaynab (A.S) knew that she had to protect her nephew, Imam Zayn al-Abidin (A.S) and did so as best she could with God’s Divine protection and help. She remained steadfast, protected him physically when necessary, and publicly spoke out when the truth was distorted and covered.
Lady Zaynab (A.S) also knew that to safeguard the future of her grandfather’s religion and its believer’s people must always remember the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (A.S), his family, and companions. Women became the flagbearers of the message of Imam Hussain (A.S). From one majlis (gathering of sorrow) to the next, they have passed the baton of guidance that contained the true message of Islam up until this day.

 Women’s role in society

Lady Zaynab’s (A.S) strength, leadership, and vision are a lesson for men and women alike in today’s world.  Women have an important role to play in all aspects of life: at home, at work, in the community, at the university, at our centers, and mosques.  Taking the lessons we learn throughout the months of Muharram and Safar, we can strive to build a better community of inclusion and appreciation of one another. We can create more opportunities and positions for women to take on leadership roles to help our communities continue to grow.
Peace And Mercy be upon Lady Zaynab’s from the Day she was Born, The Day she was Departed, and to The Day that she will Rise as a Trustworthy Lady.

About Ali Teymoori

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