Syeda Zainab: A Timeless Role Model for Humanity

Who was Syeda Zainab, and why was she given some of the holy titles of “Al-Alima” (the most knowledgeable) and Al-Abida (the most distinguished worshipper)?

Who was Syeda Zainab, and why was she given some of the holy titles of “Al-Alima” (the most knowledgeable) and Al-Abida (the most distinguished worshipper)?

Writing about the life of past personalities takes courage, especially those characterized by high merits of piousness, holiness, and bravery. Syeda Zainab Bint e Ali (R.A) is one of the pious personalities whose name resonates with courage, bravery, and resolute determination. The esteemed daughter of Imam Ali (R.A) and Syeda Fatima (R.A), Syeda Zainab continues to stand as a beacon of inspiration for humanity. 

From her early life, Syeda Zainab showcased remarkable resilience, profound wisdom, unwavering commitment towards Allah, and courage to stand against evil, leaving an indelible mark on history. 

The Personality of Syeda Zainab

Syeda Zainab Bint e Ali was brought up in Madina and later on, was married to Hazrat Abdullah ibn Jafar al-Tayyar and raised 5 five children. Syeda Zainab was blessed with four sons: Ali, Aun, Muhammad, Abbas, and a daughter named Umm Kulthum. Syeda Zainab’s illustrious reputation is represented by the following titles:

Al-Aqila (Wise and discerning woman) 

Syeda Zainab Bint e Ali (R.A) was titled Aqilah, which is an Arabic word that refers to a woman who is honored by her tribe due to her wisdom. Syeda Zainab (R.A) held such virtuous qualities that her descendants were hailed as Banu Al Aqilah (Sons of virtuous and wise women). 

Al-Alima (The most knowledgeable woman) 

She possessed supreme knowledge that historians confirm that Syeda Zainab (R.A) was an authority for Muslim women in their religious affairs. And who was more capable of having this title except for the daughter of Imam Ali, who also had the title of Bab e Madine tul Ilm Hazrat Ali R.A (The gate of the city of knowledge)?

Al Abida (The most worshipper woman) 

Syeda Zainab R.A was recognized as the most distinguished worshipper of Allah among Muslim ladies. Her commitment towards Allah never shattered and she performed supererogatory prayers even on the most challenging night of her life, on the night of the tenth of Muharram when her brother Imam Hussain ibn e Ali was martyred and there was no one left to protect the dignity of Islam and the true essence of their grandfather, the Prophet’s, religion. Thus, she was recognized as Abidatu Ali, The Most Worshipping woman of Hazrat Ali’s R.A household. 

Al-Kamila (Superb and exalted woman) 

In all the events of her life, Syeda Zainab (R.A) was seen in leading positions. She, therefore, is called ‘al-Kamilah – the Perfect woman. 

Al-Fadhila (Virtuous Woman) 

Because of her commitment, her services towards Islam, and her steadfastness for the sake of Allah, Syeda Zainab (R.A) has gained a virtuous rank that has exceeded all limits which makes her ‘al-Fadhila—the most Virtuous Woman. 

Role in Karbala

The two foremost personalities that shaped Karbala’s narrative were Imam Hussain and Syeda Zainab Bint e Ali. Syeda Zainab, at the age of 55, played an indelibly crucial role during the battle of Karbala in 61 A.H., standing as an unwavering symbol of strength, resilience, and unwavering faith amidst the tragedy. She watched the martyrdom of her two sons, her nephews, and her dear brothers Imam Hussain and Hazrat Abbas.

After the martyrdom of her beloved brother and her two sons, Syeda Zainab stood as an epitome of bravery and showed unwavering commitment to Allah. Amidst the sorrow, she supplicated a prayer that echoed through time: “O Allah! Accept our humble sacrifice”. 

Sermon in the Court of Yazid

After the martyrdom of all the leading men in Karbala except Imam Zain ul Abidin, the women were brought as prisoners in the court of Yazid in Damascus. Syeda Zainab Bint e Ali fearlessly delivered a sermon in the court of Yazid, directly pointing out the illegitimate and corrupt ruler and exposing his tyrannical, fraudulent, and oppressive rule.

“O Yazid Do you believe that we, who have faced the martyrdom of our loved ones, are now weakened and humiliated? Just because you have imprisoned us and blocked our way, do you think Allah’s blessings have abandoned us? Do you consider yourself great and favored by the Almighty for killing the righteous? Reflect on your actions, for the Almighty’s grace and kindness cannot be won through such deeds.” She then recited the verse of the Quran from Surah Al Imran: 

“The disbelievers must not think that our respite is for their good. We only give them time to let them increase their sins. For them, there will be humiliation.” (Surah Al Imran, 3: 169) 

Syeda Zainab and Our Lives

We may feel that we cannot meet the standards of the ideal personalities of Islam because the virtues they possess are unattainable and beyond our limits. Still, we always need ideals to try our best to reach high moral standards and continuously try to attain the nearness of Allah.

And for women, Syeda Zainab binte Ali R.A is the lighting guide. A guide towards piousness, courage, wisdom, consistency and never letting go of the path of truth. We haven’t faced the challenges Syeda faced, but the choices we make in our young life when our personalities develop affect who we will become or the character we will possess.

So in order to create a world having the truth more empowered we have to follow the footsteps of Syeda Zainab Binte Ali R.A and awaken humanity in its true form.



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