THE INCIDENT OF UMM HARIS
When the Ahlul-bayt (as) were brought on the outskirts of a town located between Kufa and Shaam, and the inhabitants of that town were informed about this; a hot discussion arose between the people and many people were of the opinion that they should not be allowed to enter.
In this town lived a very pious lady called Umm Haris. When she learnt about the situation, she left her house and went round the streets and bazaars exciting the Islamic feelings of people. She said to them: “O you shameless people! These tyrants are bringing the family of the Holy Prophet (saww) in the most undignified manner and we are silently watching as spectators? It is better to die! I swear by Allah! If you do not do anything to stop them then I will myself go out and stop them. I will face them and sacrifice my life for the Ahlul-Bayt (as)”.
People calmed her down and assured her that they will go out and confront the army. But Umm Haris was not contented. She and another woman, who latter joined her, led 3000 men with open swords to confront the army. When they came face to face with the army, Umm Haris shouted to her men, “What are you waiting for? Kill them all to free the Ahlul-bayt (as) and take the possession of the heads of the martyrs”. A fierce battle ensued. However, since the soldiers of Yazeed were many in number, this group of believers were defeated in the battle. During its course, an arrow was shot on Umm Haris, which killed her instantly. (Ahwaal al-Nisaa)
This was the incident of a Mumina, who sacrificed herself in love of the Ahlul-Bayt (as). Every year on 15th of Rajab, we commemorate the martyrdom of Sayyida Zaynab bint Ali (as). We remember this great lady because of the great sacrifices she has made for Islam. The question, which we, and in particular our womenfolk must ask to themselves
is: What can we do to keep the legacies of this great lady alive?
THE LEGACIES OF SAYYIDA ZAYNAB (AS)
There are three legacies of Sayyida Zaynab (as), which we, as followers of Ahlul-Bayt (as) must give importance to and strive to keep them alive.
Her first legacy was of imparting Islamic Education & Knowledge.
Sayyida Zaynab (as) was blessed with knowledge such that our fourth Imam, Imam Zaynul-‘Aabideen (as) said to her, “You O Aunt! All praises are due to Allah; you have been blessed with knowledge without being taught by anyone”.
Sayyida Zaynab (as) used her knowledge to educate the womenfolk of her time. The two sciences she mostly concentrated upon were: Ahkaam (Fiqh / Masael) &
the Tafseer of the Holy Quran.
History relates that when Zaynab (
a.s.) was living in Madina, she used to conduct sessions for the womenfolk of Madina teaching them the Ahkaam ‘Shari’ah Laws’. When Imam Ali (a.s.) officially assumed the role of Caliph and chose the city of Kufa