Survival in the holocaust of Karbala

The 4th Imam, Imam Ali Zaynul Abideen (A.S), son of Imam Hussain (A.S), was one of the very few survivors of the massacre on Ashura. Throughout the events in Karbala.

Imam ali Zainul-Abideen (A.S.) was born in Medina on Saturday, 11th Jamad al-Awwal, 37 (A.H.).  His father was Imam Al-Husain (son of Ali and Fatima Al-Zahraa’, the daughter of the Prophet (PBUH).  Zainul-Abideen’s mother was Shar Banu.  ur Imam was famous for his prayers to Allah.  This earned him the titles of “Al-Sajjad” meaning with Sujood-intensity; “Al-Aabid” meaning the worship-minded, and “Zainul-Abideen” meaning the one who surpasses all in worship. 

Like all our other Imams, Imam Zainul-Abideen had a life of immense hardship and suffering.  During the early part of his life, he witnessed the martyrdom of his father, brothers, friends and family members in Karbala.  His own life was spared, on account of his grave illness during this tragedy.  Despite his condition, he still asked for the permission to fight, but was denied it, as he was the next Imam after Imam Al-Husain (A.S.).

The Imam’s survival in the holocaust of Karbala is no less than a miracle in itself.  It proves, however, that Allah wanted to save “Imamah” from extinction.

The gruesome ordeal of Karbala was extremely difficult if not profoundly arduous.  In the immediate period after Karbala Imam Zainul-Abideen was treated in a harsh and unkind manner by the tyrannical powers of the time.  After the grotesque manner his father as well as all male members of his family were killed by Yazid’s forces, Zainul Abideen was made a prisoner of the despotic ruler, Yazid.  He was even put in shackles while traveling from Kufa to Damascus, a distance of 700 miles on camel back, for such was the cruelty of the rulers!

In Damascus, as well as in Kufa beforehand, Zainul Abideen faced the tyrannical rulers with enormous courage and fortitude.  Singlehandedly he exposed Yazid’s cover up of the butchery that took place in Karabala, and valiantly brought to mind to those attending the court of Yazid (as well as the crowd at Jumu’a Salat) of who the family of the Prophet (Ahlul Bayt) were, and what atrocities took place in Karbala as well.

Hazarat Zainab(A.S), The Sage of Bani Hashim at Karbala

fter the demise of the Holy Prophet (SAW), there came the period of distress and hardship in the life of Sayyeda Zainab (s.a.). She stood by her mother as far as the question of supreme mandate of her father was concerned. When her mother delivered the Fadak sermon, she was only 4 years old, but narrated the sermon so lucidly and expressively that the people from Bani Hashim remembered it by heart. Later the Shiite scholars recorded it that is why she is called Zainab the narrator of traditions.

Zainab (s.a.) is the shining sun in the history of Islam and of humanity. Her brother’s name and Karbala associate the idea of freedom, justice, humanity, virtue, fighting against despotism, with the realization of the sovereignty of Allah. The history of Karbala is based on two pillars: the rising of Imam Hossein (a.s.) and the rising of Zainab (s.a.). She was an outstanding figure in the history of Karbala endowed with divine steadfastness and fortitude. She sacrificed her two sons and one should not say anything if one devoted his life for the cause of Allah. After the martyrdom of her brother and her two sons, she said: “O my Lord! Accept our humble sacrifice to You.”

When Zainab reached Kufa, she addressed people with fury words: “Praise to Allah, and may the blessing of Allah be upon Muhammad and his progeny. O people of Kufa, you are hypocrites and deceitful. You feign to be sorry for the death of my brother and his companions. May you always shed tears. I find nothing in you but flattery, evil acts and thoughts, pride and spite and ill will. By Allah! You deserve lasting sorrow instead of joy. Shames on you, your hands are imbrued with the blood of the son of the Holy Prophet (SAW), the one who was your sole refuge in case of adversity. By your evil act and disloyalty, you incurred the wrath of Allah against you. Woe betides you! No one will intercede with Allah for you.” Her furious words provoked people of Kufa to avenge Hussain’s martyrdom. This frightened Ubaidullah and his cruel agents. She also delivered a furious sermon in the court of the caliph that made his authority and despotic rule feel undermined. She said: “I fear no one but Allah. Make whatever evil plot you can. Blazes are waiting for you in the hereafter. You’ll he accountable to Allah for your atrocities.”


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