zainabA brief look at the life of Lady Zainab (SA)
Shrine of Hazrat Syeda Zainab binte Ali(as), Zainabia, Syria

Name: Zainab
Title: Siddiqa-e-Sughra
Kunyat: Umm-ul-Massaib
Born at: Medina on 1st Shaba'an al Moazzam *
Fathers Name. Hazrat Ali-Al-Murtaza (AS)
Mother's Name: Janab e Fatema Zahra (AS)

It was five years after the Muslims had accompanied the Prophet
(saww) and his family in the migration (Hijrah) to Medina, when
the Holy Prophet's daughter, Hadrat Fatima (AS), gave birth to a
little girl.'

When her father, Imam Ali (AS), saw his daughter for the first time
Imam Husayn (AS), who was then almost three years old, was
with him. The boy exclaimed in delight,

"O father, Allah has given me a sister."

At those words Imam Ali (AS) began to weep, and when Husayn
(AS) asked why he was crying so, his father answered that he
would soon come to know.

Fatima (AS) and Ali (AS) did not name their child until a few days
after her birth, for they awaited the Prophet's return from a journey
so that he could propose the name.

When finally the baby girl was brought before him he held her in
his lap and kissed her. The Angel Jibra'il came to him and
conveyed the name that was to be hers, and then he began to
weep. The Prophet (PBUH&HF) asked why Jibra'il wept and he

"O Prophet of Allah. From early on in life this girl will
remain entangled in tribulations and trials in this world. First
she will weep over your separation (from this world);
thereafter she will bemoan the loss of her mother, then her
father, and then her brother Hasan. After all this she will be
confronted with the trials of the land of Karbala and the
tribulations of that lonely desert, as a result of which her
hair will turn grey and her back will be bent."

Shaam e Ghariban

When the members of the family heard this prophecy they all
broke down in tears. Imam Husayn (AS) now understood why
earlier his father had also wept. Then the Prophet (PBUH&HF)
named her Zaynab (AS).

When the news of Zaynab's birth reached Salman al-Farsi, he
went to Ali (AS) to congratulate him. But instead of seeing him
happy and rejoicing he saw Ali (AS) shed tears, and he too was
apprised of the events of Karbala and the hardships that were to
befall Zaynab (AS).

One day, when Zaynab (AS) was about five years old, she had a
strange and terrible dream. A violent wind arose in the city and
darkened the earth and the sky. The little girl was tossed hither
and thither, and suddenly she found herself stuck in the branches-
of a huge tree. But-the wind was so strong that it uprooted the
tree. Zaynab (AS) caught hold of a branch but that broke. In a
panic she grabbed two twigs but these top gave way and she was
left falling with no support. Then she woke up. When she told her
grand father, the Prophet (PBUH&HF), about this dream he wept
bitterly and said,

"O my daughter. that tree is me who is shortly going to
leave this world. The branches are your father Ali and your
mother Fatima Zahra, and the twigs are your brothers
Hasan and Husayn. They will all depart this world before
you do, and you will suffer their separation and loss."

Zaynab (AS) shared with-her brothers and sister the extraordinary
position of having such examples to look up to, emulate and learn
from, as her grand father, the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HF) her
mother Fatima (AS), daughter of the Prophet, and he'r father
Imam Ali (AS), cousin-brother of the Prophet. In the pure
environment that enveloped her she absorbed the teachings of
Islam that her grandfather imparted, and after him her father. Here
too she learnt to master all household skills with great proficiency.

She had barely attained the tender age of seven when her beloved
mother passed away. Her mother's death had closely followed her
cherished grand father's passing away. Some time later Imam Ali
(AS) married Umm ul-Banin, whose devotion and piety
encouraged Zaynab (AS) in her learning.

Whilst still a young girl she was fully able to care for and be
responsible for the running of her father's household. As much as
she cared for the comforts and ease of her brothers and sisters, in
her own wants she was frugal and unstintingly generous to the
poor, homeless and parentless. After her marriage her husband is
reported as having said,

"Zaynab is the best housewife."

From very early on she developed an unbreakable bond of
attachment to her brother Imam Husayn (AS). At times when as a
baby in her mother's arms she could not be pacified and made to
stop crying, she would quieten down upon being held by her
brother, and there she would sit quietly gazing at his face. Before
she would pray she used to first cast a glance at the face of her
beloved brother.

One day Fatima (AS) mentioned the intensity of her daughter's
love for Imam Husayn (AS) to the Prophet (PBUH&HF). He
breathed a deep sigh and said with moistened eyes,

"My dear child. This child of mine Zaynab would be
confronted with a thousand and one calamities and face
serious hardships in Karbala."

Zaynab (AS) grew into a fine statured young woman. Of her
physical appearance little is known. When the tragedy of Karbala
befell her in her midfifties she was forced to go out uncovered. It
was then that some people remarked that she appeared as a
'shining sun' and a 'piece of the moon'.

In her character she reflected the best attributes of those who
raised her. In sobriety and serenity she was likened to Umm
ul-Muminin Khadija, her grandmother (AS); in chastity and
modesty to her mother Fatima Zahra (AS); in eloquence to her
father Ali (AS); in forbearance and patience to her brother Imam
Hasan (AS); and in bravery and tranquility of the heart to Imam
Husayn (AS). Her face reflected her father's awe and her
grandfather's reverence.

When the time came for marriage, she was married in a simple
ceremony to her first cousin, Abdullah ibn Ja'far Tayyar. Abdullah
had been brought up under the direct care of the Prophet
(PBUH&HF). After his death, Imam Ali (AS) became his
supporter and guardian until he came of age. He grew up to be a
handsome youth with pleasing manners and was known for his
sincere hospitality to guests and selfless generosity to the poor and

Together this young couple had five children, of whom four were
sons, Ali, Aun, Muhammad, and Abbas, and one daughter, Umm

In Medina it was Zaynab's practise to hold regular meetings for
women in which she shared her knowledge and taught them the
precepts of the Deen of Islam as laid out in the Holy Quran. Her
gatherings were well and regularly attended. She was able to
impart the teachings with such clarity and eloquence that she
became known as Fasihah (skillfully fluent) and Balighah (intensely

In the thirty-seventh year A.H. (after Hijrah), Imam Ali (AS)
moved to Kufa to finally take up his rightful position as khalifah.
He was accompanied by his daughter Zaynab (AS) and her
husband. Her reputation as an inspiring teacher among the women
had preceded her. There too women would throng to her daily
sittings where they all benefitted from her erudition, wisdom and
scholarship in the exegesis of the Qur'an.'

The depth and certainty of her knowledge earned her the name
given to her by her nephew, Imam Ali Zayn ul-Abidin (AS), of
'Alimah Ghayr Mu'allamah, 'she who has knowledge without being

Zarih e Mubarik (grave)of Syeda Zainab (SA) in Damascus, Syria

Zaynab (AS) was also nicknamed Zahidah (abstemious) and
'Abidah (devoted) because of her abstemiousness and piety. She
found little of interest in wordly adornments, always preferring the
bliss and comfort of the Next World over that of this world. She
used to say that for her the life of this world was as a resting place
to relieve fatigue along a journey.

Humble and of high morals, her main concern was to strive to
please Allah and in doing so she avoided anything which was the
least bit doubtful.

Courtesy: Dares Salam Tabligh and Islamic Digest

* According to some historians the date is 5th Jamadi ul Awwal

Ziyarat of Hazrat Zainab (SA)

A bibi in mourning

Provided by Rubab Hussain

The following ziyarat (verbal salutation) for Bibi Zaynab (SA) is traditionally recited to obtain divine blessing while visiting her shrine (in this case, in Damascus, Syria). It can also be recited
at any other time in remembrance of the example of courage and submission that she presented to the world, particularly on the acknowledged days of her birth, death, and during the month
of Muharram.

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of the Chief of prophets.

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of the Master of the sanctuary and the banner.

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of him who was made to ascend to (highest) heaven and reached the station of two bows' length (to Allah) or even closer.

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of the Leader of the pious.

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of the support of the sincere friends (of Allah)

Peace be upon you. Oh daughter of the Leader of the Deen.

Peace be upon you. Oh daughter of the Commander of the faithful.

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of him who struck with the sword of two blades.

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of him who prayed towards the two qiblahs [Jerusalem, then Mecca].

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of Muhammad, the chosen.

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of Ali, the content (with the decree of Allah).

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of Fatima, the radiant.

Peace be upon you, Oh daughter of Khadija, the elder.

Peace be upon you. Oh righteous one, pleasing (to Allah).

Peace be upon you, Oh learned, rightly guided one.

Peace be upon you, Oh generous, noble one.

Peace be upon you, Oh pious, pure one.

Peace be upon you, Oh you who were thoroughly tested by sufferance like Husayn, the oppressed.

Peace be upon you, Oh you who were kept far from your home.

Peace be upon you, Oh you who were held captive in cities.

The Shaam-e-Ghariban 

Holy Quran