The Brave Heart Lady of Karbala:THE POIGNANT PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD

Hazrat Zainab had not yet completed her fifth year of life when her venerated Grandfather the Messenger of God PBUH died. The pious body of the Prophet was buried in the chamber of Hazrat Aisha. The Prophet died after Mecca had been conquered and Kaaba had been cleansed of idols and a large of body of men had accepted religion of God.

The small girl witnessed the heart breaking death of the Messenger of God with her own eyes. The lifting of the coffin of her grandfather and lowering it in the grave, she must have surely seen. We cannot assume that Zainab in her infancy was not acquainted with all the tragic affairs that happened in Medina after the death of the Prophet. She must have come to know about the dispute of two companions of Prophet regarding his death. Hazrat Omar was announcing in frenzy that Messenger of God had not died and by God he will come back to life like Jesus Christ. Abu Bakar’s reply was based on the Para 4- Sura Ale Imran in which he elaborated that the Messenger like all the previous Messengers of God had died and then he added, “Anyone who has been worshipping

Hazrat Mohammed PBUH must know that Hazrat Mohammed has Wisal. And those who worship God, God will be for eternity and God will not die.” Could she comprehend it?

I cannot understand whether a child of five years could comprehend the real meaning of these proceedings. But there is no doubt that she saw heart agonizing and tormenting scenes which were enough to sadden the heart of a little girl. She saw the peaceful bier of her grandfather kept in the courtyard and people weeping and crying by its side. There were many eyes which were moist with regret of separation from the Prophet PBUH. Alas! In her infancy Zainab had to pass through such tormenting tragedies which stabbed her innocent and pious heart and targeted her chaste soul.

We observe in our mind’s eye that Zainab is standing by the death bed of her grandfather and saw his venerated head falling in Hazrat Ali’s Lap. He slowly shifts the holy head on to a pillow and covers the body with a sheet. Hazrat Ali was constantly busy in caring for the Prophet. He was never separated from the the Prophet until he breathed his last on Ali Murtaza’s lap. The voices of weeping and lamentation which started from the house of Hazrat Aisha, first reached other apartments of the Prophet and then engulfed Uhad and reached till Quba.

She observes the body of the Prophet is being bathed and then scented with musk and three pieces of shroud. Huge army of followers gathers inside the house to pay final tribute and farewell to their haloed leader.

She was intently looking at the faces of the persons who were employed in digging the grave in the chamber of Hazrat Aisha. She could distinguish in them her exalted father and two other friends of the Prophet. All three of them lifted the

purified mortal body of the Prophet and then lowered it in the grave, then covered the grave with bricks and earth.

Zainab sees this scene and out of fear and alarm she takes refuge in her mother’s lap, who was immersed in her grief. A grief which had plunged her whole being into grief, darkness and destroyed her tranquility and solace.

The small girl shifts herself from her mother’s lap to the arms of her father. But he is also engrossed in grief and sadness on the loss of his dearly beloved brother. He was disturbed about the rights of the Ahal Bait being usurped. Ali was dejected by the abject denial of his dignity and lack of adoration for the Prophet’s daughter and family as his revered wife was being willfully denied her rights at the death of the prophet PBUH.

Zainab observes that every night her mother rides a camel whose bridle is with Hazrat Ali, goes out to the dwellings of the Ansars and beckons them to help and strengthen her husband. These Ansars replied, “O daughter of Prophet, we have taken an oath of allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakar. If Hazrat Ali, had approached us earlier we would have paid allegiance and fealty to him.”

Hazrat Ali queries, “What would you have wished? Should I have left the mortal remains of the Prophet unattended in the house and not buried him? Should I have immediately immersed myself in the unseemly fight for power and authority?”

Janabe Fatima would say simultaneously, “My husband performed his responsibility as it was his due. He has complied with his duties. Those who have done otherwise will be held accountable and will have to clarify their actions before God. Syedna Ali had been round the clock busy in

tenderly looking after the Prophet PBUH during his sickness and was never separated from him until he breathed his last. Prophet Mohammed PBUH died in Hazrat Ali’s lap.

Zainab observes these disquieting scenes and I think she would have never forgotten the unfortunate events which took place in her childhood. Namely the day when Hazrat Umar forcibly tried to enter the house of Hazrat Fatima Zehra and wanted to pull Hazrat Ali by physical force and compel Hazrat Ali to take the oath of allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakar.

When Janabe Fatima heard this noise and uproar in her house she wailed loudly, “O my father, the Messenger of God PBUH, after your death, Ibnul Khattab Ibne Abi Qahafa have been instrumental in causing us immense pain.”

Omar declared that if Ali would not come out then he would force his way in. He took a running leap and threw his entire weight against the door, and the door burst open. All six feet of him came hurtling through, slamming full force into the person who was on the other side of the door at that moment. She was Hazrat Fatima, several months pregnant with the Prophet’s third grandson. During Omar’s forcible entry, the wall collapsed on Hazrat Fatima. Janabe Fatima Zehra was severely injured. A few weeks later, the fragile Fatima gave birth to a stillborn infant boy.

When people heard this cry of anguish they wept and dispersed. Hazrat Umar repaired back to Hazrat Abubakar in a melancholy mood, so that both of them together went to the house of Janabe Fatima and tried to appease her. Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Abu Bakr came to Janabe

Zehra’s residence and requested permission to enter the house. But she denied them the permission. Later on Hazrat

Umar and Hazrat Abur Bakr went to meet Hazrat Ali and requested him to use his influence. Hazrat Ali took them in the presence of the daughter of the Messenger, but she turned her face towards the wall and did not reply to their greetings. Hazrat Abu Bakr said, “O dear daughter of the Messenger! By God I consider you the darling daughter of the Messenger, more dear to me than my own daughter. You are more lovable to me than Aisha. It was my wish that I should have died on the same day as the Messenger. Do you think that in spite of knowing your nobility and grace I would deprive you of your rights and heritage of the Messenger of God? But I had heard from your father that we Messengers do not leave behind any bequest, whatever we leave behind is charity.”

At that moment, Fatima turned her sweetly fragile face towards them and inquired, “If I narrate a tradition of the Messenger will they act on it?”

Both of them said, Yes.

Fatima said, “You swear by God whether you have heard my father saying that Fatima’s happiness is my happiness and her annoyance is my annoyance and whoever befriends my daughter, is a friend of mine and those who please her, they please me. Those who make her angry they make me angry. Both of them said, “Yes, we have heard of this tradition.”

Fatima continued, “Now I make God and angels my witness and say that both of you have made me angry and you have not pleased me and when I will meet the Messenger of God PBUH then I will complain to him about you.” After that she turned her face awash with sorrow away from them. Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Abu Bakr came out of the house crying. Hazrat Abu Bakr asked people to excuse him from becoming the khaleefa but people did not agree.

Janabe Fatima Zehra after the death of her haloed father spent her life in anguish and lamentation. Zainab was always beside her ailing mother’s bed and was equally part of the wailing and crying. This was the time when the house of the Prophet’s daughter was called the house of mourning.

None of the historians have mentioned that she ever laughed after her father’s death. She used to get up from her bed only when she was to visit the grave of her father. It was her habit to go near the grave and was accustomed to remove the pious dust from the tomb and apply it on her face and eyes and used to smell it and to cry out loudly

“A person who has smelled the grave of the gracious Ahmad, for him it would not matter if throughout his life he did not again smell any good perfume. I have been overtaken by miseries. O Father! So great was the magnitude of affliction upon me that if it had fallen on days they would have become as dark as nights.”

Her wailing often brought tears in the eyes of others also. One day people requested Anas bin Malik to go to Janabe Fatima Zehra with due permission. He went to her and advised her to be patient in her grief and have pity on herself. Hazrat Fatima inquired. “How did you incline your heart to bury the body of the Messenger of God in dust?” After listening to this Anas wept bitterly and left the house enveloped in grief.

Janabe Fatima had become a proverbial figure for lamentation and wailing. She is counted amongst the five renowned names in excessive crying which have been recorded in history–Adam Noah, Yaqub, Yahya, and Fatima. After her, the name of her grandson Hazrat Zainul Abedin has also been included in the list.

Janabe Zehra, after a short period of six months, departed to meet her father. For Zainab it was the second most sorrowful and agonising event of her life. But at this moment Zainab’s understanding had matured and perceptions were strong. A mother’s death is a great misfortune and is enough to disturb the tranquility of a child and compel him or her to cry and wail.

At this time Zainab could not understand as to what she was scared of and why she was so melancholy. She knew that her mother has proceeded to a journey from where she will never return. She witnesses that the bier of her mother is taken to Bagi and hidden with earth and soil. She hears her father weeping in agony at Hazrat Fatima’s grave and saying. “O Prophet of God please accepts my Salam and those of your daughter, who is being buried not far from you, and who was destined to meet you so quickly. O the chosen Apostle! The death of your dear daughter has left me broken without patience and solace. I have lost my self-restraint and power of endurance.”

After having endured the separation from you I shall have to bear this fresh catastrophe patiently. O Prophet of God! I laid you down in the grave with my own hands, your soul departed from your body while you were resting upon my breast, and your head was between my neck and heart. Surely we belong to God and towards him is our return, your trust (your daughter) who was entrusted to me is taken back from me. Sorrow now abides with me and happiness has taken flight. The grief is so overwhelming that it engulfs and swallows other sorrows, and it has left me with sleepless nights and joyless days; from now onwards my life will be continued heartache till God gathers me with you both in the realm of His Favour and Peace.

Please both of you accept my last Salam and good bye. It is the wish of the sincere heart which loved and will always love you both. A heart which will cherish and will carry your tender and loving memories to my own grave. Good-bye, O daughter of chosen Apostle of God! May you rest in peace, which mankind has denied to you in this world. If I leave your grave to go to my place, it is not that I am tired of your company; I wish I could be hereto the end of my life. And if I make an abode on your grave it will not be because I doubt the reward that God has reserved for those who bear sorrows patiently. Good-bye! May God’s peace and blessing be with you.”

Zainab returns to her house and acutely feels the absence of her mother. She misses her in the darkness of the night and brightness of the day. When she surveys the house she finds loneliness and tears as the only elements sharing her grief. Her heart gives testimony to her that she has lost the dearest and beautiful part of her life. These thoughts torment her. She goes to her father so that she may give and get some solace to him.

After the death of Hazrat Fatima Zehra Hazrat Ali married other wives.

  1. Ummul Baneen daughter of Khazam. Children: Abbas, Jafar, Abdullah and Usman.
  2. Laila D/o Masood bin Khalid Nehasli Tameeti mother of Ubaidullah and Abu Bakr.
  3. Asma Binte Umais, mother of Mohammad Asghar and Yahya.
  4. Sehba Binte Rabi Taghlibya, mother of Umar and Ruqqyia.
  5. Amama Binte Abul. As ibne Rabee whose mother was daughter of messenger of God Zainab and she is mother of Mohammad Ausat.
  6. Khola Binte Jafar Hanafia who is the mother of Mohammed Hanafia.
  7. Umme Saeed Binte Urwa bin Masood Taqafi who is the mother of Ummul Hasan and Rima Kubra.
  8. Najdat Binte Amri-al-Qais bin Adi Kalbi, gave birth to a daughter who died in infancy.

These wives and along with them some concubines also entered in the house of Hazrat Ali. But none of them could for Hazrat Hasan, Hazrat Husain and Hazrat Zainab, Hazrat Kulsoom replace the place of their mother the beloved Hazrat Zehra.

In the illustrious household Zainab occupied an eminent position in comparison to her brothers and sister due to the special last will which was delivered to her in her mother’s last moments. The last will given to her daughter was, “Look after your brothers very well and do not leave them. After my death you are their mother.” Zainab never ever forgot this advice.

All the terrible and sad incidences which began in her infancy did not forsake her even in her later childhood. If, however, even for a moment we distance ourselves from these events then we see the other bright gracious face of Zainab emerging. There we observe that Zainab, in her father’s house has undertaken multiple responsibilities, much more than her age will allow. The tragic events had so influenced her nurturing that she assumes the charge of her mother’s duties. She performs the duties of a mother for Imam Hasan,

Husain and Hazrat Kukoon. She same the of the duties graciously and kindly. Althangh sudestek a mother’s sugadity and wisdom may be backena, a la aparence and far sightedness undoubtedly may sabe 501 to that of her illustrious mother.

It is not surprising that Zainab assumed the destes looking after her brothers and sister like a mother before the beginning of her years of discretion. Hazrat Assta depared to her husband’s house when she was less than ten years of age. People of that age did not consider these issues to be great or strange. Although Europeans today consider these bizarre events. They consider this without keeping in mind the circumstances and necessities of that period. These events are nothing out of the ordinary and are very much a part of the cultural environment of that period.

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