The Shrine of Zainab – A Popular Pilgrimage

Photo By:  Amina Valimohamed

Zaynab was the third child of Ali and Fatimah. She was born in Medina on the 5th of Jumada al-awwal (although some traditions say she was born on the 1st of Sha’aban) (of the Islamic calendar). Zaynab was named by Muhammad after her eldest aunt, then deceased. Zaynab lost her mother when she was only three years old. She grew extremely close to her full brothers,The Imams Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali.

Marriage When Zaynab came of age, she was married to her cousin Abdullah ibn Ja’far, a nephew of Ali, in a simple ceremony. Although Zaynab’s husband was a man of means, the couple is said to have lived a modest life. Much of their wealth was devoted to charity. Abdullah was sometimes called “the sea of munificence” or “the cloud of munificence”.

The marriage of Zaynab did not diminish her strong attachment to her family. Ali also felt a great affection for his daughter and son-in-law and when he became caliph and moved the capital from Medina to Kufa, Zaynab and Abdullah joined him. Zaynab bore four sons – Ali, Aun ibn Abdullah, Mohammad ibn Abdullah, and Abbas – and one daughter, Umm Kulthum.

BIBI Zaynab and Karbala At the death of the Muawiyah I, Husayn was forced out of Mecca due to the assassins that were sent by Muawiyah’s son Yazid I to kill Husayn during pilgrimage, thus, Husayn went to Kufa by the invitation of the people of Kufa for him to claim the leadership of the Muslim community. Zaynab accompanied him, as did most of his household. After Husayn and all his 72 companions were brutally killed at the Battle of Karbala by the order of Yazid, Zaynab was taken hostage by the army of Yazid, Muawiyah’s son and successor. Zaynab and the other survivors of Husayn’s expedition, most of them women and children, were marched to Damascus, Yazid’s capital, where they were held hostage. Tradition says that Zaynab, already in anguish due to the death of her brother Husayn and her sons Aun and Muhammad, was forced to march unveiled. This was an extreme indignity to inflict on a high-ranking Muslim woman, the granddaughter of Muhammad.

Eventually Yazid released his captives and allowed them to return to Medina. The anniversary of her death is said to be either the 11th or 21st of Jumada al-Thani, the 24th of Safar, or the 16th of Dhu al-Hijjah. Her grave can be found within Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque in Damascus, Syria. There is a dispute, with many Sunnis holding her grave can be found within at a different mosque, also titled “Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque”, in Cairo.

Major Source: Wikipedia
Picture: The Ismaili

About Ahmad Amirali

I am an educator by profession, pursuing my further career in teaching and learning. I love to read and, even more, love to share what I read.
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