Lady Zaynab (p), the daughter of Imam Ali (p) and Lady Fatima (p), is one of the most prominent individuals in Islamic history. She is known for all the trials and tribulations that she witnessed starting at a very young age and continuing until her death. She is also the definition of courage, bravery, and eloquence as seen in her actions and the conversations she had with the tyrants after the horrific events of Karbala. Lady Zaynab was the official representative of Imam Hussain (p), and the Shia referred to her in jurisprudential matters until Imam Zayn al-Abidin recovered from his illness.1 Moreover, two qualities that illuminate the magnificence of Lady Zaynab  (p) are the way she received her name and her blessed upbringing.

Her Name

After the birth of Lady Zaynab (p), there was a short period of time where she did not have a name. Lady Fatimah (p) asked her husband, Imam Ali (p), the reason for the delay in naming the newborn. Imam Ali (p) responded, “I am waiting for the Holy Prophet to name her.” The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) was travelling at that time. Upon his arrival, Lady Fatimah (p) approached her father with the newborn in her arms and asked about the situation. Moments after, Angel Jibril (Gabriel) came down from the heavens and said, “Oh Messenger of God. Your Lord has sent you His salutations and says, ‘Oh my beloved, name her Zaynab.’”2 This event is proof that Lady Zaynab (p) is no ordinary individual, since God Himself chose her name.

In addition, the name “Zaynab” in the original Arabic language is translated as the “adornment of her father.” This demonstrates her lofty status as someone who has proximity to her father, Imam Ali (p), as she illuminated his character and eloquence in every situation.

Knowledgeable Without being Taught

In a conversation between Lady Zaynab (p) and our fourth Imam, Imam Zayn al-Abidin (p) tells his aunt that, “You are, by the grace of God, knowledgeable without being taught and comprehensive without explanation.”3 In examining the early years of her life, we see that Lady Zaynab (p) was brought up by five infallibles. She spent the first five or six years of her life with her grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hp) and her mother, Lady Fatimah (p) from whom she was able to absorb divine teachings at a tender age. She spent the next twenty-nine years under the guidance of her father, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (p), from whom she learned divine wisdom and eloquence. After the martyrdom of her father, she played a prominent role in supporting the message of the religion of Islam, during and after the imamate of her brothers, Imam Hassan (p) and Imam Hussain (p). This is one reason why Lady Zaynab (p) had no need for a traditional education, for she was brought up with the sources of knowledge.

Bits of Advice

1. Recite the ziyarah of Lady Zaynab (p): To have a relationship with the family of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp), it is important that we do our best to connect with them through supplication. Reminding ourselves of the sacrifice of Lady Zaynab (p) through the recitation of her ziyarah, for instance, is one means of drawing closer to her.

2. Encourage our young daughters through Lady Zaynab (p): There is a need for positive role models and mentors in our lives, and, especially for our young women. Thus, it is necessary to offer Lady Zaynab (p) as an example of piety, humility, and at the same time, courage, bravery, and eloquence for young women in our communities.

3. Read the sermon of Lady Zaynab (p): The sermon of Lady Zaynab (p) is among the most important pieces of literature within Islamic tradition. Her words shook the hearts of those who assisted with the killing of the grandson of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp). These are the same words that saved the religion of Islam after the tragedy of Karbala. We can gain great insight from these powerful words and it will definitely help us stay on the right path.

1. Shajarat toubah, vol. 2, p. 392.
2. Zaynab al-kubra, p, 17.
3. Al-ihtijaj, vol. 2, p. 31.

1 .ذكر الشیخ محمد مهدي الحائري، في كتابه “شجرة طوبى”، عن الشیخ الصدوق أنه قال: إن لها( السیّدة زینب ع) نیابة خاصة
عن الحسین (ع) وكانت الشیعة ترجع إلیها في الحلال والحرام حتى برء زین العابدین (ع) من مرضه.
2 .لما ولدت زینب (ع) جاءت بها امها الزهراء (ع) الى أبیها أمیر المؤمنین (ع) و قالت سم هذه المولودة فقال ما كنت لا أسبق
سول ّ االله (ص) -و كان في سفر له-و لما جاء النبي (ص) و سأله علي «ع» عن اسمها فقال ما كنت لا سبق ربي تعالى، فهبط
جبرئیل یقرأ على النبي ّ السلام من ّ االله الجلیل و قال له سم هذه المولودة زینب فقد اختار ّ االله لها هذا الاسم.
3 .جاء عن الإمام زین العابدین علیه السلام أنه قال ّ لعمته زینب علیها السلام “وأنت بحمد االله عالمة غیر معلمة، وفهمة غیر

Leave a Comment: