Bibi Zainab's speeches had stirred Kufa. The people of Kufa were
filled with remorse. There was unrest in the city. In the market
place they were whispering: 'What have we done? How could we
invite the Prophet's grandson and then desert him to be
mercilessly butchered at Karbala’? How can we permit the Holy
Prophet's grand daughters be paraded in the streets like slaves?
What have we done?'
Ibn Ziyad feared that the people of Kufa might rise against him.
He ordered that the prison be strictly guarded. No one was
allowed to visit them. Only the most trusted guards were allowed
in or around the prison. In the mean time messengers ran between
Kufa and Damascus. Although at first Yazid had ordered that the
captives be detained at Kufa until he had completed all the
arrangements for their entry into Shaam (Damascus), because of
the mood in Kufa, Ibn Ziyad was anxious to have the prisoners
out of Kufa as soon as possible. It was agreed that they be
taken to Shaam.
Once again the prisoners were assembled and a procession left
Kufa. But this time the departure was kept secret from the
people of Kufa and took place at night.
So began the fourth journey of tears! It was a long and
Who was the hero and who was the heroine of this journey through
the Iraqi and the Syrian deserts? Was it Bibi Rubaab, who from
her unsaddled camel kept on staring at Ali Asghar's cradle
loaded on another camel carrying the goods looted from Husayn's
camp during the Shaam al-Gareeba? Was it Sakina who now sat
mournfully on her mother's lap staring at the 'alam of Hazrat
Abbas and her mashk still tied to the 'alam, and who kept
whispering: “I am not thirsty, Uncle, I am not thirsty!” Was the
hero Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen who was made to walk all the way,
the hot chains eating into his flesh?
Some times our Fourth Imaam would faint. His captors however
knew no pity. They would flog him if he slowed down or fainted.
On these occasions Bibi Zainab would intervene to stop the Imaam
from being flogged to death.
This was the journey of which the hero was the valour of Hazrat
Ali which ruled the heart of Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen and the
heroine was the sabr of Fatimah Zahra which inspired Bibi Zainab.
The journey from Kufa to Shaam was a long one. It took over
twenty days. The women and the children were exhausted. Their
suffering was great! Quite often the children would faint under
the scorching desert heat and fall off the camels.
The mothers would scream. Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen and Bibi Zainab
would go looking for the children. Sometimes they would find
them by the road side barely alive and there were occasions when
they were discovered too late. Our fourth Imaam would dig a
grave to bury the dead child. An historian revisiting this route
a few years later discovered a large number of small graves on
the way side!
Some Zakirs narrate the following story: Once Bibi Zainab looked
at the camel on which Sakina was riding. Sakina was not there!
She looked at all the other camels, Sakina was nowhere to be
seen. She panicked. Where could Imaam Husayn's darling daughter
be? She asked Shimr to untie her to that she could go and look
for Sakina. At first Shimr responded with his whip. Unmindful of
her own pain she kept on begging.
Shimr untied her with the warning that if she did not return
soon he would flog Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen to death. Bibi Zainab
ran in the direction from which they had travelled. Some
distance away she saw an elderly lady holding Sakina
affectionately, kissing her cheeks and wiping away her tears.
She could hear Sakina telling the lady how her uncle Abbas had
gone to fetch her water and how he had never returned. When
Sakina saw her aunt she explained that she had fallen off the
camel but the kind lady had looked after her. Bibi Zainab turned
to the lady and said, “May Allah reward you for your kindness to
this orphan!” The lady replied, “Zainab, my dear, how can you
thank your own mother? Do you not recognize me?” As the lady
lifted her face, Bibi Zainab saw that it was Fatimah Zahra!!
When the caravan reached the outskirts of Damascus Omar Sa'ad
sent a message to Yazid that they had arrived. Yazid ordered
that the caravan remain where it was until the morning. He
wanted the people of Shaam to line the streets to look at the
captives and witness his victory. In the meantime the streets
through which the captives were to be marched were being
decorated with flags and pennants.
Bibi Zainab had conquered Kufa. Now Shaam had come and was
waiting for her!
The Court of Yazid
When at long last the caravan reached the outskirts of Damascus,
a message was received by Umar Sa'ad that the prisoners were not
to be brought into the capital until Yazid had completed all the
Yazid invited all the ambassadors, foreign dignitaries and
leading citizens to his court. People were ordered to line up
the streets. Musicians were asked to play music and dancers were
told to dance in the streets. Such were the festivities
organized by the Khalifah for the entry of the grandson and the
grand daughters of the Holy Prophet of Islam into what had
become the metropolis of the Islamic Empire!!
Surrounded by the dancers, the musicians and the jeering crowds
of the citizens of Damascus the prisoners were led toward the
palace of Yazid. The ladies who had never stepped outside their
homes without their heads and faces being covered, had been
forced to travel from Karbala’ to Kufa, and Kufa to Shaam bare
headed and with their arms tied with a single rope. If any one
of them stumbled, she was whipped. Never in the history of Islam
had prisoners been treated with disrespect, let alone the
cruelty meted out to the members of the Holy Prophet's
household. And now, this ultimate insult of being led into the
court of Yazid like a herd of cattle!
Bibi Zainab seemed to be drawing strength from some divine
source. She wiped away her tears. Drew her hair over her face so
as to hide as much of her face from the staring crowds as she
could. Other ladies did the same. Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen
straightened himself. Exuding dignity and confidence, he
maintained his position behind the bearer of the lance upon
which was mounted his father's head. Such was the jostle of the
multitude thronging the streets that it took them more than
twelve hours to traverse the short distance between the city
gates and the palace.
They entered the palace and were made to stand in front of Yazid.
The tyrant was dressed in his best finery. Imaam Husayn's head
was formally presented to him by Umar ibn Sa'ad. Yazid, with a
cup of wine in one hand, ceremoniously accepted the ultimate
symbol of his victory and commanded Umar Sa'ad to call out the
names of the prisoners.
And then, in his drunken arrogance, Yazid recited a few couplets
which enshrine a diabolical confession, a confession that
explains the history of the division in Islam and the motives
not only his but of his father and grand father in accepting
Islam! He said:
“If my venerable ancestors who fell at Badr fighting Muhammad
had witnessed how the supporters of Muhammad's faith were thrown
into confusion with thrusts given with my spears, they would be
blessing me today. The Banu Hashim played a trick to win power.
There was never any wahi to them nor did they receive any
revelation. Today the souls of my ancestors and friends killed
by Muhammad at Badr will rest in peace!”
The raison d'etre of the Umayyad dynasty was vengeance against
Islam, a sanguine continuation of Uhud where Yazid'd
grand-mother had been only partially successful in her
determination to have Ali and Hamza killed in retaliation for
the deaths of her father and brother at Badr!! Yazid never
believed in Islam, and yet the system forced upon the people
after the death of the Holy Prophet had resulted in this worst
of all the hypocrites becoming the Khalifah of the Holy Prophet
and the Ameer-ul-Mu'mineen of the ummah!!
Yazid looked at the prisoners lined up in front of him. He said:
“It has pleased Allah to grant us victory! Look how He has
caused the death of Husayn and humiliated his family!” He then
recited an ayah of the Holy Quraan which means 'Allah grants
honour to whom He pleases and brings disgrace upon whom He
There were over seven hundred dignitaries sitting in the Court.
They smiled and nodded approvingly. Bibi Zainab could stand it
no more! She was filled with wrath. How dare this unclean man
say such things? How dare he with his najis tongue recite from
Holy Quraan? How dare he make mockery of the family of the Holy
Prophet? In a loud and clear voice Bibi Zainab said: “O Yazid!
Do you think that it is Allah who has caused you to commit all
these foul deeds?
Do you blame the Rahman and the Rahim for the oppression we have
suffered? Do you blame Allah for the death of the beloved grand
son of his most beloved Prophet? How dare you make these false
accusations against the Almighty? No, Yazid, it was not Allah!
It is you, with your insatiable ambition and greed for wealth
and power, who are the only cause of the suffering inflicted not
only upon the household of the Holy Prophet but on Islam itself!
Do not forget what Allah has said in the Holy Book: Let not the
unbelievers take it that the respite We give them would do them
any good. We allow them time in order that they might continue
to indulge in sin to their hearts' content. Indeed a humiliating
punishment has been kept ready for them.
Do you think that by killing the grandson of the Holy Prophet
and bringing us to your palace as prisoners, you have scored a
victory against Islam? No, Yazid, no! Husayn with his blood has
made sure that tyrants like you will not be able to use Islam as
a toy to carry out their evil designs. The victory is not yours.
The victory is of Husayn! The victory is of Islam!”
Yazid was stunned! The people present there could not but be
moved by what this courageous lady had to say. This lady, who
had seen and experienced great suffering, dared today defy the
very man who had inflicted those sufferings. Who was she? They
asked one another. When they learnt that she was the grand
daughter of the Holy Prophet, their hearts began to fill with
In an effort to save the situation Yazid turned towards Imaam
Zain ul 'Abideen and said: “Well you can tell us who has been
victorious. Imaam looked at him and replied:
“Yazid, final victory can only belong to those on the right
path. Let us look at you and look at Husayn. My father, whom you
got killed so mercilessly, was the grandson of the Holy Prophet
who had said that “Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn.” He
was born a Muslim and all his life he upheld the laws and
principles of Islam. You are the grandson of Abu Sufiyan and
Hinda, who most of their lives fought Islam and the Holy
Yazid was now greatly embarrassed. To silence the Imaam he asked
his muezzin to recite the adhaan. When the Muezzin cried out 'ash-hadu
anna Muhammadar-Rasuul’ul-Lah' Imaam
Zain ul 'Abideen, addressing Yazid, said, “Yazid speak the
truth! Was Muhammad my grandfather or your grandfather!”
Yazid ordered the prisoners to be moved to a prison. This was
not a prison. It was a dungeon! Only a part of it had any sort
of ceiling. The rest was open to the sky. An iron grill
surrounded the place so that no one could get in or out.
Bibi Zainab reports that the place was so cold at nights that no
one could have proper sleep. During the day, it got hot like an
oven. It is here that our fourth Imaam, still under chains, the
ladies and the children spent many days of great agony and
Bibi Sakina was the youngest daughter of Imaam Husayn. She was a
vivacious child, full of love and happiness. Everyone loved
Sakina. She was also a very religious girl. She enjoyed reading
the Holy Quraan and never missed her prayers. From the age of
two she took great care to make sure that her head and face were
properly covered when in public.
Sakina was Imaam Husayn's most beloved child. Our Imaam was
often heard to say, “A house without Sakina would not be worth
living in!” She always had a sweet and cheerful smile and a very
friendly nature. Other children sought her company as much as
the grown ups did. She was very generous and always shared
whatever she had with others.
There was a special bond between Hazrat Abbas and Sakina. He
loved her more than he did his own children. If Sakina requested
for anything, Abbas would not rest until he satisfied her
request. There was nothing that Abbas would not do to make
During the journey from Madina to Mecca and then Mecca to
Karbala’, Abbas was often seen riding up to the mehmil in which
Sakina sat to make sure that she had everything she wanted.
Sakina loved her uncle just as much. While in Madina she would,
several times a day, visit the house in which Hazrat Abbas lived
with his family and his mother, Ummul Baneen.
Like any other four-five year old when Sakina went to bed at
night she wanted to spend some time with her father. Imaam
Husayn would tell her stories of the prophets and of the battles
fought by her grand-father Ali. She would rest her head on her
father's chest and Husayn would not move from her until she fell
asleep. When from the second of Muharram the armies of Yazid
began to gather at Karbala’, Husayn said to his sister Zainab,
“The time has come for you to get Sakina used to going to sleep
without my being there!” Sakina would follow her father at night
and Husayn had to gently take her to Zainab or Rubaab.
At Karbala’ when from the seventh Muharram water became scarce
Sakina shared whatever little water she had with other children.
When soon there was no water at all, the thirsty children would
look at Sakina hopefully, and because she could not help them
she would have tears in her eyes. Sakina's lips were parched
On the Ashura day, she gave her Mashk to Hazrat Abbas. He went
to get water for her. The children gathered round Sakina with
their little cups, knowing that as soon as Hazrat Abbas brought
any water, Sakina would first make sure that they had some
before taking any herself. When Sakina saw Imaam Husayn bringing
the blood drenched 'alam she knew that her uncle Abbas had been
killed. From that day on Sakina never complained of thirst.
Then came the time when the earth shook and Sakina became an
orphan! But even then she always thought of the others first.
She would console her mother on the death of Ali Asghar and when
she saw any other lady or child weeping Sakina would put her
little arms around her.
Yes Sakina never again asked anyone for water. Bibi Zainab would
persuade her to take a few sips, but she herself would never ask
for water or complain of thirst!!!!
From the time when Imaam Husayn fell in the battle field, Sakina
forgot to smile! Kufa saw her as a sombre little girl lost in
thought. Quite often she would sit up at night. When asked if
she wanted anything, she would say, “I just heard a baby cry? Is
it Asghar? He must be calling out for me!”
Knowing that her weeping upset her mother, Sakina would cry
silently and quickly wipe away her tears! In the prison in Shaam
she would stare at the flock of birds flying to their nests at
sunset and innocently ask Bibi Zainab, “Will Sakina be going
home like those birds flying to their homes?”
Then one dreadful night Sakina went to bed on the cold floor of
the prison. For a long time she stared into the darkness! The
time for the morning prayers came. Sakina was still lying with
her eyes wide open. Her mother called out: “Wake up, Sakina!
Wake up, it is time for prayers, my child!” There was only the
painful silence! Our fourth Imaam walked up to where Sakina lay.
He put his hand on her forehead. It was cold! He put his hand
near the mouth and the nose. Sakina had stopped breathing. In
between sobs Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen said: “inna lil-Lahi wa
inna ilay-hi raja’uun.”
How was Sakina buried? Zainab held the still child as Imaam Zain
ul 'Abideen dug a grave in the cell. As the grave was being
filled up after the burial the mother let out a scream! How
could anyone console Bibi Rubaab? What could they say? They
huddled around her, and the prison walls began to shake with the
cry: “ya Sakina,
ya madhloomah!!” Bibi
Rubaab put her cheek on Sakina's grave and cried out: “Speak to
me, Sakina! Only a word, my child! Speak to me!!”
Aza’ al-Husayn in Shaam
The tragedy of Karbala’ had begun to arouse great sympathy for
the Ahlul Bait in Hejaaz and Iraq. Even in Damascus some people
began to ask whether it was necessary to inflict so much
sufferings on the members of the family of the Holy Prophet.
When the charming little Sakina died and the people of Damascus
came to learn about the death of the little girl whom they had
seen and come to admire, they began to talk openly about Yazid's
cruelty. Yazid feared that the people might rise against him. He
was now anxious to get rid of the prisoners.
He called Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen and told him that he was
prepared to free them, and compensate them for the death of the
martyrs. He also asked the fourth Imaam whether they wanted to
remain in Damascus or return to Madina. Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen
replied that he would consult his aunt Zainab.
When Imam spoke to Bibi Zainab she was grief stricken at the
audacity of Yazid in offering compensation. She said, “Tell
Yazid to talk of compensation with the Holy Prophet. We would
certainly return to Madina. But first Yazid should provide a
house so that we may hold mourning ceremonies for the martyrs in
Damascus. We shall then go to Madina via Karbala’ to visit the
graves of the martyrs.”
Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen conveyed the message to Yazid who after
some hesitation agreed. In asking for a house to mourn the
martyrs in Damascus, Bibi Zainab scored a major victory over
Yazid. When the house was made available the ladies held Aza’
al-Husayn for seven days in the very city which was the capital
of Yazid who had murdered Imaam Husayn.
The women of Damascus poured in to offer their condolences and
Bibi Zainab and the other ladies would tell them of how the
martyrs had been killed, how they had been denied water, how
young children had been crying al-atash, how Imaam had taken Ali
Asghar and pleaded for a few drops of water and how the baby had
been slain. These tales so moved the ladies of Damascus that
they would break into sobs and begin wailing and beating their
Thus in the very house of the murderer Bibi Zainab laid the
foundation of Aza’ al-Husayn. This is so much like the story of
Hazrat Musa (A.S.). Firaun orders all the male children of Banu
Israel to be put to death. Allah's miracle is that his Prophet
of wahdaniyyah finds refuge in the palace of the very Firaun who
had plotted to kill him!
These majlises have continued to this day. Every Muharram Shiahs
all over the world gather together to mourn the tragedy which
took place more that 1,350 years ago. These majaalis have a
great meaning for us. Firstly, they mean that we love our Imaam
and grieve for the suffering to which he was subjected.
Secondly they mean that year after year we protest against all
that Yazid stood for. We make a solemn promise to Allah never to
follow Yazid's foot-steps. In whatever country we may be, we
have to remember that taking alcohol or any kind of drugs, is
Yazid's way. To keep ourselves ignorant of Quraan or Islamic way
of life, is Yazid's way. To oppress anyone, is Yazid's way. To
indulge in any un-Islamic activity, is Yazid's way. We can not
mourn Husayn and follow Yazid!!
This is the sermon Imam Ali son of Hussain son of Ali son of Abu Talib (a.s)
gave in Damascuse in front of the tyrant yazeed and his cruel followers, as
well as the Islamic ummah (which was in a deep sleep).
The sermon was given after the tyrant yazeed slaughtered the beloved son and
successor of the Prophet Mohamad (saws), Imam Hussain son of Ali, in Karbala
and after taking the daughters of the Prophet with Imam Ali Al-Sajjad from
Karbala to Kufa then to Damascus as hostages. The heads of Imam Hussain, his
brothers&family members, and his companions were put on spears, and the
family of Imam Hussain was treated the worst of treatments as if they
weren't the progeny of the Prophet!
The sermon of Imam Ali Al-Sajjad (a.s) played an essential part in waking up
the Islamic Ummah as Imam Ali reminded them of Allah (swt), his greatness
and his graces, He reminded them of this world and how one shouldn't be
fooled by it and should strive for the after life, the Imam then started to
describe the Prophet and his progeny, He described the Prophet a description
like no other, He described the successor of the Prophet, Imam Ali son of
Abu Talib so that the people of Damascus can truly know who was Ali son of
Abu Talib, He described his pruified mothers (especially Sayed Fatima Al-Zahraa
(a.s)) and finally he ends his sermon by exposing the Umayads by describing
the master of martyrs, Imam Hussain son of Ali and telling the people what
kind of a murder occured in Karbala...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVtWtOLpoUI