Sermon of Zaynab at Zayid’s Court

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Sermon of Zaynab at Zayid’s Court is a speech of Zaynab after the caravan of captives were taken to Yazid’s court. This sermon and Imam Sajad’s Sermon left a great impression on audience and turned the gathering in favor of Ahl al-Bayt.

In Yazid’s Court[edit | edit source]

Both Ibn Nama and Ibn Tawoos narrate that Yazid recited the following verses by Ibn az-Zubari:

I wish my forefathers at Badr had witnessed

How the Khazraj are by the thorns annoyed,

They would have Glorified and Unified Allah

Then they would make tahleel and say in elation:

“May your hands, O Yazid, never be paralyzed!”

We have killed the masters of their chiefs

And equated it with Badr, and it was so, indeed

Hashim played with the dominion so indeed,

No news came, nor was there a revelation revealed.

I do not belong to Khandaf if I do not

Seek revenge from Ahmed’s children

For what he to us had done.

After the recitation of this poem, Zaynab stood up and delivered a sermon.

The Sermon[edit | edit source]

“All praise be to the Lord of the worlds! And blessings of Allah upon His Messenger and his entire progeny! How true has Allah, the Glorious, said: ‘Then evil was the end of those who wrought evil, for they belied the Signs of Allah, and at them they used to mock.[1]

O Yazid! Now when you have locked the paths of the earth and the horizon of the heavens upon us, and driven us similar to the captives, do you presume that we are degraded in the eyes of Allah while you are endeared? While you have acquired an eminent and lofty status near Allah due to this? So you look down upon us and become arrogant, elated, and you rejoice that the world has turned towards you? You assume that your task is organized, while your sovereignty and kingdom pleases you? Gradually you seem to have forgotten the words of Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, ‘Let not those who disbelieve think that Our giving them respite is good for their selves; We only give respite to them that they may increase in sins, and for them is a disgraceful chastisement.[2]

Is this the custom of justice that you sit your women-folk and maids behind the veils, while you captivate and parade the daughters of the Prophet of Allah? You snatch the veils off them and leave them open, while their enemies parade them from one town to another, and the inhabitants of every stream and town have a glimpse of them? And all intimate and non-intimate look at them, as also the mean and noblemen, when they do not have along with them their men or support? What vigilance can one expect from them who have eaten the liver of the virtuous ones, and whose flesh has emerged (by consuming) from the blood of martyrs? How could he lessen his envy towards us, who looks at us, the Ahl al-Bayt, with the sight of arrogance, enmity and resent? And he boldly declares that ‘they would have hailed me with cries and said: O Yazid may your hands never stupefy’!

Then you turn towards the teeth of Abu Abdullah, the Master of the youth of Paradise, and strike it with the stick of your hand? Then why would you not say so? You have sent the wound to its bottom, and you have uprooted the origins by shedding the blood of the Progeny of Muhammad and the stars of earth from the descendants of Abdul Muttalib. Then you call out to your forefathers and in your assumption you summon them? Very soon you too shall face their conclusion, and then you will desire you were paralyzed and were dumb so as not to have uttered these words, nor would you have possessed this character.

O Lord! Take away our rights from them and seek revenge from our oppressors, and send forth Your wrath upon those who have shed our blood and killed our aides. By Allah! You have torn your own skin and have ripped your own flesh, and you shall go to His presence with the heavy burden of having shed the blood of the progeny of the Prophet and violating the sanctity of his family and adherents, at a place where Allah will have united their dispersed ones and increased the quantity of their scattered ones, and present to them their rights. ‘And reckon not those who are slain in the way of Allah, to be dead! Alive they are with their Lord being sustained.[3]

Allah is sufficient as a judge upon you and the Prophet will be your enemy supported by Jibra’eel. Very soon will your father, who set forth the kingdom for you and sat you upon the neck of the Muslims, realize what an evil place awaits the oppressors.

What an evil place you have acquired and what a feeble army you possess. Nonetheless, the unpleasant circumstances have made me speak to you; while I consider your status to be quite low and your reproach to be large, as also I consider scoffing you abundantly. But the eyes are manifest and hearts volley. Beware! It is astonishing that the army of the noblemen of Allah be killed at the hands of the army of the freed-ones, the Satans. These are the very hands that have clenched our blood, and these are the very jaws that have devoured our flesh. While these are the chaste and radiant corpses who are guarded, time and again, by the wolves, and hyenas strew sand upon them. And now when you consider us to be booty, ‘this is for what sent before your hands (what you did in your life), and that (verily) Allah is not unjust to his servants.[4]

I complain to Allah and rely on Him Alone. Then you may lay whatever traps you have, and take thou whatever steps you desire, and endeavor as much as you want. By Allah! You shall never be able to wipe out our remembrance nor oust our inspiration from the midst, nor will you be able to wipe off the disgrace of this episode. Your opinion is erroneous, and your days less, while your group is scattered on the day when the caller will announce: ‘Beware! (Now) Verily the curse of Allah is on the unjust.[5]

Praise be to the Lord of the worlds, Who ended felicity upon our beginning with forgiveness, and Who destined martyrdom for our conclusion with blessings. I desire from Allah to complete His reward upon them, and increase it further, and to turn with fairness their succession upon us, for He is Merciful and a Friend. ‘Allah is (quite) sufficient for us and the most Excellent Protector is (He).[6]

The Impact[edit | edit source]

Yazid, in reply to this lengthy and significant speech of Zainab, said, “Lamentation of the aggrieved women is admirable, but death is easy upon the lamenting women”.

The speech of Zainab shook the very foundations of Yazid’s court, and people started discussing with one another as to what extent they had been misled, and in what valley of abyss they had been hurled. Yazid had no choice except to get the women out of his court.

In the letter of Ibn Abbas addressed to Yazid, it is written that the worst reproach for him was that,

“You captivated the women-folk and children of the Prophet of Allah from Iraq to Syria and plundered them and displayed your power upon us for the people to behold? You subdued us and dominated the Progeny of the Prophet of Allah. Then in your opinion you revenged the blood of the infidels and wicked ones of Badr from your family. Then you revealed your hidden revenge, and you manifested your envy similar to the fire concealed in a flint-stone. You, as well as your father, took the excuse of revenge for the blood of Usman.

Woe of the Judge of the day of retribution be upon you! By Allah! Even if you remain safe from the stroke of my sword, you shall be grinded by the sword of my tongue. Sand be in your mouth O evil-doer! O ill-omened one! You are worthy of stones and reproach. If today you have gained victory upon us, do not be deceived, for tomorrow we shall succeed in the presence of the Just Ruler, Whose judgment is not contradictory (to the truth). And very soon He shall engulf you in a grievous state, and shall make you leave this world as an innate evil, deprived and guilty. May your father never remain! Feast as much as you desire, for your sins will multiply in the presence of Allah.

"And peace will be unto him who follows the guidance ”[7]

Source[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Surah ar-Room, 30:10
  2. Surah aal-‘Imraan, 3:178
  3. Surah aal-‘Imraan, 3:169
  4. Surah al-Hajj, 22:10
  5. Surah Hud, 11:18
  6. Surah aal-‘Imraan, 3:173
  7. Surah at-Taa-haa, 20:47