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ZAINUL ABIDEEN:  Before Imamah



Birth of Zainul Abideen

Zainul Abideen's grandfather, Imam Ali, is assassinated by Ibn Muljim

The family moves to Medina

The family interacts

Zainul Abideen is tutored by his uncle Al‑Hasan and his father Al‑Husain

Zainul Abideen shows an unusual brilliance, learns Quran, Hadith, Tafseer, and Ah'kaam among other things

In late youth Zainul Abideen marries his cousin Fatima, the daughter of Imam Al‑Hasan

Zainul Abideen is fully aware of the intrigues, aspirations and power play of Benu Umayya

Zainul Abideen participates in the Islamic discourses given by his uncle Al‑Hasan and his father Al‑Husain

   Zainul Abideen accompanies his father to Karbala, witnesses atrocities beyond belief


BIRTH   go to top of page

     Islamic expansion was continuing and most Persian territories were under the domain of Islam.  The Persian emperor, Yazdajird, was escaping the advancing Muslim armies in the northeastern part of Persia.  Having lost the support of his armed forces, he was escaping by himself.

     Tired and exhausted, the unkempt but well dressed Yazdajird came to a farm and requested to stay for the night.  The farmer, eyeing the jewels of the guest, agreed, but during the night he murdered Yazdajird to get the jewels.

     Yazdajird's daughter, Shahr Banu, along with her sister were brought to Medina as captives.  They were treated with honor, and Shahr Banu was given in marriage to Al‑Husain, while her sister was given in marriage to Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr.  The ladies, being raised in a house of royalty, were a product of high culture and royal dignity. (Al-Mufeed, Vol. 2, Page 293.  Also A'alaamul Wara Page 101.)

     Later, a baby boy was born to Al‑Husain and Shahr Banu.  The baby had many of the charming looks of his grandfather Imam Ali (a.s.), and was named Ali in honor of his grandfather.  Unfortunately, however, Shahr Banu was very sick following the delivery and she died within a few days.  Baby Ali was cared for by the family of his father, Al‑Husain and grandfather, Imam Ali (a.s.).


Lineage   go to top of page



Baby Ali, later called Zainul Abideen, was two years old when his grandfather Imam Ali was assassinated.  The event was an immense tragedy to the Islamic Ummah for after the assassination of Imam Ali, Benu Umayya took advantage of the circumstance.  Benu Umayya were a greedy, worldly, and very materialistic clan.  Their aspiration was to rule over the huge Islamic nation in their own way, hardly paying heed to the strict Islamic Directives.

     About 6 months after Imam Ali's assassination, the young Ali (Zainul Abideen) and family moved from Kufa to Medina.  There they were surrounded by many relatives and the loved ones, all caring for the young child and giving him much attention.


ZAINUL ABIDEEN IS TUTORED   go to top of page

     As Zainul Abideen grew up he was given a tremendous amount of Islamic knowledge.  He learned Islam directly from his father Al‑Husain, and his uncle, Al‑Hasan.  In Medina Zainul Abideen was also surrounded by members of Benu Hashim, who were people of great Islamic learning, but the family of Ahlul Bayt tutored him the most.

     Zainul Abideen's mind was very receptive.  Not only did he learn the Holy Quran at an early age, but he quickly learned the numerous Hadiths which were narrated to him by his family.  This was soon followed by Tafseer and Ah'kaam.  At an early age, Zainul Abideen was busily absorbing the Islamic information at a rapid rate.

     As the youthful Zainul Abideen absorbed this vast knowledge, his character was simultaneously being shaped by this Islamic information.  He saw that his father, uncle, brothers, sisters and others were very dedicated to Islam and that their characters were molded by Islam, this all had a very powerful influence on him.  Therefore, Zainul Abideen reached the high plane of Islamic righteousness early in life.  It became the norm for him.

     Zainul Abideen was of average stature with complexion tending toward tawny color.  He was lean and slender, handsome, and impressive. (Noor al-Absaar Page 126.  Also Akhbaar al-Duwal Page 109.)  He was neat in his dress, and his gait was firm and sturdy.  Upon meeting and talking to him a person could not help but hold him with the highest regardhis demeanor and conduct were very compelling.



     As Zainul Abideen grew older he learned much about the background and the compulsion to hold power over the Islamic Ummah by Benu Umayya as headed then by Mu'awiya.  Zainul Abideen learned first hand,

how Mu'awiya had managed Syria as the governor and how he succeeded in cultivating the loyalties of several powerful local Arab tribes, making them his devotees,

how Mu'awiya had utilized the Quran to his advantage in Siffin, by raising it on the tips of the spears, and the intrigues that took place after Siffin,

how Mu'awiya had terrorized people in Iraq, Yemen, and Hijaz, to undermine grandfather's Ali's government, and

how Mu'awiya had reneged on his treaty with Al‑Hasan when in the grand mosque of Kufa he made his announcement, "I have not waged war to establish prayer or fasting or to enforce Zakat.  My object was simply to rule you (subjugate you) and become your Ruler.......  And as for the terms which I had just made with Al‑Hasan, behold I may observe them or break them at my will." (Jilaa' Al-Uyoon.).  Thus, Mu'awiya, having secured all the power of the nation in his hand, declared his objective unabashedly.

how Mu'awiya used all kinds of subtle ways to win friends and influence people for taking over the Khilaafah after Ali was killed.  Zainul Abideen often heard from his father, uncle, and family about the awful happenings of the past years.  He also heard how the new ruler, Mu'awiya, overlooked in subtle ways some Islamic Directives.  Zainul Abideen saw for himself how Benu Umayya took advantage of their new powers over the Islamic Ummah, using them for their own personal benefit and using the public funds (of the Ummah) as if it was theirs, depriving the ordinary citizen much of his share.

     Zainul Abideen wondered why such a thing was happening.  Had not Islam come for the very welfare of the society as well as the individual's?  Zainul Abideen wondered how Benu Umayya's conscience could allow them to indulge in so many Haram things, yet done in the name of Islam.  "How warped can a person be?" he would wonder.


CLOSE TO HIS UNCLE   go to top of page

     Zainul Abideen was not only close to his uncle Imam Al‑Hasan, but very fond of him, and the two were often seen together.  The young boy eagerly learned from his uncle, and his questions were answered with the intent to teach, for Al‑Hasan recognized the potential of the young boy.  Above all, Al‑Hasan was aware of Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) recommendation about Ahlul Bayt and he knew that Zainul Abideen was the Designated Imam to be.

     At an early age Zainul Abideen was seen participating in the circles of Islamic religious discussions, being held at the Grand Mosque or at home.  People came from as far away as Egypt, Iraq, Iran or further, to learn Islam first hand in these circles.  It was quite common to see Imams Al‑Hasan and Al‑Husain actively directing such circles and to feed these hungry minds the Islamic information just as Muhammad (pbuh) had taught them.  Zainul Abideen was a frequent participant.


AL‑HASAN IS POISONED   go to top of page

     It was very bewildering to the 14 year old Zainul Abideen to see his beloved uncle poisoned!  Why!  Why do they do it?  Wasn't Al‑Hasan such a wonderful man?!  Wasn't he the supreme leader of righteousness?!  Wasn't he the Foremost of the Youth in Heaven?!  It was a puzzlement.  Yes, it was Mu'awiya who arranged to kill this man, one whom the Prophet loved dearly and about whom he said:


مََنٍ أحبَّ الحسـنَ والحسـين   فقد أحبَّنِي،    ومَنٍ أبغَضَـهُما  فقد أبغَضَني




(Sunan Ibn Maajeh, Hadith 143.)


And about whom Muhammad (pbuh) also said:


الحسـن والحسـين سـيدا شـباب اهل الجنه



(K.M. Khalid, Ab'naa' Al-Rasool, Page 74.)


It was devastating to see such a ghastly deed done to Al‑Hasan, such a unique man, a man of integrity, a man designated by Allah (swt) as the Imam.  Zainul Abideen soon learned that it was politics and the love to dominate and rule, to hold onto power over the Ummah at any cost that motivated Mu'awiya to this outrage.  Zainul Abideen often asked himself, "Couldn't Mu'awiya see that within a few years he would die and be gone, couldn't he see the ultimate abode awaiting him!  What a crime!"


IT WAS LONELY WITHOUT AL‑HASAN   go to top of page

     Medina was lonely once Imam Al‑Hasan was buried, and this was more so to the young mind of Zainul Abideen.  He missed his uncle sorely.  The whole family was anguished and in pain; they mourned for him.

     Even more painful was what the Islamic Ummah was going through, slowly and imperceptibly.  The negative ways of Benu Umayya, headed by Mu'awiya, was frequently pointed out to Zainul Abideen.  This pained him very much and he wished Allah would open the hearts of these rulers to what was truly Islamic.

     Zainul Abideen continued to attend the educational Islamic circles now led only by his father, Imam Al‑Husain.  People continued to pour in from far away to learn and to be Islamicly educated.  Now Zainul Abideen's participation was rigorous and very active.

     Zainul Abideen was aware of the fact that the present ruler (Mu'awiya) often rewarded people who would bring forth or produce a Hadith pleasing to him or in support of his administration.  The number of such incorrect Hadiths grew to a large number in a short time and was very dangerous to the integrity of pure Islamic learning.  This terrifying situation of incorrect, false or invented Hadiths added more agony to the concern of Zainul Abideen as well as to all Ahlul Bayt.  Obviously, they saw grave danger to the very integrity of Islam.



     Zainul Abideen got married in late youthful life to his beloved cousin, Fatima, the daughter of Al‑Hasan.  She was known for her piety, beauty, and quickness of mind.  The family was very happy for this union.

     About a year after they married, a baby boy, who was named Muhammad, was born.  This boy was later nicknamed Al‑Baaqir, as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had mentioned him by name to a Companion as well as to Ahlul Bayt.  The boy soon showed signs of tremendous intelligence and aptitude.

     It was during these years that people were alarmed, and more so Ahlul Bayt, since they heard that Mu'awiya was trying to impose his son, Yazid, on the Islamic Ummah.  Yazid was known to drink alcohol excessively, take to the pleasures of the flesh, and to be a degenerate and sordid person.  How could a man of such character represent Islam!   This was extremely painful to everyone, but exceptionally so to Ahlul Bayt.  Dissatisfaction and a feeling of horror developed, leading to agitation and insecurity, for people sensed that problems were brewing.  These matters continued to increase in an imperceptible manner.  When Mu'awiya died, Benu Umayya's hold on power over the Ummah was very firm, because numerous people who had become loyal to them were employed in the government, so their livelihood depended on them.  The interest of these loyalists was, however, at the expense of Islam, for failure to kowtow to the government resulted in losing their jobs or other consequences.  With this type of hold on people Benu Umayya by now were extremely hard to dislodge.

     Khilaafah had been looked upon as the highest Islamic office, where the Khalifa was to represent the works of Allah's Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh).  But now the Khilaafah was reduced to people after domination over the nation by means of force, people who were in the abyss of bad character.  Thus Khilaafah had lost its deference and esteem by now, becoming illegal from Shari'ah viewpoint, thanks to Benu Umayya as headed by Mu'awiya.

     The Ummah in the meantime had become:

      1.  complacent, if not indifferent, and

      2.  accommodating, if not compliant.

     That was the very danger, the very point that worried the piety‑minded people, especially Ahlul Bayt.



     Yazid was successfully imposed on the Ummah, if not by threats, then by gifts, offerings, and tributes.

     The governor in Medina, a family relation of Yazid, was instructed to get allegiance to Yazid from Imam Al‑Husain.  This was critical and of extreme importance to Yazid, since it would have given legitimacy to Yazid's government from the Islamic viewpoint.

     Yazid's governor tried to induce allegiance from Imam Al‑Husain but did not succeed.  After all Imam Al‑Husain represented the very person of the Prophet (pbuh), and in his eyes Yazid represented evil incarnate.  Therefore, it was impossible for a person of the integrity and standing like Imam Al‑Husain to give allegiance to a degenerate like Yazid.  Righteousness cannot bow down to be subservient to evil.  This was Imam Al‑Husain's position.

     In the meantime numerous letters were coming to Imam Al‑Husain from Iraq, particularly from its capital city, Kufa.  They pleaded for him to lead them against Yazid.  Most of the letters called upon him urgently, promising to give him full and total support.  Previously Imam Al‑Husain had some experience with these people during the Khilaafah of his father Imam Ali.

     Because of this Imam Al‑Husain decided to go to Iraq in response to the requests of the Iraqi people.  With Al‑Husain were his family along with Zainul Abideen.  Zainul Abideen was about 23 years old, and along with him went his 3 year old son, Al‑Baaqir.

     The mission was very clear to Imam Al‑Husain and the ones with him.  Islam was to be defended no matter what the price.  Oppression and injustice were to be answered, and Islam had to be defended from the ugly inroads of un‑piety and the practices and ways of Jahiliya (Pre‑Islamic practices) which Benu Umayya were imperceptibly reviving.

     Just before going to Karbala, however, Imam Al‑Husain visited Umm Salama, who was the wife of the Prophet (pbuh), to entrust her with the voluminous writings of Imam Ali.  These writings consisted of:

     Being of critical importance to the Ummah, and being the very corpus of Islamic knowledge, these books were entrusted with Umm Salama until later, so that she was to deliver them to the following Imam.  Imam Al‑Husain saw to it that this treasure be safe, so that the Imams to follow him would have them as their treasured reference.


KARBALA   go to top of page

     A most horrendous happening took place in Karbala.  It boggles the mind, for the cruelty exercised showed no match, not then nor till now in history. (See Book by K.M. Khalid, Ab'naa' Al-Rasool, Page 74.)  During this massacre, Zainul Abideen was gravely sick, thus preventing him from participating in the defense, or being an active participant.  His father, several uncles, and 17 of his cousins, many of whom were teenagers, were murdered in the cruelest way imaginable.  The manner in which they died was to leave an indelible painful memory etched in his mind for the rest of his life.


ZAINUL ABIDEEN'S IMAMAH   go to top of page

     It was during the dreadful 10th day of Muharram, the day of Ashuraa, when the confrontation between Imam Al‑Husain and the forces of Ibn Ziyad was nearing its end.  Zainul Abideen was sick, almost lifeless.  The tents were set ablaze by the enemy, children were crying and petrified with terror.  Family members were being slain one after the other, as the swords of Ibn Ziyad's evil forces cut them to pieces.  Ibn Ziyad was the person in charge for Yazid's orders.

     Finally, when no one was left but Imam Al‑Husain to face the army, Imam Al‑Husain came to bid Zainul Abideen his final salutation and to confer the Imamah.  Zainul Abideen was suffering from very high fever and was tormented with thirst, feeling faint to the point of unconsciousness; and all this was in the middle of the confusion, turmoil, and agony of the day.  It was during this most unusual and bizarre circumstance that the Imamah of Zainul Abideen began!  His father, despite the critical moment facing him, did not forget the Imamah.  He conferred it then and there before his final round with the enemy.

     Imamah is a designation by the Almighty, a Directive, not subject to election or negotiation.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had already passed the information about it in several Hadiths.  (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 4, Page 164.  Also Sahih Muslim Page 119 (Both are Sunni in school of Islamic thought).  They reported that the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned the number of Khalifa (the Imams) after him will be twelve.) An Imam is Ma'soom, meaning safeguarded by Allah from a) religious error, b) sin, and c) forgetfulness.

Imam Zainul Abideen became the designated Imam at a time when he saw all males, friends and relatives, including children, being cut to pieces, their heads cut off and bodies trampled upon by the horses of Ibn Ziyadforces, who strangely called themselves Muslims!

Zainul Abideen became an Imam at this unusual time, and became in charge of the many females of his family left with him, along with his 3 year old son, Al‑Baaqir.

Zainul Abideen became an Imam when everyone was suffering not only physically from a debilitating hunger and a dehydrating thirst, but also from an agonizing emotional upheaval due to the grotesque scene the enemy had left.

All this and Zainul Abideen was extremely sick, almost to the point of unconsciousness!

     The first to address him (with the highest respect) as an Imam was his aunt, Zainab.  Zainab, slightly younger than her brother, Imam Al‑Husain, came in the middle of the turmoil and the tragic fast happenings of the day to ask Zainul Abideen (as the Imam in charge) about what to do:  Since Imam Al‑Husain was just killed.  Ill and almost faint, Imam Zainul Abideen gave her an answer.



     Karbala was not a mere historical event, cruel and sadistic.  Karbala was of an immense importance, for it had far reaching consequences to all subsequent generations.

Karbala was the means to preserve Islam pure and unadulterated, just as it was during the times of Muhammad (pbuh).

Karbala was to expose the falsehood of Benu Umayya as first headed by Mu'awiya, but now by the infamous Yazid.

Karbala was to preserve Islam in its authentic manner for all generations, including us.

It was for this reason that Imam Al‑Husain gave his life.

     But Karbala also had an immediate aftermath, which was extremely painful if not excruciatingly so.  Its heroes were Imam Zainul Abideen and his aunt, Zainab for they valiantly continued the works of Imam Ali, Al‑Hasan, and Al‑Husain.  They exposed the falsehood of Benu Umayya, and its grave attempts toward undermining Islam.  The aftermath of Karbala was about to unfold.


FACE TO FACE WITH IBN ZIYAD   go to top of page

     Within a few days of the Karbala massacre the still sick Zainul Abideen, along with the women and his child, were taken to Kufa to face the governor, Ibn Ziyad.  Now that they were captives Ibn Ziyad attempted to intimidate Imam Zainul Abideen and his family, only to find himself in an unexpectedly strong confrontation.  Questions asked by Ibn Ziyad were immediately answered, in a sharp manner, by both Imam Zainul Abideen and Zainab, leaving Ibn Ziyad speechless.  Ibn Ziyad could have executed them at the time, but he knew better the extent of his crime.  He therefore swallowed his pride and remained silent.

     An arrogant and confidant Ibn Ziyad asked, "What is your name?"

Imam Zainul Abideen answered, "Ali, son of Al‑Husain."  Ibn Ziyad retorted, "Was not Ali Ibn Al‑Husain slain by Allah?"  Imam Zainul Abideen answered, "My brother's name was the same as mine, and he was slain by Ibn Ziyad's soldiers."

     Ibn Ziyad haughtily answered back, "Ali was killed by Allah."  Zainul Abideen then quoted the Holy Quran, "Allah takes away the souls at death," meaning Allah does not kill.  This silenced Ibn Ziyad, but angered him to the point of ordering Zainul Abideen executed.  Zainab interceded immediately saying daringly, "Then kill me with him if you so wish."

     Imam Zainul Abideen retorted, "Do you threaten me with death, Ibn Ziyad?  Don't you know that for us (Ahlul Bayt) to be slain is our tradition, and that martyrdom is an honor from Allah?"  Ibn Ziyad was silenced, he retracted, and stopped the execution order.


TAKEN TO YAZID   go to top of page

     It was summer time and blistering hot.  Zainul Abideen, along with the rest of his family, females mind you, including his child, were put on bare camels' backs.  Zainul Abideen was chained and could hardly move.  The distance was 700 miles taking several weeks of arduous travel.  Besides the extreme pain of Karbala, a new horror was now added since the sadistic enemy carried the heads of Imam Al‑Husain and other martyrs on the tips of spears all those miles.

     How excruciating it was to see the head of Imam Al‑Husain, who was representing Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), to be treated in such a demeaning manner!  How excruciating it was to see the one Muhammad (pbuh) had loved, taught Islam to, and cared for tenderly to have his head on the tip of a spear, day in day out, carried in front of them by the forces of Yazid!

  The trip was most cruel; they were physically, emotionally, and psychologically drained.  Now they waited to see what would face them in Damascus.


IN DAMASCUS   go to top of page

     The common man in Syria, particularly in Damascus, thought some rebels were subdued.  They did not know the true story, for such was the propaganda of Yazid's government!  The common man was celebrating the occasion as the procession proceeded, a procession consisting of women on bare camel's backs, dusty and disheveled, a man in chains, all of whom preceded by 72 heads on the tips of spears!  It must have been a grotesque scene, a scene you never like to see nor a scene you can ever forget.

     But soon people found out, and with that there came a feeling of high indignation, and an outrage grew within a few days.  The government was caught red‑handed, its lies exposed, the outrage was well deserved.


FACE TO FACE WITH YAZID   go to top of page

     Yazid's court (and that of Mu'awiya's) was constructed along the Hellenic fashion, i.e., the Greek style of government.  Its administration, management, and courtier were Byzantine like.  It showed evidence of opulence by being very expensively decorated, and having numerous guards around.  At the moment however, the atmosphere of the court was somber and gloomy sensing that a very big mistake had been committed, since already people in the streets were outraged.

     Yazid, along with numerous people in his court were waiting for the family of Imam Al‑Husain to arrive.  Finally, the 72 heads, including that of Imam Al‑Husain, were brought in and laid in the court near Yazid, almost like an offering.  At the same time Zainul Abideen, along with the rest of the family were brought to the court.  They were unwashed, exhausted, haggard looking, but with a strong look of indignation and resentment on their faces.

     Being face to face Yazid said, "Son of Al‑Husain, your father refused to recognize my throne and authority.....  You have seen what Allah did with him as a result of it."

Zainul Abideen retorted indignantly by quoting the Holy Quran, "You are visited with afflictions in this world, pre‑ordained for you."  Then he added, "May the curse of Allah be upon those who killed my father."

     There followed further exchanges, then Yazid was noticed to use the tip of a rod to play with the lips of Imam Al‑Husain.  Enraged upon seeing this, Aslami, a Sahaabi (Companion) of the Prophet (pbuh) roared, "Woe to you Yazid!  You are desecrating the very lips I have seen Allah's Messenger kissing, and about whom he said, 'Al‑Hasan and Al‑Husain are the foremost of youth in Heaven'".  Startled, Yazid withdrew his rod.

     The first confrontation over, Zainul Abideen and his family were kept in detention.  In the days that followed, a number of exchanges took place in the court of Yazid.  Each time Zainul Abideen gave very powerful replies, relying mostly on quoting the Holy Quran.

     On one occasion Yazid asked the Sermonizer to give a speech condemning Imam Ali.  The person obliged, then Imam Zainul Abideen asked permission to speak up before the people.  After some hesitation Yazid consented.  Imam Zainul Abideen then said:

"O' people!  Allah Almighty has especially endowed us with valor, wisdom, and knowledge.  In the same way Allah has filled the hearts of the faithful with love for us.  Not only this, but Allah exalted us to a higher position in comparison with any other descendant of Muhammad (pbuh). (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 4, Page 164.  Also Sahih Muslim Page 119 (Both are Sunni in school of Islamic thought).  They reported that the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned the number of Khalifa (the Imams) after him will be twelve.)

     I am hereby acquainting all, irrespective of whether you know me or not of the honor and privilege I occupy:

  I am the offspring of the Lord of Mecca and Medina,

  I am the issue of the Lord of Zamzam and Safa,

  I am the lineal descendant of him whose forefather had lifted in his cloak the Black Stone,

  I am the child of the one who mounted the Buraq and gone through the regions of Heavens

  I am from the progeny of the one who went up to Sidratul Mun'taha, and whom Allah had shown the spring‑head of the Wahy

  I am the offspring of the guide from whom disbelievers got the guidance to the straight path, I am ...................

  I am the son of a person whose thread of life was snapped by cruel fingers, and whose head severed while thirsty, body left exposed to the burning sands of Karbala,

  I am the son whose father's death was mourned by the Angels, and by men and Jinn, .....

  I am the son whose father's head was mounted on a spear and taken from one town to another,

     O people!  I take witness that I thank Allah that He involved Ahlul Bayt in serious trials and also that at the same time the standard of guidance was in our hands, while the misguidance was in other people's hands ......."

     When Zainul Abideen finished his speech, the stunned people were weeping and crying, while others were chocked into utter silence.  All felt ashamed, degraded, and very low.

     Adding to Ahlul Bayt's tragedy a few days later, Sakeena, the daughter of Imam Al‑Husain, died.  She was extremely attached to Imam Al‑Husain, and the events were too much for her to take.

     It is said that Yazid sensed the grave trouble ahead of him, for there was a stirring in the society against his regime and in sympathy with Imam Al‑Husain.  Indirectly Yazid apologized to Imam Zainul Abideen, claiming he was not the cause of the massacre but placed the blame on his appointee Ibn Ziyad.  Yazid treated them better for the rest of their stay.  Afterwards, he allowed Imam Zainul Abideen and family to leave for Medina, escorted with guards, provisions, and people to take care of them.

    Zainul Abideen, only 23 years of age, had gone through a humanly unbearable suffering, had stood like a lion in the face of his adversaries, had taken the responsibility of his family, and endured exceptionally distressful crises.  How could a person take so much and still remain composed, answering sharply and to the point, with dignity, yet mainly by quoting the Holy Quran!  Was it the evidence of the Imamah?  Strength of personality?  Or, desperation of the circumstances?  This surely points to the valor of Imamah and his wondrous conviction and strong personality. (There is a narration claiming that upon leaving Damascus on the way to Medina, Imam Zainul Abideen along with his family went back to Karbala, met Jabir Al-Ansaari and others, visited the burial place of Imam Husain.  The bodies of the martyrs were buried by a local tribe as directed by Zainul Abideen.  After this they all headed toward Medina.)


Zainul Abideen once said in a speech, "Verily the Deen of Allah [religion] cannot be realized by undeveloped minds, or defective opinions, nor faulty criteria; but will be attained only through acquiesce.  So, the person who submits to us is prudently in safety, and the person who emulates us will be rightly guided, on the other hand the person who acts by the Raa'y [his opinion] or by comparative criterion [analogy] will have waned [perished].  As to the one who doubts what we say or a judgment we pass he will have blasphemed in the One [Allah] who sent down the seven Mathaani and the great Quran." (There is a narration claiming that upon leaving Damascus on the way to Medina, Imam Zainul Abideen along with his family went back to Karbala, met Jabir Al-Ansaari and others, visited the burial place of Imam Husain.  The bodies of the martyrs were buried by a local tribe as directed by Zainul Abideen.  After this they all headed toward Medina.)



QUESTIONS   go to top of page

  1. Chart the lineage of Zainul Abideen.

  2. Describe the last days of Yazdajird, the Persian Emperor.

  3. Who tutored Zainul Abideen in his early days?

  4. What five points did Zainul Abideen learn early about Mu'awiya?

  5. Describe the closeness between Zainul Abideen and his uncle Al‑Hasan.

  6. Describe the feeling of Zainul Abideen when his uncle Al‑Hasan was poisoned by Mu'awiya.

  7. Whom did Zainul Abideen marry?

  8. Name the reasons that made people very upset when Yazid became the ruler (Khalifa).

  9. Delineate the steps in which Al‑Husain, his family, and Companions left Medina to Karbala.

  10. Before leaving Medina for Kufa, Al‑Husain entrusted the voluminous books of the Corpus of Knowledge to Umm Salama.  Who was Umm Salama?

  11. Outline the circumstances of the beginning of Zainul Abideen's Imamah.

  12. Define Imamah.

  13. Define Ismah.

  14. List the important consequences of Karbala upon the Ummah.

  15. Discuss the meeting between Ibn Ziyad and Zainul Abideen.

  16. How was the feeling of the common man in Damascus immediately after Karbala?

  17. Contrast conditions of Yazid's court with that of the family of Imam Al‑Husain.

  18. What caused the shocking scene at the court of Yazid?

  19. Discuss the meeting between Yazid and Zainul Abideen.

  20. What did the Sahaabi Aslami see that made him enraged?

  21. Where did Al‑Husain's family stay while they were in Damascus?

  22. List some of the points Zainul Abideen mentioned in his speech to the people in the Mosque.

  23. What happened to Sakeena?

  24. How did Yazid try to shift the blame on Ibn Ziyad?

  25. How old was Zainul Abideen when the events of Karbala took place?



EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS    go to top of page


Zainul Abideen is born, father Al-Husain, mother Shahr Banu.

up to 13

Zainul Abideen is tutored by Al-Hasan and Al-Husain.


Al-Hasan, Zainul Abideen's uncle, is poisoned by Mu'awiya.


Zainul Abideen accompanies his father, Al-Husain, to Karbala.


Falls sick during Karbalas grave events, is conferred the Imamah.


Bravely faces Ibn Ziyad who tried to intimidate him.


Courageously faces Yazid, and explains to the people about himself and Karbala.


Zainul Abideen returns to Medina and initially takes up seclusion.


At first, his uncle Ibn Hanafiyah acts on Zainul Abideen's behalf.


Zainul Abideen draws the design [blueprint] for future Islamic works.


Application of his design [plan] was to persist through his progeny, the Imams.


Zainul Abideen concentrates on Du'aas, Salats, and crying about Karbala.


Zainul Abideen gives refuge to Marwan's family and relatives, [400] members.


Zainul Abideen witnesses the consequences of the failed Medina uprising.


Yazid dies while Mecca was being the site of fighting with Ibn Zubair.


Abdul Malik follows his father, Marwan, as the Khalifa (Ruler).


Zainul Abideen hears of the Tawwaboon uprising against Benu Umayya.


Hears of the Al-Mukhtar works against the killers of Al-Husain.


Ibn Zubair's activity (for 7 years) to capture the Khilaafah from Benu Umayya.


Al-Hajjaj subdues Ibn Zubair's forces in Mecca and kills Ibn Zubair.


Al-Hajjaj becomes governor of Iraq, tyrannical rule for 20 years.


Zainul Abideen works diligently to focus on Piety as the basis for society.


Steady growth of the Islamic Institute and tutoring of scholars.


Zainul Abideen teaches Tafseer, Hadith, Ah'kaam, and Jurisprudence.


Zainul Abideen's grandson, the boy Al-Saadiq, participates in the Institute.

By 57th

The Institute of Ahlul Bayt graduates more than 160 scholars.


Zainul Abideen dies at age of 57, reportedly poisoned.