Hazrat Zainab s.a
Imam Ali Amir al-Muminin(a.s.)
Bibi Fatima-tuz-Sahra (s.a.)
1st Shabaan, 5th Hijra, at Madina, Saudi Arabia
16th Zil-Hijjah at Damascus, Syria
Birth and Childhood
It was five years after the Muslims had accompanied the Prophet (pbuh&hf) and his family in the migration (Hijrah) to Medina, when the Holy Prophet's daughter, Bibi Fatima(s.a.), gave birth to a little girl. When her father, Imam Ali(a.s.), saw his daughter for the first time Imam Hussain(a.s.), who was then almost three years old, was with him. The boy exclaimed in delight, "O father, Allah has given me a sister." Hearing those words Imam Ali (a.s.) began to weep, and when Imam Hussain(a.s.) asked why he was crying so, his father answered that he would soon come to know.
Bibi Fatima(s.a.) and Imam Ali(a.s.) did not name their child until a few days after her birth, for they awaited the Prophet(pbuh&hf) to return from a journey so that he could propose the name. When finally the baby girl was brought before the Prophet(pbuh&hf), held her in his lap and kissed her. The Angel Jibra'il came to him and conveyed the name that was to be hers, and then he began to weep. The Prophet (pbuh&hf) asked why Jibra'il wept and he answered, "O Prophet of Allah. From early on in life this girl will remain entangled in tribulations and trials in this world. First she will weep over your separation (from this world); thereafter she will bemoan the loss of her mother, then her father, and then her brother Hassan. After all this she will be confronted with the trials of the land of Karbala and the tribulations of that lonely desert, as a result of which her hair will turn grey and her back will be bent."
When the members of the family heard this prophecy they all broke down in tears. Imam Hussain(a.s.) now understood why earlier his father had also wept. Then the Prophet (pbuh&hf) named her Zainab(s.a.). When the news of the birth of Bibi Zainab(s.a.) reached Hazrat Salman al-Farsi(a.r.), he went to Imam Ali(a.s.) to congratulate him. But instead of seeing him happy and rejoicing he saw Imam Ali(a.s.) shed tears, and he too was apprised of the events of Karbala and the hardships that were to befall Bibi Zainab(s.a.).
One day, when Zainab(s.a.) was about five years old, she had a strange and terrible dream. A violent wind arose in the city and darkened the earth and the sky. The little girl was tossed hither and thither, and suddenly she found herself stuck in the branches- of a huge tree. But-the wind was so strong that it uprooted the tree. Bibi Zainab(s.a.) caught hold of a branch but that broke. In a panic she grabbed two twigs but these too gave way and she was left falling with no support. Then she woke up. When she told her grand father, the Prophet(pbuh&hf), about this dream he wept bitterly and said, "O my daughter. that tree is me who is shortly going to leave this world. The branches are your father Ali(a.s.) and your mother Fatima Zahra(s.a.), and the twigs are your brothers Hassan(a.s.) and Hussain(a.s.). They will all depart this world before you do, and you will suffer their separation and loss."
Bibi Zainab(s.a.) shared with-her brothers and sister the extraordinary position of having such examples to look up to, emulate and learn from, as her grand father, Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) her mother Bibi Fatima(s.a.), daughter of the Prophet, and her father Imam Ali (a.s.), cousin-brother of the Prophet. In the pure environment that enveloped her she absorbed the teachings of Islam that her grandfather imparted, and after him her father. Here too she learnt to master all household skills with great proficiency.
She had barely attained the tender age of seven when her beloved mother passed away. Her mother's death had closely followed her cherished grand father's passing away. Some time later Imam Ali(a.s.) married Bibi Umm ul-Banin(a.s.), whose devotion and piety encouraged Bibi Zainab(s.a.) in her learning.
Her training and marriage