Inspirational People

Muslim Women Throughout Islamic History – Zaynab bint Ali

This month I am going to share a little bit about Zaynab bint Ali. She was the daughter of Fatima and Ali (ra) and the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). She like her brothers was named by the Prophet (pbuh). We often hear about her incredible brothers, Hasan and Hussain but she was just as an incredible woman as them.

She was born in year 5 AH in Medina and was only 6 when her mother, Fatima, died. She took on a maternal role for her siblings and so the three siblings were really close. She was also really close to her father, Ali. So much so that when Ali moved the capital, she along with her husband moved with him. She was there when her father was assassinated and again at the battle of Karbala.

When Hussain marched to Karbala to claim leadership she went with him along with most of the household. This is where Hussain was betrayed and where her brother Ḥussain and 72 of her nephews and other brothers were killed. She, became the leader of the ahl al-bayt, and was integral in protecting and standing against those who wanted to kill the rest of her household. She protected her nephew, Ali ibn Ḥussain, from being executed by the caliph at Kufa. She threw herself over him and gave such a passionate speech that they decided to release all the prisoners at Karbala. This effectively saved the Prophet’s (pbuh) family line.

She returned to Medina and on her way back stopped at Karbala to mourn the deaths of all those who had died there. It is unknown when exactly she passed away but she passed away shortly after returning to Medina.

She is known for standing up against oppression and injustice and protecting the most vulnerable. She was eloquent in her speech and a passionate person. She protected and defended her family and was incredible leader who ensured the safe release of the survivors of the massacre at Karbala. She suffered greatly in her life but she upheld the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah and advocated for justice.

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