Have you ever wondered why lady Zainab (as) is so revered by the Muslims? What makes her so great that even after 14 centuries we remember her and take inspiration from her? Is she respected just because she was the daughter of Imam Ali (as) and Lady Fatima (as) or because she achieved a great status through her faith, patience, and determination in face of calamities?
Lady Zainab (AS) has several attributes and titles such as Al-Aqilah or the noble woman, Al-Aalimah or the most knowledgeable woman, and Aminatu al-Allah, the trustee of Allah (SWT).
She enjoyed the most exalted lineage, her mother was Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (as), who was a reflection of her father in the worship of Allah, piety, self-discipline, virtues, clemency, veneration, and other features of perfection. Her father Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hp) named her the lady of the women of the worlds. Lady Zainab was nurtured by such a great mother.
Lady Zaynab’s father is Imam Ali (as) who is known as chief of the prophets’ successors, leader of the pious ones, and head of the worshippers. Imam Ali (as) was the representative, successor, and heir to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hp). His merits are innumerable and his sacrifices for Islam are unrivaled. He was the most knowledgeable, self-possessed, magnanimous, generous, abstinent, trustworthy, faithful, and pious, and the best worshipper and the bravest among Muslims. In other words, he was the best Muslim after the Holy Prophet of Allah (pbuh&hp).
Lady Zaynab, hence, was born in the most pious family and raised in the care of the best human beings. She learned many things that made up her perfect personality, from the etiquettes of her parents and brothers. From early life, Lady Zaynab was marvelous in her intellect and wisdom. She had learned the Holy Quran by heart as well as the Prophet’s sayings regarding Islamic laws, rules of education, and principles of ethics.
She represented her brother, Imam al-Hussain (as), whenever he was absent. Hence, Muslims used to refer to her in the questions concerning Islamic laws. It was because of her extensive knowledge that Imam Zayn al-Abidin (pbuh), Abdullah ibn Jafar, Lady Fatimah the daughter of Imam al-Hussain (as), Muhammad ibn Amr, and Ata ibn al-Saib used to quote her sayings. In Kufa, during her father’s rule, Lady Zaynab had special sessions to which Muslim ladies came to listen to her lectures on Islam and the exegesis of the Holy Quran. She was thus the most trustworthy reference from whom Muslim women took advice regarding questions about Islam, moral instructions, and general ethics.
Since early life, Lady Zaynab had equipped herself with steadfastness against misfortunes. She witnessed the death of her grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&H), who loved her very much and sympathized with her. She then saw the horrible events that surprised her parents, immediately after the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh&hp) demise. Her father was taken away from the position that Almighty Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hp) chose for him. Her mother was severely mistreated by people until she left this world at a young age. She then saw the people of Kufa cheat her brother, Imam al-Hasan (as), and abandoned him, thus forcing him to make a peace treaty with Muawiya, the mortal enemy of Islam and the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT). A few years later, this Imam was assassinated by poison. She saw him vomit to blood to death.
As though all these calamities were not enough for her, on the tenth of Muharram, 61 H., she had to witness the most bitter of adversities; her brother, Imam al-Hussain (as), was martyred without any supporter and helper; the wicked and heartless soldiers of Yazid killed every male member of Imam Hussain’s (as) family including Lady Zainab’s two sons and all the companions of Imam Hussain (as). Lady Zaynab stood like an unshakable mountain in face of all these unbearable misfortunes. She faced all these with the weapon of steadfastness and resisted all the events with conviction. She is the perfect embodiment of the ayat (verse) from the Holy Quran:
“and give good news to the patient —those who, when an affliction visits them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him do we indeed return.’ It is they who receive the blessings of their Lord and [His] mercy, and it is they who are the [rightly] guided.” (2:155-7)
Lady Zainab was a flag bearer of truth after all her family members were killed right in front of her eyes in Karbala and took up on herself to spread the true message of Karbala wherever she went. Whether it was the streets of Shaam (Syria) or the Palace of Yazid. She bravely spoke against the tyrant Yazid and invoked public opinion against his ruthless killing of Imam Hussain (as), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hp)
She is an immortal role model for all the women of the world who never feared anyone but Almighty Allah (swt). Indeed, we understand from her that patience means standing firmly with determination on the command of Allah (swt).
If Imam Hussain (as) is the leader of the martyrs, his sister Zainab is the shield that defended Imam Hussain’s (as) image after his martyrdom, if Abbas is your role model, Zainab was the strength of Abbas if Ali Akbar is your hero, his aunt Zainab was his source of fortitude and support. The true message of Karbala would never have reached us, had it not been for the sacrifices of Zainab, the daughter Ali.
- Lady Zaynab | Al-Islam.org
- A Summary of Lady Zaynab's Sermon in the Court of Yazid - Al-Islam.org Blog
The concept of responsibility in Islam includes a wide range of matters. Human beings have certain responsibilities in Islam toward others and themselves. All creatures in this universe are naturally inclined to move toward the perfection considered for each of them. They are created in the most proper form, then, have been provided with the conditions and requirements that God has planned (20:50).
Nonetheless, none of them knows neither the path that they should pave nor the final target; except humans. According to the Quran, human beings are created for specific reasons (23:115), and they have duties and responsibilities (75:36). The most prominent responsibility in Islam that one has is towards God, as explained in the first part of the article. He\she is also responsible towards him\herself. This category of duties is discussed here.
According to Imam Sajjad (AS), the duties of every human being towards him\herself are to serve only God by all his\her capabilities and every part of the body; and, to respect the rights of each part of the body . Hence, the responsibilities in Islam of every human being towards him\herself can be divided into spiritual and physical items.
According to the Quran, God breathed into the human being of His [created] soul after he was proportioned (38:72). This makes the human’s soul of great value in Islam. Accordingly, every individual has certain responsibilities towards his\her valuable soul. These duties can be summarized in one sentence: to utilize the soul in the way of God.
That is to apply all spiritual capacities in the obedience to God and to do what brings bout God’s satisfaction. This requires one to keep the soul alive and pure by practicing what is ordered to or invited to in Islamic teachings like prayer (Salat), fasting (Sawm), pilgrimage (Hajj), etc., also by preventing any harm to the soul such as anxiety, depression, etc.
One’s acts and words form and determine the his\her path in life. He\she does various acts (including good deeds, what is obligatory (Wajib) or recommended (Mustahab)) with different parts of the body and verbally thank God (in the form of prayer) with the help of tongue and mouth. Hence, whatever one does concerning the obedience of God depends also on the parts of the his\her body. Therefore, he\she has some responsibilities towards them.
Of the rights of the tongue are to :
Avoid foul language and the sins that one might commit with the tongue, such as backbiting (ghibah) and slander. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that: “Do not insult others, this turns them into your enemies” , and: “Whoever divulges the flaws and faults of another Muslim, God will reveal his flaws” ;
Accustom it to saying pleasant beneficial words;
Force it to talk nicely and politely (2:83);
Stop it from talking too much and stay silent unless talking is beneficial; “Silence is a door to wisdom, it brings affection and guides to every blessing.” , and: "whoever believes in God and the Hereafter should say beneficial words, otherwise stays silent.” ;
Think about what you are going to say and judge the words before you start talking because a wise person will be judged by his words; “A faithful person … thinks about his words first, and then says those words” .
The ears are like the doors to the heart; they transfer every word with either a positive or negative influence on the heart . Imam Ali (AS) has prevented us from listening to the words without any advantage and benefit as they darken the heart and cause us to be blamed . For example, whoever listens to backbiting is a partner of the backbiter . Hence, one should control the ears to hear only nice and useful words that purify the heart or encourage good behavior .
To be continued.
- Imam Sajjad (AS), Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq).
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 360.
- Al-Monzeri, “Invitation and Intimidation”, vol. 2, p. 239.
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 113.
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, Introduction, p. 6.
- W. al.Hilli, “Tanbih al-khawatir wa nuzhat al-nawazir”, vol. 1, p. 106.
- “Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim”, T. 6234.
- A. Saberi Yazdi, “Al-Hokm Al-Zahera”, p. 558.
“O believers, when the proclamation is made for prayer on the Day of Congregation (Friday), hasten to God's remembrance and leave trafficking aside. That is better for you did you but know.” (62:9)
What do you think as you see a crowd of people gathered in one place, in regular rows? Acting altogether, simultaneously and in a well-organized manner? And they are dressed beautifully and smell good? Especially when they are hundreds and thousands? I see this as a glorious union. You can find this kind of forgathering in a Friday prayer.
Islam emphasizes three congregations: Haj which is held annually in a large scale, weekly Friday prayers and daily congregational prayers. Hajj is God’s plan to bring huge amounts of people together in Mecca, to show the power of Islam and unite the Muslims; besides its specific spirituality. Imam Baghir (AS), the fifth Imam, mentions Hajj as one of the five bases on which Islam is founded. 
Friday prayer is of such high importance and value that when a person said to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) that he has got ready several times to go to Hajj but has not managed to, our prophet (PBUH) told him to attend Friday prayer which is Hajj of the poor. 
These show that Friday prayer has many characteristics of Hajj and can be influential in the same way, on a smaller scale though.
In several narrations from the last prophet (PBUH&HP) and his household, Friday is known as the best night and day of the week. It is recommended to perform full ablution (qusl), wear your best clothes, cut nails, brush your hair and beard, trim mustaches and wear perfume on this day. One of the main reasons for these recommendations is getting ready to show up among Muslims in Friday prayer.
Friday prayer (Salat al-Jumu’ah) is an Islamic ritual. It begins with two khutbahs (orations) by Imam al-Jumu’ah in which he advises people toward observing virtue. In the first one, he elaborates on religious concepts. In the second one, he discusses political and social matters of Muslims’ community.
Then Friday prayer is performed in congregation. It consists of two rak’ahs (parts). Each rak’ah has a qunut (raising hands); in the first rak’ah before ruku’ (bowing), in the second one after ruku’. Friday prayer and the two orations before that are a substitution to the four-rak’ah Salat al-Zuhr. After that, a four-rak’ah Salat al-Asr is performed. Please note that:
- Friday prayer cannot be performed individually.
- Except for the Imam, there should be at least four people for a Friday prayer to be held. 
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “Surely God-may be blessed and exalted- made Friday prayer obligatory for you. If someone abandons it in my life or after my death, aiming to belittle or deny it, God will distress them and won’t bless them in their work; and know! their prayer is not accepted, and know! their alms-tax (Zakat) is not accepted; and know! their Haj is not accepted; and know! their good deed is not accepted until they repent.” 
In an ordinary situation, i.e. the presence of innocent Imam, Friday prayer is a determinate duty. That is the same duty should be done and it cannot be replaced by another one. But now that the twelfth and last Imam, Mahdi (AS) is absent, Friday prayer is a selective duty. Which means you can choose between performing Friday prayer or Salat al-Zuhr. 
Yet, considering its profits, Muslims should pay special attention to Friday prayer.
Imam Reza (AS), the eighth Imam, states the importance of Friday Prayer and its Khutbahs comprehensively: “Because Friday is a public rendezvous, khutbah on Friday has been arranged to be a means for governor to advise people and to encourage them to obedience and to warn them of disobedience and to inform them of God’s will about their interest of religion and world and let them know of what has happened to them in the world and of events in which they have disadvantage or advantage.”
- We are forgetful beings. We need to be advised repeatedly so that we may not neglect the afterlife, miss the path, and forget necessities of the society.
- See these daily and weekly prayers as the stages of a ladder. By each prayer, we should take a step upwards. By praying, we are communicating with God and by practicing in a regular program, we can enhance the quality of this communication.
- Al-Kafi, v.2, p.18
- Wassail al-Shi'a, v.7, p.300
- Wassail al-Shi'a, v.7, p.302
- Wassail al-Shi'a, v.7, p.344