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OUTSTANDING WOMEN Part I
Close to Muhammad’s Heart
Zainab Bint Ali
(Sources taken from various internet sites especially Al-Islam.org, may Allah reward the writers with His abundance.)
زوجـه الرسـول (ص)
Khadijah came from a noble family. She was one of the wealthiest in Mecca. When Muhammad (pbuh) was still a young man,
she entrusted him with some of her wealth, asking him to trade with it in Syria on her behalf. He returned from Syria after having made a nice profit for her.
After hearing the account of the journey, she decided that he would make the best of husbands, (even though she was
twice married before and many of the nobility had proposed to marry her but she refused them). At the time of their marriage, Muhammad was twenty‑five years old and
she was forty years old, fifteen years his senior.
For the next 25 years they lived happily together, and Khadijah bore him several children, 3 boys and 4 girls.
No one except God knows more about a man than his wife, both his good and his bad qualities, his strengths and his
weaknesses. The more Khadijah came to know about her husband Muhammad, the more she loved him and the more she held him with utmost respect and deference. And in
Mecca itself everyone called Muhammad 'al‑Amin' ألأمــــيـن,
which means 'the trustworthy', and she, more than anyone else knew how fitting this name was.
Coming home from the mountain top where Muhammad received the first verses of the Holy Quran, and while in the
agitation of the moment, Khadijah comforted him: "Worry not;" she said to him, "for by the Lord in whose dominion is my soul, I hope that you are the Prophet of this
nation. God would never humiliate you, for:
▪ you are good to your relatives,
▪ you are true to your word,
▪ you help those in need,
▪ you support the weak,
▪ you feed the guest and
▪ you answer the call of the ones in distress."
Soon after this, Khadijah saw the changes Muhammad (pbuh) underwent when he received a revelation
In it he was commanded by God, through Angel Gabriel, to call people to worship God and none other. This took place in front of her eyes, and it was at this
point that Khadijah was the first person to embrace Islam. She declared: "I bear witness that there is no deity except God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the
Messenger of God.”
In the arduous formative years that followed, in which the antagonistic leaders of opposition unleashed everything in
their power to stop Muhammad (pbuh), Khadijah was the unfailing and unwavering source of support and solace to him. Her immense wealth was utterly exhausted in the
way of God by:
▪ helping to spread the message of her husband
▪ helping to free slaves who had embraced Islam, and
▪ helping to feed and shelter the community of
Muslims that slowly but surely began to grow in numbers and strength.
The formidable Quraish قـريــش
of Mecca who adamantly opposed Muhammad were infuriated by the Prophet's steady success, and they
exercised all means at their disposal to obstruct both him and the new Muslims, often inflicting horrifying treatment, harassment and desecration, but to no avail.
The situation became so dangerous to the Muslims and so unbearable that the Prophet urged the followers to go to Abyssinia, where the ruler, the sincere Christian
Negus, gave them shelter and protection.
The cruelty of the opposition continued to escalate, finally to such an extent that they thrust
Khadijah, Muhammad, and
all members of his clan, into an eerie valley with hardly any vegetation, to be boycotted for 3 long years. There, while their homes lay empty in Mecca,
Muhammad and the Muslims suffered from exposure, cold nights of winter or the fiery hot days of summer. There was little food to be had, and shoddy shelter at best.
For three years the small Muslim community lived a life of unimaginable deprivation.
Have you ever thought how Khadijah was feeling during these terrible years? Did she quit? Did she complain? Did she
whine or demand from her husband? None of these! Instead, Khadijah was more determined than ever to support the cause of the Almighty, unwavering and completely
resolute. Resolute to say the least!
When the boycott was lifted and the Muslims were allowed to re‑enter Mecca, the three years of adversity and
malnutrition, along with the unparalleled hardship, took their toll. First, the Prophet's uncle, the 80 year old Abu Talib, died. Soon after, in deteriorating
health and malnourished, the 65 year old Khadijah died. Her death was extremely hard on Muhammad, and he mourned her profoundly. The two had shared 25 years of
blissful marriage notwithstanding the turbulence around them and violence toward them.
Khadijah had lived throughout the early formative years of Islam, as demanding and difficult as these years were. She
endured all the brutality imposed by the forces of opposition —the pagans of Mecca. But this took its toll, and as a result Khadijah lost her life for the cause.
She was a unique woman, an unmatched woman in distinction, integrity, and valor.
Khadijah had the honor of being the first to publicly accept Muhammad as the Messenger of God. Thus the first Muslim
ever was a woman. Khadijah never stopped loving Muhammad and she exercised all her powers to help him. Immeasurable love, benevolence and kindness had grown
between her and her husband, increasing in quality and depth as the years passed by, and not even death could take this love away. Once A'isha asked Muhammad if
Khadijah had been the only woman worthy of his love. The Prophet (pbuh) replied:
▪ “She believed in me when no one else did;
▪ she accepted Islam when people stood aloof; and
▪ she helped me and comforted me when no one else
lent me a helping hand“
History books tell us that Muhammad's gratitude to her was such, and his intimate feelings about her were such that
throughout the 25 years of their marriage not a single fight or dispute took place. Let me ask: Which marriage can match that?!
بـنـت الرسـول (ص)
There have been many women who had made an everlasting mark on the history of civilization and humankind. They have
been great in various aspects. Yet one woman contributed more than perhaps any other woman, and yet she was not more than a young girl. She had all the virtuous
attributes of the women of respect and honor, and more. Her supplications were no less than the most inspiring words of poetry to the God she adored. Her eloquence
of speech, her bravery and strength, her loving tenderness towards her noble father, husband and children are what philosophers still write and speak of in terms of
a cure for the ills of today's society. Fatima was filled with spiritual devotion, as is becoming of any true Ma'soom. Her actions were her belief, without fault or
mistake. She rose above the diversions of this life and was truly the best example for all women throughout all time.
This woman is Fatima Al Zahra the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the wife of Imam Ali, the mother of Imam
al-Hasan and al-Husain.
In the shade of her father Prophet Muhammad and in the lap of her noble mother, Khadijah, Fatima Al‑Zahra was born in
the city of Mecca on Friday 20th Jamad Thani. She had the spirit of the Prophet, his characteristics and morals. Indeed, she was the complete inheritor of her
father. The distinguished relationship between the Prophet and his daughter Fatima attracted the attention of those who lived nearby. They talked about the
resemblance between the father and the daughter. The Prophet (pbuh) who spoke only that which had been revealed to him, addressed Fatima in these words: “Oh Fatima!
Almighty Allah, the Exalted, is angered at the one who makes you angry and is pleased with the one who pleases you.”
While living under her father's care Fatima was possessed of marvelous mode of life and high stature. It was such a
unique relationship that it made the Prophet's later wife A'isha marvel at it and proclaim: “Never have I seen a person more like the Messenger of Allah in his
dignified way [of standing and sitting] than Fatima.” Then she added, “When she [Fatima] came in the room to see him, the Holy Prophet would rise up to his feet,
take her hand, kiss her and seat her where he was seated. And when he came to see her, she would stand up, take his hand, kiss him and seat him where she was
seated”. Many people approached the Prophet asking Fatima’s hand in marriage. The Khalifas Omar and Abu Bakr were, for instance, among those who asked for her hand
in marriage. Other people among the leading men of the Quraish clan thought of asking for Fatima's hand in order to achieve the high honor of being the son‑in‑law of
the Messenger of Allah. Nevertheless, the Holy Prophet would say to these people, “This matter is yet not divinely settled”. Finally Imam Ali approached the Holy
Prophet on this matter and the Prophet was very pleased. The Prophet asked Fatima and she accepted.
In Married Life
Fatima married Ali and the tree of Prophethood bore fruit, as she gave birth to al-Hasan and then to al-Husain. Fatima
married Ali for his faith, piety, trustworthiness, and lofty principles; she did not marry him for wealth, money or the fading passions of the earthly life. It is
said that she always addressed Ali as Amir al-Mu’mineen أمـيـر المؤمـنيـن
; and Ali always addressed her as Daughter of the Prophet بنـت
رسـول الله , out of esteem to each other
Fatima was given the title of "al‑Zahra"ألـزهــــراء
which means "the Resplendent". The title was given because of her beaming face, which seemed to
radiate spiritual light. She was also called "al‑Batool"ألبـتـــول
because of her asceticism. Instead of spending her time in the company of women, much of her time would
be spent in acts of serving God.
The glory of Al‑Zahra towers over other glories. Asceticism and worship of the Creator are two natural traits of the
Family of the Prophet, for here were the finest examples of the highest ideals and the greatest Islamic personalities that had ever lived on earth.
Fatima's fine manners and gentle speech were part of her lovely and endearing personality. She was especially kind to
the poor and indigent and would often give all the food she had to those in need even if she herself remained hungry. She lived simply, and took on the hardships of
life with a determined spirit.
Fatima inherited from her father a persuasive eloquence rooted in wisdom. She had the ability and sincerity to move
people to tears and fill their hearts with gratitude to God.
Fatima did not live long after the death of her father. She was the first from among his family to join him in the
blissful afterlife. Fatima Al Zahra left this world with pain and grief, leaving both sons and daughters to be brought up by their father Ali.
حـفـيده الرسـول (ص)
Zainab was born in Medina, the 5th of Jamad Awwal, to Fatima and Ali, five years after the emigration to Medina.
It is said that when the girl's father [Imam Ali], saw his daughter for the first time al-Husain (who was less than
three years old) was with him. The boy exclaimed in delight, “O father, Allah has given me a sister.”
At those words Imam Ali began to weep, and when the surprised Husain asked why he was crying, Ali answered that he
would soon come to know.
It is said when the baby girl was brought to the Prophet (pbuh) he held her in his lap and kissed her. The Prophet
gave her the name of Zainab then began to cry. He was told by Gabriel of the trials and tribulations that would befall her.
When the members of the family heard the somber news they all broke down in tears. Imam al-Husain now understood why
earlier his father had also wept.
One day, when Zainab was about five years old, she had a strange and terrible dream. She dreamt that 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. Zainab caught hold of a branch but it broke. In a panic she grabbed two twigs but these too gave way
and she was left falling with no support. Frightened and shaken, Zainab awoke sweating in fear. When she told her grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) about this
dream he wept bitterly. Then the Prophet said, “O daughter, that tree is me who is shortly going to leave this world. The branches are your father Ali and your
mother Fatima, and the twigs are your brothers, al-Hasan and al-Husain. They will all depart this world before you do, and you will suffer their loss greatly and
will grieve over their painful separation.”
Growing up in Medina
Zainab shared with her brothers (al-Hasan and al-Husain) and sister (Umm Kulthoom) the extraordinary position of being
the unique examples and models for the people to look up to. She did emulate and learn from the Prophet of Allah, her mother Fatima, and her father Imam Ali. It
was in this remarkable family that Zainab avidly absorbed the teachings of Islam. Here too she learned to master the unique household skills with great proficiency.
She had barely attained the tender age of six when her beloved mother passed away. Her mother's death had closely
followed her cherished grandfather's passing away some time later
Imam Ali (a.s.) married Umm al‑Baneen, whose devotion and piety encouraged Zainab even more in her learning.
While still a young girl she was fully able to care for and be responsible for the running of her father's household.
As much as she cared for the comforts and ease of her brothers and sisters, in her own wants she was frugal yet unstintingly generous to the poor, homeless and
orphans. After her marriage her husband is reported saying, “Zainab is the best housewife by any means.”
From very early on Zainab developed an unbreakable bond of attachment to her brother Imam al-Husain (a.s.). At times
when as a baby in her mother's arms she could not be pacified or made to stop crying, she would quite down only upon being held by her young brother al-Husain, and
there Zainab would sit quietly gazing at his face. A few years later, before she would pray Zainab used to first cast a glance at the face of her beloved brother
then proceed to pray.
One day Fatima mentioned the intensity of her daughter's love for al-Husain to the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet took a
deep sigh and said with moistened eyes, “O Fatima, this child of yours, Zainab, would be confronted with a thousand and one calamities and face frightening hardships
And later on history proved this to be so.
Zainab grew up as a fine mature young woman. Zainab reflected the best attributes of those who raised her. In serenity she was likened to her grandmother
in chastity and modesty to her mother Fatima al-Zahra; in eloquence to her father Ali; in forbearance and patience to her brother Imam al‑Hasan; and in valor and
ease at heart to Imam al‑Husain. Her face reflected her father's wonder and her grandfather's reverence.
Medina it was Zainab’s practice to hold regular meetings for women in which she shared her knowledge and taught them the precepts of Islam. Her gatherings were well
and regularly attended. She was able to impart the teachings with such clarity and eloquence that she became known as Faseeha
(skillfully fluent) and
Baleegha بلـيــــغـه (intensely
When in 37AH Imam Ali moved to Kufa as the headquarters of Khilaafah, he was accompanied by Zainab and her husband. Her reputation as an inspiring teacher among the
women had preceded her. In Kufa women thronged to Zainab’s daily discourses, benefiting from her wealth of knowledge, wisdom and scholarship in the exegesis of the
Quran. The depth and certainty of her knowledge confirmed the name given to her by Imam Zainul Abidin: “Alimah Ghayr Mu'allamah” عـآلمـه
, meaning (The knowledgeable
without being taught).
With al-Husain to Karbala
When Zainab learned of al-Husain’s intended journey to Kufa she begged her husband to allow her to
accompany her brother. Abdullah pointed out that such a journey was fraught with danger and hardship. Zainab insisted however, saying, "My mother did not leave me
behind to watch from afar when Husain is all alone, surrounded by enemies!” then she added, “If I leave him now, how shall I face my mother, who at her death-bed had
willed to me, `Zainab, after me you are both mother and sister for Husain’? “
Her husband wanted to accompany the Imam too, but he had been weakened by illness, so he gave her
permission to go on the destined journey. With her he sent two of their sons
Ashuraa, the tenth of Muharram:
The tenth day of Muharram, Ashuraa عاشـــوراء
dawned. Before going into battle, Imam Husain went into the tent of his son Zainul
Abideen زيـن العـــابديـن
(who was lying ill), too weak to join his father in battle. He was tended to by his aunt Zainab. Husain bade him farewell, saying, “Son! After me you are my
successor and deputy. Take care of these women and children during captivity and the rigors of travel. Console them…”
Sighing deeply, he turned to Zainab and the other women of the Benu Hashim بـنـو هـاشـــم
and said, “Take heed and remember that this [my] son is my successor and Imam and He is the one to be obeyed.” Then to Zainab he said, “When the enemy kills me,
they may strip me out of my clothes. So please bring me some tattered garment to wear so the enemy may leave my body clothed." With a heavy heart Zainab did just as
The bloody battle raged all day. One by one Imam Husain’s sons, kinsmen and supporters were slain on the battlefield. When Zainab's sons were killed she bore their
death with amazing fortitude. She did not come out of her tent, nor did she loudly lament for she did not wish to jolt her brother at such a critical moment. But
when the limp body of Ali Akbar (the son of Imam Husain) was brought to the tent Zainab became flabbergasted and distraught. Oblivious of her cover she came out of
her tent and clasped Ali Akbar’s body sobbing in agony, “O’ my son! Would that I had become blind or been buried beneath the ground as not to have seen this day.”
the final clash Husain was wounded many times until eventually he fell off his horse. His enemies surrounded him and attacked him with swords and spears. Then the
fighting came to an end, with seventy-three brave men killed who had faced 4000-5000 of the enemy.
The bodies of the Imam and his supporters were trampled upon by the horses of the enemy, and their heads were severed. The distraught Zainab now rushed to Zainul
Abideen telling him about the catastrophe. At his asking she raised the curtain of the tent door for him to see for himself, he exclaimed: “O’ My Aunt! My father
has been killed, and with him has the spring of generosity and honor. Inform the women and ask them to conduct themselves with patience and forbearance; let them be
prepared to be plundered and taken captives."
While their tents were put on fire, and notwithstanding the calamitous confusion of the moment Zainab was busy gathering the frightened children and young women who
had dispersed in terror, scattered all around, among them was the 4 year old, Al-Baaqir. She became the protective, assuring and binding force for all.
The next day the members of the Prophet's family were made to leave for Kufa to be presented to the
Governor Ibn Ziyad إبـن زيـاد
Among the prisoners were Zainab, Umm Kulthoom, Imam Zainul-Abidin, three young sons of Imam Hasan, and other daughters of Imam Husain. When, on their way, they
reached the battlefield, a heart-rending sight met their eyes. The bodies of the martyrs lay scantily clothed, on the burning sand, dusty and bloodied. The enemy had
not buried them, although they had buried their own dead.
Omar ibn Sa’ad عـمر بن سـعـد
orders that the severed heads of al-Husain, his sons, and other martyrs, to be in the hands of different tribal chiefs. The captives were made to ride on camels,
while ahead of them their captors somberly carried the heads of al-Husain and his supporters impaled on spears!!
Kufa was then regarded as the principal city of Islam. Imam Ali had made it his capital during his Khilaafah and here Zainab and Umm Kulthoom had once lived. Now
they came to this city as captives. It was night when they arrived at the city, and the palace of Ibn Ziyad was shut, so they were made to camp outside. When he was
informed of their arrival the next day Ibn Ziyad ordered that a great function should take place to which all would be invited without distinction. The head of Imam
Husain was to be placed on a tray near the court chair, and the heads of the other martyrs were also to be displayed. Zainab became furious, and she addressed the
people by saying (this is a short excerpt of her complete speech):
"..… O’ People! Know that you have been guilty of the worst crime in the world and have prepared the worst provision for the Day of Judgment. May you be doomed and
may destruction overtake you. You have become the victim of Allah's wrath and have fallen into ignominy and degradation. O’ people of Kufa! Woe unto you. Do you
realize which piece of Muhammad's heart you have severed, which pledge you have broken, whose blood you had shed and whose honor you have desecrated?!!!… Allah is
certainly keeping watch over you.”
After they had stayed for a month and seven days in Kufa they were made to set off for Damascus with a large escort of horsemen and footmen of the army so that none
should intercept their journey. With their somber escort the caravan left Kufa on the eighteenth day of Safar. All suffered untold hardship on their journey to
Damascus, which was no less than 600 miles away. The scene was gruesome too because the heads of their beloved were carried on spears before their very eyes all the
way through. After about 28 days, on the 16th of Rabi' al-Awwal, the caravan reached Damascus.
When they reached the outskirts of Damascus they were made to halt. Yazid was informed of their arrival
and he fixed a date for their entry into the city.
the morning of the appointed day, the family of the Prophet (pbuh) was led into Damascus. The city streets were decorated and people came out in throngs believing
Yazid’s lies that some rebels were subdued and were being paraded through Damascus! Thus they were paraded, all 44 of them, captives. The head of Husain was then
brought to Yazid on a golden tray. As he touched the lips of Imam Husain playfully with his stick, he heard a Sahaabi saying: “I have seen the lips of the Prophet
kiss these lips.” Upon which Yazid was brought to his senses and the gravity of the heinous crime
Zainab addressed the grave-looking audience: "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds and blessings on my grandfather, the Master of the Prophets. O Yazid,
Allah says, (and His word is true) that: [Surah 30 (Al-Room): Ayah 10]
ثُمَّ كَانَ عَاقِبَةَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاؤُوا السُّوأَى أَن كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ
اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا بِهَا يَسْتَهْزِئُون
In the long run evil in the extreme will be the End
of those who do evil;
for that they reject the Signs of Allah, and hold them up to ridicule.
Yazid, do you think you have achieved worldly good [by these atrocities], that your affairs have become stabilized and our rule has fallen into your hands. Wait for
a while. Do not be so joyful. Have you forgotten Allah's saying [Surah 3 (Al-Room): Ayah 178]:
وَلاَ يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ
إِنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُواْ إِثْمًا وَلَهْمُ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
Let not the Unbelievers think that Our respite to them is good for themselves: We grant them respite that they
may grow in their iniquity: But they will have a shameful punishment.
"Yazid! O son of freed slaves! Is this justice that you keep your own daughters and slave maids veiled while the daughters of the Prophet of Allah are being paraded
from place to place exposed."
Yazid, whatever you have done proves your revolt against Allah and your denial of His Prophet (pbuh) and of the Book and Sunnah that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) brought
from Allah. Your deeds should not cause amazement because one whose ancestors chewed the livers of the martyrs, whose flesh grew up on virtuous people, who fought
against the Master of Divine Prophets, who mobilized parties for fighting against him and drew swords against him, should conspicuously excel all Arabs in unbelief,
sinfulness, excesses, and enmity against Allah and His Prophet"
Exposing Yazid fully:
Through Zainab’s fearless speeches and from the word that spread as a result of their journey, the lies of Yazid were fully exposed,, and people came to know of the
truly gruesome events of Karbala. Their hearts were stirred, they were shocked. The captivity and humiliation of the family of the Prophet brought Zainab’s
narrations to the awareness of an ever-increasing number of people. As such, word came to Yazid that there was broiling turmoil and unrest in the realm. This meant
that a grave danger was broiling against him too. As a result he decided to release the captives.
ameliorate the effect of his atrocities, and to prevent trouble by the public, Yazid provided a large house for them in the residential sector of Damascus. Here
Zainab held her first gathering for the mourning and remembrance (Majlis Azaa مجـلـس عـزاء
) of Imam Husain. The women of Benu Hashim arrived clad in black, with their heads uncovered, weeping in a heart
rending manner. Imam Zainul Abideen sat on the carpet of Imam Husain and then Zainab told the women of Syria what had befallen them. The women became overtaken with
grief, shed tears and mourned. When they went home they passed on the gruesome information to their men-folk.
Yazid then gave the choice of either remaining in Damascus or returning to Medina. When Zainab decided to
return to Medina he called Nu'man ibn Bashir, (who had been a companion of the Holy Prophet) and ordered him to make suitable arrangements for their journey. A
contingent of horsemen, foot-soldiers and adequate provisions were made available. Gaily decorated litters with velvet seats were provided, but Zainab ordered that
these should be covered in black so that people would know about their plight and that the travelers were in mourning.
When the citizens of Damascus came to know that the members of the Holy Prophet's family were leaving, the women came to the house for a last farewell. Many people
accompanied the caravan for part of the journey and then returned to their homes with heavy hearts.
During the journey Nu'man ibn Bashir showed the travelers every consideration and respect.
The travelers returned to Medina via Karbala. When they reached Karbala they found Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansaari and some of the chiefs of Benu Hashim were already
there for they had come to pay homage at the grave of Imam Husain. It is related that they had brought the severed head of Imam Husain with them and that in Karbala
it was rejoined with his body by his son Imam Zainul-Abidin. A great Majlis was held before they resumed their journey.
The Heroine after Karbala:
Zainab had returned to Medina so devastated that her hair was gray, and as if the weight of the world was on her shoulders, for such was the effect of the
catastrophic events on her. Over in Medina she lost no time to give speeches about Karbala and the calamity of Karbala caused by Yazid and Benu Umayya. Her
speeches were so penetratingly effective and so persistently presented that the governor of Medina wrote to the Khalifa of the grave danger of an imminent uprising
against his rule. There was no one equal to the quality of the speech delivery as Zainab’s about Karbala. She continued to broadcast with unparalleled vigor all
the horrendous events that took place in Karbala at the hands of Muslims behaving in savage ways, under the orders of Yazid. She did this until she died. Nothing
would distract her otherwise.
Zainab lived about one year after the torturous trials she had to bear. The exact date and place of her death is not clear but it is probable that she died in the
The imprint of Zainab:
It was due to Zainab’s valor, courage and eloquence to proclaim to the world the sacrifices made by Imam
Husain and the other members of the family of the Holy Prophet (for the cause of Islam). She exposed the evil deeds of Ibn Ziyad and Yazid with courage and
fearlessness. Had it not been for her the sacrifice of Karbala might have faded into oblivion. She endured physical and mental anguish with remarkable fortitude
and she was a source of strength to all around her. The sorrow and grief she expressed was an outpouring of her intense humanity. Never did she rebel against the
destiny decreed by Allah. The strength of her submission was divine, yet her lamentation poignantly human.
The spirit of Zainab will live forever. Her courage, forbearance, and submission will continue to inspire those who hear her story for all time to come.
is said that because of a famine that swept through Medina, her husband temporarily moved his family to a village near Damascus, and it was there while praying in a
garden that Zainab fell victim to a serious illness from which she never recovered.