Lady Zaynab (a.s.) lived under the custody of her grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), for a period of her early life. During this period, she was so tranquil and at ease, for he used to receive her with hospitality and honor. Her parents, too, showed her sympathy, loves and cordiality. She also saw the great triumphs of Islam and the defeats of its enemies. The most significant thing, however, that Lady Zaynab (a.s.) noticed in her childhood was the Prophets special care for her parents and brothers.[^88]
She realized the fact that such care and special treatment was not mere emotion or personal view. It was originated from divine instructions to express appreciation for the perfect features those individuals enjoyed and to express their worthiness of being the leaders of the Islamic Ummah.
These were the happiest days in the life of Lady Zaynab (a.s.).
Nevertheless, that happiness did not continue; Prophet (s.a.w.a.) felt death approaching him, and told his daughter about it.[^89] This news spread grief and feelings of over the Prophet’s family as well as Muslims who had to think of a new life empty of their leader and Prophet.
Lady Zaynab’s Dream
Once, Lady Zaynab (a.s.) saw in sleep something horrible; so, she hurried to her grandfather to tell her dream. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) seated her in his lap kissed her repeatedly, and asked her to tell her dream. She began:
“Last night, I saw as if a violent wind made everybody look black and dark. Hence, I ran towards a great tree and hanged strongly to its leaves so that the wind would not take me away. The wind unfortunately tore out that tree and threw it to the ground. I hanged to a strong tree, but the wind cut it off. So, I hanged to another, but the wind also broke it. I then hurried to hang to one of two leaves from that tree, but this stormy wind broke it. I then woke up.”
As he heard the dream, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) burst into tears and said, explaining her dream:
“The tree is your grandfather. The first branch is your Mother and the other is your father. The two other branches are your brothers, al-Hasan (a.s.) and al-Husain (a.s.). The world will be blackened when they leave it, and you will put on mourning dress for their misfortunes.”[^90]
The Farewell Pilgrimage
When the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) realized that he would soon depart life, he decided to hold a public meeting with Muslims and nominate the authorities and leaders who would lead them after him. For that very purpose, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) performed his final Hajj (ritual pilgrimage), which was called the Farewell Pilgrimage. He took from one place to another among Muslims so as to lead them to the courses of salvation and guide them to the leaders whom they should follow after him. He repeatedly said:
أَيُّهَا النَّاسُإِنِّي تَرَكْتُ فِيكُمُ الثَّقَلَيْنِ: كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَ عِتْرَتِيْ أَهْلَ بَيْتِيْ.
“O People, I have left among you the two precious things:the Book of Allah (s.w.t.) and my progeny my Household.”[^91]
The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) then stopped near Well Zamzam and delivered a great speech in which he referred to all the fields that people need after him. Regarding the leadership of the Ummah, he (s.a.w.a.) declared openly:
اِنِّيْ خَلَّفْتُ فِيْكُمْ مَا اِنْ تَمَسَّكْتُمْ بِهلَنْ تَضِلُّوْا بَعْدِيْ اَبَدًا: ك ِتَابَ اللهِ وَ عِتْرَتِيْ اَهْلَ بَيْتِيْ. اَلَا هَلْ بَلَّغْتُ؟
“I am leaving among you that which will save you from deviation forever if you only adhere to: the Book of Allah (s.w.t.) and my progeny my Household. Have I conveyed (to you this matter)?”
In one voice, all the one hundred thousand attendants shouted: “Yes, you have.”[^92]
After he had accomplished the ritual of his final Hajj, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) received from the heavens a missive instructing him to nominate Imam Ali (a.s.) as his successor and as a general authority for the Ummah. The missive was Almighty Allah’s saying:
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ ۖ وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهٗ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِيْنَ
O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah (s.w.t.) will protect you from the people; surely Allah (s.w.t.) will not guide the unbelieving people[^93] .[^94]
Hence, he ordered the caravans of the pilgrims to gather in a place called ‘Ghadeer Khumm’. It was so hot that men had to put the edges of their cloaks under their feet so as to avoid the ground’s heat. In such a situation, he led a congregational prayer and asked his companions to make a pulpit-like peak. He towered over it and delivered the most important speech in the lives of all Muslims. The most important piece of that speech was that he took Imam Ali (a.s.) from the hand, raised him as much as he could, and declared openly and frankly:
مَنْ كُنْتُ مَوْلَاهُ فَهٰذَا عَلِيٌّ مَوْلَاهُ. اَللّٰهُمَّ وَالِ مَنْ وَالَاهُ، وَ عَادِ مَنْ عَادَاهُ،وَ اَحِبَّ مَنْ اَحَبَّهٗ ، وَ اَبْغَضَ مَنْ اَبْغَضَه ٗ ، وَ انْصُرْ مَنْ نَصَرَهٗ ، وَ اخْذُلْ مَنْ خَذَلَهٗ وَ أَدِرِ الْحَقَّ مَعَهٗ حَيْثُ دَارَ. اَلَا فَلْيُبَلِّغِ الشَّاهِدُ الْغَائِبُ.
“Ali shall be the master of him whoever has taken me as master. O Allah! (I implore to You to) accede to him whoever accedes to Ali, be the enemy of him whoever makes an enemy of Ali, love him whoever loves Ali, hates him whoever hates Ali, give victory to him whoever supports Ali, disappoint him whoever disappoints Ali, and direct the right to the direction that Ali takes. It is obligatory upon the attendants to convey this instruction to the absent.”[^95]
As the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) conveyed his Lord’s missive so completely, the Lord revealed,
“This day have I perfected for you your Religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a Religion.[^96] ”[^97]
From her early life, Lady Zaynab (a.s.) realized the Prophet’s instruction and the Ummah’s homage to her father, Imam Ali (a.s.). She also realized that the leadership of her father was a divine instruction and, hence, was a pillar part of the Religion.
The Prophet’s Final Disease
As he was back from the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) felt sick. He was attacked by a very violent fever that obliged him to stay at bed. When Muslims heard of this bad news, they hastened to visit him in groups. He used to instruct them not to leave the leadership of Imam Ali (a.s.) after his departure.[^98]
Because the issue of Imam Ali(a.s.)’snext leadership was the most important, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) repeatedly focused on it in every situation. He used to say:
هٰذَا عَلِيٌّ مَعَ الْقُرْآنِ، وَ الْقُرْآنُ مَعَ عَلِيٌّ، لاَ يَفْتَرِقَانِ حَتّٰي يَرِدَا عَلَيَّ الْحَوْضَ.
Ali (a.s.) is most certainly with the Qur’an and the Qur’an is most certainly with Ali (a.s.). They shall never leave each other until they join me on the Divine Pool.[^99]
As he anticipated violation of this decision after his death, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) ordered the individuals under suspicion[^100] to join a phalanx and travel to Syria in a military campaign so as to avoid their rebellion after his death.[^101] Those individuals however understood the Prophet’s purpose; therefore, they decided to rebel against his instructions and refuse to join that campaign. Despite his illness, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) went out, ascended the minbar[^102] , ordered his companions to join that campaign, and, finally, cursed everyone who would break this order.[^103] This strongthreat made the view very clear for those individuals who did everything to avoid leaving Medina on these days.
The Calamity Of Thursday
As a second more long-established attempt to frustrate the conspirators’wicked plots, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) while he was in his final hours encompassed by his companions among whom were the conspirators, asked them to fetch him an inkwell and pen so as to record for them his last, most important will. He instructed that they will save them from going astray forever.[^104] The conspirators understood the Prophet’s intention; so, they aroused a storm of noise some supported the Prophet’s demand while others rejected tenaciously. It was so strange from such individuals who realized the reality of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who would never speak out of desire,[^105] to stop against his last will. Some ladies who knew about this matter hurried to reproach those individuals for such disgraceful dare to challenge the Prophet’s orders.
The party who supported the Prophet’s demand was about to win, but someone (namely, Umar ibn al-Khattab) intruded hastily to declare his disastrous word: “The Prophet is hallucinating!”[^106]
This Incident was the most calamitous in the Islamic history. Abdullah ibn Abbas, the grand authority of the Islamic Ummah, used to weep whenever he mentioned this incident. He called it, ‘The Calamity of Thursday’.[^107]
Lady Zaynab (a.s.), watching these events, realized the purposes of those individuals who aimed at taking her father away from the position that Almighty Allah and Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) chose for him. This incident, however, led to other adversities one of which was that of Karbala.
Lady Fatemah al-Zahra’s (a.s.) Grief
Lady Fatemah al-Zahra (a.s.) was the most grievous for her father’s disease. She sat by him with a heart torn by grief and pain as if she was the one who suffered agonies of death.[^108] Seeing his daughter and dearest one to his heart in such a manner, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) tried to entertain her and alleviate her grief. Hence, he said to her something confidentially. She burst into tears. He (s.a.w.a.) then said something else, also confidentially, but this time she smiled.
When Ayesha, the prophet’s wife, asked Lady Fatimah (a.s.) about the secret beyond her tears and smile, she turned her face and did not tell her. She, however, told some righteous ladies about the matter. She said: “In the first time, my father (s.a.w.a.) told me that he would soon depart life. This news made me break into tears. In the second time, he told me that I would be the first to join him to the heavens. He also told that I am the Chiefess of the Women of this Ummah. This news gladdened me.”[^109]
Lady Zaynab (a.s.) took part in her mother’s grief and pains. She was sad for her mother and grandfather.
In his final moments, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) supplicated to Almighty Allah to be the custodian of his Household and to make the heart of every believing man and woman to burn to them.
In his final moments too, he asked the attendants to attend to his Household and progeny:
قَدْ خَلَّفْتُ فِيْكُمْ كِتَابَ اللهِ وَ عِتْرَتِيْ اَهْلَ بَيْتِيْ. فَالْمُضَيِّعُ لِكِتَابِ اللهِ كَالْمُضَيِّعِ لِسُنَّتِيْ، وَ الْمُضَيِّعُ لِسُنَّتِيْ كَالْمُضَيِّعِ لِعِتْرَتِيْ. اِنَّهُمَا لَنْ يَفْتَرِقَا حَتّٰي يَرِدَا عَلَيَّ الْحَوْضَ.
“I have left among you the Book of Allah (s.w.t.) and my progeny my Household. To waste the Book of Allah (s.w.t.) is as same as wasting my Sunnah, and to waste my Sunnah is as same as wasting my progeny. They (the Book of Allah (s.w.t.) and the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.)) shall never leave each other until they join me on the Divine Pool.”[^110]
Holy Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) Departs Life
Thus, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) took his last breathes from this world and departed life while he was in the lap of Imam Ali (a.s.),[^111] Then, the Imam prepared for the funeral ceremonies while he was very touched. He bathed the Prophet’s dead body, put it in the coffin, offered the Deceased Prayer, and allowed Muslims to offer prayers for the body, saying:
“Peace, Allah’s mercy, and Blessings be upon you, Prophet of mercy. O Allah! we declare honestly that he has conveyed to his nation everything that was revealed to him and he fought for Allah’s sake until Almighty Allah reinforced His Religion and accomplished His Word. O Allah! guide us to follow that which was revealed to him, make us continue on this course, and join us to him.”[^112]
Thereafter, Imam Ali (a.s.) put the Holy body of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the tomb and stood at the edge of the tomb shedding tears and uttering words of grief.
The saddest individual was Lady Fatemah al-Zahra (a.s.) who was about to lose her soul because of grief and bitter weeping. In such horrible hours, she used to say:
“O father, O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), O Prophet of Mercy. From now on, the heavenly revelation will cease. From now on, Gabriel will not visit us. O Allah! (I implore to You to) join my soul to his and have mercy upon me by letting me see his face. O Allah! I implore to You not to deprive one of his recompense and intercession on the Day of Resurrection.”[^113]
By the demise of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), his household were compassed by waves of sadness and grief. Besides, they were surrounded by waves of horror and fear, since they anticipated that the Arabs would injure them so as to revenge them on the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who caused mourning in every house. In this regard, Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) departed life, his Household felt as if they were shelterless; nothing, even the heavens, would protect them from above, and nothing,even the earth,would protect them from beneath.”
Lady Zaynab (a.s.), while she was in her early life, suffered bitterly this grand misfortune and had to encounter its effects. She was only five years old when this adversity invaded her youthful heart; she saw her beloved grandfather depart them forever, saw her father swallow grief because of losing his cousin, and saw her mother mourn and weep for her father’s departure so apprehensively. That day in fact was the beginning of Lady Zaynab(a.s.)’sgrief’s and sufferance.