“Knowledge guards you while you have to guard wealth. Wealth decreases by spending while knowledge increases by spending.”
What you heard were the immortal words of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), the divinely-designated vicegerent of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). This excellent piece of advice which beautifully outlines the indispensable nature of knowledge as more worthy than wealth, is mentioned in the famous book Nahj al-Balagha. It was given to Kumail ibn Ziyad, the recipient of the famous supplication “Du’a Kumayl” by the person whom the Prophet of Islam had hailed as “Gateway of the City of Knowledge.”
The Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt are knowledge personified. They are repositories of God-given knowledge. The Noblest Lady of all times, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA) was the embodiment of celestial knowledge, and so were the Infallible Imams of her progeny. Today, the 5th of Jamadi al-Awwal affords us the opportunity to dwell on another Immaculate Personage of this Blessed Household who was personification of a higher realm of knowledge that is not acquired through books or taught by teachers. It is the birth anniversary of a lady, who was hailed as the Unschooled Scholar.
In Karbala during and history’s most heartrending tragedy her role as the Saviour of Islam came to the fore. She carried the mission of her martyred brother to the enemy’s camp, in order to make Islam triumphant.
Although, Hazrat Zainab (SA), was not among the 14 ma’soumeen or Infallibles, in the strict sense of the word, the granddaughter of the Prophet had reached such a higher status of cognition of God that she was immune from any ignorance and fallibility, as is borne out by her dynamic characteristics.
In terms of all excellent merits including possessing knowledge with certitude, she was considered next only to her Impeccable Mother, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA). It is actually one’s own ignorance to raise such an issue in view of the fact that no less a personality than her nephew Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) says about her: “You are by the grace of God, a scholar unschooled by anyone and a sage by connation.”
The 4th Imam, in praise of her eloquent sermons in Kufa and Damascus when the noble prisoners were brought before the Omayyad rulers, said the realities and finer points of God-given intelligence and knowledge that his aunt demonstrated is not easy to grasp by even the most erudite scholars.
Born in 6 AH in Medina, she was named by the Prophet as “Zainab” on “Adornment of her Father” on God’s command conveyed through Archangel Gabriel. On her birth, her grandfather foretold his daughter and son-in-law about the great sufferings the newborn would endure in order to nurse back to life the sapling of Islam. Her flawless genealogy is crystal clear to all. Her parents need no introduction. If the Prophet of Islam was her maternal grandfather, her paternal grandfather was that protector of infant Islam, the Prophet’s beloved uncle and guardian, Hazrat Abu Taleb (AS).
If her maternal grandmother was Hazrat Khadija, the Omm al-Momineen or Mother of all true Believers who as the richest lady of Arabia had spent all her fabulous wealth for Islam, her paternal grandmother was Fatema bint Asad, the lady who had brought up the orphaned Prophet as her own son.
The merits of Hazrat Zainab (peace upon her), who gave her two youthful sons Aun and Mohammad as sacrifices for the cause of Islam at Karbala, do not end here, in view of the fact that her brothers are the Leaders of the Youths of Paradise, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (peace upon them). She was married to her first cousin Abdullah, who was brought up by the Prophet following the death of his father, Ja’far at-Tayyaar – the first migrant in Islam whose famous expounding of monotheism and the merits of Prophet Jesus (AS) and the Virgin Mary (SA) in the court of King Negus (Najashi) of Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) when the polytheists of Mecca pursued him there, is recorded in golden letters.
Here we intend to mention some of the epithets of this Immaculate Lady for the defence of whose golden-domed shrine in Damascus from the attacks of the Takfiri terrorists, the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt have assembled in the Syrian capital.
Siddiqat-as-Sughra, or the “Truthful Lady the Younger”, was earned by in view of the fact that her mother’s famous epithet is Siddiqat-al-Kubra, whichmeans the Most Truthful Lady ever.
Aeelat-al-Bani Hashem or The Wise Lady of the Hashemite Clan, as narrators including the celebrated exegete Abdullah Ibn Abbas have referred to her while quoting a hadith on her authority.
Omm al-Masa’eb or theMother of Grief, was the title she earned because of her role in Karbala and its equally tragic aftermath. Among the other titles mentioned for her books of history and hospitality, are Muwasseqa or The Authoritative Lady, Fazelat-al-Kamela or The Perfectly Virtuous Lady, and Abeda-e Aal-e Ali or The Pious Lady of the Alawid Family.
No wonder, in view of these matchless merits of his sister, it was the habit of Imam Husain (AS) to stand to his feet whenever Hazrat Zainab (SA) entered his presence.