Sayyida Zaynab was the daughter of Imam Ali (AS) and the Lady Fatima al-Zahra (SA), and the sister of Imam Hussain (AS). She and her two sons accompanied Imam Hussain (AS) on the event of Ashura where her two sons were martyred.

She had some unique characteristics, virtues and merits, some of which are presented below:

Knowledge and eloquence

Her utterances and sermons, which are full of demonstrations from the Quran, in Kufa and the court of Yazid, show how knowledgeable she was. She has narrated hadiths from her father, Imam Ali (AS), and her mother, Lady Fatimat al-Zahra (SA). Muhammad b. Amr, Ata’ b. Sa’ib, Fatima bt. al-Hussain, and other narrators have narrated hadiths from her.

During the residence of Imam Ali (AS) in Kufa, Sayyida Zaynab held sessions on exegesis of the Quran for women of Kufa.

Her sermons reminded the audience of the sermons of her father, Imam Ali (AS). Her sermons in Kufa, in front of Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, and in the court of Yazid are very similar to those of Imam Ali (AS), and the Fadakiyya sermon from her mother Fatima (SA).


She would worship at nights. She never quit tahajjud (night vigil). She gave so much of her time to worshiping acts that she was titled as “‘Abidat Al ‘Ali” (the female worshiper of the family of Ali).

On the tenth and eleventh eve of Muharram 61/October 680 and after the martyrdom of her brothers, her children, and many of her relatives she did not abandon her acts of worship.

Fatima bt. al-Hussain (SA) said, “On the eve of Ashura, my aunt (Zaynab) was worshiping, praying and crying for all the night.”

It is narrated that Imam al-Hussain (AS) told her at his last moment on the day of Ashura, “O, my sister! Do not forget me in your night prayers.”

Patience and resistance

On the day of Ashura when she saw her brother’s bloody body, she said, “O, Allah! Accept this humble sacrifice from us.”

She rescued Imam al-Sajjad (AS) from death several times, one of which was in the court of ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad after that Imam al-Sajjad (AS) debated with him, he ordered to kill the Imam (AS), but Zaynab (SA) put her hand around Imam’s neck and said, “As long as I am alive, I do not let you kill him.”