The founder of the first Muslim care home: Syeda Zaynab bint Ali: her productivity even when facing trials and tribulations

By A.Z.

We have all faced turmoil in our lives. We are tested. We all have to be tested.

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
Quran [2:155]: ” Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.”

Quran [3:146]: “And Allaah loves As-Saabiroon (the patient).”

Quran [39:10]: “Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.”

If you were to list all the major catastrophes that you have encountered in your life, what have you lost? Why are you unhappy? Are you being ungrateful for all the blessings that you have?

The Tābi‘ūn (Followers) are the generation of Muslims who were born after the death of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, but who were contemporaries of the Sahaba (Companions of the Prophet PBUH).

Let’s look at the life of an important follower. The follower is a great lady. She was tested throughout her life, with the harshest of tribulations. Her grandfather is Prophet Muhammad PBUH. She is Sayeda Zaynab bint Ali. She is the sister of Al Hassan and Al Hussein PBU them.

All the disasters in her life were tests. The more she was tested, the more she gave and contributed to society.

We all have to go through ordeals, trials and tribulations in our lives. That is life, it is a series of tests. The greater the trial, the greater the reward. We are tried by blessings, as well as by tribulations in our lives.

There is not a single person who is immune from life’s troubles. It is those who have strong faith in God that will never lose hope and will always have the strength to carry on.

Prophet Muhammad PBUH lost several of his children in his lifetime; he lost 3 of his daughters in 2 years. The Prophet was especially compassionate towards children.

When facing tribulations, you have to be patient and steadfast in your faith. If you feel defeated or depressed, use your faith to stand back on your feet. God is hope. If you lose hope, you will go down a spiral of desperation with serious consequences.

Quran 12:87:”O my sons! go ye and enquire about Joseph and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s Soothing Mercy: truly no one despairs of Allah’s Soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith.”

Quran [94:5]: “So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief.” This reiterated in [94:6]: ”Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.”

Quran [65:7]: “Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief.”

There is hope, keep the hope alive, use it to empower yourself and others into thinking positively and taking positive action.

The path of desperation is littered with sadness and self loathing. These are destructive feelings that can lead to very sad endings. Be resolute and determined to defy all odds. Be the positive light in peoples’ lives – Muslims and non Muslims.

Raise your children to see you as caring and revering. Be gentle and loving, follow the example of the Prophet PBUH in treating your spouse, your family and all those around you (Muslims and non Muslims) with kindness, fairness and respect.

When Sayeda Zaynab PBUH was 7, she lost her grandfather the Prophet PBUH. Six months later she lost her mother. In her mother’s last moment, she said to Sayeda Zaynab PBUH: ‘O Zaynab, your brothers Al Hassan and Al Hussein are older than you, but you have to be a mother for them.’ Her mother also told her: ‘Your grandfather the Prophet Muhammad is now dead, be a mother to Prophet Muhammad’s Ummah.’

To fulfill her mother’s will, Sayeda Zaynab PBUH – who was still a child, found herself responsible for her older brothers, her father and the entire Ummah.

When she was 10 years old, she used to invite the poor and cook for them. She became the founding pioneer of voluntary and charity work. The first Muslim care home was established by Sayeda Zaynab PBUH. She was the first Muslim to establish an orphanage.

Her father, the great Caliph Ali PBUH, would always seek to consult her. While she was young, she helped shape her father’s historic decisions that affected the history of the Islamic empire. She also influenced her brother Al Hassan’s critical decisions in the hard times that ensued.

Do you consult your mother? Your wife? Your sister? Your daughter?

Do you follow the role models of Islam in revering the women in your life?

If you don’t, you are guilty of breaching the high standards of respect for women required by Islam.

There are some Muslims who oppose paid work and voluntary work for women. How can they challenge the role of women in Islam? How can they ignore the example of the great women in Islam, who not only contributed to voluntary work, but were at its forefront as pioneers? Women in Islam work and contribute in every field of human endeavour from business and science to voluntary work.

Caliph Ali PBUH and his son Al Hassan PBUH not only valued Sayeda Zaynab’s PBUH opinions wholeheartedly; they also supported her in her voluntary work.

She was able to expand her voluntary work and opened another branch for her establishment in Kouffa. Her husband financed her work.

She lost her father, her son and her 2 brothers; she returned to Medina and was forced to leave Medina in the political turbulence that ensued. After going through all this, she established another care home for the elderly in Egypt. Her answer to the ordeals in her life was to give more compassion, love and care to others.

Can you try to be as patient and strong as she was? Can you try to be a force of goodness and compassion as she was?

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ لِلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا فِي هَذِهِ الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةٌ وَأَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةٌ إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُم بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

Quran [39:10]: ‘Say: “O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is Allah’s earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!”‘

References

This article is adapted from Dr. Amr Khaled’s lecture, he is an Egyptian televangelist. His work influenced Arab youth and has contributed to the calls for change in the Middle East.

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ 

2:155 Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere,

“And Allaah loves As-Saabiroon (the patient)”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:146]

“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning”
[al-Zumar 39:10]
http://www.islamicteachings.org/forum/topic/10890-the-reward-for-losing-a-child-and-being-patient/

Prophet Muhammad PBUH lost several of his children in his lifetime; he lost 3 of his daughters in 2 years. The Prophet was especially compassionate towards children

Here is essential reading on the special status of women in Islam. http://www.islamic-message.net/admin/Books/Women_in_Islam.pdf

This article is adapted from Amr Khaled’s lecture. http://www.youtube.com/user/AmrKhaled?blend=3&ob=5#p/a/u/0/HNeCIxbnhGo

Amr Khaled is an Egyptian televangelist. His work influenced Arab youth and has contributed to the calls for change in the Middle East. He was voted as one of the most influential people in the world by Times Magazine.

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