The Forgotten Heroine (Part 2)

By Zamena Manekia Manji (Bujumbura, Burundi)

We have all heard several times that lady Zainab rushed to the burning tents to rescue her nephew Imam Zainul Abedin (a.s) after her brother Imam Hussain was atrociously killed. Likewise, lady Umm Kulthum also saved Imamah through nursing her ailing nephew and playing a great role by stopping him just in time from rushing towards the battlefield. On that very grave day, when Imam Hussain was left all alone, we all know that he let out the cry of Hal min nasirin yansurna. We also know that Imam Sajjad stood up from his bed, with a stick in one hand, a sword in the other and walked out of the tent. Lady Umm Kulthum was in the same tent, she would have been nursing him and she was aware of his fragility and paralysing sickness. She walked out of the tent behind him and called out, ‘oh my son, return back to the tent ‘to which Imam Sajjad replied, ‘oh my aunty, please leave me so I should fight in the company of the messenger of Allah’. At that moment Imam Hussain said ‘Oh Umm Kulthum, take him back so that the Earth should not remain without the offspring of Muhammad. ’All of this was predicated by the hand of Lady Umm Kulthum. As she clasped her nephew and returned him to safety.


As the harrowing night gloomed over the family of the Prophet, the night of Shaame Ghariba, Umm Kulthum rose amid the burning tents and the grieving hearts. With the Hashimate blood running through her veins, she soldiered alongside her sister through the tortures, gathered every scattered child and soothed them despite watching her own family massacred in front of her eyes. It has been narrated that Umm Kulthum spent the night busy in gathering the children and taking the fear away from them.

Upon the agonizing journey and entry to Kufa, Lady Umm Kulthum delivered a sermon so powerful, it drowned the people to tears and sent pangs of shivers through the enemies as her every word represented her father’s eloquence and power of speech. She delivered this sermon amid the pain that was overwhelming her heart for she was forced to watch the head of her brothers and heads painstakingly young nephews, not to mention the insurmountable physical pain from the whips and beatings. As mentioned earlier, the family of the Prophet was highly respected and Umm Kulthum had received a lot of respect and love from these very people. On that day, she was unveiled, under the scorching sun, surrounded by thousands of men and women. Yet in a matter of minutes she silenced the people of Kufa, forced their heads down in shame as her words echoed through the city. Below is a small excerpt from her sermon.

Oh people of Kufa, shame on you! Why did you leave the army of al Husayn alone without any assistance? Why did you slay him and why did you ransack his property as they were your inheritance? Having held his women as captive, you’ve hurt them and then you harmed them.

Woe be to you and may perdition overtake you. Do you know what burden you have put on your backs? Do you know who you have killed? Do you know which great ladies you have grieved? Do you know which daughters you have ransacked? And do you know whose properties you have plundered? You have killed the best of men after Rasulallah (SAWW) and have not shown any affection or any love.

Know that the party of Allah are the successful and the party of shaitan are the losers.

You have murdered my brother, may your mothers despair! You will be compensated with hell fire. You have shed the blood that Allah (swt) has forbidden you to shed, what the quran has forbidden. Then what the prophet has forbidden. Now receive glad tidings that you will be in the hellfire and that tomorrow you will be in the worst of it; be sure that you will be in in forever! For surely, I will cry my whole life for my brother, he was born as a righteous man after the prophet. My tears are plenty, ever so heavy and flowing down my cheeks. Never will they dry!

The sermon is so fierce yet it contains the some of the most powerful perceptions about the events in kerbala. She openly displayed her anger and sent pangs of guilt and regret to the hearts of these Kufans who had initially paid allegiance than backed away. Imam Al Sadiq narrates that his father Imam Al Baqir said that ‘bibi Umm Kulthum spoke to the people in the market of Kufa in which all the people remained silent. Then she gave a sermon so eloquently it was as if Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib was speaking’.

A narrator even mentioned that, when the people of kufa heard this, all of them were wailing loudly and the women were pulling their hair, they were calling out for the loss and destruction to fall upon the Kufan people. The men wailed and tore their beards, No one had seen more weeping people than that day.

That is how authoritative a woman she was, a few words spoken yet so powerful, it led the pathway towards the reformation of Islam. A narration states.

Lady Umm Kulthum remained steadfast, challenging the foundations of the authority of the Ummayid family, and exposing their inhumane treatment of the family of the house in the city of kufa and on the road from kerbala to kufa.

Its about time we realize the great status Lady Umm Kulthum holds in the religion of Islam. We need to collectively strive to honor her life and learn from the lessons that she taught us through her piety and bravery, her eloquence and profound knowledge. We need to continually mention her timeless sacrifices as a woman who preserved the teachings of the Prophet and strove till her very last breath, for a woman so immaculate, is indeed a treasure to the religion of Islam.

Sources of Reference:

The Hidden treasure book by Jaffer Ladak

 Sayed Ammar Nakshwani – biography of Umm Kulthum (a.s)

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About the author

Zamena Manekia Manji was born and raised in Dar es Salaam, a bookworm with a passion for writing that cemented at the age of 13. She served the community alongside her studies through the years and upon moving to Bujumbra , Burundi - continued doing the same. Over time her writings have evolved from fiction to Islamic, contemporary and historical writings. She has also worked on a number of scripts, ad writings, essays, personal statements for universities, and beyond as with each task, she tries to improve her writing skills. Through her words she hopes to shed some light into Islamic History, Islamic concepts and contemporary issues, slowly doing her part towards building a better and stronger society.

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