The Sermon of Imam Zayn Al-Abidin – Part Three

Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi

(Toronto, Canada)

Who is my father?

I am the son of the person killed unjustly, the son of one whose head was severed from the back of the
neck, I am the son of the one who was thirsty till the last moment, I am the son of one who was abandoned in Karbala, I am the son of the one whose blood soaked in the dust – I am the son of the one who was slaughtered in Karbala.

I am the son of the one on whom the angels of the heavens cried, I am the son of the one on whom the jinn in the earth and birds in the sky wailed. I am the son of the one whose head was paraded on the spear; I am the son of the one whose family was made prisoners from Iraq to Sham.

According to the narrations, Imam Zayn Al-Abidin continued to say “I am…” and “I am…” until the people started to cry and Yazid feared their reaction. Then Yazid asked the mu’adhdhin to sound the call for prayer so that the Imam would be forced to stop his speech.

The mu’adhdhin started the call for prayer. He said, “Allahu akbar – Allah is the greatest,” and the Imam affirmed the greatness of Allah. Then the mu’adhdhin said, “Ash-hadu an la ilaha il-lal-lah – I bear witness that there is no god but Allah,” and the Imam affirmed the unity of God.When the mu’adhdhin uttered the third phrase of the adhan, “ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasululah – I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” the Imam turned towards Yazid and said:

O Yazid! This Muhammad is my grandfather or your grandfather? If you say that he is your grandfather,
then you are a liar and you will become kafir; and if you say that he is my grandfather, then why did you
kill his family? Why did you kill my father and made his women captives?

Yazid ordered the mu’adhdhin to start the iqamah to start the prayer. Imam Zayn Al-Abidin’s speech had such an impact that many people stood up and left without praying behind Yazid.


The sermon of Lady Zaynab exposed the true face of the family of Abu Sufyan to the people of Sham, and the sermon of Imam Zayn Al-Abidin showed the true status of the Ahlul Bayt to the people of Sham. Its immediate result was that Yazid feared the reaction of the people and started distancing himself from the killing of Imam Husayn bin ‘Ali and blaming everything on Ibn Ziyad! He was forced to release the family of Ahlul Bayt and send them to Medina respectfully.

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About the author

He was born in 1957 in a family of ‘ulamã’ in Bihar, India. He comes from a region in Bihar (Siwan District, previously known as Saran) that has produced well-known Shi‘a scholars in the Indian sub-continent. Migrated to Africa with his parents where he received elementary education in English medium school. After that for two years, he studied Arabic and Farsi with his respected father and two other ‘alims in Dar-Es-salaam, Tanzania.

In 1972, at the age of fifteen, he went to the Hawza-e ‘Ilmiya-e Qum, Iran. During his ten years stay in Qum, he studied with various teachers; and moved from the levels of muqaddimãt to sutûh (equal to graduate level in secular universities) and, finally, attended the dars-e kharij (ijtihad lectures equal to post-graduate studies) of Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaikh Wahid Khurãsãni.

In 1982, he returned to India where he stayed at Gopalpur for about a year.

In June 1983, at the invitation of the Shia Muslim Community of British Columbia, he and his wife moved to Vancouver where he stayed till June 1991 and served Shi‘a Islam through his lectures, writings, and teachings. Based on his publications and educational background, in September 1987, the Simon Fraser University (Vancouver) admitted him in the post-graduate program at Masters’ level. This was even though he had no formal degree nor was he asked to sit for any exams. In 1990 he completed his thesis; and after successfully defending the thesis, was awarded the Master of Arts degree in History in 1991.

In July 1991, he moved to Toronto and till 1996 worked as the Director of Islamic Education & Information Center providing a variety of religious services to Shi‘as in North America. During this time, he was also involved in the founding of the As-Sadiq Islamic School, a full time Islamic school from KG to Grade 8 levels. Since July 1996, he has accepted the responsibilities of the Imam-e Jum‘a and Resident ‘Ãlim of the Jaffari Islamic Center / Jaffari Community Center.

He has traveled to most cities in Canada and U.S.A.; as well as to Australia, Guyana, Trinidad, United Kingdom, Dubai, Pakistan, Tanzania and Kenya for lectures.

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