The sermon of Lady Zaynab (a) in Damascus or the sermon of Lady Zaynab (a) in Yazid's gathering is a sermon delivered by lady Zaynab (a) after the Event of 'Ashura when the caravan of the captives of Karbala was taken to the gathering of Yazid b. Mu'awiya in Damascus. This sermon as well as the remarks of Imam al-Sajjad (a) greatly affected the audiences and changed the gathering in favor of Ahl al-Bayt (a).
The central issues of the sermon are as follows: praising God and sending regards to the Prophet Muhammad (s), the divine tradition of indulging unbelievers, the wrongness of Yazid's behaviors, cursing Yazid's companions, the fate of oppressors, complaining to God about the oppression, and the eternity of Ahl al-Bayt (a).
After the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a) on the Day of Ashura', his household were imprisoned by the enemy. The caravan of the Captives of Karbala was first taken to the court of Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad in Kufa and then to the court of Yazid in Damascus. Prominent figures of Syria were invited by Yazid to his palace on the occasion of his victory. When they entered the palace, the captives as well as the heads of the martyrs of Karbala were taken to the meeting.
In Yazid's meeting, as soon as Lady Zaynab (a) saw the bloody head of her brother, Imam al-Husayn (a), she sadly cried:
- "O al-Husayn! O God's beloved! O the son of Mecca and Mina! O the son of Fatima al-Zahra (a), the lady of all ladies in the world! O the son of Mustafa (s)!"
The transmitter of the story said: "I swear to God that with Zaynab's (a) cry, everyone in the meeting cried, while Yazid was silent!"
Yazid ordered his staff to bring his wooden stick with which he hit Imam al-Husayn's (a) lips and teeth. Abu Barza al-Aslami (one of the Prophet's (s) companions who was present at the meeting) told Yazid, "O Yazid! Do you hit the teeth of al-Husayn (a) the son of Fatima with your wooden stick? I saw the Prophet (s), with my own eyes, kissing al-Husayn's (a) as well as his brother al-Hasan's (a) lips and teeth and saying, 'you two, are the masters of the youths in the Heaven. May God kill and curse people who kill you. God has prepared the hell for them and wretched is the destination'."
Yazid was angered by his speech and ordered his staff to kick him out of the meeting. He then recited the following poems (which were originally composed by Ibn al-Ziba'ari after the Battle of Uhud):
- I wish my seniors in Badr witnessed
- the cries of Khazraj out of the strikes of spears
- so they shouted happily
- and said: O Yazid! Bravo!
After the recitation of this poem, Lady Zaynab (a) stood up and delivered a sermon.
Lady Zaynab (a) began her sermon by praising God and sending regards to the Prophet (s) and a Quranic verse concerning the fate of wrongdoers. She then appealed to a Quranic verse regarding the divine tradition of allowing time to unbelievers, and then reprimanded Yazid for his oppression of Imam al-Husayn's (a) household, walking them in cities. She said that Yazid did this for the vengeance of the Battle of Badr. She went on to remind the bad fate of Yazid and curse the killers and oppressors at the Battle of Karbala. At the end, she pointed out that revelation and prophethood specifically belong to Ahl al-Bayt (a) and that Yazid's efforts to wipe them out is vain.
- Jaʿfarī, Tashayyuʿ dar masīr-i tārīkh, p. 80.
- Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 45, p. 132-133.
- Jaʿfarī, Sayyid Ḥusayn. Tashayyuʿ dar masīr-i tārīkh. Translated to Farsi by Muḥammad Taqī Āyatollāhī. Tenth edition. [n.p], [n.d].
- Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1403 AH.