Text:Debate of Lady Zaynab (a) with 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad

From wikishia

The debate between Lady Zaynab (a) and 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, took place in Muharram 61/680, after the Battle of 'Ashura.

When the captives of Karbala and the holy heads of the martyrs were circulated around Kufa, 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad took a seat in his private palace and held a public ceremony. The head of Imam al-Husayn (a) was brought before him, as well as the wives and children of Imam al-Husayn (a). Lady Zaynab (a) also entered wearing her modest clothes and surrounded by women and servants and took a seat on a side.


'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad asked: "Who is the woman who has sat aside surrounded by other women?"

Zaynab (a) did not respond. 'Ubayd Allah repeated the question. One of the servants said: "This is Zaynab (a), the daughter of Fatima (a), the daughter of the Prophet of Islam (s)".

'Ubayd Allah said: "Allah be praised for He disgraced and executed your family and displayed that what you said has been nothing but lie".

Zaynab (a) replied: "Allah be praised for He blessed our family with His prophet, who was of our family, and purified us. No one would be disgraced but those who are transgressors, and would not lie but a wicked person, which is others (addressing 'Ubayd Allh and his followers) rather than us, and all praise belongs to Allah".

'Ubayd Allah said: "Did you see how Allah dealt with your family?"

Zaynab (a) replied: "I saw nothing but beauty! Allah ordained them to be killed and they obeyed and hurried after their tombs, and soon Allah will gather you and them (on the Judgement day), and they will complain of you to Allah. Now look forward to whom would win the claim. May your mother mourn your death, O son of Marjana!"

Her strong language offended 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziad and he was about to make an adverse decision before 'Amr b. Hurayth said: "O commander! This is just a woman, and no one blames a woman for what she says".

'Ubayd Allah addressed Zaynab (a) again: "Allah soothed my heart by your disobedient brother, and his rebellious family and troops being killed".

Zaynab (a) said: "By Allah you killed my master; you cut down my sapling and uprooted me. You are soothed then, if that is by what you get soothed".

'Ubayd Allah said with anger and sarcasm: "Same as her father, she is an orator. By my life your father also was a poet and used rhymes".

Zaynab (a) replied: "What does a woman have to do with rhymes? (It is no time to use rhymes)".[1]


  1. Shaykh al-Mufid, Muhammad b. Muhammad -al, Al-Irshad, vol. 2, p. 115; Sayyid b. Tawus, 'Ali b. Musa, al-Luhuf, p. 191; Khwarazmin, Muwaffiq b. Ahmad al, Maqtal al-Husayn, pp. 47, 48.


  • Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Muhammad b. Muhammad al-. Al-Irshad, Ed. Mu'assisat Al al-Bayt. , Qom: 1413 AH.
  • Al-Khwarizmi, Muwaffaq b. Ahmad, Maqtal al-Husayn, Edit Muhammad Samawi, Qom: Anwar al-Huda, 1418 AH.
  • Al-Sayyid b. Tawus, Al-Luhuf, Qom: Nawid Islam, 1419 AH