|Sham-e-GharibanThe night following the day of Ashura is known as Sham e Ghariban.|
It was the night when the exhausted, hungry and tired families of Imam Hussain and his companions sat in loneliness, each thinking about the loved ones they had lost in the unjust battle on that day.Due to the illness of Imam Ali Zain-ul Abideen, Bibi Zainab realised that she would have to take care of the small group of women and children herself.
She called her sister Bibi Umme Kulthum to help her and they decided to count all the children to see that none had gone missing in the confusion of the fire.
To her horror and dismay Bibi Zainab found that Bibi Sakina, the beloved daughter of Imam Hussain, was not there.The two ladies searched everywhere for the young girl but in vain. Finally, in desperation, Bibi Zainab (as) went to the place where the body of her brother Hussain lay and cried,
“O my brother, Sakina, who you left in my care, is nowhere to be found. Where shall I look for her in this wilderness?”
Just then, the moon came out from behind a cloud and Bibi Zainab saw that little Sakina lay on her father, sleeping on his chest like she always used to. She shook the child awake and said,
“My child, how did you find your father’s beheaded body in this darkness?”The little girl replied innocently, “I wanted to tell my father about what the people had done to me.
I wanted to tell him how Shimr had robbed the earrings that my father had so lovingly given me.
I wanted to tell him how he had ripped them from my ears leaving my earlobes torn and bleeding.
I wanted to tell him how the beast had mercilessly slapped me when I cried in pain.
When I was running aimlessly in the desert I thought I heard my father’s voice telling me he was here. I followed the voice and I found him lying here. I told him everything and then I felt like sleeping on his chest the way I always did, for the last time. So I kept my head on his chest and slept till you came.”Bibi Zainab (as) took the little child’s hand and led her back to the camp where her mother Bibi Rubab waited anxiously.
She had just returned the exhausted child to her mother when she noticed that a group of people were advancing towards the camp carrying flame torches. She thought that some soldiers had returned to loot them and she hurried to stop them from disturbing the children who had finally gone to sleep despite their hunger and thirst.
However, it turned out that the arrivals were a group of ladies, the wives of some of the enemy soldiers. They were led by the widow of Hur, who had joined Imam Hussain’s army from the enemy camp.Hur’s widow said, “Dear lady, we have been asked to bring food and water for the children and bereaved ladies of your camp.”
She continued sadly, “I am the widow of Hur who died fighting for your brother. When the soldiers of Amr ibne Sa’ad realised that all of you would perish of hunger and thirst, and that they would not be able to take you back to Yazid according to his command, they sent me to bring food and water to you.”
Bibi Zainab offered her condolences at the death of Hur and apologised that they had not been able to offer him much hospitality. This remark prompted Hur’s widow to say,
“My lady, I do not know how to offer you condolences, because you lost not one, but 18 members of your family.”
Bibi Zainab supervised the feeding of all the children and ladies. She then took a broken sword in her hands and began going around the camp ensuring that the small group was safe from any further disturbances during that night.