In the 6th century, Mecca has become the cradle of the world’s third great monotheistic religion, Islam. Indeed Islamic teachings have led the world with women’s rights, empowering and granting women their basic rights centuries before the West allegedly did so. Women all through the Islamic history have played an influential role along with men, for the most part, Sayedah Khadija (PBUH); the Prophet’s wife, Sayedah Fatimah A-Zahraa (PBUH); the Prophet’s daughter and later Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) the Prophet’s granddaughter. These great figures, particularly Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) have influenced Lebanese Resistance women in their revolutionary movement, which has been ongoing since 1982.
The methodology to reflecting the revolutionary character of the Lebanese Hezbollah women, in this article, is the Zainabist approach. Centuries before the so-called Feminism, Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) had initiated a revolutionary movement throughout her outstanding life and attitudes. As far as Zainabism is concerned, political, social and ideological reform movements are equally led by women and men. Women, from all walks of life, as men, are requested to effectively take part in the revolutionary anti-corruption movement, intended to establish strong legislation and enforcement against perceived endemic corruption and oppression.
Prophet Muhammad’s dynasty has presented to the world an exceptional theory, which reflects how the authentic genuine Islam view women, their rights and their significant roles. This theory is entitled ZAINABISM. Zainabism embodies the women’s vital roles and responsibilities, derived from the heroic character of A’ashura Uprising, Sayedah Zainab (PBUH)’s life and standpoints. This ideological school has indeed become the first and foremost approach followed by Shiite women and particularly Lebanese Resistance Women. Those outstanding impulsive women have been exemplary icons in their struggle against the Zionist and Western enemies, along with their men.
Indeed, Late Ayatollah Imam Ruhullah Khomeini emerged by the very end of the twentieth century as the savior of Shi'ism, he had once asserted, “Women are like the Quran; both have been assigned to guide humanity.” Besides, His Eminence, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei says, “Men and women are no different when it comes to the ascendance of spiritual positions, the power of leadership, and the capability to lead humankind.”
During the age of ignorance of pre-Islamic times, women were considered a disgrace and inferior to men and their role had not exceeded the sexual and domestic field. Undoubtedly, with the advent of Islam, women were freed from those circumstances and granted their fundamental rights and status as the bedrock of the prosperous society. Being the tutor for humanity, the prophet (PBUH) provided the environment from which the Zainabism movement will emerge and lead-free women of all ages.
Ayatollah Khamenei says, “Making women a commodity and an object of gratification in the Western world is most likely among Zionist plots aiming to destroy the society. Today, Western thinkers and those who pursue issues such as gender equality regret the corruption which it has brought about.” Islam came to liberate women at a time when women were objects to be traded off, disposed of and owned as commodities.
Islam has insisted that women are neither merely caretakers nor the definitions the West has reduced them to. Women are honored by God to build powerful nations and thus Heaven is laid at their feet.
Sayedah Zainab (PBUH)’s sobriety and severity were inherited from her grandmother Sayedah Khadija (PBUH). Her chastity and modesty were inherited from her mother Sayedah Fatimah A-Zahraa (PBUH). Her eloquence was inherited from her father Imam Ali (PBUH). Her forbearance and patience were inherited from her brother Imam Hassan (PBUH) and her bravery and tranquility were inherited from her brother Imam Hussein (PBUH). Unequivocally, Lebanese Hezbollah women are the sincere and loyal students of the Zainabist School, which has taught them the vitality of fighting against evil and corruption. They are quite eager to urge their loved ones; sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, to join the fight in Syria against the terrorists and to avenge their crimes against innocent people.
Hezbollah has emerged as a resistance movement and a leading political party in the aftermath of the Lebanese civil war, which lasted from 1975 up to the early 1990s. Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 and the Zionist invasion of Lebanon in 1982, a group of Lebanese Shiite clerics, by the order of Imam Khomeini, established Hezbollah. Indeed, Hezbollah doctrine is greatly influenced by its ideological affiliations, i.e. the principles of the Shiite School. These beliefs have played an influential role in Hezbollah history, policy and stances. Therefore, Hezbollah women particularly have been driven and programmed based on the ideals and tenets of the Zainabist approach.
Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) refused the omnipotent authority of the Umayyad dictatorial policy in her age, for this reason, she initiated, along with her brother Imam Hussein (PBUH), A’ashura uprising and later safeguarded the chief principles of this revolution. She perceived that mere stances could not bring about reforms without patience and perseverance. Competing politics of grievance and bureaucracy could complicate the flexibility of Islamic teachings; as a result, Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) stood firmly against the tyrant of her time and heroically resist its brutality. This thought has stimulated Lebanese Resistance women to understand the enemies’ conspiracies and plots, thus they stand determinedly and steadfastly to safeguard their society in many different ways.
Does the West wonder how Hezbollah heroic fighters are brought up? It is explicit who stands behind them and how! The upbringing of Hezbollah men illustrates the degree to which biological and ideological environment influence children's personality, values, and aptitudes. Apparently, those men are grown up to be well-adjusted, loyal and revolutionary members of the Resistance society. Moreover, and from the very beginning, those heroines have perceived their influential and powerful societal role. They established many educational and charitable working groups, for instance, Hezbollah Women’s Directorates. Multi-roles of women in domestic and public sectors have basically affected the behavior, the structure, the function, and the construction of Hezbollah.
Definitely, those devout women have kept the flame of loyalty and resistance flourishing and passed it onto their children. Sayedah Zainab (PBUH)’s philosophy of freedom, steadfastness, justice and combating despotism is unequivocally revealed in her outstanding character. She did not collapse, despite all the pain and challenges, but rather she emerged as the most courageous female politician with her decisive heroic stances. Sayedah Zainab (PBUH)’s extraordinary patience and faithfulness are embodied in her prayer, amid all the very inhumane and drastic tragedies at Karbala, she said, “O my Lord! Accept our humble sacrifice to You.” This stance has a great impact on Resistance women, despite the hardships and the hostility of the consecutive wars; they are ready to sacrifice at the altar of freedom and for the sake of their cause.
Sayedah Zainab (PBUH)’s starring role was exemplary and her speech to Yazid echoes through time and space. She prompted a very significant turning point, which proved that women are not on the periphery of history. Hezbollah’s women are greatly influenced by her courage in the face of tyranny and her submissive to God’s will. Although her brother’s righteous revolution was militarily overwhelmed at Karbala, her sacrifices and patience shifted the defeat into a permanent and decisive triumph.
The Supreme Leader says, “Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) proved that it is possible to turn feminine morality and modesty into glory and great jihad (selfless endeavor).”
Within Hezbollah’s ideology, the Zionist entity is essentially the USA’s strategic imperialist partner in the region. The vehement opposition towards the aggressive practices by the Zionist Entity has been consistently firm within the political and historical context of the Resistance rhetoric.
Hezbollah outlines his aim at ending the burdensome of Zionist occupation. Obviously, the Resistance core argument with the U.S. is due to its blatant policies, which aims at subordinating and splitting the Middle East, with the aim of legitimizing the Zionist Entity and normalizing ties with the ‘Arab rulers’; particularly the occupiers of Mecca and Hejaz. The Secretary-General of Hezbollah; Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has frequently emphasized that the conflict with the imperialist powers is related to the enemies’ attempt to control and take hold of the capabilities of the nation, freedom and justice. Sayyed Nasrallah has stressed that their main objective is to liberate the occupied land. Beirut's southern suburb, by the early 1980's, had become one of the strongholds of Hezbollah.
From its founding, Hezbollah women have headed education, medical and social service organizations. They effectively serve their community and promote Hezbollah’s ideology in order to raise disciplined and committed fighters against Zionism, Imperialism and Takfirism. Indeed, Resistance women have exerted an exceptional effort to advance Hezbollah’s victories over the enemies, most recently their determination to aid their men who have been heroically confronting the Takfiris in Syria, since 2012. The mothers of martyrs have adopted the strength and resilience from Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) and so proud to elevate to this preeminent status. Their courage and patience are indescribable, as they hail the death of their beloved as a sacrifice, a martyrdom. For those women, Hezbollah’s engagement in Syria has been very significant, mainly to protect Sayedah Zainab (PBUH)’s shrine in Damascus, the Ummah’s (Muslim Nation) cause, sovereignty and dignity. Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) is a model of patience, endurance, injustice and defiance against oppression.
After the tragic events and the sacrifices by Imam Husain (PBUH) in Karbala, to safeguard her cause and her religion, she patiently endured various sorts of calamities, tortures and hardships and never showed vulnerability to the tormentors of her time. Sayedah Zainab (PBUH)’s life, versatile virtues, sublime personality, modesty, chastity and knowledge are the best example for the Resistance women. Her utter patience, her daring performance her magnanimous behavior, her eloquent sermons in Kufa and in the court of Yazid in Shaam (Levant) forwarded the reform project of her brother Imam Hussein (PBUH) and revealed the brutal acts of the Umayyad regime.
Her eloquent speeches and stances, in face of the arrogant corrupted tyrant rulers, impressively echo until today.
By the very beginning of the Takfiri aggressive attack on Syria, many brave heroes showed their readiness to guard Sayedah Zainab’s Holy Shrine, under the slogan ‘Labbyki Ya Zainab.’ This rhetorical expression means that they are ready to sacrifice anything to guard her shrine and methodology of resistance and courage, facing the enemy and any kind of injustice from tyrants. Their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters are behind this ultimate enthusiasm, readiness and keenness. They have owed allegiance to Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) to follow her step in their confrontation with the Zionist Saudist Wahhabist plots against the Ummah.
Hezbollah has given his women their basic rights and opportunities to invest their capabilities for the sake of evolving the society. Resistance women in the pre-Hezbollah era were reportedly barred from basic rights, as part of the persecution that Shiite have endured for a long time. With the Islamic revolution led by Imam Khomeini in the late 70s, Shiite’s status around the world, and particularly that of women, was substantially improved. The traditional view of Lebanese women maintains that women are naïve and considered inferior to men, and therefore treated as property and items to present in the downward unethical advertisement and media. Countering the widespread exploitation of women, Hezbollah has arguably empowered women and relied on them in various influential positions.
Regarding military operations, Resistance women have only a scant presence and their role is mostly limited to combat support, preparing the fighters to battle and taking care of them or their families in case of injury or martyrdom. In the past, some of Hezbollah women operated in the battlefield by tracking enemy motions and transferring arms and information. Their role was not limited to supporting fighters; they suffered arrests and torture. Currently, those women do not participate in the military fight because there is no need for it; however, they aid and collect monetary donations. During 2006 aggressive war, they were responsible for supplying fighters’ needs and treating the wounded.
Sayedah Zainab (PBUH)’s manifestation of love, patience and boundless sacrifice and her eloquent sermons conclude the most profound Islamic concepts and the role of women in the confrontation with the enemies. Accordingly, Lebanese Resistance women have proved that they are just as capable of excellence as men are and their stances are equally worthy of praise. Their activism is an obvious expression of their commitment and devotion to their country and cause.
Both Lebanese Resistance women and men are extraordinary on their own merit, and both have a wisdom and heroism that free people can hardly grasp. Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) was brought up in an environment replete with resistance, courage and bravery. She received Islamic education on the lap of her pious mother and father and became a typical Muslim woman. Sayedah Zainab (PBUH) is role model of resistance and sacrifice; an icon which Resistance Lebanese women have followed.
By Sondoss Al Asaad*