After the martyrdom, the first Majlis of Imam Husain (A.S.) was recited in the market-place of Kufa by a lady from whose head her abaya had been ripped off, whose hopes and aspirations had been destroyed on the blood-drenched sands of Karbala but whose indomitable spirit stepped forward to free the Islamic values from the yoke of tyranny and oppression. She was the first one to answer the call of her brother Imam Husain (A.S.). Standing on her unsaddled camel, Zainab (peace on her) looked at the multitude that had come out to watch the arrival in the city of the womenfolk and children of the Prophet’s Household. As soon as people saw her, they were quiet. Looking straight at them, the daughter of Ali and Fatema (peace upon them), said: “Woe upon you O people of Kufa. Do you realise which piece of Mohammad’s heart you have severed! Which pledge you have broken! Whose blood you have shed! Whose honour you have desecrated! It is not just Husain whose headless body lies unburied on the sands of Karbala. It is the heart of the Prophet. It is the very soul of Islam!”
The effect of her words was electrifying on the crowd and tears rolled down their eyes. They froze into silence, and even horses and camels stopped whinnying. A narrator says that he had never heard anyone deliver such a highly eloquent speech and it made him recall the matchless eloquence of her father Imam Ali (AS). After praising God and sending blessings on Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and his infallible progeny, she reprimanded the Kufans for their weak faith and double crossing, questioning the reason for their tears now when it was because of their treachery the Ahl al-Bayt have suffered and the tears of the blessed household have never stopped flowing. She likened their tears to moonlight that falls on a grave but has no benefit for the buried corpse. She said, the Kufans because of their dubious traits invited Imam Husain (AS) and then deserted him to be tragically martyred, thereby earning for themselves divine wrath. “May your tears never stop,”she said in her highly eloquent speech likening the treacherous Kufans to a woman who after toiling to weave the thread undoes her endeavours herself. She reprimanded them for their sedition and sycophancy and said they resembled the grass that grows in unclean soil that even animals are unwilling to smell. She told them that their crime of inviting Imam Husain (AS), betraying him to the forces of Yazid and participating in the shedding of his innocent blood will remain till the Day of Resurrection as an ugly blot upon them, since they have badly hurt the soul of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). She warned the deceitful Kufans that if today blood has fallen from the sky because of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS), tomorrow they should be prepared for the more grievous punishment of afterlife. Hazrat Zainab (peace on her) would have continued this highly eloquent sermon of her if her nephew Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) had not stepped forward and requested her to have patience.
The first Majlis touched and moved the people of Kufa so deeply as to give rise to both the movement of the Tawwabin or the Penitents, and subsequently the quest of avenging the blood of Imam Husain (A.S.) by Mukhtar ibn Abi Obaid al-Saqafi, whose uprising attracted not just the people of Iraq, but also Iranians, and it is said that a group came to Kufa even from far off India. Mukhtar managed to inflict heavy defeats on the Omayyad and brought to justice most of the main culprits who carried out the heinous crime against the Prophet’s family, especially the chief ones, such Obaidollah ibn Ziyad, Khouli, Ibn Anas, Hormala and last but not the least, Omar ibn Sa’d despite the fact that he was his sister’s husband. Mukhtar was on the verge of wiping out the Omayyad dynasty, but for the treachery of the Abdullah bin Zubayr.