Imam Zayn al-‘Abideen (peace be upon him) stood in such days of the year 61 AH, with courage and steadfastness, in front of the tyrant Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad in his council while he was captive and shackled with chains, looking at him beating the holy head of Imam al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) with a stick he had in hand, with pride and joy.
The fourth Imam (peace be upon him) addressed the people of Kufa and delivered a sermon before them. After making a sign to them to keep silent, he said: "O people! Whoever knows me knows me, and he, who does not know me, should know that I am the son of that person, who was dishonored and whose entire belongings were looted and plundered, and whose women and children were made prisoners.
O people! I put you on your oath to tell me in the name of Allah, whether you know that at one time you wrote letters to my father and then deceived him. You made firm promises with him and then rose to fight against him. May Allah destroy you, may you reap the harvest of your misdeeds in both the worlds, and may you be disgraced for the indecent policy which you have adopted. How will you face the Prophet of Allah when you are brought before him on the Day of Judgment and with which eyes will you look at him? At that time the Holy Prophet will tell you: "You have killed my children and behaved towards me dishonorably. You are not my followers?!
These few sentences of the Imam changed the thinking of Ii the people of Kufa and the smiling faces of those persons who had mostly come to see the prisoners blushed with shame. They tried to control themselves but could not do so. At last the groanings and lamentations of the people could be heard from different sides. They began reproaching one another. One of them said: "What an evil thing you have done! You annihilated yourselves". Another replied: "But what can we do now?"
While the people were weeping and sighing the Imam addressed them once again in these words: "May Allah bless those, who accept my advice and put into practice my recommendations about their duty to Allah, the Prophet of Allah and the Progeny of the Prophet, for it is incumbent upon us to follow the Prophet of Allah".
This brief address brought about such a turn in the minds of the people that they cried: "O son of the Prophet of Allah! All of us will hear what you say and obey your orders. We will honor the promises made with you. We will not forsake you and will not side with anyone else. We are ready to act upon whatever you say. We will fight with him, against whom you fight, and will make peace with him, with whom you make peace. We are prepared even to take steps to arrest Yazid. We hate those who oppress you".
Hence, Imam as-Sajjad (peace be upon him) said: "O unfaithful and inconstant people! You will never succeed. Do you want to have towards me in the same manner in which you behaved towards my forefathers? NO, it cannot be so. I swear by Allah that the wounds of my heart have not yet healed up. Yesterday my father and his companions met martyrdom. I have not yet forgotten my being bereaved of the Holy Prophet, my father and my brothers have not overcome this grief. What I want you to do is that you should neither support us nor oppose us. Al-Hussayn Ibn Ali's being martyred is also not surprising. Was not his father Ali better than him and was he not assassinated? O Kufians! It was you, who killed Ali. May I be sacrificed for my father who was martyred on the bank of the Euphrates. The punishment for his killers is Hell".