Scene 8: IN THE PALACE

 

Narrator: Back inside the palace...

 

(Yazid is stomping around angrily, occasionally pausing to take a gulp of wine. All are in fear)

 

Yazid: Every day, it keeps getting worse! More and more reports of complaints from the people! (sarcastically) 'You captured the family of Rasul Allah'. 'They didn't do anything'. 'Look at the poor prisoners.' 'The girl died.' The girl! I am their leader, and they're talking about a GIRL?!

 

Royal Aide: It IS getting worse, Master. Last night, the soldiers put down another riot.

 

Yazid: Curse these prisoners. I wish they had never been brought here. Even my WIFE won't stop talking about them. I don't get any peace.

 

Royal Aide: What does my Master suggest we do?

Yazid: We will, we will... we will get rid of them. Take them back to where they came from. Let the people say: Yazid the Magnanimous has pardoned the Family of Rasul Allah their treachery and treason. Let them say: He has repaid them with kindness and mercy and treated them well. Yes... I like that idea.(to guard) Bring the prisoners!

 

(prisoners marched onstage)

 

Yazid: It has come to our supreme attention that a great tragedy has befallen you. We sincerely regret this, and, according to the law of our great religion, we would like to offer you 10,000 dirhams in compensation.

 

Zainab: Money?? Yazid, you know full well our relatives were killed by your command. We do not want your wealth. We may be in prison, but we have not been humiliated. Do you think that killing the servants of Allah frees you from the boundaries of Allah? You have set yourself up in your position, and you have overstepped the limits in dealing with us. You have forgotten what Allah promises: وَلاَ يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ لِّأَنفُسِهِمْ إِنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُواْ إِثْمًا وَلَهْمُ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ Wa laa yahsabanna alladheena kafaru annamaa numli lahum khayrun lianfusihim innama numli lahum liyazdaadu ithma wa lahum adhaabun muheen. "And let not those who disbelieve think that Our respite is for their good. We only give them time so they can increase in sins." (3:178)

 

Yazid: You DARE speak like this. I am offering you justice!

 

Zainab: Is it justice, Yazid, that you conceal your wives while you violate the rights of the daughters of the Prophet? You have thrown away our veils and dragged us from city to city with the people staring at us. But what can we expect? You are the son of the woman who at the liver of the uncle of the Prophet. You are the man who lives off the blood of the martyrs. You may be caliph now, but you have done nothing but harm yourself. Fear the chastisement of Hell. O Allah, take revenge on those who have oppressed us, and send your wrath upon those who have spilled our blood and killed our men.

 

Guard: (hushed) I have never heard a woman speak like this!

 

Other Guard: What do you expect from the daughter of Ali?

 

Zainab: We complain only to Allah, and on Him do we depend. Do what you wish. You may kill us, but the people will not forget us. You will not destroy Islam. Your days are numbered, and you power will soon be gone. And soon the divine call will ring out: ْ أَلاَ لَعْنَةُ اللّهِ عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ Alaa la'natu Allahi 'alaa al-zaalimeen! "May the calamity of Allah be upon the oppressors!"

 

Yazid: (clearly disturbed) What did you expect for rebelling against our authority?

 

Sajjad: We did not seek to rebel. We only came when the people of Kufa called for our aid. All we want now are our freedom and our belongings, few though they may be.

 

Yazid: That's it?

 

Sajjad: Our belongings... and the head of my father Husain, and the heads of his companions.

 

(Yazid confers in whispers with Aide, who is very diplomatic and restrained in dealing with him)

 

Yazid: We will grant you what you seek out of our kindness and compassion. Give them their rags and their heads! And put them on some camels. Take them to Madinah.

 

Zainab: All praise is due to Allah who honored his imam with martyrdom and mercy.

 

Yazid: To Madinah! Now!

 

Other Guard: (shaking, falls to his knees) Thank God, thank God

 

(prisoners marched away)

 

Zainab: (to Sajjad) Where do we go now?

 

Sajjad: To Madinah. You must spread the word. You must let the people know what happened in Karbala. You must save Islam from this tyrant.

 

Zainab: And then what?

 

Sajjad: (sighs) To Karbala. When the time is right, we will return to Karbala.

 

Click here to listen to the sound clip at the end of Scene 8