When at long last the caravan reached the outskirts of Damascus, a message was received by Umar Sa'ad that the prisoners were not to be brought into the capital until Yezid had completed all the preparations.
Yezid invited all the ambassadors, foreign dignitaries and leading citizens to his court. People were ordered to line up the streets. Musicians were asked to play music and dancers were told to dance in the streets. Such were the festivities organized by the Khalifah for the entry of the grandson and the grand daughters of the Holy Prophet of Islam into what had become the metropolis of the Islamic Empire !!
Surrounded by the dancers, the musicians and the jeering crowds of the citizens of Damascus the prisoners were led toward the palace of Yezid. The ladies who had never stepped outside their homes without their heads and faces being covered, had been forced to travel from Kerbala to Kufa, and Kufa to Shaam bare headed and with their arms tied with a single rope. If any one of them stumbled, she was whipped. Never in the history of Islam had prisoners been treated with disrespect, let alone the cruelty meted out to the members of the Holy Prophet's house-hold. And now, this ultimate insult of being led into the court of Yezid like a herd of cattle!
Bibi Zainab seemed to be drawing strength from some divine source. She wiped away her tears. Drew her hair over her face so as to hide as much of her face from the staring crowds as she could. Other ladies did the same. Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen straightened himself. Exuding dignity and confidence, he maintained his position behind the bearer of the lance upon which was mounted his father's head. Such was the jostle of the multitude thronging the streets that it took them more than twelve hours to traverse the short distance between the city gates and the palace.
They entered the palace and were made to stand in front of Yezid. The tyrant was dressed in his best finery. Imaam Hussain's head was formally presented to him by Umar ibne Sa'ad. Yezid, with a cup of wine in one hand, ceremoniously accepted the ultimate symbol of his victory and commanded Umar Sa'ad to call out the names of the prisoners..
And then, in his drunken arrogance, Yezid recited a few couplets which enshrine a diabolical confession, a confession that explains the history of the division in Islam and the motives not only his but of his father and grand father in accepting Islam ! He said:
"If my venerable ancestors who fell at Badr fighting Muhammad had witnessed how the supporters of Muhammad's faith were thrown into confusion with thrusts given with my spears, they would be blessing me today. The Banu Hashim played a trick to win power. There was never any wahi to them nor did they receive any revelation. Today the souls of my ancestors and friends killed by Muhammad at Badr will rest in peace !"
The raison d'etre of the Umayyad dynasty was vengeance against Islam, a sanguine continuation of Uhud where Yezid'd grand-mother had been only partially successful in her determination to have Ali and Hamza killed in retaliation for the deaths of her father and brother at Badr!! Yezid never believed in Islam, and yet the system forced upon the people after the death of the Holy Prophet had resulted in this worst of all the hypocrites becoming the Khalifah of the Holy Prophet and the Ameer-ul-Mu'mineen of the ummah !!
Yezid looked at the prisoners lined up in front of him. He said: "It has pleased Allah to grant us victory! Look how He has caused the death of Hussain and humiliated his family!" He then recited an ayah of the Holy Quraan which means 'Allah grants honour to whom He pleases and brings disgrace upon whom He pleases.'
There were over seven hundred dignitaries sitting in the Court. They smiled and nodded approvingly. Bibi Zainab could stand it no more! She was filled with wrath. How dare this unclean man say such things? How dare he with his najis tongue recite from Holy Quraan ? How dare he make mockery of the family of the Holy Prophet? In a loud and clear voice Bibi Zainab said:
"O Yezid! Do you think that it is Allah who has caused you to commit all these foul deeds? Do you blame the Rahman and the Rahim for the oppression we have suffered? Do you blame Allah for the death of the beloved grand son of his most beloved Prophet? How dare you make these false accusations against the Almighty? No, Yezid, it was not Allah! It is you, with your insatiable ambition and greed for wealth and power, who are the only cause of the suffering inflicted not only upon the household of the Holy Prophet but on Islam itself!
Do not forget what Allah has said in the Holy Book: Let not the unbelievers take it that the respite We give them would do them any good. We allow them time in order that they might continue to indulge in sin to their hearts' content. Indeed a humiliating punishment has been kept ready for them.
Do you think that by killing the grandson of the Holy Prophet and bringing us to your palace as prisoners, you have scored a victory against Islam? No, Yezid, no ! Hussain with his blood has made sure that tyrants like you will not be able to use Islam as a toy to carry out their evil designs. The victory is not yours. The victory is of Hussain! The victory is of Islam!"
Yezid was stunned! The people present there could not but be moved by what this courageous lady had to say. This lady, who had seen and experienced great suffering, dared today defy the very man who had inflicted those sufferings. Who was she? They asked one another. When they learnt that she was the grand daughter of the Holy Prophet, their hearts began to fill with admiration!
In an effort to save the situation Yezid turned towards Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen and said: "Well you can tell us who has been victorious. Imaam looked at him and replied:
"Yezid, final victory can only belong to those on the right path. Let us look at you and look at Hussain. My father, whom you got killed so mercilessly, was the grandson of the Holy Prophet who had said that "Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain". He was born a Muslim and all his life he upheld the laws and principles of Islam. You are the grandson of Abu Sufiyan and Hinda, who most of their lives fought Islam and the Holy Prophet!"
Yezid was now greatly embarrassed. To silence the Imaam he asked his muezzin to recite the adhaan. When the Muezzin cried out 'ASH-HADU ANNA MUHAMMADAR-RASOOLILLAH' Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen, addressing Yezid, said, "Yezid speak the truth! Was Muhammad my grandfather or your grandfather!"
Yezid ordered the prisoners to be moved to a prison. This was not a prison. It was a dungeon! Only a part of it had any sort of ceiling. The rest was open to the sky. An iron grill surrounded the place so that no one could get in or out.
Bibi Zainab reports that the place was so cold at nights that no one could have proper sleep. During the day, it got hot like an oven. It is here that our fourth Imaam, still under chains, the ladies and the children spent many days of great agony and discomfort.