The tragedy of Kerbala had begun to arouse great sympathy for the Ahlul Bait in Hejaaz and Iraq. Even in Damascus some people began to ask whether it was necessary to inflict so much sufferings on the members of the family of the Holy Prophet.
When the charming little Sakina died and the people of Damascus came to learn about the death of the little girl whom they had seen and come to admire, they began to talk openly about Yezid's cruelty. Yezid feared that the people might rise against him. He was now anxious to get rid of the prisoners.
He called Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen and told him that he was prepared to free them, and compensate them for the death of the martyrs. He also asked the fourth Imaam whether they wanted to remain in Damascus or return to Madina. Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen replied that he would consult his aunt Zainab.
When Imaam spoke to Bibi Zainab she was grief stricken at the audacity of Yezid in offering compensation. She said, "Tell Yezid to talk of compensation with the Holy Prophet. We would certainly return to Madina. But first Yezid should provide a house so that we may hold mourning ceremonies for the martyrs in Damascus. We shall then go to Madina via Kerbala to visit the graves of the martyrs."
Imaam Zain ul 'Abideen conveyed the message to Yezid who after some hesitation agreed. In asking for a house to mourn the martyrs in Damascus, Bibi Zainab scored a major victory over Yezid. When the house was made available the ladies held aza-e-Hussain for seven days in the very city which was the capital of Yezid who had murdered Imaam Hussain. The women of Damascus poured in to offer their condolences and Bibi Zainab and the other ladies would tell them of how the martyrs had been killed, how they had been denied water, how young children had been crying al-atash, how Imaam had taken Ali Asghar and pleaded for a few drops of water and how the baby had been slain. These tales so moved the ladies of Damascus that they would break into sobs and begin wailing and beating their chests.
Thus in the very house of the murderer Bibi Zainab laid the foundation of aza-e-Hussain. This is so much like the story of Hazrat Musa (a.s.). Firaun orders all the male children of Banu Israel to be put to death. Allah's miracle is that his Prophet of wahdaniyyah finds refuge in the palace of the very Firaun who had plotted to kill him !
These majlises have continued to this day. Every Muharram Shiahs all over the world gather together to mourn the tragedy which took place more that 1350 years ago. These majaalis have a great meaning for us. Firstly, they mean that we love our Imaam and grieve for the suffering to which he was subjected. Secondly they mean that year after year we protest against all that Yezid stood for. We make a solemn promise to Allah never to follow Yezid's foot-steps. In whatever country we may be, we have to remember that taking alcohol or any kind of drugs, is Yezid's way. To keep ourselves ignorant of Quraan or Islamic way of life, is Yezid's way. To oppress anyone, is Yezid's way. To indulge in any un-Islamic activity, is Yezid's way. We can not mourn Hussain and follow Yezid !!