The Life of Imam Zayn al -Abidin

BOOK ID

Author(s): Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi

Translator(s): Jasim al-Rasheed

Publisher(s): Ansariyan Publications - Qum

Category: The 12 Imams

Topic Tags: Life of imams Miscellaneous information:nbsp;Title: The Life of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin

Author: Baqir Sharif al- Qarashi

Translator: Jasim al- Rasheed

Printer: Sadr

First Edition 2000-1420

Copies: 2000

Hardcover: 752 pages

ISBN-10: 9644381653

ISBN-13: 978-9644381652

Published by Ansariyan Publications

All Rights Reserved And Recorded For The Publisher

Congress Classification: BP43/ق 4ح 904952 1379

Dewey decimal classification: 297 /954

National bibliography number: م 79-16093

Ansariyan Publications

P.B. Box 187

22, Shohada Str.

Qum, I.R.Iran

Tel: 0098 251 7741744 Fax 7742647

Email: ansarian@noornet.net

http://ansariyan.ir/

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سرشناسه : قرشی، باقر شریف، - 1926

Qarashi, Bagir Sharif

عنوان قراردادی : [حیاه الامام زین العابدین. انگلیسی]

عنوان و نام پديدآور : The life of Imam Zayn al -Abidin/ by Bagir Sharif al -Qarashi; translated by Jasim al-rasheed

مشخصات نشر : Qom: Ansariyan publication, 1379 = 1421 = 2000.

مشخصات ظاهری : xxix، ص 707

وضعیت فهرست نویسی : فهرستنویسی قبلی

يادداشت : این کتاب با عنوان "تحلیلی از زندگانی امام سجاد علیه السلام" در سال 1372 توسط کنگره جهانی حضرت رضا(ع) منتشر شده است

يادداشت : عنوان به فارسی: زندگانی امام سجاد.

عنوان دیگر : حیاه الامام زین العابدین. انگلیسی

عنوان دیگر : تحلیلی از زندگانی امام سجاد علیه السلام (انگلیسی)

عنوان دیگر : The life of Imam Zayn al -Abidin

موضوع : علی بن حسین(ع)، امام چهارم، 94 - 38ق. -- سرگذشتنامه

شناسه افزوده : رشید، جاسم Rasheed, Jasim، مترجم

رده بندی کنگره : BP43/ق 4ح 904952 1379

رده بندی دیویی : 297 /954

شماره کتابشناسی ملی : م 79-16093

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The book is a biography of the sixth infallible and fourth Imam Ali Ibn Al-Husayn Zaynu'l-`Abidin known also as Imam As-Sajjad (as). This text, the first comprehensive book on the life of the Imam in English, gives you a brief idea about Imam as-Sajjad along with his supplications and his works.

Featured Category: Introducing the Ahlul Bayt Resources for Further Research

Person Tags: Imam Zain ul Abideen

Publisher’s Preface

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Many years ago, the Professors and Researchers asked us to translate and compose books on the lives of our pure Imams, peace be on them. Of course, these compilations and translations are mere summary of the lives of this Holy Choice from among the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.

Mankind, irrespective of his scientific progress, can never discharge the Imams’ rights against him, nor can he understand them completely. You cannot drink the water in the sea, but whatever you drink will fill you!

By Allah’s grace, and in cooperation with Mr. Jasim al-Rasheed, we have translated and

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published several books in this respect. The following titles are some of them:

1. Sulh al-Hasan (The Peace Treaty of al-Hasan) by Murtada Al Yasin.

2. Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq by Shaykh Muhammad Husayn al-Mudaffar.

3. The Life of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir by Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi.

Last but not least, we have issued a fourth book: Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin by Baqir Sharif al- Qarashi.

A great Shi‘ite religious scholar narrated that a great Sunni religious scholar asked ‘Allama al-Amini, author of al-Ghadir: “What is the book or the activity which has made you adopt Zayn al-‘Abidin as an Imam?”

‘Allama al-Amini answered the religious scholar by sending him a copy of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya. Hence the Scholar answered ‘Allama al-Amini in another letter in which he said: “None is capable of composing this book (i.e., al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya) except a wise Imam.”

Anyhow, we thank Allah, the glorified, for giving success to ‘Allama Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi in order to compose this remarkable book. We thank him for giving success to Mr. Jasim al-Rasheed in order to translate this precious book. Moreover, we thank Him for His favors and bounty toward us in helping us print and publish this book. We hope that the book will exalt Islam and Muslims in this world and give them mercy and good pleasure in the next world, Allah willing!

Dedication

I dedicate this study to Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him. For he is the conscience of the Muslim community and pioneer of its dignity and awareness. He is the father of the

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free and lord of martyrs. He has occupied a high social position. This study is about his son, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, who has filled the world with his virtues, his knowledge, and his piety.

“Surely Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and the descendants of Amran above the nations. Offspring, one of the other; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.” Qur’an (3: 33 -34)

“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you thoroughly.” Qur’an (33: 33)

“Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful.” Qur’an (53:23)

Introduction

In the history of this East, the candle of the Prophetic missions, there was no one like Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, in piety, devotion and intense turning to Allah in repentance except his grandfather, who illuminated the intellectual life with the light of monotheism and true belief.

The life of this great Imam has given an account of the lives of the prophets and the messengers. He was similar to them in all their qualities and trends. Hence he was like Jesus Christ in his asceticism and his turning to Allah in repentance. He was like prophet Job in his tribulation and his patience. He was similar to prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, in

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his true resolution and his good manners. His good tendencies and his spiritual abilities are limitless. In the history of this world, it is enough for him that only he has been called Zayn al -‘Abidin. This nick-name has been not given to anyone except him.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, appeared on the arena of the Islamic life as the most brilliant Muslim politician whom history has ever known. He was ill and captured by the Umayyads, yet spread with his outstanding merits the objectives of the revolution of his father, Imam al- Husayn. The latter was the leader who inspired the victorious Islamic movement. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin showed the original values of the revolution in a brilliant manner full of rationing, originality, and creation.

This great Imam indicated the general thought. He removed the social deception which the community suffered during the days of the black Umayyad regime which intended to paralyze the revolutionary Islamic movement. This regime turned the Muslims into scattering groups without life and feelings. This Imam faced the Umayyad policy with his ideas, where he destroyed their claimed victory and the marks of their haughtiness and might. The Imam, peace be on him, achieved these glorious victories through the wonderful enthusiastic sermons which he delivered before the great masses in Kufa, Damascus, and Medina. These sermons played an important role in enlightening the community and liberating it from the factors of fear and terrorism.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the strongest

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factor in immortalizing the Husaynid revolution and making it react upon the sentiments and feelings of the community. That was through his wonderful qualities of which history has never known in the world of bravery and heroism. Among these qualities was that he was taken prisoner by bin Marjana (‘Ubayd Allah bin Zyyad) one of the worst terrorists on earth. However, the Imam disdained and reproached him for the great many murder and sins he committed. The tyrant (‘Ubayd Allah) threatened him with death. The Imam was in different to him. He aimed penetrating arrows at ‘Ubayd Allah’s heart through his eloquent words. The Imam’s conversation with him had great influence upon the official and the non-official circles at that time. The Imam went on shedding light upon the objectives of the Husaynid revolution. Thus, he could proclaim these objectives throughout history.

As for the Imam’s speech in Yazid’s palace, it was among the most wonderful documents in Islam. I (i. e. the author) think that there was no political speech more eloquent and influential in educating the masses and enlightening the public opinion than that of the Imam. Through this speech, the Imam confused. So the latter was unable to defend himself or to justify his crime when he killed the master of the youths of Paradise (i. e. Imam Husayn) and destroyed the pure family (of the Prophet). For this reason the people talked with admiration about the Imam’s speech that was among the results of the Husaynid uprising

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and its bright stages.

Among the ways through which the Imam immortalized the Husaynid revolution was that he wept very much over the tragedies which befell his father, the members of his House, and his companions at the Battle of Karbala. Indeed the Imam deprived himself of happiness and pleasure. He was overcome with sadness. Thus, he was regarded as among the five tearful persons who represented sorrow throughout history.

I (i. e. the author) think that the Imam wept very much, not because of the great misfortune and the serious adversities which resulted from the tragedies of Karbala. Rather he wept in order to immortalize the revolution which his father led to liberate man from oppression, slavery, and tyranny. His weeping over his father created sorrow in the hearts of the Muslims. Perhaps this phenomenon (of weeping) was among the factors that the Muslim masses used to fight against the Umayyad regime. The first spark started in Medina. The children of the Companions (of the Prophet) declared their armed mutiny against Yazid’s government, who had disdained the values of the community and its fates.

After the tragedy of Karbala, the great Imam, Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, devoted himself to teaching. This is because he thought that spreading knowledge would be the best way to carry out his reformatory message. Besides he thought that it would be the best way to relieve his soul which the tragedies of Karbala melted. Accordingly, the children of the Companions (of the Prophet), the religious

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scholars, and the jurists hurried to benefit from his sea of knowledge. The Imam began teaching them, and they became teachers in the Islamic world. In this book will illustrate their biographies.

The Imam enlightened the Arab and the Islamic thought with various kinds of knowledge. He summoned and urged the Muslim youths to give importance to knowledge. His students lauded and praised his summons to knowledge. His grandfather, the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, planted a tree of knowledge, which grew through his (the Imam’s) blessings. So the people were eager to seek knowledge. Hence, the Imam was the brilliant founder of an intellectual culture in the Islamic world.

As for the scientific and cultural wealth of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, it represented creation, liberty, and development. This wealth was not confined to a particular science. Rather it included many sciences such as jurisprudence, explanation of the Qur’an, theology, philosophy, education, sociology, and the like. The Imam devoted much attention to ethics because he thought that Islamic ethics was liable to collapse. He thought that the people turned away from their religion.

This is because the Umayyad regime intended to destroy all moral values. So the Imam, peace be on him, spared no effort to reform and educate the community. Concerning the Imam, the Shi‘ites said: “When the people yielded to their desires and followed their kings, the Imam cured them with the moral teachings and the holy verses.”(1)

The Imam, peace be on him,

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1- Nazariyat al-Imama, p.350.

treated moral and educational matters objectively and inclusively. His studies in this respect are among the most valuable Islamic studies and the most accurate.

Perhaps the most beautiful and the most productive tool used in developing the Islamic thought is his great supplications called al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya’. The scholars sometimes call it ‘Zabu’r Al Muhammad’, and they sometimes call it ‘Injil Al Muhammad’, may Allah bless him and his family. They regard it as the third important reference after the Qur’an and Nahj al-Balagha. Indeed, it is an ideal Islamic program containing moral values and social rules.

It is worth mentioning that al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya has occupied an important position in the Islamic intellectual circles, where they devoted themselves to study and explain it. The scholars have compiled more than sixty-five commentaries on al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya.(1) They even wrote copies of it in beautiful script which is regarded as among the precious Arabic script. Moreover, some copies have been embellished with precious Arabesque.

We will continue our discussion about al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya’. We say: Its importance is not confined to the Arab and Islamic world, rather its importance has extended to the Western world. It has been translated into English, German, French, and the like. The scholars and people of those nations have devoted themselves to study and ponder its contents carefully. In it they have found a treasure of thought and knowledge. They have also found that it contains moral teachings necessary to educate soul. Indeed, it has added incomparable wealth to the references of the

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1- Al-Dhari‘a fi Tasanif al-Shi‘a.

human thought. It also contains various kinds of high culture which is rarely found in moral and religious books. Besides it is the most important reference in our study on the character of the Imam, peace be on him.

As for the ideas of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and his psychological elements, they bewilder intellects. They move every Muslim and every person who adopts his humanity and yields to its ideals and values to admire the Imam and boast of him.

This Imam was endowed with all good manners. He was adorned with all virtues and honor. He freed himself from all selfishness, and turned away from all the vanities and pleasures of life. Among his prominent qualities was that he turned to Allah in repentance and devoted himself to Him. His love for Allah and his fear of him controlled his intellect, his heart, and his body. His soul shone through the light of conviction in Allah. His heart was full of hope of Allah’s mercy. The historians unanimously agreed that he overexerted himself to worship and obey Allah.

The people of his time did not see anyone who worshipped Allah more than he did. Nor did they see a person who was more pious than he was. Because of his abundant worshipping, he was called the Lord of worshipers and Imam of the pious.

His family felt pity for him because of his abundant worshipping. They were concerned about him because of tiredness and the hardships from which he

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suffered. Hence, they went quickly to the great Companion (of the Prophet), Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, whom the Imam preferred to the others. They asked Jabir to beg the Imam not to overexert himself in worshipping. Jabir then talked to him and begged him to do that. Some of the words which he said to him are: “You are one of the successors of the Prophet. You are the representative of Allah on the earth. You are among those through whom tribulations are driven away.” However, the Imam went on worshipping Allah and adhering to obedience. So Jabir said with admiration: “None of the children of the prophets was like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn (i.e. Zayn al-‘Abidin).”

Indeed no one of the children of the prophets was like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in asceticism, piety, and intense turning to Allah in repentance.

Another phenomenon of the high ideals by which the Imam, peace be on him, was distinguished was that he treated the slaves kindly. He pitied for them very much. Among what he intended to do during his lifetime was that he wanted to free them from slavery. Indeed, he freed a large group of them. If he had lived for a longer time, he would have freed all the slaves. This is because he wanted to abolish slavery and to make the Muslims know that their religion came to liberate man from abasement and slavery.

It is an act of truthfulness to say that this great inspired Imam was not confined to

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a certain group of people nor was he confined to a certain set of Muslims. Rather he was for all people in spite of their different ideas throughout history. This is because the Imam represented human moral values and dignity. Besides he represented what man usually prides himself on, such as perfection, the rules of conduct, and excellent morals.

Because of the Imam’s high character and his great importance to the Muslims, many Muslim sects claimed that he belonged to them. For example, the Mu‘tazilites, who were the most knowledgeable of all the Muslims in theology, regarded him with pride and honor as one of them.(1) The Sufis claimed that he was among their great figures. As a result, they have written about his life in their encyclopedias.(2)

The Muslims thought that the life of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the true embodiment of the Islamic values and high noble traits of his grandfather, the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. He followed his method, his life, and his practices. Hence, the Imam possessed the heart and the feelings through his excellent morals. So the people thought that no one except the Imam was worthy of their temporal and spiritual leadership. For this reason they disdained their Umayyad kings who were void of virtues. The event which took place in the Kaaba during the time of the pilgrimage indicates this. The Kaaba was full of people from everywhere. The Imam came to circumambulate the Kaaba, and

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1- Tabaqat al-Mu‘tazila, pp. 15-16.
2- Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p.172.

it was as if that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, came to them. So they said loudly: “There is no Allah but Allah ! Allah is great !” They crowded around him as they crowded around the Black Stone. Happy was he who touched his clothes or kissed his hand or took some dust from under his feet to see a good omen in it.

In the meantime his opponent, Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik, who was chief of the Umayyad family was among the pilgrims. However, no one paid attention to him. The Syrians hurried to ask him about this great man (i. e. the Imam) whom the people welcomed so warmly. However, the tyrant (i.e. Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik) denied knowing anything about him. He was afraid that the Syrians would renounce him. The poet of the Umayyad royal palace, al-Farazdaq, opposed him. He then made the people aware the Imam through his immortal and wonderful poem which represented clear thought and conscience. The Kaaba then turned into the market of ‘Ukaz (the place where the Arabs recited their poems). From all sides of the mosque, the people repeated loudly the wonderful poem of al-Farazdaq and invoked Allah for the Imam. As a result, Hisham was full of anger.

The Umayyads felt that they were not from the community and that they were not worthy of leading it. Rather they imposed their government on it as a weapon. They knew that ‘Ali b. al-Husayn was the

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real leader, so they bore malice against him. Al-Walid indicated that when he said: “I cannot rest as long as ‘Ali b. al-Husayn is in the world.”(1) They tried to kill him as they had killed the Muslim Imams and the great figures before, because they thought that such figures were dangerous.

It is necessary for us to study the period during which the Imam, peace be on him, lived. This is because studying a certain period has become among methodical affairs which are necessary for the researcher. Such a study represents political tranquillity and disorder. Moreover, it gives a clear picture about social aspects such as creation, progress, stagnancy, decline, and the like. It is natural for us to study this phenomenon to discover the qualities of the Imam.

As for the time of the Imam, peace be on him, I (the author) think that it was the worst time in history. This is because many great events occurred during that time. These events befell the Muslims and caused troubles to them. The most painful one of them was the tragedy of Karbala. It was the most painful of all the world events. The holiness of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was violated during that tragedy. That was when the people attacked his womenfolk and killed his grandsons. They did pay attention his Holiness concerning them. The Imam, peace be on him, witnessed with great sorrow all the tragedies, which are immortal in the world of grief.

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1- Hayat al-Imam Mohammed al-Baqir, vol. 1, p.51.

Hence, he remembered them at every hour of his life till he joined the Most High Associate (Allah).

Among the sorrowful events from which the Imam, peace be on him, suffered was the Battle of al- Hirra. The Holiness of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was violated at it in his city and the center of his mission. The policemen of Yazid b. Mu‘awiya desecrated Medina. In it they committed all what Allah forbade. They destroyed all values and customs. The revolt of the Repentant and the revolt of the great inspired leader, al-Mukhtar b. Yousif, occurred during the time of the Imam, peace be on him.

These revolts, which we will discuss in this book, resulted from the revolution of the Lord of the martyrs, Imam Husayn, peace be on him. Among the prominent events at that time was the revolt of b. al-Zubayr. This revolt resulted from some political ambitions. I (the author) think that b. al-Zubayr did not intend to free the community from the Umayyads and to save it from their violence. Rather he revolted against them to take the reins of government. Moreover, such a man did not take care of the interests of the community nor did he take care of its independence and its dignity.

There was another difficulty during the time of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. The difficulty was that the political parties fought against each other to take the reins of government. As a result,

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they filled the country with tribulations and disasters. Surely, the political parties at that time did not intend to achieve any of the community’s objectives nor did they strive to solve any of its fateful affairs. Rather they strove to achieve their ambitions and their material interests.

Among the most prominent parties was the Umayyad party, which the government supported with all its abilities. The Umayyad party included the leaders and the luxurious class of the country. Among those parties was the party of b. al- Zubayr. Many people from Hijaz (Saudi Arabia) joined this party. Their aim was to return the Islamic capital to their country and to take the reins of government. Among those parties was the Kharijites. This party was strong. It was indignant with the Quraysh, for the government was confined to them. However, this party was afflicted by ideological dullness and decline. This is because it mixed the affairs, and followed dangerous ways of error. It believed in such ways because of stupidity and ignorance. An example of its stupidity was that it showed enmity towards the Commander of the faithful (Imam ‘Ali), who was the pioneer of the truth and social justice in the earth. This party regarded shedding the blood of those who did not believe in its ideas as lawful. We will discuss this party when we talk about the political life during the time of the Imam.

Among the important events during the time of the Imam, peace be on him, was that

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the Umayyad government forced the people to curse the Commander of the faithful (Imam ‘Ali), peace be on him, and the pure family (of the Prophet). So the people cursed them on the pulpits, in the minarets (of the mosques), and after Friday sermons. Hence showing enmity toward them was part of the religious life of the Muslims. The Umayyad regime followed the Shi‘ites (followers) of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, punished and killed them. The Shi‘ites during the Umayyad regime were liable to very intense tribulations. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, witnessed this. However, he was unable to protect his Shi‘ites from the Umayyad regime. As a result, his heart was full of pain and sorrow.

It is necessary for me to give a clear picture about the policy of the kings who ruled the community during the time of the Imam, peace be on him. In addition, I must mention their politico - ideological trends, and what the Imam, peace be on him, suffered because of them. This is because I think that such matters will complete the study about the great character of the Imam, peace be on him.

When I mention the affairs of those kings, I will not become fanatic nor will I be partial to any side nor will I be severe towards any party. Rather I will present the sorrowful events of each party. This is because such events have put them before the trial of history.

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It is natural that to regard them as right and to justify their deeds means turning away from reason, mutiny against the proofs, remoteness from correctness, and deviation from the truth.

As for our study in this book, it has been based on the most reliable handwritten, photographed, and printed references, which are the sources of historians and narrators. Worth mentioning, I have quoted the events from many books in order to support my purpose. I did my best to review the handwritten and the photographed references from which I have quoted these topics.

In the footnotes of the book, I have mentioned the libraries where these references are found.

At the end of this introduction, I surely declare that this book contains only few things about the life of this great Imam who filled the world with virtues and knowledge. I have read ethics books, tradition books, commentaries, jurisprudence books, and other Islamic books. I have found that these books have mentioned the valuable works of the Imam, his original ideas, his interesting sayings, and so on. Therefore this book, though comprehensive, is a brief page about his life or a faint point about the features of his life and character.

I (the author) have repeated the same words in the introductions of the books which I have written on the lives of the pure Imams. That is, Allah knows, not because of the very intense love for them nor is it because of the sentiment of my grandfathers who followed the members

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of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Rather, this has resulted from serious studies about their lives. Whoever studies their lives believes that the Imams, peace be on them, represented the lives of the prophets.

It is necessary for me to say that these studies about the lives of the pure Imams, peace be on them, are very important, because we live at the time when people have become ignorant of these Imams. In other words humanity has deviated from the laws of the cosmos which Allah has created. Therefore people are liable to tyranny, persecution, aggression, threat, and causing homelessness.

Indeed people are restless and perplexed. They are Absorbed in material pleasures and dreadful wars. Their hearts are empty of belief. Therefore, they are in need of the guidance of the pure family (of the Prophet), who were Allah’s favor for people, and like their grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, whom Allah sent for people whether they believed in him or not.

Now, I want to end this introduction, but I think that it is an act of truthfulness to acknowledge the creative efforts my brother, shaykh Hadi Sharif al-Qarashi, made in writing this book. He suffered many troubles when he read some of the encyclopedias. Besides he gave me many valuable notes during writing these studies. I am, Allah knows, unable to thank this loyal brother. However, I leave that to Allah, the Most High, to reward him as He rewards His sincere servants.

Baqir

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Sharif al-Qarashi,

Holy Najaf

Chapter 1: Lady Shahzanan

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We are before a noble mistress. The mistress was among the honorable pure women of the Muslims. She was the great mistress, Shahzanan. She was the daughter of the (Iranian) kings and was mother of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. This great mistress occupied an important position in the world of the Muslim woman. Indeed, she was among the great mistresses of her time. She was among the prominent Muslim women and was distinguished by noble qualities. Among them are:

A. She had a very clear lineage. She was the daughter of Choesroe, the just king and pride of the kings of the East. Concerning him, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said with pride: “I was born at the time of the just King, Choesroe.”

B. She was the wife of the father of the free and lord of martyrs, Imam Husayn, peace be on him.

C. She was the mother of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin and Sayyid al-Sajidin, peace be on him.

D. She was the grandmother of the pure Imams from among the children of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him.

E. She was the holy relationship between the Arabs and the Persians.

Indeed these qualities added honor to her honor and glory to her glory.

Her Psychological Traits

As for her psychological traits, they were chastity, purity, perfection, standard morals, and cleverness. As she had good inclinations and honorable traits, the Commander of the faithful (Imam ‘Ali), peace be on him, hastened to marry her to his

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son Imam Husayn, peace be on him. He ordered him to treat her kindly and to do good for her. We will briefly present some of her affairs according to what the references have mentioned.

Reports of her Marriage

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The reports have differed over the time when she married Imam Husayn, peace be on him. The following are some of them:

A. At the Time of ‘Umar

Al-Kulayni reported on the authority of Imam Abu Ja‘far al-Baqir, peace be on him. He said: “When Yazdigird’s daughter came, ‘Umar made the virgins of Medina honor her. When ‘Umar looked at her, she covered her face and said: “Uf biru’jj bada Hurmuz.” These words meaning the day of Hurmuz has become black because his daughters have become prisoners.

“Is she abusing me? “asked ‘Umar. “That is not for you,” said the Commander of the faithful, “Let her choose a person from the Muslims.”

She walked till she put her hand on the head of al-Husayn, peace be on him.(1)

Some historians have mentioned a report similar to this account. They said: “Yazdigird had two daughters. They were taken prisoners during the time of ‘Umar. Thus, the Commander of the faithful (Imam ‘Ali), peace be on him, took them. Of these he had given Imam al-Husayn and she bore him Zayn al-‘Abidin. He had given the other to Muhammad b. Abi Bakr and she bore him al-Qasim.(2)

Ibn Kullakan has mentioned a similar report to this. However, he has added that they were three (daughters). So he (the Commander of the faithful) had given the third to ‘Abd Allah

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1- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 1, p.467. Dala’il al-Imama, p.370.
2- Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p.104. Nazhat al-Majalis, vol. 2, p.192. Zahrat al-Maqu`l, p.6.

b. ‘Umar.(1)

B. At the Time of ‘Uthman

Al-Sadu’q has reported: “When ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar conquered Khurasan (Iran) during the days of ‘Uthman, he took the two daughters of Yazdigird prisoners. He sent them to ‘Uthman. Of them the latter had given to al-Hasan. He had given the other to al-Husayn.(2)

C. At the Time of the Caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful

A group of the historians and the narrators has reported: “When the Commander of the faithful (Imam ‘Ali), peace be on him, had assumed the caliphate, he appointed Hurayth b. Jabir over part of the eastern provinces. The latter had sent him two daughters of Yazdigird b. Sharyyar. Of these he had given his son al-Husayn, peace be on him, Shahzanan and she bore him Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. He had given the other to Muhammad b. Abi Baker and she bore him al-Qasim, the famous jurist.”

These are the reports which have been mentioned of her marriage to Imam (Husayn), the Lord of martyrs, peace be on him. Worth mentioning, the last two reports have not mentioned the capture of Mrs. Shahzanan with her two sisters, rather they have mentioned that they were sent to the Caliph. But the first report is clear in mentioning their capture.

Checking the Reports

We must check these different reports. We think that the first report is incorrect for the following reasons:

1. Yazdigird was alive throughout the caliphate of ‘Umar. He died after his death. He was killed in Maru in the year 30 A.H. That was in the sixth year of the caliphate of ‘Uthman. We firmly believe that Shahzanan and

p: 21


1- Ibn Khullakan, Wafayat al-A‘yan, vol. 2, p.429.
2- ‘Uyyu`n al-Akhbar wa Funu`n al-Athar, p.143. Roudat al-Wa‘izin, vol. 1, p.137. Tuhfat al-Raghib, p.13. A‘lam al-Wara, p.151. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad.

her two sisters disappeared after the murder of their father till the caliphate of the Commander of the faithful (Imam ‘Ali). The Commander of the faithful appointed Hurayth b. Jabir over that area. The latter found them and sent them to the Imam, peace be on him.

2. What Abu Hanifa reported indicates that the first report is incorrect. When the daughter of Yazdigird was brought to the Commander of the faithful, he, peace be on him, said to her:

“Choose whomever you want of the Muslims.”

She answered with awareness and high purpose:

“I want a head over whom there is no head.”

This indicates the strong awareness of this Princess.

The Imam answered her kindly, saying:

“Indeed ‘Ali is an old man.”

This means that the Imam was in no need of women, for he was an old man. Besides he was busy treating the general affairs that surrounded him.

But the Princess insisted on her idea, saying:

“I talked completely to you.”

Some Persian leaders asked the Imam to marry her to them.

The Imam answered, saying: “That is up to her. If she wishes to refuse (marriage), (she can refuse it). If she wishes to accept (marriage), (she can accept it).”

The Imam had no right to impose marriage on her, rather that was up to her psychological wishes. No one had the right to force her to what he wanted. The Mistress refrained from answering him.(1) We firmly believe that it was Mrs. Shahzanan. Her marriage took place during the time of the Commander of the faithful, peace

p: 22


1- Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal.

be on him.

3. The third report is the most famous of the foregoing two reports. Most jurists think that fame makes the report superior to (the other reports). Al-Muqrim, a researcher, believed in this report.

Irregular Ideas

Some historians have mentioned irregular ideas concerning the lineage of Mrs. Shahzanan. They are as follow:

A. She was from the country of al-Sind.(1)

B. She was among those who were taken prisoners in Kabul.(2)

These two ideas oppose what the narrators and the historians have unanimously agreed on, for they said that she was the daughter of Yazdigird, the king of the Persians. That was famous even during the time of the Imam. All the people knew that. In this connection, Abu al-Aswad al-Du’ali, who was contemporary with the Imam, recited:

Indeed there is a son between Kasra and Hashim.

He is more noble than him to whom charms were

entrusted. He is the light. The place of his secret

is the Light of Allah.

He is the source of the fountain of the Imamate.(3)

He is knowledgeable.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, denoted that when he said: “I am the son of the two good (communities).” With this he, peace be on him, referred to the well-known tradition: “Allah, the Most High, has two good (communities) among His creatures. His good (community) from the Arabs is Quraysh, and from non-Arabs is Persia.(4)” Some historians said: “Indeed ‘Ali b. al-Husayn (Zayn al-‘Abidin) gathered prophethood and authority on the side of his grandfathers.”

Her Holy Name

The mother of the Imam, peace be on him, was known as

p: 23


1- Mir’at al-Jinan, vol. 1, p.190. Al-Niju`m al-Zahira, vol. 1, p.229. Al-Munammaq fi Akhbar Quraysh, p.437.
2- Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p.46.
3- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.166.
4- Ibn Khullakan, Wafayat al-A‘yan, vol. 2, p. 429. Ibn Tolo`n, al-A’mmia al-Ithna ‘Ashar, P. l75.

Shahzanan. This was not her name. Rather it was her nick-name. It means the queen or the mistress of the women.(1) However, the historians have differed over her name. The following are some of her names:

1. Salama.(2)

2. Salafa.(3)

3. Ghazala.(4)

4. Salama.(5)

5. Sadira.(6)

6. Shaharbanawayh.(7)

These are some of the ideas which we have mentioned concerning her name. It does not concern us which name is correct, for it does not avail readers.

The Holy Relationship

Mrs. Shahzanan was the holy relationship between the Arabs and the Persians. This is because she was the mother of Zayn al-‘Abidin, who was the son of the two good (communities) and father of the pure progeny who filled the world with all the factors of awareness, dignity, and advancement. Sayyid ‘Abid al-‘Aziz Sayyid al-Ahal said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin is a strong relationship between us, we, the Arabs, and the Persians.

Then he is a strong relationship among all people. It is as if he is among the strong causes which the Subtle, the Powerful (Allah) drove to erase division, to strengthen unity, and to bring people close to each other.(8)” This was the strongest relationship between the Arabs and the Persians because it has spread love, affection, and unity among them.

Pre-Islamic Beliefs

Islam destroyed the pagan beliefs that divided the Muslims and paralyzed their unity. Among those beliefs was that an Arab did not marry a non-Arab (woman). This is because he wanted to preserve Arab blood and lineage. Surely this phenomenon divided the Muslims and destroyed their unity. Islam indeed cast away this

p: 24


1- Al-Shiblanji, Nu`r al-Abbsar, p.126.
2- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 1, p.466. Siyar ‘Alam al-Nubala’, vol. 14, p.237. Khalifia Khayyat, al-Tabaqat, p.238. Al-Nisabu`ri, al-Asami wa al-Kuna.
3- Al-Dhahabi, Tarikh al-Islam, vol. 2, p.46. Al-Imama fi al-Islam, p.116. Ansab al-Ashraf, p.102. Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 9, p.355. Nu`r al-Abbsar, p.136. Al-Kamil, vol. 2, p.464.
4- Safwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p.52. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p.104. Sir al-Silsila al-‘Alawiya, p.31. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p.324. Kulasat al-Dhahab al-Masbu`k, p.8.
5- Al-A’imma al-Ithna ‘Ashar, p.75.
6- Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p.49.
7- Roudat al-Wa‘zin, vol. 1, p.237. ‘Uyyu`n al-Mu‘jizat, p.31. Ghayat al-Ikhtisar, p.155.
8- Zayn ‘al-Abidin, p.7.

hollow selfishness and these vain titles. It supported the honor and beauty of soul. Hence the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: “Surely, the most honorable of you with Allah is the most pious of you.”

Islam has denoted in a positive way the just equality among the Muslims. It has destroyed class differences and all racism. Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, married his relative Zaynab, the daughter of Jahash, who belonged to the chiefs of the Hashimites, to his retainer, Zayd b. Haritha. He, may Allah bless him and his family, wanted the Islamic community to learn a lesson from that and to follow this clear straight path. The Imams of the members of the House (ahl al -Bayt), peace be on them, followed this Prophetic method. They waged war against racism and resisted pre-Islamic beliefs by marrying female slaves after they had released them.

They sometimes married them with money before they had freed them. This had great influence on the Arabs, and they abandoned their pre-Islamic beliefs. The historians said: “Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, married Mrs. Shahzanan and she bore him the great figure of guidance, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. The Arabs saw his perfection and his high self. Hence Quraysh hurried to marry slave-wives.(1)” Al-Mubarrad has narrated the following on the authority of a man from Quraysh. The man’s mother was a slave-wife. The man said: “One day I sat with Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab,

p: 25


1- Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh Dimashq.

and he asked me: ‘Who are your maternal uncles?’ My mother is a slave-wife, I answered.”

Sa‘id disdained the man. However, the man was clever. He waited for a while. In the meantime Salim b. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar came. The latter was a Quraysh great figure, but his mother was a slave-wife. Sa‘id talked with Salim. Then the latter went away. So the man asked Sa‘id:

“Uncle, who is this man?”

Sa‘id became angry. He shouted at the man, saying:

“Glory be to Allah ! Do you ignore this man who is from your people? This is Salim b. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar b. al-Khattab.”

“Who is his mother?” asked the man.

“A slave-wife,” replied Sa‘id.

Then al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abi Baker came to Sa‘id. The former’s mother was a slave-wife. A talk took place between them. When al-Qasim went away, the man asked Sa‘id the same question. The man answered him in the same manner. Then Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin came. Sa‘id welcomed him warmly. When the Imam went away, the man asked Sa‘id: “Uncle, who is this man?”

“This is whom no Muslim can ignore. This is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib,” replied Sa‘id angrily.

“Who is his mother?” asked the man.

“A slave-wife,” replied Sa‘id.

“Why did you disdain me when I said that my mother was a slave-wife? Is my mother not similar to theirs?” asked the man.

Sa‘id confessed his mistake. He admired the man and took care of him.(1)

This bad phenomenon prevailed that time. It resulted from the backgrounds of the pre-Islamic

p: 26


1- Al-Mubarrad, al-Kamil, vol. 2, p.462 Nazhat al-Jalis, vol. 2, p.23. al-A’mmia al-Ithna ‘Ashar, P. l76.

time that was intellectually and socially backward. One has no shortcoming when his mother is from Rome, Persia, and the like. For this reason the poet said:

Do not curse the person whose mother is from the Romans

Or is black from the non-Arabs.

Indeed the mothers of people are entrusted containers

And the lineage has fathers.

They only thing that increases the importance of the person is his good deeds, his services for his community, and his high self even though his mother is black from non-Arabs. If the person’s deeds are bad, then he is mean even if he is a Sharif from Quraysh. The great Islam has underlined that. It does not hold importance to anything except good deeds, for they are the only criterion in showing the high and low position in it.

Imam ‘Ali took care of Her

Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, took care of Mrs. Shahzanan, for he was aware of her belief and her perfect intellect. A group of traditions was narrated on his authority. The traditions have praised her outstanding qualities. Some of them are as follows:

A. He recommended his son, Imam Husayn, to treat her kindly, saying: “Treat Sharbanawayh kindly, for she is satisfactory. She will bear you the best of the people of the earth after you.(1)

B. He told his family that she would be the pure mother of the pure Imams. He, peace be on him, said: “She is the mother of the trustees (of authority), the pure progeny.(2)

The pure Imams, from whom Allah

p: 27


1- ‘Uyyu`n al-Mu‘jizat. Ithbat al-Hudat, vol. 5, p.14.
2- Basa’ir al-Darajat, p.96. Ithbat al-Hudat, vol. 5, p.214. Nasikh al-Tawarikh, vol. 1, p.13.

kept away the uncleanness and purified thoroughly, branched from this noble Mistress.

Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, took care of Mrs. Shahzanan, for he knew that she had good abilities such as virtues, perfection, and politeness. He, peace be on him, asked her: “What have you memorized from your father after the Event of the Elephant?”

She answered him with this golden word that denotes her father’s vast intellect and his experience in the affairs of life:

He said: “When Allah overcomes an affair, the ambitions become humble after it. When the period is over, death is in the means.”

The Imam was astonished at this wise word that indicates the reality of life. Hence he admired her, saying: “What good your father said ! All matters are subject to destiny, so much so that sometimes death results from effort.(1)

Everything in this existence is subject to Allah’s will. Indeed Allah, the Most High has the power over everything. Man may depend on firm means. He thinks that such means protect him from dangers. However, they do not avail him. This is because they might endanger him. Therefore, his death results from them.

Al-Husayn took care of Her

Imam Husayn, peace be on him, took care of his wife, Mrs. Shahzanan, very much. He preferred her to his wives. As a result this Mistress found respect and honor with the Imam. So she forgot the luxurious life which she led during the rule of her father. The Imam taught her the Islamic spiritual teachings to the extent that she

p: 28


1- Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, p.160. Al-Bihar, vol. 46, pp. 11-12-.

renounced her royal life. Sayyid ‘Abd al-Aziz Sayyid al-Ahal said: “Al-Husayn, peace be on him, taught her Islamic teachings to the extent that she forgot the palaces of al-Mada’in and the meadows of Kabul.(1)

The Historians praised Her

point

Some historians praised this noble Mistress. The following are their words (concerning her):

A. Al-Mubarrad

Concerning this great Mistress, al-Mubarrad said:

“Shahzanan was among the excellent women.(2)

Indeed Shahzanan was among the mistresses of the women. She was chaste, and her intellect was perfect. Moreover, her morals were high.

B. Ibn Shadqam

Ibn Shadqam said: “Shahzanan had many outstanding merits.(3)

C. Al-Kunji

Imam al-Hafiz, Muhammad b. Yousif al-Kunji, said: “Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, created the rightly-guided Imams, from among the progeny of al-Husayn, from the daughter of Choesroe with the exclusion of the rest of his wives.(4)” Indeed Allah bestowed His favors and His care on this noble Mistress. He endowed her with great favor. He made her a noble mother for Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin and good pure grandmother for the pure Imams, who raised the Word of Allah high in the earth.

With this we end our talk about the affairs of this great Mistress.

Chapter 2: The Great Baby

point

The world brightened when Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was born, for he would split the fountain of knowledge and wisdom in the earth. He would also show, through his behavior, wonderful examples of self-negation, renouncing the world, and cleaving to Allah. The Prophet’s family was very happy to receive this blessed baby, of whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, gave good news.

All the companions

p: 29


1- Zayn ‘al-Abidin, p.16.
2- Al-Kamil, vol. 2, p.462.
3- Zahrat al-Maqu`l, p.16.
4- Kifayat al-Talib, p.414.

who had good relations with the members of the house (ahl al-Bayt) were happy to hear of the birth of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin. Some historians said that the Imam was born weak and thin. Sayyid ‘Abid al-‘Aziz Sayyid al-Ahal said: “He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) was born weak and thin. Gleams as faint as dim worry appeared in his eyes. These broken gleams indicated coming grief.(1)” Misfortunes and pain accompanied him from his childhood. Among them was that his pure mother died while he was still a baby in the cradle.

The Rites of his Birth

Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him or his son Imam Husayn, peace be on him hurried to perform the religious rites of birth for the blessed baby; he said the azan in his right ear and the iqama in his left year. With this he established in his heart a temple beating with the feelings of piety and righteousness. They were active tunes directing him to kindness and good deeds.

The first thing with which Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin was received was the words Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great) ! These words were printed in his heart and senses, so they became some of his qualities. On the seventh day of his birth, his father sacrificed a ram for him (in the ceremony of a‘qiqa), cut his hair and gave silver or gold as equal to its weight as alms to the poor and needy according to the holy Islamic Sunna.

The Place of his Birth

The historians differed over the place where Imam Zayn

p: 30


1- Al-Imam Zayn ‘al-Abidin, p.18.

al-‘Abidin was born. The following are what they have mentioned:

(A) He was born in Kufa.(1)

(B) He was born in Medina.(2)

I (the author) think that he was born in Kufa. This is because the narrators and the historians mentioned that he was born two years before the death of his grandfather, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him(3). It is certain that Imam al-Husayn and his family were in Kufa along with Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. None of them lived in Medina throughout his succession (to authority).

The Time of his Birth

The historians differed over the time when Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin was born. The following are what they have mentioned:

(A) He was born on the fifth day of Sha‘ban in the year 38 A.H.(4) That was on Thursday.(5)

(B) He was born on Friday on the ninth of Sha‘ban in the year 38 A. H.(6)

(C) He was born in the half of Jamadi al-’U@la [11] in the year 38 A. H.(7)

(D) He was born on Friday the 26th of Jamadi al-Akhira in the year 38 A.H.(8)

(E) He was born in the months of the year 33 A. H.(9) This idea is irregular and opposes the narrators and the historians who mentioned that the Imam was born in the year 38 A. H.

The Imami Shi‘ites have adopted the first idea, and they hold their public festivals on the fifth of Sha‘ban to celebrate Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s birth.

His Name

The historians and the narrators unanimously agreed that the greatest Prophet, may Allah

p: 31


1- Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p.104.
2- Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p.187.
3- Akhbar al-Diwal, p.109.
4- Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p.212.
5- Nu`r al-Abbsar, p.136.
6- Roudat al-Wa‘izin, vol. 1, p.222.
7- Bahr al-Ansab, p.52.
8- Al-Imama fi al-Islam, p.116.
9- Al-Nafha al-‘Anbariya.

bless him and his family, named his grandson ‘Ali b. al-Husayn and gave him the surname of Zayn al-‘Abidin. That was ten years before he was created, and that was among the wonderful signs of his prophecy. The accounts have been frequently reported on his authority. The following are some of them:

The great Companion Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari reported: “While I was sitting with Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, he put al-Husayn on his lap and played with him, and then he, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘Jabir, a son will be born for him, and the son will be called ‘Ali. A caller will call out on the Day of Judgment: ‘Let Sayyid al-‘Abidin (the Lord of worshippers) stand up.’ So his son will stand up. Then a son will be born for him, and the son will be named Muhammad. When you meet him, recite my greetings to him.(1)’”

Jabir proclaimed this tradition, and he also met Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, peace be on him, and recited these greetings to him, and the latter was delighted with them.

2. Al-Hafiz b. ‘Asakir reported on the authority of Sufyan b. ‘Ayyina, on the authority of b. al-Zubayr, who said: “While we were (sitting) with Jabir, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn came. Jabir said to him: ‘When I was (sitting) with Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, al-Husayn came to him. He (the Prophet) embraced him (al-Husayn), kissed him, sat him beside him, and

p: 32


1- Wasilat al-Mal fi ‘Add Manaqib al-Al, p.7.

said: ‘A son will be born for this (i.e., al-Husayn), and a caller will call out on the Day of Judgment: ‘Let Sayyid al-‘Abidin (the Lord of worshippers) stand up, and he will stand up.’(1)

3. Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab reported on the authority of b. ‘Abbas, on the authority of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “A caller will call out on the Day of Judgment: ‘Where is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn?’ I will see my grandson ‘Ali b. al-Husayn appear from among the ranks.(2)

These are some of the traditions which were narrated on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. They show that the Prophet named his grandson ‘Ali and gave him the nick name of Zayn al-‘Abidin (the adornment of the worshippers), and they also show that the Imam has an important position with Allah, the Glorified.

Ibn Taymiya

Ibn Taymiya denied that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, gave this name to his grandson ‘Ali, and he said: “This thing has no source, and the knowledgeable people have not narrated it.(3)” However, Ibn Taymiya did not want to mention what the main narrators and historians reported, for he deviated from the truth and showed enmity towards the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, whose love Allah has made obligatory, and whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, made life boats and security for mankind. Besides he denied all their outstanding merits and

p: 33


1- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p.142.
2- ‘Ilal al-Sharaiya‘, p.87. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.3.
3- Minhajj al-Sunna, vol. 2, p.123.

deeds which the historians have narrated.

His Kunya

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was given the Kunya of:

Abu’ al-Husayn.

Abu’ al-Hasan.

Abu’ Muhammad.(1)

Abu’ ‘Abd Allah.(2)

His Nick Names

point

As for his nick names, they show his good inclinations, his excellent qualities, his noble morals, his obedience and worship to Allah. The following are some of them:

Zayn al-‘Abidin

His grandfather Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, gave him this nick name, namely Zayn al-‘Abidin or the Ornament of the worshippers, as we have already mentioned. The Imam was given this nick name because he worshipped Allah abundantly.(3) He is known and famous for this nick name, which has become his name. No one before or after him has been given this nick name. Indeed he is the ornament of the worshippers and pride of those who obey Allah, the Glorified.

2. Sayyid al-‘Abidin

Among his prominent nick names is Sayyid al-‘Abidin or the Lord of the worshippers, for he yield to Allah and obeyed Him, and no one worshipped Allah as he did except his grandfather, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him.

3. Dhu’ al-Thafanat

He was given the nick name of Dhu’ al-Thafanat or the one with calluses because something like the calluses of the camel appeared on the parts on which he prostrated.(4) Imam Abu’ Ja‘far al-Baqir, peace be on him, said: “My father had prominent marks on the places on which he prostrated, and he cut them twice a year: (He) cut five calluses every time, so he was called Dhu’ al-Thafanat (the one with calluses).(5)” In another narration

p: 34


1- Nu`r al-Abbsar, p.137.
2- Tarikh al-Islam, vol. 2, p.66.
3- Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, p.306. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p.104.
4- Subh al-A‘sha, vol. 1, p.452. Bahr al-Ansab, p.25. Tuhfat al-Raghib, p.13.
5- ‘Ilal al-Sharaiya‘, p.88. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.6, Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p.977.

it is said that he collected his calluses in a bag and asked his children to bury them with him.

4. Al-Sajjad

Among his holy nick names for which he is famous is Al-Sajjad(1) or the one who constantly prostrated himself in prayer. He prostrated himself in prayer to Allah and obeyed him more than the people did. Imam Abu’ Ja‘far al-Baqir, peace be on him, talked about the constant prostration of his father, saying: “When ‘Ali b. al-Husayn mentioned Allah’s favors toward him, he prostrated himself in prayer. (When he) read a verse with prostration of the Book of Allah, the Great and Almighty, he prostrated himself in prayer. When Allah drove away from him a misfortune which he was afraid of, he prostrated himself in prayer. (When he) finished his obligatory prayers, he prostrated himself in prayer. The marks of prostration were prominent on the parts on which he prostrated, so he was called al-Sajjad.(2)” Ibn Hammad composed a poem about the constant prostration and worship of the Imam. The following are some lines of the poem:

The monk of ahl al-Bayt was and is still given the nick

name of al-Sajjad because of his worship.

He spent his days fasting, to turn to Allah

in repentance, and he passed his night with night prayer.

Therefore, who is strong enough to perform his knowledge

and his faithfulness, and who is strong enough to perform

his piety and worship?(3)

5. Al-Zaki

He was given the nick name of al-Zaki or the pure one because Allah purified him, as He took away uncleanness

p: 35


1- ‘Ilal al-Sharaiya‘, p.88.
2- Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p.977. ‘Ilal al-Sharaiya‘, p.88.
3- Al-Manaqib.

from his grandfathers and purified them completely.

6. Al-Amin

Among his holy nick names for which he is famous is al-Amin or the trusted one.(1) He was ideal for this noble quality, so he, peace be on him, said: “If the killer of my father deposited with me the sword with which he killed him, I would give it to him.”

7. Ibn al-Khiyaratayn

Another of his holy nick names for which he is famous is Ibn al-Khiyaratayn or the son of the best two. He was proud of this nick name and said: “I am the son of the best two.” He referred to the words of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “Allah, the Glorified, has the best two from among His servants, so His best one from among the Arabs is Hashim and from among non-Arabs is the Persians.(2)” Al-Shabbrawi ascribed to him these lines in which he has shown his pride of this nick name:

The choice of Allah among men is my father after my

grandfather, and I am the son of the best two.

Silver was formed from gold, therefore I am the silver,

the son of the two golden ones.

Who has a grandfather like my grandfather or (father) like

my father from mankind? I am the son of the two moons.

Fatima the chaste is my mother, and my father is the one

who destroyed the unbelievers at Badr and Hunayn, and

who took part at the battle of Uhud, which quenched the

thirst of one of the two armies.(3)

I (the author)

p: 36


1- Ibn al-Sabbagh, Al-Fusu`l` al-Muhimma, p.187. Bahr al-Ansab, p.52. Nu`r al-Abbsar, 137.
2- Al-Mubarrad, al-Kamil, vol. 1, p.222. Ibn Khullakan, Wafayat al-A‘yan, vol. 2, p.429.
3- Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p.49.

firmly believe that these lines do not belong to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, rather they belong to his father, for they are clear in showing this.

These are some of his nick names, other nick names have been mentioned for him.(1) They show his excellent qualities and his great inclinations.

The Death of his Mother

The first misfortune which befell the Imam occurred in the early stages of his childhood with the death of his mother, who suffered from childbed fever. Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, did his best to save her from this dangerous illness but he was unable to do that. The illness destroyed her completely where she lost her vitality and became a lifeless body. She looked with pain and sorrow at her thin son, who was deprived of her affection and love.

The fever attacked her intensely, and she suffered from severe pain for numerous days till her soul ascended to heaven, so it was the most sublime soul that went to heaven.(2) When she died, one of the plain pages of virtue and chastity and modesty ended. It was a sad day for the Prophet’s family when this great lady died, for she represented honor and virtue. Imam Husayn, the prominent Muslim figures, and a large number of Muslims escorted her to her final resting house. They buried her holy body in Kufa. Imam al-Husayn felt pain for the death of this lady, who lived among them for days like the days of flowers, namely she did not live for a long time.

Imam

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1- Nasikh al-Tawarikh.
2- Al-Mas‘u`di, Ithbat al-Wasiya, p.143. Imam Zayn ‘al-Abidin, p.18.

Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, suffered the death of his mother while he was in the early stage of his childhood. This was the beginning of the adversities and misfortunes which poured on no one else except him.

His Nursemaid

Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, asked a pure lady from his slave-wives to look after his son Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin. This righteous woman took great care of him; she treated him as the affectionate mother treated her own son. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him grew in an atmosphere of intense secrecy. No one told him about the death of his mother till he became a grown-up lest he should be upset and worried.(1)

His Physical Qualities

The historians have mentioned the Imam’s physical features and qualities as follows: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn was brown, short, thin, and gentle.(2)” When he became old, he became thin and weak. This is because he worshipped Allah constantly. Moreover, the tragedy of Karbala’ drowned him in sorrow and pain, for its terrors accompanied him till he met the Highest Comrade (i.e. Allah).

His Solemnity

The Imam’s face shined with the light of the prophets. Hence the faces and foreheads yielded to his solemnity. Al-Farazdaq, the greatest Arab poet, described his solemnity in his wonderful ode, saying:

When he comes to touch the corner of the wall of the

Kaaba, it almost grasps the palm of his hand.

He takes care to be modest and he is protected from his

terror.

He only speaks when he smiles.

Al-Shaykhani al-Qadiri said: “The beholders were fixed in gaze at the

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1- Imam Zayn ‘al-Abidin, p.19.
2- Nu`r al-Abbsar, p.36. Akhbar al-Diwal, p.109. Al-Sirat al-Sawi fi Manaqib Al al-Nabi, p.192.

handsomeness of his face.(1)” His solemnity was similar to that of his grandfather, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Muslim b. ‘Aqaba who was criminal, blood-thirsty, violated all Islamic values and manners admired his solemnity. When he saw the Imam, he shook with fear. Hence he received him warmly, treated him kindly, honored him, and said to those around him: “Indeed ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin has the qualities of the prophets.”

The Inscription of his Ring

As for the inscription of his ring, it showed that the Imam depended on Allah in all his affairs. The inscription of his ring read: “My success is not but by Allah.(2) It was said that the inscription of his ring was: “You have known, therefore do.(3)

Chapter 3: His Childhood and Behavior

point

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, had access to the best education. No one had access to such an education but him. These conditions helped him educate himself and build his character in such a way that he was among the leading generation of the Muslim Imams whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, trusted, and made the leaders of his community and trustees for carrying out his message. Indeed all the elements of good and virtue and perfection were embodied in the childhood and behavior of the Imam. We will briefly explain these two phenomena of the early stages of his life:

His Childhood

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, grew up in the House of Prophethood and Imamate. That was the House which Allah permitted

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1- Al-Sirat al-Sawi fi Manaqib Al al-Nabi, p.192.
2- Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p.187. Akhbar al-Diwal, p.109. Al-Sirat al-Sawi fi Manaqib Al al-Nabi, p.192.
3- Ibn Qutayba, ‘Uyyiun al-Akhbar, vol. 1, p.302.

to be exalted so that His Name might be remembered in it. The Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, took care of him in the early stage of his childhood. He supplied him with some rays of his spirit, the scent of which covered the whole world. The grandson was indeed a picture of his grandfather; he was similar to him in his psychological elements and qualities.

As for the period of time in which Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin lived under the wing of his grandfather, it was very short. The historians limited it in two years. It was among the critical years which Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, witnessed. During these years the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, suffered from terrible crises and events. Among them was that his army which fought against the falsehood of Mu‘awiya suffered defeat, mutiny, and disobedience. As a result the Imam asked Allah, the Glorified, to cause him die and to save him from that mobbish society which did not understand its objectives.

Hence ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Muljimthe most wretched person of the community, the terrorist, and criminalattacked and killed him in one of Allah’s houses, where he was standing and praying to Allah. In the last hours of his life, the members of his family and his children surrounded him, including Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin. Then Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, entrusted the Imamate to his two sons

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al-Hasan and al-Husayn. In the meantime he designated his little grandson Zayn al-‘Abidin as an Imam. He recited to him the greetings of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and to his son Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, who is the leading figure of this community and pioneer of its scientific and cultural movement.

Imam al-Hasan is the lord of the youth of Heaven and plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and his first grandson. He was the pioneer of thought and righteousness in Islam. He was Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s pure uncle. Hence he took care of him, treated him with kindness and affection. He planted in him his great ideals and his excellent inclinations. He accompanied him till he (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin) became a grown-up. Accordingly, he had great effect on his inner self.

Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, is the father of the free and lord of martyrs. He was Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s father. He thought that his son’s qualities were similar to those of the Prophet and of the Imam. Hence he took great care of him. He poured in him his noble abilities and values, preferred him to his sons, and accompanied him most of the time. In this respect the historians said: “When Zayn al-‘Abidin became ill, Imam al-Husayn hurried to visit him and made him wish, saying: ‘What do you wish, my little son?’

He (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin) answered him with the answer of those who

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turned to Allah in repentance and devoted themselves to Him: ‘I wish I would be among those who did not suggest (anything) to their Lord. (I am satisfied) with what my Lord decides.’ Imam al-Husayn admired these brilliant words which indicated great knowledge and deep faith, and then he said with admiration: ‘Bravo! You are similar to Ibrahim, the friend (of Allah) when Gabriel asked him: ‘Have you any need?’ He (Ibrahim) replied: ‘I do not suggest (anything) to my Lord, rather Allah is sufficient for me and the best Agent!(1)’”

Indeed Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was similar to Ibrahim, the friend of Allah, in his great faith, his turning to Allah in repentance, and his cleaving to Him.

According to his education in his childhood, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was a model for those who were proud of sublime perfection and noble moral traits.

His Behavior

As for the behavior of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, it was similar to that of his grandfathers, who were the source of guidance to mankind. The Imam spared no effort to follow the behavior and guidance of his grandfather Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. The narrators said: “He (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin) followed his grandfather’s behavior. When worship made him tired, he sighed deeply and said with regret: ‘I am not strong enough to perform the worship of my grandfather, the Commander of the faithful.’”

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin carried in his inner self the spirit of his grandfather, the

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1- Al-Bihar, vol. 46, p.66. Qutb al-Rawandi, al-Da‘wat.

Commander of the faithful and the Lord of those who were cognizant of Allah. He followed his method and imitated his actions. Now, we will talk about some aspects of this part of his life.

His Behavior in his House

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the most merciful of all the people and the kindest of them to the members of his house. He did not distinguish himself from them, rather he was one of them. It was reported on his authority that he said: “To buy meat from the market with the dirhams which are on me for my family when they long for meat is more lovable for me than freeing a slave.(1)” He went out early in the morning to seek the daily bread of his family. He was asked: “Where do you go?” He replied: “I go to seek alms for my family by seeking lawful daily bread because it is (the daily bread) is alms from Allah, the Great and Almighty, for them.(2)” He helped his family in meeting their needs. He did not order anyone of them to carry out his personal affairs; he performed them himself, especially if it concerned the affairs of his worship; he did not ask anyone of them to perform them.

The Imam’s behavior toward his household was unique; he behaved exceptionally with his family. His behavior was full of mercy, cooperation, kindness, and self-negation.

His Kindness to his Nursemaid

When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, grew up, he found out that his mother died, that his

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1- Al-Bihar, vol. 46, p.67.
2- Ibid.

nursemaid treated him kindly in order to seek nearness to Allah. As a result he treated her with great kindness to the extent that he prevented from eating with her. The people blamed him for that and asked him frequently: “You are the kindest of all the people and the best of them in taking care of your blood relatives, so why do you not eat with your mother?” He replied to them with great politeness: “I fear that I stretch out my hand for what she stretches out her hand for(1), then I am disobedient to her.(2)

Which humanity is similar to this humanity? Which angelic soul is this soul? It is sufficient for this Imam that he is the son of al-Husayn, who filled the world with his honor and perfection.

A Fabricated Narration

Ibn Kuthayr mentioned a fabricated report when he said that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin married his mother to one of his retainers, and he freed a slave girl and married her, so ‘Abd al-Malik wrote a letter to him and blamed him in it, saying: “Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much. He (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin) freed Safiya and married her, and he married his retainer, Zayd b. Haritha to his cousin, Zaynab, daughter of Jahsh.(3)

This narration is fabricated from the beginning to end for the following reasons:

A great number of the historians and narrators mentioned that the lady, the Imam’s mother,

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1- Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p.105. AL-Mubrrad, al-Kamil, vol. 1, p.302.
2- Ibn Qutayba, ‘Uyyu`n al-Akhbar, vol. 3, p.97.
3- Ibn Kuthayr, al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p.108.

died during her confinement.

Imam Abu’ al-Hasan al-Rida, peace be on him, mentioned that in his conversation with Sahl b. al-Qasim al-Nu’shjani when he said to him: “She (Zayn al-‘Abidin’s mother) died during her confinement, and one of his father’s slave-wives looked after him. The people claimed that she was his mother, while she was his retainer. They claimed that he married his mother (to a retainer of his). I seek refuge in Allah from that, rather he married his nursemaid to a retainer of his.” Sahl said: “All the students in Khurasan reported this on the authority of al-Rida.(1)

The sources of this narration are fabricated. As for that the Imam freed one of his slave girls and married her, it is lawful because it agrees with the Islamic teachings.

His Behavior toward his Parents

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the kindest of all the people to his parents because he treated them with great love and mercy and obedience. He was so kind to his father that he asked his aunt Zaynab, the heroine of Karbala’, to give the sticks to lean upon and a sword to defend his father at the Battle of al-Taf. This was while he was ill to the extent that he was unable to walk, but his aunt prevented him from doing that lest the progeny of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, should be destroyed. Therefore, which kindness is similar to this kindness? Among the services which he rendered to his father, after his

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1- ‘Uyyu`n Akhbar al-Rida, p.270.

martyrdom, was that he settled the heavy debts his father spent on the needy and the deprived. Among his acts of kindness to his parents is his supplication for them.

His Supplication for his Parents

As for the supplication of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, for his parents, it concerns one of the most brilliant rules of Islamic education. This rule aims at achieving the reform and happiness of the family, spreading love and respect among its members. It is natural for society to be righteous when the family is righteous, and when it is corrupt, the society is also corrupt. This is because it is the first cell of building and forming society. The following is the masterpiece of his supplication:

“O Allah, bless Muhammad Your servant and Your messenger and his Household, the pure, and single them out for the best of Your blessing, Your mercy, Your benedictions, and Your peace! And single out my parents, O Allah, for honor with You and blessings from You, O Most Merciful of the merciful!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and His Household, teach me through inspiration, knowledge of everything incumbent upon me toward them, and gather within me knowledge of all that completely! Then make me act in accordance with what You have inspired me and give me success to put into practice the knowledge You have shown to me, lest I fail to act according to something You have taught me or my limbs feel too heavy to perform that with which You have inspired me!”

These

p: 46

brilliant words represent the high manners and morals and respect of the Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin toward his parents. He supplicated to Allah to single them out with honor and dignity and to help him perform their rights against him. Now let’s listen to another masterpiece of his supplication for them.

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and His Household, as You have ennobled us through them and bless Muhammad and His Household as You have made incumbent upon us rights toward the creatures because of him.

“O Allah fill me with awe of my parents, the awe one has toward a tyrannical sovereign, and let me be devoted to them, with the devotion of a compassionate mother! Make my obedience and devotion to them more gladdening to my eyes than sleep to the drowsy and more refreshing to my breast than drink to the thirsty, so that I may prefer their inclination to my inclination, set their satisfaction before my satisfaction, make much of their devotion to me though it be little, and make little of my devotion to them though it be great.” In the world of obedience and kindness to parents, there is nothing like that which the Imam has mentioned in this paragraph.

He asked Allah, the Almighty, to fill him with awe of his parents to obey them and not to disobey them and to be devoted to them with the devotion of a compassionate mother and to prefer their inclination to his inclination and to set their satisfaction to

p: 47

his satisfaction and to thank them for their kindness to him and to regard as little his devotion to them. It is natural that such children treat their parents in such a manner which agrees with the troubles of life and pains of old age, and which brings about the happiness of family and the prosperity of social life. Now let’s continue mentioning the brilliant paragraphs of his supplication for his parents.

“O Allah lower before them my voice, make agreeable to them my words, make mild before them my temper, make tender toward them my heart, and turn me into their kind companion, their loving friend! O Allah thank them for my upbringing, reward them for honoring me, and guard them as they guarded me in my infancy! O Allah and whatever harm has touched them from me, detested thing has reached them from me, or right of theirs which has been neglected by me, allow it to alleviate their sins, raise them in their degrees, and add to their deeds! O He who changes evil deeds into manifold good deeds!”

This masterpiece represents the high education and morals of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. In it, the Imam has added other rights to the parents’ rights he has already mentioned, they are as follows:

The son should lower his voice before his parents.

He should make his temper mild before them.

He should make his heart tender toward them.

He should ask Allah to forgive them and to

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be pleased with them for their kindness to him during the days of his infancy.

He should ask Allah to reward them for whatever harm has touched them from him, detested thing has reached them from him or right of their rights which has been neglected by him. In the world of ideal education there is no morals like these morals through which man is sublime and his life is prosperous. Now, let’s listen to another part of the supplication of the Imam, peace be on him.

“O Allah, whatever word through which they have transgressed against me, act through which they have been immoderate with me, right of mine which they have neglected, or obligation toward me in which they have fallen short, I grant it to them and bestow it upon them, and I beseech You to remove from them its ill consequence, for I do not accuse them concerning myself, find them slow in their devotion toward me, or dislike the way they have attended to my affairs, my Lord! They have rights against me which are more incumbent, precedence in beneficence toward me that is greater, and kindness toward me that is mightier than that I should settle accounts with justice or repay them with equivalents.

Where then, my Allah, would be their long occupation with bringing me up? Where is the hardship of their toil in taking care of me? Where is the stinting of themselves to provide me with plenty? What an idea! I can never

p: 49

discharge their right against me, fulfill my obligations toward them, or accomplish the duty of serving them. So bless Muhammad and his Household and help me, O Best of those whose help we seek! Give me success, O Most Guiding of those whom we beseech! Place me not among the people of disrespect to fathers and mothers on the day when every soul will be repaid for what it has earned; they shall not be wronged.” Indeed this ‘Alid education is a breath of Allah’s spirit and is a signpost for peoples and nations to raise the value of man and exalt him to the Kingdom. This pious Imam shows that it is incumbent on children to forgive their parents for whatever word through which they have transgressed against them, act through which they have been immoderate with them, right of theirs which they have neglected, or obligation toward them in which they have fallen short. They must grant it to them and bestow it upon them as a reward to them for their education, their taking care of them, and their blessing toward them. Now, let’s listen to the last part of the Imam’s supplication:

“O Allah, bless Muhammad, his Household, and his progeny and single out my parents for the best which You have singled out for the fathers and mothers of Your faithful servants, O Most Merciful of the merciful! O Allah, let me not forget to remember them after my ritual prayers, at every time throughout my

p: 50

night, and in each of the hours of my day! O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, forgive me through my supplication for my parents, forgive them their devotion toward me with unfailing forgiveness, be pleased with them through my intercession for them with resolute good pleasure, and make them reach through Your generosity the abodes of safety!

O Allah, if Your forgiveness reaches them first, make them my intercessors, and if Your forgiveness reaches me first, make me their intercessors, so that we may gather together through Your gentleness in the house of Your generosity and the place of Your forgiveness and mercy! Verily You are Possessor of abounding bounty and ancient kindness, and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful!(1)

In this last paragraph, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, supplicated for his parents asking Allah to forgive them and to be pleased with them and to forgive him through the blessing of his supplication for them and to forgive them through their kindness to him, so which love and mercy for the parents is like this love and mercy?

His Behavior toward his Children

As for the behavior of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, toward his children, it is distinguished by exalted Islamic education. He planted in his children his good inclinations and great reformatory trends, so they became among the most brilliant men of thought, knowledge, and struggle in Islam. For example, his son Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, peace be on him, is among the most famous Imams of the Muslims

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, supplication no. 24.

and the most knowledgeable of them.

He was the founder of the greatest jurisprudence school from which the great jurists and religious scholars graduated, such as Aban b. Taghlub, Zarara b. A‘yun, and the like, from among those who enlightened the ideological life in Islam. As for his son ‘Abd Allah al-Bahir, he was among the leading Muslim scholars with excellent qualities and high scientific position, so the people reported that on his authority.(1)

As for his son Zayd, he was among the great Muslim religious scholars, and he was a specialist in many sciences such as jurisprudence, tradition, interpretation of the Qur’an, theology, and the like. It was he who adopted the rights of the oppressed and the persecuted, and he led their movement of struggle. That was when he proclaimed his immortal revolt which spread political awareness in the Islamic society. He also took part in overthrowing the Umayyad rule.

We will mention in brief some parts of the behavior of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, toward his children.

His Commandments to his Children

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, supplied his children with some educational commandments which were the summary of his experiences in this life, as guidance for them. The following are some of his commandments:

He, peace be on him, recommended some of his children to follow these valuable commandments which shed light on friends, and which made it incumbent on them to refrain from making friends with those who had evil inclinations which might pollute their pure nature. The following

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1- Ghayat al-Ikhtisar, p.106.

is the text of his commandments: “My little son, beware of five persons. Do not make friends with them, do not converse with them, and do not accompany them.” His son asked him: “Who are they?” He, peace be on him, replied: “Beware of making friends with a liar because he is like a mirage, making you feel that distant things are near and near things are distant. Be careful of making friends with a sinner because he would sell you for a meal or less than that. Beware of making friends with a miser because he would desert you because of his money when you are in need of him. Guard against a fool because he may intend to benefit you but may harm you. Be cautious of making friends with the one who abandons his blood relations because I have found him cursed in the Book of Allah.(1)” Indeed, making friends with such people brings about destruction and loss and great harm. Such people are many in the past and in the present while good and pure friends are few!

Among his excellent commandments to his children are these great ones, which read: “My little son, be patient during a misfortune, do not interfere with rights, and do not force your friend (to do) a thing whose harm is greater than its benefit for you.(2)” The wise Imam recommended his son to be patient in the face of misfortunes and events that afflicted him and not to collapse before

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1- Tuhaf al-‘Uqu`l, p.279. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p.105. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a.
2- Al-Bayan wa al-Tabbyyin, vol. 2, p.76. Al-‘Aqd al-Farid, vol. 3, p.88.

them, for that would strengthen his character. He also recommended him not to interfere with the rights of others lest they should transgress against him. Moreover, he recommended him not to force his friend to do a certain thing that might bring about harm and loss.

Among his wonderful commandments to one of his children is the following: “My little son, Allah is not satisfied with you as one for me and He enjoined you in respect of me; He is satisfied with me as one for you and He warned me from you. Know that the best of fathers is he whose love does not cause him to neglect his children, and the best of children to fathers is one whose father’s shortcomings does not make him disobedient to him.(1)

These commandments have the following points:

A. Children do not harbor love and mercy for their parents as their parents do for them. So Allah, the Glorified, has stressed in more than one verse of His Glorious Book that children should treat their parents kindly and obey them.

B. Allah, the Exalted, has warned parents from their children whom He regarded as among the sources of discord and unhappiness for their parents.

C. Successful upbringing is that the parents should not go too far in showing love and mercy for their children, for that would weaken the child’s character and make him unable to resist events. It is worth mentioning that educationists and psychologists have underlined this issue.

D. The best children are those who

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1- Al-‘Aqd al-Farid, vol. 3, p.89.

serve their parents and treat them kindly.

4. He singled out his son Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him, with these valuable commandments in which he warned him against making friends with a fool, saying: “My little son, beware of making friends and associating with a fool. Abandon a fool and do not converse with him because he is deficient and faultfinding whether he is present or absent. When he talks, his foolishness exposes him. When he keeps silent, his silence shows his feebleness. When he acts, he corrupts (his act). He loses (the care) when someone takes care of him. Neither his own knowledge nor the others’ knowledge avails him. He does not obey his adviser. Those who associate with him find no rest (with him). His mother and his wife wish that they would lose him. His neighbor wishes that his house would be far from him. His friend prefers loneliness to sitting with him. If he is the youngest of those who are in the assembly, he tires out those who are older than him. If he is the oldest of them, he corrupts those who are younger than him.(1)” The Imam, peace be on him, made it incumbent on his children to refrain from making friends with a fool whose defects and shortcomings he had mentioned.

5. The following are some of his wonderful commandments to his children: “Sit with the men of religion and knowledge. If you are unable (to sit with them), therefore loneliness is more

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1- Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 5, p.421.

sociable and safer. If you insist on sitting with people, therefore sit with the men of generosity because they are not strict in their assemblies.(1)

These are some of his educational commandments to his children. In these commandments he has shown his children the best methods necessary for their behavior in this life.

His Supplication for his Children

As for his supplication for his children, it is very wonderful in showing his behavior toward them and what he hoped for them such as excellent manners and noble morals. Now, let’s listen to this supplication, which is part of the greatest wealth in the Islamic education.

“O Allah, be kind to me through the survival of my children, setting them right for me and allowing me to enjoy them! My Allah, make long their lives for me, increase their terms, bring up the smallest for me, strengthen the weakest for me, rectify for me their bodies, their religious dedication, and their moral traits, make them well in their souls, their limbs, and everything that concerns me of their affairs, and pour out for me and upon my hand their provisions! Make them pious, fearing, insightful, hearing, and obedient toward You, loving and well-disposed toward Your friends, and stubbornly resistant and full of hate toward all Your enemies! Amen!”

This paragraph represents the great spirituality the Imam, peace be on him, followed to educate his children. He educated them according to the inclusive setting right and the absolute education. He prayed to Allah to be kind to him through:

A. The survival

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1- Al-Kashi, Rijal, p.419.

of his children in order that he might enjoy them.

B. Rectifying their bodies, their religious dedication, and their moral traits.

C. Rectifying their souls through purifying them from vices and sins.

D. Making them well in their limbs lest they should become handicap.

E. Making abundant their provisions lest they should suffer from poverty which was among the most dangerous disasters.

F. Making them pious, fearing, insightful, hearing, and obedient toward Him (Allah).

G. Making them loving and well-disposed toward His (Allah’s) friends, and stubbornly resistant and full of hate toward all His enemies.

This kindness to children strengthens the ties of the members of family. When the child is brought up according to these high moral traits, his parents will enjoy him. Let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication. “O Allah, through them strengthen my arm, straighten my burdened back, multiply my number, adorn my presence, keep alive my name, suffice me when I am away, help me in my needs, and make them loving toward me, affectionate, approaching, upright, obedient, never disobedient, disrespectful, opposed, or offenders! Help me in their education, and my devotion toward them, give me among them from Yourself male children, make that a good for me, and make them a help for me in that which I ask from You!

Give me and my progeny refuge from the accursed Satan, for You have created us, commanded us, prohibited us, and made us desire the reward of what You have commanded, and fear its punishment! You assigned to us

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an enemy who schemes against us, gave him an authority over us in a way You did not give us an authority over him, allowed him to dwell in our breasts and let him run in our blood vessels; he is not heedless, though we be heedless, he does not forget, though we forget; he makes us feel secure from Your punishment and fills us with fear toward other than You. If we are about to commit an indecency, he gives us courage to do so, and if we are about to perform a righteous act, he holds us back from it. He opposes us through passions, and sets up for us doubts. If he promises us, he lies, and if he raises our hopes, he fails to fulfill them. If You do not turn his trickery away from us, he will misguide us, and if You do not protect us from his corruption, he will cause us to slip. O Allah, so defeat his authority over us through Your authority such that You hold him back from us through the frequency of our supplication to You and we leave his trickery and rise up among those preserved by You from sin!”

This wonderful paragraph has two important matters, which are:

First, the Imam asked Allah, the Glorified, to help him achieve what he hoped in respect to his pure children. He hoped that:

1. Allah would strengthen his arm through them, for a good child is strength for his father.

2. He would

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straighten his burdened back.

3. He would multiply their number, so that they would be a notable family before the people.

4. He would adorn his presence and keep alive his name, that was through the high standards of his children.

5. He would suffice him when he was away, that was when his children carried out his affairs.

6. He would make his children help him in his needs and not leave him alone.

7. He would make his children loving toward him, affectionate, approaching, upright, obedient, never disobedient, disrespectful, opposed, or offenders!

When children are righteous and obedient to their parents, their parents will enjoy them during the time of their old age which is the center of weakness.

Second, the Imam asked Allah, the Glorified, to protect him and his children from the evil of the accursed Satan, who is the first enemy of man; he tempts man to be disobedient to Allah through committing sins and vices. The Imam has mentioned the authority and domination of Satan over man as follows:

1. Satan tempts man to commit sins, makes easy the punishment Allah has prepared for his disobedient servants, and makes man afraid of those other than Allah, so he makes him afraid of them more than they are afraid of Allah.

2. If man is about to commit an indecency, he gives him courage to do so.

3. If man is about to perform a righteous act, he holds him back from it.

4. Satan opposes man through passions.

5. He sets up doubts for man to

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make him far from his Lord.

The Imam mentioned all the ways Satan uses to entice man such as lying and deception, and then he warned all the believers from the trickery of Satan. Now, lets listen to the last paragraph of this holy supplication.

“O Allah, grant me every request, accomplish for me my needs, withhold not from me Your response when You have made Yourself accountable for it to me, veil not my supplication from Yourself, when you have commanded me to make it, and be kind to me through everything that will set me right in this world and the next, in everything that I remember or forget, display or conceal, make public or keep secret! In all of this, place me through my asking You among those who set things right, those who are answered favorably when they request from You and from whom is not withheld when they put their trust in You, those who always seek refuge in You, those who profit through commerce with You, those granted sanctuary through Your might, those given lawful provision in plenty from Your plentiful bounties through Your munificence and generosity, those who reach exaltation after abasement through You, those granted sanctuary from wrong through Your justice, those released from affliction through Your mercy, those delivered from need after poverty through Your riches, those preserved from sins, slips, offenses through reverential fear toward You, those successful in goodness, right conduct, and propriety through obeying You, those walled off from sins

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through your power, the refrainers from every act of disobedience toward You, the dwellers in Your neighborhood!

O Allah, give me all of that through Your granting of success and Your mercy, grant us refuge from the chastisement of burning, and to give to all the Muslims, male and female, and all the faithful, male and female, the like of what I have asked for myself and my children, in the immediate of this world and the deferred of the next! Verily You are the Near, the Responder, the All-hearing, the All-knowing, the Pardoner, the Forgiving, the Clement, the Merciful! And give us in this world good, and in the next world good, and protect us from the chastisement of the Fire! (1)

Peace be on you, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, you were given wisdom and sound judgment of which no one of the people was given except your children, who created the rules of eloquence in the world of Islam.

In the above-mentioned paragraph, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, showed his great loyalty, his turning to Allah, his obedience, and his cleaving to Allah. He asked Allah, the Almighty, to grant him every request, to accomplish for him his needs, to withhold not from him His response when He has made Himself accountable for it to him, to veil not his supplication from Himself, when He has commanded him to make it, and to be kind to him through everything that will set him right in this world and the

p: 61


1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, supplication no. 25.

next. He humbly supplicated to Allah, and then he asked Him to give to all the Muslims, male and female, and all the faithful, male and female, the like of what he had asked for himself and his children, in the immediate of this world and the deferred of the next.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, brought up his children according to these manners, which represented the essence of Islam and true faith, so his children were the most pious of the children of all the Muslims in religion.

His Behavior toward his Retainers

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, treated his retainers with kindness and mercy; he treated them as he treated his own children. The narrators said that he did not punish any of his retainers for the mistakes they made against him.(1) One day the Imam called a retainer of his twice, but the retainer did not answer him. At the third time he answered, so the Imam asked him kindly:

“Didn’t you hear my voice, my little son?”

“Yes,” was the reply.

“What was on your mind so that you did not answer me?” asked the Imam.

“I was safe (from any harm) from you,” answered the retainer.

The Imam praised Allah and went out, saying: “Praise be to Allah, Who has caused my slave to be safe (from any harm) from me.(2)” The Imam was happy, for he was neither rude nor tyrannical, so the people were not afraid of him nor were they careful of him.

His Behavior toward his Neighbors

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was

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1- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, vol. 103.
2- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p.155.

the kindest of all the people to his neighbors. He treated them as he treated his family, maintained their weak and poor, visited their sick, escorted their deceased to their final resting place. He did a lot of good for them. He took water to his neighbors in the dark night, as al-Zuhri reported(1) In the history of mankind, there is nothing like this kindness and charity.

His Supplication for his Neighbors

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was not satisfied with the kindness and charity he did for his Neighbors, rather he supplicated for them. He asked Allah to grant them success, good final results, and correctness, as he prayed for himself and the members of his House. This supplication was among his tasks. He singled out his neighbors with one of his holy supplications. The following is the text of this supplication:

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household and attend to me with Your best attending in my neighbors and friends who recognize our right and war against our enemies! Give (neighbors and friends) success in performing Your prescriptions and taking on the beauties of Your courtesy through acting gently with their weak, remedying their lacks, visiting their sick, guiding their seeker of right guidance, giving good counsel to their seeker of advice, attending to the one among them who returns from travel, hiding their secrets, covering their shameful things, helping their wronged, sharing kindly with them in goods, turning towards them with wealth and bestowal of bounty, and giving what is due

p: 63


1- Bahjat al-Abrar.

to them before they ask!”

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, supplicated for his neighbors with this blessed supplication. He singled out with his supplication the believers and those who knew the right of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, whose love Allah made obligatory, and whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, made life-boats, security for mankind, and the ones who guided men to pleasure and obedience to Allah. In the above-mentioned supplication, the Imam asked Allah:

To grant his neighbors success in performing the sunna of Islam and to enliven its duties and teachings.

To grant his neighbors success in taking on the beauties of Allah’s courtesy, through:

(A) Acting gently with their weak and having mercy on them.

(B) Meeting the needs of their neighbors and helping them with the affairs of this world.

(C) Visiting their ill brothers.

(D) Guiding their seeker of right guidance.

(E) Giving good counsel to their seeker of advice.

(F) Attending to the one among them who returns from travel.

(G) Hiding their secrets.

(H) Covering their shameful things.

(I) Helping their wronged.

(J) Sharing kindly with them in goods.

(K) Turning towards them with wealth and bestowal of bounty.

These are among the most important issues in the social regulation aimed at spreading love, friendship, and cooperation among people, and aimed at ending all kinds of differences that corrupt social life. Now, let’s listen to the last words of this holy supplication.

“Let me, O Allah, repay their evildoer with good doing, turn away from their wrongdoer

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with forbearance, have a good opinion of every one of them, attend to all of them with devotion, lower my eyes before them in continence, make mild my side toward them in humility, be tender toward the afflicted among them in mercy, make them happy in absence through affection, love that they continue to receive favor through good will, grant them what I grant my next of kin, and observe for them what I observe for my special friends! O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, provide me the like of that from them, appoint for them the fullest share of what is with them, increase them in insight toward my right and knowledge of my excellence so that they will be fortunate through me and I fortunate through them! Amen, Lord of the worlds!(1)

The most important thing which the Imam wished was that he wanted to do a lot of good for his neighbors. He wanted to:

1. Repay their evildoer with good doing.

2. Turn away from their wrongdoer with forbearance, this was the behavior of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who turned away with forbearance from those who wronged him.

3. Have a good opinion of every one of them, for having a good opinion of people spreads love, friendship, and cooperation among them.

4. Attend to all of them with devotion, the weak, the poor, the enemy, and the friend.

5. Make mild his side toward them in humility.

6. Be tender toward the afflicted among

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, supplication no. 26.

them in mercy.

7. Make them happy in absence through affection and mercy.

8. Receive favor continuously.

9. Treat them kindly as he treated his next of kin.

10. Observe for them what he observed for his special friends.

These exalted morals represent the essence and reality of Islam. They aim at forming a perfect society with united feelings and firm passions.

After the Imam, peace be on him, had made public these noble feelings toward his neighbors, he wanted them to have the same feelings toward him. Then he asked Allah, the Glorified, to provide him the like of that from them, appoint for them the fullest share of what was with them, increase them in insight toward his right and knowledge of his excellence so that they would be fortunate through him and he fortunate through them.

His Behavior toward his Friends

As for the behavior of the Imam, peace be on him, with his friends, it was distinguished by high standards and great Islamic manners. The Imam, peace be on him, respected and honored those who sat with him, thus he said: “I respected and honored those who sat with me.(1)” One day, Nasr b. Aws al-Ta’i came to the Imam and greeted him, so the Imam returned his greeting and asked him:

“Where are you from?”

“From Tay,” replied Nasr.

“May Allah greet you! May He greet the people to whom you belong! The best people are your people!” the Imam said.

Nasr turned to the Imam and asked him: “Who are you?”

“‘Ali b. al-Husayn.” was the answer.

“Wasn’t

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1- Yousif al-Qurtubi, Bahjat al-Majalis wa ’Unis al-Majalis, vol. 1, p.46.

he killed with his father in Iraq?” asked Nasr.

The Imam smiled at him and said: “ My little son, if he was killed, you won’t see him.(1)

The historians said that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, did not allow any of his friends to transgress against those who mistreated him. One of his enemies came to him and asked him: “Do you know how to perform the ritual prayers?” Abu’ Hazim, one of the Imam’s companions, tried to attack him, so the Imam held him back from doing that, saying: “Abu’ Hazim, take it easy! Indeed, religious scholars should be clement and merciful!” Then the Imam kindly turned to the man and said to him: “Yes, I know how to perform them.”

The man asked the Imam about the peculiarities of the prayers, and the Imam answered him, so the man became shy of the Imam, apologized to him for that, and said to him: “You have refuted everyone’s proof.(2)” The Imam treated his friends with high moral standards. In this connection he followed his grandfather, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who was sent to complete the high moral standards.

His Behavior toward his Shi‘ites

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, wanted his Shi‘ites to be an excellent example for mankind in their piety, devotion, and cleaving to religion, so he did his best to educate them with high Islamic manners. He preached to them, gave them commandments, and urged them to cling to piety and good deeds, so he,

p: 67


1- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p.145.
2- Bahjat al-Abrar.

peace be on him, said to one of his Shi‘ites: “Inform our Shi‘ites that nothing will avail them before Allah, and that no one will obtain our intercession but through piety.(1)

Indeed, refraining from what Allah has prohibited is among the most important ways that man is saved from the chastisement and punishment of Allah, and it is also among the most successful ways that leads man to obtain the intercession of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, which is one of Allah’s forts.

A group of people came to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and told him that they belonged to his Shi‘ites, so the Imam considered their faces carefully but did not see on them the marks of righteousness, so he said to them: “Where are the marks of the faces? Where are the marks of worship? Where are the marks of prostration (in prayer)? Indeed our Shi‘ites are known by their worship and their shaggy hair. Worship injures the inner corners of their eyes, their foreheads, and their limbs of prostration. Their ‘Abdomens are hollow, and their lips are withered. They glorify Allah when the people keep silent, and they perform the prayers when the people sleep. They are sad when the people are happy. They are known by asceticism. And Paradise distract them (from this world) (2)

These qualities which the Imam, peace be on him, concern the special Shi‘ites and the followers of the Imams, peace be on them, such as

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1- Al-Durr al-Nazim, p.173.
2- Sifat al-Shi‘a.

‘Ammar b. Yasir, Abu’ Dharr, Salman al-Farisi, Maytham al-Tammar, and the like, whose souls were full of piety and righteousness, and who understood the message of Islam. As for the overwhelming majority of the Shi‘ites, they are the lovers and followers of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. It is worth mentioning that following the Imams, peace be on them, brings about forgiveness. This can be indicated through the following tradition which has been reported on his authority. When he became ill, a group of the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, came to visit him and asked him: “Son of the Apostle of Allah, may our souls be ransom for you, how are you?” “I am very well,” replied the Imam, “I am grateful to Allah for that, and how are you?” “We are very well,” they answered, “Son of the Apostle of Allah, we love you and follow you.” So the Imam gave them good news of Heaven because they loved and followed the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, saying: “Whoever loves us for Allah, Allah will make him dwell in a very shady place on the Day of Resurrection, the day when there will be no shade except His shade. Whoever loves to reward us, Allah will give him Heaven as a reward. Whoever loves us for this world, Allah will give him his livelihood from where he does not expect.(1)

A Fabricated Narration

Among the

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1- Nu`r al-Abbsar, p.127.

fabricated narrations is what Ibn ‘Asakir reported when he said that a group of the Iraqis came to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, who said to them: “Love us with love of Islam, and do not love us with the love of idols. You have loved us to the extent that your love has disgraced us.(1)” This narration was fabricated to defame the Shi‘a, to indicate that they went too far in loving and following the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and that they raised them to the level of the Almighty Creator. This narration is a baseless accusation, for the love of the Shi‘a for their pure Imams, peace be on them, depends on thought, awareness, the Holy Book of Allah, and the authentic Sunna, in addition to that, there is no defect of exaggeration in such a kind of love. The most important factor in the love of the Shi‘a for the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, is that they take the teachings of their doctrine from them and conform to what was narrated on their authority in respect to religious life. Without doubt, it is enough for someone to put into effect the jurisprudence of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and to depend on it. Is there in this exaggeration and deviation from the truth?

The same narration was reported in another way in which there was

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1- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p.157.

no slander against the Shi‘a. This narration was reported by Yahya b. Sa’eed, who said: [I was sitting with ‘Ali b. al-Husayn when a number of the Kufans came to him and he said to them:] “People of Iraq, love us with the love of Islam, for I heard my father say: ‘Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘O Men, do not raise me more than my right, for Allah, the Glorified, had adopted me as a servant before he adopted me as a prophet.’(1)” There is nothing in this narration to urge us to doubt it.

His enjoining the Shi‘ites to practice

Precautionary Dissimulation

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, made it incumbent on his Shi‘ites to conform to precautionary dissimulation because they witnessed critical conditions during the rule of the Umayyads, who spared no effort to look for the followers of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and to kill them, thus the Imam enjoined his followers to practice precautionary dissimulation and to conceal their belonging to him. This order of the Imam, peace be on him, agreed with wisdom and the spirituality and essence of Islam. In this connection, he, peace be on him, said: “Allah forgives the believer every sin and purifies him from it in here and the hereafter except two sins, namely leaving precautionary dissimulation and losing his brothers (friends).(2)

Indeed precautionary dissimulation prevented the blood of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, from being shed during those

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1- Al-Dhurriya al-Tahira, p.29.
2- Imam Zayn ‘al-Abidin, p.202. Quoted from al-Mahasin by al-Barqi.

black times when the Umayyads sought them everywhere and killed a great number of them to the extent that they (the Shi‘ites) preferred belonging to the Jews and Christians to belonging to the followers of the Household of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family. Those who have no awareness from among those who harbor malice against the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, condemned the Shi‘a for precautionary dissimulation, for they did not know that it was an important Islamic measure for the Shi‘ites to save themselves from being killed. Were it not for that the Shi‘ites cleaved to precautionary dissimulation, no one would adopt the doctrine of the pure Imams.

His Asking Forgiveness for

the Shi‘ite Sinners

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, loved his Shi‘ites and followers to the extent that he supplicated for them every day, so he, peace be on him, said to Umm Farwa, daughter of al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abu’ Bakr: “I supplicate for the Shi‘ite sinners a hundred times a day, for we are patient toward what we know, and they are patient toward what they do not know.(1)” This tradition shows that the Imam was kind to his Shi‘ites, for he asked Allah, the Glorified, to forgive the Shi‘ites and to be pleased with them. Therefore which kindness is better than this kindness?

His Behavior toward his Enemies

As for the behavior of the Imam toward his enemies, those who harbored malice against him, and those who wronged him, it was distinguished by kindness

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1- Al-Wafi, vol. 2, p.183. ‘Yyu`n al-Mu‘jizat, p.76.

to them. The historians said: “Isma‘il b. Hisham al-Makhzu’mi, the governor of Medina, harbored malice against the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, hurt Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, and cursed his grandfathers on the pulpits in order to seek nearness to the rulers of Damascus. When al-Walid b. ‘Abd al-Malik became caliph, he removed Isma‘il b. Hisham al-Makhzu’mi from office because of a previous enmity between them. He ordered him to be stood up before the people to take their rights from him. Isma‘il b. Hisham al-Makhzu’mi was very afraid of the Imam because he transgressed against him many times and mistreated him, so he said: ‘I fear no one except ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, for he is a righteous man, so the people will listen to his words concerning me.’ As for the Imam, he asked his companions and followers not to mistreat Isma‘il, and then he hurried to him smiled at him and said to him: ‘Cousin, may Allah make you prosperous, what was done against you has displeased me and urged me to do what you love.’ Isma‘il b. Hisham was astonished to hear these words of the Imam, thus he said with admiration: ‘Allah knows better where to put His message.’(1)

Now, let’s carefully listen and consider to his holy supplication for his enemies, and those who wronged him: “O Allah, if any of Your servants should harm me in what You have forbidden or violated me in what You have interdicted, and if he

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1- Hayat al-Imam al-Baqir, vol. 1, p.35. Tabaqat b. Sa‘d, vol. 5, p.220.

should pass into death with my complaint or I come to have a complaint against him while he is alive, forgive him what he did to me and pardon him that through which he turned his back on me! Inquire not from him about what he committed toward me and expose him not through what he earned by me! Make my openhandedness in pardoning such servants and my contribution in charity toward them the purest charity of the charitable and the highest gift of those seeking nearness to You! Recompense me for my pardoning them with Your pardon and for my supplicating for them with Your mercy so that each one of us may gain felicity through Your bounty and each may attain deliverance through Your kindness!(1)

Indeed, there is no one in the history of mankind similar to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, except his grandfathers. In his behavior he represented a matchless world of honor, nobility, and humanity.

Chapter 4: His Psychological Qualities

point

All the noble virtues and gifts which Allah created to distinguish man were found in the character of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. No one matched him in his inclinations and his psychological qualities such as sublime manners, high moral standards, and adherence to religion. When someone reads his noble behavior, he bows down in respect and admiration for him. The great Muslim figures from among his contemporaries belittled themselves because of the manifold of the Imam’s virtues and abilities. Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab, one of the

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, supplication no. 39.

great religious scholars of Medina, said: “I have never seen a person more meritorious than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, and when I see him, I hate myself.(1)” His ideals raised him to the summit of honor and glory which were ascended by his grandfathers, who sacrificed their lives for social reform. Now, we will talk briefly about some of his psychological qualities.

Clemency

As for clemency, it was among the qualities of the prophets and the messengers and is among the greatest and the most distinguished qualities of man, for it means that man controls himself and does not yield to the inclinations of anger and revenge. Al-Jahiz defined clemency, saying: “Clemency means that you leave revenge during intense anger while you are able to do that.(2)” Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the greatest of all the people in clemency and the best of them in restraining anger. The narrators and the historians mentioned many examples of his clemency, the following are some of them:

1. A maid-servant of ‘Ali b. al-Husayn began to pour water for him so that he might perform the ritual ablutions for prayer. The maid-servant became faint and the jug dropped from her hand and struck him. He raised his head towards her and the maid-servant said: “Allah, the Most High, says: Those who restrain from anger.”

“I have restrained my anger,” he said.

“And those who forgive the people,” she went on.

“My Allah forgive you,” he said.

“Allah loves those who do good,” she said.

“Go, you are a

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1- Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p.46.
2- Tahdhib al-Akhlaq, p.19.

free woman before the face of Allah, the Almighty and High,(1)” he answered.

2. A mean person received the Imam by abusing and cursing him, nevertheless the Imam treated him kindly, saying: “Boy, there will be an invincible obstacle before us. If I cross it I will pay no attention to what you are saying. If I am perplexed with it, I will be more wicked than what you are saying.(2)

The Imam was busy thinking of his sentiments and feelings toward Allah and fear of the terrors of the hereafter from which no one will be safe except the pious, and he was not annoyed by this nonsense, which issued from a person void of morals and manners.

3. When the Imam went out of the mosque, a person abused him, so the people hurried to punish the man, but the Imam prevented them from doing that, saying: “What Allah has concealed from you is more than (this). Shall I help you with your need?”

The person was ashamed of himself and wished that the earth would swallow him up. When the Imam looked at him, he had mercy on him and gave him a black shirt and a thousand dirhams. With that the Imam was able to uproot from the man the evil inclination of aggression against the people without any right and showed him the path of truth and guidance, so when the person saw the Imam, he said to him: “Surely you are among the children of the prophets.(3)

4. An

p: 76


1- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, vol. 155. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p.326.
2- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.96.
3- Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p.105.

ignoble person aggressed against the Imam and cursed him, but the Imam turned his face away from him, so the ignoble person became angry and said to him: “I mean you!” However, the Imam said to him: “Still, I will forgive you!” Then the Imam left the ignoble person and went away. He did not return the insult, thus the ignoble person burst into anger(1)

5. A mean person slandered the Imam and went too far in cursing him; nevertheless the Imam said to him: “If I have what you say, I will ask Allah to forgive me. If I do not have what you say, I will ask Allah to forgive you.” The mean person became ashamed of himself and apologized to the Imam for that, saying: “You do not have what I said, so pardon me!” The Imam received him with smiles of satisfaction and forgiveness, saying: “May Allah forgive you!” The mean person admired the Imam and said: “Allah knows better where to place his message.(2)

6. A person was aggressive against a member of the family of al-Zubayr and cursed him, but the latter did not return in degree. When the person went away, al-Zubayri stood up and began cursing the Imam, but the latter kept silent and did not answer him, so the former asked: “What prevents you from answering me?” “What prevented you from answering the man,” the Imam answered with kindness.(3)

These are some of the examples the historians mentioned of the clemency of the Imam,

p: 77


1- Ibid.
2- Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p.54.
3- Al-Mubarrad, al-Kamil, vol. 3, p.805

peace be on him. They show an endless ability of outstanding merits which manifested them selves in the Imam and raised him to the highest level of the human perfection.

Patience

Among the psychological qualities of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him was patience during ordeals and tribulations. It is certain that no one in this world has been afflicted by such ordeals and tribulations as this great Imam was afflicted by them; he was liable to events and misfortunes from the beginning of his life to his death, for he suffered the loss of his mother when he was in the first stage of his childhood, so he did not feel her pure affection and kindness. He witnessed in his bloom of youth the sorrow of his family because of the loss of his grandfather Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, whom ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Muljim killed.

He witnessed those days when his uncle, the pure Imam, al-Hasan, peace be on him, was forced to make peace with Mu‘awiya b. Abu’ Sufyan, the Umayyad ruler of Syria. It is worth mentioning that Mu‘awiya brought disgrace on the Arab and Islamic world because of his pre-Islamic inclinations and his malice against Islam and Muslims. When he took the reins of authority, he used all the organs of his government to erase Islam from the map of existence, and took the severest measures against the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. For example,

p: 78

he ordered the people to curse them on the pulpits and the minarets (of the mosques), meanwhile he ordered their followers to be killed everywhere.

When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, became a young man, he suffered the loss of his uncle Imam al-Hasan, the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, whom the Kasra of the Arabs (i.e., Mu‘awiya b. Hind) (1) killed with poison. This event saddened the Imam and the Prophet’s Household very much.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was afflicted by the most sorrowful event when he saw sinful swords cut off the heads of the choice from among the members of the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, in a tragic way which the history of nations and people had never seen. After the murder of that group from among the supporters of justice and truth, the criminal Kufans surrounded Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and then they burnt his tent and the tents of the womenfolk of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. After that they took the Imam as prisoner to the tyrannical governor, b. Marjana, who received the Imam by cursing and abusing him, while the Imam was patient and entrusted his affair to Allah. After that, the Imam was taken to the tyrannical Caliph, Yazid b. Mu‘awiya. There the Imam suffered from various kinds of ordeals and tribulations but he was patient

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1- The Second Caliph gave him this surname.

toward them showing satisfaction with Allah’s decree. Therefore, what a great soul was his soul! What a pure conscience was his conscience! As for his soul, it resorted to the Creator of the world and Giver of life during all those terrible events. As for his conscience, it was purer and stronger than everything.

Patient in the face of ordeals and tribulations was among the psychological qualities of the Imam, peace be on him. It was reported on his authority that he said: “Patience is the source of obedience to Allah.(1)

Another example of his patience was that he heard a woman wailing in his house, and there was a group of people with him, so he stood up to see what happened. He was told that one of his children had died, but he returned to his assembly and told his companions about the death of his child and they admired his patience, so he said to them: “We, the members of the House, obey Allah in what we like and praise Him in what we dislike.(2)” He thought that patience was among bounties and impatience was an act of weakness.(3)

As Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, had a strong character and did not collapse before the terrible events, he is regarded as among the rarest figures throughout history.

Glory and Self-esteem

Among the qualities of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, were glory and self-esteem. He inherited these qualities from his father, the Lord of martyrs, peace be on him, who walked

p: 80


1- Al-Muqrim, Al-Imam Zayn ‘al-Abidin, p.19.
2- Huliyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p.138.
3- Al-Durr al-Nazim, p.173.

toward death with longing and desire for his glory and self-esteem. That was when the mean people made him choose between death and abasement, so he chose death and addressed them, saying: “By Allah, I will never give you my hand like a man who has been humiliated; nor will I flee like a slave.” This noble quality appeared in Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin when he said: “I do not prefer excellent bounties to myself.(1)” Concerning self-esteem, he said: “Whoever feels that he is respectable, the world is easy for him.(2)” When he was taken prisoner to Syria, he did not speak to any of those who guarded him to make them feel that he disdained and belittled them.

The historians said: “One of his uncles took some of his rights illegally. He, peace be on him, was in Mecca. Meanwhile al-Walid, the king, was there to perform the ritual hajj, so it was said to him: ‘Ask al-Walid to take you your rights.’ So he said to them with these words which are immortal in the world of glory and self-esteem: ‘Shall I ask in the House of Allah, the Great and Almighty, other than Allah, Great and Almighty? Indeed, I refuse to ask the Creator of the world for the world, then how shall I ask a creature similar to me for the world?’(3)” Anther example of his self-esteem was that he did not take even a dirham through his nearness to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his

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1- Al-Khisal, p.24.
2- Al-Bihar, vol. 78, 135.
3- Ibid, vol. 46, p.64.

family.(1) The historians reported many examples of his glory and self-esteem, which showed that he refused all kinds of abasement and oppression.

Bravery

Among his psychological qualities was bravery and courage; he was the bravest of all the people, for he was the son of al-Husayn, who was the most courageous of all the children of Adam. An example of his outstanding bravery was when he was taken prisoner and taken to the tyrannical governor, ‘Ubayd Allah b. Marjana, the latter received him with words of glee at his misfortune. So the Imam answered him with burning words whose effect on him was stronger than the clashing of swords and the lashing of whips. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, paid no attention to ‘Ubayd Allah’s power and invincibility, so b. Marjana (i.e., ‘Ubayd Allah) became so angry that he ordered the Imam to be killed. However, the Imam was not afraid of death, rather he said to him calmly: “Killing is a custom for us, and our miracle from Allah is martyrdom.”

When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was taken to Yazid b. Mu‘awiya, he met him with boldness and reproached him for his great crime and gave him no way to defend himself and to justify his crime.

The Imam inherited bravery from his grandfather ‘Ali and his father al-Husayn, who were the bravest of all the creatures of Allah. There is no one in the world of Islam similar to them in bravery, strong determination, and firmness in

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1- Tha‘lab, al-Majalis, vol. 2, p.462.

defending the truth.

His Unselfish Nature

Among his prominent qualities was his lack of all kinds of selfishness which had no power over him. The historians mentioned many examples of his lack of selfishness. Such as when he wanted to travel to a certain place, he traveled with people who did not know him, so that he would serve them and rather than they serve him. One day he traveled with some people who did not know him, but one of them looked at him and recognized him and shouted at the people, asking: “Woe unto you! Do you know that man?”

“No, we don’t,” answered the people.

“That is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn,” explained the man.

The people hurried toward the Imam and began kissing his hands and feet, asking: “Do you want Allah to make us enter the fire of Hell? What made you do that?”

The Imam answered gently: “I traveled with some people who knew me and they, because of Allah’s Apostle, rendered services for me which I was unworthy of. I was afraid that you would render me the same services, so I preferred concealing my affair to making it public.(1)

Another example of his lack of selfishness was that when he walked in a street and saw the passers-by being harmed by things such as stones and clods of mud, he dismounted his mount and took them away from the street with his holy hand.(2) When he mounted his mule and walked in the street, he did not say to anyone: “Make room.” Moreover,

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1- ‘Uyyu`n Akhbar al-Rida, vol. 2, p.145. A similar report to this has been mention in al-Kamil by al-Mubarrad, vol. 2, p.482.
2- Al-Imam Zayn ‘al-Abidin, p.70.

he said: “The street is for all people, and I have no right to push anyone away from it.(1)” All the qualities of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, such as high moral standards were embodied in this great soul.

Kindness to People

Another quality of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was kindness to people; his holy heart overflowed with mercy and kindness toward them. The historians said: “When he knew that someone was in debt and loved him, he paid his debt.(2) He hurried to meet the needs of the people lest someone should meet them before him and he would be deprived of reward.

In this respect he said: ‘My enemy sometimes came to me (and ask me) to satisfy his need, so I hasten to satisfy it for fear that someone should satisfy it before me or my enemy should be in no need of it; therefore I would be deprived of the reward for it.(3)” Al-Zuhri reported the following concerning the kindness of the Imam to the people: “I was with ‘Ali b. al-Husayn when a person came and said him: “I owe four hundred dinars and am unable to pay them and have a family. At that time the Imam had no money on him to pay the person’s debt, so he wept and said: ‘It is difficult for a free and believing person to be unable to satisfy the need of his believing brother.’(4)

Generosity

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As for generosity, it was among the qualities of Imam

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1- Siyar ‘Alam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p.240. Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p.161.
2- Abu` Zahra, al-Imam Zayd, p.24.
3- Nasikh al-Tawarikh, vol., p.13.
4- Al-Sadu`q, al-Amali.

Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. The historians unanimously agreed that the Imam was the most generous of all the people and the kindest of them to the poor and the weak. They mentioned many examples of his generosity. The following are some of them:

Muhammad b. Usama

Muhammad b. Usama became ill, so the Imam visited him. When the Imam sat down, Muhammad burst into tears, so the Imam asked him: “What makes you weep?”

“What makes me weep,” answered Muhammad, “is the fact that I owe fifteen thousand dinars and I have nothing left to fulfill the debt for them.”

“Do not weep,” the Imam told him, “they are my debts now and you are free of them.” So he paid them for him.(1)

His giving Food to the People

An example of his abundant generosity was that he gave food to those people who came to his house in Medina at noon every day.(2)

His Maintaining a Hundred Families

The Imam was very generous that he secretly maintained a hundred families in Medina,(3) and each family had a group of people.(4)

The generosity of the Imam showed that he had a soul free from miserliness, that he had mercy on the people, and that he was grateful to Allah for His giving.

His Kindness to the Poor

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Among his qualities was kindness to the poor, the deprived, and the miserable. We shall mention some examples of his kindness to them:

A. His Honoring the Poor

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, looked after the poor and took care of their feelings and sentiments. When he gave a beggar alms, he kissed him lest he should see the mark

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1- Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p.105. Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p.239. Tarikh al-Islam, vol. 2, p.266. Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p.141.
2- Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p.6.
3- Tahdhib al-Lughat wa al-Asma’, 343.
4- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.88.

of abasement and need on his face.(1) He greeted the beggars who came to him and said to them: “Welcome to him who carries my provisions to the hereafter.(2)

Honoring the poor in this kind and merciful manner strengthens society and spreads love and friendship among its members.

B. His Kindness to the Poor

The Imam, peace be on him, was very kind and affectionate to the poor and the needy. He asked the orphans, the blind, and the needy to eat with him. He gave them food with his hand(3) as well as he carried food on his back and took it to their houses.(4) He took great care of the poor and was so kind to them that he prevented the people from harvesting dates at night lest they should deprive the poor of them. So he said to Qahramana, who reaped dates at night: “Do not do that. Don’t you know that Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, prevented (the people) from reaping at night, and he used to say: ‘You should give a share to those who ask you for it on the day of harvest.(5)’”

His Preventing the People from Reproaching Beggars

The Imam, peace be on him, prevented the people from reproaching beggars, for that would bring about bad results such as loss of bounties and sudden adversities. In this respect Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab reported: “One day I went to ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. After he had finished performing the noon prayer, there was a beggar at the door, so he, peace be on him, said: ‘Give to

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1- Hulyat al-Awliya‘, vol. 3, p.137.
2- Safwat al-Safwa, vol. 2, p.53.
3- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.62.
4- Ibid. A similar narration has been mentioned in Da’irat al-Ma‘arif by al-Bustani, vol. 9, p.355.
5- Wasa‘il al-Shi‘a, vol. 6, p.15.

the beggar and do not reproach him.(1)’”

The Imam, peace be on him, stressed the importance of this duty in many of his traditions. In this connection, Abu’ Hamza al-Thumali reported: “I performed the morning prayer with ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in Medina on Friday. After he had finished performing his prayer, he went to his house. I accompanied him. When he reached his house, he called his maid-servant Sukayna and said to her: ‘When a beggar passes by the door of my house, give him food, for today is Friday.’ So I (i.e., Abu’ Hamza) said to him: ‘Not all beggars are worthy of being given food.’ He, peace be on him said: ‘I am afraid that some of those who beg us are worthy of being given food. If we do not give them food and reproach them, what had befallen Ya‘qu’b and his family will befall us, the members of the House. Give the beggars food! Give them food! Ya‘qu’b sacrificed a ram every day. He gave some of its meat to the poor as alms. He and the members of his family ate the rest of its meat.

At the time of breaking the fast, on Friday, a believing and fasting beggar whose rank was high with Allah and who was worthy of being given food passed by the door of Ya‘qu’b’s house and called out: ‘Give food from the rest of your food to the strange and hungry beggar!’ Ya‘qu’b and his family heard him but they

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1- Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p.15.

neglected his right and did not believe his words. When the beggar despaired of them and the night overtook him, he went away and spent that night hungry complaining his hunger to Allah, while Ya‘qu’b and his family spent that night full and with extra food. In the morning of that night, Allah revealed to Ya‘qu’b, saying: ‘You have abased my servant to the extent that you and your children are worthy of my wrath and my punishment. Ya‘qu’b, the most lovable of my prophets for Me and the most honorable with Me are those who have mercy on the poor from among my servants, draw them near to Me, give them food, and protect them. Ya‘qu’b, why did you not have mercy on my servant, who has devoted his life to worshipping and is secretly content with that which is beyond this material world? Ya‘qu’b, by my might, I will impose my tribulation upon you and make you and your sons a target for misfortunes.’

“I (i.e., Abu’ Hamza) asked: May I be ransom for you, when did Yousif saw the vision?(1) The Imam, peace be on him, replied: ‘When Ya‘qu’b and his family spent that night full and the poor beggar spent it hungry.’(2)

Indeed, depriving the needy and poor person of his right results in the loss of bounties and brings down Allah’s wrath. In this respect many traditions were successively reported on the authority of the Imams of guidance, so those who want Allah’s blessing to continue should

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1- It was the night when he saw eleven stars, the sun, and the moon prostrating themselves to him.
2- Al-Nu`ri, Dar al-Salam, vol. 2, p.141.

not reproach the poor and deprive them of their rights.

His Alms

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Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, did his best throughout his life to give alms to the poor in order to remove poverty from them. In the meantime he urged the people to help them in order that they might get a great reward from Allah, the Glorified. So he said: “If a person gives alms to a poor person, the poor person will supplicated for him at that hour and he will be answered.(1)” Now, we will mention some of his alms:

A. He gave his Garments as Alms

The Imam, peace be on him, wore the most luxurious garment. In winter he wore silk-like garments. When summer came, he gave them as alms or sold them and gave their price as alms. In summer he wore two Egyptian garments. When winter came, he gave them as alms.(2) Thus, he said: “I feel shame before my Lord when I take the price of the garment in which I worship Him.(3)

B. He gave as Alms what He loved

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, gave as alms what he loved. The narrators said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn gave almonds and sugar as alms. He was asked about that, and he recited the words of Him, the Exalted: ‘By no means shall you attain to righteousness until you spend (benevolently) out of what you love.(4)’” The historians reported: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn liked eating grapes. One day he was fast, so his maid-servant gave him a bunch of grapes. At the time of breaking fasting, a beggar came

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1- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 6, p.296.
2- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p.161.
3- Nasikh al-Tawarikh, vol. 1, p.89.
4- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.89.

to him, and he ordered the bunch of grapes to be given to the beggar. The maid-servant sent someone to buy a bunch of grapes for the Imam, another beggar knocked on the door, and the Imam ordered the bunch of grapes to be given to the beggar.

Again, the maid-servant sent someone to buy a bunch of grapes for the Imam. When she offered the bunch of grapes to the Imam, another beggar came, and the Imam ordered the bunch of grapes to be given to the beggar.(1)” In this manner the Imam followed the example of his grandfathers, who gave their food for three days to a poor, an orphan, and a captive, so Allah sent down concerning them the Su’ra of Hal Ata, which will exist as a legion of honor for them throughout time till Allah inherits the earth and what is on it.

C. Dividing his Properties

The Imam divided his properties into two shares. He took one share and gave the other as alms to the poor.(2) In this manner the Imam followed the example of his uncle, Imam al-Hasan, the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who divided his properties into two or three shares.

His Giving Charity in Secret

The most lovable thing for the Imam, peace be on him, was giving charity in secret. He did not want anyone to recognize him because he wanted to make close relationships with the poor people he helped in order to seek Allah’s good pleasure as well

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1- Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin, p.547. Furu`‘ al-Kafi, vol. 6, p.350.
2- Khulasat Tahdhib al-Kamal, p.231. Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p.140. Jamharat al-Awliya’, vol. 2, p.72. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p.105. Ibn Sa‘d, al-Tabaqat, vol. 5, p.19.

as urged the Muslims to adopt giving charity secretly, so he said: “Giving charity secretly removes the wrath of Allah.(1)

He went out veiled in the darkness and carried gifts to the poor who stood at the doors of their house waiting for him. When they saw him, they gave good news to each other and said to one another: “The owner of the bag has just come.(2)” The Imam went to his cousin at night and gave him some dinars, but his cousin said to him: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn does not give me anything.”

Moreover, his cousin invoked Allah against him. The Imam, peace be on him, heard that and pardoned his cousin and did not let his cousin recognize him. When the Imam, peace be on him, died, his cousin lost those gifts and knew that it was the Imam who had brought them to him, so he went to the Imam’s grave and wept over him and apologized to him for slandering him.(3)

Ibn ‘A’isha said: [I heard the people of Medina say:] “When ‘Ali b. al-Husayn died, we were deprived of being given charity secretly.(4)” The historians reported that a group of the people of Medina lived and did not know the person who brought them their livelihood. When ‘Ali b. al-Husayn died, they lost what they were given at night.(5) The Imam, peace be on him, was very serious with hiding his alms, to the extent that he covered his face when he gave some alms.(6) Al-Dhahabi

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1- Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, vol. 1, p.75. Akhbar al-Diwal, p.110. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p.326.
2- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.89.
3- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.100.
4- Safwat al-Safwa, vol. 2, p.54. Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p.49.
5- Abu` al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani, vol. 15, p. 326.
6- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 62.

said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn gave a lot of secret charity.(1)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, put food in a bag; he carried the bag on his back and divided the food among the poor. The bag made some calluses on his back. Al-Ya‘qu’bi reported: “When the Imam, peace be on him, died, the members of his family washed him and they found on his back calluses similar to those of a camel. They people asked the members of his family about those calluses and they answered: ‘They were made by the bag which he carried on his back at night to divide food among the poor.’(2)

Anyhow, the Imam’s secret charity was among the greatest deeds and the most rewarded by Allah.

His Seeking Allah’s Pleasure

From his kindness to the poor, the Imam, peace be on him, wanted nothing except Allah’s pleasure and the hereafter. He was the most prominent of those whom Allah concerned with these words of His: “ (As for) those who spend their property in the way of Allah, then do not follow up what they have spent with reproach or injury, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.(3)

The gifts and alms of the Imam were for Allah’s pleasure only. They were not mixed with any worldly purposes which would turn into earth sooner or later. Al-Zuhri narrated: “During a cold night, I saw ‘Ali b. al-Husayn carrying flour on his back, so I asked him: ‘Son of Allah’s Apostle,

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1- Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, vol. 1, p.75.
2- Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p.45.
3- Qur’an, 2, 262.

what is that on your back?’”

The Imam hurried and said with a faint voice: “I am making preparations for a journey. I am preparing provisions for it and carrying them to a secure place.”

“Let this boy of mine carry the flour instead of you,” explained al-Zuhri.

The Imam did not answer him. Al-Zuhri begged the Imam to let him carry the flour in stead of him, but the Imam insisted on carrying it and said: “ But I do not disdain what will save me during my journey and makes good my going to Whom I will go. I ask you before Allah to go to your need.”

So al-Zuhri left the Imam and went away. After some days he met him. He did not understand what the Imam meant. He thought that the Imam would go on a regular journey, so he asked him: “Son of Allah’s Apostle, I do not see any mark of that journey which you ended?”

The Imam, peace be on him, told him about that journey for which he made preparations: “Zuhri, I think that you did not understand what I meant. I meant death. I made preparations for it through refraining from the prohibited and doing good.(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, spent on the poor to seek Allah’s pleasure and forgiveness.

Renouncing Worldly Pleasures

Among the qualities of the Imam was renouncing worldly pleasures. He did not care for worldly vanities. He clung to asceticism and completely renounced the world. The world did not tempt him nor did it

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1- ‘Ilal al-Sharai‘, p. 88. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, pp. 65-66.

deceive him, for he knew its reality and essence. He knew that man would leave the world no matter what he enjoyed in it, and that he would find nothing before him except his good deeds. The Imam was the most ascetic of the people of his time. This was underlined by al-Zuhri when he was asked about the most ascetic of all the people and he answered: “The most ascetic of all the people is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, saw a beggar weeping, so he had mercy on him and said: “If the world was in the hand of this person and then it dropped from it, he had not to weep for it.(2)” The Imam, peace be on him renounced worldly pleasures, but this does not mean that he yielded to poverty and feebleness, rather he was pious with what Allah prohibited, so he was similar to his father and grandfather, who divorced the world and did not care for its affairs except truth and virtue.

With the Sufis

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As the Imam, peace be on him, was ascetic and completely turned away from the world, the Sufis regarded him as one of their figures and wrote a full biography about him.(3) Al-Kalabazi regarded him as one of those who talked about their sciences, spread their essays, and described their conditions in word and action after the Companions of the Prophet.(4) I (i.e., the author) think that this view is not objective, rather it is very shallow, for the

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1- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p.62.
2- Al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p.192.
3- Jamharat al-Awliya’, vol. 2, p.71. Hulyat al-Awliya, vol. 3, p.133.
4- Al-Ta‘arruf, p.11.

Sufis completely renounced the world, lived in dark caves, wore coarse garments, ate rough food, and other matters which disagree with the reality of the religion and which did not legislate any rule in which there was uneasiness or limitations for men.

As for Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, he led a life completely different from that of the Sufis because he wore the most luxurious garments. The narrators said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn wore a silk-like long outer garment, a silk-like cloak, and a silk-like turban.” A researcher in Sufism refuted the view which said that the Imam was among the Sufis, saying: “As for the asceticism of ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, it was psychological, rational, and internal. Such asceticism is more useful than that based on hunger and wearing wool, for perception accepts the first kind of asceticism and it is that which deep innate nature of life establishes; as for garment, it is pretense.(1)

The behavior of the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, clearly refuted the Sufi methods. The historians said: “When Imam al-Rida, peace be on him, was appointed a successor (to authority), a Sufi said to him: ‘The Imam should eat rough food and wear coarse garments.’ The Imam was resting on his elbow, so he sat down and refuted this cheap view, saying: ‘Yousif b. Ya‘qub was a prophet; nevertheless he wore silk-like garments embroidered with gold. Allah did not prohibit clothing nor did he prohibit food.

p: 95


1- Al-Sila bayna al-Tashayyi‘ wa al-Tasawuif, vol. 1, p.169.

However, He wanted the Imam to be fair and just.’ Then he recited these words of Him, the Exalted: ‘Say: Who has prohibited the embellishment and the good provisions which Allah has brought forth for His creatures.(1)’”

This noble behavior disagrees in all conditions with Sufism which has no Islamic aspects.

He Hated Playing

Another quality of the Imam was that he hated playing. Throughout his life no one saw him playing or laughing, so he, peace be on him, said: “Whenever a man laughs one time he loses a bit of knowledge.” In Medina there was an unemployed person at whom the people laughed. The unemployed person said: “It is difficult for me to make this man (i.e., Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin) laugh.” One day the Imam, followed by two retainers, passed by the unemployed person and he took his cloak and ran away. The Imam did not turn to him, but the two retainers chased the unemployed person and took the cloak from him and brought it to the Imam, who asked them: “Who is this person?” “He is an unemployed person at whom the people of Medina laugh,” replied one of the two retainers. So the Imam, peace be on him, said: “Say to him: Indeed Allah has a day in which the liars will be losers.(2)

His Turning to Allah in Repentance

Among the most prominent qualities of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin was his turning in repentance to Allah and his devotion to Him. This appeared in the Imam’s whispered prayers, supplications, and

p: 96


1- ‘Uyyu`n Akhbar al-Rida.
2- Al-Sadu`q, al-Amali, p.220.

words which showed his strong dedication to Allah, the Creator of the world and Giver of life.

The Imam dedicated himself to Allah and entrusted all his affairs and tasks to Him, the Exalted. When he faced a certain matter, he rushed to Allah, for he thought that depending on other than Allah would bring about disappointment and loss. The historians reported that the Imam passed by a person sitting at the door of a rich person and asked him: “What has made you sit at the door of this rich, tyrannical person?”

“Poverty and misery,” replied the person.

“Stand up,” ordered the Imam, “I will lead you to a door better than his door and a Lord better for you than him.”

The person rose and went with the Imam till they reached the Mosque of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. There the Imam said to the person: “Turn your face to the qibla, perform two ruk‘as, raise your hands and supplicate Allah, the Glorified, (to help you). Ask Him to bless His Prophet, recite the last verses of Surat al-Hashr, six verses from the beginning of Surat al-Haddid, and the first two verses of Surat Al ‘Umran, and then ask Allah, the Glorified, to meet your need. If you ask Allah for a certain thing, He will give it to you. Whoever seeks refuge in Allah seeks refuge in a strong fort. As for seeking refuge in other than Allah, it is useless.(1)

Wonderful Examples of his Turning

in Repentance

p: 97


1- Al-Kaf‘ami, al-Junna al-Waqiya wa al-Junna al-Baqiya, p.190.

to Allah

Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, the Gospel of the Household of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, is full of the supplications which show that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, turned to Allah in repentance and was sincere to Him, and that he clung to Allah and dedicated himself to Him. The following are some examples of his turning to Allah in repentance:

1. His Seeking Asylum with Allah

The Imam, peace be on him, sought asylum with Allah through his heart and feelings toward Him. He entrusted to Him all his small and big affairs. He has mentioned that in the following supplication: “O Allah, if You will, You will pardon us through Your bounty, and if You will, You will chastise us through Your justice. So make our ways smooth to Your pardon through Your kindness and grant us sanctuary from Your chastisement through Your forbearance, for none of us has the endurance for Your justice and none of us can reach deliverance without Your pardon! O Richest of the Rich, here we are, Your servants, before You. I am the neediest of the needy toward You, so redress our neediness through Your abundance and cut us not off from our hopes through Your withholding, lest You make wretched him who seeks felicity through You and deprive him who seeks help from Your bounty! Then to whom would we return after You? Where would we go from Your gate? Glory be to You! We are the distressed, the response to whom You have

p: 98

made incumbent, the people from whom You have promised to remove the evil. That thing most resembling Your will and that affair most worthy for You in Your mightiness is showing mercy to him who asks You for mercy and helping him who seeks help from You. So show mercy upon our pleading with You and free us from need when we throw ourselves before You! O Allah, Satan will gloat over us if we follow him in disobeying You, so bless Muhammad and his Household and let him not gloat over us after we have renounced him for You and beseeched You against him!(1)

In this holy supplication we feel that the Imam, peace be on him, sought asylum with Allah and clung to Him. He, peace be on him, showed that he was poor and in need of Allah’s pardon and bounty. He asked Allah not to deprive him of His bounty and not to cut him off from his hopes through His withholding, lest he (the Imam) should be wretched after his felicity through Him. Besides, the Imam, peace be on him, showed abasement and pleading before the Almighty Creator to the extent that he became among the lords of the pious and those who turned in repentance to Allah, the Glorified.

2. His Fleeing to Allah

The Imam, peace be on him, completely devoted himself to Allah. He thought that Allah was the source of benefit and strength, and that seeking asylum in other than Him was useless. Now let’s listen to his

p: 99


1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 10.

supplication in this respect: “O Allah, I showed sincerity by cutting myself off from everything but You. I approached You with my whole self. I averted my face from everyone who needs Your support. I ceased to ask from anyone who cannot do without Your bounty. I saw that the needy who seeks from the needy is foolish in his opinion, and misguided in his intellect. How many people have I seen, my Allah, who sought exaltation through other than You and were abased, who wanted wealth from someone else and became poor, who tried to rise high and fell down low! Observing the likes of them corrects a prudent man; his taking heed gives him success; his choosing the best guides him to the path of right. So You, my Master, are the object of my asking to the exclusion of all those who are asked and the patron of my need to the exclusion of all those from whom requests are made. You are singled out for my call before all who are called; none is associated with You in my hope, none comes along with You in my supplication, nor does any join with You within it, for to You is my appeal. To You, my Allah, belongs the Unity of number, the property of eternal power, the excellence of force and strength, the degree of sublimity and elevation. Everyone other than You is the object of compassion in his lifetime, overcome in his affair, overwhelmed in

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his situation, diverse in states, constantly changing in attributes. So You are high exalted above likeness and opposites, proudly magnified beyond similitudes and rivals! Glory be to You! There is no Allah but You.(1)

In this masterpiece, we feel that the Imam completely dedicated himself to Allah, the Glorified. He approached Him with his feelings and sentiments. He averted his face and heart from other creatures who need Allah’s support, for regarding them in hope and expectation is foolishness in opinion and misguidance in intellect. The Imam, peace be on him, attributed all sources of benefit and strength to Allah, the Glorified. He criticized those who sought glory, wealth and exaltation from other than Allah. He showed that they became poor and fell down low. So those who seek good, exaltation, and dignity should devote themselves to Allah, Who has power over everything. As for those other than Allah, they are the object of compassion in their lifetime, overcome in their affair, overwhelmed in their situation, diverse in states, constantly changing in attributes. This supplication shows pure faith and the essence of the Oneness of Allah.

3. His Seeking Needs from Allah

Another aspect of his turning to Allah in repentance was that he limited seeking needs from Allah, the Almighty, for He is the source of bounty and the fountain of mercy and kindness. The Imam, peace be on him, turned his face to Allah and supplicated to Him with this holy supplication: “O Allah, O ultimate object of my needs! O He through whom requests are

p: 101


1- Ibid, Supplication no. 28.

attained! O He whose favors are not bought by prices! O He who does not stain His gifts by the imposition of obligations! O He along with whom nothing is needed and without whom nothing can be done! O He toward whom desire is ever directed and never turned away! O He whose treasuries cannot be exhausted by demands! O He whose wisdom cannot be altered by any means! O He from whom the needs of the needy are never cut off! O He who is not distressed by the supplications of the supplicators! You have lauded Yourself for having no need for Your creatures, and it suits You to have no need for them, and You have attributed to them poverty, and it suits to them to be poor toward You. So he who strives to remedy his lack through what is with You and wishes to turn poverty away from himself through You has sought his need in the most likely place and come to his request from the right quarter. However, he who turns in his need toward one of Your creatures or assigns the cause of its being granted to other than You, has exposed himself to deprivation and deserves to miss Your beneficence.

“ O Allah, I have a need of You: My exertion has fallen short of it and my stratagems have been cut back before reaching it. My soul induced me to present it to him who presents his need to You and can

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do nothing without You in his requests, but this is one of the slips of the offenders, one of the stumbles of the sinners! Then through Your reminding me I was aroused from my heedlessness, through Your giving success, I stood up from my slip, and through Your pointing the way, I returned and withdrew from my stumble. I said: Glory to my Lord! How can the needy ask from the needy? How can the destitute beseech the destitute? So I went straight to You, my Lord in beseeching, and I sent You my hope with trust in You. I came to know that the many I request from You are few before Your wealth, the weighty I ask from You is vile before your plenty; Your generosity is not constrained by anyone’s asking. Your hand is higher in bestowing gifts than every hand!

“O Allah, so bless Muhammad and his Household, take me through Your generosity to Your gratuitous bounty and take me not through Your justice to what I deserve! I am not the first beseecher to beseech You and You bestowed upon him while he deserved withholding, nor I am the first to ask from You and You were bounteous toward him while he merited deprivation.

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, respond to my supplication, come near my call, have mercy on my pleading, listen to my voice, cut not short my hope for You, severe not my thread to You, turn not my face in this

p: 103

my need, and other needs, away from You, attend for my sake to the fulfillment of my request, the granting of my need, and the attainment of what I have asked before I leave this place through Your making easy for me the difficult and Your excellent ordainment for me in all affairs! Bless Muhammad and his Household with a permanent, ever-growing blessing, whose perpetuity has no cutting off and whose term knows no limit, and make that a help to me and a cause for the granting of my request! You are boundless, Generous!(1)

After this supplication, the Imam, peace be on him, stated his need, prostrated himself, and said in his supplication: “Your bounty has comforted me and Your beneficence has shown me the way, so I ask You by You and by Muhammad and his Household (Your blessing be upon them) that You send me not back in disappointment!”

This holy supplication shows the firm clinging of the Imam, peace be on him, to Allah and his great belief in Him. The Imam firmly believed that Allah, the Glorified, was the only ultimate object whom servants asked for their needs, that He bestowed on them His blessings and favors, and that He did not sell these favors to them by prices, nor did He stain them by the imposition of obligations. Man has no need of others through Allah’s gifts. All the creatures are in need of Allah’s generosity while He, the Exalted, is in no need of them.

p: 104


1- Ibid, Supplication no. 13.

Indeed, the clever and knowledgeable one is he who turns in his need to Allah only. As for the one who turns in his need to other than Allah, he exposes himself to deprivation and is worthy of missing beneficence. The Imam, peace be on him, asked Allah, the Glorified, for forgiveness and good pleasure, and then he came to know that the many favors he requested from Allah were few before Him, the Exalted. Besides he came to know that Allah had bounteous gifts and His hand was higher in bestowing gifts than every hand.

Indeed this Imam is the lord of those who have knowledge of Allah and Imam of the pious. His supplications and whispered prayers contain many lessons which are necessary for purifying souls of disobedience and wickedness.

4. His Pleading and Humbleness to Allah

The Imam also turned to Allah in repentance in such away that he constantly pleaded and was humble before Him, the Exalted. He supplicated with this holy supplication: “O Allah, I praise Youand You are worthy of praisefor Your benefaction toward me, the lavishness of Your favors toward me, Your plentiful bestowal upon me, and for showing bounty toward me through Your mercy and lavishing Your favor upon me. You have done well toward me and I am incapable of thanking You. Were it not for Your beneficence toward me and the lavishness of Your favors upon me, I would not have reached the taking of my share nor would my soul have been set right, but You began with

p: 105

beneficence toward me, provided me sufficiency in all my affairs, turned me away from the toil of affliction, and held back from me the feared decree.

“My Allah, how many a toilsome affliction which You have turned away from me! How many a lavish favor with which You gladdened my eye! How many a generous benefaction of Yours which is present with me! It is You who responded to my supplication at the time of distress, released me from my slip in stumbling, and took my enemies to task for doing wrong to me. My Allah, I did not find You a miser when I asked of You nor a withholder when I desired form You. No, I found You a hearer of my supplication and a bestower of my requests; I found Your favors toward me lavish in my every situation and in my every time. So You are praised by me and Your benefaction honored. My soul, my tongue, and my intelligence praise You, a praise that reaches fulfillment and the reality of thanksgiving, a praise that attains to Your good pleasure with me - so deliver me from Your displeasure! O my cave when the ways thwart me! O He who releases me from my stumble! Were it not for Your covering my shameful defects, I would be one of the disgraced. O my confirmer through help! Were it not for Your helping me, I would be one of the overcome! O He before whom kings place the

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yoke of lowliness around their necks, fearing his penalties! O worthy of reverential fear! O He to whom belong the names most beautiful! I ask You to pardon me and to forgive me, for I am not innocent that I should offer excuse, nor a possessor of strength that I should gain victory, nor have I any place of flight that I should flee! I ask You to release me from my stumbles, and before You I disavow my sins, which have laid me waste, encompassed me, and destroyed me! I flee from them to You, my Lord, turning repentantly, so turn toward me, seeking refuge, so grant me refuge, asking sanctuary, so abandon me not, requesting, so deprive me not, holding fast, so leave me not, supplicating, so send me not back disappointed! I have supplicated You, my Lord, as one miserable, abased, apprehensive, fearful, quaking, poor, driven to have recourse to You! I complain to You, my Lord, of my soul- which is too weak to hurry to that which You have promised Your friends or to avoid that against which You have cautioned Your enemies- and of the multitude of my concerns, and of my soul’s confusing thoughts.

“My Allah, You have not disgraced me through my secret thoughts or destroyed me because of my misdeeds! I call upon You, and You respond even if I am slow when You call upon me. I ask You everything I want of my needs, and I deposit with You my

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secret wherever I may be. I supplicate to no one besides You, and I hope for no one other than You. At Your service! At Your service! You hear him who complains to You! You receive him who has confidence in You! You save him who holds fast to You! You give relief to him who seeks shelter in You.

“My Allah, so deprive me not of the good of the last world and the first because of the paucity of my thanksgiving and forgive me the sins of mine which You know! If You chastise, I am the wrongdoer, the neglecter, the derelict, the sluggard, the heedless of the share of my soul! And If You forgive- You are the Most merciful of the merciful!(1)

This holy supplication is full of pleading, humbleness, and submission to the Almighty Creator. The Imam, peace be on him, praised Allah with the praise that resulted from belief, knowledge, and sincerity. He acknowledged his falling short of thanking Allah for His lavish blessings and favors. After that he asked Allah for pardon and forgiveness, seeking refuge in Him. He, peace be on him, showed great fear and apprehension to the extent that the souls and hearts quiver.

5. His Humbling himself before Allah

The Imam, peace be on him, melted in love for Allah. He was very loyal to Him and showed pleading, humbleness, and submission to Him. Among the aspects of his humbleness before Allah was that he supplicated with this supplication: “My Lord, my sins have silenced me, and my

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1- Ibid, Supplication no. 51.

words have been cut off. I have no argument, for I am the prisoner of my own affliction, the hostage to my works, the frequenter of my own offense, the confused in my intended way, the thwarted. I have brought myself in a halt in the halting place of the abased sinners, the halting place of the wretched and insolent, those who think lightly of Your promise. Glory be to You! What insolence I have insolently shown toward You! What delusion with which I have deluded myself! My Master, have mercy on my falling flat on my face, the slipping of my foot, grant me my ignorance through Your clemency, and my evildoing through Your beneficence, for I admit my sin and I confess my offense: Here are my hand and my forelock! I am resigned to retaliation against my soul! Have mercy on my white hair, the depletion of my days, the nearing of my term, my frailty, my misery, and the paucity of my stratagems! My Master, and have mercy upon me when my trace is cut off from this world, my name is effaced among the creatures, and I join the forgotten, like the forgotten ones! My Master, and have mercy upon me at the change of my form and state when my body decays, my limbs are scattered, and my joints are dismembered! O my heedlessness toward what was wanted from me! My Master, have mercy upon me at my mustering and uprising and on that

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day, appoint my standing place with Your friends, my place of emergence with Your beloved ones, and my dwelling in Your neighborhood! O Lord of the worlds!(1)

Faith in Allah embraced the Imam’s heart, natural inclinations, bodily movements, limbs, and behavior. With this tremendous amount of faith, he was appropriate for the Imamate of the pious and mastership over those who turned to Allah in repentance. With this, we will end our talk about some of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s noble qualities.

Chapter 5: His Imamate

point

The Imamate i’s an important element in forming the civilizational and political thought in Islam. It is an inseparable part of the immortal message of Islam; rather it is the essence and reality of Islam. Without the Imamate, Islam will lose its qualities and activities and will be a lifeless, vague religion. We will briefly talk about the affairs of the Imamate, the Imamate of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and what was reported on his authority in this respect.

The Meaning of the Imamate

The theologians and others defined the Imamate as follows: “The Imamate is the spiritual and temporal authority of a person who leads the community according to good inclinations and noble qualities such as justice, self-negation, generosity, disobeying one’s passions and all the external effects except that which concerns truth and justice.”

The Necessity of the Imamate

As for the Imamate in Islam, it is necessary for the Islamic life. It is a basic element in establishing social justice and building the best society in which there is no social injustice nor poverty and deprivation.

The

p: 110


1- Ibid, Supplication no. 54.

Imamate in Islam takes care of dividing the bounties of Allah among His servants, securing equal opportunities for them, and protecting them from exploitation and enslavement. It is a developed human thought in the world of government and politics. It fulfills the objectives which Islam has planned for it when it is undertaken by the Allah-fearing Imams from the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who are the equals of the Qur’an and the life-boats of this community. We will explain that in the following study.

The Prophet and the Imamate

It is certain that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, prepared the succession (to authority) and the Imamate after him. He did not leave the community after him to lead a life of chaos, dangers, and crises, rather he nominated his successors, the twelve Imams from the members of his family. The foremost of them was their lord, Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, whom the Prophet appointed as a signpost and an authority for the community regardless of the traditional sentiments. He, may Allah bless him and his family, designated him to undertake this important office because of his (‘Ali’s) qualifications, talents, genius, and firm clinging to religion.

The Muslim scholars, regardless of their inclinations and doctrines, have unanimously agreed that Imam ‘Ali was the most knowledgeable of the people after the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, in the affairs of the Islamic law, the precepts of religion,

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the affairs of policy, army, and society. The community embraced Islam for the first time. It was, first of all, in need of explaining the beauties of the precepts of the Islamic law and detailing the social matters such as contracts, inheritances, and punishments.

It is natural that if Imam ‘Ali had not been appointed to undertake the office of the Imamate, the community would have been deprived of his outstanding merits. This is rationally impossible for the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who took great care of his community and was kind to it, as Allah, the Exalted said: “Certainly an Apostle has come to you from among yourselves, grievous to him is your falling into distress, excessively solicitous respecting you, to the believers (he is) compassionate, merciful.(1)

As for the traditions which were reported on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, concerning the Imamate of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, they are numerous. The narrators and the historians have unanimously agreed on them. The most important one of them is the hadith of al-Ghadir in which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed Imam ‘Ali as successor after him and ordered the Muslims to pledge allegiance to him, saying: “Whoever I am the master (mawla) of, this man, ‘Ali, is his master. O Allah, befriend whoever befriends him, be hostile to whoever opposes him, support whoever supports him and desert whoever

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1- Surat al-Tawba, verse 128.

deserts him.” Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was asked about the meaning of this tradition and he replied: “Allah’s Apostle told them about the Imam after him.(1)

The Shi‘ite religious scholars and other scholars mentioned in their theological books unquestionable scientific proofs for the Imamate of the twelve Imams, peace be on them. They indicated that the twelve Imams were the trustees of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, to authority, that their behavior and laudable deeds indicated their Imamate and their general deputyship on behalf of the Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Also that they had abundant knowledge, piety, and devotion to religion, so no one before or after them has such outstanding qualities.

The high Position of the Imams

As for the high position of the Imams and their great place with Allah, no one knew it except them. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, talked about it in many places. The following are some of them:

1. He, peace be on him, said: “Allah created from His magnificent light Muhammad, ‘Ali, and eleven (Imams) form his (‘Ali’s) sons. They glorified and sanctified Allah. They were the Imams from among the grandsons of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.(2)” Abu al-‘Ala’ al-Ma‘arri, the wise man of al-Ma‘arra, mistrusted the people except the Imams of the Household, peace be on them, and believed in their high position. He said:

And the persons whose high rank shined

before the creation of Mars and Scales

before the heavens were created

and their

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1- Al-Sadu`q, Ma‘ani al-Akhbar, p.65.
2- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 530.

bodies were ordered to move.

2. He, peace be on him, said: “We are the Imams of the Muslims, the proofs of Allah over mankind, the lords of the believers, the leaders of the luminous ones, and protectors of the believers. We are the safety for the people of the earth as the stars are safety for the people of heaven. With us He (Allah) prevents the heaven from falling on the earth, and with us He prevents the earth from swinging its people (from side to side). The earth has not been void of the proof of Allah publicly acknowledged or secretly since Allah created the earth. The earth will not be void of the proof of Allah till the Hour starts. Were it not for that, Allah would not have been worshipped.”

A person rose and asked the Imam: “How can the people make use of the hidden one?”

The Imam answered the person with a convincing proof, saying: “As they make use of the sun when the clouds cover it.(1)

Yes, by Allah, the Imams of the Household were the Imams of the Muslims and the proofs of Allah over all the creatures. Were it not for them, no worshipper would have worshipped Allah, no monotheist would have professed His unity, and no sunna of Islam would have been established. The Imams were the stored sign and the door through which the people were tested. Whoever knew and obeyed them was safe, and whoever denied and disobeyed them went astray.

3. He,

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1- Al-Sadu`q, al-Amali, p. 112. Yanabi‘ al-Mawadda, vol. 3, p. 147. Roudat al-Wa‘izin, p. 170.

peace be on him, said: “My Lord, bless the best of his (the Prophet’s) Household, those whom You have chosen for Your command, appointed the treasurers of Your knowledge, the guardians of Your religion, the vicegerents in Your earth, and the arguments against Your servants, purified from uncleanness and defilement through a purification by Your desire and made the mediation to You and the road to Your Garden!

“My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which makes plentiful Your gifts and generosity, perfects for them Your bestowals and awards, and fills out their share of Your kindly acts and benefits!

“My Lord, bless him and his Household with a blessing whose first has no term, whose term has no limit, and whose last has no utmost end!

“My Lord, bless them to the weight of Your Throne and below it, the amount that fills the heavens and all above them, the number of Your worlds and all below and between them, a blessing that will bring them near to You in proximity, please You and them, and be joined to its likes forever!(1)

Allah chose the Imams of the Household, peace be on them, to carry out His message. He appointed them treasurers of His knowledge, guardians of His religion, vicegerents in His earth, and arguments against His servants. He granted them the highest position with Him and made them the mediation to Him, the road to His Garden, and the doors to His mercy.

4. He, peace be on him, said:

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 47.

“We are the vicegerents in the earth. We are more appropriate for the position with Allah than the people. We are those who are singled out in the Book of Allah, and we are those to whom Allah has legislated His religion when He said: ‘He has made plain to you of the religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you and that which We enjoined upon Ibrahim and Musa and ‘Isa.’ We have understood their (the prophet’s) knowledge, stored it, and delivered it. We are the inheritors of the prophets and the progeny of those who had knowledge. Establish the religion through the Household of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, and be not divided therein.(1)

As for you, the Imams of the Household, you are the vicegerents of Allah in His earth and more appropriate for the position with Allah than men. Allah legislated His religion for you, chose you to spread it and was satisfied with you to deliver His message. No one denies your outstanding merits except those who are unbelievers or deviated from the religion, and no one loves you but those believers whose hearts Allah tested for faith.

Referring to the Imams is obligatory

It is obligatory to refer to the Imams of the Household, peace be on them, in obtaining the religious rules because they are more knowledgeable than the people in the affairs of the Islamic law and the rules of the religion. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, underlined this

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1- Nasikh al-Tawarikh, vol. 2, p.49. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar.

point when he said: “The religion of Allah, the Great and Almighty, is not attained by incomplete intellects, false opinions, and corrupt measures. It is not attained but through submission. Whoever submits to us is safe, and whoever follows us is guided. Whoever puts into effect analogy and opinion is ruined. Whoever is dissatisfied with what we say and decide is unbeliever in Him who sent down the seven verses of (Surat al-Fatiha) (i.e., Allah) and the Holy Qur’an while he does know that.(1)

Through their jurisprudential and principle researches, the Imami Shi‘ite religious scholars have established that it is incorrect to conform to analogy and application of discretion in the affairs of the Islamic law, and that jurisprudence depends on religious texts. If there is no text or the text is synopsis or it is opposed by a similar text, it is obligatory to depend on the scientific principles to which the doubter should resort at the time of action. As for resorting to other than that such as analogy, it is insufficient, and the one who resorts to it will be punished.

Obeying the Imam is obligatory

Islam takes great care of obeying the Imam, this is because the establishment of the social regime in Islam and the Islamic life depend on it. As disobedience leads to chaos and exposes the community to crises and dangers, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, underlined the importance of obeying the Imam, saying: “O Allah, surely You have confirmed Your religion in all times with an

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1- Nasikh al-Tawarikh, vol. 1, p.141. Quoted from Ikmal al-Din.

Imam whom You have set up as a guidepost to Your servants and a lighthouse in Your lands, after his cord has been joined to Your cord! You have appointed him the means to Your good pleasure, made obeying him obligatory, cautioned against disobeying him, and commanded following his commands, abandoning his prohibitions, and that none goes ahead of him or none keeps back from him! So he is the preservation of the shelter-seekers, the cave of the faithful, the handhold of the adherents, and the radiance of the worlds!

“O Allah, so inspire Your guardian to give thanks for that in which You have favored him, inspire us with the like concerning him, grant him an authority from You to help him, open for him an easy opening, aid him with Your mightiest pillar, brace his back, strengthen his arm, guard him with Your eye, defend him with Your safeguarding, help him with Your angels, and assist him with Your most victorious troops!

“Through him, establish Your Book, Your bounds, Your laws, and the norms of Your Messenger’s Sunna (Your blessings, O Allah, be upon him and his Household), bring to life the guideposts of Your religion, deadened by the wrongdoers, burnish the rust of injustice from Your way, sift the adversity from Your road, eliminate those who deviate from Your path, and erase those who seek crookedness in Your straightness!

“Make his side mild toward Your friends, stretch forth his hand over Your enemies, give us his hearers and obeyers, strivers

p: 118

toward his good pleasure, assistants in helping him and defending him. Make us seek nearness through that to You and Your Messenger (Your blessings, O Allah, be upon him and his Household).(1)

In this masterpiece of his, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, underlined the obligatory obedience to the Imam, prohibited disobedience to him, and commanded following his commands. He, peace be on him, also stressed the high and important position of the Imam, who is the preservation of the shelter-seekers, the cave of the faithful, the handhold of the adherents, and the radiance of the worlds. Then he supplicated for him when he said: “Guard him with Your eye, defend him with Your safeguarding, help him with Your angels, and assist him with Your most victorious troops! Through him, establish Your Book, Your bounds, Your laws, and the norms of Your Messenger’s Sunna (Your blessings, O Allah, be upon him and his Household), bring to life the guideposts of Your religion, deadened by the wrongdoers.”

The Infallibility of the Imam

The Imam should have qualities; he should be infallible from inward and outward sins and offenses throughout the stages of his life. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, stressed infallibility of the Imam when he said: “The Imam should be infallible.” He was asked about the meaning of the infallible Imam and he replied: “It is he who clings to the cord of Allah. The cord of Allah and the Qur’an do not separate from each other till the Day of Resurrection.(2)

Those

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 47.
2- Tarikh al-Tarbiya ‘inda al-Imamiya, p. 19.

who have no piety in religion blames the Shi‘ites for their belief in the infallibility of their Imams. They compare the Imams with other people who submit to their inclinations and desires. This comparison results from either harboring malice against the Imams of the Household or from having no knowledge of them. It is certain that whoever carefully considers the behavior of the pure Imams, peace be on them, will firmly believe that they had firm piety and faith which prevented them from committing any sin.

Didn’t the Lord of the family, Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, say: “By Allah, If I was given the seven regions and what was under their havens to disobey Allah in taking a grain of barely from the mouth of a locust, I would not do that.” Isn’t this infallibility? However, those who criticize the Shi‘ites have put veils over their intellects, so they do not understand infallibility.

His Imamate

point

As we have talked about what has been reported on the authority of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, concerning the affairs of the Imamate, we will return to talk about his Imamate, which is among the unquestionable maxims, for he was endowed with noble inclinations and outstanding merits which were not found except in those whose hearts Allah tested for faith. We have mentioned some of them when we talked about his behavior and psychological qualities. The following are some proofs for his Imamate:

His Textual Imamate

The Imami Shi‘ites regard text as

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an important proof of designating the Imam and removing doubt from him. Many texts (traditions) were reported concerning the Imamate of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. The following are some of them:

1. The greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, appointed his trustees (of authority) and his twelve successors after him, and he mentioned their names.(1)

2. Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, designated his grandson Zayn al-‘Abidin as an Imam when he was about to die. He appointed as an Imam his pure son Imam al-Hasan, peace be on him, and gave him the tablets of the prophets, and he asked his sons Imam al-Husayn and Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya and all his sons as well as the chiefs of his Shi‘ites to bear witness for that, and then he said to al-Husayn: “You are the one who will undertake the office of the Imamate after your brother al-Hasan, and Allah’s Messenger ordered you to give the tablets (of the prophets) to your son Zayn al-‘Abidin, for he will be the proof after you.” Then he took Zayn al-‘Abidin, who was still a child, by the hand and said to him: “Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, ordered you to designate your son, Muhammad al-Baqir, as an Imam after you, and recite to him the greetings of Allah’s Apostle and that of mine(2)

3. Imam al-Husayn appointed his son Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, as an Imam and entrusted

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1- Kifayat al-Athar, p. 311. Al-Tu`si, al-Ghayba, p. 105. Mukhtasar al-Basa’ir, p. 39. Saleem b. Qays, p. 94.
2- Usu`l al-Kafi, Chapter on the Textual Imamate of al-Hasan.

the Imamate to him. Al-Zuhri reported: “I was with al-Husayn b. ‘Ali when ‘Ali b. al-Husayn al-Asghar (i.e., Zayn al-‘Abidin) came in. So al-Husayn called him, embraced him, and kissed him between his eyes. I (i.e., al-Zuhri) turned to Imam al-Husayn and asked him: ‘Son of Allah’s Apostle, who will be the Imam after you?’ Al-Husayn replied: ‘This son of mine, ‘Ali, will be the Imam. He is the father of the Imams.’(1)

A similar tradition to this was narrated by ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Uttba.(2) The Shi‘ite narrators said: “When Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, wanted to go to Iraq, he entrusted the tablets, which he received from his brother al-Hasan, to Umm Salama, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and ordered her to give them to Zayn al-‘Abidin. When Imam al-Sajjad (Zayn al-‘Abidin) returned to Medina, Umm Salama gave him the tablets, which were among the signs of the Imamate.(3)” The old Shi‘ite books have mentioned numerous texts (traditions) similar to the above-mentioned text. If there were no texts for his Imamate, his ideals and his outstanding qualities would confirm it.

The Imamate in his Time

point

The ideological frame of the Imamate, according to the Shi‘ite doctrine, did not appear during the lifetime of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, for no one understood or followed it except a few number of the Shi‘ites whose souls the teachings and values of Islam educated. Al-Husayn b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab said: “The Imamate during the time of the Imam was kept

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1- Roudat al-Jannat, pp. 247-248.
2- Ithbat al-Hudat, vol. 5, p.214.
3- Usu`l al-Kafi, Chapter on the Textual Imamate of al-Hasan.

a secret. None followed the Imam except his believing followers.(1)

A group of fearful factors surrounded the Imam, so he was unable to show everyone the great aspects of the Imamate and its true principles and branches except a few number of his special friends and followers.(2)” In the biography of Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab, al-Kashi mentioned that al-Fadl b. Shadan said: “During the lifetime of ‘Ali b. al-Husayn (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin), no one knew or followed the Imamate except five persons, who were: Sa‘id b. Jubayr, Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab, Muhammad b. Jubayr b. Mutt‘im, Yahya b. Umm al-Tawil, and Abu Khalid al-Kabuli.(3)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin isolated himself form the people for a period of time, as his grandfather, Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, did during the days of the Caliphs and sat in his house. He set up for himself a tent made of hair outside Medina and devoted his life to worshipping and spreading knowledge.(4) With that he was able to spare his life and that of the rest of the Household. He saved them from that black, evil government which exposed the Muslims to the most difficult tribulation.

In that case, the Islamic society did not understood the aims which the Imamate wanted to achieve as well as it did not understood the qualities of the Imam such as infallibility, abundant knowledge, and perfect awareness of the community in policy, economy, and society. This was because the corrupt Umayyad government officially persecuted the Shi‘ites, killed them, imprisoned them in

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1- ‘Uyyu`n al-Mu‘jizat, p. 31.
2- Roudat al-Jannat, vol. 4, p. 44.
3- Al-Kashi, Rijal.
4- Farhat al-Ghari, p. 33.

dark prisons, and prevented them from meeting Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him.

The Imamate of Muhammad bin al-Hanafiya

The historians said that Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya was knowledgeable, ascetic, worshipful, and bravery. He was among the most meritorious children of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, after Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn, peace be on them.(1) He was a pious person with abundant knowledge.(2) So the hearts inclined to him.(3) A sect of the Muslims adopted his Imamate and it was called the Kaysaniya, which was among the oldest sects of the Muslims. The Kaysaniya called Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya al-Mahdi (the rightly guided one), of whom the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, gave good news, who is the Qa’im (the one who will undertake the office of the Imamate) of the Household of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, and who will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny. Among those who believed in the Imamate of Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya was Sayyid al-Himyari, a great Muslim poet. He thought that Muhammad was still alive, that he lived in Mount Radawa, and that he had honey and water. In this connection, he composed the following famous lines of poetry:

Indeed the Imams, who are from Quraysh and

are the rulers of right (to authority), are four

equal ones.

(They are) ‘Ali and his three sons, who are the

grandsons (of the Prophet), and are

well- known.

One grandson is the grandson of faith and good

deeds.(4)

One

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1- ‘Ummdat al-Talib.
2- Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 174.
3- Ibid.
4- He meant the pure Imam, al-Hasan, peace be on him, the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.

grandson whom Karbala’ took away.(1)

And the grandson(2) who will not taste death till

he leads the horses before which there will be a

standard.

He has concealed himself, not seen among

them for a time, in (Mount) Radawa; he has

honey and water.(3)

The poet al-Sayyid al-Himyari withdrew from his doctrine when he understood the truth. He believed in the Imamate of the pure Imams, peace be on them, when he openly supported the greatest Imam, Ja‘far al-Sadiq, peace be on him, In this respect he said:

I have become a Ja‘fari in the name of Allah

and Allah is greater.

I have become sure that Allah will pardon

and forgive (me).(4)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin with Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya

It is certain that Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya adopted the Imamate of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. He did not want the Imamate for himself, rather the people wanted it for him. It was impossible for him to claim what did not belong to him, for he was the most pious of all the people, the most of them in clinging to religion, and was fully aware that the affair of the Imamate did not belong to anyone, rather its affair belonged to Allah, Who granted it to whomever He wanted of His servants. He was sure that the Imam of his time was Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. The narrators said: ‘There was a dispute between Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya and Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin over the Imamate, so they agreed on going to the Kaaba to decide (the matter) by the Black Stone. They agreed on

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1- He meant Imam al-Husayn, the father of the free and lord of martyrs.
2- He meant Mohammed b. al-Hanafiya.
3- Abu` al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani, vol. 7, p. 245. In al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, these lines have been attributed to the poet Kuthayr.
4- Abu` al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani, vol. 7, p. 235.

that to prepare the public opinion and to return to the truth those who believed in the Imamate of Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya. They traveled to Mecca.

When they reached it, they turned to the Sacred House. As for Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, he stood before the Black Stone and supplicated with this supplication: “O Allah, I ask You by Your name which is written upon the canvas of glory, by Your name which is written upon the canvas of splendor, by Your name which is written upon the canvas of tremendousness, by Your name which is written upon the canvas of majesty, by Your name which is written upon the canvas of might, by Your name which is written upon the canvas of power, by Your name which is written upon the canvas of secrets, (which) is previous, excellent, good, and bright, Oh Lord of the eight angels and of the great Throne, by Your eye which does not sleep, by the biggest, the biggest Name, by the greatest, the greatest, the greatest Name which encompasses the kingdom of heavens and earth, by Your Name through which the sun shines, and through which the moon shines, through which You made the seas subservient, through which You fixed the mountains, by Your Name through which Your Throne and the Chair stood erect, by Your Names (which are) holy, noble, hidden, and stored with You in the world of unseen things, I ask You by all of that to bless Muhammad and his

p: 126

Household.(1)

Allah made the Black Stone speak in a miraculous way as He made ‘Isa b. Maryam speak when infancy in the cradle. He made it say that the Imam was Zayn al-‘Abidin, that he was the proof of Allah over His creatures, and that he was His trustee over His religion. With that the truth became clear.(2) A group of those who had believed in the Imamate of Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya returned to the Imamate of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin. So the great poet al-Sayyid al-Himyari composed poetry about this event, saying:

‘Ali and what occurred through his uncle

on account of returning the Imamate was like

bending the rein.

and his appointing as arbitrator a black stone

and what occurred through his clear speech

when an uncle handed over (the Imamate),

without doubt, to (his) cousin, pronouncing

(that) with the tongue.

I truthfully bore witness for that as I truthfully

bore witness for the verses of the Qur’an.

I do not doubt that ‘Ali (Zayn al-‘Abidin) is

my Imam,

and I have abandoned my belief in the

previous views.(3)

Al-Kabuli returns to the Truth

Abu’ Khalid al-Kabuli had confessed the Imamate of Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya, but he withdrew from it when the truth manifested itself to him, so he believed in the Imamate of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. The reason for that is according to what the narrators said: “Al-Kabuli asked Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya: ‘May I be ransom for you, if I have sacredness, love, and devotion to you, I ask you by the sacredness of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and that

p: 127


1- Al-Fadil al-Muqdad, Supplications, vol. 18.
2- Bahr al-Ansab, p. 42. Ithbat al-Wasiya, p. 119.
3- Mohammed b. al-Hanafiya, p. 72. Quoted from al-Himyari’s Divan

of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, to tell me: Are you the Imam whose obedience Allah has made incumbent on His creature?’”

Muhammad answered him with the answer of the believer who sought nothing except the truth, saying: “Abu’ Khalid, you made me swear by (Allah), the Almighty, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn is the Imam over me, you, and all the Muslims.”

So Abu’ Khalid hurried to Imam ‘Ali b. al-Husayn ( Zayn al-‘Abidin) and asked permission to meet him. When he was permitted to enter, the Imam received him warmly asking: “Welcome, Kankar! You had not visited us! What was wrong with you?”

Abu’ Khalid replied with submission and respect: “Praise belongs to Allah, Who did not cause me to die until I knew my Imam.”

The Imam asked him: “How did you know your Imam?”

Abu’ Khalid answered: “You called me with my name with which my mother called me. I was blind to see my affairs. I served Muhammad b. al-Hanafiya for a time of my life. I had no doubt that he was the Imam till I asked him by the Sacredness of Allah, the Sacredness of the Messenger, and the Sacredness of the Commander of the faithful, so he guided me to you and said: ‘‘Ali b. al-Husayn is the Imam over me, you, and all the creatures.’(1)

Al-Sayyid al-Himyari composed poetry about this event, saying:

I wondered at the return of the changes of time,

the affair of Abu’ Khalid with eloquence, and

his returning the Imamate firmly to the

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1- Al-Kashi, Rijal, pp. 79-80.

pure

Sayyid, the light of hearts.(1)

Some Signs of his Imamate

point

Among the signs of his (Zayn al-‘Abidin’s) Imamate was that he foretold some events in the future and they occurred after tens of years as he foretold. The Imami Shi‘ites regard this phenomenon as one of the signs of the Imamate because such unseen events are part of the knowledge of Allah, and He does not let anyone foretell them except His prophets and their trustees of authority. What indicates this was that Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, predicted many events and they all occurred on the arena of life. For example, he foresaw the murder of the people at the Battle of al-Nahrwan, the murder of Dhi al-Thiddiya, and the collapse of the state of the Umayyads. Thus, he said to his companions: “Question me before you lose me, for by Him in whose hand is my soul, if you questioned me, I would tell you about everything between you and the Hour.”

One time he said to his companions: “If I wished, I would inform you of the future events of your time, the misfortunes of your time, the tribulation of your days, and the adversities of your hours.”

Professor ‘Abd al-Fattah ‘Abd al-Maqsu’d commented on this, saying: “He (Imam ‘Ali) did not depend on opinion, nor did he study the stars, nor did he resort to divination, rather he looked with his own eye at what was behind the known, apparent things to bring them some of the unknown,

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1- Mohammed bin al-Hanafiya, p. 72.

concealed things.

“Indeed, he spoke out of the truth in which there was no doubt because he informed them of the knowledge of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family.(1)

Allah, the Most High, granted the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, brilliant abilities of knowledge and singled them out with His unseen things to indicate their spiritual and temporal leadership of this community. Among those whom Allah singled out with this favor was Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, who informed his companions of many events and they occurred after him. The following are some of them:

1. His Telling of the Martyrdom of Zayd

Among the events about which the Imam, peace be on him, told his companions was that he told them about the martyrdom of his son Zayd, the great martyr. Abu’ Hamza al-Thumali reported: [I visited ‘Ali b. al-Husayn (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin) at the time of the hajj every year. One year I came to him and there was a boy sitting on his thigh. The boy rose and hit himself against the doorstep and blood came out of him, so the Imam hurried to him, dried his blood and said to him:] “I ask Allah to protect you from crucifying at Kanasa.”

I (Abu’ Hamza al-Thumali) asked him: “May my father and mother be ransom for you, which Kanasa?”

“The Kanasa of Kufa,” he replied.

“May I be ransom for you, will that occur?” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered, “by Him Who sent Muhammad with the Truth, it will happen that you will

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1- Al-Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, vol. 8, p. 164.

live after me until you see this boy at the district of Kufa. There he will be killed, buried, and dug up. He will be crucified at Kanasa, then he will be brought down, burnt, pounded, and scattered in the land.”

Abu’ Hamza was astonished to hear these words of the Imam, so he asked him about the boy’s name: “May I be ransom for you, what is the name of this boy?”

“Zayd,” replied the Imam.(1)

All the events about which the Imam told his companions occurred. A few years later and Zayd, the martyr, the most brilliant free revolutionist, revolted against the tyrannical Umayyad government asking it to establish the Islamic justice and to respect human rights, but the oppressive government ordered him to be killed. One of his supporters took him and buried him, but the Umayyad government ordered him to be taken out of his grave and to be crucified at the Kanasa of Kufa, so Zayd remained crucified on the trunk of a date-palm for four years; nevertheless he enlightened for the people the way of freedom, honor, and dignity. Then the Umayyad government ordered him to be brought down, to be burnt, and to be thrown into the water of the Euphrates. In this connection, the Umayyads said: “We scattered some of Zayd’s ashes into the water of the Euphrates to make the people drink them.”

All the details of the event about which the Imam told his companions occurred. Without doubt this event is among the signs

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1- Farhat al-Ghari.

and proofs of the Imamate.

2. His Telling about the Government of ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz

Among the events about which the Imam, peace be on him, told his companions was that he told them that ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz would undertake the affairs of the Muslims and that he would die quickly after undertaking the Caliphate.(1) This occurred when ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz became caliph for a short time, and then he died quickly.

3. His Telling about the Government of the Abbasides

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, told his companions about the collapse of the government of the Abbasides. Through the unseen world he knew that the Abbasides would base their government on oppression, tyranny and corruption, that they would take the Muslims away from their religion, that a group of the followers of Imam ‘Ali would revolt against them asking them to establish justice and fairness among the people, and that this group would attain martyrdom at the hands of those tyrannical ‘Abbasides. The following is the text of his tradition: Imam Abu’ Ja‘far al-Baqir, peace be on him, reported on the authority of his father Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, who said: “In his (Ibn ‘Abbas’s) backbone there are descendants who will (enter) the fire of Hell through taking the people away from the religion of Allah and coloring the land with the blood of the children of the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family. Those children will rise sometimes and seek what they will not attain. The believers will take up positions and be patient until Allah decides.(2)

A group

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1- Dala’il al-Imama, p. 88. Basa’ir al-Darajat.
2- Ithbat al-Hudat, vol. 5, p. 241.

of those believing followers of Imam ‘Ali revolted against the tyrannical ‘Abbasides. Among them were Muhammad and Ibrahim who raised the standard of the revolt against al-Mansu’r al-Dawaniqi. Among them was al-Husayn b. ‘Ali, the leader of the Battle of Fakh, who revolted against al-Hadi, the ‘Abbaside. Other children of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, revolted against the oppressive ‘Abbasides. They raised the banner of freedom and dignity demanding the ‘Abbasides to respect the rights of the oppressed and persecuted. Moreover they watered with their blood the tree of Islam which the ‘Abbasides wanted to uproot during their abominable rule.

These are some events about which Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, told his companions and they occurred as he foretold.

Allah endowed Zayn al-‘Abidin with limitless knowledge as He endowed his fathers. The Imam, peace be on him, concealed his knowledge and did not make it public among the people lest the ignorant should accuse him of discord. He showed that when he said:

I conceal the jewels of my knowledge lest the

ignorant should see the truth and accuse me of

discord.

Many a jewel of knowledge which if I

disclosed, it would be said to me: You

are among those who worship idols, and

my blood would be regarded as lawful

by men who regard as good the

ugliest thing they do.

Abu’ Hasan had already offered this

(knowledge) to al-Husayn and had

entrusted it to al-Hasan.(1)

Chapter 6: Impressions of His Character

point

The Muslims have agreed that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was great and meritorious, and that

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1- Abu` Hamid al-Ghazali, Minhajj al-‘Abidin, p. 2. Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 50. Al-Alu`si, al-Ma‘ani, vol. 6, p. 190. Roudat al-Jinan, vol. 3, p. 133.

he was a unique being in this world. None matched him in outstanding qualities, knowledge, and piety. So the Muslims sought blessing through kissing the Imam’s hands and putting them on their eyes.(1) Glorifying the Imam was not confined to those who accompanied and met him, rather it included all historians, regardless of their different inclinations and desires.

They wrote with admiration about his conduct and gave him all noble nick-names and holy qualities. I (the author) think that all those who read about the Imam’s characteristics will admire him, for there is no one similar to him in good inclinations and great qualities. He exists in the mind of all those noble people who adopt ideals and respect their humanity. Now, we will mention the impressions of his contemporaries and of the historians about his character.

The Views of his Contemporaries

point

The religious scholars and all other figures who were contemporary to the Imam stated their impressions of his character. They all glorified and admired him, whether they showed love toward him or harbored malice against him. The following are their thoughts about him:

1. Jabir al-Ansari

Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, the great companion of the Prophet, devoted himself to the members of the House, peace be on them, and was among their followers. He expressed his great admiration of the Imam, peace be on him, saying: “None of the children of the prophets was like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(2)

Indeed none of the children of the prophets was more meritorious than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in devotion, piety, and intense

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1- Al-‘Aqd al-Farid, vol. 2, p. 251.
2- Hayat al-Imam Mohammed al-Baqir.

turning to Allah in repentance, and none of them was more liable to ordeals and misfortunes than him.

2. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas

‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas, despite his eminence among the people and his old age, respected Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin and bowed to him in submission and glory. When he saw him, he stood up to glorify him and said at the top of his voice: “Welcome dear and beloved one!(1)

3. Al-Zuhri

Muhammad b. Muslim al-Qarashi, al-Zuhri, was a jurist, one of the leading Imams and religious scholar of Syria and Saudi Arabia.(2) He was among those who were sincere to the Imam and loved him very much. He said a group of valuable words in which he expressed the noble qualities and the great ideals of the Imam, peace be on him. The following are some of his words:

“I have never seen a Hashimi like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(3)

“I have never seen a Qarashi more pious and more meritorious than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(4)

“I have never seen a Qarashi more meritorious than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(5)

“I have never met in Medina a person more meritorious than him.(6)

“I have never met among the members of the House a person more meritorious than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(7)

“I sat with ‘Ali b. al-Husayn many times. I have never seen a person more knowledgeable than him in jurisprudence.(8)

“‘Ali b. al-Husayn was the most meritorious of the people of his time and the best of them in obedience.(9)

“A caller will call out on the Day of Judgment: Let the Lord of the worshippers of his

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1- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p. 147.
2- Tadhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 9, p. 445.
3- Khulasat Tahdhib al-Kamal, M 7/Q/2. Abu` al-Farajj al-Asfahani, al-Aghani, vol. 15, p. 325.
4- Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p. 104.
5- Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 37. Tarikh al-Islam, vol. 2, p. 266. Al-Kashif, vol. 2, p. 282. Tabaqat al-Fuqaha’, vol. 10, p. 34.
6- Tahdhib al-Lughat wa al-Asma’, part 1, p. 343.
7- Al-Jarh wa al-Ta‘dil, vol. 3, part 1, p. 178.
8- Khulasat Tahdhib al-Kamal, M 7/Q2, p. 336. Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, vol. 1, p. 75. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 105. Al-‘Ibar fi Akhbar men Ghabar, vol. 1, p. 111.
9- Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 238. Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 12, p. 19.

time stand up, so ‘Ali b. al-Husayn will stand up.(1)” He meant the famous prophetic tradition: “When the Day of Judgment takes place, a caller will call out from inside the Throne: Let the Lord of the worshippers stand up, so he will stand up.(2)

Al-Zuhri was asked about the most ascetic one of all the people in the world and he replied: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(3)

Sufyan b. ‘Ayyina said: “I asked al-Zuhri: Have you met ‘Ali b. al-Husayn? ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘I have met him. I have never met a person more meritorious than him. By Allah, I have never known that he had a friend in secret or an enemy in public.’ I asked him: ‘Why was that?’ He answered: ‘Because all those who loved him envied him out of their abundant knowledge of his outstanding merits, and all those who hated him took care of him because he took great care of them.’(4)

It is certain that al-Zuhri said these words concerning the Imam because there was a close relationship between the former and the latter. Al-Zuhri had perfect knowledge of the Imam’s ideals and noble values. He admired him to the extent that he wept and said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn!(5)

4. Sa‘id bin al-Musayyab

Sa‘id bin al-Musayyab was among the prominent jurists in Medina. The narrators said: “None of the next generation was more knowledgeable than Sa‘id.(6)” He made friends with Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin and knew of his piety and his firm devotion to religion. He admired the Imam, so he

p: 136


1- Roudat al-Jinan, vol. 7, p. 248. Kashf al-Ghumma.
2- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p. 140.
3- Bihar al-Anwar.
4- ‘Ilal al-Sharai‘, p. 88. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 5, p. 541. Bihar Al-Anwar, vol. 46. p. 64.
5- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 12, p. 19. Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 2, p. 288. Roudat al-Jinan, vol. 7, p. 246.
6- Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 4, p. 85.

said the following words concerning him:

“I have never seen a person more pious than him, namely ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(1)

“I have never seen a person more meritorious than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. When I saw him, I hated myself. I never saw him laugh.(2)

A person said to Sa‘id: “I have never seen a person more pious than so-and-so.” Sa‘id asked him: “Have you seen ‘Ali b. al-Husayn?” “No,” replied the person. “You have never seen a person more pious than him,(3)” explained Sa‘id.

Sa‘id was sitting and there was a young man from Quraysh beside him. When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin appeared, the Qarashi asked Sa‘id about him, and Sa‘id replied: “That is the Lord of worshippers, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(4)

“I have never seen a person gentler and more pious than Zayn al-‘Abidin, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(5)

These words, which this jurist said, have included some of the Imam’s qualities such as piety, obedience to Allah, and gentle conduct toward the people.

5. Zayd bin Aslam

Zayd bin Aslam was among the leading jurists of Medina as well as he was among the interpreters of the Holy Qur’an.(6) He devoted himself to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. He admired the Imam’s outstanding qualities such as, piety, Allah-fearingness, ideals, and values. He said many words concerning him. The following are some of them:

“There is no one among the people of the Qibla like him, namely like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(7)

“I have never seen a person like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn among them, namely among the members of the House.(8)

“I have never seen a

p: 137


1- Al-‘Ibar fi Tarikh men Ghabar, vol. 1, p. 111. Kulasat Tahdhib al-Kamal, p. 231.
2- Tarikh al-Ya‘qu`bi, vol. 3, p. 46.
3- Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 38. Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 3, p. 392.
4- Al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 189.
5- Jammharat al-Awliya’, vol. 2, p. 74.
6- Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 3, p. 395.
7- Tarikh Dimashq, 12/Q1/, p. 19.
8- Ibid.

person better than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in understanding and memorizing (the Qur’an).(1)

This means that the Imam was the best Muslim and the best Hashimi of his time and that Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab had never seen a person better then him in understanding and memorizing (the Qur’an). Hence, the Shi‘ites emphasize that the Imam should be the best of his time in merits and gifts.

6. Hammad bin Zayd

As for Hammad bin Zayd al-Jahdi, he was among the most prominent jurists in Basrah and was one of the Imams of the Muslims.(2) He made friends with Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and admired him, saying: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn was the most meritorious Hashimi I met.(3)

Indeed the Imam was the best of the Hashimis of his time in high moral standards.

7. Yahya bin Sa‘id

As for Yahya bin Sa‘id b. Qays al-Ansari al-Madani, he was among the great figures of the next generation and among the most meritorious jurists and religious scholars.(4) He made friends with the Imam and knew of his outstanding merits, so he said these valuable words concerning him: “I heard ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, and he was the best Hashimi I met.(5)

The Imam, peace be on him, became the lord of all the Hashimis through his faith, his fear of Allah, his abundant knowledge, and other outstanding qualities.

8. Malik

Malik said: “There was no person among the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(6)

9. Abu’ Bakr bin al-Barqi

Abu’ Bakr bin al-Barqi said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn was the most meritorious one of his time.(7)

10. Abu’ Zar‘a

Abu’ Zar‘a said: “I have never

p: 138


1- Tabaqat al-Fuqaha’, vol. 2, p. 34.
2- Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 3, p. 9.
3- Tahdhib al-Lughat wa al-Asma’, part 1, p. 343.
4- Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 81, p. 222.
5- Tahdhib al-Kamal, M7/Q2, p. 336. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, part 1, p. 343. Al-Tarikh al-Kabir, vol. 3, part 2, p. 266. Ibn Sa‘d, al-Tabaqat, vol. 1, p. 214. Al-Jarh wa al-Ta‘dil, Q/1, vol. 3, p. 178.
6- Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 238. In Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, p. 305: “There was no person among the Household of Allah’s Apostle like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.”
7- Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 238.

seen a person more knowledgeable in jurisprudence than him, meaning ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(1)

11. Abu’ Hazim

Abu’ Hazim said: “I have never seen a Hashimi more meritorious than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(2)” He also said: “I have never seen a person more knowledgeable than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in jurisprudence.(3)

12. Abu’ Hatam al-A‘raji

Abu’ Hatam al-A‘raji said: “I have never seen a Hashimi more meritorious than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(4)

13. Abu’ Hamza al-Thumali

Thabit b. Safiya known as Abu’ Hamza, the trustworthy and trusted one, said: “I have never heard that there is a person more ascetic than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn except ‘Ali b. Abi Talib.(5)” He said once: “I have never heard that there is a person more ascetic than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, who caused to weep all those who were in his presence when he talked about asceticism and preaching.(6)

14. Imam al-Sadiq

His (Zayn al-‘Abidin’s) grandson said: “None of ‘Ali’s children or his family was more like and nearer to him in manner of dress and understanding than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(7)” Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin was the most similar of all the people to his grandfather, Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, in worshipping, knowledge, and all other characteristics. He was a picture of that great figure who enlightened the world with his knowledge.

15. ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz

‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was among those who respected Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and knew of his high position. The Imam, peace be on him, met ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, and when he left him, he (‘Umar) turned to his companions and asked them: “Who is

p: 139


1- Tarikh Dimashq, 12/Q1/p. 18.
2- Ibid., p. 19.
3- Tahdhib al-Kamal, M7/Q2/p. 336. Kashf al-Gumma.
4- Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, vol. 1, p. 75. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 105. Al-‘Ibar fi Khabar men Ghabar, vol. 1, p. 111. Tarikh al-Islam, vol. 2, p. 16.
5- Safinat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 571.
6- Al-Mufeed al-Amali, p. 117.
7- Al-Himyari, Divan, p. 362.

the noblest of all the people?”

A mercenary from among his companions answered: “You are the noblest of all the people.”

However, he told them the truth, saying: “No, the noblest of all the people is the person who has just left me, meaning Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, who wants the people to be with him and does want to be with any of them.(1)

This means that the Imam, peace be on him, attained a position of which none of the people attained. The people liked making ties or relations with the Imam because of his high social rank. For example, when the Imam died, ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz praised him with these words: “The lamp of this world, the beauty of Islam, and the adornment of the worshippers (Zayn al-‘Abidin) passed away.(2)

16. Yazid bin Mu‘awiya

Acknowledging the excellent traits of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was not confined to his followers, rather it included his enemies and those who harbored malice against him. For example, Yazid b. Mu‘awiya, who was the mortal enemy of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, confessed the Imam’s outstanding characteristics. This was when the Syrians asked him to let him deliver a speech, so Yazid, the tyrannical one, fearfully said: “He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) is among the members of the House who were provided with abundant knowledge. He will not come down (from the pulpit) until he exposes me and the family of Abi Sufyan.”

With these words of his, Yazid b. Mu‘awiya demonstrated that the

p: 140


1- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, PP. 3-4. A similar narration has been mentioned in the book ‘Muhadarat al-Udaba’’ by al-Raghib al-Asfahani, vol. 1, p. 166.
2- Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, 48.

Imam was a knowledgeable man and eloquent speaker, and that he had strong explanations and wonderful deductions through which he would be able to change the attitude against the Umayyad government.

17. ‘Abd al-Malik bin Marw’an

‘Abd al-Malik bin Marw’an was another enemy from among the enemies of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them; nevertheless he admitted the outstanding merits of the Imam. This was when he met him and saw his weakness due to excessive worshipping. So he said to him with astonishment: “Exertion has appeared on your face while Allah has already promised to grant you good, you are part of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, your lineage is close to him, your means is certain, you have outstanding merits over the people of your House and time, and you are endowed with virtues, knowledge, religion, and piety with which none before or after you has ever been endowed with except your previous ancestors.(1)

18. Mansu’r al-Dawaniqi

Mansu’r al-Dawaniqi was another enemy from among the enemies of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them; nevertheless he admitted to the outstanding qualities of the Imam. This was when he sent a letter to Dhi al-Nafs al-Zakiya. In the letter he said: “None like him (Zayn al-‘Abidin) was born among you (‘Ali’s grandsons) after the death of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.(2)

19. Al-Farazdaq

Al-Farazdaq, the Arab great poet, was among those who admired the values of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and believed

p: 141


1- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 75.
2- Al-Mubrrad, al-Kamil, vol. 2, p. 467. Al-‘Aqd al-Farid, vol. 5, p. 310

in his high and holy character. He composed his immortal ode to show Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s outstanding qualities and inclinations. This was when Hisham denied recognizing the Imam before the Syrians lest they should admire him. So al-Farazdaq introduced the Imam to them, saying:

This is he whose ability the valley (of Mecca)

recognizes, and whom the (Sacred) House

recognizes (as do) the sanctuary and the area

outside the sanctuary (al-hill).

This is the son of the best of all Allah’s

servants. This is the pure pious man, the pure

eminent man.

When he comes to touch the corner of the wall

of the Kaaba, it almost grasps the palm of his

hand.

He takes care to be modest and he is protected

from his error. He only speaks when he smiles.

None of mankind has within their souls such

primacy as he does nor such grace as he does.

Whoever knows Allah, knows His friend (wali)

Religion is from the House of this man.

When Quraysh saw him, their spokesmen told

of the outstanding qualities of this man which

indicate (his) nobility.

The Imam was the greatest picture al-Farazdaq saw in the world of honor and virtues, so he admired and adored him.

20. Al-Himyari

As for al-Himyari, he dedicated his talents to the members of the House, who were the source of mercy and virtue on the earth. So he composed poetry about their laudable deeds and outstanding merits, for example, he praised Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, in this line of poetry:

The fourth of them is ‘Ali, the possessor of

efforts, through whom the religion and the

world

p: 142

are established.(1)

21. Ibn Shahab

Ibn Shahab said: “I have never seen a Qarashi more meritorious than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(2)

22. Ibn Zayd

Ibn Zayd said: [My father said:] “I have never seen a person greater than ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.(3)

These are some contemporaries of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, whether they loved him or harbored malice against him. They unanimously agreed that the Imam was a man with piety and knowledge of Islam

The Historians

point

As for the historians, despite their different thoughts and inclinations, they unanimously agreed that the Imam was a great man who possessed many abilities and talents which raised him to the height of honor to which his great fathers reached. The following are some of their words concerning him:

1. Ibn ‘Asakir

Al-Hafiz Abu’ al-Qasim, ‘Ali b. al-Hasan al-Shafi‘i, known as bin ‘Asakir, said in the biography of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn was trustworthy and trusted. He had many traditions and was high, lofty, and pious.(4)” These are the most valuable qualities in the world of Islam.

2. Ibn Sa‘d

Muhammad b. Sa‘d said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn was trustworthy and trusted. He had many traditions and was high, lofty, and pious.(5)” Ibn ‘Asakir greed with b. Sa‘d on giving these outstanding qualities to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him.

3. Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani

Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn, Zayn al-‘Abidin, b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib was trustworthy, trusted, a worshiper, jurist, and meritorious. Ibn ‘Ayyina reported on the authority of al-Zuhri, who said: ‘I have never seen a Qarashi more meritorious than him.’(6)

4. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami

Shahab al-Din Ahmed b. Hajar al-Haythami

p: 143


1- Al-Himyari, Divan, p. 36.
2- Al-Basawi, al-Ma‘rifa wa al-Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 360.
3- Ibid.
4- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p. 142.
5- Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 5, p. 222.
6- Tahdheeb al-Tahdheeb, vol. 2, p. 35.

said: “It was Zayn al-‘Abidin who inherited knowledge, asceticism, and worshipping from his father. He was great in forgiveness, pardon, and tolerance.(1)” Zayn al-‘Abidin was the successor of his father, so he inherited his father’s valuable qualities such as knowledge, asceticism, worship, forgiveness, pardon, and tolerance toward those who mistreated him.

5. Al-Dhahabi

Muhammad b. Ahmed b. ‘Uthman al-Dhahabi said: “He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) had wonderful majesty. He was appropriate for the greatest Imamate because of his honor, righteousness, knowledge, reverential fear, and perfect intellect.(2)

Al-Dhahabi confessed that the Imam, peace be on him, possessed brilliant qualities, that he was worthy of the greatest Imamate of this community, the spiritual and temporal leadership which is the highest and most important position in Islam.

6. Abu’ al-Fath

Abu’ al-Fath b. Sadaqa said: “Imam ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, known as Zayn al-‘Abidin, b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with them, was one of the twelve Imams and among the chiefs of the next generation.(3)

7. Abu’ Na‘eem

Al-Hafiz Abu’ Na‘eem said: “Ali b. al-HusaynZayn al-‘Abidin and Manar al-Qanitin (the signpost of the Allah-fearing)  b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, was a sincere, munificent worshipper.(4)” Abu’ Na‘eem talked about some outstanding qualities of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, such as worship, sincerity, and generosity.

8. Al-Ya‘qu’bi

Ahmed b. Abi Ya‘qu’b said: “He (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin) was the most meritorious of all the people in worshipping. He was called Zayn al-‘Abidin (the ornament of the worshippers). He was also called Dhu’ al-Thafanat (the one with calluses) because there were marks of prostration on his forehead.(5)

Imam Zayn

p: 144


1- Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, vol. 119.
2- Siyar ‘Alam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 240.
3- Durarr al-Abkar, p. 70.
4- Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 133.
5- Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 104.

al-‘Abidin was the most meritorious of all the people in worshipping and obeying Allah.

9. Al-Waqidi

Al-Waqidi said: “He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) was the most pious of all the people and the most obedient of them to Allah. When he walked, he did not brandish his hands.(1)” Al-Waqidi mentioned the Imam outstanding traits such as piety, worship, reverential fear, and humbleness. Because of these qualities he was the most meritorious of all the people and the greatest of them.

10. Safi al-Din

Safi al-Din said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin was (a person) with great guidance and a righteous way. In his (book) al-Jami‘, al-Khatib reported on the authority of b. ‘Abbas, on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: ‘Guidance, righteousness, and moderation are parts of twenty-five parts of prophethood.(2)

11. Al-Nawawi

Al-Nawawi said: “They (the historians) unanimously agreed on his (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s) greatness in everything.(3)

The Muslims have unanimously agreed on glorifying and admiring the Imam because he was endowed with excellent qualities of which all the Muslims boast.

12. ‘Imad al-Din

‘Imad al-Din Idris al-Qarashi said: “Imam ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, Zayn al-‘Abidin, was the most meritorious of all the Household of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, the noblest of them after al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them, and the best of them in piety, asceticism, and worshipping.(4)

13. Ibn ‘Anba

Ibn ‘Anba, a famous genealogist, said: “His (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s) outstanding merits are more than to be counted or to be encompassed by a description.(5)” Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s laudable deeds and outstanding merits are countless, and no

p: 145


1- Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p. 104.
2- Wasilat al-Mal fi ‘Add Manaqib al-Al, p. 208.
3- Tahdhib al-Lughat wa al-Asma’, Q1/343.
4- ‘Uyyu`n al-Akhbar wa Funu`n al-Athar, p. 144.
5- ‘Umdat al-Talib, p. 193.

one can describe them, for they were a natural extension to the conduct of his grandfathers, who enlightened this world with their laudable deeds and outstanding merits.

14. Shaykh al-Mufeed

Shaykh al-Mufeed Said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn was the most meritorious of Allah’s creatures after his father in knowledge and action. Non-Shi‘a jurists (‘ama) report countless traditions in the religious sciences on his authority. Sermons, prayers (details of) the merits of the Qur’an, accounts of the laws of what is permitted and forbidden, and the raids (maghazi) and battles (ayyam) (during the time of the Prophet) have been recorded on his authority. He was famous among the religious scholars.(1)

15. Al-Jahiz

Abu’ ‘Uthman ‘Umar b. Bahr al-Jahiz said: “The Kharijites, the Shi‘ites, the Mu‘tazilites, and non-Shi‘a have unanimously agreed that ‘Ali b. al-Husayn was meritorious and superior (to others).(2)” This means that all the Muslims, despite of their different thoughts and inclinations, have unanimously agreed that the Imam was great and meritorious, so they loved and followed him.

16. Al-Sharawi

Al-Sharawi said: “He (Zayn al-‘Abidin), may Allah be pleased with him, was a devoted worshiper, ascetic, pious, humble, and polite.(3)

It was these qualities that raised the Imam to the zenith of glory and made the people adore and obey him.

17. Al-Qulaybi

Ahmed Al-Qulaybi al-Shafi‘i said: “His (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s) outstanding merits are more than to be counted or to be encompassed by a description.(4)

18. Ibn Taymiya

Ibn Taymiya, though he deviated from the Household and showed enmity toward them, acknowledged the Imam’s outstanding merits and high position. He said: “As for ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, he was

p: 146


1- Al-Mufeed, al-Irshad.
2- ‘Umdat al-Talib, pp. 193-194.
3- Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 49.
4- Tuhfat al-Raghib, p. 13.

among the leading figures of the next generation in knowledge and religion. He had humility, secret alms, and other qualities. He was famous.(1)

19. Al-Shaykhani

Al-Shaykhani al-Qadiri said: “As for our lord Zayn al-‘Abidin, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, his hands (generosity) and laudable deeds were famous. His beauties were well-known. He possessed a great rank and was good-hearted. He had apparent miracles which the eyes have seen and authentic traditions established.(2)

The passengers talked about Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s outstanding merits and laudable deeds. His virtues and miracles were famous among the people. Allah endowed him with qualities with which He endowed His sincere servants.

20. Ibn Khullakan

Ibn Khullakan said: “H (Zayn al-‘Abidin) was one of the twelve Imams and among the leading figures of the next generation. Al-Zuhri said: ‘I have never seen a Qarashi more meritorious than him.’(3)

21. Ibn Shaddqam

Ibn Shaddqam said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn, Zayn al-‘Abidin, was an ascetic religious scholar.(4)

22. Al-Manofi

Al-Sayyid al-Manofi said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin was worshipping, sincere, generous, and pure. When he walked, his hand did not exceed his thigh.(5)

23. Abu’ al-Futu’h

Abu’ al-Futu’h al-Husayni said: “The immortal reputation was for the middle ‘Ali, Zayn al-‘Abidin. He was the first son of al-Huysayn’s sons, the fourth infallible (Imam) according to the view of the twelve Imam (Shi‘ites), and an ascetic (person) according to the view of other than them.(6)

24. Al-Manawi

Al-Manawi said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin was a firm Imam. His hands (generosity) and noble deeds were famous. His outstanding merits well-known. He had a great position. He was good hearted. He was the head of the body of

p: 147


1- Minhajj al-Sunna, vol. 2, p. 123, first edition.
2- Al-Sirat al-Sawi, p. 19.
3- Wafayat al-‘Ayan, vol. 2, p. 429.
4- Zahrat al-Maqu`l, p. 6.
5- Jammharat al-Awliya’ wa A‘lam Ahl al-Tasawwif, vol. 2, p. 71.
6- Al-Nafha al-‘Anbariya.

presidency. He was the expected one for policy and ruling the subjects.(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, was distinguished by great characteristics which qualified him, according to the consensus of all the Muslims, for undertaking the Imamate and general leadership and managing the affairs of the Muslims, for there was no person during his time more meritorious than him in good inclinations and great talents.

25. Muhammad bin Tallha

Kamal al-Din Muhammad bin Tallha al-Qarashi said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin was the example of those who renounced the worldly pleasures, lord of the Allah-fearing, and Imam of the believers. His outstanding qualities bear witness that he was among the progeny of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. His appearance shows his proximity to Allah. His calluses record his prayers and spending the night in prayer. His renouncing the worldly pleasures indicates his asceticism in this world. The morals of devoutness streamed for him, so he surpassed them. The lights of perpetuation shined for him, so he followed them. The litanies of worship associated him, so he was intimate with them. The works of obedience allied with him, so he adorned himself with their ornament. He took night as a mount to cover the road to the next world. The thirst of the midday heat was his guide through which he sought the right way to the lighthouse. He had the miracles which the eyes saw and authentic traditions established. He is among the kings of the hereafter.(2)

26. Muhammad bin Sa‘id

Muhammad bin Sa‘id said: “He ( Imam Zayn

p: 148


1- Al-Kawakib al-Durriya, vol. 2, p. 139.
2- Matalib al-Sa’u`l, vol. 2, p. 41.

al-‘Abidin) was trustworthy, trusted, high, lofty, pious, and had many traditions.(1)

27. Al-Sayyid ‘Abbas

Al-Sayyid ‘Abbas al-Mu’sawi said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin was the best of the people in face, the sweetest of them in perfume, the noblest of the in soul, the highest of them in lineage, and the greatest of them in honor.(2)

28. Al-Sayyid Mohsin

Al-Sayyid Mohsin al-Amin al-‘Amili said: “He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) was the most meritorious of the people of his time in knowledge, jurisprudence, piety, worship, generosity, clemency, patience, eloquence, high moral standards, alms, kindness to the poor, and loyalty to the Muslims. The relatives, the people, the friends, and the enemies glorified him. Yazid b. Mu‘awiya commanded the people of Medina to Pledge allegiance to him as slaves except Zayn al-‘Abidin. He commanded him to pledge allegiance to him as his brother and cousin.(3)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin was distinguished by all the great qualities. All the outstanding qualities by which man is distinguished and through which he becomes noble were part of the Imam’s outstanding qualities and merits. So he was as it was said:

You were created free from all defects

as if that you were created as you wished.

29. Al-Nuwayri

Shahab al-Din Ahmed b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab Al-Nuwayri said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn was reliable, pious, trusted, and had many traditions. He was the most meritorious of the members of his family and the best of them in obedience.(4)

30. Al-Shafi‘i

Imam Al-Shafi‘i said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn was the most meritorious of all the people of Medina in jurisprudence.(5)

31. ‘Ali bin ‘Isa al-Arbali

Abu’ al-Hasan ‘Ali bin ‘Isa b. Abi al-Fath al-Arbali said: “The outstanding qualities of

p: 149


1- Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p. 104.
2- Nazhat al-Jalees, vol. 2, p. 24.
3- A‘yan al-Shi‘a, 4/Q1/308.
4- Nihayat al-Irab fi Funu`n al-Adab, vol. 21, p. 324.
5- Rasa’il al-Jahiz, p. 106. Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 15, p. 274.

‘Ali b. al-Husayn are more than the stars. The one who describes them goes to a boundless place. They appear in the sky of outstanding qualities as the stars appear for those who seek guidance through them. How is that not? He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) surpasses all the world’s inhabitants with the exception of ‘Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan, al-Husayn. (Of course, this rhymed prose has been advanced, so do not be hesitant.) When you give the intellect its right, you will find whatever you want of glory and rightness, for he is a divine Imam, luminous temple, the substitute of the substitutes, the ascetic of the ascetics, the pole of the poles, the worshipper of the worshippers, the light of the lamp of the Message, the center of the circle of the Imamate, Ibn al-Khiyaratayn (the son of the best two), the one with two generous sides (father and mother), the peace of the heart, and the delight of the eye. ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, and what will make you comprehend what ‘Ali b. al-Husayn is? (He was) repentant, the one who wept very much, the one who put into effect the Sunna and the Book, said right words, devoted himself to the mihrab, preferred (people) to himself, and became high through the degrees of knowledge.

His day surpassed his yesterday. He was unique in knowledge. He was the best of all creatures in inherited and newly acquired (qualities). He resorted to honor, so he ascended to its top and became important in

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all its affairs. He defeated (all the people) through what he had such as good birthplace, noble origin, and pure descent. The tongues of those who describe him are unable to depict him. He was unique in his privacy during his whispered prayers. So the angels admired his attitudes. His fear of his Lord made his tears flow. So he exceeded the heavy, pouring rain. So, may Allah support you, carefully consider his traditions, take into consideration his signs, think about his asceticism, his worship, his humility, his night prayers, his punctual prayers, his preferring (people to himself), his alms, his gifts, his pleading (to Allah), his purity, and his eloquence which indicate his humility to his Lord, his standing as the standing of the disobedient in spite of his firm obedience, his confessing the sins in spite of his innocence, his weeping, his wailing, the beating of his heart out of the fear of Allah, his shaking all over, and his standing (for prayer).

When it got dark, he whispered to his Lord, may His names be holy, addressed Him, the Exalted, cleaved to the Door of Him, the Great and Almighty, imagined that he was before Him, turned away from everything (other than Him), devoted himself to Him, he separated (himself) from this mean world, and was free from the human corpse. So his body prostrated on the earth while his soul was clinging to the world of angels. He fidgeted when he passed by a threatening verse

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as if the verse concerned him, while he was far from it. Thus, you find wonderful affairs, strange conditions, and a soul close to Allah, the Glorified, and you know with the knowledge of the one for whom the curtain was disclosed and the doors were open that this fruit is from that tree, as one is part of ten, this fresh drop from that noble fountain, this new one from that old one, this pearl from that abundant sea, this star from that bright moon, this growing branch from that firm origin, and this result from that premise. So this one (Zayn al-‘Abidin) whose origin was pure was the successor of Muhammad, ‘Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, and Fatima, the honored, the glorified.(1)

Al-Arbali, a scholar and researcher, has mentioned the most prominent qualities of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, which are among the places of pride for every Muslim, for his qualities are a natural extension to the qualities and inclinations of his fathers, who changed the course of human history and enlightened man’s way and guided him to signposts of the truth when he had been straying in the remote mysterious fields of this world.

Description cannot encompass the outstanding merits and laudable deeds of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, nor can explanation meet them, for he was a branch of the tree of prophethood and of the large tree of the Imamate in which Allah has put absolute perfection in order to be a signpost for

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1- Kashf al-Ghumma, the Biography of ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.

the truth in the earth.

32. Al-Bustani

Al-Bustani said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin is Abu’ al-Hasan, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. He was given the nick-name of Zayn al-‘Abidin because of his plentiful worship. He was also given the nick-name of Sayyid al-‘Abidin (the Lord of worshippers), the pure, the trusted one, and the one with calluses.(1)

33. Wajjdi

Muhammad Fareed Wajjdi said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin is Abu’ al-Hasan, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, better known as Zayn al-‘Abidin. He was also called al-Asghar (the younger). Al-Husayn b. ‘Ali had no descendants except from the children of Zayn al-‘Abidin. He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) is one of the twelve Imams according to the doctrine of the Imami Shi‘ites, and he was also among the lords and chiefs of the next generation.(2)

34. Agha Buzurg

The Chief of the researchers, Muhammad Hasan, better known as Agha Buzurg al-Tahrani, said: “Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, the lord of those who prostrated themselves in prayer, Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on them, is the fourth Imam of the Imami Shi‘ites. The Muslim historians have unanimously agreed that he was the most meritorious of all the people in piety, asceticism, and worshipping.(3)

35. Ibn al-Jawzi

Ibn al-Jawzi said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin (the ornament of the worshippers), is a model for the ascetics, and lord of the Allah-fearing. His outstanding merits bear witness that he was from among the progeny of Allah’s Apostle, his righteousness proves that he has nearness to Allah, his calluses record for him that he prayed very much and that he spent

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1- Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 9, p. 355.
2- Da’irat Ma‘arif al-Qarn al-‘Ishreen, vol. 4, p. 793.
3- Al-Dhree‘a, vol. 13, p. 345.

the night in praying, and his renouncing the worldly pleasures denotes his asceticism.(1)

36. Tajj al-Din

Tajj al-Din b. Muhammad b. Hamza al-Husayni, the Chief of Halab, said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn was the lord of the Hashimites, the place of their knowledge, and the most meritorious one of them.(2)

37. ‘Arif Tamir

‘Arif Tamir said: “He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) was famous for asceticism, and worship. None was similar to him in these qualities, so he was given the nick-name of Zayn al-‘Abidin and al-Sajjad(the one who prostrates himself very much in prayer).(3)

38. Al-Zarkali

Khayr al-Din Al-Zarkali said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib al-Hashimi, al-Qarashi, Abu’ al-Hasan, the one whose nick-name is Zayn al-‘Abidin, is the fourth Imam of the Shi‘ites. He was one of those who were examples for clemency and piety. He was called ‘Ali al-Asghar (the younger) to distinguish him from his brother ‘Ali al-Akkbar (the elder).(4)

39. Ahmed Mahmu’d Subhi

Dr. Ahmed Mahmu’d Subhi said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn inherited his Imamate through his lineage to Fatima, the chaste. He drew for the Shi‘ites the way of the spiritual Imamate, impressed Shiism with the impression of everlasting sadness and continuous weeping over al-Husayn, and dedicated himself to worshipping, so he was given the nick-name of al-Sajjad and the Kunya of Zayn al-‘Abidin. He descended from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and from Kasra, so he was known as Ibn al-Khiyaratayn (the son of the best two).(5)

Dr. Ahmed Subhi mentioned that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, inherited the Imamate through his descending from his grandmother, Fatima

p: 154


1- Tadhkirat al-Khawas.
2- Ghayat al-Ikhtisar, p. 106.
3- Al-Imama fi al-Islam, p. 116.
4- Al-A‘lam, vol. 1, p. 86.
5- Nazariyat al-Imama, p. 307.

the chaste, mistress of the women of the world. It is necessary for us to discuss this matter with the Doctor. As for this claim, it is untrue, for the Imamate does not depend on inheritance; rather it depends on text (tradition), and it is in the hand of Allah, the Exalted, Who chooses for it those who have good inclinations and outstanding merits. This is what the Shi‘ites believe in, and it is proven in their books of theology. It was not Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, who impressed Shiism with the impression of sadness for Imam al-Husayn, lord of the youth of Heaven; rather it was the tragedy of Karbala’, whose terrors melt the hearts, which impressed Shiism with the world of sorrow and sadness. Zayn al-‘Abidin was in the foremost of who were affected by it, for he saw all its sorrowful stages.

40. Ahmed Fahmi

Shaykh Ahmed Fahmi said: “He (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin) was the most meritorious of the people of his time in knowledge, jurisprudence, piety, worship, generosity, clemency, eloquence, and noble lineage. He helped the poor and the weak.(1)

41. Husayn ‘Ali Mahfu’z

Dr. Husayn ‘Ali Mahfu’z said: “Zayn al-‘Abidin was the best of Allah’s creatures in knowledge and action. He was the most similar of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, to the Commander of the faithful in the manner of clothing, knowledge, and worship.(2)

Important Points

The words of the contemporaries concerning the Imam and of the historians are full of important points. The following are some

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1- Al-Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 65.
2- Al-Balagh Magazine, no. 7, first year, p. 54.

of them:

1. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the most knowledge of the people of his time in the affairs of the Islamic law and precepts of religion.

2. He was the best of all the Hashimites and the Qarashis of his time, this is because he was endowed with outstanding qualities and ideals with which no one was endowed except his grandfathers.

3. He was the best of the people of his time and the greatest of the them in importance and position, this is because of his noble lineage, he was Ibn al-Khiyaratayn (the son of the best two) in addition to his genius and great talents.

4. He was the most ascetic of all the people in turning away from the worldly pleasures.

5. He was the best of all the people in piety, reverential fear, and clinging to the religion.

6. He was the lamp of this world and beauty of Islam(1), this is because his outstanding conduct was among the qualities of the Prophet and the Imams.

7. He was the best of the people in manners, the sweetest of them in perfume, the most generous of them in soul, and the greatest of them in honor.

8. He was the most eloquent of all the people, for his supplications, his preaching, and his wise sayings are among the sources of Arab literature and among the most valuable and cultural provisions in the world of Islam.

9. He was the kindest of all the people to the poor and the most

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1- ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz described him with that.

merciful of them to the miserable and the deprived.

10. The was the best of all the people in worship and obedience to Allah, for there was no one like him in worship and obedience to Allah except his grandfathers.

11. He was the best of all the people in morals, for he was similar to his grandfather, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, in high moral standards.

12. He was appropriate for presidency, the spiritual and temporal leadership of the community.

13. The Muslims unanimously agreed that he was great and virtuous, and that none of his opponents was able to defame him.

These are some points concerning the words of the contemporaries to the Imam and of the historians, despite their different inclinations and doctrines. They establish the most sublime view of the Shi‘ites who are of the opinion that it is necessary for the Imam to be the most righteous and the most knowledgeable of the people of his time.

Chapter 7: The Tragedies Of Karbala’

point

The Umayyad government determined to destroy Islam and to annihilate its foundations and forces. Then it decided to degrade the Muslims, to paralyze their physical and mental activities, and to prevent them from practicing the principles of their great religion. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, witnessed this severe ordeal as his father, Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, witnessed it during the days of the government of Mu‘awiya and Yazid. He shared his father’s pain and sorrow.

Imam al-Husayn was unable to carry out his great

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revolt during the days of Mu‘awiya because he understood that his revolt would fail, and that he would be unable to change the situations standing in the country. Because Mu‘awiya used strong policy and ruled with wisdom, it was impossible for Imam al-Husayn to overcome him and abort his plans. When this tyrannical person (Mu‘awiya) died and Yazid took the reins of government, Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, decided to accomplish his religious duty. He determined to resist Yazid and to overthrow his government.

Accordingly, he would be able to preserve the Muslims’ interests and rights. Moreover he would be loyal to the fundamentals of the religion of his grandfather. So he, peace be on him, declared his great revolt through which Allah made the Book clear, and which He made a lesson for the wise. Hence we will briefly mention some sides of this great revolt, which showed terrible events to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin. Although he was ill, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin was able to understand all the stages of this tragedy through his sensitive feelings and his careful sentiment. That is as follows:

On the Plateau of Karbala’

The pure family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, adopted the rights of the oppressed and the persecuted, so they head for Iraq. When they arrived at the Plateau of Karbala’, they were afflicted by ordeals, misfortunes, and disasters, so they were sure of the destructive catastrophe. This occurred when they found themselves surrounded by the wicked forces who intended to shed

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their blood and to force them to yield to abasement, but Allah refused to accept that for them.

Imam al-Husayn looked at the young men from among the members of his family, they were in the bloom of youth, so he burst into tears and began saying: “O Allah, we are the Household of Your Prophet, Muhammad, peace be on him. We have been banished from the Scared City of our grandfather, and the Umayyads have transgressed against us, so, O Allah, take our right from them, and grant us victory over the oppressive people.”

Then he addressed the heroes from among his Household and his companions, saying: “The people are the slaves of this world, and the religion is licking on their tongues. They encompass it (the religion) as long as their livelihoods stream, but when they are tested by tribulation, they are a few in following the religion.(1)

These brilliant words show the practical reality of the life of the people throughout the stages of history, so they are the slaves of this world at every place and time. As for the religion, it has no shade in their inner selves. When disasters befall them, they deny it and turn away from it, so, indeed, it is licking on their tongues.

Then Imam al-Husayn turned to his companions and said to them: “Then after, you have seen what has befallen us, and the world has changed and neglected (us), its kindness has turned away (from us), and nothing has remained of it

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1- Hayat al-Imam al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 97.

except a rest like the rest of the container and a mean life which is like an unhealthy food. Don’t you see that the (people) do not put the truth into effect and do not prevent each other from (doing) falsehood? Indeed, the believer is desirous of meeting Allah. So, indeed, I see that death is (nothing) except happiness, and that life with the oppressive is (nothing) except boredom.(1)

In this speech, Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, showed that all kinds of ordeals and tribulations befell them, and that the thinking of the world toward them changed, for fate brought to them tiresome misfortunes, but the grandson of the great Prophet was brave enough to face them, for he saw that the people did not put the truth into effect and did not prevent each other from doing falsehood, and that life became abominable and martyrdom in the way of Allah was happiness.

When Imam al-Husayn finished his speech, all his companions rushed toward death to give people the most wonderful examples of sacrifice for establishing justice and fairness. Each one of them spoke with the words of sincerity, so the Imam thanked and lauded them for that.

Imam al-Husayn announced his Death

On the night of Muharram 10th, Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, was sure of death, so he entered his own tent, prepared his own sword, and said:

Time, shame on you as friend! At the day’s

dawning and the sun’s setting!

How many a companion or seeker will be

a corpse! Time will not be satisfied

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1- Al-Tabarani, al-Mu‘jam. Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, vol. 13, p. 74.

with any

substitute.

The matter will rest with the Almighty one,

and every living creature will have to journey

along my path.

In these lines of poetry, the Imam announced his death. He was in the tent of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin and of the granddaughter of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, Zaynab, daughter of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin heard these lines, he understood what his father wanted, so tears choked him, and he kept silent and knew that tribulation had come upon them, as he said: “As for my aunt, Zaynab, she felt that her brother and the rest of her Household had determined to meet death and to attain martyrdom. She could not control herself; she jumped up, tearing at her clothes, sighing and went to him.” “Then I will lose a brother,” Zaynab said to him, “Would death deprived me of life, (for) my mother Fatima, is dead, and my father, ‘Ali, and my brother, al-Husayn, peace be on them (all).”

“O sister,” al-Husayn said to her as he looked at her with his eyes full of tears, “don’t let Satan take away your forbearance.”

However, Zaynab became pale, and sorrow tore up her gentle, tortured heart, so she lamented to her brother al-Husayn: “O my grief, your life will be violently wrenched from you and that is more wounding to my heart and harsher to my soul.”

When she was sure that her brother would be killed, she could not

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control her forbearance, so she tore her garment, struck at her face, and then she fell down in a faint. Then the granddaughters of the Prophet shared that severe ordeal with her. Among them was Umm Kulthu’m, who lamented: “Oh Muhammad! Oh ‘Ali! Oh Imam! Oh Husayn! We will be lost after you!”

That distressing sight had a great effect on the soul of Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him. Sorrow and sighs melted his heart, so he walked towards the granddaughters of the Prophet and ordered them to cling to forbearance and to bear the burdens of this severe ordeal, saying: “O sister, O Umm Kulthu’m, O Fatima, O Rabab, when I am killed, you must not tear your clothes, nor scratch your faces, nor cry out with grief and loss!(1)

Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, ordered his womenfolk to cling to forbearance during those severe ordeals that had come upon them, and he ordered them not to say obscene words.

The Day of ‘Asura’

There was no event in history similar to the event that came upon Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, on the Day of ‘Asura’ because all the ordeals of the world came upon the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, talked about that tragic day which is immortal in the world of sorrows. He said: “No day was more difficult for Allah’s Messenger than the Day (Battle) of Uhud in which his uncle Hamza b.

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1- Hayat al-Imam al-Husayn, vol. 1, pp. 172 - 173.

‘Abd al-Muttalib, the lion of Allah and the lion of His Messenger, was killed, and after it was the Day (Battle) of Mu’ta in which his cousin Ja‘far b. Abi Talib was killed.” Then he (Zayn al-‘Abidin) said: “There was no day like the Day of al-Husayn, when thirty thousand men advanced against him (while) they claimed that they belonged to this community, and that they (wanted) to seek proximity to Allah, the Great and Almighty, through (shedding) his blood. He (al-Husayn) reminded them of Allah, but they did not learn (from him) till they killed him out of (their) oppression and aggression.(1)

In the world of Islam, throughout history, there is no day more difficult than that of al-Husayn, for this great Imam revolted (against Yazid) to establish for all the peoples of the East an honorable life, freedom, welfare, security, and tranquillity. However, those wicked people rose against him and shed his blood in a savage way in which history has never seen. They committed these crimes to live under the yoke of slavery, oppression, and injustice.

Imam al-Husayn’s Sermon

Before the fire of the battle broke out, Imam al-Husayn thought that he had to establish proof for those corrupt people, to refute their justifications, and to make them understand clearly their affairs, so he, peace be on him, ordered his horse to be brought to him. He rode it and walked toward them in a highly impressive manner which was similar to that of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him

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1- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 9, p. 147.

and his family. He delivered among them his historical sermon, which is the purest and most eloquent one in Arabic literature. He called them at the top of his voice to make them all hear his words.

He said to them: “People, listen to my words and do not hurry (to attack me) so that I may remind you of the duties you have towards me and so that (by telling you the true circumstances) I may free myself from any blame in (your attacking me). If you give me justice, you will become happier through that. If you do not give me justice of your own accord (as individuals), then agree upon your affairs (and your associates); let not your affairs be in darkness to you. Then carry (it) out against me and do not reflect (any further). Indeed my guardian is Allah, Who sent down the Book; He takes care of the righteous.”

The air carried Imam al-Husayn’s words to the womenfolk of the Prophet and they lamented loudly, so the Imam sent to them his brother al-‘Abbas and his son ‘Ali and said to them: “Calm them. By my life, their weeping will be very much.” When they became quiet, he went on delivering his sermon. He praised and glorified Allah, and he called down blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and said concerning that countless words. No speaker has ever been heard before or after him more eloquent in his speech than

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he was(1). He continued: “People, indeed Allah, the Most High, created this world and made it the abode of annihilation and vanishing. It changes its inhabitants from state to state, so the conceited one is he whom it deludes, and the miserable one is he whom it charms. So let not this world delude you because it cuts off the hope of him who has confidence in it and despairs the greediness of him who desires for it. I see that you have unanimously agreed on an affair through which you have made Allah angry with you, turn his Holy Face away from you, and send down his vengeance upon you. So the best lord is our Lord, and you are the worst slaves! You acknowledged obedience (to Allah) and believed in the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, and then you have crept against his progeny and his family, you want to kill them. Satan has wholly engaged you, so he has made you forget the remembrance of Allah, the Almighty. So woe to you and to what you want! To Allah we belong and to Him is our return. These are people who have disbelieved (in Allah) after their belief (in Him). So away with the oppressive people!”

Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, preached to the people with these words. He warned them against the delusion of this world and gave them proofs for its unsuccessful final results and prevented them from killing the family

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1- Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 6, p. 242.

of their Prophet, for they would disbelieve in Islam and be worthy of Allah’s punishment and vengeance. Then the great Imam continued: “People, trace back my lineage and consider who I am. Then look back at yourselves and remonstrate with yourselves. Consider whether it is right for you to kill me and to violate the honor of my womenfolk. Am I not the son of the daughter of your Prophet, of his testamentary trustee (wasi) and his cousin, the first of the believers in Allah and the man who (first) believed in what His Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, brought from his Lord? Was not Hamza, the lord of the martyrs, my uncle? Was not Ja‘far, the one who flies in Heaven, my uncle? Have you not heard the words of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, concerning myself and my brother: ‘These are the two lords of the youths of the inhabitants of heaven’? Whether you believe what I am saying- and it is the truth, for by Allah I have never told a lie since I learnt that Allah hated people (who told) them- or whether you regard me as a liar, there are among you those, if you asked them, would tell you: Ask Ja‘far b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, Abu’ Sa‘id al-Khudari, Sahl b. Sa‘ad al-Sa‘idi, Zayd b. Arqam, and Anas b. Malik to tell you that they heard these words from the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless

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him and his family, concerning myself and my brother. Is there not (sufficient) in this to prevent you from shedding my blood?”

It was appropriate for this sermon to change the views of the units of that army and to make a military revolt among their ranks. Through this sermon Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, summoned them to return to their intellects, to consider carefully his affair, for he was the grandson of their Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, the son of his trustee, his womb relative, the lord of the youths of the inhabitants of heaven. All these factors were enough to prevent them from shedding al-Husayn’s blood and violating the honor of his womenfolk, but that army did not understand such excellent preaching, so it was inclined to crime and drowned in error.

However, the wicked sinner, Shimr b. Dhi al-Jawshan interrupted Imam al-Husayn, saying: “If I understand what you are saying, then I only worship Allah (very shakily) on the edge.”

Habeeb b. Muzahir, an excellent Muslim believer, answered Shimr, saying: “I think that you worship Allah (very shakily) on seventy edges, for I testify you are right. You do not understand what he is saying, for Allah has impressed (ignorance) upon your heart.”

Then the great Imam (al-Husayn) continued: “If you are in doubt about these words, you are in doubt that I am the son of the daughter of your Prophet. By Allah there is no son of a prophet other than me among you

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and among the peoples from the East to the West. Shame on you, are you seeking retribution from me for one of your dead whom I have killed, or for property of yours which I expropriated, or for a wound which I have inflicted?”

These words shook the ground under their feet. They became perplexed, not knowing what to say. Then Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, called the commanders of the army, who wrote letters to him to come to their city, saying: “Shibth b. Rib‘i, Hajjar b. Abjar, Qays b. al-Ash‘th, Yazid b. al-Harth, didn’t you write: ‘The fruit has ripened; the dates have grown green; come to an army which has been gathered for you’?”

But those wicked sinners did not feel shame in betraying a promise and breaking a covenant; they all unanimously agreed on telling lies, saying: “We didn’t do (that).”

The Imam was astonished at their answer, so he said: “Glory belongs to Allah! Yes, by Allah, you did it.”

Thus, the Imam turned his face away from them and addressed the units of the army, saying to them: “People, if you hated me, then let me go to a safe place in the land.”

However, Qays b. al-Ash‘ath, a wicked sinner in Kufa who belonged to a corrupt family, interrupted him, saying: “Submit to the authority of your kinsmen (the Umayyads). They have never treated you with anything but what you liked.”

“By Allah, I will never give you my hand like a man who has been humiliated; nor

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will I flee like a slave,” said al-Husayn, peace be on him. Then he called out: “O Servants of Allah, I take refuge in my Lord and your Lord from your stoning. I take refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every haughty man who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning.”

Unfortunately, this excellent sermon did not penetrate their hearts, for ignorance had been impressed upon them, so they were like the cattle, rather they were more straying (than them) in way.

The Battle

Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, took numerous measures to preserve peace and to avoid shedding blood, but ‘Umar b. Sa‘d declared public war against him, for he advanced toward the Imam’s camp, took an arrow, threw it at the Imam, and said: “Bear witness for me with the Governor that I was the first to throw (an arrow) at al-Husayn’s camp.”

This aggressive, mean person (‘Umar b. Sa‘d) asked his army to bear witness for him with his governor, b. Marjana (i.e., ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad) that he was the first to throw an arrow at the Camp of the truth, dignity, and honor. Then his bowmen showered arrows upon al-Husayn and his companions and hit them all, so the Imam turned to his companions and said to them: “Noble men, stand up! These are the messengers of the people for you!”

Thus, the vanguards of the truth from among the companions of the Imam headed for the battlefield. With that, the battle started between the two armies;

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it was the most violent battle that ever occurred on the earth.

The Martyrdom of the Righteous

The army of the truth met the army of misguidance and falsehood. The companions of Imam al-Husayn eagerly competed with the male members of his House for death to attain Paradise. With that they led the movement of faith. None of their spirits became weak, so, with their unique sacrifice, they gave a proof of the greatness of Islam, which granted them such a steadfast spirit through which they, though few in number, were able to meet that savage army and cause it heavy casualties.

The companions of al-Husayn and the male members of his Household proved themselves brave, especially as it concerns Aba al-Fadl al-‘Abbas, peace be on him, who sacrificed his life for his brother al-Husayn. Throughout the history of humanity, there is no brotherhood more truthful, nobler, and more sincere than that of al-‘Abbas, so Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, lauded and praised it when he said: “May Allah have mercy on my uncle al-‘Abbas, for he preferred (his brother to himself), showed extreme courage, and sacrificed his life for his brother to the extent that his hands were cut off, so Allah, the Great and Almighty, gave him two wings to fly with the angels in Heaven, as He had given Ja‘far b. Abi Talib. Al-‘Abbas has a great position with Allah, the Exalted, so all the martyrs will envy it on the Day of Judgment.(1)

Aba al-Fadl al-‘Abbas was the last brother of al-Husayn

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1- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 9, p. 147.

to be killed. The Imam, peace be on him, stood beside al-‘Abbas’s holy corpse and said with great sorrow: “My back has just broken and my strength become little.”

Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, felt loneliness and loss when he lost his brother, who was kind and obedient to him. In our book ‘Hayat al-Imam’ al-Husayn (the Life of Imam al-Husayn), We have spoken in detail about his martyrdom and the attitude of al-Husayn toward him.

Imam al-Husayn sought Help

Imam al-Husayn, who was afflicted with disaster, looked with great sadness and sorrow at the members of his family and his companions. He saw them slaughtered like sheep on the sand of Karbala’ under the heat of the sun’s rays, and he heard his womenfolk weeping and lamenting over their martyred ones. He did not know what would happened to them after his martyrdom. That tragic sight had a great effect on him, so he sought help to protect the womenfolk of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, saying: “Is there anyone to protect the womenfolk of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family? Is there any monotheist to fear Allah through us? Is there any helper who seeks hope from Allah through helping us?(1)

When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin heard his father asking those people for helped, he left his bed and leant on a stick because of his severe illness. When al-Husayn saw him, he called his sister Umm Kulthu’m, saying: “Hold him back lest the earth should be void

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1- Hayat al-Imam al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 274.

of the descendants of the family of Muhammad!” So his aunt brought him back to his bed, and he suffered psychological pain more than he suffered from his illness. Ordeals and misfortunes filled his mind when he saw that brilliant group of his brothers and cousins martyred on the ground, their sincere companions slaughtered like sheep, his father was surrounded by the enemies of Allah, and the womenfolk of the Prophet shaking with fear. Nevertheless he faced those tragedies with forbearance and entrusted his affair to Allah.

Martyrdom of the great Imam

Those savage criminals surrounded the plant of the sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, stabbing him with their swords and spears and hitting him with stones. Bleeding sapped his strength, so the wicked criminal, Shimr b. Dhi al-Jawshan hurried to behead him. The narrators said: “On the lips of Imam al-Husayn, there was the smile of pleasure and of immortal victory which he gained.”

Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, sacrificed his life to establish the state of Truth in the regions of this East, to destroy oppression and injustice, to divide the bounties of Allah among the deprived and the persecuted, and to save the community from the government of the Umayyads who denied human rights and turned the Muslim countries into a farm and took from it whatever they wanted.

Setting the Tents to Fire

The rude and roguish Umayyads set fire to the tents of Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, paying no attention to the Prophet’s womenfolk and children who were

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in them. They carried firebrands in their hands and cried out: “Set fire to the houses of the oppressors!”

These people thought that the tents of al-Husayn were the houses of oppression while the houses of the Umayyads and of their agents were the houses of justice. They forgot that the Umayyads had drowned the Muslim countries in oppression and tyranny.

When they set the tents to fire, the women of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, escaped to the desert while the fire was following them. As for the orphans, they cried and ran away towards the desert asking the people for help, but nobody helped or aided them. That was the most tragic sight which Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin saw. He did not forget it throughout his lifetime. After the martyrdom of his father, he always said: “By Allah, when I look at my aunts and my sisters, tears choke me because I remember the day of al-Taff when they escaped from tent to tent and the caller of the people was calling: ‘Set fire to the houses of the oppressors!’(1)

The Attack against Zayn al-‘Abidin

The rude unbelievers attacked Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin whose strength was sapped by illness, and whose heart was torn by the terrible tragedies. The wicked criminal, Shimr b. Dhi al-Jawshan wanted to kill him, but Hameed b. Muslim scolded him, saying: “Glory belongs to Allah! Do you really kill children? He is only a sick lad!”

But Shimr paid no attention to Hameed, so his aunt, the wise lady Zaynab,

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1- Ibid., p. 3.

hurried to him and cling to him, saying: “You will not kill him before killing me first.(1)” So, the mean ones left him alone

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin became Impatient

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin felt greatly grieved and worried. He wished that he left life. This is because he witnessed the horrible tragedies which befell the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. He was about to die when he saw the corpse of his father, the corpses of the male members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), and of his companions exposed to the wind. When his aunt, the wise lady Zaynab, saw him, she consoled him, saying: “Why do I see you pleading for death, O the legacy of my grandfather, of my father and brothers?

By Allah, this is something which Allah had divulged to your grandfather and to your father. Allah took a covenant from the people whom you do not know, the mighty ones on this land, and who are known to the people of the heavens, that they would gather these severed parts and wounded corpses and bury them, then shall they set up on his Taff a banner for the grave of your father, the lord of martyrs, the traces of which shall never be obliterated, nor shall it ever be wiped out so long as there is day and night. The leaders of apostasy and the promoters of misguidance shall try their best to obliterate and efface it, yet it shall become more and more lofty instead.(2)

His Burying the Pure Corpses

The rude and

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1- Al-Qarmani, Tarikh, p. 108.
2- Kamil al-Ziyarat, p. 261.

mean ones from among the Kufans buried the corpses of their dead and left on the hot sand of Karbala’ the corpse of the plant of the sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, (i.e., al-Husayn), the corpses of the male members of his family, and of their companions. So some of the Banu Asad, who did not take part in the battle, dug graves for those pure corpses. They were perplexed because they could not identify the corpses especially since the killers had separated the heads from the bodies. While they were perplexed, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, according to the Shi‘ite sources, came and informed them of the names of the martyrs from among the male members of the House, and of their companions. The Imam himself carried the corpse of his father and buried it in its final resting place while he was shedding bitter tears and saying: “Congratulations to the land that contains your pure body, for the world after you is dark whereas the hereafter in your light shall shine. As for the night, it is the harbinger of sleep, while grief remains forever, for Allah shall choose for the members of your House your abode wherein you shall abide. From me to you is greeting, O son of the Apostle of Allah, and the mercy of Allah and his blessings.”

On the holy grave he wrote these words: “This is the grave of al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, the one whom

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they killed even as he was a thirsty stranger. Beside the legs of Imam al-Husayn, he buried his son ‘Ali al-Akkbar. He buried the martyrs from among the Hashimites and other than them in one grave. Then he went with the Banu Asad to the river of al-‘Alqami, where he ordered a grave to be dug and in it he buried Qamar Banu Hashim (the Moon of the Hashimites), Abu’ al-Fadl al-‘Abbas b. ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. Then he burst into bitter tears and said: “May the world after you be obliterated, O Moon of Banu Hashim, and greetings from me to you, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.(1)

Those pure graves have become a symbol for the dignity of humanity, for every sacrifice stands on honor, justice, and the truth. They have become the holiest center for worship in Islam.

The Captives of the Household taken to Kufa

The wise ladies of Revelation and the Message were taken prisoners to Kufa, so the Umayyad army blew its trumpets and raised its banners to show its victory over the plant of the sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and lord of the youths of the heaven. Muslim al-Jassas described that sight, saying: “Ibn Ziyad summoned me to repair the House of the Governor in Kufa. While I was plastering the doors, I heard cries coming from everywhere in Kufa, so I went to the servant of the palace and asked him: “Why is Kufa noisy?”

“This hour,

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1- Hayat al-Imam al-Husayn, vol. 3, pp. 324 - 325.

they will bring the head of a rebel (kharijite) who revolted against Yazid,” answered the servant.

“Who is this rebel?” I asked.

“Al-Husayn b. ‘Ali,” was the answer.

He (Muslim al-Jassas) said: “So I left the servant, struck at my face to the extent that I feared that I would become blind, washed my hands from plaster, left the palace, and went to al-Kanas. While I was with the people waiting for the arrival of the captives and the heads, forty camels came carrying women and children, and ‘Ali b. al-Husayn came riding a camel without saddle. Both sides of his neck were bleeding. He was weeping and repeating these verses:

O community of evil, may your region be not

watered,

O community that never respected in our regard

our grandfather,

on bare camels of burden have you transported

us as if we never put up a creed for you !(1)

Jadhlam b. Bashir said: “When I came to Kufa in the year 61 A. H., ‘Ali b. al-Husayn along with the womenfolk came from Karbala’ to Kufa surrounded by soldiers. They were (riding) bare camels. The people came out to look at them, so the women of Kufa wept and lamented over them. I saw that ‘Ali b. al-Husayn was sapped by illness, chains were placed on his neck and he was handcuffed.(2) He was saying with a weak voice: ‘They are weeping and lamenting over us! So who has killed us?’(3)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin delivers a Speech

The Kufans surrounded Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, so he thought that he had to address

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1- Ibid., p. 333.
2- Shaykh al-Mufeed, al-Amali, p. 143.
3- ‘Abd Allah, Maqqtal al-Husayn.

them to make them know the sin of what they committed against themselves and the community. He, peace be on him, lauded and praised Allah, and then he said: “O men, whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not, let me tell him that I am ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. I am the son of the man whose sanctity has been violated, whose wealth has been plundered, whose children have been seized. I am the son of the one who has been slaughtered by the Euphrates neither on blood revenge nor on account of inheritance. I am the son of the one killed in the worst manner. This suffices me to be proud.

“O men, I plead to you in the Name of Allah: Do you not know that you wrote my father then deceived him? Did you not grant him your covenant, your promise, and your allegiance, then you fought him? May you be ruined for what you have committed against your own souls, and out of your corrupt views! Through what eyes will you look at the Messenger of Allah when he says to you: ‘You killed my progeny, violated my sanctity, so you do not belong to my community’?”

Those slaves who blackened the face of history wept loudly and lamented, and they said to each other: “You have perished, yet you are not aware of it.”

The Imam continued his speech, saying: “May Allah have mercy on anyone who acts upon my advice, who

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safeguards my legacy with regard to Allah, His Apostle, and his Household, for we have in the Apostle of Allah a good example of conduct to emulate.”

So they all said with one tongue: “We, son of the Apostle of Allah, listen and obey, and we shall safeguard your trust. We shall not turn away from you, nor shall we disobey you; so, order us, may Allah have mercy on you, for we shall fight when you fight, and we shall make peace when you do so; we dissociate ourselves from whoever oppressed you and dealt unjustly with you.”

In response to this false obedience, the Imam said: “Far, far away it is from you to do so, people of treachery and conniving! You are separated from what you desire. Do you want to come to me as you did to my father? No, by the Lord of those (angels) that ascend and descend, the wound is yet to heal. My father was killed only yesterday, and so were his Household, and the loss inflicted upon the Apostle of Allah, upon my father, and upon my family is yet to be forgotten. Its pain, by Allah, is between both of these (sides) and its bitterness is between my throat and palate. Its choke is resting in my very chest.(1)” Then the Imam refrained from speech, turning away from those treacherous conniving people who were the mark of disgrace against mankind. It was they who killed the plant of the sweet basil of

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1- Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan.

Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, (I. e., al-Husayn), who came to free them and to save them from the oppression and tyranny of the Umayyads. After that, they repented and wept over him.

The Tyrant with Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin

The captives of the Household of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, were caused to enter the palace of the Governor of Kufa, b. Marjana (i. e., ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad). When the tyrant, b. Marjana, saw Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, who was sapped by illness, he asked him: “Who are you?”

“I am ‘Ali b. al-Husayn,” answered the Imam.

“Did not Allah kill ‘Ali b. al-Husayn?” Ibn Ziyad asked the Imam.

The Imam carefully replied: “I used to have an older brother also named ‘Ali whom you killed. He will request you on the Day of Judgment.”

Ibn Ziyad burst with anger and shouted at the Imam: “Allah killed him!”

The Imam answered him with bravery and steadfastness: “Allah takes the souls away at the time of their death; none dies except with Allah’s permission.”

Ibn Marjana was perplexed, not knowing what to answer this young captive who defeated him through giving proofs and quotations from the Qur’an, so he shouted at him, saying: “How dare you answer me like that!”

The wicked sinner, b. Marjana, ordered one of his swordsmen, saying: “Take this lad and behead him!”

The wise lady Zaynab, granddaughter of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, put her hands around the Imam and bravely said to b. Marjana:

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“O Ibn Ziyad, it suffices you what you have shed of our blood! Have you really spared anyone other than this? If you want to kill him, kill me with him as well!”

The tyrant admired her and said to the swordsman with astonishment: “Leave him for her! Amazing is their tie of kinship; she wishes to be killed with him!”

Were it not for this heroic attitude of the wise lady Zaynab, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin would have been killed and the rest of the progeny of Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, who was the source of good and honor in the earth, would have been destroyed. In his book ‘al-Rasa’il’, al-Jahiz reported that b. Marjana said to his companions concerning ‘Ali b. al-Husayn: “Let me kill him, for he is the rest of this progeny (i. e., the progeny of al-Husayn), so through him I will sever this horn, deaden this disease, and cut off this material.”

However, they advised him to refrain from killing him, for they thought that the Imam would be destroyed by his illness.(1)

A Kufan Kidnaps the Imam

A Kufan Kidnapped the Imam, hid him in his house, entertained and treated him kindly. When he saw the Imam, he burst into tears. The Imam thought that the Kufan was trustworthy. A short time later, the caller of b. Ziyad announced: “Whoever finds ‘Ali b. al-Husayn and brings him will have three hundred dirhams.” When the Kufan heard the caller, he put a rope around the Imam’s neck, tied his hands with the

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1- Hayat al-Imam al-Yusayn, vol. 3, pp. 345 - 347.

robe, and took the dirhams.(1) This initiative, if correct, gives a picture of the Kufans who spared no effort to get money.

The Captives of the Household taken to Damascus

The womenfolk and the children of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, were taken as prisoners to Damascus. They were in a condition the sight of which would cause anyone’s soul to melt. All the Kufans went out to see the captives of their Prophet off. The men and the women wept for them. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, wondered at their attitude and said: “They killed us and are weeping over us!(2)

The wicked sinner, Shimr b. Dhi al-Jawshan, ordered a rope to be put around Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s neck.(3) The historians said: “Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin did not say even a word to the rude people who accompanied him, nor did he ask them for a thing throughout the journey, for he knew that they were wicked and ignoble, and that they would not respond to any of his requests.

The caravan of the captives arrived at a place near Damascus and stopped there because the Umayyads wanted to decorate the city to show their rejoicing and the victory which the grandson of Abi Sufyan gained over the grandson of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.

When Damascus was fully decorated, the captives of the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, were caused to enter it.

A Syrian with Zayn al-‘Abidin

An elderly Syrian, who was misled by the false rumors, came near Imam

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1- Mir’at al-Zaman fi Tawarikh al-A‘yan, p. 98. Ibn al-Jawzi, vol. 5. Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat.
2- Mir’at al-Zaman fi Tawarikh al-A‘yan, p. 99.
3- Ansab al-Ashraf, Q1/vol. 1.

Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and said to him: “Praise belongs to Allah Who annihilated you and Who granted the governor the upper hand over you.”

The Imam looked at the elderly Syrian. He understood that the elderly Syrian misunderstood the truth and was deceived by the false Umayyad mass media, so he asked him: “Shaykh, have you read the Qur’an?”

“Yes,” answered the man.

“Have you read,” continued the Imam, “the verse saying: ‘ Say: I do not ask you for a reward for it except that you treat my kinsfolk with kindness,’ the verse saying: ‘ and give the (Prophet’s) kinsfolk their due rights,’ and the verse saying: ‘and be informed that whatever you earn by way of booty, for Allah belongs the fifth thereof and for the Messenger (of Allah) and for the (Prophet’s) kinsfolk’? ”

The elderly Syrian admired the Imam and said to him with a faint voice: “Yes, I have read all of them.”

The Imam said to him: “We, by Allah, are the kinsfolk referred to in all these verses.” Then the Imam asked him: “Shaykh, have you read these words of Him, the exalted: ‘Allah only desires to take away uncleanness from you, O Household (of the Prophet) and purify thoroughly’? ”

“Yes,” was the answer.

“We are the Household (of the Prophet) whom Allah singled out with the Verse of Purification.”

The elderly Syrian shook all over. He wished that the earth had swallowed him up before saying his words. Then he asked the Imam: “I ask you

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in the Name of Allah, are you really them?”

“By our grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, we are, without any doubt,” replied the Imam.

It was then that the elderly Syrian fell on Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s hands kissing them. His tears flowed down his cheeks, and he said: “I dissociate myself before Allah from those who killed you!”

The elderly Syrian sought repentance from the Imam from whatever rude remarks he had made earlier. So he, peace be on him, forgave him.(1)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin in the Assembly of Yazid

The police men of Yazid tied with ropes the wise women of Revelation and the children of Imam al-Husayn, as sheep are tied. The beginning of the rope was around the neck of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, then around the neck of his aunt Zaynab, up to all the daughters of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Whenever they relaxed in their walking, they (the police men of Yazid) whipped them. They brought them in this condition whose terror cracked the mountains and made them stop before Yazid. So Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin turned to him and asked him: “What do you think the reaction of our grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, might have been had he seen us looking like this?”

The tyrant, Yazid, collapsed. All those who were in his assembly wept. Yazid felt pain of that tragic sight, so he said: “May Allah detest b. Marjana the ugly. If there had been (any bond of) kinship between him

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1- Hayat al-Imam al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 371.

and you, he would not have done this to you; he would not have sent you in this state.” Then the tyrannical one, Yazid, ordered the ropes to be cut off, turned to Zayn al-‘Abidin and said him: “How did you, ‘Ali, see what Allah did to your father al-Husayn?”

Al-Husayn’s brave son (Zayn al-‘Abidin) answered with calmness and tranquillity: “Whatever misfortune befalls the earth or your own selves is already in a Book even before we cause it to happen; this is easy for Allah, so that you may not grieve about what you missed nor feel elated on account of what you receive. And Allah does not love those who are haughty and proud.”

The tyrant, Yazid, burst in anger, his elation went away, and recited these words of Him, the Exalted: “Whatever misfortune befalls you is due to what your hands commit.” The Imam answered him, saying: “This (verse) concerns those who do wrong, not those who are wronged.” Then he turned his face away from him to disdain him and his position.(1)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin delivers a Sermon

Yazid permitted all the people to come to his palace, so the hall of his palace became full of people who came and congratulated him on the false victory. He was pleased and happy, because the world yielded to him, and the kingdom belonged to him only. So he ordered the orator to ascend the pulpit and to defame al-Husayn and his father, Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. The orator ascended

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1- Ibid., p. 376.

the pulpit and went too far in slandering the pure family (of the Prophet), and then he lauded in a false way Yazid and his father Mu‘awiya. Thus, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, interrupted him, saying: “Woe unto you, orator! You have traded the pleasure of the creature for the wrath of the Creator, so take your place in the fire (of Hell).”

Then the Imam turned to Yazid and asked him, saying: “Do you permit me to ascend this pulpit to deliver a speech that will please Allah, the Almighty, and that will bring good rewards for these folks?”

The attendants were astonished at this sick lad, who interrupted the orator and the governor while he was a captive. Yazid refused, but the people begged him. He said to them: “If he ascends the pulpit, he will not descends (from it) till he expose me and the family of Abi Sufyan.”

The people asked him: “What will this sick lad do?”

The people did not know the Imam. They thought that he was like the other people, but the tyrant, Yazid, knew him, so he said to them: “These are people who have been spoon-fed with knowledge.”

They kept pressuring him till he agreed. So the Imam ascended the pulpit and delivered the most wonderful speech in history in eloquence. He made the people weep. The folks were confused because the Imam’s speech controlled their hearts and feelings. The following is some of what he said: “O people, we were granted six

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things and favored with seven: We were granted knowledge, clemency, leniency, fluency, courage, and love for us in the hearts of the believers. We were favored by the fact that from among us came the chosen Prophet, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, al-siddiq (the very truthful one), al-Tayyar (the one who flies in the heaven), the Lion of Allah and of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, the mistress of the women of the world Fatima the chaste, and both lords of the youths of Heaven from among this nation”

Having introduced his family, the Imam continued his speech explaining their outstanding merits, saying: “Whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not recognize, let me tell him who I am and to what family I belong: I am the son of Mecca and Mina; I am the son of Zamzam and al-Safa; I am the son of the one who carried Zakat in the ends of the mantle; I am the son of the best man who ever put on a loincloth and clothes; I am the son of the best man who ever put on sandals and walked barefooted; I am the son of the best man who ever made tawaf (the procession round the Kaaba) and Sa‘i (ceremony of running seven times between Safa and Marwa); I am the son of the best man who ever offered the hajj and pronounced talbiya (Here I am at your service); I am the son

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of the one who was transported on the buraq in the air; I am the son of the one who was made to travel from the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Mosque, so glory belongs to Him Who made (His Servant) travel; I am the son of the one who was taken by Gabriel to sidrat al-muntaha; I am the son of the one who drew near (his Lord) and suspended, so he was the measure of two bows or closer still; I am the son of the one who led the angels of the heavens in prayer; I am the son of the one to whom the Almighty revealed what He revealed; I am the son of Muhammad al-Mustafa; I am the son of ‘Ali al-Murtada; I am the son of the one who fought against the creatures till they said: There is no god but Allah. I am the son of the one who struck (the enemies) with two swords before Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and stabbed (them) with two spears, emigrated twice, pledged allegiance twice (to the Prophet), prayed in the two qiblas, and fought (against the unbelievers) at Badr and Hunayn and never disbelieved in Allah not even as much as the twinkling of an eye. I am the son of the best of the believers, the heir of the prophets, the destroyer of the unbelievers, the Commander of the Muslims, the light of the mujahidin, the ornament of the worshippers,

p: 188

the crown of the weepers, the most patient of the patient, and the best of the steadfast from among the family of Yasin, and the Messenger of the Lord of the world’s inhabitants. I am the son of the one who was backed by Gabriel, supported by Mikael.

I am the son of the one who defended the Muslims, killed the oath breakers of allegiance and the unjust and the renegades, struggled against his tiring enemies, the most excellent one of those who walked (to war) from among Quraysh, the first to respond to Allah from among the believers, the prior to all the previous ones, the breaker of the aggressors, the destroyer of the atheists, an arrow from among the shooting-places of Allah against the hypocrites, the tongue of the wisdom of worshippers, the supporter of the religion of Allah, the protector of the affair of Allah, the garden of the wisdom of Allah, the container of the knowledge of Allah, tolerant, generous, benevolent, pure, Abtahi, satisfied, easily satisfied, intrepid, gallant, patient, fasting, refined, steadfast, courageous, honored, the severer of the backbones, the scatterer of the allies, the calmest of them, the best of them in giving free rein (to his horse), the boldest of them in tongue, the firmest of them in determination, the most powerful of them, a lion, brave, pouring rain, the one who destroyed them at the battles and dispersed them in the wind, the lion of al-Hijaz, the possessor of the miracle, the ram

p: 189

of Iraq, the Imam through the text and worthiness, Makki, Madani, Abtahi, Tuhami, Khay‘ani, ‘Uqbi, Badri, Uhdi, Shajari, Muhajiri, the Lord of the Arabs, the Lion of war, the inheritor of al-Mash‘arayn, the father of the two grandsons (of the Prophet) al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the one who manifested miracles, the one who scattered the phalanxes, the piercing meteor, the following light, the victorious Lion of Allah, the request of every seeker, the victorious over every victorious, such is my grandfather, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. I am the son of Fatima, the chaste. I am the son of the mistress of women. I am the son of the purified, virgin (lady). I am the son of the part of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family.(1) I am the son of the one who was covered with blood. I am the son of the one who was slaughtered at Karbala’. I am the son of the one for whom the Jinns wept in the dark and for whom the birds in the air cried.(2)

The Imam continued saying ‘I am....’ until the people wailed. Yazid thought that a discord would occur, for the Imam made a cultural revolt through his speech when he introduced himself to the Syrians and made them know what they did not know, so Yazid ordered the muadhdhin to say the adhan and he said: “Allahu Akbar!”

The Imam turned to him and said: “You have made great the Great One who cannot be measured and cannot

p: 190


1- Ibid., p. 387.
2- Nafs al-Mahmu`m, p. 242.

be perceived by senses, there is nothing greater than Allah.”

The muadhdhin said: “Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah!”

‘Ali b. al-Husayn said: “My hair, my skin, my flesh, my blood, my brain, and my bones bear witness that there is no god but Allah.”

The muadhdhin said: “Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasool Allah!”

The Imam turned to Yazid and asked him: “Yazid, is Muhammad your grandfather or mine? If you say that he is yours, then you are a liar, and if you say that he is mine, then why did you kill his family?(1)

Yazid became silent and was unable to answer, for the great Prophet was Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s grandfather. As for Yazid’s grandfather, he was Abu’ Sufyan, who was the mortal enemy of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. The Syrians understood that they were drowning in sin, and that the Umayyad government spared no effort to delude and mislead them.

The Imam confined his speech to introducing the Prophet’s Household to the Syrians. He indicated to them that the Prophet’s Household had a great position with Allah, that they waged jihad against the enemies of Islam, and that they suffered persecutions. The Imam mentioned nothing other than these matters. I (the author) think that this confinement to these matters is among the most wonderful considerations and among the most exact type of eloquence. This is because the Syrians knew nothing about the Prophet’s Household except what the pseudo clergy men fabricated against them; the authority and its mercenaries fed

p: 191


1- Al-Khawarizmi, Maqqtal al-Husayn, vol. 2, p. 242.

the Syrians on enmity toward the Prophet’s Household and on obedience to the Umayyads.

Anyhow, the Imam’s speech had a great effect on the Syrians, who secretly told each other about the Umayyad false mass media, and about the disappointment and loss at which they reached, so their attitudes toward Yazid changed(1) and they looked at him with disdain.

The Imam with al-Minhal

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, met al-Minhal b. ‘Amr and he asked him: “How have you received the evening, O son of the Apostle of Allah?”

The Imam looked at him and said to him: “We received the evening like the Israelites among the people of Pharaoh: they kill their sons and take their women captive. The Arabs brag before the non-Arabs saying that Muhammad was one of them, while Quraysh boasts before the rest of the Arabs of Muhammad belonging to it. We, his Household, are now homeless; so, to Allah we belong and to Him is our return.(2)

The greatest Prophet was the original source for the honor of the Arab community. It was he who planned the honorable life for it and established for it the strongest state in the world, but Quraysh, who boasted before the rest of the Arabs of Muhammad belonging to it, killed his children and took his womenfolk as captives.

The Tyrannical apologizes to the Imam

When the Syrians became indignant with Yazid because of his killing the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, he (Yazid) summoned Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, apologized to him, and regarded b. Marjana

p: 192


1- Jawhart al-Kalam fi Maddh al-Sada al-‘Alam, p. 128.
2- Hayat al-Imam al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 291.

(‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad) responsible for killing al-Husayn, saying: “May Allah curse b. Marjana! By Allah, if I had been with him (al-Husayn), he would never have asked me for a favor without me granting him it; I would have protected him from death with all my power even through destroying some of my sons. But Allah has decreed what you have seen. My little son, write to me and everything that you need is yours.(1) Affairs will occur among your people, so do not take part in them.(2)

However, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin turned away from him and said nothing to him, for he knew that the reason for his apology was an escape from the crime he committed.

A Scholar asks about the Imam

A Jewish scholar was in the assembly of Yazid. He admired Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, so he asked Yazid: “Who is that lad?”

“‘Ali b. al-Husayn,” replied Yazid.

“Who is al-Husayn?” asked the Jewish scholar.

“Son of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib,” answered Yazid.

“Who is his mother?” asked the Jewish scholar.

“Muhammad’s daughter,” replied Yazid.

“Glory belongs to Allah,” explained the Jewish scholar, “this is the son of the daughter of your Prophet, (why did) you kill him? You opposed him by doing evil to his blood relations. By Allah, if our Prophet, Mu’sa b. ‘Umran, had left a grandson among us, we would have worshipped him instead of Allah. Your Prophet left you yesterday; nevertheless you revolted against his grandson and killed him. How bad a community you are!”

The tyrannical one, Yazid, became angry and

p: 193


1- Ibn al-Athir, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 300.
2- Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 157.

ordered the Jewish scholar to be hit on the mouth, still the Jewish scholar said: “Kill me if you want to. I have found in the Torah that whoever kills the progeny of a prophet will be cursed as long as he remains (living). When he dies, Allah will cause him to enter the fire of Hell.(1)

The Imam with Yazid

The tyrannical one, Yazid, met Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin and asked him to ask his needs, so the Imam, peace be on him, said: “I want you to show me my father’s face, and bring back to the women what had been taken from them, for among it is the inheritances of fathers and mothers. If you want to kill me, send with the family someone to guide them to Medina.”

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, asked Yazid to show him his father’s head to bid the final farewell to it or to bury it with the holy corpse, but the tyrannical one (Yazid) refused to give him the head because he intended to show it around the country to spread fear among the people and to be a lesson for those who might revolt against him.

He also asked him to bring back what was taken from the women on Muharram 10th. With this the Imam did not mean the ornaments, rather he meant the dear things he inherited from his grandfather, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, such as his turban, his breastplate, and his sword.

Yazid, the tyrannical, bowed his

p: 194


1- Al-Hada’iq al-Wardiya, vol. 1, p. 131. Al-Futu`h, vol. 5, p. 246.

head. He thought about the Imam’s requests. Then he raised his head and said: “As for the face of your father, you will never see it. As for what was taken from you, it will be brought back to you. As for the women, no one will repatriate them except you. As for you, I will not kill you.(1)

The Journey to Medina

Yazid ordered al-Nu‘man b. Bashir to escort the womenfolk of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and to send them back to Medina.(2) He ordered him to take them out at night because he feared dissension and repercussions.(3) The caravan walked and began covering the desert. The Alid women asked al-Nu‘man b. Bashir to take them to Karbala’ to renew their covenant with the grave of the Lord of martyrs, peace be on him.

Having reached Karbala’, the Alid women hurried to the grave of Imam Abi ‘Abd Allah, peace be on him, weeping and wailing. They stayed there mourning al-Husayn for three days to the extent that their voices became hoarse and their hearts became broken. Some sources mentioned that Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, a great companion of the Prophet, visited the grave of al-Husayn, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, met him and told him about the tragedies which the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, faced, and then they left Karbala’ and headed for Medina.

Bishr announced the Death of Imam al-Husayn

When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, came close to Medina, he alighted, set up

p: 195


1- Hayat al-Imam al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 414.
2- Jawhart al-Kalam fi Maddh al-Sada al-‘Alam, p. 128.
3- Tafsir al-Matalib fi Amali Abi Talib, p. 93. Al-Hada’iq al-Wardiya, vol. 1, p. 133.

a tent where he lodged his aunts and his sisters, turned to Bishr b. Hadhlam and said to him: “O Bishr, may Allah have mercy on your father, who was a poet! Can you compose any of it at all?” “Yes, O son of Allah’s Apostle,” replied Bishr. So the Imam ordered him to enter Medina and to announce the death of Imam al-Husayn among its people. Hence, Bishr set off towards Medina. When he came near the Mosque of the Prophet, he cried loudly and recited these verses:

O people of Yathrib! May you never stay

therein!

Al-Husayn was killed, so my tears now rain,

His body is in Karbala’ covered with blood

While his head is on spear displayed.

The people went in a hurry to the Mosque of the Prophet weeping loudly for the Imam, peace be on him. They gathered around Bishr, who was weeping, asking him for more information of al-Husayn, so he said to them: “Here is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn accompanied by his aunts and sisters; they have all returned to you. I am his messenger to you to inform you of his place.(1)

The people went out to receive Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin all weeping and wailing. The historians said that that day was like the day when Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, passed away.(2) They surrounded the Imam to offer him their condolences.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin delivers a Speech

The Imam, peace be on him, thought that he had to tell the people about the tragedies which they were subjected to. The Imam

p: 196


1- Hayat al-Imam al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 423.
2- Al-Luhu`f, p. 116.

was unable to stand up to deliver a speech, for he was sapped by illness and overcome by grief, so a chair was brought for him. He sat in the chair and said: “Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the King of the Day of Judgment, Creator of all creation, Who is the Exalted in the high heavens, Who is so near, He hears even the silent speech. We praise Him on the grave events, on time’s tragedies, on the pain inflicted by such tragedies, on the crushing of calamities, on the greatness of our catastrophe, on our great, monstrous, magnanimous and afflicting hardships.

“O People, Allah, the Most Exalted One, praise belong to Him, has tried us with great trials and tribulations, with a tremendous loss suffered by the religion of Islam. Abu’ ‘Abd Allah, al-Husayn, and his family have been killed, and his womenfolk and children taken captives. They displayed his head in every land from the top of a spear. Such is the catastrophe similar to which there is none at all.

“O people, which men among you are happy after him, or which heart is not grieved on his account? Which eye among you withholds its tears and is too miser with its tears? The seven great heavens wept over his killing; the seas wept with their waves, and so did the heavens with their corners and the earth with its expanse; so did the trees with their branches

p: 197

and the fish in the depths of the seas. So did the angels who are close to their Lord. So did all those in the heavens.

“O People, which heart is not grieved with his killing? Which heart does not yearn for him? Which hearing hears such a calamity that has befallen Islam without becoming deaf.

“O people, we have become homeless, exiles, outcasts, shunned, distanced from all countries as though we were the offspring of the Turks or of Kabul without having committed a crime, nor an abomination, nor afflicted a calamity on Islam! Never did we ever hear such a thing from our fathers of old. This is something new. By Allah, had the Prophet required them to fight us just as he had required them to be good to us, they would not have done to us any more than what they already have. So we belong to Allah and to Him is our return from this calamity, and what a great, painful, hard, cruel, and catastrophic calamity it is! To Allah do we complain from what has happened to us, from the sufferings we have endured, for He is the Omnipotent, the Vengeful.”

Sa‘sa‘a, an invalid who could barely walk on his feet, stood up and apologized to the Imam for not rushing to help his family due to his handicap. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, responded to him by accepting his excuse, telling him that he thought well of him, thanked him and asked Allah to

p: 198

have mercy on his father. Then the Imam walked accompanied by his aunts and sisters. The people surrounded him weeping and wailing until they reached the Mosque of the Prophet. There Zaynab, the wise lady of the family of Abi Talib, took both knobs of the door of the mosque and cried out and addressed her grandfather, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, saying: “O my grandfather, I mourn to you my brother al-Husayn!(1)

The wise ladies who were born and grew up in the lap of the Prophet held a mourning ceremony for the Lord of the martyrs. They put on the most coarse clothes and shrouded themselves in black and continued weeping and wailing.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s Grief

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, kept weeping day and night over his father and the members of his Household. Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, said: “My grandfather, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, wept over his father for twenty years. When food was put before him, he wept.(2)” One of his retainers blamed him, saying: “I fear for you lest you should perish.”

So the Imam kindly said to him: “I only convey my complaints and my grief to Allah, and I know from Allah what you all do not know. Ya‘qu’b (Jacob) was a prophet from whom Allah caused one of his sons to be separated. He had twelve sons, and he knew that his son (Joseph) was still alive, he wept over him till he lost his eye sight. I looked at

p: 199


1- Al-Muqrim, Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 472.
2- Ahmed Fahmi, al-Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 31.

my father, my brothers, my uncles, and my companions (and saw them) slain all around me, so how can my grief end? Whenever I remember how Fatima’s children were slaughtered, tears choke me. Whenever I look at my aunts and sisters, I remember how they were fleeing from one tent to another.(1)

When the Imam looked at water, his weeping increased, and his pain doubled. This is because water reminded him of the thirst of his father and the members of his Household. The narrators said: “When he took some water to drink, he wept. So he was asked about that, and he answered: ‘How do I not weep (while) my father was prevented from drinking the water which was free for beasts and wild animals?’(2)

The Imam always wept over his father, and it was said to him: “You always weep, even if you kill yourself, you will increase (nothing) with this.” So he said: “I have killed my soul, and over it I weep.(3)

A group of his retainers and the members of his Household felt pity for him because of his abundant weeping, so one of them asked him: “Has n’t your grief end yet?”

The Imam answered him, saying: “Woe unto you! Ya‘qu’b (Jacob) was a prophet from whom Allah caused one of his sons to be separated. He had twelve sons, and he knew that his son (Joseph) was still alive in the world, he wept over him till he lost his eye sight. I looked at my father,

p: 200


1- Al-Muqrim, Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 47. A narration similar to this has been reported in Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 138.
2- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 108.
3- Ibid, p. 109.

my brother, my uncle, and seventeen (persons) from the members of my Household (and saw them) slain all around me, so how can my grief end?(1)

His heart melt with pity for his father, his Household, and his friends whose heads the swords of aggression severed in a cruel manner.

His Paying the Debts which his Father owed

Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, was indebted to a group of people for more than seventy thousand dinars, so Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, took great care of paying them to the extent that he prevented himself from having food and water. When he prepared this sum (of money), he hurried to pay every debt to the person to whom it was owed, and thus he could free his father from such an obligation.(2)

His Kindness to the Family of ‘Aqil

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was very kind to the Family of ‘Aqil. He preferred them to his cousins and the members of his family, for they had an outstanding attitude during the Battle of Karbala’. That was when the sons and the honorable grandsons of ‘Aqil sacrificed their souls for Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, while they were still young. They competed with each other for martyrdom, so they were all killed at that battle, and thus they sacrificed their lives for the religion of Allah.

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, had mercy on them and preferred them to the surviving members of his family. He was asked about that, and he, peace be on him, replied: “I remember their day

p: 201


1- Ibid, p. 108.
2- Sir al-Silsila al-‘Alawiya, p. 32.

with Abu ‘Abd Allah (al-Husayn), so I feel pity for them.(1)” An example of his kindness to the family of ‘Aqil was that al-Mukhtar b. Yousif, a great revolutionist, gave him a lot of money, and he built with it houses for them, but the Umayyad government ordered the houses to be demolished.(2)

His Staying in Medina

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, stayed in Medina and did not leave it except for performing the hajj to the Sacred House of Allah. The narrators said: “He traveled to Iraq to visit the grave of Imam (‘Ali) the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him.(3)” It is certain that he visited the grave of his father, Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him. With this we will end our talk about the tragedies of Karbala’, and the oppression and persecution to which Imam’ al-Husayn was subjected.

Chapter 8: His Worship

point

The Muslims unanimously agreed that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the most worshipful of all the people, and the most obedient of them to Allah, the Exalted. The people never saw a person like him in great turn to Allah in repentance and worship. The pious and the righteous admired him, and it is sufficient for him that only he was given the nick-name of Zayn al-‘Abidin (the ornament of the worshippers) and Sayyid al-Sajjidin (the lord of those who prostrate themselves in prayer).

As for his worship, it was not traditional; rather it resulted from his firm faith in Allah, the Most High, and his

p: 202


1- Kamil al-Ziyarat, p. 107.
2- Ghayat al-Ikhtisar, p. 160.
3- Ibid.

perfect knowledge of Him. He worshipped Allah not due to desire of His garden, nor did he worshipped him out of fear of His fire; rather he found Him worthy of worshipping, Hence he worshipped Him. He was similar to his grandfather, Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, the Lord of the knowers, and the Imam of the Allah-fearing, who worshipped Allah with the worship of the free, Hence his grandson, Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, followed him when he said: “I hate to worship Allah and I have no objective except His reward; therefore I will be like the desirous servant, who works when he is desirous; otherwise he does not work. I hate to worship Him because of fear of His torment, Hence I will be like the bad servant, who works when he is afraid.”

One of those who were sitting interrupted him and said to him: “How do you worship Allah?”

The Imam answered him faithfully: “I worship Allah through his bounties and blessings (toward me), Hence He is worthy of (worship).(1)

The Imam’s worship resulted from his knowledge which was void of doubts and imaginations. It did come out of desire or fear; rather it issued from firm faith (in Allah). He, peace be on him, talked about the kinds of worship, saying: “If people worship Allah, the Great and Almighty, because of fear (of Him), their worship is (similar to that) of slaves. If they worship Him because of desire, their worship (similar to that)

p: 203


1- Al-‘Askari, Taffsir, p. 132.

of traders, and if they worship Him to show gratefulness toward him, their worship is that of the free.(1)” These are the kinds of worship and obedience; the heaviest of them in scale and the most lovable of them for Allah is the worship of the free, which is gratefulness to the Almighty Benefactor, not because of craving for His reward nor because of fear of His punishment. The Imam, peace be on him, underlined this in another tradition of his, saying: “The worship of the free is thankfulness to Allah, not because of fear and desire.(2)

The Imam’s love for Allah was firm in his heart and sentiments, Hence it was among his qualities. The narrators said: “He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) always worshipped Allah and obeyed him.” A slave girl of his was asked about his worship and she answered: “Shall I elaborate (on it) or shall I (talk about it) briefly?”

“Briefly,” was the answer.

“I did not bring him food by day nor did I spread for him bed by night,” the slave girl answered.(3)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, spent most his lifetime fasting by day and praying by night. He was busy praying or giving charity in secret. It is certain that there is no person in the history of the ascetics and worshippers like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in loyalty and obedience to Allah. Now, we will mention some acts of his worship:

His Ritual Ablution

As for ablution, it is light and purity from sins and is the first act

p: 204


1- Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 1, p. 53. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 105. Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 134. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p. 105. Durrar al-Abkar, p. 70.
2- Al-Kawakib al-Durriya, vol. 2, p. 139.
3- Al-Khisal, p. 488.

for prayer. The Imam, peace be on him, always performed the ritual ablution. The narrators talked about his humility to Allah during his ablution, saying: “When he used to perform ritual ablutions, his skin would turn yellow. Hence his family asked him: ‘What is it that has afflicted you?’”

He answered them with fear of Allah, saying: “Don’t you know Whom I am preparing to stand before?(1)

He took great care of his ablution to the extent that no one helped him with it. He himself brought water for his ritual ablutions and prepared it before he slept. When he got up at night, he started with tooth cleanser (siwak), and then he performed his ablution. Having finished it, he began praying.(2)

His Prayer

point

As for prayer, it is the journey of every believer (to the seven heavens) and is the sacrifice of every pious one, as it is in the tradition. Prayer was among the most important desires of the Imam, peace be on him. Through it he communicate with Allah, the Creator of the universe and Giver of life. He shook all over when he wanted to pray, Hence he was asked about that, and he replied: “Don’t you know Whom I am preparing to stand before and to Whom I am going to whisper (in prayer)?(3)” We will mention some of his affairs during his prayers and perfuming himself:

Perfuming his Garments

When the Imam wanted to pray, he perfumed himself from a bottle which he put in the room of his prayers(4), which was

p: 205


1- Durrar al-Abkar, p. 70. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 326. Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 238. Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 49. Akhbar al-Diwal, p. 109. Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 132. Al-‘Aqdd al-Farid, vol. 3, p. 103.
2- Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 52. Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 38.
3- Wasilat al-Mal, p. 207. Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 38. Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 52.
4- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 58.

full of musk.

His Garments during his Prayer

When the Imam wanted to pray, he wore coarse woolen garments(1) in order to behave humbly before the Almighty Creator.

His Humbleness during his Prayer

As for the prayer of the Imam, peace be on him, it represented full devotion to Allah, the Exalted, and freedom from the material world. He did not feel the things around him; rather he did not feel even himself, for his heart clung to Allah. The narrators described him during the time of his prayer, saying: “When he stood to perform the ritual prayer, his skin would turn yellow, and he shook all over because of fear of Allah. He stood during his prayer as the abased slave who stood before a great king. He prayed with the prayer of the one who would leave (the world). He thought that he would never pray again.” Imam al-Baqir talked about the humbleness of his father during his prayer, saying: “When ‘Ali b. al-Husayn stood to perform his ritual prayers, he was like the trunk of a tree. Nothing of him moved except that which the wind moved.(2)

Aban b. Taghlub related to Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, the prayer of his grandfather, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, saying: “When ‘Ali b. al-Husayn stood to perform the ritual prayers, his skin would turn yellow.” Hence Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, admired his grandfather and said: “By Allah, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn knew Him before Whom he stood.(3)” Yes, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin completely knew the mightiness of the

p: 206


1- Ibid., p. 108.
2- Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 685.
3- Tahdhib al-Ahkam, vol. 2, p. 286. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 79.

Wise Creator, Hence he worshipped Him due to knowledge and obeyed Him because of faith.

Among the aspects of his humbleness during his prayer was that when he prostrated, he did not raise his head until he oozed sweat(1) as if he sank in water, for he wept abundantly.(2) The narrators reported on the authority of Abu’ Hamza al-Thumali, who said: “I saw the Imam praying and his clock falling off one of his shoulders. He did not set it right, Hence I asked him, and he answered me: ‘Woe unto you! Didn’t you know before Whom I had been? (Allah) does not accept the servant’s prayer unless his heart clings to Him.(3)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin clung to Allah to the extent that one of his sons fell into a well, and the people of Medina hurried to him and saved him from the well, while the Imam was standing in prayer in his mihrab and did not know that. When he had finished his prayer, he was told about that, and he said: “I did not feel that, for I was whispering to the Almighty Lord.(4)

A fire occurred in the Imam’s house, but he paid no attention to the fire, for he was busy praying. When he had finished his prayer, he was asked about that, and he replied: “The greatest fire (in the hereafter) distracted me from this fire!(5)” ‘Abd al-Karim al-Qushayri explained this wonderful aspect, which accompanied the Imam during his prayer, saying: “The heart sometimes becomes heedless of

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1- Tahdhib al-Ahkam, vol. 2, p. 286. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 79.
2- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 108.
3- ‘Ilal al-Sharai‘, p. 88. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 61. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 688.
4- Akhbar al-Diwal, p. 110. 3. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 99.
5- Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 52. Al-Muntazam, vol. 6, p. 141. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 325. Siyar ‘Alam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 238.

knowing the affairs of creatures, for it is busy pondering that which comes to it. It becomes inattentive of feeling itself or other than it when it remembers a reward or a punishment.(1)

A one thousand Ruk‘a Prayer

The biographers unanimously agreed that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, prayed one thousand Ruk‘as by day and night(2), and that he had five hundred date-palms, Hence he said two ruk‘as by each date-palm.(3) As he prayed abundantly, he had calluses like those of the camel on the places of his prostration. Some calluses fell off every year, and he put them into a bag. When he passed away, they were buried with him.(4)

His Performing the Superfluous Prayer (nawafil)

No superfluous prayer escaped the Imam throughout his life. He performed at night the prayers that escaped him by day. He advised his children to perform such prayers and said to them: “My children, these (prayers) are not obligatory for you, but I want you to habituate yourselves to them.(5)

His Abundant Prostration (in prayer)

The servant is close to his Lord when he is in the state of prostration, as it is in the tradition. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, prostrated himself abundantly for his Lord to show submission to Him and lowliness before Him. The narrators said: “One day, he (Zayn al-‘Abidin) went to the desert, and a retainer of his followed him. The retainer found him prostrating on a coarse stone and heard him saying one thousand times: There is no god but Allah in all certainty! There is no god but Allah in worship

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1- Al-Risala al-Qushayriya, vol. 1, p. 214.
2- Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, p. 306. Nu`r al-Abbsar, p. 136. Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 49. Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, vol. 1, p. 71. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 141. Al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 188. Akhbar al-Diwal, p. 110. Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p. 151. Al-Sirat al-Sawi, p. 193. Iqamat al-Hujja, p. 171. Al-‘Ibar fi Khabar men Ghabar, vol. 1, p. 111. Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 9, p. 355. Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 45. Al-Muntazam, vol. 6, p. 143. Al-Dhahabi, Tarikh al-Islam. Al-Kawakib al-Durriya, vol. 2, p. 131. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p. 105.
3- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 61. Al-Khisal, p. 487.
4- Al-Khisal, p. 487.
5- Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 53.

and slavery! There is no god but Allah in faith and truth!(1)” He performed the prostration of thanks and said during it one hundred times: “Praise belongs to Allah, thanks (be to Allah) !” After that he said: “O Possessor of favor which never ceases, and which none other than Him can count! O Possessor of kindness which never comes to an end! O Generous! O Generous!” Then he prayed humbly (to Allah) and mentioned his need.(2)

His Abundant Glorification

The Imam was always busy mentioning, glorifying, and praising Allah. He glorified Allah with these brilliant words: “Glory be to Him whose light illumines every darkness. Glory be to Him Who predetermines every power through His power. Glory be to Him Who has concealed Himself from the servants through the ways of their souls, Hence there is nothing to conceal Him. Glory and praise belong to Allah.(3)

His Performing the Night Prayer frequently

Among the superfluous prayers (nawafil) which Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, performed was the night prayer. He frequently performed it during travel and at home(4) until he met the Highest Comrade (Allah).

His Supplication after the Night Prayer

When he, peace be on him, had finished the night prayer, he supplicated with this holy supplication, which is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. It is as follows:

“O Allah, O Possessor of kingdom perpetual in everlastingness, authority invincible without armies or helpers, might abiding through aeons past, years gone by, times and days elapsed! Your authority is mighty with a might that knows no

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1- Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 981.
2- Ibid., p. 1079.
3- Al-Quttb al-Rawandi, Da‘awat, p. 34.
4- Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 53. Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 2, p. 263.

bound by being first nor utmost end by being last! Your kingdom towers high with a towering before which all things fall down without reaching its term; the least of it which You have kept to Yourself is not reached by the furthest description of the descripers!

Attributes go astray in You, descriptions fall apart below You the subtlest of imaginations are bewildered by Your magnificence! Hence are You, Allah, the first in Your firstness, and Hence are You everlastingly. You do not pass away. However, I am the slave feeble in works, immense in hopes. Your tying links are outside my hand, except what is tied by Your mercy; the bounds of hopes have been cut away from me, except the pardon to which I hold fast. Little on my part is the obedience toward You upon which I count, and great against me the disobedience toward You to which I have reverted. However, pardoning Your slave will not constrain You, even if he be bad, Hence pardon me!”

This paragraph of his supplication contains glorifying Allah, professing belief in His unity, and mentioning some of His exalted attributes such as kingdom perpetual in everlastingness and authority invincible without armies or helpers, Hence attributes and descriptions are unable to depict Allah, the Most High.

Then the Imam goes on showing absolute humility, submission, and slavery to Allah, the Exalted, saying:

“O Allah, You commanded me, and I refrained, You prohibited me, and I committed. Evil thoughts tempted me to offend, and I was

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negligent. I cannot call upon daytime to witness my fasting, nor can I seek sanctuary in night because of my vigil; no sunna praises me for keeping it alive, only Your obligations, he who neglects which has perished. I cannot seek access to You through the excellence of a supererogatory work, given the many duties of Your obligations of which I have been heedless and the stations of Your bounds which I have transgressed, thereby violating sacred things and committing great sins, though You have given my safety from their disgraces as a covering. This is the station of him who is ashamed of himself before You, angry with himself, and satisfied with You. He meets You with a humble soul, a neck bent down, a back heavy with offenses, hesitating between longing for You and fear of You. You are the most worthy of those in whom he might hope, the most deserving for him to dread and fear. Hence give me, my Lord, what I hope for, make me secure against what frightens me, and act kindly toward me with the kindly act of mercy! Surely You are the most generous of those from whom are asked!”

The Imam, the monk of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, showed his humility and submission before Allah. He thought that all his good deeds such as spending night in prayer, day in fasting, performing all the superfluous prayer (nawafil), desirable deeds (mustahabbat), enlivening the Islamic laws,

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and other countless good deeds were insufficient for performing the rights of Allah against him. Hence which turn to Allah in repentance better than this turn? Which devotion to Him is better than this devotion? Indeed, this Imam was a unique example in the world of the pious and the righteous.

Now, let’s listen to another part of this supplication: “O Allah, since You have covered me with Your pardon and shielded me with Your bounty in the abode of annihilation and the presence of equals, grant me sanctuary from the disgraces of the Abode of Subsistence at the standing places of the Witnesses (the angels brought nigh, the messengers honored, the martyrs, the righteous) before the neighbor from whom I have hidden my evil deeds and the womb relative before whom I feel ashamed in my secret thoughts! I trust them not, my Lord, to cover me over, but I trust You, my Lord, to forgive me!

“O Allah, Your knowledge watches over hidden works, every covered thing is exposed before Your awareness, the intricacies of things are not concealed from You, and unseen mysteries slip not away from You. But over me Your enemy has gained mastery: He asked a delay from You to lead me astray, and You gave him the delay! He asked a respite from You until the Day of Doom to misguide me, and You gave him the respite! Hence he threw me down, though I had fled to You from small, ruinous and great, deadly

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works, until, when I had yielded to disobeying You and merited Your anger through my bad efforts, he turned the bridle of his treachery away from me, met me with the word of his ingratitude, undertook to be quit of me, turned his back to flee from me, threw me to the desert of Your wrath alone, and sent me as an outcast into the courtyard of Your vengeance. There is no intercessor to intercede for me with You, no protector to make me feel secure against You, no fortress to veil me from You, no shelter in which to seek asylum apart from You! This is the station of him who takes refuge with You, the place of the confessor to You: Let not Your bounty be too narrow for me, let not Your pardon fall short of me! Let me not be the most disappointed of Your repentant servants, nor the most despairing of those who come to You with expectations! Forgive me, surely You are the best of the forgivers!”

In these paragraphs the Imam, peace be on him, talks about the weakness of man’s soul before desires and its inability to resist stoned Satan, who employs it through wicked inclinations such as greediness and haughtiness. Satan controls man’s feelings and sentiments, employs him in the fields of sins and offenses, and drives him away from seeking nearness to Allah.

The Imam continued supplicating: “I trust them not, my Lord, to cover me over(1), but I trust You my

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1- He, peace be on him, meant that he did not trust those whom he knew, for they disclosed the secret when they knew it.

Lord, to forgive me! You are the most worthy of those in whom confidence is had, the most giving of those who are besought, and the most clement of those from whom mercy is asked.”

In this paragraph the Imam, peace be on him, expresses his great confidence in Allah and his hope in Allah’s forgiveness and favors. He asks Allah to forgive him and to be pleased with him in the hereafter. He, peace be on him, mentions that Allah covers over His disobedient servants. Moreover, he asks Allah to grant him sanctuary from the disgraces of the Abode of Subsistence at the standing places of the Witnesses, the angels brought nigh, the messengers honored, the martyrs, and the righteous. In this manner, he, peace be on him, urges the disobedient to turn to Allah in repentance and to do good deeds, that they may attain Allah’s good pleasure and mercy, which embraces all things. Now, let’s return to consider another part of this holy supplication:

“O Allah, You caused me to descend as mean water from loins of narrow bones and tight passages into a constricted womb which You had covered with veils; You turned me about from state to state until You took me to the completion of the form and fixed within me the bodily parts, as You have described in Your Book(1): a drop, then a clot, then a tissue, then bones, then You garmented the bones with flesh, then You produced me as another creature as

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1- He, peace be on him, referred to the holy verse: “And certainly We created man of an extract of clay, then We made him a small life-germ in a firm resting-place, then We made the life-germ a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made (in) the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation, Hence blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.”

You willed. Then, when I needed Your provision, and could not do without the aid of Your bounty, You appointed for me a nourishment from the bounty of the food and drink which You bestowed upon Your handmaid in whose belly You gave me to rest and in lodging of whose womb You deposited me. Had You entrusted me in those states, my Lord, to my own force, or driven me to have recourse to my own strength, force would have removed from me and strength taken far away. Hence You have fed me through Your bounty with the food of the Good, the Gentle; You have done that for me in graciousness toward me up to this present point. I do not lack Your goodness, nor does Your benefaction keep me waiting. Yet with all that, my trust has not become firm enough that I might free myself for that which is more favored by You. Satan has taken possession of my reins through my distrust and frail certainty. I complain of his evil neighborhood with me and my soul’s obedience toward him! I ask You to preserve me against his domination, and I plead with You to turn his trickery away from me! I ask You to make the path to my provision easy, since to You belongs praise for Your beginning with immense favors and Your inspiring gratitude for beneficence and bestowing favor! Bless Muhammad and his Household, and make the way to my provision easy for

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me! (I ask You) to make me content with your ordainment for me, to make me satisfied with me lot in that which You have apportioned for me and to place what has gone of my body and my life-span into the path of Your obedience! Surely You are the Best of providers!”

In this paragraph there are some reliable proofs of the existence of the Great Creator. They are as follows: Allah, the Most High, created man from mean water, put him into a narrow womb, turned him from state to state until he took him to the completion of the form. Man is the greatest creature of Allah. He has wonderful organs such as brain, eye, ear, and they all indicate the existence of the Wise Creator. The Imam, peace be on him, derived his views from the Holy Qur’an, which talked in detail about the creation of man. It is worth mentioning that the Qur’an has accurately showed how the embryo is formed, Hence it supplies man with this wonderful reality. Sayyid Qutub said: “Man stands astonished before the reality which the Qur’an has displayed concerning the form of fetus. (This reality) was discovered when embryology developed. This is because the cells of bones are different from those of flesh. It has been established that the cells of bones are formed in embryo before those of flesh. None of the cells of flesh is seen unless those of bones appear, and the skeleton of fetus is complete. The

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Qur’anic text has mentioned this reality.(1)

Anyhow, when the Imam, peace be on him, had mentioned the greatest blessings of Allah, he asked Allah to save him from the trickery and delusions of Satan, who is the first enemy of man. Now, let’s read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:

“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the Fire through which You are harsh toward him who disobeys You and by which You have threatened him who turns away from Your good pleasure; from the Fire whose light is darkness, whose ease is pain, and whose far is near; from the Fire parts of which devour parts and parts of which leap upon parts; from the Fire which leaves bones decayed and lets its people drink boiling water; from the Fire which does not spare him who pleads to it, has no mercy on him who seeks sympathy from it, and has no power to relieve him who humbles himself before it and yields himself to it; it meets its inhabitants with the hottest that it possesses: painful punishment and intense noxiousness. I seek refuge in You from its gaping-jawed scorpions, its scraping-toothed serpents and its drinks, which tear apart the intestines and hearts of its inhabitants and root out their marrows. I ask guidance from You to that which will keep far from it and make it retreat!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, grant me sanctuary from it through the bounty of Your mercy, release me from my

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1- Fi Zilal al-Qur’an, vol. 17, p. 16.

stumbles through Your good releasing, and abandon me not, O Best of the sanctuary-granters. O Allah, You protect from the disliked, give the good, do what You will, and You are powerful over everything.

“ O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household when the pious are mentioned and bless Muhammad and his Household as long as night and day come and go with a blessing whose replenishment is never cut off and whose number cannot be counted, a blessing that will fill up the air and crowd the earth and the heaven! Allah bless him until he is well pleased and Allah bless him and his Household after good pleasure with a blessing that has neither bound nor utmost limit! O Most Merciful of the merciful!(1)

These paragraphs contain fearful descriptions of the Fire of Hell, which Allah has prepared for the sinful and tyrannical ones from among his creatures, who spread oppression and corruption in the earth, Hence they will suffer various kinds of indescribable terrible torture in the Fire of Hell, may Allah protect us from it.

With this we will end our talk about this holy supplication, which the Imam used to recite after the night prayer, and which is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.

His Frailty and Weakness

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Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, became frail because of his many prayers, for worship strained him very much, and he was Hence weak that the wind would bend (his body) to left and

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 32.

right like an ear of corn.(1) This is because he had no power to stand. His son ‘Abd Allah reported: “My father used to pray at night. When he had finished (praying), he crept to his bed.(2)” This means that he had no power to stand because of tiredness, weakness and faintness.

His family and those who loved him felt pity for him because of the intense weakness resulted from his many prayers. They feared that he would die, Hence they talked with him about that, but he refused to answer them, and he went on performing his prayers until he met his fathers. The following is some of those who talked with him:

1. One of his Sons

One of his sons feared for his safety, Hence he asked him with regret and fear: “Father, how long will you continue (praying)?”

The Imam answered him with kindness and affection: “Do you make me love my Lord?(3)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, loved his Lord and drew near to Him through all ways. There is no one in the world of the pious and the righteous like him in turning to Allah in repentance and intense clinging to Him.

2. Jabir al-Ansari

The great companion (of the Prophet), Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, felt pity for the Imam, peace be on him, and asked him to reduce his prayers and not to strain himself. Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him, reported his tradition, saying: [When Fatima, daughter of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, saw that her nephew,

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1- Al-Mufeed, al-Irshad, p. 272. Roudat al-Wa‘izin, vol. 1, p. 237.
2- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 99.
3- Ibid., p. 91.

‘Ali b. al-Husayn, strained himself with prayer, she went to Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari and said to him:]

“O Companion of Allah’s Apostle, we have rights against you. Among our rights against you is that when you see one of us strain himself (with prayer), you must remind him of Allah and to ask him to spare his life. This is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, the surviving one of his father al-Husayn, has carried out in worship (to the extent that) his nose has been squashed; his forehead has been bruised; his legs and feet have been swollen.”

Hence Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari went to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and found him in his mihrab exerted by worship and obedience (to Allah). When the Imam saw Jabir, he received him and sat him beside him and asked him very much about his conditions, Hence Jabir turned to him and said to him: “O Son of Allah’s Apostle, didn’t you know that Allah has created Heaven for you and for those who love you, and He has created the Fire for those who hate you and show enmity toward you, Hence why have you strained yourself (in worship)?”

The Imam kindly and gently answered him: “O Companion of Allah’s Apostle, didn’t you know that Allah forgave my grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, his previous and next sins? Yet, he did not leave exertion (in worship), may my father and mother be ransom for him, to

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the extent that his legs and feet were swollen, Hence he was asked: ‘Do you do this, while Allah has forgiven you your previous and next sins?’ Hence he replied: ‘Shall I not be a grateful servant?’”

When Jabir knew that it was difficult for him to convince the Imam to leave exertion in worship, he said to him: “O Son of Allah’s Apostle, spare your life, for you are from among the family through whom tribulation is driven away, through whom cures are discovered, and through whom the sky is asked to rain.”

The Imam answered him with a faint voice: “I will continue the method of my fathers until I meet them.”

Hence Jabir admired the Imam, turned to those who around him, and said to them: “None of the sons of the prophets was like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn except Yousif b. Ya‘qu’b. By Allah, the progeny of al-Husayn is better than the progeny of Yousif b. Ya‘qu’b. Surely one of them will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny.(1)

Yes, by Allah, no one of the sons of the prophets was like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in piety, Allah-fearingness, and all other ideals that raised him to the zenith which the great figures from among his fathers reached. Jabir declared that the progeny of al-Husayn was better than the progeny of Yousif b. Ya‘qu’b, for among them is the great reformer, the Qa’im of the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his

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1- Ibn Shahrashu`b, al-Manaqib. Hayat al-Imam Mohammed al-Baqir.

family, of whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, gave good news, and who will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, that will occur during the days of his government and authority.

‘Abd al-Malik

‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan was among those who pitied for Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. That was when the Imam went to him to intercede with him for some Muslims whom the authority had arrested. When ‘Abd al-Malik saw him, he admired the marks of prostration between his eyes, Hence he said to him: “The exertion (in worship) has appeared on your face, while Allah has already promised you good, you are part of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, your lineage is close (to him), your relation (with him) is certain, you are the most meritorious of the family of your House and the people of your time, you have been given merits, knowledge, religion, piety of which none before or after you has been given.”

‘Abd al-Malik flattered the Imam, reminded him of his merits and laudable deeds. When he ended his talk, the Imam said to him: “All what you have mentioned is attained through the bounty, support, and success of Allah, the Glorified. Hence where is our gratefulness to Him for what He has bestowed (upon us)? Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, stood in pray to the extent that his feet were swollen and became

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thirsty during fast to the extent that his mouth became dried, Hence he was asked: ‘O Allah’s Apostle, didn’t Allah forgive you your past and next sins?’ Hence he, may Allah bless him and his family, replied: ‘Shall I not be a grateful servant?’

“Praise belongs to Allah for what He has rendered and tested, and praise belongs to Him for here and the hereafter. By Allah, even if my limbs are severed, and my tears flow onto my chest, I will be unable to give thanks to Allah, the Great and Almighty, for the tenth of the tenth of one blessing of all His blessings which calculators cannot count, and no one can attain a blessing of them through all the praise of the praisers. No, by Allah, doesn’t Allah see that nothing distract me from thanking Him and remembering Him by day and night, secretly and openly? Were it not for that my family had right against me, and that people in private and in general had rights against me, I would look at the sky with my eye and at Allah with my heart, and then I would not prevent them (from that), until Allah made me die, and He is the Best of judges.”

The Imam bitterly wept. His words and his painful sight had a great effect on ‘Abd al-Malik, the tyrannical caliph, who said with admiration: “There is a great difference between a servant who seeks the hereafter and a servant who seeks this world.”

Then ‘Abd

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al-Malik yielded to the Imam and released the persons for whom he interceded.(1)

These are some of those who felt pitied for the Imam because of his many prayers and abundant worship and asked him frequently to decrease them and to have a rest, but the Imam did not respond them for that, for he found in prayers a unique, psychological rest.

His Fast

The Imam spent most his lifetime fasting. When his slave-girl was asked about his worship, she said: “I never brought him food by day.” He loved fast and urged (people) to fast. Hence he said: “Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, entrusted the fasting to His angels.(2)” He, peace be on him, did not break his fast except on the day of the two ‘Īds and other than them when he had an excuse. We will talk briefly about some of his affairs in the blessed month of Ramadhan, which is the month of Allah and of obedience (to Him).

In the Month of Ramadhan

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The Imam had special affairs in the blessed month of Ramadhan. In it he did all things that drew him near to Allah. The narrators said: “He did all kinds of charity and good. He never said any word except saying: ‘Glory belongs to Allah, I ask Allah’s forgiveness, and Allah is Great.’ When he broke his fast, he said: ‘O Allah, if You will do, You do.’(3)

His Supplication for seeing the Crescent of the Month Ramadhan

He, peace be on him, received the month of Ramadhan with eagerness and desire, for it is the spring of the obedient. When he saw

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1- AL-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 65.
2- Al-Rawandi, Da‘awat, p. 4.
3- Furu`‘ al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 88.

its crescent, he supplicated with this holy supplication, which represents the spirituality of Islam and the guidance of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. This supplication is as follows:

“Praise belongs to Allah Who guided us to His praise and placed us among the people of his praise, that we might be among the thankful for His beneficence and that He might recompense us for that with the recompense of the good-doers! And praise belongs to Allah Who showed favor to us through His religion, singled us out for His creed, and directed us onto the roads of His beneficence, in order that through His kindness we might travel upon them to His good pleasure, a praise which He will accept from us and through which He will be pleased with us! And praise belongs to Allah Who appointed among those roads His month, the month of Ramadhan, the month of fasting, the month of submission, the month of purity(1), the month of putting to test, the month of standing in prayer, in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance to the people, and as clear signs of the Guidance and the Separator!

He clarified its excellence over other months by the many sacred things and well-known excellencies which He placed therein, for He made unlawful in it what He declared lawful in others to magnify it, He prohibited foods and drinks in it to honor it, and He appointed for it a clear time

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1- By the month of purity he, peace be on him, meant that the fasting one is pure from sins in this blessed month.

which He (majestic and mighty is He) allows not to be set forward and accepts not to be placed behind. Then He made one of its nights surpass the nights of a thousand months and named it the Night of Decree; in it the angels and the Spirit descend by the leave of their Lord upon every command, a peace constant in blessings until the rising of the dawn upon whomever He will of His servants according to the decision He has made firm.”‘

These brilliant words contain magnifying and honoring the month of Ramadhan and depicting it with the best qualities of which is the following:

1. It is the month of Islam, Hence whoever fasts in it enters the frame of Islam; whoever does not fast in it with knowledge and deliberation does not belong to Islam.

2. It is the month of purity, for therein is the purity of the soul from sins and offenses.

3. It is the month of test; in it the Muslims are tested; in it the obedient are distinguished from the disobedient.

4. It is the month of standing in prayer; this month is the spring of the obedient and the good, for they spend its nights in worship and obedience to Allah.

5. Among the characteristics of this month is that the Holy Qur’an was sent down in it, for It was sent down on the Night of Decree, which is the greatest of all its nights, and in which the angels and the Spirit descend by

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the leave of their Lord upon every command, a peace until the rising of the dawn.

6. Among the characteristics of this holy month is that Allah, the Most High, makes it prohibited for the fasting to have foods and drinks to magnify and honor it. Now, let’s listen to another part of this supplication:

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, inspire us with knowledge of its excellence, veneration of its inviolability, and caution against what You have forbidden within it, and help us to fast in it by our restraining our limbs from acts of disobedience toward You and our employing them in that which pleases You, Hence that we lend not our ears to idle talk and hurry not with our eyes to diversion, we stretch not our hands toward the forbidden and stride not with our feet toward the prohibited, our bellies hold only what You have made lawful and our tongues speak only what You have exemplified, we undertake nothing but what brings close to Your reward and pursue nothing but what protects from Your punishment! Then rid all of that from the false show of the false showers and the fame seeking of the fame seekers, lest we associate therein anything with You or seek therein any object of desire but You!”

The Imam, peace be on him, presented the precepts which the fasting should follow in this great month. They are as follows: The fasting should restrain their limbs from what Allah has made unlawful, such

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as holding back their tongues from lying, backbiting, and slander; holding back their ears from idle talk and falsehood; preventing their hands from theft, aggression against people, and the prohibited. He, peace be on him, also mentioned that the fasting should do good to please Allah, and that their acts should be free from hypocrisy and seeking fame among people, for such acts lead to nothing except the punishment of Allah. After this, let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, in it make us attend to the appointed moments of the five prayers within the bounds You have set, the obligations You have decreed, the duties You have assigned, and the times You have specified; and in the prayers make us alight in the station of the keepers of their stations, the guardians of their pillars, their performers in their times, as Your servant and Your messenger set down in his Sunna (Your blessings be upon him and his Household) in their bowings, their prostrations, and all their excellent acts, with the most complete and ample ritual purity and the most evident and intense humility! Give us success in this month to tighten our bonds of kin with devotion and gifts, attend to our neighbors with bestowal and giving, rid our possessions from claims, purify them through paying the alms, go back to him who has gone far from us, treat justly him who has wronged us, make peace with him who

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shows enmity toward us (except him who is regarded as an enemy in You and for You, for he is the enemy whom we will not befriend, the party whom we will not hold dear), and seek nearness to You through blameless works which will purify us from sins and preserve us from renewing faults, Hence that none of Your angels will bring for You the kinds of obedience and sorts of nearness-seeking unless they be less than what we bring!”

This paragraph presents important affairs which the fasting should follow:

1. They should attend to the appointed moments of the five prayers, which are the pillar of the religion, within the bounds Allah has set, accompanied by what the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, practiced such as manners, invocations of Allah in their bowing and prostration; rather in all their affairs. In other word they should perform the five prayers in complete manners such as humility and submission to Allah, the Exalted, only.

2. They should tighten their bonds of kin with devotion and gifts, for this is one the best acts of obedience to Allah.

3. They should attend to their neighbors with bestowal and giving.

4. They should purify their possessions through paying Kums (one-fifth) and Zakat (the alms), which are obligatory.

5. They should go back to him who has gone far from them, from among their friends and brothers.

6. They should treat justly him who has wronged them and should not aggress against him with word or

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action, for this is among the noble moral traits.

7. They should make peace with him who shows enmity toward them (except him who is regarded as an enemy in Allah and for Him, for he is the enemy whom they will not befriend, the party whom they will not hold dear.

8. They should seek nearness to Allah through blameless works which are certainly desirable in the blessed month of Ramadhan.

After this, let’s listen to the last paragraphs of this holy supplication:

“O Allah, I ask You by the right of this month and by the right of him who worships You within it from its beginning to the time of its passing, whether angel You have brought nigh to You, prophet You have sent, or righteous servant You have singled out, that You bless Muhammad and his Household, make us worthy of the generosity You have promised Your friends, make incumbent for us what You have made incumbent for those who go to great lengths in obeying You, and place us in the ranks of those who deserve through Your mercy the highest elevation!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, turn us aside from deviation in professing Your Unity, falling short in magnifying You, in Your religion, blindness toward Your path, heedlessness of Your inviolability, and being deceived by Your enemy, the accursed Satan!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and when in every night of this month’s nights You have necks which Your pardon will release and Your forgiveness disregard,

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place our necks among those necks and place us among the best folk and companions of this our month!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, efface our sins along with the effacing of its crescent moon, and make us pass forth from the ill effects of our acts with the passing of its days, until it leaves us behind, while within it You have purified us of offenses and rid us of evil deeds!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and should we go off to one side in this month, set us aright; should we swerve, point us straight; and should Your enemy Satan enwrap us, rescue us from him!

“O Allah, fill this month with our worship of You, adorn its time with our obedience toward You, help us during its daytime with its fast, and in its night with prayer and pleading toward You, humility toward You, and lowliness before You, Hence that its daytime may not bear witness against our heedlessness, nor its night against our neglect!

“O Allah, make us like this in the other months and days as long as You give us life, and place us among Your righteous servants, those who shall inherit Paradise, therein dwelling forever, those who are given what they give, while their hearts quake, that they are returning to their Lord, those who vie in good works, outracing to them!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household in every time, in all moments, and in every state, to the number that

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You have blessed whomever You have blessed and to multiples of all that, through multiples which none can count but You! Surely You are Accomplisher of what You desire.(1)

Indeed, the supplications of the Imam are a school for religious awareness, for they are full of faith in Allah and sincerity to Him. These brilliant paragraphs of his supplication contain the following:

He asked Allah by the right of the month of Ramadhan and by the right of him who worshipped within it from among His righteous servants:

1. To place him among those who were worthy of the high position with Him.

2. To make his good deeds for the pleasure of Him, the Exalted; to make them free from hypocrisy and others which corrupt works.

3. To turn him aside from doubt and corrupt imaginations in the affairs of the religion.

4. To help him not to follow a way other than the way He has made lawful and to help him not to be heedless of the things He has made unlawful.

5. To help him not to follow the way of the accursed Satan.

6. To do him a favor through placing him among those whom He released in this great month.

7. To grant him a success in this month to worship Him and to show obedience, pleading, humility, and lowliness toward Him, the Exalted.

These are some important matters which these words of his supplication contain.

His good Acts in the Month of Ramadhan

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He, peace be on him, did many good acts in the Month of Ramadhan. The following is some of

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 44.

them:

A. Giving Food

Islam urges (Muslims) to give food to the fasting and makes it desirable for them. Every day in the Month of Ramadhan, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin ordered a sheep to be slaughtered and cooked. When the food was ready, he said: “Bring the bowls.” He ordered the food to be divided among the poor, the widows, and the orphans to the extent that there was nothing left for him, Hence he broke his fast with bread and dates.(1)

B. His Freeing Salves

Among his good deeds in the blessed month of Ramadhan was that he freed many of his slaves. It is worth mentioning that he respected his slaves, treated them as he treated his children, and forgave them when they misbehaved toward him. The narrators said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn did not punish a female slave nor did he punish a male salve when they committed a sin; rather he recorded the day when they committed sins. When the month of Ramadhan was about to end, he gathered them and brought the book where he had written their sins and said to them: Raise your voices and say: O ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, your Lord has counted against you all what you have done, as you have counted against us all what we have done. He has a book which speaks the truth and does not leave a small one nor a great one of what you have done, but numbers them all, and you will find present with Him all what you had done, as we

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1- Al-Mahasin, p. 396. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 72.

have found present with you all what we had done.

Hence pardon and forgive (us), as you want the most powerful King (Allah) to pardon and forgive you. Hence forgive us, and He will forgive you and have mercy on you, and Your Lord never wrongs anyone. As you have a book which speaks the truth against us and does not leave a small one nor a great one, but numbers them all against us, Hence ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, remember the abasement of your standing place before your Lord, the Just King, Who does not wrong (anyone) to the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and Allah is sufficient to take account and to be a witness. Hence pardon and forgive (us), and the most Powerful King will pardon and forgive you, for He says: They should pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? (1)

He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) dictated to them these words which represent his absolute devotion and clinging to Allah. He stood, wept and said: “Our Lord, You have commanded us to pardon him who wrongs us. We have pardoned him who has wronged us, as You have commanded, Hence pardon us, for You are worthier of that than us and the commanded ones. You have commanded us not to dismiss any beggar from our doors. Now, we have come to You as beggars and miserable. We have sat at Your courtyard and Your door seeking bounty and favor and giving, Hence

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1- Qur’an, 24, 22.

do us a favor through it and disappoint us not, for You are more worthier of that than us and the commanded ones.

“My Lord, I have entertained (Your servants), Hence entertain me if I am of Your beggars. I have done (Your servants) a lot of good, Hence place me among the people of Your giving, O Generous!”

Then he turned his holy face, which became wet with the tears of his eyes, to his slaves and said to them with kindness and affection:

“I have forgiven you! Have you forgiven me my evil (acts)? I am full of evil, meanness, and oppression! I am the slave of the One Who is Powerful, Generous, Just, Beneficent, and Good-doer!”

What an angelic this soul is! Indeed, it represented the spirituality, beauties, qualities, and morals of the prophets!

The slaves interrupted him, saying: “We have pardoned you, O Our master!”

Hence he said to them: “Say: O Allah, pardon ‘Ali b. al-Husayn as he has pardoned us! Release him from the Fire, as he has released our necks from slavery!”

They said that, and he said after them: “Amen, O Allah, Lord of the world’s inhabitants! Go, surely I have pardoned you and released your necks, asking (Allah) to pardon me and release my neck!” When the day of ‘Īd al-Fitr came, he gave them excellent gifts to make them in no need of what was in the people’s hands.(1)

In the world of the pious there is no person like Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, in

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1- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, pp. 103-104.

piety, loyalty, and obedience to Allah, for he filled his holy heart with faith and knowledge of Allah.

Anyhow, in the month of Ramadhan, the Imam, peace be on him, did a lot of good to the weak, entertained the miserable refreshed the deprived, freed slaves, and other good deeds that brought him near to Allah.

His Supplication in the Early Morning

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, whispered to his Lord and prayed Him humbly and sincerely on every night in the Month of Ramadhan with this great supplication, which is better known as the Supplication of Abi Hamza al-Thumali, for it was he who reported it on the Imam’s authority. The supplication is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. It represents the absolute return and devotion to Allah. It contains exhortations that prevent the soul from clinging to haughtiness and desires and, in addition, it is distinguished by beautiful style, wonderful words, and eloquent performance. Moreover, it displays lowliness, humility, and submission to Allah, the Glorified. The other supplications do not contain such matters. We will quote some brilliant paragraphs of it, for it is well-known and widespread in supplication books

Before mentioning some paragraphs of this supplication, we’d like to say that this supplication has occupied an important position in the hearts of the good and the righteous from among the Muslims, Hence they recite it in the early morning of every night in the month of Ramadhan, to the extent that they have memorized

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it by heart. The following is some paragraphs of it:

“My Allah, educate me not with Your punishment, and scheme not against me with Your power! How can I find good, My Lord, and it cannot be found but through You? How can I find salvation, and it cannot be found but through You? Good-doers cannot do without Your help and Your mercy, nor can evil-doers! Those who misbehave before You, show audaciousness toward and, do not make You Pleased are unable to dissent from Your power! O my Lord, through You I have recognized You. It was You who guided me to Yourself and summoned me to Yourself! Were it not for You, I would not know what You were.”

Have you noticed how the Monk of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, whispered to his Lord, pleaded to Him, and argued with Him in this manner full of faith and knowledge? Let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication: “O Lover of him who loves You, O Delight of the eye of him who seeks refuge in You and devotes himself to You! You are the Benefactor, and we are the evil-doers! Hence, my Lord, forgive us our ugly acts through the beautiful things You have! Which ignorance, my Lord, Your magnificence does not embrace? Which time is longer than Your slowness? What is the worth of our deeds in comparison with Your favors? How can we regard our works as may and compare

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them to Your generosity? How do the sinners regard Your ample mercy as narrow? O All-forgiving! O All-merciful! Hence, by Your might, if You rebuked me, I would not leave Your door, nor would I refrain from praising You because I have knowledge of Your magnificence and generosity!”

In this manner the Imam, peace be on him, continued praising and pleading to the Great Creator, asking Him for forgiveness and good pleasure. Listen how he whispers to Him:

“O Allah, whenever I say: I have prepared myself, worn the cloak, stood in prayer before You, and whispered to You, You make me sleepy when I pray, and deprive me of whispering to You when I whisper (to You) ! Why whenever I say: I have set right my inner self and my assembly has come close to the assembly of the repenters, a tribulation befalls me, slip my foot, and prevents me from serving You? My Master, You may have dismissed me from Your door and put me aside from serving You, or You may have seen me disdaining Your Sacredness, Hence You have removed me, or You may have seen me turning back on You, Hence You have detested me, or You may have found me in the standing place of the liars, Hence You have rejected me, or You may have seen that I am ungrateful (to You) for Your favors, Hence You have deprived me (of them), or You may have missed me among the assemblies, Hence You have

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deserted me, or You may have seen me among the heedless, Hence You have disappointed me of Your mercy, or You may have seen that I get along with the assemblies of the unemployed, Hence You have placed me among them, or You may do not like listening to my supplication, Hence You have driven me away from You, or You may have punished me because of my sin and crime, or You may have punished me on account of my little modesty! Hence if You pardon (me), my Lord, You have often pardoned those sinners before me, for Your generosity, my Lord, is far above punishing the neglectful!”

The Imam, peace be on him, presented those affairs which prevent man from clinging to Allah during his prayers and whispered prayers. The following is some of them:

1. Disdaining Allah’s rights, that is when man makes little of them.

2. Turning away from Allah.

3. Telling lies which is the junction of vices and grave sins.

4. Ungratefulness for graces which Allah bestows upon His servant.

5. Turning away from sitting with the true religious scholars who remind men of the hereafter and urge them to do good deeds.

6. Forgetting the remembrance of Allah and of death lead man to misery and ruin.

7. Sitting with the unemployed who spend their times in playing and lose their life spans in trivial affairs, Hence sitting with them leads to turning away from Allah.

These are some affairs which send man far from Allah and turn him away from doing

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good, may Allah protect us from them. Now, let’s listen to another paragraph of this supplication: “O My Allah and my Master! If You demanded my sins, I would demand Your pardon! If You demanded my meanness, I would demand Your generosity! If You made me enter the Fire, I would tell the people of the Fire about my love for You! O My Allah and my Master! If You forgive only Your friends and those who obey You, then to whom shall the sinners go? If You show generosity only to those who are sincere to You, then whom the evildoers seek for help! My Allah! If You made me enter the Fire, then Your enemy (the accursed Satan) would be pleased with this! If You made me enter the Garden, then this would please Your Prophet! I, by Allah, know that the pleasure of Your Prophet is more lovable for You than that of Your enemy!(1)

The Master of the pious and Imam of the knowers (Zayn al-‘Abidin), peace be on him, asked the sympathy of the Great Creator, whose mercy embraces all things. He asked Him to pardon His disobedient servants and to show good pleasure toward them, for His munificence is not confined to the believers and the obedient. With these little paragraphs we will end our speech about the supplication of the Imam in the early morning of the blessed month of Ramadhan.

His Supplication in Bidding Farewell to the Month of Ramadhan

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Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, felt pain when the days of the

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1- Al-Tu`si, al-Misbah. Al-Kaf‘ami, al-Misbah.

Month of Ramadhan came to an end, for this month is the spring of the obedient, and he used to recite this great supplication:

“O Allah, O He who desires no repayment! O He who shows no remorse at bestowal! O He who rewards not His servant tit for tat! Your kindness is a new beginning, Your pardon gratuitous bounty, Your punishment justice, Your decree a choice for the best! If You bestow, You stain not Your bestowal with obligation, and if you withhold, You withhold not in transgression. You show gratitude to him who thanks You while You have inspired him to thank You. You reward him who praises You while though You have taught him Your praise. You cover him whom, if You willed, You would expose, and You are generous toward him from whom, if You willed, You would withhold. Both are worth of Your exposure and with holding, but You have founded Your acts upon gratuitous bounty, channeled Your power into forbearance, received him who disobeyed You with clemency, and disregarded him who intended wrongdoing against himself. You await their turning back without haste and refrain from rushing them toward repentance, Hence that the perisher among them may not perish because of You and the wretched may not wretched through Your favor, but only after Your prolonged excusing him and successive arguments against him, as an act of generosity through Your pardon, O Generous, and an act of kindliness through Your tenderness, O Clement!”

It is necessary for

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us to considered carefully this brilliant paragraph of the supplication of the Imam, peace be on him. It contains the following:

1. The Generosity of Allah

As for the generosity and munificence of Allah, toward servants, as the Imam mentioned it, it is distinguished by the following:

A. Allah, the Most High, bestows on His creatures while He does not desire any repayment, for He, the Exalted, is in no need of His servants, who are in need of Him.

B. When He, the Exalted, bestows a grace upon a servant, He does not show any remorse at his bestowal, as the creatures show remorse at their bestowals when they get no benefit from them.

C. Allah does not stain his bestowal with obligation, for He, the Most High, bestows gratuitously.

D. It is He, the Exalted, who starts His servants with kindness and generosity.

2. The Pardon and Punishment of Allah

As for the pardon of Allah toward the sinners is gratuitous bounty, and as for His punishment toward them is justice, for He punishes them according to their sins.

3. The Decree of Allah

As for the decree of Allah and issuing the acts from Him, they are choice for the best, and He is not forced to issue them, as some philosophers said.

4. His Gratitude to those who thank Him

Indeed, Allah, the Glorified, show gratitude to those who thank Him, that is when He increases His favors and blessings to them. He, the Most High reward those who praise Him and increases His favors and blessings to them.

5. His Covering the Servants

Among the favors of Allah for the servant is that He covers him when he commits sins. If he willed, he

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would expose him and make the people degrade him. Also among His favors for the sinner is that He is generous toward him. If He willed, He would withhold him His livelihood and make him die of hunger. However, He channeled His power and will into forbearance, received those who disobeyed Him with clemency, and disregarded those who intended wrongdoing against themselves. He awaits their turning back without haste and refrain from rushing them toward repentance, Hence that the perisher among them may not perish because of Him and the wretched may not be wretched through His favor, but only after His prolonged excusing them and successive arguments against them, as an act of generosity through His pardon. Now, let’s listen to another paragraph of this holy supplication:

“It is You who have opened for Your servants a door to Your pardon, which You have named ‘repentance’. You have placed upon that door a pointer from Your revelation, lest they stray from it: You have said (blessed are Your names), Repent toward Allah with unswerving repentance! It may be that your Lord will acquit you of your evil deeds and will admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, upon the day when Allah will not degrade the Prophet and those who have faith along with him, their light running before them and on their right hands, and they say: ‘Our Lord, complete for us our light, and forgive us! Surely You are powerful over everything.’(1) What is the excuse of

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1- Qur’an, 66, 8.

him who remain heedless of entering that house after the opening of the door and the setting up of the pointer? It is You who have raised the price against Yourself to the advantage of Your servants, desiring their profit in their trade with You, their triumph through reaching You, and their increase on account of You, for You have said (blessed is Your Name and high are You exalted), those brings a good deed shall have ten the like of it, and whosoever brings an evil deed shall only be recompensed the like of it.(1) You have said, the likeness of those who expend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains; Hence Allah multiplies unto whom He wills.(2)

You have said, Who is he that will lend to Allah a good loan, and He will multiply it for him manifold(3), and You have send down in the Qur’an similar verses on the multiplying of good deeds. It is You who have pointed them through Your speech from Your unseen and Your encouragement in which lies their good fortune toward that which -had You cover it from them- their eyes would not have perceived, their ears would not have heard, and their imaginations would not have grasped, for You have said, Remember me and I will remember you, be thankful to Me and be you not thankless towards Me!(4) You have

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1- Ibid., 6, 110.
2- Ibid., 2, 261
3- Ibid., 57, 11.
4- Ibid., 2, 152.

said, If you are thankful, surely I will increase you, but if you are thankless, My chastisement is surely terrible.(1) And You have said, Supplicate Me and I will respond to you; surely those who wax too proud to worship Me shall enter Gehennam utterly abject.(2)

Hence You have named supplicating You ‘worship’ and refraining from it ‘waxing proud’, and You have threatened that the refraining from it would lead entrance into Gehannam in utter abjection. Hence they remember You for Your kindness, they thank You for Your bounty, they supplicate You by Your command, and they donate for You in order to seek Your increase; in all this lies their deliverance from Your wrath and their triumph through Your good pleasure. Were any creature himself to direct another creature to the like of that to which You Yourself have directed Your servants, he would be described by beneficence, qualified by kindness, and praised by every tongue. Hence to You belong Praise as long as there is found a way to praise You and as long as there remains for praising words by which You may be praised and meanings which may be spent in praise.

O He who shows Himself praiseworthy to His servants through beneficence and bounty, flooding them with kindness and graciousness! How much Your favor has been spread about among us, Your kindness lavished upon us, and Your goodness singled out for us! You have guided us to Your religion which You have chosen, Your creed with

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1- Ibid., 14, 7.
2- Ibid., 40, 60.

which You art pleased, and Your path which You have made smooth, and You have shown us proximity to You and arrival at Your generosity!”

In this paragraph the Imam talked about the great kindness of Allah to the disobedient from among His creatures when He opened for them the door of repentance and of asking forgiveness Hence that He may save them from ruin and misery in the next world. Repentance erases sins and save man from the awful situations provided that he should show remorse at the sins he has committed, and that he should not commit a sin again.

The Imam, peace be on him, talked about one of Allah’s favors toward His servants, that was when He (Allah) urged them to be kind to people, to do good for them, and to give alms to the poor and the weak. In the meantime He promised to reward them in the Abode of Subsistence and Perpetuity, Hence that they would be successful and happy there. Hence what ample are His blessings! What great is His bounty toward His servants!

In his speech, the Imam, peace be on him, dealt with gratitude to Allah for His graces, for such gratitude would lead to an increase in graces. He also dealt with supplication to Allah and pleading to Him, for He has named supplicating Him ‘worship’ and refraining from it ‘waxing proud’, as the Holy Qur’an has stated. After this, let’s listen to another paragraph of this supplication:

“O Allah, among the choicest

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of those duties and the most special of those obligations You have appointed the month of Ramadhan, which You have singled out from other months, chosen from among all periods and eras, and preferred over all times of the year through the Qur’an and the Light which You sent down within it, the faith which You multiplied by means of it, the fasting which You obligated therein, the standing in prayer which You encouraged at its time, and the Night of Decree which You magnified therein, the night which is better than a thousand months. Through it You have preferred us over the other communities and through its excellence You have chosen us to the exclusion of the people of the creeds. We fasted by Your command in its daylight, we stood in prayer with Your help in its night, presenting ourselves by its fasting and its standing to the mercy which You have held up before us, and we found through it the means to Your reward. And You are full of what is sought from You, munificent what is asked of Your bounty, and near to him who strives for Your nearness. This month stood among us in a standing place of praise, accompanied us with the companionship of one approved, and profited us with the most excellent profit of the world’s creatures. Then it parted from us at the completion of its time, the end of its term, and the fulfillment of its number. Hence we bid

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farewell to it with the farewell of one whose parting pains us, whose leaving fills us with gloom and loneliness, and to whom we have come to owe a safeguarded claim, an observed inviolability, and a discharged right.”

In these words, the Imam, peace be on him, praised the bounty of the blessed month of Ramadhan, which Allah singled out from other months, and endowed it with ample bounty when He obligated the fasting in it and multiplied the reward of the good deeds in it. He also singled it out with the Night of Decree, which is better than a thousand months. Through it He preferred the Muslims over the other communities Hence that they might attain the highest degrees and the most honorable position with Him. Then the Imam, peace be on him, mentioned his grief for leaving this great month when he gained rewards through doing a lot of good deeds that brought him near to Allah. Now, let’s listen to another part of this blessed month:

“Hence we say: Peace be upon you, O greatest month of Allah! O festival of His friends! Peace be upon you, O most noble of accompanying times! O best of months in days and hours! Peace be upon you, month in which expectations come near and good works are scattered about! Peace be upon you, comrade who is great in worth when found and who torments through absence when lost, anticipated friend whose parting gives pain! Peace be upon you, familiar who

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brought comfort in coming, thus making happy, who left loneliness in going, thus giving anguish! Peace be upon you, neighbor in whom hearts became tender and sins became few! Peace be upon you, helper who aided against Satan, companion who made easy the paths of good-doing! Peace be upon you-How many became freedmen of Allah within you! How happy those who observed the respect due to you! Peace be upon you-How many the sins you erased! How many the kinds of faults you covered over! Peace be upon you-How drawn out were you for the sinners! How awesome were you in the hearts of the faithful! Peace be upon you, month with which no days compete! Peace be upon you, month which is peace in all affairs! Peace be upon you, you whose companionship is not disliked, you whose friendly mixing is not blamed! Peace be upon you, just as you have entered upon us with blessings and cleansed us of the defilement of offenses! Peace be upon you. You are not bid farewell in annoyance nor is your fasting in weariness! Peace be upon you, object of seeking before your time, object of sorrow before your passing! Peace be upon you- How much evil was turned away from us through you! How much good flowed upon us because of you! Peace be upon you and upon the Night of Decree which is better than a thousand months! Peace be upon you- How much we craved you yesterday! How intensely

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we shall yearn for you tomorrow! Peace be upon you and upon the bounty which has now been made unlawful to us and upon your blessings gone by which have now been stripped away from us!”

The Imam, peace be on him, bid farewell to the blessed month of Ramadhan with these warm greetings accompanied by bitterness and sorrow for parting it, for it was a field for his good works that brought him near to Allah, the Exalted. He, peace be on him, mentioned the qualities of this great month and explained its excellencies over the other months. Now, let’s listen to another part of this great supplication:

“O Allah, we are the people of this month. Through it You have ennobled us and given us success because of Your kindness, while the wretched are ignorant of its time. Made unlawful to them is its bounty because of their wretchedness. You are the patron of the knowledge of it by which You have preferred us, and its prescribed practices to which You have guided us. We have undertaken, through Your giving success, its fasting and its standing in prayer, but with shortcomings, and we have performed little of much.

“O Allah, Hence to You belongs praise, in admission of evil doing and confession of negligence,(1) and to You belongs remorse firmly knitted in our hearts and seeking of pardon sincerely uttered by our tongues. Reward us, in spite of the neglect that befell us in this month, with a reward through which

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1- He, peace be on him, meant that he neglected this month because he did not take care of works therein.

we may reach the bounty desired from it and win the varieties of its craved stores!(1) Make incumbent upon us Your pardon for our falling short of Your right in this month and make our lives which lie before us reach the coming month of Ramadhan! Once You have made us reach it, help us perform the worship of which You are worth, cause us to undertake the obedience which You deserve, and grant us righteous works that we may fulfill Your right in these two months(2) of the months of time.

“O Allah, as for the small and large sins which we have committed in this our month, the misdeeds into which we have fallen, and the offenses which we have earned purposefully or in forgetfulness wronging ourselves thereby or violating the respect due to others, bless Muhammad and his Household, cover us over with Your covering, pardon us thorough Your pardoning, place us not before the eyes of the gloaters because of that, stretch not toward us the tongues of the defamers, and employ us in that which will alleviate and expiate whatever You disapprove from us within it through Your clemency which does not run out. O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, redress our being afflicted by our moth, bless us in this day of our festival and our fast - breaking, make it one of the best of days that have passed over us, the greatest in attracting Your pardon, and the most effacing toward sins,

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1- By the varieties of its craved stores, he meant the reward which Allah has stored for His believing servants.
2- By the these two months, he meant the past and the next months of Ramadhan.

and forgive us our sins, both the concealed and the public.”

Have you noticed this submission and humility before the Great Creator? The Imam asked Allah for pardon and forgiveness. He confessed before Him his falling short of performing worship and the acts of obedience in the blessed month of Ramadhan. This is Zayn al-‘Abidin, who is the greatest summoner to Allah! Now, let’s read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:

“O Allah, with the passing of this month, make us pass forth from our offenses, with its departure make us depart from our evil deeds, and appoint us thereby among its most felicitous people, the most plentiful of them in portion, and the fullest of them in share! O Allah, when any person observes this month as it should be observed, safeguards its inviolability as it should be safeguarded, attends to its bounds as they should be attended to, fears its misdeeds as they should be feared, or seeks nearness to You with any act of nearness-seeking which makes incumbent upon him Your good pleasure and bends toward him Your mercy, give to us the like (of that) from Your wealth and bestow it upon us in multiples through Your bounty, for Your bounty does not diminish, Your treasuries do not decrease but overflow, the mines of Your beneficence are not exhausted, and Your bestowal is the bestowal full of delight.

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and write for us the like of the wages of him who fasted

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in it or worshipped You within it until the Day of Resurrection! O Allah, we repent to You in our day of fast-breaking, which You have appointed for the faithful a festival and a joy and for the people of Your creed a time of assembly and gathering, from every misdeed we did, ill work we sent ahead, or evil thought we secretly conceived, the repentance of one who does not harbor a return to sin and who afterwards will not go back to offense, an unswerving repentance rid of doubt and wavering. Hence accept it from us, and fix us within it!

“O Allah, provide us with fear of the threatened punishment and yearning for the promised reward, Hence that we may find the pleasure of that for which we supplicate You and the sorrow of that from which we seek sanctuary in You! And place us with among the repenters, those upon whom You have made Your love obligatory and from whom You have accepted the return to obeying You! O Most Just of the just! O Allah, show forbearance toward our fathers and our mothers and all the people of our religion, those who have gone and those who will pass by, until the Day of Resurrection! O Allah, bless our prophet Muhammad and his Household, as You have blessed Your angels brought nigh, bless him and his Household, as You have blessed Your prophets sent out, bless him and his Household, as You have blessed Your righteous

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servants-and better than that, O Lord of the worlds!- a blessing whose benediction will reach us, whose benefit will attain to us, and through which our supplication may be granted! You are the most generous of those who are beseeched, the most sufficient of those in whom confidence is had, the most bestowing of those from whom bounty is asked, and You are powerful over everything!(1)

This holy supplication; rather all the supplications of the Imam, peace be on him, urge man to cling to Allah-fearingness and faith in Him, they also urge him to show remorse at his neglect before Allah in this month.

On the Day of Fast-Breaking

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, received the Day of Fast-Breaking with supplication to Allah, asking Him to accept his fast, his acts of worship, and his good works in the month of Ramadhan, and to grant him pardon and good pleasure. In the early morning, he gave on his behalf and of his family the Zakat of al-Fitra (alms of fast-breaking). He also performed the prayer of the ‘Id. When he had finished his prayer, he faced the qibla (the direction of Kaaba) and supplicated Allah with this great supplication:

“O He who has mercy upon him toward whom the servants show no mercy! O He who accepts him whom the cities will not accept! O He who looks not down upon those who have need of Him! O He who disappoints not those who implore Him! O He who slaps not the brow of the

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 45.

people of boldness toward Him with rejection! O He who collects the little that is given to Him and He shows gratitude for the paltry that is done for Him! O He who shows gratitude for the small and rewards with the great! O He who comes close to him who comes close to Him! O He who invites to Himself him who turns his back on Him! O He who changes not favor and rushes not to vengeance! O He who causes the good deed to bear fruit Hence that he may make it grow, and overlooks the evil deed Hence that he may efface it! Hopes turn back with needs fulfilled short of the extent of Your generosity, the cups of requests fill up with the overflow of Your munificence, and attributes fall apart without reaching Your description. For to You belongs the highest highness above everything high, and the most glorious majesty beyond every majesty! Every majestic before You is small everything eminent beside Your eminence vile! Those who reach other than You are disappointed, those who present themselves to other than You have lost, those who stay with other than You have perished, and those who retreat -except those who retreat to Your bounty- are desolate! Your door is open to the beseechers, Your munificence free to the askers, Your help near to the help-seeker! The expectant are not disappointed by You, those who present themselves despair not of Your bestowal, the forgiveness-seekers become not wretched

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through Your vengeance! Your provision is spread among those who disobey You, Your clemency presents itself to those hostile toward You, Your habit is beneficence toward the evildoers, and Your wont is to spare the transgressors, Hence much Hence that Your lack of haste deludes them from returning, and Your disregard bars them from desisting! You act without haste toward them Hence that they will come back to Your command and You disregard them confident in the permanence of Your kingdom, Hence You seal him who is worthy of it with felicity, and You abandon him who is worthy of it to wretchedness!”

The greatest Imam, peace be on him, presented in this masterpiece Allah’s kindness to His servants, for He is Compassionate and Merciful to him toward whom the servants show no mercy. His mercy also includes him whom the governments chase and he escapes to unknown places because of fear. An example of the kindness of Him, the Exalted, is that He does not look down upon those who have need of Him. An example of the mercy of Him, the Exalted, is that He does not disappoint those who implore Him. An example of the great bounty and ample mercy of Him, the Most High, is that He shows gratitude for the small and rewards with the great. He shows affection to His servants, Hence He comes close to those who come close to Him and invites to Himself those who turn back on Him Hence that He

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may grant them the highest position in the next world and save them from ruin. An example of the favor of Allah, the Glorified, to His servants is that He does not change the blessing which He bestows upon them until they change what is there in themselves. He, the Exalted, also makes the good deed grow for its owner in the Next Abode. Indeed the generosity and munificence of Allah cannot be limited. Attributes fall short of describing Him, for to Him belongs the highest highness above everything high, and the most glorious majesty beyond every majesty.

The Imam, peace be on him, blamed in his supplication those who presented themselves to other than Allah, Hence they lost good and expectations, while those who presented themselves to Allah attained a great success. Then the Imam, peace be on him, mentioned the clemency of Allah, the Exalted, and His disregard toward the aggressors; He did not hurry to punish them Hence that they would come back to His command and understand the truth. These are some affairs which this part of the supplication of the Imam, peace be on him, contains. Now, let’s read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:

“All of them come home to Your decree, their affairs revert to Your command; Your authority grows not feeble through their drawn out term, Your proof is not refuted by the failure to hurry after them. Your argument is established, never refuted, Your authority fixed, never removed. Permanent woe belongs to

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him who inclines away from You, forsaking disappointment to him who is disappointed by You, and the most wretched wretchedness to him who is deluded about You! How much he will move about in Your chastisement! How long he will frequent Your punishment! How far his utmost end from relief! How he will despair of an easy exit! (All of this) as justice from Your decree (You are not unjust in it!), and equity from Your judgment (You do not act wrongfully against him!). You supported the arguments, tested the excuses, began with threats, showed gentleness with encouragement, struck similitudes, made long the respite, delayed, while You are able to hurry, and acted without haste, while You are full of quick accomplishment!

“Not because of incapacity is Your slowness, feebleness Your giving respite, heedlessness Your showing restraint, dissemblance Your waiting! But that Your argument be more conclusive, Your generosity more perfect, Your beneficence more exhaustive, Your favor more complete! All of this has been and always was, is and ever will be. Your argument is greater than that its totality be described, Your glory more elevated than it be limited in its core, Your favor more abundant than that its entirety be counted, Your beneficence more abundant than that thanks be given for its least amount! Speechlessness has made me fall short of praising You, restraint has made me powerless to glorify You, and the most I can do is admit to inability, not out of desire, my Allah, but out

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of incapacity. Hence here I am: I repair to You by coming forward, and I ask from You good support. Hence bless Muhammad and his Household, hear my whispered words, grant my supplication, seal not my day with disappointment, slap not my brow by rejecting my request, and make noble my coming from You and going back to You! Surely You are not constrained by what You desire, nor incapable of what You are asked! You are powerful over everything, and there is no force and no strength save in Allah, the All-high, the All-mighty!(1)

In these words, the Imam, peace be on him, has mentioned all the creatures, whether believers or sinners, monotheists or atheists; they are all in the hand of Allah, the Most High, subjected to His decree, coming home to His command. Only the disobedient are stubborn; they continue aggression, mutiny, and disobedience. With this, they are unable to make feeble the authority of Allah. Woe unto them from His permanent punishment and His everlasting chastisement. Allah gives them respite in this world and does not hurry to punish them because of His mercy and gentleness toward them, Hence that they will come back to the truth and turn to Allah in repentance. With this the generosity of Allah, the Exalted, is ample and His favor for His servants is perfect.

With this we will end our speech about the fast of the Imam, peace be on him, in the month of Ramadhan, which was full of all

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1- Ibid., Supplication no. 46.

acts of worship, good works, and acts of obedience.

His Hajj

point

As for the hajj to the Sacred House of Allah, the Imam, peace be on him, clung to it, for he found in its standing places refreshment for his soul which was melted by the tragedies of Karbala’. He, peace be on him, urged (the Muslims) to perform the hajj and the ‘Umra (a certain kind of hajj to the Kaaba), for they would result in great benefits. Hence he said: “(When) you perform the hajj and the ‘Umra, your bodies become sound, your daily bread becomes ample, your faith becomes righteous, and you are sufficient for the provisions of the people and of your families.(1)” He, peace be on him, said: “The hajji (pilgrim) is forgiven, the Garden is surely for him, the work is resumed through him, his family and his possessions are preserved.(2)” He, peace be on him, said: “The angels intercede for the one who runs between al-Safa and al-Marwa (with Allah).(3)” He also urged (the Muslims) to honor and magnify the pilgrims when they returned from the Sacred House of Allah, Hence he said: “Show happiness when the pilgrims return (from Mecca), shake hands with them, and magnify them. (Hence), you take a share in their reward before you mix with them in sin.(4)” Now, we will briefly present some affairs of his hajj.

His Hajj on Foot

The Imam, peace be on him, performed the hajj on foot more than one time, as his father and his uncle, al-Hasan, peace be

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1- Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 8, p. 5.
2- Men la Yahdarahu` al-Faqih, p. 156. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 8, p. 5.
3- Men la Yahdarahu` al-Faqih, p. 159.
4- Ibid., p. 155.

on them, did. It took him twenty days to perform the hajj to the House (of Allah).(1)

His Hajj Riding

He, peace be on him, performed the hajj on the (back of) his she-camel twenty times, and he took great care of it. The historians said: “He never whipped it.(2)” Ibrahim b. ‘Ali said: “I performed the hajj with ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. His she-camel was moving slowly, Hence he pointed to it with the stick, and then he withdrew it and said: ‘Woe if there was on retaliation (in the next world) !’ Again it moved slowly among the Mountains of Radawa, Hence he showed it the stick and said (to it): ‘You should walk; otherwise I will do!’ Then he mounted it, and it walked.(3)” His soul exalted to this level of mercy, pity, and gentleness to animal, Hence he never whipped and frightened his she-camel. He thought that aggression against animal would result in punishment and reckoning in the Next Abode.

The Reciters accompany Him

When he intended to perform the hajj to the Sacred House of Allah, the reciters (of the Qur’an) and the religious scholars would accompany him, for they acquired from him sciences, knowledge, wise sayings, and good manners. Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab said: “The reciters (of the Qur’an) did not go out of Mecca until ‘Ali b. al-Husayn went out, Hence he went out and a thousand riders went out with him.(4) They learnt from him the problems of the hajj, the rules of the religion, and all the affairs of Islamic law, for

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1- Al-Bihar. In al-‘Aqdd al-Farid, vol. 3, p. 103, it has been mentioned: “He performed the hajj on foot twenty-five times.”
2- Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 133.
3- Al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 189.
4- Hayat al-Imam Mohammed al-Baqir, vol. 1, p. 138.

there was no one in his time, according to the consensus of the historians and narrators, more knowledgeable than him in the precepts of the Book and Sunna.”

His Food for the Hajj

The Imam, peace be on him, took good and perfect preparations for performing the hajj and the ‘Umra. He supplied himself with the best food such as almonds, sugar, soured and sugared fine flour.(1) His pure sister, Sukayna, made him and excellent food on which she spent thousands of dirhams, but when he arrived at al-Hurrah, he ordered the food to be divided among the poor and the needy.(2)

His Disorder during Ritual Consecration

When the Imam arrived at one of the places appointed for the ritual consecrationsuch as Masjid al-Shajara (the Mosque of the Tree), the place appointed for the people of Medina and those who passed by ithe began performing the rules of ritual consecration such as ablution. When he wanted to say the talbiya (Here I am at your service), his skin would turn yellow, and he disordered and was unable to say the talbiya. He was asked: “Why don’t you say the talbiya?”

He trembled with fear of Allah and said: “I fear that I say: labbayk (Here I am at Your service), and it will be said to me: ‘la labbayk’ (You are not at My service).

When he said the talbiya, he fainted because of his abundant fear of Allah, and fell off his she-camel. This state attacked him several times until he finished his hajj.(3) Malik reported: “When Zayn al-‘Abidin wanted to say the

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1- Al-Bihar, vol. 46, p. 71.
2- Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 54.
3- Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 326. Khulasat Tahdhib al-Kamal, p. 131. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, 306.

talbiya, he fainted, fell off his she-camel, and broke (one of his bones).(1)” The Imam thoroughly knew of Allah, adored Him, was afraid of His punishment, and tended to Him with all his feelings and sentiments, as his fathers, who were the lords of the Allah-fearing and of those who turned to Allah in repentance, did.

His Supplication by the Black Stone

When he finished his going around (the Kaaba) and arrived at the Black Stone, he looked at the sky and said: “O Allah, make me enter Heaven through Your mercy-while he was looking at the mizab (Spout) - grant me sanctuary from the Fire through Your mercy, heal me of illness, allow me to attain my provision through lawful means, and drive away from me the wickedness of the sinners from among the jinn and men, and the wickedness of the sinners from among the Arabs and non-Arabs.(2)

His Prayer under the mizab

When the Imam, peace be on him, had finished his rituals (of hajj) such as going around the Kaaba and running between al-Safa and al-Marwa, he came to pray under the Spout of Mercy (mizab al-Rahma). Tawu’s al-Yamani saw him at that Holy Place standing in prayer, supplicating Allah, and weeping because of fear of Allah. When he finished his prayers, Tawus interrupted him, saying: “I have seen you in this state of humility while you have three qualities. I hope that they will make you safe from fear. One of them is that you are the (grand) son of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his

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1- Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, 306.
2- Furu`‘ al-Kafi, vol. 4, 407.

family, the second is the intercession of your grandfather, and the third is Allah’s mercy.”

The Imam gently answered Tawus: “O Tawus, as for that I am the (grand) son of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, it will not safe me (from fear), and you have heard Allah, the Exalted, say: There shall be no ties of relationship between them, nor shall they ask of each other.(1) As for the intercession of my grandfather, it will not safe me (from fear), for Allah, the Most High, says: They do not intercede except for him who He approves.(2) As for Allah’s mercy, Allah says: Allah’s mercy is close to the benefactors, and I don’t think that I am a benefactor.(3)

Have you noticed this humility and self-negation before Allah, the Exalted? Indeed, this Imam was a unique copy among mankind except his great fathers.

With Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik

Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik, accompanied by the police, made the pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah. The mercenaries and the prominent persons from among the Syrians surrounded him. He did his best to catch the Black Stone, but he could not, because the place was full of pilgrims who pushed each other in order to kiss the Black Stone. Hence the pilgrims paid no attention to Hisham and made no room to him, for there were no differences in that Great House. A pulpit was installed for him and he sat on it. He looked at the people who were going around the Kaaba. In

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1- Qur’an, 23, 101.
2- Ibid., 21, 28.
3- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 101.

the meantime Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, came to perform going around the Kaaba. A pilgrim saw him and recognized him, Hence he called out at the top of his voice: “That is the remaining one of Allah in His earth! That is the remaining one of Prophethood! That is the Imam of the Allah-fearing and lord of the worshippers!”

The Imam’s solemnity, to which the faces and foreheads yielded, and which was similar to that of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, overwhelmed the pilgrims. The pilgrims shouted loudly everywhere in the Mosque: “There is no god but Allah! Allah is Great!” Then they made room for the Imam. Blessed was the one who kissed his hand or touched his garments of ritual consecration. The Mosque was full of saying: “Allah is Great!” The Syrians were astonished at that fearful sight, for they thought that there was no one worthy of honor and magnification except the Umayyads who were, according to the Umayyad mass media, the inheritors of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and close to him in lineage! Hence the Syrians hurried to Hisham and asked him: “Who is that person whom the people has respected with this respect?”

Hisham burst into anger, and his crossed eye appeared(1), and he shouted at them: “I don’t recognize him!”

Hisham denied recognizing the Imam, for he feared that the Syrians would incline to him and desert the Umayyads. Al-Farazdaq, the Arab great

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1- In his book al-Rasa’il, p. 89, al-Jahiz mentioned that Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik was called al-Ahwal al-Sarraq (the cross-eyed one, the one who steals very much). Abu` al-Najam al-‘Ajali recited him his poem in which he said: “Praise belongs to Allah, the All-giving....” Hence he (Hisham) clapped his hands as a sign of approval of the poem. When he (Abu` al-Najam al-‘Ajali) came to mentioning the sun, he said: “And the sun in the earth is like the eye of the cross-eyed one.” Hence Hisham ordered him to be taken out. Commenting on that, al-Jahiz said: “This is an intense weakness and great ignorance.”

poet, was present there. He understood the truth, shook all over, rushed toward the Syrians with enthusiasm and said to: “I know him!”

“Who is he, Abu’ Firas?” asked the Syrians.

Hisham became frightened and lost his mind, for he feared that al-Farazdaq would introduce the Imam to the Syrians, Hence he shouted at him: “I don’t know him!”

Condemning Hisham, al-Farazdaq said at the top of his voice: “Yes, you know him!”

Then he turned to the Syrians and said to them: “Syrians, whoever wants to recognize this man, let him come (here) !”

Hence the Syrians and others hurried to the Arab great poet and fully listened. Al-Farazdaq was eager for supporting the truth. Hence he improvised this poem called al-‘Asma’, which represents truthful words and beautiful style, and in which he said:

This is the descendant of Husayn and son of Fatim,

daughter of the Messenger through whom darkness

scattered.

This is he whose ability the valley (of Mecca), recognizes,

and whom the (Sacred) House recognizes (as do) the

sanctuary and the area outside the sanctuary (al-hill).

This is the son of the best of all Allah’s servants.

This is the pure pious man, the pure eminent man.

When Quraysh saw him, their spokesman said: Generosity

leads to the noble qualities of this (man).

He belongs to the zenith of glory which the Arabs of Islam

When he comes to touch the corner of the wall of the

Kaaba, it almost grasps the palm of his hand.

He lowers (his eyes) because of modesty and (eyes are)

lowered due to his solemnity. Hence (none) speaks with

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him

but when he smiles.

In his hand there is a cane whose smell is fragrant because

of the hand of the one who is wonderful and noble.

The prophets are indebted to the outstanding merits of his

grandfather, and the nations are indebted to the

excellencies of his nation.

The light of guidance comes out of the light of his forehead

(which) is like the sun whose rising scatters the dark.

His plant (origin) is derived from the Messenger of Allah.

Its elements, nature, and qualities are good.

This is the son of Fatima, if you do not recognize him, the

prophets of Allah were sealed through his grandfather.

Allah had already honored him, and his excellencies

occurred through that in the tablet of the pen.

Your words ‘who is this’ do not harm, the Arabs and non-

Arabs recognize him whom you deny.

Both his hands are relief; their profit is general; they are

equal hands; deprivation does not befall them.

He is the carrier of the burdens of the peoples when they

are overburdened. His merits are pretty; ‘yes’ is pleasant

with him.

He does not break promise; blessed is his soul; his

courtyard is ample; he is brilliant when he determines.

(He is) from the people whose love is religion; whose hate

is unbelief; nearness to them is refuge and protection.

If the Allah-fearing are numbered, they are their Imams, or

(if) it is said, who is the best of the world’s inhabitants?, it

is said, they are.

None of the generous can (access) their far-fetched

objectives, nor can people vie with them (in generosity)

even if they are generous.

They are rain when a crisis is

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intense and lions, the lions of

a forest, when war is violent.

Poverty does not decrease their munificence.

It is the same for them whether they are rich or poor.

Evil and tribulation are pushed away through love for

them, and through it kindness and blessings are regained.

Their remembrance is advanced in every affair after the

remembrance of Allah, and words are sealed through it.

(Their) noble natures and their hands full of liberality do

not allow abasement to occur in their courtyard.

Which creature is excluded from the priority and favors of

this (Imam)?

Whoever thanks Allah thanks the priority of this (Imam in

belief in Allah), for nations have attained religion from the

House of this (Imam).(1)

This poem, called al-‘Asma’, is distinguished from the rest of the Arab poetry by immortality throughout history, for it was a revolt against falsehood and support for the truth. It was mentioned in the time in which mouths were muzzled and tongues were prevented from mentioning the laudable deeds of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. The Umayyad tyrannical authorities executed all those who mentioned their laudable deeds or their outstanding merits. They employed all their organs to efface the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, from the map of existence.

In his poem, al-Farazdaq lauded the great Imam, the Imam of the Syrians and other than them from among all the pilgrims, Hence his praise was a painful blow against the Umayyad policy. Commenting on this poem, al-Bustani said: “They said: This poem is sufficient for

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1- Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, pp. 331. Some or all this poem has been mentioned in many books of literature, history, and biographies. The following is some of them: Zahr al-Adab, vol. 1, p. 103. Ibn Nabbata, Sarah al-‘Uyyu`n, p. 390. Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 193. Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 51. Al-Qirmani, Akhbar al-Diwal, p. 110. Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36. p. 161. Roudat al-Wa‘izin, vol. 1, p. 239. Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 9, p. 356. Anwar al-Rabi‘, vol. 4, p. 35. It is worth mentioning that the order of the lines of this poem is different in these books.

al-Farazdaq to enter the Garden.(1)

This poem contains wonderful truthfulness, support of the truth, and pretty coherence of lines. Al-Sayyid ‘Ali al-Madani said: “As for the coherence of this poem, it is an unattainable objective and unpossessable mind. He (al-Farazdaq) avoided (mentioning) explanatory remarks in it, and mentioned wonderful coherence in it. He who notices the poetry of al-Farazdaq and notices this poem, he will admire it, for there is no relation between this poem of al-Farazdaq and all his sayings in cause, praise, and satire. This means that he composed it spontaneously. Without doubt Allah, the Glorified, supported him when he composed it, and pointed him the right way when he improvised it.(2)

Abu’ al-Farajj doubts the Poem

Abu’ al-Farajj al-Asfahani doubted that this poem did not belong to al-Farazdaq. He thought that al-Farazdaq’s style in poetry was different from his style in this poem. He claimed that al-Farazdaq used difficult styles, words, and imaginations.(3) Commenting on this view of Abu’ al-Farajj, shaykh Muhammad, Abu’ Zahra, said:

“I do not think that this doubt is acceptable or agrees with the sound method of studying narrations, for the following reasons:

“First, all the narrators have unanimously agreed that this poem is ascribed to al-Farazdaq, but al-Asfahani tried to accuse them of lying.

“Second, al-Asfahani did not mention with proof the poet, from among the poets of the Household (of the Prophet), to whom he attributed this poem. Hence he has no right to abolish the ascription of a poem to its poet, or to leave it in an unknown attribution,

p: 269


1- Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 9, p. 356.
2- Anwar al-Rabi‘, vol. 4, p. 35.
3- Al-Aghani.

or to ascribe it (to someone) without any proof.

“The poet sometimes uses difficult words and sometimes uses nice words according to the situation in which he composes (his poem). If the poet composes (his poem) according to his situation, if he describes desert and what within it, he will use difficult (words). If he speaks about morals and qualities, he will without doubt use soft (words). When the poet is good, he chooses suitable (words) for every situation.

“Imru’ al-Quays, a pre-Islamic poet, composed soft poetry in the end of his lifetime. This was when some misfortunes befell him. We do not intend to give accounts about literature, that we may tell you about his description of his illness and what befell him. Al-A‘sha and Ka‘ab b. Zuhair also composed nice poems. When they praised the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, their poetry became soft to the extent that it agreed with his qualities and miracles. Al-Farazdaq’s words in this poem are soft, so there is no need to denying and doubt.

“Here, we must say that al-Farazdaq firmly inclined to the members of the House (Al al-Bayt), though he did not compose abundant poetry about them, for he did not want to expose himself to the persecutions of the Umayyads.(1)

Al-Farazdaq was one of Imam ‘Ali’s followers, Hence he praised Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. Al-Sharif al-Murtada said: “Al-Farazdaq was a Shi‘ite inclining to the Hashimites. In the end of his lifetime, he gave up transgression and

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1- Imam Zayd, pp. 28-29.

slander. He followed the way of the religion, but he had not neglected the religion before, nor had he neglected its affairs.(1)” Anyhow, the attribution of this poem called al-‘Asma’ is among the definite affairs, for all the narrators have unanimously agreed on it.

Al-Farazdaq is arrested

When Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik heard this poem, he became excited and wished that the ground would have swallowed him. This is because the poem included all the outstanding qualities of the great Imam and introduced him to the Syrians who had no knowledge of him and his grandfathers. Al-Farazdaq praised the position of the Imam. He indicated that following the Imam was inseparable part of Islam, and that the Imam was the best person in the world at that time.

Hisham ordered al-Farazdaq to be arrested. Hence, he was arrested and imprisoned in the prison of ‘Asfan, a place between Mecca and Medina. When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, heard of this, he sent al-Farazdaq twelve thousand dirhams, but the latter refused to accept it, saying: “I composed (these words) concerning you to show my anger for Allah and His Messenger only.” The Imam sent back the money to al-Farazdaq, and he accepted it. Hence al-Farazdaq began satirizing Hisham. Among the lines with which he satirized him is the following:

Will he imprison me between (‘Asfan) and Medina, to

which the hearts of the people incline?

He turns a head which is not the head of a chief, and he has

a cross eye with apparent defects.(2)

His Whispered Prayers in the Sacred House

Many whispered prayers

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1- Sarh al-‘Uyyu`n, p. 390.
2- Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 331.

in the Sacred House of Allah were related from Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. He used to recite them before his Lord in the darkness. The following is some of them:

1. Muhammad b. Abi Hamza reported: [I saw ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, praying in the courtyard of the Kaaba. He lengthened standing in prayer to the extent that he sometimes leant on his right leg and sometimes on his left leg. Then I heard him weeping loudly and whispering to his Lord:]

“O my Master, will You chastise me (while) Your love is in my heart? By Your might, You shall not gather me with the people toward whom I have shown enmity for You!(1)

In this short whispered prayer, the Imam, peace be on him, expressed his absolute devotion and pleading to Allah, asking Him for pardon and good pleasure.

2. Al-Asma‘i narrated: [While I was going around the Kaaba, I saw a young man clinging to its curtains and saying sad words:]

“The eyes have slept, and the stars have become high, and You are the King, the Living, the Self-subsistent. The kings have closed their gates, and their guards have stood by them, but Your gate is still open for the askers. I have come to You to, that You may look at me through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful.”

[Then he composed:]

“O He who responds in the darkness to the supplication of

the distressed!

O He who removes affliction, tribulation, and illness!

All those have come

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1- Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 579.

to You have slept around the House,

and only You, O Self-subsistent, do not sleep!

I supplicate You, my Lord, with a supplication which You

have commanded!

Hence have mercy on my weeping, by the right of the House

and the Sanctuary!

If the immoderate do not expect Your pardon, then who

will bestows favor lavishly upon the disobedient!”

Al-Asma‘i said: “I followed his traces, suddenly he was Zayn al-‘Abidin.(1) I kissed him and said to him: You are ‘Ali b. al-Husayn; your father is the martyr of Karbala’; your grandfather is ‘Ali al-Murtada; your (grand) mother is Fatima, the chaste; your grandmother is Khadija al-Kubra (the greatest one); your great grandfather is Muhammad al-Mustafa (the chosen one), Hence why do you say such words?”

The Imam softly and kindly answered him: “Have you not read these words of Him, the Exalted: Hence when the trumpet is blown, there shall be no ties of relationship between them on that day, nor shall they ask of each other?(2) Have you not heard the words of my grandfather: The Garden has been created for the obedient even if they are from Ethiopia; the Fire has been created for the disobedient even if they are from Quraysh?(3)

This great Imam clung to Allah, the Exalted, devoted himself to him, obeyed him, and worshipped him because of knowledge, faith, and sincerity.

3. Tawus al-Yamani narrated: [I passed by the (Black) Stone. Suddenly, (I saw) a person bowing and prostrating. I carefully considered him, and I could realized that he was ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, Hence I

p: 273


1- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 80. Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 4, pp. 150-151.
2- Qur’an, 23, p. 101.
3- Roudat al-Jannat, vol. 5, p. 161. He (the author of this book) commented on these words of al-Asma‘i, saying: “This is the whole of the tradition which is strange, for it contradicts the class of al-Asma‘i, the mentioned, the famous one, whose birth occurred many (years) after the death of al-Sajjad (Zayn al-‘Abidin) except that al-Asma‘i was another man from among the old people who belonged to his ancestor Asma‘

said to myself: He is a righteous man from among the Household of the Prophet. By Allah, I will wait until he finishes his prayers, that I may make use of his supplication. Then he raised his hands and began addressing Allah, saying:]

“O Allah, my Master, my Master! I have stretched out my hands full of sins toward You and looked (at You) with hope. The right of him who humbly supplicates you with regret is that You generously respond to him!

“My Master, have you created me as one of the miserable, Hence I will lengthen my weeping? Or have you created me as one of the happy, Hence I will be happy with my hope?

“My Master, have you created my limbs to be hit with whips (of iron)? Or have you created my bowels for drinking the boiling water (in the Fire)?

“My Master, if a servant was able to escape from his master, I would be the first of those who escaped from their master, but I know that I cannot escape from You!

“My Master, if I knew that my chastisement would increase Your kingdom, I would ask You for patience against it, but I know that the obedience of the obedient does not increase Your kingdom, nor does the disobedience of the disobedient decrease it.

“My Master, Here I am! What is my importance? Pardon me through your bounty! Cover me over with Your cover! Forgive me my scolding through the generosity of Your face!

“My Allah and my Master,

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have mercy on me when I will be dead on my bed, (and when) the hands of my lovers turn me! Have mercy on me when I will be placed in the wash room, (and when) my righteous neighbors wash me! Have mercy on me when I will be carried, (and when) my relatives carry the ends of my coffin! Have mercy on my exile and my lonesomeness in that dark house!”

When Tawus heard these sad whispered prayers, he burst into tears, Hence the Imam turned to him and asked him:

“O Yamani, what makes you weep? Isn’t this the standing place of the sinners?”

Tawus interrupted the Imam with submission and admiration, saying: “Your right against Allah is that He should respond to you.(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, loved the world of angels, clung to it, and devoted his life to it.

4. The narrators reported on the authority of al-Hasan al-Basri, who said: “I saw ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in the Kaaba pleading to Allah and supplicating Him in repentance, Hence I came nearer to him and heard him reciting these soft lines:

O He who is expected for (fulfilling) every need!

I complained to You of affliction, Hence have mercy on my

complaint!

O He who is my hope! Your are the Remover of my

distress, Hence forgive me every sin I have committed and

fulfill my request!

To You belong aim in every request! You are the Helper of

the askers and my goal!

I have made ugly acts the like of which none of the

creatures has made!

My

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1- Roudat al-Wa‘izin, vol. 1, p. 237.

provision is little; I do not think that it is enough!

Shall I weep for my provision or for my distant road!

Will You muster me along with the oppressive in the

standing places?

Therefore, where is my circumambulation, then where are

my visitations?

Will you burn me with the Fire, O Goal of hopes?

Therefore, where is my expectation, then where is my fear?

My Master, oblige me with repentance, for You, my Lord,

know my words!

These lines had a great effect on the soul of al-Hasan al-Basri, Hence he hurried to kiss the feet of the Imam and say:

“O grandson of the Prophet, why are you saying these whispered prayers and weeping? Are you not from among the Prophet’s Household concerning whom Allah said: ‘To take away the uncleanness from you and to purify thoroughly.’?”

The Imam explained to al-Hasan al-Basri the true Islam, which adopted good deeds and paid no attention to lineage, saying: “Leave this! The Garden has been created for him who obeys Allah even if he is from Ethiopia; the Fire has been created for him who disobeys Him even if he is from Quraysh. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘Bring me your acts, not your lineage.’(1)

Some writers thought that this narration was incorrect. This is because the narration contains weak lines of poetry. Besides it shows that al-Husayn al-Basri kissed the Imam’s foot. They said that this action did not agree with the position of al-Basri, and that the Imam did not accepted it.(2) This view is weak

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1- Roudat al-Jannat, vol. 3, p. 29.
2- Al-Sila bayna al-Tasawuf wa al-Tashayya‘, vol. 1, p. 161.

for the following reasons:

First, the Imam, peace be on him, recited these lines. None knows that he composed them.

Second, we do not think that these lines are weak, for they are soft and good.

Third, as for that al-Hasan al-Basri kissed the Imam, it was not an insult; rather it was honor and pride for him. This is because the Imam was the remaining one of Allah in His earth, the lord of the pure Household (of the Prophet), and a piece of the liver of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Al-Basri was the most knowledgeable of these authors in the Imam’s position.

5. Tawus, the jurist, reported one of the Imam’s whispered prayers to Allah in the Sacred House. He said: [I saw ‘Ali b. al-Husayn going around (the Kaaba) from the evening to the early morning. As he was alone, he looked at the sky and said:]

“My Allah, the stars of Your heavens have set! The eyes of Your creatures have slept, but Your gates are open for the askers! I have come to You in order to pardon me, to have mercy on me, and to show me the face of my grandfather, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, on the Day of Resurrection.”

[Then he wept and addressed Allah, the Exalted, saying:]

“I (swear) by Your might and majesty, I do not want to disobey You through my disobedience. I do not doubt You when I disobey You nor am I ignorant of Your

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exemplary punishment nor do I want to subject myself to Your punishment. However, my soul entices me and Your cover which is over me helps me with this. Hence, now, who can save me from Your chastisement? If You cut Your rope from me, then to which rope shall I cling? How evil my standing before You will be tomorrow! If it is said to those who have small (sins): ‘pass’, and to those who have great (sins): ‘stop’, then shall I pass with those who have small (sins) or stop with those who have great (sins)? Woe unto me! The long my span is, the more my sins are! Still, I do not announce my repentance! Isn’t it a time for me to feel shame of my Lord!”

[Then he burst into tears and recited:]

“Will you burn me with the Fire, O Goal of hopes? Therefore, where is my expectation, then where is my fear?

“I have done ugly works the like of which none of the creatures has done!

“Glory belongs to You! You are disobeyed as if You were not seen! You are clement as if You were not disobeyed! You show love toward Your creatures through (Your) kindness as if You were in need of them, while You, my Master, are in no need of them!”

[Then he prostrated himself (in prayer), Hence I (Tawus) came nearer to him, raised his head, put it on my lap, Hence a tear of mine fell onto his holy cheek. Then he sat

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down and said with a faint voice:]

“Who has distracted me from praising my Lord?”

Hence Tawus answered him with submission and magnification: “It is I, Tawus. Son of Allah’s Apostle, what is this impatience and fear? It is we who should behave in this manner. We are disobedient and sinful, while your father is al-Husayn b. ‘Ali, your (grand) mother is Fatima, the chaste, and your grandfather is Allah’s Messenger.”

[However, the Imam paid no attention to the clear lineage with which he was endowed, Hence he interrupted (me), saying:]

“How far! How far! Tawus, leave mentioning my father, my mother, and my grandfather. Allah has created the Garden to him who obeys Him and does good even if he is a Negro from Ethiopia, and He created the Fire for him who disobeys Him even if he is a chief from Quraysh. Have you not heard these words of Him, the Exalted: Hence when the trumpet is blown, there shall be no ties of relationship between them on that day, nor shall they ask of each other. I swear by Allah that nothing will profit you tomorrow except your good acts.(1)

6. Tawus narrated another whispered prayers of the Imam’s in the Sacred House. He said: [I entered the Stone (i.e., the Stone of Isma‘il) one night and there was ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. He had come in and was standing praying. He prayed as Allah had wished. Hence I said: He is a righteous man, Hence I must listen to him, thus I

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1- Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 1, p. 151. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 81. Tha‘lab, al-Majjlis, vol. 2, p. 462.

heard him say:]

Your little servant is at Your courtyard;

Your miserable one is at Your courtyard:

Your poor one is at Your courtyard;

Your beggar is at Your courtyard.

Tawus memorized this short whispered prayer, which expressed self-denial and absolute obedience to Allah. He supplicated Allah with it when in need, and Allah removed his afflictions.(1)

These are some whispered prayers of the Imam in the Sacred House of Allah. They show his great turning to Allah in repentance and his devotion to Him. The Imam has other whispered prayers. We will mention them when we talk about his supplications and his whispered prayers.

With a Man circumambulating the Kaaba

On circumambulating the Kaaba, the Imam heard a man asking Allah for patience, Hence he turned to the man and said to him: “You are asking (Allah) for tribulation. Say: O Allah, I ask You for well-being and gratitude for it.(2)” The Imam taught the man how to supplicate Allah. He ordered him to ask Allah for well-being and gratitude for it. He warned him against asking Allah for endurance, which he had to seek during tribulation and poverty.

The Imam blamed those who begged on the Day of ‘Arafa

The Imam, peace be on him, saw some men asking the people to help them on the Day of ‘Arafa. He rebuked them for this and said: “Woe unto you! Why do you ask other than Allah on such a day? Those who are in the wombs of the pregnant want to be happy on this day!(3)

His Freeing the Slaves on the Day of ‘Arafat

He, peace be on him, bought black slaves

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1- Nu`r al-Abbsar, p. 127. Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 6, p. 192.
2- Quttub al-Rawandi, Da‘awat, p. 43.
3- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 105.

though he had no need of them. He brought them to ‘Arafat. When he returned from ‘Arafat, he ordered the slaves to be released and to be given money gifts.(1)

His Supplication on the Day of ‘Arafa

On the day of ‘Arafa, the Imam stood in prayer, recited the Holy Qur’an, and supplicated Allah with this holy supplication, which is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. This is because it contains important affairs. The following is its text:

“Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds! O Allah, to You belongs praise! Originator of the heavens and the earth! Possessor of majesty and munificence! Lord of Lords! Object of worship of every worshipper! Creator of every creature! Inheritor of all things! There is nothing like Him, knowledge of nothing escapes Him, He encompasses everything, and He is watchful over everything. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the Unique, the Alone, the Single, the Isolated. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the Generous, the Generously Bestowing, the All-mighty, the Mightily Exalted, the Magnificent, the Magnificently Magnified. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the All-high, the Sublimely High, the Strong in prowess. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate, the All-knowing, the All-wise. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the All-hearing, the All-Seeing, the Eternal, the All-aware. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the Generous, the Most Generous, the Everlasting,

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1- Ibid., p. 62.

the Most Everlasting. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the First before everyone, the Last after every number. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the Close in His highness, the High in His closeness. You are Allah, there is no god but You, Possessor of radiance and glory, magnificence and praise. You are Allah, there is no god but You. You have brought forth the things without root, formed what You have formed without exemplar, and originated the originated things without imitation. It is You who has ordained each thing with an ordination, eased each thing with an easing, and governed everything below Yourself with a governing. It is You whom no associate helps with Your creation and no vizier aids in Your command. You have no witness and no equal. It is You who willed, and what You willed was unfailing, who decreed, and what You decreed was just, who decided, and what You decided was fair. It is You whom place does not contain, before whose authority no authority stands up, and whom no proof or explication can thwart.”

In these brilliant words, the Imam magnified, lauded, and praised Allah. He explained the most positive attributes of Him, the Exalted. He said: “Allah, the Most High, has brought forth, found, and originated things with His power and will, which firmly made everything.” Allah, the Exalted, firmly created seen and unseen things. He ordained them with an ordination and governed them with a governing

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through His great wisdom, which perplexes intellects. Man is a possible being, limited in knowledge, power, and will, Hence he is unable to know the Great Creator, Who is far above imagination and perception. This is what the Imam has stressed in the following paragraph of this holy supplication:

“It is You who have counted everything in numbers, appointed for everything a term, and ordained everything with an ordination. It is You before whose selfness imaginations fall short, before whose howness understandings have no incapacity, and the place of whose whereness eyes perceive not. It is You who have no bounds, lest You be bounded, who are not exemplified, lest You be found, who do not beget, lest You be begotten. It is You with whom there is no opposite, lest it contend with You, who have no equal, lest it vie with You, who have no rival, lest it resist You. It is You who are He who began, devised, brought forth, originated, and made well all that He made. Glory be to You! How majestic is Your station! How high Your place among the places! How cleanly Your Separator cleaves with the truth!”

In this paragraph, the Imam of monotheists has mentioned the boundless knowledge of Allah, the Exalted, of which is that He has counted in numbers everything in the universe and knows everything in it, Hence no weight of an atom is concealed from Him in the heavens and the earth. The Imam has also mentioned that understandings

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fall short before the selfness and howness of Him, the Exalted. This is because the possible being is incapable of understanding the selfness and howness of the Necessary Being, Who has neither kind nor genus nor family. Man- who is incapable of understanding his selfness, his howness, and his wonderful organs- is unable to understanding the selfness and howness of the Almighty Creator, Who created time, place, the stars, and galaxies whose stars none can count except Allah.

This paragraph contains important philosophical concepts such negating bound, equal, and opposite. The books of philosophy and theology have discussed them in detail. Now, listen to another part of this holy supplication:

“Glory be to You! The Gentle - how gentle You are! The Clement - how clement You are! The Wise - how knowing You! Glory be to You! The King - how invincible You are! The Munificent - how full of plenty You are! The Elevated - how elevated You are! Possessor of radiance and glory, magnificence and praise! Glory be to You! You have stretched forth Your hand with good things, and from You guidance has come to be known, Hence he who begs from Your religion or this world will find You. Glory be to You! Whatever passes in Your knowledge is subjected to You, all below Your Throne are humbled before Your mightiness, and every one of Your creatures follows You in submission. Glory be to You! You are not sensed, nor touched, nor felt, nor beguiled, nor held

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back, nor challenged, nor kept up with, nor resisted, nor deceived, nor circumvented. Glory be to You! Your path is smooth ground, Your command right guidance, and You are a living, eternal refuge. Glory be to You! Your word is decisive, Your decree unfailing, Your will resolute. Glory be to You! None can reject Your wish, none can change Your words. Glory be to You! Outdazzling in signs, Creator of the heavens, Author of the spirits!”

This part contains the most wonderful words with which the saints and the pious glorify their Lord. How Great and Majestic was Allah in the opinion of the Imam, peace be on him. This is because He, the Exalted, is gentle and clement to his creatures, and is a Powerful King! Whoever seeks refuge in Him seeks refuge in a stronghold and inaccessible cave. The Imam, peace be on him, mentioned the mightiness of Allah, the Most High, to which all that which in the universe is subjected, toward which all that which in the existence is humble, before which all creatures are submissive. Another quality of Allah’s mightiness is that He is free from body, Hence He is not sensed through the five senses, for He is the Light of the heavens and the earth. Another quality of His mightiness is that none can beguile, circumvent, argue with, and challenge him; rather all His creatures are in his grasp, His force, and His Command. Hence His word is decisive, His decree is unfailing, and

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His will is resolute. After this, let’s listen to another part of this holy tradition:

“To You belongs praise, a praise that will be permanent with Your permanence! To You belongs praise, a praise everlasting through Your favor! To You belongs praise, a praise that will parallel Your benefaction! To You belongs praise, a praise that will increase Your good pleasure! To You belongs praise, a praise along with the praise of every praiser and a thanksgiving before which falls short the thanksgiving of every thanksgiver; a praise which is suitable for none but You and through which nearness is sought to none but You, a praise which will make permanent the first (bounty) and call forth the permanence of the last; a praise which will multiply through recurrence of times and increase through successive doublings; a praise which the guardians will not be able to number and which exceeds what the writers number in Your Book; a praise which will counterbalance Your glorious Throne and equal Your elevated Footstool; a praise whose reward with You will be complete and whose recompense will comprise every recompense; a praise whose outward conforms to its inward, and whose inward conforms to its to correct intention; a praise with whose like no creature has praised You and whose excellence none knows but You; a praise in which he who strives to multiply Your praise will be helped and he who draws the bow to the utmost in fulfilling it will be confirmed; a praise

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which will gather all the praise which You have created and tie together all which You will afterwards create; a praise than which no praise is near to Your word and than which none is greater from any who praise You; a praise whose fullness will obligate increase through Your generosity and to which You will join increase after increase as graciousness from You; a praise that will befit the generosity of Your face and meet the might of Your majesty!”

The Imam, peace be on him, used all words to praise and laud his Greatest Lover, the Almighty Creator. He praised Him with a boundless praise for His great blessings and favors.

After this let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:

“My Lord, bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad with a fruitful blessing, more fruitful than which there is no blessing! Bless him with a growing blessing more growing than which there is no blessing! And bless him with a pleasing blessing, beyond which there is no blessing! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which will please him and increase his good pleasure! Bless him with a blessing which will please You and increase Your good pleasure toward him! And bless him with a blessing through other than which You will not be pleased for him, and for which You see no one else worthy!

“My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which will pass beyond Your good pleasure, be continuous in its

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continuity through Your subsistence, and never be spent, just as Your words will never be spent! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which will tie together the blessings of Your angels, Your prophets, Your messengers, and those who obey You, comprise the blessings of Your servants, jinn or mankind, and those worthy of Your response, and bring together the blessings of the kinds of Your creatures which You have sown and authored! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which will encompass every blessing, bygone and new! Bless him and his Household with a blessing which is pleasing to You and everyone below You and will bring forth with all that a blessing with which You will multiply those blessings and increase them through the recurrence of days with an increasing in multiplies which none can count but You!”

In these words the Imam, peace be on him, praised his grandfather, the greatest Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. He asked Allah, the Exalted, to bless him with a fruitful, growing, and pleasing blessing which would remain throughout the recurrence of days and nights, be continuous through the subsistence of Allah, Who has no bound, and never be spent just as the words of Allah would never be spent.

After this let’s listen to another part of this supplication:

“My Lord, bless the best of his Household, those whom You have chosen for Your command appointed the treasures of Your knowledge, the guardians of

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Your religion, Your vicegerents in Your earth, and Your arguments against Your servants, purified from uncleanness and defilement through a purification by Your desire, and made the mediation to You and the road to Your Garden! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which makes plentiful Your gifts and generosity, perfects for them Your bestowals and awards, and fills out their share of Your kindly acts and benefits! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing whose first has no term, whose term has no limit, and whose last has no utmost end! My Lord, bless them to the weight of Your Throne and all below it, the amount that fills the heavens and all above them, the number of Your earths and all below and between them, a blessing that will bring them near to You in proximity, please You and them, and be joined to its likes forever!”

In these words the Imam, peace be on him, showed the high position of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and their excellencies, which are as follows:

Allah chose them to spread His religion and to deliver His message to His servants.

He appointed them as the treasurers of His knowledge and centers of His wisdom.

They guarded the religion of Allah from increase and decrease.

They were the vicegerents of Allah in His earth and His arguments against His servants.

Allah purified them from uncleanness and defilement, as this holy verse reads: “Verily Allah intends

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to keep off from you every kind of uncleanliness and to purify you, people of the House, with a through purification.”

Allah, the Exalted, made them the mediation to Him and the road to His Garden, Hence whoever followed them was safe, and whoever disobeyed them was drowning and straying.

These are some of their outstanding merits and laudable deeds about which the Imam, peace be on him, talked. Now, let’s listen to another part of this supplication:

“O Allah, surely You have confirmed Your religion in all times with an Imam whom You have set up as a guidepost to Your servants and a lighthouse in Your lands after his cord has been joined to Your cord! You have appointed him the means to Your pleasure, made obeying him obligatory, cautioned against disobeying him, and commanded following his commands, abandoning his prohibitions, and that no forward-goer go ahead of him or back-keeper keep back from him! Hence he is the preservation of the shelter-seekers, the cave of the faithful, the handhold of the adherents, and the radiance of the worlds! O Allah, Hence inspire Your guardian to give thanks for that in which You have favored him inspire us with the like concerning him, grant him an authority from You to help him, open for him an easy opening, aid him with Your mightiest pillar, brace back his back, strengthen his arm, guard him with Your eye, defend him with Your safeguarding, help him with Your angels, and assist him with

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Your most victorious troops! Through him establish Your Book, Your bounds, Your laws, and the norms of Your Messenger’s Sunna (Your blessings, O Allah, be upon him and his Household), bring to life the guideposts of Your religion, deadened by wrongdoers, burnish the rust of injustice from Your way, sift the adversity from Your road, eliminate those who deviate from Your path, and erase those who seek crookedness in Your straightness! Make his side mild toward Your friends, stretch forth his hand over his enemies, give us his clemency, his mercy, his tenderness, his sympathy, and make us his hearers and obeyers, strivers toward his good pleasure, assistants in helping him and defending him, and brought near through that to You and Your Messenger (Your blessings be upon him and his Household).”

The Imam, peace be on him, talked about the high position of the appointed Imam and his great importance in the world of Islam, for he is the guardian of the religion of Allah, the one who guides (people) to the way of the truth and guidance, and the means to Allah’s good pleasure. Hence it is incumbent on (men) to obey the Imam, and it is forbidden for them to disobey him, for he is the preservation of the shelter-seekers, the cave of the faithful, the handhold of the adherents, and the radiance of the worlds. Then the Imam asked Allah to grant him victory and a clear conquest in order that he might establish the Sunna of

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Islam, and bring to life the guideposts of Islamic law and the precepts of the religion which were deadened by the wrongdoers. Now, let’s listen to another part of this great supplication:

“O Allah, and bless the friends (of the Imams), the confessors of their station, the keepers to their course, the pursuers of their tracks, the clingers to their handhold, the adherents to their guardianship, the followers of their Imamate, the submitters to their command, the strivers to obey them, the awaiters of their days, the directors of their eyes toward them, with blessings blessed, pure, growing, fresh, and fragrant! Give them and their spirits peace, bring together their affair in reverential fear, set right their situations, turn toward them, Surely Your are Ever-turning, All-compassionate and the Best of forgivers, and place us with them in the Abode of Peace, through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”

The Imam, peace be on him, asked Allah, the Exalted, to bless the Shi‘ites of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, who (the Shi‘ites) represent the ideological awareness in Islam, follow the way of the pure Imams, pursue their tracks, adhere to their guardianship, follow their Imamate, and strive to obey them, and await their days. It is the Shi‘ites who cling to the true Islam and follow the Prophet’s words and practices through obeying the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, cleaving to them, and putting into practice the

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Islamic precepts which have been reported on their authority. Then the Imam, peace be on him, asked Allah to bring together their affairs in reverential fear, to set rights their situations, to turn toward them, and to place him with them in the Abode of Peace. Let’s listen to another part of this supplication:

“O Allah, this is the Day of ‘Arafa, a day which You have made noble, given honor, and magnified. Within it You have spread Your mercy, showed kindness through Your pardon, and made plentiful Your giving, and by it You have been bounteous toward Your servants. O Allah, I am Your servants whom You favored before creating him and after creating him. You made him one of those whom You guided to Your religion, gave success in fulfilling Your right, preserved through Your cord, included within Your party, and directed aright to befriend Your friends and show enmity to Your enemies. Then You commanded him, but he did not follow Your commands, You restricted him, but he did not heed Your restrictions, You prohibited him from disobedience toward You, but he broke Your command by doing what You had prohibited, not in contention with You, nor to display pride toward You; on the contrary, his caprice called him to that which You had set apart and cautioned against, and he was helped in that by Your enemy and his enemy. Hence he went ahead with it knowing Your threat, hoping for Your pardon, and relying upon Your

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forbearance, though he was the most obligated of Your servants -given Your kindness toward him- not to do Hence. Here I am, then, before You, despised, lowly, humble, abject, fearful, confessing the dreadful with which I am burdened and the great offenses that I have committed, seeking sanctuary in Your forgiveness, asking shelter in Your mercy, and certain that no sanctuary-giver will give me sanctuary from You and no withholder will hold me back from You. Hence act kindly toward me, just as You act kindly by shielding him who commits sins, be munificent toward me, just as You are munificent by pardoning him who throws himself before You, and show kindness to me just as it is nothing great for You to show kindness by forgiving him who expectantly hopes in You! Appoint for me in this day an allotment through which I may attain a share of Your good pleasure, and send me not back destitute of that with which Your worshippers return from among Your servants! Though I have not forwarded the righteous deeds which they have forwarded, I have forwarded the profession of Your Unity and the negation from You of opposites, rivals, and likenesses, I have come to You by the gateways by which You have commanded that people come, and I have sought nearness to You through that without seeking nearness through which none gains nearness to You. Then I followed all this with repeated turning toward You, lowliness and abasement before You, opinion

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of You, and trust in what is with You; and that I coupled hope in You, since the one who hopes in You is seldom disappointed! I ask You with the asking of one vile, lowly, pitiful, poor, fearful, seeking sanctuary; all that in fear and pleading seeking refuge and asking shelter, not presumptuous through the pride of the proud, nor exalting myself with the boldness of the obedient, nor presumptuous of the intercession of the interceders. For I am still the least of the least and the lowliest of the lowly, like a dust mote or less!”

In this part of his supplication, the Imam, peace be on him, expressed his magnification and glorification toward the Day of ‘Arafa, which is among the most glorious days of Allah. This is because, Allah, the Exalted, spreads therein His mercy, shows kindness toward the pilgrims of His Sacred House through pardon and forgiveness. The Imam, peace be on him, also showed his lowliness and absolute obedience to Allah relying upon His gentleness, hoping for His pardon, forwarding the profession of His Unity, and negating from Him opposites, rivals, and likenesses, coming to Him by the gateways which He, the Exalted, had commanded that people come, and which were the gateways of the pure Imams. In this there is a lesson for the negligent and those who turn away from Allah, the Exalted, to follow this way, that they might save themselves from the chastisement of Allah in the Next Abode.

Now, let’s return

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to listen to another part of this holy supplication: “O He who does not hurry the evildoers nor restrain those living in ease! O He who shows kindness through releasing stumblers and gratuitous bounty through respiting the offenders! I am the evildoer, the confessor, the offender, the stumbler! I am he who was audacious toward You as one insolent! I am he who disobeyed You with forethought! I am he who hid myself from Your servants and blatantly showed myself to You! I am he who was awed by Your servants and felt secure from You! I am he who dreaded not Your penalty and feared not Your severity! I am the offender against himself! I am the hostage to his own affliction! I am short in shame! I am long in suffering! By the right of him whom You have distinguished among Your creation and by him whom You have chosen for Yourself! By the right of him whom You have selected from among Your creatures and by him whom You have picked for Your task! By the right of him whom the obeying of whom You have joined to obeying You, and by him the disobeying of whom You have made like disobeying You! And by the right of him whose friendship You have bound to Your friendship and by him whose enmity You have linked to Your enmity! Shield me in this day of mine by that through which You shield him prays fervently to you while

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disavowing and him who seeks refuge in Your forgiveness while repenting! Attend to me with that through which You attend to the people of obedience toward You, proximity to You, and rank with You! Single me out as You single him out who fulfills Your covenant, fatigues himself for Your sake alone, and exerts himself in Your good pleasure! Take me not to task for my neglect in respect to You, my transgressing the limit in Your bounds, and stepping outside Your ordinances! Draw me not on little by little by granting me a respite, like the drawing on little by little of him who withholds from me the good he has by not sharing with You in letting favor down upon me! Arouse me from the sleep of the heedless, the slumber of the prodigal, and the dozing of the forsaken! Take my heart to that in which You have employed the devout, enthralled the worshippers, and rescued the remiss! Give me refuge from that which will keep me far from You, come between me and my share from You, and bar me from that which I strive for in You! Make easy for me the road of good deeds toward You, racing to them from where You have commanded, and covering them as You desire! Efface me not along with those whom You efface for thinking lightly of what You have promised! Destroy me not with those whom You destroy for exposing themselves to Your hate! Annihilate me

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not among those whom You annihilate for deviating from Your roads! Deliver me from the floods of trial, save me from the gullets of affliction, and grant me sanctuary from being seized by respite!”

In this paragraph, the Imam, peace be on him, talked about the favors of Allah, the Exalted, toward His servants, which are: Allah did not hurry to punish the evildoers and the disobedient; He granted them a respite in order that they might return to the road of the truth and righteousness. The Imam, peace be on him, also expressed his abasement and lowliness before the Great Creator. He asked and pleaded to him to grant him pardon and good pleasure, to arouse him from the sleep of the heedless and the slumber of the prodigal, and to make him walk on the road of the righteous. Let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:

“Come between me and the enemy who misguides me, the caprice which ruins me, and the failing which overcomes me! Turn not away from me with the turning away in wrath from one with whom You are not pleased! Let me not lose heart in expecting from You lest I be overcome by despair of Your mercy! Grant me not that which I cannot endure lest You weigh me down with the surplus of Your love which You load upon me! Send me not from Your hand, the sending of him who possesses no good, toward whom You have no need, and

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who turns not back (to You) ! Cast me not with the casting of him who has fallen from the eye of Your regard and been wrapped in degradation from You! Rather take my hand (and save me) from the falling of the stumblers, the disquiet of the deviators, the slip of those deluded, and the plight of the perishers! Release me from that with which You have afflicted the ranks of Your servants and handmaids and make me reach the utmost degrees of him about whom You are concerned, towards whom You show favor, and with whom You are pleased, Hence that You let him live as one praiseworthy and take him to You as one felicitous! Collar me with the collar of abstaining from that which makes good deeds fail and takes away blessings! Impart to my heart restraint before ugly works of evil and disgraceful misdeeds! Divert me not by that which I cannot reach except through You from doing that which alone makes You pleased with me! Root out from my heart the love of this vile world, which keeps from everything which is with You, bars from seeking the mediation to You, and distracts from striving for nearness to You! Embellish for me solitude in prayer whispered to You by night and by day! Give me a preservation which will bring me close to dread of You cut me off from committing things made unlawful by You, and spare me from captivation by dreadful sins!

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Give me purification from the defilement of disobedience, take away from me the filth of offenses, dress me in the dress of Your well-being, cloak me in the cloak of Your release, wrap me in Your ample favors, and clothe me in Your bounty and Your graciousness! Strengthen me with Your giving success and Your pointing the right way, help me toward righteous intention, pleasing words, and approved works, and entrust me not to my force and my strength in place of Your force and Your strength! Degrade me not on the day You raise me up to meet You, disgrace me not before Your friends, make me not forget remembering You, take me not away from me thanking You, but enjoin it upon me in states of inattention when the ignorant are heedless of Your boons, and inspire me to laud what You have done for me and confess to what You have conferred upon me! place my beseeching You above the beseeching of the beseechers and my praise of You above the praise of the praisers! Abandon me not with my neediness for You, destroy me not for what I have done for You!”

Have you noticed this clinging to Allah, the Exalted, and sincere obedience to Him? Have you noticed how the Imam, peace be on him, asked his Lord with lowliness, submission, and flattery? He asked Him to protect him from the trickery of the accursed Satan, the first enemy of man. He asked Him to turn

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him aside from every caprice that took him to a way other than the right way, to take care of him, to take his hand (and save him) from the falling of the stumblers, the disquiet of the divators, and the slip of those deluded, to root out from his heart the love of this world, which is the root of every crime, and to embellish for him worship and obedience to Him, that he would attain obedience, worship, and nearness to Him. Now, let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:

“And slap not my brow with that with which You slap the brow of those who contend with You, for I am submitted to You. I know that the argument is Yours, that You are closest to bounty, most accustomed to beneficence, worthy of reverent fear, and worthy of forgiveness, that You are closer to pardoning than to punishing, and that You are nearer to covering over than to making notorious! Hence let me live an agreeable life that will tie together what I want and reach what I love while I not bring what You dislike and not commit what You have prohibited; and make me die the death of him whose light runs before him and on his right hand! Abase me before Yourself and exalt me before Your creatures, lower me when I am alone with You and raise me among Your servants, free me from need for him has no need of You and

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increase me in neediness and poverty toward You! Give me refuge from the gloating of enemies, the arrival of affliction, lowliness and suffering! Shield me in what You see from me, the shielding of him who would have power over violence had he no clemency, and would seize for misdeeds had he no lack of haste! When You desire for a people a trial or an evil, deliver me from it, for I seek Your shelter; and since You have not stood me in the station of disgrace in this world of Yours, stand me not in such a station in the next world of Yours! Couple for me the beginnings of Your kindness with their ends and the ancient of Your benefits with the freshly risen! Prolong not my term with a prolonging through which my heart will harden! Strike me not with a striking that will take my radiance! Visit me not with a meanness that will diminish my worth or a deficiency that will keep my rank unknown! Frighten me not with a fright by which I will despair or a terror through which I will dread!

“However, make me stand in awe of Your threat, take precautions against leaving no excuses and Your warning, and tremble at the recitation of Your verses! Fill my night with life by keeping awake therein for worshipping You, solitude with vigil for You, exclusive devotion to reliance upon You, setting my needs before You, and imploring that You will set my

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neck free from the Fire and grant me sanctuary from Your chastisement, within which its inhabitants dwell! Leave me not blindly wandering in my insolence or inattentive in my perplexity for a time, make me not an admonition to him who takes admonishment, a punishment exemplary for him who takes heed, a trial for him who observe, devise not against me along with those against whom You devise, replace me not with another, change not my name, transform not my body, appoint me not a mockery for Your creatures, a laughing-stock for Yourself, a follower of anything but Your goo-pleasure, a menial servant for anything but avenging You!”

The Imam, peace be on him, presented his worries and requests before the Great Creator asking Him to fulfill them and not to refuse to accept answering him. He asked Him to let him live an agreeable life that would tie together what he wanted, not to let him commit any sin, and to make him die the death of one whose light ran before him and on his right hand. He also asked Allah to abase him before Himself when he stood in whispered prayers, and to make him find no entity of himself before Him. He asked Him to exalt him before His creatures, to free him from need for them, to give him refuge from the gloating of enemies, which is among the greatest disasters against man, to save him from the arrival of affliction, lowliness and suffering, to deliver

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him from a trial or an evil when He desired it for a people, etc. Now, let’s listen to the last paragraphs of this great supplication:

“Let me find the coolness of Your pardon and the sweetness of Your mercy, Your repose, Your ease, and the garden of Your bliss! Let me taste through some of Your boundless plenty, the favor of being free for what You love and striving in what brings about proximity with You and to You, and give me a gift from among Your gifts! Make my commerce profitable and my return without loss, fill me with fear of Your station, make me yearn for the meeting with, and allow me to repent with an unswerving repentance along with which You let no sin remain, small or large, and leave no wrongs, open or secret! Root out rancor toward the faithful from my breast, bend my heart toward the humble, be toward me as You are toward the righteous, adorn me with the adornment of the Allah-fearing, appoint for me a goodly report among those yet to come and a growing remembrance among the later folk, and take me to the plain of those who came first! Complete the lavishness of Your favor upon me, clothe me in its repeated generosities, fill my hands with Your benefits, drive Your generous gifts to me, Make me the neighbor of the best of Your friends in the Gardens which You have adorned for Your chosen, and wrap me in

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Your noble presents in the stations prepared for Your beloved ones! Appoint for me a resting place with You where I may seek heaven in serenity, and a resort to which I may revert and rest my eyes, weigh not against me my dreadful misdeeds, destroy me not on the day the secrets are tried, eliminate from me every doubt and uncertainty, appoint for me a way in the truth from every mercy, make plentiful for me the portions of gifts from Your granting of awards, and fill out for me the shares of beneficence from Your bestowal of bounty! Make my heart trust in what is with You and my concern free for what is Yours, employ me in that in which You employ Your pure friends, drench my heart with Your obedience when intellects are distracted, and combine with me independence, continence, ease, release, health, plenty, tranquillity, and well-being! Make not fail my good deeds through my disobedience that stains them or my private times of worship through the instigations of Your trial! Safeguard my face from asking from anyone in the world, and drive me far from begging for that which is with the ungodly! Make me not an aid to the wrongdoers, nor their hand and helper in erasing Your Book! Defend me whence I know not with a defense through which You protect me! Open toward me the gates of Your repentance, Your mercy, Your clemency, and Your boundless provision! Surely I am one of

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those who beseech You! And complete Your favor toward me! Surely Your are the best of those who show favor! Place the rest of my life in the hajj and the ‘Umra seeking Your face, O Lord of the worlds! And may Allah bless Muhammad and his Household, the good, the pure, and peace be on him and them always and forever!(1)

With this we will end this holy supplication, which is among the excellent supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. It contains outstanding lessons on wisdom, knowledge, and turning to Allah in repentance. Moreover it contains pure words and beautiful styles.

On the Day of ‘Id al-Adha’ (Sacrifice)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, received the day of ‘Id al-Adha’ (Sacrifice) with prayer and pleading to Allah asking Him to do him a favor through accepting his rites and all his works of worship and obedience to Him, and to grant him pardon and good pleasure. He supplicated Allah, the Exalted, with this glorious supplication, whose text is as follows:

“O Allah, this is a blessed and fortunate day, within in which Muslims are gathered in the quarters of Your earth. Among them are present the asker, the seeker, the beseecher, the fearful, while You are looking upon their deeds. Hence I ask You by Your munificence and generosity and easy upon You is what I ask You! that You bless Muhammad and his Household. And I ask You, O Allah, our Lord for Yours is the kingdom and Yours is

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 47.

the praise; there is no god but You, the Clement, the Generous, the All-loving, the All-kind, Possessor of majesty and munificence, Originator of the heavens and the earth whenever You apportion among Your faithful servants good, well-being, blessing, guidance, works in obedience to You, or good through which You are kind to them by guiding them to You, or raise them up a degree with You or give them the good of this world or the next, that You give me amply my share and allotment of it.

“And I ask You, O Allah for Yours is the kingdom and the praise; there is no god but You that You bless Muhammad, Your servant and Your messenger, Your beloved and Your selected friend, Your chosen from among Your creation, and the Household of Muhammad, the pious, the pure, the chosen, with a blessing no one has strength to count but You, that You associate us with the most righteous of Your faithful servants who supplicate You today O Lord of the worlds and that You forgive us and them! Surely You are powerful over everything. O Allah, toward You I aim with my need and before You I set my poverty, my neediness, my misery, for I have more trust in Your forgiveness and Your mercy than in my own works. Your forgiveness and Your mercy are vaster than my sins. Hence bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad, and attend to the accomplishment of every need of mine through Your

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power over it, its easiness for You, my poverty toward You, and Your freedom from need for me! I will come upon no good whatsoever unless through You, no one other than You will turn any evil away from me, and I have hope in none but You for my affair in the next world and in this world.

“O Allah, if anyone has ever arranged, made ready, prepared, and drawn himself up to be received by a creature in hope of his support and awards, then today toward You, my Master, is my arrangement, my making ready, my preparations, and my drawing up, in hope of Your pardon and support and in seeking to attain to You and Your prize. O Allah, Hence bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad, and disappoint not my hope in that today! O He who is not troubled by those who ask and diminished by those who attain their desire! I come not before You trusting in a righteous work I have sent ahead, nor in the intercession of any creature in whom I have hope, except the intercession of Muhammad and the Folk of his House (upon him and upon them be Your peace). I come to You admitting sin and evildoing toward myself. I come to You hoping for Your abounding pardon through which You have pardon the offenders, while their long persistence in dreadful sin did not prevent You from returning toward them with mercy and forgiveness! O He whose mercy

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is wide and whose pardon is abounding! O All-mighty! O All-mighty! O All-generous! O All-generous! Bless Muhammad the Household of Muhammad, return toward me through Your mercy, be tender toward me through Your bounty, and spread out Your forgiveness upon me!”

In the beginning of his supplication, the Imam, peace be on him, praised ‘Id al-Adha’ and its importance with the Muslims in the quarters of the earth, whether they attend the rites of the hajj or not who raise their requests to Allah, the Exalted, asking Him to accomplish them. The Imam asked Allah to give him a share of good, health, and guidance which He gave to His servants on this day. After that the Imam showed lowliness and pleading before Allah in whose hand is giving and deprivation, asking Him to be kind to him through forgiveness, mercy, and good pleasure. After this, let’s listen to another part of this supplication:

“O Allah, this station(1) belongs to Your vicegerents, Your chosen, while the places of Your trusted ones in the elevated degree which You have singled out for them have been forcibly stripped! But You are the Ordainer of that Your command is not overcome, the inevitable in Your governing is not overstepped! However You will and whenever You will! In that which You know best, You are not accused for Your creation or Your will! Then Your selected friends, Your vicegerents, were overcome, vanquished, forcibly stripped; they see Your decree replaced, Your book discarded, Your obligations distorted from

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1- The station of the servant’s prayer.

the aims of Your laws, and the Sunna of Your Prophet abandoned! O Allah, curse their enemies among those of old and the later folk, and all those pleased with their acts, and their adherents and followers! O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad (surely You are All-laudable, All-glorious) like Your blessing, benedictions, and salutations upon Your chosen Abraham and the people of Abraham! And hasten for them relief, ease, help, strengthening, and confirmation!”

In this part of his supplication, the Imam, peace be on him, dealt with the sensitive political affairs in his time, Hence he stated the following:

1. The station of the ‘Id prayer and other general affairs belonged to the Imams of guidance, who were the vicegerents of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and his trustees, and who treated the people with justice and fairness.

2. The important organs of the state were forcibly stripped by the Imams of tyranny and misguidance from among the Umayyad kings who spared no effort to war against Islamic awareness and to remove the Islamic message from society.

3. During the black government of the Umayyads, the Imam of guidance and truth were overcome, vanquished, and forcibly stripped.

4. The Umayyads intended to replace the decrees of Allah, to discard the Book, to distort the obligations, and to abandon the Sunna of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.

After this let’s return to another part of this holy supplication:

“O Allah, and make me one of the people

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who profess Your Unity, have faith in You, and attest to Your Messenger and the Imams toward whom You have enjoined obedience, and one of those through whom and at whose hands this takes place! Amen, Lord of the worlds! O Allah, nothing repels Your wrath but Your clemency, nothing repels Your displeasure but Your pardon, nothing grants sanctuary from Your punishment but Your mercy, and nothing will deliver me from You except pleading to You before You, Hence bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad, and give us on Your part, my Allah, relief by means of the power through which You bring the dead servants to life and revive the dead lands. Destroy me not through gloom, my Allah, before You respond to me and give me the knowledge of Your response to my supplication! Let me taste the flavor of well-being to the end of my term! And let not my enemy gloat over me, place not my neck in his power, and give him not authority over me!

“My Allah, if You rise me up, who is there to push me down? If You push me down, who is there to raise me up? If You honor me, who is there to humiliate me? If You humiliate me, who is there to honor me? If You chastise me, who is there to have mercy upon me? If You destroy me, who is there to stand up for Your servant against You or ask You about his affair?

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But I know that there is no wrong in Your decree and no hurry in Your vengeance. He alone hurries who fears to miss, and only the weak needs to wrong. But You are exalted, My Allah, high indeed above all that!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad, make me not the target of affliction nor the object of Your vengeance, respite me, comfort me, release me from my stumble, and afflict me not with an affliction in the wake of an affliction, for You have seen my frailty, the paucity of my stratagems, and my pleading to You! I seek refuge in You today, my Allah, from Your wrath, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and give me refuge! I seek sanctuary in You today from Your displeasure, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and give me sanctuary! I seek guidance from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and guide me! I seek help from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and help me! I ask You for mercy, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and have mercy upon me! I seek sufficiency from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and suffice me! I seek provision from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and provide for me! I seek assistance from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and assist me! I pray forgiveness for my past sins, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and forgive me! I ask You to preserve me

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from sin, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and preserve me, for I will not return to anything You dislike from me, if You will that! My Lord! My Lord! O All-loving! O All-kind! O Possessor of majesty and munificence! Bless Muhammad and his Household, and grant me everything that I ask from You, seek from You, and beseech from You! Will it, ordain it, decree it, and accomplish it! give me good in that of it which You decree! Bless me in that, be gratuitously bountiful toward me through it, make me happy in that of it which You give to me, and increase me in Your bounty and the plenty of what is with You, for You are boundless, Generous! And link that to the good and the bliss of the next world, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.(1)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, supplicated Allah with this glorious supplication and called down blessings on Muhammad and his Household one thousand times. With this we will end our talk about this holy supplication full of lowliness and pleading to the Great Creator. In it the Imam asked Allah for the good of this world and the next world. He asked, the Exalted, to make him have faith in Him and to attest to His Messenger and the great Imams, the trustees of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and his vicegerents over his community. Without doubt, the Imam, peace be on him, had great

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 48.

faith in Allah, attested to His Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and knew of his trustees (of authority), for he was among them. He supplicated with this supplication to guide the community to the sound, ideological path.

Chapter 9: Some Sciences Of The Imam

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As for the sciences of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, they were an automatic extension to the sciences of his fathers, who inherited them from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. The historians unanimously agreed that the Imam was the most knowledgeable of the people in all sciences and arts. The proof of this is that the religious scholars and reporters narrated countless sciences on his authority.(1) We will briefly present some of his knowledge and sciences as follows:

The Hadith (Tradition)

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As for the holy hadith, it is of great importance in Islamic sciences, for it explains objectively and comprehensively all the religious precepts which Allah has mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. It mentions their kinds, which are: obligatory (wajib), forbidden (muharram), desirable, (mustahab) reprehensible (makkru’h), and permissible (mubah). It mentions their parts, their conditions, their legal impediments, and all necessary things concerning them. It specifies and limits the general (verses) of the Book. It mentions the manners of behavior and rules of morals. Moreover it gives methods that make man happy and set right his character.

Anyhow, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the greatest and most important narrator in Islam, and his narration is of great importance with the traditionalists, especially as it concerns

p: 314


1- Khulasat Tahdhib al-Kamal, p. 23.

those traditions reported by al-Zuhri on his authority. Abu’ Bakr b. Abi Shayba said: “The most authentic chain of authorities is al-Zuhri on the authority of ‘Ali b. al-Husayn on the authority of his father on the authority of ‘Ali.(1)” The Imam, peace be on him, reported a large group of traditions on the authority of his grandfather, the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, of his father Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, and of others. We will mention some of his narrations:

His Narrations on the Authority of the Prophet

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, narrated a brilliant group of traditions on the authority of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. The following are some of them:

1. He, peace be on him, reported on the authority of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “Waiting for relief is worship. Whoever is satisfied with a little provision, Allah is satisfied with his little work.(2)” This holy tradition urges the Muslim person in a wise manner to avoid despair of Allah’s mercy; rather he/she must be patient and wait for ease, for all affairs are only in the hand of Allah, the Exalted, Who manages the affairs of His servants. This tradition also prevents man from fatiguing himself for attaining material things, for Allah divides provisions among His servants.

2. The Imam, peace be on him, reported on the authority of Allah’s Apostle, may

p: 315


1- Ibid.,
2- Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 188.

Allah bless him and his family, who said: “By Him in whose hand is my soul, nothing is better than adding clemency to knowledge.(1)” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, urged man to adopt knowledge and clemency which are among the original qualities through which man’s character prospers, and through which his life and behavior develop.

3. The Imam, peace be on him, reported on the authority of his father Imam, Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, on the authority of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “Showing love to men is the head of intellect, after faith in Allah, the Great and Almighty.(2)” Indeed, showing love to men and attaining their sentiments are among the most manifest qualities of man’s character. They are a proof of the completion of his intellect and the abundance of his perfection and excellence, and are among the greatest earnings in his life.

4. The Imam, peace be on him, reported on the authority of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “Faith is words and actions.(3)” Faith is not mere words that vanish in space; rather it is action and striving in life.

5. He, peace be on him, related from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “Faith is confession with the tongue, knowledge through the heart, and action with the limbs.(4)

Faith depends on three affairs:

First, it depends on confessing with the tongue which shows what has been

p: 316


1- Al-Khisal, p. 5.
2- Al-Huliya, vol. 3, p. 203. Al-Khisal, p. 17.
3- Al-Khisal, p. 53.
4- Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1, p. 255. Al-Khisal, p.165.

impressed in the inner self.

Second, the heart should know in detail the thing in which it has believed. Hence, if there is no knowledge through the heart, there is no faith.

Third, faith should be accompanied by action with the limbs.

6. Al-Zuhri reported on the authority of Imam ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “The people of two creeds do not inherit each other, nor does a Muslim inherit an unbeliever, nor does an unbeliever inherit a Muslim.” Then he, may Allah bless him and his family, recited: “Those who disbelieve are friends of each other.”(1) The Muslim jurists unanimously agreed that unbelief cut off inheritance.

7. The Imam, peace be on him, reported on the authority of his father, on the authority of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, on the authority of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “The foot of a servant will not disappear on the Day of Judgment until he is questioned about four (things): about his span, in what he spent it, about his youth, in what he spent it, about his possessions, where he earned them and in what he had spent them, and about the love toward us, the Household (of the Prophet).(2)

This holy Prophetic tradition shows the following affairs:

A. On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will question man: “Did you spend the days of your life in obedience to

p: 317


1- Ibn al-Sa‘i, al-Jami‘ al-Mukhtasar, vol. 9, p. 87.
2- Al-Khisal, p. 231.

Me and in good pleasure of Mine, that I may repay you for them? Or did you spend them in disobedience to Me, that I may punish you with justice?”

B. Allah will question man: “Did you spend the days of your youth, which was the bloom of your life, in disobedience to Me, that I may punish you for them? Or did you spend them in obedience to Me, that I may repay you for them?”

C. Allah will question man: “Did you earn your possessions legally? Did you spend them in the good pleasure of Mine, that I may repay you for them? Did you earn them through illegal ways such as usury and falsehood and spent them in disobedience to Me, that I may punish you for them?”

D. Allah will question man about the love for the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, who are life-boats and security for mankind. Hence whoever loves them, his road will surely lead to the Garden, and whoever hates them, his road will certainly lead to the Fire, as the narrators have unanimously agreed on this.

8. He peace be on him, reported on the authority of his father, on the authority of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “The most lovable act for Allah is making the believer pleased.(1)” Islam take great care of the unity and solidarity of Muslims. Hence it urges believers to delight each other in order to spread

p: 318


1- Musadaqat al-Ikhwan.

love and friendship among them.

9. He, peace be on him, said: [The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family, said:]

“Nothing better than good manners will be placed in the person’s scales on the Day of Resurrection.(1)

Clinging to noble moral traits is among the most valuable things which man possesses in his life and among the best works which he stores for his life in the next world. Hence Islam has summoned man to adopt them.

10 He, peace be on him, said: [ Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, would say in the end of his sermon:]

“Blessed is he whose morals are good, whose nature is pure, whose inner self is righteous, his open behavior is good, who spends the surplus of his possessions (in the way of Allah), withholds the surplus of his words, and treats people with justice.(2)

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, urged the Muslim person to follow outstanding qualities and to cling to the following:

1. Good manners.

2. The purification and righteousness of conscience.

3. Virtues and the rules of conduct

4. Spending the surplus of possessions in the way of Allah such as helping the poor and the weak.

5. Restraining the surplus of words and refraining from entering dull affairs.

6. Treating people with justice, that is through clinging to the truth even if it is against yourself.

11. He, peace be on him, said: [ Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, say:]

“Whoever wants Allah to prolong his lifetime

p: 319


1- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 99.
2- Ibid., p. 156.

and increase his provision, let him join his womb relatives, for womb relatives will have fluent tongues on the Day of Resurrection. They will say: O Lord, join him who had joined us, and cut him off who had cut us off.(1)

Indeed, joining womb relatives strengthens the links of the family which is the first foundation in building society. When love and friendship prevail family, society becomes righteous and united. Hence, Islam takes great care of unity and solidarity of society through summoning its followers to join each other.

12. He, peace be on him, said: [ Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, say:]

“The most lovable ways for Allah, the Great and Almighty, are two: Repelling rage with clemency and misfortune with forbearance.(2)” The greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, did his best to build the Muslim’s character on clemency and forbearance, which are among the most prominent qualities of man. Hence, whoever has such qualities will have a perfect character.

13. He, peace be on him, reported on the authority of his fathers, on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “Indeed, Allah, the Great and Almighty, created reason from stored, hidden light through His previous knowledge with which He acquainted neither the prophets, the envoys, nor the angels brought nigh. Hence, He made knowledge its breath, understanding its soul, asceticism its head, modesty its eye, wisdom its tongue, clemency its concern, and mercy its heart. Then He

p: 320


1- Ibid.,
2- Ibid., p. 99. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 5, p. 523.

strengthened and filled it (reason) with ten things: certainty, faith, truthfulness, tranquillity, sincerity, gentleness, giving, content, submission, and thanksgiving. Then He, the Great and Almighty, said to reason: Turn back, and it turned back. Then He said to it: Come, and it came. Then He said to it: Speak, and it said: Praise belongs to Allah who has neither support, nor rival, nor likeness, nor match, nor equal, toward whose mightiness all things are humble. Hence, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said: (I swear) by My might and majesty, I have never created a creature better than you, more obedient to me than you, higher than you, nobler than you, dearer than you. Through you I will blame. Through you I will give. Through you My Unity is confessed. Through you I am worshipped. Through you I am supplicated. Through you I am hoped. Through you I am sought. Through you I am feared. Through you I am watched out. Through you I will reward, and through you I will punish.(1)

This holy tradition glorifies and magnifies reason, shows its importance and the qualities to which Allah has given. Hence reason is the best of all beings which Allah created. Allah has granted man reason and distinguished him by it from other creatures and beings. Reason is a condition for the rightness of the Islamic obligations. Hence whoever loses his reason is like an animal, and thus it is not incumbent on him to perform the obligations.

14. He, peace be on

p: 321


1- Al-Khisal, pp. 396-397.

him, narrated on the authority of his fathers that a Muslim said to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family: “O Allah’s Apostle, if you force those men, over whom you have power, our number will increase and we will be more forceful than our enemy. Hence Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘I do not want to meet Allah with an innovation through which nothing has happened to me, and I am not among those who oppress (people).’ Hence Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, revealed: O Muhammad, ‘And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them,’ by force as they believe (in Me) when they will see chastisement in the hereafter.

If I did that against them, they would not be worthy of my reward and praise. However, I want them to believe (in Me) willingly, and not by force, that they may be worthy of My proximity, dignity, and immortality in the Immortal Garden, ‘Will you then force men till they become believers?’ As for these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: ‘And it is not for a soul to believe except by Allah’s permission,’ they do not mean that it is forbidden for the soul to believe (in Allah); rather they mean that it does not believe (in Him) except with His own permission, which means that He commands it to believe (in Him) without any force.(1)

The greatest

p: 322


1- Al-Tawhid, p. 342.

Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, refuted the suspicion of compulsion and all the imaginations concerning it. When Allah, the Exalted, created men, he gave them the freedom of choice, guided them to good deeds, and prevented them from (doing) evil deeds. Hence they do whatever they want and choose whatever they want according to their own will. They are not forced to do any deed. The narrators said: “Imam al-Rida recited this tradition to al-Ma’mu’n, the Abbaside, who admired it and said: ‘O Aba al-Hasan, you have relieved me, may Allah relieve you!’(1)

15. He, peace be on him, said: [My father al-Husayn, Lord of the youths of Heaven related to me. He said: My father ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him, reported to me. He said: I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, say:]

“Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: Surely, I am Allah, there is no god but I, Hence serve me. He who sincerely bears witness that there is no god but Allah will enter My fort, and he who enters My fort will be safe from My chastisement.(2)

Indeed, whoever sincerely confesses the Unity of Allah and admits it because of awareness and faith will cling to Allah and enter His safe fort. Accordingly, he will be safe from the chastisement and punishment of Allah.

16. He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:]

“A defect is sufficient for person that he sees men’s

p: 323


1- Ibid.,
2- Ibid.,, p. 25.

defects but does not see his own defects, and that he harms his friend with that which does not concern him.(1)

It is a defect that person looks for the defects of men and turns away from his own defects. Such a person has to educate himself, set right his own defects, and leave looking for the defects of men. It is also a defect that he harms his friend with that which does not concern him, for, with this, he shows enmity toward his friend, while he is in no need of this.

17. He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:]

“It is an act of the good Islam of person is that he leaves that which does not concern him.(2)” This is one of the most prominent qualities of the Muslim person, for his leaving that which does not concern him is a proof of his abundant, perfect reason. As for entering into that which does not concern him, it is a proof of his shallow reason, causes to him difficulties and hardships, and throws him into great wickedness.

18. He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:]

“(There are) three degrees in the Garden and three degrees in the hereafter: The highest degree of the Garden is for him who loves us through his heart and supports us with his tongue and his hand. The second degree is for him who loves us through his

p: 324


1- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 46.
2- Al-Durriya al-Tahira, p. 27. Al-Ma‘rifa wa al-Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 360.

heart and supports us with his tongue. The third degree is for him who loves us through his heart. He who hates us through his heart and helps (against us) with his tongue is in the lowest level of the Fire. He who hates us through his heart is in the third level of the Fire.(1)

Love for the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, is salvation from ruin, and it makes man attain the highest level of Paradise. As for showing hate toward them, it is among the reasons for facing ruin and entering the lowest level of the Fire.

19. He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:]

“Love for me and my household is useful in seven situations whose terrors are great: during death, in grave, during Resurrection, during the Book, during the reckoning, during the scales, and during the Path.(2)” These are the most critical situations which man will not pass but through love for the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and his pure Household.

20. He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:]

“Allah and every prophet responded have cursed seven (persons): The one who increases Allah’s Book. The one who accuses Allah’s predetermination of laying. The one who abandons my Sunna (practices). The one who regards as lawful what Allah has forbidden concerning my Household. The one who gains power (over my community) through invincibility to

p: 325


1- Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin, vol. 1, p. 360.
2- Al-Khisal, p. 330.

make lowly those whom Allah supports and supports those whom Allah has made lowly. And the one who takes hold of the war booty gained by Muslims (without fighting) and regards it as lawful.(1)

Such kinds of people, whom Allah and every prophet cursed, have deviated from the truth and abandoned all the laws of Allah. Such people were the Umayyad monarchs, who destroyed Islam, showed an enmity toward the pure family (of the Prophet), and spread corruption and tyranny in the earth.

21. He, peace be on him, reported on the authority of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: ‘Ali b. Abi Talib is my proof over My creatures, My light in My earth, and entrusted by Me with My knowledge.(2)

This Holy Tradition displays the importance of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and his high position with Allah, for he is the greatest argument of Allah over His servants, His bright light in the earth, and entrusted by Him with His knowledge.

22. He, peace be on him, said: [My father al-Husayn told me. He said: al-Hasan b. ‘Ali told me. He said: My father ‘Ali b. Abi Talib told me. He said: Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:]

“I and ‘Ali were created from one light.(3)

Allah, the Exalted, created the Prophet and the Trustee (of authority) from one light. Through them He enlightened intellects, made clear the path, and

p: 326


1- Ibid., p. 308.
2- Al-Musallsalat.
3- Al-Khisal, p. 31.

guided the straying.

23. He, peace be on him, reported that Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: “O ‘Ali, the first thing about which the servant will be questioned after his death is that he should confess that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and that you are the Commander of the faithful because of what Allah and I have determined for you. Hence whoever confess this and believes in it will enter Paradise.(1)

All the traditions have mentioned the meaning of this tradition, which is as follows: When man leaves the life in this world, he will be questioned about these three affairs, which are the first beginning about which he will be questioned and according to which he will be punished.

24. He, peace be on him, narrated on the authority of his father, on the authority of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, who said: “Gabriel came down to me and said: ‘Surely Allah recites you greetings and says: ‘The Fire is forbidden for the backbone which caused you to descend, the womb which carried you, and the lap which took care of you.’(2)

Commenting on this tradition, al-Siyu’ti said: “As for the loins from which Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, was caused to descend, they were (the loins of) ‘Abd Allah. As for the womb (which carried him), it was (the womb of) Amina. As for the lap (which took

p: 327


1- Al-Sayyid al-Muqaddam, al-Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 283.
2- Al-Ta‘zim wa al-Minna fi anna Abawai Rasu`l Allah fi al-Janna, p. 32.

care of him), it was the lap of his uncle Abu’ Talib and of Fatima, daughter of Asad.(1)

25. He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, came to a group of his family and said:]

“Shall I tell you about that which will be good for you in this world and the next world and with which you supplicate Allah, the Great and Almighty, and He relieves you when you become distressed and worried? They replied: ‘Yes, O Allah’s Apostle.’ He said: ‘Say: Allah, Allah, Allah is our Lord, Who has no associate! Then, supplicate (Him) with whatever you want.’(2)

26. He, peace be on him, said: “A man came to Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and asked him: ‘I have done all evil things, hence is there any repentance?’ He (Allah’s Apostle), may Allah bless him and his family, answered: ‘Is any of your parents remaining (alive)?’ ‘Yes,’ answered the man. He (Allah’s Apostle), may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘Do good for him, may Allah pardon you.’ When the man went away, He (Allah’s Apostle), may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘If only it would his mother.’(3)” This tradition shows that doing good for parents is among the things that make mercy obligatory and lead to forgiving sins, especially as it concerns mother.

27. He, peace be on him, narrated on the authority of his father, Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, that Allah’s Apostle, may

p: 328


1- Ibid., p. 32.
2- Al-Quttb al-Rawandi, Da‘awat, p. 20.
3- Ibid., p. 47.

Allah bless him and his family, said to Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him: “The Garden yearns for you, ‘Ammar, Salman, Abi Dharr, and al-Muqqdad.(1)

Indeed, the Garden yearns for this believing group of people, for they did their best for Allah, and established His religion through their efforts and striving. Hence, indeed, the Garden yearns for them!

28. He, peace be on him, said: [My father related to me that his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:]

“The most obedient of the people is he who performs the religious duties. The most generous of the people is he who pays Zakat (alms). The most ascetic of the people is he who refrains from (doing) forbidden things. The most pious of the people is he who believes in the truth concerning what is for him and what is against him. The most just of the people is he who accepts for the people what he accepts for himself and hates for them what he hates for himself. The most courteous of the people is he who always mentions death. The happiest of the people is he who is safe from punishment (when) he is under the earth and hopes for reward. The wisest of the people is he who learns a lesson when the world changes from state to state. The most important of the people in the world is he who does not regard the world as important. The most valuable of

p: 329


1- Al-Khisal, p. 275.

the people is he who is the most knowledgeable of them. The least of the people in pleasure is the envier. The least of the people in rest is the miser. The most miserly of the people is he who is miserly in that which Allah has made obligatory on him. The worthiest of the people in the truth is the most knowledgeable of them. The least of the people in sacredness is the sinner. The least of the people in sincerity are the kings. The least of the people in friendship are the kings. The poorest of the people is the greedy one. The richest of the people is he who is not the captive of stinginess. The best of the people in faith is the best of them in temper. The (wisest) of the people is the most pious of them. The greatest of the people in wariness is he who leaves that which does not concern him. The most pious of the people is he who leaves argument, even if he is right. The least of the people in generosity is the liar. The most miserable of the people are the kings. The most abominable of the people is the haughty one. The best of the people in exertion is he who refrains from sins. The most clement of the people is he who turns aside from the ignorant men. The happiest of the people is he who keeps close to generous men. The wisest of the

p: 330

people is he who strongly humors men. The worthiest of the people of accusation is he who sits with the people of accusation. The most tyrannical of the people is he who kills other than his killer and hits other than his hitter. The worthiest of the people of forgiveness is he who is the most capable of them of punishment. The worthiest of the people of sin is the fool, the backbiter. The lowliest of the people is he who abuses men. The most resolute of the people is he who is the best of them in restraining anger. The most righteous of the people is he who is the best of them in setting men right, and the best of the people is he whom men avail themselves of him.(1)” This holy tradition sheds light on men’s natures, trends, and inclinations. It shows the important methods of the inclusive reform of many educational and psychological affairs. Indeed, this Prophetic tradition is a treasure of science, wisdom, and knowledge.

29. He, peace be on him, narrated on the authority of his father that Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: “I and the prophets before me have been afflicted by him who harms us. If the believer is on the top of a mountain, Allah, the Great and Almighty, will sends him who harms him (the believer) to repay him (the believer) for that.(2)

The greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and all the prophets

p: 331


1- Ibn Babawayh al-Qummi, al-Ghayat.
2- Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 5, p. 486.

before him were persecuted by the tyrannical governments which opposed social reformers. The law of life follows this state, for evil forces always war against good forces; rather if a believer isolated himself from men on the top of a mountain, a wicked person would go there to harm him, that Allah might repay the believer for this.

30. He, peace be on him, narrated on the authority of his father that Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: “‘Ali b. Abi Talib is the vicegerent of Allah and is my vicegerent. He is the proof of Allah and is my proof. He is the chosen one of Allah and is my chosen one. He is the lover of Allah and is my lover. He is the friend of Allah and is my friend. He is the sword of Allah and is my sword. He is my brother, my friend, and my helper. He who loves him loves me. He who hates him hates me. He who follows him follows me. His enemy is my enemy. His wife is my daughter. His sons are my sons. His war is my war. His words are my words. His command is my command. He is the Lord of the trustees (of authority), and the best one of my community.(1)

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, praised on many occasions the outstanding qualities of his brother and his trustee (of authority), the pioneer of the truth and social justice,

p: 332


1- Roudat al-Jinan, vol. 6, pp. 183-184. Quoted from the book ‘Manaqib al-Imam Amir al-Mu’minin’ by bin Shadhan al-Qummi.

Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. It was natural for the Prophet to praise and laud Imam ‘Ali to indicate that he was his successor after him, and that he was the general leader of the Islamic movement after his death, may Allah bless him and his family.

31. He, peace be on him, narrated on the authority of his fathers that Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said to his companions: “Surely, Allah has imposed on you obedience to me. He has prevented you from disobeying me. He has imposed on you obedience to ‘Ali after me. He has prevented you from disobeying him. ‘Ali is my trustee (of authority), and my inheritor. He belongs to me, and I belong to him. Love for him is belief, and hatred of him is unbelief.(1)

Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, did not impose on his companions obedience to Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him; rather Allah imposed it on all the Muslims. This is clearly indicated by the Tradition of al-Ghadir, Hadith al- Ghadir, on which all the Muslims have unanimously agreed. Without doubt, this resulted from Imam ‘Ali’s talents and great devotion to Allah, the Exalted, for there was no Muslim similar to him in outstanding qualities and laudable deeds. Al-Jahiz said: “When priority and precedence in Islam are mentioned, when help and protection to Islam are mentioned, when knowledge of the religion is mentioned,

p: 333


1- Yanabi‘ al-Mawadda, Chapter 41.

when renouncing possessions (for which men fight each other) is mentioned, when the giving on the plate is mentioned, none is well-known for all these qualities except ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him.(1)

32. He, peace be on him, narrated on the authority of his father, on the authority of his grandfather Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, that Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: “The sick can perform the prayers standing. If they cannot (perform the prayers standing), they can perform them sitting. If they cannot prostrate, they can point to the (prostration place) and make their prostration lower than their bowing. If they cannot perform the prayers sitting, they can perform them (lying) on their right side facing the qibla. If they cannot (perform them in this manner), they can pray laying down and their legs facing the qibla.(2)

This holy tradition and other traditions narrated on the authority of the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, concerning this matter are among the traditions on which the jurists depend and conclude religious precepts. They say that it is not incumbent on the sick to perform the prayers standing when he/she finds difficulty in (performing) them; rather it is incumbent on him to perform them sitting, for Islam has not legislated any difficult precept.

33. He, peace be on him, narrated on the authority of his father that Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and

p: 334


1- Al-Tha‘alibi, Thimar al-Qulu`b, p. 67.
2- Mizan al-I‘tidal, vol. 1, pp. 484-485.

his family, said: “If the believer is full (of food) and thanks Allah (for this), Allah will repay him as He repays the one who fasts and stands (in prayer). Surely, Allah loves those who thank (Him).(1)

These are some traditions which Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, reported on the authority of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. He also reported some traditions on the authority of his father, on the authority of his grandfather Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Moreover, he reported some traditions without any chain of authorities. Anyhow, all the traditions reported on his authority are very authentic if the chain of authorities is authentic.

His Narrations on the Authority of the Commander of the Faithful

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, reported a brilliant group of the wise sayings of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. In these wise sayings Imam ‘Ali treated many social affairs. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin also reported a group of his sermons of which is the following:

1. He, peace be on him, said: “The immoderate person has three marks: He eats that which does not belong to him, wears that which does not belong to him, and buys that which does not belong to him.(2)

The immoderate are deviated from economical conduct. ‘Ali, the wise Imam, has limited this deviation in their conduct when he says that they eat, wear, and buy things which

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1- Rabi‘ al-Abbrar, vol. 4, p. 328.
2- Al-Khisal, p. 94.

do not agree with their conditions and incomes.

2. He, peace be on him, said: [My father al-Husayn, peace be on him, related to me, he said: I heard my father, ‘Ali, say:]

“Acts are three categories: Obligations, excellencies, and acts of disobedience. As for obligations, they (occur) in accordance with command, pleasure, decree, predetermination, will, and knowledge of Allah, the Great and Almighty. As for acts of disobedience, they do not (occur) according to Allah’s command, but they (occur) according to Allah’s decree, predetermination, will, and knowledge, then He punish (men) for them.(1)

Imam ‘Ali shed light on man’s deeds and their relationship with Allah’s decree and predetermination. Hence all man’s acts are known by Allah, Who knows the weight of an atom in the earth and the heavens, but man is not forced to practice both good and evil acts; rather that is up to his will and choice, which theologians have established in their books of theology.

3. He, peace be on him, narrated on the authority of his father that Imam ‘Ali, Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, said: “Surely, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has concealed four (things) in four (things): He has concealed His pleasure in His obedience, hence make not little of any act of obedience to Him, for it may agree with His pleasure, while you do not know. He has hidden His wrath in disobeying Him, hence make not light of any act of disobeying Him, for it may agree with His wrath,

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1- Ibid., p. 156.

while you do not know. He has concealed His answer in supplicating Him, hence make not little of supplicating Him, for it may match His answer, will you do not know. He has hidden His friends among His servants, hence make not light of any of His servants, for he may be His friend, while you do not know.(1)

Imam ‘Ali, peace be on him, urged men not to make little of any of the foregoing affairs, for disdaining them would result in corrupt acts.

4. He, peace be on him, said: [The Commander of the faithful would say:]

“Surely, time is three days, and your are among them: Yesterday and what was on it passed, hence it will never return. If you did good on it, you would not grieve for its passing and would be happy with what you received on it. If you neglected (your works) on it, you would intensely grieve for its passing. You were negligent on it and you are negligent on your next day which you do not know, perhaps you will not reach it. If you reached it, perhaps your share of negligence on it would be like your share on your past day. Hence one of the three days passed, while you were negligent on it. Then the day for which you wait, while you are not sure of leaving negligence on it; it is your day which you have entered. Hence, it is necessary for you to think about the good deeds which

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1- Ibid., 191.

you neglected on your past day and the evil deeds from which you did not refrain on it. Yet, you will receive your next day, while you are not sure of reaching it, not certain of attaining good deeds or refraining from evil deeds. Therefore, your day which you have reached is like your past day. Hence act as the one who expects none of the days except his day and night upon which he has entered. Therefore, do (good) and leave (evil), and it is Allah Who helps (you) with this.(1)” The Lord of the knowers and Imam of the Allah-fearing urged men to seize the opportunity through doing good and refraining from doing evil, for man’s days pass quickly, and Allah will repay him for his good deeds and punish him for his evil deeds.

5. He, peace be on him, said: [The Commander of the faithful would say:]

“O Allah, be kind to me through trusting in You, entrusting (my affairs) to You, satisfying with Your predetermination, and submitting to Your command, that I may not love hastening what You have delayed nor delaying what You have hastened, O Lord of the worlds!(2)” In these words the Commander of the faithful summoned men to trust in Allah, the Exalted, to entrust their affairs to Him, to satisfy with His predetermination, and to submit to His command, for only He, the Most High, can arrange the affairs of all men, and none other than Him is able to arrange them.

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1- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 453.
2- Ibid., p. 580. Nasikh al-Tawarikh, vol. 1, p. 142.

6. He, peace be on him, said: [While the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, was mobilizing his companions, an old man came to him, greeted him, and said to him: “I have come to you from Syria. I am an old man. I have heard about your countless outstanding merits. I think that you will be assassinated, hence teach me of what Allah, the Exalted, has taught you.” The Commander of the faithful said to him:]

“Yes, O old man, he whose two days are equal is wronged. He whose worries are many in the world, his grief will be greater on leaving it. He whose next day is more wicked than his day is deprived. He who does not pay attention to what he sees in his next world, if this world of him is faultless for him, is ruined. He who does not take care of his own defect, caprice will overcome him. He who has defect, death is better for him (than life). O old man, this world is insignificant and it has people. The next world also has people whose souls are free from supporting the people of the world. They do not compete with each other for the world, nor are they happy with its ease, nor do they grieve for its misery. O old man, whoever is afraid of spending night, his sleep is little. How quick nights and days are in the span of a servant! Hence store your words, count

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your days, and say nothing except good. O old man, accept for men what you accept for yourself, and do for men as you want them to do for you.”

Having given the old man these brilliant commandments and sermons, Imam ‘Ali turned to his companions and said to them: “O men, do you not see that the people of the world enter into evening and rise in the morning in various states? They are: One who is afflicted with epilepsy, another is a returner, another is returned, another sacrifices his own self, another hopes for (nothing), another is shrouded, another seeks the world and death seeks him, another is heedless, but (Allah) is not heedless of him, and the remaining ones walk on the path of the bygone ones.”

The wise Imam (‘Ali) talked about the general life which people lead throughout history; he spoke about people’s affairs and states that will never change till Allah inherits the earth and what is on it.

Zayd b. Sohan al-‘Abdi was a companion and student of Imam ‘Ali. He was the best of the companions, the most mindful of them, and the most knowledgeable of them in the sciences of Iman ‘Ali, hence he questioned the Imam as follows: “O Commander of the faithful, Which authority is the most overcoming and strongest?”

Iman ‘Ali, peace be on him, replied: “Caprice.”

Zayd: “Which lowliness is the most lowly?”

Iman ‘Ali: “Clinging to the world.”

Zayd: “Which poverty is the most intense?”

Iman ‘Ali: “Unbelief after belief.”

Zayd: “Which creed is the

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most devious?”

Iman ‘Ali: “Unreal creed.”

Zayd: “Which act is the best?”

Iman ‘Ali: “Allah-fearingness.”

Zayd: “Which act is the most successful?

Iman ‘Ali: “Requesting that which is with Allah.”

Zayd: “Which friend is the most wicked?”

Iman ‘Ali: “The friend who beautifies for you the disobedience to Allah.”

Zayd: “Which creature is the most miserable?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is he who sells his world for the world of other than him.”

Zayd: “Which creature is the strongest?”

Iman ‘Ali: “The clement one.”

Zayd: “Which creature is the most miserly?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is he who takes (something) from other than his lawful (possessions) and places it in other than its right (place).”

Zayd: “Which of men is the wisest?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is he who can distinguish guidance from misguidnace.”

Zayd: “Which of men is the most clement?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is he who does not become angry.”

Zayd: “Which of men is the firmest in opinion?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is he whose self the people cannot change nor can the world change it through its distress.”

Zayd: “Which of men is the most foolish?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is he who is deceived by the world, while he sees its changeable conditions.”

Zayd: “Which of men is the most intense in grief?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is he who is deprived of this world and the next world; that is the clearest loss.”

Zayd: “Which creature is the blindest?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is he who works for other than Allah and asks Allah to repay him for his work.”

Zayd: “Which content is the best?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is the content with what Allah gives.”

Zayd: “ Which

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catastrophe is the most intense?”

Iman ‘Ali: “The catastrophe in the religion.”

Zayd: “Which work is the most lovable with Allah?”

Iman ‘Ali: “Waiting for relief.”

Zayd: “Which of men is the best in the view of Allah?”

Iman ‘Ali: “The most fearful of them of Allah, the most devout of them, and the most indifferent of them to the world.”

Zayd: “Which words are the best in the view of Allah?”

Iman ‘Ali: “Praising Allah very much, pleading (to him), and supplicating Him.”

Zayd: “Which words are the most truthful?”

Iman ‘Ali: “Confessing that there is no god but Allah.”

Zayd: “Which works are the best in the view of Allah?”

Iman ‘Ali: “Submission (to Allah) and piety.”

Zayd: “Which of men is the most generous?”

Iman ‘Ali: “It is he who is truthful in all situations.”

Zayd’s questions were over. After Imam ‘Ali had fully answered them, he turned to the old man and said to him:

“Surely, Allah, the Great and Almighty, created some creatures. He made the world narrow against them in order to test them. He increased for them the world’s vanities, but they wished for the Abode of Peace to which He summoned them. They showed forbearance toward difficult livelihood and ordeal. They earned for the dignity with Allah. They sacrificed themselves for seeking Allah’s good pleasure. Hence their final result was martyrdom. They met Allah, Who was pleased with them. They knew that death was the way of those who were before and after them. Hence they supplied themselves for their next world with (provisions) other than silver

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and gold. They showed forbearance toward minimum nourishment and offered the surplus (of it). They loved (men) for Allah and hated (them) for Him, the Great and Almighty. It is they who are lamps, and they will be the people of Paradise in the next world.”

This sermon made a strong impression on the old man, hence he turned to Imam ‘Ali and said to him: “I will not leave the Garden, for I see its people (standing) beside you. Supply me with a weapon to be able (to fight) against your enemy.”

Imam ‘Ali supplied the old man with a breastplate. Hence, the old man was among the most prominent fighters. He showed extreme courage at the battle until he was martyred before him. Hence Imam ‘Ali prayed over him and asked Allah to have mercy on him.(1)

7. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, narrated one of the sermons of his grandfather, Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. The following is its text:

“Surely, praise belongs to Allah. I praise Him and ask Him for help and guidance. I seek refuge in Allah from misguidance. Whomever Allah guides, none misguides him. Whomever Allah misguides, none guides him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the One Who has no associate, and that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger, He chose him for His command and singled him out for prophecy, the noblest of His creatures and the most lovable with Him, hence

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1- Al-Tu`si, al-Amali, p. 277.

he delivered the message of his Lord, counseled his community, and delivered that with which he was charged. I advise you to fear Allah. Indeed the fear of Allah is the best (thing) for which the servants of Allah advised each other, the nearest (thing) to Allah’s good pleasure, and the best (thing) in the final results of the affairs with Allah. You were commanded to fear Allah. You were created for kindness and obedience. Hence be wary of Allah to the extent that He warned you against Himself, for He warned (you) against a severe torment. Fear Allah with a fear which is not a mere excuse. Act without dissimulation and reputation, for he who acts for other than Allah, Allah entrusts him to him for whom he acts.

Whoever sincerely acts for Allah, Allah undertakes repaying him. Fear Allah’s torment, for He did not create you in vain nor will vainly He leave any of your affairs. He named your traces, knew your works, and wrote down your fixed terms. Hence let not the world delude you, for it beguiles its people, and those who admire it are deceived. This world will perish, but the next world is the abode of life, if only they knew. I ask Allah for the abodes of the martyrs, accompanying the prophets, and the life of the happy. Indeed, we belong to Allah and turn to Him (for help).(1)

In this holy sermon, Imam ‘Ali, peace be on him, summoned the men to cling

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1- Waqi‘at Siffin, p. 13.

to reverential fear, which is the best thing for which the pious servants of Allah advised each other. He also urged them to purify their works from dissimulation, for he who works for those other than Allah corrupts his work, his effort is straying, and his hope is disappointed.

8. He, peace be on him, said: [The Commander of the faithful said:]

“O men, do you know who will follow the man after his death? They kept silent. Hence he said: ‘His son will follow him, supplicate (Allah) for him, and ask (Allah) to forgive him.(1) The reward of alms which he gives during his lifetime will follow him after his death. The reward of his good conduct and of those who practice it, though their reward will not be decreased, will follow him.”

9. He, peace be on him, said: [The Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, performed (the morning) prayer. Then he remained (praying) in his place until the sun rose. Then he turned his face to the men and said (to them):]

“By Allah, it happened that we lived until we met groups of people who spent night in prostrating and standing (in prayer) for their Lord, and who marked time between their foreheads and their knees as if they heard the roaring of the Fire with their own ears. When the name of Allah was mentioned before them, they bent as the trees did as if they spent night heedless.” Then he, peace be on him, went away,

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1- The pious, righteous son is the one who supplicates to Allah for his father and ask Him to forgive him.

and none saw him laugh until he passed away.(1)

In the Fields of the Qur’an

point

Before we mention some examples of the commentaries of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, on some verses of the Holy Qur’an, we would like to explain what has been narrated on his authority in the fields of this Great Book.

His Fondness of the Qur’an

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the ally of the Holy Qur’an and was fond of reciting it, for he found in it a matchless pleasure. Hence he, peace be on him, said: “If those who are between the east and the west died, I would not feel lonely, for the Qur’an is with me.(2)

His Reciting the Qur’an

The Imam was the best of the people in voice when he recited the Holy Qur’an. He had a strong impression on those who heard his voice. The narrators said: “The water carriers who passed by the door of his house stopped to listen to his voice.(3)

His Reflecting on the Qur’an

The Imam, peace be on him, did not recite the Holy Qur’an with a passing recitation; rather he recited its verses with reflection and scrutiny. He carefully considered the treasures of wisdom and knowledge therein. Hence he said: “The verses of the Qur’an are treasures. Whenever you open a treasure of them, you must consider it carefully.(4)” The narrators said: “When he recited ‘Master of the Day of Judgment,’ he repeated it to the extent that he was about to die.(5)” The reason for this is that he carefully considered the meaning of this Holy Verse.

His Supplication upon Completing a Reading of the Qur’an

When the Imam completed

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1- Al-Tubrisi, Mishkat al-Anwar, p. 57.
2- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 107.
3- Sharh Shafiyat Abi Firas, vol. 2, p. 198. Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 616.
4- Al-Wafi.
5- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 602.

reciting the Holy Qur’an, he would supplicate Allah with this holy supplication:

“O Allah, You have helped complete Your Book, which You sent down as a light and appointed as a guardian over every book You have sent down, preferring it over every narrative which You have recounted, a separator, through which You separated Your lawful from Your unlawful, a Qur’an through which You have made plain the approaches to Your ordinances, a book, which You have distinguished very distinctly for Your servants, a revelation, which You have sent down, a sending down, upon Your prophet Muhammad (Your blessings be upon him and his Household). You appointed it a light through following which we may be guided from the shadows of error and ignorance, a healing for him who turns ear toward hearing it with the understanding of attestation, a just balance whose tongue does not incline from truth, a light of guidance whose proof is not extinguished before the witnesses, and a guidepost of deliverance, Hence that he who repairs straightway to its prescription will not go astray and he will clings to its preservation’s handhold will not be touched by the hands of disasters.

“O Allah, since You have given us help to recite it and made smooth the roughness of our tongues through the beauty of its expression, place us among those who observe it as it should be observed, serve You by adhering in submission to the firm text of its verses, and seek refuge in admitting both

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its ambiguous parts and the elucidations of its clear signs! O Allah, You sent it down upon Your prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and his Household) in summary form, You inspired him with the science of its wonders to complement it, You made us the heirs of its knowledge as interpreters, You made us to surpass him who is ignorant of its knowledge, and You gave strength over it to raise up above those not able to carry it.

“O Allah, just as You have appointed our hearts as its carriers and made known to us through Your mercy its nobility and excellence, Hence bless Muhammad, its preacher, and his Household, its guardians, and place us among those who confess that it has come from You, lest doubt about attesting to it assail us, or deviation from its straightforward path shake us!”

As for the Holy Qur’an, it is the greatest miracle of Islam. In these paragraphs of his supplication, the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, talked about some aspects and lights of the Holy Qur’an, which are as follows:

1. Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Holy Qur’an as light through which He guided to the straight way those who went astray and the perplexed.

2. Allah, the Exalted, appointed the Holy Qur’an as a guardian over all His books which He sent down upon His prophets, hence it (the Qur’an) shows all acts of change, alteration, and distortion done by the devious and the summoners to misguidance.

3. Allah, the Exalted, preferred His

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Holy Book over every narrative in which He mentioned the stories and affairs of the prophets, for He objectively and inclusively mentioned in the Holy Qur’an all their conditions, affairs, and stories.

4. The Holy Qur’an is a life, general law; it separates the lawful from the unlawful, makes plain the approaches to the ordinances, and distinguishes very distinctly all the needs of men.

5. Allah, the Exalted, appointed His Holy Book a light through following which men may be guided from the shadows of error and ignorance. He also appointed it a healing for the diseases and psychological defects of those who believed in it.

7. The Holy Qur’an is the balance of justice and fairness. In it there is no deviation from truth nor is there in it following caprice. Whoever clings and holds fast to it will follow the straight way and be safe from disasters.

8. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, asked Allah to be kind to him through making him observe His Book, submit to the elucidations of its clear signs, and admit its ambiguous parts.

9. Allah, the Exalted, inspired His great prophet with the wonders of the Holy Qur’an and taught him how to interpret them. Moreover, the Imam praised the Imams of guidance from among the Household of the Prophet (Allah’s blessings be upon him and his Household), whose rank Allah made high, whom He made guardians over His knowledge, and guides to His Book.

After this, let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:

“O

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Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and make us one of those who hold fast to its cord, seek haven from its ambiguities in its fortified stronghold, rest in the shadow of its wing, find guidance in the brightness of its morning, follow the shining of its disclosure, acquire light from its lamp, and beg not guidance from any other! O Allah, just as through it You have set up Muhammad as a guidepost to point to You and through his Household You have made clear Your good pleasure’s roads to You, Hence also bless Muhammad and his Household and make the Qur’an our mediation to the noblest stations of Your honor, a ladder by which we may climb to the place of safety, a cause for our being repaid with deliverance at the Plain of Resurrection, and a means whereby we may reach the bliss of the House of Permanence! O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, lessen for us through the Qur’an the weight of heavy sins, give us the excellent qualities of the pious, and make us follow the tracks of those who stood before You in the watches of the night and the ends of the day, such that You purify us from every defilement through its purification and make us follow the tracks of those who have taken illumination from its light and whom expectation has not distracted from works, cutting them off through its delusions’ deceptions! O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and

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appoint the Qur’an for us an intimate in the shadows of nights and a guardian against the instigations of Satan and confusing thoughts, for our feet an obstruction from passing to acts of disobedience for our tongues a silencer without blight preventing a plunge into falsehood, for our limbs a restrainer from committing sins, and for the scrutiny of heedfulness rolled up in heedlessness an unroller, such that You attach to our hearts the understanding of the Koran’s wonders and its restraining similitudes which immovable mountains in all their solidity were too weak to carry! O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and through the Qur’an make permanent the rightness of our outward selves, veil the ideas of confusing thoughts from the soundness of our innermost minds, wash away the dirt of our hearts and the ties of our heavy sins, gather our scattered affairs, quench the thirst of our burning heat in the standing place of the presentation to You, and clothe us in the ropes of security on the Day of the Greatest Terror at our uprising!”

In this wonderful part the Imam pleaded to Allah, the Exalted, and asked Him to place him among those who held fast to the cord of the Qur’an, to refer to Him concerning its ambiguities, to make him acquire light from its lamp, and not to beg guidance from any other. Also he asked Him to make the Qur’an a mediation through which he would reach the highest ranks of those brought

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nigh, a ladder by which he might climb to the places of safety, a cause for his being repaid with deliverance on the Day of Resurrection, to lessen for him through the Qur’an the weight of heavy sins, to make the recitation and reflection of the Qur’an an intimate for him in the shadows of nights, and to guard him with it against the instigations of the accursed Satan. These are some contents of this part. Now, let’s listen to the last paragraphs of this holy supplication:

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and through the Qur’an redress our lackour destitution in povertydrive toward us the comforts of life and an abundance of plentiful provisions, turn aside blameworthy character traits and base moral qualities, and preserve us from the pit of unbelief and the motives for hypocrisy, such that the Qur’an may be for us at the resurrection a leader to Your good pleasure and Your gardens, for us in this world a protector against Your displeasure and transgressing Your bounds, and for what is with You a witness by its declaring lawful the lawful and its declaring unlawful the lawful!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and through the Qur’an make easy for our souls at death, the distress of the driving, the effort of the moaning, and the succession of the rattling, when souls reach the throats and it is said, ‘Where is the enchanter? ’; when the angel of death discloses himself to seize them from behind

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the veils of unseen things, letting loose at them from the bow of destinies the arrows of the terror of lonesome separation, and mixing for them from sudden death a cup poisoned to the taste; and when departure and release for the hereafter come close to us, works become collars around the necks, and the graves become the haven until the appointed time of the Day of Encounter!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, make blessed for us the arrival at the house of decay and the drawn out residence between the layers of the earth, appoint the graves, after separation from this world, the best of our way stations, make room for us through Your mercy the narrowness of our tombs, and disgrace us not among those present at the Resurrection through our ruinous sins! Through the Qur’an have mercy upon the lowliness of our station at the standing place of presentation to You, make firm the slips of our feet during the shaking of the bridge across hell on the day of passage over it, illuminate the darkness of our graves before the Uprising, and deliver us from every distress on the Day of Resurrection and from the hardships of terrors on the Day of Disaster! Whiten our faces on the day when the faces of wrongdoers are blackened during the Day of Regret and Remorse, appoint love for us in the breasts of the faithful, and make not life for us troublesome!

“O Allah, bless Muhammad, Your servant

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and Your messenger, just as he delivered Your message, executed Your command, and counseled Your servants! O Allah, on the Day of Resurrection make our Prophet (Your blessings be upon him and his Household) the nearest of the prophets in seat, the ablest of them before You with intercession, the greatest of them with You in measure, and the most eminent of them with You in rank. O Allah, bless Muhammad the Household of Muhammad, ennoble his edifice, magnify his proof, make weighty his balance, accept his intercession, bring near his mediation, whiten his face, complete his light, and raise his degree! Make us live according to his Sunna, make us die in his creed, take us on his road, make us travel his path, place us among the people who obey him, muster us in his band, lead us to up his pool, and give us to drink of his cup! And bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing through which You will take him to the most excellent of Your good, Your bounty, and Your generosity for which he hopes! You are Possessor of boundless mercy and generous bounty.

“O Allah, repay him for Your message which he delivered, Your signs which he passed on, the good counsel he gave to Your servants, and the struggle he undertook in Your way, with the best You have repaid any of Your angels brought nigh and Your prophets sent out and chosen! And upon him and his Household, the good,

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the pure, be peace, Allah’s mercy, and His blessings!(1)

With this we will end our talk about this holy supplication, which is among the excellent supplications of the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. In these paragraphs, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, magnified the Holy Qur’an and depicted it with the greatest descriptions and the most high attributes, for none knows the importance and interpretation of this Great Book except the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, who were the treasurers of the knowledge of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and the narrators of his wisdom. In these paragraphs, he asked Allah, the Exalted, to be bounteous to him through the good of this world and of the next world and to bestow upon him forgiveness and good pleasure when he met him and was in His neighborhood. Also he magnified the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Household, who spread thought and knowledge on earth, and asked Allah, the Exalted, to repay him for his efforts and struggle for freeing and saving man from unbelief.

Examples of his Interpretations

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was among the most eminent interpreters of the Holy Qur’an. The interpreters quoted many of his wonderful interpretations. The historians said: “He had a school for interpreting the Qur’an.” His martyr son, Zayd, learned from him the interpretation of the Qur’an.(2) Also his son Imam Abu’ Ja‘far, Muhammad

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1- Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 42.
2- There is a copy of it in the Library of the American Congress, as an Iraqi newspaper said.

al-Baqir, peace be on him, learned from him some interpretations narrated by Ziyad b. al-Mundhir, the spiritual leader of the Jaru’di sect.(1) Anyhow, we will mention some brief examples of his interpretations on the Holy Book of Allah. They are as follows:

1. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, peace be on him, reported on the authority of his father the interpretation of this Holy verse: “Who made the earth a resting-place for you,(2)” that he said: “Allah, the Glorified and Exalted, made the earth appropriate for your natures and agreeable with your bodies. He did not make it very hot lest it should burn your, nor cold lest it should freeze you, nor intense in sweet-smelling wind lest it should make you suffer headaches, nor very bad-smelling, lest it should ruin you, nor very soft like water lest it should drown you, nor very solid lest it should be difficult for you to build your houses and the graves of your dead, but He, the Great and Almighty, created in it solid, high lands, that you may avail yourselves of them, you hold fast to them, your bodies and your houses cling to them, and He made in it (the earth) that which yields to your houses, your graves, and your numerous profits, hence He made the earth a resting-place for you. Then He, the Great and Almighty, said: ‘and the heaven a canopy’, meaning a preserved ceiling over you, where He turns for your benefits the sun, the moon, and the stars.

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1- Hayat al-Imam Mohammed al-Baqir, vol. 1, p. 11, quoted from al-Fihrast of al-Shaykh al-Tu`si, p. 98.
2- Qur’an, 2, 22.

Then He, the Great and Almighty, said: ‘and (Who) sends down water from the heaven,’ meaning the rain which He sends down from above, that it may reach the tops of your mountains, your hills, your plateaus, and your lowlands, then He divided rain into drizzle, heavy, weak, and continuous, that your lands may absorb it. He does not send down rain upon you all at once lest it should spoil your lands, your trees, your plants, and your fruits. Then He, the Great and Almighty, said: ‘then brings forth with it subsistence for you of the fruits,’ meaning what He brings forth from the earth is your subsistence. ‘Therefore, do not set up rivals to Allah,’ meaning the likenesses of the idols that neither understand nor hear nor see nor able (to do) anything. ‘While you know,’ that they (the idols) are not able (to create) any of these great boons which your Lord, the Blessed and Exalted, bestows upon you.(1)” This valuable part of the speech of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, is full of wonderful and trustworthy proofs for the Unity of Allah. It gives a brilliant, perfect picture of how Allah, the Exalted, created the earth, for He created it in a wonderful quality which is neither very solid nor very soft in order to enable man to live on it and avails himself of its countless boons and fruits. The wonders on the earth such as mountains, valleys, minerals, seas, rivers are great

p: 357


1- ‘Uyyu`n Akhbar al-Rida, vol. 1, pp. 137-138.

and most reliable proofs for the existence of the Creator, the Great, the Wise.

Besides, the Imam, peace be on him, produced evidence in support of the might of Allah, the Exalted, through His creating the heaven and what is within it such as the sun, the moon, and all the stars which supply the earth with their rays. This is because the sun’s rays play an important role in forming plant life, the moon’s rays have a great effect on the tide and ebb of the seas, and the stars’ rays give life to animal and plant beings on the earth. These cosmic phenomena were not discovered but in these modern times, but the Imam, peace be on him, mentioned them in his speech, hence, indeed, he and his infallible fathers and children were the first to raise the banner of knowledge and to contribute in forming human civilization.

The Imam, peace be on him, gave a distinguished picture of rain when he showed that rain fell in a routine manner and during certain times to enliven the earth and to bring forth its fruits. If rain continued and fell all at one, it would ruin plants and men.

After the Imam had given material proofs for the existence of the Wise Creator, he summoned (men) to worship Him, to confess His Unity, and to abandon idols and rivals that caused the degradation of thinking and the inactivity of awareness, for they neither harmed nor profited them, nor had they any ability

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to arrange the affairs of this universe.

2. It is reported on his authority that he interpreted this Holy Verse: ‘and recite the Qur’an as it ought to be recited’(1) with these words of him: “Explain it (i.e. the Qur’an) completely when you recite it. Scatter it not as you scatter seeds and recite it not as you recite poetry. Consider carefully its wonders in order to move your hearts with them. Let not your aim be completing the Su’ra.(2)

3. He interpreted this Holy Verse: ‘Enter into peace one and all’(3) with these words of him: “Peace means the authority of Imam (‘Ali), the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him.(4)” Without doubt, the authority of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, the Gate of the city of knowledge of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, is the true peace through which men find security, welfare, and tranquillity. If the Muslims had adopted it after the death of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, crisis would not have attacked their social and political life.

4. A person asked Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, about the interpretation of this Holy Verse: ‘Lest a soul should say: O woe to me for what I fell short of my duty to Allah.(5)” Hence he, peace be on him, said: “The Duty to Allah is ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, who is the proof of Allah over the creatures. On the Day of Judgment, Allah will command

p: 359


1- Qur’an, 73, 4.
2- Al-Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 279.
3- Qur’an, 2, 208.
4- Tafsir al-Burhan, vol. 1, p. 129.
5- Qur’an, 39, 56.

the gatekeepers of Hell to give its keys to ‘Ali, peace be on him, hence he will cause to enter whom he wants and save whomever he wants. Surely, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘O ‘Ali, whoever loves you loves me, and whoever hates you hates me. O ‘Ali, you are my brother, and I am your brother. O ‘Ali, you will (raise) the banner of praise on the Day of Judgment and be ahead of my community and the callers be on your right hand and your left hand.’(1)

Allah endowed Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, with every noble position with Him, of which is that he is the partner in the Garden and the Fire, as the traditions have unanimously mentioned this. Allah granted ‘Ali this great position because of his great struggle for Islam, his strong pity, and his firm clinging to the religion.

5. Thuwayr b. Fakhta asked Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, about the interpretation of this Holy Verse: “And the earth shall beam with the light of its Lord, and the Book shall be laid down, and the prophets and the witnesses shall be brought up.(2)” Hence the Imam gave him a long answer about the terrors on the Day of Judgment. We will mention some of it. He, peace be on him, said: “On the Day of Judgment, Allah will resurrect men naked from their graves on one level. The Light will

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1- Tafsir Furat, p. 3.
2- Qur’an, 39, p. 69.

drive them and the Darkness will gather them until they stop at the threshold of the place of gathering. Hence they will crowd at it and will be prevented from going away. Their breaths will be intense, their sweat will be abundant, their affairs will be narrow, their noise will be intense, and their voices will raise up. This will be the first one of the terrors of the Resurrection. Then the Almighty (Allah), the Blessed and Exalted, will look down upon (them) from the Throne and say: ‘O creatures, listen and hear the Caller of the Almighty (Allah).’ The first and the last of them will hear. Their hearts will be humble. They will shake all over and look at the direction of the Voice and hurry to the Caller. Hence the unbelievers will say: ‘This is a difficult day!’ The Call will come from the Almighty (Allah): ‘I am Allah, there is no god but I. I am the Judge who does not wrong. Today, I will judge among you with My justice and fairness. None shall be wronged before Me. I will take the weak one’s (right) from the strong one through (taking his) good deeds (and adding them to the weak one’s good deeds or taking his evil deeds and adding them to the strong one’s) evil deeds. I will repay you. No wrongdoer will pass this difficulty. If any one was subjected to a certain injustice and forgives its doer, I will repay him for

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it and punish its doer on the Day of Judgment. Request your injustices from those who had wronged you in the world. I am as a witness for you, and I am a sufficient witness.(1)

6. Imam al-Sadiq narrated on the authority of his grandfather Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, the interpretation of this Holy Verse: “He accepts repentance from His servants and takes alms.(2)” He, peace be on him, said concerning the interpretation of: “and takes alms. I guarantee (you) before my Lord, the Exalted, that the alms falls into the Hand of the Lord, the Exalted before it falls into the hand of the servant.” He would say: “Every thing is entrusted to an angel except the alms, for it falls into the Hand of Allah, the Exalted.”(3)

7. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, interpreted: “And they sold him for a small price, a few dirhams,(4) that the small price for which they sold Yousif was twenty dirhams.(5)

8. Thuwayr b. Fakhta reported that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, interpreted the Holy Verse: “And relate to them the story of the two sons of Adam with truth when they both offered an offering (6)” with his words: “Abel sought nearness to Allah through (sacrificing) the fattest ram which he had, and Cain sought nearness (to Him) through (offering) a handful of ears (of corn). Hence Allah, the Exalted, accepted (it) from Abel but did not accept (it) from Cain. Hence Satan instigated to Cain that

p: 362


1- Tafsir al-Burhan, vol. 2, p. 95.
2- Qur’an, 9, 104.
3- Tafsir al-Burhan, vol. 1, p. 441. Tafsir al-Safi, p. 223.
4- Qur’an, 12, 20.
5- Majjma‘‘ al-Bayan, vol. 5, p. 221.
6- Qur’an, 5, p. 27.

Abel’s children would boast of this against your children and say: ‘We are the children of him whose offering Allah had accepted.’ This imagination controlled him to the extent that he envied his brother Abel and decided to kill him lest he should have children. He did not know what to do. Satan taught him to place his (brother’s) head between two stones and kill him, and he did this. He did not know how to bury him until two crows came and one of them killed the another. Then it dug (the ground) and buried the other. Cain was looking at (them), hence he stood, dug (a grave) for Abel and buried him, and became among the remorseful. This has become the law of burying the dead.

“When Adam asked Cain about his brother Abel, he said to him: ‘Did you appoint me as a shepherd for him?’ Then he brought him to the place of offering. Adam knew that Cain had killed his brother, so he cursed him and ordered him to be cursed. Then he wept for his son (Abel) for forty years until Allah revealed to him: ‘I will give you a male to success Abel.’ Eve born him a pure, blessed boy. On the seventh day, Allah revealed to him to name him Hibat Allah (the Gift of Allah), and he named him so.(1)

9. Sa‘id b. Jubayr said: [I questioned Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, about the relations in this Holy Verse: Say I

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1- Tafsir al-Burhan, vol. 1, p. 280.

demand not, of you any reward for it (the toils of preaching) except the love of my relation,(1) and he, peace be on him, answered:] “The relations of ours, the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt).(2)

10. A man questioned Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, about the fixed portion in these words of Him: [And those in whose wealth there is a fixed portion,(3) and he, peace be on him, replied:] “The fixed portion is the thing which you bring forth from your wealth and is not of the obligatory Zakat and alms.” The man asked the Imam: “What shall I do with it?” He, peace be on him, answered: “Give it to your womb relations, strengthen a weak person with it, give it to your brother in Allah, and (spend) it on the disaster which afflicts you.” The man admired the knowledge of the Imam and said: “Allah knows better where to place His message.(4)

11. Interpreting this Holy Verse: “Hence turn away with kindly forgiveness,(5)” Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, said: “It is the forgiveness without blame.”(6)

These are some Holy Verses whose interpretations have been narrated on the authority of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. Whoever reads the books of interpretation will find numerous views and words of the Imam on this subject.

Jurisprudence

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As for Jurisprudence, it is among the greatest and most important Islamic sciences, for takes care of the acts of Muslims in the light of what has been codified in the Islamic

p: 364


1- Qur’an, 42, 42.
2- Al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Our’an, vol. 3, p. 475.
3- Qur’an, 70, 24.
4- La’ali’ al-Akhbar, vol. 3, p. 3. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 6, p. 69.
5- Qur’an, 15, 85.
6- Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 5, p. 519.

Law. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, took great care of Jurisprudence when he spread and proclaimed it among men. He was the only specialist in this science in his time. The historians said: “He was similar to his grandfather Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, in his capability of encompassing all the jurisprudential problems and their branches.(1)

He was the only authority to whom all the religious scholars and scientists referred concerning the most important religious problems. The historians narrated that al-Zhuri, who was among the most famous and greatest jurists of Medina, referred to the Imam concerning the most important religious precepts.

The narrators said: “Al-Zuhri saw in his sleep that his hand was covered with blood. His vision was interpreted for him that he would be afflicted by manslaughter. In that time he was the governor of the Umayyads. He tortured a man to the extent that the man died of torture. He was afraid of Allah, hence he escaped and entered a cave to serve Allah in it. The Imam went to the Sacred House of Allah to perform the hajj. He passed by the cave where al-Zuhri was. He was asked: ‘Have you any need with al-Zuhri?’ He responded to them and went to meet him in the cave. He found him frightened and hopeless of Allah’s mercy. Hence he said to him: ‘I fear for your despair more than I fear for your crime. Send blood money to his

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1- Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 33.

family and go to your family and your religion.’ Accordingly, al-Zuhri became happy and said to him: ‘You have relieved me, my master. Allah knows better where to place his message.’(1)” Now, we will mention some religious precepts which the Imam stated.

The Parts of Fast

Al-Zuhri and a group of jurists came to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. The Imam questioned al-Zuhri about what he discussed and he replied: “I and my companions discussed fast, and we have unanimously agreed that no part of fast is obligatory.”

The Imam blamed them for having no knowledge of the religious affairs, and then he explained to them the parts of fast, saying: “(The answer) is not as you say. Fast is forty parts: Ten parts of them is as obligatory as the (fast in) the month of Ramadhan. Ten parts of them is prohibited. Fourteen parts is optional; you are free to fast or to breakfast. Three parts of fast needs permission. (There are other parts of fast such as) the fast of education, the lawful fast, the fast of journey, and the fast of illness.”

Al-Zuhri and the jurists admired the Imam’s abundant knowledge and his inclusive capability of the religious precepts. Then al-Zuhri asked the Imam to explain to him those parts of fast and he, peace be on him, answered: “As for the obligatory (parts of fast), they are: the fast of the month of Ramadhan, the fast of two successive months when one intentionally breaks fast in the month of Ramadhan, the

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1- Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p. 16. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 7.

fast of two successive months when one kills someone by mistake and is unable to release ( a slave), for Allah, the Exalted, said: and whoever kills a believer by mistake, he should free a believing slave and blood-money should be paid to his family... but he who cannot find (a slave) should fast successively for two months.(1)), the fast of two successive months as an expiatory gift for an injurious assimilation of wife to mother, al-zahar, when one cannot find (a slave), for Allah, the Exalted, said: And (as for) those who put away their wives by likening their backs to the backs of their mothers then would recall what they said, they should free a slave before they touch each other; to that you are admonished (to conform); and Allah is Aware of what you do. But whoever cannot find (a slave), let him fast two successive months before they touch each other(2), the fast of three days as an expiatory gift for making an obligatory oath when one cannot find food, for Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said: Whosoever cannot find (food) then fasting for three days; this is the expiation of your oaths when you swear (3) all these parts of fast are successive and not separated the fast of ailment of shaving (the shaving of head), for Allah, the Blessed and Exalted said: But whoever of you is sick or has an ailment of the head, he (should effect) a compensation by fasting or alms

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1- Qur’an, 4, 92.
2- Ibid., 58, 3-4.
3- Ibid., 5, 89.

or sacrificing(1) the doer is to choose between fasting for three days or alms or a sacrifice the fast of blood of al-mut‘a when one cannot find an offering, for Allah, the Blessed and Exalted said: Whoever profits by combining the visit with the pilgrimage (should take) what offering is easy to obtain; but he who cannot find (any offering) should fast for three days during the pilgrimage and for seven days when you returns; these (make) ten (days) complete (2), the fast of the punishment of hunting, for Allah, the Blessed and Exalted said: O you who believe, do not kill game while you are on pilgrimage, and whoever of you shall kill it intentionally, the compensation (of it) is the like of that he killed, from the cattle, as two just persons of you shall judge, as an offering to be brought to the Kaaba or the expiation (of it) is the feeding of the poor or the equivalent of it in fasting.(3)

Then the Imam, peace be on him, asked al-Zuhri: “O Zuhri, do know how this is equivalent in fasting?” “I do not know,” replied al-Zuhri. Hence the Imam, peace be on him, explained: “Evaluate the game completely. This evaluation should be equivalent to wheat. Then this wheat should be measured. Hence you should fast a day for each half of a measure.” Then the Imam continued: “the fast of a vow, and the fast of al-i‘tikaf (prayer in seclusion).”

Then the Imam continued: “As for the

p: 368


1- Ibid., 2, 196.
2- Ibid.,
3- Ibid., 5, 95.

prohibited parts of fast, they are: the fast on the day of ‘Id al-Fitr, the day of ‘Id al-Adha’, three of the days of al-Tashriq(1), the fast on the day of doubt(2), we are commanded (to fast on it) and prevented from it: We are commanded to fast on it as a day of the month of Sha‘ban, and we are prohibited from fasting on the day which men doubt.” Al-Zuhri turned to the Imam and asked him: “May I be your ransom, if he did not fast any of Sha‘ban, what would he do?”

Al-Zuhri had a doubt in the answer of the Imam, hence he asked him: “How does voluntary fast replaces a religious duty?”

The Imam, replied him: “If a person voluntarily fasted a day of Ramadhan while he did not know that the day was not of it and knew that afterwards, it would suffice him, for the religious duty occurred on the day itself.”

Then the Imam continued his talk about the parts of fast, saying: “The continuous fast is prohibited.(3) The fast of silence is prohibited.(4) The fast of a vow for an act of disobedience is prohibited, and the fast of time is prohibited.

“As for the fast whose doer is free, it is the fast in the days: Monday, Thursday, and Friday, the fast in the white days(5), the fast in the six days in (the month of) Shawwal after the month of Ramadhan, on the day of ‘Arafa, and on the day of ‘Ashura’. In

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1- The days of al-Tashriq are the days of Mina, which are the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteen after the day of al-Nahr.
2- The fasting of the day of doubt is prohibited when it is intended as one of the month of Ramadhan.
3- The continuos fasting means that the person fasts by day and night, Hence it is religiously prohibited.
4- The fasting of silence means that the person refrains from speaking. In the bygone religions it was prohibited for the fasting to speak, as the Qur’an mentioned in the story of Maryam. He, the Exalted, said: “Surely I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent Allah, Hence I shall not speak to any man today.” But the Holy Islamic Religion has abrogated this part of fasting.
5- The white days are the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth of every lunar month. They are called Hence because the moon remains shining from beginning to end. This has been mentioned in Majjma‘ al-Bahrayn, item Bid.

all these parts of fast, the doer is to choose between fasting and breaking fasting.

“As for the fast which needs permission, it is that the wife does not perform a voluntary fast except with the permission of her husband, the slave does not perform a voluntary fast except with the permission of his master, and the guest does not perform a voluntary fast except with the permission of his host. Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘Whoever stops at people should not perform a voluntary fast except with their permission.’

“As for the fast for education, it concerns the boy when he becomes a teenager, the one who breaks his fast for a certain illness at the beginning of daytime and gets well afterwardshe is ordered to fast for the rest of his day, and the passenger who eats at the beginning of daytime and returns to his family he is ordered to fast for the rest of his day. Such a fast is for education, not a religious duty.

“As for the lawful fast, it concerns the one who unintentionally eats, drinks, and vomits; yet Allah makes it lawful, and it is sufficient.

“As for the fast of journey and illness, the non-Shi‘a are different over it: Some of them say that he should fast; some of them say that should not fast; some of them say that he is free to fast or to break fasting. As for us, we say that he should break fasting in

p: 370

both states. If he fasts during a journey or an illness, he should repeat fasting, for Allah, the Great and Almighty says: but whoever of you is sick or on a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days.(1)

With this we will end this jusrisprudential research which the Imam delivered before the religious scholars and jurists, and which shows that the Imam’s knowledge embraced the precepts of Islamic Law and the branches of Islamic jurisprudence. This is because the Imam divided fast into these important parts of which the religious scholars were heedless. It is worth mentioning that the Imami jurists depend on this narration when they give religious opinions concerning fast.

Bringing together Sunset and Night Prayers

As for bringing together sunset and night prayers, it is permissible. As for separating them is not obligatory, though it is better. The proof for this is this tradition of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him: “Youths had better bring together sunset and night prayers than sleep and leave them.” Some connected traditions on the authority of the pure Imams, peace be on them, show that is permissible to bringing together sunset and night prayers. According to these traditions the Imami jurists said that it was permissible to bring them together. This narration indicates that it is permissible to bring them together, but concerning the evening and night prayers for youths only. It is sure that the act of bringing together is not confined to the evening and night prayers nor is it confined to

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1- Al-Khisal, pp. 501-504. Furu`‘ al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 185. al-Maqqna‘a, p. 58. al-Qummi, Tafsir, pp. 172- 175. Al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 435.

youths, namely the Imam mentioned them as an example, for the question was about them.

Intention Obligatory in the Acts of Worship

Intention is obligatory in all the acts of worship, and the acts of worship are not right without intention. The proof for this is what was reported on the authority of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, who said: “No act (of worship is accepted) except with intention.(1)

Crossing Arms in Prayer Impermissible

The Shi‘ites believe that it is impermissible to cross arms or to put one arm on the another during standing in prayer, for they depend on a group of traditions among which narrated on the authority of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, who said: “The man’s putting one of his hand on the other in prayer is an act but is not an act of prayer.(2)

Purchasing Slave Girl as Singer

It is prohibited to buy a slave girl as singer, but it is not prohibited when she is bought as reciter of the Holy Qur’an. The jurists depended on a tradition reported on the authority of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, when a man questioned him about purchasing a slave girl as singer and he answered: “It is not prohibited for you to buy her to remind you of the Garden.” He meant that it was not prohibited for the man to buy a slave girl to remind him of reciting the Qur’an, renouncing this world, and clinging to virtues which had no act of singing. As for singing, it is prohibited.(3)

Punishment for Committing Fornication with Sister

As for committing fornication with sister, it is

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1- Wasa‘il al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 711.
2- Ibid., p. 1264.
3- Ibid., vol. 12, p. 86.

among the most unlawful acts. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was questioned about the penalty for him who commits fornication with his sister and he, peace be on him, replied: “He is struck a heavy blow with sword. If he remains alive, he is imprisoned for death.(1)

With this we will end our speech about the juristic problems which the Imam, peace be on him, answered. Whoever studies the books on deductive jurisprudence and encyclopedias on ahadith (traditions) will find a large group of the Imam’s juristic verdicts. The Imam’s verdicts have included all the juristic affairs such as acts of worship, religious precepts, contracts, and unilateral obligations. The Imami jurists depend on his verdicts in giving religious opinions.

Theological Researches

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Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the only authority to whom the religious scholars referred concerning complicated theological problems. The following is some of the theological researches about which he was asked:

Allah’s Decree and Determination

As for research on Allah’s decree and determination, it is among the most vague and complicated theological problems. A man questioned the Imam, peace be on him, about them: “May Allah make me ransom for you, do misfortunes befall people according to Allah’s decree and determination or according to their own acts?”

The Imam answered the man with an answer in which he analyzed the dimensions and realities of misfortunes in the light of the Islamic thought, saying: “Indeed, determination and act are like the soul and body. The soul can perceive (nothing) without the body, and the body

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1- Men La Yahdarahu al-Faqih, p. 244.

without the soul is a motionless form, but when they come together, they become strong and righteous. Such is determination and act. If determination does not befall act, the Creator is not distinguished from creature, and if act (takes place) without approval from determination, it is not accomplished and is not perfect. When they come together, (they become strong and righteous), and Allah (repays) His righteous servants through determination.”

The Imam added, saying: “However, the most unjust one of the people is he who regards his injustice as justice and the justice of the rightly guided ones as injustice. Indeed, every servant has four eyes: two eyes through which he sees the affairs of his life in the next world, and two eyes through which he sees the affairs of his life in this world. Hence if Allah, the Great and Almighty, wants to do good for His servant, He opens for him the two eyes which are in his heart and he sees through them the unseen things. If He wants other than this, He leaves the heart with what is in it.” Then the Imam, peace be on him, turned to the man and said to him: “This is from Him. This is from Him.” The Imam, peace be on him, analyzed and explained the realities of Allah’s decree and determination.

Allah is Light

The Imam, peace be on him, entered the mosque of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and saw some people disputing with each other.

p: 374

Hence he asked them: “What are you disputing about?”

They all replied: “About the Unity of Allah.”

The Imam blamed them for discussing such a matter, for they had no knowledge of it, and said to them: “Refrain from these words of yours.”

Yet, one of them said: “Indeed Allah is recognized through creating His heavens and His earth, and He is everywhere.”

The Imam guided them to the right words, saying: “Allah whom nothing is like, and Who is All-hearing and All-seeing, His description is not like the description of anything, so He such.(1)

His Wonder at the Doubters in Allah

The Imam, peace be on him wondered at those who doubted Allah, the Creator of the heavens and earth, and those who denied the latter creation. He, peace be on him, said: “I wonder very much at him who doubts Allah while he sees his creatures, and I wonder very much at him who denies the latter creation while he sees the former creation.(2)

Indeed one wonders at him who denies the existence of the Great Creator for Whom all beings are proofs. It is impossible for all these beings to exist without a creator. If man carefully considers Allah’s creatures, he will conclude that they are proofs for His existence. The poet said:

There are signs in the earth, so be not a denier,

Wonderful things are some of His signs.

One wonders at him who denies the latter creation while he sees the former creation, for the act of creation and existence is more important than the act of repetition. Allah, the

p: 375


1- Al-Tawhid, pp. 366-367.
2- Balaghat al-Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 5.

Exalted, said: “He says: Who will give life to the bones when they are rotten? Say: He will give life to them Who brought them into existence at first, and He is Cognizant of all creation.”(1)

It is Impossible to define Allah by any Finite Thing

It is impossible to define Allah, the Exalted, by any finite thing, hence the Imam, peace be on him, said: “Verily, Allah cannot be defined by any finite thing. Our Lord is too far above such an attribute. How can the infinite be defined by the finite. The eyes attain Him not, but He attains the eyes. He is the all-subtle, the All-aware.”(2)

Man’s reason cannot encompass Allah, the Exalted, as well He cannot be attained by the eyes whose sight is finite. How can the perishable, possible man encompass the Powerful One who originated these worlds before whose existence and creation intellects are perplexed? How can he recognize the Great Creator?

With this we will end our speech about Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s ideological, scientific wealth, which he inherited from his fathers.

Chapter 10: Some Of His Sermons And Wise Sayings

point

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, took great care of preaching to the people. Many sermons were narrated on his authority. With them he preached to his companions and the people of his time. They are still alive, give lessons to people, warn them against arrogance and recklessness, and summon them to the path of truth and rightness. Besides some immortal wise sayings were reported on his authority. They summon man to balance his conduct and to set right his character. In this

p: 376


1- Saffwat al-Safwa, vol. 2, p. 3.
2- Al-Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 219.

respect we will mention some of his sermons and wise sayings.

His Sermons

Before we speak about the sermons of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, we’d like to explain the objectives of his sermons and those of all the pure Imams, peace be on them. They aim at:

A. Educating souls, setting them right, and planting noble inclinations in them.

B. Removing psychological complexes from man’s soul, and destroying all wicked, corrupt natures, selfishness, envy, and aggression against men.

C. Putting before men all historical lessons such as destroying the tyrannical, that they may enlighten the way to man and explain to him the aim of his social and individual life.

D. Directing man to Allah, the Exalted, the Noblest Objective in this world, to save him from all evil things and offenses.

E. Urging man to do good for the hereafter, which his real, eternal abode.

These are some brilliant objectives in the sermons of the Imams of guidance, peace be on them. Now, we will mention the sermons of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him.

1. Dispraising the world and warning men against its evil things and delusions, the Imam, peace be on him, said: “Verily, the world has departed and turned the back, and the next world has come. Each of them has children. Hence be among the children of the next world and be not among the world’s children who turn away from the hereafter. Indeed, those who renounce the world use the ground as rug, the earth as bed, water as perfume,

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and take a very little thing of the world. Surely, he who yearns for the Garden forgets passions; he who fears the Fire refrains from prohibited things; he who renounces the world, misfortunes are easy for him. Truly, Allah has servants who regard the people of the Garden as immortal in the Garden and the people of the Fire as chastised in the Fire. Their evil things are safe, their hearts are sorrowful, their souls are chaste, and their requests are light. They are patient for a few days, and then they will attain a long rest. As for night, they align their legs, plead to their Lord, and strive to release their necks. As for daytime, they are clement, knowledgeable, obedient, and pious. They are like the arrows without heads and blades. Fear of worship has thinned them out. When a beholder sees them, he asks: ‘Are the people sick or have become mentally disordered?’ The people are not sick, but a great affair has mixed with them because of the remembrance of the Fire and what therein.(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, warned men against love for the world, which is the origin of every sin. He summoned them to follow the ascetics from among the righteous who worshipped Allah and understood the reality of life in this world, which is perishable and transitory. Only a few days man spends in this world, and then he will meet his Lord. Allah will question him about his acts in

p: 378


1- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 132. Al-Nu`ri, Ma‘alim al-‘Ibar.

the world to repay him according to them. If man did good, Allah would repay him good. If he did evil, Allah would repay him evil. Hence the righteous turned to Allah through their hearts and sentiments. They sincerely worshipped and obeyed Him.

2. He, peace be on him, said: “O son of Adam, you are still in good as long as you preach to yourself, reckon it, fear is your underwear, and grief is your outer garment. O son of Adam, you will die, be raised from the dead, be stood before Allah, the Great and Almighty, be questioned, hence prepare an answer.(1)

The Imam summons man to set up a preacher in his inner self to preach to it and a reckoner to reckon it for its slips and mistakes, for man will be raised from the dead on the Day of Judgment and reckoned for his sins and offenses.

3. Al-Zuhri reported: [I heard ‘Ali b. al-Husayn say:] “He who does not follow Allah’s laws will be sorrowful for the world. By Allah, this world and the next world are like the two scales of a balance, whichever tilts takes away the other. Then he recited these words of Him, the Exalted: When the great event comes to pass (i.e., resurrection), there is no belying its cominglowering (the enemies of Allah to the Fire), exalting (the friends of Allah to the Garden).”

Then the Imam, peace be on him, preached to a man: “Fear Allah, be moderate in request, seek not

p: 379


1- Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 137. Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 46.

that which is not created, for he who seeks that which is not created is out of breath, but does not attain what he seeks. How can he attain that which is not created?”

The man hurried to say: “How can he attain that which is not created?”

The Imam, peace be on him, answered: “By seeking riches, possessions, and ease in the world in order to take rest therein. Rest has not been created in the world, nor has it been created for its inhabitants. Rather rest has been created in the Garden. Tiredness and toil have been created in the world and for its inhabitants. When one is given a handful of it (the world), he is given a similar (handful) of greediness. Whoever earns a greater (share) of the world is still in need of it, for he is need of the people to keep his possessions and is in need of every mediation of the world. Hence there is no rest in the riches of the world, but it is Satan who whispers to the son of Adam that there is rest in collecting possessions hence he drives him to tiredness in the world and reckoning will be against him in the next world.”

The Imam added: “The friends of Allah do not tire themselves in the world for the world; rather they tire themselves in the world for the next world. Truly, he who takes care of his livelihood, it is written against him that he must preserve

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it. Such Jesus Christ, peace be on him, said to his disciples: ‘The world is a mere bridge, hence pass over it and do not build it.’(1)

In this sermon there is a summons to renouncing this world and moderation in seeking it, for attaining rest is the reason for striving for material things, but there is no rest in the world. This is because there are many cares and a lot of pain in it. Rest has been created in the Garden which Allah has prepared for His pious servants. Therefore, one must seek the next world, not this world.

4. A person asked Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him: “What about you, son of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family?”

He, peace be on him, replied: “Eight demands me: Allah demands my religious duties. The Prophet demands me (to follow) the Sunna. The family demands me (to prepare) nourishment. The soul demands me (to fallow) passions. Satan demands me to follow him. The two keepers demand me to act sincerely. The Angel of Death demands my soul, and the grave demands my body. Hence I am indebted (to them) for these qualities.(2)

The Imam carefully considered the dimensions of the world and concluded that they were surrounded by these eight demanders, hence he decided to renounce the world and its vanities.

5. A beggar came to the Imam, peace be on him, and complained to him of his condition, and he (the Imam) blamed him for this, saying: “Son

p: 381


1- Al-Khisal, pp. 64-65.
2- Ibn al-Shaykh, al-Amali, p. 410.

of Adam is miserable. He faces three misfortunes every day, but he does not learn a lesson from them. If he learns a lesson from, misfortunes will be easy for him. As for the first misfortune, it is the day when his span decreases. When his possessions decrease, he becomes grieved. He can return the dirham but cannot return his span. The second misfortune is that he earns his daily bread. If it (his daily bread) is lawful, he will be reckoned for it, and if it is unlawful, he will be punished for it. The third (misfortune) is the greatest.” The Imam was questioned about the greatest (misfortune): “What is it?” He replied: “When a day passes, his (man’s) departure to the next world approaches. He does not know whether he will (enter) the Garden or the Fire.(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, urges man to learn a lesson from these three misfortunes which surrounds him. If man carefully considers them, they will hold him back from working for this world and make him work for the next world, which is the abode of mortality and subsistence.

6. He, peace be on him, said: “If men completely knew the virtue of turning to Allah in repentance and norms of sunna, they would express all that which came to their minds, and find the coolness of certainty which would free them from need to dispute in all states except their state. Moreover, understanding this would not escape them in the days

p: 382


1- Al-Ikhtisas, p. 338.

few in number and thought short in period. However, ignorance has covered them; self-admiration has afflicted them; caprice has turned them away from the door to certitude; and bad customs have distracted them from the bounty of knowledge.(1)

If man carefully considered the affairs of this universe, he would certainly believe that there was Creator to whose will and decree all things were yielding, that other than Him had neither force nor strength. If man believed in this, he would find the coolness of certainty in himself, and be free from hardships and difficulties that attacked him during his short term. However, he would not do this, for ignorance has covered him; self-admiration has afflicted him; caprice has diverted him from the bounty of knowledge and reaching the truth.

7. The following is among the valuable sermons which the Imam taught to his companions and Shi‘ites:

“O men, fear Allah, and know that you will return to Him on the day that every soul shall find present what it has done of good and what it has done of evil, it shall wish that between it and that (evil) there were a long duration of time; and Allah makes you to be cautious of (retribution from) Himself.(2) Woe unto you, O heedless son of Adam, while (Allah) is not heedless of you! Your death is the quickest thing toward you. It has swiftly come toward you seeking you, and it is about to reach you as if you finished your fixed term, the

p: 383


1- Al-Bayan wa al-Tabyyin, vol. 1, p. 84. Zahr al-Adab, vol. 1, p. 102.
2- Qur’an, 3, 29.

angel made you die, you alone went to your grave, your soul returned to you, the two angels Munkar and Nakir broke into (your grave) to question you and to examine you severely.

Truly, they will first question you about your Lord Whom you worshippedyour Prophetwho was sent to youyour religion which you professedyour Bookwhich you recitedyour Imamwhom you followedyour spanin what did you pass it?and your propertyWhere did you earn it? On what did you spend it? Hence be careful, consider yourself, and prepare the answer before the examination, the question, and the test. If you were a believer having knowledge of your religion, following the truthful, supporting the friends of Allah, Allah would dictated to you your proof and make your tongue say rightness, hence you would answer well, you would be given good news of the Garden and the good pleasure of Allah, the angels would receive you with happiness and bounty. If you were not such (a believer), your tongue would stammer, your proof would be refuted, you would be unable to give an answer, you would be given news of the Fire, the angels of chastisement would receive you with entertainment of boiling water and burning in the Fire.

“Know, son of Adam, that after this (i.e. the examination in the grave) there will be something greater and more horrible and ache the hearts in a much more painful manner. This is the Day of Resurrection. This is the day when men will be mustered. This

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is the day which will be witnessed, in which Allah will gather the former and the latter, in which the trumpet shall be blown, and the graves shall be scattered; this is the day of the event when (men’s) hearts will rise up to the throats, and they will be silent. This is the day in which no stumble will be released, nor will a ransom be taken from anyone, nor will an excuse be accepted from anyone, nor will anyone show repentance, except repayment through good deeds and evil deeds. If the believer does an atom’s weight of good, he shall find it, and if he does an atom’s weight of evil, he shall find it.

“Hence, men, guard against sins and acts of disobedience which (Allah) has prohibited in the Truthful Book and the Uttering Explanation. Feel not secure of the planning and destruction of Allah when the accursed Satan summons you to the immediate passions and pleasures of this world, for Allah says:

Surely those who guard (against evil), when a visitation from the Shaitan afflicts them, they become mindful, then Lo! they see.(1)

Let your hearts fear Allah, remember the good reward Allah has promised to give in your return, and the severe punishment with which He has frightened you. He who is afraid of a thing is careful of it, and he who is a careful of a thing leaves it. Be not among the heedless who incline to the pleasures of this world’s life and

p: 385


1- Ibid., 7, 200.

do evil deeds, for Allah, the Exalted says:

Do they then who plan evil deeds feel secure (of this) that Allah will not cause the earth to swallow them or that punishment may overtake them from whence they do not perceive? Or that He may seize them in the course of their journeys, then they shall not escape; or that He may seize them by causing them suffer gradual loss? (1)

Hence guard against what Allah did for the wrongdoers whom He has mentioned in His Book. Beware of that through which He threatened the oppressive people, and which He has mentioned in His Book. He has made those other than you a lesson for you, so the happy are those who learn a lesson form other than them. He has made you hear in His Book what he did toward the unjust people from among the people of the towns before you when He said:

And how many a town which was iniquitous did we demolish, and we raised up after it another people. Hence when they felt our punishment, Lo! they began to fly from it. Do not fly (now) and come back to what you were made to lead easy lives in and to your dwellings, haply you will be questioned.(2)

When the punishment came to them, they said: O woe unto us! Surely we were unjust.(3)

O men, if you say that Allah meant the polytheists in this (verse), then what do you think about these

p: 386


1- Ibid., 16, 45-47.
2- Ibid., 21, 11-13.
3- Ibid., 21, 14.

words of Him:

And We will set up a just balance on the day of resurrection, Hence no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least; and though there be the weight of a grain of mustard seed, (yet) We will bring it, and We are sufficient to take an account.(1)

“Know, Allah’s servants, that the balances are not set up for the polytheists, nor are the books spread for them; rather they will be mustered to the Fire in groups. The balances are set up for the Muslims, and the books are spread for them. Hence Allah’s servants, fear Allah, and know that Allah does not make His friends love the world’s embellishment, nor does He make them desire for it and its immediate embellishment and its manifest beauty. He created men in the world to try which of them would do good deeds for his (life in) the hereafter. B

y Allah, examples have been given to you in the Qur’an, and the verses haven been given as examples to those who understand, hence, O believers, be of those who understand, and there is no strength save in Allah. Renounce the world, may Allah make you renounce the immediate things of the life in the world, for Allah saysand His words are true:

The likeness of this world’s life is only as which We send down from the cloud, then the herbage of the earth of which men and cattle eat grows luxuriantly thereby; until when the earth puts

p: 387


1- Ibid., 21, 47.

on its golden raiment and it becomes garnished, and its people think that they have power over it, Our command comes to it, by night or by day, Hence We render it as reaped seed-produce, as though it had not been in existence yesterday; thus do We make clear the communications for a people who reflect.(1)

Incline not to the world, for Allah said to Muhammad:

And incline not to those who are unjust, lest the fire touches you.(2)

Incline not to the world and what is therein the inclination of him who takes it as stability and as an abode of settlement, for it is the abode of departure, end, and deeds. Hence supply (yourselves) with good deeds, before its (the world’s) days scatter, and before the permission from Allah (is taken) to destroying it, hence He Who originated it will destroy it and inherit it. I ask Allah to help you and me to supply (ourselves) with fear (of Him) and to renounce this world. May Allah place you and me among those who renounce the life in this world. Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you.(3)

This sermon is full of fearful descriptions about the sights of the Day of Resurrection when no stumble will be released nor a ransom will be taken from anyone; rather men will be repaid according to their deeds, good for good (deeds) and evil for evil (deeds). On this day nothing will save man from the terrible chastisement except his

p: 388


1- Ibid., 10, 24.
2- Ibid., 11, 113.
3- Tuhaf al-‘Uqu`l, pp. 249-252. Al-Am`li, al-Tu`si, p. 301. Roudat al-Kafi, p. 160. Al-Sadu`q, al-Amali, p. 356. Ibn Waram, Tanbih al-Khawatir, p. 225. Al-Bihar, vol. 17, p. 17, first edition.

good deeds.

The Imam, peace be on him, warned men against committing offenses and sins and following passions which resulted in great evil. Also he, peace be on him, warned them against following the way of the unjust whom Allah punished severely, and whose houses He destroyed.

There is another important thing in this sermon; it is that the balances of justice and fairness will be set up for Muslims and the books spread for them only. As for the unbelievers, they will be driven to the Fire in groups.

8. The following is another example of the Imam’s valuable sermons:

“May Allah protect you and us from the wrongdoers, the aggression of the envious, and the oppression of the tyrannical. O believers, let not the tyrants and their followers deceive you, for they desire for the world, admire it, cling to it and its vanities. Guard against the world as long as Allah has warned you against it. Renounce it as Allah want you to renounce it. Incline not to it the inclination of those who have regarded it as an abode and station. By Allah, the world’s embellishment and changes are proofs for you. It raises the lowly up and pushes the noble down, and will make groups of people enter the Fire tomorrow. In this there is a lesson, a test, and a restraint for the mindful. The affairs which come to you by day and night such as, dark discords, new events, unjust laws, the calamities of time, the terrors

p: 389

of the sovereign, the evil thoughts of Satan hold back hearts from their intentions, make them forget the Being of guidance and the people of the Truthexcept few from among those whom Allah has protected, and who follow the way of reason and moderation.

Hence seek the help of asceticism against all of this, make use of the lessons and refrain from them, renounce the immediate delight of the world, turn away from its pleasures, wish for the permanent bliss of the next world and strive for it, beware of death, and hate life with the oppressive people. In this manner you are able to look at what is in the world through the brilliant eye whose sight is sharp and to understand new discords, misleading innovations, and the tyranny of the oppressive kings. By my life, in the bygone days you turned the back to the past affairs from among the heaped up afflictions and absorbed in them. You can produce them as evidence of turning away from the errant and the men of innovations, aggression, and corruption in the earth without truth. Therefore, seek the help of Allah, return to obeying Him and those who are worthy of obedience.

“Be very weary of (the world) before remorse, regret, meeting Allah and standing before Him. By Allah, when people disobey Allah, they expose themselves to His punishment, and when they prefer this world to the next world, their outcome and fate will be evil. Recognizing Allah and acting according to obedience

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to Him are two harmonious companions. He who knows Allah fears Him, and fear urges him to act according to obedience to Allah. (Religious) scholars and their followers know Allah and wish for Him, hence Allah said: Those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah.(1) Accordingly, seek nothing of this world through disobeying Allah; work in this world through obedience to Allah, make us of the world’s days, strive for that which delivers you tomorrow from Allah’s chastisement, for this is the least in outcome, the nearest to excuse, and the most hopeful for deliverance. Prefer Allah’s command, obedience to him, and those whose obedience He has made obligatory to all things. Prefer not the affairs which come to you through obeying the tyrannical and admiring this world to Allah’s command, obedience to Him and to the rulers from among you. Know that you are Allah’s servants, and we are part of you. The Dominant Lord will judge between you and us tomorrow; He will make you stand and question you; therefore prepare an answer before questioning and standing before the Lord of the worlds, on the day when none will speak except with a permission from Him.

Know that Allah will not believe a liar, nor will He accuse the truthful of lying, nor will He refuse the excuse of the meritorious, nor will He pardon those who have no excuse. Rather Allah has arguments over His creatures; they the prophets and the trustees (of

p: 391


1- Qur’an, 35, 28.

authority) after them. Hence fear Allah, and set right yourselves. Obey Allah and those whom you follow, that a person may remorse for neglecting Allah’s rights. Ask Allah for forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance, for He accepts repentance, forgive evil deeds, and knows what you do. Beware of making friends with the disobedient, helping the unjust, and neighboring the dissolute. Be weary of their temptations and go far away from their courtyard. Know that he who disobeys Allah’s friends, professes a religion other than Allah’s religion and obeys a command other than the command of Allah’s friend will enter a burning fire which will destroy the bodies whose souls are absent from them and which are controlled by wickedness. There for, learn a lesson (from this), O you who have intellects, thank Allah for guiding you, and know that you cannot leave Allah’s power to that of those other then Him. Allah will see your acts, and you will be mustered before Him. As a result, take advantage of this sermon and follow the noble moral traits of the righteous.(1)

This sermon is one of the Imam’s excellent sermons. It is not confined to summoning people to renounce the world and to act for the next world; rather it includes political and social affairs, such as:

Warning men from following the tyrannical and their followers, who admire the world’s embellishment and delight. This is because these people always oppose social reform, spread oppression and corruption in the earth.

Dispraising the world

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1- Tuhaf al-‘Uqu`l, pp. 252-255. Al-Mufid, al-Amali, p. 117. Roudat al-Kafi, p. 138.

and criticizing its qualities of which is the following:

A. It raises the lowly up.

B. It pushes the free and the noble down.

C. It drives groups of people to the Fire, for it deviates them from the truth.

As the world leads men to vices and prevents them from good deeds, they should renounce it, turn away from its pleasures, and strive for attaining the bliss of the next world.

3. Showing grief for the community who faced in his time various kinds of black afflictions, new innovations, unjust laws made by the Umayyads, who drowned the country in oppression, discords, and tyranny. Those events had strong influence on the community, for they held back the hearts from their intentions and deviated them from the path of truth and reason.

4. Summoning men to obey Allah and the Imams of truth and guidance, who make them walk on the road of deliverance, and guide them to the straight path, who represent the will and awareness of the community and accomplish to it its mightiness and dignity. He, peace be on him, also summoned men to disobey the tyrannical leaders and not to help them.

5. Urging men to fear Allah and to obey Him, for man’s life is prosperous through these two deeds, and his conduct is righteous through them.

These are some contents of this sermon full of religious and political affairs.

9. The following is another example of the Imam’s sermons. In it he spoke about the qualities of the ascetics:

“One of the qualities of

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those who renounce the world and wish for the hereafter is that they oppose every friend who does not want what they want. Truly he who works for the reward of the next word renounces the immediate embellishment of the world, urges (himself) to do good deeds, prepares himself for death, for Allah, the Great and Almighty, says: Until when death overtake one of them, he says: Send me back, my Lord, that I may do good in that which I have left.(1)

“Live in this world the life of him who will be returned to it, and remorse for the good deeds which he neglected therein, and which he will need on the day of his neediness. Know, Allah’s servants, that he who fears the sudden attack of the authority of the people of the earth by night will turn away from pillow, refrain from sleeping, and abstain from eating and drinking. Woe unto you, son of Adam! Do you not fear the Almighty Lord’s sudden punishment coming by night? One finds neither sanctuary nor refuge nor escape from this sudden punishment. Hence, believers, fear Allah’s sudden punishment coming by night with the fear of the pious, for Allah says:

And most certainly We will settle you in the land after then; this is for him who fears standing in My presence and who fears My threat.(2)

Therefore, guard against the embellishment, deception, and evil of the life in this world. Remember the ill consequence of the inclination to it,

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1- Qur’an, 23, 100.
2- Ibid., 52, 14.

for its embellishment is a trial, and love for it is sin.

“Woe unto you, son of Adam! Know that the severity of indigestion, the nature of inclination (to the world), intoxication of fullness, and the mightiness of supreme power hold back (men) from working, make them forget the remembrance (of Allah), and distract them from the approach of death, hence the one who is afflicted by love for the world behave madly because of the intoxication of drink. He who knows Allah and fears Him trains himself and accustoms it to hunger, lest it should not yearn for fullness, in such a manner horses are made thin to gain bet.

“Hence, Allah’s servants, fear Allah with the fear of him who hopes for His reward. Fear His punishment, for Allah, the Exalted, has excused you, warned you (against His punishment), filled you with desire (for His reward), and frightened you (with punishment), yet you do not yearn for his generous reward nor do you fear His severe punishment, while He has told you about this in His Book:

Therefore whoever shall do of good deeds and he is a believer, there shall be no denying of his exertion, and surely We shall write (it) down for him.(1)

Then He has given you examples of verses in His Book, that you may guard against the embellishment of the life in this world. He said:

Your possessions and your children are only a trial, and Allah it is with Whom is a great

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1- Ibid., 21, 94.

reward.(1)

Therefore, fear Allah as far as possible, listen and obey. Fear Allah and learn a lesson from Allah’s admonitions. I know that the outcomes of sins have exhausted many of you, yet they do not guard against them, and harmed their bodies, but they do not hate them. Do you not hear Allah’s call concerning belittling the world:

Know that this world’s life is only sport and play and gaiety and boasting among yourselves, and a vying in the multiplication of wealth and children, like the rain, whose causing the vegetation to grow, pleases husbandmen; then it withers away Hence that you will see it become yellow, then it becomes dried up and broken down; and in the hereafter is a severe punishment and (also) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure; and this world’s life is naught but means of deception. Hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and to a garden whose extensiveness is as the extensiveness of the heaven and the earth; it is prepared for those who believe in Allah and His messengers; that is the bounty of Allah: He gives it to whom He pleases, and Allah is the Possessor of the great bounty.(2)

And He said:

O you who believe, fear Allah, and let every soul consider what it has sent on for the morrow, and fear Allah; surely Allah is Aware of what you do. And be not like those who forgot Allah, Hence He made them forget their own souls: it is these

p: 396


1- Ibid., 64, 15.
2- Ibid., 57, 20-21.

who are the transgressors.(1)

As a result fear Allah, servants of Allah. Consider carefully (Allah’s creatures) and work for that which you were created for, for Allah did not create you vainly nor will he leave you in vain. He has made you recognize Him, sent for you His messengers, and sent down upon you His Book in which there are His lawful and unlawful things, His arguments and His exemplars. Fear Allah, for your Lord has an argument over you when He said:

Have We not given him two eyes, and a tongue and two lips, and guided him to the two ways.(2)

Fear Allah as far as possible, for there is no strength save in Him, put trust in none except in Him, may Allah bless Muhammad and his Household.(3)

This valuable sermon contains the qualities and inclinations of those who renounced the world. Truly they were among the chosen creatures of Allah. The world did not deceive them with its embellishment and pleasures, for they turned toward the next world and sought nearness to Allah. Because of their behavior, their good deeds, and their sweet conversations, they became a good example for those who followed them.

10. The following is one of the Imam’s sermons in which he preached to his companions:

“The most lovable of you with Allah is the best of you in work. The greatest of you in work with Allah is the greatest of you in desire for that which is with Him. The safest of

p: 397


1- Ibid., 59, 18-19.
2- Ibid., 90, 8-10.
3- Tuhaf al-‘Uqu`l, pp. 272-274. Al-Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 17, p. 312, first edition.

you from the chastisement of Allah is the most intense of you in fear of Him. The nearest of you to Allah is the amplest of you in noble moral traits. The most pleasing of you to Allah is the best of you in spending lavishly upon his family; the most honorable of you with Allah is the most fearful of you before Him, the Exalted.(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, ordered his companions to cling to the noble moral qualities and stored deeds. He guided them to that which delivered them from the chastisement of Allah in the next world. He urged them to:

A. Wish for that which is with Allah, which is among the greatest stored things. As for wish for that which is with other than Allah, it leads to disappointment and loss.

B. Fear Allah, for fear of Allah prevents man from committing sins and crimes, plants in his soul virtue and dignity, and make him honorable among the members of society. It has been mentioned in the tradition: “The most honorable of you with Allah is the most fearful of you (before Him).(2)

C. Adopt noble moral traits, for man is distinguished from other than him by them. If he loses them, he loses his humanity.

11. The following is another example of the Imam’s sermons. In it he preached to his companions, saying:

“There is a garden between night and day. Those who obey Allah and fear him enjoy the garden. May Allah have mercy upon you, reciting

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1- Roudat al-Kafi, p. 158.
2- Ibid.,

the Qur’an at the beginning of night, plead (to Allah) and ask (Him) for forgiveness at the end of it. When daytime comes, do good within it through refraining from committing degrading sins. May Allah place you and us among those who are happy when they understand the Qur’an and avail themselves of its knowledge.(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, urged his companions to obey Allah and to worship Him by the darkness of night and the brightness of day. He warned them against committing sins and offenses which lead man to the places of destruction when he will quickly separate from this world and meet Allah, Who will repay him for his deeds, namely good for good (deeds) and evil for evil (deeds).

12. The following is another example of the Imam’s sermons. When man reads it, he will shake with fear. In it the Imam addresses himself, saying:

“O my soul, how long will you trust in the world and incline to its embellishment? Have you not learned a lesson from your bygone ancestors, your intimate friendswhom the earth has concealedyour brothersof whom you are bereavedand your companions who have been transferred to the earth? They are now inside the earth while they were on it. Their beauties therein have become decayed and effaced.

“Their abodes have become empty of them, their courtyards have become deserted of them, and the decrees (of Allah) drove them toward death.

“They left the world and their gathering for it; the pits (graves) and earth have

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1- Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 137.

hidden them.

“The hands of death have perished many generations! The earth changed, through its decay, and concealed many of your associates. You carried them to their graves and returned to the work of those who are void of every good.

“You are engaged in the world competing (with others) for it; therein you are craving and vying with others for many possessions. You walk in danger and rise in the morning for amusement. Do you know, if you understand, what you expose to danger? He who always strives for this world and forgets the next is a loser without doubt.

“How long will you cling to the world and be engaged in its pleasures? White hair and the warner have come to you, while you are inattentive of what is wanted from you, and your are engaged in your present and future pleasures. You have seen the people who followed passions when they changed and calamities befell them.

“Remembering the terror of death, the grave, and decay holds back one from amusement and pleasures. Will you look for (pleasures) after the approach of the forty (of age) and be obstinate, while white hair is a warner? It seems that you intentionally take care of that which harms you and that you are deviated from rightness.

“Consider carefully how the succession of days abducted bygone communities and perished kings and how death surprised them, hence their traces have become effaced from the world, their stories have remained therein, and they have become decayed (bones) in

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the earth until the Day of Resurrection and Return.

“They have become decayed (bones) in the earth, their assemblies have become void of them, as if they were gamblers who departed (from the world). They have inhabited an abode in which they cannot visit each other, and how can the inhabitants of the graves visit each other? You see nothing except that they have dwelled in flat graves over which the wind raises and scatters (the dust).

“Many were those who possessed mightiness, authority, soldiers, helpers, were powerful in their world. Therein they attained what they desired, built palaces and places for drinks and amusement, collected possessions, stored things, (had) beautiful slave girls, and noble women.

“The stored things do not turn away death from them when it suddenly comes upon them. The strongholds which they build and surround by rivers, amusement and drink places do not repel (it) from them, nor do stratagems fight against it for them, nor do the armies beseech defending them.

“Allah sends down upon them what nothing can repel. His decree, which nothing can keep back, befalls them, hence Exalted is Allah, the King, the All-compeller, the All-sublime, the Almighty, the Subduer, the Breaker of the tyrannical, the Destroyer of the arrogant, before whose force all things are lowly, and Who annihilates the subduers.

“The King, the Almighty, whose decree nothing can repel, the All-wise, the All-knowing, whose command is in force, the Subduer, toward whose mightiness of face all the almighty are humble. How many an almighty one

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is lowly before the All-dominating! The tyrannical kings are lowly and humble toward the mightiness of the Possessor of the Throne.

“Hence be quick! Be quick! Be wary, be wary of the world, its stratagems, the traps which it has set up for you, the ornament with which it has adorned itself for you, the beauty which it has shown for you, the pleasures which it has displayed for you, the destruction and catastrophes which it has concealed from you!

“(My soul), summon (men) to repulse the world’s other disasters and enjoin (them) to renounce (the world). Act seriously! Be not heedless! Be careful, for the inhabitant will soon leave the abode! Be ready (for the hereafter) ! Flag not, for your span will remove, and you will go to the Abode of Permanence. Seek not the world, for its blissthough you have obtained some of itis a harmful outcome for you.

“Therefore, do the intelligent crave for the world? Will they be pleased with it, while they are sure that it will perish? Will they sleep at night, while death is sudden? Will they incline (to the world) while they expect death at any moment?

“Except to Allah (one’s soul inclines), but we deceive our souls, and pleasures distract us from what He has warned us. How does one enjoy this life, while he will be ordered to stand in the standing-place of justice on the day when the secrets will be tried? It seems that we think that there will be no

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resurrection, that we are in vain, and that we will not return after death.

“What does one attain from the world’s pleasures, beauties and various wonders, while he suffers sudden tragedies, maladies, troubles, and pain?

“Do we not see the world’s changes come and go by day and night? The world lends us nothing but blights and worries. How long does the borrower stay therein? He is not happy and safe in his world, nor does he prevents himself from its demands.

“How many a person inclines to the world, but it deceives him. It knocks down him who devotes himself to it, but it not releases him from his stumble, nor does it save him from being knocked down, nor does it heal him from his pain and malady, nor does it save him form his disgrace.

“Rather it leads him, after honor and strength, to evil outcomes which none can repel. When he sees that there is no salvation, and that his carefulness will not rescue him from death, he shows remorse, but it does not profit him, and weeps for his great sins.

“He weeps for his bygone sins, and regrets for what has escaped him in this world. He asks Allah’s forgiveness, but forgiveness does not profit him, nor does apology rescue him from the terror of death and the coming of the trial.

“Grieves and worries encompass him, and he is sad when his strength is feeble. None will relieve him from death, nor does anyone support him against it. His

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soul becomes agitated out of fear of death, but the uvula and the throat return it to him.

“Hence his visitors and his family decrease, and they leave him alone (with death). They despair of this invalid one. They close his eyes with their own hands, and stretch out his legs when his soul takes leave. Then the affectionate friends leave him.

“How many a painful, distressed one weeps for him, seeking patience, but he is not patient, saying: To Allah we belong and to Him is our return, supplicating Allah for him sincerely, numbering for him all what he remembers. How many a person gloats over his death, but he will die shortly after his death.

“Hence his womenfolk tear their garments; his slave girls strike their cheeks; his neighbor lament for losing him; and his brothers feel pain for his disaster. Then they undertake preparing him for burial, and set out to bring him out, as if he was not among them dear and ransomed, nor was he the preferable, beloved one.

“His loving people and relatives send someone to wash him and shroud him in two garments. Meanwhile they send someone to dig a grave for him. Then his brothers and his clans come together to escort him to his final resting place.

“If you see the youngest of his childrenwhen sadness controls his heart, (men) fear for him out of impatience, tears make his eyes red, he laments over his father and says: Woe! Alas!you will see an ugly sight of

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death, of which a beholder is afraid and terrified. When the youngest children forget him, the oldest ones become agitated. His womenfolk are impatient for him, and tears run down their faces.

“Then he is carried from his wide palace to his narrow grave. When he rests in his grave, his acts terrify him, his offenses encompass him, and he is unable to stand before what he sees. Then they power down sand on him with their own hands, weep and lament over him very much. Then they stand beside him for an hour. When they despair of looking at him, they leave him as hostage to his deeds.

“They turn the back (to him), lamenting over him, and all of them are careful of death. They are like the sheep which graze safely, (and then) they become frightened and stop pasturing when someone bare-armed suddenly appears before them (holding) his knife.

“When fear turns away from them, they return to their pasture, and forget this. Do we follow the acts of cattle and put their customs into effect? Return to the remembrance of him who is carried to the Abode of Trial. Learn a lesson from his place under the earth. (Learn a lesson from) him who is pushed to the terror of what you see.

“Only he has rested in his grave; his children and sons-in-law have distributed his inheritance (among themselves). They have divided his properties (among themselves), but none of them have thanked or praised him.

“O you who lives in

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the world and strives for it, O you who feels safety from the changes of time, how do you feel security from this state, and certainly you will reach it? How do you satisfy yourself of food, while you wait for your death? How do you enjoy your desires, while they are the mount of blights?

“You have not prepared yourself for the departure which has approached, and you are about to travel. Alas! How long will I delay my repentance, while my span will come to an end, and death awaits me? My deeds have been written on the pages, and the OneWho is Just and Powerful in judgment will repay (me) for them.

“How long will you patch your life in this world with your life in the next, mount your seduction and caprice? I think that you are weak, O you who prefers this world to the religion! Has the Compassionate (Allah) commanded you to do this? Has the Qur’an been sent down for this? Do you not think that there will be a severe reckoning awaiting you? Do you not consider the state of those who collected (money) and invested (it), raised buildings up and decorated (them), and lived long? Have they not become waste, and their graves become their abode?

“You destroy that which will subsist, and build that which will perish, though it is neither ample nor inhabited. Have you an excuse before Allah when death surprises you, and you have earned no good deed? Are you

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content that your span comes to an end, while your religion is deficient and your property is abundant?(1)

This sermon is over. It describes the reality of this world’s life and man’s departure from it. It shows that man craves for this world, adorns it, and clings to its pleasures, while he knows that he will leave it for a narrow, dark grave where his organs cut off, and his stories die down. Nothing will stay with him except his deeds. If they are good, he will be intimate with nothing except with them. If they are evil, he will fear nothing save them.

I (the author) do not doubt the meanings of this sermon, but I doubt some weak words therein, especially as it concerns the lines of poetry. This is because such words do not agree with the eloquence of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, who was the most eloquent in the Arab and Islamic world, and who composed al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, which is the purest and most eloquent book in Arabic literature.

13. The following is another example of the Imam’s valuable sermons. In it he warns (mankind) against the world. He, peace be on him, said: “Beware of the world and what therein, for it is the abode of vanishing and change. It changes its inhabitants from state to another. It perished the past generations and bygone nations, who had properties more than you (have), lived longer than you, and had houses more than you (have). The

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1- Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, pp. 109-113. Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh.

world annihilated them as if they were not its inhabitants. The earth has absorbed their flesh, removed their beauties, scattered their organs, and changed their colors. The hands of time have milled them. Then will you crave for subsistence after them? Far be it! Far be it! Surely, you will meet (Allah). You wasted your past span. Hence do good deeds in the remaining part of your span, before your fixed terms terminate, and your expectations cut off. You are about to be taken from the palaces to the graves, sad not happy. By Allah, how many a sinner who shows perfect remorse. How many a powerful person who falls into the paths destruction. Remorse will not profit him, nor will anyone help him against wrongdoing. He will find his past deeds and take what he has supplied himself with. They found what they did present, and your Lord does not wrong anyone. They are in the abodes of death, and are silent in the camp of the dead, awaiting the cry of the Resurrection and coming of the Day of the Calamity, that Allah may repay those who do evil with what they have done, and repay those who do good with goodness.(1)

With this we will end our speech about the sermons of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. They are indeed some of the greatest spiritual sources and the most successful medicine for curing psychological diseases that abase man and throw him into total ignorance in this

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1- Qur’an, 53, 30.

life.

His Wise Sayings and Teachings

point

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, stated many valuable wise sayings and noble teachings that resulted from his full experience in the reality of life, his deep understanding of social affairs, and his knowledge of the conditions and affairs of men. The following is part of what it has been narrated on his authority.

Dispraising Haughtiness

The Imam, peace be on him, dispraised haughtiness. He blamed the haughty for their evil qualities, which are the door to all evil deeds and vices. The haughty think that other than them do not deserve life, hence they wrong men and show enmity toward them. The Imam, peace be on him, said: “I wonder at him who shows haughtiness and vainglory, while was as a sperm yesterday and will be a carrion tomorrow.(1)

If the haughty carefully consider their beginning and their end, they will not show haughtiness and vainglory toward men, nor will they boast of their children and properties.

From their Safe Place, the Careful are surprised.(2)

An example of his immortal wise sayings is these golden wonderful words. He, peace be on him, said: “From their safe place, the careful are surprised. The intelligent are content with the inspiration of speech. Explanation turns away from the ignorant one’s heart. He does not avail himself of words, though eloquent, when he badly listens (to them).(3)” As for the meanings of these pure words, they are as follows:

1. ‘From his safe place, the careful are surprised,’ means that kings and rules employ guards in order to

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1- Balaghat al-Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 27, quoted from Nasikh al-Tawarikh, vol. 1, p. 484.
2- The pre-Islamic people knew this proverb.
3- Ibn Hammdu`n, Tadhkira, p. 26.

protect them; nevertheless the guards themselves sometimes kill them.

2. It is the intelligent who understand affairs through the inspiration of speech and the contexts of states. In other words, they are in no need of wordiness.

3. Explanation turns away from the ignorant one’s mind, for ignorance has covered it and turned it away from understanding affairs.

4. He who badly listens does not avail himself of pure, wise words, but he who carefully listens makes use of them.

Warning against Disputes

The Imam, peace be on him, warned (the Muslims) against the dispute which leads them to overcoming and haughtiness, and not to the truth. He, peace be on him, said: “Dispute corrupts past friendship and unties strong knots, for it leads to overcoming which is among the strongest reasons for estrangement.(1)” Dispute is a key to evil deeds, moves enmity and hatred among men, and causes to them many hardships and difficulties.

Rejoicing over Sins

Rejoicing over sins indicates that the person goes to extremes in crime, hence the Imam, peace be on him, said: “Beware of rejoicing over sins, for rejoicing over sins is greater than committing them.(2)

Kinds of Sin

The Imam speaks about the kinds of sin which bring about Allah’s wrath and chastisement. He warns man against them, that he may lead sound religion and world. He, peace be on him, said:

“The sins which alter blessings are: aggression against men, turning away from good habits, affected charity, showing ingratitude toward blessings, and leaving thanksgiving. Allah, the Exalted, said: ‘Surely, Allah does not change the condition of a people

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1- Zahr al-Adab, vol. 1, p. 102.
2- Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 173.

until they change their own condition.’

“The sins which bring about remorse are: murdering the soul which Allah has made unlawful (When Cain killed his brother Abel and was unable to bury him, Allah said: Hence he became among the remorseful.), leaving tightening bonds of kin until they are free from need, leaving the prayers until their times pass, leaving will and complaints, refraining from giving zakat until death comes and the tongue stops.

“The sins which draw down diversities are: disobeying the knowledgeable, showing insolence toward men, and ridiculing them.

“The sins which repel blessings are: displaying poverty, sleep during noon and evening prayers’ times, disdaining blessings, and complaints against Allah.

“The sins which tear apart safeguards are: drinking wine, playing gamble, chatter and joking which make men laugh, mentioning the defects of men, and sitting with the people of doubt.

“The sins which draw down tribulations are: leaving relieving the grieved, leaving helping the wronged, refraining from enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.

“The sins which empower the enemies are: declaring oppression and dissoluteness publicly, making the prohibited permissible, showing disobedience toward the good, and following the evil.

“The sins which hasten annihilation are: cutting the ties of the womb, sinful oath, false words, fornication, obstructing the path of the Muslims, and claiming the Imamate without right.

“The sins which cut off expectations are: despair of Allah’s repose, desperation of Allah’s mercy, trust in other than Allah, and denying Allah’s promise.

“The sins which make air black are: magic, soothsaying, faith in the stars, denying (Allah’s)

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decree, and showing disobedience to parents.

“The sins which remove the covering are: borrowing a loan without intention to repay it, spending lavishly on falsehood, showing stinginess toward family, children, and the blood relations, misconduct, the paucity of patience, employing boredom, and disdaining the people of religion.

“The sins which hold back supplication are: evil intention, wicked inner self, showing hypocrisy toward brothers, leaving giving truthful answer, delaying the obligatory prayers until their times pass, leaving nearness to Allah through charity and alms, employing obscene words, untruth, concealing witness, refraining from giving zakat, loan, and food, displaying curliness toward the poor and the needy, oppressing orphans and widows, scolding and repelling the beggar at night.(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, warned (men) against committing these sins and crimes, which deviate man’s behavior from the right path and make him far from his Creator. He has mentioned their mean results in this world and the next. This is indeed one of the traditions of the pure Imams, peace be on them, who spared no effort to educate man’s soul.

The Reality of Death

The Imam, peace be on him, described the reality of death of believers and unbelievers with these words of him: “The death of a believer is like taking off dirty garments and replacing them with excellent ones. It is like riding the lowest mounts and untying heavy fetters. The death of an unbeliever is like taking off excellent garments and replacing them with the dirtiest and most coarse ones. It is like moving from intimate

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1- Al-Sadu`q, Ma‘ani al-Akhbar, p. 78.

houses to lonely ones.(1)

Many traditions have been narrated on the authority of the Imams of guidance. They say: “The world is the prison of a believer and garden of an unbeliever.” When the believer is about to die, he finds no difficulty in death. He finds the greatest comfort; for he will soon move to Paradise. When the unbeliever faces death, he finds it unhappiness and tribulation. He faces it with regret and pain; for he will move from a garden to a lasting chastisement in a prison.

The Most Important Degrees of Asceticism

A person questioned Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, about asceticism, and he replied: “Asceticism is of ten degrees: The highest degree of asceticism is the lowest degree of piety. The highest degree of piety is the lowest degree of certainty. The highest degree of certainty is the lowest degree of satisfaction.(2) Asceticism is in one verse of Allah’s Book: Hence that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you.(3)

This tradition contains some gnostic realities. They are as follows:

A. The highest degree of asceticism does not equal the lowest degree of abstaining from the things which Allah has made unlawful. Abstaining from such things results from setting right soul and controlling it.

B. Piety is the highest degree of faith (in Allah), yet the highest degree of it is the lowest degree of certainty of Allah, the Exalted.

C. Certitude is the essence of faith, yet the highest degree of it is lowest degree

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1- Ibid., p. 136.
2- Usu`l al-Kafi, Chapter on Dispraising the World.
3- Qur’an, 29, 23.

of satisfaction with what Allah has apportioned.

D. The Holy Verse includes the reality of asceticism. It warns man against grief and sorrow for the interests which escape him in this world. Besides it warns him against rejoicing over the pleasures he earns.

The Best Deeds in the View of Allah

The Imam, peace be on him, was asked about the best deeds in the view of Allah, and he answered: “After recognizing Allah and His Messenger, the best deed in Allah’s eyes is detesting the world. This has many branches. Disobedience has also many branches. Self-admiration was the first act of disobedience. It made Satan refuse to (prostrate himself for Adam), show haughtiness, and unbeliever. Envy was the sin of Adam’s son. It made him kill his brother. From this branched love for women, the world, presidency, ease, words, superiority, and wealth. They have become seven qualities and come together in love for the world. After recognizing these qualities, the prophets and the scholars said: “Love for the world is the root of every sin, and the world is an abode of tribulation.(1)

Surely, love for the world is the foundation of tribulation, source of discords and dangers which befall man. It leads man to sins and offenses and throws him into great evil. The Imam, peace be on him, has mentioned the blights which result from love for the world. Some of them are as follows:

1. Self-admiration.

2. Envy.

3. Love for men and presidency.

4. Love for ease.

5. Love for words (which do not concern and mean the person).

6. Love for

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1- Usu`l al-Kafi, Chapter on Dispraising the World.

superiority over the others.

7. Love for wealth.

These blights deviate man from the right path, and throw him into sins.

Recognizing Justice

The following tradition is one of the Imam’s wise sayings. In it the Imam defines man’s justice and reliability. He, peace be on him, said: “If you see a man show good appearance and guidance, goes too far in his words, and pretends obedience through his movements, then be slow, let him not deceive you. Many are those who are incapable of obtaining the world and committing the unlawful therein. As he is frail in body, abased, and fainthearted, he sets up religion as snare for himself. He is still deceiving men through his appearance. When he is capable of an unlawful thing, he plunges into it. If you see him show chastity toward unlawful property, then be slow, let him not deceive you. For the desires of the creatures are various.

Many are those who affect refusal toward the unlawful, though be it much. He carries himself on an ugly, ill-omened horse, and commits an unlawful thing through it. If you see him in such a state, then be slow, let him not deceive you, until you see the firmness of his intellect. Many are those who leave all of this, then they do not return to firm intellect, hence what they corrupt through their ignorance is more than what they set right through their intellects. If you find his intellect firm, then be slow, let him not deceive you, until

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you see whether his caprice overcomes his intellect or his intellect overcomes his caprice, whether he loves false presidency or abstains from it.

For some people leave the world for the world. They think that the pleasure of false presidency is better than that of lawful properties and blessings, hence they leave all of this and seek presidency. When it is said to him, fear Allah; pride carries him off to sin; therefore hell is sufficient for him; and certainly it is an evil resting-place. He behaves at random. His first falsehood leads him to the utmost loss. His farfetched demand take him to what he cannot accomplish through his tyranny. Hence he makes lawful what Allah has made unlawful. He makes unlawful what Allah has made lawful. He pays no attention to his religion when it escapes him, as long as he assumes presidency, for which he has tired himself. Then, it is those with whom Allah has become angry, whom He has cursed, and for whom He has prepared a painful chastisement.

“However, the best man is he who makes his caprice follow Allah’s command, uses his abilities according to Allah’s decree, regards abasement during the truth as nearer to immortal glory than false glory, and knows that its little ordeal, which he bears, leads to permanent bliss in an abode which does not perish nor does it run out, whose plentiful joy will follow him. When he follows his caprice, it leads him to a chastisement which does

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not cease nor does it remove. Hence cling to this man, follow his sunna (practices), and seek access through him to Allah, for his supplication is not refused nor does his demand fail.(1)

This tradition of the Imam, peace be on him, aims at recognizing justice, which is among the greatest psychological talents, for through it man becomes sublime, and gets free from material things and pleasures to the extent that evil inclinations will have no power over him. Some jurists depend on this tradition when the say that the general authority should be the most generous one.(2)

The tradition clearly indicates that recognizing the just man, perfect in piety and Allah-fearingness, should stands on an exact test and full experience, not on a quick glance of which is the following:

A. Good appearance, for it is not proof for justice and Allah-fearingness.

B. Displaying righteousness, it also is not proof for justice, for he may be a deceiver and hypocrite, using the religion as means to obtain his objectives, his ambitions, and his desires after he has become unable to obtain them through other means.

C. Abstaining from unlawful properties, this also is not proof for Allah-fearingness, for he may force himself to prevent from this in order to accomplish his objectives and purposes, which have no relationship with the religion.

As for the qualities through which perfect piety and reliability are recognized, they are as follows:

A. Man should overcome his caprice and desires through his intellect.

B. He does not show love for false presidency;

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1- Tafsir al-Imam al-‘Askari, p. 19. Tanbih al-Khawatir, p. 316. Al-Ihtijajj, vol. 2, p. 175.
2- Safinat al-Najat.

he should renounce it, for this is among the most reliable proofs for justice and Allah-fearingness.

C. He should follow Allah’s commandments and yield completely to Him, the exalted, to the extent that he employs all his abilities to attain Allah’s good pleasure and nearness to Him. This is indeed a just man, whose justice results from thanksgiving, contemplation, and faith.

The Qualities of Hypocrites and Believers

The Imam, peace be on him, stated the following tradition, explaining some qualities of hypocrites and believers. He said: “The hypocrite prohibits (men from doing evil deeds), but he does not (refrain from them). He enjoins (men to do good deeds), but he does not do (them). When he stands for prayers, he objects (its legislation). When he bows down (in prayer), he shows laziness. When he prostrates himself (in prayer), he pecks (i.e. he performs prostration as quick as bird peck at the corn). When he enters into evening, his concern is dinner. He does not fast. When he rises in the morning, his concern is sleep. He does not stay awake at night.

“As for the believer, he mixes his knowledge with his clemency. He sits in order to learn and listens in order to be free (from faults). He does not tell anyone about trust even his friends. He does not conceal witness for those far. He does not do any of the truth for dissimulation nor does he leave it out of modesty. When men praise him, he is afraid of their words. He asks Allah’s forgiveness for

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what they do not know. Those who ignore him do not harm him.(1)” This tradition of the Imam, peace be on him, includes the most prominent qualities of hypocrites and believers. As for the qualities of hypocrites, they are as follows:

A. The hypocrite forbids (men) from doing evil deeds, but he does not abstain from doing them. He enjoins (men) to do good deeds, but he himself does not do them. This is because he does not believe in such deeds. He forbids (men) from the evil and enjoins (them) to do the good in order to deceive and mislead them and in order to show himself as a good person.

B. When he stands for prayers, he opposes its legislation. Besides, when he bows down in prayer, he kneels down as sheep do. When he prostrates himself in prayer, he is restless. He is like bird when it pecks at the corn.

C. He is like the cattle whose concern is fodder. In this manner he rises in the morning and enters into evening, and has no concern except food.

As for the qualities of the believer, they are as follows:

A. His character is composed of two elements: knowledge and clemency. Hence he is scholar and clement. He who has these two qualities reaches the highest degree of perfection.

B. He does not sit with any person except those from whom he takes knowledge and wisdom. He never joins useless amusement and unemployment assemblies.

C. He listens to men in order to save himself

p: 419


1- Tuhaf al-‘Uqu`l, p. 280. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 17, p. 315, first edition. Some of this tradition has been mentioned in Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 11, p. 272.

from their wickedness and enmity.(1)

D. He conceals deposits; he does not tell anyone about them even his friends.

E. He gives witness; he never conceals it.

F. When he does any of the truth, he does not do it for dissimulation or reputation; rather he does it for the sake of Allah, the Most High.

G. When men praise or describe him with some noble qualities, he is afraid of being void of such qualities. Hence he asks Allah to forgive them.

H. He pays no attention to those who ignore him and regards them as not important. These qualities indicate that the believer has an exalted soul and perfect character.

Some excellent Pieces of Advice

The Imam, peace be on him, gave his companions these excellent pieces of advice: “You have no right to sit with whomever you like, for Allah (the Blessed, the Exalted) says: And when you see those who enter into false discourses about Our communications, withdraw from them until they enter into some other discourse, and if Satan causes you to forget, then do not sit after recollection with the unjust people.(2) You have no right to say whatever you like, for Allah, the Exalted, says: And follow not what you have no knowledge of. (3) And for Allah’s messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, says: ‘May Allah have mercy on a servant who says good (words) and wins (them) or he keeps silent and is safe.’ You have no right to listen to whatever you like, for Allah, the Most High, says:

p: 420


1- This means that he keeps his tongue, refrains from entering all conversations, refrains from the situations of suspicions, and turns aside from sitting with corrupt people.
2- Qur’an, 6, 68.
3- Ibid., 17, 36.

Surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.(1)

If Muslims put into effect these excellent pieces of advice, they will earn immense good and be safe from evil.

Help and Beneficence

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, urged his companions and followers (Shi‘ites) to aid each other and to show beneficence toward one another, for such an act is the best guarantee for their unity. Many traditions in this respect have been handed down from him. The following is some of them:

1. “The highest of you in degree, and the best of you in palaces and buildings (i.e. in the Garden) are those who respond to the believers and help their poor ones. Allah brings near those who say good words to their poor brothers, though they are from among those who will be chastised in the Fire. Therefore, disdain not beneficence to your brothers, for it will profit you when nothing replaces it.(2)” The Imam, peace be on him, urged (Muslims) to aid the poor and to show beneficence toward them. He mentioned the ample reward Allah prepared for good-doers. He regarded good words as beneficence, for they spread love and brotherhood among the Muslims.

2. He, peace be on him, said: “He who passes night full and there is in his presence a hungry believer, Allah, the Exalted, says to His angels: Bear witness against this servant. I ordered him, but he disobeyed Me and obeyed other than Me, hence I charged him with

p: 421


1- Ibid.,
2- Tafsir al-Burhan, vol. 1, p. 44.

his work. By My mightiness and majesty, I will never forgive him.(1)

This tradition and others which have been handed down from the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on themregarded as among the basic elements of social solidarity, which Islam has established, and which certainly put an end to poverty and deprivation.

3. He, peace be on him, said: “He who has an extra garment, knows that there is in his presence a believer who needs it, and does not give it to him, Allah will throw him down in the Fire.(2)

Islam regards poverty as a destructive social disaster, hence it urges Muslims to spare no effort to save society from it.

4. He, peace be on him, said: “I feel shame of my Lord when I ask Him for the Garden, while I do not give a dirham or a dinar to one of my brothers. It will be said to me on the Day of Resurrection: ‘If the Garden belonged to you, you would be stingier with it.’(3)

This tradition shows that the Imam, peace be on him, took great care of the affairs of charity and beneficence, that he urged the Muslims to take care of them.

5. He, peace be on him, said: “He who gives food to a believer until he becomes full, he will get a wage of which neither an angel brought nigh nor a prophet sent out know except the Lord of the worlds.” He added: “Among the things which make forgiveness obligatory is

p: 422


1- ‘Iqab al-A‘mal, p. 30.
2- Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin, vol. 1, p. 97.
3- Musadaqat al-Ikhwan, p. 34. Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 239. Tahdhib al-Kamal, M7/Q2, p. 338.

giving food to a hungry Muslim.” Then he read these words of Him, the Exalted: “Or the giving of food in a day of hunger to an orphan, having relationship, or to the poor lying in the dust.(1)

In this tradition there is summons to giving food to a hungry person and to save him from hunger. Islam urges Muslims to give food to the poor and regards giving food as a necessary act. It indicates that a Muslim will be questioned about it, especially when the poor person is in urgent need of food.

6. He, peace be on him, said: “He who accomplishes his brother’s need, Allah will grant him a hundred needs. He who relieves his brother’s sorrow, Allah will relieve his sorrow on the Day of Resurrection, whatever it may be. He who helps his brother against a wrongdoer, Allah will help him pass al-Sirat when legs shake. He who strives to fulfill his brother’s need and pleases him with fulfilling it, he pleases Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. He who gives water to his brother to quench his thirst, Allah will let him drink of a pure drink which is sealed (to others). He who gives food to his hungry brother, Allah will let him eat from the fruits of the Garden. He who clothes his naked brother, Allah will make him wear silk and brocade. He who clothes his unnaked brother, Allah will guarantee him as long as there is a thread

p: 423


1- Qur’an, 90, 14.

of the garment on (the body of) the clothed one. He who removes his brother’s worries, Allah will make youths serve him. He who carries his brother on a she-camel, Allah will raise him from the dead on one of the she-camels of the Garden for which he will vie with the angels. He who shrouds his brother when he dies, Allah will clothe him from the day when his mother borne him until he dies. He who marries his brother to an intimate wife, Allah will make him intimate in his grave with the most beloved of his family. He who visits his sick brother, the angels will surround him and supplicate for him until he leaves, and they say: ‘You are agreeable, and the Garden is agreeable for you.’ By Allah, accomplishing a need is more lovable with Allah than fasting successive months in the Sacred Months.’(1)

These excellent teachings of the Imam, peace be on him, bring about the solidarity of the Muslims, spread affection, mercy, and sympathy among them.

7. He, peace be on him, said: “Men will be resurrected naked, hungry, and thirsty. Hence he who clothes a believer in this world, Allah will clothe him in the garments of the Garden. He who gives food to a believer, Allah will give him food of the fruits of the Garden. He who gives a believer a drink of water in this world, Allah will let him drink of a pure drink that is sealed (to others).(2)

Islam spares

p: 424


1- Thawab al-A‘mal, p. 81.
2- Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 194.

no effort to put an end to poverty and deprivation, hence it guarantees to give ample repayment to those who aid their Muslim brother ands show beneficence toward them.

8. He, peace be on him, said: “He who gives food to a hungry believer, Allah will give him food of the fruits of the Garden. He who gives water to a thirsty believer, Allah will let him drink of a pure drink that is sealed (to others). He who clothes a naked believer, Allah will cover him over and protect him as long as there is a rag of the garment (on the body of the clothed one).(1)

These principles of the Imam, peace be on him, represent the essence and reality of Islam. If Muslims put them into practice, they will be the masters of nations and peoples.

Tightening the Bonds of Kin

The Imam, peace be on him, urged the Muslims to tighten the bonds of kin and warned them against cutting them off. He, peace be on him, said: “He who wants Allah to prolong his span and give him a plentiful provision, let him tighten the bonds of kin, for the womb relatives will say with eloquent tongues on the Day of Resurrection: ‘O Lord, tighten him who tightened us, and cut him off who cut us off.’ One will be seen on the good path. If the womb relatives, whom he cut off, come to him, they will descend him to the bottom of the Fire.(2)

Many authentic traditions have been handed down from

p: 425


1- Al-Husayn b. Sa‘id al-Ahwazi, al-Mu’min, p. 19, one of the manuscripts of the Library of al-Sayyid al-Hakim, serial, 196. The School of al-Imam al-Mehdi checked and published the book in Qum, in the year 1404 A. H. It also checked and published the book al-Tamhis by Shaykh Abi ‘Ali Mohammed b. Hammam al-Iskafi, died 336 A. H. This tradition has been mentioned on page 159. no. 63.
2- Al-Bihar.

the Imam of guidance, peace be on them, about tightening the bonds of kin. They indicate that such bonds prolong man’s span, increase his provision, double his reward in the hereafter, strengthen society, and spread affection among the Muslims.

Love for the Sake of Allah

The Imam, peace be on him, summoned the Muslims to love each other and to show affection toward one another for the sake of Allah, not for this material perishing world. He, peace be on him, said: “When Allah bring together those first and last, men will hear a caller ask: ‘Where are those who loved each other for the sake of Allah?’ Some people will stand. It will be said to them: ‘Go to the Garden without reckoning.’ The angels will receive them and ask them about the work through which they enter the Garden. They will answer: ‘It is we who loved one another for the sake of Allah.’ The angels will ask them: ‘What was your act?’ They will reply: ‘We loved those who loved Allah, and hated those who hated Him.’ Hence the angels will say to them: ‘Excellent is the reward of the workers!’(1)

Love for the sake of Allah unifies Muslims; it does not divide them. It brings them together and does not scatter them, for it results from firm faith in Allah.

Supplication for Believers

The Imam, peace be on him, urged the believers to supplicate for their Muslim brothers when absent, and to praise them. He, peace be on him, said: “When the angels hear a believer supplicating for

p: 426


1- Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 11, p. 432.

his absent brother, they say: ‘What an excellent brother for your brother you are! You supplicate for him with good when he is absent, and remember him with goodness. Allah has given you two likes of what you supplicated for him, and praised you two likes of what you praised him. You did him a favor.’ When they hear him mention his brother with evil and supplicate against him, they say to him: ‘What a bad brother for your brother you are! Refrain from this, O you whose sins and defects have been covered! Take care of yourself! Praise Allah who has covered you over! Know that Allah knows His servant more than you!(1)

These noble moral traits strengthen the unity and solidarity of Muslims, spread affection and brotherhood among them.

Repayment of the Virtuous

The Imam, peace be on him, urged his companions to show virtue toward men as well as he summoned them to be patient and to help each other. He, peace be on him, said: “A caller will call on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Let the virtuous stand!’ Some people will stand before reckoning. It will be said to them: ‘Go to the Garden!’ The angels receive them and ask them where they go. They reply: ‘To the Garden.’ When the angels ask them about the work through which they deserve the Garden, they answer: ‘When men showed ignorance toward us, we showed forbearance toward them. When they wronged us, were patient. When they mistreated us, we pardoned them.’ Hence it

p: 427


1- Usu`l al-Kafi.

will be said to them: ‘Enter the Garden! Excellent is the reward of the workers.’

Then a caller will call: ‘Let the patient stand.’ Some people will stand. It will be said to them: ‘Go to the Garden!’ The angels receive them and ask them as they ask the first group, and they reply: ‘We habituated ourselves to obey Allah, and we habituated them to refrain from disobeying Him.’ Hence the angels will say to them: ‘Enter the Garden! Excellent is the reward of the workers.’ Then a caller will call: ‘Let the neighbors of Allah, the Great and Almighty, stand!’ Some people will stand. It will be said to them: ‘Go to the Garden!’ The angels will ask them about the work through which they deserve the Garden and about their neighborhood to Allah, the Great and Almighty. They will reply: ‘We visited each other for the sake of Allah. We sat with one another for the sake of Allah. We exchanged (gifts) with each other for the sake of Allah.’ Hence the angels will say: ‘Enter the Garden! Excellent is the reward of the workers.’(1)

In this tradition the Imam, peace be on him, summons Muslims to have noble moral traits and the most excellent qualities which lead them to honor and perfection.

Summons to Religion

A man came to the Imam, peace be on him, and asked him about the summons to the religion, and he, peace be on him, answered: “Summon (men) to Allah, the Most High, and His religion through

p: 428


1- Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 159. Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 46.

two ways: Make them recognize Allah, and work for the sake of His good pleasure. As for the recognition of Allah, it is that you make (them) know that Allah is One, Compassionate, Merciful, knowledgeable, Powerful over all things, eyes attain Him not, and He attains eyes, and He is the All-subtle, the Expert, that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, what he brought was the truth from Allah, the Exalted, and that other than them is falsehood. If they accept this, they will have rights just as those of the Muslims, and there will be rights against them just as those against the Muslims.(1)

The summons to the religion and embracing it depend on recognizing Allah, the Most High, faith in His Unity, and confessing the prophecy of the greatest Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household. He who follows these two affairs will be treated according to the Islamic rules, such as refraining from shedding his blood, safeguarding his properties, and treating him in the same manner in which Muslims are treated.

Warning against some Unlawful Things

The Imam, peace be on him, warned (the Muslims) against committing some unlawful things, for they send man away from his Lord and throw him into great evil. He, peace be on him, said: “Guard against all the unlawful things. Know that backbiting your believing brotherwho is among the Shi’ites of the House of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his Householdis more unlawful than eating (meat) of the dead (animals). Allah, the Most High, said: ‘...nor

p: 429


1- Al-Tu`si, Tahdhib, vol. 2, p. 47.

let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it.(1)’ Drinking blood is less unlawful for you than informing an unjust sovereign of your believing brother, who is among the Shi’ites of the House of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his Household.

For you perish yourselves, you believing brother, and the sovereign. Eating the flesh of a pig is less unlawful for you than your honoring those whom Allah has belittled, naming them with our names, the Ahl al-Bayt, and giving them our nick-names, while Allah has named them the sinners, and given them the nick-name of the licentious. (The animal) over which any other (name) than (that of) Allah is invoked is less unlawful for you than making a marriage contract or performing a congregational prayer with our enemies, who have usurped our rights, unless you practice precautionary dissimulation. Allah, the Most High, says:

‘...but whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin shall be on him.(2)

If someone is obedient to Allah, but necessity forces him to practice one of these unlawful things, no sin shall be on him.(3)

The Imam, peace be on him, warned (the Muslims) against committing all the unlawful things, and he especially stressed refraining from the following unlawful things:

A. Backbiting, for it divides Muslims, spreads hatred and enmity among them. It is certain that he who has firm faith in Allah turns away from it.

p: 430


1- Qur’an, 49, 12.
2- Ibid., 2, 173.
3- Bihar al-Anwar (first edition), vol. 7, p. 331.

In many of his pieces of advice, the Imam, peace be on him, warned (the Muslims) against it. A man said to him: “Someone accuses you of misguidance and innovation.” The Imam blamed the man for this and said to him: “You did not conform to the right of sitting with the man when you informed us of his words, nor did you conform to my right when you told me about my brother what I had not known. Death includes all of us. Resurrection will be the place of our gathering. The Day of Judgment will be our appointment, and Allah will decide among us. Beware of backbiting, for it is the food of the dogs of the people of the Fire.(1)

B. Informing an unjust sovereign against a believer: It is a serious offense, for it leads to an inclusive destruction.

C. Giving the noble nick-names of the Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, to those unjust who spread tyranny and corruption in that time.

D. Communicating and working with the unjust: They strengthen their position and raise up their importance. These are some contents of the words of the Imam, peace be on him.

Warning against Craving

The Imam, peace be on him, summoned to freedom from the abasement of craving. He, peace be on him, said: “I have seen all good come together in cutting off craving for what is in men’s hands. He who beseeches not men for a thing, and entrust all his affairs to Allah, Allah will respond to him

p: 431


1- Mishkat al-Anwar, p. 291. Al-Tubrisi, al-Ihtijajj, p. 172.

in all things.(1)

Dangerous blights result from craving. They lead man to destruction and throw him into great evil. The Imam summoned man to free himself from craving, that he might be perfected and sublime.

Showing Gratitude toward Good-doer

The Imam, peace be on him, underlined the necessity for showing gratitude toward good-doers, that good deeds may not be lost. He, peace be on him, said: “Allah, the Most High, loves every sad heart and every grateful servant. On the Day of Judgment, He will say to His servant: ‘Did you thank so-and-so?’ The servant will say: ‘I thanked You, my Lord.’ Allah, the Glorified, will say to him: ‘You did not thank me because you did not thank him.’”

After this the Imam added: “The most grateful of you (to Allah) is he who thanks the people.(2)

Giving thanks to a benefactor or a good-doer is a pressing Islamic necessity, that people may continue kind acts.

Enjoining the Good

Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil are two of the most prominent Islamic principles. Islam has positively adopted them, that social justice may spread among men, that no evil deed, no aggression, and no oppression may stay in the general life of people. In this connection many authentic traditions have been handed down from the Imams of guidance, peace be on them. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, said: “He who leaves enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is like him who leaves Allah’s Book behind him, unless he shows precautionary dissimulation.” The Imam was asked about precautionary dissimulation,

p: 432


1- Usu`l al-Kafi, Chapter on Freedom from Need to People.
2- Usu`l al-Kafi, Chapter on Thanksgiving.

and he answered: “(He practices it) when he is afraid of a tyrannical ruler.(1)

Fear of a tyrannical ruler makes it not incumbent on person to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. The jurists have mentioned in their practical treatises the conditions of performing this Islamic, important obligation.

Speech is better than Silence

A person asked the Imam, peace be on him: “Which is better- speech or silence?” “Each has blights,” answered the Imam, “when they are sound of blights, speech is better.”

Another person asked him: “How is this, son of Allah’s Apostle?”

The Imam, peace be on him, replied: “Allah, the Glorified, sent the prophets and the trustees (of authority) to speak, not to keep silent. (They did not) deserve the Garden through silence; rather through speech. I cannot equate the sun with the moon.(2)

The Happiness of Man

The Imam, peace be on him, talked about the things which made man happy in the world. He said: “One is happy when his daily bread is in his homeland, his friends are righteous, and has a son through whom he seeks help.(3)

Indeed, he who has these things wins all the good of the world, and is therein among the happy.

Mutual Teachings among Religions

A man asked the Imam, peace be on him: “What are the common teachings among religions?” “Saying the truth, ruling with justice, and fulfilling promise,” replied the Imam. Heavenly religions share these three items, which are the foundation of social life, and for which all the prophets and messenger sacrificed their lives.

Noble Traits

The Imam, peace be on him, spoke about some noble qualities

p: 433


1- Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 140. Ibn Sa‘d, al-Tabaqat, p. 2135.
2- Al-Tubrisi, al-Ihtijajj (first edition), p. 172
3- Al-Khisal, p. 245.

by which the Muslim should be distinguished, and through which his Islam is perfect. He, peace be on him, said: “He who has four (traits), his Islam is perfect, his sins are forgiven, and he will meet his Lord, the Great and almighty, and He is satisfied with him: sincerity to Allah, the Great and almighty, through fulfilling men’s rights against him, telling men the truth, shame of everything ugly in the view of Allah and of men, and showing good manners toward his family.(1)” He who has these outstanding traits is indeed a believer, has perfect faith, meets Allah, and He is satisfied with him.

The Qualities of a Believer

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “The qualities of a believer are five.” Tawus al-Yamani asked him: “What are they, son of Allah’s Apostle?” He replied: “Piety in privacy, alms during paucity, patience toward misfortune, clemency during anger, and truthfulness during fear.(2)” These five qualities display the faith of a believer.

Good Words

The Imam, peace be on him, urged his companions to say good words to men, and mentioned the profits which resulted from them. He said: “Good words increase property, develop provision, delay death, make men love each other, and lead to the Garden.”

This tradition of the Imam, peace be on him, contains the outcomes of good words, of which is the following:

A. Property is developed, and provision is plentiful. This can clearly be seen through manufacturers, workmen, and traders. Men deal with those who treat them with good words, and such a treatment increases

p: 434


1- Ibid., 203.
2- Ibid., p. 245.

one’s income. They hate those who treat them with obscene words, hence this treatment brings about business stagnancy and narrow provision.

B. Death is deferred. This is when one saves a believer from wrongdoing or does him a favor. In this state Allah repays him through prolonging his span in this world and increasing his wage in the next.

C. One is beloved and dear with his family and his relatives, for souls incline to the owner of good words and perfect moral traits.

D. Attaining the Garden. This is when good words are employed to settle enmity, to enjoin the good, and to forbid the evil.

The Classes of Men

The Imam, peace be on him, told Zarara b. Awfa about the classes of men. He said to him: “O Zarara, the men in our time are six classes: Lions, wolves, foxes, dogs, pigs, and ewes. As for the lions, they are the kings of the world; they like to overcome each other. As for the wolves, they are your traders, who dispraise (commodities) when they buy them, and praise (them) when they sell (them). As for the foxes, they are those who eat through their religions, and describes through their tongues what is not in their hearts. As for the dogs, they are those who shout at people through their tongues, and men honor them out of fear of their evil tongues. As for the pigs, they are the womanlike, who respond to every atrocity when they are invited to it. As for the ewes, they

p: 435

are the believers whose hair is cut, whose flesh is eaten, whose bones are broken. What do the ewes do toward the lions, the wolves, the foxes, the dogs, and the pigs?(1)

The Imam, peace be on him, carefully considered the society in which he lived, classified it into six classes, and mentioned the appropriate characteristics of each class.

Humbleness

As for humbleness, it is among the noble moral traits through which man becomes exalted. The Imam, peace be on him, urged (the Muslims) to follow this trait. He said: “A Qarashi or an Arab has no lineage save through humbleness. There is no nobility but through Allah-fearingness. There is no act except through an intention. The most detestable of men in the view of Allah, the Great and Almighty, is he who follows an Imam’s sunna (words), but does not follow his practices.(2)

Quoting Wisdom

The Imam, peace be on him, summoned (the Muslims) to quote wisdom even from hypocrites, for it is among the sources of thought and awareness which Islam develops. He, peace be on him, said: “Disdain not the precious pearl which you bring out of mean sweepings, for my father related to me, he said: ‘The wise word frequents in the hypocrite’s chest, disputing (with him for going) to those who understand it, until he says it. When a believer hears it, he takes it, and hence is worthier of it.’(3)

The Clay of Believer and Unbeliever

In a tradition of his, the Imam, peace be on him, spoke about the clay of a believer and an unbeliever.

p: 436


1- Al-Khisal, p. 308.
2- Ibid., p. 19.
3- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar (first edition), vol. 1, p. 95.

He said: “Allah, the Great and Almighty, created the prophets’ hearts and bodies from the clay of ‘Illin (the highest place). He created the hearts of believers from this clay, and created their bodies from clay other than this. He created the bodies and hearts of unbelievers from sijjin. Then He mixed the two (kinds of) clay. Hence the unbeliever (woman) bears a believer; the believer (woman) bears an unbeliever. From here the unbeliever may do a good deed. The hearts of believers and of unbelievers yearn for the clay from which they were created.(1)

There are many traditions concerning that Allah, the Most High, created man from clay. Allah, the Exalted, said: “It is He who created you from clay.(2)” He, the Exalted, said: “And He began the creation of man from clay.(3)” He created the prophets and believers from the most sacred clay, hence they saved and freed man. He created the unbelievers from the meanest and dirtiest clay, hence they hindered the progress and development of man’s social life. Through His wisdom, Allah, the Most High, decreed to mix these two kinds of clay with each other, and they produced opposites. The (wives of) the prophets and believers borne some wicked and unbelieving children. An example of is Noah, Allah’s Prophet, whose wife gave birth to a son who deviated from the right path and disbelieved in his father’s message. Allah drowned him along with the unbelievers. Noah felt pity for him and whispered to his Lord, and

p: 437


1- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 2.
2- Qur’an, 6, p. 2.
3- Ibid., 32, 7.

He, the Exalted, answered him: “Surely he is not of your family; surely he is (the doer of) other than good deeds.” (The wives of) the unbelievers may give birth to believing, righteous children. This is among the outcomes of the mixture of the two kinds of clay, as the Imam, peace be on him, said.

Patience

The Imam, peace be on him, urged (the Muslims) to be patient. He said: “(The position of) patience in faith is like that of the head in the body, and he who has no patience has no faith.(1)

The greatest thing which man uses as weapon against events and misfortunes is patience, entrusting affairs to Allah, the Most High, and pleasure with what He decrees, for this is the essence of faith.

Some Morals of Believer

The Imam, peace be on him, spoke about the noble moral traits through which a believer is exalted. He said: “Some of a believer’s morals are: He spends (on his family) according to (his) narrow provision, gives (them) generously according to (his) plentiful provision, treats men with justice, and is the first to greet them.(2)

Some of a believer’s morals are that he is economicalhe does not spend when in narrow provision and spends generously when in plentiful onetreats men with justice even against himself, for this is a proof for his piety, and is the first to greet them, for this shows his good manners.

Fanaticism

The Imam, peace be on him, was asked about fanaticism, which was among the manners of those who lived before Islam,

p: 438


1- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 89.
2- Ibid., p. 241. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 11, p. 149.

and he replied: “The fanaticism through which one commits sin is that one regards the wicked from among his people as better than the good of other people. It is not an act of fanaticism that one loves his people, but it is an act of fanaticism is that one helps his people do wrong.(1)” The Imam, peace be on him, has wonderfully defined foolish fanaticism through which one commits sin. It is that one considers the wicked and criminal from among his people better than the good and righteous, that he helps them do wrong and show aggression and enmity toward others. In this manner one denies the truth and destroys values. As for one’s love for his people, it is not fanaticism.

Guarding against Telling Lies

The Imam, peace be on him, warned his children against telling lies, and said to them: “Guard against telling lies, whether small or great, during seriousness or joking, for if one tells a lie about small things, he is ready to tell a lie about great ones. Did you not know that Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, say: ‘As long as the servant tells the truth, Allah writes him truthful, and as long as he tells lies, Allah writes him untruthful.(2)

The Imam, peace be on him, warned (the Muslims) against telling lies about all things, for lying is among the ugliest and most detestable crime in the view of Allah. He also ordered them to tell the truth, for it is the source

p: 439


1- Usu`l al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 308.
2- Ibid., 223.

of all virtues which lead to honor and dignity.

Certainty of Words

The Imam summoned his companions to be sure of their words and have knowledge of what they said, whether good or evil. He said: “One should not say good or evil words concerning another unless he has knowledge of him.(1)

Chastity

The Imam, peace be on him, urged his companions to be chaste, and regarded chastity as the best of all the acts of worship. He said: “The best act of worship is the chastity of stomach and private parts.(2)

Content

As for content, it is one of the excellent qualities. If man follows it, he will be free from worries. The Imam, peace be on him, said: “He who is content with Allah’s apportionment is the richest of all the people.(3)

Content is a treasure which never comes to an end. He who is satisfied with Allah’s apportionment is the richest of all the people, the greatest of them in rest, and the least of them in worry.

Some Qualities deliver the Believer

The Imam, peace be on him, mentioned some qualities which saved the believer. He said: “Three (qualities) deliver the believer: He should withhold his tongue from backbiting men, busy himself with that which profit him in this world and the next, and weep very much over his sin.(4)

Some of the Prophets’ Norms and Wise Sayings

The Imam, peace be on him, told his companions about some of the prophets’ norms, wise sayings, and affairs, that they might follow them and enlighten themselves with their behavior. The following is some of what has been handed down from him:

Al-Khidr’s Commandments to Mu’sa

Al-Zuhri

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1- Ibn Qutayba, ‘Uyyu`n al-Akhbar, vol. 1, p. 275.
2- Al-Ikhtisas, p. 223.
3- Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 187. Jamharat al-Awliya’, vol. 2, p. 74. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 11, p. 304.
4- Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 174.

reported that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, said: “At last al-Khidr commanded Mu’sa, saying: ‘Blame not any person for sin. The most beloved affairs with Allah, the Great and Almighty are three: moderation when rich, pardon when powerful, and gentleness toward Allah’ servants. When one is kind to others in this world, Allah, the Great and Almighty, will be kind to him on the Day of Judgment. The head of wisdom is reverential fear of Allah.(1)

How wonderful the meanings of this wisdom are! How wonderful its objectives are! It contains all the commandments which make man felicitous and sublime.

Some of Allah’s Revelations to Mu’sa

The Imam, peace be on him, related to his companions some of Allah’s revelations to His prophet Mu’sa, peace be on him. He said: “Allah revealed to Mu’sa: ‘Make My creatures love me, and make me love my creatures.’ Mu’sa asked: ‘O My Lord, how shall I do (this)?’ Allah replied: ‘Remind them of My boons and favors, that they may love me. Repel not any fugitive from my gate or a straying one from my courtyard. This is better for you than a hundred year’s worship, when one fasts by day and stands in prayer by night.’ Mu’sa asked: ‘Who escapes from You?’ Allah answered: ‘The disobedient one.’ Mu’sa asked: ‘Who is straying from Your courtyard?’ Allah replied: ‘It is he who is ignorant of the Imam of his time, absent from him after he has recognized him, and ignorant of the laws of his religion. Teach him the

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1- Al-Khisal, p. 106. Al-Ghayat (manuscript), p. 19.

laws (of his religion), through which he worships his Lord and reaches His good pleasure.(1)

In this tradition the Imam, peace be on him, urged those who summoned (men) to Allah to spare no effort to save them from the acts of disobedient to Allah, to make them beseech obeying Him, and not to repel them from this. He told them that their work in this way was the most beloved worship and act of obedience to Allah.

A Wisdom in the Bible

The Imam, peace be on him, reported to his companions a brilliant wisdom from the Bible. He said: “It has been written in the Bible: ‘Seek not the knowledge of what you do not do until you do what you come to know. If knowledge is not put into practice, it increases its possessor nothing except unbelief and remoteness from Allah.(2)

The Imam, peace be on him, summoned (his companions) to put knowledge into effect. It is not an act of truth that man gets knowledge and does not put it into practice, for this increases him nothing save remoteness from Allah.

Mu’sa and a Worshipper

The Imam, peace be on him, related to his companions the story of Mu’sa with a worshipper. He said: “Mu’sa passed by a worshipper. The worshipper was raising his hands toward the heaven and supplicating Allah, the Most High. Mu’sa spent seven days, and then he returned to the worshipper. He saw him raising his hands toward the heaven. Hence he said: ‘O Lord, this is Your servant, who has raised his hands toward

p: 442


1- Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar (first edition), vol. 1, p. 71.
2- Usu`l al-Kafi.

You and asked You for forgiveness for seven days, while You have not responded to him.’ Allah revealed to Mu’sa: ‘O Mu’sa, if he supplicates me until his hands fall down and his tongue is cut off, I will not respond to him, unless he comes to me through the gate which I have commanded him to.(1)

As for this tradition, it summons man to turn his face toward Allah, and to seek nearness to Him through the doors which He has assigned.

Mu’sa with Allah

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “Mu’sa bin ‘Umran asked his Lord: ‘Who are Your people whom You will shade with the shade of Your Throne on the day when there is no shade save Your shade?’ Allah, the Glorified and Exalted, revealed to him: ‘Those whose hearts are pure, and whose hands are covered with earth, who remember My majesty, are content with obeying Me as the little (baby) who is content with milk, go to My mosques (masajid) as birds go to their nests, and become as angry as the tiger when (men) make lawful what I have made unlawful.’(2)

These people, who have faith in their lord, are the best of creatures in the purity of hearts, the soundness of minds and intentions. They turn their hearts and feelings toward Allah; they see nothing except Him, and believe in nothing save Him. Hence Allah will recompense them for this when he shades them with His shade, includes them in His gentleness, and single them out for

p: 443


1- Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 202.
2- Ibid.

His bounty.

The Death of the Prophet

The Imam, peace be on him, narrated the death of his grandfather, Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and the events which accompanied it. The text of his narration is as follows: Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq, peace be on him, reported on the authority of his father Abi Ja‘far, who said: “Two men from Quraysh came to my father ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, and he asked them: ‘Shall I tell you about Allah’s Messenger?’ ‘Yes,’ they replied. He said: [I heard my father saying:] ‘Gabriel came down to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, three days before his death, and said to him: ‘O Ahmed, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has sent me to you in (showing) preference and specialty toward you. He is asking you about what He knows better than you: ‘How do you find yourself?’ ‘I find it grieved, O Gabriel!’ replied Allah’s Messenger. On the third day, Gabriel, the Angel of Death, and seventy thousand angels came down (to the Prophet). Gabriel was ahead of them and said: ‘O Muhammad, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has sent me to you in (showing) honor, preference and specialty toward you. He is asking you about what He knows better than you: ‘How do you find yourself?’ ‘I find it grieved, O Gabriel!’ replied Allah’s Messenger.

“At the door the Angel of Death asked for permission, hence Gabriel said: ‘O Ahmed, the Angel of Death is asking you for permission. He

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had never asked any person for permission before you, and will never ask anyone for permission after you.’ The Prophet said: ‘Give him permission.’ Gabriel permitted the Angel of Death, and he walked toward the Prophet, stopped before him, and said to him: ‘O Ahmed, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has sent me to you, and commanded me to obey you in what you command me. If you command me to seize your soul, I will do. If you hate this, I will leave.’ The Prophet asked: ‘Will you do this, O Angel of Death?’ ‘Yes,’ answered the Angel of Death, ‘I have been commanded to obey you.’ Hence Gabriel said: ‘O Ahmed, Allah has yearned for meeting you.’ The Prophet said: ‘O Angel of Death, carry out (Allah’s) command.’ ‘O Ahmed, this is the last time for me to come down to the earth,’ answered Gabriel, ‘You were my objective in this world.’

“When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, passed away, a consoler came to his family. They heard his words, but did not see his person. He said to them: ‘Peace, Allah’s mercy and blessings be on you, every soul shall taste of death, and you shall only be paid fully your reward on the Day of Resurrection.(1) Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, is comfort against every affliction, and replacement of perishable things. Hence, trust Allah, hope for Him! The one suffering an affliction is he who is deprived from reward, peace, Allah’s mercy and

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1- Qur’an, 3, 185.

blessings be on you.’ Ja‘far said: [My father said: Ali said: ‘Do you know who is this? This is al-Khidr.’(1)” With this we will end our speech bout the prophets’ norms, and wise sayings, which Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, related to his companions and students.

Friendship toward Ahl al-Bayt

The Imam, peace be on him, emphasized the necessity of showing friendship toward the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. He regarded this friendship as one of the elements of Islam. He, peace be on him, asked Abu’ Hamza al-Thumali: “Which place is the best?”

Abu’ Hamza was perplexed, not knowing what to answer, hence he said: “Allah and His Messenger better know.”

Then the Imam, peace be on him, answered: “The best place is that which is between the corner of the Kaaba and the standing place of Ibrahim. Noah lived among his people for 950 years. If a man lived as long as Noah did, fasted by day, stood in prayer by night in this place, and met Allah without showing friendship toward us, he would not avail himself of these things.(2)

In this connection many authentic traditions have been handed down from the Greatest Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and his trustees (of authority), peace be on them. They indicate that showing friendship toward the Imams is an Islamic obligation about which the Muslim will be questioned on the Day of Resurrection. Some scholars think that showing friendship to them is one of the conditions

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1- Yousif al-Tali, al-Tashawiq ila Rijal al-Tasawuf, pp. 31-32.
2- Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 202.

of a correct act, not of its acceptance. It is not one of the conditions of the correctness of the obligations.(1)

Anyhow, in another tradition, the Imam, peace be on him, has mentioned the plentiful reward which those who love the ahl al-Bayt attain in this world and the next. Some Shi‘ites visited the Imam and asked him:

“How are you, son of Allah’s Apostle?”

The Imam answered them with gentleness:

“I am well. I praise Allah for this. What about you all?”

“We love you, the ahl al-Bayt.”

He gave them good news of that Allah would plentifully repay them, saying:

“He who loves us for the sake of Allah, Allah will make him enter a very shady place on the day when there is no shade except His shade. He who loves us for reward, Allah will cause him enter the garden. He who love us for this world, Allah will provides him from where he thinks not.(2)

The Prophet’s and ‘Ali’s Rights against the Muslims

In a tradition of his, the Imam, peace be on him, has mentioned the great rights of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and of his trustee (to authority), the gate of the city of his knowledge, Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, against this community. He, peace be on him, said: “Though parents’ have great rights against their children because of their kindness to them, the kindness of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, and of ‘Ali to this community is greater, hence they are worthy of

p: 447


1- Shaykh Akhwand, Kifayat al-Usu`l.
2- Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 192. Al-Sirat al-Sawi, p. 193.

being its two fathers.(1)

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and his trustee (of authority) have rights against this community greater than those of parents against their children, for they have freed the will of this community, saved it from bondage and the darkness of ignorance, and granted it a free, noble life. Unfortunately, this community did not show gratitude toward them for their favors. Rather it removed the pure family (of the Prophet) from the offices of government and leadership. Besides its ruler intentionally destroyed this family at the Battle of Karbala’. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him: “Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, was kind to Quraysh, the Arabs, and non-Arabs. Who was kinder than him (to them)? Yet they were ingratitude to him. Besides they are ingratitude to us, the ahl al-Bayt.(2)

The Mastership of the Ahl al-Bayt over Men

A man asked the Imam, peace be on him: “What is the excellence which has made you the masters of the people?”

The Imam replied: “Know that all the people are one of three: Either a man became a Muslim through us, hence he is our friend. His friendship belongs to us, therefore we are his master, or a man whom we fought against and killed, hence he went to the Fire and his property has remained as booty for us, or a man from whom we have taken poll tax, and he is lowly. There is no fourth (man). Therefor, which merit and honor have we not won?(3)

I (the author)

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1- Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, p. 202, quoted from al-Mahasin by al-Barqi.
2- Al-Wafi, vol. 3, p. 133.
3- Al-Daylami, Ghurar al-Athar wa Durrar al-Athar (manuscript), p. 80, al-Sayyid al-Hakim Library, serial 549.

think that the Imam mentioned the tradition for a man who did not confess the outstanding merits of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, nor did he believe in their absolute mastership over this community. It is worth mentioning that the ahl al-Bayt have countless outstanding merits and talents. It is sufficient for them that Allah took away uncleanliness from them and purified them thoroughly, made it incumbent on the community to show friendship toward them, that the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, united them with the Firm Revelation (the Qur’an), appointed them as ships of deliverance and security for mankind.

Short, wonderful and Wise Sayings

As for the short, wise sayings of the Imam, they represent creation, the development of thought, and the originality of opinion. They show the summary of the experiences the Imam got during his lifetime. They are not confined to a certain side of life; rather they include all its sides. The wise Imam carefully and inclusively considered all the affairs of man and gave decisive solution to them. The following is some of his outstanding, wise sayings:

1. He, peace be on him, said: “He whose soul is noble, the world is easy for him.(1)” How wonderful these words are! They show the reality of those free who regarded the world as insignificant. They were noble and exalted, hence they did not yield to abasement and disgrace. At the head of these people was (Imam al-Husayn), the Father of the free and Lord

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1- Tuhaf al-‘Uqu`l, p. 278.

of the martyrs. He felt that his soul was noble, hence he disdain the world. He did not flatter the unjust, nor did he yield to their tyranny. He carried the banner of dignity until he was martyred.

2. He, peace be on him, said: “All good is in man’s safeguarding his soul (against sins).(1)

If man safeguards his soul against acts of disobedience, sins, and offenses, he will get good throughout his life.

3. He, peace be on him, said: “I never like the believer who is well in the world, in his soul, and in his property, while no affliction befalls him.(2)” When afflictions befall a believer in this world, they decrease his sins and increase his good deeds. If the believer is not befallen by afflictions in this world, he will be deprived of these good deeds in this world.

4. He, peace be on him, said: “He who has no clement one to guide him gets straying, and he who has no impudent one to help him gets lowly.(3)” If man has no clement one to guide him during his important affairs, he does not behave well toward the obscurities of this life, and if he has no impudent one to help and defend him, he will expose himself to abasement and disgrace.

5. He, peace be on him, said: “Woe unto him whose units surpass his tens.” Hisham b. Salim asked Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, about the meaning of this tradition, and he replied: “Have you not heard

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1- Ibid.
2- Abi ‘Ali Mohammed b. Hammam al-Iskafi, al-Tamhis.
3- Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 75.

that Allah, the Great and Almighty, saying: ‘Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it, and whoever brings an evil deed, he shall be recompensed only with the like of it.(1)’ If he does a good deeds, ten good deeds shall be written for him, and if he does one evil deed, one evil deed shall be written fo