The Holy Imam Zaynu’l-‘Abidin lived for about thirty-four years after his father and all his life he passed in prayers and supplication to Allah and in remembrance of his martyred father. It is for his ever being in prayers to Allah, mostly lying in prayerful prostration, that this Holy Imam was popularly called “Sajjad”. The knowledge and piety of this Holy Imam was matchless.
Az-Zuhri, Al-Waqid; and Ibn ‘Uyaynah say that they could not find any one equal to him in piety and godliness. He was so mindful of Allah that whenever he sat for ablution for prayers, the complexion of his face would change and when he stood at prayer his body was seen trembling.
When asked why this was, he replied, “Know ye not before whom I stand in prayer, and with whom I hold discourse?”
Even on the gruesome day of ‘Ashura when Yazid’s forces had massacred his father, his kith and kin and his comrades and had set fire to the camp, this Holy Imam was engrossed in his supplications to the Lord. When the brutal forces of Yazid’s army had taken the ladies and children as captives, carrying them seated on the bare back of the camels, tied in ropes; this Holy Imam, though sick, was put in heavy chains with iron rings round his neck and his ankles, and was made to walk barefooted on the thorny plains from Karbala’ to Kufah and to Damascus; and even then this godly soul never was unmindful of his prayers to the Lord and was always thankful and supplicative to Him.
His charity was unassuming and hidden. After his passing away, the people said that hidden charity ended with the departure of this Holy Imam. Like his grand-father ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, ‘Ali Zaynu’l-‘Abidin used to carry on his own back at night bags of flour and bread for the poor and needy families in Medina and he so maintained hundred of poor families in the city.
The Holy Imam was not only hospitable even to his enemies but also used to continually exhort them to the right path. Imam Zaynu ‘l-‘Abidin along with the Ahlu ‘I-Bayt passed through dreadful and very dangerous times, for the aggressions and atrocities of the tyrant rulers of the age had reached a climax. There was plunder, pillage, and murder everywhere. The teachings of Islam were observed more in their breach. The heartless tyrant al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ath-Thaqaf; was threatening every one who professed allegiance or devotion to the Ahlu ‘I-Bayt; and those caught were mercilessly put to death. The movement of the Holy Imam was strictly restricted and his meeting with any person was totally banned. Spies were employed to trace out the adherents of the Ahlu ‘I-Bayt. Practically every house was searched and every family scrutinized.
Imam Zaynu ‘l-‘Abidin was not given the time to offer his prayers peacefully, nor could he deliver any sermons. This God’s Vicegerent on earth therefore, adopted a third course which proved to be very beneficial to his followers. This was in compiling supplicative prayers for the daily use of man in his endeavour to approach the Almighty Lord. The invaluable collection of his edited prayers are known as as-Sahifah al-Kdmilah or As-Sahifah as-Sajjddiyyah; it is known also as Az-Zabur (Psalm) of Al Muhammad The collection is an invaluable treasury of wonderfully effective supplications to the Lord in inimitably beautiful language. Only those who have ever come across those supplications would know the excellence and the beneficial effect of these prayers. Through these prayers the Imam gave all the necessary guidance to the faithful during his seclusion. On the 25th of Muharram 95 AH when he was in Medina, al-Walid ibn ‘Abdi ‘l-Malik ibn Marwan, the then ruler got this Holy Imam martyred by poison. The funeral prayers for this Holy Imam were conducted by his son the Fifth Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir and his body was laid to rest in the cemetery of Jannatu ‘l-Baqi’ in Medina.
Allamah Tabatabai writes:
Imam Sajjad (‘Ali ibn al-Husayn entitled Zaynu’l-‘Abidin and Sajjad) was the son of the Third Imam and his wife, the queen among women, the daughter of Yazdgerd the King of Iran. He was the only son of Imam Husayn to survive, for his other three brothers ‘Ali Akbar, aged twenty-five, five-year-old Ja’far and ‘Ali al-Asghar (or ‘Abdullah) who was a suckling baby were martyred during the event of Karbala’. The Imam had also accompanied his father on the journey that terminated fatally in Karbala’, but because of severe illness and the inability to carry arms or participate in fighting he was prevented from taking part in the holy war and being martyred. So he was sent with the womenfolk to Damascus. After spending a period in imprisonment he was sent with honour to Medina because Yazid wanted to conciliate public opinion. But for a second time, by the order of the Umayyad caliph, ‘Abdu ‘l-Malik, he was chained and sent from Medina to Damascus and then again returned to Medina. The Fourth Imam, upon returning to Medina, retired from public life completely, closed the door of his house to strangers and spent his time in worship. He was in con- tact only with the elite among the Shi’ites such as Abu Hamzah ath-Thumali, Abu Khalid Kabuli and the like. The elite disseminated among the Shi’ah the religious sciences they learned from the Imam. In this way Shi’ism spread considerably and showed its effects during the Imamate of the Fifth Imam. Among the works of the Fourth Imam is a book called Sahifah Sajjadiyyah. It consists of fifty-seven prayers concerning the most sublime Divine sciences and is known as “The Psalm of the Household of the Prophet.”
Some of the sayings of Al-Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, (A):
• Refrain from lying in all things, big or small, in seriousness or in jest. For when one starts lying in petty matters, soon he will have the audacity to lie in important matters (also).
• A man need not fear Allah except on account of his own sins, and should place his hopes only with his Lord.
• When about something one does not know, one should not be ashamed of having to learn about it.
• Patience is to faith what the head is to the body; one who does not have patience also lacks faith.
• Once, one of his companions complained to him that out of jealousy some people whom he had served very well were treating him badly. The Imam gave him some advice which was:
• Guard your tongue and do not speak about people whatever comes out of your mouth, otherwise you will turn your friends into your enemies.
• Avoid saying things which the minds of people are not prepared to accept.
• He who does not have wisdom will be ruined by the a smallest thing (Mistake).
• What harm will come to you if you take all Muslims to be your family and your relations? Consider your elders to be your parents, those younger than you as your children and those of your age as your brothers. If you do so who is going to harm or abuse you?
• Whenever a thought comes in your mind that you are better than any other person, then think along these lines:
• If the person is older than you then remind yourself that this person is better than you in matters of Islam because he has done more good deeds than you have.
• If the person is younger than you then remind yourself that this person is better than you because he has committed less sins than you have.
• If he is of your age than your argument should be: he is better than you in matters of Islam since you know of your own sins but not of his.
• If people show respect to you, think that this is because the people are very good not that you are good. If the people say bad things about you, think that something is really wrong with you. If you live in this way, life will become pleasant for you, you will make many friends and your enemies will be few.
• Do not have relationship with, nor talk with nor give company to 5 types of people:
• The Liar: because they are like mirage: With their words they show things different from what they really are. What is near they make it look far and what is far they make it look near. In this way, they take you away from truth.
• The Greedy and the Sinner: because you cannot rely on their friendship; for a small piece of food or even less than that, they will sell you.
• The Miser: because they will let you down when you need them most.
• The Fool: because even when they try to do you good, they will end you in difficulties.
• Those Who have cut relationship with their relatives, because Allah has cursed them in the Qur’an.
• Try to earn a high position in Paradise (Jannah). Remember: Highest positions will be given to those who have been most useful to their brothers in faith and who have been most helpful to the needy.
• Remember: There are times when a person says but one good sentence and that brings him very near to Allah and brings his freedom on the Day of Judgement.
• Never think that what you do for your brother in faith is unimportant because these are the things that will be of much use to you on a day when nothing else will be of any use.
• Drinking (Alcohol and other forbidden drinks) and Gambling are such sins that they destroy the power to stop committing other sins.
• (Speaking) Good words increase a person’s wealth and sustenance (Rizk), prolong his life, make him to be loved by his wife and children and take him to paradise.
Article copied from Facebook posting by Sh. Jehad Ismail on Facebook.