Chapter 3: In the Light of Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) Psalms of Islam (As- Sahifah As- Sajjadiyyah)
After planning for a great cultural revolution in human life and societies, the holy Qur’an gives some good news of a great movement in the period of knowledge and wisdom through its verses. We can easily observe that the very first verse of the Qur’an insists on reading, which is a clear indication of Allah’s blessings related to knowledge and wisdom. It tells men about the importance of the pen and writing for learning and the compilation of religious knowledge as well as human perfection towards a faultless knowledge and wisdom.
The Holy Prophet (S), who was said to be an illiterate person of his time, also encouraged people to learn, spreading and compiling their knowledge with divine help.
Sadly, the regime which ruled after the Holy Prophet’s (S) stopped people from publishing and compiling some of the Prophet’s (S) hadiths and with this action they caused Islam a great loss, regarding the Holy Prophet’s (S) hadiths in particular. However, after leaving some great hardships behind - causing difficulties which not only Islamic societies and the whole of humanity is still facing - and bearing unforgettable losses, the mentioned above orders were removed.
Nevertheless, the Imams of the holy Household of the Prophet (S) were well aware of the losses caused by the law of prohibition against compilation of the Prophet’s (S) hadiths and they knew that the Islamic world was very soon to face a great change. For this, they decided to collect as many hadiths as possible.
Although, such an action was known to be a kind of rivalry with the ruling powers of that time, they encouraged their companions in this act, because the safety and guarding of religion was amongst the very important responsibilities of those great and pious people - the ones who were made the trustworthy guardians of the Islamic life transaction - for which they were created by Allah the Exalted.
The holy Infallibles (‘a) were the pioneers who planned for the cultural moment of the Islamic Ummah. They were the men who made unlimited knowledge and wisdom easy to understand with the help of the holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet’s (S) instructions for the Muslim Ummah. They not only showed their activeness for the cultural moment of the Islamic Ummah, their planning also included all branches of knowledge and wisdom.
The very first Imam, Amir Al-Mu’minin (‘a) was one of the pioneers of this scientific movement - the second one to the Holy Prophet (S), himself. Also, he was the originator of many branches of rational and narrative knowledge as well as the builder of their rules and regulations. There are a great number of scholars who by agreeing to this point have written books on this subject like: "Tasis Al-Shi’ah li- ‘Auloom Al-Islam" by Sayid Hasan Al-Sadr, who analyzed this subject from a historical point of view.
Another person from among those who have accepted the abovementioned fact is the writer Abbas Mahmood Al-’Aqad, author of "‘Abqariat Al-Imam ‘Ali." He writes that Imam ‘Ali (‘a) opened the door of thirty- two branches of knowledge for the first time in human history making rules and regulations for them.
Allamah Ibn Shahr’ashub writes in his book:
In fact, Amir Al-Mu’minin Imam ‘Ali (‘a) is the first person in the history of Islam who compiled a book. The next persons who wrote after Imam ‘Ali (‘a) were Salman, Abu Thar, Asbagh Ibn Nabat, Ubaidullah Ibn Abi- Rafe’ respectively. Then "Sahifah Sajjadiyyah" was compiled.
Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah is among the Islamic Cultural Resources. It is the one of the brightest stars of the sky for eloquence, training, ethics and literature in the Islamic World. This is why this book is famous as the "Bible of the Ahl Al-Bayt" or "the book of psalms of Al-Muhammad".
1.) This book is about how to detach from the material world and completely connect to Allah the Exalted and to seek refuge and shelter in His holy Being.
2.) This noble book shows the awareness of Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) of Allah Almighty and his complete faith in Him.
3.) Another specialty of Sahifah Sajjadiyyah (‘a), compared with other prayers that have been narrated from other Infallibles is that in this book uttering the formula of praise to Muhammad (S) and his holy household (‘a) has been mentioned in so many places because this book was written right after the event of Karbala. It is clear that the roots of Karbala are in Yazid, his father and other members of Ummayyad’s and their combined efforts to silence the light of Muhammad (S).
It is very likely that, in his prayers, Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) tried to give sanctity to Islamic rules and principles; also, he tried to make them popular amongst the people against the destructive actions of the Ummayyad family.
4.) The prayers of Sahifah Sajjadiyyah open the doors of desirousness and the hope for His blessing for a Muslim person.
5.) Another specialty of Sahifah Sajjadiyyah is that it teaches the servants of Allah the method of talking to Allah. In other words, this book makes us learn the way of attracting Allah’s blessings in a debating manner, like this one:
"O, my Lord! If you do not forgive anyone other than your friends and those who obey you; and if you do not hold anyone dear, other than the faithful ones of your territory, then who is there to give the sinful one shelter?"
Or this one:
"O my Lord! I am a worthless and indigent person and to torment me will not add anything in your ruling sovereignty."
6.) These books have some of the most important moral and spiritual programs for human training, which draw, for human beings, the principles of physical superiority and spiritual attainments.
7.) This book consists of scientific laws, which were not discovered in the time of Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a). We have already mentioned some of them in previous sections.1
8.) In the time when the Ummayyad dynasty was preaching moral corruption and abusiveness among the Muslims, this book was the best instructor of the people under the worst conditions of severe Ummayyad punishment and fear mongering.
9.) After all these qualities and specialties, the book is a symbol of eloquence and is from amongst the very first Islamic literary books like Amir Al-Mu’minin Imam ‘Ali’s (‘a) ‘Nahj Al-Balagha’.
10) In one of his books, named ‘Al-Sahifah Al-Kamilah’ and later another later one, named ‘Al-Sahifah Al-Jami’ah’, Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) introduced a program for a complete human lifestyle, through his prayers. He has not left out even a single aspect of a life said to be the most suitable for a Muslim. The Imam (‘a), by his peerless eloquence, has shown the people a suitable way of solution for all their problems.
We have already mentioned that the Muslims of the Imam’s (‘a) era, being separated from military and political matters, were facing two great dangers that needed some effective defensive actions:
1.) The very first danger was of the Islamic borders being opened to non-Islamic countries, ushering in new and different religious principles that were being parcelled off as Islamic ones by the Ummayyad dynasty, among the people undergoing changing social conditions. As mentioned above, all situations were caused by the Muslims’ cooperation with other nations, which accepted Islam as their new religion in the shape of different groups.
A great scientific plan was needed to remove this problem, one of which could emphasize on the originality of thought and the particular religious characteristics originated from the holy Book of Allah and the Islamic traditions. Difficult steps had to be taken for this to happen, regarding people’s thoughts. It was necessary that Muslims’ thought be expanded in regards to this matter, so that they could save the lamp of the holy Qur’an and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (S) with all their struggles, clarity, persistency and intelligence in order to reduce the number of problems faced by the people of that time.
To make a stand against the above mentioned problem, the first step was to strengthen the character of the Islamic Ummah; a work which Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) decided to do and for which he organized lectures and discussion classes in the Prophet’s (S) mosque.
2.) The second danger which was becoming a real threat for the Muslims of that era was the cancellation of welfare, which once launched, started running riot over the Islamic society at a frightening speed. When cancellation of welfare dominates a society, it drags its people towards mundane desires and lust; it keeps telling them about a luxurious life and slowly and gradually quietens the human intelligence - the intelligence which originates from fear of Allah and hellfire which eventually becomes the reason for a person’s greatness.
This was what happened in Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) period. To make sure about the conditions and situations of that time, it is more than sufficient to glance at ‘Aghani’ of Abu Al-Faraj Al-Isfahani.
The Imam (‘a) felt the mentioned threat and thus stood against it. He made his prayers his only weapon in this battlefield. ‘Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah was the result of the same battlefield. This great leading book, along with its peerless eloquence and an intense vitality all of which were drawn on to author the explanatory methods, Arabic pedantic phraseology and Divine thoughts into the form of wording by Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a), made people aware of the most accurate and glorious realities. The book successfully drew the picture of man’s relations with Allah, his origin and the Day of Judgment. It also gave an identity to moral and civil values, which are the result of the human’s relation to Allah and the Judgment Day.
Only after addressing such talents was Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) able to spread an atmosphere of intellectuality through human societies, capable of protecting the Muslims against the attacks of those who had strayed; and make them cross all the limits of the Earth and as a result reach their Creator. With this paradigm, the Imam (‘a) was able to emphasize original human values, so that they could protect human beings in a time of scarce material wealth, because Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a), himself, was also in the same condition and fastened a stone against his stomach to alleviate the feeling of hunger.
Hence, we come to know that ‘Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah was one of the very valuable social works of Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a), which he had made obligatory on himself when undertaking whatever needed to be done. Although divine inheritance belongs to someone who, during a different period of his life remains a source for blessings, a symbol of guidance and master of morality and moral refinement, humanity still needs the great inheritance of Muhammad (S) and ‘Ali (‘a), and the more satanic deceits accumulate, the more the above mentioned remedies will apply.2
The record of ‘Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadia’ reaches Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (‘a) and his martyred brother, Zaid Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Husayn (‘a). The chain of the record of the book has been mentioned in the preface, which is related to us by successive hearsay, and the religious scholars have announced it as a joint record.
Sayid Mohsin Amin Al-Amili writes: "To reach the depth of its words, its peerless eloquence and the height of its topics regarding humbleness in relation to Allah the Exalted, praise of Allah Almighty and the Unique, and the eloquence of attracting His blessings which have been mentioned in the Sahifah are the strongest witnesses that this book is written by none other than the Infallible Imam (‘a); and that these are the pearls of that sea, these are the treasures of that mine and these are the fruits of that particular tree, Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a).
The above mentioned proofs are in addition to the reputation about the book being related to Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) and his ancestors.
The trustworthy narrators relate the record of Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah to Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) by many methods. On this basis, an early copy of the contents of the beginning of Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah was close to the Imam’s (‘a) son, Zaid. Then it reached Zaid’s sons and after them Hasan Al-Muthana’s descendants.
Moreover, another copy of it was close to Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (‘a). The people of that time were also very fond of collecting its copies and they made it their responsibility to recite its prayers day and night."3
‘Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah was warmly welcomed by the intellectuals, who have written many valuable books on its interpretations. The great Islamic researcher, Shaykh Agha Buzorg Tehrani, in his famous book, ‘Al tharia’ah Ila Tasanif Al-Shi’ah’, has quoted the names of sixty- six interpreters of ‘Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah’.
It is said that the Ziadia sect had a defective copy of the ‘Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah’ with them which was almost half of the complete book; therefore this copy is famous as ‘Al-Sahifah Al-Kamilah’ (the complete pages).
According to another group of intellectuals, since this book is the most perfect book containing all necessary aspects for developing a relation between a servant with his Creator, it has been given the name ‘Al-Sahifah Al-Kamilah’.
The compiler of this book writes: it becomes manifest from the preface of Sahifah that the common version of the book contains seventy-five prayers, but another copy, which is now in our hands and which has been compiled by Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Mutahari, has only 54 prayers.
Another copy of Al-Sahifah has also been compiled in which some of the forgotten prayers are also mentioned.
Then he mentions about all five copies of Al-Sahifah. This was the reason that Imam Mahdi’s (‘a) publishers started their struggle for collection and arrangement of all Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) prayers according to the arrangement of the prayers in Al-Sahifah Al-Kamilah.
The compiler writes: Al-Sahifah is one of the successive stipulations, which has been consulted and referred to in all ages and whose chain of records forms a complete version of Sahifah along with an interpretation of most of the narratives. This collection was enclosed in the book after the addition of some technical indexes so that it can make the book more beautiful than ever.
As previously mentioned, Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah is a complete collection of all the things which are necessary for the development of a relation between man and his Allah. For more research on these grounds it is necessary that we should glance over the objective index of the book:
1.) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about monotheism and Allah Almighty’s praise consisting of eight prayers.
2.) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about the formula of praise and greeting to Muhammad (S) and his holy descendants consisting of fourteen prayers.
3.) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about himself and his relatives.
4.) Imam’s (‘a) prayers of every day and night consisting of eight prayers.
5.) Imam’s (‘a) prayers related to difficulties and hardships and seeking shelter with Allah consisting of six prayers.
6.) Imam’s (‘a) prayers regarding asking for Allah’s forgiveness and the confession of one’s sins consisting of nine prayers.
7.) Imam’s (‘a) prayer about asking for needs and their acceptance consisting of five prayers.
8.) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for the time when he was oppressed consisting of two prayers.
9.) Imam’s (‘a) prayers regarding illness and misfortune consisting of three prayers.
10) Imam’s (‘a) prayers asking for forgiveness from Allah.
11) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about asking for Allah’s shelter against Satan’s evils.
12) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about avoiding all those things which frighten human beings, consisting of two prayers.
13) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about asking for rain that consists of two prayers.
14) Imam’s (‘a) prayers regarding noble dispositions, consisting of two prayers.
15) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about melancholy and discomfort consisting of four prayers.
16) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about asking for soundness and happiness, consisting of two prayers.
17) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about the ones wherein the Imam (‘a) has prayed for their welfare such as parents, children, neighbours, friends, workers and a particular group of the people.
18) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about those whom the Imam (‘a) has cursed.
19) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for seeking Allah’s shelter, consisting of four prayers.
20) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about asking for sustenance and satisfying a claim consisting of four prayers.
21) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about penitence, consisting of four prayers.
22) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about night prayers, consisting of fifteen prayers.
23) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about looking for a good augury, consisting of three prayers.
24) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about the state of suffering.
25) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about the state of willingness.
26) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about the time of looking at the verses of the holy Qur’an.
27) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about the time of looking at the crescent.
28) Imam’s (‘a) prayers regarding thanking Allah Almighty, consisting of two prayers.
29) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for apologizing for evils, consisting of two prayers.
30) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for asking Allah’s blessings on those who had died and remembering the time of death, which consist of seven prayers.
31) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about glossing over a fault and Allah’s refuge.
32) Imam’s (‘a) prayers on the completion of recitation of the holy Book.
33) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about the three months of Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadan, which consist of thirty- four prayers.
34) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about the blessed days consisting of eight prayers.
35) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for the ‘Multazim’ – a particular part of the mosque.
36) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for repelling enemies, consisting of ten prayers.
37) Imam’s (‘a) prayers in the state of fear and occultation, which consist of two prayers.
38) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about weeping and sobbing in Allah’s court, consisting of eight prayers.
39) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for repelling misfortunes, hardships and abstaining from them, which consists of eleven prayers.
40) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about incantation, consisting of thirty-nine prayers.
41) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about hearing or answering a prayer and obedience of prayer, which consist of three prayers.
42) Imam’s (‘a) prayers in the state of prostration, which consist of ten prayers.
43) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about different occasions, which consist of thirty - six prayers.
44) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about pilgrimages, which consist of two prayers.
45) Imam’s (‘a) prayers about needs of this world and the world hereafter, consisting of three prayers.
46) Imam’s (‘a) prayers before having a meal, which consist of three prayers.
47) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for the beginning and end of preaching, consisting of two prayers.
48) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for going out of the house, going to bed or while bathing in the bathroom.
49) Imam’s (‘a) prayers for trial with Muhammad Ibn Hanafiah, near Hajar Al-Aswad (the black stone which pilgrims kiss at Makkah).
50) Imam’s (‘a) prayer in which the Supreme Name of Allah has been mentioned.
- 1. Refer to Imam Al-Sajjad's (‘a) branches of knowledge and the scientific realities in his prayers.
- 2. Taken from Shahid Al-Sadr's preface on Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah hadith.
- 3. The life of Imam Zayn Al-'Abidin (‘a), p.375, and refer to/ ‘The Genealogy of Records of Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah', published by Imam Mahdi (May God hastens in his glad advent) Publications, edited by Mr. Abtahi