Chapter 4: Extraordinary Details Of Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘A) Life

One may find unique features in Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin’s (‘a) life. These aspects are also evident in his noble ancestor’s lives. However, since these characteristics expanded and contrasted during his lifetime, it becomes necessary for us to clarify them concerning him more than the other Imams (‘a).

1.) Worship

2.) Prayer

3.) Weeping

4.) Releasing of slaves

It can be seen that all of these great men’s lives were praiseworthy, but in Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) we find more clarity and light, showing that he has been the best one in each of those characteristics.

Worship In Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘A) Life

All descriptions of Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) centre on him being the most pious of men, with the greatest obedience to Allah. No one can compare a greater man than he in terms of his dedication to worship and prayer. Because of this, he was the only one in Islamic history famed for being known as Zayn Al-’Abidin and Sayid Al-sajjadin.

His worship comes from his sincere faith in Allah and his knowledge of divine essence rather than fear of hell or expectation of the heavens. He is essentially unique in this field, as was his grandfather Amir almomenin (‘a), superior mystic and leader of the righteous, who declared his elevated devotion to Allah.

Amir almomenin ‘Ali (‘a) stated: "I am not like a slave who obeys his masters because of the benefit he attends; I obey Allah, and reward is the only thing I want, nothing else; or like slaves in fear of their Lord; if there is no torture there would be no obedience."

Here, someone in the audience objected, asking, "Why do you worship Allah?" The Imam (‘a) replied in pure faith: "I worship him because he sent us blessings and because he deserves worshiping."1

Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) heart was full of Allah’s love and all his senses were under Allah’s love and he constantly worshiped Allah. Some people asked his servant about his worship. She said: "Should I tell you the complete version or in short?" "In short", they answered. "I never spread tablecloths for him nor prepared his bed."2

Imam Zayn Al ‘Abidin (‘a) fasted most of the days of his life and spent the nights worshiping. Sometimes he was saying prayers and sometimes he talked to Allah in private.

Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘A) Worship


The internal condition of ablution is being clear and chaste from sins and a preparation to say prayer. Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) was always in ablution. He was said to be humble when taking ablution and his face had a yellowish hue. His family asked: "Why do you change when doing this?" The Imam (‘a) answered: "Do you know who you are standing in front of?"3


Traditional quote: saying prayer is a means of flying for a believer and a way for the righteous to come close to Allah. This was one of the most inner tensions for Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) and he accepted this as the only way to reach closer to Allah. When rising to stand for prayer his body would tremble. They asked the cause. He stated: "Do you know who you stand in front of and who you talk to?"4

He would also also carry out special actions whilst saying the prayer:

a.) Wearing perfume: he had a small bottle of perfume in his prayer mat and whenever he stood for prayer, he used it.5

b.) Wearing woollen cloths: Imam Al-Sajjad used to put on thick woollen clothes as a sign of humility and humbleness in front of Almighty God.6

c.) His humility: Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a), while saying the prayer, was an example of the material life rising towards Allah. He would even forget himself and became impervious to his surroundings; his heart was close to Allah, even to this extent; and was free of everything else. It is said traditionally in regards to his prayer that Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) face changed when he said the prayer and his entire body trembled out of fear of Allah.

When he stood in prayer you would think he was a despised slave in front a great king. It was as though it was the last time for him to say the prayer, seeing him behave in this way and that there would be no more chances.7

Imam Al-Baqir (‘a) likened his humble father - ‘Ali Ibn Husayn (‘a), when in prayer, to the trunk of a tree with the occasional breeze rustling its leaves.8

Abban Ibn Taghlab told Imam Sadiq (‘a) of the quality of Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) prayer. "When I saw ‘Ali Ibn Husayn (‘a) stand for prayer, the colour of his face changed." Imam Sadiq (‘a) stated: "I swear ‘Ali Ibn Husayn knew who he was standing in front of."9

Manifestation of Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) humility in saying the prayer was that he did not finish his prostration by the time he was drenched in sweat.10 He was wet from crying and weeping to the extent that you would think they had pushed him into water.11

Hamze Thumaly said: "I saw Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) had fallen down and he did not make that in order. After he finished his prayer I asked Imam (‘a) the cause. He said, "Woe to you! Don’t you know who I was standing in front of? Those parts of your prayer are accepted that in your heart you just think of Allah and you pray."12

d.) Praying a thousand Raka’ahs: All biography writers agree that every day and night Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) performed a thousand prayers.13

He had five hundred date palms and said prayers at the foot of every one of them.14 Because of the great number of prayers he did, all parts of prostration on his body (like forehead and knees) were wounded. Those places resembled camels’ knees. Every year the patches would shed from his knees and he would collect them in a pack. After he died they buried it with him.15

e.) Profuse prostration: According to authenticated traditions, prostration is when man is in his closest position to Allah. On account of his humility and prevalent protestations, Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) spent a lot of time prostrating to Allah. They narrate that, once the Imam went into a desert, and one of his servants saw him prostrating on a hard stone. The servant heard the Imam saying his prayer recitation a thousand times: I confess there is no Allah but Allah, a truthful confession which there is no Allah but Allah a confession from servitude that there is no Allah but Allah, a confession from truth and reality.16

In a thanksgiving prostration which he always did a hundred times, he would say, "Oh, my Lord, you sent us endless blessings, which no one can count and your donation is ever continuing; Allah is Generous, Allah is Great."17

f.) Profuse praising: Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) was always praying recitation and most of the time he was praising Allah: "Immaculate is Allah that His light brightens every darkness, immaculate is Allah who empowered everything from his Power, immaculate is Allah who put the spirit of servants between them and Him as a curtain. Thank Him who is immaculate."18

g.) Constantly performing night prayer: One of the recommendations Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) continued with until the end of his life, even during travel and sickness, was the night prayer.

h.) His prayer after night prayer: When Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) finished his night prayers, he would then pray the special prayer offered by the purified Imams (‘a). A part of this prayer is as follows:

‘Oh God,
Oh possessor of kingdom, Perpetual in everlastingness,
Authority invincible without armies or helpers,
Might abiding through aeons past,
Years gone by,
Times and days elapsed!
Thy authority is mighty,
With a might that knows no bounds by being first,
Nor utmost end by being last!
Thy kingdom towers high with a towering,
Before which all things fall down without reaching its term;
The least of it which thou hast kept to thyself is not reached,
By the furthest description of the describers!
Attributes go astray in thee,
Descriptions fall apart below thee,
The subtlest of imaginations are bewildered,
By thy magnificence!
So art thou:
God, the first in thy firstness,
And so art thou everlastingly.
Thou dost not pass away.
But i am the slave,
Feeble in works,
Immense in hopes.
The tying links are outside my hand,
Except what is tied by thy mercy;
The bonds of hopes have been cut away from me,
Except the pardon to which i hold fast.
Little on my part is,
The obedience toward thee upon which i count,
And great against me,
The disobedience toward thee to which i have reverted.
But pardoning thy slave will not constrain thee,
Even if he be bad,
So pardon me!
Oh God, I seek refuge in Thee,
From the Fire,
Through which Thou art harsh,
Toward him who disobeys Thee,
And by which Thou hast threatened,
Him who turns away from Thy 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.’19

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) was weakened and thin because of the great amount of worship he was doing. He was so tired and weak that even the wind could move him right and left.

His son, Abdullah, says: "When my father finished his night prayer he crept to his bed from the fierceness of weakness he was enduring."20

His family and his friends talked to him in sympathy about his extra worshiping but he insisted he would continue until the time he joined his ancestors.

Once, one of his sons asked him, "How much do you pray, father?" He stated: "I’m catching my Lord’s love this way."21

Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansary told the Imam (‘a), "Oh, son of the Prophet (S), you know that Allah has created the heavens just for you and your followers and hell for your enemies, so why do you put yourself in trouble this way?"

The Imam (‘a) replied: "You, the Prophet’s (S) disciples, don’t you know that Allah has forgiven all the Prophet’s (S) sins from the first, till the last but he, the Prophet (S) insisted on obeying and worshipping Allah. He worshiped so much that his shin swelled.

This question was asked of the Prophet (S) as well, "As Allah has forgiven your present and past sins, why do you worship this much?

The Prophet (S) stated: shouldn’t I be a thankful servant?"

Jabir said in response: "I hope Allah keeps you alive because you are from a family which repels misfortune, attracts wonders and rain because of your existence."

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) stated: I will continue my father’s path and my grandfather’s until the time I will join them."22

His Fasting

Most of his life Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) was fasting. When they asked his servant about his worship, she said, "I never opened the dining cloth for him during the day. He loved fasting and encouraged others to do so, too." These words are his: "And Allah sends angels to protect the fasters."23

He was fasting all the year except Fetr ‘Id - the first day of the month following Ramadan - or some would say he may have religious problems. In holy Ramadan he was in a different manner. He did not leave any recommended actions. His words only asked for forgiveness from Allah and he presented praises to Allah at the time of breaking the fast - Iftar.

"Oh, my Allah, you will do what you are willing to do." He was happy when Ramadan started, welcomed it and was waiting for it.

He said this prayer at beginning of Ramadan:

Praise belongs to God who guided us to His praise,
And placed us among the people of 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 God who,
Showed favour 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 God who appointed among those roads His month,
The month of Ramadan,
The month of fasting,
The month of submission,
The month of purity,
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 honour it,
And He appointed for it a clear time 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 whomsoever He will of His servants,
According to the decision He has made firm.
Oh God,
Bless Muhammad and his Household,
Inspire us,
With knowledge of its excellence,
Veneration of its inviolability,
And caution against what Thou hast forbidden within it,
And help us to fast in it,
By our restraining our limbs,
From acts of disobedience toward Thee,
And our employing them,
In that which pleases Thee,
So 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 Thou hast made lawful,
And our tongues speak only what Thou,
Hast exemplified,
We undertake nothing but what brings close to,
Thy reward,
And pursue nothing but what protects from,
Thy 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 Thee,
Or seek therein any object of desire but Thee!
Oh God,
Fill this month with our worship of Thee,
Adorn its times with our obedience toward Thee,
Help us during its daytime with its fast,
And in its night with prayer and pleading toward Thee,
Humility toward Thee,
And lowliness before Thee,
So that it’s daytime may not bear witness,
Against our heedlessness,
Nor its night against our neglect!
Oh God,
Make us like this in the other months and days,
As long as Thou givest us life,
And place us among Thy righteous servants,
Those who shall inherit Paradise,
Therein dwelling forever,
Those who give what they give,
While their hearts quake,
That they are returning to their Lord,
Those who vie in good works,
Outracing to them!
Oh God,
Bless Muhammad and his Household,
In every time,
in all moments,
and in every state,
To the number that Thou hast blessed whomsoever,
Thou hast blessed,
And to multiples of all that,
through multiples,
Which none can count but Thee!
Surely Thou art Accomplisher of what Thou desirest.24

In Ramadan, Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) ordered that a sheep be slaughtered daily and food be prepared from its meat. When the meal was ready, he announced for dishes to be brought. He then he distributed the meat among the poor, widows, and orphans until nothing was left for himself, whereupon he would break his fast with bread and dates.25

Another benefit of Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) in the month of Ramadan was freeing slaves. However, his servants and slave were living in ease and relaxation with him and the Imam (‘a) behaved towards them as if they were his children.

Whenever Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) punished a servant because of their mistakes, he noted all their mistakes in a letter and at the end of Ramadan delivered it to them saying; say in a loud voice, “Oh, sons of Imam Husayn (‘a) the same way as you collect our mistakes and it is written in a book, your Allah has written all the sins you have made. There is a book with him that says right and true and nothing is omitted in that book from the smallest to the largest sins and crimes you did. All your performances and actions are there like all that is noted on these pages. In the same way that you are hopeful that Allah will forgive you, forgive us now and do not think of our mistakes. Forgive us in the same way that you want Allah to forgive you and Allah is so merciful. You will find him forgiving and never has he oppressed anyone. Oh, ‘Ali Ibn Husayn, in the same way as the letter says what wrong we did and no smallest and the largest is left out, remember your degrading in the presence of Allah, the justified judge who won’t oppress the least of anyone. Even if he presented that least, Allah is enough to judge, calculate and witness. So pardon and forgive our sins, as Allah pardons and forgives you.”

أَلاَ تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

“….Do you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Surah An-Nur, 24:22).

He would say these words while crying, which showed he belonged to Allah, and he implored Allah: “Oh, my Lord, you ordered us to forgive whoever oppressed us; we did this so that you do the same with us and because you desire this of which we are under your order. Oh, my Lord, you commanded ‘no kicking away any beggars from your door’, and now we are poor and beggars at your door asking for your Mercy and for the granting of our needs. Do not disappoint us, why do you desire to grace us! Oh Lord, you are generous, be generous, also, to me. I am a beggar at your door, so if you grant someone something, include me amongst those and do the same for me.”

Then he turned his face full of tears to his servants and slave girls saying, in compassion and gentleness, "I forgive you, will you do the same for me in the case that I had awful behaviour? Indeed I was a bad and tyrannical lord to you while I, myself, am a servant who has a generous, merciful and just Lord."

Here, all of them said in a loud voice: "We forgive you."

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) told them to say: "Oh, Lord, forgive ‘Ali Ibn Husayn in the same way that he did for us. Protect him from hell in the same way that he released us from servitude."

After their repetition of the sentence, Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) said: "You can go, which is why, I forgave you. I released you hopeful of my release from punishment on the Day of Resurrection."

When Ramadan finished and the feast of Fitr came, he gave them copious gifts to meet their needs.26

A. His Prayer During The Dawn Throughout The Days Of Ramadan

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) recited a special supplication to Allah while crying. Abuhamze Thumaly narrated this prayer with the result that it has become well known as the Abuhamze Thumaly prayer. This prayer shows how much Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) depended on Allah. You can also notice advice in this prayer. When you hear it, it protects your spirit and soul from passion and mutiny.

This prayer is concise and is said in a clear and plain manner about the humbleness and respect that should be shown in the presence of Allah, something which no one except the Imam (‘a) could declare. This prayer is concerned with the Muslim’s righteousness in a great rank. The following is an extract of this holy prayer:

“O Allah: Do not discipline me by means of Your punishment, And do not subject me to Your planned strategy. From where do I obtain the bounties, O Lord, while none can be found except with You, And how can I seek salvation while it can be granted by none but You, Neither can the good - doer do without Your help and mercy, nor can the sinful one who offended You (when sinning), and displeased You, by-pass the realm of Your power and capacity. Oh my Lord, O my Lord, Oh my Lord.” (Repeat until out of breath)

“I knew of You by You, and You directed me to You and called me to You, and without You I would not have known what You are. All Praise is for Allah whom I call upon with my needs then He answers me, even though I was slow when He calls upon me. All Praise is for Allah whom I supplicate and He grants me (what I plead for) even though I was stingy when He sought a loan from me.”

“All Praise is for Allah whom I call upon with my needs whenever I wish, and I entrust Him with my secrets without an intercessor, and He grants me my wishes. All Praise is for Allah whom I do not plead to anyone but Him, for if I pleaded to others, they would not grant me. All Praise is for Allah who dignified me by becoming the Disposer of my affairs, instead of making me rely on others who then would humiliate me.”

“All Praise is for Allah who endeared me even though He is not in need of me. All Praise is for Allah who treats me with clemency, just as if I have no sin. So my Lord is the most praised by me of all, and most worthy of my praise.”

“O Allah! I find the roads of wishes to You wide open, And the rivers of hope to You vast and running, And counting on Your bountifulness (in times of need) for those who wished You freely accessible, And the gates of prayer to those who are disparate, wide ajar, And I know that You are for those who ask You in the position of answer, And for those who are distressed, You are in a posture of rescue.”

“And in disparately seeking Your generosity and being content with Your judgment, I find it compensating from the rejection of the misers, and more satisfying than the handouts of the selfish. And truly travelling to You is short in duration, and You do not veil Yourself from Your creatures unless their own misdeeds would block them from You.”

“And I have sought You for my wish, and directed my need to You, and I depend on You for my rescue, and I assign my pleading to You by praying to You, doing this while knowing that I am not worthy of Your listening to me nor do I have a right on You to pardon me, but I do so because I trust in Your generosity, and I submit to Your true promise (to answer our prayers) and I take refuge through believing in Your unity, and through my certainty of knowledge about You, that indeed I have no other god or lord but You, only You; there is no partner for You.”

“Oh my Lord! You did say and all of what You say is true and what You promise is unconditional that "Oh (believers) ask Allah of His bounty, for Allah is Merciful towards you", And it is not from Your features, Oh Lord! I, whenever I thought I was prepared and ready and rose to pray, before Your hands, and confided to You, You cast sleep on me when I prayed, and You prevented me from confiding to You when I confided, Why is it that whenever I felt content about the goodness of my core, and my companionships have neared that of the repentant, a sin would occur and cause my feet to stumble, and deprive me from Your service.”

“Oh my Master, Maybe You have expelled me from Your door, and retired me from Your service, or maybe You observed my disregard of Your right on me and thus distanced me, or maybe You saw me headed away from (Your path) and thus You withdrew me, or maybe You found me to be in the position of the liars so You rejected me, or maybe You saw that I was not grateful of Your rewards so You deprived me, or maybe You observed my absence from the assembly of the scholars and thus put me down, or maybe You found me to be one of the unheeding so You despaired me from Your mercy, or maybe You found me frequenting the assembly of the unfaithful, so between me and them You deserted me, or maybe You did not like to listen to my prayers so You distanced me, or maybe You equated me with my crime and sin, or maybe You punished me for my lack of shyness from You.”

“So if You forgive, Oh Lord and Cherisher of the worlds. O my Master! Your slave is at Your doorstep. His desperate need has rooted him before Your hands. He knocks on the gate of Your generosity with his prayer, and he solicits Your gracious consideration (in relieving his dilemma) through his hearty anticipation (in You), So please do not turn Your honourable face away from me and accept from me what I plead for, For I have pleaded with this prayer and I am hopeful that You would not turn me down, since I have always known of Your benevolence and mercy.”

“Oh my Lord! You are the one who is never burdened by the pleas of the beseecher, nor are You ever encumbered in rewarding (Your) grantee, Verily, You are how You describe Yourself and above what we describe. Oh my Lord! I ask You (to grant me) a rewarding patience, a neighboring relief, a true affirmation, and a great reward; I ask You, Oh my Lord, for all the good whether I know of it or not, I ask You, Oh my Lord, for the best of what Your righteous believers have asked You.”27

B: His Prayers During The Month Of Ramadhan

Hence, the holy month of Ramadhan is Allah’s great men’s feast and Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) was homesick of its finishing and in farewell of Ramadhan he read this prayer:

Peace be upon thee,
Neighbour in whom
Hearts became tender
And sins became few!
Peace be upon thee,
Helper who aided against Satan,
Companion who made easy the paths of good-doing!
Peace be upon thee –
How many became freedmen of God within thee!
How happy those who observed the respect due to thee!
Peace be upon thee –
How many the sins thou erased!
How many the kinds of faults thou covered over!
Peace be upon thee –
How drawn out wert thou for the sinners!
How awesome wert thou in the hearts of the faithful!
Peace be upon thee,
Month with which no days compete!
Peace be upon thee,
Month which is peace in all affairs!
Peace be upon thee,
Thou whose companionship is not disliked,
Thou whose friendly mixing is not blamed!
Peace be upon thee,
Just as thou hast entered upon us with blessings
And cleansed us of the defilement of offences!
Peace be upon thee –
Thou art not bid farewell in annoyance
Nor is thy fasting left in weariness!
Peace be upon thee,
Object of seeking before thy time,
Object of sorrow before thy passing!
Peace be upon thee –
How much evil was turned away from us through thee!
How much good flowed upon us because of thee!
Peace be upon thee,
And upon the Night of Decree
Which is better than a thousand months!
Peace be upon thee –
How much we craved thee yesterday!
How intensely we shall yearn for thee tomorrow!
Peace be upon thee
And upon thy bounty
Which has now been made unlawful to us And upon thy blessings gone by
Which have now been stripped away from us!28

His Hajj

Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) always encouraged people to perform Hajj ceremonies and stated, "do Hajj and Omre that keeps your bodies healthy, have your daily bread, complete your belief, and Allah will reduce your responsibility to your family and others.29

Those who do Hajj ceremonies, their sins are forgiven and paradise is for them. His performances will commence from the beginning and his family and properties are protected.30

He also said that whoever tries to perform Safa and Marwah, angels will intercede for him.31 When Hajjis were returning Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) recommended people to hold them dear and told them to take as a good point, when Hajjis are returning from Makkah, go to them and shake their hands before they have done any action to offend, respect them so that Allah divides a part of their reward with you.32

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a), like his father Imam Husayn (‘a) and his uncle Imam Hasan (‘a) went on Hajj by foot and twenty times with his horse; so he compromised his horse travelling that long distance.

Ibrahim Ibn ‘Ali says I was with ‘Ali Ibn Husayn (‘a) on the Hajj travel, and I noticed his horse moved slowly. The Imam took his stick towards him but he changed his mind and said "O, of retaliation."33

Whenever Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) announced he was going to travel on Hajj, scientists and readers of the Qur’an always gathered around his surroundings so that they would be in a position of attaining knowledge, science and courtesy. Sayyed Ibn Mosayyeb says, "While ‘Ali Ibn Husayn (‘a) had not yet left Makkah, other riders would not do so either and we didn’t leave Makkah until thousands of others riders were accompanying us."34

When the Imam reached Migat –the place of wearing Ihram- he performed the traditions and recommendations of Ihram. When he wanted to fasten Talbih at the time of Ihram, his face changed to yellow and he was anxious that he could not do Talbih. When they asked him, "Why don’t you do Talbih?"

He stated: I am afraid I say "Labbayk" but I hear "Labbayk" is not yours. (Labbayk in the Arab language means declaring complete readiness to serve somebody. If the Hajji is correct, he gives Allah a positive response with this word but if his saying was not as he performed, he has lied to Allah.)
Anyway, he fainted every time he said ‘Labbayk’ because of fear of Allah, and fell off his horse and by the end of the ceremonies he was still in this situation.35 When he finished the ceremonies regarding Masjid Al-Haram, he started saying a prayer under the mercy-pipe. Once, Yamane confronted the Imam in that place and saw that he was saying a prayer and imploring Allah whilst weeping.

When the Imam (‘a) finished his prayer, asked him: "I saw you in awe and fear of Allah. I think three factors survive you; the first is that you are the son of the Prophet (S), the second, the intercession of your grandfather, and the third Allah’s mercy." But Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) stated in his response to: "That I am the son of the Prophet (S) will not protect me, why in the Qur’an is it said:

فَإِذَا نُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ فَلآ أَنسَابَ بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَلاَ يَتَسآءَلُونَ

“And when the Trumpet is blown there will be no relationship between them that day, nor will they ask of one another.” (Surah Al-Mu’minun, 23:101).

The intercession of my grandfather would also not protect me, as Allah said:

يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلاَ يَشْفَعُونَ إِلاَّ لِمَنِ ارْتَضَي وَهُم مِنْ خَشْيَتِهِ مُشْفِقُونَ

“He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they (angels) do not intercede except for him with whom He is well-pleased and they tremble in awe of Him.” (Surah Al-’Anbiya’, 21:28).

And he says about his mercy, Allah’s mercy is close to righteousness and I do not know whether I qualify from that or not. Said: "I saw ‘Ali Ibn Husayn (‘a) circumambulating the Ka’abah and worshiping and when there was nobody else there, he turned his face skywards and talked to Allah thus: "Lord, stars of your sky are lightening and your servants’ eyes are shut with sleep, but the doors of your blessing is open to whomsoever asks of you. I am here so forgive me and have pity on me and open the Prophet’s (S) face towards me on Resurrection Day. He then wept and said: "I swear on your greatness and glory, if I committed a sin, my aim was not in opposing you. I did not doubt your presence at the time of committing sins and I knew you will torture offenders. I did not want to open myself to expose to sin on purpose but my essence deceived me and the cover you spread over my wicked actions prodded me. Now who will rescue me from your torture? If you cut your rope of survival, what rope should I take?"

Then he fell down like prostration and I went close to him took his head on my knee and some drops of mine then fell down upon his face, and he sat up and with a weak sound said: "who is he that keeps me away from my Allah ‘s memory?" said with great humility: "O son of the Prophet (S), it is me,, you whose father is Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (‘a), your mother, Fatimah (‘a), and your grandfather the Messenger of Allah (S) cry and weep this way what about us, the offenders? We should do more than this."

The Imam (‘a) stated in response to, "Well away! Well away!, do not talk of my parents and my grandfather because paradise is for whomever worships Him, even if he is a black slave, and hell has been made for offenders, even if they are celebrated men of the Quraysh. Have you not heard that Allah states: So when the trumpet is blown, there shall be no ties of relationship between them on that day, nor shall they ask of each other. He swore to Allah that you will not attain benefit if you have not sent good actions before you die and go to the other world."36

Imam’s Prayer On ‘Arafat Day

Imam Al-Sajjad was very diligent when it came to making prayers, reading the Qur’an and supplicating to Allah on the day of Arafat. Concerning that particular prayer, it is considered one of the most excellent and beneficial of all the prayers which have come from the Ahlul Bayt (‘a):

Praise belongs to God, Lord of the worlds!
Oh God,
To Thee belongs praise!
Originator of the heavens and the earth!
Possessor of majesty and munificence!
Lord of lords!
Object of worship of every worshiper!
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.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
The Unique, the Alone,
The Single, the Isolated.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
The Generous, the Generously Bestowing,
The All- mighty, the Mightily Exalted,
The Magnificent, the Magnificently Magnified.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
The All- high, the Sublimely High,
The Strong in prowess.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
The All- merciful, the All- compassionate,
The All- knowing, the All- wise.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
The All- hearing, the All- seeing,
The Eternal, the All- aware.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
The Generous, the Most Generous,
The Everlasting, the Most Everlasting.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
The First before every one,
The Last after every number.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
The Close in His highness,
The High in His closeness.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
Possessor of radiance and glory,
Magnificence and praise.
Thou art God,
There is no god but Thee,
Thou hast brought forth the things without root,
Formed what Thou hast formed without exemplar,
And originated the originated things without limitation.
It is Thou
Who has ordained each thing with an ordination,
Eased each thing with an easing,
And governed everything below Thyself with a governing.
It is Thou
Whom no associate helps with Thy creation,
And no vizier aids in Thy command.
Thou hast no witness and no equal.
It is Thou
Who willed,
And what Thou willed was unfailing,
Who decreed,
And what Thou decreed was just,
Who decided,
And what Thou decided was fair.
It is Thou
Whom place does not contain,
Before whose authority no authority stands up,
And whom no proof or explication can thwart.
It is Thou
Who hast counted everything in numbers,
Appointed for everything a term,
And ordained everything with an ordination.
It is Thou
Before whose selfness imaginations fall short,
Before whose howness understandings have no incapacity,
And the place of whose whereness eyes perceive not.
It is Thou
Who hast no bounds,
Lest Thou be bounded,
Who art not exemplified,
Lest Thou be found,
Who dost not beget,
Lest Thou be begotten.
Glory be to Thee!
Thou hast stretched forth Thy hand with good things,
And from Thy guidance has everything come to be known,
So he who begs from Thee religion or this world,
Will find Thee.
Glory be to Thee!
Whatever passes in Thy knowledge is subjected to Thee,
All below Thy Throne are humbled before Thy mightiness,
And every one of Thy creatures follows Thee in submission.
Glory be to Thee!
Thou art not sensed, nor touched,
Nor felt, nor beguiled,
Nor held back, nor challenged,
Nor kept up with, nor resisted, Nor deceived, nor circumvented.
Glory be to Thee!
Thy path is smooth ground,
Thy command right guidance,
And Thou art a living, eternal refuge.
Glory be to Thee!
Thy word is decisive,
Thy decree unfailing,
Thy will resolute.
Glory be to Thee!
None can reject Thy wish,
None can change Thy words.
Glory be to Thee, Outdazzling in signs,
Creator of the heavens,
Author of the spirits!
To Thee belongs praise,
A praise that will be permanent with Thy permanence!
To Thee belongs praise,
A praise everlasting through Thy favour!
To Thee belongs praise,
A praise that will parallel Thy benefaction!
To Thee belongs praise,
A praise that will increase Thy good pleasure!
My Lord,
Bless Muhammad and his Household With a blessing which will,
Tie together the blessings of
Thy angels, Thy prophets, Thy messengers,
And those who obey Thee,
Comprise the blessings of Thy servants, Jinn or mankind,
And those worthy of Thy response,
And bring together the blessings,
of every one of the kinds of Thy creatures,
Which Thou hast 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 Thee,
And everyone below Thee,
And will bring forth with all that,
A blessing,
With which Thou wilt multiply those blessings,
And increase them through the recurrence of days,
With an increasing in multiples,
Which none can count but Thee!
My Lord,
Bless the best of his Household,
Those whom Thou hast,
Chosen for Thy command,
Appointed the treasurers of Thy knowledge,
The guardians of Thy religion,
Thy vicegerents in Thy earth,
And Thy arguments against Thy servants,
Purified from uncleanness and defilement,
Through a purification by Thy desire,
And made the mediation to Thee,
And the road to Thy Garden!
My Lord,
Bless Muhammad and his Household,
With a blessing which,
Makes plentiful Thy gifts and generosity,
Perfects for them Thy bestowals and awards,
And fills out their share of Thy 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 Thy Throne and all below it,
The amount that fills the heavens and all above them,
The number of Thy earths and all below and between them,
A blessing that will bring them near to Thee in proximity,
Please Thee and them,
And be joined to its likes forever!
Oh God,
Surely Thou hast confirmed Thy religion in all times,
With an Imam whom Thou hast set up,
As a guidepost to Thy servants,
And a lighthouse in Thy lands,
After his cord has been joined to Thy cord!
Thou hast appointed him the means to Thy good 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!
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!
Oh God,
So inspire thy guardian to give thanks,
For that in which thou hast favoured him,
Inspire us with the like concerning him,
Grant him an authority from thee to help him,
open for him an easy opening,
Aid him with thy mightiest pillar,
Brace up his back,
Strengthen his arm,
Guard him with thine eye,
Defend him with thy safeguarding,
Help him with thine angels,
And assist him with Thy most victorious troops!
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 thou art not pleased!
Let me not lose heart in expecting from thee,
Lest i be overcome by despair of thy mercy!
Grant me not that which i cannot endure,
Lest thou weighest me down,
With the surplus of thy love which thou loadest upon me!
Send me not from thy hand,
The sending of him,
who possesses no good,
Toward whom thou hast no need,
And who turns not back [to Thee]!
Cast me not with the casting of him who has,
Fallen from the eye of Thy regard,
And been wrapped in degradation from Thee!
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 Thou hast afflicted,
The ranks of Thy servants and handmaids,
And make me reach the utmost degrees of him,
About whom Thou art concerned,
Towards whom Thou showest favour,
And with whom Thou art pleased,
So that Thou lettest him live as one praiseworthy,
And takest him to Thee 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 Thee,
From doing that which alone makes Thee pleased with me!
Root out from my heart the love of this vile world,
Which keeps from everything which is with Thee,
Bars from seeking the mediation to Thee,
And distracts from striving for nearness to Thee!
Embellish for me solitude,
In prayer whispered to Thee,
By night and by day!
Give me a preservation which will,
Bring me close to dread of Thee,
Cut me off from committing things made unlawful by Thee,
And spare me from captivation by dreadful sins!
Give me purification from the defilement of disobedience,
Take away from me the filth of offenses,
Dress me in the dress of Thy well- being,
Cloak me in the cloak of Thy release,
Wrap me in Thy ample favours,
And clothe me in Thy bounty and Thy graciousness!
Degrade me not on the day Thou raisest me up to meet Thee,
Disgrace me not before Thy friends,
Make me not forget remembering Thee,
Take not away from me thanking Thee,
But enjoin it upon me in states of inattention,
When the ignorant are heedless of Thy boons,
And inspire me to,
Laud what Thou hast done for me,
And confess to what Thou hast conferred upon me!
Place my beseeching Thee above the beseeching of the beseechers,
And my praise of Thee above the praise of the praisers!
Abandon me not with my neediness for Thee,
Destroy me not for what I have done for Thee,
And slap not my brow with that with which,
Thou slappest the brow of those who contend with Thee,
For I am submitted to Thee.
I know,
That the argument is Thine,
That Thou art closest to bounty,
Most accustomed to beneficence,
Worthy of reverent fear,
And worthy of forgiveness,
That Thou art closer to pardoning,
Than to punishing,
And that Thou art nearer to covering over,
Than to making notorious!
Let me live an agreeable life,
That will tie together what I want,
And reach what I love,
While I not bring what Thou dislikest,
And not commit what Thou hast prohibited;
And make me die the death of him,
Whose light runs before him and on his right hand!
Abase me before Thyself,
And exalt me before Thy creatures,
Lower me when I am alone with Thee,
And raise me among Thy servants,
Free me from need for him who has no need of me,
And increase me in neediness and poverty toward Thee!
Give me refuge from,
The gloating of enemies,
The arrival of affliction, Lowliness and suffering!
Shield me in what Thou seest 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 Thou desirest for a people a trial or an evil,
Deliver me from it,
for I seek Thy shelter;
And since Thou hast not stood me in the station of disgrace,
In this world of Thine,
Stand me not in such a station,
In the next world of Thine!
Couple for me the beginnings of Thy kindnesses with their ends,
And the ancient of Thy 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 away my radiance!
Visit me not with,
A meanness that will diminish my worth,
Or a decency 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,
But make me,
Stand in awe of Thy threat,
Take precautions against Thy leaving no excuses,
And Thy warning,
And tremble at the recitation of Thy verses!
Fill my night with life by keeping me awake therein for,
Worshipping Thee,
Solitude with vigil for Thee,
Exclusive devotion to reliance upon Thee,
Setting my needs before Thee,
And imploring that Thou wilt,
Set my neck free from the Fire,
And grant me sanctuary from Thy chastisement,
Within which its inhabitants dwell!37

Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘A) Prayer At The ‘Id Al-Adha’

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) always welcomed the ‘Adha’ feast in humility and asked Allah to except his Hajj ceremonies and his other performances and grant him forgiveness and satisfaction. This is a part of that prayer:

This is a blessed and fortunate day,
Within which the Muslims are gathered,
In the quarters of Thy earth.
Among them are present the asker, the seeker,
The beseecher, the fearful,
While Thou art looking upon their needs.
So I ask Thee by Thy munificence and generosity,
And easy upon Thee is what I ask Thee! –
That Thou blessest Muhammad and his Household.
O God,
Toward Thee I aim with my need,
And before Thee I set my poverty, my neediness, my misery,
For I have more trust in Thy forgiveness and Thy mercy,
Than in my own works.
Thy forgiveness and Thy mercy are vaster than my sins.
So bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad,
And attend to the accomplishment of every need of mine through,
Thy power over it,
Its easiness for Thee,
My poverty toward Thee,
And Thy freedom from need for me!
I will come upon no good whatsoever unless through Thee,
No one other than Thou will turn any evil away from me,
And I have hope in none but Thee for my affair,
In the next world and in this world.
O God,
If anyone has ever,
Made ready,
And drawn himself up,
To be received by a creature,
In hope of his support and awards,
Then today toward Thee, my Master, is,
My arrangement,
My making ready,
My preparation,
And my drawing up,
In hope of Thy pardon and support
And in seeking to attain to Thee and Thy prize.
O God,
So 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 Thee 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 Thy peace).
I come to Thee admitting sin and evildoing toward myself.
I come to Thee hoping for Thy Abounding pardon,
Through which Thou hast pardoned the offenders,
While their long persistence in dreadful sin,
Did not prevent Thee,
From returning toward them with mercy and forgiveness!
O He whose mercy is wide,
And whose pardon is Abounding!
O All- mighty!
O All- mighty!
O All- generous!
O All- generous!
Bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad,
Return toward me through Thy mercy,
Be tender toward me through Thy bounty,
And spread out Thy forgiveness upon me!
O God,
This station belongs to Thy vicegerents,
Thy chosen,
While the places of Thy trusted ones,
In the elevated degree which Thou hast singled out for them,
Have been forcibly stripped!
But Thou art the Ordainer of that –
Thy command is not overcome,
The inevitable in Thy governing is not overstepped!
However Thou willest and whenever Thou willest!
In that which Thou knowest best,
Thou art not accused for Thy creation or Thy will!
Then Thy selected friends,
Thy vicegerents,
Were overcome, vanquished, forcibly stripped;
They see Thy decree replaced,
Thy Book discarded,
Thy obligations distorted from the aims of Thy laws,
And the Sunna of Thy Prophet abandoned!
O God,
Curse their enemies among those of old and the later folk,
And all those pleased with their acts,
And their adherents and followers!
O God,
Bless Muhammad and the household of Muhammad,
(Surely thou art all- laudable, all- glorious)
Like thy blessing, benedictions, and salutations,
Upon thy chosen Abraham and the people of Abraham!
And hasten for them relief,
And confirmation!
O God,
And make me,
One of the people who profess thy unity,
Have faith in thee,
And attest to thy messenger,
And the Imams toward whom thou hast enjoined obedience,
And one of those through whom and at whose hands,
This takes place!
Amen, lord of the worlds!38

Features Of Prayer And Chanting In Imam’s (‘A) Life

Allah stated:

قُلْ مَا يَعْبَأُ بِكُمْ رَبِّي لَوْلاَ دُعَاؤُكُمْ فَقَدْ كَذَّبْتُمْ فَسَوْفَ يَكُونُ لِزَامًا

“Say (to the disbelievers: ) ‘My Lord would not esteem you at all were it not for your prayer (unto Him), but you: indeed have belied (the Truth), and soon you shall be (in) the grip (of the inevitable).” (Surah Al-Furqan, 25:77).

Seyyed Ibn Tawus (ra) says about this holy verse: Allah did not set any rank and position on anyone without prayerful entreaty or, in other words, supplication, which means that the value of humans in the presence of Allah depends on the prayer you do to Allah and their degree depends on the strength of their effort to beg from Allah.39

So, because of this Qur’anic truth, we see that Imam Al-Sajjad continually (‘a) prayed and chanted to Allah and exposed his utter poverty to Allah, and this shows his rank and value, so the value and degree of the human being depends on his prayerful begging to Allah, and on his understanding the presentation of his needs to His Imperial Majesty by fitting his perception to Allah and turning his face away from other than Him.

We have selected extracts of the holy texts that Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) stated in his prayer. It demonstrates the highest faith and beliefs and being rich. When the reality that there are no effectors, except Allah, penetrates your heart and mind, this state can be reached. With this degree of faith, he would never lovingly attach himself to anyone else except to Allah nor would he be hopeful of anyone else. Nobody’s desire would stick in his heart and all of his life would be built with the remembrance and worship of Him.

The Imam (‘a) said in his prayer:

O God,
Bless Muhammad and his Household,
And put,
The soundness of our hearts,
Into the remembrance of Thy mightiness,
The idleness of our bodies,
Into giving thanks for Thy favour,
And the flow of our tongues
Into the description of Thy kindness!40

This illustrates complete attachment to Allah in relation to praise, and behaviour. He also talked to Allah this way in other places:

“O, He through whose mercy the strivers reach felicity and through whose vengeance the seekers of forgiveness are not made wretched! How should I forget Thee, while Thou never ceasest remembering me? How should I be diverted from Thee while Thou art my constant watcher?”

“My God, I have fastened my hand to the skirt of Thy generosity, I have stretched forth my expectation toward reaching Thy gifts, so render me pure through the purest profession of Thy Unity, and appoint me one of Thy choice servants!”41

Imam Al-Sajjad was completely separated from people and connected to Allah. He was not hopeful of anyone in any affair except Allah and he counted as a false mirage being hopeful of anyone other than Allah. He states in another chant:

“My God, my thanksgiving is small before Thy great boons, and my praise and news-spreading shrink beside Thy generosity toward me! Thy favours have wrapped me in the robes of the lights of faith, and the gentlenesses of Thy goodness have let down over me delicate curtains of might! Thy kindnesses have collared me with collars not to be moved and adorned me with neck-rings not to be broken! Thy boons are abundant - my tongue is too weak to count them! Thy favours are many - my understanding falls short of grasping them, not to speak of exhausting them! So how can I achieve thanksgiving? For my thanking Thee requires thanksgiving. Whenever I say, ‘To Thee belongs praise!’ it becomes thereby incumbent upon me to say, ‘To Thee belongs praise’!”

“My God, as Thou hast fed us through Thy gentleness and nurtured us through Thy benefaction, so also complete for us lavish favours, repel from us detested acts of vengeance, and of the shares of the two Abodes, give us their most elevated and their greatest, both the immediate and the deferred! To Thee belongs praise for Thy good trial and the lavishness of Thy favours, a praise conforming to Thy good pleasure and attracting Thy great goodness and magnanimity. O All- mighty, O All- generous! By Thy mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”42

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) taught us how to praise Allah’s blessings, informing us that however much you praise Him, it is never enough.

Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) states elsewhere:

"O God, inspire us to obey Thee, turn us aside from disobeying Thee, make it easy for us to reach the seeking of Thy good pleasure which we wish, set us down in the midst of Thy Gardens, dispel from our insights the clouds of misgiving, uncover from our hearts the wrappings of doubt and the veil, make falsehood vanish from our innermost minds, and fix the truth in our secret thoughts, for doubts and opinions fertilize temptations and muddy the purity of gifts and kindnesses!"

“O God, carry us in the ships of Thy deliverance, give us to enjoy the pleasure of whispered prayer to Thee, make us drink at the pools of Thy love, let us taste the sweetness of Thy affection and nearness, allow us to struggle in Thee, preoccupy us with obeying Thee, and purify our intentions in devoting works to Thee, for we exist through Thee and belong to Thee, and we have no one to mediate with Thee but Thee!”

“My God, place me among the chosen, the good! Join me to the righteous, the pious, the first to reach generous gifts, the swift to come upon good things, the workers of the abiding acts of righteousness, the strivers after elevated degrees! Thou art powerful over everything and disposed to respond! By Thy mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”43

Here we see the Imam ask for purity of intention towards Allah and the highest of his wishes for Allah are Allah’s satisfaction.
In another chant he says:

“Glory be to Thee! How narrow are the paths for him whom Thou hast not guided! How plain the truth for him whom Thou hast guided on his way! My God, so make us travel on the roads that arrive at Thee and set us into motion on the paths nearest to reaching Thee! Make near for us the far, and make easy for us the hard and difficult! Join us to Thy servants, those who hurry to Thee swiftly, knock constantly at Thy door, and worship Thee by night and by day, while they remain apprehensive in awe of Thee!”

“Thou hast purified their drinking places, taken them to the objects of their desire, granted their requests, accomplished their wishes through Thy bounty, filled their minds with Thy love, and quenched their thirst with Thy pure drink. Through Thee have they reached the pleasure of whispered prayer to Thee, and in Thee have they achieved their furthest goals. O He who comes toward those who come toward Him and grants gifts and bestows bounty upon them through tenderness! He is compassionate and clement toward those heedless of His remembrance and loving and tender in drawing them to His door!”

“I ask Thee to place me among those of them who have the fullest share from Thee, the highest station with Thee, the most plentiful portion of Thy love, and the most excellent allotment of Thy knowledge, for my aspiration has been cut off from everything but Thee and my desire has turned toward Thee alone. Thou art my object, none other; to Thee alone belongs my waking and my sleeplessness.”

“Meeting Thee is the gladness of my eye, joining Thee the wish of my soul. Toward Thee is my yearning, in love for Thee my passionate longing, in inclining toward Thee my fervent craving. Thy good pleasure is the aim I seek, vision of Thee my need, Thy neighbourhood my request, nearness to Thee the utmost object of my asking. In whispered prayer to Thee I find my repose and my ease.”44

“With Thee lies the remedy of my illness, the cure for my burning thirst, the coolness of my ardour, the removal of my distress. Be my intimate in my loneliness, the releaser of my stumble, the forgiver of my slip, the accepter of my repentance, the responder to my supplication, the patron of preserving me from sin, the one who frees me from my neediness! Cut me not off from Thee and keep me not far from Thee! O my bliss and my garden! O my, this world and my hereafter! O Most Merciful of the merciful!”

The spirit, body, and senses of Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) in this way were in wager of Allah where he sees no one else but Allah in the whole world and he does not know of anyone else to diminish his heart’s burning.

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) chants with Allah about the needful in this way:

“My God, nothing will mend my fracture but Thy gentleness and loving care, free me of my poverty by Thy affection and beneficence, still my fright by Thy security, exalt my abasement by Thy sovereignty, take me to my hope by Thy bounty, remedy my lack by Thy graciousness, demolish my need of other than Thou, relieve my distress of other than Thy mercy, remove my injury from other than Thy clemency, cool my burning thirst by reaching Thee, quench my ardour by meeting Thee, dampen my yearning by gazing upon Thy face, settle my settling place without closeness to Thee, allay my worry by Thy repose, cure my illness by Thy medicine, eliminate my grief by Thy nearness, heal my wound by Thy forgiveness, remove the rust on my heart by Thy pardon, banish the confusing thoughts from my breast by Thy command!”

“O Utmost Hope of the hopers! O Ultimate Demand of the askers! O Furthest Request of the requesters! O Highest Desire of the desirers! O Patron of the righteous! O Security of the fearful! O Responder to the supplication of the distressed! O Storehouse of the destitute! O Treasure of the pitiful! O Help of the help-seekers! O Accomplisher of the needs of the poor and the miserable! O Most Generous of the most generous! O Most Merciful of the merciful!”

“To Thee is my humble subjection and request, to Thee my pleading and imploring! I ask Thee to let me attain the repose of Thy good pleasure, and to make constant toward me the favours of Thy kindness! Here am I, standing before the gate of Thy generosity, opening myself up to the breezes of Thy goodness, holding fast to Thy strong cord, clinging to Thy firm handle! My God, have mercy upon Thy lowly slave of silent tongue and few good works, obligate him through Thy plentiful graciousness, shelter him under Thy plenteous shade! O Generous, O Beautiful, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”45

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) declared his poverty to the glorious Allah, and announced his eagerness, and love to his Master, who is Creator of the whole world, and He who has given life to all creatures. The Imam (‘a) expressed all his wishes to Him and all his hopes, remaining hopeful of Him.

Manifestation From (‘Irfan) Divine Gnosticism In Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘A) Chanting

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) states in learned chanting:

“My God, tongues fall short of attaining praise of Thee proper to Thy Majesty, intellects are incapable of grasping the core of Thy beauty, eyes fail before gazing upon the glories of Thy face, and Thou hast assigned to Thy creatures no way to know Thee save incapacity to know Thee!”

“My God, place us among those within the gardens of whose breasts the trees of yearning for Thee have taken firm root and the assemblies of whose hearts have been seized by the ardour of Thy love! They seek shelter in the nests of meditation, feed upon the gardens of nearness and disclosure, drink from the pools of love with the cup of gentle favour, and enter into the watering- places of warm affection.”

“The covering has been lifted from their eyes, the darkness of disquiet has been dispelled from their beliefs and their innermost minds, the contention of doubt has been negated from their hearts and their secret thoughts, their breasts have expanded through the verification of true knowledge, their aspirations have ascended through precedent good fortune in renunciation, their drinking is sweet from the spring of devotion to good works, their secret thoughts are delicious in the sitting-place of intimacy, their minds are secure in the place of terror, their souls are serene through the return to the Lord of lords, their spirits have reached certitude through triumph and prosperity, their eyes have been gladdened through gazing upon their Beloved, their settling place has been settled through reaching the request and attaining the expectation, and their commerce has profited through the sale of this world for the next!”

“My God, how agreeable for hearts are the thoughts inspiring Thy remembrance, how sweet travelling to Thee through imagination upon the roads of the unseen worlds, how pleasant the taste of Thy love, how delightful the drink of Thy nearness! So give us refuge from Thy casting out and Thy sending far, and place us among the most elect of Thy knowers, the most righteous of Thy servants, the most truthful of Thy obeyers, the most sincere of Thy worshipers! O All- mighty, O Majestic, O Generous, O Endower! By Thy mercy and kindness, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”46

In fact, Imam Zayn al’Abidin (‘a) was the master of monotheists, and leader of the Gnostics. His worship is not an imitation, but indicates complete knowledge of Allah. In the above mentioned worship, he removed the curtain from the end of his wish, which was purity in the worshiping of Allah on high. He stated in the chanting of eulogists: prayers:

“My God, were it not incumbent to accept Thy command, I would declare Thee far too exalted for me to remember Thee, for I remember Thee in my measure, not in Thy measure, and my scope can hardly reach the point where I may be a locus for calling Thee holy! Among Thy greatest favours to us is the running of Thy remembrance across our tongues and Thy permission to us to supplicate Thee, declare Thee exalted, and call Thee holy!”

“My God, inspire us with Thy remembrance alone and in assemblies, by night and day, publicly and secretly, in prosperity and adversity! Make us intimate with silent remembrance, employ us in purified works and effort pleasing to Thee, and reward us with the full balance! My God, love-mad hearts are enraptured by Thee, disparate intellects are brought together by knowing Thee, hearts find no serenity except in remembering Thee, souls find no rest except in seeing Thee.”

“Thou art the glorified in every place, the worshipped at every time, the found at every moment, the One called by every tongue, the magnified in every heart! I pray forgiveness from Thee for every pleasure but remembering Thee, every ease but intimacy with Thee, every happiness but nearness to Thee, every occupation but obeying Thee!”

“Remember God with much remembrance and glorify Him at dawn and in the evening! Thou hast said - and Thy word is true - Remember Me, and I will remember you! Thou hast commanded us to remember Thee, and promised us that Thou wilt remember us thereby, in order to ennoble, respect, and honour us. Here we are, remembering Thee as Thou hast commanded us! So accomplish what Thou hast promised, O Rememberer of the rememberers! O Most Merciful of the merciful!”47

When we study these sentences of Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a), we become astonished from the stature of their meaning which makes and illustrates his clear outstanding imagination of supplication in the presence of Allah, from whom nothing on the earth and in the skies is hidden. Real recognition of the fact that man, as we have said in former sentences, in regards to Allah is in absolute need and poverty, persuades him to take shelter in that sacred nature.

Hence, we see Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) raise his hands in praise to Allah in all moments of his life parts of which, as we said, had passed and large parts of which were yet to come; as praying for the Prophet Muhammad (S) and his household, praying for carriers of thorns, going under the protection of Allah, asking of your needs, while being patient, favouring morals, praying for neighbours, friends, border men, in consultation of books, praying for the appearance of new month, showing disgrace in the presence of Allah towards hardships, in thinking of death, during fear, and prayers for the removal of disasters.

Among these parts it is clear that Imam Al-Sajjad’s life is a collection of revolutionary jihad, epical, anti-devil spirit, mixed with knowledge and the understanding of Allah on high, in which this merciful life categorically answers questions like, ‘Is it possible to collect the spirit of prayer and chanting from one hand with the spirit of movement and devotion?’

The root cause of the arising of these questions might be due to thinking one should empty the mind from thoughts, and ponder on great jihad or the battle with one’s own essence. Mortification of the divine law and worshiping frees one from revolutionary works, while these works are of a minor jihad from the point of view of the mind. Performing these actions as a minor jihad, helps to pave the way for the greater jihad in a larger sense; therefore, the abdonment of jihad will not be understood as failure.

Nevertheless, fierce dissimulation and bravery are logical, and declared as a wide reality of the Sharia’ah and the Hanif religion of Allah, covering all dimensions of the individual and social life of the human being. Monotheistic knowledge and combat are two clear lines and the Aimah’s (‘a) life have given similarity to both, which is the reason why their lives are never devoid of the two. Plainly, we will find this point if we ponder their private chanting and their sermons at the battle field.

The spirit of jihad and his combat in Damascus and Yazid Ibn Mu‛awiyah’s gathering, in which Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) was chained was obvious, and from his answer to Ibn Ziad at the Darol Emare of Al-Kufa, the threat of murder was very clear. Yet he stated, "Do you threaten us with death while being martyred in Allah’s way is our honour?"48

This demonstrates his strong spirit. The Al-Sahifa As-Sajjadiyyah and Khamsa Ashar chants are the best examples of the complex spirit of prayer and the epic story of this Imam (‘a).

The reality of these rulemakings are evidenced in the prayers of Imam Al-Sajjad, which centred on politics and jihad. Social and behavioural aspects are also a focus of his prayer, and extensive concentration was given to cultural aspects and the subject of worship. It can be said that Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) prayers focused upon plausible solutions to significant issues of the time.

Valid quotations were needed, following the storming of Alhady and incidents such as the Tashbih, Jabr, Erjae. All of these events centred on Islamic affairs, which was due to the Ummayyad government’s intention to eradicate Islam and return again to a state of ignorance. Doubts could not be addressed under such conditions and the government crushed whoever challenged their ideals, suppressing their voices in order to silence them.

Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin’s (‘a) policy was to continue his chosen method of prayer and teachings. This turned out to be the most successful and secure technique in spreading Islam and achieving duration of the true circumstances. The secret teachings were carried out under the radar of the authority’s power structure.49

Weeping In Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘A) Life

You can weep for various reasons during life. Crying can be brought about by an eagerness for love one moment and the next for objecting to aggressive acts. Here we can find that weeping for Imam Husayn (‘a) can bring stability and happiness and create a way towards the glory of Allah. The great Prophet Muhammad (S) was continually weeping at home and in the mosque for Imam Husayn (‘a), sometimes in private and at other times with his disciples and friends.

Whoever asked him the cause, he (S) stated in response: "Gabriel informed me of the news of Imam Husayn’s (‘a) and some of his household’s (‘a) murder, and he showed me the land in which, from there, he will enter paradise."50

Moreover, weeping for Imam Husayn (‘a) causes more familiarity of public thought to the depth of cruelty and disaster that the Ummayyads and their rulers heaped upon the Ahl Al-Bayt of the Prophet (S), thus we see the A’immah (‘a) encourage their followers, the Shi’ahs, to honour the disaster of Karbala with a weeping and tearful gathering for this painful event, believing the participants will receive endless reward thereby.

We should know that Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) tearfulness did not originate solely from his relationship to his linage, father, grandfather, etc., so much as that the Imam was pursuing great goals to familiarise future generations to what happened at this important event; such as the crucial actions and crimes of the Ummayyads, their withdrawal from religion and their hostile position to justice, generosity and humanity, which the Imam (‘a) himself witnessed.

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) cried for the rest of his life from the time that his father, Imam Husayn (‘a), was murdered. A servant of his once told him, "I am really afraid that you will kill yourself crying." But the Imam (‘a) stated:

قَالَ إِنَّمَآ أَشْكُوا بَثّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَي اللَّهِ وَأَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لا تَعْلَمُونَ

“He said: ‘I only complain of my anguish and my grief to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you do not know’.” (Surah Yusuf, 12:86).

"I never remember Fatimah’s son’s (‘a) place of execution except when tears close up my throat."51

Someone else asked him, "Has it not reached the time when your grief should come to an end?" Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) stated in response: "Fie on you! Jacob saw misfortune less than I have but he carried it to Allah and said:

وَقَالَ يَآ أَسَفَي عَلَي يُوسُفَ

“…and said: ‘Alas for Yusuf!....” (Surah Yusuf, 12:84).

“He lost just a son who was, moreover, still alive, but I saw my father and a group of my household’s heads sliced off, in front of me."52

Every time the Imam took a bowl of water to drink, he remembered the parched thirst of his deprived father and disciples and he cried so much that tears dropped into the water and mixed with it. And while he was asked about this he stated: "How could I not cry when they prevented my father from drinking water, which all the animals and wildlife were free to drink?"53

Most of the time, Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) encouraged his disciples to be sad in grief for Imam Husayn (‘a) and to be tearful regarding the misfortunes which happened to him. There is a traditional saying of the Imam which follows as: “For every faithful man who cries for Imam Husayn (‘a) and whose tears cascade from his face, Allah on high prepares houses in paradise for him.”54

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) stroked fire in people’s hearts when he cried for his righteous father, regarding the crimes that the Ummayyads subjected them to; crimes which no man would think of committing let alone a high ranking religious man like a caliph or leader.

When Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) observed that speaking out about the offences carried out by the Ummayyads, their misappropriation of Allah’s caliphate and their offences against the Prophet’s (S) household (‘a) was not possible, he tried to inform the public of these offences through weeping and this action was effective in destroying the Ummayyad government. It can be said that the Ummayyads signified moral decline on earth and ruined generations, whilst Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) complimented the Karbala movement.

Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) great-grandmother, Fatimah (‘a), had performed this great jihad, before him; by the time supporters of the then current government tried to silence her, they became uneasy because of her crying and her inability to eat, but the Prophet’s (S) dear daughter wept day and night, her weeping never diminishing.

Imam ‘Ali (‘a) made a shack in Baqi’e, which became famous as (Bayt Al-ahzan) the home of grief because of this. However, Fatimah’s (‘a) aim was to publicize the reality of the current caliphate and to find one with the characteristics of Islam.

Weeping serves as a way of notifying people of the reasons or actual causes that have forced that specific individual to cry, thus leading others to search for the truth. So it is a means through which one can come to perceive the truth, unknown realities and the light obscured by unjust rulers.55

Weeping was a way in which Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) kept the memory of Karbala alive. He also had other ways, such as encouraging people to make pilgrimage to Imam Husayn’s (‘a) shrine. Abuhamze Thumaly said, "I asked Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) about the pilgrimage of Imam Husayn (‘a), he stated in response: "Go to his shrine every day; if you cannot, go every Friday, if you cannot do that, at least go there once a month because whoever abandons his pilgrimage has disdained the Prophet’s (S) right."56

Another way was the prostration on the soil of Imam Husayn’s (‘a) grave.57

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) would also always wear his father’s (Imam Husayn) ring.58

Liberation Of Slaves In Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘A) Life

To free slaves is one of the recommendations of the Shariah of Islam and the A’immah (‘a) strongly advised it. This is a unique feature in the history of the Aiamah (‘a), needing more research. When we consider the dominant conditions and relations the Imam (‘a) was contesting at the time and his actions in response to the incidents occurring around him, it becomes apparent that the act of freeing slaves was the main goal of the Imam’s work (‘a); the following are some factors offering further clarification:

1.) The battle victories of the Muslim Nation led to a sharp increase of the number of slaves.

2.) The Ummayyad policy was ethnocentrism and they did not count slaves as people but considered them very similar.59

3.) During this time, the authorities, from the caliph down to the ministers and members of staff, didn’t even possess the smallest real sign of Islam. They merely announced the credo on their tongues but their behaviour was contrary to the rules and customs of Islam.

4.) Slaves were from non-Muslim countries and their scattering within the Islamic nation in vast numbers, without correct civility and training, was the cause of the outbreak of immorality and vanity, a situation which the aggressive Ummayyad government was looking for.

Points which connect to Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) regarding this issue:

1.) None of the slaves which the Imam (‘a) bought remained with him for more than a year and he released them on different occasions for different reasons. We conclude that the Imam (‘a) did not need their services and his goal was to buy them for other reasons.

2.) The Imam (‘a) had a different opinion in regards to slaves than others; his unique and humane treatment planted the love of Islam in their hearts and encouraged generosity to grow in terms of their manner and conduct.

3.) Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) taught slaves Islamic laws and religious respect, intellectually and spiritually nourishing them. When released, they were knowledgeable about the Islamic way of life, which prevented them from deviating.

Not only did Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) free them, he also gave them substantial financial gifts, so allowing them to work, unhindered, and acquire more funds to decently live their lives after they re- entered society.

Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) main aim was eradicating the Ummayyad slave policy. The Imam’s operations concluded eventually with these results:

a.) Slavery is an unusual social circumstance, albeit legal in some situations, in which some of Allah’s servants are held captive at the hands of creatures of their own kind, and Islam has different ways to free them (slaves). It prepares freedom for them in any situation, and Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) was successful in the preliminary steps to release a great number of captive servants. He exerted his utmost to achieve this. It can be seen by this that this was one of his priorities in the practice of Islamic commandments.

b.) The released slaves of Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) were an educated generation taught at his university, by the Imam, to a very high standard. They experienced a life rich in reality, knowledge, truthfulness and purity, and learned about Islamic beliefs, behaviour and rules. These groups retained all of this in their hearts and minds and delivered them to succeeding generations.

This process helped the continuation of sacred Islam, which was a vital responsibility of the household of the Prophet (S). If Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) built a school in which to train students, he would certainly have found himself confronting government sabotage and hostility. However, under the guise of buying and freeing slaves, the Imam was free to teach in his secret university and complete his mission.

c.) After their freedom, the emancipated slaves of Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) still maintained their relationships with him and, in this way, the Imam (‘a) charmed great numbers of people to him; this was due to the fact that all of his slaves had relatives, family, and close friends, all of whom were politically and sympathetically connected in belief with the Imam (‘a).

  • 1. Tafsir Al-Imam Hasan Al-'Askari p. 328.
  • 2. Al-Khisal p. 518; Shaykh Al-Saduq, ‛Ilal Al-Shara’i 1/232.
  • 3. Nihayat Al-Arb 21/326; Siart A'alam Al-Nubala' 4/238.
  • 4. Al-Khisal 2/620; Tabaqat Al-kubra 5/216; Tahdhib Al-Kamal 20/390.
  • 5. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/58.
  • 6. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/58.
  • 7. Ayat Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) p. 190.
  • 8. Wasa’il Al-Shi’ah 4/685; Shaykh Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi 3/300.
  • 9. Shaykh Al-Saduq, ‛Ilal Al-Shara’i 1/231; Wasa’il Al-Shi’ah 5/474.
  • 10. Tahthib Al-Ahkam 2/286/Hadith 1145.
  • 11. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/61; Al-Khisal p. 487.
  • 12. Shaykh Al-Saduq, ‛Ilal Al-Shara’i 88; Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/61.
  • 13. Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib 7/306; Nor Al-Absar 136; Al-Ithaf Bi-hob Al-Ashraf p. 49.
  • 14. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/61; Al-Khisal p. 487.
  • 15. Al-Khisal, p. 488.
  • 16. Wasa’il Al-Shi’ah 3/282; Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah p. 531
  • 17. Wasa’il Al-Shi’ah 7/17.
  • 18. Da’wat Al-Qulub Al-Rawandi 34; Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah 25.
  • 19. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah prayer no.32.
  • 20. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/99.
  • 21. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/99; Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib Ali Ibn Abi Talib 3/294.
  • 22. Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib Ali Ibn Abi Talib 3/289-290.
  • 23. Da'awat by Al-Rawandi 4.
  • 24. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah prayer no. 44
  • 25. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/72.
  • 26. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/103-105.
  • 27. Mafatih Al-Jinan, Abu Hamzah Al-Thumali's prayer
  • 28. Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah welfare prayer for Ramadan.
  • 29. Wasa’il Al-Shi’ah 11/15.
  • 30. Furu' Al-Kafi 4/252.
  • 31. Man La Yahduruhu Al-Faqih 2/208 Hadith 2168.
  • 32. Shaykh Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi 4/264.
  • 33. Ibn Al-Sabbagh, Al-Fusul Al-Muhimmah 2/861.
  • 34. Ayat Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin p. 227.
  • 35. Nihayah Al-Arab 21/326.
  • 36. Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib Ali Ibn Abi Talib 4/163; Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/81.
  • 37. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah prayer no.47.
  • 38. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah prayer no.48.
  • 39. Falah Al-Sa'il of Ibn Tawus p. 26.
  • 40. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah prayer no.5.
  • 41. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah, Munajat Al-Rajibin.
  • 42. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah, Munajat Al-Shakirin.
  • 43. Ibid, Munajat Al-Muttaqin.
  • 44. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah, Munajat Al-Muridin.
  • 45. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah, Munajat Al-Muftaqirin.
  • 46. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah, Munajat Al-'Arifin.
  • 47. Al-Sahifah Al-Sajjadiyyah, Munajat Al-Dhakirin.
  • 48. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 45/118; Lawa'ij Al-Ashjan 211.
  • 49. Jihad Imam Al-Sajjad 224-225.
  • 50. Dhakha'ir Al-Uqba 148; Al-Mustadrak 'ala Al-Sahihayn 4/398.
  • 51. Amali, Al-Saduq p. 204; Al-Khisal p. 273; Rawdha Al-Wa'athin p. 170.
  • 52. Mustadrak Al-Wasa’il 2/466; Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/110.
  • 53. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/109; Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib Ali Ibn Abi Talib 4/179-180 and Hilyat Al-Awlia 3/138.
  • 54. Thawab Al-‘A'amal p. 83.
  • 55. Imam Zayn Al-‘Abidin Sayyed Muqarram, 360-365; published by Dar Shabistri for publication. The original text includes many other references, which we have not mentioned here.
  • 56. Jihad Imam Al-Sajjad 184; Fada'il Ziyarat Imam Hussain (‘a) 42.
  • 57. Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 46/79, part 5 Hadith 75; Jihad Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) p. 184.
  • 58. Naqish Al-Khawatim 11 for Sayyid Ja'afar Murtada Al-A‘amili, Jihad Al-Imam Al-Sajjad p. 185.
  • 59. Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh Madinat Dimashq 41/475.