Supplications of Imam Husayn (‘a)
Supplications that have been quoted from His Eminence, Imam Husayn (‘a) are full of lessons of training with the aim to make firm the foundation of faith and belief in Allah, strength, fear and humility for Allah in the depths of the souls of the people so that they may be restrained from crossing the limits and are prevented from injustice and oppression. And the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) used to emphasize on this aspect most’and such supplications are not related from any leader or righteous Muslims. And these supplications are considered greatest heritage of intellectual and literary treasure of Islam because they include the principles of ethics, rules of behavior and manners and in addition to this, contain the philosophy of divine oneness and signs of just politics and other things are also included. Here we shall mention some supplications of the Holy Imam:
The Holy Imam (‘a) recited this supplication and sought the refuge of the Almighty from the mischief of the enemies. The supplication is as follows: “O Allah! O my strength in my difficulties and my Helper in my problems. Protect me with the eye that never sleeps. And keep in Your refuge where no hand can reach. And have mercy on me through Your power so that I do not die; as You are my helper. O Allah, You are the Greatest, the Highest and more powerful than whatever I fear. O Allah, by Your power I keep the necks of my enemies away from me and from his mischief I seek refuge. Indeed You are powerful over everything.”
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (‘a) supplicated in the same words when the tyrant Mansur ordered his arrest to harass him. The Almighty Allah saved him from his evil and bestowed him relief. He was asked about its explanation and he replied that it was a supplication of his great-grandfather that he had recited.
When Imam Husayn (‘a) used to come out to pray for rain he used to say: “O Allah, grant us such rain that it shall be widespread and beneficial. It should be for all and it should be profitable and it should not carry any harm so that those who live in towns and deserted areas should all benefit and through this there should be increase in our sustenance and thankfulness. O Allah make it the day of faith and the day of forgiveness as Your forgiveness is not stopped by anything. O Allah, send blessings to our land and through it give harvest of olives and pastures.”1
The supplication of Imam Husayn (‘a) on the Day of Arafah is one of the most significant supplications of Ahlul Bayt (‘a). It contains most the divine graces and His great bounties. This blessed supplication has been narrated by Bashar and Bashir Asadi and he says: We were with Imam Husayn (‘a) in Arafah in the evening. His Eminence came out with utmost humility and respect and accompanied with some people of Ahlul Bayt (‘a), his son and servants went to the left side of the mountain and stood facing the House of Allah (Ka’ba). Then he raised up his hands before his face (to pray) and like a beggar asking for food he recited:
“Praise belongs to God, whose decree none may avert, and whose gift none may prevent. No fashioner’s fashioning is like His fashioning, and He is the Generous, the All-embracing. He brought forth the varieties of unprecedented creatures and perfected through His wisdom all He had fashioned. Hidden not from Him are harbingers, nor lost with Him are deposits. He repays every fashioner, feathers the nest of all who are content and has mercy upon all who humble themselves. He sends down benefits and the all-encompassing Book in radiant light. He hears supplications, averts afflictions, raises up in degrees, and knocks down tyrants. For there is no god other than He, nothing is equal to Him, “Like Him there is naught, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing”, the subtle, the Aware, and “He is powerful over all things”.
O God, I make You my quest and bear witness to Your Lordship, acknowledging that You are my Lord and to You is my return. You originated me by Your blessing before I was a thing remembered. You created me from dust, then gave me a place in the loins (of my fathers), secure from the uncertainty of Fate and the vagaries of the ages and the years. I remained a traveler from loin to womb in a time immemorial of past days and bygone centuries. In Your tenderness, bounty and goodness toward me You didst not send me out into the empire of the leaders of disbelief, those who broke Your covenant and cried lies to Your messengers. Rather, You sent me out to that guidance which had been foreordained for me, the way, which You made easy for me and in which You nurtured me. And before that You were kind to me through Your gracious fashioning and abundant blessings. You originated my creation from a sperm-drop spilled and made me to dwell in a threefold gloom among flesh, blood and skin. You gave me not to witness my creation, nor didst You entrust me with anything of my own affair.2
Then thou sent me out into the world for the guidance that had been ordained for me, complete and unimpaired. You watched over me in the cradle as an infant boy, provided me with food, wholesome milk, and turned the hearts of the nursemaids toward me. You entrusted my upbringing to compassionate mothers, guarded me from the calamities brought by the jinn and kept me secure from excess and lack. High are You, O Merciful! O Compassionate! Then when I began to utter speech You completed for me Your abundant blessings. You nurtured me more and more each year until, when my nature was perfected and my strength balanced, You made Your argument incumbent upon me by inspiring me with knowledge of You, awing me with the marvels of Your wisdom, awakening me to the wonders of Your creation which You had multiplied in Your Heaven and Your earth, and instructing me in Your thanks and remembrance. You made incumbent upon me Your obedience and worship, made me to understand what Your messengers had brought and made easy for me the acceptance of Your good pleasure. You were gracious to me in all of this, through Your succor and kindness. Then, since You created me from the best soil, You were not satisfied, my God, that I should have one blessing without another. You provided me with varieties of sustenance and kinds of garments and Your tremendous, most tremendous, graciousness to me and Your eternal goodness toward me. And finally, when You had completed for me every blessing and turned away from me all misfortunes, You were not prevented by my ignorance and audacity from guiding me toward that which would bring me nigh to You or from giving me success in that which would bring me close to You. For if I prayed to You, You answered, if I asked of You, You gave, if I obeyed You, You showed Your gratitude, and if I thanked You, You gave me more.3
All of that was to perfect Your blessings upon me and Your goodness toward me. So glory be to You; Glory be to You, who are Producer and Reproducer, Laudable, Glorious. Holy are Your Names and tremendous Your bounties. So which of Your blessings, my God, can I enumerate by counting and mentioning? For which of Your gifts am I able to give thanks? Since they, O Lord, are more than reckoners can count or those who entrust to memory can attain by knowledge. But the affliction and hardship, O God, that You turned and averted from me is more than the health and happiness that came to me. And I witness, my God, by the truth of my faith, the knotted resolutions of my certainty, my pure and unadulterated profession of Unity, the hidden inwardness of my consciousness, the places to which the streams of light of my eyes are attached, the lines on my forehead’s surface, the openings for my breath’s channels, the parts of my nose’s soft point, the paths of my ears’ canals, what my lips close upon and compress, the movements of my tongue in speaking, the joint at the back of my mouth and jaw, the sockets of my molar teeth, the place where I swallow my food and drink, that which bears my brain, the hollow passages of my neck’s fibers, that which is contained in my breast’s cavity, the carriers of my aorta, the places where my heart’s curtain is attached, the small pieces of flesh around my liver, that which the ribs of my sides encompass, the sockets of my joints, the contraction of my members, the tips of my fingers, my flesh, my blood, my hair, my skin, my nerves, my windpipe, my bones, my brain, my veins, and all of my members, what was knitted upon them in the days when I was a suckling baby, what the earth has taken away from me, my sleep, my waking, my being still, and the movements of my bowing and prostrating, that had I taken pains and had I striven for the duration of the epochs and ages were my life to be extended through them to deliver thanks for one of Your blessings, I would not have been able to do so, except by Your grace, which alone makes incumbent upon me never-ending and ever renewed gratitude to You, and fresh and ever present praise. Indeed, and were I and the reckoners among Your creatures ever so eager to calculate the extent of Your bestowal of blessings, whether past or approaching, we would fail to encompass it through numbers or to calculate its boundaries. Never How could it ever be done! For You announce in Your eloquent Book and truthful Tiding, “And if you count God’s blessing, you will never number it”.4 Your Book, O God, Your Message, has spoken the truth! And Your prophets and messengers delivered Your revelation that You had sent down upon them and the religion that You had promulgated for them and through them. And I witness, my God, by my effort, my diligence, and the extent of my obedience and my capacity, and I say as a believer possessing certainty, “Praise belongs to God, who has not taken to Him a son” that He might have an heir, “and who has not any associate in His dominion” who might oppose Him in what He creates, “nor any protector out of humbleness” who would aid Him in what He fashions. So glory be to Him, glory be to Him! “Why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than God, they would surely go to ruin” and be rent. Glory be to God, the Unique, the One, “the Everlasting Refuge” who “has not begotten, nor has He been begotten, and equal to Him there is none”. Praise belongs to God, praise equal to the praise of the angels stationed near to Him and the prophets sent by Him. And God bless His elect, Muhammad (‘a), the Seal of the Prophets, and his virtuous, pure and sincere household, and give them peace.
Then he began to supplicate. He occupied himself with prayer as tears ran from his blessed eyes. Then he said:
O God, cause me to fear You as if I were seeing You, give me felicity through piety toward You, make me not wretched by disobedience toward You, choose the best for me by Your decree (qadha’) and bless me by Your determination (qadar), that I may love not the hastening of what You have delayed, nor the delaying of what You have hastened. O God, appoint for me sufficiency in my soul, certainty in my heart, sincerity in my action, light in my eyes, and insight in my religion. Give me enjoyment of my bodily members, make my hearing and my seeing my two inheritors, help me against him who wrongs me, show me in him my revenge and my desires, and console thereby my eyes. O God, remove my affliction, veil my defects, forgive my offence, drive away my Satan, dissolve my debt, and give me, my God, the highest degree in the world to come and in this world. O God, to You belongs the praise, just as You created me and made me to hear and to see; and to You belongs the praise, just as You created me and made me a creature unimpaired as a mercy to me, while You had no need of my creation. My Lord, since You created me and then made straight my nature; my Lord, since You caused me to grow and made good my shape; my Lord, since You didst good to me and gave me well-being in my soul; my Lord, since You preserved me and gave me success; my Lord, since You blessed me and then guided me; my Lord, since You chose me and gave me of every good; my Lord, since You gave me to eat and drink; my Lord, since You enriched me and contented me; my Lord, since You aided me and exalted me; my Lord, since You clothed me with Your pure covering and smoothed the way for me by Your sufficient fashioning: Bless Muhammad(‘a) and the household of Muhammad(‘a), aid me against the misfortunes of time and the calamities of nights and days, deliver me from the terrors of this world and the torments of the world to come and spare me from the evil of that which the evildoers do in the earth.
O God, as for what I fear, spare me from it, and as for what I seek to avoid, guard me against it. in my soul and my religion watch over me, in my traveling protect me, in my family and my property appoint for me a successor, in what You have provided for me bless me, in my soul humble me, in the eyes of men magnify me, from the evil of jinn and men preserve me, for my sins disgrace me not, for my inward secrets shame me not, for my action try me not, of Your blessings deprive me not and to other than You entrust me not. My God, to whom wouldst You entrust me? To a relative? He would cut me off. Or to a stranger? He would look at me with displeasure. Or to those who act toward me with arrogance? But You are my Lord and the sovereign over my affair. I would complain to You of my exile and the remoteness of my abode, and that he whom You have made sovereign over me despises me. My God, so cause not Your wrath to alight upon me. If You become not wrathful with me I will have no care, glory be to You But Your protection is more embracing. So I ask You, O Lord, by the Light of Your Face by which the earth and the heavens are illuminated, shadows are removed, and the affairs of the ancients and the later folks are set aright, not to cause me to die when Your wrath is upon me, nor to send down upon me Your anger. The pleasure is Yours The pleasure is Yours, to be satisfied with me before that. There is no god but You, Lord of the Holy Land, the Sacred Monument, and the Ancient House, upon which You caused blessing to descend and which You made a sanctuary for mankind. O He who pardons the greatest sins by His clemency! O He who lavishes blessings by His bounty! O He who gives abundance by His generosity! O Sustenance to me in my adversity! O Companion to me in my solitude! O Aid to me in my affliction! O Benefactor to me in my blessing! O my God and God of my fathers, Abraham(‘a), Ishmael(‘a), Isaac(‘a) and Jacob(‘a)! Lord of Gabriel, Michael and Israfil! Lord of Muhammad(‘a), the Seal of the Prophets, and his household, the chosen ones! Revealer of the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms and the Criterion, and Sender down of Kaf Ha’ Ya’ Ayn Sad, Ta’ Ha’, Ya’ Sin, and the Wise Quran! You are my cave (of refuge) when the roads for all their amplitude constrict me and the land for all its breadth is strait for me. If not for Your mercy, I would have been among the perishing, and You annul my slip. If not for Your covering me, I would have been among the disgraced, and You confirm me with help against my enemies. And if not for Your helping me, I would have been among those overcome. O He who appropriated loftiness and exaltation to Himself, so His friends (awliya’) are mighty through His might! O He before whom kings place the yoke of abasement around their necks, for they fear His overwhelming power! “He knows the treachery of the eyes and what the breasts conceal” and the unseen brought by time and fate. O He about whom none knows how He is but He! O He about whom none knows what He is but He! O He whom none knows but He!5 O He who squeezed the earth onto the water and held back the air with the sky! O He to whom belong the noblest Names! O He who possesses kindness, which will never be cut off! O He who assigned the cavalcade to Joseph in the barren land, brought him out of the well and made him a king after slavery! O He who returned him to Jacob after “his eyes were whitened with sorrow that he was suppressing”. O He who removed affliction and tribulation from Ayyub and restrained Ibrahim’s hands from the sacrifice of his son after he had reached old age and his life had passed by! O He who answered the prayer of Zakaria and bestowed upon him John, not leaving him childless and alone! O He who brought Yunus out from the stomach of the fish! O He who parted the sea for the Children of Israel, then saved them and drowned Firon and his hosts! O He who sends winds heralding His mercy! O He who does not hurry (to act) against those of His creatures who disobey Him! O He who rescued the sorcerers after (their) long denial! They had early benefited from His blessing, eating His provision and worshipping other than Him; they had opposed, denied and cried lies to His messengers. O God! O God! O Beginner, O Creator with no compeer! O Everlasting who has no end! O Living when nothing was alive! O Quickener of the dead! O “He Who is aware of the deserts of every soul”! O He toward whom my gratitude was little, yet He deprived me not! My transgression was great, yet He disgraced me not! He saw me committing acts of disobedience, yet he made me not notorious! O He who watched over me in childhood! O He who provided for me in my adulthood! O He whose favors toward me cannot be reckoned and whose blessings cannot be repaid! O He who has confronted me with the good and the fair, and I have confronted Him with evil and disobedience in return! O He who led me to faith before I had come to know gratitude for His gracious bestowal O He upon whom I called when I was sick and He healed me, when naked and He clothed me, when hungry and He satisfied me, when thirsty and He gave me to drink, when abased and He exalted me, when ignorant and He gave me knowledge, when alone and He increased my number, when away and He returned me, when empty-handed and He enriched me, when in need of help and He helped me, and when rich and He took not from me. I refrained from (calling upon You in) all of that and You caused me to begin (to call). Yours are the praise and the gratitude! O He who overlooked my slip, relieved my distress, heard my prayer, covered my defects, forgave my sins, caused me to reach my desire, and helped me against my enemy! If I were to count Your blessings, favors and generous acts of kindness I would not be able to reckon them. O my Protector! You are He who was gracious, You are He who blessed, You are He who worked good, You are He who was kind, You are He who was bounteous, You are He who perfected, You are He who provided, You are He who gave success, You are He who bestowed, You are He who enriched, You are He who contented, You are He who sheltered, You are He who sufficed, You are He who guided, You are He who preserved (from sin), You are He who covered (my sins), You are He who forgave, You are He who overlooked, You are He who established (in the earth), You are He who exalted, You are He who aided, You are He who supported, You are He who confirmed, You are He who helped, You are He who healed, You are He who gave well-being, You are He who honored - blessed are You and high exalted! So Yours is the praise everlastingly, and Yours is gratitude enduringly and forever! Then I, my God, confess my sins, so forgive me for them. I am he who did evil, I am he who made mistakes, I am he who purposed (to sin), I am he who was ignorant, I am he who was heedless, I am he who was negligent, I am he who relied (upon other than You), I am he who premeditated, I am he who promised, I am he who went back on his word, I am he who confessed (my sins) and I am he who acknowledged Your blessings upon me and with me and then returned to my sins. So forgive me for them, O He who is not harmed by the sins of His servants nor needs He their obedience. He gives success through His aid and His mercy to whomsoever of them works righteousness. So praise belongs to You, My God and My Lord!
My God, You commanded me and I disobeyed and You forbade me and I committed what You had forbidden. I became such that I neither possessed any of guiltlessness that I might ask forgiveness nor any power that I might be helped. Then by what means shall I turn toward You, O my Protector!? What, by my ears? Or my eyes? Or my tongue? Or my hand? Or my leg? Are not all of them Your blessings given to me? And with all of them I disobey You, O my Protector! Yours is the argument and the means against me. O He who veiled me (my sins) from fathers and mothers lest they drive me away, from relatives and brothers lest they rebuke me, and from kings lest they punish me! If they had seen, O my Protector, what You have seen from me, they would not have given me respite, they would have abandoned me and cut me off. So here I am, O my God, before You O Lord, humbled, abased, constrained, despised, neither possessing guiltlessness that I might ask forgiveness nor possessing power that I might be helped. There is no argument with which I might argue, nor can I say I committed not (sins) and worked not evil. And denial, were I to deny-my Protector-could hardly profit me. How could it ever do that ? For all of my members are witness against me for what I have done. And I acted with certainty and without any doubt that You wilt ask me about great affairs, and that You are the equitable Judge who does no wrong. Your justice is deadly for me and I flee from Your every just act. If thou chastise me, O my God, it is for my sins after Your argument against me; and if You pardon me, it is by Your clemency, generosity and kindness. “There is no god but You, glory be to You! Truly I am one of the wrong-doers”. There is no god but You, glory be to You! Truly I am one of those who pray forgiveness. There is no god but You, glory be to You I Truly I am one of those who profess Your Unity. There is no god but You, glory be to You! Truly I am one of the fearful. There is no god but You, glory be to You I Truly I am one of those who are afraid. There is no god but You, glory be to You! Truly I am one of the hopeful. There is no god but You, glory be to You! Truly I am one of those who yearn. There is no god but You, glory be to You! Truly I am one of those who say “There is no god but You”. There is no god but You, glory be to You! Truly I am one of the petitioners. There is no god but You, glory be to You! Truly I am one of the glorifiers. There is no god but You, glory be to You! Truly I am one of those who magnify. There is no god but You, glory be to You, my Lord, and the Lord of my fathers, the ancients! My God, this is my praise of You exalting Your majesty, my sincerity in remembering You by professing Your Unity, and my acknowledgment of Your bounties by enumeration, even though I acknowledge that I cannot reckon them for their multitude, their abundance, their manifestness and their existence from ancient times until a present in which You have never ceased to care for me through them from when You created me and brought me into existence in the beginning of (my) life, by enriching from poverty, relieving affliction, bringing ease, removing hardship, dispelling distress, and (giving me) well-being in body and soundness in religion. Were all the world’s inhabitants, both the ancients and the later folk, to assist me in attempting to mention Your blessing, I would not be able, nor would they, to do so. Holy are You and high exalted, a generous, mighty, merciful Lord. Your bounties cannot be reckoned, nor Your praise accomplished, nor Your blessings repaid. Bless Muhammad and the household of Muhammad, complete Your blessings upon us and aid us in Your obedience. Glory be to You! There is no god but You. O God, truly You hear the destitute, remove the evil, succor the afflicted, heal the sick, enrich the poor, mend the broken, have mercy upon the young and help the old. There is no Support other than You and none powerful over You. And You are the Sublime, the Great. O Freer of the prisoner in irons! O Provider of the infant child O Protection of the frightened refugee! O He who has no associate and no assistant! Bless Muhammad and the household of Muhammad, and give me this evening the best of what You have given to and bestowed upon any of Your servants, whether a blessing You assign, a bounty You renew, a trial You avert, an affliction You remove, a prayer You hear, a good deed You accept or an evil deed You overlook. Truly You are gracious, Aware of what You wilt, and Powerful over all things!
O God, truly You are the nearest of those who are called, the swiftest of those who answer, the most generous of those who pardon, the most openhanded of those who give and the most hearing of those who are asked of. O Merciful and Compassionate in this world and the next! Like You none is asked of; and other than You none is hoped for. I prayed to You and You answered me, I asked of You and You gave to me, I set You as my quest and You had mercy upon me, I depended upon You and You delivered me, I took refuge with You and You sufficed me, O God, so bless Muhammad, Your servant, messenger and prophet, and his good and pure household, all of them. And complete Your blessings upon us, gladden us with Your gift and inscribe us as those who thank You and remember Your bounties. Amen, amen, O Lord of all beings! O God, O He who owned and then was all-powerful, was all-powerful and then subjected, was disobeyed and then veiled (the sin of disobedience), and was prayed forgiveness and then forgave. O Goal of yearning seekers and utmost Wish of the hopeful! O He who “encompasses everything in knowledge” and embraces those who seek pardon in tenderness, mercy and clemency!
O God, truly we turn towards You this evening, which You honored and glorified through Muhammad, Your prophet and messenger, the elect of Your creation, the faithful guardian of Your-revelation which bears good tidings and warning and which is the light- giving lamp which You gave to those who surrender (al- muslimin) and appointed as a mercy to the world’s inhabitants. O God, so bless Muhammad and the household of Muhammad, just as Muhammad is worthy of that from You, O Sublime! So bless him and his elect, good and pure household, all of them, and encompass us in Your pardon, for to You cry voices in diverse languages. So appoint for us a share this evening, O God, of every good which You divide among Your servants, every light by which You guide, every mercy which You spread, every blessing which You send down, every well-being with which You cloth and every provision which You outspread. O Most merciful of the merciful! O God, transform us now into men successful, triumphant, pious, and prosperous. Set us not among those who despair, empty us not of Your mercy, deprive us not of that bounty of Yours for which we hope, and set us not among those deprived of Your mercy, nor those who despair of the bounty of Your gift for which we hope. Reject us not with the disappointed, nor those driven from Your door. O Most Magnanimous of the most magnanimous! O Most Generous of the most generous! Toward You we have turned having sure faith, repairing to and bound for Your Sacred House. So help is with our holy rites, perfect for us our pilgrimage, pardon us, and give us well-being, for we have extended toward You our hands and they are branded with the abasement of confession. O God, so give us this evening what we have asked of You and suffice us in that in which we have prayed You to suffice us, for there is none to suffice us apart from You and we have no lord other than You. Put into effect concerning us is Your decision, encompassing us is Your knowledge and just for us is Your decree. Decree for us the good and place us among the people of the good!
O God make incumbent upon us through Your magnanimity the mightiest wage, the most generous treasure and the lastingness of ease. Forgive us our sins, all of them, destroy us not with those who perish, and turn not Your tenderness and mercy away from us, O Most Merciful of the merciful! O God, place us in this hour among those who ask of You and to whom You give, who thank You and whom You increase, who turn to You in repentance and whom You accept and who renounce all of their sins before You and whom You forgive, O Lord of majesty and splendor! O God, purify us, show us the right way and accept our entreaty. O Best of those from whom is asked! And O Most Merciful of those whose mercy is sought! O He from whom is not hidden the eyelids’ winking, the eyes’ glancing, that which rests in the concealed, and that which is enfolded in hearts’ hidden secrets I What, has not all of that been reckoned in Your knowledge and embraced by Your clemency? Glory be to You and high indeed are You exalted above what the evil-doers say! The seven heavens and the earths and all that is therein praise You, and there is not a thing but hymns Your praise. So Yours is the praise, the glory and the exaltation of majesty, O Lord of majesty and splendor, of bounty and blessing and of great favor! And You are the Magnanimous, the Generous, the Tender, the Compassionate.
O God, give me amply of Your lawful provision, bestow upon me well-being in my body and my religion, make me safe from fear and deliver me from the Fire. O God, devise not against me, lead me not on step by step, trick me not and avert from me the evil of the ungodly among jinn and men.
Then he lifted his head and eyes toward Heaven. Tears were flowing from his blessed eyes as if they were two water-skis, and he said in a loud voice:
O Most Hearing of those who hear! O Most Seeing of those who behold! O Swiftest of reckoners! O Most Merciful of the merciful! Bless Muhammad and the household of Muhammad, the chiefs, the fortunate. And, I ask of You, O God, my need. If You grant it to me, what You hold back from me will cause me no harm; and if You hold it back from me, what You grant me will not profit me. I ask You to deliver me from the Fire. There is no god but You alone, You have no associate. Yours is the dominion, and Yours is the praise, and You are powerful over everything. O my Lord! O my Lord!
Then he said “O my Lord” over and over.
Those who had been gathered around him, who had listened to any of his prayer and who had limited themselves to saying “amen” raised their voices in weeping. They stayed in his company until the sun went down, and then all of them loaded their mounts and set out in the direction of the Sacred Monument.
Narrators say that the Imam continued his supplication till sunset and after that moved towards Muzdalifah and the people also accompanied him.6
The Almighty Allah had bestowed Imam Husayn (‘a) with beautiful eloquence and spontaneity of speech, as if he issued a flood of maxims, advices and exhortations for his tongue. Some of his shorter sayings are mentioned below:
1. His Eminence (‘a) said: “The wise does not speak to one whom he fears he shall be belied and he does not ask anyone of anything if he fears he shall not give. And he does not repose hope on one whom he does not trust.”7
2. His Eminence told his son Ali ibn al-Husayn: “O son! Beware of oppressing the one who has none to repel your attack except Allah.” 8
3. His Eminence said, “Allah does not take power from anyone but He takes away from him His obedience. And He does not take anyone’s strength but that He ends his responsibility (duty).” 9
4. His Eminence said, “Beware of that for which you have to regret later. Because the believer neither commits a mistake nor seeks forgiveness and the hypocrite commits a mistake everyday and seeks forgiveness’10
5. His Eminence said, “Leave that which puts you to doubt towards that which does not put you to doubt because lying creates doubt and truthfulness accords comfort.” 11
6. His Eminence said: “O Allah, do not test me by bounties and do not punish me with difficulties.”12
7. His Eminence said, “If one does not have these five things there is no good in him: Intellect, religion, etiquette, shame and good manners.”13
8. His Eminence said, “The miser is the one who is miserly in saluting’”14
9. His Eminence said, “If a person hopes for something in Allah’s disobedience, it won’t last for long and what he fears will soon come to him (punishment).15
10. His Eminence said, “From the signs of acceptance are company of intelligent people and among the signs of ignorance is debating with people other than the infidels. And of the signs of the learned is to criticize is own statements and its knowledge of arts and sciences.”16
11. His Eminence said, “The believer considers Allah as his refuge and their statements as a mirror for Himself. Thus sometimes He looks at the qualities of believers and sometimes He pays attention to the arrogant ones. On the basis of this in fine things and in himself in recognition and about his consciousness and about his purity shall be utmost tranquility.”17
12. His Eminence said, “Whenever you hear that a person is speaking ill of others then you shall try that he does not recognize you.”18
13. His Eminence told a person who backbited in his presence: “O man! Do not resort to backbiting as it is the diet of the dogs of Hell’”19
14. A person began to speak to His Eminence and said: If one does good to an undeserving person it is wasted. His Eminence said, “It is not so. Because goodness is like rain that reaches both the good and the bad people’”20
16. His Eminence said, “Death with honor is better than a life of degradation.”23
17. His Eminence said, “Weeping for the fear of Allah is salvation from the fire (of Hell)’”24
18. His Eminence said, “One who remains worried and all his tricks fail, then his key is caution (softness).”25
19. His Eminence said, “One who accepts your goodness has helped you in goodness.”26
20. His Eminence said, “On the Day of Judgment a caller will announce: O people! Anyone who has any arrears upon Allah may rise up. Then except for the righteous ones, no one would arise’”27
21. His Eminence said, “No deed of the nation is such that it is not presented to Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime, every morning.”28
Here we conclude our discussion about some of the important sayings that are rich in wisdom, morals and good manners that are related from His Eminence. For the sake of conciseness and to avoid verbosity we do not wish to prolong the discussion about the captioned sayings.
Historical sources and Arab literature has mentioned many poetic compositions of His Eminence, Imam Husayn (‘a). In some of those compositions, His Eminence has quoted other poets to emphasize his points, even though in our view some of them may be forgeries. A few poems are quoted below:
1. A Bedouin arrived at the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (S) and approached His Eminence, Husayn Ibn Ali (‘a) and stood before him while he was surrounded by some people. Then he asked about him and was informed that it was Husayn bin Ali. He said, “My aim is also same; they speak and they have eloquence in their speech and I have passed through deserts, mountains and caves and have come here to speak to him and ask him about the intricacies of Arabic.” One of the Imam’s companions said, “If you have come for this you may pose your questions to this young man,” pointing towards His Eminence, Husayn. He went towards His Eminence and stopped near him and saluted him. Imam (‘a) replied to his salutation and asked him what he wanted. He replied, “I have come to you from Harqal, Ja’lal, Ainam and Hamham.”29
The Imam smiled and said, “Except for the experts none knows about the meanings of the words you have spoken.”
The Bedouin said, “I will tell more of these words, can you reply according to what they say?”
His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) said, “Say what you like, I would give you the appropriate reply.”
He said, “I am a Bedouin and most of my speech consists of poetic couplets that are part of Arab collections.”
His Eminence said, “You say whatever you like and I would reply you. The Bedouin began to recite the couplets:
“My heart is attracted towards vain pastimes while the time of my youth is over. While during the time of youth it (my heart) used to be extremely joyful.
There were kids, pleasures and what a joyful time it was. And when old age has grayed the edges of my head
And compelled me to use hair dye
I have refrained myself from vain pastimes and given up all such things. There is surprise for the man who has seen both the periods.
If man who is intelligent in the true sense uses his intellect in that matter.
He would gain a lesson that would be useful for him in life.”
Imam Husayn (‘a) recited the following couplets extempore:
“All the signs, whose effects have been destroyed, do not aggrieve me. That is like the dust and sand is scattered by the wind to all sides.
Winds that whistle, and cold winds that pile clothes upon clothes (to protect it). And a cloud that moves towards the sky and comes near.
A black cloud that comes up, and through it blessings rain.
The cloud has such a lightning that does not have any deficiency. The rain of that thunder is capable of flooding when it rains. After that it is exhausted and no sign remains of its owner.”
When the Bedouin heard these words he was perplexed and said, “I have never heard a more eloquent and beautiful composition.”
Imam Husayn (‘a) told him, “O Bedouin!”
“The youth whom God has purified from the two grandfathers and exalted him. And the brilliant Sun has dressed him with its light.
And I have made my couplet strong and made its rhymes firm.”
When the Bedouin heard these words of Imam Husayn (‘a) he exclaimed aloud, “May Allah bless you! People have not recognized you. May Allah bestow you a good reward.” Then he went away from there.30
This example shows the great literary accomplishments of the Holy Imam but there is some doubt in some portions, like it seems highly improbable for a Bedouin to have come all the way only to ask those things from the Holy Imam.
2. The following couplets overflow with wisdom are also attributed to the Holy Imam (‘a):
“When the world causes you trouble, do not pay any attention to the people. And except for the Almighty Allah, Who is the distributor of sustenance, do not ask anyone for anything.
If you remain alive and roam from the east to the west.
You would not find anyone who could make you happy or unfortunate.”31
These couplets emphasize the quality of contentment and show that it is very important not to repose faith on others. And it also warns people not to ask anyone for anything except from Allah, Who is having control of all affairs.
3. His Eminence (‘a) said:
“Become needless of the creatures through the Creator. You will become needless of the liars and the truthful.
And seek your sustenance from the Beneficent Lord as except for Allah no one bestows sustenance.
One who thinks that people make him needless, has no reliance on God.
Or if he thinks that he has obtained wealth, his step would slip from the heights.”32
In these couplets, there is invitation to take refuge in Allah, Who is the Creator of the world and the bestower of life; and to seek needlessness from other than Allah, because one who takes refuge from anyone other than Him, his pursuit would fail and he would become deviated from truth.
4. Imam Husayn (‘a) went to visit the graves of martyrs in the Baqi cemetery of Medina and recited the following lines of poetry:
“I call out to the inmates of the grave and they did not reply. Then dust of their graves replied in their lieu.
It said, “Do you know what I have done with my inmates? I have punctured their flesh and rent their garments.
And filled their eyes with dust even though they used to become restless with a mote in the eye.
As for the bones I have punctured till their joints and seams separated.
We separated them from each other and left them in this condition so that they may continue to rot for ages.”33
These couplets are full of invitation to gain lesson from the condition of man and that when he is buried in the dust he is soon scattered and his form and beauty is destroyed. Then in a short time he turns into worthless dust.
5. Aashi has attributed these couplets to Imam Husayn (‘a):
“Sorrow and problems increase in direct proportion to wealth.
O you who blackens the life. I have recognized you. O one who is the destroyer and annihilator of all houses.
It is not possible for a pious to achieve piety when he finds it difficult to maintain the family.”34
In these couplets, the Holy Imam (‘a) has spoken of some special points about the creation of life which is that as much man is involved in worldly mater as much sorrow he shall have and he would have exerted more for the affairs of his life.
In the same way, the Holy Imam (‘a) has said regarding someone that life is having some attachment to piety, because he does not move towards it while responsibility of the family was heavy on him, as his involvement in these things stop him from piety of the world.
6. Irbili has narrated that the Imam (‘a) recited the following couplets describing the defects of oppression and injustice:
“Those whom I loved have gone away and I remain among those I do not like.
I find myself with one who denounced me on my back while I do not say anything against him.
As much as they can they try for my destruction although I try my best for their well-being.
The evil trait person defames me continuously while I do not say the same for him.
He sees the dirty flies around me that they are humming and he does not chase them away from me.
Whenever the malice of his heart is cured, he tries to fan the flames of hatred. Does he not benefit from his intellect and does he not seek help of reason?
Does he not see that how bad his deeds are and how due to this evil is turning towards him?
O my Lord! In front of those I fear, he is sufficient and the oppression is sufficient for the oppressor.
And it is rarely that he is oppressed and that the help of the Lord does not reach him”35
In these couplets, Imam (‘a) has described about the evil qualities of human beings and one of them is oppression. That whosoever is involved in it he continuously steps to speak ill to his brother and to oppress him and to spoil his affairs and the when the malice of the heart reduces he tries to fan the flames more so that he could reach up to its daring.
Imam (a.s) in this way gives lesson to someone that if he refers to his own intellect and ponders on his own condition, he obtains that his oppressing his own brother is going to turn towards himself and he would be the recipient of its sin and loss. And it is natural that if he thinks like this continuously he would be able to uproot these defects from himself as the scholars of ethics have opined.
7. Abul Faraj Isfahani has claimed that Imam Husayn (‘a) composed the following couplets regarding his daughter Sakina and her mother Rabab:
“I swear by your life, I love the house itself where Sakina and Rabab reside.
I love both of them and am prepared to sacrifice all I own on them and I do not care if someone flays me for it.”36
And others (excepts Abul Faraj) have added the following couplet:
“Thus I would never leave them whenever they are away. Whether I remain alive or am put below the earth.”37
These couplets, in our view are of the forged ones, because Imam Husayn (‘a) is much higher that he should make public his love and affections for his daughter and wife. It is not in consonance with his ethics. He is much above it. These lines were concocted and falsely attributed to the Holy Imam in order to decrease the position of Ahlul Bayt (‘a).
8 ñ And from the lines composed by His Eminence are the following: “And Allah what that is in the hands of Yazid, actually from others. And that he has not obtained it with honesty and honor.
And if you seek justice with a clear conscience you would understand a subtle point.
And his mischief was nearer to him than his good deeds.”38
Here we conclude our discussion about the meritorious qualities of the Holy Imam (‘a). His Eminence was an incomparable example unique in human intellect and a prominent example Islamic prophethood having all the good qualities that become the foundation of all virtues.
- 1. Uyunul Akhbar 2/303
- 2. Or did not expose me by my creation.
- 3. His Eminence (a.s.) in accordance with the command of Allah has indicated towards the 7th verse of Surah Ibrahim which says: If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more’
- 4. Surah Ibrahim 14:34
- 5. O one except Whom none know Him
- 6. Majlisi, Zaad al-Maad 248-268, Kafa’mi 339-350, Baladul Amin, Eloquence of Imam Husayn (a.s.), Sayyid Ibne Tawus, Iqbal
- 7. Raihaanatur Rasool, Pg. 55
- 8. Tohafful Uqool, Pg. 46
- 9. Tohafful Uqool, Pg. 46
- 10. Tohafful Uqool, Pg. 46
- 11. Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Vol. 3/143
- 12. Kashful Ghumma, 2/31
- 13. Raihaanatur Rasool, Pg. 55
- 14. Raihaanatur Rasool, Pg. 55
- 15. Tohafful Uqool, Pg. 246-248
- 16. Ibid
- 17. Tohafful Uqool, Pg. 246-248
- 18. Raihaanatur Rasool, Pg. 55
- 19. Bihar, 78/117, Tohafful Uqool, Pg. 245
- 20. Tohafful Uqool, Pg. 245
- 21. Surah Zuhaa 93:11
- 22. Tohafful Uqool, Pg. 246
- 23. Bihar 44/192
- 24. Nuzhatul Nazir Fi Tanbihatul Khatir, Jame al-Akhbar, Pg. 97, Mustadrak al-Wasail 11/245
- 25. Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 4/323, A’laamud Deen, Pg. 298, Biharul Anwar 78/128
- 26. Bihar 78/127
- 27. Bihar 93/347
- 28. Bihar 93/347
- 29. Words of tribal dialects
- 30. Matalib al-So-ool fi Manaqib ar-Rasool, Pg. 28-29
- 31. Kashful Ghumma 2/34-35, Al-Fusul al-Muhimma, Pg. 180
- 32. Ibne Asakir, Biography of Imam Husayn (a.s.), Pg. 231
- 33. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/208, Biography of Imam Husayn (a.s.), Pg. 233
- 34. Ibne Asakir, Biography of Imam Husayn (a.s.), Pg. 232
- 35. Kashful Ghummah 2/34, Raihaanatur Rasool, Pg. 48
- 36. Al Aghani 16/139
- 37. Raihaanatur Rasool, Pg. 49
- 38. Al Khasais al-Kubra 2/368