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Worship and Piety of Imam Husayn (‘a)

Imam Husayn (‘a) was sincerely and heartedly devoted to the Almighty Allah and the love of God and His fear had blended with every part of his being. Historians say: “His Eminence did everything that obtained the proximity of Allah, so he prayed excessively and observed fasts, went for the Hajj, gave Sadaqah (charity) and performed good deeds.”1 Here we shall quote some narrational reports about the worship of His Eminence and his attention towards the Almighty God.

A. Imam Husayn (‘a) and his fear of God

Imam (‘a) was the vanguard among those having divine cognition. He feared God very much to oppose Him. He was severely fearful of God. Such that some of his companions asked him: “How great is your fear of Allah?”

His Eminence replied, “On the day of Qiyamat none shall be secure except those who feared Allah in the world’”2

Thus was the practice of the pious ones that bestowed light to the path and opened horizons of divine recognition and guided towards the creator of the universe and giver of life.

B. Excessive Prayer and fasting of Imam Husayn (‘a)

His Eminence (‘a) was mostly engrossed in prayers and fasting.3 Every twenty hours he used to recite a thousand units of prayer as narrated by his son, Zainul Abideen.4 In the month of Ramadan he used to complete the recitation of Quran.5

Ibn Zubair has mentioned about the Imam’s worship saying: “By Allah they killed him! The one who used to stand up in prayers at night and fasted during the days too much.”6

C. Hajj of Imam Husayn (‘a)

The Holy Imam (‘a) had performed many Hajj pilgrimages. He traveled to Hajj 25 times on the foot7 even though his mount was present alongside him.8 He held the black stone and pleaded to the Almighty God in the following words: “O my Lord! You Bestowed favor on me and did not find me thankful. And You tested me and did not find me patient. Yet neither You took away the bounties due to thanklessness nor You continued to send difficulties due to my lack of patience. O my Lord! Nothing but kindness comes from the kind one’”9

His Eminence left for performing the lesser pilgrimage (Umrah) to the House of Allah and became indisposed. His father, Amirul Momineen (‘a) received the news that he was in Yathrib (Medina), so he went after him and reached him at Saqiyah when he (Husayn) was ill. Ali (‘a) asked, “My son! What is troubling you?”

“My head is aching.”

Amirul Momineen told them to bring a camel. Then he sacrificed it and after that he shaved the head of Imam Husayn (‘a) and took him back to Medina. When his illness was cured he returned towards Mecca and performed the lesser pilgrimage of Umrah.10

These were some incidents regarding the worship and obedience of His Eminence that are recorded in history and biography.

Charitable nature of Imam Husayn (‘a)

The Imam was very much charitable and he gave away a lot in charity and alms. His Eminence had inherited some land and other things. So before they could come in his possession he gave them away in charity. 11 He used to distribute food to the destitute of Medina during the darkness of the night12 and except for divine rewards and God’s proximity he had no other aim. We have presented above many examples of his charitable deeds of the Holy Imam (‘a).

  • 1. Tahzibul Asma, 1/163
  • 2. Ayanush Shia, 4/104, Raihana Rasool, Pg. 58
  • 3. Tahzibul Asma 1/163, Maqrizi, Khatat 2/285
  • 4. Yaqubi, Tarikh, 2/219, Ibnul Wardi, Tarikh 1/233
  • 5. Seer A’laamun Nubla, 3/291
  • 6. Tabari, Tarikh 6/273
  • 7. Ibne Asakir, Biography of Imam Husayn (a.s.), Pg. 215, Seer A’laamun Nubla, 3/287. Majmauz Zawaid 9/201. Tahzibul Asma 1/163. Ibne Maghazali, Manaqib, Tradition no 64. Mukhtasar Safwatul Safwa 1/763, Tibrani, Tarikh 3/123
  • 8. Sifwatul Safwa 1/763. Sherani, Tabaqat 1/26. Ibne Asakir, Biography of Imam Husayn (a.s.), Pg. 217
  • 9. Al-Kawaakibut Durriya 1/58
  • 10. Daimul Islam 1/344
  • 11. Daimul Islam 2/339
  • 12. Tadkiratul Khawaas Pg. 264