2. Fifteen Whispered Prayers
One of the valuable works of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, is the Fifteen Whispered Prayers, which is among the spiritual sources in the world of Islam. With them the Imam treated many psychological problems as well as he opened with them brilliant horizons to communicate with Allah, the Exalted. He supplicated Him with a heart full of hope and expectation, pleaded to Him humbly, melted before His mightiness, hoped Him with the hope of the sincere and those who turned to Him in repentance, and turned his heart and feelings toward Him, hence he saw none other than Him. He supplicated Him with lowliness and humbleness asking Him for pardon and forgiveness. His whispered prayers moved the hearts of the Allah-fearing and the righteous from among the followers of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, so they supplicated Allah in the sacred places at dark night and besought His care and favors.
Ascribing these whispered prayers to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, has become famous. For example, al-Majjlisi, a researcher, has written them in his book ‘Bihar al-Anwar’. The scholars who wrote about the supplementary supplications regarded them as some items of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya. Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, a researcher, has mentioned them in his book ‘Mafatih al-Jinan. The scholars took great care of them, and ordered them to be translated into foreign languages, for instance, they were translated into Persian by Sartib Rushdiya. They have been written in decorated, golden scripts, and printed in Tehran. They are found in great number in the Islamic world. A wonderful copy of them is in the Library of Imam Amir al-Mu’minin, peace be on him, holding number (2098). These whispered prayers are as follows:
This whispered Prayer is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Repenters. In it the Imam turned to Allah in repentance asking Him for mercy and forgiveness. This is its text:
“O Allah, offenses have clothed me in the garment of my lowliness, separation from You has wrapped me in the clothing of my misery! My dreadful crimes have deadened my heart, so bring it to life by a repentance from You! O my hope and my aim! O my wish and my want! By Your might, I find no one but You to forgive my sins and I see none but You to mend my brokenness! I have subjected myself to You in repeated turning, I have humbled myself to You in abasement. If You cast me out from Your door, in whom shall I take shelter? If You repel me from Your side, in whom shall I seek refuge? O my grief at my ignominy and disgrace! O my sorrow at my evil works and what I have committed! I ask You, O Forgiver of great sins, O Mender of broken bones, to overlook my ruinous misdeeds and cover my disgraceful secret thoughts!
At the witnessing place of the Resurrection, empty me not of the coolness of Your pardon and forgiveness, and strip me not of Your beautiful forbearance and covering! My Allah, let the clouds of Your mercy cast its shadow upon my sins and send the billow of Your clemency flowing over my faults! My Allah, if remorse for sins is a repentance, I by Your mightam one of the remorseful! If praying forgiveness for offenses is an alleviation, I am one of those who pray forgiveness! To You I return that You may be well pleased! My Allah, through Your power over me, turned toward me, through Your clemency toward me, pardon me, and through Your knowledge of me, be gentle toward me! My Allah, You are He who have opened a door to Your pardon and named it ‘repentance’, for You said, Repent to Allah with unswerving repentance.
What is the excuse of him who remains heedless of entering the door after its opening? My Allah, though the sins of Your servant are ugly, Your pardon is beautiful. My Allah, I am not the first to have disobeyed You, and You turned toward him, or to have sought to attain Your favor, and You were munificent toward him. O Responder to the distressed! O Remover of injury! O Knower of everything secret! O Beautiful through covering over! I seek Your munificence and Your generosity to intercede with You, I seek Your side and Your showing mercy to mediate with You, so grant my supplication, disappoint not my hope in You, accept my repentance, and hide my offense, through Your kindness and mercy, o Most Merciful of the merciful!”
It is certain that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, obeyed Allah throughout his lifetime and did not commit any sin before Him. He was among the leading members of this community in guidance, piety, and reverential fear. He whispered to Allah with these whispered prayers and others to teach the community and show it the way to good and righteousness. He summoned it to repentance, that it might purify itself from crimes and sins, and obtain Allah’s forgiveness and good pleasure.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Complainers. In it the Imam, peace be on him, complained to Allah of himself asking Him to set it right completely. This is its text:
“My Allah, to You I complain of a soul commanding to evil, rushing to offenses, eager to disobey You, and exposing itself to Your anger. It takes me on the roads of disasters, it makes me the easiest of perishers before You; many its pretexts, drawn out its expectations, when evil touches it, it is anxious, when good touches it, grudging; inclining to sport and diversion, full of heedlessness and inattention, it hurries me to misdeeds and makes me delay repentance.
“My Allah, I complain to You of an enemy who misguides me and a satan who leads me astray. He has filled my breast with tempting thoughts, and his suggestions have encompassed my heart. He supports caprice against me, embellishes for me the love of this world, and separates me from obedience and proximity!
“My Allah, to You I complain of a heart that is hard, turned this way and that by tempting thoughts, clothed in rust and the seal, and of an eye too indifferent to weep in fear of You and eagerly seeking that which gladdens it! My Allah, there is no force and no strength except in Your power, and no deliverance for me from the detested things of this world save through Your preservation. So I ask You by Your far-reaching wisdom and Your penetrating will not to let me expose myself to other than Your munificence and not to turn me into a target for trials! Be for me a helper against enemies, a coverer of shameful things and faults, a protector against afflictions, a preserver against acts of disobedience! By Your clemency and mercy, O Most merciful!”
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, spoke about man’s soul. He took about the diseases and evil inclinations which turned man away from remembering Allah and throw him into great evil. The following is an example of these dangerous diseases:
A. Rushing to sins and offenses.
B. Exposing to Allah’s displeasure and anger.
C. Drawn out expectations.
D. Inclining to sport and diversion.
E. Heedlessness of remembering Allah.
F. Delaying repentance.
G. The hardness of heart, tempting thoughts, and craving.
These diseases make man walk on the path of inclinations and obey the accursed Satan, we seek refuge in Allah from him.
This whispered prayer is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Fearful. In it the Imam, peace be on him, showed his great fear of Allah. It is as follows:
“My Allah, what think You? Will You chastise me after faith in You, drive me far away after my love for You, deprive me while I hope for Your mercy and forgiveness, forsake me while I seek sanctuary in Your pardon? How could Your generous face disappoint me?! Would that I knewDid my mother bear me for wretchedness? Did she nurture me for suffering? Would then that she had not borne me and had not nurtured me! Would that I had knowledgeHave You appointed me one of the people of felicity? Have You singled me out for Your nearness and neighborhood? Then would my eyes be gladdened, and in that my soul reach serenity.
“My Allah, do You blacken faces which fall down in prostration before Your mightiness? Do You strike dumb tongues which speak in laudation of Your glory and majesty? Do You seal hearts which harbor Your love? Do You deafen ears which take pleasure in hearing Your remembrance according to Your will? Do You manacle hands which expectations have raised to You in hope of Your clemency? Do You punish bodies which worked to obey You until they grew thin in struggling for You? Do You chastise legs which ran to worship You? My Allah, lock not toward those who profess Your Unity the doors of Your mercy, and veil not those who yearn for You from looking upon the vision of You beauty!
“My Allah, a soul which You have exalted by its professing Your Unityhow will You burn it in the heat of Your fires? My Allah, give me sanctuary from Your painful wrath and Your mighty anger! O All-loving, O All-kind! O Compassionate, O Merciful! O Compeller, O Subduer! O All-forgiver, O All-covering! Deliver me through Your mercy from the chastisement of the Fire and the disgrace of shame when the good are sent apart from the evil, forms are transformed, terrors terrify, the good-doers are brought near, the evildoers taken far, and every soul is paid in full what it has earned, and they shall not be wronged!”
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, opened a door to conversation with Allah, the Exalted. He conversed with Him politely and humbly, asking Him not to chastise the believers and the monotheists and not to let the Fire touch their bodies. It is impossible for Allah to chastise the faces which prostrate in prayer for His mightiness, the tongues which always praise Him, the ears which enjoy remembering Him, and the hands which are raised for supplicating Him, hoping for His affection and mercy. Surely Allah will chastise His criminal, disobedient enemies.
This whispered Prayer is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Hopeful. In it the Imam, peace be on him, hoped for Allah’s munificence and His bestowals upon him. It reads as follows:
“O He who gives to a servant who asks from Him, takes him to his wish when he expectantly hopes for what is with Him, brings him near and close when he approaches Him, covers over his sin and cloaks it when he shows it openly, and satisfies and suffices him when he has confidence in Him!
“My Allah, who is the one who has come before You seeking hospitality, and whom You have not received hospitably? Who is the one who has dismounted at Your door hoping for magnanimity, and to whom You have not shown it? Is it good that I come back from You door, turned away in disappointment, while I know of no patron qualified by beneficence but You? How should I have hope in other than You, when the goodall of itis in Your hand? How should I expect from others, when Yours are the creation and the command? Should I cut off my hope for You, when You have shown me of Your bounty that for which I have not asked? Would You make me have need for my like? But I hold fast to Your cord! 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 You, while You never cease remembering me? How should I be diverted from You while You are my constant watcher?
“My Allah, I have fastened my hand to the skirt of Your generosity, I have stretched forth my expectation toward reaching Your gifts, so render me pure through the purest profession of Your Unity, and appoint me one of Your choice servants! O He who is the asylum of every fleer, the hope of every seeker! O Best Object of hope! O Most Generous Object of supplication! O He who does not reject His asker or disappoint the expectant! O He whose door is open to His supplicators and whose veil lifted for those who hope in Him! I ask You by Your generosity to show kindness toward me through Your gifts, with that which will gladden my eye, through hope in You with that which will give serenity to my soul, and through certainty with that which will make easy for me the afflictions of this world and lift from my insight the veils of blindness! By Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, expressed his great hope in Allah’s pardon and his firm faith in His ample mercy which includes all those who beseech Him, the Imam and others are the same.
The great Imam devoted himself to Allah. In all of his affairs he did not hope any creature, for he thought that hoping what was in their hands was a mirage and expecting what was with them was a mere play and loss.
This whispered prayer is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Beseechers. In it the Imam beseeched what was with Allah and renounced what was with other than Him.
“O Allah, though my stores for traveling to You are few, my confidence in You has given me a good opinion. Though my sin has made me fear Your punishment, my hope has let me feel secure from vengeance. Though my misdeed has exposed me to Your penalty, my excellent trust has apprised me of Your reward. Though heedlessness has put to sleep my readiness to meet You, knowledge has awakened me to Your generosity and boons. Though excessive disobedience and rebellion have estranged me from You, the glad tidings of forgiveness and good pleasure have made me feel intimate with You.
I ask You by the splendors of Your face and the lights of Your holiness, and I implore You by the tenderness of Your mercy and the gentleness of Your goodness, to verify my opinion in expecting Your great generosity and You beautiful favor through nearness to You, proximity to You, and enjoyment of gazing at You! Here am I, addressing myself to the breezes of Your freshness and tenderness, having recourse to the rain of Your generosity and gentleness, fleeing from Your displeasure to Your good pleasure and from You to You, hoping for the best of what is with You, relying upon Your gifts, utterly poor toward Your guarding!
“My Allah, Your bounty which You have beguncomplete it! Your generosity which You have given mestrip it not away! Your cover over me through Your clemencytear it not away! My ugly acts which You have come to knowforgive them! My Allah, I seek intercession from You with You, and I seek sanctuary in You from You! I have come to You craving Your beneficence, desiring Your kindness, seeking water from the deluge of Your graciousness, begging rain from the clouds of Your bounty, requesting Your good pleasure, going straight to Your side, arriving at the water-place of Your support, seeking exalted good things from Your quarter, reaching for the presence of Your beauty, wanting Your face, knocking at Your door, abasing myself before Your mightiness and majesty! So act toward me with the forgiveness and mercy of which You are worthy! Act not toward me with the chastisement and vengeance of which I am worthy! By Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, showed his good opinion in Allah’s pardon, his great hope in His generosity, his faith in His plentiful boons. He clung to Him and dictated himself to Him, asking Him for mercy and pity. He pleaded to Allah and showed humbleness and submission to Him.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Thankful. In it the Imam showed gratitude to Allah, the Exalted, for His plentiful good and excellent boons. After the basmala (in the Name of Allah, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate), he said:
“My Allah, uninterrupted flow of Your graciousness has distracted me from thanking You! The flood of Your bounty has rendered me incapable of counting Your praises! The succession of Your kind acts has diverted me from mentioning You in laudation! The continuous rush of Your benefits has thwarted me from spreading the news of Your gentle favors! This is the station of him who confesses to the lavishness of favors, meets them with shortcomings, and witnesses to his own disregard and negligence. You are the Clement, the Compassionate, the Good, the Generous, who does not disappoint those who aim for him, nor cast out from His courtyard those who expect from Him! In Your yard are put down the saddlebags of the hopeful and in Your plain stand the hopes of the hope-seekers! So meet not our hopes by disappointing and disheartening and clothe us not in the shirt of despair and despondency!
“My Allah, my thanksgiving is small before Your great boons, and my praise and news-spreading shrink beside Your generosity toward me! Your favors have wrapped me in the ropes of the lights of faith, and the gentleness of Your goodness have let down over me delicate curtains of might! Your kindnesses have collared me with collars not to be moved and adorned me with neck-rings not to be broken! Your boons are abundantmy tongue is too weak to count them! Your favors are manymy understanding falls short of grasping them, not to speak of exhausting them! So how can I achieve thanksgiving? For my thanking You requires thanksgiving. Whenever I say, ‘To You belongs praise!’, it becomes thereby incumbent upon me to say, ‘To You belongs praise’!
“My Allah, as You have fed us through Your gentleness and nurtured us through Your benefaction, so also complete for us lavish favors, 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 You belongs praise for Your good trial and the lavishness of Your favors, a praise conforming to Your good pleasure and attracting Your great goodness and magnanimity. O All-mighty, O All-generous! By Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, teaches us how to thank Allah, the Most High, for His lavish boons, and great favors. Indeed whatever man thanks Allah he falls short of thanking Him.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Obedient Toward Allah. This is its text:
“O Allah, inspire us to obey You, turn us aside from disobeying You, make it easy for us to reach the seeking of Your good pleasure which we wish, set us down in the mist of Your 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 Allah, carry us in the ships of Your deliverance, give us to enjoin the pleasure of whispered prayer to Your, make us drink at the pools of Your love, let us taste the sweetness of Your affection and nearness, all as to struggle in You, and purify our intentions in devoting works to You, for we exist through You and belong to You, and we have no one to mediate with You but You! My Allah, 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! You are powerful over everything and disposed to respond! By Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
The Imam, peace be on him, implored Allah to turn him aside from disobeying Him, to make it easy for him to reach the seeking of His good pleasure and nearness to Him, to purify his intention in devoting works to Him, and to place him among those who were swift to come upon good things, the workers of the abiding acts of righteousness.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Devotees to Allah. It is among his outstanding whispered prayers. It is as follows:
“Glory be to You! How narrow are the paths for him whom You have not guided! How plain the truth for him whom You have guided on his way! My Allah, so make us travel on the roads that arrive at You and set us into motion on the paths nearest to reaching You! Make near for us the far, and make easy for us the hard and difficult! Join us to Your servants, those who hurry to You swiftly, knock constantly at Your door, and worship You by night and by day, while they remain apprehensive in awe of You! You have purified their drinking places, taken them to the objects of their desire, granted their requests, accomplished their wishes through Your bounty, filled their minds with Your love, and quenched their thirst with Your pure drink. Through You have they reached the pleasure of whispered prayer to You, and in You 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 You to place me among those of them who have the fullest share from You, the highest station with You, the most plentiful portion of Your love, and the most excellent allotment of Your knowledge, for my aspiration has been cut off from everything but You and my desire has turned away toward You alone. You are my object, none other; to You alone belongs my waking and my sleeplessness. Meeting You is the gladness of my eye, joining You the wish of my soul. Toward You is my yearning, in love for You my passionate longing, in clinging toward You my fervent craving.
Your good pleasure is the aim I seek, vision of You my need, Your neighborhood my request, nearness to You the utmost object of my asking. In whispered prayer to You I find my repose and my ease. With You lies the remedy of my illness, the cure for my burning thirst, the coolness of my ardor, the removal of my distress. Be my intimate in my loneliness, the releaser of my stumble, the forgiver of my slip, the acceptor 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 You! and keep me not far from You! O my bliss and my garden! O my this world and my hereafter! O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, devoted himself to Allah. Hence he saw none other than Him. He sincerely asked Him to make him travel on the roads which arrived at Him, to set him into motion on the paths nearest to reaching Him, and to join him to His righteous servants, who did not speak before Him and worked according to His commands.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Lovers, and it is as follows:
“My Allah, who can have tested the sweetness of Your love, then wanted another in place of You? Who can have become intimate with You nearness, then sought removal from You? My Allah, place us with him whom You have chosen for Your nearness and Your friendship, purified through Your affection and Your love, given yearning for the meeting with You, made pleased with Your decree, granted gazing upon Your face, shown the favor of Your good pleasure, given refuge from separation from You and Your loathing, settled in a sure sitting place in Your neighborhood, singled out for true knowledge of You, made worthy for worship of You, whose heart You have captivated with Your will, whom You have picked for contemplating You, whose look You have made empty for You, whose breast You have freed for Your love, whom You have made desirous of what is with You, inspired with Your remembrance, allotted thanksgiving to You, occupied with obeying You, turned into one of Your righteous creatures, chosen for whispered prayer to You, and from whom You have cut off all things which cut him off from You!
O Allah, place us among those whose habit is rejoicing in You and yearning for You, whose time is spent in sighing and moaning! Their foreheads are bowed down before Your mightiness, their eyes wakeful in Your service, their tears flowing in dread of You, their hearts fixed upon Your love, their cores shaken with awe of You. O He the lights of those holiness induce wonder in the eyes of His lovers, the glories of whose face arouse the longing of the hearts of His knowers! O Furthest Wish of the hearts of the yearners! O Utmost Limit of the hopes of the lovers! I ask from You love for You, love for those who love You, love for every work which will join me to Your nearness, and that You make Yourself more beloved to me than anything other than You and make my love for You lead to Your good pleasure, and my yearning for You protect against disobeying You! Oblige me by allowing me to gaze upon You, gaze upon You with the eye of affection and tenderness, turn not Your face away from me, and make me one of the people of happiness with You and favored position! O Responder, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, expressed his sincere love and affection for Allah, the Exalted, asking Him to place him with those whom He had chosen for His nearness and given yearning for the meeting with Him, to free his breast for His love, and to make him love every work that would draw him nigh to Him.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of those Asking for Mediation. In it the Imam, peace be on him, asked Allah, the Exalted, for mercy and good pleasure. It is as follows:
“O Allah, I have no mediation with You but the tender acts of Your clemency, nor any way to come to You but the gentle favors of Your mercy, and the intercession of Your Prophet, the prophet of mercy, who rescued the community from confusion. Make these two my tie to attaining Your forgiveness and let them take me to triumph through Your good pleasure! My hope has dismounted in the sacred precinct of Your generosity, my craving has alighted in the courtyard of Your munificence. So actualize my expectation from You, seal my works with good, and place me among Your selected friends, those whom You have sent down in the midst of Your Garden, and settled in the abode of Your honor, whose eyes You have gladdened by gazing upon You on the day of meeting You, and whom You have made heirs to the sure stations in Your neighborhood! O He none more generous than whom is reached by the reachers and none more merciful than whom is found by the aimers! O Best of those with whom the lonely are alone, O Tenderest of those with whom outcasts seek haven! Toward the expanse of Your pardon have I extended my hand, upon the skirt of Your generosity have I fastened my grasp! Show me no deprivation and afflict me not with disappointment and loss! O Hearer of supplications! O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, pleaded to Allah to provide him with the tender acts of His clemency, and the intercession of His Prophet, (Allah bless him and his Household), to make these two his tie to attaining His forgiveness and good pleasure, to seal his life with good, to settle him in the abode of His honor, and to place him among His chosen servants.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Utterly Poor. In it the Imam showed his poverty and neediness before Allah, saying:
“My Allah, nothing will mend my fracture but Your gentleness and loving care, free me of my poverty but Your affection and beneficence, still my fright but Your security, exalt my abasement but Your sovereignty, take me to my hope but Your bounty, remedy my lack but Your graciousness, accomplish my need other than You, relieve my distress other than Your mercy, remove my injury other than Your clemency, cool my burning thirst but reaching You, quench my ardor but meeting You, damp my yearning but gazing upon Your face, settle my settling place without closeness to You, allay my worry but Your repose, cure my illness but Your medicine, eliminate my grief but Your nearness, heal my wound but Your forgiveness, remove the rust on my heart but Your pardon, banish the confusing thoughts from my breast but Your 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 Helper of the help-seeker! 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 You is my humble subjection and request, to You my pleading and imploring! I ask You to let me attain the repose of Your good pleasure, and to make constant toward me the favors of Your kindness! Here am I, standing before the gate of Your generosity, opening myself up to the breezes of Your goodness, holding fast to Your strong cord, clinging to Your firm handle!
“My Allah, have mercy upon Your lowly slave of silent tongue and few good works, obligate him through Your plentiful graciousness, shelter him under Your plenteous shade! O Generous, O Beautiful, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
The Imam, peace be on him, adored His Lord, the Creator of the universe and Giver of life. He set all his hopes on Him, asking Him to accomplish all his affairs.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Knowers, and it is as follows:
“My Allah, tongues fall shorting of attaining praise of You proper to Your majesty, intellects are incapable of grasping the core of Your beauty, eyes fail before gazing upon the glories of Your face, and You have assigned to Your creatures no way to know You save incapacity to know You!
“My Allah, place us among those within the gardens of whose breasts the trees of yearning for You have taken firm root and the assemblies of whose hearts have been seized by the ardor of Your love! They seek shelter in the nests of mediation, feed upon the gardens of nearness and disclosure, drinks from the pools of love with the cup of gentle favor, 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 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 the worlds, 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 Allah, how agreeable for hearts are the thoughts inspiring Your remembrance, how sweet traveling to You through imagination upon the roads of the unseen worlds, how pleasant the taste of Your love, how delightful the drink of Your nearness! So give us refuge from Your casting out and Your sending far, and place us among the most elect of Your knowers, the most righteous of Your servants, the most truthful of Your obeyers, the most sincere of Your worshipers! O All-mighty, O Majestic, O Generous, O Endower! By Your mercy and kindness, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
Indeed Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin is the lord of the monotheists and leader of those who know Allah. His worship to Allah was not traditional; rather it resulted from his perfect knowledge of Him, the Most High.
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, expressed that tongues fell shorting of attaining praise of Allah proper to His majesty, and intellects were incapable of grasping the core of His beauty. How can the possible being, limited in understanding, encompass the knowledge of the Necessary Being, Who is the Originator of the universe?
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Rememberers. In it the Imam showed perfect submission to Allah, the Exalted.
“My Allah, were it not incumbent to accept Your command, I would declare You far too exalted for me to remember You, for I remember You in my measure, not in Your measure, and my scope can hardly reach the point where I may be a locus for calling You holy! Among You greatest favors to us is the running of Your remembrance across our tongues and Your permission to us to supplicate You, declare You exalted, and call You holy!
“My Allah, inspire us with Your 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 You, and reward us with the full balance.
“My Allah, love-mad hearts are enraptured by You, disparate intellects are brought together by knowing You, hearts find no serenity except in remembering You, souls find no rest except in seeing You. You are the glorified in every place, the worshipped at every time, the found at every moment, the called by every tongue, the magnified in every heart! I pray forgiveness from You for every pleasure but remembering You, every ease but intimacy with You, every happiness but nearness to You, every occupation but obeying You!
“My Allah, You have saidand Your word is trueO you who have faith, remember Allah with much remembrance and glorify Him at dawn and in the evening! You have saidand Your word is true Remember me, and I will remember you! You have commanded us to remember You, and promised us that You will remember us thereby, in order to ennoble, respect, and honor us. Here we are, remembering You as You have commanded us! So accomplish what You have promised, O Remember of the rememberers! O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
We shake all over and become astonished when we recite the whispered prayers of the Imam, peace be on him, for he has given in them a clear, distinguished picture of his pleading to Allah, the Exalted, Who knows everything in the heaven and the earth. This great Imam thought that his great obedience to Allah was not enough, hence he humbly asked Him to accept his worship.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of those who Hold Fast. In it the Imam, peace be on him, showed his holding fast and clinging to Allah, the Exalted:
“O Allah, O Shelter of the shelter-seekers! O Refuge of the refuge-seekers! O Deliverer of the perishing! O Preserver of the pitiful! O Merciful toward the miserable! O Responder to the distressed! O Treasure of the utterly poor! O Mender of the broken! O Haven of the cut off! O Helper of the abased! O Granter of sanctuary to the fearful! O Aider of the troubled! O Fortress of the refugees! If I seek not refuge in Your might, in whom shall I seek refuge? If I seek no shelter in Your power, in whom shall I seek shelter? Sins have made me seek asylum in laying hold on the skirts of Your pardon, offenses have compelled me to beg the opening of the doors of Your forgiveness, evildoing has summoned me to dismount in the courtyard of Your might, fear of Your vengeance has prompted me to clinging to the handhold of Your tenderness! It is not right for him who holds fast to Your cord to be abandoned, nor proper for him who seeks the sanctuary of Your might to be surrendered or disregarded.
“My Allah, empty us not of Your defending, strip us not of Your guarding, and protect us from the roads of destruction, for we are in Your eye and under Your wing! I ask You by those whom You have singled out, Your angels and the righteous among Your creatures, to assign over us a protector through which You will deliver us from destruction, turn aside from us blights, and hide us from the striking of great afflictions, to send down upon us some of Your tranquillity, to wrap our faces in the lights of love for You, to give us haven in Your strong pillar, and to gather us under the wings of Your preservation! By Your clemency and Your mercy, O Most merciful of the merciful!”
In this whispered prayer the Imam, peace be on him, teaches us how to supplicate Allah during hardships and afflictions and how to ask Him in order to accomplish our needs. It is certain that we have no means except pleading to Him sincerely and asking Him politely. We must believe that we have neither force nor strength except in Him, and that all creatures all needy to Him, the Exalted.
It is better known as the Whispered Prayer of the Abstainers. It is among the Imam’s outstanding whispered prayers.
“My Allah, You have settled us in abode which has dug for us pits of deception, and You have fastened us by the hands of death in the snares of that abode’s treachery! In You we seek asylum from the tricks of its guile, and to You we hold fast, lest we be deluded by the glitter of its ornaments! It destroys its pursuers and ruins its settlers, it is stuffed with blights and loaded with calamities.
“My Allah, induce us to renounce is and keep us safe from it by Your giving success and Your preservation from sin. Strip from us the ropes of opposing You, attend to our affairs through Your good sufficiency, amplify our increase from the boundless plenty of Your mercy, be liberal in our gifts from the overflow of Your grants, plant in our hearts the trees of Your love, complete for us the lights of Your knowledge, give us to taste the sweetness of Your pardon and the pleasure of Your forgiveness, gladden our eyes on the day of meeting You with the vision of You, dislodge the love of this world from our spirits, just as You have done for the righteous, Your selected friends, and for the pious, those whom You have singled out! O Most Merciful of the merciful, O Most Generous of the most generous!”
With this we will end our speech about the whispered prayers of the Imam, peace be on him, to the Great Creator. They represent the spirituality of the Imam and his firm clinging to Allah.
In the Fourth Sahifa of al-Sajjad, al-Sayyid Husayn al-Nu’ri has ascribed two poetic whispered prayers to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. He mentioned that he found them written by a religious scholar.
Do You not hear, O my Hopes, through Your bounty
the supplication of one weak, afflicted, drowning in the
see of grief, sad, and captive in sins and errors?1
I call (You) through pleading every day,
diligent at imploring and supplicating.
All the earth has become narrow before me,
for the people of the earth have not known my medicine.
So help me, surely I seek sanctuary
in Your pardon. O Great! O my Hope!
I have come to You weeping, so have mercy upon my
weeping. My shame of You is more than my errors.
I have a worry, and You are the Remover of my worry.
I have an illness, and You are the Medicine for my
Hope has woken me, so I said: My Lord, my expectation
is that You accomplish my expectation.
Be kind, my Master, through pardoning me, for I am
(facing) a great affliction.
To You, O my Lord, I have directed my requests, and
I have come to Your door, O my Lord, along with my requests.
You are knowledgeable of what the mind holds,
O He who knows secrets and hidden things.
Accomplish the requests for me, my Lord, for I see that none
will accomplish my requests but You.
This poem, and in this manner, is like the previous one in the weakness and disorder of meter. I firmly believe that both the poetic whispered prayers have been fabricated against the Imam, peace be on him. For, how are such disorderly lines, which have no sign of literature, ascribed to the Imam, who is the author of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, which is unique in purity and eloquence?
- 1. It has been mentioned in this manner. The weakness of composition is manifest in it, so it is impossible that it is attributed to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him.