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4. The Book Of ‘Ali Ibn Al-Husayn

Among the works of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, is a book entitled ‘Kitab ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn’, but this book is missing just as many Islamic books are missing. We have found small part of the book which was narrated on his authority by Imam Abu’ Ja‘far Muhammad al-Baqir, peace be on him. In the ‘Book of ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn’ we have found: “Truly no fear shall come upon Allah’s friends, nor shall they grieve.” This is when they performs Allah’s obligations, put into effect the Sunna of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household, refrain from what Allah has prohibited, renounce the immediate things of life in this world, wish for that which is with Allah, earn the good provision of Allah, do not want to vie with one another for vainglory or abundance, and spend their money on the rights which are incumbent upon them. Hence Allah will bless their earnings and repays them for what they do for the hereafter.1

These words praise the friends of Allah, the Exalted, and limit their qualities, which are as follows:

• Performing Allah’s obligations.

• Putting into practice the Sunna of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household.

• Refraining from what Allah has made unlawful.

• Renouncing this world.

• Wishing for that which is with Allah.

• Earning good, lawful provision.

• Paying obligatory financial rights which Islam has appointed, such as alms (Zakat) and one-fifth (khoms). Hence whoever has such qualities, Allah will bless him and prepare for him Paradise in the Next Abode.

Divan ascribed to the Imam

A collection of poems, full of pieces of advice and sermons, is attributed to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. A handwritten version of the divan is in the Library of Imam Amir al-Mu’minin. Ahmed b. al-Husayn wrote the version and finished writing it on Thursday, Rajab 26th, 1358 A.H. He copied it from a version written by Muhammad b. al-Sayyid ‘Abd Allah al-Shu’shtari, died 1283 A.H.

Dr. Husayn ‘Ali Mahfu’z published the divan in al-Balagh Magazine, no. 8, first year, p. 24, and he said in its introduction: “Three hundred and eighty seven lines of poetry is ascribed to al-Sajjad (Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin), peace be on him. Our Shaykh, late Muhammad ‘Ali al-Tabrizi al-Mudarris, died 1373 A.H., quoted them from the book ‘al-Tuhfa al-Mahdiya’, printed in Tabriz, 1357 A.H., and these lines are the second part of the Divan of the Infallible, which he called ‘al-Durr al-Manthu’r’. He gave a hand written version with commentaries on the Divan of al-Sajjad, peace be on him, as a gift to our colleague, meritorious researcher, Murtada al-Mudarris al-Jahhar, who lived in Tehran fourteen years ago. The version was written in the early years of the thirteenth century after Hijjra, and it has twenty nine stanzas written in al-Wafir meter. Each stanza has five lines ordered alphabetically, so the version has a hundred and forty five lines. If ascribing some poetry to the Imam is right, then I think that the meanings of this poetry confirm his words, method, conduct, and guidance.”

I (the author) firmly believe that this divan does no belong to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, not because of its insignificant meanings, but because of its many weak words. Whoever reads al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin and his excellent wise sayings finds that the Imam used the most magnificent and sweetest words and the most of them in attraction to the reader, for he (Zayn al-‘Abidin) was the most eloquent of the Arab community as well as the old sources have not mentioned the divan. Hence this divan was not composed by the Imam, peace be on him. I will mention some stanzas of the divan as proof of what I have mentioned.

Blessed is the Possessor of exaltation and magnificence.

Unique is He in majesty and subsistence.

He has made all the creatures equal in death,

so they are the hostages of extinction.

Our world, though we incline to it and provision therein

is long, will come to an end.

Truly inclination, out of vanities, to the Abode of

Annihilation is part of toil.

The world’s inhabitants will quickly depart from it,

though they crave for residence (therein).

He (Adam’s child) will soon leave the decorated palaces for the earthy
abode (i.e. the grave).
Therein he will be left forsaken, lonely, surrounded by
the dimness of loneliness.
The terror of muster will be the most horrible affair
when the son of Adam is summoned to reckoning.
He will find his good and evil deeds (written) in the book.
It is time to supplying, if we have reason, and to taking
a share of the remaining youth.
The outcome of everything, which we collect densely,
will be scattered.
The lawful and the unlawful things, which we gather,
will be divided among (our) sons, daughters,
and those whom we gave nothing before death.
The lovers will forget our association with them,
and when we turn into decayed bones,
as if we did not associate with them in love,
and were not intimate friends among them.
O conceited one, for whom do you gather plentiful
property and furniture?
You will pass away dispraised and alone, the
husband of your wife will appropriate the inheritance,
the executor will abandon you without sincerity,
and corrupt affairs cannot be set right.
You have committed weighty evil deeds which will close the
means to resurrection.
Hence you have neither refuge nor support nor help
but fear of Allah.
You cure with medicine every malady,
while there is no medicine for the malady
of your religion, except pure pleading
to the Most Merciful (Allah) through
the intention of a fearful one, the certitude of
a hopeful one, long prayer for seeking pardon
in a night with a dark covering, and showing
remorse every time for the
crookedness you have led, that you may tomorrow attain
the subsistence and delight of a successful one.

All the divan follows such an example of weakness. It is certain that the Imam, peace be on him, did not compose it, rather it was composed by some of those who admired his sermons, his pieces of advice, and his wise sayings, so they ascribed it to him. I (the author) firmly believe that this poet had no ability to compose poetry, for he wrote most of the lines in weak words which were poor in the elegance of style.

His Handwritten Works

Dr. Husayn ‘Ali Mahfu’z mentioned that some copies of the Qur’an were written by the holy hand of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and that they were in the libraries of Shiraz, Qazwin, Asfahan, and Mashhad2

  • 1. Nasikh al-Tawarikh, vol. 1, p. 947. Al-Nu`ri, Ma‘alim al-‘Ibar.
  • 2. Al-Balagh Magazine, no. 7, first year, p. 59.