Chapter 8: His Worship
The Muslims unanimously agreed that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, was the most worshipful of all the people, and the most obedient of them to Allah, the Exalted. The people never saw a person like him in great turn to Allah in repentance and worship. The pious and the righteous admired him, and it is sufficient for him that only he was given the nick-name of Zayn al-‘Abidin (the ornament of the worshippers) and Sayyid al-Sajjidin (the lord of those who prostrate themselves in prayer).
As for his worship, it was not traditional; rather it resulted from his firm faith in Allah, the Most High, and his perfect knowledge of Him. He worshipped Allah not due to desire of His garden, nor did he worshipped him out of fear of His fire; rather he found Him worthy of worshipping, Hence he worshipped Him. He was similar to his grandfather, Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, the Lord of the knowers, and the Imam of the Allah-fearing, who worshipped Allah with the worship of the free, Hence his grandson, Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, followed him when he said: “I hate to worship Allah and I have no objective except His reward; therefore I will be like the desirous servant, who works when he is desirous; otherwise he does not work. I hate to worship Him because of fear of His torment, Hence I will be like the bad servant, who works when he is afraid.”
One of those who were sitting interrupted him and said to him: “How do you worship Allah?”
The Imam answered him faithfully: “I worship Allah through his bounties and blessings (toward me), Hence He is worthy of (worship).1”
The Imam’s worship resulted from his knowledge which was void of doubts and imaginations. It did come out of desire or fear; rather it issued from firm faith (in Allah). He, peace be on him, talked about the kinds of worship, saying: “If people worship Allah, the Great and Almighty, because of fear (of Him), their worship is (similar to that) of slaves. If they worship Him because of desire, their worship (similar to that) of traders, and if they worship Him to show gratefulness toward him, their worship is that of the free.2” These are the kinds of worship and obedience; the heaviest of them in scale and the most lovable of them for Allah is the worship of the free, which is gratefulness to the Almighty Benefactor, not because of craving for His reward nor because of fear of His punishment. The Imam, peace be on him, underlined this in another tradition of his, saying: “The worship of the free is thankfulness to Allah, not because of fear and desire.3”
The Imam’s love for Allah was firm in his heart and sentiments, Hence it was among his qualities. The narrators said: “He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) always worshipped Allah and obeyed him.” A slave girl of his was asked about his worship and she answered: “Shall I elaborate (on it) or shall I (talk about it) briefly?”
“Briefly,” was the answer.
“I did not bring him food by day nor did I spread for him bed by night,” the slave girl answered.4
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, spent most his lifetime fasting by day and praying by night. He was busy praying or giving charity in secret. It is certain that there is no person in the history of the ascetics and worshippers like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in loyalty and obedience to Allah. Now, we will mention some acts of his worship:
As for ablution, it is light and purity from sins and is the first act for prayer. The Imam, peace be on him, always performed the ritual ablution. The narrators talked about his humility to Allah during his ablution, saying: “When he used to perform ritual ablutions, his skin would turn yellow. Hence his family asked him: ‘What is it that has afflicted you?’”
He answered them with fear of Allah, saying: “Don’t you know Whom I am preparing to stand before?5”
He took great care of his ablution to the extent that no one helped him with it. He himself brought water for his ritual ablutions and prepared it before he slept. When he got up at night, he started with tooth cleanser (siwak), and then he performed his ablution. Having finished it, he began praying.6
As for prayer, it is the journey of every believer (to the seven heavens) and is the sacrifice of every pious one, as it is in the tradition. Prayer was among the most important desires of the Imam, peace be on him. Through it he communicate with Allah, the Creator of the universe and Giver of life. He shook all over when he wanted to pray, Hence he was asked about that, and he replied: “Don’t you know Whom I am preparing to stand before and to Whom I am going to whisper (in prayer)?7” We will mention some of his affairs during his prayers and perfuming himself:
When the Imam wanted to pray, he perfumed himself from a bottle which he put in the room of his prayers8, which was full of musk.
When the Imam wanted to pray, he wore coarse woolen garments9 in order to behave humbly before the Almighty Creator.
As for the prayer of the Imam, peace be on him, it represented full devotion to Allah, the Exalted, and freedom from the material world. He did not feel the things around him; rather he did not feel even himself, for his heart clung to Allah. The narrators described him during the time of his prayer, saying: “When he stood to perform the ritual prayer, his skin would turn yellow, and he shook all over because of fear of Allah. He stood during his prayer as the abased slave who stood before a great king. He prayed with the prayer of the one who would leave (the world). He thought that he would never pray again.” Imam al-Baqir talked about the humbleness of his father during his prayer, saying: “When ‘Ali b. al-Husayn stood to perform his ritual prayers, he was like the trunk of a tree. Nothing of him moved except that which the wind moved.10”
Aban b. Taghlub related to Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, the prayer of his grandfather, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, saying: “When ‘Ali b. al-Husayn stood to perform the ritual prayers, his skin would turn yellow.” Hence Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, admired his grandfather and said: “By Allah, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn knew Him before Whom he stood.11” Yes, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin completely knew the mightiness of the Wise Creator, Hence he worshipped Him due to knowledge and obeyed Him because of faith.
Among the aspects of his humbleness during his prayer was that when he prostrated, he did not raise his head until he oozed sweat12 as if he sank in water, for he wept abundantly.13 The narrators reported on the authority of Abu’ Hamza al-Thumali, who said: “I saw the Imam praying and his clock falling off one of his shoulders. He did not set it right, Hence I asked him, and he answered me: ‘Woe unto you! Didn’t you know before Whom I had been? (Allah) does not accept the servant’s prayer unless his heart clings to Him.14”
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin clung to Allah to the extent that one of his sons fell into a well, and the people of Medina hurried to him and saved him from the well, while the Imam was standing in prayer in his mihrab and did not know that. When he had finished his prayer, he was told about that, and he said: “I did not feel that, for I was whispering to the Almighty Lord.15
A fire occurred in the Imam’s house, but he paid no attention to the fire, for he was busy praying. When he had finished his prayer, he was asked about that, and he replied: “The greatest fire (in the hereafter) distracted me from this fire!16” ‘Abd al-Karim al-Qushayri explained this wonderful aspect, which accompanied the Imam during his prayer, saying: “The heart sometimes becomes heedless of knowing the affairs of creatures, for it is busy pondering that which comes to it. It becomes inattentive of feeling itself or other than it when it remembers a reward or a punishment.17”
The biographers unanimously agreed that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, prayed one thousand Ruk‘as by day and night18, and that he had five hundred date-palms, Hence he said two ruk‘as by each date-palm.19 As he prayed abundantly, he had calluses like those of the camel on the places of his prostration. Some calluses fell off every year, and he put them into a bag. When he passed away, they were buried with him.20
No superfluous prayer escaped the Imam throughout his life. He performed at night the prayers that escaped him by day. He advised his children to perform such prayers and said to them: “My children, these (prayers) are not obligatory for you, but I want you to habituate yourselves to them.21”
The servant is close to his Lord when he is in the state of prostration, as it is in the tradition. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, prostrated himself abundantly for his Lord to show submission to Him and lowliness before Him. The narrators said: “One day, he (Zayn al-‘Abidin) went to the desert, and a retainer of his followed him. The retainer found him prostrating on a coarse stone and heard him saying one thousand times: There is no god but Allah in all certainty! There is no god but Allah in worship and slavery! There is no god but Allah in faith and truth!22” He performed the prostration of thanks and said during it one hundred times: “Praise belongs to Allah, thanks (be to Allah) !” After that he said: “O Possessor of favor which never ceases, and which none other than Him can count! O Possessor of kindness which never comes to an end! O Generous! O Generous!” Then he prayed humbly (to Allah) and mentioned his need.23
The Imam was always busy mentioning, glorifying, and praising Allah. He glorified Allah with these brilliant words: “Glory be to Him whose light illumines every darkness. Glory be to Him Who predetermines every power through His power. Glory be to Him Who has concealed Himself from the servants through the ways of their souls, Hence there is nothing to conceal Him. Glory and praise belong to Allah.24”
Among the superfluous prayers (nawafil) which Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, performed was the night prayer. He frequently performed it during travel and at home25 until he met the Highest Comrade (Allah).
When he, peace be on him, had finished the night prayer, he supplicated with this holy supplication, which is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. It is as follows:
“O Allah, O Possessor of kingdom perpetual in everlastingness, authority invincible without armies or helpers, might abiding through aeons past, years gone by, times and days elapsed! Your authority is mighty with a might that knows no bound by being first nor utmost end by being last! Your kingdom towers high with a towering before which all things fall down without reaching its term; the least of it which You have kept to Yourself is not reached by the furthest description of the descripers!
Attributes go astray in You, descriptions fall apart below You the subtlest of imaginations are bewildered by Your magnificence! Hence are You, Allah, the first in Your firstness, and Hence are You everlastingly. You do not pass away. However, I am the slave feeble in works, immense in hopes. Your tying links are outside my hand, except what is tied by Your mercy; the bounds of hopes have been cut away from me, except the pardon to which I hold fast. Little on my part is the obedience toward You upon which I count, and great against me the disobedience toward You to which I have reverted. However, pardoning Your slave will not constrain You, even if he be bad, Hence pardon me!”
This paragraph of his supplication contains glorifying Allah, professing belief in His unity, and mentioning some of His exalted attributes such as kingdom perpetual in everlastingness and authority invincible without armies or helpers, Hence attributes and descriptions are unable to depict Allah, the Most High.
Then the Imam goes on showing absolute humility, submission, and slavery to Allah, the Exalted, saying:
“O Allah, You commanded me, and I refrained, You prohibited me, and I committed. Evil thoughts tempted me to offend, and I was negligent. I cannot call upon daytime to witness my fasting, nor can I seek sanctuary in night because of my vigil; no sunna praises me for keeping it alive, only Your obligations, he who neglects which has perished. I cannot seek access to You through the excellence of a supererogatory work, given the many duties of Your obligations of which I have been heedless and the stations of Your bounds which I have transgressed, thereby violating sacred things and committing great sins, though You have given my safety from their disgraces as a covering. This is the station of him who is ashamed of himself before You, angry with himself, and satisfied with You. He meets You with a humble soul, a neck bent down, a back heavy with offenses, hesitating between longing for You and fear of You. You are the most worthy of those in whom he might hope, the most deserving for him to dread and fear. Hence give me, my Lord, what I hope for, make me secure against what frightens me, and act kindly toward me with the kindly act of mercy! Surely You are the most generous of those from whom are asked!”
The Imam, the monk of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, showed his humility and submission before Allah. He thought that all his good deeds such as spending night in prayer, day in fasting, performing all the superfluous prayer (nawafil), desirable deeds (mustahabbat), enlivening the Islamic laws, and other countless good deeds were insufficient for performing the rights of Allah against him. Hence which turn to Allah in repentance better than this turn? Which devotion to Him is better than this devotion? Indeed, this Imam was a unique example in the world of the pious and the righteous.
Now, let’s listen to another part of this supplication: “O Allah, since You have covered me with Your pardon and shielded me with Your bounty in the abode of annihilation and the presence of equals, grant me sanctuary from the disgraces of the Abode of Subsistence at the standing places of the Witnesses (the angels brought nigh, the messengers honored, the martyrs, the righteous) before the neighbor from whom I have hidden my evil deeds and the womb relative before whom I feel ashamed in my secret thoughts! I trust them not, my Lord, to cover me over, but I trust You, my Lord, to forgive me!
“O Allah, Your knowledge watches over hidden works, every covered thing is exposed before Your awareness, the intricacies of things are not concealed from You, and unseen mysteries slip not away from You. But over me Your enemy has gained mastery: He asked a delay from You to lead me astray, and You gave him the delay! He asked a respite from You until the Day of Doom to misguide me, and You gave him the respite! Hence he threw me down, though I had fled to You from small, ruinous and great, deadly works, until, when I had yielded to disobeying You and merited Your anger through my bad efforts, he turned the bridle of his treachery away from me, met me with the word of his ingratitude, undertook to be quit of me, turned his back to flee from me, threw me to the desert of Your wrath alone, and sent me as an outcast into the courtyard of Your vengeance. There is no intercessor to intercede for me with You, no protector to make me feel secure against You, no fortress to veil me from You, no shelter in which to seek asylum apart from You! This is the station of him who takes refuge with You, the place of the confessor to You: Let not Your bounty be too narrow for me, let not Your pardon fall short of me! Let me not be the most disappointed of Your repentant servants, nor the most despairing of those who come to You with expectations! Forgive me, surely You are the best of the forgivers!”
In these paragraphs the Imam, peace be on him, talks about the weakness of man’s soul before desires and its inability to resist stoned Satan, who employs it through wicked inclinations such as greediness and haughtiness. Satan controls man’s feelings and sentiments, employs him in the fields of sins and offenses, and drives him away from seeking nearness to Allah.
The Imam continued supplicating: “I trust them not, my Lord, to cover me over26, but I trust You my Lord, to forgive me! You are the most worthy of those in whom confidence is had, the most giving of those who are besought, and the most clement of those from whom mercy is asked.”
In this paragraph the Imam, peace be on him, expresses his great confidence in Allah and his hope in Allah’s forgiveness and favors. He asks Allah to forgive him and to be pleased with him in the hereafter. He, peace be on him, mentions that Allah covers over His disobedient servants. Moreover, he asks Allah to grant him sanctuary from the disgraces of the Abode of Subsistence at the standing places of the Witnesses, the angels brought nigh, the messengers honored, the martyrs, and the righteous. In this manner, he, peace be on him, urges the disobedient to turn to Allah in repentance and to do good deeds, that they may attain Allah’s good pleasure and mercy, which embraces all things. Now, let’s return to consider another part of this holy supplication:
“O Allah, You caused me to descend as mean water from loins of narrow bones and tight passages into a constricted womb which You had covered with veils; You turned me about from state to state until You took me to the completion of the form and fixed within me the bodily parts, as You have described in Your Book27: a drop, then a clot, then a tissue, then bones, then You garmented the bones with flesh, then You produced me as another creature as You willed. Then, when I needed Your provision, and could not do without the aid of Your bounty, You appointed for me a nourishment from the bounty of the food and drink which You bestowed upon Your handmaid in whose belly You gave me to rest and in lodging of whose womb You deposited me. Had You entrusted me in those states, my Lord, to my own force, or driven me to have recourse to my own strength, force would have removed from me and strength taken far away. Hence You have fed me through Your bounty with the food of the Good, the Gentle; You have done that for me in graciousness toward me up to this present point. I do not lack Your goodness, nor does Your benefaction keep me waiting. Yet with all that, my trust has not become firm enough that I might free myself for that which is more favored by You. Satan has taken possession of my reins through my distrust and frail certainty. I complain of his evil neighborhood with me and my soul’s obedience toward him! I ask You to preserve me against his domination, and I plead with You to turn his trickery away from me! I ask You to make the path to my provision easy, since to You belongs praise for Your beginning with immense favors and Your inspiring gratitude for beneficence and bestowing favor! Bless Muhammad and his Household, and make the way to my provision easy for me! (I ask You) to make me content with your ordainment for me, to make me satisfied with me lot in that which You have apportioned for me and to place what has gone of my body and my life-span into the path of Your obedience! Surely You are the Best of providers!”
In this paragraph there are some reliable proofs of the existence of the Great Creator. They are as follows: Allah, the Most High, created man from mean water, put him into a narrow womb, turned him from state to state until he took him to the completion of the form. Man is the greatest creature of Allah. He has wonderful organs such as brain, eye, ear, and they all indicate the existence of the Wise Creator. The Imam, peace be on him, derived his views from the Holy Qur’an, which talked in detail about the creation of man. It is worth mentioning that the Qur’an has accurately showed how the embryo is formed, Hence it supplies man with this wonderful reality. Sayyid Qutub said: “Man stands astonished before the reality which the Qur’an has displayed concerning the form of fetus. (This reality) was discovered when embryology developed. This is because the cells of bones are different from those of flesh. It has been established that the cells of bones are formed in embryo before those of flesh. None of the cells of flesh is seen unless those of bones appear, and the skeleton of fetus is complete. The Qur’anic text has mentioned this reality.28”
Anyhow, when the Imam, peace be on him, had mentioned the greatest blessings of Allah, he asked Allah to save him from the trickery and delusions of Satan, who is the first enemy of man. Now, let’s read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:
“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the Fire through which You are harsh toward him who disobeys You and by which You have threatened him who turns away from Your good pleasure; from the Fire whose light is darkness, whose ease is pain, and whose far is near; from the Fire parts of which devour parts and parts of which leap upon parts; from the Fire which leaves bones decayed and lets its people drink boiling water; from the Fire which does not spare him who pleads to it, has no mercy on him who seeks sympathy from it, and has no power to relieve him who humbles himself before it and yields himself to it; it meets its inhabitants with the hottest that it possesses: painful punishment and intense noxiousness. I seek refuge in You from its gaping-jawed scorpions, its scraping-toothed serpents and its drinks, which tear apart the intestines and hearts of its inhabitants and root out their marrows. I ask guidance from You to that which will keep far from it and make it retreat!
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, grant me sanctuary from it through the bounty of Your mercy, release me from my stumbles through Your good releasing, and abandon me not, O Best of the sanctuary-granters. O Allah, You protect from the disliked, give the good, do what You will, and You are powerful over everything.
“ O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household when the pious are mentioned and bless Muhammad and his Household as long as night and day come and go with a blessing whose replenishment is never cut off and whose number cannot be counted, a blessing that will fill up the air and crowd the earth and the heaven! Allah bless him until he is well pleased and Allah bless him and his Household after good pleasure with a blessing that has neither bound nor utmost limit! O Most Merciful of the merciful!29”
These paragraphs contain fearful descriptions of the Fire of Hell, which Allah has prepared for the sinful and tyrannical ones from among his creatures, who spread oppression and corruption in the earth, Hence they will suffer various kinds of indescribable terrible torture in the Fire of Hell, may Allah protect us from it.
With this we will end our talk about this holy supplication, which the Imam used to recite after the night prayer, and which is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, became frail because of his many prayers, for worship strained him very much, and he was Hence weak that the wind would bend (his body) to left and right like an ear of corn.30 This is because he had no power to stand. His son ‘Abd Allah reported: “My father used to pray at night. When he had finished (praying), he crept to his bed.31” This means that he had no power to stand because of tiredness, weakness and faintness.
His family and those who loved him felt pity for him because of the intense weakness resulted from his many prayers. They feared that he would die, Hence they talked with him about that, but he refused to answer them, and he went on performing his prayers until he met his fathers. The following is some of those who talked with him:
One of his sons feared for his safety, Hence he asked him with regret and fear: “Father, how long will you continue (praying)?”
The Imam answered him with kindness and affection: “Do you make me love my Lord?32”
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, loved his Lord and drew near to Him through all ways. There is no one in the world of the pious and the righteous like him in turning to Allah in repentance and intense clinging to Him.
The great companion (of the Prophet), Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, felt pity for the Imam, peace be on him, and asked him to reduce his prayers and not to strain himself. Imam al-Baqir, peace be on him, reported his tradition, saying: [When Fatima, daughter of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, saw that her nephew, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, strained himself with prayer, she went to Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari and said to him:]
“O Companion of Allah’s Apostle, we have rights against you. Among our rights against you is that when you see one of us strain himself (with prayer), you must remind him of Allah and to ask him to spare his life. This is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, the surviving one of his father al-Husayn, has carried out in worship (to the extent that) his nose has been squashed; his forehead has been bruised; his legs and feet have been swollen.”
Hence Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari went to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and found him in his mihrab exerted by worship and obedience (to Allah). When the Imam saw Jabir, he received him and sat him beside him and asked him very much about his conditions, Hence Jabir turned to him and said to him: “O Son of Allah’s Apostle, didn’t you know that Allah has created Heaven for you and for those who love you, and He has created the Fire for those who hate you and show enmity toward you, Hence why have you strained yourself (in worship)?”
The Imam kindly and gently answered him: “O Companion of Allah’s Apostle, didn’t you know that Allah forgave my grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, his previous and next sins? Yet, he did not leave exertion (in worship), may my father and mother be ransom for him, to the extent that his legs and feet were swollen, Hence he was asked: ‘Do you do this, while Allah has forgiven you your previous and next sins?’ Hence he replied: ‘Shall I not be a grateful servant?’”
When Jabir knew that it was difficult for him to convince the Imam to leave exertion in worship, he said to him: “O Son of Allah’s Apostle, spare your life, for you are from among the family through whom tribulation is driven away, through whom cures are discovered, and through whom the sky is asked to rain.”
The Imam answered him with a faint voice: “I will continue the method of my fathers until I meet them.”
Hence Jabir admired the Imam, turned to those who around him, and said to them: “None of the sons of the prophets was like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn except Yousif b. Ya‘qu’b. By Allah, the progeny of al-Husayn is better than the progeny of Yousif b. Ya‘qu’b. Surely one of them will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny.33”
Yes, by Allah, no one of the sons of the prophets was like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in piety, Allah-fearingness, and all other ideals that raised him to the zenith which the great figures from among his fathers reached. Jabir declared that the progeny of al-Husayn was better than the progeny of Yousif b. Ya‘qu’b, for among them is the great reformer, the Qa’im of the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, of whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, gave good news, and who will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, that will occur during the days of his government and authority.
‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan was among those who pitied for Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. That was when the Imam went to him to intercede with him for some Muslims whom the authority had arrested. When ‘Abd al-Malik saw him, he admired the marks of prostration between his eyes, Hence he said to him: “The exertion (in worship) has appeared on your face, while Allah has already promised you good, you are part of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, your lineage is close (to him), your relation (with him) is certain, you are the most meritorious of the family of your House and the people of your time, you have been given merits, knowledge, religion, piety of which none before or after you has been given.”
‘Abd al-Malik flattered the Imam, reminded him of his merits and laudable deeds. When he ended his talk, the Imam said to him: “All what you have mentioned is attained through the bounty, support, and success of Allah, the Glorified. Hence where is our gratefulness to Him for what He has bestowed (upon us)? Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, stood in pray to the extent that his feet were swollen and became thirsty during fast to the extent that his mouth became dried, Hence he was asked: ‘O Allah’s Apostle, didn’t Allah forgive you your past and next sins?’ Hence he, may Allah bless him and his family, replied: ‘Shall I not be a grateful servant?’
“Praise belongs to Allah for what He has rendered and tested, and praise belongs to Him for here and the hereafter. By Allah, even if my limbs are severed, and my tears flow onto my chest, I will be unable to give thanks to Allah, the Great and Almighty, for the tenth of the tenth of one blessing of all His blessings which calculators cannot count, and no one can attain a blessing of them through all the praise of the praisers. No, by Allah, doesn’t Allah see that nothing distract me from thanking Him and remembering Him by day and night, secretly and openly? Were it not for that my family had right against me, and that people in private and in general had rights against me, I would look at the sky with my eye and at Allah with my heart, and then I would not prevent them (from that), until Allah made me die, and He is the Best of judges.”
The Imam bitterly wept. His words and his painful sight had a great effect on ‘Abd al-Malik, the tyrannical caliph, who said with admiration: “There is a great difference between a servant who seeks the hereafter and a servant who seeks this world.”
Then ‘Abd al-Malik yielded to the Imam and released the persons for whom he interceded.34
These are some of those who felt pitied for the Imam because of his many prayers and abundant worship and asked him frequently to decrease them and to have a rest, but the Imam did not respond them for that, for he found in prayers a unique, psychological rest.
The Imam spent most his lifetime fasting. When his slave-girl was asked about his worship, she said: “I never brought him food by day.” He loved fast and urged (people) to fast. Hence he said: “Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, entrusted the fasting to His angels.35” He, peace be on him, did not break his fast except on the day of the two ‘Īds and other than them when he had an excuse. We will talk briefly about some of his affairs in the blessed month of Ramadhan, which is the month of Allah and of obedience (to Him).
The Imam had special affairs in the blessed month of Ramadhan. In it he did all things that drew him near to Allah. The narrators said: “He did all kinds of charity and good. He never said any word except saying: ‘Glory belongs to Allah, I ask Allah’s forgiveness, and Allah is Great.’ When he broke his fast, he said: ‘O Allah, if You will do, You do.’36”
He, peace be on him, received the month of Ramadhan with eagerness and desire, for it is the spring of the obedient. When he saw its crescent, he supplicated with this holy supplication, which represents the spirituality of Islam and the guidance of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. This supplication is as follows:
“Praise belongs to Allah Who guided us to His praise and placed us among the people of his praise, that we might be among the thankful for His beneficence and that He might recompense us for that with the recompense of the good-doers! And praise belongs to Allah Who showed favor to us through His religion, singled us out for His creed, and directed us onto the roads of His beneficence, in order that through His kindness we might travel upon them to His good pleasure, a praise which He will accept from us and through which He will be pleased with us! And praise belongs to Allah Who appointed among those roads His month, the month of Ramadhan, the month of fasting, the month of submission, the month of purity37, the month of putting to test, the month of standing in prayer, in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance to the people, and as clear signs of the Guidance and the Separator!
He clarified its excellence over other months by the many sacred things and well-known excellencies which He placed therein, for He made unlawful in it what He declared lawful in others to magnify it, He prohibited foods and drinks in it to honor it, and He appointed for it a clear time which He (majestic and mighty is He) allows not to be set forward and accepts not to be placed behind. Then He made one of its nights surpass the nights of a thousand months and named it the Night of Decree; in it the angels and the Spirit descend by the leave of their Lord upon every command, a peace constant in blessings until the rising of the dawn upon whomever He will of His servants according to the decision He has made firm.”‘
These brilliant words contain magnifying and honoring the month of Ramadhan and depicting it with the best qualities of which is the following:
1. It is the month of Islam, Hence whoever fasts in it enters the frame of Islam; whoever does not fast in it with knowledge and deliberation does not belong to Islam.
2. It is the month of purity, for therein is the purity of the soul from sins and offenses.
3. It is the month of test; in it the Muslims are tested; in it the obedient are distinguished from the disobedient.
4. It is the month of standing in prayer; this month is the spring of the obedient and the good, for they spend its nights in worship and obedience to Allah.
5. Among the characteristics of this month is that the Holy Qur’an was sent down in it, for It was sent down on the Night of Decree, which is the greatest of all its nights, and in which the angels and the Spirit descend by the leave of their Lord upon every command, a peace until the rising of the dawn.
6. Among the characteristics of this holy month is that Allah, the Most High, makes it prohibited for the fasting to have foods and drinks to magnify and honor it. Now, let’s listen to another part of this supplication:
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, inspire us with knowledge of its excellence, veneration of its inviolability, and caution against what You have forbidden within it, and help us to fast in it by our restraining our limbs from acts of disobedience toward You and our employing them in that which pleases You, Hence that we lend not our ears to idle talk and hurry not with our eyes to diversion, we stretch not our hands toward the forbidden and stride not with our feet toward the prohibited, our bellies hold only what You have made lawful and our tongues speak only what You have exemplified, we undertake nothing but what brings close to Your reward and pursue nothing but what protects from Your punishment! Then rid all of that from the false show of the false showers and the fame seeking of the fame seekers, lest we associate therein anything with You or seek therein any object of desire but You!”
The Imam, peace be on him, presented the precepts which the fasting should follow in this great month. They are as follows: The fasting should restrain their limbs from what Allah has made unlawful, such as holding back their tongues from lying, backbiting, and slander; holding back their ears from idle talk and falsehood; preventing their hands from theft, aggression against people, and the prohibited. He, peace be on him, also mentioned that the fasting should do good to please Allah, and that their acts should be free from hypocrisy and seeking fame among people, for such acts lead to nothing except the punishment of Allah. After this, let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, in it make us attend to the appointed moments of the five prayers within the bounds You have set, the obligations You have decreed, the duties You have assigned, and the times You have specified; and in the prayers make us alight in the station of the keepers of their stations, the guardians of their pillars, their performers in their times, as Your servant and Your messenger set down in his Sunna (Your blessings be upon him and his Household) in their bowings, their prostrations, and all their excellent acts, with the most complete and ample ritual purity and the most evident and intense humility! Give us success in this month to tighten our bonds of kin with devotion and gifts, attend to our neighbors with bestowal and giving, rid our possessions from claims, purify them through paying the alms, go back to him who has gone far from us, treat justly him who has wronged us, make peace with him who shows enmity toward us (except him who is regarded as an enemy in You and for You, for he is the enemy whom we will not befriend, the party whom we will not hold dear), and seek nearness to You through blameless works which will purify us from sins and preserve us from renewing faults, Hence that none of Your angels will bring for You the kinds of obedience and sorts of nearness-seeking unless they be less than what we bring!”
This paragraph presents important affairs which the fasting should follow:
1. They should attend to the appointed moments of the five prayers, which are the pillar of the religion, within the bounds Allah has set, accompanied by what the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, practiced such as manners, invocations of Allah in their bowing and prostration; rather in all their affairs. In other word they should perform the five prayers in complete manners such as humility and submission to Allah, the Exalted, only.
2. They should tighten their bonds of kin with devotion and gifts, for this is one the best acts of obedience to Allah.
3. They should attend to their neighbors with bestowal and giving.
4. They should purify their possessions through paying Kums (one-fifth) and Zakat (the alms), which are obligatory.
5. They should go back to him who has gone far from them, from among their friends and brothers.
6. They should treat justly him who has wronged them and should not aggress against him with word or action, for this is among the noble moral traits.
7. They should make peace with him who shows enmity toward them (except him who is regarded as an enemy in Allah and for Him, for he is the enemy whom they will not befriend, the party whom they will not hold dear.
8. They should seek nearness to Allah through blameless works which are certainly desirable in the blessed month of Ramadhan.
After this, let’s listen to the last paragraphs of this holy supplication:
“O Allah, I ask You by the right of this month and by the right of him who worships You within it from its beginning to the time of its passing, whether angel You have brought nigh to You, prophet You have sent, or righteous servant You have singled out, that You bless Muhammad and his Household, make us worthy of the generosity You have promised Your friends, make incumbent for us what You have made incumbent for those who go to great lengths in obeying You, and place us in the ranks of those who deserve through Your mercy the highest elevation!
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, turn us aside from deviation in professing Your Unity, falling short in magnifying You, in Your religion, blindness toward Your path, heedlessness of Your inviolability, and being deceived by Your enemy, the accursed Satan!
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and when in every night of this month’s nights You have necks which Your pardon will release and Your forgiveness disregard, place our necks among those necks and place us among the best folk and companions of this our month!
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, efface our sins along with the effacing of its crescent moon, and make us pass forth from the ill effects of our acts with the passing of its days, until it leaves us behind, while within it You have purified us of offenses and rid us of evil deeds!
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and should we go off to one side in this month, set us aright; should we swerve, point us straight; and should Your enemy Satan enwrap us, rescue us from him!
“O Allah, fill this month with our worship of You, adorn its time with our obedience toward You, help us during its daytime with its fast, and in its night with prayer and pleading toward You, humility toward You, and lowliness before You, Hence that its daytime may not bear witness against our heedlessness, nor its night against our neglect!
“O Allah, make us like this in the other months and days as long as You give us life, and place us among Your righteous servants, those who shall inherit Paradise, therein dwelling forever, those who are given what they give, while their hearts quake, that they are returning to their Lord, those who vie in good works, outracing to them!
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household in every time, in all moments, and in every state, to the number that You have blessed whomever You have blessed and to multiples of all that, through multiples which none can count but You! Surely You are Accomplisher of what You desire.38”
Indeed, the supplications of the Imam are a school for religious awareness, for they are full of faith in Allah and sincerity to Him. These brilliant paragraphs of his supplication contain the following:
He asked Allah by the right of the month of Ramadhan and by the right of him who worshipped within it from among His righteous servants:
1. To place him among those who were worthy of the high position with Him.
2. To make his good deeds for the pleasure of Him, the Exalted; to make them free from hypocrisy and others which corrupt works.
3. To turn him aside from doubt and corrupt imaginations in the affairs of the religion.
4. To help him not to follow a way other than the way He has made lawful and to help him not to be heedless of the things He has made unlawful.
5. To help him not to follow the way of the accursed Satan.
6. To do him a favor through placing him among those whom He released in this great month.
7. To grant him a success in this month to worship Him and to show obedience, pleading, humility, and lowliness toward Him, the Exalted.
These are some important matters which these words of his supplication contain.
He, peace be on him, did many good acts in the Month of Ramadhan. The following is some of them:
Islam urges (Muslims) to give food to the fasting and makes it desirable for them. Every day in the Month of Ramadhan, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin ordered a sheep to be slaughtered and cooked. When the food was ready, he said: “Bring the bowls.” He ordered the food to be divided among the poor, the widows, and the orphans to the extent that there was nothing left for him, Hence he broke his fast with bread and dates.39
Among his good deeds in the blessed month of Ramadhan was that he freed many of his slaves. It is worth mentioning that he respected his slaves, treated them as he treated his children, and forgave them when they misbehaved toward him. The narrators said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn did not punish a female slave nor did he punish a male salve when they committed a sin; rather he recorded the day when they committed sins. When the month of Ramadhan was about to end, he gathered them and brought the book where he had written their sins and said to them: Raise your voices and say: O ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, your Lord has counted against you all what you have done, as you have counted against us all what we have done. He has a book which speaks the truth and does not leave a small one nor a great one of what you have done, but numbers them all, and you will find present with Him all what you had done, as we have found present with you all what we had done.
Hence pardon and forgive (us), as you want the most powerful King (Allah) to pardon and forgive you. Hence forgive us, and He will forgive you and have mercy on you, and Your Lord never wrongs anyone. As you have a book which speaks the truth against us and does not leave a small one nor a great one, but numbers them all against us, Hence ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, remember the abasement of your standing place before your Lord, the Just King, Who does not wrong (anyone) to the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and Allah is sufficient to take account and to be a witness. Hence pardon and forgive (us), and the most Powerful King will pardon and forgive you, for He says: They should pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? 40”
He (Zayn al-‘Abidin) dictated to them these words which represent his absolute devotion and clinging to Allah. He stood, wept and said: “Our Lord, You have commanded us to pardon him who wrongs us. We have pardoned him who has wronged us, as You have commanded, Hence pardon us, for You are worthier of that than us and the commanded ones. You have commanded us not to dismiss any beggar from our doors. Now, we have come to You as beggars and miserable. We have sat at Your courtyard and Your door seeking bounty and favor and giving, Hence do us a favor through it and disappoint us not, for You are more worthier of that than us and the commanded ones.
“My Lord, I have entertained (Your servants), Hence entertain me if I am of Your beggars. I have done (Your servants) a lot of good, Hence place me among the people of Your giving, O Generous!”
Then he turned his holy face, which became wet with the tears of his eyes, to his slaves and said to them with kindness and affection:
“I have forgiven you! Have you forgiven me my evil (acts)? I am full of evil, meanness, and oppression! I am the slave of the One Who is Powerful, Generous, Just, Beneficent, and Good-doer!”
What an angelic this soul is! Indeed, it represented the spirituality, beauties, qualities, and morals of the prophets!
The slaves interrupted him, saying: “We have pardoned you, O Our master!”
Hence he said to them: “Say: O Allah, pardon ‘Ali b. al-Husayn as he has pardoned us! Release him from the Fire, as he has released our necks from slavery!”
They said that, and he said after them: “Amen, O Allah, Lord of the world’s inhabitants! Go, surely I have pardoned you and released your necks, asking (Allah) to pardon me and release my neck!” When the day of ‘Īd al-Fitr came, he gave them excellent gifts to make them in no need of what was in the people’s hands.41
In the world of the pious there is no person like Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, in piety, loyalty, and obedience to Allah, for he filled his holy heart with faith and knowledge of Allah.
Anyhow, in the month of Ramadhan, the Imam, peace be on him, did a lot of good to the weak, entertained the miserable refreshed the deprived, freed slaves, and other good deeds that brought him near to Allah.
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, whispered to his Lord and prayed Him humbly and sincerely on every night in the Month of Ramadhan with this great supplication, which is better known as the Supplication of Abi Hamza al-Thumali, for it was he who reported it on the Imam’s authority. The supplication is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. It represents the absolute return and devotion to Allah. It contains exhortations that prevent the soul from clinging to haughtiness and desires and, in addition, it is distinguished by beautiful style, wonderful words, and eloquent performance. Moreover, it displays lowliness, humility, and submission to Allah, the Glorified. The other supplications do not contain such matters. We will quote some brilliant paragraphs of it, for it is well-known and widespread in supplication books
Before mentioning some paragraphs of this supplication, we’d like to say that this supplication has occupied an important position in the hearts of the good and the righteous from among the Muslims, Hence they recite it in the early morning of every night in the month of Ramadhan, to the extent that they have memorized it by heart. The following is some paragraphs of it:
“My Allah, educate me not with Your punishment, and scheme not against me with Your power! How can I find good, My Lord, and it cannot be found but through You? How can I find salvation, and it cannot be found but through You? Good-doers cannot do without Your help and Your mercy, nor can evil-doers! Those who misbehave before You, show audaciousness toward and, do not make You Pleased are unable to dissent from Your power! O my Lord, through You I have recognized You. It was You who guided me to Yourself and summoned me to Yourself! Were it not for You, I would not know what You were.”
Have you noticed how the Monk of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, whispered to his Lord, pleaded to Him, and argued with Him in this manner full of faith and knowledge? Let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication: “O Lover of him who loves You, O Delight of the eye of him who seeks refuge in You and devotes himself to You! You are the Benefactor, and we are the evil-doers! Hence, my Lord, forgive us our ugly acts through the beautiful things You have! Which ignorance, my Lord, Your magnificence does not embrace? Which time is longer than Your slowness? What is the worth of our deeds in comparison with Your favors? How can we regard our works as may and compare them to Your generosity? How do the sinners regard Your ample mercy as narrow? O All-forgiving! O All-merciful! Hence, by Your might, if You rebuked me, I would not leave Your door, nor would I refrain from praising You because I have knowledge of Your magnificence and generosity!”
In this manner the Imam, peace be on him, continued praising and pleading to the Great Creator, asking Him for forgiveness and good pleasure. Listen how he whispers to Him:
“O Allah, whenever I say: I have prepared myself, worn the cloak, stood in prayer before You, and whispered to You, You make me sleepy when I pray, and deprive me of whispering to You when I whisper (to You) ! Why whenever I say: I have set right my inner self and my assembly has come close to the assembly of the repenters, a tribulation befalls me, slip my foot, and prevents me from serving You? My Master, You may have dismissed me from Your door and put me aside from serving You, or You may have seen me disdaining Your Sacredness, Hence You have removed me, or You may have seen me turning back on You, Hence You have detested me, or You may have found me in the standing place of the liars, Hence You have rejected me, or You may have seen that I am ungrateful (to You) for Your favors, Hence You have deprived me (of them), or You may have missed me among the assemblies, Hence You have deserted me, or You may have seen me among the heedless, Hence You have disappointed me of Your mercy, or You may have seen that I get along with the assemblies of the unemployed, Hence You have placed me among them, or You may do not like listening to my supplication, Hence You have driven me away from You, or You may have punished me because of my sin and crime, or You may have punished me on account of my little modesty! Hence if You pardon (me), my Lord, You have often pardoned those sinners before me, for Your generosity, my Lord, is far above punishing the neglectful!”
The Imam, peace be on him, presented those affairs which prevent man from clinging to Allah during his prayers and whispered prayers. The following is some of them:
1. Disdaining Allah’s rights, that is when man makes little of them.
2. Turning away from Allah.
3. Telling lies which is the junction of vices and grave sins.
4. Ungratefulness for graces which Allah bestows upon His servant.
5. Turning away from sitting with the true religious scholars who remind men of the hereafter and urge them to do good deeds.
6. Forgetting the remembrance of Allah and of death lead man to misery and ruin.
7. Sitting with the unemployed who spend their times in playing and lose their life spans in trivial affairs, Hence sitting with them leads to turning away from Allah.
These are some affairs which send man far from Allah and turn him away from doing good, may Allah protect us from them. Now, let’s listen to another paragraph of this supplication: “O My Allah and my Master! If You demanded my sins, I would demand Your pardon! If You demanded my meanness, I would demand Your generosity! If You made me enter the Fire, I would tell the people of the Fire about my love for You! O My Allah and my Master! If You forgive only Your friends and those who obey You, then to whom shall the sinners go? If You show generosity only to those who are sincere to You, then whom the evildoers seek for help! My Allah! If You made me enter the Fire, then Your enemy (the accursed Satan) would be pleased with this! If You made me enter the Garden, then this would please Your Prophet! I, by Allah, know that the pleasure of Your Prophet is more lovable for You than that of Your enemy!42”
The Master of the pious and Imam of the knowers (Zayn al-‘Abidin), peace be on him, asked the sympathy of the Great Creator, whose mercy embraces all things. He asked Him to pardon His disobedient servants and to show good pleasure toward them, for His munificence is not confined to the believers and the obedient. With these little paragraphs we will end our speech about the supplication of the Imam in the early morning of the blessed month of Ramadhan.
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, felt pain when the days of the Month of Ramadhan came to an end, for this month is the spring of the obedient, and he used to recite this great supplication:
“O Allah, O He who desires no repayment! O He who shows no remorse at bestowal! O He who rewards not His servant tit for tat! Your kindness is a new beginning, Your pardon gratuitous bounty, Your punishment justice, Your decree a choice for the best! If You bestow, You stain not Your bestowal with obligation, and if you withhold, You withhold not in transgression. You show gratitude to him who thanks You while You have inspired him to thank You. You reward him who praises You while though You have taught him Your praise. You cover him whom, if You willed, You would expose, and You are generous toward him from whom, if You willed, You would withhold. Both are worth of Your exposure and with holding, but You have founded Your acts upon gratuitous bounty, channeled Your power into forbearance, received him who disobeyed You with clemency, and disregarded him who intended wrongdoing against himself. You await their turning back without haste and refrain from rushing them toward repentance, Hence that the perisher among them may not perish because of You and the wretched may not wretched through Your favor, but only after Your prolonged excusing him and successive arguments against him, as an act of generosity through Your pardon, O Generous, and an act of kindliness through Your tenderness, O Clement!”
It is necessary for us to considered carefully this brilliant paragraph of the supplication of the Imam, peace be on him. It contains the following:
As for the generosity and munificence of Allah, toward servants, as the Imam mentioned it, it is distinguished by the following:
A. Allah, the Most High, bestows on His creatures while He does not desire any repayment, for He, the Exalted, is in no need of His servants, who are in need of Him.
B. When He, the Exalted, bestows a grace upon a servant, He does not show any remorse at his bestowal, as the creatures show remorse at their bestowals when they get no benefit from them.
C. Allah does not stain his bestowal with obligation, for He, the Most High, bestows gratuitously.
D. It is He, the Exalted, who starts His servants with kindness and generosity.
As for the pardon of Allah toward the sinners is gratuitous bounty, and as for His punishment toward them is justice, for He punishes them according to their sins.
As for the decree of Allah and issuing the acts from Him, they are choice for the best, and He is not forced to issue them, as some philosophers said.
Indeed, Allah, the Glorified, show gratitude to those who thank Him, that is when He increases His favors and blessings to them. He, the Most High reward those who praise Him and increases His favors and blessings to them.
Among the favors of Allah for the servant is that He covers him when he commits sins. If he willed, he would expose him and make the people degrade him. Also among His favors for the sinner is that He is generous toward him. If He willed, He would withhold him His livelihood and make him die of hunger. However, He channeled His power and will into forbearance, received those who disobeyed Him with clemency, and disregarded those who intended wrongdoing against themselves. He awaits their turning back without haste and refrain from rushing them toward repentance, Hence that the perisher among them may not perish because of Him and the wretched may not be wretched through His favor, but only after His prolonged excusing them and successive arguments against them, as an act of generosity through His pardon. Now, let’s listen to another paragraph of this holy supplication:
“It is You who have opened for Your servants a door to Your pardon, which You have named ‘repentance’. You have placed upon that door a pointer from Your revelation, lest they stray from it: You have said (blessed are Your names), Repent toward Allah with unswerving repentance! It may be that your Lord will acquit you of your evil deeds and will admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, upon the day when Allah will not degrade the Prophet and those who have faith along with him, their light running before them and on their right hands, and they say: ‘Our Lord, complete for us our light, and forgive us! Surely You are powerful over everything.’43 What is the excuse of him who remain heedless of entering that house after the opening of the door and the setting up of the pointer? It is You who have raised the price against Yourself to the advantage of Your servants, desiring their profit in their trade with You, their triumph through reaching You, and their increase on account of You, for You have said (blessed is Your Name and high are You exalted), those brings a good deed shall have ten the like of it, and whosoever brings an evil deed shall only be recompensed the like of it.44 You have said, the likeness of those who expend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains; Hence Allah multiplies unto whom He wills.45
You have said, Who is he that will lend to Allah a good loan, and He will multiply it for him manifold46, and You have send down in the Qur’an similar verses on the multiplying of good deeds. It is You who have pointed them through Your speech from Your unseen and Your encouragement in which lies their good fortune toward that which -had You cover it from them- their eyes would not have perceived, their ears would not have heard, and their imaginations would not have grasped, for You have said, Remember me and I will remember you, be thankful to Me and be you not thankless towards Me!47 You have said, If you are thankful, surely I will increase you, but if you are thankless, My chastisement is surely terrible.48 And You have said, Supplicate Me and I will respond to you; surely those who wax too proud to worship Me shall enter Gehennam utterly abject.49
Hence You have named supplicating You ‘worship’ and refraining from it ‘waxing proud’, and You have threatened that the refraining from it would lead entrance into Gehannam in utter abjection. Hence they remember You for Your kindness, they thank You for Your bounty, they supplicate You by Your command, and they donate for You in order to seek Your increase; in all this lies their deliverance from Your wrath and their triumph through Your good pleasure. Were any creature himself to direct another creature to the like of that to which You Yourself have directed Your servants, he would be described by beneficence, qualified by kindness, and praised by every tongue. Hence to You belong Praise as long as there is found a way to praise You and as long as there remains for praising words by which You may be praised and meanings which may be spent in praise.
O He who shows Himself praiseworthy to His servants through beneficence and bounty, flooding them with kindness and graciousness! How much Your favor has been spread about among us, Your kindness lavished upon us, and Your goodness singled out for us! You have guided us to Your religion which You have chosen, Your creed with which You art pleased, and Your path which You have made smooth, and You have shown us proximity to You and arrival at Your generosity!”
In this paragraph the Imam talked about the great kindness of Allah to the disobedient from among His creatures when He opened for them the door of repentance and of asking forgiveness Hence that He may save them from ruin and misery in the next world. Repentance erases sins and save man from the awful situations provided that he should show remorse at the sins he has committed, and that he should not commit a sin again.
The Imam, peace be on him, talked about one of Allah’s favors toward His servants, that was when He (Allah) urged them to be kind to people, to do good for them, and to give alms to the poor and the weak. In the meantime He promised to reward them in the Abode of Subsistence and Perpetuity, Hence that they would be successful and happy there. Hence what ample are His blessings! What great is His bounty toward His servants!
In his speech, the Imam, peace be on him, dealt with gratitude to Allah for His graces, for such gratitude would lead to an increase in graces. He also dealt with supplication to Allah and pleading to Him, for He has named supplicating Him ‘worship’ and refraining from it ‘waxing proud’, as the Holy Qur’an has stated. After this, let’s listen to another paragraph of this supplication:
“O Allah, among the choicest of those duties and the most special of those obligations You have appointed the month of Ramadhan, which You have singled out from other months, chosen from among all periods and eras, and preferred over all times of the year through the Qur’an and the Light which You sent down within it, the faith which You multiplied by means of it, the fasting which You obligated therein, the standing in prayer which You encouraged at its time, and the Night of Decree which You magnified therein, the night which is better than a thousand months. Through it You have preferred us over the other communities and through its excellence You have chosen us to the exclusion of the people of the creeds. We fasted by Your command in its daylight, we stood in prayer with Your help in its night, presenting ourselves by its fasting and its standing to the mercy which You have held up before us, and we found through it the means to Your reward. And You are full of what is sought from You, munificent what is asked of Your bounty, and near to him who strives for Your nearness. This month stood among us in a standing place of praise, accompanied us with the companionship of one approved, and profited us with the most excellent profit of the world’s creatures. Then it parted from us at the completion of its time, the end of its term, and the fulfillment of its number. Hence we bid farewell to it with the farewell of one whose parting pains us, whose leaving fills us with gloom and loneliness, and to whom we have come to owe a safeguarded claim, an observed inviolability, and a discharged right.”
In these words, the Imam, peace be on him, praised the bounty of the blessed month of Ramadhan, which Allah singled out from other months, and endowed it with ample bounty when He obligated the fasting in it and multiplied the reward of the good deeds in it. He also singled it out with the Night of Decree, which is better than a thousand months. Through it He preferred the Muslims over the other communities Hence that they might attain the highest degrees and the most honorable position with Him. Then the Imam, peace be on him, mentioned his grief for leaving this great month when he gained rewards through doing a lot of good deeds that brought him near to Allah. Now, let’s listen to another part of this blessed month:
“Hence we say: Peace be upon you, O greatest month of Allah! O festival of His friends! Peace be upon you, O most noble of accompanying times! O best of months in days and hours! Peace be upon you, month in which expectations come near and good works are scattered about! Peace be upon you, comrade who is great in worth when found and who torments through absence when lost, anticipated friend whose parting gives pain! Peace be upon you, familiar who brought comfort in coming, thus making happy, who left loneliness in going, thus giving anguish! Peace be upon you, neighbor in whom hearts became tender and sins became few! Peace be upon you, helper who aided against Satan, companion who made easy the paths of good-doing! Peace be upon you-How many became freedmen of Allah within you! How happy those who observed the respect due to you! Peace be upon you-How many the sins you erased! How many the kinds of faults you covered over! Peace be upon you-How drawn out were you for the sinners! How awesome were you in the hearts of the faithful! Peace be upon you, month with which no days compete! Peace be upon you, month which is peace in all affairs! Peace be upon you, you whose companionship is not disliked, you whose friendly mixing is not blamed! Peace be upon you, just as you have entered upon us with blessings and cleansed us of the defilement of offenses! Peace be upon you. You are not bid farewell in annoyance nor is your fasting in weariness! Peace be upon you, object of seeking before your time, object of sorrow before your passing! Peace be upon you- How much evil was turned away from us through you! How much good flowed upon us because of you! Peace be upon you and upon the Night of Decree which is better than a thousand months! Peace be upon you- How much we craved you yesterday! How intensely we shall yearn for you tomorrow! Peace be upon you and upon the bounty which has now been made unlawful to us and upon your blessings gone by which have now been stripped away from us!”
The Imam, peace be on him, bid farewell to the blessed month of Ramadhan with these warm greetings accompanied by bitterness and sorrow for parting it, for it was a field for his good works that brought him near to Allah, the Exalted. He, peace be on him, mentioned the qualities of this great month and explained its excellencies over the other months. Now, let’s listen to another part of this great supplication:
“O Allah, we are the people of this month. Through it You have ennobled us and given us success because of Your kindness, while the wretched are ignorant of its time. Made unlawful to them is its bounty because of their wretchedness. You are the patron of the knowledge of it by which You have preferred us, and its prescribed practices to which You have guided us. We have undertaken, through Your giving success, its fasting and its standing in prayer, but with shortcomings, and we have performed little of much.
“O Allah, Hence to You belongs praise, in admission of evil doing and confession of negligence,50 and to You belongs remorse firmly knitted in our hearts and seeking of pardon sincerely uttered by our tongues. Reward us, in spite of the neglect that befell us in this month, with a reward through which we may reach the bounty desired from it and win the varieties of its craved stores!51 Make incumbent upon us Your pardon for our falling short of Your right in this month and make our lives which lie before us reach the coming month of Ramadhan! Once You have made us reach it, help us perform the worship of which You are worth, cause us to undertake the obedience which You deserve, and grant us righteous works that we may fulfill Your right in these two months52 of the months of time.
“O Allah, as for the small and large sins which we have committed in this our month, the misdeeds into which we have fallen, and the offenses which we have earned purposefully or in forgetfulness wronging ourselves thereby or violating the respect due to others, bless Muhammad and his Household, cover us over with Your covering, pardon us thorough Your pardoning, place us not before the eyes of the gloaters because of that, stretch not toward us the tongues of the defamers, and employ us in that which will alleviate and expiate whatever You disapprove from us within it through Your clemency which does not run out. O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, redress our being afflicted by our moth, bless us in this day of our festival and our fast - breaking, make it one of the best of days that have passed over us, the greatest in attracting Your pardon, and the most effacing toward sins, and forgive us our sins, both the concealed and the public.”
Have you noticed this submission and humility before the Great Creator? The Imam asked Allah for pardon and forgiveness. He confessed before Him his falling short of performing worship and the acts of obedience in the blessed month of Ramadhan. This is Zayn al-‘Abidin, who is the greatest summoner to Allah! Now, let’s read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:
“O Allah, with the passing of this month, make us pass forth from our offenses, with its departure make us depart from our evil deeds, and appoint us thereby among its most felicitous people, the most plentiful of them in portion, and the fullest of them in share! O Allah, when any person observes this month as it should be observed, safeguards its inviolability as it should be safeguarded, attends to its bounds as they should be attended to, fears its misdeeds as they should be feared, or seeks nearness to You with any act of nearness-seeking which makes incumbent upon him Your good pleasure and bends toward him Your mercy, give to us the like (of that) from Your wealth and bestow it upon us in multiples through Your bounty, for Your bounty does not diminish, Your treasuries do not decrease but overflow, the mines of Your beneficence are not exhausted, and Your bestowal is the bestowal full of delight.
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, and write for us the like of the wages of him who fasted in it or worshipped You within it until the Day of Resurrection! O Allah, we repent to You in our day of fast-breaking, which You have appointed for the faithful a festival and a joy and for the people of Your creed a time of assembly and gathering, from every misdeed we did, ill work we sent ahead, or evil thought we secretly conceived, the repentance of one who does not harbor a return to sin and who afterwards will not go back to offense, an unswerving repentance rid of doubt and wavering. Hence accept it from us, and fix us within it!
“O Allah, provide us with fear of the threatened punishment and yearning for the promised reward, Hence that we may find the pleasure of that for which we supplicate You and the sorrow of that from which we seek sanctuary in You! And place us with among the repenters, those upon whom You have made Your love obligatory and from whom You have accepted the return to obeying You! O Most Just of the just! O Allah, show forbearance toward our fathers and our mothers and all the people of our religion, those who have gone and those who will pass by, until the Day of Resurrection! O Allah, bless our prophet Muhammad and his Household, as You have blessed Your angels brought nigh, bless him and his Household, as You have blessed Your prophets sent out, bless him and his Household, as You have blessed Your righteous servants-and better than that, O Lord of the worlds!- a blessing whose benediction will reach us, whose benefit will attain to us, and through which our supplication may be granted! You are the most generous of those who are beseeched, the most sufficient of those in whom confidence is had, the most bestowing of those from whom bounty is asked, and You are powerful over everything!53”
This holy supplication; rather all the supplications of the Imam, peace be on him, urge man to cling to Allah-fearingness and faith in Him, they also urge him to show remorse at his neglect before Allah in this month.
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, received the Day of Fast-Breaking with supplication to Allah, asking Him to accept his fast, his acts of worship, and his good works in the month of Ramadhan, and to grant him pardon and good pleasure. In the early morning, he gave on his behalf and of his family the Zakat of al-Fitra (alms of fast-breaking). He also performed the prayer of the ‘Id. When he had finished his prayer, he faced the qibla (the direction of Kaaba) and supplicated Allah with this great supplication:
“O He who has mercy upon him toward whom the servants show no mercy! O He who accepts him whom the cities will not accept! O He who looks not down upon those who have need of Him! O He who disappoints not those who implore Him! O He who slaps not the brow of the people of boldness toward Him with rejection! O He who collects the little that is given to Him and He shows gratitude for the paltry that is done for Him! O He who shows gratitude for the small and rewards with the great! O He who comes close to him who comes close to Him! O He who invites to Himself him who turns his back on Him! O He who changes not favor and rushes not to vengeance! O He who causes the good deed to bear fruit Hence that he may make it grow, and overlooks the evil deed Hence that he may efface it! Hopes turn back with needs fulfilled short of the extent of Your generosity, the cups of requests fill up with the overflow of Your munificence, and attributes fall apart without reaching Your description. For to You belongs the highest highness above everything high, and the most glorious majesty beyond every majesty! Every majestic before You is small everything eminent beside Your eminence vile! Those who reach other than You are disappointed, those who present themselves to other than You have lost, those who stay with other than You have perished, and those who retreat -except those who retreat to Your bounty- are desolate! Your door is open to the beseechers, Your munificence free to the askers, Your help near to the help-seeker! The expectant are not disappointed by You, those who present themselves despair not of Your bestowal, the forgiveness-seekers become not wretched through Your vengeance! Your provision is spread among those who disobey You, Your clemency presents itself to those hostile toward You, Your habit is beneficence toward the evildoers, and Your wont is to spare the transgressors, Hence much Hence that Your lack of haste deludes them from returning, and Your disregard bars them from desisting! You act without haste toward them Hence that they will come back to Your command and You disregard them confident in the permanence of Your kingdom, Hence You seal him who is worthy of it with felicity, and You abandon him who is worthy of it to wretchedness!”
The greatest Imam, peace be on him, presented in this masterpiece Allah’s kindness to His servants, for He is Compassionate and Merciful to him toward whom the servants show no mercy. His mercy also includes him whom the governments chase and he escapes to unknown places because of fear. An example of the kindness of Him, the Exalted, is that He does not look down upon those who have need of Him. An example of the mercy of Him, the Exalted, is that He does not disappoint those who implore Him. An example of the great bounty and ample mercy of Him, the Most High, is that He shows gratitude for the small and rewards with the great. He shows affection to His servants, Hence He comes close to those who come close to Him and invites to Himself those who turn back on Him Hence that He may grant them the highest position in the next world and save them from ruin. An example of the favor of Allah, the Glorified, to His servants is that He does not change the blessing which He bestows upon them until they change what is there in themselves. He, the Exalted, also makes the good deed grow for its owner in the Next Abode. Indeed the generosity and munificence of Allah cannot be limited. Attributes fall short of describing Him, for to Him belongs the highest highness above everything high, and the most glorious majesty beyond every majesty.
The Imam, peace be on him, blamed in his supplication those who presented themselves to other than Allah, Hence they lost good and expectations, while those who presented themselves to Allah attained a great success. Then the Imam, peace be on him, mentioned the clemency of Allah, the Exalted, and His disregard toward the aggressors; He did not hurry to punish them Hence that they would come back to His command and understand the truth. These are some affairs which this part of the supplication of the Imam, peace be on him, contains. Now, let’s read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:
“All of them come home to Your decree, their affairs revert to Your command; Your authority grows not feeble through their drawn out term, Your proof is not refuted by the failure to hurry after them. Your argument is established, never refuted, Your authority fixed, never removed. Permanent woe belongs to him who inclines away from You, forsaking disappointment to him who is disappointed by You, and the most wretched wretchedness to him who is deluded about You! How much he will move about in Your chastisement! How long he will frequent Your punishment! How far his utmost end from relief! How he will despair of an easy exit! (All of this) as justice from Your decree (You are not unjust in it!), and equity from Your judgment (You do not act wrongfully against him!). You supported the arguments, tested the excuses, began with threats, showed gentleness with encouragement, struck similitudes, made long the respite, delayed, while You are able to hurry, and acted without haste, while You are full of quick accomplishment!
“Not because of incapacity is Your slowness, feebleness Your giving respite, heedlessness Your showing restraint, dissemblance Your waiting! But that Your argument be more conclusive, Your generosity more perfect, Your beneficence more exhaustive, Your favor more complete! All of this has been and always was, is and ever will be. Your argument is greater than that its totality be described, Your glory more elevated than it be limited in its core, Your favor more abundant than that its entirety be counted, Your beneficence more abundant than that thanks be given for its least amount! Speechlessness has made me fall short of praising You, restraint has made me powerless to glorify You, and the most I can do is admit to inability, not out of desire, my Allah, but out of incapacity. Hence here I am: I repair to You by coming forward, and I ask from You good support. Hence bless Muhammad and his Household, hear my whispered words, grant my supplication, seal not my day with disappointment, slap not my brow by rejecting my request, and make noble my coming from You and going back to You! Surely You are not constrained by what You desire, nor incapable of what You are asked! You are powerful over everything, and there is no force and no strength save in Allah, the All-high, the All-mighty!54”
In these words, the Imam, peace be on him, has mentioned all the creatures, whether believers or sinners, monotheists or atheists; they are all in the hand of Allah, the Most High, subjected to His decree, coming home to His command. Only the disobedient are stubborn; they continue aggression, mutiny, and disobedience. With this, they are unable to make feeble the authority of Allah. Woe unto them from His permanent punishment and His everlasting chastisement. Allah gives them respite in this world and does not hurry to punish them because of His mercy and gentleness toward them, Hence that they will come back to the truth and turn to Allah in repentance. With this the generosity of Allah, the Exalted, is ample and His favor for His servants is perfect.
With this we will end our speech about the fast of the Imam, peace be on him, in the month of Ramadhan, which was full of all acts of worship, good works, and acts of obedience.
As for the hajj to the Sacred House of Allah, the Imam, peace be on him, clung to it, for he found in its standing places refreshment for his soul which was melted by the tragedies of Karbala’. He, peace be on him, urged (the Muslims) to perform the hajj and the ‘Umra (a certain kind of hajj to the Kaaba), for they would result in great benefits. Hence he said: “(When) you perform the hajj and the ‘Umra, your bodies become sound, your daily bread becomes ample, your faith becomes righteous, and you are sufficient for the provisions of the people and of your families.55” He, peace be on him, said: “The hajji (pilgrim) is forgiven, the Garden is surely for him, the work is resumed through him, his family and his possessions are preserved.56” He, peace be on him, said: “The angels intercede for the one who runs between al-Safa and al-Marwa (with Allah).57” He also urged (the Muslims) to honor and magnify the pilgrims when they returned from the Sacred House of Allah, Hence he said: “Show happiness when the pilgrims return (from Mecca), shake hands with them, and magnify them. (Hence), you take a share in their reward before you mix with them in sin.58” Now, we will briefly present some affairs of his hajj.
The Imam, peace be on him, performed the hajj on foot more than one time, as his father and his uncle, al-Hasan, peace be on them, did. It took him twenty days to perform the hajj to the House (of Allah).59”
He, peace be on him, performed the hajj on the (back of) his she-camel twenty times, and he took great care of it. The historians said: “He never whipped it.60” Ibrahim b. ‘Ali said: “I performed the hajj with ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. His she-camel was moving slowly, Hence he pointed to it with the stick, and then he withdrew it and said: ‘Woe if there was on retaliation (in the next world) !’ Again it moved slowly among the Mountains of Radawa, Hence he showed it the stick and said (to it): ‘You should walk; otherwise I will do!’ Then he mounted it, and it walked.61” His soul exalted to this level of mercy, pity, and gentleness to animal, Hence he never whipped and frightened his she-camel. He thought that aggression against animal would result in punishment and reckoning in the Next Abode.
When he intended to perform the hajj to the Sacred House of Allah, the reciters (of the Qur’an) and the religious scholars would accompany him, for they acquired from him sciences, knowledge, wise sayings, and good manners. Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab said: “The reciters (of the Qur’an) did not go out of Mecca until ‘Ali b. al-Husayn went out, Hence he went out and a thousand riders went out with him.62 They learnt from him the problems of the hajj, the rules of the religion, and all the affairs of Islamic law, for there was no one in his time, according to the consensus of the historians and narrators, more knowledgeable than him in the precepts of the Book and Sunna.”
The Imam, peace be on him, took good and perfect preparations for performing the hajj and the ‘Umra. He supplied himself with the best food such as almonds, sugar, soured and sugared fine flour.63 His pure sister, Sukayna, made him and excellent food on which she spent thousands of dirhams, but when he arrived at al-Hurrah, he ordered the food to be divided among the poor and the needy.64
When the Imam arrived at one of the places appointed for the ritual consecrationsuch as Masjid al-Shajara (the Mosque of the Tree), the place appointed for the people of Medina and those who passed by ithe began performing the rules of ritual consecration such as ablution. When he wanted to say the talbiya (Here I am at your service), his skin would turn yellow, and he disordered and was unable to say the talbiya. He was asked: “Why don’t you say the talbiya?”
He trembled with fear of Allah and said: “I fear that I say: labbayk (Here I am at Your service), and it will be said to me: ‘la labbayk’ (You are not at My service).
When he said the talbiya, he fainted because of his abundant fear of Allah, and fell off his she-camel. This state attacked him several times until he finished his hajj.65 Malik reported: “When Zayn al-‘Abidin wanted to say the talbiya, he fainted, fell off his she-camel, and broke (one of his bones).66” The Imam thoroughly knew of Allah, adored Him, was afraid of His punishment, and tended to Him with all his feelings and sentiments, as his fathers, who were the lords of the Allah-fearing and of those who turned to Allah in repentance, did.
When he finished his going around (the Kaaba) and arrived at the Black Stone, he looked at the sky and said: “O Allah, make me enter Heaven through Your mercy-while he was looking at the mizab (Spout) - grant me sanctuary from the Fire through Your mercy, heal me of illness, allow me to attain my provision through lawful means, and drive away from me the wickedness of the sinners from among the jinn and men, and the wickedness of the sinners from among the Arabs and non-Arabs.67”
When the Imam, peace be on him, had finished his rituals (of hajj) such as going around the Kaaba and running between al-Safa and al-Marwa, he came to pray under the Spout of Mercy (mizab al-Rahma). Tawu’s al-Yamani saw him at that Holy Place standing in prayer, supplicating Allah, and weeping because of fear of Allah. When he finished his prayers, Tawus interrupted him, saying: “I have seen you in this state of humility while you have three qualities. I hope that they will make you safe from fear. One of them is that you are the (grand) son of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, the second is the intercession of your grandfather, and the third is Allah’s mercy.”
The Imam gently answered Tawus: “O Tawus, as for that I am the (grand) son of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, it will not safe me (from fear), and you have heard Allah, the Exalted, say: There shall be no ties of relationship between them, nor shall they ask of each other.68 As for the intercession of my grandfather, it will not safe me (from fear), for Allah, the Most High, says: They do not intercede except for him who He approves.69 As for Allah’s mercy, Allah says: Allah’s mercy is close to the benefactors, and I don’t think that I am a benefactor.70”
Have you noticed this humility and self-negation before Allah, the Exalted? Indeed, this Imam was a unique copy among mankind except his great fathers.
Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik, accompanied by the police, made the pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah. The mercenaries and the prominent persons from among the Syrians surrounded him. He did his best to catch the Black Stone, but he could not, because the place was full of pilgrims who pushed each other in order to kiss the Black Stone. Hence the pilgrims paid no attention to Hisham and made no room to him, for there were no differences in that Great House. A pulpit was installed for him and he sat on it. He looked at the people who were going around the Kaaba. In the meantime Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, came to perform going around the Kaaba. A pilgrim saw him and recognized him, Hence he called out at the top of his voice: “That is the remaining one of Allah in His earth! That is the remaining one of Prophethood! That is the Imam of the Allah-fearing and lord of the worshippers!”
The Imam’s solemnity, to which the faces and foreheads yielded, and which was similar to that of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, overwhelmed the pilgrims. The pilgrims shouted loudly everywhere in the Mosque: “There is no god but Allah! Allah is Great!” Then they made room for the Imam. Blessed was the one who kissed his hand or touched his garments of ritual consecration. The Mosque was full of saying: “Allah is Great!” The Syrians were astonished at that fearful sight, for they thought that there was no one worthy of honor and magnification except the Umayyads who were, according to the Umayyad mass media, the inheritors of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and close to him in lineage! Hence the Syrians hurried to Hisham and asked him: “Who is that person whom the people has respected with this respect?”
Hisham burst into anger, and his crossed eye appeared71, and he shouted at them: “I don’t recognize him!”
Hisham denied recognizing the Imam, for he feared that the Syrians would incline to him and desert the Umayyads. Al-Farazdaq, the Arab great poet, was present there. He understood the truth, shook all over, rushed toward the Syrians with enthusiasm and said to: “I know him!”
“Who is he, Abu’ Firas?” asked the Syrians.
Hisham became frightened and lost his mind, for he feared that al-Farazdaq would introduce the Imam to the Syrians, Hence he shouted at him: “I don’t know him!”
Condemning Hisham, al-Farazdaq said at the top of his voice: “Yes, you know him!”
Then he turned to the Syrians and said to them: “Syrians, whoever wants to recognize this man, let him come (here) !”
Hence the Syrians and others hurried to the Arab great poet and fully listened. Al-Farazdaq was eager for supporting the truth. Hence he improvised this poem called al-‘Asma’, which represents truthful words and beautiful style, and in which he said:
This is the descendant of Husayn and son of Fatim,
daughter of the Messenger through whom darkness
This is he whose ability the valley (of Mecca), recognizes,
and whom the (Sacred) House recognizes (as do) the
sanctuary and the area outside the sanctuary (al-hill).
This is the son of the best of all Allah’s servants.
This is the pure pious man, the pure eminent man.
When Quraysh saw him, their spokesman said: Generosity
leads to the noble qualities of this (man).
He belongs to the zenith of glory which the Arabs of Islam
When he comes to touch the corner of the wall of the
Kaaba, it almost grasps the palm of his hand.
He lowers (his eyes) because of modesty and (eyes are)
lowered due to his solemnity. Hence (none) speaks with him
but when he smiles.
In his hand there is a cane whose smell is fragrant because
of the hand of the one who is wonderful and noble.
The prophets are indebted to the outstanding merits of his
grandfather, and the nations are indebted to the
excellencies of his nation.
The light of guidance comes out of the light of his forehead
(which) is like the sun whose rising scatters the dark.
His plant (origin) is derived from the Messenger of Allah.
Its elements, nature, and qualities are good.
This is the son of Fatima, if you do not recognize him, the
prophets of Allah were sealed through his grandfather.
Allah had already honored him, and his excellencies
occurred through that in the tablet of the pen.
Your words ‘who is this’ do not harm, the Arabs and non-
Arabs recognize him whom you deny.
Both his hands are relief; their profit is general; they are
equal hands; deprivation does not befall them.
He is the carrier of the burdens of the peoples when they
are overburdened. His merits are pretty; ‘yes’ is pleasant
He does not break promise; blessed is his soul; his
courtyard is ample; he is brilliant when he determines.
(He is) from the people whose love is religion; whose hate
is unbelief; nearness to them is refuge and protection.
If the Allah-fearing are numbered, they are their Imams, or
(if) it is said, who is the best of the world’s inhabitants?, it
is said, they are.
None of the generous can (access) their far-fetched
objectives, nor can people vie with them (in generosity)
even if they are generous.
They are rain when a crisis is intense and lions, the lions of
a forest, when war is violent.
Poverty does not decrease their munificence.
It is the same for them whether they are rich or poor.
Evil and tribulation are pushed away through love for
them, and through it kindness and blessings are regained.
Their remembrance is advanced in every affair after the
remembrance of Allah, and words are sealed through it.
(Their) noble natures and their hands full of liberality do
not allow abasement to occur in their courtyard.
Which creature is excluded from the priority and favors of
Whoever thanks Allah thanks the priority of this (Imam in
belief in Allah), for nations have attained religion from the
House of this (Imam).72
This poem, called al-‘Asma’, is distinguished from the rest of the Arab poetry by immortality throughout history, for it was a revolt against falsehood and support for the truth. It was mentioned in the time in which mouths were muzzled and tongues were prevented from mentioning the laudable deeds of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. The Umayyad tyrannical authorities executed all those who mentioned their laudable deeds or their outstanding merits. They employed all their organs to efface the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, from the map of existence.
In his poem, al-Farazdaq lauded the great Imam, the Imam of the Syrians and other than them from among all the pilgrims, Hence his praise was a painful blow against the Umayyad policy. Commenting on this poem, al-Bustani said: “They said: This poem is sufficient for al-Farazdaq to enter the Garden.73”
This poem contains wonderful truthfulness, support of the truth, and pretty coherence of lines. Al-Sayyid ‘Ali al-Madani said: “As for the coherence of this poem, it is an unattainable objective and unpossessable mind. He (al-Farazdaq) avoided (mentioning) explanatory remarks in it, and mentioned wonderful coherence in it. He who notices the poetry of al-Farazdaq and notices this poem, he will admire it, for there is no relation between this poem of al-Farazdaq and all his sayings in cause, praise, and satire. This means that he composed it spontaneously. Without doubt Allah, the Glorified, supported him when he composed it, and pointed him the right way when he improvised it.74”
Abu’ al-Farajj al-Asfahani doubted that this poem did not belong to al-Farazdaq. He thought that al-Farazdaq’s style in poetry was different from his style in this poem. He claimed that al-Farazdaq used difficult styles, words, and imaginations.75 Commenting on this view of Abu’ al-Farajj, shaykh Muhammad, Abu’ Zahra, said:
“I do not think that this doubt is acceptable or agrees with the sound method of studying narrations, for the following reasons:
“First, all the narrators have unanimously agreed that this poem is ascribed to al-Farazdaq, but al-Asfahani tried to accuse them of lying.
“Second, al-Asfahani did not mention with proof the poet, from among the poets of the Household (of the Prophet), to whom he attributed this poem. Hence he has no right to abolish the ascription of a poem to its poet, or to leave it in an unknown attribution, or to ascribe it (to someone) without any proof.
“The poet sometimes uses difficult words and sometimes uses nice words according to the situation in which he composes (his poem). If the poet composes (his poem) according to his situation, if he describes desert and what within it, he will use difficult (words). If he speaks about morals and qualities, he will without doubt use soft (words). When the poet is good, he chooses suitable (words) for every situation.
“Imru’ al-Quays, a pre-Islamic poet, composed soft poetry in the end of his lifetime. This was when some misfortunes befell him. We do not intend to give accounts about literature, that we may tell you about his description of his illness and what befell him. Al-A‘sha and Ka‘ab b. Zuhair also composed nice poems. When they praised the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, their poetry became soft to the extent that it agreed with his qualities and miracles. Al-Farazdaq’s words in this poem are soft, so there is no need to denying and doubt.
“Here, we must say that al-Farazdaq firmly inclined to the members of the House (Al al-Bayt), though he did not compose abundant poetry about them, for he did not want to expose himself to the persecutions of the Umayyads.76”
Al-Farazdaq was one of Imam ‘Ali’s followers, Hence he praised Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. Al-Sharif al-Murtada said: “Al-Farazdaq was a Shi‘ite inclining to the Hashimites. In the end of his lifetime, he gave up transgression and slander. He followed the way of the religion, but he had not neglected the religion before, nor had he neglected its affairs.77” Anyhow, the attribution of this poem called al-‘Asma’ is among the definite affairs, for all the narrators have unanimously agreed on it.
When Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik heard this poem, he became excited and wished that the ground would have swallowed him. This is because the poem included all the outstanding qualities of the great Imam and introduced him to the Syrians who had no knowledge of him and his grandfathers. Al-Farazdaq praised the position of the Imam. He indicated that following the Imam was inseparable part of Islam, and that the Imam was the best person in the world at that time.
Hisham ordered al-Farazdaq to be arrested. Hence, he was arrested and imprisoned in the prison of ‘Asfan, a place between Mecca and Medina. When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, heard of this, he sent al-Farazdaq twelve thousand dirhams, but the latter refused to accept it, saying: “I composed (these words) concerning you to show my anger for Allah and His Messenger only.” The Imam sent back the money to al-Farazdaq, and he accepted it. Hence al-Farazdaq began satirizing Hisham. Among the lines with which he satirized him is the following:
Will he imprison me between (‘Asfan) and Medina, to
which the hearts of the people incline?
He turns a head which is not the head of a chief, and he has
a cross eye with apparent defects.78
Many whispered prayers in the Sacred House of Allah were related from Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. He used to recite them before his Lord in the darkness. The following is some of them:
1. Muhammad b. Abi Hamza reported: [I saw ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, praying in the courtyard of the Kaaba. He lengthened standing in prayer to the extent that he sometimes leant on his right leg and sometimes on his left leg. Then I heard him weeping loudly and whispering to his Lord:]
“O my Master, will You chastise me (while) Your love is in my heart? By Your might, You shall not gather me with the people toward whom I have shown enmity for You!79”
In this short whispered prayer, the Imam, peace be on him, expressed his absolute devotion and pleading to Allah, asking Him for pardon and good pleasure.
2. Al-Asma‘i narrated: [While I was going around the Kaaba, I saw a young man clinging to its curtains and saying sad words:]
“The eyes have slept, and the stars have become high, and You are the King, the Living, the Self-subsistent. The kings have closed their gates, and their guards have stood by them, but Your gate is still open for the askers. I have come to You to, that You may look at me through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful.”
[Then he composed:]
“O He who responds in the darkness to the supplication of
O He who removes affliction, tribulation, and illness!
All those have come to You have slept around the House,
and only You, O Self-subsistent, do not sleep!
I supplicate You, my Lord, with a supplication which You
Hence have mercy on my weeping, by the right of the House
and the Sanctuary!
If the immoderate do not expect Your pardon, then who
will bestows favor lavishly upon the disobedient!”
Al-Asma‘i said: “I followed his traces, suddenly he was Zayn al-‘Abidin.80 I kissed him and said to him: You are ‘Ali b. al-Husayn; your father is the martyr of Karbala’; your grandfather is ‘Ali al-Murtada; your (grand) mother is Fatima, the chaste; your grandmother is Khadija al-Kubra (the greatest one); your great grandfather is Muhammad al-Mustafa (the chosen one), Hence why do you say such words?”
The Imam softly and kindly answered him: “Have you not read these words of Him, the Exalted: Hence when the trumpet is blown, there shall be no ties of relationship between them on that day, nor shall they ask of each other?81 Have you not heard the words of my grandfather: The Garden has been created for the obedient even if they are from Ethiopia; the Fire has been created for the disobedient even if they are from Quraysh?82”
This great Imam clung to Allah, the Exalted, devoted himself to him, obeyed him, and worshipped him because of knowledge, faith, and sincerity.
3. Tawus al-Yamani narrated: [I passed by the (Black) Stone. Suddenly, (I saw) a person bowing and prostrating. I carefully considered him, and I could realized that he was ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, Hence I said to myself: He is a righteous man from among the Household of the Prophet. By Allah, I will wait until he finishes his prayers, that I may make use of his supplication. Then he raised his hands and began addressing Allah, saying:]
“O Allah, my Master, my Master! I have stretched out my hands full of sins toward You and looked (at You) with hope. The right of him who humbly supplicates you with regret is that You generously respond to him!
“My Master, have you created me as one of the miserable, Hence I will lengthen my weeping? Or have you created me as one of the happy, Hence I will be happy with my hope?
“My Master, have you created my limbs to be hit with whips (of iron)? Or have you created my bowels for drinking the boiling water (in the Fire)?
“My Master, if a servant was able to escape from his master, I would be the first of those who escaped from their master, but I know that I cannot escape from You!
“My Master, if I knew that my chastisement would increase Your kingdom, I would ask You for patience against it, but I know that the obedience of the obedient does not increase Your kingdom, nor does the disobedience of the disobedient decrease it.
“My Master, Here I am! What is my importance? Pardon me through your bounty! Cover me over with Your cover! Forgive me my scolding through the generosity of Your face!
“My Allah and my Master, have mercy on me when I will be dead on my bed, (and when) the hands of my lovers turn me! Have mercy on me when I will be placed in the wash room, (and when) my righteous neighbors wash me! Have mercy on me when I will be carried, (and when) my relatives carry the ends of my coffin! Have mercy on my exile and my lonesomeness in that dark house!”
When Tawus heard these sad whispered prayers, he burst into tears, Hence the Imam turned to him and asked him:
“O Yamani, what makes you weep? Isn’t this the standing place of the sinners?”
Tawus interrupted the Imam with submission and admiration, saying: “Your right against Allah is that He should respond to you.83”
The Imam, peace be on him, loved the world of angels, clung to it, and devoted his life to it.
4. The narrators reported on the authority of al-Hasan al-Basri, who said: “I saw ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in the Kaaba pleading to Allah and supplicating Him in repentance, Hence I came nearer to him and heard him reciting these soft lines:
O He who is expected for (fulfilling) every need!
I complained to You of affliction, Hence have mercy on my
O He who is my hope! Your are the Remover of my
distress, Hence forgive me every sin I have committed and
fulfill my request!
To You belong aim in every request! You are the Helper of
the askers and my goal!
I have made ugly acts the like of which none of the
creatures has made!
My provision is little; I do not think that it is enough!
Shall I weep for my provision or for my distant road!
Will You muster me along with the oppressive in the
Therefore, where is my circumambulation, then where are
Will you burn me with the Fire, O Goal of hopes?
Therefore, where is my expectation, then where is my fear?
My Master, oblige me with repentance, for You, my Lord,
know my words!
These lines had a great effect on the soul of al-Hasan al-Basri, Hence he hurried to kiss the feet of the Imam and say:
“O grandson of the Prophet, why are you saying these whispered prayers and weeping? Are you not from among the Prophet’s Household concerning whom Allah said: ‘To take away the uncleanness from you and to purify thoroughly.’?”
The Imam explained to al-Hasan al-Basri the true Islam, which adopted good deeds and paid no attention to lineage, saying: “Leave this! The Garden has been created for him who obeys Allah even if he is from Ethiopia; the Fire has been created for him who disobeys Him even if he is from Quraysh. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘Bring me your acts, not your lineage.’84”
Some writers thought that this narration was incorrect. This is because the narration contains weak lines of poetry. Besides it shows that al-Husayn al-Basri kissed the Imam’s foot. They said that this action did not agree with the position of al-Basri, and that the Imam did not accepted it.85 This view is weak for the following reasons:
First, the Imam, peace be on him, recited these lines. None knows that he composed them.
Second, we do not think that these lines are weak, for they are soft and good.
Third, as for that al-Hasan al-Basri kissed the Imam, it was not an insult; rather it was honor and pride for him. This is because the Imam was the remaining one of Allah in His earth, the lord of the pure Household (of the Prophet), and a piece of the liver of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Al-Basri was the most knowledgeable of these authors in the Imam’s position.
5. Tawus, the jurist, reported one of the Imam’s whispered prayers to Allah in the Sacred House. He said: [I saw ‘Ali b. al-Husayn going around (the Kaaba) from the evening to the early morning. As he was alone, he looked at the sky and said:]
“My Allah, the stars of Your heavens have set! The eyes of Your creatures have slept, but Your gates are open for the askers! I have come to You in order to pardon me, to have mercy on me, and to show me the face of my grandfather, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, on the Day of Resurrection.”
[Then he wept and addressed Allah, the Exalted, saying:]
“I (swear) by Your might and majesty, I do not want to disobey You through my disobedience. I do not doubt You when I disobey You nor am I ignorant of Your exemplary punishment nor do I want to subject myself to Your punishment. However, my soul entices me and Your cover which is over me helps me with this. Hence, now, who can save me from Your chastisement? If You cut Your rope from me, then to which rope shall I cling? How evil my standing before You will be tomorrow! If it is said to those who have small (sins): ‘pass’, and to those who have great (sins): ‘stop’, then shall I pass with those who have small (sins) or stop with those who have great (sins)? Woe unto me! The long my span is, the more my sins are! Still, I do not announce my repentance! Isn’t it a time for me to feel shame of my Lord!”
[Then he burst into tears and recited:]
“Will you burn me with the Fire, O Goal of hopes? Therefore, where is my expectation, then where is my fear?
“I have done ugly works the like of which none of the creatures has done!
“Glory belongs to You! You are disobeyed as if You were not seen! You are clement as if You were not disobeyed! You show love toward Your creatures through (Your) kindness as if You were in need of them, while You, my Master, are in no need of them!”
[Then he prostrated himself (in prayer), Hence I (Tawus) came nearer to him, raised his head, put it on my lap, Hence a tear of mine fell onto his holy cheek. Then he sat down and said with a faint voice:]
“Who has distracted me from praising my Lord?”
Hence Tawus answered him with submission and magnification: “It is I, Tawus. Son of Allah’s Apostle, what is this impatience and fear? It is we who should behave in this manner. We are disobedient and sinful, while your father is al-Husayn b. ‘Ali, your (grand) mother is Fatima, the chaste, and your grandfather is Allah’s Messenger.”
[However, the Imam paid no attention to the clear lineage with which he was endowed, Hence he interrupted (me), saying:]
“How far! How far! Tawus, leave mentioning my father, my mother, and my grandfather. Allah has created the Garden to him who obeys Him and does good even if he is a Negro from Ethiopia, and He created the Fire for him who disobeys Him even if he is a chief from Quraysh. Have you not heard these words of Him, the Exalted: Hence when the trumpet is blown, there shall be no ties of relationship between them on that day, nor shall they ask of each other. I swear by Allah that nothing will profit you tomorrow except your good acts.86”
6. Tawus narrated another whispered prayers of the Imam’s in the Sacred House. He said: [I entered the Stone (i.e., the Stone of Isma‘il) one night and there was ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. He had come in and was standing praying. He prayed as Allah had wished. Hence I said: He is a righteous man, Hence I must listen to him, thus I heard him say:]
Your little servant is at Your courtyard;
Your miserable one is at Your courtyard:
Your poor one is at Your courtyard;
Your beggar is at Your courtyard.
Tawus memorized this short whispered prayer, which expressed self-denial and absolute obedience to Allah. He supplicated Allah with it when in need, and Allah removed his afflictions.87
These are some whispered prayers of the Imam in the Sacred House of Allah. They show his great turning to Allah in repentance and his devotion to Him. The Imam has other whispered prayers. We will mention them when we talk about his supplications and his whispered prayers.
On circumambulating the Kaaba, the Imam heard a man asking Allah for patience, Hence he turned to the man and said to him: “You are asking (Allah) for tribulation. Say: O Allah, I ask You for well-being and gratitude for it.88” The Imam taught the man how to supplicate Allah. He ordered him to ask Allah for well-being and gratitude for it. He warned him against asking Allah for endurance, which he had to seek during tribulation and poverty.
The Imam blamed those who begged on the Day of ‘Arafa
The Imam, peace be on him, saw some men asking the people to help them on the Day of ‘Arafa. He rebuked them for this and said: “Woe unto you! Why do you ask other than Allah on such a day? Those who are in the wombs of the pregnant want to be happy on this day!89”
He, peace be on him, bought black slaves though he had no need of them. He brought them to ‘Arafat. When he returned from ‘Arafat, he ordered the slaves to be released and to be given money gifts.90
On the day of ‘Arafa, the Imam stood in prayer, recited the Holy Qur’an, and supplicated Allah with this holy supplication, which is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. This is because it contains important affairs. The following is its text:
“Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds! O Allah, to You belongs praise! Originator of the heavens and the earth! Possessor of majesty and munificence! Lord of Lords! Object of worship of every worshipper! Creator of every creature! Inheritor of all things! There is nothing like Him, knowledge of nothing escapes Him, He encompasses everything, and He is watchful over everything. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the Unique, the Alone, the Single, the Isolated. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the Generous, the Generously Bestowing, the All-mighty, the Mightily Exalted, the Magnificent, the Magnificently Magnified. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the All-high, the Sublimely High, the Strong in prowess. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate, the All-knowing, the All-wise. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the All-hearing, the All-Seeing, the Eternal, the All-aware. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the Generous, the Most Generous, the Everlasting, the Most Everlasting. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the First before everyone, the Last after every number. You are Allah, there is no god but You, the Close in His highness, the High in His closeness. You are Allah, there is no god but You, Possessor of radiance and glory, magnificence and praise. You are Allah, there is no god but You. You have brought forth the things without root, formed what You have formed without exemplar, and originated the originated things without imitation. It is You who has ordained each thing with an ordination, eased each thing with an easing, and governed everything below Yourself with a governing. It is You whom no associate helps with Your creation and no vizier aids in Your command. You have no witness and no equal. It is You who willed, and what You willed was unfailing, who decreed, and what You decreed was just, who decided, and what You decided was fair. It is You whom place does not contain, before whose authority no authority stands up, and whom no proof or explication can thwart.”
In these brilliant words, the Imam magnified, lauded, and praised Allah. He explained the most positive attributes of Him, the Exalted. He said: “Allah, the Most High, has brought forth, found, and originated things with His power and will, which firmly made everything.” Allah, the Exalted, firmly created seen and unseen things. He ordained them with an ordination and governed them with a governing through His great wisdom, which perplexes intellects. Man is a possible being, limited in knowledge, power, and will, Hence he is unable to know the Great Creator, Who is far above imagination and perception. This is what the Imam has stressed in the following paragraph of this holy supplication:
“It is You who have counted everything in numbers, appointed for everything a term, and ordained everything with an ordination. It is You before whose selfness imaginations fall short, before whose howness understandings have no incapacity, and the place of whose whereness eyes perceive not. It is You who have no bounds, lest You be bounded, who are not exemplified, lest You be found, who do not beget, lest You be begotten. It is You with whom there is no opposite, lest it contend with You, who have no equal, lest it vie with You, who have no rival, lest it resist You. It is You who are He who began, devised, brought forth, originated, and made well all that He made. Glory be to You! How majestic is Your station! How high Your place among the places! How cleanly Your Separator cleaves with the truth!”
In this paragraph, the Imam of monotheists has mentioned the boundless knowledge of Allah, the Exalted, of which is that He has counted in numbers everything in the universe and knows everything in it, Hence no weight of an atom is concealed from Him in the heavens and the earth. The Imam has also mentioned that understandings fall short before the selfness and howness of Him, the Exalted. This is because the possible being is incapable of understanding the selfness and howness of the Necessary Being, Who has neither kind nor genus nor family. Man- who is incapable of understanding his selfness, his howness, and his wonderful organs- is unable to understanding the selfness and howness of the Almighty Creator, Who created time, place, the stars, and galaxies whose stars none can count except Allah.
This paragraph contains important philosophical concepts such negating bound, equal, and opposite. The books of philosophy and theology have discussed them in detail. Now, listen to another part of this holy supplication:
“Glory be to You! The Gentle - how gentle You are! The Clement - how clement You are! The Wise - how knowing You! Glory be to You! The King - how invincible You are! The Munificent - how full of plenty You are! The Elevated - how elevated You are! Possessor of radiance and glory, magnificence and praise! Glory be to You! You have stretched forth Your hand with good things, and from You guidance has come to be known, Hence he who begs from Your religion or this world will find You. Glory be to You! Whatever passes in Your knowledge is subjected to You, all below Your Throne are humbled before Your mightiness, and every one of Your creatures follows You in submission. Glory be to You! You are not sensed, nor touched, nor felt, nor beguiled, nor held back, nor challenged, nor kept up with, nor resisted, nor deceived, nor circumvented. Glory be to You! Your path is smooth ground, Your command right guidance, and You are a living, eternal refuge. Glory be to You! Your word is decisive, Your decree unfailing, Your will resolute. Glory be to You! None can reject Your wish, none can change Your words. Glory be to You! Outdazzling in signs, Creator of the heavens, Author of the spirits!”
This part contains the most wonderful words with which the saints and the pious glorify their Lord. How Great and Majestic was Allah in the opinion of the Imam, peace be on him. This is because He, the Exalted, is gentle and clement to his creatures, and is a Powerful King! Whoever seeks refuge in Him seeks refuge in a stronghold and inaccessible cave. The Imam, peace be on him, mentioned the mightiness of Allah, the Most High, to which all that which in the universe is subjected, toward which all that which in the existence is humble, before which all creatures are submissive. Another quality of Allah’s mightiness is that He is free from body, Hence He is not sensed through the five senses, for He is the Light of the heavens and the earth. Another quality of His mightiness is that none can beguile, circumvent, argue with, and challenge him; rather all His creatures are in his grasp, His force, and His Command. Hence His word is decisive, His decree is unfailing, and His will is resolute. After this, let’s listen to another part of this holy tradition:
“To You belongs praise, a praise that will be permanent with Your permanence! To You belongs praise, a praise everlasting through Your favor! To You belongs praise, a praise that will parallel Your benefaction! To You belongs praise, a praise that will increase Your good pleasure! To You belongs praise, a praise along with the praise of every praiser and a thanksgiving before which falls short the thanksgiving of every thanksgiver; a praise which is suitable for none but You and through which nearness is sought to none but You, a praise which will make permanent the first (bounty) and call forth the permanence of the last; a praise which will multiply through recurrence of times and increase through successive doublings; a praise which the guardians will not be able to number and which exceeds what the writers number in Your Book; a praise which will counterbalance Your glorious Throne and equal Your elevated Footstool; a praise whose reward with You will be complete and whose recompense will comprise every recompense; a praise whose outward conforms to its inward, and whose inward conforms to its to correct intention; a praise with whose like no creature has praised You and whose excellence none knows but You; a praise in which he who strives to multiply Your praise will be helped and he who draws the bow to the utmost in fulfilling it will be confirmed; a praise which will gather all the praise which You have created and tie together all which You will afterwards create; a praise than which no praise is near to Your word and than which none is greater from any who praise You; a praise whose fullness will obligate increase through Your generosity and to which You will join increase after increase as graciousness from You; a praise that will befit the generosity of Your face and meet the might of Your majesty!”
The Imam, peace be on him, used all words to praise and laud his Greatest Lover, the Almighty Creator. He praised Him with a boundless praise for His great blessings and favors.
After this let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:
“My Lord, bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad with a fruitful blessing, more fruitful than which there is no blessing! Bless him with a growing blessing more growing than which there is no blessing! And bless him with a pleasing blessing, beyond which there is no blessing! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which will please him and increase his good pleasure! Bless him with a blessing which will please You and increase Your good pleasure toward him! And bless him with a blessing through other than which You will not be pleased for him, and for which You see no one else worthy!
“My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which will pass beyond Your good pleasure, be continuous in its continuity through Your subsistence, and never be spent, just as Your words will never be spent! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which will tie together the blessings of Your angels, Your prophets, Your messengers, and those who obey You, comprise the blessings of Your servants, jinn or mankind, and those worthy of Your response, and bring together the blessings of the kinds of Your creatures which You have sown and authored! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which will encompass every blessing, bygone and new! Bless him and his Household with a blessing which is pleasing to You and everyone below You and will bring forth with all that a blessing with which You will multiply those blessings and increase them through the recurrence of days with an increasing in multiplies which none can count but You!”
In these words the Imam, peace be on him, praised his grandfather, the greatest Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. He asked Allah, the Exalted, to bless him with a fruitful, growing, and pleasing blessing which would remain throughout the recurrence of days and nights, be continuous through the subsistence of Allah, Who has no bound, and never be spent just as the words of Allah would never be spent.
After this let’s listen to another part of this supplication:
“My Lord, bless the best of his Household, those whom You have chosen for Your command appointed the treasures of Your knowledge, the guardians of Your religion, Your vicegerents in Your earth, and Your arguments against Your servants, purified from uncleanness and defilement through a purification by Your desire, and made the mediation to You and the road to Your Garden! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing which makes plentiful Your gifts and generosity, perfects for them Your bestowals and awards, and fills out their share of Your kindly acts and benefits! My Lord, bless Muhammad and his Household with a blessing whose first has no term, whose term has no limit, and whose last has no utmost end! My Lord, bless them to the weight of Your Throne and all below it, the amount that fills the heavens and all above them, the number of Your earths and all below and between them, a blessing that will bring them near to You in proximity, please You and them, and be joined to its likes forever!”
In these words the Imam, peace be on him, showed the high position of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and their excellencies, which are as follows:
Allah chose them to spread His religion and to deliver His message to His servants.
He appointed them as the treasurers of His knowledge and centers of His wisdom.
They guarded the religion of Allah from increase and decrease.
They were the vicegerents of Allah in His earth and His arguments against His servants.
Allah purified them from uncleanness and defilement, as this holy verse reads: “Verily Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanliness and to purify you, people of the House, with a through purification.”
Allah, the Exalted, made them the mediation to Him and the road to His Garden, Hence whoever followed them was safe, and whoever disobeyed them was drowning and straying.
These are some of their outstanding merits and laudable deeds about which the Imam, peace be on him, talked. Now, let’s listen to another part of this supplication:
“O Allah, surely You have confirmed Your religion in all times with an Imam whom You have set up as a guidepost to Your servants and a lighthouse in Your lands after his cord has been joined to Your cord! You have appointed him the means to Your pleasure, made obeying him obligatory, cautioned against disobeying him, and commanded following his commands, abandoning his prohibitions, and that no forward-goer go ahead of him or back-keeper keep back from him! Hence he is the preservation of the shelter-seekers, the cave of the faithful, the handhold of the adherents, and the radiance of the worlds! O Allah, Hence inspire Your guardian to give thanks for that in which You have favored him inspire us with the like concerning him, grant him an authority from You to help him, open for him an easy opening, aid him with Your mightiest pillar, brace back his back, strengthen his arm, guard him with Your eye, defend him with Your safeguarding, help him with Your angels, and assist him with Your most victorious troops! Through him establish Your Book, Your bounds, Your laws, and the norms of Your Messenger’s Sunna (Your blessings, O Allah, be upon him and his Household), bring to life the guideposts of Your religion, deadened by wrongdoers, burnish the rust of injustice from Your way, sift the adversity from Your road, eliminate those who deviate from Your path, and erase those who seek crookedness in Your straightness! Make his side mild toward Your friends, stretch forth his hand over his enemies, give us his clemency, his mercy, his tenderness, his sympathy, and make us his hearers and obeyers, strivers toward his good pleasure, assistants in helping him and defending him, and brought near through that to You and Your Messenger (Your blessings be upon him and his Household).”
The Imam, peace be on him, talked about the high position of the appointed Imam and his great importance in the world of Islam, for he is the guardian of the religion of Allah, the one who guides (people) to the way of the truth and guidance, and the means to Allah’s good pleasure. Hence it is incumbent on (men) to obey the Imam, and it is forbidden for them to disobey him, for he is the preservation of the shelter-seekers, the cave of the faithful, the handhold of the adherents, and the radiance of the worlds. Then the Imam asked Allah to grant him victory and a clear conquest in order that he might establish the Sunna of Islam, and bring to life the guideposts of Islamic law and the precepts of the religion which were deadened by the wrongdoers. Now, let’s listen to another part of this great supplication:
“O Allah, and bless the friends (of the Imams), the confessors of their station, the keepers to their course, the pursuers of their tracks, the clingers to their handhold, the adherents to their guardianship, the followers of their Imamate, the submitters to their command, the strivers to obey them, the awaiters of their days, the directors of their eyes toward them, with blessings blessed, pure, growing, fresh, and fragrant! Give them and their spirits peace, bring together their affair in reverential fear, set right their situations, turn toward them, Surely Your are Ever-turning, All-compassionate and the Best of forgivers, and place us with them in the Abode of Peace, through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”
The Imam, peace be on him, asked Allah, the Exalted, to bless the Shi‘ites of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, who (the Shi‘ites) represent the ideological awareness in Islam, follow the way of the pure Imams, pursue their tracks, adhere to their guardianship, follow their Imamate, and strive to obey them, and await their days. It is the Shi‘ites who cling to the true Islam and follow the Prophet’s words and practices through obeying the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, cleaving to them, and putting into practice the Islamic precepts which have been reported on their authority. Then the Imam, peace be on him, asked Allah to bring together their affairs in reverential fear, to set rights their situations, to turn toward them, and to place him with them in the Abode of Peace. Let’s listen to another part of this supplication:
“O Allah, this is the Day of ‘Arafa, a day which You have made noble, given honor, and magnified. Within it You have spread Your mercy, showed kindness through Your pardon, and made plentiful Your giving, and by it You have been bounteous toward Your servants. O Allah, I am Your servants whom You favored before creating him and after creating him. You made him one of those whom You guided to Your religion, gave success in fulfilling Your right, preserved through Your cord, included within Your party, and directed aright to befriend Your friends and show enmity to Your enemies. Then You commanded him, but he did not follow Your commands, You restricted him, but he did not heed Your restrictions, You prohibited him from disobedience toward You, but he broke Your command by doing what You had prohibited, not in contention with You, nor to display pride toward You; on the contrary, his caprice called him to that which You had set apart and cautioned against, and he was helped in that by Your enemy and his enemy. Hence he went ahead with it knowing Your threat, hoping for Your pardon, and relying upon Your forbearance, though he was the most obligated of Your servants -given Your kindness toward him- not to do Hence. Here I am, then, before You, despised, lowly, humble, abject, fearful, confessing the dreadful with which I am burdened and the great offenses that I have committed, seeking sanctuary in Your forgiveness, asking shelter in Your mercy, and certain that no sanctuary-giver will give me sanctuary from You and no withholder will hold me back from You. Hence act kindly toward me, just as You act kindly by shielding him who commits sins, be munificent toward me, just as You are munificent by pardoning him who throws himself before You, and show kindness to me just as it is nothing great for You to show kindness by forgiving him who expectantly hopes in You! Appoint for me in this day an allotment through which I may attain a share of Your good pleasure, and send me not back destitute of that with which Your worshippers return from among Your servants! Though I have not forwarded the righteous deeds which they have forwarded, I have forwarded the profession of Your Unity and the negation from You of opposites, rivals, and likenesses, I have come to You by the gateways by which You have commanded that people come, and I have sought nearness to You through that without seeking nearness through which none gains nearness to You. Then I followed all this with repeated turning toward You, lowliness and abasement before You, opinion of You, and trust in what is with You; and that I coupled hope in You, since the one who hopes in You is seldom disappointed! I ask You with the asking of one vile, lowly, pitiful, poor, fearful, seeking sanctuary; all that in fear and pleading seeking refuge and asking shelter, not presumptuous through the pride of the proud, nor exalting myself with the boldness of the obedient, nor presumptuous of the intercession of the interceders. For I am still the least of the least and the lowliest of the lowly, like a dust mote or less!”
In this part of his supplication, the Imam, peace be on him, expressed his magnification and glorification toward the Day of ‘Arafa, which is among the most glorious days of Allah. This is because, Allah, the Exalted, spreads therein His mercy, shows kindness toward the pilgrims of His Sacred House through pardon and forgiveness. The Imam, peace be on him, also showed his lowliness and absolute obedience to Allah relying upon His gentleness, hoping for His pardon, forwarding the profession of His Unity, and negating from Him opposites, rivals, and likenesses, coming to Him by the gateways which He, the Exalted, had commanded that people come, and which were the gateways of the pure Imams. In this there is a lesson for the negligent and those who turn away from Allah, the Exalted, to follow this way, that they might save themselves from the chastisement of Allah in the Next Abode.
Now, let’s return to listen to another part of this holy supplication: “O He who does not hurry the evildoers nor restrain those living in ease! O He who shows kindness through releasing stumblers and gratuitous bounty through respiting the offenders! I am the evildoer, the confessor, the offender, the stumbler! I am he who was audacious toward You as one insolent! I am he who disobeyed You with forethought! I am he who hid myself from Your servants and blatantly showed myself to You! I am he who was awed by Your servants and felt secure from You! I am he who dreaded not Your penalty and feared not Your severity! I am the offender against himself! I am the hostage to his own affliction! I am short in shame! I am long in suffering! By the right of him whom You have distinguished among Your creation and by him whom You have chosen for Yourself! By the right of him whom You have selected from among Your creatures and by him whom You have picked for Your task! By the right of him whom the obeying of whom You have joined to obeying You, and by him the disobeying of whom You have made like disobeying You! And by the right of him whose friendship You have bound to Your friendship and by him whose enmity You have linked to Your enmity! Shield me in this day of mine by that through which You shield him prays fervently to you while disavowing and him who seeks refuge in Your forgiveness while repenting! Attend to me with that through which You attend to the people of obedience toward You, proximity to You, and rank with You! Single me out as You single him out who fulfills Your covenant, fatigues himself for Your sake alone, and exerts himself in Your good pleasure! Take me not to task for my neglect in respect to You, my transgressing the limit in Your bounds, and stepping outside Your ordinances! Draw me not on little by little by granting me a respite, like the drawing on little by little of him who withholds from me the good he has by not sharing with You in letting favor down upon me! Arouse me from the sleep of the heedless, the slumber of the prodigal, and the dozing of the forsaken! Take my heart to that in which You have employed the devout, enthralled the worshippers, and rescued the remiss! Give me refuge from that which will keep me far from You, come between me and my share from You, and bar me from that which I strive for in You! Make easy for me the road of good deeds toward You, racing to them from where You have commanded, and covering them as You desire! Efface me not along with those whom You efface for thinking lightly of what You have promised! Destroy me not with those whom You destroy for exposing themselves to Your hate! Annihilate me not among those whom You annihilate for deviating from Your roads! Deliver me from the floods of trial, save me from the gullets of affliction, and grant me sanctuary from being seized by respite!”
In this paragraph, the Imam, peace be on him, talked about the favors of Allah, the Exalted, toward His servants, which are: Allah did not hurry to punish the evildoers and the disobedient; He granted them a respite in order that they might return to the road of the truth and righteousness. The Imam, peace be on him, also expressed his abasement and lowliness before the Great Creator. He asked and pleaded to him to grant him pardon and good pleasure, to arouse him from the sleep of the heedless and the slumber of the prodigal, and to make him walk on the road of the righteous. Let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:
“Come between me and the enemy who misguides me, the caprice which ruins me, and the failing which overcomes me! Turn not away from me with the turning away in wrath from one with whom You are not pleased! Let me not lose heart in expecting from You lest I be overcome by despair of Your mercy! Grant me not that which I cannot endure lest You weigh me down with the surplus of Your love which You load upon me! Send me not from Your hand, the sending of him who possesses no good, toward whom You have no need, and who turns not back (to You) ! Cast me not with the casting of him who has fallen from the eye of Your regard and been wrapped in degradation from You! Rather take my hand (and save me) from the falling of the stumblers, the disquiet of the deviators, the slip of those deluded, and the plight of the perishers! Release me from that with which You have afflicted the ranks of Your servants and handmaids and make me reach the utmost degrees of him about whom You are concerned, towards whom You show favor, and with whom You are pleased, Hence that You let him live as one praiseworthy and take him to You as one felicitous! Collar me with the collar of abstaining from that which makes good deeds fail and takes away blessings! Impart to my heart restraint before ugly works of evil and disgraceful misdeeds! Divert me not by that which I cannot reach except through You from doing that which alone makes You pleased with me! Root out from my heart the love of this vile world, which keeps from everything which is with You, bars from seeking the mediation to You, and distracts from striving for nearness to You! Embellish for me solitude in prayer whispered to You by night and by day! Give me a preservation which will bring me close to dread of You cut me off from committing things made unlawful by You, and spare me from captivation by dreadful sins! Give me purification from the defilement of disobedience, take away from me the filth of offenses, dress me in the dress of Your well-being, cloak me in the cloak of Your release, wrap me in Your ample favors, and clothe me in Your bounty and Your graciousness! Strengthen me with Your giving success and Your pointing the right way, help me toward righteous intention, pleasing words, and approved works, and entrust me not to my force and my strength in place of Your force and Your strength! Degrade me not on the day You raise me up to meet You, disgrace me not before Your friends, make me not forget remembering You, take me not away from me thanking You, but enjoin it upon me in states of inattention when the ignorant are heedless of Your boons, and inspire me to laud what You have done for me and confess to what You have conferred upon me! place my beseeching You above the beseeching of the beseechers and my praise of You above the praise of the praisers! Abandon me not with my neediness for You, destroy me not for what I have done for You!”
Have you noticed this clinging to Allah, the Exalted, and sincere obedience to Him? Have you noticed how the Imam, peace be on him, asked his Lord with lowliness, submission, and flattery? He asked Him to protect him from the trickery of the accursed Satan, the first enemy of man. He asked Him to turn him aside from every caprice that took him to a way other than the right way, to take care of him, to take his hand (and save him) from the falling of the stumblers, the disquiet of the divators, and the slip of those deluded, to root out from his heart the love of this world, which is the root of every crime, and to embellish for him worship and obedience to Him, that he would attain obedience, worship, and nearness to Him. Now, let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:
“And slap not my brow with that with which You slap the brow of those who contend with You, for I am submitted to You. I know that the argument is Yours, that You are closest to bounty, most accustomed to beneficence, worthy of reverent fear, and worthy of forgiveness, that You are closer to pardoning than to punishing, and that You are nearer to covering over than to making notorious! Hence let me live an agreeable life that will tie together what I want and reach what I love while I not bring what You dislike and not commit what You have prohibited; and make me die the death of him whose light runs before him and on his right hand! Abase me before Yourself and exalt me before Your creatures, lower me when I am alone with You and raise me among Your servants, free me from need for him has no need of You and increase me in neediness and poverty toward You! Give me refuge from the gloating of enemies, the arrival of affliction, lowliness and suffering! Shield me in what You see from me, the shielding of him who would have power over violence had he no clemency, and would seize for misdeeds had he no lack of haste! When You desire for a people a trial or an evil, deliver me from it, for I seek Your shelter; and since You have not stood me in the station of disgrace in this world of Yours, stand me not in such a station in the next world of Yours! Couple for me the beginnings of Your kindness with their ends and the ancient of Your benefits with the freshly risen! Prolong not my term with a prolonging through which my heart will harden! Strike me not with a striking that will take my radiance! Visit me not with a meanness that will diminish my worth or a deficiency that will keep my rank unknown! Frighten me not with a fright by which I will despair or a terror through which I will dread!
“However, make me stand in awe of Your threat, take precautions against leaving no excuses and Your warning, and tremble at the recitation of Your verses! Fill my night with life by keeping awake therein for worshipping You, solitude with vigil for You, exclusive devotion to reliance upon You, setting my needs before You, and imploring that You will set my neck free from the Fire and grant me sanctuary from Your chastisement, within which its inhabitants dwell! Leave me not blindly wandering in my insolence or inattentive in my perplexity for a time, make me not an admonition to him who takes admonishment, a punishment exemplary for him who takes heed, a trial for him who observe, devise not against me along with those against whom You devise, replace me not with another, change not my name, transform not my body, appoint me not a mockery for Your creatures, a laughing-stock for Yourself, a follower of anything but Your goo-pleasure, a menial servant for anything but avenging You!”
The Imam, peace be on him, presented his worries and requests before the Great Creator asking Him to fulfill them and not to refuse to accept answering him. He asked Him to let him live an agreeable life that would tie together what he wanted, not to let him commit any sin, and to make him die the death of one whose light ran before him and on his right hand. He also asked Allah to abase him before Himself when he stood in whispered prayers, and to make him find no entity of himself before Him. He asked Him to exalt him before His creatures, to free him from need for them, to give him refuge from the gloating of enemies, which is among the greatest disasters against man, to save him from the arrival of affliction, lowliness and suffering, to deliver him from a trial or an evil when He desired it for a people, etc. Now, let’s listen to the last paragraphs of this great supplication:
“Let me find the coolness of Your pardon and the sweetness of Your mercy, Your repose, Your ease, and the garden of Your bliss! Let me taste through some of Your boundless plenty, the favor of being free for what You love and striving in what brings about proximity with You and to You, and give me a gift from among Your gifts! Make my commerce profitable and my return without loss, fill me with fear of Your station, make me yearn for the meeting with, and allow me to repent with an unswerving repentance along with which You let no sin remain, small or large, and leave no wrongs, open or secret! Root out rancor toward the faithful from my breast, bend my heart toward the humble, be toward me as You are toward the righteous, adorn me with the adornment of the Allah-fearing, appoint for me a goodly report among those yet to come and a growing remembrance among the later folk, and take me to the plain of those who came first! Complete the lavishness of Your favor upon me, clothe me in its repeated generosities, fill my hands with Your benefits, drive Your generous gifts to me, Make me the neighbor of the best of Your friends in the Gardens which You have adorned for Your chosen, and wrap me in Your noble presents in the stations prepared for Your beloved ones! Appoint for me a resting place with You where I may seek heaven in serenity, and a resort to which I may revert and rest my eyes, weigh not against me my dreadful misdeeds, destroy me not on the day the secrets are tried, eliminate from me every doubt and uncertainty, appoint for me a way in the truth from every mercy, make plentiful for me the portions of gifts from Your granting of awards, and fill out for me the shares of beneficence from Your bestowal of bounty! Make my heart trust in what is with You and my concern free for what is Yours, employ me in that in which You employ Your pure friends, drench my heart with Your obedience when intellects are distracted, and combine with me independence, continence, ease, release, health, plenty, tranquillity, and well-being! Make not fail my good deeds through my disobedience that stains them or my private times of worship through the instigations of Your trial! Safeguard my face from asking from anyone in the world, and drive me far from begging for that which is with the ungodly! Make me not an aid to the wrongdoers, nor their hand and helper in erasing Your Book! Defend me whence I know not with a defense through which You protect me! Open toward me the gates of Your repentance, Your mercy, Your clemency, and Your boundless provision! Surely I am one of those who beseech You! And complete Your favor toward me! Surely Your are the best of those who show favor! Place the rest of my life in the hajj and the ‘Umra seeking Your face, O Lord of the worlds! And may Allah bless Muhammad and his Household, the good, the pure, and peace be on him and them always and forever!91”
With this we will end this holy supplication, which is among the excellent supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. It contains outstanding lessons on wisdom, knowledge, and turning to Allah in repentance. Moreover it contains pure words and beautiful styles.
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, received the day of ‘Id al-Adha’ (Sacrifice) with prayer and pleading to Allah asking Him to do him a favor through accepting his rites and all his works of worship and obedience to Him, and to grant him pardon and good pleasure. He supplicated Allah, the Exalted, with this glorious supplication, whose text is as follows:
“O Allah, this is a blessed and fortunate day, within in which Muslims are gathered in the quarters of Your earth. Among them are present the asker, the seeker, the beseecher, the fearful, while You are looking upon their deeds. Hence I ask You by Your munificence and generosity and easy upon You is what I ask You! that You bless Muhammad and his Household. And I ask You, O Allah, our Lord for Yours is the kingdom and Yours is the praise; there is no god but You, the Clement, the Generous, the All-loving, the All-kind, Possessor of majesty and munificence, Originator of the heavens and the earth whenever You apportion among Your faithful servants good, well-being, blessing, guidance, works in obedience to You, or good through which You are kind to them by guiding them to You, or raise them up a degree with You or give them the good of this world or the next, that You give me amply my share and allotment of it.
“And I ask You, O Allah for Yours is the kingdom and the praise; there is no god but You that You bless Muhammad, Your servant and Your messenger, Your beloved and Your selected friend, Your chosen from among Your creation, and the Household of Muhammad, the pious, the pure, the chosen, with a blessing no one has strength to count but You, that You associate us with the most righteous of Your faithful servants who supplicate You today O Lord of the worlds and that You forgive us and them! Surely You are powerful over everything. O Allah, toward You I aim with my need and before You I set my poverty, my neediness, my misery, for I have more trust in Your forgiveness and Your mercy than in my own works. Your forgiveness and Your mercy are vaster than my sins. Hence bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad, and attend to the accomplishment of every need of mine through Your power over it, its easiness for You, my poverty toward You, and Your freedom from need for me! I will come upon no good whatsoever unless through You, no one other than You will turn any evil away from me, and I have hope in none but You for my affair in the next world and in this world.
“O Allah, if anyone has ever arranged, made ready, prepared, and drawn himself up to be received by a creature in hope of his support and awards, then today toward You, my Master, is my arrangement, my making ready, my preparations, and my drawing up, in hope of Your pardon and support and in seeking to attain to You and Your prize. O Allah, Hence bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad, and disappoint not my hope in that today! O He who is not troubled by those who ask and diminished by those who attain their desire! I come not before You trusting in a righteous work I have sent ahead, nor in the intercession of any creature in whom I have hope, except the intercession of Muhammad and the Folk of his House (upon him and upon them be Your peace). I come to You admitting sin and evildoing toward myself. I come to You hoping for Your abounding pardon through which You have pardon the offenders, while their long persistence in dreadful sin did not prevent You from returning toward them with mercy and forgiveness! O He whose mercy is wide and whose pardon is abounding! O All-mighty! O All-mighty! O All-generous! O All-generous! Bless Muhammad the Household of Muhammad, return toward me through Your mercy, be tender toward me through Your bounty, and spread out Your forgiveness upon me!”
In the beginning of his supplication, the Imam, peace be on him, praised ‘Id al-Adha’ and its importance with the Muslims in the quarters of the earth, whether they attend the rites of the hajj or not who raise their requests to Allah, the Exalted, asking Him to accomplish them. The Imam asked Allah to give him a share of good, health, and guidance which He gave to His servants on this day. After that the Imam showed lowliness and pleading before Allah in whose hand is giving and deprivation, asking Him to be kind to him through forgiveness, mercy, and good pleasure. After this, let’s listen to another part of this supplication:
“O Allah, this station92 belongs to Your vicegerents, Your chosen, while the places of Your trusted ones in the elevated degree which You have singled out for them have been forcibly stripped! But You are the Ordainer of that Your command is not overcome, the inevitable in Your governing is not overstepped! However You will and whenever You will! In that which You know best, You are not accused for Your creation or Your will! Then Your selected friends, Your vicegerents, were overcome, vanquished, forcibly stripped; they see Your decree replaced, Your book discarded, Your obligations distorted from the aims of Your laws, and the Sunna of Your Prophet abandoned! O Allah, curse their enemies among those of old and the later folk, and all those pleased with their acts, and their adherents and followers! O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad (surely You are All-laudable, All-glorious) like Your blessing, benedictions, and salutations upon Your chosen Abraham and the people of Abraham! And hasten for them relief, ease, help, strengthening, and confirmation!”
In this part of his supplication, the Imam, peace be on him, dealt with the sensitive political affairs in his time, Hence he stated the following:
1. The station of the ‘Id prayer and other general affairs belonged to the Imams of guidance, who were the vicegerents of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and his trustees, and who treated the people with justice and fairness.
2. The important organs of the state were forcibly stripped by the Imams of tyranny and misguidance from among the Umayyad kings who spared no effort to war against Islamic awareness and to remove the Islamic message from society.
3. During the black government of the Umayyads, the Imam of guidance and truth were overcome, vanquished, and forcibly stripped.
4. The Umayyads intended to replace the decrees of Allah, to discard the Book, to distort the obligations, and to abandon the Sunna of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.
After this let’s return to another part of this holy supplication:
“O Allah, and make me one of the people who profess Your Unity, have faith in You, and attest to Your Messenger and the Imams toward whom You have enjoined obedience, and one of those through whom and at whose hands this takes place! Amen, Lord of the worlds! O Allah, nothing repels Your wrath but Your clemency, nothing repels Your displeasure but Your pardon, nothing grants sanctuary from Your punishment but Your mercy, and nothing will deliver me from You except pleading to You before You, Hence bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad, and give us on Your part, my Allah, relief by means of the power through which You bring the dead servants to life and revive the dead lands. Destroy me not through gloom, my Allah, before You respond to me and give me the knowledge of Your response to my supplication! Let me taste the flavor of well-being to the end of my term! And let not my enemy gloat over me, place not my neck in his power, and give him not authority over me!
“My Allah, if You rise me up, who is there to push me down? If You push me down, who is there to raise me up? If You honor me, who is there to humiliate me? If You humiliate me, who is there to honor me? If You chastise me, who is there to have mercy upon me? If You destroy me, who is there to stand up for Your servant against You or ask You about his affair? But I know that there is no wrong in Your decree and no hurry in Your vengeance. He alone hurries who fears to miss, and only the weak needs to wrong. But You are exalted, My Allah, high indeed above all that!
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad, make me not the target of affliction nor the object of Your vengeance, respite me, comfort me, release me from my stumble, and afflict me not with an affliction in the wake of an affliction, for You have seen my frailty, the paucity of my stratagems, and my pleading to You! I seek refuge in You today, my Allah, from Your wrath, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and give me refuge! I seek sanctuary in You today from Your displeasure, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and give me sanctuary! I seek guidance from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and guide me! I seek help from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and help me! I ask You for mercy, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and have mercy upon me! I seek sufficiency from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and suffice me! I seek provision from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and provide for me! I seek assistance from You, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and assist me! I pray forgiveness for my past sins, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and forgive me! I ask You to preserve me from sin, Hence bless Muhammad and his Household and preserve me, for I will not return to anything You dislike from me, if You will that! My Lord! My Lord! O All-loving! O All-kind! O Possessor of majesty and munificence! Bless Muhammad and his Household, and grant me everything that I ask from You, seek from You, and beseech from You! Will it, ordain it, decree it, and accomplish it! give me good in that of it which You decree! Bless me in that, be gratuitously bountiful toward me through it, make me happy in that of it which You give to me, and increase me in Your bounty and the plenty of what is with You, for You are boundless, Generous! And link that to the good and the bliss of the next world, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.93”
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, supplicated Allah with this glorious supplication and called down blessings on Muhammad and his Household one thousand times. With this we will end our talk about this holy supplication full of lowliness and pleading to the Great Creator. In it the Imam asked Allah for the good of this world and the next world. He asked, the Exalted, to make him have faith in Him and to attest to His Messenger and the great Imams, the trustees of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and his vicegerents over his community. Without doubt, the Imam, peace be on him, had great faith in Allah, attested to His Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and knew of his trustees (of authority), for he was among them. He supplicated with this supplication to guide the community to the sound, ideological path.
- 1. Al-‘Askari, Taffsir, p. 132.
- 2. Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 1, p. 53. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 105. Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 134. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p. 105. Durrar al-Abkar, p. 70.
- 3. Al-Kawakib al-Durriya, vol. 2, p. 139.
- 4. Al-Khisal, p. 488.
- 5. Durrar al-Abkar, p. 70. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 326. Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 238. Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 49. Akhbar al-Diwal, p. 109. Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 132. Al-‘Aqdd al-Farid, vol. 3, p. 103.
- 6. Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 52. Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 38.
- 7. Wasilat al-Mal, p. 207. Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 38. Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 52.
- 8. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 58.
- 9. Ibid., p. 108.
- 10. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 685.
- 11. Tahdhib al-Ahkam, vol. 2, p. 286. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 79.
- 12. Tahdhib al-Ahkam, vol. 2, p. 286. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 79.
- 13. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 108.
- 14. ‘Ilal al-Sharai‘, p. 88. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 61. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 688.
- 15. Akhbar al-Diwal, p. 110. 3. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 99.
- 16. Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 52. Al-Muntazam, vol. 6, p. 141. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 325. Siyar ‘Alam al-Nubala’, vol. 4, p. 238.
- 17. Al-Risala al-Qushayriya, vol. 1, p. 214.
- 18. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, p. 306. Nu`r al-Abbsar, p. 136. Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 49. Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, vol. 1, p. 71. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 141. Al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 188. Akhbar al-Diwal, p. 110. Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p. 151. Al-Sirat al-Sawi, p. 193. Iqamat al-Hujja, p. 171. Al-‘Ibar fi Khabar men Ghabar, vol. 1, p. 111. Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 9, p. 355. Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 45. Al-Muntazam, vol. 6, p. 143. Al-Dhahabi, Tarikh al-Islam. Al-Kawakib al-Durriya, vol. 2, p. 131. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p. 105.
- 19. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 61. Al-Khisal, p. 487.
- 20. Al-Khisal, p. 487.
- 21. Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 53.
- 22. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 4, p. 981.
- 23. Ibid., p. 1079.
- 24. Al-Quttb al-Rawandi, Da‘awat, p. 34.
- 25. Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 53. Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 2, p. 263.
- 26. He, peace be on him, meant that he did not trust those whom he knew, for they disclosed the secret when they knew it.
- 27. He, peace be on him, referred to the holy verse: “And certainly We created man of an extract of clay, then We made him a small life-germ in a firm resting-place, then We made the life-germ a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made (in) the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation, Hence blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.”
- 28. Fi Zilal al-Qur’an, vol. 17, p. 16.
- 29. Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 32.
- 30. Al-Mufeed, al-Irshad, p. 272. Roudat al-Wa‘izin, vol. 1, p. 237.
- 31. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 99.
- 32. Ibid., p. 91.
- 33. Ibn Shahrashu`b, al-Manaqib. Hayat al-Imam Mohammed al-Baqir.
- 34. AL-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 65.
- 35. Al-Rawandi, Da‘awat, p. 4.
- 36. Furu`‘ al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 88.
- 37. By the month of purity he, peace be on him, meant that the fasting one is pure from sins in this blessed month.
- 38. Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 44.
- 39. Al-Mahasin, p. 396. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 72.
- 40. Qur’an, 24, 22.
- 41. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, pp. 103-104.
- 42. Al-Tu`si, al-Misbah. Al-Kaf‘ami, al-Misbah.
- 43. Qur’an, 66, 8.
- 44. Ibid., 6, 110.
- 45. Ibid., 2, 261
- 46. Ibid., 57, 11.
- 47. Ibid., 2, 152.
- 48. Ibid., 14, 7.
- 49. Ibid., 40, 60.
- 50. He, peace be on him, meant that he neglected this month because he did not take care of works therein.
- 51. By the varieties of its craved stores, he meant the reward which Allah has stored for His believing servants.
- 52. By the these two months, he meant the past and the next months of Ramadhan.
- 53. Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 45.
- 54. Ibid., Supplication no. 46.
- 55. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 8, p. 5.
- 56. Men la Yahdarahu` al-Faqih, p. 156. Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 8, p. 5.
- 57. Men la Yahdarahu` al-Faqih, p. 159.
- 58. Ibid., p. 155.
- 59. Al-Bihar. In al-‘Aqdd al-Farid, vol. 3, p. 103, it has been mentioned: “He performed the hajj on foot twenty-five times.”
- 60. Hulyat al-Awliya’, vol. 3, p. 133.
- 61. Al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 189.
- 62. Hayat al-Imam Mohammed al-Baqir, vol. 1, p. 138.
- 63. Al-Bihar, vol. 46, p. 71.
- 64. Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 54.
- 65. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 326. Khulasat Tahdhib al-Kamal, p. 131. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, 306.
- 66. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, 306.
- 67. Furu`‘ al-Kafi, vol. 4, 407.
- 68. Qur’an, 23, 101.
- 69. Ibid., 21, 28.
- 70. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 101.
- 71. In his book al-Rasa’il, p. 89, al-Jahiz mentioned that Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik was called al-Ahwal al-Sarraq (the cross-eyed one, the one who steals very much). Abu` al-Najam al-‘Ajali recited him his poem in which he said: “Praise belongs to Allah, the All-giving....” Hence he (Hisham) clapped his hands as a sign of approval of the poem. When he (Abu` al-Najam al-‘Ajali) came to mentioning the sun, he said: “And the sun in the earth is like the eye of the cross-eyed one.” Hence Hisham ordered him to be taken out. Commenting on that, al-Jahiz said: “This is an intense weakness and great ignorance.”
- 72. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, pp. 331. Some or all this poem has been mentioned in many books of literature, history, and biographies. The following is some of them: Zahr al-Adab, vol. 1, p. 103. Ibn Nabbata, Sarah al-‘Uyyu`n, p. 390. Ibn al-Sabbagh, al-Fusu`l al-Muhimma, p. 193. Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 51. Al-Qirmani, Akhbar al-Diwal, p. 110. Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36. p. 161. Roudat al-Wa‘izin, vol. 1, p. 239. Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 9, p. 356. Anwar al-Rabi‘, vol. 4, p. 35. It is worth mentioning that the order of the lines of this poem is different in these books.
- 73. Al-Bustani, Da’irat al-Ma‘arif, vol. 9, p. 356.
- 74. Anwar al-Rabi‘, vol. 4, p. 35.
- 75. Al-Aghani.
- 76. Imam Zayd, pp. 28-29.
- 77. Sarh al-‘Uyyu`n, p. 390.
- 78. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 331.
- 79. Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 579.
- 80. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 80. Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 4, pp. 150-151.
- 81. Qur’an, 23, p. 101.
- 82. Roudat al-Jannat, vol. 5, p. 161. He (the author of this book) commented on these words of al-Asma‘i, saying: “This is the whole of the tradition which is strange, for it contradicts the class of al-Asma‘i, the mentioned, the famous one, whose birth occurred many (years) after the death of al-Sajjad (Zayn al-‘Abidin) except that al-Asma‘i was another man from among the old people who belonged to his ancestor Asma‘
- 83. Roudat al-Wa‘izin, vol. 1, p. 237.
- 84. Roudat al-Jannat, vol. 3, p. 29.
- 85. Al-Sila bayna al-Tasawuf wa al-Tashayya‘, vol. 1, p. 161.
- 86. Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 1, p. 151. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 81. Tha‘lab, al-Majjlis, vol. 2, p. 462.
- 87. Nu`r al-Abbsar, p. 127. Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 6, p. 192.
- 88. Quttub al-Rawandi, Da‘awat, p. 43.
- 89. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 105.
- 90. Ibid., p. 62.
- 91. Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 47.
- 92. The station of the servant’s prayer.
- 93. Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 48.