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Life of Imam Zainul-Abideen (AS)

 

Imam Zainul-Abideen (a.s)

Birth

In the period of the second caliph "Ummer", the Muslims conquered Iran. The daughters of Yazdgard were brought to Madina. All had gathered in the mosque of Madina to see what was the decision of the caliph, about them. He wanted to sell them but Imam Ali (A.S.) stopped him from doing so and said to Urnmer, "leave the girls free so that they marry whosoever they wish."

One of the girls chose Hussain Ibn-e-Ali (A.S.) and the other chose Imam Hassan Mujtaba (A.S.). Imam Ali (A.S.) said to Hussain, "Look after this woman very well, because, from her an Imam will come into existence (born) who will be the best of the God's creations upon the earth and the father of all the Imams (after himself). Not very long after that the sun of his existence arose, on Thursday, the 5th of Shaaban, 38th Hijrah, in Madina. He was named "Ali" later on titled as Zain-ul-Abidin (the decoration of the worshippers) and Sajjad (one who performs much prostration).

The Ethical and Moral Characteristics of Imam (A.S.)

1. Piety and Abstinence:

One of the special features of Imam's character was his piety and abstinence. Imam Jaffar Sadiq (A.S.) said, "Ali Ibn-ul-Hussain (A.S.) resembled most of all the sons of Bani Hashim, with Ali (A.S.)".

His son Imam Mohammad Baqir (A.S.) said, "One day I happened to see my father, I saw him (completely) immersed and (thoroughly pre occupied) in the prayers and with all the attention towards God. His color was faded and his eyes were sore and red due to weeping, his feet were swollen by (prostration) and legs, and knees had developed corns. I said humbly "Oh father, why do you loose your self control during the prayers and put yourself in such an inconvenience and discomfort.

My father wept and said, "Oh son however and whatsoever amount of prayers I perform even then it is meager and very little as compared to the prayers of your grandfather, "Ali Ibn-e-Abi Talib." Taous Yamni says, I saw Imam lying in prostration saying, "Oh God your servant, needy towards you, is in your house waiting for your blessing, forgiveness and favor".

2. Attention to the life and training of people:

Imam Zain-ul-Abidin (A.S.), like his grandfather, was busy in cultivating land and palm date orchards. He offered two Rakat of prayer near each palm date tree. During the prayers he would get himself so absorbed that he did not have any attention towards anything except God. He traveled to Mecca, on foot, twenty times. And continuously guided and conducted people through the attractive melody of the Qur'anic verses.

All the human qualities and attributes were collectively present in his personality. He was the complete specimen of tolerance, forgiveness and self-sacrifice. He looked after and administrated hundreds of houses of the poor and hunger stricken. Daily a number of goats were slaughtered in his house and he distributed all their meat among the afflicted. He dressed the naked and dress less ones and paid their debts and loans. But he himself took simple meals and put on simple dress.

A person came to Ali Ibn-ul-Hussain (A.S.) and started addressing him with filthy and abusive language. Imam (A.S.) turned his face towards him without the slightest anger and quarrel or strife and said, "Oh brother, if what you say is right and correct and these vices are present in me then God may pardon and forgive my sin. And if you are telling a lie then God may forgive you and pardon your sin."

The man was very much ashamed and asked Imam (A.S.) to pardon him. Abu Hamza Somali who was one of the friends of Imam (A.S.) asked his servant to briefly define the character and morals of Imam (A.S.). He said so, "I am at his service for so many years. Whatever I saw was righteousness, piety and purity.

My lord helps and assists the people and solves their problems, with all the difficulties worries and pre occupations that he himself faces. Zaid bin Usama was lying on the deathbed. Imam Sajjad (A.S.) visited him, Zaid was weeping. When Imam (A.S.) asked him the reason of his weeping he said, "I have to pay fifteen thousand Dinnars as my loan and debt and my wealth is not so much as to pay off the debt." Imam said, "Do not weep and be contented, I will pay all of your loan."

When the nights would become dark and all the people went to sleep, Imam Sajjad (A.S.) would get up put the food in a sack and on his shoulder. He covered his face so that he is not recognized. Then he took that food to the houses of the inflicted and have-nots and gave it to them.He administrated and looked after nearly a hundred guardians less family in Madina, most of them comprised indigent, helpless and crippled, handicapped and paralytic ones.

What a surprise! None of these families knew that Imam Zain-ul-Abidin (A.S.) was the one who managed and run their lives. But after his death, when the aids were discontinued they came to know that Imam (A.S.) was their helper and friend.

Accompanying and keeping pace with his father

He was beside his father right from the moment of his migration towards Karbala and followed his father. Imam Hussain (A.S.) step by step so that, when his father asked for help on the day of Ashoora he got up to extend help to his father. But Hazrat Zainab (S.A.) stopped him and said, "You are the only memorial remnant of this family and the Imam after Imam Hussain (A.S.) and you are the guardian of all of us. Your divine mission is to convey the message of the martyrs to the people.

Although a segment of the people who are unaware consider the Imam to be a sick, invalid, handicapped and weak person. But they are seriously mistaken because the illness of Imam was an expedience and policy of God, so that he may remain safe from the harm of the enemy's sword, and become the living history of Karbala.

Therefore, after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A.S.) and his companions Shimar came into the encampment of Imam along with a group of murderers of Bani Ommayide so that he may kill the remaining ones of the camp of Imam Hussain (A.S.). Since he was ill, Shimar's companions objected upon him and Umer Saad came after them and reprimanded Shimar regarding this decision and turned him out of the encampment. And said, "He is an ill man and cannot do a thing, leave him alone."

The movement of Imam (A.S.) and his clamor begins

Imam (A.S.) who along with the left behind families of martyrs was besieged by the enemy, came out on the morning of 11th Moharram, the 61st Hijrah. They had chained his hands and feet and placed the heads of the martyrs in front of him so that his sorrow and grief is increased.

There is no doubt about it that if Imam was not there in Karbala to see all the crimes of Yazeed from a close quarter and convey it to the people of Kufa and Syria, Bani Ommayide would not have become defamed and disgraced to that extent. The family of Hussain (A.S.), as against the concept of a foolish and silly group who think they were defeated, where ever they set foot, they would announce the success of their revolution and the defeat of Yazeed. What more and superb conquest could be imagined about, than this that the enemy was highly afraid of them. Where ever they opened their lips to speak people would manifest their feelings and emotions and paid them respect and homage and rebuked, reproached, and cursed their enemies.

Imam's Speech in Kufa

When the carvan of the prisoners reached Kufa and all the people were keenly trying to see the prisoners. Imam (A.S.) noticed that Kufis did not recognize them otherwise they were not that indifferent. Therefore, Imam by his hand gave the people the signal to keep quiet. All of them adopted silence and lent ears to him. Suddenly the memorial of Hussain (Imam) opened his lips and said, "Oh the people of Kufa! I am the son of Hussain (A.S.), I am Ali the son of Ali (A.S.), Fatimah (S.A.) and Prophet (P.B.U.H.). I am the son of that Imam (A.S.) whose sons were killed and his properties looted and plundered and his family held prisoners before you. You wrote invitation letters to my father.

When he came towards you, you killed him. What will you reply to God and his Prophet (P.B.U.H.) on the justice day. You did not observe the honor and sanctity of your Prophet (P.B.U.H.) annoyed his soul. Woe to you, what a bad people you are."

Imam (A.S.) arose and alerted the sleeping consciences by these statements and addresses broke and tore the hearts and rolled the tears out of the eyes and changed the celebrations and joys of Bani Ommayide into a sorrow and grief.

In the Court of Ibn-e-Ziad

Keeping in view the reports of the officials about the turmoil and disturbance of the Kufa city, Ibn-e-Ziad ordered that they (Prisoners) must be brought to the court, as soon as possible. The unclean, dirty, obnoxious and ostentatious son of Ziad held a grand aggregation comprising of all the nobles, notable, dignitaries of Kufa to show off his power to them. And threaten and intimidate them so that in future they do not pluck the courage of uttering any words. Others should know that whosoever opposes, shall meet the same fate. Thus they showed the remaining (family) of Imam Hussain (A.S.) in and all those present there gazed and looked at them. They were looking on at them with amazement; none of them took any notice of Ibn-e-Ziad, the killer of Kufa.

The son of Ziad was furious and enraged and wanted to show disrespect to them. But he could not dare it. Hazrat Imam Sajjad (A.S.) addressed him saying "Oh the son of Ziad! Today you are sitting on the seat and throne of Power and the sons of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) are standing before you. Do not think you have any value in our eyes. These words proved so much effective that the ruler of Kufa lost his wits and was stunned and started using foul and rotten language and threatened them. Thereafter, he ordered that Imam Sajjad (A.S.) be slain, but due to the hue and cry of the prisoners and the objection of those present he refrained from it. But Imam (A.S.) addressed him saying: "You scare me from death. You must know that being killed and slain is our habit and martyrdom is our nobility and generosity."

Ibn-e-Ziad did not know what to do and what to say. He did not have any alternative except to order the prisoners be taken away from the assembly as soon as possible.

In The Court of Yazeed

The family, kith and kin of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), which were tired and exhausted, grieved and sorrowful, was all tied up with one single rope and were brought into the court and assembly of Yazeed. They adopted the same conduct and behavior with Yazeed, which they had previously shown towards Ibn-e-Ziad. None of them gave any attention and took any notice of Yazeed. Thereby, Imam (A.S.) raised his head and said, "You, who claim to be Muslim, say, what would the Prophet (P.B.U.H) do with you and say to you if he sees us in this condition that you have taken us prisoners."

This strong sentence of Imam (A.S.) made those present on the occasion weep and Yazeed was embarrassed and bewildered and at once ordered the ropes to be let loose and open.

Then he started ill speaking and vilification. So, at once the children of Imam Hussain (A.S.) and Imam Sajjad (A.S.) resisted and withstood him and delivered speeches, which dishonored and disgraced his lineage and family. It came to it, that from inside his haram sarai (women's apartment) a noise of objection, protest and crying raised. These shootings and voices of crying, and protests each one was striking upon the head of Yazeed like, as if it was a hammer.

And that woke him up from the deep slumber and sleep of drunkenness. He knew that if he detained the remaining of the family of Prophet (P.B.U.H.) for another few moments a revolt will start and his life will come to an end. He saw himself drowned in the ocean of the protest, objections, fury and anger of the people. He looked this way and that way to find a way out to get himself cleared off the crimes.

Suddenly, he shouted and said, "curse of God be upon Ibn-e-Ziad. I was not in favor of killing Hussain (A.S.) and taking his remaining family as prisoners. But then it was all over and water had crossed the bridges and all the people knew that he himself was the real criminal.

So he at once ordered the officials to take the prisoners to a place which had been provided in advance for them, so that he is not faced with any further shame and disgrace. They stationed the family of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) in an unsuitable place. But they did not sit silent and quiet even there and whenever they laid their hands upon any chance they did inform the people about the crimes of Yazeed. So much so that the three years old daughter of Imam Hussain (A.S.) named Rukkia took part and played a role in this combat and campaign.

Imam (A.S.) in Syria's Mosque

One day, Yazeed arranged and organized a grand aggregation and assembly in the mosque of Damascus (Syria) the seat of his power and government, to cover and make good his defeats. He ordered his ostentatious speakers to praise him and take liberty and adopt presumptuous attitude towards the family of Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and use foul and abusive language. So that he may make the people optimist as regards to his crime and manifest the children of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) as if (God forbid) at fault, and to belittle them in the eyes of he people.

Imam Sajjad (A.S.) was sitting in a corner of the assembly and listening to the speech of the speaker of Yazeed when he praised Yazeed and used abusive language about the family and lineage of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.). Imam (AS.) shouted loudly at him saying. "Woe to you oh dishonest agent! You have raised the anger and enraged God and provided hell for yourself to please and make Yazeed happy.

Then he turned his face towards Yazeed and said, "Allow me to climb up these wooden (step of tribune) to speak and make the Almighty God and people happy."

In the beginning Yazeed did not pay heed to him but those present asked him to allow and give permission to him. So he was obliged to give him permission but there was a huge tempest going on in his heart as to what will finally happen? Imam (A.S.) got himself seated up on the tribune and after the praise of God and thank giving to God said, "Oh people! God has bestowed upon us wisdom, knowledge, fortitude, forbearance, bravery, faith and piety. Be informed that the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) of Islam, Ali (A.S.) and Jaffar-e-Tayyar are ours. Hamza, the chief of martyrs, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (A.S.) who were the beloved ones of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) are from (among) us.

All of a sudden the people were shocked and moved, the hearts started beating fast in the chests and they focused their eyes upon Imam (A.S.). They were astonished and said to themselves what a surprise they had told us that these are Kharijis (a group of rebellions and mutinous who was ousted from the religion) who have stood up against the government. That means they lied to us. These are the best of the creations of God on the earth. The sentences (of Imam [A.S.]), which followed, made the people more informed. The Imam (A.S.) said, "I am the son of Mecca and Mina, I am the son of Zam Zam and Safa (that meant all of these were connected to them).

I am the son of the one who ascended to the skies (Meraj), I am the son of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) of God. I am the son of Ali Murtaza (A.S.), I am the son of Fatimab (S.A.). I am the son of Hussain (A.S.) who (they) killed in the Karbala without any fault and sin." All of a sudden, people burst into a huge noise of crying and weeping. Yazeed saw himself besieged. He yelled, "Oh Muezzin (caller to the prayer), call the Azzan (call to the prayer).

The voice of Allah-o-Akber was raised. Imam said, 'Nothing is greater than God." The Muezzin said, "I witness to it that there is no God except the God." Imam said, "My flesh, skin and bones do attest and stand witness to it." The Muezzin said, "I give witness to it that Mohammad (P.B.U.H) is the Prophet of God." Imam said, "Oh the caller for prayers Muezzin, for the sake of the same Prophet (P.B.U.H.) whose name you are calling stop for a while!!! Then he turned towards Yazeed and said, "Oh Yazeed this Prophet (P.B.U.H.) whose name is being called, is my grandfather or yours? If you say he was yours you have told a lie. And if you say he was my grandfather then why did you kill his sons in Karbala and take his children prisoners."

When Yazeed saw that he was unable to reply, he at once stood up to offer his prayer, for deceiving the people. Imam (A.S.) walked out of the mosque, along with a group of Syrians, as a protest. These words and sentences proved so effective that Yazeed was obliged and forced to send the Ahl al-Bayt (member of the Prophet [P.B.U.H.] family) respectfully and graciously to Madina. Following these protests, hue and cry and turmoil, anger, and hate of the people, the flags of revolution against yazeed and government of Bani Ommayide were hoisted.

It was clear that the pivot and nucleus of the movement was the movement of Imam Sajjad (A.S.). A turmoil and revolt against Yazeed took shape in Madina. He decided to stop the movement by means of massacre and mass killings. But it was all in vain. Therefore, he sent his forces to Madina under the command of a dirty and wicked man named Muslim bin Aqba delegating him complete powers. He, along with his soldiers, kept attacking the house of the people for a period of three days. They plundered and looted the wealth of the people, and killed approximately ten thousand of them. But it either did not have any effect. Thereafter, Yazeed did not spend a single day happily and every moment he was getting closer to his death.

Finally, the dark, and black file of his life was closed in the year 64 Hijrah. He died and his son Muawiyah-II succeeded him. But after forty days time he resigned his post and abandoned the throne due to his father's crimes and disgrace of his lineage and family. Abdullah Ibn-e-Zubair who had been lustful and greedy for power for many long years arose in Mecca and took hold and control of the government. Marwan grasped the seat of power in Syria. The war of power started and each one of the two got himself prepared for the annihilation of the other. After a short period Marwan died and his son Abdul Malik was enthroned in his father's place. After gaining power, he besieged Mecca in the year 73 Hijrah and killed Abdullah bin Zubair.

Abdul Malik was a man; base and miser man and he did not have any human quality and mercy. So that one day he told Mussabbab, "I dislike good deeds and works." One of his great crimes was to empower "Hajjaj bin Yousuf in Kufa and Basra, who was notorious for his mercilessness, cruelty, and brutality. He in a short span of time martyred one hundred and twenty thousand friends of Imam Ali (A.S.) and imprisoned a large segment of them. Abdul Malik was extremely vigilant regarding Hazrat Sajjad (A.S.) and he was after an excuse to arrest him (A.S.). As a result, he arrested him and brought him to Syria (Damascus). But due to the revolt and turmoil of the people, he was forced to send him back to Madina.

The Event of Imam (A.S.) and Hasham

After committing crimes for many long years, Abdul Malik passed away and his son hasham was enthroned in his father's place. One day, he traveled to Mecca in the Hajj season so as to perform Hajj (as per his own version). That was to deceive the simple-minded people. He wanted to perform circumambulation but he could not do it, because there was such a big and huge gathering. So he was forced to sit in a corner to wait for the huge crowd and gathering to get thin.

All of a sudden Imam Sajjad (A.S.) arrived to the Haram and people recited benediction for him, and cleared the way for him. He, after performing circumambulation moved towards the Hajar ul Aswad (the black stone) to rub his hand on it. Hasham witnessed this scene and was greatly annoyed and uncomfortable. He said with carelessness and inattentively "who is this man"? "I do not know him?"

Farzdak who was a freedom-loving poet at once turned his face towards Hasham and said, "Oh Hasham I am surprised why you do not recognize him? If you do not know him, I know him very well. Listen, so that I introduce him to you." He is someone that the land of Mecca and the House of the God know him. "He is the one whose grandfather is the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) of Islam. God keeps on bestowing his benediction and blessings upon them continuously.

He is the son of the best of the servants of God. He is that famous and well known pious. When you say you do not know him this thing does not harm him. If you do not know him (so what) the Arab and Ajam (Non Arab World) knows him." Hasham was very enraged and got highly flared up by the words of Farzdak, and ordered him to be imprisoned. The Imam (A.S.) sent him a gift in the prison and appreciated his inconveniences. One day he got freed from the prison.

Hazrat Sajjad (A.S.) and the Sahifa-e-Sajjadia

When the Imam got stuck in a tight corner and was virtually besieged he was obliged to state his objects and motive in the form of the prayers. These prayers have been compiled in the shape of a book named "Sahifa-e-Sajjadia." This is an ocean of topics and objects of science, mathematics, physics, astronomy, social and political sciences and ethics. Obviously and apparently this is a book of prayers. But, in fact, this is the expression of fact, pains, and difficulties. We present here a few sentences of it as a specimen.

1. Oh God! I take asylum and refuge with you from the revolt, and rebellious (attitude) refractoriness, of the anger and jealousy and the scarcity of patience, and extravagance and intemperance in life.

Oh God! Keep me alive till my life is led in your service and obedience and when it becomes the pasture and meadow of Satan, take me towards yourself and take my life."

2. Oh sons! Respect you father and mother because if the father was not there you would not have come into existence. Look at the mother that she looks after you with all of her existence (energies). She is not afraid of it that she herself remains hungry and feeds you. She herself remains cloth less (without dress) and covers (dresses) you. She remains in the sun and places you in the Shadow. You cannot thank her. This is God who has the power of thanking her (giving her the reward).

3. Watch over and attend your child because his good or bad (virtues) are related and connected to you and you are responsible for his training and guidance.

4. Be kind to your brother and sister because he/she is your hand (helper) and your power. Help him against the enemy and be his well wisher.

5. Respect your teacher and be polite in his assembly (session) and listen carefully to his words. Do not talk loudly before him. If somebody questions him about something do not reply before he does although you may know the answer to that (question).

6. Respect your neighbor and help and assist him. If you happen to observe a fault or sin of him do hide it and when he slips (commits sin) admonish him.

7. Be just in your conduct and behavior with friend and love him as he loves you.

If he makes up his mind to commit a sin stop him from that and always be a blessing for him, not a torment for him.

Imam's (A.S.) Martyrdom

At last after bearing grief's and inconveniences the magnanimous and great Imam (A.S.) was poisoned and martyred by Hasham Ibn-e-Abdul Malik on 25th of Moharram, 95th Hijrah and was buried in the graveyard of Baqi, beside the grave of Imam Hassan (A.S.) and today his gave is the site of visit for the lovers and adorers of his path.

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