Imam-asws Ali-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws

Kuniya of the 4th Imam is  Zain-ul-Abideen-asws

The Nazool of the 4th Imam was on the 5th of Shaban and his-asws shahadat (martyrdom) was on the 25th of Muharram in the year thirty-eight A.H[1]. Among others, names of our 4th Imam include: Sajjad-asws, and Zain-ul-Abideen-asws. The Imam-asws was martyred in the year 95 at the age of 57. The Imam-asws’s mother was Syeda Shahar Bano-asws, daughter of Yazdjurd Ibn Shahryar Ibn Shiruwayh Ibn kisra ‘A Perwiz – the famous Persian king.  Imam Zain-ul-Abideen-asws was the only male (grown-up) survivor in Karbala in 61 A.H. who accompanied the children and ladies of Ahl Al-Bayt-asws to Sham (Syria) – to the court of Yazid-la. The Imam-asws was buried in Al-Baqi cemetery, Medina.

Abu Jafar (Imam Mohammed Baqir-asws– the 5th Imam-asws) says: ‘The girls of Madina were extremely pleased to see the daughter of Yazdjurd when she was brought before ‘Umar (the second Muslim Caliph). When she-asws entered the Masjid it became all delightful and bright. When ‘Umar looked at her she-asws covered her face and said in her-asws own language: “UtI, bay ruj ba’ da Hurmuz (May the life of Hurmuz turn black).” ‘Umar asked: “Is she abusing me?” He turned to her (aggressively). Amir-ul-Momineen Ali-asws said: “You do not have such a right (over her-asws). Give her the chance to choose whoever among the Muslims she-asws likes and then count her to be as his share of the war booty (of the properties seized from the Persian army).” He (Umar) allowed her-asws to choose and she-asws came all the way to place her hand on the head of Imam Al-Hussain-asws. Amir-ul-Momineen Ali-asws asked her: “What is your name?” She said: “It is Jahan Shah.” Amir-ul-Momineen Ali-asws said: “In fact, it is Shahar Bano.” Ali-asws then said to Imam Al-Hussain-asws: “O Abu Abd Allah-asws, she-asws will be blessed with a son-asws for you-asws who will be the best of the inhabitants of earth.” She-asws was blessed with Imam Ali-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws.  Imam AIi-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws was called the son of the two best. The chosen from Arabs was the tribe of Hashim and from non-Arab were the clan (Kisra) best among the Persians.

It is also narrated that Abu Al-Aswad Al-Du’ili compiled the following verse about it:

‘A boy from Kisra and Hashim; the most noble one on whom sacred symbols are stitched for safety.’[2]

Abu Jafar-asws (Imam Mohammed Baqir-asws) says: ‘Imam Ali-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws had a she-camel. He-asws had taken this camel 22 times to Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) and had never whipped it, not even once.’ The Imam-asws has said that: ‘the camel came after the Shahadat of Imam-asws and we were not aware and we noticed only when one of the servants or slaves came and said: “The she-camel has gone out all the way to the grave of Ali-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws. She rubs her neck against the grave and moans.” I-asws then asked them to quickly get to her before they (the enemies) might know about her or see her.’ The Imam-asws has said that the she-camel had never seen the (Holy) grave before.[3]

Imam Abu Abd Allah-asws (6th Imam) said: ‘When it was the night that Imam Ali-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws left (from mortal world) he-asws said to his-asws son (Imam Muhammad-asws):  “Son this is the night in which I-asws am promised to be taken out of this world.” The departing Imam-asws made asked his-asws son-asws prepare a stable for his-asws she-camel and she should be fed properly. I-asws (Imam-asws’s son says) personally did as he-asws (my father-asws) had asked for. Very shortly thereafter the she-camel came out of the stable and reached the grave of my father-asws, placed her neck on it, rolled her body on the ground and her eyes were hooded with tears.’

The Imam-asws has said: ‘Imam Ali-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws used to come out in the dark at night with a sack containing Darahim and Dananir (these were units of money) and would go door-to-door, knock on them and gave a certain amount to the person who came out. When Imam Ali-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws passed away, these people did not see the person with money anymore. Only then (did) they realise that Imam Ali-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws must have been the distributor of money among them.’[4]

Abu Al-Hassan-asws (7th Imam-asws – Imam Musa-e-Kazim-asws) says: ‘When Imam Ali-asws Ibn Al-Hussain-asws was about to leave this world,  he-asws closed his-asws eyes, then he-asws opened his eyes and recited Chapters 48 ‘Al-Fath’ and 56 ‘Al-Waaqia’ from the Holy Quran and said: “All praise belongs to Allah-azwj Who has Fulfilled His-azwj promise to us-asws and made us-asws to have the Earth as our-asws legacy and choose from Paradise whatever we-asws might like. Thus, is the reward for those who work (hard).” At that time his-asws (soul) ascended to the (Heavens) and (the Imam) did not say anything further.’[5]

Our Sixth Imam-asws says: ‘Imam Ali-asws Ibn Hussain-asws (Imam Sajjad-asws) cried over his father, Imam Hussain-asws Ibn Ali-asws for forty years – and whenever food was brought to him, he would cry over Imam Hussain-asws. One day his-asws servant said to him: “May I sacrifice myself for you-asws, O son of Rasool Allah-asws!  I am afraid that you-asws may die (from grief).” He (the Imam Sajjad-asws) replied: “I only complain of my distress and grief to Allah, and I know from Allah what you do not know (12:86)[6].  Verily whenever I-asws remember the killing of the children of Syeda Fatimah-asws, I-asws am choked with tears over them-asws.”’[7]

Imam-asws was poisoned by the governor of Medina by the instructions of the Muslim ruler Walid-la bin Abdul Malik-la. The Imam-asws met martyrdom on the 25th of Muharram 95 A.H. (713 A.D) and was buried in Medina. With the passage of time a modest but beautiful Mausoleum was built to house the Imam-asws‘s grave in ‘Jannat ul Baqi’, near the Holy grave of Rasool Allah-saww. Shamefully, in 1926 A.D., a King-la of Saudi Arabia destroyed the Holy shrine.

4th Imam-asws was considered the most ascetic person of all times:

‘From Abu Ja’far Muhammad Bin Ali Al-Baqir-asws having said: ‘Ali-asws Bin Al-Husayn-asws used to pray Salat during the day and night, a thousand Cycles, like what Amir Al-Momineen-asws used to do. There were five hundred palm trees for him-asws, and he-asws would pray two cycles Salat at each palm tree.

And it was so that whenever he-asws stood in his-asws Salat, his-asws colour would be overcome by another colour, and his-asws standing in his-asws Salat was standing of the humble slave in front of the Majestic King. His-asws limbs would tremble from the fear of Allah-azwj Mighty and Majestic, and he-asws would pray the farewell Salat viewing that he-asws will not be praying after it, ever.

And one day he-asws was praying Salat, and the cloak fell off from one of his-asws shoulders. He-asws did not even it until he-asws was free from his-asws Salat. One of his-asws companions asked him-asws about that. He-asws said: ‘Woe be unto you! Don’t you know in front of Whom I-asws was? The servant, it will not be Accepted from his Salat except what he is attentive upon it by his heart, from it’.

The man said, ‘We are destroyed!’ He-asws said: ‘Never! Allah-azwj Mighty and Majestic would be Completing that with the optional Salats’.

And he-asws would go out during the dark night and carry the sack upon his-asws back, and in it would be the seed and the Dinars and the Dirhams, and sometimes he-asws would carry the good, or the firewood, until he-asws would come to a door and knock it. Then he-asws would give to the one who comes out to him-asws. And he-asws used to cover his-asws face when giving to a poor lest he recognises him-asws. When he-asws passed away, they lost that, then they knew it was Ali-asws Bin Al-Husayn-asws. When he-asws was placed to the washers, they looked at his-asws back, and upon him-asws were like the marks of the camels, due to what he-asws was carrying upon his-asws back to the houses of the poor and the destitute(s).

And one day he-asws went out, and upon him-asws was a woollen coat. A beggar presented to him-asws and attached with his-asws coat. So he-asws continued and left it. And he-asws would buy the woollen (clothing) during the winter and sell it in the summer and give in charity with its price.

And he-asws had looked at a group of people on the day of Arafaat begging the people. He-asws said: ‘Woe be unto you all! Is it other than Allah-azwj you are asking in the like of this day? It is wished for during this day regarding the pregnancies that (they children) become fortunate’.

And he-asws would refuse to eat with his-asws mother-as. It was said to him-asws, ‘O son-asws of Rasool-Allah-saww! You-asws are most righteous of the people and their most connecting of the kinship, so how come you-asws are not eating with your-asws mother-as?’ He-asws said: ‘I-asws dislike for my-asws hand to preceded to what her-as would have preceded to’.

And a man had said to him-asws, ‘O son-asws of Rasool-Allah-saww! I love you-asws for the Sake of Allah-azwj with intense love!’ He-asws said: ‘O Allah-azwj! I-asws seek Refuge with You-azwj from being loved for Your-azwj Sake while You-azwj are Hateful to me-asws!’

And he-asws had performed twenty Hajj upon a she-camel of his-asws, and he-asws had not tapped it with a whip. When it died, he-asws instructed with burying her lest the lions eat her’.

And a slave girl of his-asws had been asked about him-asws. She said, ‘Shall I detail or be brief?’ It was said to her, ‘But, be brief’. She said, ‘I have not gone to him-asws with food at daytime at all, and I have not prepared a bed for him-asws at night at all’.

And one day he-asws had ended up to a group backbiting him-asws. He-asws stood at them and said to them: ‘If you were truthful, then may Allah-azwj Forgive me-asws, and if you were liars, then may Allah-azwj Forgive you all’.

And whenever a seeker of knowledge came to him-asws, he-asws would say: ‘Welcome to the bequest of Rasool-Allah-saww!’ Then he-asws said: ‘The seeker of knowledge, when he comes out from his house, his legs are not placed upon anything wet or dry from the ground, except it glorifies for him to the seven earths’.

And he-asws used to support one hundred households from the poor of Al-Medina, and it used to marvel him-asws if he-asws were to present his-asws food to the orphans, and the ones in a bad state, and the ones of prolonged illness, and the destitute(s), those having no means for them. And he-asws used to give them by his-asws hand, and the ones from them who was ill, he-asws would carry from his-asws food to him, and he-asws would not eat food until he-asws had given in charity with the like of it.

And seven calluses would fall from him-asws every year from the places of his-asws Sajdah due to the frequency of his-asws Salat, and he-asws would gather these. When he-asws died, these were buried with him-asws.

And he-asws had cried upon his-asws father-asws Al-Husayn-asws for twenty years, and food would not be placed in front of him-asws except he-asws cried until a slave of his-asws said to him-asws, ‘O son-asws of Rasool-Allah-saww! Is it now time for you-asws to terminate your-asws grief?’

He-asws said to him: ‘Woe be to you! The Prophet-as Yaqoub-as had twelve sons for him-as. Allah‑azwj Caused one of them to be absent from him-as, and his-asws eyes turned white from the frequency of his-as crying upon him-as, and his-as hair turned grey from the grief, and his-as back arched from the sorrow, and (although) his-as was alive in the world, and I-asws looked at my-asws father-asws, and my-asws brother-asws, and my-asws uncle-asws, and seventeen of my-asws family members killed around me-asws. So how can I-asws terminate my-asws grief?’’[8]

Bequest of Ali-asws Ibn Hussain-asws

‘From Abu Abdullah-asws having said: ‘Ali-asws Bin Al-Husayn-asws fell ill with three illnesses. During each illness, he-asws bequeathed with a bequest. When he woke up (recovered), signed his-asws bequest’’.[9]

‘Ali-asws Bin Al-Husayn-asws Bin Ali-asws Bin Abu Talib-asws became ill with the illness in which he‑asws passed away, so he-asws gathered his-asws children – Muhammad-asws, and Al-Hassan-asws, and Abdullah, and Umar, and Zayd, and Al-Husayn, and bequeathed to his-asws son-asws Muhammad Bin Ali-asws, and teknonymed him-asws as ‘Al-BAQIR’, and made their affairs to him‑asws.

And it was among what he-asws preached to him-asws in his-asws bequest that he-asws said: ‘O my‑asws son-asws! The intellect is a model of the soul, and the knowledge is a model of the intellect, and the intellect interprets the knowledge. And know that the knowledge is more lasting, and the tongue is most reckless.

And know, O my-asws son-asws! The goodness of the world with (all) its contents are in two phrases – correcting the affairs of the livelihood (is like) measuring the measure. Two thirds of it is discernment and a third of it is heedlessness, because the human being is not neglectful except about something he has recognised so he is discerning to it.

And know that the times are going away with your-asws lifespan and you-asws cannot attain a bounty except by the loss of another, so beware of the long hopes. How many hopes of the hopeful have not been realised, and amassed wealth he could not consume, and prevent what he would soon be leaving it, and perhaps he had amassed it from false (means) and prevented it from a right. He attains it unlawfully and leaves it as inheritance. He carries its sin and has sold it for its burden, that is the manifest loss’’.[10]


[1] After Hijri (Migration from Mecca), the Islamic Year

[2] Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, Chapter Aliasws ibn Hussainasws, h 1

[3] Ibid, h 2.

[4] Ibid, h 4.

[5] Ibid, h 5.

[6]This Verse is the answer from Prophet Yaqub (in the Holy Quran) to his sons when they said:  ‘By Allah! You will not cease remembering Yusuf till you are on the verge of death, or until you die (12:85)

[7] كامل الزيارات، النص، ص: 107, chapter 35, H. 1.

[8] Bihar Al-Anwaar – V 46, The book of History – Ali Bin Al-Husayn-asws, Ch 5 H 19

[9] Bihar Al-Anwaar – V 46, The book of History – Ali Bin Al-Husayn-asws, Ch 5 H 17

[10] Bihar Al-Anwaar – V 46, The book of History – Muhammad Al Baqir-asws, Ch 4 H 7