The fourth infallible descendant of holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on them), Imam Ali bin al-Husayn Zaynul Abidin (peace be on them), was born in Medina on Sha’ban 5 in the year 38 A.H. (658/9).
He lived with his grandfather, the Commander of the faithful (peace be on him) for two years, with his uncle al-Hasan (peace be on him) for twelve years, and with his father al-Husayn (peace be on him) for twenty-three years. Following are a small selection of his sayings:
* Try to earn a high position in Paradise (Jannah). Remember that highest positions will be given to those who have been most useful to their brothers in faith and who have been most helpful to the needy. Remember there are times when a person says but one good sentence and that brings him very near to Allah and brings his freedom on the Day of Judgment.
* Never think that what you do for your brother in faith is unimportant because these are the things that will be of much use to you on a day when nothing else will be of any use.
* (Speaking) Good words increase a person's wealth and sustenance, prolong his life, make him to be loved by his wife and children and take him to paradise.
* He who honors himself will debase the worldly life.
* The richest of people is that who is satisfied with what Allah has chosen for him.
* The whole goodness is to protect yourself (against all that which is unacceptable).
* The very hypocrite is that who warns people (against evil deeds) but he does not stop committing them and orders them (to do good acts) but he does not do (such acts). When he stands for offering the prayer he turns right and left, when he genuflects (in the prayer) he huddles, and when he prostrates himself, he pecks.
In evenings, his only concern is dinner while he was not fasting. In mornings, his only concern is to sleep while he has not passed (the last) night with worship. The believer, on the other hand, mixes his acts with clemency; he sits down so that he may learn (something); he keeps silent so that he may save himself, he does not divulge his secrets before his friends (even); he does not conceal witnessing for the strangers; he does not act any rightful action out of showing off, he does not neglect any act out of prudence; if he is praised, he fears sayings of the eulogists and seeks Allah's forgiveness for what they do not know; he does not care for the ignorance of those who ignore him.
* To spend moderately in times of poverty, give generously in times of luxury, treat people fairly, and greet them initiatively - these manners are within the characters of the believers.
-- Once a man came to Imam Ali Ibn al-Husain Zayn-ul Abideen (AS) and said that years have passed on Karbala Tragedy but you still weep. You should stop weeping now. You and your forefathers themselves said ‘martyrdom is our inheritance’ then if your father, uncle, brothers and companions of your father were martyred, why you weep?
“O man! Martyrdom is our inheritance,” Imam replied adding that but, was it also our inheritance that veils of daughters of prophet whom even the sun had not seen were taken away, they were fixed in ropes with their hands after their necks, their tents were set on fire, they were seated on bare backs of camels, and brought to the bazaars of Syria and Kufa and courts of Yazid and Ibne Zyad??
-- Surely, I have never brought to mind the martyrdom of the children of Fatimah (AS) except that I have been choked with tears due to it.
-- Imam Ali Ibn al-Husain (AS) used to say: Every Mu'min, whose eyes shed tears upon the killing of Husain Ibn Ali (AS) and his companions, such that the tears roll down his cheeks, Allah shall accommodate him in the elevated rooms of paradise.
-- We, descendants of the Noble Prophet of Islam (AS), have been trained from childhood to face afflictions and sufferings. We know that those who are loved by Allah are tried by Him and if they remain steadfast and true to their faith in Him, then only He bestows His Divine favors on them in the life hereafter which is permanent and not transitory like this worldly life.
(This is) an account of the Imam after al-Husayn b. Ali, peace be on them, the date of his birth, the evidence for his Imamate, the age he reached, (together with) the period of his succession, the time and cause of his death, the place of his grave, the number of his children and a selection from the reports about him.
The Imam after al-Husayn b. Ali, peace be on them, was his son, Abu Muhammad Ali b. al-Husayn Zayn al-Abidin, peace be on them. He also had the kunya Abu al-Hasan. His mother was Shahzanan daughter of Yazdigard b. Shahriyar b. Choesroe. Her name was also said to be Shahrbanawayh. The Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, had appointed Hurayth b. Jabir al-Hanafi over part of the eastern provinces.
The latter had sent to him two daughters of Yazdigard b. Shahryar b. Choesroe. Of these he had given his son al-Husayn, peace be on him, Shahzanan and she bore him Zayn al-'Abidin (Ali b. al-Husayn), peace be on him. He had given the other to Muhammad b. Abi Bakr and she bore him al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr, so that these two (Zayn al-Abidin and al-Qasim) were maternal cousins.
Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, was born in Medina in the year 38 A.H. (658/9). He lived with his grandfather, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, for two years, with his uncle, al- Hasan, peace be on him, for twelve years, and with his father, al- Husayn, peace be on him, for twenty-three years. After his father, he lived a further thirty-four years and he died in Medina in the year 95 A.H. (713/4). At that time he was fifty-seven years of age. His Imamate was for thirty-four years. He was buried in al-Baqi with his uncle, al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on them.
His Imamate was confirmed in several ways. One of these was that he was the most meritorious (afdal) of the creatures of God, the Most High, after his father in traditional knowledge film) and practice ('amal). The Imamate belongs to the most meritorious (afdal) to the exclusion of the less meritorious (mafdul) by rational proofs.
Among these there was the fact that he was more appropriate for authority by virtue of his father, al-Husayn, peace be on him, and more entitled to his position after him through his merit and lineage. The one who was entitled through the last Imam has more right to his position than anyone else through the evidence of the verse of next of kin (dhu al- arhaim) and the (Qur'anic) story of Zacharia, peace be on him.
Another of (the facts which confirms his Imamate) is the necessity according to reason of the Imamate existing in every age. The claim of every (other) claimant to the Imamate during the time of Ali b. al- Husayn, peace be on them, was invalid and the impossibility of there being any time without an Imam is confirmed by him (being the Imam).
Another (of the facts which confirms his Imamate) is the fact that the Imamate is established in the offspring (itra) (of the family of Ali exclusively by rational deduction and by a report on the authority of the Prophet, may God bless him and his family.
Invalidity of the arguments of those who claim it for Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya, may God be pleased with him, through him (also) belonging to the offspring is established by the absence of the designation of it to him. Therefore it is established that it belongs to Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, since there was no claim for it for any other member of the offspring (of the family) except Muhammad, may God be pleased with him; his exclusion from it was on account of what we have already mentioned.
Another (of the facts which confirmed his Imamate) was the designation of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, of him for the Imamate, in the tradition which is related concerning the tablet (lawh) which Jabir reported on the authority of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family.
Muhammad b. Ali al- Baqir, peace be on them, (also) related it on the authority of his father, on the authority of his grandfather, on the authority of Fatima, daughter of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family.
His grandfather, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, designated him during the life-time of his father, al-Husayn, peace be on him, according to the reports which include that. The testamentary bequests (wasiyya) (were made) by his father, al- Husayn b. Ali, peace be on him, and they were deposited with Umm Salama for him. He received them when his father died.
His father made the request (for these) from Umm Salama, the sign of the Imamate of the one who should request them among men. This part may be known by the examination of the reports and we do not intend in this book to speak about its significance for we will study it thoroughly separately.
A Brief Survey of the Reports about Ali b. al-Husayn, Peace be on them.
[Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. Yahya informed me: my grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan) told us: Idrss b. Muhammad b. Yahya b. Abd Allah b. Hasan b. Hasan, Ahmad b. Abd Allah b. Musa, and Ismail b. Yaqub, all told me: Abd Allah b. Musa told us on the authority of his father (Musa b. Abd Allah), on the authority of his grandfather (Abd Allah b. al-Hasan), who said:]
My mother, Fatima, daughter of al-Husayn, peace be on him, used to tell me to sit with my maternal uncle, Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them. I never sat with him without rising with some good which I had derived from him, whether it was fear of God which occurred in my heart when I realised (what) fear of God (was) or some traditional knowledge (ilm) which I acquired from him.
[Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad al-Alawi informed me on the authority of his grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan), on the authority of Muhammad b. Maymun al-Bazzaz, who said: Sufyan b. Uyayna informed us on the authority of Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri, who said:] Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, who was the best Hashimi we ever met, said: "Love us, for it is love for Islam. May your love for us never cease even if it becomes a public disgrace."
[Abu Mu'ammar reported on the authority of Abd al-Aziz Abu Hazim who said:] I heard my father say: "I have never seen a Hashimi more meritorious (afdal) than Ali b. al-Husayn."
[Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. Yahya informed me: my grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan) told me Abu Muhammad al- Ansari told me: Muhammad b. Maymun al-Bazzaz told me: al-Hasan b. Alwan told us on the authority of Abu Ali Ziyad b. Rustum, on the authority of Sai'd b. Kulthum who said:]
I was with al-Sadiq Jafar b. Muhammad, peace be on them. He mentioned the Commander of the faithful, Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him, and praised and extolled him with (praise) which he was worthy of. Then he said: "O God, Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him, never ate anything forbidden in this world until he passed along his (final) road.
Two alternatives were never presented to him, when God would be pleased with both, without him taking the more religious of them. No dispute occurred about the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, without him being summoned as a reliable authority.
No one else of this community was able to do the work of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family; for if he enjoined (such a) man (as Ali) to work, his position would be between Heaven and Hell, hoping for the reward of the former and fearing the punishment of the latter.
He freed a thousand slaves with his own money in his desire to seek the face of God and to escape the fire of Hell, (money) which he had laboured for with his own hands and for which his own brow had sweated, even though it had been to provide his family with oil, vinegar and dates. He did not have (many) clothes except white cotton fabrics since when there was any sleeve left over his arm, he called for scissors and cut it off.
None of Ali's children or his family was more like him and nearer to him in manner of dress and understanding than Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them. (One day) his son, Abu Jafar (Muhammad al-Baqir), peace be on them, came to him. He had carried out in worship what no one had ever carried out. He saw that his colour had gone yellow from weeping all night; his eyes had used up all their water from being awake all night; his forehead was bruised and his nose squashed from prostrating; and his legs and feet were swollen from standing in prayer.
Abu Jafar, peace be on him, reported:
I could not control myself from weeping when I saw him in that state and I wept, may God have mercy on him. Behold, he was thinking and he turned to me a short time after I had come and said: 'My son, give me some of those parchments in which there is the (practice of) worship of Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him."
I gave them to him and he read something from them for a while. Then he let them go from his hand in exasperation and said: 'Who is strong enough to perform the worship of Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him?'
[Muhammad b. al-Husayn reported: Abd Allah b. Muhammad al- Qurashi told us:] When Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, used to perform ritual ablutions, his skin would turn yellow.
"What is it that has afflicted you?" his family asked him. "Don't you know Whom you are preparing to stand before?" he asked. [Amr b. Shamir reported on the authority of Jabir al-Jufi on the authority of Abu Jafar, peace be on him:]
Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, used to pray a thousand rakas during the day and the night. The wind would bend (his body) forward like an ear of corn. [Sufyan al-Thawri reported on the authority of Ubayd Allah b. Abd al-Rahman b. Mawhib:] The great merit (fadl) of Ali b. Husayn, peace be on them, was mentioned to him but he replied: "It is sufficient for us that I should be one of the righteous members of our people."
[Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad informed us on the authority of his grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan), on the authority of Salama b. Shabib, on the authority of Ubayd Allah b. Muhammad al-Taymi who said: I heard a shaykh from (the tribe of) Abd al-Qays say: Tawus said:]
I (i.e.Tawus) went into the hijr one night and there was Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them. He had come in and was standing praying. He prayed as God had wished then he prostrated. I asked a righteous man from the family of goodness whether I might listen to his prayer I heard him saying during his prostration:
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 added:) I have never prayed with these words at any tribulation without me being freed from it.
[Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad informed me on the authority of his grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan), on the authority of Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Rafi'i, on the authority of Ibrahim b. Ali on the authority of his father (Ali b. Abi Rafi'i), who said:]
I (i.e. Ali b. Abi Rafi'i) made the pilgrimage with Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them. The camel carrying him was moving slowly. He pointed toward it with his stick and then said: "Woe if there was no retaliation (in the next world) !" And he moved his hand away from it. [With this chain of authorities:]
Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, made the pilgrimage on foot and he took twenty days to travel from Medina to Mecca. [Abu- Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad informed me: my grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan) told us: Ammar b. Aban told us: Abd Allah b. Bukayr told us on the authority of Zurara b. A'yan who said that:]
He (Zurara b. Ayan) heard a voice calling in the middle of the night: "Where are those who abstain with regard to this world out of desire for the next?" A voice called out in answer from the region (of the cemetery) of al-Baqi - he heard its voice without seeing the person "Such a man is Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them."
[Abd al-Razzaq reported on the authority of Mamar on the authority of al-Zuhri, who said:] I have never seen any of that House, meaning the House of the Prophet, may God bless him and his family, more meritorious (afdal) than Ali b. al- Husayn, peace be on them. [Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad informed me: my grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan) told me: Abu Yunus Muhammad b. Ahmad told us: my father and another of our companions told me:] A young man from Quraysh was sitting in an assembly with Sa'd b. al-Musayyib and saw Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them.
"Who is that, Abu Muhammad?" the Qurash; asked Sa'id b. al- Musayyib. "That is the lord of worshippers (abidin), Ali b. al-Husayn b. Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on them," he answered.
[Abu Muhammad al-H. asan b. Muhammad informed me: my grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan) told me: Muhammad b. Jafar and others told me:]
A man from his House stood in front of Ali b. al- Husayn, peace be on them, and made him listen to him and cursed him. However, he did not reply. When (the man) had gone away, he said to those who were sitting with him: "You heard what that man said? I want you to come with me so that you may hear from me my reply to him." "We will do that," they replied, "we wanted you to answer him while we were speaking (together)."
He took his shoes and went, while reciting: Those who refrain from anger and those who forgive the people, God loves those who do good. (III 133) Then we knew that he would not say anthing to him.
He went along until he came to the house of that man who had screamed at him. "This is Ali b. al-Husayn," they told him.
He came rushing out towards us with evil intent. He had no doubt that (Ali b. al-Husayn) had come to him to repay him for some of the evil which he had given him. "Brother," said Ali b. al-Husayn, "you were standing proudly over me and you said this and that. If you have said what is (really) in my (character), I seek God's forgiveness for it. If you have said what is not in my character, may God forgive you".
The man kissed him between the eyes and replied: "Yes, I said what was not in your character, may I be worthy of it (i.e. God's forgiveness)". [The narrator of the account added:] The man was al-Hasan b. al- Hasan, may God be pleased with him.
[Al-Hasan b. Muhammad informed me on the authority of his grandfather, (Yahya b. al-Hasan) who said: A Shaykh from Yemen who was some ninety years old, told me: A man called Ubayd Allah b. Muhammad informed me: I heard Abd al-Razzaq say:]
A maid-servant of Ali b. al-Husayn began to pour water for him so that he might perform the ritual ablutions for prayer. The maid-servant became faint and the jug dropped from her hand and struck him. He raised his head towards her and the maidservant said to him: "God, the Most High, says: Those who restrain from anger." "I have restrained my anger," he replied.
"And those who forgive the people," she went on. "May God forgive you," he said. "God loves those who do good," she said.
"Go, you are a free woman before the face of God, the Mighty and High," he answered. [Al-Waqidi reported: Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. Umar b. Ali, peace be on him, told me:] Hisham b. Isma'il used to harm our neighbourhood. Ali b. al- Husayn, peace be on them, received severe hardship from him. When he was dismissed, al-Walid ordered that he should be made to stand before the people. Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, walked past him and greeted him. Ali b. al-H. usayn, peace be on them, had come especially so that no one should harm him.
It is reported that Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, called his slave twice and the latter did not answer him. At the third time, he answered. "Didn't you hear my voice?" asked (Ali b. al-Husayn). "Yes," was the reply.
"What was on your mind so that you did not answer me?" he asked. "I was safe (from any harm) from you," he answered.
"Praise be to God," he said, "Who has caused my slave to be safe (from any harm) from me." [Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. Yahya informed me: my grandfather (Yahya al-Hasan) toid me: Yaqub b. Yazid told us: Ibn Abi Umayr told us on the authority of Abd Allah b. al-Mughira, on the authority of Abu Ja'far al-Asha, on the authority of Abu Hamza al-Thumali, on the authority of Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, who said:]
I (i.e. Ali b. al-Husayn) went out until I came to that wall and leaned against it. There was a man wearing two white garments who was looking at me directly in the face. Then he said: "Ali b. al-Husayn, why do I see you sorrowful and sad? Is your sorrow on account of the world, since God provides for both the pious and the profligate?"
"I am not sad on account of that though it is as you say," I replied. "Is it on account of the next world, for it is a true promise that there conquering angels will give judgement?" he asked.
"I am not sad on account of that. though it is as you say," I answered. "Then why are you sad?" he asked. "I am fearful of the discord (caused) by Ibn al-Zubayr," I replied He laughed and said: "Ali b. al-Husayn, have you ever seen anyone who trusted in God and God was not sufficient for him?" "No," I replied.
"Ali b. al-Husayn," he said, "have you ever seen anyone who feared God without God saving him?" "No," I replied. "Ali b. al-Husayn," he asked, "have you ever seen anyone ask (for something) of God without God giving it to him?"
"No," I replied. Then I looked and suddenly there was no one here . [Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad informed me: my grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan) told us: Abu Nasr told us: Abd al- Rahman b. Salih. told us: Yunus b. Bukayr told us on the authority of Ibn Ishaq, who said:]
There was in Medina such and such a family. Their provisions used to come to them without them asking for them. They did not know >From where they came to them. However, when Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, died, they stopped (receiving) those. [Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad informed me: my grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan) told me: Abu Nasr told us: Muhammad b. Ali b. Abd Allah told us: my father told me: Abd Allah b. Harun told us: Umar b. Dinar told me:]
Death was close to Zayd b. Usama b. Zayd and he began to weep. "What makes you weep?" asked Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them. "What makes me weep," he said, "is the fact that I owe fifteen thousand dlnars and I have not left anything to fulfil the debt for them."
"Do not weep," Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, told him, "they are my debt now and you are free of them." So he paid them for him. [Harun b. Musa reported: Abd al-Malik b. Abd al-Aziz told us :]
When Abd al-Malik b. Marwan succeeded to the caliphate, he returned the (proportion of) taxes (sadaqat) given to the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, to Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, and also (the proportion of) taxes (sadaqat) given to Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him. They were both written down (in the diwan as going to Ali b. al-Husayn). Umar b. Ali went to Abd al-Malik and complained to him on behalf of himself. Abd al-Malik replied, "I can only use the words of Ibn Abi al-Huqayq:
Indeed when claims of desire are put forward, the listener listens to the speaker. The people wrestle with their hearts but we are judging with a just and decisive judgement. We do not make the false true, nor do we deny the true in favour of the false. We fear that we would make our minds foolish and we would spend (our) time with those without repute.
[Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad informed me: my grandfather (Yahya b. al-Hasan) told me: Abu-Jafar Muhammad b. Isma'il told us:] Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, made the pilgrimage and the people were shouting about his comely disposition and looking at him. They began to question each other: "Who is that? Who is that?"
(They were doing this) in magnification of him and in exaltation of his rank. Al-Farazdaq was there and he composed the following, saying: This is he whose ability the valley (of Mecca) recognises, and whom the (Sacred) House recognises (as do) the sanctuary and the area outside the sanctuary (al-hill). This is the son of the best of all God's servants. This is the pure pious man, the pure eminent man.
When he comes to touch the corner of the wall of the Ka'ba, it almost grasps the palm of his hand. He takes care to be modest and he is protected from his terror. He only speaks when he smiles.
None of mankind has within their souls such primacy as he does nor such grace as he does. Whoever knows God, knows his friend (wali). Religion is from the House of this man. When Quraysh saw him, their spokesmen told of the outstanding qualities of this man which indicate (his) nobility.
[Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. Muhammad informed me on the authority of his grandfather, (Yahya b. al-Hasan) who said: Dawud b. al-Qasim told us: Al-Husayn b. Zayd told us on the authority of his uncle, Umar b. Ali, on the authority of his father Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them:]
(Ali b. al-Husayn) used to say: "I have never seen similar preference (given to) a prayer (than this prayer). The worshipper will never pray without an answer coming to him on every occasion." It was one of the prayers learned from him, peace be on him, when it was learned that Musrif b. Uqba was heading towards Medina.
My Lord, however much favour You have bestowed upon me, my thanks to You for it have been little. However much testing You have given me, my endurance in the face of it has been little. O He who receives little thanks from me for His favour, let Him not deprive me. O He Who receives little endurance from me when He tests me, let Him not desert me.
O Possessor of unceasing kindness ! O Possessor of incalculable favours, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad; ward off the evil (of man) from me so that I may find protection through You amid (man's) slaughter. I seek refuge with You from (man's) evil.
Musrif b. Uqba came to Medina. It was said that he did not have any hostility towards Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them. He greeted him, honoured him, was generous to him and gave gifts to him.
The account from another source is that when Musrif b. Uqba came to Medina, he sent for Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them. The latter went to him. When he came to him, he honoured him and said:
"The Commander of the faithful (i.e. Yazid) has enjoined me to show goodness and generosity towards you, to distinguish you from the others." So he treated him very well. Then he said to those who were around him: "Saddle my mule for him.
Then he said to him: "Go to your family. I see that we have filled them with fear when we made you come to us. If that with which we might increase your gift according to your right, were in our hands, we would give it to you." "Do not apologise for the ruler (amir) to me," said Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them and rode away.
"That is the best of men," said Musrif to those who were sitting with him. "There is no evil in him because of his position and rank from the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family.
The account has been reported that one day Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, was in the mosque of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, when he heard some people describing God in terms of His creation. He became fearful and frightened of that. He rose and went to the tomb of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family.
He stood before it and raised his voice to talk to his Lord. He said in his conversation to Him:
My God, Your power has been shown but the form of Your Majesty has not been shown. They are ignorant of You and they try to estimate You on the basis of what You are not, and they make comparisons with You. O my God, I renounce those who seek to discover You through human comparisons. My God, there is nothing like You, and they have not become aware of You.
It is clear that the favour which they have is their evidence for You, if they would (choose to) know You in Your creation, My God, I am free from the fact that they should give You (these characteristics).
Indeed they have pictured You according to Your creation. Thus they do not know You and have adopted some of Your signs as (if they were their) Lord. In that way they have attempted to describe You. May You be exalted, O my God above the pictures of You of those who try to describe You in human terms.
This has been a sample of the accounts which are given about the virtues of Zayn al-'Abidin, peace be on him.
Ibn Qawlawayh, in his book titled ‘al-Mazar’ records the following on the authority of Safwan:
عن كتاب المزار لابن قولويه قال:
I asked Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, to permit me to visit (the holy tomb of) my master Imam al-Husayn, peace be upon him, and also asked him to guide me what to do. The Imam said to me:
استأذنت الإمام الصادق، عليه السلام، لزيارة مولاي الحسين، عليه السلام، وسألته أن يعرّفني ما أعمل عليه، فقال:
“O Safwan, before you begin your journey to visit the tomb of Imam Husayn, you should fast for three days and, on the third day, wash yourself, gather your family members, and recite (the Du’a): O Allah, I keep with you… etc.”
يا صفوان؛ صم ثلاثة أيام قبل خروجك واغتسل في اليوم الثالث، ثم اجمع إليك أهلك ثم قل: اللهم إني استودعك... الخ
Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, then taught Safwan a Du’a to be recited near the River Euphrates.”
ثم علمه دعاءً يدعو به إذا أتى الفرات.
He, peace be upon him, then said: “Wash yourself in the River Euphrates, for my father, on the authority of his fathers, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, said:
ثم قال: ثم اغتسل من الفرات فإن أبي حدثني عن آبائه عليهم السلام قال: قال رسول الله، صلى الله عليه وآله:
After my demise, my son (al-Husayn) will be killed on the bank of the Euphrates. He who washes himself in that river (intending to visit the tomb of al-Husayn) will have all of his sins eradicated as if he has just been born by his mother.”
إن ابني هذا (الحسين عليه السلام) يقتل بعدي على شاطئ الفرات، ومن اغتسل من الفرات تساقطت خطاياه كهيئة يوم ولدته أمه.
Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, then said:
As you wash yourself in the river, recite the following:
فإذا اغتسلت فقل في غسلك:
(I begin) by the Name of Allah and (I seek help) from Allah. O Allah, (I beseech to You to) make this water for me as light, purification, shelter, and remedy from every malady, ill, epidemic, or defect. O Allah, purify my heart through this water, expand my breast for me, and make my affair easy to me.
"بسمِ اللهِ، وباللهِ، اللّهمَّ اجعلهُ نوراً وطَهوراً وحِرزاً وشِفاءً من كُلِّ داءٍ وسقمٍ وآفَةٍ وعاهةٍ. اللّهمَّ طهِّر بهِ قلبي واشرحْ به صَدري وسهِّل به أمري."
When you finish washing yourself, put on two dresses and offer a two-Rak’at (unit of prayer) prayer not very far from the bank of the river. That is the very place about which Allah said:
فإذا فرغت من غسلك فالبس ثوبين وصلِّ ركعتين خارج المشرعة، وهو المكان الذي قال الله تعالى عنه:
And in the earth there are tracts side by side and gardens of grapes and corn and palm trees having one root and (others) having distinct roots‑‑ they are watered with one water, and We make some of them excel others in fruit. (The Holy Quran; Sura of ar-Ra’d 3:4.)
As you finish your prayer, direct towards Hair with tranquility and solemnity. As you walk, try to make short steps, for Allah, Exalted is He, shall record for you the reward of Hajj (holy pilgrimage to Mecca—obligatory in definite conditions and season) and ‘Umrah (recommended pilgrimage to Mecca). Try to be pious-hearted with tearful eyes. Recite as much as possible Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar—Allah is the Most Great), Tahlil (saying La ilaha illa (a)llah—There is no god but Allah), statements of praising Allah and sending blessings on Muhammad and his family in general and blessings on Husayn in particular, and cursing those who killed him and those who were the main reason beyond so.
فإذا فرغت من صلاتك فتوجه نحو الحائر وعليك السكينة والوقار، وقصر خطاك فإن الله تعالى يكتب لك بكل خطوة حجة وعمرة، وصر خاشعاً قلبك باكية عينك، وأكثر من التكبير والتهليل والثناء على الله عز وجل والصلاة على نبيه، صلى الله عليه وآله، والصلاة على الحسين، عليه السلام، خاصة ولعن من قتله والبراءة ممن أسس ذلك عليه.
At the door of Hair, stop and recite:
فإذا أتيت باب الحائر فقف وقل:
Allah is, verily, the Most Great, very much thanks is due to Allah, and praise Allah in morns and eves. All praise is due to Allah Who guided us to this, and we would not have found the way had it not been that Allah had guided us; certainly the apostles of our Lord brought the truth.”
اللهُ أكبرُ كبيراً والحمدُ للهِ كثيراً وسُبحانَ اللهِ بُكرةً وأصيلاً. الحمدُ للهِ الذي هَدانا لهذا وما كُنّا لِنهتديَ لولا أنْ هدانا اللهُ، لقَد جاءتْ رسلُ ربِّنا بالحقِّ.
Then, you should recite:
“Peace be upon you, O the Messenger of Allah.
السلامُ عليكَ يا رسولَ اللهِ،
Peace be upon you, O the Prophet of Allah.
السلامُ عليكَ يا نبيَّ اللهِ،
Peace be upon you, O the seal of the prophets.
السلامُ عليكَ يا خاتمَ النبيّينَ،
Peace be upon you, O the chief of the Messengers (of Allah).
السلامُ عليكَ يا سيّدَ المرسَلينَ،
Peace be upon you, O the Beloved of Allah.
السلامُ عليكَ يا حبيبَ اللهِ.
Peace be upon you, O the commander of the faithful ones.
السلامُ عليكَ يا أميرَ المؤمنينَ،
Peace be upon you, O the master of the prophets’ successors.
السلامُ عليكَ يا سيّدَ الوصييّنَ،
Peace be upon you, O the leader of the white-forheaded and white-footed ones (on the Day of Resurrection).
السلامُ عليكَ يا قائدَ الغُرّ المحَجّلينَ.
Peace be upon you, O son of Fatimah the chiefess of the women of this world.
السلامُ عليكَ يا بنَ فاطِمةُ سيّدةَ نساءِ العالمينَ.
Peace be upon you and upon the Imams from your progeny.
السلامُ عليكَ وعلى الأئمّةِ من ولدِك.
Peace be upon you, O the successor of Amir al-Mu’minin (the commander of the faithful ones).
السلامُ عليكَ يا وصيَّ أميرِ المؤمنينَ.
Peace be upon you, O veracious and shahid (martyr).
السلامُ عليكَ أيّها الصّدّيقُ الشهيدُ.
Peace be upon you, O Angels of Allah who reside in this holy shrine.
السلامُ عليكم يا ملائكَةَ اللهِ المقيمينَ في هذا المقامِ الشريفِ،
Peace be upon you, O my Lord’s Angels who surround the tomb of al-Husayn, peace be upon him.
السلامُ عليكم يا ملائكةَ ربي المحدِقينَ بقَبرِ الحسينِ عليهِ السلامُ.
Peace be upon all of you forever as long as there are day and night.”
السلامُ عليكم منيّ أبداً ما بقيتُ وبقيَ الليلُ والنهارُ.
You should then say:
“Peace be upon you, O Abu ′Abdullah.
السلامُ عليكَ يا أبا عبدِ اللهِ،
Peace be upon you, O son of the Messenger of Allah.
السلامُ عليكَ يا بنَ رسولِ اللهِ،
Peace be upon you, O son of Amir al-Mu’minin.
السلامُ عليكَ يا بنَ أميرِ المؤمنينَ.
I am your slave and son of your slave and bondmaid.
عبدُكَ وابنُ عبدِكَ وابنُ أَمَتِكَ
I confess of my servantship to you, acquit from being opposite to you, accede to anyone who accedes to you, and antagonize him who antagonizes you. I direct towards your holy shrine, seek shelter of your (burial) place, and seek nearness to you through directing to you.
O the chief of the prophets’ successors, may I enter?
أأدخلُ يا سيّدَ الوصيينَ،
O Fatimah the chiefess of the women of the world, may I enter?
أأدخلُ يا فاطمةُ سيدةَ نساءِ العالمينَ،
O my master Abu ‘Abdullah, may I enter?
أأدخلُ يا مولايَ يا أبا عبدِ اللهِ،
O my master and son of the Messenger of Allah, may I enter?”
أأدخلُ يا مولايَ يا بنَ رسولِ اللهِ.
If you feel your heart has become submissive and your eyes have become tearful, then that will be the sign of permission to enter. You then should enter and recite:
فإن خشع قلبك ودمع عينك فهو علامة الإذن. ثم ادخل وقل:
“All praise is due to Allah the One, the Unique, the Single, the Absolute Who guided me to be loyal to you, gave me exclusively the change to visit your tomb, and made it easy for me to direct to you.”
الحمدُ للهِ الواحدِ الأحدِ الفردِ الصمدِ الذي هَداني لولايتِكَ وخَصّني بزِيارتِك وسهَّلَ لي قصدَكَ.
You should then come near the door of the dome from the Imam’s head’s side and recite:
ثم ائتِ باب القبة وقف من حيث يلي الرأس، وقل:
Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Adam the sincerely attached friend of Allah!
السَّلام عَلَيْك يا وارِثَ آدَمَ صَِفْوَةِ اللهِ،
Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Noah, the prophet of Allah!
السَّلام عَلَيْك يا وارِثَ نُوحٍ نَبِيِّ اللهِ،
Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Abraham, the intimate friend of Allah!
Peace be on you, O he whose blood-claimer is Allah, He is the blood-claimer of your father also, as those who persecuted you, your relatives and friends have not been punished for the crimes.
السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا ثَارَ اللهِ وَابْن ثارِهِ والْوِتْرَ الْمَوْتُورَ.
I bear witness that verily you established the prayers, gave the zakat (prescribed share) to the needy, commanded to do what is right and lawful, not to do that which is wrong and unlawful, obeyed Allah and His Messenger till the inevitable came unto you.
O My Master, O Abu ′Abdullah! I bear witness that verily you were a light in the sublime loins and purified wombs; the impurities of ignorance did not even tough you, nor could its soiled and dirty bearing ever smear you.
I call Allah to give witness, and also His Angels, His Prophets, His Messenger, that, verily, I believe in (all of) you, that I am sure of your Return, joined to the divine laws of my belief, and my accomplishments; my mind and soul resigned to your obedience, my conduct following the example of your behavior.
Therefore, curse of Allah be on the people who saddled up, gave rein to their horses and prepared to kill you.
فَلَعَن الله اُمَّةً اَسْرَجَتْ وَاَلْجَمَتْ وَتَهَيَّاَتْ لِقِتالِك.
O my Master, O Abu ′Abdullah! I moved towards your sacred shrine and came to visit you, I beseech Allah in the name of your honor and your status you enjoy before Him to send blessings on Muhammad and on the children of Muhammad, and keep me with you in this world and in the Hereafter.
Then you should stand up for offering a two-Rak’at prayer next to the place of the Imam’s head. In this prayer, you can recite any Quranic chapter you like. When you finish, you should recite:
ثم قم فصلِّ ركعتين عند الرأس؛ اقرأ فيهما ما أحببت فإذا فرغت من صلاتك فقل:
O Allah, I have offered a prayer, genuflected, and prostrated myself for sake of You purely particularly, since You have no associate and since none at all is worth of prayer, genuflection, and prostration except You.
اَللّهُمَّ اِنّي صَلَّيْتُ وَرَكَعْتُ وَسَجَدْتُ لَك وَحْدَك لا شَريكَ لَكَ، لأِنَّ الصَّلاة وَالرُّكُوعَ وَالسُّجُودَ لا يَكُونُ إِلاّ لَكَ، لأِنَّكَ اَنْت اللهُ لا إِلهَ إِلاّ اَنْتَ.
O Allah, send blessings on Muhammad and the children of Muhammad, and send them my best greetings and compliment, and send their replies to me.
O Allah, send blessings on Muhammad and on him (al-Husayn) and accept my effort and reward me for it in the best rewarding that I anticipate and hope from You and from Your saint. You are surely the Guardian of the faithful ones.
Peace be upon all of you, O the helpers of Abu ′Abdullah.
السَّلام عَلَيْكُم يا اَنْصار اَبي عَبْدِ اللهِ.
My father and mother be sacrificed for you.
بِأبي اَنْتُم وَاُمّي؛
Verily, you were pure; therefore, the land wherein you are buried has been purified. You also attained your end and won great fortune.
طِبْتُم وَطابَت الأْرْضُ الّتي فيها دُفِنْتُمْ وَفُزْتُم فَوْزاً عَظيماً.
Would that we were with you, so that we could also share the accomplishment with you.
فَيا لَيْتَني كُنْت مَعَكُم فَاَفُوزَ مَعَكُمْ.
Would that we were with you, so that we could also share the accomplishment with you.
فَيالَيْتَني كُنْت مَعَكُم فَاَفُوز مَعَكُمْ.
You should then return to the place where the head of Imam al-Husayn, peace be upon him, is buried, supplicate to Allah as much as you can, pray for yourself, your family members, your parents, and your friends, for any prayer in the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn shall never be rejected or denied.
ثم عد إلى عند رأس الحسين، عليه السلام، وأكثر من الدعاء لك ولأهلك ولوالديك ولإخوانك، فإن مشهده لا تردُّ فيه دعوةُ داعٍ ولا سؤال سائلٍ.