4th Imam, Imam Zain Ul-Abideen (A.S.)

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Name: Ali

Title: Zainul Abedin, Sayidus Sajidin
Designation: 4th Imam
Kunyat: Abul Muhammad
Father: 3rd Imam Hussain (A.S.)
Mother: Shahr Banu Binte-Yazdjard
Born: 15th Jumada 1 38AH (659AD)
Died: 25th Muharram 95AH (713AD)
Martyred: Poisoned by Waleed
Buried: Cemetery of Jannatul Baqi


One day our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) was sitting in the company of his followers when a man, who was related to him, approached and began insulting Imam Zainul Abideen (as). This man’s name was al-Hassan Ibn al-Muthanna. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) ignored the man and when he had left said to his companions:

“You heard what that man said to me, I would like you to come with me to hear my reply to him.”

The companions of Imam Zainul Abideen (as) then said:

“We will come with you, although we wanted you or us to say something (an equal response) to him.”

Imam Zainul Abideen (as) proceeded to the man’s home reciting:

“And those who when they commit an indecency or do injustice to their souls remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their faults; and who forgives the faults but Allah, and (who) do not knowingly persist in what they have done.” (3:135)

His companions hearing this concluded that Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would say only kind words to the man. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) reached al-Hassan Ibn al-Muthanna’s house and said:

“Tell him this is Zainul Abideen.” The man heard this and came out prepared for an encounter. He was sure that Imam Zainul Abideen (as) came only to revenge his actions. When al-Hassan al-Muthanna appeared. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) said:

“My Brother! You have come to me and have said something’s. If you have said that which truly lies in me, I seek forgiveness from Allah; and if you have accused me of that which I am innocent, I ask Allah to forgive you!”

When the man heard the words of Imam Zainul Abideen (as) he kissed his forehead and said:

“Indeed I accused you of that which you are innocent of. These words describe me.”

Moral: Never get angry at someone when they are angry – It takes two people to start a fight. No matter how other people act you should always have perfect moral (Akhlaq).

Once a man who claimed to be a friend of our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) came to him and told him that so and so had been saying horrible things about him.

Imam Zainul Abideen (as) replied that he had not heard anything and would not have if the man had not told him. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) then continued that the person who had said the horrible things was as if he had shot an arrow and missed the target but the man who had told him was as if he had picked up the fallen arrow and hit the target with it.

Allah does not like the habit of spreading scandal and gossip even if it be true.

In the time of Prophet Musa (as), once there was a severe drought. For months there had been no rain. The people prayed and prayed but no rain came. When Prophet Musa (as) went to mount Sinai to pray, Allah revealed to him that amongst his people there was someone who spreading scandal and because of this person Allah had not let it rain.

Prophet Musa (as) asked Allah who this person was so that he could tell him off for what he had done. Allah replied that did Prophet Musa (as) want Him to do what He had forbidden for others. (i.e. talk about others).

Moral: Do not talk about other people Gheebat (Backbiting) when they are not there even if what you say is true.

Our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) always remembered the saying of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh): that if a Muslim did not think of the needs of his Muslim brothers then he was not a Muslim.

This is why when it was dark in the night and all the people were sleeping, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would get up, put some food in a sack and carry it on his shoulders to the houses of the poor people.

When Imam Zainul Abideen (as) went out at night it was dark and everyone will be sleeping but Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would cover his face just in case anyone was up, so that no one could recognize him.

Imam Zainul Abideen (as) looked after about 100 families like this without them even knowing who it was that was helping them.

It was only when Imam Zainul Abideen (as) died and the people no longer received the food that they found out it must have been Imam Zainul Abideen (as) who had helped them all that time.

Moral: When you do something good you should not tell everyone because Allah can see and He is the one who will give you Thawab for what you have done. In fact Allah says that He will give you more Thawab if you do good and do not tell everyone.

Our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (as), was a very kind and patient person. He usually never got angry and he always had a smile on his face.

One day when Imam Zainul Abideen (as) was walking down the street with a few of his friends, he saw an old man carrying a heavy load while his son walked next to him. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) lost his smile and became red with anger. All his friends were very surprised to see Imam Zainul Abideen (as) in this way, as they had never seen him angry.

They asked Imam Zainul Abideen (as) what had happened to make him so angry. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) replied that he was angry to see a son walk with his father letting him carry a heavy load and not helping.

It is narrated that the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) has said: One who pleases his parents has verily pleased Allah, and one who has angered his parents has verily angered Allah.

It is narrated that the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) has said: Two doors of paradise are opened for a person whose day commences when his parents are pleased with him.

A person once approached the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and said: “I have an old father and mother, who due to their attachment towards me, are not keen for me to go to Jihad.”

Hearing this, the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) said “(If such is the case then) Stay with your Parents for by the One in whose control lies my soul! Their attachment of one day and one night to you is better then one year of Jihad.”

It is narrated that Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) has said: “Allah will not accept the Namaz of the person who stares angrily at his parents. Even though they (parents) may be unjust.”

Moral: You should always help your parents, even when they do not ask you to.

Abdul Malik bin Marwan died in 86 Hijri, after 21 years of tyranny. His son Walid succeeded him. He decided to bring about some justice to please the public. He tried hard to please the people of Medina, in particular, as it was one of the two sacred Muslim cities where some descendants of the Prophet Mohammed’s companions, and some famous narrators lived. That is why he fired Hisham bin Ismail, the father-in-law of Abdul Malik, who was the cruel and unjust governor of Medina. Hisham bin Ismail had reached the extreme cruelty and offense to the people of Medina. Saeed bin Museeb, who was a respectable and famous narrator was beaten sixty lashes, was made to wear a coarse robe, while sitting on a Camel and being walked through the streets of Medina, because he had refused to give allegiance. He had committed numerous offenses towards the family of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), especially Imam Zainul Abideen (as).

Walid fired Hisham bin Ismail and instead hired Umar bin Abdul Aziz, his young cousin who was popular for his sincerity and his justice. Umar ordered that Hisham bin Ismail be brought in front of Marwan’s house and whoever has any complaint against him, get his right. People would come, in groups, and offered him curses, and harsh words. Hisham bin Ismail was afraid of Imam Zainul Abideen (as) revenge. He thought to himself that Imam Zainul Abideen (as) will bring him nothing less than death due to the cruelty done to his family.

But the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) had told his followers: “Our character isn’t one of kicking the fallen ones. Neither do we avenge the enemy when he has fallen and weak. Our character is that of assisting the poor and the needy.” As the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) and his followers approached him, Hisham bin Ismail turned pale and expected a cold blooded murder at any moment. But just apposite to his expectation, Imam Zainul Abideen (as), in his usual manner of a Muslim must aid a Muslim, called on him:

“Salaamun Alaikum.” After greeting him, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) offered: “If there is anything I could do for you, I am ready to do.” The people of Medina, also, stopped punishing Hisham bin Ismail after that moment.

Ibadah or Ibadat (Worship) of Imam Zainul Abideen (as):

“It is said that Imam Zainul Abideen (as) did twenty Hajj every time traveling on foot to Makkah.”
Imam Zainul Abideen (as) had a large farm of date trees. He offered two Raka’at payers besides each date tree.
One of the titles of our 4th Imam, Imam Ali ibn al-Hussain (as) is ‘Zainul Abideen’ meaning ‘adornment of worshippers’.

(Taken from: Islamic Occasions)