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Childhood wish of Imam Zainul Abideen / Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as)

Childhood wish of Imam Zainul Abideen (as)In his childhood, our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) once fell very ill. Like any father, his father Imam Husayn (as) too showed affection towards him and asked, "How are you feeling my son? Is there anything you wish to have so that I can provide you with it?" As a small child, he (as) responded, "O father! My wish is only one that Allah (SWT) should place me amongst those who are ever pleased and satisfied with whatever HE destines for them".

Thereupon his father embraced him and said, "You have indeed spoken words of knowledge (Ma'rifah). Your answer is similar to that of Prophet Ibrahim (as), when Prophet Ibrahim (as) was thrown into fire (by Nimrood), Angel Jibrael met and asked him if he had any wish to which Prophet Ibrahim (as) replied: 'Indeed but not from you'".

Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) and Satan:

The reason for Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) being given the title of Zainul Abideen (the adornment or the pride of worshippers) was that one night, as he stood for prayers in his place of worship, Satan manifested himself in the form of a huge serpent with the intention of distracting Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) from his prayers. But when Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) took no notice of him, the Satan approached him and bit his big toe causing pain to run through him, but despite this act of his, Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) continued to remain oblivious of him and carried on with his prayers.

When, after the completion of his prayers, Imam Ali bin Hussain (as) realized that it was Satan, he cursed him saying: "O' Accursed! Go away," and once again engaged himself in worship. It was at this moment that he heard an angel call out three times: "You are the adornment or embellishment of the worshippers."

Imam Zainul Abideen (as) and Worship (Ibadah)

Our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) has taught us how to worship Allah (SWT) and it is for this reason that he (as) is known as: Zainul Abideen meaning 'the adornment' or 'the pride of worshippers' and Sayyid al-Sajideen (Leader of those who prostrate). He (as) has taught us that whenever we rise to worship Allah (SWT), two things have to be taken into consideration. One is the Greatness of Allah (SWT), which should always be in our minds. And our hearts should be filled with His awe such that our feelings should be Baynal-Khaufi war-Rajaa (between hope and fear). Hope for His mercy and fear of His wrath.

"It is said that Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) did twenty Hajj and every time he (as) traveled on foot to Makkah. Also it is said that Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) had a large farm of date trees. He (as) offered two Raka'at payers besides each date tree."

An Incident of Imam Zainul Abideen's (as) Worship (Ibadah)

Imam Zainul Abideen (as) and Worship (Ibadah)Fatima, the daughter of Imam Ali (as) once called Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) - the old companion of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and said to him, "O Jabir! You are one of the greatest surviving companions of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and we belong to the Ahlul-Bayt (as) whose rights are upon you. Among the Ahlul-Bayt (as), one who has survived is Ali ibn Husayn (as) and he (as) has over-engrossed himself in the worship of Allah (SWT). His forehead and palms have wounds because of extensive prostrations and his body has become thin and weak. Therefore go and speak to him so that he (as) may reduce his worship."

Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) came to our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) whilst he (as) was sitting in the Mihrab of worship. Seeing Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra), our Imam (as) gave him respect and made him sit near himself; and then he (as) asked him about his health and affairs in a very weak voice. Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) said, "O son of the Prophet! Allah (SWT) has created Paradise for you and your followers and HE (SWT) has created Hellfire for your enemies and opponents. Then why do you tire yourself so much in worship?" Imam Zainul Abideen (as) replied, "O companion of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh)! Despite his great status in the sight of Allah (SWT), the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) engrossed himself so much in worship that his feet were swollen. When asked: 'Why do you burden yourself so much when you have nothing to worry?' Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) said, 'Shouldn't I express my gratitude to Allah (SWT) and abandon the gratitude of all His favours?'"

Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) said, "O son of the Prophet! Have mercy upon Muslims. It is because of the blessings of your presence that Allah (SWT) keeps away all the hardships and difficulties of the people; and HE (SWT) does not punish them for their wrongdoings". Imam Zainul Abideen (as) replied, "O Jabir! I shall remain steadfast on the path of my fathers and forefathers until I meet them." (Ahsan al-Muqaal)

Another Incident of Imam Zainul Abideen's (as) Worship (Ibadah)

Taawus-e-Yemeni once entered Hijr-e-Ismail after midnight and saw Imam Zainul Abideen (as) in prostration (Sajdah). He felt as though Imam Zainul Abideen (as) was repeating something. As he came closer, Taawus heard the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) saying: ILAAHI UBAYDUKA BI-FINAA-IK, MISKEENUKA BI-FINAA-IK, FAQEERUKA BI-FINAA-IK "O my Lord! Your most humble servant is at Your doorstep. A beggar is at Your doorstep. A needy is at Your doorstep."

Taawus says that after this incident, whenever I encountered any hardships and sicknesses, I would go into Sajdah and recite these words of Imam Zainul Abideen (as) and I would experience relief. (Ahsan al-Muqaal)

Imam Zainul Abideen (as): The Secret Helper of the Poor and Needy

The view common people have towards one who isolates himself from society and devotes his life solely to performing his religious rituals, such as ablution (Wudu), praying, supplicating, pilgrimage (Hajj), etc, is a stranger to the society. Such a person cares nothing about his materialistic and social life, and spends his life in worship. The life of Imam Zainul Abideen (as) however, contradicts this view.

Despite his long unique prayers and supplications, our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) was never ignorant of his society, its needs, and the realities of the time. In fact, in regards to interactions with society, he was a role model in the social and moral duties.

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.

Noble Qur'an has repeatedly reminded us about helping the poor and it has taught us that our help should be only for the sake of Allah (SWT). Muslims are told that when giving in charity, they must not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, since this act voids their charity. In this regards verse 264 of Surah Baqarah says, "O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day." So how should we help the poor? Allah (SWT) answers this in verse 271 of Surah Baqarah, "If you give alms openly, it is good, and if you hide it and give it to the poor, it is better for you."

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): The Secret Helper of the Poor and NeedyImam Zainul Abideen (as) looked after about 100 families like this without them even knowing who it was that was helping them.

Imam Zainul Abideen (as) had a poor cousin. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) used to go to visit him every night and give him some money while he could not see Imam's face. That man used to say, "Imam Zainul Abideen (as) does not consider his poor family members; may Allah (SWT) punish him." Imam Zainul Abideen (as) heard these words many times and never said anything; he continued to be anonymous with his patience. After Imam's martyrdom, his cousin did not receive any charity and then realized that the generous man who used to help him was Imam Zainul Abideen (as). Thus, he went to Imam's cemetery and cried there.

Muhammad Is'haq narrates: Many of the poor citizens of Madinah had experienced the generosity and kindness of Imam Zainul Abideen (as). Yet, they never found out it was the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) as he would visit them during the nights, until Imam Zainul Abideen (as) passed away, and that anonymous man never came to them any more. It was then that they found out that that anonymous helper was Imam Zainul Abideen (as).

Abu Hamzah al-Thomali also narrates: During the night, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would carry food on his shoulders for the poor and needy people. He would say, "Giving charity in secret will subside the anger of Allah (SWT)."

Ibn Sa'ad who died around 200 A.H. has narrated: There were many poor people who would come to the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) for help, and before they even asked for anything, the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would give them what they wanted. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would then say, "Giving charity is received by Allah (SWT) before it is received by the poor."

It was from the examples mentioned above that when the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) was martyred, and some were helping in washing his body (giving him Ghusl), they noticed the wounds on his shoulder and back. They asked about it, and found out that the wounds were the result of carrying the food for the poor.

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

Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) and Respecting Parents

Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) and Respecting ParentsOur 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 (SWT), and one who has angered his parents has verily angered Allah (SWT).

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.

Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) and ShiaImam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) and Shia:

A group of people came to our 4th Imam, Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) saying that they were his Shia (followers).

"What do you do when you get something?" Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) asked them.

"We say Alhamdulillah [Praise belongs to Allah (SWT)]," they replied.

"What do you do when something is taken away from you?" Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) asked them.

"We lament a little and come to terms with it," they replied.

"What do you do when you do not receive anything?" Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) asked them further.

"Nothing," they replied.

"Even the dogs of Madinah do that." Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (as) said. "When they are given something (food), they wag their tails in thankfulness (Shukr). When something is taken away from them, they bark a little and walk away. When they do not get anything, they walk around the streets."

"Our Shia are those who say Alhamdulillah [Praise belongs to Allah (SWT)] when they receive something, when something is taken away and when they receive nothing." (Ahsanul Qasa)

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016