Martyrdom of Imam Zain-ul-Abideen (AS)

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
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Wednesday, 21 December 2011


shiitenews imam sajjad qaberAccept our condolences on a very doleful day. Today is the 25th of the month of Moharram, the day the Survivor of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, was martyred through a fatal dose of poison, 34 years after witnessing the bloodcurdling martyrdom of his father Imam Husain (AS). We have prepared for you a special feature on the life and times of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the 4th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) as follows:

In addition to these supplications that cover everything under the sun, including scientific issues that mankind had not yet discovered a millennium and three centuries age, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), gave the human race their Rights and duties towards each other, and towards our own self. He dictated these set of brilliant rights to one of his disciples, and the result was the "Risalat al-Huqooq" or the Treatise of Rights, which has been translated into all major world languages, and is hailed as the finest charter of human rights, more complete and perfect than what is known in our times as the UN Human Rights Charter. The 4th Imam’s whole life was spent in helping all the people, irrespective of their tendencies. It was his habit to go during the darkness of the night with a sack full of bread for the hungry people. They never knew the identity of the person, who gave them food night after night, but the Imam’s own companions knew the fact and they passed it on to the later generation to know and to learn. It was after his death that those hungry souls came to know the identity of their benefactor, who was none other than the great grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).

The 4th Imam performed the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the holy Ka'ba in Mecca, thirty times, after tragedy of Karbala. Sometimes he would go for Hajj on the back of a camel, but sometimes on foot for over 400 km from Medina to Mecca. Once he was traveling with a companion. When they reached the outskirts of Mecca, the crowd of pilgrims travelling was enormous. His companions shouted, "There is a lot of crowd for Hajj this year." The Imam replied, "There is only you and me and this camel, the rest are animals." He was again teaching the meaning of Hajj which was to reach out for God with all your heart and do not just regard it as another ritual. Once at the holy Ka'ba in Mecca, an incident occurred that is said to have provoked the jealousy of Hisham ibn Abdul Malik, the governor of Mecca who was later to become another of the tyrannical Omayyad caliphs. Hisham arrived at the holy Ka'ba with great pomp and a retinue of servants. But in spite of this, he was not able to reach for the Sacred Black Stone. In Ehraam or the simple garb worn by all pilgrims the haughty Hisham was unrecognizable. He sat down on a high place waiting for the crowd to move so that he could also kiss the black stone. While he was waiting he saw a man arrive and watched the crowd give way for him. The man reached the Sacred Black stone, kissed it and returned back to his place. Hisham knew that the person was Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the rightful successor of the Prophet, who was respected by the ummah despite the oppression of the Omayyads.

He arrogantly asked: Who is this man. Farazdaq the famous poet was standing right there. He composed an extempore Qaseeda in praise of the 4th Imam to introduce him, saying:

"He is who that the whole Mecca knows him, every stone in the Ka'ba knows him. He is the grandson of Fatema and Ali and the descendant of the Holy Prophet. In another incident while the Imam was about to begin his prayers a man came round and began to use abusive language against him. The Imam ignored the man first. But when he repeated the abusive language pointing to him directly, he said to him, "what you are saying about me, if it is true then I ask God’s forgiveness, but if it is not true, then only God can forgive you." The man was thoroughly ashamed of his behavior and apologized. Later on he became a great devotee of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS).

It is often said the 4th Imam spent his life after Karbala in weeping and crying for the atrocities committed to his family. Indeed it was true that he wept profusely and that sometimes the glass of water he drank would soil with tears so that he would not be able to drink that water. And when people said why you weep so much, for martyrdom is the inheritance of the Ahl al-Bayt. He would say, "Yes indeed, I do not weep for the killing of my family, but for the humiliation we the whole family faced on the way to Damascus which was beyond description. I weep for that disgrace of women and children." He would then call the people around and tell them the story of Karbala and the plight of the captives after Karbala. People would also weep and cry loudly. The message spread. This was the means to tell the people otherwise people would not want to know. Through tragedy the message reached the hearts of the people and that message is still alive today after a millennium and over three centuries. And with this the line of demarcation drawn in Karbala between truth and falsehood is still visible.

The calm and peaceful life of the 4th Imam was not to be tolerated by the cruel Ommayad regime. It realized that the Imam was succeeding in his mission of spreading the message of his father Imam Husain (AS). The Godless caliph, Waleed ibn Abdul Malik had him poisoned. As a result, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), was martyred this day in Medina in 95 AH. He was laid to rest in the sacred Jannat al- Baqie Cemetery beside his uncle and father-in-law Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS).

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Times were hard in Medina for the family of the Prophet. Imam Ali Ibn Husain, known popularly as Zain al-Abedin, or the Ornament of the Pious, lived for another 34 years after the event of Karbala. He was the Imam of the time and it was his duty to spread guidance to the people. The Imam survived with the sheer will power and providence. He used to go to the mosque of the Prophet and sometimes prayed there all night. These were special prayers in the shape of supplications with great significance than mere ritual. These prayers were memorized by his companions, written down by his sons, especially his son and successor, Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), as well as by Zaid. All these supplications were later collected by his companions in the shape of a book which was named "Sahifat as-Sajjadiyya", which derives its name from another of the epithets of the 4th Imam, that is, Seyyed os-Sajedin or Sajjad, which means the one who spends long hours in prostration to God Almighty. Several copies of the book were made and distributed among the followers. Formal teachings of the holy Qur’an by the family of the Prophet were not allowed by cruel Omayyad regime. Through these supplications the Imam taught his followers the relationship between God and the people. In ordinary language it is not possible to enhance the knowledge of God. But in the language of prayer, when one bows down before the Omnipresent but Unseen Creator, one realizes one's own meager self, in comparison with the immensity of the universe. All vanity or ego disappears. All thoughts of self indulgence vanish. He relates himself with his creator in all humility and sublime self. His true self awakens which only exists to help others for they are all creatures of God. Emotions that were attached to his own self disappear. He feels alone in the wide world. His only hope rests with his creator. God alone gives him hope and meaning of existence on earth

In addition to these supplications that cover everything under the sun, including scientific issues that mankind had not yet discovered a millennium and three centuries age, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), gave the human race their Rights and duties towards each other, and towards our own self. He dictated these set of brilliant rights to one of his disciples, and the result was the "Risalat al-Huqooq" or the Treatise of Rights, which has been translated into all major world languages, and is hailed as the finest charter of human rights, more complete and perfect than what is known in our times as the UN Human Rights Charter. The 4th Imam’s whole life was spent in helping all the people, irrespective of their tendencies. It was his habit to go during the darkness of the night with a sack full of bread for the hungry people. They never knew the identity of the person, who gave them food night after night, but the Imam’s own companions knew the fact and they passed it on to the later generation to know and to learn. It was after his death that those hungry souls came to know the identity of their benefactor, who was none other than the great grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).

The 4th Imam performed the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the holy Ka'ba in Mecca, thirty times, after tragedy of Karbala. Sometimes he would go for Hajj on the back of a camel, but sometimes on foot for over 400 km from Medina to Mecca. Once he was traveling with a companion. When they reached the outskirts of Mecca, the crowd of pilgrims travelling was enormous. His companions shouted, "There is a lot of crowd for Hajj this year." The Imam replied, "There is only you and me and this camel, the rest are animals." He was again teaching the meaning of Hajj which was to reach out for God with all your heart and do not just regard it as another ritual. Once at the holy Ka'ba in Mecca, an incident occurred that is said to have provoked the jealousy of Hisham ibn Abdul Malik, the governor of Mecca who was later to become another of the tyrannical Omayyad caliphs. Hisham arrived at the holy Ka'ba with great pomp and a retinue of servants. But in spite of this, he was not able to reach for the Sacred Black Stone. In Ehraam or the simple garb worn by all pilgrims the haughty Hisham was unrecognizable. He sat down on a high place waiting for the crowd to move so that he could also kiss the black stone. While he was waiting he saw a man arrive and watched the crowd give way for him. The man reached the Sacred Black stone, kissed it and returned back to his place. Hisham knew that the person was Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the rightful successor of the Prophet, who was respected by the ummah despite the oppression of the Omayyads.

He arrogantly asked: Who is this man. Farazdaq the famous poet was standing right there. He composed an extempore Qaseeda in praise of the 4th Imam to introduce him, saying:

"He is who that the whole Mecca knows him, every stone in the Ka'ba knows him. He is the grandson of Fatema and Ali and the descendant of the Holy Prophet. In another incident while the Imam was about to begin his prayers a man came round and began to use abusive language against him. The Imam ignored the man first. But when he repeated the abusive language pointing to him directly, he said to him, "what you are saying about me, if it is true then I ask God’s forgiveness, but if it is not true, then only God can forgive you." The man was thoroughly ashamed of his behavior and apologized. Later on he became a great devotee of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS).

It is often said the 4th Imam spent his life after Karbala in weeping and crying for the atrocities committed to his family. Indeed it was true that he wept profusely and that sometimes the glass of water he drank would soil with tears so that he would not be able to drink that water. And when people said why you weep so much, for martyrdom is the inheritance of the Ahl al-Bayt. He would say, "Yes indeed, I do not weep for the killing of my family, but for the humiliation we the whole family faced on the way to Damascus which was beyond description. I weep for that disgrace of women and children." He would then call the people around and tell them the story of Karbala and the plight of the captives after Karbala. People would also weep and cry loudly. The message spread. This was the means to tell the people otherwise people would not want to know. Through tragedy the message reached the hearts of the people and that message is still alive today after a millennium and over three centuries. And with this the line of demarcation drawn in Karbala between truth and falsehood is still visible.

The calm and peaceful life of the 4th Imam was not to be tolerated by the cruel Ommayad regime. It realized that the Imam was succeeding in his mission of spreading the message of his father Imam Husain (AS). The Godless caliph, Waleed ibn Abdul Malik had him poisoned. As a result, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), was martyred this day in Medina in 95 AH. He was laid to rest in the sacred Jannat al- Baqie Cemetery beside his uncle and father-in-law Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS).

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