The Life of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin

By: Bāqir Sharif al-Qarashi

P. 167 – 206
The Muslims unanimously agreed that Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, was the most worshipful of all the people, and the most obedient of them to Allah, the Exalted. The people never saw a person like him in great turn to Allah in repentance and worship. The pious and the righteous admired him, and it is sufficient for him that only he was given the nick-name of Zayn al-‘Ābidin (the ornament of the worshippers) and Sayyid al-Sājjidin (the lord of those who prostrate themselves in prayer).

As for his worship, it was not traditional; rather it resulted from his firm faith in Allah, the Most High, and his perfect knowledge of Him. He worshipped Allah not due to desire of His garden, nor did he worshipped him out of fear of His fire; rather he found Him worthy of worshipping, Hence he worshipped Him. He was similar to his grandfather, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, the Lord of the knowers, and the Imām of the Allah-fearing, who worshipped Allah with the worship of the free, Hence his grandson, Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, followed him when he said: “I hate to worship Allah and I have no objective except His reward; therefore I will be like the desirous servant, who works when he is desirous; otherwise he does not work. I hate to worship Him because of fear of His torment, Hence I will be like the bad servant, who works when he is afraid.”

One of those who were sitting interrupted him and said to him: “How do you worship Allah?”

The Imām answered him faithfully: “I worship Allah through his bounties and blessings (toward me), Hence He is worthy of (worship).[1]”

The Imām’s worship resulted from his knowledge which was void of doubts and imaginations. It did come out of desire or fear; rather it issued from firm faith (in Allah). He, peace be on him, talked about the kinds of worship, saying: “If people worship Allah, the Great and Almighty, because of fear (of Him), their worship is (similar to that) of slaves. If they worship Him because of desire, their worship (similar to that) of traders, and if they worship Him to show gratefulness toward him, their worship is that of the free.[2]” These are the kinds of worship and obedience; the heaviest of them in scale and the most lovable of them for Allah is the worship of the free, which is gratefulness to the Almighty Benefactor, not because of craving for His reward nor because of fear of His punishment. The Imām, peace be on him, underlined this in another tradition of his, saying: “The worship of the free is thankfulness to Allah, not because of fear and desire.[3]”

The Imām’s love for Allah was firm in his heart and sentiments, Hence it was among his qualities. The narrators said: “He (Zayn al-‘Ābidin) always worshipped Allah and obeyed him.” A slave girl of his was asked about his worship and she answered: “Shall I elaborate (on it) or shall I (talk about it) briefly?”

“Briefly,” was the answer.

“I did not bring him food by day nor did I spread for him bed by night,” the slave girl answered.[4]

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, spent most his lifetime fasting by day and praying by night. He was busy praying or giving charity in secret. It is certain that there is no person in the history of the ascetics and worshippers like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in loyalty and obedience to Allah. Now, we will mention some acts of his worship:

His Ritual Ablution

As for ablution, it is light and purity from sins and is the first act for prayer. The Imām, peace be on him, always performed the ritual ablution. The narrators talked about his humility to Allah during his ablution, saying: “When he used to perform ritual ablutions, his skin would turn yellow. Hence his family asked him: ‘What is it that has afflicted you?’”

He answered them with fear of Allah, saying: “Don’t you know Whom I am preparing to stand before?[5]”

He took great care of his ablution to the extent that no one helped him with it. He himself brought water for his ritual ablutions and prepared it before he slept. When he got up at night, he started with tooth cleanser (siwāk) , and then he performed his ablution. Having finished it, he began praying.[6]

His Prayer

As for prayer, it is the journey of every believer (to the seven heavens) and is the sacrifice of every pious one, as it is in the tradition. Prayer was among the most important desires of the Imām, peace be on him. Through it he communicate with Allah, the Creator of the universe and Giver of life. He shook all over when he wanted to pray, Hence he was asked about that, and he replied: “Don’t you know Whom I am preparing to stand before and to Whom I am going to whisper (in prayer)?[7]” We will mention some of his affairs during his prayers and perfuming himself:

Perfuming his Garments

When the Imām wanted to pray, he perfumed himself from a bottle which he put in the room of his prayers[8], which was full of musk.

His Garments during his Prayer

When the Imām wanted to pray, he wore coarse woolen garments[9] in order to behave humbly before the Almighty Creator.

His Humbleness during his Prayer

As for the prayer of the Imām, peace be on him, it represented full devotion to Allah, the Exalted, and freedom from the material world. He did not feel the things around him; rather he did not feel even himself, for his heart clung to Allah. The narrators described him during the time of his prayer, saying: “When he stood to perform the ritual prayer, his skin would turn yellow, and he shook all over because of fear of Allah. He stood during his prayer as the abased slave who stood before a great king. He prayed with the prayer of the one who would leave (the world). He thought that he would never pray again.” Imām al-Bāqir talked about the humbleness of his father during his prayer, saying: “When ‘Ali b. al-Husayn stood to perform his ritual prayers, he was like the trunk of a tree. Nothing of him moved except that which the wind moved.[10]” Abān b. Taghlub related to Imām al-Sādiq, peace be on him, the prayer of his grandfather, Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, saying: “When ‘Ali b. al-Husayn stood to perform the ritual prayers, his skin would turn yellow.” Hence Imām al-Sādiq, peace be on him, admired his grandfather and said: “By Allah, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn knew Him before Whom he stood.[11]” Yes, Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin completely knew the mightiness of the Wise Creator, Hence he worshipped Him due to knowledge and obeyed Him because of faith.

Among the aspects of his humbleness during his prayer was that when he prostrated, he did not raise his head until he oozed sweat[12] as if he sank in water, for he wept abundantly.[13] The narrators reported on the authority of Abū Hamza al-Thumāli, who said: “I saw the Imām praying and his clock falling off one of his shoulders. He did not set it right, Hence I asked him, and he answered me: ‘Woe unto you! Didn’t you know before Whom I had been? (Allah) does not accept the servant’s prayer unless his heart clings to Him.[14]”

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin clung to Allah to the extent that one of his sons fell into a well, and the people of Medina hurried to him and saved him from the well, while the Imām was standing in prayer in his mihrab and did not know that. When he had finished his prayer, he was told about that, and he said: “I did not feel that, for I was whispering to the Almighty Lord.[15]

A fire occurred in the Imām’s house, but he paid no attention to the fire, for he was busy praying. When he had finished his prayer, he was asked about that, and he replied: “The greatest fire (in the hereafter) distracted me from this fire![16]” ‘Abd al-Karim al-Qushayri explained this wonderful aspect, which accompanied the Imām during his prayer, saying: “The heart sometimes becomes heedless of knowing the affairs of creatures, for it is busy pondering that which comes to it. It becomes inattentive of feeling itself or other than it when it remembers a reward or a punishment.[17]”

A one thousand Ruk‘ā Prayer

The biographers unanimously agreed that Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, prayed one thousand Ruk‘ās by day and night[18], and that he had five hundred date-palms, Hence he said two ruk‘as by each date-palm.[19] As he prayed abundantly, he had calluses like those of the camel on the places of his prostration. Some calluses fell off every year, and he put them into a bag. When he passed away, they were buried with him.[20]

His Performing the Superfluous Prayer (nawāfil)

No superfluous prayer escaped the Imām throughout his life. He performed at night the prayers that escaped him by day. He advised his children to perform such prayers and said to them: “My children, these (prayers) are not obligatory for you, but I want you to habituate yourselves to them.[21]”

His Abundant Prostration (in prayer)

The servant is close to his Lord when he is in the state of prostration, as it is in the tradition. Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, prostrated himself abundantly for his Lord to show submission to Him and lowliness before Him. The narrators said: “One day, he (Zayn al-‘Ābidin) went to the desert, and a retainer of his followed him. The retainer found him prostrating on a coarse stone and heard him saying one thousand times: There is no god but Allah in all certainty! There is no god but Allah in worship and slavery! There is no god but Allah in faith and truth![22]” He performed the prostration of thanks and said during it one hundred times: “Praise belongs to Allah, thanks (be to Allah)!” After that he said: “O Possessor of favor which never ceases, and which none other than Him can count! O Possessor of kindness which never comes to an end! O Generous! O Generous!” Then he prayed humbly (to Allah) and mentioned his need.[23]

His Abundant Glorification

The Imām was always busy mentioning, glorifying, and praising Allah. He glorified Allah with these brilliant words: “Glory be to Him whose light illumines every darkness. Glory be to Him Who predetermines every power through His power. Glory be to Him Who has concealed Himself from the servants through the ways of their souls, Hence there is nothing to conceal Him. Glory and praise belong to Allah.[24]”

His Performing the Night Prayer frequently

Among the superfluous prayers (nawāfil) which Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, performed was the night prayer. He frequently performed it during travel and at home[25] until he met the Highest Comrade (Allah).

His Supplication after the Night Prayer

When he, peace be on him, had finished the night prayer, he supplicated with this holy supplication, which is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. It is as follows:

“O Allah, O Possessor of kingdom perpetual in everlastingness, authority invincible without armies or helpers, might abiding through aeons past, years gone by, times and days elapsed! Your authority is mighty with a might that knows no bound by being first nor utmost end by being last! Your kingdom towers high with a towering before which all things fall down without reaching its term; the least of it which You have kept to Yourself is not reached by the furthest description of the descripers! Attributes go astray in You, descriptions fall apart below You the subtlest of imaginations are bewildered by Your magnificence! Hence are You, Allah, the first in Your firstness, and Hence are You everlastingly. You do not pass away. However, I am the slave feeble in works, immense in hopes. Your tying links are outside my hand, except what is tied by Your mercy; the bounds of hopes have been cut away from me, except the pardon to which I hold fast. Little on my part is the obedience toward You upon which I count, and great against me the disobedience toward You to which I have reverted. However, pardoning Your slave will not constrain You, even if he be bad, Hence pardon me!”

This paragraph of his supplication contains glorifying Allah, professing belief in His unity, and mentioning some of His exalted attributes such as kingdom perpetual in everlastingness and authority invincible without armies or helpers, Hence attributes and descriptions are unable to depict Allah, the Most High.

Then the Imām goes on showing absolute humility, submission, and slavery to Allah, the Exalted, saying:

“O Allah, You commanded me, and I refrained, You prohibited me, and I committed. Evil thoughts tempted me to offend, and I was negligent. I cannot call upon daytime to witness my fasting, nor can I seek sanctuary in night because of my vigil; no sunna praises me for keeping it alive, only Your obligations, he who neglects which has perished. I cannot seek access to You through the excellence of a supererogatory work, given the many duties of Your obligations of which I have been heedless and the stations of Your bounds which I have transgressed, thereby violating sacred things and committing great sins, though You have given my safety from their disgraces as a covering. This is the station of him who is ashamed of himself before You, angry with himself, and satisfied with You. He meets You with a humble soul, a neck bent down, a back heavy with offenses, hesitating between longing for You and fear of You. You are the most worthy of those in whom he might hope, the most deserving for him to dread and fear. Hence give me, my Lord, what I hope for, make me secure against what frightens me, and act kindly toward me with the kindly act of mercy! Surely You are the most generous of those from whom are asked!”

The Imām, the monk of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them, showed his humility and submission before Allah. He thought that all his good deeds such as spending night in prayer, day in fasting, performing all the superfluous prayer (nawāfil), desirable deeds (mustahabbāt), enlivening the Islamic laws, and other countless good deeds were insufficient for performing the rights of Allah against him. Hence which turn to Allah in repentance better than this turn? Which devotion to Him is better than this devotion? Indeed, this Imām was a unique example in the world of the pious and the righteous.

Now, let’s listen to another part of this supplication: “O Allah, since You have covered me with Your pardon and shielded me with Your bounty in the abode of annihilation and the presence of equals, grant me sanctuary from the disgraces of the Abode of Subsistence at the standing places of the Witnesses (the angels brought nigh, the messengers honored, the martyrs, the righteous) before the neighbor from whom I have hidden my evil deeds and the womb relative before whom I feel ashamed in my secret thoughts! I trust them not, my Lord, to cover me over, but I trust You, my Lord, to forgive me!

“O Allah, Your knowledge watches over hidden works, every covered thing is exposed before Your awareness, the intricacies of things are not concealed from You, and unseen mysteries slip not away from You. But over me Your enemy has gained mastery: He asked a delay from You to lead me astray, and You gave him the delay! He asked a respite from You until the Day of Doom to misguide me, and You gave him the respite! Hence he threw me down, though I had fled to You from small, ruinous and great, deadly works, until, when I had yielded to disobeying You and merited Your anger through my bad efforts, he turned the bridle of his treachery away from me, met me with the word of his ingratitude, undertook to be quit of me, turned his back to flee from me, threw me to the desert of Your wrath alone, and sent me as an outcast into the courtyard of Your vengeance. There is no intercessor to intercede for me with You, no protector to make me feel secure against You, no fortress to veil me from You, no shelter in which to seek asylum apart from You! This is the station of him who takes refuge with You, the place of the confessor to You: Let not Your bounty be too narrow for me, let not Your pardon fall short of me! Let me not be the most disappointed of Your repentant servants, nor the most despairing of those who come to You with expectations! Forgive me, surely You are the best of the forgivers!”

In these paragraphs the Imām, peace be on him, talks about the weakness of man’s soul before desires and its inability to resist stoned Satan, who employs it through wicked inclinations such as greediness and haughtiness. Satan controls man’s feelings and sentiments, employs him in the fields of sins and offenses, and drives him away from seeking nearness to Allah.

The Imām continued supplicating: “I trust them not, my Lord, to cover me over[26], but I trust You my Lord, to forgive me! You are the most worthy of those in whom confidence is had, the most giving of those who are besought, and the most clement of those from whom mercy is asked.”

In this paragraph the Imām, peace be on him, expresses his great confidence in Allah and his hope in Allah’s forgiveness and favors. He asks Allah to forgive him and to be pleased with him in the hereafter. He, peace be on him, mentions that Allah covers over His disobedient servants. Moreover, he asks Allah to grant him sanctuary from the disgraces of the Abode of Subsistence at the standing places of the Witnesses, the angels brought nigh, the messengers honored, the martyrs, and the righteous. In this manner, he, peace be on him, urges the disobedient to turn to Allah in repentance and to do good deeds, that they may attain Allah’s good pleasure and mercy, which embraces all things. Now, let’s return to consider another part of this holy supplication:

“O Allah, You caused me to descend as mean water from loins of narrow bones and tight passages into a constricted womb which You had covered with veils; You turned me about from state to state until You took me to the completion of the form and fixed within me the bodily parts, as You have described in Your Book[27]: a drop, then a clot, then a tissue, then bones, then You garmented the bones with flesh, then You produced me as another creature as You willed. Then, when I needed Your provision, and could not do without the aid of Your bounty, You appointed for me a nourishment from the bounty of the food and drink which You bestowed upon Your handmaid in whose belly You gave me to rest and in lodging of whose womb You deposited me. Had You entrusted me in those states, my Lord, to my own force, or driven me to have recourse to my own strength, force would have removed from me and strength taken far away. Hence You have fed me through Your bounty with the food of the Good, the Gentle; You have done that for me in graciousness toward me up to this present point. I do not lack Your goodness, nor does Your benefaction keep me waiting. Yet with all that, my trust has not become firm enough that I might free myself for that which is more favored by You. Satan has taken possession of my reins through my distrust and frail certainty. I complain of his evil neighborhood with me and my soul’s obedience toward him! I ask You to preserve me against his domination, and I plead with You to turn his trickery away from me! I ask You to make the path to my provision easy, since to You belongs praise for Your beginning with immense favors and Your inspiring gratitude for beneficence and bestowing favor! Bless Mohammed and his Household, and make the way to my provision easy for me! (I ask You) to make me content with your ordainment for me, to make me satisfied with me lot in that which You have apportioned for me and to place what has gone of my body and my life-span into the path of Your obedience! Surely You are the Best of providers!”

In this paragraph there are some reliable proofs of the existence of the Great Creator. They are as follows: Allah, the Most High, created man from mean water, put him into a narrow womb, turned him from state to state until he took him to the completion of the form. Man is the greatest creature of Allah. He has wonderful organs such as brain, eye, ear, and they all indicate the existence of the Wise Creator. The Imām, peace be on him, derived his views from the Holy Qur’ān, which talked in detail about the creation of man. It is worth mentioning that the Qur’ān has accurately showed how the embryo is formed, Hence it supplies man with this wonderful reality. Sayyid Qutub said: “Man stands astonished before the reality which the Qur’ān has displayed concerning the form of fetus. (This reality) was discovered when embryology developed. This is because the cells of bones are different from those of flesh. It has been established that the cells of bones are formed in embryo before those of flesh. None of the cells of flesh is seen unless those of bones appear, and the skeleton of fetus is complete. The Qur’ānic text has mentioned this reality.[28]”

Any how, when the Imām, peace be on him, had mentioned the greatest blessings of Allah, he asked Allah to save him from the trickery and delusions of Satan, who is the first enemy of man. Now, let’s read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:

“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the Fire through which You are harsh toward him who disobeys You and by which You have threatened him who turns away from Your good pleasure; from the Fire whose light is darkness, whose ease is pain, and whose far is near; from the Fire parts of which devour parts and parts of which leap upon parts; from the Fire which leaves bones decayed and lets its people drink boiling water; from the Fire which does not spare him who pleads to it, has no mercy on him who seeks sympathy from it, and has no power to relieve him who humbles himself before it and yields himself to it; it meets its inhabitants with the hottest that it possesses: painful punishment and intense noxiousness. I seek refuge in You from its gaping-jawed scorpions, its scraping-toothed serpents and its drinks, which tear a part the intestines and hearts of its inhabitants and root out their marrows. I ask guidance from You to that which will keep far from it and make it retreat!

“O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, grant me sanctuary from it through the bounty of Your mercy, release me from my stumbles through Your good releasing, and abandon me not, O Best of the sanctuary-granters. O Allah, You protect from the disliked, give the good, do what You will, and You are powerful over everything.

“ O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household when the pious are mentioned and bless Mohammed and his Household as long as night and day come and go with a blessing whose replenishment is never cut off and whose number cannot be counted, a blessing that will fill up the air and crowd the earth and the heaven! Allah bless him until he is well pleased and Allah bless him and his Household after good pleasure with a blessing that has neither bound nor utmost limit! O Most Merciful of the merciful![29]”

These paragraphs contain fearful descriptions of the Fire of Hell, which Allah has prepared for the sinful and tyrannical ones from among his creatures, who spread oppression and corruption in the earth, Hence they will suffer various kinds of indescribable terrible torture in the Fire of Hell, may Allah protect us from it.

With this we will end our talk about this holy supplication, which the Imām used to recite after the night prayer, and which is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them.

His Frailty and Weakness

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, became frail because of his many prayers, for worship strained him very much, and he was Hence weak that the wind would bend (his body) to left and right like an ear of corn.[30] This is because he had no power to stand. His son ‘Abd Allah reported: “My father used to pray at night. When he had finished (praying), he crept to his bed.[31]” This means that he had no power to stand because of tiredness, weakness and faintness.

His family and those who loved him felt pity for him because of the intense weakness resulted from his many prayers. They feared that he would die, Hence they talked with him about that, but he refused to answer them, and he went on performing his prayers until he met his fathers. The following is some of those who talked with him:

1. One of his Sons

One of his sons feared for his safety, Hence he asked him with regret and fear: “Father, how long will you continue (praying)?”

The Imām answered him with kindness and affection: “Do you make me love my Lord?[32]”

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, loved his Lord and drew near to Him through all ways. There is no one in the world of the pious and the righteous like him in turning to Allah in repentance and intense clinging to Him.

2. Jābir al-Ansāri

The great companion (of the Prophet), Jābir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansāri, felt pity for the Imām, peace be on him, and asked him to reduce his prayers and not to strain himself. Imām al-Bāqir, peace be on him, reported his tradition, saying: [When Fātima, daughter of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, saw that her nephew, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, strained himself with prayer, she went to Jābir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansāri and said to him:]

“O Companion of Allah’s Apostle, we have rights against you. Among our rights against you is that when you see one of us strain himself (with prayer), you must remind him of Allah and to ask him to spare his life. This is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, the surviving one of his father al-Husayn, has carried out in worship (to the extent that) his nose has been squashed; his forehead has been bruised; his legs and feet have been swollen.”

Hence Jābir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansāri went to Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, and found him in his mihrab exerted by worship and obedience (to Allah). When the Imām saw Jābir, he received him and sat him beside him and asked him very much about his conditions, Hence Jābir turned to him and said to him: “O Son of Allah’s Apostle, didn’t you know that Allah has created Heaven for you and for those who love you, and He has created the Fire for those who hate you and show enmity toward you, Hence why have you strained yourself (in worship)?”

The Imām kindly and gently answered him: “O Companion of Allah’s Apostle, didn’t you know that Allah forgave my grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, his previous and next sins? Yet, he did not leave exertion (in worship), may my father and mother be ransom for him, to the extent that his legs and feet were swollen, Hence he was asked: ‘Do you do this, while Allah has forgiven you your previous and next sins?’ Hence he replied: ‘Shall I not be a grateful servant?’”

When Jabir knew that it was difficult for him to convince the Imām to leave exertion in worship, he said to him: “O Son of Allah’s Apostle, spare your life, for you are from among the family through whom tribulation is driven away, through whom cures are discovered, and through whom the sky is asked to rain.”

The Imām answered him with a faint voice: “I will continue the method of my fathers until I meet them.”

Hence Jābir admired the Imām, turned to those who around him, and said to them: “None of the sons of the prophets was like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn except Yousif b. Ya‘qūb. By Allah, the progeny of al-Husayn is better than the progeny of Yousif b. Ya‘qūb. Surely one of them will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny.[33]”

Yes, by Allah, no one of the sons of the prophets was like ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in piety, Allah-fearingness, and all other ideals that raised him to the zenith which the great figures from among his fathers reached. Jābir declared that the progeny of al-Husayn was better than the progeny of Yousif b. Ya‘qūb, for among them is the great reformer, the Qā’im of the family of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, of whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, gave good news, and who will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, that will occur during the days of his government and authority.

‘Abd al-Malik

‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwān was among those who pitied for Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him. That was when the Imām went to him to intercede with him for some Muslims whom the authority had arrested. When ‘Abd al-Malik saw him, he admired the marks of prostration between his eyes, Hence he said to him: “The exertion (in worship) has appeared on your face, while Allah has already promised you good, you are part of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, your lineage is close (to him), your relation (with him) is certain, you are the most meritorious of the family of your House and the people of your time, you have been given merits, knowledge, religion, piety of which none before or after you has been given.”

‘Abd al-Malik flattered the Imām, reminded him of his merits and laudable deeds. When he ended his talk, the Imām said to him: “All what you have mentioned is attained through the bounty, support, and success of Allah, the Glorified. Hence where is our gratefulness to Him for what He has bestowed (upon us)? Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, stood in pray to the extent that his feet were swollen and became thirsty during fast to the extent that his mouth became dried, Hence he was asked: ‘O Allah’s Apostle, didn’t Allah forgive you your past and next sins?’ Hence he, may Allah bless him and his family, replied: ‘Shall I not be a grateful servant?’

“Praise belongs to Allah for what He has rendered and tested, and praise belongs to Him for here and the hereafter. By Allah, even if my limbs are severed, and my tears flow onto my chest, I will be unable to give thanks to Allah, the Great and Almighty, for the tenth of the tenth of one blessing of all His blessings which calculators cannot count, and no one can attain a blessing of them through all the praise of the praisers. No, by Allah, doesn’t Allah see that nothing distract me from thanking Him and remembering Him by day and night, secretly and openly? Were it not for that my family had right against me, and that people in private and in general had rights against me, I would look at the sky with my eye and at Allah with my heart, and then I would not prevent them (from that), until Allah made me die, and He is the Best of judges.”

The Imām bitterly wept. His words and his painful sight had a great effect on ‘Abd al-Malik, the tyrannical caliph, who said with admiration: “There is a great difference between a servant who seeks the hereafter and a servant who seeks this world.”

Then ‘Abd al-Malik yielded to the Imām and released the persons for whom he interceded.[34]

These are some of those who felt pitied for the Imām because of his many prayers and abundant worship and asked him frequently to decrease them and to have a rest, but the Imām did not respond them for that, for he found in prayers a unique, psychological rest.

His Fast

The Imām spent most his lifetime fasting. When his slave-girl was asked about his worship, she said: “I never brought him food by day.” He loved fast and urged (people) to fast. Hence he said: “Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, entrusted the fasting to His angels.[35]” He, peace be on him, did not break his fast except on the day of the two ‘Īds and other than them when he had an excuse. We will talk briefly about some of his affairs in the blessed month of Ramadān, which is the month of Allah and of obedience (to Him).

In the Month of Ramadān

The Imām had special affairs in the blessed month of Ramadān. In it he did all things that drew him near to Allah. The narrators said: “He did all kinds of charity and good. He never said any word except saying: ‘Glory belongs to Allah, I ask Allah’s forgiveness, and Allah is Great.’ When he broke his fast, he said: ‘O Allah, if You will do, You do.’[36]”

His Supplication for seeing the Crescent of the Month Ramadān

He, peace be on him, received the month of Ramadān with eagerness and desire, for it is the spring of the obedient. When he saw its crescent, he supplicated with this holy supplication, which represents the spirituality of Islam and the guidance of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. This supplication is as follows:

“Praise belongs to Allah Who guided us to His praise and placed us among the people of his praise, that we might be among the thankful for His beneficence and that He might recompense us for that with the recompense of the good-doers! And praise belongs to Allah Who showed favor to us through His religion, singled us out for His creed, and directed us onto the roads of His beneficence, in order that through His kindness we might travel upon them to His good pleasure, a praise which He will accept from us and through which He will be pleased with us! And praise belongs to Allah Who appointed among those roads His month, the month of Ramadān, the month of fasting, the month of submission, the month of purity[37], the month of putting to test, the month of standing in prayer, in which the Qur’ān was sent down as guidance to the people, and as clear signs of the Guidance and the Separator! He clarified its excellence over other months by the many sacred things and well-known excellencies which He placed therein, for He made unlawful in it what He declared lawful in others to magnify it, He prohibited foods and drinks in it to honor it, and He appointed for it a clear time which He (majestic and mighty is He) allows not to be set forward and accepts not to be placed behind. Then He made one of its nights surpass the nights of a thousand months and named it the Night of Decree; in it the angels and the Spirit descend by the leave of their Lord upon every command, a peace constant in blessings until the rising of the dawn upon whomever He will of His servants according to the decision He has made firm.”

These brilliant words contain magnifying and honoring the month of Ramadān and depicting it with the best qualities of which is the following:

1. It is the month of Islam, Hence whoever fasts in it enters the frame of Islam; whoever does not fast in it with knowledge and deliberation does not belong to Islam.

2. It is the month of purity, for therein is the purity of the soul from sins and offenses.

3. It is the month of test; in it the Muslims are tested; in it the obedient are distinguished from the disobedient.

4. It is the month of standing in prayer; this month is the spring of the obedient and the good, for they spend its nights in worship and obedience to Allah.

5.span style=”font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7.0pt; font-family: Times New Roman”> Among the characteristics of this month is that the Holy Qur’ān was sent down in it, for It was sent down on the Night of Decree, which is the greatest of all its nights, and in which the angels and the Spirit descend by the leave of their Lord upon every command, a peace until the rising of the dawn.

6. Among the characteristics of this holy month is that Allah, the Most High, makes it prohibited for the fasting to have foods and drinks to magnify and honor it. Now, let’s listen to another part of this supplication:

“O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, inspire us with knowledge of its excellence, veneration of its inviolability, and caution against what You have forbidden within it, and help us to fast in it by our restraining our limbs from acts of disobedience toward You and our employing them in that which pleases You, Hence that we lend not our ears to idle talk and hurry not with our eyes to diversion, we stretch not our hands toward the forbidden and stride not with our feet toward the prohibited, our bellies hold only what You have made lawful and our tongues speak only what You have exemplified, we undertake nothing but what brings close to Your reward and pursue nothing but what protects from Your punishment! Then rid all of that from the false show of the false showers and the fame seeking of the fame seekers, lest we associate therein anything with You or seek therein any object of desire but You!”

The Imām, peace be on him, presented the precepts which the fasting should follow in this great month. They are as follows: The fasting should restrain their limbs from what Allah has made unlawful, such as holding back their tongues from lying, backbiting, and slander; holding back their ears from idle talk and falsehood; preventing their hands from theft, aggression against people, and the prohibited. He, peace be on him, also mentioned that the fasting should do good to please Allah, and that their acts should be free from hypocrisy and seeking fame among people, for such acts lead to nothing except the punishment of Allah. After this, let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication:

“O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, in it make us attend to the appointed moments of the five prayers within the bounds You have set, the obligations You have decreed, the duties You have assigned, and the times You have specified; and in the prayers make us alight in the station of the keepers of their stations, the guardians of their pillars, their performers in their times, as Your servant and Your messenger set down in his Sunna (Your blessings be upon him and his Household) in their bowings, their prostrations, and all their excellent acts, with the most complete and ample ritual purity and the most evident and intense humility! Give us success in this month to tighten our bonds of kin with devotion and gifts, attend to our neighbors with bestowal and giving, rid our possessions from claims, purify them through paying the alms, go back to him who has gone far from us, treat justly him who has wronged us, make peace with him who shows enmity toward us (except him who is regarded as an enemy in You and for You, for he is the enemy whom we will not befriend, the party whom we will not hold dear), and seek nearness to You through blameless works which will purify us from sins and preserve us from renewing faults, Hence that none of Your angels will bring for You the kinds of obedience and sorts of nearness-seeking unless they be less than what we bring!”

This paragraph presents important affairs which the fasting should follow:

1. They should attend to the appointed moments of the five prayers, which are the pillar of the religion, within the bounds Allah has set, accompanied by what the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, practiced such as manners, invocations of Allah in their bowing and prostration; rather in all their affairs. In other word they should perform the five prayers in complete manners such as humility and submission to Allah, the Exalted, only.

2. They should tighten their bonds of kin with devotion and gifts, for this is one the best acts of obedience to Allah.

3. They should attend to their neighbors with bestowal and giving.

4. They should purify their possessions through paying Kums (one-fifth) and Zakāt (the alms), which are obligatory.

5. They should go back to him who has gone far from them, from among their friends and brothers.

6. They should treat justly him who has wronged them and should not aggress against him with word or action, for this is among the noble moral traits.

7. They should make peace with him who shows enmity toward them (except him who is regarded as an enemy in Allah and for Him, for he is the enemy whom they will not befriend, the party whom they will not hold dear.

8. They should seek nearness to Allah through blameless works which are certainly desirable in the blessed month of Ramadān.

After this, let’s listen to the last paragraphs of this holy supplication:

“O Allah, I ask You by the right of this month and by the right of him who worships You within it from its beginning to the time of its passing, whether angel You have brought nigh to You, prophet You have sent, or righteous servant You have singled out, that You bless Mohammed and his Household, make us worthy of the generosity You have promised Your friends, make incumbent for us what You have made incumbent for those who go to great lengths in obeying You, and place us in the ranks of those who deserve through Your mercy the highest elevation!

“O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, turn us aside from deviation in professing Your Unity, falling short in magnifying You, in Your religion, blindness toward Your path, heedlessness of Your inviolability, and being deceived by Your enemy, the accursed Satan!

“O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, and when in every night of this month’s nights You have necks which Your pardon will release and Your forgiveness disregard, place our necks among those necks and place us among the best folk and companions of this our month!

“O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, efface our sins along with the effacing of its crescent moon, and make us pass forth from the ill effects of our acts with the passing of its days, until it leaves us behind, while within it You have purified us of offenses and rid us of evil deeds!

“O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, and should we go off to one side in this month, set us aright; should we swerve, point us straight; and should Your enemy Satan enwrap us, rescue us from him!

“O Allah, fill this month with our worship of You, adorn its time with our obedience toward You, help us during its daytime with its fast, and in its night with prayer and pleading toward You, humility toward You, and lowliness before You, Hence that its daytime may not bear witness against our heedlessness, nor its night against our neglect!

“O Allah, make us like this in the other months and days as long as You give us life, and place us among Your righteous servants, those who shall inherit Paradise, therein dwelling forever, those who are given what they give, while their hearts quake, that they are returning to their Lord, those who vie in good works, outracing to them!

“O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household in every time, in all moments, and in every state, to the number that You have blessed whomever You have blessed and to multiples of all that, through multiples which none can count but You! Surely You are Accomplisher of what You desire.[38]”

Indeed, the supplications of the Imām are a school for religious awareness, for they are full of faith in Allah and sincerity to Him. These brilliant paragraphs of his supplication contain the following:

He asked Allah by the right of the month of Ramadān and by the right of him who worshipped within it from among His righteous servants:

1. To place him among those who were worthy of the high position with Him.

2. To make his good deeds for the pleasure of Him, the Exalted; to make them free from hypocrisy and others which corrupt works.

3. To turn him aside from doubt and corrupt imaginations in the affairs of the religion.

4. To help him not to follow a way other than the way He has made lawful and to help him not to be heedless of the things He has made unlawful.

5. To help him not to follow the way of the accursed Satan.

6. To do him a favor through placing him among those whom He released in this great month.

7. To grant him a success in this month to worship Him and to show obedience, pleading, humility, and lowliness toward Him, the Exalted.

These are some important matters which these words of his supplication contain.

His good Acts in the Month of Ramadān

He, peace be on him, did many good acts in the Month of Ramadān. The following is some of them:

A. Giving Food

Islam urges (Muslims) to give food to the fasting and makes it desirable for them. Every day in the Month of Ramadān, Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin ordered a sheep to be slaughtered and cooked. When the food was ready, he said: “Bring the bowls.” He ordered the food to be divided among the poor, the widows, and the orphans to the extent that there was nothing left for him, Hence he broke his fast with bread and dates.[39]

B. His Freeing Salves

Among his good deeds in the blessed month of Ramadān was that he freed many of his slaves. It is worth mentioning that he respected his slaves, treated them as he treated his children, and forgave them when they misbehaved toward him. The narrators said: “‘Ali b. al-Husayn did not punish a female slave nor did he punish a male salve when they committed a sin; rather he recorded the day when they committed sins. When the month of Ramadān was about to end, he gathered them and brought the book where he had written their sins and said to them: Raise your voices and say: O ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, your Lord has counted against you all what you have done, as you have counted against us all what we have done. He has a book which speaks the truth and does not leave a small one nor a great one of what you have done, but numbers them all, and you will find present with Him all what you had done, as we have found present with you all what we had done. Hence pardon and forgive (us), as you want the most powerful King (Allah) to pardon and forgive you. Hence forgive us, and He will forgive you and have mercy on you, and Your Lord never wrongs anyone. As you have a book which speaks the truth against us and does not leave a small one nor a great one, but numbers them all against us, Hence ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, remember the abasement of your standing place before your Lord, the Just King, Who does not wrong (anyone) to the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and Allah is sufficient to take account and to be a witness. Hence pardon and forgive (us), and the most Powerful King will pardon and forgive you, for He says: They should pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? [40]” He (Zayn al-‘Ābidin) dictated to them these words which represent his absolute devotion and clinging to Allah. He stood, wept and said: “Our Lord, You have commanded us to pardon him who wrongs us. We have pardoned him who has wronged us, as You have commanded, Hence pardon us, for You are worthier of that than us and the commanded ones. You have commanded us not to dismiss any beggar from our doors. Now, we have come to You as beggars and miserable. We have sat at Your courtyard and Your door seeking bounty and favor and giving, Hence do us a favor through it and disappoint us not, for You are more worthier of that than us and the commanded ones.

“My Lord, I have entertained (Your servants), Hence entertain me if I am of Your beggars. I have done (Your servants) a lot of good, Hence place me among the people of Your giving, O Generous!”

Then he turned his holy face, which became wet with the tears of his eyes, to his slaves and said to them with kindness and affection:

“I have forgiven you! Have you forgiven me my evil (acts)? I am full of evil, meanness, and oppression! I am the slave of the One Who is Powerful, Generous, Just, Beneficent, and Good-doer!”

What an angelic this soul is! Indeed, it represented the spirituality, beauties, qualities, and morals of the prophets!

The slaves interrupted him, saying: “We have pardoned you, O Our master!”

Hence he said to them: “Say: O Allah, pardon ‘Ali b. al-Husayn as he has pardoned us! Release him from the Fire, as he has released our necks from slavery!”

They said that, and he said after them: “Amen, O Allah, Lord of the world’s inhabitants! Go, surely I have pardoned you and released your necks, asking (Allah) to pardon me and release my neck!” When the day of ‘Īd al-Fitr came, he gave them excellent gifts to make them in no need of what was in the people’s hands.[41]

In the world of the pious there is no person like Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, in piety, loyalty, and obedience to Allah, for he filled his holy heart with faith and knowledge of Allah.

Any how, in the month of Ramadān, the Imām, peace be on him, did a lot of good to the weak, entertained the miserable refreshed the deprived, freed slaves, and other good deeds that brought him near to Allah.

His Supplication in the Early Morning

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, whispered to his Lord and prayed Him humbly and sincerely on every night in the Month of Ramadān with this great supplication, which is better known as the Supplication of Abi Hamza al-Thumāli, for it was he who reported it on the Imām’s authority. The supplication is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. It represents the absolute return and devotion to Allah. It contains exhortations that prevent the soul from clinging to haughtiness and desires and, in addition, it is distinguished by beautiful style, wonderful words, and eloquent performance. Moreover, it displays lowliness, humility, and submission to Allah, the Glorified. The other supplications do not contain such matters. We will quote some brilliant paragraphs of it, for it is well-known and widespread in supplication books

Before mentioning some paragraphs of this supplication, we’d like to say that this supplication has occupied an important position in the hearts of the good and the righteous from among the Muslims, Hence they recite it in the early morning of every night in the month of Ramadān, to the extent that they have memorized it by heart. The following is some paragraphs of it:

“My Allah, educate me not with Your punishment, and scheme not against me with Your power! How can I find good, My Lord, and it cannot be found but through You? How can I find salvation, and it cannot be found but through You? Good-doers cannot do without Your help and Your mercy, nor can evil-doers! Those who misbehave before You, show audaciousness toward and, do not make You Pleased are unable to dissent from Your power! O my Lord, through You I have recognized You. It was You who guided me to Yourself and summoned me to Yourself! Were it not for You, I would not know what You were.”

Have you noticed how the Monk of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them, whispered to his Lord, pleaded to Him, and argued with Him in this manner full of faith and knowledge? Let’s listen to another part of this holy supplication: “O Lover of him who loves You, O Delight of the eye of him who seeks refuge in You and devotes himself to You! You are the Benefactor, and we are the evil-doers! Hence, my Lord, forgive us our ugly acts through the beautiful things You have! Which ignorance, my Lord, Your magnificence does not embrace? Which time is longer than Your slowness? What is the worth of our deeds in comparison with Your favors? How can we regard our works as may and compare them to Your generosity? How do the sinners regard Your ample mercy as narrow? O All-forgiving! O All-merciful! Hence, by Your might, if You rebuked me, I would not leave Your door, nor would I refrain from praising You because I have knowledge of Your magnificence and generosity!”

In this manner the Imām, peace be on him, continued praising and pleading to the Great Creator, asking Him for forgiveness and good pleasure. Listen how he whispers to Him:

“O Allah, whenever I say: I have prepared myself, worn the cloak, stood in prayer before You, and whispered to You, You make me sleepy when I pray, and deprive me of whispering to You when I whisper (to You)! Why whenever I say: I have set right my inner self and my assembly has come close to the assembly of the repenters, a tribulation befalls me, slip my foot, and prevents me from serving You? My Master, You may have dismissed me from Your door and put me aside from serving You, or You may have seen me disdaining Your Sacredness, Hence You have removed me, or You may have seen me turning back on You, Hence You have detested me, or You may have found me in the standing place of the liars, Hence You have rejected me, or You may have seen that I am ungrateful (to You) for Your favors, Hence You have deprived me (of them), or You may have missed me among the assemblies, Hence You have deserted me, or You may have seen me among the heedless, Hence You have disappointed me of Your mercy, or You may have seen that I get along with the assemblies of the unemployed, Hence You have placed me among them, or You may do not like listening to my supplication, Hence You have driven me away from You, or You may have punished me because of my sin and crime, or You may have punished me on account of my little modesty! Hence if You pardon (me), my Lord, You have often pardoned those sinners before me, for Your generosity, my Lord, is far above punishing the neglectful!”

The Imām, peace be on him, presented those affairs which prevent man from clinging to Allah during his prayers and whispered prayers. The following is some of them:

1. Disdaining Allah’s rights, that is when man makes little of them.

2. Turning away from Allah.

3. Telling lies which is the junction of vices and grave sins.

4. Ungratefulness for graces which Allah bestows upon His servant.

5. Turning away from sitting with the true religious scholars who remind men of the hereafter and urge them to do good deeds.

6. Forgetting the remembrance of Allah and of death lead man to misery and ruin.

7. Sitting with the unemployed who spend their times in playing and lose their life spans in trivial affairs, Hence sitting with them leads to turning away from Allah.

These are some affairs which send man far from Allah and turn him away from doing good, may Allah protect us from them. Now, let’s listen to another paragraph of this supplication: “O My Allah and my Master! If You demanded my sins, I would demand Your pardon! If You demanded my meanness, I would demand Your generosity! If You made me enter the Fire, I would tell the people of the Fire about my love for You! O My Allah and my Master! If You forgive only Your friends and those who obey You, then to whom shall the sinners go? If You show generosity only to those who are sincere to You, then whom the evildoers seek for help! My Allah! If You made me enter the Fire, then Your enemy (the accursed Satan) would be pleased with this! If You made me enter the Garden, then this would please Your Prophet! I, by Allah, know that the pleasure of Your Prophet is more lovable for You than that of Your enemy![42]”

The Master of the pious and Imām of the knowers (Zayn al-‘Ābidin), peace be on him, asked the sympathy of the Great Creator, whose mercy embraces all things. He asked Him to pardon His disobedient servants and to show good pleasure toward them, for His munificence is not confined to the believers and the obedient. With these little paragraphs we will end our speech about the supplication of the Imām in the early morning of the blessed month of Ramadān.

His Supplication in Bidding Farewell to the Month of Ramadān

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, felt pain when the days of the Month of Ramadān came to an end, for this month is the spring of the obedient, and he used to recite this great supplication:

“O Allah, O He who desires no repayment! O He who shows no remorse at bestowal! O He who rewards not His servant tit for tat! Your kindness is a new beginning, Your pardon gratuitous bounty, Your punishment justice, Your decree a choice for the best! If You bestow, You stain not Your bestowal with obligation, and if you withhold, You withhold not in transgression. You show gratitude to him who thanks You while You have inspired him to thank You. You reward him who praises You while though You have taught him Your praise. You cover him whom, if You willed, You would expose, and You are generous toward him from whom, if You willed, You would withhold. Both are worth of Your exposure and with holding, but You have founded Your acts upon gratuitous bounty, channeled Your power into forbearance, received him who disobeyed You with clemency, and disregarded him who intended wrongdoing against himself. You await their turning back without haste and refrain from rushing them toward repentance, Hence that the perisher among them may not perish because of You and the wretched may not wretched through Your favor, but only after Your prolonged excusing him and successive arguments against him, as an act of generosity through Your pardon, O Generous, and an act of kindliness through Your tenderness, O Clement!”

It is necessary for us to considered carefully this brilliant paragraph of the supplication of the Imām, peace be on him. It contains the following:

1. The Generosity of Allah

As for the generosity and munificence of Allah, toward servants, as the Imām mentioned it, it is distinguished by the following:

A. Allah, the Most High, bestows on His creatures while He does not desire any repayment, for He, the Exalted, is in no need of His servants, who are in need of Him.

B. When He, the Exalted, bestows a grace upon a servant, He does not show any remorse at his bestowal, as the creatures show remorse at their bestowals when they get no benefit from them.

C. Allah does not stain his bestowal with obligation, for He, the Most High, bestows gratuitously.

D. It is He, the Exalted, who starts His servants with kindness and generosity.

2. The Pardon and Punishment of Allah

As for the pardon of Allah toward the sinners is gratuitous bounty, and as for His punishment toward them is justice, for He punishes them according to their sins.

3. The Decree of Allah

As for the decree of Allah and issuing the acts from Him, they are choice for the best, and He is not forced to issue them, as some philosophers said.

4. His Gratitude to those who thank Him

Indeed, Allah, the Glorified, show gratitude to those who thank Him, that is when He increases His favors and blessings to them. He, the Most High reward those who praise Him and increases His favors and blessings to them.

5. His Covering the Servants

Among the favors of Allah for the servant is that He covers him when he commits sins. If he willed, he would expose him and make the people degrade him. Also among His favors for the sinner is that He is generous toward him. If He willed, He would withhold him His livelihood and make him die of hunger. However, He channeled His power and will into forbearance, received those who disobeyed Him with clemency, and disregarded those who intended wrongdoing against themselves. He awaits their turning back without haste and refrain from rushing them toward repentance, Hence that the perisher among them may not perish because of Him and the wretched may not be wretched through His favor, but only after His prolonged excusing them and successive arguments against them, as an act of generosity through His pardon. Now, let’s listen to another paragraph of this holy supplication:

“It is You who have opened for Your servants a door to Your pardon, which You have named ‘repentance’. You have placed upon that door a pointer from Your revelation, lest they stray from it: You have said (blessed are Your names), Repent toward Allah with unswerving repentance! It may be that your Lord will acquit you of your evil deeds and will admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, upon the day when Allah will not degrade the Prophet and those who have faith along with him, their light running before them and on their right hands, and they say: ‘Our Lord, complete for us our light, and forgive us! Surely You are powerful over everything.’[43] What is the excuse of him who remain heedless of entering that house after the opening of the door and the setting up of the pointer? It is You who have raised the price against Yourself to the advantage of Your servants, desiring their profit in their trade with You, their triumph through reaching You, and their increase on account of You, for You have said (blessed is Your Name and high are You exalted), those brings a good deed shall have ten the like of it, and whosoever brings an evil deed shall only be recompensed the like of it.[44] You have said, the likeness of those who expend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains; Hence Allah multiplies unto whom He wills.[45] You have said, Who is he that will lend to Allah a good loan, and He will multiply it for him manifold[46], and You have send down in the Qur’ān similar verses on the multiplying of good deeds. It is You who have pointed them through Your speech from Your unseen and Your encouragement in which lies their good fortune toward that which -had You cover it from them- their eyes would not have perceived, their ears would not have heard, and theirimaginations would not have grasped, for You have said, Remember me and I will remember you, be thankful to Me and be you not thankless towards Me![47] You have said, If you are thankful, surely I will increase you, but if you are thankless, My chastisement is surely terrible.[48] And You have said, Supplicate Me and I will respond to you; surely those who wax too proud to worship Me shall enter Gehennam utterly abject.[49] Hence You have named supplicating You ‘worship’ and refraining from it ‘waxing proud’, and You have threatened that the refraining from it would lead entrance into Gehannam in utter abjection. Hence they remember You for Your kindness, they thank You for Your bounty, they supplicate You by Your command, and they donate for You in order to seek Your increase; in all this lies their deliverance from Your wrath and their triumph through Your good pleasure. Were any creature himself to direct another creature to the like of that to which You Yourself have directed Your servants, he would be described by beneficence, qualified by kindness, and praised by every tongue. Hence to You belong Praise as long as there is found a way to praise You and as long as there remains for praising words by which You may be praised and meanings which may be spent in praise. O He who shows Himself praiseworthy to His servants through beneficence and bounty, flooding them with kindness and graciousness! How much Your favor has been spread about among us, Your kindness lavished upon us, and Your goodness singled out for us! You have guided us to Your religion which You have chosen, Your creed with which You art pleased, and Your path which You have made smooth, and You have shown us proximity to You and arrival at Your generosity!”

In this paragraph the Imām talked about the great kindness of Allah to the disobedient from among His creatures when He opened for them the door of repentance and of asking forgiveness Hence that He may save them from ruin and misery in the next world. Repentance erases sins and save man from the awful situations provided that he should show remorse at the sins he has committed, and that he should not commit a sin again.

The Imām, peace be on him, talked about one of Allah’s favors toward His servants, that was when He (Allah) urged them to be kind to people, to do good for them, and to give alms to the poor and the weak. In the meantime He promised to reward them in the Abode of Subsistence and Perpetuity, Hence that they would be successful and happy there. Hence what ample are His blessings! What great is His bounty toward His servants!

In his speech, the Imām, peace be on him, dealt with gratitude to Allah for His graces, for such gratitude would lead to an increase in graces. He also dealt with supplication to Allah and pleading to Him, for He has named supplicating Him ‘worship’ and refraining from it ‘waxing proud’, as the Holy Qur’ān has stated. After this, let’s listen to another paragraph of this supplication:

“O Allah, among the choicest of those duties and the most special of those obligations You have appointed the month of Ramadān, which You have singled out from other months, chosen from among all periods and eras, and preferred over all times of the year through the Qur’ān and the Light which You sent down within it, the faith which You multiplied by means of it, the fasting which You obligated therein, the standing in prayer which You encouraged at its time, and the Night of Decree which You magnified therein, the night which is better than a thousand months. Through it You have preferred us over the other communities and through its excellence You have chosen us to the exclusion of the people of the creeds. We fasted by Your command in its daylight, we stood in prayer with Your help in its night, presenting ourselves by its fasting and its standing to the mercy which You have held up before us, and we found through it the means to Your reward. And You are full of what is sought from You, munificent what is asked of Your bounty, and near to him who strives for Your nearness. This month stood among us in a standing place of praise, accompanied us with the companionship of one approved, and profited us with the most excellent profit of the world’s creatures. Then it parted from us at the completion of its time, the end of its term, and the fulfillment of its number. Hence we bid farewell to it with the farewell of one whose parting pains us, whose leaving fills us with gloom and loneliness, and to whom we have come to owe a safeguarded claim, an observed inviolability, and a discharged right.”

In these words, the Imām, peace be on him, praised the bounty of the blessed month of Ramadān, which Allah singled out from other months, and endowed it with ample bounty when He obligated the fasting in it and multiplied the reward of the good deeds in it. He also singled it out with the Night of Decree, which is better than a thousand months. Through it He preferred the Muslims over the other communities Hence that they might attain the highest degrees and the most honorable position with Him. Then the Imām, peace be on him, mentioned his grief for leaving this great month when he gained rewards through doing a lot of good deeds that brought him near to Allah. Now, let’s listen to another part of this blessed month:

“Hence we say: Peace be upon you, O greatest month of Allah! O festival of His friends! Peace be upon you, O most noble of accompanying times! O best of months in days and hours! Peace be upon you, month in which expectations come near and good works are scattered about! Peace be upon you, comrade who is great in worth when found and who torments through absence when lost, anticipated friend whose parting gives pain! Peace be upon you, familiar who brought comfort in coming, thus making happy, who left loneliness in going, thus giving anguish! Peace be upon you, neighbor in whom hearts became tender and sins became few! Peace be upon you, helper who aided against Satan, companion who made easy the paths of good-doing! Peace be upon you-How many became freedmen of Allah within you! How happy those who observed the respect due to you! Peace be upon you-How many the sins you erased! How many the kinds of faults you covered over! Peace be upon you-How drawn out were you for the sinners! How awesome were you in the hearts of the faithful! Peace be upon you, month with which no days compete! Peace be upon you, month which is peace in all affairs! Peace be upon you, you whose companionship is not disliked, you whose friendly mixing is not blamed! Peace be upon you, just as you have entered upon us with blessings and cleansed us of the defilement of offenses! Peace be upon you. You are not bid farewell in annoyance nor is your fasting in weariness! Peace be upon you, object of seeking before your time, object of sorrow before your passing! Peace be upon you- How much evil was turned away from us through you! How much good flowed upon us because of you! Peace be upon you and upon the Night of Decree which is better than a thousand months! Peace be upon you- How much we craved you yesterday! How intensely we shall yearn for you tomorrow! Peace be upon you and upon the bounty which has now been made unlawful to us and upon your blessings gone by which have now been stripped away from us!”

The Imām, peace be on him, bid farewell to the blessed month of Ramadān with these warm greetings accompanied by bitterness and sorrow for parting it, for it was a field for his good works that brought him near to Allah, the Exalted. He, peace be on him, mentioned the qualities of this great month and explained its excellencies over the other months. Now, let’s listen to another part of this great supplication:

“O Allah, we are the people of this month. Through it You have ennobled us and given us success because of Your kindness, while the wretched are ignorant of its time. Made unlawful to them is its bounty because of their wretchedness. You are the patron of the knowledge of it by which You have preferred us, and its prescribed practices to which You have guided us. We have undertaken, through Your giving success, its fasting and its standing in prayer, but with shortcomings, and we have performed little of much.

“O Allah, Hence to You belongs praise, in admission of evil doing and confession of negligence,[50] and to You belongs remorse firmly knitted in our hearts and seeking of pardon sincerely uttered by our tongues. Reward us, in spite of the neglect that befell us in this month, with a reward through which we may reach the bounty desired from it and win the varieties of its craved stores![51] Make incumbent upon us Your pardon for our falling short of Your right in this month and make our lives which lie before us reach the coming month of Ramadān! Once You have made us reach it, help us perform the worship of which You are worth, cause us to undertake the obedience which You deserve, and grant us righteous works that we may fulfill Your right in these two months[52] of the months of time.

“O Allah, as for the small and large sins which we have committed in this our month, the misdeeds into which we have fallen, and the offenses which we have earned purposefully or in forgetfulness wronging ourselves thereby or violating the respect due to others, bless Mohammed and his Household, cover us over with Your covering, pardon us thorough Your pardoning, place us not before the eyes of the gloaters because of that, stretch not toward us the tongues of the defamers, and employ us in that which will alleviate and expiate whatever You disapprove from us within it through Your clemency which does not run out. O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, redress our being afflicted by our moth, bless us in this day of our festival and our fast – breaking, make it one of the best of days that have passed over us, the greatest in attracting Your pardon, and the most effacing toward sins, and forgive us our sins, both the concealed and the public.”

Have you noticed this submission and humility before the Great Creator? The Imām asked Allah for pardon and forgiveness. He confessed before Him his falling short of performing worship and the acts of obedience in the blessed month of Ramadān. This is Zayn al-‘Ābidin, who is the greatest summoner to Allah! Now, let’s read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:

“O Allah, with the passing of this month, make us pass forth from our offenses, with its departure make us depart from our evil deeds, and appoint us thereby among its most felicitous people, the most plentiful of them in portion, and the fullest of them in share! O Allah, when any person observes this month as it should be observed, safeguards its inviolability as it should be safeguarded, attends to its bounds as they should be attended to, fears its misdeeds as they should be feared, or seeks nearness to You with any act of nearness-seeking which makes incumbent upon him Your good pleasure and bends toward him Your mercy, give to us the like (of that) from Your wealth and bestow it upon us in multiples through Your bounty, for Your bounty does not diminish, Your treasuries do not decrease but overflow, the mines of Your beneficence are not exhausted, and Your bestowal is the bestowal full of delight.

“O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, and write for us the like of the wages of him who fasted in it or worshipped You within it until the Day of Resurrection! O Allah, we repent to You in our day of fast-breaking, which You have appointed for the faithful a festival and a joy and for the people of Your creed a time of assembly and gathering, from every misdeed we did, ill work we sent ahead, or evil thought we secretly conceived, the repentance of one who does not harbor a return to sin and who afterwards will not go back to offense, an unswerving repentance rid of doubt and wavering. Hence accept it from us, and fix us within it!

“O Allah, provide us with fear of the threatened punishment and yearning for the promised reward, Hence that we may find the pleasure of that for which we supplicate You and the sorrow of that from which we seek sanctuary in You! And place us with among the repenters, those upon whom You have made Your love obligatory and from whom You have accepted the return to obeying You! O Most Just of the just! O Allah, show forbearance toward our fathers and our mothers and all the people of our religion, those who have gone and those who will pass by, until the Day of Resurrection! O Allah, bless our prophet Mohammed and his Household, as You have blessed Your angels brought nigh, bless him and his Household, as You have blessed Your prophets sent out, bless him and his Household, as You have blessed Your righteous servants-and better than that, O Lord of the worlds!- a blessing whose benediction will reach us, whose benefit will attain to us, and through which our supplication may be granted! You are the most generous of those who are beseeched, the most sufficient of those in whom confidence is had, the most bestowing of those from whom bounty is asked, and You are powerful over everything![53]”

This holy supplication; rather all the supplications of the Imām, peace be on him, urge man to cling to Allah-fearingness and faith in Him, they also urge him to show remorse at his neglect before Allah in this month.

[1] Al-‘Askari, Taffsir, p. 132.
[2] Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 1, p. 53. Shadharāt al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 105. Hulyat al-Awliyā’, vol. 3, p. 134. Al-Bidāya wa al-Nihāya, vol. 9, p. 105. Durrar al-Abkār, p. 70.
[3] Al-Kawākib al-Durriya, vol. 2, p. 139.
[4] Al-Khisāl, p. 488.
[5] Durrar al-Abkār, p. 70. Nihāyat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 326. Siyar A’lām al-Nubalā’, vol. 4, p. 238. Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf, p. 49. Akhbār al-Diwal, p. 109. Hulyat al-Awliyā’, vol. 3, p. 132. Al-‘Aqdd al-Farid, vol. 3, p. 103.
[6] Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 52. Siyar A’lām al-Nubalā’, vol. 4, p. 38.
[7] Wasilat al-Māl, p. 207. Siyar A’lām al-Nubalā’, vol. 4, p. 38. Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 52
[8] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 58.
[9] Ibid., p. 108.
[10] Wasā’il al-Shi’a, vol. 4, p. 685.
[11] Tahdhib al-Ahkām, vol. 2, p. 286. Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 79.
[12]Tahdhib al-Ahkām, vol. 2, p. 286. Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 79.
[13]Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 108.
[14] ‘Ilal al-Sharāi’, p. 88. Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 61. Wasā’il al-Shi’a, vol. 4, p. 688.
[15] Akhbār al-Diwal, p. 110. 3. Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 99.
[16] Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 52. Al-Muntazam, vol. 6, p. 141. Nihāyat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 325. Siyar ‘Alām al-Nubalā’, vol. 4, p. 238.
[17] Al-Risāla al-Qushayriya, vol. 1, p. 214.
[18] Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, p. 306. Nūr al-Abbsār, p. 136. Al-Ithāf bi Hub al-Ashrāf, p. 49. Tadhkirat al-Huffāz, vol. 1, p. 71. Shadharāt al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 141. Al-Fusūl al-Muhimma, p. 188. Akhbār al-Diwal, p. 110. Tārikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p. 151. Al-Sirāt al-Sawi, p. 193. Iqāmat al-Hujja, p. 171. Al-‘Ibar fi Khabar men Ghabar, vol. 1, p. 111. Al-Bustāni, Dā’irat al-Ma’ārif, vol. 9, p. 355. Al-Ya’qūbi, Tārikh, vol. 3, p. 45. Al-Muntazam, vol. 6, p. 143. Al-Dhahabi, Tārikh al-Islām. Al-Kawākib al-Durriya, vol. 2, p. 131. Al-Bidāya wa al-Nihāya, vol. 9, p. 105.
[19] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 61. Al-Khisāl, p. 487.
[20] Al-Khisāl, p. 487.
[21] Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 53.
[22] Wasā’il al-Shi’a, vol. 4, p. 981.
[23] Ibid., p. 1079.
[24] Al-Quttb al-Rāwandi, Da’awāt, p. 34.
[25] Saffwat al-Saffwa, vol. 2, p. 53. Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 2, p. 263.
[26] He, peace be on him, meant that he did not trust those whom he knew, for they disclosed the secret when they knew it.
[27] He, peace be on him, referred to the holy verse: “And certainly We created man of an extract of clay, then We made him a small life-germ in a firm resting-place, then We made the life-germ a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made (in) the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation, Hence blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.”
[28] Fi Zilāl al-Qur’ān, vol. 17, p. 16.
[29] Al-Sahifa al-Sajjādiya, Supplication no. 32.
[30] Al-Mufeed, al-Irshād, p. 272. Roudat al-Wā’izin, vol. 1, p. 237.
[31]Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 99.
[32]Ibid., p. 91.
[33] Ibn Shahrāshūb, al-Manāqib. Hayāt al-Imām Mohammed al-Bāqir.
[34] AL-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 65.
[35] Al-Rāwandi, Da’awāt, p. 4.
[36] Furū’ al-Kāfi, vol. 4, p. 88.
[37] By the month of purity he, peace be on him, meant that the fasting one is pure from sins in this blessed month.
[38] Al-Sahifa al-Sajjādiya, Supplication no. 44.
[39] Al-Mahāsin, p. 396. Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 72.
[40] Qur’ān, 24, 22.
[41] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, pp. 103-104.
[42] Al-Tūsi, al-Misbāh. Al-Kaf’ami, al-Misbāh.
[43] Qur’ān, 66, 8.
[44] Ibid., 6, 110.
[45] Ibid., 2, 261
[46] Ibid., 57, 11.
[47] Ibid., 2, 152.
[48] Ibid., 14, 7.
[49] Ibid., 40, 60.
[50] He, peace be on him, meant that he neglected this month because he did not take care of works therein.
[51] By the varieties of its craved stores, he meant the reward which Allah has stored for His believing servants.
[52] By the these two months, he meant the past and the next months of Ramadān.
[53] Al-Sahifa al-Sajjādiya, Supplication no. 45.
Source: maaref-foundation.com


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