The Sixth Infallible & Fourth Imam, Imam Ali Al-Sajjad
Title: Zaynu’l-Abidin, Al-Sajjad.
Agnomen: Abu Muhammad.
Father's name: Imam Hussein.
Mother's name: Shahr Banu, daughter of Yazdeger III, the King of Persia.
Birth: In Medina, on Saturday, 15th Jumadi '1-ula 36 AH.
Death: Died at the age of 58, in Medina; poisoned by al-Walid ibn Abdil-Malik ibn Marwan on 25th Muharram 95 AH; buried in Jannatul-Baqi, in Medina.
The Holy Imam Ali Zaynul-Abidin is the Fourth Apostolic Imam. His epithet was Abu Muhammad and was popularly titled as "Ali Zaynul-Abidin." The mother of the 6th Imam was lady Shahr Banu, the daughter of King Yazdeger, the last pre-Islamic Ruler of Persia.
Imam Zaynul-Abidin spent the first two years of his infancy in the lap of his grandfather Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and then for twelve years he was under the guidance of his uncle, Imam Al-Hasan. In 61 AH, Imam Al-Sajjad was present in Karbala, at the time of the gruesome tragedy of his father, his uncles, his brothers, his cousins and his father's companions; and suffered a heartless captivity and imprisonment at the hands of the devilish forces of Yazid.
When Imam Hussein had come for the last time to his camp to bid farewell to his family, Imam Ali Zaynul-Abidin was lying semi- conscious in his sickbed and hence he wasn't able to fight in Karbala'. Imam Hussein could only manage a very brief talk with his family and departed nominating his sick son as Imam.
The Holy Imam Zaynul-Abidin lived for about thirty-four years after Karbala where he spent his days and night in prayers and supplications to Allah and in remembrance of his martyred father. Due to his devotion to Allah, the Imam was given the title "Al-Sajjad" (the prostrator).
The knowledge and piety of this Holy Imam was matchless. Highly reliable historians have mentioned that the 4th Imam was matchless in terms of his piety, devotion and eloquance. He was so mindful of Allah that whenever he sat for ablution for prayers, the complexion of his face would change and when he stood at prayer his body was seen shaking. When asked why, he replied, "Know ye not before whom I stand in prayer, and with whom I hold discourse?"
Even on the horifing day of Ashura when Yazid's forces had massacred his father along with everyone that defended him and had set fire to the camp, this Holy Imam was occupied in his supplications to the Lord.
When the brutal forces of Yazid's army had taken the ladies and children as captives, carrying them seated on the bare back of the camels, tied in ropes; this Holy Imam, though sick, was put in heavy chains with iron rings round his neck and his ankles, and was made to walk barefooted on the heated plains from Karbala' to Kufah and then to Damascus; and even then this godly soul never was unmindful of his prayers to the Lord and was always thankful and supplicated to Him.
His charity was unassuming and hidden. After his passing away, the people said that hidden charity ended with the departure of this Holy Imam. Like his grandfather Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ali Zaynu’l-’Abidin used to carry on his own back at night bags of flour and bread for the poor and needy families in Medina and he so maintained hundred of poor families in the city.
The Holy Imam was not only hospitable even to his enemies but also used to continually exhort them to the right path.
Imam Zaynu'l-`Abidin along with the Ahlu'l-bayt passed through dreadful and very dangerous times, for the aggressions and atrocities of the tyrant rulers of the age had reached its climax. There was plunder, pillage, and murder everywhere. The teachings of Islam were observed more in their breach. The heartless tyrant al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ath-Thaqafi was threatening everyone who professed allegiance or devotion to the Ahlu'l-bayt; and those caught were mercilessly put to death. The movement of the Holy Imam was strictly restricted and his meeting with any person was totally banned. Spies were employed to trace out the adherents of the Ahlu'1-bayt. Practically every house was searched and every family scrutinized.
Imam Zaynul-Abidin was not given the time to offer his prayers peacefully, nor could he deliver any sermons. This God's Vicegerent on earth therefore, adopted a third course which proved to be very beneficial to his followers. This was in compiling supplications and prayers for the daily practices of the believers in his endeavour to approach the Almighty Lord.
The invaluable collection of his edited prayers are known as as-Sahifah al-Kamilah or as-Sahifah as-Sajjaddiyyah; which is also known as the Zabur (Psalms) of Aal Muhammad. The collection is a magnificent treasury of wonderfully effective supplications to Allah in an eloquent and beautiful language. Only those who have ever come across those supplications would know the excellence and the beneficial effect of these prayers. Through these prayers the Imam gave all the necessary guidance to the faithful during his seclusion.
On the 25th of Muharram 95 AH when he was in Medina, al-Walid ibn Abdil-Malik ibn Marwan, the then ruler got this Holy Imam martyred by poison. The funeral prayers for this Holy Imam were conducted by his son the Fifth Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir and his body was laid to rest in the cemetery of Jannatul-Bagi ' in Medina.
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