Imam Zain al-Abidin ‘Ali b. Husain al-Asghar
August 21, 2013
From Ahl-i-Bayt, successor of Prophethood, candle of the Ummah and Autad, the afflicted, Imam of the deprived is Abu al-Hasan Ali b. al-Hussein b. Ali (may Allah be pleased with them). He was the most honored and ascetic personality of his time and is famous for unveiling and narrating the truth and subtleties. In reply to a question about who was the most blessed, he said:
“The man when he is pleased, it is not on wrong, and when he is angry, is not carried by his anger beyond the bounds of right.” This is the character of those who have attained perfect rectitude, because to get satisfied with fictitious is also wrong and to quit the truth in anger is also immoral and pious does not like incorrect.
Hussein (may Allah be pleased with him) used to call him Ali Asghar (the younger). When Hussein and his children were martyred at Karbala, there were none left alive except Ali who was sick. The women were brought unveiled on camels to Yazid (may Allah curse him), at Damascus. Someone asked Ali that how was he and members of the house? Ali replied:
“We have been treated in the same way as Pharaoh did with people of Moses who slaughtered their sons and took their women alive. We are under so many afflictions that we do not know when day has arisen and when night has fallen. We are still thankful to Allah for His bounties and praise Him for the trial in which He has put us.”
Once, Caliph Hisham b. Abd al-Malik during Hajj while performing circumambulation of Kaba tried to kiss the Black Stone (Hajr-i Aswad) but due to rush of pilgrims was unable to reach to it. At that time Ali was also circumambulating. When he approached Hajr-i Aswad to kiss it, all pilgrims withdrew from his way and he peacefully kissed it. One of the Syrian courtiers tauntingly pointed out to Hisham that he was not offered the chance to reach to the sacred stone, are you the King or that beautiful youth, for whom everybody made the way. Hisham said that he did not know the youth. At that time famous poet Farzoaq was also present there. He got up and said in a loud voice that he knew the youth. People asked him to tell them who was he? The poet Farzoaq stepped forward and recited the splendid encomium:
This is he whose footprint is known to the valley of Mecca,
Whom the Kaba knows, the unhallowed territory, the holy ground.
He is the son of the best of the entire creature,
He is the pious, the elect, the pure, and the eminent.
Know that he is the darling child of Fatima,
He is one whose ancestor Prophethood is sealed.
Whenever Quraish have a look on him, everyone exclaim,
No one can surpass him in commendable qualities.
He occupies such an exalted position that
Arabs and non Arabs are incapable to reach there.
His ancestor was the possessor of qualities of all the prophets,
And whose Ummah possesses the virtues of all the Ummah
The Nur (light) of their forehead lightened the hearts,
As with the rise of sun darkness perishes.
Hajr-i Aswad recognizes him from his odor, so that, when
he comes to touch Hajr-i Aswad, it kisses his hands.
Modesty keeps his gaze low, but people lower their gaze because of his awe,
No one dares to talk with him except when he has a smiley face.
His hands hold stick of musk willow which spreads pleasant odor,
His palm is emitting fragrance; he is a leader of high repute.
His qualities are blessed from the qualities of the Prophet,
His conscious, habits and virtues are all praiseworthy
The heavy shower of his graciousness is common to all,
He is ever generous, material paucity never stops him.
His beneficence is open to the creature, who because of him,
Got deliverance from immorality, poverty and tyranny.
No one can match him in generosity, and neither
Any nation can show equality, may their men be very generous.
He is like rain of mercy in famine, and
Lion of the jungle at the time of fear and calamity.
It is that family whose love is faith, and enmity is infidelity, and
Nearness to them is the shelter for peace and deliverance.
When Farzoaq read these lyrics, Hisham got enraged and ordered for him to be imprisoned. When Ali came to know about it, he sent to him 12,000 dirham with a message that we only possessed that much which was too less to your affliction. Farzoaq returned it, with the message that he had uttered many lies in the panegyrics on princes and governors which he was accustomed to compose for money, and that he had addressed verses to Ali as a partial expiation for his sins in that respect, and as a proof of his affection towards Ahl-i-Bayt. Ali, once again sent the money back with the message that if Farzoaq loved him, he must retained the money however, he begged to be excused from taking back what he had already given away; Farzoaq at last consented to receive the money.
There are so many virtues and merits of this eminent Imam that these cannot be encompassed in writing.