The lovers and followers of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), commemorate on this twenty-fifth day of the month of Muharram, the sad martyrdom anniversary of Imam Ali son of al-Hussayn al-Sajjad (peace be upon them) in the year (94 AH).
The 4th Imam kept the memory of the tragedy of Karbala alive. Whenever he would drink water, he would burst into tears in recalling the thirst of his father and the martyrs of Karbala. One day when someone asked him how his grief would come to its end, he replied: Prophet Ya’koob [Jacob], who had 12 sons, on losing only one son, wept so bitterly that he became blind; but I have witnessed the killing of my father, my brothers, my uncles and 17 of my kinsmen, whose dismembered bodies were spread on the ground; so how can my sorry end.
Imam Zayn al-'Abideen, peace be on him, exhausted himself by hard worship and obedience to Allah. The historians unanimously agreed that the Imam passed most his lifetime fasting by day and standing in prayer by night. Meanwhile, he remembered the tragedy of Karbala. When he looked at his aunts and his sisters, he remembered their escape from one tent to another, and the caller of the people called out: "Burn the houses of the wrongdoers!" These memories saddened him very much and affected his body.
Imam Zayn al-'Abideen (peace be upon him) enjoyed great popularity. The people spoke with admiration about his knowledge, his jurisprudence, and his acts of worship. The assemblies admired his patience and all his other qualities. The Imam occupied the hearts and feelings of the people. Hence blessed was he who saw him, met him, and listened to his words.
This situation frightened the Umayyads, especially as it concerns al-Waleed Ibn 'Abd al-Malik, who was the most spiteful toward the Imam.
Al-Zuhri reported on the authority of al-Waleed Ibn 'Abd al-Malik, who said: “I cannot have a rest as long as 'Ali Ibn al-Hussayn is in this world!”
When al-Waleed became king, he decided to assassinate the Imam. He sent poison to his governor of Madinah, and ordered him to mix the poison (with liquid) and give it to the Imam to drink.
The poison reacted on the Imam's body, and he suffered severe pain. The Imam remained on the bed of illness for some days. He complained to Allah of this and asked Him for forgiveness and good pleasure. The people crowded to visit him, and he, peace be on him, praised and lauded Allah for providing him with martyrdom at the hand of the most wicked creature.
It is narrated from al-Zuhayri that he said: I entered to Ali son of al-Hussayn (peace be upon both of them) when he was in the bed of death, a dish of bread and endives [or dandelion] was presented to me, and he said: Eat! I replied: I have eaten O son of the Messenger of Allah. He said: It is endives [or dandelion]. I asked: And what is its benefit? He said: a drop from heaven is on every leaf of endives [or dandelion], it is a cure for every disease.
When food was removed, they brought oil. He said: put some oil O Aba Abdillah. I said: I already did. He said: It is violet. I asked him: And what makes violet oil preferred than other oils? He said: Like Islam is superior on other religions. Then his son Mohammad came in, and he conversed long with him secretly, and I heard him telling him: "Have good manners."
Then I said: O son of the Messenger of Allah, If Allah's unavoidable order occurs, whom shall we follow after you? The Imam looked at me kindly and said to me: This son of mine, pointing to his son al-Baqer, for he is my trustee, my inheritor, and the container of my knowledge. He is the origin of knowledge and [Baqer] the one who will split it open. I asked him: O son of the Messenger of Allah, what Baqer of knowledge means? He replied: The most pure of my shia will come to him and he will split open the knowledge over them.
Then he sent Mohammad "al-Baqer" to the market, and when he came back I said: O son of the Messenger of Allah, will you not designate your eldest son? He said: O Aba Abdillah, oldness and youngness do not concern the Imamate. In this manner, Allah's Apostle, Allah's prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household, nominated us. Thus, we have found it written in the tablet and the parchment. I said: Son of the Apostle of Allah, did your Prophet entrust you to be the trustees (of authority) after him? He replied: We have found twelve names in the parchment and the tablet. Their Imamate, their fathers' names, and their mothers' names have been written in the tablet. Then he said: Seven of the trustees will come forth from the back of Mohammad, my son al-Mahdi will be one of them.
Imam al-Baqer (peace be upon him) has narrated: When Ali Ibn al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) was in death-bed he hugged me to his chest and then said: “I advise you with what my father advised me when death came to him. He said to me: “My little son, beware of oppressing him who has no supporter against you but Allah.”
Imam Abu Ja'far al-Baqer undertook the preparation of the corpse of his father. He washed his pure body. The people saw the places of his prostration, which were like the knees of camels, out of his abundant prostration (in prayer) for Allah, the Exalted. They also saw his shoulders, which were like the knees of camels. Then they asked al-Baqer about this, and he replied: "He would put food into his bag, carried it on his shoulders, and divided the food among the poor and the deprived.”
When al-Baqer (peace be upon him) had finished washing the corpse of his body, he shrouded it, and prayed over it with the written prayers.
Great escorting was held for the Imam as-Sajjad (peace be upon him). Madinah (Yathrib) had never witness such escorting before. This is because the righteous and the sinful escorted him. The masses surrounded the great coffin. They wept and lamented for the Imam in humbleness. They felt a heavy loss, for they lost immense good, and unique spirituality. When the Imam died, the tongues kept silent, and the intellects became perplexed. Hence the people of Madinah crowded all around the Holy Corpse.
In the middle of a halo of exclaiming Allah is great and praising Him, the people brought the Holy Corpse to al-Baqi Cemetery. They dug a grave for him beside the grave of his pure uncle, Imam al-Hassan, the master of the youths of Paradise, and the plant of sweet basil of Allah's Apostle, Prayers of Allah be upon him and his holy family.
Then Imam al-Baqer, peace be on him, buried his father in his final resting place. With him he buried knowledge, kindness, reverential fear, spirituality of the prophets and of the Allah-fearing.
Imam al-Baqer (peace be upon him) in a description of his father Imam as-Sajjad (peace be upon him) said: “Whenever Imam Ali Ibn al-Hussayn remembered the blessings of God, he embarked on prostration. And whenever God kept him away from a bitter incident, he also embarked on prostration. The Imam also prostrates after every obligatory prayer and that’s why he was entitled Sajjad which in Arabic means the one who prostrates much."
It is to note that the martyrdom of Imam Zayn al-'Abideen (Allah's prayers be upon him) was on the 25th of Muharram in the year 94 AH, after that al-Waleed Ibn Abd al-Malik has poisoned him. He was buried in Baqi' where his tomb is, but the Wahhabis have demolished those holy shrines.
Sheikh Abbas Al-Qummi has stated in his book "Muntaha al-Amal" that Hisham Ibn abd al-Malik was the one who has poisoned the Imam as he was the one ordering his brother to kill the Imam (peace be upon him), after the famous incident of the receipt of the Black stone, which is as follows:
Imam Zayn al-‘Abideen, peace be on him, went to the Sacred House of Allah to perform the pilgrimage. Meanwhile Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik went there for the same purpose. The latter did his best to touch the Black Stone but he was unable to do that, for the people overcrowded around it. A pulpit was installed and he sat on it. He began looking at the circumambulation of the people. Then Imam Zayn al-‘Abideen came to perform his circumambulation. When the pilgrims saw him, they were astonished at his solemnity that was similar to the solemnity of his grandfather, Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. The people were shouting loudly: “There is no god but God! Allah is great!” They made two queues for him. Happy was he who saw him, kissed his hand, and touched his shoulder. That is because the Imam was the rest of Allah in his earth. The Syrians were astonished when they saw that situation. That is because the pilgrims did not received Hisham, who was the nominated caliph after his father, warmly though the Syrians honored him and the policemen surrounded him.
One of Hisham's companions asked him: “Who is that man whom the people have honored very much? Hisham burst into anger, shouted at the man, saying: “I do not know him!” He claimed that he did not know the Imam lest the people should know him. Al-Farazdaq was there. He did not control himself. Thus, he said to the Syrians: “I know him.” “Who is he, Abu Firas?” asked the Syrians. Hisham shouted at al-Farazdaq, saying: “I do not know him!” “Yes, you know him,” replied al-Farazdaq.
Then he rose and composed the following poem whose effect was stronger than the hitting of the swords and the stabbing of the spears against Hisham. He said:
This is the son of Hussayn and the son of Fatima the daughter of the Apostle through whom the darkness dispersed.
This is he whose ability the valley (of Mecca) recognizes, and whom the (Sacred) House (as do) the sanctuary and the area outside the sanctuary (al-hill).
This is the son of the best of Allah's servants. This is the pure pious man, the pure eminent man.
When Quraysh saw him, their spokesman said:
Liberality terminates at the outstanding qualities of this (man).
He belongs to the top of glory which the Arabs of Islam and non-Arabs fall short of obtaining.
When he comes to touch the wall of the Kaaba, it almost grasps the palm of his hand.
He takes care to be modest and he is protected from his terror. He only speaks when he smiles.
There is a cane in his hand. Its smell is fragrant from the hand of the most wonderful (of all the people), who is proud.
The prophets yielded to his grandfather's favor. The nations yielded to the favor of his community.
The light of guidance emanates from the light of his forehead. He is like the sun whose shining disperses darkness.
His tree belongs to the Apostle of Allah. Its elements, its natures, and its qualities are good.
This is the son of Fatima if you do not recognize him. The prophets of Allah were ended by his grandfather.
Allah honored and favored him from antiquity.
Your words ‘who is this?’ do not harm him. The Arabs and non-Arabs recognize him whom you deny.
Both his hands are relief. Their advantage has prevailed. The hands are equal. Nonexistence does not befall them.
He is the carrier of the burdens of the people when they are oppressed.
His qualities are good. The ‘yes’ is sweet with him.
He does not break the promise. His soul is blessed. His courtyard is wide. He is clever when he decides.
He is from the people whose love is religion, whose hate is unbelief, whose approach is refuge and protection.
If the God-fearing are numbered, they are their Imams. If it is said who are the best of the earth, it is said they are.
No generous man can reach their far purpose. No people, though generous, can compete with them (for generosity).
They are rain when a crisis happens. They are lions when fear becomes intense.
Poverty does not decreases the relief from their hands. That is the same, whether they are rich or poor.
Misfortune and tribulation are driven away through their love.
Kindness and the blessings are regained through it.
In every affair their praise is after the praise of Allah. The speech is ended by it.
Abasement refuses to stop at their space. Their natures are noble, and their hands are full of liberality.
None of mankind has within their souls such primacy as he does nor such grace as he does.
Whoever knows Allah, knows His friend. Religion is from the House of this man.
Hisham burst into anger. He wished that the earth would swallow him up. He was displeased to hear this poem called al-‘Asma'. That is because it indicated the high social rank of the great Imam. Besides it made the Syrians recognize him, for they did not recognize him nor did they recognize his grandfathers. Accordingly, Hisham ordered al-Farazdaq to be imprisoned at a place called ‘Asfan between Mecca and Madinah. Imam Zayn al-‘Abideen heard of that, so he sent al-Farazdaq twelve thousand dirhams. However, al-Farazdaq returned them. He refused to accept them and said: “I said that concerning you as anger for Allah and His Apostle.”
The Imam returned them and al-Farazdaq agreed to accept them. Then al-Farazdaq began dispraising Hisham, who has ordered his brother to kill the Imam (peace be upon him).