Ali ibn al-Husayn Zaynul-'Abidin
(Peace be upon him)
It is someone whose footsteps are known by every place
And it is he who is known to the Bayt in Mecca
the most frequented sanctuary;
It is he who is the son of the best of all men of God
and it is he who is the most pious and devout,
the purest and most unstained
the chestiest and most righteous
a symbol [for Islam]
This is Ali [b. al Husayn] whose parent is the Prophet
This is the son of Fatima, if you do not know who he is
Whosoever recognizes his God knows also
the primacy and superiority of this man
Because the religion has reached nations
through his House.(1)
Imam Sajjad ('Ali ibn al-Husayn entitled Zaynu'l-'Abidin and Sajjad) was the son of the Third Imam and his wife, the queen among women, the daughter of Yazdgerd the King of Iran. He was the only son of Imam Husayn to survive, for his other three brothers 'Ali Akbar, aged twenty-five, five-year-old Ja'far and 'Ali al-Asghar (or 'Abdullah) who was a suckling baby were martyred during the event ofKarbala'. The Imam had also accompanied his father on the journey that terminated fatally in Karbala', but because of severe illness and the inability to carry arms or participate in fighting he was prevented from taking part in the holy war and being martyred. So he was sent with the womenfolk to Damascus. After spending a period in imprisonment he was sent with honour to Medina because Yazid wanted to conciliate public opinion. But for a second time, by the order of the Umayyad caliph, 'Abdu 'l-Malik, he was chained and sent from Medina to Damascus and then again returned toMedina. The Fourth Imam, upon returning toMedina, retired from public life completely, closed the door of his house to strangers and spent his time in worship. He was in contact only with the elite among the Shi'ites such as Abu Hamzah ath-Thumali, Abu Khalid Kabuli and the like. The elite disseminated among the Shi'a the religious sciences they learned from the Imam. In this way Shi'ism spread considerably and showed its effects during the Imamate of the Fifth Imam. Among the works of the Fourth Imam is a book called Sahifah Sajjadiyyah. It consists of fifty-seven prayers concerning the most sublime Divine sciences and is known as "The Psalm of the Household of the Prophet." The Fourth Imam died (according to some Shi'ite traditions poisoned by al-Walid ibn 'Abdi 'l-Malik ibn Marwan through the instigation of the Umayyad caliph Hisham) in 95/712 after thirty-five years of Imamate.
Al-Imam 'Ali ibn al-Husayn, peace be Upon him, said:
Refrain from lying in all things, big or small, in seriousness or in jest. For when one starts lying in petty matters, soon he will have the audacity to lie in important matters (also).
A man need not fear Allah except on account of his own sins, and should place his hopes only with his Lord. When about something one does not know, one should not be ashamed of having to learn about it. And patience is to faith what the head is to the body; one who does not have patience also lacks faith.
1- Farazdaq, in this poem, refers to the occasion when the Caliph Hisham b. Abd al Malik was overshadowed by the respect which people showed towards the great grandson of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), at the time of Hajj when both of the individuals were trying to reach the crowds around the Ka'ba to get to the black stone. The people gave way to the Imam (as) while the Caliph struggled desperately. The Caliph, deeply offended, inquired in a sarcastic tone, who the person was who people had shown such preference. Farazdaq, who was also present at the moment composed an ode and recited it, addressing himself to Hisham.