In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
In the Hearts of People
The fourth Imam, Ali bin Hossein (PBUH) was appointed to imamate after the martyrdom of his father and in the darkest days of Umayyad tyranny. His imamate period, which he spent mostly in Medinah, is contemporary to 9 brutal Umayyad caliphs. He was named with titles such as Zain ol-Abedin, Seyyed ol-Mottaqin, Amin, and Sajjad. Among his titles Sajjad and Zein ol-Abedin are more famous.
The important point regarding these titles is that these titles were not granted, as it was the custom of the Arabian pagans, during the childhood of the person or by a formal ceremony of a government. The people gave these titles to the Imam (PBUH); people who were not necessarily Shi’ite, neither most of them considered him appointed by Allah (SWT). The spiritual perfection, faith and piety of Imam were so high that could not escape the perception of those who knew him. Therefore, people knew him as the maxim of the worshippers (Zein ol-Abedin) and the symbol for obedience toward Allah (SWT) (title Sajjad as the prostrating) in his time. Here are two narrations that show the personality of Imam Sajjad (PBUH).
Sheikh Mofid, the great Shi’ite scholar narrates:
When Ali bin Hossein (PBUH) made an ablution his color turned yellow. When the others asked him what has happened, he used to answer: Do you know who am I getting ready to stand in front of?
Sheikh Sadugh , the prominent Shi’ite narrator narrated from Zohri:
It was a cold and rainy night that I saw Ali bin Sajjad (PBUH) carrying flour and sticks on his back. I asked him “Oh son of the Prophet of Allah, what is this?”
He answered: “I have a plan for a journey, and I have made ready the needed ration to put it in a safe place.”
I said: “Let me order my servant to take it for you.” Imam did not accept. I told him please let me take it for you myself.”
Imam said: “No, why shouldn’t I take the thing that is needed for my journey and will make my host contented? For God’s sake please leave me alone and take care of your own business.”
After a few days I saw the Imam (PBUH) and asked him “I did not see any sign of the journey you were to make.”
Imam (PBUH) replied: “Zohri; it is not what you thought at first. That journey is the journey of death; I am making myself ready for death. Getting ready for death takes place by avoiding the forbidden, being generous toward those in need and doing virtuous deeds.”
Zohri realized that Imam (PBUH) had provided the flour and firewood for helping the poor and the needy.
The presence of the fourth Imam (PBUH) was a luminous torch in that period of darkness and oppression of the Umayyad regime that only wear the mask of Islam and had truth intention other than destructing Islam. For the seekers of truth, he put a light by his words and actions. He lighted on the forgotten habits and traditions of his grandfathers and father. So that the people that were considerably remote to the time of the revelation were able to witness the original methods of Islamic education.
(The above is a selection taken from “The Life of Imam Sajjad (PBUH)” by Sayyed Ja’far Shahidi)
Quran and Etrat Online University offers condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 25th of Muharram, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the exemplar of worshipping and the fourth Imam, Imam Ali ibn Hussain (PBUH).