History of crying dates back to Hazrat Adam (a.s.) and is found in every civilized community of the world. Since weeping is a reflection of love and emotions, there exist some psychological aspects to it. Names of several people who wept excessively have been recorded and such instances are also mentioned in the traditions. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
“Five people were excessive mourners: Adam, Yaqoob, Yusuf, Fatima Binte Muhammad and Ali Ibn al-Husain Zain al-Aabideen (a.s.).”
(Makaarem al-Akhlaaq, p. 315 narrating from Rauzah al-Waezeen)
Lamentation of Hazrat Imam Zain al-Aabideen (a.s.) upon his father Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.), the chief of martyrs, was an expression of his innate condition. But this weeping also proved to be a source of propagation of truth.
The effects of the work of preaching are based on how one tries to transfer his thoughts, comments and relations to others. The apparent political causes neither have the capability of recognizing it nor can they suppressing it. However, when the weeping of an influential person transforms the heart and gives an indication of a revolutionary movement, various measures are adopted to crush the same. When all the measures fail, the final recourse is murder and assassination.
Whenever the life of Imam Sajjaad (a.s.) is mentioned especially during incident of Karbala till the final days of his life in Madinah, the most important and natural aspect that stands out is that of his weeping. However, those enlightening aspects of his character which are based on carrying out the responsibilities of Imamate and leadership are rarely conveyed to masses. When such miraculous aspects of his personality meet the eyes of the historians it becomes apparent that his leadership and Imamate was a divine position which dominates over every aspect of Islamic culture.
For instance, dealings amongst each other within the community, relations and transactions always exist in the society. Imam (a.s.) had borrowed a loan from someone and when the lender demanded security, he (a.s.) gave him a string from his cloak as a guarantee. After some time, he (a.s.) sought him and said: “Return the string of my cloak and take your money back.” During this period, he was perplexed and had forgotten about where he had kept that string. On insistence, he searched for it, located it and returned to Imam (a.s.). Imam (a.s.) then returned his money. Apparently, this is an incident but is included among the important tenets of loan agreements. Another reliable incident is frequently narrated by scholars. When Hisham Ibn Abd al-Malik, during the days of Hajj, witnessed Imam (a.s.) entering the House of Allah and the crowd voluntarily gave way for him due to his awe, he enquired about him. In response to this, Farazdaq recited a lengthy elegy in praise of Imam (a.s.) which is mentioned at the end of this magazine. The expression of surprise by the Umayyad Caliph establishes the fact as to how awe-inspiring the personality of Imam Sajjaad (a.s.) was for the masses. Moreover, a glance at Al-Sahifah al-Sajjaadiyyah, the eloquence of speech, is a fountain of wisdom and intellect for people with intellect. Despite all these miracles and perfections, the painful lamentation by Imam Sajjaad (a.s.) was so impactful that till the Day of Judgement, that anyone who reads about it will fall into tears.
Weeping of Imam Sajjaad (a.s.)
Ibn Qulwayh, Ibn Shahr Ashob and other eminent scholars have narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that Imam Zain al-Aabideen (a.s.) wept over his honourable father Imam Husain (a.s.) for twenty years and as per another tradition for forty years. He (a.s.) used to weep when food was laid down before him and moreover when water was presented, he (a.s.) used to weep so excessively that water would get mixed with tears.
[Jilaa al-Uyoon (Persian), p. 836]
As per another tradition, Imam (a.s.) has said: “I weep on recalling the moment when my father was being martyred with parched lips. He was deprived of water which was available even for wild animals and beasts.” When a slave asked Imam (a.s.): “Are you going to weep to such an extent that you will end your life?” Imam (a.s.) replied: “I already finished myself the very first day. Now I just weep over my father.”
[Jilaa al-Uyoon (Persian), p. 836]
One of the freed slaves of Imam (a.s.) questioned him: “Has the time not arrived for your mourning to stop? Imam (a.s.) retorted: “Woe be upon you! Yaqoob (a.s.) had twelve sons. When only one of them disappeared, he wept so profusely that he turned blind. His back gave way due to extreme sorrow while he was even aware that Yusuf (a.s.) is alive. I have witnessed the martyrdom of my father, my brothers and eighteen members from my family and how their raised heads were paraded from one place to the other. How can I stop mourning?”
[Jilaa al-Uyoon (Persian), p. 837]
The mourning of Imam Sajjaad (a.s.) had awakened the dead conscience of the people. These tears cannot be explained because they were not shed only on account of any emotional dissatisfaction especially when these tears and sighs belong to an Imam (a.s.), who is better aware about the realities of the universe than anyone in the world.
When tears of Imam Sajjaad (a.s.) were mixed with the soil of the grave of Imam Husain (a.s.), he used to prolong his prostration. He prostrated only on the soil from the grave of his father. He always put on a ring rubbed with the soil of Karbala and following words were engraved on it “The killer of Husain Ibn Ali (a.s.) was wretched and shameful.” [Al-Kaafi, vol. 6, p. 474]. Hence, the message of tears would awaken the conscience of people and create abhorrence for the tyrant as well as tyranny.
Martyrdom of Imam (a.s.)
Readers are requested to refer to and remember various historical incidents pertaining to the life of Imam (a.s.) since these are important for the growth of man and society. We have tried to briefly pen the reasons due to which Imam (a.s.) was martyred but the circumstances leading to his martyrdom should also be kept in mind.
Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi (a.r.), in his book Muntaha al-Aamaal, narrates that various traditions are quoted regarding the date of martyrdom of Imam Sajjaad (a.s.). Out of these, three dates are specifically mentioned. They are 12th, 17th and 25th of Muharram. It has been clearly established from the reliable traditions that Imam (a.s.) was poisoned. According to Ibn Babwayh and few other scholars, Waleed Ibn Abd al-Malik (may Allah curse him) poisoned Imam (a.s.) whereas few other scholars have mentioned that Hisham Ibn Abd al-Malik (may Allah curse him) poisoned Imam (a.s.).
[Muntaha al-Aamaal, Persian, p. 1236]
A narration in Tafseer-e-Qummi from Imam Reza (a.s.) says that when his martyrdom drew close, he (a.s.) fainted thrice. When he regained consciousness, he said:
“Praise be to Allah Who fulfilled His promise to us and He made us the inheritors of His earth so that we relax in Heaven wherever we want and indeed this is the best reward for such action.”
After these words, the soul of Imam (a.s.) left for the heavenly abode.
[Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 46, p. 147, H. 1 narrating from Tafseer al-Qummi r.a.]
Will of Imam (a.s.)
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) recounted:
“During his final moments, Imam Zain al-Aabideen (a.s.) embraced me and said: O my son! I am bequeathing you what my father bequeathed me before his martyrdom and his father bequeathed him. Dear son! Beware, never oppress a person who does not have any helper or aide other than Allah.”
[Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 46, p. 153, H. 16 narrating from al-Kaafi]
In one of the narrations, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) was informed that the she-camel of Imam Zain al-Aabideen (a.s.) had reached the grave of Imam (a.s.), was rubbing its neck on the grave and weeping. On hearing this, Imam Baqir (a.s.) reached there and ordered her, “Go back. May Allah bless you!” She went back but returned again after some time near the grave in the same condition. When Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) heard that she had returned in a devastated state, he visited the grave of Imam Sajjaad (a.s.), asked her to return and observe patience. But this time, she was so heart-broken that she refused to leave the grave of Imam (a.s.). Seeing this, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said: “O people! Leave her alone, she has come to bid farewell to her master.” Lying there, she died on the third day. Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) mentioned that my father used to ride this she-camel when he went for Hajj and never whipped her in the entire journey.
[Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 46, p. 148, H. 3 narrating from Basaaer al-Darajaat]