Zainal Abidin

On Ali bin Al-Husain or Zainal ‘Abidin (38-95 H):

The Prophet’s great grandson, `Ali ibn al-Husayn, is known as Zayn al-‘Abidin (`the adornment of the worshippers’). He composed “AL-SAHIFAT AL-SAJJADIYYA,” which has been cherished in Islamic sources from earliest times.


`Ali ibn al-Husain was born in Medina, according to most sources in the year 38 H (658-9 M). He may have been too small to have remembered his grandfather ‘Ali bin Abithalib, who was killed in 40/661, but he was brought up in the presence of his uncle Hasan and his father Husayn (Husain), the Prophet’s beloved grandchildren.This is part of what he said in front of Yazid bin Muawiyah after the tragedy of Karbala, more than 1300 years ago (see other pars of this blog for a more complete version):

All Praise is due to Allah for Whom there is no beginning, the ever-Lasting for Whom there is no end, the First for Whom there is no starting point, the Last for Whom there is no ending point, the One Who remains after all beings no longer exist. He measured the nights and the days. He divided them into parts; so, Blessed is Allah, the King, the all-Knowing…

O people! We were granted six things and favoured with seven: We were granted knowledge, clemency, leniency, fluency, courage, and love for us in the hearts of the believers. And we were favoured by the fact that from among us came a Prophet, a Siddiq, a ayyar, a Lion of Allah and of His Prophet (S), and both Masters of the Youths of Paradise from among this nation.

O people!
Whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not recognize me, let me tell him who I am and to what family I belong:

O people!
I am the son of Mecca and Mina;
I am the son of Zamzam and al-Safa;
I am the son of the one who carried the Rukn on his mantle;
I am the son of the best man who ever put on clothes and who ever made Tawaf and Sa’i, of whoever offered the Hajj and pronounced the Talbiya.
I am the son of the one who was transported on the Buraq and who was taken by Gabriel to Sidrat al-Muntaha, so he was near his Lord like the throw of a bow or closer still.
I am the son of the one who led the angels of the heavens in the prayers.
I am the son to whom the Mighty One revealed what He revealed.
I am the son of the one who defended the Messenger of Allah (S) at Badr and Hunayn and never disbelieved in Allah not even as much as the twinkling of an eye.
I am the son of the best of the believers and of the heir of the prophets, of the leader of the Muslims and the Noor of those who offer Jihad and the killer of the renegades and those who deviated from the straight path and who scattered the Azab and the most courageous one, the one with the firmest determination: such is the father of the grandsons of the Prophet (S), al-Hasan and al-Husain (‘a), such is ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (‘a).
I am the son of Fatima al-Zahra’ (‘a), the Head of all Women, the son of Khadija al-Kubra.
I am the son of the one with whose blood the sand mixed.
I am the son of the one who was slaughtered at Karbala’.
I am the son of the one for whom the jinns wept in the dark and for whom the birds in the air cried”.

Many sources state that his mother was Shahrbanu (Syahrulbanu), the daughter of Yazdigird, the last Sasanian king of Persia. Thus he was said to be `Ibn al-Khiyaratayn’, the `son of the best two’, meaning the Quraysh among the Arabs and the Persians among the non-Arabs.

Millions of Shia Muslims gather around the Hus...
Millions of Muslims gather around the Husayn Mosque in Karbala after making the Pilgrimage on foot during Arba’een. Arba’een is a forty day period that commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn bin Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), and seventy-two of his followers at the Battle of Karbala in the year 680 AD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to some accounts, his mother was brought as a captive to Medina during the caliphate of `Umar, who wanted to sell her. `Ali suggested instead that she be offered her choice of the Muslim men as husband and that her dower be paid from the public treasury. `Umar agreed and she chose ‘Ali’s son: Husayn. She is said to have died shortly after giving birth to her only son `Ali.

There is no need to recount here the tragedy at Karbala’ in 61 H (680 M), when Husayn (Husain) and many of the male members of his family were killed by the forces of the Umayyad caliph Yazid, an event which shook the Islamic world.

Zayn al-‘Abidin accompanied his father on the march toward Kufah (Iraq), but he had fallen deathly ill and was lying on a skin in a tent. Once the Umayyad troops had massacred Husayn and his male followers, they looted the tents, stripped the women of their jewellery, and even took the skin upon which Zayn al-‘Abidin was prostrate.

The place where head Imam Husayn kept, Umayyad...
The place where head Imam Husayn kept, Umayyad mosque, Damaskus, Syria.

The infamous Shamir (Shimr) ibn Dhi l-Jawshan was about to kill Zayn al-‘Abidin in spite of his helplessness, but Husayn’s sister Zaynab threw herself on top of him to save him, and `Umar ibn Sa’d, the Umayyad commander, told Shamir to let him be. Zayn al-‘Abidin was taken along with the women to the caliph in Damascus, and eventually he was allowed to return to Medina.

Several accounts are related concerning his grief over this tragedy. It is said that for twenty years whenever food was placed before him, he would weep.

Feb. 27, 2008 - Shi'a and Sunni Muslims make t...
Feb. 27, 2008 – Shi’a and Sunni Muslims make their way to the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala, Iraq, Feb. 27, 2008, during their pilgrimage in observance of the Arba’een and Ashura holidays. Only since the removal of Saddam Hussein have Iraqis been able to take part in the pilgrimage. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Denny C. Cantrell) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One day a servant said to him, `O son of God’s Messenger! Is it not time for your sorrow to come to an end?’ He replied, `Woe upon you! Jacob the prophet had twelve sons, and God made one of them disappear. His eyes turned white from constant weeping, his head turned grey out of sorrow, and his back became bent in gloom [cf. 12: 84], though his son was alive in this world. But I watched while my father, my brother, my uncle, and seventeen members of my family were slaughtered all around me. How should my sorrow come to an end?’

Zayn al-‘Abidin resided in Medina until his death in 95 H (713-4 M) or 94 H (712-3 M). He was the object both of great sympathy because of the massacre of his family and of veneration as the great grandson of the Prophet.

He dedicated his life to learning and worship and became an authority on prophetic traditions and law, but he was known mostly for his nobility of character and his piety, which earned him his sobriquet already in his lifetime. The details that have reached us about his life in Medina mainly take the form of anecdotes affirming his constant preoccupation with worship and acts of devotion. He fathered fifteen children, eleven boys and four girls.

Baca juga (read also – articles in Bahasa Indonesia):

One thought on “Zainal Abidin

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: