Zaynul-Aabideen (The Pride of the Worshippers)
Our 4th Imam, Hadrat Sajjad (as) was born on 5th Sha’ban 38 AH in Madinah. He (as) was the son of our 3rd Imam, Imam Abu Abdillahil-Husayn (as) and Bibi Shaherbanu, who is also called as Shahzanaan. He (as) was known as Abu Muhammad (father of Muhammad) and among his titles are: Zaynul-‘Aabideen (The Pride of the Worshippers); Sayyid al-Sajideen (Leader of those who prostrate) and Ibnul-Khiyaratayn (The son of the two best) – the Quraysh from among the Arabs and the Persian from among the non-Arabs.
Holy Imam’s (AS) Worship
Imam Ali ibnul-Husayn (as) has taught us how to worship Allah (SWT) and it is for this reason that he (as) is known as: Zaynul-‘Aabideen meaning ‘the adornment’ or ‘the pride of worshippers’. He (as) has taught us that whenever we rise to worship Allah (SWT), two things have to be taken into consideration. One is the Greatness of Allah (SWT), which should always be in our minds. And our hearts should be filled with His awe such that our feelings should be Baynal-Khaufi war-Rajaa (between hope and fear). Hope for His mercy and fear of His wrath.
Incidents of His Ibadah (Worship)
[Fatima, the daughter of Imam Ali (as) once called Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansari – the old companion of the Holy Prophet (saww) and said to him, “O Jabir! You are one of the greatest surviving companions of the Holy Prophet (saww) and we belong to the Ahlul-Bayt (as) whose rights are upon you. Among the Ahlul-Bayt (as), one who has survived is Ali ibn ul-Husayn (as) and he (as) has over-engrossed himself in the worship of Allah (SWT). His forehead and palms have wounds because of extensive prostrations and his body has become thin and weak. Therefore go and speak to him so that he (as) may reduce his worship”.
Jabir came to our Imam (as) whilst he (as) was sitting in the Mihrab of worship. Seeing Jabir, our Imam (as) gave him respect and made him sit near himself; and then he (as) asked him about his health and affairs in a very weak voice. Jabir said, “O son of the Prophet! Allah (SWT) has created Paradise for you and your followers and He (SWT) has created Hellfire for your enemies and opponents. Then why do you tire yourself so much in worship?” Imam (as) said, “O companion of the Prophet! Despite his great status in the sight of Allah (SWT), the Holy Prophet (saww) engrossed himself so much in worship that his feet were swollen. When asked: ‘Why do you burden yourself so much when you have nothing to worry?’ he (saww) said, ‘Shouldn’t I express my gratitude to Allah and abandon the gratitude of all His favours?’”
Jabir said, “O son of the Prophet! Have mercy upon Muslims. It is because of the blessings of your presence that Allah (SWT) keeps away all the hardships and difficulties of the people; and He (SWT) does not punish them for their wrongdoings”. Imam (as) said, “O Jabir! I shall remain steadfast on the path of my fathers and forefathers until I meet them”.] (Ahsan al-Muqaal)
Another incident of his worship is that:
[Taawus-e-Yemeni once entered Hijr-e-Ismail after midnight and saw Imam Zaynul-‘Aabideen (as) in prostration. He felt as though Imam (as) was repeating something. As he came closer, Taawus heard the Imam (as) saying: ILAAHI UBAYDUKA BI-FINAA-IK, MISKEENUKA BI-FINAA-IK, FAQEERUKA BI-FINAA-IK “O my Lord! Your most humble servant is at Your doorstep. A beggar is at Your doorstep. A needy is at Your doorstep”.
Taawus says that after this incident, whenever I encountered any hardships and sicknesses, I would go into Sajdah and recite these words of Imam (as) – and I would experience relief.] (Ahsan al-Muqaal).