Muharram Reflections: The Wisdom of Imam Zayn al-Abidin (as)

Peace, one and all…

During a recent weekly sohbet we commemorated the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as). We paid tribute to his sacrifice and selflessness. We also paid tribute to the endurance and wisdom of his son, beloved Imam Zayn al-Abidin (as). A beautiful munajaat (intimate discourse) of his was offered, as were the following excerpted sayings of his. In the coming days, and as God allows, I hope to share my reactions to each of this profound aphorisms.

May the way be opened. May they be of benefit.

Excerpted Sayings of Imam Zayn al-Abidin

  1. If you are content with what is difficult for you of Allah’s decree, you are in the highest station of certainty.
  2. The world is insignificant if you value your own soul.
  3. Do you know when you are in the gravest of danger? It is when you don’t see the world as a danger to your soul.
  4. If you receive with humility what has been apportioned to you by Allah, you will be among the wealthiest of people.
  5. Be conscious of lying, whether small or great, in every serious and trivial situation, for if you lie about small matters, you will find the audacity to lie about great matters.
  6. All goodness is in the care for your soul.
  7. O my son, stay away from five types. Never befriend a liar for they are like a mirage, making what is far appear near and what is near appear far. Never befriend one who is corrupt for they will sell you out for a mere morsel. Never befriend the miserly for they will abandon you at the time of your greatest need. Never befriend a fool, for they will try to benefit you but will cause you harm. Never befriend one who severs the ties of the womb for they are cursed in Allah’s book.
  8. Gnosis and completeness of your faith is in staying away from what does not concern you, and in not doing things in order to be seen, and in your gentle forbearance, and in your patience, and in the beautification of your character.
  9. If you take five things from me their blessing would appear in you and there is nothing like them. Fear nothing but your sins, seek nothing but your Rabb, do not be ashamed to learn if you do not know, and be patient for patience is to faith as the head is to the body, for there is no faith for one that has no patience.
  10. Beware! So many have been conceited by the good things said about them, so many have been deluded by the covering of their faults, and so many have been misled by the goodness they receive.
  11. If you have these three characteristics then you are in Allah’s protective care, secure in the shade of His Throne on the Day of Rising, and safe from the turmoil of the Great Day. That you give to people of yourself what you ask of them for yourself. That you not take any action without knowing whether it is done in obedience or defiance of Allah. That you not criticize someone for any fault until you remove this fault from yourself. Remember, it is sufficient to be preoccupied by your faults rather than the faults of people.
  12. Do what is good to everyone who asks of you. If they are worthy of it, you have correctly bestowed it, and if they are unworthy of it, you are worthy of it. And if a person insults you on the one hand, and then turns around and apologizes to you on the other hand, accept their apology and pardon them.
  13. There are those who worship Allah out of fear, this is the worship of the slaves. There are those who worship Him out of desire for reward, this is the worship of merchants. There are those who worship Him out of gratitude, and this is the worship of the free.
  14. I wonder at the arrogant, proud one who yesterday was just a sperm and tomorrow will be a corpse. I wonder at the one who doubts Allah while seeing the wonders of His creation. I wonder at one who doubts the other emergence (resurrection) while seeing their first emergence. And I wonder at the one that works for the perishing abode and neglects the eternal abode.

Ask olsun!

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