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Zayn al-'Abidin

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Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn (Arabic: زين العابدين, literally: the adornment of worshipers) is one of the best-known titles of 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a), the fourth Shiite Imam.

Imam al-Sajjad (a) was known as “Zayn al-'Abidin” because he was greatly ascetic and worshiped God most of the time.[1] Malik b. Anas, a Sunni jurist and muhaddith, was quoted as saying that Imam al-Sajjad (a) performed 1000 rak'as of prayers every day, and because of his worships he came to be known as “Zayn al-'Abidin.”[2] Moreover, in some sources of hadiths, he is referred to as “Sayyid al-'Abidin” (master of worshipers).[3] Allegedly, there is no one throughout the history of Islam who is known as “Zayn al-'Abidin” except 'Ali b. al-Husayn.[4]

According to a hadith cited in 'Ilal al-shara'i', Imam al-Sajjad (a) had this title since the 2nd/8th century.[5] Ibn Shahab al-Zuhri, a Sunni jurist and muhaddith, referred to 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a) as Zayn al-'Abidin when he transmitted hadiths from him. Sufyan b. 'Uyayna (b. 107/725-6 – d. 198/813-4) asked him why he referred to 'Ali b. al-Husayn (a) as Zayn al-'Abidin and he answered by reference to a hadith from the Prophet (s) according to which “when the caller in the day of resurrection shouts ‘where is Zayn al-'Abidin (the adornment of worshipers)’ it is as if I see my son, 'Ali b. al-Husayn, who takes steps between lines.”[6]

There is a story in Kashf al-ghumma, without any chains of transmitters, about how the Fourth Imam (a) acquired the title, “Zayn al-'Abidin.” According to this story, one night he stayed vigilant to perform his worships when he heard a call that was repeated three times: “you are the adornment of worshipers.” Since then, he came to be known by people as “Zayn al-'Abidin.”[7]

See Also

Notes

  1. Qarashī, Ḥayāt al-Imām Zayn al-ʿAbidīn, vol. 1, p. 145-146.
  2. Dhahabī, al-ʿIbar fī khabar man ghabar, vol. 1, p. 83.
  3. Ṣadūq, ʿIlal al-sharāʾiʿ, vol. 1, p. 132.
  4. Qarashī, Ḥayāt al-Imām Zayn al-ʿAbidīn, vol. 1, p. 187.
  5. Ṣadūq, ʿIlal al-sharāʾiʿ, vol. 1, p. 229-230.
  6. Ṣadūq, ʿIlal al-sharāʾiʿ, vol. 1, p. 229-230.
  7. Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma fī maʿrifat al-aʾimma, vol. 2, p. 619.

References

  • Dhahabī, Muḥammad b. al-Aḥmad al-. Al-ʿIbar fī khabar man ghabar. Edited by Muḥammad Saʿīd b. Basioūnī Zaghlūl.
  • Irbilī, ʿAlī b. ʿĪsā al-. Kashf al-ghumma fī maʿrifat al-aʾimma. Qom: Raḍī, 1421 AH.
  • Qarashī, Bāqir Sharīf al-. Ḥayāt al-Imām Zayn al-ʿAbidīn. Beirut: Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, 1409 AH.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. ʿIlal al-sharāʾiʿ. Qom: Intishārāt-i Dāwarī, 1385 Sh.