We cannot find anyone better than Imam Husain (A.S)
Once when Muawiyah had come to Medina he requested Imam Husain (a.s) to go on the pulpit and give some admonitions. He thought the Imam would say something in praise of Muawiyah. Thus he went to the pulpit and after praise of Allah and blessings on the Prophet, he said, "People, know that we are that divine group which is going to be victorious over the deviated people. We are the progeny of the Prophet and his closest relatives. We are his purified and clean Ahl ul-Bayt and one of the two weighty things. The Messenger of Allah (S) has referred to us as the second book of Allah; it is the book having details about everything. Neither falsehood is before it or after it. We are the ones who know its interpretation and explanation. Its realities are hidden in our hearts. Our obedience is obligatory. Our obedience is connected to the obedience of Allah. Ask us whatever you want to ask about the Holy Quran. We are the shoreless oceans of sciences."
The sermons and sayings of Imam Husain (a.s) regarding divine sciences quoted in books like Biharul Anwar, Nurul Absar and Irshadul Quloob show eloquence and how beautifully he has solved the problems of religious sciences.
It is related from Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari that Imam Husain (a.s) was an unsurpassed scholar of Quran, exegesis and traditions. When Muawiyah came to Medina in connection with the allegiance of Yazid, many companions of the Holy Prophet (S) went to meet him. The conversation turned to the topic of the most superior personality of the day in knowledge and virtues. Muawiyah wanted them to mention the name of Abdullah Ibne Umar but no one expressed this opinion. All of them unanimously said that, "We cannot find anyone better than Imam Husain (a.s)." And why it shouldn't be so? He was brought up by sucking the Prophet's tongue. His chest is joined to the chest of the Prophet. He rode upon the shoulders of the Messenger of Allah (S).
Worship Of Imam Husain (a.s)
What can be said about the worship of the one who was brought up in the laps of the Messenger of Allah (S) and Imam Ali (a.s), and had benefited from their company. Imam Husain (a.s) was fond of worship since his early childhood. He often used to pray with the Messenger of Allah (S). Hafas bin Ghayas reports that one day the Messenger of Allah (S) stood up to pray and Imam Husain (a.s) also came and stood besides him. When the Messenger of Allah (S) recited the Takbir (Allaho Akbar), Imam Husain (a.s) who was aged five or six at that time also tried to recite it but could not do so properly. The Messenger of Allah (S) repeated the Takbir. But again it didn't come out perfectly from Imam Husain (a.s). Thus the Messenger of Allah (S) had to recite the Takbir seven times altogether. Therefore since that time it became a Sunnat (recommended act) to recite seven Takbirs before Takbiratul Ehram (Allaho Akbar at the beginning of Prayers).
Someone asked Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) why his respected father had so few children. He replied, "The reason is that he used to recite one thousand rakats (units) of prayers every night," Imam Husain (a.s) also performed twenty-five Hajj pilgrimages on foot though his vehicles used to remain with him during the journeys.
He was so much fond of the worship of Allah that on the eve of Ashura he obtained respite with a lot of difficulty from Umar Ibne Saad. Such a difficult night the eve of Ashura was that all the calamities had surrounded the Imam (a.s); even then he was engrossed in prayers and devotions all night long with utmost sincerity, humility and devotion. Only a person like Imam Husain (a.s) could have performed such worship. The most difficult was the time of the noon prayers. The opponents were showering arrows and Imam Husain (a.s) was performing the prayers. More significant was the time of the afternoon (Asr) prayers. A wounded and oppressed creature was surrounded by the enemies who attacked him from all sides while he performed his Asr prayers in gestures. The climax was that they beheaded him while he was in prostration.
Valour Of Imam Husain (a.s)
Like Imam Hasan (a.s), Imam Husain (a.s) also earned accolades for his bravery during the lifetime of Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) in the battles of Jamal, Siffin and Naharwan. The greatest achievement of his in this regard is the battle of Kerbala on the day of Ashura. Hamid Ibne Muslim, a soldier of Yazid's army and the narrator of those events says, "I did not find anyone in the world more valiant than Imam Husain (a.s). Hunger and thirst of three days, the burning sands of Kerbala, the corpses of relatives, friends and children before his eyes, the fear of the dishonor of women, wounds in every inch of the body. None in the world could fight so bravely as Husain did, despite all those things. The first attack mounted by Husain had created turmoil in the Yazidite forces. People were fleeing at his sight like locusts. Imam Husain (a.s) waged many attacks, one after the other. The result was that at very many places piles of corpses laid. His last attack was terrific. The enemy fled in such a terror that the last men of that army entered Kufa. Everywhere there were screams of: Spare us! Spare us! O son of the Messenger of Allah! Seeing their wretched condition the son of the Mercy of the worlds had pity on them and put his sword in its sheath. Now it was time to display gems of patience.
Piety Of Imam Husain (a.s)
Imam Husain (a.s) also spent a simple and austere life like his father and maternal grandfather. He was never fond of expensive clothes or tasty foods. He used to give away all that he received to the poor and destitute. One day received an amount from the public treasury. He kept it before himself waiting for needy people to arrive so that he can distribute it among them. Someone said, "O Son of the Messenger, your cloak is patched at many places, why don't you take some money from this amount and buy a new cloak?" He said, "This is sufficient for me." Very often people sent him gifts and presents, but he gave them all away to the orphans, the widows and poor people.
Generosity Of Imam Husain (a.s)
The generosity of Imam Husain (a.s) is well known. Once Usamah bin Zaid was seriously ill. He went to visit him and when he reached near him, he heard him say, "O! What a great sorrow!" The Imam asked what his problem was. He said that he was in a debt of 60,000 dirhams and now that death was near, the pain of inability of repayment of debt was not less than the pain of death. The Imam said, "Do not worry your debt is my responsibility."
Usamah said, "What if I die before the debt is repaid?" Imam said, "Rest assured, I will repay your loans before you pass away." So the Imam returned to his house, called Usamah's creditors and repaid his loans.
Marwan the Governor of Medina was once very angry at the poet Farazdaq and ordered that he may be exiled therefrom. Being highly disconcerted he came to the Imam Husain (a.s) and said that since he was exiled, he needed 4000 dirhams to settle down wherever he is sent. The Imam gave him the money. Someone said, "Farazdaq is a careless fellow and a poet by profession. Why did you give me such a big amount?" The Imam said, "The best wealth is that by which you protect your honor. My grandfather had shown the same generosity with Ka'ab bin Zubair."
An Arab came to Medina and asked, "Who is the most generous person in the town?" People directed him to Imam Husain (a.s).
He came to the Imam and recited three couplets in his praise. The Imam asked his servant how much of the money of Hijaz remained with him. The servant informed him that 4000 dinars were left. The Imam tied up all that money in a piece of cloth and told the servant to call the poet. When the poet arrived, the Imam handed the money to him from behind the door and in reply to his three couplets, the Imam himself recited three couplets that conveyed the following: Take this and forgive me for this little amount but be assured that I am concerned about your condition.
If the rulership had been in my hands you would have seen how the rain of our generosity rains.
But times keep on changing. At present I do not have much.
Hearing all this, the Arab began to weep. The Imam asked him why he was crying, "Maybe you are unhappy at the paucity of what I gave you?" He said, "It is not so, but I am weeping because such a magnanimous personality has to lie beneath the dust one day."
Abdur Rahman Aslami was a teacher of one of the sons of Imam Husain (a.s). He had taught the child Surah al-Hamd (the first chapter of Quran) by heart. When he brought the child to his father and made him recite the Surah the Imam was very pleased and gave the teacher a thousand dinars, a lot of clothes and had his mouth filled with pearls. Someone asked the Imam the reason of such generosity. My generosity cannot be equal to what he has given to me."
Patience Of Imam Husain (a.s)
If we describe this epitome of patience it would make a whole book. No one had the patience of Imam Husain (a.s). If we leave all the incidents of his life and only consider the tragedy of Kerbala we would see that the patience of the whole world combined couldn't rival it. Prophet Ayyub (a.s) was very patient but his patience in comparison to that of Imam Husain (a.s) was like a drop in the ocean. The mountains of calamities that crashed on him in Kerbala and the hardships that surrounded him are well known to all. But at no time and under no circumstance the lips of Imam Husain (a.s) uttered any complaint. In the time of calamity the sentence he repeated was: We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. Can one in whose every vein of the body the spirit of patience flowed could be disconcerted with the calamities surrounding him? Rather as much the difficulties intensified as much Husain's face brightened. He became as much reliant on Allah. The world accepted that Husain is the Chief of the patient ones. In the matter of patience neither a prophet nor a saint could be his equal. If we did not have regard to brevity we would have written a whole book only on the patience of Imam Husain (a.s).
Humility Of Imam Husain (a.s)
Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari narrates that one day he was going to meet the Imam when on the way he came across a poor man who asked him where he was going. Jabir told him that he was going to Abu Abdillah al-Husain (a.s). The man said, "I am in great poverty, my clothes are tattered and I have no shoes. I cannot dare to go to the Imam in such a condition. You, sir, may please petition the Imam on my behalf." Jabir took him along and they arrived at the Imam's place. When the Imam saw the disheveled condition of the pauper he said, "Come here." The fellow hesitated. The Imam looked at him in concern and again said, "Come here. The poor sit with the poor." The person moved forward and the Imam seated him beside himself and began to ask about his woes with sincere concern. Jabir says, "Before I could utter a single word of petition on his behalf, the Imam bestowed him a dress and also gave him a hundred dirhams. Seeing the generosity, humility and modesty of the Imam I was absolutely charmed."
When the Holy Imam left Medina and reached Mecca, on his way to Kerbala. Abdullah Ibne Zubair came to pay him a visit. When he arrived he found that some poverty-stricken people of Mecca were sitting with the Imam and conversing with him. Abdullah desired that they should leave soon, in order that he may talk to the Imam. However the Imam continued to speak with them affectionately and comfortingly. Abdullah did not like this. When the people went away Abdullah said, "O Son of the Messenger! You allowed those people to remain with you for a long time. You should have given them whatever you wanted to give and bid them farewell immediately." The Imam replied, "Ibne Zubair, the upheavals of the times have made them deprived. The rulers do not pay any attention to them. I though I would hear the woes of these poor people in detail and lighten the burden of their hearts. O Ibne Zubair, I am the grandson of a grandfather who used to sit with the people of Suffah (Homeless destitutes of Medina) after the Morning Prayer and remain with them till mid-morning, inquiring about their well-being."
Harith Ibne Yazid, the slave of Marwan was a staunch enemy of Ahl ul-Bayt. One day he came to Imam (a.s) for something and the Imam behaved with him in a very cordial and humble manner. This affected him so much that after this encounter he never spoke ill about the Holy Imam and gradually he began to have so much regard for the Imam that he resigned from the services of Marwan.
Forbearance Of Imam Husain (a.s)
Imam Husain (a.s) was the epitome of forbearance and magnanimity. Most of the people were astounded at his forbearance. One day a man asked his co-travelers about him, "Who is that wearing the turban of the Prophet, dressed in his clothes and carrying his sword?" They replied, "Do you not recognize him? He is the maternal grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S), Husain Ibne Ali (a.s)." Hearing this, he began to abuse and malign the Imam. The Imam said, "O dear man! If the wind of the deserts has created dryness in your head, stay with us for some days so that we may have you cured. If your wife has troubled you and you have come here after having a fight with her, take some money from me and go and make up with her." The companions of the Imam were surprised at these gentle words. Some of them wanted to revenge that behavior, but the Imam sternly advised against it and said, "We are the mountains of forbearance and nothing can move us." The man was very regretful of his behavior and he begged the Imam's pardon.
Forgiveness Of Imam Husain (a.s)
One day Imam Husain (a.s) was somewhat displeased with Muhammad Hanafiyah. Some of his friends told him that now Imam Husain (a.s) would never come to him. To this he replied that Imam Husain (a.s) was very kind-hearted and he would definitely forgive his mistake. Then he wrote a letter as follows: Respected Brother,
The father of both of us is Ali (a.s). Thus from the aspect of paternity neither you have any precedence nor me. However, you mother is the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S). If all the gold and the silver of the world come into the ownership of my mother, she cannot be compared to your mother. Thus you have a great superiority over me. I desire that you bless me with your visit and increase my honor."
As soon as he read the letter, the Imam arose and came to Muhammad Hanafiyah.
Affection Of Imam Husain (a.s)
After the battle of Naharwan the troops of Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) took Shimr as captive. One day Imam Husain (a.s) passed by the prison and Shimr said, "O son of Allah's Messenger! Take pity on me and request your father to release me. I cannot bear the hardships of this captivity anymore." The Imam at once came to Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) and began to petition him for the release of Shimr. Ali (a.s) became very angry and said, "Son, you don't know who that fellow is. He is you killer. One day, he would slaughter you in a condition of three days' hunger and thirst." Imam Husain (a.s) said, "All this is correct, but I have promised him. Do not let me be embarrassed before him." Amir'ul-Mu'minin (a.s) ordered his release.
When people laid siege to the house of caliph Uthman and prevented rations from him, Imam Ali (a.s) ordered Imams Hasan and Husain (a.s) to carry water skins and some loaves of bread and deliver them to the besieged people. Thus when the young men reached there the people stopped them but with great valour they moved ahead. Someone said, "These people are not deserving of mercy." The Imams (a.s) replied, "May be not in your opinion. But the affection for creatures that Allah has created in our hearts demands that we help them in their difficulty."
The fact is that except for the Ahl ul-Bayt it is not possible for anyone to show affection for people in such circumstances. It was only their kind-heartedness that they dealt with affection with their most staunch enemies.
Hospitality Of Imam Husain (a.s)
Imam Husain (a.s) was also of a very hospitable nature. Whenever a traveler who had lost his way reached Medina he used do to be a guest of Imam Husain (a.s). One day some people were discussing in the Prophet's Mosque about the most hospitable person in Medina. Everyone was expressing his own opinion. Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari also joined the group and the people solicited his opinion. He said, "Right now, there is no one more hospitable than the son of the Messenger, Imam Husain (a.s). I have seen that when a person becomes his guests he serves him so nicely that he forgets his family. If he is in debts, the Imam repays his debts. If he is on foot, the Imam gives him a mount. If he is sick the Imam arranges treatment for him. He goes a long way to bid him adieu and also begs his pardon saying, 'I was not able to do anything for you.'"
Imam Husain’s (a.s) Kindness To Relatives
Imam's Husain's (a.s) kindness towards his relatives does not have an equal. This was the reason that the whole clan was submissive to his commands. And also that is why, they all accompanied him when he departed for Kerbala. Brothers, nephews and all were ready to lay down their lives at his smallest indication. Finally they all sacrificed themselves on the Imam one after the other.
Contentment Of Imam Husain (a.s)
Imam Husain (a.s) was also a very contented person. One day Abu Darda came to him with a bag of dates and said, "Son of Allah's Messenger, these are very high quality dates from my gardens. I have brought them as gift for you. Store them and eat from them for some days. The Imam smiled and asked, "O Abu Darda! When have you seen us storing something? We are content on that which Allah gives us everyday. We never hoard anything." This conversation was going on when some companions of the Holy Prophet (S) arrived to meet the Imam. He distributed all those dates among them saying, "This was a gift to me from Abu Darda that I give to you from myself."
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