O Lord! Extend my life for as long as it is spent in obeying You…”

(Sahifah Sajjadiah, Supplication 20, Part of Phrase 5)

The blessed life of Imam Sajjad (PBUH) exhibited spectacular examples of obeying Allah (SWT). He demonstrated a valuable manifestation of the aforementioned phrase of Sahifah Sajjadiah through helping the poor, compiling precious collections of supplications, and performing continuous acts of worship. Nevertheless, one of the beauties of the life of Imam Sajjad (PBUH) was his persistent lamentation and mourning over the tragedies of his respected father, Imam Hussain (PBUH).  

One of the servants of Imam Sajjad (PBUH) has narrated that,

“One day, Imam Sajjad (PBUH) went to the desert. I followed him and watched him while I was hiding. He put his head on a hard stone, started crying, and repeated a statement one thousand times. After that, he raised his head while his face and beard were covered with his tears. There, I approached him and said, ’O my master! Is it not time for your grief and lamentation to come to an end?”

Imam Sajjad (PBUH) replied,

“Woe on to you! Prophet Jacob (PBUH) had twelve sons; however, when Allah (SWT) took away one of them, grief overtook him so much that his hair was whitened, his back was bent, and he lost his vision due to excessive crying, even though his son was actually alive. But I witnessed with my own eyes how my father, my brother, and seventeen of my family members were killed. So how do you expect my sadness to be relieved or my lamentation to be over?”

The abundant grief and endless lamentation of Imam Sajjad (PBUH) is not just a sign of a son’s love towards his father; rather, it is based on the special knowledge and recognition he has of the status and position of a person such as Imam Hussain (PBUH).

Nonetheless, the eagerness for participating in the gatherings of mourning over Imam Hussain (PBUH) may result in a spiritual richness, in a sense that one would feel he/she is needless of endeavoring in the other acts of worship emphasized by the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT). Thus, it is important to recognize how Imam Sajjad (PBUH) mourned over his father, as described by Imam Sadiq (PBUH),

 “Zain al-Aabedin (PBUH) (Imam Sajjad (PBUH)) used to cry over his father for his entire life after the incident of Ashura. During this period, he used to fast in the days and worship at nights. When it was time to break his fast and he was offered food and water, he used to say, ‘The grandson of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) was martyred while he was hungry and thirsty’, and he used to repeat this statement and cry continuously. He used to be like this until the day he passed away”.

As the founder and main establisher of mourning over Imam Hussain (PBUH), Imam Sajjad (PBUH) used to attend mourning over the tragedies of his father along with other acts of worship, such as fasting and nightly prayers. Considering this sample Imam Sajjad (PBUH) has put forward for the lovers of the martyr of Karbala (Imam Hussain (PBUH)), can one suffice to mourning over Imam Hussain (PBUH) and ignore the tradition of Imam Sajjad (PBUH) in obeying and worshipping Allah (SWT)?!

(The above is a selection taken from “Al-Luhuf ala Ghatla al-Tofoof (Tragedies of the martyrs of Karbala)”(1), by Great Scholar Sayyid ibn Tawus (with some changes and additions))


1. The reference used for this article is the Persian translation of this book by Farajullah Ilahi

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