The scar of revering piety
Zain al Abideen is son of prophet Mohammed’s (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) grandson Hussain[RA]. His real name was Ali. “Zain al Abideen” [Ornament of the worshipers (of Allah).] was a title conferred to him because of his revering piety and watchfulness. Despite being a rich trader, he was humble and channeled his wealth through the best means to attain eternal success. His specialty was charity done in private.
When the darkness of night prevails and everyone falls asleep, Imam Zain al Abideen(RA) would get up, put some food in a sack and carry it on his shoulders to the houses of the poor, especially those who hesitated to beg. From him, many poors of Medina used to receive food daily. Yet, until he passed away, they never knew who gave them food as he would visit them during nights. It was when the anonymous man never visited them again, that they came to know that their anonymous caretaker was prophet’s (PBUH) grandson! When Zain al Abideen was being given the funeral bath, a thick dark scar was seen on his back. When people asked about it, someone revealed that “It is the scar got from the sacks of flour Imam used to carry to the poor of Medina. With his demise, those poor lost their caretaker, too”.
Influence of ardent piety, thaqwa, was vividly seen in the life of Zain al Abideeen. The force that prompted him to wander through streets in midnight, carrying sacks of food, undoubtedly, was his firm Imaan[faith].
There is an incident from Umar’s(RA) life. In one of the suburbs of Madina there lived a blind old women who had nobody to help. Knowing about her, Umar(RA) visited that house to help her, in disguise, but to his surprise, he found out that someone else had already addressed the needs of that old lady. The next day, he reached there much earlier than the previous day. Surprisingly, somebody had already helped her out with things that day also. Astonished with this incident, Umar (RA) decided to find out who is helping that woman. So, on the third day, he reached that house very early and waited eagerly. Long before the dawn unveils, he saw someone walking towards the house. His face was not clearly seen. As the stranger approached, Umar (RA) got hold of his hand. It was Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) . Thereupon, Umar (RA) responded like this: Abu Bakr, I knew no one can defeat me in this matter, but you. That time, Abu Bakr (RA) was the kalifa of that country![Source: Hadrat Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman, Ali (RA) 4 Vol. Set]
It is a great fortune to be able to enshrine paramount devotedness in the inner folds of personal life. Besides making good fortunes through the acts of worship, invocations and supplications in life, it should also flourish from the prosperity of good deeds.
There are two means through which our leisure moments can be made valuable. First one is self evaluation. Prudent life style is the best method to attain inner purification. Evaluation at lonely moments helps wash away the dirt that has latched on the course of life. The second is good deeds. In lonely moments, when nobody is around to know it or applaud for, our minds can get fully immersed in the thoughts about Allah. This is the feeling we would achieve at the time of Thahajjud (optional night prayer).
Private moments are the best occasion not only for self evaluation, but also for introspection. What strikes our mind when left in seclusion? What is craved and done then? In secluded moments, if our minds crave for evils, it obviously needs a strong guidance. In a Hadhees describing nine Wasiyyas of prophet(PBUH), the first one is “live immaculately both personal life and social life” [Minhaaju Swaaliheen]. Fearfulness and devotion towards the almighty is more likely experienced in personal moments. Make lonely moments significant; with good deeds, salutary sights and beneficial desires! Life of Zain al Abideen(RA), Abu Backr(RA) andUumar ibn Khattab(RA) et.al. reflects the same significance. It is the beauty of their Imaan, which blazed in private moments, scintillate as ceaseless scar on them.
English rendering of article written by Abdul Wadud!