The Poet on Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn, al-Sajjad (as)

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Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, went to the Sacred House of Allah to perform the pilgrimage. Meanwhile Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik went there for the same purpose. The latter did his best to touch the Black Stone but he was unable to do that, for the people overcrowded around it. A pulpit was installed and he sat on it. He began looking at the circumambulation of the people. Then Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin came to perform his circumambulation. When the pilgrims saw him, they were astonished at his solemnity that was similar to the solemnity of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. The people were shouting loudly: “There is no god but God! Allah is great!” They made two queues for him. Happy was he who saw him, kissed his hand, and touched his shoulder. That is because the Imam was the rest of Allah in his earth. The Syrians were astonished when they saw that situation. That is because the pilgrims did not received Hisham, who was the nominated caliph after his father, warmly though the Syrians honored him and the policemen surrounded him.

One of Hisham’s companions asked him: “Who is that man whom the people have honored very much?

Hisham burst into anger, shouted at the man, saying: “I do not know him!”

He claimed that he did not know the Imam lest the people should know him. Al-Farazdaq was there. He did not control himself. Thus, he said to the Syrians: “I know him.” “Who is he, Abu Firas?” asked the Syrians. Hisham shouted at al-Farazdaq, saying: “I do not know him!” “Yes, you know him,” replied al-Farazdaq.

Then he rose and composed the following poem whose effect was stronger than the hitting of the swords and the stabbing of the spears against Hisham. He said:

This is the son of Husayn and the son of Fatima the daughter of the Apostle through whom the darkness dispersed.

This is he whose ability the valley (of Mecca) recognizes, and whom the (Sacred) House (as do) the sanctuary and the area outside the sanctuary (al-hill).

This is the son of the best of Allah’s servants. This is the pure pious man, the pure eminent man.

When Quraysh saw him, their spokesman said:

Liberality terminates at the outstanding qualities of this (man).

He belongs to the top of glory which the Arabs of Islam and non-Arabs fall short of obtaining.

When he comes to touch the wall of the Kaaba, it almost grasps the palm of his hand.

He takes care to be modest and he is protected from his terror. He only speaks when he smiles.

There is a cane in his hand. Its smell is fragrant from the hand of the most wonderful (of all the people), who is proud.

The prophets yielded to his grandfather’s favor. The nations yielded to the favor of his community.

The light of guidance emanates from the light of his forehead. He is like the sun whose shining disperses darkness.

His tree belongs to the Apostle of Allah. Its elements, its natures, and its qualities are good.

This is the son of Fatima if you do not recognize him. The prophets of Allah were ended by his grandfather.

Allah honored and favored him from antiquity.

Your words ‘who is this?’ do not harm him. The Arabs and non-Arabs recognize him whom you deny.

Both his hands are relief. Their advantage has prevailed. The hands are equal. Nonexistence does not befall them.

He is the carrier of the burdens of the people when they are oppressed.

His qualities are good. The ‘yes’ is sweet with him.

He does not break the promise. His soul is blessed. His courtyard is wide. He is clever when he decides.

He is from the people whose love is religion, whose hate is unbelief, whose approach is refuge and protection.

If the God-fearing are numbered, they are their Imams. If it is said who are the best of the earth, it is said they are.

No generous man can reach their far purpose. No people, though generous, can compete with them (for generosity).

They are rain when a crisis happens. They are lions when fear becomes intense.

Poverty does not decreases the relief from their hands. That is the same, whether they are rich or poor.

Misfortune and tribulation are driven away through their love.

Kindness and the blessings are regained through it.

In every affair their praise is after the praise of Allah. The speech is ended by it.

Abasement refuses to stop at their space. Their natures are noble, and their hands are full of liberality.

None of mankind has within their souls such primacy as he does nor such grace as he does.

Whoever knows Allah, knows His friend. Religion is from the House of this man.

Hisham burst into anger. He wished that the earth would swallow him up. He was displeased to hear this poem called al-‘Asma’. That is because it indicated the high social rank of the great Imam. Besides it made the Syrians recognize him, for they did not recognize him nor did they recognize his grandfathers. Accordingly, Hisham ordered al-Farazdaq to be imprisoned at a place called ‘Asfan between Mecca and Medina. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin heard of that, so he sent al-Farazdaq twelve thousand dirhams. However, al-Farazdaq returned them. He refused to accept them and said: “I said that concerning you as anger for Allah and His Apostle.” The Imam returned them and al-Farazdaq agreed to accept them. Then al-Farazdaq began dispraising Hisham.


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