Throughout the history of humankind, strong women have always been a source of inspiration and growth. Women who, alongside men, brought significant changes to the world, making it a better place to live and to prosper. One of the most prominent and praised women in the history of Islam is Lady Khadija (AS), Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) wife and companion, who had a vital role in the spread of Islam. She was one of those women whose influence and exceptional characteristics still resonates throughout the ages and among many generations after her.
In what follows, we will look at the life of Lady Khadija (AS), this distinguished personality.
Known as Khadīja al-Kubrā (AS) and Umm al-Mu' minīn (the Mother of Believers), Lady Khadija (AS) was born fifteen years before Am Al-Fil [i]. Therefore, her birth date is approximately 555 A.D. Her father, a famous figure in the Quraysh tribe in Mecca, was Khuwaylid b. Asad b. Abd al-Uzza b. Qusayy  and her mother was Fatima bt. Za'ida . According to some sources, Lady Khadija (AS) had a distant relation in lineage with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and their roots went back to the same ancestors .
The available information concerning Lady Khadija (AS) before marrying Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) is limited and scarce. Nevertheless, she was known to be a wealthy merchant who employed others to work for her and benefited from a part of the profit . Due to her ancestral nobility, she was of high social status and respected among her people. As Ibn Sayyid al-Nas said: "She was an honorable and wise lady, and God granted her with His blessing." 
According to some sources, before meeting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in person and starting a business relation with him, Lady Khadija (AS) had heard about his trustworthiness and honesty. Therefore, she asked Muhammad (PBUH&HP) to join her and help her in expanding her business .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) went at least five business trips for Lady Khadija (AS), the most important of which that led to their marriage was the business trip to Sham. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) went back from this trip with the good news of their financial success and profit, which impressed Lady Khadija (AS) and made her decide to choose him as the head of one of the greatest caravans traveling to Sham. The result of these trips and Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) impressive actions, was Lady Khadija's (AS) fondness toward this honest man . After that, she proposed marriage to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) .
Despite the disputes over Lady Khadija's (AS) marriage before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), which claim her to be a widow, many authentic sources believe that Lady Khadija (AS) did not marry anyone before the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and it was her first marriage . This is also proved by looking at the cultural and intellectual status of Lady Khadija (AS) in Hijaz, which made it improbable for her to marry anyone from lower-status tribes .
While receiving many proposals for marriage from the heads of Quraysh, offering her vast amounts of money and wealth, she refused all and instead fell in love with the honesty and righteousness of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). The news of this proposal shocked Lady Khadija's (AS) family and relatives, who couldn't believe her to be willing to marry a man with lower financial status and younger than herself .
The proposal and marriage ceremony of these two significant figures, who made an example of their marriage to the generations that followed them, was held two months after the business trip to Sham, which was mentioned above . According to many sources, at the time of their marriage, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was twenty-five, and Lady Khadija (AS), forty years old . After their marriage, she dedicated all her wealth to her husband and left the management of her business to him. Lady Khadija (AS) was the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and during her life, he did not marry another woman.
There seems to be disagreement in the number of Lady Khadija (AS) and Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) children. The number ranges from six to eight, among which they include two sons and four daughters . Some historians believe that Lady Fatima (AS) was the only daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Khadija (AS) and the other daughters were their adopted children .
After receiving the call to prophethood in the Hira cave, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) first told Khadija (AS) and Imam Ali (AS) about his prophetic mission. She totally trusted her husband to be an honest man and believed in his great cause; therefore, she was the first woman who accepted Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) invitation to Islam and became a devout Muslim. Imam Ali (AS) and Lady Khadija (AS) were also the first ones who performed prayer (Salat) alongside Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in the mosque .
As a wife, Lady Khadija (AS) always supported Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in fulfilling his extraordinarily challenging and demanding mission of guiding people toward the path of Allah. At the times when people hurt the Prophet (PBUH&HP) with their offenses and unfair accusations, Khadija (AS) was there to soothe him, wipe his sadness away and give him hope to endure the hardships of this holy mission. She also financially supported Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) when they were suffering from unfair economic sanctions in the Shaib al-Abi Talib . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) always appreciated Lady Khadija's (AS) unbounded help and support and said: "No money was profitable for me the way the wealth of Khadija (a) was." 
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) always loved and praised Lady Khadija (AS) for her great and exemplary personality. He used to consider her among the four praised women of all time, including Asiya [ii], Mary, and Lady Fatima (AS) . She was not only a prominent and influential figure of her own time but also set an example for the generations that followed her. Her power in merchandise and business at one point, her courage, and insight in choosing a perfect husband by herself and her devotion to her married life at another, made her an ideal role model for the women all around the world.
As it was mentioned above, Lady Khadija (AS) was a well-known woman before her marriage to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). She was famous for her knowledge and sagacity, which manifested in her thriving business, whose fame reached all over the Hijaz. Despite the patriarchal society of her time, she had managed to establish herself as a powerful businesswoman who won the respect of great heads of the tribes and men who considered women inferior to themselves .
While having an active and productive role in society, Lady Khadija (AS) always preserved her modesty and presented a modest manner in her interactions with men. Doing so, rather than being praised for her physical beauty, she was honored and respected for her insight and chastity, which encouraged many of the powerful men of her time to ask her hand in marriage. Yet, since she was more interested in finding an honest and virtuous man to marry, rather than a merely wealthy man, she refused all her suitors. Finally, she found these features in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and chose him as her perfect match.
When she made a vow of marriage to the honest Muhammad (PBUH&HP), she knew that her life with this man would be different. When Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) mission began, she realized how much he was under pressure and needed her companionship and support. People didn't believe in him, didn't listen to him, and refused to be guided through the words of Allah, especially in the first years of his invitation to Islam. Yet, at home, he had someone who was always by his side, wipe his sadness away, and had faith in his call. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) never loved any woman as Lady Khadija (AS), and never forgot about her love and sacrifices, always remembering her as a unique and precious person in his life .
Lady Khadija (AS), this honorable woman, passed away in the month of Ramadan ten years after Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) call to prophethood in 619 A.D. She was 65 years old at the time of her demise , . She was buried by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in al-Ma'lat Cemetery, on the slopes of Mount Al-Hajun in Mecca. This sorrow was shortly followed by the demise of Abu-Talib, Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) uncle. These tragic incidents afflicted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) with deep grief to the extent that he named that year as "the year of sorrow and pain (Am al-Huzn) .
[i] Literally meaning the year of the Elephant, it is the year in which Abraha, the king of Yemen, started a huge military expedition toward Mecca to destroy Ka'ba. As he had an army with war elephants, the year turned to be known as the year of the Elephant.
[ii] Pharaoh's wife at the time of Prophet Moses (PBUH)
- Ibn Athīr al-Jazarī, ʿAlī b. Muḥammad. Usd al-ghāba fī maʿrifat al-ṣaḥāba. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1409 AH. Vol.6, p.87.
- Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Yūsuf b. Abd Allah. Al-Istīʿāb fī maʿrifat al-aṣḥāb. Edited by ʿAlī Muḥammad al-Bajāwī.
- Abu l-Faraj al-Isfahani, Maqatil al-talibiyyin, p.29.
- Ibn Kathīr al-Dimashqī, Ismāʿīl b. ʿUmar. Al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1407AH-1986. Vol. 2, p. 293.
- Ibn Sayyid al-Nās, Abū l-Fatḥ Muḥammad. ʿUyūn al-athar fī funūn al-maghāzī wa l-shamāʾil wa l-sayr.
- Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham, Sirat Ibn Hisham, Edited by Mustafa Saqa. Beirut: Dar Ahya al-Tarath al-Arabi, vol.1, pp.187-188.
- ibid, vol.1, pp.199-200.
- Ibn Sayyid al-Nās, Abū l-Fatḥ Muḥammad. ʿUyūn al-athar fī funūn al-maghāzī wa l-shamāʾil wa l-sayr. Vol.1, p.63.
- Ibn Shahrāshūb, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī. Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib. Qom: ʿAllāma, 1379 AH. Vol. 1, p. 159.
- ʿĀmilī, Jaʿfar Murtaḍā al-. Al-Ṣaḥīḥ min sīrat al-Nabīyy l-aʿẓam. Beirut: Dār al-Hādī, 1415 Ah. Vol. 2, p. 123.
- Abd al-Malik Ibn Hisham, Sirat Ibn Hisham, vol.1, p. 189.
- Maqrizi, Ahmad Ibn Ali, Imta al-Asma, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, 1999. Vol.1, p.17.
- Muhammad Ibn Sa'ad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kabir (The Book of the Major Classes), vol.8, p.17.
- Ziriklī, Khayr al-dīn al-. Al-Aʿlām Qāmūs trājm l-ashhar al-rijal wa l-nisāʾ min al-ʿArab wa l-mustaʿribīn wa l-mustashriqīn.
- ʿĀmilī, al-Ṣaḥīḥ min sīrat al-Nabī, vol. 2, p. 207-220.
- Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 3, p. 1089.
- Shaykh Tabarsi, I'lam al-Wara bi A'lam al-Huda, vol.1, p.125.
- Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār al-jāmiʿa li-durar akhbār al-aʾimmat al-aṭhār.
- Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 2, p. 129.
- Abu l-Hasan 'Ali b. Muhammad Julabi, Manaqib al-Imam Ali b. Abi Talib, vol.2, p.422.
- Sayyid Ali b. Tawus al-Husayni al-Hilli, Al-Tara'if fi ma'rifat madhahib al-tawa'if, vol.1, p.291.
- Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 4, p. 1817.
- Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-. Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī. Edited by Muḥammad Ibrāhim.
- Maqrizī, Imtāʿ al-asmāʾ, vol. 1, p. 45.
Going through the history of the world, one can realize that women have always played significant roles in society. When men and women accompany each other, and each party plays its own role to the fullest, miracles start to appear. And as we are going to discuss the role of women, it is good to recollect that the patience of a woman in nurturing a child is no different from her patience and tolerance in nurturing and training her husband and her whole family. That is why when a mother is taken away from a family, putting it again together as a healthy family is a hard job.
When Allah wants to give examples of good and bad role models for non-believers and believers in the Quran, he mentions four women:
“Allah cites an example of the faithless: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of our righteous servants, yet they betrayed them. So they did not avail them in any way against Allah … Allah cites an example of the faithful: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, ‘My Lord! Build me a home near You in paradise, and deliver me from Pharaoh and his conduct, and deliver me from the wrongdoing lot.’ And Mary, daughter of Imran, who guarded the chastity of her womb, so We breathed into it of Our spirit. She confirmed the words of her Lord and His Books, and she was one of the obedient.” (66: 10-12) [i]
Now that we have discussed the central role of women in many significant events, we would like to study the role of women in the important event of Karbala, in about 1400 years ago.
When we discuss the role of women as mothers, sisters, wives, or daughters, we never mean to neglect the vital status of women as individuals. Of course, a woman should have a strong, self-built character as an individual to be able to influence and train others and manage different situations.
The fact that faithful women's names who were present while, before and after the event of Karbala have remained in history is due to their characters. They were strong to some point before the day of Ashura and represented their strength and beauty within the hard situations of the day of Ashura and after that.
To be able to represent such an astonishing character, a woman needs to have developed her character in the following dimensions: individual, spiritual, social, political and cultural, while having a high status of knowledge and wisdom at the same time. This type of woman is of the kind who can observe the event of Karbala and see it a blessing from Allah. The famous few words of Lady Zainab (AS) after witnessing all the cruelty and brutality of the enemies of her brother shows it very well: “I did not see anything but beauty.” 
When women read about the character of those women who were present in the day Ashura with Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions or women whose names have remained in history for their well-being, they may think that those women were extraordinary and not every woman can be like them. But reading the history and commemorating the events of Karbala is to show us that we can all become astonishing characters, only if we follow the orders of Allah, the Prophet (PBUH & HP) and his household.
An example of those ordinary women whose name has remained in history is Habib Ib Mazahir’s wife. What made her special was the right choice she made based on the teachings of her religion and obeying the commands of her Imam; Imam Hussein (AS). Thus, when her husband tested her by saying that he was not going to join the army of Imam Hussein (AS) as he was an old man, she blamed him and reminded him of the status of the Imam based on what she had learned from the Quran and narrations. 
Therefore, all women who read and obey the rulings and advice of the Quran can reach the highest levels of faith and spirituality.
The vital role of mothers in the event of Karbala is to be studied many years before the incident occurred. That is when the soldiers of Imam Hussein (AS) were just born and were being nurtured and trained by their mothers to become great servants of Allah and to recognize the truth from the wrong in a critical situation.
The first one of them was Lady Fatimah (AS), Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) daughter, who brought up her children in a way to be the greatest leaders of all times.
The second Fatimah that should be mentioned here is Fatimah bint Hizam. She was a knowledgeable and pious woman and a few years after the martyrdom of Lady Fatimah (AS) Imam Ali (AS) married her. She gave birth to four sons, and therefore she was called Ummul-Banin (Mother of Sons). His eldest son was Abbas ibn Ali (AS); the commander of Imam Hussein (AS) forces. All her four sons were martyred while defending Imam Hussein (AS); the Imam of their time. 
The role of those mothers who were present in Karbala and encouraged their sons to fight and defend their Imam should not be neglected. Lady Zainab and Umm-e Wahab are among the most significant ones.
Also, the behavior of Lady Robab, who lost her six months old baby and never mentioned it before her Imam and husband can be an excellent lesson for all the women in the world.
One of the most significant moments when women nag their men is when they feel insecure for any worldly reasons. It is less probable for women to complain to their men when they find them spiritually at risk. In such situations, the faithful woman would find ways of preparing her husband for growth and spiritual improvement where nagging won’t work. But if men put the worldly belongings of a woman at risk, the woman would usually fight against him.
However, in Karbala, Imam Hussein (AS) and his followers gave everything in the way of Allah, including their life. But those specific women who were with them, not only encouraged them to do so, but also supported them and promised to follow their true path after them.
One of these outstanding women was Wahab’s mother; Umm Wahab. Wahab was a Christian and was traveling with his mother and his newlywed. They met Imam Hussein (AS) on the way and were informed of what was going on to the household of the Prophet (PBUH&HP). So Umm Wahab tells him that she will not be satisfied with him until he joins and defends Imam Hussein (AS). Wahab joined Imam’s army and fought until he was martyred. When he was laid in the middle of the battlefield, his mother sat at his body, cleaning blood and dust off his face, where the enemy attacked her, and she was also martyred in the way of Allah. 
Such women can be great role models for all women in the world to support their husbands if they find them on the right path or even to guide them to the right path.
In the event of Karbala Lady Zainab (AS) was present as a sister and a mother, while for some specific reasons, she was not accompanied by her husband [ii]. Imam Hussein’s (AS) daughters were also present in Karbala.
The leading roles that they played in the event of Karbala were to encourage and support men to defend their leader, to take care of the sick and the wounded ones, to stay together and take care of women and children.
When they were captured and were being taken from city to city, the women were careful not to let children take any charity from people, as charity is forbidden for the household of the Prophet (PBUH&HP). They also kept reporting the true events that went on in Karbala, and before and after that, to increase the awareness of people about the truth. 
When they returned home, they narrated the event of Karbala to the next generations, by giving speeches, saying poems, and mentioning the events wherever they could.
Commemorating the aims of Imam Hussein (AS) in confronting the corrupt rulers of his time was a tradition that started by faithful women of his time, and should be continued to help us realize the true path from the wrong path.
[i]The above verses show that in the same way that women can help developing the spirituality of the individuals, the family, and society they can also lead them towards decadence and corruption
[ii] Search history for “Why lady Zainab’s husband was not present in Karbala?”
At times of hardships over which we have no power, sometimes we find no remedy other than turning our face toward our Creator, the One who is aware of the manifest and the hidden. For sure, not everyone is able to endure difficulties and keep his/her faith; we might break easily and lose our hopes. However, those whose heart is dedicated to a Higher power and trust in His will find peace and hope in every difficult moment of their lives. Imam Sajjad (AS) is the perfect example of such people. His sincere worship to Allah at times when he was most distressed and under pressure, not only gave him the strength to deal with the problems but also left a legacy for generations after him to learn how to survive through putting trust in Allah.
In what follows, we will learn more about the life of this significant Muslim figure and a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP).
Ali ibn al-Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS), known as Imam Sajjad (AS) and Imam Zayn al-Abidin (AS), is the son of Imam Hussain (AS) and Shahrbanu, the daughter of Yazdgerd, king of Persia . He is the fourth Imam of Shias. He was born on January 6, 659 A.D in Medina. He had many children, the most famous among whom was Muhammad al-Baqir (AS), the fifth Imam of Shias.
After being invited by Kufa people to help them rise against their tyrant ruler, Imam Hussain (AS) and his family, including Imam Sajjad (AS), set on a journey from Mecca toward Kufa, today's Iraq. On their way, Imam Sajjad (AS) was inflicted with high fever and became severely ill. His illness became even worse on the day of the battle of Karbala, to which Imam Hussain (AS) was forced, and couldn't even stand on his feet.
However, he constantly got the news of the events on the battlefield from his aunt, Lady Zaynab (AS), and others. When all of Imam Hussain's (AS) companion got martyred, he tried to guide Yazid's army one last time and called out: "Is there anyone who would defend Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) progeny? Is there anyone who would worship the one and only Allah, who would fear Him and be on our side? And is there anyone who would help us for the sake of Allah?" On hearing this touching words of his father, Imam Sajjad (AS) got up from his sickbed with all his remaining strength, hold out to his walking stick, and started for the battlefield to help his father despite his severe condition. However, when Imam Hussain (AS) saw him, urged Lady Zainab (AS) to take him back to the tents so that he wouldn't get martyred like others and preserve the legacy of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) progeny.
After Imam Hussain's (AS) martyrdom, Imam Sajjad (AS) along with lady Zaynab (AS) and other children and women from Imam Hussain's (AS) camp were treated utterly disrespectfully by Yazid's army and taken as captives. It's been said that since Imam Sajjad (AS) was ill and unable to sit on the camel, he was tied to it while in the chain. They were then transferred to Kufa.
When they reached Kufa, to belittle them more, Yazid's soldier took them right in the middle of the town and in front of people to witness their pitiful condition. However, Imam Sajjad (AS), despite his bodily weakness, found it the best chance to talk to people and inform them of what had befallen on them. He then stood in front of people and invited them to silence. First, he praised Allah and His Prophet (PBUH&HP). And then gave this moving speech:
"O' people! For the ones who don't know me, I should say that I am Ali, son of Hussain (AS), who was martyred beside the Euphrates, without being guilty of any crime from which he would be taken revenge, I am the son of the one who has been dishonored, whose property has been plundered and whose wife and children were taken as captives, I am the son of the one who has been killed painfully, yet we are honored and proud. O' people! Do you remember the letters you have sent to my father and deceived him, then took an oath of allegiance with him, yet went into war with him and left him alone? Woe to you! What have you stored [for your afterlife]! How would you face Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) when he enquires: "Did you kill my progeny and dishonor me? Aren't you my Ummah (followers)?" 
People were ashamed and wanted to make promises to Imam Sajjad (AS), yet he didn't accept their oaths. Then, they were taken to Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad's [i] palace. He first meant to kill Imam Sajjad (AS); however, with lady Zainab's (AS) strives, he changed his mind. After some days, by order of Ibn Ziyad, they were transferred to Damascus. They had a tough time in this city and were kept in the ruins of Damascus. Once, they attended Yazid's palace, where Imam Sajjad (AS) gave another persuasive speech in defense of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) progeny. He introduced himself, his father, and his grandfather to people and told the people of Damascus that what Yazid and his agents have propagated are not valid. His father was not a rebel and did not want to disturb the Muslim community and make mischief in Islamic lands. He rose for truth and by invitation of Muslims to remove heresies brought up in religion and bring the simplicity and purity it had at the time of his grandfather. This speech proved the rightfulness of Imam Hussain (AS) and his movement at the face of Yazid's corrupt rule .
The leadership of Imam al-Sajjad (AS) began after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS) on the day of Ashura and lasted for 34 or 35 years. During this time, the Islamic society, as the result of the corrupt governing system, was full of injustices and went totally against the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP).
Being fully aware of the dire social and political conditions of the society, Imam Sajjad (AS) knew very well that he couldn't overtly invite people toward truthfulness and rise against the false strategies of the ruling government. Therefore, he chose to follow a wise and discreet policy in fighting against the oppression in society. Also, he meant to preserve the invaluable legacy left to him by his fathers and pass it safely to the following generations.
To this purpose, he made perfect use of indirect ways of teaching people and informing them of the vices which prevailed in the society. Praying was one of these strategies. Through his famous prayers to which we have access in Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, he not only taught people about how to connect with Allah and trust Him in helping them to overcome their problems but also posed his opposition against the present situation.
Moreover, despite severe pressures of the government of the time, Imam Sajjad (AS) managed to train some Islamic scholars to whom he transferred the knowledge he inherited from his fathers and the words and deeds of his great grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his true teachings.
As his name suggests, Imam Sajjad (AS) was one of the most ardent worshippers of Allah after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). He used to pray thousands of Rak'as of Salat in a matter of a day, which made him prostrate very much; thus, he is called Sajjad, meaning the person who prostrates much . His prayers and supplications recorded in Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya were sincere and straightforward, which made them even more touching and impressive. Through these prayers, he revealed the perfect manner of calling out to Allah and finding our way to Him in every breath and whatever difficulty we are dealing with. Also, he used his prayers to covertly show his opposition against the tyrants of his time and make people aware of the situation.
Imam Sajjad (AS) following his father, Imam Hussain (AS), grandfather, Imam Ali (AS), and great grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), was fully observant of his manner toward people and treated them with his unbound compassion and generosity. Many accounts narrate this singular attitude of Imam Sajjad (AS) in his social and personal life.
For instance, once he was riding on his horse when he saw a group of lepers who were eating breakfast. When they saw Imam Sajjad (AS), they invited him to join them. Imam Sajjad (AS) said: "I would be glad to eat with you if I weren't fasting." As soon as he reached his house, he ordered his servants to cook some good food of the best things they had. Then he invited all those lepers to his house and joined them to eat dinner together .
In another account, it's been said that he used to fast during the day and cooked food himself while fasting. Then he would divide all the food among people and break his fast with some bread and dates .
His forgiving and humble character is recounted in many narrations, which reveals him to be the best role model for all humankind. In one instance, one of Imam Sajjad's (AS) adversaries insulted and cursed Imam in front of other people. Imam's servants came to punish the one who offended him, yet Imam ordered them to leave him alone, saying, "there is something more behind his manner toward us." Then he addressed the man and said, "Is there anything you need?" the man felt ashamed and didn't answer. Imam gave his own clothes to him and ordered to provide him with a hundred Dirhams. The man feeling regretful called out, "I witness that you are the son of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)." The same thing happened again with one of Imam Sajjad's (AS) relatives who met Imam and insulted him. Imam (AS) didn't answer him at the time. Then he went to his relative's house and while the man was expecting to get an angry response from Imam (AS), heard him saying, "My dear brother, a few minutes ago you stood in front of me and told whatever you wanted. Now, if what you said about me is true, then I seek pardon from Allah and ask for His forgiveness, and if what you said is not true about me, then I pray for you to be forgiven by Allah." The man became utterly ashamed and expressed his regret for accusing Imam Sajjad (AS) falsely .
He was also very famous for his secret charities to the people in need, many of whom found out about this unknown helper just after his martyrdom. He used to put a bag full of bread on his back and carry it to give out to the poor at night. It is narrated that he would gather whatever food remained in his own house, covered his face, and gave them all to the destitute of Medina .
Imam Sajjad (AS) was one of the most knowledgeable and learned personalities of his time. Muhammad ibn Muslim al-Zuhri, one of the Islamic scholars, said about him, "I found no Hashemite [ii] greater or more knowledgeable than him in fiqh [iii]." He was an expert in all the matters of his time and had access to the sciences, which wasn't available to the majority of people.
The legacy of Imam Sajjad (AS) had preserved through the centuries by the books compiled by the Islamic scholars from his supplications and prayers. The two most well-known of these books are Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya and Risalat al-huquq (Treatise on Rights).
Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya is the collection of Imam Sajjad's (AS) supplications, which also reflects the social status at that time, especially in Medina. The supplications present "his aversion to bad behaviors and speech of people at that time, taking refuge to God from what he saw and heard and clarifying the right path under the guidance of religion and the Quran and purification of souls from pollutions". This book has been translated into several languages.
Risalat al-huquq is the title of a lengthy narration from Imam Sajjad (AS) compiled as a book. "This narration, which contains over 50 duties of any individual toward others, is, in fact, a treatise on moral conduct in both personal and social life. The rights discussed in this treatise address various social relations of any individual, like the duties toward parents, spouse, children, neighbors, teachers, students, believers, the leader of Congregational Prayer, the government, etc. Because of the particular position and the comprehensive content, several translations and commentaries have been written on this treatise" .
Imam Sajjad (AS) was martyred in 713 or 714 A.D. with a poison given by order of al-Walid b. 'Abd al-Malik . He (AS) was buried in al-Baqi cemetery in Medina beside his uncle, Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (AS) .
Finally, looking at the fruitful life of Imam Sajjad (AS), one can find the perfect path toward pure humanity. The path offered to us by Allah, which, despite having its own challenges, leads us to the fullest and most meaningful experience of this short life. The leaders are our guiding lights that shine through the darkness of our confusions and fluctuations, show us the way to prosperity, and grant us the opportunity to find Allah in every moment of our lives.
[i] The famous Umayyad commander, the governor of Kufa at the time of the Tragedy of 'Ashura and one of the key persons in the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a) and his companions.
[ii] A famous clan in Medina from which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his progeny are descended.
[iii] An Islamic science through which practical laws and religious duties of a person in his life are studied.
- Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida, vol. 2 p. 128.
- imam Sajjad (AS)
- Shadidi, Sayyid Ja'far. Zindigani 'Ali b. al-Husayn. p.75.
- Dhahabi, Muhammad b. Ahmad al-. Al-'Ibar fi khabar, vol. 1, p. 83.
- Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, Kitab al-Kafi, vol.2, p.123.
- Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi, Al-Mahasin, vol.2, p.396.
- Ibn Shahr Ashub, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol.3, p.296.
- Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, vol.2, p.145.
- Ibn Shahr Ashub, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol.3, p.292-3.
- Dhahabi, Muhammad al-. Tadhkirat l-huffaz, vol. 1, p.75.
- imam Sajjad
- Mas'udi, 'Ali b. Husayn al-. Muruj al-dhahab wa ma'adin al-jawhar, vol. 3, p. 160.
- Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, vol.3, p.160.