Imam Ali Zain ul AbedeenSA is the first born son of Imam HusainSA and Maulatuna Shere BanuAS. He is the third Imam in the line of succession after Imam HasanSA and Imam HusainSA. The grandson of Ameer ul Mumineen Ali ibne Abi TalibSA and Maulatuna FatemaSA, he is the great-grandson of RasulullahSA and Maulatuna KhadijaSA. The Lord of the lands of the East and West, Imam Ali Zainul AbedeenSA is born of the kings of both Arab and Ajam.
On the day of Aashura, as the battle was drawing to an end, Imam HusainSA, the lord of the martyrs, called onto his son and said, “I place the crown of Imamat on thy head. Deliver the harem of your great grandfather RasulullahSA back to Medina. I entrust them to your care.” And then Imam HusainSA was martyred by the evil hand of Shimar.
After the massacre and the bloodshed, the tents of Imam Husain SA were set ablaze and the royal household, destitute and desolate, was taken captive by the army of Yazeed. Bound and yoked, Imam Ali Zainul AbedeenSA led the camel caravan from Karbala to Shaam across the blistering desert sands, barefoot. If ever a thorn pricked his foot, blood gushed out, and he stopped to remove it, soldiers whipped him and rudely commanded him to move on.
A witness to the evil that transpired on the day of Aashura, Imam Zain ul AbedeenSA found no repose for the remainder of his life. Food and water gave him no consolation. Whenever it was placed before him during meal times, he wept convulsively, so much so that his servant bid him to stop. “Maula! I fear for you. Why do you weep so?” the servant begged one day.
The ImamSA answered, “What can I do? Every time I see food and water, I remember the three day old thirst of my father, the thirst of my six month old brother Ali Asghar before he was struck by the merciless arrow of Hurmala, the thirst of my eighteen year old brother Ali Akbar as he was struck down with a lance through the heart. I remember my uncle Abbas, whose hands they severed.” Imam Ali Zainul AbedeenSA cried in sorrow for forty years.
The grandson of Ali ibne Abi TalibSA, the Victor of Islam, Imam Zain ul AbedeenSA was not to be kept away from the battlefield on the day of Ashura. He was in bed with fever, nonetheless he picked up his sword to go into the battlefield. Imam HusainSA stopped him and returned him to his tent. Destined to be Imam uz Zaman, the purveyor of the royal bloodline, Imam Ali Zainul AbedeenSA was fated to witness the martyrdom and report it upon his return to Medina with tears of blood in his eyes.
The pride of all worshippers, Imam Ali Zain ul AbedeenSA prayed a 1000 raka’at during the day. The marks of his devoutness were found on his jism mubarak. Imam Mohammed ul BaqirSA explained the marks as such, but there was another mark on his shoulder. “What is this mark?” asked one of the shia. Imam Jaffar us SadeqSA answered, “My father would order the cook to make extra food. I could not understand the reason until one night I saw him get up during the night and fill a large urn with food and walk the streets of Medina to deliver it to a hundred impoverished families. If ever for some reason, he was late, young children with hungry eyes, ran out of the houses, calling for the man with the mashki.
He was succeeded by his son, the fourth Imam, Imam Mohammed ul BaqirSA.