Imam Zainul Abideen addresses Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
Once, when Imam Zainul Abideen came to Abdul Malik Marwan his (Imam’s) eyes were sunken due to frequent weeping. His cheeks had turned yellow because of night vigils and his forehead was swollen as a result of making frequent prostrations. His body looked like a dried up water skin. This extreme weakness of the Imam, made Abdul Malik also weep. He came down from the throne of caliphate, sat near the feet of the Imam and asked, "O son of the Holy Prophet! Why so much painstaking and difficult worship? Paradise is for you, as it belongs to your grandfather. Why are you troubling yourself so much?" The holy Imam replied, "People used to say the same to my grandfather and he had replied, ‘Should I not be a grateful servant?’ A servant must always be thankful to his Lord", and then said (summary of narration): If I get a life extending from the first day of creation until the Day of Judgment and if I fast daily and prostrate often, until I turn into a skeleton; and if I weep so much that my eyes are washed away and if my food is only straw, I would not have done even a tenth of thanksgiving for the innumerable bounties of God. Just look at this very bounty called the eye, the tongue, the bread, which nourishes you etc. The Bounties of God can never be counted.
Imam says: I have not thanked for even a tenth of the Lord’s bounties. This is the meaning of ‘Knowing God’ (Marefat). Not that an ignorant worshipper prayed and imagined he had a right over God!