Imam Zainul Abideen Radi Allahu Anhu is the son of Imam Hussain Radi Allahu Anhu. He was born on the 5th of shabaan 38 Hijri in Madinah Shareef. He was one of the greatest Aabids of his era. Hazrat ibn Abbas Radi Allahu Anhu used to look at Imam Zainul Abideen and refer to him as the “Beloved of the Beloved”. He was the image of his grandfather Hazrat Ali Radi Allahu Anhu.
Imam Zainul Abideen was blessed with beautiful character and always assisted those in need. He would purchase many slaves and then set them free. He would also be kind to those who were his personal enemies. He was very generous and would send money to the poor leaving in Madinah Shareef in a way where none of them would know that the money was coming from him. Only after his Wisaal, he became known for his generosity.
Imam Zainul Abideen was very patient. After the battle of Karbala, he was marched to Damascus in chains and shackles. However, even in this condition he remained patient and made shukr. The great imam was then released at the request of Sayyiduna Zuhri Radi Allahu Anhu and taken to Madinah Shareef with great respect.
Imam Zainul Abideen was very soft-hearted and always thought of the sacrifice that was given by his father; Imam Hussain Radi Allahu Anhu and all the other martyrs on the plains of Karbala. Once he was walking in the blessed streets of Madinah when he saw a person placing a goat on the ground, and sharpening his knife before making the animal zibah. On seeing this, the imam became very sad and wept bitterly and asked the man; ” My dear Brother! Did you give the goat some water and food?” The man replied that he had fed and given water to the goat for the past 3 days and even before laying it down. On hearing this, Imam Zainul Abideen let out a sigh of pain and said, “it is said, that the people of Kufa did not even care for him i.e Imam Hussain like (you care for) the goat. They starved him for three days and nights and then martyred him in this state.”
After the shahadat of his blessed father, Imam Zainul Abideen divorced himself from the materialistic world and spent all his time in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. He used to perform one thousand rakats of nafil salaah every night. One night while he was performing his nafils, his house was caught on fire, the people around him were rushing to put out the fire, yet he continued to pray with sincerity. After he completed his salaah, the people told him about the fire, to which he replied, ” you were trying to extinguish this fire, and I was trying to extinguish the fire of the hereafter.”
Imam Zainul Abideen Radi Allahu anhu was poisoned by Waleed bin Abdul Malik and thus was made shaheed on the 18th of Muharram at the age of 57. He passed away in Madinah and his mazaar Shareef is in Jannatul Baqi.