A Brief Biography of Ali Ibn Husain (a.s)

Chapter 7 : His Family


The Imam's first wife was his cousin, the daughter of Imam Hassan (A.S). Her name was Fatima. She was a very pious person. She was the mother our fifth Imam, Hazrat Muhammad Baqir (A.S).

It is reported that once she was sitting leaning against the wall. All of a sudden, the wall began to fall on her. She called out saying. "O wall, by the honour of the Messenger of Allah you have no permission to fall down right know" and the wall stood still. She moved away only then did the wall fall. She then gave in charity 100 currencies.

Other than Imam Muhammed Baqir (A.S), he had from this marriage, three other sons whose names were Abd Allah, Al-Hassan and Al-Husain.

According to Sheikh Mufid, besides Lady Fatima, he had as his wives, at different times, several slave-girls. The main reason behind these marriage was to raise the position of these helpless women who had become slaves because of wars. By giving them a place in his house, he gave them a way to live a life of independence and honor. For these ladies gave birth to children who became part of Imam's family. For example, Hazrat Zaid, who came to be known as Zaid the martyr, was born from a slave girl from Sindh (India) called Huriya.


Sheikh Mufid in his book "Al-Irshad" says that besides Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S), Imam Zainul Abidin had ten more sons and four daughters. In the next unit we shall learn more about Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S); for the rest of this chapter we shall learn about Zaid, Imam Muhammad Baqir's half brother.


It is reported that once Imam's companion, Abu Hamza Thimali was sitting with the Imam in the Imam's house. Suddenly a male child came in the house and ran towards the Imam. Unfortunately, while running, the child fell down and was hurt. The Imam (A.S) went quickly to where the child was and took him in his hands with kindness and love. After that the Imam (A.S) began to weep.

He then told the companion that the child was none but his son Zaid and that those days were not far when, as an adult, he would rise against the cruel government. He would then be killed and his dead body be hanged. He also told Abu Hamza that he (Abu Hamza) would live to see this. Years later what the Imam said would happen in fact did happen.

Hazrat Zaid was very pious and was a good reader of the Qur'an. The Bani Umayyah's government treated the family of the Prophet, especially the grandchildren of Imam Ali (A.S) so badly that Hazrat Zaid could not sit quiet.

He went to complain to the king of that time, Bin Abdulmalik in Damascus. Hasham received him very badly in his court. Hazrat Zaid said to him, "Fear Allah".

This Was enough to make Hasham angry. He shouted at Hazrat Zaid saying, "A low person like you is advising me to fear Allah?" Hazrat Zaid replied, "There is no question of being low or high amongst the servants of Allah when it comes to giving advice and calling each other towards fear of Allah."

Hasham said, "I have heard that you want to become the ruler but you are not fit to be one as you are the son of a slave-girl." Hazrat Zaid replied, "No one is better to Allah than his Messenger. Hazrat Ismail , s mother (Hajra) was a slave-girl yet Hazrat Ismail was a Prophet and Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W) was from his progeny."

As Hisham had no reply to give, he started abusing Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S) saying, "What does your brother Baqarah (The Cow) do?" Hearing this, Hazrat Zaid was greatly hurt and replied, Hasham without any fear, saying' "O Hisham, the Prophet (S.A.W.W) gave him the name of Baqir and you call him Baqarrah. Your actions Me opposite to that of the Prophet (S.A.W W). On the Day of Judgement you will be equally far from him. Baqir will go to paradise and you will go to hell."

By the orders of Hisham, Hazrat Zaid was thrown out of court' He went away to Kufa. From there he raised an army to fight against the Bani Umayyah. He had followers in Wasit, Mosel, Khurasan Ray, and Jurjan. In Kufa alone he had about 15000 supporters. Among his followers were reader of Qur'an, religious scholars and lawyers.

Hisham sent a big army under the command of Yusuf Bin Umar Saqafi. Unfortunately, most of Hazrat Zaid's supporters left him. Only three hundred soldiers remained with him when he came to the battlefield. He fought very bravely until. he was martyred, having been hit by an arrow on his forehead. This was in A.H. 121.

His son Yahya buried him secretly under a river bank but Hasham's men found it out and dug out the body Hazrat Zaid's body was put on a scaffold in Egypt. It remained there for some time then it was burnt and the ashes thrown in the wind. Thus ended the life of one of the most noble servants of Allah.