The Book of as-Saijad
Imam Zain ul-Abideen is also known as-Sajad. Both names denote to his constant prostration in prayers. This book has another popular name as-Sahifah al-Kamila as-Sajjadia (Me Complete or Perfect Book of as-Sajad). The book contains fifty-four supplications (and fourteen addenda), and fifteen munajat (whispered prayers). Many supplications were handed down from the Imam and carried by oral tradition from generation to generation. These were collected in later times by researchers and added to the written works. They are called the Second Sahifa, through to the Fifth Sahifa. Only the authoritative chain of traditions was used for the addenda in' the subsequent Sahifas. The first addenda were appended to the Sahifa by ash-Shaheed alAwwal (the first martyr) Shams ud-Din Muhammad ibne Makki (d. 786 AH). The fifteen munajat were appended by Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (d.II10 AH). The Sahifa was updated with addenda by various authorities in the same era as Allama Majlisi.
In Islam, supplications have a pivotal role in all forms of prayers. The supplicant first offers his prayer to Allah, and then spreads his hands to seek His bounty and benevolence. The supplications have the several names of Allah describing His various qualities. The supplicant glorifies Allah and begs for His forgiveness and mercy. It elevates the humble human from his prayer mat to the ethereal heights of spirituality.
Imam Ali ibn al-Husain used this method to reach out to his followers and preach them on the Oneness of Allah and His role as the Creator of all things. He focused on the role of man in the universe and his duties to Allah and his fellow human beings. He gives lessons on obedience to Allah and to fine human behavior in society.
Many devotees of Ahle Bait used to attend majalis (religious gatherings) held by the Imam. Much of the collection of his lectures quotations and teachings are owed to these devotees who leamt them by heart, or wrote them down for safe keeping and for future reference.
The Testament of Rights
One extremely valuable treatise has been passed down to the devotees of Ahle Bait directly from Imam Zain al-Abideen. This epistle describes the rights of man in society. It accounts for over fifty circumstance by which the believer is obligated to observe the rights of others. To mention just a few, it starts with:
-the rights of man toward Allah,
-the rights of prayers,
-the rights of self and the rights of the parts of one's own body.
It goes on to enlist:
-The rights of women towards men,
-the rights of men toward women.
It reminds one towards:
-The rights of children to their parents and elders,
-the rights of parents and elders to their children.
-The rights of students towards their teachers,
-the rights of the teachers towards their students.
-The rights of neighbors,
-the rights of friends
-the rights of adversaries and foes!
It is evident that this epistle contains such wealth of ethical conduct that if followed, it would make any ordinary human being into a saint. Even if one does not aspire to become a saint, it would certainly foster tolerance and harinony with the self and the society.