Imam Ali (A.S.): O Allah! I worshipped you neither out of greed for the Paradise nor as a result of fearing your Hell Fire, but I found you praise worthy and worshipped you.
Imam a-Sadiq (A.S.): Servants consist of three groups: One group worship Allah out of fear which is the worship of the slaves; the next are seeking reward, which is the worship of the hirelings, and finally the group who worship Allah out of love and affection towards Him which is the worship of the nobles, and this is the best of worships.
The Ahl al-Bayt’s (A.S.) Assiduity in Worship
Imam al-Baqir (A.S.): The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) was with A’isha the night when he was supposed to be with her. Aisha said: O Messenger of Allah! Why do you make yourself tired, whereas Allah has forgiven all your sins, of past and future? His Holiness (S.A.W.) replied: O Aisha, should I not be a grateful servant?! Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) says: While praying, the Hoy Prophet (S.A.W.) would stand on his tiptoes when Allah sent down the ayah addressing him: Ta Ha. We have not sent down the Qur’an to thee to be (an occasion) for thy distress (20:1,2).
A’isha: The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) was so much engaged in nocturnal devotion that his legs were swollen. I asked him: O Rasul Allah! Why do you do this? He replied: Should I not like to become a grateful servant?
A’isha: The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) would in any situation remember Allah.
Urwah ibn al-Zubayr: We were sitting in the mosque of Rasul Allah (S.A.W.) talking about the enterprises of the people of Badr and pledge of Ridwan. Abul Darda’ said: O people Shall I introduce to you someone whose wealth is less than all and whose chastity is above all and whose worship is the most assiduous? They asked who that was. He replied: Ali ibn Abi Talib(A.S.)
Abu Salih: Dirar ibn Damra al-Kinani called on Mu awiya. The latter told him: Describe Ali (A.S.) to me.
He said: O Amir a-Mu’minin, would you excuse me? Muawiya said: No, I would not excuse you. Dirar said: If it is inevitable…I call Allah to witness that in some conditions while the night had spread and stars were dispersed, he would walk to and fro in his mihrab (niche), would grasp his beard, would twist his body in agony like one stung by a snake, and would weep like the bereaved. It is as if hear him saying now: O Allah! O Allah!- while lamenting to His Omnipresence and then he would say to the world: Are you deceiving me? Or are you waiting for me? Far be it! Far! Go and deceive someone else! I have abandoned you forever. Your life is too short, association with you is short-lived, and your hazard arrives easily. Alas! Little is the provision, long is the trip, and scaring is the way. At this moment, Mu awiya’s drops of tears were flowing down on his cheeks through his beard, while he was wiping them with his sleeve and causing the people present there to weep too. Mu awiya said: Ay, Abul-Hasan was like this. O Dirar! How was your sorrow toward him? He replied: The sorrow of a woman whose only child is decapitated in her own bosom, whose drops of tears are shed unceasingly, and his sorrow would not end. Then he stood up and left.
Imam al-Hasan (A.S.): I saw my mother Fatima(A.S.) in her niche on Thursday night engaged in praying. She kept on bowing down [in ruku] until dawn. I heard her praying for the men and women believers, calling their names and abundantly prayed for them without praying for the men and woman believers, calling their names and abundantly prayed for them without praying for her. I asked: Mother: Why do you not pray for yourself as you pray for others? She replied: My Son! First the neighbor, then the [people of the] house.
Hasan al-Basri: Among the Ummah, there has been no one more devoted than Fatima (A.S.); she would stand so long [for prayer and worship] that both her feet would swell.
Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr-when he heard the news of Imam Husayn’s (A.S.) martyrdom-said: Lo! I Swear to Allah, he was killed?! The one who stood longtime at night praying and was frequently fasting in day time.
Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.): when Ali ibn al-Husayn (A.S.) took the codex of Ali (A.S.), he looked at it and said: Who has such capability? Who has such capability? Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) says: Ever after, Ali ibn al-Husayn (A.S.) acted according to the codex and whenever he would get up for prayers the color of his face would change to the extent that the change was evident in his face.None of Ali’s (A.S.) children had as much power to act as Ali ibn al-Husayn (A.S.)
Amr ibn Abd Allah ibn Hind al-Jamali quoted Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) as saying: When Fatima, daughter of Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S) noticed the assiduity of her nephew (Ali ibn al-Husayn-A.S.) in worship, went to Jabir ibn Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn Hizam a-Ansari and told him: O companion of Rasul Allah! We have certain rights on you, among which is that when you see one of us doing harm to himself by hardworking, remind Allah to him and ask him to save his life. This is Ali ibn al-Husayn (A.S.) who, out of extreme worship, has injured his nose, and made his forehead, knees and palms calloused.
Jabir ibn Abd Allah went to Ali ibn a-Husayn’s (A.S.) house and saw near the door Abu Ja’far Muhammed ibn Ali (A.S.) among a group of Bani Hashim youth who had gathered there. Going toward them, Jabir Said: This is Rasul Allah’s gait and disposition; O young man! Who are you? He replied: I am Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn (A.S.). Drops of tears flowed down Jabir’s cheeks, and then he said: By Allah you are rightfully the one who splits knowledge (making it clear and understandable); come near me, may my father and mother be sacrificed to you. Imam(A.S.) went to him; Jabir embraced him, paced his hand on his own chest, kissed it, and put his face to the Imam’s(A.S.) face and hand and told him: I convey your ancestor Rasu Allah’s (S.A.W.) greetings to you; he has ordered me to give you his greeting; and to do with you what I did. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) told me: May you live long enough to visit one of my descendents whose name is Muhammad and who splits knowledge to perfection. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) told me: You will live so long that you will turn blind and then sight will return to your eyes. Imam al-Baqir(A.S.) says: He told me: Ask permission from your father for me to visit him. Abu Ja’far [Al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A.S.)] went to his father and informed him of the event. His Holiness (A.S.) said: My son! He is Jabir Ibn Abd Allah, and proceeded to say: did he talk so and did he address you from among all the kin children? Imam al-Baqir(A.S.) said: Ay, we belong to Allah, He has not intended you any but(through making you known) He has jeopardized you. Imam Zaynal-Abidin (A.S.) permitted Jabir to enter. When he came in he saw his Holiness (A.S.) in his Mihrab, worn out as a result of much devotional practice (ibadah). Standing up, the Imam (A.S.) warmly greeted him and seated him beside himself. Jabir addressed the Imam (A.S.) saying: O son of Rasul Allah! Do you not know that Allah has created the Paradise for you and your devotees, and has created the Hell Fire for your malevolent enemies? So what is so much endeavor that you have committed yourself to? Ali ibn al-Husayn (A.S.) replied: O companion of Rasul Allah! Do you not know that Allah has forgiven my ancestors'[Tark al-Awla (neglect in performing greater deeds)], past and present? But, yet the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) did not give up assiduity in the way of Allah and went on worshipping Him-May my father and mother be sacrificed to him-as much as his legs and soles got swollen. When his Holiness (S.A.W.) was asked: You are taking it so hard on yourself, whereas Allah has forgiven your past and future Tark al-Awla?! He replied: Should not I be a grateful servant?
As Jabir observed Ali ibn al Husayn (A.S.) and noticed that his words to prevent the Imam (A.S.) from assiduity and severe practices, and to convince him to adopt moderation had no impact on him, he told him: O son of Rasul Allah! Preserve yourself, that you belong to a household in the light of whom calamity is fended off and hardship and distress are dissolved, a household for the sake of whom it rains. The Imam (A.S.) said: O Jabir! I will remain in the way of my father and ancestor and I view both of them as my paradigm until I meet them.
Jabir addressed the audience saying: I Swear by Allah, I have seen no one like Ali ibn al-Husayn(A.S.) among children of the Prophets, except Joseph the son of Jacob. I Swear to Allah the progeny of Ali ibn al-Husayn (A.S.) are superior to the progeny of Joseph the son of Jacob, since from them (the former) is the one who will spread Justice all over the world when it is filled with injustice.
Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.): My father would perform prayers in the middle of the night and would keep his prostration (Sajdah) so long as we supposed he had fallen asleep.
Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.): My father would abundantly say dhikr (remembrance of Allah). I would walk him while he was busy uttering the dhikr of Allah; I would eat with him, while he was busy saying dhikr of Allah; he would talk to people and this would not distract him from Divine remembrance. I noticed his tongue stuck to his palate due to frequent saying of the dhikr Lailaha Illallah.
He would gather us and wanted us to say dhikr until sunrise,
Any of us who were able to recite the Quran was ordered to recite it, and those who did not recite were told to say the dhikr.
Yahya al-Alawi: Because of assiduity in worship, Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (A.S.) is known as Abd al-Salih (the pious servant). Our companions have related that he once entered the Mosque of Rasul Allah (S.A.W.) in the evening and performed a Sajdah (prostration) while saying: My sins are abundant, so your forgiveness is to be plentiful, O most Reverent and most Forgiveful! He repeated this sentence until the day broke.
Abd al-Salam ibn Salih al-Hirawi: I went to the door of a house in Sarakhs where Imam al-Reza (A.S.) was incarcerated. I asked the Jailer permission to enter. He said: You cannot visit him. I asked why. He replied: Because he says a thousand rakah as of prayers daily. He only retreats at the beginning of the day, before noon, and just before the sunset for an hour, and at this moment he is, sitting in his place of prayer engaged in supplication to his Creator.
The Prayers of Ahl al-Bayt(A.S.)
Abd Allah ibn Mas ud: No praisers of Allah were there among whom the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) was not present; and no prayer performers were there that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) would not say more prayers than all of them.
Imam Ali (A.S.) while engaged in battle in Siffin he was also taking into consideration the sun movement too. Ibn Abbas asked him: O Amiral-Muminin! What are you doing? His Holiness (A.S.) replied: I am looking to see when the noon-time comes up to say my prayers. Ibn Abbas told the Imam (A.S.): Is it now time for prayers?! Battle has thwarted us from prayers. The Imam (A.S.) said: Why do we fight with them?! Our conflict with them is just over [performing] prayers.
It is related that: when the prayers time came, Ali’s (A.S.) face would turn pale and he would start trembling. When he was asked what had become of him, he replied: Now has come the time to pay back the trust (amanah) that Allah, the Almighty offered it to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to undertake it, and man undertook it [cf.33: 72, 73], and I, with all my helplessness, do not know whether I can undertake this trust.
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.): As for my daughter Fatima (A.S.)
She would stand before her Exalted Allah, while her light was as brilliantly evident for the heavens as the stars were for the people on earth, and Allah would say to the angels: O My angels! Look how My slave-maid, Fatima (A.S.), the princess of My slave-maids, is trembling before me out of fearing Me, and is whole-heartedly worshipping me.
Imam al-Sajjad (A.S.): Hasan ibn Abi Talib(A.S.) was the most devoted, the most abstemious, and the most virtuous of all in his own era; whenever he went on Hajj, he would go on foot and sometimes he would travel barefooted. Whenever he remembered death and grave he would weep; and as he remembered the Resurrection and being revived drops of tears would flow down his cheeks; when passing the Sirat would come to his mind he would start crying; whenever he remembered the presentation [of actions] to the Almighty Allah, he would let out a yell which made him unconscious; and when he stood up to say prayers his body would start trembling; when he remembered Paradise and Hell his body would get twisted restlessly as someone stung by a snake; and would ask for Paradise from Allah, and took refuge in Him from the Hell Fire. Any time he read the phrase, O those who believe, from the Qur’an he would say: Here I am, O Allah! Here I am. He was always seen glorifying and praising Allah.
Sabzivari in Jami al Akhbar: Whenever Husayn ibn Ali(A.S.)performed ablution, his face would turn pale and his joints would start trembling. When being asked the reason, he would answer: It is true for someone who stands before the Almighty Allah to turn pale and his joints start to tremble.
Imam al-Baqir (A.S.): When my father, Ali ibn al-Husayn(A.S.) was saying prayers, his skin would wrinkle, his face would turn pale, his body would tremble, and his hair would stand on end, and while drops of tears were flowing down his cheeks he would say: If a servant knows to whom he is supplicating, he would not give up his prayers.
Abu Ayyub: Whenever Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) and Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) stood in prayers their faces would at times turn red and at time pale, as if they were talking to someone they witnessed.
The Late-Night Supererogatory Prayers
A’isha: The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) would sleep early at night and stayed up all through its later parts [until dawn].
Abd Allah ibn Abbas: One night I stayed with the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.).Then, when he woke up, he brought his water container, took his tooth brush and brushed his teeth and recited the verse: Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alteration of night and day there are indeed signs for men of understanding… almost up to the end of the Surah. Then he performed his ablution and went to his place of prayer, performed two rakah of prayers, and then returned to his bed resting as much as Allah ordained, then he woke up, repeated the same, then he went back to sleep, again woke up, did the same, went back to sleep, woke up followed the same procedure again, each time brushing his teeth and saying two rakas of prayers; and [at the final time] he performed the Witr.
Imam Ali (A.S.): Since I heard the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) say the late-night prayer is light, I never quit it. Ibn al-Kuwwa, asked: Even at the night of Harrir? The Imam replied: Even at the night of Harir.
Saduq in al-Fagih: Ali ibn al-Husayn(A.S.), the master of the worshippers would say, al-afw, al-afw (forgiveness) three hundred times during the Witr prayer at dawn.
Ibrahim Ibn al-Abbas: Imam al-Reza (A.S.) during night would sleep little and stay up long.
It is related that al-Imam al-Hadi (A.S.) would sit towards the qiblah at night and would rest very little, there was a woolen clock on him and a straw mat under him as his prayer rug.
The Fasting of Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.)
Abu Salama: I asked A’isha: How was the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) fasting? She answered: He was fasting so frequently that we thought he would never quit fasting, and would not fast for such a long time that we thought he would never fast again; I did not see him fast more than he fasted in the month of Shaban. He would fast the whole month of Shaban except a few days, or rather he would fast the whole month.
Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.): Amir al-Mu’minin (A.S.) would come home and say: Is there any food at home, or shall I fast? If something was found with them, it was brought to the Imam (A.S.),otherwise, he would fast.
Imam al Sadiq(A.S.): On the day he fasted, Ali ibn al-Husayn (A.S.)would have a sheep slaughtered, butchered and cooked. When the time for iftar (breaking the fast) arrived, he would inspect the post so as to have the aroma of the prepared broth smelled. Then he would order the food to be served in the bowls and handed over to such and such and such families. After that munificence some bread and dates were brought in and the Imam (A.S.) would break his fast with them.
Ibrahim ibn al-Abbas: Imam al-Reza (A.S.) would fast a lot and would not give up the three-days-a-month fast, about which he would say: This is the perpetual fasting (Sawm al-Dahr)
The Hajj of Ahl-al-Bayt (A.S.)
Abd Allah ibn Ubaid ibn Umair: Hasan ibn Ali (A.S.) performed the pilgrimage of Hajj on foot twenty-five times, while well-bred horses were at his disposal.
Sufyan ibn Uyaynah: Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S.) was performing the pilgrimage of Hajj, and when put on the ihram (the pilgrimage garment) and his animal was ready to ride, his face got pale , his body started to tremble, and he was not able to say labbayk (here am I). He was asked: Why do you not say labbayk? He replied: I fear to say labbayk lest Allah Say: No labbayk. He was told: But you should say labbayk. Sufyan says: When he said labbayk, he fainted and fell off the animal he was riding and that was his state until he fulfilled his hajj.
Aflah, the retainer of Imam al-Baqir(A.S.): We set off for Hajj with our master. When the Imam (A.S.) entered the [Sacred] Mosque and looked at the House of Allah, he burst into tears so loudly and uncontrollably. I said: May my father and mother be sacrificed to you, will you bring down your voice, as the people are, watching you. His Holiness went on crying and said: Surprising! Why should I not cry? May Allah look at me with His Mercy and grant me salvation. Then he circumambulated the Kaba and said prayer at the Maqam Ibrahim. When he took his forehead off the ground (form sajdah), his tears was all over the spot.
Malik ibn Anas: When I would visit Imam al-Sadiq Ja’far ibn Muhammad (A.S.) he would bring me cushion and respect me highly, saying: O Malik! I like you. I would get cheerful and thank Allah for that. His Holiness (A.S.) was not out of one of the three states: He was either fasting or engaged in worship or remembering Allah [saying dhikr]. The Imam (A.S.) was one of the greatest worshippers and pious persons who fear Allah, the Almighty. He used to narrate hadith plentifully, was the most pleasant company, and much helpful. Whenever he uttered the phrase: The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) has said, his skin color would turn so pale and drawn that those who know him could hardly recognize his face.
One year I performed Hajj at his service, when upon wearing Ihram he mounted his riding animal, whenever he intended to say labbayk his larynx failed to let out any voice and he about to collapse. I said: Go on O son of Rasul Allah! You are to say labbayk. The Holy Imam said: O son of Abi Amir! How would I dare say: labbayk, Allahumma labbayk whereas I fear Allah would respond: No labbayk and no sa’dayk (glad to be here).
Muhammad ibn Uthman al-Amri: I swear by Allah, the Master of this affair [Hadrat Wali Asr-May Allah hastens his reappearance] takes part in Hajj Pilgrimage every year and sees people and knows them and people see him too but do not identify him.
Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith