A group of the eminent Arab poets in that time visited Ima`m al-Rida`, peace be on him, blessed him, and congratulated him on his undertaking regency. Among them was the great poet, Di’bil al-Khaza`’i, who revolted against oppression and tyranny, expressed the sufferings of the oppressed and the deprived. One of them was the inspired poet, Ibra`him b. al-‘Abba`s al-Sawli, the unique poet and proser of the time. And among them was the great poet Raz�~n b. ‘Ali, the brother of Di’bil al-Khaza`’i.
Before they traveled to Khurasa`n, Di’bil had said to Ibra`him: “I want to accompany you to Khurasa`n.”
“How nice a companion and accompanied one your are!” exclaimed Ibra`him, “surely we have followed the precondition of Bashsha`r.”
“What is his precondition?” asked Di’bil.
He has said his statement:
The best brother whom I fraternize is he whose baggage I carry, and who carries my baggage when I ask him to carry them.
When a time turns away from him, I have confidence in him; and when the time turns away from me, he has confidence in me.
His property belongs to me and I do not fear his miserliness; my property belongs to him, and he does not fear my miserliness throughout the time.
During their journey, they were robbed, so they were forced to ride donkeys carrying thorns, so Ibra`him composed, saying:
They have been loaded thorns instead of pottery; they are drunk not because of wine; rather because of intense weakness.
He asked Raz�n to complete this (poetry line), and he said:
So if you, in spite of that, come to playing and amusement, then your state concerning it is equal and will not persist in decrease.
Then he said to Di’bil: “Complete this (poetry line), O Abu` ‘Ali.” And he said:
If that has passed, so be witty and hasten to play and amuse (our selves), for surely I am going to sell my sandals.
Then the caravan of these eminent figures began covering the desert paying no attention to anything until it arrived in Khurasa`n. Shortly after their arrival there, they hurried to meet the Ima`m, peace be on him, so Di’bil recited to him his poem called al-Ta`’iya, which we will mention, and Ibra`him b. al-‘Abba`s composed before him a poem of which the historians have narrated nothing except this line:
The deaths of the children of the Prophet Mohammed have removed the pains of the heart after endurance.
As for the Ima`m, he warmly received them, honored and magnified them.
The Imam awards a Prize to Di’bil
The Imam gave to Di’bil a parcel in which there was ten thousands of the dirhams struck with his name. It is worth mentioning that the dirhams had not been placed in the hand of anyone before Di’bil, so Di’bil refused to take them and said: “No, by Allah, I have not wanted this (money); nor have I gone out for it. I have come to have the honor of him and to look at his face.” Then he asked the servant of the Ima`m to ask the Imam in order to give him one of his garments, so the Imam gave him a silk garment along with dirhams and said to him: “Take this parcel, for you will be in need of it.”
Di’bil departed until he arrived at Qum and there a talk about the Ima`m’s garment was announced, so the Qummis hurried to Di’bil and asked him to sell them the garment for thirty thousand dirhams. He refused that and left the Qummis, but a group of them followed him and said to him:
“You must take the money or you better know.”
“By Allah, surely I will not give it to you on my on accord,” retorted Di’bil, “nor will it benefit you when you take it by force, for it is wanted only for Allah, the Great and Almighty, and it is forbidden for you to wear it.”
Then he swore by Allah that he would not sell it to them unless they gave him a piece of it, that it might be placed in his shroud. So they gave him one sleeve, and it was placed in his shrouds. The narrators have mentioned: “The most lovable slave-wife to Di’bil became ill. So he bandaged her with what he had of the garment of the Ima`m, peace be on him, and she got well. ”
As for the dirhams, Di’bil sold each one to the Qummis for ten dirhams, so his share amounted one hundred thousand dirhams.
The Imam awards a Prize to Ibrahim
The Ima`m, peace be on him, gave Ibra`him al-Sawli ten thousands of the dirhams struck with his holy name. Ibra`him did not sell them; rather they remained with him. So he spent some of them, and the rest remained with him until he died.
The Immortal Poem of Di’bil
The poem which Di’bil recited to the Ima`m, peace be on him, is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Arab literature and among the sources of Islamic legacy. It is the most famous of Di’bil’s poems. It had a strong impression on the Ima`m, so he wept and fainted three times.That is because Di’bil has mentioned in it the painful tragedies which befell the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Di’bil wore a garment and wrote the poem. He performed the ritual consecration wearing the garment, and then he ordered it to be placed in his own shrouds.
Di’bil’s poem widely spread in that time. Al-Ma’mu`n heard of it, admired it, asked Di’bil to recite it to him, and said to him: “It won’t do you any harm; I have given you security from all things. It had been narrated to me, but I want to hear it from your own mouth.” So he recited it, and al-Ma’mu`n wept to the extent that his beard became wet out of his tears.
A joke has been narrated about this excellent poem; the joke is as follows: When Di’bil and his companions departed Maru`, some highwaymen attacked them and took all that which they had. It happened that a highwayman robbed Di’bil and recited a line of his poem which he had recited to the Ima`m, and the line is as follows:
I see that their fayya’1 is divided among other than them, and their hands is void of their fayya’ .
So Di’bil asked the highwayman: “Whose poetry line is this?”
“It belongs to a man called Di’bil from Khaza`’a,” replied the highwayman.
“I am Di’bil!” was the answer.
Then Di’bil recited the poem, so the highwayman became astonished, called to the rest of the highwaymen, and asked them to return what they had taken from Di’bil and his companions as a sign of honor for the poet of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and they returned it to them.
As this poem is of great importance, some eminent figures have explained it.
They are as follows:
1. Al-Sayyid Ni’mat Allah al-Jaza`’iry.
2. Kamal al-D�n Mohammed b. Mohammed al-Sh�ra`zi.
3. Al-Hajj M�rza ‘Ali al-Tabr�zi.
The Text of the Poem
The late ‘Abd al-Sahib al-Dujayli has reported the text of the poem in the Divan of Di’bil from a group of handwritten and printed sources; we have reported it from him; the text of the poem is as follows:
The doves whose utterance and speeches are not understood answer each other through sounds and sighs.
They tell through breaths about the secret of souls captives
to past love and another coming.
So they will make happy or help (the lovers) until the kinds of darkness are dispersed and defeated by dawn.
Peace be on the courtyards void of wild cows; (I am) a sad adorer yearning for the courtyards.
As far as I know that their familiar places were green because of the perfumed, white (ones) and the ashamed (ones).
Nights helped friendliness against abandonment, but after me they approached one another out of estrangement.
Then they looked through their unveiled eyes and covered their cheeks with their hands.
And then everyday I have, in my eye, drunkenness for which my heart spends the night drunk.
How many a regret excited by my standing at Mahsar and ‘Arafat1 on the Day of Gathering.
Do you not see what the days have brought upon the people through nullifying (the Imamate), long separation, the states of the reckless , and those who sought light through them in the dark?
Just imagine how much more is he who has come to seek nearness to Allah through fasting, prayers, showing love for the children of the Prophet and his family, hating the Banu` of al-Zarqa`’ and al-‘Abalat, Hind , what Sumayya
had done, her son who showed unbelief and dissoluteness in Islam?
It was they who broke the covenant of the Book, religious duties and clear verses therein through falsehood and vague errors.
And that is a mere trial which has exposed them through a summons of error from among ugly things.
Legacy without nearness (to the Prophet), authority without guidance, and government without consultative council are among the rightly-guided ones.
(These) misfortunes have made us see the greenness of the horizon red and made sweet water tastes salt.
Nothing made easy those creeds among them except the homage of the random errors.
The Companions of the Shelter (saq�fa) did not attain an authority because of legacy; rather due to the affair of (their) origin.
If they had entrusted the reins of the caliphate to the testamentary trustee , then they would have been regulated by him who was protected from stumbles.
(He) was the brother of the last of the messengers,the one purified of uncleanness, and the one who killed the heroes at the battles.
If they deny (that), then to him bear witness al-Ghad�r, Badr, and Uhd whose elevations are high,
Verses of the Qur’an are recited concerning his excellence, his giving food during famines, and his outstanding qualities he attained out of his preceding laudable deeds which none before him had performed.
(These) laudable deeds were not attained by trickery; nor were they obtained by anything except by the sharp edge of the spear.
Gabriel, the trusted one, whispered to him while you devoted yourselves (to serving) both al-‘Izza` and Manat.
At ‘Arafat I wept over the traces of the house, and I shed the tears of my eyes (for them).
The traces of the deserted houses untied the handles of patience and exited my longing.
Schools of verses (of the Qur’an) are without recitation, and the place of inspiration is (like) courtyards without people.
To the family of Allah’s Messenger belong (the houses) at al-Kh�f part of Mina, al-Rukn, al-Ta’r�f, and al-Jamarat
The houses belong to ‘Ali, al-Husayn, Ja’far, Hamza, and al-Sajjad the one with calluses (Dhu al-Thafanat);
The houses belong to ‘Abd Allah and al-Fadl his full brother to whom Allah’s Messenger whispered in privacy;
The houses among which the inspiration of Allah came down to Ahmed (Mohammed), who has been mentioned in the verses, belong to the people through whose guidance (men) have become rightly guided and felt secure from their slip of stumbles.
The houses were (confined to) prayer, reverential fear, fasting, purity, and good deeds.
Gabriel, the trusted one, stopped at the houses carrying from Allah greetings and mercy;
The houses (were the place) of inspiration of Allah, the place of His knowledge, and the path of guidance through clear ways.
The houses have been effaced by the tyranny of every opponent, not by days and years.
O inheritors of the knowledge of the Prophet, upon you be peace with lasting perfumes.
Stop in order to ask the house whose inhabitants hastened:
When was your knowledge of fasting and prayers? Where are those whom the loneliness of remoteness has wronged (and made them like) branches separating in the horizons?
They are the people of the legacy of the Prophet when they are ascribed; they are the best masters and protectors.
They are feeders during famine and every attitude; they have become honorable through favor and blessings.
As for people, they are either envier or liar or spiteful harboring malice or one who is unable to avenge the blood of his dead.
When they (the Qurayshi hypocrites and the people of the Book) remember their dead at (the battles of) Badr, Khaybar, and Hunayn, they shed tears.
So how could they show love for the Prophet and his family while they split open their bowels?
They were gentle to him through their statements but they had hearts containing spites. So if it (the caliphate) is not undertaken except through nearness to Mohammed, then Ha`shim is worthier (of it) than those of bad lineage.
May Allah water the grave in Medina (with) His rain, for therein has rested the Security through blessings.
The Prophet of guidance upon whom his King has called down blessings and given to him as gift His repose.
Allah calls down blessings upon him as long as the sun rises and the night stars appear.
O Fa`tima, if you imagined al-Husayn, who was thrown to the ground and died thirsty by the Euphrates, then you, O Fatima, would strike your cheeks beside him and make the tears of your eye flow on your cheeks. O Fa`tima, arise, O daughter of the good, and mourn for the stars of the heavens in a deserted land.
Graves are in Kufan (i.e. Kufa); others are in T�ba; others are in Fakh; blessings are called down upon them.
Other (graves) are in the land of al-Jawza`n; a lonely grave is at Bakhamra.
And a grave is in Baghdad; (it) belongs to a pure soul which the Merciful (Allah) has included in the Gardens.
As for the painful misfortunes which have deeply hurt me through the essence of qualities, (they are) the graves by the River Euphrates in the land of Kerbala’, where they (al-Husayn and his companions) stopped at the late night.
They died thirsty by the Euphrates, so would that I died for them before the time of my death.
During my remembering them, I complain to Allah of pain which waters me with the cup of abasement and atrocities.
I fear that if I visit them, I will be exited by their death (which took place) between the valley and the date-palms.
The events of time have divided them; just as you see that they have a district with houses covered (with dust).
Except that in Medina is a group of them, throughout the time, rawboned because of hardships.
None visits them except some visitors from among hyenas, eagles, and vultures.
They are forever asleep in graves standing in various districts of the earth.
In al-Hijaz and (among) its people were courageous ones from among them chosen as leaders.
Hard droughts kept away from neighboring them, and the pebble of the pebbles did not warm them.
(They were) hot, so comets did not visit them; and (their) faces shone by the curtains in the dark.
If they (people) brought horses running very quickly (and carrying) spears, they (the Prophet’s Household) were the pokers of the embers of death and hardships.
If they prided themselves (upon their lineage), they brought Mohammed, Gabriel, the Furqa`n (Qur’a`n), and the Suras.
And they numbered ‘Ali, possessor of laudable deeds and exaltedness, Fa`tima al-Zahra`’ the best daughter, Hamza possessor of guidance and piety, and Ja’far, who flies in the Gardens.
Those, not the product of Hind and her party Sumayya from among the foolish and the dirty.
Taym and ‘Adi will be asked about them and their homage which was the greatest sin.
It was they who prevented the forefathers from taking their own right, and it was they who left the children hostage to separation.
It was they who took it (the caliphate) from the testamentary trustee of Mohammed, so their pledge of allegiance was treacherous.
Stop your blaming me for (my showing love for) the Household of the Prophet; they are my lovers and I have confidence in them as long as they live.
I have chosen them as a guide to my own affairs, for they are, any how, the most excellent choice.
I have sincerely shown love for my masters and willingly submitted my own soul to them.
Therefore, O my Lord, increase me in the insight of my sureness and add, O my Lord, my love for them to my good deeds.
I will weep over them as long as a rider makes a pilgrimage to (the House of) Allah and as long as a dove coos in the trees.
I will sacrifice my own soul for you; (your) middle-aged and youths release captives and collect blood-money (for the people).
When death limits the steps of the horses, you release them (and use) sharp spears and swords.
I love those far because of their love for you, and for you I abandon my family and my daughters.
I conceal my love toward you out of fear of him who is hostile, stubborn to the men of the truth and disobedient to (them).
O my eye, weep over them and shed abundant tears; it is time for you to shed tears.
Certainly the days have surrounded me with their own evil, and surely I hope for security after my death.
Do you not see that I have gone and come for thirty years, and I am always in sorrows?
I see that their fayya’ is divided among other than them, and their hands are void of their fayya’.
So how can I be cured of an intense sorrow, and the intense sorrow is the Umayyads, the men of dissoluteness and (bad) results?
The family of Allah’s Messenger are thin-bodied, while the family of Ziya`d are big-necked!
Ziya`d’s daughters are protected in the palaces whereas the family of Allah’s Messenger are in the deserts!
I will weep for them as long as the sun shines on earth and the caller of good calls (men) to prayer;
(I will weep for them) as long as the sun shines and sets; and I will weep for them at night and in the early morning.
The houses of Allah’s Messenger have become a desert, and the family of Ziya`d live in palaces.
The throats of the family of Allah’s Messenger are bled, and the family of Ziya`d are at ease.
The womenfolk of Allah’s Messenger are taken as captives, and Ziya`d’s womenfolk (are respected).
When one of them is killed, they stretch out for the killers palms of the hand and prevent them from taking blood money.
Had it not for him whom I expect today or tomorrow, I would be out of breath due to the sorrows for them.
Certainly an Ima`m will appear and rise in the name of Allah and the blessings.
He will distinguish among us everything right and wrong, reward for favors and vengeance.
I will intensely withhold myself from arguing with them; enough for me is what I find of the moral lessons.
So, O my soul, renounce (the world); then O my soul, be delighted, for it is not far all that which will come;
Do not be impatient of the period of tyranny; surely I can see that my strength shows signs of separating (from the world).
So if the Most Gracious (Allah) brings near that period of mine and delays my life span for prolonging my life, then I will avenge (myself upon them), will not leave any calamity for myself, make my sword and spear quench their thirst with their blood.
For surely I hope for from the Most Gracious (Allah),
through showing love for them an uninterrupted life in Paradise.
May Allah give shelter to this creature; surely He is permanent in glances toward every people.
If I say something good, they deny it with something evil and cover the realities with vague errors.
I try to remove the sun from its place and to make solid stones hear.
So they are either a knower who does not make use of (my statement) or a stubborn one who inclines to (his) caprices and lusts.
I am negligent of them when I die of a pang frequenting in my chest and in (my) epiglottis.
Although my own ribs are wide, they have become narrow because of the intense sighs they have contained.
This ode called al-‘Assma`’ has terminated. As for the Ima`m, he was satisfied with it and supplicated for Di’bil in order to be successful on the Day of the Greatest Fear. The Ima`m was strongly moved by the poetry lines in which Di’bil lamented for Ima`m al-Husayn, peace be on him. He wept bitter tears and fainted more than one time, for the tragedy of Karbela`’ had melted his heart, and he would say: “Surely the affair of al-Husayn has made our eyes sleepless, our tears flow, and abased our dear one. O land of grief and tribulation (karb wa bala’), you have made us inherit grief and tribulation until the Day of Resurrection! So the weepers should weep for al-Husayn, for weeping for him erases great sins.”
The sadness of the Ima`m became intense and his sorrow doubled when the month of Muharram came, and he said: “None saw my father, the blessings of Allah be upon him, smile when the month of Muharram came, and the tragedy would overcome him until ten days of it passed. When the tenth day came, then that day was the day of his calamity, his sadness, and his weeping, and he would say: ‘This is the day on which al-Husayn was killed.’ ”
And he, peace be on him, said: “Surely the people who lived before Islam prohibited fighting in the month of Muharram, while therein (shedding) our blood was regarded as lawful, our sacredness was violated, our progeny and our womenfolk were taken as captives, fires were set to our tents, and our baggage were taken. They (the Umayyads) did not conform to the sacredness of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, with respect to our affair.”
Al-Rayya`n b. Shab�b has narrated, saying: “I visited al-Rida` on the first day (of the month) of Muharram, and he said to me: ‘O son of Shab�~b, are you fasting?’ ‘No,’ I replied.”
Then the Ima`m began making him aware of the sacredness of that day, saying: “This is the day on which Zakariya` supplicated his Lord and said: ‘O Lord, give me from You a good progeny, surely You hear supplication!’ So Allah responded to him. He ordered the angels, and they said to Zakariya` while he was standing and praying in the mihrab: ‘Surely Allah has given good news to you of Yahya`.’ So he who fasts in this month and supplicates Allah, the Great and Almighty, He responds to him just as He had responded to Zakariya`.
“O son of Shab�~b, surely the people who lived before Islam prohibited wrongdoing and fighting in the month of Muharram because of its sacredness, but this community has not come to know of the sacredness of its month nor the sacredness of its Prophet. In this month they killed his progeny, took his womenfolk as captives, and took his baggage, so may Allah never forgive them that.
“O son of Shab�b, if you weep for a thing, then weep for al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abu` Ta`lib, for he was slaughtered just as a ram is slaughtered, and along with him was killed eighteen men from among his Household, of whom there is no like on earth; the seven havens and the earth wept for murdering him; four thousand angels came down to earth in order to support him but they found that he had been killed, so they (will remain) by his grave while they are shaggy and covered with dust until the Qa`’im, peace be on him, rises; they will be with him, among his supporters and Sh�’ites; their slogan will be: ‘Let us avenge the blood of al-Husayn! ”
The Tragedy of Karbela`’ has immortalized sadness and sorrow for the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, for they and their Sh�’ites are in constant sadness; they do not forget the tragedies which befell the grandson of the Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, on the day of ‘Ashura’ when the sacredness of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, was violated. On that day, immortal in the world of sadness, the army of b. Marja`na paid no attention to the sacredness of Allah and of His Messenger through murdering the grandson of Allah’s Apostle in that terrible manner.