Imam Zayn al-`Abidin was said, “You are the most benevolent man but you don’t eat from the same plate with your mother while she likes to.” The Imam said, “I don’t like to stretch my hand to reach a morsel which my mother has an eye on it hence being disowned by her.”
From that time on, he would put a cover on the plate of food when eating with his mother so he would put his hand under it and ate the food.
An Extraordinary Example of Forbearance
A man insulted Imam Zayn al-`Abidin (a.s). His slaves made an attempt to attack him. The Imam said, “Let him go. What is hidden of us is more than what he is saying about me.” Addressing the same man, the Imam said, “Do you need anything?” The man was ashamed. The Imam gave his garment to him together with a thousand Dirhams. The man said loudly, “I bear witness that you are the son of Allah’s Messenger.”
Reaction To Backbiting
Imam Zayn al-`Abidin (a.s) reached a group of people who were talking behind his back. He stood near them saying, “If you are true about what you say, may Allah forgive me; and if you are lying, may Allah forgive you.”
Forgiving The Child’s Killer
Imam Zayn al-`Abidin had a few guests; he asked his servant to be quick in preparing the food. The servant hastily brought the iron grid on which the meat had been grilled but it fell off his hand on the head of the Imam’s child who was in the ground floor and killed him. Addressing the servant who was shocked and trembling from fear, the Imam said, “You did not do it intentionally. Therefore, you are free in the way of Allah.” He then took part in the funeral service of his child.
Imam Zayn al-`Abidin had a needy cousin and the Imam would go to the door of his house as an unknown man giving him a few Dinars. But the cousin would say, “`Ali ibn al-Husayn does not observe ties of relationship towards me. May Allah not give him a good reward!”
The Imam heard what he was saying but forbore it and did not wish to reveal his identity.
When Imam Zayn al-`Abidin passed away, his cousin, whose nightly assistance had been cut off, realized that it was Imam Zayn al-`Abidin who fulfilled his needs. For this reason, he rushed to the Imam’s grave and wept bitterly.