‘Ali bin Husain (rahimahullah), also known by the title Zainul ‘Aabideen, was the grandson of Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and the son of Sayyiduna Husain (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

On one occasion, Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) was performing wudhu while his slave girl assisted him by pouring the water onto his limbs from a pitcher. As she was pouring, the pitcher accidentally fell from her hand, striking Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) on his head and injuring him. Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) looked up at the slave girl (in anger).

She addressed him saying, “Allah Ta‘ala mentions (while describing the people of taqwa):

وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ

And those who suppress their anger

As soon as he heard this, Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) responded, “I have suppressed my anger.”

The slave girl then continued reciting the verse,

وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ

And those who forgive people

Hearing this, Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) submitted, “(I have forgiven you), may Allah Ta‘ala forgive you.”

Finally, the slave girl recited:

وَاللَّـهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

And Allah Ta‘ala loves those who do good.

When he heard this, Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) replied, “Go, for I have set you free!”

(Shu‘abul Imaan #7964)


1. Every human has emotions which cannot be controlled merely by ‘switching them off’. However, this does not mean that we should allow our emotions to control us. Although anger is a natural emotion, and we will definitely experience anger from time to time, we should not vent our anger in a manner that will displease Allah Ta‘ala. Instead, Allah Ta‘ala has promised great rewards for the one who suppresses his anger. Allah Ta‘ala has also highlighted this quality as being among the signs of the people of taqwa (piety). It is for this reason that Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) did not retaliate or punish the slave girl in any way.

2. At times a person may suppress his anger and abstain from retaliating. However, he may still be angry and harbour a grudge in his heart. Hence, the demand of taqwa is that we cleanse our hearts of all ill-feelings by forgiving and forgetting.

3. The hadeeth teaches us that if any person behaves badly towards us or harms us, then we should reciprocate by showing that person good character and kindness. Hence, Zainul ‘Aabideen (rahimahullah) freed the slave girl.

4. The pious friends of Allah Ta‘ala are such that as soon as they hear a verse of the Quraan Majeed, a hadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) or a law of Deen, then out of respect for Deen, they immediately submit and comply. They do not attempt to justify, argue or rationalise in any way.