Imam Zayn al-Abidin enjoyed great popularity. The people spoke with admiration
about his knowledge, his jurisprudence, and his acts of worship. The assemblies
admired his patience and all his other qualities. The Imam occupied the hearts
and feelings of the people. Hence blessed was he who saw him, met him, and
listened to his words. This situation frightened the Umayyads, especially as it
concerns al-Walid b. Abd al-Malik, who was the most spiteful toward the Imam.
Al-Zuhri reported on the authority of al-Walid b. Abd al-Malik, who said: "I
cannot have a rest as long as Ali b. al-Hussein is in this world!1"
When al-Walid became king, he decided to assassinate the Imam. He sent poison to
his governor of Medina, and ordered him to mix the poison (with liquid) and give
it to the Imam to drink.2 The poison reacted on the Imam's body, and
he suffered severe pain. The Imam remained on the bed of illness for some days.
He complained to Allah of this and asked Him for forgiveness and good pleasure.
The people crowded to visit him, and he, peace be on him, praised and lauded
Allah for providing him with martyrdom at the hand of the most wicked creature.
* The Life of Imam Zayn al-Abidin. By Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi.
1- Hayat al-Imam
Mohammed al-Baqir, vol. 1, p. 51.
2- Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 52. Al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa, p. 53.