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KARACHI, April 1 Divan Al-Imam Al-Sajjad Zain-al-Aabidin Ali bin Al-Hussain (AS) - a poetic collection attributed to Hazrat Zain- al Abidin - was launched at the Khana-i-Farhang, the cultural centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on Tuesday evening, as leading scholars shed light on the noble character and eventful life of the Imam, and also dwelt at length on the spiritual insights inherent in the sublime verses attributed to the great-grandson of the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH).

The collection has been published by Zulfikar Ali Kadri of Qadri Qalam Qabeelo. Mr Kadri is the scion of a spiritual and literary family of Larkana and the Divan is based on the original compilation of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Hassan Hurr-ul-Amili, a celebrated religious scholar of the Safavi era.

Though Shaikh Amili had translated the Imam`s original Arabic verses into Persian, the Divan launched on Tuesday features - arguably for the first time - translations of the verses in Urdu, Sindhi and English.

Apart from Mr Kadri, religious scholars Hojjatoleslam Syed Tilmiz Husnain Rizvi (who is also one of the translators), Allama Mohammad Asghar Dars, Dr Mohammad Hassan Rizvi and Hojjatoleslam Syed Shahenshah Hussain Naqvi presented their thoughts on the work, while Prof Dr Faizeh Zahra Mirza of the University of Karachi`s Persian department also spoke.

Mohammad Masood Zamani, Consul-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Karachi, was the chief guest. Aijaz Ali Baig Mirza (also one of the Divan`s translators) conducted the proceedings.

Quoting from the Holy Quran`s Sura Shu`ara, Allama Shahenshah Naqvi said that the Almighty had castigated poets as they led people astray, while their words failed to match their deeds, but made an exception concerning those poets who have faith and remember Allah. He added that though not many of history`s great orators were remembered, countless poets lived on through their verses. Allama Naqvi said poets had helped keep alive the memory of Karbala.
Talking about Imam Sajjad`s (AS) poetry, he said the words went straight to the heart and awoke the conscience.
Allama Asghar Dars said “The people of Sindh have always expressed profound love for the Ahlul Bayt.”

Dr Mohammad Hassan Rizvi recalled the famous occurrence when Imam Sajjad (AS) had come to offer tawaf at the Grand Mosque in Makkah Mukarrama. “The ruler of the day was in the Grand Mosque, yet people would not make way for him to reach the Ka`aba. Soon after, the Imam arrived and the people started parting like waves, making way for the Imam out of respect for him. This infuriated the ruler, and when someone asked him about the Imam, he feigned ignorance.”

Dr Rizvi said this prompted court poet Farzdaq - who he termed the Ghalib of Arabic - to recite 40 verses in honour of the Imam then and there. The scholar read out the Urdu translations, while noting that “the biggest Jihad is speaking the truth in front of a tyrant.”

Allama Tilmiz Rizvi - who is based in the United States of America - said the Imams should not be identified merely as poets, as the verses have been honoured coming from such noble lips.

The scholar said the Divan was taken from an authentic manuscript and contained some 145 verses of the Imam, as well as a few others attributed to him. He added that the martyrs of Karbala had also uttered some immortal verses before meeting the enemy in the battlefield.

Mr Mohammad Masood Zamani, in his speech as chief guest, said that Imam Sajjad (AS) was under the constant watch of the government following the massacre of Karbala. “However, he fought injustice through his worship and devotions.” The Iranian CG mentioned the Imam`s nightly vigils. He narrated that once the Imam was so engrossed in his devotions that he continued his prayers even though his house had caught fire.

Seyed Hossain Taghizadeh, director-general of Khana-i-Farhang, presented the vote of thanks.

It should be noted that the Divan may be obtained from the publisher free of cost.