Imam’s (peace be on him) exemplary ethics even with animals

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عَنْ زُرَارَةَ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ يَقُولُ كَانَتْ لِعَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلَامُ نَاقَةٌ قَدْ حَجَّ عَلَيْهَا اثْنَتَيْنِ وَ عِشْرِينَ حَجَّةً مَا قَرَعَهَا قَرْعَةً قَطُّ فَمَا فَجَأَتْنِي بَعْدَ مَوْتِهِ إِلَّا وَ قَدْ جَاءَنِي بَعْضُ الْمَوَالِي فَقَالُوا إِنَّ النَّاقَةَ قَدْ خَرَجَتْ فَأَتَتْ قَبْرَ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلَامُ فَانْبَرَكَتْ عَلَيْهِ فَدَلَكَتْ بِجِرَانِهَا وَ هِيَ تَرْغُو فَقُلْتُ أَدْرِكُوهَا فَجِيئُونِي بِهَا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَعْلَمُوا بِهَا أَوْ يَرَوْهَا ثُمَّ قَالَ أَبُو جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ وَ مَا كَانَتْ رَأَتِ الْقَبْرَ قَطُّ

Zuraarah (r.a.) reports, “I heard (Imam) Abu Ja’far (al-Baqer – peace be on him) say, ‘Ali Ibn al-Husain (peace be on them both) had a she-camel on which he had travelled for Hajj twenty-two times. Not even once (during these journeys) did he beat her. After his death, it did not appear to me but that some (of our) companions came to me and said, ‘Verily, the she-camel has indeed come out and gone to the grave of Ali Ibn al-Husain (peace be on them both), sat down upon it, rubbed its neck (on the grave) while it was frothing’. I said, ‘Go to it and bring it to me before they (viz. the Bani Umayyah) come to know about her or see her’.

Thereafter, (Imam) Abu Ja’far (peace be on him) informed, ‘Never again it saw the grave’.”


1.    Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 353, H. 15

2.    Ikhtesaas, p. 300

3.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 27, p. 270, H. 23 and vol. 46, p. 147, H. 2


1)    A camel was called as the ship of the desert because it is used for long-distance journeys through the deserts in days when there were no cars or airplanes. 

2)    It is the general practice to whip the animals to increase their speed in such journeys. But Imam Ali Ibn al-Husain (peace be on them) never beat his mount and was extremely polite with it. It was this behavior which made the animal cry at the passing away of its master.

3)    This narration exemplifies the behavior of the Ahle Bait (peace be on them) towards all the creatures of Allah the Almighty.  4)            The she-camel’s coming to the grave of Imam (peace be on him) shows divine inspiration even to the animals of the infallible guides (peace be on them). At least from this aspect, we can say that the animal is better than some humans like the deniers of the visitation of the graves.

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