He is Imam Zayd the son of ‘Ali Zayn al-Abidin, the son of al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali the son of Abu Talib (may Allah have mercy on them all). Abu Is-haq described him saying, “I saw Zayd ibn ‘Ali. I did not see anyone from among his family who was like him or more superior in knowledge and virtue. He was the most eloquent among them and the most abstentious and expressive.
al-Sha’biy said, “By Allah! No woman has given birth to one who is better than Zayd ibn ‘Ali, or more learned, courageous, abstentious, or expressive, he was peerless. His shrine in Egypt is known to the public as the shrine of our master ‘Ali Zayn al-Abidin who is buried in the blessed Baqie’ in al-Medina al-Mumawara. There is no doubt that the shrine in Egypt is endowed with the blessings of the father and son with the grace of Allah the Almighty.
He died as a martyr in the month of Safar 122 AH.
His father is ‘Ali Zayn al-Abidin. Once when he was on pilgrimage and after circumambulating the Ka’ba, Hisham ibn Abdul Malik was trying to reach the Black Stone to stand before it but to no avail. A platform was erected for him on which he sat looking at the people. ‘Ali then approached the scene and circumambulated the Ka’ba. When he reached the Black Stone, all the people drew back to allow him to stand before it.
Loyalty was one of Zayn al-Abidin’s best characteristics. He was once asked about the ranks of Abu Bakr and Umar with the Messenger of Allahﷺ. al-Husayn’s son pointed at the noble Rawda and said, “He was as close to him during their lifetime as he is now.” A fanatic then approached him and asked about the status of Abu Bakr with the Messenger of Allahﷺ. Zayn al-Abidin replied, “You ask about the Siddiq [the truthful one]?” The man said, “So, you call him al-Siddiq?” Zayd al-Abidin said, “May your mother mourn you! The one who is better than me (the Messenger of Godﷺ) called him Siddiq and so did the muhajirun (emigrants) and the ansar (helpers). He who does not call him Siddiq, Allah will void his words of truth.”