Story No. 441 – Imam Ali Naqi’s (as) Judgment to send tricking Zainab into the cage of Lions:

During the time of Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil a lady claimed that she was Zainab the daughter of Fatimah (sa). Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil said, “Many long years have passed since that period when Zainab lived and you are quite young.”

She replied, “Yes, but the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) drew his hand upon my head and prayed for me to remain young for ever. As such, after every forty years I turn back to become young.” Al-Mutawakkil called upon all the wise men to visit him and enquired from them, “What do you say about the claim of this women.” All of them said, “she tells a lie.”

Al-Mutawakkil said, “I know that she is lying, but what proof and logic do you have to condemn her.”

They said, “We do not know, Imam Ali Naqi (as) should solve this problem.”

Al-Mutawakkil at once summoned Imam Ali Naqi (as) and told him about that matter.

Imam Ali Naqi (as) said, send her to the cage of the lions, if she is telling the truth, because the beasts do not molest the children of Fatimah (sa) and do not eat their flesh. Al-Mutawakkil said to the woman, “what do you say?”

She said, “This man wishes that I may be killed. If he is right then let him do it himself.” Al-Mutawakkil said, “she is right, you must do it first yourself.”

Imam Ali Naqi (as) replied, “There is no hurdle to it” He went to the lions in the cage and sat among them. All observed with amazement, that the lions sat very respectfully before the Imam Ali Naqi (as) and sometimes caressed themselves against his body and he caressed their bodies with his hand, affectionately. When Imam Ali Naqi (as) ordered that they might move to a corner, all of them crept to a nook. Then Imam Ali Naqi (as) came out of the cage and went to Al-Mutawakkil and said, “Oh woman now it is your turn.”

The woman started crying and begging saying, “I told a lie, I am the daughter of such and such man, and wanted to play a trick and a hoax but it did not work.”