Although far too many remarks have been constantly made in light of Imam Husayn's features as yet, purely for luck and good omen, Several of which shall be referred too.
This magnanimous Imam was born on Sha'ban 3,4 A.H. And having been intimately beside the Prophet, his forefather, he could never detach himself from him even at the prayer time. Allah's Messenger, who adored him and his brother exceedingly, could demonstrate a profile of their virtues through his statements to his disciples. In hadith books many virtues describing Imam Husayn (a) can be detected. Mostly like the hadith of, الحسن والحسين سيدا شباب أهل الجنّة “ Hasan and Husayn are both the masters of the youth of Paradise dwellers.”
They are repeatedly narrated by successive generations and considered authentic. The Prophet's extreme affection for these two sons was entirely overt to all disciples. As hinted at concerning with Imam Hasan, the Prophet has been doing his utmost so hard to make the nation conscious of his true attachment to them both that he stated, من أحبني فليحب هذين1 “O Allah, adore the one who adores these two” من أحب الحسن والحسين فقد أحبني، ومن أبغضهما فقد أبغضني2 “The one feeling affectionate for Hasan and Husayn, feel so for me; nonetheless, the one making them wrathful, has made me too” هما ريحاني من الدينا3 “These two are my fragrant flowers from universe.”
Among the virtues exclusively narrated about Imam Husayn the most well-known of all is, حسين منّي وأنا من حسين4 “Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn.”
It has been narrated by Yahya Ibn Salim Mawsili, Imam Husayn's governor, as saying, “As we were walking accompanying Imam, he stopped to knock on a door and ask for water. A bondswoman came out holding a bowl of water. Prior to drinking, he took out a piece of silver and offered it to her and then said, “Give it to your family”. He drank afterwards.5
Abu Bakr Ibn Muhammad Ibn Hazm has recounted that when Imam Husayn had been passing by the platform whereon a group of the underpriviliged was having food, he was requested to have a share in.
“Under no circumstances does Allah love the arrogant”, stated Imam and dismounted to eat. Later, Imam told them, “You invited me and I replied in the affirmative. Now I invite you and I expect you to comply with”. Addressing his wife, Rubab, he demanded her to provide what she had prepared.6
It is quoted from Imam al-Baqir (a) that for pilgrimage, Imam Husayn inclined towards moving on foot whereas his horses were all going behind him.7
Attending the wars of Jamal, Siffin and Nahrawan, Imam Husayn battled against those breaching their promise and exerting oppression with his father side by side. A sermon is narrated from him in Siffin whereby he persuaded people to struggle.8
From the very nitrating stages of Siffin, Imam Husayn had such a determining role in capturing the route of water from the soldiers of Damascus that after the victorious result Imam 'Ali asserted: (هذا اول فتح ببركة الحسين (ع “It was the ever-first conquest for the sake of Husayn's blessing.” 9
After Imam was called and told by 'Ubayd Ibn 'Umar that his father had done such and such to Quraysh, Imam accused him of abiding by Qasitin (the apostates) and added that these kinds of individuals have consented to Islam reluctantly but as a matter of fact they are in no way Muslims.10
The one who earnestly and thoroughly upholded Imam Hasan's policy during his tenure was Imam Husayn (a). In spite of frequent demand by Iraq for Imam's travel to Kufa even after his brother's Matyrdom, His Excellency did never incline and warned that it shall look irrational taking an action as long as Mu'awiya is alive.
This utterance denoted that for a ten-year interlude Imam endured Mu'awiya compulsorily. This point can be regarded as of significance in Imam Husayn's political standings although rarely is it taken into account. And the reason might be due to the fact that we notice Imam Husayn merely from the standpoint of his revolutionary action in Karbala.
Both the relations between Imam and Mu'awiya and the conversation that they have had under various conditions profoundly manifest Imam's politically unyielding manner in acceding the legitimacy of Mu'awiya's rule. One of the most credible evidence is Imam's lengthy letter to Mu'awiya therein numerous facts about Mu'awiya's atrocity against 'Ali's Shi'ite Muslims has been revealed. “Never do I intend to oppose you nor combat you”, Imam wrote.
Then he added:
وأيم الله لقد تركت وأنا أخاف الله في تركه وما أظن الله راضياَ مني بترك محاكمتك اليه ولا عاذري دون الاعتذار اليه فيك وفي اوليائك القاسطين الملحدين حزب الظالمين وأولياء الشياطين…أولست قاتل حجر بن عدي وأصحابه المصلين العابدين الذين ينكرون الظلم ويستعظمون البدع ولا يخافون لومة لائم، ظلماَ وعدواناً بعد اعطائهم الأمان بالمواثيق والايمان المغلظة، أو لست قاتل عمرو بن الحمق الخزاعي، صاحب رسول الله الذي أبلته العبادة وصفرت لونه وانحلت جسمه،… أو لست المدعي زياد بن سمية المولود علي فراش عبيد عبد ثقيف وزعمت أنه ابن أبيك وقد قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم, الولد للفراش وللعاهر الحجر، فتركت سنة رسول الله صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم وخالفت أمره متعمداً واتبعت هواك مكذباً بغير هدى من الله، ثم سلطه على العراقين فقطع أيدي المسلمين وسمل أعينهم وصلبهم علي جذوع النخل،
أولست صاحب الحضرميين الذي كتب اليك ابن سميه أنهم على دين علي، فكتبت اليه، اقتل من كان على دين علي ورأيه، فقتلتهم ومثل بهم بأمرك؛ ودين علي، دين محمد صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم الذي كان يضرب عليه أباك والذي انتحالك اياه اجلسك مجلسك هذا ولولا هموا1981 كان أفضل شرفك تجشم الرحلتين في طلب الخمور…فلا أعلم لنفسي وديني أفضل من جهادك، فان أفعله فهو قربة الى ربي وان أتركه فذنب أستغفرالله منه في كثير من تقصيري… فابشر يا معاوية بالقصاص وأيقن بالحساب واعلم أنّ لله كتاب لايغادر صغيرة ولا كبيرة الا أحصاها وليس الله بناس لك أخذك بالظّنة وقتلك أوليائه علي الشبهة والتهمة للناس بالبيعة لابنك غلام سفه يشرب الشراب ويلعب بالكلاب ولا أعلمك الا قد خسرت نفسك وأوبقت دينك وأكلت أمانتك وغششت رعيتك وتبوأت مقعدك النار فبعداَ لقوم الظالمين
“By Almighty Allah, I relinquished combating against you meanwhile I have fear of Him. I surmise not that Allah would be gratified with me unless I allow Him to ajudicate about you the atheist and ruthless party as well as the devils' supporters. Were you not the one who slayed Hujr Ibn 'Adi and his followers brutally, those who struggled in a bid to abolish oppression and oppose the heresy while dreading no jeopardy? But then with recourse to swearing oaths, you gave them a quarter.
Were you not the assassin of 'Amr Ibn Hamiq Khuza'i, he who was among the Prophet's disciples and whose too much worshpping had emanciated and enfeebled his physique and transformed his expression…? Were you not the one who claimed brotherhood with Ziyad Ibn Sumayya, a newborn whose begetter was 'Ubayd 'Abd Thaqif where as you declared that he was your father's son? It was while the Holy Prophet had affirmed that the newborn belongs to the one who does beget it and it is requisite that the adulterer be stoned to death.
Deliberately, you ignored the Prophet's Sunna and disobeyed him and with no divine guidance you still sought after your carnal desire. Heedless of the fact that Ziyad cut out Muslims' hands, blinded them and hung them from the palm trees, you gave him predominance in Kufa and Basra. Did you not slay those two from Haďram, attributed to Haďr Mawt, those about whom Ziyad wrote to you that the, two, believed in 'Ali's religion and you responded that anyone being of the same religion and belief as 'Ali ought to be slaughtered?
As a result, he did slay and mutilate them at your behest. It's the fact other than this that 'Ali's religion is in every respect Muhammad's, the one against whom our father battled? And this religion was what thereby you won this position and if it were not of existence, your only virtue would be merely the tolerance of difficulties during the summer and winter trips seeking for intoxicating drink…
I deem naught more momentous than Jihad against you for myself and my religion. I shall draw nearer to my Lord if I do accomplish it but I should ask Him for forgiveness for my neglect and error unless I did accomplish it …
O Mu'awiya! I give you glad tidings of retaliation for Hujr's murder! Never doubt and be informed that there exists a book for Allah wherein any sin whether minor or major is accurately recorded.
Yes, never ever will Allah fail to remember you for all those whom you have cynically arrested and skeptically slayed; for all those whom you compelled to swear allegiance to your insane, wine drinker and dog-fancying son.
What I can say is that you let yourself sustain losses, rendered your religion futile, abused what has been left in your custody, deceived your peasant and consequently you fill you grave with fire to overflowing. May Allah keep the oppressors away from us!”11
Elsewhere, Baladhuri has brought the letter in brief having an additional sentence, وما أعلم فتنة أعظم من ولايتك هذه الامة “ I know of no sedition being more dreadful than your rule over this nation.”12
Later, no sooner had Mu'awiya faced Imam Husayn than he inquired, “Have you heard what we did for Hujr, his followers and your father's Shi'ite Muslims?
“What?” asked Imam.
We murdered them, Mu'awiya replied, wrapped them in shroud, performed prayers for them and interred them.
Imam stated in return, “Neither would we wrap them in shroud, perform prayers for them, nor bury them, if we killed your followers.”13
By the same token, Mu'awiya resorted to any means to suppress the opponents. He even put the holiest figures to the test through alluring. In this way, once he had strivde to silence Abu Dharr in Damascus. Here, we demonstrate an amazing example about Mu'awiya's policy toward Imam Husayn (a), the policy that Mu'awiya had adopted to relieve Imam's wrath about the Umayya by sending presents.
Narrated by Asma'i is that a gorgeous bondswoman was brought for Mu'awiya. When he questioned her price, he was told “100,000 dhms”. Mu'awiya purchased her. Taking a look at 'Amr Ibn 'As, he asked who deserved that woman.
'Amr and all those present said, ” Amir al-Mu'minin does”.
“No”, Mu'awiya contradicted, “She is solely appropriate for Husayn Ibn 'Ali.” “For his family dignity, he deserves her the most”, he added. “It can remove the indignation stemmed from the contention between his father and I.” He commanded that they dispatch her to Imam as a gift.
Making her ready for a journey after forty days, they sent her along with a great deal of goods, clothes and so forth. In a letter, Mu'awiya wrote to Imam that Amir al-Mu'minin purchashed a bondswoman and although he loved her, he granted her to him generously. After the bondswoman was brought in, upon seeing her, Imam who was astonished at her charm, inquired what her name was.
“Hawa (passion)”, she responded.
Imam stated, “How becoming is the name to you! Can you read anything?”
Yes, I can, she replied, both Qur'an and poem.
Imam demanded that she recite Qur'an. She prefaced,
وَعِنْدَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ…
“All means for discovering the hidden things are with Allah and no one else knows them but He…”
Being requested by Imam to read poems if she knew, the bondwoman asked “Am I immune enough?”
“Certainly”, Imam answered.
The woman read,
أنت نعم المتاع لو كنت تبقي غير أن لا بقاء للانسان
“What a precious property you would be if you survived, what a pity no one will survive.”
In regard with the content of the poem, Imam burst into tears and said, “Not only are you liberated, but also all sent goods are yours.”
“Have you composed anything concerning Mu'awiya?” he asked.
“Sure, I have,” She responded,
رأيت الفتي يمضي ويجمع جهده رجاء الغني والوارثون قعود
و ما للفتي الا نصيب من التقي اذا فارق الدنيا عليه يعود
“I saw a youth passing by and dreaming about riches while his heirs were waiting in an ambush. There is no one higher for a youth but piety, for when passing away it would give him a hand.”
Imam, ordering to offer her 1000 dhms as well, stated that his father had also composed regarding it,
و من يطلب الدنيا لحال تسـرّه فسوف لعمري عن قليل يلومها
اذا أدبرت كانت علي المرء فتنة وان اقبلت كانت قليلا دوامها
“Anyone, who seeks after this world to make him cheerful for a moment, by myself, he will regret presently; when he turns back on it, he faces problem and when he turns toward it, it will be transient.”
Afterwards, Imam wept and stood up to pray.14
Earlier when discussing the issue of making caliphate hereditary, we elucidated Imam's stance against Mu'awiya's measures. Imam was one of the most notable opponents at that juncture who spared no effort for expressing his opposition in this respect.
Throughout the years when Imam Husayn and his brother were in Medina, Marwan was the governor of the city whose abomination and abusiveness was proverbial and searched for an occasion to slander and insult Imam 'Ali (a).
Abu Yahya has recounted, “I was present while Marwan and Imam Husayn were wrangling. Imam Hasan (a) could cease his brother but Marwan kept on so courteously that he said “You, Ahl al-Bayt, are all cursed.” This utterance was the manifestation of Marwan's innate and deep-rooted malice. Upon hearing, Imam Hasan reacted that, والله لقد لعن الله أباك علي لسان نبيه وأنت في صلبه “ Allah had cursed your father with the tongue of His Messenger where as you were still in his loins.”15
Accordingly, in this way came Marwan's vengeance towards the Prophet (S).
Once Mu'awiya did his best to persuade the daughter of 'Abd Allah Ibn Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib to marry his son, Yazid. When 'Abd Allah consulted Imam Husayn (a), Imam advised, أتزوجه وسيوفهم تقطر من دمائنا؟ “ Do you intend to offer your daughter to the one down whose swords our blood drips?”
“Convince her to marry your nephew, Qasim Ibn Muhammad”.16
In compliance with another narration, Mu'awiya's intention for this action was creating reconciliation between the Umayya and the Hashimites in other words, making the Hashimites surrender to the Umayya.17
As preplanned, Yazid became the caliph subsequent to Mu'awiya's death in Rajab, 60 A.H. No sooner had this news spread through Medina than Yazid exerted himself to secure allegiance from all those opponents whose opposition might wage a revolt against him.18
Writing a letter to Walid Ibn 'Utba Ibn Abi Sufyan, governor of Medina, Yazid urged him to secure allegiance from 'Abd Allah Ibn Zubayr and Husayn Ibn 'Ali (a). Marwan also commanded that Walid dispatch the soldiers to them at that very night and if they defied, they should decapitate them all on the spot in view of the fact that night seemed an opportunity to suffice to revolt and summon people.19
Imam Husayn who was informed of Mu'awiya's death through the message-bearer of the governor of Medina, proceeded to the palace accompanied by a number of followers armed to guard Imam against any probable menace. Being asked by Walid to swear allegiance to Yazid, Imam stated that such a figure like him ought not to swear privately but openly in a mosque.
Walid concurred, but Marwan made an attempt threateningly to provoke him into arresting Imam. Imam, furious with Marwan, addressed Walid as saying,
أيها الامير! انا اهل بيت النبوة ومعدن الرسالة ومختلف الملائكة ومحطّ الرحمة وبنا فتح الله وبنا ختم ويزيد رجل فاسق شارب خمر، قاتل النفس المحرمة معلن بالفسق ومثلي لا يبايع مثله “
O emir! We, Holy Prophet's household, are the mine of Prophetic mission, angels' companions and the fountain of mercy. Allah has commenced with us and so will He terminate with us. By no means will I swear allegiance to Yazid who is libertine, wine-drinker, murderer of the venerated and the one debauching in public.”
It was at the same session where Imam affirmed in reaction to Marwan's insistence in securing allegiance, “The knell of Islam will be rung if Yazid is supposed to secure the power, وعلى الاسلام السلام. Vindicating through the verse of Tathir (purification), he commented on Ahl al-Bayt's meritedness in obtaining the caliphate.20 This vindication was what had been narrated by Imam 'Ali(a) and Imam Hasan (a) as well.
At the same night, Ibn Zubayr departed from Medina and was pursued by the governmental guards next day. Next night Imam Husayn did so21 in a trip along with all Ahl al-Bayt and the only one remained in Medina was Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyya.22 It is told that the date of departure was Sha'ban 3, 60 A.H. concurrent with his birthday.
When Imam stepped into Mecca, the residents became quite delighted and even Ibn Zubayr who was a leader himself took part in Imam's congregational prayers and hadith sessions.23 Since Mecca was assumed a religious base for Islam, it was naturally the center of attentions where Imam was in touch with various distinguished and ordinary individuals and interpreted the reasons of not swearing allegiance to Yazid.
Looking forward to experiencing such a day for quite a long, the Shi'ite Muslims of Kufa became elated by hearing Imam's resistance against Yazid and his arrival in Mecca. They had already condoled Imam Husayn on Imam Hasan's martyrdom in a letter and invited him; nevertheless, Imam had refused.
In the held meeting, such Shi'ites leaders as Sulayman Ibn Surad, and the others made speeches and propounded Imam's invitation to Iraq. Despite the agreement all announced, Sulayman stressed all to undertake and not to violate; they renounced their commitment.24 And then a joint letter was written by a few regarded as Shi'ites leaders such as Sulayman, Musayyib Ibn Najba, Habib Ibn Mazahir, Rufa'a Ibn Shaddad as well as 'Abd Allah Ibn Wal inviting Imam to come to Kufa.25
Their letter remained unanswered on Imam's part. After a while, other letters were consecutively sent and above all Qays Ibn Musahhar Saydawi, 'Abd Allah Ibn Wal and several others personally travelled to Mecca.
On account of the additional letters received by Imam one after another the status quo modified in such a way that it was something beyond the bounds of possibility for Imam to pay no heed to the inviters.26 When Hani Ibn Hani went to Mecca, he reported people's presence in general and the distinguished's readiness in particular and it managed to be a confirmation and emphasis on letter's contents.
The first action Imam took was dispatching Muslim to Kufa. Imam addressed him as saying,
وان رأيت الناس مجتمعين على بيعتي فالعجل لي بالخبر حتى أعمل علي حسب ذلك
“Notify me swiftly to adopt a measure in case you perceived that the people are totally willing to swear allegiance to me.” 27 “
Muslim, around 40, was singled out from among Ahl al-Bayt for this vital mission. As stated by historians, en route to Medina and then to Iraq from Mecca, Muslim lost his way and one of or both couriers conducting him breathed their last. He, in a letter, asked permission to return but Imam's response was to accomplish his mission.28
Muslim entered Kufa and resided in Mukhtar's house, being renowned among Shi'ite Muslims. He commenced to secure allegiance. Summoning to Divine Book, Prophet's Sunna, Jihad against the oppressors, defending the oppressed, aiding the needy, fair distribution of Bayt al-Mal (public treasury) among Muslims, backing prophet's household, compromising the one whom they compromise, battling the one against whom they battle, abiding by Ahl al-Bayt's word and action and not practicing the contrary, were all among the stipulated conditions of allegiance.29
In an interval of thirty five days after Muslim's arrival, Shawwal 5, 60, nearly 18.000 people swore allegiance to him. In addition to Shi'ite Muslims, ordinary people were among them too, as an example Muhammad Ibn Bashir said, “I'd like Allah to assist my friends although I do never like to be killed, nor do I like to lie”. The gap formed succeeding Mu'awiya's death among the Umayya opponents in Iraq was filled by Muslim's arrival. All surrounded Muslim. While the might of government had mitigated, Muslim could openly visit people more easily than before.
The Umayya's spies who were discontented with the status of Nu'man Ibn Bashir, in a letter wrote to Yazid that the more he required Kufa, the sooner he should adopt a measure.30 Muslim also was engaged in recruiting forces and preparing military weapons. About Abu Thumama Sa'idi it is narrated, يشتري لهم السلاح وكان به بصيرا “ As far as his full acquaintance with weapons was concerned, he was delegated to purchase them.”31
Later on, Ibn Ziyad had accused Hani, “Your house has been a refuge for Muslim's followers and a cache for the weapons”.32
Yazid appointed Ibn Ziyad as the governor of Kufa while he was the governor in Basra as well. According to historians, in a will given to his servant to transfer to Yazid later, Mu'awiya had appointed Ibn Ziyad to confront any probable riot in Iraq.33
Having executed Husayn Ibn 'Ali's message-carrier in Basra, Ibn Ziyad set out for Kufa to suppress the insurgents through harshness he had inherited from his father.
The most practical and efficient tool resorted by Ibn Ziyad for suppression of the Iraqi was nothing save threat. Since the inception, he summoned the distinguished of the city and ordered that they are duty-bound to introduce the aliens and those whose arrest is pleasant for Yazid, Kharijites and all those willing to create disunion and conflict and also register their names. And if one did not carry out his own responsibility, any mischief done by aforgoing persons would be upon his conscience and the ruler would on no accounts protect him. In that sense, shedding his blood and confiscating his possessions would be presumed lawful.34
The pressures from the side of Ibn Ziyad propelled Muslim to change his residence and act in secrecy. The new place was Hani Ibn 'Urwa's house, one of the chiefs of the tribe of Madhhij and it seemed to be more secure. Ibn Ziyad was searching for him confusedly. Appointing a spy to claim amity with Ahl al-Bayt, he could locate his whereabouts. Ibn Ziyad apprehended Hani first and urged him to hand over Muslim. At the same time, those belonging to the tribe of Madhhij rose up. But Shurayh Qaďi treacherously assured them that Hani was alive and Ibn Ziyad's guest; therefore, he could dispel them.35
Muslim took an action and demanded a few numbers that they summon their friends by chanting the slogan of “O the helper of nation” which was one of the slogans of the Prophet at the time of wars. While making a sermon in the mosque, Ibn Ziyad heard the voices.
He who crawled into the palace, concealed himself behind all the locked portals. Muslim's army besieged the edifice but by reason of something indefinite the back portal remained unbesieged through which the distinguished of Kufa were regularly in touch with Ibn Ziyad. That door was known as “Bab al-Rumiyyin”. The throng accompanying Muslim was such a countless number at first that it could terrify Ibn Ziyad and his people and confine them in the palace.36
Incited by Ibn Ziyad, the distinguished of Kufa began menacing. “Tomorrow, an army will arrive from Damascus and will do such and such,” they warned people.37 Another group made the members of their own tribes secede from among Muslim's followers, Going after their husbands and children, the women said preventively, والناس يكفونك “ Others are present.” 38 “They will fill the gap of your absence.” After a couple of hours many dispersed,39 وصلي المغرب وما معه الا ثلاثون رجلاً “ Only did thirty people participate in his congregational evening prayer.” Afterwards they also dispelled!
Ibn Ziyad, daring not to exit from terror, commanded to check inside the mosque which was joined to the edifice from the roof to see whether someone was there or not. With throwing down a torch, they made sure that no one was there; therefore, they commenced searching for Muslim in the city. Ibn Ziyad had commanded to inspect all the houses in Kufa door to door and arrest Muslim.40
Ultimately he was traced and after a short clash he was taken to Ibn Ziyad. يا شاق! خرجت علي امامك وشققت عصا المسلمين “ Have you come from your Imam's side,” inquired Ibn Ziyad, to remove Muslims' union?
Muslim replied that he in no way recognized not only Mu'awiya's caliphate but also beyond any question his son's as legitimate because he oppressively usurped the caliphate from Prophet's successor.41
“The inhabitants of this city are all of this belief that your father has shed the blood of their kins and misbehaved like Caesar and Kasra”, he added, “we have come to establish justice and summon people to Allah's and the Prophet's decrees.”42
In order to mar Muslim's reputation among people and to put his deception in practice, Ibn Ziyad said, “In Medina, you have been drinking!”
Sedately, Muslim asserted, “Someone like you for whom slaying innocent people is insignificant will be superior to me if I drink”.43
Muslim whose whole perturbation was for the sake of Imam Husayn (a), called 'Umar Ibn Sa'd being from Quraysh and claiming to be Muslim's relative to make his will. What he recommended him was, first, to dispatch one to Husayn and hinder him from coming to Kufa; secondly, to wrap his corpse in a shroud and bury him and thirdly, by selling his sword and other belongings, to pay for his debts. Then Muslim was martyred.
Although beyond any doubt Muslim was a chaste and pious man, Imam Husayn's confidence in him, on one hand, and his debt in Kufa, on the other hand, proves the point. He did never ask someone for a loan44 and all this time with 700 dhms he had already loaned could make ends meet. At the threshold of his martyrdom he was determined to sell his belongings for clearing his debt.
Another point in his characteristic was that once the ground was prepared for Muslim to kill Ibn Ziyad but he did not. After Ibn Ziyad had gone to Kufa with Sharik Ibn A'war, a Shi'ites in Basra, Sharik became sick and had to rest in Hani Ibn 'Urwa's house who was one of the Shi'ite Muslims as well. Ibn Ziyad was set to visit Sharik while Muslim was concealed there.
Prior to his arrival, Sharik proposed Muslim to take this golden opportunity and attack Ibn Ziyad after a special cue, which was reading verses of poem. Never did Muslim do so however. Being reproved by Sharik after Ibn Ziyad left, Muslim stated that Hani did not feel like Ibn Ziyad to be murdered in his house. Also, he referred to a hadith from the Prophet that, الايمان قيد الفتك “ Such a murder is not confirmed in Islam at all.”45
The firstly abovementioned point can not be that acceptable about Hani unless presumably he might have been dreading that with arrival of the dwellers of Damascus later his life might be wholly lost. And about the second one, even though Muslim had reasoned through that hadith, now it merits consideration due to the fact that killing Ibn Ziyad who was a corrupt and criminal man at that moment could change the future of Iraq and Karbala effectively.
The Holy Prophet (S) himself in Medina had delegated a group to go to Mecca and kill Ka'b Ibn Ashraf and Abu 'Afak were both killed in the same manner. Killing not Ibn Ziyad had a political motivation, some pointed out. And people would have gone from Damascus to Kufa, afterwards, for taking vengeance and plundering it.46
It should not remain untold that they would go there whether Imam Husayn was victorious or not and it had no relevance to Ibn Ziyad's assassination. And later in the process of besieging his palace, why people left Muslim alone simply was never disclosed. Should this accident be blamed on the people of Kufa only or was it because the leader of the movement could not persuade the people to remain?
How Muslim's whereabouts was located is very interesting. In order to locate Muslim's hiding place, Ibn Ziyad had paid one of his servants. The servant who went to the mosque was looking for him according to the criteria he had heard about the Shi'ite Muslims. A person, performing prayers continuously, drew his attention. ان هولاء الشيعة يكثرون الصلاة وأحسب هذا منهم “ Since the Shi'ite Muslims pray innumerably I guess that man is a Shi'ites”47 he said to himself.
The man was Muslim Ibn 'Awsaja. After several testings, he could not detect his dastardly plot and while deceived took him to Muslim. The utterance evidently manifests that Shi'ite Muslims have been famed for asceticism and worship.
As Imam's official representative had verified the readiness of Kufa, there was no longer enough time for a moment's hesitation. With regard to the letters received as well as Muslim's letter the scene was beyond question set for rising against the Umayya; therefore, Imam hastened in such a way that on 8th Dhil-Hajja and exactly in thick of Hajj (pilgrimage) he changed ”'Umra Tamattu'” (a kind of Hajj) into ”'Umra Mufrada” (another kind of Hajj) and then set out to Iraq.
Wasting a moment could influence the status quo in Iraq. Furthermore, in view of the fact that Imam's assassination was probable in Mecca, his stay looked by no means proper. Reportedly, Imam's fellow-travelers were 80 people; nonetheless, they are to be more suggested by some other narrations. The number might denote only those accompanying Imam as far as Karbala.
En route, Imam's first encounter was with a caravan moving from Yemen to Damascus. What it was transporting were presents for Yazid's court. Intercepting the caravan, Imam appealed to them for joining him if willing; otherwise, they ought to return.48 Imam from Na'im, the area where he encountered the caravan, proceeded to as-Safah and it was where he met Farazdaq, a young poet at that time. After Imam asked him about the conditions in Kufa, he responded, قلوب الناس معك وسيوفهم عليك “ The people's hearts are with you whereas their swords are drawn at you too.”
When he arrived at Batn al-Ramma in a letter while touching upon Muslim's letter informed the people of Kufa to prepare for his entry.49 Qays Ibn Musahhar who had become responsible for taking the letter on his way to Kufa encountered Husayn Ibn Numayr's army and was arrested. Eating the letter on the spot, Qay was then martyred by Ibn Ziayd.
In another area, called Zadud, Imam saw Zuhayr Ibn Qayn. As soon as he heard of Imam's invitation and with his wife's persuasion he became one of Imam's close followers though he was an 'Uthmanid. He later asked his friends if they had enthusiasm for martyrdom they could join him; otherwise, they could take their way to Mecca.50
It was Dhat 'Irq where Imam Husayn (a) informed of both Hani's and Muslim's martyrdom in a message given by a man from Banu Asad.51 As quoted, Imam came to a decision to return but Muslim's brothers impeded. Never does it seem that Muslim's brothers either intended or were capable of compelling Imam to go on to Kufa if he were reluctant. Owing to the fact that in order to stimulate Imam to go, some had said, والله ما أنت مثل مسلم بن عقيل ولو قدمت الكوفة لكان الناس اليك أسرع “You are not Muslim, upon stepping into Kufa all will unite behind you at speed.”52
Imam was still decisive. The message Muslim had left to 'Umar Ibn Sa'd prior to his martyrdom and had pleaded to him for transferring it to Imam was received in Zabala.53 No sooner had the time elapsed than the martyrdom news of Qays Ibn Musahhar54 and 'Abd Allah Ibn Yaqtur, Imam's foster-brother spread.
What these reports could indicate was that everything has changed in Kufa and the present status was utterly distinct from that of the past reported by Muslim. At this very moment, Imam brought together all accompanying him and addressed them, أيها الناس قد خذلتنا شيعتنا فمن أراد منكم الانصراف فلينصرف “ O people, our Shi'ite Muslims left us alone. Anyone willing to return can return.”55
A number of people who had joined Imam halfway went back and the only ones remained were Imam's special friends.56 They were those who not only were with Imam from Mecca,231 but also before that from Medina.57 Nevertheless, those detaching from him were Arabs who had imagined that they would enter a town with Imam therein all were his followers.231 When the reality was revealed, they returned without hesitation.
After this stage, Imam kept on moving again. Here, it had become fully explicit for Imam that going to Kufa was under no circumstaces rational according to political evaluations; however, there existed an issue that, beyond politics, should differently be taken into account. Imam proceeded to Sharat where he made an overnight stay. He was moving next day that Ibn Ziyad's army led by Hurr Ibn Yazid Riyahi appeared from the distance and blocked Imam's way.
Here, it would seem convenient if we analyze the position taken by the people of Kufa towards the event of Karbala.
Among the historical sources as well as common people, the dwellers of Kufa have been introduced infamous and treacherous. What has been described concerning them was that being faithful to promises was invisible amongst them. While enumerating a few features of the people of Kufa, we referred to their rashness and it could invariably be to the detriment of them and their rulers at the time of decision-making. To be easily resented and easily persuaded, from one hand, and simply surrendering and disobeying, from the other hand, were all a profile of their split personalities.58 Here, let's consider their standing.
The population in Kufa included those from various tribes each of which enjoyed different arrangements during the different rulers' terms. The expediency the rulers regarded accounted for the variety in the classifications of tribes. Yet, the rulers mostly made allowances for the chiefs or the distinguished of the tribes bearing the fact in mind that in some situations their might was far more than that of governors'.
Merely a part of the population was formed by Shi'ite Muslims. Although a number of tribes were famous for Shi'ism, hardly ever could they be deemed to be first class Shi'ites tribes. They who were dispersed among the tribes had no unity. Since in addition to tribal morale they had a certain kind of Kufiyan morale; as a result, no discrepancy was conspicuous between them and others.
The count of Shi'ite Muslims was not considerable at all then. Reportedly, when in the mosque, Hujr Ibn 'Adi dissented Ziyad's remarks only a half or a third was concordant. With reference to Shi'istic morale of the town and assuring that the beliefs of a number of people were based on a kind of political Shi'ism according to which they only assented to join 'Ali's descendants relatively in political issues, the Shi'ites process of the town consisted of at least a fourth of the total population.
No one doubts that Kufa had invited Imam Husayn but did not assist him and later conducted his murder. Notwithstanding, it ought to be perceived who they have been, who had written the letters and how many from Kufa participated in the battle against Imam. It is also worth mentioning that, later on, Kufa turned into a hub for 'Ali's Shi'ite Muslims and even reacted against Banu 'Abbas who usurped the sovereignty of 'Ali's descendants.
Aside from the historians and hadith-narrators affiliated to the Umayya who loathed the people of Kufa, those of Banu 'Abbas had the same feeling. The oppressedness of the Shi'ite Muslims was not only political but also cultural. With the cultural sovereignty of Banu 'Abbas such a thing appeared thoroughly natural. Accordingly, much attention should be paid to the fact that the trend of narrating the events is observed through a pair of spectacles the color of which is as dark as disgusting Kufa for the sake of its Shi'ism.
Taking the aforesaid point into consideration, it should also be noted that such historians are all doing their utmost to prove that Shi'ite Muslims are unfaithful to the promises; in other words, Shi'ism foes are determined to attribute the advocating not of Kufa to Shi'ite Muslims.
On the contrary, the elaboration below will somewhat indicate that, at that time, only a minority of people remained Shi'ites and they were in a position that they could not defend Imam Husayn (a) although they would if they sacrificed devotedly. This utterance is what we present proofs for, in brief.
Visualizing the status quo of Kufa, it could be as to say that Yazid was a man who seemed, although tolerable for Damascus, he was extremely intolerable for Iraq. As soon as he secured the power, Shi'ite Muslims in Kufa began protesting. Since many in Kufa found no appropriate substitute for Yazid and while affected by the public atmosphere, they elected Husayn Ibn 'Ali (a). Besides, Iraq was normally unwilling to concede the domination of Damascus.
When the invitation was made on the part of Shi'ite Muslims, not simply did the common people, having special morale, expressed their advocacy, but also those who either assumed their positions in peril or were influenced by others, announced their support behind Husayn Ibn 'Ali (a).59 It resulted in an artificial but public atmosphere of support for him. The Umayya was also incapable of filling the political gap created subsequent to Mu'awiya's demise for a while. This atmosphere was continuously expanding and particularly, as a result of Nu'man Ibn Bashir's governorship, who was no strict at all, prevailed as long as Ibn Ziayd entered Kufa.
By taking a glance at a hadith by Imam Husayn, a further likelihood about the invitation on the part of the distinguished may be regarded that they intentionally added fuel to the flames to take Imam to Iraq and martyr him. The hadith was as follows, وما كانت كتب الي الا مكيدة لي وتقرباَ الى ابن معاوية “ They wrote nothing but for trickery and keeping closer to Ibn Mu'awiya.”60
Anyhow, the atmosphere was prepared so positively that upon realizing it, Muslim felt that Imam should set out to Kufa as soon as possible.
Scarcely ever can a person be at variance or rebel while the ruling system is of domineering and audacious dictatorship. When Nu'man Ibn Bashir, compassionate somehow, was the governor of Kufa, people dared reveal their Shi'ism without constraint and when Muslim entered the town, they warmly welcomed him with the Ibn Ziyad's substitution for Ibn Bashir, the tide turned against all at once. Ibn Ziyad's great savagery had terrorized many a person. Those who were oversensitive and made decision impetuously no only were they menaced by Ibn Ziyad, but also they were terrified by the present propaganda about pending arrival of an army from Damascus.
No sooner had few days passed than the withdrawal on the part of Muslim's supporters expedited. The nobles of the town who were now certain about the dominion in Kufa and had no doubt about the Umayyads's stability, stood up for them overtly. They have kept all silence as yet. Many others also looked not it expedient to be at odds with the chiefs of their tribes. These nobles were the ones who minimized Muslim's allies through alluring and threatening when Muslim attacked Ibn Ziyad's palace and they intended to manifest their power in controlling the people.61
The status in Kufa had taken such a new shape that before Ibn Ziyad's despotism even if a chief had defied, the members of the tribe would have never dared to be on his side. As recounted by historians, when Hani Ibn 'Urwa, chief of Banu Murad, was arrested “four thousand cavalrymen and eight thousand infantrymen” were his supporters. If the allies of Banu Murad joined them from Kinda, the total would be thirty thousand people. Despite the fact when he was dragged along in Bazar with his hands tied and while he was imploring one to help, no single helper appeared.62
After a short time, he was martyred whereas no one dissented at all.
During Imam Husayn's sojourning in Karbala, in his remarks Ibn Ziyad ordered the people to left Kufa for Karbala. He threateningly warned that, فأيّما رجل وجدناه بعد يومنا هذا متخلّفا عن العسكر برئت منه الذمّة “ “From today on whoever disobeys the army, he shall no longer be protected by us.” 63
It denoted that his punishment would be murder. In order to search in the town for anyone not complying with the army, Ibn Ziyad delegated Qa'qa' Ibn Suwayd. Qa'qa' while inspecting traced a man from the tribe of Hamdan who had come there to secure his father's inheritance. After he had been taken to Ibn Ziyad, he issued the verdict of his assassination. Later, فلم يبق محتلم بكوفه إلا خرج الى العسكر بالنخيلة Not a matured one could be seen in Kufa unless he had joined the army, Nukhayla.” 64
It was now when all swords were pulled against Imam Husayn (a). Assuredly, if people were free in their actions, by no means would they do so, since a great number were in the same condition.65
And now what Farazdaq had composed can be perceived concerning Kufa,
قلوبهم معك وسيوفهم عليك “Their hearts are with you while their swords are drawn against you” 66 or أنت أحب الناس إلي الناس والقضاء في السماء والسيوف مع بني أمية “ “You are the dearest of all, amongst people, but divine decree is in the sky and swords are beside the Umayya.” 67
For delineating the sense of this utterance, we can reason to Mujamma' Ibn 'Abd Allah al-’A'idhi quotation, that joined Imam from Kufa as saying “The nobles are all in opposition to you and though the hearts of the rest are with you, tomorrow they will pull the swords against you”.68
Under those existing circumstances, people could not help going to Karbala owing to the fact that their stay coincided with their slay. The Shi'ite Muslims or those being reluctant to do so had two alternatives, one, to ally themselves with Imam, two, to flee from Kufa and Karbala.
It can be well detected from varying reports that the group of people, who were coercively sent to Karbala for a battle against Imam Husayn, either fled halfway, or did not appear in Karbala at all. The total number of soldiers recruited for Ibn Ziyad's army and announced in Karbala was the census, which was taken while dispatching them to Karbala; nonetheless, a throng of them had fled halfway.
There must have been some ten thousand people or less in Karbala whereas compared with the population of Kufa it was considerably few. It is said that Kufa mosque had been accommodating forty thousand people.69 What this fact does disclose is that many had either concealed themselves in Kufa or fled halfway.
Baladhuri has written, وكان الرجل يُبعث في ألف فلا يصل إلاّ في ثلاثماة أو أربعمأة وأقل من ذلك كراهة منهم لهذا الوجه “ “A commander was sent with a thousand troops but when entering Karbala the troops were reduced to as few as three hundred, four hundred or even less. And it stood for the disgust people bore for moving there.” 70
“When a commander along with a great many was sent to Karbala by Ibn Ziyad”, wrote Dinwari, يصلون إلي كربلاء ولم يبق منهم إلا القليل كانوا يكرهون قتال الحسين فيرتدعون فيتخلّفون “ “A great few arrived in Karbala and it was due to the aversion they had to battle against Husayn, hence they preferred to return and secede from the army.” 71
In addition to fleeing, a number's endeavor was to join Imam Husayn for his support. When Imam entered Karbala, it could be eight days before his martyrdom. No one could ever dream about occurrence of a war and Imam's martyrdom. It was 'Ashura morning when Hurr Ibn Yazid perceived how serious the situation was and allied himself with Imam. Many people might have had the same idea as Hurr. He told Imam:
بابي أنت وأمي! ما ظننت الأمر فينتهي بهؤلاء القوم إلى ما أرى وظننت أنهم سيقبلون منك إحدى الخصال التي عرضتها عليهم فقلتُ في نفسي لا أبالي أن أطيع القوم في بعض أمورهم
“May my parents be sacrificed for you! I could never imagine that people's conditions might be culminated in such a phase I observe. I presumed that they might consent to one of the several alternatives you proposed. I said to myself that I would not mind if I abide by them in a few affairs, but now…”72
It was merely Hurr who joined Imam together with a few numbers. Although some might have it in mind, they could not make their decision. Even if Shi'ite Muslims intended to defend, they did not hasten and only did special ones draw decisively a conclusion and could join Imam at the very beginning. Among those who joined Imam were Nafi' Ibn Hilal Muradi, 'Umar Ibn Khalid Saydawi, Sa'd, one of 'Umar Ibn Khalid's governors and Mujamma' Ibn 'Abd Allah al-’A'idhi from the tribe of Madhhij.73
By the day of 'Ashura, Muslim Ibn 'Awsaja and Habib Ibn Mazahir could reach there. As written by Ibn Sa'd, in 'Ashura morning, some twenty men joined Imam.74 Ibn Qutayba has reported the number as many as thirty.75 Further names are referred to by historians.76
Noticing such escaping and joining, Ibn Ziyad had to prevent them; consequently, he took an action. Ibn Sa'd who was one of the first narrators has written, وجعل الرجل والرجلان والثلاثة يتسللون إلى حسين من الكوفة “ When Ibn Ziyad was notified that people were joining Husayn individually or in two people or three-people groups.”
Commanding to prepare the barracks, he appointed 'Amr Ibn Hurayth to drive the people into Nukhayla. His order was also keeping watch on the bridge not to allow one to flee.77 Husayn Ibn Numayr was duty-bound to patrol the area between Qadisiyya and Qutqutana to identify anyone proceeding to Hijaz inasmuch as under this pretext they might join Imam.78
Ibn Ziyad wrote to his governor in Basra to send a signal man to control the routes and if anyone traversed, he should arrest him.79 It is absolutely obvious that whom they meant were those who might come to aid Imam. Similarly, Ibn Ziyad had commanded that the routes between Waqisa and Damascus up to the route of Basra be tightly restricted, ولا يدعون أحد يلج ولا يخرج “ and not to allow anyone to move and exit through it.”80
Once Habib Ibn Mazahir prompted the tribe of Banu Asad, being in the vicininty, to help but 'Ubayd Allah's army alienated seventy of them from Imam's army and did not permit them to join Imam.81 At this juncture, many were in prison. Among the prisoners was Mukhtar Ibn Abi 'Ubayda who was apprehended and whipped by Ibn Ziyad. Whipping caused Mukhtar's one eye be blinded for ever.82 This tight control could play an influential role in hindering the people of Kufa to support Imam.
Alluring was also applied by Ibn Ziyad in addition to threatening. Prior to people's departure, Ibn Ziyad told them, “in order to persuade you to prepare for battling against his foe, Yazid has sent four thousand Dinars and two hundred thousand dhms to give you”.83
People's reliance on financial generosity provoked a group of them to stand against Imam in Karbala. When Imam conceived that people were in true intent on assassinating him, he affirmed, يا هؤلاء! إسمعوا يرحمكم الله، مالنا ولكم، ما هذا بكم يا أهل الكوفة؟ قالوا خفنا العطاء “Lo! What has occurred between you and us? O people of Kufa! What has happened to you? They responded, “We fear the generosity.” Imam added, ما عند الله من العطاء خير لكم “Whatsoever is from Allah is the best for you.”84
But no one heeded what Imam said
The evidence so far is wholly to confirm this fact that a group of people including the distinguished and their adherents were all criminals who merited the abusiveness and harshness on the part of those reproaching them. Yet, concerning the specific despotism that predominated, there existed a large number who intended to join Imam but were not able to.
What Baladhuri has written appears appealing that Sa'd Ibn 'Ubayda was quoted as saying, “Standing on the hills, many a clergyman in Kufa were praying, أللهم أنزل عليه نصرك “ O Allah reveals your aid to Husayn.”
Sa'd added that he told them,يا أعداء الله ألا تنـزلون فتنصرونه “ O Allah's foes! Why don't you climb down to aid him?”85
Anyway, there is no doubt that Imam was martyred by the people of Kufa while there was only one from Damascus among them.86 Notwithstanding, the people of Kufa should not be deemed as a single group.
Now, we ought to consider whether Imam's travel to Iraq was expedient or not in that situation. Regardless of the aspect of indivisibility of Karbala event, here we are to assess Imam Husayn's travel to Iraq politically in a few words. The first question raised is whether there was any other measure to be adopted for Imam other than travelling to Iraq and whether it could be anticipated that conducting such a revolution against Yazid was feasible.
A deep glance at the existing historical sources will indicate the frequent objections voiced denoting that by no means had a travel to Iraq been expedient. The objections were from the very beginning. When people of Kufa, subsequent to Imam Hasan's martyrdom, invited Imam Husayn to that town, Imam replied that he would never consent to any revolution as long as Mu'awiya was alive.87
His justification might have been Iraq's inability to resist Mu'awiya's tricks because they have already been tested in 'Ali's and Hasan's terms. Following Imam's opposition to the issue of allegiance and when Imam set out for Mecca, a travel to Iraq was probable. Quotedly, 'Abd Allah Ibn Muti' forewarned Imam against his travel to Kufa on the way from Medina to Mecca.88
When Imam entered Mecca, the objectors were innumerable. 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Abbas suggested Imam to waive proceeding to Iraq and go to Yemen's mountains for preference due to various reasons as it is a mountainous area and more secure therein and that his fathers Shi'ite Muslims are abundant.89 It was quoted by Ibn A'tham from Ibn Hanafiyya.90
“People are partial to Dinar and Dirham which are both in the ruler's hands. Lest you might go to Iraq”, said 'Amr Ibn 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn Hisham.91 The objection raised by 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Umar was on account of his extreme fear of bloodshedding.92 Touching upon his martyrdom in Iraq, 'Abd Allah Ibn Ja’far had written,
إني أخاف أن يطفيء نور الارض روح الهدى وأمير المؤمنين، فلا تعجل الى العراق فاني آخذ لك الامان من يزيد “
I have a foreboding that the light of the earth will be extinguished as a result of your murder. The spirit of guidance and Amir al-Mu'minin is no one but you. Hasten not toward Iraq, I can seek quarter for you from Yazid.”93
Abu Sa'id Khudri is also quoted as saying, لا تخرج على امامك “ “Never revolt against your Imam.” 94
Miswar Ibn Makhrama who was among the protesters as well wrote to Imam, “Be not deluded by Iraqi people”.95 What Abu Waqid Laythi had stated was like that of above.96 Moving from Iraq to Hijaz, Farazdaq opposed the travel.97
All of these objections plus some more are recorded in historical sources and many spiteful narrators might have been endeavoring to multiply them to substantiate that Imam had been truly deceived and traveled to Iraq with not a least rational reason. Prior to reflecting Imam's justification of why going to Iraq was requisite, it is worth presenting an introduction.
Political history shows that it rarely happened when a revolutionary man rose up politically he, in all probability, could foresee a definite triumph or an achievement of the goal with no peril. Those who struggle to assume a power either benevolently or malevolently always deal with a probability.
In politics, even the most tiumphant and popular ones are invariably subjected to various probabilities of hardness and defeat. In no way should it be assumed that a movement be conducted with a high certainty. Such a notion is not only inconsistent with the historical realities, but also it is emanated from the simple-mindedness regarding the nature of political activities.
And now we ought not to presuppose that Imam should have inevitably had a high certainty to win in the travel. On the one hand, those who deemed Imam's travel inexpedient never must they notice the proof which demonstrate the probable defeat; as an instance, the people of Kufa had already been tested once.
On the other hand, those who deemed it expedient neither should they suppose that there had been no probability of defeat. Taking them all into consideration, Imam Husayn's position should be gauged in that situation first and then the travel to Iraq be evaluated considering both historical evidence and Imam's remarks.98
Imam by no means assented to Yazid and his sovereignty no matter if it might have preceded his martyrdom. Nevertheless, he was seeking for an opportunity to rise up against Yazid and secure the sovereignty. From the framework being made in Imam's mind one probability should have been preferably singled out and he should have naturally reacted to any suggestion or objection voiced. Since the plan was not flexible at all, any suggestion that could spoil it in any way was condemned on the part of Imam.
In such a situation, there existed particular specifications for the Islamic world politically. Imam had to adopt measures in such a way that he could under those circumstances achieve his goal successfully in a bid to defend the religion and establish a just government. In diverse levels were Imam's objectives.
Procuring the rule could have been treated as a considerable victory for him having been thought of it. As the one enjoying the good and prohibiting the evil, he could have accomplished his mission even though his goal had become unattainable. Given that if he were not able to reach such an achievement he had no doubt that with his blood streamed he was able to irrigate the lofty tree of Islam and enlighten the nation as to the tough environment they live in.
The reality was that Yazid never allowed anyone like Imam Husayn who abstained from swearing allegiance to him to live at ease. Owing to the fact that Imam was not a man who lives calmly, Yazid's only resort was to take his life in case he was not convinced to swear.
Moreover, Damascus, Medina and Mecca in particular and Hijaz in general were not the ones which could resist Yazid having such an intention. Imam must have turned his attention to elsewhere. Although proceeding to Mecca seemed rational for the time being thanks to its sacred nature wherein his safeti was warranted for a short while, it could certainly not be a permanent refuge for him.
Above all, Mecca was not on Imam's side and even in the course of allegiance to Amir al-Mu'minin, it swore with hesitation. At this juncture, the only place as a focal point of attention could be Iraq that was a center for Imam's Shi'ites Muslims. In different respects, it was a foe to Damascus as well. The demand made by Kufa for Imam's travel reinforced the probability of victory. The more the invitation was stressed, the more the percentage of the probable victory was augmented.
Never does it mean that there was no jeopardy in Iraq. However, the question posed is that if Imam was set to settle in somewhere, where could he select? Was Imam Husayn ever a man to swear allegiance? Or was Yazid a man who permits him to survive without allegiance? If Imam had not gone to Iraq, would not the historians have written that if he had gone, he would have gained a victory?
Would not they have inquired why he had not given a positive answer to the letters? How could he allow Yazid's agents to martyr him in Hijaz whereas he could take an action? These questions together with some more are the ones that would be raised by any wise individual were a travel to Kufa not taken place.
What merits consideration is that the consequence of objector's demands for Imam's not going was approving Yazid's sovereignty even if temporarily and never ever could it be practical for Imam. Accordingly, since seeking quarter from Yazid that had been recommended by 'Abd Allah Ibn Ja’far was on the condition that Imam swears allegiance to him it was on no accounts tolerable for Imam. Now let's take a glance at Imam's own response and how history has reflected it.
Among the points Imam (a) had been regularly hinting at was that Yazid with his agents would in no way allow him to remain alive in Mecca and definitely they would murder him. In an answer to Ibn 'Abbas's objection, Imam stated, ان أقتل خارجاً منها بشبرين أحب الي من أقتل خارجاً منه بشبر “ I would rather be killed two inches farther from Mecca than one inch farther.”99
It highlights not only the reverence of Mecca had to be observed but also Imam's life was at risk and he should have taken an action. In reacting to Ibn 'Umar, Imam had asserted:
انّ القوم لايتركوني … فلا يزالون حتي أبايع واني كاره فيقتلونني “
“This group will never stop insisting on swearing allegiance on my part. As I will never do so, they will kill me.” 100
The situation wherein Imam was, is well-described in above utterance. Elsewhere Imam had made it clear, ولو كنت في جُحر هامة من هوام الأرض استخرجوني ويقتلونني “ “Even though I hide in the hole of a desert animal, they will trace and murder me.” 101
When Imam was questioned why he hastened, he answered, لو لم أعجل لاخذت “ “I will be arrested, unless I hasten.” 102
Somewhere else he stated, إنّ بنى أميّة أخذوا مالي فصبرت، وشتموا عرضي فصبرت وطلبوا دمي فهربت “ The Umayya confiscated my properties. I had to tolerate, marred my reputation but I tolerated, when they decided to shed my blood, I had to flee.” 103
All these narrations confirm that they were determined to take Imam's life and there was no hope of survival left provided that he contented to swear allegiance. The other side of the coin was traveling to Iraq. What spot should have been chosen by Imam?
In an interval between Sha'ban and Dhil-Hajja when Imam lived in Mecca, he received many letters from Iraq. These letters were the ones which later turned into Imam's main reason for a travel to Iraq. Any time any objection to going was raised, Imam referred to the letters.104 When Imam faced Hurr and when he was asked by 'Umar Ibn Sa'd why he came to Iraq, he reasoned those very letters.
Once Bujayr Ibn Shaddad asked Imam for the reason of going, he replied, هذه كتب وجوه أهل المصر105 “These letters are all from the distinguished of this city.”
'Ashura morning, he again referred to the letters.106 He showed the letters to 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Umar too.107 His response to any objection was, خلفي مملوءة بالكتب “ “The sack on my horse is overflown with their letters.” 108
This wide-ranging invitation was seemingly serious particularly because in addition to the mass ordinary people, the distinguished of Kufa had written the greater number of letters, those whom people follow. This crowd included many other distinguished figures as well as the Shi'ite Muslims. Were it only formed by the Shi'ite Muslims, it would take little notice in light of the fact that the number of them was truly inconsiderable. It was solely its broadness that gave a serious shape to invitation.
Beyond the invitation were the results of two tests Kufa had taken in the times of Imam 'Ali and Imam Hasan, in both of which they had failed. Which one should have been attended by Imam, their black record or their present state? Regarding our previous remarks, if we assume that the probability of Imam's victory was less than fifty percent, there was no other altentive for him?
It does appear that in normally political conditions there was no other way the probability of victory of which to be as equal as that in Kufa, neither was there in Yemen if proceeding there. It was thanks to the fact that not only the Shi'ite Muslims in Yemen were never as many as those in Kufa, but it was within the realm of Mu'awiya as well. Even when Imam 'Ali's governor was there, an army invaded Yemen from Damascus and massacred the Shi'ite Muslims.
The fundamental reason of probable victory was the letters showing that not only a great number would guard him but also they would battle against his foe. Furthermore, nowhereelse did invite him. Those who wrote letters first were such Shi'ite Muslims as Sulayman Ibn Surad, Musayyib Ibn Najba, Habib Ibn Mazahir, Rufa'a Ibn Shaddad and others.
With a short opportunity available to Imam, he selected a way reasonably. At this stage, he let the letters unanswered inasmuch as Mecca was flooded with frequent letters. Besides, the representatives of the writers went to Mecca and offered their invitations personally. Any letter received in Mecca had many a name and signature at the bottom. According to a few narrations, the number of the letters had been one hundred and fifty. Notwithstanding, Imam gave no answer to them up to the end109 but he only contented himself with dispatching Muslim.
To assess public support better, Imam dispatched an envoy, Muslim Ibn 'Aqil who was trustworthy to Kufa. In a letter he wrote to Kufa,
اني بعثت أخي وابن عمي وثقتي من أهل بيتي مسلم بن عقيل وقد أمرته أن يكتب الي بحالكم ورأيكم فقدموا مع ابن عمّي وبايعوه وانصروه “ “
I have sent my brother, my cousin and the most truthful in my family, Muslim Ibn 'Aqil to you. I have demanded that he write about the conditions there to me. Help him and, swear allegiance to him.” 110
After Muslim had entered the town, people swore allegiance to him group by group. Recording their names, he had them make a pledge to back Imam and not be treacherous. The recorded number was twenty thousand and more.111 Muslim who found the situation well wrote to Imam Husayn, فاني أخبرك أنه قد بايعك من الكوفة نيف وعشرون ألفا فاذا بلغك كتابي هذا فالعجل “ “As soon as you have received my letter, hurry for more than twenty thousand people who swore allegiance to you.” 112
When Imam departed, he had received a letter informing that eighteen thousands in Kufa have sworn allegiance to Muslim.113
What was Imam able to do upon receiving such a letter? In advance of dispatching Muslim, by no means was he certain. But now it was the letter his envoy had written and could be the evidence of people's to him. At the last stage reacting to Ibn 'Abbas's objection, Imam said, I know that your intention is naught except advising but,
ولكن مسلم بن عقيل كتب الي باجتماع أهل المصر على بيعتي ونصرتي وقد أجمعت على المسير اليه “
Since Muslim has written to me that all have congregated to aid me and swear allegiance to me, I am decisive to travel.” 114
In another narration, Muslim had written to Imam, والناس كلهم معك ليس لهم في آل معاوية رأي ولا هوى115 “Everyone is with you and no one is attentive to Mu'awiya's family.”
It was exactly what Muslim had witnessed and reported. Although he had assuredly noticed public ignorance towards Mu'awiya and their inclination to 'Ali's family, with Ibn Ziyad's arrival and black shade of his despotism the tables were turned. Threatening Kufa was a serious affair for the Umayya. In a letter to Yazid, spies wrote, قد بايع مسلم الترابية 116 “Turabiyya- a label given to Shi'ite Muslims after naming 'Ali as Abu Turab- have all sworn allegiance to Muslim and entreated him to come to their rescue in Kufa.”
Dispatching 'Ubayd Allah accounted for it. It had become totally overt that they would be deprived of Kufa unless they make haste. Notably, when according to a narration Nu'man Ibn Bashir, in addition to his indifference, had stated, لابن بنت رسول الله أحب الينا من ابن بجدل117 “Allah's Messenger's descendant is more popular with us than Ibn Bajdal's118 son.”
As quoted by Ibn A'tham, in the course of Muslim's coming to Kufa, Nu'man was on his own in the palace. No one attended Friday prayers andP no one paid tax to him. Anyone whom he summoned did never care and anyone whom he commanded did not comply with.
The ever-first army Imam encountered was a one-thousand- soldier army the head of which was Hurr Ibn Yazid Riyahi; Then, Hurr was a subordinate commander at Ibn Ziyad's service and did not interfere in political affairs. By the same token on account the belief he enjoyed he along with his army performed his prayer led by Imam Husayn. Hurr's accountability was to escort Imam to Kufa and never allow him to return.
In a sermon delivered Imam addressed the worshippers as saying, “I had in no way intended to come here until your letters and message-carriers came to me. I will step into your town if you guarantee that no breach of promise will be made; otherwise, I return to where I came from”.119
As already mentioned, as soon as Imam received Muslim's Letter, he left Mecca with all possible haste for Kufa. Moving ahead was kept on until the news of Muslim's martyrdom spread. No sooner had the caravan learned it120 than it slackened its pace and consequently exchange of views began among Imam, his household and the followers.
It is alleged that Imam changed his mind about going onwards. Nonetheless, Muslim's brothers were not convinced but decisive to retaliate.121 If presumably they had such an intention, they must have been definitely hopeful about the victory. And it might have influenced Imam to become apparently persuaded to proceed. It is hardly rational to assume that they sought revenge for their brother's murder while being certain of their defeat.
There existed another matter apart from political victory and it was the fact that Imam Husayn should have taken a stance on Mu'awiya after all even though it cost his martyrdom and to his eye this kind of martyrdom was equated with condemning Yazid. To confirm the probability of victory, many might have made some remarks.
Quotedly a number said, “You and Muslim Ibn 'Aqil are not alike. Upon seeing you, the people of Kufa will warmly welcome you”.122
They meant that perhaps Muslim could not accomplish to prompt people for whatever reason but his personality will unequivocally captivate them. In view of all letters and ten-year requests on the part of Kufa, never did it seem unlikely. Accordingly Imam consented to keep on.
In consistent with a narration in al-Futuh, the letter sent by Imam through Qays Ibn Musahhar for urging Kufa to observe their commitment123 had been possibly after being informed of Muslim's martyrdom though doubt about Kufa had been remarkably prevailed in Imam's army its impact on returning was uncovered only when it encountered Hurr's army.
The coming of Hurr together with his army, hearing that enemy's four-thousand- soldier army being enroute to Qadisiyya as well as the previous news from Kufa given by Ibn Sa'd's envoy about Muslim's recommendation all propelled Imam to disregard going to Kufa. Being arrested and noticing how people left him alone, Muslim tried to dissuade him from coming at all costs with a message as he had already tried to persuade him. He had appealed to 'Umar Ibn Sa'd for leaving his message to Imam.
A while after receiving the message in early Muharram, Imam's caravan encountered Hurr's army in Iraq. Although Imam was set to return, Hurr impeded him, for his duty was to escort Imam to Kufa. Imam who had become aware of the real status in Kufa, rejected his request. In order to refrain from any clash for which he had no mandate, he decided to lead the army towards Karbala, an arid land, in lieu of Hijaz or Kufa.124
Heedless of what was adopted practically, Imam propounded the matter of returning when meeting Hurr and demanded him to allow them to return.125 Once more he repeated the same proposal to Ibn Sa'd later,126 and frequently he stated,
O people! If you are reluctant to support me, at least let me return to the secure land, Mecca.”127
As narrated by a number of historians, Imam's suggestions were three, Returning to Hijaz, Damascus or to oriental land of Islam, on the outskirts of the Islamic land. The tradition just mentioned in addition to others all manifest that Imam requested to only return to Hijaz, either Mecca or Medina, not to Damascus. Baladhuri has stipulated that his insistence was only on returning to Medina when seeing 'Umar Ibn Sa'd.128
It has been also quoted from 'Uqba Ibn Sam'an supportedly as saying, “Contrary to popular belief under no circumstances did Imam ask permission to visit Yazid and swear allegiance to him though I was beside him at all times. What he urged was,
دعوني أرجع إلي مكان الذي أقبلت منه، أو دعوني أذهب في هذه الأرض العريضة حتى تنظر الى ما يصير اليه أمر الناس
“Let me either return where I came from or live in this extensive land to find out what the destiny of such people would be.” 129
According to Baladhuri Imam appealed to Hurr for permitting him to go to Damascus and swear allegiance to Yazid. 130 It is as plain as day that Imam endured such sufferings as the homelessness for the sake of not swearing allegiance to Yazid, and were this narration genuine supposedly, it could never be interpreted as corroborating Yazid's caliphate, but in all probability as keeping away from Ibn Ziyad's realm who was a libertine and bold man. Imam was certain that his not swearing allegiance would prompt Yazid to assassinate him; therefore, it seemed irrational to go to Damascus intentionally.
Yazid personally had written to Walid, وليكن جوابك إليّ رأس الحسين “ Your response to me has to be Husayn Ibn 'Ali's head.” 131
Walid detested to murder him in person and later on he expressed regret on Imam's martyrdom.132 It is by no means admissible that even if Imam had made such a remark, his aim could have been swearing allegiance or proceeding to Damascus at all.
When Imam for the purpose of enlightening Hurr refereed to the pile of letters from Kufa as the motivation of his travel, Hurr was totally unaware of the letters. After the letters were all displayed, he again pointed out that he was duty-bound to take them to Kufa. Imam who was never ever convinced to go to Kufa took the route of Hijaz.133 Hurr's army blocked his way then. They compromised to take a midway neither to Hijaz nor to Kufa but to the area of al-’Udhayb.134
It was this point where Tirimmah Ibn 'Adi proposed Imam to go towards Tayy mountains but on account of the presence of Hurr's army and the agreement they had reached, Imam refused it135.
On his way Imam made an attempt to switch to way to the desert and keep as far away from Kufa as possible. Hurr was regularly the one who prevented him until they arrived at Banu Muqatil's palace and then Naynawa.136 Exactly it was here where the command of ceasing was received by Hurr from Ibn Ziyad, و لا تحلّه إلا بالعراء على غير خضر ولا ماء “ Keep him awaiting solely in an arid desert.” 137
Here a number of the Shi'ite Muslims of Kufa could join Imam and despite Hurr's opposition remained beside him.138
While Hurr was with Imam, Zubayr Ibn Qayn suggested Imam to attack them who were few then. Declining Imam affirmed, إني اكره أن أبدئهم بالقتال “I loathe to be the one who wages war.” 139
Arriving in Karbala coincided with the second of Muharram, Wednesday or Thursday. According to Dinwari, Muharram 1st was the day of arriving in Karbala.140
As written by Mas'udi, when Imam arrived in Karbala, five hundred cavalrymen and one hundred infantrymen were accompanying him.141 During the eight-day period and above all on the eve of 'Ashura, the day after which war would undoubtedly break out, these men turned their back on Imam. Although the number of whom at that night might have been fewer than that reported by Mas'udi, beyond any question a number left Imam an his own at this interval.
The day after Imam's arrival in Karbala, Ibn Ziyad's troops were gradually deployed to this land. All tribes were group by group dispatched to the spot due to the fact that Ibn Ziyad insisted that each one of Kufa participate in the process.
Such a policy was to hinder a few tribes to be accused later and to try to make all have a hand in Imam's murder and it could be a hindrance to the people of Kufa to engage in any movement in 'Alawites' favor. Those having been dispatched were some twenty two thousand according to Ibn A'tham142 although Baladhuri,143 Dinwari144 as well as Ibn Sa'd have described that some had fled halfway.
In view of the fact that Ibn Ziyad had announced, أيّما رجل وجدناه بعد يومنا هذا متخلفاً عن العسكر برئت منه الذّمة “ Anyone who abstains from joining the army, from today onwards, will in no way be protected by me.” 145
And this menace was what made the crowd set out to Karbala.
'Umar Ibn Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas was due to proceed to Riy and do battle with Daylaman, a polytheist; however, it was resolved to move to Riy after finalizing the plan in Karbala. As the commander of Kufiyan troops in spite of his and Banu Zuhra's146 reluctance, he eventually opted the governorship of Riy in return for streaming Imam's blood and then went to Karbala.147
At first Ibn Sa'd sent an envoy to Imam to ask for the ground of his coming. Imam who refereed to the letters received from Kufa stated that if they had retracted, he would return where he had come from. Seeking refuge, 'Umar Ibn Sa'd reported the suggestion to Ibn Ziyad, “Husayn has made a pledge to either return or go to one of the extremities of Islamic land and live a quiet life and it is satisfactory for you and is for the good of the nation, 148 هذا لك رضا وللأمة صلاح “Nevertheless, Shimr tried to dissuade Ibn Ziyad willing to accept the suggestion and told him that if he let Husayn go, under no conditions could he be found any more.”
Ibn Ziyad in a letter to Ibn Sa'd wrote, “I have not sent you to condescend but to secure allegiance for Yazid presently. If he refrained, take his life”.149
As soon as receiving the message, Imam stressed, لا أُجيب ابن زياد، لا ذلك ابداً، فهل هو إلا الموت فمرحباً به “Never ever will I reply Ibn Ziyad's proposal in affirmative. Will there be any other consequence save demise? Demise is very welcomed, however.”150
A couple of days to 'Ashura, Ibn Ziyad commanded emphatically to keep water beyond Imam Husayn's reach, حل بين الحسين والماء فلا يذوقوا منه قطرة كما منع بالتّقي الزّكي عثمان “ “Keep him far away from water so that he cannot take a drop as they did so to 'Uthman.” 151
He also had written to Ibn Sa'd, “I have learned that Husayn with his companions have sunk wells and water is within reach. Upon receiving the letter, stop their digging as far as possible and by no means allow them to consume the water of the Euphrates.”152
During the last days Imam had some clandestine meetings with Ibn Sa'd attempting to dissuade him. Yet as demonstrated by historical narration's he could in no way disregard the governorship of Riy.
Shimr due to consanguinity he had with 'Abbas Ibn 'Ali's mother, made Ibn Ziyad to write guarantee of clemency to him as well as his brothers. Under no circumstances were they able to be prevailed upon to leave Imam Husayn alone.153In another case a guarantee of clemency is reported for 'Ali Akbar and it was also for the sake of his mother. 'Ali Akbar had asserted, أما والله لقرابة رسول الله (ص) أولى أن ترعى من قرابة أبي سفيان “ Deferring to consanguinity with the Prophet (S) is more superior than that with Abu Sufyan.” 154
Ibn Ziyad who was determined to attack in the evening of Tasu'a (the ninth day of the month of Muharram) admitted to procrastinate it till tomorrow at the request of Imam. At night Imam made some remarks to his companions. He declared that he ignored their allegiance, they are free to leave and they can take a few members of his family with them as well. However, companions did announce their steadfastness.155
On the eve of 'Ashura, Imam commanded to dig out trenches all around the tents but one side to avert the enemy's attacks from all sides. From early morning of 'Ashura, both armies arrayed against one another. No imperfection could be noticed in Imam's army.
Without consideration of facts, divine predestination or the political privileges of which subsequent to Imam Husayn's martyrdom, taking the household with him exposes to view the intention Imam had for procuring Yazid the sovereignty.
Even their transferring from Mecca to Kufa had seemingly originated from political certainty and it was the submission of Kufa to Imam. Accordingly their staying in Hijaz was never politically expedient in view of the fact that it could be envisioned how the Umayya would behave towards them following securing Arabia Pertae if the victory were supposedly gained in Iraq.
On the eve of 'Ashura Imam addressed his companions as saying, “Tomorrow there shall be naught but martyrdom,
فأنتم في حل مني وهذا الليل قد غشيكم، فمن كانت له منم قوة فليضم رجلاَ من أهل بيتي اليه وتفرقوا في سوادكم، فعسى الله أن يأتي بالفتح أو أمر من عنده فيصبحوا على ما اسرّوا في انفسهم نادمين “
You are all at liberty and it is the night at which you feel secure. Any of you who is more courageous can take one from my household with him and abandon so that Allah can either grant us the triumph or adopt another measure to deter them from materializing their plan.” 156
It is alluded here that it was probable for them to gain victory or for the foes to change their minds although such a probability did never appear politically strong. Under such circumstances, there existed no other alternative other than martyrdom. Hurr's as well as thirty individuals' joining to Imam157 in addition to political broad-mindedness on the part of Imam in 'Ashura morning both implied that such a development was not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Not withstanding 'Umar Ibn Sa'd's villainous nature whose father was among the Qa'idin158, the malice fo such Kharijites-featured individuals as Shimr Ibn Dhi l-Jawshan159 along with the pressure exerted by Ibn Ziyad altogether engendered one of the most gruesome felony in the Islamic world.
Imam's army as narrated by Ibn Sa'd, included fifty men but later twenty others joined him.160
Prior to the clashes, Imam delivered a speech to the opposite army, “Thanks to the request of you and others I came here. You had written that the Prophet's Sunna (tradition) was being neglected and discord was being sown. My coming here was at your demand to guide my forefather's Umma (nation). If now you feel disinclined, allow me return at least.
Think twice! Do you ever consider shedding the blood of the Holy Prophet's son legitimate? The son of Prophet's cousin who was the ever first believer? The one whose uncles were Hamza, 'Abbas and Ja’far? Have you ever not heard how the Prophet (S) had characterized my brother and me as, سيدا شباب أهل الجنّة “ They both are the masters of the youth in Heaven.”
Question Jabir Ansari, Abu Sa'id Khudri and Zayd Ibn Arqam if you do not believe me”.161
The reasoning Ibn Huďayr had refereed to are like those mentioned.162 Zuhayr Ibn Qayn, a renowned figure, pronounced an ultimatum as well.163
So for presuming that it might never be culminated in blood letting not least streaming the blood of Allah's Messenger's son, Hurr Ibn Yazid perceived the reality all at once.
He went to Ibn Sa'd asking, “Was none of his remarks convincing for you?”
“I would never murder him if I could,” 'Umar Ibn Sa'd responded, “now there is no other alternative.”
Upon hearing such comments, Hurr without delay went to Imam, begged for forgiveness, stood to defend him and ultimately after killing two people achieved martyrdom.164 Among the ones who allied themselves with Imam and became martyred was Yazid Ibn Abi Ziyad, too.165
Since it was by no means Imam 'Ali's approach to be the beginner of the war, Imam also was not the one who commenced it in Karbala. It was 'Umar Ibn Sa'd who put on arrow in his bow and shot at Imam's army first. And afterwards he announced that they should wear witness to Ibn Ziyad that he was the first shooter.166
When the battle started, the members of Imam's army went to the battlefield one by one. After a while the enemy's death toll had risen to more than the martyrs. Therefore, touching upon the fact that they were combating Arab heroes, 'Amr Ibn Hajjaj forewarned, “You will all be slaughtered unless you put them under a rain of arrows”.167
Under a heavy barrage of arrows and in the course of several clashes, Imam's adherents and the members of his household were martyred respectively. The details of the conflict have been inscribed by a number as inscribed by Ibn Sa'd in Tabaqat. Eventually the event of Karbala, resulting in martyring Imam and more than seventy of his followers and killing some eighty eight people of the opposite army, came to an end.168
Among the factors that have played pivotal roles in the historical dimension of ideological epic in Karbala is the element of “invisibility”. This very element is what not merely has created friction in analyzing this historical event but has contrasted a subject in scholastic theology with a historical one. There are many narrations in this regard in most of which Allah's Messenger has foretold Imam Husayn's martyrdom. 'Allama Amini has compiled a number of such narrations in Siratana wa Sunnatana. Moreover, they can be found innumerably in Sunnites books.
In addition to169 these narrations which are historical by themselves, there are other ones having explicitly or implicitly predicted the incident in Karbala. Below we present some adapted from the historical books.
As recounted, a night before emigrating from Medina to Mecca, when Imam went to pay a visit to the Prophet's tomb, he fell asleep. He dreamed about the Holy Prophet together with a group of angels. Hugging him, the Prophet stated,
يا حسين! كأنك عن قريب أراك مقتولاً مذبوحاً بأرض كرب وبلا من عصابة من أمتي وأنت في ذلك عطشان لا تسقى… يا حسين إن أباك وأمك قد قدموا عليَّ وهم اليك مشتاقون وأن لك في الجنة درجات لن تنالها الا بالشهادة “
O Husayn! I foresee that in a near future you will be killed by a group from my Umma in Karbala while thirsty…. O Husayn! Your parents who are both with me are looking forward to meeting you. A rank is determined for you in Paradise to which you can reach merely through martyrdom.”
According to another narration, Imam Husayn (a) had stated in Mecca, انّي رأيت جدي (ص) في منامي وقد أمروني بأمر وأنا ماض لأمره “ I had a dream about my forefather. He commanded something for implementing which I am going.” 170
On the strength of this very dream Imam wrote a letter to Sa'id Ibn 'As saying, وأعلمك أنّي رأيت جدي في منامي مخبرني بأمر وأنا ماض له “I inform you that I had a dream about my forefather. Since he notified me of something I am seeking for.” 171 “
In Khuzaymiyya, Zaynab (S) came to Imam and said, “At midnight I heard a yell, What was it?” Imam inquired. She replied “An invisible speaker was yelling out,
ألا يا عيـن فاحتفلي بجهد ومن يبكي علي الشهداء بعدي
على قـوم تسوقهم المنايا بمقدار الـي انجـاز وعـدي
“O eye! Rejoice as much as you can. Who shall shed tears for the martyrs after me? Death is approaching this tribe in order to make my vow unconditional.”
“Whatsoever Allah has foreordained will assuredly materialize”, Imam stressed.172
Others are when Imam arrived in Karbala. After he asked what the area was called, he stated,
لقد مرّ أبي بهذا المكان عند مسيره الى صفين وأنا معه فوقف فسأل عنه فأخبر باسمه؛ فقال ها هنا محطّ ركابهم وها هنا مهراق دمائهم، فسئل عن ذلك، فقال: ثقل لآل بيت محمد ينـزلون هاهنا “
Once my father on his way to Siffin asked the name of this area. When he was answered and while I was with him, he expressed that here would be where they would dismount and their blood would be shed. Being asked, he replied that a group from the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt would dismount here.” 173
It was in the afternoon when Imam in Tha'labiyya lay down and fell asleep. As soon as he woke up he began sobbing. After 'Ali Akbar asked the reason, he said,
انّي رأيت فارساً على فرس حتى وقف عليّ فقال: يا حسين! انّكم تسرعون المسير والمنايا لكم تسرع الي الجنّة. فعلمت أن أنفسنا قد نعيت الينا “
There was a man on horseback who came nearer and stopped before us saying, “O Husayn! The fast you are proceeding on this way, the fast your death is moving towards Paradise,” I realized that our souls are bidding farewell to us.” 174
In 'Ashura morning, Imam told his sister,
يا أختاهّ اني رأيت جدي في المنام وأبي علياً وفاطمة أمي وأخي الحسن عليهم السلام فقالوا: انّك رائح الينا عن قريب وقد والله يا أختاه دنا الامر في ذلك لا شك
“O sister! Last night my forefather, my father 'Ali, my mother Fatima and my brother, Hasan, were all in my dream saying that I will join them soon. O sister! By Almighty Allah and beyond any doubt the time is ripe.” 175
Concerning the eve of 'Ashura, it is quoted from Imam as stating that he had a dream about the Holy Prophet along with a number of his companions who had said, يا بني! أنت شهيد آل محمد وقد استبشرت بك السماوات وأهل الصفح الاعلى فليكن افطارك عندي الليلة تعجل ولا تؤخر “ O my son! A martyr of Muhammad's family is you. The heavens and the dwellers of the lofty heavens have given you glad tidings. Tonight you are supposed to break your fast beside me, so hasten.” 176
Elsewhere Mujahid has narrated from Amir al-Mu'minin delivering a sermon in Kufa, كيف أنتم اذا أتاكم أهل بيت نبيكم يحمل قويهم ضعيفهم “ “What will you do if you see your Prophet's household while the stronger one carries the weaker one.”
“We will do so and so”, the audience responded.
Shaking his head, Imam added, توردن ثم تعرّدون ثم تطيعون البراءة ولابراءة لكم “ You accept and then change your mind. You prefer to disgust whereas you are not disgusted.” 177
These examples all imply Imam's knowledge about the event in Karbala previous to his martyrdom. Notwithstanding, it is by all means natural that neither Imam Husayn, nor the Prophet manipulated the factor of invisibility in their political lives. Except the time of substantiating the fact of Prophethood and Imamat, the Prophet's and the twelve Imams' conduct was compatible with the existing political evaluation.
This kind of Divine knowledge was what they have been informed by Allah through distinct ways either by Gabriel, in a dream or alike owing to the fact that the principle of invisibility is beyond all's power but Allah's. Deeming the Prophet (S) as well as Imams' role models and vanguards is founded on the existing state and ostensible evaluation not the unseen.
It has been the policy of all the prophets and Imams in their natural lives. In this respect many historical and scholastic analyses are done but they are beyond the capacity of this concise book and require an independent study.
The Islamic community in the year the event of Karbala took place, had greatly differed from that in the last year of Prophet's life. The trend of deviation has been however gradual, according to many of researchers, the basis thereof was established from the first years after the Prophet's departure.
The foregoing deviations were in such a way that the politicians could avail themselves of them to not only delude the people but also justify their despotism. The ones who played a crucial role in the origination and the development of such deviations were the Umayyads. The power notably secured by Yazid revealed the fact that neverever had the Umayya believed in a genuine Islam and their belief was merely a covering people had spread in order to justify and concede their sovereignty.
Having accused the Umayya of oppression and enmity,178 Imam Husayn (a) had described them as those who “obey Satan, disobey Allah, propagate misdeeds, disregard Allah's specified rules and also encrouch upon Bayt al-Mal (public treasury)”.179 In addition to creating corruption and ignoring divine limits, they had distorted a large number of religious concepts and misused them. Here let's discuss a few of them which had impacts in the course of Karbala according to historical evidence.
“Obedience to Imams, the necessity of Community and unlawfulness of breach of allegiance was three common political terms used by caliphs. It may be claimed that the above-mentioned terms could have guaranteed the base and the persistence of the caliphate.
Anyhow, these three terms were right principles among the religious, political and Islamic concepts of which observing for the sake of the community was reasonably incumbent. Obeying an Imam denotes obeying the ruling system. The question raised is that to what extent the ruler should be complied with. Is it imperative that a just Imam be followed or an unjust monarch ought to be obeyed too? Earlier we discussed it in detail while considering 'Uthman's caliphate.
Upholding Community implies avoiding disturbance or taking no action to undermine the unity or pave the ground for the emergence of a shaky Islamic community. The considerable question is whether silence should be kept before despotic monarchism or a libertine ruler under any circumstances in other words, should any objection be suppressed relying on the fact that it spoils “Community” and causes “disunion”?
Unlawfulness of breach of allegiance, namely fulfilling a pledge is heavily underlined in Islam. Since breaking a pledge or an allegiance is prohibited seriously, it stands to reason how much the role of which in political affairs can be positive.
But if the allegiance were not sworn to caliphs like Yazid or it were breached and consequently Community was spoiled, would it again follow the principle of unlawfulness of breach of allegiance or would it basically be an exception to the rule? As already alluded to the Umayya caliphs and later those of Banu 'Abbas by manipulating such concepts, however distorted and unconditional, compelled the people to acquiesce their sovereignty.
After Mu'awiya had secured allegiance for his son, Yazid, he went to Medina to coerce the opponents to swear. 'Ayisha was among in view of the fact that his brother, Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr, had been martyred by Mu'awiya.
When the issue of allegiance was propounded, Mu'awiya told her, “I have secured allegiance for Yazid from all Muslims, if you will, اني لا أري ذلك ولكن عليك بالرفق والتأني “ Never do I pronounce it lawful but act moderately toward people instead.”180
This case in point demonstrates how 'Ayisha was ever convinced. Let's consider one other instance. As stated by Ibn Ishaq, they were doing prayers (perhaps in al-Haram mosque) they noticed that Shimr Ibn Dhi l-Jawshan, being with them, had raised his hands saying “O Allah! You are well-aware of my nobleness, so forgive me.”
“I told him, added Ibn Ishaq, how could you ever be forgiven whereas you have aided and abetted in murdering the Prophet's son?”
“What have we preformed?” Shimr reacted.
“It was the mandates of our commanders and we could in no way defy them”. If disobeyed, كنا شراَ من هذه الحمر السقا “We would be far more inferior to water carrier beasts.” 181
Apprehending him, Ibn Ziyad told Muslim Ibn 'Aqil, يا شاق! خرجت علي امامك وشقفت عصا المسلمين “ O outlaw! You have seceded from your Imam and have sowed the seeds of discord among Muslims.” 182
Muslim who never yielded to such a digression, riposted that Mu'awiya not only did not procure the caliphate through the consensus of opinions of the nation at all, but he overcame the Holy Prophet's successor through deception and usurped his caliphate.
When Imam Husayn was about to leave Mecca, the deputies of 'Amr Ibn Sa'id Ibn 'As, the governor, said, الا تتقي الله تخرج عن الجماعة بين هذه الامّه “ ”Do you not fear from Allah for seceding from the Muslim congregation and for causing disunion among the nation?” 183
“We have neverever ignored disobeying Imam, nor have we seceded from Community” affirmed 'Amr Ibn Hajjaj, a commander of Ibn Ziyad's.184
Advising Ibn Ziyad's army, he added, ألزموا طاعتكم وجماعتكم ولاترتابوا في قتل من مرق عن الدين وخالف الامام “Not ever fail to remember obedience and union and at no time do you doubt about killing the one seceding from the religion and being at variance with Imam (ruler).” 185
Figures like 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Umar who was among the Sunnites religious jurisprudents and hadith-narrators, had imagined that if entire people acquiesced to swear the oath of allegiance to Yazid, they would consent too.
He had given his assurance to Mu'awiya, فاذا اجتمع النّاس على ابنك يزيد لم أخالف 186 “I shall oppose you unless people all swear allegiance to your son, Yazid. He also had addressed Imam as saying, “Do cause not disunion among Muslims!”187
Such individuals as 'Umar and 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn 'Awf's daughter had written to Imam to regard obedience with reverence and treat Community and its upholding as urgent.188
Another religious deviation in the Islamic community was “belief in fatalism”. Previous to the event of Karbala this belief has been misused. In Early Islamic Era, however, Mu'awiya had been the reviver of which or according to Abu Hilal 'Askari he was the initiator of which.189
Referring to the fact that Mu'awiya is the founder of “fatalism”, Qaďi 'Abd al-Jabbar has quoted Mu'awiya making as remarkable remarks190 as follows, ان أمر يزيد قضاء من القضاء وليس للقضاء الخيرة من أمرهم 191 “This matter concerning Yazid is a destiny from among Divine destinies and no one has any volition in this regard.”
'Ubayd Allah Ibn Ziyad asked Iman as-Sajjad (a), أو لم يقتل الله علياَ؟ “ Was Allah not the One who killed 'Ali Akbar?”
Imam's response was, كان لي أخ يقال له علي، اكبر مني قتله الناس “ I had an elder brother whom people killed.”192
Once 'Umar Ibn Sa'd was objected why he killed Imam Husayn solely for the sake of Riy governorship, he replied that such an affair had been predestined.193
When alive, Ka'b al-Ahbar had been foretelling that under no conditions would authority be secured by the Hashimites, (although later both the 'Abbasids and 'Alawites could secure it as an instance in Tabaristan). It has been quoted from 'Abd Allah Ibn 'Umar as well, as saying, فاذا رأيت الهاشمي قد ملك الزمان فقد هلك الزمان “ “Any time you realized that one from the Hashimites has secured the authority, conclude that it is that end of the world.” 194
The consequences of these kinds of deviations for the future generations were that Imam Husayn's movement has never been considered as an uprising against immorality in Sunnism but an illegal insurgency.195
The event of Karbala is among the determining incidents in the process of Shi'ites genesis in history. It was ealier mentioned that Shi'ism theories in general and its most elementary principle namely Imamat in particular can thoroughly be traced in the Holy Qur'an and Sunna both. Notwithstanding, the historical separation of Shi'ite Muslims from the other existing parties occurred quite gradually.
Both lifestyle and the ideas left as memorials from Imam 'Ali's caliphate could to much extent cohere Shi'ism intellectually. The Umayya advocating their self-fabricated Islam the nature and the discrepancy of which from the authentic Islam never revealed by Mu'awiya's policies could evidently be unveiled in the course of Yazid's caliphate.
Throughout the vent of Karbala, the historical separation of Shi'ite Muslims from others affected by the Islam backed by the Umayya finalized. From then onwards, distinguishing Shi'ite Muslims as the followers of Sunna, 'Ali and his successors seemed truly a simple task.
Amongst the Shi'ite Muslims there, existed a number who were from all standpoint followers of Imam and regarded them as the Prophet's successors elected by him. The limit of Shi'ism, on the other hand, on the part of other groups from Iraq, etc was only the superiority they believed for 'Alawites over Umayyads.196
Those who achieved martyrdom beside Imam Husayn in Karbala were among the Shi'ite Muslims describing Imamate as the only prerogative of 'Ali and his descendants. Imam himself on various occasions had frequently recommended people to leave the right to the rightful and contribute to him as well. The Umayyads were in truth the usurpers this very right.197 Somewhere he had stated, أيها الناس أنا ابن بنت رسول الله ونحن أولى بولاية هذه الامور عليكم من هولاء المدعين ما ليس لهم229 “O people! This is I, a son of Prophet's daughter'. We are superior in your guardianship to the false claimants.”198
Elsewhere, أنا أحقّ من غير لقرابتي من رسول اللّه199“And I deserve it more than any one else for my kinship with Allah's Messenger.”
Furthermore, Imam's disciples had appreciated different opportunities by presenting such a belief either in verses of poem or prose. Said by Muslim Ibn Ziyad was that by Almighty Allah on no accounts was it Mu'awiya's right to be a caliph. He overcame the Prophet's successor by deception and usurped his caliphate.200 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn 'Abd Allah Yazani, one of Imam's companions in Karbala, had composed,
أنا بن عبدالله من آل يزن ديني على دين حسين وحسن
“I am 'Abd Allah's son from Yazan family. My religion is the same as those of Husayn and Hasan.” 201
Addressing Imam Husayn (a), Hajjaj Ibn Masruq had composed,
ثم أباك ذا الندى عليّا ذاك الذي نعرفه الوصيّآ
“You father, 'Ali, is sportsman like. He is the one whom we consider as the Prophet's successor.” 202
It was composed by Hilal Ibn Nafi' Bajali,
أنا الغلام التممي البجلي ديني على دين حسين وعلي2174
“This is from Banu Tamim and Bajali and I believe in the religion Husayn and his father, 'Ali believe.
In some verses 'Uthman Ibn 'Ali Ibn Abi Talib had composed,
اني أنا عثمان ذو المناخر شيخي علي ذو الفعال الطاهر
و ابن عـم النبي الطاهر أخو حسيـن خيـرة الاخائـر
و سيد الكبار والاصاغر بعد الرسول والوصي الناصر2175
“The possessor of honor is no one but me. My master, 'Ali, is the actor of all purely good deeds. The causin of the immaculate Prophet is me. I am the brother of Husayn, the most chosen of the chosen and the master of the youngest and the eldest after the Prophet and his successor.”
After Nafi' Ibn Hilal had said, أنا الجملي أنا على دين علي “ My religion is the religion of 'Ali.”
A person from the rival army said, أنا على دين عثمان 203 “My religion is that of 'Uthman.”
What can be easily discerned from these verses and others quoted from 'Abbas Ibn 'Ali and others is the Shi'ites belief of Imam's followers not only in political arena but also in ideological one.