When al-Husayn (ﻉ) was martyred, people fell upon his luggage and belongings looting everything they could find in his tents1, then they set the tents to fire. People raced to rob the ladies of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ). Daughters of Fatima az-Zahra’ (ﻉ) tearfully ran away, their hair uncovered2. Scarves were snatched, rings were pulled out of fingers, ear-rings were taken out, and so were ankle-rings3.
A man took both ear-rings belonging to Umm Kulthum, riddling her ears in the process4. Another approached Fatima daughter of al-Husayn (ﻉ), taking her ankle-rings out. He was weeping as he committed his foul deed. "What is the matter with you?," she asked him. "How can I help weeping," he answered, "since I am looting the daughter of the Messenger of Allah?" She asked him to leave her alone. He said, "I am afraid if I do not take it, someone else will."5
Another man was seen driving the women with the butt of his spear, having robbed them of their coverings and jewelry as they sought refuge with one another. He was seen by the same Fatima. Having realized that she had seen him, he went towards her, and she fled away. He threw his spear at her; she fell headlong and fainted. When she recovered, she saw her aunt, Umm Kulthum, sitting at her head crying.6
A woman from the clan of Bakr ibn Wa’il, who was accompanied by her husband, saw the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) in such a condition, so she cried out, "O offspring of Bakr ibn Wa’il! Do you permit the daughters of the Messener of Allah (ﻉ) to be robbed like that? There is no judgment except Allah’s! O how the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) should be avenged!" Her husband brought her back to his conveyance7.
The rogues reached Ali son of al-Husayn (ﻉ) who was sick on his bed unable to stand up8. Some were saying, "Do not let any of them, young or old, alive." Others were saying, "Do not be rash in your judgment till we consult the governor Amr ibn Sa'd."9 Ash-Shimr unsheathed his sword with the intention to kill Ali.
Hameed ibn Muslim said to him, "Glory to Allah! Do you really kill children?! He is only a sick lad!"10 He said, "Ibn Ziyad ordered all al-Husayn’s sons killed." Ibn Sa'd went to extremes to stop him11 especially after having heard the wise lady Zainab daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) saying, "You will not kill him before killing me first;" so, they left him alone12.
Ibn Sa'd himself came to the ladies who burst in tears upon seeing him. He ordered the men to stay away from them. Those men had already taken all the ornaments those ladies had had and never returned any of them back. He assigned to a group of men the task of protecting them, then he returned to his tent.
Ibn Sa'd shouted, "Who volunteers to make sure that the chest and the back of al-Husayn (ﻉ) are run over by the horses?" Ten men stood up.13 Those miscreant "volunteers" were: Ishaq ibn Hawiyyah, al-Ahbash ibn Murshid ibn Alqamah ibn Salamah al-Hadrami, Hakeem ibn at-Tufayl as-Sinbisi, Amr ibn Sabeeh as-Saydawi, Raja’ ibn Munqith al-Abdi, Salim ibn Khaythamah al-Jufi, Salih ibn Wahab al-Jufi, Wakhit ibn Ghanim, Hani ibn Thabeet al-Hadrami, and Aseed ibn Malik. They rode their horses and trampled upon the body of the fragrant flower of the Messenger of Allah...
Ibn Ziyad ordered liberal awards to be given to them14. Al-Bayruni has said that they did to al-Husayn (ﻉ) what no other nation had ever done to their most evil ones: killing with the sword or the spear, with stone throwing, and with horse trampling15. Some of those horses reached Egypt were their shoes were pulled out and fixed on doors as means of seeking blessings. This became a custom among them, so much so that many of them started making the like of those shoes and hanging them over the doors of their houses.16
Ibn Sa'd ordered the heads to be severed from their bodies. They were distributed to various tribes that used them as means to seek favour with Ibn Ziyad. The Kindah tribe took thirteen brought by their envoy Qays ibn al-Ash'ath. The Hawazin tribe brought twelve with their "man" Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan. The Tameem tribe brought seventeen; the Banu Asad tribe brought sixteen; the Mathhaj tribe brought seven, and the other tribes brought the rest17. The tribe to which al-Hurr ar-Riyahi belonged refused to cut anyone’s head or to let their horses trample on the Imam’s body18.
On the tenth day, Ibn Sa'd had already entrusted the head of Imam al-Husayn (ﻉ) to Khawli ibn Yazid al-Asbahi and Hameed ibn Muslim al-Azdi. He entrusted the heads of the Imam’s family members and those of his companions to ash-Shimr, Qays ibn al-Ash'ath and Amr ibn al-Hajjaj19. Khawli’s house was one farasang from Kufa. He hid the head from his Ansari wife whom he knew to be loyal to Ahl al-Bayt, peace be with them.
But when she saw a light emanating from the bakery oven [where it was hidden], she was terrified. When she came closer, she heard the voices of al-Husayn’s women mourning al-Husayn (ﻉ) in the most somber way. She mentioned this to her husband then went out crying20. Since then, she never used any kohl nor any perfume out of her grief for al-Husayn (ﻉ). She was called Ayoof21.
In the morning, Khawli took the head to the governor’s mansion. By then, Ibn Ziyad had returned from his camp at an-Nakheela. Khawli put the head in front of Ibn Ziyad as he recited these poetic verses:
إمـلأ ركابي فضّة أو ذهبا إنّـي قتلت السيّد المحجّبا
وخيرهم من يذكرون النسبا قـتلت خير الناس اُمّاً وأبا
فساء ابن زياد قوله أمام الجمع فقال له : إذا علمت إنّه كذلك فلِمَ قتلته ؟ والله لا نلت نّي شيئاً.
Fill my stirrup with silver or with gold:
I killed the master of every honour told,
Their best when they mention descent.
I killed the best of people, son of the best parent.
But these words, spoken in front of everyone, were met by Ibn Ziyad with outrage. "Since you knew that he was that honourable," said Ibn Ziyad, "why did you then take part in killing him? By Allah, you will receive nothing from me at all."22
اللهم أرزقنا شفاعة الحسين
When Ibn Sa'd sent the heads to Kufa, he remained with the army till noon on the eleventh day [of Muharram]. He gathered those killed from his army and performed the funeral prayers for them then buried them, leaving the corpses of the Master of the Youths of Paraidse (ﻉ) and those of his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) and companions unwashed, unshrouded, and unburied23, exposed to the wind and to the wild beasts of the desert.
After the time of zawal, Ibn Sa'd left for Kufa with the women, the children, the bondmaids, and the surviving family members of al-Husayn’s companions. They included twenty women24 whom they mounted on camels without saddles just as was the custom then with Turks or Romans taken captive although they belonged to the best of all prophets (ﻉ).
With them was as-Sajjad Ali ibn al-Husayn (ﻉ) who was twenty-three years old25. He was placed on a lean camel without a saddle, and he was worn out by sickness26. His son [the later Imam] al-Baqir27, who was two years and a few months old28, accompanied him.
Among the children of Imam al-Hassan (ﻉ) taken captive were: Zaid, Amr, and al-Hassan II. The latter was captured after he had killed seventeen men. He received eighteen wounds, and his right arm had been cut off. Asma’ ibn Kharijah al-Fizari intervened to get him freed because his mother was also Fizari, so Ibn Sa'd left her husband take him29.
With them was Uqbah ibn Saman, a slave of ar-Rubab, al-Husayn’s wife. When Ibn Ziyad came to know that that man was ar-Rubab’s slave, he released him. Ibn Ziyad was informed that al-Muraqqa ibn Thumamah al-Asadi had scattered his arrows around then fled to his tribe where he sought and received protection, he ordered him to be banished to az-Zara30.
The ladies pleaded to thus: "For the love of Allah! Please take us to those killed." When they saw how they had lost their limbs, how the spears had drank of their blood, and how the horses had trampled upon them, they screamed and beat their faces in anguish31. Zainab cried out,
يا محمّداه ! هذا حسين بالعراء ، مرمّل بالدماء ، مقطّع الأعضاء ، وبناتك سبايا ، وذريّتك مقتّلة . فأبكت كلّ عدو وصديق
"O Muhammad! Here is al-Husayn in the desert covered with blood, his limbs cut off! Here are your daughters taken captive and your offspring slaughtered!" These words caused friends and foes alike to weep32, even the horses’ tears ran on their hooves33. Then she put her hands under his sacred body and lifted it as she supplicated saying, "O Lord! Do accept this sacrifice from us34."
Sukayna35 hugged the body of her father al-Husayn (ﻉ) and kept telling him how she had heard him saying,
شيعتي ما أنْ شربتم عَذْبَ ماء فاذكروني
أو سمـعتم بغريـب او شهيد فاندبوني
O my Shi'as! Whenever of water you drink
Never from mentioning my name should you shrink.
And whenever you are a stranger on a sojourn
Or see a martyr, me should you remember and mourn.36
Only a number of them could collectively remove her from his corpse, forcefully dragging her away.37
When Ali ibn al-Husayn (ﻉ) looked at his slaughtered family, he felt greatly grieved and worried. When his sister Zainab al-Kubra read his face, she felt upset on his account and took to consoling him and admonishing him to be patient although even the mountains could not match him in his patience and fortitude. Among what she said to him is the following:
ما لي أراك تجود بنفسك يا بقيّة جدّي وأبي وإخوتي؟ فوالله إنّ هذا لعهد من الله إلى جدّك وأبيك ، ولقد أخذ الله ميثاق اُناس لا تعرفهم فراعنة هذه الأرض ، وهم معروفون في أهل السّماوات ، إنّهم يجمعون هذه الأعضاء المقطّعة والجسوم المضرّجة ، فيوارونها وينصبون بهذا الطفّ علماً لقبر أبيك سيّد الشهداء لا يُدرس أثره ولا يُمحى رسمه على كرور الليالي والأيّام ، وليجتهدنّ أئمّة الكفر وأشياع الضلال في محوه وتطميسه ، فلا يزداد أثره إلاّ علوّاً.
"Why do I see you pleading for death, O the legacy of my grandfather, of my father and brothers? By Allah, this is something which Allah had divulged to your grandfather (ﻉ) and to your father (ﻉ). Allah took a covenant from people whom you do not know, the mighty ones on this land, and who are known to the people of the heavens, that they would gather these severed parts and wounded corpses and bury them, then shall they set up on this Taff a banner for the grave of your father, the Master of Martyrs (ﻉ), the traces of which shall never be obliterated, nor shall it ever be wiped out so long as there is day and night. And the leaders of apostasy and the promoters of misguidance shall try their best to obliterate and efface it, yet it shall get more and more lofty instead."38
Zajr ibn Qays came to them and shouted at them to leave as he kept whipping them. Others surrounded them and mounted them on camel humps.39
Zainab the wise rode her own she-camel. She recollected the days of lofty honour and inviolable prestige, guarded by fierce and honourable lions of Abdul-Muttalib’s offspring. And she used to always be surrounded by servants who would not enter without her permission.
When the daughters of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) entered Kufa, the city’s residents gathered to see them, so Umm Kulthum shouted at them, "O people of Kufa! Do not you have any sense of shame before Allah and His Messenger so you look at the ladies of the Prophet?"40
One of Kufa’s women came to them and saw their condition for which even a most bitter enemy would feel sorry. She asked them what captives they were, and she was told: "We are captives belonging to the Progeny of Muhammad."41
The people of Kufa kept doling out dates, walnuts and bread to the children, whereupon Umm Kulthum, that is, Zainab al-Kubra, shouted at them that they were prohibited from accepting charity. She threw away what had been given to the children42. A poet once composed these lines addressing Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ):
O father of Hassan!
She overlooks and in the slumber she delights,
But only with her hand can Zainab now cover her face.
O father of Hassan!
Does this sight you please:
Each of your women chained, uncovered the face,
While Banu Harb’s women in their chambers veiled with grace?
Does your side on the bed find comfort and ease,
While your daughters on the camels to Syria are brought?
Are you pleased when your wise ladies are exposed?
With lashes they are whipped when they cry, having no rest..
To the east they are once taken by the mean gangs, the worst,
And once towards the land of shame are taken, to the west.
None to protect them as they cross every plain,
None heeds their complaints when they complain.
Their voices were lost and their hearts squeezed,
Their breath by grief is almost snatched away
Amazed am I about one who thinks of fate
And wonders and upon it does he contemplate:
A fornicator leisurely turns about on his throne,
As al-Husayn on the ground is left, unburied, alone,
And his head is on a lance openly carried,
And with the crown is crowned the son of a whore.
For three days did Husayn stay unburied or more.
One’s body is to cruel elements is left exposed
As the other covers his with silk and with gold.43
The daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) explained to people Ibn Ziyad’s villainy and meanness in a speech which she delivered to them. When she signaled to them to calm down, they did. They stood speechless and motionless, and even the bells of their animals stopped ringing. It was then that she, calm and composed and with courage reminiscent of that of her father Haider (ﻉ) addressed them saying,
يقول الراوي : لمّا أومأت زينب ابنة علي (ع) إلى النّاس ، فسكنت الأنفاس والأجراس ، فعندها اندفعت بخطابها مع طمأنينة نفس وثبات جأش ، وشجاعة حيدريّة ، فقالت (ص) لوات الله عليها: الحمد لله والصلاة على أبي محمّد وآله الطيّبين الأخيار .
أمّا بعد ، يا أهل الكوفة ، يا أهل الختل والغدر ، أتبكون ؟! فلا رقأت الدمعة ، ولا هدأت الرنّة ، إنّما مثَلكم كمثَل التي نقضت غزلها من بعد قوّة أنكاثاً ، تتّخذون أيمانكم دخلاً بينكم ، ألا وهل فيكم إلاّ الصلف النطف والعجب والكذب والشنف وملق الإماء، وغمز الأعداء؟! أو كمرعى على دمنة أو كقصّة على ملحودة، ألا بئس ما قدّمتْ لكم أنفسكم أنْ سخط الله عليكم ، وفي العذاب أنتم خالدون .
أتبكون وتنتحبون ؟! إي والله فابكوا كثيراً ، واضحكوا قليلاً ؛ فلقد ذهبتم بعارها وشنارها ، ولن ترحضوها بغسل بعدها أبداً ، وأنّى ترحضون قتْل سليل خاتم النبوّة ومعدن الرسالة ، ومدرة حجّتكم ومنارمحَجّتكم ، وملاذ خيرتكم ومفزع نازلتكم ، وسيّد شباب أهل الجنّة ، ألا ساء ما تزرون .
فتعساً و نكساً وبُعداً لكم وسحقاً ، فلقد خاب السّعي وتبّت الأيدي ، وخسرت الصفقة ، وبؤتم بغضب من الله ورسوله ، وضُربت عليكم الذلّة والمسكنة. ويلكم يا أهل الكوفة ، أتدرون أيّ كبد لرسول الله فريتم ؟ وأيّ كريمة له أبرزتم ؟ وأيّ دم له سفكتم ؟ وأيّ حرمة له انتهكتم ؟ لقد جئتم شيئاً إدّاً ، تكاد السّموات يتفطّرن منه ، وتنشقّ الأرض ، وتخرّ الجبال هدّاً . ولقد أتيتم بها خرقاء شوهاء كطلاع الأرض وملء السّماء .
All Praise is due to Allah. Peace and blessings be upon my father Muhammad (ﺹ) and upon his good and righteous Progeny (ﻉ). May the resounding [of this calamity] never stops. Your similitude is one who unspins what is already spun out of the desire to violate [a trust]. You make religion a source of your income... Is there anyone among you who is not a boaster of what he does not have, a charger of debauchery, a conceited liar, a man of grudge without any justification, one submissive like bondmaids, an instigater, a pasture of what is not wholesome, a reciter of a story to someone buried? Truly bad is that which your souls have committed. You have reaped the Wrath of Allah, remaining in the chastisement for eternity. Do you really cry and sob?
By Allah, you should then cry a great deal and laugh very little, for you have earned nothing but shame and infamy, and you shall never be able to wash it away, and how could you do so? The descendant of the Bearer of the Last Message (ﻉ), the very essence of the Message, the source of your security and the beacon of your guidance, the refuge of the righteous from among you, the one who saves you from calamity, the Master of the Youths of Paradise... is killed. O how horrible is the sin that you bear...! Miserable you are and renegades from the path of righteousness; may you be distanced and crushed. The effort is rendered futile, the toil is ruined, the deal is lost, and you earned nothing but Wrath from Allah and His Messenger (ص). You are doomed with servitude and humiliation.
Woe unto you, O Kufians! Do you know whose heart you have burned, what a "feat" you have laboured, what blood you have shed, and what sanctity you have violated? You have done a most monstrous deed, something for which the heavens are about to split asunder and so is the earth, and for which the mountains crumble. You have done something most uncanny, most defaced, as much as the fill of the earth and of the sky. Do you wonder why the sky rains blood? Surely the torment of the hereafter is a greater chastisement, and they shall not be helped. Let no respite elate you, for rushing does not speed it up, nor does it fear the loss of the opportunity for revenge. Your Lord is waiting in ambush for you.44
Imam as-Sajjad (ﻉ) said to her, "That is enough, O aunt, for you are, Praise to Allah, a learned lady whom none taught, one who comprehends without being made to do so."45
Fatima, al-Husayn’s daughter46, delivered a speech wherein she said,
الحمد لله عدد الرمل والحصى ، وزنة العرش إلى الثرى ، أحمده واُؤمن به وأتوكّل عليه وأشهد أنْ لا إله إلاّ الله وحده لا شريك له وأنّ محمداً عبده ورسوله ، وأنّ أولاده ذُبحوا بشطّ الفرات ، من غير ذحل ولا ترات .
اللهمّ إنّي أعوذ بك أنْ أفتري عليك ، وأنْ أقول عليك خلاف ما أنزلت من أخذ العهود والوصيّة لعلي بن أبي طالب المغلوب حقّه ، المقتول من غير ذنب كما قُتل ولده بالأمس ، في بيت من بيوت الله تعالى ، فيه معشر مسلمة بألسنتهم ، تعساً لرؤوسهم ما دفعت عنه ضيماً في حياته ولا عند مماته ، حتّى قبضه الله تعالى إليه محمود النّقيبة طيّب العريكة ، معروف المناقب مشهور المذاهب ، لَم تأخذه في الله سبحانه لَومة لائم ولا عذل عاذل ، هديته اللهمّ للإسلام صغيراً ، وحمدت مناقبه كبيراً ، ولَم يزل ناصحاً لك ولرسولك ، زاهداً في الدنيا غير حريص عليها ، راغباً في الآخرة ، مجاهداً لك في سبيلك ، رضيته فاخترته وهديته إلى صراط مستقيم .
أمّا بعد، يا أهل الكوفة ، يا أهل المكر والغدر والخيلاء ، فإنّا أهل بيت ابتلانا الله بكم ، وابتلاكم بنا . فجعل بلاءنا حسناً ، وجعل علمه عندنا وفهمه لدنيا ، فنحن عَيبة علمه ، ووعاء فهمه وحكمته ، وحجّته على الأرض في بلاده لعباده ، أكرمنا الله بكرامته ، وفضّلنا بنبيّه محمّد (صلّى الله عليه وآله) على كثير ممَّن خلق الله تفضيلاً ، فكذّبتمونا وكفّرتمونا ، ورأيتم قتالنا حلالاً ، وأموالنا نهباً ، كأنّنا أولاد ترك أو كابل ، كما قتلتم جدّنا بالأمس ، وسيوفكم تقطر من دمائنا أهل البيت لحقد متقدّم ، قرّت لذلك عيونكم ، وفرحت قلبوكم افتراءً على الله ومكراً مكرتم، والله خير الماكرين ، فلا تدعونّكم أنفسكم إلى الجذل بما أصبتم من دمائنا ، ونالت أيديكم من أموالنا ، فإنّ ما أصابنا من المصائب الجليلة ، والرزايا العظيمة في كتاب من قبل أن نبرأها ، إنّ ذلك على الله يسير ؛ لكيلا تأسوا على ما فاتكم ولا تفرحوا بما آتاكم ، والله لا يحبّ كلّ مختال فخور .
تبّاً لكم فانظروا اللعنة والعذاب ، فكأنّ قد حلّ بكم وتواترت من السّماء نقمات ، فيسحتكم بعذاب ويذيق بعضكم بأس بعض ، ثمّ تخلدون في العذاب الأليم يوم القيامة ؛ بما ظلمتمونا ، ألا لعنة الله على الظالمين .
ويلكم ! أتدرون أيّة يد طاعنتنا منكم ؟ وأيّة نفس نزعت إلى قتالنا ؟ أم بأيّة رِجل مشيتم إلينا ؟ تبغون محاربتنا ، قست قلوبكم وغلظت أكبادكم وطبع الله على أفئدتكم ، وختم على سمعكم وبصركم وسوّل لكم الشيطان وأملى لكم ، وجعل على بصركم غشاوة فأنتم لا تهتدون .
تبّاً لكم يا أهل الكوفة ، أيّ ترات لرسول الله قِبلَكم ، وذحول له لديكم ؟ بما عندتم بأخيه على بن أبي الطالب جدّي وبنيه وعترته الطيّبين الأخيار ، وافتخر بذلك مفتخركم:
نحن قتلنا علياً وبني علي بـسيوف هنديّة ورماح
وسبينا نساءهم سبي ترك ونـطحناهم فـأيّ نطاح
بفيك أيها القائل الكثكث والأثلب؛ افتخرت بقتل قوم زكّاهم الله وطهّرهم وأذهب عنهم الرجس، فأكضم وأقع كما أقعى أبوك فإنّما لكلّ امرىء ما اكتسب وما قدّمت يداه .
حسدتمونا، ويلاً لكم، على ما فضّلنا الله تعالى ، ذلك فضل الله يؤتيه مَن يشاء والله ذوالفضل العظيم . ومَن لَم يجعل الله له نوراً فما له من نور .
فارتفعت الأصوات بالبكاء والنّحيب وقالوا : حسبكِ يا ابنة الطاهرين فقد حرقت قلوبنا وأنضجت نحورنا وأضرمت أجوافنا ، فسكتت .
"All Praise is due to Allah, as much as the number of the sands and of the stones, as much as the Arsh weighs up to the ground. I praise Him, believe in Him and rely upon Him. And I testify that there is no Allah other than Allah, the One and Only Allah, there is no partner with Him, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, and that his offspring have been slaughtered by the Euphrates river neither on account of blood revenge nor out of dispute over inheritance. Lord!
I seek refuge with You against telling a lie about You and against saying anything contrary to what You have revealed of taking many a covenant regarding the vicegerency of Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), the man whose right is confiscated, who was killed without having committed a sin, just as his son was only yesterday killed, at one of the houses of Allah, the most Exalted One, at the hand of those who give Islam nothing but lip service.
Destruction may afflict their heads that did not ward off from him any injustice as long as he lived nor at his death, till Allah Almighty took his soul to Him while his essence was praised, his dealing with others was commendable, his merits were well known, and his beliefs well admitted by everyone. Never did he ever accept anyone’s blame nor the criticism of any critic in doing what is right. Lord!
You guided him to Islam even when he was a child and praised his virtues when he grew up. Never did he ever cease enjoining others to follow Your Path and that of Your Messenger (ﻉ). He always paid no heed to the riches of this world. He always desired the hereafter, a man who carried out jihad for Your Cause. With him were You pleased, so You chose him and guided him to a Straight Path.
O people of Kufa! O people of treachery, of betrayal and conceit! We are members of a Household tried on your account by Allah, afflicted by you. He made our dealing with you good, and He entrusted His knowledge to us, and He bestowed upon us its comprehension; so, we are the bastian of His knowledge, understanding and wisdom, and His Arguments on the earth which He created for the good of His servants! Allah bestowed upon us His blessings and greatly honoured us with His Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his Progeny, favouring us over many of those whom He created. Yet you called us liars and apostates, and in your eyes you deemed killing us as lawful, and so is looting our possessions, as if we were the offspring of the Turks or of Kabul, just as you killed our grandfather in the past. Your swords drip with our blood, the blood of Ahl al-Bayt, out of past animosity.
Thus have your eyes been cooled, and thus have your hearts been elated, telling lies about Allah and out of evil plans which you hatched, while Allah is the very best of planners. So do not be carried away with your excitement because of our blood which you have spilled or our wealth which you have snatched, for what has befallen us is truly a great tragedy and a momentous calamity
"In a Book even before We created them; surely this is easy for Allah, so that you may not be grieved because of what you missed nor feel happy because of what you acquired, and Allah does not love anyone who is coceited, braggard" (57:23).
May you be ruined! Expect to be cursed and to be tormented, for it seems as though it has already befallen you, and more and more signs of Wrath are on their way to you from the heavens till He makes you taste of the chastisement and make some of you taste of the might of others, then on the Day of Judgment shall you all remain for eternity in the painful torment on account of the injustice with which you have treated us; the curse of Allah be upon the oppressors. Woe unto you! Do you know what hand you have stabbed, what soul found fighting us agreeable? Rather, by what feet did you walk towards us with the intention to fight us?
Your hearts became hardened, and Allah sealed your hearts, your hearing, and your vision, and Satan inspired to you and dictated, placing a veil over your eyes, so you can never be guided. Destruction is your lot, O people of Kufa! What a legacy of the Prophet (ﺹ) is standing before you, and what blood revenge will he seek from you on account of your enmity towards his brother Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), my grandfather, and towards his good and righteous offspring, yet you even brag about it saying,
We killed Ali and Ali’s sons,
With Indian swords and spears
And we placed their women in captivity
Like the Turks! We crushed them with severity.
May stones and pebbles fill your mouths! You brag about killing people whom Allah chose and whom He purified with a perfect purification and from whom He kept away all abomination. Suppress it, then, and squat just as your fathers did, for each will get the rewards of what he earns and will be punished for what he committed.
You envied us, woe unto you, for what Allah, the most Exalted One, favoured and preferred us. Such is Allah’s favour: He bestows His favours upon whomsoever He pleases, and surely with Allah are great favours. For whoever Allah does not make a noor, he shall have no light at all."
Voices were raised with weeping and wailing, and they said to her, "Enough, enough, O daughter of the pure ones, for you have burnt our hearts and necks," so she took to silence.
Ali ibn al-Husayn (ﻉ) was brought on a lean camel. Chains were placed on his neck, and he was handcuffed. Both sides of his neck were bleeding. He was repeating these verses:
O nation of evil, may your quarter never tastes of water!
O nation that never honoured in our regard our Grandfather!
Should we and the Messenger of Allah meet
On the Judgment Day, how would you then plead?
On bare beasts of burden have you
Transported us, as if we never put up a creed for you!
He signaled to people to be silent. Once they were silent, he praised Allah and glorified Him and saluted the Prophet (ﺹ). Then he said,
أيّها النّاس ، مَن عرفني فقد عرفني ، ومَن لَم يعرفني فأنا علي بن الحسين بن علي بن أبي طالب ، أنا ابن من انتُهكت حرمته ، وسُلبت نعمته وانتهب ماله ، وسُبي عياله ، أنا ابن المذبوح بشطّ الفرات من غير ذحل ولا ترات ، أنا ابن من قُتل صبراً ، وكفى بذلك فخراً .
أيّها النّاس ناشدتكم الله هل تعلمون أنّكم كتبتم إلى أبي وخدعتموه وأعطيتموه من أنفسكم العهود والميثاق والبيعة ، وقاتلتموه ؟
فتّباً لكم لِما قدّمتم لأنفسكم ، وسوأة لرأيكم ، بأيّة عين تنظرون إلى رسول الله ؟ إذ يقول لكم : قتلتم عترتي ، وانتهكتم حرمتي ، فلستم من اُمّتي.
فارتفعت الأصوات بالبكاء وقالوا : هلكتم وما تعلمون .
ثمّ قال عليه السّلام : (رحم الله امرءاً قبِل نصيحتي ، وحفظ وصيّتي في الله وفي رسوله وأهل بيته ، فإنّ لنا في رسول الله اُسوة حسنة.)
فقالوا بأجمعهم : نحن يابن رسول الله سامعون مطيعون حافظون لذمامك ، غير زاهدين فيك ، ولا راغبين عنك ، فمرنا بأمرك يرحمك الله ، فإنّا حرب لحربك ، وسِلم لسلمك ، نبرأ ممَّن ظلمك وظلمنا .
فقال عليه السّلام: هيهات هيهات، أيّها الغدرة المكرة ، حِيل بينكم وبين شهوات أنفسكم ، تريدون أن تأتوا إليَّ كما أتيتم إلى أبي من قبل ؟ كلاّ وربّ الراقصات ، فإنّ الجرح لمّا يندمل ، قُتل أبي بالأمس وأهل بيته ، ولَم ينس ثكل رسول الله وثكل أبي وبني أبي ، إنّ وجده والله لبين لهاتي ومرارته بين حناجري وحلقي ، وغصّته تجري في فراش صدري :
مـهلاً بـني حرب فما قد نالنا فـبعين جـبّار الـسّما لم يكتم
فـكأنّني يوم الحساب بأحمد بالرسل يقدم حاسراً عن معصم
ويـقول ويلكم هتكتم حرمتي وتركتم الأسياف تنطف من دمي
تـدرون أيّ دم أرقـتم في الثرى أمْ أيَّ خـود سـقتُمُ في المغنم
أمـن الـعدالة صونكم فتياتكم وحـرائري تسبى كسبي الديلم
والـماء تـورده يـعافير الفلا وكـبود أطـفالي ظماء تضرم
تالله لـو ظفرت سراة الكفر في رهطي لما ارتكبوا لذاك المعظم
يـا لـيت شعر محمّد ما فاتكم طـعن الحناجر بعد حزّ الغلصم
O people! Whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not, let me tell him that I am Ali son of al-Husayn (ﻉ) ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ). I am the son of the man whose sanctity has been violated, whose wealth has been plundered, whose children have been seized. I am the son of the one who has been slaughtered by the Euphrates neither out of blood revenge nor on account of an inheritance. I am the son of the one killed in the worst manner. This suffices me to be proud.
O people! I plead to you in the Name of Allah: Do you not know that you wrote my father then deceived him? Did you not grant him your covenant, your promise, and your allegiance, then you fought him? May you be ruined for what you have committed against your own souls, and out of your corrupt views! Through what eyes will you look at the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) when he says to you, "You killed my Progeny, violated my sanctity, so you do not belong to my nation"?
Loud cries rose, and they said to each other, "You have perished, yet you are not aware of it." Then he, peace be with him, said, "May Allah have mercy on anyone who acts upon my advice, who safeguards my legacy with regard to Allah, His Messenger (ﻉ), and his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ), for we have in the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) a good example of conduct to emulate."
They all said, "We, O son of the Messenger of Allah, hear and we obey, and we shall safeguard your trust. We shall not turn away from you, nor shall we disobey you; so, order us, may Allah have mercy on you, for we shall fight when you fight, and we shall seek asylum when you do so; we dissociate ourselves from whoever oppressed you and dealt unjustly with you."
He, peace be with him, said, "Far, far away it is from you to do so, O people of treachery and conniving! You are separated from what you desire. Do you want to come to me as you did to my father saying, No, by the Lord of all those [angels] that ascend and descend’?! The wound is yet to heal. My father was killed only yesterday, and so were his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ), and the loss inflicted upon the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), upon my father (ﻉ), and upon my family is yet to be forgotten. Its pain, by Allah, is between both of these [sides] and its bitterness is between my throat and palate. Its choke is resting in my very chest."47
Historians record saying that the Master of Martyrs (ﻉ) set up a tent on the battlefield48, ordering those killed from among his companions and Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) to be carried to it. Whenever a fresh martyr was brought, he, peace be with him, would say, "You have been killed just as the prophets and the families of prophets are killed."49 He did so to everyone with the exception of his brother al-Abbas, peace be with him, whom he left where he fell near the river bank of the Euphrates.
When Omer ibn Sa'd accompanied those whom he arrested of the custodians of the Message and left for Kufa, he left behind those who were described by the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) as the masters of martyrs in the life of this world and in the hereafter, an honour to which nobody ever preceded nor will anyone suceed them50, lying on the sands incinerated by the sun and sought by the wild beasts of the desert.
Among them was the Master of the Youths of Paradise who was in a condition that would split the hardest of the stones, yet divine lights were emanating from his corpse, and sweet scents were surrounding him from all directions.
A man belonging to Banu Asad has narrated the following:
Once the army left, I came to the battlefield and saw light emanating from those corpses that were covered with blood and smelled sweet scents. I saw a terrifying lion walking between the amputated parts till he reached the embodiment of sanctity and the sacrifice of guidance. He rubbed himself on his blood and rubbed his body on his as he kept muttering and letting out a very strange sound. I was amazed. Never have I ever seen such a fierce lion abandon what would be for his likes nothing but a meal. I hid among the marshes and kept watching to see what else he would do. I was more amazed when midnight came. It was then that I saw candles with voices that filled the earth with painful cries and wailing.51
On the thirtheenth day of Muharram, Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) came to bury his martyred father, peace be with him, since only an Imam buries another Imam.52
When as-Sajjad (ﻉ) came to the place, he saw Banu Asad assembled around the slain not knowing what to do. They could not identify the corpses especially since their killers had separated the heads from the bodies. Had it been otherwise, they could have inquired about them with the families and the tribes of those slain. But he, peace be with him, informed them that it was his task to bury those pure bodies. He informed them of the names of the slain, identifying those who belonged to Banu Hashim from the rest. Crying and wailing rose, and tears filled the eyes of everyone present there and then. The ladies of Banu Asad loosened their hair in grief and beat their cheeks.
Imam Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) walked to his father’s body, hugged it and wept loudly. Then he came to the grave-site and lifted a handful of its soil. A grave already dug appeared, and so did a pre-constructed shrine... He placed his hands under the Imam’s back and said, "In the Name of Allah, and according to the creed of the Messenger of Allah. Allah has said the truth, and so has His Messenger (ﻉ). The will of Allah be done; there is neither power nor might except in Allah, the Great." Then he took it and went down without being assisted by anyone from among the Banu Asad to whom he said, "I have with me someone who will assist me."
Once he laid it down in the grave, he put his cheek on his father’s sacred neck and said, "Congratulations to the land that contains your pure body, for the world after you is dark whereas the hereafter in your light shall shine. As to the night, it is the harbinger of sleep, while grief remains forever, for Allah shall choose for your Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) your abode wherein you shall abide. From me to you is Salam, O son of the Messenger of Allah, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings."
On the grave he wrote: "This is the grave of al-Husayn son of Ali son of Abu Talib, the one whom they killed even as he was a thirsty stranger." Then he walked to the body of his uncle al-Abbas, peace be with him, and he saw him in a condition that had left the angels in the heavens’ strata baffled and caused the huris to weep even as they were in the chambers of Paradise. He fell upon it kissing his sacred neck and saying, "May the world after you be obliterated, O moon of Banu Hashim, and peace from me to you, O martyr, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings."
He dug a grave for him and took him down in it by himself just as he had done to the corpse of his martyred father (ﻉ). He said to Banu Asad, "There is someone with me to help me."
Yes, he gave a piece of jewelry to Banu Asad as a token of appreciation for consoling him in burying the martyrs, and he assigned for them two places, ordering them to dig two pits in the first of which he buried those slain from Banu Hashim and in the second those slain from among the companions53.
As regarding al-Hurr ar-Riyahi, his corpse was taken away by his tribe that buried it where it now stands. It is said that his mother was present then and there, and when she saw what was being done to the corpses, she carried her son’s corpse somewhere else.54
The closest in proximity to the grave of al-Husayn (ﻉ) from among the martyrs is his son Ali al-Akbar, peace be with him. In this regard, Imam as-Sadiq (ﻉ) says to Hammad al-Basri, "The father of Abdullah was killed a stranger away from home; he is mourned be whoever visits his grave-site, and whoever does not visit it grieves for him; whoever doe not see him is very depressed on account of being deprived of doing so, so he grieves; whoever sees the grave of his son at his feet in a desolate land, far away from his kins, invokes Allah’s mercy for him because of the fact that he was not supported when he called upon people to uphold righteousness, and because the renegades assisted one another against him till they killed him and did not have any respect for him, so much so that they exposed his corpse to the wild beasts and prohibited him from drinking of the water of the Euphrates of which the dogs drink.
They disregarded their obligations in his respect towards the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) who had enjoined them to be kind to him and to his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ). He became abandoned in his grave, slain among his kinsfolk and Shi'as. In loneliness, being near his grave removes the pain of loneliness and so is his being distant from his grandfather (ﻉ) and from the house which none could enter except those whose conviction of heart Allah tested, and by those who recognize our rights. My father has told me that since he was killed, his place has never been empty of those who bless him from among the angels, the jinns, mankind, and even the wild beasts.
Whoever visits it is envied and is rubbed for blessing, and looking at his grave is done in anticipation of earning goodness. Allah boasts to the angels of those who visit it. As far as what such pilgrim receives from us, we invoke Allah’s mercy for him every morning and every evening. It has come to my knowledge that some Kufians as well as others in Kufa’s outskirts pay it a visit in the eve of the middle of Shaban.
They recite the Holy Qur’an; they narrate his story; they mourn him, and women eulogize him while others compose their own eulogies." Hammad said to the Imam (ﻉ), "I have personally witnessed some of what you have described." The Imam, peace be with him, then said, "Praise to Allah Who has made some people come to us, praise us, and mourn us, and praised is He for making our enemy shame them for doing so, threaten them, and describe what they do as ugly."55
Having returned from his camp at Nakheela, Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad went straight to his mansion56. The sacred head was brought to him, and it was then that the walls started bleeding57 and a fire broke out from one part of the mansion and made its way to the place where Ibn Ziyad was sitting58. He fled away from it and entered one of the mansion’s rooms. The head spoke out in a loud voice that was heard by Ibn Ziyad as well as by those who were present there and then.
It said, "Where do you flee to? If fire does not catch you in the life of this world, it shall be your abode in the hereafter." The head did not stop speaking till the fire was out. Everyone at the mansion was stunned; nothing like this had ever taken place before59. Yet Ibn Ziyad was not admonished by an incident such as that, so he ordered the captives to be brought to him. The ladies of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) were brought to him, and they were in the most pathetic condition60.
Al-Husayn’s head was placed in front of him, so he kept hitting its mouth with a rod which he had in his hand for some time. Zaid ibn Arqam said, "Stop hitting these lips with your rod, for by Allah, the One and Only Allah, I saw the lips of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) kissing them," then he broke into tears.
Ibn Ziyad said to him, "May Allah cause you never to cease crying! By Allah, had you not been an old man who lost his wits, I would have killed you." Zaid went out of the meeting place saying, "A slave is now a monarch ruling them, treating them as his property. O Arabs! Henceforth, you are the slaves! You have killed Fatima’s son and granted authority to the son of Marjana who kills the best among you and permits the evil ones among you to be worshipped. You have accepted humiliation, so away with whoever accepts humiliation."61
Zainab daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) kept a distance from the women as she remained disguised, but she could not disguise the prestige of being brought up in the lap of prophethood and in the glory of Imamate, so she attracted Ibn Ziyad’s attention.
He inquired about her. He was told that she was Zainab, the wise lady, daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ). He wanted to tell her how rejoiced he was at what had happened. Said he, "Praise be to Allah Who exposed you to shame, Who killed you and proved you liars." She, peace be with her, responded with: "Praise be to Allah Who honoured us by choosing Muhammad [from among us] as His Prophet and purified us with a perfect purification. Rather, only a debauchee is exposed to shame, and a sinner is proven to be a liar, and we are neither."
Ibn Ziyad asked her, "How have you seen what Allah has done to your Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ)?" She, peace be with her, said, "I have seen Him treating them most beautifully. These are people to whom Allah prescribed martyrdom, so they leaped from their beds welcoming it, and Allah shall gather you and them, and you shall be questioned, and your opponents shall charge you62; so, you will then find out whose lot shall be the crack of hell, may your mother, O son of Marjana, lose you."63
This statement enraged Ibn Ziyad, and her words incinerated him with ire, especially since she said it before such a huge crowd. He, therefore, was about to kill her when Amr ibn Hareeth said to him, "She is only a woman; can she be held accountable for what she said? She cannot be blamed when she thus prattles."
Ibn Ziyad turned to her one more time and said, "Allah has healed my heart by letting me seek revenge against your tyrant and against the rebels and mutineers from among his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ)!" The wise lady calmed herself and said, "By my life! You have killed my middle-aged protector, persecuted my family, cut off my branch and pulled out my roots; so, if all of this heals your heart, then you are indeed healed."64
He then turned to Ali ibn al-Husayn (ﻉ) whom he asked what his name was. "I am Ali son of al-Husayn (ﻉ)," came the answer. Ibn Ziyad asked Ali, "Did not Allah kill Ali (ﻉ)?" As-Sajjad (ﻉ) answered, "I used to have an older brother65 also named Ali whom people killed." Ibn Ziyad responded by repeating his statement that it was Allah who had killed him. As-Sajjad, therefore, said, "Allah takes the souls away at the time of their death; none dies except with Allah’s permission."
Ibn Ziyad did not appreciate him thus responding to his statement rather than remaining silent, so he ordered him to be killed, but his aunt, the wise lady Zainab, put her arms around him and said, "O Ibn Ziyad! Suffices you what you have shed of our blood..., have you really spared anyone other than this?66 If you want to kill him, kill me with him as well."
As-Sajjad (ﻉ) said [to Ibn Ziyad], "Do you not know that we are used to being killed, and that martyrdom is one of Allah’s blessings upon us?"67 Ibn Ziyad looked at both of them then said, "Leave him for her. Amazing is their tie of kinship; she wishes to be killed with him."68
Ar-Rubab, wife of Imam al-Husayn (ﻉ), took the head and put it in her lap. She kissed it and composed poetry lines mourning
When it became clear to Ibn Ziyad that there were many people present who were voicing their resentment of what he had committed and how everyone was repeating what Zainab had said, he feared an uprising, so he ordered the police to jail the captives inside a house adjacent to the grand mosque69. Ibn Ziyad’s doorman has said, "I was with them when he issued his order to jail them. I saw how the men and women assembled there weeping and beating their faces."70
Zainab shouted at people saying, "Nobody should tend to us except either a bondmaid, a freed bondmaid, or umm wuld71, for they were taken captive just as we have been."72 Only a female captive is familiar with the pain and humiliation of captivity; therefore, she would be sympathetic and would not rejoice nor enjoy seeing them in captivity. This is undeniable.
Ibn Ziyad again called them to his presence. When they were brought to him, their women saw al-Husayn’s head in front of him with its divine rays ascending from its curves to the depth of the heavens. Ar-Rubab, al-Husayn’s wife, could not check herself from falling upon it and composed more poetry eulogizing him.
Hameed ibn Muslim has said, "Ibn Ziyad ordered to hold a congregarional prayer service. They assembled at the grand mosque. Ibn Ziyad ascended the pulpit and said, All Praise is due to Allah Who manifested the truth and elevated those who act according to it and Who granted victory to the commander of the faithful Yazid and to his party, and Who killed the liar and the son of the liar Husayn son of Ali and his Shi'as.’73
Nobody among that crowd that had sunk in misguidance objected to such a preposterous statement except Abdullah ibn Afeef al-Azdi and also one of the sons of Walibah al-Ghamidi who both stood up and said to him, O son of Marjana! The liar and the son of the liar is you and your father, and so is everyone who accepts your authority and his son! O son of Marjana! Do you really kill the offspring of the prophets and still talk about who is truthful and who is a liar?!’74
Ibn Ziyad asked who the speaker was. Ibn Afeef answered by saying, I am the speaker, O enemy of Allah! Do you really kill the righteous offspring from whom Allah removed all abomination then claim that you are a follower of the Islamic creed?! Oh! Is there anyone to help?! Where are the sons of the Muhajiran and the Ansar to seek revenge against your tyrant, the one who and whose father were both cursed by Muhammad (ﺹ), the Messenger of the Lord of the Worlds.’
Ibn Ziyad’s anger now intensified. He ordered him to be brought to him. The police grabbed him.75 It was then that Ibn Afeef shouted the slogan used by the Azdis which was: يا مبرور! Ya Mabroor!’ This caused a large number of the Azdis present there to leap to his rescue and to forcibly free him from the police and take him safely home."
Abdul-Rahman ibn Makhnaf al-Azdi said to him, "Woe unto someone else other than you! You have surely condemned yourself and your tribe to destruction!"76
Ibn Ziyad ordered Jandab ibn Abdullah al-Azdi, who was an old man, to be brought to him. He said to him, "O enemy of Allah! Did you not fight on Abu Turab’s side during the Battle of Siffeen?" The old man answered, "Yes, and I love him and am proud of him, while I despise you and your father especially after you have killed the grandson of the Prophet (ﺹ) and his companions and the members of his family without fearing the One and Only Allah, the Great Avenger."
Ibn Ziyad said, "You have less feeling of shame than that blind man, and I seek nearness to Allah through shedding your blood." Jandab said, "In that case, Allah shall never bring you closer to Him." Ibn Ziyad, on a second thought, feared the might of the man’s Azd tribe, so he left him alone saying, "He is only an old man who has lost his mind and his wits." He released him.77
At the same time when Ibn Ziyad ordered the captives to be brought to his meeting place, he also ordered al-Mukhtar son of Abu Ubayd at-Thaqafi to be brought to him, too. Al-Mukhtar had been in prison since the assassination of Muslim ibn Aqeel.
When al-Mukhtar saw that horrific and most deplorable scene, he sighed loudly and an exchange of harsh words took place between him and Ibn Ziyad wherein the harshest words were al-Mukhtar’s. Ibn Ziyad became burning with outrage and ordered him to be sent back to jail78. Some say that he whipped him, blinding one of his eyes.79
After the execution of Ibn Afeef, al-Mukhtar was released due to the interference of Abdullah son of Omer ibn al-Khattab who asked Yazid to have him released. Yazid was the husband of al-Mukhtar’s sister Safiyya daughter of Abu Ubayd at-Thaqafi. But Ibn Ziyad postponed carrying out Yazid’s order for three days.
Having ordered the execution of Ibn Afeef, Ibn Ziyad delivered a speech wherein he abused the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ), causing al-Mukhtar to denounce and to taunt him to his face saying, "You are the liar, O enemy of Allah and enemy of His Messenger! Rather, Praise to Allah Who dignified al-Husayn (ﻉ) and his army with Paradise and with forgiveness just as He humiliated Yazid and his army with the fire and with shame."
Ibn Ziyad hurled an iron bar at him that fractured his forehead, then he ordered him to be sent back to jail, but people reminded him that Omer ibn Sa'd was the husband of his sister while another brother-in-law was none other than Abdullah ibn Omer [ibn al-Khattab]. They reminded him of his lofty lineage, so he changed his mind of having him killed, yet he insisted on sending him back to prison. For the second time did Abdullah ibn Omer write Yazid who in turn wrote Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad ordering him to release the man80.
Al-Mukhtar incessantly kept after that informing the Shi'as of the merits which he knew of the companions of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ), of how he rose seeking revenge for al-Husayn (ﻉ), and how he killed Ibn Ziyad and those who fought al-Husayn (ﻉ).81
One incident he narrated was the following which he recollected about the time when he was in Ibn Ziyad’s jail:
Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Nawfal ibn Abdul-Muttalib and Maytham at-Tammar were two of his cell mates. Abdullah ibn al-Harith asked for a piece of iron to remove the hair in certain parts of his body saying, "I do not feel secure against Ibn Ziyad killing me, and I do not want him to do so while there is unwanted hair on my body."
Al-Mukhtar said to him, "By Allah he shall not kill you, nor shall he kill me, nor shall you face except very little hardship before you become the governor of Basra!" Maytham heard their dialogue, so he said to al-Mukhtar, "You yourself will rise seeking revenge for al-Husayn’s blood, and you shall kill the same man who wants us to be killed, and you shall trample on his cheeks with your very foot."82
This came to be exactly as these men had said. Abdullah ibn al-Harith was released from jail after Yazid’s death and became the governor of Basra. After only one year, al-Mukhtar rose seeking revenge against the killers of al-Husayn (ﻉ), killing Ibn Ziyad, Harmalah ibn Kahil, Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan and a large number of the Kufians who had betrayed al-Husayn (ﻉ).
As Ibn Nama al-Hilli tells us, he [and his army] killed eighteen thousand Kufians, then almost ten thousand83 of them fled away from him and sought refuge with Mus'ab ibn az-Zubair. Among them was Shabth ibn Rab'i who reached him riding a mule whose ears and tail he had cut off and who was wearing a torn outer garment and shouting, "Help! Lead us to fight this debauchee who demolished our homes and killed our honourable men!"84
Since his early childhood, the martyred grandson of the Prophet (ﺹ) remained an ally of the Qur’an. Thus were both he and his brother (ﻉ), for they were the legacy of the Messenger of Allah and his vicegerents. The greatest Prophet (ﺹ) had stated that they and the Holy Qur’an would never part from one another till they would meet him at the Pool of Kawthar.
Al-Husayn (ﻉ), therefore, never ceased reciting the Qur’an all his life as he taught and cultivated others, when he was at home or when travelling. Even during his stand in the Battle of Taff, although surrounded by his foes, he used the Qur’an to argue with them and to explain his point of view to them.
Thus was the son of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) marching towards his sacred objective energetically, so much so that now his sacred head kept reciting the Qur’an even as it stood atop a spear, perhaps someone among the people would be illuminated with the light of the truth. But this lamp-post of guidance did not see except people whose comprehension was limited, whose hearts were sealed, and whose ears were deafened:
"Allah sealed their hearts and hearing, and over their vision there is a veil" (Qur’an, 2:7).
Zaid ibn Arqam has said, "I was sitting in my room when they passed by, and I heard the head reciting this verse: Or do you think that the fellows of the cave and the inscription were of Our wonderful signs?’ (Qur’an, 18:9). My hair stood up, and I said, By Allah, O son of the Messenger of Allah! Your head is much more wonderous!"85
When the severed head was placed at the money changers’ section of the bazaar, there was a great deal of commotion and noise of the dealers and customers. The Master of Martyrs (ﻉ) wanted to attract the attention to him so that people would listen to his terse admonishment, so his severed head hawked quite loudly, thus turning all faces to it. Never did people hear a severed head hawking before the martyrdom of al-Husayn (ﻉ). It then recited Surat al-Kahf from its beginning till it reached the verse saying,
"They were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased their guidance” (Qur’an, 18:13),
“... and do not (O Lord!) increase the unjust aught but error." (Qur’an, 71:24)
The head was hung on a tree. People assembled around it looking at the dazzling light that emanated from it as it recited the verse saying,
"And those who oppressed shall come to know what an end they shall meet" (Qur’an, 26:227)86.
Hilal ibn Mu'awiyah has said, "I saw a man carrying the head of al-Husayn (ﻉ) as it [the head] was saying, You separated between my head and my body, so may Allah separate between your flesh and bones, and may He make you a Sign for those who stray from the Straight Path.’ He, therefore, raised his whip and kept whipping the head till it ceased."87
Salamah ibn Kaheel heard the head reciting the following verse from the top of the spear where it had been placed: "Allah shall suffice you for them, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing" (Qur’an, 2:137)88.
Ibn Wakeedah says that he heard the head reciting Surat al-Kahf, so he was doubtful whether it was, indeed, the voice of the Imam (ﻉ), whereupon he, peace be with him, stopped his recitation and turned to the man to say, "O son of Wakeedah! Do you not know that we, the Imams, are living with our Lord receiving our sustenance?"
He, therefore, decided to steal and bury the head. It was then that the glorious head spoke again to him saying, "O son of Wakeedah! There is no way to do that. Their shedding my blood is greater with Allah than placing me on a spear; so, leave them alone, for they shall come to know when the collars are placed around their necks and when they are dragged with chains."89
Al-Minhal ibn Amr has said, "I saw al-Husayn’s head in Damascus atop a spear and in front of it stood a man; the head was reciting Surat al-Kahf. When the recitation came to the verse saying, Or do you think that the fellows of the cave and the inscription were of Our wonderful signs?’ (Qur’an, 18:9) , the head spoke in an articulate tongue saying, More wonderous than the fellows of the cave is killing me and thus transporting me.’"90
When Yazid ordered the killing of a messenger sent by the then Roman [Byzantian] emperor who resented what Yazid had committed, the head loudly articulated these words: La hawla wala quwwata illa billah! (There is no power nor might except in Allah)."91
Ibn Jarar at-Tabari, the renown historian, narrates the following:
"Ibn Ziyad wanted to send Abdul-Malik ibn al-Harith as-Salami to Medina in order to inform Amr ibn Sa'd al-Ashdaq92 of the killing of al-Husayn (ﻉ), but he sought to be excused of such an undertaking, claiming to be sick. Al-Ashdaq refused to accept his excuse. Ibn Ziyad is described as very heavy-handed, nobody can tolerate his ire. He ordered the man to rush and to buy another she-camel if the one he was riding was not fast enough, and not to let anyone reach the destination before him.
He, therefore, rushed to Medina. A man from Quraish met him and asked him why he seemed to be in such a hurry. The answer rests with the governor,’ was his answer. When Ibn Sa'd was informed of al-Husayn (ﻉ) having been killed, he was very happily excited and was subdued with elation. He ordered a caller to announce it in the city’s alleys, and before long, the cries and the wailings coming from the Hashemite ladies mourning the Master of the Youths of Paradise (ﻉ) were heard like never before. These cries reached all the way to the house of al-Ashdaq who laughed and quoted a verse of poetry composed by Amr ibn Madi-Karb.
He maliciously added saying, "A wailing noise like the one we raised when Othman was killed."93 Then he turned to the grave of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) and again maliciously said, "Now we have gotten even with you, Messenger of Allah, for what you did to us during the Battle of Badr." A number of men from the Ansar rebuked him with shame for having made such a statement.94
He ascended the pulpit and said, "O people! It is a blow for a blow, and a crushing for a crushing! A sermon followed another! This is sound wisdom, so no nathr can do any good. He condemned us as we praised him, cut off his ties with us though we did not, just as it was his habit, and just as it was ours, but what else can we do to a man who drew his sword with the intention to kill us other than to put an end to the danger to which he exposed us?"
Abdullah ibn as-Sa’ib stood up and said to him, "Had Fatima (ﻉ) been alive, and had she seen al-Husayn’s [severed] head, she would have wept for him." Amr ibn Sa'd rebuked him and said, "We are more worthy of Fatima than you: Her father was our uncle, her husband was our brother, his mother was our daughter. And had Fatima been alive, she would have cried but would not have blamed those who killed him in self-defense."95
Amr was very crude and uncouth, a man of legendary cruelty. He ordered Amr ibn az-Zubair ibn al-Awwam96, head of the police force, after al-Husayn (ﻉ) had been killed, to demolish all the houses of Banu Hashim [the Prophet’s clansmen]. He did, oppressing them beyond limits... He also demolished the home of Ibn Mutee and beat people with cruelty. They fled from him and went to join Abdullah ibn az-Zubair97.
The reason why he was called "al-Ashdaq" [one whose jaws are twisted to the right or to the left] is due to the fact that his jaws were twisted after having gone to extremes in taunting Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ)98. Allah, therefore, punished him [in this life before the hereafter] in the worst manner. He was carried to Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan chained; after he profusely remonstrated with the latter, he was ordered to be killed99.
Escorted by a number of women from her kinsfolk, the daughter of Aqeel ibn Abu Talib went out to visit the grave of the Prophet (ﺹ) where she threw herself on it, burst in teras then turned to the Muhajiran and the Ansar and came forth instantaneously with these verses:
What will you on the Judgment Day
To the Prophet stand and say?
Surely what you will hear will be true:
Those who betrayed his Progeny were you.
Were you present, or were you not there at all
And justice is combined in the Lord of all...?
You handed it over to those who are never fair
So your intercession with Allah will go nowhere.
Though on the Taff Day absent was he,
Yet all the dead did your very eyes see.
You saw all those who did die,
So to Allah you shall never come nigh.
All those present wept. There was no such weeping ever before100. Her sister Zainab kept mourning al-Husayn (ﻉ) in the most somber manner.
Ibn Jarar at-Tabari has said that when the news of al-Husayn’s martyrdom was announced, Abdullah ibn Ja'far held a mourning majlis, so people came to him to offer their condolences. His slave Abul-Lislas101 said to him, "This is what we got from al-Husayn (ﻉ)!"
He hurled his sandal at him as he said, "O son of the stinking woman! How dare you say something like that about al-Husayn (ﻉ)?! By Allah! Had I been with him, I would not have liked to part with him before being killed defending him. By Allah! What consoles me is that both my sons were martyred in his defense together with my brother as well as my cousin who all stood firmly on his side."
Then he turned to those in his presence and said, "Praise to Allah! It surely is very heavy on my heart to see al-Husayn (ﻉ) get killed, and that I could not defend him with my life, but both my sons have."102
Ibn Ziyad sent a messenger to Yazid to inform him that al-Husayn (ﻉ) and those in his company were killed, that his children were in Kufa, and that he was waiting for his orders as to what to do with them. In his answer, Yazid ordered him to send them together with the severed heads to him103.
Ubaydullah wrote something, tied it to a rock then hurled it inside the prison where the family of Muhammad (ﺹ) was kept. In it he said, "Orders have been received from Yazid to take you to him on such-and-such a day. If you hear the takbeer, you should write your wills; otherwise, there is security." The post returned from Syria with the news that al-Husayn’s family is being sent to Syria104.
Ibn Ziyad ordered Zajr ibn Qays and Abu Burda ibn 'Awf al-Azdi as well as Tariq ibn Zabyan to head a band of Kufians charged with carrying al-Husayn’s severed head and of those killed with him to Yazid105. Another account says that Mujbir ibn Murrah ibn Khalid ibn Qanab ibn Omer ibn Qays ibn al-Harth ibn Malik ibn Ubaydullah ibn Khuzaymah ibn Lu’ayy did so106.
With them was Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan, Mujfir ibn Thulabah al-a’idi109, Shabth ibn Rab'i, Amr ibn al-Hajjas, in addition to other men. They were ordered to mount the heads on spears and to display them wherever they went110. They hurried till they caught up with them111.
Ibn Laheeah is quoted as saying that he saw a man clinging to Ka'ba’s curtains seeking refuge with his Lord and saying, "And I cannot see You doing that!" Ibn Laheeah took him aside and said to him, "You must be insane! Allah is most Forgiving, most Merciful. Had your sins been as many as rain drops, He would still forgive you."
He said to Ibn Laheeah, "Be informed that I was among those who carried al-Husayn’s head to Syria. Whenever it was dark, we would put the head down, sit around it and drink wine. During one night, I and my fellows were guarding it when I saw lightning and creatures that surrounded the head. I was terrified and stunned and remained silent. I heard crying and wailing and someone saying, O Muhammad! Allah ordered me to obey you; so, if you order me, I can cause an earthquake that will swallow these people just as it swallowed the people of Lot.’
He said to him, O Gabriel! I shall call them to account on the Day of Judgment before my Lord, Glory to Him.’ It was then that I screamed, O Messenger of Allah! I plead to you for security!’ He said to me, Be gone, for Allah shall never forgive you.’ So, do you still think that Allah will forgive me?"112
At one stop on their journey, they put the purified head down; soon they saw an iron pen that came out of the wall and wrote the following in blood113:
Does a nation that killed al-Husayn really hope for a way
His grandfather will intercede for them on the Judgment Day?
But they were not admonished by such a miracle, and blindness hurled them into the very deepest of all pits; surely Allah, the most Exalted One, is the best of judges.
One farasang before reaching their destination, they placed the head on a rock; a drop of blood fell from it on the rock. Every year, that drop would boil on Ashura, and people would assemble there around it and hold mourning commemmorations in honour of al-Husayn (ﻉ). A great deal of wailing would be around it. This continued to take place till Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan ascended the throne in 65 A.H./684 A.D.. He ordered that rock to be removed. It was never seen after that, but the spot where that rock stood became the site of a dome built in its honour which they called "an-Nuqta" (the drop)114.
Near the town of Hamat and among its orchards stood a mosque called "Masjid al-Husayn (ﻉ)." People there say that they escorted the rock and the head of al-Husayn (ﻉ) that bled all the way to Damascus115.
Near Aleppo there is a shrine known as "Masqat as-Saqt."116 The reason why it was called so is that when the ladies of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) were taken to that place, al-Husayn’s wife had miscarried a son named Muhsin117.
At some stops, the head was placed atop a spear next to a monk’s monastery. During the night, the monk heard a great deal of tasbeeh and tahleel, and he saw a dazzling light emanating from it. He also heard a voice saying, "Peace be upon you, O father of Abdulah!" He was amazed and did not know what to make of it. In the morning, he asked people about that head and was told that it was the head of al-Husayn (ﻉ) ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), son of Fatima (ﻉ) daughter of Prophet Muhammad (ﺹ).
He said to them, "Woe unto you, people! True are the accounts that said that the heavens would rain blood." He asked their permission to kiss the head, but they refused till he paid them some money. He declared his shahada and embraced Islam through the blessing of the one who was beheaded just for supporting the divine call. When they left that place, they looked at the money the monk had given them and saw this verse inscribed on it: "And those who oppressed shall come to find how evil their end shall be" (Qur’an, 26:227)118.
When they were near Damascus, Umm Kulthum sent a message to ash-Shimr asking him to let them enter the city from the least crowded highway, and to take the heads out so that people might be diverted by looking at them rather than looking at the women. He escorted them as they were in a condition from which skins shiver and senses quiver. Ash-Shimr instead ordered his men to take the captives for display before onlookers and to place the severed heads in their midst119.
On the first day of Safar, they entered Damascus120 and were stopped at the Clocks Gate121. People came out carrying drums and trumpets in excitement and jubilation. A man came close to Sukayna and asked her, "What captives are you all from?" She said, "We are captives belonging to the family of Muhammad (ﺹ)."122
Yazid was sitting at a surveilance outpost overlooking the mountain of Jerun. When he saw the captives with the heads planted atop the spears as their throng came close, a crow croaked; so he composed these lines:
لما بدت تلك الحمول و أشرقت تلك الرؤوس على شفا جيرون
نعب الغراب فقلت: قل أو لا تقل فقد اقتضيت من الرسول ديوني
When those conveyances drew nigh
And the heads on the edge of Jerun,
The crow croaked so said I:
Say whatever you wish to say
Or say nothing at all,
From the Messenger have I today
What he owed me he did repay.123
It is due to these verses that Ibn al-Jawzi and Abu Ya'li, the judge, as well as at-Taftazani and Jalal as-Sayyuti permitted cursing Yazid and labelling him as kafir, apostage, unbeliever.124
Sahl ibn Sa'd as-Saidi came close to Sukayna daughter of al-Husayn (ﻉ) and asked her, "Is there anything I can do for you?" She asked him to pay the man who was carrying the head some money and to ask him in return to stay away from the women so that people would be distracted by looking at the head instead of looking at the women. Sahl did so125.
An elderly man came near as-Sajjad and said, "Praise be to Allah Who annihilated you and Who granted the governor the upper hand over you!" At such a juncture, the Imam poured of his own kindness over that poor [ignorant] man who was barainwashed by falsehood in order to bring him closer to the truth and to show him the path of guidance. Such are the Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ): their light shines over those whom they know to be pure of heart and pure of essence and, as such, who are ready to receive guidance. He, peace be with him, asked the man, "Have you read the Qur’an, O shaikh?"
The man answered as-Sajjad in the affirmative. "Have you read," continued as-Sajjad, "the verse saying, Say: I do not ask you for a reward for it [for conveying the Islamic Message to you] except that you treat my kinsfolk with kindness,’ the verse saying, And give the [Prophet’s] kinsfolk their due rights,’ and the verse saying, And be informed that whatever you earn by way of booty, for Allah belongs the fifth thereof and for the Messenger [of Allah] and for the [Prophet’s] kinsfolk’?" The man answered by saying, "Yes, I have read all of them."
He (ﻉ) then said, "We, by Allah, are the kinsfolk referred to in all these verses." Then the Imam (ﻉ) asked him whether he had read the verse saying,
"Allah only desires to remove all abomination from you, O Ahl al-Bayt, and purifies you with a perfect purification" (Qur’an, 33:33).
"Yes" was the answer. As-Sajjad, peace be with him, said to him, "We are Ahl al-Bayt whom Allah purified." "I ask you in the Name of Allah," asked the man, "are you really them?" As-Sajjad, peace be with him, said, "By our grandfather the Messenger of Allah, we are, without any doubt."
It was then that the elderly man fell on as-Sajjad’s feet kissing them as he said, "I dissociate myself before Allah from whoever killed you." He sought repentance of the Imam (ﻉ) from whatever rude remarks he had earlier made. The encounter involving this elderly man reached Yazid who ordered him to be killed126...
Before being brought to Yazid’s court, they were tied with ropes. The beginning of the rope was around the neck of Zain al-Abidin [Ali son of Imam al-Husayn (ﻉ), also called as-Sajjad, the one who prostrates to Allah quite often], then around the necks of Zainab, Umm Kulthum, up to all the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ)... Whenever they laxed in their walking, they were whipped till they were brought face to face with Yazid who was then sitting on his throne. Ali ibn al-Husayn (ﻉ) asked him, "What do you think the reaction of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) might have been had he seen us looking like this?" Everyone wept. Yazid ordered the ropes to be cut off.127
They were lined up on the stairs leading to the gate leading to the [Umayyad Grand] mosque as was their custom with all captives, and the sacred head was placed in front of Yazid who kept looking at the captives and reciting poetry verses extolling his foul deed and demonstrating his elation. Then he turned to an-Numan ibn Basheer and said, "Praise to Allah Who killed him [al-Husayn (ﻉ)]." An-Numan said, "Commander of the faithful Mu'awiyah used to hate killing him." Yazid said, "That was before he rebelled. Had he rebelled against the commander of the faithful, he would have killed him."128
Yazid turned to as-Sajjad (ﻉ) and asked him, "How did you, Ali, see what Allah did to your father al-Husayn (ﻉ)?" "I saw," answered as-Sajjad (ﻉ), "What Allah, the One and Only Allah, the most Exalted One, had decreed before creating the heavens and the earth." Yazid consulted those around him as to what to do with as-Sajjad (ﻉ), and they advised him to kill him. Imam as-Sajjad Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) said, "O Yazid! These men have advised you to do the opposite of what Pharaoh’s courtiers had advised Pharaoh saying, Grant him and his brother a respite.’ The adiya do not kill the prophets’ sons and grandsons." This statement caused Yazid to lower his head and contemplate for a good while129.
Among the dialogue that went on between both men is Yazid quoting this Qur’anic verse to Ali ibn al-Husayn (ﻉ): "Whatever misfortune befalls you is due to what your hands commit" (Qur’an, 45:22). Ali ibn al-Husayn (ﻉ) responded by saying,
"This verse was not revealed in reference to us. What was revealed in reference to us was this verse: Whatever misfortune befalls the earth or your own selves is already in a Book even before we cause it to happen; this is easy for Allah, so that you may not grieve about what you missed nor feel elated on account of what you receive’ (Qur’an, 57:22)130.
We do not grieve over what we missed nor feel elated on account of what we receive."131 Yazid then cited the following verse by al-Fadl ibn al-Abbas ibn 'Utbah:
Wait, O cousins, wait, O masters, do not hurry!
Do not bring to surface what we did bury.132
As-Sajjad, peace be with him, sought permission to speak. "Yes," said Yazid, "provided you do not utter verbal attacks." He (ﻉ) said, "I am now standing like one who ought not verbally attack anyone, but tell me: How do you think the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) would have felt had he seen me looking like this?" Yazid ordered him to be untied.133
Yazid ordered the person who used to recite the Friday khutba to ascend the pulpit and insult Ali and al-Husayn (ﻉ), which he did. As-Sajjad (ﻉ) shouted at him saying, "You have traded the pleasure of the creature for the Wrath of the Creator, so take your place in the fire [of hell]."134
He asked Yazid saying, "Do you permit me to ascend this pulpit to deliver a speech that will please Allah Almighty and that will bring good rewards for these folks?" Yazid refused, but people kept pleading to him to yield, yet he was still relentless. His son Mu'awiyah II said to him, "Permit him; what harm can his words cause?" Yazid said, "These are people who have inherited knowledge and oratory135 and spoon-fed with knowledge136." They kept pressuring him till he agreed.
The Imam said,
ورد في كتاب فتوح ابن اعثم 5 / 247 ، ومقتل الخوارزمي 2 / 69 : إنّ يزيد أمر الخطيب أن يرقى المنبر ، ويثني على معاوية ويزيد ، وينال من الإمام علي والإمام الحسين ، فصعد الخطيب المنبر ، فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ، وأكثر الوقيعة في علي والحسين ، وأطنب في تقريض معاوية ويزيد ، فصاح به علي بن الحسين : ( ويلك أيها الخاطب ، اشتريت رضا المخلوق بسخط الخالق ؟ فتبوأ مقعدك من النار). ثمّ قال : ( يا يزيد ائذن لي حتى أصعد هذه الأعواد ، فأتكلم بكلمات فيهن لله رضا ، ولهؤلاء الجالسين أجر وثواب) ، فأبى يزيد ، فقال الناس : يا أمير المؤمنين ائذن له ليصعد ، فلعلنا نسمع منه شيئاً ، فقال لهم : إن صعد المنبر هذا ، لم ينزل إلا بفضيحتي ، وفضيحة آل أبي سفيان ، فقالوا : وما قدر ما يحسن هذا ؟ فقال : إنّه من أهل بيت قد زقوا العلم زقا . ولم يزالوا به حتى أذن له بالصعود ، فصعد المنبر ، فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ، وقال : ( أيها الناس ، أعطينا ستاً ، وفضلنا بسبع : أعطينا العلم ، والحلم ، والسماحة والفصاحة ، والشجاعة ، والمحبة في قلوب المؤمنين ، وفضلنا بأن منا النبي المختار محمد ( صلى الله عليه وآله ) ، ومنا الصدّيق ، ومنا الطيار ، ومنا أسد الله وأسد الرسول ، ومنا سيدة نساء العالمين فاطمة البتول ، ومنا سبطا هذه الأمّة ، وسيدا شباب أهل الجنة ، فمن عرفني فقد عرفني ، ومن لم يعرفني أنبأته بحسبي ونسبي : أنا ابن مكة ومنى ، أنا ابن زمزم والصفا ، أنا ابن من حمل الزكاة بأطراف الرداء ، أنا ابن خير من ائتزر وارتدى ، أنا ابن خير من انتعل واحتفى ، أنا ابن خير من طاف وسعى ، أنا ابن خير من حج ولبّى ، أنا ابن من حمل على البراق في الهواء ، أنا ابن من أسري به من المسجد الحرام إلى المسجد الأقصى ، فسبحان من أسرى ، أنا ابن من بلغ به جبرائيل إلى سدرة المنتهى ، أنا ابن من دنا فتدلى ، فكان قاب قوسين أو أدنى ، أنا ابن من صلّى بملائكة السماء ، أنا ابن من أوحى إليه الجليل ما أوحى ، أنا ابن محمد المصطفى ، أنا ابن من ضرب خراطيم الخلق ، حتى قالوا لا اله إلا الله ، أنا ابن من بايع البيعتين ، وصلّى القبلتين ، وقاتل ببدر وحنين ، ولم يكفر بالله طرفة عين ، يعسوب المسلمين ، وقاتل الناكثين والقاسطين والمارقين ، سمح سخي ، بهلول زكي ، ليث الحجاز ، وكبش العراق ، مكّي مدني ، أبطحي تهامي ، خيفى عقبي ، بدري أحدي ، شجري مهاجري ، أبو السبطين ، الحسن والحسين ، علي بن أبي طالب ، أنا ابن فاطمة الزهراء ، أنا ابن سيدة النساء ، أنا ابن بضعة الرسول(.
قال : ولم يزل يقول : أنا أنا ، حتى ضج الناس بالبكاء والنحيب ، وخشي يزيد أن تكون فتنة ، فأمر المؤذّن يؤذّن ، فقطع عليه الكلام وسكت ، فلمّا قال المؤذّن : الله أكبر. قال علي بن الحسين : كبرت كبيراً لا يقاس ، ولا يدرك بالحواس ، ولا شيء أكبر من الله؛ فلمّا قال : أشهد أن لا اله إلا الله ، قال علي : ( شهد بها شعري وبشري ، ولحمي ودمي ، ومخي وعظمي ) ، فلمّا قال : أشهد أن محمداً رسول الله ، التفت علي من أعلا المنبر إلى يزيد ، وقال : ( يا يزيد محمد هذا جدّي أم جدّك ؟ فإن زعمت أنه جدّك فقد كذبت ، وان قلت أنه جدّي ، فلم قتلت عترته ؟) .
قال : وفرغ المؤذّن من الأذان والإقامة ، فتقدّم يزيد ، وصلّى الظهر ، فلمّا فرغ من صلاته ، أمر بعلي بن الحسين ، وأخواته وعماته ( رضوان الله عليهم ) ، ففرغ لهم دار فنزلوها ، وأقاموا أياماً يبكون ، وينوحون على الحسين ( عليه السلام) .وبراءة الذمة...
All Praise is due to Allah for Whom there is no beginning, the ever-Lasting for Whom there is no end, the First for Whom there is no starting point, the Last for Whom there is no ending point, the One Who remains after all beings no longer exist. He measured the nights and the days. He divided them into parts; so, Blessed is Allah, the King, the all-Knowing...
O people! We were granted six things and favoured with seven: We were granted knowledge, clemency, leniency, fluency, courage, and love for us in the hearts of the believers. And we were favoured by the fact that from among us came a Prophet, a Siddeeq, a Tayyar, a Lion of Allah and of His Prophet (ﺹ), and both Masters of the Youths of Paradise from among this nation. O people! Whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not recognize me, let me tell him who I am and to what family I belong:
O people! I am the son of Mecca and Mina; I am the son of Zamzam and as-Safa; I am the son of the one who carried the rukn on his mantle; I am the son of the best man who ever put on clothes and who ever made tawaf and sai, of whoever offered the hajj and pronounced the talbiya. I am the son of the one who was transported on the buraq and who was taken by Gabriel to sidrat al-muntaha, so he was near his Lord like the throw of a bow or closer still. I am the son of the one who led the angels of the heavens in the prayers. I am the son to whom the Mighty One revealed what He revealed. I am the son of the one who defended the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) at Badr and Hunayn and never disbelieved in Allah not even as much as the twinkling of an eye. I am the son of the best of the believers and of the heir of the prophets, of the leader of the Muslims and the noor of those who offer jihad and the killer of the renegades and those who deviated from the straight path and who scattered the ahzab and the most courageous one, the one with the firmest determination: such is the father of the grandsons of the Prophet (ﺹ), al-Hassan and al-Husayn (ﻉ), such is Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ). I am the son of Fatima az-Zahra’ (ﻉ), the Head of all Women, the son of Khadija al-Kubra. I am the son of the one with whose blood the sand mixed. I am the son of the one who was slaughtered at Karbala’’. I am the son of the one for whom the jinns wept in the dark and for whom the birds in the air cried.
Having said this much, people’s cries filled the place, and Yazid feared dissension, so he ordered the mu’aththin to call the athan for the prayers. The latter shouted: Allahu Akbar! The Imam (ﻉ) said, Allah is Greater, more Magnanimous, and more Kind than what I fear and of what I avoid."
The prayer caller now shouted: Ashhadu an la ilaha illa-Allah! He (ﻉ) said, "Yes, I testify with everyone who testifies that there is no Allah besides Him nor any other Lord." The caller shouted: Ashahadu anna Muhammadan rasool-Allah! The Imam (ﻉ) said to the prayer caller, "I ask you by Muhammad to stop here till I speak to this man," then he turned to Yazid and asked him, "Is this great Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) your grandfather or mine? If you say that he is yours, everyone present here as well as all other people will come to know that you are a liar, and if you say that he is mine, then why did you kill my father unjustly and oppressively and plundered his wealth and took his women captive? Woe unto you on the Day of Judgment when my grandfather will be your opponent."
Yazid yelled at the prayer caller to start the prayers immediately. A great deal of commotion now could be heard among the people. Some people prayed whereas others left.137
Yazid ordered al-Husayn’s head to be brought to him. He put it in a gold washbowl138. The women were behind him. Sukayna and Fatima stood and tried anxiously to steal a look at it as Yazid kept hiding it from them. When they did see it, they burst in tears139. He then permitted people to enter to see him140. Yazid took a rod and kept hitting al-Husayn’s lips with it141 saying, "A day for a day: this day is [in revenge] for Badr142." Then he cited these verses by al-Haseen ibn al-Hamam:143
To be fair to us our folks never did dare,
So swords dripping with blood were to them fair;
We split the heads of men dear to us
For they severed their ties and did oppress.
Abu Barzah al-Aslami said, "I bear witness that I saw the Prophet (ﺹ) kissing his lips and those of his brother al-Hassan (ﻉ) and say to them: You are the masters of the youths of Paradise; may Allah fight whoever fights you; may He curse him and prepare hell for him, and what an evil refuge it is!’" Yazid became angry and ordered him to be dragged out of his courtroom144.
A [Christian] messenger sent by emperor Caesar was present there; he said to Yazid, "We have in some islands the hoof of the donkey upon which Jesus rode, and we make a pilgrimage to it every year from all lands and offer nathr to it and hold it in as much regard as you hold your sacred books; so, I bear witness that you are wrongdoers."145
This statement enraged Yazid who ordered him to be killed. The messenger stood up, walked to the head, kissed it and pronounced the kalima. At the moment when that messenger’s head was cut off, everyone heard a loud and fluent voice saying, La hawla wala quwwata illa billah! (There is neither power nor might except in Allah).146
The head was taken out of the court and hung for three days on the mansion’s gate147. When Hind daughter of Amr ibn Suhayl, Yazid’s wife, saw the head on her house’s door148 with divine light emanating from it, its blood still fresh and had not yet dried, and it was emitting a sweet fragrance149, she entered Yazid’s court without any veil crying, "The head of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) is on our door!" Yazid stood up, covered her and said, "Mourn him, O Hind, for he is the reason why Banu Hashim are grieving. [Ubaydullah] Ibn Ziyad hastily killed him."150
Yazid ordered the heads to be hung on the gates and on the Umayyad Mosque, and his order was carried out151.
Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] was very happy about al-Husayn (ﻉ) being killed, so he composed poetry lines and kept hitting al-Husayn’s face with a rod.
Historians record that a Syrian looked at Fatima daughter of Ali (ﻉ)152 then asked Yazid to give her to him to serve him. This daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) was terrified; she clung to her sister Zainab and said, "Serve him?! How could I do that?!" Zainab said to her, "Do not be concerned; this shall never happen at all."
Hearing her, Yazid said, "It could if I would!" She said to him, "Not unless you renege from our religion." He answered her by saying, "Those who reneged from the religion are your father and your brother." Zainab said, "By Allah’s religion and the religion of my grandfather do I swear that it was through my father and brother that you and your father received guidance, had you been a Muslim at all."
He said to her, "You lie, you enemy of Allah!" She, peace be with her, toned down her language and said to him, "You are an emir over the destiny of people; you oppressively taunt and subdue others."153 The same Syrian man repeated his plea to Yazid who now rebuked him and said, "May Allah grant you a fate that will put an end to you!"154
I wish my forefathers at Badr had witnessed
How the Khazraj are by the thorns annoyed,
They would have Glorified and Unified Allah
Then they would make tahleel and say in elation:
“May your hands, O Yazid, never be paralyzed!”
We have killed the masters of their chiefs
And equated it with Badr, and it was so, indeed
Hashim played with the dominion so indeed,
No news came, nor was there a revelation revealed.
I do not belong to Khandaf if I do not
Seek revenge from Ahmed’s children
For what he to us had done.
She reacted to these lines and said the following:
All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Allah has blessed His Messenger and all His Messenger’s Progeny. Allah, Glory to Him, has said the truth when He said,
"Then the end of those who committed evil was that they disbelieved in Allah’s Signs and they were ridiculing them." (Qur’an, 30:10)
Do you, O Yazid, think that when you blocked all the avenues before us, so we were driven as captives, that we are light in the sight of Allah and that you are superior to us? Or is it because you enjoy with Him a great status, so you look down at us and become arrogant, elated, when you see the world submissive to you and things are done as you want them, and when our authority and power became all yours? But wait! Have you forgotten that Allah has said,
"Do not regard those who disbelieved that We grant them good for themselves? We only give them a respite so that they may increase their sins, and for them there is a humiliating torment" (Qur’an, 3:178)?
Is it fair, O son of taleeqs, that you keep your free as well as slave women in their chambers and at the same time drive the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) as captives with their veils removed and faces exposed, taken by their enemies from one land to another, being viewed by those at watering places as well as those who man your forts, with their faces exposed to the looks of everyone near or distant, lowly or honourable, having none of their protectors with them nor any of their men?
But what can be expected from one [descended from those] whose mouths chewed the livers of the purified ones and whose flesh grows out of the blood of the martyrs? How can it be expected that one who looks at us with grudge and animosity, with hatred and malice, would not hate us, we Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ)? Besides you, without feeling any guilt or weighing heavily what you say, you recite saying,
Then they would make tahleel and say in elation: “May your hands, O Yazid, never be paralyzed!”
How dare you hit the lips of Abu Abdullah (ﻉ), the Master of the Youths of Paradise? But why should you not do so, since you stirred a wound that almost healed, and since all mercy is removed from your heart, having shed the blood of the offspring of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his Progeny, and the stars on earth from among the family of Abdul-Muttalib? Then you cite your mentors as if you speak to them... Soon shall you be lodged with them, and soon shall you wish you were paralyzed and muted and never said what you said nor did what you did.
O Allah! Take what belongs to us out of his hands, seek revenge against all those who oppressed us, and let Your Wrath descend upon whoever shed our blood and killed our protectors! By Allah! You have burnt only your own skin! You have cut only your own flesh! You shall come face to face with the Messenger of Allah, peace of Allah be upon him and his Progeny, bearing the burdens of the blood which you have shed, the blood of his offspring, and of his sanctities which you violated, the sanctities of his women, his kinsfolk, his flesh and blood, when Allah gathers them together and seeks equity on their behalf.
"And do not reckon those who are slain in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay! They are living with their Lord, receiving their sustenance" (Qur’an, 3:169).
Allah suffices you as your Judge and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, as your opponent, and Gabriel as your foe. All those who instigated you to do what you did and who put you in charge so that you might play havoc with the lives of the Muslims, how evil the end of the oppressors is and which of you shall have the worst place and will be the least protected? Although calamities have forced me to speak to you, I nevertheless see you small in my eyes and find your verbal attacks great, and I regard your rebuke too much to bear, but these eyes are tearful, and the chests are filled with depression.
What is even more strange is that the honoured Party of Allah is being killed by the taleeq party of Satan. Such hands are dripping with our blood; such mouths are feeding on our flesh, while those sacred and pure corpses are offered as food to the wild beasts of the desert and are dirtied by the brutes. If you regard us as your booty, you shall soon find us as your opponents, that will be when you find nothing but what your hands had committed, and your Lord never treats His servants unjustly.
To Allah is my complaint, and upon Him do I rely. So scheme whatever you wish to scheme, and carry out your plots, and intensify your efforts, for by Allah, you shall never be able to obliterate our mention, nor will you ever be able to kill our inspiration, nor will your shame ever be washed away. Your view shall be proven futile, your days numbered, and your wealth wasted on the Day when the caller calls out,
"The curse of Allah be upon the oppressors" (Qur’an, 11:18).
All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, Who sealed the life of our early ones with happiness and forgiveness, and that of our last with martyrdom and mercy. We plead to Allah to complete His rewards for them and grant them an increase and make succession good for us; He is the most Merciful, the most Compassionate. Allah suffices us, and how great He is!
Yazid responded to her speech by quoting a couplet of poetry demonstrating his excitement. This should not surprise anyone. Anyone who is familiar with Yazid and with his misguidance cannot be surprised at all to hear him asking with a full mouth the Syrian jackels around him: "Do you know where Fatima’s son came from, and what prompted him to do what he did and to fall into the pitfalls of what he committed?" They answered in the negative.
Said he, "He claims that his father is better than my father, that his mother Fatima (ﻉ) daughter of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) is better than mine, that his grandfather (ﻉ) is better than mine, and that he is more worthy than me of taking charge. As regarding his saying that his father is better than my father, my father had asked Allah, the Great, the Sublime, to arbitrate between them, and people know best in whose favour He ruled.
As regarding his saying that his mother is better than mine, by my life, Fatima (ﻉ), daughter of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), is better than my mother. As regarding his saying that his grandfather (ﻉ) is better than my grandfather, by my life, nobody who believes in Allah and in the Last Day can find anyone among us equal to the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ). But he speaks with a little understanding of what he says and has not read the verse saying,
Say: Lord! Owner of the domain! You grant authority to whomsoever You please, and you take the authority from whomsoever You please; You exalt whomsoever You please, and You abase whomsoever You please,’ (Qur’an, 3:26)
and he did not read the verse saying,
Allah grants His domain to whomsoever He pleases.’ (Qur’an, 2:247)"158.
The speech quoted above, which was delivered by Zainab, shook the very foundations of Yazid’s court, and people started discussing with one another as to what extent they had been misled, and in what valley of abyss they had been hurled. Yazid had no choice except to get the women out of his court and to lodge them at a house of ruins which could not protect them against any heat or any cold. They remained there weeping and wailing, mourning al-Husayn (ﻉ)159 for three days160.
One evening as-Sajjad (ﻉ) went out for a walk. Al-Minhal ibn Omer met him and asked him, "How have you received the evening, O son of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ)?" "We have received the evening," the Imam (ﻉ) answered, "like the Israelites among the people of Pharaoh: they kill their sons and take their women captive. The Arabs brag before the non-Arabs saying that Muhammad (ﺹ) was one of them, while Quraish boasts before the rest of the Arabs of Muhammad (ﺹ) belonging to it. We, his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ), are now homeless; so, to Allah do we belong, and to Him shall we all return."161
Al-Minhal is quoted as saying, "While he was thus talking to me, a woman came out after him and said, Where are you going, O best of successors?’ He left me and hurried back to her. I inquired about her, and I was told that she was his aunt Zainab (ﻉ)."162
Yazid was very happy about killing al-Husayn (ﻉ) and those with him as well as the capture of the ladies who descended from the Messenger of Allah, peace of Allah be upon him and his progeny163. He was seen at his court looking very excited, being unaware of the fact that he was an atheist and an apostate as testified by his own citing of the poetry of az-Zubari quoted above to the extent that he denied that the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (ﺹ) had ever received any revelation.
But when he was rebuked by more and more people, it gradually appeared to him how he had failed and erred in what he had committed: a sin the like of which had never been committed by anyone who belongs to the Islamic creed. It was then that he realized the implication of Mu'awiyah’s will to him wherein he said, "The people of Iraq shall not leave al-Husayn (ﻉ) till they pressure him to revolt. If he rebels against you, forgive him, for he was begotten in sacred wombs, and he enjoys a lofty status."164
His closest courtiers, and even his family members and women, stayed away from him. He heard the statements uttered by the most sacred severed head when he ordered the messenger of the Roman emperor to be killed: La hawla wala quwwata illa billah! (There is neither power nor might except in Allah).165
Yazid’s most abominable crime and extreme cruelty were now being discussed at every gathering, and such discussions were finding an echo throughout Damascus. Yazid at that juncture had no choice except to shift the blame to the shoulder of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad in order to distance the taunting from him, but what is already established cannot be removed.
When he feared dissension and repercussions, he rushed to get as-Sajjad and the children out of Syria and to send them back home. He carried out their wishes, ordering an-Nu'man ibn Basheer and a number of other men with him to escort them to Medina and to treat them with kindness166.
When they reached Iraq, they asked the road guide to take the highway leading to Karbala’’. They reached the place where al-Husayn (ﻉ) had been martyred. There, they found Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari accompanied by a group of Banu Hashim and some of the family members of the Messenger of Allah (ص). They had all gone there to visit al-Husayn’s grave. They met each other weeping and grieving, beating their cheeks. They stayed there mourning al-Husayn (ﻉ)167 for three days.168
Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari stood at the grave and burst in tears then thrice called out al-Husayn’s name, then he said, "Why a loved one does not answer one who loves him?" But soon he answered his own query by saying, "How can he answer while his cheeks are torn and his head is separated from his body? Yet I testify that you are the son of the Seal of Prophets (ﻉ), the son of the master of the faithful (ﻉ), the son of the inseparable ally of piety, the descendant of guidance, the fifth of the fellows of the kisa’, the son of the master of naqeebs, the one who was brought up in the lap of the pious, that you were raised on the milk of iman, that you were weaned with Islam, so you were good when you were alive, and you are so when dead. But the hearts of the faithful are not pleased with parting with you, nor do they have any doubt about goodness being yours. So peace of Allah be upon you and His Pleasure. And I bear witness that you treaded the same path treaded before you by your brother [prophet] Zachariyya (Zacharias)."
Having said so, Jabir turned his head around the grave as he said, "Assalamo Alaikom, O souls that abide at al-Husayn’s courtyard! I bear witness that you upheld the prayers and paid the zakat, enjoined what is right and prohibited what is wrong, struggled against the atheists and adored Allah till death overtook you. By the One Who sent Muhammad, peace of Allah be upon him and his Progeny, as His Prophet sent with the truth, I testify that we have a share in what you have earned." Atiyyah al-'Awfi [his companion169 who was leading him, since he, a maternal relative and one of the greatest sahabis of Prophet Muhammad (ﺹ), as indicated above in a footnote, was by then a blind old man] asked him, "How so when we did not descend upon a valley nor ascend a mountain, nor did we strike with a sword, whereas the heads of these people have been severed from their bodies, their sons have been orphaned and their wives widowed?" Jabir answered: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) whom I very much love saying, One who loves a people will be lodged with them, and one who loves what some people do will have a share in [the rewards of] their deeds.’ By the One Who sent Muhammad (ﺹ) as a Prophet with the truth, my intention and that of my companions is similar to that for which al-Husayn (ﻉ) and his companions were all killed."170
Once Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) came to know of Yazid’s consent, he asked him for the heads so that he could bury them. Yazid showed no hesitation to do so, ordering the heads, including those of Zain al-Abidin’s family members, to be handed over to him. Zain al-Abidin reunited them with their respective bodies.
The list of writers of biographies who recorded his bringing the heads to Karbala’’ includes Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, author of Nafas al-Mahmum, who discusses this issue on p. 253 of his book, and it is also discussed on p. 155 of Riyad al-Ahzan of Muhammad Hassan ash-Sha'ban Kurdi al-Qazwani.
As regarding al-Husayn’s head, we read about it on p. 165 of al-Fattal’s book Rawdat al-Wa'izeen, and on p. 85 of Muthir al-Ahzan by Ibn Nama al-Hilli. The latter reference is the one the Shi'as consider as the most accurate as stated on p. 112 of Al-Luhuf by Ibn Tawoos. On p. 151 of at-Tibrisi’s book I'lam al-Wara bi A'lam al-Huda, as well as on p. 154 of Maqtal al-'Awalim, as is the case with both Riyad al-Musa’ib and Bihar al-Anwar, the same view is the most famous among scholars. On p. 200, Vol. 2, of his book titled Al-Manaqib, Ibn Shahr Ashub says, "In some of his letters, al-Murtada has stated that al-Husayn’s head was reunited with its body in Karbala’’."
At-Tusi has said that that incident was the basis for ziyarat al-arba'een. The author of Bihar al-Anwar cites Al-Udad al-Qawiyya by the brother of allama al-Hilli. On p. 67 of his book Aja’ib al-Makhlooqat, al-Qazwani indicates that it was on the twentieth of Safar that al-Husayn’s head was returned to its body. Ash-Shabrawi says, "The head was returned to the body after forty days."171 According to Ibn Hajar’s book Sharh al-Bawsari’s Hamziyya172, forty days after his martyrdom, al-Husayn’s head was returned [to its body]. Sabt ibn al-Jawzi has said, "It is most widely known that it [the head] was returned to Karbala’’ and buried with the body."173
On p. 57, Vol. 1, of his book Al-Kawakib al-Durriyya, al-Qatari al-Biladi al-Bahrani records the consensus among Imamite Shi'as that the head was returned to Karbala’’, and that this view was the one accepted by al-Qurtubi. He did not list his sources but attributed it to "some people of knowledge as well as eye witnesses," becoming evident to him that the head was, indeed, returned to Karbala’’. Abul-Rayhan al-Bayruni states that it was on the twentieth of Safar that al-Husayn’s head was reunited and buried with its body.174
Based on the above, any statements to the contrary should not be taken seriously especially those claiming that he was buried with his father (ﻉ), a claim with which the scholars mentioned above are familiar and which they all discard. Their rejection of such a claim proves that it cannot be relied upon especially since its isnad is not complete and its narrators are not famous.
It is customary to pay tribute to a deceased person forty days after his death by doing acts of righteousness on his behalf, by eulogizing him and enumerating his merits. This is done at organized gatherings in order to keep his memory alive just when people’s minds start to forget about him and their hearts start to ignore him. Thus, he remains alive in people’s minds.
Both Abu Tharr al-Ghifari and Ibn Abbas175 quote the Prophet (ﺹ) saying, "The earth mourns the death of a believer for forty mornings."176 Zurarah quotes Abu Abdullah Imam as-Sadiq (ﻉ) saying, "The sky wept over al-Husayn (ﻉ) for forty mornings with blood, while the earth wept over him for forty mornings with blackness. The sun wept over him for forty mornings with an eclipse and with redness, whereas the angels wept over him for forty mornings. No woman among us ever dyed with henna, nor used any oil, nor any kohl nor cohabited with her husband till the head of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad was brought to us, and we are still grieving even after all of that."177
This is the basis of the ongoing custom of grieving for the deceased for forty days. On the fourtieth day, a special mourning ceremony is held at his grave-site attended by his relatives and friends. This custom is not confined to Muslims. Adherents of other creeds hold commemorative mourning ceremonies for their lost ones. Some gather at a church and conduct a special funeral prayer service. Jews renew their mourning service thirty days after one’s death, nine months after one’s death, and one year after one’s death178. All of this is done in order to keep his memory alive and so that people may not forget his legacy and deeds if he is one of the great ones with merits and feats.
At any rate, a researcher does not find in the band described as reformers a man so well shrouded in feats of the most sublime meanings, one whose life, uprising, and the tragic way in which he was killed..., a divine call and lessons in reform, even social systems, ethics, and sacred morals..., other than the master of the youths of Paradise, the man who was martyred for his creed, for Islam, for harmony, the martyr for ethics and cultivation, namely al-Husayn (ﻉ).
He, more than anyone else, deserves to be remembered on various occasions. People ought to make a pilgrimage to his sacred grave-site on the anniversary of the passage of 40 days since the date of his martyrdom so that they may achieve such lofty objectives.
The reason why most people hold only the first such an anniversary is due to the fact that the merits of those men are limited and temporal, unlike those of the Master of Martyrs: his feats are endless, his virtues are coutless. The study of his life and martyrdom keeps his memory alive, and so is the case whenever he is mentioned. To follow in his footsteps is needed by every generation. To hold an annual ceremony at his grave on the anniversary of his Arba’een brings his revolution back to memory. It also brings back to memory the cruelty committed by the Umayyads and their henchmen. No matter how hard an orator tries, or how well a poet presents his theme, new doors of virtue, which were closed before, will then be opened.
This is why it has been the custom of the Shi'as to bring back to memory on the Arba’een those events every year. The tradition wherein Imam al-Baqir (ﻉ) says that the heavens wept over al-Husayn (ﻉ) for forty mornings, rising red and setting red179, hints to such a public custom.
So is the case with a statement made once by Imam al-Hassan al-'Askari (ﻉ) wherein he said, "There are five marks for a believer: his fifty-one rek'at prayers, ziyarat al-arba’een, his audible recitation of the basmala, his wearing his ring on the right hand, and his rubbing his forehead with the dust."180
Such a statement leads us to the ongoing public custom being discussed. Holding a mourning ceremony for the Master of Martyrs and holding meetings in his memory are all done by those who are loyal to him and who follow him. There is no doubt that those who follow his path are the believers who recognize him as their Imam; so, one of the marks highligting their iman, as well as their loyalty to the master of the youths of Paradise, the one who was killed as he stood to defend the divine Message, is to be present on the Arba’een anniversary at his sacred grave in order to hold a mourning ceremony for him and remember the tragedies that had befallen him and his companions and Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ).
To twist the meaning of ziyarat al-arba’een by saying that it means visiting the grave-sites of forty believers is simply indicative of twisted minds, an attempt at distortion, one which good taste resents. Moreover, it is without any foundation. Had the goal been to visit forty believers, the Imam (ﻉ) would have used the term "ziyarat arba’een [mu’mineen]." The original wording indicates that ziyarat al-arba’een is one of the conditions enumerated in the hadith cited above saying that it is one of the marks of one’s iman and an indication of his loyalty to the Twelve Imams (ﻉ).
All the Imams who descended from the Prophet (ﺹ) were the gates of salvation, the arks of mercy. Through them can a believer be distinguished from a non-believer. They all left this world after being killed as they stood to defend the divine Message, accepting the possibility of their being killed for the stand which they took in obedience to the Command of their Lord, Glory to Him, the One Who sent His wahi to their grandfather the Prophet (ﺹ). Father of Muhammad, al-Hassan (ﻉ) son of the Commander of the Faithful Ali (ﻉ), has pointed out to this fact saying, "The mission which we undertake is assigned to Twelve Imams (ﻉ) each one of whom is either to be killed or poisoned."
For all of these reasons, the Imams from among the Prophet’s Progeny (ﻉ) found no alternative to attracting the attention to such a glorious revolution because it contains tragedies that would split the hardest of rocks. They knew that persistence in demonstrating the injustice dealt to al-Husayn (ﻉ) would stir the emotions and attract the hearts of sympathizers.
One who hears the tales of such horrible events will come to conclude that al-Husayn (ﻉ) was a fair and just Imam who did not succumb to lowly things, that his Imamate was inherited from his grandfather the Prophet (ﺹ) and from his father the wasi (ﻉ), that whoever opposes him deviates from the path of equity. Whoever absorbs the fact that right was on al-Husayn’s side and on that of his infallible offspring would be embracing their method and following their path.
This is why the Imams (ﻉ) did not urge the holding of mourning ceremonies for the Arba’een anniversary of any of them, not even for that of the Prophet of Islam (ﻉ), so that it alone would be the memory of his tragedy that would make a strong case for safeguarding the link with the creed. Turning attention to it is more effective in keeping the cause of the Infallible Ones dear to all those who discuss it: "Keep our cause alive, and discuss our cause."
The kind reader, anyway, can easily see why ziyarat al-arba’een is an indication of one’s iman when he gets to know similar indications to which the hadith has referred.
The first of such marks, namely the 51-rek'at prayers, legislated during the night of the Prophet’s mi'raj, and which, through the Prophet’s intercession, were reduced to only five during the day and the night, are: seventeen rek'at for the morning, the noon and the afternoon, the sunset and the evening, and the nafl prayers timed with them, in addition to night’s nafl prayers: they all make up thirty-four: eight before the noon-time prayers, eight befor the after-noon prayers, four after sunset prayers, and two after the evening prayers regarded as one, and two before the morning prayers, and finally eleven rek'at for the night’s nafl prayers. Add to them the shaf and witr rek'at, and you will come to a total of obligatory and optional prayers of fifty-one rek'at. This is applicable to the Shi'as only.
Although they agree with the Shi'as with regard to the number of obligatory rek'at, the Sunnis differ when it comes to optional prayers. On p. 314, Vol. 1, of Ibn Humam al-Hanafi’s book Fath al-Qadeer, they are: two rek'at before the fajr prayers, four before the noon prayers and two after that, four before the afternoon prayers, or just two rek'at, two more after the sunset prayers and four thereafter, or just two, making up twenty-three rek'at. They differ about the night’s nafl prayers whether they ought to be eight, only two, or thirteen, or even more. Hence, the total of optional and compulsory rek'at will in no case be fifty-one; so, the fifty-one rek'at are relevant to the Imamite Shi'as only.
The second on the list of marks referred to in the said hadith is the audible pronunciation of the basmala. Imamites seek nearness to Allah, the most Exalted One, by making it obligatory to pronounce it audibly in the audible prayers and voluntary in the inaudible ones, following the text of their Imams (ﻉ).
In this regard, al-Fakhr ar-Razi says, "Shi'as are of the view that it is a Sunnah to audibly pronounce the basmala in the audible prayers as well as the inaudible ones, whereas the majority of faqihs differ from them. It is proven through tawatur that Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) used to audibly pronounce the basmala. Anyone who follows Ali (ﻉ) in as far as his creed is concerned will surely be on the right guidance by token of the hadith saying, O Allah! Let right be with Ali wherever he goes.’"181
This statement of ar-Razi was not digested by Abul-Thana’ al-Alasi who followed it with his comment in which he said, "Had anyone acted upon all what they claim to be mutawatir from the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ), he will surely be an apostate; so, there is no alternative to believing in some and disbelieving in others. His claim that anyone who emulates Ali (ﻉ) in as far as his creed is concerned will be on the right guidance of Islam is accepted without any discussion so long as we are sure that it is proven as having been said by Ali, peace be with him. Anything else besides that is steam."182
Shi'as are not harmed when al-‘Alasi and others assault them especially since their feet are firm on the path of loyalty for the master of wasis (ﻉ) to whom the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) says, "O Ali! Nobody knows Allah, the most Exalted One, (fully well) except I and you, and nobody knows me (full welly) except Allah and you, and nobody knows you (fully well) except Allah and I."183
Sunnis have opted to do the opposite with regard to such a pronouncement. On p. 478, Vol. 1, of Ibn Qudamah’s book Al-Mughni, and also on p. 204, Vol. 1, of Badai' as-Sanai' by al-Kasani, and also on p. 216, Vol. 1, of az-Zarqani’s Sharh of Abul-Diya’s Mukhtasar of Malik’s fiqh, audible pronouncement is not a Sunnah in the prayers.
The third mark mentioned in the said hadith, that is, wearing a ring in the right hand, is something practiced religiously by the Shi'as on account of the traditions they quote from their Imams (ﻉ). A multitude among the Sunnis disagrees with them. Ibn al-Hajjaj al-Maliki has said, "The Sunnah has recorded everything as abominable if handed by the left hand and everything tahir if handed by the right. In this sense, it is highly recommended to wear a ring in the left hand to be taken by the right one and then placed on the left."184
Ibn Hajar narrates saying that Malik hated to wear a ring on his right hand, believing it should be worn on the left185. Shaikh Isma'eel al-Barusawi has said the following in Iqd al-Durr: "Originally, it was a Sunnah to wear a ring on the right hand, but since this is the distinguishing mark of the people of bid'as, innovations, and of injustice, it became a Sunnah in our time to place the ring on a finger on the left hand."186
The fourth mark mentioned in the said hadith is the placing of the forehead on dust [or dry soil]. Its message is to demonstrate that during the sajda, the forehead has to be placed on the ground. Sunnis do not place their forehead on the ground.
Abu Haneefa, Malik, and Ahmed are reported as having authorized the prostrating on turban coils187, or on a piece of garment188 worn by the person performing the prayers or any piece of cloth. Hanafis have authorized placing it on the palms if one feels grudgingly that he has no other choice189. They also permit prostrating on wheat and barley, on a bed, on the back of another person standing in front of you who is also performing the same prayers!190
The objective behind such a reference is that it is highly commendable, when one prostrates to thank Allah, to rub his forehead on the dust as a symbol of humility and to shun arrogance. An examination of the original text will show any discreet person that it is equally commendable to rub both sides of the face on it.
Rubbing the cheeks exists when reference is made to sajdat ash-Shukr191, something whereby prophet Moses son of Imran [Amram] (ﻉ) deserved to be drawn closer to the Almighty whenever he addressed Him silently [during the munajat]192. Nobody contradicted the Imamites with regard to such rubbing, be it on the forehead or on the cheeks. Sunnis never bound themselves to rub their foreheads on dust when they perform their prayers or when they perform sajdat ash-Shukr. This is so despite the fact that an-Nakhi, Malik, and Abu Haneefa have all disliked to perform sajdat ash-Shukr, although the Hanbalis observe it193, and so do the Shafi'is194 whenever they receive a divine blessing or whenever a sign of Allah’s wrath is removed from them.
As-Sajjad (ﻉ) had no choice except to leave Karbala’’ and set forth to Medina (which used to be called Yathrib during the pre-Islamic era) after having stayed there for three days. It was too much for him to see how his aunts and the other women, as well as the children, were all crying day and night while visiting one grave after another. Bashir ibn Hathlam has said, "When we came close to Medina, Ali ibn al-Husayn (ﻉ) alighted and tied his she-camel then set up a tent where he lodged the women. He said to me, O Bashir! May Allah have mercy on your father! He was a poet. Can you compose any of it at all?’ I said, Yes, O son of the Messenger of Allah! I, too, am a poet.’ He (ﻉ) said, Then enter Medina and mourn the martyrdom of Abu Abdullah (ﻉ).’ So I rode my horse and entered Medina. When I came near the Mosque of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, I cried loudly and recited these verses:
يا أهل يثربَ لا مُقَام لكم بها، قُتل الحسينُ فأدمعي مدرار
الجسم منه بكربلاء مضرّج والرأس منه على القناة يُدار
O people of Yathrib! May you never stay therein!
Al-Husayn (ﻉ) is killed, so my tears now rain,
His body is in Karbala’ covered with blood
While his head is on a spear displayed.
"Then I said, Here is Ali ibn al-Husayn (ﻉ) accompanied by his aunts and sisters; they have all returned to you. I am his messenger to you to inform you of his place.’ People went out in a hurry, including women who had never before left their chambers, all weeping and wailing. All those in Medana were in tears. Nobody had ever seen such crying and wailing.
They surrounded Ali, Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ), to offer him their condolences. He came out of the tent with a handkerchief in his hand with which he was wiping his tears. Behind him was one of his slaves carrying a chair in which the Imam (ﻉ) later sat, being overcome by grief. The cries of the mourners were loud. Everyone was weeping and wailing. Ali signaled to people to calm down. Once they stopped crying, he, peace be with him said,
All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the King of the Day of Judgment, Creator of all creation Who is Exalted in the high heavens, Who is so near, He hears even the silent speech. We praise Him on the grave events, on time’s tragedies, on the pain inflicted by such tragedies, on the crushing of calamities, on the greatness of our catastrophe, on our great, monstrous, magnanimous and afflicting hardships.
O people! Allah, the most Exalted One, Praise to Him, has tried us with great trials and tribulations, with a tremendous loss suffered by the religion of Islam. The father of Abdullah, al-Husayn (ﻉ) and his family have been killed, and his women and children taken captive. They displayed his head in every land from the top of a spear... Such is the catastrophe similar to which there is none at all. O people! Which men among you are happy after him, or which heart is not grieved on his account?
Which eye among you withholds its tears and is too miser with its tears? The seven great heavens wept over his killing; the seas wept with their waves, and so did the heavens with their corners and the earth with its expanse; so did the trees with their branches and the fish in the depths of the seas. So did the angels who are close to their Lord. So did all those in the heavens.
O people! Which heart is not grieved by his killing? Which heart does not yearn for him? Which hearing hears such a calamity that has befallen Islam without becoming deaf? O people! We have become homelsss, exiles, outcasts, shunned, distanced from all countries as though we were the offspring of the Turks or of Kabul without having committed a crime, nor an abomination, nor afflicted a calamity on Islam! Never did we ever hear such thing from our fathers of old. This is something new.
By Allah! Had the Prophet (ﺹ) required them to fight us just as he had required them to be good to us, they would not have done to us any more than what they already have. So we belong to Allah, and to Him is our return from this calamity, and what a great, painful, hard, cruel, and catastrophic calamity it is! To Allah do we complain from what has happened to us, from the suffering we have endured, for He is the Omnipotent, the Vengeful.
السَّلام عَلَيْكَ يَا أبا عَبْدِ اللهِ وَعلَى الأرواحِ الّتي حَلّتْ بِفِنائِكَ ، وَأنَاخَت برَحْلِك، عَلَيْكًُم مِنِّي سَلامُ اللهِ أبَداً مَا بَقِيتُ وَبَقِيَ الليْلُ وَالنَّهارُ ، وَلا جَعَلَهُ اللهُ آخِرَ العَهْدِ مِنِّي لِزِيَارَتِكُمْ أهْلَ البَيتِ، السَّلام عَلَى الحُسَيْن ، وَعَلَى عَليِّ بْنِ الحُسَيْنِ ، وَعَلَى أوْلادِ الحُسَيْنِ ، وَعَلَى أصْحابِ الحُسَين و رحمة الله و بركاته.
Peace with you, O father of Abdullah, and with the souls that landed in your courtyard! Allah’s Greeting to you from me forever, so long as there is night and day! May Allah not make it the last time I greet you, O Ahl al-Bayt! Peace with al-Husayn, with Ali son of al-Husayn, with the offspring of al-Husayn, and with the companions of al-Husayn, the mercy of Allah and His blessings.
“Sa’sa’ah ibn Sawhan al-Abdi, an invalid who could barely walk on his feet, stood up and apologized to the Imam (ﻉ) for not rushing to help his family due to his handicap. He, peace be with him, responded to him by accepting his excuse, telling him that he thought well of him, thanked him and sought Allah’s mercy for his father. Then Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) entered Medina accompanied by his family and children.195
Ibrahim ibn Talhah ibn Ubaydullah came to the Imam (ﻉ) and asked him, "Who won?" The Imam, peace be with him, answered, "When the time for prayers comes, and when the athan and iqama are called, you will know who the winner is."196
Zainab took both knobs of the mosque’s door and cried out, "O grandfather! I mourn to you my brother al-Husayn (ﻉ)!"
Sukayna cried out, "O grandfather! To you do I complain from what we have been through, for by Allah, I never saw anyone more hard-hearted than Yazid, nor have I ever seen anyone, be he an apostate or a polytheist, more evil than him, more rough, or more cruel. He kept hitting my father’s lips with his iron bar as he said, How did you find the battle, O al-Husayn (ﻉ)?!’"197
The ladies who were born and grew up in the lap of Prophethood held a mourning ceremony for the Master of Martyrs (ﻉ). They put on the most coarse of clothes; they shrouded themselves in black, and they kept weeping and wailing day and night as Imam as-Sajjad was cooking for them198.
Once Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (ﻉ) said, "No lady who descended from Hashim used any dye, nor any oil, nor any kohl, for full five years; it was then that al-Mukhtar sent them the head of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad."199
As regarding ar-Rubab, she wept over [her husband] Abu Abdullah (ﻉ) till her eyes were no longer capable of producing any more tears. One of her bondmaids told her that using a particular type of herb was tear stimulant, so she ordered it to be prepared for her in order to induce her tears200.
Ali Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ), the only surviving son of Imam al-Husayn (ﻉ), stayed aloof from the public in order to avoid being involved in their disputes with one another and in order to dedicate his entire time to worshipping Allah and mourning his father. He kept weeping day and night. One of his slaves said to him, "I fear for you lest you should perish."
He (ﻉ) said to him, "I only convey my complaints and my grief to Allah, and I know from Allah what you all do not know. Jacob was a prophet from whom Allah caused one of his sons to be separated. He had twelve sons, and he knew that his son (Joseph) was still alive, yet he wept over him till he lost his eye sight. If you look at my father, my brothers, my uncles, and my friends, how they were slain all around me, tell me how can my grief ever end? Whenever I remember how Fatima’s children were slaughtered, I cannot help crying. And whenever I look at my aunts and sisters, I remember how they were fleeing from one tent to another..."
To you, O Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), is our complaint from the way whereby your nation treated your pure offspring, from the oppression and persecution to which they were subjected, and all Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
عُـذْراً، إِذَا انْـقَـطَــعَ الـكَـــلامْ .. فَالـرُّوح يَقْتُـلَـهـا الحَـنِـيــنْ ..
وَأَنَــا الـمُـكَــبَـــلُ بِـالـهَـــوى .. والـحُــبُّ قَـيْــدٌ لا يَـلِـيــــنْ ..
هَـيْـهَــاتَ أَنْـسَــى كَـرْبـَــلاءْ .. وَأَنَـا بِـذِكْــرَاهــا سَـجِــيــنْ ..
سَــأَظَـــلُ أَذْكُـــرُ كَـرْبَـــلاء .. وَأَظَــلُ أَهْــتِــفُ يَـاحُـسَيـــنْ
اللهم أرزقنا شفاعة الحسين
Our people refused to be fair to us, so
Swords in our hands bleeding did so,
Splitting the heads of men who are to us dear
Though they were to injustice and oppression more near.
On p. 313, Vol. 2, of Al-Iqd al-Farid, where Yazid’s reign is discussed, the author says, "When the head was placed in front of him, Yazid cited what al-Haseen ibn al-Hamam al-Mazni had said." He qouted the second verse [in the above English text, the last couple]. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, on p. 198, Vol. 9, of his book Mujma az-Zawa’id wa Manba al-Fawa’id, quotes only the second verse. On p. 61, Vol. 2, of his book Maqtal al-Husayn (ﻉ), al-Khawarizmi contents himself by simply saying that they stood on the steps of the mosque’s gate. These verses are cited by al-amidi on p. 91 of his book Al-Mu’talif wal-Mukhtalif. Then he traces the lineage of the poet al-Haseen ibn Hamam ibn Rabaah and cited three verses, including these couple, from a lengthy poem. On p. 151 of Ash-Shi'r wash-Shu'ara’, three verses are cited which include this couple. On p. 4 of Al-Ashya wal Nada’ir, where immortalized ancient poems and those composed during the time of jahiliyya are cited, only the second verse is quoted. On p. 120, Vol. 12, of the Sassi edition of Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani’s voluminous book Al-Aghani, thirteen lines are quoted, including this couple.
We took to patience, so patience proved to be our will
Even as our swords kept severing hands and arms.
It is narrated by Sabt ibn al-Jawzi on p. 148 of his book Tathkirat al-Khawass with some variation in its wording. A host of historians have contented themselves by citing only the second verse. Among them is ash-Shareeshi who does so on p. 193, Vol. 1, of his book Sharh Maqamat al-Harari, so does al-alasi on p. 313, Vol. 2, of his book Al-Iqd al-Farid. So does Ibn Katheer on p. 197, Vol. 8, of his book Al-Bidaya, the mentor Shaikh al-Mufid in his book Al-Irshad, and so does Ibn Jarir at-Tabari on p. 267, Vol. 6, of his Tarikh, adding that the verse was composed by al-Haseen ibn al-Hamam al-Murri.