Ibn Ziyad sent a messenger to Yazid to inform him that al-Husayn (‘a) 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 and the severed heads to him.1
‘Ubaydullah wrote something, tied it to a rock then hurled it inside the prison where the family of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family, was kept. In it he said, “Orders came from Yazid to take you to him on such-and-such a day. If you hear the takbir, 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 Syria.2
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 Yazid.3 Another account says that Mujbir Ibn Murrah Ibn Khalid Ibn Qanab Ibn ‘Umar Ibn Qays Ibn al-Harith Ibn Malik Ibn ‘Ubaydullah Ibn Khuzaymah Ibn Lu'ayy did so.4
They were trailed by ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn (‘a) whose hands were tied to his neck in the company of his family5 in a condition the sight of which would cause anyone's skin to shiver.6
With them was Shimr Ibn Thul-Jawshan, Mujfir Ibn Thu’labah al-’A'idi,7 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 went.8 They hurried till they caught up with them.9
Ibn Lahi’ah 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 Lahi’ah 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 Lahi’ah, “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 beings that surrounded the head. I was terrified and stunned but 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?”10
At one stop on their journey, they put the purified head down; soon they saw a pen made of iron which came out of the wall and which wrote the following in blood:11
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 commemorations in honour of al-Husayn (‘a). A great deal of wailing would be around it.
This continued to take place till ‘Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwan ascended the throne. He ordered that the rock should 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 that they called “al-Nuqta” [the drop].12
Near the town of Hama and among its orchards stood a mosque called “Masjid al-Husayn.” People there say that they escorted the rock and the head of al-Husayn (‘a) that bled all the way to Damascus.13
Near Aleppo there is a shrine known as “Masqat al-Saqt”.14 The reason why it was called so is that when the ladies of the Messenger of Allah (S) were taken to that place, al-Husayn's wife had miscarried a son named Muhsin.15
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 tasbih and tahlil, and he saw a dazzling light emanating from it. He also heard a voice saying, “Peace be upon you, O father of ‘Abdullah!”
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 Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (‘a), son of Fatima (‘a) daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S). 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).16