When the companions of Imam Husayn (a.s.) were martyred and none remained with him except his family consisting of the children of Imam Ali (a.s.), Ja’far bin Abi Talib (a.s.), Aqeel bin Abi Talib (a.s.), and Imam Hasan (a.s.), they gathered and bade farewell to one another and resolved to fight.
They were similar to what has been said regarding them, “They are a group, who, when they step into the heat of the battle, you mistaken them to be sun while their faces moon, they never refrain from being compassionate at any cost whether the world deals fairly with them or oppresses them, then when a pleader calls out for help at times of trouble, they put forward themselves and are prepared to part with their lives”.
Others say, “The ones with illuminated countenance whose lineage is noble, (they are) dignified men belonging to the highest rank, when the guest arrive suddenly upon them, their dogs do not bark at them, nor do they question regarding the ensuing darkness”.
And Ka’ab bin Malik says, “They are a group from the Bani Hashim on whose foundation stands a mighty wall, and it is such an authority that cannot be transferred, they are a group due to whom Allah is merciful towards His creation, and by means of whose grandfather (Imam Ali) the Prophet (S) was rendered assistance, ones with illuminated countenance, whom when one beholds, shall find generosity flowing from their hands when the prevaricate world seeks excuses from it”.
The eminent Shaikh Ali bin Isa Irbili in Kashful Ghummah relates from the book Itratut Taherah from Awam bin Hawshab, that he said, it is related to me that the Prophet of Allah (S) once glanced at a group of the Quraishite youth, whose faces were illuminated similar to the swords, until grief became visible upon his face. It was told to him, “O Prophet of Allah! What has happened to you?”
“We are a family for whom Allah has preferred the hereafter above this world. I just recalled as to how my family will have to face slaughter and expulsion at the hands of my nation”.
Here the author quotes a sizeable eulogy of Sayyid Haydar Hilli, which we omit.
(Irshad) Ali Akbar (a.s.), whose mother was Layla, the daughter of Abi Murrah bin Urwah bin Mas’ood Saqafi, stepped into the battlefield.
Urwah bin Mas’ood was one of the four noblemen of the Islamic world and one of the two chiefs who has been quoted by the Qur’an, among the infidels of Quraysh, as saying that,
“Why was not this Qur’an sent down to a man in the two cities, (who is) great?”
(Surah az-Zukhruf, 43:31.)
He is the one who was sent by the Quraysh to enter into a peace treaty at Hudaybiyah between them and the Prophet (S), when until that time he was yet an infidel. In the ninth year of Migration (Hijrah), when the Prophet returned from the battle of Taef, he accepted Islam and asked permission to return to his hometown to invite the people towards Islam. He returned back and invited them towards Islam, and when he was reciting the Azan for the Prayers, one of his tribesmen shot an arrow at him and he died. When the Prophet of Allah (S) received the news of his martyrdom, he said,
“The similitude of Urwah is that of the believer of Yasin,1 who invited his tribe towards worship of Allah and they killed him”.
And it is quoted similarly in Sharhe Shamaele Muhammadiyah in interpretation of the saying of the Prophet that,
“If one beholds Isa bin Maryam (a.s.), he will find him to resemble the most to Urwah bin Mas’ood”.
Jazari relates from Ibn Abbas in Asadul Ghabah, that Prophet Muhammad (S) said,
“There are four Chiefs in Islam, Bushr bin Bilal Abadi, Adi bin Hatim, Suraqah bin Malik Madalji, and Urwah bin Mas’ood Saqafi”.
(Malhoof) Ali bin Husayn was the most handsome and elegant among all men. He then asked permission from his father for battle. Imam (a.s.) gave him permission and then looked at him with dejection, while tears flowed from his eyes and he wept.
(Tasliyatul Majalis) It is related that he lifted his beard towards the heavens and said,
“O Allah! Be a witness upon these men, that the youth who resembles your Prophet the most in character and speech is proceeding towards them. Whenever we desired beholding the face of your Prophet, we would look at him. O Allah! Withhold away the bounties of the earth from them and cause dissention among them and scatter them. Disparage their policy and do not make them earn the pleasure of their chiefs, for they invited us so as to assist us, then they leapt upon us and fought us”.
Then he called for Umar bin Sa’ad saying,
“What has happened to you? May Allah terminate your progeny! And may He turn your act inauspicious! And may He dominate someone upon you, who would behead you in your bed as you have ripped our wombs and did not consider the sanctity of the Prophet of Allah (S) with regard to me”.
Then he raised a cry and recited the following verse of the Qur’an,
“Verily Allah did choose Adam and Nooh and the descendants of Ibraheem and the descendants of Imran above all the worlds” (Surah aal-`Imraan, 3:33).
Ali bin Husayn laid siege upon the army while saying,
“I am Ali bin Husayn bin Ali, by the House of Allah! We possess superiority while bearing relation with the Prophet than Shabas (bin Rab’ee) and Shimr, the base ones, I shall strike at you with the sword until it bends, the sword of a Hashimite Alawite youth, I shall keep defending my father, and by Allah! The son of the illegitimate one shall not have command upon us”.
He attacked the enemies repeatedly and put numerous among them to sword.
(Tasliyatul Majalis) He killed such a large number that the army started bewailing. It is also related that although being thirsty, he killed one hundred and twenty men. It is related in Manaqib, that he put to sword seventy men and returned back to his father after receiving numerous wounds.
(Tasliyatul Majalis, Malhoof) He said, “O father! Thirst is killing me while the load of iron (ammunitions) has bereft me of my strength. Is there water available so that I may regain strength and pounce upon the enemies?”
(Malhoof) Hearing this Imam Husayn (a.s.) wept and said,
“O Aide! O dear son! Fight for a while, and very soon you shall behold your grandfather Muhammad (S). You shall drink from his flowing cup and shall never ever be thirsty”.
(Tasliyatul Majalis) Imam Husayn (a.s.) told him,
“O my dear son! Remove your tongue out”,
saying this, the Imam (a.s.) placed his tongue in his mouth and suckled it. Then he placed his ring in Ali’s mouth and said,
“Return back to the battlefield, and I hope that before the night comes forth, your grandfather shall hand you a cup with overflowing drink, consuming which you shall never ever feel thirsty”.
Ali Akbar returned towards the battlefield and said, “The realities for the battle have become apparent and after that it’s evidences too, by the Lord of the heavens! We shall not part with your group until the swords enter the sheaths”. Then he continued fighting until he killed two hundred men.
(Irshad) The army of Kufa refrained themselves from killing him. The sight of Murrah bin Munqiz Abadi Laysi fell upon him and he said, “The sins of Arabs be upon my neck, if he passes by me doing what he does, and I do not aggrieve his mother due to him”.2
At the time when he was busy attacking the army, Murrah bin Munqiz faced him and hurled a lance at him while throwing him upon the ground. Seeing this, the army surrounded him from all sides and cut him to pieces with their swords. “If the Indian swords have devoured their flesh, while the flesh of the honorable men has always been its prey”.3
It is stated in Manaqib that Murrah bin Munqiz Abadi suddenly pierced his lance into Ali Akbar’s back and others attacked him with their swords. Abul Faraj says that he attacked continuously until an arrow pierced his throat and punctured it. He was drenched in blood and called out, “O dear father! Peace be upon you! Here is my grandfather the Prophet of Allah (S) calling me to hasten”. Then he raised a cry and died. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
Sayyid ibn Tawoos says that then Imam Husayn (a.s.) came besides Ali Akbar and placed his cheek upon that of his. (Tabari, Tasliyatul Majalis) Hamid bin Muslim relates, that on the tenth day (of Muharram) I heard with my own ears
Imam Husayn (a.s.) saying,
“O my dear son! May Allah kill the one who killed you. What measure of audacity have they acquired against Allah, the Beneficent, and in violating the sanctity of the Prophet?”
(Irshad) Tears started flowing abundantly from Imam Husayn (a.s.)’s eyes and he said,
“Woe be upon this world after you”.
It is stated in Rawzatus Safa that Imam Husayn (a.s.) wept profusely besides him such that none had ever heard him doing so before.4
Here the author quotes a lengthy elegy by Abi Tamam, which we forgo – translator.
It is stated in the salutations of Ali Akbar (a.s.) related by Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (a.s.) that,
“May my parents be ransom upon the beheaded one, the one killed guiltlessly! May my parents be ransom upon the blood that reached the Friend of Allah in the heavens! May my parents be ransom upon you who hastened towards the battlefield in the presence of his father, who sacrificed you in the way of Allah! Then he wept upon you and his heart scorched for you. He hurled your blood towards the heavens, not a drop of which returned back, and his cry for you would not be diminished”.
(Tabari, Maqatilat Talibiyyin, Malhoof) Shaikh Mufeed says that Sayyidah Zainab (a.s.), the sister of Imam Husayn (a.s.) hastened, and cried out, “Woe my brother! Woe my nephew!” She came and threw herself upon the corpse of Ali Akbar (a.s.). Imam Husayn (a.s.) lifted her head and brought her back to the tents. Then he called out to the youth saying, “Take your brother”. (Tabari, Maqatilat Talibiyyin) They brought him from the spot of his martyrdom and placed him in front of the tent facing which he had fought.
There is difference of opinion in the statements of Scholars regarding the first martyr among the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Some opine that the first martyr was Ali Akbar, while others say that it was Abdullah bin Muslim bin Aqeel. And we, in concordance with the statements of Tabari, Jazari (Ibn Aseer), Isfahani (Abul Faraj), Daynoori, Shaikh Mufeed, Sayyid ibn Tawoos and others, consider Ali Akbar to be the first martyr (among the Ahlul Bayt), while the salutations containing the names of the martyrs bear testimony to this, whose wordings are: “Peace be upon you O the first martyr from among the progeny of the best of Friends (of Allah)”.
And whatever Shaikh Najmuddin ibn Nima says that, “Quite a few persons were alive among the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) when Ali Akbar went to the battlefield”, is weak, and what he intended might be similar to the above, but the trend of his speech does not confirm it.
There is also difference of opinion regarding the age of Ali Akbar (a.s.). Muhammad Ibn Shahre Ashob and Muhammad bin Abi Talib opine that he was eighteen years old, while Shaikh Mufeed says that he was nineteen years old. Therefore according to this, he was younger than Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (a.s.). And some even say that he was twenty-five years old or less, and was thus older than Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.), while this is accurate and more renowned.
The Eminent among Jurists, Muhammad bin Idris Hilli says at the conclusion of the book Hajj in context of the Salutations of Abu Abdullah Imam Husayn (a.s.) that, “Then salutations of his son Ali Akbar (a.s.) should be pronounced, whose mother was Layla, the daughter of Abi Murrah bin Urwah Saqafi. He was the first martyr on the day of the tenth (of Muharram) from the family of Hazrat Abu Talib (a.s.). He was born during the caliphate of Usman and has narrated traditions from his Grandfather Imam Ali (a.s.), while poets, like Abi Ubaydah and Khalaf al Ahmar, have composed couplets in his praise”.
Shaikh Mufeed in his Irshad, says that the one martyred in Karbala was Ali Asghar (the younger), whose mother was from the clan of Bani Saqif, while Ali Akbar (the elder) is Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.), whose mother was Shahzanan, the daughter of Khusro Parwiz or was a slave girl.5
Abul Faraj relates from Mughirah, that once Mu’awiyah asked, “Who is more worthy of the caliphate?” It was said unto him, “You”. He replied, “No, the most worthy amongst men for this position is Ali bin Husayn bin Ali who combines in himself the valor of Bani Hashim, the munificence of Bani Umayyah6 and the honor of (Bani) Saqif”.
It should be borne in mind that according to some narratives and Salutations he had a son and a family. The Trustworthy Authority of Islam Shaikh Kulaini relates from Ali bin Ibraheem Qummi, from his father, from Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Nasr Bazanti, who says that I inquired from Imam Ali ar Reza (a.s.) that, “If a man marries a woman and also marries her father’s slave-girl?” Imam replied,
“There is no harm in it”.
I said, “It has reached me from your father that Imam Ali bin Husayn (Zainul Abedeen) (a.s.) married the daughter of (Imam) Hasan bin Ali (a.s.) and his slave-girl. And one of my friends have asked me to inquire from you regarding it”.
“It is not so. Verily Imam Ali bin Husayn (Zainul Abedeen) (a.s.) married the daughter of Imam Hasan bin Ali (a.s.) and the slave-girl of Ali bin Husayn (al Akbar), who was martyred in Karbala”.
Hamiri too quotes similarly with his reliable chain of narrators.
In the lengthy salutations quoted by (Abu Hamza) Sumali from Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (a.s.) in context of the salutation of Ali bin Husayn, the martyr of Karbala, it is stated: “Allah’s greetings upon you, and your progeny, and your household, and your fore-fathers, and your sons”.
And regarding whether his mother was present is Karbala or no; we have seen no reports confirming it. And Allah is the Best Knower.
(Tasliyatul Majalis) The first one among the Ahlul Bayt to step into the battlefield was Abdullah bin Muslim bin Aqeel. He was reciting the following Rajaz: “Today I shall meet Muslim my father, and I shall meet the youth who sacrificed their entirety for the Religion of the Prophet, they are a group who do not know to lie, but they were fair and of noble descent from Hashim, the masters of the noblemen”. He attacked thrice and slew ninety-eight men, and in the end, ‘Amr bin Sabeeh Saydawi and Asad bin Malik killed him. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
Abul Faraj says that his mother was Ruqayyah, the daughter of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.). Shaikh Mufeed and Tabari say, that a man from the army of Umar, named ‘Amr bin Sabeeh, shot an arrow at Abdullah while he placed his hand on the forehead to save himself. The arrow pierced his hand and nailed it to his forehead and he could not separate it. Another man pierced a lance into his chest and killed him. (May Allah sanctify his spirit).
Ibn Aseer in his Kamil says that Mukhtar (bin Abu Ubaydah) called for Zayd bin Riqqad Hababi. He came and said, “I nailed the hand of a youth to his forehead from among them with an arrow, and the youth was Abdullah bin Muslim bin Aqeel. When I shot an arrow at him, he said: O Allah! These men deem us to be lowly and wretched. O Allah! Kill them, as they have killed us. I shot another arrow at him and when I went to his side, he had died. Then I pulled out the arrow from his heart, which had killed him. I also started moving the arrow up and down from his forehead, but its handle came out while its point remained therein”. Hearing this, the men of Mukhtar hastened towards him, but he attacked them with his sword. Ibn Kamil said, “Do not kill him with lances and swords, rather kill him with your arrows and stones”. They shot arrows at him and he fell upon the ground and was burnt alive. (May Allah’s curse be upon him).
Tabari says that the army surrounded them from all sides. Abdullah bin Qatabah Ta’i Nab-hani attacked Aun bin Abdullah bin Ja’far bin Abi Talib and killed him. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
It is stated in Manaqib that he was reciting the following Rajaz: “If you do not know me I am the son of Ja’far, the truthful martyr who abides in the illuminated Paradise, flying with green colored wings therein, and this is enough (proof) for eminence on the day of Qiyamah”. Then he killed three horsemen and eighteen foot-soldiers, and Abdullah bin Qatabah Ta’i killed him.
Abul Faraj (Isfahani) says that his mother was Sayyidah Zainab Aqeelah (a.s.), the daughter of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) and Sayyidah Fatemah az Zahra (a.s.), the daughter of the Prophet of Allah (S).
Sulayman bin Qibbah, in elegy for Aun says, “Weep upon Aun if you desire to weep, who was never prepared to forsake him (Imam) in distress, by my life! ‘The Near Ones’ had to face great difficulties, then weep upon a lengthy calamity”.
His mother Aqeelah (Zainab)7 is the one from whom Ibn Abbas relates the narration of Fadak from her mother Fatemah (a.s.) and says: Our prudent lady (Aqeelah) Zainab, the daughter of Imam Ali (a.s.), relates to us....... (etc.).
It is better to be borne in mind that Abdullah bin Ja’far had two sons named Aun, who were given the title of Akbar (the elder) and Asghar (the younger). The mother of one of them was Zainab Aqeelah (a.s.), and of the other Juma’ah, the daughter of Musayyab bin Najabah Fazari. There is difference regarding which of them was martyred along with Imam Husayn (a.s.) in Karbala. But it is evident that the one martyred (in Karbala) was Aun al Akbar (the elder), the son of Sayyidah Zainab (a.s.), while Aun al Asghar was killed in the incident of Hirrah by the men of Musrif bin Aqabah, the accursed, as opined by Abul Faraj Isfahani.
(Tabari) Amir bin Nah-shal Tamimi attacked Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Ja’far bin Abi Talib (a.s.) and killed him. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him.)
Abul Faraj (Isfahani) says that his mother was Khawsa,8 the daughter of Hafsah from the clan of Bani Bakr bin Wael.
Sulayman bin Qibbah, in elegy for him says: “When the one whose name was similar to that of the Prophet fell in their midst, they raised their sharp-edged and clear-cut swords upon his head, then if you desire to weep O my eyes, then weep generously with tears similar to a tempest”.
It is related in Manaqib, that he proceeded towards the battlefield saying, “I complain to Allah regarding the enemies, a nation who are blind and who spread devastation, who have changed the characteristics of the Qur’an, the firm revelation, and its rationality, they have sided in disbelief with the despots”. Then he put to sword ten men and Amir bin Nah-shal Tamimi killed him.
Abul Faraj says that following him, his brother Ubaydullah bin Abdullah bin Ja’far was martyred. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him). It is quoted in Manaqib, that Bashr bin Huwaytar Qanasi killed him.
Usman bin Khalid bin Aseer Jahni and Bashr bin Sawt Hamadani Qanasi attacked Abdul Rahman bin Aqeel and killed him.
It is quoted in Manaqib, that he was reciting the following Rajaz: “My father was Aqeel thus know my position in the (Bani) Hashim, while the (Bani Hashim) are brothers of one another, and are considerably honest, masters of the Qur’an, this is Husayn whose base is eminent, and he is the Master of the seniors as also the youth”.
He killed seventeen men. It is related from Madaeni, that Usman bin Khalid bin Asheem and a Hamadanide man killed him. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him). It is also said that the mother of Muhammad bin Muslim bin Aqeel was a slave-girl and Usman bin Khalid Jahni killed him.
It is related in Tarikh of Tabari, that Mukhtar seized two men in Kufa who had participated in the murder of Abdul Rahman bin Aqeel bin Abi Talib and looted his clothes. He severed their necks and burnt them, Allah’s curse be upon them.
His mother was Ummus Saghar, the daughter of Amir, from the clan of Bani Kilab. While some say that his mother was Khawsa’, the daughter of ‘Amr bin Amir Kilabi.
He stepped into the battlefield saying, “I am a youth of the valley, a wanderer, I am from the family of Hashim, the predominant, and verily we are the masters, this is Husayn the most sanctified among all sacred”.
Abdullah bin Urwah Khas’ami shot an arrow at him and killed him. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
It is stated in Manaqib, that he put to sword two men, while others say that he killed fifteen horsemen and Bashr bin Sawt Hamadani killed him.
His mother was a slave-girl, while Abu Marham Azdi and Laqeet bin Ayas Jahni killed him (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
Abul Faraj Isfahani relates from Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.) and Muhammad bin Abu Sa’eed9 bin Aqeel bin Abi Talib al Ahwal (the squint-eyed), that his mother was a slave-girl and Laqeet bin Yasir Jahni seized him and killed him according to the narrative of Madaeni who relates from Abu Makhnaf, from Sulayman bin Rashid, from Hameed bin Muslim.
Muhammad bin Ali bin Hamza says that after him, Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Aqeel was martyred. While it is also related from some that he was killed in the incident of Hirrah. But Abul Faraj Isfahani says that I have not found the name of the son of Muhammad bin Aqeel named Ja’far in the genealogical books.
It is also related from Muhammad bin Ali bin Hamza, from Aqeel bin Abdullah bin Aqeel bin Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Aqeel bin Abi Talib, that Ali bin Aqeel, whose mother was a slave-girl, was also martyred on the tenth (of Muharram in Karbala). The persons among the progeny of Abu Talib who were martyred on the tenth day (of Muharram) were twenty two excluding those regarding whom there is difference of opinion.
Ibn Qutaybah states in Ma’arif, that the children of Aqeel, who accompanied Imam Husayn bin Ali (a.s.), were nine men, of whom Muslim bin Aqeel was the most valorous.
His mother was a slave girl. (Tasleeyatul Majalis) When Imam Husayn (a.s.) saw that Qasim prepared to step into the battlefield, he embraced him and they wept until both of them became unconscious. Then Qasim asked permission to go, but Imam refused to grant him the same. He continuously kissed the hands and feet of Imam Husayn (a.s.) until he gave him the permission.
Qasim left for the battlefield while tears were flowing from his eyes and he was saying, “If you do not know me I am the son of Hasan, the grandson of the Prophet, the chosen one, the confidante, this is Husayn similar to the one captivated by the mortgager, in the midst of the people who may be deprived of rain water”. He fought fiercely and in spite of being of tender age he put to sword thirty-five men.
It is quoted in Manaqib, that he was reciting the following Rajaz: “Verily I am Qasim from the progeny of Ali, by the Lord of the House! We possess superiority while being related to the Prophet than Shimr (bin) Ziljawshan and the son of an illegitimate one”.
It is stated in the Amali of Shaikh Saduq that after him, referring to Ali bin Husayn (al Akbar), Qasim bin Hasan stepped into the battlefield saying, “Do not be uneasy O my self for everyone shall perish, for today you shall meet the dwellers of Paradise”. He killed three men and they threw him from his horse upon the ground. Fattal Naishapuri too quotes similarly.
But Abul Faraj, Shaikh Mufeed and Tabari relate from Abu Makhnaf, who relates from Sulayman bin Abi Rashid, from Hameed bin Muslim, who says that a youth, similar to ‘the first Splinter of the New Moon’, stepped into the battlefield.
He held a sword in his hand and wore a cloak and shirt. He wore shoes in his feet, the strap of one of which was broken, and if I do not forget it was the left one. Umar bin Sa’ad bin Nufayl Azdi said, “I desire to attack him”. I said, “Glory be to Allah! Why so? This army which has surrounded him from all sides will surely kill him”. He said, “By Allah! I shall attack him”.He attacked him and before he could turn his face towards him, he dealt a blow upon his head with his sword and slit it. The child fell down on his face upon the ground and called out, “Alas! O dear uncle! Come to my aid”.
Imam Husayn (a.s.) leapt into the battlefield like a wild falcon and attacked like a furious Lion. He attacked Umar with his sword and he put his hand against it, which got severed from the elbow and hung attached to it. (Irshad) Then he yelled aloud, which was heard by the entire army, and Imam Husayn (a.s.) lifted his hands off him. Then the Kufan army laid siege to rescue Umar.
(Tasleeyatul Majalis) When the army attacked, the chest of their horses hit him (Umar) and they started taking rounds until they trampled him and he died.10 When the sand rested, I saw Husayn (a.s.) standing at the head of Qasim, who was stretching his feet upon the ground. Imam Husayn (a.s.) said,
“Far be the nation who have killed you, while their enemy on the day of Qiyamah shall be your grandfather (the Prophet)”.
Then he said,
“By Allah! It is hard upon your uncle that he could not come to your aid when you called him, or he answered but it could not benefit you”. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
(Malhoof) Imam said,
“By Allah! Here he has numerous murderers while his aides are quite less”.
Then he pressed him to his chest and took him in a state that his legs were drawing upon the ground. (Tabari) Imam Husayn (a.s.) pressed his chest to that of Qasim. I said to myself, “What does he intend doing to him?” Then he brought him and placed him near his son Ali bin Husayn (al Akbar) and other martyrs of his family. I asked, “Who is this child?” And I was told, “He is Qasim bin Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.)”.11
It is related that Imam Husayn (a.s.) said,
“O Lord! Reduce their quantity, kill each one of them, abandon every one of them, and never forgive them. Forbear O dear cousins! Forbear! O my household! After today you shall never ever see humiliation”.
Here the author quotes an elegy by Sayyid Haider in praise of Hazrat Qasim, which we forgo.
In a lengthy salutation quoted by Sayyid Murtaďa Alamul Huda (the Standard of Guidance) it is stated that: “Peace be upon Qasim, the son of Hasan, the son of Ali, and Mercy of Allah and His Blessings! Peace be upon you O the son of the beloved of Allah! Peace be you O son of the sweet basil of the Prophet of Allah! Peace be upon you O whose desires were left unfulfilled by the world! The one who could not cure his heart through the enemies of Allah until death hastened towards him and his desire died felicitations to you O beloved of the Prophet of Allah’s beloved! How felicitous is your striving, and how eminent is your honor, and how splendid is your place of return”.
It is stated in Biharul Anwar, that before the martyrdom of Qasim, Abdullah bin Hasan, regarding whom we have discussed earlier, entered the battlefield. But the more accurate one is that he went to the battlefield after Qasim, saying, “If you do not know me I am the son of Haydar, I am a Male Lion of the thicket, and am a wild wind upon the enemies”.
He put to sword twelve men and Hani bin Sabeet Hazrami killed him (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him), who’s face then turned black.
Abul Faraj relates from Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.), that Hurmalah bin Kahil Asadi killed him, and his martyrdom shall be discussed later in the context of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
His mother was a slave-girl, the mother of Qasim (a.s.). Abul Faraj quotes from Madaeni, who, through his chain of transmitters, quotes from Abu Makhnaf, from Sulayman bin Rashid that Abdullah bin Uqbah Ghanawi killed him.
In the narration of Umayr and Ibn Shimr, it is related from Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.) that Uqbah Ghanawi killed him.
Sulayman bin Qibbah in his elegies remembers him thus, “A drop of our blood is upon the neck of the progeny of Ghani, while the (responsibility of the) other blood is remembered upon (Bani) Asad which cannot be computed”.
Abul Faraj considers his martyrdom to have occurred before that of Qasim. But Tabari, Ibn Aseer, Shaikh Mufeed and others relate his martyrdom after (that of Qasim). And Allah is the Best Knower.
(Irshad) When Hazrat Abbas witnessed the martyrdom of the better part of his family, he summoned his real-brothers viz. Abdullah, Ja’far and Usman. Then he said, “O sons of my mother! You do not have children, go to the battlefield before me and sacrifice your lives, so that I may witness your sincerity in relation to Allah and His Prophet (S).12
Abdullah entered the battlefield and fought fiercely and exchanged swords with Hani bin Sabeet Hazrami and ultimately Hani killed him. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
The following Rajaz is quoted in Manaqib: “I am the son of an aide and an excellent one, Ali the executor of excellent deeds, the sword of the Prophet of Allah, the avenger, from which (sword) might would manifest daily”.
Abul Faraj considers him to be twenty-five years of age.
He fought bravely, and according to Manaqib was saying, “Verily I am Ja’far the possessor of excellence, the son of Ali the bestower, the successor to the Prophet a senior and master, I am in proportionate to my (paternal) uncle Ja’far as also my maternal uncle, I defend Husayn the possessor of generosity and grace”. Hani bin Sabeet attacked him and killed him. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
Abul Faraj quotes Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.) saying,
“Khawli Asbahi killed him”.
Ibn Shahr Ashob says that Khawli Asbahi shot an arrow that pierced his temple or his eye.
He entered the battlefield reciting the following Rajaz: “Verily I am Usman the possessor of glory, my master is Ali the executor of virtuous deeds, this is Husayn the master of fairness, the master of the young and old”.
He was twenty-one years old; he went and stood at the place of his brothers (who preceded him).
Abul Faraj and others say that Khawli bin Yazid shot an arrow at him that threw him down.
It is related in Manaqib, that an arrow pierced his flank and he fell off his horse. A man from (the clan of) Bani Aban bin Darim killed him and took away his head. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him). It is related from Imam Ali (a.s.) that he said, “I have named him after my (believer) brother Usman bin Maz’oon”.
His mother was a slave girl. (Tabari, Abul Faraj) A man from (the clan of) Bani Aban bin Darim killed him and took away his head. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
His name is not known (his Kuniyah is Abu Bakr) while his mother was Layla, the daughter of Mas’ood bin Khalid.
(Tabari) A Hamadani man killed him. Madaeni relates that his corpse was found near a stream while his murderer was not known.
It is stated in Manaqib, that Abu Bakr bin Ali stepped into the battlefield reciting the following Rajaz: “My Master Ali is the possessor of numerous excellences, from the progeny of Hashim the gracious, the beneficent, the pre-eminent, this is Husayn the son of the Messenger Prophet, we defend him with our sharpened swords, may my life be your ransom O honorable brother”.
He fought until Zahr (or Zajr) bin Badar Jo’fi or Uqbah Ghanawi killed him. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
It is stated in Manaqib, that then his brother Umar came into the battlefield reciting the following Rajaz: “Leave O the enemies of Allah, leave Umar, leave the Lion so that he may strike at you with his sword and he shall not flee, O Zajr! O Zajr! And take your revenge from me”. Then he killed Zajr, the murderer of his brother and entered the battlefield.
We say, that it is known among the historians and biographers that Umar was not present at Karbala along with his brother Imam Husayn (a.s.). The author of Umdatut Talib, in conclusion of his speech, says that Umar separated himself from his brother Imam Husayn (a.s.) and did not accompany him to Kufa. While the narration stating that he was present is Karbala is incorrect. Umar died at the age of 77 or 75 years in Tas’a.
Abul Faraj says that Muhammad bin Ali bin Hamza says that on the day of Ashura, Ibraheem bin Ali was also martyred in Karbala, and his mother was a slave-girl. But others have not quoted him and I have not found anyone by the name of Ibraheem bin Ali in the biographical books.
Sayyid ibn Tawoos says that the author of Masabeeh says that Hasan bin Hasan al Musannah fought along with his uncle on the day of Ashura and put to sword seventeen men. He was inflicted with eighteen wounds and fell down from his Horse. His maternal uncle, Asma bin Kharejah, took him to Kufa and treated him until he recovered, then he dispatched him to Madinah.
It is quoted in Biharul Anwar from Maqtal of Khwarizmi, that on the day of Ashura, a child came out of the tent of Imam Husayn (a.s.) wearing earrings in both his ears. He was frightened and was looking towards the left and right while his earrings were shaking. Hani bin Sabeet attacked him and killed him. Shahrbanu13 looked at him dumbfounded and did not utter a word.
Abu Ja’far Tabari relates from Hisham Kalbi that Abul Huzayl relates from a man named Sakuni who says that during the days of Khalid bin Ubaydullah, I saw Hani bin Sabeet Hazrami, who had turned old, saying in the gathering of the people (of the tribe of) Hazram that, “I was there in Karbala on the day of the martyrdom of Husayn and was riding a horse along with other nine men. The horses were parading and galloping here and there.
Suddenly a small child from among the family of Husayn, wearing a shirt and trouser, came out of the tent. He held a peg of a tent in his hand; he was frightful and was looking towards the left and right. It is as if I see the two beads of earrings in his ears shaking, when he was turning his head. And it is as if I see that a horseman galloped towards him and on reaching him bent down and cut him into two pieces with his sword”.
Hisham says that Sakuni said, that the murderer of the child was Hani bin Sabeet himself, and he concealed his name in fear of reproach. “My eyes have not witnessed such children, whose grief would turn the hearts of men to be roasted on fire”.
Shaikh Mufeed in his Irshad and Shaikh Tabarsi in his A’alamul Wara say, that the army attacked Imam Husayn (a.s.) and also scattered his troops while their thirst intensified. Imam, accompanied with his brother Abbas, galloped towards the Euphrates. The army of Umar bin Sa’ad blocked their way, while a man from Bani Darim called out to them, “Woe be to you! Block their way towards the Euphrates so that they may not reach it”.
Imam Husayn (a.s.) said,
“O Allah! Let him be thirsty”.
He was infuriated and shot an arrow towards Imam that pierced his chin. Imam pulled out the arrow and placed his palm below it that became full of blood. Then he said,
“O Allah! I complain to You regarding how they treat the son of the daughter of Your Prophet (S)”,
Then they returned back thirsty. But the army surrounded Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and separated him from Imam Husayn (a.s.). Abbas fought lonely until he was martyred. Zayd bin Warqa’ Hanafi and Hakeem bin Tufayl Ta’i jointly killed him after inflicting several wounds upon him and he did not have the strength to move. Sayyid ibn Tawoos too relates somewhat similarly.
Hasan bin Ali Tabarsi relates, that the arrow of the accursed (from Bani Darim) pierced the forehead of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and Abbas removed it. But the previous narration is more renowned.
Tabari relates from Hisham, who relates from his father Muhammad bin Saeb, from Qasim bin Asbagh bin Nabatah, who says that someone who was present (in Karbala) during the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) told me that, when the army of Husayn was routed, he mounted his horse and went towards the Euphrates. A man from Bani Aban bin Darim said, “Woe be to you! Station yourself between him and the Euphrates so that his Shi’ah may not join him”. He galloped his horse and the army too followed him and blocked his access to the Euphrates.
Imam Husayn (a.s.) said,
“O Allah! Make him thirsty”.
The Abani shot an arrow that pierced the chin of Imam. Imam pulled out the arrow and placed his palm below it, which became full of blood, and he said,
“O Allah! I complain to You regarding how they treat the son of the daughter of Your Prophet (S)”.
By Allah! Not much time passed, when I saw thirst overwhelming him while he (the Abani man) was never satiated.
Qasim bin Asbagh further says that I was along with the one who was fanning him (the Abani man) while a sweet drink, a jar of milk and jug of water was kept. He was saying, “Woe be to you! Thirst is killing me”. A jar of water or a cup, which was quenching the thirst of his family, was handed over to him. He drank and vomited it, then slept for some time. Then again he started saying, “Woe be to you! Give me water, thirst is killing me”. By Allah! A sight similar to this was not seen before, while his stomach cracked like that of a Camel.
We (the author) say that from the narration of Ibn Nima it proves that the name of the person was Zar’ah bin Aban bin Darim.
It is related from Qasim bin Asbagh bin Nabatah, who relates from a person who had seen Imam Husayn (a.s.) (in Karbala) who had positioned himself upon a high moat close to the bank so as to reach the Euphrates, while Abbas was along with him. Suddenly the letter of Ubaydullah addressed to Umar bin Sa’ad arrived, which said that, “Block the water supply to Husayn and his companions, and let them not taste a drop from it”.
Umar bin Sa’ad dispatched ‘Amr bin Hajjaj along with five hundred men to the waterfront. Abdullah bin Haseen Azdi called out, “O Husayn! Do you see this water flowing similar to the heavens? By Allah! You shall not get a drop from it until you, along with your companions, perish of thirst”. Zar’ah bin Aban bin Darim said, “Position yourselves between him and the Euphrates”. Then he shot an arrow towards Imam that pierced his chin, and he said,
“O Allah! Let him die of thirst and never forgive him”.
A drink was brought for the Imam (a.s.), but he could not drink due to the constant flow of blood. He threw the blood towards the heavens and said,
“Likewise towards the heavens”.
And it is related from Shaikh Abdus Samad, from Abul Faraj, from Abdul Rahman bin Jawzi, that after this the Abani man (Zar’ah) was inflicted with the (disease of) scorching of the stomach and cold back, and was yelling. Thereafter the above narration of Tabari is quoted until the end.
The author of Umdatut Talib, in context of the children of Abbas (a.s.), says that his Kuniyah (agnomen) was Abul Fazl and title Saqqa (the water carrier). He was bestowed this title because he went to seek water for his brother on the day of Ashura, but before he could reach it to him, he was martyred. His grave is situated near the bank of the river (Euphrates) on the spot of his martyrdom. He was the standard-bearer of Imam Husayn (a.s.) on that day.
Abu Nasr Bukhari relates from Mufazzal bin Umar, that Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (a.s.) said,
“Our uncle Abbas was prudent and possessed a firm faith. He fought along with Abu Abdullah (Imam Husayn) and underwent trials until he was martyred. While (the responsibility of) his blood lies with the Bani Hanifah, and he was thirty-four years when he was killed. His mother, as also that of his brothers Usman, Ja’far and Abdullah, was Ummul Baneen, the daughter of Hizam bin Khalid bin Rabi’ah.”
Then he goes on to say, that it is related that the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) inquired from his brother Aqeel, who was a genealogist and knew the Arabian families well, to find a woman from a valorous Arab family, so that he could marry her and she in turn would bear him a valorous son.
Aqeel replied, “Then marry Ummul Baneen Kilabiyyah, for there is none among the Arabs who is more valorous than her fathers”, thus he married her. Then on the day of the tenth of Muharram (Ashura), Shimr bin Ziljawshan Kilabi came and called for Abbas and his brothers saying, “Where are my nephews?” They did not reply to him. Imam Husayn (a.s.) told his brothers,
“Answer him, although he is a lewd person, for he is from among your uncles (of the same tribe)”.
They asked him, “What do you desire?” Shimr replied, “Come to me, for you all are under protection, do not kill yourselves along with your brother”. Hearing this they denounced him in harsh words and said, “May you be ugly and may that be ugly too what you have brought (the document of security). Should we desert our Master and Chief and enter your security?” He (Abbas) along with his three brothers was martyred on that day.
Shaikh Saduq relates from Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) that:
“May Allah’s Mercy be upon Abbas! He self-sacrificed fairly and underwent trials. He offered his life for his brother until both his arms were severed. And Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, compensated him with two wings and he flies in Paradise along with the Angels as He had presented to Ja’far bin Abi Talib (a.s.). While Abbas (a.s.) possesses such a position near Allah, may He be Hallowed and Exalted, that on the day of Qiyamah all the martyrs will be envious of it”.
Abul Faraj (Isfahani) says that Abbas bin Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.)’s agnomen was Abul Fazl, while his mother was Ummul Baneen (a.s.), whose eldest son he was. And he was the last among his real brothers to be martyred, for he had sons, while his other brothers had none. He sent them to the battlefield before himself until all of them were martyred and their inheritance passed on to him.14
Then he himself stepped into the battlefield and fell a martyr. Ubaydullah (the son of Abbas) inherited from all of them and his uncle Umar bin Ali disputed with him in this regard. Then he settled with him by giving him the wealth that he agreed upon.
Jarmi bin Abul A’la relates from Zubayr, who relates from his uncle, that the progeny of Abbas (a.s.) referred to him as Saqqa and bestowed him with the agnomen of Abul Qirbah (Lit. father of the water-skin, for he strived hard to get water for Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his family). But I have never seen any of his sons nor have I heard anything like this from them.
A eulogizer praises Abbas thus: “The youth is more worthy to be wept upon whose death made Husayn weep in Karbala, he was his brother and the son of his father Ali, Abul Fazl who was smeared in blood and assisted his brother, he himself remained thirsty and strived to get water for him”.
Kumayt (Asadi) says regarding him: “Abul Fazl whose remembrance is pleasant and a cure for the illness of the soul, who fought against the illegitimate men, while they fought against him who was the most honorable among those who consumed the rain-water”.
Abbas (a.s.) possessed a pleasant countenance, he was handsome and of immense height. When he would mount upon a sturdy horse, his feet would touch the ground. He was called ‘Qamare Bani Hashim’ (the Moon of the Bani Hashim). He was the standard-bearer of Imam Husayn (a.s.) on the day of Ashura.
It is related from Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (a.s.) that he said that,
“Imam Husayn (a.s.) arrayed his troops and handed over his standard to Abbas (a.s.)”.
Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.) says that Zayd bin Waqad Jahmi (or bin Warqa’ Hanafi) and Hakeem bin Tufayl Tai’ killed Abbas.
It is related from Mu’awiyah bin Ammar, who relates from Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (a.s.), that he said that,
“Ummul Baneen, the mother of the four martyred brothers would go to (the cemetery of) Baqi’ and would lament with heart-rending and grief-stricken words upon her sons. People would gather and listen to her (sorrowful words). One day Marwan (bin Hakam) came and heard her lamenting and started weeping (in spite of being ruthless himself).”
Ibn Shahr Ashob in his Manaqib says that Abbas, the Saqqa’ (the water Carrier), the Moon of the Hashimites, the Standard-Bearer of Husayn, and the greatest of his real brothers went in pursuit of water. They attacked him and he too lay siege and said, “I do not fear death even when it calls out to me, or until I do not fight the tested fighters and fall upon the ground, my life is ransom upon the one who is the life of Mustafa, verily I am Abbas the one who fetches water, while I do not fear on the day of battle”.
He scattered the forces, while Zayd bin Warqa’ Jahni, who was lying in ambush for him behind a tree, severed his right hand along with the help of Hakeem bin Tufayl Sumbosi. Then he took the sword in his left hand while reciting the following Rajaz: “By Allah! Although you have severed my right hand, I shall keep defending my Religion as also my positively Truthful Imam, who is the son of the Chaste and Trustworthy Prophet”.
He fought until he was exhausted and Hakeem bin Tufayl Ta’i hid behind a tree and dealt a blow upon his left hand and severed it. Abbas said, “O self do not fear the infidels, may you receive the glad tidings of the Mercy of the Omnipotent, along with the Prophet the Master of the empowered, they have severed my left hand with injustice, O Lord burn them with the fire (of hell)”.
The accursed killed him with his iron mace. When Imam Husayn (a.s.) saw him upon the ground near the bank of Euphrates, he wept and said,
“You have done injustice through your actions O accursed nation, and have opposed the words of Prophet Muhammad (S), did not the Best Prophet bequeath to you regarding us, are we not of the progeny of the Righteous Prophet, is not Zahra (a.s.) from among you my mother, is not Ahmad (S) the best among the creations, curse befell you and you were humiliated on account of what you did, and very soon you will face the scorching fire (of hell)”.
We say that if one desires to realize the state of Imam Husayn (a.s.) on the death of his brother, family members and other companions, should ponder upon the words of Imam Ali (a.s.) and his condition upon the death of his eminent companions and friends (in the battle of Siffīn) like Ammar bin Yasir, Malik Ashtar, Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, Abul Haysam bin Teehan, Khuzaymah bin Sabit and others. It is related that on a Friday preceding his martyrdom, Imam Ali (a.s.) made a speech in which he remembered them and said,
“Where are my brothers who were upon the thoroughfare and where have they passed who were truth loving men? Where is Ammar? Where is Ibnat Teehan? Where is Zush Shahadatayn (Khuzaymah bin Sabit)? Where are others similar to them who had pledged among themselves to die and their heads were dispatched to the presence of wicked men?”
Then he held his blessed beard in his hand and wept bitterly, then said,
“Alas upon the brothers who recited the Qur’an and remained steadfast. Those who recognized their obligation and fulfilled them, they enlivened the customs and trampled the innovations. They were invited to strive and they hastened towards it”.
It is related, that when Ammar bin Yasir was martyred in Siffīn along with a group of the companions of the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.), and when night came, Imam Ali (a.s.) wandered among the martyrs. When he saw Ammar fallen upon the ground, he lifted his head and placed it upon his thigh and wept, then said,
“O death! Till when shall you be away from me, when you have not spared for me any friend of (my) friend, I find you discerning towards those whom I love, as if you proceed towards them with evidences”.
In the complete poetical work (of Imam Ali), the first couplet is as follows:
“O death which shall not leave me, relieve me for you have taken away all my friends”.
It is related in Biharul Anwar, that when Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) found himself alone, he came to Imam Husayn (a.s.) and said, “Do you permit me?” Imam wept bitterly and said,
“O dear brother! You are my standard-bearer, then if you go away my army will get scattered”.
Abbas replied, “My heart is getting narrow and I am satiated from life. And I desire to avenge the blood of my brothers from these hypocrites”. Imam Husayn (a.s.) said,
“Then bring water for these children”.
Abbas proceeded and counseled the army and warned them, but it did not prove fruitful. Then he returned back to the Imam and informed him. He heard the children wailing “O thirst”, he took a water-skin and mounted his horse and went towards the Euphrates. Four thousand men, who were guarding the Euphrates, surrounded him from all sides and shot arrows at him. He attacked them and killed eighty men until he had ripped them, then he entered the river. He tried to drink water,15 when suddenly he remembered the thirst of Imam and his Household. He then threw away the water and filled the water-skin. He placed the water-skin upon his right shoulder and turned towards the tents. They blocked his way and surrounded him from all sides. He fought with them until Nawfal severed his right hand with his sword.
Then he placed the water-skin upon his left shoulder. Nawful then severed his left hand from the wrist and he held the water-skin by his teeth. Then an arrow pierced the water skin and water flowed from it. Another arrow pierced his heart and he fell off from the horse and called out, “O Master! Find me”. When Imam came to his head, he saw him smeared in sand and blood and wept.
Regarding his martyrdom, Turayhi says that a man attacked him and struck at the crown of his head with an iron club that split up and he fell down upon the ground and called out, “O Aba Abdillah! My salutations upon you!”
Ibn Nima says regarding Hakeem bin Tufayl that he stole the dress of Abbas off his body and shot an arrow at him.
It is stated in Biharul Anwar that it is said, that when Abbas (a.s.) was martyred, Imam Husayn (a.s.) said,
“Now my back has bent, and my maneuver has lessened”.
Here the author quotes two couplets in praise of Hazrat Abbas, one by Abu Ja’far bin Ameer Alhaj Husaynee, and the other by Shaikh Ibn Nima, which we forgo.
I (the author), say that while discussing the aid rendered by Hazrat Abul Fazl (Abbas) to Imam Husayn (a.s.) reminds me of the aid rendered by his (Abbas)’s father, the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) to his cousin, the Prophet of Allah (S). Therefore I shall quote it as an embellishment for this book.
Jahiz in the book Usmaniyah quotes from Ibn Abil Hadeed that Abu Bakr was in great severity in Makkah before migration, while Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) was in safety. Neither was he sought after nor did he seek. Abu Ja’far Iskafi, while refuting this, says that we have related a reliable tradition with chain of authorities that when Imam Ali (a.s.) accepted Islam, he was adolescent and sane. And he expelled the Qurayshite polytheists with his tongue and heart and was a burden for them. While he was the one who was confined in the valley (along with the Prophet during boycott) and not Abu Bakr.
He was the one, who in the dark and straightened circumstances of the boycott, was a confidante of the Prophet of Allah (S) and drank the bitter cup of persecutions at the hands of Abu Lahab, Abu Jahl and others, and burnt in the fire of confinement. He bore the difficulties alongside his Prophet and carried the burden of great hardships upon his shoulders while facing dangerous tasks. He was the one, who at night, would steal out in fear16 from the valley and would go concealing to the noblemen of Quraysh, like Mut’em bin Adi and others, in compliance at the orders of Abu Talib (a.s.), and would also carry the load of foodstuffs with a thousand fears and shivers upon his back for the Bani Hashim. And if the enemies like Abu Jahl would see him, they would have shed his blood. Verily Ali (a.s.) was the one who did thus during the days of boycott, or was it Abu Bakr?
Imam Ali (a.s.), in his renowned sermon, explains his state at that time and says,
“They pledged together that they would not deal with us not enter into a wedlock. They kindled the fire of battle upon us and they drew us, the entire Bani Hashim, into a mountain of severity. Those who were believers among us desired reward (in lieu of assisting us) and the disbelievers were assisting their family. All the tribes of Quraysh gathered together to oppose them and withheld their sustenance from them. And they waited for them every morning and evening to succumb to hunger while there was no way for any redress or improvement. Their determination parted away and their desires died away”.
Abu Ja’far Iskafi says, that there is no doubt that Abu Usman Jahiz has succumbed under the influence of falsehood and has traversed the road of error and treachery. Ultimately he became perplexed and understood nothing until he said that what he said. And he assumed that Imam Ali (a.s.) did not face miseries and hardships before Migration, and that only after Migration, from the day of (the battle of) Badr, was he engulfed in severity and trials. He has very well forgotten the days of the boycott in the valley as to how Imam Ali (a.s.) faced severity while Abu Bakr was in comfort and tranquility. And he (Abu Bakr) could sit along with anyone whom he pleased and eat whatever he desired, while he was independent and contented.
But Imam Ali (a.s.) was in the whirlpool of imprisonment and bore hunger and thirst. Every morning and evening he faced the risk of being killed, for it was he, who at the invitation of the noblemen and the wise men of Quraysh, would go to acquire the food for them, until he would take care of the Prophet of Allah (S) and the rest of Bani Hashim in the straightened circumstances of the imprisonment in the mountain. And it was very much possible that the enemies of the Prophet of Allah (S) would unsparingly make him a prey of their swords. And he could become a victim of Waleed bin Mugheerah, Utbah bin Rabi’ah and other Pharaohs and tyrants of Quraysh.
He himself remained hungry and gave his own food to the Prophet of Allah (S), while he himself remained thirsty and gave away his share of water to the Prophet of Allah (S). It is he who nursed the Prophet during his illness and was his aide during his loneliness. While Abu Bakr was discharged from all these difficulties and he did not face their pain and hardships, in fact he was unaware of their state, rather roughly.
Dealing with them or marriages among them was banned for three years. They were imprisoned in the valley and could not step out and look after their affairs. Then how could (Abu Usman) Jahiz overlook this merit and neglect this privilege that was unparalleled. “This being one of his numerous excellences, from which you can analyze other (excellences)”. Here the author quotes some couplets of Shaikh Azari.
I (the author), say, that Abu Ja’far Iskafi has truly said that Imam Ali (a.s.) nursed the Prophet (S) during his illness. As Ibn Abil Hadeed relates from Salman Farsi (a.s.) that, I went to the presence of the Prophet (S) on the morning preceding the day of his death. He said,
“Do not ask me as to how I passed the last night in pain and sleeplessness with Ali”.
I asked, “O Prophet of Allah! Do permit that tonight I may bear the sleeplessness with you in place of Ali”. The Prophet (S) replied,
“No, rather he is more worthy than you for this task”.
May my parents be your ransom O Ali!
Here the author quotes a couplet and another that of Safiyuddin Hilli.
It should be noted that valor is a spiritual attribute and can be perceived by the intelligence and not through observation. It cannot be understood by itself but can be comprehended by beholding its influences. If one desires to know whether Abbas is a valorous man, then one should see him at the time when he is surrounded from all sides by the valorous, while death has shortened his time and he has fallen in the heat of the battle.
Then if he turns restless, is frightful and trembles, and he flees and finds relief, and takes upon himself the disgrace of baseness and wears the armor of disgrace of flight facing the tail of the sword, then know, that he is far away from valor. But if he attacks forthwith and considers the voice of the (striking of the) sword to be that of a pleasant flute, and he hastens into the ranks of the combat as if he proceeds amidst pleasures, and enters the waves of dread with a relaxed heart and considers the embracing of the swords to be a felicity and striking with the points of lances to be a profitable good-tidings.
“He acclaims the lances with his neck as if it is an aloes wood of a sweet basil, while the sound of the (striking of the) sword near him is similar to the singing voice of women who sing for him”. Then know that it is he who holds the reins of valor in his hands, and he wears valor that is the favorite of Allah.
Then know as to what we have said regarding the combat of the companions of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and that of his family, as we have quoted, then one would conclude that all of them possessed the highest status of valor and the lofty position of vigor except that Abbas b. Ali (a.s.) had the abundant share amongst them and a lofty and excessive position while all of them were the pickers of his harvest. He possessed a steadfast faith, profound foresight, and holds such a position near Allah that all the martyrs will envy him on the day of Qiyamah. And why would not this be, when his father was none other than the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.).
Mas’oodi relates in Murujuz Zahab regarding the battle of Jamal, that the enemies attacked the right and left rank of Imam Ali (a.s.) and pushed them back. One of the sons of Aqeel came to Imam Ali (a.s.) while he had laid his head upon the cover of the saddle and was dozing off. He said, “O dear uncle! Do you see where our right and left ranks are, while you sleep?” Imam (a.s.) replied,
“O nephew! Remain silent! Your uncle has a destined day (of death) that cannot be avoided. By Allah! Your uncle does not fear whether he hastens towards death or death hastens towards him”.
Then he commanded his son Muhammad bin Hanafiyah, who was his standard-bearer in the battle, to attack the Basran army. Muhammad showed slackness for he was facing a group of archers, he waited for them to exhaust their arrows. Imam Ali (a.s.) approached him and asked,
“Why did you not attack?”
He replied, “There was no other way except proceeding while facing the arrows and lances, then I waited for them to exhaust their arrows so that I may then attack them”. Imam replied,
“Then proceed in the midst of the arrows, for death is your armor”.
Hearing this Muhammad attacked and was left in the midst of the points of the lances and the shooting arrows. Imam Ali (a.s.) came to him, and striking at him with the hilt of his sword, said,
“The vein of your mother has desisted you”.
Then he took away the standard from him and attacked, while others attacked along with him, and the Basran army seemed similar to ashes that were blown away by the wind.
The above-referred Muhammad bin Hanafiyah is the son of the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.). Thus Zuhri says that he was the most wise and valorous among men. While Jahiz says regarding him, that all unanimously agree that he was unparalleled and a true man in his age. He excelled all in perfection and excellence, while his valor is proved from that which the historians have quoted regarding the battle of Siffīn.
And it is enough (proof) that he was the standard-bearer of Imam Ali (a.s.). And in spite of this he showed slackness towards the archers (in the above incident) so that they would exhaust their arrows, but may my parents be ransom upon Abbas (a.s.), the standard-bearer of his brother Imam Husayn (a.s.), the commander of his army, who advanced into the ranks of four thousand men employed to watch upon the Euphrates. And he stood firm like a mountain facing their archers he did not tremble nor did he fear, rather he said, “I do not fear death even if it comes upon me”.
As is related earlier that he (Hazrat Abbas) rescued some of the companions of Imam Husayn (a.s.) when they were surrounded from all sides by the enemies. Then know that he acted as a shield for his brother Imam Husayn (a.s.). May my parents be your ransom O Abal Fazl!
Here the author quotes some couplets regarding the valor of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.).17
The Roman name of the man is Theofelus i.e. Habibullah. There is another tradition that Prophet Muhammad (S) said that, “There are three persons who responded to the call of their Prophets without hesitation and they never bowed to any one besides Allah even for the twinkling of an eye, viz. Habib-an-Najjar, the believer of Ale Yasin; Izekiel, the believer from the people of Fir’aun, and Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.), who is superior among all of them. Ref. Kifayat-ut-Talib by Muhammad b. Yusuf Ganji Shafe’i, Sawaeqe Muhriqa by Ibn Hajar Makki, Tafsire Durre Mansur by Jalaluddin Suyuti, Fath-ul-Qadeer by Shawkani, Tafsir Fath-ul-Bayan by Siddiq Hasan Khan, etc.
Soon after her birth, Jibra’eel descended with greetings upon the Prophet of Allah (S) and presented the name chosen by Allah for her, thus she was named Zainab, viz. embellishment of (her) father, rather she proved to be an embellishment for Islam in particular and the entire universe in general. Zainab al Kubra was married to her cousin Abdullah, titled Bahrus Sakha (the Ocean of Munificence), the son of Ja’far at Tayyar, and bore him four sons viz. Aun, Muhammad, Ali and Abbas, and one daughter Umm Kulthum.
She sacrificed her sons Aun and Muhammad in the way of Allah at Karbala and seldom wept upon them. After the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) she assumed the role of preserving the name of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his mission that was to secure the permanence of Islam and unveil the ugly face of hypocrisy and despotism. She faced the worst ordeals of life with unwavering forbearance and unparalleled prowess, which would even falter the feet of the most valourous of men. While her eloquent sermons at Kufa and Syria shook the very foundations of the throne of Bani Umayyah, and people listened to her words dumbfounded and in awe.
She spoke such prudently that people presumed Imam Ali (a.s.) had risen, she thus dealt a final blow to the wall of despotism. Apart from this, she was the one who was responsible for preserving the continuity of the Progeny of Prophet Muhammad (S), since it is narrated (at several places in this book too) that at times she saved the life of Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) and was prepared to sacrifice her own self in his stead. Her sublime qualities can be established by numerous titles bestowed upon her viz. Aqeelat Bani Hashim, the intellectual among the Hashimites; Aqeelat Quraysh, the intellectual among the Quraysh; Shareekatul Husayn, the associate of Husayn; Al Alematul Ghairul Mu’allimah, an intellectual without having being trained; Al Faheematul Ghairul Mufahhimah, a knowledgeable who needs none to make her understand; Saniye Zahra, the second Zahra; Ummul Masaeb, the mother of griefs; Sahibatul Musibatul Uzma, the bearer of the grand sorrow; etc.
There is difference of opinion regarding the place of her burial, some opine that she died in Madinah and is buried there, while others say that she lies buried in Cairo. But the most accurate, which is unanimously accepted by the Shi’ah Scholars, is that she is buried in Damascus, Syria at a place now known as ‘Zainabiyah’.
The pilgrimage to her blessed grave is highly recommended and visiting it is a desire of every true believer and a seeker of truth. Numerous books have been authored depicting her meritorious life, for further readings refer to: Khasaise Zainabiyah by Sayyid Nuruddin Jazaeri, Zainab Ukhtal Husayn by Muhammad Husayn al Adeeb, Zainab al Kubra by Shaikh Ja’far Naqdi, Aqeelat Bani Hashim by Sayyid Ali Hashmi, Ma’a Batlat Karbala by Shaikh Muhammad Jawad Mughniyyah, Ibnatuz Zahra Batlatul Fida by Ali Ahmad Shalabi, Fi Rihabas Sayyidah Zainab by Sayyid Muhammad Bahrul Uloom, Batlat Karbala by Dr. Ayesha Bintush Shati Misri etc. May Allah’s Eternal Blessings be upon her and her Noble Household.
Abdullah bin Zubayr said, “May Allah have mercy upon Zubayr”. Abu Sa’eed bin Aqeel, who was present there, said, “O Abdullah! Why do you get excited when someone sends mercy upon his father”? He replied, “I too send mercy upon my father”. Abu Sa’eed said, “Your father was neither equal nor similar to him”. He said, “Why did he not have a measure in it? Both of them were from the Quraysh and both of them claimed caliphate, while neither of them succeeded”.
Abu Sa’eed replied, “Withdraw this from your mind. Ali (a.s.) occupied a place among the Quraysh with relation to the Prophet (S) as you know, and when he claimed caliphate they obeyed him, while he was a Chieftain. While Zubayr aspired towards the cause whose commander was a woman, and when the battle of Jamal intensified he retreated back. And before the right would be distinguished from falsehood, he escaped. A crippled man beheaded him and plundered his clothes. While Ali (a.s.), similar to the time of his cousin (the Prophet), proceeded further. May Allah have mercy upon Ali”. Ibn Zubayr said, “O Abu Sa’eed! If you had uttered similar words to someone else, you would have known”.
Abu Sa’eed replied, “For whose sake (referring to Mu’awiyah) you defile him (Ali) is himself reluctant with you”. Mu’awiyah interrupted their speech and they became silent. Ayesha was informed about their speech, and one day when Abu Sa’eed passed by her house, she called him in a loud voice saying, “O Abu Sa’eed! You have uttered such and such words with my brother”? Abu Sa’eed turned around but could not see anyone, and said, “Shaitan looks at you while you do not see him”. Ayesha laughed and said, “Bravo to your father! What a sharp tongue you possess”!
Yazid bin Asbahi shot an arrow at Usman bin Ali and killed him. Then he proceeded further and beheaded him. He brought the head to Umar bin Sa’ad and asked for a gift. Umar replied, “Go and ask for a gift from your commander Ubaydullah. The gift is with him”. Only Abbas bin Ali remained, he fought alongside Imam Husayn (a.s.) and defended him. He accompanied him everywhere until he too was martyred.
Probably, what Abbas (a.s.), the ‘Virtuous Slave of Allah’, intended, while filling his palm with water, was to announce to the enemies that the water, which they had held back from them, was very easy for them to conquer, and he did this perhaps to instill fear in their hearts. It was very easy for them to vanquish the enemies and crush their suppression, but they had readily submitted to the Will and Command of Allah, thus he threw away the water without partaking a drop of it. Most significantly, it could also be described as a declaration of Imam Husayn (a.s.)’s everlasting triumph against evil and despotism at Karbala.
He, as well as his real brothers, thus accompanied Imam Husayn (a.s.) to Karbala and remained attached to him until their martyrdom. Abbas could easily have accepted the proposal of security brought to him by Shimr, the accursed, and could thus have saved himself and lead a lavish life thereafter, but he refused to succumb to treachery and hypocrisy, and rather preferred to be martyred while striving in the path of Islam and the truth. He is often looked upon as only a valourous and dauntless fighter, while the other prominent aspect of his life is often neglected which demonstrates his excellent conduct, unfaltering faith, absolute submission (to Allah and His Hujjat), unwavering forbearance, abiding piety, intense virtue, unparalleled wisdom, while in reality he combined in himself all the qualities of a perfect ‘Slave of Allah’.
His outstanding status can be validated from the traditions of Aimmah (a.s.) in his praise. He has been bestowed with numerous titles, which again portray his eminence, viz. Afzalush Shuhada, the Most Excellent among the Martyrs; Bab-al-Hawaej, the Door of (the fulfillment of) desires; Abdus Saleh, the Virtuous Slave (of Allah); Qamare Bani Hashim, the Moon of the Hashimites; Abul Qirbah, the father of the water skin; Al Saqqa, the water fetcher, Sahibe Liwa’il Husayn, the Standard-bearer of Husayn (a.s.) etc., while his Kuniyah (agnomen) is Abul Qasim and Abul Fazl. He married Lubabah, the daughter of Ubaydullah bin Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib.
The names of his children are quoted as Ubaydullah, Fazl, Hasan, Qasim, and a daughter, while it is related that two of his sons, viz. Fazl and Qasim were martyred in Karbala. Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (a.s.), in his salutations, remembers Abbas (a.s.) in the following words: Peace be upon you O the Virtuous Slave (of Allah), who served Allah and his Prophet (S), and the Commander of the faithful (a.s.), and Hasan (a.s.) and Husayn (a.s.), may Allah’s blessings be upon them all and His benedictions. Peace be upon you and Allah’s Mercy and His blessings, and his forgiveness, and His Paradise upon your (blessed) spirit and (sacred) body. I bear witness, as also Allah, that you tread a path similar to the people of Badr and those striving in the way of Allah, as also the devout ones who struggle against His enemies, who strive to assist His friends, and defend His beloved ones.
Thus may Allah reward you, (with) an excellent reward, abundant reward, prudent reward, a reward similar to (the one bestowed by Him upon) those who fulfilled their allegiance to Him, and accepted His call, and served those Authorised by Him”. Numerous books, dealing with his life and merits, have been authored by the Shi’ah scholars, for further study refer to: Al Abbas by Sayyid Abdul Razaq al Muqarram, A’alamun Nas fi Fazaelil Abbas by Sayyid Sa’eed Behbahani, Al Batalul Alqama by Shaikh Abdul Wahid al Muzaffar, Khasaesul Abbasiyah by Shaikh Muhammad Ibraheem Karbasi, Maqtalul Abbas by Sayyid Mahdi Tabatabai Yazdi, Tareekhe Zindaganiye Qamare Bani Hashim by Husayn Imadzadeh etc.
Thus he lived a fruitful life and died a felicitous death. Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) lies buried in a Magnificent Mausoleum at Karbala, Iraq, facing the Mausoleum of Imam Husayn (a.s.), perhaps yet shielding his Master. His Mausoleum is an asylum for those seeking fulfillment of their desires from Allah on his behalf, and a refuge for every destitute, oppressed and downtrodden. May our lives be your ransom O Abbas!