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Ubaydullah in Kufa

In the preceding chapter we have seen that when Ubyadullah bin Ziyad intended to go to Kufa from Basra, Shareek bin A’awar was along with him. Shareek had a very strong inclination towards Shi’aism. He was along with Ammar bin Yasir (a.s.) in the battle of Siffīn (Kamil, Tabari) and his debate with Mu’awiyah (Manaqib) is quite renowned.

When Shareek left Basra (with Ubaydullah), on the way he pretended to be exhausted and uneasy. He intended that Ubaydullah might stop along with him and thus Imam Husayn (a.s.) may reach Kufa before him, but Ubaydullah paid no heed to him and proceeded further.

When Shareek reached Kufa he resided at the house of Hani bin Urwah and constantly encouraged him to support the cause of Muslim bin Aqeel and his leadership. Shareek fell ill, and because Ubaydullah (Kamil, Muhammad bin Abi Talib) and the other nobles respected him, he sent him a message that he would come to meet him that night. Shareek told Muslim,

“Tonight the wicked man will be coming to meet me, and when he sits down you may come from behind and kill him. Then you may go to the palace and take the reins into your hands while no one will stop you from doing so. And if I am cured of this illness, I shall go to Basra and straighten the affairs for you there.”

(Abul Faraj) At night Ubaydullah came to visit Shareek. Earlier Shareek had told Muslim,

“When that man enters herein, let him not escape from your clutches.”

Hani stood up and said,

“I do not consent to it that Ubaydullah should be killed in my house”

and despised this idea. Thus, Ubaydullah came and sat down and inquired from Shareek regarding his health and asked him as to what illness was he inflicted with. When their conversation became lengthy, Shareek noted that no one had come out, and fearing that the desired objective may not be achieved started reciting the following cou­plet:

“Why anticipate in bestowing gifts to Salama, to him and to the one who bestows upon him, spill the cup of death into his throat.”

He repeated it twice or thrice. When Ubaydullah heard it he could not understand and said that he was uttering vain under the influence of ill­ness. Hani said,

“Yes it is true, may Allah amend you, he has been in this state since yesterday.”

Ubaydullah arose and left.

(Tabari) Furthermore it is said that Ubaydullah had come accompanied with his retainer Mehran. While Shareek had told Muslim that when he would ask for water, Muslim should come and strike a blow at Ubaydullah. Ubaydullah came and sat near Shareek on his bed and his retainer Mehran stood behind him near his head. Shareek asked for water, and when the maid was bringing water, her sight fell on Muslim who was hiding in ambush and she moved away.

He again asked for water but with no response, and for the third time he asked and said,

“Woe to you! You do not give me water. Give me the water even if it results in my death.”

Mehran understood and he signaled Ubaydullah, to which he too arose to leave. Shareek said that he desired to will to Ubaydullah, to which he replied that he would come some other time and left. Mehran took him away hurriedly and said,

“By Allah, they had desired to kill you.”

Ubaydullah replied,

“How could they do this when I respect and am kind to Shareek, and that too in the house of Hani, whom my father had favored”?

Mehran said,

“Whatever I have said is true.”

(Kamil) When Ubaydullah left, Muslim came out of his hiding and Shareek asked him as to what stopped him from killing Ubaydullah. Muslim replied,

“Two things stopped me from doing so. First because Hani does not approve that Ubaydullah should be killed in his house, and second because of the Tradition related by the Holy Prophet (S) that, “Islam stops from killing anyone unawares and a believer refrains himself from it.”

Shareek said,

“If you had killed him, you would in fact have killed a transgressor, wicked and a crafty unbeliever.”

Ibn Nima says that when Ubaydullah went away and Muslim came to Shareek sword in hand, Shareek asked him as to what stopped him from performing the deed. Muslim replied that,

“I was just coming out when the wife of Hani pleaded with me not to kill Ubaydullah in their house and started weeping. Then I threw away my sword and sat down.”

Hani said,

“Woe be to that woman! She has killed herself and myself and from what I fled has ultimately taken place.”

(Kamil) Shareek remained alive for three more days and then died. Ubaydullah lead his funeral Prayers, and later when he was informed that Shareek had plotted to kill him, he said,

“By Allah! From now on I will never lead the funeral Prayer of any of the Iraqis, and if (my father) Ziyad would not have been buried alongside him, I would certainly have exhumed the grave of Shareek.”

After the death of Shareek, Ma’qal the retainer of Ubaydullah, who was ap­pointed to spy upon them with his wealth, came often to Muslim bin Ausaja. Muslim took him to meet Muslim bin Aqeel who accepted the oath of alle­giance from him. Then he ordered Abu Samamah Saedi, who looked after all the financial transactions, to accept the amount from him. Abu Samamah was in charge of buying the ammunitions, he was a renowned brave man among the Arabs and a man of distinction among the Shi’ah. (Kamil)

Ma’qal started coming to them, heard their conversations and after being aware of their secrets would convey it to Ubaydullah. While Hani had distanced himself from Ubaydullah with an excuse of being unwell.

Ubaydullah called Muhammad bin Ash’as and Asma bin Kharejah and ‘Amr bin Hajjaj Zubaydi too, whose daughter Ruwayhah was the wife of Hani and the mother of his son Yahya. Ubaydullah inquired about Hani and his remaining aloof from them (Kamil) and was told that he was unwell.

Ubaydullah said,

“I have heard that he is well and sits at his door. Go and meet him and tell him not to avoid that what is mandatory and obligatory upon him.”

They came to Hani and told him that,

“Ubaydullah has inquired about you, and he says that if you are unwell he would come to meet you. And people have told him that you frequently sit at your door. He is determined to know why you have kept yourself aloof from him, while the commander will not tolerate this distancing and ungratefulness, hence we request you to come along with us.”

Then Hani called for his dress and wore it and sat on the mule and when he reached near the palace, a fear crept his heart that there might be trouble further. Hani told Hisan bin Asma bin Khareja,

“O my nephew! I fear that man, what do you think about it”?

He replied,

“I do not see any reason for you to fear, thus remove any sorrow from your heart”,

and Asma (or Hisan bin Asma) was not aware of the trap, but Muhammad bin Ash’as was very much aware of it. Then they entered the court of Ubaydullah along with Hani. When Ubaydullah saw Hani, (Irshad) he said,

“The traitor has come in walking on his own feet.”

When Hani was brought near Ubaydullah, Shurayh was sitting next to him, and Ubaydullah recited the couplets:

“I desire him to remain alive, but he desires to kill me.”

(Kamil) Ubaydullah had been kind to Hani and hence he told him as to what had happened. Ubaydullah said,

“Woe O Hani! What is this mischief which has crept up in your house against the commander of the faithful (referred to Yazid) and for the Muslims? You have brought Muslim and have sheltered him in your house and are gathering manpower and arms for him, and you think that I am unaware of these things”?

Hani replied,

“I have not done any thing.”

Ubaydullah said that he had done it, then when their argument increased, Ubaydullah called the retainer (Ma’qal) whom he had sent as his spy. He came and stood facing Hani, and Ubaydullah asked him if he knew him to which he replied in the affirmative and Hani under­stood that he was Ubaydullah’s spy and had conveyed to him all their re­ports.

When he regained his mind he said,

“Listen to me and believe me that by Allah I am not lying to you. I have not invited Muslim nor was I aware of his intentions. Then he came to my house and asked my permission to reside therein and I felt ashamed to refuse it to him. Thus this respon­sibility fell upon me that I sheltered him and you know what happened thereafter. And if you wish I shall pledge at your hands and deposit secur­ity with you. And I promise that after returning I shall turn him away from my house and shall return back to you.”

Ubaydullah said,

“No by Allah! You shall not leave until you bring him (Muslim) to me.”

Hani said,

“I shall not bring my guest to you so that you may kill him.”

(Irshad) Ubaydullah said,

“By Allah! You will have to bring him to me”,

and Hani replied,

“By Allah! I shall never do so.”

It is related by Ibn Nima that Hani said,

“By Allah! Even if he is under my feet, I shall not lift them up and hand him over to you.”

When their argument increased, Muslim bin ‘Amr Bahili (there was no other Basran or Syrian in Kufa except him) saw that when Hani had turned ob­stinate he told Ubaydullah to leave him so that he may speak to him. He took Hani in a corner where Ubaydullah could see them and said,

“O Hani! I request you in the Name of Allah not to kill yourself nor put your tribe to hardship. This man (referring to Muslim bin Aqeel) is their cousin and they will not kill him nor inflict any trouble upon him. Hence hand him over to Ubaydullah and there will be no shame and perdition in it for you, because you would only be handing him over to the commander.”

Hani replied,

“By Allah! There is shame and disgrace in it for me, I will not hand over my guest to him when I am strong and my arms are powerful and have numerous supporters with me. And even if I would have been alone and had no helper, I would not have handed him over to him, rather I would die supporting him.”

Ubaydullah heard his words and commanded that he be brought to him. When Hani was brought he said,

“By Allah! Either you bring him to me or I shall behead you.”

Hani replied,

“If you do so, by Allah, many swords will be unsheathed around your house.”

Hani had thought that the people of his clan would support him.

Ubaydullah said,

“Do you make me fear the swords of your clans”?

Then he ordered Hani to be brought closer to him. When he was brought, Ubaydullah started striking with his cane on his nose, forehead and cheeks until his nose was fractured and blood gushed out and was smeared on his clothes. The flesh of his forehead and cheeks fell upon his beard and the cane broke.

Tabari says that when Ubaydullah told Asma bin Kharejah and Muhammad bin Ash’as to call Hani, they said that he would not come until Ubaydullah offers him security.

Ubaydullah said,

“He does not require any security, but he has surely deviated. Bring him to me, and if he refuses to do so without my granting him (promise of) security, then do so.”

They went to Hani and informed him to which he said,

“If he gets hold of me, he shall surely kill me.”

But they urged him and brought him to Ubaydullah. At that moment Ubaydullah was seated in the Mosque delivering the Friday sermon when Hani arrived with his hair hanging on both sides upon his shoulders. When Ubaydullah finished leading the Prayers he signaled Hani, who followed him until they reached the palace. They entered therein and Hani saluted him. Ubaydullah said,

“O Hani! Do you not remember that when my father (Ziyad) came to this town (Kufa), he did not spare a single Shi’ah here until he killed them, except your father and Hujr, and you are aware of what befell Hujr later. He (Ziyad) was always grateful towards you and he also wrote to the commander of Kufa that he expected him to be fair to you.”

Hani replied that he remembered it. Ubaydullah continued,

“And in return for these favors you have sheltered a man in your house to kill me”?

Hani replied that he had not done so. Then Ubaydullah ordered the Tamimi retainer to be brought forward and Hani understood that he was Ubaydullah’s spy and had conveyed the reports to him. Hani replied,

“O commander! The news which has reached you is verily true, but I shall not annul your favors. Your family is under my protection, hence you may go away safely wherever you wish.”

Mas’oodi says that Hani told Ubaydullah that,

“Your father has surely favored and obliged me, I am wealthy and thus I desire to compensate you (because of him). Then do you desire that I should propose goodness to you”?

Ubaydullah asked him as to what it was. Hani replied,

“You and your family may take all your provisions and wealth and return to Syria, for the man who is more worthy and deserving of this honor than yourself and Yazid, has come.”

Tabari and Ibn Aseer Jazari relate that hearing his words Ubaydullah bowed his head. His retainer Mehran who was standing behind his head holding a thorny staff said,

“What a shame and disgrace it is that a nomad slave is rendering protection to you in your own dominion.”

Ubaydullah yelled that Hani should be imprisoned. Mehran threw his staff and caught hold of Hani’s hair and lifted his face towards Ubaydullah. Ubaydullah lifted up the staff and started striking it on the face of Hani. The thorns of the staff start­ed flying away due to excessive force of striking and penetrated the walls. He hit Hani with such severity that his nose and forehead were fractured.

Ibn Aseer Jazari says that Hani extended his hands towards the sword of a soldier standing nearby but he moved back. When Ubaydullah saw this, he said,

“You have rebelled and have thus made the shedding of your blood impune for us.”

(Irshad) Ubaydullah ordered that he should be arrested. Hani was taken away and imprisoned in one of the rooms of the palace. The door was locked on him and Ubaydullah ordered that guards be deputed on him.

(Kamil) When Asma bin Kharejah saw this, he stood facing Ubaydullah and said,

“O you deceiver! Release Hani. You had promised us that you would protect him and when we brought him, you injured his face and shed his blood, and now you intend killing him.”

Ubaydullah ordered him to be pound­ed. It was done and he was silenced. Then they left him in a wretched state and he sat down. Then Muhammad bin Ash’as (who was also sent to fetch Hani along with Asma) said,

“We are in total conformity with the command of the chief, whether it be profitable for us or no.”

‘Amr bin Hajjaj (Hani’s father-in-law) received news that Hani is killed, and hence he along with the clan of Mazhaj, came and surrounded the palace from all sides and called out,

“I am ‘Amr bin Hajjaj, and along with me are the valours and noblemen of Mazhaj. We have not disobeyed nor have we abandoned our group.”

At that time Shurayh Qazi was sitting near Ubaydullah, and Ubaydullah told him to go to Hani and inquire and tell them (‘Amr and his companions) that he is alive. When Shurayh went, Hani asked,

“O Muslims come to my aid! (Has) my clan been killed? Where are the virtuous ones and where are my companions? Will this enemy and son of an enemy frighten me?”

Then when he heard the voices of the people he said,

“I presume that the voice is of (the people of) my clan of Mazhaj and my noble Muslims. And if only ten of them enter herein, they will surely rescue me from here.”

Shurayh, who was accompanied by the guards of Ubaydullah, left and later said that,

“If the guards of Ubaydullah would not have been along with me, I would surely have conveyed the message of Hani to them.”

Shurayh came outside and said,

“I have seen your friend with my own eyes, he is alive and has not been killed.”

‘Amr and his companions said,

“Praise be to Allah that he is not killed.”

Tabari relates that when Shurayh came to Hani, he said,

“O Shurayh! Do you see what they have done to me.”

Shurayh replied,

“I see that you are alive.”

Hani said,

“Do I look alive in this wretched state? Then go and tell my people that if they return back, he (Ubaydullah) will surely kill me.”

Shurayh returned to Ubaydullah and said,

“I have seen that Hani is alive but the marks of the torture is visible upon him.”

Ubaydullah re­plied,

“I consider it befitting that a king may torture and punish his subjects. Go to these people and inform them.”

Shurayh came out and Ubaydullah signaled Mehran to accompany him. Shurayh called out,

“Why is this vain hue and cry, Hani is alive, but the commander has chastised him which is not fatal for his life, hence go away and do not put your lives and the life of your companion in danger.”

Hearing this they returned back.

Shaikh Mufeed and some others say, that Abdullah bin Khazin says, that I was appointed by Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) as a spy in the palace so as to inform him of the treatment being meted out to Hani. When I saw that they had beaten Hani and later imprisoned him, I mounted my horse and hastened to inform Muslim regarding it. And I saw some women of the clan of Bani Murad calling out amidst one another “O grief for him! O bereavement of him!”

I came to Muslim and informed him about the happenings. Muslim told me to go and call out in a loud voice to his supporters. And he had gathered four thousand men in the adjoining houses. I went and called out to them, “O defenders of the nation!”, (Kamil) this being their slogan. Then they informed one another and gathered near Muslim.

Jazari says that Muslim gave the charge of the clan of Bani Kindah to Abdullah bin Aziz Kindi and told him to walk in front of him. Then he gave the charge of the clans of Mazhaj and Asad to Muslim bin Awsaja Asadi, the charge of the clans of Tameem and Hamadan to Abu Samamah Saedi, and the charge of (the battalion of) Madina to Abbas bin Ja’dah Jadali, and pro­ceeded towards the royal palace.

When the news reached Ubaydullah he hid inside the palace and closed it’s doors. Muslim surrounded the palace from all sides while the streets and the Mosque became full of people, and they started gathering until the evening. The situation became tense for Ubaydullah and there was none with him except thirty guards and twenty people from among the noblemen, his family and retainers. While the noblemen came to meet Ubaydullah from the second door adjoining the building of the Romans, while the people were abusing Ubaydullah and his father (Ziyad).

Ubaydullah called Kaseer bin Shihab Harisi and ordered him to take along with him, a man from among the clan of Mazhaj and roam in the streets, admonishing the people to desert Muslim. Besides he told Muhammad bin Ash’as to go, and with the help of his supporters among the Bani Kinda and Hazramawt, pitch a standard into the ground and to call out that whoever comes under the standard would remain safe.

In the same way he instructed Qa’qa’ bin Shaur, Shabas bin Rab’ee Tamimi, Hajjar bin Abjar Ajali and Shimr bin Ziljawshan Zababi to do the same. He kept the chiefs and noblemen along with him not wishing to be without them because of the few people left with him.

They went out and started admonishing people from supporting Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.). Then Ubaydullah told the noblemen and chiefs who were with him to deceive those people who were subservient to them with false promis­es, and admonish and warn those who were disobedient to them. They did as directed, with the effect that when people heard the words of their noble­men, they started moving away and scattered.

Until the situation reached such a stage that women started coming to their sons and brothers and telling them to return, for the other people who were left were sufficient for the task (of supporting Muslim). Likewise men too started coming (to take their relatives) and people started moving away. Ultimately Muslim was left with only thirty men. When he recited the Prayers of Maghrib in the Mosque, thirty people followed him.

When he saw this situation he turned towards the door of the Bani Kindah. (Irshad) Only ten people remained with him until he reached the door, but when he stepped out no one was left. Then he turned around and saw that no one was left to guide him or offer him shelter in their house or defend him from the enemy. Hence Muslim wandered in the lanes of Kufa (Irshad).

Mas’oodi relates that then Muslim stepped down from his Horse and wandered in the streets of Kufa. He was unaware as to which way he was going until he passed from near the houses of Bani Jabala, a branch of the clan of Kindah. He passed from near the house of a woman named Taw’ah, who was a slave girl of Ash’as bin Qays, who had freed her.

Later Usayd Hazrami had married her from whom she had a son named Bilal. Bilal had gone out with some people and Taw’ah was waiting for him at the door. When Muslim saw her he saluted her and requested her for some water. The woman brought water for him. After drinking Muslim sat at the door. When the woman returned back after keeping the cup in the house, she saw Muslim and asked,

“O servant of Allah! Did not you drink the water”?

Muslim replied in the affirmative. She continued,

“Then go back to your family.”

When Muslim heard this he became silent. The woman repeated her sentence but Muslim did not answer. The woman said for the third time,

“Glory be to Allah! O servant of Allah! Arise, may Allah give you strength. Then return back to your family, for it is not appropriate for you to sit at my door, nor do I permit you to do so.”

Muslim stood up and said,

“O maid of Allah! I do not have a house nor my clan in this town. You are among the generous and favorable ones. Perhaps I could compensate you for it in the future.”

The woman asked him as to what could she do for him. Muslim answered,

“I am Muslim bin Aqeel, these people have deceived me and committed fraud and have brought me out of the place of my safety.”

The woman asked (in aston­ishment) whether he was really Muslim bin Aqeel, to which he answered in the affirmative. She then told him to enter her house, which Muslim did. The woman gave him a separate room, not the one which she used, and spread a sheet for him and gave him food to eat, but Muslim could not eat.

Suddenly Taw’ah’s son returned back (Kamil) and noticed that his mother entered the room frequently. He inquired of her as to what concern she had in the room, she did not answer as much as he inquired. The boy forced her and ultimately she revealed to him on oath to keep it a secret and not to reveal it to anyone, hence the boy remained silent.

As regards Ubaydullah, when the voices of screaming and yelling ceased, he told his supporters to see whether anyone was left. They saw that no one was left and informed him accordingly. Then Ubaydullah came to the Mosque before the Isha Prayers and made his supporters sit around his pulpit. Then he ordered that it should be proclaimed that,

“The blood of every general, chief of clans and warrior is lawful for us, who does not remain present for the Prayers of Isha.”

Thus the Mosque became full of people and Ubaydullah lead the Isha Prayers. Then he ascended the pulpit and after Prais­ing Allah said,

“Now then! Verily the son of Aqeel, an ignorant and illit­erate person, has come to spread dissension and discord as you all have seen. Thus the blood of whosoever offers him refuge in his house shall be lawful upon us. And we shall offer money of his compensation to the one who brings him to us.”

Then he advised people to remain obedient and attend to him. Then he ordered Haseen bin Nameer to seal all the streets and to search the houses. Haseen was in charge of the Police force and was from the clan of Bani Tameem.

Abul Faraj says that Bilal the son of the old woman (Taw’ah), who had of­fered refuge to Muslim, woke up in the morning and informed Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad bin Ash’as that Muslim was in his house as his mother’s guest.

Abdul Rahman rushed to his father Muhammad bin Ash’as, who at that moment was seated with Ubaydullah. He narrated the entire incident in a hush voice to his (step) father. Ubaydullah inquired as to what he was saying. Muhammad replied that,

“He has brought the news that the son of Aqeel (Muslim) is present in one of our houses.”

Ubaydullah, pricking him on the side with his staff, said,

“Go immediately and bring him to me.”

Abu Makhnaf says that Qudamah bin Sa’ad bin Zaedah Saqafi related to him that Ubaydullah dispatched sixty or seventy people from the clan of Qays, under the command of Abdullah bin Abbas Salami with Muhammad bin Ash’as, and they came to the house where Muslim was present.

In Kamile Bahai it is stated that when Muslim bin Aqeel heard the voice of the neighing of the horses, he recited the supplications speedily. Then he wore his armor and told Taw’ah,

“Verily you have done goodness and have favored me, and you have earned your share of intercession of the Holy Prophet of Allah (S) who is the Master of men and genie. Last night I had seen my uncle, the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.), in a dream, who told me that tomorrow I would be alongside him.”

In one of the books of Martyrdom (Maqatil), it is stated that when the time of morning Prayers drew near, Taw’ah brought some water for Muslim so that he may perform his ablutions and said,

O my master! Haven’t you slept the previous night”?

Muslim replied,

“I slept for sometime and I saw my uncle, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), commanding me to hasten and finish speedily, hence I have concluded that today is the last day of my life.”

In Kamil Bahai it is stated that when the troops of the enemies reached the house of Taw’ah, Muslim feared lest they would burn her house and hence came outside and slew forty-two men.

Sayyid Ibn Tawoos and Shaikh Ja’far Ibn Nima says, that Muslim wore his armor and mounted his horse and striking them with his sword pushed them away from the house.

Regarding the mounting of Muslim upon his horse has been narrated by Sayyid ibn Tawoos and Ibn Nima only, and I have found no one else stating it, while all other statements bear testimony to it. It has been specifically mentioned by Mas’oodi in Murujuz Zahab, that before entering the house of Taw’ah, Muslim had mounted his horse, and that then he alighted from his horse and started wandering in the streets of Kufa.

He did not know as to which way he was going until he reached the house of a slave girl of Ash’as bin Qays and asked for water. She gave him water to drink and asked him as to who his was. Muslim introduced himself to her, and she was moved and invited him to be her guest.

Abul Faraj says that when Muslim heard the sound of the hooves of the horses and voices of the people, he perceived that they had come for him and he unsheathed his sword. The people had entered the house and scattered therein, seeing this he attacked them fiercely. When they saw this, they ran up to the roof and started hurling stones and burning wood upon his head. When Muslim saw this he muttered to himself,

“Verily this struggle is for the sake of the murder of the son of Aqeel. O my self! Go forth to­wards the inevitable death.”

Then he drew his sword and confronted them in the streets.

Mas’oodi and others say that when combat ensued between Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) and Bukayr bin Humran Ahmari, Bukayr struck the mouth of Muslim bin Aqeel with his sword, which cut the upper lip and landed on the lower one cutting it too. Muslim dealt a terrible blow upon his head and another on his shoulder, which reached his stomach. Muslim was reciting the following Rajaz:1

“I swear, I will only be killed as a free man, although I consider death as something horrible, every man one day will meet an evil, I fear that I will be cheated and deluded.”

When Muhammad bin Ash’as saw this, he went up to him and said,

“We shall not lie to you nor commit deceit.”

Then he offered Muslim protection, hence Muslim accepted his offer. They mounted him on a mule and took him to the presence of Ubaydullah bin Ziyad. When Muhammad ibn Ash’as offered protec­tion to Muslim, he took away the sword and other arms from him. A poet points out to Muhammad’s satire in these words:

“You abandoned your uncle and were sluggish in assisting him, Alas! he would have acquired a secured place if you had not been there, Alas! you killed the one sent by the Progeny of Muhammad (S), you shamelessly pulled away the sword and shield off him.”2

While the above couplet refers to the incident of Hujr bin Adi regarding whom it shall be discussed later.

He killed forty-one people out of them. Muhammad bin Abu Talib says that when Muslim had killed numerous men, and this news reached Ubaydullah, he dispatched someone to Muhammad bin Ash’as with a message that,

“We have sent you to (fight) a single man and commanded you to bring him to us, while a severe crack is visible among your men. Then what would be your state if we sent you to someone other than him”?

Muhammad replied back,

“O commander! Do you think that you have sent us in pursuit of a vegetable vendor of Kufa or a foreign refugee? Do you not know that you have sent us against a ferocious lion, a swordsman, and a renowned champion, who is from the family of the best of creations.”

Ubaydullah sent a reply saying,

“Offer protection to him until you gain control over him.”

In some books it is stated that Muslim was like a lion, and the strength of his arms was such that he lifted up people with his hands and threw them on top of the roofs.

Sayyid Ibn Tawoos in his Malhoof writes, that when Muslim (a.s.) heard the sound of the hooves of the horses, he wore his armor and mounted his horse. Then he attacked the army of Ubaydullah until he had killed numerous among them. Muhammad bin Ash’as called out to him in a loud voice,

“O Muslim! There is protection for you.”

When Muslim heard him he said,

“How can one rely upon the promise of deceptors and evil doers”?

Then he turned towards then and started fighting while reciting the Rajaz of Humran bin Malik Khas’ami:

“I swear, I will only be killed as a freeman, although I consider death as something horrible. Or it turns the cold into a bitter heat and deflects the rays of the sun (forever). Every man one day will meet an evil, I fear that I will be cheated and deluded.”

Then the army raised a hue and cry and called out,

“No one shall lie to you nor deceive you”,

but he did not pay any heed to their words. Then a large battalion attacked him, he received numerous wounds on his body and a man dealt a blow from behind with his lance. Muslims fell off his horse and was arrested.

In Manaqib of Ibn Shahr Ashob it is written that Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) was wounded such severely with the arrows and stones, that he was exhausted and sat with his back leaning against a wall. Then he said,

“What is the matter that you have been hurling stones at me as is done to an infidel, while I am from the Household of the ethical Prophet. Do you not have regard for the Household (Ahlul Bayt) of the Prophet due to his right”?

Then Muhammad bin Ash’as said,

“Do not kill yourself, verily you are under my protection.”

Muslim replied,

“I shall not surrender to be imprisoned by you until the strength remains within me, by Allah, this will never happen.”

Saying this he attacked them and they fled away. Then Muslim said,

“O Allah! Thirst is killing me.”

Then they attacked him from all sides and Bukayr bin Humran Ahmari cut off his upper lip with a stroke of his sword. Then Muslim dealt him a blow with his scimitar, which pierced his stomach and killed him. Then someone attacked him from behind with a spear and he fell down from his horse and was thus arrested.

Shaikh Mufeed, Jazari and Abul Faraj say that Muslim was utterly wounded and was exhausted while fighting. Then, breathing heavily, he came and sat with his back (leaning) towards the wall of a house. Muhammad bin Ash’as came near him and said that he would give him protection. Muslim turned towards the people and asked whether they all agreed to it and they an­swered in the affirmative except Ubaydullah (or Abdullah) bin Abbas Salami, who said that,

“I have nothing to do with it”,

saying this he stepped aside. Muslim replied,

“By Allah! If you do not grant me security, I will never place my hand in yours.”

They brought a mule and mounted him on it. They surrounded him from all sides and took away his sword. Muslim was now utterly disappointed, tears started flowing from his eyes. He realized that these people would ultimately kill him and hence said,

“This is the first betrayal.”

Muhammad bin Ash’as said,

“I hope that there will be no danger for you.”

Muslim said,

“Is there only a hope? Then where is your promise of protection? Verily we are Allah’s, and verily unto him shall we return.”

Then he started weeping, and Ubaydullah bin Abbas Salami said,

“The person who desires what you have desired and when he comes in a state in which you are now, he should not weep.”

Muslim replied,

“I do not weep for myself nor do I fear being killed, even though I do not befriend being killed, but I weep for my relatives and the people of my household, who would be reach­ing here shortly, and I weep for Husayn and his family.”

Then Muslim turned towards Muhammad bin Ash’as and said,

“I believe that you are unable to fulfill the promise of security.”

Then he desired that a messenger be sent to Imam Husayn (a.s.) to apprise him of the situation so that he may not come there.

Shaikh Mufeed relates that Muslim told Muhammad bin Ash’as that,

“O slave of Allah! I see that you are unable to fulfill the promise of security that you have given me, then you may perform a good act. Dispatch someone to­wards Imam Husayn (a.s.), who would narrate my words to him. For I think that today or tomorrow he might proceed to come here with his household. The messenger should convey to him that he has been sent by Muslim bin Aqeel, who has been arrested by them, and he presumes that before today evening he might be killed. He sends message that: May my parents be your ransom! You along with your Household may retreat back, do not let the people of Kufa deceive you. These are the very same companions of your father, regarding whom your blessed father (Imam Ali) desired that he would die and thus be relieved of them. The people of Kufa have lied to you, and the one who has been lied has no judgment.”

Hearing this Muhammad bin Ash’as replied,

“By Allah! I shall surely convey your message.”

Azdi relates from Ja’far bin Huzayfa that Muhammad bin Ash’as called Ayas bin Atal Tai, who was from the children of Malik bin ‘Amr bin Samamah. Ayas was a poet and was the confidante of Muhammad, who told him,

“Go to the presence of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and present him this letter.”

Then he wrote down the contents, which Muslim had told him and said,

“These are the provisions for your journey and these are expenses for your family (in your absence).”

Ayas replied,

“I am in need of a mount, for my Camel has turned feeble.”

Muhammad replied,

“Take this saddled Camel of mine and go.”

Ayas left and after a lapse of four nights reached Imam Husayn (a.s.) at Zubalah and conveyed the message to him and handed him the letter of Muslim. After hearing him Imam Husayn (a.s.) said,

“Whatever has been destined shall occur, and we desire from Allah to judge between ourselves and the mis­chief of the people.”

When Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) had taken shelter in the house of Hani bin Urwah and eighteen thousand people had taken the oath of fealthy to him, Muslim dispatched Abis bin Abi Shabeeb Shakiri with a letter to Imam Husayn (a.s.) which read as follows:

“Now then! The one who goes in search of water does not lie regarding it to his family. Eighteen thousand men from among the people of Kufa have sworn the oath of fealthy to me, hence hasten as soon as you receive my letter, for all the people are with you while their view and desire are not with the progeny of Mu’awiyah. Greetings.”

The above-referred letter has also been quoted in Museerul Ehzan, which was dispatched along with Abis bin Abi Shabeeb Shakiri and Qays bin Musah­hir Saydawi,

“Now then! The one who goes in search of water does not lie regarding it to his family. All the people of Kufa are on your side and eighteen thousand men from among them have taken the oath of allegiance to me. As soon as you read my letter, hasten, peace be upon you and Allah’s Mercy and Blessings.”

Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) taken to the presence of Ubaydullah bin Ziyad

As regards Muslim, Muhammad bin Ash’as took him to the palace of Ubaydullah bin Ziyad. Muhammad entered therein alone and told him that he had arrested Muslim but had given him the promise of protection too. Ubaydullah replied,

“You do not have the right to do so, rather I had sent you to bring him to me.”

Hearing this Muhammad became silent. When Muslim was seated at the gate of the palace, he saw a jug filled with cold water and asked for some. Muslim bin ‘Amr Bahili said,

“Do you see how cold this water is? By Allah! You will not get even a single drop from this until (Allah’s refuge) you drink the boiling water (Hameem) in hell.”

Muslim asked him as to who he was, to which he replied that,

“I am the one who has recognized the truth while you have abandoned it, I am the one who is a well-wisher of the nation and the Imam while you have desired evil for him, and am obedient to him whereas you have disobeyed him. I am Muslim bin ‘Amr Bahili.”

Muslim replied,

“May your mother weep over you! How cruel, unsympathetic and a harsh man are you. O son of Bahila! Verily you are more worthy than me to taste the boiling water (Hameem) and abide eternally in hell.”

Then Ammarah bin Atbah called for water to give it to him.

In Irshad and Kamil of Ibn Aseer it is narrated, that ‘Amr bin Hurays sent his retainer to fetch water. The retainer returned with a jar of water along with a napkin and a cup, and gave the water to Muslim to drink. (Kamil) When Muslim took the cup to drink water, it became full with his blood thus he could not partake it. Thrice the cup was filled with water, and when water was filled for the third time, his front teeth fell in it. Muslim said,

“Praise be to Allah! If this water would had been destined for me, I could have drank it.”

Muslim was then taken to the presence of Ubaydullah bin Ziyad and he did not greet him. A guard told him, “Why do you not greet the commander”?

Muslim replied,

“Why should I greet him when he desires to kill me, and if he does not desire my death, then I have abundant greetings for him.”

Ubaydullah said, “By my life! You shall surely die.” Muslim said, “So be it”? To which Ubaydullah answered in the affirmative. Then Muslim said, “If this is the case then give me respite so that I may will to someone among my kinsmen”, to which Ubaydullah agreed. Muslim turned towards Umar bin Sa’ad and said, “There exists kinship between us, I desire that I may relate to you something in confidence.” Umar refused to yield, to which Ubaydullah said, “Do not refuse to fulfill the desire of your cousin”. Hearing this Umar stood up (Irshad) and sat with Muslim at a place where Ubaydullah could see them. (Kamil)

Muslim said,

“I have become indebted in Kufa for a sum of seven hundred dirhams, so please pay it off by selling the property of mine which is in Madina.” (Kamil) “And take my corpse after my death from Ubaydullah and bury it. Besides send someone to Imam Husayn (a.s.) who would return him back.”

Umar went to Ubaydullah and revealed whatever Muslim had told him. Ubaydullah said,

“A trustworthy man does not commit treachery, but sometimes a traitor fulfils a trust. As regards his (Muslim’s) wealth, do whatever you desire to do with it. And as for Husayn, if he does intend towards us, we will not intend towards him. But if he challenges us, we shall not refrain ourselves from (harming) him. Regarding his corpse, we shall certainly not accept your intervention in that matter.”

While others quote him saying that,

“As regards his corpse, after we have killed him it is not our concern, you may do what you desire with it.”

Then he turned towards Muslim and said,

“O son of Aqeel! The people were unified and in accordance with one another, but you came and divided them and created discord.”

Muslim replied,

“It is not so, but the people of this town are of the opinion that your father (Ziyad) killed many of their virtuous men. He shed their blood and followed the footsteps of the Choesroes (the rulers of ancient Persia) and Caesers (the rulers of ancient Rome). We have come to enjoin justice and invite towards the Holy Book and Traditions (of the Prophet).”

Ubaydullah said,

“O transgressor! What relation you hold with these? And why did you not do that among the people, while you were busy drinking wine (Allah’s refuge) in Madina”?

Muslim replied,

“Did I drink wine? By Allah! He knows that you are not speaking the truth, nor am I similar to what you have ascribed to me. While drinking wine is a practice of those (referring to Ubaydullah and his father Ziyad) who in rage and enmity spill the blood of the Muslims, and who rejoices and delights as if he has never ever committed any indecency (referred to Yazid).”

Ubaydullah was infuriated and said,

“May Allah kill me if I do not kill you in a manner as no one else has ever been killed in Islam.”

Muslim replied,

“It is befitting you that you introduce such innovations in Islam which have never taken place. You are an evil murderer, wicked chastiser, ill natured, and a degraded person than all those who preceded you.”

Then Ubaydullah started abusing him, Imam Husayn (a.s.), Imam Ali (a.s.) and Hazrat Aqeel (a.s.) while Muslim did not speak to him.

Martyrdom of Muslim bin Aqeel bin Abi Talib (a.s.)

Mas’oodi says that when their speech concluded and Muslim spoke harshly to Ubaydullah, he ordered that Muslim should be taken to the roof of the palace and it was said to Bukayr bin Humran Ahmari to behead him and take his revenge.

Jazari says that Muslim (a.s.) told Muhammad bin Ash’as,

“By Allah! I would never have surrendered if you had not given me the promise of protec­tion. Then defend me with your sword for your promise has been broken.”

Then they took him on top of the palace when he was asking forgiveness from Allah and praising and glorifying Him. Then they took him to the place overlooking the shoe-makers and severed his blessed head which fell down.

(May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him). His murderer was Bukayr bin Humran, whom Muslim had previously wounded. Then his body too was thrown down. When Bukayr came down, Ubaydullah asked him, “What was Muslim utter­ing when you took him to the roof”?.

He replied that,

“Muslim was glorifying Allah and seeking His forgiveness.”

When I intended to kill him, I told him to come near and then I said:

“Praise be to Allah who has given me an upper hand over you and thus I have taken the revenge from you.”

Then I struck a blow, which went waste. Then Muslim said:

“O slave! Haven’t you taken your revenge by inflicting this wound upon me”?

Ubaydullah said,

“Such dignity even at the verge of death”?

Bukayr said,

“Then I struck him a second blow and killed him.”

Tabari says that Muslim was taken on the roof of the palace and his neck was severed and body thrown down to the people. An order was issued that his corpse be taken to that place where garbage is thrown and to be hanged there.

Martyrdom of Hani bin Urwah Muradi

Mas’oodi says that Bukayr bin Humran Ahmari severed the head of Muslim and threw it down followed by his body. Then Ubaydullah ordered that Hani be taken to the market-place and beheaded with hands fastened together. Hani was calling out to the people of Murad, whose chief and spokesman he was, to assist him.

When Hani would mount, four thousand armored men of the Bani Murad along with eight thousand men on foot would accompany him. And if those who were under the agreement with him among the people of Kinda and others would be with him, then thirty thousand armored men would accompany him. Even then at the need of the hour no one responded to him due to slackness and deceit.

Shaikh Mufeed says that Muhammad bin Ash’as came to Ubaydullah and inter­ceded on behalf of Hani saying, “You are aware of the honor that Hani holds in this town while also his family in the tribe. His people know that myself and my colleague have brought him to your presence, hence I request you in the name of Allah to hand him over to me, for I do not desire enmity with the people of this town.”

Ubaydullah promised to do so but later regretted and immediately ordered that Hani should be taken to the market and beheaded. They took him to the market, where the sheep were sold, with hands bound together, while he was calling out, “O Mazhaj! There is no one from the Mazhaj for me today! O Mazhaj! Where is Mazhaj”? When Hani sensed that no one came forward to render him assistance, he pulled away his hand from the rope and started yelling, “Isn’t there a stick, a knife, a stone or even a bone by which a man may defend himself”?

The guards leapt upon him and tied his hands tightly and told him to extend his neck (so that they may behead him), to which he replied that, “I am not generous in this regard and shall not help you in the matter of my murder.” Then Rasheed, a Turkish retainer of Ubaydullah, dealt a blow with his sword upon Hani, which went waste, and Hani said, “Verily retreat is towards Allah. O Allah! (I come) towards Your Mercy and Your Paradise.” Then he dealt a second blow by which Hani was martyred. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).

It is written in Kamil of Ibn Aseer that Abdul Rahman bin Haseen Muradi once met the Turkish retainer (who had killed Hani) traveling along with Ubaydullah and killed him.

Abdullah bin Zubayr Asadi said regarding the murder of Hani bin Urwah and Muslim bin Aqeel (while some attribute it to Farazdaq, the poet):

“If you do not know what death is, then look at Hani in the marketplace and the son of Aqeel, a hero whose face was covered with the wounds of sword, and another who fell to death from the roof, the wrath of Ibn Ziyad struck them both, and they became legends for every traveler on road, you see a beheaded corpse whose color death has changed, and his blood flowed abun­dantly like a river, a young man who was more shy than a young woman, was more incisive than a sharp edged sword, is Asma riding in safety a mount which moves at walking pace, while Mazhaj urged him to seek revenge, and Murad wander around him? And all of them in fear of the questioner and the questioned, then if you do not avenge (the death of) your two masters, then you are illegitimate (sons), lowly and degraded.”

Ubaydullah dispatched both, the heads of Muslim and Hani to Yazid, who sent him a thanksgiving letter as follows:

“I have received news that Husayn is coming towards Iraq, deploy guards over the roads, gather provisions, and keep alert. Imprison and detain the dubious ones and kill those who fight you.”

It is stated in Irshad that Yazid said,

“And arrest people on grounds of suspicion and kill the accused, then keep me informed of the happenings.”

Mas’oodi says that Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) revolted in Kufa on Tuesday, the eighth of the month of Zilhaj 60 A.H., this being the same day when Imam Husayn (a.s.) left Makkah to come to Kufa, and (Muslim) was martyred on Wednesday ninth Zilhaj, i.e., the day of Arafah. Then Ubaydullah ordered that Muslim’s body be hanged and his head was dispatched to Damascus. This being the first body among the Bani Hashim, which was hanged upon the (city) door, and the first head among them, which was sent to Damascus.

It is written in Manaqib that both the heads were sent to Damascus with Hani bin Habooh Wade’ee and were hung at the gate of (the city of) Damas­cus.

In the Maqtal of Shaikh Fakhruddin it is quoted that the bodies of Muslim and Hani were being dragged in the market. When the people of the tribe of Mazhaj were informed about it, they mounted on their horses and fought with them until they took the bodies of Muslim and Hani from them. Then they gave the dead body bath and shrouded and buried them. May Allah’s Mercy be upon them and may Allah’s wrath befall their murderers, a severe wrath.

Appendix

As has been quoted in Habibus Siyar, Hani bin Urwah was a notable of Kufa and an outstanding Shi’ah, and besides it has been related that he met the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) and was blessed with his companionship. He was eighty-nine years old when he was martyred and his dignity and eminence can be proven from his bold speech with Ubaydullah as quoted above.

Mas’oodi says that he was a Shi’ah and chief of the (clan) of Murad, and four thousand armored horsemen and eight thousand on foot would accompany him. When Imam Husayn (a.s.) was informed about the martyrdom of Muslim and Hani, he said,

“Verily we are Allah’s and verily unto Him shall we return”,

and repeated,

“Allah’s Mercy be upon both of them.”

Moreover he read a letter in the presence of the people,

“In the Name of Allah, the Benefi­cent, the Merciful. A heart rending news has reached us that Muslim, Hani and Abdullah bin Yaqtoor have been martyred.”

Pilgrimage to the grave of Hani bin Urwah Muradi

It is quoted in the Mazar of Muhammad bin Mashhadi, Misbahuz Zaer of Sayyid Ibn Tawoos, Mazar of Shaikh Mufeed, and Mazar of Shaikh Shaheed (may Allah sanctify their souls) in context to the supplications of the Mosque of Kufa that: Stand near his (Hani bin Urwah’s) grave and send salutations upon Muhammad (S) and his Progeny and then say,

“Allah’s Sublime Peace and His Benediction be upon you, O Hani bin Urwah! Peace be upon you O (the) devout and sincere slave of Allah and His Prophet ...... (till the end).”

Then recite two units of Prayers as gift and pray for him and bid farewell.

Besides, Hani was among those who had fought alongside Imam Ali (a.s.) in the battle of Jamal. It is quoted in Manaqib of Ibn Shahr Ashob, that he recited the following Rajaz in that battle “It is a battle in which the guide is a Camel, their woman, the chief of misguidance, is in the fore­front, while Ali is the Master of the masters and a Master.”

Sayyid Mohsin Kazmi in his Takmelah writes that, “Hani was included among the praiseworthy men and whatever we have quoted (of his virtues) proves it.” Then he says, “Formerly Sayyid Mahdi Bahrul Uloom was in doubt regard­ing (the sincerity of) Hani. Then when he investigated the reports, he repented and in apology compiled a couplet in praise of Hani.”

The author (Shaikh Abbas Qummi) says that the above-referred Sayyid Mahdi Bahrul Uloom in his Rijal has discussed in detail on the subject of Hani, and then states that, “These different reports unanimously agree that Hani bin Urwah offered shelter to Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) in his house.

He took necessary steps for him and organized manpower and ammunitions. He refused to hand over Muslim to Ubaydullah, and was even ready to sacrifice his life for it, until he was harassed, beaten, tortured and imprisoned, and was ultimately killed with his hands bound together. While this being a clear proof of his virtue and a fruitful end. He is included among the companions of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his Shi’ah, who laid down their lives for him. The words which he spoke to Ubaydullah is enough proof of (his sincerity) that,

“The man has come who is more worthy of Caliphate than yourself and your master (Yazid)”

besides that which is quoted in Muntakhab of Shaikh Fakhruddin Turayhi that he said,

“Even if a child of the family of Muhammad (S) is hiding below my feet, I shall not lift it up until it is cut off.”

And similar speeches which he delivered bear witness, that whatever he did was due to his foresight and intelligence, and not due to prejudice or pride or simply because he gave refuge to Muslim (and was thus bound to protect him). The following words of Imam Husayn (a.s.) bear witness to it.

When Imam received the news of his Martyrdom and that of Muslim, he prayed for Allah’s Mercy for them and repeated it numerous times and said, “A heart rending news has reached us that Muslim bin Aqeel, Hani bin Urwah and Abdullah bin Yaqtoor have been martyred.”

It is quoted in Malhoof of Sayyid Ibn Tawoos that when the news of Martyr­dom of Abdullah bin

Yaqtoor reached Imam Husayn (a.s.), whose Martyrdom occurred after that of Muslim and Hani, his eyes were filled with tears and he said,

“O Allah! Bestow a merciful status for us and our Shi’ah, and unite us in the place of repose of Your Blessings. Verily You have power over all things.”

Our masters (the Ulama) (may Allah’s Benediction be upon them) have quoted salutations for Hani and still visit his grave. They have explicitly stated that he was among the felicitous martyrs, who were devot­ed to (serve) Allah and His Prophet. They died in the way of Allah and thus entered His Mercy and Benediction, the salutation being “Allah’s immense Peace .........(till the end).”

Then it is said that the contents of this salutation is not textual or mere reports, and even if it is so, then the contents itself prove that he was a felicitous martyr, a noble dignitary and one whose end was fair. I have witnessed our Shaikhs like Mufeed and other Ulama, who have included Hani among the noblemen, and have added, “May Allah be pleased with him”, or “May Allah have mercy upon him” after his name. And I have not found any of our Ulama ever reproaching or criticizing him.

As regards the episode which is reported, that when Ubaydullah came to Kufa, Hani went to pay his respects to him and with the other noblemen kept visiting him until the time Muslim bin Aqeel came to his house. This epi­sode does not in any way give way for suspicion regarding Hani, for this was due to dissimulation (taqiyyah). Hani was a renowned person and Ubaydullah considered him and held good relations with him.

Thus if under these circumstances, had he kept himself aloof and remote from Ubaydullah, then his dissimulation would go waste, which formed the basis of Muslim’s task. Hence it was necessary for him to keep contact with Ubaydullah and visit him frequently so that he may not fall a prey to his suspicion. But when Muslim came to his house, he lessened going to Ubaydullah and pretended to be ill, but whatever he had not deemed, took place.

As regards his desisting Muslim from revolting hastily, could be on account of his foresight and he desired that more and more people may gather and a great number of arms could be collected too. And so that Imam Husayn (a.s.) himself would come to Kufa, hence the situation would come under control and if fighting would ever occur, it would be under the auspices of Imam himself. And as regards preventing the murder of Ubaydullah in his house, it is already quoted that there is difference in reports.

Some narrate that Hani himself had planned that he would pretend to be ill, so that when Ubaydullah would come to visit him, he could be killed by Muslim. And as is quoted that Muslim said, that a woman wept and pleaded with him not to kill Ubaydullah in the house. Thus Sayyid Murtaďa alone has quoted this reason in his Tanzeeyahul Ambiyah.

And as regards Ubaydullah’s question to Hani regarding his giving refuge to Muslim, and Hani’s answer that, “By Allah! I have not invited Muslim to my house, nor was I aware of his intentions. Then he came to my house and asked me permission to reside therein and I could not refuse, thus this responsibility fell upon me”, these words were uttered by Hani only to save himself from the clutches of Ubaydullah, and in dissimulation, and it is not possible that Muslim would have taken Hani’s protection without in­forming him and taking an oath from him, and Hani would be unaware of his intentions.

Again it is not possible that Hani, being a notable of the Shi’ah, would be unaware of the intentions of Muslim. Thus it proves the unreliability of whatever is quoted in Rawzatus Safa that Hani told Muslim that, “You have put me great difficulty and pain, and if you had not en­tered into my door, I would have sent you away”, is not sound, and this statement is not quoted anywhere else.

Ibn Abil Hadeed, in his Sharhe Nahjul Balagha, quotes two narrations re­garding Hani, one praising him, while the other vilifying him. The one praising him is his statement regarding Imam Ali (a.s.), wherein he says that, “I am the first one to confirm him, and shall not be the first one to deny him.” Sayyid (may Allah’s Mercy be upon him) relates the narration praising Hani and quotes the one vilifying him too (from Sharhe Nahjul Balagha, the chapter of empowerment) that Imam Ali (a.s.) said in his short Aphorisms,

“The tool of kingship is a wide bosom”,3

and in refutation of this he (Sayyid) says that this is nothing more than a fiction and does not contain grounds for being a narration, while it does not even contain any chain of transmitters. Besides it is not quoted from any other book nor from other historical or biographical books. The historians have referred to the incident wherein Mu’awiyah asked the people to take the oath of allegiance to his son Yazid and has quoted regarding those who yielded and those who refused and other matters, while the above incident is absent therein. Thus if this incident would have been true, then it should have been quoted, for it was certainly a novelty.

Furthermore, because Hani later broke off the allegiance of Yazid and revolted in assistance of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and was killed for him. They would then have quoted the above guilt of his if it would have been true. While the case of Hani was similar to that of Hurr (Allah’s mercy be upon him) who repented, and his repentance was accepted for what he had done. And his case was more severe than that of Hani, thus Hani is more liable to be forgiven (if he ever erred).

Abul Abbas Mubarrad says that Mu’awiyah gave the governorship of Khurasan to Kaseer bin Shihab Mazhaji. There Kaseer misappropriated too much wealth and ran away taking shelter in the house of Hani bin Urwah. When the news reached Mu’awiyah, he issued orders that Hani’s blood should be spilled with impunity.

Hence Hani left Kufa and went to seek refuge with Mu’awiyah. Mu’awiyah did not recognize him, when all the people left, Hani remained seated in his place. When Mu’awiyah inquired of him, he replied that he was Hani bin Urwah. To which Mu’awiyah said, “This day of yours is not (the same) as the other days, when your father boasted that: I comb my tresses and I draw my cloak, my mount is a Bay Horse with a black tale and mane, and I walk accompanied by the chiefs of Bani Ateef, and if oppression comes my way, I roll away the heads.”

Hani replied, “Verily I am respected today more than yesterday.” Mu’awiyah asked him the reason for it, to which Hani replied that it was because of Islam. Mu’awiyah said, “Where is Kaseer bin Shihaab”? Hani replied, “He is with me and among your group.” Mu’awiyah said, “Do you see how much wealth he has misappropriated, then take away a part from him and give him a part of it.”

Furthermore, it is related that the troops of Yazid arrested a man from the helpers of Imam Husayn (a.s.) in Karbala, and took him to the presence of Yazid. Yazid looked towards him and asked, “Are you the son of the man who said: I comb my tresses.........?” The man replied in the affirma­tive, hence Yazid ordered him to be killed. (Allah’s mercy and Blessings be upon him).

  • 1. Rajaz - Epic poems recited by Arab warriors in the battlefield while announcing their valour and virtues.
  • 2. The poet was Abdullah bin Zubayr Asadi, and his couplets are as follows: “Did you not abandon Muslim and did not fight assisting him, in fear of death and of being subdued, You shamelessly killed the one sent by the Progeny of Muhammad (S), he would have remained safe if you would have not been there, if you would have been from the (clan of) Bani Asad, you would have recognized his esteem and would have earned the inter­cession of Ahmad (S) in Qiyamah.”
  • 3. The explanation as given by Ibn Abil Hadeed in his Sharh Nahjul Balagha with reference to the words “The tool of kingship is a wide bosom”, reproaching Hani, is the incident at the time when the chiefs of Iraq went to Mu’awiyah when he ordered the people to take the oath of allegiance to Yazid. Hani, who was a representative of the chiefs of Iraq, requested Mu’awiyah to appoint him in charge of taking the allegiance for Yazid, but in the above incidents Hani clearly opposed Mu’awiyah and this narrative is nothing but incongruous.

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