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(10) The Loot

Eerie silence hung over the battleground
Broken occasionally by drum beating sounds
The carnage, the massacre, of saintly souls
Caused a shudder, in Islam's true believers' fold.
The massacre being over, they raided they tents
To loot and destroy, they were all fiendishly bent
Helpless ladies and children, they mercilessly pashed
Young innocent babes, to the ground they dashed.
Daughters of the Prophet, simple lives had led
Coarse and patched clothes, were all they had
Woven by Fatima, they were immensely treasured
In terms of money, none could be measured.
They were shamelessly looted of even their veils
The Yazidi hordes outclassed, themselves, the devils
Earrings were snatched of the child of Husayn
She was slapped mercilessly, for crying in pain.
In stupor, lay the only surviving adult male
Ali Zainal Abedeen was flogged as in horror tales
After the looting, the tents were set on fire enmasse
Hell was let loose, with a vengeance, quick and fast.
Zaynab was perplexed, she was lost
Perish in flames or face still worst
This hour of trial, whom to consult
Her nephew was unconscious, lying in dust.
"Ali Zainal Abedeen, I appeal to you
As our Imam, tell us what are we to do?"
He opened his eyes, burning with fever
With utmost effort, advise he delivered.
"To save our lives is a religious duty
Go in the open and seek security."
Ladies and children, they left the tent
Salvaging what they could, as they went.
The loot, the pandemonium, was soon over
Burning embers of fire only hovered
A partially burnt tent was all that remained
A solitary witness of torture and blood stain.
The Ahl Bait cuddled together therein
Shattered in mind and body, beyond dream
The time had come almost to a standstill
The night was in sorrow; one could feel.
The mourning widows of Husayn's friends
Their anguished hearts, who could mend?
Zaynab and Kulthum consulted each other
The orphaned children, they had to mother.
Zaynab counted the children; one was missing
To her dismay, it was Sakina, her darling
"Tell me Sakina, where are you my child?"
In wilderness, the echo was the only reply.
Frustrated, she ran towards the battlefield
"Sakina is lost, your darling child
Husayn, where shall I look for her?"
She imploringly sobbed, in utter despair.
The silvery moon, behind the clouds was hid
The clouds dispersed, the ground was lit
Lying with her head on Husayn's chest
Little Sakina was sleeping in her usual nest.
"Sakina, my child, I have come here
After searching the desert, my dear
Your father's beheaded body, how could you find
In this dark night, with your frightened mind?"
"An irresistible urge seized me, though dampened
To tell my father all that had happened
How they snatched my earrings, after his death
The slaps I received, the treatment we met."
"Running aimlessly in the desert I cried
Tell me dearest father, where do you lie
Sakina, my darling Sakina, come here, come here!
I heard him calling and found my father dear."
"I narrated to him, all I had endured
It lightened my heart: I was re-assured
An urge to sleep on his chest, for the last time
I placed my head in the nest of mine."
With Sakina, Zaynab hurried to the camp
Again it was dark; there was no lamp
All were anxiously waiting in the ghostly night
Praying silently to God, the Eternal Light.
She placed Sakina in her mother's arms
She had several other duties to perform
No, not to protect any worldly treasure
The children had suffered, beyond measure.
Advancing towards them, she saw a group
"There is nothing left, which you can loot
Pray, do not disturb the children in sorrow
If you want something, come in the morrow!"
"We do not want anything from you
We know, what you have said is true
We have brought some water and food
We know, you are in a sorrowful mood."
Zaynab was surprised; so polite was the speaker
It was the widow of Hur, the truth seeker
"Soldiers of Omar Saad have deputed me
To carry food and water for thee."
"Lest you perish, due to hunger and thirst,
Before Yazid, they want to take you first
That is why they have sent water and food
Not because they have suddenly turned good."
"O, sister, we are indebted to your husband
For his precious life, in defending Husayn
He was our guest, but at a time, alas!
We had not even water; no, not a glass!"
"My lady, I am grieved, you lost not one
But eighteen members to death, were done."
They offered condolences to each other
Zaynab was large hearted like her mother.
"At last there is water for you
Wake up, Sakina, see it is true
Wet your throat, sobbing will stop."
For days, she had not even a drop.
"Let Ali Asghar drink first, he is the youngest
My dear brother died of sheer maddening thirst
Now that water is available, give him first
Before I can taste it and quench my thirst."
Guarding her folks, with a half burnt pole
Alone, all alone, with no waking soul
Due to exhaustion, Zaynab fell in a swoon
O' Merciful God, it was, indeed, a boon!
One person came galloping in her dream
"O' Shaikh, please go back" she screamed
"I am daughter of Hazrat Ali and Fatima
We are guardians of the holy 'Kalima '!
The person lifted the veil from his face
It was her father Ali himself, by Divine Grace
She poured out her mutilated and bleeding heart to him
The outpourings caused convulsions, ending the dream.
Lying on the desert sand, clothes wet with tears
The dawn was breaking, time of prayer was near
Events of previous day, she recalled with pain
Ali Akbar had given Azan; prayers led by Husayn.
Finishing her prayer, she laid her head
Prostrate before God of the living and dead
To give her courage, to carry on the mission
Which, to the world, would be an everlasting lesson.

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