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The Journey to Iraq

When it came to Husayn's knowledge that Yazid had appointed ‘Amr Ibn Sa’id Ibn al-’As as the head of an army, ordering him to take charge of the pilgrimage caravans and to kill al-Husayn (‘a) wherever he could find him1, he decided to leave Mecca before finishing the pilgrimage and be satisfied with performing only the ‘umra because he hated that the sanctity of the House might otherwise be violated.2

Mecca: Al-Husayn (‘a) delivers a Sermon

 
Before departing, al-Husayn (‘a) stood up to deliver a sermon. He said,

All praise is due to Allah. The Will of Allah be done. There is no might except in Allah. Allah has blessed His Messenger. Death is inscribed on Adam's children like a necklace on a girl's neck. My passion to be reunited with my ancestors is like that of Jacob for Joseph, and the demise I shall soon meet is better for me.

I see my limbs being torn by speeding steeds in the desert between al-Nawawis and Karbala’, so they shall fill, through my death, hollow bellies and starved pouches. There is no avoiding a day recorded by the Pen.

Whatever pleases Allah also pleases us, we Ahl al-Bayt. We shall be patient as we face His trial, and He shall give us in full the rewards due to those who persevere. The Prophet's offspring shall not deviate from His path. Rather, they shall be gathered before him in the presence of the most Holy One.

His eyes shall be cooled upon seeing them assembled, and he shall fulfill his promise. Anyone among us who is ready to sacrifice himself and is determined to meet Allah should join our departing party, for I shall depart in the morning if Allah Almighty so wills”.3
 
His departure took place on the 8th of Thul-Hijjah, 60 A.H/September 12, 680 A.D. He was accompanied by his family, slaves, and Shi’as from the people of Hijaz, Basra and Kufa who joined him during his sojourn in Mecca. He gave each one of them ten dinars and a camel to carry his luggage.4
 

Attempts to Dissuade Him From Departing

 
A group of his family members, in addition to others, asked him to postpone his trip till he could get to know the condition of the public. They feared the treachery of the Kufians and were apprehensive of a possible reversal in the situation. But the “Father of the Oppressed” was unable to reveal the knowledge with him about his fate to everyone he met.

The facts, as they stand, are not to be revealed to just anyone who seeks them due to the different levels of people's comprehension and the differences in their ability to absorb. He, peace be upon him, had to answer each person according to his own condition and ability to comprehend.
 
He, for example, said to [‘Abdullah] Ibn al-Zubayr, “My father told me once that there is a ram in Mecca through which its sanctity would be violated, and I do not like to be it. Should I be killed outside Mecca even the distance of a span, it is better for me than being killed inside it.5

By Allah! Had I been inside one of these holes, they would have taken me out of it and done what they wish to do. By Allah! They shall oppress me and transgress just as the Jews oppressed and transgressed the sanctity of the Sabbath.”
 
As soon as Ibn al-Zubayr had left, al-Husayn (‘a) said to those in his company, “There is nothing in this world this man loves more than seeing me depart from Hijaz. He knows very well that people do not equate him with me, so he wished to see me leave so that the space will be all his.”6

During the same night following which al-Husayn (‘a) left for Iraq, Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyya came to him and said, “You know very well how the Kufians betrayed your father and brother, and I fear lest your case should be like theirs.

Stay here, then, for you are the most respected one in the Haram, and the most secure.” Al-Husayn (‘a) said to him, “I fear lest Yazid son of Mu’awiyah should assassinate me inside the Haram, thus becoming the one on whose account the sanctity of this House is violated.” Ibn al-Hanafiyya suggested to him to go to Yemen or to other parts of the peninsula, so Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) promised him to think about it.
 
During the early hours of the morning, al-Husayn (‘a) started the preparations for his departure. Ibn al-Hanafiyya again came to him and held the reins of the she-camel upon which al-Husayn (‘a) had already mounted, saying,

“Did you not promise me to think about my suggestion?” “Yes,” al-Husayn (‘a) answered, “But after your departure, the Messenger of Allah (S) came to me in a vision and said, ‘O Husayn! Get out! Allah Almighty has decreed to see you slain.'

Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyya said, Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajia’un (We are Allah's, and to Him is our return). He asked him about the reason for letting his family accompany him. Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “It is the Will of Allah to see them taken captives.”7
 
‘Abdullah son of Ja’far at-Tayyar, and also his sons ‘Awn and Muhammad, wrote him saying, “I plead to you in the Name of Allah to go home once you read this letter, for I fear lest you should be killed and your Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) be eradicated.

If you get killed, the light on earth will be put out, for you are the standard of guidance and the hope of the faithful. Do not hurry in marching, for I shall see you shortly after you read this letter, and peace be with you.”
 
‘Abdullah took a letter from Yazid's governor over Mecca, ‘Amr Ibn Sa’id Ibn al-’As, granting al-Husayn (‘a) security. He brought it to al-Husayn (‘a) who was then accompanied by Yahya Ibn Sa’id Ibn al-’As, and he tried very hard to dissuade al-Husayn (‘a) from marching to his destination, but Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) refused. He informed ‘Abdullah that he had seen the Messenger of Allah (S) in a vision giving him an order which he had to carry out.

He asked him what he had seen. “I have not narrated this vision to anyone,” said Imam Husayn (‘a), “and I shall not narrate it till I meet my Lord, the most Exalted One, the most Great.”8
 
Ibn ‘Abbas said to him, “O cousin! I seek solace, but you are not solacing me, and I fear for you if you do it lest you should perish and be eliminated. The people of Iraq are treacherous; so, do not go near them. Stay in this land, for you are the master of the people of Hijaz. If the people of Iraq want you, as they claim, then let them unseat their governor and enemy, then you should go to them.

If you insist on going out, go to Yemen, for it has fortresses and valleys, and it is a wide and spacious land, and your father has many supporters there. You will be insulated from [the evil] people. You will then be able to write people, dispatch your messengers and disseminate your message, for you will then realize your objective in good health” Al-Husayn (‘a) said to him,

O cousin! By Allah! I know that you are an advisor with compassion, yet I have already decided to go.” Ibn ‘Abbas then said, “If you insist on going, do not take your women and children, for I fear lest you should be killed as they look on.” Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “By Allah! They [the Umayyads] shall not leave me alone till I am dead. Should they do so, Allah will appoint over them those who will humiliate them till they become more degraded than a woman's rag.”9

 

Why did the Imam Leave?

 
This is the ultimate end of anyone seeking to know why al-Husayn (‘a) did not tarry before going to Iraq. The father of ‘Abdullah [Imam al-Husayn, peace be upon him] was not unfamiliar with the nature of the Kufians or with their treachery and hypocrisy. But what could he do after they had expressed their loyalty, obedience and submission to his orders?

Can the Imam of a nation be excused for not providing guidance when he is solicited, or from redeeming them from the claws of misguidance and guiding them to what best pleases the Lord of the World, especially since their dissension and disunity had not yet become manifest?

The reason he gave for marching to meet them, despite their treacherous nature which manifested itself in the way they treated him, his father and his brother (‘a), would prompt those who look at the exterior appearance of matters to blame him.

The Imam chosen for the guidance of the public is too great to do anything that would be used as an argument against him. The country to which Ibn ‘Abbas and others referred has no security, and what happened between Busr Ibn Arta'ah and the people of Yemen underscores the latter’s weakness of resistance and inability to face an oppressor.
 
Such is the view expressed by al-Shaikh al-Shushtari, may Allah elevate his status. He has said, “Al-Husayn (‘a) had two obligations: a real one, and an evident one: a) As for the real one that caused him to face death and to expose his family to captivity and his children to slaughter, despite his knowledge [of such an imminent fate], it is due to the fact that the tyrants from among Banu Umayyah had convinced themselves that they were right and that ‘Ali and his offspring and supporters were wrong, so much so that they made cursing him part of their Friday congregational prayers...

One of them forgot once to curse ‘Ali (‘a) in his Friday sermon, so they had to remind him of it. Since he was travelling, he had to repeat his prayers as qaza! Had al-Husayn (‘a) surrendered and sworn the oath of allegiance to Yazid, there would have been no trace of the truth left.

This is so because there were many who thought that entering into a covenant with the Umayyads was indicative of their legitimacy and good conduct. But after al-Husayn (‘a) had fought them, exposing his sacred life and those of his family and children to the atrocities that befell them, it became quite clear to the people of his time, and to succeeding generations, that right was on his side and that those who oppressed him were the misguided ones.

b) As regarding the superficially evident cause, he (‘a) sought to safeguard himself and his family by all possible means, but he could not do so. They prohibited him from going anywhere.

Yazid wrote his governor over Medina to kill him. He, therefore, had to get out of it fearing for his life, then he sought refuge with Allah's Sacred House, the safe haven of anyone in apprehension. But they sought him even there to either arrest or to kill him even if he had been found clinging to the curtains of the Ka’ba.

He had no choice except to perform a singular ‘umra rather than a complete Hajj. Then he went to Kufa because its people had written him and sworn the oath of allegiance to him, stressing the importance of his going to meet with them in order to save them from the evil of the Umayyads.

He evidently was, therefore, morally obligated to go along with what they had suggested in order to bring his argument against them home, and so that they would not argue on the Day of Judgment saying that they sought refuge with him and solicited his help against the oppression of the oppressors, but he accused them of dissension and did not help them.

Had he not gone to them, where else would he have gone especially since the earth suddenly became straitened before him despite its vastness? This is the meaning of his saying to Ibn al-Hanafiyya, ‘Had I entered inside one of these land cracks, they would have taken me out of it and killed me!'”
 
The Imam (‘a) had likewise said to Abu Harrah al-Asadi once, “Banu Umayyah confiscated my wealth, yet I remained patient. And they defamed my honour, and I again remained patient. Then they sought to kill me, so I fled.10
 
Everyone in Mecca was grieved to see him leave. When they persisted in their attempts to dissuade him from leaving, he quoted poetic verses composed by a poet from the Aws tribe who had been warned by one of his cousins against participating in the jihad in support of the Messenger of Allah (S):

I shall proceed, for there is no shame
In death to a man who set his mind
To follow the truth
And to perform jihad as a Muslim.
He consoled the righteous men in person,
Leaving behind the depraved,
Opposing the criminals.

Then he cited the verse saying, “And Allah's Command is a decree already passed.”(33:38)11

He loathed peace in humiliation,
Honour loathes a free man being subdued,
So he said: O soul! Refrain from shame:
At the time of death, what is bitter tastes good!
Surrounded he became by his family's best youth
A family to which sublime honour and prominence belong
If it marches in the darkness of the night it shines:
Its shiny faces over-shining the brightest of the stars
By brave knights on wading steeds
In whose walk there is pride and grace.
Swift in the desert, dignified in stature,
Might in his help, subdued for him the conveyance.
Slapping the earth's face, red in hue
Not by slapping reddened but by the enemy's blood.
These are the folks from ‘Ali the conqueror
The darkness through them dissipates
And harm at bay is kept.
Thousands do they meet, courageous and bold
If and when their banners unfold
On a day when the face of death frowned,
When sharp swords did smile,
When the day of death is in black and in woe,
Their faces with delight become bright and mellow
As the faces of startled brave men turn yellow.
They stood on the battlefield only to cross
To death: the bridge is awaiting everyone who walks.
They assault, while heroes out of fear hesitate
And lions are accustomed to assault.
Till they were spent under the clouds of dust
On a battle resembling the Assembly Day!
Nay! Less terrifying is the Assembling Day!
They died in dignity, for them the war testifies
That they were men of honour when faced by what terrifies.
White bandages decorated their every head,
Blood outfitted them with outfits of crimson red.
Again and again the Oppressed One went back to his foes
With his sword and mare helping him to give them blows.
On the day of struggle with dust he covered every face
Of his troops as horizons grew pale shrouding the place.
If his lance composes poetry in one's heart,
His sword writes prose on his foes' necks on its part.
So one is not one when the swords clamour,
Nor two are two when lance clashes with the armour:
Had he wished to finish his foes at hand
He would have shaken existence itself at his command.
But decree had already passed, so he opted to march
To death patiently, for patient are the oppressed.
On the hot desert sands he dawned
A corpse that fell a prey
To every sword and lance in every way.
Between the ends of the lances he was spent
Thirsty, his corpse trampled upon by trained steeds
O son of Hasan! I complain to you for these are
Agonies crowding my heart
Do you know how much trial and tribulation
Your revered offspring faced at the Taff?
Let me console you in their regard,
For they approached death with heart.
Not a drop wetted their thirst,
Buried under the heat, in the desert,
Wind burying them with the dust...
What will you, O bereaved one, assault and be
Turning the blood of your foes into a sea?
Will you close your eyes when revenge can you take
From seeing the blood which, though on the right guidance
Dawned having none to console?
Near the Taff are the youths of Hashim
Buried under the lances' tips, their blood is sought
By everyone! No respite there shall be till you
Raise it so nothing can stand in its way.
A fire you shall light, a war no mighty host can subdue
How many times did Umayyah stir your wounds
No healing of the wound till the Meeting Day,
No healing to babes whom Umayyah nursed with death
Instead of breasts' milk, blood was given instead.
Here they lie dead, here the arrows embrace them,
Here the sands make their every bed.
A free lady who used to be confined
Dawned on the plains hot like timber lit by the heat
And a pure woman not used to mourning
Is now with whips driven, rebuked.
And a startled youth whose heartbeat almost
Sparks with fright... And another confused,
By the sight of steeds not at all amused,
Welcomed the night without a haven, without resort
Her veil, in enemy hands,
Is being passed from this to that,
So with her hands she seeks to hide
What with her veil she used to shield
Walked unveiled before the enemy eyes.
From one country to another she cries...
They grew up confined, they never knew
What slavery was, what’s the plain or the terrain.
Now they were insulted and dismayed,
By their enemy were they now displayed
For all to jeer at and to see:
A war trophy they now came to be...
Taken from land to distant land,
Handled by a filthy hand.12

 

al-Tanim

 
Al-Husayn (‘a) marched on his way out of Mecca via al-Tan’im13 where he met a caravan laden with merchandise and clothes sent to Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyah by Bahir Ibn Yasar al-Himyari, his governor over Yemen.

Al-Husayn (‘a) seized it and said to those who tended to the camels, “Whoever among you wishes to join us in our march to Iraq will be paid in full, and we will keep him good company. And whoever prefers to part with us, we shall compensate him according to the distance he travelled.” Some of them parted from him, whereas others preferred his company.14
 
Al-Husayn (‘a) considered that caravan his own wealth that Allah Almighty put at his disposal on account of his being the Imam appointed by the Omnipotent, Praise to Him. Yazid and his father had already confiscated what belonged to him as well as what belonged to the Muslims, so it became mandatory on him to take control of the Muslims' spoils to distribute to the needy among them.

He, indeed, gave of it generously to the bedouins who accompanied him on the way and who complained to him of the pain of poverty from which they were suffering. But it was a destiny that the Master of the Youths of Paradise could not give what the oppressors had confiscated of Prophet Muhammad's nation back to its rightful owners, although his precious sacrifice removed from visions the veils of the misguidance of those who transgressed on Divine Authority.
 

al-Sifah

 
At al-Sifah, al-Husayn (‘a) met al-Farazdaq Ibn Ghalib, the poet, so he asked him about the people whom he had left behind. Al-Farazdaq said, “Their hearts are with you; the swords are with Banu Umayyah, and Destiny descends from the heavens!”

Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “You have said the truth. To Allah belongs the affair, and Allah does whatever He pleases. Every day, our Lord deals with a matter. If Destiny descends with what we love, we shall praise Allah for His blessings, and He is the One Whose help we seek so that we may thank Him enough.

But if we are destined not to attain our desires, then none whose intention is to effect righteousness, and whose heart is full of piety, has transgressed.” Al-Farazdaq asked the Imam (‘a) about his verdicts regarding issues such as nathr, rituals, etc. After that, they parted.15
 
It is narrated that al-Farazdaq said, “I went out of Basra seeking to perform the ‘umra. I saw an army in the desert and inquired who it belonged to. I was told that it was the army of al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (‘a), so I decided to express my gratitude to the Messenger of Allah (S). I came to him and greeted him.

He asked me, ‘Who is the man?' I said, ‘Al-Farazdaq Ibn Ghalib.' He said, ‘This is a short name!' Said I, ‘Your name is even shorter! You are the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah!'”16

That ‘Irq

 
Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) marched on. At That ‘Irq17 he met Bishr Ibn Ghalib and asked him about the people of Kufa. “Their swords are with Banu Umayyah,” he said, “and their hearts are with you.” “You have said the truth,” said the Imam (‘a).18
 
Al-Rayyash narrated about those who met al-Husayn (‘a) on his way to Kufa. This narrator says, “Having performed the pilgrimage, I set out on the highway alone. As I thus walked, I noticed a number of tents, so I went in their direction and inquired who they belonged to. I was told that they belonged to al-Husayn son of ‘Ali and Fatima, peace be upon all of them.

I went to see him, and I saw him leaning on the entrance of the tent reading a book in his hand. I said, ‘O son of the Messenger of Allah! May my parents be sacrificed for your sake! What brought you to this desolate land which has neither countryside nor strongholds?'

He, peace be upon him, said to me, ‘These people [the Umayyads] terrorized me, and here are the letters of the people of Kufa, my assassins. So, once they do it, leaving no sanctity of Allah without violating it, Allah will send them those who will kill them till they become more debased than a bondmaid's rag'.”19
 

al-Hajir

 
Having reached al-Hajir20 from the direction of al-Rumma, he sent the people of Kufa the answer to the letter he had received from Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil and dispatched it with Qays Ibn Mushir al-Saydawi21. In it, he said, “Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil's letter reached me.

In it, he informs me of your consensus to support us and to demand our rights; therefore, I plead to Allah to enable us to do what is good and to reward you with the greatest of His rewards. I have come to you from Mecca on the eighth of Thul-Hijjah; so, if my messenger reaches you, maintain your stand, for I shall reach you in a few days.”
 

Some Informers

 
Al-Husayn (‘a) departed from al-Hajir. As he passed by each watering place of the Arabs, the number of those who joined him kept increasing22. Finally he reached a watering place where he met ‘Abdullah Ibn Muti’ al-’Adawi.

When the latter came to know that al-Husayn (‘a) intended to reach Iraq, he said to him, “I fear for you, O son of the Messenger of Allah, lest the sanctity of Islam should be violated, and I plead to you in the Name of Allah with regard to the Arab's sanctity. By Allah! If you seek what is in the hands of Banu Umayyah, they will kill you, and once they have killed you, they will not fear anyone else after you,” but al-Husayn (‘a) insisted on marching23.
 

al-Khuzaymiyya

 
He, peace be upon him, stayed at al-Khuzaymiyya24 for one day and one night. In the morning, his sister Zainab, peace be upon her, came to him and said, “I heard a voice saying:
 

O eyes, do exceedingly celebrate!
Who, after me, shall the martyrs mourn?
Who shall mourn folks driven by fate
To their destiny, to fulfill a promise sworn?”

He said, “O sister! Whatever is decreed shall come to pass.”25
 

Zarud

 
When al-Husayn (‘a) reached Zarud26, Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn al-Bajali27, who did not support him and even hated to be near him, alighted near him. Water gathered them somehow at the same place. As Zuhayr and his group were eating, a messenger sent by al-Husayn (‘a) came to them inviting Zuhayr to meet his master Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a).

Zuhayr hesitated to say anything, but his wife, Dulham daughter of ‘Amr, urged him to meet the Imam (‘a) and to listen to what he had to say28.
 
Zuhayr, therefore, went and swiftly returned elated with his face showing signs of excitement. He ordered all is belongings to be packed. He also ordered everyone to go to the Master of the Youths of Paradise (‘a). He said to his wife, “Go to your family, for I hate to see you receiving any harm on my account.”

Then he said to those around him, “Whoever among you loves to support the son of the Messenger of Allah (S), let him join us; otherwise, this should be the last time I see you.”
 
Then he narrated to them what Salman al-Farsi had foretold him with regard to the imminent battle. Zuhayr said, “We invaded Ballinger29 and we were victorious, so we acquired a great deal of booty and we, therefore, were very glad. When Salman al-Farsi30 saw how excited we all were, he said, ‘If you ever meet the Master of the Youths from the Progeny of Muhammad, peace of Allah and blessings be upon him and his progeny, you should then be more elated for fighting on his side than you now are elated on account of your booty; as for me, I now bid you farewell.'”31
 
Zuhayr's wife said, “Allah has chosen this honour for you, and I request you to remember me on the Day of Judgment and say a good word on my behalf to al-Husayn's grandfather, peace be upon him.”32
 
At Zarud, the Imam (‘a) was informed of how Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil and Hani Ibn ‘Urwah were killed, so he kept repeating: Inna lillah wa inna ilayhi rajia’un (We belong to Allah, and to Him shall we return), as he wept, pleading to Allah to have mercy on them33.

With him the Hashemites wept, too, and there was a great deal of wailing coming from the women’s quarters, so much so that the whole place was shaken because of Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil being killed. Tears poured profusely.34
 
‘Abdullah Ibn Salim and al-Munthir Ibn al-Mashma’il, both from the tribe of Asad, said to the Imam (‘a), “We plead to you in the Name of Allah, O son of the Messenger of Allah, to go away, for you will not find any supporter in Mecca.”
 
‘Aqil's offspring stood up and said, “We shall not leave before seeking revenge or taste of what our brother has tasted.” Al-Husayn (‘a) looked at them and said, “There is nothing good in life after these folks.”35
 

O ‘Aqil's son! May you be sacrificed by every soul
For your calamity is the greatest of all...
Let's mourn it with hearts grieved,
For what values our every salted tear?
How many daughters of yours are bereaved,
With hearts within set on fire not fear?
Consoled by the Prophet's grandfather?
So she may near him be pleased.
Now says she, “An uncle of mine is now gone,
“Now who shall his own orphan console?
“Bereaved, spending the night stung by pain,
“Expelled, from her home exiled?”
And how many a courageous warrior
In whose heart did she the fire of grief ignite?
Your cousin, on the Taff, did you support,
With his counselling family did he mourn you.
Surrounded by youths like the morning shone,
Youths whose lineage to everyone is known.
We mourned your youth and tragedy
Marked with death and sad destiny.
A ma'tam he held for you despite his condition
And even white deer wailed for you.
He called upon his near in kin:
“Avenge his death, O family of the Fatiha!”
Into the mire of death did he lead them,
But now the deer are the ones mired.
Says he, “O folks stingy with their souls!
“Your battle, though serious, is mocked,” he calls.

 

al-Tha’labiyya

At al-Tha’labiyya, a man came to Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and asked him about the meaning of the verse saying,

“(Remember) the Day when We will call every people by their Imam” (Qur’an, 17:71).

He, peace be upon him, said to him,

“An Imam calls others for guidance and is answered positively, while another imam calls others to misguidance and is also answered positively: this group shall be in Paradise, and that shall be in hell, and it is the explanation of the verse saying,

‘A party shall be in Paradise, and another shall be in the burning fire' (Qur’an, 42:7).”36
 
At the same place, a man from Kufa met him. The Imam said to him, “By Allah! Had I met you in Medina, I would have showed you the marks Gabriel had left in our house and the place where he used to descend with revelation to my grandfather, O brother of Kufa! It is from us that knowledge initiates. Have they become learned while we became ignorant? This shall never be.”37
 
Bajir, of al-Tha’labiyya, narrates saying, “Al-Husayn passed by us when I was a young lad. My brother said to him, ‘O son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah! I see your followers to be very small in number.' With his whip he pointed to a saddlebag a man was carrying [for him] and said, ‘This is full of letters.'”38
 

al-Shuquq

At al-Shuquq39, al-Husayn (‘a) saw a man coming from Kufa40, so he asked him about the people of Iraq. He informed the Imam (‘a) that they were all against him. He, peace be upon him, said, “The affair is with Allah; our Lord does whatever He pleases. Our Lord, Praise to Him, each day manages the affairs.” Then he quoted the following verses of poetry41:

If this abode is held as dear,
In the abode of Allah, the rewards
Are more sublime and noble.
If wealth is hoarded to be left behind,
Why should one be miser with what is left?
If sustenance is destined in proportion,
To be less concerned about it is more beautiful.
And if the bodies are for death made,
One killed for the sake of Allah is surely better.
So peace of Allah be upon you,
O family of Muhammad!
For I see myself from you soon departing.

Zubala

 

At Zubala, he was informed that ‘Abdullah Ibn Yaqtur, the man dispatched by al-Husayn (‘a) to Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil, had been killed. Al-Hasin Ibn Namir arrested him at al-Qadisiyya and sent him to ‘Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad who ordered him to ascend the pulpit and to curse the liar son of the liar.

When ‘Abdullah Ibn Yaqtur looked at the people from the pulpit, he said, “O people! I am the messenger of al-Husayn son of Fatima (‘a) to you so that you may support and assist him against the son of Marjana,” whereupon ‘Ubaydullah ordered him thrown from the mansion’s rooftop. He was hurled down from there. His bones were crushed, but he did not die.

A man named ‘Abd al-Malik Ibn ‘Umayr al-Lakhmi came to him and cut his throat. When the latter was shamed for having done so, he said, “I killed him in order to put an end to his suffering.” It is also said that the man who killed him was tall and that he looked like ‘Abd al-Malik Ibn ‘Umayr.
 
The Imam (‘a) informed those who were in his company of what had happened, giving them the option to leave. They dispersed right and left. Those who remained with him were his own companions who had come with him from Mecca.

Actually, a large number of bedouins had joined him thinking that he was going to a land where he would be welcomed by supporting natives. He, peace be upon him, hated for them to march with him except with their knowledge of what to expect, knowing fully well that if he permitted them to leave, only those who were ready to support him to the end would remain.42
 

In the Heartland of al-Aqaba

 
The Imam (‘a) left Zubala, reaching al-’Aqaba's heartland where he said to his companions, “There is no doubt in my mind that I am going to be killed. In a vision, I saw myself being mauled by dogs the most fierce among them was spotted.”43
 
‘Amr Ibn Lawthan, of Banu ‘Ikrimah, suggested to him to return to Medina due to the treachery and betrayal upon which the people of Kufa were bent. Abu ‘Abdullah, peace be upon him, said, “I am not unfamiliar with their attitude, yet Allah's will shall never be overruled.”44

Then he, peace be upon him, said, “They shall not leave me till I am dead, and once they have done it, Allah will send upon them those who will humiliate them till they become the most abased among all nations.45
 

Sharaf

 
Al-Husayn (‘a) left al-’Aqaba then set up his camp at Sharaf46. In the pre-dawn, he ordered his servants to fill their water bags with water. At midday, he heard a man among his companions crying, “Allahu Akbar!” Al-Husayn (‘a) asked him about the reason. “I did so upon seeing palm-trees,” said the man, but those who were in his company denied that there could be any palm-trees in such a place, and that what he saw could have been lances and horses' ears.

Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “I am of the same view,” then he asked them whether they could shelter themselves anywhere. They suggested a place called Thu Hasam47 on their left side. Al-Husayn (‘a) swiftly moved there and set up his camp.
 
Soon, al-Hurr al-Riyai48 came to them face-to-face escorted by a thousand cavaliers. He was dispatched by [‘Ubaydullah] Ibn Ziyad in order to prohibit al-Husayn (‘a) from going back to Medina, to arrest him, and to bring him to Kufa. It was a very hot midday when al-Hurr and his men confronted al-Husayn (‘a).49
 
When the Master of Martyrs (‘a) saw how thirsty that band was, he ordered his followers to serve water to them and to their horses. They gave each and every one of them water, then they filled water pots and brought them near the horses each one of which drank three to five times of them till they all drank to their fill.50
 
‘Ali Ibn al-Ti’an al-Muharibi was in al-Hurr’s company. He happened to be the last to be served, so he was suffering acutely of the pangs of thirst. In his Hijazi accent, al-Husayn (‘a) said to him, “Ankhi al-rawiya,” but the man did not understand what he (‘a) meant. The Imam (‘a), therefore, repeated his statement, this time using classical Arabic: “Ankhil-jamal.”

When the man tried to drink, he caused the water to run wastefully out of the water-bag, so the Fragrant Flower of the Messenger of Allah (S) now said to him, “Ankhi al-siqa,” but the poor man did not know exactly what to do due to his inability to think because, again, of the thirst from which he was severely suffering.

This time the Imam (‘a) stood up and adjusted the water-bag for that man in person till he drank enough, then he (‘a) watered his horse as well.

Such is the kindness and compassion of the most Oppressed One towards that band that met in a desert where each drop of water was as precious as life itself. Surely he was fully aware of the situation being so precarious, knowledgeable of the consequences should water run out the next day, knowing that it could be the sole cause of death. But the Prophet's blood that ran in his veins, and the exemplary generosity of his father ‘Ali (‘a), did not leave him any choice.
 

O son of al-Zahra’, heart of ‘Ali the valiant,
O soul of the guiding Prophet!
Strange how these people did not
Come to you to sacrifice themselves for you;
But they did not value your precious soul:
How can dust be compared with the mountain?
How wondrous to see Allah's Clemency
When they, as He watched, violated your sanctity!
How strange, the favourites of Allah became
For Yazid and for Ziyad a booty to claim!

 
Then al-Husayn (‘a) welcomed them. He praised Allah and glorified Him then said:

This is to seek pardon of Allah, the most Exalted One, the most Mighty, and of your own selves: I did not come to you except after having received your letters which your messengers delivered to me, requesting me to come to you, saying, “We have no Imam, so come to us, perhaps Allah will gather all of us under the shade of His guidance.”

So if the case is as such, then I have come to you; therefore, provide me with that whereby I can trust your promises and covenants. But if you hate my arrival, then I shall leave you and go to where I had come from.
 
The men did not utter one word. Al-Hajjaj Ibn Masruq al-Ju’fi called the athan for the noon prayers. It was then that al-Husayn (‘a) asked al-Hurr, “Would you like to lead your men for the prayers?” He answered: “No. Rather, we will all pray behind you.”

The Imam (‘a) led the prayers.
 
Having finished the prayers, the Imam (‘a) faced them, praised and glorified Allah and blessed Prophet Muhammad (S) then said,

 “O people! If you fear Allah and wish to get to know who follows righteousness, it will please Allah better. We, the family of Muhammad (S), are more worthy of you in shouldering the responsibility of authority, more so than these who lay a claim to what does not belong to them, whose tradition is oppression and transgression.

If you insist on hating us and ignoring our right, and if your view now is different from what your letters to me described, then I will part from you.”
 
Al-Hurr said, “I do not know what letters you are talking about.” Al-Husayn (‘a) immediately ordered ‘Uqbah Ibn Sam’an to bring out two saddlebags full of letters. Al-Hurr said, “I am not among their senders, and I have been ordered not to part with you once I meet you till I bring you to Ibn Ziyad in Kufa.”

Imam al-Husayn (‘a) said, “Death is closer to your reach than that.” He ordered his companions to ride, and the women, too, rode, but al-Hurr forbade them from going to Medina, so al-Husayn (‘a) said to al-Hurr, “May your mother lose you! What do you want of us?” “Should anyone else other than you say so to me,” al-Hurr responded, “and he is in the same boat as you now are, I would not hesitate to let his mother lose him no matter who he may be!

By Allah! I have no way to refer to your mother except in the very best of way of which we are capable. But let us come to a mid-way between both of us which neither leads you to Kufa nor takes you back to Medina till I write Ibn Ziyad, perhaps Allah will grant me safety and not try me with anything relevant to your issue.” After a short while he added saying,

“I admonish you to remember Allah with regard to your life, for I testify that should you fight, you will be killed.” Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “Are you scaring me with death?! Will your calamity really lead you to kill me? In that case, let me say what the brother of the Aws [tribe] said to his cousin who desired to support the Messenger of Allah, peace of Allah be upon him and his Progeny:51
 

I shall proceed: There is no shame
A man to his death goes.
If he truly intends so and
As a Muslim struggles,
And if he the righteous with his life consoles,
Leaving a depraved one, opposing a criminal.
So if I live, I shall not regret or be shamed
But if I die, surely I shall not be blamed
Humiliation suffices you if you accept to be oppressed.”

 
Having heard him say so, al-Hurr stayed away from him. Al-Husayn (‘a), therefore, rode with his companions in one area while al-Hurr and his fellows rode in another.52
 

al-Bayda

 
At al-Bayda53, the Imam (‘a) delivered a speech to al-Hurr's companions after having praised and glorified Allah. In it he said,

 “O people! The Messenger of Allah (S) has said, “If one sees an oppressive ruler, who makes lawful what Allah has made unlawful, and he does not get him to alter his conduct through something he does or says, it will be incumbent upon Allah to resurrect him in that ruler's company. These folks have upheld Satan and abandoned their obedience to the most Merciful One, demonstrating corruption and making mischief evident.

They idled the limits (set forth by Allah) and took to their own selves what belonged to others, prohibiting what Allah has permitted and permitting what He has prohibited. I am the best suitable person to change the situation. Your letters reached me, and so did some of your messengers who brought me your oath not to hand me over [to my foes] or to betray me.

If you, therefore, complete the terms of your oath of allegiance, you will achieve the right guidance, for I am al-Husayn son of ‘Ali and Fatima daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S). My soul is with yours, my family is with your families, and you have in me a model of conduct.

But if you do not, and if you violate your promise and renege in your oath of allegiance to me, then, by my life, it will not be the first time that you do so: you did so to my father, to my brother [Imam al-Hasan (‘a)], and to my cousin Muslim.

Deceived is whoever trusts you. Surely it is to the detriment of your own luck that you thus err, rendering your lot a loss. Whoever reneges, he, indeed, reneges against his own soul, and Allah shall suffice me for you, and peace be with you and the mercy and blessings of Allah”. 54
 

al-Ruhayma

At al-Ruhayma55, a Kufian named Abu Haram met the Imam (‘a) and said to him, “O son of the Messenger of Allah! What made you leave the sanctuary of your grandfather?” The Imam (‘a) said, “O Abu Haram! Banu Umayyah taunted my honour, and I took to patience. And they confiscated my wealth, and I again took to patience.

Then they sought to kill me, so I fled. By Allah! They will kill me. Allah will then cover them with an overwhelming humiliation and with a sharp sword which He will place over their heads, a word that will abase them56 till they become more abased than the people of Saba' (Sheba) who were ruled by a woman over their wealth and their lives.57
 

al-Qadisiyya

 
At al-Qadisiyya, al-Hasin Ibn Namir al-Tamimi arrested Qays Ibn Mushir al-Saydawi, al-Husayn's messenger to the people of Kufa. Al-Hasin had been ordered by Ibn Ziyad to station cavaliers to guard the area between Khafan and Qatqatana58. When he wanted to search the messenger, the latter took the letter out and shredded it.

He was brought to Ibn Ziyad who asked him why he had shredded the letter. He told Ibn Ziyad that he did so in order that they would not know what it contained. But Ibn Ziyad insisted that he should tell him about its contents. Qays refused, whereupon Ibn Ziyad said to him, “Ascend the pulpit and curse al-Husayn and his father and brother; otherwise, I will cut you to pieces.”
 
Qays ascended the pulpit, praised and glorified Allah and blessed the Prophet (S) and his Progeny (‘a) and was profuse in imploring Allah's blessings on the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and on al-Hasan and al-Husayn (‘a).

Moreover, he cursed ‘Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad and his father and all Banu Umayyah, then he said, “O people! I am the messenger of al-Husayn (‘a) to you! I have left him in such-and-such a place; so, you should rush to his aid.” Ibn Ziyad ordered him to be thrown from his mansion's rooftop. He was thrown; his bones were crushed, and he died59.

Some accounts say that he did not die immediately, so ‘Abd al-Malik Ibn ‘Umayr al-Lakhmi slit his throat [as stated above]. When he was blamed for doing so, he said, “I only wanted to put an end to his suffering.”60
 

al-Utahyb

 
At ‘Uthayb al-Hajanat61, al-Husayn (‘a) met four men who were leaving Kufa on camel-back, taking with them “al-Kamil,” a horse belonging to a man called Nafi’ Ibn Hilal. They were: ‘Amr Ibn Khalid al-Saydawi, his slave Sa’d, Majma’ Ibn ‘Abdullah al-Mathhaji, and Nafi’ Ibn Hilal. Their guide, al-Tirimmah Ibn ‘Adiy al-Ta’i, was chanting the following verses:

 

O my she-camel! Do not complain of my impatience,
And set out just before the sun rises,
So we may join the best of riders and embark
Upon the best journey till we reach
One beautified with the best of descent,
The munificent, the free, the open-hearted one
Whom Allah brought for the best of affair:
May He preserve him as He preserves time!

When they reached al-Husayn, peace be upon him, they chanted those verses for him, so he (‘a) said, “By Allah! I hope what Allah fares with us will be good, whether we are killed, or whether we win victory.”
 
Al-Husayn (‘a) asked them about the public opinion. They said, “Prominent personalities have received great bribes; people's hearts are with you, while the swords are turned against you.” They informed him of Qays Ibn Mushir al-Saydawi having been killed, so he, peace be upon him, quoted the Qur’anic verse saying,

“... of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who awaits” (Qur’an, 33:23).

O Allah!” he added, “Make Paradise our home and theirs, and include us and them in Your mercy and in all what is desired of Your treasured rewards.”
 
Al-Tirimmah has said, “I saw people before my departure from Kufa meeting outside. I asked them about it, and they said to me, ‘They are being paraded, then shall they be sent away to fight al-Husayn.' I, therefore, plead to you in the Name of Allah not to go to fight them, for I see none aiding you. If only this group fights you, the same one I see watching you, they will suffice to put an end to you.

Come with us in order to settle at our mountain, ‘Aja. It protected us from the kings of Ghassan and Himyar, from al-Nu’man Ibn al-Munthir, and from al-Aswad and al-Ahmar. By Allah, after no more than ten days, Tay's men will come to your aid riding or on foot. I guarantee you twenty thousand men from Tay who will defend you with their swords till it becomes clear to you what you wish to do.”
 
Al-Husayn (‘a) prayed Allah to reward him and his people with goodness then said, “A covenant binds us to the people, and we cannot depart till destiny deals between us and them.”

Al-Tirimmah then asked his permission to get provisions to reach his own family, promising that he would hurry back to support him. He granted him permission as others accompanied him.
 
Al-Tirimmah delivered the provisions to his people then quickly returned. Having reached ‘Uthayb al-Hajanat, he came to know that al-Husayn, peace be upon him, had been killed, so he went back.62
 

Qasr Bani Muqatil

A-Husayn (‘a) marched from ‘Uthayb al-Hajanat till he reached Qasr Bani Muqatil63. There, he saw a tent, a lance planted in the ground, and a mare waiting. He inquired about them and was told that they belonged to ‘Ubaydullah Ibn al-Hurr al-Ju’fi64. Al-Husayn (‘a) sent him al-Hajjaj Ibn Masruq al-Ju’fi as his messenger.

Ibn al-Hurr asked him what he wanted. He said, “I have a gift for you and I have esteem, if you only accept. Al-Husayn (‘a) invites you to support him. If you fight for him, you will be rewarded, and if you get killed, you will be a martyr.” Ibn al-Hurr said, “By Allah! I did not leave Kufa except on account of the large number of people whom I saw going out to fight him, and on account of his own Shi’as betraying him; so I realized that he was certainly going to be killed and that I am unable to do much for him; I do not like him to see me, nor do I like to see him.”65
 
Al-Hajjaj relayed what he had heard to al-Husayn (‘a) who stood up and, accompanied by a number of his family members and companions, entered al-Hurr's tent. The latter seated the Imam (‘a) in the middle. Ibn al-Hurr himself narrated later saying, “I never saw in my life anyone better looking or greater than al-Husayn, nor did I ever feel sorry for anyone as much as I felt sorry for him when I saw him walking surrounded by very young men.

I looked at his beard and found it as dark as a raven's wing, so I asked him whether it was naturally black or whether he had dyed it. He said to me, ‘O Ibn al-Hurr! Gray hair hastened to me,' so I realized that he had dyed it.”66
 
Having settled there, Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) praised Allah and glorified Him then said, “O Ibn al-Hurr! Your countrymen wrote me saying that they were unanimous in supporting me. They asked me to go to them, but it seems it is not as they claimed67.

You have committed a great many sins; so, would you like to seek repentance whereby you wipe out your sins?” He said, “And how is that, O son of the Messenger of Allah?” Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “You should support the son of your Prophet's daughter and fight on his side.”68
 
Ibn al-Hurr said, “By Allah! I know that whoever supports you will be happy in the hereafter, but how much help can I afford you, having left in Kufa none to support you? I, therefore, plead to you in the Name of Allah to agree to this plan of mine, for I hate to die!

My mare, al-Mulhiqa, is such that I never pursued anything except that it caught up with it, nor did anyone pursue me except that I outran him. Take her; she is yours.” Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “Should you prefer your own safety over supporting our cause, we have no need for your mare or for you69:

‘You should not take those who mislead others for friends' (Qur’an, 18:51)70.

I advise you just as you advised me, that if you can, do not hear our cries, nor should you witness our battle, for by Allah, whoever hears our mourners and refuses to come to our rescue will be hurled by Allah into the fire of hell headlong.”71

Ibn al-Hurr regretted having lost the opportunity to support al-Husayn (‘a), so he composed the following poetic lines:
 

So long as I live, so shall my sigh
Reverberating between my chest and my choke
When he did say to me at the mansion:
“Should you really leave us and from us depart?”
Husayn in humility seeks my support
Against the people of enmity and dissension.
Should sighing cleave a freeman's chest,
My heart would now be cleft.
Had I defended him with my life
I would have earned mercy on the Day of Meeting.
Had I fought beside Muhammad's son, may I
For him sacrifice my life;
So bid farewell and hurry to set out,
Surely winners are those who support Husayn,
While deeds of others, the hypocrites, will be in vain.

 
At the same place, ‘Amr Ibn Qays al-Mashfari and his cousin met al-Husayn (‘a) who asked them whether they had met him in order to support him. They said to him, “We have a large number of dependents and we have many items which belong to others.

We do not know what will happen, and we hate not to give people back what they had entrusted to us.” He, peace be upon him, said to them, “Go, and do not hear our women mourn, nor should you see us wearing black, for whoever hears our women wailing or sees our black without supporting us, it will be incumbent upon Allah, the most Exalted, the most Great, to hurl him in hellfire headlong.”72

The Taff Villages

 
When the night came to a close, the Imam (‘a) ordered his servants to fill their water bags and to leave Qasr Bani Muqatil. On their way, al-Husayn (‘a) was heard repeating: Inna lillah wa inna ilayhi rajia’un, wal hamdu lillahi rabbil ‘a lamin... (We belong to Allah and to Him shall we return, and all Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds).

His son, ‘Ali al-Akbar, heard him and asked about the reason which prompted him to keep repeating these statements. Said the Imam (‘a), “I drowsed for a moment, whereupon I saw a horseman saying, ‘These people are marching as fates march towards them,' so I realized that we are being eulogized.” “May Allah never permit you to see any evil,” said ‘Ali al-Akbar,

“Are we not right?” “We are, by the One to Whom all the servants shall return,” al-Husayn (‘a) answered. “O father! In that case, we do not mind at all having to die so long as we are right,” said ‘Ali. Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “May Allah reward you for being such a good son with the best of rewards whereby He rewards a son on behalf of his father.”73
 
Al-Husayn (‘a) kept marching till he arrived at Ninawa74.
There, an armed man riding a camel was seen coming in their direction. They waited for him. He turned out to be a messenger sent by Ibn Ziyad to al-Hurr carrying a letter wherein he was ordering al-Hurr to be rough in treating al-Husayn (‘a) and not to permit him to set up his camp anywhere other than in the wilderness where there was neither access to water nor any natural fortifications.
 
Such was the letter which al-Hurr himself had read to al-Husayn (‘a) who said to him, “Let us camp at Ninawa, or al-Ghadiriyya, or Shufayya.” “I cannot do that,” said al-Hurr, “for the man [governor] has already assigned men to spy on me.” 75
 
Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn said, “O son of the Messenger of Allah! Fighting this band is easier for us than fighting those who will come after them. By my life! Armies will come to us which our eyes had never seen before.”

Al-Husayn (‘a) said to him, “I shall not be the one who fights them first.” Then Zuhayr said, “There is a village nearby at the bank of the Euphrates; it is defensible and it overlooks the Euphrates from all but one direction.” Al-Husayn (‘a) asked him about its name, and when he came to know that it was called “al-’Aqr,”76 [which means in Arabic “hamstringing”], the Imam (‘a) said, “We seek refuge with Allah against hamstringing.”
 
Al-Husayn (‘a) then turned to al-Hurr and asked him to keep on marching further.
 
They all marched till they reached an area called Karbala’. There, al-Hurr and his company stopped in front of al-Husayn (‘a), forbidding him from going any further, saying, “This place is near the Euphrates.” It is said that as they were marching, al-Husayn's horse stopped and refused to move just as Allah had caused the she-camel of the Prophet (S) to stop at the Hudaibiya77.

It was then that al-Husayn (‘a) inquired about the name of that place. Zuhayr said to him, “Keep on marching and do not ask about anything till Allah brings us ease. This land is called al-Taff.” He, peace be upon him, asked him whether it had any other name, so he told him that it was also called “Karbala’”. It was then that the Imam (‘a) started weeping78.

He said, “O Allah! I seek refuge with You against the karb [affliction] and bala’ [trial and tribulation]!79 Here shall we camp, and here will our blood be spilled and our graves be dug! My grandfather the Messenger of Allah (S) had told me so.” 80
 

By Allah! Never shall I forget, even if all do,
How his charging mare stood at al-Taff,
O mare of his! Did the hand of fate tie you
So you stood and refused to budge?
You used to be faster than a cloud's lightning;
Calamity descends whether you speed or not.
Should you not have avoided the road and strayed
From that valley to the wide expanse?
How did you take him to perdition, may you
Lose your father, how dared you?
Why did you not refuse, why?
O what a great stand when
Those throngs did gather and stand!
A great stand that shook the foundations
Of Allah's ‘Arsh a great shaking,
So shall Yazid stand One Day
When it will be said to Ahmad:
“Stand up and intercede!”
A stand, it was, followed by a fall
That gave us a drink hard to take
A stand, it was, that caused Muhammad's progeny
To always grieve till the Pretender, for eternity.81

 

  • 1. Shaikh Lutfallah al-Gulpaygani, Muntakhab al-Athar fi Akhbar al-Imam al-Thani ‘Ashar, Radiyy ad-Din al-Qazwini, p. 304, 10th night.
  • 2. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Azan, p. 89. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 177.
  • 3. Ibn Tawus, Al-Luhuf, p. 33. Ibn Nama, p. 20.
  • 4. Shaikh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Nafs al-Mahmum, p. 91.
  • 5. On p. 150, Vol. 2, of al-Azraqi's Tarikh Mecca, it is stated that Imam Husayn (‘a) made this statement to Ibn ‘Abbas.
  • 6. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 16.
  • 7. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 10, p. 184.
  • 8. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 219. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 17. Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 6, p. 163.
  • 9. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 16. The rag Imam al-Husayn (‘a) is referring to is one used by a woman to absorb the blood during her menstruation.
  • 10. Al-Khasa’is al-Husayniyya, p. 32 (Tabriz edition).
  • 11. On p. 137 of Tathkirat al-Khawass of Ibn al-Jawzi, the grandson, al-Husayn (‘a) cited these verses when al-Hurr warned him against disputing with Banu Umayyah.
  • 12. Excerpted from a poem by the hujjah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn al-Kayshwan published in ‘Allama Shaikh Sharif al-Jawahiri's Muthir al-Ahzan.
  • 13. On p. 416, Vol. 2, of Yaqut al-Hamawi's Mu’jam al-Buldan, it is said to be a place located two farasangs from Mecca. It is named as such because on its right there is a mountain called Na’im and another on its left called Na’im, while the valley is called Na’iman, and a mosque is there. On p. 60 of Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-Khadrawi's book Fada’il al-Balad al-Amin, it is said to be three or four miles from Mecca.
  • 14. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 218. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn, Vol. 1, p. 220. Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 166. Shaikh Al-Mufid, Al-Irshad. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 21. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 4, p. 327 (first Egyptian edition). All these references say that the wealth confiscated by al-Husayn (‘a) had been transported to Mu’awiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan, and that al-Husayn (‘a) wrote Mu’awiyah in its regard saying, “A caravan coming from Yemen carrying merchandise, outfits, and amber passed by us on its way to you so that you may deposit it in the coffers of Damascus to thereby elevate the status of your father's offspring after you take of it whatever satisfies you. I need it, so I am taking it.” Mu’awiyah wrote him back saying, “You took that wealth while you were unworthy of it after your admission that it belonged to me. The wali has a greater right to fare with the wealth; moreover, he has expenses to pay. By Allah! Had that wealth been left alone till it reached me, I would not have diminished your share of it, but there is in your head a certain desire, and I very much like to see it come out during my own time so that I may recognize your value and overlook what you have done. But I, by Allah, fear lest you should be tried by one who does not regard you more than he regards a she-camel's hiccup.”
  • 15. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 218. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 16. Al-Thahabi, Tathkirat al-Huffaz, Vol. 1, p. 338. This meeting is referenced in al-Mufid's Irshad as well. al-Thahabi says that the meeting between al-Husayn (‘a) and al-Farazdaq took place at That ‘Irq, whereas in Yaqut al-Hamawi's Mu’jam al-Buldan, it is said to have taken place at al-Sifa between Hunayn and the Haram's nusub, on the west side upon entering Mecca.
  • 16. Sayyid ‘Ali Khan, Anwar al-Rabi’, p. 703, in a chapter dealing with repetition.
  • 17. According to p. 317, Vol. 2, of Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq by the Hanafi author Ibn Najim, it is located at the distance of two stages between That ‘Irq and Mecca. On p. 216, Vol. 2, of Ibn Muflih's book Al-Furu’, it is said to be located at the distance of two days' travel. It is named as such after a small mountain in its locality as indicated on p. 8, Vol. 7, of Taj al-’Arus. According to Sunnis, That ‘Irq marks the timing zone of the people of the east, including Iraq and Khurasan. Traditions recorded by Imamites, however, say that the Messenger of Allah (S) marked al-’Aqiq as the timing zone for the people of Iraq, which is recommended by Imam al-Shafi’i who says so on p. 118, Vol. 2, of his book Al-Umm, believing that there is no hadith designating That ‘Irq for such timing, and that it was [second caliph] ‘Umar who designated it as such; this is what al-Bukhari tells us as he quotes [the caliph’s son, ‘Abdullah] Ibn ‘Umar. On p. 257, Vol. 3, of Ibn Qudamah's book Al-Mughni, Ibn Abd al-Barr is cited as saying that the wearing of the ihram garb is better done at al-’Aqiq, despite the fact that it was That ‘Irq that designated the timing zone for all the people of the east [i.e., Muslims residing in the eastern region of the then Islamic domain]. On p. 250, Vol. 3, of Fath al-Bari, it is indicated that al-Ghazali, al-Rafi’i, al-Nawawi, and those who documented al-Shafi’i emphatically insist that there is no tradition designating That ‘Irq a timing zone as such. The Hanafis, Hanbalis, and Shafi’is have all testified to this fact. On p. 199, Vol. 6, of Mu’jam al-Buldan, it is indicated that al-’Aqiq is situated in the valley of Thu Halifa, and it is closer to Mecca. Imamite faqihs have been cautious, recommending not to wear the ihram at That ‘Irq which lies at the end of al-’Aqiq.
  • 18. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 21.
  • 19. On p. 169, Vol. 8, of Al-Bidaya, however, this statement is altered to read: “... more lowly than a bondmaid's scarf,” but I could not make much sense of it, nor is it supported linguistically! The accurate wording is what is indicated above. The rag referred to is used by a woman to insert in her vagina to absorb her menstrual blood.
  • 20. According to Mu’jam al-Buldan, “al-hajir” is a water jetty built at the borders of a valley as a safeguard against the flood. On p. 290, Vol. 4, however, it is also referred to as a resting area for those travelling from Basra to Medina, a place where the people of Kufa and Basra meet. On p. 136, Vol. 3, of Taj al-’Arus, it is said to be a place on the highway to Mecca. On p. 195, Vol. 1, of Tarikh al-Adab al-’Arabi, (History of Arab Literature), where Zuhayr Ibn Abu Sulma's biography is detailed. The latter is quoted as saying that al-Hajir is located in the south of today's city of Riyadh, in Najd. According to p. 219, Vol. 2, of Mu’jam al-Buldan, it is indicated that it lies within the expanse of al-Rumma, a plateau in Najd.

    Riďa Kahhalah, in a footnote on p. 274 of his book Jughrafyat Shubh Jazirat al-’Arab (Geography of the Arabian Peninsula), quotes Ibn Durayd saying that al-Rumma is a spacious low land in Najd in which the rainfall pours from several valleys. Ibn al-’Arabi says that al-Rumma is wide and expansive and is traversed by one travelling for a full day, a place upon the high lands of which Banu Kilab descend, then they depart there from, whereupon Abas and Ghatfan people do likewise, then Banu Asad. Al-Asma’i says, “Al-Rumma's low land is a huge valley acting as a barrier to the right of Falja and al-Duthayna till it passes through the quarters of al-Abyad and al-Aswad which are separated by a distance of three miles.”

    He continues to say, “Al-Rumma extends from the Ghawr [deep low land] to Hijaz. The high areas of al-Rumma are inhabited by the people of Medina and to Banu Salim. Its middle part is inhabited by Banu Kilab and Ghatfan, while its south is populated by Banu Asad and Banu Abbas, then it ends at the sand dunes of al-’Uyun.”

  • 21. On p. 152 of ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Fattal al-Naishapuri's book Rawat al-Wa’izin, it is indicated that he was dispatched by ‘Abdullah Ibn Yaqtur, and it is quite possible he had sent them two letters, one with ‘Abdullah Ibn Yaqtur and another with Qays Ibn Mushir. On p. 492, Vol. 3, of Al-Isaba (of Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani), following the discussion of Qays's lineage, the author says, “He was with al-Husayn (‘a) when he [al-Husayn (‘a)] was killed at the Taff.” This is incorrect. Ibn Ziyad killed the man at Kufa.
  • 22. Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 168.
  • 23. al-Mufid, Al-Irshad.
  • 24. It is named after Khuzaymah Ibn Hazim and it is located one stage after Zarud on a traveller's way from Kufa to Mecca. In the arrangement of these stages, we rely on Mu’jam al-Buldan.
  • 25. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 23.
  • 26. On p. 327, Vol. 4, of Mu’jam al-Buldan, it is described as sand dunes between al-Tha’labiyya and al-Khuzaymiyya on a pilgrim's way coming from Kufa, and it lies one mile from al-Khuzaymiyya. There is a lake in it, and it is the site of the Battle of Zarud.
  • 27. Having discussed the Bajali tribes, Ibn Hazm, on p. 365 of his book Jamharat Ansab al-’Arab, says, “[His full name is:] Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn Ibn al-Harith Ibn Amir Ibn Sa’d Ibn Malik Ibn Zuhayr Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Yashkur Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Malik Ibn Sa’d Ibn Tuzayn Ibn Qasr Ibn ‘Abqar Ibn Anmar Ibn Arash Ibn ‘Amr Ibn al-Ghawth Ibn Nabt Ibn Malik Ibn Zayd Ibn Kaylan Ibn Saba'.” On p. 310, the author traces the lineage of Saba' [known to Westerners as Sheba] thus: “Saba' Ibn Ya’rub Ibn Qahtan (Joktan).”
  • 28. Ibn Tawus, Al-Luhuf, p. 40.
  • 29. According to both Mu’jam al-Buldan and Al-Mu’jam fi ma Ista’jam [Concordance of what is non-Arab], it is one of the cities of the Khazar conquered in 33 A.H./653 A.D. by Salman Ibn Rabi’ah al-Bahili. I could not find any reference in either of these books to any other city bearing the same name, but Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, on p. 274, Vol. 3, of his book Al-Isaba, details the biography of Qays Ibn Farwah Ibn Zurarah Ibn al-Arqam adding, “He participated in the conquests of Iraq and was martyred at Ballinger, Iraq.” (!!!) He placed the accent marks on the word then added saying that Salman Ibn Rabi’ah was the commander of the army.
  • 30. The statement by Salman is cited in Al-Irshad by the mentor al-Mufid and also by al-Fattal on p. 153 of his book Rawat al-Wa’izin, by Ibn Nama on p. 23 of his book Muthir al-Ahzan, by al-Khawarizmi on p. 225, chapter 11, Vol. 1, of his book Maqtal al-Husayn, by Ibn al-Athir on p. 17, Vol. 4, of his book Al-Kamil, and by al-Bakri on p. 376, Vol. 1, of his concordance Al-Mu’jam fima Ista’jam. This is supported by what al-Tabari states on p. 77, Vol. 5, of his Tarikh, and by Ibn al-Athir as he states so on p. 50, Vol. 3, of his book Al-Kamil. Both authors testify that Salman participated in that invasion.
  • 31. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 224. al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn, Vol. 1, p. 222.
  • 32. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 23. Ibn Tawus, Al-Luhuf, p. 40. On p. 224, Vol. 6, of al-Tabari's Tarikh, first edition, it is stated that Zuhayr said to his wife, “You are divorced! So go back to your family, for I do not wish any harm to reach you on my account.” But I do not understand what his objective behind this divorce might have been!

    Did he wish to exclude her from inheriting him, or did he permit her to remarry after three months, or did he not wish her to be his wife in the hereafter?! The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) had divorced some of the Prophet's wives. Imam al-Riďa (‘a) had divorced Umm Farwa, al-Kaďim's wife [Imam Musa al-Kaďim being his {al-Riďa’s} father]. This free woman had actually done him [Zuhayr] a favour: she paved for him the path to eternal happiness through martyrdom. Our only solace is the fact that the person who had narrated that “tradition” was none other than al-Suddi.

  • 33. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 995. Ibn Kathir, on p. 168, Vol. 8, of his book Al-Bidaya, says that he did so repeatedly.
  • 34. Ibn Tawus, Al-Luhuf, p. 41. But I could not find even one reliable reference stating that al-Husayn (‘a) took Muslim's daughter Hamida by the head, so she sensed that something terrible must have happened.
  • 35. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 17. al-Thahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, Vol. 3, p. 208.
  • 36. as-Saduq, Amali, p. 93. Al-Tha’labiyya was named after a man belonging to Banu Asad named Tha’labah who had been there and who was able to dig a well in it. It is one stage after al-Shuquq for one travelling from Kufa to Mecca as we are told by Mu’jam al-Buldan. On p. 35, Vol. 2, of al-Samhudi's book Wafa’ al-Wafa’, it is an area located near a watering place called al-Tha’labiyya. On p. 311 of al-Ya’qubi's book Al-Buldan, and also according to the offset edition of Ibn Rastah's book Al-A’laq al-Nafisa, it is a city surrounded by a bulwark.
  • 37. al-Saffar, Basa‘ir al-Darajat, p. 3. It is also recorded in al-Kafi's Usul, in a chapter headed “Knowledge Derived from the Fountainhead of the Prophet's Family.”
  • 38. al-Thahsbi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, Vol. 3, p. 205.
  • 39. According to p. 213, Vol. 2, of Ibn Shahr Ashub's book, it is one stage following Zubala on the way of one who travels from Kufa to Mecca, and it belongs to Banu Asad. According to Mu’jam al-Buldan, al-Abadi's grave lies there.
  • 40. On p. 233, Vol. 1, of his book Maqtal al-Husayn, al-Khawarizmi claims he was al-Farazdaq, the poet, but this is an error that he made.
  • 41. Ibid. But al-Khawarizmi does not quote the fifth line of the original Arabic text, attributing these lines to the Imam, peace be upon him.
  • 42. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 226. It is located after al-Shuquq on a traveller's way from Kufa to Mecca. There is a fort there and a mosque for Banu Asad named after Zubala daughter of Mas’ar, a woman belonging to the ‘Amaliqah. The Battle of Zubala is well known to the Arabs, and there are some narrators of hadith whose last names are derived from Zubala as we are told by Mu’jam al-Buldan.
  • 43. Ibn Qawlawayh, Kamil al-Ziyarat, p. 75.
  • 44. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 226.
  • 45. al-Mufid, Irshad. Shaikh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Nafs al-Mahmum, p. 98 and following pages, first edition (Iran).
  • 46. Mu’jam al-Buldan tells us that it is named after a man bearing this name who had dug a well there followed by many large and plentiful wells of sweet water. According to p. 87, Vol. 4, of al-Tabari's Tarikh, when Sa’d Ibn Abu Waqqas was at Sharaf, al-Ash’ath Ibn Qays joined him with a hundred Yemenites. He left the throngs of men at Sharaf and took to Iraq.
  • 47. It is named after a mountain where al-Nu’man Ibn al-Munthir used to hunt, and al-Thubyani, the genius poet, composed poetry about it.
  • 48. According to p. 215 of Ibn Hazm's book Jamharat Ansab al-’Arab, his full name is al-Hurr Ibn Yazid Ibn Najiyah Ibn Qa’nab Ibn ‘Atab al-Radf Ibn al-Harmi Ibn Riyah Yarbu’. ‘Atab is called “al-Radf” because kings used to ride with him. On p. 213 of the same reference, the name of Yarbu’ is provided as: Yarbu’ Ibn Hanzalah Ibn Malik Ibn Yazid-Manut Ibn Tamim.
  • 49. al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn, Vol. 1, p. 230, Chapter 11.
  • 50. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 226.
  • 51. The reference to his citing these verses has already been indicated above.
  • 52. al-Mufid, Irshad. On p. 193, Vol. 2, of his book Al-Manaqib, Ibn Shahr Ashub adds the following verses to them:

    My soul do I present, not sparing it,
    To meet a lion in the battle, a charging one.

  • 53. It is located between Waqisa and ‘Uthayb al-Hajanat and is a spacious land inhabited by the offspring of Yarbu’ Ibn Hanzalah.
  • 54. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 229. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 21.
  • 55. According to Mu’jam al-Buldan, it is located about three miles from Khifya, and the latter is located westward more than ten miles from al-Rahba.
  • 56. as-Saduq, Amali, p. 93, majlis 30.
  • 57. al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn, Vol. 1, p. 226. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, where the entire hadith is cited.
  • 58. According to Vol. 3, p. 451, of Mu’jam al-Buldan, Khafan is a place near Kufa where there is a well near a village inhabited by the offspring of ‘Eisa Ibn Musa al-Hashimi. On p. 125, Vol. 7, al-Qatqatana is located more than twenty miles from Ruhayma.
  • 59. al-Mufid, Al-Irshad. al-Fattal, Rawdat al-Waizin. Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 118. al-Tabarsi, I’lam al-Wara, p. 136 (first Iranian edition). It is stated on p. 151, Vol. 1, of al-Thahabi's book Mizan al-I’tidal, that Abd al-Malik Ibn ‘Umayr al-Lakhmi was made governor of Kufa after al-Sha’bi, but his memory was weak, and he was prone to err quite often. On p. 309, Vol. 1, of al-Nawawi's book Thahthib al-Asma’, he died in 136 A.H./754 A.D. at the age of a hundred and three.
  • 60. al-Mufid, Al-Irshad. al-Fattal, Rawdat al-Wa’izin.
  • 61. Al-’Uthayb is a valley inhabited by Banu Tamim where a Persian garrison is [then and there] stationed. The distance between it and al-Qadisiyya is six miles. It was named so because the horses of al-Nu’man, king of Hira, used to graze there.
  • 62. al-Bukhari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 230.
  • 63. “Qasr Muqatil” means: the castle of Muqatil, namely Muqatil Ibn Hassan Ibn Thu’labah who, according to Yaqut al-Hamawi's Mu’jam al-Buldan, descended from Imri'ul-Qays Ibn Yazid Ibn Manat Ibn Tamim [the famous poet] . It is situated between ‘Ayn al-Tamr and al-Qatqatana. It was demolished by Eisa Ibn ‘Ali Ibn ‘Abdullah Ibn al-’Abbas, then he rebuilt it.
  • 64. On p. 168, Vol. 7, of al-Tabari's Tarikh, and also on p. 385 of Ibn Hazm's book Ansab al-’Arab, it is stated that this man was a staunch follower of ‘Uthman [Ibn ‘Affan] ; this is why he went out to support Mu’awiyah against ‘Ali (‘a) in the Battle of Siffin. On p. 169, Vol. 7, first edition, of al-Tabari's Tarikh, a number of incidents are narrated with regard to his violation of the Shari’a, his confiscation of wealth, and even his involvement in highway robberies.

    On p. 112, Vol. 4, of his book, Ibn al-Athir says the following about him: “When he over-extended his stay in Syria, the brother of his wife married the latter off to ‘Ikrimah Ibn al-Khabis. When the man heard about it, he returned and raised a complaint against ‘Ikrimah to ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (‘a). ‘Ali (‘a) said to him, ‘You have [only recently] fought against us on the side of our enemy...' Ibn al-Hurr said, ‘Does this mean that you are going to deprive me of your justice on that account?' The Imam (‘a) answered, ‘No.'

    The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) took the woman, who was by then pregnant [by ‘Ikrimah] and entrusted her to the custody of someone whom he could trust till her delivery. Once she gave birth, she was ordered to hand the newborn over to ‘Ikrimah. Then he (‘a) reunited her with ‘Ubaydullah who went back to Syria till the time when ‘Ali, peace be upon him, was killed.” To this incident does Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan refer on p. 136, Vol. 10, of his book Al-Mabsut, in a chapter dealing with the Kharijites, but he did not mention the name of ‘Ubaydullah Ibn al-Hurr.

    During the reign of ‘Abd al-Malik [Ibn Marwan Ibn al-Hakam, an Umayyad “caliph,” cousin and bearer of the seal of third caliph ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan], in the year 68 A.H./687 A.D., ‘Ubaydullah was killed near al-Anbar. On p. 297, Vol. 5, of al-Balathiri’s book titled Ansab al-Ashraf, his killer is identified as ‘Ubaydullah Ibn al-’Abbas al-Salami. Once he was seriously wounded, he boarded a boat to cross the Euphrates. The followers of his killer wanted to seize the boat, so he, being extremely frightened of them, hurled himself into the river as he was bleeding and died. On p. 268 of Risalat al-Mughtalin by Ibn Habib, his name is included in the seventh group of rare manuscripts examined by Harun ‘Abd al-Salam.

    That page states that ‘Abd al-Malik dispatched ‘Ubaydullah Ibn al-Hurr al-Ju’fi to fight Mis’ab with a large army, but the army had lagged behind him till all those in his company were killed. It was then that he was confronted by ‘Ubaydullah Ibn al-’Abbas al-Salami who fought him, forcing him to flee. Having fled, he boarded a ferry to cross the Euphrates. ‘Ubaydullah Ibn al-Salami threatened to kill the ferry's attendant if the latter succeeded in transporting the fugitive to the other side of the river bank, so he attempted to take him back, but Ibn al-Hurr embraced him, causing him to drown with him. Ibn al-Hurr's corpse was taken out of the river and installed as a practicing target. On p. 492 of his book Al-Mahbar, Ibn Habib says that Mis’ab Ibn al-Zubayr displayed Ibn al-Hurr's head at Kufa.

    On p. 583 of his book Jamharat Ansab al-’Arab, Ibn Hazm says that ‘Ubaydullah Ibn al-Hurr's sons are: Sadaqah, Barrah, and al-Ash’ar who all participated in the Jamajim Battle fighting on the side of Ibn al-Ash’ath. On p. 289 of Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal of al-Dinawari, it is stated that when al-Mukhtar decided to seek revenge for al-Husayn (‘a), ‘Ubaydullah Ibn al-Hurr al-Ju’fi was on the mountain staging assaults on people's properties, so al-Mukhtar sent him a message inviting him to take part in his bid to avenge the killing of Imam al-Husayn (‘a), but he did not send him any answer. Al-Mukhtar, therefore, demolished his house after confiscating all its contents and took his wife whom he jailed in Kufa.

    Had he sincerely repented for lagging behind, rather than supporting the oppressed Imam (‘a), he would have assisted al-Mukhtar in killing those who had killed al-Husayn (‘a). How could he have been able to attain repentance, having refused to respond to the invitation of the Master of Martyrs who knowingly walked to his Place, crowned with the divine light and surrounded by his family members?

  • 65. al-Dinawari, Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, p. 246.
  • 66. al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Khazanat al-Adab, Vol. 1, p. 298 (Bulaq, Egypt, edition). al-Balathiri, Ansab al-Ashraf, Vol. 5, p. 291.
  • 67. Shaikh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Nafs al-Mahmum, p. 104.
  • 68. Sayyid Kaďim al-Ha’iri, Asrar al-Shahada, p. 233.
  • 69. al-Dinawari, Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, p. 249.
  • 70. as-Saduq, Al-Amali, p. 94, majlis 30.
  • 71. Khizanat al-Adab, Vol. 1, p. 298.
  • 72. as-Saduq, ‘Iqab al-A’mal, p. 35. Al-Kashshi, Rijal, p. 74.
  • 73. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 231. On p. 48 of Maqtal al-’Awalim (of ‘Abdullah Nur-Allah al-Bahrani), it is stated that “Al-Husayn (‘a) took a nap in the after-noon at al-Uthayb. He saw in a vision someone saying, ‘You are speeding, yet death is speedily taking you to Paradise.'” According to p. 226, Vol. 1, of al-Khawarizmi's book Maqtal al-Husayn, al-Husayn (‘a) reached al-Tha’labiyya where he slept in the after-noon. He woke up weeping. His son, ‘Ali al-Akbar, asked him why he was weeping. ‘Son! This is an hour in which no vision tells a lie! Just as I felt drowsiness overtaking me..., etc.'”
  • 74. According to Vol. 10, bound edition No. 7, dated 1330 A.H./1912 A.D., it was one of the Taff villages, a town full of scholars and scholarship. It reached its zenith during the time of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (‘a). At the beginning of the third century, it did not amount to anything.
  • 75. al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad.
  • 76. al-Ghadiriyya is named after Ghadira, a clan of Banu Asad. It is said to lie to the north of ‘Awn’s grave. In Manahil al-Darb by Sayyid Ja’far al-A’raji al-Kaďimi, a manuscript at the private library of the authority Shaikh Agha Buzurg al-Tehrani, ‘Awn is the son of ‘Abdullah Ibn Ja’far Ibn Mar’i Ibn ‘Ali Ibn al-Hasan al-Banafsaj Ibn Idris Ibn Dawud Ibn Ahmad al-Mas’ud Ibn ‘Abdullah Ibn Musa al-Juhn Ibn ‘Abdullah Ibn al-Mahz Ibn al-Hassan II Ibn [Imam] al-Hasan (‘a) son of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a).

    He lived at the holy city of al-Ha’ir, and he had an estate two farasangs from Karbala’ where he died. He was buried there, and his grave lies under a dome. His shrine is sought by pilgrims and by those who have nathr. Many people are confused about him. Some say he is the son of ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (‘a), whereas others say he is the son of ‘Abdullah Ibn Ja’far at-Tayyar, since the latter was buried at the martyrs' cemetery at al-Hair.

    There are ruins there of a citadel known as Banu Asad's citadel. As regarding Shufayya, it is a well belonging to Banu Asad. Al-’Aqr used to be the area where the people of Bachtnuzzer used to reside. The Battle of ‘Aqr is the one wherein Yazid Ibn al-Muhallab was killed in 102 A.H./720 A.D. All these places are villages close to each other. On p. 95, Vol. 3, of his concordance titled Al-Mu’jam fima Ista’jam, al-Bakri says, “People used to say that the offspring of Harb sacrificed their religion in the Battle of Karbala’; the offspring of Marwan sacrificed their manliness in the Battle of ‘Aqr. It means that the first did so when they killed al-Husayn (‘a) at Karbala’, whereas the other party did so when they killed Yazid son of al-Muhallab at ‘Aqr.” On p. 16 of his book Tarikh al-Mosul, Ibn Iyas (who died in 334 A.H./945 A.D.) cites Kathir Ibn ‘Abdul-Rahman al-Khuza’i saying, “Goodness, by Allah, was annihilated when the son of al-Muhallab was killed.” And on p. 16, it is stated that al-Farazdaq eulogized Yazid Ibn al-Muhallab with verses one of which is the following:

    No female ever conceived nor did any deliver

    Anyone after the one killed at ‘Aqr.

  • 77. al-Turayhi, Muntakhab, p. 308, Hayderi Press edition (dated 1369 A.H./1950 A.D.).
  • 78. Ibn Shadqam, Tuhfat al-Azhar (a manuscript). On p. 209, Vol. 3, of Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, al-Thahbi writes saying that when al-Husayn (‘a) asked which land it was, and when he was told it was called Karbala’, he said, “Karb (affliction) and bala’ (trial and tribulation).”
  • 79. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 10, p. 188.
  • 80. See Al-Luhuf of Ibn Tawus.
  • 81. Excerpted from a 93-line poem by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Sharif Ibn Falah al-Kaďimi, the same poet who had composed the “Kerrari Poem” in praise of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), one critiqued by as many as eighteen of his contemporary poets. Both poems are among the manuscripts at the library belonging to the authority critic al-Amini, author of the Al-Ghadir encyclopaedia.

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