Karbala and Ashura

Followed by Ziyarah of Ashura and Ziyara of Warith

A brief yet documented narrative of events that took place in Medinah, Mecca, Karbāla’, Kufah, and Syria, and began in Rajab, 60 A.H. (680 CE) and ended in Muharram 61.

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Publisher’s Word

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

فإني لا أرى الموت إلا سعادة والحياة مع الظالمين إلا برماً.

الإمام الحسين (ع)

“Indeed I do not see death [for freedom] as but happiness, and living with unjust people as nothing but grief.”

Imam Husayn
61/680 CE

This book holds a brief yet documented narrative of events that took place in Medinah, Mecca, Karbāla’, Kufah, and Syria, and began in Rajab, 60 A.H. (680 CE) and ended in Muharram 61. These events represented the ever greatest revolution against tyranny and oppression—a revolution led by Imam Husayn, son of Imam ′Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Lady Fatimah az-Zahra, and grandson of Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon them all.

The Ansariyan Publications, as being always asked by the gentle readers to publish a book relating the whole story of Imam Husayn’s revolution and martyrdom, is pleased to introduce this work of Mr. ′Ali Husayn Jalali who looked into the most considerable reference books dealing with the events of the battle of Karbāla’ and chose the most important chapters of this tragic saga in a simple, comprehensive way.

As a matter of fact, the book was first published, in a form of a pamphlet, by The Open School, Chicago, but because of its opulent material, the Ansariyan Publications has thought proper to republish it in this semblance.

Hence, the pamphlet has been reprinted in a new form, and the famous Ziyarahs (etiquettes of the pilgrimage to the holy shrines of the prophets and saints) of Ashura’ and Warith were added at the end of the book.

Finally, we pray to God to guide all of us to follow the path of Imam Husayn with pure intents so as to gain the pleasures of this life and the life to come, Inshallah.

Ansariyan Publications
Qum, 2002


Historical Background

Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Husayn was born on the 3rd of Sha’ban, in the fourth year of Hijrah (625 CE). His grandfather, Muhammad, named him Husayn, which means ‘one of beautiful character.’

The Holy Quran refers to the Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatimah, her husband ′Ali, and their two sons Hasan and Husayn, in the Verse,

“Indeed, Allah wants to take away pollution from you, O, People of the House, and purify you [by a special kind of] purification.1

The Prophet indicated many times that the people of his House were the most qualified for leadership. Referring to Hasan and Husayn, he said, “These two are my sons. They are two Imams (leaders).”

During the lifetime of the Prophet, Abu Sufyan, his family, and other influential families of Mecca tried to stop the Prophet in any way they could. They even attempted to murder him, but they failed. Later, after the Prophet’s death, Abu Sufyan’s son—Muawiyah claimed to be the leader of the Islamic Nation. ′Ali, the cousin of the Prophet and the true leader of Muslims after the Prophet’s death, defended the Islamic Nation against Muawiyah who formed an alliance with the Byzantine Empire and waged war from his capital, Damascus. Although ′Ali challenged Muawiyah to settle their dispute one‑on‑one rather than with armies, Muawiyah always refused. Eventually, ′Ali was murdered during his prayers.

To attempt justice and peace, Imam Hasan, the true leader of Muslims after ′Ali’s death, signed a peace treaty with Muawiyah on the 5th of Jumada I, in the year 41 Hijrah (661 CE). The following is a translation of the original treaty:

“In the name of God, the Most Kind, the Most Merciful. The following shows how Hasan Ibn2 ′Ali Ibn Abi Talib made peace with Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan. He made peace with him on the condition that he takes over the command of the Muslims, rule them according to the Book of God and the tradition of His Prophet; that Muawiyah would not pledge the Caliphate to anyone; that the people would have peace wherever they live in the land of God, whether in Syria, the Yemen, Iraq or the Hijaz; that ′Ali’s companions and his followers, their persons, their money, their wives, and their children would be safe wherever they were; that Muawiyah pledges this before God; that he would harbor no evil or harmful schemes, whether in secret or in the open, towards Hasan Ibn ′Ali, his brother Husayn or any of the People of the House of the Messenger of God; that he would not terrorize then in any respect.”3

However, immediately after signing the treaty, Muawiyah said, “I trample this treaty under my feet!” He announced that he is creating the Umayyad dynasty and that when he dies, his son Yazid would succeed him as a king.

This goes against Islamic principles of election and justice in leadership in accordance with the Holy Quran and the tradition of the Prophet. Even though Muawiyah broke his agreement in the treaty and was going against Islamic principles, he warned his son, Yazid, not to kill Imam Husayn. Although Yazid wanted to rule the Islamic Nation and perpetuate his father’s Umayyad dynasty, he chose to ignore his father’s advice about Husayn. Muawiyah and his Umayyad dynasty operated by deception, bribery, bloody violence, and fear, and that is how his son Yazid forced the people to obey him as king.

Imam Husayn

After examining all of the facts involved, it becomes very clear that Imam Husayn was fully aware of his situation. Because he was the grandson of Prophet Muhammad and the spiritual leader of the community, and Yazid was a drunkard, womanizer, and cold‑blooded murderer, the Imam had no choice but to stand up to the unjust Umayyad Dynasty.

The Imam even mentioned that if everyone were to pay allegiance to Yazid, “Say goodbye to Islam.” There can be no doubt that the Imam knew that if he had paid allegiance to a drunkard who was not qualified for leadership, the Islamic Nation would have fallen apart. That is why the Imam made it very clear to everyone that his mission was to save the pure principles of Islam and fight against the evil people who try to destroy its purity.

The Imam’s acute awareness of the political and social situation at that time is clear from his many sayings to the people and his sermons. Many times people tried to convince the Imam not to go to Kufah, but he always refused, even though he knew he would be killed. Also, on several occasions when the Imam’s camp was faced with a military confrontation, Imam Husayn refused the requests of his people to initiate a battle and kill the enemy. The Imam refused and chose to avoid bloodshed by any means possible. Furthermore, the Imam repeatedly insisted upon his followers to leave and save their own lives.

So, we can see that the Imam was not being manipulated by forces out of his control. As a matter of fact, he was conscious of every decision he made and he always thought carefully before making any decision, because his main concern was to preserve the pure spirituality of the Islamic Nation. In short, the Imam knew that the people did not fully understand how evil Yazid was, and he knew that the only way to awaken the people was by showing them how far Yazid would go to stay in power that he would even spill the blood of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

In fact, the martyrdom of Imam Husayn marked the beginning of the end of the Umayyad dynasty.

The Text

The following text is a free translation of portions of authentic historical documents into English, focusing primarily on English language equivalence of the subject, in meaning, rather than literal translation. The translation consists mainly of selections of text from Maqtal al‑Husayn, by ′Abdul Razzaq al‑Muqarram, but also includes portions of al-′Amali by Shaykh Abu Ja′far al‑Sadiq, and Mazarat Ahl al‑Bayt. Al‑Muqarram’s work, Maqtal al‑Husayn, was compiled from a variety of sources. It was chosen for translation because the author includes extensive references to his sources. For translation, the Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic was consulted, and the Library of Congress System was used for transliteration of Arabic words.

The texts have been rearranged to conform to accurate chronological order and have therefore been divided into three sections: Before Karbāla’, At Karbāla’, and After Karbāla’. The only break in the order of events is chapter six, Muslim’s sons. Although they were captured after the massacre of Karbāla’, I feel it is appropriate to place them with the chapter of their father. Also, all references in the original to the Arabic words “Ahl al‑Bayt (literally ‘people of the house’) has been translated as “People of the House of the Prophet,” or, “the Prophet’s House.” The word Shi′a (literally, ‘followers’, referring to followers of the Prophet’s House) has been translated as “the Followers”, as a collective name for the group. For consistency, all references to the Holy Quran are detailed in a footnote by mentioning the Chapter (Sura) number and Verse (ayah) number. Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Jalali was consulted for accurate English translations of the original Arabic text. The map, by Hasan Husayn Jalali, is included to improve geographical understanding of the movement of Imam Husayn, as well as probable routes of the Umayyad Army between Karbāla’, Kufah, Damascus, and Medinah.

′Ali H. Jalali

Chicago, 1994

  • 1. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of Ahzab 33:33.
  • 2. Ibn means ‘son of’.
  • 3. See: al‑Fusul al‑Muhimmah by Ibn al‑Sabbagh, p. 163

Before Karbala’

Yazid Demands Allegiance

Yazid, in order to assure his kingship, needed the submission of his political rivals. He ordered the governor of Medinah to take the allegiances of Imam Husayn (grandson of Prophet Muhammad and spiritual leader of the community) and Ibn az-Zubayr1 (a political rival of Yazid) right away, and if they refuse, to kill them. It was late in the night, but the governor immediately sent a deputy to call them. He found them in Masjid al‑Nabi, the masjid of the Prophet and the center of the city. Ibn az-Zubayr became suspicious of the governor’s messenger coming at such a time.

Imam Husayn immediately said, “This must have to do with the death of Muawiyah, and the governor must want us to pay allegiance to his son Yazid before anyone knows about it.”

This became apparent to Ibn az-Zubayr when he went to meet the governor. But, when Imam Husayn went, he went well armed, with thirty of his best followers, on horseback. Imam Husayn told them to wait at the door, and when they hear an argument, come in, otherwise, stay outside the door. As soon as he came inside, the governor told him straight out, “You have to pay allegiance to Yazid.’’

Imam Husayn replied, “A person like me should not pay allegiance secretly. If you want, you can call all the people, in public, and ask everyone, and us with them, to have one voice.”

The governor accepted, but his secretary Marwan warned him, “If he leaves you and does not pay allegiance now, you will not have power over him again. Put him in prison until he pays allegiance, or kill him.”

Imam Husayn said, “Whoever of you kills me will be sinful and untruthful.” Then, to the governor, he said, “O governor! We are the People of the Prophet’s House, and we are descendants of the Prophet. Yazid is a drunkard who kills people without reason, and a person like me does not pay allegiance to a person like him. However, let us meet in the morning and let us see, you and us, who is most eligible for leadership.”

Then, the governor said some harsh words, in a loud voice, and when the thirty guards heard the noise, nineteen of them broke the door, came in, took Imam Husayn, and all thirty of the Imam’s guards rode off together with the Imam.

Marwan turned to the governor and said, “You did not obey me, and you will not have power over the Imam again.”

Governor Walid said, “Go and blame someone else, Marwan. You want me to kill Imam Husayn because he refuses to pay allegiance? And you think this is an easy thing to do, to get away with the blood of Husayn?”

The Imam immediately went to visit the grave of his grandfather and continued praying until morning. During the night, governor Walid sent deputies to Imam Husayn’s house. They could not find him, and they thought that he left the city. In the morning, the governor’s deputy found the Imam at the grave of his grandfather. He came to Imam Husayn, advising him to pay allegiance because it was better for his life.

Imam Husayn said, “If Muslims pay allegiance to Yazid, say goodbye to Islam.”

The next night, Imam Husayn went to the grave of his grandfather again and recited a few chapters of the Holy Quran. Then he said, “O Lord! This is the grave of Your Prophet Muhammad, and I am the son of his daughter, and You know best what is happening to me. I do not want anything but to promote the right and prevent the wrong. I ask You by the right of this grave, that you choose for me what pleases You.”

Then he cried and fell asleep. He had a dream that his grandfather Prophet Muhammad foretold what is going to happen in the future. When he woke up in the morning, he went to his family, his brothers, al‑Atraf and Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyyah, as well as Umm Salamah, and other lady members of his family. They were upset about his refusal to pay allegiance to Yazid and his decision to leave Medinah for Mecca.

His argument to Umm Salamah was, “If I do not leave now, eventually they are going to kill me. I should not give them excuses at this time.”

He bade farewell to all the family and asked them to be brave. When he left, he left his will with his half‑brother, Muhammad Ibn al‑Hanafiyyah. On the will he wrote:

“In the Name of God, the Most Kind, the Most Merciful. This is the will that Husayn Ibn ′Ali Ibn Abi Talib leaves to his brother Muhammad Ibn al‑Hanafiyyah, that Husayn has witnessed that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. He brought the truth from God that heaven is true, that hell is true, and the Time will come without any doubt, and God will resurrect everyone from his or her graves.

Indeed, my movement is not evil, reckless, mischievous, or unjust. I do support correcting what is wrong in the nation of my father, I do want to encourage the right, and prevent the wrong, and follow the tradition of my grandfather, and my father, ′Ali Ibn Abi Talib. Whoever accepts me by truth, God is the protector of the truth, and whoever refuses this, I will be patient while God decides between me and them, and He is the best Judge. This is my will to my brother and all success depends on God, and only on Him I rely.”

Imam Husayn sealed the will and gave it to his brother Muhammad Ibn al‑Hanafiyyah. He left Medinah on Sunday night, two days before the end of Rajab, along with his brother ′Abbās, the children of his brother Hasan, and other family members. While leaving he recited the Verse from the Quran:

“So, he [Prophet Moses] left it [the city] in fear, hoping. He said, ‘O Lord! Save me from the unjust people!2

He chose to take the main route to Mecca. Some tried to convince him to take a less‑traveled route, so it would not be so easy for the governor to find him.

Imam Husayn refused, saying, “I am not going to deviate from the common road, and God does whatever He decides.”

The Imam Enters Mecca

Imam Husayn settled at the house of ′Abbās Ibn ′Abdul Muttalib. The people of Mecca visited him and pilgrims visiting the city for the upcoming Hajj season also visited him. Ibn az-Zubayr also visited the Imam, but he was jealous that the Imam was attracting all the attention. Occasionally, Imam Husayn went to visit the grave of his grandmother Khadijah, and prayed there. Before he left Mecca, he sent messages to the leaders of the city of Basrah, Malik Ibn Musma′ al‑Bakri, al‑Ahnaf Ibn Qays, al‑Mundhir Ibn Jarud, Mas′ud Ibn ′’Amr, Qays Ibn al‑Haytham, and ′Amr ibn ′Ubayd Ibn Mu′ammar.

Imam Husayn’s letter read “Indeed, God has chosen Muhammad from among His creation for His prophethood, then He took him to Himself. God has advised His Creatures through His Prophet. We are his family, his followers, and heirs, and we deserve his succession more than anyone else. People chose me for this and I have accepted that, and I have sent my deputy to you with this book, and I call you to observe the book of God and the tradition of His Prophet, because his tradition has been denied and innovation has been revived. If you listen, I will guide you to the right path.”

Al‑Mundhir Ibn Jarud immediately turned in the messenger to the authorities because he thought the messenger was a spy of Ibn Ziyad, posing as the Imam’s messenger in order to trap Imam Husayn’s followers. When the messenger was turned in, al‑Mundhir realized that he was truly the Imam’s messenger but it was too late, and Ibn Ziyad ordered him to be hung that same night. Al‑Ahnaf Ibn Qays replied to the Imam, saying, “Be patient. Indeed, the promise of God is truth,” and hinted that now is not the right time to stand up to Yazid.

Mas′ud Ibn ‘Amr gathered the tribes of Tamim, Hamdarah, and Sa’d and asked Bani Tamim, “What do you think of me?”

They answered, “You are the backbone of our tribe, you are the head, and the honorable one.”

He said, “I have gathered you for consultation on an important matter.”

They asked, “What can we do?”

He said, “Muawiyah is dead, and you know what Muawiyah has done and he appointed his son Yazid as his successor. He is a drunkard and a womanizer, and has been appointed as the leader for Muslims without the consent or knowledge of the people. I swear by the name of God that I wish to fight in Jihad against him. And, this is Husayn, son of ′Ali, grandson of the Prophet of God, with a clear lineage, and firm knowledge, and excellent character, and he is most fit for this matter.

I am going to go and get my armor and battle gear, and whoever wants to do whatever he wants, it is up to him.”

Banu Hamdarah replied, “We do what you do, we help you by our swords, and protect you by our bodies!”

Banu ′Amir also said similar things, but the tribe of Bani Sa’d replied, “Let us think about it, and we will get back to you with a response.”

So, Mas′ud Ibn ‘Amr wrote to Imam Husayn saying, “You come and I am going to be your helper. All of our necks are in your obedience.”

When Imam Husayn read the reply, he said, “May God protect you on the Day of Judgment.”

Later, Masud gathered his army but, as they were on their way to meet the Imam at Karbāla’, the news reached them that Imam Husayn was killed. Masud was very upset that he was not able to help the Imam in time.

One man in the city had ten children, and when the Imam’s messenger came with the message, he gathered his children and said, “I am going to help Imam Husayn. Whoever wants to help me is welcome.” Two of his sons, ′Abdullah and ‘Ubaydullah, accepted. The three of them joined the Imam in Mecca and stayed with him until they were killed with him at Karbāla’.

While the Imam was in Mecca, the people of Kufah sent letters inviting him, individually and in groups, all asking the Imam to come to Kufah. They stated that they were rejecting the governor of Kufah, an-Numan Ibn Bashir. The letters of invitation continued. In one day, he received six hundred letters.

They insisted, but he never replied to any of them. The last letter that came to him was from Shibth Ibn Rab’i, Hajjaj Ibn Abjar, Yazid Ibn al‑Harith, Azra Ibn Qays, ‘Amr Ibn al‑Hajjaj, and Muhammad Ibn ′Umayr Ibn ′Utarib. Their letter said, “Indeed, people are waiting for you. They have no choice but you, O son of the Messenger of God! Hurry! Hurry! The land is green, the fruits are ripe, and if you arrive, you arrive to an army totally loyal to you.”

The Imam received two sacs of letters, 12,000 in all, and wrote one letter in response to all of them. He gave replies to the last two messengers of Kufah, saying:

“In the name of God, the Most Kind, the Most Merciful. From Husayn Ibn ′Ali, to the group of Muslims and believers: Indeed, Hāni and Sa′d came to me carrying your letters and they are the last messengers that came from you. I understand every episode you have mentioned, and the arguments of most of you, ‘We have no leader, come to us, and may God guide us through you to the truth.’ Therefore, I send to you my brother and cousin; a trustworthy one from my family, and I commanded him to write to me about your situation and your decision. If he writes to me the decision of most of the people and the intelligent ones among you, as you have written to me and I have read your letters, then I will come to you as soon as possible. Indeed, a leader should follow the Quran and be just to the people. He should believe in truth and strain himself for the sake of God. Peace.”

Then, he gave the letter to Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil and said, “Go to Kufah. Whatever God wishes will happen, and I wish that you and I will be in the ranks of the martyrs. When you arrive in Kufah, reside with the reliable people.”

The Journey of Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil

The Imam sent three people with Muslim: Qays Ibn Mash′ar al‑Saydawi, ′Imarah Ibn ′Abdullah al‑Saluli and ′Abdul Rahman Ibn ′Abdullah al‑Azdi. The Imam said to Muslim, “Fear God, and check to see if whatever the people of Kufah are saying in their letters is true. If that is the case, write me a letter immediately about the situation.”

Muslim left Mecca on the 15th of Ramadan traveling by way of Medinah. He went to Masjid al‑Nabi and prayed there. Then he bade farewell to his relatives and asked two people to help lead the way for him to Kufah. On the way, they were lost and decided to stop, but Muslim kept going. He did not stop until he reached a place called Batn al‑Khabt where he found some water and stayed. He immediately sent a messenger to Imam Husayn and informed him of what happened. The Imam replied that he should continue towards Kufah without any delay. On his way he stayed near the water of the tribe of Tay, then he left.

He arrived in Kufah on the 5th of Shawwal and went to the house of Mukhtar Ibn Abi Ubayd al‑Thaqafi who was an intelligent, experienced person and a follower of the People of the House. From his arrival, all the Followers of Kufah gathered to Muslim’s house expressing their welcome and obedience to the Imam. After Muslim read the Imam’s letter to them, ‘Abis Ibn Shabib al-Shakiri stood up and said, “I am not talking on behalf of these people and I do not know what they have in mind and I do not deceive you. I swear by God I tell you what I believe and what I will do, I will be there whenever you call me and I fight for you against your enemy, and I shall use my sword for you, until I reach my Lord, and I do not need anything but nearness to God.”

Habib Ibn Mu¨ahir stood and said, “You said what is in your heart briefly, and I swear by God that I say the same thing.”

Sa′id Ibn ′Abdullah al‑Hanafi stood and said similar things and then people paid allegiance to Muslim, and they were counted as 18,000, and in another report 25,000, and in Shi’bi’s report, 40,000. Then, Muslim wrote a letter to the Imam and sent it with ‘Abis Ibn Shabib al‑Shakiri, explaining the situation and the intense desire of the people for his arrival. In his letter he said, “A leader does not lie to his people. The people of Kufah, so far, have paid allegiance to me, 18,000 of them, so depart for Kufah as you receive my letter.”

This happened twenty‑seven nights before Muslim’s death. The Kufans wrote to the Imam, “Continue on your way. You have 100,000 swords here. Please do not hesitate to come as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, those who were allied with the Umayyads, such as ‘Umar Ibn Sa′d Ibn Abi Waqqas wrote to Yazid telling him of the movement of Muslim and the people of Kufah and pointing out that his present governor, an-Numan Ibn Bashir is not fit to stand against them. Yazid consulted his Christian chief advisor, Sirjawn. He advised Yazid to replace the governor with ‘Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad who was a known bastard. Marjanah3 is his mother and he is called Ibn Ziyad even though the identity of his father is not known. Sirjawn reminded Yazid that his father, Muawiyah adopted Ibn Ziyad and trained him in the military, and added that it was Muawiyah’s wish to use Ibn Ziyad. Then, he gave Yazid a letter sealed by Muawiyah, predicting the importance of Ibn Ziyad in difficult situations. Yazid immediately opened the letter and implemented his father’s plan.

‘Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad was in Basrah, not far from Kufah. Yazid wrote to him, “Go to Kufah, capture Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil, and see what is appropriate to imprison him, send him to exile, or kill him.”

Ibn Ziyad went with five hundred people from Basrah and he did not delay or stop for any reason. Some of his people got sick on the way, and he left them to die in the desert. When he arrived in al-Qadisiyyah, his servant, Mahran, fell behind, and Ibn Ziyad left him to die.

Before he reached the city, Ibn Ziyad dressed up like Imam Husayn so that, when he passed through the guards and the people, they would think that he was the Imam. They came to him and said, “O, grandson of the Prophet of God,” but he did not reply at all. When he reached Kufah from the Najaf entrance, people came to him welcoming him with one voice, but he did not reply and continued immediately towards Qasr al‑lmarah, the castle of the governor. When he knocked on the door, the governor an-Numan did not open. Instead, he went up to the roof and said, “O Son of the Messenger of God! I am not going to welcome you in this castle!”

Ibn Ziyad said, “Open the door, your night will be too long.”

When someone heard him and realized that it was a trick, he said, “O people! I swear by the Ka′bah that this is Ibn Ziyad, not Imam Husayn!”

The people all ran away to their houses, and in the morning Ibn Ziyad announced a meeting in Masjid al‑Kufah, and made a speech warning them and encouraging the enemies of the Prophet’s House by giving bribes.

He said, “Anyone who helps the enemy of the governor and does not report that to us will be hanged in front of his own house!”

Muslim Stands

Ibn Ziyad immediately went hunting after Muslim. When Muslim heard about the speech of Ibn Ziyad and his threat, he decided to find a new place to stay. That night, he secretly left the house of Mukhtar and went to the house of Hāni Ibn ′Urwah who was Sheikh of the tribe of Murad. He had 4,000 cavalry and 8,000 infantry, not including their other allies, which would be 30,000 all together. At that time, a man named Sharik Ibn ′Abdullah al‑A′war was also visiting Hāni. Ibn Ziyad and he were both from Basrah, so when Sharik became sick Ibn Ziyad came to visit.

Sharik told Muslim that this was the perfect time to kill Ibn Ziyad. While they were talking, Ibn Ziyad came in. Muslim hid. Sharik was nervous and said something to signify to Muslim to come and kill Ibn Ziyad.

Ibn Ziyad looked at Hāni and said, “It seems your cousin (Sharik) is hallucinating.”

Hāni replied, “He has been talking nonsense for a while, ever since he got sick. He does not know what he is saying.

After Ibn Ziyad left, Sharik asked Muslim, “Why did you not come to kill him?”

Muslim replied, “For two reasons: First, I heard the Hadith of the Prophet saying, “Innal iman qayd ul‑fatk” (a believer does not assassinate anybody by deception), and second, Hāni’s wife took my hand and made me swear to God not to kill him, crying and begging me not to.”

When Hāni heard that, he said, ‘‘Ya wailah! She has killed me, killed herself, and killed everybody by what she has done!”

Sharik died after three days of his sickness. Ibn Ziyad honored him at his funeral. Later, when Ibn Ziyad realized that Sharik was helping to hide Muslim, he wanted to exhume his body, but he did not because it was buried near the grave of one of his own relatives.

Meanwhile, the Followers were secretly contacting Muslim in Hāni’s house. Finally, Ibn Ziyad hired a slave named Ma’qil and gave him 3,000 Dinars to report on the Followers.

Ma′qil disguised himself as a person from Syria and said he was the slave of a tribe of Followers called Dhul‑Kila and God has given him guidance to convert, and when he heard that there was someone following Imam Husayn, he came to help. He said he had money to give to the representative of the Imam.

Ma′qil went to the masjid and infiltrated the people who were devoted to prayer. He saw Ibn ‘Awsajah al‑Asadi and got close to him. He told him that he had money for the Imam and he did not know what to do with it. So, Ibn ‘Awsajah prayed for him and led him to Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil. Muslim gave it to Abi Thumlah al-Sa′idi who was in charge of money. Everyday, this Ma’qil came to Muslim in Hāni’s house and reported to Ibn Ziyad all the activities of the Followers.

Hāni Ibn ‘Urwah

When Ibn Ziyad was sure of Muslim’s residence in Hāni’s house, he sent spies to watch the activities outside and inside the house and see who comes and who does not. Then, he sent some people to Hāni, saying, “The governor missed you and he asked about your health and we have told him that you are an old man and cannot come, but he said he wanted to see you.” They insisted that Hāni would visit the governor. He refused, but they insisted and finally succeeded. When he arrived in the castle, Ibn Ziyad said to him, “A traitor comes on his feet!”

Shurayh al‑Qadi sat by his side as Ibn Ziyad said to Hāni, “You have brought Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil to your house! You have gathered arms for him!”

Hāni denied. When the argument became heated, Ibn Ziyad called Ma’qil. Then Hāni said to Ibn Ziyad, “You know I know your father, and I would like you to be honored, I would like to advise you. You and your people should leave this city and go to Sham (Syria) because now we have someone who is more deserving to be obeyed than you and your friends.”

Ibn Ziyad said, “You are not going to leave me until you bring him to me.”

Hāni said, “If he was under my feet, I would not lift my feet for you.”

Ibn Ziyad threatened him with death, and Hāni replied, “That would be a declaration of war.”

Ibn Ziyad took his sword and cut Hāni’s nose with it, then ordered the guards to take him down to the dungeon.

‘Amr Ibn Hajjaj, Hāni’s brother in law, heard that Hāni was killed. He and a group of his tribe went and surrounded the castle. Ibn Ziyad ordered Shurayh al‑Qadi to announce that Hāni is alive and not dead. When he did that, they left, but he never told them that Hāni was in the dungeon. When Shurayh went to the dungeon to see Hāni, Hāni said to him, “Ten of my people would take me away from this.”

Shurayh did not even let Hāni know that his people actually did come, but they were tricked. Instead, he told Hāni not to worry and everything will be fine.

When Muslim heard the news about Hāni he left Hāni’s house and called his followers. They gathered, and there were 4,000 in all. They chanted the slogan of the Muslims at the battle of Badr during the time of the Prophet. Muslim divided them into four groups and they marched towards the castle. Ibn Ziyad had only thirty people. He locked all the doors and told Shurayh al‑Qadi to deceive the people. Shurayh went to the roof of the castle and announced, “O people of Kufah! Do not kill yourselves. An army of reinforcements is coming from the capital Damascus!”

One by one they left, and the four thousand shrank to three hundred, then to thirty, then when Muslim started praying the ′Esha –Evening- Prayer, there were only three people behind him. When he finished praying, there was no one left. He walked around the streets of Kufah, not knowing were to go.

When Ibn Ziyad realized that his trick worked, he sent his spies to look from the high towers of the castle to check the reaction of the people. When he noticed that not many people were around, he ordered soldiers to see if any of the people left were rebellious. Then he tied torches to ropes and lowered them from the roof of the castle over the wall of the masjid to see if there was anybody hiding there.

When they could not find anyone, Ibn Ziyad announced that anyone who gives shelter to Muslim would be killed, and he ordered his soldiers to search all the houses and capture Muslim. Then, he ordered guards at the entrance of the city to catch all of those who were on Muslim’s side.

Meanwhile, Mukhtar Ibn ‘Ubaydullah al‑Thaqafi was in his village, Khatwaniyyah. Ibn Ziyad ordered everyone to denounce Imam Husayn and carry the white flag of surrender, and everyone did, including Mukhtar, but Ibn Ziyad ordered to imprison Mukhtar and ‘Amr Ibn al‑Harith, and hit them with his sword. They remained in prison until the day of Ashura.4

Muslim walked alone in the streets of Kufah in the neighborhood of Kindah. After some time, he became tired and stood in the middle of the street. The owner of one of the houses there was a woman called Taw′ah who had a son named Bilal. She was looking for her son to come home but she saw Muslim standing in the street. She did not recognize him at first, but when she realized that he was Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil, she gave him shelter, fed him, and kept him in a different room than her son’s. When her son came home and saw his mother going to the other room, he asked her what was going on, and she refused to tell him. He kept insisting until, after making him promise to keep it secret, she told him.

But, in the morning, her son Bilal went and told Ibn Ziyad where Muslim was. Ibn al‑‘Ash’ath came with seventy soldiers to capture Muslim at dawn while he was praying. When he heard horses galloping, Muslim knew that he was discovered. He finished his prayer and said to Taw′ah, “You have done what you should do, may the Messenger of God intercede for you. Yesterday, I dreamed that my uncle ′Ali, Leader of the Faithful, told me: You will be with me tomorrow.”

The soldiers got off their horses and came in, but Muslim went to them, fought them, and forced them out of the house. He fought bravely, pushing all of the soldiers back into the street and killing forty‑one of them. He fought with the strength of a man that knows it is his last fight. He cut, hit, and pushed soldiers out of his way. Some of them, he grabbed by their hands and threw them onto the rooftops. With more than half of his troops dead and the rest injured, the leader sent a message to Ibn Ziyad requesting more troops.

Ibn Ziyad responded, “What? I sent you out to get one man, not an army!”

The leader replied, “Do you think you want me to catch a grocery boy of Kufah? You want me to capture a sword of the People of Muhammad!”

Muslim fought one‑on‑one and hit Bukayr twice. Bukayr’s sword hit Muslim on his mouth and cut his upper lip. Muslim hit him on his head and neck and killed him. They realized that they could not get him one by one, so they went on the rooftops and hit him with stones. Then, they set reeds on fire and threw them at him.

He said:

“I swear I am not going to die except as a free man!

Though death is a bad thing,

Everyone faces difficulty some day.

Hot and cold would mix one day.

His soul would return to him, and be permanent.

I am afraid that I would be lied to, or deceived.”

He became weak from his wounds and loss of blood and he leaned against a wall. They continued shooting arrows and throwing rocks until he said, “Why do you throw rocks on me and we are the family of the Prophets? We are not unbelievers!”

Ibn al‑‘Ash’ath, the chief of the army, came close to him and said, “Do not kill yourself, you are under my protection.”

Muslim answered, “I am not going to be captured as long as I have power. No! That will never happen!”

Muslim attacked him and the chief ran away. Once he retreated away from Muslim, the chief gave the order and the soldiers all attacked at once from all sides. Someone hit Muslim from behind. He fought and retreated backwards until he fell into a covered pit that they dug as a trap for him. After he fell into the pit, they took his sword from his hand and captured him. When they took his sword away from him, he cried.

  • 1. ‘Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr (624-692 CE) led a rebellion against the Umayyad dynasty and was killed in a fighting against the Umayyad army sent by Abdu’l-Melik ibn Marwan.
  • 2. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Qasas 28:21.
  • 3. Marjana, Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad’s mother, was such a notorious prostitute that everybody all over the Islamic State had heard of her name.
  • 4. Day of ‘Ashura is the tenth of Muharram, celebrated as a day of mourning (the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussayn.)

Muslim Meets Ibn Ziyad

They brought him to Ibn Ziyad and when Muslim saw water he asked for some. Bahili said to him, “You are not going to taste this water until you taste the fire of Hell.”

Muslim said, “Who Are You? You are the one who deserves the fire!” And sat at the wall of the castle. Later, a woman named ‘Umarah gave him a bowl of water. Whenever Muslim tried to drink, the bowl became filled with his own pouring blood. After the third time trying to drink the water, all of his teeth fell into the bowl. He gave up and put the bowl down. Then, the guards took him inside and ordered him to say ‘Salaam Alaykum’ to the new governor, Ibn Ziyad. Muslim replied, “Shut up! He is your governor. I say Salaam to whoever follows the truth!”

Ibn Ziyad laughed and said, “If you say ‘Salaam Alaykum’ or not, you are going to die anyway.”

Muslim said, “If you kill me, there have been better people than me killed by worse people than you.”

Ibn Ziyad said, “You have rebelled against your leader, you have divided Muslims and have created disorder.”

Muslim said, “Indeed, Muawiyah and his son Yazid have divided Muslims and created disorder. And your father is the beginning of disorder! I wish to reach martyrdom at the hands of the worst person in the world.”

Then Muslim asked someone in the court to write a will for him. He looked at the people and recognized ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d1 and asked if he would carry his will but ‘Umar refused. Ibn Ziyad ordered him to take it because he wanted to find out for himself what Muslim would write.

Muslim went to ‘Umar and said, “First pay the loan I took when I came to Kufah, six hundred Dirhams. Second, take my body from Ibn Ziyad and give it an Islamic burial. Third, write to Imam Husayn and tell him what happened to me.”

‘Umar Ibn Sa’d immediately went to Ibn Ziyad and revealed it to him. Ibn Ziyad said to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, “The trustworthy one never betrays you but sometimes you trust a liar.”

Then, he came to Muslim and said, “You came to people and divided them.”

Muslim replied, “No! Never! I did not come for that, but people of this city claim that your father has killed their best people and we came to bring justice and to implement the Quran.”

Ibn Ziyad said, “That is not your business, we were giving them justice.”

Muslim said, “God knows that you are not truthful and you kill people without justice.”

Then Ibn Ziyad cursed Imam ′Ali and Imam Husayn, and Muslim said, “You and your father deserve that more than anyone else.” Ibn Ziyad ordered a man from Syria to take Muslim to the roof, cut his head off, and throw his body down into the street. He took him to the roof while Muslim was saying, “Subhanallah!2 O God, judge between us and these people who betrayed us, deceived us, and denied us.” Then he turned his face to Medinah and said, “Assalamu ′ala al‑Husayn.”3 The Syrian killed him and dropped his head and his body to the ground.

When he killed Muslim, he saw a strange and horrifying vision. After he killed Muslim, the man came to Ibn Ziyad, afraid, and said, “When I killed him I saw a man pointing to me, and it scared me.”

Ibn Ziyad waved him away and ordered Hāni to be taken to the market. They tied Hāni up and took him, and no one helped him. Hāni struggled and managed to untie the ropes. He got out of the ropes, picked up a stick, and fought with it, but the guards lunged at him all at once and killed him with their swords.

Ibn Ziyad ordered the bodies of both Muslim and Hāni to be dragged up and down the streets of Kufah, and then hung upside down in a place called Kunnasah. He sent their heads to Yazid who hung them at the city wall of Damascus, his capital.

With the heads, Ibn Ziyad sent a letter to Yazid, “Thank God that the leader of the faithful (Amir ul-Mu’minin)4 was successful. We captured Muslim in the house of Hāni. I scattered spies around them until I found them. I cut off their heads and sent them to you by two people who are reliable, and the Leader of the faithful can ask them about the details.”

Yazid replied to Ibn Ziyad, “You did what a wise man has to do, you spoke the truth, as I believed in you. I asked the two messengers the details and I have heard that Husayn Ibn ′Ali has gone towards Iraq. Keep your eyes open and kill people whom you are suspicious of. Do not wait for any proof. Husayn is the problem. Either you fight him or you send him to me.”

  • 1. Both ‘Umar and Muslim were from Medina
  • 2. Subhanallah –Praise be to God- is an expression of surprise.
  • 3. Salaam –peace- be upon Hussayn.
  • 4. This title, which means ‘the leader of the faithful ones’, though Prophet Mohammad said it to Imam ‘Ali exclusively, was used to every one to come to power in the Islamic State.

Muslim’s Son

Two of Muslim’s sons were in Kufah. Al‑Saduq (d. 381/991 CE) narrates in his book, al‑‘Amali, by his chain of Isnad from an old man of Kufah, who said, “When the Imam was killed, two of Muslim’s children, Muhammad and Ibrahim, were captured. Ibn Ziyad put them in jail and ordered to give them a hard time. The two kids fasted all day and every night they were given one loaf of bread and water. They stayed that way for about a year. One night, they talked with each other and decided to tell the jailer about their identity so he might make it easy for them. That night, the youngest one asked the man, “Do you know who Muhammad was?”

He said, “Of course I know Muhammad. He is the Prophet of God.”

“Do you know Ja′far Ibn Abi Talib?’’

“Of course, I know him. He is known as Dhul‑Janahayn1 -the one with two wings. -”

“Do you know ′Ali Ibn Abi Talib?

“Of course I know him, He is the cousin of the Prophet.”

Then he said, “O Guard! We are children of the Prophet. We are the children of Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil and you are being so hard on us.”

The old man collapsed at their feet and said, “O, the family of the Prophet! The door of the prison will be open for you. Go wherever you want to go.”

He gave them water and bread and showed them the way and advised them not to move in the daytime and go only in the night.

One night, after they escaped, they ended up at the door of an old woman. They said, “O, old woman! We are strangers here and we do not know the way, would you let us with you for one night and in the day we will leave?”

She sheltered them and when she asked them who they were they said, “We are the family of the Prophet and we ran away from the prison of Ibn Ziyad.”

She said, “I have a son‑in‑law who was on the side of Ibn Ziyad in Karbāla’ and I am afraid that he would catch you.”

She brought them food and water and they collapsed and fell asleep. During the night, the son‑in‑law came home unexpectedly. She asked him “What brought you here at this time?”

He said, “I am searching for two prisoners who ran away from Ibn Ziyad’s prison, and Ibn Ziyad has announced 1,000 Dirhams for the head of each of them. I am tired and I could not find them.”

She warned him, “That is not the right thing to do with the family of the Prophet.”

He said, “You seem to be taking sides, and you seem to know where they are. Let us take you to Ibn Ziyad!”

She answered, “What would the governor want with me?”

He said, “You have to open the door and give me shelter until I find these people.”

She opened it and fed him. During the night he heard the children’s snoring and he searched the house until he found them.

The younger one asked, “Who are you?”

He said, “I am the owner of the house. Who are you?”

The younger one said to the older one, “Get up, it seems that we are trapped!”

Again the man insisted, “Who are you?”

They answered, “If we tell you the truth, will you leave us alone?”

He said, “Of course. You are in my house and the clemency of the Messenger of God is for you.”

After they told him everything, the man said, “You are indeed trapped, I praise God that He gave me success to capture you!”

He tied them with ropes and in the morning he called his black slave, Fulayh and asked him to take the two kids and kill them. While the man watched, the slave took them near the bank of the river to kill them.

One of the kids said to him, “We see that you have the color of Bilal, the caller to prayer of the Prophet, our grandfather.”

Fulayh asked, “Are you of the family of the Prophet Muhammad? What brought you here?”

When they explained their story to him, he became very upset. Then, he fell to his knees, kissed their feet, and said, “I am not going to do what this man says!”

He threw his sword far away, jumped into the river, and swam across to the other bank.

Then, he stood up and said, “I am not your slave anymore!”

After that, the man became upset that he lost his slave. He took the kids back to his home, called his son, and said to him, “I have collected the wealth of the world for you. Take these two kids to the river and kill them and bring back their heads.”

While the son was taking them to the river, one of the kids asked him, “Are you not afraid of the Day of Judgment? We are the family of the Prophet. Why does your father want to kill us?”

When the son realized that they were telling the truth, he did exactly as the slave did, and ran away swimming across to the other bank. When the man saw this, he said, “I have to kill you myself.”

The kids asked him, “Why do you not sell us in the street and use the money for yourself without making the Prophet your enemy on the Day of Judgment?”

He said, “The governor, Ibn Ziyad, would give me 2,000 pieces and you two will not sell for 2,000!”

The kids asked, “Why do you not take us alive to Ibn Ziyad? Let him decide what to do with us. Why do you not have some mercy on us?”

He said, “I have no mercy for you in my heart.”

They asked if they could pray for a few minutes. He laughed and said, “Go pray as much as you like! Prayer will not help you!”

They prayed four units, then raised their faces towards heaven, and said, “O, God! The best Judge! Judge between us and this man by truth.”

When they were done, he chopped off the head of the older one first. The younger one hugged his dead brother’s body. The man said, “Do not cry, I am going to let you join him soon,” and then killed him. He dropped the bodies in the river and took the heads to Ibn Ziyad.

Ibn Ziyad was sitting on his throne. When he recognized the heads, he asked, “How did you get them?”

After the man explained the whole story, Ibn Ziyad said, “So, they were your guests and you did not respect the rights of guests in your own home?”

Then Ibn Ziyad said, “God is indeed the best judge, and you deserve to be killed in the same spot where you killed them. Why did you not bring them to me?”

He ordered someone to take him to the same spot and kill him. While the guards took him down the streets of Kufah, children followed behind him, yelling at him and telling everyone that he is the killer of the People of the House of the Prophet.

According to Mazarat Ahl ul‑Bayt, page 93,

“Their grave site is near al-Musayyab, on the way to Baghdad. Their names are Muhammad and Ibrahim. Apparently, their bodies were taken out of the river and buried immediately by some kind Muslims.”

  • 1. Prophet Mohammad honored Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib with the title of Dhu’l-Janahayn (the one with two wings) after he had been martyred in the battle of Mu’ta and lost his two hands there. Hence, as Prophet Mohammad foretold, God will give Ja’far two wings instead of his two cut off hands in Paradise. With these two wings, Ja’far will fly in Paradise anywhere he likes.

The Imam’s Journey to Karbāla’’

While in Mecca, Imam Husayn received the news that Yazid had sent ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d Ibn al‑As as delegate of the caliph to the Hajj pilgrims and that among his duties was to kill Imam Husayn, on the spot, wherever he finds him. Because of this, the Imam decided to leave Mecca before the pilgrimage season. Before he left, he gave a sermon:

“In the name of God. All Praises to God... Death is written on the children of Adam as a necklace is designed for the neck of a girl. I see myself to be torn by beasts between Karbāla’ and Nawawis. Whatever Cod likes, we will do. We are patient with His test. We are not going to deviate from the teachings of the Messenger of God. Whoever wishes to come with us, he may. I am going to leave tomorrow morning.”

He left Mecca on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, 60 of Hijrah (680 CE). With him were his family, his followers from the Hijaz area, Basrah, and Kufah. Many dignitaries of Mecca tried to change his mind. His cousin ′Abdullah Ibn ′Abbās asked him to wait, and warned him, “You might be killed, and the people of Iraq are not reliable. At least go some other place, such as Yemen, where your father had followers.”

The Imam replied, “O my cousin! I know that you are sincere, but I have decided on this journey.”

Ibn ′Abbās said, “Then, do not take your children and your family, I am afraid if you take them, they may see you die.”

Imam Husayn replied, “By God, they are not going to leave me. If they leave me, they are going to be victims of someone who would not have mercy on them.”

Then, the Imam mentioned that he did not want any blood spilled in Mecca and he wanted the family to be united, and whatever happens would happen to them together. And, if he leaves them, they would not be under anyone’s protection.

Stops on the Imam’s Journey


The Imam left Mecca, and at Tan’im he met a caravan which carried luxury goods and royal robes and gowns. It was a delivery for the “king”, Yazid Ibn Muawiyah from his governor at Yemen. The Imam ordered that all the cargo of the caravan be taken and given to poor people.

He said, “Who is to have this luxury while poor people starve?” Then, he announced to the people and to the workers on the caravan, “Whoever wants to come with us, is welcome, and whoever wants his wages, we will give him his pay, and whoever wants to leave is free to leave.”

The Imam and his followers took none of the silk robes and royal gowns woven with gold thread. Those who wanted their pay received their portion and the rest was immediately given to poor people.


Here, a man was on his way to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage. The man came closer and asked someone, “Whose caravan is this?” And he was informed that it was the camp of Imam Husayn. To himself, he thought that he should pay his greeting of peace to the grandson of the Messenger of God.

The Imam asked him, “Who are you?” He replied, “I am al-Farazdaq, son of Ghalib.”

The Imam greeted the famous poet kindly, then after some time, he asked him, “What do you know about the attitude of the people?”

Al-Farazdaq answered, “Their hearts are with you, but their swords are with the Umayyads, and the destination comes from heaven.”

Imam said, “You spoke the truth, and everything is up to God. He does what He wishes, and we ask help only from Him.” Then, al-Farazdaq asked him some religious questions.

Dhat al-‘Irq

The Imam set camp here, and met Bishr Ibn Ghalib. When Bishr met the Imam, he saw him leaning on something, reading a book. Bishr asked him, “O grandson of the Messenger of God! What made you come to this desert?”

The Imam replied, “These people have threatened me and these letters arrived from the people of Kufah whom I know are going to turn against me. If they do so, God will send someone to humiliate them.”

The Imam asked him about the people of Kufah and he replied, “Their swords are with the Umayyads and their hearts are with you.”

The Imam said, “You are speaking the truth.”


Here, the Imam set camp. He wrote a letter to Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil and gave it to Qays Ibn Mashar al-Saydawi to take to Kufah. In it he wrote, “O people of Kufah! I have received the letter of Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil stating that you have gathered to help us and ask for our rights. I ask Almighty God to reward you for this action. For this reason, I left Mecca on Thursday the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah. When my messenger arrives, be united until I reach Kufah in a few days.”

Meanwhile, the spies of Yazid were following him. For some time, the Imam stayed at the water of ′Abdullah Ibn Muti′ who tried to convince the Imam not to go to Iraq, but the Imam refused.

When Qays Ibn Mashar al-Saydawi reached al-Qadisiyyah, Ibn Ziyad’s army captured him. When they tried to search him, he tore the letter apart. He was brought to the governor’s castle in Kufah, and Ibn Ziyad asked him, “Why did you tear the letter?”

Qays replied, “So you will not know what was in it.”

Ibn Ziyad said, “You have to tell me what was in it!”

Qays refused. Then Ibn Ziyad said, “You have to go on the pulpit and curse Husayn, his brother, and his father. Otherwise, I am going to cut you into pieces!”

Qays went on the pulpit and blessed Amir al‑Mu′minin Imam ′Ali and Hasan and Husayn, and cursed Ibn Ziyad and his father and the Ummayads. Then he said, “O people! I am the messenger of Husayn to you!” He told them where he left the Imam and said, “Go help him!”

Ibn Ziyad ordered for him to be thrown from the top of the castle. He fell and died.


The Imam set camp and stayed in Khuzamiyyah one day and one night. In the morning, his sister Zaynab came to him and told him that she heard someone reciting this poem:

“O, the eyes try to be firm!

Who would cry after me, on these martyrs?

Cry on those people who are led

By death to the final destination.”

The Imam said to his sister, “Whatever God wishes will happen.”


Here, the Imam set camp. Zuhayr Ibn al‑Qayn al‑Bajali was in the area and set camp near him. Zuhayr did not like the Imam and did not want to set camp near him, but, because there was water at Zarud, he had no other choice. At mealtime, a messenger of the Imam came to him and said that the Imam wanted to meet him. Zuhayr hesitated to reply but his wife, Dilham, told him to go to the Imam and see what he wants. Zuhayr went to him and immediately came back to his people with a happy face. He ordered to take his camp closer to the Imam’s camp and told his wife, “Go join your family, I do not want any of you to be harmed in any way because of me.”

Then, he faced his people again and said, “Whoever wants to help the grandson of the Messenger of God should come with me. Otherwise, Goodbye!”

He revealed a conversation he had with Salman al‑Farsi long ago. He said, “We went with Salman in Balanjar. Salman told me ‘When you reach Imam Husayn and are able to help him and fight on his side, you should be more than happy to.”‘

His wife said, “Whatever you decide, I go with your decision. Please remember me on the Day of Judgment with Imam Husayn’s grandfather.”

Also at this stop, the news of the murder of Muslim and Hāni Ibn Urwah reached the Imam. The Imam was deeply upset and many times said, “God bless them.” He and other people cried with the sad news, the ladies wailed, and the whole camp was in mourning.

Then, two of his companions stood and said, “O grandson of the Prophet of God! Please change your decision and do not go to Kufah.”

Others disagreed and said, “We have to continue and die the same way as Muslim and Hāni died for the cause.”

The Imam listened to each conversation and looked deeply into their faces and then said, “There is no goodness in life after these two.” (Muslim and Hāni)


Here, someone came and asked Imam Husayn, “What is the Verse of Quran ‘The day when we shall call all people by their leader.1 about?”

The Imam replied, “A leader who calls to guidance and people obey his call and a leader who calls to misguidance and others follow him. One leads to heaven and the other leads to hell.”

Also at this stop a man from Kufah met with the Imam and the Imam told him, “If I had met you in Medinah, I would have shown you the place of Gabriel in our house. (The window, in the house of the Prophet Muhammad, which was used as an entrance by the angel Gabriel, whenever he came to visit the Prophet) Do you think we do not know what we are doing?”

Another came and said, “O son of the Messenger of God! I see you with only a few followers.”

The Imam pointed to a sack of letters and said, “This is filled with letters.”


Here, the Imam saw a man coming from Kufah and asked him about the people there. The man said, “All of them are against you.”

The Imam said, “Whatever God wishes will happen.”


There was still no reply from his third messenger to Kufah, Qays Ibn Mashar al-Saydawi, but here, at Zubalah, the news reached the Imam that ′Abdullah Ibn Yaqtar, his second messenger to Kufah, was killed.

When he was captured he was sent to Ibn Ziyad, and Ibn Ziyad ordered him to go to the pulpit and curse the liar son of liars. ′Abdullah showed his willingness to do so, but when he went up he said, “O, people! I am the messenger of Husayn son of Fatimah, to help him against son of Marjanah! (Ibn Ziyad)”

Ibn Ziyad ordered him to be toppled from the top of the castle. He fell and broke most of his bones, but he was still able to talk. A man named Lakhmi, one of Ibn Ziyad’s soldiers, came and cut off his head. When the people in the street asked him why he did that, he said, “To put him out of his misery.”

After this news, the Imam announced, “Anyone who has joined this caravan for any purpose other than dying for this cause should leave now.” And people left him except for those who chose to stay, his family, and his companions.

Batn al-Aqabah

Here the Imam announced, “I am going to be killed and I saw in a dream that dogs are going to eat my flesh and the worst of those dogs will be an albino dog.”

At this point, ‘Amr Ibn Luthan asked the Imam to return to Medinah. The Imam replied, “I know your opinion but I do not do but what God wishes. Indeed, they are not going to leave me alone until they take out my insides and if they do that, they will be the most humiliated nation in the world.”


Here, the Imam set camp and asked his children to re-supply with water and carry more water than they needed. When he heard one of his followers saying “Allahu Akbar,” the Imam asked him, “Why did you say that?”

He answered, “I see palm trees in the far distance.”

All the people around him said, “There are no palm trees around here in this desert?”

When they looked carefully, they saw spears and horses.

The Imam agreed and said, “That must be it.” Then he asked, “Is there any shelter here?”

They told him there is a place called Dhu-Hasm on the left and that is the best place to take shelter. The Imam went there and set his camp.

Then, at noon, Hurr al‑Riyahi, with 1,000 soldiers, appeared in front of the Imam, carrying a message from Ibn Ziyad ordering him to prevent the Imam from returning to Medinah or capture him and bring him to Kufah.

When the Imam saw that the army of Hurr was thirsty, he asked his followers to give them and their horses water. They gave all of them and all of their horses water except for the last animal. The inexperienced rider of this last camel came to the Imam, not knowing how to water his animal, and Imam Husayn told him, “Anikh al‑Rawiyah.”

In the Hijazi Arabic dialect, it means “loosen the ropes around the camel’s neck” (so it can drink), but in the Kufi Arabic dialect it means “loosen the neck of the water bag.” So, the soldier loosened the knot around the water bag and the water spilled out.

Then, Imam Husayn did it himself and showed the soldier how to loosen the ropes and let the camel drink. Then, after all of the army and their animals were finished drinking, the Imam stood and said, “I did not come here until all of your letters came to me, and the letters say that you do not have any leader and that you need me to help teach you guidance. If that is still your demand, give me something that shows that you are truthful in your promises, and if you do not like me, I will return to where I came from.”

The soldiers were silent. No one spoke a word. Then, Hajjaj Ibn Masraq made the call to prayer for the Dhuhr –Noon- Prayer. The Imam said to Hurr, “You are the chief of your army. You go and pray with your own people.”

Hurr replied, “No. We pray with your prayer.” and Hurr, with all of his troops, prayed with the Imam.

When the Imam finished the prayer, he stood and said, “O people! Fear God and find the truth and follow it. We are the members of the House of the Prophet. We deserve trust more than those who do injustice. If you do not like us or you ignore our rights or you have changed your minds from whatever you have written to us before, then I will leave you.”

Hurr said, “Written? I do not know what letters you are talking about!” The Imam asked one of his followers to bring two sacks of letters.

Hurr said, “I am not one of these people. I have been ordered not to leave you alone until I bring you back to Kufah to Ibn Ziyad.

The Imam said, “Death is before that.” He turned and told his followers to get ready to ride their horses, but Hurr stopped them from going.

Then, for the first time in his life, the Imam spoke an insult, “Your mother sits mourning you.” Then he said, “What do you want from us?”

Hurr replied, “If anyone beside you had said those words to me, l would have replied the same to him, but I cannot do that to you. However, take a road between you and Kufah, which does not reach Kufah nor goes to Medinah, until I write to Ibn Ziyad and see what his orders are. May God relieve me from this catastrophe.”

Then he said to the Imam, “I bear witness that if you fight, you will be killed.”

The Imam said, “Are you threatening me with death? Are you going to kill me? Are you helping the Messenger of God?”

When Hurr heard this, he turned around and left the Imam. He did not want a confrontation with the Imam.

The Imam’s caravan continued in an unknown direction, and Hurr’s army followed behind.


Here, the Imam gave a sermon to the people of Hurr:

“O people! The Messenger of God said, ‘Whoever sees an unjust governor who changes the forbidden to allowed and who breaks his promise, who is against the tradition of the Prophets, who acts unjustly and does not do anything against it in action or in words, God will enter him where the unjust person enters.’

Indeed, these people follow Satan and have left the obedience of God. They spread mischief, they abandon all rules, they misuse wealth, and they make the illegal legal and the legal illegal. I deserve this leadership more than anyone else. Your letters came to me and your deputies came to me offering allegiance to me, saying that you will not betray me and that if I lead you, you will succeed. I am Husayn, son of ′Ali and Fatimah, daughter of the Messenger of God. My soul is with your soul, my family is with your family, and I am one of you. If you do not do so and change your promise and your allegiance to me, that would not be a surprise to me. You have done so before to my father, my brother, and my cousin (Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil). If you do that, you have missed your chance and you have lost your share and whoever breaks his promise he breaks it against himself. Peace be upon you.”


Here, a man met the Imam and asked him, “Why did you leave the house of your grandfather? (meaning Medinah)”

The Imam replied, “Indeed, the Umayyads called our most honorable kin bad names, and I was patient. Then, they took my wealth, and I was patient. And they sought my blood and I ran away. Indeed, by God, they are going to kill me. Then, God will humiliate them, making them the most humiliated nation in the world.”

Adhib al-Hajanat

Here, four people from Kufah met the Imam. The Imam asked them about the situation of the people and they told him, “The dignitaries were bought by bribes. As for the common people, their hearts are with you, but their swords are against you.”

They told him how Qays Ibn Mashar al-Saydawi was killed. Then, the Imam recited,

“Among the believers are men who are true to whatever covenant they made with God. Some of then have fulfilled [their covenant], some of them are waiting [to do so], and have not made any changes [in the religion].”2

Tarammah Ibn ′Uday al‑Ta’y said to the Imam, “I saw people before leaving Kufah and asked what the commotion was. They said that they were being recruited and sent to fight against the Imam. I urge you, by God, not to go to them. I do not see anyone with you. I request you to come with us to our mountain called Aja. We were able to isolate ourselves from the kings of Ghassan and Himyar. If you stay with us for ten days, I guarantee you that 20,060 of my tribe, the Tays would follow you and do whatever you order.”

The Imam refused and said, “We have a promise between us and these people and we can not leave until we see the result.”

The Imam thanked him, but refused. Then Tarammah asked permission to go by himself to deliver what he has to deliver for his family, and then return to join the Imam’s camp. The Imam allowed him to do so, and he went, but he was too late in his return. On his way, he heard that Imam was killed.

Qasr Bani Maqatil

When the Imam set camp here, he saw another camp already set. He asked about them and they told him it is for ‘Ubaydullah al‑Ju’fi. When the Imam sent some of his followers to see him, Ju’fi asked them what they wanted, and the messenger said, “This is a message from Imam Husayn, asking you to help him.”

Ju’fi replied, “I swear by God, I left Kufah only because of what I saw, that people were leaving to fight against him and I knew that he is going to be killed and I am not going to help him. That is why I left Kufah so that I would be safe. I do not want to see him and I do not want him to see me.”

The messengers brought the reply back to Imam Husayn. The Imam got up, and with a group of his followers, went to Ju’fi’s camp. Ju’fi received him well, honored him, and said, “I have not seen anyone of better character or more handsome than Husayn.”

Then, Ju’fi asked the Imam if he used red henna or black dye to dye his beard.

The Imam replied, “O! Aging and gray hair came to me soon.”

When they sat, the Imam said, “Your people have written to me and asked my help and invited me to come to them. Now, it appears that it is not the case. You have sins in your life. Do you wish to erase them by repentance?”

Ju’fi said, “What is that, O son of the Messenger of God!”

The Imam replied, “You help the son of the daughter of the Prophet and fight by his side.”

Ju’fi said, “Indeed, I know that whoever follows you will be happy in the Hereafter, but what can I do to help? I saw no one in Kufah who would help you, and I do not like to die. Therefore, I give you my horses as gifts to you. This horse of mine, which is called Malhaqah, is the best horse to give victory to me, and I was not willing to give it to anybody in my life.”

The Imam replied, “If you are not willing to fight with us, we do not need your horses and we do not need you.” Then, the Imam quoted, “And I am not one who takes the support of people who are astray.”3

The Imam said to Ju’fi “I do not take those who are astray as helpers. Now I will advise you as you have advised me. If you are able to avoid our call and not watch us die, do so. Indeed, whoever hears us and does not help us will go to hell.”

Also at this stop, the heads of two other Arab tribes met the Imam. The Imam asked them, “Are you coming to help us?”

They said, “We have children and we have been trusted with the wealth of people and we want to keep their trust.”

The Imam said the same to them, “Leave. Do not hear our call for help. Indeed, whoever hears our call for help and does not help us will end up in hell.”

At the end of the night, the Imam ordered his followers to leave Qasr Bani Maqatil


When the Imam’s caravan came near this place, they saw a man on a horse coming towards them. He was carrying a message from Ibn Ziyad to Hurr.

Hurr came and read the letter to Imam Husayn, “Be firm with Husayn. When you read my letter, do not let him camp anywhere but in the desert where there is no water and no fortification.”

The Imam said, “Then, let us go to Nineveh or Ghadariyyah or Shufayyah.”

Hurr replied, “I cannot do that because the messenger is a spy on me.”

Zuhayr Ibn al‑Qayn said, “O, grandson of the Messenger of God! To kill these people now is easier than fighting with the reinforcements that will come after them. Let us start fighting and finish them. After these will come people that we will not be able to fight.”

The Imam said, “I am not going to start the fighting.”

Zuhayr said, “There is a village here on the Euphrates and has a fort and the Euphrates crosses it. Let us go there.”

The Imam asked, “What is it called?”

He said, “It’s called Aqr (in Arabic, means ‘the cutting’.”

The Imam said, “I seek refuge with God from Aqr.”

Then, the Imam asked Hurr to let him go a little bit further. Hurr agreed and the Imam’s caravan went with Hurr’s troops following behind until they reached Karbāla’.

  • 1. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Israa 17:71
  • 2. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Ahzāb 33:23.
  • 3. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Kahf 18:51.

At Karbala’

Arrival in Karbāla’

At Karbāla’, Hurr and his army blocked the caravan of Imam Husayn from going any farther. Hurr said, “This is near the river and you cannot go farther.”

The horses of the Imam’s group stopped, and Imam Husayn asked Zuhayr, “What is the name of this place”

Zuhayr answered, “Taf.”

The Imam asked, “Is there any other name for this place?”

Zuhayr said, “It is also called Karbāla’.”

The Imam’s eyes watered and he said, “O, God! I seek refuge with God from Karb (grief) and Bala (tribulation). Here is the place in which we will set our camp; here is the place where our blood will be shed. Here is the place where our graves will be. This is what my grandfather has told me.”

Events of Karbāla’

On the second day of the holy month of Muharram, sixty‑one years after the Prophet’s migration from Mecca to Medinah, his grandson, Imam Husayn, gathered all of his relatives and family and said, “O God! We, the family of the Prophet Muhammad, were chased out of our homes in the city of our Prophet (Medinah). The children of Umayya harmed us. O, Lord! Secure our rights for us and help us against the unjust people.”

Then he faced his followers and said, “People are slaves of this world. The religion is just what they say. They use it as long as it provides them with their living. When they are tested, the true religious people are few.”

Then he said, “All of you know what has happened to us and you know how the world has changed its face towards us. The good is now considered bad and no good remains except for a little. You see that truth is not acted upon and the wrong is not prevented. Indeed, a believer does not wish anything but to meet his Lord. Indeed, I do not see death [for freedom] as but happiness and life with unjust people as nothing but grief.”

When the Imam finished, Zuhayr stood up and said, “O, grandson of the Messenger of God! We heard your sermon. If the whole world was eternal, we would prefer to rise with you than to be in this world.”

Burayr stood and said, “O the son of the Messenger of God! God has honored us to fight with you and may your grandfather be our interceder on the Day of Judgment.”

Nafi’ Ibn Hilal stood and said, “Your grandfather, the Messenger of God, lived among people, some of them were hypocrites, promising to help him, but in reality, they hid themselves to betray him, until he died. Your father ′Ali was in a similar situation. You are now among us in a similar situation. Whoever betrays you betrays no one but himself. You go wherever you go. We will be with you, whatever you face, East or West. Indeed, by God, we do not hesitate to meet our Lord. We speak from our hearts and from our minds. We follow whoever follows you and we are enemies of whoever is your enemy.”

Then, the Imam asked the residents of the area, Nineveh and Ghadriyyah, to sell their property to him for 60,000 Dirhams.

He said, “All of the property is for you, on one condition, that whoever wants to visit my grave, you lead them to it.”

The area was four miles by four miles. He let them keep the money and he gave the land back to them, then wrote a one-line letter to his brother, Muhammad Ibn al‑Hanafiyyah, saying, “Indeed, the world seems not to be and the Hereafter is certain.”

Meanwhile, Hurr wrote to Ibn Ziyad telling him of the events. Ibn Ziyad replied in a letter to Imam Husayn saying, “O Husayn, I have heard that you have settled in Karbāla’. The leader of the faithful Yazid has written and ordered me not to sleep or be full with drink until I send you to your Lord or you accept my rule and the rule of Yazid.”

The Imam read the letter and let it fall to the ground. After he dropped it he said, “People who want to please anyone but God will not be successful.”

Ibn Ziyad’s messenger asked for a reply and the Imam said, “He has no reply from me because the punishment of God is certain for him.”

When the messenger came back to Ibn Ziyad and told him what happened, he became very angry. He stood up and ordered ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d to march towards Karbāla’ with an army of 4,000 troops. He even wrote a promise for ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d to appoint him as governor of Ray in Persia if he goes to Karbāla’ and kills Imam Husayn. When Ibn Ziyad finished writing, he extended his arm and mentioned for ‘Umar to take it. ‘Umar was reluctant and Ibn Ziyad took the paper back.

‘Umar left the governor and gathered all of his friends to consult them. All of them warned him not to go. The son of his sister Hamzah Ibn Mughirah Ibn Shu’bah told him, “I ask you by God not to go and not to fight Imam Husayn even if you become governor of the whole world.”

In the morning, he met with Ibn Ziyad and said, “I am not willing to go and fight Imam Husayn. I have brought for you a list of other people to send to fight the Imam.”

Ibn Ziyad said, “I am not asking you to tell me whom to send to fight. If you do not want to go, you will not be the governor of Ray.”

But, ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d did not want to give up his chance to be governor of the rich city of Ray, so he accepted to go and fight Imam Husayn with 4,000 men.

In Karbāla’, ‘Umar asked Azra Ibn Qays to go and meet the Imam and ask him why he is in Karbāla’. Azra refused, because he was one of those who asked the Imam to come to Kufah.

Kathir Ibn ′Abdullah al-Shu’bi said, “I am going to meet the Imam and if you want me to kill him right away, I will.”

‘Umar said, “No, just go and ask him why he is coming here.”

Kathir went towards the Imam’s camp but Abu Thumamah al‑Sa′idi stopped him on his way.

Kathir said, “I have a message for the Imam.”

Sa′idi said to him, “You give up your sword and you can go to see the Imam.”

He refused, and when he tried continuing towards the Imam’s camp, Sa′idi would not let him pass, and Kathir decided to go back. Then ‘Umar sent Qurra Ibn Qays al‑Hanbali. When he conveyed the message to the Imam, the Imam said, “Your people have written to me; therefore, I came. If you have changed your mind, I am going to leave.”

Qurra went back to ‘Umar and ‘Umar wrote to Ibn Ziyad telling him what Imam Husayn said. Ibn Ziyad wrote a reply saying, “Tell Husayn and his followers to pay allegiance to Yazid. If he does so, we will think about what to do with him.”

Then, Ibn Ziyad announced a public meeting in the main Masjid of Kufah and made a speech. He said, “O people! You know the people of Abi Sufyan and you know how they have served you, and you know this leader of the faithful Yazid. You know how helpful he is to his people. He serves them and gives them what they need; all of the roads are safe under his leadership as they were during his father’s rule. His son, Yazid, honors people. He makes them rich! He has increased your salaries by a hundred times, and he has ordered me to increase them even more if you go to fight his enemy Husayn. Listen to him and obey him.”

He immediately distributed money among the soldiers and then went to Nukhaylah. He camped there, and ordered Ibn Namr al‑Tamimi and Hajjaj Ibn Abjar and Shimr Ibn Dhil‑Jawshan and Shibth Ibn Rab’i to go and join ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d. Shibth (one of those who wrote letters inviting the Imam) announced that he was sick.

Ibn Ziyad called him and told him, “You want to play a double trick. If we succeed, you will tell us you were sick and could not help us. To Husayn’s people you will say you helped them. Come here so I can see for myself. My people tell me you are not sick.”

When Ibn Ziyad saw him, he did not see any sign of sickness and ordered him to go immediately. After that, He ordered five hundred troops under the leadership of Zijr Ibn Qays at the gate of Kufah to prevent other people from leaving and helping the Imam.

However some were able to go. One of them was Amir Ibn Abi Salamah al‑Dalani who crossed the gateway. When they tried to stop him, he fought with them and was able to reach Karbāla’ and fight to protect Imam Husayn.

By this time, Shimr left for Karbāla’ with 4,000 troops, Yazid Ibn Rikab with 2,000, Hosayn Ibn Numayr with 4,000, Shibth Ibn Rab’i with 1,000, Kalb Ibn Talha with 3,000, Hajjaj Ibn Abjar with 1,000, Madhair Ibn Rahinah with 3,000, and Nasr Ibn Harshah with 2,000 fighters. By the 6th day of the month of Muharram, there were 20,000 troops under the leadership of ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, and Ibn Ziyad kept sending more troops until the total was 30,000 soldiers.

On the day of the 6th, Ibn Ziyad wrote to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, “I would like to know your news every morning and every night until you finish Husayn.”

‘Umar immediately redistributed his army around the Euphrates to block the Imam’s camp from access to water. The Imam could not bear to hear the children crying. They were not close enough to the river to drink, but the camp was close enough to see and smell the water. The Imam realized that the camp might even be close enough to have water underground. He used one of the tent poles and a hammer to dig a well, hammering the tent pole deeper and deeper until water sprang from the pipe. But, after some time, the water stopped.

Ibn Ziyad wrote to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, “I heard that Husayn is digging a well. He and his followers drank from that well. The moment you receive my letter, prevent them from digging any wells and make it as difficult as possible for them!” He sent five hundred of his own troops to deliver the message and to guard the Euphrates.

The Seventh of Mutharram

The Imam and his followers were totally cut off from water and their throats burned from thirst. At this point the Imam asked ′Abbās to bring some water for the women and children. ′Abbās and twenty others each took a water skin and, during the night, marched towards the Euphrates. ′Abbās was in the middle and all twenty around him to protect his water skin and Nafi’ Ibn Hilal al-Bujali took the flag.

The guards at that part of the river asked, “Who is this?”

He said, “We came to drink water.”

The soldiers answered, “Go drink water as much as you like, but do not carry any back for Husayn.”

Nafi’ replied, “By God, I am not going to drink a drop of water while Husayn and his family are thirsty!” He called on his people to go and get water. Some of them filled the water skins and the others fought. They were able to get water back to the camp, but a few bags of water are not much for a whole camp of men, women, and children, as well as horses and other animals.

The Eighth of Mutharram

The Imam sent Ibn Qurdah al‑Ansari to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d to ask for a meeting between the two camps. He agreed and each of them came with twenty guards. The Imam said to his followers to wait behind, except for his brother ′Abbās and his son ′Ali. ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d did the same leaving everyone behind except for his son and his slave.

The Imam said to ‘Umar, “Are you going to fight with me? Do you not fear God on the Day of Judgment? You know who I am. Why do you not leave these people and join me?”

‘Umar said, “I am afraid that my house will be demolished.”

The Imam said, “I will rebuild it for you.”

‘Umar said, “I am afraid my village will be confiscated.”

The Imam said, “I will give you a better village from my property in the Hijaz area.”

‘Umar said, “I have children and I am afraid Ibn Ziyad is going to kill them.”

The Imam, knowing that his excuses were fake, said to ‘Umar, “God is going to order someone to kill you in your bed and you will not get even a handful of the wheat of Iraq.”

‘Umar said sarcastically, “Barley is enough for me.”

‘Umar Ibn Sa’d sent a letter to Ibn Ziyad and in it he claimed, “The Imam agrees to return back to the place he came from or any other place in the army camp and be like one of the individual Muslims or come to the leader of the faithful Yazid and put his hand in his hand so they can see what they do to each other.” He added, “That is the best solution for you and for the whole nation.”

Ibn Ziyad gathered his council and said, “This is not a bad idea.”

Shimr interrupted him, “No! This cannot be! If you do not get him now, you will not be able to get him again! He is weak now and you are now strong!”

Ibn Ziyad immediately wrote to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d “Indeed, I did not send you to Husayn as a mediator nor to give him promises. Look! If Husayn and his followers accept my rule, take them alive and send them to me. If they do not, attack them, kill them, and cut off their hands, feet, noses and other parts. If Husayn is killed, march the horses on his chest and his back. I do not think that would hurt him after death! If you do so, you have your reward with us. If you do not, you must immediately resign and Shimr Ibn Dhil‑Jawshan will be your replacement as the leader of the Army. I have ordered him to do so.”

Shimr brought the letter to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d who read it and said, “You are responsible for this! We have planned for a solution and you destroyed it! Indeed, by God, Husayn is not going to submit. Indeed, the soul of his father is between his chest.”

Shimr said, “Tell me, are you going to obey your leader or not?”

‘Umar said, “I am going to do it, and I will not let you have that honor. You take leadership of the infantry.”

Shimr’s Trick

Shimr had a distant relation to ′Abbās on his mother’s side. He wanted to divide Imam Husayn’s family. Shimr went near the Imam’s camp and yelled in a loud voice, “Where are the children of our sister?”

′Abbās and his brothers did not answer when they heard him yelling. The Imam asked, “Why do you not answer him? He is your relative.”

So, ′Abbās and his brothers went out and said, “What do you want? What is the matter with you?”

He said, “O children of my sister! You have clemency. Do not kill yourselves With Husayn. Come to the obedience of the leader of the faithful Yazid.’’

′Abbās said, “God curse you and your clemency! You give us clemency and you do not give clemency to the grandson of the Prophet of God? And you are asking us to enter the obedience of the cursed people and those who are children of cursed people?”

Then, ′Abbās left him and came back to the tents.

When ′Abbās got back, Zuhayr went to him and said, “I would like to tell you a story. When your father wanted to marry, he went to his brother ‘Aqil to choose for him a woman of a brave tribe. He wanted to have a brave child and your father wanted you for this day to help your brother.”

′Abbās replied, “Are you trying to encourage me? Today, of all days! God knows what I am going to do today! To help my brother! My Imam!”

Then, Habib Ibn Mu¨ahir al‑Asadi asked permission from the Imam to go talk to his tribe, Banu Asad. The Imam gave him permission. He went and they recognized him. He asked them to come and help the Imam. Ninety of them went to join him, but one of the other tribes went and told the news to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d. ‘Umar sent four hundred men to stop the ninety from reaching the Imam’s camp. They fought and struggled to reach the Imam. Some were killed, others returned to their tribe, and only Habib made it back to the Imam’s camp.

The Night of the Ninth

Thursday, the night of the ninth of Muharram, ‘Umar ordered his entire army to attack the Imam’s camp at once. The Imam was sitting, then said to his brother ′Abbās, “Go to them and see what they are up to.”

′Abbās went with twenty followers. Among them were Zuhayr and Habib. They asked the army, and the army replied that the order of the governor came that they must obey him and his rule, or fight. ′Abbās went back to the Imam and told him.

Meanwhile, his people were preaching to the army of ‘Umar. Habib Ibn Mu¨ahir said, “Indeed, by God, you are the worst people. Who are you going to kill? The children of your Prophet? Those who spend all of their time in worshipping God?

The head of the army said, “You just want to show yourself as a good person.”

Zuhayr said, “God has made people different. Do not help the unjust people in killing the righteous people.”

The head of the army said, “But, Zuhayr, you are not a Follower!”

Zuhayr said, “Do you not see I am with them now? Is this not enough for you to see that I am a Follower? God knows that I did not invite him and I did not write him a letter and I did not promise him anything, but when I saw him and recognized him and knew who his enemy was, I decided to be on his side.”

′Abbās came from the Imam with a message, “Leave us alone for one night. Delay the fight for one night so that we can pray to our Lord and recite the Holy Quran.”

‘Umar hesitated to do it but some of his army said, “We should let them. Even if they were non‑Muslims, we would have let them.”

‘Umar knew that he would not have the support of his army if he ordered to attack immediately, so he answered, “I know that if I give him this, they will be stronger tomorrow. However, I will let them delay the war one night.

The Imam’s Camp on the Ninth

The Imam gathered all of his followers and gave a sermon. He praised God and then said, “I praise God that He has given us the Prophet and He has taught us the Quran and religion. He has given us ears and eyes and hearts, and he has not made us idol‑worshippers. Indeed, I do not know any followers better than my followers nor any family better than my family. May God reward you all. Indeed, my grandfather has told me that I will be in Iraq and I will be killed and the time has come. Indeed, I think tomorrow will be the decisive day with these people. I have allowed you all to leave me alone and go on your own way. During this night, any one of you may take your horses and camels and leave. Any of you may take one of my family and leave and you may scatter in the cities and villages. Indeed, I am the one they want. When they get me, they will not go after anyone else.”

After this sermon, his brothers and children and relatives said, “We will never leave you! We do not want to live after you are gone and we do not want to see that day!”

The Imam turned his face to the children of ‘Aqil and said, “It is enough for you that your father was killed, you go.”

They said, “By which face will we face other people and say to them, we left our master, the best of our family, and we did not help him when he needed our help? Indeed, we are here to sacrifice ourselves for you. Life after you is the worst life.”

Ibn ‘Awsajah said, “If we leave you alone, what would be our answer to God? I swear by God, I will not leave them until I hit them in their chests with my spear and fight them with my sword, and if I do not have a sword, I will throw rocks on them until I die with you!”

Sa′id Ibn ′Abdullah said, “We are not going to leave you until we prove that we have honored the Messenger of God by honoring you. By God, If I die and come back to life, and if I am burned and come back to life again seventy times, I will not leave you until I die for you.”

Zuhayr Ibn al‑Qayn said, “I wish to be killed in your way and come back to life and be killed 1000 times to protect you!”

After others said similar things, the Imam said, “Jazakumullah Khayra (may God reward you well)”, and then said, “I am going to be killed tomorrow and all of you will be killed and no one among you will remain except my son ′Ali al‑Sajjad.”

When they heard that ′Ali al‑Sajjad would survive the massacre, they all screamed in one voice, “All Praises to God! Praise God who has honored us to help you and honored us to die with you!”

Then, after the people became quiet, the Imam said calmly, “The good news is heaven.”

The Night Before the Tenth

This was the worst night for the People of the House of the Prophet. Women and children cried, the children screamed for water, and everyone was getting ready for the morning.

Suddenly, Burayr said a joke to Ibn ′Abdul Rahman al‑Ansari. ′Abdul Rahman said, “This is not the time for joking around.”

Burayr stopped laughing and said, “God knows I am not a joker, but I am happy that we are going to prove our faith tomorrow, and the time has come.”

Habib Ibn Mu¨ahir started laughing and Ibn al‑Hamdani said, “This is not the right time for laughing.”

Habib laughed and said, “This is the best time for laughing! We are so close to entering Heaven!”

They all started to devote themselves to prayer. The Imam was repeatedly reading,

“And let not those who disbelieve think that whatever we increase for them is the best for them. Indeed, we increase it for them so they increase in sin. And they have a humiliating punishment.1

One of the guards heard the Imam and said, “We are the best.”

Burayr replied, “O outlaw! If you were the best, you would be with the grandson of the Prophet of God. Repent from your sins and join us.”

The man mocked him and said, “No, I am just a witness.”

It is reported that on this night, thirty‑two people joined the Imam’s camp when they saw that the Imam and his followers were reading the Holy Quran and praying and devoting themselves to God.

The Imam recited a poem:

“O life! How many friends you have in the morning,

That you leave in the evening.

Some are dead, some are alone, and no one is replaced.

Everything is up to God.

Only He remains forever.”

When the Imam’s son ′Ali al‑Sajjad heard his father reciting this poem twice, he realized that there was no hope for peace with the army.

When Zaynab heard the poem, she cried and said, “Today my mother and my father and brother died.”

The Imam immediately faced her and tried to comfort her, saying, “O sister! Be patient. You know that everyone dies. People on the earth die, people in the heavens die, no mortal remains forever.”

Then, he said to his sister and his daughters and the women of the camp, “When I die, do not tear your clothes, do not harm your faces, or speak any nonsense.” And he told them to follow ′Ali al‑Sajjad as their leader.

Then, he ordered all of his followers to attach their tents to each other, so they can face the enemy in only one direction. He also said to dig a trench behind the tents and ordered to make a fire in it when the attack starts, so the horses of the enemy cannot attack from behind.

Later in the night the Imam went to scout the area. Nafi’ followed him. The Imam asked him, “Why did you come after me?”

He said, “I was worried that they might attack you in the darkness.”

The Imam said, “I came to make sure there are no hidden assassins around here.”

Then he took Nafi’s hand and said, “Nafi’, there is only one soul and one life. We are going to die tomorrow. Look, there is nobody between these two hills here, why do you not run away?”

Nafi’ fell down to the feet of the Imam and asked, “Why do you not want me to stay with you at this moment? By God! I am not going to leave you until I die here with you!”

Then, the Imam went to the tent of Zaynab. Nafi’ followed him and overheard the conversation between them. Zaynab asked him, “Have you talked to your followers? Are you sure they are going to remain loyal to you?”

Imam Husayn said, “I have tested them, I found no one among them but the bravest of their tribes. Each of them wants to die for this cause like an infant who wants milk from his mother. When Nafi’ heard that, he cried and went and told Habib what he heard.

Habib said, “Indeed, by God, we do not want to do anything without his permission. If we did not need his permission I would have been the first to die!”

Nafi’ said, “I see all of the women are in one voice with him.”

Habib called all of the men together and told them what Nafi’ told him. All replied in the same way, that each of them wants to be first to be killed, but they do not want to act without the Imam’s permission, and they assured Habib that they would not do anything contrary to the Imam’s decision. Habib suggested that they all go to the women and express their attitude. When all went to the tent and expressed themselves, all of the women started to wail and cry.

Just before dawn, the Imam started to get sleepy. When he woke up, he said, “I saw my grandfather in my dream and he said: You are the martyr of this nation and tomorrow you will be with me.”

The Day of the Tenth

Imam Baqir says that on this day, the followers of Imam Husayn should offer condolences saying, “May Almighty God reward you on the massacre of Imam Husayn and make us all demanding his way with the Mahdi.”

Imam Kadhim never smiled during these ten days.

At dawn on this day; the tenth of Muharram, Imam Husayn prayed the Fajr –Dawn- Prayer, then gave a sermon and said, “God has permitted us to fight on this day. We have to be brave and fight.”

Then, he divided his small camp of eighty‑two people, on horses and on foot. He made Zuhayr Ibn al‑Qayn in charge of the right flank and Habib Ibn Mu¨ahir in charge of the left flank, while he and his family faced the front, and ′Abbās carried the flag.

‘Umar Ibn Sa’d came with 30,000 troops, divided by quarters, they surrounded the camp. When Shimr saw the fire in the trench, he yelled, “O, Husayn! You hurried to the fire before the Day of Judgment!”

The Imam did not recognize him, and asked, “Who is this? It might be Shimr Ibn dhil‑Jawshan.”

His followers told him that it was Shimr, and the Imam said, “You are the one who deserves the fire.”

Ibn ‘Awsajah wanted to shoot Shimr with an arrow, but the Imam stopped him and said, “I do not want to start the fight.”

Then, the Imam raised his hand to the sky and said “O God, You are my trust in all difficulties, my hope in all distress, You make every weakness into strength, when there is no friend and when enemies are many. You are the Protector and the Only Hope.”

Then, he asked for his horse, got on it, and yelled very loud so everyone could hear him, “O people! Listen to me. Do not hurry to fight until I tell you my situation. If you accept it and become just in your decision, it would be better for you. If you reject it and do not accept and do not want to be just, then do what you want, I do not want you to be in doubt, and God is the Protector.”

When the women heard him, they started crying and yelling. The Imam asked his brother ′Abbās and his son ′Ali al‑Sajjad to comfort them. Then, he said:

“Praises to God and the Messenger of God, and all His angels. O, people! Fear God and be afraid of this world. No one would live in this world forever. If there were someone who could live forever, the Prophets would deserve that more than anyone. But all of them died. Everything of this world goes in vain. Be fearful of God in order to be successful.

O people! God has created this world so that it may be destroyed. The deceived person is the one who is deceived by this world. You are gathered here for a matter, which is not right. If you do what you do, you will bring the anger of God upon you. You believed in God and the Messenger of God, then you try to kill the children of His Messenger.

O, people! Tell me who I am, then look at yourselves and see. Is it allowed for you to kill me and dishonor my family? Am I not the son of the daughter of your Prophet? Am I not the son of his cousin, the first believer in God? Is Hamzah, leader of the martyrs, not the uncle of my father? Is Ja′far al‑Tayyar not my uncle? Have you not heard the saying of the Messenger of God, when he said to my brother and me, ‘These two are the masters of the youth of heaven?’

If you say it is, which is true, and I have not lied since I realized that God does not like the liars. If you say you have not heard, if you think I am a liar, then ask those who are among you who have heard it.”

He named a few of them by name and said, “Is that not enough for you to stop you from killing me?”

The Imam’s words affected the soldiers. Shimr noticed this and saw that the soldiers wanted to hear more of the truth, so he addressed his own people and said, “This man does not know what he is saying.”

Habib Ibn Mu¨ahir said, “Indeed, by God, he knows what he is saying and he is truthful.”

The Imam said, “Are you in doubt about what I am saying that I am the son of the daughter of your Prophet? Indeed, by God, there is no one in the East or the West who is the son of the daughter of your Prophet but me. Alas, do you want to kill me because I have killed any of your people? Have I killed anyone from you? Have I confiscated any of your wealth or killed any of your people?”

The soldiers did not reply.

The Imam then named Shibth, Hajjaj, Qays, and Zayd Ibn Harith and said, “Did you not write to me saying: Come to our land, all of the land is green and all the people are waiting for you?”

They answered, “No. We did not.”

The Imam said, “Indeed, by God, you did.”

He turned to the rest of the troops and said, “O, people! If you do not like me, then let me leave to some other place.”

Qays Ibn al‑‘Ash’ath said, “Why do you not obey the rule of your cousins (the Umayyads)? Indeed, they do not show you but what you wish for and they will not harm you.”

The Imam replied, “You are their brother. Indeed, by God, I am not going to give my hand to you in humiliation and I am not going to submit to you like a slave. O people! I made my point clear to you and God is the Witness.”

Then, a group of them advanced suddenly towards the Imam’s camp. Ibn Hawzah said three times, “Who is Husayn?”

The followers of the Imam said, “Here is Husayn. What do you want from him?”

Ibn Hawzah said, “You will go to hell, Husayn!’’

The Imam said, “You are a liar. I will arrive to a Forgiving Lord. And who are you?”

They told him it was Ibn Hawzah. Then, the Imam raised his hand and said, “O God! Please send him to the fire.”

Ibn Hawzah became very angry. Suddenly, as his horse charged, he fell and was trampled into pieces by his own horse. When this happened, some of the soldiers realized that they were fighting on the wrong side.

Next, Zuhayr Ibn al‑Qayn went forward alone and gave a speech:

“O people of Kufah! We are all from the same religion and the same city. We did not start the fighting and when the fight starts it will never end until death. I am calling you to help the grandson of the Prophet and abandon Yazid and his followers. You are not going to see anything good from Yazid and his followers. You have seen what he has done to good people such as Hijr Ibn ′Edi, Hāni Ibn Urwah and others. O, people! The People of the House of the Prophet deserve loyalty more than anyone else. I warn you of killing the best of the people around you!”

Suddenly, Shimr shot him with an arrow and said, “Silence! You talk too much!”

Zuhayr answered, “I was not talking to you. You are an animal. You do not even know one word of the Holy Quran. You deserve humiliation on the Day of Judgment.”

Shimr said, “God is going to kill you and your friends within the hour.”

Zuhayr responded, “Death for His cause is the best.”

The Imam sent someone to bring Zuhayr back. Then, Burayr Ibn Khuthayr asked permission from the Imam to go next and warn the army of the evils of killing those who do not deserve it. He was a very old man. He went near the army and said, “O people! God has sent Muhammad as a warner and a bringer of good news and a caller to God. Here is the water of the Euphrates. Pigs and dogs drink from it but the People of the House of the Prophet are not allowed to?”

The troops answered, “Do not talk too much. Husayn has to die of thirst and he is not going to get any water.”

Burayr replied, “The People of the House of the Prophet are here with you! What are you trying to do?”

They said, “We want to take them to the governor Ibn Ziyad and he will decide to do whatever he wants.”

Burayr said, “If you forgot your letters and your promises, then let him go back wherever he wants.”

Some of them said, “We do not know what you are talking about.” When they tried to shoot arrows at him, he came back to Imam Husayn.

The Imam went out to them a second time, carrying a Quran, and said, “O, people! Between you and me are this Quran and the tradition of my grandfather.”

He asked them again, “What do you want from me?”

They said, “We want you to obey Ibn Ziyad, the governor.”

The Imam expressed his anger, and then answered, “Woe unto you! You asked us to come to help you and we came. When we came to you, you turned your swords against us. Now, you are calling us to go and obey those who are against the Holy Quran; those who change the truth; those who are instruments of Satan; those who are trying to extinguish the tradition of the Prophet.

Woe unto you! How could you turn against us and help them? Indeed, by God, this is betrayal and one of your old characteristics. You are the worst fruits. Indeed, the son of the bastard has given me two choices: fighting or humiliation. Humiliation is not possible for God and his Messengers nor would the believers allow that to happen, so I have no choice but to fight with this family, few in number, and with no helpers. But, you have to remember you will not remain honorable after this.”

Then, the Imam turned his hands to heaven and said, “O God! Prevent the rain from these people and put them under the sovereignty of someone from Thaqif who would show them what kind of humiliation they have brought to us.”

Then he said to ‘Umar, “You think you are going to get the governorship of Ray. I tell you are not going to get that, but your head will be a foot ball for the children of Kufah.”

When Hurr al‑Riyahi heard the Imam’s speech, he went to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d and asked, “Are you serious in fighting this man?”

‘Umar answered, “Yes. I am going to fight until their heads and hands are cut off.”

Hurr said “What is wrong with what he proposes to you?”

‘Umar said, “If it was up to me, I would have accepted, but your governor refuses any compromise.”

Then, Hurr left him alone and went back to his position in the army. Qurrah was next to Hurr. Hurr turned his face to Qurrah and asked him, “Did you water your horse today?”

He replied, “No.”

Hurr asked him, “Would you like to water him today?” And left him. Qurrah thought that he was going to water his horse.

When Hurr came closer to the camp of the Imam, another soldier asked, “Are you trying to fight against Imam Husayn?”

Hurr kept silent. Muhajir said, “I am puzzled. I thought you were the bravest person of Kufah. Now I see you hesitating. What is this hesitation for?”

Hurr answered, “I see myself between heaven and hell. I have to choose one over the other. Indeed, by God, I am not going to choose anything but heaven, even if I am set on fire!” And he immediately rushed towards Imam Husayn. He reversed his spear and his shield and lowered his head riding towards the Imam. As he came closer, he slowed down and when he reached the Imam, he said, “O God! I repent to you for what I have brought: misery to the hearts of the children of your Prophet. O, Aba ′Abdullah (Imam Husayn)! I am repenting. Is it accepted?”

Imam Husayn said, “Indeed, God accepts repentance.”

Then, he said to the Imam, “When I left Kufah, I heard someone saying: Hurr, you are going to heaven. And I did not know what he meant. Now I know.”

He joined the Imam with a Turkish slave, then asked the Imam’s permission to go and talk to the army of ‘Umar. The Imam agreed.

Hurr went and yelled to them and said, “O, people of Kufah! You have called the Imam invited him to join you, then why have you gathered against him from every place? Why do you prevent him from leaving in the land of God and prevent him from drinking the water of the Euphrates, which every nation; Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians drink from? Even pigs and dogs drink from it freely, but you prevent the House of the Prophet from drinking the water?”

Then, the army shot at him with arrows and he came back to the camp of the Imam.

The First Attack

‘Umar Ibn Said came forward, shot one arrow at the camp of the Imam, and said, “Bear witness with the governor that I was the first to shoot an arrow!”

The army began and their arrows fell like rain. The Imam said to his people, “Get up to death, which everyone has to taste. Indeed, these arrows are their messengers to us.”

The Imam’s followers fought all in one group, and they lost fifty men. When the Imam saw that so many of his followers were killed at once, individual people began to ask permission to go and fight. He was hesitating to allow them.

Then, from the enemy’s side, Yesar and Salim came forward and asked who wanted to fight them. Habib and Burayr wanted to go and fight, but the Imam did not allow them (they were old). ′Abdullah Kalbi, one of the children of Ulaym, was brave and experienced in war, but he was young. He asked permission and the Imam allowed him to go. When he went forward, Ibn Ziyad’s camp asked who he was, and he told them who he was.

They answered, “We do not want you. We want Zuhayr or Habib or Burayr. You are not equal to us!”

Without returning to tell the Imam, he screamed curses at them and attacked. He hit Yesar with his sword, and then Salim came and swung at him. ′Abdullah used his left hand to block Salim’s sword, and all of his fingers were cut off. But that did not stop him. ′Abdullah went after Salim, killed him, and then chased after Yesar and killed him as well.

Then he went back to the Imam. On his way back he met his wife, Umm Wahab, carrying a tent pole. She was encouraging him to fight on. He wanted to take her back to the tents with the other women, but she refused and said, “I want to join the fight with this pole.”

The Imam intervened. He asked her to come back and said, “Women should not fight.”

Sayf Ibn Harith and Malik Ibn ′Abd al‑Jabiri came to the Imam crying. The Imam asked, “Why are you crying?”

They said, “We are crying for you, Imam, that you are going to be alone, and we cannot help you.”

They went and fought until they were killed. Then ′Abdullah and ′Abdul Rahman, sons of ′′Urwah, came and fought until they were killed. Then ‘Amr Ibn Khalid al-Saydawi and Sa’d and Janir Salmani and Majma Aidhi came and all at once went against the enemy. One of them called for help from the Imam. ′Abbās immediately went to rescue them, but before ′Abbās could reach them, the enemy surrounded them and killed then.

When the Imam saw that most of his people were killed, he took hold of his beard and said to the army, “God’s wrath was on the Jews because they claimed a child for Him, His wrath was on the Christians because they made Him a third of three, His wrath was on Zoroastrians because they worshipped the sun, and His wrath will be on those who united to kill the grandson of the Messenger of God.

By God, I will not agree to anything they want until I reach God by my blood!

Is there anyone to help us? Is there anyone to help the family of the Prophet?”

Then, Sa’d Ibn Harith and his brother who were among ‘Umar’s army immediately turned against the army and began slashing them with their swords, killing many of them.

The Right Flank

The followers of the Imam were few, but individually, people fought zealously, inflicting heavy casualties on the army.

Then, the army chief yelled to his people, saying, “Do you know whom you are fighting? You are fighting those who want to die. No one can go to fight with them unless he himself also wants to die. We have to catapult large rocks on them and kill them with the catapults.”

‘Umar Ibn Sa’d said, “That is the right decision. I agree, we should not send anyone else to fight with them. If you go and fight with them one by one, they are going to kill you all.”

Ibn al‑Hajjaj tried to attack the right flank of Imam Husayn’s camp. They attacked on horseback, but the Imam’s people were on foot. They held their spears forward and did not let the horses of the attackers come closer. When the troops started to retreat, the Imam’s army began to shoot the soldiers with arrows.

Hajjaj tried to rally his troops saying, “Go back and fight against those atheists who left the religion.”

The Imam answered, “Are we those who left the religion, or are you? Soon we will see who enters the fire first.”

Ibn Hajjaj then went around and, with several men, attacked the Imam’s camp from the side of the river. Muslim Ibn ‘Awsajah fought against three of them. He was wounded badly but he was able to return to the camp.

The Imam said, “God bless you, Muslim. We are all going to die.” And he quoted:

Some of them have fulfilled [their covenant], and others are waiting [to do so], and have not made any changes [in the religion].”2

Habib Ibn Mu¨ahir came and said to Muslim, “How difficult it is to see you dying. Soon, you will be entering heaven.” Habib continued, “I wish I could carry your will, but I know I will be next to join you.”

Muslim said, “I have only one last wish, that you help Imam Husayn as much as you can.”

Habib replied, “Indeed, by God, I will do so.”

When the women cried and wailed ‘Wa Muslimah,’ the enemies realized that Muslim must have died in the camp.

When Shibth Ibn Rab’i realized that Muslim was dead and the enemy was happy, he said to the troops, “Do you know that you have lost the most honorable Muslim whom I know, at the battle of Azerbaijan, was still fighting even after all of the horses were tired?”

The Left Flank

Shimr was in charge of the attack on the left flank of the Imam’s camp, but the Imam and his followers were well prepared. Shimr and his group attacked suddenly, without any success.

′Abdullah Ibn ′Umayr al‑Kalbi went forward and killed nineteen horsemen and twelve footmen. Then, his right hand was cut off, then his leg, and he was taken prisoner. They took him back to the enemy camp, killed him, and then dumped his body back on the battlefield. His wife, Umm Wahab, went to him, cleaning the blood off of his face, and saying, “Heaven is for you. May God join us together in heaven.”

Shimr sent his slave, Rustam, with a heavy club to beat her on her head, and she died instantly. She was the first woman killed among the Imam’s camp at Karbāla’.

They cut off his head and threw it to the Imam’s camp. His mother took the head, recognized it, then took a tent pole and marched towards the enemy to fight. The Imam stopped her and said, “War is not allowed for women.”

She replied, “Do not cut off my only hope.”

The Imam said, “God will never cut off your hope.”

Shimr came closer and closer. Suddenly, he and his men attacked the tents of the Imam’s camp, and used flaming spears to set the tents on fire. The women screamed. Shibth Ibn Rab’i stopped Shimr from throwing any more spears. From the Imam’s camp, Zuhayr Ibn al‑Qayn and ten of his people attacked Shimr and his troops, and fought them away.

Azra who was in charge asked for help from ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d. ‘Umar asked Shibth to go, but he refused. Then ‘Umar sent Hosayn Ibn Numayr with five hundred archers. The Imam’s camp fought against them and cut off the legs of their horses. ‘Umar ordered to attack from all sides because they were not succeeding by attacking from one side.

Each of the Imam’s fighters was separated and surrounded by a large group of the enemy. ‘Umar ordered all the tents to be set on fire. Women were crying and upset, children did not know what to do.

The Imam said, “Let them set the tents on fire. Get out of the tents and use the fire to protect you from them.”

When Abu Sha’tha al‑Kindi saw the horrible situation, he decided to leave ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d’s army. He came to the Imam and said, “I am at your service. Tell me what to do.”

He shot one hundred arrows against ‘Umar’s army. When all of his arrows were finished, he came back and said, “I killed only five. I have to kill more.” He went back and killed nine more men before he was killed.

At Noon

When Abu Thumamah al‑Sa’di looked up at the hot sun, he realized it was noon, and said to the Imam, “O Imam! I think these people are not going to leave you alone, and I want to die for you before they reach you. But this is the time for prayer.”

The Imam raised his head to the sky and said, “You remembered the prayer, and may God keep you among the people who pray. Yes, this is the time for prayer. Ask them if they will give us some time so we can pray.”

The chief of the army replied, “Your prayer will not be accepted by God.”

Habib Ibn Mu¨ahir became angry and said, “The prayer of the People of the House of the Prophet will not be accepted, but yours will?” And he attacked. Habib swung, but missed. He hit the chief’s horse instead and the chief fell. His people came and rescued him. Habib kept fighting and killed sixty‑two soldiers before they wounded him with a spear. He fell down and his head was cut off. When the Imam saw this, he said, “To God, I will take the case.”

After Habib, Hurr al‑Riyahi went to fight. He went with Zuhayr and they made an agreement that if the enemy captured one of them, the other would help him. In the fight, Hurr’s horse was wounded badly, so he left the horse and fought on foot, until he killed forty‑one soldiers, then, he was surrounded by the enemy and killed.

The followers of Imam Husayn went and brought his body. Everyone who was killed was brought to the tent of the Imam and the Imam looked at them and asked for the mercy of God, saying, “A fight just like the fight of the Prophet and the children of the Prophet.”

He looked at Hurr, cleaned the blood from his face and said, “You are Hurr (free) as your mother named you. You are free in this world and the hereafter.”

The Prayer

The Imam prayed with the rest of his followers. They prayed Salat al-Khawf (Prayer of Fear), a two-unit prayer for wartime. Two of his followers, Zuhayr and Sa′id, were in front of the Imam protecting him. The Imam’s followers rotated, half prayed while the other half fought and then they exchanged places.

The enemy shot arrows and Sa′id fell while saying, “O, God! Curse them. Curse those who do not help the descendants of Your Prophet.”

Then he turned his face to the Imam and said, “O, Imam! You are my leader.”

As he died, the Imam said to him, “You will be in heaven before us.”

When the Imam’s companions counted, they found thirteen arrows on his body. Then, the Imam said to his remaining followers, “O, honored people! This is heaven. The doors of heaven are open and the Messenger of God and other martyrs are waiting for us. Protect the religion of God and the religion of his Prophet, and protect the women of the House of the Prophet.”

They replied, “Our souls are for your souls and our blood is for your blood. By God, as long as we are alive, no one can hurt your family!”

At this point, ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d ordered archers to shoot arrows on the Imam’s camp and swordsmen to cut the legs of their horses. After this, the Imam had no horsemen left except Dahhak who said, “When I saw all of our horses’ legs being cut, I took my horse and hid it in the tent.”

People were fighting and everyone who left to go fight first came to the Imam and said, “Peace be upon you, O, grandson of the Messenger of God!”

The Imam always answered, “And may upon you be peace, and we are right behind you,” then recited,

“Some of then have fulfilled [their covenant], and others are waiting [to do so], and have not made any changes [in the religion].”3

Abu Thumamah al‑Sa′idi went and fought until he was killed. Then, Sulayman Ibn Mazarib al‑Bajali went, fought, and was killed. Then, Zuhayr Ibn al‑Qayn asked permission and the Imam said, “We are going to follow behind you.” He went and killed one hundred and twenty of the enemy before he was killed.

‘Amr Ibn Qardha al-Ansari was protecting the Imam with his own body and he fell and died from all the arrows. He had a brother on the enemy side. His brother called to the Imam from far away and said, “O, Husayn O, liar! You deceived my brother until you killed him!”

The Imam said, “I did not kill your brother. God has given him guidance.”

The brother said, “I am going to attack you and kill you!”

He rushed towards the Imam but Nafi’ Ibn Hilal al‑Bujali fought with him and killed him, then killed twelve others with his arrows (his name was on each arrow.) When all of his arrows finished, he went barefoot, fighting with his sword but they catapulted rocks on him until he could not fight any more. When they took him to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, ‘Umar asked him, as he was bleeding to death, “Why did you do this to yourself?”

Nafi’ answered, “By God, I have killed twelve of you and wounded others, and I do not apologize for anything, and as long as I an alive, I will not leave any of you alive.”

Shimr killed him with his sword.

When Wadih, a Turk in Imam’s camp, was fighting, he suddenly called for help, and the Imam immediately went to help him. By the time the Imam reached him and put his face on his face, he died.

The Remaining Companions

Yazid Ibn Ma’qil, from the army, called Burayr and said, “O, Burayr! How do you find what God did to you?”

Burayr said, “God chose what is best for me and what is worst for you. You do not remember when you were criticizing Muawiyah and called him astray?”

Burayr then asked him to ask for divine intervention before they fight so that God kills whoever of them is evil. Ibn Ma’qil agreed, they fought, and Burayr killed him. On his way back, another group of soldiers attacked Burayr and killed him.

Handalah Ibn Sa′id al‑Shabbami called the Imam aside and said to him, “These people deserve the punishment of God when they refuse your call and after killing all of your friends and followers. Do not prevent me from fighting.” He went and fought until he was killed.

‘Abis Ibn Shabib al‑Shakiri came and said to the Imam, “There is no one dearer to me on this earth than you. If I were able to help you by anything better than my soul, I would. May peace be upon you. I bear witness that, indeed, you are on the path of guidance.” He took his sword, went to the enemy, and said, “Who wants to fight?”

They recognized him but did not answer. They loaded the catapults with boulders. When he saw that, he took off his armor and his helmet and attacked them with his sword. More than two hundred of them ran away. Then they regrouped, surrounded him from all sides, and killed him.

After that, John, the only African in Imam Husayn’s camp, asked permission from the Imam to go. The Imam answered him, “O, John! You did not join this caravan for this battle.”

John collapsed at the feet of the Imam and said, “I was following you when things were easy, and I am not going to leave you in this difficult time. I know that I may not have an excellent genealogy, but I have my black skin. Let me enter heaven for your honor. Indeed, I am not going to leave you until my black blood is mixed with your blood!” The Imam allowed him to go and fight, and he killed three hundred and twenty four soldiers before he was killed. The Imam prayed for him.

Then, Anas Ibn Harith Ibn Nabih al‑Khalili asked for permission. He was in old man, a companion of the Prophet, and fought with him at the battles of Badr and Hunayn. He went and he killed eighteen soldiers before being killed.

Next, ‘Amr Ibn Junadah al‑Ansari who was eleven years old asked the Imam’s permission. The Imam turned and said, “This is the one whose father was killed in the first attack. Maybe his mother does not want him to fight.”

‘Amr said, “My mother ordered me to do so and that is why I am asking your permission.”

The Imam allowed him to fight. When he was killed, his head was cut off and thrown to the Imam’s camp. His mother picked up his head, then took a tent pole and killed two soldiers, but the Imam went to her and took her back.

Then, Hajjaj Ibn Masruq al‑Ju’fi fought until he was killed. Then, Sawwar Ibn Abi Hamr al‑Fahmi fought, until he was captured as a prisoner. ‘Umar wanted to kill him, but his tribe prevented him. He lived through the massacre at Karbāla’, but died after six months.

The last one, Suwayd Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Abi al‑Muta went and, during the fighting, fell down on his face. Everyone thought that he was dead, but suddenly when he heard that Imam Husayn was killed, he got up, took out a small dagger from his waist, and started fighting with it. They surrounded him and killed him. He was the last of Imam Husayn’s companions to be killed.

The Imam’s Son, ‘Ali al-Akbar

By now, no one was left but the Imam’s family. The first one that came forward was ′Ali al‑Akbar. He was twenty‑seven years old, born on the 11th of Sha’ban in the 33 Hijrah (653 CE). He was similar to the Prophet in his features and speech. The women were very upset when he volunteered to fight. His mother was related to Abu Sufyan (Yazid’s grandfather) because she was the daughter of Maymunah, the daughter of Abu Sufyan.

Because of this, a man called to ′Ali al‑Akbar and said, “You have a relationship to the leader of the faithful Yazid, and we want to honor that relationship. If you want clemency we will give it to you.”

′Ali al‑Akbar replied, “The relationship of the Messenger of God is more important that your relationship,” and he attacked the enemies while reciting this poetry:

“I am ′Ali son of Husayn son of ′Ali

We are closer to the Prophet than any

Indeed, Ibn Ziyad does not rule over us

I will fight to protect my father

The fighting of a Qurayshi and Hashemi.”

When the Imam heard that, he cried and said, “‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, you did not honor the relationship to the Prophet. May God send someone to kill you in your bed.” Then he said, “O, God! Indeed, the one who is most like the Prophet in his features, manners, and his talk, has gone to them. Whenever we wanted to be reminded of the Prophet, we looked at him. O, God! Prevent from them the blessings of the earth, and divide them and do not make anyone pleased with them.” Then he recited:

“Indeed, God has chosen Adam and Noah and the House of Abraham and the House of ′Imran over the worlds.”4

′Ali al‑Akbar fought once on the right flank, then again on the left flank and killed one hundred and twenty horsemen. He came back to his father so thirsty, that the Imam cried and said, “Soon you will see your grandfather. He will give you water which you will never forget.” He put his tongue on his son’s tongue to show him how dry his own mouth was, and then gave him his ring to put in his mouth and whet his mouth with it.

′Ali al‑Akbar went back again to fight until he killed eighty more soldiers.

Meanwhile, on the enemy side, Hurrah Ibn Munqidh said, “I am going to kill this boy,” and went after him. He hit ′Ali in the back with a spear, then hit him on the head. ′Ali leaned forward and hugged the neck of his horse, and the horse kept going forward until they were at the enemy’s side, and they started cutting him into pieces. He screamed to his father the Imam saying, “To you, from me, peace! O, father!” This is my grandfather giving me my water and he says yours is here waiting for you.”

The Imam reached him, scattered the soldiers away, put his cheek on his son’s cheek, and said, “There is nothing good in this world after you. Now disgraceful are these people against God, by humiliating the family of the Prophet. It is difficult for your father and grandfather that you call them but they do not answer you. You call them for help but they cannot help you.” The Imam then asked the others to take ′Ali al‑Akbar to the tent. The women all cried and beat their chests.

Next, ′Abdullah Ibn Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil attacked the enemy and killed three of them. Yazid al‑Raqqad shot an arrow at him. ′Abdullah tried to block it with his hand, but it hit him in the forehead and he could not take it out. Another arrow pierced through his heart and he died.

Then, among the People of Abi Talib, all of the remaining men went in one group and attacked the enemy. Awn Ibn ′Abdullah Ibn Ja′far al‑Tayyar, his brother Muhammad, ′Abdul Rahman Ibn ‘Aqil, his brother Ja′far, Muhammad Ibn Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil, Hasan al‑Muthanna, Muhammad Ibn ′Ali Amir al‑Mu′minin, and ′Abdullah Ibn ‘Aqil all went to fight.

The Imam’s Nephew, Qasim

Then, Qasim the son of Imam Hasan and nephew of Imam Husayn fought until he was killed. He was below the age of maturity. He had sandals on his feet and, during the fight, one of the straps of sandals came off. In the heat of the action, he stopped and fixed it as if to say that all of these soldiers are not even worth his one sandal.

During the fight Ibn Nafil came forward to kill him, but Hamid Ibn Muslim came and said, “What do you want with this boy? Leave him. Do you not see all the people surrounding him?”

Ibn Nafil answered him, “No! I want to kill this boy!” And he went and hit Qasim on his head and killed him.

Just before he died, he hollered, “O uncle!” And the Imam reached him like an angry lion. The Imam hit the killer and the killer yelled so loud that all of the army came forward to rescue him, but they could not, and, instead, they ended up running over his body.

When the dust settled, they saw the Imam standing by the head of the boy, saying,
“Woe to those who killed you. On the Day of Judgment your grandfather will be their enemy. It is hard for your uncle to be called without being able to help you. It is hard for your uncle to reply without being able to do anything.”

He carried him and put him with ′Ali al‑Akbar’s body, and said, “O God! Do not leave any of them alone and never forgive them for what they have done. O, my People of the House! Be patient. Be patient.”

The Imam’s Brother, ‘Abbās

When ′Abbās saw the situation, he gathered his brothers; ′Abdullah, ′Uthman, and Ja′far, and all of them decided to fight before him. Then, when ′Abbās came and asked permission to fight, the Imam said, “Instead of fighting, go and bring some water for the children.”

′Abbās went towards the troops and spoke, “O, ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d! This is Husayn, grandson of the Messenger of God. You have killed all of his followers and relatives. His children and his women are thirsty. Let them have water. He is asking to leave this land for you and go to Rome or India.”

His speech affected the soldiers and some of them cried.

Shimr replied, “If the earth is all filled with water, we would not let you drink one drop of it, unless you come to the allegiance of Yazid.”

When ′Abbās went back to tell his brother the Imam, he heard the children’s cries for water. Then, he took his horse and a water skin and headed towards the river. Four thousand soldiers surrounded him and shot arrows at him, but he did not care. He went straight to the river, carrying the Liwa al‑Hamd, the flag of the Prophet Muhammad during wars, which Imam Husayn inherited.

When he reached the river, because he was so thirsty, he took a handful to drink, but then he remembered that the Imam and his children were still thirsty, he let the water drop back into the river and said:

“I do not want life after Imam Husayn.

Imam Husayn and the women and children are thirsty,

And I cannot drink while they are thirsty.

This is not the order of my religion to do so!”

He filled the water skin and headed back to the camp. When the enemy blocked him, he killed many of them saying:

“I do not care about death.

My life is to protect the life of the Imam!”

Zayd Ibn Ruqad was hiding behind a palm tree, and suddenly came out, swinging his sword and cutting off ′Abbās’s right hand.

′Abbās said:

“If you cut my right hand

I am going to continue protecting my religion

And a true Imam,

The descendant of the Prophet!”

He did not care about his hand because he wanted to get the water back for the children. Another soldier, Hakim Ibn Tufayl, was also hiding, and he came out and cut ′Abbās’s left hand. Then, they surrounded him, and the arrows reached the water skin and the water began to leak out. When ′Abbās noticed this, his heart sank and he could not bear to return back to the camp without any water.

One arrow pierced his chest, and a soldier hit his head with a tent pole. ′Abbās fell down and said, “To you, from me, Peace! O, Imam!”

The Imam immediately rushed to him and said, “Now my back is broken and I have no choice!”

The Imam did not take the body with the others. He left it there and left alone, crying, wiping his tears with his sleeve, and saying, “Is there not anyone to help us? Is there not anyone to give us shelter? Is there not anyone who fears the Fire of God?”

Sukaynah, his daughter, came to him and asked about her uncle ′Abbās. Zaynab came to take her away, and they all started crying heavily. The only one remaining was Imam Husayn. The Imam looked around and saw no one left.

He looked at his family and his children and said, “Is there anyone to take care of the family of the Prophet? Is there anyone who fears God? Is there anyone to help us?”

The children and women cried, weeping and wailing loudly. ′Ali al‑Sajjad was very sick, but he got up and took his sword to fight. The Imam said to Umm Kulthum, “Do not let him participate. If he dies, no one will carry the message.”

Then he gathered all of his children and family and said, “You must be quiet.”

He changed his clothes to the old clothes of the Prophet, changed his sword to the sword of the Prophet, and said, “I am going to be killed, and I do not want anybody to take these old clothes from me.” Then, he asked for his infant child. Zaynab brought him with his mother Rabab. He kept the child on his lap, kissed him, and said, “Woe to the army!”

He took the child with him to the army, held up the child so everyone could see, and said, “If you want to fight with me, this child has no sin for you to fight against him. Take him and give him water.”

The army people were talking, some saying yes, some saying no. ‘Umar turned to his slave, Harmalah, and said, “Finish this matter! Now!”

Harmalah shot a three‑pointed arrow at the heart of the baby, and it died while it was in the Imam’s hands. The Imam caught some of the baby’s blood in his cupped hand and threw it into the sky, saying, “O, God! You are witness to what they have done!”

Then, the Imam came off his horse and dug a grave with his sword on the spot and buried the baby.

Then, the Imam climbed back onto his horse, rode towards the enemy, and said, “I am Husayn, son of ′Ali. Anyone who wants to fight me, come on!”

Ibn Yaghuth said, “I could not believe that someone with so many of his followers and relatives killed could still be so firm in his decision.”

When the Imam started to charge towards them, the army ran away from him, so ‘Umar said, “This is a brave man of the Arabs. You cannot fight him one by one. Surround him on all sides!”

Four thousand arrows were shot at the Imam. He stopped and said, “O, followers of Abi Sufyan! If you do not believe in any religion, and you do not fear the Judgment, then be free in this world. [At least think for yourselves] Go and examine yourselves, if you are Arabs as you claim.”

Shimr said, “What are you saying, O, son of Fatimah?”

The Imam said, “I am the one who fights with you, the women have done nothing wrong. Do not let your army attack the women.”

Shimr agreed, and they started to attack him. The Imam fought the four hundred that were guarding the river, and he entered the river. His horse wanted to drink from the river, and the Imam said to his horse, “I am thirsty and you are thirsty, but I will not drink until you drink.”

The horse looked up at the Imam, showing that he understood. The Imam went to scoop some water, and somebody said, “You drink water while your women are taken slaves?”

The Imam dropped the water and rode back to the tents. He gathered everyone together for one last time and said, “You must be patient, and be prepared for the difficulties of the future. Know that God will protect you and rescue you from your enemies. You should not give up hope. Your enemy will be punished with a severe punishment. Do not complain and do not say things that make you look weak. Be prepared for difficulties.”

When the Imam wanted to ride away on his horse, everyone came and clung to him saying something, and he and Zaynab tried to comfort everyone. He looked at little Sukaynah and said, “You have much crying to come... do not cry for me now.”

While the Imam was saying goodbye to his family, ‘Umar said to his army, “Take advantage of his being busy with his family and attack him. If he leaves them, you cannot overcome him!”

Suddenly, arrows began to fly and the children and women ran to take cover. The Imam clenched his fingers around his sword and went after the troops, killing everyone that came in his way and repeating the phrase “There is no help but from God!”

Shimr said, “You are not going to drink water until you enter hell.”

The Imam said, “O, God! Make him die of thirst.”

Abu al-Hutuf shot an arrow that hit the Imam in his forehead. The Imam removed it from his head and threw it aside, saying, “O God! Do not leave any of them on this earth and never forgive them.” And he said in a very loud voice, “This is the worst treatment you are giving the People of Muhammad! I will be killed by you, but God is going to take revenge on you!”

One of them asked, “What kind of revenge do you think God will take?”

The Imam said, “Some of you will kill others and the punishment of God will come pouring down on you.”

The Imam continued chasing after them and they ran away until someone catapulted a large stone at him. The rock hit his forehead and blood dripped into his eyes. He wiped the blood, and someone shot a three‑pointed arrow that pierced his chest, near his heart.

The Imam said, “In the name of God, and by God, and by the religion of the Messenger of God!” And he pulled the arrow out from his back, which was pouring with blood. He was so weak that he could not walk. Malik Ibn Nasr came and cursed the Imam and hit him on the head with a sword. The Imam said, “May you never eat by your hand until you join the unjust people.”

The Imam fell down on the ground and was not able to get back up. Suddenly, they saw a child (Muhammad Ibn Abi Sa′id Ibn ‘Aqil Ibn Abi Talib) run towards the Imam and drop himself on the Imam to protect him. The Imam told him, “You have to be patient. Go join the women. Do not stay here.”

Before he could get away, an arrow killed the child.

It became easy to kill the Imam. He had no one to help him, and he himself lost so much blood; therefore, he was too weak to stand. But, no one wanted to start the murder of the grandson of the Prophet of God. They surrounded him and just stood there, looking at him, and the Imam just lay there, looking back at them.

Shimr yelled, “Why are you looking at him? What do you expect him to do? If he were able to fight you, he would have. Finish him now that he is wounded!”

Zur’a hit the Imam’s left shoulder with his sword. Hosayn ibn Numayr shot an arrow into his throat, another soldier hit him on his chest, and Sinan speared him on his collarbone, then another in his chest, then another in his throat. Salih Ibn Wahab hit the Imam on his side.

The Imam lay on the ground bleeding and looking up at the soldiers. They stood, looking. The Imam asked for water and they refused to give him any. One of them said, “You will not get any water until you get to hell!”

The Imam asked, “Am I going to hell while my grandfather is the Prophet of God, and I am going to tell him what you have done to me?” He raised his hands to the sky and said, “O God! I am in need of you and ask help from you, and rely only on you. O God! Judge between us and these people who invited us then turned against us and killed us. O God! I am patient on whatever is written for me.”

Ever since the Imam fell off his horse, the horse did not leave the scene, and kept circling around the body of the Imam.

‘Umar said, “This horse is one of the best Arabian horses. You have to fight with the horse!”

The horse, by itself, killed forty men and ten horses.

Then ‘Umar said, “Do not kill him! Let us see what he is going to do.”

So, they left him alone, and he went back to the Imam, sniffed his body, whinnied very loudly, and went back to the tents. When the women and children saw the horse they realized that the Imam was dying. Umm Kulthum and Zaynab and others yelled, “We wish if the heaven and earth were not there!”

‘Umar sent a group of his army, and the Imam was still struggling.

Zaynab called ‘Umar and said, “The Imam is killed and you are watching?” And he cried. She said, “Is there any Muslim among you?” But nobody replied to her.

‘Umar called his army and said, “Go down there and finish him. Shimr went to the Imam, kicked his leg, sat on his chest, took hold of his beard, and stabbed him with his sword twelve times. Then, he cut off the Imam’s head.

After that, the soldiers came forward to loot the Imam’s belongings from his body. Ibn Hayway took his shirt. Ibn Marthad took his turban. Ibn Khalid took his shoes. Ibn Khal took his sword. Bajad wanted his ring, but he could not get it off, so he cut off the Imam’s finger just to get the ring. Qays took his velvet Qatifa. Ja’wunah took his old clothes. Rahil took his bow. Then, they left the headless bodies to rot in the desert.

  • 1. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of Ali-’Imrān 3:179
  • 2. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Ahzāb 33:23
  • 3. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Ahzāb 33:23
  • 4. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of Ali-’Imrān 3:34

After Karbāla’

The Night of the Tenth

That night, the sky was red like blood. It was the hardest night for the family of the Prophet. In the emptiness of the desert, they faced the darkness and loneliness of night. During the night, they could hear a voice coining from the darkness. The disguised person recited the following lines of poetry:

“O those who killed Imam Husayn!

Be prepared for the punishment

You are cursed by every Prophet and every religion.

This was not the reward for the Messenger of God.

If he was alive now, he would have cried.”

Also oh this night, Umm Salamah had a dream in which she saw the Prophet. He was upset and dust was on his head. When Umm Salamah asked him why he was so dusty, the Prophet replied, “My son was killed and I was digging a grave for him.”

Then, the army of ‘Umar marched towards the women and children and looted whatever was in the tents. When they were done, they set the remaining tents on fire. The soldiers fought over the women, but they resisted, and ran in all different directions.

The soldiers took their robes, rings, and earrings. One of them ripped Umm Kulthum’s earrings out of her ears and they bled. A soldier approached Fatimah, daughter of Husayn, crying as he took her ankle bracelet.

She asked him, “Why are you crying?”

He answered, “Because I am stealing this from a daughter of the family of the Prophet.”

She asked, “Then, why are you taking it?”

He said, “Because if I do not take it, somebody else will!”

A man came with his spear and herded all the women together. When he looked at Fatimah, he put his eyes on her to snatch her for himself. She ran in the middle of the herd. He went after her and hit her with his spear, knocking her unconscious. Zaynab protected her, drove away the soldier, and then took Fatimah in her lap until she woke up.

There was a woman with Bakr Ibn Wa’il in ‘Umar’s army. When she saw what was happening to the women, she yelled, “The children of the Prophet of God in this Situation? What is your answer to the Prophet of God? There is no Law but God’s. We must take revenge for the Prophet of God!”

Her husband hurried and took her away.

They captured ′Ali al‑Sajjad, son of Imam Husayn, while he was lying in bed unable to move. Some of them said, “Kill him. Do not leave anyone of them alive.”

Others said, “No, wait until we hear our orders from ‘Umar.”

Shimr took his sword and moved to kill him.

Hamid Ibn Muslim said to him, “Shame on you! Killing a young boy!”

Shimr said, “Ibn Ziyad has ordered to kill all of the children of Husayn.”

Hamid sent a messenger to ask ‘Umar if it was true, and ‘Umar denied. Zaynab put her body on ′Ali and said, “You cannot kill him without killing me!”

‘Umar went to check the aftermath and see the women and the battlefield. When the women saw him they cried in his face and cursed him.

The army wanted to hurt them but he refused. He ordered them to restrain themselves, and assigned a group to guard them.

He called and asked his army, “Who would be willing to come forward and run his horses on the chest of Husayn?’’

Ten of them replied, and they trampled over the bodies of the Imam and his followers.

‘Umar ordered the heads to be cut off, and all of them were cut off. He distributed them among the chiefs of the various tribes.

The tribe of Hurr saved his head from being cut, and took his body away from the battlefield before the army rode their horses over the bodies.

Then ‘Umar sent the head of Imam Husayn with Khuwali Ibn Yazid and Hamid Ibn Muslim; and the rest of the heads were sent with Shimr. Khuwali took the head and hid it in Kufah away from his wife because he knew that she was a Follower. When she heard women crying for the Imam, she realized that it was the head of Imam Husayn and never put on perfume again.

In the morning he took the head to Ibn Ziyad, and recited this poem,

“O governor! You should fill my sacks with gold or silver!

I have killed the most honorable master.

The one who is best in genealogy

And who had the best father and mother.”

Ibn Ziyad said, “If you know he was like that, why did you kill him? By God, I am not going to give you anything!”

‘Umar remained in Karbāla’ with the rest of his army and the women until noon of the eleventh day. He gathered all of his dead, buried them, and prayed on them. He left the Imam’s body and his followers without burial.

After noon he left towards Kufah carrying all of the women and children. They were twenty women all together.

′Ali al‑Sajjad was twenty‑three years old. He was on a camel without saddle. His son, Imam Mohammad Baqir, was two years old. The women begged for the army to let them see the dead bodies on their way. The army agreed and took them. When they saw the scene they fell on the bodies, each one kissing and crying on the bodies.

Suddenly, Zaynab yelled, “O Muhammad! This is Husayn, stoned by catapults, mixed with blood and sand! His body parts cut off! O, Muhammad! Your children are taken captives and your descendants are killed!”

Then, she put her hand under the body of Imam Husayn, and said, “O God! Accept this sacrifice from us!”

When the army saw this, they cried. Sukaynah dropped onto the body of her father and heard someone saying:

“O my followers! Whenever you drink water, remember me.

And whenever you hear of a stranger or a martyr, cry for me.”

Suddenly, Zaynab looked at ′Ali, the only surviving male. She saw him very weak and almost about to faint. She went to him and said, “O the memory of my grandfather, my father, and my brothers! This is the covenant of God to your grandfather and your father. The tyrants of this earth do not understand that. Indeed, the followers of the Prophet’s House will come and honor these decapitated bodies, and the parts and limbs that were cut off, and raise a flag on this land, a flag which would never be lowered. The tyrants work day and night to eradicate his name, but whatever they do only increases the respect for his name.”

The women and children did not want to leave the bodies. Finally, Zajr Ibn Qays came and whipped them with lashes, and they were forced to leave.

In Kufah

When the captured prisoners went into Kufah on their way to Ibn Ziyad’s castle, people were gathering to look and see whom the prisoners were. A lady came and asked, “Which war are you prisoners of?”

They said, “We are the prisoners from the House of Prophet Muhammad.” They paraded them in the streets to show the people that the army was victorious. People asked questions as they passed and some people gave food. More people gathered giving them food and bread. Zaynab and Umm Kulthum took the food from the kids and gave it back to the people, saying, “Charity given to the Prophet’s House is a sin.”

When Zaynab reached a large group of people, she stood and pointed to the people to be silent. When everyone became quiet to hear what she wanted, she said:

“All praises to God and blessings to our forefather Muhammad! O, people of Kufah; people of treachery and deception! You cry? May you never end your crying!”

And she quoted:

“You are like women who untie what they have woven.”1

“You have no one among you but dirty, stubborn, liars, and you have done what will bring the wrath of God!

May you never end your crying! And may your laughs be very few! You carry all of the shame that cannot be washed away again! You have killed the descendants of the Prophet, the Lord’s Claim (against you) of your time, and the light of your world. Woe onto you, and you will be humiliated forever!

O, people of Kufah! Do you not know what heart of the Prophet you have cut out? Do you not know what honored women of the Prophet’s House you have enslaved and dishonored? Do you not know what blood of the Prophet you have shed? Indeed, you have done so grave an error that nothing will be able to take its place! It will be no wonder if the sky rains blood! And the punishment of the Hereafter is the worst punishment.”

′Ali al‑Sajjad noticed some movement among the troops and said to her, “O, my aunt! Please be silent. Indeed you are knowledgeable without being taught.”

Then Fatimah, daughter of Husayn, spoke:

“Praise God! I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger, and that the children of the Prophet were killed at the Euphrates without any help. O, God! You know that I speak the truth and I do not say anything but what is according to the teaching of ′Ali, son of Abi Talib, who was killed in your house. And his son was killed yesterday. He returned to his Lord without any blame. O, God! You have chosen him for Islam when he was a child, and he helped your Prophet when he was young. O, people of Kufah, people of deceit, treachery and arrogance! We are the People of the House of the Prophet. God has made this a trial for you and for us. God has honored us by our Prophet Muhammad.

You called us liars and unbelievers. You looted our wealth as if we were the children of Turk or Kabul. Your swords shed our blood—blood of the People of the House of the Prophet. You think you are smart, but God is smarter than you! Whatever reaches us from God is the best.”

Then she quoted: “Allah says,

‘so you do not grieve over what has missed you, and you may not be happy with what has come to you. Indeed, God does not like proud, arrogant people.”2

“Woe unto you! Wait for the punishment and the curse of God! You have hard hearts and Satan has captured you!”

When they heard this, the people started crying and yelling. Umm Kulthum said, “Be silent, people of Kufah! Your men kill us and your women cry for us. The judge between you and us is God on the Day of Judgment. O, people of Kufah! Woe unto you! What is the matter with you? You kill Imam Husayn, loot his wealth, capture his women, and then cry for him? Do you know what kind of catastrophe you have brought upon yourselves? You have killed the best person after the Prophet! Indeed, the party of God is the successful and the party of Satan is the losers!”

People tried to cry and yell more and more. When ′Ali’s camel came forward, all the people gathered in the street and saw him in chains bleeding on the unsaddled camel. He pointed to them to be silent, and every one became quiet to hear what he would say. Imam Sajjad began:

“Praises and thanks to God. Bless the Prophet. O, people! Whoever knows me knows me, and whoever does not know me, I am ′Ali son of Husayn son of ′Ali son Abi Talib. I am son of the one whose women are taken captives. I am son of the one whose wealth was looted. I am son of the one whose honor was humiliated. I am son of the one who was killed at the Euphrates and that is a great honor for us.

O, people! I ask you, by God, do you know that you wrote to my father and deceived him? That you gave him a promise and broke it? That you fought against him? Woe unto you! By what eyes can you look at Prophet Muhammad when he tells you: You have killed my family and humiliated my honor. You are not from my nation!”

The people cried intensely and all of their faces were wet with tears. The Imam said:

“May God bless the person who listens to me and honors my will.”

The crowd answered: “Yes, O son of the Prophet of God! We hear you and we obey you. We await your order, for war or peace. We reject anyone who dishonors you.”

The Imam said, “Hayhat! Hayhat! (Never again! Never again!) You, the deceivers! Do you want to do the same to me as you did to my father? The wound has not even healed yet. My father was killed yesterday and we still hear the cries of the People of the House.”

The Prisoners Meet Ibn Ziyad

Ibn Ziyad sat on his throne and the head of the Imam was between his hands. He had a stick and he hit the lips of the Imam with it.

Zayd Ibn Arqam was standing nearby and suddenly said, “O, governor! Take away your stick from those lips! Indeed, I have seen the Prophet kissing those lips!” And he cried.

Ibn Ziyad said, “Indeed, you are a hallucinating old man. You have no mind. If you were not senile, I would have killed you!”

Zayd left the meeting saying, “O, people of Arabs! You are slaves after today! You are slaves of the son of Marjanah (Ibn Ziyad)! He is going to kill the best of you, and he is going to humiliate you, and that is the worst possible life!”

Zaynab was with the women, on the side, but not visible to the public.

Ibn Ziyad pointed to her and asked, “Who is this woman?”

Someone replied, “This is Zaynab, daughter of ′Ali, Amir al‑Mu’minin, the Leader of the Faithful.”

Ibn Ziyad wanted to humiliate her. He walked towards the group of women, faced her, and said, “Praise God that He has exposed you and killed you and eradicated your caused.”

Zaynab replied, “Praise God Who has honored us by His Prophet Muhammad and purified us from filth. Indeed, only the guilty will be exposed, and the sinners will lie, and they are not we. They are someone else, not us.”

Ibn Ziyad asked, “What do you think of what God did to your family?”

She said, “I did not see anything but good. These are people on whom martyrdom is written. They went where God wanted them to go. God will gather you and them on the Day of Judgment. Then, you will see what God does to you on the Day of Judgment. Woe unto you, O, son of Marjanah!”

Ibn Ziyad became very angry and was about to kill her, but ‘Amr Ibn Harith stopped him and said, “This is a woman, and a woman is not responsible for her emotions.”

Ibn Ziyad thought for a moment, still staring furiously at Zaynab, then moved away from her and said, “God has made me satisfied with your tyrant and the opposition of your household.”

Zaynab answered, “Indeed you have killed the head of my family! You have exposed the women! You have cut all of the roots! If this is what satisfies you, then yes you are satisfied!”

Ibn Ziyad ignored her, but turned his face to ′Ali al‑Sajjad and said, “What is your name?”

Imam Sajjad answered, “My name is ′Ali son of Husayn.”

Ibn Ziyad said, “Did God not kill ′Ali? (′Ali al‑Akbar in Karbāla’)”

Imam Sajjad replied, “I had another brother older than me named ′Ali. People killed him.”

Ibn Ziyad said, “No! God killed him!”

Imam Sajjad calmly told him, “God makes people die when it is time for their death.”

Ibn Ziyad became very angry. He could not stand it any longer, and ordered Sajjad to be killed.

When Zaynab heard this, she ran to where Sajjad was chained and used herself to protect his body, saying, “Is it not enough for you to shed our blood? Have you left anyone else of us alive? If you want to kill him, you have to kill me with him!”

Sajjad said, “Indeed, death is our custom [it has happened to us before], and martyrdom is an honor for us, from God.”

When Ibn Ziyad saw Zaynab attached to Sajjad he said, “What a strong family relationship they have! She is willing to die for him!” And he walked away.

The people started talking about what happened, and Ibn Ziyad became afraid. He ordered the chief of the guards to imprison Imam Husayn’s family in a special house near the castle, and people gathered to see them.

Because people were trying to get close to the prisoners so they could use them as political pawns, after the governor gave that order, Zaynab announced, “No one should come to see us but slaves, because they are like us.” The women and children, and Imam Sajjad were taken to their holding place.

‘Abdullah al-Azdi

Later, while the People of the House were imprisoned, Ibn Ziyad made a speech, saying, “The liar of liars, Husayn, was killed.”

′Abdullah Ibn ′Afif al‑Azdi, an old, blind man, interrupted him and said, “You are the liar of liars! You kill the children of the Prophet and you call yourself a Muslim?”

Ibn Ziyad became angry and ordered the guards to capture him and put him in jail. That night many of the people of his tribe went and forcibly took him out of the jail. When Ibn Ziyad found out what happened, he sent troops to go to ′Abdullah’s house and burn it down.

The troops came to his home and when they set it on fire, he asked his daughter to bring him his sword. She was crying and wailing. She said, “I wish I were a man so I could fight for you!”

He told her not to worry and ran out of the house with his sword. His daughter was behind him, giving him directions. He was an old, blind man, but she told him where to swing, and ′Abdullah slashed at them with his sword, injuring the guards.

Finally, when they captured him and brought him to Ibn Ziyad, Ibn Ziyad said, “God has exposed you!”

′Abdullah asked, “Exposed me of what?”

Ibn Ziyad did not answer him, and asked him, instead, “What do you think of ′Uthman (The third caliph]?”

′Abdullah said, “What does that have to do with anything? Good or bad, God is going to be the judge. If you want to ask me questions, ask me about your father and your mother, I can tell you.”

After the insult, the fatherless Ibn Ziyad said, “No, I will not ask you any more, but I will kill you with a unique and original form of death.”

′Abdullah said, “I knew I would be martyred before you were born from your mother. When I became blind, I lost that hope, but it seems that hope still exists. Even if you kill me, I am not better than Imam Husayn.”

Ibn Ziyad ordered him to be killed and hanged.

Mukhtar in Prison

Mukhtar was imprisoned since the time of Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil, but when the prisoners of Imam Husayn’s camp in Karbāla’ arrived in Kufah, Ibn Ziyad ordered the guards to bring Mukhtar from prison and see. When the guards brought him to the governor, Mukhtar was bad mannered and there were harsh words between them. Ibn Ziyad became angry, hit him on his eye with a lash, and ordered him to be returned to prison.

After Ibn Ziyad killed ′Abdullah Ibn ′Afif al‑Azdi, Mukhtar was brought from the prison again. This time, when the guards brought him, Mukhtar said to Ibn Ziyad, “You are the liar, and the Imam is the victorious one in heaven!”

Ibn Ziyad hit him with a pole, broke his forehead, and returned him to prison. Ibn Ziyad did not kill him because the sister of Mukhtar was the wife of ′Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar Ibn Kattab who wrote directly to the “king” Yazid, interceding for Mukhtar.

While Mukhtar was in prison with two of his friends, one of them said, “We are going to be killed by Ibn Ziyad

Mukhtar answered him, “Indeed, by God, he cannot kill you nor can he kill me.”

Then, Maytham al‑Tammar, who was in jail with them, said, “You, Mukhtar, are going to take revenge for the blood of Imam Husayn, and you are going to kill Ibn Ziyad!”

The Journey to Damascus

Ibn Ziyad sent a messenger to Yazid telling him of the events and waiting for his orders. Then he wrote a letter, tied it to a rock, and threw it into the place where the people of the House of the Prophet were imprisoned. It said, “A messenger has been sent to Yazid and he will be back on such and such a day. When he comes back and you hear ‘Allahu Akbar, write your will. If you do not hear it, you have your life.” The messenger came back with Yazid’s reply that Ibn Ziyad should immediately send the prisoners and the heads to Damascus.

Ibn Ziyad sent the heads with some of his troops, ordering them to put the heads on spears and parade them in front of the caravan, and he ordered them to pass through the cities on the way, and humiliate the family of the Prophet in every city they pass through. On their way they saw some writing painted on a wall, saying, “Is it possible for a nation that killed Husayn to have the intercession of his grandfather on the Day of Judgment?”

On their way, they stopped and a drop of blood fell from the head of the Imam onto a rock and that place is known as Mashhad al‑Nuqtah (Place of the drop of blood) near Hamah.

Also near Aleppo, there is another place called Mashhad al-Sayrah, because Imam Husayn’s wife was pregnant and when they reached that spot, the baby miscarried. He was named Muhsin.

When they came near Damascus, Shimr was leading the caravan. Umm Kulthum asked him not to go from the main road, so people do not look at them with evil eyes. Shimr did exactly the opposite, ordering the caravan to march through the city from the main road, and for all of the heads to be in the middle of the caravan.

Arrival in Damascus

They arrived in Damascus on the first day of the month of Safar. The prisoners were kept in Bab al‑Sa′at and people went to see them, dancing and using the drums.

Somebody asked Sukaynah, “What prisoners are you?” She answered, “We are prisoners of the family of Muhammad.”

Yazid was sitting on his throne in his castle at Jiran when he saw the heads on spears and the prisoners. He recited a poem:

“When I saw the caravan and the heads near Jiran

The crow crowed, and I said,

Whether you crow or not,

I have gotten even with the Messenger of God.”

Because of this poem and other displays of hatred to the Prophet, some Sunni scholars believe that Yazid was kafir (unbeliever) and deserves to be cursed.

Sahl Ibn Sa′id came to Sukaynah, daughter of Imam Husayn, and asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

She asked him, “Can you tell the one who carries the head to go farther from the women, so people do not look at the women?”

Sahl honored his word and granted her request.

An old man came to Imam Sajjad and said, “Praise God that He perished you and made the leader overcome you!”

Sajjad replied, “Have you ever read the Quran, O, old man?”

The old man answered, “Yes.”

Sajjad asked, “Have you read the verse:

Say: I do not ask you any reward but love for the near in kin?3

He said, “Yes.”

Imam Sajjad asked, “Have you read the verse:

So, give the near in kin their rights?4

He said, “Yes, of course.”

Sajjad asked, “Have you read the verse:

And know that whatever you gain, a fifth of it is for God, and for the Messenger, the near of kin, orphans, the poor, and wayfarers?”5

The old man answered, “Yes, I have read all of these.”

Sajjad said, “Indeed, by God, we are them.” Then he asked, “Have you read the verse:

Indeed, God wants to take away pollution from you, O, People of the House?6

The old man answered, “Yes.”

Sajjad said to him, “We are the People of the House whom God has purified.”

The old man’s eyes opened wide as he asked, “Are you them?”

Sajjad said, “Yes, (I swear it) by our grandfather Prophet Muhammad. We are them without any doubt.”

The man fell to the ground, kissed Sajjad’s feet, and said, “I repent to God and reject those who killed you.”

When Yazid found out about this, he ordered the man to be killed.

The Prisoners Meet Yazid

The prisoners were ordered to go to Yazid’s main hall, and they were all tied together with one long rope. While they were marched towards the castle, they were beaten if they did not go fast.

When they entered the castle and were in Yazid’s presence, Sajjad asked Yazid “What do you think the Prophet of God would say if he sees us in this situation?”

The people started to cry and Yazid ordered the rope to be cut. The head of Imam Husayn was in front of him. He looked at Numan Ibn Bashir and said, “Praise God that He killed him.”

Numan replied, “Muawiyah, your father, did not want to have Husayn killed.”

Yazid answered, “That was before Husayn’s movement. If Husayn had started his movement before, my father Muawiyah would have killed him.”

Then Yazid faced Sajjad and said, “What do you think of what God has done to your father, Husayn’’

Sajjad replied, “I saw what God has written.”

Yazid consulted with his advisors about killing Sajjad and most of them agreed to having him killed.

Sajjad said, “O, Yazid! These people are deceiving you. Unlike the people of Pharaoh did when he asked them about Moses and Aaron. They said, ‘Leave Moses and Aaron, because the children of Prophets should not be killed.”‘

Yazid thought and pondered, then Sajjad asked him for permission to speak. Yazid said, “You may speak, but do not talk any nonsense.”

Sajjad said, “I am in a position in which I can not talk nonsense. What would you think if the Prophet sees us in this position?”

Yazid ordered Sajjad’s chains to be removed, then faced his royal announcers, and told them to praise Muawiyah and humiliate Husayn. When they continued cursing ′Ali and Husayn, Sajjad interrupted them and yelled, “You are trying to please humans against God. You are going to end up in Hell!”

Then Sajjad said calmly, “O, Yazid! Let me go stand in the same place as this man (the announcer) and say what would please God and what would benefit these people.”

Yazid refused, but the people insisted on allowing him. The people persisted, and Yazid did not want to anger the people, so he allowed it.

Sajjad said, “Praise God Who has no beginning, Who is eternal. No one was before Him and no one will be after Him. He will remain after the destruction of the whole world.

O, people! We are given six characteristics and we were honored by seven. We are given knowledge, patience, generosity, eloquence, bravery, and love in the hearts of believers; and we are honored that the Prophet is from our family, the friend, Siddiq Tayyar, the Lion of God and the lion of the Messenger, and the two grandsons of this nation.

O, people! Who knows me knows me, and who does not know me, I will tell him who I am in genealogy and character.

O, people! I am the son of Mecca and Mina. I am the son of Zamzam and Safa. I am the son of the one who carried the Black Stone with his robe. I am the son of the best of those who wear clothes [are civilized]. I am the son of the best of those who made Tawaf [circumambulating the Ka′bah] and Sa’y [walking between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa, as one of the Hajj pilgrimage rite]. I am the son of the man who rode the Buraq [winged horse] to the end of the horizon, and reached his Lord, and was two bow’s shots away from Him. I am the son of the one who prayed with the angels. I am the son of the one who received the revelation.

I am the son of the one who fought with the Prophet of God at the battles of Badr and Hunayn and he [′Ali] did not disbelieve in God even for the blink of an eye. I am the son of the best of believers and the heir of the Prophets and the leader of Muslims, the knight of fighters, the father of Hasan and Husayn, ′Ali son of Abi Talib. I am the son of Fatimah al‑Zahra′, the leader of women, and the great Khadijah. I am the son of the one who was killed and covered with blood. I am the son of the one who was killed in Karbāla’. I am the son of the one for whom the Jinn cried, and even the birds on the wind.”

When Sajjad said this, people yelled and wailed in an uproar of grief.

Yazid began to fear that the situation would escalate, so he ordered the Muažžin7 to recite the Ažan8 even though it was not prayer time.

The Muažžin yelled, “Allahu Akbar! (God is great)” and Sajjad said, “God is greater and more honored than anything I fear!”

Then the Muažžin said, “Ashhadu anla ilaha ilallah [I bear witness that there is no god besides Allah]” and Sajjad said, “Yes, I bear witness with everyone who witnesses that there is no god but Him!”

When the Muažžin said, “Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah [I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God]”, Sajjad said to the Muažžin, “I ask you by the right of Muhammad to be silent for one minute!”

He faced Yazid and said, “This Messenger of God, is he your grandfather or my grandfather? If you say he is your grandfather, people who are present and all people will know you are a liar, and if you say he is my grandfather, then why did you kill my father unjustly? Why did you loot his wealth? Why did you capture his women? On the Day of Judgment my grandfather will be against you.”

Yazid interrupted Sajjad and yelled at the Muažžin to start the prayer, even though it was not time. Some left to pray and others simply left the scene.

Then, he asked for the head of Imam Husayn to be brought to him in a golden washbasin. The women of the family of the Prophet wanted to see what is in the basin, but Yazid did not want them to. When he uncovered it and they saw the head, everyone cried.

Yazid ordered others to enter the room. He took his stick, hit the lips of Imam Husayn, and said, “Now I am getting even for the battle of Badr!” And then recited some poetry.

One of his people yelled that ‘‘Al al-Mustafa’ (the family of Heavenly Selected—Prophet Muhammad) are cut into pieces. Yazid hit him in his chest, told him to shut up, and cursed him, saying, “You have no mother!”

Another stood up and asked Yazid to give him Fatimah, daughter of Husayn, as a gift. Fatimah became very scared and clung tightly to Zaynab.

Zaynab raised her voice and said, “Impossible! You cannot have this!”

Yazid replied, “If I want it, I can...

Zaynab said to him, “If you do not believe in our religion, you can.”

Yazid barked at her, “Your father and your brother were not of our religion!”

Zaynab said, “It was by the religion of God, my grandfather, and my father, that you and your father became Muslims!”

Yazid screamed, “You are a liar and an enemy of God!”

Zaynab said, “You are governor. You curse us unjustly and you govern by force.”

The man repeated his request for the daughter of Husayn as a gift.

Yazid yelled at him, cursed him, and then said to everyone:

“I wish my ancestors were here to see

How their enemies are in fear.

They would be happy

And they would tell me: Yazid, you did a good job!

We have taken their heads, and gotten even

For the battle of Badr.

The Hashim (family of the Prophet Muhammad] played with politics.

There is no revelation and no Messenger.

They lied just to get the leadership.

I am not from my tribe

If I do not take revenge on the descendants of Ahmad.”

When Zaynab heard Yazid, she said, “Praises to God and the Messenger of God,” and quoted:

“Then, the end result of those who have done evil was evil, because they denied the signs of God, and mocked them.”9

Then she continued, “O, Yazid! You think you have turned the whole world against us, and you have driven us like slaves. You think that you have honor, and you are important. You are holding your nose high, and you are happy, for the world is easy for you, and your kingdom is secure. But, you just wait and see!

Have you forgotten the saying of God:

‘And let not those who disbelieve think that whatever we increase for them is the best for them. Indeed, We increase for them so they increase in sin, and they have a humiliating punishment?’10

Is it just, O, son of Tulaqa,11 to honor your slaves and drive the children of the Prophet as slaves? You exposed their privacy and exposed their faces. You paraded them from city to city. They had no one to protect them and everyone, near or far, examining their faces! What can we expect from a descendant of those who tried to eat the livers of the righteous people12 whose flesh grows from the blood of martyrs. What can we expect from someone who grew up with hatred of the Prophet’s family?”

Then, she quoted his poem and said, “While hitting the lips of the son of the Messenger of God, how could you say such a thing? Someone like you has to say such things, while you shed the blood of the descendants of Muhammad and the stars of the family of ′Abdul Muttalib. You call your ancestors. Indeed, you will soon go the same way as them. Indeed, you will wish you were mute and did not say what you said and did not do what you did.

O, God! Secure our rights and take revenge on those who treated us unjustly who shed our blood and killed our protectors. O, Yazid, you have not cut anything but your own skin. You have not chopped anything but your own flesh. Indeed, you will face Prophet Muhammad by what you have shed, the blood of his descendants and humiliated his honor!” Then she quoted:

“Do not think of those who have been killed in the way of God as dead. No! They are alive, with their Lord, and bestowed blessings.13

“And God is the best Judge and Muhammad is the plaintiff and (Archangel) Gabriel is the supporter. And those who made you come to power over Muslims will know what a worse alternative they have chosen and what a weak army they have. Though it is hard for me to speak to you, I belittle you. It is hard for me to look in your face, but the eyes are weeping and the chests are tight.

O! The wonder of wonders is that the party of God, the honored are killed by the party of Satan, those who were given freedom by the Prophet. Their hands are dripping with our blood, their mouths are filled with our flesh, and the bodies of the righteous are scattered on the ground. You took us as prisoners as gains of the war, but soon you will be the loser, when you enter the Judgment of God. We have only Him as our protector. Do whatever you want and plan and scheme whatever you want.

But, by God you cannot eradicate our memory, and you cannot eradicate the revelation (of God) and the shame of this will not leave you. Your view is in vain, and your days are numbered, and your groups will be scattered, on a day in which a caller will call and announce the curse of God on those who are unjust. Praised be the Lord, the One who gave the first of us forgiveness and the last of us martyrdom. And we ask Almighty God to complete the reward for them, and increase for them, and make us the successful ones. Indeed, He is merciful and kind, and God is sufficient, and the Best Protector.


The historian al‑Bayruni says:

“These actions taken against the Imam were not done to any nation in the world. Using all cheap means possible, such as killing by sword, spearing, catapults, and running the horses on the bodies of the victims.”

After the massacre at Karbāla’, ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, the leader of the army, asked the governor, Ibn Ziyad, for the written promise to make him governor of the city of Ray. Ibn Ziyad said he lost it.

One year after the death of Yazid, Mukhtar revolted against Ibn Ziyad and killed all those who participated in killing Imam Husayn, such as Harmalah ibn Kahil, Shimr ibn dhil‑Jawshan, and eighteen thousand others who participated in the massacre at Karbāla’. Mukhtar ordered then to be killed by cruel and unusual methods of painful torture and death.

Mukhtar did not kill ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, but he ordered the women of the city to sit by the door of his house and cry and wail every night. They did this, and after some time, he became crazy.

  • 1. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of an-Nahl 16:92
  • 2. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Hadīd 57:23
  • 3. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of ash-Shūrā 42:23
  • 4. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of ar-Rūm 30:38
  • 5. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Hashr 59:7
  • 6. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Ahzāb 33:33
  • 7. Muažžin is caller for prayer.
  • 8. Ažan is the call to prayer.
  • 9. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of ar-Rūm 30:10
  • 10. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of Ali-’Imrān 3:178
  • 11. People of Koreish (The Prophet’s rivals) allied each other against Prophet Mohammad and showed him various sorts of bitterness that obliged him to flee his hometown. When God gave him victory against them, they were quite sure he would revenge himself upon them. He said nothing to them but, ‘what do you think I am going to do with you?’ ‘Only the good, for you are a noble brother and the son of a noble brother,’ answered they. He said: ‘I will repeat the same wording of my brother Joseph the prophet: (Today, you are not condemned.) Go, you are released (Tulaqa).’
  • 12. After the Battle of Uhud, Hind—wife of Abu Sufyan and Yazid's grandmother tried to eat the liver of Hamzah Ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib (Prophet Muhammad’s uncle) after he had been martyred in the battle.
  • 13. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of Ali-’Imrān 3:169

The Ziyarah of Imam Husayn

The Ziyarah of ‘Ashura’

Peace be upon you, O Abu ′Abdullah.

Peace be upon you, O son of the Messenger of Allah.

Peace be upon you, O son of Amir al-Mu’minin (the commander of the faithful ones) and chief of the prophets’ successors.

Peace be upon you, O son of Fatimah the chiefess of the women of this world.
Peace be on you, O he whose blood-claimer is Allah, He is the blood-claimer of your father also, as those who persecuted you, your relatives and friends have not been punished for the crimes.
Peace be upon you and upon those souls who had gathered in your camp.

I pray and invoke Allah to keep all of you tranquil and restful forever; so far I am alive, this is my prayer, and till nights and days follow each other.
O Abu ′Abdullah, unbearable is the sorrow; never-racking is the agony you put up with for us and for all (true) Muslims.

Crimes committed against you also shocked and unnerved the dwellers of the heavens, one and all.

Curse of Allah be on the people who laid the basis and set up the groundwork, to wander astray and turn aside from not only you and your family, but also to take liberties and bear hard upon you.

Curse of Allah be on the people who tried to obscure and deny your office and status, willfully neglected your rank and class Allah had made known in clear terms.

Curse of Allah be on the people who killed you.
Curse of Allah be on the abettors who instigated and had a part in the murder committed against you.
I turn to you and Allah away from them, their henchmen, their followers, and their friends.

O Abu Abdullah, I make peace with those who make their peace with you, and make war against those who go to war against you until the Day of Judgment.
Curse of Allah be on the family of Ziyad.
Curse of Allah be on the family of Marwan.
Curse of Allah be on the group and the tribe of Umayya, everyone, altogether.
Curse of Allah be on son of Marjanah.

Curse of Allah be on Omar ibn Sa’d.
Curse of Allah be on Shemr.
Curse of Allah be on the people who saddled and put bridles (on their riding animals) and veiled (their faces as sings of getting ready) for fighting you.
My father and mother be sacrificed for you.
Profound is my sorrow for you.

So, I beg Allah who honored you above others to be generous towards me on account of you and give me the opportunity to be with the victorious Imam (Imam al-Mahdi) from the descendants of Muhammad, peace be upon him and his family.

O Allah make me attend to Your cause sincerely in every respect following in al-Husayn’s footsteps in this world and the Hereafter.
O Abu ′Abdullah, I seek nearness and seek greater intimacy with Allah, His Messenger, Amir al-Mu’minin, Fatmah, al-Hasan, and with you, through the help of my love and patronage for you and through disavowing those who laid the foundation (for your suffering), carried out their corrupt plan for action, boldly gave currency to reign of terror and cruelty to oppress you and your friends and followers.

I detach myself from them and present myself to Allah and to you.
I first seek greater intimacy with Allah and then with you through my love for you, and for those who love and support you, and through my disavowing your enemies and those who wage wars against you and disavowing their patrons and followers.

I make peace with those who make their peace with you, make war against those who go to war against you, make friends with those who accede to you, and antagonize those who antagonize you.
Therefore, I make a request to Allah Who acquainted me with the awareness that perceives you and your friends and bestowed upon me with the grace of disavowing your enemies, to make me keep company with you in this world and in the Hereafter, stand firm beside you, and follow your footsteps closely in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Him that He helps me to reach your highly praised station given to you by Allah (to meet you), that He provides me the opportunity to fight for justice and fair play along with and under the leadership of the rightly guided Imam who surely will come and speak the truth.

I beseech Allah in the name of your right and the purpose He assigned to you that He overwhelms me with grief in memory of your sorrows more than the personal grief that torments anyone who is in great agony—sorrows which have no parallel and overshadow all calamities that took place in the history of Islam, for that matter, throughout the whole universe.

O Allah, in this situation, treat me like him/her who obtains from Your blessings, mercy, and forgiveness.
O Allah, make my life go on in the same way as the life of Muhammad and the children of Muhammad went on and make me die on the same principles on which Muhammad and the children of Muhammad die.

O Allah, this is a day of rejoicing for the Umayyad dynasty and for the son of that woman who ate the liver (of Hamza)—the son who, as well as his father, is cursed by You and Your Messenger, peace be upon him and his family, in every situation and occasion drew the public’s attention to this truism.

O Allah, curse Abu Sufyan, Muawiyah son of Abu Sufyan, and Yazid son of Muawiyah, and make it a never-ending curse upon them from You.

This is also a day of joy for the family of Ziyad and the family of Marwan because they killed al-Husayn, peace be upon him.

Therefore, O Allah, double up the curse You bring upon them and also the punishment You decrees for them.
O Allah, I seek nearness to You on this day, all my lifetime, and in this frame of mind through disavowing them and cursing them, and through my being loyal to your Prophet and the children of Your Prophet, peace be upon him and his family.

Then say one hundred times:
O Allah, curse the first tyrant who unjustly and wrongfully usurped that which rightly belonged to Muhammad and the children of Muhammad, and bring curse upon those who, after him, followed in this footsteps.
O Allah, curse the conspirators who vexed and harassed al-Husayn, showed eagerness, agreed mutually, and joined hands to kill him.
O Allah, curse all of them.

Then say one hundred times:
Peace be upon you, O Abu Abdullah, and upon those souls who came to your camp to put themselves at your disposal.
So far I am alive and days and nights follow each other, I invoke Allah to send blessings on you forever.
Allah may not make it the last time for me to visit your tomb.

Peace be upon al-Husayn, upon ′Ali ibn al-Husayn, upon the children of al-Husayn, and upon the companions of al-Husayn.

Then say:
O Allah, let the curse I call down be on the first tyrant (who wronged and persecuted Muhammad and his children) and stay up forever on the first, then the second, then the third, and then the fourth.
O Allah, call down evil on the fifth; Yazid son of Muawiyah, and curse ′Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad, son of Marjanah, ′’Umar ibn Sa′d, Shemr, the family of Abu Sufyan, the family of Ziyad, and the family of Marwan until the Day of Judgment.

Then, prostrate yourself and recite:
O Allah, all praise of the every-thankful ones is due to You for the misfortunes that they encountered.

All praise is due to Allah for my deep, intense grief.

O Allah, make available for me the intercession of al-Husayn on the Day I present myself before You, and let me stand firm in safety before You on account of my sincere attachment with al-Husayn, along with him and his comrades who sacrificed everything they had (hearts, minds, souls, and lives) for al-Husayn, peace be upon him.

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا أبَا عَبْدِ الله،

السَّلاَم عَلَيْك يَا بْنَ رَسُولِ اللهِ،

السَّلاَم عَلَيْك يَا بْن أمير الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَابْنَ سَيِّدِ الْوَصِيِّين،

السَّلاَم عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ فَاطِمَةَ سَيِّدَةِ نِسَاءِ الْعَالَمِينَ، السَّلاَم عَلَيْك يَا ثَارَ اللهِ وابنَ ثارِهِ وَالْوِتْرَ الْمَوْتُورَ.

السَّلاَم عَلَيْك وَعَلَى الأرواح الَّتِي حَلَّت بِفِنَائِك،

عَلَيْكُم مِنِّي جميعاً سلامُ الله أبَداً مَا بَقِيتُ وَبَقِي اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ.

يَا أبَا عَبْدِ الله، لَقَدْ عَظُمَت الرَّزِيَّةُ وَجَلَّتْ وعظمت المصيبةُ بِك (بِكُمْ) عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أهل الإسلامِ،

وَجَلَّتْ وَعَظُمَتْ مُصِيبَتُكَ فِي السَّماوَات علَى جَمِيعِ أهْلِ السَّماوَاتِ.

فَلَعَنَ اللهُ امَّةً أسَّسَتْ أسَاسَ الظُلْمِ وَالْجَوْرِ عَلَيْكُم أهْلَ الْبَيْتِ،

وَلَعَنَ اللهُ أمَّةً دَفَعَتْكُم عَن مَقَامِكُم وَأَزَالَتْكُم عَن مَرَاتِبِكُم الَّتِي رَتَّبَكُم الله فِيهَا،

وَلَعَنَ اللهُ أمَّةً قَتَلَتْكُم،

وَلَعَنَ اللهُ المُمَهِّدِين لَهُم بِالتَّمْكِين مِن قِتَالِكُم.

بَرِئْت إلى اللهِ وإلَيْكُم مِنْهُم وَمِن أشْيَاعِهِم وَأَتْبَاعِهِم وَأَوْلِيَائِهِم.

يَا أبَا عَبْدِ اللهِ، إنِّي سِلْم لِمَن سَالَمَكُم وَحَرْبٌ لِمَن حَارَبَكُم إلى يَوْم القِيَامَةِ.

وَلَعَن اللهُ آلَ زِيَادٍ وَآلَ مَرْوَانَ،

وَلَعَنَ اللهُ بَنِي أمَيَّةَ قَاطِبَةً،

وَلَعَن اللهُ ابْنَ مَرْجَانَةَ،

وَلَعَن الله عُمَرَ بْن سَعْدٍ،

وَلَعَن اللهُ شِمْراً،

وَلَعَن اللهُ أمَّةً أسْرَجَتْ وَأَلْجَمَتْ وَتَنَقَّبَت لِقِتَالِك.

بِأَبِي أنْت وَأُمِّي؛

لَقَدْ عَظُمَ مُصَابِي بِك،

فَأسْأَلُ اللهَ الَّذِي اكْرَم مَقَامَك وَأَكْرَمَنِي بِك أنْ يَرْزُقَنِي طَلَبَ ثَأرِكَ مَعَ إمَامٍ مَنْصُورٍ مِن أهْلِ بَيْت مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى الله عَلَيْه وَآلِه.

اللَّهُم اجْعَلْنِي عِنْدَك وَجِيهاً بِالحُسَيْن عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ.

يَا أبَا عَبْدِ اللهِ؛ إنِّي أتَقَرَّبُ إلى اللهِ وَإلَى رَسُوْلِهِ وإلى أمِيْرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وإلى فَاطِمَةَ وإلى الحَسَنِ وإليك بِمُوَالاَتِك وَبِالْبَرَاءَةِ مِمَّن أسَّسَ أسَاسَ ذلِك وَبَنَىٰ عَلَيْهِ بُنْيَانَه وَجَرَىٰ فِي ظُلْمِه وَجَوْرِه عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَلَى أشْيَاعِكُم.

بَرِئْت إلى الله وإليكُم مِنْهُم،

وَأَتَقَرَّبُ إلى اللهِ ثُم إلَيْكُمْ بِمُوَالاَتِكُم وَمُوَالاَةِ وَلِيِّكُم وَبِالْبَرَاءَةِ مِن أعْدَائِكُم وَالنَّاصِبِين لَكُم الْحَرْبَ، وِبِالْبَرَاءَةِ مِن أشْيَاعِهِم وَأَتْبَاعِهِم.

إِنِّي سِلْم لِمَن سَالَمَكُم وَحَرْبٌ لِمَن حَارَبَكُم وَوَلِيٌّ لِمَنْ وَالاَكُم وَعَدُوٌّ لِمَن عَادَاكُم،

فَأَسْألُ اللهَ الَّذِي أكْرَمَنِي بِمَعْرِفَتِكُم وَمَعْرِفَة أوْلِيَائِكُم وَرَزَقَنِي الْبَرَاءَةَ مِن أعْدَائِكُم أن يَجْعَلَنِي مَعَكُم فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَأَن يُثَبِّتَ لِي عَنْدَكُم قَدَمَ صِدْقٍ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخرةِ،

وَأَسْأَلُه ان يُبَلِّغَنِيَ الْمَقَامَ الْمَحْمُودَ لَكُم عِنْدَ اللهِ،

وَأَن يَرْزُقَنِي طَلَبَ ثَأرِي (ثَأرِكُمْ) مَعَ إِمَام هُدًى ظَاهِرٍ نَاطِقٍ بِالْحَقِّ مِنْكُم.

وَأَسْأَلُ اللهَ بِحَقِّكُم وَبِالشَّأْنِ الَّذِي لَكُم عِنْدَهُ أَن يُعْطِيَنِي بِمُصَابِي بِكُم افْضَلَ مَا يُعْطِي مُصَاباً بِمُصِيبَتِه؛ مُصِيبَةً مَا أعْظَمَهَا وَأَعْظَمَ رَزِيَّتَهَا فِي الإِسْلاَم وَفِي جَمِيعِ السَّماوَات وَالأرْضِ.

اللَّهُم اجْعَلْنِي فِي مَقَامِي هَذَا مِمَّن تَنَالُهُ مِنْك صَلَوَاتٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ.

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ مَحْيَايَ مَحْيَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَمَمَاتِي مَمَاتَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ.

اللَّهُمَّ إنَّ هَذَا يَوْمٌ تَبَرَّكَت بِه بَنُو أمَيَّةَ وَابْنُ آكِلَةِ الأكْبَادِ اللَّعِينُ ابْنُ اللَّعِينِ عَلَى لِسَانِك وَلِسَانِ نَبِيِّكَ، صَلَّى الله عَلَيْه وَآلِه، فِي كُلِّ مَوْطِنٍ وَمَوْقِفٍ وَقَفَ فِيه نَبِيُّكَ، صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْه وَآلِهِ.

اللَّهُم الْعَنْ أبَا سُفْيَانَ وَمُعاوِيَةَ وَيَزِيدَ بْنَ مُعاوِيَة؛ عَلَيْهِم مِنْكَ اللَّعْنَةُ أبَدَ الآبِدِينَ.

وَهٰذَا يَوْمٌ فَرِحَتْ بِه آلُ زِيَادٍ وَآلُ مَرْوَانَ بِقَتْلِهِم الْحُسَيْنَ، صَلَوَات الله عَلَيْه،

اللَّهُمَّ فَضَاعِفْ عَلَيْهِمُ اللَّعْنَ مِنْك وَالْعَذَابَ الأَلِيم.

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيْكَ فِي هَذَا اليَوْمِ وَفِي مَوْقِفِي هَذَا وَأَيَّامِ حَياتِي بِالْبَرَاءةِ مِنْهُم وَاللَّعْنَةِ عَلَيْهِم، وَبِالْمُوَالاَة لِنَبِيِّك وَآلِ نَبِيِّك، عَلَيْه وَعَلَيْهِم السَّلاَمُ.

ثم قل مائة مرة:

اللَّهُمَّ الْعَنْ أوَّلَ ظَالِمٍ ظَلَمَ حَقَّ مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَآخِرَ تَابِعٍ لَه عَلَى ذلِك.

اللَّهُمَّ الْعَن الْعِصَابَةَ الَّتِي جَاهَدَت الْحُسَيْنَ وَشَايَعَتْ وَبَايَعَتْ وَتَابَعَتْ عَلى قَتْلِه.

اللَّهُم الْعَنْهُم جَمِيعاً.

ثم قل مائة مرة:

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْك يَا أبَا عَبْدِ اللهِ وَعَلَى الأَرْوَاحِ الَّتِي حَلَّتْ بِفِنَائِك،

عَلَيْكَ مِنِّي سَلاَمُ اللهِ أبَداً مَا بَقِيتُ وَبَقِيَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ،

وَلاَ جَعَلَهُ اللهُ آخِرَ الْعَهْدِ مِنِّي لِزِيَارَتِكُم.

السَّلاَمُ عَلَى الْحُسَيْنِ وَعَلَى عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ وَعَلَى أوْلاَدِ الْحُسَيْنِ وَعَلَى أصْحَابِ الْحُسَيْنِ.

ثم قل:

اللَّهُمَّ خُصَّ أنْتَ أوَّلَ ظَالِمٍ بِاللَّعْنِ مِنِّي وَابْدَأْ بِه أوَّلاً ثُمَّ الثَّانِيَ وَالثَّالِثَ وَالرَّابِعَ.

اللَّهُمَّ الْعَنْ يَزِيدَ خَامِساً وَالْعَنْ عُبَيْدَ اللهِ بْنَ زِيَادٍ وَابْنَ مَرْجَانَةَ وَعُمَرَ بْن سَعْدٍ وَشِمْراً وَآلَ أبِي سُفْيَانَ وَآلَ زِيَادٍ وَآلَ مَرْوَانَ إلى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ.

ثم اسجد وقل:

اللَّهُمَّ لَك الْحَمْدُ حَمْدَ الشَّاكِرِين لَكَ عَلَى مُصَابِهِم.

الْحَمْدُ للهِ عَلَى عَظِيمِ رَزِيَّتِي.

اللَّهُمَّ ارْزُقْنِي شَفَاعَةَ الْحُسَيْنِ يَوْم الوُرُودِ وَثَبِّت لِي قَدَمَ صِدْقٍ عِنْدَك مَعَ الْحُسَيْنِ وَأَصْحَابِ الْحُسَيْن الَّذِينَ بَذَلُوا مُهَجَهُم دُون الْحُسَيْن عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ.

The Ziyarah of al-Warith

Ibn Qawlawayh, in his book titled ‘al-Mazar’ records the following on the authority of Safwan:

I asked Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, to permit me to visit (the holy tomb of) my master Imam al-Husayn, peace be upon him, and also asked him to guide me what to do. The Imam said to me:

“O Safwan, before you begin your journey to visit the tomb of Imam Husayn, you should fast for three days and, on the third day, wash yourself, gather your family members, and recite (the Du’a): O Allah, I keep with you… etc.”

Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, then taught Safwan a Du’a to be recited near the River Euphrates.”

He, peace be upon him, then said:

“Wash yourself in the River Euphrates, for my father, on the authority of his fathers, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, said:

After my demise, my son (al-Husayn) will be killed on the bank of the Euphrates. He who washes himself in that river (intending to visit the tomb of al-Husayn) will have all of his sins eradicated as if he has just been born by his mother.”

Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, then said:

As you wash yourself in the river, recite the following:

(I begin) by the Name of Allah and (I seek help) from Allah. O Allah, (I beseech to You to) make this water for me as light, purification, shelter, and remedy from every malady, ill, epidemic, or defect. O Allah, purify my heart through this water, expand my breast for me, and make my affair easy to me.

When you finish washing yourself, put on two dresses and offer a two-Rak’at (unit of prayer) prayer not very far from the bank of the river. That is the very place about which Allah said:

And in the earth there are tracts side by side and gardens of grapes and corn and palm trees having one root and (others) having distinct roots‑‑ they are watered with one water, and We make some of them excel others in fruit. (The Holy Quran; Sura of ar-Ra’d 13:4.)

As you finish your prayer, direct towards Hair with tranquility and solemnity. As you walk, try to make short steps, for Allah, Exalted is He, shall record for you the reward of Hajj (holy pilgrimage to Mecca—obligatory in definite conditions and season) and ‘Umrah (recommended pilgrimage to Mecca). Try to be pious-hearted with tearful eyes. Recite as much as possible Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar—Allah is the Most Great), Tahlil (saying La ilaha illa (a)llah—There is no god but Allah), statements of praising Allah and sending blessings on Muhammad and his family in general and blessings on Husayn in particular, and cursing those who killed him and those who were the main reason beyond so.

At the door of Hair, stop and recite:

Allah is, verily, the Most Great, very much thanks is due to Allah, and praise Allah in morns and eves. All praise is due to Allah Who guided us to this, and we would not have found the way had it not been that Allah had guided us; certainly the apostles of our Lord brought the truth.”

Then, you should recite:

“Peace be upon you, O the Messenger of Allah.

Peace be upon you, O the Prophet of Allah. Peace be upon you, O the seal of the prophets.

Peace be upon you, O the chief of the Messengers (of Allah).

Peace be upon you, O the Beloved of Allah.

Peace be upon you, O the commander of the faithful ones.

Peace be upon you, O the master of the prophets’ successors. Peace be upon you, O the leader of the white-forheaded and white-footed ones (on the Day of Resurrection).

Peace be upon you, O son of Fatimah the chiefess of the women of this world.

Peace be upon you and upon the Imams from your progeny.

Peace be upon you, O the successor of Amir al-Mu’minin (the commander of the faithful ones).

Peace be upon you, O veracious and shahid (martyr).

Peace be upon you, O Angels of Allah who reside in this holy shrine.

Peace be upon you, O my Lord’s Angels who surround the tomb of al-Husayn, peace be upon him.

Peace be upon all of you forever as long as there are day and night.”

You should then say:

“Peace be upon you, O Abu ′Abdullah.

Peace be upon you, O son of the Messenger of Allah.

Peace be upon you, O son of Amir al-Mu’minin.

I am your slave and son of your slave and bondmaid.

I confess of my servantship to you, acquit from being opposite to you, accede to anyone who accedes to you, and antagonize him who antagonizes you. I direct towards your holy shrine, seek shelter of your (burial) place, and seek nearness to you through directing to you.

O the Messenger of Allah, may I enter?

O the Prophet of Allah, may I enter?

O Amir al-Mu’minin, may I enter?

O the chief of the prophets’ successors, may I enter? O Fatimah the chiefess of the women of the world, may I enter?

O my master Abu ‘Abdullah, may I enter?

O my master and son of the Messenger of Allah, may I enter?”

If you feel your heart has become submissive and your eyes have become tearful, then that will be the sign of permission to enter. You then should enter and recite:

“All praise is due to Allah the One, the Unique, the Single, the Absolute Who guided me to be loyal to you, gave me exclusively the change to visit your tomb, and made it easy for me to direct to you.”

You should then come near the door of the dome from the Imam’s head’s side and recite:

Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Adam the sincerely attached friend of Allah!

Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Noah, the prophet of Allah!

Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Abraham, the intimate friend of Allah!

Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Moses who spoke to Allah!

Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Jesus who received peace, joy, and mercy from Allah!

Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Muhammad, the dearest beloved of Allah!

Peace be on you, O the inheritor of Amir ul-Mu’minin, peace be upon him.

Peace be on you, O the son of Muhammad al-Mustafa!

Peace be on you, O the son of ′Ali al-Murta¨a!

Peace be upon you, O the son of Fatimah al-Zahra!

Peace be on you, O the Khadijah al-Kubra!

Peace be on you, O he whose blood-claimer is Allah, He is the blood-claimer of your father also, as those who persecuted you, your relatives and friends have not been punished for the crimes.

I bear witness that verily you established the prayers, gave the zakat (prescribed share) to the needy, commanded to do what is right and lawful, not to do that which is wrong and unlawful, obeyed Allah and His Messenger till the inevitable came unto you.

So, Allah condemns those who killed you to eternal punishment; Allah casts those who maltreated you into Hell, Allah damns those who heard the event and rested satisfied.

O My Master, O Abu ′Abdullah! I bear witness that verily you were a light in the sublime loins and purified wombs; the impurities of ignorance did not even tough you, nor could its soiled and dirty bearing ever smear you.

I bear witness that, verily, you are the mainstay of the religion, and the supporter of the faithful ones.

I bear witness that, verily, you are a pious, God-fearing, favorite, wise, and rightly guided (Imam).

I bear witness that the Imams, in your progeny, are the words of wisdom, the signs of guidance, the safe handle of Islam, and the decisive argument for the humankind.

I call Allah to give witness, and also His Angels, His Prophets, His Messenger, that, verily, I believe in (all of) you, that I am sure of your Return, joined to the divine laws of my belief, and my accomplishments; my mind and soul resigned to your obedience, my conduct following the example of your behavior.

Blessings of Allah be on (all of) you, on your souls, on your bodies, on your forms, (when) you are in view, (when) you are out of sight, on your style, and on your substance.

Then throw yourself on the tomb, kiss it, and recite:

My father and mother be sacrificed for you, O son of the Messenger of Allah!

My father and mother be sacrificed for you, O Abu ′Abdullah!

Verily terrible was the calamity, and your suffering casts gloom upon us and upon all the people of the heavens and the earth.

Therefore, curse of Allah be on the people who saddled up, gave rein to their horses and prepared to kill you.

O my Master, O Abu ′Abdullah! I moved towards your sacred shrine and came to visit you, I beseech Allah in the name of your honor and your status you enjoy before Him to send blessings on Muhammad and on the children of Muhammad, and keep me with you in this world and in the Hereafter.

Then you should stand up for offering a two-Rak’at prayer next to the place of the Imam’s head. In this prayer, you can recite any Quranic chapter you like. When you finish, you should recite:

O Allah, I have offered a prayer, genuflected, and prostrated myself for sake of You purely particularly, since You have no associate and since none at all is worth of prayer, genuflection, and prostration except You.

O Allah, send blessings on Muhammad and the children of Muhammad, and send them my best greetings and compliment, and send their replies to me.

O Allah, accept this prayer that I have offered as present from me to my master al-Husayn ibn ′Ali, peace be upon both of them.

O Allah, send blessings on Muhammad and on him (al-Husayn) and accept my effort and reward me for it in the best rewarding that I anticipate and hope from You and from Your saint. You are surely the Guardian of the faithful ones.

Then, move to the place of the Imam’s legs, stop at the place of the head of ‘′Ali ibn al-Husayn, peace be upon them, and recite:

Peace be upon you, O son of the Messenger of Allah.

Peace be upon you, O son of the Prophet of Allah.

Peace be upon you, O son of Amir al-Mu’minin (the commander of the faithful ones).

Peace be upon you, O son of al-Husayn the shahid (martyr).

Peace be upon you, O shahid.

Peace be upon you, O the wronged and harassed one and son of the wrong and harassed one.

Curse of Allah be on those who killed you.

Curse of Allah be on those who persecuted you.

Curse of Allah be on those who heard this even but rested satisfied.

You should then throw yourself on the tomb, kiss it, and recite:

Peace be upon you, O the saint of Allah and son of the saint of Allah.

Verily terrible was the calamity, and your suffering casts gloom upon us and upon all of Muslims.

So, curse of Allah be on those who killed you, and I disconnect all links with them and turn to Allah and you.

Then you should leave the door at the place of ′Ali ibn al-Husayn’s legs, direct towards the martyrs, and recite:

Peace be upon all of you, O the saints and dears of Allah.

Peace be upon all of you, O the adorers of Allah and the sincerely attached to Him.

Peace be upon all of you, O the helpers of Allah’s religion.

Peace be upon all of you, O the helpers of the Messenger of Allah.

Peace be upon all of you, O the helpers of Amir al-Mu’minin.

Peace be upon all of you, O the helpers of Fatimah the chiefess of the women of this world.

Peace be upon all of you, O the helpers of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn ‘′Ali the sincere, pure, and faithful saint.

Peace be upon all of you, O the helpers of Abu ′Abdullah.

My father and mother be sacrificed for you.

Verily, you were pure; therefore, the land wherein you are buried has been purified. You also attained your end and won great fortune.

Would that we were with you, so that we could also share the accomplishment with you.

Would that we were with you, so that we could also share the accomplishment with you.

You should then return to the place where the head of Imam al-Husayn, peace be upon him, is buried, supplicate to Allah as much as you can, pray for yourself, your family members, your parents, and your friends, for any prayer in the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn shall never be rejected or denied.

عن كتاب المزار لابن قولويه قال: استأذنت الإمام الصادق، عليه السلام، لزيارة مولاي الحسين، عليه السلام، وسألته أن يعرّفني ما أعمل عليه، فقال:

يا صفوان؛ صم ثلاثة أيام قبل خروجك واغتسل في اليوم الثالث، ثم اجمع إليك أهلك ثم قل: اللهم إني استودعك... الخ

ثم علمه دعاءً يدعو به إذا أتى الفرات.

ثم قال: ثم اغتسل من الفرات فإن أبي حدثني عن آبائه عليهم السلام قال: قال رسول الله، صلى الله عليه وآله:

إن ابني هذا (الحسين عليه السلام) يقتل بعدي على شاطئ الفرات، ومن اغتسل من الفرات تساقطت خطاياه كهيئة يوم ولدته أمه.

فإذا اغتسلت فقل في غسلك:

"بسمِ اللهِ، وباللهِ، اللّهمَّ اجعلهُ نوراً وطَهوراً وحِرزاً وشِفاءً من كُلِّ داءٍ وسقمٍ وآفَةٍ وعاهةٍ. اللّهمَّ طهِّر بهِ قلبي واشرحْ به صَدري وسهِّل به أمري."

فإذا فرغت من غسلك فالبس ثوبين وصلِّ ركعتين خارج المشرعة، وهو المكان الذي قال الله تعالى عنه:

"وَفِي الْأَرْضِ قِطَعٌ مُتَجَاوِرَاتٌ وَجَنَّاتٌ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَزَرْعٌ وَنَخِيلٌ صِنْوَانٌ وَغَيْرُ صِنْوَانٍ يُسْقَى بِمَاءٍ وَاحِدٍ وَنُفَضِّلُ بَعْضَهَا عَلَى بَعْضٍ فِي الْأُكُلِ." (الرعد/4).

فإذا فرغت من صلاتك فتوجه نحو الحائر وعليك السكينة والوقار، وقصر خطاك فإن الله تعالى يكتب لك بكل خطوة حجة وعمرة، وصر خاشعاً قلبك باكية عينك، وأكثر من التكبير والتهليل والثناء على الله عز وجل والصلاة على نبيه، صلى الله عليه وآله، والصلاة على الحسين، عليه السلام، خاصة ولعن من قتله والبراءة ممن أسس ذلك عليه. فإذا أتيت باب الحائر فقف وقل:

اللهُ أكبرُ كبيراً والحمدُ للهِ كثيراً وسُبحانَ اللهِ بُكرةً وأصيلاً. الحمدُ للهِ الذي هَدانا لهذا وما كُنّا لِنهتديَ لولا أنْ هدانا اللهُ، لقَد جاءتْ رسلُ ربِّنا بالحقِّ.

ثم قل:

السلامُ عليكَ يا رسولَ اللهِ، السلامُ عليكَ يا نبيَّ اللهِ، السلامُ عليكَ يا خاتمَ النبيّينَ، السلامُ عليكَ يا سيّدَ المرسَلينَ،

السلامُ عليكَ يا حبيبَ اللهِ. السلامُ عليكَ يا أميرَ المؤمنينَ، السلامُ عليكَ يا سيّدَ الوصييّنَ،

السلامُ عليكَ يا قائدَ الغُرّ المحَجّلينَ.

السلامُ عليكَ يا بنَ فاطِمةُ سيّدةَ نساءِ العالمينَ.

السلامُ عليكَ وعلى الأئمّةِ من ولدِك.

السلامُ عليكَ يا وصيَّ أميرِ المؤمنينَ.

السلامُ عليكَ أيّها الصّدّيقُ الشهيدُ.

السلامُ عليكم يا ملائكَةَ اللهِ المقيمينَ في هذا المقامِ الشريفِ،

السلامُ عليكم يا ملائكةَ ربي المحدِقينَ بقَبرِ الحسينِ عليهِ السلامُ.

السلامُ عليكم منيّ أبداً ما بقيتُ وبقيَ الليلُ والنهارُ.

ثم تقول:

السلامُ عليكَ يا أبا عبدِ اللهِ، السلامُ عليكَ يا بنَ رسولِ اللهِ،

السلامُ عليكَ يا بنَ أميرِ المؤمنينَ.

عبدُكَ وابنُ عبدِكَ وابنُ أَمَتِكَ المُقِرُّ بالرِّقِّ والتارِكُ للخلافِ عليكم المُوالي لِوليّكُم والمُعادي لِعدوِّكم قَصَدَ حَرَمَكَ واستجارَ بمَشهدِكَ وتقرَّبَ إليكَ بقَصدِكَ.

أأدخُلُ يا رسولَ اللهِ،

أأدخلُ يا نبيَّ اللهِ،

أأدخلُ يا أميرَ المؤمنينَ، أأدخلُ يا سيّدَ الوصيينَ، أأدخلُ يا فاطمةُ سيدةَ نساءِ العالمينَ،

أأدخلُ يا مولايَ يا أبا عبدِ اللهِ،

أأدخلُ يا مولايَ يا بنَ رسولِ اللهِ.

فإن خشع قلبك ودمع عينك فهو علامة الإذن. ثم ادخل وقل:

الحمدُ للهِ الواحدِ الأحدِ الفردِ الصمدِ الذي هَداني لولايتِكَ وخَصّني بزِيارتِك وسهَّلَ لي قصدَكَ.

ثم ائتِ باب القبة وقف من حيث يلي الرأس، وقل:

السَّلام عَلَيْك يا وارِثَ آدَمَ صَِفْوَةِ اللهِ،

السَّلام عَلَيْك يا وارِثَ نُوحٍ نَبِيِّ اللهِ،

السَّلام عَلَيْك ياوارِثَ اِبْراهيمَ خَليلِ اللهِ،

السَّلام عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ مُوسىٰ كَليم الله،

السَّلام عَلَيْك يا وارِثَ عيسىٰ رُوحِ اللهِ،

السَّلام عَلَيْك يا وارِثَ مُحَمَّدٍ حَبيبِ اللهِ،

السَّلام عَلَيْك يا وارِث أَمير ِالْمُؤْمِنين عَلَيْه السَّلامُ وَلِيِّ اللهِ.

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا ابْن مُحَمَّدٍ الْمُصْطَفىٰ،

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا ابْن عَلِيٍّ الْمُرْتَضىٰ،

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا ابْن فاطِمَةَ الزَّهْرآءِ،

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا ابْنَ خَديجَةَ الْكُبْرىٰ،

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا ثَارَ اللهِ وَابْن ثارِهِ والْوِتْرَ الْمَوْتُورَ.

اَشْهَدُ اَنَّكَ قَدْ اَقَمْتَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَيْتَ الزَّكاةَ وَاَمَرْتَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَيْتَ عَن المُنْكَرِ وَاَطَعْتَ اللهَ وَرَسُولَهُ حَتى اَتاكَ الْيَقينُ.

فَلَعَن اللهُ اُمَّةً قَتَلَتْكَ وَلَعَن اللهُ اُمَّةً ظَلَمَتْكَ وَلَعَن اللهُ اُمَّةً سَمِعَتْ بِذلِكَ فَرَضِيَتْ بِهِ.

يا مَوْلايَ يا اَبا عَبْدِ اللهِ؛ اَشْهَدُ اَنَّكَ كُنْتَ نُوراً فِي الأصْلابِ الشّامِخَةِ وَالأرْحامِ الْمُطَهَّرَةِ، لَمْ تُنَجِّسْكَ الْجاهِلِيَّةُ بِأَنْجاسِها وَلَمْ تُلْبِسْكَ مِن مُدْلَهِمّاتِ ثِيابِها.

وَاَشْهَدُ اَنَّكَ مِن دَعآئِمِ الدّين وَاَرْكان الْمُؤْمِنينَ.

وَاَشْهَدُ اَنَّكَ الإِمام الْبَرُّ التَّقِيُّ الرَّضِيُّ الزَّكِيُّ الْهادِي المَهْدِيُّ،

وَاَشْهَدُ اَن الاْئِمَّةَ مِن وِلْدِكَ كَلِمَةُ التَّقْوىٰ وَاَعْلامُ الْهُدىٰ وَالْعُرْوَةُ الْوُثْقىٰ وَالْحُجَّةُ عَلى اَهْلِ الدُّنْيا.

وَاُشْهِدُ اللهَ وَمَلائِكَتَهُ وَاَنْبِيآءَهُ وَرُسُلَهُ اَنِّي بِكُم مُؤْمِن وِبِاِيابِكُمْ مُوْقِن بِشَرائِعِ ديني وَخَواتيمِ عَمَلي، وَقَلْبي لِقَلْبِكُم سِلْمٌ وَاَمْري لأِمْرِكُم مَتَّبِعٌ.

صَلَواتُ اللهِ عَلَيْكُم وَعَلى اَرْواحِكُم وَعَلى اَجْسادِكُم وَعَلى اَجْسامِكُم وَعَلى شاهِدِكُم وَعَلى غائِبِكُم وَعَلى ظاهِرِكُم وَعَلى باطِنِكُم.

ثمّ انكبّ على القبر وقّبِّله وقُل:

بِاَبي اَنْت وَاُمّي يَا بْن رَسُولِ الله،

بِاَبي اَنْت وَاُمّي يا اَبا عَبْدِ الله،

لَقَدْ عَظُمَتِ الرَّزِيَّة وَجَلَّت الْمُصيبَة بِك عَلَيْنا وَعَلى جَميع اَهْلِ السَّماوات ِوَالاْرْضِ.

فَلَعَن الله اُمَّةً اَسْرَجَتْ وَاَلْجَمَتْ وَتَهَيَّاَتْ لِقِتالِك.

يا مَوْلاي يا اَبا عَبْدِ الله؛ قَصَدْتُ حَرَمَك وَاَتَيْت اِلى مَشْهَدِك اَسْأَلُ الله بِالشَّأْن الَّذي لَك عِنْدَه وَبِالْمَحَلِّ الَّذي لَك لَدَيْه اَنْ يُصَلِّيَ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَاَنْ يَجْعَلَني مَعَكُم فِي الدُّنْيا وَالآْخِرَة.

ثم قم فصلِّ ركعتين عند الرأس؛ اقرأ فيهما ما أحببت فإذا فرغت من صلاتك فقل:

اَللّهُمَّ اِنّي صَلَّيْتُ وَرَكَعْتُ وَسَجَدْتُ لَك وَحْدَك لا شَريكَ لَكَ، لأِنَّ الصَّلاة وَالرُّكُوعَ وَالسُّجُودَ لا يَكُونُ إِلاّ لَكَ، لأِنَّكَ اَنْت اللهُ لا إِلهَ إِلاّ اَنْتَ.

اَللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَاَبْلِغْهُم عَنّي اَفْضَلَ السَّلامِ وَالتَّحِيَّةِ وَارْدُدْ عَلَيّ مِنْهُم السَّلامَ.

اَللّهُمَّ وَهاتانِ الرَّكْعَتانِ هَدِيَّةٌ مِنّي اِلى مَوْلايَ الْحُسَيْنِ بْن عَلِيٍّ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلام.

اَللّهُم صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَيْه وَتَقَبَّلْ مِنّي وَاْجُرْني عَلى ذلِكَ بِاَفْضَلِ اَمَلي وَرَجآئي فيك وَفي وَلِيِّك يا وَلِي الْمُؤْمِنين.

ثم قم وصر إلى عند رجلي القبر وقف عند رأس علي بن الحسين، عليهما السلام، وقل:

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْن رَسُولِ الله،

السَّلام عَلَيْك يَا بْن نَبِي الله،

السَّلام عَلَيْك يَا بْن أمير الْمُؤْمِنينَ،

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ الْحُسَيْنِ الشَّهيدِ،

السَّلام عَلَيْك اَيُّهَا الشَّهيدُ،

السَّلام عَلَيْك اَيُّهَا الْمَظْلُومُ وَابْنَ الْمَظْلُومِ.

لَعَنَ اللهُ اُمَّةً قَتَلَتْك،

وَلَعَنَ اللهُ اُمَّةً ظَلَمَتْكَ،

وَلَعَنَ اللهُ اُمَّةً سَمِعَتْ بِذَلِك فَرَضِيَت بِه.

ثمّ انكبّ على القبر وقبّله وقل:

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وَلِيَّ اللهِ وَابْنَ وَلِيِّهِ.

لَقَدْ عَظُمَتِ الْمُصِيْبَةُ وَجَلَّتِ الرَّزِيَّةُ بِكَ عَلَيْنا وَعَلى جَميع الْمُسْلِمِينَ،

فَلَعَن الله اُمَّة قَتَلَتْكَ،

وَاَبْرَأُ اِلَى الله وَاِلَيْك مِنْهُمْ.

ثم اخرج من الباب الذي عند رجلي علي بن الحسين، عليهما السلام، ثم توجه إلى الشهداء وقل:

السَّلام عَلَيْكُم يا اَوْلِيآءَ الله وَاَحِبّآءَهُ،

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكُم يا اَصْفِيآء اللهِ وَاَوِدّآءَهُ،

السَّلام عَلَيْكُم يا اَنْصارُ دينِ اللهِ،

السَّلام عَلَيْكُم يا اَنْصارَ رَسُولِ اللهِ،

السَّلام عَلَيْكُم يا اَنْصارَ أمير الْمُؤْمِنينَ،

السَّلام عَلَيْكُم يا اَنْصارَ فاطِمَةَ سَيِّدَةِ نِسآءِ الْعالَمينَ،

السَّلام عَلَيْكُم يا اَنْصار اَبي مُحَمَّدٍ الْحَسَنِ بْن عَلِيٍّ الْوَلِيِّ الزَّكِيِّ النَاصِحِ،

السَّلام عَلَيْكُم يا اَنْصار اَبي عَبْدِ اللهِ.

بِأبي اَنْتُم وَاُمّي؛

طِبْتُم وَطابَت الأْرْضُ الّتي فيها دُفِنْتُمْ وَفُزْتُم فَوْزاً عَظيماً.

فَيا لَيْتَني كُنْت مَعَكُم فَاَفُوزَ مَعَكُمْ.

فَيالَيْتَني كُنْت مَعَكُم فَاَفُوز مَعَكُمْ.

ثم عد إلى عند رأس الحسين، عليه السلام، وأكثر من الدعاء لك ولأهلك ولوالديك ولإخوانك، فإن مشهده لا تردُّ فيه دعوةُ داعٍ ولا سؤال سائلٍ.

Map of Imam Husayn’s Journey to Karbāla′

About the Map

This map shows Imam Husayn’s journey from Medinah to Karbāla’ in 60/680 CE, and the journey of his family from Karbāla’ to Damascus and back to Karbāla’. The route of the Imam’s journey was determined by cities mentioned in Maqtal al‑Husayn by ′Abdul Razzaq Muqarram. Some of the cities are positioned according to locations given by Tavo in a map of Islamic Arabia until the death of the Prophet. The route that the Imam took from Mecca to Karbāla’ follows, in reverse, a popular pilgrim route from Kufah to Mecca, which later became Tariq Zubayda. The Imam followed this route until prevented by Hurr from continuing towards Kufah. Thereupon, he deviated from the route and headed towards Karbāla’. However, due to difficulty in determining the exact location, not all cities mentioned in Maqtal al‑Husayn appear on the map

The journey of the Imam’s family after the massacre of Karbāla’ in 10th Muharram 61/680 is described as going through major cites and the only names mentioned are Aleppo and Hamah. At that time two main routes existed from Kufah to Damascus. One followed the Euphrates Northwest to Aleppo and then South to Hamah, then Damascus. The other goes west across the desert directly to Damascus. It was concluded that the army took the Imam’s family on the river route through Aleppo and Hamah, and upon leaving Damascus the family used the desert route in order to reach Karbāla’ on the occasion of ‘Arba’in, 20th of Safar.

The following sources were consulted:

Al-Faruqi, Isma’il Ragi. Historical Atlas of the Religions of the World. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1974.
Iraq: Official Standard Names Approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Washington, D.C.: Office of Geography, Department of the Interior, 1957.
Powell, Grace L. Atlas of the Middle East. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1975.
Rebstock, Ulrich. “Das Islamisch Arabien his zum Tode des Propheten” in Tubinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients (TAVO). Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1987.

Hasan Hussain Jalali
Chicago, 1994


Chronology of the Life of Imam Husayn

Day Month Year Event
3 Sha’ban 4/625 Birth of Imam Husayn
27 Safar 11/632 His grandfather, Prophet Muhammad, dies
21 Ramadan 40/660 His father, ′Ali, killed
7 Safar 50/670 His brother, Hasan poisoned to death
27 Rajab 60/680 Yazid demands allegiance of Husayn
28 Rajab 60/680 The Imam leaves Medinah at night
3 Sha’ban 60/680 The Imam arrives at Mecca
10 Ramadan 60/680 People of Kufah, Iraq, invite the Imam
15 Ramadan 60/680 Muslim goes to Kufah as Imam’s messenger
5 Shawwal 60/680 Muslim arrives in Kufah
8 DhulHijjah 60/680 Muslim betrayed and killed
8 DhulHijjah 60/680 Imam leaves from Mecca to Kufah
2 Muharram 61/680 Imam arrives in Karbāla’, Iraq
3 Muharram 61/680 ‘‘Umar Ibn Sa’d arrives to army of 30,000
7 Muharram 61/680 Imam’s camp blocked from access to water
9 Muharram 61/680 The first attack on Imam Husayn’s camp
10 Muharram 61/680 Massacre of Imam Husayn and his followers
11 Muharram 61/680 Captivity of Imam’s family


Haig, Sir Wolseley, Comparative Tables of Muhammadan and Christian Dates. (London: Luzac and Co.), 1932.

Ibn al‑Sabbagh, ′Ali b. Muhammad al‑Maliki (d. 855/1451 CE), al‑Fusul al‑Muhimmah fi Ma’rifah al‑‘Ahwal al‑‘A’immah. Najaf, Iraq: Al‑‘Adl Press, 137011950 CE

Jalali, Muhammad Hussain, Mazarat Ahl al‑Bayt. (Reprint) Chicago: Islamic Community, 1988/1409.

The Quran Translated. (unpublished manuscript)

Muqarram, ′Abdul‑Razzaq, Maqtal al‑Husayn Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al‑Kitab al‑Islami, 1979/1399.

Saduq, Abu Jaf’ar Muhammad b. ′Ali b. al‑Husayn, d. 381, ‘Mali al‑Sadua, Najaf, Iraq: Haydariyyah Press, 1389/1970.

Wehr, Hans. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Arabic‑English) Edited by J. Milton Cowan, (Fourth Edition) Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1979.