After The Martyrdom Of Al-Husayn (as)

The Looting of the Tents

The people turned to the womenfolk of al-Husayn (as), plundering them, his belongings and provision, the [Yemeni] dye1, the garments and the camels. [The people] would wrest the clothes of the women from their backs and take them.2

The people said to Sinan bin Anas: “You have killed Husayn bin ‘Ali, son of Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet of Allah (S). You have killed a person from among the Arabs who posed the greatest threat [to the Banu Umayyah]. He had come to these people in order to remove them from the power. So go to your masters and ask your reward from them! Even if they were to give you their treasuries for killing al-Husayn, it would [still] be little!”

Sinan, who was a little crazy, came with his horse and stopped at the door of ‘Umar bin Sa‘d’s tent. He shouted at the top of his voice:

Fill my saddles with silver and gold, I have killed the lord of the chosen ones.

I have killed the best of men with regard to his mother and father, the best of them mentioned in lineage.3

‘Umar bin Sa‘d said: “Bring him to me.” When [Sinan] was brought in, he threw [his] staff at him and then said: “O mad! I testify that you are mad and you have never regained sanity. How dare you speak like this! By Allah, if Ibn Ziyad had heard you [saying this], he would have killed you!”

Shamir bin Dhi al-Jaushan [attacked] the belongings of al-Husayn (as) with a group of foot soldiers. Then they came to ‘Ali bin al-Husayn al-Asghar, who was stretched out on a bed. The foot soldiers were saying [to one another]: “Should we not kill this [man]?”

Humaid bin Muslim reports: “[At this] I said: Glory be to Allah! Shall we kill boys [too]?! This is only a boy!4 ‘Umar bin Sa‘d then arrived and said: “No one should disturb this sick boy or enter the tents of these women. Whoever has taken any of their belongings should return it to them.” But none of them returned anything.

‘Umar bin Sa‘d then arrested ‘Uqbah bin Sim’an and asked him: “Who are you?” He replied: “I am a slave.” So he let him go. He was, thus, the only person among [al-Husayn’s companion] to be saved.5

The Trampling on al-Husayn’s Body

Thereafter, ‘Umar bin Sa‘d called out to his followers: “Who will volunteer [to go] to al-Husayn and make his horse trample on [his body]?” Ten [men] volunteered. Of these, Ishaq bin Haiwah al-Hadhrami and Ahbash bin Mirthad al-Hadhrami came forward and trampled on [the body of] al-Husayn (as) with their horses until they had crushed his back and chest.6

‘Umar bin Sa‘d then performed the funeral prayer for those of his followers who were killed, and buried them. He dispatched on the same day the head of [the Imam (as)] with Khauliyy bin Yazid to ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyad. When Khauliyy approached the palace, he found that the gate of the palace was closed. So he went to his house7 and placed the head beneath a [large] bowl. In the early morning of the next day, he went to ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyad with the head.

  • 1. Waras is a yellow flower similar to saffron with a good fragrance. It used to be brought from Yemen. The Imam (as) had taken it from the people who were carrying it to Yazid [bin Mu’awiyah] at Tan’im, at the beginning of his departure from Makkah. Among those who plundered the dye on the day of ‘Ashura’ were Ziyad bin Malik al-Dabi’i, ‘Imran bin Khalid al-‘Anzi, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Bajali and ‘Abdullah bin Qais al-Khaulani. When Mukhtar was informed about them, he called them and they came to him. He told them: “O killers of the righteous! Assasins of the lord of the youths in Heaven! Do you not think that Allah has brought you [here] today [to take vengeance on you]?! The dye has, indeed, brought on you an ominous day!” He then took them to the market place and killed them. See al-Tabari (6:58).
  • 2. Al-Tabari (5:453): “[Abu Mikhnaf says:] ‘Saq’ab bin Zuhair has related to me from Humaid bin Muslim who said…” Al-Ya’qubi says in al-Tarikh (2:232): “They looted his tents and robbed [the belongings of] his womenfolk.” Al-Mufid has also related this report in al-Irshad (pg. 242). Sibt al-Jawzi says in al-Tadhkirah (pg.254): “They stripped his womenfolk and daughters of their clothes.”
  • 3. See also Maqatil al-Talibiyyin (pg.80; Najaf edition), Tadhkirat al-Khawass (pg.254; Najaf edition) and Muruj al-Dhahab (3:70).
  • 4. Tabari writes in his Dhayl al-Mudhayyal (pg.630; Dar al-Ma’arif publications, edited by Muhammad Abu al-Fadhl Ibrahim): “‘Ali bin al-Husayn al-Asghar [i.e. the younger] was present in Karbala’ with his father. He was then 23 years of age. He was ill, sleeping on the bed. When al-Husayn (as) was killed, Shamir bin Dhi al-Jaushan said: ‘Kill this [man]!’ So a man from among his followers said: ‘Glory be to Allah! Will you kill a young man, who is sick and did not fight?’ ‘Umar bin Sa’d then arrived and said: ‘Do not disturb these women nor this sick man.” Al-Irshad (pg.242) and al-Tadhkirah (pg.256&258; Najaf edition) have narrated this in similar vein.
  • 5. Al-Tabari: Marqa’ bin Thumamah al-Asadi had spread his arrows on the ground and fighting while he was kneeling. A number of his clansmen came and said to him: “You are safe. Come over to us.” So he went to them. When ‘Umar bin Sa’d returned to Ibn Ziyad with the army and informed him, among other things, of the case of Marqa’, Ibn Ziyad deported him to al-Zarah (5:454). Al-Zarah is a place in Oman, known for its severe heat. Those sentenced to deportation were being sent to this place. We mentioned earlier how Dahhak bin ‘Abdullah al-Mushriqi al-Hamdani left [the battlefield] with the permission of the Imam (as), in accordance with the conditions he had put before him. [These were those who left the Imam (as) for one reason or the other]. But as for those who were saved from being killed [on the day of ‘Ashura’], Abu Mikhnaf says: “‘Ali bin al-Husayn was considered very young [by the enemy] (5:468). Hasan bin al-Hasan bin ‘Ali and ‘Umar bin al-Hasan bin ‘Ali were [also] considered to be very young. So they were spared and were not killed (5:469). As for ‘Abdullah bin al-Hasan, he was also killed (5:468). According to Abu al-Faraj in al-Maqatil (pg.79; Najaf edition): “Hasan bin al-Hasan bin ‘Ali was covered with wounds and was thus carried [away from the battlefield].”
  • 6. Al-Tabari (5:415): Later Ishaq bin Haiwah al-Hadhrami was afflicted by leprosy. I [have also] heard that during another battle after this, Ahbash bin Mirthad al-Hadhrami was standing when an arrow, whose thrower was not known, came and splitted his heart, leaving him dead. Ibn Sa’d committed this atrocity because of the order of Ibn Ziyad in his letter to ‘Umar: “If al-Husayn is killed, then make the horses trample his chest and back. For he is disobedient and an opponent; an oppressor and one who is set to sever [all] relations; I do not believe that this action [of trampling the body] after death does any harm [to the dead], but I have promised myself that I would do this to him, if I killed him!” The trampling [of the body of al-Husayn (as)] has been reported also in al-Maqatil (pg.79) of Abu al-Faraj, Muruj al-Dhahab (3:72) of al-Mas’udi, al-Irshad (pg.242; Najaf edition) of al-Mufid and al-Tadhkirah (pg.254) of Sibt bin al-Jawzi. Ibn al-Jawzi further adds: “[After trampling the body,] they found a black spot on his back. So they inquired about it and were told: “He used to carry food on his back at night to the needy people of Madinah.”
  • 7. Al-Tabari (5:455): “Hisham reports: ‘My father has related to me from Nawwar, daughter of Malik bin ‘Aqrab -who was a Hadhrami, and the wife of Khauliyy, that she said: ‘Khauliyy came with the head of al-Husayn (as) and put it under a [large] vessel in the house. He then entered the room and went to sleep. I asked him: ‘What are the news? What have you brought?’ He replied: ‘I have brought you endless wealth. This is the head of al-Husayn with you in this house!’ So I said: ‘Woe onto you! The people have come with gold and silver, and you have come with the head of the son of the Messenger of Allah (S)?! Nay by Allah, I will never live with you [again]!’ She further says: ‘Then I rose from my bed and went out. I sat down looking [at the vessel]. By Allah, I was continuously seeing [a beam of] light, like a pillar, shining from the heavens down to the vessel. I also saw a white bird fluttering around it.”