Table of Contents

Al-Husayn (as) in Makkah

Al-Husayn (as) on the Way to Makkah

‘Uqbah bin Sim’an says: “We departed [from Madinah] and kept to the main road. [Some of] al-Husayn’s (as) family members said to him: ‘Would that you had avoided the high road, like Ibn al-Zubair did, the search [group] could not reach you?’ He replied: ‘No! By Allah, I will not part from it until Allah decrees what is more lovable to Him.’”1

‘Abdullah bin Muti’ al-‘Adawi

We met ‘Abdullah bin Muti’ al-‘Adawi2. He said to al-Husayn (as): “May I be your ransom, where do you intend to go?”

He replied: “For the moment, I am going to Makkah. Thereafter, I will seek from Allah that which is the best.”

‘Abdullah said: “May Allah choose the best for you and make us your ransom…When you reach Makkah, beware of nearing [Kufah]; for it is an auspicious city. It was in this city that your father was killed and your brother betrayed and stabbed such that it almost took his life. So keep close to the holy sanctuary (haram), as you are the master of the Arabs, and by Allah, none of the people of Hijaz equals you. The people will call one another from all sides and gather round you. Do not leave the haram. May my paternal and maternal uncles be your ransom. By Allah! If you are killed, then we are indeed going to be enslaved after you!”3

Al-Husayn (as) in Makkah

He continued the journey until he reached Makkah4 and entered the city on the night preceding Friday, third of Sha’ban.5

He stayed there throughout Sha’ban, the month of Ramadhan, Dhu al-Qa’dah and the first eight days of Dhu al-Hijjah.6

The people of Makkah started frequenting him and so did others who had come for the ‘umrah, and those from other places.

Ibn al-Zubair was [already] in Makkah, having settled himself near the Ka’bah. He used to spend the whole day praying and performing the circumambulation (tawaf). He would visit al-Husayn (as) with those who came to visit him. [Sometimes,] he would come for two consecutive days and sometimes once in two days. He continuously used to give his suggestions to [al-Husayn (as)]. He (as) was the most despised of Allah’s creatures by Ibn al-Zubair, because he realized that the people of Hijaz would never pledge allegiance to him so long as al-Husayn (as) was in the city, and that al-Husayn (as) was more revered in their eyes and hearts, and that he (as) was more capable of commanding the people’s obedience than him.7

The Letters from the People of Kufah

When the people of Kufah8 learnt about the death of Mu’awiyah, the people of Iraq spread rumours about Yazid and said: “Al-Husayn (as) and Ibn al-Zubair have refused to pay allegiance and have left for Makkah.”9

Muhammad bin Bishr al-Hamdani reports10: “We assembled in the house of Sulaiman bin Surad [al-Khuza’i11 and he addressed us] saying:

‘Mu’awiyah is dead and al-Husayn (as) has withheld his pledge of allegiance to the people [i.e. the Banu Umayyah] and has gone to Makkah. You are his followers (shi‘ah) and the followers of his father. If you know [in your hearts] that you will be his helpers and fighters against his enemy, then write to him. But if you fear failure and weakness, then do not tempt the man [to risk] his own life!’

They replied: ‘No! We will fight his enemy and sacrifice our lives for him!’

Sulaiman said: ‘Then write to him!’12 So they wrote to him:

‘In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful. To Husayn bin ‘Ali, from Sulaiman bin Surad, Musayyib bin Najabah13, Rafa’ah bin Shaddad,14

Habib bin MuZahir15 and his followers from among the believers and Muslims of Kufah. Peace be upon you. We praise Allah besides whom there is no deity.

All praise is to Allah who has broken your enemy, the obstinate tyrant who had leapt upon this community, robbed it and usurped its treasures (fay’). He was ruling over the people against their wish, killed their chosen ones and preserved the wicked among them. He made the wealth of Allah to be taken by turns (dulatan) among its tyrants and wealthy. So away with him as had been the case with the people of Thamud.

We have no Imam over us, so proceed towards us. Perhaps Allah will unite us through you under the truth. Nu’man bin Bashir is in the governer’s palace; we do not gather with him for the Friday [service], nor do we come out with him for ‘«d [prayers]. If we learn that you have set out to us, we will drive him away and send him [back] to Sham, by the will of Allah. Peace and mercy of Allah be upon you.’16

Then we sent the letter with ‘Abdullah bin Sab’ al-Hamdani17 and ‘Abdullah bin Wal [al-Tamimi].18 The two men sped in their journey and met al-Husayn (as) in Makkah on the tenth of the month of Ramadhan.19

We waited for two days and then sent Qais bin Musahhar al-Saidawi20, ‘Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Abdullah bin al-Kadan al-Arhabi21 and ‘Umarah bin ‘Ubaid al-Saluli,22 taking with them around [a hundred and] fifty letters,23 [some written] by a single person, and others by [a group of] two or four.”

Muhammad bin Bishr continues: “Then we waited for two more days before sending another letter with Hani’ bin Hani’ al-Sabi’i and Sa’id bin ‘Abdullah al-Hanafi24 saying:

‘In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful. To Husayn bin ‘Ali, from his followers (shi‘ah) among the believers and the Muslims: ‘Make haste! The people are waiting for you. They have no opinion [of any man] except you. So speed, speed! Peace be upon you.”25

[There was another letter written to the Imam (as) by] Shabath bin Rib’i26, Hajjar bin Abjar27,

Yazid bin al-Harith bin Yazid bin Ruwaim28,

‘Azarah bin Qais29, ‘Amru bin al-Hajjaj al-Zubaidiyy30 and Muhammad bin ‘Umar al-Tamimi31 saying:

“The gardens have grown green, the fruits have ripened and the waters have overflowed32. So if you want to, then come to an army which has been gathered for you. Peace be upon you.”33

The Reply of al-Husayn (as)

All the messengers gathered before [al-Husayn (as)]. He read the letters and inquired from them about the situation of the people. He then wrote his reply and sent it with Hani’ bin Hani’ al-Sabi’i and Sa’id bin ‘Abdullah al-Hanafi -who were the last of the messengers. [The reply read as follows:]

“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From Husayn bin ‘Ali to the congregation of the believers and Muslims. Hani’ and Sa’id have brought me your letters; they are the last two of your messengers who have come to me. I have understood everything which you have described and mentioned. The main statement of most of you is: ‘There is no Imam over us, so come. Perhaps Allah will unite us through you under guidance and truth.’

I am sending you my brother, my cousin and the man from my family whom I trust, Muslim bin ‘Aqil. I have ordered him to write to me about your status, condition and opinion.

If he writes to me that the opinion of the majority of you and of the men of wisdom and merit among you is united, in the same way as the messengers who have come to me have described and as I have read in your letters, then I will come to you speedily, if Allah wills. For by my life, a leader (imam) is none but one who acts according to the Book [of Allah], upholds justice, follows the truth, and devotes himself entirely to Allah. And that is all.”34

The Journey of Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil

He then summoned Muslim bin ‘Aqil and sent him with Qais bin Musahhar al-Saidawi35, ‘Umarah bin ‘Ubaid al-Saluli36 and ‘Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Abdullah bin al-Kadan al-Arhabi.37 Imam enjoined [Muslim] with the fear of Allah, and to conceal his affair, and to act in a kindly way. If he saw that the people are united and had commited themselves to agreement, then he should speedily inform him of that.

Muslim thus started his journey till he reached Madinah. He prayed in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (S) and said farewell to whom he wished among his family members. Then he hired two guides from the clan of Qais. They set out with him but soon lost their way and were struck by severe thirst. The guides said to Muslim: “Take this road until you reach the watering place.” That was at [a place known as] al-Madhiq in Batn al-Khubait.38

Muslim’s Letter to al-Husayn (as) On His Way to Kufah

Muslim bin Aqil sent a letter to al-Husayn (as) with Qais bin Musahhar al-Saidawi. He wrote:

“I set out from Madinah with two guides and they missed the way and got lost. We were overcome by thirst and soon both of them died. We kept going until we reached the watering place. We were only saved at the last moment of our lives. This watering place is in a place called al-Madhiq at Batn al-Khubait.39 I see an evil omen in what I have faced. Thus, if it seems fair to you, then relieve me of this [mission] and send someone else [in my place]. That is all.”40

Al-Husayn’s Response to Muslim

Imam (as) wrote to him:

“I am afraid that what has prompted you to write to me to relieve you of the task I sent you on is only cowardice. Therefore, go on with the task I have assigned to you. Peace be upon you.”

[When Muslim received the letter,] he told the one who read it for him: “This [mission] is not what I fear of myself.” He continued until he reached [some] watering place belonging to the tribe of Tayyi’. He stayed there, and then as he rode off, [he saw] a man shooting at fawn –as it drew closer to him- and killed it. Muslim hence said: “[Thus] shall our enemy be destroyed, by the will of Allah.”

  • 1. Al-Tabari (5:351): “I narrate from Hisham bin Muhammad who reported from Abu Mikhnaf who said: ‘‘Abd al-Rahman bin Jundab informed me saying: ‘Uqbah bin Sim’an –a servant of Rabab bint Imra’ al-Qais al-Kalbiyyah, the wife of al-Husayn (as) and the mother of Sakinah bint al-Husayn (as)- has narrated to me [this report].’” We have given ‘Uqbah’s biography earlier. Al-Mufid (pg.202) also has related this and so has al-Khwarazmi (pg.189) ascribing the report to Muslim bin ‘Aqil (as).
  • 2. Al-Tabari: He was a Quraishi. He was born during the time of the Prophet (S). He led the Quraish when the people of Madinah revolted against Yazid (5:481). Then he joined Ibn al-Zubair in Makkah and fought on his side. Later, al-‘Adawi served as the governor of Kufah under Ibn al-Zubair as reported by al-Tabari (5:622). This has been related also by al-Ya’qubi (3:3&5), al-Mas’udi (3:83) and al-Khwarazmi (2:202), who narrated it from Muhammad bin Ishaq. Al-‘Adawi used to oppose Mukhtar until the latter expelled him from Kufah (6:31). Tabari shall also relate in the coming pages –from Hisham on the authority of Abu Mikhnaf who reported from Muhammad bin Qais- another meeting between Ibn al-Muti' and the Imam (as) which took place at some watering place of the Arabs, located after Hajir and before Zarud.
  • 3. Ibn al-Jawzi (pg.243) has related this from Hisham and Muhammad bin Ishaq. Al-Khwarazmi (pg.189) narrated it from Ibn al-A’tham.
  • 4. Al-Tabari (5:351), from ‘Uqbah’s report.
  • 5. Al-Tabari (5:387): “Abu Mikhnaf says: ‘Saq’ab bin Zuhair informed me on the authority of ‘Aun bin Abi Juhaifah that...” Imam al-Husayn’s departure from Madinah was two days before the end of Rajab. Therefore, he must have covered the distance between Madinah and Makkah in only five days. The distance between the two is around 500 kilometers. So he must have covered around 100 km. a day, which is almost 18 farsakh. This is twice the normal distance that used to be covered in one day during those days. Thus, we conclude from here that although the Imam (as) did not avoid the main road in fear of being traced –as mentioned earlier, since it involved fear and escape which was unbecoming of the Imam (as), nonetheless, he sped in his journey.
  • 6. Al-Tabari (5:381), also from the report of ‘Aun bin Abi Juhaifah. Ibn al-Jawzi (pg.245) has related it on the authority of Hisham.
  • 7. Al-Tabari (5:351), from the report of ‘Uqbah. Al-Mufid (pg.202) has narrated this also.
  • 8. Al-Tabari: There were 30,000 people in Kufah who had participated in the battle of al-Qadisiyyah (4:75). In the year 18 H, ‘Umar appointed Shuraih bin al-Harith al-Kindi as the judge of Kufah (4:101). In 20 H, ‘Umar dismissed Sa’d from the governorship of Kufah as a result of the people complaining that he did not even know how to pray! It was in the same year that ‘Umar evicted the Jews of Najran to Kufah (4:112). In the year 21 H, he appointed ‘Ammar bin Yasir as the governor of Kufah, Ibn Mas’ud as the treasurer and ‘Uthman bin Hunaif as the one in charge of the lands and land tax. The people of Kufah complained against ‘Ammar, so he requested to be relieved of his post (4:144). ‘Umar replaced him with Abu Musa al-Ash’ari who stayed with them for only a year before they complained against him. So ‘Umar dismissed him and instead appointed Mughirah bin Shu’bah in his place.
    Kufah then had 100,000 fighters (4:165), whereas during the time of ‘Umar, it had 40,000 combatants, 10,000 of which would, every year, go on military expedition in defence of the territories. Accordingly, each of them participated in an expedition once in every four years (4:246).
    In the year 37 H, the Commander of the Faithful, [‘Ali (as)], ordered the leaders of each tribe to write down the number of warriors in their respective tribes, and also their sons who could then participate in battles, as well as the slaves of the tribes, and thereafter send them to him. They sent him [the names of] 40,000 combatants, 17,000 sons capable of participating in battles, and 8,000 of their slaves. This sums up to 65,000 warriors (5:79), of which 800 were from Madinah (4:83).
    Sa’d arranged them into groups: Kananah and their allies from among the Ahabish and Jadilah formed a group. Qadha’ah, Bajilah, Khath’am, Kindah, Hadhramaut and Azd comprised another group. Madhhij, Himyar, Hamdan and their followers made up the third group. Tamim, Hawazin and al-Rubab were the fourth group. The fifth group consisted of Asad, Ghatfan, Muharib, Al-Namr, Dabi’ah and Taghlib. The sixth group was made up of Ayad, ‘Akk, ‘Abd al-Qais and the people of Hijr and Dailam. This grouping remained in place throughout the reign of ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali (as) until the time of Ziyad when he rearranged them into four groups (4:48).
    [In the later order,] ‘Amru bin Harith was in charge of the group of the people of Madinah. Khalid bin ‘Arqatah was the head of the quarter of Tamim and Hamdan. Qais bin al-Walid bin ‘Abd Shams was the leader of Rabi’ah and Kindah, while Abu Burdah bin Abu Musa al-Ash’ari was the in charge of Madhhij and Asad. The leaders of all these groups [were among those who] testified against Hujr and his companions (5:268).
  • 9. Al-Tabari (5:351), from the report of ‘Uqbah.
  • 10. Al-Tabari (5:352): “Abu Mikhnaf says: ‘Hajjaj bin ‘Ali informed me on the authority of Muhammad bin Bishr al-Hamdani who said…”
  • 11. Al-Kashhi mentions him in his Rijal (pg. 64, hadith no. 124) on the authority of Fadhl bin Shadhan, under the topic: ‘From among the great personalities of the tabi’un, their heads and the pious of them.’ Al-Tusi also has mentioned him in his Rijal (pg.43) among the companions of the Prophet (S) and of the Commander of the Faithful, [‘Ali (as)]. However, al-Tusi remarks: “He stayed away from him on the day of Jamal and whose excuse in this regard has been fabricated!” Both his staying behind and the excuse have been reported by Nasr bin Muzahim on page six of his book. [Ibn Muzahim] says: “‘Ali (as) said to [Ibn Surad]: ‘You became doubtful, hung about and engaged in low trickery. I was considering you to be among the trustworthy people and among the quicker to support me.” Al-Khuza’i replied: ‘O the Commander of the Faithful…Have confidence in my love for you and I will be sincere to you. And there remain matters through which you will [come to] know your friend from your foe.’ So he left him.” In the battle of Siffin, ‘Ali (as) appointed him as the commander of the right flank of his foot soldiers (Waq’at Siffin, pg.205). Sulaiman engaged Hawshab -the leader of the people of Yemen who was from Sham- in a duel and killed him saying: “‘Ali is loved by us. We ransom him with our fathers and mothers (Waq’at Siffin, pg.401). He was struck on his face with a sword in the same battle (Waq’at Siffin, pg.514). Abu Mikhnaf has counted Sulaiman bin Surad among the companions of the Prophet (S) and the leaders of the Shi‘ah (al-Tabari:5:552). He led the Tawwabun movement in 64 H (5:555). His excuse [for not joining al-Husayn (as)] was: “We acted smartly and waited to see what would happen until he was [finally] killed.”! (5:554).
  • 12. Al-Khwarazmi (pg.193) has narrated this in detail.
  • 13. Al-Kashhi mentions him in his Rijal (pg.64, hadith no.124) under the topic: ‘From among the outstanding personalities of the tabi’un, their heads and the pious of them.’ Al-Tusi counts him in his Rijal (pg.58, no.8) among the companions of the Commander of the Faithful [‘Ali (as)] and al-Hasan (as) (pg.70, no.4). Al-Fazari has added that he was among the leaders of a group that rushed from Kufah to Basrah in support of ‘Ali (as), as reported in al-Tabari (4:448). Imam ‘Ali (as) had sent Ibn Najabah with Bishr, together with a large number of his people, to resist against the raid of ‘Abdullah bin Mas’adah al-Fazari (5:135). Ibn Najabah led the Tawwabun movement after Sulaiman bin Surad and was killed with them in 65 H (5:599).
  • 14. Al-Kashhi has counted him in his Rijal (pg.65, hadith no.118) among those righteous people who buried Abu Dharr. Shaikh al-Tusi [also] mentions him in his Rijal (pg.41) among the companions of the Commander of the Faithful, [‘Ali (as)], and on page 68 as one of the companions of Imam al-Hasan (as). He has also added ‘al-Bajali’ to his name. He was with ‘Ali (as) in Siffin as the leader of the Banu Bajalah [or Bajilah] (Waq’at Siffin, pg.205). Later, Ibn Shaddad joined Hujr bin ‘Adiyy and ‘Amru bin al-Hamq. When Ziyad bin Abih pursued ‘Amru, Ibn Shaddad fled with him to the mountains in Mosul. Though ‘Amru was then captured, Ibn Shaddad managed to escape with his horse (al-Tabari:5:265).
    He was the second of the Tawwabun leaders to address his fellow colleagues (5:553). He was commissioned to mobilize them (5:587). He was the last commander of the Tawwabun movement (5:596). Ibn Shaddad was a storyteller, so he used to tell stories to the right flank, inciting them to fight (5:598). He himself was fighting (5:601), but he returned to Kufah at night together with the people (5:605). Ibn Shaddad corresponded with Mukhtar (6:8) and took allegiance for him from the people (6:9). However, he revolted against Mukhtar in Kufah with the people of Yemen and was leading them in prayers (6:47). When Ibn Shaddad heard of a man from Hamdhan calling: ‘Revenge for ‘Uthman!’ in response to the call of Mukhtar: “Revenge for al-Husayn (as)’, he retorted: “What have we to do with ‘Uthman! I will not fight on the side of the avengers of ‘Uthman’s blood. He then said: “I am the son of Shaddad, following the path of ‘Ali. I am not a partisan of ‘Uthman bin Arwa.” Ibn Shaddad was killed at the bath of al-Mahbadhan at Sabkhah. He was an ascetic (nasik) person (6:5).
  • 15. Al-Tabari: He led the left flank of al-Husayn’s army (5:422). Husayn bin Tamim boasted of killing him and hanging his head on the breast of his horse. Qasim, son of Habib, avenged his father’s assassin, Budail bin Suraim al-Tamimi, as they were in the army of Musab bin al-Zubair during the expedition of Bajmira.
  • 16. See al-Maqtal of al-Khwarazmi (pg.194).
  • 17. Al-Mufid (pg.203) mentions him as ‘Abdullah bin Masma’, while al-Khwarazmi (pg.194) refers to him as ‘Abdullah bin Sabi’. He was killed together with al-Husayn (as).
  • 18. Ibn al-Jawzi (pg.144) names him as ‘Abdullah bin Masma’ al-Bakri. In his Rijal (pg.77), Shaikh al-Tusi confines himself to mentioning their first names only and says: “‘Abdullah and ‘Ubaidullah; they are well known.” ‘Abdullah bin Wal al-Tamimi was the third leader of the Tawwabun movement and who was [ultimately] killed (al-Tabari:5:602).
  • 19. Al-Mufid (pg.203) has narrated this, and so has Ibn al-Jawzi (pg.244).
  • 20. Al-Tabari: Al-Asadi. He returned to Iraq together with Muslim bin ‘Aqil (as). When things became straitened for Muslim at al-Madhiq, he sent Qais with a letter to al-Husayn (as) (5:354). On his way back, he accompanied Imam (as) till Batn al-Hajir, who then sent him with a letter to the people of Kufah. When Qais reached al-Qadisiyyah, he was arrested by Husayn bin Tamim al-Tamimi and sent to Ibn Ziyad. The latter ordered him to be brought before him and then thrown down from the top of the palace. He was then cut into pieces and thus he passed away. May Allah shower his mercy upon him (5:395). When al-Husayn (as) reached ‘Udhaib al-Hijanat, he heard about the fate of Qais and could not control himself and his eyes flowed with tears. He said: “‘Of them are some who have fulfilled their pledge, and of them are some who still wait…’ (Qur’an, 33:23). O Allah, make the heaven to be our abode and their’s, and gather us with them under your ever-lasting mercy and where the desired rewards are deposited” (5:405).
  • 21. Al-Mufid (pg.203) mentions him as ‘Abdullah and ‘Abd al-Rahman Shaddad al-Arhabi! Ibn al-Jawzi (pg.194) calls him ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-Rahman! He was with Muslim on this way to Iraq (al-Tabari:5:354).
  • 22. Al-Khwarazmi (pg.195) calls him ‘Amir bin ‘Ubaid. Al-Mufid (pg.203) and Ibn al-Jawzi (pg.244) mention him as ‘Umarah bin ‘Abdullah al-Saluli. He was with Muslim on his way to Iraq (al-Tabari:5:354), and also at Hani’s place (5:363). But nothing is known about him after this.
  • 23. The text of al-Tabari reads: “About 53 letters”, but Shaikh al-Mufid (pg.203) mentions a hundred and fifty. So has Ibn al-Jawzi (pg.244) from Hisham bin Muhammad bin Ishaq, and al-Khwarazmi (pg.195) from Ibn al-A’tham. Therefore, it seems that ‘thalathah’ [i.e. three] in al-Tabari’s report is the distorted form (tashif) of ‘al-mi’ah’ [i.e. a hundred].
  • 24. We shall mention later that the two returned to Kufah with the reply from Imam (as). With regard to Hani’, no trace of him is found. As for al-Hanafi, he joined the Imam (as) and was martyred together with him.
  • 25. Al-Mufid (pg.203) has narrated this and so has Ibn al-Jawzi (pg.244).
  • 26. Al-Tabari (5:369): Al-Yarbu’i al-Tamimi. He was the caller to prayer (mua’dhhin) of Sajjah, a man from the clan of Madhariyyah who had claimed prophethood (3:273). He later professed Islam and supported the uprising against ‘Uthman. He then joined ‘Ali (as) and was with him at Siffin, leading the warriors of the Banu ‘Amru bin Han¨alah from Kufah (Waq’at Siffin, pg.205). He led the left flank of ‘Ali’s army at Nahrawan (al-Tabari:5:85). He was the emissary between ‘Ali (as) and Mu’awiyah together with a group of other people (Waq’at Siffin, pg.97). Shabath testified against Hujr bin ‘Adiyy that he revolted against Ibn Ziyad (al-Tabari:5:269). He was present at the martyrdom of al-Husayn (as) and was leading the foot soldiers [of Ibn Ziyad] on the day of ‘Ashura’ (5:422). The people noticed his dislike [on that day] to fight al-Husayn (as); for when Ibn Sa’d asked him: “Why are you not coming forward to lead the archers to shoot at al-Husayn (as)?”, he replied: “Glory be to Allah! Are you approaching the Shaikh of Mudhar and the rest of the people and send him with the archers?! Did not you find anyone else to entrust this job to and replace me with him?” After this, Shabath constantly used to say: “Allah will never give the inhabitants of this city any good after this, nor will he lead them to guidance. Are you not astonished that we fought alongside ‘Ali bin Abi Talib and his son after him against the family of Abu Sufyan for five years, and now we are with their enemies against his son -while he is the best of the inhabitants on this earth; we are fighting him alongside the family of Mu’awiyah and the son of Sumayyah, the adulteress?! Misguidance! What a misguidance!” (5:432-437). Shabath was exactly the one who had reproached the people of Kufah when they celebrated the killing of Ibn ‘Awsajah (5:436). However, he was afraid of Ibn Ziyad to express such kind of his stands, so he built a mosque to show his joy for the killing of al-Husayn! (6:22). Later he fought against Mukhtar along with 3,000 warriors of Ibn Muti’ who was a proxy of Ibn al-Zubair (6:23).
  • 27. Al-Tabari: Al-‘Ijli (5:369). His father was a Christian and a revered personality amidst them (5:145). Ibn Abjar was among those who testified against Hujr bin ‘Adiyy in favour of Ibn Ziyad (5:270). He also raised the banner of amnesty for his son on the day Muslim rose (5:369). On the day of ‘Ashura’, he denied having written a letter to the Imam (as) (5:425). Later, al-‘Ijli fought for Mus’ab against Mukhtar (6:22) and also ‘Abdullah bin al-Hurr and was defeated before Mus’ab’s eyes. So the latter swore at him and sent him back (6:136). Ibn Abjar al-‘Ijli was one of those people in Kufah to whom Abd al-Malik bin Marwan had written [soliciting their support]. They accepted on the condition that they should be granted the governorship of Isfahan. Accordingly, ‘Abd al-Malik granted it to all of them (6:156). However, he had set out with Mus’ab pretending to fight ‘Abd al-Malik, but when Mus’ab invited him for the battle he said: “To this wicked man?!”(6:158). He was alive until the year 71 H, after which there is no trace of him.
  • 28. Al-Tabari: He was Abu Hawshab al-Shaibani. On the day of ‘Ashura’, he denied having written to al-Husayn (5:425). When Yazid was killed and ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyad appointed ‘Amru bin Huraith over Kufah, the latter started calling the people to pay allegiance to Ibn Ziyad. Here Yazid bin al-Harith stood up and said: “Praise be to Allah who relieved us of the son of Sumayyah! No! [We will not pay allegiance to him] and he does not deserve that honour!” So ‘Amru bin Huraith ordered him to be imprisoned, but the Banu Bakr bin Wail intervened and prevented him from that (5:524). He then became the follower of ‘Abdullah bin Yazid al-Khatmi al-Ansari, the governer of Kufah under Ibn al-Zubair, before Ibn Muti’. Ibn al-Harith used to prompt al-Ansari to fight Sulaiman bin Surad and his companions before their revolt (5:561-563). He also urged him to imprison Mukhtar (5:580). Later, Ibn Muti’ sent him to Jabbanah Murad to fight Mukhtar (6:18). He also sent him with an army of 2,000 men to a road in Lahham Jarir. They stopped at the opening of the roads (6:26) and positioned their archers on top of the houses and hence stopped Mukhtar from entering Kufah (6:28). He then rose against Mukhtar during his reign over Bani Rabi’ah (6:45) and was defeated along with his companions (6:52). Yazid was one of those who fought the followers of the sect of Azariqah, from the Khawarij, in 68 H, along with Harith bin Abi Rabi’ah, the governer of Ibn al-Zubair in Kufah (6:124). Mus’ab appointed him as the administrator of Madain (6:134). In 70 H, he was appointed the governor of Rayy under ‘Abd al-Malik bin Marwan (6:164). He was finally killed by the Khawarij (Ibsar al-‘Ain, pg.15). His grandfather was Yazid bin Ruwaim al-Shaibani, who was leading the Kufan tribe of Dhahl at Siffin alongside ‘Ali (as) (Waq’at Siffin, pg.205).
  • 29. Al-Tabari: Al-Ahmasi. He was among those who testified against Hujr bin ‘Adiyy (5:270) and this is why he wrote to the Imam (as) so that he may expiate for his action. [And since he had written to him], he felt ashamed to meet him as Ibn Sa’d’s envoy lest he should ask him what brought him [to Karbala’] (5:410). It was exactly because of this that on the evening of the ninth of Muharram, Zuhair bin al-Qain answered ‘Azarah alluding to that: “By Allah, I did not write any letter to him, nor did I send any messenger, nor had I promised him my support.” ‘Azarah was the partisan of ‘Uthman. He told Zuhair: “I was never a follower of the people of this house [i.e. the family of the Prophet (S)], I was rather a partisan of ‘Uthman” (5:417). On the day of ‘Ashura’, ‘Umar bin Sa’d appointed him as the head of the cavalry as he was also their night watchman (5:422). The companions of al-Husayn (as) would not launch an attack on his cavalry except that they would break through them. So he complained to Ibn Sa’d about this and requested to be relieved of the task, and, instead, send towards them the foot soldiers and archers. Ibn Sa’d granted his request (5:436). Later, ‘Azarah was one of those who carried the heads of the Imam’s companions to Ibn Ziyad (5:456). No trace of him is found after this.
  • 30. Al-Tabari: Al-Zubaidi is among those who testified against Hujr bin ‘Adiyy (5:270). His sister, Raw’ah bint al-Hajjaj, was the wife of Hani’ bin ‘Urwah and the mother of Yahya bin Hani’ (5:364). When Hani’ was said to be killed, al-Zubaidi accompanied a large group of people from the clan of Madhhij [to the palace of Ibn Ziyad]. But when Shuraih informed them that Hani’ was still alive, they all dispersed (5:367). Al-Zubaidi was present in Karbala’. ‘Umar bin S’ad sent him together with 500 horse riders to position themselves at the river bank and stop al-Husayn (as) and his companions from reaching the water. This was three days before the martyrdom [of al-Husayn (as)] (5:412). He rebuked Ibn S’ad for his delay in granting the request of the Imam (as) for respite for the tenth night (5:417). Al-Zubaidi was leading the right flank –from the side of the Euphrates- of ‘Umar bin Sa’d on the tenth day (5:422). He launched attacks along with his men on al-Husayn (as) and his companions and was inciting them to kill the Imam and his followers (5:435). He was among those who took the heads [of the martyrs] to Kufah (5:456). Ibn al-Zubaidi also supported Ibn Muti’ against Mukhtar (6:28) in an army of 2000 men from the Thauriyyin (6:29), and then he fought in the area of the [Banu] Murad alongaside his followers from Madhhij (6:45). When Mukhtar attained victory, Ibn al-Zubaidi mounted his [horse] and took the direction of Sharaf and Waqisah and was not seen after that (6:52).
  • 31. Al-Tabari: Ibn ‘Atarud. He was one of those who bore witness against Hujr bin ‘Adiyy (5:270). He was leading the Mudhar in fighting against Mukhtar (6:47). Later, he paid allegiance to him and was sent to Azerbaijan as the governor (6:34). Ibn ‘Atarud was alongside Harith bin Abi Rabi’ah –the governer of Kufah under Ibn al-Zubair- in the latter’s struggle against the Khariji sect of Azariqah (6:124). He was among the adherents of Marwan in Kufah to whom ‘Abd al-Malik bin Marwan had written [asking for his support] (6:156). He was later assigned by ‘Abd al-Malik with the governreship of Hamadan (6:164). He then returned to Kufah and was there during the time of Hajjaj in 75 H. (6:204). There is no trace of him after this period. His father, ‘Umar bin ‘Atarud, was leading the clan of Tamim from Kufah alongside ‘Ali (as) at Siffin (Waq’at Siffin, pg.205). Ibn ‘Atarud was among those who slandered against ‘Amru bin al-Humq al-Khuza’i before Ziyad in order for him to be killed, to the extent that he was reproached by ‘Amru (5:236).
  • 32. ‘Al-jumam’, [as it has appeared in the Arabic text of this letter] is the plural of ‘jammah’ which means ‘a place where water gathers’. ‘Tammat’ is a past tense verb which means ‘the waters have rose high and overflowed’. Notice, how the people who are attached to this world consider the worldly and transient matters to be among the motives behind the Imam’s advance towards Kufah! What a short-mindedness!
  • 33. See al-Irshad (pg.203) and al-Tadhkirah (pg.244).
  • 34. Al-Tabari (5:353): “Abu Mikhnaf says: ‘Al-Hajjaj bin ‘Ali informed me from Muhammad bin Bishr al-Hamdani who said…”. Al-Mufid (pg.204) and Ibn al-Jawzi (pg.196) have narrated this also.
  • 35. , 3, 4 These were the people who brought the one hundred and fifty letters from the people of Kufah to the Imam (as). We have already given their biographies [in brief]. Al-Mufid and Ibn al-Jawzi mention ‘Umarah bin ‘Ubaid as Ibn ‘Abdullah. With regard to ‘Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Abdullah, al-Mufid (pg.204) says: ‘Abdullah and ‘Abd al-Rahman, the two sons of Rashid al-Arhabi.
  • 36.
  • 37.
  • 38. Al-Tabari (5:354) brings this report after the narration of Abu Mikhnaf from Abu al-Makhariq al-Rasibi.
  • 39. Khubt is located in the suburbs of Madinah, in the direction of Makkah. It seems that the guides strayed to the extent that they turned towards Makkah, as reported in Ibsar al-‘Ain (pg.16).
  • 40. Al-Mufid (pg.204) has narrated this and so has al-Khwarazmi (pg.197) with a slight difference. Al-Tabari has also related it on the authority of Mu’awiyah bin ‘Ammar from Imam al-Baqir (as) (5:347).