3

1 The remaining travelers continued their move
To the next place of rest amidst the sandy dunes
To Bani Katile, where all of them beheld
A handsome horse at the front of a lone tent
Husein’s faithful friend, Mesruki ibni Hijar said,
It belongs to my cousin, mighty ibni Har

2 Husein sent the message, join us against the foe
You may lose your life but gain eternal reward
To gain it in exchange for a few earthly days
Is the only choice for one who follows righteous ways
Abdullah responded, to fight against Yazid
With his powerful force, is a truly unwise deed

3 My presence and my help will be of no avail
And it will not help you, remember bin Ukayl
So please forgive me, I may not join you
But, as every tribe knows, it certainly is true
The horse of ibni Har is swiftest in the world
Take it as my present, and take my famous sword

4 I’m in no need of horses or swords of sharpest steel
Husein responded, I long for Allah’s will
And left the site, turning his back to Har
To camp he slowly rode, with sadness in his heart
Entering his tent, he rested his tired head
In the lap of his sister, Sayeeda Zaynab

5 On the knees of Zaynab, Husein fell asleep
After an hour of rest, he started to wail and weep
With tears in his eyes, he could not stop his cry
Qulsum, his other sister, asked him why
To his two sisters, Imam related his state
About the dream he saw determining their fate

6 During my rest, my noble grandfather appeared
With tears in his eyes he said, ya nuri ain
The time is getting nigh for our reunion
And soon shall we meet in the everlasting world
Hearing him, both Zaynab and Umm Qulsum wept
And Shahribanu, his wife, and all of Ehlel Bayt

7 His elder son, Ali Akbar, to his father turned:
You who are my kibla, my love, and all my heart
Tell me, if God is with us or is He with Yazid?
Husein responded: Allah is with us indeed
And we are with Allah. To which Ali Akbar said:
No further talk, we proceed with happiness ahead

8 O Ali Akbar, my son, the light of my very eyes
Thousand thanks to you and thousand selams
You are akbar, indeed. You are a believer’s pride
The pearl of mankind, you deserve all honors and reward
Yet, I offer to all who hesitate to die,
Separate yourself now and go your own way

9 Only a few departed, the rest continued on
To shifting desert sands, with all escapes gone
The hopes gone. Abandoning the last chance
To escape their cruel end, at enemy’s lance
At the traitor’s hand. Content with their bitter cup:
Lead us to salvation, they pleaded in a group

10 At every place they stopped, he gave another talk
Recalling other noble messengers of past
Most of all he praised, Zachariah’s son
The martyr prophet, Yahya alayhi selam
Preparing his companions for an equal day of pain
When like John’s, the martyr’s head will be cut again

11 From Beni Katila, proceeded Hanedan
The desert was eerie, knowing of no return
Even the wind ceased to whirl the sand on dunes’ crests
No sound, save for tinkling of the camels’ bells
Tired of the long journey, they stopped for rest and sleep
At a little grove of palms by the name of Shakeek

12 There, they met a lonely tribesman of Beni Akrame
Inquiring of the news of Kufa and what is happening there
The bedouin responded: Ya ibn Rasullallah,
The army units search for you by order of Ziyad
I plead of you, return to Mecca from this place
Hejaz is awaiting you with honor and with grace

13 The word of warning did not change the calm face of Imam
Nor a desire to return from the fated road to Sham
His firm resolve was clear, to meet his predicted end
And they continued their journey over the burning sand
While horseman roamed around with ready chains
Bring them to ibni Ziyad, the order clearly says

14 One of the best commanders under ibni Ziyad
Was sent to search for them, famous Hur bin Riya
With two thousand horsemen, they waited in desert heat
To stop Husein’s advance and to stop his retreat
They all dismounted in a valley by the name Seddab
In shades of their horses, under the scorching sun

15 From Shakeek to Seddab, it took an entire night
Under the veil of dark until early sun rise
They had no rest, determined, they continued their way
Till they reached Seddab, to rest for the coming day
Before they saw them, they heard their takbirs and prayers
They swiftly followed, the sun glistening on their spears

16 Seeing the armed horseman, Husein sent a scout
To ask for the purpose of the ambush, to find out
Who is their commander, for he wanted to talk
Hur bin Riya consented proceeding in a slow walk
With great respect, he approached in distress:
O child of the Prophet, I have an order for your arrest

17 Eina ein alayna, O Hur, Husein asked,
Are you with us today or are you against us?
But, it is the time to offer our morning prayer
So you pray with your jamaat, and I with mine will pray
Later we shall have calm and quiet accord
But first we have to fulfill our duty to our Lord

18 Hur responded: O you, the light of the entire world
We shall pray behind you without armour or sword
You are the Imam of Time, we join you with pride
If we don’t, our prayer will be of no reward
Ahksanallahu alayke Husein gave him praise
His army joined the ranks, and the prayer took place

19 The prayer over, Husein leaned on his sword
With dignity, he spoke, with firm and gentle word
All of you are the ummah of Hazrat Mustafa
You know me and Yazid, I will never give my bayat
I was quite content to live in Harami Sharif
In peace to do my duties to Rabul Alameen

20 Yet, you people of Kufa, did not grant me respite
With thousands of letters, you chose to invite
My visit to your country, as a token of peace
If you change your minds, I readily release
You from obligation to be among my friends
In peace it started, and let it in peace end

21 I did not come to fight, but to fulfill my accord
It is upon you now to keep your solemn word
No blood flow do I desire, and not a slightest gain
I wish only for peace, no tears, no sobs, no pain
Sardar Hur, who listened to his every word,
Said: O Husein, of letters I truly did not know

22 Ya Hur, said Husein. The letters are all here
From saddlebags poured they, please take them and read
Hur and his soldiers with bitter tears wept
To Yazid and Ziyad, they all have changed their word
In the midst of the noise, six horsemen appeared
On tired mounts with the letter to Hur bin Riya sent

23 O Hur, the letter said: You are under our command
Wherever you find Husein, and all his hanadan
Detain them, and bring them instantly to me
Hur lifted the eyes from the letter: O Husein, can you see
What they demand? May God protect me from this sin
O Prophet’s child, return to Mecca as if I never found thee

24 Sixth day of Muharram, in the year sixty-one,
Husein agreed with Hur to change his travel plan
They parted in the night with dark sky with no stars
Not a single sign, no path, until the early sun rise
When suddenly his horse would not make a further step
Neither urging nor spurs were of any help

25 Husein turned to his companions, does anyone know this place?
Some said Ardi Mariam, some Shatul Furat, until one said,
I heard from elders, this place Karbala is called
Husein whispered: so this is the place of our fall
And, Ali Akbar asked, with his gentle quiet voice
Please tell us, of the secret in which we have no choice

26 O son, Ali Akbar, this place was shown to me
By your grandfather, Emir Seyyedina Ali
When he was on his way to the battlefield Hasnain
He travelled through this place, and dismounted on its sand
He placed his head on the lap of your brother Hasan,
And fell asleep, and woke up with a sudden cry

27 My dear Hasan, Imam Ali said with tears in his eyes,
My dream reveals the blood in these deserted sands
I saw Husein drowned in it, in his own blood
No one was there to help him, and with him I stood
He asked, what would we do if this dream comes to pass?
He said, to keep tawhid is what we always must

28 O my beloved father, my intention I announce
Not to question God’s order, but to submit at once
May zul jalal Allah, only grant me patience
To persist in my resolve at that final stance
This story Husein related to Akbar, his dear son
While everyone in attention, listened to Imam

29 O Karbala, what honor God assigned to you
Since the time before time, for the selected few
By the higher wisdom, to witness with their own lives
That the life given for truth is the only life that survives
That there is no reward without sacrifice
That victory won’t crown empty and selfish lives

30 O Karbala, the lifeless home of snake and scorpion
How high you are lifted above the corrupted world
O Karbala, O secret of the human destiny
Not revealed to any mortal in the entire history
That Truth alone governs the life and death
In our frail state, the only certainty in our uncertain fate