5

1 In a silk robe, with the gold embroidered
Omar ibni Saad, on his gift horse rode
In his right hand he held the golden reigns
In his left, the decree of his appointment
The governor, the vice regent of wealthy Tibristan
The entire household met him at the gates of his divan

2 Our dear father, like one all exclaimed
How did you achieve all this honor and wealth?
By what virtue do you deserve this highest luxury?
He instantly responded: Ziyad appointed me
The regent of Tibristan, which I long desire
The large army I lead, as my ranks require

3 My duty is to offer an honorable peace
To Husein bin Ali, without blood or tears
In exchange for his bayat to Yazid our king
If he refuses, my orders are to bring
His head and of his companions to ibni Ziyad
In either case, I remain the Lord of Tibristan

4 As soon as he spoke, stood up his oldest son
With contempt and rage, he said: O you, the ignorant,
May shame be on you for a thousand times
What evil deceived you? What nightmare turned you aside?
Husein will never be turned away from the righteous path
He will not be affected by fear or reward

5 O you, my blinded father. Don’t you know?
Husein is the light of the last messenger of the world
He is a piece of noble Fatima’s heart
And your father, the honorable Saad ibni Vekas
Gave up his life fighting the foes of Islam
You wrote three letters to Kufa inviting Imam

6 O ignorant man obsessed with worldly life
You are so misled by this world’s passing lies
You don’t seem to know that to fight Husein
Is the same as to fight the Rasulu Sekalein
To fall in love with this world is the highest deception
You are an evil man with no hope of salvation

8 The horse you are riding will surely die one day
Your silken robes will fade and into shreds decay
The paper of your title will surely fade away
The kings and emperors will not forever stay
But, resurrected soul of a traitor of God’s way
Will stand before the final judge in shame and in dismay

9 Ibni Saad, enraged by the words of his eldest son
Turned to the younger boy, asking for his advice
Who said: Yes, my brother spoke to you the truth
But his words relate to things he cannot prove
They are illusions with no substance within
While the offers of ibni Ziyad are real facts indeed

10 A wise man will not pursue an empty dream
Of a fiction of reward, hidden in the unseen
In place of goods ready to consume
We should rejoice in life, avoid the gloom
The rest is uncertain. Father you did well,
I advise you to accept and to ibni Ziyad return

11 Returning, he expressed his humble gratitude
To ibni Ziyad, who promptly his promise fulfilled
Five thousand horsemen to ibni Saad, he assigned
The news reached everyone, not a soldier aside
His nephew Hamza bin Agira in fear said:
O Uncle, think of payment after you rise from the dead

12 Ibni Saad responded: I am fully aware
This mission is of this world, and ahirat I fear
But I am burdened with love for this apparent world
It is much stronger to me than the promised life beyond
While Hamza, shocked, exclaimed: for one province of this earth,
Against one beloved by all worlds, you stand

13 Ibn Saad, ashamed, recognized his plan
For several hours he delayed and thought of his haram
Until shaytan prevailed, and he returned again
To fulfill his mission to fight Imam Husein
With martial music, he conducted a splendid parade
Through the streets of Kufa with no shame. With pride

14 To Karbala they proceeded and pitched thousands of tents
For the soldiers and servants and command officers
He wrote a letter, not wasting any time:
Tell me, O Husein, what brings you to our land?
The reply was soon received: I came by your invitation
There is no reason for our confrontation

15 I only came to lead you on the correct path
To offer you salvation to avoid God’s wrath
As your guest I arrived, you met me with swords
You stepped on your honor, with your empty words
Through desert sands I came, for the sake of your souls
By duty to the sublime Lord of the Worlds

16 On my journey, I heard of your evil plans
After you killed bin Ukayl and his two little sons
From Mecca I came, I am willing to return
Let us leave, you will never see us again
Ibni Saad rejoiced at the words of compromise
To avoid a bloodshed and Husein’s demise

17 This fitna will end with no war or blood
I win with no effort, thought Omar bin Saad
In peace, I will be wali of Tibristan
He mounted his horse and swiftly he ran
Towards the camp of guests with manner calm and mild:
Greetings to you, of our Prophet, you beloved child

18 My respect for you is very great indeed
I don’t wish to harm you, give your pledge to Yazid
By his order I act to get your bayat
Do not refuse this offer, do not sadden my heart
Remember what happened to your noble father
To Murtaza Ali, and to Hasan your brother

19 Husein replied: Since things got so far
I offer you an honorable compromise
I will secure my family in Harami Sherif
Or any land distant from Sham and Yazid
If you refuse my offer, I am willing to proceed
From Karbala to Sham, in person him I will meet

20 Omar listened with care, and without delay
Sent to Ziyad a report of Husein’s reply
He instantly responded: Husein should come
To Kufa, and I will escort him to Sham
But, Husein knew what Ziyad was planning
And with these words responded to his cunning:

21 If you agree that I should visit Yazid,
To go first to Kufa, there is no need,
From Karbala to Damascus, I will directly proceed
If you want to join me, you’re welcome, indeed
But, ibni Ziyad, with great rage was seized,
And in one instant he refused the request

22 To ibni Saad, he sent the following word
If he does not come to Kufa, further talk is void
One of two choices he has to accept
Either to give the pledge or to reject
If he refuses, be ready for the next step
Four days have passed, and no result yet

23 With no further pause, Husein replied:
This is the condition, not the compromise,
The offer is refused. While angry Ziyad,
Ten thousand more soldiers, to Omar assigned
Three commanders led them, Hasan bin Namir,
Shat bin Rebya, and Zil Shen Shimir

24 In the cloud of dust, they started their march
Under the strict order to ride by the river bank
The mighty Euphrates, which sustains the life
Of mankind and beasts, and of every plant
But, to the children of the Prophet, one drop was denied
And previously calm, by waves the river sighed

25 Block the access to the river, Ziyad’s order said
If they are thirsty, let them drink sand instead
Ten thousand riders along the river bank
Saw the clear water turn murky and dark
And everyone knew this was a cursed mission
And everyone knew they ride to their perdition

26 The fowls of the sky, in the endless flocks
Painfully cried over the sands and rocks
While the wind of the desert howled with pain
While horses whinnied as in a heavy strain
While the ancients’ graves buried in the sands
Shook in rage and fear beside the river banks

27 But, the heart of a man trained to survive
Just for one more hour, just for one single day
Just for one more taste of this treacherous life
Just a little longer to continue this strife
In order to live just for one moment more
The horseman proceeded along the river shore

28 At Karbala they joined Omar’s mighty army
Like a crowd of ants, the multitude was swarming
Five hundred best horsemen, Omar placed in charge
Under the command of cursed Hujjaj
To block the way to the river to beast or man
The only way to life under the scorching sun

29 O month of Muharram, the new year’s blessed days
When mankind was led from dark to better ways
When Ibrahim was saved from the fire ablaze
When the Red Sea split. When with his people Musa fled
When the eyesight to Yakub returned
When the Last Prophet from Mecca escaped

30 What happened to the world with mercy reversed?
What evil winds desert sands dispersed?
How are the infants on their mother’s breasts
Guilty of any crime? Has justice no trace?
All mankind is gathered at this lonely place
Where the last word is written for the human race