6

1 Sixty first year of hijrah, Muharram seventh day
The choice was given to mankind to reject or obey
The law that governs the planets, sun, and stars
To choose the healing grace over the wounds and scars
The mighty army gathered against a few
Thirty-three thousand against seventy-two

2 Where are the kingdoms and mighty empires?
Where are their ranks? Where human desires?
Where are the pleasures craved by blind illusion?
Where goes this life? In empty confusion
All vanish with no trace, like in the desert sand
Golden throne of Yazid, the throne of Tibristan

3 Where is their gold and pearls and joyous feasts?
Like Nabukadnezar in the field of beasts
Like Belshazar, whose kingdom was found in want
Like Ramses the Great with the open sea affront
The palaces overhang with spider webs
Changing like the tide that always flows and ebbs

4 They all ride like shadows into awaiting night
The weapons and horses only apparent might
Even the sun was not reflecting on their ornaments
They rode to their darkness, where human glory ends
The army of shadows, in their final ride
With no joy on their faces, with no trace of pride

5 All for the sake of a worthless reward
Pleasing the tyrant, who lives by the sword
When justice is silent where the law is corrupt
Where the demons are fed with innocent blood
Why all their power? Why all this display?
They didn’t know whom they were going to slay

6 Perhaps the shame touched the heart of ibn Saad
Remembering his father, Saad bin Vakas
The companion of the Prophet, the honorable knight
In struggle for truth his sword had never dried
And now, the same sword is wielded again
Against the same Prophet, against his Husein

7 For the slight delay, of inevitable end
A blind human life is uselessly spent
All wealth of the true life promised by the Lord
For the righteous deeds in this brief abode
Till the patience of heaven is exhausted at last
With both worlds’ reward forever denied

8 O light, O the ray of the burning sun
How pleasant your warmth upon the grateful man
In the life of peace, in the days of content
And how cruel your heat in the times of want
When the blood boils, when the dry mouth wails
When the water is near, but not a drop remains

9 The mighty Euphrates reflects the mid-day sun
Before the very eyes of Prophet’s hamedan
No heat of desert stops the river flow
While the heat from above and the heat from below
Stops even breathing of the bodies so dry
That even the tears don’t flow from the eye

10 Five hundred of Yazid’s soldiers guard the river banks
Not a bird, nor a jackal can break through their ranks
Until Husein’s brother, the intrepid Abbas
With fifty companions broke through their ranks
And swift like arrows, dashed to the river shore
With water skins full, for a while life was restored

11 Yet each drop of water and instant relief
Enraged the demons, the moment so brief
Lasted too short. Two thousand more
Ibn Saad sent to guard the river shore
Faced with the horror of children dying of thirst,
Husein invited Saad for further talks

12 Omar ibn Saad accepted the call
With a dozen soldiers, they proceeded all
Between two camps, and awaited thus
For Husein, Ali Akbar, and Abbas
Proud and straight, they rode to a sandy hill
And commenced the talk with no sign of fatigue

13 O ibni Saad, I ask you, Imam Husein said
Did your father Wakas in his will ordain
To join the forces of Abu Sufyan
And fight the Holy Prophet in this final crime?
Denying water to the Prophet’s family
Sealing forever your gloomy destiny

14 Don’t you know, Omar, the day is so nigh
When Ruzi Mahsher, spring of our Lord most high
Will refresh the thirsty with the Kauthar water
Their refreshment is sweet, but yours will be bitter
Our thirst is brief, but yours will never end
And the thirst of Beni Umaya, unquenchable as sand

15 I don’t ask you for favors but offer the way
To come to the right path from the road astray
Repent while you can, to escape damnation
The last warning is offered, proceed to salvation
Reflect for a moment while you all still can
Accept the law of God over the laws of man

16 Responded ibni Saad: O Prophet’s beloved child
What you said is true, but I’m so afraid
Of ibni Ziyad’s wrath for a mission not completed
To compromise is the same as being defeated
He will take away all of my possessions,
He will destroy me and sever my connections

17 Fear not, Omar, Husein responded,
What you lose in this world, it will be returned
In the world that knows no end in generous giving
Repent, and take reward of our Lord so forgiving
I will witness for you in front of my grandfather
He will vouch for you and for today’s encounter

18 Ibn Saad said: My property in Kufa is countless
In lands, horses, gold, cattle and the fields
To lose it all will make my heart destroyed
I cannot give it up, even for eternal reward
The lofty state that in heaven I would get
It’s not enough. My loss would be worse than death

19 Husein replied: Your property is small
Compared to mine in Hejaz. Take it all
Together with livestock and crops and all lands
To me all worthless like the desert sands
For, in the real life, to me it will return
While this wealth, like a brief flame will burn

20 Omar remained speechless, for he understood
The offer of Husein he cannot refuse
And he stopped in thoughts, while the Imam continued:
O poor man, my offer does not seem to matter
For your wealth and your power is to no avail
In both worlds, for sure you will forever fail

21 Even the pleasure of this world, for which you crave
Will be denied to you before your grave
But, beyond this life, your loss is much more
Even if the whole world you possessed before
As soon as my destiny at Karbala is fulfilled,
Both you and your younger son will soon be killed

22 Husein remained true to his word
Ibn Saad and his son fell to the sword
Of Mukhtar’s revenge before their reward
Both worlds for them, forever denied
How blind are you, O shallow human greed
How unfulfilling your insatiable need

23 The freedom of choice is given to all
Ibn Saad selected his fate and his fall
For a fleeting illusion of glory of this life
Swift as a wind in its unsteady flight
To deep darkness of horror, and despair of eternal end
All who don’t fear God, will surely descend

24 In the camp of Husein, in faithful Hanedan
A companion, bin Hasin, implored the Imam
To give him permission to ride to Yazid’s side
And to have a final word with ibni Saad
A Prophet’s companion of highest respect
His wish was granted and to Omar he went

25 Bin Hasin’s intent was to warn once more
The entire army of Saad, they cannot restore
Their honor if they proceed with their evil intent
Without permission he entered Saad’s tent
Without selam, he sat next to ibn Saad
Without removing his shoes, he on the carpet sat

26 Saad knew him well and said: O Aziz,
You are a respected guest, but what manner is this
To enter my tent without selam,
Such unusual behavior, I implore you to explain,
What is the reason for your conduct so rude
Worthy of explanation to be understood

27 Aziz responded with manner so calm:
Only to a Muslim I offer selam
Are we not Muslims? Ibn Saad inquired
In response, Janabu Barbar replied,
After a delay, with hadith he responded soon:
Al Muslim min selem al Muslimoon

28 A Muslim is the one who provides the peace
To another Muslim by good words and deeds
While you, ibn Saad, even water deny
To unprotected Muslims from the river nearby
Your deeds are evil, proven by your will
Not to comfort, but to harm another Muslim and kill

29 For your foul intent, you deserve no selam
To harm another Muslim, is no deed of Islam
I see from your face and your angry frown,
You have sold your honor for a golden crown
My last attempt to save your poor soul
Appears in vain. My failure is your fall

30 Bin Hasin departed from the tent of ibn Saad
To camp of Ehlel Bayt on the other battle side,
And said to Husein: In my mission I failed
Between right and wrong, their evil has prevailed
With that duty performed, I remain content
My sword and my life is all that is left