8

1 As if the evil fate is not enough of pain,
The poisonous words touched the gentle heart of Husein
Who again turned in prayer to Almighty Lord:
Ya Rabb. Send to him his deserved reward
In an instant, witnessed by thousands of eyes
His horse shook him off, he cried: al-Atesh

2 Running around the trench, he shouted: I am burning!
Many horsemen rode to him with water pouring
None could help him. More thirsty he was after many drinks
In front of all eyes, into a crisp he shrinks
In front of the mighty river, in one hour he burned
To the land of dark from which no one returned

3 Still, in the light of the flames of the burning ditch
Husein turned to his friends and gave this speech:
O my beloved friends, defenders of the Prophet’s kin
No better people than you, this world has ever seen
You did not step aside, you did not retreat back
My honor you defended before the foes’ attack

4 I am content with you, and I see you are content
With our suffering and our bitter fate
Today is the end of this life’s apparent dream
This treacherous illusion, how unsteady it seems
One night alone is left for you to decide
Whether to proceed or be left behind

5 The night ahead of us will be dark like a cave
I give you my permission to quietly leave
Silent is the desert, with my forgiveness granted,
I will give my consent to all who have departed
That’s why I asked for one last night delay
To give you this last chance to leave me or to stay

6 This, my last permission, is of human concerns
Of who proceeds and who to safety returns
The fate of all creation is questioned today
Who will accept eternal life and who will turn away
The question is eternal, on whose side you will stand
The destiny of mankind decided on Karbala’s sand

7 If you choose to leave, please convey my selam
To the people of Medina and Bayt al-Haram
The enemy’s army only wants my life
For others they don’t care, they won’t disturb your flight
To all of this, camp responded: Ya Imam al-Zeman
We shall not part from you. We give you our life

8 You are the light of the Last Prophet of Allah
You are the eye of Nebiyi Zishan
You are the mirror of his shining light
You are the kurban, do not send us apart
We won’t leave you alone in the enemy’s hands
That we shall not permit until the last of us stands

9 May our Lord not permit that one of us remains
After you in this world, where now all mankind stands
In the decisive war between the right and wrong
May God permit us to remain and with you to stay strong
We face our Lord without fear or shame
Ready for the day where our deeds are weighed

10 When the last pledge resounded, to all it was clear
It is the final choice. Husein lifted his hands in prayer
For all his noble friends and the Prophet’s family
Prepared to leave this world of shame and tyranny
Lastly, he returned to bin Ukayl’s children
Imploring them to leave to the Bani Tai tribesmen:

11 They will escort you with love and kindest care
To your home in Medina, where all of you will prosper
Enough is your father and two of your brother’s pain
May your young lives from bitter end be spared
But Muslim’s children wept in unison reply:
O child of our Prophet, do not cast us away

12 As our father and our brothers departed as shaheeds
Don’t we also deserve to follow their worthy deeds?
We want the same honor to join you on your path
And fall as martyrs with your sa’adat
To which Husein a heartfelt thanksgiving prayer sent
And placed them to rest in his own tent

13 In the tenth night of Muharram, a silence on desert fell
No cricket, no bird, no splash of fish in the river
Even the shadows of night refused to appear
When the end of the Prophet’s house approached so near
The countless souls of night and of high heavens wept
And the angels saying dhikr above the fated tents

14 The entire night in prayers until the early dawn
The name of Lord and takbirs through silent night resounded
The unseen living beings in the heavens and earth
Like shadows hovered silently above every tent
The moving lights, the eyes of everyone beheld
At midnight, a piercing shriek by everyone was heard

15 Adrikni Ya Rasulallah, echoed the loud sound
O friend of the Most High, Umm Qulsum enquired
Of her brother Husein: Ya Imami maksum,
My dear brother, what was that sound so gloom?
Awaking from his rest, Husein answered her:
It woke me from my sleep. The same sound I heard

16 It was a gloomy, but still a gentle call
From the world of higher wisdom commanded by our Lord
In the midst of my dream, my grandfather appeared:
O Husein, are you for our meeting prepared?
You are awaited in the world beyond the farthest star
All souls and prophets ready for tomorrow’s iftar

17 I saw an angel with two crystal jars
Descending to Karbala among galaxies and stars
I asked my grandfather: Ya Rasulallah
What is the sign of this splendid display?
Your blood will be spilt, I saw it in my dream
The cups will be filled. He wants me to join him

18 Joined by Zaynab, wept noble Qulsum
Tears flowed in the camp from midnight to dawn
For the last time on this earth, united in grief
Yet firm in their faith against disbelief
Imam embraced them all in final farewell
The sadness of that night my pen can never tell

19 On Imam’s right side, Shahrubanu sat
Honored and beloved wife of Imam Hazrat
She tore her shirt and through the tears spoke:
You, who are so patient and so full of hope
Even in this furnace of the evil flame,
Who on this earth would want to remain?

20 On his left sat Qulsum and Zaynab the wise:
O light of our Prophet, the world’s most noble prize,
When Ali, your father to heaven departed,
And your brother Hasan, you were our only father
After you, who will ever provide the care
In this bleak world of lies and despair?

21 At that, heavens were shaking as in a giant storm
With the night departing followed the gloomy dawn
The tenth day of Muharram, the day of God’s wrath
Like a guilty thief, crawled in the early light
Husein stepped out, with sand he did the ablution
Leading the entire camp in the final devotion

22 While in their prayers, the commotion greeted him
To the highest heaven, the words of insult came
Ready to kill, the soldiers of every rank
Mad with their rage and insolent and drunk
Wielding their weapons and beating their shields
The enemy of God emerged from all fields

23 The horses neighing, clanging with weapons unsheathed
Hundred to one in strength, on their horses seated
They galloped around in early morning light
To whom were they showing their martial might?
The darkness prevailed, in a desperate sight
Like Satan’s rejection from the eternal light

24 The leader of Hades, unworthy ibn Saad
Last order gave to all in his command
With the chief in charge on his army flank
Hujjaj, and on his left flank with his hatred drunk
Commanded the troop Zil Jushein Shimir
While in the center commanded Amir

25 On the opposing side, the Ehlel Bayt
Seventy-two men stood still and patient
Heroes outnumbered, tired of thirst and sleepless night
Stood in the lines, resolved to the last fight
Shoulder to shoulder on foot and on steed
Awaiting the Imam’s order for the battle to proceed

26 Two camps in the last confrontation stood
A mighty army against the tired few
The multitude failed to have an effect
On Hazrati Husein, who sat straight and erect
On his Zuljannah, beloved fighting steed
The sword of Muhammad tied to his left hip

27 Zuljannah, Hussein’s beloved mubarak horse
Used to the clash of weapons in so many wars
Unafraid of noise and spears and swords,
Proudly trotted with his master before the numerous foes
Calm as the wind of the sea before the storm,
Husein gave the last orders. Last hesitation gone

28 On the right side, he placed Habib bin Majar
On the left side, the brave Hazrati Abbas
Shining as the morning sun, in the front he rode
The light of heaven reflected on him as pure gold
The army of shaheeds, knew they can never fail
While the enemy might was not to their avail

29 Thus separated forces of truth and the lies
Batil and Haq, Lord clearly divides
Separated like a world of truth and deception
Like the night and day, permitting no exception
Ready to charge in the moment of decision
In the fight for truth that demands division

30 O town of Kufa, O people of this land,
I have few words for you: Alone soon you shall stand
Before our lord as you do today, in this sand
You will look me in the eye when you hear the demand
Of explanation. I will accuse you
Of the grandest crime for which a man is sued