Men Expressing Fear for Al-Husayn
‘Umar al-Atraf then said to him, “O son of the Commander of the Faithful!1 Abu Muhammad, al-Hasan (‘a), told me that his father, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), had told him that you would be slain. If you swear fealty, it will be better for you.”
Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “My father told me that the Messenger of Allah (S) had told him of his murder and mine, and that his resting place would be close to mine. Do you think that you know what I do not know? I shall never yield to lowliness. Fatima (‘a) shall meet her father (S) complaining of what her offspring suffered at the hands of his nation, and none who had harmed her offspring shall ever enter Paradise.”2
‘Umar Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib came once to al-Mukhtar when the latter revolted in Kufa. Al-Mukhtar asked him, “Is Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyya with you?” He answered in the negative, whereupon he dismissed him, so he marched on to Mis’ab till he participated in the battle and was killed among those who were killed there and then.3
Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyya said5, “Brother! I love you more than I love anyone else, and I cherish you the most, and I do not advise anyone as I advise you. You deserve such an advice most. Abandon both your fealty to Yazid son of Mu’awiyah and the metropolises, too, as much as you can, then send your messengers to people.
If they swear the oath of allegiance to you, praise Allah for it, but if they rally behind someone else, Allah will not have diminished aught of your creed or wisdom, and your magnanimity and distinction will not have been wasted. I fear for you lest you should enter one of these metropolises and people will split into parties, some with you and some against you, then they might fight with one another, and you will be the first person sought by their lances.
So, you will either remain the best of this nation in person and in lineage, or the one whose blood is spilled most vainly and whose family is humiliated the most.”
Al-Husayn (‘a) asked him, “Where should I go?” Muhammad said, “Settle in Mecca. If you do not find yourself comfortable there, you should seek the sands and mountain passes, and you should move from one country to another till you see what the people decide to do.
Your view will be the most wise and your actions the most terse when you are ahead of events. Things will be most complicated for you if you turn your back to them.”6
Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “Brother! Had there been on earth neither resort nor a hiding place for me at all, I would still refuse to swear the oath of allegiance to Yazid son of Mu’awiyah.” It was then that Muhammad interrupted his statement when he burst out weeping.
Al-Husayn (‘a) then said to him, “Brother! May Allah reward you well. You have offered your advice and given a terse suggestion, and I am determined to go to Mecca. My brothers, nephews, and supporters see what I see, and their view is my view. As for you, you may stay in Medina so that you may keep an eye on them and not conceal anything of their affairs from me.”7
Imam Husayn (‘a) left Ibn al-Hanafiyya and entered the [Prophet’s] Mosque as he recited these verses:
Abu Sa’id al-Maqbari heard him, so he realized that he was undertaking a great matter10.
Umm Salamah said, “Do not cause me grief by going to Iraq, for I heard your grandfather the Messenger of Allah (S) saying, ‘My son al-Husayn will be killed in the land of Iraq in a tract of land called Karbala’,' and I have a specimen of your grave's soil in a bottle which the Prophet (S) had given me.”
Al-Husayn (‘a) said to her, “Mother! And I, too, know that I will be slain unjustly and oppressively, and the Omnipotent has decreed to see my family and followers in chains, seeking help and finding none to offer it to them.”
Umm Salamah then asked him, “How strange! How do you march there knowing that you will for sure be killed?” The Imam (‘a) said to her, “Mother! If I do not die today, I will tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then the day after.
By Allah! There is no avoiding death. And I even know the day when I will be killed, and the time when I will be killed, and the grave in which I will be buried just as I know you, and I look at it just as I look at you. If you wish, mother, I can show you my grave and those of my followers.” She asked him to do so, whereupon he showed her the graves of his companions.11
Then he gave her a little of that soil, telling her to keep it in a bottle. Once she saw it boiling in blood, she would know that he had been slain. On the tenth day of the month of Muharram, in the after-noon, she looked at both bottles [the one given to her by the Messenger of Allah and the other given to her by Imam Husayn (‘a)]; they were both boiling in blood.12
His departure very much grieved the daughters of Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib who assembled for a group mourning. “I plead to you in the Name of Allah,” al-Husayn (‘a) said to them after going to their place of gathering, “not to reveal this matter in disobedience to Allah and His Messenger (S).”
They said, “Who should we save weeping and mourning for, since the day of your departure to us is like the demise of the Messenger of Allah (S), that of ‘Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan (‘a), Zainab, or Umm Kulthum?! We plead to you, may Allah consider us as your sacrificial ransom from your own demise, O one loved by the righteous from among those who reside in the graves!” Some of his paternal aunts informed him that they had heard a voice saying:13
Al-Husayn (‘a) admonished her to be patient, telling her that that was something already decreed.
Abdullah son of [second caliph] ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab asked al-Husayn (‘a) to remain in Medina, but al-Husayn (‘a) refused saying, “O ‘Abdullah! One of the reasons why this whole world is worthless in the eyes of Allah is that the head of Yahya (John the Baptist) was given as a present to one of the tyrants of the Israelites, and that my head will be given as a present to one of the Umayyad tyrants. Have you not come to know that the Israelites used to kill seventy prophets as the sun rose then buy and sell as if they did nothing?!
Yet Allah was not swift in punishing them. After some time, He seized them, the Omnipotent and the Vengeful Lord that He is.”14
Once Ibn ‘Umar was convinced that al-Husayn (‘a) was determined to leave Medina and to face the promoters of misguidance in order to put an end to abominations and to remove the thorns from the path of the sacred Shari’a, he said to him (‘a),
“O Abu ‘Abdullah! Please uncover for me the place where the Messenger of Allah used to always kiss you.” The Imam (‘a) unveiled his navel for him, and he kissed it thrice then burst in tears.15 The Imam (‘a) then said to him, “Fear Allah, O father of ‘Abdul-Rahman, and do not abandon your support for me.”16
- 1. We have indicated his biography in the appendix to our book Zayd al-Shahid, p. 100, second edition.
- 2. Ibn Tawus, Al-Luhuf, p. 15 (Saida edition).
- 3. Abu Hanifa al-Dinawari (henceforth referred to only as al-Dinawari), Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, p. 29.
- 4. It is stated on p. 91, Vol. 2, of Ibn Shahr Ashub's Manaqib that these poetic verses were composed by Mas’ud Ibn ‘Abdullah al-Qayni.
- 5. On p. 104 of our book Qamar Bani Hashim, we indicated that he was twenty years old during the battle at Basra. He was ten years older than al-’Abbas. He was the standard bearer of the Commander of the Faithful during the battles of the Camel and of al-Nahrawan. On p. 316 of our book Zayn al-’Abidin, we discussed some of his biography. On p. 79, Vol. 2, of al-Khawarizmi's book Maqtal al-Husayn, there is reference to a letter sent by Ibn al-Hanafiyya to Yazid after al-Husayn's martyrdom, and that he had met with Yazid! This is one way to demean his status. I am sure that some people have told lies about him because a magnanimous and zealous person like him could never have done any such things.
- 6. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 191. Ibn al-Athir, Kamil, Vol. 1, p. 7.
- 7. Maqtal Muhammad Ibn Abu Talib. Those who have documented such type of incidents do not mention this excuse. In his book titled Ajwibat Masa’il Ibn Muhanna, ‘Allama al-Hilli seeks an excuse for Muhammad for not accompanying the departing band on account of his sickness. In his book titled Akhth al-Thar, Ibn Nama al-Hilli states the following on p. 81: “He was afflicted with pus because of some people envying him, so he could not march with al-Husayn (‘a).” The greatness and famous stands of Ibn al-Hanafiyya, and his recognition of the Imamate of al-Sajjad (‘a), leave no room for us except to submit to the legality of his lagging behind this scene as a whole.
- 8. He is referring to Yazid Ibn Mufrigh.
- 9. On p. 66, Vol. 4, of Ansab al-Ashraf, he recited them in Mecca
- 10. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 191. Abul Faraj al-Ishfahani, Al-Aghani, Vol. 17, p. 68. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn, Vol. 1, p. 186, chapter 9. Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, Vol. 4, p. 339.
- 11. Madinat al-Ma’ajiz, p. 244, quoting Thaqib al-Manaqib by its highly respected author, Abu Ja’far, Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Mashadi al-Tusi. al-Nawari, Dar al-Salam, Vol. 1, p. 102. On p. 593 of Rawdat al-Jannat, his authorship of this book is confirmed by Kamil al-Baha’i and also based on this dialogue being narrated by Ja’far Ibn Muhammad al-Duroysti, the narrator, who cites al-Mufid, in 401 A.H./1011 A.D., making him one of the renowned scholars of the 5th century A.H./11th. century A.D.
- 12. al-Rawandi, Al-Khara’ij, in a chapter dealing with his miracles. ‘Abdullah Nur-Allah al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-’Awalim, p. 47.
- 13. See p. 96 of Kamil al-Ziyarat by Ibn Qawlawayh al-Qummi where a couple of these poetic verses are quoted. This line is one of four other lines from Abu Tammam's chivalric poems as indicated in their explanation by al-Tabrizi who states so on p. 14, Vol. 3, of his book Hamasat Abu Tammam. They are also quoted on p. 92, Vol. 2, of [al-Mas’udi’s] Muruj al-Thahab from al-Zubayr Ibn Bakar, on p. 228, Vol. 2, of Manaqib of Shahr Ashub, by Ibn Nama’s Muthir al-Ahzan, and on p. 124 of Tathkirat al-Khawass of Ibn al-Jawzi, the grandson. It is cited as one of five lines on p. 52, Vol. 6, of Mu’jam al-Buldan [by Yaqut al-Hamawi], on p. 142, Vol. 1, of Maqalat al-Islamiyyin by Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari. It is one of six lines quoted on p. 37, Vol. 4, of Ibn al-Athir's book Kamil, on p. 215, Vol. 3, of al-Thahabi's A’lam al-Nubala’. It is cited as one of seven verses quoted on p. 19 of Maqatil al-Talibiyyin (Iranian edition), in Nasab Quraish by Mis’ab al-Zubayri. It is also quoted as one of eight lines on p. 211, Vol. 8, of Ibn Kathir's book Al-Bidaya, on p. 149, Vol. 2, of al-Khawarizmi's book Maqtal al-Husayn, by Ibn Nama's book Muthir al-Ahzan, and on p. 343, Vol. 4, of Ibn ‘Asakir's Tahthib al-Tarikh.
All these authors and compilers differ with one another as to who composed these lines. On p. 37, Vol. 4, of Ibn Kathir's Kamil, they are attributed to al-Taimi, i.e. Taim Murrah, who was dedicated to Banu Hashim. On p. 74, Vol. 4, of Al-Isaba (of Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani), and also in Maqalat al-Islamiyyin, they are attributed to Abu Ramj al-Khuza’i, a view which Ibn Nama states, citing al-Mirzabani. On p. 13, Vol. 3, of al-Tabrizi's Shar al-Hamasa, they are said to belong to Ramj al-Khuza’i. In Al-Isti’ab, they are said to belong to Zamij al-Khuza’i who is identified by al-Bakri on p. 891, Vol. 3, of his book Al-Mu’jam fi ma Ista’jam, as Ibn Rumh al-Khuza’i, but he cited only this line.
In Ansab Quraish, al-Zubayr Ibn Bakar refers to these lines, and so does al-Mas’udi in his book Muruj al-Thahab, saying that they were composed by Sulayman Ibn Qabah, whereas Ibn ‘Asakir states on p. 342, Vol. 4, of his book Tarikh, and al-Thahabi on p. 215, Vol. 2, of his book Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, and Abu ‘Amr in Al-Isti’ab, they all state his name to be Qanah, and Ibn Shahr Ashub adds to it the last name “al-Hashimi”.
On p. 235, Vol. 2, of Tahthib Kamil al-Mibrad, on p. 136, Vol. 35, of A’yan al-Shi’a, and on p. 41, of Nasab Quraish by Mis’ab al-Zubayri, he is said to be Sulayman Ibn Qattah. Abu Tammam, in his Hamasa, adds to him the last name of al-’Adawi. In al-Tabrizi's Sharh, this line is attributed to ‘Adiyy, whereas in Al-Hamasa al-Basriyya, it is said to belong to Sadr ad-Din Ibn Abul-Faraj Ibn al-Husayn al-Basri who died in 659 A.H./1261 A.D. as indicated on p. 200, Vol. 1, where the following verse is attributed to Ibn Qattah al-’Adawi, a slave of ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdullah al-Taimi:
I passed by the houses of Muhammad's family,
Never did I see their likes: from their residents they were empty.
The commentator adds saying that they were all five lines, but he did not cite them all. He stated the same in Al-Isti’ab. On p. 154 of Tathkirat al-Khawass of Ibn al-Jawzi, the grandson (Iranian edition), it is stated that Sulayman Ibn Qattah passed by the place where the people were slaughtered, so he wept then composed four lines.
On p. 49 of Abul-Faraj's book Maqatil [al-Talibiyyin], and on p. 211, Vol. 8, of Ibn Kathir's book Al-Bidaya, he is identified as Sulayman Ibn Qutaybah, and in Ibn Nama's book Muthir al-Ahzan, the author states that Sulayman Ibn Qutaybah al-’Adawi, slave of Banu Tamim, passed by Karbala’ three days after Imam Husayn (‘a) had been killed, and he looked at the place where they had been slaughtered. He leaned on an Arabian bow which he had as he composed those verses.
On p. 119 of Ibn Tawus's book Al-Luhuf (Saida edition), the author says, “Ibn Qutaybah, may Allah have mercy on his soul, did very well [in composing those lines] .” On p. 52, Vol. 6, of Mu’jam al-Buldan, they are attributed to Duhbal al-Jamhi. This view is endorsed by the author of Taj al-’Arus as stated in a chapter dealing with al-Taff where the same line is cited.
He is “Abu Duhbal” Wahab Ibn Zam’ah Ibn Asad, a poet who composed poems praising Mu’awiyah and ‘Abdullah Ibn al-Zubayr and Yemen's wali, according to p. 149, Vol. 6,of Al-Aghani. All this weakens the possibility of his having composed such lines. On p. 165, Vol. 17, also of Al-Aghani, it is stated that Mis’ab Ibn al-Zubayr entered Kufa once and inquired about al-Husayn and his being killed. ‘Urwah Ibn al-Mughirah kept narrating to him the details whereupon he cited the following line by Sulayman Ibn Qattah:
The foremost ones, at al-Taff, from Banu Hashim consoled
One another, so consoling became for the dignified a sunnah.
On p. 314, Vol. 1, of Ibn al-Jazri's Tabaqat al-Qurra’, he is referred to as Sulayman Ibn Qattah with “Qattah” being the name of his mother [rather than that of his father], that he belonged to Taim, and that he was a slave from Bara. He is said as having met Ibn ‘Abbas thrice and ‘Asim al-Juhdari met him once.There are those who say that the one who had heard the voice was Umm Hani, but this cannot be accurate, for she had died either during the Prophet's lifetime or duing Mu’awiyah's reign as indicated on p. 110, Vol. 1, of Ibn Shahr Ashub's Manaqib. On p. 620 of the Lucknow, India, edition of Ibn Hajar's book Taqrib al-Tahthib, she had died during Mu’awiyah's reign.
- 14. Ibn Nama and Al-Luhuf.
- 15. as-Saduq, Amali, p. 93, majlis 30.
- 16. Ibn Tawus, Al-Luhuf, p. 17.