When the Holy Imam set out from Hijaz to Iraq, Ibn Abbas remained disturbed and involved in grief and anxiety as he feared the betrayal of the people of Kufa with regard to his nephew. On the 10th of Mohurrum when he went to sleep, he awoke agitated and distressed saying, “By Allah! Husayn is killed!”
His companions objected to him and told him, “Never, O Ibn Abbas!”
He replied to them, tears flowing on his face and said, “I saw the Messenger of Allah (S) in dream holding a bottle and he was saying to me: Do you know what my Ummah has done after me? They have killed my son, Husayn and this is his and his companion’s blood that I am taking up to Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.”
His companions noted the day and time of that dialogue till they received the news of the martyrdom of Imam (‘a) which had taken place at the same hour.1
Mother of believers, Her Eminence, Umme Salma had been shocked and distressed at the time of the Imam’s departure to Iraq, because the Messenger of Allah (S) had informed her about the martyrdom of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) in the land of Karbala and had also entrusted her with a bottle containing the soil of that place telling her that when the soil in the bottle turns to blood she must know that his grandson has been killed.2 She used to glance at that bottle everyday and remark: “The day you turn to blood, would be a terrible day indeed.”3
On the 10th day of Mohurrum, Umme Salma fell asleep and saw the Messenger of Allah (S) in dream smeared in dust. She asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! What happened to you?”
“I have just witnessed the killing of Husayn.”
Umme Salma awoke perturbed and worried and cried, “Husayn is killed, O Allah, fill up their houses and graves with fire.”4
Ibn Abbas heard the cries rising from the residence of Umme Salma. When he went to her he found her house teeming with ladies and gents. He asked, “O mother of believers, why are you shouting and lamenting?” She did not give any reply; she glanced at the ladies of the Hashemite clan and said, “O daughters of Abdul Muttalib! Start mourning with me and weep upon Husayn as by Allah, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah and His beloved one, Husayn, has been killed.”
She was asked, “From where did you learn about this?”
She told them about the dream in which she had seen the Holy Prophet (S).5 The women began to lament, till Medina fell into mourning and no day was seen to be as full of grief and sorrow as that day.6
From that day Umme Salma used to hold condolence meetings (Majalis) in remembrance of Imam Husayn (‘a) and they used to be attended by Muslims who came and gave condolence to her for the terrible tragedies. One of those who arrived to give condolence was Shahr bin Haushab who began to narrate what he had heard from the Messenger of Allah (S) in praise of Ahlul Bayt. He said: The Messenger of Allah (S) entered my bedroom. Fatima brought a thing for him and kept it on the ground. His Eminence told her, “Call Hasan and Husayn and your cousin Ali to me.” When they all come to His Eminence he said, “O Allah! These are my special folks and my Ahlul Bayt, thus kept filth away from them and purify them a thorough purification.”7
At that time Umme Salma cursed the people of Kufa and said, “They killed him, may Allah kill them. They deceived him and insulted him, may Allah curse them.”8
She fainted due to intensity of her grief and she lived only for a short period after which she passed away in the sorrow and shock regarding His Eminence, Husayn (‘a).9
Ibn Saad had no qualms in trampling the body of Imam (‘a) and shredding it into pieces although Islam has prohibited such a thing as Ibn Marjana had ordered him for it. Without any delay he arranged for the severed head of Imam (‘a) to be carried by Khooli bin Yazid Asbahi and Hamid bin Muslim Azadi as a gift for Ibn Marjana just as the severed head of His Eminence, Yahya bin Zakaria was taken to the tyrant ruler of Bani Israel.
The two of them set out with full speed without being distracted by anything else till they reached Kufa in the last part of the night to find the palace locked.
Khooli picked up the Imam’s severed head and hastened to his house so that he may convey its good news to his wife. He hurried to his house fast and due to exhaustion and joy he was panting. His wife, Nuwaar, daughter of Malik Hadhrami, who followed the Alawite faith, came out to him and asked impatiently, “What is the news?”
“I have brought the wealth of the times. This is the head of Husayn which shall be with you in the house.”
That lady could not restrain herself and she cried at him, “Woe be on you! People have brought gold and silver and you bring the head of the son of the daughter of Allah’s Messenger? By Allah, nothing will keep us together.”10
In this way her husband became the most disliked person to her.
Early next morning Khooli took the Imam’s head to Ibn Ziyad who expressed his pleasure and joy because he thought that all his aspirations and dreams were realized.
Ibn Ziyad glanced at the executioners in his employ who had participated in the battle and asked, “Which of you killed him?”
A person arose happily thinking that perhaps he would be rewarded, he said, “I killed him.”
“What did he tell you?”
“When I raised the weapon I said: May you soon enter Hell fire. He said: If Allah wills, I shall be bestowed by Allah’s Mercy and intercession of His Prophet.”11
Ibn Marjana hung down his head in shame while he felt degradation and expected a terrible destiny.
When the severed head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) was placed in front of the wicked one, son of the wicked one, he began to poke at the teeth with a cane. By this he obtained singular pleasure and his malice and revengefulness was apparent on his facial expression. Then he began to hit with his cane at the teeth and lips of the Imam, the lips that the Messenger of Allah (S) often kissed.12
Qayyim bin Muhammad says, “I have not witnessed a more horrible scene than the placing of Husayn’s severed head in front of Ibn Ziyad and his poking at the teeth with a cane that he held.”
In the gathering of Ibn Ziyad was present, Zaid bin Arqam, a companion of the Holy Prophet (S). when he witnessed this act he lost control and screamed at Ibn Ziyad, “Take your cane away from those two lips. For, by God, other than Whom there is no deity, I have seen the lips of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, touch those two lips countless times.”
Zaid began to weep and Ibn Ziyad made fun of that companion and said, “May God make your eyes weep. If it was not for the fact that you are an old man who has become silly and your mind has left you, I would have cut off your head.”
That companion began to speak and remarked, “Don’t you want me to narrate a tradition for you that his harder than this? I saw the Messenger of Allah (S) place Hasan on his right thigh and Husayn on his left and keeping his hand on their heads he was saying: O Allah, I am leaving these two as a trust with You and the righteous believers. Then how is the trust of Allah’s Messenger with you, O Ibn Ziyad?”
Zaid stood up in front of him and addressing the people of Kufa said, “O Arabs! After this day you shall be enslaved. You have killed the son of Fatima and given rulership to the son of Marjana. He shall kill the righteous ones of you and take the bad ones of you in slavery, woe be to you, one who is happy with disgrace and humiliation.”13
When Ibn Ziyad finished playing with the severed head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S), he glanced at the non-Muslim soothsayer and said, “Get up and put your’on the head of your enemy. And that soothsayer did as he was told’14 Ibn Ziyad acted with Ahlul Bayt (‘a) in a way that no infidel in the world has ever acted; because he defiled each and every sanctity and considered the acts prohibited by Allah to be lawful.
The armed forced remained in Karbala on the 11th of Mohurrum and buried with all respect and arrangements their dead; and opened for them a pit of Hell whose heat goes on increasing and its fire is never extinguished. And the fire shall scorch their faces while they shall be thrown headlong into it.
As for the corpse of the great Imam, and the bodies of his purified Ahlul Bayt and companions, they were purposely left strewn in the plains of Karbala so that winds may blow on them. Neither were they given the funeral bath nor wrapped in shrouds.
Ibn Saad ordered Hamid bin Bakr Ahmari to give the call among the troops for departure to Kufa.15 Ibn Saad’s forces set out from Karbala after the noon prayer time, while their standards consisted of the severed heads of the Purified Progeny held aloft the points of spears, who had stood up for restoring truth and establishment of justice. They took along with them the ladies and sisters of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) and the ladies of the companions, who apart from the children, numbered twenty.16 They mounted them on camels without saddles like the prisoners of Turk and Dailam are carried so that they may be harassed more. Then they were made to pass besides the corpses of Ahlul Bayt while even the Bedouins of the pre-Islamic Arabia did not resort to such a procedure. But the troops of Ibn Saad did not follow any code of ethics and possessed no human feeling.
When the ladies of prophethood glanced at the corpses of the martyrs of Ahlul Bayt they lamented loudly. Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) cried in a heart-rending voice, “Oh Muhammad! This is Husayn, who lies in wilderness washed in his blood and his body is shred into pieces and these are your daughters as hostages and your progeny has been killed.”17
Those people became perplexed and wordless and their eyes filled with tears; and the enemies and friends both wept.18
When Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) saw the corpses of his father and his Ahlul Bayt and companions lying in the desert, and that no one had come forward to bury them, he became very much disturbed. His aunt noticed this and she tried to console him saying:
“Why do I see you throwing yourself dangerously, O surviving heir of my grandfather and brother? By Allah, it a pledge Allah made to your grandfather and father. The Almighty Allah has made a people take a pledge, whom the majority of the people of the earth do not recognize while they are well-known to the folks of heavens. They shall gather up the severed limbs and bodies washed in blood and consign them to dust. They shall hoist a flag for your father in the land of Taff; such that its effects will never become old and its symbols will not disappear by the passage of time. Leaders of disbelief and followers of misguidance will try to destroy and erase it but it would have no effect except that it would only cause them to be more exalted.”19
Granddaughter of the Prophet (S) removed the deep grief of Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) due to the fact that his father was lying unburied. It was so because she had heard from her father and brother that a group of believers shall bury these bodies and a flag shall be installed for them, such that its effects shall never disappear; they would remain forever, till the time the Almighty Allah inherits the earth and whatever is upon it’Umayyad and Abbasid rulers tried eradicate its traces and went to great lengths in this but did not succeed even though they utilized all their capabilities. Thus the tomb of the Imam remains in its original glory and still fills the vastness of the earth with effulgence, pride and honor in the best way; such that humanity in all its periods has gained respect through it.
The body of the respected Imam and the corpses of the honorable martyrs from his Ahlul Bayt and followers lay in the desert burning under the hot sun and in the path of the fast blowing winds. While a group of believers who hadn’t been besmeared with fighting against the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) hastened to bury these dead ones. Historians are not unanimous about the day the burial took place. The following are the varying opinions:
1. 11th of Mohurrum20
2. 12th of Mohurrum21
3. 13th of Mohurrum22
But the people who succeeded in burying those dead bodies were the people of Bani Asad who resided near the battle site; and after the soldiers of Ibn Saad went away from there they hastened out and saw the pure bodies strewn in the desert. They knew that they were corpses of the Holy Ahlul Bayt and the bodies of the companions; they began to wail and lament and their women cried out aloud in grief, and in the silence of the night when they became safe from the fear of enemies they dug up a grave for the Chief of the martyrs and another for the rest of the martyrs and this was done in moonlight at the time of dawn such that a scene like this had never been seen by them in all their life.
Shaykh Mufeed says:
“When Ibn Saad departed, some of Banu Asad, who had been staying at al- Ghadiriyya went to al-Husayn, and his followers. They performed the funeral prayer over them. Then they buried al-Husayn at the place where his tomb still is, and they buried his son Ali bin al-Husayn al-Asghar (the younger) at the foot of the body. They dug around the area next to the feet of al-Husayn for the martyrs from his House and his followers. They gathered them together and buried them all together. However, they buried al-Abbas bin Ali, in the place where he was killed, on the road to al-Ghadiriyya, where his tomb still is.”23
Some Shia sources have explained that the Bani Asad people were confused about those purified corpses and they could not find a way to identify them because their heads were severed. While they were in that condition Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) appeared all of a sudden and identified for them the martyrs of Ahlul Bayt and companions. He rushed to carry the body of his father and put him in his place of repose, while tears were flowing on his face. He said:
“Fortunate is the land that provided space for the burial of your purified body. The world is dark after you and the Hereafter is illuminated by your effulgence. We shall remain awake the whole night and always be aggrieved for you till the Almighty chooses your abode for your Ahlul Bayt. My salutations upon you and the mercy of Allah and His bounties, O son of Allah’s Messenger.”
At that time he inscribed the following on the grave of His Eminence: .This is the grave of Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib (.a) who was killed thirsty in a foreign land.. They buried at the foot of the Imam, his son, Ali Akbar and the other respected martyrs of the Bani Hashim family and their followers were interred in another mass grave. Then Imam Zainul Abideen (.a) accompanied the Bani Asad people to the Al-Qama river and buried the Moon of the Hashemites, Abbas bin Amirul Momineen (.a) The Imam wept intensely and said: .O Moon of the Hashemites! May the world be destroyed after you. My salutations upon you, O the
martyr who had regard for the Almighty. May Allah.s mercy and bounties be upon
Those two became the symbols of human perfection and sign of every just sacrifice.
Aqqad says: .They are one of the Ziarat places that Muslims, partisans as well as non-partisans, circle them and it is deserving that every man must circumambulate around it; because it is the sign of steadfastness for the most Holy thing that a living man gets honor by it among the other living things, the dome of sky had never shaded a tomb of a martyr except that the meaning of martyrdom and the events of the martyrdom connected to it are contained in it, and it is more
honorable than it.25
Yusuf Rajeeb says: .No tomb from the tombs of the righteous saints of God, except the grave of His Eminence, Husayn (.a) is the focus of the world and the prayer direction of the people because the Almighty Allah bestowed them the honor of performing Jihad against their enemies, who had planned to destroy the pure religion, make the religious law defunct and considered caliphate as a thing found lying around, so that by it they may make every unlawful thing lawful and whatever the Almighty has prohibited and His Book considers unlawful, they get enjoyment by doing all these things..26
That blessed mausoleum is the symbol of magnanimity and it has honor and religion.
It became the most holy and prominent center of worship in Islam, because all the time Muslims are busy circumambulating it. They seek blessings from it and gain proximity to the Almighty. In the same way it became the place of circumambulation of the proximate angels of Allah; as Fazl bin Yasar has narrated from Imam Sadiq (.a) that he asked His Eminence regarding the most important of the grave of martyrs and the Imam replied, .Is Husayn bin Ali not the best of the martyrs? By the One in Whose hand is my life, around his grave are forty thousand angels, with disheveled hair and smeared in dust who shall continue to weep upon him till the Day of Resurrection..27
Imam Reza (‘a) says, “Around the tomb of Imam Husayn (‘a) are seventy thousand angels, with disheveled hair and smeared in dust who shall weep and lament for His Eminence till the Judgment Day.”28
The great tomb of His Eminence is bestowed the gift of fulfillment of prayers uttered in it; because for every grief-stricken and needy person who turns towards it Allah Almighty bestows relief from whatever is troubling him.
“You have gained such a lofty status that what a refuge you became for the needful ones. And may your tomb be blessed, that what a refuge it is.
The period of time takes refuge in it and bows and prostrates to both its sides.”29
Historians say: When Imam Hadi (‘a) was ill, he ordered Abu Hashim Ja’fari to send a person to the Mausoleum of Husayn to pray for his cure. When His Eminence (‘a) was asked about it he said, “The Almighty Allah likes that He be supplicated at this place.”30
The leader of the martyrs obtained an exalted station with the Almighty Allah in the same way as he has attracted the hearts of the Muslims and obtained their sincere devotions. Because they travel to his tomb from far off places in the world so that his right is fulfilled and that they may confess to his merits and obtain great rewards that Almighty Allah has fixed for his visitors.
Nicholson says, “Within a period of few years after the martyrdom of Husayn, his place of repose became a site for pilgrimage towards which people travel.”31
Widely narrated and excessive traditions are recorded from the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) extolling the excellence of the Ziarat of the Chief of the martyrs (‘a) and some religious jurisprudents consider it to be an obligatory duty. Muhammad bin Ali Alawi has written a two volume book titled: Excellence of Ziarat of al-Husayn (‘a). We shall quote some of its narrators:
1. Abu Hamzah Thumali says: I asked Ali bin al-Husayn (‘a) regarding the Ziarat of Husayn (‘a). His Eminence said: “Perform his Ziarat everyday. If you cannot, do it every Friday and if you are unable to do this also, perform it once a month, as one who does not perform his Ziarat has considered unimportant the right of the Messenger of Allah (S).”32
2. Abul Jarud says: Imam Baqir (‘a) told me: How far is the tomb of Husayn (‘a) from the place of your residence? I said: For the mounted, one day’s journey and for the one on foot, twenty four hours.
He said: “If we had been located as you are, we would have migrated to it.”33
3. Muhammad bin Muslim has narrated from Imam Baqir (‘a) that he said, “Command our Shias to perform the Ziarat of the tomb of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a), as it increases livelihood and life-span and removes unpleasant things. It is obligatory for every believer to go there who believes him to be an Imam appointed by Allah.”34
There are numerous reports on this subject which are positively received from the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (‘a).
By this blessed supplication, Imam Sadiq (‘a) has prayed for the visitors of the tomb of his grandfather, His Eminence, Husayn (‘a). It is narrated by Muawiyah bin Wahab and its text is as follows:
I asked permission to meet Imam Sadiq (‘a) and was permitted to enter. I entered to find His Eminence in his place of prayers. So I sat down to allow him to complete his devotions. I heard that he was invocating the Almighty in the following words:
“O One Who has chosen us for honor and nobility and by legateship bestowed an excellence for us and promised intercession for us. Gifted us the knowledge of the past and future and made the hearts of the people inclined towards us. Forgive me, my brothers and the visitors to the grave of my father, Husayn (‘a). Who spend their money and toil with their bodies to reach to our good and well-being and with the hope in our mediation with You. And for pleasing Your Prophet and obeying our orders and for displeasing the enemies. And by this deed they desire to achieve Your pleasure. So, for our sake bestow them with happiness and protect them day and night and grant goodness and nobility to their women and children whom they have left behind. Make them reach goodness and righteousness and bestow them that lofty thing which they desire from their native place. And those who have preferred us over his children, relatives and family members.
O Allah! Our enemies persecuted them because they set out for Ziarat but this could not stop them from coming to us. And it is this opposition of those who have opposed us.
Thus have mercy on the faces that are affected by the heat of the sun. Be kind to the cheeks that are kept on the grave of Abi Abdullah (‘a). Be nice to the eyes that shed tears for us. Be merciful to the hearts that are in anxiety and burning for us. And deal with kindness the petitioners who petition regarding us.
O Allah! I am entrusting those souls and bodies to You so that You may convey them to the Pool side on the day of the thirst.”
His Eminence continued to supplicate thus while he was in prostration. When he concluded, I said, “May I be sacrificed on you, if what I have heard had been for one who is not cognizant of Allah, I think the fire of hell wouldn’t have touched him at all. By Allah, I wish I had performed its Ziarat and not gone for Hajj.”
“How near you are to that place!” said His Eminence, “Then what has stopped you from going for his Ziarat? Why did you omit this deed?”
“I didn’t know that it was such an important matter.”
“O Muawiyah! Those from the heavens who pray for the visitors are more than those who pray for them from the earth. O Muawiyah! Do not omit this deed as whosoever omits it, will see with such remorse that he would wish that his grave was near it (Karbala).”
Would you not like Allah to make you of those for whom the Messenger of Allah (S), Ali, Fatima and the Imams pray? Would you not like to be such that tomorrow angels shake hands with you? Would you not like to be one that shall come out without a single sin upon him that shall stop him? Would you not like to be of those who tomorrow shall shake hands with the Messenger of Allah (S)?35
Here comes to a close our discussion on the martyrdom of the Great Imam. Let us now move to Kufa to welcome the prisoners from Ahlul Bayt who are arriving from Karbala’
Kufa welcomed the prisoners from Ahlul Bayt (‘a) with anxiety and distress and humiliation and helplessness was covering them. Because the mouths were shut and the tongues had become dumb. No one was able to describe the severe grief that they harbored in their hearts due to the fear of the tyrannical regime that considered the life and honor of people worthless.
The bugles of the army began to blow and their flags began to wave while they were holding the severed heads of the Purified Progeny on their spear points and they had along with them prisoners, that is, the ladies of prophethood and noble sanctified women of revelation tied to their horses.
Muslim Jassas36 has described that heart rending scene when he says: Ibn Ziyad summoned me to Kufa to renovate the Governor’s Palace. When I was working on the plaster of doorways, suddenly the lamentations of all the people of Kufa arose. I glanced at one of the laborers and asked, “Why is Kufa lamenting like women?”
“They have brought the heads of Khawarij who rebelled against Yazid!” “Who is that Khariji?”
“Husayn bin Ali!”
Muslim says: I permitted the laborer to leave. Then I began to strike at my face till I feared I would lose my eyesight. I washed the plaster off my hand and left the palace and walked till I reached the locality of Kanaas. I stood there and people were waiting for the arrival of the hostages and severed heads. Forty camels came forward carrying ladies and children. Suddenly I decried Ali bin al-Husayn (‘a) on a saddle-less camel, his neck bleeding and he was wailing and reciting the following:
“O evil nation! Rain shall not fall on your land. O people who did not have regard for our grandfather with respect to us.
If the Messenger of Allah gathers us on the Day of Resurrection, what justification would you offer?
You carry us on saddle-less camels, as if we did not bring any religion among you.”37
Jazlam bin Bashir says: I reached Kufa in 61 A.H. at the time of the arrival of Ali bin al-Husayn from Karbala accompanied with the ladies; and soldiers were surrounding them and people had come out to watch the spectacle. They were astride camels without seats. Women of Kufa were wailing and lamenting. I saw Ali bin al-Husayn (‘a) that illness had made him emaciated. There was an iron collar and chain around his neck and his hands were tied to his neck. He was crying in a feeble voice: “They are wailing and lamenting for us, then who has killed us?”38
A Kufan lady stepped forward and asked the hostages: “What prisoners are you?” “We are prisoners from Ahlul Bayt (‘a).”
When the lady heard this, she screamed and women also began to cry with her. Their wails echoed in Kufa. One of the women collected whatever head scarves and coverings that she could find in her house and presented them to the Alawite ladies that they may cover themselves in presence of males.39
Another lady brought food and date fruits and gave it all to the young children who were suffering from extreme hunger.
Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum called out from the rear of the caravan: “Sadaqah (alms) is not lawful for us, Ahlul Bayt.”
When the children heard the call of that lady each of them threw away whatever he or she held in the hand or in the mouth and told their neighbor, “Our aunt says: Sadaqah is unlawful for us, Ahlul Bayt.”
When Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a), granddaughter of His Eminence, the Holy Prophet (S) and sister of the Holy Imam saw the huge crowd that had filled up the roads and lanes of Kufa she began to address them in order to inform them about the reality behind their circumstances and tell them about the great tragedy that had befallen on Ahlul Bayt, and to put the responsibility of this evil deed on the Kufians who had broken the pledge, disregarded the covenant and killed the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S). Now that after the martyrdom of His Eminence they were lamenting and wailing as if they had not committed this heinous deed. The text of Her Eminence’s sermon is as follows:
“Praise be to Allah and divine blessings be on my father Muhammad and his good and exemplary descendants. O people of Kufa, O you who are deceitful and treacherous:40 Do you shed tears? May your tears never dry up and your loud lamentations never cease.41 You are like the woman that unravels to bits the thread which she has firmly spun. Your faith is nothing but deceit and betrayal. Are there any among you but the immodest, disgraced, proud, spiteful, adulator, enemy and reviler? There are among you those who are as guileful as a beautiful plant growing in filth, or the silver on a grave. Certainly evil is that which your souls have sent before for you. Allah is displeased with you and in punishment shall you abide.
Are you crying and wailing? Indeed, by Allah. Do cry endlessly and laugh but little, for your deed was so horrendously disgraceful that you will never be able to atone for it. How can you wash away the crime of murdering the scion of the Seal of the Prophets, the essence of the message, the lord of the youth of Paradise, the refuge of your nobles, the refuge for whom you resorted during affliction, the bright divine proof of yours, your master who defended the Prophet’s tradition.
What an awful sin you did commit! Away with you, there will be no forgiveness for you. Certainly your efforts failed, your hands suffered loss and your bargain is brought to naught. You have made yourselves deserving of the wrath of Allah. Abasement and humiliation have been brought down upon you.
Woe to you! Do you know how you tore the liver of the Apostle of Allah? Whom of his womenfolk you exposed? What blood of his you shed? What honor of his you defamed?
Your deed is most certainly so dangerously ugly and foul, that it filled the earth and sky with its putridness. Are you surprised that it rained blood? Certainly the punishment of the Hereafter is infinitely more abasing, and you shall not be helped. Don’t make light of the delay of punishment in that it is not hastened by the fear of missing the taking of revenge. Most surely Allah is watching.”42
The brave lady of Karbala, by the logic of truth and the call of rightfulness thrashed them and guided the filthy souls. She was not deceived by their false tears and their frauds and lies were not concealed from her. She reminded them of their most terrible crime that it was the worst thing ever committed on the earth.
She described them to be having the worst qualities and compared them to the most degraded people; because she described their deception and breaking of pledge as these two things are the source of decadence and evil of man.
Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) opined about their lamentations and said: They deserve to weep much and laugh less, due to the great sin that they have committed; because they killed the Chief of the youths of Paradise, son of the seal of prophethood and their savior and freedom fighter. They murdered the beloved one of the Messenger of Allah (S), destroyed his sanctity and took his women and children as hostages, thus which crime is worse and more tragic than this?
People were shocked by the sermon of the daughter of prophethood and they became certain that they have destroyed themselves. Kharima Asadi has described the level of effect created by the sermon of that lady and says: By Allah, I have not seen any lady more eloquent than her, she spoke like Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a). After her sermon people fell into bewilderment. They held their hands to their mouths. I saw an old man approach her, weeping so profusely that his beard was wet with his tears. He said: May my parents be sacrificed on you! Your elders are the best of elders and your youths are the best of youths and your progeny shall never be humiliated and degraded43 But Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) interrupted the discourse of his aunt saying: “Aunt dear, please be silent. By the grace of Allah, you are a natural intellectual and untaught scholar’”44
So, the brave lady of Karbala stopped her speech leaving the gathering immersed in sorrow and grief.
Fatima, daughter of Imam Husayn (‘a), who was yet a young girl, began to speak and deliver an outstanding and appealing speech. People were stunned by her eloquence and clarity. She astounded the minds and left the people perplexed and grief overtook them in a powerful way. She said:
“Praise for Allah as many times as there are grains of sand and as weighty as the weight of all that is from earth and sky. I praise Him and I believe in Him and I trust Him and I give witness that there is none worthy of worship except Him and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger and that his progeny was slaughtered by the bank of river Euphrates though they were neither vindictive nor did they claim or demand any land.
O Allah! I seek Your refuge from the sin of saying any untruth about You and anything other than what You have said regarding the last will (legation) of Ali bin Abi Talib; that they have snatched his right and have killed him without any fault in such a manner that his son was martyred yesterday and the martyrdom of Ali was enacted in one of the Houses (Mosques) of Allah in the presence of a number of Muslims (only in name). May their heads be destroyed, those who did not drive away oppression from him all through his life and death until You took him up to You. He who is the possessor of a praiseworthy character and whose talent is famous and whose guidance was well known. O Lord! No reproach of any taunter ever deterred him from his goal or the blame of any ridiculer. My Lord! You guided him in his childhood to Islam, You praised his character when he grew up. He was a constant well-wisher and sympathizer of Your religion and of Your Messenger (S) until you took his soul, the soul of the one who was a devout abstinent in the world, who paid no heed to the world but was always inclined towards the Hereafter and was a struggler in Your path. He was Ali from whom You loved and selected and guided to the right path.
Now, O Kufians! O the deceivers and disloyal and proud folk! Indeed we are the members of Ahlul Bayt. God involved us in you and you in us and fixed our test well. He granted us His knowledge and wisdom. Hence we are the containers of His knowledge and wisdom and metaphysics and are His Hujjat (argument) on earth for His servants. He has honored us with His generosity and He has granted grace to His Messenger, Muhammad (S) over many of His slaves in a manifest manner.
Then you rose up to deny and refute us and considered it correct to fight us, thought it was all right to destroy our property as if we were children of Turks or Afghans. Yesterday you killed my grandfather. The blood of the youth of Ahlul Bayt is dripping from your daggers. All this is due to your age-old rancor, because, after committing all these felonious crimes your eyes have brightened and your hearts are overjoyed. Strange indeed is your slander against Allah and the conspired planning, which you planned, and Allah is the best of planners.
Lest you rejoice your deeds of shedding our blood and plundering our property because whatever calamities have fallen on us were in the Book (destiny) even before we confronted them. This is easy for Allah so that you may grieve over what you lost and become joyous on account of what you gained, and Allah does not like the proud and the boasters.
Be you destroyed. Await curse and chastisement, which is to visit you. Calamities will rain continuously from the sky and Allah’s wrath will surround you. Some of you shall be treated harshly by some others and you will remain in a permanent chastisement as a result of the atrocities inflicted on us by you. Beware that the curse of Allah is on the oppressors.
Woe unto you: Do you know how your hands pierced spears into our bodies or how your hearts inclined to fight against us or with which legs you rushed on us seeking war with us? By Allah, your hearts had become stony and your livers hard and your soul, ears and eyes were sealed. Satan made these crimes beautiful for you and threw dark curtain on your eyes. So you will never be guarded rightly.
Be destroyed O Kufians! Which inheritance of the Holy Prophet (S) was before you or on the basis of which vengeance did you exhibit so much enmity towards his brother Ali bin Abi Talib (‘a), my grandfather and his two sons (Hasan and Husayn) the noble progeny of the Prophet (‘a) that the boaster from you said so proudly:
‘We killed Ali and his sons with Indian swords and with spear and we imprisoned their women like the Turkish prisoners. What a war we fought with them!’
O speaker! Dust in your mouth. By killing the group which has been purified by Allah and from whom impurity has been removed. How do you take pride in this? Take care of yourself and sit on your droppings like a dog, as was your father. Verily for everyone is whatever he has earned and sent ahead.
Woe unto you! Do you envy what Allah has granted us?
What is our fault if the ocean of our grace is roaring while your rivulet has no waves!
This is the excellence, which is granted to whomsoever He wishes, and Allah is the
Lord of the greatest grace. The one whom Allah does not grant light, for him there will be no light.”45
The offspring of prophethood and Imamate spoke about numerous important matters in her great sermon which were as follows:
1. She mentioned the suffering of her grandfather, Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a), the leader of truth and justice on the earth; sufferings and hardships that he bore till he was martyred in one of the houses of God, while the society of Kufa did not defend him and did not stand up in his support. Rather they left him isolated to confront hardships till the Almighty Allah called him towards Himself. He possessed such uncountable merits, good qualities and a righteous nature that the Almighty chose him and bestowed him with exclusive virtues and gifts.
2. Similarly she spoke of the hardships of Ahlul Bayt in that society. Because being the spiritual leaders of community they (peace be on them) were responsible for its defense but the community opposed the truth, shed their blood and defiled their sanctities and how great is their difficulty and how severe their tribulations.
3. She condemned the open persecutions upon Ahlul Bayt and she described the persecutors to be having the most evil qualities and pleaded to the Almighty to take revenge from them and punish them in the most painful way.
This sermon had a deep effect on the hearts of the people present in the gathering, because they became very much distressed by it and they began to weep and say: “O daughter of the pure ones, enough! Because you have scorched our hearts, burnt our necks and scalded our consciences.46
She discontinued her discourse leaving that huge gathering suffering and remorseful. They began to sigh and regret and lamented for their worthless destiny that what a great sin they had committed.
Another daughter of the Prophet (S) Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum began to speak and firstly motioned the people to keep quiet. When silence fell, she began with praise and glorification of the Almighty and continued as follows:
“O Kufians! Woe unto your condition. What happened to you due to which you washed your hands off helping Husayn (‘a) and killed him and destroyed and snatched his properties and imprisoned his women and heaped calamities on them? Be you destroyed.
Woe unto you. How many atrocities you carried out, how much sin you took on your shoulders, how much blood you shed, how many respected women you insulted (arrested), how many apparels did you plunder and how much property did you destroy? You killed the best of people after the Holy Prophet (S). Kindness has left your hearts. Yet, the party of Allah is victorious and the party of Satan is in loss.”
The whole conglomeration was astounded by her speech. Women with hair askew striked their faces and such lamentation ensued as never had been witnessed before.47
Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) initiated his speech and after due praise and glorification of the Almighty said: “O people! The one who knew me has known. As for the one who did not recognize me I am introducing myself to them. I am Ali, son of Husayn, son of Ali, son of Abi Talib (‘a). I am the son of the one who has been slaughtered by river Euphrates though he never asked for blood or inheritance from the killers. I am the son of those honorable ladies of the harem who have been disrespected, whose wealth and bounty has been plundered, and whose children have been arrested. I am the son of the one who was caught and killed and this is enough for me to be proud of.
O people! I administer you oath of Allah. Do you know that you wrote a letter to my father and then tricked him? You gave your word to him and extended allegiance to him. Then you left him and prepared yourselves to kill him! Be you destroyed because of what you sent forth. Woe unto your mentality. With which eyes will you look at the Messenger of Allah when he says: You killed my household and you insulted my harem? You are not in my community.”
The narrator says: Voices rose from all sides while they were telling one another: You got destroyed yet did not know?
The Imam said: May Allah have mercy on him who accepts my admonitions and remembers my advice regarding the command of Allah and His Prophet and his household as he is the good pattern for us.
All responded: O son of the Holy Prophet! All of us have listened to you and obeyed you and we are guardians of your responsibility (we are prepared to carry out your commands). We will not turn our face from you. Please order us. May Allah’s mercy be on you. We are at war with your enemy and we are with you in whatever you plan. We will arrest Yazid and we declare our disconnection from your enemy and our enemy.
The Imam said: Alas, alas. O disloyal conspirers! Is there any excuse, which is not between you and your passions? Do you want to do to me what you did to my father earlier? No, by Allah, no, because these wounds have not yet healed. It was only yesterday when my father, along with his household (‘a), was martyred. I am unable to forget the calamity of missing the Holy Prophet (S) and the calamity of losing my father and his children. His pain is in my mouth and its bitterness is choking me. His wrath is tightening my chest.48
At that moment, the Imam halted in his discourse and turned away from those pledge breaking transgressors who had blackened the face of history by their hypocritical actions, because they killed the Imam and now they were weeping upon him.
They brought the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (S) as hostages in a humiliating manner to Ibn Marjana, that son of decadence and betrayal in the governor’s palace, while that palace was full of sinful blood-sucking mercenaries so that they may report to Ibn Ziyad their victory and tell him about their supposed bravery on the day of Ashura. He (Ibn Ziyad) was shaking his legs in joyful mood while the decapitated head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) was placed in front of him. That tyrant considered it a plaything and tapped it with a small cane in his hand, shamelessly remarking, “I have never seen such a face!”
He had yet not completed his sentence when Anas bin Malik, companion of the Prophet (S) shot back in a very logical way saying: “He was a look-alike of the Prophet.”49
That tyrant became speechless.
In that assembly was present a man from Bakr bin Wail, named Jabir. He stood up saying, “By Allah, if I could find ten Muslim men, I would revolt against you and along with them rebel against you.”50
When Ibn Ziyad was satiated by taking out spite with the severed head of Imam, he glanced towards the ladies and children of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a). He noticed a lady standing in a corner wearing an extremely worn-out dress, while she seemed to be commanding an awe and respected position. Ibn Ziyad wanted to know who she was, so he asked, “Who is that woman who has gone to the side and has sat in a corner with her women?”
Zainab did not answer. Ibn Ziyad repeated the question about her a second time but she considered him worthless and lowly and accorded him no reply. “This is Zainab, daughter of Fatima, the daughter of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and grant him peace,” one of her women told him.
That tyrant and decadent man irked by her insult expressed his malice and said: “Praise be to God, Who has disgraced you, killed you and revealed the false nature of your claims,” as he came towards her.
“Praise be to God Who has favored us with His Prophet, Muhammad, may God bless him and his family,” answered Zainab, “And He has purified us completely from sin. He only disgraces the great sinners and reveals the false nature of the profligate. Such men are not among us, O Ibn Marjana!”51
She spoke such severe words though she was among the ladies held as hostages and the powers of victors was threatening them and their swords were wielded over them’She brought down the tyrant from his throne and tossed him into the grave and destroyed his vanity. She exposed and insulted him in the presence of his employees. Ibn Marjana vented his ire saying, “How do you consider God has treated your House?”
The honorable lady of Bani Hashim replied to him with courage and steadfast with words of victory and success for herself and her family, “I have not seen but good, God decreed death for them and they went forward (bravely) to their resting- places. God will gather you and us together. You will plead your excuses to Him and we will be your adversaries before Him. May your mother mourn for you O Ibn Marjana!”
Ibn Ziyad became enraged and burnt with anger. He could not control himself and decided to punish Zainab.
“Governor”, intervened Amr bin Hareeth, “She is only a woman and women are not responsible for anything they say. Do not blame her mistakes.”
“God has healed my soul from your tyranny and the rebellion of your House,” Ibn Ziyad said to her.
Zainab, peace be on her, became weak and wept.
“By my life, she cried out to him, “you have killed the mature ones (of my family); you have pierced my family; you have cut down my young branches; and you have pulled out my root. If this heals you, then you have been healed.”
“By my life,” declared Ibn Ziyad, “this is a woman who makes poetry. Your father was a poet.”
“What has a woman to do with poetry?” she answered. “Indeed I have (things) to distract me from poetry but my heart causes me say what I am saying.”52
How painful and worthless this life is that the daughter of revelation is brought as a hostage to Ibn Marjana, who is trying to insult and ridicule her. O time! If you have more hardships for these great people you bring that also, but you don’t have anything more with which they can be troubled.
The tyrant, Ibn Ziyad looked over other members of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and saw Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) emaciated and weakened by his illness.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am Ali bin al-Husayn” he answered.
“Didn’t God kill Ali bin al-Husayn?”
“I have a brother who is also called Ali,” answered Ali, peace be on him, “the people killed him.”53
“Rather God killed him,” affirmed Ibn Ziyad.
“God receives the souls at the time of their death.”54
“How dare you answer me like that!” shouted Ibn Ziyad angrily, “and that will be the last of you because of (your) answer to me. Take him away and cut his head off!”
Zainab, his aunt, clung on to him, pleading: “O Ibn Ziyad, haven’t you had enough of our blood?”
Then she clung on to him and said: “By God, I will not leave him. If you kill him, kill me with him.”
Ibn Ziyad looked at her and at him, and said, “How wonderful is family relationship! I think she wants me to kill her with him. Leave him, for I see him (now) for what he is.”55
If Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) had not taken that step, the only surviving son of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) and the source of goodness and excellence on the earth would have perished.
Jahiz has narrated that Ibn Marjana had said to his followers regarding Ali bin al- Husayn (‘a): “Leave him to me, I shall kill him, because he is the only surviving male of this progeny so that I may uproot that family, destroy this disease and cut off that source.”56
However they did not share his view as they were sure that the serious illness he was involved in would definitely end his life soon. But the Almighty Allah saved him from their clutches in an amazing manner!
The majority of the people of Kufa were living under terrible pressure and awe of the tyrannical regime. So much so, that the general conditions were absolutely turned upside down. In the same way, Kufa was not like before a field of political happenings and centre of opposition group; because they had chosen for themselves the robe of humiliation and epidemic of fear was having them in its clutches.
Who could dare to say anything in such an atmosphere of trepidation? While the leader of the community’s severed head was hoisted on points of spears and the noble ladies of the family of Prophet were held as prisoners in this land. No one else had the daring to utter a single word because their mouths had been sealed, their tongues had become dumb. The prisons were full of great and famous personalities and all had submitted to the rule of Ibn Marjana. When that arrogant tyrant came into the public gathering, attended by, in addition to the general public, by the armed forces and men of any importance he went up to the pulpit and expressed his extreme joy at his false victory and how terrible was his statement when he said:
“Praise be to God Who has revealed the truth and the followers of the truth, and has given victory to the Commander of the faithful, Yazid, and his party, and has killed the liar who is the son of a liar and his Shia.”
He uttered such a statement in a society that knew about the justice and truthfulness of Ali and was aware of the manners and morals of his son, Imam Hasan and had found him to be having regard for truth and rightfulness. If he had said such a thing in Syria or some other country he might have received an audience but they were spoken in Kufa, the seat of the government of Ahlul Bayt. That tyrant had yet not completed his sentence that the revolutionary stalwart, Abdullah bin Afif Azadi Ghamidi stood up. He had become visually handicapped as one of his eyes was lost in the battle of Jamal and another in the battle of Siffeen fighting on the side of Amirul Momineen (‘a) and he was always busy in worship in the mosque. He shouted at Ibn Ziyad,
“O son of Marjana! You are the liar and your father too. O Ibn Marjana, you kill the sons of Prophets and take the place of men of truth on the pulpit?”57
The tyrant was absolutely shocked and infuriated because these words fell upon him like a thunderbolt. So he called out like a wounded dog, “Who is speaking like this?”
“O enemy of Allah! I am addressing you. Are you killing the Purified Progeny of the Holy Prophet and thinking that you are following the religion of Islam? Where are the helpers? Where are the sons of Emigrants and Helpers?58 Come up and take revenge from this cursed son of the cursed father who have been described like this by the Prophet.” The pride of that oppressor was shattered. Shouts arose from all sides and people came forward from all the sides of the Mosque to look at the one who had spoken in such a daring way expressing the true feelings of all of them; because it was the first publicly announced opposition to the killers of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S).
Ibn Ziyad was extremely enraged and he screamed, “Bring him to me.”
The executioners and guards rushed from all sides to capture him, but Ibn Afif gave the battle cry of Azadi tribe, “Ya Mabroor!”
Seven hundred men from his clan were present in their gathering. They came forward and took him away from the soldiers and escorted him to his house.59
Abdur Rahman bin Mikhnaf Azadi chastised him saying, “Woe be on others than you. You have destroyed yourself and your clan!”60
Ibn Ziyad was extremely angry and full of anxiety because Abdullah had opened the door of opposition against his regime and destroyed his glory. In a state of fury he came down from the pulpit and entered the palace. His officers and retainers competed with each other to be present in his service. He said, “Did you see what he has done?”
At that time he ordered the people of Yemen and their confederates to apprehend Ibn Afif. Amr bin Hajjaj suggested to him that every Azadi in the mosque be put into prison as they have all cooperated in the escape of Ibn Afif. As a result of this a severe fight broke out between the Yemenis and Azd tribe. Ibn Ziyad told one of his officers, “Go and see what passes between them.” He hastened to do as directed and saw that fighting was going on among them; told him, “Tell the governor that he has not sent us to people of unremarkable linage like the Algerians or the shoemakers of Mosul. He rather sent us to the Azadis; that is he sent us to the den of the lions. They are not eggs that can be broken or little rue seeds that can be trampled upon...”
Among the Azadis were killed Abdullah bin Hawzah Walbi and Muhammad bin Habib and in addition to this there were numerous casualties on both the sides. However the Yemenis got the upper hand and after defeating their adversaries went to a fort behind the house of Ibn Afif. They broke upon the door and attacked him when he was alone except for his daughter. She handed his sword to him (because he was blind) and he began to defend himself61 reciting the following Rajaz couplets:
“I am the son of the one having the purified virtuous excellence, the great Afif and my mother is Umme Aamir.
How many of the armored and non-armored fighters have I defeated!”62
His daughter too said continuously: Alas, had I been a man to fight with you against this destructive community who killed the honorable members of the Holy family!
The enemy surrounded Abdullah from every side and he continued to defend himself single-handed. Nobody was able to dominate him. The daughter was telling her blind father from which side he was being attacked, until finally he was encircled closely.
His daughter said: May Allah avoid disgrace. My father has been surrounded and there is none to help him.
Wielding his sword Abdullah said: By Allah, had I been able to see, even my arrival and departure would have exhausted you.
The narrator says: The surrounded Abdullah was, at last, arrested and taken to Ibn Ziyad.
Seeing him Ibn Ziyad said: Praise be to Allah Who disgraced you.
Abdullah bin Afif: O enemy of Allah! How did He disgrace me? Had I been able to see with my eyes, I would have undoubtedly put you to trouble.
Ibn Ziyad: What is your opinion about Uthman bin Affan?
Abdullah: O slave of Bani Allaj! O son of Marjana! You uttered an improper thing. What have you to do with Uthman? He did either good or bad, did improvement or spread corruption. Allah is the guard over His servants. He will decide justly between people and Uthman. But He will question you and your father and Yazid and his father.
Ibn Ziyad: No, by Allah. I will not ask you anything till you taste death little by little.
Abdullah bin Afif: All praise to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. Even before your mother delivered you I had asked for martyrdom from Allah and requested Him that my martyrdom be carried out by the hand of the worst and the most evil fellow among His creation. After becoming blind, I had lost my hope for martyrdom. But now, praise be to Allah, after disappointment I have achieved this good luck and my prayer has been answered.63
Ibn Ziyad, the dirty fellow said: Decapitate him and hang him publicly in Kufa.64
He was hanged at Sabakha.
In this manner came to an end the life of that great warrior who devoted his life to the Almighty, confronted falsehood, fought injustice and spoke truth in the darkest and hardest circumstances.
Ibn Mauqal was one of those who had participated in the uprising of Ibn Afif. He was apprehended and brought in the custody of Ibn Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad gave him amnesty saying: “I am condoning you for the sake of your cousin, Sufyan bin Auf, who is better than you.”65
Ibn Ziyad issued orders for the arrest of Jundab bin Abdullah Azadi. He was from the clan of Abdullah bin Afif, a righteous Shia man and a companion of Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a). Police officers arrested him and brought him in custody to the governor. When he arrived Ibn Ziyad screamed at him, “Did you not accompany Abu Turab in the battle of Siffeen?”
The brave warrior did not flinch at his awe and retorted at once, “Yes, I love him and I pride upon him and I hate you and your father. Especially when you have killed the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S), his companions and his family members and you do not have fear of the revenge and power of Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime...”
Ibn Marjana was infuriated and he said, “You are more shameless than that blind one (Ibn Afif) and I can’t think of anything except to gain divine proximity by having you executed.”
“In that case the Almighty shall not grant you proximity.”
The tyrant was afraid of his clan, so he released him saying, “He is an old man who has lost his wits.”66
Qais bin Ibad was present in the assembly of the tyrant Ibn Ziyad when he asked him in front of his employees, “What is your opinion about Husayn and me?”
“Please excuse me from this’” “You have to reply.”
“On the Day of Resurrection his father shall come and intercede for him and your father will come and intercede for you.”
Ibn Ziyad became angry at this and screamed, “I know your fraud and infamy! If you go away from me for a day, I shall bury your head in the ground.”67
Then he put him under surveillance and banned him from leaving Kufa.
That offspring of betrayal and pledge-breaking, Ibn Marjana ordered that the head of Imam (‘a) be cut up from all sides but no one volunteered to commit such an atrocity except Tariq bin Malik68 who took the blessed head and hacked it causing some portions to become detached. Amr bin Hareeth arose and said to Ibn Ziyad, “You got what you wanted from this head, so give me what has detached from it.”
“What will you do with it?” “I shall bury it.”
Ibn Ziyad allowed him to do that. He gathered up the detached portions and wrapped them in a cloth, brought it to his house, known as the house of Amr bin Hareeth and buried them there.69
By this procedure he intended to announce his victory and humiliate the Shias but he could not achieve his aim; it paved the way for spreading the call of the Imam and the completion of his message, because the Imam’s head inspired the people that the word of truth must be exalted no matter what and the message of Islam must be defended no matter what it requires or entails.
Anyway, the head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) was taken around under the view of those who claimed to profess Islam but they did not rise up to take revenge for his martyrdom.
Dibil Khuzai, the famous poet versifies this as follows:
“They hold aloft the spear points the head of the son of the daughter of the Prophet and his legatee.
While Muslims see and hear. Neither anyone is infuriated by it nor aggrieved.”72
The Muslims were stupefied in a frightening way; because they had been deprived of their human nature and become devoid of all awareness and feelings.
The tyrant Ibn Marjana ordered that the great ladies of the Prophet’s family be lodged in the jail. When they were being taken to the prison, the main roads were crowded with men and women in a way described by Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) that: Women thrashed their own faces and wept in frenzy.
Daughters of the Messenger of Allah (S) were taken to the prison and dealt with untold cruelty. The granddaughter of the Prophet (S) was not permitted to be visited by any free woman and she says: “Except for slave maids or slave girls none was allowed to meet us; because they were also prisoners like us. A stone was hurled at the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (S) with a letter attached to it. It said: “Regarding you a messenger has departed for Yazid. So whenever you hear the call of ‘God is Great’ you must become certain that you’d be killed. And if you do not hear that call it shall denote your safety.” They fixed a time for receiving the reply. The ladies were extremely anxious and worried. Two days before the arrival of the courier another stone was thrown to them with a letter that said: “Compose your wills and make your last wishes as the time of the courier’s arrival is near.”
Thus after a time, Yazid’s orders came for transfer of the prisoners to Damascus.73
Some sources have mentioned that Yazid intended to fully eradicate all the descendants of Amirul Momineen (‘a) but afterwards changed his mind and gave them amnesty.74
A Kufian abducted Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) and concealed him in his house. Then he busied in serving him and granting him much respect and reverence. Whenever he came to the Holy Imam he wept excessively and Imam began to have a good opinion about him. But not much time passed that a proclaimer of Ibn Ziyad announced that whosoever finds and brings Ali bin al-Husayn will be rewarded 300 Dirhams. When the Kufian heard this announcement he hastened towards the Holy Imam and threw a rope around the neck of His Eminence and tied up his hands and feet. He carried the Imam to rulers and collected the prize money.75 This shocking behavior is a picture of the self-forgetfulness of that society in the way of materialism and sacrificing themselves for obtaining material wealth in every possible way.
The filthy wicked man, Umar bin Saad became extremely regretful of his role in that terrible iniquity, because one of his close associates inquired about his condition upon his return from Karbala and he replied: “No man has returned home with a thing worse than what I have returned with. I accepted the order of the transgressor and oppressor, Ibn Ziyad and disobeyed Allah, the Just Ruler; then cut off the noble relationship and committed a heinous deed.”76
But what use was that regret after he had shed the blood of the Purified Progeny and cut off the ties of relationship with the one whose love Allah has made incumbent.
Ibn Ziyad faced waves of condemnation in all the gatherings hence he decided to throw the blame of that deed on Ibn Saad so that he may be held responsible for this crime. So he summoned him and said: “Give me the letter.”
“I had gone to carry out your orders and the letter is lost.” “You must get it for me.”
“I have sent it to be read out to the old woman of Quraish so that I may apologize to her. By Allah! Regarding Husayn, I have acted with you in such a sincere manner that if I had done thus with my father I would have fulfilled his rights.”
Uthman bin Ziyad was present in that meeting and he said to his brother, Ibn Ziyad: “He is right. By Allah! I would have liked that no son of Ibn Ziyad had been except that in his nose was a rein till the Day of Resurrection but Husayn shouldn’t have been killed.”
The tyrant fell silent and did not say anything in reply.77
A letter that Ibn Saad had sent to Medina was to prevent from himself the shower of curses and that the blame may be laid against his governor, Ibn Marjana. The letter was as follows:
“From Ubaidullah bin Ziyad to Umar bin Saad. So to say:
I did not send you to al-Husayn for you to restrain yourself from fighting him, nor to idle the time away with him, nor to promise him peace and preservation of his life, nor to make excuses for him, nor to be an intercessor on his behalf with me. Therefore see that if al-Husayn and his followers submit to my authority and surrender, you send them to me in peace. If they refuse, then march against them to fight them and to punish them; for they deserve that. If al-Husayn is killed, make the horses trample on his body, both front and back; for he is a disobedient rebel, and I do not consider that this will be in any way wrong after death. But it is my view that you should do this to him if you kill him. If you carry out your command concerning him, we will give you the reward due to one who is attentive and obedient. If you refuse, then we withdraw the command of our province and army from you and leave the army to Shimr bin Zil Jaushan. We have given him our authority. Greetings.”78
Near and distant relatives and friends condemned Ibn Ziyad for the killing of the beloved son of the Messenger of Allah (S). Some of them were as follows:
Marjana was very much angry at his sinful oppressive son, for having committed such a sin and she told him: “O degraded one! You killed the son of the Messenger of Allah! By Allah you shall never see Paradise.”79
Uthman bin Ziyad, the brother of that wicked man, denounced him and said, “By Allah! I would have liked that no son of Ibn Ziyad had been except that in his nose was a rein till the Day of Resurrection; but Husayn shouldn’t have been killed.”80
Of those who had condemned Ibn Marjana, was Mauqil bin Yasar. He criticized him sharply, denounced him and dissociated himself from him.
The Imam’s martyrdom was such a gigantic crime that the world of Islam was trembling due to its horror. They considered this tragedy great because the sanctity of the Messenger of Allah (S) ñ which is more than anything else deserving of regard ñ was defiled in this incident.
People objected to Ibn Saad due to this evil misdeed and considered him an enemy. He was isolated in such a way that people cursed him near whichever group he passed and whenever he entered the Masjid, he was evicted from there.81
Imam’s martyrdom created widespread discontent in all the congregations. Haseen bin Abdur Rahman Salmi says: “When the news of the killing of Husayn (‘a) reached us, for three days we remained as if our faces were smeared with dust.”82
Hubaira bin Khuzaima says: “I informed Rabi bin Khatheem about the killing of Husayn. He became bewildered and recited the words of Almighty Allah,
“Originator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the unseen and the seen’”83
After that he said: “They killed a brave young man from whom whenever the Messenger of Allah (S) saw them he used to display his love for them, and feed them with his own hands seating them on his knees.”84
Hasan Basri was conveyed the news of Imam Husayn’s killing. He began to weep till both his sides shook. “What an insult it is for the Ummah that the son of its wicked one (that is Ibn Marjana) has killed the son of its Prophet. 85By Allah, his grandfather and father will take his revenge from Ibn Marjana.”
Amr bin Ba’ja has also said, “The first degradation that befell the Arabs was the killing of Husayn and the laying of claim by Ziyad.”86
Muslims fell into a terrible grief and pain due to the martyrdom of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) and wept excessively.
Imam Shafei is said to have wept intensely and recited the following couplets:
“My grief has returned and heart is sorrowful. The eyes are sleepless and sleep became odd for me.
From that, which has snatched away my sleep and greyed my hair, are the accidents of time having hardships.
The world is trembling for the Progeny of Muhammad; it was almost as if the solid mountains would turn to water.
Who will convey my message to Husayn, even though the soul and the heart may not like it.
That sinless martyr! As if they have dyed his dress in purple dye. You invoke blessings on the chosen Prophet from the family of Bani Hashim but you have distanced his son, it is a strange matter!
If my sin is loving the Progeny of Muhammad, it is a sin that I shall never repent for.
They shall be my intercessors on the Day of Resurrection and my helpers; and the crime of Shafei would be that he loved them.”87
The poet, Ibn Habaria passed through Karbala and began to weep for Husayn and his family members. He also composed the following couplets regarding them:
“O Husayn, by you grandfather who was sent for guidance, the Almighty Allah shall interrogate me regarding this covenant.
If I had been present on the day of Karbala I would have tried much to reduce your sorrow.
I would have quenched the lips of the sword with the blood of your enemies and also the points of the spears.
Except for my misfortune of delay in reaching you. But my griefs shall be between Lovi and Babel.
I take that I have been deprived of fighting with your enemies but is my grief a lesser grief while my tears are flowing?”
Historians say: He went to sleep where he was and saw the Messenger of Allah (S) in the dream telling him: “May Allah give you a good reward on my behalf. Good news to you that the Almighty Allah has included you among those who performed Jihad in the service of Husayn.”88
The people of Kufa were deeply regretful for the terrible crime they had committed; because they had been such that by sending delegations and letters to the Holy Imam they urged him to join them and when he did arrive to join them they abandoned him and then later killed him. Some of those who expressed their deep remorse were as follows:
Baraa bin Azib regretted that he had retracted his support from the Imam because Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) had told him: “Would Husayn be killed while you are alive and you wouldn’t help him?”
“O Amiral Momineen, it shall never be so.”
When Imam was martyred Baraa recalled the words of the Imam while he was extremely remorseful and he said: “What a great regret that I was not present with him and did not die in his defense.”89
Musayyab bin Najba was the most remorseful person for not having achieved martyrdom in the service of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S). He announced his regret in his sermons that he delivered among the penitents; as he used to say in those speeches:
“We had been deceived by our purity, Almighty Allah found us false in all our promises to the son of His Prophet (S). Previously he sent letters and messengers to us and offered excuses to us and sought our help in the beginning and in the end and clearly, but we were miserly to our selves regarding him till he was killed in front of us. Neither we helped him with our hands, nor defended him by our tongues, or strengthened him with our wealth or called our confederates’ help for him. Thus what is our excuse before our Lord and at the time we meet our Prophet? Except that we put to death those who killed him and those who acted against him or that we may be killed in this endeavor. Perhaps in that case our Lord will be pleased with us. After meeting him I shall not be secure from His reprisal.”90
These words show the level of his internal remorse for having lost the opportunity of sacrificing his life in the company of the Holy Imam.
One of those who were left in deep sorrow for not having helped the Imam was Sulaiman bin Surd. He spoke in the company of his penitent companions about the pain that haunted his soul and inter alia said, “We stretched our neck for the arrival of the Ahlul Bayt of our Prophet, Muhammad (S), promised them our support and urged them to join us. But when they arrived we fell weak, became feeble, flattering and continued to wait till the son of our Prophet, his offspring and descendant and a part of his flesh and blood was killed right before us. At that time he called for help and wanted justice but he did not get it, the transgressors made him a target for their arrows and a victim of their spears till they killed him, rushed upon him and plundered his belongings.”91
One of the most regretful persons and the most grief-stricken and sorrow ones was Ubaidullah bin Hurr Jofi whom the Imam had approached and asked for help but he was not generous with his self and he declined the request. His conscience was badly shaken due to his rejection of the Imam’s plea for support and he fell into a deep gloom, composing the following lines of poetry:
“O remorse till the time I live! As long as I am breathing.
The day he said to me in the palace: Will you abandon me and intend to go away?
Husayn asked me for help against the enemies and creators of dissension.
If the grief of the heart could get a free hand, today my heart will decide to burst. And if one day I had sacrificed my life for him I would have achieved the honor of the day of meeting God.
He said farewell to the son of Muhammad - may my life be sacrificed for him - and moved out fast.
Those who helped Husayn were successful and others who were hypocrites, failed.”92
In his couplets the son of Hurr has sketched the picture of the intense pain that had afflicted his soul; because as long as he lived he shall regret having lost the honor of martyrdom in the service of the son of the Prophet of Allah (S) and he was extremely sad at this, for if he had rendered his help he would have obtained Paradise.
He envies the companions of Husayn who sacrificed their lives on the Holy Imam (‘a); because they had earned excessive reward and a respectable position near the Almighty Allah.
These were some of those who regretted not providing assistance to Imam (‘a) and lost the chance of achieving salvation through martyrdom in the service of His Eminence who when they got an opportunity they joined the penitents in Kufa and rose up in revolt.
- 1. Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/237. Miraatul Jinaan 1/134. Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 5/17. Tarikh Baghdad 1/142. Maqrizi, Khatat 2/285-286. Muntazim, 5/346
- 2. Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/114 &122. Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 5/17. Muzaffari, Tarikh Pg. 210. And it is mentioned therein that the first person to mourn Imam Husayn (a.s.) in Medina was Umme Salma.
- 3. Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/114
- 4. Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/238
- 5. Shaykh Tusi, Amali 314 H. 639
- 6. Yaqubi, Tarikh 2/246
- 7. Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/141
- 8. Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/114-115
- 9. Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/383
- 10. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/411. And it is mentioned in Jawahirul Matalib 2/290 that he told him: By Allah, my bed shall never get you. And in Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/190 it is mentioned: She got up from her bed and looked at the pail and saw a light that arose from the pail to the sky and she witnessed the widespread brilliance that rose from around it.
- 11. Tarikh al-Khamis 2/300
- 12. Shaykh Tusi, Amali Pg. 252 H. 449
- 13. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 97. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 87. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/412-413. Al Manaqib wal Mathalib
- 14. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 97
- 15. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/411
- 16. Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 305
- 17. Maqrizi, Khatat 2/289. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/193
- 18. Jawahirul Matalib fee Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.), 2/291
- 19. Kamil az-Ziarat, Pg. 261, Chap. 88, H. 1
- 20. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 97. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/189. Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/112
- 21. Bihar, 45/107
- 22. Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, Pg. 319
- 23. Al-Irshad, 2/114
- 24. Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, Pg. 319-320
- 25. Abul Shohada
- 26. Journal .Ghurra., Year 2, No. 20, Pg. 22
- 27. Ibne Maghazali, Manaqib, Pg. 397, Hadith no. 450
- 28. Zakhair al-Uqba Pg. 151
- 29. Jawahiri, Diwan 1/194
- 30. Kamil az-Ziarat, Pg. 273-274, Chap. 90, H. 3
- 31. Tarikh Adab al-Arabi
- 32. Fadl Ziarat al-Husayn (a.s.) Pg. 42 & 43
- 33. Fadl Ziarat al-Husayn (a.s.) Pg. 44
- 34. Wasailush Shia 10/321
- 35. Wasailush Shia 10/320-321
- 36. Jassas = Mason
- 37. Abdullah bin Nurullah, Awalim 17/372-373
- 38. Abdullah bin Nurullah, Awalim 17/371
- 39. Abdullah bin Nurullah, Awalim 17/377, H. 2
- 40. In a version it says: “Breaking of Pledge”
- 41. In a version it says: “Your tears will not cease and your lamentations will not fall quiet.”
- 42. Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, Pg. 310-312
- 43. Ad Durrun Nadheem, Pg. 560
- 44. Tabarsi, Al-Ihtijaaj 2/109-114
- 45. Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, Pg. 313-315
- 46. Ibne Tawus, Lohoof, Pg. 194-197. Ibne Numa, Matheer al-Ahzaan, Pg. 87. Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husayn Awalim 17/379-380
- 47. Ibne Tawus, Lohoof, Pg. 198, Sayyid Muqarram Pg. 316. Others believe that Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum was none but same as Her Eminence, Zainab (s.a.).
- 48. Ibne Numa, Matheer al-Ahzaan, Pg. 89, Al-Lohoof, Pg. 199-200
- 49. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/417
- 50. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayan, Pg. 98
- 51. Tabari, Tarikh 5/457
- 52. Tabari, Tarikh 5/457. Al-Lohoof, Pg. 200-201
- 53. Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/124
- 54. Surah Zumar 39:42
- 55. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/82
- 56. Jahiz, Rasail
- 57. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/413
- 58. Al-Lohoof, Pg. 204. Biharul Anwar 45/119
- 59. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/413-414
- 60. Riyadh al-Ahzaan, Pg. 57
- 61. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/414
- 62. Al-Lohoof, Pg. 205. Biharul Anwar 45/120
- 63. Al-Lohoof, Pg. 205-206. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/53-55
- 64. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/414
- 65. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/414
- 66. Matheer al-Ahzaan, Pg. 94. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/55. Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 329
- 67. Ibne Qutaybah, Uyun al-Akhbar 2/215. And in Wafayatul Ayan 6/353 it says: Ubaidullah Ibne Ziyad said to Haartha bin Badr Adawani: What do you think will happen on the Day of Resurrection as a result of that which occurred between Husayn and me? He replied: His father and grandfather will intercede for him and your father and grandfather will also intercede for you. So you can guess what would happen
- 68. Tariq bin Malik was the grandfather of Abu Ali, secretary to Abdullah bin Khaqan, minister of Mutawakkil.
- 69. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 97. Miraatul Jinaan 1/135
- 70. Ad Durrun Nadheem, Pg. 561. Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husayn 17/386
- 71. At-Tarikh Siyasi Dawlatul Arabia 2/76
- 72. Dibil, Diwan, Pg. 225
- 73. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/84
- 74. Al Wafi 3/298
- 75. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 98. Al Muntazim, 5/345
- 76. Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 260. Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/303. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/414-415
- 77. Tabari, Tarikh 5/467
- 78. Tabari, Tarikh 5/415
- 79. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 98. Tadhib at-Tahdhib 1/156. Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/357
- 80. Tabari, Tarikh 5/467
- 81. Miraat az-Zamaan Pg. 68
- 82. Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/382
- 83. Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 6/190
- 84. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 94
- 85. Taisar al-Matalib fee Amali Abi Talib, Pg. 89
- 86. Majma az-Zawaid 9/196. Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/132
- 87. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 94
- 88. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 94
- 89. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 10/14-15
- 90. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/159
- 91. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/160
- 92. Khwarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn 1/228