Imam Husayn (‘a) is the greatest personality who has made all historical events of humanity everlasting. He is among those great personages who gave shape to social civilization and principles that form the basis of a life of culture.
The Imam and the leader of nobles, he is the most prominent individual to have shown miracles in the field of life and led the caravan of humanity to destination and gave movement to their aspirations. He guided them towards a moderate society. A society where equality is given an important position, so that all the people, low and high, may benefit from it.
The Imam struggled more than any other reformer. He bestowed and offered sacrifice because he took along with himself the people of his family and his companions so that he may sacrifice himself and them also so that in every place in the east, the command of Quran and heavenly justice is established. Because, he had no other aim except the removal of oppression, destruction of injustice and establishment of a just government. A government in which man could bring out peace, greatness and prosperity according to the justice that the Almighty Allah wants in the earth and after that the life of the Holy Imam became an ideal exemplar for all ages and all generations and an example of human Values.
The life history of most of the reformers, who laid down their lives for communities and in generations, remained illuminated and their fruits and results served as signs for the people. But it was only for a particular period and limited duration. Then not after a long time its effect wears off just as light disperses in the atmosphere.
However the life of Imam Husayn (‘a) has split the horizon of history in such a way that he had light of guidance for all the people just as the signs of death and destruction for the destroyers and oppressors given as a souvenir to all generations.
The life of Imam Husayn (‘a) merged with the souls of the people and became united with their feelings and emotions, because he was such a fresh one that fragrance of honor and greatness issued from him. He was the one to take the society to the field of contest so that their aims may be realized and that their fate may be appointed.
The life of His Eminence is a great school that bestows goodness and blessings to individuals and to the society as a whole. Because it inculcates in them loyalty and patience and takes them to faith in God and the best of destination accompanied with honor and righteousness. Just as it endeavours, to impart good manners to consciences and increase in knowledge. Thus, he is more deserving to have an everlasting life than all the living creatures living on this earth for he is such a structure to mould human values.
The life of the beloved one of the Prophet and his example shall endure forever because the designer of all fates has kept in view all the generations, as the Imam’s revolution had no political ambitions or material aims. Rather his aim was the reformation of society and he had the thought for all the people that he may provide political and social justice to all of them. His Eminence, peace of Allah be upon him, declared his lofty aims in his own words as follows:
“I did not come out to spread mischief, aimless things or oppression. Indeed I have come out to reform the nation of my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S). I wish to enjoin good and forbid evil’”
It was due to these lofty principles that the tale of Husayn became immortal and it entered all the languages of the world. And people in the remembrance of his sacrifice initiated the rituals of mourning (Azadari) so that through it they may obtain faith in God and gain such lessons from it as may serve them in all aspects of their life. There is no doubt that this would continue till the end of the world. While it issues the call of justice, truth and greatness and illuminate the paths for every reformer who aims to reform the humanity.
In the history of Islam, there was no one more than Imam Husayn (‘a) who has benefited Islam and bestowed it kindness and merits, because His Eminence is the Savior and revivalist of this great religion whom the Umayyad politics attacked and injured and on the other hand put obstacles in his path. Their internal and external discords were of such a level that there was no one who could save the people from destruction. They were absolutely helpless and nothing remained in their society to oppose or resist or protest against the oppressions of the tyrannical rulers. In other words the ruler has clearly announced to his subjects that there was no religion, no Islam, no revelation and no scripture (Quran):
Yazid bin Muawiyah said:
“The Hashimites played a in the reign; neither any news arrived nor any revelation descended from the heavens.”
Walid bin Yazid says:
“A Hashemite played with the post of caliphate without any revelation or book having revealed on him.”1
Whatever has reached us, if we study it clearly we find nothing but disbelief and apostasy and very few people remained having faith in Allah and the Last Day or considered Islam to have any value.
Without any doubt, not a single portion of the light of Islam had entered their heart. Rather their souls were already full of bigotry and ignorance and not a single quality of disbelief was removed by the force of Islam. They harboured malice and animosity towards the Holy Prophet (S) and they denied everything that the Messenger had brought as a mercy for all the worlds.
The Holy Imam realized how the attacks of disbelief had rendered Islam an easy prey and all the forces of infidelity were targeting the beliefs and principles of the religion of God. Hence he considered it as his duty to warn the people about it. He had seen that the Umayyad powers were trying by all means to uproot and destroy the foundations of Islam while the common people were living a life of fear and terror that had scattered among them that the Umayyads had infused into them. Thus they had become absolutely inert due to it. Neither talks of reformation reached their ears nor were the drums of war heard by them. They did not impose any sort of obstacle in the working of the oppressive rule nor did they raise any protest against it that was ruling the common Muslims with oppression.
The Holy Imam saw that he was the only one responsible in the view of Allah and it was solely his responsibility to bring about a revolution. And if he did not take any steps against the wrong being continued by the ruling tyrants who else could? Hence he expressed his aims that he wanted to remove oppressions and mischief and revive the enjoining of good and restraining from evil. So that he could lead the people to truth and justice. All these aims of the Holy Imam were mentioned in his illuminated sermons that he issued to the enemy forces comprised of Hurr, and soldiers of Ibn Ziyad.
“O people! The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: One who sees a tyrant ruler making the unlawful of Allah as lawful and ignoring the commands of Allah and opposing the practice of the Messenger of Allah (S), committing before the very eyes of the people, sins and transgressions; and he does not object against him by words or actions, it becomes incumbent on Allah to make him enter the same place that he (the tyrant) shall go (in Hell). All of them have obeyed the Shaitan and they have become distant from the obedience of the Beneficent. They have made corruption open and general, trespassed the limits and took over public property in their sole control and made the unlawful things lawful and the lawful things unlawful’”2
These are the dangerous causes that motivated the Imam (‘a) to rise up against the tyrannical rulership of the Umayyads and a system, which considered every act, opposed to the Book of Allah and the practice of His Prophet as lawful.
The Umayyad rulers concentrated all their efforts to oppress and weaken the people and misappropriated public wealth to fulfil their lustful desires and finance their vices. They used to control their fates and forced them to a life of penury and spent public wealth in evil vices. This was the reason that the Holy Imam arose against them to save the nation and manifest their greatness and honor.
It was the most important period of the political history of Islam in which the Imam (‘a) lived. It was a time when terrible events took place due to which the Islamic life was shaken up and the Muslims were subjected to severe trials and tribulations. Calamities after calamities descended upon them weakening them badly. They were in terrible circumstances.
The most terrible event of that period was the carnage of Karbala in the history of humanity that awoke the consciousness of the people and shook them from their slumber.
This great event was not a sudden and chance happening. Rather it was a certain consequence for those terrible events that had silenced the Islamic awareness and killed the feeling of responsibility and made the people completely numb to all types of emotions and feelings. The effects of the spirit of Islam and its guidance no longer remained on them. The most significant proof upon this is that the beloved grandson of the Prophet was mercilessly martyred openly before their very eyes and his severed head aloft spear points was taken around the cities and town accompanied with the women and children of the family of the Holy Prophet (S) as prisoners. Their veils were snatched away and they were forced to reveal their faces that were visible from near and far. But this atrocity did not rouse the manliness of the people so that they may attack the rule of Yazid and seek vengeance for killing the son of the daughter of their Prophet (S). Dibil (May Allah have mercy on him) says regarding such circumstances:
“The head of the son of Muhammad’s (a) daughter and his Successor and O people, it is being raised aloft the spears.
And the people are witnessing it with their eyes and ears. No one is being angered by it and none is distraught.”3
The tragedy of Karbala did not occur but for the fact that the Muslim community was stupefied and their paths had deviated. Many diseases of the manners and calamities had rendered their lives to become absolutely debased. They had seen such terrible events such as the Saqifah, the Shura and the battle of Siffeen.
In any case, the historical events surrounding Imam Husayn (‘a) are worth scholarly research and deep study, without having any bias and completely refraining from the well-established practice that necessitates the concealment of truth. There were many circumstances that compelled them to make the general deviated views in many aspects of life to be made opinionated. This should be made a subject of research because the history of Islam by way of its subject and comprehensiveness has not been properly researched. Rather most of the researches have followed the well-established practice that is not beneficial to the society. It is of no use. And also the way those events and historical facts should have been studied and explained has also been stopped from being shown in the light of reality.
That in which there is no doubt, there are some hidden aspects in the history of these events that historians have purposely concealed. It therefore becomes necessary for those researchers to mix the facts with doubtful reports and half- truths, so that in this way they may help the Kingdoms that were powerful at that time. Now it is incumbent for a researcher to find out the facts and reach to the truth.
We are compelled to present those events and describe the actual matters because they are the means to fully realize the truth behind the life and martyrdom of Imam Husayn (‘a). These things are such that by their study we would be able to clearly present the prevailing conditions and social thinking of that period in a new method of research.
We believe that it is not possible for us to perfectly explain and understand the story of Imam Husayn (‘a) and the horrifying events he had to undergo without conducting sufficient research into the social, political and economic life of his period, because these things served as a preface to that tragic event.
The history of Islam is needful that it should be released from its sanctity and like other topics are researched, objected and doubted in such a way that the matter is fully surrounded to the vigorous tests of the scholars so that this imparts firmness to the history, and it blooms and bears useful fruits.
The political rulers of that time had compelled the historians of that time to record history according to their favour and they were not supposed to pen anything against the ruling powers. Therefore the histories of those times became full of those things that their writers had fabricated and presented as historical truths. Due to this, its factuality was destroyed and many topics became distant from reality.
The pens taken up to write Islamic history first of all were not completely free of bias and vested interests, because religious bigotry and proximity of the dominance of the ruler was weighing heavy upon it. Therefore it is necessary that history should be subjected to close research and critical examination.
I don’t think there is anything more beneficial for the people of community than the propagation of the virtues of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) their biographies and their greatness because this would present goodness and guidance to all the people. And they contain practical lessons and effective moral advices that create steadfastness and balance in their behavior. It is of the most valuable powers alive that the Muslims possess so that they may benefit from the valuable things and their personal merits that are the source of this religion.
The life of Imam Husayn (‘a) is the most-prominent example among the Purified Imams (‘a), because it is beyond the limits of time and space and it manifested the highest human values that inculcate in every human heart a sign of greatness and illuminates their path of action. In fact the biography and martyrdom of His Eminence contains such astonishing topics in whole history of Islam that came into being and the Muslims and other communities have not seen anything else presenting human values in such a clear way as the Holy Imam (‘a) had done on the plains of Karbala. On the basis of which faith in God, contentment and submission to His command have never been explained such beautifully anywhere else. And this unbounded faith is the special quality of the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and their followers through which they obtained precedence over all the martyrs of the world. They were absolutely sincere in their defence and in the confrontation for the sake of truth. And none of them had any material motive. For example, His Eminence, Abbas (‘a) who was the closest person to Imam Husayn (‘a) and the one who was very closely related to him. In this incomparable loyalty he did not have any motive due to brotherhood and relationship to the Imam. Rather he took steps for the sake of faith and defence of Islam. And His Eminence, peace of Allah be upon him, has introduced these aims in epical poetry well known for its eloquence in the following way:
“By Allah! Even if you cut off my right hand I would continue to defend my religion and my faith is in the truthful Imam, scion of the pure and trustworthy Prophet.”
The meaning is clear that his sacrifice is not having any motive connected with his relationship or friendship of the Imam, which would have nullified the sincerity of this act. It was solely for the defence for the sake of Allah and the Imam of the Muslims, whose obedience is made incumbent on all the Muslims.
Examples like this abound from Imam Husayn (‘a) his Ahlul Bayt (‘a) and his companions in the history of humanity which are the most valuable lessons regarding faith, loyalty and sacrifice on the path of God. And every step from the steps of the day of Karbala imparts honor to truth and justice in the world.
Imam Husayn (‘a) spread and waved the standard of Islam and freed the aspirations of the Arabs and Islamic community because before the incident of Karbala they were slothful, silent, stagnant and ignorant. The bonds of the Umayyad rulership imprisoned them and they had laid obstacles in their path of freedom and progress. The Holy Imam (‘a) through his revolution broke those chains and released the community from the heavy yokes that had kept them down. He destroyed the fear and awe of the rulers from their captivated minds.
The revolution of the Imam endeavoured to create a social feeling and shaped the social structure so that the people also in the same way become valiant and powerful. That also after release from stupefaction they demanded their rights from the oppressive rulers and seriously took steps to dethrone the tyrannical government of the Umayyads that had tried its best to humiliate them and take them towards slavery. Sacrifices continued to be offered one after the other till the tyrannical rule was destroyed and their oppressions and rebellions dissipated.
The revolution of the Father of the noble ones (‘a) is the greatest of revolutionaries of the nobles of the world that spread the light of knowledge and awakening in the world and accorded a respectful status to Islam and humanity. He provided such glorious lessons for the belief that is not weakened and a faith that is never defeated. It is a continuous source of respect and dignity of the Muslims, which shall remain forever in their generations.
Allah knows best that our heart’s desire was to conduct such a research into the life history of the chief of the Martyrs (‘a) that it should be considered a masterpiece among researches on the same subject. My respected friend and mentor, Haj Muhammad Rishad Ajine encouraged me in this aim and time and again assured me that I could be successful in my endeavour. He is such a righteous personality and so keen to serve the cause of Allah and Ahlul Bayt (‘a) that he volunteered to bear the total cost of the research and publication of this work and also our book on the life of Imam Musa Kazim (‘a). May the Almighty Allah bestow him with exceeding rewards and may He accord success to each of his great virtues.
He wanted that the expenses of printing this book be paid from the charitable trust in the name of his respected father, Haj Muhammad Jawwad Ajina (q.s.). I pray to Allah that He may reward him for this venture. And it is also necessary for me to acknowledge the encouragement of His Eminence, Hujjatul Islam Mujahid Sayyid Muhammad Kalantari (q.s.) that enabled me to take this project to completion. I am especially thankful to him and also my respected brother, His Eminence, Hujjatul Islam Shaykh Hadi Qarashi for providing access to many sources in course of this research.
In the conclusion of his preface we announce with absolute faith and conviction that I do not find anything more worthy of gaining divine satisfaction and His forgiveness except through the Chief of the Martyrs (‘a). Therefore, I have entrusted myself to that Ark of Salvation that can accommodate many deficient people like us, and we hold fast to the support of Wilayat (Guardianship) and repose hope in them on the day when I face my Creator.
O my God! Do not make my efforts go in vain and fulfil my desires. Do not let our hopes be dashed as you are the guardian for it and you are the most powerful.
3rd Rajab/1394 Hijri
21st July/1974 A.H.( 30th Tir 1353 Solar year)
The terrible events in Islam that were contemporary to the time of Imam Husayn (‘a), had a deep impact on the changing of manners of intellectual and social life and also had an important imprint in the political life throughout history. The most prominent consequences of those events were confrontations against the ruling despot, rivalry with the tyrant ruler and struggle for obtaining the produce of the lands.
It was natural that political conflict occurred with the most difficult condition and most terrible way and battles began to take place with all intensity and ferocity. Because the eyes of many companions and companions of companions had been enchanted with the sight of different types of luxuries and a comfortable life without any hassles. The opulent kingdom of Iran and the land of Byzantine that had fallen into their hands, completely mesmerized them and the victories that the Islamic armies had achieved and whatever the Almighty Allah had given them and those slaves they obtained from the conquered lands; the wealth they hadn’t even dreamt about astonished them. Now their sole preoccupation was fighting battles and the struggle for life and death and they had completely forsaken religion.
The great Prophet through the unseen had known what dominions his community would obtain and what lands they would conquer through their glory and greatness and had in view along with it the holy movement of Islam and he informed the Muslims of this matter. Whatever they were doing was due to their personal beliefs. Just as the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had through the knowledge of unseen, known about the mischief and turmoil that his community shall fall into. Therefore he observed extreme precaution in this matter and he arranged for a treasure for his community that has cure for every pain and which removes every conflict. And it was that he entrusted the Imamate of his Purified Progeny to the community. Who were such that the Almighty Allah had protected them from every abomination and filth and kept them pure? These steps were not the consequences of his personal affection and attachment because the position of prophethood was higher than that it should be affected by factors of love and other material grounds.
Sayings of the Prophet reached to the limits of Tawatur (widely related so that there is no doubt about their authenticity) and none from the Muslims had any doubt or misunderstanding about them because His Eminence had made the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) equal to the Holy Quran, which is such that falsehood can neither come to it from the front nor from behind and he described them as the Ark of Salvation and the security for the people, especially the chief of the Progeny, His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) on the basis of the emphatic sayings of the Prophet (s.a.w.s) his brother, the self of His Eminence, gate of the city of knowledge and the most equitable of the people of the community and Ali (a.s.) was in relation to the Prophet like Harun was to Musa. And he said:
“Of whomsoever I am the master; this Ali is also his master’”
However those people did not like to see prophethood and caliphate together in the same family and these people explained away the texts and kept away the caliphate from the family of prophethood, the mines of wisdom and the place of descent of revelations and they deprived the community from benefit of the shade of their kingdom whose aim was to spread divine justice on the earth.
This separation became the cause of confrontation for taking over the rulership which spread in the prominent families in Islam and after that the community became involved in the most terrible difficulties, such that life in those days became hellish and was unbearable and the reign of Nata’4 And the sword became established among the people.
Political conflict developed in the most severe manner during the period of caliphate of Imam Amirul Momineen (a.s.) because the powers greedy for rulership began to move; they initiated an armed attack for this purpose and began to try to dislodge the government, which stood for the benefit of Muslims, was based on the foundation of human rights and trying to establish the principles of truth and justice and to destroy the castles of oppression and demolish the forts of falsehood and kindle the torch of human greatness and to eradicate all the factors of backwardness and corruption that has been left as heritage by the previous regimes.
Imam brought into existence a revolution with a strong foundation and a social transformation in the political, intellectual and economic fields from which was expected equitable distribution and removal of disparities that the government of Uthman and the families of Bani Umayyah and Abi Muit had created. It also confiscated the monetary sources that had been usurped unlawfully and dismissed the governors and other government officials who had made rulership a medium for obtaining wealth and domination over the people wrongly.
These social changes that were brought about by the Imam’s government increased the psychological crisis in the hearts of Quraish and others who were opposed to social reforms and were certain that the Imam’s government shall put an end to all their economic and non-economic advantages. Therefore they joined hands to announce their opposition and it is a matter of great regret that some of the senior companions like Talha and Zubair were also among them. And that Ayesha, the Prophet’s widow was a prominent part of them. It is also noteworthy that the opponents had no sort of social or reformative aim. Rather they had become prepared for this due to their greed and selfish desires as they have expressed on some occasions. The foremost of these was the Umayyad party which came out in opposition to the Imam and they put at the disposal of the Imam’s opponents the wealth they had obtained during Uthman’s tenure and they in turn purchased weapons and paid the mercenaries whatever they demanded as remuneration. And the fire of war erupted which the historians have named as the Battle of Camel. The Imam rushed to them and put out the fire and eradicated its signs. However that battle caused untold loss to the Muslims because it opened the doors of war on the Muslims and prepared the ground for Muawiyah to announce his rebellion against the Imam so that he may confront the Imam in the most severe and terrible battles.
One after another, horrible events took place and in such a way that each was the result of another till it culminated in the martyrdom of Imam Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and the absence of the obedience of his son, Hasan (a.s.) and the victory of the powers inimical to Islam. We shall discuss them topic-wise in a detailed way and with an unbiased manner.
In a deceitful manner and a diplomatic way the Umayyads succeeded in coming to power and the Umayyad rule was established under the leadership of Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan who was the first one to follow all the war tactics against Islam that was in the illuminated period of revolution and against the teacher and leader of humanity. Muawiyah stood up to announce opposition of progress of society and against establishment of the society on the foundation of justice and equality.
The Islamic community became involved in this trap of Umayyads due to their own greed and they submitted to their rulership in awe and terror; that had malice and enmity against social values and their intellectual and social foundations; it raised up its head and they began to destroy that which Islam had established in the economic, political and intellectual fields.
Umayyad policy initiated a terrible pogrom to destroy the fundamental bases of the community and to root out the spiritual and intellectual treasures through their terrible and merciless policies that are described as follows:
A. Considering worthless the value of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) whose view was the social pivot in Islam and who were the most sensitive nerve in the body of the community and the spirit of progress in the Ummah. The ruler employed all political machinery, economic and their other capabilities to distance the hearts of the Muslims from Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and made them inimical to Islamic life. So that this enmity of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) may become an inseparable part of Islam. And in this path the machinery of education and training, the machinery of speeches, counselling and other mediums were employed and the cursing of the Prophet’s Progeny from atop the pulpits was made an obligatory duty, such that its omission was threatened with the worst consequences. Whoever refrained from this was interrogated severely and subjected to a terrible punishment.
B. Destroying the elements of enlightened thinking in Islam that they had received in training by guidance and reality and to send the senior ones of Islam to jaws of death as done to Hujr bin Adi, Mitham Tammar, Rushaid Hujri and Amr bin Hamaq Khuzai and others like them who had the power of social enlightenment and the capacity to protect the community from deviation and moving in undesirable ways.
The system of the rulers made excuse that these people had given up obedience and separated from the congregation while there was not an iota of truth in this. They created a political front clothed in the dress of religion to take benefit of the community for themselves. Since the selection of the ruler was supposed to be with justice and equality between the people and its duty was to endeavour for balance in their affairs, taking excuse of this system they declared that it was lawful to shed their blood.
C. Changing of the illuminated reality of Islam and turning upside down of all Islamic teachings and destroying its foundation with superstitions and doubts so that their powers are nullified. And their movements on the path of life and their release with man for getting guidance by their capabilities and abilities, made them helpless in all this. Thus they hindered the people from means of progress in their life.
The regime formed false committees and bestowed them a lot of wealth so that they may fabricate traditions of the Prophet. And that they should be made out as tenets of law and Sunnah, which is itself a source of Islamic law.
Fabricators began to concoct false sayings and associated their lies to the Prophet but most of what they fabricated was opposed to logic, reason and the law of nature. It is a matter of great regret that all their lies were compiled into books of traditions. So such so, that some shameful scholars were compelled to write some books and introduce some of these fabrications. In our view it was a very dangerous and terrible plot that Muslims became involved in it, because involvement in that matter was not restricted to a particular period. Rather it accompanied the flow of history and they continued to affect the life of majority of Muslims. They began to consider those fabrications as a part of their religion while many obstacles were put so that the capability of progress and the freedom of their thoughts may be ended and like a boulder of obstacle it remained in the path that Islam had appointed for its followers.
The Muslim man during the tenure of Muawiyah, experienced unpleasant and painful examples of hardships and calamities because Muawiyah’s regime tried to spread oppression and injustice in all the areas and entrusted the affairs of Muslims to killers and robbers like Ziyad bin Abih, Busr bin Abi Artat, Samra bin Jundab, Mughairah bin Shoba and other filthy characters like them. And they wrought continuous horrors and painful tortures on the people, such that humanity had never seen such terrible things in any of the stages of history.
Imam Husayn (a.s.) witnessed the social injustice during the tenure of Muawiyah, so much so that he was very much affected by it and he used to be very aggrieved at it. Because His Eminence, on the basis of his spiritual leadership that he had inherited from his grandfather, used to feel it more and their pains made him sad and he lived with this pain which was that the tyrant and cruel governors of Muawiyah were in pursuit of the Shias of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and they did not refrain from any step in killing them, burning their homes and confiscating their wealth and property and they tried all means to oppress them. So, that the Imam himself had to condemn those unjust policies and send caustic and critical letters to the tyrant of Damascus. In these communications he wrote about the steps those cruel officials took for destroying his followers and those who were aware of his merits. In some of those letters His Eminence negated the fact that Muawiyah belonged to the community. Rather he was considered an outsider, an alien who bore enmity towards this community. And this was the real scenario because his political stances proved that he was the worst enemy of the community and for them he used to prepare the most terrible plots and in the light of the days and the darkness of the night he was always planning various methods to oppress and exploit them. The most terrible step according to historians that Muawiyah had taken in this regard was to appoint his profligate son, whose favorite pastime was playing with monkeys and dogs, as the caliph of the Muslim community, so that he may destroy their religion and the world and make them involved in the worst calamities.
During the period of Muawiyah and his profligate son, Yazid, Muslims lost all their basic principles and no better community remained so that it may serve as an example for the future generations as the Almighty Allah had willed. Because, Muawiyah had wrought severe destruction among them and subjugated them in such a way that except for materialism they had no time for anything else. Also he made them habitual of degradation and slavery and he had snatched away their shame and kept them away from good morals and that was the reason that the community did not try to find the aim and actions which are necessary for giving them a respectable life. They gave no importance to it. They used to submit themselves to the Umayyad regime and were degraded and humiliated and passed their lives under their cruel yoke which shed their blood and destroyed their property and spread injustice and corruption among them. Therefore a form of terrible event remained in them such that they became a stagnant body which neither had the power to move nor the ability to think. Nor it stood up for defense of its honor and merits. And neither stepped forward for merits and sacrifice. So that they may oppose the oppression and injustice being done to them.
Imam Husayn (a.s.), the grandson of the Prophet and the illuminated hope of His Eminence having all the strengths of His Eminence was seeing this pitiful condition of the Muslims that how they were involved in humiliation and degradation and also it was no more that great nation that could lay the foundation of the message of Islam and present the torch of guidance for all nations.
A life threatening pain of feelings and sentiments enveloped the Imam (a.s.) and His Eminence became involved in a deep and prolonged contemplation. He used to remain awake in the nights to find a way to save the religion of his revered grandfather and how he could save the Muslims from reverting to ignorance.
The Imam sometimes held meetings in Mecca and sometimes in Medina and he used to present the contemporary conditions of the Muslims to the companions and their sons and told them about the evil deeds and unlawful activities of Muawiyah. And at last he concluded that this method was in no way effective to bring about a social reformation and it was not capable to regain their lost spirituality. He also noticed that his position was between two matters and a third option was not imaginable.
1. The first option was that he makes a truce with the Umayyads and gives allegiance to Yazid and ignores all their unjust actions and close his eyes to the destruction of faith and society in which the community was involved. In that case, it was possible with no certainty that he may have secured his life. However it was a thing that the Almighty Allah would never accept for His Eminence and also his living conscience, full of piety for his Lord, did not like such a thing. Because with regard to his relation to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), he was responsible for the defense of the community and to support their aims and values. And in front of his grandfather, His Eminence, the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), he was responsible for social reformation and protecting Islam from destructive and transgressive plots of the transgressors. His Eminence, peace be upon him, announced this great responsibility and that which was obligatory on him in his address to Hurr and his companions from the mercenaries of Ibne Ziyad:
“O people, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said, ‘One who sees a tyrant ruler making unlawful things lawful and who breaks His covenant and opposes the practice of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and acts with sins and transgression among the people and does not oppose him by action and words as Allah desires, it is upon the Almighty Allah to send him to a place where He would send him’’”
2. The second option was to announce a revolution and sacrifice himself, his family members and his Shias while he was certain that his revolution shall not succeed. Therefore His Eminence subjected to close scrutiny the social conditions and he knew that religion was only a word on the lips of those people. However, His Eminence was certain that his sacrifice would be in the interest of the Muslims because their intentions shall be free and they would rush to the fields of Jihad and they shall be waving the flags of freedom and they would topple the regimes of tyrant Umayyads and take them to their destruction.
His Eminence chose this illuminated path with all types of hardships and calamities that no one could bear.
The Imam saw and perfectly understood the atmosphere of sorrow and troubles and he made a program that provided very distinct consequences. It was the matter of making Islam successful and to return life to nerves of religion due to the causes that had spread slow poison by the Umayyads and made them stagnant.
Imam declared his aim and explained the sorrowful tragedy that was to endure forever. He explained and mentioned it on many occasions.
1. When His Eminence was in Mecca, he announced his uprising against the Bani Umayyah. He spoke about his martyrdom, because it is mentioned in that address that: “The martyrdom that I reach, I have selected it. As if I can see the parts of my body that the hyenas of the wild between Nawawis and Karbala are tearing them up’”
Does this statement not prove the loftiness of his determination and intention for sacrifice? Does it not inform us about the confirmed prophecy about his great sacrifice which shall take place at Karbala? And this is Karbala in whose lap his blessed body would be.
Similarly, before this, his grandfather and father had also prophesied this matter.
2. The great Imam spoke of the terrible calamities and dreadful events that shall befall his family members from the time he is martyred. It was at the time when Ibne Abbas suggested to His Eminence that he may not take with him to Iraq, the veiled ladies of the family of prophethood and daughters of the sanctuary of revelation, and that he should leave them in Medina till the time conditions are favorable.
In reply Imam told him, “The Almighty Allah wishes to see them as hostages.”
The Imam took his family members with him though he knew what afflictions and captivity would afflict them because the completion of his message was possible only in this way. Also their activities shall bring to an end the Umayyad regime in this way and return the Islamic life to its illuminated pristine glory.
3. Imam (a.s.) also spoke on the way to Iraq that his blessed head shall be raised aloft the point of spear and it shall be taken around in cities and provinces and presented as gifts to the rulers just as the head of his brother, Yahya bin Zakaria was dealt with given as a gift to a tyrant king of Bani Israel.
Imam (a.s.) bore all types of hardships in the path of truth and to exalt the word of God.
The Imam (a.s.) performed his great revolution so that the Almighty Allah through it may make the Book clear and it may become a lesson for the people of reason. A revolution that with all its programs was a part of the message of Islam and an illuminated continuation of the great revolution of the Prophet that took it forward and gave it a living form for the aims and hopes of His Eminence such that if that revolution had not been there the efforts of the Prophet would have been in vain and his aspirations would not have been realized and no sign of Islam would have remained.
Imam Husayn (a.s.) became successful and the Almighty Allah blessed him with a brilliant victory because the sky of Islam became illuminated with his ever-living revolution and his sacrifice joined the feelings and sentiments of the people and united with their hearts and it came in the form of a great school of faith in Allah through which the spirit of faith and sacrifice is spread in the path of truth and justice and it taught the people lofty morals and superior values and tried to take them to goodness, guidance and the true path.
The people witnessed with seriousness the afflictions of the chief of the nobles and carefully pondered upon each of its parts and obtained lessons of morality and sacrifice from it. They also learnt from it incomparable valor and the honor that is never dominated by any oppression or injustice.
Humanity bowed its head in submission before that great Imam who waved the flag of truth in the heights of time because he spoke of the rights of the oppressed and defended the interests of the persecuted’
Humanity remembers his greatness more than any other social reformer on the face of the earth. And the great Imam, in this regard obtained such a great success that no other social reformer except him in the world has received such success.
The first success that the Imam received was the destruction of the Umayyad regime because his everlasting revolution placed the bombs of destruction in the Umayyad palaces and laid mines in their paths and not much time passed but that they burst and toppled the Umayyad heads to the ground and ended their intoxication of victory. That after their honor and power they took the form of a historical relic. In this book we shall present in a different manner a research on the illuminated revolution of Husayn in the intellectual and social fields of the Islamic world.
The history of Islam is not capable of imparting any benefit to life if one is bound in tethers and heavy chains are on him and he does not study the events of Islamic history with research and knowledgeable contemplation. He should ponder deeply, without bias the conditions that were in the history of other communities which have been subjected to thorough study and research. Because the study of history in their view has the most important position in cultural and intellectual study.
If we desire that the history of Islam bears fruit and moves with the intellectual development and scientific progress it is necessary that it should be studied with full knowledge and in an intellectual manner and far from religious and practical attachments. One must subject to thorough study those great events in which the Muslims of the first period were involved. Events that in our view, were the source of great mischief and created everlasting difficulties for the Muslims that they had to bear those hardships and mischiefs throughout history.
The study of Islamic history should be accompanied with understanding of the conditions and situations of that time. If not, it would be a dogmatic study for the people of this age and it would not benefit them in any way.
We have already narrated and studied many events of early history of Islam and the political and economic system that the caliphs had established in their times so that we may make many of their events subjects of our study with precaution and free of bias. Since it is necessary for every researcher to try his or her best to reach to the reality, I believe that of the causes of falling into sin is intentional ignorance and if we conceal the political or social aspects it would be a kind of misguidance of the people and lying to the readers.
It is not proper that the study of history should be such that we change it or distort the meanings, or that we move away from its intellectual criterion. Rather this matter is connected to reality and it is a need of life of our illuminated modern age.
Anyway, this study is related to the personal conditions of the life of His Eminence, Imam Husayn (a.s.) because His Eminence lived in an eventful period. We have studied those events with great efforts and learnt their aims that those events without any doubt in a practical form and many circumstances that Muslims had become fearful of them were effective and one of them was the tragedy of Karbala as it was the direct result of the destruction that the community at the hands of Umayyad regime, which was trying to paralyze their intellectual and social life and made comfort-seeking common among Muslims.
I hope that this study shall reach to the truth without being influenced by sentimental manners, away from the love of customs and established traditions. And in whatever I have written, truth is given precedence so that there should not be any other way from this path except narrating Islamic history in its reality.
And before I conclude this preface, I consider it my duty with all sincerity and awareness of the value, to mention Haaj Muhammad Rishad Ajine. That righteous and great man who has served continuously to spread knowledge about Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and encourage the publication of their history. It is the best service that is given to the community. The respected sir agreed to bear the cost of publication of this book and he was desirous that it should be a dedicated to his late father, Haaj Muhammad Jawad Ajine (died 1391 AH) according to his will. May the Almighty Allah increase his rewards and make all his valuable efforts fruitful.
Baqir Sharif Qarashi
On the day of Taff,5 Imam Husayn (a.s.) constructed the majesty of humanity by which everyone prides and it is alone sufficient for it that it presented its sacrifice on a path which is accepted by all for spreading truth and justice.
Examples of sacrifices that the Imam presented to establish a life of honor in Islam are really astonishing and outstanding because the intellects of the people of the world were shaken by it and it left a deep imprint on their hearts. So much so, that even those who were slightly perceptive were also affected by it.
The most important matter that makes the Imam unique in this is incomparable steadfastness that he displayed in front of terrible events because the Imam was armed with unlimited patience, in such a way that historians say: The crushing powers that were continuously moving towards the Imam were welcomed by him with absolute submission to God’s will, in such a way that no kind of weakness or cowardice was seen in it and whenever tragedies testing patience descended upon him his lips used to open and with deep faith which was the most prominent quality of his personality, he used to say:
“Being in the sight of Almighty Allah has made it easy for us to bear what is befalling us.”
This faith was that very secret of miracle and eternality in the mission of Husayn; with his lofty example that leaves a school for generations to show them a way and increase its bestowals, in the same way as the generous ones, it may release a spring of reformation so that the Almighty Allah may let those on the earth inherit it.
On the day Ashura, truth was exalted in the field of values that created discrimination about loyalty, sincerity and selflessness and this day was not restricted to Muslims or a particular group. It is related to all the communities of the world and all those who reside on the earth; that through inspiration and perception brings them out of slavery.
Husayn's message became victorious and along with his companions he became the first standard bearer of truth and justice among the people, such that more astounding success is not found anywhere else.
The day of Ashura had not yet reached its tragic end when people became attentive to its events and factors. This incident bestowed such honor to Islam that even writers having opposing views had to acknowledge its importance. The chief factor was that it became the most well-known event of human history.
Past scholars have considered it a separate subject of study and written extensively on its various facets and among these scholars is the great historian, Abu Makhnaf, Saut bin Yahya bin Mikhnaf Azadi6 who has written the book, Maqtal al-Husayn. Tabari has relied on Abu Mikhnaf for the account of Karbala tragedy even though the wordings are different. It is very likely that this book is related to some other person and it was later attributed to Tabari.
Of those who have written about the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) is Nasr Ibne Mazahim bin Siyar at-Tamimi al-Kufi7 but his book is not found in any of the libraries we have searched. Waqidi Muhammad bin Zakaria and Jabir bin Yazid and other personalities of that time have written around 60 treatises on this subject. But even though we made great efforts to obtain their books or refer to them in libraries, we did not succeed in this regard. It is possible that foreign libraries that maintain Arabic manuscripts may be in possession of some of these books.
In this volume our discussion on the life of Imam Husayn (a.s.) comes to an end; in such a way that we had to try very hard to refer to Arabic manuscripts and microfilms that are present in large quantities in Imam Amirul Momineen (a.s.) library, Imam Hakim and Imam Kashif al-Ghita Library. Please see the list of books in bibliography. In spite of this we cannot claim that we have written an exhaustive account of Imam Husayn (a.s.). We believe we have just cast some light on it and have not been able to fully present the encompassing personality of Imam Husayn (a.s.). This is so because he was a great personality all of whose aspects cannot be recognized except by studying all the Arabic manuscripts written on the subject.
Anyway, this book is merely a collection of some pages on the life of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and some examples of his pure life that the common people pride on. Except for this it is nothing else.
Before we conclude this introduction we would like to thank profusely our mentor, the righteous Hajj Rishad Ajine who sponsored the printing of this book through the estate of his departed father, Muhammad Jawad Ajine. And we pray to the Almighty that He may bestow great rewards to him. Also it is my duty to mention the favor of Hazrat Hujjatul Islam, Shaykh Hadi Qarashi, my scholar brother who helped me to find reference to numerous sources and also assisted me with many suggestions and improvements. The Almighty would Himself reward him for this as He is the One to give Tawfeeq.
16/Safar/1396 A.H. Baqir Sharif Qarashi
- 1. Muruj az-Zahab 3/ 216
- 2. Tabari, Tarikh, 5/403
- 3. Dibil Ibne Ali Khuzai, Diwan, Pg. 225
- 4. Nata’: It is like a leather carpet upon which is put the person who is to be beheaded/executed so that the blood does not spill out.
- 5. Taff ñ Lit. on the banks of the river. It is one of the names of Karbala. It is named thus as it is situated on the banks of River Euphrates. Majma al-Bahrayn
- 6. The narrator Abu Mikhnaf was well-versed in traditions and narration reports. He was a Shia and a resident of Kufa. He is the source of most of the events that occurred in that period. Orientalists have a very good opinion about him. Maussin says: “If Abu Mikhnaf hadn’t written anything, History would have been in a great loss.”
Falhauzen says: Tabari has taken large parts of narrations from Abu Mikhnaf and preserved them for us and in this way preserved the earliest and the best writings of an Arab for us.” Paul, the orientalist, says in Encyclopedia of Islam 1/399: Abu Mikhnaf had written 32 glosses on History of various events of the first century of the Hijrah of whom Tabari has preserved a major portion for us.”
The biography of Abu Mikhnaf is present in Mojam al-Udaba 17/41, Taj al-Uroos 6/104 (old edition), Fawaat al-Wafayaat 3/225, no. 405, An-Najjashi, Pg. 320, no. 875, Fehrist Tusi, Pg. 204, no. 584, Ad-Dharia 1/348.
- 7. Nasr bin Muzahim is an early Shia historian who has written books like, Jamal, Akhbar al-Mukhtar ath-Thaqafi, Waqiyatus Siffeen, An-Nahrawan etc. Some writers have alleged in his biography that he was an extremist Shia and they say: He was a person deviated from truth. Khatib Baghdadi has mentioned this in his Tarikh 13/282-283 while Ibne Abil Hadid says about him: He was a positive person who narrated accurately without any bias.
His biography is present in Mizanul Etedal 4/253 no. 9046, Lisanul Mizan 6/157, no. 551, Ad-Dharia 1/147, Zarkali, Al-A’laam 8/350 and Rauzaat al-Jannaat