Table of Contents

Towards Medina

Ahlul Bayt (‘a) did not stay in Damascus for a long time because Yazid feared the appearing of mischief, confusion of public opinion and unfavorable circumstances as the discourses of Her Eminence, Zainab Kubra and Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) had created an intellectual revolution in all gatherings. It was such that those brilliant speeches had illuminated the minds and awakened the feelings and they became the topic of discussion in all gatherings and assemblies of that time. In the same way they encouraged opposition to the tyrannical regime and the public unrest indicated that they would overthrow Yazid’s regime as the people of Syria had become aware of Yazid’s decadence and wickedness and thus inciting public opinion against him. He was condemned even in his own gatherings, his position declined in public opinion and he became unpopular.

Yazid’s Apology to Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a)

Yazid, the tyrant summoned Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) and sought his pardon; and throwing the responsibility of that crime on Ibn Marjana said:

“May Allah curse Ibn Marjana! By Allah! If I had been with him, I would have given him everything he asked for and in every possible way saved him from death even if I had to sacrifice the life of some of my children in this. But Allah decreed what you saw. My son! Write to me if you need anything.1 There shall develop an issue among your people, thus you must not join any of them.”2

Imam (‘a) turned his face away from him and said nothing in reply; because he knew the aim behind this apology was to escape disgrace and condemnation.

Ahlul Bayt (‘a) Presented Compensations

The tyrant Yazid ordered that sheets of silk be spread over the floor in his court and upon them be placed excessive expensive things so that they could be presented to Ahlul Bayt as compensation for the slain members of their family and the plunder of their belongings in Karbala. Then he said, “Accept these things in lieu of what you had to suffer.”

Reply of Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum

Sister of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum (‘a) was shocked and infuriated and she screamed at him, “How shameless you are! And how audacious! You killed my brother and Ahlul Bayt and now you want to give compensation for it?”3

Her Eminence, Sakina said: “By Allah! I have not seen anyone as wicked as Yazid and a polytheist and a disbeliever worse than him or an oppressor more tyrannical than him.”4

Yazid was helpless; because he had thought that material wealth would deceive the Ahlul Bayt and he did not realize that they were the hands of the Almighty from whom Allah had kept away all impurities and purified them thoroughly.

Request of Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a)

The worst of the oppressors asked Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) to tell him what he needed. His Eminence (‘a) said: “I want you to show me the face of my father and return whatever has been looted from our ladies; because heirlooms of our ancestors were among those things. And if you want you can kill me. Then send someone to escort my family to Medina.”

Most probably the Imam’s request to see the head of his father was so that Yazid would give it to him and thus he could respectfully assign it to dust. However that oppressor declined this request, it was so because he had ordered to take the severed head around the country to instill awe and fear in people and make it a lesson for anyone contemplating an uprising. But he accepted the demand that looted belongings of the womenfolk be returned to them. This demand of His Eminence did not imply that he was asking for the jewellery, ornaments and other belongings that were plundered in Karbala. Rather the aim of His Eminence was to get back the exquisite heirlooms they had inherited from their great-grandfather, His Eminence, the Holy Prophet (S); like the turban, coat of mail and sword of His Eminence and other things that were more valuable than wealth.

That tyrant bowed his head and became worried about the request of the Holy Imam (‘a), then he raised his head and said to His Eminence: “You will not see the face of your father but whatever has been taken from you will be restored. As for the ladies, they shall not be returned (to Medina) except with you, as I have decided to spare your life.”5

Journey to Medina

Yazid, the tyrant ordered Noman bin Bashir to escort the survivors of the Prophet of God (S).6 In the same way, fearing mischief and unfavorable developments he instructed him to depart with them from Damascus at night time.7

News of Ahlul Bayt’s Return to Medina Arrives

The news of the great tragedy reached Medina before the arrival of the hostages. This information was conveyed to Medina by Abdul Malik bin Harith Salmi under the orders of Ibn Ziyad. He hastened on his journey till he reached Medina exhausted and tired. He went to Ashdaq, the governor of Medina. A man saw him and was afraid of his worrisome condition, so he asked, “What is the news?”

“The news is with the governor.”

That person realized the seriousness of the matter and remarked, “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return! By Allah, Husayn has been killed. Umme Salma was right when she informed about it!”8

Ibn Ziyad’s messenger conveyed the news of the killing of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) to the governor who was absolutely delighted by it and he exclaimed, “A calamity in reprisal of the tragedy of Uthman!”9

Ashdaq ordered that the news be publicized. People were shocked and they began to weep and rushed to the Prophet’s mosque to learn the details of this terrible report.

Ashdaq’s Speech

The oppressor, Amr bin Saeed Ashdaq mounted the pulpit pleased at the killing of Imam (‘a) and rocking his legs in joy. Then he expressed his hatred and malice, saying: “O people! This is an encounter in response to a strike, how numerous are the sermons in front of one discourse:

Consummate wisdom - but warnings do not avail.”10 He spoke ill of us and we praised him. He distanced from us and we reached him. Just like our habit and his habit. But what we could have done for the one who pulled out his sword against us and wanted to kill us except that we drive him away from us!”

Abdullah bin Saeb interrupted his talk in which he was expressing his ridicule at the killing of the blessed grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S), and he said: “If Her Eminence, Fatima were alive and had seen the decapitated head of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) she would wept for him.”

The objection was the beginning of a condemnation that the governor of Medina faced when he was delivering his speech. This matter distressed him greatly, so he shouted back at him: “We are more deserving than you to Fatima. Her father was our uncle, her husband was our brother and her mother was our daughter. If Fatima had been alive her eyes would have wept but she would not have denounced his killers!”11

In this statement, Ashdaq has deviated from all social customs; because he claimed that if Fatima were alive she would not have condemned the killer of her son. Rather he was certain that Her Eminence would have congratulated the sinful killer; because that action of his was in support of the regime of Bani Umayyah spreading of their power which followed all the attitudes of the period of Ignorance.

If Her Eminence, Fatima had been alive, and had seen her beloved son in the desert of Karbala bearing such calamities and tragedies that if they had befallen on any man he would have been devastated, Her Eminence’s heart would have melted with sorrow and grief; because it is reported from His Eminence, the Allah’s Messenger (S) that he said:

“On the Day of Resurrection, my daughter Fatima shall be raised in such a way that she would be carrying clothes smeared in blood and she would be clinging to one of the pillars of the throne (Arsh) and saying: O Allah, dispenser of Justice! Judge between me and the killer of my son. Thus I swear by the Lord of Paradise, Allah will judge in favor of my daughter.”12

Hashemites Devastated

The news of the martyrdom of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) fell like a thunderbolt upon the Hashemites. Wails and laments came out from their houses and the noble lady, Zainab, daughter of Aqil13 came out with her hair disheveled, screaming: Oh Muhammad! Oh Husayna! Oh my brothers! O my relatives!”14

Then she began to recite couplets in which she addressed the Muslims as follows:

“What will you reply if the Prophet asks you what you have done, while you were supposed to be the best of nations?

With my progeny and the companions of my descendants that some of them were made hostages and some killed and bathed in their blood.

This is not the recompense for my favors on you when you have behaved so badly with my relatives after me.”15

Abdul Aswad, while being immersed in sorrow and lamentation replied to her: We shall say: “O our Lord! We have done injustice to ourselves, and if You don’t forgive us and not have mercy on us we shall be of the losers.”

At that moment he became intensely agitated and said:

“I say: While my hatred and fury has increased, may Allah destroy the regime of the progeny of Ziyad.

And drive them away so that they are driven away and terrorized like the Aad and Thamud were driven.

And their camels may not return to them on the day You shall be responding to pleas.”

Weeping and wailing spread everywhere and lamentations and mourning continued in all the localities of Medina. And such mourning had never been observed before.

Mourning of Abdullah bin Ja’far

Abdullah bin Ja’far organized a mourning assembly for his cousin, Husayn (‘a). People came and met him and paid him condolences at such a great calamity. Historians say: Abdullah had a slave named Abdul Salasil, who said to him, “This is what we have received from Husayn!”

That foolish man thought that by saying these words he would earn favors of Abdullah because if His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) hadn’t been there, the two sons of Abdullah bin Ja’far would not have been martyred. When the son of Ja’far heard this, he lost his temper and thrashing the slave with his sandals, said:

“O son of stinking slave girl! Do you say this about Husayn? By Allah! If I had been accompanying him I would not have liked to leave his company till I had been killed with him. By Allah! That which pacifies me regarding the death of my sons and eases my sorrow about them is that those two sons of mine were killed in the company of my cousin, while they were supporting him and observing patience along with him.”

Then he turned towards the people present in the gathering and said: “Thanks be to Allah! Sorrow of the martyrdom of Husayn would have been hard for me, if I did not sacrifice my life upon him, I had (at least) sent two sons of mine with him.”16

Ibn Abbas observes Mourning

Ibn Abbas fell into mourning due to the excessive pain and sorrow when he heard the news of Imam’s martyrdom. He was in the Masjidul Haraam when a man secretly conveyed this news to him and informed him about that horrible tragedy. He became absolutely distressed and was completely devastated.

Muhammad bin Abdullah said to him: “O Aba Abbas! What is the matter?” “A great calamity that has been accepted by the Almighty Allah.”

After that he began to weep and went to his house in a grievous mood. At home he held a mourning program and people came to condole him on this great sorrow and shared in his sadness and grief.17

Masoor and Ibn Zubair

When the news of the martyrdom of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) reached Mecca, Masoor met Ibn Zubair and said, “The news of the killing of Husayn bin Ali, which you desired, has arrived.”

Ibn Zubair resorted to pretence and said, “O Aba Abdur Rahman! You are telling me this? By Allah! Alas, if not a stone remained in Jama.18 By Allah! I never wished thus.”

Masoor told him, “You suggested to him to go to some other province.”

“Yes, I suggested to him but I did not know that he shall be killed, his death was not in my hands. I went to Ibn Abbas and pacified him and I knew that this action of mine would be hard upon him and if I did not go to pay condolence, he would say: “Are people like us ignored and should the sorrow of Husayn be not condoled? So what could I do? My maternal uncles, they have become displeased with us and I don’t know why it is so?”

Masoor counseled him and said, “What was the need for remembering past things? And behave nicely with your maternal uncles as your father was more praiseworthy in their view.”19

Head of Imam Husayn (‘a) in Medina

Most historians believe that Yazid the oppressive one, sent the head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) to Medina in order to spread awe and terror and suppress every uprising against himself. They took the blessed head to Amr bin Saeed Ashdaq. He criticized this act and said, “By Allah, I wished the chief of the believers had not sent his head to me.”

In his gathering was present the lizard, offspring of lizard, that is Marwan bin Hakam who screamed at him, “You have uttered nonsense! Bring it here.”

Then he took up the head, swayed in delight and said in a mocking way:

“What type of friendship is it? That your hands are cold and cheeks colored red.”

They brought the respectable head and placed it in the mosque of the Prophet (S). Ladies of the family of Abu Talib lamented and they rushed to the grave of the Prophet, weeping and wailing. Marwan said:

“Women of Ahlul Bayt cry like the crying of the women of Quraish in mourning those killed in the battle of Badr.”

When Marwan heard the lamentation of the Hashemite ladies he expressed his delight and said: “By God! As if I am seeing the days Uthman was murdered.”20

Looking towards the grave of the Holy Prophet (S) he said, “O Muhammad! A day in reprisal of the day of the battle of Badr.”21

The hatred of Bani Umayyah became obvious and it became known that they had no faith in Islam. They still remained on their previous ignorance and they took revenge from His Eminence, the Holy Prophet (S) by destroying his Progeny.

Return of the Hostages to Karbala

Some sources have mentioned that hostages from Ahlul Bayt requested the escorts appointed for their protection to take them to Karbala that they may renew their pledge at the grave of the Chief of the Martyrs (‘a). They accepted the request and the caravan changed its direction to Karbala. When they reached there, ladies of the Alawite family rushed to the grave of Aba Abdillah (‘a) wailing and lamenting. They wept upon that purified grave and remained there for three days. And they were the most difficult and painful days for Ahlul Bayt. Their lamentations did not cease for a moment till their wails arose and hearts were scorched by their grief.

Some books have mentioned that the famous companion of the Prophet, Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari also arrived there to obtain the honor of visiting the tomb of Abu Abdillah (‘a). He also met Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) who spoke with him and told him about the various hardships and pains that had befallen them. After that they left Karbala and departed for Medina.22

To Medina

The caravan of the hostages from Ahlul Bayt (‘a) set out for Medina, moving at full speed without being delayed by any distraction, while pain and sorrow was hovering on them. The eyes of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S) were filled with tears and they were lamenting the loss of their family members even though more than that, they were constantly remembering their captivity and humiliation of what they had to pass through.

Medina dressed up in raiment of mourning before the arrival of the hostages; because mother of believers, the lady, Umme Salma had passed away one month after the martyrdom of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) in sorrow and grief of His Eminence.23 She had herself informed the people about the killing of His Eminence.

Bashir conveys the news of the Martyrdom of Imam Husayn (‘a)

When Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) reached the outskirts of Medina he halted and got his tent fixed and his aunts and sisters were also made to alight from their vehicles. Then he addressed Bashir Jazlam and said:

O Bashir! Your father (may Allah have mercy on him) was a poet. Are you also able to recite poetry?

I said: Yes, O son of the Holy Prophet! I am a poet.

The Imam: Go to Medina and announce the martyrdom of Abu Abdillah (‘a).

Bashir says: I rode a horse, and rushed to enter Medina. When I reached the Mosque of the Holy Prophet I raised my weeping voice and recited:

“O people of Medina! Now Medina is no more your place (worth living). Husayn has been killed making me weep all the time.

His bleeding body was left in Karbala

And his Holy head was moved from place to place on a spear.”

Thereafter I said: Here is Ali bin Husayn (‘a) who has come to you in Medina with his aunts and sisters and I am his messenger informing you of their whereabouts.

The narrator says: There was not a single respected lady and a veiled woman who did not come out with unveiled face and bare head and they scratched their faces and slapped their cheeks and wept loudly in mourning. Ever since the day of the departure of the Holy Prophet (S) I had not seen so much weeping and mourning of men and women in the Muslim society.24 People came to Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) and gave condolences to His Eminence for that painful tragedy and they shared his grief and sorrow.

Discourse of Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a)

Imam (‘a) decided to speak to the people about the great calamities and hardships that befell them and the pain they suffered as a result of the humiliating and disrespectful way they were taken captives. His Eminence did not possess enough physical strength to stand up to deliver his speech because he was afflicted with illness and the discomforts had weakened him. Thus a chair was procured for His Eminence from which he spoke as follows:

“All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Most Merciful and Most Beneficent. Allah is the Master of the Day of Judgment. He is the Creator of all creatures, the One Who is so far that his height surpasses the highest skies and He is also so near that even the noise of humming bee is not inaudible to Him. We praise Him over great affairs and over tragedies of time and over bitterness of scoldings and over crushing difficulties and hardships.

O people! Praise is for Allah Who testes us through heavy hardships and great calamities in Islam. They have martyred Abu Abdillah (‘a), his household and companions and imprisoned their wives and daughters. They have carried his Holy head on a spear from place to place and so this is a calamity unparalleled.

O People! Now who among you is such that will ever be joyful after this or who is able to stop tears rolling from the eye and who will be stingy in weeping?

Truly the seven heavens wept over his martyrdom, the oceans through the noise of their waves and sky with its pillars and the earth with its tracts and the trees with their branches and the fish in the depths of seas and all the angels near Allah and all in the heavens became tearful.

O people! Which heart is so hard that has not split by his martyrdom and which soul has not inclined towards him and which ear has not deafened after hearing this blow on Islam?

O People! We got up in the morning in such a condition that we were expelled and scattered and driven off away from cities and villages, as if we were Turks or Kabulis. And all this without any fault or mistake or any harm to Islam on our part. We have not heard such a thing in our predecessors. Such allegations are nothing but lies.

By Allah, if the Holy Prophet gives, instead of recommendation, an order for war, it would not result in more oppression than what we have undergone. Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return over such a terrible calamity, so troublesome, so cruel’We complain only to Allah. Verily He is Mighty and able to take revenge.”

Imam spoke in his discourse of the dark calamities that befell the family of prophethood and the terrible persecution that was done on them’.Sa’sa addressed His Eminence and sought his pardon since his illness had prevented him from joining the entourage of Imam Husayn (‘a). The Imam accepted his apology, pardoned him and invoked divine mercy for his father. After that the Imam, accompanied by his aunts and sisters set out for Medina while multitudes of people surrounded His Eminence and their wails and lamentations rose up in the atmosphere. When they reached the Prophet’s Mosque, the senior lady of Abu Talib’s family held the two sides of the mosque door and addressed her grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S) saying: “O my grandfather! I bring to you the news of the martyrdom of my brother, Husayn.”25

Daughters of the Messenger of Allah (S) sat in mourning and held assemblies of lamenting the sorrows of the Chief of the martyrs. They put on black garments of mourning and began to wail and weep with deep sorrow and grief.

Rewarding the Escorts

Ladies of the Alawite family thanked the chief of guards; because they had brought them from Damascus to Medina safely and rendered valuable services to them, hence it was necessary to reward them for it. Fatima, daughter of Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) said to her sister, Zainab: “This man has done good to us, do you think we should offer him a reward for it?”

“By Allah! We don’t have anything that we could have given him, except for our ornaments.”

“Yes, you are right.”

At that time they brought their two bracelets and bangles and sent them to him and politely apologized also.

That man was deeply moved by this gesture. He knew in what straitened circumstances they were. So he returned their gift and respectfully said: “If what we have done was for this world we would have been pleased with these, but by Allah! We have done it only for Allah and for the sake of your relationship with the Messenger of Allah (S).”26

Grief of Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a)

Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) continued to weep upon his father day and night. Imam

Sadiq (‘a) says: “My grandfather, Ali bin al-Husayn (‘a) cried on his father for twenty years. No eatable was presented to him but that he used to start weeping.”27

One of his slaves restrained His Eminence and said, “I fear that you would die of weeping.”

Imam replied to him with utmost kindness: “O man, I complain to the Almighty about my sorrow and grief. I know about a thing from Allah that you don’t. Yaqub was a prophet. Almighty Allah separated one of his sons from him. He was having twelve sons. He knew that he (Yusuf) was alive but yet wept upon him (so much) that his pupils turned white due to grief. I have seen my father, brothers, uncles and companions killed before my eyes. Then how could my grief end? Whenever I recall the killing of the sons of Her Eminence, Fatima, anger bursts my neck and whenever I look at my aunts and sisters I am reminded of their fleeing from one tent to another.”28

Imam’s sorrow increased and his pain intensified whenever he looked at the houses of his family and found them empty and terrifying as they reminded him of the killing of their inmates; because those stars had separated from him, those who illuminated the intellectual and social life of the people. Regarding them the poet says:

“I passed by the houses of the family of Muhammad, but I did not see them moving about in them. May Allah not separate the folks from their houses even though they may have been vacated from it forcibly.”

And Dibil Khuzai says:

“The Madressas have become empty of recitation of the verses of Quran and the abode of revelation has become devoid of its occupants.”

Hashemites Observe Mourning

Hashemites were terribly aggrieved for the Chief of the martyrs (‘a) and they observed mourning for him. They continued to lament on His Eminence for three years. Masoor bin Mukhrama, Abu Huraira and senior companions of the Messenger of Allah (S) used to come secretly, listen to their lamentations and weep bitterly.29

Grief of Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a)

The Lady from Abu Talib’s clan continued to lament the extinction of her family,30her tears never dried and she never stopped crying. Whenever she saw her nephew, His Eminence, Zainul Abideen (‘a) her sorrow and grief intensified31 while tragedies had burst her heart and her body had become frail. So much so that after that tragedy she did not live for more than two years and her soul ascended to the heaven.

Mourning of Rabab

Rabab, the wife of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) deeply mourned her husband and was immersed in intense grief. She was so loyal that her like is not seen; because when the nobles of Quraish proposed to her, she refused to oblige them saying, “After the Messenger of Allah (S), I will not have anyone as my father-in-law. She remained alive for only a year after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (‘a). She never sat in shade till she passed away.32 Historians say that she mourned for His Eminence and composed a very touching dirge which is as follows:

“That Husayn who was such a brilliance that people obtained light from him. He is lying slain in Karbala, unburied and unshrouded.

O Prophet’s grandson, may God give you a good recompense and keep you safe from the loss of the balance.33

You are for me such a lofty mountain, which had given me strength and refuge, and you lived with us with mercy and piety.

Now after you, who can fulfill the needs of orphans and beggars? And who should the poor and the deprived people approach?

By Allah! In place of your relationship, I would not look for another relationship, till I am hidden in the grave.”34

Some historians say: She stayed for a year at the grave of His Eminence and then went away from there reciting: “For a year and after that peace be upon you! As one who completes a year in weeping is excused.”

This report is very improbable; because after the day of Ashura the family of Imam Husayn (‘a) departed from Karbala together and as per the unanimity of historians none of them remained behind.

And the loyalty of the wives of His Eminence was such that Lady Atika Binte Zaid bin Amr bin Nafil, a wife of His Eminence lamented on him and recited the following lines of grief:

“Oh, O, Husayn! I have not forgotten Husayn, that the spears of the enemies striked him.

They left him lying on the ground at Karbala, after him it doesn’t rain at Karbala.”35

Sorrows of Ummul Baneen

Ummul Baneen mourned and lamented for her righteous sons, who had reached martyrdom in the company of their brother, His Eminence, Husayn (‘a); because grief had shattered her heart she wept upon them from the depths of her heart.

Some historians say: She used to go out to the Baqi cemetery and mourn and lament in their grief. People used to gather around her, listen to her plaintive poems for her sons and weep along with her. Among those who came to watch this was Marwan bin Hakam, who despite his hardheartedness and intensity of malice towards Ahlul Bayt (‘a)36 was moved by it.

Allamah Late Sayyid Abdur Razzaq Muqarram has rejected that Ummul Baneen was alive after the tragedy of Karbala and he has written that she had passed away before it,37 while Abul Faraj and all those who have studied this matter have concluded that she was alive.

Fate of the blessed head of Imam Husayn (‘a)

Throughout the ages, generations of people in the same eager way have posed the question: Where was the head of His Eminence, Husayn buried? After the fact that his Holy body has become the place of visitation in Karbala.

And all the people, partisans and non-partisans circumambulate around it. There are many different views of historians regarding the place which got this honor. Some of them are mentioned below:

1. In Karbala

Among Imamite Shias it is generally believed that, that head was respectfully brought back to Karbala and buried with the purified torso. Sayyid Raziuddin Ali bin Tawus has said Shias act in this manner.38 Among those who have stated this matter with textual proof is Majlisi39 and Ibn Numa.40 In the same way it is famous among a large group of Sunni scholars. Some of them are: Shubrawi,41 Ibn Jauzi,42 Biruni,43 Qazwini44 and others. Doubtlessly Shia Imamiyah scholars have preceded other in discussing this topic and have accorded it more significance. Hence they are more likely to have reached to the reality of the matter and have been more successful than all other researchers.

As for the manner in which the severed heads were brought to Karbala and buried with the purified torsos, in our view it is based on one of the two possibilities.

First: Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) requested Yazid to allow him to do this and he accepted this request, because Yazid wanted to satisfy the Imam. On the basis of this, the report that: “When Imam (‘a) asked Yazid to show his father’s face to him, he rejected the request,” is discarded and it is possible that after initial non- acceptance, Yazid later acceded to the request.

Second: When the heads reached Medina, Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) asked the governor for them so that they may be buried with the torsos. He granted his permission. His Eminence took them and returned to Karbala. There he buried them with their respective purified bodies.

2. In Baqi

Some historians believe that the governor of Medina buried that respectable head next to the grave of His Eminence’s mother.45

3. In Najaf

Some traditions related from Imam Sadiq (‘a) prove that the blessed head was buried in Ghurra. They are as follows:

1. It is narrated from Amr bin Talha:

Imam Sadiq (‘a) asked me when he was in Hira: Don’t you want what we promised you? I said: Yes - that is going to the tomb of Amirul Momineen (‘a) - thus His Eminence mounted (his horse) and Ismail also mounted. I mounted with them and rode till we passed by Thuya and arrived between Hira and Najaf and halted at the white fire holder. Ismail also arrived and we dismounted along with him. After that he prayed and Ismail also prayed and I too prayed. He said to Ismail: “Get up and salute your grandfather, Husayn (‘a).” I asked, “May I be sacrificed on you! Is Husayn not buried at Karbala? He replied, “Yes, but the head of His Eminence was taken away, a slave of ours took it and buried it besides Amirul Momineen (‘a)”46

2. Aban bin Taghlib reported: I was with Imam Sadiq (‘a) when he passed by Kufa and recited two units (rakats) of prayer. Then he went ahead a little bit and performed two units of prayer. Again he moved on for some distance and prayed two units again. Then he said: “This is the location of the grave of Amirul Momineen (‘a).” I asked what were those two locations where you previously prayed?” he replied, “The location of His Eminence, Husayn’s head and house of His Eminence, Qaim.”47

3. Ali bin Asbat has narrated through chain of narrators that: Imam Sadiq (‘a) said,

“When you go to Ghari you will see two graves, a big one and a small one. The longer one would be that of Amirul Momineen (‘a) and the smaller one is the head of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a).”48

These were some narrational reports that prove that the blessed head is buried at Ghari, however the term ‘location of the head’ does not prove that it is buried there.”

4. In Damascus

A large number of historians are of the opinion that the blessed head is buried at Damascus. But there is difference of views as regards the location of its burial. Some of the opinions are as follows:

A. In the wall of Damascus.

B. In the Governor’s Palace

C. In the graveyard49

D. Inside the door of Fardis popularly called “Mosque of the Head.”50

E. In the Damascus Mosque.51

F. Other places.

5. In Iran

Ahmad Atiyya52 has mentioned this view which is against the established principle and none of the historians has mentioned it.

6. In Egypt

Some historians are of the view that the blessed head is buried in Cairo but there are two theories how it was transported there:

1. Sherani has mentioned that Her Eminence, Zainab (s.a) transported it to Egypt and got it buried there.53 However this statement is against established method and is not reliable.

2. Maqrizi has narrated that it was transported from Ascalon to Egypt on 10th Jamadiul Aakhir, 548 A.H. it was carried by Saif-al-Mamlika and Qadi Motamin bin Miskeen. It was accorded a warm welcome.54

These were some theories that are put forth concerning the burial of that honorable head. On most of those possible locations, shrines have been constructed where Muslims come for Ziarat (visitation) and all the towns and cities having these sites consider it an honor for themselves.

Anyway, His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) has a place of respect in the hearts of people such that the grave and the remembrance of His Eminence is in the depths of the hearts, because it is the holiest picture that people in all ages and times considered it sanctified.

Abu Bakr Aalusi was asked about the head of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a). He replied in the following couplets:

“Do not search for the head of Husayn in the East and the west. Leave everything and come to me as its burial place is in my heart.”55

And Haaj Mahdi Falaudi has said:

“The presence of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) has not been emphasized at any place neither should you search for it in any cave.

But the sincerity of your love will guide you that it is buried inside my heart.”56

His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) has dominated the emotions of the people and occupied a place in their hearts; they are enamored by his love and purity and the great hardships and calamities that befell His Eminence have aggrieved them. In the same way the hardships of His Eminence have shattered the hearts and the souls are aggrieved due to their intensity.

People hasten to all the locations that are considered as possible sites of the burial of his head. The great tomb in Cairo is always teeming with people who seek blessings from it and consider performing its visitation to be the best form of obeying God and seeking His proximity.

  • 1. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/87-88
  • 2. Tadhib at-Tahdhib 1/157
  • 3. Abdullah bin Nurullah, Awalim Imam Husayn 17/422-423
  • 4. Abdullah bin Nurullah, Awalim Imam Husayn 17/396
  • 5. Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husayn Awalim 17/444-445
  • 6. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/87
  • 7. Jauharatul Kalaam Fi Madhis Saadaatil A’laam, Pg. 128
  • 8. Abdul Aziz Sayyidul Ahl, Zainab binte Ali, Pg. 152
  • 9. Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husayn Awalim 17/389. Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 335
  • 10. Surah Qamar 54:5
  • 11. Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 335
  • 12. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi, Pg. 93
  • 13. Zainab, daughter of Aqil married Ali bin Rukana from the family of Abdul Muttalib and bore him a son and of his daughters is Abda, the mother of Abil Bakhtari known as Qadi. This is mentioned in Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/420
  • 14. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan
  • 15. Majma az-Zawaid 9/199, Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/126-127
  • 16. Tabari, Tarikh 5/466
  • 17. Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/238
  • 18. Jama is an elevated spot near Medina.
  • 19. Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/239
  • 20. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan
  • 21. Sharh Nahjul Balagha 4/72 and of those who have mentioned the arrival of the head in Medina are Balazari in Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/417 and Qadi Noman Misri in Al Manaqib wal Mathalib.
  • 22. Taisar al-Matalib fee Amali Abi Talib, Pg. 93. Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/129. Ahmad Fahmi, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), Pg. 59. Abdullah, Awalim al-Husayn 17/446. Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, Pg. 361
  • 23. Miraat az-Zamaan, Pg. 103
  • 24. Al-Lohoof, Pg. 226-227
  • 25. Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 374-377
  • 26. Tabari, Tarikh 5/462-463. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/88
  • 27. Ahmad Fahmi, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), Pg. 31
  • 28. Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 376-377. And somewhat similarly mentioned in HilyatulAwliya 3/138
  • 29. Daimul Islam 1/230
  • 30. Al-Wafi fil Masaalatush Sharqiya 1/43
  • 31. Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husayn Awalim 17/424
  • 32. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/88. Jawahirul Matalib 2/295
  • 33. On the Day of Judgment
  • 34. Al-Aghani 16/142
  • 35. Mojam al-Buldan 4/445. Al-Aghani 18/62
  • 36. Maqatilut Talibeen, Pg. 56
  • 37. Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, Pg. 336
  • 38. Al-Lohoof, Pg. 225
  • 39. Bihar 45/144. A’laamul Wara, Pg. 250
  • 40. Matheer al-Ahzaan, Pg. 107
  • 41. Al-Ittiaf be Hubbil Ashraaf, Pg. 70
  • 42. Tadkiratul Khawaas Pg. 265
  • 43. Al-Aathaar al-Baqiya (Persian), Pg. 528
  • 44. Ajaaebul Makhlooqaat, Pg. 120 on the margins of Hayatul Haiwan, Vol. 1
  • 45. Shazaratus Zahab 1/67. Miraatul Jinaan 1/126-136. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/204. Waseelatul Maal, Pg. 194. Al Muntazim 5/344. Tabaqat 5/238
  • 46. Wasailush Shia 1/310
  • 47. Furu al-Kafi 4/572
  • 48. Wasailush Shia 10/311
  • 49. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/419
  • 50. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/204
  • 51. Ibne Hayyan Ahmad Tamimi, Tarikhus Sahaba, Pg. 67
  • 52. Dairatul Ma’arif al-Haditha, Pg. 152
  • 53. Tabaqat al-Kubra, 1/27
  • 54. Nurul Absar, Pg. 271
  • 55. Al-Babilyat 3/128
  • 56. Shoara al-Hilla 5/371