Yazid was very happy about killing al-Husayn (‘a) and those with him as well as the capture of the ladies who descended from the Messenger of Allah, peace of Allah be upon him and his progeny.1
He was seen at his court looking very excited, paying no heed to the fact that he was an atheist and an apostate as testified by his citing the poetry of al-Zub’ari quoted above to the extent that he denied that the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (S) had ever received any revelation.
But when he was rebuked by more and more people, it gradually appeared to him how he had failed and erred in what he had committed: a sin the like of which had never been committed by anyone belonging to the Islamic creed.
It was then that he realized the implication of Mu’awiyah's will to him wherein he said, “The people of Iraq shall not leave al-Husayn till they pressure him to revolt. If he rebels against you, forgive him, for he was begotten in sacred wombs, and he enjoys a lofty status”.2
His closest courtiers, and even his family members and women, stayed away from him. He saw with his own eyes and heard with his own ears the statements uttered by the most sacred severed head when he ordered the envoy of the Roman emperor to be killed: La hawla wala quwwata illa billah! (There is neither power nor might except in Allah).3
Yazid's most abominable crime and extreme cruelty were now being discussed at every gathering, and such discussions were finding an echo throughout Damascus. Yazid, at that juncture, had no choice except to shift the blame to the shoulder of [‘Ubaydullah] Ibn Ziyad in order to distance the taunting from him, but what is already established cannot be removed.
When he feared dissension and repercussions, he rushed to get al-Sajjad and the children out of Syria and send them back home. He carried out their wishes, ordering al-Nu’man Ibn Bashir and a number of other men with him to escort them to Medina and to treat them with kindness.4
When they reached Iraq, they asked the road guide to take the highway leading to Karbala’. They reached the place where al-Husayn (‘a) had been martyred. There, they found Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari accompanied by a group of Banu Hashim and some of the family members of the Messenger of Allah (S).
They had all gone there to visit al-Husayn's grave. They met each other weeping and grieving, beating their cheeks. They stayed there mourning al-Husayn (‘a)5 for three days.6
Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari stood at the grave and burst in tears then thrice called out al-Husayn's name, then he said, “Why a loved one does not answer one who loves him?” But soon he answered his own query by saying, “How can he answer while his cheeks are torn, his head separated from his body?
Yet I bear witness that you are the son of the Seal of Prophets (S), the son of the Master of the Faithful (‘a), the son of the inseparable ally of piety, the descendant of guidance, the fifth of the fellows of the kisa’, the son of the master of naqibs, the one who was brought up in the lap of the pious, that you were raised on the milk of iman, that you were weaned with Islam, so you were good when you were alive, and you are so when dead.
But the hearts of the faithful are not pleased with parting with you, nor do they have any doubt about goodness being yours. So peace of Allah be upon you and His Pleasure. And I bear witness that you treaded the same path treaded before you by your brother [prophet] Zachariyya [Zacharias].”
Having said so, Jabir turned his head around the grave as he said, “Assalamo Alaikom, O souls that abide at al-Husayn's courtyard! I bear witness that you upheld the prayers and paid zakat, enjoined what is right and prohibited what is wrong, struggled against the atheists and adored Allah till death overtook you.
By the One Who sent Muhammad, peace of Allah be upon him and upon his Progeny, as His Prophet with the truth, we have a share in what you have earned.”
‘Atiyyah al-’Awfi [his companion who was leading him, since he, a maternal relative and one of the greatest sahabis of Prophet Muhammad (S) was by then a blind old man] asked him, “How so when we did not descend a valley nor ascend a mountain, nor did we strike with a sword, whereas the heads of these people have been severed from their bodies, their sons have been orphaned and their wives widowed?”
Jabir answered: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (S), whom I very much love, saying, ‘One who loves a [certain] people will be lodged with them, and one who loves what some people do will have a share in [the rewards of] their deeds.' By the One Who sent Muhammad (S) as a Prophet with the truth, my intention and that of my companions is identical to the one for which al-Husayn (‘a) and his companions were all killed.”7
- 1. al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa, p. 139.
- 2. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 180.
- 3. ’Abdullah Nur-Allah al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-’Awalim, p. 150.
- 4. al-Mufid, Al-Irshad.
- 5. Ibn Tawus, Al-Luhuf, p. 112. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 79 (old edition).
- 6. al-Qazwini, Riyad al-Ahzan, p. 157.
- 7. Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn Abul-Qasim Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali al-Tabari al-’Amili, Bisharat al-Mustafa, p. 89 (Hayderi Press edition). This author is one of the 5th century A.H./11th century A.D. scholars who were tutored by Shaikh al-Tusi's son.