Imam Al-Husayn (A) had reached certain companions during their last moments or after their martyrdom in the battle of Karbala. Among them, it is certain about two companions that they were former slaves. They were bought and later on emancipated. One of them was a Roman slave and another Jaun, the Ethiopian, who was freed by His Eminence, Abu Zar Ghiffari.
Apparently he did not leave the Ahl al-Bayt even after being freed and continued to serve the family of the Prophet.
Jaun came to Imam Al-Husayn (A) on Ashura day and said, “Master! Please allow me also to go to the battlefield.” Imam (A) said,
“No, it is not the time for you to leave this world. You should remain alive after this battle also. Whatever service you rendered to our family is enough. We are pleased with you.”
Jaun insisted again but the Imam refused to permit. Eventually, he fell at the Imam’s feet, kissed his feet and said, “Master! Do not deprive me from martyrdom.” After that, Jaun made such a statement that the Imam could not restrain him any longer.
Jaun said. “Master! I know why you are not allowing me. It is so because I am such a lowly person that I do not deserve this honour. How can I get the rank of martyrdom with my black skin, impure blood and smelly body?”
Imam (A) replied,
“No Jaun, it is not so. The reason behind not permitting you is not what you thought. If you really want to go, you may go.”
Jaun gave a wide smile on hearing this. He began to rock in joy, recited the war poem and set out towards the battlefield happily. He fought bravely and sacrificed his life on his master.
Imam Al-Husayn (A) was watching Jaun’s fight. As soon as Jaun fell from his horse, the Imam ran towards him and sat near his head. He prayed to the Lord:
“O Lord! Make his face bright in this world and the hereafter. Change his body odor into sweet fragrance and resurrect him along with holy men (It must be remembered that the rank of holy men is above the rank of the pious).1 O Lord! Maintain friendship between him and the progeny of Muhammad in the hereafter.”2
There was another slave in Karbala, and he was Roman and he was also martyred in the company of Imam Al-Husayn (A). When he fell from his horse and Imam Al-Husayn (A) reached near him, a strange thing happened.
Either this slave was unconscious or his eyes were filled with blood. It is narrated that Imam Al-Husayn (A) took his head in his lap and wiped the blood from his face and eyes. Suddenly this slave regained consciousness. He looked at the holy face of Imam Al-Husayn (A) and smiled.
Imam (A) placed his check on the cheek of that slave. It is that gesture which the Imam adopted only with this slave and with his son, Ali Akbar. Such a gesture is not recorded with anyone else; that is “he kept his cheek on his cheek.” Seeing this affection, the slave became extremely happy. He just smiled and went on to meet the Lord.3
(Master!) If you come near my head as a doctor I would not forgot the tastefulness of illness even in exchange of both the worlds.
The slave’s head was in the Imam’s lap when his soul flew away from the material cage.