O dear ones!
It is recorded that many kings and people who wanted to become famous made plates with their name and lineage inscribed on it. The inscription also included names of those who bowed in front of them and obeyed them. Why was this message inscribed on the plates thousands of years ago? It was so that their name is not forgotten. These signs remained buried under tons of soil and nobody knew about them until the modern day European archeologists sought them. Whatever was removed is not significant.
There is nothing special about it. Similarly, no one cares about the messages recorded in books. They do not consider them important and don’t get attracted towards them because these messages are inscribed on stones and not on hearts. Imam Al-Husayn (A) did not inscribe his message on stones. Instead whatever he spoke flowed along with the waves of air, reached the human ears and got inscribed on their hearts in such a way that it can never be erased. As the poet Josh has said:
Let man wake up at least,
Every community will announce: Al-Husayn is ours
Imam (A) himself was well aware of this fact. He had predicted the future correctly that after that day this Al-Husayn would not be killed again. His name would not be erased however someone may try to erase it and Al-Husayn shall live forever. Please think upon it. Can it be a mere coincidence? No, absolutely not?
Imam Al-Husayn (A) issued a call for help in the final moments on Ashura day. Did Imam Al-Husayn (A) need any helper at that time also? Did Imam Al-Husayn (A) want helpers who would come and get killed? No, Imam Al-Husayn (A) didn’t wanted a helper to defend him from the enemies.
Imam Al-Husayn (A) did not want to remain alive after the martyrdom of his companions, brothers and sons. However the Imam wanted a helper who would have got himself martyred. Therefore, he called out, “Is there anyone to help me?”1 Imam Al-Husayn’s (A) voice reached his camp and women began wailing aloud.2 Imam Al-Husayn (A) sent His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) and a person from Ahl al-Bayt to console the women. They came and comforted the ladies.3
Then Imam himself turned to the camp of the family members. At that moment Lady Zaynab (s.a.) came to Imam Al-Husayn (A) carrying a little baby. Imam Al-Husayn (A) took the baby from her but did not ask,
“O sister! Why have you come out with this baby in such a dangerous situation where arrows are raining continuously from all sides?”
He took the infant in his arms. An arrow came from the enemy and punctured the delicate neck of the baby. What did Imam Al-Husayn (A) do next? How strange his reaction was! When the baby was martyred in the arms of the father, Imam (A) took the blood of his neck in his cupped hand and threw it at the sky saying,
“O sky! Look at this cruelty and be a witness to it.”4
Imam Al-Husayn (A) was broken down because of his injuries during his final moments and fell down on the ground. He used to walk a few steps supported by his hands and then fall down again. He was struck on his neck at that time. Immediately he took his blood in his hands and applied it on his face and said, “I want to meet my Lord in this state only.”
This heart-rending story of Karbala immortalized his message, which would live as long as the world exists.
When the enemy attacked in the late afternoon on the ninth of Muharram, Imam Al-Husayn (A) sent his brother His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) saying, “I want to pray to God tonight, offer Prayer, supplicate and seek repentance. (O brother!)
Stop them till tomorrow morning anyhow. Tomorrow we shall definitely fight with them.” After a discussion, Ibn Saad’s army postponed the war. Imam Al-Husayn (A) performed some important tasks on Ashura eve, which are recorded in history.
First of all, Imam Al-Husayn (A) ordered everyone to sharpen their spears and swords. Jaun who was an expert in sharpening weapons, was busy polishing the arms of the companions. Imam (A) went to him to have a look at his work and inspected the weapons.
Secondly, Imam Al-Husayn (A) ordered the tents to be brought closer. The tents were brought so close to each other that the tent peg of one tent entered another tent and the space between the tents was not enough for even a man to pass through.
Then the Imam ordered the tents to be fixed in such a way that the camp should look like a crescent. A trench was dug behind the tents overnight, which was so wide that no horse could cross it. Thus there was no way for the enemy to attack from behind.
He also ordered that dry leaves and wood be collected so that they could make a fire in the whole trench on the morning of Ashura and ensure that the enemy does not attack from the rear. Now the enemy could attack only from the front, the right and the left sides and they could be sure of safety from the rear.
Imam Al-Husayn (A) gathered his companions in a tent for the last time that night for exhausting the argument. Firstly, he thanked everybody in an eloquent manner. Then he addressed his family members and his companions,
“No Ahl al-Bayt in the world is better than my Ahl al-Bayt and no companions in the world are better than my companions.”
“You all know that the enemy does not want anything except my life. I am the only target of the enemy. If they get hold of me they would not seek anyone from you. Therefore, you all leave the place in the darkness of the night.”
Everyone said, “O Aba Abdillah! How can we do this?” The first one to say this was the Imam’s high-ranking brother, His Eminence, Al-Abbas Ibn Ali (A).
On this occasion we again hear statements which in fact are historical also and imply the best representation and interpretation of the speaker. Every person speaks according to his thinking. Someone said,
“Maula! If I am killed and my body is burnt and my ashes are blown in the air and this process goes on seventy times, then too I would not leave you. Our lowly lives are not worthy of being sacrificed for you.” Another companion said, “Even if I am killed a thousand times, I would not leave you.”5
Incidentally, Muhammad Ibn Basheer Hazrami, who was a companion of Imam (A), received the news in Karbala that his adolescent son is taken hostage in a battle. He did not know what his son would go through? He said, “I cannot bear to remain alive while my son is subjected to this.” When Imam Al-Husayn (A) came to know what calamity had befallen on his companion, he called and thanked him. Imam (A) praised him and said,
“Your son is taken a hostage and it is necessary for someone to bail him out from the clutches of the enemy. There are a few belongings here, which can be sold off to get some money. You take them and bail out your son with the money you get after selling them.” Muhammad Ibn Basheer said, “If I leave you for this, may the wild beasts eat me up alive. Let my son remain a prisoner. Is my son dearer than you?”6
That night, when Imam Al-Husayn (A) exhausted the argument and made everyone announce their loyalty in unison clearly and everybody said, “We would not leave you at any cost,” The Imam said,
“The circumstances are before you. You must know it well that all of us would get martyred.” Everybody said, “This news is a cause of joy for us. We thank God for this opportunity.”
This success is not due to physical strength. It is not obtained till God does not bestow it. A child,who was not more than thirteen years old sat in a comer of the tent. He doubted whether he was included among those who were going to be martyred. The Imam had said that all those who had gathered at that place were going to be martyred the next day. However, the child was a minor and this statement of Imam (A) would have been only for adults. Thus, he asked the Imam,
“O uncle! Does my name appear in the list of those who are going to be martyred tomorrow?”
It is recorded that the Imam cried much on hearing this question. He did not give any reply to Qasim. Imam (A) said,
“Son! Please answer my question first. Then I would answer your question. Tell me, how is death in your view?”
“O uncle! Death is sweeter than honey for me. If you say that I would get martyred tomorrow, it would be great news for me.”
Imam (A) said, “Yes son, but only after you have borne a great calamity.”
“Praise be to Allah! A great catastrophe is going to happen.”
O mourners of the oppressed one of Karbala!
Hold your hearts and ponder. As per the words of Imam Al-Husayn (A), a lot of heart-rending incidents were bound to happen the next day. This thirteen-year-old Qasim comes to the Imam after the martyrdom of His Eminence, Ali Akbar. His body was not well full grown yet, that weapons be hung on it. Armors were made only in adult sizes and even the helmets wouldn’t fit the heads of children.
The child requested, “Uncle dear! Now it’s my turn to go. Please permit me.” It should be remembered that no soldier went to the battlefield without the Imam’s permission on Ashura day. Everybody used to first salute him, “Peace be upon you, O Aba Abdillah!” Then he used to say, “Master! Please give me permission.”
Imam Al-Husayn (A) did not accord the permission to Qasim easily; instead he began to weep on seeing Qasim. Qasim and Imam Al-Husayn (A) hugged each other and wept. It is written that Qasim started kissing the hands and feet of Imam Al-Husayn (A).7
Is it not worth that history should take this into consideration and judge in a better way about the Karbala tragedy? That child was insisting but Imam Al-Husayn (A) did not permit. Even though Imam Al-Husayn (A) wanted to allow him, but his tongue did not let him give the permission. Then spreading his hands he said,
“O reminder of my brother! Come, let me embrace and bid farewell to you.”
Qasim put his arms around Al-Husayn (A) and the uncle held the nephew in embrace. It is written: After that the two of them cried so much that they lost consciousness. (The companions and Ahl al-Bayt of Imam Al-Husayn (A) were watching this sorrowful scene). Then they separated from each another and Qasim quickly mounted the horse and departed for the battlefield.
A narrator from Umar Ibn Saad’s army narrates that all of a sudden he saw a child astride a horse coming towards them. He wore a turban instead of a helmet and sported normal shoes instead of the thonged ones worn during battles. “He looked like a piece of the moon” - that is he was extremely handsome. Then the narrator says: As Qasim came to the battlefield I saw that tears were flowing from his eyes.
In accordance with custom of Arabs, every soldier was supposed to introduce himself after coming to the battlefield. Everybody was amazed and no one knew who this child was. The child reached the battlefield and loudly announced,
“O people! If you don’t me; I am the son of Hasan, the grandson of Prophet Mustafa. And this is Al-Husayn whom you surrounded and did not give even a sip of water from the flowing Euphrates.”
When Qasim went towards the battlefield Imam Al-Husayn (A) stood ready holding the reins of his horse. It looked as if he was waiting to fulfill one of his duties. I don’t know what the state of Imam Al-Husayn (A) was. Imam Al-Husayn (A) waited. Perhaps he awaited the call of Qasim. Suddenly, Qasim called out, “O uncle! Help me!” The narrator says that he could not understand how quickly Imam Al-Husayn (A) mounted the horse and attacked the army.
According to the narrator, Imam (A) went to battlefield like a swift hunter. The people present at the battlefield narrate that Qasim fell from his horse and approximately two hundred horses surrounded him. A person wanted to behead him. As soon as they saw Imam Al-Husayn (A) coming to the battlefield, they panicked and started running hither and thither.
In this process, the person who had come forward to behead Qasim got crushed under the horses’ hooves. The enemy soldiers were so terrified that they selfishly crushed one of their fellow soldiers alive in order to save themselves. There was a huge crowd. Horses galloped fast and nothing was visible due to the dust that arose. As Firdausi says,
“In the expanse of that desert, the hooves of horses divided the earth into six parts and the sky into eight.”
No one knew what was happening. As soon as the dust settled, people saw Qasim’s head in his uncle’s lap.8
(I can never forget what a renowned orator of Qum, late Aqa Ishraqi used to narrate, “Once in the presence of Ayatullah Haeri in one of the Majalis I related the calamities exactly as mentioned in history and Karbala tragedy account without alteration of even a single word. Hearing this, the Ayatullah cried so much that he lost consciousness. Later on, he told me: If you find me among the audience do not relate that part of sufferings as I could not bear to hear it).
Now the condition of Qasim was such that he was thrashing his feet due to the severe pain in his last moments. At that time, people heard Imam Al-Husayn (A) saying, “By God! How unbearable it is for your uncle that you called him for help and but when he reached you he could not do anything for you.”9
There is no power and might except by Allah the High and the Mighty.
- 1. The famous statement Hal min nas’irin yans’urna is recorded in various forms in the books of history as “Is there anyone to protect the sanctity of Holy Prophet? Is there any follower of Monothesim who fears Allah in our matter? Is there anyone to reply our calls for the sake of Allah? Is there any seeker of truth to help us? Is there anyone to protect sanctity of the Holy Prophet (from harm)? Is there anyone to hear our calls for the sake of Allah? Is there any helper to help the holy progeny?” (Firhang al-Ashura, Pg. 271)
- 2. Lohoof, Pg. 116.
- 3. When Imam Husayn (A) had sent His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) and His Eminence, Ali Akbar to give assurance to women, he was standing with the support of his sword and was introducing himself in a loud voice before the battle on Ashura day.
- 4. Lohoof, Pg. 177; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Pg. 476.
- 5. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 44, Pg. 393; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Pg. 395-400.
- 6. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 44, Pg. 393; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Pg. 403.
- 7. It is written in Kerbala narratives: “The child kissed the hands and feet of the Imam until he was granted permission.”
- 8. The speakers who say that the slender body of Qasim was crushed under hooves are requested to refer to the books of Kerbala tragedy and the history of Kerbala. (Rizwani)
- 9. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 239; Lohoof, Pg. 114; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 34; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Pg. 464; Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 680; Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 264.