Compilers of Karbala tragedy account write that on the Ashura day the enthusiasm of the companions of Al-Husayn was obvious. As long as the helpers of Imam Al-Husayn (A) were alive, they did not allow anyone from the family of the Holy Prophet (S) to go to the battlefield.
The companions used to say, “Master! Please allow us first so that we fulfill our duty. After we are martyred, it is upto you to decide what to do.”
The Ahl al-Bayt of the Holy Prophet (S) were awaiting their turns. No sooner did the last companion of Imam Al-Husayn (A) got martyred than a wave of enthusiasm ran among the Hashimite youths. All of them stood in their places. It is recorded that they started bidding farewell to each other.1 They embraced and kissed each other.
His Eminence, Ali Akbar, the young son of Imam Al-Husayn (A) was the first to receive permission to go to the battlefield. He was that youth about whom Imam Al-Husayn (A) had testified that he was an exact copy of the Holy Prophet (S) as regards looks, character, speech and manners.
He resembled the Prophet most. When Ali Akbar talked, it appeared as if the Holy Prophet was talking. He looked like the Holy Prophet (S) so much that Imam Al-Husayn (A) used to say,
“O God! You know that whenever I desire to have a look at my holy grandfather. I look at this young man.”
Ali Akbar came to his holy father and said, “O father! Please permit me to go for Jihad.” It is recorded about a number of companions especially, the youths, that when they used to come for permission, Imam used to delay by making some excuse as you might have heard in the case of Qasim. However, when Ali Akbar sought permission, Imam bowed his head and the adolescent son left for the battlefield.
It is recorded that Imam Al-Husayn (A) gave a look at that youth with his half-open eyes then looked at him sorrowfully.2
Then Ali Akbar moved his horse towards the battlefield and Imam Al-Husayn (A) followed him a few steps and said,
“O God! Please bear witness that the youth who is going towards those oppressors, is a facsimile of Your Prophet.”
Then Imam said something to Umar Ibn Saad in such a loud voice that even he could hear it, “O Ibn Saad! May Allah cut off your generations because you have cut of my generation by martyring this son.”3
Just two or three years after this curse, Mukhtar killed Umar Ibn Saad. When Umar Ibn Saad’s son came to Mukhtar to bail out his father, Umar Ibn Saad’s head was brought to Mukhtar in the court covered by a cloth.
The son who had come to save his father was asked, “Do you know this person?” He came forward and removed the cloth only to see that it was his father’s head. Seeing this, he tried to escape but Mukhtar ordered: “Send him also to his father.”4
Historians are unanimous that His Eminence, Ali Akbar fought bravely and then returned to his father. It is a historical puzzle what his aim was and why Ali Akbar had returned to his father?
He came back and said, “O father! I am dying of thirst. If I get a little water I would get a new life and I would be able to go and fight.” These words moved his father. The Imam said, “Yes, O son! See that my mouth is drier than yours but I promise you that very soon my grandfather, the Holy Prophet (S) will satisfy you (with the drink of Kauthar).” Hearing this, Ali Akbar went to the battlefield again for Jihad.
Hamid Ibn Muslim who is called a narrator in terminology was present in Karbala as a reporter. He did not participate in the battle but he has narrated a number of incidents. He says that a person was standing near him.
Whenever His Eminence, Ali Akbar used to attack, people ran away from him. Seeing this, that person got angry because he was a brave man. He told the reporter, “By God! If he passes by me I would surely injure the heart of his father gravely,” Hamid asked him, “What enmity have you got with this youth? After all, those people are going to martyr him.”
He said, “No” As soon as His Eminence. Ali Akbar passed by his side, the man attacked him with a spear so hard that he could not control himself and hung himself onto the neck of the horse and shouted for help, “O father! Grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S) has come to take me along.”5
Writers of Karbala tragedy have mentioned a strange statement at this point:
“The horse took him through the army of the enemies and they hit him with the swords cutting his delicate body into pieces.”6
وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنْقَلَبٍ يَنْقَلِبُونَ
And they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back. (26:227).
- 1. Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 255; Nafasul Mahmoom, Pg. 312; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 32.
- 2. Lohoof, Pg. 113; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Pg. 460.
- 3. Ibid.
- 4. Damaus Sujum, Pg. 365.
- 5. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 44; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Pg. 462; Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 259.
- 6. Ibid.