Today is eve of the Ninth. Hence I would narrate the sufferings of that soldier of the right path who is the greatest in fulfilling the duties of enjoining good and forbidding evil. I intend to speak about His Eminence Al-Abbas (A), whom the Imam has expressed exceeding pleasure.
When the incident of Karbala occurred, there were no means of communication like we have today. The news of Syria used to reach Kufa and Medina after a long time. At times, people would not even get the news of an incident.
The best proof of this fact is this incident of Karbala. Imam Al-Husayn (A) denied paying allegiance to Yazid and went to Mecca from Medina. After that, a number of incidents occurred and the Imam gets martyred.
When the people of Medina got this news, they woke up from a deep slumber, rubbed their eyes and asked, “Is the Imam really martyred? Why was he martyred?” They decided to go to Syria to know the exact cause. Seven or eight people went to Syria for this purpose. After making enquiries for some time, they met the caliph and returned after seeing all the conditions.
When the people of Medina asked about the real matter, they said, “Please don’t ask that. As long as we remained in Syria, we feared that stones will rain from the sky and we would be destroyed.1 (People are denying the truthfulness of this statement of Imam Al-Husayn (A):
“I say farewell to this Islam from a distance, in which an impure ruler. Yazid is inflicting severe atrocities on the people”)
When asked further, they said,
‘‘We are coming back after meeting a man who openly drinks wine, plays with dogs, keeps monkeys as pets and commits all sins.” (Abdullah, son of Hanzala Ghasilul Malaika, used to say that Yazid did not even leave his mother).
He fornicated even with his Mahram women.2 That is those people became certain that the prediction of Imam Al-Husayn (A) was absolutely right because Imam Al-Husayn (A) was aware of these things since before.
On Ashura day, Imam Al-Husayn (A) had said, “I know that these people would kill me but they would also be destroyed very soon after my martyrdom. Not only the progeny of Sufyan but the entire Bani Umayyah would be vanquished” and it happened in this way only.
Later on, Bani Al-Abbas seized the kingdom from Bani Umayyah and ruled for the next five hundred years. Hence, it can be said that the kingdom of Bani Umayyah was shaken up completely after the incident of Karbala.
What can be a greater impact of the incident of Karbala than the fact that it created differences amongst Bani Umayyah and granted spiritual and moral strength to the incident? Let us take the example of Ibn Ziyad who was famous for his stone-heartedness. His brother Uthman Ibn Ziyad told him:
“I wish that entire progeny of Ziyad gets involved in poverty, disgrace and misfortune but does not get defamed because of this crime.”3
Ibn Ziyad’s mother, Marjana was an unchaste woman. However, when her son committed this crime, she said:
“O son! What have you done? Remember, you would not be able to even smell the fragrance of Paradise.”4
Marwan Ibn Hakam, the evil-minded one forever, had a brother named Yahya Ibn Hakam. It is narrated that he got up from his place in the court of Yazid and condemned Yazid saying,
“Wow Yazid! The progeny of Sumayya (children of Ziyad’s mother) and daughters of Sumayya are worthy of honour in your view, but you are treating the progeny of the Holy Prophet (S) in this manner and making them stand like this in the court full of spectators?”5 Yes, the voice of Al-Husayn was being raised from their own houses.
My dear audience!
You might have heard the incident of Yazid’s wife, Hinda. She came out of her house and went to the court and condemned Yazid so much that he denied having killed Al-Husayn and confessed that he was not pleased with this incident and that this act was committed by Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad.6
Imam Al-Husayn’s (A) last prediction was that Yazid would die soon. Eventually, Yazid ruled for the next two or three years somehow and departed for hell at last. His son, Mu’awiyah Ibn Yazid was his heir- apparent. And Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan had tried all means for these circumstances. He mounted the pulpit forty days after the death of Yazid and said:
“O people! My grandfather Mu’awiyah fought with Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A) even though he was not on the right path. Instead Ali was on the right path. Then my father, Yazid fought with Al-Husayn Ibn Ali even though my father was not on the right path and Al-Husayn was on the right path.
Hence I condemn my father and I want to inform you that I consider myself worthy of this caliphate. I don’t want to get involved in sins like my father and grandfather. Thus I leave the post of caliph.”7
Saying this, he came down from the pulpit.
Thus, it can be said that this was the result of strength of blood of Al-Husayn (A) and the power of truth which influenced the friends as well as the enemies.
Imam Ja‘far Al-Sadiq (A) said,
“May Allah have mercy on my uncle, Al-Abbas. He faced the calamities with a smiling countenance. My uncle, Al-Abbas has such a rank near Allah that it is envied by all the martyrs.”8
By Allah! Such a level of bravery, such a pure intention and loyalty! We look at them as embodiment of deeds. We have never examined the spirit of His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) that we can estimate its importance.
His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) was sitting with Imam Al-Husayn (A) in a tent on Ashura eve. Suddenly, a commander from the enemy’s side calls out,
“Send Al-Abbas Ibn Ali and his brothers to me.”
His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) heard this voice but ignored it and continued to sit with the Imam respectfully. Seeing this, the Imam said.
“You should reply even though he is a transgressor.”
His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) came out of the tent to see Shimr Ibn Dhil- jaushan standing there. He was a distant relative of His Eminence, Al-Abbas’ (A) mother and was related to her tribe.
It is narrated that before departing from Kufa, he had taken a letter of par- don for His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) and his brothers. He thought that he has done an excellent job for the benefit of his kinsmen. When he told His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) about the letter of pardon, His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) snapped at him saying:
“May Allah curse you and one who gave this letter of pardon to you! What do you think I am? What do you think about me? Do you think I would leave my Imam and brother, Al-Husayn Ibn Ali, alone, in order to save my life and come with you? The mother who suckled and brought us up has not trained us like this.”9
Imam Ali (A) had four sons from Lady Umm ul-Banin (s.a.). Historians have mentioned that Imam Ali (A) specially requested his brother, Aqeel to find a wife for him10 who would be from the progeny of the brave having inherited valour “so that I may have a brave son from her.’’11
Even though it is not found in history that Imam Ali (A) explained his objective, people who have knowledge of Imam Ali’s (A) predictions and believe them, say that Imam Ali (A) knew about this from the beginning. Aqeel chose Umm ul-Banin (s.a.) and told Ali (A),
“This is the woman as desired by you.” Four children were bom to her, among whom His Eminence, Abul FazI Al-Abbas (A) was the eldest. All four were martyred on the side of Imam Al-Husayn (A) in Karbala.
When Bani Hashim’s turn arrived, His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) told his brothers, “O brothers! I want you all to go to the battlefield before me because I want to suffer the wound of the martyrdom of brothers.” They replied, “We shall do as you order.” Thus, all three brothers went to the battlefield and were martyred.12 After that, His Eminence, Abul FazI Al-Abbas (A) set out.
When Umm ul-Banin (s.a.) got the news that all her four sons were martyred in Karbala with Imam Al-Husayn (A), she began to mourn for them. She used to go to Jannatul Baqi or sit on the road to Iraq and remember and mourn her sons. Other women gathered around her seeing her wail so mournfully.
Marwan Ibn Hakam, governor of Medina and the bitterest enemy of Ahl al-Bayt also used to cry hearing the elegy of lady whenever he passed by the Baqi Cemetery. One of her elegies is as follows:
“O ladies! Do not call me Umm ul-Banin now. A mother of sons is called Umm ul-Banin, mother of brave sons. When you address me this name, I remember my brave sons and my heart shatters. Yes, I was indeed called Umm ul-Banin once, but now I no more remain the ‘mother of sons’.13
In a special elegy for His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A), she says:
“O looking eye that was watching the events of Karbala! Narrate to me the scene when my brave Al-Abbas and before him, his (three) lion-hearted sons had attacked the coward army. Is it true that after the hands of my son were cut off, an oppressor hit him on his head with an iron mace?
“Oh! My brave lion Al-Abbas was hit with a mace on his head.
“O my Al-Abbas! O my dearest one! I know that if your hands were all right the cowardly enemy would not have remained in front of you. The impure enemy dared to do this only because your hands were cut off.”
In the name of Allah and by Allah and on the religion of the Messenger of Allah (S)
- 1. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 44, Pg. 326; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Pg. 285.
- 2. Tarikh Khulafa, Suyuti, Pg. 205.
- 3. Damascus sujum, pg.230
- 4. Ibid. pg 372
- 5. Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 354.
- 6. Ibid., Pg. 355.
- 7. Hayat ul Haiwan al kubra, Vol 1, Pg 16
- 8. Safinat ul-Bihar, Vol. 2, Pg. 155; Al-Abbas, Muqarram, Pg. 69. (This tradition is narrated from Imam Zayn al-Abidin (A) and not from Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (A)) (Nafasul Mahmoom, Pg. 204)
- 9. Lohoof, Pg. 88; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 44, Pg. 391; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al- Husayn, Pg. 389.
- 10. Absarul Ain, Pg. 62; Damaus Sujum, Pg. 176.
- 11. Absarul Ain, Pg. 62;
- 12. The names of His Eminence, Al-Abbas’s (A) brothers were Uthman, Ja’far and Abdullah. Malimul Madrasatain, Vol. 3, Pg. 160.
- 13. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 689.