The 11th of Muharram was the most difficult day for the Ahl al-Bayt of Imam Al-Husayn (A). If we analyze both positive and negative aspects of the incident of Karbala, we would feel that the incident of Karbala is picturizing the conversation between the angels and God Almighty at the time of the creation of Prophet Adam and the reply that Allah gave to them. The angels had said:
أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَنْ يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
What! Will Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? He said: Surely I know what you do not know.(2:30)
The angels had predicted many evils at the time of the creation of human beings in their essence and all of them were displayed in Karbala. On the other hand, the Almighty Allah had said, “O My angels! You are seeing one side of the coin and not the brighter side, which depicts the greatness of a human being.” This human excellence became explicit in Karbala.
Thus, the battlefield of Karbala was very amazing and a testing ground.
Yazid committed such callous deeds in Karbala, which were hardly committed by anyone or by very few. On the whole we can say that there is no match for such callous deeds. One of them was martyring a youth or a child in front of their mothers. In Karbala, eight persons were martyred in front of their mothers or beheaded or cut into them, three were youths and five were children.1
Out of those eight martyrs, one of them is Abdullah, who is mostly known to as Ali Asghar. The mothers of those eight martyrs were present in Karbala. According to reliable books of history, this baby of Imam Al-Husayn (A) was martyred outside the tent. Imam Al-Husayn (A) came inside and said, ‘‘Sister Zaynab! Bring my suckling child so that I bid him farewell.”2
It is narrated that Lady Zaynab (s.a.) brought the baby to the Imam. He took him in his arms and wanted to kiss him. The mother of that baby stood at the entrance of the tent watching this scene when an arrow was shot on the order of Umar Ibn Saad; which penetrated the neck of the little one.
Another such martyr was Qasim, who had a face as lovely as moon. His mother was also present in Karbala.3 However, His Eminence, Ali Akbar’s mother, Laila, was not present in Karbala. Although it is generally narrated that Laila was present in Karbala, the fact is that her name is nowhere mentioned in the events of Karbala.4
Zaynab (s.a.) had seen her son, Aun Ibn Abdullah Ibn Ja‘far Tayyar being martyred in front of her eyes in Karbala.
Two sons of Abdullah Ibn Ja‘far Tayyar had accompanied Imam Al-Husayn (A) to Karbala and both were martyred. One of them was Lady Zaynab’s (s.a.) son.5 It is a proven fact that only one son of Lady Zaynab (s.a.) was martyred in Karbala. The elevated character of Lady Zaynab (s.a.) is worth noticing that none of the books of history have recorded that she cried before or after the martyrdom of her beloved son in his remembrance.
It seemed that whenever she wished to call out the name of her son, she used to stop thinking that it would be a cause of disrespect of her brother, Al-Husayn (A). It means, she used to think that her son was not enough as a sacrifice on Brother Al-Husayn (A).
For instance, Lady Zaynab (s.a.) ran out of the tent at the martyrdom of Ali Akbar and cried, “O my brother! O my nephew!’’6 However, no one saw Lady Zaynab (s.a.) expressing such grief at the martyrdom of her son.
One of the youths from the sons of Muslim Ibn Aqeel was also martyred in front of his mother. That mother was Ruqayya, daughter of Imam Ali (A).7 (All those martyrs were from the progeny of His Eminence, Abu Talib)
Two or three martyrs were from the companions of Imam Al-Husayn (A). One of them was Abdullah Ibn Umair Kalbi8 while it is not known the sons of which companions the others were.9 These two youths were also martyred in front of their mothers. I have already spoken about them in my previous mourning speeches (Majalis).
A ten-year-old child from Ahl al-Bayt was martyred after the martyrdom of Imam Al-Husayn (A). I do not remember his name. When there was chaos in the camp after the martyrdom of Imam Al-Husayn (A), this child ran out.
It is written in books of Karbala tragedy that the child could not understand what was going on and he came out confused. The narrator says that he cannot forget that there were earrings in that child’s ears and his mother was also standing near him when suddenly an oppressor came forward and beheaded that child.10
The martyrdom of one more child, which became a cause of grief for Imam Al-Husayn (A) was Abdullah Ibn Hasan. This son of Imam al-Hasan (A) was ten years old. His mother was present in Karbala.11 He was brought up under the care of Imam Al-Husayn (A).
Imam Al-Husayn (A) loved this memento of his brother very much. It is narrated that when Imam Al-Husayn (A) was lying in the downs of martyrdom during his last moments, this child came out of the tents and ran towards the battlefield.
Lady Zaynab (s.a.) caught hold of him but the child managed to free himself and ran away saying, “I swear by Allah that I would not leave my uncle alone”. Reaching the low-land he fell on Imam Al-Husayn (A). Glory be to Allah! How majestic this patience is!
How great the patience of Al-Husayn is! How calm the heart of Al-Husayn is! Imam Al-Husayn (A) took the child in his arms. The child began talking to him. A killer came forward with his sword to behead the Imam.
The child said, “O illegitimate one! Do you want to martyr my uncle?”112 As soon as the oppressor struck with his sword, the child put forth his hands and they got cut as a result. The child cried for help, “O Uncle! Help me.” Imam Al-Husayn (A) sighed, “O memento of my brother! Be patient. You would soon meet your father and grandfather.”
In the name of Allah and by Allah and on the religion of the Messenger of Allah (S)
- 1. Absarul Ain, Pg 130
- 2. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 693.
- 3. The name of Qasim’s mother was Ramla. She was Umm Walad. Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 263.
- 4. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 675.
- 5. The second son of Abdullah Ibn Ja’far was Muhammad whose mother name was khausa, Maqtal e Husayn, Muqarram, Pg 262.
- 6. It is written as follows in Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 239 and Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. I, Pg. 674: Yaa ukhayyaah wabna ukhayyaah.
- 7. The name of this son of Muslim was Abdullah. Absarul Ain, Pg. 130.
- 8. This youth was Wahab Ibn Abdullah Ibn Habbab Kalbi who was newly married. (Rizwani)
- 9. The name of this child was Amr Ibn Junada Ansari. Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 253.
- 10. The name of this child was Muhammad Ibn Abi Saeed Ibn Aqeel. Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 280.
- 11. Absarul Ain, Pg. 130.
- 12. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 241; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 153; It is written as follows in Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 700: “O son of a dirty person! May Allah curse you! Do you want to kill my uncle?”