Exit of Umar bin Sa’ad from Karbala to Kufa

Umar bin Sa’ad halted in Karbala until the Zuhr of the twelfth (of Muharram).

(Malhoof) He gathered the dead bodies of his associates and recited the burial Prayers upon them and buried them, while he left the body of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his companions in the desert.

(Tabari) He ordered Hameed bin Bakr Ahmari to announce to people for setting off to Kufa.

(Malhoof) He took along with him the family of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and mounted the ladies of his family bareheaded upon camels without litters. And he drove this ‘Trust of the Prophethood’ similar to the Turkish and Roman captives, while afflicting them in the worst manner of grief and sorrow. It is rightly said that, “Salutations is presented upon ‘the Chosen One’ from the family of Hashim, while it is astonishing that they fight his progeny”.

It is related in Kamile Bahai, that Umar bin Sa’ad halted there (in Karbala) the entire day of the tenth and the next day until the time of Zuhr. Then he appointed some chiefs and trustworthy men to guard Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) and the daughters of the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) and the other women numbering twenty. The ailing Imam was twenty-two years old, while Imam Baqir (a.s.) was four years old, and both of them were present in Karbala, while Allah protected them both.

It is related in Manaqib, that they arrested the entire family except Sharbano,1 who drowned herself in the Euphrates.

Ibn Abd Rabbah in his Iqdul Fareed says that twelve children from the family of Hashim were taken as captives, including Muhammad and Ali, the sons of Imam Husayn (a.s.), and Fatemah, the daughter of Imam Husayn (a.s.). The pillars of the kingdom of the sons of Abu Sufyan trembled and they did not find ease until kingdom went away from their hands and Abdul Malik bin Marwan wrote to Hajjaj bin Yusuf, “Keep me far away from the blood of this family, for I have seen myself that when the Bani Harb (Bani Umayyah) fought with Imam Husayn (a.s.), their sovereignty was ruined.2

(Tabari) Azdi says that Abu Zuhayr Abasi relates from Qurrah bin Qays Tamimi, that he says that I was on guard when the women of the family (of Imam) were passed by the spot of martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.), their family and children. They started wailing and beating their faces. I can forget everything but can never forget the moment when Zainab (a.s.), the daughter of Fatemah (a.s.), passed by her brother Husayn (a.s.) and saw him fallen upon the ground.

She called out, “O Muhammad! O Muhammad! Salutations of the heavenly angels be upon you! This is Husayn drenched in blood and cut asunder fallen down in the desert. O Muhammad! Your daughters are captivated and your progeny fallen martyred while the wind is sprinkling sand upon their bodies”. He (Qurrah) says that, by Allah! Her words made every friend and foes weep.

It is related in a renowned tradition from Za’edah, that Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) said, that when that what befell us occurred on the plains of Karbala, my father and his companions among his sons, brothers and others fell a martyr, and his women and family were mounted upon camels without litters and taken towards Kufa. My sight fell upon the martyrs who had fallen upon the ground and that none had buried them, my heart pressed. This proved quite severe upon me and it was close that I would have died due to the grief. My aunt Zainab (a.s.), the daughter of Ali (a.s.), perceived my condition and said, “O remembrance of my grandfather, father and brothers! Why do you risk your life?”

I replied, “Why should I not turn restless and not risk my life, when I see my master, my brothers, uncles, cousins and my family fallen down drenched in dust and blood, bare and naked in the desert. They are neither shrouded nor buried, none is besides them nor is any human-being circumambulating them as if they were of Turkish or Dailamite progeny”.

She said, “Do not be disturbed upon what you see. By Allah! Your father and grandfather have received recommendation from the Prophet of Allah (S) to forbear upon this calamity. And Allah has taken pledge from a group of this nation, whom the similitude of Pharaohs of this world do not recognize but they are renowned among the dwellers of heavens, that they shall gather the fragments of these bodies and bury them. And they shall establish a symbol upon the head of the grave of your father on the land of Karbala, which shall remain eternally and shall never be erased. And if the leaders of infidelity and the supporters of misguidance try to erase it, it’s emblem will not but increase abundantly and its affair will exceed day after day”.

  • 1. This Sharbano is not the daughter of Yazdjurd, the mother of Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.), for she had died during childbirth as related in authoritative reports. Thus it goes to say that if this report is true, she has to be another woman named Sharbano, for the mother of an Imam can never commit a grave sin of suicide.
  • 2. One cannot expect such mercy from Abdul Malik bin Marwan, who himself was no less a tyrant than the Bani Umayyah. Abdul Malik was all for violence and acknowledged openly that his policy was usurpation by force, although he violated the principles of religion. When the news of his appointment (upon caliphate) reached him, he was seated with the Qur’an in his lap, he closed it saying, “This is our final parting” (Abul Fida).

    In fact, it was at his instant that his lieutenant and governor Hajjaj bin Yusuf carried out whole-scale massacre in Makkah and Madinah. Catapults were directed towards the Ka’bah and burnt, while Abdullah ibn Zubayr was killed within the limits of the ‘Sacred Sanctuary’. The slaughter of it’s inhabitants continued for three successive days, and numerous companions of the Prophet (S) and Imam Ali (a.s.) were put to sword in the holy twin-cities. One cannot also forget the brutal massacre of such eminent personalities like Kumayl ibn Ziyad, Qambar etc. in contempt of their affection towards Imam Ali (a.s.). The number of persons slain by Hajjaj is put at 120,000, and it is said that there were 50,000 men and 30,000 women in his prison (Mas’oodi) all Hashimites or the Shi’ah. While Abdul Malik was even more ruthless than Hajjaj and even more prepared to break faith and violate amnesties. His enmity with the Prophet (S)’s family is well-known in history.