Martyrdom of Meytham bin Yahya at Tammar
During the period of the martyrdom of Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.), the other significant events, which occurred, are the martyrdom of Meytham at Tammar and Rushayd al Hajari. Besides it is appropriate that we quote here the martyrdom of Hujr bin Adi and ‘Amr bin Humaq.
Meytham was one of the distinct and favorite companions of the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.), rather he, ‘Amr bin Humaq, Muhammad bin Abu Bakr and Oways Qarani were among his disciples. Keeping in mind their merit and worthiness, Imam Ali (a.s.) had trained them with concealed knowledge and mysteries, which would occasionally be apparent from them.
Once Meytham told Abdullah bin Abbas, who was one of the students of Imam Ali (a.s.) and had learnt the Qur’anic Exegeses from him, and whom Muhammad bin Hanafiyah had referred to as “the Divine of the nation” that, “O son of Abbas! Ask from me whatever you desire regarding the interpretation of the Qur’an, as I have recited the revelations of the Qur’an before Imam Ali (a.s.) and have received it’s interpretation from him.” Abdullah bin Abbas addressed his maid servant saying, “Bring me a paper and pen”, and started writing down.
It is narrated that when the order was issued to hang Meytham he called out in a loud voice saying, “O people! Whoever desires to listen to the mysterious sayings of the Commander of the faithful Ali (a.s.), come closer to me.” Hearing this people gathered around him and he started narrating the astonishing traditions. While this dignified personality (Allah’s Mercy be upon him), was among the abstinents and was such that the skin of his body had dried due to excessive worship and abstinence.
In Kitab al Gharat it is related by Ibraheem Saqafi, that Imam Ali (a.s.) had trained Meytham in abundant knowledge and concealed mysteries, which he would occasionally relate to the people, after hearing which the Kufans would fall in doubt and accuse Imam Ali (a.s.) of sorcery and deceit (for they could not digest and comprehend it). One day Imam Ali (a.s.), in the presence of a large gathering of some of his genuine followers as well as the skeptical ones said,
“O Meytham! After my death you will be seized and will be hanged. Then on the preceding day blood shall ooze from your nose and mouth, which will dye your beard. Then on the third day a weapon will be pierced in your stomach, which will result in your death, thus look forward to that day. The place where you shall be hanged is facing the house of ‘Amr bin Hurays. You shall be the tenth one from among those people who shall be hanged, while the timber of your gallow will be the shortest among all, and it will be nearer to the ground. And I shall show you the palm-tree on whose trunk you shall be hanged.”
Then after two days he showed him the palm-tree. Thereafter Meytham always came near the tree and recited Prayers and would say, “What a blessed palm-tree you are, for you have been created and are growing up for me “.
After the martyrdom of Imam Ali (a.s.), Meytham often went to visit the palm-tree until it was cut down, then he looked after it’s trunks. He would go to ‘Amr bin Hurays and say, “I will be your neighbor, thus fulfill the rights of neighborhood well.” ‘Amr would not understand his meaning and would ask, “Do you intend buying the house of Ibn Mas’ood or Ibn Hakeem”?
In Kitabul Fazael it is written that Imam Ali (a.s.) often came out of the Mosque of Kufa and sat near Meytham talking to him. One day as usual he came to Meytham and said,
“Should not I give you glad tidings”?
Meytham asked him as to what it was. He said,
“One day you shall be hanged.”
He asked, “O my Master! Will I die the death of a Muslim”? Imam answered in the affirmative.
Aqiqi relates that Abu Ja’far Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.) held Meytham very dear, while Meytham was a believer, was grateful in prosperity and forbearing in adversity.
It is related in Manhajul Maqal from Shaikh Kashshi, who relates through his chain of transmitters reaching Fazl bin Zubayr, who relates that one day Meytham was mounted on his horse when he passed by Habib bin Mazahir Asadi, who was near a group of the people of Bani Asad. They started speaking to one another in a manner that the necks of their horses had joined each other.
Habib said, “Verily I see an old bald man with a large belly who sells watermelon near Darur Rizq. He shall be hanged because of his love for the Prophet’s Household (Ahlul Bayt) (a.s.) and his stomach shall be punctured on the gallows itself.”
Meytham said, “I too recognize a red-faced man who has two long tresses, he shall go to defend and aid the grandson of the Prophet and shall be killed, while his severed head will be paraded in Kufa.” Saying this they both departed from one another. The people who were present there and heard their conversation said, “We have never seen greater liars than these two.”
Now they had not yet dispersed when Rushayd Hajari came to search them (Meytham and Habib) and asked the people their whereabouts. The people said that they had left and related to him their conversation. Rushayd said, “May Allah’s blessings be upon Meytham, he forgot to say one sentence, that the one who gets the severed head to Kufa will get a reward of a hundred dirhams”, saying this he left.
When people heard him they said, “Verily he is a more greater liar than them.” These people then say that after a lapse of some days we saw Meytham on the gallows near the house of ‘Amr bin Hurays, and the severed head of Habib bin Mazahir being paraded in Kufa after he was martyred along with Imam Husayn (a.s.). Thus we witnessed with our own eyes whatever those men had predicted.
Meytham says that one day Imam Ali (a.s.) called me and said,
“What will be your state at that time O Meytham, when the man, whose father is not known, but the Bani Umayyah have included him among them (viz. Ubaydullah bin Ziyad) will call you and order you to disassociate yourself from me?”
I said, “O Commander of the faithful! By Allah! I shall never disassociate myself from you.” He said,
“In that case you shall be killed and hanged on the gallows.”
I retorted, “By Allah! I shall forebear, while this is quite insignificant in the way of Allah.” Imam said,
“O Meytham! You shall then be along with me in my status (in Paradise).”
Saleh bin Meytham relates that Abu Khalid Tammar has narrated to me, that one day I was with Meytham in the river of Euphrates on Friday, when a storm started. Meytham, who was sitting in a boat called Ziyan, came out and looking towards the storm said, “Tie the boats firmly, for I see a fearful storm ensuing, while Mu’awiyah has just died.”
When next Friday dawned, a messenger came from Syria. I met him and inquired about the reports therein. He said that, “The people therein are in a good state. Mu’awiyah has died and people are taking the oath of allegiance to Yazid.” I asked him as to which day he died, to which he replied that it was on the last Friday.
Shaheed al Awwal Shaikh Muhammad bin Maki has related that Meytham said: One day my Master, the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.), took me out of Kufa to the desert until we reached the Mosque of Ja’fi. Then he turned towards the Qibla and recited four units of Prayers. After finishing the Prayers he glorified Allah and stretched his hands saying,
“O Lord! How shall I call upon You when I have disobeyed You. And how shall I not call upon You when I recognize You and Your love is present in my heart. I have stretched my hands full of sins in Your presence and my eyes full of desires ...... (till the end of a long supplication).”
Then he recited a supplication in a silent tone and fell into prostration and repeated, “Al Afw” (O Pardoner) a hundred times. Then he arose and came out of the Mosque and I started following him until we reached a desert. Then Imam drew a line and said,
“Beware, do not cross this line.”
Saying this he went away from me. The night being dark I said to myself, “You have left your Master alone in spite of several of his enemies, what will be your excuse in the presence of Allah and His Prophet? By Allah! I will follow him so as to inquire his condition in spite of disobeying his orders.”
Hence I followed him and saw him bending his upper body with his head into a well and talking with it, while hearing to it too. He became aware that someone was with him; hence he turned towards me and asked who it was. I replied that I was Meytham. He said,
“Did not I order you not to cross the line”?
I replied, “O my Master! I was afraid lest your enemies might harm you, thus I was uneasy.” He asked,
“Have you heard whatever I said (to the well)”?
I replied in the negative. He continued,
“O Meytham! My heart contains mysteries, and when it becomes narrow on account of it, I dig the earth with my fists and bury the mysteries under the stones, the Beeches grow from the earth, among my seeds this tunes in.”
Shaikh Mufeed writes in Irshad that Meytham was a retainer of one of the women of Bani Asad. Imam Ali (a.s.) bought him from her and freed him. He asked his name, to which he replied that his name was Salim. Imam said,
“The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) informed me that the name your father had kept in Persia was Meytham.”
Meytham replied, “Verily the Prophet of Allah (S) and the Commander of the faithful (a.s.) speaks the truth. By Allah! That is my name.” Imam said,
“Then return to the name by which the Prophet has addressed you and leave the name Salim, while your agnomen (Kuniyah)1 should be Abu Salim.”
One day Imam Ali (a.s.) told him,
“After my death you will be arrested and put to the gallows and a weapon shall be pierced into your stomach. Then on the third day blood will come forth from your nose and mouth, which will dye your beard, thus await that dye. You shall be hanged at the door of ‘Amr bin Hurays, you being the tenth (to be crucified among other nine), while the timber of your gallow will be the shortest and will be the nearest to the ground than others. Come, I shall show you the Palm-tree by whose trunk you shall be hanged.”
Then he showed him the Palm-tree. Meytham often visited the tree and Prayed below it and would say, “What a blessed palm-tree you are, that I have been made for you and you have been made for me.” He often went near the tree and took care of it until it was cut down. He knew that place in Kufa where he would be hanged.
He often visited ‘Amr bin Hurays and would say, “I shall soon be your neighbor, thus be a fair neighbor to me.” ‘Amr would say, “Are you buying the house of Ibn Mas’ood or Ibn Hakeem”? For he was not aware as to what Meytham meant.
The year, in which he was martyred, Meytham went for Hajj and thereafter went to the presence of Umm Salama (a.s.). Umm Salama asked him as to who he was and he replied that he was Meytham. She said, “By Allah! I have often heard the Prophet remember your name at mid-night.”
Then Meytham inquired about Imam Husayn (a.s.) from Umm Salama, to which she replied that he was in his garden. He said, “Please tell him that I would have loved to offer my salutations to him, but Allah willing, we shall meet one another in the presence of the Lord of the worlds.” Umm Salama called for some scent and perfumed Meytham’s beard with it and said, “Very soon it will be dyed with blood.”
Thereafter Meytham went to Kufa and was seized and taken to Ubaydullah. Ubaydullah was told that, “This man is the most beloved of Ali.” He said, “Woe be to you! This Persian man”? He was replied in the affirmative. Then Ubaydullah asked Meytham, “Where is your Lord”? Meytham replied, “In ambush of the oppressors, while you are one of the oppressors.”
Ubaydullah said, “Even after being a Persian (non-Arab) you say what you mean (your Arabic is eloquent). Tell me then, what your Master (Imam Ali) predicted to you as to what I shall do to you”? Meytham replied, “Yes, he did tell us that I will be the tenth one whom you shall put to the gallows, and that the timber of my gallow would be the shortest, and also that I shall be closer to the ground than them.” Ubaydullah said, “By Allah! I shall do the opposite of what he said.” Meytham replied, “How can you do the opposite, when by Allah, Imam Ali (a.s.) had heard it from the Prophet (S), while he had heard it from Jibra’eel, who in turn heard it from the Almighty. How can you oppose them? And I even know the place in Kufa where I shall be hanged, and I shall be the first in Islam to be bridled.”
Thus Meytham was imprisoned along with Mukhtar bin Abu Ubaydah Saqafi. Meytham told Mukhtar, “You shall be freed from here and will rise to avenge the blood of Imam Husayn (a.s.), and you shall kill him who will kill us.” When Ubaydullah called for Mukhtar to be killed, a message arrived from Yazid ordering him to free Mukhtar. He released him and ordered Meytham to be crucified.
He came out of the prison and confronted a man who told him that, “Do you not have the ability to free yourself from this”? Meytham smiled and pointing to the Palm-tree said, “I have been created for it and it has been brought up for me.”
When Meytham was hanged on the gallows, people gathered around him at the door of the house of ‘Amr bin Hurays who said, “By Allah! He often said that he would be my neighbor.” When Meytham was crucified, ‘Amr ordered his maid to sweep the ground beneath and sprinkle water and fumigate it.” Meytham then started relating the virtues of Bani Hashim on the gallows.
News reached Ubaydullah that the slave had insulted him to which he ordered that a bridle should be put in his mouth; hence Meytham was the first man in Islam to be bridled. Meytham was martyred ten days before Imam Husayn (a.s.) came to Iraq. On the third day a weapon (probably a spear) was pierced into his stomach and he exclaimed “Allaho Akbar”, and at the end of the day blood oozed from his nose and mouth. (May Allah's Mercy and Blessing be Upon him)
It is related that seven date-sellers pledged that they would take the corpse of Meytham from there and bury him. During night they came there when the guards had lightened a fire and could not see them. They took him down from the gallows and buried him near the stream in the street of Bani Murad, and threw away the gallow into the garbage. When morning dawned the horsemen went in pursuit of them but failed to find them.
I (the author) say that among the progeny of Meytham is Abul Hasan Meytham bin Ali bin Isma’il bin Shu’ayb bin Meytham at Tammar, who was a Shi’ah Mutakallim (Scholastic) during the times of Mamoon and Mu’tasim. He held debates with the atheists and opponents, and his contemporary was Abu Huzayl Allaf, the chief of Mu’tazilah in Basra.
Shaikh Mufeed narrates that Ali bin Meytham once asked Abu Huzayl Allaf that, “Do you not believe that Iblees (Shaitan) restrains from performing all good deeds and that he invites towards the evil”? Abu Huzayl replied in the affirmative. Ali said, “Then does he invite towards evil without being unaware that it is evil, and he stops from good without knowing that it is good”?
Abu Huzayl replied, “Yes, he knows all that.” Abul Hasan (Ali) continued, “Thus it is proved that Shaitan is aware of all that is good or evil.” Abu Huzayl agreed to it, to which Ali said, “Then tell me about the Imam (Caliph) after the Prophet whether he knew all that was good or evil”? Abu Huzayl replied in the negative. Ali said, “Then Shaitan is more learned than your Imam.” Hearing this Abu Huzayl was dumb-founded.
It should be noted that frequently Meytham is pronounced with a Kisrah (a vowel coming below an alphabet) below meen (as Meytham), but some write the name of Maysam bin Ali Bahrani, the expounder of Nahjul Balagha, with the Fatha (a vowel coming above an alphabet) of meem (as Maysam).
Hajar is one of the cities, which is the governor’s seat of Bahrayn or is its district. The commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) gave him the name of Rushayd al Balaya (Rushayd of Trials) and trained him in the Science of trials and death (Ilmul Balaya wal Manaya). Thus he predicted how a person would die or how such and such person would be killed, and whatever he said came out to be the truth. In the episode of Meytham we have related how he predicted regarding (the Martyrdom of) Habib bin Mazahir.
I recollect from the Ta’leeqah of Shaikh Bahai that Shaikh Kaf’ami has included Rushayd among the porters of Imams (a.s.).
It has been related in Ikhtisas, that when Ziyad (the father of Ubaydullah), was in pursuit of Rushayd, he went underground. One day he came to Abu Arakah, who was sitting on the door of his house with some of his friends, and entered therein. Abu Arakah was alarmed and followed him in fright. Then he told Rushayd, “Woe be to you! You have killed me and orphaned my children while spreading ruination.” Rushayd asked him as to why he said that. Abu Arakah replied, “These people are in search of you and you come to my house, when the people present here see you”? Rushayd said, “None of them have seen me.” Abu Arakah said, “Are you joking with me”? Then he caught hold of him, tied his hands, locked him in a room and closed the door and came out to his friends and said, “I sense that now an old man entered my house.”
They replied that they had not seen anyone entering therein. He repeated his question and they replied in the negative and hence he became silent. Then he feared lest someone else might have seen him, and hence went to the court of Ziyad to investigate whether they discussed Rushayd or no, and if they were aware (that Rushayd is in his house), he would hand him over to them. Thus he went and saluted Ziyad and sat near him. There was a cool atmosphere therein when suddenly he saw Rushayd, seated on a mule, coming towards Ziyad.
As soon as he saw him, the color of his face changed and was bewildered and was sure of his death. Rushayd entered therein and saluted Ziyad. On seeing him Ziyad arose and embraced and kissed him. Then he welcomed him and asked him as to how he was and inquired about his family and stroked his beard affectionately. Rushyad sat there for sometime and then arose and left. Abu Arakah asked Ziyad, “May your Lord reconcile you! Who was this nobleman”?
He replied that the man was among his Syrian friends, who came to visit him. Hearing this Abu Arakah arose and rushed towards his house. He entered therein and saw Rushayd in the manner he had left him. Abu Arakah said, “Now when you possess this art that I have just witnessed, do as you wish and come to my house as and when you desire.”2
The author says that the above referred Abu Arakah is from the clan of Bajilah and is from among the companions of Imam Ali (a.s.). While Barqi says that he was from Yemen and includes him among Imam’s companions like Asbagh bin Nabatah, Malik Ashtar and Kumayl bin Ziyad.
The family of Abu Arakah is renowned among the Shi’ah biographers and the transmitters of traditions of Imams (a.s.) like Basheer Nabbal and Shajarah who were the sons of Maymoon bin Abu Arakah. While Ishaq bin Basheer, Ali bin Shajarah and Hasan bin Shajarah were all among the prominent and noblemen.
While the treatment of Abu Arakah with Rushayd was not due to his less distinction but because of the fear of his life, and because Ziyad was strongly in pursuit of Rushayd and other Shi’ah of Imam Ali (a.s.). He persecuted them, as also those who befriended them, hosted them or gave them shelter. Here the honor and manliness of Hani is apparent that he hosted Muslim bin Aqeel (in site of such harsh prohibitions), and gave him shelter in his house and sacrificed his life for him. May Allah sanctify his grave and descent Paradise unto him.
Shaikh Kashshi relates from Abi Hayyan Bajali who relates from Qinwa, the daughter of Rushayd. Abu Hayyan says that I told Qinwa to relate to me all that she had heard from her father. She said: I heard my father say that Imam Ali (a.s.) has informed me and said that,
“O Rushayd! How will you forebear when the one (Ziyad), whom the Bani Umayyah have included among themselves, will call upon you and amputate your feet, hands, and tongue”?
I asked, “O commander of the faithful! Will Paradise be the outcome of this”? Imam replied,
“O Rushayd! You are along with me in this world as well as the hereafter.”
Qinwa says that some days passed when Ubaydullah bin Ziyad, the illegitimate one, (Ubaydullah is an error of the narrator, while the correct one is his father Ziyad) called him. Then he told Rushayd to disassociate himself from Imam Ali (a.s.) and the guard struck him to utter this. The illegitimate (Ziyad) said, “You have been informed about it, then how do you wish to die”? Rushayd replied, “My friend (Imam Ali) had told me that I will be forced to disassociate myself from him, and that when I refuse to do so, both of my hands, feet and my tongue shall be cut.” Ziyad said, “Now by Allah! I shall belie his words.”
Then he ordered him to be brought forward, his hands and feet should be amputated while his tongue should be left intact. I (Qinwa) caught hold of his hands and feet and said, “O dear father! Do you feel the pain due to what has befallen you”? He replied, “No, but similar to a person who is trapped in the midst of people.” When they brought him out of the palace people started gathering at a distance away from him. He said, “Go and bring me ink and paper so that I may write down for you all that is destined to occur till the Qiyamah.” Then a barber was sent who cut off his tongue and he died the same night. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him)
Fuzayl bin Zubayr says that one day Imam Ali (a.s.), accompanied with his companions went to a garden named Barna and sat under the shade of a Palm-tree. He called for some dates, which were plucked from the trees, and brought to him. Rushayd Hajari said, “O Commander of the faithful! How good these dates are.” He answered,
“O Rushayd! You shall be crucified on the trunk of this Palm-tree.”
Rushayd says that constantly in the morning as well as the evening I watered the tree. After the demise of Imam Ali (a.s.), when I passed by the tree, I saw that the branches of the tree had been cut down and I said to myself, “Now my end has drawn near.” After some days a headman came to me and said that the commander desired to see me. I went to the palace and saw the timber of the Palm-tree gathered there. When I came the other day I saw that the second part of the tree was made into a ring and was bound on both the sides of the well to draw water from it.
I said to myself, “Verily my friend has not lied to me.” (Another day) The headman came to me and said that the commander desired to see me. When I entered the palace, I saw the timber kept therein and the ring too was there. I went near the ring and striking it with my foot, said, “You have been fostered and grown up for me.”
Then I went to Ubaydullah and he said, “Relate to me the lies which your master has said.” I said, “By Allah! I am not a liar nor was he a liar. My master has foretold me that you will cut off my hands, feet and tongue.” He said, “Verily I shall belie his words. Take him away and cut off his hands and feet.” When they took him outside near his people, he started relating some important matters to them, then he said, “Ask me, for I owe this nation one thing which they have not returned back.” Hearing this a man went to Ibn Ziyad and said, “What have you done, you have cut his hands and feet and he has started relating important matters to the people.”
Ibn Ziyad ordered that he should be brought back. When he was brought back, Ibn Ziyad ordered that his tongue should be cut off and then crucified.
Shaikh Mufeed relates from Ziyad bin Nasr Harisi, who says that I was with Ziyad when they brought Rushayd al Hajari. Ziyad asked him, “What has Ali told you regarding that which we shall do to you”? Rushayd replied, “That you will cut off my hands and feet and thereafter crucify me.” Ziyad said, “By Allah! I shall falsify his prophecy, let him go away.”
When Rushayd started going out Ziyad said, “By Allah! I do not consider any other thing worst for him than what has been foretold by his master. Then cut off his hands and feet and hang him on the gallows.” Hearing this Rushayd said, “Far be it, another prophecy remains which has been foretold to me by Imam Ali (a.s.).” Ziyad said, “Cut off his tongue”, to which Rushayd said, “By Allah! This is the verification of the report of the Commander of the faithful (a.s.).”
Hujr was among the companions of Imam Ali (a.s.) and the one receiving the allowances, he was called Hujr al Khayr (Hujr of goodness). He was renowned for his abstinence, abundance of worship and Prayers. It has been narrated that every day and night he recited a thousand units (Rak’at) of Prayers (Salat) and was among the learned companions.
Although of a less age, he was included among their noble ones. In the battle of Siffīn he was the standard bearer of the clan of Kinda, and in the battle of Naharwan he was the commander of the right wing in the left part (of the army of Imam Ali).
Fazl bin Shazan says that among the great noblemen, chiefs and pious Tabe’een3 were Jandab bin Zuhayrah the killer of magicians, Abdullah bin Budayl, Hujr bin Adi, Sulayman bin Surad, Musayyab bin Najabah, Alqamah, Ashtar, Sa’eed bin Qays and similar to them and more. Battles had bought them and then they increased (in size) and were martyred along with Imam Husayn (a.s.).
When Mugheerah bin Sha’bah was made the governor of Kufa, he ascended the pulpit and abused Imam Ali (a.s.) and his Shi’ah. He cursed the murderers of Usman and prayed for his forgiveness. Hujr arose from his place and said,
“O ye who believe! Do stand firmly with justice, (bearers of) witness for Allah’s sake, though it be against your own selves.”4
I bear witness that the man whom you have vilified, his merit is far more worthy than the one whom you have praised. While the one whom you applaud is worthy of vilification than the one whom you slander.” Mugheerah said, “Woe be to you O Hujr! Restrain yourself from such speech and keep yourself away from the wrath of the king, which would increase until he kills you.”
But Hujr would be least effected and would always oppose him in this matter until one day as usual Mugheera ascended the pulpit, and those being the last days of his life, started cursing Imam Ali (a.s.) and his Shi’ah. Suddenly Hujr sprang up and called out in a loud voice, which could be heard by those who were present in the Mosque, saying, “O man! You do not recognize the person whom you defy? You vilify the Commander of the faithful and praise the culprits”?
In the fiftieth year of the Hijra, Mugheerah died and Kufa and the enclosure of Basra came under the control of Ziyad bin Abeeh, who then came to Kufa. Ziyad called for Hujr, who was his old friend, and said, “I have heard how you treated Mugheerah and he endured it, but by Allah I shall not tolerate it. I tell you that Allah erased off the friendship and love of Ali from my heart and replaced it with enmity and envy (for him). Besides Allah erased off the enmity and envy which persisted in my heart for Mu’awiyah, replacing it with friendship and love (for him). If you remain on the right path, your world as well as faith will remain secure, but if you strike your hands to the left and right, then you shall put yourself into damnation and your blood will be lawful for us.
I detest punishing before warning nor do I like to arrest without any reason, O Allah be a witness.” Hujr replied, “Never will the commander see me doing that what he dislikes and I shall accept his advise”, saying this Hujr came out, thus he dissimulated and took precautions thereafter. Ziyad cherished him and held him dear. The Shi’ah started visiting Hujr (in secret) and listened to his address. Ziyad usually spent the winter in Basra and sUmmr in Kufa and Samarah bin Jundab was his Vicegerent in Basra and ‘Amr bin Hurays in Kufa (in his absence).
One day Ammarah bin Uqbah told Ziyad, “The Shi’ah have been visiting Hujr and are under his influence, and I fear lest they rebel in your absence.” Ziyad called Hujr and warned him and then left for Basra leaving behind ‘Amr bin Hurays in his place. Shi’ah continued visiting Hujr and when he sat in the Mosque, people came to listen to him.
They occupied half of the Mosque and those who came to watch them too sat around them, until the entire Mosque became full of them. Their hue and cry increased and they started vilifying Mu’awiyah and abusing Ziyad. When ‘Amr bin Hurays was informed about it, he ascended the pulpit, while the noblemen of the town sat around him, and he invited them to obey and warned them from opposition. Suddenly a group from among the people of Hujr jumped up and started pronouncing the Takbeer (Allaho Akbar). They went near him cursing and pelting stones at him. ‘Amr alighted from the pulpit and went to his palace and closed the doors and wrote to Ziyad about it.
When Ziyad became aware of it, he recited the couplet of Ka’ab bin Malik: “Since morning reached the village, our chiefs voiced their refusal, (saying) else why should we sow our seeds, if we cannot defend it (the field) with our swords.” Then he said, “I am void if I do not make Kufa safe from Hujr and make him an example for others. Woe be to your mother O Hujr! Your dinner has landed you upon the Fox.” This is a proverb regarding which it is said that one night a man went in search of dinner and himself became the food of a fox.
Then he left for Kufa and entered the palace. He came out wearing a robe of silk brocade and a green fur coat and entered the Mosque. At that moment Hujr was seated in the Mosque surrounded by his friends. Ziyad mounted the pulpit and delivered a threatening speech. He said to the noblemen of Kufa, “Summon to yourselves whoever of your relatives are sitting with Hujr and those among your brothers, sons, or kinsmen who would listen to you, until you separate them from him.” They did as ordered and most of them dispersed, and when Ziyad saw that the followers of Hujr had lessened, he called Shaddad bin Haysam Hilali, the head of the police, and told him to bring Hujr to him. He came and told Hujr to accept the call of the commander. Hujr’s companions said, “No, by Allah! We do not accept this.”
Hearing this Shaddad ordered his police force to surround them from all sides with their swords drawn, thus they surrounded Hujr. Bakr bin Ubayd Amudi attacked ‘Amr bin Humaq on the head who fell down and two persons from among the clan of Azd viz. Abu Sufyan and Ajalan lifted him up and took him to the house of a man of Azd viz. Ubaydullah bin Malik where he remained hidden until he left Kufa. Umayr bin Zayd Kalbi, who was among the followers of Hujr, said, “No one among us has a sword except myself, and is insufficient.”
Hujr replied, “Then what do you suggest”? He replied, “Arise and go to the places of your relatives so that they might defend you.” Hujr arose and left, Ziyad who was looking at them seated on the pulpit called out, “O sons of the clans of Hamadan, Tameem, Hawazin, Bagheez, Mazhaj, Asad and Ghatafan! Arise, and go to the houses of Bani Kinda towards Hujr and get him here.”
When Hujr came to his house and saw the scarcity of his supporters, he released them saying, “You may all return, for you do not have the strength to resist these people and shall be killed.” When they tried to return back, the horsemen of Mazhaj and Hamadan came and they confronted them until Qays bin Zayd was arrested and others dispersed. Hujr went towards the road of Bani Harb, a branch of Bani Kinda, and took refuge at the house of Sulayman bin Yazeed Kindi. They ran in his pursuit until they reached the house of Sulayman.
Sulayman unsheathed his sword to go out and defend him, when his daughters started weeping and Hujr stopped him and left his house from a chimney. He then went towards Bani Anbarah, another branch of Bani Kinda, and took refuge in the house of Abdullah bin Haris, the brother of Malik Ashtar Nakha’i. Abdullah welcomed him with a cheerful face. Suddenly Hujr was informed that, “The police have been searching you in the street of Nakha’, for a black slave girl has informed them and they are in your pursuit.” Hujr along with Abdullah came out in the darkness of the night and took shelter at the house of Rabi’ah bin Najiz Azdi.
When the police force failed to find him, Ziyad called Muhammad bin Ash’as and said, “Either bring me Hujr or I shall destroy all your Palm-trees and shall ruin all your houses, and you shall not be able to save yourself until I cut you to pieces.” Muhammad replied, “Give me some respite so that I may search him.” Ziyad replied, “I will give you three days time, if within that period you bring Hujr to me, then you are free, or else count yourself among the dead.” The soldiers dragged Muhammad towards the cell while the color of his face had changed. At that moment Hujr bin Yazeed Kindi, who was from a branch of the clan of Bani Murrah, stood surety for him and hence he was released.
Hujr remained in the house of Rabi’ah for one day and night, then he sent a retainer named Rushayd, who was from Isfahan, to Muhammad bin Ash’as with a message that, “I have been informed how the obstinate tyrant has treated you. Do not fear for I shall come to you. Then you go to Ziyad with some of your men and tell him to give me security and send me to Mu’awiyah so that he may decide what is to be done to me.”
Thus Muhammad accompanied by Hujr bin Yazeed, Jareer bin Abdullah and Abdullah brother of Malik Ashtar went to meet Ziyad and gave him the message of Hujr. Ziyad heard it and agreed. They sent a messenger towards Hujr to inform him and he came to Ziyad. Seeing him Ziyad ordered him to be imprisoned. He was imprisoned for ten days and Ziyad did no other work except pursue the other supporters of Hujr.
Ziyad remained in pursuit of the supporters of Hujr who had fled away, until he had imprisoned twelve out of them. Then he summoned the chiefs of the four districts of Kufa viz. ‘Amr bin Hurays, Khalid bin Arfatah, Qays bin Waleed and Abu Burda, the son of Abu Moosa Ash’ari and said, “All of you should bear witness regarding what you have seen of Hujr.” And they bore witness that Hujr was forming factions and abusing the Caliph and reproaching Ziyad.
And that he was exonerating Abu Turab (Imam Ali) and praying for (Allah’s) Mercy on him and disassociating himself with his enemies and opponents, while those along with him are the chiefs of his friends and share the same views. Ziyad looked at their testimonies and said, “I do not recognize this testimony and I presume it to be incomplete. I desire that another letter with similar contents should be written.”
Hence Abu Burda wrote: “In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is the testimony, which is given by Abu Burda, the son of Abu Moosa, for the Lord of the worlds, that Hujr bin Adi has disobeyed and abandoned the group. He has cursed the Caliph and invited towards mischief and battle. He has gathered an army and urged them to break the oath of allegiance and invited to depose Mu’awiyah from the Caliphate. He has cultivated obscene disbelief in Allah.”
Ziyad said, “Affix your signatures, I shall try my best to see that the foolish traitor is beheaded.” Then the noblemen of other three districts bore witnesses in a similar manner. Then he called the people and said, “You all may bear witness just as the people of all the four districts have borne witness.” Thus seventy people bore witness which included the following: Ishaq, Moosa and Isma’il the sons of Talha bin Ubaydullah, Manzar bin Zubayr, Ammarah bin Uqbah, Abdul Rahman bin Hibaar, Umar bin Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas, Wa’el bin Hujr Hazrami, Zirar bin Hubayrah, Shaddad bin Manzar, who was renowned by the name of Ibn Bazee’ah, Hajjaj bin Abjar Ajali, ‘Amr bin Hajjaj, Lubayd bin Atarud, Muhammad bin Umayr bin Atarud, Asma bin Kharejah, Shimr bin Ziljawshan, Zajr bin Qays Jo’fi, Shabas bin Rab’ee, Simak bin Muhzima Asadi, the caretaker of one of the four Mosques in Kufa constructed in rejoice over the Martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
They included the names of two more men, but they refused to sign viz. Shurayh bin Hars Qazi and Shurayh bin Hani. When Shurayh bin Hars was asked regarding Hujr, he said, “He always fasted and remained engrossed in Prayers throughout the night.” Shurayh bin Hani said, “I heard that my name has been included in it (without my consent), thus I nullify it.”
Ziyad then handed over the deed of witness to Wa’el bin Hujr and Kaseer bin Shihab and dispatched them with Hujr bin Adi and his companions to Syria. He ordered them at night to proceed accompanied by the police outside Kufa and they were fourteen men. When they reached the graveyard of Azram, a station in Kufa, Qabeesah bin Zabee’ah Abasi, who one of the companions of Hujr, his sight fell upon his house. He saw his daughters looking from the house and he requested Wa’el and Kaseer to take him near his house so that he may bequeath. When they took him near his house, his daughters started weeping.
He remained silent for some time and then told them to remain quite and they did so. Then he said, “Fear Allah and forbear, for in this journey, I desire a fair end from my Lord in two matters that either I may be killed, which is a better felicity, or I may be released and come back to you in good health. The one who gave you sustenance and looked after you is the Almighty Allah, Who is alive and will never die. And I desire that He will not abandon you and consider me for your sake.” Saying this he returned back and his people prayed for him.
Then they proceeded further and reached Marj Azra, which is some miles before Syria, and they were imprisoned there. Mu’awiyah summoned Wa’el bin Hujr and Kaseer to him. When they came he opened the letter and read it in the presence of the Syrians, whose contents were as follows: To the presence of the slave of Allah, Mu’awiyah bin Abu Sufyan, from Ziyad bin Abu Sufyan. Now then! Allah has brought forward a fair trial for the Commander of the faithful and has removed his enemies, and has crushed the anarchy of the rebels.
The rebels of Ali, the friend of the youth, have dispossessed the Commander of the faithful under the leadership of Hujr bin Adi and have separated from the group of Muslims, and have risen up to fight us. But Allah has subdued their wrath and has given us dominance over them. Then I have called the devout, noble and the wise men of Kufa, and they have borne witness for whatever they saw. And I have sent them along with the witnesses of the pious and virtuous men of the town, whose signatures are affixed at the end of the letter.”
When Mu’awiyah read this letter he asked the opinion of the Syrians regarding it. Yazeed bin Asad Bajali said, “Scatter them among the villages of Syria so that the people of the book (viz. Christians and Jews) may finish their task.” Hujr then sent a message to Mu’awiyah saying that, “We still remain under the pledge of allegiance to the Commander of the faithful. We have not abandoned it, nor do we protest. Our enemies and ill-wishers have borne witnesses against us.”
When Mu’awiyah received this message of Hujr he said, “Verily Ziyad is more reliable in our eyes than Hujr.” Then he dispatched Hadabah bin Fayaz Quza’ee (who was blind with one eye) with two more persons to bring Hujr and his companions to him at night. When Karim bin Afeef Khas’ami saw him he said, “Half of us will be killed and the other half released.” The messenger of Mu’awiyah came to them and released six persons from them upon the mediation of some Syrians.
As regards the other eight men, the messenger of Mu’awiyah said, “Mu’awiyah has sent orders that if you disassociate yourselves with Ali and curse him, we shall release you, or else you shall be killed. And the Commander of the faithful believes that shedding your blood is lawful for us due to the witnesses of the people of your town, but the Commander has shown kindness, while if you disassociate yourselves from that man, you shall be released.” When they heard this they refused to oblige, hence the ropes were untied from their hands and shrouds were brought for them, thus they arose and spent the entire night in Prayers.
When it dawned, the companions of Mu’awiyah told them that, “O group (of men)! Last night we observed that you have recited abundant Prayers and supplications, now tell us so that we may know your belief regarding Usman.” They replied, “He was the first person who ordered unjustly and paved a wrong path.” They said, “The Commander of the faithful knows you better.” Then they stood upon their heads and said, “Do you now disassociate yourself from that man (Imam Ali) or no”? They replied, “No, rather we befriend him.” Hearing this each messenger of Mu’awiyah caught hold of each one of them so as to kill them.
Then Hujr told them, “At least let me perform the ablutions and give us some respite so that we may recite two units of Prayers, for by Allah, whenever I have performed the ablutions, I have prayed.” They agreed to it and they recited the Prayers, after completing it Hujr said, “By Allah! Never have I recited such a short Prayer, lest people might think that I have done so fearing death.” Hadabah bin Fayaz A’awar advanced towards him with a sword to attack him when Hujr started trembling. Hadabah said, “You said you did not fear death, I still tell you to disassociate yourself with your Master and we shall release you.” Hujr said, “How should I not fear, when the grave is ready, the shroud worn and the sword unsheathed. By Allah! Although I fear, I do not utter those words which may invite the wrath of Allah.”
The author says that I recollect a tradition that when Hujr went to see Imam Ali (a.s.), when he was wounded on the head by the sword of Ibn Muljim. He stood facing the Imam and recited some couplets: “Alas upon the abstentious master, (who is) pious, a brave Lion, and a virtuous door.” When Imam Ali (a.s.) looked at him and heard his couplets, he said,
“What will be your state when you shall be ordered to disassociate yourself from me, then what will you say”?
Hujr replied, “O Commander of the faithful! Even if I be cut asunder to pieces and thrown into the blazing fire, I prefer it than disassociating myself from you.” Imam said,
“May you succeed in accomplishing good deeds O Hujr! And may you be amply rewarded by Allah for your love of the Progeny of your Prophet (S).”
Then the other six companions of Hujr were put to sword. Abdul Rahman bin Hissan Anzee and Kareem bin Afeef Khas’ami were left out and they said, “Take us to the presence of Mu’awiyah, so that we may relate to him about that man regarding whom he has ordered us”, they were then taken to the presence of Mu’awiyah.
When Kareem entered therein, he said, “Allah, Allah, O Mu’awiyah! Verily you shall go from this mortal house to the house of eternity, then you shall be asked as to why you shed our blood.” Mu’awiyah replied, “So then what do you have to say about Ali”? He replied, “As you say. I disassociate myself from the Religion of Ali through which we worshipped Allah.” Then Shimr bin Abdullah Khas’ami arose and pleaded on his behalf and hence Mu’awiyah forgave him but with a stipulation that for one month he would be imprisoned, and till the time Mu’awiyah rules he would not be allowed to leave Kufa.
Then he turned towards Abdul Rahman bin Hissaan and said, “O brother from the clan of Rabi’ah! What do you have to say regarding Ali”? He replied, “I bear witness that Ali was among those men who remembered Allah the most and he invited towards good, forbade evil and forgave the faults of others.” Mu’awiyah said, “Then what do you have to say regarding Usman”? he replied, “He was the first man who opened the doors of oppression and shut the doors of righteousness.” Hearing this Mu’awiyah said, “Verily you have killed yourself.” He replied, “Rather I have killed you.”
Mu’awiyah then sent him back to Ziyad with a message saying that, “He is the worst among those whom you had sent to me. Torture him severely, for he is worthy and then kill him in the worst possible manner.” When he was sent to Ziyad, he sent him to Qays Natif who buried him alive.
The seven persons who were martyred were:
(1) Hujr bin Adi,
(3) Shareek bin Shaddad Hazrami,
(5) Saifee bin Fusayl Shaybani,
(7) Qabeesah bin Zabee’ah Abasi,
(9) Mahzar bin Shihab Minqari,
(11) Kudam bin Hayyan Anzi, and
(13) Abdul Rahman bin Hissan Anzi. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon them)
The author says that the Martyrdom of Hujr had a great impact upon the Muslims, who reproached Mu’awiyah for it. Abul Faraj Isfahani says that Abu Makhnaf said that, Ibn Abi Zaedah related to me from Abu Ishaq, that he said, “I remember people saying that the first disgrace which befell Kufa was the Martyrdom of Hujr bin Adi, the acceptance of Ziyad as the brother of Mu’awiyah and the Martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.).”
At the time of his death, Mu’awiyah said, “I shall be in deep trouble because of Ibnal Adbar.” Ibnal Adbar is referred to Hujr bin Adi for his father was called “Adbar” because behind he had received a wound of a sword. And it has been related that when Rabi’ bin Ziyad Harisi, the governor of Khurasan, heard the news of the martyrdom of Hujr and his companions, he wished for death. He lifted both his hands (towards the heavens) and said, “O Allah! If you consider me, give me death at this very moment”, then he died.
Ibn Aseer says in his Kamil that Hasan Basri said, that Mu’awiyah had four such qualities in him, that each one of which was enough for his damnation. First being that he forced himself upon the Muslim nation with the power of his sword and did not (care to) take their opinions regarding his Caliphate, when there were present the companions of the Prophet (S) and other notables and generous men among them.
The second being that he nominated (as Caliph) his rebel son Yazid, the wine-bibber, one who wore a silken dress, and beat the tambourine. The third being that he accepted Ziyad as his brother when the Holy Prophet had said, “A child is ascribed to the husband (of the woman), and for the adulterer are stones”, and the fourth being that he killed Hujr and his companions. Woe unto him as regards Hujr and his companions.
It is related that the people said, “The first disgrace which befell Kufa was the martyrdom of Hasan bin Ali (a.s.), the Martyrdom of Hujr bin Adi, and accepting Ziyad to be the son of Abu Sufyan.”
Hind bint Zayd Ansariyah, who was a Shi’ah woman, recited a couplet in praise of Hujr.
The Author says that the historians have recorded some other reasons regarding the Martyrdom of Hujr. They say that once Ziyad was delivering a sermon on Friday and he prolonged it, thus the Prayers were postponed. Sensing it, Hujr bin Adi called out in a loud voice, “The Prayers”, but Ziyad ignored him and continued. Hujr again repeated, “the Prayers”, but he continued the sermon. Hujr feared lest the time of Prayers would elapse, hence he lifted some sand in his hands and stood up to offer Prayers.
Following suit the other people arose too. Seeing this Ziyad descended from the pulpit and recited the Prayers. Then he wrote regarding this matter to Mu’awiyah and exaggerated therein. Mu’awiyah wrote back that Hujr be dispatched to him bound in chains. When Ziyad desired to arrest him, the people of his clan stood up to defend him. Hujr stopped them and was bound in chains and taken to Mu’awiyah. When he went to the presence of Mu’awiyah, he said, “Peace be upon you O Commander of the faithful!” Mu’awiyah said, “Am I the Commander of the faithful? By Allah! I shall not forgive you nor shall I accept your plea. Take him away and behead him.” Hujr said to those in charge of him that, “At least give me time to recite two units of Prayers.”
He was given the time and he hurriedly performed it and said, “If I had not feared (lest you might think that I fear death), then I would surely have prolonged it.” Then he turned towards those who were present and said, “Bury me along with the chains and the blood of my body, for I desire to meet Mu’awiyah on the highway tomorrow in Qiyamah.”
It is written in Asadul Ghabah, that Hujr was among those who received a stipend of two thousand five hundred, he was Martyred in the Year 51 Hijra and his grave is renowned at Azra and he was an executor of desires.
The Author says that the letter which Imam Husayn (a.s.) wrote to Mu’awiyah contained the following words:
“Are you not the murderer of Hujr bin Adi al Kindi and other worshipers, who resisted oppression and considered innovations to be grave and who did not fear reproach in the way of Allah? You killed them with oppression and injustice in spite of offering them refuge.”
‘Amr bin Humaq, (as has been related earlier that he was present with Hujr bin Adi in the Mosque) accompanied by Rufa’ah bin Shaddad fled from Kufa and reached Madaen and from there, went to Mosul. They took shelter in a huge mountain therein. When this news reached Ubaydullah bin Balta’ah Hamadani, the governor of Mosul, he proceeded with the horsemen and a group of the people of the town towards them. ‘Amr, who was suffering from dropsy, did not have the courage to confront them.
But Rufa’ah, who was a strong youth, mounted his horse and told ‘Amr that he would defend him. ‘Amr replied, “What is the use? Save yourself and go away.” Rufa’ah attacked them and they gave way, while his horse fled away from their midst. The horsemen chased him but he wounded them with his arrows, hence they returned back.
They arrested ‘Amr bin Humaq and asked him as to who he was? He replied, “I am the one whom if you release, it will be better for you, and if you kill me, you will be in great loss”, but he did not disclose his identity. They took him to the ruler of Mosul, who was Abdul Rahman bin Usman Saqafi, the nephew of Mu’awiyah, and renowned as Ibn Ummul Hakam. He wrote to Mu’awiyah regarding him. Mu’awiyah replied that, “He is the one who has acknowledged having inflicted Usman with nine wounds of a spear, then haven’t you punished him? He should be inflicted with nine wounds of the spear.”
They brought him out and inflicted nine wounds of spears and ‘Amr succumbed to the first or the second stroke of the spear, later he was beheaded and his head was dispatched to Mu’awiyah. His being the first head in Islam, which was sent from one place to another.
The Author says that this is what has been narrated by the commoners (Ammah, non-Shi’ah) books of Islamic history (simply to justify his murder by Mu’awiyah and alleging him to be the murderer of Caliph Usman). As regards the distinguished (Khassah, Shi’ah) reports, it is related from Shaikh Kashshi, that once the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) sent a group of people with the orders that,
“At such and such time of the night you shall loose your way, then go towards the left and you shall meet a man, who will be having a herd of Sheep. You ask him the way, but he shall not show you the way until you eat with him. Then he will sacrifice a sheep and prepare food for you and eat along with you, then he will show you the way. You convey my greetings to him and inform him about my appearance in Madina.”
They left, and as predicted lost their way. One of them said, “Did not the Prophet tell us to go to the left side”? They went towards the left and met the man, regarding whom the Prophet had prophesied, and asked him the way. The man being none other than ‘Amr bin Humaq, who asked them, “Has the Prophet appeared in Madina”? They replied in the affirmative and he accompanied them. He went to the presence of the Holy Prophet (S) and remained there until Allah willed, then the Prophet told him,
“Return to the place where you have come from, when the Commander of the faithful Ali becomes in charge of Kufa, go to him.”
‘Amr returned back until the time Imam Ali (a.s.) became the Caliph in Kufa, and he came to him and resided there. Imam Ali (a.s.) asked him,
“Do you have a house here”?,
to which he replied in the affirmative. Imam continued,
“Then sell your house and buy one in the midst of (the people of the clan of) Azd. For tomorrow when I am gone from among your midst and some people will be in your pursuit, the people of the clan of Azd will defend you till you leave Kufa and find yourself in the fort of Mosul. You will pass by a paralytic man, you will sit down besides him and ask for water. He will give you water and then inquire about you, you then relate your condition to him and invite him towards Islam. He will accept Islam, and then place your hands upon his thighs and Allah will cure him of his disease. Then arise and walk till you pass by a blind man seated on the way. You ask for water and he will give it to you. And then he will inquire about you, you then relate your condition to him and invite him towards Islam. He will accept Islam, and then you place your hands upon his eyes and Allah the Honorable, the Glorified, will grant him sight. He too will accompany you, and verily these men will be the ones to bury you. Then some riders will pursue you and when you reach such and such place near a fort, they shall come to you. Then you dismount from your horse and enter the cave. Verily the worst men from among the men and genie will unite to kill you.”
Whatever Imam Ali (a.s.) had predicted occurred, and ‘Amr did exactly what he was told to do. When they reached the fort, ‘Amr told those two men to go on top and inform him what they saw. They went on top and said that they saw some riders coming towards them. Hearing this ‘Amr dismounted from his horse and entered the cave, while his horse fled away. When he entered the cave a black serpent, who had taken shelter therein, bit him.
When the riders reached near they saw his horse running and concluded that ‘Amr should be somewhere near. They started searching for him and found him inside the cave. And wherever they touched his body, the flesh thereat came out (due to the lethal poison). Then they beheaded him and took his head to Mu’awiyah, who ordered it to be placed on the lance, this being the first head in Islam, which was placed on the lance.
As will be related later that Zahir, who was martyred with Imam Husayn (a.s.) in Karbala, was the retainer of ‘Amr bin Humaq, he was the same person who had buried him. It is related in Qamqaam, that ‘Amr bin Humaq was from the progeny of Kahin bin Habeeb bin ‘Amr bin Qayn bin Zarrah bin ‘Amr Rabi’ah Khuza’i. He came to the presence of Prophet Muhammad (S) after the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyah.
While some are of the opinion that he accepted Islam in the year of the farewell Pilgrimage (Hajjatul Wida), but the first report seems to be more reliable. He remained in the presence of the Prophet and memorized numerous traditions. The author of the book (Qamqam) relates from ‘Amr bin Humaq that he quenched the thirst of the Prophet who prayed for him thus:
“O Lord! Grant him a youthful life.”
Thus he remained alive for eighty years but none of the hair of his beard turned white. He was included among the Shi’ah of Imam Ali (a.s.) and fought the battles of Jamal, Siffīn and Naharwan along with him. Besides he was among those who stood up to support Hujr bin Adi and was among his companions.
He left Iraq in fear of Ziyad and took refuge in the cave in Mosul. The governor of Mosul sent his soldiers to arrest him. When they entered the cave they found him to be dead because a snake bit him. His grave is renowned in Mosul, and is a place for pilgrimage, and he holds a great position. A dome is erected upon his grave. Abu Abdullah Sa’eed bin Hamadan, the cousin of Saifud Dawla and Nasirud Dawla, started it’s renovation in the month of Sha’ban 336 A.H. There ensued clashes between the Shi’ah and the Sunni because of the building of his shrine. Shaikh Kashshi relates that he was among the disciples of Imam Ali (a.s.) and among the foremost who turned towards him.
In the book Ikhtisas it has been enumerated, regarding the preceding and close companions of Imam Ali (a.s.), that Ja’far bin Husayn relates from Muhammad bin Ja’far Mu’addab that he said, “Imam Ali (a.s.)’s four pillars from among the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) are Salman, Miqdad, Abu Zarr and Ammar. And among the Tabe’een are Owais bin Anees Qarnee, who will intercede (in Qiyamah) for the people equal to the tribes of Rabi’ah and Muzar, and ‘Amr bin Humaq.
Ja’far bin Husayn says that ‘Amr bin Humaq enjoyed the same status near Imam Ali (a.s.) as Salman had near the Holy Prophet (S). Then there are Rushayd al Hajari, Meytham at Tammar, Kumayl bin Ziyad Nakha’i, Qambar the freed retainer of Imam Ali (a.s.), Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, Muzre’ the freed retainer of Imam Ali (a.s.), and Abdullah bin Yahya regarding whom on the day of Jamal, Imam said,
“O son of Yahya! I give glad tidings that you and your father are among the Shartatul Khamees.5 Allah has chosen you on the empyrean.”
Then there are Janad bin Zuhayr Amiri, while all the progeny of Amir were the Shi’ah of Imam Ali (a.s.), Habib bin Mazahir Asadi, Hars bin Abdullah Aa’awar Hamadani, Malik bin Haris Ashtar, Alam Azdi, Abu Abdullah Jadali, Juwayrah bin Musahhir Abadi.
In the same book it is related that ‘Amr bin Humaq told Imam Ali (a.s.) that, “I have not come to you in pursuit of wealth or prestige of this world, but have come to you for you are the cousin of the Prophet and best among all men and the husband of Fatima (a.s.), the mistress of women, and the father of the Prophet’s immortal Progeny, and your share is more than any other Emigrant (Muhajir) or Helper (Ansar).
By Allah! If you command me to shift the mountains from their place and pull out the water from the deep seas, I shall obey you until death overtakes me. I will always strike your enemies with the sword in my hand and shall assist your friends and may Allah elevate your position and grant you victory. Even then I do not believe that I may have accomplished what is due towards you.” Imam Ali (a.s.) prayed for him thus:
“O Allah! Illuminate his heart and guide him towards the Right Path. I wish there were a hundred similar to you among my Shia’h.”
In the same book it is related that at the beginning of Islam, ‘Amr bin Humaq was a keeper of Camels of his tribe. His tribe was under the pledge with Prophet Muhammad (S). Once some of the Prophet’s companions passed by him, whom the Prophet had sent to propagate. They had asked the Prophet that they did not have the provisions for their journey nor knew the way. The Prophet replied that,
“On the way you shall meet a handsome man who will feed you, quench your thirst and guide you to the path, and he shall be of the people of Paradise.”
They reached ‘Amr, who fed them with Camel meat and milk, and his coming to the presence of the Prophet and accepting Islam until the caliphate reached Mu’awiyah (has already been discussed).
Then he remained aloof from the people in Zoor in Mosul. Mu’awiyah wrote to him: “Now then! Allah extinguished the fire of battle and cooled down the mischief, and Allah bestowed success to the pious. You are not distant nor more guilty than your friends, they have bowed down their heads in front of my command and have hastened to assist me in my task. But you still remain withdrawn, thus come to assist me in my task so that your past sins may be forgiven by it and your good deeds which have worned out may ripen. Perhaps I may not be as bad as my predecessors. If you are self-respecting, abstentious, obedient and well-behaved, then enter the security of Allah and the Prophet of Allah in my refuge. Cleanse your heart of envy and your soul from rancor. And Allah is a sufficient witness.”
‘Amr refused to go to Mu’awiyah, hence he sent someone who killed him and brought his head to Mu’awiyah. They sent his head to his wife, who kept it in her lap, and said, “For a long time you had kept him away from me, and now you have killed him and have brought him to me as a gift. How fair is this gift which is my pleasure and who also liked me. O messenger! Take my message to Mu’awiyah and tell him that Allah will surely take revenge for his blood, and very soon His wrath and woe will hasten. You have committed a grievous crime and killed a devout and pious person. O Messenger! Convey to Mu’awiyah, whatever I have said.” The messenger conveyed her message to Mu’awiyah, hence Mu’awiyah called the woman to him and inquired of her, “Did you utter these words”?
She replied that, “Yes, I have said them, and I do not regret nor am sorry for it.” Mu’awiyah told her to go away from his town, to which she replied that, “I will surely do so, for your town is not my native place and I consider it to be a prison, which has no place in my heart. Much time has passed when I have not slept herein, while my tears are (constantly) flowing. My debt has increased here, and I have not found anything here which would illuminate my eyes.”
Abdullah bin Abi Sarh Kalbi told Mu’awiyah, “O commander of the faithful! She is a hypocrite woman, let her follow her husband.” When the woman heard this, she looked towards him and said, “O you ulcer of a frog! Haven’t you killed the one who clothed you with blessings and bestowed a cloak upon you? Indeed you have abandoned the Religion and verily a hypocrite is the one who pursuits unjustly and claims to be one of the servants of Allah, and Allah has condemned his infidelity in the Qur’an.”
Hearing this Mu’awiyah ordered his porter to throw her out. She said, “Astonishment at the son of Hind, who has signaled by his finger, and has (tried to) stop me from using a harsh tongue, by Allah! I shall split open his belly with my harsh speech sharp as iron, if not I be Amenah, the daughter of Rasheed.”
Abu Abdullah Imam Husayn (a.s.) in his letter to Mu’awiyah wrote:
“Are you not the murderer of ‘Amr bin Humaq, the companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.s), and a devout man, whose body had become slender and whose color had turned pale due to excessive worship? With what face did you give him (the promise of) security, and promised him in the name of Allah, if similarly it would have been given to a bird, it would have come down from the mountain in your lap. Then you confronted Allah and deemed the promise to be low”?
Shaikh Saduq has related in his Amali from his father (Ibn Babawayh Awwal), from Ali bin Ibraheem, who relates from his father, from Ibraheem bin Raja, from Ali bin Jabir, from Usman bin Dawood Hashmi, from Muhammad bin Muslim, from Humran bin A’ayan from Abu Muhammad, one of the noblemen of Kufa.
He says that when Imam Husayn (a.s.) was martyred, two infant boys from his cantonment were arrested and taken to Ubaydullah bin Ziyad. Ubaydullah called for the prison guard and said, “Take away these two children and imprison them. Do not give them good food or cold water, and harass them.”
The infants fasted during the day and when night came the guard brought two breads of barley and a jar of water for them. When one year passed in this manner, one of them said to the other, “We have spent quite a long time in the prison and our lives are passing away, while our bodies have worn out. When the old prison guard comes to us, we shall reveal to him our status and ancestry, so that he might be compassionate towards us.”
Thus during night as usual the old prison guard came with two breads of barley and a jar of water. The younger one said, “O Shaikh! Do you know Prophet Muhammad (S)”? He replied, “How should I not know him, for he is my Prophet.” The child then said, “Do you then know Ja’far bin Abi Talib (a.s.)”, to which he replied in the affirmative and said, “Allah has bestowed him with two wings, so he flies along with the Angels wherever he desires.” The child then said, “Do you then know Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.)”? The old man said, “Yes I do know him, for he is the cousin and brother of my Prophet.” The child retorted, “O Shaikh! We are from the progeny of your Prophet and are the sons of Muslim bin Aqeel bin Abi Talib (a.s.). We have been in prison under you for a long time. You do not give us good food and you persecute us in the prison.”
The prison guard fell upon their feet and said, “May my life be your ransom O progeny of the chosen Prophet of Allah! The doors of this prison are open for you, you may go away to whichever place you desire.” When night fell, he brought two bread of barley and a jar of water and showed them the way, then said, “Travel during the night and hide during the day till Allah grants you relief.”
The two children came out at night and went to the house of an old woman and said, “We are small travelers and do not know the road, and the darkness of the night has fallen. Give us refuge in your house for today’s night, and we shall go away as soon as it dawns.” The woman said, “Who are you my dear ones? I have never smelt a similar fragrance which is emanating from you.” They replied, “O woman! We are from the progeny of the Prophet and have escaped from the prison of Ubaydullah bin Ziyad having escaped death.”
The woman said, “O dear ones! My son in law is an evil man, who was present in the massacre of Karbala among the faithfuls of Ubaydullah. I fear lest he finds you here and kills you.” The children replied, “We desire to halt here only for a night, and as soon as it dawns, we shall go away from here.” The woman agreed and brought some food for them. The children had food and water and went to sleep. The younger brother said to the elder one, “O dear brother! I desire that we spend this night in peace. Come closer so that we may embrace one another and go to sleep and kiss each other, lest death might part us.” They embraced each other and went to sleep.
When night advanced, the evil son in law of the old woman came and slowly knocked at the door. The woman inquired as to who it was. He replied that he was her son in law. The woman told him, “Why have you come at this unearthly hour”? The man replied, “Woe be to you! Open the door before I may turn insane and my bladder may burst due to pursuit and due to what has befallen me.” The woman said, “Woe be to you! What has befallen you”?
He replied, “Two children have escaped from the clutches of Ubaydullah bin Ziyad, and he has announced that whoever brings one of their heads to him, he shall be rewarded one thousand Dirhams. While he shall give two thousand dirhams for both their heads, and I have borne pains (in pursuing them), while nothing has reached my hands.” The old woman said, “Fear the wrath of the Holy Prophet on the day of Qiyamah.”
He replied, “Woe be to you! This world should certainly be desired.” She said, “What will you do with this world when it is not accompanied by the Hereafter”? The man answered, “Why do you defend them such drastically as if you are aware of their whereabouts. Come, so that I may take you to the commander.” The woman said, “What work does the commander have with me, an old woman, who lives in a corner of the desert”? He said, “I am in their pursuit. Open the door so that I may relax a bit and during morning I may think what mode should I adopt to seek them.” The woman thus opened the door and brought food for him. He ate and slept.
At midnight he heard the voices of snoring of the children and advanced towards it like a wanton Camel. He started howling like a Cow and hit his hands on the wall, until his hand touched the side of the younger one. The child asked him as to who he was? He replied that he was the owner of the house and asked them as to who they were? The younger one woke up his elder brother and said, “Arise O brother! For we have fallen prey to that what we feared.” He again inquired of them as to who they were, to which they replied, “O man! Do you promise our safety if we reveal to you our identity”? He replied in the affirmative.
They said, “Do you swear protection and responsibility of Allah and His Prophet”? to which he replied in the affirmative. They again said, “Prophet Muhammad the son of Abdullah (S) is the witness”? He agreed. They said, “Allah is the judge and witness upon whatever we shall tell you now”? He accepted it. Then the children said, “We are from the progeny of your Prophet Muhammad (S) and have escaped from the prison of Ubaydullah bin Ziyad in fear of being killed.” He replied, “You have escaped from death and have again fallen prey to it. Praise be to Allah Who has given me victory over you.”
Saying this he arose and tied the hands of the children. The children’s hands lay tied until morning. And when it dawned, the man called his black slave named Faleeh, and said, “Take these two children to the shore of Euphrates and strike off their heads and bring it to me, so that I may take it to Ubaydullah and earn the reward of two thousand dirhams.” The retainer lifted his sword and started walking with the children. They had not reached far from the house, when one child told him, “O black slave! You resemble Bilal the Mu’ezzin (the caller of Prayer) of the Prophet of Allah (S).”
The retainer said, “My master has ordered me to kill you, but tell me as to who you are”? They replied, “We are from the progeny of your Prophet Muhammad (S), and have escaped from the prison of Ubaydullah bin Ziyad in fear of death. The woman had offered us shelter in her house while your master intends killing us.”
The retainer fell on their feet and kissing them said, “May my life be your ransom, and may my face act as a shield for yourselves, O children of Allah’s chosen Prophet! By Allah! I shall not perform the act which would invite the wrath of Muhammad (S) on the day of Qiyamah.” Saying this he threw away his sword and jumped into the sea and swam away to the opposite shore. When his master saw it he screamed, “You have disobeyed me.” To which he replied, “I have never disobeyed you until you yourself disobeyed Allah. And now that you have disobeyed Allah, I disown you in this world as well as the Hereafter.”
Then the man called his son and said, “I have gathered for you through lawful and unlawful means, while this world is such that it should be acquired. Hence take these children to the shore of Euphrates and severe their heads and bring them to me, so that I may take them to Ubaydullah and get two thousand dirhams as reward for it.” His son lifted the sword and started walking ahead of them. They had not reached far when one of the child told him, “O youth! How I fear your youth being burnt in the fire of hell.” The youth asked them as to who they were? They replied, “We are from the progeny of your Prophet, and your father intends killing us.”
Hearing this, the youth fell upon their feet and kissing them repeated the words of the slave and jumped into the sea and swam to the opposite shore. When his father saw this he called out, “You disobey me”? To which he replied, “Allah’s obedience is more dear (to me) than your’s.” Hearing this the accursed said, “No one will be ready to kill you except myself”, saying this he lifted the sword and went towards them.
When they reached the shore of Euphrates, he unsheathed his sword. When the infants saw the naked sword, their eyes became full of tears. Then they said, “O Shaikh! Take us to the market and sell us and do not invite the wrath of the Prophet in Qiyamah.” He replied, “No, verily I shall kill you and take your heads to Ubaydullah and thereby earn reward from him.” They said, “O Shaikh! Do you not consider the relation we share with the Prophet”? To which he said, “Verily you have no relation with the Prophet as such.” They again said, “O Shaikh! Then take us to the presence of Ubaydullah, so that he may decide what to do with us.”
He replied, “I do not have any other way, except that I may earn his nearness by spilling your blood.” The children said, “O Shaikh! Do you not have pity upon our infancy”? to which he replied that, “Allah has not allotted mercy in my heart.” Then they said, “O Shaikh! Now that there is no hope left, give us respite to recite some units of Prayers.” He said, “Pray as much as you like if it benefits you.” The children recited four units of Prayers, then lifted their eyes towards the heavens and cried, “O Ever-Living! O Wise! O the Best of Judges! Judge between us with righteousness.”
He stood up and severed the head of the elder brother and kept his head in a bag. The younger brother, who had smeared his body in the blood of his elder brother, said, “I desire to meet the Prophet of Allah (S) in this very state drenched in the blood of my brother.” He said, “Do not fear, for I shall soon join you with your brother”, saying this he severed his head too and placed it in the bag. Then he threw their bodies into the river of Euphrates.
He then brought the heads to Ubaydullah, who was seated on his throne with a bamboo staff in his hands. He placed the heads of the children facing Ubaydullah, who after seeing it arose and sat down thrice. Then he said, “Woe be to you! Where did you find them”? He said, “A woman from our family had given them refuge.” Ubaydullah said, “Then did you not honor the right of guesthood”? He replied in the negative. Ubaydullah asked, “What did they say to you”? He replied, “They said: Take us to the market and sell us and tie our hands and do not earn the wrath of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) in Qiyamah.”
Ubaydullah said, “Then what did you reply”? He said, “I said: No, verily I shall kill you and take your heads to Ubaydullah and thereby earn reward of two thousand Dirhams from him.” Ubaydullah said, “Then what did they reply”? He said, “They said: Then take us alive to the presence of Ubaydullah, so that he may decide what to do with us.” “Then what did you say”, asked Ubaydullah. He replied, “I said: No, but I seek to earn his nearness by spilling your blood.” Ubaydullah asked, “Why did you not bring them to me alive, so that I could have gifted you four thousand dirhams”? He replied, “My heart did not give me respite except to earn your nearness by spilling their blood.”
Ubaydullah then asked him as to what they then said. He replied, “They said: At least honor the relation we have with the Prophet” and I said “Verily you have no relation with the Prophet as such.” Ubaydullah said, “Woe be to you! Then what did they say”? He said, “They then said, “Do you not pity our infancy and I replied that Allah had not placed mercy in my heart.” Ubaydullah said, “Woe be to you! What else did they tell you”?
He replied, “Then they said: Give us some respite so that we may recite some units of Prayers”, and I replied, “Pray as much as you like if it benefits you. The children then recited four units of Prayers.” Ubaydullah said, “What did the children say after ending their Prayers”? He said, “They lifted their eyes towards the heavens and said, “O Everliving! O Wise! O the Best of Judges! Judge between us with righteousness.”
Hearing this Ubaydullah said, “Allah has verily judged between you. Who shall come forth to kill this accursed man”, hearing this a Syrian came forward. Ubaydullah said, “Take him to the same spot where he slayed the children and strike his head, and spill his blood over theirs, and hasten to bring his head to me.” The man did exactly as told and when his head was brought, it was placed on a lance and children threw stones and arrows at it and said, “This is the murderer of the progeny of the Prophet.”6
- 1. The use of “Abu” (father of) or “Umm” (mother of) followed by the name of the son, often as a prefix for one’s name.
- 2. Ziyad was the son of a loose woman named Sumayyah, who in slavery bore Ziyad to a Greek Retainer of the tribe Saqeef named Ubaid. This fact was not generally known, and Ziyad’s parentage was generally supposed to be uncertain, whence he was called “his father’s son” (Ibn Abeeh). When Mu’awiyah became a candidate for the Caliphate and required help, he endeavored to enroll among his adherents a number of the most sagacious of the Arabs.
Among these was Ziyad, whom he determined to adopt. He therefore obtained an affidavit from a wine-dealer of Taif named Abu Maryam Saluli, to the effect that Abu Sufyan had come to his tavern and demanded a prostitute, that Sumayyah had been brought by him to Abu Sufyan, and that she in consequence gave birth to Ziyad. The best historians disbelieve this story, which they suppose to have been the fabrication of Mu’awiyah got up with the intention of securing the services of Ziyad, an intention which was realized. Ziyad in consequence came to be called son of Abu Sufyan, after having been called son of Sumayyah or his father’s son. (History of Islamic Civilization: Umayyads and Abbasids - Jurji Zaydan).
Mu’awiyah appointed him as the governor of Iraq and Fars. Ziyad made a minute search of the Shi’ah of Imam Ali (a.s.) and having seized them, amputated their hands and feet, blinded them, hanged them on the branches of date-palm trees, exiled them and killed them so that eventually the distinguished Shi’ah of Iraq were eliminated. Thus he killed Rushayd Hajari, ‘Amr bin Humaq, Juwayrah bin Mushir Abdi etc. and instigated the murder of Hujr bin Adi. It has been related by prominent narrators (as quoted in this book) that one of the disgraces which befell Kufa was including Ziyad (the illegitimate) among the Bani Umayyah.
Similar was his son Ubaydullah (born to a prostitute Marjanah) who equated him with regard to despotism and bloodshed. He was the chief instigator of the mass slaughter of the Prophet (S)’s family at Karbala. Yazid, following the footsteps of his father Mu’awiyah made him the governor of Kufa and Basra and incited him to murder Imam Husayn (a.s.).
- 3. Tabe’een - Those who had seen, met or accompanied for a good period of time the companions of the Holy Prophet (S).
- 4. Sura an Nisa: 135.
- 5. It is narrated that it was asked to Asbagh bin Nabatah Majashe’i as to why Imam Ali (a.s.) had referred to him and other men like him as Shartatul Khamees, to which he replied that, “It is so because we had covenanted with him, that we would fight on his side until we attain victory or are killed. Then he too covenanted and stood surety that he would send us to Paradise in reward of this struggle.” An army is also referred to as Khamees, because it is comprised of five sections: Muqaddamah (Front Wing), Qalb (Central Wing), Maymanah (Right Wing), Maysarah (Left Wing), and Saqqah (Rear Wing). Thus those referred to as Shartatul Khamees are those warriors (of the army) between whom and Imam Ali (a.s.) a covenant (Shart) was entered into. (Ref. Muntahal Amal).
- 6. As regards Ubaydullah’s putting to sword the murderer of these children is not astonishing, for Ubaydullah was a shrewd and cunning man. He distributed gifts among the murderers of Imam Husayn (a.s.), at the same time he feared lest people might start killing one another in greed for the gifts, claming that the one killed was the follower of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
In the above case, his motive (of killing the infants) was already achieved, and thus simply to shift the blame off his head, he punished their murderer. No mercy can ever be imagined from the one who instigated the bloody coup at Karbala. His putting to death Meytham at Tammar, Hani bin Urwah, Muslim bin Aqeel etc. and above all his harsh treatment towards the imprisoned ladies and children of the Prophet’s Household bear witness to his despotic character.