Relating to the burial of our Master Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his companions

(Irshad) When Umar bin Sa’ad left, a group from the clan of Bani Asad, who had settled in Ghaziriyyah, came. They recited the Prayer upon the corpse of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his companions and buried him at the place where his grave is presently situated. They buried Ali bin Husayn al Akbar (a.s.) at the feet of Imam Husayn (a.s.), while the martyrs from his family and companions, who had fallen down upon the earth around him, were all buried in a single grave at the side of his feet. They buried Abbas bin Ali (a.s.) on the road towards Ghaziriyyah, at the spot of his martyrdom where his grave is presently situated.

It is related in Kamile Bahai, that the relatives of Hurr bin Yazid buried him at the spot of his martyrdom. It is said, that the Bani Asad, among all the Arabian tribes, had the honor to recite Prayers upon the corpses of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his companions and bury them.

Ibn Shahr Ashob and Mas’oodi say, that the people of Ghaziriyyah, who were a group from among the tribe of Bani Asad, buried Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his companions one day after their martyrdom. It is also said, that most of their graves were found prepared and white fowls were seen circumambulating them.

Sibt ibn Jawzee relates in his Tazkirah, that Zuhayr bin Qayn was martyred along with Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his companions. His wife dispatched her slave saying, “Go and shroud your master”. He went and saw Imam’s body lying bare and said to himself, “How is it possible that I should shroud my master and leave the body of Imam Husayn (a.s.) bare? No, by Allah”. Saying this he shrouded Imam Husayn (a.s.) and shrouded his master in another one.

It should be borne in mind that it has been proved that the executor of the shrouding and burial of an Infallible (Ma’soom) can be none other than an infallible. While none, except an Imam, can give the dead body bath to the Imam. And if an Imam dies in the east and his heir (another Imam) is in the west, Allah will unite them.

It is related from Imam Muhammad al Jawad (a.s.), that when the Prophet of Allah (S) died, Jibra’eel along with other Angels and the ‘Holy Spirit’,1 who had come forth on the Night of Grandeur (Laylatul Qadr), descended. The veils were lifted off the eyes of the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.), who saw that the heavens had opened, and they assisted him in the bath and recited Prayers upon the Prophet (S)’s body and prepared his grave. By Allah! None other than them dug his grave, and they assisted until they buried him. Then they buried him while the Prophet (S) spoke to them. Imam Ali (a.s.) heard their conversations that the Prophet (S) enjoined the Angels regarding him. Imam Ali (a.s.) wept and the Angels answered, “We shall not act miserly with regard to him. Verily he is an authority upon us after you, and none shall see us again after this”.

At the death of the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali (a.s.), Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husayn (a.s.) beholded similarly during his burial. They saw the Prophet (S) himself assisting the Angels. And when Imam Hasan (a.s.) was martyred, the same situation prevailed, and it was seen that the Prophet (S) and Imam Ali (a.s.) assisted the Angels in his burial. And when Imam Husayn (a.s.) was martyred, Imam Ali bin Husayn (Zainul Abedeen) (a.s.) witnessed similarly.

It is related, in context of the remonstration of Imam Ali ar Reza (a.s.) against the Waqifites,2 that Ali bin Abi Hamza objected to him saying that, “We have received traditions from your fathers that the executor of the funeral of an Imam is none other than the Imam”.

(Since the Waqifites were deniers of the Imamate of Imam Reza, they meant to say that when Imam Moosa Kazim died, he was in Madinah. And the corpse of his father was in the custody of the headsmen of Haroon who buried him in Baghdad. Then if he had been the true Imam, he would have been present in the burial proceedings. Since he was absent it meant that he was not the Imam, Allah’s refuge). Imam Reza (a.s.) answered,

“Tell me then, so that I may know, as to who was the executor of the burial of Imam Husayn (a.s.)? Was he an Imam or someone else?”

He replied, “The executor was none other than Ali bin Husayn (Imam Zainul Abedeen)”. Imam asked,

“Where was Ali bin Husayn? Was he not imprisoned in Kufa under Ubaydullah (bin Ziyad)?”

He replied, “He came out without their knowledge and attended to the burial proceedings of his father and then returned back”. Imam Reza (a.s.) then said,

“The One Who capacitated Ali bin Husayn (a.s.) to come to Karbala to administer the burial proceedings of his father, bestowed similar powers to the Imam (himself) to come to Baghdad (from Madinah) and administer the last rites of his father, although he was not captivated nor was he in prison”.

Shaikh Al-Tusi relates through his chain of transmitters from Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (a.s.), that one morning Umm Salama (a.s.) starting weeping and was questioned regarding it. She replied, “Yesterday night my son Husayn has been martyred. I have never ever seen the Prophet of Allah (S) in my dream after his death except yesterday night, I saw him in a mournful and grief-stricken state. I asked him as to why I saw him in such a grievous and distressed state and he replied, that since morning he had been digging the graves of Husayn (a.s.) and his companions”.

Shaikh Saduq relates from Ibn Abbas, that I saw the Prophet of Allah (S) in a dream at mid-day. He was distressed and smeared in dust and held a bottle full of blood in his hands. He said, “This is the blood of my Husayn that I have been gathering since morning until now”. He noted down the day and it corresponded to the day Imam Husayn (a.s.) was martyred.

There are numerous traditions similar to the above ones. It is related in Manaqib, that Ibn Abbas saw the Prophet of Allah (S) in a dream after the Martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) with face covered in dust, bare feet and with grievous eyes, while the skirt of his shirt was tied on the waist. He was reciting the following verse of the Qur’an:

“And think not Allah to be heedless of what the unjust ones do. He only respites them to a day when the eyes shall be fixed open (staring up with terror)” (Surah al-Ibraheem, 14:42) .

Then he said,

“I went to Karbala and gathered the blood of my Husayn from the earth that now lies in my skirt. I shall go now to the presence of my Lord and plead to Him (for justice)”.

It is related in Kamil of Ibn Aseer, that Ibn Abbas says that I saw the Prophet of Allah (S) in a dream on the night of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.). He held a bottle in his hand that contained blood. I asked him, “O Prophet of Allah (S)! What is this?” He replied,

“This is the blood of Husayn and his companions that I am taking to the heavens to the presence of Allah”.

When it dawned Ibn Abbas announced the news of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) to the people and related his dream. It was later established that it was the same day when Imam (a.s.) was martyred.

I (the author) say, that regarding the burial of Imam Husayn (a.s.), and those who were martyred along with him, are not quoted in detail in the authoritative books. And it is transmitted from Shaikh Al-Tusi, that the (people of) Bani Asad brought a fresh mat and placed it under the body of Imam Husayn (a.s.). It is related from Deezaj, that he says that I, along with a group of my particular slaves, dug open the grave of Imam Husayn (a.s.). I saw a fresh mat on which lay the body of Imam Husayn (a.s.), while the fragrance of musk was emanating from it. I kept the mat at its original place on which the body of Imam was lying. Then I ordered that earth be filled in (the grave) and water to be sprinkled upon it.

It is also related by Abil Jarood, that first the grave of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was opened from the head and then from the feet. Fragrance of musk emanated from it while none had any doubts regarding it.

It is related in a renowned tradition from Za’edah, as quoted by us in the end of the previous Section, that Jibra’eel told the Prophet of Allah (S), “This grandson of yours”, he said pointing towards Imam Husayn (a.s.), “shall be martyred along with a group of men from your family, progeny and the virtuous among your nation on the banks of the Euphrates at a place named Karbala”.

He continued,

“When they shall have fallen down upon their place of comfort, Allah, the Honorable, the Glorified, will take away their souls with His Own Hands. While the Angels of the seventh heaven will come forth with trays of rubies and emeralds full of the Abe Hayat (the water of [eternal] life) and shrouds and perfumes of paradise, they shall then pray upon his dead body in hordes. Then Allah shall activate a group from among your nation, who would not be recognized by the kingdom of polytheists, nor would they be associated in his blood by means of speech, concept or deed. They shall bury them and shall erect a mark for the grave of the Master of Martyrs in that expanse desert, which will act as a guide for the righteous and a means of affluence for the believers. And daily a hundred thousand Angels from each heaven shall circumambulate it and shall send salutations to him. They shall glorify Allah and request Him for the salvation of those visiting his grave. Then they shall note down the names of the pilgrims”.

  • 1. Some are of the opinion that ‘The Holy Spirit’ (Ruhul Quds) refers to Jibra’eel, who is also called ‘The Trustworthy Spirit’ (Ruhul Amin), while others opine that is means inspiration. There is still another interpretation that seems the most appropriate of all. It says that it is a prominent creature greater than the angels. It is stated in a tradition that a person inquired from Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (a.s.) whether ‘Ruh’ is the same as Jibra’eel, and he replied, “Jibra’eel is one of the Angels and Ruh (Spirit) is greater than Angels. Has Allah, the Exalted, not said: ‘The Angels and Spirit descend (on the night of Qadr)”? (Tafseer al Burhan by Sayyid Hashim Husaynee Bahrani Vol. 4: Page 481).
  • 2. Waqifites: After the martyrdom of Imam Moosa al Kazim (a.s.), the majority followed his son Imam Ali ar Reza (a.s.), as bequeathed by him, as the eight Imam. However, some halted with the seventh Imam and became known as the ‘Waqifites’ lit. the halting ones.