Relating to the entry of the Household of Imam Husayn (a.s.) into the presence of Ubaydullah bin Ziyad

It is related through trustworthy authorities, that Umar bin Sa’ad dispatched ‘The Trust of Prophethood (Ahlul Bayt)’ bareheaded upon the camels devoid of litter and dealt with them as though they were captives. When they neared Kufa, Ubaydullah bin Ziyad ordered that the severed head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) be brought before them. They lined up the heads of the martyrs upon the lances and behind them the captives were dragged until they entered Kufa. Then they were paraded in the streets and markets.

It is similarly quoted in Futooh of Ibn A’asam, and Asim relates from Zarr, that the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was the first head in Islam to be raised upon a lance, while the multitude of men and women weeping (on that day), was never seen before.

(Ibn Aseer) Jazari says that the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was the first head in Islam to be raised upon a wooden shaft (lance), but the fact is that the first head among the Muslims to be raised upon the lance was that of ‘Amr bin Humaq.

It is narrated in Yanabi’ul Mawaddah of the Learned Master Shaikh Sulayman Qandoozi, that Hisham bin Muhammad

(Kalbi) relates from Qasim (bin Asbagh bin Nabatah) Majashe’i, that when the heads were entered into Kufa, a horseman, who was handsome than others, had hung the head of Abbas bin Ali (a.s.) in the neck of his horse. (Later) His face turned black as tar and he said, “Every night two emissaries would throw me into the fire (of hell)”, then he died in this wretched state.

Shaikh Mufeed relates, that the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was brought to Kufa while the captives were brought in the next day. Ubaydullah bin Ziyad was seated in his palace and had called for a common assembly. The sacred head was brought in and kept in front of him. When his sight fell upon it, he smiled and poked at the front teeth (of Imam) with the cane of his hand.

It is related in Sawaeqe Muhriqa of Ibn Hajar, that when the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was entered into the house of Ibn Ziyad, blood started flowing down upon the walls.

It is also narrated from Sharhe Hamziyah, that he (Ubaydullah) ordered that the head be placed upon an armor kept on his right, while the men stood close to him in two rows.

It is narrated in Museerul Ehzan, that it is related to me, that Malik bin Anas said, that I saw Ubaydullah hitting at the teeth of Husayn (a.s.) with his cane and saying, “What good teeth you possess O Husayn”! I said, “By Allah! I consider the conclusion to be evil. I have seen the Prophet of Allah (S) kissing the place where you hit your cane”. Sa’eed bin Ma’az and Umar bin Sahl were also present when Ubaydullah was hitting at the eyes and nose of Husayn (a.s.) and was entering it into his blessed mouth.

Azdi says that Sulayman bin Rashid relates from Hameed bin Muslim, that Umar bin Sa’ad called upon me and dispatched me to his family with glad tidings of his victory and safety. I came to his family and delivered his message to them. Then I came out and entered the royal palace and saw that (Ubaydullah) Ibn Ziyad had called for an assembly. Groups started visiting him and he had given them an audience. He had permitted men to visit him and I too entered therein along with others.

I saw that the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was kept near him and he was striking at his teeth with the cane of his hand for an hour. When Zayd bin Arqam saw that he was not withholding his hand, he called out, “Lift your cane off these teeth, for by Allah, besides Whom there is no Deity, I have seen both the lips of the Prophet of Allah (S) upon them kissing”, saying this the old man’s rancor erupted and he started weeping.

Ibn Ziyad said, “May your Lord make you weep! By Allah! Had you not been old or turned stupid and your intellect having parted, I would have blown your head off”. Then he arose and left. When I came out of the royal palace, I saw people saying to one another, “By Allah! Zayd bin Arqam uttered such words which if the son of Ziyad would have heard it, he would have killed him”. I asked them as to what he had said.

They replied, “He said: A slave obtained a slave, and considers all men to be the sons of his slaves (An Arabic proverb). O Arabs! From today on you have become slaves. You killed the son of Fatemah (a.s.) and made the son of Marjanah your commander. He kills the virtuous amongst you, and know that he has made you his slaves. You have put yourselves in humiliation, and death be upon those whose put themselves in humiliation. ”

It is related in Tazkiratul Khawas of Sibt Ibn Jawzee, and Sawaeqe Muhriqa, as also in Tabarul Mazab, that Zayd bin Arqam arose and said, “O people! From today on you have become slaves. You killed the son of Fatemah (a.s.) and made the son of Marjanah your commander. By Allah! He kills the virtuous amongst you, and know thou, that he makes you his slaves. Death be to the one who puts himself in humiliation and disgrace”.

Then he said to Ibn Ziyad, “I shall relate to you a tradition which will be unpleasant for you. I have witnessed myself that the Prophet of Allah (S) had seated Imam Hasan (a.s.) upon his right thigh and Imam Husayn (a.s.) upon his left and had placed his hand upon their heads. And he said:

O Lord! I offer both of them along with the worthy believers to Your protection.

O son of Ziyad! What have you done with the ‘Trust of the Prophet of Allah’ (S)?”

It is also related in the Tazkirah of Sibt Ibn Jawzee, that it is quoted in Mufarridate Bukhari on the authority of Ibn Sireen, that the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was placed in a tray near Ibn Ziyad. He was hitting the front teeth with the cane of his hand and also praising them, Anas bin Malik was sitting there too. When he saw this, he started weeping and said, “He bore resemblance to the Prophet of Allah (S) more than anyone else. The mark of Wasmah or black dye was visible upon his face”. While some say that the sun had changed the color of his face and it was not something else (dye etc.).

Hisham bin Muhammad (Kalbi) says that when the head (of Imam Husayn) was placed near Ibn Ziyad, his soothsayer told him, “Arise and place your feet upon the mouth of your enemy” (Allah’s curse be upon him). As to what is quoted further is unpleasant to the heart to be narrated. What good has Mahyar said, “Your pulpit is honored due to you, but your progeny is placed under the feet”.1

May Allah reward Mukhtar fairly who took revenge from Ibn Ziyad. Shaikh Abu Ja’far Al-Tusi and Shaikh Ibn Nima relate that when the head of Ibn Ziyad was brought to Mukhtar, he was having food. He praised Allah upon this triumph and expressed that, “When the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was brought to Ibn Ziyad, he was having his food. Then I too am having food when the head of Ibn Ziyad is brought to me”. Then when he finished his food, he arose and scrubbed his shoe upon the face of Ubaydullah. Then he gave his shoe to his slave saying, “Wash it, that I have put it at the face of an unchaste infidel”.

Then it is said that, Qays bin Ibad was near Ibn Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad asked him “What do you say regarding myself and Husayn?” He replied, “On the day of Qiyamah, Husayn (a.s.)’s grandfather, father and mother would intercede on his behalf, while your grandfather, father and mother would intercede for you”. Hearing this Ibn Ziyad was infuriated and ousted him from his assembly.

Madaeni says that a man from Bakr bin Wael, named Jabir or Jubayr, was present there. When he saw what Ibn Ziyad did with the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.), he vowed that if ten Muslims would ever revolt against Ibn Ziyad, he would accompany them.

Hence, when Mukhtar arose to avenge the death of Imam Husayn (a.s.), and when both the armies stood facing one another, he stepped into the battlefield saying, “I consider everything upon which my sight falls to be futile, except the lance under the shadow of the horse”. Then he attacked the ranks of Ibn Ziyad and called out, “O accursed one! And O the successor to the accursed one”! The army left Ibn Ziyad, and he exchanged lances with him and both of them fell upon the ground dead. While some say that Ibraheem bin Malik Ashtar killed him and we shall quote it at its appropriate place.

It is quoted in Tazkirah (of Sibt Ibn Jawzee) from Tabaqat of Ibn Sa’ad that Marjanah, the mother of Ibn Ziyad, told him, “O evil man! You killed the son of the Prophet of Allah (S)? By Allah! You shall never ever be able to see Paradise”. Ibn Ziyad mounted all the heads, amounting to more than seventy, upon the wooden shafts (lances) in Kufa. And these heads, after that of Muslim bin Aqeel, were the first ones in the Islamic world to be mounted upon the wooden shafts (lances).

Shaikh Mufeed says that the family of Imam Husayn (a.s.) were taken to Ibn Ziyad. Sayyidah Zainab (a.s.) was also along with them in a disguised state and had worn a very humble dress. Tabari narrates that Zainab (a.s.) had worn a humble dress and disguised herself while her maids surrounded her.

Shaikh Mufeed says that Zainab (a.s.) passed by and sat in one of the corners of the palace while the maids had surrounded her. Ibn Ziyad asked, “Who is this woman sitting along with the other women in the corner?” Hazrat Zainab (a.s.) did not answer him. He repeated his question for the second and third time, when one of the maids said, “She is Zainab (a.s.), the daughter of Fatemah, the daughter of the Prophet of Allah (S)”. Ibn Ziyad turned towards her and said, “Praise be to Allah that He has humiliated you, killed you and has brought forward the lie of your appearance”. Zainab (a.s.) replied,

“Praise is due to Allah who has endeared us through His Prophet and cleansed us from all filth. Verily the dissolute is humiliated and a pervert speaks a lie, while this is far away from us. And praise be to Allah”.

Ibn Ziyad said, “What did Allah do to your family?” She replied,

“He preferred martyrdom for them and they hastened towards their place of repose. Then Allah, the Almighty, will gather you face to face, and they will try you and complain against you in His Audience.”

It is narrated by Sayyid (Ibn Tawoos) that she said,

“I have not seen anything except fairness in it. They were men for whom Allah had preferred martyrdom and they prepared to leave for their place of repose. And Allah will gather you all and you shall be tried and interrogated. Then see who will have succeeded on that day, O son of Marjanah! May your mother mourn you”!

The narrator says that hearing this Ubaydullah was enraged and desired against her (to kill her).

It is narrated in Irshad, that Ibn Ziyad was enraged and fumed at her. ‘Amr bin Hurays said, “O Commander! She is a woman, and a woman is not accountable for her speech and should not be rebuked for her fault”. Ibn Ziyad said, “Allah healed my heart of your rebellion, and the revolt of your family”. Hearing this Zainab (a.s.) was moved and started weeping. Then she said,

“By my life! You killed my elder and my youth and destroyed my family and severed my branches and plucked my origin, if your heart be healed by it”.

Hearing this Ibn Ziyad said, “This woman speaks rhythmically, while her father spoke similarly and was a poet”. She replied,

“What has a woman got to do with rhythms? I turn my face away from the rhythmical. But these words have come out of a grievous heart.”

They brought (Imam) Ali bin Husayn (a.s.) to Ubaydullah, and he asked, “Who are you?” He replied,

“I am Ali bin Husayn”.

Ubaydullah said, “But did not Allah kill Ali bin Husayn?”

Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) answered,

“I had a (another) brother by the name of Ali, who was killed by the men”.

Ibn Ziyad said, “Rather Allah killed him”.

Imam said,

“Allah takes the souls at death, and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep.” (Surah az-Zumar, 39:42)

Hearing this Ibn Ziyad was enraged and said, “You have the audacity to reply to me and have the courage to refute me? Then take him away and behead him”. Hearing this Zainab (a.s.) clinged to him (Zainul Abedeen) and said, “O son of Ziyad! Enough of our blood have you shed”. Then she took him into her fold and said, “By Allah! I shall not part with him. If you desire killing him, kill me along with him too”.

Ibn Ziyad looked at them for sometime, and then said, “What marvelous mysteries does mercy possess. By Allah! I perceive she desires that I should kill her along with him. Leave them, for I see them entrapped in their own grief”.2

It is related in Tazkirah of Sibt Ibn Jawzee that Rabab, the daughter of Imru al Qays and wife of Imam Husayn (a.s.), lifted the blessed head, and placing it in her lap, kissed it and said, “O Husayn! I shall never ever forget Husayn, those lances proceeded towards him, who had no lineage or father (present) at Karbala, and threw him upon the ground, may Allah never water both the directions of Karbala”.

Sayyid Ibn Tawoos says that when Sayyidah Zainab (a.s.) told Ubaydullah that, “You have not spared anyone from among us, then if you desire killing him, kill me too along with him”, Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) told her,

“O dear aunt! Please wait. Let me speak to him”.

Then he turned towards Ibn Ziyad and said,

“Do you frighten me by death? Do you not know, that martyrdom is our custom and in it lies our eminence?”

Then Ibn Ziyad kept Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) and his family in detention in one of the houses in the south of the Grand Mosque of Kufa.

Then Sayyidah Zainab (a.s.) declared, “The women of the Arabs hold no right to visit us. Only the maids and bondwomen may visit us who have tasted captivity similar to us”.

Then Ubaydullah ordered that the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) be paraded in the streets of Kufa.

(Translator) Here the author quotes some elegies which we forgo.

Our Master Shaikh Saduq in his Amali, and Fattal Naishapuri in his Rawzatul Waezeen, relate from a courtier of Ubaydullah, that he says that when the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was brought to Ubaydullah bin Ziyad, he ordered it to be placed in a golden tray. Then he started hitting his front teeth with his cane and said, “O Aba Abdillah! You have turned aged quite early”. One man from among those present said, “I have seen the Prophet of Allah (S) kissing the place where you hit your cane”.

He replied, “This day is in lieu of the day of Badr”. Then he ordered that (Imam) Ali bin Husayn (a.s.) be bound in chains and to send him to the prison along with the ladies of the house and other captives. I was along with them and saw that all the streets were full of men and women and they were beating their faces and weeping. They put them into the prison and locked the door. Then he called for (Imam) Ali bin Husayn (a.s.) and the women along with the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.), while Sayyidah Zainab (a.s.) was along with them.

Ibn Ziyad said, “Praise be to Allah that He has humiliated you and killed you”. Then he continued his speech similar to what has been quoted earlier. Then Ubaydullah ordered them to be sent to the prison, and he dispatched tidings of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) everywhere and dispatched the captives along with the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) to Syria.

Martyrdom of Abdullah bin Afeef Azdi

Sayyid Ibn Tawoos relates, that then (Ubaydullah) Ibn Ziyad ascended the pulpit, and after praising and glorifying Allah, said, “Praise be to Allah that He has bestowed dominance to the truth and the truthful ones, and presented victory to the commander of the faithful and his adherents, while killing the liar and son of a liar (Allah’s refuge)”.

At that moment Abdullah bin Afeef Azdi, who was one of the virtuous and abstentious Shi’ah, whose one eye had been blinded in the battle of Jamal, while the other one in the battle of Siffīn, and who served at the grand mosque of Kufa where he remained engrossed in Prayers until the night, arose and said, “O son of Marjanah! You are a liar and son of a liar, while also the one who deputed you and his father. O enemy of Allah! You kill the sons of the Prophets and thereafter you utter such words on the pulpit of the believers?”

The narrator says that, hearing this, Ibn Ziyad was infuriated and said, “Who is this speaker?” He replied, “O enemy of Allah! I am the eulogizer of the Chaste Progeny (of the Prophet) from whom Allah has kept away all filth and whom you killed, yet you consider yourself to be a Muslim? Alas! Where are the children of the Muhajereen and the Ansar,3 that they do not seek revenge from your rebellious one Yazid, the accursed one and son of the accursed one through the tongue of the Prophet of the Lord of the universe?”

The narrator says that hearing this, Ibn Ziyad was all the more enraged and the vein of his neck swelled and he said, “Bring him to me”. The soldiers ran towards him from all directions, but the chiefs of the clan of Azd, who were his cousins, defended him from the hands of the headsmen. They took him out of the mosque and reached him to his house.

Ibn Ziyad said, “Go out and bring the blind man of Azd to me whose heart has been blinded by Allah similar to his eyes”. They proceeded towards his house, and when the people of the clan of Azd came to know, they, along with the clans of Yaman, assembled to defend him. When the news reached Ubaydullah, he gathered the people of the clan of Muzar and dispatched them to fight them handing over the command to Muhammad bin Ash’as.

The narrator says that they fought fiercely and numerous Arabs were killed. The soldiers of Ibn Ziyad approached the door of Abdullah and breaking it open entered therein. Seeing this, his daughter called out, “That which you had been avoiding has approached while the army has come forth”. He said, “Do not fear and hand me over my sword”.

The sword was handed over to him and he defended himself saying, “I am the son of the possessor of two-fold eminence Afeef the chaste, Afeef is my master while my mother is Umm Amir, how many armored and cloaked men do you possess whom I have killed and thrown them upon the ground”. His daughter said, “O father! I wish I was a man, and then today I would have fought with these futile men and the murderers of the Pure Progeny in front of you”.

The army had surrounded him from all sides and he defended himself, while none could lay their hands upon him. And from whichever side they attacked him, his daughter kept informing him (for he was blind). Then they increased in size and cornered him and captured him, while his daughter called out, “O humiliation! They have surrounded my father while he has no aide”. He started whirling his sword while saying, “I swear that if my sight would return, it would become difficult upon you to besiege me”.

The narrator says that again they attacked him and arrested him and took him to Ubaydullah bin Ziyad. He said, “Praise be to Allah that He has humiliated you”. Abdullah bin Afeef answered, “O enemy of Allah! How have I been humiliated? For by Allah! If my sight returns, it would become difficult upon you to besiege me”. Ibn Ziyad said, “O enemy of Allah! What do you say regarding Usman (bin Affan)?”

He replied, “O son of the slave of Allah! O son of Marjanah!” Saying this he abused him and said, “What do you have to do with Usman bin Affan whether he performed good or evil deeds? And whether he reconciled or destroyed? Allah, may He be Hallowed and Exalted, is an Authority upon His creatures and shall deal with justice and righteousness in between them and Usman bin Affan.

But you can ask me regarding yourself and your father, or regarding Yazid and his father”. Ubaydullah bin Ziyad said, “By Allah! I shall not question you until you die of grief”. Abdullah bin Afeef said, “All Praise be to the Lord of the universe! I had desired from my Allah to bestow martyrdom upon me long before your mother gave birth to you. And I had desired it at the hands of the worst among His creatures and the most detested one near Him. But when my eyes had turned blind, I had lost hope, but now, praise be to Allah, after despair it has been manifested to me and I perceive that my ancient desire has been fulfilled”. Ibn Ziyad ordered, “Behead him”, they beheaded him and his head was hanged at the salt swamp. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).

Shaikh Mufeed says, that when the headsmen arrested him, he announced the slogan of the people of Azd, while seven hundred people of Azd gathered near him and released him from the headsmen. Ibn Ziyad dispatched his men at mid-night and he was brought out and beheaded and was hung at his salt-swamp.

Then when it dawned, Ibn Ziyad called for the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and ordered it to be paraded in the streets of Kufa and among all the clans. Zayd bin Arqam says that, I was on my terrace when the head passed by me placed upon a lance. When it came close to me, I heard it recite:

“Or do you think that the Fellows of the Cave and (of) the Inscription (which) were of Our Signs (Miracles) (matters) wonderful?” (Surah al-Kahf, 18:9).

The hair of my skin arose and I said, “O son of the Prophet of Allah! Your mystery, as also your task, is most astonishing, and yes most astonishing”. Then after it was paraded in the city of Kufa, it was brought back to the royal palace. Then Ibn Ziyad handed it to the custody of Zahr bin Qays, along with that of his companions, and dispatched them to Yazid bin Mu’awiyah”.

Sayyid Ibn Tawoos says that Ibn Ziyad wrote a letter to Yazid, in which he informed him of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and the state of his family. He dispatched a letter with similar contents to ‘Amr bin Sa’eed bin Aas, the governor of Madinah.

Tabari relates from Hisham (bin Muhammad Kalbi), who relates from Awanah bin Hakim Kalbi, that when Imam Husayn (a.s.) was martyred and his belongings and captives were brought to Kufa for Ubaydullah bin Ziyad, they were imprisoned. When the captives were in the prison, a stone was hurled inside, which was tied in a letter. The contents of the letter were as follows:

“On such and such day a message regarding yourselves has been dispatched to Yazid. Then it will take so many days to travel and to return back. It will then return on such and such day, and then if the voice of ‘Allaho Akbar’ reaches your ears, be informed that there will be a general massacre, but if you do not hear it, then you will be in peace, Allah willing”.

Two three days before the return of the message another letter tied with a stone and a blade was thrown, in which was written: “Make your wills and pledge among yourselves, that the message will come on such and such day”. Finally the message came, while the voice of ‘Allaho Akbar’ was not heard, with the message that: “Dispatch the captives to me”.

Ubaydullah called for Makhfar bin Sa’labah and Shimr bin Ziljawshan and said, “You should take the captives and the head of Husayn (a.s.) to the presence of Yazid”, they left until they reached him.

It is stated in Kamil of Ibn Aseer, that when Umar bin Sa’ad returned back after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.), Ibn Ziyad told him, “O Umar! Return to me the letter in which I ordered you to kill Husayn”. He replied, “I have executed your orders, while the letter has been lost”. Ibn Ziyad said, “You should hand it over to me”.

Umar replied, “It is lost”, “Then you should get it” said Ibn Ziyad. Umar replied, “I have kept it with me, so that, by Allah, I may read it in front of the old Qurayshite women of Madinah as a cover-up for me. Beware! I had counseled you regarding Husayn, that if I had done similar to my father Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas, I would have fulfilled all rights due to a father”.

Hearing this, Usman bin Ziyad, the brother of Ubaydullah, said, “He spoke the truth by Allah! I cherish it that until the day of Qiyamah the noses of all the progeny of Ziyad would be bridled and Husayn would not have been killed”, while Ubaydullah himself did not deny it.

It is stated in Tazkirah of Sibt Ibn Jawzee, that after this, Umar bin Sa’ad arose from the assembly of Ibn Ziyad so as to return to his house. On the way he said, “None has returned back from the battle more miserable than me. I obeyed the son of Ziyad, an oppressor and son of a loose woman, while disobeying Allah, the Just. While I severed the honorable relation that I shared with the family of the Prophet (S)”.

The people distanced themselves from him, and whenever he encountered anyone from among them, they would turn their faces away from him. And whenever he stepped into the mosque, the people therein would leave. And whoever saw him would abuse him, and he remained secluded in his house until he was killed. (May Allah’s eternal curse be upon him and his accomplices).

Abu Hanifa Daynoori says that Hameed bin Muslim relates, that Umar bin Sa’ad was my companion, and after returning from battle against Imam Husayn (a.s.) I inquired of him, and he said, “Do not ask me regarding my state, none has left one’s house and brought back the worst that what I have brought back to my house. I severed the most merciful relation and performed a great (worst) task”.

  • 1. It is related in Habibus Siyar, that when the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) was brought to Ibn Ziyad, he came forward to have a look at his face and hair. Suddenly his ominous hand trembled; he then placed the blessed head upon his thigh. A drop of blood fell off from it, and entering his clothes, dug deep into his thigh piercing it such that it turned into a wound and gave out a stink. And as much the doctors tried to cure it, it proved futile. Therefore Ibn Ziyad always kept musk with him so that the odor may not be revealed.
  • 2. It is narrated by Tabari from Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.), that there remained no man from the family of Imam Husayn (a.s.), except a youth (Imam Zainul Abedeen), who was captivated alongwith the women. Ubaydullah ordered him to be killed. Zainab (a.s.) stood in defending him and said, “He shall not be killed until you kill me”, Ubaydullah was moved and left them.
  • 3. Muhajereen - The Emmigrants of Makkah, who accompanied Prophet Muhammad (S) to Madinah. Ansar - The Helpers of Madinah who welcomed the Prophet whole-heartedly and rendered assistance to him.