It is mentioned that as soon as the Imam finished his Morning Prayer with his companions on the Ashura day,1 he told his companions:
“O brave companions! Be prepared for death. Remember that death is a bridge, which takes you from this world to another. This bridge would take you from this world of atrocities to a lofty, noble and kind world.”2
This was a part of Imam’s speech. Now let us look at his actions in this matter.
The point I am going to mention was not told by Imam Al-Husayn (A). It is recorded by the narrators. Hilal Ibn Nafe, a correspondent of Umar Ibn Saad, has narrated this incident. He says that he was surprised at the determination of Al-Husayn Ibn Ali. As the time of his martyrdom approached and as his calamities increased, his face was becoming brighter like a person approaching the time of his meeting.
The accursed one from start to end who had come to behead him was so much terrified by the reverence of the Imam’s bright face that he could not move his dagger. He says, “When I reached Al-Husayn Ibn Ali and looked at his face, I was lost in the brightness of light glowing from his face and was so frightened that I stopped from the intention of killing him.”3
It is narrated that Imam Al-Husayn (A) had selected a place for his battle, which was very near to his camp. There were two reasons for doing so. Firstly, he knew that the enemy was very coward and would not remember that he had enmity only with Al-Husayn and would not leave the women and children inside the camp unharmed.
Secondly, he did not want anyone to touch his tents as long as there was the last drop of blood in his body and as long as his nerves were ticking. Eventually, during the battle, if the enemy ran away from him, he did not chase them long and would return to his place to ensure that no one attacked his camp.
“No one should come out of the tents as long as I am alive.”
He wanted that his Ahl al-Bayt should be informed that he was alive. Therefore, he had selected a place as a center point from where his voice could easily reach his camp. He used to attack the enemy and return to that center and recite loudly: “Laa h’aula wa laa quwwata illaa billaahil a’liyyil a’z’eem”. There is no power and might except by Allah the High and the Mighty. Hearing this voice of Imam Al-Husayn (A), ladies used to heave a sigh of relief that their master was alive.
The Imam had ordered his family members that no lady was to come out of the tents as long as he was alive. You must not believe that any lady came out of tents as long as the Imam was alive as is commonly narrated. It never happened thus.
It was the Imam’s order that no lady would come out as long as he was alive. Imam had even told his family members. “Look, you should not utter anything, which would decrease your reward. Be patient. Your end is very good. You shall be protected from the mischief of the mischief-mongers. Allah would soon chastise your enemy.”4
The ladies were not permitted to come outside. Also, they would not have come out on their own. As the Imam’s dignity did not permit any lady to come out, the infallibility of those ladies too stopped them from stepping out of the tents.
Hence, when the Imam’s family members used to hear him reciting, “Laah’aula wa laa quwwata illaa billaahil a’liyyil a’z’eem” There is no power and might except by Allah the High and the Mighty, they used to heave a sigh of relief.
As the Imam had come to the camp once or twice even after bidding farewell, his family members waited for him to return.
In those days, the Arabs trained their horses well for the battles because the horse is an animal that can be trained well. As soon as its rider used to get killed, it displayed a special reaction.
The Imam’s family members were waiting to hear some voice or to have a look at Imam (A) outside. Suddenly they heard Zuljanah neighing. They came to the entrance of tent thinking that the Imam has arrived but instead saw Zuljanah alone with his saddle sagging.
They started shouting: “O Al-Husayna, O Muhammada” and surrounded Zuljanah from all sides. (Wailing is a part of human nature. When a human being wants to express his sorrow, he wails, addresses the sky, animals or other human beings) and all of them started wailing in some way or other.5
The Imam had ordered his family members not to cry but he had permitted them to cry after his martyrdom. Thus, they started crying aloud.
It is narrated that Al-Husayn loved his daughter Sakina very much. Later on, this daughter became extremely accomplished and knowledgeable and all scholars speak about her respectfully.6 Imam Al-Husayn (A) loved Sakina very much and she too loved her father very much.
It is recorded that Sakina used to recite such heart-rending elegies that everybody was moved. When all the family members surrounded Zuljanah and were mourning, Sakina addressed Zuljanah and said, “O father’s loyal horse! Tell me whether my father was given water or killed thirsty?”7 When did it happen? It happened when the Imam fell off from the back of his horse.
وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنْقَلَبٍ يَنْقَلِبُونَ
And they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back. (26:227)
- 1. It is narrated from Imam Al-Sajjad (A) in Maani al-Akhbaar, Pg. 288 that this conversation took place when Imam Husayn (A) and his companions were facing a tough situation. Except Imam Husayn (A) and his selected companions whose strong faith was matchless, all others had turned pale and were terrified. Then Imam Husayn (A) developed their confidence and faith through these words.
- 2. Maani al-Akhbaar, Pg. 288.
- 3. Lohoof, Pg. 128; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Pg. 513.
- 4. Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 298.
- 5. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 60.
- 6. Most scholars of India and Pakistan narrate that Imam Husayn’s four-year-old daughter, Sakina passed away in the prison of Syria and is buried there. (Rizwani)
- 7. Masaib al-Masoomeen, Pg. 320.