Events and Martyrdom
Being neither naive nor superficial, many events were associated with al-’Abbas right from his earliest youth. These events were links in a long series of conflict between Hashim and the Hashemites on one side and the other Koreishite descendants and clans on the other side. This conflict took different forms, passed through many stages, and finally, took the form of the conflict between right and wrong.
Despite their different trends, all historians have had to confess that the Hashemite branch of Koreish has been distinctive in mentality, manners, and behavior and has been excelling all others at their activities and values.
Hashim and his sons and descendants were highly respected by all tribes and kings. Such high rank aroused the envy of the other clans of Koreish who allied against Hashim, his sons and descendants. Despite all these alliances, victory was always to the side of the Hashemites who achieved memorable, remarkable deeds that immortalized their names all over history.
The envy of the other more than twenty Koreishite clans reached its climax when the grandson of Hashim declared and promulgated his prophecy and that he was receiving revelations and instructions from the Heavens and called the Koreishites, as well as all other people, to follow and support him. Moreover, he was supported by Abu-Talib, chief of Koreish and some of his uncles and was followed by some of his cousins.
The Koreishite chiefs spared no efforts in resisting Muhammad’s prophecy and promulgation and in trying to stop Abu-Talib’s support for him through various sorts of seductions and threats; yet, all their endeavors failed.
They then decided with one voice to persecute, physically and mentally, every single individual who converted to Islam. Owing to the execution of this decision, most of Muslims fled to Abyssinia, and the Koreishite decision failed.
They then decided unanimously, by the participation of other clans, to blockade and boycott the Hashemites completely; therefore, they detained them in a col for three or four years. Nevertheless, this decision failed too due to a divine miracle.
As soon as the Hashemites lost their chief Abu-Talib, the Koreishite clans decided to assassinate the Prophet whom God protected and instructed to move to Yathrib where most of the inhabitants embraced Islam.
By means of seductions, threats and through the Jews, the Koreishites tried to force people of Yathrib, which lay on the way of their commercial artery. They threatened their trade with Syria with cessation and asked them to forsake the Prophet. They failed there too. Hence, they decided to engage themselves in a war against the Hashemite Prophet. They fought against him in the battles of Badr, Uhud, and al-Khandaq - and they failed in all.
They used the Jews as a weapon against him - but they failed again.
They also sought the support of the Persians and the Romans - but they failed.
After eight years of his migration, the Prophet surprised the Koreishites when he conquered their capital Mecca, with an irresistible army. Thus, the Koreishites had to give up and surrender to the Prophet.
Afterwards, the Prophet declared public amnesty to the chiefs of the Koreishite clans and gathered them in the Holy Masjid under the swords of his soldiers to explain to them their arrogance, tyranny, denial of the Verses of God, malice towards the Prophet of God, wronging the Hashemites and Muslims, and waging wars against Islam. He then released them, and they have been called – ‘the released ones.’1
Although their hearts were full of feelings of rage and arrogance after they had to submit to son of Hashim and accept their having been released just like slaves, the Koreishites adopted another principle: Muhammad’s state is ours. He is that ‘generous brother and son of that generous brother’ and that kind son of Koreish; therefore, we have to enter his state and save it from the hands of the strange ones.
Hence, they dedicated all efforts to prevent the Prophet from preparing a Hashemite individual as his successor. In other words, they decided to prevent the Hashemites from having both prophecy and leadership.
As some of them believed that it was difficult to lay hold of Muhammad’s state, they planned to assassinate him so as to stop the whole matter.2 They also failed here because of the will of the Heavens. Thus, they had to find another way.
They came to ask the Prophet to grant them a share in his state, but he rejected because he had already appointed somebody as his successor:
During his life, the Prophet (S) named ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib as his successor and the coming leader of the Islamic Ummahh (community). As a matter of fact, the source of this decision was the decree from the Heavens. It was Almighty God who selected and appointed ‘Ali, followed by the Immaculate Imams of his progeny, as the next leaders of the Islamic Ummahh after the Prophet.
This decision was conveyed by the Prophet from the earliest stage of the march of Islam.3 In almost all occasions that gathered Muslims, the Prophet confirmed that ‘Ali would succeed him in the leadership of the Islamic Ummahh.
The event of Ghadir Khum is a clear-cut proof on our claim. Ahead of about one hundred thousand Muslims whom were gathered in that terribly hot weather, the Prophet (S) raised ‘Ali’s hand to declare that this man must be regarded as the leader of everyone who adopted the leadership of the Prophet, and ordered the present ones to convey this decision to the absent, including the coming generations.
In addition, he gave orders of holding special ceremonies on that occasion and took the pledge of all Muslims’ men and women to recognize the leadership of Imam ‘Ali. The anniversary of that occasion is still celebrated by Muslims who fulfilled their pledge to the Prophet.4
As a hopeless endeavor, the Koreishite chiefs, supported by some Koreishite individuals who were among the first converts to Islam but showed loyalty to the Koreishite conspirators, came to the Prophet to suggest that he had better cancel his decision of appointing ‘Ali as the coming leader…etc.5 But the Prophet refused their demand, emphasizing that the matter was God’s and not based on anyone’s desire.
The Prophet used nice policy with those defeated chiefs. For instance, he appointed their military commander, Abu-Suffian ibn Harb, as a tax collector. But, they kept on their plots and wicked intentions. They, once demanded for autonomy, but the Prophet (S) reproached and threatened to ask his hero, ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib to fight them. He also predicted that the Koreishites would not stop plotting against Islam unless they were made to submit by force6.
Finally, the Koreishites despaired of getting any success with any of their plots as long as the Prophet (S) was alive. Hence, they prepared new matters that would be done after his death.
When the Prophet (S) departed from this life after he had been prevented from dictating his will,7 a great turning in the march of Islam occurred. On the second day of the Prophet’s demise, some Koreishite persons, thinking nothing at all of the Prophet’s previous confirmations of the leadership of Imam ‘Ali, held a meeting to appoint the leader who would succeed the Prophet
In fact, the main reason behind this meeting that had been prepared for previous to the death of the Prophet (S) and which violated all the divine instructions was to take the Hashemites away from the chieftainship of the Islamic nation in general, and bring in other Koreishite clans in particular.
The Umayyads had the biggest hand in convening that meeting during which Abu- Bakr was decided as the new leader of the Islamic Ummah. When Imam ‘Ali, supported by the faithful companions of the Prophet, denied the decisions of that meeting considering the whole matter as violation to the Prophet’s instructions, the head of the founding members of that meeting, namely Omar ibn al-Khattab, declared openly the main cause that made them hold such a meeting and reach such a decision. He said to Imam ‘Ali: “We8 dislike for you, the Hashemites, to have both prophecy and leadership.”9
Showing his limitless malice towards Islam and Prophet Muhammad (S), Abu-Suffian found through such divergence the best opportunity for striking Islam and disuniting Muslims can be seized. He equipped his relatives with weapons and led them to the door of Imam ‘Ali’s house to tell that he, as well as a well-equipped army10 was ready to support him if he would declare war against the other party who usurped his divine right of leadership. Imam ‘Ali understood Abu-Suffian’s real intention very well and rejected his suggestion.
So, the Hashemites lost their position that Almighty God had selected for them. Nevertheless, this did not cancel their being the real leaders of the Islamic nation and the ones whose instructions must be followed since they have been the appointed successors of the Prophet according to divine instructions.
After many events, Abu-Bakr came to power and appointed Omar ibn al-Khattab as his successor. Omar ibn al-Khattab, as being the caliph - the political and religious head of Muslims - appointed Muawiya, son of Abu- Suffian the mortal enemy of Islam and the leader of the armed forces against the Prophet and his companions, as the governor of Damascus.
It is ironic that a man who was to become the political and religious head of a province in the Islamic State was born into a clan that rejected Prophet Muhammad (S) in his home city, Mecca, and continued to oppose him on the battlefields after he had emigrated to Medina, and did not convert to Islam until the Prophet conquered Mecca and obliged its inhabitants to follow his religion.
Another irony was the plan that Omar ibn al-Khattab made for choosing the next caliph who was Othman ibn Affan.
Al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali was born in the reign of Othman ibn Affan. It is very natural that he understood the whole doctrinal, political and social matter of the Islamic State through the instructions of his father and two brothers around whom all the aforementioned events occurred.
Likewise, al-’Abbas, from his earliest youth, recognized that he belonged to the house whom Almighty God had selected for guarding and conveying His religion to the next generations in its pure, correct form and that he had his own role to play in this sacred process. Naturally, he was informed about the events that preceded him in details and, now it was his turn to understand the current and the upcoming events.
The policies of Othman ibn Affan brought about a general disorder in the intellectual and doctrinal lives of Muslims. These policies were aimed at taking the Ahlul Bayt away from the political centers in the state and subjecting these to the illegitimate ruling authorities. Hence, the political and administrative positions were given to persons who belonged to the clans of Umayya and Aal-Maeet. The Hashemites and their partisans were prevented from holding any position.
All the offices of the Islamic State came in the hands of the Umayyad who went on creating crises among Muslims. It is indisputable that the great majority of such governors did not have any Islamic inclination and were directed to work against the real Islam of Muhammad and his family (a). Moreover, they lacked familiarity with expertise in the Islamic laws and the requirements of the Islamic Sharia.
As a result of such policy, some troops of the Islamic army left Iran and Egypt to go to Medina. They demanded from Othman to rectify his policies and remove the Umayyad from the offices of the state. Unfortunately, he did not respond, and the rebels found no means other than assassinating Othman, after they had been encouraged by the most celebrated personalities who had accompanied the Prophet. So, they killed Othman and thus could get rid of his dishonest policies of favoring his relatives to the others and spreading innovations in Islam.
Al-’Abbas was in the vigor of his youth watching all these events and waiting for the future. After the assassination of Othman, it was for the first time that the people could express their opinions freely and select the fittest - ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib, the one selected by the Heavens for the leadership of the Muslims.
The armed forces and all the classes of people all over the provinces of the Islamic State selected Imam ‘Ali for the leadership of the state, except people of Damascus and a few individuals of Medina who understood that Imam ‘Ali would refuse their monopoly and thus would extend the very required social justice all over the Islamic state.
As expected, Imam ‘Ali adopted and applied policies of constructive and comprehensive justice to everybody. He preferred the general interests to the private and dedicated all efforts to the achievement of an ideal social justice and to the eradication of poverty. He also adopted the course of extending principles of freedoms so as to create public developments and wipe out all feelings of humility and subservience. Thus, the Imam worked on extending the religious and political policies.
Imam ‘Ali also paid a good deal of attention to the propagation of religious senses and Islamic idealities among the publics. Through his unparalleled behavior and successful sermons, Imam ‘Ali could find, at least a class of virtuous individuals who, later on during the reign of the Umayyad, resisted the moral collapses and promulgated the true Islamic course.
Imam ‘Ali, also, taught the society how to fulfill their responsibilities before God, watch the general situations of the Islamic State, save the society from deviation, revolt against the unjust rulers, and work purely for sake of God.
These were the principles that made al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali be with his brother Imam al-Husayn who revolted against the unjust rulers who violated the sanctities of the Islamic society and enslaved Muslims. In fact, al-’Abbas, being the son of Imam ‘Ali, was the worthiest of learning and applying the instructions of his father to himself and working on propagating them among people.
Imam ‘Ali (a) also used all weapons for fighting poverty and removing its ghost away from the Islamic society. He therefore supplied the needy people with residential places, eliminated unemployment, monopoly and usury.
He finally stopped all sorts of favoritism, a distinctive feature of the reign of Othman ibn Affan who favored his relatives at the expense of the others. Thus, equality took its purest form during the reign of Imam ‘Ali (a).
All these reforms canceled out the private interests of the Koreishites, especially the Umayyad, who did their best to do away with Imam ‘Ali and his policies. They therefore, formed a different opposing power that waged wars against him.
First of all, there was Aisha (the Prophet’s widow and the first caliph’s daughter) whose limitless malice against Imam ‘Ali controlled her completely to the degree that she rode on that red camel against which the Prophet (S) warned her11 and led an army against the legal authority of the Islamic State namely, Imam ‘Ali.
One can feel the big irony when he recognizes, through authentic reports, that this very Aisha was a direct reason for the assassination of Othman ibn Affan against whom she rallied people and whom she described as non-Muslim.12 When she was informed of his death, she prostrated herself to God as a sign of thanks, but when she was informed that ‘Ali held the position of leadership, her situation was converted and she cried: “Othman was killed wrongfully. I must take revenge upon his killers.”
She then gathered troops and directed to Basra where she faced the army of Imam ‘Ali who overcame and captured her. Then, out of his remarkable and unmatched moral standards, Imam ‘Ali honored the lady who led the mutiny against him, released her, and sent her home.
In the midst of all these events, al-’Abbas was watching with a heedful heart both the opposing powers and his father’s wise treatments of the situation. In fact, his father’s behaviors were the best lessons that led him to occupy the first place in the field of heroism, sacrifice and perseverance on principles.
Continuing with the series of events in their enmity against the right party in general and the Hashemites in particular, the Umayyad formed an opposite power that faced and waged war against Imam ‘Ali.
Muawiya being the governor of Damascus since the reign of Omar ibn al-Khattab, declared armed mutiny against the legal authority of the Islamic State. He could gather the ignorant ones, the hypocrites, the opportunists, and the former officials of Othman’s government whose ill-gotten properties were confiscated by Imam ‘Ali to be distributed fairly among all people, to form an army of mutineers.
Muawiya’s troops directed towards Iraq and camped in Siffeen on the Syrian-Iraqi borders. First, they occupied the two banks of the River Euphrates so as to prevent Imam ‘Ali’s army from getting water. Out of their extreme inhumanity and brutality, the Umayyads used the blockade of water as a weapon against their rivals. They did the same thing with Imam al-Husayn, his household, and his companions when they occupied the two banks of the River Euphrates and prevented Imam al-Husayn’s army from having water.
As Imam ‘Ali noticed that Muawiya’s troops would not permit his army to have water after they had refused his calls to peace, he allowed his army to attack. They could defeat Muawiya’s army and occupy the two banks of the river. Some of the commanders asked Imam ‘Ali to prevent Muawiya’s troops from having water, but he, out of his incomparable mercy and feelings of responsibility towards human beings in general and Muslims in particular, refused that request and permitted the other party to have water which is allowable to all creatures.
Unfortunately, Muawiya, his family, and his group did not thank for Imam ‘Ali his merciful disposition. On the contrary, they rewarded Imam ‘Ali’s son and household with evil and prevented them, even the newborns and women, from having water.
When all attempts at peace failed, Imam ‘Ali had to fight the other party. In the last stage of that war which lasted for two years causing ten thousands of casualties, Imam ‘Ali was about to achieve victory and put an end to that war, but Muawiya turned it with a trickery. He asked his defeated soldiers to impale copies of the holy Qur’an on their lances and call that the judge of the Qur’an should be sought.
Deluded by such false cries, some divisions in Imam ‘Ali’s army responded to these calls and asked Imam ‘Ali to submit. The Imam tried his best to convince the deluded ones, the hypocrites, and the agents, but uselessly. He therefore had to submit to their demand of the arbitration with the Holy Qur’an.
Muawiya suggested that he would choose a man as his representative and Imam ‘Ali should choose one as his representative. Under the pressure of the rebellious groups in Imam ‘Ali’s army, the Imam had to accept Abu-Musa al-Ash’ari as representative. Muawiya chose Amr ibn al-Aas, the disreputable swindler.
Before holding the session of arbitration, Amr ibn Al-Aas fooled al-Ash’ari by claiming that they both should judge after denouncing both ‘Ali and Muawiya so as to save the Muslims from such a fitnah of Civil war. Moreover, Amr could convince al-Ash’ari to ascend the mimbar first and denounce his leader - Imam ‘Ali.
Before the two parties, al-Ash’ari ascended the mimbar and denounced Imam ‘Ali. When he came down, Amr ascended and called people to follow the ‘legal’ leadership of his leader - Muawiya!
This farce of arbitration, which ended in deposing Imam ‘Ali as caliph and appointing Muawiya as the new leader, folded the last page in the holiest Islamic government that aimed at achieving ideal social justice. However, the hypocrites and the Koreishite clans, especially the Umayyad, succeeded in overthrowing this government and replacing it with the reign of the Umayyad dynasty that brought about the most appalling tragedy - the massacre of the Prophet’s household.
Some historians have slackened the reins when they ascribe exaggerated situations of fighting to al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali. As a matter of fact, it is not strange for a hero like al-’Abbas to record astonishing situations of fighting from his early youth, because he was the son of that hero and the descendant of the heroes of the Arabs, and, originally, he was prepared for showing supreme heroism and courage.
Besides, history has recorded for the Hashemites such unparalleled situations of heroism right from the early stages of their lives. For instance, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya, son of Imam ‘Ali, showed great heroism in the battles led by his father when he was twenty years old or maybe even less.13
Some historians have mentioned that al-’Abbas supported his brother Imam al-Husayn who led the division that defeated Muawiya’s troops and occupied the two banks of the River Euphrates during the battle of Siffeen.14
Historians, also, have referred to the following narration: During the battle of Siffeen, a sublime, courageous young man of about seventeen year old putting a veil on the face advanced for fighting. Muawiya, seeing that people feared that warrior, asked Abu’sh-Shaathaa to fight with him. Abu’sh- Shaathaa refused claiming that he was too courageous to fight with such a young warrior. He suggested he would send one of his seven sons to fight. That young warrior killed all the sons of Abu’sh-Shaathaa who became angry and decided to fight with that warrior himself. The warrior killed Abu’sh-Shaathaa and returned to the camp. Showing their admiration of the heroism and courage of that young warrior whom nobody knew, the companions of Imam ‘Ali recognized that he must have been one of the Hashemites. When Imam ‘Ali removed that veil from the warrior’s face, he was al-’Abbas.15
Al-Khawarzmi, in his book titled Manaqib ut-Talibiyyin (147) records the following incident:
Kuraib the strong soldier in Muawiya’s army advanced and could kill three of the horsemen of Imam ‘Ali’s army. He then challenged Imam ‘Ali. Saddened by this challenge, Imam ‘Ali called his son al-’Abbas who was mature and ordered him to ride off his horse and take off his clothes. The father put on his son’s clothes, rode on his horse, and asked his son to dress in his clothes and take his horse so that Kuraib will not shrink in fear and withdraw fighting…
These two incidents emphasize that al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali participated in the battle of Siffeen with his father and brothers.
Some historians, however, have denied the participation of al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali in that battle, claiming that it was al-’Abbas ibn al-Harith, not al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali, who attended that battle.
This is in fact not accurate, because there are other narrations, recorded in books of history such as al-Khawarzmi’s Maqatil ut-Talibiyyin (105), referring to the roles of al-’Abbas ibn al-Harith in that battle.
After the farce of the arbitration, Imam ‘Ali had to encounter other ordeals created by Muawiya who used the hypocrites and the ignorant as means for achieving his vile purposes. Those classes of people criticized Imam ‘Ali for accepting the opinion of the arbitration after they had obliged him to do so. After the cessation of the battle of Siffin, those groups left the army of Imam ‘Ali and adopted a new course in thought and practice. They were called Khawarij - ‘the mutineers’.
The Imam sent some messengers to convince them to change their opinions, but they did not respond. They went on shedding the blood of innocent people and spreading horror among Muslims.
As a second attempt, Imam ‘Ali decided to visit them hoping he would take them back to the right path. Although he proved their being wrong through undisputable proofs, the Khawarij insisted on mutiny. As Imam ‘Ali noticed that they formed a great danger against the Islamic society, he had to wage war against them. In a place called an-Nahrawan, a horrible fighting occurred between the Khawarij and Imam ‘Ali’s army. In that war, the Khawarij were killed completely and none was saved except nine persons.
By the way, al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali, probably, did not participate in this battle, because historians have not referred to any situation for him in this battle. At any rate, some historians believe that Imam ‘Ali prevented some of his sons, including al-’Abbas, from fighting in the battles of Siffin and an-Nahrawan because he wanted to save them from death.
After the ordeal of the Khawarij, Muawiya went on enhancing his power through the many raids that he made against some territories of Kufa, the capital of the Islamic State. He also occupied Egypt to take it out from the control of Imam ‘Ali.
Those ordeals that inflicted the Islamic world saddened Imam ‘Ali very much since he felt the further oncoming ordeals, which would be more horrible.
The Khawarij held a conference in Mecca and decided to get rid of Imam ‘Ali, Muawiya, and Amr ibn al-Aas because, as they thought, those three persons were the reasons beyond people’s disorder. The ruling authority of Mecca knew about that meeting and, probably, supplied one of the conferee with money to facilitate his mission of killing Imam ‘Ali.
The man, Abdur-Rahman ibn Muljim, came to Kufa and went on preparing for doing his mission with the help of the hypocrites of that city.
On the nineteenth night of the holy month of Ramadan, Imam ‘Ali went to the mosque to lead the collective Fajr prayer. When he raised the head after the prostration, the infidel struck him on the head with his sword. As soon as the Imam felt the stroke, he smiled and declared: “By the Lord of Kaaba, I have won.”
He was carried to his house where his sons, daughters, and harem gathered around him. The Imam looked at all his sons as he predicted each one’s role in the future. The Imam looked at his son al-’Abbas with a sight of affection and emotion when he remembered the divine prediction regarding this courageous son and the role that he would play in supporting the religion of God. He then instructed his sons on the high moral standards, commitment to the right, and perseverance on principles.
As the poison of the sword that struck the Imam spread to his entire body, death crept to him in sure steps. The Imam then departed life.
His elder son, Imam al-Hasan along with his brothers, prepared the funeral rituals of his body. They washed his body, put it in the coffin, and carried it to the burial place in Najaf.
From the conduct of his father, along with the problems and ordeals that happened during his reign, al-’Abbas learnt how to stand up with all he had for the sake of keeping the principles and achieving justice on this earth. He did believe in the brilliant goals to which his father called for and for the application of which he sacrificed everything including his holy soul.
These lessons contributed greatly in creating that high spirit enjoyed by al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali.
After his father, Imam al-Hasan held the position of the leadership of the Islamic State. All the political and social circumstances were not stable. The great majority of the military commanders, including the general commander, showed loyalty to Muawiya who seduced them by means of precious bribes.
The false ideas of the Khawarij too, worked as a destructive factor that ruined the building of the Imam’s wing. As a result, many attempts of assassination, though unsuccessful, were made against the Imam. Finally, some hypocrites accused him of infidelity.
All these ordeals encouraged Muawiya to declare war against the Imam. Thus, Muawiya gathered his powerful army and directed it towards Iraq.
Accompanied by a few divisions of his army, Imam al-Hasan marched towards al-Madaain where he stationed his troops. Peace treaty with Muawiya was the only solution that would save the Imam’s soul and save Muslims from disunity and apostasy. Thus, Imam al- Hasan had to sign a peace treaty with Muawiya.
After that peace treaty, Imam al-Hasan, along with his household and brothers including al-’Abbas, left from Kufa to Medina. He resided there and began spreading his knowledge among its seekers and conferring alms upon the needy and the poor with his abundant generosity. By the presence of Imam al-Hasan, Medina regained its leading position as the spiritual capital of the Islamic world.
The bitter trials that Imam al-Hasan encountered opened the eyes of al-’Abbas on new facts regarding the nature of both the society and the ruling authorities.
After the peace treaty with Imam al-Hasan, Muawiya ibn Abi-Suffian; the mortal enemy and the son of the mortal enemies of Islam, could hold the position of the leadership of the Islamic State after he had eradicated the government of ‘Ali and his descendants - the one and the only legitimate government, after the Prophet’s - that was characterized by ideal justice.
With the collapse of Imam ‘Ali’s government, all the values of humanity and morality were replaced by values of paganism. Altogether with all its disadvantages, Muawiya exerted all his efforts to confirm them as an alternative for the principles of Islam.
Under the shades of the Umayyad reign, vice, immorality, despotism, and corruption spread all over the Islamic provinces. Muslims had to encounter insufferable ordeals that tested their perseverance on their principles, the scope of their faith and steadfastness against their misfortunes.16
Muawiya, first of all, directed towards the policy of eliminating the eminent Islamic personalities, such as Hijr ibn Edi, Amr ibn al-Hamq, Rushaid al-Hujari, Saad ibn Abi-Waqqas, Abd-ur-Rahman ibn Khalid, Abd-ur-Rahman ibn Abi-Bakr, and, finally, Imam al-Hasan.
He then dedicated all his possibilities to antagonize the Ahlul Bayt because they acted in his opposition, represented the genuine and true trend of Islam and belonged to that great Prophet who smashed the glories of the other Koreishite clans, especially Muawiya and his father who had stood against him as openly as they possibly could until he conquered their city, captured them, and then set them free.
He established a faction of fabricators whose missions was to invent words, ascribe them falsely to the Prophet, praising the other companions (of the Prophet) so as to be a front against the Ahlul Bayt. They also invented words that criticised the Ahlul Bayt, and invented a third collection of words praising the Umayyads.
Regrettably, the influence of these inventions are still effective and many Muslims have been still deluded by such fabrications that were aimed at deceiving the Islamic nation by taking it away from the actual leadership that God, His Prophet Muhammad, and intellect had selected.
Muawiya, also, issued a formal decision ordering the officials of his government to revile at Imam ‘Ali openly from the mimbars of Masjids all over the Islamic State.
Furthermore, Muawiya used the teaching institutions for achieving his blind goals of eradicating the Ahlul Bayt. Hence, the new generations were brought up with malice against the Ahlul Bayt.
All the same, the policies of Muawiya have failed and he was terribly disappointed. The personality of Amir ul-Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib has been the world’s song of human perfection and freedom, while the Umayyad became nothing but a corrupt germ detested by everybody.
All these policies of persecution and grievous forms of discrimination that the Ahlul Bayt had to suffer during the reign of the Umayyad increased in the mind of al-’Abbas - the necessity to struggle against oppression. He also believed in the obligation of revolting against the Umayyad for sake of fulfilling the religious duty and saving the Muslim community against the deviations and wrong policies of those illegitimate rulers.
The gravest danger that Muawiya brought to the Islamic nation was his naming of Yazid, his lascivious son as the next ruler of the Islamic State.
Historians have unanimously mentioned that Yazid ibn Muawiya was devoid of any humanitarian value. He was sunk deep into sins and crimes. He declared openly that he did not believe in God or His Prophet and that he had had one and only mission - to eradicate the Prophet’s progeny so as to revenge himself against the Prophet and his family who killed many of his forefathers and humiliated the others.
Finding his faithless son as the best one to achieve the evil aims of his forefathers and him, Muawiya appointed Yazid as the upcoming leader and instructed him to do some matters that achieve the continuity of the Umayyad dynasty as absolute rulers of this nation.
Even during the funeral ceremonies of Imam al-Hassan, the Umayyad aroused a seditious matter when they prevented the holy body of the Imam to be buried beside the holy body of the Prophet. They exploited the malice that Aisha bore against the Ahlul Bayt for achieving their wicked purposes.
Moreover, they threw darts at the coffin of the Imam. As he could no longer stand the situation, al-’Abbas tried to attack the Umayyad and tear them into pieces with his sword, but Imam al- Husayn stopped him and asked him to comply with the will of their dear deceased brother who ordered them not to shed a single drop of blood because of a matter concerning him.
Thus, the funeral ceremonies were ended peacefully and the holy body of Imam al-Hasan was buried in al-Baqee.
When Muawiya surpassed the limits and adopted policies in violation of the interests of Muslims, Imam al-Husayn, in Medina, denied and exerted all efforts for exposing Muawiya’s policies and called Muslims to revolt against such an illegitimate authority.
The secret agents in Medina reported all these activities to Muawiya who was frightened; therefore, he forwarded a message to the Imam threatening him with severe procedures if he would not stop. The Imam answered with a strongly-worded message in which he renounced Muawiya’s policies by mentioning his horrible political events and declared an opposite position against that of the government.17
During the season of hajj, Imam al-Husayn held a political conference which was participated to by a good number of Muhajirs,18 Ansars19and their followers. He delivered a sermon in which he referred to the harsh ordeals that the Prophet’s household, as well as all Muslims had to encounter during the reign of Muawiya. The Imam also asked the attendants to convey his message to everybody they trust so that Muslims would not be deluded by the mean policies of Muawiya and his agents.20
Abu’l-Fadhl al-’Abbas attended all the chapters of the great revolution of his brother - the giant revolution that changed the course of history, shook the whole world, freed the Muslim individuals, and provoked the Muslim publics to stand against the wrong authorities and antagonize every item of despotism and oppression. Indeed, it has been one of the most important revolutions of humanity.
Al-’Abbas contributed in this revolution so positively and effectively as he understood all the goals and believed in the necessity of applying them to humanity in general and the Muslim society in particular. He was one of the most important characters of that revolution. He supported his brother, believed in his movements, and trusted his standards.
Since the Imam left Medina, al-’Abbas did not leave him for even a single moment. Hence, you can find the ghost of al-’Abbas attending every item of Imam al-Husayn’s march until he lost his life for the sake of that great uprising.
Let us now refer to some chapters of Imam al-Husayn’s revolution.
Al-Waleed ibn Aqaba, the ruler of Medina, summoned Imam al-Husayn at dusk. As soon as the Imam realized the reason behind such summon, the Imam asked his brother al-’Abbas, as well as the other men of his household, to be with him for protection. He asked them to sit outside the ruler’s hall until they would hear his raised voice as a sign to come inside for his defense.
The ruler welcomed the Imam warmly before he informed him about the death of Muawiya and Yazid’s decision of taking the acknowledgement of him as the new leader of the Islamic nation. He wanted swearing of allegiance to him from the people of Medina in general and the Imam in particular.
The Imam asked al-Waleed to give him a respite until next morning. During this respite, the Imam intended to gather people the next morning to declare his rejection of Yazid’s leadership and his call to mutiny against him.
Marwan ibn al-Hakam who attended that situation burst forth to agitate the fire of sedition. He addressed to al-Waleed, “If he departs from here without accepting his homage, you will never be able to take it at any time else before numerous victims from both parties fall. Detain him so as to take his acknowledgement of allegiance to the new caliph. If he does not give it, you should then behead him.”
Looking at Mawran with contempt, Imam al-Husayn said to him, “Is it you or he who will kill me? By God I swear, you - the mean one, has lied.”
He then turned to al-Waleed and said:
“Emir, we are from the household of prophecy, the core of the divine mission, the object of visiting angels, and the center of the (divine) mercy. Allah commenced (the creation) with us and will seal with us. Yazid is a faithless man. He drinks wine, kills the respectful soul, and declares lechery openly. Those of my standing do not acknowledge allegiance to those of his standing. But, let both of us wait until morning and see which one is more meritorious of the caliphate - the religious and political leadership of the Islamic nation - and of being acknowledged for homage…”21
With these words, Imam al-Husayn remained indifferent to the ruling authorities and their threats, rejected paying homage to Yazid and declared the reason behind such rejection.
Imam al-Husayn, then, decided to leave Medina for Mecca so that he would establish it as his new center. Before he left, he headed to the tomb of his grandfather Prophet Muhammad (S) to complain to him about the ordeals that gathered around him. He also headed towards the tomb of his mother Fatima, the Veracious (a) to say farewell. Finally he visited the tomb of his brother Imam al-Hasan (a). He then led his household and harem to Mecca. Along this march, his standard was flapping with dignity and courage in the hands of his brother al-’Abbas who held the mission of supervising the affairs of his harem.
Some personalities asked Imam al-Husayn to change the way that he took to Mecca so that the authorities would not arrest him. But the Imam declared courageously:
“No, by Allah, I will not leave this way before I reach Mecca until Allah does what He wills.”
On the third of Shaban, the Imam’s caravan arrived in Mecca and resided in the house of al-’Abbas ibn Abd-ul-Muttalib. The people of Mecca received the Imam so warmly and frequented him severally. The Imam was also frequented by the hajjis and visitors of the Holy House of God. During all this time, the Imam was broadcasting the political and religious knowledge among his visitors and called upon people to revolt against the illegitimate leadership of the Umayyad dynasty.
Meanwhile the ruling authorities in Mecca feared very much after they had noticed the Muslims frequented to visit Imam al- Husayn and reported that the Imam was worthier of the leadership of the Islamic nation than the descendants of Abu- Suffian who waged wars against Islam.
The governor of Mecca, Amr ibn Saeed al-Ashdaq, hurried to the Imam and said with wrath, “What has brought you to the Holy House of God?”
With a tone of confidence and quietness, the Imam answered, “I have come to seek the refuge of Allah and this House.”
As this procedure threatened the Umayyad government, the governor of Mecca sent a message to Yazid telling him about all details. As he read the message, Yazid sent a note to Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas in which he threatened Imam al-Husayn (a) for starting such movement and asked him to interfere for preventing the Imam from revolting against his government.
Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas answered Yazid’s note by advising him not to oppose the Imam since he had left Medina because the ruling authorities there did not respect his standing and personality.
Hence, the Imam resided in Mecca for some time during which all his movements and activities were reported to Damascus, the capital of the Umayyad State.
As soon as people of Kufa heard the news of Muawiya’s death, they exulted openly and held a popular conference at the house of their chief, Sulaiman ibn Sard al-Khuzaai, and delivered enthusiastic speeches in which they referred to the various sorts of persecution and torture that they suffered during the reign of Muawiya, and agreed on paying homage to Imam al-Husayn (a) and rejecting Yazid’s power.
At the same time, they sent a delegation to Mecca to urge the Imam to come to them for forming a government and declaring their city as the capital of the Islamic State as it was during the reign of Imam ‘Ali (a).
Furthermore, people of Kufa sent thousands of messages in which they expressed their serious determination to support the Imam and sacrifice their souls and fortunes for him. They also charged him with the responsibility of what they would suffer with if he would reject.
In the view of Imam al-Husayn (a), all these matters imposed on him a legal responsibility of responding to the calls of the persecuted people.
Hence, he decided to send his cousin Muslim ibn ‘Aqil to Kufa for inspecting the real situation there. After the report of Muslim, the Imam would see whether it was obligatory upon him to lead that revolt or not.
As he arrived in Kufa, Muslim resided in the house of al- Mukhtar ibn abi-Ubaida ath-Thaqafi. As the Shias knew about this matter, they hurried to al-Mukhtar’s house, received Muslim warmly, gathered around him, and appealed to him to accept their declarations of allegiance to Imam al-Husayn (a).
Responding to their request, Muslim opened a register in which he recorded the names of signers whose number reached eighteen thousand on the first few days. Day by day, the number was increasing.
It is worth mentioning that the ruling authorities of Kufa, though they knew everything about these procedures of revolution, kept silent because their head, an-Numan ibn Bashir al-Ansari, did not show loyalty to Yazid who opposed Ansar and because an-Numan’s daughter was the wife of al-Mukhtar whose house was the center of Muslim.
Naturally, the pro-Umayyad hypocrites did not like this situation; therefore, they contacted the capital and informed Yazid about everything. They also demanded him to dismiss an-Numan and appoint a new governor who would be able to eradicate the revolution and subjugate people of Kufa to his government.
This news terrified Yazid who summoned Sirjawn, his personal consultant, and asked for an advice. The skillful consultant advised Yazid to appoint Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad, the terrorist, for holding the position of governorship of Kufa.
Like his father, Ubaidullah, who was the governor of Basra, was devoid of any humane tendency. He was ready to commit the ugliest crimes against humanity. Yazid, thus, wrote the decree of naming Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad as the governor of Kufa besides Basra. Ubaidullah was also ordered to head towards Kufa for eradicating the revolution there and killing the envoy of Imam al- Husayn - Muslim ibn ‘Aqil.
As soon as he received the decree of naming him as the new governor of Kufa besides Basra, Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad rushed there so that Imam al-Husayn would not precede him. As he reached the borders of the city, he disguised himself with black clothes so that people would think of him as Imam al-Husayn (a). Thus, people welcomed him warmly.
This situation made Ubaidullah very resentful. He therefore hurried to the Palace of Governorship - Qasr ul-Imara - so that no one would realize the reality. As he reached there, he knocked the door. From the balcony, an-Numan who also thought of him as Imam al-Husayn shouted, “Son of God’s Messenger, I will not fulfill my pledge to you and I do not want to fight you…”
“Open the door,” shouted Ubaidullah, “You will suffer a long nighttime!”
As some of the public who walked behind him knew his reality, they shouted, “This is indeed son of Marjana.”22
Thus, they ran away with their hearts filled in with terror. Ubaidullah, the tyrant went towards the palace, seized the weapons and fortune, and was surrounded by the agents of the Umayyad dynasty, such as Omar ibn Saad, Shemr ibn Thi’l- Jawshan, Muhammad ibn al-Ashaath, and other famous names among the hypocrites of Kufa. They began discussing the matters of the expected revolution of Kufa and its chiefs, and went on plotting about eradicating it.
Next morning, Ubaidullah gathered the people in the Grand Masjid of Kufa to tell them about the new decision of appointing him as the new governor. He promised the obedient and threatened the disobedient and the mutineers with harsh punishment. He then showed items of horror by putting to death some individuals before he had interrogated them. He also filled the prisons with innocent people. All these means were used for controlling the country completely.
As Muslim knew about Ubaidullah’s coming to Kufa, he changed his residential place. He moved to the house of Hani’ ibn Urwa - one of the most celebrated personalities of Kufa, who welcomed him hospitably and received his partisans to plan for the revolution.
The success that Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad achieved in the political fields is ascribed to the series of plans that he made. The introductory step that he betook was spying on the movements of Muslim to circulate his political activities and realize his points of power and weakness.
Ubaidullah chose his servant, Miiqal for this mission. He gave him some money and ordered him to contact with the significant members of the revolution by claiming that he shows loyalty to the Ahlul Bayt and that he had come to Kufa as he heard the call of Imam al-Husayn (a).
Miiqal could first reach Muslim ibn Awsaja - one of the celebrated personalities of the Shia and show him false loyalty. Unfortunately, Muslim ibn Awsaja was deceived when he showed Miiqal the residential place of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil. Thus, Miiqal frequented about the place and could comprehend everything about the expected revolt and report to his master, son of Marjana.
The second and most dangerous process that Ubaidullah did was to arrest Hani’ ibn Urwa who was the chief of the tribes of Mithhaj - the great majority of the inhabitants of Kufa. This procedure spread a big wave of horror among people of Kufa and sent a destructive strike to the expected revolution.
Before Ubaidullah the tyrant, Hani’ denied the accusation that he had Muslim ibn ‘Aqil in his house. Hence, the ruling authorities summoned Miiqal the spy to testify of the truth. However, Hani’ refused to give up his guest to the authorities. But the tyrant ordered his servants to draw Hani’ near him and went on beating him on the face with a bar he had in the hand. He then ordered Hani’ to be detained in one of the rooms of the palace.
This procedure shook the feelings of the tribes of Mithhaj who, under the leadership of the traitor Amr ibn al-Hajjaj, pushed themselves towards the palace. Amr shouted so as to make Ubaidullah hear him, “I am Amr ibn al-Hajjaj, and these are the celebrities and chiefs of Mithhaj. Yet, we are not denouncing our loyalty to you nor are we mutinying against you.”
Furthermore, Amr said words of surrender and humility for which Ubaidullah did not care. He then asked Shuraih the judge to see Hani’ and then tell his tribe about his state. The judge entered the cell of Hani’ who shouted, “How strange this is! Have my people all died? If only ten persons from my tribe come to me they will certainly save me.”
When Shuraih left him, he said to people of Mithhaj, “I have seen your chief. He is alive. He has ordered you to go home.” Amr ibn al-Hajjaj shouted, “Well, he has not been killed. Thanks to God.”
As if they have been granted the one and only opportunity to escape a lightless jail, people of Mithhaj turned their faces back and ran away. It seems that there had been a secret agreement between the chiefs of Mithhaj and Ubaidullah on killing Hani’, otherwise they would have attacked the palace and saved their chief.
Muslim ibn ‘Aqil knew about the situation of Hani’ who was an important member of the expected revolution; therefore, he declared openly the revolution against Ubaidullah. Thus, about four thousand warriors joined him. Ubaidullah was delivering a speech when he heard the noise of the rebels whose numbers were increasing and were directing towards the Palace of Governorship.
Like a dirty dog, Ubaidullah hurried towards the palace. He had only thirty policemen; so, he used the meanest means that would save him - war of nerves. As he knew the mentalities of people of Kufa very well, he ordered the traitorous chiefs of Kufa to slip among the troops of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil and spread the rumors that the armies of Syria would soon punish those who joined Muslim’s army, the government would deprive those who joined Muslim of their salaries and economic resources, and that martial laws would be applied to them. These rumors acted as bombs on the heads of people of Kufa most of whom declared, “We should not engage ourselves in questions of policy!”
Before long, most of them left Muslim who led the rest to the Masjid for prayer. Even during the prayer, the others left and Muslim, as he finished the prayer, found himself alone!
That night, he could not find a house to settle in. He therefore had to wander alone in the ways of Kufa. Only a noble lady called Tawaa had the courage to let Muslim in. As she served him food, Muslim refused to eat or drink because he was thinking of the fate that Imam al-Husayn (a) who was on his way to Kufa after receiving the message from Muslim that told him that the way for his revolution was paved. He would now face the betrayal of people of Kufa.
Son of Tawaa, however, knew the whole story of his mother and with the first light of that morning he hurried to inform the ruling authorities about the matter.
Three hundred horsemen, led by Muhammad ibn al-Ashaath, attacked the house of Tawaa, but Muslim faced them with such an unprecedented courage that he had inherited from his fathers. He alone could defeat those horsemen and kill a great number of them. The mean ones however began to throw stones and fireballs on Muslim who overcame them too.
When Muhammad ibn al-Ashaath returned to Ubaidullah and asked him for more troops and weapons, the latter said with astonishment, “I have sent you to capture one man! But he did this to your troops!”
Ibn al-Ashaath answered, “Do you think you have sent me to bring an ordinary man from Kufa or Hira? You have sent me to capture a courageous lion and a hero from the family of the best men in whose hands cutting swords are lie.”
Ubaidullah supplied Muhammad ibn al-Ashaath with more troops and weapons, but Muslim the hero kept on fighting against them so bravely. This encounter took a long time during which Muslim suffered thirst and the troops of the ruling authorities increased around him, though they were too terrified to attack him. Finally, they stabbed him with their lances until they could capture him. The people of Kufa who had betrayed him, now crowded to see how he was being taken to the Palace of Governor.
Near the palace, Muslim felt thirsty and asked for water. Somebody served him water, but Muslim could not drink because the cup was filled with blood.
Muslim ibn ‘Aqil was very courageous before Ubaidullah, the tyrant. When he refused to submit to the tyrant, Ubaidallah ordered Bukair ibn Hamran to take Muslim to the roof of the palace and behead him. He also ordered Hani’ to be killed before the individuals of his tribe who showed subjugation.
The dead bodies of Muslim and Hani’ were dragged on the ground in the streets of Kufa as a sign of terrorism and to scorn the adherents of Muslim - the representative of Imam al-Husayn (a).
Imam al-Husayn (a) had understood that Yazid had ordered some individuals to assassinate him even if he would adhere to the curtains of the Holy Kaaba. He therefore left Mecca so that his blood would not be shed in the Holy House of God in the Sacred Month.
Besides, he received a missive from his envoy Muslim ibn ‘Aqil telling him to hurry to Kufa since its people would be ready to sacrifice their fortunes and souls for him and would help him form an independent government there.
Encircled by those bright-faced youths of the Prophet’s household, headed by the epitome of determination and disdain Abu’l-Fadhl al-’Abbas, Imam al-Husayn (a) led his harem towards the land of martyrdom, Karbala. During this march, al-’Abbas was holding fast on the standard, which was flapping on the heads of his brother and his harem to fill their hearts with tranquility and peace. He was undertaking all the affairs of the women and children in that caravan.
During that march, scathing thoughts repeatedly intruded in the mind of Imam al-Husayn. He believed that he, as well as his household, would be killed at the hands of the evil, faithless gang who sent him tens of missives asking him to lead them against the regime.
On his way, the Imam met the famous poet, al-Farazdaq, who revealed the actual state of people of Kufa. He said: “People’s hearts are with you, but their swords are with the Umayyad. Act of God descends from the heavens, and He does only what He wills. Every day, God has a definite act.”
The Imam assented to al-Farazdaq’s opinion and told him about his determination to continue his march of jihad for sake of protecting the sanctity of Islam and that the result would be either victory or martyrdom.
As the caravan reached a place called Zuroud, a man came from the direction of Kufa. He informed two of the Imam’s companions that he had witnessed martyrdom of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil and Hani’ ibn Urwa. This news broke the hearts of the Imam and his household and companions. As the harem knew about it, they wept heavily as everybody realized that people of Kufa breached their pledges to the Imam and they would face the same fate that Muslim had faced.
The Imam turned his face to the sons of ‘Aqil ibn Abi-Talib and said: “After the killing of Muslim, what do you see?”
They answered: “No, by God. We will never return unless we take our revenge or face the same fate that Muslim faced.”
The Imam supported their opinion and repeated their words. The caravan continued and received another grievous news - the martyrdom of Abdullah ibn Yaqtur whom Imam al-Husayn (a) had sent to Kufa to meet Muslim ibn ‘Aqil and know what had happened to him. The policemen of Kufa arrested Abdullah and brought him before their master Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad who ordered him to ascend the mimbar and curse Imam al-Husayn. The man observed the order, ascended the mimbar, and shouted in a loud voice: “People, I am the messenger of al-Husayn son of Fatima (the Prophet’s daughter). He asks you to support him against this bastard and son of bastard - son of Marjana… etc.”
Expressing his extreme anger, Ubaidullah ordered his police to throw Abdullah ibn Yaqtur from the roof of the palace to the ground.
Imam al-Husayn, after he had received this grievous news, gathered his companions and said, “Our adherents - in Kufa - have disappointed us. Hence, I permit all of you to leave me and I free you from the pledge that you took with me.”
The greedy ones who followed the Imam for gaining spoils or mundane affairs left him, and none remained except the choicest ones who followed him since they had believed he was the right.
Thus, the caravan marched with a few individuals as excellent companions, prime household, harem, and children. As they reached a place called ‘Shuraf’ the Imam gave the orders of fetching as much water as possible from the springs there.
A few steps after these springs, one of the companions saw something like date-palm trees and shouted to make the others notice so. Some of those who had full knowledge of that area realized that it was nothing but arrowheads and ears of horses. Imam al-Husayn, too, realized that these were the vanguards of the Umayyad army. He therefore asked his companions whether they knew a near place to hide in. some referred to the Mount Thu-Husam to the left.
As the Imam’s caravan directed towards that location, the massive troops - of about more than one thousand horsemen as some historians have confirmed - under the commandment of al- Hurr ibn Yazid ar-Riyahi whom Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad commissioned to wander through the desert until he would meet and capture the caravan of Imam al-Husayn, caught them.
It was midday when al-Hurr’s troops were too thirsty to continue their march. Seeing this situation, the Imam felt pity for them and ordered his companions to give them from the water they had with them. Even the horses of that army were given water.
After that, the Imam delivered an articulate sermon to the troops of that army. He said:
“People, this is only an argument intended to release me from the responsibility that lies on me with regard to Allah and you. I came to you only after I had received your missives and your messengers who asked me to come to you since you had no leader and since you desired to be guided to the right guidance through my leadership. If you are still bearing this very tendency, then here I am. Show me pledges and covenants due to which I will be sure of your intentions. But if you dislike my coming to you, I will leave you and return to the place from which I came.”
Because most of the individuals of that army were among those who sent missives and asked the Imam to come to them and paid homage to him via his representative Muslim ibn ‘Aqil, they could not answer him.
As time of the Dhuhr Prayer fell, the Imam ordered the muezzin to declare it. He then turned his face to al-Hurr and asked whether he would lead the collective prayer for his companions. “We will follow you in prayer,” answered al-Hurr politely.
When they performed the Asr Prayer, the Imam delivered another sermon:
“People, if you fear Allah and recognize the people of the right, this will surely please Him more than anything else. We - the Ahlul Bayt are worthier of holding the position of leadership than those who claimed it falsely and governed you by means of wrong and oppression. If you will dislike us and ignore our right and change your minds that you had expressed in your missives you sent to me, I will surely leave you…”
As he knew nothing about these missives, al-Hurr asked the Imam, “What are these missives you are mentioning?”
The Imam ordered one of his companions to fetch them and show to al-Hurr who, as soon as he saw them, was shocked. He then said to the Imam, “We are not among those who wrote these missives.”
Afterwards, the Imam wanted to leave that place and return home, but al-Hurr prevented him and said, “I will not leave you until I lead you to Kufa to be present before Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad.”
“Death is nearer to you than doing so,” the Imam answered and ordered his companions to ride and direct towards Medina. But al-Hurr prevented them. The Imam said to him, “What do you want from us?”
“I want to lead you to Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad,” answered al- Hurr.
“I will not follow you,” said the Imam.
“And I will not leave you,” answered al-Hurr.
War was about to break out, but al-Hurr could save the situation by saying, “I was not ordered to fight you. I was only ordered not to leave you before I lead you to Kufa. If you refuse, you may take a way that takes you neither to Kufa nor Medina so that I will write a report to Ubaidullah and hope God will save me from fighting you.”
Hence, the Imam’s caravan took another way southward and al-Hurr’s army watched them.
In a place called ‘al-Baidha’, the Imam delivered a sermon. He said:
“People, the Messenger of Allah said, ‘For anyone who knows an unjust ruler that is violating Allah’s sanctities, breaking the pledge of Allah, going against the Sunna of the Prophet, and treating the servants of Allah with means of sin and oppression and avoids denying so by a deed or a word, it will be incumbent upon Allah to take him to the place he deserves (i.e. Hell).’
Those individuals - the Umayyad rulers - have adhered to the obedience to the Shaitan, deserted the obedience to the All-beneficent (Lord), made public sinfulness, defied the doctrinal provisions, dedicated the treasuries to themselves, deemed lawful the things that Allah has decided unlawful, and deemed unlawful the things that Allah has decided lawful. I am the worthiest of bearing the mission of denying their acts.
I have received your missives and your messengers who reported to me that you paid homage to me and that you would neither let me down nor disappoint me. If you keep your homage, you will certainly do the right thing. I am al-Husayn son of ‘Ali and Fatima, daughter of the Messenger of Allah. My soul will be with yours and my harem will be with yours. (i.e. they will face the same fate that you will face). I however am the example that should be followed.
But if you break your homage and pledge, this is in fact not strange from you. You have already done it with my father, brother, and cousin (Muslim ibn ‘Aqil). He who believes you is surely deceived. Anyhow, you have only missed your opportunity of success and neglected your chance of safety. He who breaches is only doing ill to himself. Allah will surely find me a substitution.”
After this sermon, al-Hurr said to the Imam, “I only want to advise you. I am sure that you will be killed if you fight. I swear it.”
The Imam answered, “Do you threaten me with death? Will misfortunes depart you if you kill me? I really do not know what to say to you. But I will copy the saying of that man from the (tribe of) Aws whom his cousin threatened with death while he was going to defend the Prophet (S). He said:
I will go on, and death is not shameful for the hero
Who intends good and fight for his Islam
And sacrifices his soul for the righteous men
And defies the perished ones and departs the wrong ones
If I live I will not regret, and if I die I will not be blamed.
It is certainly sufficient humility to live in humbleness
As he heard these words from the Imam, al-Hurr left him and realized that he had decided to sacrifice his soul for sake of saving Muslims from the oppression and wrong of the Umayyad rulers.
The caravan went on and the troops of al-Hurr were preventing it from directing towards the desert and trying to push it towards Kufa. Meanwhile, a rider came out. It was a man carrying a message from Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad to al-Hurr, “As soon as you receive this message, lead al-Husayn to a derelict place in the desert where there is no shelter or water. I have also ordered the man who carried this message to you to haunt you until you carry out this order.”
As Imam al-Husayn (a) wanted to reside in a place near a spring or a shelter, al-Hurr prevented him and recited Ubaidullah’s message. As the situation attained its climax, Zuhair ibn al-Qain, one of the sincere companions of the Imam, suggested that they would fight against al-Hurr and his troops, but the Imam rejected and said, “I will never begin fighting.”
Al-Hurr then obliged the Imam to reside in a place, and the Imam had to respond.
“What is this place called,” asked the Imam.
“This is Karbala,” answered one of the companions.
“Allah, I seek Your protection against agony and ordeal,” supplicated the Imam (a)
He then turned towards his companions and said:
“This is the place of agony and ordeal. This is the place where we, as well as our riding animals, will reside and our blood will be shed.”
Al-’Abbas, accompanied by the heroes of the Prophet’s household and the Imam’s companions, hurried to pitch tents for the harem who were reigned by horror as they imagined the coming events on this land.
The Imam then raised his hands upward for supplicating to God. He said:
“Allah We, the household of Your Prophet Muhammad, have been banished away from the sanctum of our grandfather and have been aggressed by the Umayyad. Allah take vengeance from those who oppressed us and supported the wrongdoers.”
He then turned his face towards his household and companions and said:
“People are certainly the slaves of this world. The religion is only slavery on their tongues. They turn it wherever their livelihood demands. If they are examined by misfortunes, the religious will be very little. This world has changed, snubbed, and its good has turned tail. Nothing has remained from it except a thing that is as scanty as the leftover of a cup and a mean life that is like a noxious grazing. Have you not noticed that the right is ignored and the evil is not forbidden? This is sufficient for making the believer desire for meeting Allah rightfully. I consider death as happiness and life with the wrongdoers as boredom.”
By these words the Imam informed his household and companions about the coming ordeals that they would face and declared his readiness to fight against the wrong party to the last spark of his life.
As they heard his words, those unmatched individuals who paved the way of freedom to humankind through their unparalleled situations spoke before their leader to show him their readiness to participate with him and continue the way whatever the sacrifices would be. The first companion to speak was Zuhair ibn al-Qain:
“Son of God’s Messenger, we have understood your words. We may stop supporting you if we understand that this world will perpetuate for us for good… etc.”
Another hero, Burair ibn Khudhair said similar words. The turn of the other heroes came next, who declared their position of perseverance with principles and readiness to sacrifice their souls for their leader, Imam al- Husayn, who represented the genuine trend of Islam. Anyhow, the other companions said similar words before the Imam, who thanked them for their feelings and blessed them.
In Kufa, Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad felt happy when he was informed that the vanguards of his army had seized Imam al-Husayn. He therefore began to plan for the next step, whom should he choose for the commandment of the army who would kill the Prophet’s dearest one?
As he reviewed the names of the candidates, he could not realize any individual meaner and more vicious than Omar ibn Saad. At first, Omar refused to fight against the Imam, but Ubaidullah who selected him for this mission threatened he would dismiss him from the governorship of Ray - currently Tehran. Thus, he accepted and began his campaign towards Karbala with four thousand horsemen. As his troops arrived in Karbala, they joined the army of al-Hurr ibn Yazid there.
In Kufa again, Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad gathered people and spoke, “People, as you tried the descendants of Abu-Suffian, you have found them as exactly as you like. You have also known your leader Yazid as good and praiseworthy man. He treats his subjects kindly, gives everybody his deserved share of the public treasury, and honors people out of his wealth. He has ordered me to give each of you one hundred dirhams monthly as an addition to your fixed shares of the public treasury. He has also ordered me to call you to participate in the campaign against his enemy al-Husayn. Hence, you should listen to and obey him…”23
Unfortunately, most of them carried out his orders and composed a huge army against Imam al-Husayn. Afterwards, they traveled to Karbala and occupied the two banks of the River Euphrates.
Some historians however, have mentioned that three days before the encounter, Imam al-Husayn was prevented from water.24 This in fact was the most horrible misfortune that he faced. The strange thing is that this band of the Umayyad army took pride in this criminal act that challenged all humanitarian values. One of them, for instance, shouted at Imam al-Husayn, “Husayn, you can see water flow like reptiles. You will not taste it before you die…”25
Expressing his joy at this situation, Amr ibn al-Hajjaj addressed to the Imam, “Husayn, this is the Euphrates. Dogs, donkeys, and pigs are licking its water. But we shall prevent you from having a single drop from it…”26
As he saw the children and harem cry out of thirst, al-’Abbas declared his readiness to fetch water by force. He therefore took thirty horsemen and twenty warriors and attacked the bank of the river. Amr ibn al-Hajjaj who was in charge of guarding the river from the companions of the Imam faced Nafii ibn Hilal to tell him that it was impossible to let him take water to Imam al-Husayn. But al-’Abbas and the other heroes did not pay attention to the criminal’s words; therefore, they encountered a battalion of the Umayyad army.
However, the two parties did not encounter any casualty. The result was that al-’Abbas and his companions reached the river and filled up the twenty skins they had with water and came back.
Since that day, or maybe before, al-’Abbas was given the honorable name of ‘as-Saqqaa - the provider of water’.27
In addition to their numerous mean and inhuman means to weaken the party of Imam al-Husayn, Shemr ibn Thi’l-Jawshan obtained a grant of reprieve to al-’Abbas and his full brothers from Ubaidullah son of Marjana. This callous trial was intended to take al-’Abbas and his full brothers away from the battle and make them forsake their brother. Hence, Shemr stopped before the army of the Imam and shouted, “Where are the sons of our sister? Where are al-’Abbas and his full brothers?”
Al-’Abbas and his brothers kept silent to avoid answering him, but the Imam asked them to answer and see what for he had come. Only then they stood before Shemr and said, “What do you want, son of Thi’l-Jawshan?” He said, “I have taken for you a grant of reprieve.”
As they heard his shameless words they shouted in his face, “Curse be on you and curse on your grant of reprieve. How dare you say such words, while son of God’s Messenger is not safe from danger?”28
These words were enough to express their real situation; they were ready to protect the Imam until he was safe or they lost their lives.
It was afternoon on Thursday when the vanguards of the Umayyad army came forward for fighting against the Ahlul Bayt. Imam al-Husayn was sitting near his tent with the sword in his hand when Abu’l-Fadhl al-’Abbas turned his face and said, “They have come to you.” The Imam then asked his brother to identify their intents. He said to him:
“May I sacrifice myself for you, brother! Ride on and meet them to ask about their intentions.”
With twenty horsemen, al-’Abbas hurried towards that army and asked what they wanted. “The Emir has ordered us to call you to submit to his orders, otherwise, we will fight you,”29 they answered.
As al-’Abbas turned back to tell his brother about their intention, Habib ibn Muzhahir delivered a sermon to that army in which he admonished and warned them against the divine punishment they would face if they fight against the family of the Prophet. However, some of them answered him impudently.
When he heard the words of his brother, Imam al-Husayn said to him, “Go back to them and try your best to delay them until tomorrow morning so that this night, we will pray to our Lord who knows that I love praying to Him, reciting His Book and supplicating to Him.”
Al-’Abbas conveyed these words to the Umayyad army. Omar ibn Saad, because he feared that others would bear his situation to the Emir, offered the suggestion to Shemr who was his only competitor. The other however did not say anything, but Amr ibn al-Hajjaj intruded, “How strange this is! Even if they are from the non-Arabs we will respond to their demand!!”
As others supported Amr’s opinion, Omar ibn Saad accepted to postpone waging war against the camp of the Imam. Thus, the fighting was postponed for a night and Omar ibn Saad’s armies waited to see whether the Imam would respond to them or fight.
On that night, Imam al-Husayn gathered his companions and household and foretold them of the fate that they would face the next day. He also permitted them to leave him since the other party wanted him, not anyone else.
As soon as the Imam finished his words, Abu’l-Fadhl al- ‘Abbas, representing the Ahlul Bayt, said to his brother:
“Why should we do so? Is it for that we will live after you? No! We supplicate to the Lord to forbid it.”
The same situation was shown from the sons of ‘Aqil and the other companions who showed their readiness to sacrifice their souls for their Imam.
Hence, all spent that night with worship and acts of obedience to Allah. They were waiting for the dawn of that day on which they would obtain their highest goal in this life, martyrdom.
Day of Ashura; the tenth of Muharram, was unique in its tragedies, misfortunes, and disasters. On that day, the Ahlul Bayt had to suffer the ever most horrible adversity of this world. Hence, it is certainly the day of grief.
From early morning, the Imam left his tent and saw in front of him innumerable warriors and horses fill up the desert and unsheathe their swords for shedding his blood. Thus, the Imam asked for a copy of the holy Qur’an to put it on the head and raise his hands upward for supplicating to his Lord for seeking His refuge.
He then decided to deliver a speech before those troops so that they would be fully acquainted with the reality of the situation. Hence, he rode on, went towards them, and raised his voice with the finest words of wisdom so that most of them, at least, would hear him.
As his harem could hear some of his words, they wept and cried, but the Imam asked his brother al-’Abbas and his son ‘Ali to go to them and order them to stop it. He then continued with such bright words that should have led every deviant to the right path. However, the Umayyad army could not understand the Imam’s words because they were too ignorant to understand anything other than criminality. In addition, they could not say a single word as an answer.
The Imam then addressed some of them and reminded them of the missives they had sent to him, but those individuals denied the whole matter!
Qays ibn al-Ashaath then asked the Imam to submit to the Umayyads, but the Imam refused declaring his unchangeable situation:
“No by Allah, I will never submit to them like the humble and will not flee like slaves.”
The Imam’s companions, then, spoke similar words before the Umayyad army, but without any use.30
Finally, the Imam decided to advise them again so that none of them would excuse he had not known the matter clearly. He opened a copy of the holy Qur’an on the head, wore the turban of Prophet Muhammad (S), proceeded towards them, and said:
“So then, fie and grief be on you, O group. When you appealed for our help grievously and we hurried for your help exhaustingly, you unsheathed against us a sword that had been in our right hands and ignited against us the fire that we had struck against your and our enemy.
You therefore formed groups surrounding your allies and became the support of your enemies although they did not spread justice among you and you lost any hope in them. In addition, you noticed no heresy or new opinion that came out of us. Why did you -woe to you!- not leave us when swords were sheathed, malice was hidden, and the decision was not taken. But you hurried to the sedition like locusts and fell on it like the falling of butterflies (in fire).
Damn and away with the idols of the Ummah, irregulars of the parties, deserters of the Book, expectorants of the Shaitan, distorters of the meanings, extinguishers of the traditions, avowers of the bastards, and the mockers who divided the Qur’an believing in some parts and rejecting others.
By God I swear, your disloyalty is expected because it is entwined with your arteries and it recurred in your origins. You therefore are the bitterest fruit that causes its caretaker to choke and gives good taste for its usurper. God curse the disloyal ones who disregard their firm oaths after they have already appointed God as their Guarantor.
The bastard, son of the bastard, has forced me to choose one of two things - either fighting or ignominy. Ignominy is impossible for us. Allah, His Apostle, the (faithful) believers, chaste laps, jealous noses (individuals), and noble souls (personalities) refuse for us to prefer obedience to the mean to the death of the honorable.
I am advancing to them with this family despite the alliance of the enemies, their great numbers, and the betrayal of the supporters. They will soon ride their horses, war will flare up, and the necks will be lapped. My father (peace be upon him) foretold me about so. So, plan against me without delay. I trust God who is my Lord as well as yours. It is God who controls the destiny of all living creatures. It is my Lord who knows the right path.
O Allah, prevent them from the drops of the heavens and impose upon them years of draught like these which you imposed on the people in the time of Prophet Joseph, and set up upon them the man of Thaqif as absolute master so that he will treat them unjustly and make them drink from bitter water, for they have belied and disappointed us. You are certainly our Lord. On You we rely, in You we trust, and to You everything returns.”
At these moments, the conscience of al-Hurr ibn Yazid woke up. He began to think of his destiny if he would fight against Imam al-Husayn who represented the right party and the true religion of God. Finally, he decided to join the Imam. He went to Omar ibn Saad and said:
“Do you really want to fight against this man?”
“Yes I do,” answered Omar, “I want to fight against him as intensely as possible.”
“Why do you not respond to his calls and accept one of the options he had offered?” asked al-Hurr.
“I would do if it is my right to choose. But the matter is not mine. It is your Emir’s,” answered Omar.
Only then al-Hurr realized that Omar ibn Saad was fully ready to fight Imam al-Husayn (a); therefore, he changed direction towards the Imam and proceeded as he felt sorry for his past deeds against the Imam.
When the Imam conferred upon him with pardon, al-Hurr turned the face towards the troops of Omar ibn Saad and went on addressing to them words of reproach and blame for disappointing the Imam. Anyhow, al-Hurr’s words did not find any place in the hearts of those troops.31
As Omar ibn Saad anticipated that other commanders would copy al-Hurr, he hurried towards the Imam’s camp and threw an arrow towards him shouting, “Be the witnesses. I am the first to throw al-Husayn!”
This was the opening to hundreds of arrows which were shot towards the Imam. Seeing the situation, the Imam turned to his companions and said, “Stand up, generous people. These arrows are your enemies’ messengers to you.”
Hence, thirty-two horsemen and forty warriors had to encounter tens of thousands. However, this little party would not stop against those huge well-equipped numbers and showed unprecedented scenes of courage and bravery.
Then Omar ibn Saad gave the orders of waging a wide campaign during which all the detachments of the Umayyad army fought against the Imam’s companions. Although half of the Imam’s companions were killed during that campaign, they combated extremely courageously and caused great losses to the Umayyad army.32
After this general campaign, the other companions of Imam al-Husayn began to wage individual campaigns against the other party. In fact, their unparalleled heroism frightened the whole camp of the Umayyad army and caused it great losses; therefore, Amr ibn al-Hajjaj cried at them, “Do you know against whom you are fighting? You are fighting against the most courageous horsemen of this country. They will keep killing anyone of you who intends to face them. By God I swear, if you only throw stones at them, you will kill them.”33
Omar ibn Saad agreed on Amr’s opinion and ordered his forces to leave facing those heroes. He then gave the orders of waging a general attack against the companions of Imam al- Husayn. Nevertheless, the companions caused great losses to the attacking forces to the degree that Urwa ibn Qays asked the general commander of the army to supply him with more men and weapons.
Omar ibn Saad then had to call al-Hussayn ibn Numair and supply him with five hundred bowmen who could wound the riding animals of the Imam’s companions. Thus, all the companions, including al-Hurr ibn Yazid, had to fight against their enemies on feet. This fighting was described by historians as the fieriest battle all over history; it continued until midday.34
In the midst of that horrible scene of fighting, Abu-Thumama as-Saidi, one of Imam al-Husayn’s companions, raised his head to the sky then turned his face towards the Imam and told about the time of the Dhuhr prayer. As a result, the Imam asked his companions to demand with cease fighting so as they would offer the prayer. They responded to this demand, but as soon as the Imam and his companions stood erect for the prayer, the Umayyad army began throwing darts at them.
Saeed al-Hanafi made his body as the armor that protected the Imam, while he was praying, from these darts. When the Imam finished his prayer, Saeed was heavily wounded that he fell dead.35
The other companions continued fighting for sake of their Imam courageously until they all were killed.
It is worth mentioning that al-’Abbas ibn ‘Ali participated in these campaigns and fought bravely and was given the missions of saving the companions when they were encircled by the Umayyad army.
After the companions, it was the turn of the youth from the Prophet’s household. The first one to advance was the young man who was the most similar to Prophet Muhammad (S) in creation, morals, and personality. That youth was ‘Ali al-Akbar son of Imam al-Husayn.
The Imam felt very sad when he knew for certain that his son would be proceeding to fight. He therefore raised his beard towards the heavens and complained to the Lord against the gang who had fought against him and would be ready to kill his dearest one.
The Imam as well as the harem of the Prophet’s household saw off ‘Ali al-Akbar with tears, cries, and moaning. The youth proceeded declaring the principles for which he was fighting and his tremendous determination to protect the religion of God even if this would cost him his life. He then encountered the enemies and showed indescribable courage and heroism to the degree that historians have described his fighting by saying, “‘Ali’s fighting reminded the enemies of the attacks of his grandfather Amir ul-Muminin.”36
In the midst of the fighting, ‘Ali was seriously thirsty because the enemies had deprived them of water. He therefore returned to his father and asked for some water. But the father had nothing to do. He did not have a single drop of water to give to his son. Painfully he apologized from his son and promised that the Prophet would very soon give him a drink of water that would save him from thirst forever.
The young ‘Ali Akbar then went to the battlefield again and fought courageously despite many wounds that he had on his body. The whole camp of the Umayyad army complained about the great losses that the young son of Imam al-Husayn caused to them; therefore, Murra ibn Munqith decided to kill him. So, he stabbed him with the spear from the back and struck him with his sword heavily on his head.
‘Ali held fast on his horse’s neck since he thought that the horse would take him towards his father’s camp. Unfortunately, the horse took him towards the enemies’ camp, who encircled him and cut his body into pieces. The air carried the son’s cries to his father who hurried to him and found him in the last sparks of life. He put his cheek on his son’s body which had been cut to pieces and shed tears for him.
In this horrible situation, al-’Abbas was with his brother and felt the same painful feelings for the great catastrophe that inflicted their camp by the martyrdom of ‘Ali. Zaynab, the mistress of the Prophet’s harem, moaned for the martyrdom of her nephew and the Imam was touched by that painful situation.
After that, the young descendants of ‘Aqil ibn Abi-Talib rushed for jihad so as to sacrifice their souls for their leader. Like their forefathers, they fought courageously and caused great losses to the Umayyad army. However, they were all martyred. These were nine young men.37
Then, it was the turn of descendants of Imam al-Hasan. They also pushed themselves for protecting their uncle and defending their religion. Among them was al-Qasim whom is described as the moon in brightness. Before he fought against the enemies, he had declared, “My uncle al-Husayn will not be killed while I am alive.”
The Imam however did not permit al-Qasim to fight, but the young man insisted importunately and went on kissing his uncle’s hands and feet; and and begged him to let him fight. Hence, the Imam had to permit him with weeping eyes and a burning heart.
Like the other heroes of the Hashemites, al-Qasim fought bravely and killed a number of the Umayyad army. In the midst of the fighting, his sandal thong was cut. As he bent down to repair it, one of the criminals of the Umayyad army, out of his disdain seized that opportunity and struck al-Qasim on the head. He fell down and called for his uncle who hurried towards him and killed that criminal.
The Imam then carried the dead body of his nephew and placed it beside the dead bodies of his son and the other martyrs.
Then sons of Zaynab, daughter of Imam ‘Ali went for fighting. They also were killed. Then none remained except the brothers of Imam al-Husayn.
Al-’Abbas was watching all these crises and misfortunes patiently and was waiting for the proper opportunity to begin fighting against the enemies and take revenge upon them.
After the martyrdom of the youth of the Prophet’s household, al-’Abbas turned towards his full brothers and said to them: “Brothers, proceed for fighting so that I will be sure that you have done sincerely for sake of Allah and His Messenger and I will surely avenge your blood. You have no children.”38
He then turned his face towards his full brother Abdullah and said: “Proceed for fighting until I will see your martyrdom and offer you as sacrifice for Allah.”39 All his brethren welcomed his call and went for fighting against the enemies courageously. One by one, they all were killed before their elder brother al-’Abbas who stood near their dead bodies and shed tears for these bright faces.
When al-’Abbas noticed the loneliness of his brother and the martyrdom of his companions and household, he advanced towards his brother and asked for permission to fight. The Imam did not permit him and he said with sad tone, “You are the holder of my standard…”
Imam al-Husayn, in fact, felt security and protection so long as al-’Abbas was with him. But al-’Abbas insisted on the permission and said, “I can no longer stand it. I want to take avenge upon those hypocrites.”
As the Imam had nothing to do other than permitting his brother to fight against the enemies, he asked him first to try to get water for the harem and children who were gravely thirsty. Hence, al-’Abbas directed towards the Umayyad army with words of admonition and warned against God’s punishment.
He directed his speech to their commander: “Omar ibn Saad, this is al-Husayn son of the daughter of Allah’s Messenger. You have killed his companions and household. These now are his children and harem. They are thirsty and I ask you to give them water. Nevertheless, he is still calling you to let him go to Rome or India and leave Hijaz and Iraq for you…”
None from the Umayyad army could answer al-’Abbas except Shemr who said to him, “Son of Abu-Turab,40 if the whole surface of this earth is water controlled by us, we will not give you a single drop of it before you submit to the leadership of Yazid.”
Hence, al-’Abbas had to report this situation to his brother.
Meanwhile, he heard the cries of the children because of thirst and saw the change in their faces and the dryness of their lips. Therefore, he decided to fetch water for them. He rode his horse, took a waterskin with him, and rode towards the River Euphrates. The Umayyad troops fled and he alone occupied the banks of the river. His heart was as hot as fire because of thirst, but when he extended his hand to the water and tried to drink, he remembered the thirst of his brother, as well as his children and harem; hence, he threw away the water from his hand and said:
My soul, you must be preceded by al-Husayn
And you must not continue to exist after him
Al-Husayn is about to drink from cups of death
While you want to drink from this cold water
No, by Allah! This is not my religion!
After this tremendous demonstration of altruism that exceeded any other in all dimensions of time and space, al-’Abbas filled the skin carrier he had with him with water and took it on the way back to his brother’s camp.
In the meantime, the enemies surrounded him from every side and tried to prevent him from taking that water to his brother’s camp. Al-’Abbas spared no efforts in fighting against them and caused them big losses.
Chased by terror and fear, the enemies were fleeing away from al-’Abbas who was like his father in courageous situations. However, one of the filthy hypocrites of Kufa waylaid him from behind a date palm tree, striking him from the back on his right hand, and cut it. Nevertheless, al-’Abbas the hero did not care for so when he held the standard in his left hand and went on saying:
By Allah, if you cut my right hand
I will keep on defending my religion
And that true-tongued Imam
Who is the son of the pure Prophet
A few moments later, another man hidden behind a tree, struck al-’Abbas with a sword on his left hand, and cut it. Although he was bleeding and suffering these wounds besides thirst, al-’Abbas held the waterskin with his teeth and hurried trying to take the water to his brother’s children and harem.
Meanwhile, a spear hit the waterskin and caused that water to dribble onto the ground. Seeing this, al-’Abbas was struck with sadness and perplexity. He did not know what to do. A few moments later, another man attacked him with an iron post and struck on the head. Al-’Abbas fell to the ground and shouted, “Peace be upon you, Abu-Abdullah!”
As the Imam heard these words of farewell, he hurried toward the River al-Alqami where al-’Abbas fell. He pushed himself through the troops of the enemies and threw himself on the body of his brother. Expressing the grave misfortune that he suffered by the martyrdom of his brother, Imam al-Husayn wailed, “My spine is now broken and I have lost everything and my enemies are rejoicing at my misfortune.”
No one can describe the real feelings that Imam al-Husayn felt after the martyrdom of al-’Abbas. However, historians have mentioned that he, as he was leaving the dead body of his brother, could hardly move his feet. He went towards the camp while he was wiping off his tears. His daughter Sukaina received him with the question, “Where is my uncle al-’Abbas?”
Here the Imam wept and told her about her uncle’s martyrdom. The daughter had nothing to do other than moan aloud. The situation was more difficult for Zaynab who put her hand on her heart and shouted aloud, “O, brother al-’Abbas. We have certainly lost everything as we lost you.”
It was surely grave misfortune for Imam al-Husayn and the Prophet’s harem whose cries and moaning for their guardian and protector filled that place. The Imam also participated with them in weeping as he cried:
“We have surely lost everything as we lost you, O Abu’l-Fadhl al-’Abbas.
- 1. See at-Tabari’s Tarikh, 2/337; Ibn Kathir’s Al-Bidaya wen-Nihaya,; Muslim’s as-Sahih, 3/106; Al-Bukhari’s as-Sahih; 5/1-5-6, Ahmed’s Al-Musnad, and many other reference books of history
- 2. See Ibn Katheer’s As-Seera, 3/691 and Husham’s As-Seera, 4/46
- 3. See Hadith ud-Dar (pages 26-8)
- 4. See Muhammad Baqer Ansari’s: What Happened in Ghadir?
- 5. See Menaaqibu Aali Abi-Talib, 2/239 and Sharif al-Murtedha’s Tanzeeh ul-Anbiyaa, 167.
- 6. See Abu-Dawoud’s as-Sunan, 1/611; al-Hakim’s Al-Mustadrak, 2/138; Majmaa uz-Zawaaid, 9/134, and Kenz ul-Ummahl, 13/174.
- 7. The incident of Omar ibn al-Khattab’s preventing the Prophet from dictating his will in the last hours of his life is very famous. It is recorded in almost all books of hadith of Sunnis and Shiites. See, for example, al-Bukhari’s as-Sahih; 1/37, 2/132, 4/31, 4/ 65-6, 5/137, and 7/9; Muslim’s as-Sahih, 2/16, 5/75, 11/95, and 3/16; Imam Ahmed’s al-Musnad, 4/356- H. 2992; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid’s Sharhu Nahj il-balagha, 6/51; Ibn ul-Athir’s Al-Kamilu fit Tareekh, 320 and al-Ghezzali’s Sirr ul-Aalemeen, 21
- 8. In other reports of this incident, the word ‘we’ is replaced by – ‘The Koreishites.’
- 9. See Ibn Abi’l-Hadid’s Sharhu Nahj il-Balagha
- 10. See at-Tebirsi’s Alihtijaj
- 11. All historians, referring to the Battle of the Camel, have recorded the Prophet’s prediction addressed to his wives in general and Aisha in particular, “Which one of you will ride the red camel and will be barked at by the dogs of ‘al-Haw’ab’ (a place on way to Basra where the battle of the Camel occurred)? Aisha, do not be the one intended.”
- 12. It is well known that Aisha used to name Othman as ‘Naathal - a non-Muslim person’ and say: “Kill Naathal for he has converted to atheism.”
- 13. See Tathkirat ul-Khawaass and Ibn Kuthair’s al-Bidaya wen-Nihaya, 9/38
- 14. See al-Kibrit ul-Ahmar, 3/24
- 15. See al-Kibrit ul-Ahmar, 3/24
- 16. See Sayyid Mir al-Hindi’s Rouh ul-Islam, 296
- 17. See Ibn Qutaiba’s Al-Imama was-Siyasa, 1/189 and al-Kheshi’s Ar- Rijal
- 18. Muhajirs - The emigrants. The early Muslims of Mecca who had to flee from their homeland to Medina
- 19. Ansar - The supporters. The people of Medina who received, welcomed, and protected the Prophet (S) and the Muhajirs
- 20. See Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi’s Hayat ul-Imam il-Husayn, 2/228-9
- 21. See Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi’s Hayat ul-Imam il-Husayn, 2/255
- 22. Marjana, Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad’s mother, was such a notorious prostitute that everyone all over the Islamic State had heard of her name
- 23. See at-Tabari’s at-Tareekh, 6/230
- 24. See Mr’aat uz-Zaman Fi Tawarikh ul-Aayan, 89
- 25. See Ansab ul-Ahsraf, 3/181
- 26. See Ibn ul-Atheer’s at-Tareekh, 4/26
- 27. See Ansab ul-Ashraf, 3/181
- 28. See Ansab ul-Ashraf, 3/181
- 29. See Al-Bidaya wan-Nihaya, 8/177
- 30. See at-Tabari’s At-Tareekh, 6/43
- 31. See Al-Kamil, 2/288
- 32. See Hayat ul-Imam il-Husayn, 3/203
- 33. See Ansab ul-Ashraf, 3/192
- 34. See Ibn ul-Atheer’s At-Tareekh, 3/291
- 35. See al-Muqarram’s Maqtal ul-Husayn, 297
- 36. See al-Khawarzmi’s Maqtal ul-Husayn, 2/30
- 37. See Hayat ul-Imam il-Husayn; 3/24
- 38. See Sheikh al-Mifid’s Kitab ul-Irshad, 269
- 39. See Maqaatil ut-Talibiyyin, 82
- 40. Abu-Turab is one of the names of Imam ‘Ali Amir ul-Muminin