An analytical look at the historic account of the invasion and horrific plunder of the holy city of Medina in the year 63 AH by the army of Yazid b. Mu'awiyah.
History is a mirror that reflects the past events and happenings to the inquisitive eyes of the researchers who, years and centuries later, anxiously and eagerly try to scrutinize the past generations in order to recognize among them the forgotten figures, their roles, and their decisive historical impact. It teaches lessons of benevolence, honesty, and righteousness from the good among them and creates a strong dislike for the evil ones so that their footsteps are not followed.
Nevertheless, the mirror of history is not as transparent and exhilarating as it should be; for, instead of illustrating the birth of stars and the sunrise, it has crammed the long and tortuous memory of ages and epochs with bitter recollections, sad views of sunset and horrendous scenes of darkness!
Then, are the historians to be blamed to have witnessed most of the sorrows, battles, killings, wailings, and captivities, overlooking the beautiful blossoms and flowerings; or else, since the historians aspired to record something attractive and unique, to witness a smile, and to profile kind and relaxing moments of history and there were few of them to be found, and such moments were overshadowed by the onslaught of brutalities and oppressions!
In any case, we are now opening another page from the early history of Islam that has perhaps remained hidden from the eyes of majority of Muslims across the world. However, the magnitude of oppression and aggression committed against innocent human beings and brutalities reported in the pages of history against the inhabitants of the holy city of Medina still shakes human conscience, and mournfully bereaves souls and bitterly torments fair-minded people.
The battle of Harrah, which should be rightfully called the “tragedy of Harrah” occurred just 64 years after the migration of the Holy Prophet (s) to Medina and 53 years after his sad demise. It took place in Medina, a city that was named as the city of the Prophet (s) whose people were from the generation of the men and women who fore mostly established the foundations of amity, compassion, benevolence, honesty and great Islamic culture throughout the violently hostile Arab lands, and with their self-sacrifice removed the pagan Arab customs of murder, plunder, and transgression and promoted the divine culture of knowledge and insight, and respect for human dignity.
However, within this short historical period of 64 years, especially after the sad demise of the Prophet of God (s), the Muslim community witnessed certain adverse and unanticipated events which eventually led the Umayyad rule over them. Banu Umayyah (the Umayyids) that was the polytheist tribe, and among the most aggressive ones against the Prophet (s) and the Muslims, took the reign of Caliphate and command of the Muslims' lives, property, and honor just within 40 years of the demise of the Prophet (s).
Yesterday's rebels and polytheists now returned triumphantly and sat on the Prophet's (s) pulpit and proclaimed to be the commanders of the faithful!
Those freed at the conquest of Mecca and those who enjoyed the Prophet's clemency and compassion (known as 'tulaqa'), were resolute to take his Ummah as prisoners!
It was thus that after the battle of Harrah “Those among the children and descendents of Ansār (Helpers) and Muhājirin (Emigrants) who survived this tragedy had to formally admit in front of the commander of the Shāmi (Syrian) army that they were the slaves of Yazīd (the leader of the Umayyid) and that he is allowed to do with them whatever he wished to!”
This research does not intend to call the uprising of the inhabitants of Medina against the oppressive Umayyid rule of Yazid as great socio-religious bravery, although it can neither ignore the existence of religious, humanistic, and reformative motivations in that uprising. However, it can definitely arrive at the conclusion that the trend of Islamic Caliphate transformed into an anti-Islamic and anti-human trend in which Yazīd's hereditary monarchy represented the peak of this deviation.
The foundation of every government, its goals, its treatment of subjects and policies in general and its performance in particular are the most self-evident indicators of its rightfulness, legitimacy, and humanness, and the clearest evidences of its illegitimacy as well.
“Harrah tragedy” is only second to the “great tragedy of Karbalā” and the martyrdom of the descendents of Prophet (s) at the hands of Yazīd's army that was caused by the incompetence and oppressive nature of the Umayyid rule. It evidently showed that if the government of a Muslim society gives up the religious and human standards, how disastrous it can be to the religion and the Muslim ummah.
We have attempted, in the following pages, to illustrate as much of the Harrah tragedy and issues related to some of its important aspects that have been recorded in history's memory, and to make a critical review and analyze them whenever necessary.
Among other achievements of this research that were not brought up in the main body of the book are briefly listed as follows:
A. Although the tragedy of Karbalā in 61 A.H. (680 C.E.) and the study of its different ideological and socio-political aftermaths could by itself be a vivid testimony to the brutality of Yazīd's and Umayyid's monarchy and an indication of the social degradation under the illegitimate political administrations of that era, the battle of Harrah that took place two or three years after the event of Karbalā showed that the latter, too, had not been a casual event perpetrated by the Umayyid ruling system.
It showed that the essence of Umayyid monarchy demanded involvement in open onslaughts of murder and pillage of the household of Prophet (s), forcing such great men as Imam Husayn b. 'Alī ('a), who refused to recognize their rule, to pay for his religiosity and noble-spiritedness by his own blood and that of his loved ones.
The Harrah tragedy was in fact confirmatory evidence to the Umayyid's rebellious attitude towards religion of Islam and its humanistic values.
B. In the process of the Madinans' revolt and among various figures who lost their lives, were executed, fled from Medina, or had to swear allegiance to Yazīd out of degradation and humiliation and to call themselves his slaves, there were those who in the earlier years of the formation of deviation in political leadership of the Islamic community refused to take even the smallest steps in the reformation and correction of the deviated politico-religious trends; and when they happened to do so and stand against such perversions, was also a Christian.
Subsequently, those who from the outset merely surrendered to the anti-Islamic trends and viewed religion as a means of power and polity, took up the rule, recruited a powerful and equipped army of newly converted Muslims who were unfamiliar with the basic teachings of the Islam, and by means of forged traditions of the Prophet (s) and ostensibly religious justifications persuaded them to slaughter and plunder the Muslims!
It is truly admonitory that such men as 'Abd Allāh b. 'Umar who, according to the historical reports regarded such high status and authenticity for themselves and were so cautious and obsessive during the Caliphate of 'Alī b. Abī Tālib ('a) that they would say, “We should be the last ones to swear allegiance to 'Alī1!” Whereas in order to prevent people from opposition to Yazīd and to encourage them to pledge allegiance to him, they proclaimed, “The one who dies without a pledge of allegiance to Yazīd will die similar to the one who dies in a state of ignorance.”222
Yet, what is more admonitory is that these people who did not pledge allegiance to 'Alī ('a)'s mighty hands, mind, and faith or when they did they did it hesitantly, hastened by night to pledge allegiance to such persons as Hajjāj b. Yūsuf Thaqafī - the historically notorious savage - not by shaking his hand as it was common but by vilely kissing his feet!
C. From whatever aspect that is considered, the tragedy of Karbalā and the massacre and plunder of Madinans are too massive and shameful; but what makes the resonance of those tragedies more painful and agonizing is that the perpetrators of such cruelities have introduced their inhuman actions as based on faith and religious foundations, to the extent that the commanders of Yazīd army in order to spur the troops to fight would shout at them ”yā khail Allāh - O Army of Allah!”3
Or, in the battle of Harrah, Muslim b. 'Uqba - the commander of Syrian army - wishes that before dying he would be able to suppress the revolt of Medina and to terminate Yazīd's opponents in order to have enough spiritual provision in his book of deeds when meeting Allah on the day of Resurrection!
No doubt, such slogans, statements and tactics are more of a devilish and political nature than being rooted in ignorance and misunderstanding of religion. Unfortunately these policies and practices rapidly influenced the hearts and minds of the newly converted naïve Muslims and the weak in faith and knowledge of Islamic teachings at that time.
It is for these reasons that the true scholars and the guardians of ideological boundaries of religion have always been concerned with such misapplications and misunderstanding of religion by the begrudged and spiteful and the feebleminded. In addition, whenever possible, they have tried to represent the humane and rational essence of religion so that no counter human and imprudent movement might be able to disguise its deviated and detrimental face under superficially religious slogans and banners.
Hoping that report of this crucial period of early Islamic history may be a step towards further appreciation of the real nature of the Umayyid's Rule and its background, brutal policies and devilish tactics, its distortion of the Islamic teachings and the grievous aftermaths. It may provide lessons from this painful incident for distinguishing truth from falsehood and also serve as admonitions for avoiding wrong, inhumane, and anti-religious ways and as motivation for moving toward justice, fairness, and righteousness.
The battle of Harrah was a bitterly disastrous and painful event that took place in 63 A.H. (682 C.E.) during the reign of Yazīd b. Mu'āwiyah between the Syrian troops and the people of Medina.
In Arabic lexicon, Harrah means a rocky and rough terrain that is difficult to pass.14
This event has been named as such because the invasion of the state army of Shām (Syria) took place from the east of Medina, i.e., from the rocky region of the city.2
It has also been called “The Battle of Harrahtu Wāqim” in some historical sources since the rocky terrains around Medina have been extensive and protracted, covering various sections of its surrounding among which only the rocky terrains of the east side have been called “Harrahtu Wāqim”.3
The historians have recorded the distance between Harrahtu Wāqim and Masjid al-Nabī as to be one mīl.47
The battle of Harrah that is rightly called to be one the great catastrophies of history and rated as one of the most cruel events perpetrated by the Umayyids has been so frustrating and unbearable that some historians have tried to alleviate the lasting painful memories of the Umayyid's reign by mentioning its marginal aspects and covering up the inhumane dimensions of this event.
However, this human catastrophe has been so extensive in its emotional and ethical dimensions that it has pained the hearts of the fair-minded and justice loving and prompted the unprejudiced pens to bitterly lament and complain.
Abū 'Alī Miskawayh puts it as follows:
“The battle of Harrah is one of the most formidable and harshest events.”18
Another historian wrote:
“The battle of Harrah has had a terrifying impact on the Muslim world; it sounded as if the Umayyids had decided to pay off their debt to faith!
When the Prophet (s) forgave them upon the Conquest of Mecca and treated them with compassion, in response to this magnanimity of the Prophet (s), the Umayyids massacred the best of Medinan young men.”2
The battle of Harrah was one of the outcomes of Umayyid's reign, especially the imposed monarchy of Mu'āwiyah b. Abū Sufyān's heir apparent which according to a hadīth, the Holy Prophet (s) expressed strong dislike in and called it the government of children: “O Allah, would it be that I would not witness the year 60 A.H. and the rule of the children!”310
The year 60 A.H. (679 C.E.) was the year when caliphate was formally and openly recognized as royal hereditary monarchy and Yazīd, the son of Mu'āwiyah, a hedonist and characterless young man, rose to the throne by the contrivance of his father. In his four years of rulership, i.e., from 60 A.H. to 64 A.H. (683 C.E.), Yazīd perpetrated numerous tragedies, the most formidable of which was the Taff (Karbalā) event - martyrdom of Husayn b. 'Alī ('a) - then, the battle of Harrah in which the sanctity of the mosque of Prophet (s) in Medina was violated and after that his invasion of Mecca and desecrating the House of God (Holy Ka'aba).
In the holy month of Muharram of the year 61 A.H. (680 C.E.), Yazīd martyred the members of the household of the Holy Prophet (s) in Karbalā in the cruelest and the most tyrannical way possible and enslaved his household. In Dhū'l Hajja 63 A.H. (August 683 C.E.), he masterminded the second grand tragedy of his rulership by allowing the Syrian army to transgress over the lives and properties of the people of Medina and the female members of their families.
The revolt of the people of Medina in 63 A.H. (683 C.E.) against the monarchy of Yazīd, and the rule of the Umayyids, represented, among other things, people's widespread dislike and hatred against the state's politics and plans.
There seems to be no evidence in historical records and documents indicating that this social uprising was ascribed to any particular intellectual or political faction or leadership; rather, the communal and tribal diversity of the participants in this popular movement suggests that various social, religious, political, and emotional factors have prompted harmonious sentiments among the people of Medina that culminated in a widespread uprising, and cutting off the hands of Yazīd's agents and administrators from that city.
Obviously, upon empathy and solidarity in rejecting the Umayyid rule and in order to coordinate its defensive force, this spontaneous social uprising chose a commander in chief. According to the historical reports, the Ansār had selected 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala1 and the Quraysh had chosen 'Abd Allāh b. Mutī'2 as their military commanders.313
Therefore, if in 'Ashūrā (Karbala) tragedy and Imām Husayn ('a)'s movement, the goals, plans, and motives were above all centered in a perfectly recognized leader, i.e., Imam Husayn b. 'Alī ('a) with his holiness being considered as the pivot of the movement, in the battle of Harrah and the social movement of Madinans, religious, political, historical, and emotional grounds must be sought on which the movement, without enjoying an outstanding leadership, had been able to bring the scattered tribes and various clans settled in Medina to a similar conclusion and integrate their power and capabilities toward rising up against Yazīd and his agents.
Evidently, it would be impossible for the history researchers to have access to all those causes and grounds, with such long interval and scarcity of historical documents. However, a considerable portion of these causes can be recognised on the basis of what has been recorded or stated.
In Islamic culture, two cities have been recognized as the early bases where the religious thought of the Last of the Prophets (s) began to propagate; Mecca, as the land of the Prophetic Mission and the Qibla to the Muslims; and Medina, as the city of the Prophet (s) and the land of expansion and export of the Revealed Message.
Mecca, as a Divine Sanctuary, overrates Medina, but the latter is significant in that the development of religious knowledge, exposition of the Prophetic traditions, and the understanding and interpretation of the Revealed Word of Allah, all took place in that city. The companions of the Prophet (s) - both Muhājirin and Ansār - lived there and most of them preferred staying in that city over other cities after the demise of the Prophet (s).
Thus, it is evident that Madinans' proximity to the Prophet's legacy and traditions and his companions and successors had made their inclination toward Islam to be stronger than that of the Syrians and thus leading them to more quickly observe inappropriateness of the policies and actions adopted by the rulers and governors. Hence, they were more openly motivated to fight against the political and moral corruptions and perversions in the ruling body of Islam. Furthermore, it was these people who expressed their early political dis-satisfaction and protested to Uthmān b. 'Affān and reprimanded him for the discriminations and incompetence of his administrators and went so far as to put an end to his life!
Now, the same people were witnessing the ruling of a crude young man who neither knows anything about politics and civility nor is familiar with the religious sanctities of Islam and its laws, nor even tries to hide his moral corruptions from the people.
When the people of Medina ran out of patience due to the Yazīd's countless tyrannies and bloodsheds and his openly blatant transgression of the Islamic laws, they began to air their protest against the Syrian government. 'Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān - the governor of Medina - pretended to show his competence by trying to make the dignitaries of Medina pleased with himself, the rule, and Yazīd and to calm down his own jurisdiction. He sent some of the youths of Ansār and Muhājirin to Damascus so that they could meet with young ruler Yazīd in person and discuss their complaints with him; perhaps he would be able to give them convincing answers and avail them with his gifts and bounties.414
In this meeting, Yazīd not only was unable to attract the attention of the emissaries of Medina and redress their grievances, rather on the other hand, he further proved their previous beliefs and impressions of his incompetence by showing frivolous and foolish behavior.515
There is difference of opinion in historical sources as to the number of the emissaries dispatched from Medina to Syria in 62 A.H. (682 C.E.). Some have recorded their number to be ten6, others have reported more.7 Historians have recorded this meeting as follows:
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala Ghasīl al-Malā'ika, 'Abd Allāh b. Abī 'Amr b. Mughayra Makhzūmī, Mundhir b. Zubayr and a group of the noblemen of Medina accompanied them.8
When the emissaries came to visit Yazīd, he paid homage to them by giving them generous gifts.
He even gave a hundred thousand dirhams to one of them, 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala b. Abī 'Āmir, who had come along with eight of his children, and gave some gifts to others, too.9 Despite all this, his mean behavior was not hidden from the guests.
These guests scrutinized all the conducts and life style of Yazīd for which they had originally traveled to Syria.1020
When they returned to Medina, they narrated to the people what they had seen of Yazīd. They were soon shouting in the Prophet's (s) mosque: We are coming back from someone who is faithless, drinks wine, plays lute, spends nights with mean people and singing maids, and abandons prayers.1121
People asked 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala: “What news have you brought?” He said: “I am coming back from a man with whom I would have fought, I swear by Allah, if my children were not with me.” People said: “We heard that Yazīd has given you money and other gifts.” 'Abd Allāh said: “That is true. I accepted it only for preparing forces against him.” This way 'Abd Allāh went on to instigate people against Yazīd and they followed him.12
Abū al-Fidā', one of the historians, puts it this way:
What fuelled the battle of Harrah was that a group of people went to Damascus to visit Yazīd b. Mu'āwiyah. Yazīd honored them, gave them gifts, and granted about a hundred thousand dirhams to 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala b. Abī 'Āmir, a dignitary from Medina. When the group returned to Medina, they talked to the people about what they had seen of Yazīd - drinking wine, vices, and other sins and injustices and immoralities, the greatest of which were abandoning prayers due to being drunk.13
Tabarī puts it in this way:
“Upon returning to Medina, the group reproached Yazīd among themselves, cursed him, and said: We come back from someone who does not have faith, drinks wine, plays lute and the maids sing for him; he plays with dogs and keeps company with the mean people and the slaves. Bear witness that we vow to dethrone him.”14
The author of Ta'rīkh-i Fakhrī wrote:
“People were disturbed by the Umayyids, especially by Yazīd for committing many forbidden and sinful acts and being notorious for vices and iniquities.”1525
“The cause of Medinans' revolt against Yazīd was his weakness of faith.”1626
Ibn Khaldun has opined as follows:
“About Imam Husayn ('a) and the battle that took place, it ought to be said that since the vices and crimes committed by Yazīd were known to general public of his era, the followers and the Shī'as of the Prophet's (s) household in Kufa dispatched a delegation to Imam Husayn ('a) to invite him to Kufa in order to revolt under his command. The Imam ('a) realized that standing up against Yazīd was a duty, for the latter was openly committing injustices and immoral acts, and that this uprising was a duty for those who were able to revolt.”
Mas'ūdī has put it this way:
“When tyrannies of Yazīd and his functionaries began to mount up, his debaucheries became disgracefully manifest; he killed grandson of the Prophet (s) and his companions; went on drinking sprees; and took on Pharaoh-like manners, even worse than Pharaoh in his injustice to the high and low. Thereof, it so happened that the people of Medina expelled his governor, Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān, together with Marwān b. Hakam and other members of Umayyid clan.”17
In addition to observing Yazīd's moral corruption, the representatives of the Medinans witnessed at close quarter that someone by the name of Serjohn was working in Yazīd's court as his Roman counselor and that Mansūr b. Serjohn - or Sergius - from a renowned Christian clan had been Yazīd's close companion from days of his youth.
Ibn Uthāl18, Yazīd's personal physician was also a Christian in charge of the financial affairs of the province of Hims.1929
Akhtal20, the Umayyid court's poet, was also one of the Arab Christians who frequently visited the Caliph's palace with a cross hung around his neck, would read his poems to the Caliph, and was highly praised and rewarded by him.2131
Background knowledge of these unusual affairs stank of deep conspiracy and when combined with Umayyid's unIslamic and inhumane rule, would make any Muslim's zealous blood boil and incite severe reactions against the Umayyid monarchy.
As someone who had been able to acquire for himself the garment of the Caliphate and monarchy over the Muslim lands, Mu'āwiyah had quite learned that in the Muslim community, particularly among the Sahāba (companions), Tābi'īn (their successors), Muhājirin, and Ansār, the issue of Ahl al-Bayt ('a) enjoys a special status that could not be easily violated.
On the other hand, more than anybody else, he had tried 'Alī b. Abī Tālib ('a) and his progeny's robustness and perseverance in respect to religious values and human principles, and found out that confronting this household would cost too high for the Umayyids to afford. Therefore, he had given necessary instructions to his crown prince as to avoid confronting the household of the Prophet (s).
However, Yazīd was not such a person to comprehend the meaning of politics and realize his father's bitterly tasted state policies and experiences; rather, he saw himself as the heir to the power that he himself had no role in acquiring, and like a traditional prince he spent his carefree adolescence and early youth on the Muslims' public treasury without any care for their plight and sufferings and now was ruling over the ummah of Islam whose men, in his own thinking, were his freed slaves and their women, his handmaidens who will submit themselves to him whenever he wished!
This fanciful thinking, inflated by flatteries, once again set the descendents of Banī Hāshim against those of Umayyid and prompted the sons of Abū Sufyān to fight another battle with the household of the Prophet (s), creating a tragedy in Karbalā which was the greatest of all the battles between truth and falsehood in entire human history.
Yazīd wanted to take the revenge of all those killed in the battle of Badr and all the polytheists and unbelievers of history from the household of the Prophet (s) in half a day's time and he truly did so!
Like all the Cains of history, he did not realize the gravity and expanse of that horrendous tragedy the moment he was perpetrating it. However, it did not last long, that, before a half day's time with the short speech by Zaynab al-Kubrā, the daughter of 'Alī ('a), he dismounted his throne of triumph and power and proceeded to apologize; but it was too late, as the blood of the Prophet's (s) household was already shed and would not be washed out by any means. In this tragedy, the decapitated heads of the descendents of 'Alī ('a) turned to unsetting stars that directed people toward the way to deliverance in the dark night of the Umayyid rule; and the people of Medina were the most deserving to find out these telling clues and to show proper reactions in the face of the unjustly shed blood of the Prophet's descendents.
It was also because Imam Husayn b. 'Alī ('a) and his companions and family members had come from their homeland and Imam Ali b. al-Husayn (Zayn al-'Abidīn) ('a), the son of Imam Husayn ('a), had brought them the message of their martyrdom. Those who failed to accompany and help the Prophet's grandson were now ashamed of their past and considered compensating that great damage!
Even if the newly converted Muslims of Syria had not yet considered the ayah “Say, 'I do not ask of you any reward except the affection for my relatives'”22 while reciting the Qur'an, and could not distinguish between the descendants of Abū Sufyān and the household of the Prophet (s). The people of Medina had frequently heard from the Prophet (s) that: “… Al-Hasan and al-Husayn sayyidā shabāb ahl al-janna (Hasan and Husayn are the two leaders of the youth of paradise)”.23 Thus, such deep injuries to the souls, faith, and sentiments of the Medinans would inevitably end up in an overall uprising and bloody confrontation.
“When the tyrannies of Yazīd and his functionaries became widespread, he killed the Messenger of Allah's (s) grandson and his companions, and the people revolted.”2434
“When Imam Husayn ('a) was martyred, Ibn. Zubayr talked to the people; he regarded the Imam's martyrdom as important, reproached the people of Iraq, and said: The people of Iraq are criminal and evildoers; they invited Husayn ('a) to Iraq but as soon as he arrived, they attacked him and demanded him to either surrender to the son of Sumayya (Ibn Ziyād) or fight. Husayn ('a) knew that his companions were few in number but preferred dignified death to a degraded life. May God bless Husayn ('a) and debase his killer.”2535
One of the writers of Arab history wrote in an analysis on the tragedy of Karbalā that Husayn b. 'Alī's blood was more than anything else effective in the development of Shī'ī thought to the extent that Shī'īsm may be said to be reborn on the tenth of Muharram. As the later events revealed, this issue was among the factors that undermined the foundations of the Umayyid's government.26
It is likely that if the Karbalā tragedy did not have narrators like Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) and Zaynab al-Kubrā (the daughter of Imam 'Ali ('a)) and the Ahl al-Bayt ('a) had not taken measures for preserving and safeguarding it, the Umayyid ruling system could have easily distorted the event for the uninformed masses and offered justification to cover up their crimes. But what prevented the distortion of event of 'Āshūra and its justification by the ruling Umayyid's government were the very influential and at the same time subtle ways of propagation adopted by the surviving messengers of Karbalā, that would burn the hearts and infuriate the spirits of the Muslim masses.
It was not a proper time for Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) to start an open campaign against the Umayyids to inform the public of their true face; and the historical experience indicated that the people of Medina, despite their good past records in assisting the Prophet (s) and defending the religion, never had the required vigilance and solidarity to support the household of the Prophet (s). That was possibly because yesterday's Ansār and Muhājirin (i.e., Helpers and Emigrants) who were regarded as simple and untainted Muslims, after the demise of the Messenger of Allah (s) and with the city of Medina turning into the Islamic capital, the seat of the Caliphate of the Muslims, and the centre of distribution of social and political positions, had over the years, acquired some status and reputation so as to view themselves as companions and narrators of hadīth as opposed to the household of the Prophet (s).
Nevertheless, Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) would constantly whisper his messages in between his supplications and intimate conversations (munajat) with Allah, driving them deep down into one's soul; whenever he saw drinking water, he would passionately remember the moments of the martyrdom of martyrs of Karbalā with their parched lips. Thus, words, expressions and gestures of the Imam ('a), who in spite of being subjected to the harshness and cruelty of the age, was still known as the most distinguished religious figure of his time, were communicated from heart to heart to the farthest areas of city of Medina via gatherings.
Historians have described the early hours of arrival of the survivors of Karbalā Caravan at the gates of Medina as follows:
When Bashīr b. Jazlam declared the news of Imam Husayn's ('a) martyrdom and the return of the Ahl al-Bayt ('a) to the people of Medina, it sounded as if it was the Trumpet's Blast that turned Medina to a scene like the morning of Resurrection. Women of Medina rushed out of their houses and took to the gate of Medina, so that no man or woman remained home except that all were running bare-footed and raising the cries of “Wā Muhammadā! Wā Husayna!”(Alas O Muhammad, Alas O Husayn!), just like the day when the Holy Prophet (s) departed from the world. No day ever passed by for the Muslims more bitter and no cries of mourning and lamentation more severe than that day.27
After the people left town and went to Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) and others who were returning with them, the Imam delivered a very moving sermon. Some people, such as Sawhān b. Sa'sa'a, apologized for not assisting Imam Husayn ('a) and Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) accepted their apologies.28
Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn's ('a) words left deep impact on the people of Medina and made them feel that they had neglected to defend the sanctity of the Messenger of Allah (s)!
Abī Mikhnaf wrote:
It was Friday that the caravan of the Ahl al-Bayt ('a) arrived near Medina. Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) sent Bashir b. Jazlam towards Medina to inform the people. He entered Medina and informed the people of the arrival of Ahl al-Bayt ('a) by his poem. With this news, even the women who were behind the veils came out of their houses, wearing black garments and weeping with cries. I saw no man or woman except that they were weeping, lamenting and reprimanding; all the Hashemite and non-Hashemite women were weeping.
On Friday, the Ahl al-Bayt ('a) arrived in Medina and the Friday preacher was delivering his sermon, mentioning what had befallen Husayn ('a) and his companions and adding even further to the lamentations and sorrows of people so that some were weeping and some moaning. That day all the people of Medina went toward Ahl al-Bayt ('a) just like the day when the Prophet (s) had departed from this world. The poets among them were reciting their poems and elegies, and the people of Medina held public mourning and sorrowful gatherings for fifteen days for Imam Husayn ('a) and the martyrs of Karbala.
On the other hand, Zaynab al-Kubrā (sa) and the mothers of the martyrs of Karbalā, each one of them created their own impressive gathering in the widely span social milieu of Medina by individually narrating their experiences of events of the 'Āshūrā tragedy and what they had seen on the way to Kūfa and Syria and in Yazīd's court.
Following are the words of Hadrat Zaynab (sa), the daughter of 'Alī ('a), addressed in the early hours of her arrival in Medina to a mass gathering of mourning women who had encircled and accompanied her into the city. She took advantage of the poetry to penetrate deep into the hearts and minds of her listeners, as she knew very well that the Arab women's memory would readily preserve them and recite them like their soothing cradlesongs to their babies. Those lines are rendered as follows:
What answer will you give when the Prophet asks you:
What did you do as my last Ummah after my demise
To my progeny and my household?
Some have been taken captives and some were immersed in their blood!
Is it my reward for guiding and leading you to the Way of God?
That you oppress my household to such an extent?2939
Among other factors that played an important role in Medinan's revolt against the Umayyid government were the morally corrupt actions and politically awkward decision-makings that were witnessed by the Muslim community, especially by the people of Medina, that began with the Caliphate of Uthmān b. 'Affān (who was from Umayyid clan), and reached their extremes during the reign of Yazīd b. Mu'āwiyah.
The previous Caliphs usually had at their disposal some consultants from among the companions and the erudite for administering the Muslim community. Yazīd, however, had gathered around him some of his jokers and drunkard cronies, who were of his age, as consultants and administrators. This action was obviously intolerable to those who were foremost on the path of faith at that time and to the Ansār and Muhājirin and their descendents.
The nearest in mindset to Yazīd for the people of Medina was likely to be the governor of Medina about whom Tabarī wrote:
”'Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān, who was appointed as the governor of Medina after Walīd, was regarded as an inexperienced teenager.”30
Before 'Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān, another person known as Walīd b. 'Uqba had been appointed by Yazīd as the governor of Hijāz who was strongly criticized by people and about whom Ibn. Zubayr sent the following letter to Yazīd:
“You have sent over us a rough and harsh man who does not care at all about justice and truthfulness and pays no attention to the well-wishers and the wise; whereas if you had sent a mild-mannered person, we hoped that he would make the hard and complicated tasks much easier.”314141
It was after such remarks and complains that Yazīd discharged Walīd b. 'Uqba from office and appointed 'Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān, who was an arrogant, inexperienced, and heedless youth, as the governor of Hijāz32, and the tragedy of Harrah took place while he was the governor of Medina.33
Surprisingly enough, 'Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān was simultaneously shouldering two heavy posts, i.e., the governorship of Medina and Mecca which Yazīd had entrusted to this raw and inexperienced youth!34
All these factors were in fact creating impulses and subtle reactions that were adding together and awaiting a proper moment to burst out like an explosion. That moment came up when Ibn Mīnā, the fully authorized representative of Mu'āwiyah (and who continued working in that position in Yazid's reign), for collecting taxes and properties in Medina, tried to deliver the collected possessions out of Harrah to the governor of Hijāz. It was at this point that the Medinan protesters blocked his way and told him: “This much property that you are taking out of Medina does not belong to you and Mu'āwiyah; we confiscate this property.”3545
Ibn Mīnā reported the confiscation to 'Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān who was then the ruler of Mecca and Medina.
'Uthmān summoned some representatives from Medina for negotiations. A number of Ansār and Quraysh met 'Uthmān and stated that the property belonged to the people of Medina and that “Mu'āwiyah had purchased our property at a low price during the time of our poverty and economic pressure and he had not paid our due rights during his reign.”
The dispute dragged on to the extent that the governor of Medina threatened the representatives and said: “This action of yours is rooted in internal grudges and there is no end to it. I will report the issue to Yazīd himself.”36
The governor of Medina reported the story in a letter to Syria and instigated Yazīd against the people of Medina. Furious to hear this, Yazīd said:
“I swear to God that I will dispatch a massive army over them and trample them under the horses' hooves…”37
Confiscation of the state property by the people of Medina and the fruitless and unfriendly negotiations of the representatives of Medinan tribes with Uthmān b. Abū Sufyān was the beginning of Muhājirin and Ansār's open confrontation with the Umayyid rule. This action of the people of Medina actually opened up the deep and old wound inflicted on their bodies by the Umayyid rule long time ago.
The atmosphere was quite ready for a serious action against the Umayyid government.
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala Ghasīl al-Malā'ka, who had witnessed at close quarters Yazīd's irresponsibility and incompetence in Syria and even had accepted his gifts with the intention of using them in toppling his own rule, called people of Medina to the final battle against Yazīd and the Umayyids.
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala's social status1 among the people of Medina made them to go along with him and even choose him as the governor of Medina, swear allegiance to him, and regarded Yazid as discharged from the Caliphate.249
Ibn Zubayr, who was himself one of the protesters and had chosen Mecca as his base, sent a letter to the people of Medina encouraging them to stand up against Yazīd and Umayyid's administrators settled in Medina and expel them from Medina.350
Ibn Zubayr himself ousted Yazīd's administrators from Hijāz.451
After swearing allegiance to 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala on the first day of Muharram 63 A.H. (682, C.E.), the people of Medina expelled Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān, Yazīd's representative and the governor of Medina, from that city. Then, they imprisoned the Umayyids, their relatives, as well as those Qurayshīs who were the supporters of the Umayyid government, amounting to one thousand persons in Marwān b. Hakam's house without doing them any harm.552
Some historians, in the meantime, have put it this way: Those imprisoned in Marwān's house were besieged, water was denied to them, and some of them were assaulted and battered including 'Uthmān b. Muhammad and Marwān b. Hakam and his son Abd al-Malik.6 However, such remarks have not been reported in the first hand sources.
After the revolt of Medinans and besiege of Umayyids in Marwān's house, the governor of Medina sent his torn up shirt to Yazīd along with a letter saying: “Come to our rescue! The people of Medina have expelled our clan out of Medina!”7
Some have pointed out that of all the kindred of the Umayyids, only the children of Uthmān b. 'Affān were not expelled from Medina.8
Some have also pointed out that the governor of Medina escaped to Syria overnight.956
The letter written by Marwān b. Hakam and the Umayyids was delivered to Yazīd by Habīb b. Kurra and upon reading the letter, Yazīd got agitated and asked Habīb: “Didn't the Umayyids and their relatives and slaves amount to a thousand people?” Habīb answered: “Yes; they were even over a thousand.”
Yazīd asked: “So, why didn't they resist for a while?”
The courier replied: “All the inhabitants were united against them, so they were unable to resist against such a great number of people.”10
At night time, while two guards were flanking him on his sides and he was holding a candle in his hand, Yazīd left the palace in a colorful outfit and with an angry face, walked to the mosque, climbed the pulpit, and cried out:
“O People of Syria! 'Uthmān b. Muhammad, the governor of Medina, has written to me that the People of Medina have expelled the Umayyids from the town. I swear to God that if there were no greenery or prosperity, it would be more tolerable for me than to hear this news.”1158
With these words, in fact, Yazīd declared his firm decision to send his forces to attack Medina.
Yazīd wrote a letter to the people of Medina and ordered 'Uthmān b. Muhammad, the governor of Medina, to read it for them. He sent the letter through Nu'mān b. Bashīr Ansārī and told him:
“Most of the people of Medina are your relatives. Go to them and prevent them from opposition, for if they did not revolt on this matter, the people will not dare to oppose me.”
Nu'mān went to his relatives in Medina and ordered them to obey and warned them against revolt and sedition, but they didn't listen to him.12 Not only that, in reply, they said to Nu'mān:
“O Nu'mān! Yazīd is not a Muslim, because he drinks wine day and night; he does not offer obligatory prayers, he practices debauchery, and he deems as permissible shedding the blood of the descendents of the Prophet (s); and you know that no other Caliph has not done what Yazīd has been doing. He does not deserve to be the leader of Muslim community.”1360
As soon as 'Uthmān b. Muhammad timidly read Yazīd's letter to the people of Medina, 'Abd Allāh b. Mutī' and some other people began to curse and use abusive language. When they found out that Yazīd had dispatched an army to suppress them, they made a firm decision to stand up and fight against it.1461
After the people of Medina decisively resolved to fight against the army of Syria, the Umayyids were ousted out of town, either on their own demand or as deemed advisable by Medinan fighters, and settled in a place called Dhī Khushub15 located at a day's journey from Medina.16
Marwān b. Hakam was among the expelled. However, he was happy for not having stayed in Medina because he knew that if they had stayed in Medina, they would have been more at a loss than otherwise. Thus, Marwān told his son 'Abd al-Malik:
“… O My son! It seems that the people of Medina have permitted us to leave without consulting each other or without enough deliberation, or they have expelled us from Medina.”
'Abd al-Malik asked his father why he said so?
Marwān answered: “The very fact that the people did not kill or take us captive is enough to be happy, for if they took us captive, they would keep us as hostages and would kill us in case of invasion of Syrian army! Now we are worried that they would realize their mistake and change their minds to chase after us!”1764
Yazīd knew that the military expedition to Medina and the Prophet's (s) shrine, where many of the inhabitants were the Muhājirin and Ansār and the companions of the Prophet (s) would be a difficult task, requiring a confidential and trustable commander.
The historians reported that Yazīd first called upon a person named Dahhāk b. Qays Fihrī1, then 'Amr b. Sa'īd Ashdaq2), and after that 'Ubayd Allāh b. Ziyād3 to carry out this mission. Each one of them, however, rejected this mission, stating that shedding the blood of the descendents of Muhājirin and Ansār and violating the sanctity of the Prophet's (s) shrine was a burden too heavy for them to shoulder.
Finally, this mission was assigned to someone known as Muslim b. 'Uqba and Yazīd entrusted this costly command to him!
Muslim b. 'Uqba was an old man who had lived for more than ninety years and was sick then!468
A person at that age and in that unfavorable physical condition did not seem to be the right option for such a mission. But, apparently it seemed that Yazīd:
Firstly, had to take this option, as the others whom he had selected did not accept the mission.
Secondly, the mission required above all, a commander who was entirely at the service of the Umayyids and deeply devoted to them; and Mu'āwiyah had already talked to Yazīd about Muslim b. 'Uqba and reassured him of his devotedness and loyality to the Umayyids.569
Thirdly, Yazīd had to send someone to the battle against the Muhājirin and Ansār who had no fear of bloodshed and whose physical appearance could be a source of encouragement to the troops.
Although Muslim b. 'Uqba was physically not regarded as a commander powerful enough to stir up the forces by his military gestures, his old age could encourage the naïve and ill-informed troops of Syrian army to invade the sanctity of the Prophet's holy land and fail to view it as an emotionally and religiously vile act.
With these calculations in mind, Yazīd appointed Muslim b. 'Uqba as the commander-in-chief of his army and assigned Husayn b. Numayr Sakūnī, Hubaysh b. Dulja Qīnī, and Rawh b. Zanbā' Jazāmī, each of them to separately command a section of that army.670
Yazīd ordered the government's officials as well as the ordinary people to be encouraged to participate in this conflict.
The state heralds were announcing in the streets and public places:
“O People! Mobilize for fighting against the people of Hijāz and receive your wage!” Whoever volunteered would receive one hundred dinars cash right on the spot. Those for whom only money was important immediately agreed. After a short while about twelve thousand individuals gathered.7
Some other historians have reported the number of Syrian army as amounting to ten thousand troops.
The age span of the troops was between twenty to fifty years. All required equipment had been provided for them, so that many camels were carrying necessary equipment and weapons of the army.872
Some other historians have put it this way: Yazīd ordered people to prepare to go to Hijāz; twenty thousand infantry troops and seven thousand cavalries prepared. Yazīd gave two hundred dinars to the mounted and a hundred dinars to the infantry troops as award and ordered them to move along with Muslim b. 'Uqba.973
Yazīd accompanied Muslim b. 'Uqba and the Syrian army for about half a Farsakh (2.8 km) to see them off.10
Among the army, some Syrian Christians were also seen who had prepared to fight against the people of Medina.11
Since Muslim b. 'Uqba was sick at the time of departure to Medina and was unable to mount the horse, he was placed on a couch and carried on slaves' shoulders.1 Yazīd recommended him to name Husayn b. Numayr Sakūnī as his deputy in case any problem would arise for him.2 As for the people of Medina, he advised him as follows:
“Invite the people of Medina three times. If they accept, it is better; but if they do not, in case you triumph over them, massacre them for three days. Whatever there might be in that city - including properties, human beings, animals, and weapons - would be lawful for the troops. Do not prevent the people of Syria from doing what they want to do with their enemy. When the three days' period is over, cease the massacre and plunder and ask people to swear allegiance to be Yazīd's slaves! When you are done with Medina, move towards Mecca.”3
Historians have recorded their itinerary stage by stage, although there are minor differences between various sources.
Istakhrī has noted the distance between Syria and Medina to be twenty stages (manzil),1 without recording the names of the stages; but Ibn Rusta has named some of the stages and regarded them to be twelve.2
Ibn Batūta has named seventeen stages between Syria and Medina,3 but since Ibn Batūta has written his book in 779 A.H. (1377 C.E.), and Ibn Rusta wrote his in 290 A.H. (902 C.E.), Ibn Rusta's view seems to be more authentic in terms of its chronological proximity to the time of the incidence. He has not pointed out to all the names, though.
Ibn Khurdādhbih has also considered the itinerary to be the same as what Ibn Rusta noted.4 Due to the long period between these two sources, we will proceed to give a brief list of the stages between Syria and Medina as follows:
1. Kuswa (the first township which was at a 12 mile5 distance from Damascus),
2. Jāsim (24 miles from Damascus),
3. Fīq (or Afīq, 24 miles from Jāsim),
4. Sanamayn (12 miles from Fīq),
5. Zar'a (15 or 18 miles from Sanamayn),
6. Busrī (4 stages from Damascus and the same place where the Prophet (s), before his mission and during his business travel to Syria, met the Christian Monk and the latter recognized on his features, the signs of prophethood),6
10. Dhāt al-Manār (the beginning of Syrian territory from Medina),
12. Saragh (a village near Tabūk),
13. Dhāt Haj,
14. Taymā' (name of a river north of Tabūk),
16. Wādī al-Qurā,
21. Dhī al-Marwa,
26. Dhī Khushub.
Obviously, the above-mentioned stages are the known villages and townships on the way between Syria and Medina and it does not mean that the distance between each one of them is a day's journey.
However, when the Syrian army reached Wādī al-Qurā, they met with the Umayyids who were expelled or had escaped from Medina.
Muslim b. 'Uqba first inquired about the military preparedness and spiritual conditions of the people of Medina and the number of their fighters in order to plan how to penetrate into Medina and triumph over the people.
Muslim b. 'Uqba asked Marwān b. Hakam how to triumph over the people of Medina. Marwān answered: “The number of Medinans is more than your troops, but not all of them have enough arms. On the other hand, they lack enough motivation, purpose, and goal and are unable to withstand the swords.”
Marwān b. Hakam said to Muslim b. 'Uqba: “Your biggest problem is the trench they have dug around Medina to block your way and in order to guard them they have assigned their resolute men who will not easily leave the trench. I know how to break up this blockade but I will reveal it to you in due course. 7
Muslim b. 'Uqba did not content himself with Marwān's statements and tried to obtain more accurate information about Medina from the Umayyids, but they refused to give more information with the pretext that “we have taken an oath to the people of Medina not to give you any information, but 'Abd al-Malik, son of Marwān, has not taken any oath of secrecy and you can acquire more information from him.”886
The Umayyids were apparently afraid that Yazīd's army will not be able to conquer Medina, so they did not wish to endanger the prospects of their stay as well as their property and lands in Medina; otherwise, the Umayyids were not such people as to keep their oath.
As recommended by the Umayyids, Muslim b. 'Uqba consulted the young and inexperienced 'Abd al-Malik in a private session, and asked him about the people of Medina, their insurgency, and how to confront them. Declaring his readiness for any cooperation, 'Abd al-Malik said:
“In my opinion, you must advance to the palm groves near Medina and do not hasten to enter the city. Settle the army next to the palm groves and order the troops to rest and enjoy the date palms and other facilities available there. After a one day rest, move toward Medina. You should not enter the city from the west; rather, you should choose an entrance in which Medina may lie on your left. This necessitates that you enter the battle with the people of Medina through Harrah which is on the eastern side of Medina, for if you fight with those people during the first half of the day, the sun will be behind you, and hurt the eyes of the Medinan fighters and block their visibility. This way, you will see them well, but they will be dazzled by the glittering of your swords, lances, and helmets.”
Muslim b. 'Uqba welcomed and admired 'Abd al-Malik's advice.987
For the itinerary of Syrian army from Damascus to Medina, see the following map.
Muslim b. 'Uqba and his troops left Wādi al-Qurā' for Medina and camped his army at a place called “Jurf” at a distance of three miles from Medina.188
On the other hand, it was long since the people of Medina had been informed about the departure of Syrian army and were prepared for confrontation and defense. They reconstructed the same trench that the Muslims had dug to defend Medina in the battle of Ahzāb (Khandaq), which over time had partly ruined. They also erected high walls to protect some parts of Medina.289
Reconstruction of the old trench and construction of new trenches took fifteen days in all.3 For these tasks, the Quraysh had undertaken the distance between Rātij4 and Ahzāb Mosque and the Ansār, the distance between Ahzāb Mosque and the Banī Salama and Mawālī neighborhood to carry out the digging and reconstructing the trench from Rātij to the Banī 'Abd al-Ashhal.592
The trench had been dug on the west side of Medina, so Muslim b. 'Uqba was determined, after consultations he had or because of the trench that was an impenetrable barrier to his troops, to launch the attack from the east of Medina which was a rocky land called Harrah.6
The setting up of Syrian army camp near Medina made the people of Medina take the war more seriously and plan and carry out extra measures to defend the town. For the sake of integration of defense and battle, they also had to choose someone as their commander-in-chief.The setting up of Syrian army camp near Medina made the people of Medina take the war more seriously and plan and carry out extra measures to defend the town. For the sake of integration of defense and battle, they also had to choose someone as their commander-in-chief.The setting up of Syrian army camp near Medina made the people of Medina take the war more seriously and plan and carry out extra measures to defend the town. For the sake of integration of defense and battle, they also had to choose someone as their commander-in-chief.
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala played a pivotal role in the battle of Harrah. Having been influential in provoking people for battle against Yazīd and the Umayyid rule, he now undertook the high command of the combatant forces in the defense of Medina.
In fact, the role that Ibn Zubayr had undertaken in Mecca was played by 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala in Medina.
With the Syrian army approaching Medina, 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala called people to the Prophet's (s) Pulpit in Masjid al-Nabī and asked all those who accompanied him, to swear allegiance to him until the end of their lives.
The people of Medina swore an enduring allegiance to him and said that they would be with him to the last of their lives. 'Abd Allāh mounted the pulpit and after praising God said:
“O people! You have revolted for the sake of religion, so try to successfully come out of this trial and be graced with God's forgiveness, and may you enjoy the Paradise!
Be ready to fight with all your strength and power!
Let me inform you that the Syrians have halted and camped near Medina and that Marwān b. Hakam and the Umayyids are also with them. If God wishes, He will punish him for breaking the pledge he had made at the Prophet's (s) tomb!” The people then began to curse and swear out loud together at Marwān and the Umayyids and called Marwān a frog son of a frog!1)
'Abd Allāh then called people to silence and peace, saying: “Swearing does not solve any problem; so, prepare for battle, since, by God, no people have ever proceeded with truthfulness except that they triumphed by Divine assistance.”
Then, 'Abd Allāh raised his hands to the sky and said: “O Lord! We trust You and have faith in You and rely on You, ask You to help us triumph.”295
The historians have elsewhere reported that 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala also said:
“O People of Medina! We did not revolt except for the reason that Yazīd is an adulterous, drunkard, and prayerless (denouncer of Salāt) man; and tolerating his rule will cause descent of Divine punishment. If I would be left alone and no one would help me, still I won't give up revolting against Yazīd.”39696
Meanwhile, Muslim b. 'Uqba, who was seeking to find a way to penetrate into and dominate over Medina, got the chance to address the people of Medina by sending them the following message:
”Amīr al-Mu'minīn Yazīd sends his regards to you and says that you are his clan and kinsmen. Fear God! Listen to my words and obey. There are two bounties for you with me in my covenant to God: one in summer and the other one in winter. I have made a covenant to God to keep the price of wheat for you at the same rate as it is for us, which was one dirham for every sā' (3 kg.). As for the bounty that 'Amr b. Sa'īd Ashdaq has taken away from you, it is upon me to return it to you.”497
This message had no impact on the people of Medina, because, although there were some people among them whose religious motivations were overshadowed by their material, tribal, and emotional motives, a large number of the pioneers of this uprising were decisive and purposeful people who were mainly motivated to overthrow the Umayyid rule and to fight against Yazīd as a person notorious for his incompetence and irreligiousness.
Thus, in response to Muslim b. 'Uqba, they said: “We have removed Yazīd from Caliphate just like a shoe that we remove from out feet.”5
Nevertheless, Muslim b. 'Uqba gave the Medinans three days' time to finally make up their mind.699
Suffering from illness, Muslim b. 'Uqba avoided attacking Medina for three days, and then since he did not receive a favorable answer from the Medinans, finally decided to overcome them by force and violence and subdue them to Yazīd.
Evidence shows that Muslim b. 'Uqba's hesitation for fighting the Medinans was not merely for avoiding slaughtering, rather, he was commissioned to go to Mecca after suppressing the Medinans' revolt in order to suppress Ibn. Zubayr's revolt as well. Muslim b. 'Uqba seemed to fear that if the battle with the Medinans would become difficult and lengthy, the fighting energy of Syrian forces would get exhausted and then he would not be able to confront Ibn. Zubayr and gain victory over him.
That was because fighting with Ibn Zubayr in Mecca was in many aspects more difficult and risky than fighting with the people of Medina. First of all Mecca was a Divine Sanctuary on which invasion and launching a military campaign would cost the invaders dearly; and secondly, the distance between Mecca and Medina and its scorching and dry desert would severely wear out Syrian forces. That was why Muslim b. 'Uqba in his last talk to the people of Medina said: “If you give up revolting and disobedience, I will get the chance to use all the Syrian forces against Ibn Zubayr, who is an impious and rebellious man!
However, he was unaware of the fact that they not only approved of Ibn Zubayr but did not allow the Syrian army to make any attempt to invade the Divine Sanctuary and attack that Holy Land!7
Combatants and defenders of Medina had, as mentioned above, reconstructed the trench and created a defensive and safety barrier blocking the enemy on the western side of the city that consisted of flat lands and seemed easy for the enemy to pass. They ruled out the possibility that the Syrian army can launch their assault from the rocky and rough side of the east of Medina or even if they did launch it from there, they can barely make headway.
The prediction of the Medinan combatants came true, as the Syrian army was never able to pass the Western side of the city and cross the trench, and thus was forced to move to the rocky eastern side to invade the city.
First the Syrian archers entered the battle. Ibn Hanzala told his troops: “We are now targeted by arrows; whoever wishes to enter paradise should sacrifice his life around this banner - the banner of Medinans!”
Upon Ibn Hanzala's speech, the self-sacrificing combatants accompanied him and got into a fierce battle against the Syrian army and an unprecedented war broke out in that land.1
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala told his companions: “It is true that your enemy has found the way to fight, but I do not think they will be able to resist more than one hour. You are the Muhājirin and the companions of the Prophet (s); I do not think God is more pleased with any other people than you! Death is the indispensable destiny of all human beings, but no death is superior to martyrdom; martyrdom is in front of you, take advantage of it!2
After 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala's sermon, the Medinan forces got ready for another attack. Ibn Hanzala reorganized his troops and made Fadl b. 'Abbās the head of the defending army and entrusted the banner to him.
The Quraishī troops were put under the command of 'Abd Allāh b. Mutī' 'Adawī1, the Muhājirin under the command of Ma'qal, and the Ansār were commanded by Ibn Hanzala himself. The voluntary public forces that undertook the guarding of the trench were put under the command of 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Zahīr.2104
Fadl b. 'Abbās's fight along with the experienced cavalries was very effective in dispersing the Syrian forces. The Syrians escaped and the Fadl's riders approached near the Syrian army tents.
Fadl b. 'Abbās encouraged his riders and companions and called them to resistance, galloping onwards until he reached the standard-bearer - Muslim b. 'Uqba - and attacked him, cutting through his helmet and killing him with a single stroke of his sword.
Fadl imagined he had killed Muslim b. 'Uqba, whereas the standard bearer had been a brave Roman slave.3
Anyhow, the Syrian army was apprehended by this gallant attack launched by the Medinan cavalries and failed to advance. Muslim b. 'Uqba encouraged them to fight and when noticed their infirmity, he cursed them and threatened for their fear and retreat, and said:
“I swear by God! Whoever of you that flees, will be killed by Amīr al-Mu'minīn Yazīd in a most cruel way or at least the shame of it will remain with him for the rest of his life. If you do not fight and advance seriously enough, do not disperse or separate from each other.”4
Whatever region around Medina that the Syrians attacked, the presence of the Medinan defenders would force them back to Muslim b. 'Uqba!5
The battle lasted till noon. 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala asked one of his slaves to safeguard him in the rear so that he could say his prayers. 'Abd Allāh performed his prayer6 and went on to fight against the Syrians.
Medina, like a stronghold, was resisting against the Syrian army and breaking through the Medinan troops seemed not very easy.1109
Having become worried, Muslim b. 'Uqba turned to Marwān and said: “You claimed earlier in Wādī al-Qurā that you have devised a plan for penetrating into Medina that you will carry out in its due time; is it not the right time to carry it out?!
Marwān b. Hakam set out toward Medina until he arrived near Banī Hāritha tribe. He summoned one of the tribe's men whom he had already identified and in a secret conversation promised to heavily reward him and do good to him for showing a way to penetrate into Medina. The man was taken in.2 He showed Marwān a way to Medina from the neighborhood of Banī 'Abd al-Ashhal and the Syrian troops penetrated into Medina from that same way. 3
A considerable number of troops managed to reach behind the front lines of the Medinan combatants, clashed with them, and killed a great number of them.4
It so happened that the front line combatants and defenders heard the takbīr and wailing from inside Medina5 and after a very short while noticed the onslaught of the Syrian army prompting them to leave the battle and rush back to Medina to defend their women and children!6
The news of the Syrians invasion of Medina quickly spread all over the Medina's resistant front and overwhelmingly alarmed the people of Medina. A group of them returned to Medina and another group clashed with the Syrians, while a third group were rolled down into the trench in their hit-and-run fighting and skirmishes that resulted in the number of the people killed in the trench outnumbering those who were killed in the battle field.7
From this stage on, the Medinan defending forces dispersed and gradually weakened, not showing much resistance in the battle field.
Muslim b. 'Uqba pointed to the standard-bearer of the Medinan forces Fadl b. 'Abbās and instigated his soldeirs to carry out a targetted and harmonized attack on him. A heavy fighting broke out in which Fadl b. 'Abbās was killed, while being at a distance of ten cubits about five meters away from Muslim b. 'Uqba.8
In this attack, Zayd b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Awf also lost his life along with Fadl b. 'Abbās.9
Following the prolongation of hit-and-run fighting and the expansion of battle front and the treachery of Marwān b. Hakam and Banī Hāritha, the early resistance of the leading fighting troops of Medina little by little began to slacken. In addition, with a part of the forces being killed and wounded, their women and children burst into wailing and crying and the non-military men, who were wearing armor, rapidly lost their morale. The fighting combatants whose number barely exceeded a thousand1, gradually began to feel weak and unsupported before the massive army of the enemy who were armed to the teeth and unworried of their women, children, property, and lives contrary to the people of Medina - and who would take to the open desert behind them in case of retreating.
The standard bearer of the Medinan troops was killed and the number of their fighters was significantly reduced in a short time. To provoke the people, 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala took off his armor, unsheathed his sword and called people to resistance and defense; but the Syrian troops kept moving onward, until they killed 'Abd Allāh's three sons before his very eyes.2119
Muslim b. 'Uqba, who was viewing the movement of his mounted Syrian forces on the stony ground as difficult, in order to encourage the infantry men of his army, ordered them to dismount from their horses and move on foot. He said: “O People of Syria! Fighting on foot is not exclusive to a particular group. O Husayn b. Numayr and O 'Abd Allāh b. 'Idāt Ash'arī! Dismount your horses along with your army!
They all dismounted their horses and advanced on food.
The Syrians were attacking from all directions and killing the people of Medina. The battle was going on to the advantage of the Syrians, overshadowing the vigorous resistance of the defenders of Medina.
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala was striking his sword and reciting following couplets:
Far from those who seek corruption and rebellion and turn away from the truth and the signs of guidance;
The Merciful God will not keep anyone away from His Mercy except the disobedient.3120
Normally, a combatant at that time in history would brag with such utterances in the battle field when he wants to express his goal of offence or defense. 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala was seeking to encourage the people of Medina to resist on the one hand and to remind the Syrians of his motive and to resist the Umayyid distorters of religion, on the other.
Muslim b. 'Uqba ordered 'Abd Allāh b. 'Idāt Ash'arī to move towards 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala and his companions with fifteen archers and when they were close enough, start shooting arrows at them.4121
Thus, finally, 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala fell on the ground and was killed by Syrian troops and with his death the remaining resisting defenders of Medina broke up. The Syrian army chased the Medinans and killed several people in this way.5
The sun was setting while the dark shadow of the avaricious and revengeful army of Syria was weighing down on the defenseless people of Medina and setting the monster of death, horror, and plunder over their women, children, and life!
As to the exact date of the Harrah event, some of the historians have reported it to be the year 62 A.H. (682 C.E.) 1 and some 63 A.H. (683 C.E.)2; of which, of course, the majority of the historians have taken the latter as more accurate and asserted the abominable day to be Wednesday 27th or 28th of Dhū'l Hijja 63 A.H.3 which is according to solar calendar to be August 27, 683 C.E.16
Referring to the historical sources and adding up and analyzing the various views will strengthen the notion that the Syrian army actually entered the battle region at the outskirts of Medina - i.e. Harrah - on Monday 24th of Dhū'l Hijja 63 A.H. (August 23, 683 C.E.)4, and after three days respite, the Syrian army's invasion of Medina started from Harrah region at dawn on 27th of Dhū'l Hijja, and later, on the same day, the defenders of Medina were killed at the end of the same day, and the Syrian army seized the city of Medina overnight.
Narration of all the aspects of the battle of Harrah must be considered on one side and this tragic part (the crimes of the Syrian army in Medina) of the history of Yazīd's Caliphate, as the heaviest and the most heinous of all the dreadful events that took place in this battle, on the other.
Dīnawarī puts it this way:
“Entrance of Syrian army into Medina took place on 27th of Dhū'l Hijja 63 A.H. and Medina was in the clutches of Syrian army until the rise of the new crescent of Muharram.”5
As Yazīd b. Mu'āwiyah had advised, Muslim b. 'Uqba ordered the Syrian army after conquering Medina: “Your hands are open! Do whatever you wish! Plunder Medina for three days.”6
This way, the city of Medina was allowed as permissible to the Syrian troops to exploit and plunder in whatever way they wished, leaving no man or woman on their way secure from their carnage, killing the people, and pillaging their properties.7129
More grievous than the Syrian's plundering and slaying the people of Medina and the remaining generation of the companions of Prophet (s) as well as the Muhājirin and Ansār, was the rash and avaricious Syrians troops' assault upon the chastity of the women of Medina!
If we accept that the Syrian army was consisted of 27 thousand armed men8 aged between 20 to 50 years old, we will find out how disastrous could the invasion of this number of troops have been on a town surrounded by numerous trenches and rugged lands. And if we agree with a number of historians who have estimated the Syrian army in the battle of Harrah to be the least of 10 thousand fighting men, still we can guess the extension of this catastrophe that took place in Medina.
The ten thousand young fighting men, who have for several days traversed the long distance between Syria and Medina with much hardship, overwhelmed the enemy in a single day of aggressive and severely harsh hit-and-fighting, and given full permission by their commander and central government for any action they wished to do, now at the end of the day stepped into houses whose men are either killed or escaped or have raised their hands up as a sign of surrender to be taken as captives.
How would have such ravenous and rash men treated the helpless and unprotected women, girls and children?!
We do not need to merely guess and imagine the extension of the tragedy; because the historians have explicitly recorded what had taken place:
“Thousands of women were assaulted in the invasion of the Syrians into Medinat al-Nabī (s), and months after the battle of Harrah, thousands of babies were born whose fathers were unknown, hence were named “children of Harrah”! The sinister aftermaths of this ethico-human diaster left its ominous impact on families and the marriages of their daughters, bringing in many individual and social problems that are too heavy to be expressed by any pen.”9131
Streets of Medina were filled with the bodies of the killed, blood stains covered the way up to the Prophet's (s) Mosque10, children were killed in their mothers' laps11, and the old companions of the Apostle of Allah (s) were persecuted and disgraced.12134
It was natural that a group of Medinans took refuge out of despair in the Apostle of Allah (s)'s mosque (Masjid al-Nabi) and Holy mausoleum thinking it to be secured against the Syrian army's invasion. But did the newly converted Syrian Muslims and those trained and reared by the Umayyids show any respect for the Prophet (s) and his mosque? Or like their commander Yazīd, they would say in their intoxication of victory and arrogance: “Hāshim (Prophet's great grand father and leader of Bani Hashim) has played to acquire the rule (hukūmat); there has been no divine revelation (upon Prophet of God), nor any news descended from heaven!”
History has mournfully recorded that the Syrain troops didn't show any respect for the Holy Shrine, House and the Mosque of the Prophet (s). Even the refugees in the Mosque of the Prophet (s) were not secure against the invaders. The Syrian troops mercilessly killed those who took refuge in the mosque of the Prophet (s) and near the Holy grave of Prophet (s). The spilled blood of the innocent covered the mosque floor and reached the Holy grave of Prophet (s). Until the Syrian troops remained in Medina, nobody dared to enter the mosque of Prophet (s). The mosque was empty of people1 and Yazīd's horsemen tied their horses to the pillars in the mosque. Only animals including dogs entered the mosque of Prophet (s) and urinated and defecated on the pulpit (minber) of the Prophet (s)! 2 This was the most heinous aspect of the Syrian invasion that no sane Muslim can accept and tolerate. It showed how Umayyids had hidden their enemity against Islam and the Prophet (s) and were planning for a long time to take their revenge from Prophet (s), Islam and the Muslims. Abū Sa'īd Khudrī, the famous companion of the Prophet (s) said: 'By God, for three days when Syrians were busy in plundering, we didn't hear any call for prayers (azan) in Medina, except from the grave of Prophet (s)!'3
One of the Meccan poets wrote an elegy about the tragedy of Harrah as follows:
Yazīd targeted us by Muslim b. 'Uqba, leaving none of our youth alive!
He dispatched a massive army, roaring like a torrential sea, to Medina.
They killed residents of Medina with uttermost wrath and violence; leaving the night behind while dead bodies lay scattered around.
The Ansār bitterly wept for the hideous bloodshed in Medina, and the Ashja' tribe for Ma'qal b. Sanān.4
'Abd al-Rahmān b. Sa'īd b. Zayd b. Nufayl, a talented poet of the time, put it as follows:
If you are determined to kill us on the day of Harrahtu Wāqim, we have no fear; for we are among the first to lose our life in the way of Islam.
It was we who humiliated you in the battle of Badr and made you helpless and miserable.5
The battle of Harrah and the occupation of Medina, the city of Prophet (s), and the slaughter and plunder of the people of Medina ended after three days, with Yazīd's army commanded by Muslim b. 'Uqba set out to Mecca to create another tragedy in the Land of Divine Revelation!
However, the painful impacts of the Harrah tragedy remained in the souls, minds, and lives of the inhabitants of Medina for a very long time.
The intensity of the massacre and crimes was to such an extent that from then on people called Muslim b. 'Uqba as Musrif (squanderer) b. 'Uqba for his going to extremes in killing the people. After that, the people wore black clothes and for a whole year their wailing and weeping was heard from their houses.6
The sanctity of religion and the mosque and the grave of the Prophet (s) was violated, the Muhājirin and the Ansār and their families were humiliated. One of the unfortunate consequences of this horrific tragedy was that the people of Medina slowly moved away from religious values and indulged in moral corruption. Perhaps, in order to forget and subdue the tragic memories of the event of Harrah, the rich among them started drinking wine and used to invite singers and dancers. The views of the subsequent generations too about religion and its commandmants were distorted, and dance and singing began to prevail among them.12 The tragedy of Harrah was an event that had left its deleterious psychological and socio-cultural effects that prevailed over a very long time and outlasted generations.
Considering the high status of the household of the Prophet (s) and the position of Alavids adherents of Imam Ali ('a) and the household of the Prophet (s) in Medina, it is necessary to shed light on their stance as well as their role during the course of Medinans uprising and their revolt against the Umayyid rule.
The importance of this issue is obvious to any researcher of the history of Islam who has studied and analyzed the tragedy of Harrah, or is going to do so. Particular reference to the time of this event from a trans-historical and religious aspect should be kept in mind.
The tragedy of Harrah and Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn's ('a) stance toward it is significantly beyond just a historical research for the followers and adherents of the Prophet (s) and His Ahl al-Bayt ('a), as the Imam's negative or positive or even indifferent reaction towards such affairs would on one hand be a religious frame of reference to them, and on the other hand, can be used as a basis for political and legal opinions in their religious and social life.
What we have said so far about the regretful tragedy of Harrah is a documented historical look at the authentic reports that the historians have recorded. However, a study of the role and position of Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) in the protest rallies of the people of Medina against the Umayyid's rule is possible from two different aspects.
A merely historical outlook
A religious and ideological view
If historical accounts about a personality or event merely narrate a report without special analysis and evidence-based judgment, it can take the form of short and scattered remarks about the past and ignore the peripheral issues and the specific conditions relating to time and location. However, if alongside, it also makes judgments and assessments, it would require mentioning of the relevant past records and their backgrounds.
What is recorded in the historical sources in the form of brief narrations reveals that Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) did not have an active and encouraging presence in Medinans' uprising and revolt. Rather, he had left Medina in order not to witness the imminent tragedy there.
The fact that in the historical and traditional sources there is no statement by Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) that implies the encouragement of Medinans to resist against the Syrian army or preventing them from revolt indicates that the Imam ('a) had not been able or had regarded as advisable to interfere in this event. But why indeed?
Did Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) not hold the required social position, after the tragedy of Karbala and the killing of majority of adherents of Imam Ali ('a) and the followers of Ahl al-Bayt ('a), to involve in the incident and viewed as futile to command the people of Medina to guide them to good and prohibit them from evil?
Was the revolt of the inhabitants of Medina only religiously motivated or was it considered as a combination of religious, political, tribal, and economical motivations? Or, why could not the interference of such spiritual figure as Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) in such complicated and multifaceted event be crucial and effective enough to be accepted and welcomed by the major trends of the time?
Was now Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) taking upon himself as his legal and social obligation to help out or prevent the Muhājirin and the Ansār, the reciters of Qur'an, the narrators of hadīth, and the companions of the Prophet (s) from the battle, that is those who, as he witnessed at close quarters to himself, with all their high status and position never assisted his grandfather 'Alī, his uncle Hasan b. 'Alī ('a), or his father Imam Husayn b. 'Alī ('a) and depended on their own understanding and knowledge in ups and downs of the incidents rather than on the Ahl al-Bayt ('a)? Or else, he did not feel obliged to accompany them due to the weakness of this movement, or did not prevent them because of their inadvisablity?
Was Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) entangled in a political and social seclusion and pursuing monasticism? Or did he not have the morale for getting up again into conflict with the Umayyid ruling system? Or did he firmly decide not to fight against the corruption of the rulers and their tyranny like the manner and lifestyle (sīra) of his grandfather 'Alī b. Abī Tālib ('a), his uncle Hasan b. 'Alī ('a), and his father Husayn b. 'Alī ('a)?!
Once the historian wants to step into research and analysis and then make a judgment about the interference and non-interference of Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) in the tragedy of Harrah, he would be facing all the above questions and should have answers to all of them, presenting authentic reasons for every view he adopts.
The simplest analysis is to regard the Imam's ('a) silence as his impartiality in this event and view that impartiality as a result of his abandoning duty and path of martyrdom and resistance, and his compromise with the rules in order to survive. But such an analysis would be made by an ignorant and biased person, as the past personality traits of Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) does not validate such an analysis. Despite his exhausted body due to the wounds from the heavy chains fastened to his body and although being surrounded by Yazīd's troops and supporters and in a land where 'Alī ('a) has always been cursed, he stood up before the arrogant Umayyid ruler and cried out:
“O Yazīd! Are you threatening me to murder?! Have you not learned the fact that being killed in the way of the Truth is an eternal success and a tradition among us and martyrdom is a dignity for us?!”
Did the Imam ('a) not utter these words after the tragedy of Karbalā; was he not carrying the deep wounds of the memory of 'Ashūrā on his body and soul when he expressed himself so courageously?!
Was it by any means possible that such a free-spirited, brave, and noble figure would give up all those highly influencing and chrished memories within several months and come to compromise and lip-service with the murderers of his father and their accomplices and become indifferent to their defeat and destruction?!
Was it not the case that whenever the eyes of his holiness were cast on fresh water, he would weep to keep alive the memory of the severe thirst of the martyrs of Karbalā and the tyrannies they suffered and the gravity of the crimes committed by the Umayyids, leaving deep impact on the souls and emotions?
Was he not the one who in his supplications would breathe the love of the Prophet's (s) descendents into the souls and hearts of the monotheists, and this way would trouble the Umayyid's slumber? Was he not the one whose brilliant thoughts and steadfast personality inspired such great warriors as Zayd b. 'Alī b. al-Husayn and Yahyā b. Zayd who bravely fought against Umayyid injustice and oppression? And from among his progeny such Imams and leaders were born who never compromised with the oppressive powers, used every opportunity to expose the real face of the tyrants, and were all killed as martyrs?
If the historians and analyzers of this historical event take into consideration all these facts together in an integrated way and all the aspects, they will not accept the naïve statements and the opportunistic reports of those unfamiliar with the school of divine leadership (Wilāyat).
Thus, if Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) did not go along with the uprising of Medina, it has been because:
Firstly, he had identified various goals and motives among the people of Medina all of which were not religious.
Secondly, the Imam ('a) did not see the condition as appropriate for confronting the Umayyid government and considered the revolt of the people of Medina as paving the way for massive bloodshed and transgression upon the chastity of Muslim women. This was in the same way as his noble father, Husayn ('a), left Medina during the night, it was because he did not want his blood to be shed in the Sanctuary of the Holy Prophet (s) and so his martyrdom took place in a situation that would convey the everlasting message to the subsequent generation.
Thirdly, if he prevented people from uprising honestly and outrightly, it would so happen that the people would take the Imam's words as a result of his past disappointment of fighting against Yazīd! Nevertheless, Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) practically showed the people of Medina and those who were mindful of the Imam's viewpoints and obedient to him that they should not get involved in this course of events.
Fourthly, the method of fighting adopted by the inhabitants of Medina against the Syrian army was predicted to be inefficient; for, although in the battle of Ahzāb, the Muslims utilized a similar method and triumphed in the early stage, the circumstances had changed over time. In the tragedy of Harrah, the people of Medina neither enjoyed the empathy and coordination of the Prophet's (s) time, nor had a leader like the Prophet (s).
In addition to the above, the presence of the women and children in Medina had a very important impact leading to the defeat of their uprising, as the combatants had to abandon the battlefront and go back to town for the fear of the Syrians' invasion of their houses.
Thus, Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) had practically warned against this critical event and demonstrated to the inhabitants by having his family and relatives taken away from Medina and transferred to the region of Yanbu'1.
In conclusion, the position that Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) practically adopted was very well calculated and in the light of the above-mentioned considerations, the most logical one, since, in a short while, this reality was to be revealed to the inhabitants of Medina.
What we said so far was merely a historical look based on human calculations that could be noticed by any researcher and thinker; whereas, the interference or non-interference of Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) in the process of Medinans' uprising has a religious perspective, too, which is significant to the Shias and the believers in the spiritual status of the Imams and the infallibility of the Ahl al-Bayt ('a).
In this view, the Imam is not a simple decision maker who takes actions according to his personal information and experiences. Rather, he is committed to an obligation that God has explicitly appointed him for and other people have to obey him, take his words and actions as criteria for their beliefs and behavior, and do not seek precedence over him in thought and practice.
From this perspective, Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) had acted according to a superhuman obligation, and those of the Medinans, who due to their lack of belief in Wilāyat and Imamate (divine leadership of the Imams among Ahl al-Bayt - 'a) or for any other reasons stepped into this uprising, suffered great loss.
Here, the question arises that whether the Medinans' uprising was rightful and their killed ones can be regarded as martyrs, or their uprising had been a rebellion and revolt against an Islamic ruler?
The properness or improperness of a socio-political movement is examinable from various aspects, and as long as the direction and the viewpoint of judgment are not specified, any judgment will remain in ambiguity.
First, it is to be clarified that whether properness and improperness is meant to be legitimacy or the lack of it, or whether it is meant to be well-timed, efficacious, or ineffectual.
The legitimacy of a social movement is dependent upon several factors including the motivations, goals, methods, prevailing circumstances, and conditions.
What is obtained from the existing historical sources - and we already mentioned some aspects of it in previous pages - is that the main and explicitly expressed motivation of the pioneers in Medina movement has been a religious, reformist, and human one, as 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala, the most distinguished figure among the leaders and commanders of the uprising of Medina, would frequently talk about religious values while encouraging the people to revolt and resist, and rejected Yazīd as deserving to rule over Muslims because of his vices, corruption, and incompetence.19
Medinans' efforts in preventing their properties from being taken to the Umayyid court in Syria could have been rated as a means to express their overall dissatisfaction with the Umayyid's rule, rather than an economic motivation to battle for. As a matter of fact, whispers of dissatisfaction with the Yazīd's Caliphate had begun long before this event; and it was such expressions of discontent and turbulence that forced Yazīd to replace the governors of Medina one after another at very short intervals, so that in 61 A.H. (680 C.E.) first Walīd b. 'Utba was the governor, then 'Amr b. Sa'd took office, and after a very short while 'Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān, Yazīd's cousin was appointed as Medina's ruler.
All these indicated the incompetence of the Medina's sucessively appointed governors and the unrest of the people of that city.
However, fighting tactics of Medinan combatants were not accompanied with crime and betrayal, as they had the power to take hostage the governor of Medina, Marwān b. Hakam, and the Umayyid's proxies and kill them in case of the invasion of Medina by the Syrian army; but they did not do so and let all of them leave Medina on the condition, verbally undertaken, that they would not help the enemy and will not guide the Syrian army into Medina. (This indicated the presence of traitors among the combatants as well as weak planning for the defence of Medina and its inhabitants.)
It is reported in some sources that the people of Medina expelled the Umayyid's cronies and its members and their relatives from Medina and assaulted and battered them. Firstly, these reports are not compatible with the Umayyid's taking an oath next to the Prophet's (s) mausoleum, as taking an oath demanded a peaceful and sociable atmosphere. Secondly, if we accept as true the report of expelling and battering, still it will never be comparable to the slaughter and plunder that normally takes place during such events and in addition its similarity to the Syrian army's cruel treatment of the inhabitants of Medina is impossible and can never be made!
Something that remains to be researched and examined about the legitimacy of Medina revolt is that whether the pioneers of this uprising had taken necessary measures for preserving the Muslims' lives and honor or they left the sanctity of Medina, and the Muslims' lives, properties, and families exposed to the plunders and aggressions by the most malicious people and the most wicked army commanders of the Muslim history!
It seems that this had been Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn's ('a) most important concern. He, perhaps, didn't view the time, circumstances, and the battle style as appropriate and foresaw its horrible outcomes. For this reason, as an Imam and a socio-religious leader, he did not deem advisable for the Muslim community to openly step into this conflict.
But, that's how such men as 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala and others influential in the Medina uprising had found the situation and circumstances to be, and whether they were guilty of any negligence in their evaluations of the circumstances and the battle style, is something not adequately dealt with in historical sources. We have no reason to scriutinize this issue, as a tradition related from the Holy Prophet (s) says:
“When the Prophet (s) left Medina in one of his journeys, upon reaching “Harrat az-Zahra”1 he stopped for a while and said: ﴾Indeed we belong to Allah and to Allah do we indeed return.﴿ Hearing this from his holiness at the outset of a trip made people in his company worried. 'Umar b. al-Khattāb, from among those present, asked: O Messenger of Allah (s)! What caused you to say this?
The Prophet (s) replied: 'My istirjā' saying ﴾innā li-llāh wa innāا ilaihi rāji'ūn﴿ Al-Qur'an, 2: 156 is not because of this trip that we are about to start; rather, it is because the good ones of my ummah after my companions will be killed in this stony land.'2
The words and slogans of 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala on one hand however this tradition on the other hand indicates that the pioneers of the Medina revolt and the active combatants had good intentions and right motivations and their move per se was not out of vain desires, seeking power, or corruption, for if it were so, the Prophet (s) would not have called them “the good ones of my ummah”.
The excellence and honor of those killed in the Medina uprising and their being rewarded by God is unrelated to the fact that Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) as a spiritual figure who had been certain about the uprising as being ineffectual or ill-fated would have felt obliged not to participate in this revolt and practically impart to those who had comprehended his wilāyat (divine leadership) what their duty was.
After all, whether the uprising and movement of the Medinans has been regarded as rightful and their killed ones as martyrs, there is an inalienable truth here as to the Yazīd and Syrian army's treatment of the Medinans to be an irreligious and inhumane treatment and that no justification can be accepted for the plunder of the property and violating the chastity of the Muslim women.
Even if the people of Medina had rebelled against a government, they had not rebelled against an Islamic government that the Muslims had voted for or had been legally and religiously legitimized. Rather, they had rebelled against someone who had been notorious for his debauchery, cruelities and injustice and had governed on the back of people by force of spears and threats, who had inherited throne from his father, who in turn had stayed in power over Syria by rising against the central rule and the legal Caliphate of 'Alī b. Abī Tālib ('a) and in fact had rebelled against the elected rule of the Muslim community, launched military campaigns, and gained political stability through deceit and treachery!
It is not surprising that the Umayyids and their cronies, who like hungry and gluttonous camels, had been recklessly devouring the vast poessesions and properties of the Muslim world at the expanse of the public treasury, would evidently consider any voice of protest and dissidence as rebellion against the Muslims' Caliph and take it as tantamount to apostasy and viewing it as absolutely lawful to shed the dissidents' blood, take away by force or plunder their property, and violate the chastity of their women!
The names of several tribes residing in Medina and the number of people belonging to those tribes who were killed in the uprising have been recorded in the historical sources.
The great number and variety of these clans and tribes suggests widespread dissatisfaction and anger of the Medinans with Yazīd's rule.
Historians have, with great effort recorded detailed lists of each of these clans and tribes as well as their killed ones. On one hand, this indicates the importance of this horrific event in the history of Islamic ummah and the deep wounds it inflicted behind that the historians have attempted to pay off their debt to the Islamic ummah by accurately recording minute details. On the other hand, it indicates that the recorded numbers and figures of the losses and damages inflicted as result of the uprising of the Medinans and the invasion of Syrian army over them are not exaggerated but accurate and realistic.
Some of the clans and tribes that had the greatest number of dead are as follows:
Quraysh, Banī Hāshim and their confederates, ten killed
'Abd Manāf clan and their confederates, eleven killed
Banī Qusayy clan and their confederates, nineteen killed
Banī Zuhra and his confederates, nineteen killed
'Udayy b. Ka'b and his confederates, thirteen killed
Bani Fahr and his confederates, twenty four killed
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala and seven of his children killed
Banī Mu'āwiyah b. Mālik, twelve killed
Banī Najjār, fifty three killed
Banī Khazraj, twenty killed
Some historical sources have recorded the number of Ansār's killed to be 137 and the total number killed of the Ansār and Quraysh to be 360. Besides the above-mentioned clans, a number of other clans and tribes have been recorded that are too many to mention here and the names mentioned below will suffice as typical sample, while referring the researchers to the historical sources for further study.1
After dominating over the people of Medina, Muslim b. 'Uqba summoned some of the more influential and well-known figures of Medina and sentenced them to death upon special hearings.
These hearings are unique in early Islamic history as Muslim b. 'Uqba being the conquerer and aggressor, wanted the ones whom he had summoned to swear allegiance to him as the slaves and servants of Yazīd!1145
The more well-known figures executed in this tragic event include: Abū Bakr b. 'Abd Allāh Ja'far b. Abī Tālib2; two sons of Zaynab, daughter of Umm Salama3; Abū Bakr b. 'Ubayd Allāh b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Umar b. al-Khattāb4; Ma'qal b. Sanān (One of the Prophet's (s) standard bearer in the conquest of Mecca)5; Fadl b. 'Abbās b. Rabī'a b. Hārith b. 'Abd al-Muttalib33; Abū Sa'īd Khudrī (a companion of the Prophet (s) who was in the Prophet's company in twelve expeditions)6; 'Abd Allāh b. Mutī'7 (a commander of the Medinans who escaped that event, joined Ibn Zubayr, and executed by Hajjāj).
Apart from these, there were several other people who were killed under the pretext of accompanying or helping the people of Medina and their names too are recorded in historical sources.8152
It is obvious that the actual number of the people who were killed in the tragedy of Harrah is definitely far more than what is mentioned in the history books. What follows below is the list of names of those killed that is reported by historians. In addition, the list doesn't include the names of the dead females and children, which was higher than those of males killed in this tragedy.
Khalīfa b. Khayyāt has listed the names of those killed in the Harrah tragedy as follows:
1. Abū Bakr b. 'Abd Allāh b. Ja'far b. Abī Tālib (who was among the executed).
2. Fadl b. 'Abbās b. Hārith b. 'Abd al-Muttalib.
3. 'Abd Allāh b. Nawfil b. Harith b. 'Abd al-Muttalib.
4. 'Abbās b. 'Utba b. Abī Lahab.9153
1. Sulaymān b. Safwān b. 'Abbād b. Shaybān.
2. Aswad b. 'Abbād b. Shaybān.
3. 'Utba b. Ma'bad, or Ma'bad b. 'Utba b. Shaybān.
4. Muhammad b. 'Uqba b. Dubayh b. Jābir.
5. And his brother Sulaym (or Sulaymān)
6. Jurayy b. Hazm b. Jābir.
1. Yahyā b. Nāfi' b. 'Ajīr b. Yazīd b. Hāshim from Banī Muttalib.
2. 'Abd Allāh b. Nāfi' b. 'Ajīr.
1. Ja'far b. 'Abd Allāh b. Mālik.
1. Dāwūd b. Walīd b. Qarza b. 'Abd 'Amr b. Nawfil.
2. And his son, Walīd b. Dāwūd.
3. 'Ubayd Allāh b. 'Utba b. Ghazwān who was among their allies from Māzin b. Mansūr's tribe.
1. Ismā'īl b. Khālid b. 'Uqba b. Abī Mu'īt
2. Abū 'Ulyā Mawlā (slave) Marwān b. Hakam.
4. 'Amr and
5. Walīd, sons of Yazīd b. Ukht al-Namir
1. Wahab b. 'Abd Allāh b. Zam'at b. Aswad b. Muttalib b. Asd b. 'Abd al-'Uzzā.
2. Yazīd b. 'Abd Allāh b. Zam'a (who was executed).
3. Abū Salama b. 'Abd Allāh b. Zama'a.
4. Miqdād b. Wahb b. Zama'a.
5. Yazīd b. 'Abd Allāh b. Wahb b. Zama'a.
6. Khālid b. 'Abd Allāh b. Zama'a.
7. And one 'Abd Allāh b. Zama'a's sons, whose real name was not known.
8. Mughayra b. 'Abd Allāh b. Sā'ib b. Abī Hubayth b. Muttalib b. Asad.
9. 'Abd Allāh b. Nawfil b. 'Adayy b. Nawfil b. Asad.
10. 'Amr b. Nawfil b. 'Adayy b. Nawfil b. Asad.
11. Sarī b. 'Abd al-Rahmā b. 'Abd Allāh b. Abī Dhu'ayb b. 'Adayy b. Nawfil b. Asad.
12. 'Adayy b. Tuwait b. Habīb b. Asad.
1. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Hātib b. Abī Bulta'a from Namir al-Azd (tribe).
2. Usāma b. Khiyār.
1. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Musāfi' b. Talha b. Abī Talha, whose name has been 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd al-'Uzzā b. 'Uthmān b. 'Abd al-Dār.
2. Muhammad b. Ayyūb b. Thābit b. 'Abd al-Mundhir b. Alqa b. Kalada.
3. Mus'ab b. Abī 'Umayr b. Abī 'Azīz b. 'Umayr.
4. Yazīd b. Musāfi' b. Talha.
5. Zayd b. Musāfi' b. Talha.
6. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Amr b. Aswad.
1. Zayd b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Awf.
2. Abān b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Awf.
3. 'Ayād b. Hasan b. Awf, who was killed in Ibn Zubayr sedition.10154
4. Muhammad b. Aswad b. 'Awf.
5. Salt b. Makhramat b. Nawfil b. Wuhayb b. 'Abd Manāf b. Zuhra.
6. Muhammad b. Miswar b. Makhrama.
7. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Aswad b. 'Abd Yaghūth.
8. Ismā'īl b. Wuhayb b. Aswad b. 'Abd Yaghūth.
9. 'Umayr b. Sa'd b. Abī Waqqāss
10. 'Amr b. Sa'd b. Abī Waqqāss.
11. Ishāq b. Hāshim b. 'Utba b. Abī Waqqāss.
12. 'Imrān b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Nāfi' b. 'Utba b. Abī Waqqāss.
13. Muhammad b. Nāfi' b. b. 'Utba b. Abī Waqqāss.
1. 'Uthmān b. 'Alā' b. Jāriyya b. Thaqīf.
2. Uljulās b. 'Alā' b. Jāriyya b. Thaqīf.
3. Muhammad b. 'Alā' b. Jāriyya b. Thaqīf.
4. Abū 'Abd Allāh b. Mawhib b. Rabāh.
5. 'Abd Allāh b. Bishr b. Sā'ib.
6. 'Ubayd Allāh b. Bishr b. Sā'ib.
1. Ya'qūb b. Talha b. 'Ubayd Allāh (he was among the executed).
2. 'Ubayd Allāh b. 'Uthmān b. 'Ubayd Allāh b. 'Uthmān b. 'Amr b. Ka'b.
3. 'Abd Allāh b. Muhammad b. Abī Bakr.
4. Ma'bad b. Hārith b. Khālid b. Sakhr b. 'Āmir b. 'Amr b. Ka'b.11155
1. Mūsā b. Hārith b. Tufayl from Daws tribe. Some have said that he was from the Azd tribe. He was a maternal brother to 'Ā'isha and 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Abī Bakr.
2. Hārith b. Manqadh b. Tufayl, and Tufayl Abū al-Husayn is a maternal brother to 'Atīq's son.
3. 'Ammāra b. Suhayb.
4. Mus'ab, and
5. Khālid, sons of Muhammad b. Suhayb.
1. 'Abd Allāh b. Abī 'Amr b. Hafs b. Mughayra.
2. Abū Sa'īd b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Hārith b. Hishām whose mother was from the Hārith b. Ka'b tribe.
3. 'Abd Allāh b. Hārith b. 'Abd Allāh b. Abī Rabī'a
4. Muslim (or Maslama) b. Abī Burd b. Ma'bad b. Wahb b. 'Ā'idh.
1. Abī Bakr b. 'Ubayd Allāh b. 'Umar b. al-Khattāb he was named among the executed.
2. 'Abd Allāh, and
3. Sulaymān, sons of 'Āsim b. 'Umar b. al-Khattāb.
4. 'Umar or 'Amr b. Sa'īd b. Zayd b. 'Amr b. Nufayl.
5. Abū Bakr b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Sa'īd b. Zayd b. 'Amr b. Nufayl.
6. Muhammad b. Sulaymān b. Mutī' b. Aswad b. Hāritha b. Nadla b. 'Awf b. 'Ubayd b. 'Awīj.
7. 'Abd al-Malik b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Mutī'.
8. 'Abd Allāh b. Nāfi' b. 'Abd 'Amr b. 'Abd Allāh b. Mutī'
9. Ibrāhīm b. Nu'aym b. 'Abd Allāh b. Nahhām. It is also recorded as: Ibrāhīm b. Nu'aym b. 'Abd Allāh.
10. Muhammad b. Abī al-Jahm b. Hudhayfa b. Ghānim (who was executed).
11. Khudayj b. Hudayj b. Abī Hathma b. Hudhayfa b. Ghānim.
1. Ayās, and
2. Ya'lā, sons of al-Sarī.
3. Yūsuf b. Habīb, from Banī Layth tribe.
1. Dhu'ayīb b. 'Amr b. Hunayth b. Hudhayfa b. Sa'd b. Sahm.
2. Dhu'ayb's son.
3. Mayyāh b. Khalaf or Khālid.
4. Fadāla b. Mayyāh, who were their allies.
1. 'Abd al-Malik b. Hutāb.
2. Hārith b. Mu'ammar b. Habīb b. Wahb b. Khudāfat b. Jumah.
3. Khattāb b. Hārith b. Hātāb.
4. 'Amr b. Muhammad b. Hātib.
5. Hātib b. 'Amr b. Hārith b. Hātib b. Hārith b. Ma'mar.
1. 'Uthmān, or 'Amr b. Kathīr b. Salt.
2. Nu'aym b. Lūt, or Lūt b. Nu'aym b. Salt b. Kindī.
1. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Huwaytab b. 'Abd al-'Uzzā.
2. 'Abd al-Malik b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Huwaytab.
3. Rabī'at b. Sahm or Sahl b. 'Abd Allāh b. Zama'a.
4. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Zama'at b. Qayth.
5. 'Amr b. 'Abd Allāh b. Zama'a.
6. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd Allāh b. Zama'a.
7. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Amr b. Hātib.
8. Salīt b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Amr b. Hāshim.
9. Hāshim b. Āamza.
10. Hishām b. 'Abd al-Aswad b. Hāshim b. Kanāna.
11. Hishām b. 'Abd Allāh b. Kanāna.
12. Rabī'a, and
13. Kanāna, sons of Hāshim b. Kanāna b. Hisn.
14. Khiyār b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Khiyār.
15. Abū Sulaymān b. 'Abd Allāh b. Khiyār.
16. Sulaymān b. Uways b. Sa'd b. Abī Sarh.
17. Abū 'Amr b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Amr b. Uways.
18. Hārith b. 'Abd Allāh b. Kanāna.
19. Abū Qays b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Adī b. Ukht, from the Banī Ma'īs tribe.
1. Fadla b. Khālid b. Nā'ila b. Rawāha.12156
2. 'Ayād b. Khālid b. Nā'ila b. Hurmuz or Harim b. Rawāha.
4. Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Tufayl.
5. 'Ayād b. Abī Sallām b. Yazīd b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Mālik b. Rabī't b. Wahab.
6. Zayd, or Yazīd b. 'Abd Allāh b. Masāfih b. Anas b. 'Abd b. Wahab b. Dibāb.
1. Su'ayb b. Abī 'Abd Allāh.
2. Murdās b. 'Awf.
3. Ibrāhīm b. Isrā'īl.
4. Mus'ab b. 'Abd Allāh b. Khaythama.
1. Zufr b. Hārith, or Ibn Suwayd.
2. A son of Mālik b. Suwayd.
3. 'Aqīl b. Zufr.
4. Rabī'a b. Ziyād.
5. Uthātha, and
6. 'Alā, sons of Shayba.
7. Zuhayr b. 'Abd Allāh.
8. Ziyād b. Abī Umayya.13157
1. 'Abd al-Rahmān,
2. 'Abd Allāh, and
3. Qatan, sons of Nufayl b. 'Abd Allāh b. Wahb b. Sa'd b. 'Amr b. Habīb b. 'Amr b. Shaybān or Shayba b. Muhārib.14158
4. 'Abd Allāh b. Nadla b. 'Abd Allāh b. Wahb.
5. Sharīd b. Rabāh b. 'Amr b. Mughtarif b. Hajwān b. 'Amr b. Habīb.
6. Abān b. Hisl, or Ibn Hassān b. Rabāh b. 'Amr.
7. 'Amr b. Hassān b. Rabāh
8. Walīd b. 'Isma.
9. 'Alā' b. Yazīd b. Anas b. 'Abd Allāh b. Hajwān.
10. Habīb b. Mudarris.
11. Walīd b. Hamama b. 'Abd Allāh b. Hajwān.
12. Khaytham b. Nāfi' b. Mudarris.
Thus, those who were killed from among the Quraysh were 97.
1. 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala15
2. Eight of 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala's sons (some of them are: 'Abd al-Rahmān, Hārith, Hakam, and 'Āsim.)
4. And 'Abd Allāh, sons of Majma'.
5. 'Abas 'īsā b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Yazīd.
6. 'Ukāsha b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Yazīd b. Jāriyya16.
7. 'Amr b. Suwayd b. 'Uqba b. 'Uwaym b. Sā'ida.
8. Abū al-'Ayāl b. 'Uqba b. 'Uwaym b. Sā'ida.
1. Sahl b. 'Uthmān b. Hunayf.
2. 'Amr b. Sahl.
3. Muhammad b. 'Uthmān b. Hunayf.
4. Habīb b. 'Abbād b. Hanīf.
2. 'Umar or 'Amr, sons of Khawwāt.
1. 'Ayād b. 'Amr b. Bulayl.
2. 'Amr b. 'Amr b. Bulayl.
3. 'Amr b. 'Utba b. 'Utwāra.
4. Dhakwān (Mawlā b. Hanzala)17
1. 'Umāra or 'Ummār b. Salama.
2. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Hārith b. Salama.
1. Muhammad b. Bashīr.
2. 'Abd Allāh b. Kulayb b. 'Ubayd who was injured in battle and died soon afterwards.
3. Muhammad, and
4. 'Utaba or 'Ubayd, sons of Jubayr.
5. 'Abd Allāh ('Ubayd Allāh), and
6. 'Alā', sons of Thābit.
7. Sā'ib b. 'Abd Allāh.
8. Tha'laba, and
9. 'Āmir, sons of Hārith b. Tha'laba.
10. Sa'd b. 'Abd Allāh.
11. 'Abd Allāh b. Hazm b. 'Amr b. Umayya.
12. 'Utba b. Ash'ath b. Ka'b.
1. 'Abd Allāh b. Sa'd b. Mu'ādh.
2. Muhammad b. Bashīr b. Mu'ādh.
1. 'Amr b. Yazīd b. Sakan.
2. 'Abbād b. Rāshid b. Rāfi' b. Qays.
3. Mūsā b. 'Abd Allāh.
4. Ja'far b. Tha'laba.
5. Salama or Muslima b. 'Ibād b. Salkān.
6. 'Ibād b. Salkān b. Salāma b. Qays.
7. Shayba b. 'Abd al-'Azīz.
1. Sa'īd b. Jubayr.
2. 'Abd Allāh b. Sa'd.
4. Sā'ida, and
5. Abū Jubayra, sons of Sa'd.
1. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Sahl.
2. Kanāna b. Sahl b. 'Abd Allāh b. Aws b. Qaydī.
3. 'Abd Allāh b. Uways.
4. Sahl b. Abī Amāma who was from a following generation.
5. Ja'far b. Tha'laba b. Mahīsa.
6. Sā'ida b. Asad b. Sā'ida.
7. Yazīd b. Muhammad b. Salama.18162
2. Muhammad, and
3. Yazīd, sons of Thābit b. Qays b. Khatīm.
4. Muhammad b. Abī Namla b. Zurāra.
1. 'Amr b. Sa'īd b. Hārith b. Sama.
5. Yahyā, and
6. 'Ubayd Allāh, sons of Zayd b. Thābit b. Dahhāk.
7. Muhammad, and
8. Zayd, sons of 'Ummāra b. Zayd b. Thābit b. Dahhāk.
9. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm.
10. 'Abd al-Rahmān,
11. 'Uthmān, and
12. 'Abd al-Malik, sons of Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm.
13. 'Abd Allāh ('Ubayd Allāh) and Jābir and Mu'āwiyah, sons of 'Amr b. Hazm. It is said that along with Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm, thirteen of his family members were also killed.
14. 'Alā' b. 'Abd Allāh b. Raqīm b. Nadla.
15. 'Amr b. Mu'allā b. 'Amr.
16. 'Alā' b. 'Abd Allāh b. Nu'ay b. Nadla.
17. Mālik b. Mu'ādh b. 'Amr b. Qays.
18. Muhammad b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Sa'd b. Zurāra.
19. Qays b. Sa'd b. 'Amr b. Suhayl.
20. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Abī al-Zanād b. Abī al-Qurd b. Qays b. Qahd.
21. Ibrāhim b. Tamīm b. Qays b. Qahd.
22. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Sa'd.
23. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Mu'ādh.
24. Khālid b. Safwān.
25. Zayd b. Abī 'Amr b. Muhsin.
26. Yahyā b. 'Amr.
27. Muhammad b. Abīyy b. Ka'b.
28. 'Ā'idh b. Abī Qays b. Anas b. Qays.
29. Anas b. Muhammad b. 'Abd Allāh b. Abī Talha.
30. 'Amr b. 'Amr.
31. Ismā'īl b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Hassān b. Thābit.
32. Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Malik b. Nubayt.
33. 'Āmir b. 'Uqba.
34. 'Amāra b. 'Amr b. Hazm.
35. Qays b. Abī al-Wird b. Qahd.
1. Bakr b. 'Abd Allāh b. Qays b. Sarma.
2. Mālik b. Sawād (Sadād) b. Ghaziyya.
3. 'Awn b. Rifā'a.
4. 'Amr b. 'Abd Allāh.
5. Hārith b. Sharāqa.
6. 'Abd Allāh, and
7. Yahyā, sons of Anas b. Mālik.
1. Sa'd b. 'Umayr b. Uhayb.
1. 'Amr b. Tamīm b. Ghaziyya.
2. Na'mān b. 'Amr b. Sa'd b. 'Amr b. Ghaziyya.
3. Sa'd, and
4. Ja'far, sons of Abī Dāwūd b. 'Umayr b. Mālik.
5. 'Abd Allāh b. Zayd b. 'Āsim.
6. Abū Hasan, 'Abd Allāh's son.
7. 'Abd Allāh b. Hārith b. 'Abd Allāh b Ka'b.
8. His brothers: 'Abd al-Rahmān, and Qays and 'Amr b. Abī Hasan.
9. 'Utba b. Abī Jarīr.
10. Hakīm b. Abī Quhāfa.
1. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Khubayb b. Isāf.
2. Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Khālid b. Isāf.
3. Muhammad, and
4. 'Abd Allāh, and 'Abd Allāh, sons of Khālid b. Isāf.
5. 'Ubayd Allāh b. Anas b. Sakan b. Isāf.
6. Sa'd b. Kalb (Kalīb) b. Shammās.
8. Yahyā, and
9. 'Abd Allāh, sons of Thābit b. Qiyās b. Shammās
10. Abū Nu'aym b. Abī Fadāla b. Thābit.
11. Labīb b. Busr b. Zayd.
12. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Utba b. Simāk.
13. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Abd Allāh b. Husayn.
14. 'Abd Allāh b. Rabī' b. Surāqa.
15. Sā'ib b. 'Abd Allāh b. Tha'laba.
16. Sa'd b. 'Ubayd Allāh.
17. 'Abd Allāh b. Hasan.
18. 'Umar (b. 'Umar) b. Umayyah.
19. 'Utba b. Ash'ath b. Ka'b from the Zarqayn tribe.
1. 'Abd Allāh b. Rabī'a b. Bilāl (Hilāl)
1. Nawfil b. Muhammad b. 'Abbāda b. Sāmit.
2. Muhammad b. Ka'b b. 'Ujra. and his brother,
3. Sa'd b. Ka'b.
4. Thābit b. 'Abd Allāh b. Ayās.
1. Mu'ādh b. al-Samma.
2. Ayyūb b. 'Abd Allāh b. Mu'ādh.
3. 'Amr b. Khashram.
4. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Abī Qatāda b. Rib'ī.
5. Yazīd b. Abī al-Yasr.
6. Yahyā b. Saifī b. Aswad b. Wahab b. Ka'b b. Mālik.
7. Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Abī al-Mundhar.
1. 'Abd Allāh b. Ziyād b. Labīd.
1. 'Urwa b. Abī 'Ummāra.
2. 'Uthmān b. 'Urwa (his son).
3. 'Uqba b. Abī 'Ummāra. and his brother
5. Sa'd b. 'Uthmān b. Khalda.
6. Salma b. Qays b. Thābit b. Khalda.
7. 'Āmir b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Amr.
8. Matlab b. 'Āmir b. 'Amr b. Khalda.
9. Hārith b. Rifā'a b. Rāfi' b. Mālik.
10. Sulaymān b. Abī 'Ayāsh b. Mu'āwiyah b. Sāmit.
1. Sa'īd b. Abī Sa'īd b. Aws b. Mu'allā.
2. Sahl b. Abī Sa'īd.
3. Hārith b. 'Uqba b. 'Ubayd b. Mu'allā.
4. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Qays.
5. Kathīr b. Aflah b. Mawlā Abī Ayyūb Ansārī.
Thus, those reported to be killed from among the Ansār were 137 and the total number of the killed from Ansār and Quraysh was 360 men. Those who were executed included:
1. Ma'qil b. Sanān Ashja'ī.
2. Muhammad b. Abī Hudhayfa-yi 'Adwī.
3. Muhammad b. Abī Jahm b. Hudhayfa.19163
In other sources, the names of the killed are randomly mentioned. Ibn Sa'd has miscellaneously listed the names of those killed in the tragedy of Harrah that we have collected here and presented to the respected readers.
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala b. al-Ghasīl b. Abī 'Āmir b. Rāhib - 'Abd 'Amr b. Sayfī b. Nu'mān b. Mālik b. Amat b. Dubay'at b. Zayd b. Mālik b. 'Awf b. 'Amr b. 'Awf b. Mālik b. Aws20 - was the commander-in-chief of the Medinan forces. He was among the dignitaries of Tābi'īn (successors of the Prophet's companions)21 and one of the few warriors who was famous for his gallantry.22 His mother's name was Jamīla - daughter of 'Abd Allāh b. Ubayy b. Sallūl. The reason why 'Abd Allāh's father was called Ghasīl al-Malā'ika is that Hanzala decided to participate in the battle of Uhud. Their marriage took place 32 months after Hijra and the early morning after he consummated his marriage with his wife, Hanzala had to participate in the battle of Uhud and he was martyred on the same day without anytime to perform obligatory ritual ablution. According to Prophet (s), the angels gave him ritual ablution (ghusl).23 For this reason, Hanzala was known as Ghasīl al-Malā'ika. Jamīla gave birth to 'Abd Allāh nine months after the martyrdom of Hanzala and 'Abd Allāh was seven years old at the time of the Prophet's (s) demise.46 He had met the Prophet (s) and narrated traditions from His Holiness.24 He was killed as a martyr along with eight of his children due to the sword stroke of one of the Syrian soldiers21 and thus the life of this noble man and eminent companion of the Prophet (s) came to an end.
Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm b. Lawdhān b. 'Amr b. Awf b. Ghanm b. Mālik b. Najjār was nicknamed as Abā 'Abd al-Malik. His mother, 'Amra, was the daughter of 'Abd Allāh b. Hārith b. Jammāz from Banī Hubāla who was among the allies of Banī Sā'id.25 He was born in a place called Najrān in the 10th year after Hijra.26 His father had been appointed as the governor of that place. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm was among the nobles of tābi'īn.27 He was a dignified man from whom some traditions have been narrated. On the day of Harrah, he said prayers while he was seriously injured. He was finally martyred in the battle of Harrah in 63 A.H. (682 C.E.). In Medina and Baghdad some of his descendents had survived.
Muhammad b. Ubayy b. Ka'b b. Qays b. 'Ubayd b. Mu'āwiyah b. 'Amr b. Mālik b. Najjār was nicknamed as Abā Ma'ādh. He was born in the time of the Prophet (s). His mother, Umm al-Tufayl, was the daughter of Tufayl b. 'Amr b. Mundhar b. Subay' b. 'Abd Nuham from Daws tribe. He was an eminent scholar of hadīth and a few traditions have also been transmitted from him. He was killed in the battle of Harrah in 63 A.H. (682 C.E.)28172
The mother of Suwayd b. 'Uwaym b. Sā'idat b. 'Ā'ish b. Qays b. Nu'mān b. Yazīd b. Umayyah Umāma, was the daughter of Bukayr b. Tha'laba, a descendant of Banī Ghadab b. Jushm b. Jazraj. He was killed on the day of Harrah in 63 A.H. (682 C.E.)29173
Ayyūb b. Bashīr b. Sa'd b. Nu'mān b. Akkāl b. Lawdhān b. Hārith b. Umayyah b. Mu'āwiyah b. Mālik b. 'Awf b. 'Amr b. 'Awf, was from the Ansārs and from the Khazraj tribe. His nickname was Abā Sulaymān. He was born in the time of the Prophet (s). He participated in the battle of Harrah and received many injuries, and after two years died of the injuries at the age of 75.30174
'Ubbād and Thābit, sons of Tamīm b. Ghaziyat b. 'Amr b. 'Atiya b. Khansā' b. Mabdhūl b. 'Amr b. Ghanam b. Māzin b. Najjār, was killed on the day of Harrah.31175
Muhammad b. Thābit b. Qays b. Shammās b. Mālik b. 'Amr b. Mālik al-Asghar b. Tha'laba b. Ka'b b. Khazraj b. Hārith b. Khazraj12, 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala's maternal brother.32176
Muhammad had three sons named 'Abd Allāh, Sulaymān, and Yahyā who were killed on the day of Harrah.33177
'Isā b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Yazīd b. Jāriya b. 'Āmir b. Majma' b. 'Atāf b. Dabī'at b. Zayd b. Mālik b. 'Awf b. 'Amr b. 'Awf from the Aws tribe was killed on the day of Harrah.34178
Aflah, Abū Ayyūb Ansārī's slave, was nicknamed as Abā Kathīr and according to some Abā Abd al-Rahmān. He was a captive of 'Ayn al-Tamr35 that was conquered by Khālid b. Walīd in the time of Abī Bakr's Calliphate. He was a trustworthy man who was killed on the day of Harrah.36180
'Amr b. Sa'd b. Abī Waqqās b. Uhayb b. 'Abd Manāf b. Zuhra's mother was Sulamī, daughter of Hasfa b. Thaqaf b. Rabī'a b. Taym al-Lāt b. Tha'laba b. 'Ukāba from Rabī'a tribe, who was killed on the day of Harrah in Dhu'l Hijja, in 63 A.H.37181
'Umayr b. Sa'd and 'Amr b. Sa'd's brother were of the same mother. These two brothers were killed on the day of Harrah.38182
Ibrāhīm b. Nu'aym b. Nahām b. 'Abd Allāh b. Asīd b. 'Abd 'Awf b. 'Ubayd b. 'Uwayj 'Adīyy b. Ka'b was one of the commanders on the day of Harrah and was killed on the same day.39183
Muhammad b. Na'īm b. Abī al-Jahm b. Ghānim b. 'Āmir b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Ubayd b. 'Uwayj b. 'Adī b. Ka'b's mother, Khawla, was Qa'qā' b. Ma'bad's daughter from Banī Tamīm tribe. He was one of the commanders on the day of Harrah and was killed on the same day.40
'Abd al-Rahmān b. Hutyab b. 'Abd al-'Uzzā b. Abī Qays b. 'Abd Wadd b. Nasr b. Mālik b. Hisl b. 'Āmir b. Lu'ayy's mother, Anīsa, was Hafs b. Ahnaf from Banī 'Āmir b. Luwayy's tribe. 'Abd al-Rahmān was killed on the day of Harrah in Dhu'l Hijja, in 63 A.H.41
Ja'far b. 'Abd Allāh b. Buhayna was killed on the day of Harrah.42 Buhayna, Umm 'Abd Allāh, was Arat's daughter.
'Abd Allāh b. 'Utba b. Ghazwān b. Jābir b. Nasīb b. Wuhayb b. Zayd b. Mālik b. 'Abd 'Awf b. Hārith b. Māzin b. Mansūr b. 'Ikrama b. Hasafa b. 'Aylān b. Mudar, was killed on the day of Harrah.43187
'Abd Allāh b. Muhammad b. Abī Bakr, was a slave girl named Sūda. 'Abd Allāh was killed on the day of Harrah.44188
'Abū Sa'īd b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Hārith b. Hishām b. Mughayra's mother, Umm Rasan, was the daughter of Hārith b. 'Abd Allāh b. Husayn from the Banī Hārith b. Ka'b tribe. Abū Sa'īd was killed on the day of Harrah.45
'Umāra b. Suhab b. Sanān b. Mālik, was killed on the day of Harrah.49
'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Hātib b. Abī Balta'a, was killed on the day of Harrah.49
'Abbād b. Abī Nā'ila, Silkān b. Salāma b. Waqsh b. Zughba b. Zaghwarā' b. 'Abd al-Ashhal and his son Salama, were killed on the day of Harrah.49 'Abbād's mother, Sahl, Rawī Waqsh daughter was from Banī Ashhal.
Zayd b. Muhammad b. Maslama b. Khālid b. Adīyy b. Mujda'a b. Hārith b. Khazraj b. 'Amr was from the Aws tribe and his mother was a slave girl. He was killed as martyr on the day of Harrah after having 14 sword wounds with four of the wounds on his face.46190
Ja'far b. Yazīd b. Silkān b. Salāma b. Waqsh was killed on the day of Harrah.47191
'Amr and Muhammad and Yazīd b. Qays b. Khatīm b. Adīyy b. Zufr and Ka'b b. Khazraj b. 'Amr who were from the Aws tribe. Their mother, Umm Habīb, was the daughter of Qays b. Zayd b. 'Āmir b. Sawād b. Zufr and all were killed on the day of Harrah in 63 A.H.48192
Habīb b. Khawwāt b. Jubayr b. Nu'mān b. Umayyah b. Amr al-Qays was killed on the day of Harrah. His mother was from the Fuqaym Banī Tha'laba tribe. His brother 'Amr b. Khawwāt was also killed on the day of Harrah. His mother's name is not historically specified.
Yahyā b. Jāriya b. 'Āmir b. Mujammi' b. 'Attāf b. Dubay'a b. Zayd b. Mālik b. 'Awf b. 'Amr b. 'Awf, from the Aws tribe was killed on the day of Harrah. His mother, Sulamī, was the daughter of Thābit b. Dahdāha from the Balayy Qudā'a. 'Ubayd Allāh b. Mujamma', Yahyā's maternal brother, was also killed in the battle of Harrah.49193
Muhammad b. Jabr b. 'Atīk b. Qays b. Haysha b. Hārith b. Umayyah b. Mu'āwiyyah b. Mālik b. 'Awf b. 'Amr b. 'Awf from the Aws tribe was killed on the day of Harrah.50194194
'Abbād b. 'Āsim b. 'Adī b. Jadd b. 'Ajlān was from one of Qudā'a tribes and was killed on the day of Harrah. They were from among the allies Banī 'Amr b 'Awf from Aws tribe.51
Seven of Zayd's children were killed in the battle of Harrah:
Sa'd b. Zayd b. Thābit b. Dahhāk b. Zayd b. Lawdhān b. 'Amr b. 'Abd b. 'Awf b. Mālik b. Najjār. His mother, Umm Sa'd, was the daughter of Sa'd b. Rabī', from the Bulhārith b. Khazraj tribe. Sa'd was killed on the day of Harrah. His brother Sulaymān b. Zayd was also killed on the day of Harrah. His other brother, Yahyā b. Zayd was also killed then. These brothers were all from the same brother. Salīt b. Zayd, 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Zayd and 'Abd Allah b. Zayd, whose mother was a slave girl, and also Zayd b. Zayd were killed on the day of Harrah.51195
'Umārah b. 'Uqba b. Kudaym b. 'Adīyy b. Hāritha b. 'Amr b. Zayd Manāt b. 'Adīyy b. 'Amr b. Mālik b. Najjār, whose mother was a slave girl, was killed on the day of Harrah.52196
Muhammad b. Nubayt b. Jābir b. Mālik b. 'Adī b. Zayd b. Manāt b. 'Adī b. 'Amr b. Mālik b. Najjār and his brother, 'Abd al-Malik b. Nubayt, were killed on the day of Harrah.53 Muhammad b. Nubayt's mother, Furay'a, daughter of Abī Amāma, As'ad b. Zarāra was from Banī Najjār.
'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Abd Allāh b. Khubayb b. Yasāf b. 'Inabat b. 'Amr b. Khudayj b. 'Āmir b. Jusham b. Hārith b. Khazraj was killed on the day of Harrah.54 His mother was 'Awna, daughter (of Abī Mas'ūd 'Uqba b. 'Amr) from Banī Jidāra.
'Abd al-Rahmān b. Abī Qatādat b. Rab'ī b. Baldhama was killed on the day of Harrah.55 His mother, Sulāfa, was daughter of Barā' b. Ma'rūr from Banī Salma tribe.
Yazīd b. Abī al-Yasar (Ka'b b. 'Amr b. 'Abbād b. 'Amr b. Sawād) from Banī Salma was from Khazraj tribe. He was killed on the day of Harrah.56
Sulaymān b. Abī 'Ayyāsh b. 'Ubayd b. Mu'āwiyah b. Sāmit, whose mother was a slave girl, was killed on the day of Harrah. His brother, Bashīr b. Abī 'Ayyāsh was also killed and no one of their generation survived.57201201
From among his children, three were killed on the day of Harrah:
Qurwa b. Abī 'Ubāda b. Sa'd b. 'Uthmān b. Khalda b. Mukhallad b. 'Āmir b. Wurayq. His mother, Umm Khālid, was 'Amr b. Wadhfa from the Khazraj tribe.
'Uthmān, Farwah's son was also killed in the battle of Harrah. Sa'd b. 'Uthmān was from among the fighters of Badr.
'Uqba b. Abī 'Ubāda b. Sa'd b. 'Uthmān, whose mother was a slave girl, was also killed on the day of Harrah.52
Mas'ūd b. 'Ubāda b. Abī 'Ubāda, Sa'd b. 'Uthmān b. Khalda, whose mother was a slave girl, was killed on the day of Harrah.58202
Ishāq b. Ka'b b. 'Ujra b. Umayyah b. 'Adī b. Hārith was killed on the day of Harrah. His brother, Muhammad b. Ka'b, was also killed on the day of Harrah.59
Abī 'Amr, was a slave of 'Ā'isha - Prophet's (s) wife - who was freed after the demise of 'Ā'isha. He was killed on the day of Harrah.60204
Bashīr b. Abī Zayd was killed on the day of Harrah. His descendents lived in Basra.63207
Yazīd b. Hurmuz Fārsī - Mawlā al-Dawsīyīn - was the commander of the slaves on the day of Harrah. He was a trustworthy person who was killed on the day of Harrah.64208
Wahab b. 'Abd Allāh b. Zam'a b. Aswad b. Muttalib b. Asad b. 'Abd al-'Uzzā was killed in the battle of Harrah.65209
Ibrāhīm b. Qāriz - Khālid b. Hārith b. 'Ubayd b. Tayim b. 'Amr b. Hārith b. Mabdhūl b. Hārith b. 'Abd Manāt b. Kunāna was killed on the day of Harrah.66210
Mus'ab b. Zubayr lists the name of those killed in the battle of Harrah as follows:
He was a pious man who was killed on the day of Harrah.67211
Muhammad b. Ayyūb b. 'Abd al-Mundhar b. 'Alqama b. Kalada was killed on the day of Harrah.68 His mother, Hind, was the daughter of Juwayd b. Huwayrith b. Hujayr b. 'Abd b. Qusayy.
'Abd al-Rahmān b. Abī 'Ubayda b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Awf was killed on the day of Harrah.69 His mother, Maryam, was the daughter of 'Abd Allāh b. Mutī' b. 'Adwī.
'Abd Allāh b. Muhammad b. Abī Bakr, whose mother was a slave girl, was killed on the day of Harrah.70214
Miqdād b. 'Abd Allāh b. Wahb b. Zam'a was killed on the day of Harrah.
Wahab b. 'Abd Allāh b. Wahab b. Zam'a was killed on the day of Harrah and no one of his progeny survived.71215
Yazīd b. Musāfi' b. Talha b. 'Uthmān, whose mother was of the Banī Hārith b. Khazraj tribe, was killed on the day of Harrah.72
'Abd Allāh b. Abī 'Amr b. Hafs b. Mughayra was the first one who dethroned Yazīd. He was killed on the day of Harrah.73
Muslim b. Abū Burda b. Ma'bad, had a son named Muslim whose mother was Hafsa, daughter of Abī Harmala, from the Ash'arites, and was killed on the day of Harrah.74218
'Ubayd Allāh and Sulaymān: sons of 'Āsim b. 'Amr b. al-Khattāb, whose mother 'Ā'isha, was Mutī' b. Aswad's daughter, was killed on the day of Harrah.75219
'Abd Allāh b. Nāfi' b. Abd Allāh b. Nadla b. 'Awf b. 'Ubayd b. 'Uwayj was killed on the day of Harrah.76 His mother was from the Thaqīf tribe.
Zyad b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Awf Hazrī, was from among the valiant figures of Quraysh. He was regarded as among the warriors of Medina against the Umayyids. He was killed in the battle of Harrah.77221
Sa'd and Usāma, were sons of 'Abd Allāh b. Qays b. Shurayh b. Mālik b. Rabī'ah b. Ahīb b. Dabāb b. Hujayr. Their mother, Umm Qāsim, 'Abd Allāh's daughter, was from the Banī 'Adī b. Du'il. These two brothers were killed on the day of Harrah.55
Ibn Qutayba has mentioned additional names of those killed in horrendous event of Harrah:
Zayd b. Thābit b. Dahhāk who was from among the Ansār and nicknamed as Abā Sa'īd (some reported as Abā Abd al-Rahmān) was killed in the battle of Harrah.78222
Ya'qūb b. Talha b. 'Ubayd Allāh b. 'Uthmān b. Ka'b b. Sa'd b. Tayim b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghālib b. Fahr b. Mālik b. Nadr b. Kunāna was killed on the day of Harrah.79223
Miswar b. 'Abd al-Rahmān was killed on the day of Harrah.80224
'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Āsim Ansārī was also killed in the battle of Harrah. He is different from 'Abd Allāh b. Mu'adhdhin as 'Abd Allāh b. Mu'adhdhin who was the son of Zayd b. Tha'laba.81 Similarity of names has caused confusion among historians.
Mu'ādh b. Hārith b. Arqam b. 'Awf b. Wahb b. 'Amr b. 'Abd 'Awf b. Ghanam b. Mālik b. Najjār Ansārī Khazrajī has been nicknamed as Abā Halīma and is famous with the same. However, he was called Qārī. He was six years old at the time of the Prophet's (s) demise. He participated in the battle of Khandaq, and was killed on the day of Harrah.82 Some have also reported his name to be M'ādh b. Harith.83227
'Abd Allāh b. 'Amr b. Sa'd b. Mu'ādh was killed on the day of Harrah.84228
Asīd b. Rāfi' b. Karz b. Sakan b. Za'ūrā b. 'Abd al-Ashhal, was killed on the day of Harrah.85229
Suwayd b. 'Awīm b. Sā'ida b. 'Ā'is b. Nu'mān b. Zayd b. Umayyah was killed on the day of Harrah.86230
Habīb b. Khawāt was killed on the day of Harrah.87231
'Abd Allāh b. Ka'b 'Amr b. 'Awf b. Mabdhūl b. 'Amr b. Ghanam b. Mādhin was killed on the day of Harrah.88232
Some people are seen among the eminent figures of Medinans who had withdrawn from the uprising of the general public and did not interfere in it from the early phases of the people's revolt and resistance against the Umayyid rule. Although few in number, these people had totally different motives and insights. Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a) was among them who, according to ideological principles and religious criteria, regarded the Umayyid rule as basically usurping and did not have the least belief in Yazīd's competence and the overthrow of his rule was one of the wishes of the Imam ('a) and his household. On the other hand, among the withdrawers from the uprising of the Medinans were such people as 'Abd Allāh b. 'Umar, who, according to what the historians have recorded had a viewpoint and analysis opposite to that of Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a).
'Abd Allāh b. 'Umar. He did not participate in the public protest of the Medinans against Yazīd and the Umayyid rule, neither because he did not view the battle style as inefficient, nor because he regarded the consequences of the uprising as heavy and devastating; rather, he viewed the Umayyid rule and the Yazīd's government as legitimate and simplistically presumed Yazīd as the guardian of the Muslims.
This is implied from his remarks to 'Abd Allāh b. Mutī' - one of the activists in the uprising of Medina - saying:
“Whoever abandons obeying a ruler will meet God on the Resurrection Day without a proof and whoever dies and there is not an allegiance of a leader on his neck dies a death of ignorance (Jāhilliyah).”3
If this is really stated by 'Abd Allāh b. 'Umar, it is so surprising that with such contention he refused to swear allegiance to 'Alī b. Abī Tālib during the latter's Caliphate while the people of Medina did swear allegiance to the Imam, and was rated as among the six people who refused allegiance to Imam 'Alī ('a).
He would say: “I must be the last one to pledge allegiance to 'Alī ('a)!1233
It is reported that when Yazīd died and 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwān took over the rule and dispatched Hajjāj to Medina to suppress Ibn Zubayr and his advocates, 'Abd Allāh b. 'Umar went to Hajjāj overnight to swear allegiance and said: “I have come to swear allegiance to the Caliph! “When asked why in such a hurry, 'Abd Allāh b. 'Umar replied: whoever dies and has no leader, dies a death of Jāhiliyyah; and I am afraid I may die overnight without having a leader! Hajjāj heedlessly stretched his leg and said 'kiss my leg instead of my hand'!”2234
'Abd Allāh b. 'Abbās. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abbās was the Holy Prophet's (s) cousin who was born in Shi'b of Abū Tālib three years before hijrah and died in Tā'if in the year 80 A.H. (689 C.E.) at the age of 69 while having lost his eye sight and was buried in that place.3235
Amr b. Khazrajī The reasons for his not participating in the battle of Harrah can be numerous, for it is reported that he became blind and was sick toward the end of his life and since Tā'if had a pleasant climate, he went there for rest and remedy. After the martyrdom of Imam Husayn b. 'Alī ('a), Ibn 'Abbās sent a letter of condemnation to Yazīd, part of which is as follows:
“… Do not suppose that I will forget your killing of Imam Husayn ('a) and the youth of the Banī 'Abd al-Muttalib who were beacons of guidance and guiding stars. Your troops left their pure bodies soiled with dust and exposed to the wind.”
Yet, he wrote in another part of his letter:
“You killed Husayn and his companions. Nothing is stranger to me than your seeking my companionship! You have killed the sons of my father, and it is my blood that is dripping from your sword.”4
This shows that the withdrawal of 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abbās from the uprising of Medina has not been because of avoiding opposition to Umayyid rule, but it has mainly been due to his illness.
Jābir b. 'Abd Allāh Ansārī. Jābir b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Amr b. Khazrajī Ansārī Sulamī Sahābī5 died in Medina in 78 A.H. (687 C.E.) at the age of 74 while blinded. Some have reported that he was the last of the Prophet's (s) companions.6238
Ibn Qutayba Dīnawarī writes:
“Jābir was blind during the Harrah battle. He would walk in some alleys of Medina and say: Woe to the one who frightens God and the Messenger! A man asked 'who has frightened God and the Messenger?! Jābir answered: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: Whoever frightens the people of Medina is as if frightening what is with me. The Syrian man attacked Jābir with his sword to kill him. Marwān drove that man away and ordered to send Jābir back to his house and lock the door behind him.”7
Muhammad b. Hanafiyya. Muhammad b. 'Alī b. Abī Tālib b. 'Abd al-Muttalib b. Hāshim b. 'Abd Manāf b. Qusayy, whose mother was Khawla daughter of Ja'far b. Qays b. Muslima from the Hanafiyya tribe, hence known as Hanafiyya.8
Ibn Sa'd wrote:
“After Imam Husayn ('a) left Medina, Ibn Hanafiyya stayed in that city until he heard that Yazīd troops were approaching; then he left Medina for Mecca, where he stayed with Ibn 'Abbās.”9
After three days the invasion of the Syrian army over Medina and its inhabitants was over and the fourth day was the time for those who survived the massacre to go with full humiliation and debasement under the yoke of Yazīd's slavery!1
At that time, on the fourth day, Muslim b. 'Uqba was stationed in a place called “Wādī al-Qurā”2 and he ordered the surviving Medinans to report to him for swearing allegiance to Yazīd.
The very command by Muslim b. 'Uqba to claim allegiance from the people of Medina for Yazīd is not much surprising as the dominating army was perpetually seeking to block the enemy's way to fight after having dominated over it. What is unique in the history of Islam is the subject and the type of allegiance that the people were forced to undergo.
Ibn Athīr wrote:
“Muslim b. 'Uqba said: Yazid has privilege over all kinds of appropriation of the properties and families of the Medinans and their blood is permissible to him in whatever ways he wishes.”3244
Dīnawarī has pointed out the issue this way:
“Muslim ordered the people of Medina to swear allegiance to Yazīd to be his prisoners of war and let him decide and act as he wishes about their properties and family.”4245
Samhūdī has recorded the procedure of allegiance as follows:
“Muslim b. 'Uqba summoned the dignitaries of Medina and ordered them to swear allegiance to Yazīd and admit to be his slaves.”5246
Exhausted and humiliated after the battle of Harrah, the people of Medina were forced under the unsheathed swords of the Syrian army to swear allegiance to Yazīd b. Mu'āwiyah to be his slaves6 and whoever rejected this allegiance was killed on the spot.7248
It is reported in historical sources that the only personality who was exempted from such allegiance was Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a).8249
In his talk to the Imam ('a), Muslim b. 'Uqba regarded his case apart from the others and said: “Yazīd did not want me to make you swear allegiance like others.”9
Given the short interval between the battle of Harrah and the tragedy of Karbalā, the heavy and irrepairable aftermath of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn ('a) and his companions for Yazīd and Umayyid's rule - like the uprising of Tawwābīn and Mecca and Medina revolts - and the Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn's ('a) impressive speeches in Syria, it was obvious that Yazīd had advised Muslim b. 'Uqba not to expect allegiance from Imam Husayn b. 'Alī's ('a) son, as the 'Āshūra was created initially because of descendents of 'Alī's ('a) abstaining to pledge allegiance to such a person as Yazīd.
It is reported in some sources that before meeting with Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a), Muslim b. 'Uqba would revile him and his household, but when he met with Imam Zayn al-'Abidīn ('a), he became gentle and obedient before him and faced him with respect. When his entourage asked the reason for this encounter, Muslim answered that he had been impressed by his imposing appearance and nobility.10251
The second person who did not swear allegiance like others to Yazīd was 'Alī b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abbās; with the difference that in the first place Muslim b. 'Uqba commanded him to swear allegiance to Yazīd like others to be his slave, but since 'Alī b. 'Abd Allāh had some kind of tribal kinship with Husayn b. Numayr - one of the commanders of Syrian army - the latter protected him and told Muslim b. 'Uqba to exempt him from such an allegiance.
Muslim felt that if he would insist on his command and did not accept Husayn b. Numayr's request, it was possible that this would lead to discord, conflict, and indolence in the Syrian army;11 thus, he gave up his order and let 'Alī b. 'Abd Allāh simply state that: “I swear allegiance to Yazīd and am obliged to obey him.12
After his victory in early Muharram 64 A.H. (682 C.E.), Muslim b. 'Uqba wrote a letter to Yazīd and informed him of the event of Harrah and what befell the people of Medina and asked him for advice.
Muslim's letter is as follows:
“From Muslim b. 'Uqba to the chief commander of the faithful, Yazīd b. Mu'āwiyah.
Salutations to you Oh commander of the faithful and God's Mercy and Blessings be on you!
I thank the One God for your victory; now then, God has undertaken the preservation and protection of the Amīr. May the shadow of Amīr be prolonged. Now I forward a report of my mission to you:
I left Damascus while I was feeling unwell as Amīr knew about it. I met some Umayyids who had left Medina in Wādī al-Qurā'. Marwān despite his swearing not to help the enemy returned with us to Medina! He was our aid in our victory over the enemy. We went to Medina and noticed that the people of Medina had dug many trenches around them, installed armed guards at the city entrances, taken their beasts inside Medina, and claimed to have stored up enough foodstuff for one year so that they would be able to resist in case of being beseiged. I advised them and informed them of the Amīr's promises, but they did not accept.
Then, I arranged my troops in groups and sent each group to one direction; I sent Husayn b. Numayr to Dhanāb region and its outskirts; Habīsh b. Dalja as commander of Mawālī to Banī Salma region; and 'Abd Allāh b. Mas'ūd to “Baqī' Gharqad” region.
I and other troops of Amīr's army stood against Banī Hāritha. Thanks to the way shown to us by one of the Banī Hāritha tribesmen, we managed to enter the city from the region of Banī 'Abd al-Ashhal early at the sunrise.
It so happened that Marwān saw a man from the Banī Hāritha tribe and secretly promised him that the commander of the faithful Yazīd will do him benevolence and guarantee to pay off all his debts and give him some rewards, too that man was deceived and showed the way to the Syrian army to infiltrate into the city. Now, I am sending this letter to you via the same person and hope that God may inspire His Caliph and slave Yazīd the way that man deserves so that he the Caliph makes him satisfied with his generous gifts!
God has graced and favored Amīr for his readiness, cleverness and triumph over his enemies, and this victory over the enemies is something that will not be lost for the Caliph of God and the Muslims. Insha'Allah!
May God preserve Amīr's men Syrian army; no one was harmed! Their enemy people of Mādīna resisted but only for four hours. After widespread massacre and pillage, we performed the noon prayer in their mosque!
We wielded the swords against them, killing whoever that stood before us. We chased the fugitives
and killed their wounded, as Amīr had commanded. We were busy killing and plundering for three days! May God lengthen Amīr's shadow!
I made secure the houses of 'Uthmān's children. Thanks God that He appeased my heart by killing the hypocrites and wrong-doers whose the Medinans' rebellion had lasted too long.
I am writing this letter to Amīr from the house of Sa'īd b. 'Ās while I am severely sick. For this sickness you may not see me any longer. I did not have any other wish than revenge from the people of Medina! Wassalām!”13254
Some others have reported that in the end of his letter, Muslim had written to Yazīd as follows:
“Do not be saddened for the faithless people!”14255
Early in 64 A.H. (683 C.E.), following Muslim b. 'Uqba's ending of his deadly mission in Medina - as he had already predicted - he dispatched the Syrian army to Mecca to fight against 'Abd Allāh b. Zubayr who was known to be the main instigator of the revolts in Hijāz region and had made Mecca his base for such revolts, and to put an end to him and his partisans' oppositions to the Umayyid rule. However, no farther than three miles away from Medina, Muslim b. 'Uqba died due to illness.15256
Noticing the pangs of death, Muslim b. 'Uqba summoned Husayn b. Numayr to come to him before dying and made some recommendations to keep moving toward Mecca and battle against Ibn Zubayr, that have been recorded by some historians as follows:
“Yazīd recommended to me that if I failed to continue this way, I should appoint Husayn b. Numayr as the commander of the army; but if it were up to me, I would not have chosen you because the Yemenis are soft-hearted! But I do not disobey Yazīd's command.”16257257
“Now I have some advice for you; keep it well in mind! Hasten to move; be quick in confrontation and fighting; and search for the news from the enemy. Beware! Do not give audience to the Quraysh and do not cooperate with them!”17258
“When you arrive in Mecca, launch the battle with Ibn Zubayr, and do not prevent the people of Syria from doing whatever they wish to do with their enemy, and do not listen to Quraysh lest they should deceive you.”61
In another part of his advice to Husayn b. Numayr, he says:
“The mission we have ahead of us requires more violence, rigidity, decisiveness, disregard for temptations, and unwavering mind. Therefore, make yourself ready for slaughter and plunder! May it never happen that the words of those who say “Mecca is the House of God and He has made it a safe sanctuary” would make you indolent! Pay no heed to such nonsence. The very sanctity of the Caliph Yazīd is much more superior to all other sanctities, even from the sanctity of the House and Haram of Allah!”18259
Unfortunately, as it is evident from the words and recommendations of Muslim b. 'Uqba, misunderstanding and misconception of the basic religious concepts and lack of knowledge, tribal bigotry, vengeance, and playful manipulation of religion for the political purposes, were the most problematic issues that the people were entangled with during the Umayyids' ruling era.
Absence of the Prophet (s), Muslim community's being distanced from the the 'Itrat ('a) - i.e. the Progeny (Ahl al-Bayt) of the Prophet (s) - the dominance of the worldly-minded profane scholars who were unfamiliar with the spirit of the Prophetic mission; the usurpation of the political and social positions by the bullies, gold-worshippers, and tribal authorities, were all aiding the Caliph and political commanders of people to garner much more reverence and honor than that of all the religious and Divine values, and any human and religious principle can be easily trampled for the sake of the preservation of the ruler's authority and power!
In his death-bed and after creating all these tragedies, Muslim b. 'Uqba says:
“O Lord! You know that I never disobeyed the Caliph. O God! After professing Your Oneness and the Prophethood of Muhammad (s), I have done no better and more praiseworthy task than the massacre of the people of Medina, and I take this massacre as a means of my salvation on the Day of Resurrection.”19260
A man, whom the historians have regarded as among the devotees of Mu'āwiyan cult20 and one of the tyrants of Arabs and their devils21, and who because of his countless murders and massacres has been called Musrif b. 'Uqba, now tries to impute all his evils to religion and serving the Muslims!
Thus he died and was buried at a distance of three miles from Medina. However, those whose children and relatives were killed by his order exhumed his body from the grave and burned it.22263
On 26th of Muharram 64 A.H. (24th of September 683 C.E.), Syrian troops commanded by Husayn b. Numayr entered the city of Mecca in order to fight with Ibn Zubayr and his followers.
In this invasion the Divine Sanctuary was disgraced and Holy Ka'ba was damaged by the Yazidian army.
Not too long after the tragedy of Harrah, on 17th of Safar of the same year, that is, about 20 days later, Yazīd b. Mu'āwiyah gave up his ghost and died. Having remained on the throne for no more than three or four years1, Yazīd lay in his grave2 while he had perpetrated the most heinous crimes of the Islamic history. He had, as he frequently admitted, taken the revenge on Islam for all the defeats suffered by the pagans and hypocrites in the time of Prophet!
While Banī Hāshim had managed to gather the spiritual dignity and honor of the Prophetic mission to their credit, the Umayyids - the descendents of Abū Sufyān who were freed by the Prophet of God (s) -recorded violence, mutiny, bullying, and worldliness to their credit, and threw the yoke of slavery over the Muslims!
The death of the Syrian army commander after the tragedy of Harrah and the quick setting of the ominous star of Yazīd's life can be a true evidence of the Prophet's (s) words:
“The one who sets out toward Medina with an ominous intention and commits any evil to it, Allah will soon wipe him out.”3
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