The First Speech of Imam Husayn's (‘a) Uprising

In Mecca, on the night before he left, Imam Husayn (‘a) addressed a gathering of Muslims where he informed them that he was about to die. He also appealed for their support and invited them to join him in his revolt against the Umayyad government. We are relating here what Sayyid ibn Tawus recorded in his Al-Luhuf. In this speech Imam Husayn (‘a) informed the Muslims that his death was near at hand. He said:

"Death has been destined for the children of Adam the way a necklace is destined [to hang from]on a girl's neck ... A [kind of] death which I am [surely] going to meet has been chosen for me. It is as if I am seeing my joints being cut up, between al-Nawawis and Karbala by desert foxes which will fill their empty stomachs and starved bellies with my remains. There is no escape from a day that has been decreed. God's pleasure is our pleasure, we the Ahl al-Bayt. We shall patiently bear His trial and He will give us in full the reward meant for the patient. None of the flesh of the Messenger of God (S) will ever be separated [from him]; it will all be gathered for him in paradise. By them [i.e. the Ahl al-Bayt] he will be delighted and what he has been promised will be fulfilled for him"

Then he said: "Listen! Anyone who will sacrifice his life for our sake, having made up his mind to meet God, should come with us, for I am setting out tomorrow morning, God willing.”1

We shall only explain the last statement of the Imam (‘a) from which nine points can be derived: “Listen! Anyone who will lay down his life for our sake, having made up his mind to meet God should come with us, for I am setting out tomorrow morning, God willing.”

1. Listen! Anyone Who Will Sacrifice His Life For Our Sake

Husayn (‘a) does not request wealth, leadership, power or any worldly interests from the people; nor does he invite them to join him in order to attain victory or power, or to overthrow another power. He calls on them to sacrifice their lives and blood. This is a unique example of leadership and an exceptional sort of political discourse.

Leaders usually do not require blood from the people but invite them to actualize some political and military goals, paying with the number of lives necessary for achieving those goals, and expending them strictly as the cost of the achievements they pursue.

But Husayn (‘a) was inviting the people, from the first day, to sacrifice their lives and blood without attaching any hopes of immediate political and military gains from it. This is a singular factor that distinguishes his uprising from other movements, and his type of speech from other political speeches. To be aware of this peculiarity it is important to understand the uprising of Husayn (‘a).

Ubaydullah ibn al-Hur al-Ju'fi was not aware of this fact although he was not among those who were fighting Husayn (‘a). When the latter sought his support Ubaydullah declined and gave excuses saying: 'Of what use is my support for you since I did not leave in Kufa anyone ready to help you? I adjure you by God, do not impose this affair on me, for I am not ready to die. However, you can take this horse of mine al-Mulhiqah, [the one which overtakes] for I never pursued anybody while I rode it but outstripped them. Take it, it is yours.'

Husayn (‘a) replied: "If you prefer your soul to us we are in no need of your horse.”2

If al-Ju'fi had grasped what Husayn (‘a) was requesting from him he would not have presented his horse instead of his life and blood. Ubaydullah ibn al-Hurr al-Ju'fi was not part of the official and declared opposition to Husayn (‘a), rather he desired not to meet him lest he embarrassed him by seeking his support.

When the Imam actually sought Ubaydullah's support he betrayed him giving some excuses. He is counted among those who failed to support the Imam and not among those who fought him. Later he regretted his lack of participation but it was of no avail.

2. 'Who Will Sacrifice?

This question asks the people to offer their lives and blood consciously and by choice.He did not want it to be a sort of extortion nor was he the type who would deceive the people into laying down their lives and blood. Husayn (‘a) insisted on this issue in an amazing way, since the time he left Hijaz until the time he met his death in Karbala together with his family and companions. On more than one occasion he permitted his comrades and his family to leave, and relieved them of their duty of allegiance to him.

The last time the Imam offered them the chance to leave and freed them of their allegiance to him was the night before the tenth of Muharram when he gathered them at his place and, with characteristic clarity and candour, he said:

"I am giving you permission to go, all of you, you are under no covenant of mine. The night has covered you so take it as a mount [i.e. disperse under its cover]. Let each man among you take a man of my family, and you should disperse in the country and the towns till God brings relief. These people are only after me. Once they get me they will not pursue the others."3

Though Husayn (‘a) announced that they were freed of their allegiance to him and could disperse he was not needless of their support; he was indeed in dire need of supporters. He tried whenever he could to rally the general public or specific individuals for his support. Why then that repeated emphasis that his companions and the people who had joined him should return to their towns and families? Why was he also insisting on announcing his request for help? How could seeking support and giving permission to leave be reconciled?

With Husayn (‘a) the matter was clear: he wanted the people to sacrifice their lives for his sake, consciously and voluntarily, not because they were forced or embarrassed into doing so. Why? Because the path along which Husayn (‘a) wanted to travel could not be taken by the people unless they joined him consciously, voluntarily and resolutely.

If they were to be compelled to do so or if they had no awareness of what they were doing they would not attain what he intended for them. He intended to sort out, from that nation, the elements which had the purest nature and intention and take them as companions to Karbala to meet God. If their minds were sullied, even to a small degree by discomfiture or greed for the world they would lose that sincerity and purity which he required from his comrades as they set out for the meeting with God.

The journey to meet God differs from all other journeys. Such a journey entails purity and sincerity of intention more than is required by others. It is because of this that his companions' participation was to be with insight and choice. This is the divine aspect of the movement which Husayn (‘a) was intent on actualizing.

On the political front Husayn (‘a) wanted to give the consciences and hearts of the Muslims a jolt and return them to their selves after they had been alienated by the Umayyads. This he wanted to achieve by his death and that of the faithful who were with him. This profound revolution in people’s souls, this return to the self would not be achieved unless the elements that participated in making that battle eternal possessed insight and resolve.

Conversely, if these elements were weak and vacillating the outcome of their participation would have been a negative one. In the light of this, Husayn (‘a) insisted that the people should sacrifice themselves voluntarily and consciously.

3. 'For Our Sake'

This is the third issue in Husayn's mission. Firstly, he wanted the people to sacrifice their lives. Secondly, he requested that this sacrifice should be voluntary, it should be consciously made and as an offering. Thirdly, he requested that effort and sacrifice should be ‘for our sake’. This last one pertains to association and allegiance: it should not be done for any other purpose for which the people usually give their allegiance.

This issue is of paramount importance because the value of an action does not lie in its size, type or form only, but also in the agent’s affiliation which influences the way they act. Many groups revolted against the Umayyads; they hated them, publicized their crimes and fought them; they also bore sufferings, persecution and aggression; and they sacrificed themselves for that cause. However, all this took place in political contexts other than that of allegiance, that politico-ideological line of loyalty which God has made a duty in His word:

"Your guardian is only God, His apostle and the faithful who maintain the prayer and give the zakat while bowing down." (5:55).

Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr, Abu Muslim al-Khurasani, the Kharijites, and other groups of people revolted against the Umayyads. We cannot belittle their efforts and sacrifice but they lacked the allegiance which the Imam (‘a) described as being 'for our sake'. An action loses its value when its source lacks the appropriate affiliation, relation and allegiance along the lines defined by God and His Messenger (S). The prerequisites of a righteous deed are:-

(i) - Righteousness of act

(ii) - Sincerity to God in the act

(iii) - Affiliation i.e. allegiance of the agent

The issue of affiliation is a fundamental principle, just as the righteousness of the action and sincerity to God the Most High. The meaning of affiliation is that the action should fall within the nexus of allegiance to God, His Messenger (S), the Holders of authority among the Muslims and the nation, which, in fact, is united by its loyalty to God, His Messenger (S) and those charged with authority.

The series of allegiance and association make up the political and ideological system of the believing nation, and a good deed is one which is done within this system, along the line of affiliation which must be an extension of that affiliation which is done for the sake of God and His Messenger (S) and also by their permission and command, and in the absence of this, no authentic loyalty or affiliation is possible.

This teaching is peculiar to this religion. Other political and ideological systems do not consider action to be so much associated with affiliation; it is judged according to its kind and amount only. In Islam, work attains real worth if it is a righteous deed done with sincerity, in the right ideological connection for the sake of God alone (i.e. loyalty).

Without these two features work will be of no value. Husayn (‘a) represents a link in that series and a part of that nexus of loyalty, and because of this he lays down the condition that service and sacrifice should take place as part of that system: ‘for our sake.’

4. Sincerity

The phrase ‘...having made up his mind to meet God’ denotes sincerity. Here the Imam (‘a) points to two other issues in his call, sincerity and mental preparation, which constitute the fourth and fifth points. Both issues are necessary for the great revolutionary project which Imam Husayn (‘a) was carrying out. The Imam was hinting at the issue of sincerity when he said: "... having made up his mind to meet God4 and requesting anyone who wanted to accompany him on this trip to prepare their minds only to meet God and for no other purpose: any other aim was worthless on this journey.

The following text is the first narration recorded by al-Bukhari in his Al-Sahih that the Messenger of God (S) said: "Actions are judged according to intentions and for every man is what he intends. He whose migration was for the sake of worldly gain or a woman he might marry, then [the reward] of his migration is that for which he migrated."5

The relationship with the Imam is an affiliation that mediates his companions’ relationship with God, and not an end in itself. The real end of work is to earn the pleasure of God and He is the beginning of the chain of allegiance. If any link in that chain should break away from God the Exalted, it would fall and lose its worth.

The centres of focus for allegiance are bridges and pathways that lead to God. This fact is alluded to in the supplication of Ziyarat al-Jaamiah al-Kabirah, some of which reads:

‘Peace be on the places by which God is known .....Peace be on those who summon towards God, are guided towards His pleasure, and are firm in God's affair.’

And, lest we imagine that the expression: ‘for our sake’ which is contained in Imam Husayn's (‘a) speech was an end in itself, he quickly added: ‘...having made up his mind to meet God’. This is what is meant by sincerity and unity of loyalty.

5. Reconciling Oneself

The fifth point the Imam hinted at in his call is to reconcile oneself to difficulties (al-tawtin) which is also indispensable in this arduous journey. To offer lives and blood for God's sake, as Husayn (‘a) calls for, is no easy task. In the Surah of Anfal, the Qur'an calls it the ‘thorny path’.

One may rush onto this path without due mental preparation, and then along the road waiver and be gripped by fear until he finally backs down. Instances of this abound in missionary movements. In order to be saved from retreating and being taken unawares by the horrors of this road, one should prepare to meet God and also be mentally prepared for this onerous journey along the thorny path.

To reconcile oneself for an encounter with tribulation is the highest form of mental preparation, as though one is ready to become the abode for trials, sufferings and death. Such a person will not be surprised by trials when they come. Psychological preparation for trials is of different types, the highest, the best, and at the same time the hardest being what the Imam calls ‘reconciling oneself’. To a large extent, this is similar to the well-known hadith: "Die before you die”6 The first death is severing relationships that link man with the world as a preparation for facing real death, so that when it overtakes him he will not be thrown off guard. This will absorb most of the shock caused by trials and real death.

The second aspect pertains to reconciling it to God's decree which is destined for His servant as he walks along the thorny path. This fine educative sense is hinted at by Islamic texts. In the supplication of Kumayl we read: "And make me pleased and contented with your appointment."7

Similarly, we have in Ziyarat Amin Allah: "O God make my mind reassured about what you have destined, pleased with your decree and patient with the coming down of your test."8

The expression 'reconcile oneself' in that speech prepares man to face the trials that come from God with total submission and acceptance of God's decree. This second aspect of suggestion also has the effective role of absorbing from the mind the shock caused by sudden death and the trials of the theatre of confrontation.

6. Meeting God

The sixth point in Imam Husayn (‘a)'s speech is: to reconcile oneself with the reality of meeting God. The Imam chose this delicate expression to describe death. Death has two faces: a negative and a positive one. The former is separation while the latter is union. Death cuts, at a go, all the relationships one establishes with much effort and difficulty over a lifetime, such as relationships that pertain to wealth, children, spouses, and accumulated piles of gold and silver and horses of mark' 9 that prove to be very intimate, but then death will come and sever them at once, rather than gradually.

This is the negative and awful side of death that descends on every man without exception. The other side of death is that of union, the brilliant and positive side. Death is the outlet God opens for His servants through which they meet Him. Since the world acts as a veil that prevents man from meeting God, His righteous servants are only able to meet Him by way of dying, because death removes the veil, "We have removed your veil from you and so your sight is acute today,"10 and they are now able to soar up to meet God. God the Most High says:

‘They are certainly losers who deny the encounter with God’ (6:31).

‘They are certainly losers who deny the encounter with God and they are not guided.’(3:14).

‘He elaborates the signs that you may be certain of encountering your Lord’ (13:2).

“So whoever expects to encounter his Lord- let him act righteously”(18:110).

“Whoever expects to encounter God [should know that] God’s [appointed] time will indeed come”. (29:5).

“Indeed those who do not expect to encounter Us and who are pleased with the life of this world and satisfied with it ...” (10:7).

This is the brilliant side of death.

One’s psychological condition with regard to death varies according to one's way of viewing it. Those who look at death from the negative side are frightened by it and shocked when it surprises them, whereas those who view it from the positive side find it a window through which they encounter God.

So the second group love death and yearn for it and, in death, they find an outlet to encounter God, as the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said when the accursed Ibn Muljam struck him and he fell in his prayer niche: “I have succeeded, by the Lord of the Ka'aba". When the Glorious Qur'an challenges the Jews concerning their claim that they were God's favorites to the exclusion of all people, saying: " '... then long for death should you be truthful'. Yet they will never long for it because of what their hands have sent ahead ..." (62:6-7), it was referring to this fact.

Before we close our discussion on this section of the Imam's speech, we shall put this question: How can one reconcile himself with death and tribulation so that one is not shocked and jolted out of his convictions by unexpected miseries and adversities with which God the Exalted has associated man's life?

In response we say that there are two educational factors in life that help man to prepare his mind for trials and death. They are constant remembrance of death, concentrating on the desire to encounter God the Exalted, and looking at the positive side of death.

The first factor ensures that man gets accustomed to the question of death and forms the habits of thinking about it so that when tribulations and death visit him he will not be startled. The second factor makes man realize that death is in fact an outlet that leads one to meet God, as though worldly life was a hindrance, and death comes to liberate him so that he may encounter God in the next world and he is gladdened by the glory, beauty and good names of God. Those who attain this meeting, find in it pleasure incomparable to anything else.

7. Let Them Set Out

This journey is different from many other journeys: it has external and internal aspects. Outwardly, it was a journey from Hijaz to Iraq for the purpose of helping Husayn (‘a), whereas inwardly it was a journey from 'I' to God, from this world to the next, from monopolistic tendencies to altruism, from docility and preference for peace to sacrifice and jihad. The first journey took place on the face of the earth on the theatre of political struggle, whereas the second happened inside the soul. So long as this journey does not have both these two dimensions, it will not be of benefit nor will it reach its goal.

The internal dimension of this journey precedes and gives shape to the external one. The people who did not respond to Husayn (‘a) 's call at the outward level and those who answered him initially but retreated when the going got tough, were in fact among those who did not make the second journey inside their souls. Among the best examples of those who made the internal journey among the companions of Husayn (‘a) was Zuhayr ibn al-Qayn (may God have mercy on him).

He had been a follower of the Umayyad cause but he became an Alid; he chose to live a peaceful life before but later accepted tribulation instead of ease and well-being; he was a worldly man but he turned into a man of the hereafter. Zuhayr ordered that his tent and luggages should be taken to Imam Husayn (‘a) and divorced his pious and courageous wife who taught him how to take difficult decisions in times of crisis. All this took place within the span of a few minutes.

What Husayn (‘a) told Zuhayr when they withdrew together remains a mystery. At least we know that that meeting was the line of demarcation between the two stages of Zuhayr's life, and that he underwent a profound change which he carried along with him to encounter God. Zuhayr's affiliation was with the Umayyad clan and he turned to the Alid and accordingly, the nature of his loyalty, repudiation, relationships and impediments changed from being Umayyad to being Alid.

This constitutes the internal dimension and essence of this journey. Those who declined to participate with Husayn (‘a) had in fact stayed behind in another journey which was supposed to take place in their souls. As long as that arduous internal journey is not achieved, one will not succeed in making a similar one on the battlefield.

The internal journey is the major migration, whereas the one which takes place on the battlefield is the minor migration in the life of mankind. Major migration is the foundation of minor migration, just as the major jihad [i.e. jihad of the soul] is the root of success of the minor jihad [i.e. jihad with arms].

Husayn's (‘a) words: let him set out with us', is still ringing, through the course of history, in the ears of worldly people who want to live in comfort and peace as well as in the ears of the terrorized, the terrified and the oppressed. He is inviting them to set out from their world to his own, from the world of servility and worldly vanities to the world of honour which renounces, worldly things.

The caravan of Husayn (‘a) is still moving along the 'thorny path' and gaining ground. It is joined by a people who have preferred the hereafter to this world and God's pleasure to the ephemeral things of this world; whereas those encumbered by inordinate desires fail to join it.

8. 'With Us'

Let Husayn's (‘a) companions congratulate themselves on being in his company on this journey. It has been said about difficult travels of the olden days when long journeys were arduous and dangerous: 'Select the co-traveler before setting out.'11 The road to Karbala was indeed difficult and long; it was an uphill road in difficult terrain with many pitfalls.

It started from ‘I’ and ended with God the Exalted; from the world to the hereafter; from attachment to the world to independence from it. There are many pitfalls and dangers on this road and those who shun it are numerous while those who follow it are few; however, to be in the company of Husayn (‘a) guarantees safe movement and guarantees reaching the destination.

On every difficult road one needs a guide and leader; the work of the guide is to give direction and guidance, just as signboards at crossroads serve to show travelers' destinations. For small and easy roads one does not need more than one guide but for difficult roads one requires, in addition to the guide, a leader who should precede him and take the lead, and also imbue him with strength of heart and confidence, so that he may not get exhausted, terrified, hopeless or forlorn.

For the travelers along the 'thorny path', Husayn (‘a) was a guide, a teacher and a model. He used to say to the people when he sought their help: "My life is together with your lives and my family with yours."12

Who can tell the extent of resolve and the will to change the course of history which is exhibited by this sentence: "For I am setting out tomorrow morning, if God wills."13 Great feats usually require resoluteness. Resolve signifies strength while hesitation is a mark of weakness. Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) says: "The body does not fail where the will is strong."14

One cannot know the kind of support, guidance, success and victory God bestowed on this small band on that journey, for despite its simplicity, that journey changed the course of the history of Islamic civilization. Had it not been for it, the Umayyads would have been able to alter the outstanding characteristics of this religion and derail it, and they would have portrayed a different picture of Islam akin to the arrogance and profligacy of kings rather than God's religion.

Had this religion changed, the course of human civilization would have been altered.

9. 'If God Wills'

This is the ninth point in Husayn's (‘a) speech. In this sentence we can perceive two wills being assimilated, one into the other. No work can achieve its real value unless both wills are present in it together; the one assimilated by the other. The first will is that of man, while the second is that of God the Exalted. The first dissolves into the second.

Man is God's vicegerent who is supposed to execute His will and purpose on earth by developing the world and reforming mankind, i.e. man is not divested of the freedom to choose and decide his destiny. Here lies the difference between a mere tool and a vicegerent; each effects the purpose of a second party but the first does this possessing no choice whereas the second carries out that purpose through his own choice and will. Inorganic matter, plants and animals are subservient tools that are employed to actualize the will and purpose of God the Exalted in accordance with fixed divine laws that govern nature.

However, these actors are devoid of will and choice. As for man, he is the vicegerent of God whom He created and honoured with viceroyalty over the earth. The Exalted says: "Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth" (2:30). He has been invested with this position in order to execute God's purpose on earth but through his own will and volition and not otherwise.

In this section of the speech of Husayn (‘a) we vividly perceive this reality. First, he says: 'For I am setting out tomorrow morning'. In this phrase one way or the other ‘I’ and the human will come to the fore: ‘I’ and ‘am setting out’. However, the second phrase: 'if God wills' immediately follows the first in order to moderate the effect of ‘I’’s appearance in the first phrase and also to direct both ‘I’ and the human will towards assimilation into God's will, and so that ‘I’ may be employed in executing His will and purpose.

Here Husayn (‘a) used the first phrase: 'I am setting out' to express his limitless resolve and will to sacrifice. His will compels ‘I’ to emerge and then directs it on the journey towards God the Exalted. No doubt 'I' appears here within the sphere of obedience to God and not that of desires, nor is the emergence of 'I' and its focus in the arena of obedience to God the same as its emergence in the arena of worldly desires.

However Husayn (‘a) was proceeding on his journey towards God and he wanted to be free from ‘I’ even in the sphere of obedience to God; he did not want to carry ‘I’ with him to God the Exalted. So when he resolved to make the journey to God he said: ‘if God wills’, tying his purpose to God's purpose and fusing his will and choice into God's will, thereby, employing it for the execution of God's will.

As we hear this phrase, 'if God wills', from Husayn (‘a)'s speech we feel the departure, we perceive God's decree, but we do not find the decision maker, 'I'. Husayn (‘a) ’s stand in this journey was so similar to that taken by his forefather Ishmael (‘a) the first sacrificed one, when his father Abraham (‘a), the friend of God told him that he would slaughter him, just as God showed Abraham (‘a) in a dream!

"When he was old enough to assist in his endeavour, he said, ‘My son! I see in a dream that I am sacrificing you, what do you think?’ [Ishmael] replied without hesitation: ‘Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If God wishes, you will find me patient.’" (37:102).

Indeed Ishmael’s words: 'Father! do whatever you have been commanded', which he uttered as an adolescent, carry with them unlimited sacrifice, service, offering, certainty, courage, resolve, strength, patient, struggle against desires, self-abnegation, disdain for the world, turning towards God, sincerity to God, aversion to other-than-God and many other values beyond my imagination.

Human will surely manifests itself in this sacrifice and offering, and through it ‘I’ also appears. But God's Sacrificed One, Ishmael (‘a) did not like to carry this ‘I’ in his journey to God. It is true that ‘I’ is only manifesting itself here in the arena of obedience to God, and not in the sphere of rebellion, selfish desire, greed, niggardliness, weakness, cowardice and love of this world. But this theatre and those who are in it should all be for God, so Ishmael possessed nothing of it. Ishmael did not want to enter this divine sphere encumbered with ‘I’.

He wanted to be relieved of it, his actions and sacrifice assimilated into God's will and purpose, as if (and there is no place for ‘as if’ here but certainty) he had no role, no impact, no action and no any credit in this unique sacrifice; all was the result of His decree, will and grace. And surely it was Ishmael (‘a) who said: "If God wishes, you will find me patient."

You will perceive the sacrifice, God's decree and His favour and grace which He bestowed on Ishmael (‘a) on account of this sacrifice, but Ishmael (‘a) totally disappears under the expression 'if God wills', so much so that you can hardly perceive his presence despite the immensity of the sacrifice.

May God bless you, O son of Abraham, friend of the Merciful! Your greatness has been obscured behind God's greatness so He exalted you in His firm book. You got assimilated in God's will so He made you manifest in the Great Qur'an which mankind recite day and night for all time:

“And mention in the Book, Ishmael. Indeed he was true to his promise, an apostle and a prophet”. (19:54).

“He used to bid his family to [maintain] the prayer and to [pay] the zakat, and was pleasing to his Lord”. (19:55).

The scene of this sacrifice, which is unique in history, looked small on earth but great in the heavens. On that day the angels gathered to witness this spectacle and saw that the Father of the Prophets, Abraham (‘a) laid down his own child Ishmael (‘a) on his forehead while the latter was in complete submission to God's command, unperturbed and still, but no man on earth was witnessing that great scene. So the angels raised their voices, beseeching the Merciful and Compassionate to ransom Ishmael with a great sacrifice.

The world was then steeped in the darkness of unbelief and ignorance and amidst this darkness a beam of light began to shine from the valley of Mina to the heavens, and the angels gathered in throngs around it to watch this immense sacrifice, the sacrifice of the son and the sacrifice of the father. You never can tell which one of the sacrifices was considered by the angels, on that day, as the greater: the father's sacrifice of his son or the son's, presenting himself to be sacrificed by his father? And which was more sublime in their view, this unique and amazing sacrifice by the adolescent youth Ishmael (‘a) or tying it all to God's decree: ‘if God wishes you will find me patient’?

Exercise patience, dear angels! Do not register what these father and son did, as the ideal. Wait till God brings a descendant of the two men, the Father of the Martyrs to Karbala carrying his suckling child in his hand. He will request water for it, for it would be burning with thirst, but the wicked Hurmalah ibn Kahil al-Asadi will shoot an arrow at it, while it is still in its father's hands, and slaughter it, cutting its jugular veins completely. Then Husayn (‘a) will place his hand below the child's throat to collect the blood and then throw it towards heaven lest God's wrath descends on earth.

With all this, Husayn (‘a) did not consider anything of his actions as great; he did not deem his sacrifice and offering as a thing of consequence. He did not suffer from conceit as a result of this immense offering for God's sake. He deemed all this work as issuing from God and by His will, favour and grace. He had no role or credit of his own; all credit went to God alone. Husayn (‘a) was not more than a mere executor of God's will. Therefore, in the theatre of sacrifice, while immersed in supplication and communion with God, quite oblivious of what was around him, Husayn (‘a) said: “O God! Take whatever is acceptable to You, for I submit to Your Pleasure”.

  • 1. Bihar al-Anwar, 44/366.
  • 2. Sheikh al-Sharifi's Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn (‘a), 368.
  • 3. Tarikh al-Tabari 4/321- 322; Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin's Lawaji' al-Ashjan, pg. 118.
  • 4. Sheikh Abdullah al-Bahrani's Al-Awalim, pg. 127.
  • 5. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 1, chapter on how the revelation to the Messenger of God started.
  • 6. Sheikh Ali al-Namazi's Mustadrak Safinat al-Bihar 8/63.
  • 7. Ibn Tawus’ Iqbal al-A'mal 3/332.
  • 8. Bihar al-Anwar, 99/185.
  • 9. See Qur'an, 3:14.
  • 10. See Qur'an, 50:22.
  • 11. Al-Kafi 8/24.
  • 12. Bihar al-Anwar, 44/382.
  • 13. Bihar al-Anwar, 44/366.
  • 14. Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, 1/38.