In Karbala’

Humayd bin Muslim reported:

By God, later I visited him when he was ill. By God, other than Whom there is no deity, I saw him drinking water without being able to quench his thirst, and then vomiting. He would cry out, “The thirst, the thirst!” Again he would drink water without being able to quench his thirst, again he would vomit. He would then burn with thirst. This went on until he died, may God curse him.

When al Husayn saw the extent of the number of troops encamped with 'Umar Ibn Sa'd, may God curse him, at Ninawa in order to do battle against him, he sent to 'Umar Ibn Sa'd that he wanted to meet him. The two men met at night and talked together for a long time.

(When) 'Umar Ibn Sa'd went back to his camp, he wrote to Ubayd Allah Ibn Ziyad, may he be cursed.

God has put out the fire of hatred, united (the people) in one opinion (lit. word), and set right the affairs of the community. This man, al Husayn, has given me a promise that he will return to the place which he came from, or he will go to one of the border outposts - he will become like any (other) of the Muslims, with the same rights and duties as them; or he will go to Yazid, the Commander of the faithful, and offer him his hand and see (if the difference) between them (can be reconciled). In this (offer) you have the consent (to what you have demanded) and the community gains benefit.

When Ubayd Allah read the letter, he said, “This is the letter about a sincere man who is anxious for his people.”

“Are you going to accept this from him,” demanded Shamir Ibn Dhi al-Jawshan, jumping up. “When he has encamped on your land nearby? By God if he was a man from your land and he would not put his hand in yours, whether he was in a position of power and strength (or) whether he was in a position of weakness and impotence you would not give this concession, for it would be (a mark) of weakness. Rather let him and his followers submit to your authority. Then if you punish them, (it will be because) you are the (person) most appropriate to punish, and if you forgive them, you have the right (to do so).”

“What you have suggested is good,” replied Ibn Ziyad. “Your view is the correct view. Take this message to 'Umar Ibn Sad and let him offer al Husayn and his followers (the opportunity of) submitting to my authority. If they do that, let him send them to me in peace. If they refuse, he should fight them. If he ('Umar Ibn Sa'd) acts (according to) my instructions, then listen to him and obey him. However if he refuses to fight them then you are the commander of the army (lit. people), attack him, cut his head off and send it to me.”

Then he wrote to Umar Ibn Sa'd:

I did not send you to al Husayn for you to restrain yourself from (fighting) him, nor to idle the time away with him, nor to promise him peace and preservation (of his life), nor to make excuses for him, nor to be an intercessor on his behalf with me. Therefore see that if al Husayn and his followers submit to my authority and surrender, you send them to me in peace. If they refuse, then march against them to fight them and to punish them; for they deserve that. If al Husayn is killed, make the horses trample on his body, both front and back; for he is a disobedient rebel, and I do not consider that this will be in any way wrong after death.

But it is my view that you should do this to him if you kill him. If you carry out your command concerning him, we will give you the reward due to one who is attentive and obedient. If you refuse, then we withdraw (the command of) our province and army from you and leave the army to Shamir Ibn Dhl al-Jawshan. We have given him our authority.


Shamir Ibn Dhi al-Jawshan brought the letter to 'Umar Ibn Sad. After he had brought it and read it, 'Umar said to him, “Shame upon you, what is this to you? May God never show favour to your house. May God make abominable what you have brought to me! By God, I did not think that you would cause him to refuse what I had written to him, and ruin for us a matter which we had hoped to set right. Al Husayn will not surrender, for there is a spirit like (his) father's in his body.”

“Tell me what you are going to do,” demanded Shamir. “Are you going to carry out the governor's command and fight his enemy or are you going to leave the command of the army to me?” “No, (there is going to be) no advantage to you. I will carry that out instead of you. you take command of the foot-soldiers.”

'Umar Ibn Sa'd prepared to (do battle with) al Husayn, peace be on him, on the night of Thursday, 9th of the month of Muharram. (In the meantime) Shamir went out and stood in front of the followers of al- Husayn, peace be on him.

“Where are my sister's sons?” he demanded. Al Abbas, Jafar, Abd Allah and Uthman, sons of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, peace be on him, came forward.

“What do you want?” they asked.

“Sons of my sister, you are guaranteed security,” he said.

“God curse you and curse the security which you offer without offering itlto the son of the Apostle of God,” the young men replied.

“Cavalry of God, mount and announce the news of Heaven (i.e. death),” Umar Ibn Sa'd called out and the people mounted and he approached (the supporters of al Husayn) after the afternoon (asr) prayer.

Meanwhile, al Husayn, peace be on him, was sitting in front of his tent dozing with his head on his knees. His sister heard the clamour (from the enemy's ranks). She came up to him and said, “My brother, don't you hear the sounds which are getting nearer?” “I have just seen the Apostle of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, in my sleep,” said al Husayn, peace be on him, as he raised his head. “He said to me: 'You are coming to us.'” His sister struck at her face and cried out in grief.

“You have no (reason) to lament, sister,” al Husayn, peace be on him, told her. “Be quiet, may God have mercy on you.”

Then he turned to al-Abbas Ibn ‘Ali, “Brother, the enemy have come, so get ready; but first, al-Abbas, you, yourself, ride out to meet them, to talk to them about what they have (in mind) and what appears (appropriate) to them and to ask about what has brought them (against us).”

Al-Abbas went towards them with about twenty horsemen, among whom was Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn.

“How do you see (the situation)?” he asked. “What do you want?” “The command of the governor has arrived that we should offer you (the opportunity of) submitting to his authority, otherwise we (must) attack you,” they answered.

“Do not hurry (to do anything) until I have gone back to Abu Abd Allah (al Husayn) and told him what you have said,” Abbas requested.

They stopped (where they were) and told him, “Go to him and inform him, and tell us what he says to you.”

Al 'Abbas went galloping back to al Husayn, peace be on him, to give him the information. While his companions remained exchanging words with the enemy, trying to test them and dissuade them from fighting against al Husayn, peace be on him, (al-'Abbas) told him what the enemy had said.

Go back to them,” he, peace be on him, said, “if you can, delay them until the morning and (persuade) them to keep from us during the evening. Then, perhaps, we may be able to pray to our Lord during the night to call upon Him and seek His forgiveness. He knows that I have always loved His formal prayer, the recitation of His Book and (making) many invocations to Him, seeking His forgiveness.”

Al Abbas went back to the people, and returned (after) being with them, accompanied by a messenger on behalf of Umar Ibn Saed, who had said, “We will grant you a day until tomorrow. Then if you surrender, we will send you to our governor, Ubayd Allah Ibn Ziyad but if you refuse we will not leave you (any longer).”

(After) he departed, towards the evening al Husayn gathered his followers around him.

- Shaykh al Mufid
Pages 305 - 326
Translated by I.K.A Howard

- Tahrike Tarsile Quran
Paper back - ISBN 0-940368-11-0

Loyalty of Companions of Imam Husayn (a.s.)

‘Ali Ibn al Hsuayn, Zayn al Abidin, reported:

I went near to hear what he would say to them (even though) at that time I was sick. I heard my father say to his followers: I glorify God with the most perfect glorification and I praise Him in happiness and misfortune. O God, I praise You for blessing us with prophethood, teaching us the Qur'an and making us understand the religion. You have given us hearing, sight and hearts, and have made us among those who give thanks (to You). I know of no followers more loyal and more virtuous than my followers, nor of any House more pious and more close-knit than my House. May God reward you well on my behalf.

Indeed, I do not think that there will be (any further) days (left) to us by these men. I permit you to leave me. All (of you) go away with the absolution of your oath (to follow me), for there will be no (further) obligation on you from me. This is a night (whose darkness) will give cover to you. Use it as a camel (i.e. ride away in it). His brothers and sons, the sons of his sisters and the sons of 'Abd Allah Ibn Ja'far said: We will not leave you to make ourselves continue living after your (death). God will never see us (do) such a thing.

Al Abbas Ibn ‘Ali, peace be on them, was the first of them to make this declaration. Then the (whole) group followed him, (all) declaring the same thing.

“Sons of 'Aqil” said al Husayn, “enough of your (family) has been killed. So go away as I have permitted you.”

“Glory be to God,” they replied, “what would the people say? They would say that we deserted our shaykh, our lord, the sons of our uncle, who was the best of uncles; that we had not shot arrows alongside them, we had not thrust spears alongside them, we had not struck swords alongside them. (At such an accusation) we do not know what we would do. No, by God, we will not do (such a thing). Rather we will ransom you with our lives, property and families. We will fight for you until we reach your destination. May God make life abominable (for us) after your (death).”

Then Muslim Ibn Awsaja arose and spoke, “Could we leave you alone? How should we excuse ourselves before God concerning the performance of our duty to your By God, I will stab them with my spear (until it breaks), I will strike them with my sword as long as the hilt is in my hand. If I have no weapon (left) to fight them with, I will throw stones (at them).

By God we will never leave you until God knows that we have preserved through you (the company of His Apostle) in his absence. By God, if I knew what I would die and then be revived and then burnt and then revived, and then scattered, and that would be done to me seventy times, I would never leave you until I met my death (fighting) on your behalf. So how could I do it when there can only be one death, which is a great blessing which can never be rejected.

Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn, may God have mercy on him, spoke, “By God, I would prefer to be killed and then recalled to life; and then be killed a thousand times in this manner; and that in this way God, the Mighty and Exalted, should protect your life and the lives of these young men of your House.”

All his followers spoke in similar vein, one after the other. Al- Husayn, peace be on him, called (on God to) reward them well and then went back to his tent.

‘Ali Ibn al Husayn, peace be on them, Zayn al Abidin reported:

I was sitting on that evening (before the morning of the day) in which my father was killed. With me was my aunt, Zaynab, who was nursing me when my father left to go to his tent. With him was Juwayn, the retainer (mawla) of Abu Dharr al-Ghiffari, who was preparing his sword and putting it right.

My father recited, “Time, shame on you as a friend! At the day's dawning and the sun's setting, How many a companion or seeker will be a corpse! Time will not be satisfied with any substitute. The matter will rest with the Mighty One, and every living creature will have to journey along my path.”

He repeated it twice or three times. I understood it and realised what he meant. Tears choked me and I pushed them back. I kept silent and knew that tribulation had come upon us. As for my aunt, she heard what I heard - but she is a woman and weakness and grief are part of the qualities of women; she could not control herself, she jumped up, tearing at her clothes and sighing, and went to him.

“Then I will lose (a brother),” Zaynab said to him. “Would that death deprived me of life today, (for) my mother, Fatima, is dead, and my father, 'Ah, and my brother, al-Hasan, peace be on them (all).”

“O sister,al Husayn said to her as he looked at her with his eyes full of tears, “Don't let Satan take away your forbearance. (Remember:) If the sandgrouse are left (alone) at night, they will sleep (i.e. let nature take its course).”

“O my grief, your life will be violently wrenched from you and that is more wounding to my heart and harsher to my soul,” she lamented, and then she struck at her face. she bent down to (the hem of) her garment and (began to) tear it. Then she fell down in a faint.

Al Husayn, peace be on him, got up and bathed her face with water Then he said to her, “Sister, fear God and take comfort in the consolation of God. Know that the people on the earth will die and the inhabitants of heaven will not continue to exist (for ever). For everything will be destroyed except the face of God Who created creation by His power (qudra); He sends forth creatures and He causes them to return; He is unique and alone. My grandfather was better than me, my father was better than me and my mother was better than me. I and every Muslim have an ideal model in the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family.”

By This and the like he tried to console her and he said, “Sister, I swear to you - and I (always) keep my oaths - that you must not tear your clothes, nor scratch your face, nor cry out with grief and loss when I am destroyed.”

Then he brought her and made her sit with me. He went out to his followers and ordered them to bring their tents (much) closer together so that the tent-pegs came within the area of each other's tents, and so that if they remained among their tents, the enemy could only approach (them), from one side (for there would be) tents behind them, and to their right and left. Thus (the tents completely) surrounded them except for the one way which the enemy could come against them.

(After that) he, peace be on him, returned to his place and spent the whole night in performing the prayer, in calling on God's forgiveness and in making invocations. In the same way, his followers performed the prayer, made invocations and sought God's forgiveness.

Al Dahhak Ibn Abd Allah reported:

(A contingent of) Umar Ibn Sa'd's (continually) passed us keeping watch over us while al Husayn, himself, recited,

Let not those who disbelieve think that our giving them a delay is better for their souls. We give them a delay only that they might increase their wickedness. They shall have a disgraceful punishment. God does not leave the believers in the situation you are in until He has made the evil distinct from the good.” (Quran 3, 117/8)

A man called 'Abd Allah Ibn Samir, (who was) among those horsemen heard that. He was given to much laughter, and was a brave fighter, a treacherous knight and a noble. He cried out, “By the Lord of the Ka'ba, we are the good, we have been distinguished from you.”

“O terrible sinner,” cried Burayr Ibn Hudayr, “has God made you one of the good?”

“A curse on you, whoever you are?” he shouted back.

“I am Burayr Ibn Hudayr,” he replied. And they both cursed each other.

- Kitab al Irshad
Shaykh al Mufid
Pages 305 - 326
Translated by I.K.A Howard

- Tahrike Tarsile Quran
Paper back - ISBN 0-940368-11-0

Imam Husayn (a.s.)’s admonishment

In the morning al Husayn, peace be on him, mobilised his followers after the Morning Prayer. He had with him thirty two horsemen and forty foot-soldiers. He put Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn in charge of his right wing and Habib Ibn Muzahir in charge of his left wing, and he gave his standard to his brother, al-Abbas. They positioned themselves with the tents at the rear. He ordered (the) firewood and cane which was behind the tents to be left in a ditch which had been dug there and to be set on fire, fearing that they would attack them from the rear.

Umar Ibn Sad began the morning of that day - it was Friday, or Saturday as some say - by mobilising his followers. He went out with the men with him towards al Husayn, peace be on him. 'Amr Ibn al- Hajjaj was in command of his right wing, Shamir Ibn Dhi al-Jawshan of the left wing, Urwa Ibn Qays was in command of the cavalry, Shabath Ibn Ribi of the foot-soldiers. He gave his standard to Durayd, his retainer (mawla).

‘Ali Ibn al Husayn, Zayn al Abidin, peace be upon them, reported:

When the cavalry began to approach al Husayn, he raised his hands and said, “O God, it is You in W'hom I trust amid all grief. You are my hope amid all violence. You are my trust and provision in everything that happens to me, (no matter) how much the heart may seem to weaken in it, trickery may seem to diminish (my hope) in it, the friend may seem to desert (me) in it, and the enemy may seem to rejoice in it. It comes upon me through You and when I complain to You of it, it is because of my desire for You, You alone. You have comforted me in (everything) and have revealed its (significance to me). You are the Master of all grace, the Possessor of all goodness and the Ultimate Resort of all desire.”

When the enemy began to move around the tent of al Husayn, peace be on him, they saw the ditch behind and the fire burning the firewood and cane which had been thrown in it. (At this) Shamir Ibn Dhi al-Jawshan called out at the top of his voice, “Al Husayn, are you hurrying towards the fire (of Hell) before the Day of Resurrection?”

“Who is that?” asked al Husayn, peace be on him. “(It sounds) like Shamir Ibn Dhi al-Jawshan?” “Yes, (it is),” they told him.

“Son of a goat-herdess, you are more worthy to be burnt by that,” he retorted.

Muslim Ibn Awsaja wanted to shoot an arrow at him, but al- Husayn, peace be on him, stopped him from (doing) that.

“Let me shoot at him” he asked, “for he is a wicked sinner, one of the enemies of God, and the great tyrants. (Now) God has made it possible (to kill) him.”

“Do not shoot at him,” ordered al Husayn, peace be on him, “for I am unwilling to begin (the fighting) against them.”

Then al Husayn called for his mount and mounted it. He called out at the top of his voice, “O people of Iraq,” and most of them (began to) listen to him. “People, listen to my words and do not hurry (to attack me) so that I may remind you of the duties you have towards me and so that (by telling you the true circumstances) I may free myself from any blame in (your attacking me). If you give me justice, you will become happier through that. If you do not give me justice of your own accord (as individuals),

then agree upon your affairs (and your associates); let not your affair be in darkness to you. Then carry (it) our against me and do not reflect (any further).” (10:71)

Indeed my guardian is God, Who created the Book, He takes care of the righteous.” (7 : 196)

Then he praised and glorified God, and mentioned what God is entitled to. He called for blessings on the Prophet, may God bless him and his family, and on the angels and (other) prophets. No speaker has ever been heard before or after him more eloquent in his speech than he was.

He continued, “Trace back my lineage and consider who I am. Then look back at yourselves and remonstrate with yourselves. Consider whether it is right for you to kill me and to violate the honour of my womenfolk. Am I not the son of the daughter of your Prophet, of his testamentary trustee (wall) and his cousin, the first of the believers in God and the man who (first) believed in what His Apostle, may God bless him and his family, brought from his Lord?

Was not Hamza, the lord of the martyrs, my uncle? Was not Ja'far, the one who flies in Heaven, my uncle? Have you not heard the words of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, concerning myself and my brother: 'These are the two lords of the youths of the inhabitants of heaven'?

Whether you believe what I am saying and it is the truth, for by God I have never told a lie since I learnt that God hated people (who told) them - or whether you regard me as a liar, there are among you those who, if you asked them, would tell you: Ask Jabir Ibn Abd Allah al- Ansari, Abu Said al-Khudri, Sahl Ibn Sad al-Saidi, Zayd Ibn Arqam and Anas Ibn Malik to tell you that they heard these words from the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, concerning myself and my brother. Is there not (sufficient) in this to prevent you shedding my blood?

“If I understand what you are saying,” interrupted Shamir Ibn Dhi al-Jawshan, “then I only worship God (very shakily) on the edge.”

“I think that you worship God (very shakily) on seventy edges,” said Habib Ibn Muzahir. “For I testify that you are right. You do not understand what he is saying. For God has impressed (ignorance) upon your heart.”

If you are in any doubt about this,” al Husayn, peace be on him, told them, “you are in doubt that I am the son of the daughter of your Prophet. By God there is no son of a prophet other than me among you and among the peoples from East to West. Shame on you, are you seeking retribution from me for one of your dead whom I have killed, or for property of yours which I expropri- ated, or for a wound which I have inflicted?”

They did not say anything to him. Then he called, “Shabath Ibn Ribi, Hajjar Ibn Abjar, Qays Ibn al-Ashath, Yazid Ibn al-Harith, didn't you write: 'The fruit has ripened; the dates have grown green; come to an army which has been gathered for you'?” “We don't know what you are talking about,” said Qays Ibn al-Ashath. “Submit to the authority of your kinsmen (the Umayyads). They have never treated you with anything but what you liked.”

“By God, I will never give you my hand like a man who has been humiliated; nor will I flee like a slave,” said al Husayn, peace be on him. Then he called out,

O Servants of God, I take refuge in my Lord and your Lord from your stoning.” (44:20)

“I take refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every haughty man who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning.” (40:27)

He made his mount kneel and ordered 'Uqba Ibn Sim'an to tie its reins. They (the Kufans) began to advance towards him (al Husayn).

When al-Hurr Ibn Yazid perceived that the people were determined to fight al Husayn, peace be on him, he said to 'Umar, “Are you going to fight this man?” “Yes,” he replied, “it will be a terrible battle, the least part of which will be heads falling and severed hands flying (through the air).”

“Haven't you any other way of getting what you want?”

“If the matter rested with me,” answered Umar, “I would do (anything else), but your governor has refused (any alternative).”

Al-Hurr went and stood apart from the people. With him was a man from his tribe called Qurra Ibn Qays.

“Qurra, have you watered your horse, today?” he asked.


“Do you want to water it?”

- The History of al Tabari
Volume 19 The Caliphate of Yazid Ibn Muawiyah
Pages 65 - 179 (Selected)
Translated by I.K.A Howard
Paper back - ISBN 0-7914-0041-7

- Kitab al Irshad
Shaykh al Mufid
Pages 328 - 372
Translated by I.K.A Howard

- Tahrike Tarsile Quran
Paper back - ISBN 0-940368-11-0