Abu ‘Ammar’s reasons for writing this booklet: My main aim is to clarify the rituals performed during the first Islamic month, Muharram. During this month the Shi’ah (a sect) beat themselves on their chest with knives to show that they are mourning for Imam Husain. But the truth is that it was Shi‘as of Kufa and Basra who invited Imam Husain and then left him, in Karbala, to be martyred.
On this occasion, the people of Ahl Sunnah wal Jammat recite the Holy Qur'an and make Supplication (Dua); they gather together and their scholars explain about the events of Karbala. The event that took place in Karbala is a Sa'd occasion for all the Muslims. However, some take this occasion to the extreme, exaggerating and telling fabricated stories with the aim of making emotions high, causing crowds to become frantic and overcome with tears.
The History of Karbala
By Abu ‘Ammar
In the name of Allah Most High, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All Praise be to Allah Most High, the Creator, the Provider. He has no Partners, and is in no need of any. He is Alone, He made the Heavens and the Earth, and He knows what was before time, what is present and what is after. He shows the straight path to whosoever He wishes, and whoever He chooses to bless, He makes them the best among the best. O Allah, send salutations on our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who is the last and final Messenger. After him there will be no Prophets to come until the Day of Judgement. Allah Most High has given him the highest excellence. On the Day of Judgement when every individual will be present, our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) will intercede on the behalf of the Muslims. Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), his family, his companions and all his followers.
I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah Most High and Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) is His servant and His Messenger. I thank Allah Most High for giving me the strength and courage to write about Sayyiduna Imam Husain (Allah be well pleased with him).
There are several reasons for writing this booklet. My main aim is to clarify the rituals performed during the first Islamic month, Muharram. During this month the Shi’ah (a sect) beat themselves on their chest with knives to show that they are mourning for Imam Husain. But the truth is that it was Shi‘as of Kufa and Basra who invited Imam Husain and then left him, in Karbala, to be martyred.
On this occasion, the people of Ahl Sunnah wal Jammat recite the Holy Qur'an and make Supplication (Dua); they gather together and their scholars explain about the events of Karbala. The event that took place in Karbala is a Sa'd occasion for all the Muslims. However, some take this occasion to the extreme, exaggerating and telling fabricated stories with the aim of making emotions high, causing crowds to become frantic and overcome with tears.
Many stories are related and told with great favour, but contain untruths such as the following:
(A) If any stone were to be lifted around Masjid Aqsa (Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem) there would be blood underneath it. The suggestion is that even the rocks were mourning the passing of Imam Husain.
(B) It rained blood from the sky.
(C) When the sun went down drops of blood fell from it.
(D) The trees started to weep blood.
(E) Imam Husain took his son Ali Asgar and begged the enemy for water, and while he was asking for water they shot an arrow and martyred him. However, this is not a true account of what actually happened. In actual fact his son was playing in his lap during the time of Karbala and an arrow struck him, from which he was martyred. Imam Husain did not in truth beg for water as he had a brave and courageous character, and this would have been a sign of weakness.
(F) Imam Husain had a daughter and he left her in Madina, telling her that he would call her in a few months after he reached Kufa. Some say that when he was in Karbala he received a letter from her, which was said to have been a sad letter asking him why he had not come to collect her.
(G) Some people maintain that when Muslim bin Aqeel went to Kufa and took his two sons, who were five and seven year old, with him. After their father’s death, the two sons, out of fear for their lives, attempted to escape to Madina. But they were captured by the governor of Kufa, and martyred. However, the truth is that Muslim bin Aqeel’s two sons were not of that age, nor did they accompany their father. In fact, they went to Karbala with Imam Husain and were martyred there.
None of these accounts are to be found in the books of Tabari, Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Atheer, Usd al-Ghabah, or in the Tareekh of al-Khulafa, nor in Tareekh Ibn Katheer. No where is it mentioned that Imam Husain left his young daughter in Madina.
In writing this booklet I intend to present authentic narrations regarding the events of Karbala. I also intend to collect them and compile them in one place so that the reader can understand the events with clarity.
Another reason for writing this booklet is that there are those who, on the 10th of Muharram, praise Yazid and speak ill of Imam Husain. They are called Nawaasib and Khawarij. These two sects are totally against Imam Husain. In their opinion Imam Husain was wrong in opposing Yazid’s government, and he was killed in accordance with the rulings of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah.
Also, I have always had the desire to write of Imam Husain’s excellence, his bravery and the sacrifices that he made, and to refute the objections that have been made against him. In sha’ Allah, I will try to fulfill these objectives to the best of my ability in this booklet.
Allama Ibn Khuldun writes in al-Muqaddima about an event that occurred in his town. He wrote that in his area there was a Sayyid (a person from the family of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) against whom people were making false accusations. However, Ibn Khaldun relates that he supported him because on the Day of Judgement his grandfather would support him, in other words the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
When I read this I thought that if I were also to support the Sayyids and refute false allegations about the grandson of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), tomorrow on the day of judgement, Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) may also intercede for me.
May Allah Most High make this booklet a useful source of knowledge for the reader and accept this work and reward me.
THE BACKGROUND OF KARBALA
Imam Husain was born to the daughter of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), Sayyida Fatima, in the month of Shaban 4 Hijra, Sayyiduna Hasan, Husain and Mohsin were three brothers. Mohsin passed away in his infancy. When Sayyiduna Hasan, Imam Husain’s older brother, was born, Sayyiduna Ali named him Harb. When the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) enquired as to the chosen name, Sayyiduna Ali said that the name ‘Harb’ had been chosen. However, the Prophet replied his name should be ‘Hasan’. When Imam Husain was born, Sayyiduna Ali again named Imam Husain ‘Harb’. The Prophet again said, “no his name is Husain.” When the third child was born Sayyiduna Ali again named him Harb, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) again said, “No his name is Mohsin.” Then the Prophet said, “I have given the children the same names that the prophet Harun (alai his sallam) gave his children.” His childrens’ names were Shaber, Sabbir, and Moshabir, in other words Hasan, Husain, and Mohsin. The names Hasan and Husain are from the people of Paradise. In the time of ignorance, before the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) no one had been given these names.
[Imam Ibn Atheer narrates the above incident in his book, Usdul-Gabah]
When Imam Husain was born, the Prophet (sallal ho alihi wasallam) came and recited the Adhan in his ear. Sayyiduna Hasan and Husain had the likeness of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), Sayyiduna Hasan from the chest upwards looked very similar to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and Imam Husain looked identical from the waist down to our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Usdul Gabah fi Ma’refat-i- Sahabah - biography of Sayyiduna Imam Husain by Allama Ibn Atheer .
EXCELLENCE OF IMAM HUSAIN
Hafiz Ibn Katheer writes that one day an angel came and sat down by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to Umme Salma (the wife of the Prophet and the mother‘s of the believers), “we have a guest, do not let any one enter as we are having a conversation.” In the meantime Imam Husain, who at the time was very young, entered the room, and as children do, Imam Husain climbed on top of our Prophet’s shoulder. The angel said “Do you love him”; Our Prophet replied “Yes”. The angel then said “Your followers will at a later time martyr him. If you wish I can show you where he will be martyred. Our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said he would like to see where his grandson would be martyred. The angel then waved his hand and brought some red soil and said, “This is the place where he will be martyred.” Our Prophet took some soil from his hand and gave it to Umme Salma. She put the soil in a bottle.
After this it became known amongst the companions that Imam Husain would be martyred in a place called Karbala. Our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told them that if any of them are present at the time, they should support him. Sayyiduna Anas bin Harris was with Imam Husain in Karbala and was martyred.
Once when Sayyiduna Ali, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, was in Iraq and was passing the field of Karbala with Abu Abdullah. He shouted, “O Abu Abdullah stop! O Abu Abdullah go and stop near the river Euphrates”. Sayyiduna Ali then said, “One day I went to see the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and he had tears in his eyes. When I asked him why he had tears in his eyes, he said that the angel Gabriel had come to see him and had told him that Husain will be martyred near the river Euphrates, and the angel had given him some soil from there”.
In another narration it is said that once Sayyiduna Ali, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, was passing by a place, he asked: “What is this place called? Someone said, “This is Karbala.” Sayyiduna Ali seighed, “O Karbala”. He stopped there and performed salah (prayer) and then said that the people who will be martyred here will have the highest status among martyrs, after the companions, and they will enter Paradise without any reckoning. While Sayyiduna Ali was there he pointed to the place where Imam Husain would be martyred. The narrator confirms that Imam Husain was in fact martyred in the exact spot Sayyiduna Ali had pointed to.
Our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Imam Husain and Sayyiduna Hasan are my two flowers of the world.” He also said, “Whoever loves them loves me and whoever hates them, hates me. Abu Huraira, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, said that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) looked towards Sayyiduna Hasan, Imam Husain and Sayyiduna Fatima and said, “Whoever fights with you, I will fight with him and whoever loves you I will love him.”
Sayyiduna Abu Huraira, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, said, “One day the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) came to us, and on one of his shoulders was Sayyiduna Hasan and on the other Imam Husain. On the way to us we saw that sometimes he would kiss Sayyiduna Hasan and sometimes he would kiss Imam Husain. One person spoke and said, “Our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) do you love them very dearly? The Prophet answered, “Yes, I love them dearly. Whoever loves them I will also love him and whoever holds a grudge against them, he in fact holds a grudge against me.”
Sayyiduna Laila bin Murrah says, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that Husain is mine and I am his. Whoever loves Husain, Allah Most High will love him because Husain is my grandson.”
Sayyiduna Abu Sa'id Khudri says that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that Sayyiduna Hasan and Husain are the leaders of the youth in Paradise.
Rabi bin Sa’d narrates that Imam Husain came into the Mosque. Sayyiduna Jabir bin Abdullah, who was the companion of the Prophet, said, “I have heard from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that whoever wants to see the leader of Paradise should look at Husain.”
Sayyiduna Abu Huraira, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that he loved Imam Husain and Sayyiduna Hasan and whoever loved him should love them. The Prophet made supplication to Allah Most High that I love Hasan and Husain and hope you also love and protect them. He also narrates that once Hasan and Husain came into the Mosque (Masjid-I-Nabawi) and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was performing his prayer. When he would go into prostration Sayyiduna Hasan and Husain would jump onto his back, and when our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) sat up from the prostration, he would slowly put them down. When he would go into prostration again they would jump on his back again, until he would finish the prayers. Sayyiduna Abu Huraira said that he went to the Prophet and said, “Shall I take them to their mother as it is getting darker outside”. As soon as he finished saying this, a light lit up on the path from the Mosque to the house of their mother (Fatima). The light was so strong that we could see Sayyida Fatima’s house from where we were sitting. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to his grandsons “You may go home now.”
[Tareekh Ibn Katheer by Hafiz Ibn Katheer – chapter on Karbala and Imam Husain ]
These Ahadith written by Hafiz Ibn Katheer in the excellence of Imam Husain have been collected from Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Musnad Ahmed, and other books of Hadith. These ahadith have been accepted as authentic ahadith by all of the following scholars:
(a) Hafiz Ibn Taimiyah
(b) Hafiz Ibn Qayyim
(c) Hafiz Ibn Katheer
(d) Qadi Shuwkani
(d) Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhab.
FOOTNOTE As some people do not accept the authenticity of a hadith unless it is accepted by particular scholars. Therefore, we have taken all these Ahadith from Hafiz Ibn Katheer’s book rather than original books of Hadith.
YAZID BIN MU’AWIYAH
Yazid bin Mu’awiyah was the son of Amir, who was the companion of our Prophet (sallalaho alihi wasallam). He was born in either 26th or the 27th year of the Hijra. His mother, Maysun, was divorced from Amir but Yazid lived with his father. Yazid was a very clever, witty and intelligent boy.
Yazid had a passion for music and alcohol. He always had a hangover in the morning due to his heavy drinking from the night before. When he hunted, he travelled with many dogs and enjoyed watching animals fighting one another. His fondness of his pets went to such extremes that his pets even travelled on horses laden with gold, and when a pet died, he would mourn for it. Some historians claim that he died due to one of his pets actually biting him while he was playing with it. However, there are many versions as to how he actually died, and Allah ta’ala knows best.
Sayyidina Amir Mu’awiyah could do nothing but reprimand his son for his ways, and offer him advice. He advised him repeatedly, “O my son, why do you indulge yourself in these evil things? Your enemies will triumph at your actions, while your friends will never respect you.” As time progressed, so did the habits; all the father could do was to advise him, while the son ignored the advice his father gave.
One day, Yazid asked his father if after his earthly departure, he would be made the King. Yazid promised that he would do nothing but righteous deeds and rule like ‘Umar Ibin al-Khatab. Amir was so surprised that he responded by saying, “Sub-han Allah! How can this be possible? I swear by Allah, the Most High, that I have tried my very best to even come near to what ‘Umar used to do, and I have not been able to do that!” History proves that Yazid did not in fact implement the Islmaic political, social and economic system like Umar Ibn al- Khattab.
(Tarikh ibn Kathir, Biography of Yazid bin Mu’awiyah)
There is also difference of opinion as to when Yazid died. Abu Bakra bin Ayash says that the people took bay’ah with Yazid in 60 Hijra, and he died in Rabi-ul-Awwal 60 Hijra. But in fact he died on 15th Rabi-ul-Awwal 64 Hijra; and he was 48 years old at that time.
Lisanul Mizan Biography Yazid bin Mu'awiya by Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalanee
ALLEGIANCE TO YAZID BIN MU'AWIY
After the death of Amir Mu'awiya may Allah Most High be pleased with him, his son Yazid became the ruler of the Muslims. Most of the people had pledged their allegiance to him. However, three of the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in Madina had not done so. It was due to this fact that Yazid wrote a letter to The governor of Madina who at the time was Waleed bin Utbah. In it he wrote:
‘My father has passed away, making me the King. I hope that you can convince these three men to swear allegiance to me’.
The three Sahabah he made refernecnce to:
(1) Imam Husain, may Allah Most High be pleased with him.
(2) Abdullah bin Zubair, may Allah Most High be pleased with him.
(3) Abdullah bin Umar, may Allah Most High be pleased with him.’
When Waleed bin Utbah received the letter, one of his friends Marwan was sitting with him. He asked his advice on the matter of the allegiance of these three men. Marwan said to The governor, “Send someone to call for Imam Husain and Abdullah bin Zubair immediately, and order them to swear allegiance to Yazid. If they obey then leave them, but if they refuse then you should have them killed. If they find out that Amir Mu'awiya, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, has passed away each of them will claim that they are the Amirs (leaders). Do not worry about Abdullah bin Umar as he has no desire to fight or become a leader, unless all the people get together and ask him to become their leader.”
IMAM HUSAIN AND ABDULLAH BIN ZUBAIR
The governor sent one of his men to call Imam Husain and Abdullah bin Zubair. He told him that he would find them in the mosque since he had just left the Mosque himself and had seen them sitting there. When the person reached the Mosque and told them that The governor wanted to see them both, they replied that they would come soon. When he left they discussed the reasons The governor would want to see them since The governor himself had very recently left the mosque. When they could not come up with any reason for his request to see them, they decided to leave and go home. When Imam Husain arrived home he called all the males from the house and asked them to accompany him to The governor’s house.” When they reached his house, Imam Husain instructed them to wait outside, and only enter the house if he called them or if The governor raised his voice.
Imam Husain entered the house of The governor. After greeting him, The governor and Marwan gave him the letter which they had received from Yazid. After reading the letter Imam Husain was saddened by the news that Amir Mu'awiya had passed away and prayed to Allah Most High to shower his blessings upon his grave. The second part of the letter concerned their allegiance. Imam Husain said that it was not appropriate for a person of his status to pledge allegiance to Yazid secretely. But if they were to gather all the people of Madina together to swear their allegiance to Yazid, he would be the first among them to speak out about. The governor agreed to invite the people in the following morning. But Marwan spoke up immediately advising The governor, “Ask him to swear allegiance to Yazid now, otherwise you will not be able to obtain allegiance from him later, until there are rivers of blood flowing between you and him. If you do not do this, I will kill Imam Husain right now.” Imam Husain spoke with anger and said “Neither you or The governor can kill me as Allah Most High is with me.” Then Imam Husain left. On his departure Marwan said to The governor, “You have made a grave error in letting Imam Husain leave.” Waleed said, “I swear by Allah Most High that I did not wish to kill Imam Husain for the reason of allegiance. And I also swear that if I were given all the possession of a kingdom I still would not have killed him.”
ABDULLAH BIN ZUBAIR LEFT MADINA FOR MAKKAH
After Abdullah bin Zubair arrived home he hid inside. The governor sent his people a number of times to call him. In the end they surrounded his house and called out that if he did not come out they would come to see him the next morning. During the night Abdullah bin Zubair came out very upset and told the people to tell The governor that he would come the next morning to see him. During the night Abdullah bin Zubair and his brother left for Makkah through a road which was not very well known to the travellers. When The governor found out that he had been tricked, he sent his men to find them, but by that time they had gone. When Abdullah bin Zubair reached Makkah, some of his supporters were already there and he began living in Makkah with them. The governor of Makkah, Umar bin Sa'id, used to come to the Ka’bah to pray and circumblate it (do Tawaf). He would also lead the prayers. Abdullah bin Zubair and his supporters refused to join them in prayers.
IMAM HUSAIN LEFT MADINA FOR MAKKAH
After Imam Husain left The governor’s house, he returned home and discussed with his brother what he should do. Imam Husain’s brother, Muhammad bin Hanfiah, said, “You should go to another city and send your representative to different cities to convince people to swear their allegiance to you. If the people swear allegiance to you then you should thank Allah Most High and if they decide to choose someone else as their leader, it would still not affect your religion or the respect people have for you. If you cannot do this then you should stay in the desert or the mountains and send your representative to different cities, or even keep changing cities until all the people in each town accept you as their leader. I am also afraid that you may go to towns where only a few will support you and the majority will oppose you. If there were a conflict between them I would not like you to be there to get the blame.” Imam Husain then asked his brother which city he should go to. His brother replied, “Go to Makkah.”
ABDULLAH BIN UMAR & ABDULLAH BIN ABBAS
Abdullah bin Umar and Abdullah bin Abbas were in Makkah at the time when Amir Mu’awiyya passed away. They were coming towards Madina. Between the road from Makkah to Madina they met Imam Husain and when they found out that Imam Husain was intending to leave for Kufa, they dissuaded him form undertaking this journey. They reminded him of the flick-mindedness and betraying mentality of Kufans. Imam Husain maintained that it was important to tear the mask of Islam from the face of unIslamic rulers, and to alienate the Muslims from their misguided rulers. He asserted that it was incumbent to uphold the banner of Islam and defend the fundamental principles of Islamic political system. They had a long conversation on this subject, and after a while they each carried on with their journey. When Abdullah bin Umar and Abdullah bin Abbas reached Madina they swore allegiance to Yazid.
THE NEW GOVERNOR OF MADINA
Meanwhile, Yazid found out that The governor of Madina had not forced Imam Husain or Abdullah bin Zubair to accept Yazid as the true ruler of the Muslims. He terminated his position as governor and appointed a new governor, Umar bin Sa'id al-Ashraq. The new governor was appointed in the month of Ramadan in the 60th Hijra. As soon as he became The governor he found out that Abdullah bin Zubair and his brother Umar bin Zubair had a conflict between them. He saw an opportunity to exploit their conflict for his own benefit and appointed Umar bin Zubair the chief of the police force, and told him to arrest all of his brother’s supporters. Some of the people he arrested were regarded as very pious and holy men and some of them were the companions or sons of the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He arrested all of them and punished them with 40 to 60 lashes per person.
The governor then called a meeting to discuss who should be sent to Makkah to arrest Abdullah bin Zubair. Umar bin Zubair volunteered to go to Makkah to his brother. The governor gave him an army of 700 men and ordered him arrest Abdullah bin Zubair and his followers. When Umar bin Zubair was ready to leave with his army the friend of the old governor (Marwan) said to Umar bin Zubair, “Makkah is a city where even hunting a bird is Haram (forbidden), so how are you going to fight in Makkah? Your brother Abdullah bin Zubair is a fragile old man of sixty. What risk can he pose to somone in your position? Umar Bin Zubair said, “I swear by Allah Most High that I will fight with my brother even if he is in the Ka’bah itself.”
While this conversation was taking place, Abu Shureah Khuzaei, a companion of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said to The governor, “I have heard a Hadith from our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), that fighting in Makkah is Haraam, even for him it was only allowed for a very short time and then it was made Haraam again. So you should not go to Makkah and fight.” Upon hearing this, The governor replied to Abu Shureah, “We know more about the respect of Makkah than you.”
Nevertheless, Umar bin Zubair left towards Makkah with his army. When they neared Makkah they camped outside and Umar bin Zubair sent a messenger to his brother. The messenger said to Abdullah bin Zubair, “ I have been sent to you by The governor of Madina to arrest you and take you back with me, so that you may swear allegiance to him in person as he will not accept it in writing or verbally. If you give yourself up to me I will put a very thin collar round your neck so that it cannot be noticed by your people and they will not lose respect for you. I will then take you back to Syria to King Yazid. You and I both know it is forbidden to shed blood in Makkah.”
When Abdullah bin Zubair received this message from his brother he replied by saying, “ You have come here with the intention to fight so we will fight, I will send my people to fight with you outside Makkah.” Umar bin Zubair’s army was defeated in the battle; some of his army men either escaped or were killed, and others, including Umar bin Zubair, were captured. Abdullah bin Zubair told his brother that all of his followers would be lashed in the same way as Abdullah’s supporters were lashed in Madina previously. After the lashing took place Abdullah bin Zubair’s brother, Umar bin Zubair, died.
IMAM HUSAIN IN MAKKAH
While on his way to Makkah Imam Husain also met Abdullah bin Muti’; when he discovered that imam Husain may undertake a journey to Kufa, he warned Imam Husain about the Kufans, “Do not go near the city of Kufa under any circumstances because the people of Kufa are very disloyal. The people of Kufa martyred your father, Sayyiduna Ali, and also contested with your brother, Sayyiduna Hasan.” He advised Imam Husain not to leave the surroundings of Makkah under any circumstances. “You are the leader of the Arabs, therefore whoever loves you and accepts you as their leader will come to you without you having to go to them. Unless the people of Makkah tell you to leave, do not leave Makkah”, He added.
After listening to this advice Imam Husain carried on with his journey to Makkah and remained and settled there. Time and time again people used to come to him and tell him about the situation of Kufa and the evil ways of Yazid. At that time Abdullah bin Zubair was also settled in Makkah and spent much time in the Ka’bah praying and worshiping Allah. Abdullah bin Zubair recognised the higher religious status and elevated rank of Imam Husain and knew that whilst Imam Husain was in Makkah nobody was going to swear allegiance to him as the leader of the Muslims.
INVITATION TO IMAM HUSAIN FROM
THE PEOPLE OF KUFA
When the people of Kufa heard that Imam Husain had migrated to Makkah, they gathered in Sulaiman bin Surad’s house and discussed how to invite Imam Husain to Kufa from Makkah. It was decided that a letter of invitation would be sent to Imam Husain. In the letter they wrote: “Yazid has appointed Nu'man bin Bashir as The governor of Kufa and none of us has sworn allegiance to him; nor do we pray any salah, Friday prayer or Eid prayer behind him. If you come to us we shall swear allegiance to you and we will remove him from his post.” Signatures of many people supported the letter. Within two days of sending this letter another letter was sent again with similar contents to Imam Husain and this time backed by 150 signatures. After that a third letter then a fourth, and so on; every two days a letter was sent to Imam Husain. Some people even went to invite Imam Husain to Kufa in person. On receiving all the letters and personal invitations, Imam Husain’s opinion of the people of Kufa began to change.
Imam Husain wrote a letter to the people of Kufa, stating that he appreciated the situation in Kufa and was sending one of his cousins, Muslim bin Aqeel, to them, so he could assess the situation of Kufa and inform him of his opinion. He further added that he would himself come to Kufa soon because only he who follows the book of Allah Most High and establishes justice in the country could be the leader of the Muslims.
MUSLIM BIN AQEEL GOES TOWARDS KUFA
Muslim bin Aqeel left for Kufa with the letter. He reached Madina, which was on his journey; he prayed salah in the Prophet’s Mosque. After saying the prayer he acquired two guides to go to Kufa with him. It seems that misfortune overtook Muslim bin Aqeel’s journey to Kufa; they ran out of water and the two guides passed away due to dehydration. Muslim bin Aqeel survived and reached an oasis and found water. Later, he wrote a letter to Imam Husain explaining all the difficulties that he had encountered during the journey to Kufa. In addition, he wrote that the journey was cursed and requested for a proxy to be sent in his place.
When Imam Husain received the letter from Muslim bin Aqeel he replied by telling him to stop being so cowardly and continue with the journey to Kufa. Upon receiving this letter, Muslim continued with his journey to Kufa. It was 1st of Zil-Hijjah 60 A.H. when he reached Kufa. He settled in Kufa and the Shi'ah people used to come and visit him. Muslim bin Aqeel used to read the letters from Imam Husain to them. When the people would hear these letters, they would weep and pledge to support Imam Husain to their last breath.
THE GOVERNOR OF KUFA WAS INFORMED
Nu’man bin Bashir was The governor of Kufa at the time and he had found out that Imam Husain had sent Muslim bin Aqeel as his representative and that the Shi’ah people of Kufa were visiting him and swearing allegiance to him. Upon hearing this The governor gathered the people of Kufa and gave a a speech warning the people of the consequences of opposing the government. He asserted, “Causing trouble, disturbance and fighting amongst ourselves is not right. I will not fight, arrest or cause any kind of hardship to any of you, even for suspicion, unless any of you start a conflict or cause trouble. Also I will fight with the person who breaks the allegiance with our King Yazid even if it means that I would personally have to fight with him.” After he had given this speech some of the members of his group started saying to him, “You did not give strong indications in your speech and because of this the enemy will be encouraged rather than frightened.” The governor replied to them saying, “I can show weakness and at the same time be obedient to Allah Most High. I did not want to show the kind of strength with which Allah Most High is not pleased with me.”
After listening to The governor’s reply Abdullah bin Muslim and Ammarah bin Waleed and Amar bin Sa’d wrote a letter to the King Yazid, stating that Imam Husain had sent a representative to Kufa and the Shi’ah people were swearing allegiance to him. The governor gathered the people and gave a lecture and instead of discouraging and frightening them he encouraged the enemies’ hopes. “Therefore, if you feel that you require the city of Kufa, then we suggest that you appoint a governor who can implement your commands firmly, safeguard your city and keep the enemies at bay.” After reading this letter, Yazid asked advice from one of his men named Sarjoon Roomi.
ADVICE OF SARJOON ROOMI
Sarjoon told the King he would give him the same advice he would have offered if his father had been alive. Sarjoon instructed the King to appoint UbayduLlah bin Ziyad, the present governor of Basra, the new Governor of Kufa. Yazid heeded this advice despite the fact that he disliked UbayduLlah bin Ziyad. He wrote a letter to Yazid stating, “I am appointing you as the new governor of Kufa, as well as Basra. You may appoint someone else as your deputy in Basra. I would like you to go to Kufa immediately and take full charge there. The situation is urgent because Imam Husain has sent a representative, Muslim bin Aqeel, to Kufa on his behalf, who is seeking allegiance from the people of Kufa and turning them against the government. I give you full authority to deal with the matter as you see best; you may ask Muslim bin Aqeel to leave Kufa, or you may execute him.”
When UbayduLlah bin Ziyad received this letter from the King he gathered the people of Basra and told them that he had been appointed the new governor of Kufa. He appointed his brother, Uthman, as deputy governor of Basra. He instructed the people of Basra not to cause any friction or rebel against the King since he would not tolerate such actions and would execute anyone, even members of his family, for causing such troubles.
UBAYDULLAH BIN ZIYAD GOES TOWARDS KUFA
UbayduLlah bin Ziyad departed for his journey to Kufa with some of his family members and servants. When they had almost reached Kufa he separated from them and told them to remian at the outskirts of Kufa, as he wanted to enter the city by himself. When the people of Kufa saw UbayduLlah bin Ziyad entering the city they immediately thought that it was Imam Husain, and started to sing a song welcoming him into their city. “ Welcome, son of our Prophet, welcome son of our Prophet.” UbayduLlah bin Ziyad did not respond to their chanting but continued riding his horse towards The governor’s house. When The governor of Kufa, Nu’man bin Bashir, heard all the people singing in celebration of Imam Husain coming to Kufa, he got frightened and locked the doors of his house thinking Imam Husain was here to take his position and kill him. When UbayduLlah bin Ziyad reached his house and knocked on the door, Nu’man would not open it. UbayduLlah bin Ziyad shouted that if he did not open the doors then they would open the doors by force. When UbayduLlah bin Ziyad uttered these words, someone from the crowd recognised his voice and said, “This is not Imam Husain, it is UbayduLlah bin Ziyad, The governor of Basra”. The crowd immediately dispersed. Nu’man also heard this and he opened his doors to let UbayduLlah bin Ziyad enter his house.
The next day UbayduLlah bin Ziyad told Nu'man to gather all the people of Kufa, and he gave a speech telling them that he was the new governor of Kufa appointed by the King. He told the people, “ I will be lenient on the poor, and the people who are loyal to the King, but I will arrest and punish anyone who shows disloyalty to the King. They will feel my sword against their necks. I am here to implement the laws and the orders of the King. I will live amongst you as a law-abiding citizen.” He gave a lengthy speech to the people. People who were in favour of Muslim bin Aqeel began to feel frightened of UbayduLlah bin Ziyad. When Muslim bin Aqeel heard that the people had been so frightened by the speech, he too felt fear of the person whose house has was staying at.
MUSLIM BIN AQEEL MOVES PREMISES
Muslim bin Aqeel began making arrangements to move to someone else’s house. He went to Hani bin Urwah’s house, and knocked on his door, asking whether he could stay there. The expression on Hani bin Urwah’s face told him he was not welcome. He said, “You should not have come here as you might be creating trouble for me and my family.” Muslim bin Aqeel replied, “I have come to your house as a guest and you are telling me that I am not welcome.” Hani told him that if he felt that way, he should come and live with him as his guest. After that Muslim bin Aqeel began living there.
UBAYDULLAH BIN ZIYAD’S DETECTIVE SLAVE
UbayduLlah bin Ziyad asked one of his slaves to act as a detective to find out where Muslim bin Aqeel was staying. He gave him 3,000 dinars and said “Use this money in any way that will help you find the house where Muslim bin Aqeel is hiding.” The slave took the money and started the search. His first stop was at the Mosque as it was time to perform salah, and while he was there he saw a person performing his salah in the distance. He asked who it was, and was told that it was Muslim bin Awsaja-Asdi, and that he was the right-hand man of Muslim bin Aqeel. When Awsaja-Asdi finished saying his prayers the slave approached him and said, “I am a traveller from Syria, and I am so honoured that Allah Most High has given me the love of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and his family. I have found out that a relative of the Prophet is staying in Kufa and the people of Kufa are swearing their allegiance to him. I will give you 3,000 dinars if you can tell me where he is. If you think I cannot be trusted or am spying on behalf of the government, I am willing to swear by Allah Most High to reassure you that all I want is to meet him. I would be very honoured if you could arrange this.” They had a lengthy conversation but Muslim bin Awsaja-Asdi disclose Muslim bin Aqeel’s residence. After that day they started to see each other on a daily basis and became friends. Occasionally, Awsaja-Asdi took the slave with him when he went to Hani’s house. In the meantime, Hani had become very ill and The governor, UbayduLlah bin Ziyad, came to visit him. At the same time another person, Amarah bin Abdur-Rahman, was visiting Hani. He told Hani that it was the perfect opportunity to kill The governor, but Hani refused saying, “No, he has come to visit me.”
After a few days another person called Shareek bin A’uoor who was well respected and popular amongst the people also became ill, and came to live with Hani. When The governor found out about his illness he sent a message to Shareek that he would come to visit him that evening. Shareek bin A’uoor told Muslim bin Aqeel that The governor was planning to visit him, and suggested they have him killed so that Muslim could take his position as governor of Kufa and have complete control over the city.
Hani was listening to all this; he warned them that the time was not right for this action As the day passed and the evening approached The governor arrived to visit Shareek at Hani’s house. They welcomed him and greeted him as their guest. After quite a lengthy stay he left. Shareek turned to Muslim bin Aqeel and said, “You should have killed him while you had the opportunity.” Muslim bin Aqeel replied, “I did not kill The governor for two reasons. Firstly, Hani did not want any blood-shed in his house and I have to respect that. Secondly, our Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has told us that it is not permissible for a Muslim to kill another Muslim.”
Within three days Shareek’s health had deteriorated rapidly and sadly he passed away. A lot people came to Hani’s house to pay their respects and also came to see Muslim bin Aqeel. Amongst these visitors was Muslim bin Awsaja-Asdi who used to come and bring the slave (detective) along with him. The slave had been continuously reporting back to Ibn Ziyad and informing him of Muslim bin Aqeel’s activities.
As Hani’s health improved he began attending meetings at The governor’s house daily as he had done before Musim bin Aqeel’s arrival in Kufa. However, as time progressed he began using the excuse that he was ill so that he would not have to attend the meetings. But the slave would report back and tell The governor that there was nothing wrong with Hani and that he was lying. One day The governor asked the people why Hani had not been attending the daily meetings. They answered that he was not feeling well. The governor said, “I have evidence to believe that he is not ill at all and he meets a lot of people daily in his own house. I would like one of you to go and call him, and tell him that The governor would like to see him.”
HANI WAS ARRESTED
When Hani arrived at The governor’s house he was arrested and questioned about why he had opposed King Yazid, and why he had alllowed Muslim bin Aqeel to stay at his house, and why he had held meetings in his home trying to persuade others to also oppose Yazid. Hani denied the allegations but The governor told him that he had got the information from someone who attended those meetings. Hani told The governor that his informant was lying, upon which The governor pointed to his slave and asked Hani if he recognised him. Hani had no choice but to confirm that he did, but swore by Allah that he had not invited Muslim bin Aqeel into his house, but had felt too ashamed to turm him away when he presented himself as a guest. He promised that he would immediately tell Muslim bin Aqeel to leave his house, but The governor replied, “ I cannot let you go until you hand Muslim bin Aqeel over to me.” However, Hani refused to hand Muslim over to him saying that Muslim was his guest and if he handed him over, he may be executed. An argument ensued between the two during which The governor threatened to have Hani killed. Hani reminded him that he had a large tribe of followers who would not allow The governor to get away with such an evil act.
Because Hani refused to comply with the authorities, The governor ordered that he should be locked up in prison. By the time the news of Hani’s arrest reached his tribe, it had been exaggerated to the degree that people were saying that he had been executed. When Hani’s people heard of this they came and surrounded The governor’s house. The governor started to panic. He called the judge of Kufa, Qadi Shuraih, to come and tell Hani’s people that he was alive and had been detained temporarily. After listening to Qadi Shuraih’s version of events, the people dispersed.
MUSLIM BIN AQEEL SURROUNDS THE
When Muslim bin Aqeel heard of what had happened he gathered together all 18,000 people who had sworn allegiance to him, and who were from different tribes. Four thousand of them were already at Hani’s house and soon all 18 thousand men had surrounded The governor’s house. The governor saw that he could not contend with such a vast crowd as his police force consisted of only 30 men, so he locked himself inside his house. The people surrounded the house all day.
The governor again managed to fool the people and exploit the situation to his advantage. He knew that among the people in his presence were leaders of some of the well-known tribes, so he told them to climb on the walls of his house and instruct the people of their tribes to leave Muslim bin Aqeel and go home. Those who followed their instructions and went home would be pardoned by The governor and the King, but those who did not would be arrested and punished. The leaders managed to convince their followers to go home, and the crowd began to disperse.
PEOPLE OF KUFA BROKE THEIR PROMISE
Eventually there were only a few people left with Muslim bin Aqeel. He thought he might as well tell these people to go to their homes and he should go to the Mosque. When he turned to go to the Mosque only 30 men had remained with him. By the time he had reached the Mosque he turned to look back and saw that he was left alone.
He decided to enter the Mosque and say his prayers. Afterwards, he left the Mosque and started to walk through the streets of Kufa like a stranger who had just entered the city. Whilst walking around he became very thirsty; he reached a house and knocked on a door to ask for some water. A woman named Tu’ah answered the door. Her son worked for The governor as a detective. Muslim bin Aqeel asked the woman for some water and the woman gave him some. After quenching his thirst he sat down at her doorstep to have a rest. Tu’ah asked him if he had a home in the city. Muslim bin Aqeel did not answer her question. She asked the same question again. After she had asked him a number of times, he replied, “I do not have any home or relative in this town. I would appreciate it if you could provide me refuge in your house, maybe I will be able to repay you for this favour.” Tu’ah invited Muslim bin Aqeel into her home and told him that he could stay in a part of the house which was reserved for guests. She then offered him some food but Muslim bin Aqeel did not feel like eating. Up until now she was not aware of who he was, and decided to ask “Who are you?” Muslim bin Aqeel told her who he was, and also said that he had been abandoned by the people of Kufa.
Tu’ah’s son, Bilal, came back from work and noticed that every now and then his mother would go to the part of the house that was reserved for guests. He asked his mother why she kept going there. She made him promise that he would not tell anyone what she was about to tell him. She told him that she had invited Muslim bin Aqeel to stay in their house as a guest and had agreed to give him refuge. After listening to his mother, Bilal became very quiet.
MUSLIM BIN AQEEL WAS ARRESTED
The governor came out of his house when he saw that the crowd had dispersed, and made an announcement that he wanted everyone to gather at the Mosque. When all the people had gathered at the Mosque The governor began his speech and stated, “All the people who have supported Muslim bin Aqeel are forgiven. Muslim bin Aqeel had tried to turn the people against the government but had not succeed. At present he is hiding in someone’s house in our city. I will give the person who finds him a reward for any information leading to his arrest. I will also give pardon to the person whose house he is seeking refuge in. I have informed the police to block all the exits leaving out of Kufa to stop Muslim bin Aqeel escaping. Tomorrow a house-to-house search for him will commence.”
The following morning Bilal went to the governor’s house to inform him that Muslim bin Aqeel had been seeking refuge in his house. When the governor heard about this he immediately sent 72 of his policemen to arrest Muslim bin Aqeel. When the police reached Bilal's house they asked Muslim bin Aqeel to hand himself over to them. When they heard no reply from the house, they entered and tried to confront Muslim bin Aqeel to arrest him but Muslim bin Aqeel forced them out of the house. The police tried to enter the house on several occasions but the outcome was always the same. Finally Muslim bin Aqeel was struck on the face by the sword of Bakar bin Humran. His upper lip was cut and two of his teeth were broken. Upon this he retaliated and struck Bakar bin Humran across the shoulder with his sword, causing him to fall to the ground. The officers then climbed onto the roof of the house and started to throw stones and fire balls inside the house. Muslim bin Aqeel got on top of the roof of the house and started to fight with the police. One of the people named Mohammed bin Ash’at called out to Muslim bin Aqeel and told him to stop fighting and come down and promised he would offer him protection. As there were so many policemen opposing him, Muslim bin Aqeel decided to come down. He was reciting a poem as he decended.
The meaning of the poem was:
“Everyone must die one day, but I do not wish to die,
as I am afraid that I will be branded a liar and
will not be given protection..”
Muhammad bin Ash’at said, “I promise that I will not go back on my word.” Muslim bin Aqeel was so tired from fighting that he had to lean against a wall to rest. Some friends of The governor were present at the time and asked Muslim bin Aqeel to hand over his sword. They assured him that if he accompanied them to the governor’s house, he would be guaranteed protection and would not be harmed.
They sat Muslim bin Aqeel on a donkey and took him towards the house of the governor. Tears were flowing from Muslim bin Aqeel’s eyes. Amer bin UbayduLlah asked him, “Why are you crying? You are the one who wished to take control of Kufa. Those who try to gain power will always have obstacles in their way which cause them problems.” Muslim bin Aqeel replied, “I am not crying for myself, but because I have written to Imam Husain telling him to come to Kufa. At that time the people were pledging allegiance to Yazid. . He should be getting ready to leave for Kufa and he does not even know that the people of Kufa have broken their allegiance. I am afraid that Imam Husain will be treated in the same way I am being treated.” Then he turned towards Muhammad bin Ash’at and said, “Do you remember your promise about giving me refuge, and also that The governor will not harm me. I know that you will not be able to keep that promise. The governor will have me executed. I would like you to do me one favour. Could you write a letter from me to Imam Husain telling him not to come towards Kufa.” Muhammad bin Ash’at promised he would do that for Muslim bin Aqeel.
When they reached The governor’s house Muhammad bin Ash’at said “Wait outside. I will go and inform The governor that we have captured Muslim bin Aqeel.” When he went inside and told the governor, he also told him that he had promised that he would give Muslim bin Aqeel refuge and that he would not harmed. The governor said, “Who are you to make such promises? You were sent to arrest him not to protect him. Go and bring him to me.” The governor then sent his men outside to bring Muslim bin Aqeel in front of him. When Muslim bin Aqeel entered the room he did not say salaam.FOOTNOTE One of his men asked why he had not greeted The governor with salam . He replied, “How can I greet him when he is going to execute me, if he were not then I would greet him with plenty of salaams.” When the governor heard this he replied “There is no doubt that I am going to have you executed.” Muslim bin Aqeel said, “I knew this would happen to me.” He then asked permission to make the last testimony, and the governor granted him permission. As Muslim bin Aqeel was looking around he saw that one of his relative, Umar bin Sa’d was standing amongst the crowd. Muslim bin Aqeel called him over. Before he walked over to Muslim bin Aqeel, Umar bin Sa’d looked at the governor to see his reaction. The governor knew that he was looking at him for his permission to have a conversation with Muslim bin Aqeel. The governor told Umar Bin Sa’d that he may proceed.
They went into the corner of the room and had a long conversation. At the end Muslim bin Aqeel asked whether he could do him a few favours. First he said “I have borrowed ‘X’ amount of money from so and so; could you repay them. Second, when the governor executes me could you take my body and bury me. Third, can you write a letter to Imam Husain telling him that when I arrived in Kufa I was greeted with respect and comfort, and in no time I had more than 18,000 people swearing allegiance to him, daily the numbers were increasing. But they have now all broken their promises and their allegiances and run away. Tell him that I will be executed soon and I am writing to him so that he does not come to Kufa as the situation here is really bad. After he had made his requests, they both came back. The governor asked Umar Bin Sa’d what Muslim bin Aqeel had been saying to him. He told him everything. The governor told him that he could do as he wished about paying the money back and about writing the letter to Imam Husain, but refused to give permission to bury Muslim bin Aqeel’s body. The governor started to abuse Muslim bin Aqeel in front of everyone and ordered him to be taken to the roof of the building and executed. Muslim bin Aqeel started to recite Tasbeah (prayers) as he was being led up to the roof. When they reached the top of the building they executed him and threw his body into the street. The governor ordered Hani to be brought and also executed in the same manner. The date was 9th Zil-Hijjah 60 Hijra.
IMAM HUSAIN RECEIVES MUSLIM BIN AQEEL’S LETTER AND DECIDES TO GO TO KUFA
Imam Husain received Muslim bin Aqeel’s letter, in which he had written that more than 18,000 people had sworn allegiance to him and the numbers were increasiung daily, and had encouraged him to come to Kufa immediately. After reading this letter Imam Husain firmly decided to leave for Kufa. The people again tried to dissuade him, reminding that the Kufans could not be trusted and would turn against him at any time. Imam Husain’s friends would come up to him individually and aske him not to undertake this journey. Abdullah bin Umar came to Imam Husain and said, “It is not in your character to become a very powerful man. Also remember that Allah Most High asked our Prophet (p.b.u.h) whether he would chose worldly possession or the Hereafter, and the Prophet replied that he wanted to enjoy the hereafter. You are also a part of the Prophet’s family, therefore you should not get so involved in the material aspect of this world.” After saying this he started to cry. After listening to Abdullah bin Umar, Imam Husain also had tears in his eyes, and said that although his advice had been sound, he had already made up his mind to go to Kufa.
Abdullah bin Zubair also came and said, “Stay in the province of Hijaz (Makkah) and continue seeking allegiance from the people of Makkah.” Imam Husain replied to Abdullah bin Zubair saying “Our Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has said that one day the Kabah will be insulted by a lamb (man) and I do not want to be that lamb (person) that is why I am leaving Makkah. In any case, you should be happy that I am embarking on such a good cause.”
FOOTNOTE What Imam Husain meant that he did not want to cause of any bloodshed in Makkh.
The reason Imam Husain told Abdullah bin Zubair this was that he knew that he wanted to become leader of Makkah and was himself seeking the allegiance of the people of Makkah. Imam Husain also knew that while he was in Makkah Abdullah bin Zubair would not be able to take allegiance from the Makkans.
The next day Abdullah bin Abbas came to see Imam Husain and asked him whether he was leaving for Kufa .Imam Husain replied “This is true; I am going to Kufa because the people of Kufa dearly request me to come and help them overthrow Yazid, and Muslim bin Aqeel has reassured me about the sincerity of the people of Kufa. Abdullah bin Abbas said, “If they sincerely wanted you to come to Kufa, the people of Kufa by now should have overthrown the governor and made the position of governor vacant for you. You should write to them telling them that if they want you to come to Kufa then they should vacate the position of the governor and his house for you. If you go there while the governor is still there then they are not your supporters but your enemies, and they are inviting you to your death. If you still insist on going then my advice will be not to take your wife and children but to go on your own, as I am afraid that you are going to be martyred in Kufa. And after your death they will miss you dearly and if they are not present there they will not suffer as much harm. If you insist on leaving Makkah then I advise you to go to Yemen as there is plenty of land and mountains there where you can stay. Also from there you can send your representatives to different cities on your behalf to take allegiance for you.”
The reason he advised him to go to Yemen was that Imam Husain’s father, Sayyiduna Ali, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, was appointed the judge of Yemen by our Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and therefore Imam Husain would have had a lot of supporters there, and those people would have helped Imam Husain to overthrow the unjust ruler, Yazid. After listening to all this Imam Husain said, “I am still determined to go to Kufa.” When Abdullah bin Abbas felt that Imam Husain had made up his mind, he rose and said, “O Martyr, I leave you in the hands of Allah Most High,” as he knew in his heart that when Imam Husain reached Kufa his supporters would leave him and expose him to the governor’s brutalities, and he would be killed.
IMAM HUSAIN LEFT MAKKAH FOR KUFA
Imam Husain gathered all his family members and his friends and followers who were going with him and left for Kufa. When the governor of Makkah, Amir bin Sa'id, found out about Imam Husain’s decision, he tried to stop him as he thought that he would take over Kufa and overthrow the governor there. He sent his police to stop and arrest Imam Husain. There was a greater struggle between the two sides, but eventually Imam Husain and his supporters were able to defeat the police and continue with their journey to Kufa. Along the route they frequently met travellers who pleaded Imam Husain not to undertake this journey as no reliance could be placed upon the promises made by the Kufans.
IMAM HUSAIN MET FARZOOQ
During the journey, Imam Husain met with a poet called Farzooq who was on his way to Makkah. Imam Husain asked about the conditions of Kufa. He said, “Listen to me carefully, as I have only just left the city. The people’s hearts are still with you, but because of the fear of Yazid, their swords are with Yazid. If the time comes when you need them to fight with you, they will take the side of the government.” Imam Husain replied, “Whatever fate is going to bring us will be from Allah Most High. If the people are with me it will be a gift from Allah Most High, and we will thank Allah Most High although Allah Most High does not need our thanks. If fate is written against us and the people turn against us then we will be patient.”
LETTER FROM ABDULLAH BIN JAFFER
Abdullah bin Jaffer was in Makkah. He was the brother in-law of Imam Husain as he was married to Imam Husain’s sister,Zainab. When he found out that Imam Husain had left Makkah and gone to Kufa, he wrote a letter and sent it to him with his two sons, Oun and Muhammad. In the letter he wrote:
“By Allah Most High I am pleading with you to come back to Makkah and not go to Kufa, as when you reach Kufa you will be killed and your family will be destroyed. And Allah forbid, if you are martyred then your light of guidance, which is shining on the world, will extinguish. When the people are in desperate trouble they come to you in hope of seeking protection, and you are the beaconlight of faith and the centre of the Believers’ hopes. So please do not delay in returning back to Makkah. I have left Makkah to meet you on the way.”
When Imam Husain read the letter he did not take much notice of it but instead he told his two nephews, “I had a dream and saw our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and he has given me an order. Whether I will benefit or not I will obey what our Prophet has said. His nephews asked “What is the dream?” He replied, “I have not told anyone nor will I tell anyone until I meet my Lord.” After that they carried on with the journey to Kufa and he took his nephews with him.
UbayduLlah Bin Ziyad, the governor of Kufa, found out the Imam Husain was fast approaching Kufa. He sent his forces out to the entrance of Kufa and told them that if Imam Husain or any of his representatives tried to enter Kufa they should be arrested and brought to him.
MARTYRDOM OF QAIS BIN MUSHIR
Qais bin Mush'ir was one of the people with Imam Husain. Imam Husain wrote a letter to the leaders of the tribes of Kufa, and said to Qais, “Take this letter to the leaders of the tribes of Kufa and tell them that I will reach Kufa in a few days time.” When Qais was near the entrance of the gate of Kufa, the governor’s men arrested him and took him to the governor. The governor read the letter and told him that he was going to execute him unless he climbed on top of the house and shouted abuse to Imam Husain so that everyone could hear. Only then will he forgive him and spare his life.” Qais got on top of the roof and started to shout, “O people listen to me. Imam Husain has arrived and is very near Kufa. Obey him, as his mother was the daughter of our Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and his father was Sayyiduna Ali, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, and may Allah Most High curse and destroy this governor, as he is a liar and a cheat.” When the governor heard this he ordered his men to throw Qais off the roof. One of the governor’s men pushed Qais off the roof; and he fell so hard that both his arms and legs were broken and he split his skull open, as a result of which he was martyred.
Imam Husain continued with his journey and sent another person named Abdullah bin Baqtr, with a similar letter to take to Kufa and give to the leaders of the tribes. He was also arrested and taken to the governor and executed in the same way as Qais was.
IMAM HUSAIN WAS INFORMED OF THE
DEATH OF MUSLIM BIN AQEEL
Imam Husain found out about Muslim bin Aqeel’s death at a place called Tha‘labiyya where he met a person who had recently come from Kufa. He explained in great detail to what had been happening in Kufa; how the people had left Muslim bin Aqeel and later how the governor martyred him. Afterwards he started to give advice, “If I were you I would not go to Kufa. You have no support left there and the governor knows that you are coming to Kufa and is prepared to fight with you until you surrender to the will of Yazid; he will execute you and your followers in the same way as he executed Muslim bin Aqeel.”
Imam Husain, for a moment, began to reconsider his decision to go to Kufa. At the same time Muslim bin Aqeel’s sons rose and said, “We swear by Allah Most High that we will seek revenge on behalf of our father or die in the attempt and we will not leave until then.” Imam Husain said, “There is no no charm in life without you.” Some of the other people in the alos said, “We should carry on with the journey to Kufa, as there is a lot of difference between you and Muslim bin Aqeel. The people will change their minds when they would see you there and will come and support you and seek revenge for Muslim bin Aqeel’s death.” Imam Husain started to head towards Kufa.
Along the journey Imam Husain and his group came to a place called Zubala, there he received information about the death of the two representatives whom he had sent earlier to Kufa. (Qais and Baqtr). When Imam Husain heard this he was greatly saddened and went into bereavement . He gathered the people together and told them about the problems that they were going to face when they reached Kufa. He also said, “Those who were to be trusted proved unfaithful, many of you might want to leave and can gladly do so.” A lot of people had joined Imam Husain along the journey thinking that he would gain full control of Kufa, and when they reached Kufa they would benefit from this. But when they heard this they started to disperse slowly until the only people left were those who had initially come with Imam Husain from Makkah.
They continued with the journey, and met a person called Abdullah bin Muti’. He said the same about Kufa, and also gave his view that they should turn back and not go to Kufa, because at this time the governor and his people were still afraid of Imam Husain and his followers, and if they were to go there now, the governor of Kufa would have victory and become more oppressive towards the people, and also more powerful.
HUR TA’MEMI CAME
Haseen bin Numear was put in charge of the police and was ordered to stop people entering Kufa. He found out that Imam Husain was very near Kufa and appointed Hur the leader of an army of 1,000 men, sending him towards Imam Husain to arrest him and his followers. When Hur reached Imam Husain he told his men to surround him and his followers. Imam Husain instructed his people to set up camp there, and upon noticing this Hur also commanded his army to camp in the area and keep Imam Husain and his followers surrounded so that they could not escape. Both groups stayed in their respective camps. The time for Zohar prayer approached, and a member of Imam Husain’s group gave the call for prayer. Upon hearing this Imam Husain came out of his tent and approached Hur, telling him:
"I did not come here of my own accord but was called by the people of Kufa. They sent me messages and letters and even came in person to invite me to Kufa. If you insist that I should return to Makkah and not go to Kufa then you should give me permission to go back."
Imam Husain then went back to his camp and prepared to lead the Zohar prayer. Hur and his army also performed the prayer behind Imam Husain. After the prayer Imam Husain and Hur returned to their respective camps. Similarly, when the time for Asr prayer arrived, Imam Husain led Hur and his army as well as his own followers in prayer. After performing the prayer, Imam Husain addressed Hur and his army, saying:
"O people, fear Allah (swt) and recognise the truth so that Allah will be pleased with you. At the moment, power lies in the hands of Yazid and his governors, but they are cruel people who lie to you, and they have no right to rule over you. We are your rightful rulers, but if you do not recognise that right, and do not wish for us to become rulers, or do not recognise the messages that were sent to me, then let me and my people return to Makkah."
Hur said “I swear by Allah Most High that I have no knowledge about the letters and messages that you keep referring to.” Upon hearing this, Imam Husain put his hand inside his satchel and pulled out all the letters and threw them towards Hur, saying, “These are the letters I keep referring to”. Hur said “I have been ordered to arrest you and take you to UbayduLlah bin Ziyad, the governor of Kufa.” Imam Husain replied, “I would rather die than surender to your governor.”
Imam Husain told all his people to gather their belongings and prepare to return to Makkah. Upon hearing this Hur ordered his men to surround Imam Husain and his people and forceyfully take them to Kufa if they refused to go voluntarily.
Hur suggested to Imam Husain that he should write a letter to Yazid in Syria and said he himself would write to UbayduLlah bin Ziyad explaining the situation and hopefully some agreement could be reached. Imam Husain once again started to get ready to leave, and Hur again stopped them from leaving. Then Imam Husain turned to Hur and his men and delivered a speech:
"Our Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has said that whosoever comes across a cruel and wicked ruler who does not follow the commands of Allah (swt) and his Prophet (p.b.u.h); who makes Halal (permissible in Islam) that which Allah has declared Haram (not permissible in Islam) and vice versa; who oppresses people and commits sins and does nothing to prevent the wrongs being committed, if that person does not oppose the ruler with his words and actions, he will have to account for his deeds in the same way that the ruler will have to account for his deeds. Look! the ruler and the governors have stopped following the commands of Allah Most High and have started to follow the ways of Satan and have no respect for Islam, for this reason the Prophet’s family have a greater right to rule than the king.
I repeat that I have not come here of my own accord, I have been asked to come to Kufa, so that the people can swear their allegiance to me so do not be in contempt of me. If you fulfil your promises then Allah Most High will be pleased with you. As you are well aware, I am the son of Ali, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, and my mother, Fatima, may Allah Most High be pleased with her, is the daughter of our Prophet (p.b.u.h.). My family and I are with you and you should not break your promises by treating us badly. However, breaking promises would be nothing new to me as you have broken promises made to my father and my brother Hasan, and Muslim bin Aqeel, may Allah Most High be pleased with all of them. It is a shame that you are not acting in accordance with your religion. Promise breakers are only a loss to themselves, and I hope and pray that Allah Most High will protect me from your evil ways.”
Hur said, “I again swear by Allah Most High that if you wage a battle with my men, you shall be the one who will be defeated and killed.” Imam Husain angrily replied, “Are you trying to frighten me from death, I am not afraid to die as death will come to all of us one day.” Upon hearing this Hur was speechless. Nevertheless, he still told his men to continue surrounding Imam Husain and his men.
FOUR PEOPLE CAME FROM KUFA TO JOIN
Imam Husain saw four or five people approaching him on camels at a distance from the direction of Kufa. When they neared the camp, Hur tried to stop them and told them that they could not see Imam Husain and his men. When Imam Husain heard this he said to Hur, “Let them through because they are my supporters and have come to see me. If you do not let them in then we shall be forced into battle right now.” After some consideration Hur let them through.
Nafi' bin Hilal, one of the four men who came from Kufa, told that the well-to-do people of Kufa had been bought by the governor and had turned against him and the poor people of Kufa had also left him because of the fear of the governor but in their hearts they were still with him. Nafi’ then went on to explain what had happened to Qais and Baqtr, and how the governor had executed them. Imam Husain tried to stop the tears coming to his eyes but was hurt and saddened too deeply to stop them flowing.
Another person who had come was Tarmah bin Addi’. He advised Imam Husain that because he did not have a large number of people with him to defeat the governor and his men, he should go with him to where his tribe was. Tarmah was from a place which was safe from attack because it was behind a mountain and his own tribe of more than 20,000 people would do everything in their power to help Imam Husain. After realising that Imam Husain would not consider going with him Tarmah left. Imam Husain continued heading towards Kufa and reached a place called Qasr Bani Muqatil by evening. In the morning Imam Husain and his people performed Fajar prayer and decided to go back to Makkah, but Hur and his army would not let them move towards Makkah. After some time, they reached a place called Nineveh.
PLACE OF KARBALA
When they reached Nineveh the governor of Kufa sent a letter to Hur with a messenger stating that Imam Husain and his people should be taken to an open place where there is no water or shelter. The letter also stated that the messenger was to stay with Hur until governor’s ordered had been carried out. When Hur informed Imam Husain of governor’s letter, Imam Husain said, “Let us stay here and do not give us too much trouble, and if you cannot do this then let us go to a Gatheria Mashifiya.” (This was a place where there were trees and water ). Hur said, “You know that I cannot do this as The governor has sent a messenger to watch over me and ensure I obey his orders.”
Zuhair bin Keen who was from Imam Husain`s group said, “My village is very near and if you wish we could go there. My advice is that we should start a battle with Hur’s men now, as tomorrow the governor will send more men and it will be impossible to defeat them.” Imam Husain said that he did not want to start the battle. Zuhair bin Keen then suggested, “We should leave for my village because Hur and his army will try to stop us, and then we can fight with them and you would not have started the fight. Although there are already thousands of them, their numbers are increasing daily.” Imam Husain continued with the journey and eventually on 2nd Muharram 61 Hijra they reached Karbala.
UMAR BIN SA`D ARRIVES AT KARBALA
Umar bin Sa`d was the son of one of the companions of our Prophet (p.b.u.h.). He lived in Kufa. The governor told him that a movement had emerged against the government in Dalam and he should go there and destroy it. He would be given an army of 4,000 men and after he has destroyed this movement he will be appointed as the new governor of the province of Rayye.” When Umar bin Sa`d was ready to leave, Ibn Ziyad suddenly changed his mind and said, “Instead of going to Dalam, go to Karbala where Imam Husain has gone and is camping and is trying to mobilize the people against this government.” Umar bin Sa’d said, “If I have to go into battle or arrest Imam Husain then I am not willing to go.” The governor said, “You know that I have appointed you the governor of Rayye. I will suspend you and not give you the governorship of Rayye unless you do as I demand.” Umar bin Sa’d asked for sometime to reconsider his options. He thought very deeply and asked his friends and advisers on what he should do. Deep down inside he did not want to go and his advisers also told him not to go as Imam Husain was the grandson of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). He went to Ibn Ziyad and recited a poem saying, “I have two options before me. One is that I become governor of Rayye and fulfil my desires. Secondly, I should confront Imam Husain and kill him in battle and be hated amongst all the people and enter into Hell.” After reciting this poem he said to Ibn Ziyad, “I am not going to fight against Imam Husain and I do not want your governorship of Rayye but if you send so and so he will go and fulfil your orders.”
Ibn Ziyad said, “If you do not want to go then go home, I do not require your advice on who to send or who not to send. I am above you in rank and have greater knowledge on these matters than you do.” When the governor said this, Ibn Sa`d was startled; he began to reconsider his position. After careful consideration he decided to take the post and become in charge of the army. He got his men ready and left for Karbala. Upon reaching Karbala he met Imam Husain and enquired, “Why did you come to Kufa?” Imam Husain replied, “I came to Kufa because I was invited through letters, messages and personal invitations and now that I have reached here you do not want me to be here.”
Ibn Sa`d said that he would write a letter to his governor Ibn Ziyad to see what he would like Imam Husain to do. Imam Husain said, “Could you write in your letter that if you do not let us enter Kufa then would you please let us return to Makkah because I dod not want to cause anarchy in the country.” When Ibn Ziyad received the letter from Ibn Sa`d, he wrote back saying, “Tell Imam Husain to swear allegiance to King Yazid. If he does, then we shall come to an agreement but if he does not then we shall fight with him and his people. We will also stop their supply of drinking water.” Ibn Sa`ad sent 500 of his men with Umar Ibn al-Hajjaj as their leader. On 7th of Muharram he was given orders to go to the river and stop Imam Husain and his people from obtaining any water from it. When Imam Husain and his men started to run out of water from their containers, Imam Husain told his brother to take 20 people with him and go to the river Euphrates to get some water. On the way back from the river Imam Husain`s brother and the people with him were attacked by the enemy. After this incident Imam Husain sent Umar bin Qurza to go and see Umar Bin Sa`d, and tell him that Imam Husain would like to have a meeting with him. Both Imam Husain and Umar Bin Sa`ad met and had a long discussion and then went back to their own camps. They had several meetings like this and then Umar Bin Sa`ad wrote a letter to Ibn Ziyad.
In the letter he stated, “I feel that we will not have to go into battle with Imam Husain and his followers because Imam Husain has made three requests, and if we agreee to any one of these requests then this problem can be solved.
His requests are:
1. Allow him to return to Makkah where he had come from.
2. Allow him to join one of the forces that are in Jihad with
the non-believers, so he may fight along side them.
3. Take him to king Yazid in Syria so he may personally
have a conversation with him.
NOTE: In some narrations Imam Husain has asked to let him go to Yazid so he could swear allegiance to him. But this narration is not authentic, if he had said this then there was no need for the war to take place because this was what the government wanted. This narration has been rejected by Uqbah bin Saman, who was reported to be present with Imam Husain during all meetings and claimed that he did not say such a thing.
When Ibn Ziyad read this letter he said, “I accept these requests because the letter which has come to me is from a person who is thinking of the best interests of the government and the people.”
SHIMAR BIN ZIL JAWSHAN`S ADVICE
Shimar bin Zil Jawshan was present when Ibn Ziyad read the letter. He stood up and said to Ibn Ziyad, “How can you let someone leave who has come to overthrow you? He is in your area at the moment, in your grip, I swear by Allah Most High that if he leaves now without swearing allegiance to you, he will become more powerful than you. He will gather a large number of his followers and then you will not be able to stop him fulfilling his ambition. I advise you to force him to pledge allegiance to you at this moment and if he refuses then you should punish him. If you forgive him and let him go then you will be blamed. I swear by Allah Most High again that I have also found out that there have been meetings going on at night between Imam Husain and Umar bin Sa'd. From this you can imagine that they are conspiring against you.”
LETTER OF IBN ZIYAD
Shimar’s advice appealed to Ibn Ziyad and he gave him a letter to take to Umar bin Sa’d. In the letter he told Umar bin Sa’d, "I did not send you to talk to Imam Husain and waste time pleading with him on my behalf. I ordere you to attack and kill Imam Husain and his followers if they refused to pledge their allegiance to me. After you have killed them, I want you to decapitate them, cut off their noses and ears and poke out their eyes, so that they are not recognisable. That is the punishment they deserve for rebelling against the government. Then take their bodies and throw then into an open field and ride your horses over them at high speed so that their flesh is separated from their bones. If you obey my orders, then you will be rewarded with gifts from me, but if you do not then I am immediately suspending you from your post and appointing Shimar in charge of the army." Ibn Ziyad also told Shimar that he would be appointed commander of the army if Umar bin S’ad failed to comply with his orders.
Shimar took this letter to Umar bin Sa’d. After reading the letter Umar bin Sa’d said, “I thought Ibn Ziyad might compromise and make peace with Imam Husain but I did not expect him to react in such a cruel manner.” Shimar said, “You were mistaken then. Now tell me whether you are going to obey his orders or will I have to kill you and cut your head off and send it to Ibn Ziyad?”
Umar bin Sa'd assured Shimar that he would obey Ibn Ziyad’s orders. Then Shimar called some of his relatives who were in Imam Husain’s group; their names were Abdullah, Abbas, Jaffer, and Uthman. He said, “Come with me and live a life of peace and tranquillity.” They replied, “You are cursed and evil, we are not going to come with you. We will stay with Imam Husain. If we come with you we will be punished with Hellfire, and if we stay with Imam Husain then we will enter Paradise.”
Imam Husain and some of his followers were sat outside their tents at the time of Asar prayers. They saw that Umar bin Sa`ad was coming towards them with some of his followers. Imam Husain’s brother Sayyiduna Abbas said, “I have a feeling the people who are coming towards us are here to fight. Get up and get ready to attack them,” Imam Husain told them to prepare for the battle. His brother said, “Let me go first and ask why they have come.” Sayyiduna Abbas took twenty people with him and said to Umar bin Sa'd “What is your reason for coming her?” Umar bin Sa'd replied that he had come to inform Imam Husain of the contents of the letter which Ibn Ziyad had sent. Upon finding out Ibn Ziyad’s intentions, Imam Husain told Sayyiduna Abbas to tell Umar to give them until tonight to make Dua (supplication), recite the Qur'an and perform Salah (prayers). Whatever is destined to happen tomorrow will happen. Umar agreed to give them until the morning to prepare for the battle. They each returned to their own tents.
IMAM HUSAIN GAVE A TALK TO HIS
Imam Husain gathered all his people together and said, “All praise to Allah Most High, and praise to Allah Most High that he gave my grandfather the Prophet hood. And O Allah Most High I thank you for the fact that I was born into the family of the Prophet (sallal laho alihi wa sallam) and for giving us the Holy Qur’an. O people! You have been very loyal to me, you have stayed with me through good and bad. My sons and my relatives are all related to the Prophet (sallal laho alihi wa sallam) and are all pious people.
“O People! I had a dream last night and in it I am looking at someone in the distance mounted on a horse and he was saying to me that people are moving, and death is following them. And I also saw the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said tomorrow evening we would be meeting together. As you know these people are thirsty for my blood, they want to kill me. I give you my permission to go back to Makkah because they only want to kill me. I am happy with you all and willingly give you permission to go.”
When they heard this they all spoke together and told him that they were prepared to sacrifice their lives for him. “We swear to Allah Most High that wherever you go we will go with you; whatever hardship you endure, we will suffer with you. What use are our lives without you?” When he heard them say this he told them to go to their tents.
IMAM HUSAIN GAVE COMFORT TO
HIS SISTER ZAINEB
In the evening, Imam Husain was reciting some sad poetry when his sister Zaineb heard him. She came out of her tent, and said, “O I wish that I were not alive today, so that I would not have to see this day.” Imam Husain said to his sister, “What are you saying? Where is your patience? Be afraid of Allah Most High, and believe in his commands and thank Allah Most High. My mother, Fatima, who was the daughter of our Prophet (sallal laho alihi wa sallam) has passed away. My father, Ali, has also passed away. My brother, Hasan, has gone as well. And all the people who are on this earth will one day have to die and even the angels will have to die. And there is no doubt that one day will come when everything will be destroyed, and there will be only Allah Most High. My father was better than me, my mother was better than me, my brother was better than me. We all have to obey our Prophet (sallal laho alihi wa sallam). If the people who were better than us have gone then who are we to think we will not? We will have to go one day. O my sister, if I were to die tomorrow then I do not want you to pull your hair or beat your chest or cry loudly. Be patient because Allah is pleased with those who are patient.” When she heard this, she became very quite and went inside her tent.
Imam Husain called his people and said, “Tighten all the ropes which are connected to each tent, and dig a trench around the tents and set fire in them, so when the enemy come to attack us in the morning they will not be able to reach the tents.” After doing this, they went and prayed until Fajar. Imam Husain led the Fajar prayer for his followers, and Umar bin Sa’d lead the prayer for his men. It was Friday the 10th of Muharram 61 AH.
IMAM HUSAIN’S HISTORICAL SERMON
When Imam Husain saw that both sides were ready to go to war, he mounted a camel and faced the opposition and made the following speech:
“O people do not rush to kill me as I am the grandson of our Prophet (sallal laho alihi wa sallam), I have not come here of my own accord but have been called by you people. At this time, there is not a man on earth who is the grandson of a prophet apart from me. Pause to think for a while who am I ? If you want to know about me, go and ask the Prophet’s companions who are still alive. Go and ask Jaffer bin Abdullah, Abu Sa'id, Suhail bin Sa’d, Zaid bin Arkam and Anas bin Malik. They will tell you how the Prophet (sallal laho alihi wa sallam) used to love us. Tell me is it right for you to receive me with un-sheathed swords? Tell me, for what crime do you want to kill me? Have I killed anyone that you want to punish me for his or her murder? Or have I taken anybody’s property? O people listen to me, did you not write letters asking me to come? Once again I say, I have come here because you have invited me. But since I have come here, you do not recognise me and you do not want to support me.” He then finished his sermon and dismounted the camel.
EXCHANGE OF WORDS BETWEEN ZUHAIR
Zuhair bin Qayn, one of the supporters of Imam Husain, said, "O people of Kufa! We are all brothers, and we have not yet started to fight. On one side is the grandson of our Prophet and on the other side is Ibn Ziyad. You should leave that evil man and come and join Imam Husain‘s group. Those who contribute to the killing of the grandson of the Prophet will be in utter loss on the Day of Judgement because the Prophet will not intercede on their behalf. Victory lies with Imam Husain; with King Yazid and the governor there is nothing but shame.” Shimar responded that Zuhair bin Qayn his group would all be punished and killed. Zuhair replied, "You should not interrupt us. We are honest supporters of Imam Husain, and for that reason we will be granted Paradise." Zouhair wanted to continue with this verbal battle, but Imam Husain told him to go back to his tent.
SEPARATION OF HUR BIN YAZID FROM THE ARMY OF UMAR BIN SA’D
When Umar bin Sa’d decided to attack, Hur came before him and asked him if they were going to fight with Imam Husain. And if they had not accepted his proposals.Umar bin Sa’d said that he wanted to accept one of those proposals but Ibn Ziyad had not agreed to any of those conditions. After listening to this Hur started to move closer and closer towards Imam Husain and his followers with thirty of his men. One person said, “Hur, why are your legs shaking? Hur answered “I am trying to decide whether to go to Paradise or to Hell.” Before they knew it, he and his men were beside Imam Husain. He said “I am the person who made you encamp here and stopped you from going back to Makkah. I swear by Allah Most High I did not realise that the situation would escalate to such a degree that they would want to kill you. Whatever I have done was wrong. Can you tell me, if I ask for forgiveness, will Allah Most High forgive me? Imam Husain said, “Of course, Allah Most High will forgive you and I will make Dua for you that Allah Most High forgives you for your past sins.”
In this way Hur joined Imam Husain and left Umar bin Sa’d‘s army. Hur then addressed Umar bin Sa’d‘s army:
“O people, why did you not accept any of the terms offered by Imam Husain? Do you think that Allah Most High will allow you to succeed and defeat the grandson of his beloved Prophet (pbuh)? Do you think that by killing Imam Husain you will gain salvation? O residents of Kufa! you called Imam Husain and have now left him alone. How sad it is that you have surrounded him in a place where he cannot go anywhere. And how pathetic it is that you have blocked the river (Euphrates) so that no person from his followers can have water. The Jews, Christians, Fire worshipers, dogs, pigs and other animals are drinking water but Imam Husain cannot have water. Is he not even worthy of drinking our water? O people, if you do not repent from this and give Imam Husain water, on the Day of Judgement Allah Most High will also not let you drink water from the river Kauther.”
While Hur was making his speech the people started throwing arrows at him and he went inside the camp.
BEGINNING OF THE WAR
On 10th of Muharram Umar bin Sa’d got his bow and arrows ready and started to fire them towards Imam Husain and his followers. He said “O people, be my witness that I was the first one to shoot my arrows towards Imam Husain.” When his people saw this they also started to shoot their arrows towards them. Afterwards Yassar the slave of Ziyad, and Salam, the slave of UbayduLlah came from Umar bin Sa'd’s army and challenged Imam Husain and said, “Send two of your champions and we shall fight them.” From Imam Husain’s side, Abdullah bin Omair Kalbi came out to fight. He killed Yassar. Salam tried to kill Abdullah and struck a blow with which Abdullah lost the fingers of one of his hands. Then Abdullah struck a blow on Salam and killed him too. Nearby was his wife who came running towards him and said, “I am proud of you for your willingness to sacrifice yourself for the grandson of our Prophet (sallal laho alhi wasallam) and I am also with you.” Abdullah said to her, “You should go back to where Imam Husain is.” Then Abdullah went towards Umar bin Sa'ds army and started to fight with them. They all attacked him and martyred him. (May Allah grant him Paradise, Ameen)
END OF IBN JOZAH
Ibn Jozah was from the army of Umar bin Sa’d. He left his post and started to say to Imam Husain and his followers, “Where is Imam Husain? Which one of you is Imam Husain?” The third time he asked this, one of the people from the crowd said, “He is with us. What would you like to say to him?” Ibn Jozah said “O Imam Husain I have come to tell you that you are shortly going to enter the Hell fire.” Imam Husain said, “You are a lair, after my death I am going to meet Allah Most High, who is the most Merciful and most Kind. Who are you?” Ibn Jozah told his name. Imam Husain then made a supplication (Dua) “O Allah Most High send him to the Hell Fire.” Upon hearing this Ibn Jozah became angry when he heard this and tried to ride his horse towards Imam Husain at high speed. But his horse became frightened and tossed him over, whereby his foot got caught in the stirrup and he was left hanging to the ground. The horse started to gallop very fast and he was dragged along the floor. It got to the point that there was no flesh left on his face and he died. One of Ibn Jozah’s friends said, “I am not going to fight with Imam Husain as his supplications are accepted immediately.”
MARTYRDOM OF IBN KHUZAIR
Yazid bin Ma‘qil came from the other side to challenge Imam Husain’s companions to single combat. Ibn Khuzair came out from Imam Husain’s side and said, “You people are liars and cheats. You should repent because you came to fight with Imam Husain.” They started to fight and Ibn Khuzair killed Yazid bin Ma‘qil. When his people saw this, they rushed over to attack Ibn Khuzair and K‘ab bin Jabir martyred him. K‘ab’s wife was on Imam Husain’s side. When she saw that her husband had killed Ibn Khuzair, she came over and said to him, “How can you kill a person who was the best amongst us in reading the Holy Qur'an, and was known as Sayyidul Qurah. I do not want anything to do with you. I am asking for a divorce from you as we have nothing in common.”
MARTYRDOM OF UMAR BIN QURZAH
One of Imam Husain’s followers Umar bin Qurzah came to help Ibn Khuzair and fought til he was also martyred. One of his brothers was in the army of Umar bin Sa’d. He shouted in a loud voice, “O Husain, you are a liar and your father was a lair also, and you brain-washed my brother so that he became your follower and was killed for you.” Imam Husain answered, “I did not mislead your brother but Allah Most High guided him on the straight path. You are being misled.” Upon hearing this Umar got angry and started to attack Imam Husain’s side and said, “There will be either me or you left; only one of us will survive this battle.” In the mean time, Nafi' bin Hilal from Imam Husain’s side shot an arrow at him and injured him badly and then pulled his sword out ready to go and cut off his head. Just as he was about to do some people from the other side came and took him back, thus he survived.
After this two other people, Muzahim bin Harees and Yazid bin Sufyan came out to fight. They challenged anyone, asking who wanted to confront them. Nafi' bin Hilal and Hur came out for the single combat. It was the saem Hur who had deserted Umar bin Sa’d’s army and had repented. They both went out to fight these two people and Allah Most High gave them victory over both of them. The losses suffered by Umar’s army greatly worried Amar bin Hujjaj, so he suggested that rather than meeting Imam Husain’s supporters in single combat,a general attack should be launched.Umar bin Sa’d agreed with his plan.
When Imam Husain heard this he said, “O Umar bin Hajjaj how can you turn the people against us. If you were to die in this position, in your heart you know who is speaking the truth and who is telling lies. Which of the two groups is on the straight path and which one is not.” Hajjaj could not bear to listen to the truth so he attacked Imam Husain’s side with the entire right-wing of the army under him. The attack was resisted by Imam Husain’s companions but Muslim bin ‘Awsaja was left on the ground of the battlefield. Imam Husain came to him and comforted him saying, “May Allah Most High be Merciful to you.” Habib bin Muzahar, who was close-by, said, “May Allah Most High grant you Paradise.” Muslim bin ‘Awsaja opened his eyes and said, “Whatever happens, until you are alive do not leave Imam Husain’s side as he is on the straight path.” Thus ‘Awsaja passed away.
RAIN OF ARROWS ON IMAM
The rival force decided to launch their attack at once, and simultaneously began to fire arrows at Imam Husain and his followers. Some of Imam Husain’s followers and their horses sustained injuries. Even Hur’s horse was injured, and many of the horses were no longer capable of being used in the battle. But the brave soldiers began fighting on foot and the fight dragged until the afternoon. By mid-afternoon the battle was in full force. Umar bin Sa'd and his followers saw that they were losing the battle and lost the courage to continue fighting. Eventually, Shimar and Umar bin Sa'd ordered the others to begin throwing fireballs on the tents of Imam Husain and his followers. When Imam Husain realised what they were planning to do, he came out of his tent and shouted, "Have you got no shame? There are children and women in these tents, how are they going to protect themselves if they get burnt?" He turned to Shimar and asked him, "Are you not ashamed to throw fireballs on my tent when my wife and children are inside it?" Shimar replied, "It does not matter to me that by burning down these tents I will go to Hell, I will burn them down anyway." Eventually, two men Humaid bin Muslim and Shabath bin Rib‘i, told him that it was wrong to be attack the tents in this way, and they stopped throwing the fireballs at them.
MARTYRDOM OF HABIB BIN MUZAHAR
AND HUR BIN YAZID
As people from Imam Husain's side were martyred during the course of the battle, his group of followers began to look very small in number. In contrast, when members of the opposition lost their lives it made no difference to their strength. In the mean time the hour for the Friday prayer arrived. Abu Thumama Sa‘idi suggested to Imam Husain that they should ask the rival force to allow them to offer the Friday prayer, and if the enemy decided to kill them during the prayer then it will still be a great honour to die in the state of prayer. Imam Husain told him to ask Shimar if they were permitted to say the prayer.
He went to ask Shimar to stop the battle so that they could pray. Haseen bin Numair emerged from the ranks of the army saying, “what is the point of saying prayers when your prayers are not accepted.” Habib bin Muzahar from Imam Husain’s side said, “O dog of the world, do you think your prayers are accepted? How can you say that the prayers of the grandson of our Prophet (sallal laho alihi wa sallam) are not accepted? Are you not ashamed by saying this?” Haseen got angry and got on his horse and came very quickly towards Habib. Habib got his sword and waved it at him and hit him so hard that he fell off his horse and was badly injured. His companions ran to his rescue and took his body away and started to fight with Habib. Habib fought with them with great courage. Habib also killed Badeel bin Suream. Another person attacked Habib from behind and as he turned round to confront him Haseen came again and martyred Habib. When Imam Husain saw this he was deeply saddened by the fact that such a courageous man has been martyred.
Hur asked Imam Husain to allow him to sacrifice himself and take revenge for the death of Habib. Hur used his sword very effectively in the battlefield and killed amny men. This inspired such awe in the hearts of Umar bin S’ad’s men that they began shooting arrows at him. Eventually, it was Abu Thamama who martyred him.
MARTYRDOM OF NAFI’ BIN HILAL
Nafi’ bin Hilal, one of Imam Husain‘s friends, was a very courageous person; he killed twelve of Umar bin Sa'd’s soldiers. Eventually, he was injured so severly that they captured him and took him to Umar bin Sa’d. Umar bin Sa’d looked at Nafi' bin Hilal and said, “Look what we have done to you.” Nafi' said, “I have killed twelve of your men and sent them to Hell Fire. If I had any more strength in my arms I would kill you and send you to the Hell Fire as well. But I am glad that I am fighting for Imam Husain and am going to be martyred by people who are on the wrong path. After saying this he breathed his last and joined many others in martyrdom.
SOME OTHER MARTYRS
The fighting continued and people would come to Imam Husain and ask him to be allowed to sacrifice themselves. Abdullah and Abdur’rahman who were from the Gafari tribe came to Imam Husain and asked for his permission to fight. Permission was granted and while fighting with Umar bin Sa'd’s men they were martyred. Similarly, Saif and Malik came and begged for his leave. When they went in the battlefield, they told the rival force, “Leave the wrong path and join us on the straight path. How will you explain yourselves to Allah Most High on the Day of Judgement?” When they heard this Umar bin Sa'd’s men attacked and martyred them. Similarly, Shawdhb bin Abdullah and Ibn Abi Shabib Shakri’s servant, Shuzab, came to Imam Hussian to ask his permission to sacrifice their lives for the sake of saving the valuable principles of Islamic political system. They too achieved martyred. This pattern of events was repeated again and again and may people were martyrdom in this way.
MARTYRDOM OF IMAM HUSAIN’S FAMILY
When all his close friends and the followers who came with him had been martyred, the only people left were members of Imam Husain’s immediate family: his young sons, his brother and himself. One of Imam Husain’s sons, Ali Akbar, came to request Imam Husain to permit him to sacrifice himself in the cause of the Truth. Permission was granted and as he entered the battlefield, he killed many of Umar bin Sa'd’s men but they were too great in number and he suffered repeated attacks at their hands. Murah bin Munqad Abdi attacked Ali Akbar from behind with a spear which made him fall to the ground. When the people saw him falling to the ground, they ran to him and attacked him with swords and martyred him. Oun, Abdur’rahman, and Jaffer went with Imam Husain to bring Ali Akbar’s body back to the tent.
Abdullah bin Muslim then went to fight and was injured by Umar bin Subeah Saydani’s arrow. He was on the ground. Umar saw his chance and shot another arrow and martyred Abdullah. The enemy were slowly surrounding them and Abdullah bin Qutbah Ta‘i martyred Oun bin Abdullah bin Jaffer. Uthman bin Kahlid and Bisher bin Shawoth martyred Abdur’rahman bin Aqeel. Abdullah bin Urah Kashee martyred Jaffer bin Aqeel.
Qasim bin Hasan, Imam Husain’s nephew, went to fight and as soon as he entered the battlefield, Umar bin Sa’d bin Nafaill Azdi attacked him viciously from behind. Qasim fell to the ground and shouted “O my uncle, O my uncle.” When Imam Husain heard this he quickly went to his assistance and attacked Umar. Umar tried to save himself but his hand got injured and as he fell he shouted to his friends. His friends came in such a disordly fashion that a great commotion was caused by the galloping of so many horses and Umar was crushed to death by them.
Imam Husain stood by Qasim and said “How evil is this group, how bad are these people who have martyred you? Tomorrow on the Day of Judgement I will present you in front of Allah Most High and He will decide their fate. I have been forced into such a weak position that even when my nephew calls out to me for help I cannot help him. I have never before faced such helplessness, and I swear by Allah Most High that my enemies are great in number and my companions are few.” While Imam Husain was talking to Qasim, he slowly passed away. Imam Husain carried his body on his back and brought him to where the bodies of Ali Akbar and other relatives had been kept. Abu Bakr bin Hasn was also attacked and martyred.
MARTYRDOM OF ABDULLAH BIN HUSAIN
For a short period of time the battle was less intense, Imam Husain walked out of the tent. After a while he sat down with his son, Abdullah bin Husain, in his lap. Abdullah bin Husain was four or five year old at that time. A person from Bani Asad shot an arrow which penetrated Abdullah’s neck, and he was also martyred. Imam Husain looked up towards the sky and said “O Allah Most High, if you do not help us we will be killed one by one, take revenge on these tyrant people.”
IMAM HUSAIN’S BROTHERS WERE MARTYRED
Abbas bin Ali, Imam Husain’s brother called his two other brothers, Abdullah and Jaffer, and said, “Let us fight the enemy who are against Allah Most High and his Prophet, even if we have to be martyred.” They fought with their all hearts, until Hani bin Sabet martyred Abdullah bin Ali and Jaffer bin Ali. A person from the tribe of Bani, Abban bin Daram, attacked Uthman bin Ali and knocked him down. Then he got on top of his chest, cut off his head and martyred him. Another person from the same tribe martyred Muhammad bin Ali. Abu Bakr bin Ali was also martyred.
IMAM HUSAIN WAS LEFT ALONE
Imam Husain’s sons, nephews, brothers, relatives, friends and supporters – all had been martyred. Imam Husain was left alone. Imam Husain was thirsty and tired due to all the fighting. He started to go towards the river Euphrates so that he may have a drink. When he was close enough to have a drink, Haseen bin Numair shot an arrow that hit Imam Husain in the face. Imam Husain pulled the arrow out of his face and as he was wiping the blood, he kept saying; “O Allah Most High punish those who are doing these evil things to the grandson of your beloved Prophet. Punish those who are using force against me.” Later, Shimar got ten of his men and went towards Imam Husain’s tent. Imam Husain admonished them saying, “Don’t you have any shame? Are you not afraid of the Hereafter? Have you lost all sense of humanity? Tell your men not to harm the women and children.” When noone answered him, Imam Husain picked up his sword and started to fight. Shimar had with him Abdur Rahman bin Jofee, Qasam bin Nazeed Jofee, Sahleh bin Wahhab, Sinan bin Ans Nakhee, Khowlah bin Yazid Asbahee, and he shouted to them to surround Imam Husain, and kill him.
When they tried to surround Imam Husain, he attacked them and they all fell to the ground. In the end they all attacked him simultaneously. Even then Imam Husain fought them off. While this was happening, Sayyiduna Zaineb (Imam Husain's sister) came out of her tent to see what all the commotion was about. When she saw that her brother was being attacked, she looked up towards the sky saying, "O sky, why don't you fall down on the earth when they are attacking Imam Husain?" She saw Umar bin Sa'd and said to him, "Ibn Sa'd, my brother Husain will be martyred before your very eyes. Do you not have any shame?" Upon hearing this Umar bin Sa'd's eyes filled with tears and they rolled down into his beard. He had nothing to say in his defence and turned away from Sayyiduna Zaineb. Imam Husain continued fighting, determined not to surrender to those who had marked the beginning of Monarchism in Islam.He said to them, "You are hungry for my blood. I swear by Allah Most High that Allah Most High will not be pleased with you. Allah Most High will punish you for my death and he will take revenge before you even realise that He has done it. And I swear by Allah Most High that if you kill me the doors of bloodshed will be opened on you, and there will be many killings amongst your people. Why? Because you are trying to kill an innocent person, and that is not permissible in Islam." When Imam Husain told them this, not one person answered him. Meanwhile, Imam Husain was still protecting himself in the fight. In the back of their minds all of the soldiers had the thought that they should not be the one to actually kill him. In their hearts they knew that he was the grandson of the Prophet (Sallal laho alhi wasallam) and nobody wanted to be the person remembered and cursed until the Day of Judgement for killing Imam Husain.
MARTYRDOM OF IMAM HUSAIN
Shimar shouted to his men, “How cowardly you all are? You cannot even kill an injured person. There are so many of you that if all of you were to throw one stone at a time he would be killed and buried. So what are you doing? Attack him at once and kill him instantly.” When Imam Husain heard that Shimar was urging the people to attack him, he said, “The prophecy of the Prophet has come true. The Prophet had said that he was looking at a white dog that was sniffing at the blood of his family.” The reason Imam Husain said this was because Shimar had leprosy.
When they heard this they started to attack. Some of them started to shoot arrows at Imam Husain. Zurah bin Sahreek Tamimi attacked Imam Husain on his right shoulder, causing him deep and serious wounds. After that Sinan bin Anas Nakhee threw a spear at Imam Husain. The sheer force made Imam Husain fall to the ground, and Khowla bin Yazid Asbahi came forward with the intention of cutting off Imam Husain’s head. At that time Imam Husain’s whole body was shaking. Sanan said to Khowla, “You get back, I will cut his head off.” He came forward and cut Imam Husain’s head and separated it from his body. They started to divide Imam Husain’s belongings amongst themselves. Baher bin Ka’b took Imam Husain’s shirt, Qais took Imam Husain’s shoes and Aswad Azdee took his sword. There were spear wounds , and forty-three sword wounds on Imam Husain’s body.Umar bin Sa’d ordered ten horsemen to ride over Imam Husain’s body at such a speed that the meat would be separated from the bones.
During the course of the battle 72 people had been killed from the opposite side, and 88 people had been martyred from Imam Husain’s side. Umar bin Sa’d led the funeral prayer for his deceased and buried them and left Imam Husain and his followers as they were.
According to the Islamic calendar, it was the time of the Friday prayer on the 10th of Muharram in 61 Hijrah when Imam Husain was martyred.
EVENTS AFTER MARTYRDOM
THE TENTS WERE ROBBED
After Imam Husain was martyred, the enemy took all of his belongings, and captured his injured horse. They went towards his tents on their camels and entered the tents of Imam Husain’s wife and the rest of the women and started to take whatever they could find. They even took the blankets, which were on Imam Husain’s wife, sister and daughters. Shimar bin Zil Jawshan saw that Ali bin Husain, the son of Imam Husain, who was sick at the time, was in the tent . He looked much younger in appearance than he actually was. When Shimar saw him he said, “Kill him also.” Humaid bin Muslim stopped him and said “Are you trying to kill little children as well?” When he heard this he stopped himself from killing Ali. This is the same Ali who is well known as Zain-ul- 'Abidin. Zain-ul- 'Abidin and all the women were taken into custody.
Imam Husain’s wife, Rubab, her servants Uqba bin Saman and Murkah bin Samama Asdi were still alive. Zain-ul- 'Abidin, Imam Husain’s sister and his daughter were also alive, as servants were not killed at the time of war . Shimar got Imam Husain’s head and called Khowla bin Yazid and Humaid bin Muslim Asdee and said, “Take this head and go to Kufa and inform Ibn Ziyad that we have cut off Imam Husain’s head as he had wished.” Night had already fallen when these reached Kufa, the house of the governor was locked.
Khowla took Imam Husain’s head to his house for the night. When he reached his house he told his wife that he had brought the head of Imam Husain. His wife said, “People bring back bags of money when they go away, and you have brought into our house the head of the grandson of our Prophet (sallal la ho alihi wasallam)? For this reason I am not going to speak to you” He then went into another part of the house and went to sleep. His wife reported that in the morning she saw a light (noor) flickering towards the sky from the tub where Imam Husain’s head had been placed, and fluttering white birds were surrounding it.
In the morning Khowla took the head of Imam Husain to Governor Ibn Ziyad and presented it to him on a platter. The governor had a small stick in his hand and he tapped it on the teeth of Imam Husain. Zaid bin al-‘Arqam, a companion of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), was present at the governor‘s house. He said to Ibn Ziyad, “Do not tap your stick on those teeth. I have seen those teeth being kissed by our Prophet (sallalaho alihi wasallam) many times. Today you are hitting your stick on those same teeth” Ibn Ziyad said, “May Allah Most High curse you. If you were not an old man I would have your head cut off as well.” Zaid bin Al’Arqam stood up and said “How evil you are, you have martyred the grandson of Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).” Then he turned to the crowd and said “What kind of governor have you appointed that he is killing righteous people, curse on you all and on you Ibn Ziyad that you have made such a big mistake and you are not even ashamed of it.”
IMAM HUSAIN’S FAMILY TAKEN TO KUFA
The next day Shimar, who had captured all the women and Zain-ul- ‘Abidin and the two slaves, started to move them towards Kufa to bring them in front of Ibn Ziyad. When the women came out of their tents they could see in the distance that in the battlefield all the bodies were covered in blood and some were badly mutilated. They all screamed together and Sayyiduna Zaineb shouted “Ya Muhammad Ya Muhammad (O Muhammad O Muhammad), they have mutilated Imam Husain and he is lying there covered in blood.” She repeated the same words again and said, “Your daughters are shackled and prisoned. Your children have been martyred and their bodies are covered in dust.” When Sayyiduna Zaineb said this, even the enemy had tears in their eyes.
They were taken to the governor’s house in Kufa. Ibn Ziyad pointed towards Sayyiduna Zaineb and asked, “Who is she?” as he did not know who Sayyiduna Zaineb was. He asked two or three times. Someone answered and said, “This is Zaineb, Sayyiduna Fatimah’s daughter, the granddaughter of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).” Ibn Ziyad said to Zaineb “I thank Allah Most High that your brother, who was a liar, has been punished.” Zaineb said “I thank Allah Most High for giving us birth in the house of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and for revealing the Holy Qur'an in our house. This world is only for a few days and you are wrong to think that we should be ashamed or embarrassed because in the Hereafter we will be the respected ones, and Allah Most High will punish those who are evil.” Ibn Ziyad said, “Did you not see how I killed all your relatives, and how I mutilated their bodies.” Zainab could not hold back the tears as she had witnessed these events before her own eyes and she began to weep.
Ibn Ziyad then looked at Zain-ul- ‘Abidin and and asked him who he was. He replied, “My name is Ali bin Husain.” Ibn Ziyad said, “Has not Allah Most High had Ali bin Husain killed yet?” When no reply came he said, “Why don’t you answer me, I heard that Ali bin Husain had been killed.” Zain-ul- ‘Abidin said “I had a brother called Ali Akbar and the people at Karbala martyred him.” Ibn Ziyad started to laugh and said, “Yes Allah Most High had him killed.” No one responded to this, so Ibn Ziyad said again, “Why don’t you speak?” Zain-ul- ‘Abidin said, “Allah Most High has said everyone must die no matter who they are.” Ibn Ziyad replied, “Are you from amongst them too?” Then he turned to one of his men and said, “He has grown up now so why don’t you kill him.” Zain-ul- ‘Abidin said, “If you kill me, look at all these women, who are they going to go to Madina with? They have no Mehram other than me who will go with them.” Sayyiduna Zainab could not hold her self back and started to cry again and hugged Zain-ul-Abidin and said, “Have your desires not been fulfilled yet? Why do you want to kill my last nephew as well? Do you not want to see any man alive? If you want to kill him then you have to kill me first. If you have any shame then do not kill him as he will go with us as a guardian to Madina.” Ibn Ziyad said, “I feel sorry for you but if I had really wanted to kill Zain-ul’Ahbedeen, I would kill both of you.”
MARTYR OF ABDULLAH BIN AFEEF
After this Ibn Ziyad ordered that all the people should be gathered together. One person stood up and called all the people and they gathered in the Mosque. Ibn Ziyad stood on the pulpit and gave a speech. In the speech he abused Sayyiduna Ali, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, and abused Imam Husain. Abdullah bin Afeef Azdee Waleabee was one of the companions of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He was a person who spent much of his time in the Mosque. When he heard this speech and the abuse that Ibn Ziyad was directing towards Sayyiduna Ali, he could not take it and said, “ O liar, your father was a liar too, how can you say such evil lies about Sayyiduna Ali, may Allah Most High be pleased with him. May Allah Most High send His wrath upon you. You have martyred the grandson of the Prophet, and you are talking like you have done a good deed.” Ibn Ziyad said, “Bring him to me.” Some of his men tried to bring him to Ibn Ziyad and there was a struggle. He ordered more of his men to arrest Abdullah. In the end Ziyad crucified Abdullah in the Mosque and he was also martyred.
PRISONER’S JOURNEY TO SYRIA
After the speech, ibn Ziyad ordered that the heads of Imam Husain, and some of the people who were martyred should be placed on top of long spears and taken around the streets of Kufa so everybody could see what had happened to the people who turned against the government. The next day he called all the women, Zain-ul-'Abidin and the two slaves and asked them to mount the camel’s bare backs and shackled everyone. He even made the women remove the veils from their faces so that the people could see them, and sent them all to King Yazid. Before they all arrived there Ibn Ziyad had sent the head of Imam Husain, so that the King could see for himself that he had obeyed his commands.
ZUHAIR BIN QAIS WENT TO YAZID
They were still on their way to Yazid when Zuhair went ahead to meet Yazid. Yazid asked him how he was. He replied, “I have come to you with some good news, Allah Most High has given us victory. Imam Husain and 18 of his close relatives and 60 of his friends and followers came towards Kufa. When we heard this we went to them as we thought they would create trouble; and we told them that either they swear allegiance to Yazid or we would have to go to war with them. They preferred to fight with us rather than compromise, so we had to get ready for war. When the sun came out we surrounded them from all sides. We attacked them with our swords, arrows and spears. They tried to save their lives by running here and there, in the trees, mountains and behind rocks; like pigeons would run if they saw a vulture. I swear by Allah Most High that their running and hiding did not make any difference and did not help them at all. Our sharp swords killed them and their bodies are lying there in the field with no clothes, or shade as we speak. If they have any shade it is the sun’s rays and if they have any clothes it is the soil, and the strong winds of the desert are throwing their bodies around. The only people who are looking on them and feeling sorry for them are the wild animals.”(1)
When Yazid heard this, his eyes filled with tears and he said, "I would have been pleased with you even had you not killed Imam Husain. May Allah's Most High wrath be upon Ibn Zaid who has done this to him. I swear by Allah Most High that if I were you I would have forgiven Imam Husain, may Allah Most High send his blessings on him." After saying this he became very quiet, and instead of giving him a gift, as it was customary to give the bearer of good news, he turned him away.
Move footnote to here
THE FAMILY OF IMAM HUSAIN REACHED SYRIA
Meanwhile the prisoners including the women, Zain-ul‘Abidin and the two slaves reached Syria and were taken beforeYazid. Imam Husain’s head, which was still on a spear, and all the other heads which were on platters were brought before Yazid. There were a lot of people with Yazid. When Fatimah and Sakeena, the daughters of Imam Husain, saw their father’s head they could not hold back and screamed out and cried. After a little while when they had calmed down, they said to Yazid, “Is it fair to make the relatives of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) prisoners?” Yazid said, “Go and look in my house. The women in my house are mourning in exactly the same way that you are mourning.” Siyyidia Zainab, Fatima, and Sakeena and the other women went in the palace and saw that all the women were crying and mourning
(1) I ask how Zuhair bin Qais claimed that he had good news for the King when Yazid himself cursed Ibn Ziyad who did all these bad things. And also at a later time Ibn Ziyad admitted that he had done a very bad thing. Zohar hid Imam Husain’s bravery and did not mention how courageous he and his followers were. Moreover, he did not mention anything about the three requests Imam Husain had asked for. May Allah Most High have his wrath upon him.
Zain-ul‘Abidin said, “If the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) saw us would he not release us?” Yazid said “yes he would,” Yazid then looked towards the people who were present and said to them, “Take off the shackles.” When they were all bought in front of Yazid, a person called Nu'man bin Bashir Ansar said, “Can you imagine what our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would have said if he had seen them like this as prisoners?” Yazid said, “You have spoken the truth. He would have been very unhappy.” He freed them all and had tents set up for them and gave them clothes and other necessary provisions.
THE FAMILY’S JOURNEY BACK TO MADINA
After a few days they started to make plans to leave for Madina. When they were departing for Madina, Nu'man bin Bashir appointed a pious person and said, “You go with the caravan and guide them in the journey making sure that they do not come to any harm.” Yazid compensated them for what had been taken from them and sent them on their way. As they were about to leave Yazid came up to Zain-ul ‘Abidin and said, “May Allah Most High’s wrath be upon UbayduLlah bin Ziyad, if I were there in his place I would have accepted the requests that your father mentioned, and I would have helped him as much as I could. But what Allah Most High wanted to happen has happened. If you ever require my help, write to me and I will try to fulfil your request.(1)
(1) Yazid was telling Zain-ul ‘Abidin and Sayyiduna Zaineb how sorry he was, but it was all a show and a false Sa'dness. At least he could have removed Ibn Ziyad from his post as governor, and the people who had helped martyr Imam Husain and his followers could have been punished. But he did not do any such thing.
Yazid then turned to the people who were travelling with them and said they must not be harmed or be given any trouble on the way. Zain-ul ‘Abidin, his aunt, his mother, his sisters and the rest of the crowd left for Madina. The guides and the helpers looked after them with respect and fulfilled their every need. They were looking after them so well not only because Yazid ordered them to do so, but also because they knew that these were the relatives of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). In this way the caravan reached Madina and they began to live in Madina in peace.
NAMES OF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE
MARTYRED IN KARBALA
Sulaiman reports that when Imam Husain was martyred his head and other people's heads were carried on spears towards Ibn Ziyad. The following people were martyred at Karbala, May Allah be pleased with all of them.
Abbas, Jaffer, Abdullah, Uthman, Muhammad, Abu Bak’r, Abdullah, Husain bin Ali, Abu Bak’r, Qasim, Hasan bin Ali, Oun, Muhammad, Jaffer Abdur Rahman, Abdullah, Abdullah bin Muslim, Muhammad bin Abee Sa'id. These are the close relatives i.e. son, brother, and nephews of Imam Husain who were martyred in Karbala.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER KARBALA?
Yazid changed the governor of Madina from Waleed bin Utbah, to Uthman bin Muhammad. When Uthman bin Muhammad reached Madina, he asked a small number of respected people to go to meet Yazid in Syria. Amongst the people were Abdullah bin Hanzalah, Abdullah bin Abee Amar, Munzeer bin Zubear. When they reached syria, Yazid respected them as a guest is supposed to be respected. He gave Abdullah bin Hanzalah a gift of 100,000 Dirhams, and gave the rest of them 10,000 Dirhams. When this caravan came back to Madina, the people of Madina asked Abdullah bin Hanzalah about the character of Yazid. He replied, “We come from a person who does not practice religion. He drinks alcohol and listens to music.” If there were any pious people there, they would gather the people and overthrow him. The people said, “We have heard that Yazid respected you and has rewarded you for your alleginace to him.” Abdullah said, “Yes he has, and I have taken the money so that I can buy weapons to fight against him.”
Because of this news, the people of Madina removed Uthman bin Muhammad from his post and his officials were prisoned. Abdullah bin Muti was appointed as the new governor. Uthman bin Muhammad wrote a letter to Yazid explaining everything. Upon reading the letter, Yazid prepared an army of 12,000 people and said to them “The people of Madina have broken their allegiance to me and have chosen a new governor, Abdullah bin Muti'. I want you to go there and bring Madina under my kingdom again.” He tried to make Umar bin Sa'id, the commander of these 12,000 men but he refused to be in charge. Then he asked UbayduLlah bin Ziyad. His repley was “In the beginning I listened to you and martyred Imam Husain but I do not want to make the same mistake again. I do not want to fight with the people of Madina or become a bad person in the sight of Allah Most High. (1)
(1) The people who say that it was right to kill Imam Husain should read these words very carefully. Why would the person who had martyred Imam Husain say that he had committed a great error. The enemies of Imam Husain should really think hard at this point before saying or making these false accusations and claiming that Ibn Ziyad or Yazid acted lawfully under the Shari‘ah.
He then turned to Muslim bin ‘Uqbah Murri and said, “Do you want to become a leader of the army?” He agreed and said that he would, and if need be, fight with the people of Madina. They prepared to leave for Madina. Yazid went with them for a while giving guidance on what to do. Burning with rage, Yazid said, “When you reach Madina, tell the people that you will give them three days to re-instate the governor of Madina Make sure you obtain allegiance from them. And remember do not harm Ali bin Husain (who is known as Zain-ul ‘Abdin), because he has not taken any step against our government.”
ALL THE ROADS INTO MADINA WERE BLOCKED
When Muslim bin Uqbah reached Madina, he blocked all the entrances into the city and camped outside, so that noone could come to help the people of Madina. He then sent a messenger to Abdullah bin Muti' and the people of Madina telling them that if within three days they had not agreeed to the terms of the King, he was prepared to go to war with them, and he would take all their possessions.
WAR BETWEEN THE PEOPLE OF MADINA AND THE SYRIAN ARMY
When Abdullah bin Muti' and the people of Madina received the message they replied that they were prepared to go to war. Upon hearing the response of the people of Madina, Muslim bin 'Uqbah attacked Madina with his army and martyred many people. He killed Abdullah bin Muti'’s seven sons in front of him and then killed Abdullah bin Muti'. Many people fled the town and went into the hills and others hid in their houses. He ordered his men to take all the possessions the people of Madina. They raped over a 1000 women. A group of the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) were also martyred. They tied their horses in the Mosque (Masjid Nabawi) and allowed them to urinate and defecate inside it. For three days there was no call for prayers and congregational prayers were not said inside the mosque.(1)
(1) Imam Darmi writes that Sa'id bin Musaib, who was a great student of the companions, reported that when he was in the mosque he did not know about the time of the prayers until from the grave of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) he heard the call for the prayer.
Darmi chapter Fasaeilun-Nabi (Allah bless him and give him peace)
Hafiz Ibn Taymiah writes that like Sa'id bin Musaib heard the call for prayer there are other people who heard the answer of their sallams from the grave of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).Kitab Iqtida us Siratal Mustaqeem page 373 by Hafiz Ibn Taimiya
Muslim bin 'Uqbah Murri made everyone pledge allegiance to Yazid. If anyone declined he would have them killed. This tragic event took place during 63 Hijra.
(1) Hafiz Ibn Katheer writes that our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said that the person who fights with the people of Madina will melt like salt does in water, and the person who scares the people of Madina, Allah Most High will make them scared. And Allah Most High and his angels and the people’s curse be upon him. As in this Hadith it mention any one who causes a war with the people of Madina. Some scholars agree that it is permissible to send curse on Yazid. Imam Ibnul Jozee has written a whole book on this and has explained that to send the curse is permissible. But some scholars say people should not, as then some people would send curse on the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Tareek Ibn Katheer chapter on Karbala. This Hadith of Hafiz Ibn Katheer is in Bukahri, and Muslim in the chapter of Hajj.
After the ravage of the popel of, Muslim bin ‘Uqbah advanced towards Makkah, as guided by Yazid.
WAR BETWEEN THE PEOPLE OF MAKKAH
AND THE SYRIAN ARMY
Muslim bin ‘Uqbah gathered his army and ordered them to go to Makkah with him Uqbah died before reaching Makkah. But before his death he had nominated Husain bin Numair as the new leader of the army. Meanwhile when the pious people of Madina found out that the Syrians had gone to Makkah to make war with them, they also left in order to help the people of Makkah. Similarly, people from cities surrounding Makkah also came to help them. Husain bin Numaer reached Makkah and he decided to camp on the outskirts of the city.
Abdullah bin Zubair gathered the people of Makkah and came outside the city, so that he could fight the Syrians. The war started and a lot of people from both sides died. The Syrians attacked ferociously and the Makkans started to disperse, running from the enemy. Abdullah bin Zubear’s mule slipped and fell. When the enemy saw this, Musab bin Abdur Rahman bin A’uf and some other people attacked Abdullah bin Zubear. But he was very brave and fought with them for a long time and killed many of them until in the end they ran away from him.
For the next three months the war carried on (Muharram and Saffer) and in the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the Syrians started to throw fire balls into Makkah aiming at the Ka’bah so that the people of Makkah who were with Abdullah bin Zubear may be killed. Some of the fireballs hit the Ka’bah, burning the cloth covering it and damaging the walls and roof.
The fighting was still continuing in the month of Rabi-ul- Awwal when the news came that Yazid had died. Abdullah bin Zubair was the first to find this out. He asked the Syrians, “Who are you fighting for? Your King has died.” They did not believe him but when they eventually found out that he had died, they left Makkah and went back to Syria, and so the war ended.
TAWWABIN (THOSE WHO MAKE REPENTENCE)
Sulayman bin Surad, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, was a companion of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He lived in Kufa in the 65th Hijra. He was one of the people who gathered others at his home so they could discuss how to invite Imam Husain to Kufa from Makkah. But when Imam Husain came to Kufa these were the people who then left him.
Five years had passed after the sad event of Karbala, and Marwan was now the King. During his rule, Sulayman bin Surad started a movement called Tawwabin. He started to gather the people and told them that they should repent because they invited Imam Husain to Kufa but then left him to be martyred. He urged people that they should seek revenge against the people who had martyred Imam Husain, his family and his friends. When he started this cause, slowly the numbers grew and people started to join his movement. In no time there were over 17,000 people with him.
He gathered these people together and had a meeting, telling them that UbayduLlah bin Ziyad was personally responsible for the martyrdom of Imam Husain, his family and friends. He proposed that a group of people should leave to kill him immediately.
One member of the group spoke up and said, “Why are we going all that way to kill him when there are a lot of other peopleliving in Kufa who particpated in the battle and martyred Imam Husain and his family. Sulaiman bin Surad said that the main culprit was UbayduLlah bin Ziyad who sent the army in the first place, so that is why he should be killed first. After a few more meetings, Sulaiman bin Surad started to make plans for the journey. He originally had over 20, 000 men supporting him but by the time he left there were only 4,000 men with him. On 5th of Rabi-ul-Awwal 65 Hijra, before they left Kufa, Sulaiman bin Surad delivered a speech, full of sorrow and very impassioned, “Do not come with me thinking that there will be something to gain. Our main reason for going is to fight and kill UbayduLlah bin Ziyad and seek revenge for Imam Husain. It might be that they are stronger than us and we may not be able to defeat them. So when you leave Kufa, do so with the intention that you might be martyred.” He also said that when they started this movement the people of Basra and the people of Madina had pleged their support but as yet none had come to their aid.
On the way to Syria, they visited Imam Husain’s tomb and spent a day and a night in lamentation and prayers. They repented for the great sin that they had committed by inviting Imam Husain to Kufa and then leaving him at the mercy of the cruel enemies. They even wished they had died with him at Karbala. After a few days they left and carried on with their journey and reached a place called Ayn al-Warda. They camped there, as they knew that Ubaydullah bin Ziyad had to pass this place.
The army which UbayduLlah bin Ziyad had with him used to send a group of scouts ahead of them. When this group reached Aiy-nul-Warda, Sulaiman bin Surad’s men attacked them and killed some of them that theest of the army desertedthe battlefield. When UbayduLlah bin Ziyad heard this he became very angry and decided to attack Sulaiman bin Surad and his men with the 12,000 soldiers which he had with him at that time.
On 22nd of Jamadi-us-Sani, there was a very fierce battle between the two parties. It went on for three days and a lot of people were killed. In the end Sulaiman bin Surad and a number of his men were martyred and the rest of the group ran away and made their way back to Kufa. While on their way, they met with some people who were coming from Madina to support them. Sulaiman bin Surad’s men told them that they were very late since they had lost the battle. They prayed for the martyr and the people of Madina went back to their town and the people of Kufa started to go back towards Kufa.
MUKHTAR BIN ABEE UBAID SAKFEE
Mukhtar lived in Kufa and possessed a jinn (devil), who used to provide him the information which the people did not know. He was in prison when Sulaiman bin Surad and his men went to kill UbayduLlah bin Ziyad. When Sulaiman bin Surad had been martyred in the battle, through his jinn he received the information and told the people what had happened before any news came to Kufa. He also claimed that after the martyrdom of Sulaiman bin Surad he was the leader of the movement. He pledged that he would take revenge on the people who had martyred Imam Husain and his family. He started the same movement from prison and the people slowly started to get back together again. After a short time he was released from prison and the people started to join him in large numbers and eventually, with the help of the people, he removed the governor of Kufa and became the governor, and started to control the towns surrounding Kufa.
He then began to search for the people who had martyred Imam Husain, his family, and his followers. As he found them he had their heads cut off and their bodies burnt. He caught people like Amer bin S’ad, Shimar, Khowla bin Yazid, UbayduLlah bin Ziyad and hundreds more who were in charge of their groups at the time. He had all of them killed. Those who started to flee from the city were also caught and killed, after their death their houses were burnt.
He then went to war with the people of Basra and was killedin the war. Mukhtar did this good work of taking the revenge for Imam Husain his family, and his followers. However, he claimed that an angel or ajinn used to visit him and he used to receive revelation. Some scholars therefore, say that he claimed to be a Prophet and for this reason he is an unbeliever. Other scholars say that he claimed that the angel came to him and foretold him, so he was misled.
EXAMINING CERTAIN OBJECTIONS THAT ARE RAISED ABOUT IMAM HUSAIN
There are a number of objections that the Nawasib and Khawarij raise regarding Imam Husain, and with the help of Allah Most High, I will attempt to answer their questions and refute their claims, Insha’ Allah.
Question: If the people and the companions of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) advised Imam Husain not to travel to Kufa, why did he do so against their counsel?
Answer: To answer this, we can examine the Imam Tabree’s book of Tareekh Tahzeeb at-Tahzeeb and Hafiz Ibn Kathir’s book, Tareekh Kathir. Imam Tabaree and Hafiz Ibn Kathir both write that the reason the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told Imam Husain not to venture into Kufa was because they did not trust the inhabitants of Kufa. They also believed that the time was not right to go and accept allegiance from the people of Kufa. However Imam Husain decided to go to Kufa because he had seen the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in his dream, and the Prophet, (Allah bless him and give him peace) had given him an order to go to Kufa.
[Tareekh Ibn Kathir and Tareekh at Tabari chapters on Karbala]
From the above reasoning, it can be deduced that the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) were in no way opposing Imam Husain or the group of people who were to accompany him on his journey to Kufa. The truth of the matter is that they were simply suggesting that the time to go to Kufa was not right.
There are also other factors to take into consideration. The letters and invitations that Imam Husain received from the people of Kufa made him believe that he urgently need to go to Kufa to help the people choose a righteous leader. Imam Husain wanted to obey the commands of Allah and the Prophet, (Allah bless him and give him peace), who have ordered the Muslims not to compromise with those who do wrong and cause anarchy in the land.
Question: If Imam Husain made the correct decision, why did he requested the following three things:
(A) To be allowed to return to Madina,
(B) To be allowed to do Jihad, and finally
(C) To be given permission to meet Yazid so that he could swear allegiance to him.
Answer: Hafiz Ibn Kathir, Imam Tabari and Hafiz Ibn Athir all write that Imam Husain’s wife, Rubab, had a servant whose name was ‘Uqbah bin Sam’an. Uqbah was not killed in Karbala, (as some suggest) but survived and travelled to Madina with Rubab. He reported that whenever Imam Husain travelled, he was with him. He further commented that he had listened to everthing that Imam Husain had said to the people, and swore by Allah Most High that there were some people who were claiming that Imam Husain had said that he would go to Yazid and swear allegiance to him. ‘Uqbah insisted that Imam Husain had never said these words. What he did in fact say was that he should be allowed to go back to Madina and see if the people want Yazid as their ruler or Imam Husain.
[Tareekh Ibn Kathir chapter on Karbala Tareekh Tabari chapter on Karbala Tareekh Ibn at Athir chapter on Karbala. By Hafiz Ibn Kathir, Imam Tabari, Imam Ibn Athir.]
I ask if Imam Husain had said that he wanted to go to Yazid so that he could swear allegiance to him, what was the point of the war? Why did he sacrifice the lives of his friends and his family at the battle of Karbala?
Question: Why did none of the companions of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) accompany Imam Husain when he made the journey to Karbala?
Answer: It is wrong to say that none of the companions went with Imam Husain to Karbala – the companions supported, and encouraged people to join him and later, the companions fought against Yazid and achieved martyrdom.
The incident of Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Al-Harith is an illustration of this fact.
Hafiz Ibn Kathir notes from Al-Bukhari that Ibn al-Harith had heard a hadith from the Prophet and while acting upon this hadith, he went to Karbala with Imam Husain. :
The hadith reads: “My son will be martyred in Karbala, and whoever is present there at that time should help my son.”
For this reason, Anas bin Harrith helped Imam Husain and was martyred with him.
[Tareekh Ibn Kathir chapter on Karbala by Hafiz Ibn Kathir]
[Tareekh al Kabeer biography Anas Ibn al-Harrith by Imam Bukahri]
mam Dhahabi writes that Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Umar Ibn al -‘Aas, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, encouraged Furzooq [the poet], to go and help Imam Husain. Another important fact was that Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Zubair may Allah Most High be pleased with him, and a group of the Prophet’s companions in Madina, and in Makkah, fought against Yazid.
[Sayyar A’alam An-Nubala by Imam Dhahabi – chapter about Abdullah bin Umar Ibn al-‘Aas ]
Those who feel hatred towards Imam Husain use a quote by Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi to support their point of view. Ibn al Arabi asserted that it was correct to kill Imam Husain according to the Qur’an and Sunna since he had rebelled aginst the government. The quote is found in the Muqaddamah of Ibn Khaldun.
We maintain that Ibn al-Arabi was wrong by saying this; and that Ibn Khuldun has not actually verified this quote. We will, with the help of Allah, explain and provide hadith as evidence that Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi held an incorrect opinion. Why was it that when Yazid, Ibn Sa’d and UbayduLlah bin Ziyad heard of Imam Husain’s martyrdom, they had said that a grave wrong had been done. How is it that Abu Bakr Ibn al -Arabi says that it was right to kill Imam Husain?
Imam Muslim writes that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that if any of you should see something bad that is happening, a muslim should stop it with his strength, and if he cannot do it with his strength, then he should try to stop it with his tongue, and if he cannot do it with his tongue, then he should feel in his heart that it is wrong and this is the weakest degree of faith.
[Sahih Muslim Kitab al Iman]
Imam Nawawi, while commenting upon this hadith, writes that if the King of the time becomes so evil that it is not possible for the people to tolerate him, it is incumbent upon the righteous people to refrain him from doing injustice and evil deeds. If he resists, then it becomes incumbent upon the people to fight him. This is the interpretation of Imam of the Haramain.
[Sharh Sahih Muslim chapter on Iman by Imam Nawawi]
Imam Tirmizi notes that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “You should never let the fear of others prevent you from speaking the truth,” and the Prophet also said “Speaking the truth in front of a wicked King, (or tyrant) is the greatest jihad.”
[Tirmidhi chapter Fitan]
Imam Husain acted upon the hadith and was martyred as a result of his actions. So we ask, how can it be said that it was permissible to kill Imam Husain according to Qur’an and Sunna?
The enemies of Imam Husain claim that he should not have gone against King Yazid. We say, do they not know that our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said that it is permissible to take steps against a wicked and evil king – and our scholars have unanimously verified Imam Husain’s actions.
Imam Nawawi writes in the commentary of Sahih Muslim that a group of scholars have said it is permissible to fight against a wicked, evil king because Imam Husain, Abdullah bin Zubair, and the pious people of Madina and Makkah fought against Yazid, and the Taba’een fought against Hajajj bin Yusuf
[Sharh Sahih Muslim chapter al-Amarah by Imam Nawawi Hafiz Asqalani has also noted Imam Nawawi’s words in his book, Fath al -Bari, chapter on Fitan]
From this we can understand that the steps that Imam Husain took were correct as verified by the scholars of Hadith. Imam Husain provides an example for others to follow; they could use Imam Husain’s courage as a model to fight against unjust rulers or Kings.
Hafiz Ibn Kathir and Imam Tabari both write that when Yazid was informed that Imam Husain had been martyred, he himself cursed Ibn Ziyad. At a later stage, when Yazid asked Ibn Ziyad to become a commander of the army that was to be sent to attack Madina, Ibn Ziyad responded to Yazid saying that once before he had made a mistake in killing Imam Husain so he did not wish to make another mistake again.
[Hafiz Ibn Kathir Tareekh Katheer, and Imam Tabari, in Tareekh Tabari chapter on attack on Madina]
Again, we see that even when Ibn Ziyad showed remorse at killing Imam Husain, how can Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al Arabi say that killing Imam Husain was correct according to the Qur’an and Sunna?
There are even some people who claim that Imam Husain actually broke the unity of Muslims by opposing Yazid [when everyone had accepted him as Khalif] and his rebelliousness caused a breakaway group to emerge.
The answer to this is that it is incorrect to say that everyone had pledged allegiance to Yazid - none of the great companions had accepted Yazid as the ruler of the Muslims, and for this reason Yazid had written a letter to the governor of Madina urging him to make the people of Madina pledge allegiance to him. When Imam Husain was called to the governor’s house to swear the allegiance, he asked the governor to call the people the next morning and he would be the first among them to speak. If the people of Madina had pledged allegiance toYazid already, then what was the purpose of calling them the next day? (An opposing view is that it could have been to convinve the people otherwisw.)
Also, the people of Basra and the people of Kufa had not yet accepted Yazid as the true ruler of the Muslims. These factors prove that not all the people and the companions had yet accepted Yazid. So to say that Imam Husain broke the unity of the Muslims is a false allegiation. All that Imam Husain was trying to do, was to make awake the Muslims from the state of apathy to the injunctions of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah. Imam Husain not only fulfilled the hadith of the Prophet to stand up against an unjust ruler and to speak the truth but he also serves as a role model for future Muslims on how to confront evil or unjust rulers/kings.
SCHOLARS’ OPINION ABOUT YAZID
Imam Abu Ya`lah narrated a Hadith from Wazai that Abu ‘Ubaid bin Jarrah, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, has said that our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had said that my “Ummah will remain guided on the Sirat al- Mustaqim until a man called Yazid will appear from the tribe of Bani Ummiyah. He will destroy the king who will lead my Umma on the straight path.
There was once a person present in the company of Sayyiduna ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al Aziz who mentioned that Yazid bin Mu’awiyah was “Amir al Mu’amineen.” When ‘Umar heard this, he ordered for that person to receive twenty lashes. What we can observe from this incident is that any individual who respected Yazid (as the one in the above narration clearly did) would be punished for displaying this ‘respect’ - since ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al Aziz clearly did not tolerate this.
Imam Tabari records that when Imam Husain was martyred and news reached ‘Abdullah bin Zubair, he made a speech criticising Yazid’s characteristics and praising Imam Husain. He said, “I swear by Allah, that he (Yazid) has martyred Imam Husain, someone who used to spend his nights standing in prayer whereas Yazid spent his nights listening to the music and watching women dancing. Yazid used to drink alcohol in the day whereas Imam Husain kept fast throughout the day. Imam Husain was the rightful leader of the Muslims as he was more God-fearing and noble than Yazid who rather than reciting and listening to the Qur'an listened to music. Imam Husain was more God-conscious than Yazid, as he would immerse himself in the rememberance of Allah, while Yazid would go hunting on horses.”
‘Abdullah bin Zubair reminded people about the un-Islamic behaviour of Yazid in order to make them realise that by accepting Yazid as the true ruler of the Muslims, they had earned the wrath of Allah and had paved their way to destruction in the Hereafter.
(Tarikh-I- Tabari –History of Karbala by Imam Tabari
Imam Bilazuri also notes the comments that Abdullah bin Zubair made upon hearing the news of Yazid’s death. He records that Abdullah bin Zubair said that he had been informed that Yazid spent his mornings and evenings in the state of intoxication.
[Kitab Ansabul Ashraaf vol. 4 page 21 by Imam Bilazuri]
‘Allama Ibn Hazm writes that Yazid was the person who martyred Imam Husain, the companions, the Tabi`in; he also disrespected, insulted and waged a war in the noble cities of Makkah and Madinah and martyred many of the pious people. His abomination went to such an extent that when Yazid’s army attacked Madinah, their horses urinated in the Mosque of the Messenger of Allah, and also in Riyad al Jannah (a special place in the Mosque of the Prophet).
At prayer times, no one said the prayers in congregation since they were always disrupted and this repeatedly happened until no one was left in the Prophet’s Mosque except Sa'id Ibn Musaib, who pretended to be insane and so was left alone.
[Asma al Khulafa biography of Yazid bin Mu’aviyah]
Imam Bukhari records that Abu Huraira was reported to have said that; “I have learned from the Messenger of Allah two different types of knowledge. One is that which I am telling you, whereas with the second type, if I were to tell the people, they would surely cut my head off.” In the commentary of this Hadith, Ibn Hajr mentions that the latter type of knowledge that Abu Huraira possessed, was about the names of the tyrant rulers and the periods of their rule. Sometimes Abu Hurairah would indirectly talk about the aggressors without mentioning their names specifically – for fear of his life. It is interesting to note that Abu Hurairah consistently made supplication to Allah, that he be protected from the 60th year of Hijra and the government of young people. We can clearly see, that this year was also the year of Yazid’s ascension to the thrown. Allah indeed accepted Abu Hurairah’s supplication, and he passed away, one year before Yazid became the ruler.
[Fath-ul Bari vol.1 by Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqlanee]
Imam Bukhari narrates a hadith in which the Messenger of Allah said, “My Ummah will be destroyed under the rule of the youth from Quraish.” In his commentary, Ibn Hajr writes that this hadith is an indication that one of the young from the Quraish was Yazid. Events unfolded, as the Messenger of Allah had predicted. Yazid became the ruler in 60AH, and died 4 years later. (Fath-ul Bari)
‘Allama Ibn Hazm records that when Yazid was the ruler, the Muslims were subjected to many trials and tribulations. In his early years as a ruler, he gave orders to attack Madinah, martyring many companions and pious men who lived there. He martyred Imam Husain, his family and his followers. In Makkah, he surrounded Ibn Zubair and insulted the God-fearing people. Then within a short time, Allah made him taste death. During his father’s rule, he took part in the war of Istanbul.
(Jamahara Ansaab al-Arab biography of Yazid bin Mu'awiya)
Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes that Yazid would quite often miss his prayers and perform prayers after the time for the prayer had gone, i.e Qada prayer. Ibn Kathir alos notes that Imam Ahmed (Ibn Hanbal) narrates from Abu Sa'id Khudri who heard the Messenger of Allah say that, “after 60 years, there will be (evil) people, who will miss their prayers, and they will do what they believe is right. Soon afterwards, they will be thrown in a part of Hell that is called Gayyei and this is the worst place in Hell.”
(Tarikh Ibn Kathir)
Hafiz Ibn Kathir and Hafiz Ibn Atheer write that Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, wrote a letter to Yazid saying, “O Yazid your army martyred Imam Husain and the family of Abdul Mutalib who acted as a light showing believers the straight path. They were the shining stars guiding people to the straight path. With your orders, your army left them in the middle of a field and robbed all their belongings. They were killed while they were thirsty, without clothes and were left in the battlefield. The wind covered their bodies with the soil, and insects ate their bodies. Then afterwards Allah Most High sent some pious people who covered them and buried them yet through them you had the rule and the respect that you have had. We cannot be allies as you have made grave errors, and the blood of the family of our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is dripping from your sword. Now I will take my revenge from you and you should not think that you have been victorious, for one day we will have victory over you.
Tarikh Ibn Kathir chapter on Karbala Tarikh Ibn Atheer by Hafiz Ibn Atheer chapter on Karbala
Imam Dhahabi records that Yazid was the enemy of Imam Husain and of the family of the Messenger of Allah. He was described as having a very harsh tongue, an evil mouth, and he swore and drank a lot. At the beginning of his rule, he martyred Imam Husain and his family, and then later during his rule, he publicly killed people. For these reasons, many people have long cursed him. After the tragedy of Karbala, people, including the people of Madina, turned against Yazid. May Allah send his blessings upon those people who turned against him (Yazid).
(As Sayyar al ‘Alaam an -Nubala)
SUPPORTERS OF YAZID
The people who support and love Yazid present a Hadith that is noted by Imam Bukhari; they attempt to prove that Yazid was a noble and pious person and will enter Paradise. With the help of Allah Most High I will show that this Hadith was not written about Yazid, and there is no proof that he will enter Paradise. The narrators of this Hadith were enemies of Imam Husain and his family and they were the supporters of Yazid and his tribe. For that reason the hadith does not provide an unbiased and impartial proof which can be used in Yazid’s favour.
Imam Bukahri writes that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said that the first group of people from amongst my followers who fights in the battle of Rome (Istanbul) will be granted forgiveness by Allah Most High. When the Muslim fought the battle of Rome in 51 A.H, Yazid bin Mu'awiya was appointed the leader of that Muslim army. In this battle Sayyiduna Abu Ayyub Ansari was also martyred while fighting with the Unbelievers.
Bukahri Kitabul Jihad chapter Room
This Hadith was for the people who would willingly go to Jihad (war) and were prepared to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Allah Most High. It was not for the people who were be sent by force to participate in that battle. Yazid did not participate in that battle willingly, he was sent to fight by forceby Amir Mu‘awiya. Some scholars maintain that this Hadith applies only to those who have not committed any kind of sin which would otherwise prevent them from entering Paradise.
Allahma Ibn Atheer writes that in the 50 Hijra, Sayyiduna Amir Mu'awiya, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, sent an army to Rome and appointed Sufyan bin Au’f as leader of the army and he also ordered his son Yazid to go with the army. Yazid did not obey Amir Mu'awiya and said that he was feeling ill; Amir accepted this excuse and said that he should not go as he was ill. During the war soldiers fell ill due to food shortages. When Yazid heard of this he stated that he had no concern for the plight of the soldiers of Islam, when he was able to enjoy the comforts of his home with his beautiful wife, Umea Kulsum. When Amir Mu'awiya heard what Yazid had said, he called Yazid and ordered him to go where the army was so that he could experience the suffering of the soldiers of Islam. Amir sent a small army of people with him; this small army consisted of many pious people, including Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas, Sayyiduna Ibn Umar, Sayyiduna Ibn Zubair, Sayyiduna Abu Ayyub Ansari, and a other pious people; eventually they reached Istanbul, and fought in the battle.
[Tareek-Eh-Kamil Ibn Atheer chapter on government of Amir Mu'awiya stories of the 50 Hijra]
This hadith clearly shows that Yazid did not join the army of Mulsims voluntarily, but he was sent by force. Thus how can it be claimed that he will be rewarded with Paradise?
Their first narrator’s name is Yahya bin Hamza. Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqlani writes that Imam Mu’een says he was a Qaddri (from a misled sect). Imam Aajiri says I asked Abu Dawud whether Yahya bin Hamza was a Qaddri and he confirmed that he was..
[Tahzeeb ut-Tahzeeb – biography of Yahya bin Hamza]
The second narrator’s name is Thur bin Yazid Kelai Himsi. Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqlani writes that Imam Ibn Sa'd said he was a Qaddri, and his grandfather was killed in the war of Siffeen fighting for Amir Mu'awiya. Whenever Thur used to talk about Sayyiduna Ali he used to say that he did not like the person who killed my grandfather. Uthman Darmee notes that he had not seen a person like him who was suspected of being a Qaddri. Ahmed bin Saleh narrated the narration from the people of Syria that Thur was a Qaddri. Imam Uzai used also to say bad things about him. Imam Ibn Hamble says that Thur bin Yazid was a Qaddree. Imam Ibn Mu’een says that Maqhul was Qaddri and later repented, but Thur bin Yazid never repented and remined a Qaddri. Aajiri says that he was a Qaddri and he was exiled from his town. Regarding the second narrator Hafiz Abdur Rahman Ibn Hatim says that Abdullah bin Ahmed Humble says that my father Ahmed Ibn Humble used to say that Thur bin Yazid was a Qaddri.
Tahribut Tahzeeb biography of Soar bin Yazid.
Imam Dhahbi writes that Imam Ibn Humble said that Thur bin Yazid was a Qaddri and the people from his town threw him out. Abdullah bin Salim says that the people of Hamas threw Thur out his town and set fire to his house because he used to talk against the faith.
Mizanul A’tidal biography Thur bin Yazid by Imam Zahbee.
We can see that the narrators explaining this narration are from a misled sect and thus was the enemy of Sayyiduna Ali and a firm supporter of Yazid. How then can this narration be used as evidence that Yazid will be granted Paradise?
After reading about Yazid no one can say that Imam Husain should not have opposed Yazid. No one can dare say that Yazid was a righteous and pious person, and that Allah Most High was pleased with him. No one can say that Imam Husain should have given his hand in the hands of Yazid and accept him as the true ruler of the Muslims. Only a person who is against our Prophet’s family can make such claim.
SHIMAR BIN ZIL JAWSHAN
Imam Zahabee writes that Shimar bin Zil Jawshan is the person who martyred Imam Husain, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, and Shimar is the person who gave the order to martyr him. Abu Ishaq says when Shimar used to say prayers with us he used to make supplication saying, “O Allah Most High you know that I am a good person, for that reason forgive me.” On hearing this I said to Shimar how will Allah Most High forgive you when you have martyred the grandson of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and you were the one who helped to have him martyred. Shimar said, “What do you know? We could not do anything other than obey the orders of our King. Had we gone against his commands, we would have been treated worse than the donkeys. I say (Imam Zahabee) that there is no justification for this; a king must only be obeyed if he commands good things to be done and must not be obeyed if his wishes are unjust and evil.
[Mizanul A’tidal biography of Shimar Ibn Dhil Josan by Imam Zahabee]
I thank Allah that he helped me compile this booklet as nothing is possible without His help and I pray to Him that He accepts my work.
I would also like to thank all the brothers and sisiters who helped me complie this booklet:
Ismaeel Fulat translated this booklet from Urdu to English.
Shameem Quraishee who revised and upgraded the English grammer.
Sister Samina Hanif for her research on footnotes.
Muhammad Ammar for the typing of this booklet.
Isepcial thank to Hafiz Muhammd Asim for his hard work and time given for this boklet. I would like to thank
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