Youth Awareness

Pakistan Army once saved Khana Kaba, the holiest place in the holy city Makkah, in 1979 when a group of militants led by Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaibi seized Khana Kaba for two weeks. The militants attacked the holiest place at the time of Fajr Prayer on 20th November, 1979 and several pilgrims were taken hostages.

It was shocking news for Islamic world when the Grand Mosque Khana Kaba was seized by the militants and during that process several guards lost their lives in cross firing. It was the second time when bloodshed occurred on the holy ground of Grand Mosque and pilgrims were taken hostages on Hajj.

Abdullah Hamid Mohammed Al-Qahtani was the leader of militants and he was the one who called the Muslims to obey him as redeemer of Islam. Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaibi, who led the seizure of Holy Kaba, declared his brother-in-law as redeemer of Islam and turned against ruling Al-Saud dynasty.

The Saudi government tried to regain Grand Mosque but couldn’t get success for two weeks and lost several troops in the operation as well. The militants group deployed sharp shooters and snipers at key places of Grand Mosque to stop any kind of assault from Saudi troops. The lives of thousands of pilgrims were at risk as well.

For two weeks none of the attempts to rescue the people got success which created chaos among Muslims of the world. The president of Pakistan General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq asked Saudis to let Pakistan Army do the operation as the whole world were eying on them as well. Saudis allowed him to regain the Grand Mosque.

After getting permission General Zia-ul-Haq chose few very competent SSG Commandos from Pakistan Army and sent them to Saudi Arabia. The commander of SSG commandos made a very brilliant strategy against the militants which worked really well for them. SSG commanders were deployed on the ground of Grand Mosque from helicopters and pushed the snipers and militants towards basement.

Once all the militants were pushed into basement of Grand Mosque, the commander of SSG commandos asked the Saudis to flood the basement. Once the basement was flooded, they electrocuted the water which made militants unconscious and all of them including the leaders were arrested by the commandos of Pakistan Army and finished the siege of Khana Kaba.


SSG Commandos of Pakistan Army Saving Khana Kaba

Pakistan Army Clears Khana Kaba from Militants

SSG commandos of Pakistan Army cleared Khana Kaba and rescued thousands of hostages at in 1979 when a group of militants led by Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaibi seized the Grand Mosque. It all happened so quickly on the morning of 20th Novermber, 1979 that the security guards couldn’t do much to protect the place.

Once Khana Kaba, the holiest place of Muslims, was seized by the militants and thousands of pilgrims were made hostages, the militants declared Abdullah Hamid Mohammed Al-Qahtani the redeemer of Islam. They asked Muslims to obey him as Mahdi, the redeemer of Islam and during the assault executed innocent pilgrims.

The armed troops of Saudis tried to regain the Grand Mosque in several attempts but militants didn’t let them entered in the ground of holy place. The siege of Khana Kaba continued for almost two weeks until SSG commandos of Pakistan Army led by former army chief General Pervez Musharraf cleared the area from militants.

The strategy applied by the commandos to regain the Grand Mosque was quite successful and they rescued the hostage pilgrims without any bloodshed. The sharp shooters and snipers of militants held the key positions at the ground of Grand Mosque and they didn’t let any person entered from the gates.

SSG commandos entered in the Grand Mosque by using helicopters and pushed the militants into basement. That’s was the best chance to capture them without bloodshed at holy place. The captain of the commandos asked the Saudis to flood the basement. Once the basement flooded with water, they electrocuted it which made the militants unconscious.

All the militants including Abdullah Hamid Mohammed Al-Qahtani and Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaibi were arrested alive and sent to imprisonment. The Khana Kaba was cleared within two hours and SSG commandos did wonderful job which won the hearts of every Muslim. It was one of the glorious moments of Pakistan Army.

پاکستان آرمی نے کیسے خانہ کعبہ کی حفاظت کی اور شرپسند عناصر سے بازیاب کروایا۔
ایک تاریخی وڈیو دیکھیں۔

In 1995, a former ISI official told reporters that he had arranged meetings between Nawaz Sharif and Osama bin Laden. Nawaz Sharif was allegedly looking to bin Laden to help fund his 1988 campaign for Prime Minister, and was willing to say anything to get it.

“Nawaz Sharif insisted that I arrange a direct meeting with the Osama, which I did in Saudi Arabia. Nawaz met thrice with Osama in Saudi Arabia. The most historic was the meeting in the Green Palace Hotel in Medina between Nawaz Sharif, Osama and myself. Osama asked Nawaz to devote himself to “jihad in Kashmir”. Nawaz immediately said, ‘I love jihad.’ Osama smiled, and then stood up from his chair and went to a nearby pillar and said, ‘Yes, you may love jihad, but your love for jihad is this much.’ He then pointed to a small portion of the pillar. ‘Your love for children is this much,’ he said, pointing to a larger portion of the pillar. ‘And your love for your parents is this much,’ he continued, pointing towards the largest portion. ‘I agree that you love jihad, but this love is the smallest in proportion to your other affections in life.’”

This wasn’t the last we heard of Nawaz Sharif’s friendship with Osama bin Laden. In 2007, ABC News reported that Sharif took bribes from bin Laden to look the other way as militants carried out their plans in Pakistan.

Cloonan says that back in 1999 Mohamed told the FBI he arranged for a meeting between bin Laden and Sharif’s representatives. Following that meeting, Mohamed told Cloonan he delivered $1 million to Sharif’s representatives. Mohamed said the payoff was a tribute to Sharif for not cracking down on the Taliban as it flourished in Afghanistan and influenced the Northwest Frontier Province in Pakistan, according to Cloonan.

New evidence has surfaced, though, that suggests those meetings were merely the beginning of a long relationship between Nawaz Sharif and Osama bin Laden.

Nawaz Sharif, a two-time former prime minister of Pakistan and current head of one of the country’s major political parties, has met with Osama bin Laden on numerous occasions, and it was in fact the al Qaeda leader who developed the relationship between Sharif and the Saudi royal family, says a former Pakistani intelligence official.

This is not Islam

We cannot turn a ‘Blind Eye’ to the hastily increasing religious extremism and intolerance in our society. Sectarian violence and religious extremism is an unpredictable menace. History is sated with incidents of such sorts in various countries. The chauvinists and the evil minded selfish natured people are behind this repulsive act. Unfortunate is the fact that usually the Muslim countries are being constantly accused of promoting these evil acts and take ‘jihad’ in terms of terror.

In the case of Pakistan, Islam is considerably more complicated, bound up as it is with languages, lineages, sects and local and regional identifications. Pakistan played a critical role in the 1979 war ofAfghanistan and risked its own stability. Unfortunately the government failed to address the after effects of the war and did not realize the future destruction it may bring to their land. The recent wave of growing religious extremism in our country can be attributed to internal and external factors.

Internally, real threat in Pakistan emanates from domestic and internal security issues in the name of sectarian violence and religious extremism. Pakistan unfortunately has always been affected by these overwhelming threats. The tragic consequences of 9/11 led to a U-turn in the world political affairs and world saw the dawn of imperialism by super power in the name of ‘war against terror’. Pakistanbeing an important member of the world community came into the fierce brunt of this tide of change. What should be understood before going ahead is that foreign forces can never dare to impede in domestic affairs of any state until and unless that states inherent weaknesses and gaps provide them with the opportunity. The decision by our political rulers to be the front ally with U.S. even before the investigation were tend to be completed proves it to be bees in bonnet of our political system.

The 10 years havoc of this war have plunged our state into harm of political, economic, social and religious chaos. Further, the dissection on the issue of blasphemy law, Raymond Davis case, Kerry Lugar Bill etc. has added fuel to the fire. The gap between the government and the society is widening. In contrast to political strategic talks carried out by our government with U.S; a recent poll shows 57% of our population does not opine positive about U.S. policies in our region. This invites other countries in and now it is like a piece of cake for the external powers to further divide an already divided nation. And so far they have done it quite successfully.

Transaction of power from military to civilian government in 2008 dashed the hopes of populace as it brought only the ‘New Faces’ in the corridors of power with the ‘Old Policies.” If Mushrraf was accused for his involvement in Aafia Siddiqi’s case and his support for U.S. than same is the outlook of the present democratic government in U.S. National Raymond Davis case. If Mushrraf agreed to makePakistan a ‘front line state’ in U.S. War against Terrorism same strategy is adopted by Zardari & Co. This gave further rise to religious extremism in Pakistan. Currently, Pakistan in surrounded by tons of problems. And to top it all off Drone attacks, presence of NATO forces in Afghanistan and ‘Ethnic Cleansing Policy’ of west against Muslims throughout the world i.e. in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine etc. played a major role in growing militancy among Muslim youth. It is now a dire need to instantly address this issue and require sincere and utmost efforts from the government to eliminate this curse.

Recent divulgences by Wiki leaks about Pakistani leadership have left no doubts in terms of proving that our leadership is actually paralyzed and follow the instructions from the so called Super Power. Now the question before us is: How Pakistan’s support for U.S-led war on terrorism gave rise to religious extremism in the country? What problems we as a nation are facing due to this religious extremism? What should be the policy of the government to control it? Before discussing these questions at length it is indispensable to discuss the background of this curse and how it originated and got its roots in Pakistan.

Today we are getting the taste of our own medicine in the form of terrorism. Back in 1979, millions of Jehadi’s were trained in Pakistan to achieve U.S. interests of containing Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Soon after the war ended these Jehadi’s were left ruined by their Masters. All hell broke loose when these Mujahideen were tagged as ‘Terrorist’ all of a sudden after 9/11. The reaction from these Jehadi’s was thus quite evident. Whenever people are used and deprived of their basic rights they tend to be attracted towards the extremes of revolt. In Pakistan majority is deprived of basic necessities and prosperous life. It is quite easy to ensnare people who are already frustrated and looking for an explanation for their grievances. What is demanded contemporarily is a new breed of intellectuals capable to guide the people to a meaningful change. Awareness about the true concept of Jihad and the difference between Jihad and terrorism is necessary.

It is not sufficient to ban these organizations. To eliminate them the root cause should be addressed for the complete propagation of violence from the society. Mohammad Aamir Rana in his book “A to Z of Jihadi Organizations in Pakistan” also revealed some realities about the links between Jehadi and sectarian organization in our country. Government should implement a strict law for all the organizations and religious institutes. Any organizations which will be found involved in promoting or blurring the wrong Islamic concepts should be dealt severely. The vigorous enforcement of laws is desired in every respect. Most of the children getting education in these madrassas are from the rural areas of Pakistan. Rural areas of Pakistan are the hub of feudalism. Feudals mostly believe in violence and consider it a best ‘Retention Policy’. The government must act against such families who have been busy in curbing other individually through violence. The spread of education is another aspect which can create awareness among the people. The religious organizations usually target those people who are illiterate so the technique of brainwashing can be applied on them simply. Therefore education is an impotent tool which the government can use to ward off any presence of evil mindedness from the society. Different peace projects should be started between the people of different sects to reduce sectarian differences. If a peace project like “Aman ki Asha” could be started between the two rival states to reduce the differences. Why cannot we start peace projects between different sects and religions living in our society? In this way confusions and delusions regarding different concepts of Islam and other religions can be reduced.

Last but not the least Pakistan should adopt a balanced and valiant foreign policy. Instead of relying on West and IMF for our economic development we should utilize our own resources and manpower. Furthermore, it is now time to understand the veiled conspiracy behind the concept of “New World Order” introduced by west. This is actually a “New World Order Free from Islam” as apparent from the situation. It is a concept which propounds diplomatic immunity for a murderer like Raymond Davis and rebukes an innocent Muslim like Aafia Siddiqui.

As stated time and again, culture of violence is a real menace for Pakistan. It is indeed a complex matter which really needs to be resolved as early as possible through effective policies.
By: Saira Bukhari

{November 28, 2011}   Safar-e-Karbala

- اے چاند کربلا کے ، تونے تو دیکھے ہوںگے - اترے تھے اسی زمیں پر عرش بریں کے تارے


The events of Karbala reflect the collision of the good versus the evil, the virtuous versus the wicked, the collision of Imam Husain (the head of virtue) versus Yazid (the head of impiety). Al-Husain was a revolutionary person, a righteous man, the religious authority, the Imam of Muslim Ummah. As the representative of his grandfather Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Imam Husain’s main concern was to safeguard and protect Islam and guide fellow Muslims. On the other hand, the staying power of the rulers (Mu’awiya and his son Yazid) depended solely on the might of the sword. They used brute force to rule over the Muslim empire even by all possible illicit means.

Imam Husain as head of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) never recognized Mu’awiya nor his followers. Before him Imam Ali (a.s.) had fought battles against Mu’awiya because Mu’awiya continuously violated the Islamic principles. Imam Al-Hasan (a.s.) had to swallow the bitter pill of making a peace agreement with Mu’awiya, in order to safeguard the security of the Ummah which was at stake. When Yazid son of Mu’awiya declared himself as a ruler over the Ummah, he demanded Imam Al-Husain’s (a.s.) allegiance of loyalty. Imam Husain on his part flatly rejected Yazid’s rule and behavior, for there was no way Yazid could represent Islam, it would be blasphemy. But Yazid, the tyrant ruler over the Ummah, was adamant in his demand, and tension between the two parties increased day by day.

Imam Husain was quick to realize that giving allegiance of loyalty to Yazid would serve no purpose but to jeopardize the survival of Islam. To safeguard and protect Islam, therefore, the Imam had no choice but to confront and collide with Yazid’s rulership irrespective of consequences. Since Yazid had ordered his commanders to seize the Imam’s allegiance of loyalty at any cost, even by brutal force, the commanders had to assemble a relatively large army, surrounding Imam Husain’s camp in a desert called Karbala. Then they cut off the basic necessities to the camp, including access to water. The camp consisted of Imam Husain, his family, friends, and companions, all of whom stood fast and firmly with him. These braves would rather face death for the noble cause of Islam, than submit to the outrageous tyranny and the un-Islamic ways of Yazid.

Thus, Karbala proved to be a clash involving Islamic truths versus falsehood, right versus wrong, belief versus disbelief, the oppressed versus the oppressor, faith against brute force. Karbala was about standing in the face of oppression, regardless no matter the cost. Thus, in Karbala, Al-Husain the 57 year old grandson of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), sacrificed his totality and all he had, for one goal. This goal was to let the truth triumph over falsehood eventually, and he did that brilliantly. His goal was to foil the plan that Mu’awiya had expertly developed for his son, Yazid, which was to establish a permanent Benu Umayya rulership over the Muslim Ummah (even by sacrificing the Islamic principles), but doing it in the name of Islam. Brilliantly, Imam Husain succeeded in foiling this plan and he exposed the disreputable nature of Benu Umayya though this was at the expense of his life.


Mu’awiya was son of Abu Sufyan, a leader of Benu Umayya clan which was one of the clans of Quraish tribes. Mu’awiya grew up in a family known to be cunning, worldly, materialistic, and power hungry. Mu’awiya became Muslim only when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) triumphed over Mecca. Those who became Muslim in this manner were called Tulaqaa, (a term scornfully used for the disbelievers who became Muslims to save their lives). Mu’awiya, his father Abu Sufyan, his mother Hind, and his brother Yazid son of Abu Sufyan were all Tulaqaa’; Mu’awiya never forgot this stigma for the rest of his life; he could never shake it from his mind, thus a feeling of malicious vengeance always existed in his heart. Mu’awiya’s character and aspirations were entirely opposite to that of his sister, Umm Habiba, who was one of the wives of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Unlike Mu’awiya, Umm Habiba was a sincere believer and a pious person.

Omar, the second Khalifa, appointed Mu’awiya’s brother, Yazid son of Abu Sufyan, as the Governor of Syria when the Muslims captured that territory from the Byzantines. Within a few years, Yazid son of Abu Sufyan died of a disease, and Omar appointed Mu’awiya in his brother’s place as the Governor. Upon coming to power, Mu’awiya took advantage of the rich public treasury of Syria using it personally to buy favors and influence people. Thus he built a large base of support among some tribes, almost to the fanatic level. He used this to his advantage in later years to form a network of informants (spies) against Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and their devotees.


When Imam Ali (a.s.) became Khalifa, he decided to remove Mu’awiya immediately, notwithstanding Mu’awiya’s strong base of support. At that time, Mu’awiya had been the governor of Syria, Palestine, and Jordan for 17 years. Mu’awiya became defiant, he refused to obey Ali’s orders. Brazen and unabashed, he even declined to recognize Ali or give allegiance of loyalty to him. Also in defiance, Mu’awiya established a parallel government in Greater Syria, and started a campaign of treacherous accusations and malicious rumors against Imam Ali (a.s.). He falsely blamed Imam Ali for the killing of Uthman, the third Khalifa, and urged people to take up arms against the Imam. He spread these notorious accusations constantly to incite an uprising against Ali (a.s.).

At the same time A’isha, the Prophet’s widow, became highly vocal against Imam Ali (a.s.). She called for taking revenge for the blood of Uthman. As a result, a party of 3,000 insurgents supported by Sahaaba (Companions) such as Talha and Zubair, along with A’isha headed toward Basrah. The insurgents upon reaching Basrah clashed with the local authorities and finally occupied a portion of Basrah. Soon after the occupation these insurgents spread a reign of terror among the people, killing no less than 600 local Muslims, pilfering the treasury and stealing the arms supplies of the armory.

As a Khalifa in charge, Imam Ali (a.s.) could not ignore the situation, he had to act and restore peace and order. He ordered his forces to proceed to Basrah. As the Imam’s forces reached near Basrah, Imam Ali (a.s.) tried to persuade the insurgents led by A’isha, Zubair and Talha to change their minds and avoid confrontation, but he did not succeed. A battle broke out though Zubair elected not to fight. Talha was wounded then bled to death. Thousands of people lost their lives. A’isha fell down from the camel after it was disabled; but luckily she was not hurt. Imam Ali asked Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, (A’isha’s brother), to take A’isha to Basrah for a few days, and from there to escort her to Medina with full honor and dignity. Upon leaving Basrah Al-Hasan (a.s.) and Al-Husain (a.s.) accompanied the Prophet’s widow for some distance before bidding her farewell. Imam Ali (a.s.) stayed in Basrah for a few weeks to restore law and order. He compensated for the dead, and decided to forgive and absolve all who fought against him, exactly as the Prophet (pbuh) had done when he triumphed over Mecca 40 years earlier.


Upon returning to Kufa, Imam Ali (a.s.) immediately prepared for the anticipated clash with Mu’awiya. The defying Mu’awiya continued to violate the Islamic principles by personally using the public treasury for espionage and buying peoples’ loyalty. The people of Syria fully believed him and the in false picture he presented. Ultimately this resulted in a confrontation called Battle of Siffin when the troops of the two sides met at Siffin. The battle saw ferocious fighting for nine days when Mu’awiya’s forces were near collapse. His troops were fleeing and in disarray, and their retreat was in massive disorder, running helter skelter. Mu’awiya, alarmed, tense, and frightened, preparing to run away, when he learned of a clever trick. The trick was indecent and unbecoming, it was to make the Holy Quran as an instrument and exploit it, to use it as a tool to his advantage. Mu’awiya seized on this immediately and commanded his fighters to raise 500 Holy Qurans on tips of spears, in order to stun the troops of Imam Ali. As jolting as it was, this maneuver did break the onslaught and the momentum of Ali’s fighters, for they were very pious men. But Imam Ali was quick to recognize this deceit, he knew how deceptive Mu’awiya was, and now that being near collapse, Mu’awiya wanted to save his neck at the expense of the Quran itself.

With that in mind, Ali (a.s.) urged his generals not to halt, but to keep fighting since victory was almost at hand. Alas, Ali’s generals and fighters were in shock, for the sight of the Holy Quran high on spear heads was startling to say the least. They could not take it. Not willing to fight, they wanted to accept Mu’awiya’s offer to halt the fighting and negotiate instead. The termination of the battle in this manner and the consequences thereof proved to be disastrous to say the least, especially for Ahlul Bayt and Islam.

It is said that there was a conspiracy between Amr Ibnil Aas of Mu’awiya’s side, and Ash’ath Ibn Qais, a General in Imam Ali’s camp, who was working as a spy against Ali, secretly working as an agent for Mu’awiya. In this battle 45,000 men lost their lives in Mu’awiya’s camp, and about 25,000 in Ali’s (a.s.) camp. Many men of high caliber from both sides died, especially Ammar Ibn Yasir, the great Companion of the Prophet (pbuh), who was 90 years old and fought on Imam Ali’s side against Mu’awiya.


Imam Ali’s (a.s.) generals, who stopped the battle to negotiate with Mu’awiya, did not pick the right person for the negotiation. They unyieldingly refused to accept Imam Ali’s choice, instead they picked Kufa’s Governor, Abu-Musa Ash’ari, an incompetent Governor who had been previously dismissed from office by Imam Ali. Mu’awiya appointed Amr Ibnil Aas, a shrewd and cunning man, to be his representative in the negotiation. Negotiation between the two sides did not take place for about one year.

When the two negotiators came face to face, it was clear that Ash’ari’s capability was no match for his opponent Ibnil Aas. In the negotiations, Ash’ari proposed that, both Mu’awiya and Imam Ali (a.s.) were to abdicate and to let the people hold election for the Khilaafah. Amr Ibnil Aas, a deceptive man at best, quickly agreed to Ash’ari’s proposal and asked Ash’ari to first announce the agreement. Ash’ari stood up and announced, “O people, we have agreed not to consider Ali or Mu’awiya for Khilaafah. You may choose or elect whomever you think is fit.” The cunning Amr Ibnil Aas stood up next to say, “O people! I won’t consider Ali for the Khilaafah. But Mu’awiya, in my opinion, is the person for that office!” Upon hearing this (and feeling deceived), the people screamed disapprovingly, an uproar was the result. Imam Ali’s (a.s.) camp was in shock, they were double-crossed, deceived and lied to, they felt deeply cut. Amr’s double crossing and deception was simply beyond their imagination. They left the place bewildered and utterly disappointed. Because of this a large group of Imam Ali’s supporters defected to form a separate group called Kharijies, meaning the Outsiders.

The Khariji became fanatically opposed to Imam Ali and Mu’awiya. Some of their members met secretly in Mecca and drew a plan to assassinate Ali (a.s.) in Kufa, Mu’awiya in Syria, and Amr Ibnil Aas in Egypt. Three fanatics took the responsibility, they were to attack their victims in the morning, the same day, as the would-be victims were going to the mosque to lead the morning salat. Ibn Muljim attacked and fatally wounded Imam Ali (a.s.), whereas Mu’awiya escaped with a light wound of his buttock. Amr Ibnil Aas was ill that day and his replacement was killed by the Khariji. Imam Ali (a.s.), in wounded condition, conferred the Imamah and the reign of the Islamic nation to his 37 years old son Al-Hasan.


Imam Hasan (a.s.) faced extremely difficult conditions from the start. He observed that fear, anxiety and much distress were ever present in Kufa, Basrah, Medina and other towns. The anxiety, uncertainty and insecurity were caused by Mu’awiya’s ill dealing of sincere Muslims. Mu’awiya had spread secret agents all over to defame Ahlul Bayt. Imam Hasan knew that his father Imam Ali (a.s.) had stood like a lion in all difficulties and fought battles against Mu’awiya, but these confrontations had resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. A mass scale family devastation was visible everywhere. Considering all circumstances, Imam Hasan (a.s.) discussed the matter with his brother Husain (a.s.) and other relatives. He revealed to them that in order to end the bloodshed and to provide a reasonable safety and security to the Ummah, he would make a peace agreement with Mu’awiya and abdicate until after Mu’awiya’s death. After a few days of careful consideration, Imam Hasan (a.s.) accepted an agreement as per the terms dictated by the Imam and agreed to by Mu’awiya. Four noteworthy terms of this agreement were:

  • People of Syria, Iraq, Hijaz, Yemen and other places shall enjoy amnesty against persecution,
  • Friends and companions of Imam Ali (a.s.) and all their women and children shall be protected from all dangers,
  • Mu’awiya is to immediately stop the use of abusive language with reference to Ahlul Bayt (cursing Imam Ali) after Salat of Jumu’a), and
  • Mu’awiya shall not appoint anyone as his successor.

Once the treaty was signed, Imam Hasan (a.s.) and brother Husain (a.s.) moved out of Kufa and settled in Medina. Over there both Imams lost no time in holding nightly meetings for Islamic discussions. The nightly meetings proved very successful and gained tremendous popularity. More people started to attend, to hear the Imams give of their fountain of knowledge on Islam and humanity. The reputation of these meetings began to fly to far away places. People from as far away as Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, and other distant areas travelled to Medina to learn about the Islamic values. As years passed, the knowledge thus given started to bear fruits. The number of Islamic scholars multiplied and increased considerably.

In the meantime Mu’awiya, unabashedly elected to disregard the terms of his treaty with Imam Al-Hasan. a) He sent secret agents to terrorize, kidnap, or even kill innocent people specially those who were loyal to Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). b) Instead of helping the needy with the public treasury, Mu’awiya’s governors and their surrogates used the public treasury for personal use, freely and excessively as they wished. c) Freedom suddenly died, and dictatorship took its place. d) Mu’awiya gathered a very large number of collaborators who unabashedly would do any thing for money.


It was Mu’awiya’s ardent desire to impose his son Yazid (who had been named after his uncle) upon the Muslims by making him the succeeding Khalifa, despite the fact that Yazid was the playboy of the time, with many evil habits including gambling, heavy drinking, and indulgence in the pleasures of the flesh. But the peace agreement would not permit Mu’awiya to appoint Yazid as his successor, (According to the agreement Imam Hasan would immediately become Khalifa upon Mu’awiya’s death). Therefore, it was obvious to Mu’awiya that, if Al-Hasan did not outlive him, Mu’awiya could do as he pleased. Thus Mu’awiya planned to kill Imam Al-Hasan in order to pave the way for his son Yazid to be his successor.

Mu’awiya sent one of his agents to contact Imam Al-Hasan’s wife Joda who was the daughter of Al-Ash’ath (once a secret agent for Mu’awiya against Imam Ali in the Battle of Siffin). Joda was asked a small favor, i.e., to put a little poison in Al-Hasan’s food, and in return Mu’awiya would give her a large sum of money and also make her wife of his son Yazid. She found the offer too attractive to ignore, and foolishly agreed to accept it. A few days later, she mixed poison in honey and gave it to the Imam. As soon as the Imam took the poisoned honey he became seriously ill. Sensing that his death was imminent, the Imam designated his brother Al-Husain (a.s.) to be the third Imam. Although Imam Al-Hasan knew he was poisoned, he did not reveal that to anyone but to his brother Al-Husain.

One thing Al-Hasan had wished was to have his burial by the side of his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Imam Husain made all the arrangements to fulfill that wish but Mu’awiya’s governor over Medina did not let that happen and used military force to stop it. Imam Al-Hasan was 47 year old when he died of poisoning.

Medina was never the same without Imam Hasan (a.s.). Everyone missed him dearly. People at first did not believe Mu’awiya poisoned Imam Al-Hasan, but soon found out the truth.

When Husain (a.s.) was designated as the 3rd Imam he was 46 years old. Imam Husain (a.s.) carried on with his mission of teaching Islam as before. A large number of people kept coming to see him and to learn from him. This process continued for several years when people began to hear an ugly rumor that Mu’awiya wanted his son, Yazid, to succeed him.


Mu’awiya began a campaign to introduce Monarchy into the structure of Islam. To have Monarchy, by force or otherwise is alien to Islam, an innovation in religion, simply not acceptable. Everyone knew that, for Islam does not subscribe to any form of Royalty through inheritance or Monarchy. In Islam it is supposed to be Shura.

Nevertheless, Mu’awiya sent his agents to the prominent members of the communities to obtain allegiance of loyalty to his son Yazid. But Yazid was evil, of the drinking type, incompetent, contemptible, and a pleasure-seeking person. People knew that. So the people protested vigorously. There was anger everywhere. Emotions went sky high. To calm people down, at least temporarily, Mu’awiya decided to send his son Yazid to Mecca for the pilgrimage. Yes, Yazid did go to Mecca but only after taking alcohol with him as well as a chorus of girls for his entertainment.


Mu’awiya was getting older day by day. At the age of 75, he became seriously ill. He was nearing death. He lay weak and lifeless as if something was choking and strangling him. He felt tortured and tormented, and continuously cried for mercy. He was in terrible pain. He wanted to die but death would not come close to him. His conscience tormented him for the calamities that he brought upon the Islamic Ummah specially Ahlul Bayt. Mu’awiya suffered in agony for many many days. His suffering continued until he breathed his last. At the time of his death, the 30 year old Yazid was nowhere near him, he had gone for fun on a hunting trip.

(Please note that Mu’awiya’s brother was by the name of Yazid, and he had named his son after his brother.)


Upon Mu’awiya’s death, Yazid, 30 years old, managed to impose himself on the people and become the Khalifa. At first people refused to accept him as a representative of the Prophet (pbuh) and Islamic Ummah, but Yazid approached people in mosques for their favors. Like his father Mu’awiya, Yazid used all possible means like bribery, coercion, pressure, threats, and force to receive the people’s acceptance of him as the legitimate ruler. Many people were worried, threats to their lives and livelihood was too menacing, so they grudgingly and reluctantly gave in. But, Imam Husain (a.s.) and his family (who practiced Islam in its true sense), did not give in. As the true representative of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Al-Husain flatly refused accepting Yazid either as a Khalifa or a leader of Islam. Despite Yazid’s intimidating military power the Imam stood firm in his resolve and chose to challenge Benu Umayya’s authorities.

Yazid commissioned Waleed Ibn Ut’ba, his Governor over Medina, to ask for Imam Husain’s allegiance of loyalty or else upon refusal, his head. Waleed invited Al-Husain to a meeting for the purpose. Imam Husain did not give his word at the meeting and decided to leave Medina along with his family to proceed to Mecca. When Al-Husain reached Mecca he received 12,000 letters from Kufa urging him to go to Kufa to be their leader, and be the Khalifa. Imam sent an emissary, his cousin Muslim Ibn Aqeel, to Kufa to ascertain first-hand information about the situation in Iraq. In the mean time Yazid spread a network of informants and secret agents in Mecca to assassinate the Imam during pilgrimage. Imam learned about the spies, and carefully evaluated the situation in Mecca. Imam Husain knew that Yazid son of Mu’awiya had no regard for Islamic values and teachings, that he would do anything to enforce his tyrannical rule. Imam Husain also knew that giving allegiance of loyalty to an imposter like Yazid would certainly place Islam at great jeopardy. Therefore he decided to leave Mecca for Kufa to prepare for a confrontation with Yazid and his forces.

Many friends and relatives urged Imam Husain not to go to Kufa, but he insisted on going. Imam Husain, along with family, friends, and companions began the journey toward Kufa (1,100 miles) in a long caravan in the blistering heat of summer.


During the early phase of the journey the caravan met Al-Farazdaq (a famous poet) at a place called al-Sifah. Al-Farazdaq advised the Imam not to go to Kufa because though people’s hearts were with him (Imam), their swords would be against him. But the Imam continued with the journey, and he received the first letter from his emissary Muslim Ibn Aqeel with good news. The letter indicated that the people were more than ready to welcome the Imam in Kufa and were looking forward to his leadership. Imam Husain decided to send another emissary to Kufa with a message. The caravan kept proceeding toward Kufa. Many days passed but the Imam did not receive any more responses from Muslim Ibn Aqeel.

In Kufa Muslim Bin Aqeel with the help of Mukhtar Al-Thaqafi and Hani Ibn Urwah continued to hold secret meetings with the supporters of the Imam. Within a short time the gatherings started to gain momentum. Yazid through his spies and informants learned about Muslim’s successes in Kufa. He appointed the tyrant Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad to replace al-Nu’man Ibn al-Basheer as Governor of Kufa.

Meanwhile, as Al-Husain’s caravan got closer to its destination (Kufa), coming to a place called Zubalah, Imam Husain unexpectedly received shocking news. The shocking news was about Muslim Ibn Aqeel and the person who provided him shelter, Hani’s Ibn Urwah, both of whom were arrested and beheaded by the Governor Ibn Ziyad. Mukhtar was also arrested and imprisoned and tortured by Ibn Ziyad.

Imam Husain gathered his companions and disclosed to them about the bad news, and said, “Our Shi’a have deserted us, those of you who prefer to leave us may do so freely and without guilt.” Becoming scared, some companions left the caravan. Imam Husain continued with the journey along with close companions and family members until he was face to face with 1,000 horsemen led by Hur al-Riyahi representing the enemy. The enemy army blocked the camps of Imam Husain (a.s.) from advancing. Tension started to rise between the two. The Imam addressed the enemy explaining to them his motives for going to Kufa, that it was in response to the invitation of the people. He even showed them a bagful of letters he received from Kufa. Hur said that he and his men were not the writers of those letters. Imam told them that if they did not like him to advance with the journey, he was prepared to return to Hijaz. Hur replied, “We are commissioned to follow you until we take you to Governor Ibn Ziyad, and suggested to the Imam to go towards a station which is neither Kufa nor Medina.” Imam Husain found the proposal fair and turned the caravan away from Kufa. Hur and his army marched parallel to the Imam. The two sides reached a village called Nainawa where Ibn Ziyad’s messenger (Yazid’s governor over Kufa) delivered a message to Hur. The message read, ” …force Husain to a halt. But let him stop in an open space, without vegetation or water.” Hur conveyed the contents of the letter to Imam Husain. The Imam, his family and companions defiantly resumed their journey and reached a place where another enemy force blocked their move and forced them to stop. When Imam Husain learned that the place was called Karbala, he felt he reached the destination and ordered his camp to be setup. That day was 2nd of Muharram, Hijri 61.


Upon learning that his army had succeeded to lay a siege around the Imam’s camp, Governor Ibn Ziyad sent additional military units to Karbala and appointed Umar Ibn Sa’ad in charge. Imam Husain (a.s.) opened a dialogue with Umar Ibn Sa’ad and convinced him to lift the siege so that the Imam with his family and companions could leave Iraq. Umar Ibn Sa’ad liked the Imam’s proposal and sent a message to Governor Ibn Ziyad notifying him about the results of the talks with Imam Husain (a.s.). Ibn Ziyad also found the Imam’s proposal acceptable. However before agreeing to it officially, Shimr Bin Dhil-Jawshan, opposed it strongly. As a result Ziyad wrote a letter to Umar Ibn Sa’ad commanding him to either go to war with Imam Husain (a.s.) or be relieved of his duties as commander of the army and Shimr would not only replace him but despatch Ibn Sa’ad’s head to Kufa.

Umar Ibn bin Sa’ad got the letter. After pondering over the consequences he decided to fight Imam Husain (a.s.). On the 7th day of Muharram he moved his troops closer to the camp and began to surround the Husaini camp. Ibn Sa’ad laid a blockade around the camp to cut it off from access to the river Euphrates, to deprive it of water in a move to force them to surrender.

Two days later, (on the 9th of Muharram), the enemy’s military forces closed in on the camp of Imam Husain (a.s.). Imam asked his brother, Abbas, to talk to Ibn Sa’ad and request a delay of the aggression by one night. Umar Ibn Sa’ad agreed to the demand. He ordered his troops to delay the aggression till next morning. Imam Husain and his pious companions spent that night in prayers. During the night the Imam told the companions, ” ….the enemy is interested in none but me, me alone. I’ll be most delighted to permit each and every one of you to go back, and I urge you to do so….” All companions screamed in response, “By Allah, never, never! We will either live with you or die together with you.”


Finally, the day of Ashuraa dawned upon the soil of Karbala. It was the day when Jihad would be in full bloom, blood would be shed, 72 innocent lives would be sacrificed, and a decisive battle would be won to save Islam and the Ummah.

It had been a few days since the water supply was cut off by the enemy. Children were crying for water, the women were desperate for water, Zainul-Abideen, the son of Imam Husain (a.s.) was sick with fever. The suffering from the thirst was too painful to bear. And despite this, not a single person in the camp made any complaints or even questioned the mission of Imam Husain. Each member supported the Imam wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.

Next morning Imam Husain (a.s.) went out of the camp and saw Umar Ibn Sa’ad mobilizing his troops to start the hostility. He stared at the intimidating army, and as large as it was Imam Husain showed no signs of compromise. Imam Husain raised his hands in prayer:

“O Allah! It is Thee in whom I trust amid all grief. You are my hope amid all violence. Thou are my refuge and provision in everything that happens to me. How many grievances weaken the heart, leaving me with no means to handle them, during which friend deserts me, and enemy rejoices in it. I lay it before Thee and complain of it to Thee, because of my desire in Thee, Thee alone. You relieve me of it and remove it from me. Thou are the Master of all Grace, the Essence of Goodness, and the Ultimate Resort of all Desire.”

Before the actual engagement was to take place, Hur, the previous commander of the enemy force, felt his conscience violently stirring, he was in turmoil. Upon realizing the gravity of the situation, he suddenly broke away from Umar Ibn Sa’ad’s camp (along with two others). They rushed toward Imam Husain (a.s.) to join his camp. Hur’s heart was jumping with joy, his mind relieved of an agonizing tension. Hur’s defection worried Umar Ibn Sa’ad very much, lest others do the same and defect. So Umar Ibn Sa’ad threw an arrow in the air to indicate the start of the battle. This was the outset of a catastrophe and a tragic event that Mu’awiya had once conceived to happen.


Imam Husain’s supporters insisted on being the first to fight. Therefore, they took the brunt of the enemy attack. The battle was ferocious. Within a short time the Imam’s supporters slay a large number of the enemy fighters, they were on the offensive and the enemy on the defensive. This caused apprehension and confusion in the enemy military, the 72 of Husain’s against the 5,000 of the enemy (some say 30,000) being on the defensive. So worried and nervous, the enemy commander-in-chief ordered his army not only to set fire to the Imam’s tents (which were occupied mostly by frightened females and children), but at the same time reinforced his fighters with more troops.

The heroes began to fall, they were men of valor welcoming martyrdom, they fell one after another, for the enemy was overwhelming in number. By noon time the Imam stopped the fight to perform the Salat. By this time those left were mainly his family and a few supporters. They performed the Salat together. Two supporters were guarding the performers of Salat. The enemy was standing still, watching!! When Salat was finished one of the guards fell dead; there were 17 arrows in his back.

Ali Akbar, Husain’s son obtained permission to fight and dashed toward the enemy. He engaged them in fierce fighting, falling on them like thunder, slaying numerous fighters. He continued to move forward, deep inside the enemy. The enemy was overpowering in number, it overwhelmed him cutting him with swords and spears, and his body became nothing but wounds gushing blood, until he died. Imam Husain (a.s.) rushed to the area and picked up the wounded limp body and brought it to the appalled camp. His sister and others in the camp were horrified and shocked at the scene.

Abbas and five other brothers of Imam Husain went to fight. They also engaged the enemy in a fierce fighting, almost doing the impossible. Abbas went toward the river to bring some water for the thirsty children. While he was returning on his horse with the water, he was attacked by a large horde of the enemy, overwhelming and severely wounding him. As much as he tried Abbas could not save the water, he fell from his horse to breath his last.

Next to the battle field went the sons of Imam Al-Hasan and Zainab and their cousins (about 17 of them). They were all in their teens but each stood bravely, believing in the mission, facing a formidable enemy, and showed no less enthusiasm in their quest to embrace the martyrdom.


By the afternoon 70 brave persons had sacrificed their lives in Karbala to save Islam. All had fought under nerve racking conditions, severe thirst, dehydration, exhaustion, and agonizing feeling of what would happen to the family of the Prophet (pbuh) afterwards. Husain endured all that and more, for he saw all his beloved ones brutally cut to pieces, including children. Remaining the only one, Imam Husain was to face the enemy head on. Precisely at that moment Imam Husain heard his baby crying incessantly, agonizing because of the thirst. Imam Husain’s love for his family was unbound, especially for a suffering baby. He held the six months old baby, his youngest son (Ali Asghar) in his arms, and appealed to the enemy fighters for some water for the baby. Imam wanted to awaken their conscience and stir their human feelings but the stone-hearted enemy, instead of giving water, zoomed an arrow toward the agonizing baby and killed him instantly. Imam Husain was shocked. He felt an unbearable wave of pain. The sight of the limp baby in his arms was agonizingly painful. He filled his palm with the blood of the baby, and threw it upwards toward the sky, complaining to Allah (swt),

“O’ Allah, O’ my Lord! My consolation is the fact that Thou in Thine Majesty are witnessing what I am going through.”


Imam Husain (a.s.) was alone, one man against thousands. He took them on, fighting them bravely, and kept fighting, receiving many wounds in the process. Thousands of enemy fighters were surrounding him but none dared to move toward him. The silence was broken when Shimr screamed for an attack, then screamed again, threatening, and in response they attacked collectively, and one sword fell on Imam Husain’s left wrist and deeply cut his left hand. The blood gushed like a fountain. Another sword was soon to follow and it hit his upper back. Imam Husain (a.s.) felt numb as he fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. He was near the point of shock, even though staggering he tried to stand by leaning on his sword. Then he received the fatal blow.

It was at this point, that Shimr whose mother was a disbeliever, came forward and severed Imam Husain’s noble head from the body, the noble head kissed often by the Prophet (pbuh)! Shimr and others had the audacity to carry it on the tip of a spear to Yazid, 600 miles away!

Umar Ibn Sa’ad ordered the horsemen to trample upon the supine bodies of Imam Husain and all others killed, to disfigure them even further, as if the wounds, the bloodied bodies, and the headless forms were not enough.

For three days the exposed bodies of the martyrs were left lying in the desert of Karbala. Afterwards, the people of the tribe of Bani-Asad, who were not far away from the battle field, helped bury them.

Umar Ibn Sa’ad and his forces (representing Benu Umayya) took the women and children as prisoners in shackles, put them on camels, and proceeded in a caravan from Karbala to Kufa. At the forefront of the procession were the heads of Imam Husain (a.s.) and his followers on the tip of spears. The scene was both grotesque and pathetic. This was the leftover of the beloved family of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in such a deplorable unimaginable condition, all caused by people who called themselves Muslims!


Karbala is the cruelest tragedy humanity has ever seen. Yet, the startling (though appalling) events in Karbala proved like a powerful volcano that shook the very foundation of Muslims, it stirred their consciousness, ignorant or learned alike. For sincere Muslims, Karbala turned into a triumph. The tragic event became the very beacon of light to always remind Muslims to practice Islam honestly and sincerely, to do what is right irrespective of consequences, and fear no one except Allah (swt).

On the other hand, Yazid never achieved what he and his father had planned to achieve, for within three years, Allah’s wrath fell upon him, causing him to die at the age of 33 years. And within a few decades the rule of Benu Umayya crumbled and came to an end. The tragedy of Karbala taught humanity a lesson that standing for the truth and fighting unto death for it is more honorable and valuable than submitting to the wrongful, especially when the survival of Islam is at stake.

Distance between Medina and Karbala about 1,100 miles.

Distance between Ibn Ziyad in Kufa and Yazid in Damascus about 750 miles.

Average travel by camel per day: 30-45 miles.


1. Mowlana Rafiq H. Naqvi, Khutbas at Salat of Jumu’a, Idara

2. Mowlana Amir M. Faizi, Muharram Majlis, Idara

3. Dr A.S. Hashim’s Books: Ahlul Bayt and Al-Khulafaa Al-Rashidoon
4. Al-Balagh Foundation: Ahlul Bait #5, 1993 (Iran)


A’isha: Widow of the Prophet (pbuh) and a leader during Jamal Confrontation.

Abbas: Brother of Imam Husain, flag-bearer during Karbala.

Abu Sufyan: Leader of Benu Umayya, Mu’awiya’s father, was inveterate enemy of Islam.

AbuMusa Ash’ari: Governor fired by Imam Ali, was selected to arbitrate after Siffin.

Ahlul Bayt: The household of the Prophet (s), consisting of Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and the 9 Imams descending from al-Husayn (peace be upon them all).

AlFarazdaq: A famous poet.

AlNu’man Ibn alBasheer: Governor over Kufa replaced by Ibn Ziyad through Yazid’s order.

Ali Akbar: Son of Imam Al-Husain, martyred in Karbala.

Ali Asghar: Baby of Imam Al-Husain, martyred in Karbala.

Ammar Ibn Yasir: A famous highly revered Companion, on Ali’s side, killed in Siffin.

Amr Ibnil Aas: A cunning deceptive person, in Mu’awiya’s camp, arbitrator after Siffin.

Ash’ath Ibn Qais: A spy General in Ali’s armed forces, also the father of Joda (wife of Al-Hasan).

BaniAsad: The tribe that buried Al-Husain and the other martyrs of Karbala.

Basrah: An important town in south of Iraq.

Benu Umayya: A clan known to be power hungry, greedy, and materialistic, of Mu’awiya.

Byzantines: The Christian superpower ruling over Syria and Egypt that lost to Islam.

Hani Ibn Urwah: The man who helped Muslim Ibn Aqeel in Kufa and lost his life for the cause.

Hur Ibn Yazid alRiyahi: The Commander of the enemy force who defected to the side of Imam Husain.

Ibn Muljim: The killer of Imam Ali while Ali was performing Salat Al-Subh.

Ibn Ziyad: The Governor over Kufa responsible for the atrocities of Karbala.

Imam: The 12 Divinely Commissioned leaders of the Ummah after the Prophet (pbuh).

Imam AlHasan (a.s.): The second Divinely Commissioned Imam, and the brother of Imam Husain.

Imam Ali (a.s.): The first Divinely Commissioned Imam, and the father of Imam Hasan and Husain.

Imam Husain (a.s.): The third Divinely Commissioned Imam, hero of Karbala, brother of Imam Hasan.

Iraq: Country in which Imam Husain suffered at the hands of its military.

Jamal: Battle imposed on Ali by A’isha, Talha, and Zubair.

Joda: Wife of Imam Al-Hasan, who poisoned him when enticed by Mu’awiya.

Karbala: The site of the ugliest atrocities committed against Al-Husain, his family and devotees, but Karbala saved Islam from disintegration in an indirect way.

Khalifa: Head of state after the Prophet (pbuh).

Kharijies: The outsiders who turned against Ali, then killed him while he was praying.

Medina: Famous town of the Prophet (pbuh) in Arabia.

Mu’awiya: Of Benu Umayya clan, brother of Yazid, also father of the infamous Yazid of Karbala.

Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr: Brother of A’isha who fought on Ali’s side during Battle of Jamal.

Mukhtar AlThaqafi: Loyalist of Ahlul Bayt.

Muslim Ibn Aqeel: Cousin of Al-Husain and his emissary to Kufa, killed by Ibn Ziyad.

Omar: The second Khalifa who appointed Mu’awiya as the Governor over Syria.

Quraish: The clan of the Prophet (pbuh).

Shimr Bin DhilJawshan: The killer of Imam Husain, his name will remain in infamy.

Siffin: Battle imposed on Ali by Mu’awiya.

Syria: Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine nowadays used to be called Syria.

Talha: Sahaabi, leader during Jamal Confrontation, killed during that battle.

Tulaqaa’: Denigrating term used by Muhammad (pbuh) for the disbelievers who had to become Muslims after Mecca was triumphed over.

Umar Ibn Sa’ad: Commander-in-chief of the military forces against Imam Husain in Karbala.

Umm Habiba: Sister of Mu’awiya, daughter of Abu Sufyan, wife of the Prophet (pbuh).

Uthman: The third Khalifa killed by the protesting Muslims.

Waleed Ibn Ut’ba: Governor over Medina when Yazid son of Mu’awiya declared his rulership.

Yazid son of Abu Sufyan: Brother of Mu’awiya, governor of Syria for a few years until he died.

Yazid son of Mu’awiya: Son of Mu’awiya, the infamous despicable ruler, cause of Karbala tragedy.

Zainab: Sister of Al-Husain, heroin of Karbala, losing her children for the cause.

Zubair: Sahaabi, leader during Jamal Confrontation, refused to fight during that battle.

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{November 26, 2011}   Ae Chand Karbala k . . .

While in Makkah, Imam Husayn received the news that Yazid had sent ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d Ibn al-As as delegate of the caliph to the Hajj pilgrims and that among his duties was to kill Imam Husayn, on the spot, wherever he finds him. Because of this, the Imam decided to leave Makkah before the pilgrimage season. Before he left, he gave a sermon: 

“In the name of God. All Praises to God… Death is written on the children of Adam as a necklace is designed for the neck of a girl. I see myself to be torn by beasts between Karbala’ and Nawawis. Whatever Cod likes, we will do. We are patient with His test. We are not going to deviate from the teachings of the Messenger of God. Whoever wishes to come with us, he may. I am going to leave tomorrow morning.” 

He left Makkah on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, 60 of Hijrah (680 CE). With him were his family, his followers from the Hijaz area, Basrah, and Kufah. Many dignitaries of Makkah tried to change his mind. His cousin ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas asked him to wait, and warned him, “You might be killed, and the people of Iraq are not reliable. At least go some other place, such as Yemen, where your father had followers.” 

The Imam replied, “O my cousin! I know that you are sincere, but I have decided on this journey.”
Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Then, do not take your children and your family, I am afraid if you take them, they may see you die.”
Imam Husayn replied, “By God, they are not going to leave me. If they leave me, they are going to be victims of someone who would not have mercy on them.”

Then, the Imam mentioned that he did not want any blood spilled in Makkah and he wanted the family to be united, and whatever happens would happen to them together. And, if he leaves them, they would not be under anyone’s protection.

The Imam left Makkah, and at Tan’im he met a caravan which carried luxury goods and royal robes and gowns. It was a delivery for the “king”, Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyah from his governor at Yemen. The Imam ordered that all the cargo of the caravan be taken and given to poor people.

He said, “Who is to have this luxury while poor people starve?” Then, he announced to the people and to the workers on the caravan, “Whoever wants to come with us, is welcome, and whoever wants his wages, we will give him his pay, and whoever wants to leave is free to leave.”

The Imam and his followers took none of the silk robes and royal gowns woven with gold thread. Those who wanted their pay received their portion and the rest was immediately given to poor people.

Here, a man was on his way to Makkah for the Hajj pilgrimage. The man came closer and asked someone, “Whose caravan is this?” And he was informed that it was the camp of Imam Husayn. To himself, he thought that he should pay his greeting of peace to the grandson of the Messenger of God.

The Imam asked him, “Who are you?” He replied, “I am al-Farazdaq, son of Ghalib.”
The Imam greeted the famous poet kindly, then after some time, he asked him, “What do you know about the attitude of the people?”

Al-Farazdaq answered, “Their hearts are with you, but their swords are with the Umayyads, and the destination comes from heaven.”

Imam said, “You spoke the truth, and everything is up to God. He does what He wishes, and we ask help only from Him.” Then, al-Farazdaq asked him some religious questions.

The Imam set camp here, and met Bishr Ibn Ghalib. When Bishr met the Imam, he saw him leaning on something, reading a book. Bishr asked him, “O grandson of the Messenger of God! What made you come to this desert?”
The Imam replied, “These people have threatened me and these letters arrived from the people of Kufah whom I know are going to turn against me. If they do so, God will send someone to humiliate them.”
The Imam asked him about the people of Kufah and he replied, “Their swords are with the Umayyads and their hearts are with you.”

The Imam said, “You are speaking the truth.”

Here, the Imam set camp. He wrote a letter to Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil and gave it to Qays Ibn Mashar al-Saydawi to take to Kufah. In it he wrote, “O people of Kufah! I have received the letter of Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil stating that you have gathered to help us and ask for our rights. I ask Almighty God to reward you for this action. For this reason, I left Makkah on Thursday the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah. When my messenger arrives, be united until I reach Kufah in a few days.”

Meanwhile, the spies of Yazid were following him. For some time, the Imam stayed at the water of ‘Abdullah Ibn Muti? who tried to convince the Imam not to go to Iraq, but the Imam refused.

When Qays Ibn Mashar al-Saydawi reached al-Q-disiyyah, Ibn Ziyad’s army captured him. When they tried to search him, he tore the letter apart. He was brought to the governor’s castle in Kufah, and Ibn Ziyad asked him, “Why did you tear the letter?”
Qays replied, “So you will not know what was in it.”
Ibn Ziyad said, “You have to tell me what was in it!”

Qays refused. Then Ibn Ziyad said, “You have to go on the pulpit and curse Husayn, his brother, and his father. Otherwise, I am going to cut you into pieces!”

Qays went on the pulpit and blessed Amir al-Mu’minin Imam ‘Ali and Hasan and Husayn, and cursed Ibn Ziyad and his father and the Ummayads. Then he said, “O people! I am the messenger of Husayn to you!” He told them where he left the Imam and said, “Go help him!”

Ibn Ziyad ordered for him to be thrown from the top of the castle. He fell and died.

The Imam set camp and stayed in Khuzamiyyah one day and one night. In the morning, his sister Zaynab came to him and told him that she heard someone reciting this poem:
“O, the eyes try to be firm!
Who would cry after me, on these martyrs?
Cry on those people who are led
By death to the final destination.”
The Imam said to his sister, “Whatever God wishes will happen.”

Here, the Imam set camp. Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn al-Bajali was in the area and set camp near him. Zuhayr did not like the Imam and did not want to set camp near him, but, because there was water at Zarud, he had no other choice. At mealtime, a messenger of the Imam came to him and said that the Imam wanted to meet him. Zuhayr hesitated to reply but his wife, Dilham, told him to go to the Imam and see what he wants. Zuhayr went to him and immediately came back to his people with a happy face. He ordered to take his camp closer to the Imam’s camp and told his wife, “Go join your family, I do not want any of you to be harmed in any way because of me.”

Then, he faced his people again and said, “Whoever wants to help the grandson of the Messenger of God should come with me. Otherwise, Goodbye!”

He revealed a conversation he had with Salman al-Farsi long ago. He said, “We went with Salman in Balanjar. Salman told me ‘When you reach Imam Husayn and are able to help him and fight on his side, you should be more than happy to.”‘
His wife said, “Whatever you decide, I go with your decision. Please remember me on the Day of Judgment with Imam Husayn’s grandfather.”

Also at this stop, the news of the murder of Muslim and Hani Ibn Urwah reached the Imam. The Imam was deeply upset and many times said, “God bless them.” He and other people cried with the sad news, the ladies wailed, and the whole camp was in mourning.

Then, two of his companions stood and said, “O grandson of the Prophet of God! Please change your decision and do not go to Kufah.”

Others disagreed and said, “We have to continue and die the same way as Muslim and Hani died for the cause.”
The Imam listened to each conversation and looked deeply into their faces and then said, “Thereis no goodness in life after these two.” (Muslim and Hani)

Here, someone came and asked Imam Husayn, “What is the Verse of Qur’an ‘The day when we shall call all people by their leader.’ about?”

The Imam replied, “A leader who calls to guidance and people obey his call and a leader who calls to misguidance and others follow him. One leads to heaven and the other leads to hell.”

Also at this stop a man from Kufah met with the Imam and the Imam told him, “If I had met you in Madinah, I would have shown you the place of Gabriel in our house. (The window, in the house of the Prophet Muhammad, which was used as an entrance by the angel Gabriel, whenever he came to visit the Prophet) Do you think we do not know what we are doing?”
Another came and said, “O son of the Messenger of God! I see you with only a few followers.”
The Imam pointed to a sack of letters and said, “This is filled with letters.”

Here, the Imam saw a man coming from Kufah and asked him about the people there. The man said, “All of them are against you.”
The Imam said, “Whatever God wishes will happen.”

There was still no reply from his third messenger to Kufah, Qays Ibn Mashar al-Saydawi, but here, at Zubalah, the news reached the Imam that ‘Abdullah Ibn Yaqtar, his second messenger to Kufah, was killed.

When he was captured he was sent to Ibn Ziyad, and Ibn Ziyad ordered him to go to the pulpit and curse the liar son of liars. ‘Abdullah showed his willingness to do so, but when he went up he said, “O, people! I am the messenger of Husayn son of Fatimah, to help him against son of Marjanah! (Ibn Ziyad)”

Ibn Ziyad ordered him to be toppled from the top of the castle. He fell and broke most of his bones, but he was still able to talk. A man named Lakhmi, one of Ibn Ziyad’s soldiers, came and cut off his head. When the people in the street asked him why he did that, he said, “To put him out of his misery.”

After this news, the Imam announced, “Anyone who has joined this caravan for any purpose other than dying for this cause should leave now.” And people left him except for those who chose to stay, his family, and his companions.

Here the Imam announced, “I am going to be killed and I saw in a dream that dogs are going to eat my flesh and the worst of those dogs will be an albino dog.”

At this point, ‘Amr Ibn Luthan asked the Imam to return to Madinah. The Imam replied, “I know your opinion but I do not do but what God wishes. Indeed, they are not going to leave me alone until they take out my insides and if they do that, they will be the most humiliated nation in the world.”

Here, the Imam set camp and asked his children to re-supply with water and carry more water than they needed. When he heard one of his followers saying “Allahu Akbar,” the Imam asked him, “Why did you say that?”
He answered, “I see palm trees in the far distance.”

All the people around him said, “There are no palm trees around here in this desert?”
When they looked carefully, they saw spears and horses.
The Imam agreed and said, “That must be it.” Then he asked, “Is there any shelter here?”
They told him there is a place called Dhu-Hasm on the left and that is the best place to take shelter. The Imam went there and set his camp.

Then, at noon, Hurr al-Riyahi, with 1,000 soldiers, appeared in front of the Imam, carrying a message from Ibn Ziyad ordering him to prevent the Imam from returning to Madinah or capture him and bring him to Kufah.

When the Imam saw that the army of Hurr was thirsty, he asked his followers to give them and their horses water. They gave all of them and all of their horses water except for the last animal. The inexperienced rider of this last camel came to the Imam, not knowing how to water his animal, and Imam Husayn told him, “Anikh al-Rawiyah.”

In the Hijazi Arabic dialect, it means “loosen the ropes around the camel’s neck” (so it can drink), but in the Kufi Arabic dialect it means “loosen the neck of the water bag.” So, the soldier loosened the knot around the water bag and the water spilled out.
Then, Imam Husayn did it himself and showed the soldier how to loosen the ropes and let the camel drink. Then, after all of the army and their animals were finished drinking, the Imam stood and said, “I did not come here until all of your letters came to me, and the letters say that you do not have any leader and that you need me to help teach you guidance. If that is still your demand, give me something that shows that you are truthful in your promises, and if you do not like me, I will return to where I came from.”

The soldiers were silent. No one spoke a word. Then, Hajjaj Ibn Masraq made the call to prayer for the Dhuhr -Noon- Prayer. The Imam said to Hurr, “You are the chief of your army. You go and pray with your own people.”

Hurr replied, “No. We pray with your prayer.” and Hurr, with all of his troops, prayed with the Imam.
When the Imam finished the prayer, he stood and said, “O people! Fear God and find the truth and follow it. We are the members of the House of the Prophet. We deserve trust more than those who do injustice. If you do not like us or you ignore our rights or you have changed your minds from whatever you have written to us before, then I will leave you.”
Hurr said, “Written? I do not know what letters you are talking about!” The Imam asked one of his followers to bring two sacks of letters.

Hurr said, “I am not one of these people. I have been ordered not to leave you alone until I bring you back to Kufah to Ibn Ziyad.
The Imam said, “Death is before that.” He turned and told his followers to get ready to ride their horses, but Hurr stopped them from going.
Then, for the first time in his life, the Imam spoke an insult, “Your mother sits mourning you.” Then he said, “What do you want from us?”

Hurr replied, “If anyone beside you had said those words to me, l would have replied the same to him, but I cannot do that to you. However, take a road between you and Kufah, which does not reach Kufah nor goes to Madinah, until I write to Ibn Ziyad and see what his orders are. May God relieve me from this catastrophe.”
Then he said to the Imam, “I bear witness that if you fight, you will be killed.”

The Imam said, “Are you threatening me with death? Are you going to kill me? Are you helping the Messenger of God?”
When Hurr heard this, he turned around and left the Imam. He did not want a confrontation with the Imam.
The Imam’s caravan continued in an unknown direction, and Hurr’s army followed behind.

Here, the Imam gave a sermon to the people of Hurr:
“O people! The Messenger of God said, ‘Whoever sees an unjust governor who changes the forbidden to allowed and who breaks his promise, who is against the tradition of the Prophets, who acts unjustly and does not do anything against it in action or in words, God will enter him where the unjust person enters.’ Indeed, these people follow Satan and have left the obedience of God. They spread mischief, they abandon all rules, they misuse wealth, and they make the illegal legal and the legal illegal. I deserve this leadership more than anyone else. Your letters came to me and your deputies came to me offering allegiance to me, saying that you will not betray me and that if I lead you, you will succeed. I am Husayn, son of ‘Ali and Fatimah, daughter of the Messenger of God. My soul is with your soul, my family is with your family, and I am one of you. If you do not do so and change your promise and your allegiance to me, that would not be a surprise to me. You have done so before to my father, my brother, and my cousin (Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil). If you do that, you have missed your chance and you have lost your share and whoever breaks his promise he breaks it against himself. Peace be upon you.”

Here, a man met the Imam and asked him, “Why did you leave the house of your grandfather? (meaning Madinah)”
The Imam replied, “Indeed, the Umayyads called our most honorable kin bad names, and I was patient. Then, they took my wealth, and I was patient. And they sought my blood and I ran away. Indeed, by God, they are going to kill me. Then, God will humiliate them, making them the most humiliated nation in the world.”

Here, four people from Kufah met the Imam. The Imam asked them about the situation of the people and they told him, “The dignitaries were bought by bribes. As for the common people, their hearts are with you, but their swords are against you.”
They told him how Qays Ibn Mashar al-Saydawi was killed. Then, the Imam recited, “Among the believers are men who are true to whatever covenant they made with God. Some of then have fulfilled [their covenant], some of them are waiting [to do so], and have not made any changes [in the religion].” (The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Ahzab 33:23)
Tarammah Ibn ‘Uday al-Ta’y said to the Imam, “I saw people before leaving Kufah and asked what the commotion was. They said that they were being recruited and sent to fight against the Imam. I urge you, by God, not to go to them. I do not see anyone with you. I request you to come with us to our mountain called Aja. We were able to isolate ourselves from the kings of Ghassan and Himyar. If you stay with us for ten days, I guarantee you that
20,060 of my tribe, the Tays would follow you and do whatever you order.”
The Imam refused and said, “We have a promise between us and these people and we can not leave until we see the result.”
The Imam thanked him, but refused. Then Tarammah asked permission to go by himself to deliver what he has to deliver for his family, and then return to join the Imam’s camp. The Imam allowed him to do so, and he went, but he was too late in his return. On his way, he heard that Imam was killed.

When the Imam set camp here, he saw another camp already set. He asked about them and they told him it is for ‘Ubaydullah al-Ju’fi. When the Imam sent some of his followers to see him, Ju’fi asked them what they wanted, and the messenger said, “This is a message from Imam Husayn, asking you to help him.”

Ju’fi replied, “I swear by God, I left Kufah only because of what I saw, that people were leaving to fight against him and I knew that he is going to be killed and I am not going to help him. That is why I left Kufah so that I would be safe. I do not want to see him and I do not want him to see me.”

The messengers brought the reply back to Imam Husayn. The Imam got up, and with a group of his followers, went to Ju’fi’s camp. Ju’fi received him well, honored him, and said, “I have not seen anyone of better character or more handsome than Husayn.”

Then, Ju’fi asked the Imam if he used red henna or black dye to dye his beard.
The Imam replied, “O! Aging and gray hair came to me soon.”
When they sat, the Imam said, “Your people have written to me and asked my help and invited me to come to them. Now, it appears that it is not the case. You have sins in your life. Do you wish to erase them by repentance?”
Ju’fi said, “What is that, O son of the Messenger of God!”

The Imam replied, “You help the son of the daughter of the Prophet and fight by his side.”
Ju’fi said, “Indeed, I know that whoever follows you will be happy in the Hereafter, but what can I do to help? I saw no one in Kufah who would help you, and I do not like to die. Therefore, I give you my horses as gifts to you. This horse of mine, which is called Malhaqah, is the best horse to give victory to me, and I was not willing to give it to anybody in my life.”
The Imam replied, “If you are not willing to fight with us, we do not need your horses and we do not need you.” Then, the Imam quoted, “And I am not one who takes the support of people who are astray.” (The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Kahf 18:51)
The Imam said to Ju’fi “I do not take those who are astray as helpers. Now I will advise you as you have advised me. If you are able to avoid our call and not watch us die, do so. Indeed, whoever hears us and does not help us will go to hell.”
Also at this stop, the heads of two other Arab tribes met the Imam. The Imam asked them, “Are you coming to help us?”
They said, “We have children and we have been trusted with the wealth of people and we want to keep their trust.”
The Imam said the same to them, “Leave. Do not hear our call for help. Indeed, whoever hears our call for help and does not help us will end up in hell.”
At the end of the night, the Imam ordered his followers to leave Qasr Bani Maqatil

When the Imam’s caravan came near this place, they saw a man on a horse coming towards them. He was carrying a message from Ibn Ziyad to Hurr.

Hurr came and read the letter to Imam Husayn, “Be firm with Husayn. When you read my letter, do not let him camp anywhere but in the desert where there is no water and no fortification.”
The Imam said, “Then, let us go to Nineveh or Ghadariyyah or Shufayyah.”
Hurr replied, “I cannot do that because the messenger is a spy on me.”
Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn said, “O, grandson of the Messenger of God! To kill these people now is easier than fighting with the reinforcements that will come after them. Let us start fighting and finish them. After these will come people that we will not be able to fight.”

The Imam said, “I am not going to start the fighting.”
Zuhayr said, “There is a village here on the Euphrates and has a fort and the Euphrates crosses it. Let us go there.”
The Imam asked, “What is it called?”
He said, “It’s called Aqr (in Arabic, means ‘the cutting’.”
The Imam said, “I seek refuge with God from Aqr.”
Then, the Imam asked Hurr to let him go a little bit further. Hurr agreed and the Imam’s caravan went with Hurr’s troops following behind until they reached Karbala’.

At Karbala’, Hurr and his army blocked the caravan of Imam Husayn from going any farther. Hurr said, “This is near the river and you cannot go farther.”
The horses of the Imam’s group stopped, and Imam Husayn asked Zuhayr, “What is the name of this place”
Zuhayr answered, “Taf.”
The Imam asked, “Is there any other name for this place?”
Zuhayr said, “It is also called Karbala’.”
The Imam’s eyes watered and he said, “O, God! I seek refuge with God from Karb (grief) and Bala (tribulation). Here is the place in which we will set our camp; here is the place where our blood will be shed. Here is the place where our graves will be. This is what my grandfather has told me.”

On the second day of the holy month of Muharram, sixty-one years after the Prophet’s migration from Makkah to Madinah, his grandson, Imam Husayn, gathered all of his relatives and family and said, “O God! We, the family of the Prophet Muhammad, were chased out of our homes in the city of our Prophet (Madinah). The children of Umayya harmed us. O, Lord! Secure our rights for us and help us against the unjust people.”
Then he faced his followers and said, “People are slaves of this world. The religion is just what they say. They use it as long as it provides them with their living. When they are tested, the true religious people are few.”
Then he said, “All of you know what has happened to us and you know how the world has changed its face towards us. The good is now considered bad and no good remains except for a little. You see that truth is not acted upon and the wrong is not prevented. Indeed, a believer does not wish anything but to meet his Lord. Indeed, I do not see death [for freedom] as but happiness and life with unjust people as nothing but grief.”
When the Imam finished, Zuhayr stood up and said, “O, grandson of the Messenger of God! We heard your sermon. If the whole world was eternal, we would prefer to rise with you than to be in this world.”
Burayr stood and said, “O the son of the Messenger of God! God has honored us to fight with you and may your grandfather be our interceder on the Day of Judgment.”

Nafi’ Ibn Hilal stood and said, “Your grandfather, the Messenger of God, lived among people, some of them were hypocrites, promising to help him, but in reality, they hid themselves to betray him, until he died. Your father ‘Ali was in a similar situation. You are now among us in a similar situation. Whoever betrays you betrays no one but himself. You go wherever you go. We will be with you, whatever you face, East or West. Indeed, by God, we do not hesitate to meet our Lord. We speak from our hearts and from our minds. We follow whoever follows you and we are enemies of whoever is your enemy.”
Then, the Imam asked the residents of the area, Nineveh and Ghadriyyah, to sell their property to him for 60,000 Dirhams.
He said, “All of the property is for you, on one condition, that whoever wants to visit my grave, you lead them to it.”
The area was four miles by four miles. He let them keep the money and he gave the land back to them, then wrote a one-line letter to his brother, Mu¦ammad Ibn al-Hanafiyyah, saying, “Indeed, the world seems not to be and the Hereafter is certain.”
Meanwhile, Hurr wrote to Ibn Ziyad telling him of the events. Ibn Ziyad replied in a letter to Imam Husayn saying, “O Husayn, I have heard that you have settled in Karbala’. The leader of the faithful Yazid has written and ordered me not to sleep or be full with drink until I send you to your Lord or you accept my rule and the rule of Yazid.”
The Imam read the letter and let it fall to the ground. After he dropped it he said, “People who want to please anyone but God will not be successful.”

Ibn Ziyad’s messenger asked for a reply and the Imam said, “He has no reply from me because the punishment of God is certain for him.”
When the messenger came back to Ibn Ziyad and told him what happened, he became very angry. He stood up and ordered ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d to march towards Karbala’ with an army of 4,000 troops. He even wrote a promise for ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d to appoint him as governor of Ray in Persia if he goes to Karbala’ and kills Imam Husayn. When Ibn Ziyad finished writing, he extended his arm and mentioned for ‘Umar to take it. ‘Umar was reluctant and Ibn Ziyad took the paper back.
‘Umar left the governor and gathered all of his friends to consult them. All of them warned him not to go. The son of his sister Hamzah Ibn Mughirah Ibn Shu’bah told him, “I ask you by God not to go and not to fight Imam Husayn even if you become governor of the whole world.”

In the morning, he met with Ibn Ziyad and said, “I am not willing to go and fight Imam Husayn. I have brought for you a list of other people to send to fight the Imam.”
Ibn Ziyad said, “I am not asking you to tell me whom to send to fight. If you do not want to go, you will not be the governor of Ray.”

But, ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d did not want to give up his chance to be governor of the rich city of Ray, so he accepted to go and fight Imam Husayn with 4,000 men.

In Karbala’, ‘Umar asked Azra Ibn Qays to go and meet the Imam and ask him why he is in Karbala’. Azra refused, because he was one of those who asked the Imam to come to Kufah.
Kathir Ibn Abdullah al-Shu’bi said, “I am going to meet the Imam and if you want me to kill him right’ away, I will.”
‘Umar said, “No, just go and ask him why he is coming here.”
Kathir went towards the Imam’s camp but Abu Thumamah al-Sa’idi stopped him on his way.
Kathir said, “I have a message for the Imam.”

Sa’idi said to him, “You give up your sword and you can go to see the Imam.”
He refused, and when he tried continuing towards the Imam’s camp, Sa’idi would not let him pass, and Kathir decided to go back. Then ‘Umar sent Qurra Ibn Qays al-Hanbali. When he conveyed the message to the Imam, the Imam said, “Your people have written to me; therefore, I came. If you have changed your mind, I am going to leave.”

Qurra went back to ‘Umar and ‘Umar wrote to Ibn Ziyad telling him what Imam Husayn said. Ibn Ziyad wrote a reply saying, “Tell Husayn and his followers to pay allegiance to Yazid. If he does so, we will think about what to do with him.”
Then, Ibn Ziyad announced a public meeting in the main Masjid of Kufah and made a speech. He said, “O people! You know the people of Abi Sufyan and you know how they have served you, and you know this leader of the faithful Yazid. You know how helpful he is to his people. He serves them and gives them what they need; all of the roads are safe under his leadership as they were during his father’s rule. His son, Yazid, honors people. He makes them rich! He has increased your salaries by a hundred times, and he has ordered me to increase them even more if you go to fight his enemy Husayn. Listen to him and obey him.”
He immediately distributed money among the soldiers and then went to Nukhaylah. He camped there, and ordered Ibn Namr al-Tamimi and Hajjaj Ibn Abjar and Shimr Ibn Dhil-Jawshan and Shibth Ibn Rab’i to go and join ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d. Shibth (one of those who wrote letters inviting the Imam) announced that he was sick.

Ibn Ziyad called him and told him, “You want to play a double trick. If we succeed, you will tell us you were sick and could not help us. To Husayn’s people you will say you helped them. Come here so I can see for myself. My people tell me you are not sick.”

When Ibn Ziyad saw him, he did not see any sign of sickness and ordered him to go immediately. After that, He ordered five hundred troops under the leadership of Zijr Ibn Qays at the gate of Kufah to prevent other people from leaving and helping the Imam.

However some were able to go. One of them was Amir Ibn Abi Salamah al-Dalani who crossed the gateway. When they tried to stop him, he fought with them and was able to reach Karbala’ and fight to protect Imam Husayn.
By this time, Shimr left for Karbala’ with 4,000 troops, Yazid Ibn Rikab with 2,000, Hosayn Ibn Numayr with 4,000, Shibth Ibn Rab’i with 1,000, Kalb Ibn Talha with 3,000, Hajjaj Ibn Abjar with 1,000, Madhair Ibn Rahinah with 3,000, and Nasr Ibn Harshah with 2,000 fighters. By the 6th day of the month of Muharram, there were 20,000 troops under the leadership of ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, and Ibn Ziyad kept sending more troops until the total was 30,000 soldiers.
On the day of the 6th, Ibn Ziyad wrote to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, “I would like to know your news every morning and every night until you finish Husayn.”

‘Umar immediately redistributed his army around the Euphrates to block the Imam’s camp from access to water. The Imam could not bear to hear the children crying. They were not close enough to the river to drink, but the camp was close enough to see and smell the water. The Imam realized that the camp might even be close enough to have water underground. He used one of the tent poles and a hammer to dig a well, hammering the tent pole deeper and deeper until water sprang from the pipe. But, after some time, the water stopped.

Ibn Ziyad wrote to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, “I heard that Husayn is digging a well. He and his followers drank from that well. The moment you receive my letter, prevent them from digging any wells and make it as difficult as possible for them!” He sent five hundred of his own troops to deliver the message and to guard the Euphrates.

The Imam and his followers were totally cut off from water and their throats burned from thirst. At this point the Imam asked ‘Abbas to bring some water for the women and children. ‘Abbas and twenty others each took a water skin and, during the night, marched towards the Euphrates. ‘Abbas was in the middle and all twenty around him to protect his water skin and Nafi’ Ibn Hilal al-Bujali took the flag.
The guards at that part of the river asked, “Who is this?”
He said, “We came to drink water.”
The soldiers answered, “Go drink water as much as you like, but do not carry any back for Husayn.”
Nafi’ replied, “By God, I am not going to drink a drop of water while Husayn and his family are thirsty!” He called on his people to go and get water. Some of them filled the water skins and the others fought. They were able to get water back to the camp, but a few bags of water are not much for a whole camp of men, women, and children, as well as horses and other animals.

The Imam sent Ibn Qurdah al-Ansari to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d to ask for a meeting between the two camps. He agreed and each of them came with twenty guards. The Imam said to his followers to wait behind, except for his brother ‘Abbas and his son ‘Ali. ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d did the same leaving everyone behind except for his son and his slave.
The Imam said to ‘Umar, “Are you going to fight with me? Do you not fear God on the Day of Judgment? You know who I am. Why do you not leave these people and join me?”
‘Umar said, “I am afraid that my house will be demolished.”
The Imam said, “I will rebuild it for you.”
‘Umar said, “I am afraid my village will be confiscated.”
The Imam said, “I will give you a better village from my property in the Hijaz area.”
‘Umar said, “I have children and I am afraid Ibn Ziyad is going to kill them.”
The Imam, knowing that his excuses were fake, said to ‘Umar, “God is going to order someone to kill you in your bed and you will not get even a handful of the wheat of Iraq.”
‘Umar said sarcastically, “Barley is enough for me.”

‘Umar Ibn Sa’d sent a letter to Ibn Ziyad and in it he claimed, “The Imam agrees to return back to the place he came from or any other place in the army camp and be like one of the individual Muslims or come to the leader of the faithful Yazid and put his hand in his hand so they can see what they do to each other.” He added, “That is the best solution for you and for the whole nation.”
Ibn Ziyad gathered his council and said, “This is not a bad idea.”
Shimr interrupted him, “No! This cannot be! If you do not get him now, you will not be able to get him again! He is weak now and you are now strong!”

Ibn Ziyad immediately wrote to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d “Indeed, I did not send you to Husayn as a mediator nor to give him promises. Look! If Husayn and his followers accept my rule, take them alive and send them to me. If they do not, attack them, kill them, and cut off their hands, feet, noses and other parts.
If Husayn is killed, march the horses on his chest and his back. I do not think that would hurt him after death! If you do so, you have your reward with us. If you do not, you must immediately resign and Shimr Ibn Dhil-Jawshan will be your replacement as the leader of the Army. I have ordered him to do so.”

Shimr brought the letter to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d who read it and said, “You are responsible for this! We have planned for a solution and you destroyed it! Indeed, by God, Husayn is not going to submit. Indeed, the soul of his father is between his chest.”
Shimr said, “Tell me, are you going to obey your leader or not?”
‘Umar said, “I am going to do it, and I will not let you have that honor. You take leadership of the infantry.”
Shimr had a distant relation to ‘Abbas on his mother’s side. He wanted to divide Imam Husayn’s family. Shimr went near the Imam’s camp and yelled in a loud voice, “Where are the children of our sister?”
‘Abbas and his brothers did not answer when they heard him yelling. The Imam asked, “Why do you not answer him? He is your relative.”

So, ‘Abbas and his brothers went out and said, “What do you want? What is the matter with you?”
He said, “O children of my sister! You have clemency. Do not kill yourselves With Husayn. Come to the obedience of the leader of the faithful Yazid.”
‘Abbas said, “God curse you and your clemency! You give us clemency and you do not give clemency to the grandson of the Prophet of God? And you are asking us to enter the obedience of the cursed people and those who are children of cursed people?”

Then, ‘Abbas left him and came back to the tents.
When ‘Abbas got back, Zuhayr went to him and said, “I would like to tell you a story. When your father wanted to marry, he went to his brother ‘Aqil to choose for him a woman of a brave tribe. He wanted to have a brave child and your father wanted you for this day to help your brother.”
‘Abbas replied, “Are you trying to encourage me? Today, of all days! God knows what I am going to do today! To help my brother! My Imam!”

Then, Habib Ibn Muzahir al-Asadi asked permission from the Imam to go talk to his tribe, Banu Asad. The Imam gave him permission. He went and they recognized him. He asked them to come and help the Imam. Ninety of them went to join him, but one of the other tribes went and told the news to ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d. ‘Umar sent four hundred men to stop the ninety from reaching the Imam’s camp. They fought and struggled to reach the Imam. Some were killed, others returned to their tribe, and only Habib made it back to the Imam’s camp.

Thursday, the night of the ninth of Muharram, ‘Umar ordered his entire army to attack the Imam’s camp at once. The Imam was sitting, then said to his brother ‘Abbas, “Go to them and see what they are up to.”
‘Abbas went with twenty followers. Among them were Zuhayr and Habib. They asked the army, and the army replied that the order of the governor came that they must obey him and his rule, or fight. ‘Abbas went back to the Imam and told him.
Meanwhile, his people were preaching to the army of ‘Umar. Habib Ibn Muzahir said, “Indeed, by God, you are the worst people. Who are you going to kill? The children of your Prophet? Those who spend all of their time in worshipping God?
The head of the army said, “You just want to show yourself as a good person.”

Zuhayr said, “God has made people different. Do not help the unjust people in killing the righteous people.”
The head of the army said, “But, Zuhayr, you are not a Follower!” Zuhayr said, “Do you not see I am with them now? Is this not enough for you to see that I am a Follower? God knows that I did not invite him and I did not write him a letter and I did not promise him anything, but when I saw him and recognized him and knew who his enemy was, I decided to be on his side.”
‘Abbas came from the Imam with a message, “Leave us alone for one night. Delay the fight for one night so that we can pray to our Lord and recite the Holy Qur’an.”
‘Umar hesitated to do it but some of his army said, “We should let them. Even if they were non-Muslims, we would have let them.”

‘Umar knew that he would not have the support of his army if he ordered to attack immediately, so he answered, “I know that if I give him this, they will be stronger tomorrow. However, I will let them delay the war one night.

Misconception: Why do Muslims slaughter the animal in a ruthless manner by torturing it and slowly and painfully killing it?

The Islamic method of slaughtering animals, known as Zabiha has been the object of much criticism from a large number of people.

Before I reply to the question, let me relate an incidence about a discussion between a Sikh and a Muslim regarding animal slaughter.

Once a Sikh asked a Muslim, “Why do you slaughter the animal painfully by cutting the throat instead of the way we do with one stroke i.e. jhatka?” The Muslim replied”We are brave and courageous and attack from the front. We are marad ka baccha (macho men), you are cowards and attack from behind”.

Jokes apart, one may consider the following points, which prove that the Zabiha method is not only humane but also scientifically the best:

1. Islamic method of slaughtering animal

Zakkaytum is a verb derived from the root word Zakah (to purify). Its infinitive is Tazkiyah which means purification. The Islamic mode of slaughtering an animal requires the following conditions to be met:

a. Animal should be slaughtered with sharp object (knife)

The animal has to be slaughtered with a sharp object (knife) and in a fast way so that the pain of slaughter is minimised.

b. Cut wind pipe, throat and vessels of neck

Zabiha is an Arabic word which means ‘slaughtered’. The ‘slaughtering’ is to be done by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck causing the animal’s death without cutting the spinal cord.

c. Blood should be drained

The blood has to be drained completely before the head is removed. The purpose is to drain out most of the blood which would serve as a good culture medium for micro organisms. The spinal cord must not be cut because the nerve fibres to the heart could be damaged during the process causing cardiac arrest, stagnating the blood in the blood vessels.


2. Blood is a good medium for germs and bacteria

Blood is a good media of germs, bacteria, toxins, etc. Therefore the Muslim way of slaughtering is more hygienic as most of the blood containing germs, bacteria, toxins, etc. that are the cause of several diseases are eliminated.

3. Meat remains fresh for a longer time


Meat slaughtered by Islamic way remains fresh for a longer time due to deficiency of blood in the meat as compared to other methods of slaughtering.


4. Animal does not feel pain


The swift cutting of vessels of the neck disconnects the flow of blood to the nerve of the brain responsible for pain. Thus the animal does not feel pain. While dying, the animal struggles, writhers, shakes and kicks, not due to pain, but due to the contraction and relaxation of the muscles defecient in blood and due to the flow of blood out of the body


Mariam M.Ali

A graduate of College of Business Management working as an academic writer. She also volunteers in the The Citizens Foundation Rahbar program.

In a country where much is done in the name of Islam, why is it difficult for women to perform a basic act of worship?


I am not a religious activist, nor do I don a burqa. I stay away from religious discussions and debates because I believe I’m not qualified enough to comment on religious rights and wrongs.

However, if there is one thing that I do, and that I’m proud of, is pray. I might not pray well, but I do pray. I’ve prayed in malls, in restaurants, in shops, in mosques and at home.

I don’t care if others pray. All I care about is that I get a chance to offer my prayers on time.

When I am out at restaurants or shopping, it is at times near impossible to find an area to pray. If I am lucky, I will be handed a mat and told to pray in a public corner; something I’m not comfortable with. So I arrange my schedule around prayer times; which is something that many people do not understand.

What I can’t grasp is that in a country where so much is done in the name of religion, why is it so difficult to perform a simple fundamental act of worship – of the predominant religion?

Although there are great praying areas at Park Towers, Gulf, Ashiyana and Dolmen Mall in Karachi, at my parlor they don’t even know the direction of the qibla.

At restaurants I’ve prayed on tattered, old and stinky mats or just been refused – “sorry, there’s no place to pray here.”

If I do pray in a corner then people stare at me as if I’m from outer space and to go to mosques is not always possible as many don’t have ladies prayer rooms.

In my college, where there were prayer rooms, I once found a rat sleeping soundly cushioned by a prayer mat. I’m also confused about how in Ramadan the faithful are enticed by restaurants to binge out but there are haphazard areas to pray, if any.

This is not to say that everywhere there should be a huge praying area clearly marked out. All I’m asking for is some sort of a reasonable arrangement for women who can’t get to their homes before time runs out or at least have ladies’ prayer areas in most mosques.




{December 13, 2010}   URDU NOHAY AND MARSIYA

Urdu Marsiya and Nohay, a historical perspective.


Urdu marsiay and nohay, or elegies, have not only rendered to the Urdu language literary and poetic beauty, but also a medium of religious, cultural, and intellectual expression. Although some Urdu marsiay and nohay deal with topics other than the seventh-century battle of Karbala, most of them have focused on the events that paved the path to this battle and the agonizing aftermath of this event. In this paper, I will discuss the salient characteristics of the genre of marsiya and the variations of the Karbala theme within this tradition according to changing social, cultural, and political contexts.

In order to comprehend Urdu marsiay and nohay, it is essential to glance briefly at the historical and social milieu that nourished this genre. The tradition of marsiya has its roots in the pre-Islamic Arab and Persian worlds, where human sentiments and pathos were expressed in form of elegiac poetry. This tradition continued after the advent of Islam, with many companions of the Prophet Muhammad, such as Umar, arranging for elegies to be written about their deceased family members. In 680 C.E., on the bank of the river Euphrates, Hussain, a grandson of Muhammad, along with his seventy-one companions, was killed in a deserted place, Karbala, for refusing to pay allegiance to the Ummayad ruler, Yazid. This event became a major theme for the marsia’s and noha’s of the ensuing centuries. As history indicates the first noha was recited by Imam Hussain’s sister, Janab-e-Zainab, and son, Imam Zain-al-Abedin, in the aftermath of Imam Hussain’s martyrdom. There were, however, severe restrictions imposed on such mourning ceremonies since the Ummayad rulers could not afford to foster empathy for the family of the Prophet.

When Shi’ism became the official religion of Iran in the fifteenth century, Safavid rulers such as Shah Tahmasp, patronized poets who wrote about the tragedy of Karbala, and the genre of marsiya, according to Persian scholar Wheeler Thackston, “was particularly cultivated by the Safavids.”The most well-known fifteenth-century Persian marsiya writer was Muhtasham Kashani (d. 1587), whose works consequently became a source of elegy emulation for Iranians as well as Indian poets of ensuing generations.

Persian and Arabic languages and literatures had a momentous influence on Indo-Muslim culture in general and on the evolution of Urdu language and literature in particular. The Adil Shahi and Qutb Shahi dynasties of South India (Deccan), predominantly Twelver Shi’is in religious persuasion, patronized Dakhni (an early South Indian dialect of Urdu) marsiay and nohay. Although Persian marsiay and nohay of Muhtasham Kashani were still recited, the Adil Shahi and Qutb Shahi rulers felt the need to render the Karbala tragedy in the language of common Muslims. In the Adil Shahi and Qutb Shahi kingdom of Deccan, marsiay and nohay flourished, especially under the patronage of Ali Adil Shah and Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, marsiya writers themselves, and poets such as Ashraf Biyabani. Urdu marsiay and nohay written during this period are still popular in South Indian villages. One such marsiya expresses the pathos of the moment when Imam Hussain’s loved ones bid him farewell:

Farewell, O King of martyrs,
Farewell, O Ruler of both worlds,

Mustafa [the Prophet] mourns for you in Paradise,
like Yaqub mourned in the aftermath of his separation with Yusuf.

The Yaqub-Yusuf motif, which by no means is restricted to marsiya, recurs over and over in this genre since the son of Imam Hussain, Ali Akbar, was supposedly as handsome as the Qu’ranic Yusuf, and since the Imam’s distress after the martyrdom of his son was analogous to Yaqub’s sorrow after his son parted from him. The North Indian marsiya writers used similar motifs and metaphors when the centre of Urdu literature moved to the North after the kingdoms of the Deccan were annexed by the Mughals.

As Mughal power began to wane in the aftermath of the rule of Aurangzeb (1706), other autonomous Muslim powers sprung up in India. The Navabs of Avadh, Twelver Shi’is and patrons of Urdu literature and poetry, provided auspices for the sublimation of the marsiya genre in North India.

Contrary to popular perceptions, Urdu marsiay and nohay are not confined to the gatherings of Muharram but are recited throughout the year in ceremonies preceding weddings and death anniversaries. However, in the kingdom of Avadh, during the months of Muharram and Safar, marsiay and nohay were recited on a daily basis in the majalis (gatherings to commemorate the tragedy of Karbala) held twice a day in imambareh (places of gathering for the majalis). The adab (etiquette) of these majalis was such that the audiences would sit facing the taziyah (models of the shrines of the martyrs of Karbala), and listen to the narration of the popularly perceived events of Karbala in Persian; they would then hear the Urdu marsiya written for that particular day. The recitation of marsiay and nohay was also considered an art, and the writers were not always considered the best orators to generate pathos among the audiences. The Navabs thus invited effective reciters (marsiya khwan and noha khwan) who had a considerable following themselves. After the recitation of marsiay and nohay, the family of the Prophet was praised and the enemies of this family rebuked. The majlis would close with self-flagellation. Keeping this historical and cultural background of Urdu marsiya tradition in mind, it is apposite to delve into the salient characteristics of this genre.

The main purpose of Urdu marsiay and nohay is to praise the heroes of Islam, who fought on the side of Imam Hussain in Karbala, and to induce empathy for the family of Ali and Fatima. The metaphors utilized in Avadh, Delhi, and the surrounding vicinity to glorify the accomplishments of early Islamic heroes in Urdu marsiay and nohay were similar to the metaphors and similes used in qasaid, or odes, written in praise of Indian rulers. Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) described the “King of Martyrs,” Imam Hussain, by using metaphors, similar to the ones he used in his odes:

The glory and jewel of faith, Hussain Ibn-e Ali,
who shall be called the candle of the gathering of grandeur.

The fountain of paradise [Salsabil] is in the path of those,
who call him the thirsty martyr of Karbala.

It is a strange occurrence that an enemy of Islam,
battles with Ali and is considered only to be mistaken.
After Ali there is Hassan, and after Hassan there is Hussain,
How can I exonerate any person who has mistreated them.

Ghalib, in his marsiay and nohay, not only praised the family of Ali, but expressed loyalty to the family of Muhammad by rebuking their opponents. It is difficult for Ghalib to comprehend how the enemies of the Prophet’s family can be exonerated by Muslims. Ghalib’s criticism could have been aimed at the belief of many Muslims that the judgment of the companions of the Prophet should be left to Allah. Ghalib considered Imam Hussain to be the ideal king; the precepts of loyalty demanded aversion toward any enemy of the king.

While Ghalib used regal imagery to underscore the virtues of Imam Hussain, Mirza Dabir (1803-1875) described the Imam as also being the paragon of a true lover. Dabir used ascetic and mystical imagery, commonly implemented in Urdu and Persian poetry, to describe Imam Hussain. Imam Hussain is depicted as the ideal lover due to his penchant for suffering in order to attain Allah:

For the sake of thirst, he [Hussain] fasted in youth,
For the sake of thirst, he turned away from Zehra’s [Fatima’s] milk,
For the sake of thirst, he never accepted the Euphrates’ favor,
For the sake of thirst, he abnegated water from the Seventh of Muharram.
The world remembers the story of his slaying,
and his utterance of `thirst, thirst’ while biting the tongue.

Dabir interpreted the Imam’s thirst as if it were a means to unite the Imam with Allah. It was as though Allah tested his beloved by depriving him of water in the sweltering desert of Karbala. But Imam Hussain was not the only one put to the test of Allah; each and every person on the side of the Imam –from the six month old child, Ali Asghar, to the seventy-one-year-old companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Habib Ibn-e Mazahir– was subjected to the agony of thirst. The mystical imagery of forbearance was utilized by Dabir to make his view of the suffering side of the Imam more fathomable to an audience attuned to mystical poetry.

The marsiay and nohay of Mir Taqi Mir (1722-1810) and Muhammad Rafi Sauda (1713-1780) are similar to those of Ghalib and Dabir in that they perform their panegyrical function for the martyrs of Karbala; but these poets also wrote marsiay and nohay in which the narration of the Karbala tragedy was saturated with cultural and ceremonial imagery of North India. The North Indian Muslim cultural terminology used by Mir and Sauda includes sehra–the veil of flowers that the groom and the bride wear on their wedding day in India and naig–the demand of the groom’s sister for money before allowing her brother to approach his bride

In addition to the wedding of Karbala, other parts of the Karbala tragedy were painted with Indian colors. Mir Anis’ (1802-1874) description of the women of the Prophet’s household embarking on the journey to Karbala and the protocol that was followed was quite similar to the protocol followed by the begmat (ladies) of Lucknow:

Even if there is a young boy on the roof,
he must get down,
If he is coming this way, he must stop.
No stranger should travel on this road,
For God has made her [Zainab, sister of Hussain]nobler than Mary,
Even the male angels have closed their eyes.

This part of Anis’ marsiya echoes the rigidity with which purdah (veiling) was observed in nineteenth-century Avadh.

The marsiay and nohay of Anis were also heavily laced with durbar imagery, which registered in the mind of the readers and listeners the manner in which Imam Hussain and his companions must have eagerly awaited their martyrdom:

On the right side of the camp were the relatives of the Imam,
their glowing faces brightened the dark desert of Karbala.

Like beads in a rosary, they were all united.

They anxiously waited for their death.

They would desire neither food nor water,
their aim was to offer their heads to Allah.
The young boys pleaded to be the first martyrs,
and the older ones left this decision up to the Imam.
In the middle of this assembly was the King of the world,
like the sun amidst the stars.

The foregoing verses create images similar to those associated with the Mughal durbars, or the Navabs of Avadh sitting in the Diwan-e-Khas (hall of the private audience) while being praised by their loyal friends and advisers.

In the marsiay and nohay of Mir Ishq (d. before 1890), the farewell of Imam Hussain to his friends and family in Medina is also similar to that of a North Indian king before he commenced on a course of war: crowds gathering to bid farewell, subjects praying for the master’s health, and so on. The farewell of Imam Hussain’s son Ali Akbar, who was eighteen years old during the battle of Karbala and bore a striking resemblance to his great grandfather, the Prophet Muhammad, is similar to the farewell any beloved son of Avadh would receive before he went to war: the family comes to bid him farewell and prays for his well-being; sisters express their aspirations for his wedding; and mothers give sadqa (alms that are supposed to remove any curse that might afflict a person) to the poor.

The marsiay and nohay of Mir Anis reflect the popular prayers of women of Lucknow. When an unmarried son departs for the battlefront, his mother expresses her desire to see his sehra; when a brother leaves the house, his sister prays that the brother’s wife always has sandal-wood powder in her hair and children in her lap; and when a slave joins his master in the war, the slave’s wife prays for her husband’s death in exchange for his master’s life. The ideals of brother-sister and mother-son love, fertility of a woman, and loyalty to the king, were aspirations of the Muslim culture of North India and were channeled through literary genres like the marsiya.

Images associated with the 1857 uprising against British rule were also incorporated into marsiay and nohay. As Intezar Hussain states in his study of Mir Anis’ poetry, Urdu marsiay and nohay were shaped by the political situation of their day. The tumultuous events that afflicted Avadh in the mid-nineteenth century were juxtaposed with the tragedy of Karbala, generating emotional catharsis as well as consoling North Indian Muslims by associating their plight with the travails of Imam Hussain.

Marsiay and nohay would also induce catharsis when families in Avadh lost their beloved members. Marsiya writers would narrate the family’s agony by comparing it to various events of Karbala. When the Navab of Patna, Sayid Ahmad Hussain Khan, lost his sixteen-year old son to smallpox, Mir Anis was asked to write a marsiya in honor of the youth. The marsiya written by Anis opened with a prayer in which the poet asked Allah to spare parents the grief of their children:

Oh God, give no parent the sorrow of their child.
May no inauspicious being be the victim of the scar of their son,
May this wealth, even of the enemy, be preserved,
and may any agony, but this, afflict your people.

By recasting the events of Karbala in local imagery, marsiya writers were also able to infuse their poetry with intellectual concerns.

In the twentieth century, the number of Muslim socio-religious reformers who capitalized on the Indianized version of Karbala to channel their concerns for the society increased. Many twentieth century Urdu marsiay and nohay were given a solid intellectual dimension by the incorporation of issues–the Khilafat movement, India’s independence, and the plight of the Indian Muslims, and so on–into the frame story of Karbala. Among the modern marsiya writers who have appropriated the events surrounding Karbala as the underpinnings of their socio-religious reform ideology are Josh Malihabadi and Vahid Akhtar. Josh Malihabadi (1898-1982), renowned as “Shair-i inqilab,” or the Poet of revolution, used the medium of marsiya as a means to propagate the view that Karbala is not a pathos-laden event of a bygone era, but a prototype for contemporary revolutionary struggles. Josh’s writings during the late 1930’s and the early 1940’s, when nationalist feelings were running high in South Asia, had a momentous impact upon his generation. Josh attempted to galvanize the youth of his day by intertwining their contemporary struggle of liberation from colonization with Hussain’s battle:

O Josh, call out to the Prince of Karbala [Hussain],
cast a glance at this twentieth century,
look at this tumult, chaos, and the earthquake.
At this moment there are numerous Yazids, and yesterday there was only one.
From village to village might has assumed the role of truth,
Once again, Human feet are in chains.

By interlacing his marsiay and nohay with metaphors that had nuances of a revolutionary struggle and depicting the `anti-Muslim’ forces as being on a par with the tyranny of Muawiya and Yazid, Josh gave the impression that the state of the Muslim community was imminently threatened by a massive, ideologically-based assault upon everything Islam valued. As far as most Muslims are concerned, Yazid’s rule had been the `Other’ of the true Islamic state for centuries. To identify one’s enemy in terms of Yazid was the ultimate demonization that conjured up the most horrific images of opponents, whether the opponents were the British colonizers and their indigenous collaborators, or the corrupt, hypocritical politicians who were about to replace the British colonizers. Josh is a good example of the colonized intellectual who uses nostalgic paradigms to enable his audience to conceptualize the potential for an ideal society. His marsiay and nohay fit into the Fanonian category of “literature of combat.” As Frantz Fanon has pointed out, the strategies of resistance used by intellectuals like Josh were common in several other colonized cultures:

There is a tendency to bring conflicts up to date and to modernize the kinds of struggle which the stories evoke, together with the names of heroes and types of weapons. The method of allusion is more and more widely used. The formula `This all happened long ago’ is substituted with that of `What we are going to speak of happened somewhere else, but it might well have happened here today, and it might happen tomorrow.’ Josh, through his marsiay and nohay, reinterprets Karbala so that it corresponds to his ideals of the future. By explaining contemporary issues through references to past Islamic heroes, Josh enabled his audience to conceptualize the potential for a pure Islamic society. The extensive use of the images of the family of the Prophet was destined to have a special resonance with readers who had been reared to regard this household as the apotheosis of virtue. The nobility of thought and action of the heroes of Karbala is poetically pitched at a level which makes striving for the characteristics of these early Islamic heroes a contemporary necessity.

Vahid Akhtar, Professor of Philosophy at Aligarh Muslim University, has been crucial in keeping the tradition of marsiya dynamic in present-day South Asia. His marsiay and nohay rely on the images, metaphors, and nuances inherited from nineteenth century masters like Anis and Dabir, and on the values invested in this genre by socio-religious reformers like Josh. On the back cover of his recently-published marsiya anthology, for example, is the famous Arabic saying: “Every place is Karbala; every day is Ashura.” By positing a similarity between Hussain’s historic battle and the present day struggle of human kind against renewed forms of Yazidian oppression, Akhtar deflects the interpretation of the martyrs of Karbala as mere insignia of Islamic history; they are instead posed as the sinews for the revival of an ideal Islamic state of being.

The genre of Urdu marsiya is a fitting example of a spiritually-exalted literary enterprise imported into the subcontinent from the Arab and Persian world which evolved in conjunction with `Indian culture’. marsiay and nohay remain important socio-religious texts, permeated by emotional undercurrents, in the cultural repertoire of South Asia. Through these texts, the events surrounding the battle of Karbala were emplotted in a myriad of ways congruent with changing political and cultural milieus. Urdu marsiay and nohay thus furnish a literary landscape which reflects the underlying social, religious, and intellectual bonds of South Asian cultures.


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{December 8, 2010}   Karbala كربلاء

Deliberation and Preparation

At the dawn of the 10th of Muharram, 62 A.H. (680 AD.) after Imam Hussain (‘a) led his followers for the morning prayer he wore the coat of arms of his grandfather, the Apostle of Allah (swt), and put his turban on; he wore his father’s sword, “Thul-Fiqar” or the two-pronged.

He then addressed his followers, stating with praise of and thanks-giving to Allah;

“Allah has destined that you and me shall be killed today. I, therefore, would urge you to be resilient in fighting”.

He mobilised his band for war. They were, as later related through Imam Mohammad al-Baqir (‘a), 45 horsemen and 100 foot soldiers. He made Zuhair bin Alqain commander of the right flank, Habib bin Mudhahir the left flank, and his household in the centre; he en-trusted the bearing of the standard to his brother Al-Abbas. The troops gathered in front of the tents where women and children were housed. He ordered the digging of a trench, surrounding the tents enclosure from the back, filling it with firewood during the night of the tenth of Muharram, setting fire to it when fighting broke out so that it may serve as a back buffer between his fighters and the enemy’s army.

The Arena -The Desert of Kerbala, Iraq
A sweltering, simmering, broiling land
Igneous, sultry, arid sand.
No bramble (or thistle) it boasts
A crop of humpbacked dunes it hosts
A torrid, baking, seething place
Even delusion, cannot verdure trace.

Exhausted earth’s in fecund plot
Anhydrous, husky, sapless, spot.
Parched fragment of a barren world
A glowing meteor to the earth hurled.
No cheerless, forlorn cactus grows
Hellish, blustering simoom blows.

The blazing, fiery, flaming sun
An eerie desolation; the valiant shun.
A spooky silence, ominous hush
The wind escapes it, with a rush.
The terra firma appears ablaze
The earth stunned, in a languid daze.

A vision, on earth, of a virtual hell
A stretch of furnace, a fiery shell
The heatwave diffuses thermal haze
The fervid ether forbids the gaze.
The primeval sands primordial heat
With contempt does inferno treat

Behold a dauntless, valiant band
Stands, resolutely, on this land.
The Prophet’s grandson; with his group
A tranquil Guild, not a militant troop.
In this sombre, dreary terrain
They, their reverence did sustain.

Omar bin Sa’ad, the commander of the enemy’s army came with 30,000 troops. He made Amr bin al-Hajjaj az-Zubaidi the commander of the right flank of his army and Shimr bin Thil al-Jawshan the commander of the left flank. Izra bin Qais Al-Ahnasi was made the commander of the horsemen, Shibth bin Ribi’e took charge of the archers.

“Suddenly a deafening tumult I heard,
Thundering of myriad hooves, converged.
A tremor struck, the earth did shake,
My tranquillity disrupted, I was awake.

Loomed, ominously, a host of swords,
Rush, headlong, did furious hordes.
The glint of tinsel arms appeared,
As their coursers they spurred.

My waves, in terror, rushed, did flee
As their identity dawned on me.
Their sinister countenance, hideous looks,
Depicted a pack of depraved crooks.

Their obliquity; their visage betrayed,
A flash flood hit me (was dismayed)”

Meeting the Enemy

When the two belligerent sides confronted each other and the fire was raging in the trench, Shimr shouted;

“Oh Hussain! you are in a hurry to go to the hell fire before the day of judgement!”

Hussain enquired:

“Isn’t this Shimr bin Thil al-Jawshan”
; he was told that it was him.

Hussain then retorted;

“Oh son of goatherdess! You are more deserving to burn in it”.

When Imam Hussain (A) saw their gathering, which was like a torrent, he raised both his hands to the sky and prayed,

“Oh My Lord! You are my haven in every mishap, my hope in every predicament my refuge and defender in every ordeal. How many a distress that weakens the heart, makes the enemy rejoices at the misfortune when I entrusted it to You and resorted to You out of preference over others, you did not let me down and had driven away and eliminated all these distressing things. You are the Giver of every boon and the ultimate source of every wish to be granted.”

Qaiyim bin Haseen Al-Fizari shouted;

“Oh Hussain and followers of Hussain! Can’t you see the water of the Euphrates the currents of which twist like the bellies of snakes? I swear by the Almighty you are not going to drink a drop of it until you taste death in doses”.

It is worth noting that Imam Hussain (A) and his followers were denied access to the water the days earlier at the orders of Ibn Ziyed through Ibn Sa’ad. This was achieved by stationing 500 horsemen between Imam Hussain’s camp and the River Euphrates. Imam Hussain(A) was forced to ask his brother Al-Abbas to bring them water on two occasions before the 10th of Muharram. The enemy troops made it exceptionally difficult for Imam Hussain (A) and his band to get water supplies on the night and day of 10th Muharram.

Imam Hussain (A), convinced of the enemy’s determination to fight him, asked for his horse and mounted it; he then addressed them in a high voice saying,

“Oh people!, heed my speech and do not get restless until I preach you as I see it my duty towards you and until I explain why I came to you. If you accepted my reasoning, believed in my speech, and were fair to your selves and mine, you would because of that be happier, then you would have no reason to attack me. If you do neither, resolve upon your affair and (gather) your associates, let not your affair be in darkness to you, then have it executed against me and do not reflect (any further). Allah is my helper and He is the Guardian of the righteous.”

When the women heard him say this, they raised their voices screaming and crying. He sent his brother Al-Abbas and his son Ali Al-Akbar to the women to calm them down and remarked,

“Alas! they will be crying a lot”.

When the crying came to an end, Imam Hussain (A) resumed his talk and said,

“Oh people!, Allah created this world and made it an abode of destruction and transience, taking its inhabitants from one phase to another. It deceives the conceited and seduces the wretched. Let not this world deceive you for it is capable of dashing the hopes of those who put their trust in it and let down those who are greedy for its riches. I can see that you agreed on an affair capable of bringing the wrath of Allah upon you, causing Him to turn His face away from you, spread amongst you His revenge. Glory be to our Lord, and woe to you. You pledged allegiance (to Allah) and believed in the Messenger Mohammad (S), then ganged up against his progeny intent on killing them. Satan has taken hold over you, precipitating you to forget the remembrance of the Almighty. May evil befall you and may your aspiration come to nothing.”

“From Allah we come and unto Him we return. Those are people who disbelieved after they had believed; so away with the unjust people.”

Hussain was coaxed to change his heart
Induced, to play that heathen’s part
Adamant to surrender, though he remained
Aggression he shunned, conflict abstained.
Hussain, explicitly, did explain:
“Vain, 0′ Yazid, is temporal gain.

Through calumnious and dissolute ways
Your prevaricate what the Prophet says.
Your evanescent, sordid, slippery boon
will vanish, like a mirage; too soon.
The morbid manoeuvres; you deploy
Islam will ruin, the faith destroy.

Through muddled thinking and notions dark
On a feckless mission do not embark
Potentially hazardous whims dispel.
This mood of bleak despair expel.
This sense of spiritual emptiness
By rational thinking do suppress.

Sanity do not in this bog sink
And push Islam to disaster’s brink
Decay of the faith, I do perceive
The Prophet’s mission I will retrieve.
Like a looming disc, on the horizon
Poised is the religion’s setting sun.

To bury the hatchet, and heal the breach
I show an olive-branch; peace I preach.
A vain strife do not provoke
Save your necks from a hellish yoke.
Listen to me for goodness’ sake
(Do not just acquiesce – advice take)



Hussain, the Grandson of the Prophet (S)

Oh people! Track back my lineage. Relate me and consider who I am. Then look back and remonstrate with yourselves. Consider whether it is right for you to kill me and encroach upon my integrity. Am I not the son of your Prophet’s daughter and the son of his vicegerent and cousin, the first of the believers in Allah and his Messenger? Was not Hamza, the master of martyrs, the uncle of my father? Was not the ‘winged’ Ja’far my uncle? Have you not heard of the tradition of the Prophet (S) concerning myself and my brother, “These are the two lords of the youth of the inhabitants of paradise”. Whether you believe in what I say – and it is the truth, for I swear by the Almighty I have never told a lie since I learnt that Allah hated people who told them – or you regard me as a liar, and chose not to believe my statement, there are amongst you who, if you asked them, would tell you! Ask Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari, Aba Sa’eed Al-Khudri, Sahl bin Sa’ad Al-Sa’idi, Zaid bin Arqam and Anas bin Malik, to tell you that they heard these words from the messenger of Allah (SAW) in favour of me and my brother.Is there not (sufficient) deterrent in this to prevent you from shedding my blood?”

Shimr bin Thil al-Jawshan, interrupted saying;

“If I understand what you are saying, then I only worship God (very shakily) on the edge”.

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

If you are in any doubt about this“, Imam Hussain (A) told them, “you are in doubt that I am the son of the daughter of your Prophet. By God there is no son of a Prophet other than me among you and among the peoples from East to West. Shame on you, are you seeking retribution from me for one of your dead I have killed, or for property of yours I expropriated, or for a wound I have inflicted?”

They did not say anything to him. Then he called;

“Shabath b. Rib’ie, Hajjar b. Abjar, Qays b. al-Ash’ath, Yazid b. al-Harith, didn’t you write: ‘The fruit has ripened; the dates are ready for picking; come to an army which has been gathered for you’ ?”

“We don’t know what you are talking about”, said Qays b. al-Ash’ath,
“Submit to the authority of your kinsmen (the Umayyads). They have never treated you with anything but what you liked”

By God, I will never give you my hand like a man who has been humiliated; nor will I flee like a slave“, said al-Hussain (A).

Then Hussain called out;

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

A holy war it means, indeed
If waged to crush the devil’s creed.
No rancour, ‘gainst you, I hold
But faith do cherish – as I told.
Islam I will resolutely shield
Burnt will stand and never yield.
Would welcome death (and make it tame)
Would rather die than live in shame:

Your Prophet’s scion I’m – you know
At least some regard to his name show.
His singular dictum is my creed
“Universal good” I adore, indeed
Ali, the paragon, the seraphic Imam
Cham of the faith, the shield of Islam
Inimitable, impeccable: I am his son
His peerless attributes I have won.

My heart is virtues’ abode and nest
Blessedness harbours in my breast
Condone the rule of right, I do
And believe, that right is might too
Your vulgar sway vanquish I will
This sacred duty will fulfil
My soul is couched on eminence
I was born with a divine sense.


Warning to the People of Kufa

He then dismounted his camel and ordered Aqaba bin Sam’an to hobble it with a tie. The troops of the enemy marched towards him. Among them was Abdullah bin Hawza al-Temimi who shouted, “Is Hussain amongst you?” He said it three times. The followers of Hussain (‘a) replied, “This is Hussain, what do you want from him?” He retorted, “Oh Hussain! You lied. Be sure you will be consigned to hell”.

Hussain answered;

“I come to a Lord who is forgiving, generous, commanding and intercessor. But who are you?”

He replied, “I am Ibn Hawza”.

Hussain raised his hands very high so much so that his armpit showed and said;

“Oh Allah! possess him to hell fire.”

Ibn Hawza became very angry and charged Hussain with his horse; there was a stream between them; he fell from his horse but his foot got entangled in the stirrup; the horse dragged him on the stones and trees; his free leg was severed; the rest of his body was still attached to the horse who threw him in the fire which was raging in the trench; he was burnt to death.

Imam Hussain (‘a) raised his voice and said,

Oh Allah! We are the Household of your Prophet, his progeny and his kinship, shatter those who did us injustice and usurped our fight. You are All-hearing, Near”.

Masrooq bin Wa’il Al-Hadhrami said;

“I was at the forefront of the horsemen which advanced to fight Hussain in the hope that I succeed in dealing a blow to him in order to get a prize from Ibn Ziyad. But when I saw what happened to Ibn Hawza, I was certain that the members of this house (the Household of the Prophet) have sanctity from and position with Allah. I then left their ranks and said to myself, “I am not fighting those people lest I should be in hell fire”.

When the followers of Hussain (‘a) saw the determination of the people of the opposite camp to fight their Lord and Imam Hussain (A), Zuhair bin al-Qain came forward and stood in front of them and addressed them;

“Oh people of Kufa! I warn you of the chastisement of Allah. It is incumbent on every Muslim to give counsel to his fellow Muslim. We are still brethren of one religion unless we resort to war. You need advice more than we do. If you resort to the sword there will no longer be any bond between us. We will be two nations. Allah has entrusted us with the progeny of His Prophet, Mohammad (‘s) as a measure just to see how you and we behave towards them. We call upon you to support them and let down the dictator Yazid and Obaidullah bin Ziyad. Under their rule, you will only reap mistreatment, gouging of eyes, chopping of limbs, making a dreadful example of you, hanging you on tree trunks, killing your good men and reciters of al-Qur’an like Hijr bin Adi and his followers, and Hani’ bin Urwah and his likes”.

He was heckled and interrupted by the people of Kufa; they swore at him and praised Ibn Ziyad and added that they would not budge until they killed Hani’s companion (Imam Hussain) and those who were with him or sent them under escort to Ibn Ziyad.

Zuhair retorted;

“Oh Men! the sons of Fatima have more right to befriend and support than the son of Sumayya. If you do not support them I pray to Allah that He guard you against killing them. You are therefore, requested to dissolve this man from Yazid; upon my life! He will be contented with your obedience without the killing of Hussain (A)”.

Shimr shot at him with an arrow and said;

“Shut up, May Allah silence your camel; we are fed up with your excessive talk”.

Zuhair said;

“Oh! you son of the incontinent, I do not mean you in my address for you are no more than an animal. I swear by the Almighty that you cannot master not even two ayas (verses) of the Book of Allah (Al-Qur’an). Surely, disgrace and chastisement will befall you on the day of judgement.”

Shimr said;

“Allah will kill you and your companion in an hour’s time”.

Zuhair said;

“Are you threatening me with death. By the Almighty! Death with him is dearer to me than eternity with you”.

Ziad then moved forward raising his voice and said,

“Oh bondsmen of God! do not let this rude ruffian and his like deceive you. By the Almighty! Mohammad’s (S) intercession is denied to those who shed the blood of his Progeny, and killed their supporters who protected their women.”

A man from Hussain’s camp called him and said;

“Aba Abdillah (Hussain) says to you to come back. Upon my life! Like the faithful of the Pharaohs, you counselled and warned those people to the best of your ability. But alas! they do not seem to heed your admonition”.

“When mortals to heinous gains are lured
Their doom, eternal, is procured,
Wallow in lustful lap of wealth
With a joyful face, sparkling health,
Gloat over, regale, waver not
Indulge, frolic; then meet your lot.

Perpetual remorse, unceasing pain
(Ceaselessly equate the ephemeral gain),
Truth sustains, exists, prevails
Knavery flops, infamy fails,
Repent you surely will, I warn
Callously, my “platitudes” you scorn.

A dealer in platitudes, l am not
Explicit support for the faith I sought,
Sanity, ethics, sense I preach
Pursue I do whatever I teach,
With effortless clarity I speak
I never talk with tongue-in-cheek.

A torch, to light your way I show
Follow its beam and safely go,
Initiate don’t an abject act
‘Tis futile if done and then retract.
All discernible trends in human thought”

Water is Denied

It was very hot, Hussain and his household, and supporters were very thirsty. Therefore, Burair bin Khudhair Al-Hamadani who was an old devout man, an authority on Qur’an recitation, and well placed and revered by the Hamadani’s, asked to be permitted to address the people of Kufa. He was given the permission and called;

“Oh you people! Allah has sent Mohammad as a harbinger and Warner, calling for the way of Allah, and a shining lantern. And this is the River Euphrates, the water of which is free for all kinds of animals pigs and dogs. Yet you have denied the son of daughter of the Messenger of Allah access to it. Is this the way Mohammad should be rewarded ?”
A group of people from the camp of Ibn Ziyad retorted;

“Enough of this nonsense. By the Almighty! Hussain shall not quench his thirst with its water like those who were denied to quench their thirst before him”.

Burair said;

“Oh you people! The heritage of Mohammad has ended up in your midst. And these are his progeny, household, daughters and holy members of his family. So what do you have to say and what are you going to do with them?”.

They replied;

“We want Emir Obaidullah bin Ziyad to get hold of them, and then decide what he would do with them”.

He said;

“Are you not satisfied that they go back whence they came? Oh people of Kufa! Woe unto you! Did you forget the letters you wrote and the pledges you made to me to which Allah bears witness? You invited the progeny of your Prophet and claimed that you would protect them with yourselves. When they responded and came to you, you want to hand them over to Ibn Ziyad, and denied them access to the water of the River Euphrates. What evil heirs to your Prophet and his progeny you turned out to be! What has become of you! May Allah not give you a drink on the day of judgement. What an evil folk you are!”

A group of them replied;

“We do not know what you are talking about”.

He said;

“Praise be to Allah for making me more discerning. Oh Lord! I seek refuge with you and disown the actions of these people. Oh Allah! Sow discord among their ranks and make them use their fortitude against each other until they meet with Your wrath.”

The response from them was that they fired arrows at him which made him retreat.

Enervate them, this tirade did
The foe still sustained its bid.
Woe to those whose hearts were sealed
Their promiscuous prattle, thus unveiled:
“Confound us not by harangues, Hussain
Unleash not your diatribes, in vain.
The Prophet, some message did convey
Concede, that Yazid now shows the way.
To usurp the Caliphate do not try
Your revolt, does envy imply.
What the Caliph avers, is verily best
Submit, and don’t his dictums test
You shouldn’t his celestial place dispute
Withhold not allegiance, pay tribute.
The Caliph pilots our faith and fate
Divinely commandeers our love and hate.
His words, divine truth contain”


Hussain’s Sermon

At forenoon of the tenth of Muharram when the heat of the sun started scorching the earth, Hussain, his household and companions began to feel the severity of thirst. The enemy was adamant not to give them access to the water of the River Euphrates out of Jahili’ite enmities and Badri’ite grudges. Therefore, Aba Abdillah Al-Hussain, feeling the strain of thirst, mounted his horse and opened the leaves of Al-Qur’an over his head and stood in front of the belligerent camp and shouted;

“The Book of Allah and the Sunna (tradition) of my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (swt) are the arbiters between you and me”.

He then made them bear witness on his pure soul and that he was wearing the coat of arms of the Prophet (‘s), his buckler and his turban.

They said that his statement was true. He then asked them what made them decide on fighting him. Their answer was that it was out of obedience to the Emir Obaidullah bin Ziyad. He then delivered with this sermon:

May grief and evil befall you, You wretched bunch! You distressfully called upon us to come to your rescue and when we responded fully, you unsheathed your swords against us and pushed us unto the fire which we set alight for our enemy as well as yours. You, therefore, played into the hands of your enemy against your masters (the friends of God). Without justice, the enemy administered amongst you and without hope you placed in them. Woe unto you! You abandon us while the sword is still blemished, oneself is collected, and the mind is yet to be made up. Yet, you rushed like the creeping bird and fell over yourselves like butterflies crowding on a flower; then you wrecked it; to hell with you! Oh you slaves of the bondmaid! Ahzab outlanders, forsakers of the Book [of Allah], distorters of facts, bunch of evil, blow of Satan, extinguishers of norms! Woe unto you! Have you chosen to support those, and let us down? Yes, by the Almighty this emanates from an old intrinsic treachery, fed to your origins and handed down to you; therefore, you are like a malignant fruit – distressing to look at and sickening when eaten.”

The bastard and the son of a bastard has left us but two choices, either resorting to the sword or capitulating. How preposterous! Humiliation is not our cup of tea! Allah shall never let this happen to us; so shall His Messenger, the believers, and chaste and pure laps and proud souls. For the sake of these values we would rather die in an hour and not submit to the ignoble. Hence my march leading this family albeit meagre in number and deserted by would-be supporters.”

Hussain thundered:

“O, wretches you
Before the swine pearls I threw.
Don’t venom spit in religion’s name
Comprehend I do, your noxious game.

When degeneration marks its way
An entire nation goes astray.
Delusion, do not let you sway
Confounded whims induce decay.

For you is mild profoundest hell
That infernal jail can’t match you well.
A hideous deed, sponsor not
Save your conscience, mend your lot

Erase and efface your sins’ stains
With tainted conscience, no one gains
The lure, the virtuous to pursue
The crass chase it, to grab it, run.

This pathless desolation, do not tread
‘Tis disquietude, self-imposed dread
Don’t your conscience push and goad
Vainly, trudge not a craggy road


Al-Hur bin Yazid Seeks Forgiveness

He continued with his address stating;

By the Almighty, soon you have done away with us, you will be shaken like a stone mill, like an axis.”

This is a covenant passed, to me from my grandfather the Messenger of God (SAW) through my father. ‘You may resolve upon your affair and gather your partners then let not your affair be in darkness to you, then have it executed against me and do not reflect (any further)’. (10:71)

‘Surely I rely on Allah, my Lord and yours; there is no living creature but He holds it by its forelock; surely, my Lord is on the right path’. (11:56)”

Then he raised his hands towards heaven and said;

“Oh Lord! give them no rain, afflict them with barren years like the years of Yusuf (Joseph) – (draught and famine). Give mastery over them to the boy from Thaqeef (reference to Al-Hajjaj al-Thaqafi), who will give them bitter water (torment them) because they branded us as liars and let us down. You are our Lord; we rely on You and unto You we return.”

He returned to his camp and was surrounded by his brethren and followers. He said to them;

“The folk are intent on fighting you. May Allah have mercy on you.”

Then he appealed for help and support.

When Al-Hur bin Yazid ar-Riyahi heard his plea for help he went to Omar bin Sa’ad and asked him;

“Are you fighting this man?”

Ibn Sa’ad replied;

“Yes, by the Almighty! a kind of fighting the bottom line of which is heads will roll and limbs will be chopped”.

Al-Hur said;

“Are you not satisfied with what to you?”

Ibn Sa’ad replied,

“Had it been for me I would have accepted his proposal. But your master is adamant”.

Al-Hur then stood a middle ground and shuddered, gradually drawing nearer to Hussain (A). One of his companions asked him,

“What are you doing?”

Al-Hur answered;

“I am giving myself the choice between heaven and hell; by the Almighty I choose nothing short of heaven so much so that I do not mind if I were chopped into pieces and burnt. He then spurred his horse aiming towards Hussain (A) with his lance turned around, his bow upside down. He stood before Hussain (A), eyes cast down, and asked him, “0! could I but sacrifice myself for you, You son of the Messenger of Allah! I have been stalking you all the way. It was me who prevented you from going back (to where you came from), kept close watch on you, and roared on you in this place. I have never thought that the people would not agree to your proposition. Oh Lord! I turn to you in repentance for I frightened the hearts of Your friends, the offspring of Your Messenger.”

“Oh father of Abdullah! I seek penitence from Allah for what I did. Do you, think that He will accept it?”

Hussain (‘a) answered;

“Yes, he will accept your repentance”.He then asked Hussain (‘a) for permission to address the belligerent camp; he was given it. He called in the highest pitch of his voice;

“Oh, people of Kufa! You called on this good servant of God; when he responded you welcomed him and claimed that you do not mind getting killed to spare him. Then you changed your minds, transgressing against him with a view to killing him. You put a stranglehold on him, stretched his patience, and besieged him to prevent him from seeking a safe haven in Allah’s vast land. He became like a hostage. You denied him, members of his household, and companions access to the waters of the River Euphrates from which Jews, Christians, and fire worshippers drink, and pigs and dogs wade in. Yet Hussain, his family, and companion, are dying of thirst. What misery you inherited the offspring of Mohammad (‘s)! May Allah not give you drink on the day of thirst.”

A group from the camp of Ibn Sa’ad attacked him shooting at him with arrows forcing him to retreat.

Omar bin Sa’ad drew nearer to the camp of Imam Hussain (‘a) and called Draid, the bearer of the standard, to move forward. He then took an arrow, placed it in his arch and released it in the direction of Hussain’s (‘a) camp, and said, “Bear witness for me with the Emir that I was the first to shoot.” The arrows then followed like rain, causing injuries among the companions of Imam Hussain (‘a).

Having made sure that the enemy is intent on fighting them, Hussain (A) ordered his followers;

“Rise to certain death; may Allah have mercy on you; the arrows are the messengers of those people to you”.

The companions of Hussain (‘a) waged a campaign and fought for an hour or so. When the dust settled, there were fifty dead. When Hussain (‘a) saw this elite group of his companions killed he held his beard and said;

Allah’s wrath on the Jews was great because they claimed that he had a son, on the Christians because they made him one of the trinity, on the Magians because they worshipped the sun and the moon, and on the people who were unanimous in the agreement to kill the son of their Prophets daughter. By the Almighty! I am not going to give in to them until I meet Allah blood-dyed“.

“Your predilection for conceit
And profane wiles, entranced with deceit
Have driven me to prove, with sword, my case
To screw my courage to the sticking place.

When my sword, to act, is forced
My views, by the apostates, are endorsed.
Bathed in the foe’s infernal blood
Zooms, imbrued, through the gory flood.

As I draw my sword (and wield)
peremptorily the rivals yield.
A conquest, when I plan to clinch
To elude the battle the bravest flinch.

Launch an assault, and attack you do
A veritable rock will confront you.
In your quest to win; prevail
Assume the aggressive; charge; then fail

To feed hell’s fire, be dispatched
Midst devils perform misdeeds, unmatched.”


Is There any Amongst Man to Help Us?

He then shouted;

“Is there any one who can come to our rescue? Is there any one who can protect the sanctity of the family of Allah’s Apostle?”

The screaming and crying of women could be heard as a result of his plea.

One by one the companions of Hussain (‘a) asked for permission to meet in combat with the enemy bidding him farewell, saying:

“Peace be with you Oh Aba Abdillah!”

He answered;

“Peace be with you, we will follow, ‘reciting, “…so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed the least”. (33:23)

Then the two Jabiri cousins, Saif bin al-Harith bin Sari’ and Malik bin Abid bin Sari’ emerged crying and asked for permission to fight. Hussain asked them;

“What makes you cry? I am hopeful that you will after a very short time have peace of mind and tranquillity”.

They answered;

“We are not crying for ourselves, but for you. We can see that you are beleaguered, and we have no power to be of any good to you”. Hussain thanked them. They fought till death.

Then the two Ghifari brothers, Abdullah and Abdul-Rahman sons of Urwah followed and fought and were killed close to Hussain (A).

A group consisting of Omar bin Khalid as-Saidawi, his servant Sa’ad, Jabir bin Al-Harith as-Salmani, and Majma’ bin Abdullah Al-A’aithi came out and raided the enemy, the Kufi’ites; when they went deep into their ranks, they were encircled by the troops and cut off. Hussain sent his brother Al-Abbas in a bid to rescue them, which he did successfully. But due to their severe wounds they were overpowered by the Kufi’ites and were killed in one place.

Al-Hur bin Yazid ar-Riyahi attacked the enemy troops killing over forty of them. When his horse was wounded, he fought them on foot and fell to the ground. Hussain stood over him wiping away soil and blood which was oozing from his face, saying;

“Congratulations oh you Hur! You are Hur (free) as your mother named you”. He passed away.

Wadhih, the Turkish servant of Al-Harth al-Mithiji came forward and asked for permission to fight. He fought until he was severely wounded; he called Hussain by name to come to his rescue. Hussain responded. But it was too late as he was in his final moments of life. Hussain hugged him.

He said, “I am so lucky; the son of the Messenger of Allah putting his cheek on mine”. He died immediately after that.

Aslam, the servant of Hussain (A) was next. He fought bravely. When he was badly wounded he called on Hussain for help. Hussain came to him and hugged him. He was still alive. He smiled, thanked God for granting him martyrdom and passed away.

Muslim bin Awsajah assaulted the enemy and fought very bravely. Amr bin al-Hajjaj and a band of his companions counter attacked the camp of Hussain from the direction of the Euphrates. When the two belligerent forces clashed and the dust settled, Muslim bin Awsajah was found fallen but still with a spark of life.

Hussain (A) and Habib bin Mudhahir walked towards him.

Hussain said to him, “May Allah have mercy on you oh Muslim!” and recited, ” … so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed the least”. (33:23)

Habib bin Mudhahir approached him and said;

“God knows how sorry I am that you will die, Oh Muslim! the good news is that you will go to heaven”.

Muslim replied in a faint voice, “May Allah bring good news to you”

Habib added;

“If I am not absolutely sure that I will follow in your foot steps I would have asked you to let me know of your will”.

Muslim answered, “I urge you to take care of this”, pointing to Imam Hussain, “You should sacrifice your life protecting him”.

Habib said to him, “Feel serene and be confident about that”. He gave up the ghost to its Creator.

When the followers of Ibn Sa’ad knew of the death of Muslim bin Awsajah they shouted in elation. Shibth bin Rib’ii said to those who were around him;

“May your mothers be bereaved. You are killing yourselves with your own hands and bring humiliation to yourselves Do you rejoice at the death of Muslim? He has credit in the service of Muslims. I saw him at the battle of Azerbaijan killing six atheists before the horsemen of the Muslim army had the chance to re-group.”

When the troops of Ibn Sa’ad suffered many casualties at the hands of the followers of Hussain (A), Amr bin Al-Hajjaj shouted at his followers;

“Do you know who you are fighting? You are fighting clear-sighted knights, bent on killing you; by the Almighty! if you would use only stones against them you would have killed them!.”

Omar bin Sa’ad retorted, “You are right. Tell the troops not to meet with them in duel, for if you do so you will all perish”.

Amr bin AI-Hajjaj attacked the right flank of Hussain’s camp. The remaining combatants withstood their ground, falling on their knees, aiming their arrows at the enemy. Thus, forcing the horses of the enemy to refrain from forging ahead. When they resumed their attack, they came under a hail of arrows from Imam Hussain’s (A) followers causing many casualties among their ranks.

Shimr bin Thil al-Jawshan took on the left flank of Hussain’s (A) camp. The combatants proved to be as steadfast as their companions in the right flank. The result was complete failure of the enemy to break through the solid defences of Hussain’s troops.

Among those who remained alive at this stage of the battle was Wahab bin Abdullah Al-Kalbi who was with his mother and wife. His mother urged him to come out and support the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah.

He answered, “O mother! I will do my best”.

He came out chanting these sonnets.

“You better deny me not as I am the son of Al-Kalbi. You will see me and how fatal my blows are. How my assault and campaign seeking my revenge and that of my companions. I repulse the attack in the wake of the attack. For my struggle in the battlefield is not a playing matter.”

Then he attacked the enemy killing some and wounding others, returning to his mother, saying to her;

“Are you satisfied with my deed?”

She answered. “Never! unless you are killed before Hussain (A)”.

His wife intervened asking him;

“I put you to oath by the Almighty! Do not bereave me by getting killed”.

His mother said to him, “Do not pay attention to what she says; go back and carry on fighting in front of the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah; you will be worthy of his grandfather’s intercession on the Day of Judgement”.

He resumed combat, killing nineteen horsemen and twelve infantry troopers. He lost both his arms and was killed. May his soul rest in peace.

His wife walked towards his body and sat near his head, wiping away blood and saying.

“Congratulations for you are guaranteed a place in heaven; I pray to the Almighty to bestow it on me to make me join you”.

Shimr was very angry at the spectacle. He dispatched his servant to kill her; he dealt a fatal blow to her head with a truncheon; she died instantly. She was the first women among the companions of Hussain (‘a) to be killed.

The enemy chopped off Wahab’s head hurling it towards the tents of Hussain (‘a); his mother hugged it and wiped the blood off his face. She then was seen holding a tent pole and heading towards the enemy. Imam Hussain (‘a) prevented her from engaging in combat saying,

“Go back. May Allah have mercy on you. You are relieved of jihad (holy war)”.

She returned uttering, “Oh Lord! do not frustrate my hope”.

Hussain said to her, “Allah will not do so”.

Shimr attacked the tent of Imam Hussain (‘a) using his spear threatening to set it ablaze. The ladies inside the tent fled screaming and were in a distraught state. Hussain (‘a) called on him,;

“Oh you son of Thil Jawshan! Are you calling for my house to be burned while my family are inside? May Allah burn you in hell fire.”

Shibth bin Rib’ii said to Shimr;

“You have become a source of fright to women. I have never come across neither a deed nor a stance worse than yours”.

He felt ashamed and withdrew.

The Martyrs Die – One by One

It was just after midday when the fighting was still raging. Aba Thummamah as-Sa’idi approached Hussain (‘a) and said;

“I can see that the enemy is getting very close. By God! I will not let them kill you and I am still alive. I wish to meet Allah, the Exalted after I have said my prayers in your company”.

Hussain (‘a) raised his head towards the sky and said;

“You remembered prayer! May Allah make you among those who say prayer and invoke Him; indeed, this is the start of (Dhuhr) Noon prayer”.

“Ask those people to give us a respite until we say our prayer”
, he added.

Al-Hosein (of the enemy camp) said; “It will not be answered”.

Habib bin Mudhahir replied;

“You claimed it will not be accepted from the house of the Messenger. Would it then be accepted from you?”

Al-Hosein attacked him dealing a sword blow to the head of his horse causing it to rear; he fell of and was rescued by his companions.

Hussain (‘a) then got ready for prayer – several versions as to how and what sort of prayers was said have been related. One version is that he led what was spared of his followers at that stage of the battle in ‘fright prayer’; Zuhair bin Al-Qain and Sa’eed bin Abdullah Al-Hanafi together with half of the followers were in front of him. A second version claims that they said their prayer individually i.e. not in a congregational manner. A third story is that he led them in a quick prayer.

When Sa’eed was badly wounded he fell to the ground and said;

“Oh God Almighty! Damn them as you have condemned the people of A’ad and Thamoud; give my regards to Your Prophet and let him know of the pain I am suffering; my aim is to be rewarded by You for defending the progeny of Your Prophet”.

He turned to Hussain and asked;

“Have I lived up to my vow?”

Hussain (‘a) replied, “Yes, you are preceding me in entering paradise”.

He perished. He was found to have received thirteen arrows apart from wounds caused by swords and spears.

When Hussain (A) had finished his prayer he said to his companions;

“Oh you noble folk! The gates of paradise are ajar, its rivers are flowing, its fruits are ready to be reaped; its dwellers – the Messenger of Allah and the martyrs who were killed in the way of Allah are waiting to welcome you; they yearn for your company. It is, therefore, incumbent on you to protect the religion of Allah, and His Messenger; drive away the enemy from his family. Their answer was, “Our souls are a protection to yours and our blood for yours; By the Almighty no harm will befall you and members of your kindred as long as we still breathe”.

Omar bin Sa’ad ordered Amr bin Sa’eed who was in command of a group of archers to stun the horses of the followers of Hussain (‘a). The result was that no horseman was spared save Adh-Dhahhaq bin Abdullah Al-Mashriqi. He said the sight of our combatants falling led me to enter my horse in a tent to spare it destruction.

Abu Thamama as-Sa’idi came out and fought valiantly until he was critically wounded. A cousin of his, who had a grudge against him, set upon him and killed him.

Salman bin Mudharib al-Bajli, who is Zuhair bin Al-Qain’s cousin, forged ahead fought and was killed.

Handhala bin Sa’eed ash-Shabami shouted;

“Oh people! I fear for you the like of what befell the (Al-Ahzab) parties, the like of what befell the people of Nuh (Noah), and A’ad and Thamoud, and those who came after them, and Allah does not desire injustice for (His) servants; O my people! I fear for you from the day of calling out, the day on which you turn back retreating; there shall be no saviour for you from Allah, and whomsoever Allah causes to en, there is no guide for him. (40:30-93)

O my people! do not kill Hussain “lest Allah should destroy you by a punishment, and he who forges (a lie) indeed fails to attain (his desire)”. (20:61)

Hussain (‘a) rewarded him with a good recompense and said;

“May Allah’s mercy be with you; surely, they will deserve the punishment when they brushed aside your call for them to follow the truth, and rose to shed your blood as well as that of your coreligionists Just imagine how much more would befall them as they killed your good brethren!.”

He retorted. “You told the truth, O son of the Apostle of God! Is it not then the time to leave for the hereafter?”

Hussain (‘a) gave him the permission to join the fray; he saluted Hussain (‘a) and attacked the enemy and was killed.

Meanwhile, Aabis bin Shabih ash-Shakiri approached Shawthab, the servant of Shakir, who was a trustworthy follower in whose house Shia Muslims used to gather together and talked of the exploits and virtues of Ahl al-Bayt. Aabis said;

“What do you like to do?”

He replied, “I would like to fight alongside you until I am killed. Aabis wished him well and said to him, step before Hussain so that he can acclaim you as he did with the others who preceded you for that which we can expect reward in the hereafter”

Shawthab saluted Hussain and pressed on, fought and was killed.

Aabis drew near Hussain and said;

“There remained neither a kindred nor a friend who is dearer to me than you; if I am in a position to avert a diversity from you with any-thing that is more valuable to me than my own life, I would have never hesitated to do so. Peace be with you; I bear witness that I have been on the right guidance of your father and that of yours!”

He then advanced towards the enemy, sword in hand, and shouting. Since they knew him to be a very brave man, no one stood his ground in the face of his assault. Realising the danger, Omar bin Sa’ad shouted;

“Pelt him with stones”.

As he was overwhelmed by stone throwing, he parted with his coat of arms and headgear and charged the enemy troops who fled. They regrouped and managed to encircle him and kill him. Dispute erupted among the troops each claiming the reward for his killing. Ibn Sa’ad said;

“He has not been killed by any of you single-handed”. He, therefore, denied them the recompense.

John, the servant of Aba Thar, stood before Hussain (‘a) asking for permission to fight.

He said to him, “O John! You joined us in quest of welfare; you are therefore, free to part my company”.

John knelt kissing the Imam’s feet and pleading with him;

“In felicity, I lick your bowls; in adversity I will never let you down! Since my smell is bad, my lineage is humble and my colour is black, I look forward to that day in heaven when you breathe in me making my smell pleasant, my pedigree honourable, and my complexion white. Nay! by God I am not parting with you until this black blood of mine is fused with your blood!”

Hussain (‘a) gave him the permission. He fought valiantly killing twenty five soldiers. He then was killed. Imam Hussain (‘a) attended his body and said,;

“O Lord! Whiten his face and sweeten his smell and gather him on the Day of Resurrection with Mohammad and let him be identified with the household of Mohammad”.

It was related that whomsoever passed by the battlefield smelled the aroma of his body which was more pleasant than musk.

Anas bin Al-Harith bin Nabih Al-Kahili, who was an elderly Companion saw the Apostle, heard his talk, and took part with him in Badr and Hunain battles, sought permission from Hussain, With his turban cloth, he assaulted the enemy troops killing about eighteen before he was killed. When Hussain saw him thus he wept and said;

“May Allah reward you!”.

Amr bin Junadah Al-Ansari, a boy of eleven years, whose father was already killed in the battle, approached Hussain for permission to join the fight. Hussain was adamant not to let him do so saying;

“This is a boy whose father was killed in the early campaign; his mother may hate to see him killed”. The boy said, “My mother ordered me”. He gave the permission to fight. No sooner the boy was killed and his severed head was thrown towards Hussain’s camp. His mother took the boy’s head, wiped the blood from it and hurled it at a nearby man and killed him. She then returned to the camp and fetched a tent pole, or some say a sword, singing war poetry and assaulting the enemy. Imam Hussain returned her to the camp after she had injured two men.

Al-Hajjaj bin Masrouq Al-Ju’fi fought until he was drenched with blood. He returned to Hussain to tell him how happy he was to meet Hussain’s grandfather, Apostle of God, and his father the, vicegerent. Hussain replied, “I will soon meet them too”. He then returned to the battlefield and got killed.

The Ansaris (Medinese) Sa’ad bin al-Harith and his brother Abul Hutoof  heard Hussain’s cry for help and the wailing of members of his family. They defected from Ibn Sa’ad army and joined Hussain’s band. They fought the enemy and was killed.

Abush-Sha’tha Yazid bin Ziad Al-Kindi, who was on Sa’ad’s side did the same by joining Hussain’s. He was an archer. He knelt in front of Hussain and shot a hundred arrows. Hussain used to pray for him;

“O Lord! Make his shot hit the target and reward him with paradise”.

When his arrows ran out he stood up and said, “It seems as though I killed five combatants”. He attacked the enemy and killed another nine.

Bidding Hussain farewell, Swaid bin Amr bin Abil Muta’ set forth and fought bravely until he was critically wounded. He fell face down. It was thought that he was dead; however when he heard that Hussain was killed, he got up brandished a knife, and attacked the enemy; he was then set upon by the thugs and was killed. He was the last of Hussain’s companions to be killed before Hussain’s martyrdom,

Died other martyrs, one by one,
All were fearless, coward none.
Plucked were the Prophet’s “blooms” in a day
Leaf by leaf-on the sand they lay.

Juveniles, adolescents, young and old,
An army not; seventy-two, all told
I groaned aghast as Hussain I saw,
His visage stately, with no flaw”.

The Martyrdom of Ali al AkbarThe Martyrdom of Ahl ul-Bayt (‘a) – The Posterity of the Prophet (‘s).

Since none of the companions who fought with Hussain (‘a) was spared, members of his immediate family prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in a manner that was characteristic of the pedigree of the Prophet – sheer determination, unrivalled bravery, and scant regard to personal safety. They bade farewell to each other and the first to come forward was Abul Hassan Ali al-Akbar who was twenty seven years old. He took permission from his father, Hussain (‘a) and mounted his horse and met in combat with the Kufans. A man from amongst the crowd shouted;

“O Ali! You relate to Yazid – for his mother Layla was daughter of Maymoona daughter of Abi Sufyan – and we want to respect this relationship. We may grant you an amnesty and a refuge if you wish”.

He said “The kinship of the Apostle of God should be second to none.” He pressed on proclaiming who he was.

Imam Hussain could not hold back his tears and shouted at Omar bin Sa’ad;

What has become of you? May Allah bereave you of your kindred as you have made me bereft of mine, and did not respect my relationship of the Prophet. May Allah set on you an adversary who will slay you in your bed.”

He then raised his hands to the sky and said;

O Lord! Bear witness on those people for he who emerged to them is bearing a strong likeness to Your Prophet in all departments – resemblance of disposition, complexion, and logic. Hence we look at him when we crave to see Your Apostle. O Lord! Deprive them of the riches of the land, divide them, rend them asunder and turn them into smithereens. Never make the rulers be happy with them, for they sent for us so that they may support us but transgressed against us and killed us.

He then recited Allah’s words;

“Surely, Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations, offspring, one of the other, and Allah is Hearing Knowing”.

Ali al-Akbar continued fighting. He killed all those who were foolish in his bravery to meet him in duel. He killed scores of combatants.

Since thirst greatly contributed to his overstraining, he returned to his father to rest and complain of what thirst had done to him. Hussain cried, appealed for help and said,

“You will soon meet your grandfather who will water you from his tumbler that you will never be thirsty again”.

He sucked his tongue to alleviate his predicament and gave him his ring to put in his mouth.

Ali returned to the battlefield happy to be told by his father that be would meet his grandfather, the Prophet. He delved into their ranks dispersing them. It seemed as though it were his grandfather Imam Ali, roaring in the battle ground fighting them. He killed more Kufans.

When the death toll mounted, Murra bin Munqidh al-Abdi made a pledge saying;

“I shall bear all the sins of the Arabs, if I do not bereave his father.”

He ran his lance into his back and dealt him a blow on his head causing it to split. He embraced his horse which took him to the enemy camp where he was encircled by the troops who cut him into pieces.

On the brink of dying, he could muster a shout;

“O Aba Abdillah! Farewell. Here is my grandfather; from whose cup I have drunk. Never again I will be thirsty. He says that there will be a cup waiting for you”.

Hussain hurried to him bending on him, putting his cheek over Ali’s and murmuring;

“Life is no longer worth living after your departure. How dare they encroach on Allah and violate the sanctity of the Prophet. Alas! It is hard on your grandfather and your father that you call on them for help which they cannot provide”.

He then scooped a handful of his pure blood and threw it to the sky; not a single drop fell to the ground! That is why in the visitation ceremony we used to address him;

“May my parents be sacrificed for you as you were wrongfully slain; for your blood which ascended to the heavens, for your sacrifice before your father in anticipation of God’s reward. Yet he parted with you in extreme heart rending situation when he threw your blood to the sky as an offering and none of it fell to the ground.”

Hussain (‘a) ordered his youth to carry his body to the tent, where the women of the household of the Apostle of God gathered around him crying, wailing, beating their breasts, and plucking their hair. Zainab bint Ali ibn Abu Thalib (Senior), the pick of Bani Hashim, threw herself on his body cuddling it, for she saw in his demise her waning strength, the departure of the protector of her privacy and honour, and the crumbling of the buttress of her house.


The Campaign of the Abi Talibs

After Ali ul-Akbar, Abdullah bin Muslim bin Aqeel bin Abi Talib whose mother was Ruqaiyyah al-Kubra, daughter of the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali, was next to go to war. In three attacks, he killed a bunch of enemy soldiers. Yazid bin ar-Raqqad al-Juhni shot him with an arrow from which he protected his head with his arm. The arrow pierced his arm and lodged into his forehead sewing the two together. Failing to dislodge his arm from his forehead, he sent an outcry saying;

“O Lord! They trampled on and humiliated us. So, God kill them as they killed us.”

As he was in that state, a man thrust his spear into his heart causing his death. Yazid bin Ar-Raqqad approached the dead body and plucked his arrow from his forehead causing the arrow to come off leaving the arrowhead buried into the forehead.

Abu Bakr Abdullah al-Akbar (Senior) son of Imam Ali son of Ramla, who was a slave-girl, fought bravely until he was killed.

After Abu Bakr al-Qassim, the turn was for his brother al-Qassim who was just a boy. When Hussain looked at him he embraced him and wept. He gave him permission to fight. His face exuding with light and sword in hand [ edited 1st October 02, Zaynab] As he was thus Amr bin Sa’ad bin Nufail al-Azdi assaulted him. Hamid bin Muslim said to him;

“What do you want of this boy? Is it not enough that all these troops have cut him off!”

Amr replied, “By God! I have to harass him.”

He did not turn away before he dealt him a blow on the head causing him to fall face down. He called on his uncle;

“O Uncle!”

Hussain (‘a) hurried to him as if he were a furious lion and struck Sa’ad with his sword; he lift his arm to protect his head, only to be severed from the elbow. He sent out a loud cry. When the troops heard it, the horsemen launched an attack to evacuate him; he was knocked down and trampled on by the horses and was killed.

When the dust settled, Imam Hussain was seen standing near the boy’s head; the boy was kicking. Hussain was saying;

“Lo! to those who killed you. Their adversary on the Day of Judgement shall be your grandfather”.

It is with regret that your uncle has been helpless, when you called on me I could not respond to your call, and when I responded there was nothing I could do. By God! It is a cry met with abundance of harm than help“, he added.

He carried him to the make-shift mortuary, where the bodies of Ali ul-Akbar and members of the Apostle’s household lay. He lift his head towards the sky and invoked God,

“O Lord! Do not lose count of them, and do not forgive them ever! O Cousins! forbear in adversity; you shall never see disgrace after today”.

The Killing of Al-Abbas and his Brothers

When Abbas saw the death toll mounting amongst members of his family, he said to his brothers, Abdullah, Othman and Ja’far;

“O Sons of my mother! Go forth to meet the enemy so that I may bear witness that you kept your covenant with Allah and His Apostle”.

He turned to Abdullah who was older than Othman and said to him;

“Come forward, brother, so that I may witness your killing and thus be considered (by God)”.

So, they all fought in the presence of their brother, Al-Abbas till they were killed.

Al-Abbas reached the tether of his patience not to follow in the footsteps of his brethren and companions, especially when he could see that “The proof of the Time”, Imam Hussain is getting increasingly beleaguered, his supply root cut, the screams of women and the crying of children, who were thirsty, filled his ears. He, therefore, asked his brother to allow him to meet the enemy in combat. Since Abbas was the most valued asset Hussain cherished because the enemy are wary of his attack and fearful of his courage, and the women feel safe and secure so long as they saw the standard hoisted, Imam Hussain did not wish to part company with him and said;

“O Brother! You are the bearer of my flag”.

“Hussain placated Abbas, with calm:
Amity’s balm seeks; hurt Islam
Restrain your wrath, my brother brave,
A battle, to precipitate, we don’t crave,
‘Tis prudent, now to peer ahead,
Don’t let them act in haste – instead.

Intellect, sound, they have none
Antagonism, to them is a thrilling fun
Nothing is worse than want of zeal
Its lack can a nation’s fortune seal
But aimless zeal is folly’s trap
In wisdom’s fort ’tis a mighty gap
Their show of passion is not zeal
This pseudo-zeal only varlets feel.

Peoples sans vision were destroyed
The prudent, e’er, vision employed
Canting spivs they all are,
Despicable insensate can’t look far.
We hope our “passive defence” does work,
A “defence offensive” till last we shirk.

My cool appraisal of this mess,
Is a genuine effort to forestall distress.
The stakes are dreadfully high,
Staggering results it will imply.
Erupt will battle – will get worse,
They crave and yearn for the divine curse”.

Abbas replied;

“I am sick and tired of these hypocrites, and I want to exact my revenge on them”.

Hussain ordered him. to ask them for water for the children. Abbas approached the enemy, preached and warned them of the wrath of the Almighty but to no avail! He shouted as high as he could;

“O son of Sa’ad! This is Hussain the son of the daughter of the Prophet. You have killed members of his family and companions.”

“All what is left are his womenfolk and children who are thirsty. Quench their thirst with water for they may die of it”.

He, nevertheless, was pleading with them to let Imam Hussain and what was left of his household to leave Hijaz for the land of the Romans or the Indians. His words found sympathy with some of the crowd so much so that they cried. But ash-Shimr shouted;

“O son of Abu Turab (one of Imam Ali’s titles)! Even if the whole of the earth’s surface were awash and we were in control, we would have never allowed you access to it, unless you pledge allegiance to Yazid.”

Left my bank my honoured guests
Swamped was I by the swarm of pests.
Shorn of the honour; I was robbed
Wept through waves, through swells I sobbed.
Lamented my ripples, my flow did wail,
Inherit I did, thus, a dolorous tale.

Water, my guests were refused, en bloc,
Agonised I was, distraught, with shock.
This torrid zone and simmering land,
None (sans water) could stand
Capture me if not they did
To counter the foe’s obnoxious bid

If access to me they didn’t attempt
Die of thirst they will, it meant.”

Abbas returned to his brother Hussain to advise him how the enemy were adamant not to give them water. In the meantime, he heard the children crying of thirst. He could not take it any more; his Hashimite ardour left him no room for manoeuvre nor more forbearance, He took the skin water container with the intention of bringing water. He was surrounded by some 4,000 troops who shot at him with their arrows. He did not fear their multitudes. The standard hoisted over his head, He started attacking them causing them to flee in front of him. His gallantry used to remind them of his father, Imam Ali (A) who used to annihilate brave and formidable foes in the battlefield. Thus, they did not stand their ground in the face of his determined and ferocious attacks. He managed to reach the waterline of the River Euphrates with fortitude.

He took a handful of water to drink, whereupon he remembered the thirst of Sakina and Imam Hussain’s Household (‘a) and threw the water away choosing not to drink out of empathy with his kinship.Abbas – the Lion Roars

Abbas, his brother; fearless, grand,
Thundered, with rage, took a bold stand:
Proximity of water, deny you can’t
your witting Caliph’s obnoxious flaunt
!n sheer buffoonery, arrant nonsense
Convey to him scorn, intense.

Pompous pride I abhor, detest,
Like the prismatic glass ’tis just a jest.
His faith is dimmed by the lure of gold,
And conscience, to rapacity he has sold.
Drained off is his fount of sense,
And creed abandoned to vain aberrance.

Padlocked his brains, and mind is packed,
Deposed his prudence, judgement sacked.
An egregious scamp, pretentious fool,
Egoism’s caricature, asininity’s toot

Abbas, his brother; fearless, grand,
Thundered, with rage, took a bold stand:

Proximity of water, deny you can’t
your witting Caliph’s obnoxious flaunt
!n sheer buffoonery, arrant nonsense
Convey to him scorn, intense.
Pompous pride I abhor, detest,
Like the prismatic glass ’tis just a jest.

His faith is dimmed by the lure of gold,
And conscience, to rapacity he has sold.
Drained off is his fount of sense,
And creed abandoned to vain aberrance.
Padlocked his brains, and mind is packed,
Deposed his prudence, judgement sacked.

An egregious scamp, pretentious fool,
Egoism’s caricature, asininity’s toot

The River Recaptured by Abbas

he river he saw at paces few
(The horizon scanned
– had none in view)
With the flag held high, he forward pressed,
The dauntless cham his command stressed.
Advanced; across the terrain he swept,
Enlarged the territorial gain (and kept)
The capture of the rill was underway,
(A feat stupendous
– least to say)
The rill capture he did, with ease,
(The “squatters” aberrant “lease” did cease)
The stream, repossessed, he firmly held,
(Thus showed how right at might excelled)
His “post-repossession” earnest stance,
His eminence (further) did enhance.
(The priorities, apt, his balanced move
His sound judgement amply prove)
The rill captured (and the sway restored)
With a firm resolve own drought ignored
Serenely he waded in the water
– at will
A leathern container, with water did fill
Leisurely emerged in a triumphant way
His mighty sword kept the foe at bay.
Exult did not at the blessed gain,
Zealously adhered to his purpose
– main.
“Water must reach the camp inmates”
(Elevated sense such resolve dictates)
Enshrined in mind was “a camp inmate”
He knew, his return his niece did wait.
Shunned he did even a glimpse of peace,
Unless the water did reach his niece.
His mettle the apostates could not match
The container, from him couldn’t snatch.
The fortunate ones who death escaped,
Froze with terror, transfixed
– gaped.
Petrified, ventured not impede him,
(Cocksure, their prospects were slim)
As the abject terror played its role,
The dragon of scare swallowed them
– whole:”

e filled in the skin container with water, mounted his horse, and aimed towards the camp. Enemy soldiers cut him off, upon which he engaged them; he managed to fend them off and gained a leeway. Zaid bin ar-Raqqad al-Juhui was laying in wait for him behind a tree. Helped by Hakim bin at-Tufail as-Sanbasi, he hit him on the arm and severed it. He was indifferent about his right arm, forging ahead to deliver the water to Hussain’s children and household. Hakim in the meantime was still laying in wait for him behind a tree. When Abbas got passed him, Hakim dealt him a sword blow on his left arm and severed it. Taking advantage of his weakened state, the rest of the troops took heart and swooped down upon him. They rained him with arrows from every direction; one arrow hit the water container and punctured it, spilling its contents; another hit him in the chest. A man hit him with a pole on the head, crushing his skull. Thereupon he fell to the ground calling,

“O Aba Abdillah! Farewell”.

Hussain rushed to him only to find him aimless, his forehead ruptured, an arrow embedded into the eye, the brain strewn on the shoulders, the colours and water container beside him. Hussain face showed signs of despondency Throwing himself down upon him, sobbing and saying;

Now is the time my backbone broke; I can see no way out, and my enemy is rejoicing at my misfortune“.

tealthily, a furtive foe appeared
The arms of the valiant, brave, severed.
The renegades’ treacherous act did work
They this cowardice, did not shirk
The angel’s saintly wings were clipped,
The flag, he held high, lurched and dipped.
The standard with his blood was red
Its bearer brave lay cold and dead
Stifled my waves, was shocked, alas!

With grief I froze – it was Abbas.”

Despondent, sorrowful, weeping, wiping his tears with his shin sleeves, Imam Hussain returned to his camp only to see that the enemy soldiers had already invaded it. He appealed to the crowd;

“Is there not one from amongst you who can respond to our cry for help? Who can grant us a safe haven? Is there not a seeker of right who can lend support to us? Is there not one, who is wary of hell fire, who can protect us?”

Sakina approached and asked him about her uncle.

He told her that he had been killed!

Zainab overheard him and screamed;

“O Our Abbas! What a loss!”.

The women started crying and Hussain joined them saying;

“We are at a loss after your demise!”.

The Infant Martyr

When Abbas was killed, Imam Hussain searched around only to find out that there was no one who could bail him out; he looked to his family and companions to find them slain like sacrificial lambs; in the meantime heard the incessant crying and wailing of his children and women, whereupon he repeated his plea; “Is there not a protector who can defend the sanctity of the Prophet? Is there not a believer who may fear God of that which is befalling us?
Is there not a deliverer who may aspire to God’s reward in alleviating our distress?”

The crescendo of women and children crying and waiting reached a new peak.

As-Sajjad, Ali son of Hussain got up leaning on a stick and dragging his sword for he was ill and could hardly move. Hussain shouted at Umm Kulthoom;

“Do not let him lest the earth should be devoid of the stock of the posterity of Mohammad”.

She returned him to his bed.

He ordered his family to stop crying and bade them farewell. He was wearing a dark jubba (a long outer garment, open in front, with wide sleeves), a flowered turban with its two ends loosened, covered with the Prophet’s garment, and wearing his sword,

Imam Hussain asked for his son to kiss him farewell. Zainab brought him Abdullah son of ar-Rabbab; he put him in his lap kissing and cuddling him murmuring;

“Away with those people! for your grandfather, the chosen Apostle, will be their opponent on the Day of Judgement”.

Clutching him in his arms, he approached the enemy and asked for water for the baby. Harmalah bin Kahil al-Azdi shot him with an arrow and slew him. Hussain scooped the blood into his hands and threw it to the sky.

Abu Ja’far al-Baqir was reported as saying;

“Not a drop [of Abdullah’s blood] descended to the ground”.

The Awaited Imam (May Allah hasten his reappearance) was also reported as saying;

“May peace be with Abdullah, the infant who was slain by an arrow, drenched with blood, and whose blood ascended to the heavens. May Allah curse his killer Harmalah bin Kahil al-Azdi”.

“Holding a babe was he in arms,
of water deprived, ‘gainst humane norms
Like fading stars, his eyes did show
His wavy hair by the wind did blow.

The babe hovered between life and death,
Breathing he was an erratic breath.
Hussain did gently hold his hand,
This tender touch was a magic wand.

A smile flickered, at the baby’s face,
Appeared a sweetness, lovely grace.
An innocent gesture, to quietly tell:
“Worry not father, all is well.”

(A died-down candle just flickered
Briefly, a sinking ship anchored.)
True love played its mystic part,
A conscious heart knew a conscious heart
Hussain caressed the babe, with care
With fingers combed his wavy hair.
A babe subjected to pangs of thirst,
By the despicable, Caliphs, heartless, worst
His drought was “slaked” by the wild mob,
An archers arrow, did its job.

Appalled was nature, did providence weep,
The babe in his father’s arms, did “sleep “.
With his firm, unshaking hand,
The father dug the glowing sand,
An emotions’ tempest, though did blow,
No solitary tear, his grief did show.
His visage reflected a desolate grace,
A muffled anguish engulfed his face
The babe he put in the gloomy grave
This charming gift to Islam he gave

Imam Hussain Said……….

“I find solace in the fact that what has befallen me is in the way of Allah, the Exalted. O Lord. Let his position with you not be less than the station of the young (weaned) camel of Salih’s she-camel. O Lord! if you have withheld victory from us, substitute it with that which will be better than victory; exact your revenge on the oppressors, make the afflictions that befell us in this world a treasure for us in the hereafter.”

Imam Hussain in the Battlefield

After he had buried his baby, he met in duel with many a man who never stood a chance of emerging alive. He then charged the enemy troops who did not stand their ground in the face of his attacks.

Thereupon Omar bin Sa’ad yelled at the crowd;

“Mind! He is the son of the exterminator of the Arabs. Set upon him from every direction.”

They rained him with 4,000 arrows. The soldiers cut him off his camp.

He shouted, “O followers of Abi Sufian! If you are godless and you do not dread the Day of Judgement, be free in his world and recall your ancestry if you claim to be Arab”.

Shimr exclaimed;

“What are you saying, son of Fatimah?”

Hussain (‘a) replied;

“I am the one who is fighting you, and the women are not at fault. So long as I am alive, forbid your insolent thugs from harassing my inviolable”.

Imam Hussain bade his family farewell for the second time and ordered them to show forbearance saying;

“Get ready for affliction, and be reassured that Allah is your protector; He will guard you against the evil of the enemy, turn your mishap into good, chastise your enemy with all sorts of torment, and compensate you for this tragedy with a plethora of bounties and dignity. So do not complain, and do not utter that which may degrade your lofty prestige”.

Hussain (‘a) turned to his daughter Sakina who was standing aloof, crying and lamenting. He stood by her showing sympathy and solace.

“To lay down life, he forward surged,
Upon the foe, a lion converged.
Bedecked was he by an aureole crown,
Immortal fashioned from entrenched renown.
A conundrum he was indeed,
Signified glory, though heart did bleed
Splendid, dignified, distinguished,
Tormented, distraught, hurt, anguished.

Though with chivalry, to the end, he fought,
The renegades got the prize, sought”
“The job concluded, the camp ransacked,
For final departure, the hoodlums packed.
They called my guests by the ‘prisoners’ name,
(As prisoners left, as guests who came!)
With ‘watery eyes’; and heaving swell,
(Shattered my being) I said, farewell”.

A soul searing, sad finale
Woeful ’tis, but a glorious tale.


Surrounded by the Enemies of Islam

Omar bin Sa’ad yelled;

“Woe unto you! Attack him while he is busy with himself and his family. By the Almighty! Once he is free neither your right nor your left flanks would be more lucky.”

They swooped on him, raining him with arrows which were so abundant that they lodged in to the tent ropes; some found their way to the women’s mantles, startling and causing them to cry and enter the tent; they looked at Hussain in the expectation that he might do something. Imam Hussain attacked the enemy like a roaring lion, No sooner he could engage anyone he left him dead. He received many wounds all over his body mainly as a result of arrows.

He returned to his position, repeating the saying;

“There is neither power nor strength save in God Almighty”.

He asked for water, Shimr answered;

“You are not going to taste it until you enter hell fire!”

Another one called him;

“O Hussain! can you not see the waters of the River Euphrates flow, glittering like the belly of a snake? You are not going to drink from it till you die of thirst”.

Imam Hussain invoked God;

“O Lord! Let him die of thirst”.

It was then reported that the man used to ask for water, once he drank, the water gushed out of his mouth. He continued thus until he perished of thirst.

Abul Hutoof al-Ju’fai shot Hussain with an arrow which lodged into his forehead, Hussain took it off causing the blood to stream down his face, whereupon he said;

“O Lord! You are witnessing the transgression against me by Your sinful creatures. O Lord! Do not let anyone of them get away with it. Kill them all and do not let anyone of them live on the face of the earth. Never forgive them their trespasses.”

He shouted;

“O Bunch of evil! Shame on you. What bad guardians of the household of the Prophet you turned out to be. Since there is no man of my band left, you are not going to be deterred from killing anyone after me, for killing me would make it a forgone conclusion. By God! I hope that Allah bestow on me martyrdom, and avenge my death whence you do not expect.”

Al-Hosein said, “How is he going to exact revenge on us?”

Imam Hussain said;

“He will sow enmity amongst you, shed your blood, and pour down punishment upon you, pouring it in abundance.”

As he was weakened, he paused to rest. A man hurled him with a stone hitting him on the head causing the blood to stream down his face. He took out a piece of cloth to wipe the blood from his face, whereupon another archer aimed at him with a three-pronged arrow; it lodged into his chest in the area of the heart.

He said, “In the name of Allah, by Allah, and following the path of the Apostle of Allah”. He then raised his head towards the sky and said, “O Lord! You know full well that they are killing a man there is not on the face of the earth, a son of the daughter of the Prophet, save him!”

He pulled out the arrow causing the blood to gush out. He put his band underneath the gaping wound. When it was filled with blood he threw it towards the sky and said;

“My only solace is that what has befallen me is in the way of Allah”.

It was reported that not a single drop of that blood fell down. He filled it again. This time be stained his head, face, and beard with it saying;

“I want to meet Allah and my grandfather in this state – splattered with blood”.

Since losing blood weakened his body, he sat on the ground hardly lifting his head, whereupon Malik bin an-Nisr approached him, called him names, and hit him with his sword on his head which was covered with a burnoose. The burnoose was drenched with blood.

He took of the burnoose, wrapped his turban on the cap and said, “May Allah deprive you of eating with your right hand, and gather you [on the Day of Judgement] with the oppressors”.

Hani bin Thubait al-Hadhrami was quoted as saying;

“I was one of a group of ten people when Hussain was killed. I was looking to a boy from the household of Hussain, who was wearing a shirt and loin cloth; two rings dangling from his ears, clutching to a shaft; he was distraught turning left and right. A horsemen headed towards him, leaning over the boy and hitting him on the head causing his death”. The boy was Mohammed bin Abi Sa’eed bin Aqeel bin Abi Talib. His mother was overwrought by the spectacle of witnessing the killing of her son.

After a short while the enemy troops came back to Hussain who was still in a sitting position for he was overcome by the severity of his wounds. Abdullah bin al-Hassan, an eleven-year-old boy looked towards his uncle only to see him surrounded by the enemy. He rushed towards his uncle after he managed to break free from his aunt, Zainab. When he arrived at the scene near his uncle, Bahr bin Ka’b descended his sword to hit Hussain.

The boy yelled at him, “O son of the bad woman! Are you dealing a blow to my uncle?”

He hit the boy who lift his arm to protect his head causing it to be severed. The boy shouted,

“O Uncle!” and fell into his Uncle’s lap.

Hussain embraced him and said, “O nephew! Be patient at what has befallen you and consider it as a blessing for Allah, the Exalted will reunite you with your noble ancestors”.

He then raised his hands in supplication and said, “O Lord! If You had granted them enjoyment for a while, cause them to divide among themselves, disperse them into sects following different ways, do not let the rulers be pleased with them for they called on us so that they may be among our partisans, instead they transgressed against and killed us”. Harmalah released an arrow towards the boy, whilst he was in his uncle’s lap, and slew him.

Imam Hussain, fatally wounded, was left lying for a considerable time. What prevented them from finishing him off sooner was the fact that every tribe was relying on the other to do the job. Each tribe hated to be seen as the one which killed Hussain.

Shimr yelled;

“Why are you standing idly by? The man is critically wounded. Attack and finish him off ?’.

Zar’a bin Shariek hit him on the shoulder blade; al-Hosein shot him in the mouth; another hit him on the shoulder, Sinan bin Anas lodged his spear in the area of the collarbone, then in his chest; he also shot him with an arrow in the throat, Saleh bin Wahab stabbed him in the loin.

Hilal bin Nafi’ was reported as saying;

“I was standing near Hussain as he was on the brink of dying. By God, I never saw a person getting killed with own blood all over his body in a better state than Hussain. His face was exuding with light and awe! I was so overwhelmed by the radiance of his face that I refrained from contemplating killing him! He asked for water; they did not give him any to drink”.

The torrent stem, keep him at bay
Hold your own, and win the day.
Hussain observed him, did not move
Beckoning the renegade; to act and prove.
Face to face when Hussain he saw
The foe was overwhelmed, with awe.

Ravished he was by the dazzling scene
Such angelic face had never seen
With celestial sheen his visage bestowed
In propitious lustre glistened, glowed
So intense was the divine hue
His sight could not endure to view.

By the glorious sight he was dazed
But looked on still; gaped and gazed.

Hussain is Killed on the Plains of Kerbala

One from amongst the crowd said to him;

“You are not going to drink water until you enter hell fire, whereupon you can drink from its boiling water”.

Imam Hussain (‘a) replied;

“I do not enter hell fire, but enter unto my grandfather, the Apostle of God and stay with him in his own house (in the seat of honour with a most powerful King ) and complain to him of that which you have done to me and your transgression against me”.

All were very furious at his remarks as if Allah did not instill a grain of mercy in their hearts.

When his condition deteriorated, he raised his eyes towards the sky in supplication and said;

“O Lord! You are mighty in Prowess, the Supreme, the Possessor of every greatness and glory, not in need of the creation, having mastery over everything; Your mercy is high, Truthful in your promise, Giver of bounty and favour; You are close to those who invoke You; encompassing all Your creation; You accept repentance from those who repent, capable of exacting Your will, Having full knowledge of what You are after, Thankful when thanked, remembering when remembered. I invoke You as I am in dire need, ask You as I am poor! I seek refuge in You for I am fearful, weep for I am grieved; I rely on Your succour for I am weak; I put my trust in You alone. O Lord! You are the Arbiter between our folk and ourselves for they trespassed against us, let us down, betrayed us, and killed us not with-standing our kinship to Your Prophet whom You chose for delivering the Message and made the repository of revelation. Alleviate our predicament and relieve our suffering for You are the Most Merciful”.

“Forbearance with what You have destined is our solace, O Lord! There is no god but You. You are the Deliverer of the distressed. I have no God save You. Surely, You are the only Refuge for those who are without one.”

“There is no other one to worship apart from You. Forbearance with that which you have resolved is our consolation. O Lord! You are the Everlasting. O Lord! You are the Resurrector of the dead. O Lord! You are Watching over every soul and what it did. Adjudge between me and them for You are the best of judges”.

Hussain’s horse started roaming around Imam Hussain and staining its forehead with his blood, whereupon Ibn Sa’ad yelled saying;

“Stop the horse as it is a thoroughbred of the horses of the Apostle of Allah.”

A company of horsemen surrounded him. He started galloping and kicking with his forelegs killing some men and horses. Ibn Sa’ad ordered the soldiers to leave the horse and to see what it was going to do. When the horse calmed down and felt secure enough, it went back to Hussain’s blessed body staining its forehead with his blood, smelling him, and neighing loudly. Imam Abu Ja’far al-Baqir was quoted as saying;

“The horse was saying: What an injustice was done to the grandson of the Prophet by his own Ummah (community).”

His horse, in ecstasy, danced and pranced
by his equestrian, was entranced
A perfect horse, without any defect
With his head high, and neck erect.
Had tiger’s courage, and panther’s zeal
His sinews were akin to pure steel
A thoroughbred’s, all traits sustained
His sire’s blood, in the veins maintained.

By innate courage, he was led
In the thick of battle, had no dread
His prancing steps, and goodly shape
The admiring eyes, with awe, did gape,
His amble faultless, a rhythmic flow,
His steps measured, neither fast nor slow.
His gait, the art of music graced
Was on rhythm, and tempo based.

The aggressor’s will, to act, ruptured
He was charmed, dazzled, captured.
A feeble blow, the dastard tired
Hussain parried, with contempt defied
repeated strokes, the renegade rained
Hussain remained placid, calm, restrained
He hurled defiance, and braved it out
Thus paved the way for the dastard’s rout.

To keep his ground, stood firm
His superior hold he did confirm.
With lofty demeanour, at a serene pace
Hussain advanced, with chivalrous grace.
Moved ahead, with careless ease
Less to liquidate him, more to tease
The youth, in panic, turned his pack.

The horse, still neighing, then headed towards the camp. Once it was there, the women saw Zuljana stained with blood and its saddle twisted, they came out from their tents spreading their hair, unveiling their faces, beating their cheeks, screaming, seeing their glory vanish, and spontaneously taking to the place where Imam Hussain fell and died, headed by Zainab who was wailing On arriving at the scene, she put her hand under his body raising it to the level of her breast where she left the body to rest.

She said, “O Lord! Accept this sacrifice”.

In the meantime Omar bin Sa’ad with a group of soldiers were approaching the scene as Imam Hussain was at the point of death. Zainab shouted at him;

“Yes Omar! Abu Abdillah is being killed and you are standing watching him perish?!”

He turned his face away from her with his tears streaming down his beard.
She said, “Woe unto you! Is there not amongst you a Muslim?” Nobody replied! Thereupon Ibn Sa’ad ordered the crowd;

“Descend upon him and administer the mercy shots to him”.

Shimr initiated the attack; he kicked him, sat on his chest, got hold of his blessed beard, dealt 12 sword blows to his body, and finally beheaded him.





Eternity will, his name preserve,
A place of honour reserve (conserve)
In radiance, divine, glows his name,
Kindles the universe, the eternal flame.

Devilry tide, vehemently, surged.
To Hussain we owe, our piety do
Adore and love his chivalry too
perpetual, endless, boundless, same,
Glorious, for ever, prevail his fame.
Tempests, storms and gales, did blow,
This taper retained its divine glow,
Howled tornadoes, did hurricanes rush,
This eternal bloom they could not crush,
Forward, forward, on and on,
Kept on the move Hussain’s caravan.
Hussain did achieve his basic aim,
(an eternal triumph, he could claim)
For the faith’s (tomorrow), his (today) he gave,
Laid down his life, Islam did save.
With pride and love, his name we quote
Who, with his own blood, history wrote.
His deeds will (neglect) never meet.
Oblivion, his name will not greet.
This tale of endurance, hardihood
has the test of time well stood


An Eternal Message From Kerbala

No brutal force ‘gainst truth can work
Truth will conquer, will not shirk.
‘Tis the greatest dike, to hold back sin
The silencer, of the mundane din.

The spiritual health, it will restore
For moral wounds; ’tis a surest sure.
Truth will strengthen sickly souls
Plug, in the conscience, gaping holes.

Truth, is not an elusive ghost
‘Tis, to the righteous, a constant host.
Truth, in its exalted mood
Is clearest mind’s amplitude.

“Infinite” is there in every man
Immortalise “finite” it can.
Truth, doesn’t perish at death
It does outlive the human breath.

Redeemed, through truth, all can be
XYZ and you and me.
Truth, being infinitely great
Both kings and beggars, upon it wait.

Truth, individuals and Nations, makes
An infinite joy in the task it takes
Glows the universe, with its beams
Sun and moon, are truth it seems.

If the human perception’s doors are clean
In every beauty truth is seen
Truth is proud, to know so much
Its every move has wisdom’s touch.


  1. Absarul Ain Fi Ashabil Hussain – Mohammad bin at-Tahir as-Samawi, Haydari Press, Najaf.
  2. Irshadul Quloob Illas Sawab – Al-Hassan bin Mohammad ad-Dailami (d. 448 H.), Iran Print.
  3. A’yan ash-Shia – Muhsin al-Amin al-Amili, Darut Ta’aruf, Beirut. 2nd edition.
  4. Al-Irshad – Mohammad bin Mohammad bin an-Nu’man al-Baghdadi, known as ash-Sheikh al-Mufid.
  5. Al-Amaali – Mohammad bin Ali bin Babaweih al-Qomi (d. 381 H.), Al-Haydari. Press, Najaf.
  6. Ansarul Hussain – Mohammad Mahdi Shamsuddin – ad-Darul Islamiyah Press, Beirut.
  7. Bihrul Anwar – Mohammad Baqir bin Mohammad Taqi al-Majlisi – Tehran 2nd edition.
  8. Batal al-A’lqami – Abdul Wahid al-Mudhaffar – An-Najaf edition.
  9. Tarikh Ibn Asakir – Ali bin al-Hassan bin Hibatillah ad-Dimashqi (d. 571 H.), Egypt edition.
  10. Tarikh al-Umam wal-Mulook – Abu Ja’far Mohammad bin Jareer at-Tabari, Al-A’lami Press, Beirut.
  11. Tarikh al-Bidayah Wan-Nihaya – Ismail bin Omar bin Kathir ash-Shafie (d. 774 H.), Egypt edition.
  12. Tarikh al-Ya’qoubi – Ahmed bin Abi Ya’qoub, known as al-Ya’qoubi, Dar Sabir Press, Beirut.
  13. Tathkirat Khawwashil Umma – Yousuf bin Qaz’ali al-Baghdadi, known as Sibt bin al-Jawzi (d. 654 H.), Al-Haydari Press, Najaf.
  14. Al-Khasaa’is al-Hussainiyah – Ja’far bin Hussain ash-Shoushtari, Tabriz edition.
  15. Rawdhatul Wa’idheen – Mohammad bin al-Hassan bin Ali, known as al-Fattal, Iran edition.
  16. Zahr al-Aadaab Wathamar al-Albaab – Ibrahim bin Ali al-Ausari al-Husari al-Qairawani, Cairo edition.
  17. Sharh Nahjil Balaagha – Ibn Abil Hadeed, Egypt first edition.
  18. Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah fi Ma’rifat Umoor al-A’imah -Ali bin Mohammad al-Maliki, known as Ibn Sabbagh, Al-Adl Press, Najaf.
  19. Kashfil Ghumma Fil M’arifatil A’imah – Ali bin Issa bin Abil Fath Arbilli, Najaf edition.
  20. Alluhoof Ala Qatlat et-Tuffoof – Radhiyiddin Ali bin Mousa bin Tawoos, Najaf edition.
  21. Al-Majalis al-Fakhirah – Abdul Hussain Sharafuddin al-Mousawi, Najaf edition.
  22. Muthirul Ahzan – Shareef bin Muhsin – Sahibul Jawahir, Najaf edition.
  23. Maqtalul Hussain – Abdul Razzaq al-Muqqarram, Darul Kital al-Islami, Beirut.
  24. Maqtalul Hussain – Mohammad Taqi Bahrul Uloom, Darul Zahra’, Beirut.
  25. Manaqib Aal Abi Talib – Mohammad bin Ali bin Shahrashob, Qom edition.
  26. Al-Muntakhab Fi Jam’il Marathi WM Khutab – Fakhruddin bin Mohammad bin Tarech an-Najafi, Al-Haydari Press, Najaf.

et cetera
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