It is an absolute necessity for Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamâ'at (a.k.a. Sunni's) to love the Ahl al-Bayt, that being Hazrat Sayyidina Ali bin Abi Tâleb (KarramAllah wajhu), Hazrat Sayyidatina Fâtimah (Radhi Allahu Anha) and their descendants (Radhi Allahu 'Anhum Ajma'in). Loving the Ahl al-Bayt will result in one to die in a state of Iman. Books written by the Ahlus-Sunnah have always included writings commending their love. One can NOT be of the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamâ'at and NOT have love, respect, and admiration of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Over time, very few internet sites, as well as books in English, by Ahlus-Sunnah include information pertaining to the Ahl al-Bayt, while the information superhighway has been flooded with Shi'ah web sites containing slanderous lies about the Ahl al-Bayt in addition to slanderous propaganda about the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamâ'at and our love for the Ahl al-Bayt. The result of this has been seen as Muslims have been too afraid to show their love and adoration for the Ahl al-Bayt for fear of being classified as a Shi'ah, even though the Holy Last Messenger (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) has said:
When I am loved, then my family members, whom I love should also be loved. [Sahih al-Tirmithi]
Record of the Origin of the Family of Prophecy, and of the Cheifs of the Tribe of Generosity - taken from Rawza Tus-Safâ
by Sheikh Syed Mubarak Ali Jilani Al-Hashmi
The beginning of the family of Prophecy has already been recorded above by way of synopsys; the details, however, of their virtues and actions are as follows: The father (of blessed memory and glorious character) of Muhammad, the Nabi of Allah -- the most perfect greetings to him -- was 'Abdullah, distinguished and prominent among the youths of the Quraysh triby by the perfection of his character, the nobility of his descent, the pleasantness and beauty of his demeanor, the generosity of his manners, the goodness of his deeds, the affability of his qualities, and the elegance of his behaviour. In pulchritude and amiability he was the Yusuf of his time. The light of the start of Muhammad's prophetship shone from the beauty of his aspect, and the radiation of the sun of Ahmad's apostleship was evident from his heart-rejoicing countenance.
It is said that Aminah was in the bosom of the family of her uncle Wahab, the son of Abd Munâf, when Abdul-Muttalleb sued for her heand in favor of his son, 'Abdullah, and that he at the same courted Hâilah, the daughter of Wahab, for himself. Both weddings took place simultaneously, and afterwards Hâilah gave birth to Hamzah, and Aminah to the Last of Prophets (s.a.s.). According to an authentic tradition, Abdullah went to Syria before the birth of the Nabi of Allah; according to another he was on his return from it; and yet, according to another, he was on his way to it, whilst some say that he went to purchase dates, and than, when he reached Madinah, the destroyer of joys demolished the castle of his existance so that he died, and was buried on the premises called "Dar-un-nâilah."
He had attained the age of twenty-five, and according to others of thirty years, but Allah knows best.
Pedigree of the Nabi, by way of synopsys and distinction
His name is Muhammad, the son of 'Abdullah, the son of Abdul-Muttalleb, the son of Hâshem, the son of Abd Munâf, the son of Qussai, the son of Kallâb, the son of Laovi, the son of Ghâleb, the son of Qahar, the son of Mâlak, the son of Nasser, the son of Kanatah, the son of Madrekah, the son of Alyâs, the son of Nasser, the son of Adnân.
The geneology of his exalted lordship, the prince of existances (s.a.s.) is regular as far ad Adnân, but above the latter there are discrepancies. Nevertheless, all historians agree, despite a multitude of contradictions, in placing six of the inspired prophets -- i.e. Esma'il [Ishmael], Ebrâhim [Abraham], Hud [Heber], Nuh [Noah], Edris [Enoch], and Sheth [Seth] -- into the pedigree of the ancestors of his lordship, the Seal of the Prophets, as far back as Adam, the father of mankind. The biographies of each of these, and of all the other prophets, have, according to their requiremetns, been given in the first volume, and now the musk-writing reed will, from a feeling of veneration, by way of abridgemetn, record the lives of some of the just-enumerated ancestors of his lorship. From Him comes protection and guidance!
Ahlul-Bayt from Sahabi, Tabi'een, and descendants
Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'at include the descendents of the Sayyidayn wa Imamayn, Hazrat al-Hasan and Hazrat al-Husayn (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) as Ahl-e-Bayt, millions of Salaams be upon them.
Description of the connection and relationship of Nabi Muhammad (s.a.s) with Hazrat Ali bin Abi Tâleb (r.a.)
The connection of 'Ali -- the commander of the faithful with the Nabi -- originiated in the family of Abdul-Muttalleb, Ali having been the son of Abu Tâleb, the son of Abdul-Muttalleb, the son of Hâshem whose name was Umar, called Omrân the high, on account of his dignity. During a year of famine and hardship Omrân had gone to Syria, and thence imported bread, on an infinite number of dromedaries, to the sanctuary, so that every day two camels were slaughtered and roasted; and the dry breads, having been moistened, were distributed twice daily. He was the first among the Arabs who invited guests to a repast prepared of moistened bread, and therefore surnamed Hâshem. Other chroniclers, again, have said that Hâshem means one who breaks bread in a cup to make it a kind of porridge, but the difference between the two meanings is obvious. Hashem was proverbial for his liberality and unrivalled in gracefullness; the luminous beams of distinction radiated in such a manner from his forehead that whoever beheld his countenance had not the boldness to contemplate it, but looked to the ground. This the Christian sovereigns knew from their sacred books, and wished to enter into connection with him. One of these was Harql (Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor), who sent him an ambassador and offered him a virgin whom he guarded in his private apartments, but Hâshem refrained from complying with his petition. Afterwards, however, he entered --in consequence of a dream he had -- into a matrimonial alliance, at Madinah, with Solma, one of the noblest ladies of the Bani Najjar, who was decorated with the ornaments of intellect and sagacity, on condition that her confinement should take place in her own house. After the consummation of the marriage the lady was taken to Makkah, but on her becoming pregnant with Abdul-Muttalleb she was on account of the condition again conveyed back to Madinah, but after she had given birth to Abdul-Muttalleb, Hashem went to Syria, fell sick in the vicinity of Damascus, and gave directions in his last agony to surrender the bow to the Prophet Esma'il, the banner, and the key of the house of the Ka'bah, which he had inherited from his forefathers, to Abdul-Muttalleb, and having, though young, bidden farewell to his perishable world, he was buried in that country, where his tomb is still known and visited. Some say that Hâshem went to Syria before the birth of Abdul-Muttalleb, and that he had himself given the just-mentioned articles to his brother Muttalleb, to whom he had also transferred the gubernatorial office, whilst the latter, in his turn, surrendered everything to Abdul-Muttalleb. But Muttalleb was the son of Abd Munâf whose name was [also] Moghairah and surname Abdush-Shams, but Munâf was likewise the name of an idol. On account of his great beauty, he was also named Qamar [full moon], and because he had inherited the sovereignty from his father, the surrounding kings hastened to join Abd Munâf. He had four sons: one of them was Hâshem, about whom some circumstances have already been mentioned above. Abdush-Shams was the ancester of the Bani Ummayya [called Ommiade Khalifs by European authors]; Naufil was the forefather of habib, the son of Mu'azim, and Muttalleb of Ali Shafa'i; the latter was thus surnamed because it is related that Hâshem and Abdush-Shams were twins, whose foreheads were connected at their birth and could not be separated, until at last the sword was resorted to. An intellignet man, who had been informed of this proceeding, considered it to be a sign that the descendants of the two brothers would decide their quarrels with the sabre, which prediction was actually fulfilled in the enmity between his lordship the Nabi (s.a.s.) and Abu Sufyan, between Ali (r.a.a.) the select and Mu'awiah, and between the Imâm Hussain (r.a.a.) and Yazid.
Ka'bul-Akhbar Makes His Profession of Islam by the Blessing of the Words of Hazrat Ali (karamAllah wajhu)
There is a tradition that when Amir al-Mu'mineen Ali sojourned in the country of Yaman, preached, and taught the ordinances of Islam, and Ka'bul-akhbar had been informed of his eloquence, he donned a robe, mounted a camel, and proceeded in company of one of the Ulama of the Jews, who was his co-religionist, to the assembly of the Amir, who at the time they entered, happened to be preaching and uttering the words, 'There are men who can see in the night, but not in the day,' and Ka'bul-akbar said: 'He speaks the truth.' Afterwards the illustrious Commander said: 'Whoever gives with a short hand will be requited with a long hand.' Ka'b again manifested his approbation, but his Jewish companion asked him how he could approve of sentiments the meaning whereof is ambiguous? Ka'b, however, replied: 'The man who sees in the night, but not in the day, is he who believes in the first book [i.e., the Pentateuch] but not in the last [i.e., the Holy Qur'an]. He who sees neither in the night nor in the day is a man who believes in neither; and the other assertion is [likewise] plain, because with Allah the Most High and Glorious alms are acceptable, and He returns them abundantly.' Meanwhile a mendicant begged something from Ka'b, who immediately divested himself of his cloak and surrendered it to him. The Jewish priest was so displeased with this act that he immediately left Ka'b, and returned to his home. After his departure a woman approached Ka'b, and said: 'Who will give me his camel, and will take mine instead?' Ka'b replied: If thou wilt give thy cloak in addition to it, I shall agree to the exchange.' The woman having assented Ka'b donned her cloak, mounted the camel, went after the priest, and when she had reached him, said: 'Who gives with a short hand is requited with a long hand.' Then Ka'b again returned, waited on the Amir, and inquired about his Holy and Prophet Lordship (Nabi Muhammad, s.a.s.). 'Ali (r.a.a.) complied with his request, beginning to enumerate the qualities of his lordship, but Ka'b smiled, and when Ali the Commander of the Faithful asked him for the reason, he replied: 'I smile because in ancient books we find the qualities of Muhammad (s.a.s.) to agree with those thou art describing.' Then Ka'bul-akhbar made his profession of the Faith, and learnt the ordinances of Islam through 'Ali the Commander of the Faithful according to the best of his ability, remained in Yaman, made it his business to propogate the doctrines and tenets of the noble religion, but came to Madinah during the Khalifate of 'Umar the Commander of the Faithful, and always regretted having failed to wait on his lordship the best of created beings. It is, however, related in the history of Ebn Hamdan that at the time when 'Umar bin al-Khattab marched to Aylay, Ka'bul-akhbar was dwelling in Syria, and that when the victorious banners of that Khalifah occupied the country, Ka'bul-akhbar made hast to wait on him, and to make his profession of the Faith. But Allah the Most High knows best.
How Imam 'Ali (r.a.a.)Spared the Life of an Enemy in Battle
Let us add luster to this work by telling an exemplary story concerning Hazrat Ali, the "Gate of Knowledge and Lion of Allah." At the Battle of the Ditch, the noble Imam 'Ali had knocked an enemy soldier to the ground and was raising his sword to kill him, when the unbeliever spat in the blessed face of the Valiant Lion, may Allah be pleased with him. Imam 'Ali at once stood still and refrained from killing his enemy. Hardly able to believe his own eyes, the unbeliever asked: "Why have you spared me, O gracious one?"
To this, the noble 'Ali repliied: "Your property and your life have become sacrosanct to me. I am not authorized to slay you. I can receive permission to kill only in holy combat, in fighting commanded by Allah. Just a few moments ago, I had overcome you in battle, knocked you to the ground and was on the point of slaying you. But when you spat in my face, my selfish anger was aroused against you. If I had killed you, I would have slain you not for Allah's sake but for my own selfish reason; they would then have called me not a champion warrior, but a murderer. When you spat in my face, my selfish passion threatened to overwhelm me, so instead of striking you with the sword for my own sake I struck my passion for the sake of Allah, Exalted is He. There you have the reason for your escape."
The unbeliever was left in awe and amazement. This event made him realize that he was a direct witness to the worth and value of being Muslim. As he felt the light of Islam descending into his heart, he was quite unconscious of the tears streaming down from his eyes. He could he be aware of them? ... In the space of a few seconds he was being saved from dying as an unbeliever -- saved from being an unbeliever at all -- and was becoming a Muslim. Moreover, the cause of his conversion, the person standing before him, was none other than the noble Imam 'Ali.
Indeed, friendship and affection, as well as enmity, should be in the manner determined by Allah. That is to say, the object to be ever kept in view is the good pleasure of the Exalted Lord.
The Martyrdom of Sayyidina Hazrat Ali (Karamallah wajhu)
One morning a coward by the name of Ibn Muljam came upon the Nabi's son-in-law, the habitation of the Lord, while he was in the presence of the Truth, and smote him with a poisoned sabre. That habitation of the Lord and refuge of the poor, the son-in-law of the Chosen Messenger and Vicegerent of the Truth, lay sprawled in his own blood. They took the blessed Imam from his prayer niche and bore him to his felicitous abode, where they laid him upon his bed. How many battles he had fought, how many savage unbelievers he had dispatched to Hell with a single blow, of how many villians' villainy he had rid the world. But, such is destiny, he had fallen victim to a coward's plot.
The blessed Imam looked tenderly at his revered sons, as if he was reading on the Tabled Preserved in Heaven the tragedies that would befall them. "Who struck me?" he asked Imam Hasan. They at once brought the cruel assassin into the Khalif's presence. The Imam recognized his assailant, for Ibn Muljam had once worked for him as a servant. It was during that time that the Imam had said to Ibn Muljam, miraculously predicting his own death: "Ibn Muljam, my end is in your hand." On that occasion Ibn Muljam had said: "Far be it from me, O Imam. Let my hand wither if I should do such a thing." He had then begged to be put to death, but the Lion of Allah had objected: "How should I have you put to death, when you have committed no crime? I should be a wrongful tyrant if I imprisoned you or had you killed when you have not been guilty of any offense."
The time and the hour had come, and fat had shown its hand. Imam 'Ali asked Ibn Muljam: "What have I done to you, Ibn Muljam; have I touched your honor, property or person?" Overcome with fear and dread, Ibn Muljam managed to say: "By no means; only the judgement belongs to Allah alone, O Imam."
The blessed Khalif said: "Your words are true, but your intention is false."
They took Ibn Muljam away and put him in jail under surveillance. Turning to Imam Hasan, the Khalif said later: "If I recover from this wound it will be my business to deal with him. If I die, kill him with a single stroke of the sword, so that the divine law is carried out. Take care not to kill him with cruelty or torture, for I once heard your grandfather Muhammad (s.a.s.) say: "Do not kill even a rabid dog with torture and pain." Then they brought him milk. Indicated half of it, he said: "Send this milk to the stranger in the jail. His stomach is empty." "Who is this stranger in the jail, O Imam?" they asked. "My murderer, Ibn Muljam," he said, "his stomach is hungry."
They had the milk taken to Ibn Muljam. But he would not drink it and handed it back, saying: "You have put poison in it. You are going to kill me. I won't drink, I won't drink!"
When they told the Imam that Ibn Muljam had not drunk the milk and what he had said, this was his response: "Why did Ibn Muljam hold a bad suspicion of us? If he had drunk the milk, when the Day of Resurrection came and my foot was on the threshold of Paradise, I would not have entered without taking Ibn Muljam into Paradise too."
This 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, lover of the Messenger, was the product of the lessons he learned in the school of love, from love's teacher the Mentor of the Universe. He is the gate of the City of Knowledge, Tolerance and Love, just as 'Umar is the gate of the City of Justice, Abu Bakr of the City of Veracity and 'Uthman of the City of Modesty. May Allah be pleased with them all.
On the Khalifat of Hazrat Hazrat 'Ali bin Abu Tâleb.(karamAllah wajhu)
taken from Al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq by Sheikh Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (r.a.)
As for the Khalifat of 'Ali (r.a.a.), it came about as a result of the general agreement of the community, and by the consensus of the Companions.
This view of the matter is borne out by the traditional report of Abu Abdillah bin Batta, who attributes the following account to Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya:
I was in the company of Hazrat 'Ali bin Abu Tâleb while 'Uthman bin Affan was under seige. Then a man came along and told us: 'The Commander of the Believers was just killed just a little while ago.' Ali (r.a.a.) sprang to his feet at once, so I grabbed him and held him by the waist, for fear that he might do something rash, but he cried: "Let go of me, you wretch!" Then 'Ali went to the palace, where he found that 'Uthman had indeed been slain, so he made his way to his won house, went inside, and locked the door.
The people came after him, and started hammering on his door. As soon as they were admitted inside, they said: 'Uthman has ben killed, and the people cannot manage without a Khalif. There is no one, as far as we know, who is better qualified forthe job than you are.' But 'Ali responded to this by saying to them: 'You do not really want me, for I can serve you better as a minister (wazeer) than as an Amir.'
Still the people insisted: 'We know of no one who is better qualified for the job than you are.' So he said: 'Very well, if you insist on leaving me no choice. In any case, the fact that homage has been paid to me will not be a secret for long, but let me go out to the masjid, so that all those who wish to pledge the allegiance to me may do so there.' 'He then left his house and went to the masjid, where the people came and pledged their allegiance to him."
He was therefore a rightful leader (Imam) from that time on, until the moment when he was martyred, contrary to what is said by the Khawarij, for they maintain that he never was a legitimate leader. May they be doomed to perdition!
As for the battle he fought against Talha, az-Zubayr, A'isha and Mu'awiya, the emphatically stated opinion of Hazrat Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal is that we should adopt an attitude of strict neutrality toward this incident, and indeed toward all the conflict, contention and controversy that flared up amongst them, because Allahu Ta'ala will remove it all from their midst on the Day of Resurrection. As He says in the Holy Qur'an:
And Well shall strip away whatever rancor may be in their breasts. As brothers they shall be upon couches set face to face. [Holy Qur'an 15:47]
Besides, from his own perspective, 'Ali (r.a.a.) was in the right in doing battle with them, because he was firmly convinced of the legitimate character of his leadership. As we have just explained, he had in fact been appointed to the Imamate and Khalifat by the general agreement of the group of Sahabi who had functioned as an electoral college. Anyone who decided to back out of this at a later stage, and who actually took arms against him, would of course be a rebel, a person in revolt against the leader, so the leader would be quite justified in fighting him.
From the standpoint of those on the other side, notably Mu'awiya, Talha, and Az-Zubayr, the battle against 'Ali was fought because they needed to avenge the death of 'Uthman, the rightful Khalif who had been wrongfully slain, and the men who killed him were soldiers in the army of Hazrat Ali.
Thus everyone involved could come up with a credible justification. As far as we ourselves are concerned, therefore, the best course is to adopt an attitude of strict neutrality toward this whole issue, and to leave the verdict in their case to Allahu Ta'ala, for He is the Wisest of judges and the Best of deciders. Our attention should be focussed on the faults in our own selves, on the purification of our hearts from the root causes of sinful behavior, and of our outer beings from thngs that pose serious threats of our welfare.
Hazrat Sayyidah Fatimah az-Zahra
Excerpts from Rauza-tus-Safaa, edited revised by El-Sheikh Sayyid Mubarak Ali Shah Jilani al-Hashimi al-Hasani wal-Husaini
The princess of women, Sayyidatina Fatimah Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) was, according to the statements of all the chief ‘Ulema, the most beloved of the children of the Holy Prophet of latter times (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam), and was by her superior nobility of mind and excellent qualities distinguished above all her brothers and sisters. It is recorded in the Kasheful-Ghummah that Ibn Khisab has, in his chronicle of the births and deaths of the members of the family of the prince of existences, stated, with the proper authorities taken from Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin ‘Ali al-Baqir, etc.—that the birth of Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) took place five years after the announcement of prophecy and the descent of revelation, and that she departed from this world at the age of eighteen years and seventy-five days; but according to another tradition, ended was her noble life at the age of eighteen years, one month, and fifteen days. She lived with her father in Makkah for eight years, and she went to Madinah with the Rasul of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) and dwelt with him there ten years, and she was then eighteen years old. She lived with the Commander of the Faithful, Hazrat Ali bin Abi Taleb (Karram Allah Wajhah) seventy five days after the death of her blessed father (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam), but according to another tradition, forty days. In the Tanfyh of Ibn Jawzy it is stated that the birth of Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) took place five years before the Mission, and in the Rawdzat al-Ahbab two traditions are recorded on this subject, the first whereof agrees with that of the Tanfyh, but the second is to the effect that this luminary sphere of prophecy arose from the horizon of nativity in the forty-first year after the catastrophe of the elephant. In the just-mentioned work it is also narrated that the decease of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) took place during the night of Tuesday, the third day of the month of Ramadhan, which happened six, and according to others three, months after the death of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam). On account of the two traditions of Sayyidah Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) that noble lady must have reached the age of twenty-eight or of twenty-two years; but the true knowledge is with Allah.
In the Kashaful-Ghummah it is recorded, according to the precedent of those who walk in the paths of the A'immah, that the prince of the righteous (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) had said: “During the night of my ascension, I ate one fresh date of the fruits of the trees of eternity, which was softer than butter and sweeter than honey, and the essence of that date generated seed within my loins. When I [again] alighted on earth I approached Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) and she became pregnant with Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha).” The seal of Ambiya (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) also said: “‘O Khadijah, the faithful spirit of Allah has apprised me that this child will be a daughter. Call her Fatimah, because it is a pure and blessed name.’”
When the time of the delivery of Sayyida Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) was near at hand, she sent for several of her relatives to aid her on that occasion; but as she incurred their displeasure by marrying the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam), they would not comply with her request, so that she was much distressed. Nevertheless, four women, resembling those of the tribe of Bani Hashem, suddenly made their appearance, and Khadijah was afraid of them. One of them, however said: “Fear not, for Allah the Most High has sent us to you. We are your visitors. I am Sarah; this is Maryam, the daughter of Imran; the third is Kalthum, the sister of Musa; and the fourth is Asiah, the wife of Pharaoh. They will be your companions in Paradise” Then one of these women sat down on the right and another on the left of Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha), the third in her front, and the fourth in her rear until Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) was born. When this took place a light shone from that infant of laudable end, which encircled the houses of Makkah from the east and west, so that there was no spot in any house which was not illuminated by that light:
Distich: The light of prosperity shone, Making my heart to gladness prone.
In the above-named work, it is also recorded that the Lord and Bestower of all gifts sent ten Huris from the uppermost paradise into the apartment of the pure Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha), each of whom brought a basin and a pitcher full of water from the Kawthar. Then the woman sitting in front of Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) took hold of Fatimah and washed her with that water from paradise, and afterwards she brought forth white and extremely fragrant swaddling clothes in which she wrapped the infant; then she drew a similar cloth over the child’s head by the way of a coif, and said: “Take her, Khadijah. Give way to no apprehensions, for blessing is in her and in her progeny.” Then the other women congratulated Sayyidah Khadijah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) and departed, whilst she embraced Fatimah with great joy and happiness. When the lord of prophecy (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) entered, he took the darling child into his arms, called her Fatimah, and surnamed her Umm Muhammad, but her sobriquets are numerous, such as, the blessed, the pure, the innocent, the pleasing, the pleased, the orthodox, the Vestal, and Zahra (flower).
It is related by the El-Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu) that his holy and prophetic lordship (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) asked Sayyidah Fatimah one day whether she knew why she was called by that name, and Sayyidina Ali Amir ul-Mu’mineen (Karram Allah Wajhah) having thereon also asked for the reason, his lordship replied: “Because she delivered her soul from fire.” It is related that Hayder Karar (one of the names of Sayyidina Ali, Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu) said: “Verily the Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) was asked what Betul meant, and he replied: ‘It is a woman who never sees redness; namely, she never menstruates, because menstruation is hateful in the daughters of the Prophets.’” It is related that El-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu Anhu) having been asked why the princess of women was surnamed Zahra, he replied: “Because Allah had magnified her, and when she arose she illuminated the heavens and the earth with her light, and the eyes of the angels were dazzled, so that they prostrated themselves, worshipping Allah Ta’ala, and saying: ‘O our God and Lord, what is this light?’ Whereon Allah vouchsafed to the the following revelation: ‘This is a light of My Light: I cause it to dwell in My Heaven: I created it from My Greatness; I produced it from my forehead, and from a Nabi more excellent than all the other Ambiya. From that light I shall produce A'immah who will promulgate My Commands, and propagate My Truth, and I shall cause them to be Khalifahs on My earth;’ and here the revelation ceased”
As has been narrated above, the lord of dominion [i.e., Hazrat Ali, Radhi Allahu Anhu] married in the second year of Hijra [A.D. 623] the princess of women, who was on that occasion, according to the tradition of the Imams of the family [of Muhammad, Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam], nine, but according to another statement fourteen, years old. Some even assert that she was twenty years of age.
It is related in the Sohah-Akhbar that when Sayyida Aisha (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) was asked what person that Prophet of Jinn and Men loved most, she replied: “Fatimah.” They said: “Of men?” She (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) replied: “Her husband.” It is likewise related of Siddiqah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) that she said: “I never saw any person resembling Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) more than Fatimah in her countenance, in elegance of speech, in dignity, and in all her motions. Whenever Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) paid a visit to the best of men (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) he rose, kissed her, and made her sit down in his own place. Whenever his lordship the refuge of prophecy (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) came to her house, Sayyidatina Fatimah acted in the same manner. It is also an authentic fact that the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Fatimah is a part of me; whoever injures her injures me, and whoever angers her angers me.” According to some traditions, he also said: “Allah gets angry when Fatimah gets angry.”
It is related of Thauban, the freed man of the prophet of the last times, that he said: “When the best of men started on a journey, the last person of whom he took leave was Fatimah az-Zahra, and when he returned the first person whom he met was Betul.”
It is related in many respectable historical works that when Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) was struck by the calamity of losing her father, the best of men, she wept and lamented so much from morning till evening that she distressed the inhabitants of Madinah, who sent her the following message: “O daughter of the Nabi of Allah, if you weep during the day, take rest in the night, that way we may also have peace; and if you weep in the night, be silent during the day, and we shall likewise obtain repose.”
It is related of the Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) that he said: “There are five weepers in the world: Firstly Adam (Alayhis-Salaam), who cried so much after his expulsion from Paradise that two rivers [of tears] were flowing on his face. Secondly, Ya’qub (Alayhis-Salaam), who wept so much on account of his separation from Yusuf (Alayhis-Salaam) that he became blind. Thirdly, Yusuf (Alayhis-Salaam) who deplored in prison his separation from Ya’qub to such a degree that all the captives were distressed. Fourthly, Fatimah (alayhas-Sallam) who wept so much after the death of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) that the inhabitants of Madinah sent her the following message: “O darling of the lord of existences, you have indeed distressed us by your fervent lamentations.” Then Betul Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) betook herself at least to the cemetery of the martyrs, and wept there. Fifthly, the fourth Emam, who was constantly shedding tears on account of the calamity of Karbala, so that his attendants could never place any food before him without its being moistened by the water of his eyes.” It is related of Muhammad al-Baqir the Imam of exalted memory that he said: “After the decease of his holy and prophetic lordship, no one ever saw Fatimah laugh till her very dying day.” It is related that Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) called in her last malady for Solmy the freed woman of the lord Mustafa, and said: “Bring me some water for ablution.” Solmy narrates: “After she had washed herself so beautifully as I had never seen anyone doing it so well, she asked for clean garments and donned them. Then she ordered me to spread out her couch, whereon she reclined, turned with her right side to the Qiblah, and, placing her right hand beneath her face, she said: “Solmy, I shall at this moment depart from the abode of perishableness to the mansions of eternity, and I have washed myself that no one may undress me.” When she had uttered these words, her spirit took flight to the upper regions.” Shortly afterwards, Sayyidina Ali Commander of the Faithful (Karram Allah Wajhah) entered, and, witnessing the scene, poured forth tears from the clouds of his eyes. This event is, according to the Rauzatul-Ahbab, described in the same manner by Muhammad bin Sa’d and the amanuensis in his Tabaqat; but if it be true, it must be considered as one of the peculiarities of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha), because it is against the commandments of the doctors of the Law [to omit the ablution of a corpse]. NOTE: The reader should know that Hazrat Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) was not like ordinary Muslim ladies.
In the Kashaful-Ghummah, it is related that Betul Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) when she was near her death, called Asma the daughter of Omys, and said: “Asma, one day Jibreel (Alayhis-Salaam) paid a visit to my father when he was sick, and brought him some camphor of paradise for Hanutt. My father divided it into three parts. Keeping one for himself and giving the other two to me, he said: ‘Preserve the one share for yourself, and the other for Ali Murtaza.’ Asma, that camphor, which weighs forty mithqals, I have laid by in a certain place. The twenty mithqals which belong to me you are to put near my head; but give the other twenty to the lord Ali Murtaza.” When Asma had done this, Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) said: “Go out and leave me alone. Call out my name after a short time; if I answer, it is all well and good; but if I remain silent, be aware that I have departed to my noble father.” Asma obeyed, and shortly afterwards, called out: “O daughter of Muhammad the Elect!” but received no answer. She therefore again entered the apartment, and removing the veil from the countenance of the princess of women, she perceived that her soul had departed from the abode of grief to the palace of joy. Then she prostrated herself, approached, and kissed her, saying: “O Betul, when you arrive in the paradise of your father, convey him my greeting and petition.” On that occasion the lord and Imam Hasan entered with the Imam Husayn (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhuma) and asked: “Asma, is our mother asleep?” Asma replied: “Your mother is not asleep, but has departed to the proximity of the Mercy of the Lord of lords.” Hereon both commenced to week and to lament, and proceeded to the Masjid of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) for the purpose of informing Sayyidina Ali Murtaza (Karram Allah Wajhah) of the event. When they had reached the proximity of that blessed locality their voices of lamentation became very loud, so that some of the Holy Companions (Radhi Allahu Anhum) who were sitting there with Sayyidina Ali (Karram Allah Wajhah) exclaimed: “What makes you cry, O [grand] sons of the Nabi of Allah? Allah forfend that you should weep!” Then they related what had taken place, and the Lion of Attack (Karram Allah Wajhah) was so overpowered by grief that he fell prostrate on his face and uttered the following words: “O daughter of the Nabi of Allah, after his lordship’s death, you were my consolation; but who will calm the pain of endless separation and of infinite exile when you are no more?” Then he pronounced the following distichs:
Each meeting of two friends has an end
Every grief is slight, except separation;
If I have lost Fatimah after Ahmad,
It is a sign that no friend remains.
Then the king and refuge of wilayat [i.e., Ali] hastened to the apartment of Taherah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha), and ordered Asma to wash and shroud the princess of the women of both worlds, and interred her body to the Baqyi cemetery. The author of Kashaful-Ghummah says: “Ibn Babutah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anhu) reports the matter as follows, and I consider him to be correct: She was buried in her own house, but when the [graves of the] Bani Umayya increased in the mosque her body was [likewise] interred in the same, and in what I have reported I have only stated what is know and generally believed by the people, by historians and biographers, that, as stated above, she had been interred in al-Baqi cemetery.”
It is related in the Rauza-tul-Ahbab that according to one tradition Hazrat Ali Murtaza (Karram Allah Wajhah), and according to another Sayyidina Abbas (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anhu), prayed over the corpse of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha). The next day, the two Sheikhs (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhuma) and all the companions of the best of men, reproached Hayder [The Lion, i.e., Ali] the Commander of the Faithful, saying: “Why have you not informed us, that, by being present at the honor of the prayers over Fatimah, we might ourselves have been honored?” But the king of the dominion answered: “I have acted thus by her own injunction.”
In the Rauzat-ush-Shahda [Mausoleum of Martyrs] it is recorded that according to the tradition of the Ahlul-Bayt [members of the family] the death of Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha), the daughter of the prince of existences, took place on Tuesday, the third day of the blessed month of Ramadhan, in the eleventh year of the Hijra [A.D. 632], and that she was buried in the Rauzat-Maqadasat [sacred mausoleum].
The author of the present work states that some who wrote down the traditions concerning the members of the family assert that Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) died seventy-five days after the prince of mortals; others, however, say forty days. The Kashaful-Ghumma has a tradition from the Dhariat-Taharat, the author of which is Dullaby, that al-Zahra (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) lived three months after the decease of the Mustafa (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) and the number of days given by the Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir is ninety-five. None of the traditions, however, imply that this great calamity had taken place on the third day of the blessed month Ramadhan, because in reality the death of the daughter of the prince of existences took place at the end of Safar, or in the beginning of Rabi anterior in the same year; the [true] knowledge, however, is with Allah, who is to be adored.
In the Tanfyh of Ibn Jawzy, it is recorded that Sayyidatina Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) had four children, children, namely, the Imams Hasan and Husayn, Zaynab, and Umm Kulthum. Zaynab was married to Abdullah bin Ja’far Tayyar (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) and gave birth to two sons, Ubaydullah and Awun. Faruq the greater [i.e., the Khalif Umar] (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anhu) espoused Umm Kulthum during his own reign, and begat with her a son, Zayd by name. After the demise of Umar the Commander of the Faithful (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anhu) Awun bin Ja’far married her, and after he had also died Muhammad bin Ja’far married her, and had a daughter by her. When Muhammad had likewise departed to the eternal world, Abdullah bin Ja’far married Umm Kulthum and she died in his house.
According to a tradition of Muhammad Ibn-e Ishaq and Lyth bin Sa’d, Fatimah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anha) had two other children, namely Hasan and Raqayah, both of whom died in infancy. It is recorded in the Rauza-tul-Ahbab that neither Zaynab nor Umm Kulthum left any offspring at all, and therefore the descendants of the seal of the Prophets are all the progeny of the Imams Hasan and Husayn (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala 'Anhuma), as well as to all the pure A'immah our guides, the Khalifahs and directors; abundant and consecutive salutations to them to the day of resurrection.
On the special respect due to the wives of the Holy Nabi (s.a.s.), who are regarded as the Mothers of the Believers, and to his Blessed Daughter Fatima, radhiyAllahu Anha. taken from Al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq by Al-Ghawth al-A'zam Sheikh Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (r.a.)
We (Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama'at) hold a good opinion of all the wives of the Nabi (s.a.s.). We firmly believe that they are the mothers of the Believers (Ummahat al-Mu'minin), and that A'isha (radhiyAllahu Anha) is one of the most excellent women in the entire universe. Allahu Ta'ala has declared her completely innocent of the charges brought against her by the renegades, as we read in the Holy Qur'an:
"They who spread slander are a gang among you..." [23:11]
"They are liars in the sight of Allah." [23:13]
and as people will go on reading until the Day of Judgement.
It is likewise true of Fatima (radhiyallahu Anha), the daughter of our Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), that she is one of the most excellent women in the entire universe. It is incumbent upon us to regard her with loving care and affection, just as this is incumbent upon us with respect to her father (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).
As the Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) has told us:
"Fatima is a piece of me. I am troubled by anything that troubles her."
Hazrat Sayyidina al-Husayn ibn 'Ali
The History of Karbala
It is a common phenomenon that the fame enjoyed by a person is seldom in proportion to his real greatness. Strange as it may seem, the personages who reach the highest pitch of Grandeur, sanctity and fame are associated with legends rather than historical facts. In view of this experience, Ibn Khaldun, a philosophical historian, laid down a general principle that the more an incident becomes popular the more a network of unfounded tales and stories is woven around it. The German poet Goethe has stated the same truth in a different way. He says that when human greatness reaches its peak, it becomes a legend.
The important place Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) occupies in Islamic History is too well known and requires no elucidation. Subsequent to the period of the Holy Last Messenger’s true successors, the incident that had a powerful impact on the religious and political history of Islam is the tragic event of Hazrat Imam Husain’s Shahadat (martyrdom). It may not be an exaggeration to say that no tragic incident that has occurred in this world caused humanity to shed tears so profusely as this particular event. More than thirteen hundred years have passed since this soul-stirring event in Islamic history and still the month of Muharram brings to the mind of every Muslim a vivid remembrance of the noble sacrifice offered by Hazrat Imam Husain ibn Ali bin Abu Talib (radiyallahu ‘anh).
In spite of this, how curious it is that a powerful and tragic event of great import has assumed the shape of a fable than a historical fact. If a fact-finder wishes to study this event in the light of reliable evidences of history, in most of the cases he will be disappointed. The existing popular material on the subject is meant only for narration in religious assemblies exciting the feelings of sorrow and grief for the martyrs.
A few details of the event leading to the martyrdom of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) are given in this book. It should be borne in mind that this description does not seek to make a historical criticism, but it aims at presenting bare facts relating to Hazrat Imam Husain’s martyrdom in a chronological order.
Causes of Differences Between Imam Husain and Yazid
The Ahli-Bayt (members of the Holy Nabi’s family) had a valid claim to Khulafat for themselves. Soon after the death of Mu’awiyah bin Abu Sufyan, his son Yazid declared himself the Khalif since he had been nominated a successor to Mu’awiyah during his lifetime. Yazid demanded allegiance from Hazrat Husain ibn 'Ali (Radiyallahu ‘anh). As the nomination to Caliphate was contrary to the spirit of the Islamic constitution, Hazrat Husain ibn 'Ali (Radiyallahu ‘anh) was averse to it and he, therefore, refused to take the oath of allegiance in favor of Yazid.
Khalif Hazrat 'Ali (Radiyallahu ‘anh) declared Kufa as the Capital of Caliphate. Consequently a large number of supporters of Ahli-Bayt were gathered there. They invited Hazrat Husain (Radiyallahu ‘anh) to Kufa and assured their support to him. Hazrat Imam Husain (Radiyallahu ‘anh) deputed his cousin Hazrat Muslim bin 'Aqil (Radiyallahu ‘anh) for obtaining bay’ah (allegiance) from the residents of Kufa and himself started preparation for undertaking a journey to Kufa.
Suggestions of Friends
All the well wishers, friends and relatives who knew the intention of Hazrat Imam Husain (Radiyallahu ‘anh) were extremely perturbed and dissuaded him from doing so, reminding him of the proverbial infidelity and fickle-mindedness of the Kufans. They also knew the betraying mentality of Banu Umayya in the past. So they requested Hazrat Husain (Radiyallahu ‘anh) to postpone his proposed journey to Kufa. Hazrat ‘Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh) said: “The people are extremely worried over your proposed journey to 'Iraq. The factual position may please be made known to the public.” Hazrat Husain (Radiyallahu ‘anh) replied, “I have taken a firm decision in this regard and I shall leave for Kufa within a day or so.” Hazrat Ibn ‘Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh) instantly remarked: “May Allah protect you! Are you going amidst such people who have made their Amir helpless, crushed their opponents, and have taken over the control of the country? If so, you may gladly go to Kufa and if otherwise, their invitation to you is an open declaration of war. I am afraid that they may betray you.” Imam Husain (Radiyallahu ‘anh) did not take notice of this humble submission of Hadrat Ibn ‘Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh) and stuck to his decision.
Enthusiasm of Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh)
At the time of departure of Imam Husain (Radiyallahu ‘anh), Ibn ‘Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh) again approached him and requested him humbly to give up the decision of his proposed tour. He spoke very impatiently: “My dear cousin, I can't remain a silent spectator of your doom, the Kufans are munafiqeen (hypocrites) and cheaters; never trust them; better stay here in Hijaz; no body excels you, if Iraqis are sincere in calling you over there, ask them first to expel your opponents from the country. In case you have decided to leave Hijaz; you may better go to Yemen where there are many forts and impassable mountains, a vast territory having a big population loyal to the memory of your father. There you will be beyond the reach of your enemies. With Yemen as your base you can spread your message around by letters and messengers. I am sure such a course will bring you success.” Hazrat Imam Husain (Radiyallahu ‘anh) replied, “O my cousin! I am really grateful for your kind sentiments and good wishes for me, but I have already made up my mind to go to Kufa.” Hazrat Ibn ‘Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh) further requested: “if you are not going to accede to my request, better leave the women and children here, I apprehend that you may not be slain before their eyes just as Hazrat Uthman (Radiyallahu ‘anh) was assassinated in the presence of the members of his family.” Hazrat Ibn ‘Abbas (Radiyallahu ‘anh) remained silent for a moment and then said: “Had it been possible that a gathering of the people over here could prevent you from your intention, I would have arranged it just now.” However Hazrrat Imam Husain (Radiyallahu ‘anh) adhered to his Scheduled program.
A letter from Abdullah bin Ja’far (radiyallahu ‘anh)
Likewise a number of people appealed Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) to change his decision. One of his cousins ‘Abdullah ibn Ja’far (radiyallahu ‘anh) wrote to him a letter from Madinah, which reads:
“I beseech you in the name of Allah to desist from the implementation of your plan for it entails your death and destruction for your family and companions. Your death will extinguish the light of earth; at the present you are the beacon-light of faith and the center of the hopes of the Mu’mineen. Don't make haste in undertaking the journey.”
A letter from Umar bin Sa’id bin al-Aas, The Governor of Madinah
Hazrat Abdullah ibn Ja’far (radiyallahu ‘anh) even approached ‘Umar bin Sa'id bin al-Aas, the Governor of Madinah and requested him to apprise Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) of the factual position through a letter. ‘Umar directed him to draft a letter on which he will affix a seal. Thus ‘Abdullah (radiyallahu ‘anh) wrote a letter on behalf of the Governor which reads:
“I pray to Allah to keep you away from the path where there is a danger to your life and may guide you to the way of salvation. I have come to know that you are leaving for Iraq; I beseech you not to undertake such a mission for I am afraid that a disastrous calamity is awaiting you there, I am sending Abdullah ibn Ja’far bin Sa’id (radiyallahu ‘anh) to you; please return with him; there is peace and tranquillity for you over here; may Allah protect you for He is the Best Protector and Sustainer.”
Still Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) stuck to his decision.
Meeting with Fardhuq
Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) left Makka for Iraq along with the members of his family, including all men, women and children. While on his way he met a well-known poet Fardhuq at a place called Saffah. When interrogated by Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) about the people of Kufa, the poet answered: “Their hearts are with you, but their swords are with the Umayyads.” “You are right,” remarked the Imam but he said: “The matter now rests with Allah, His Will will be done, His Commandments are issued every moment, If His Will is favorable to us we will praise Him. If His Will is contrary to our expectations, we will earn the reward of our patience and resignation.”
Persistent Requests of the Relatives of Muslim bin ‘Aqil
On reaching a place named Dharud, it was learnt that the emissary of Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) Muslim bin ‘Aqil (radiyallahu ‘anh) was executed publicly by Ubaidullah bin Ziyad, the governor of Kufa, and nobody had taken the least notice of it. On hearing this sad news Imam recited, “Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raa-ji’oon.” (from Allah we came and to Allah we shall return).
Meanwhile some of his companions again pleaded, “We beg you in the name of Allah, to abandon this journey and return without moving further, for we cannot rely upon Kufans; they are not faithful to you.” Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) made a pause for a moment and began to ponder over the situation, whether he should continue the journey or abandon it. At the same time all the relatives of Hazrat Muslim bin 'Aqil (radiyallahu ‘anh) rose and said, “We shall never return, ‘In the Name of Allah’ we shall avenge the murder of our brother or die in the attempt.” Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) cast a glance over his companions and with a cold sigh he spoke, “There is no charm in life after him.”
The Host Dispurses
At the outset of the journey a large number of Bedouins had joined the convoy; they expected a grand reception for Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) at Kufa and provision for immense facilities for the entourage by Kufans having all knowledge about it, the Imam addressed to them, “O people! I have received very disappointing and dreadful news from Kufa; Muslim bin ‘Aqil, Hani bin ‘Urwa, and Abdullah bin Baqter have been assassinated; those who were to be trusted proved unfaithful; Kufans have dismayed us; I would suggest now to disassociate yourselves from us and leave us alone at the Mercy of Allah; there shall not be the least resentment on our part.” Such an announcement made by Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh), resulted in decrease in the strength of the entourage and there were left digitally counted members, majority of them were the family members.
Arrival of Hur bin Yazid
Imam Husain's party had advanced only a little distance beyond Qadsia, when Hur bin Yazid appeared with a force of 1,000 armed men and followed him and his men intending to keep a close watch on them till they came face to face with Ubaidullah bin Ziyad, governor of Iraq, and his men.
Imam Husain's Address
At a stop where the, members of the entourage performed Salat-ul-Zuhr, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) addressed them before the Salaah; he spoke:
“O people! Before you, and before Allah I have a reason for my arrival to this place, that I did not come over here at my own accord, but I have been invited by you people; and your letters with me stand a testimony to this effect. If you have gone back on the promises contained in your communications addressed to me and conveyed through messengers, I am willingly prepared to go back. You invited me time and again to lead you as an Imam. So I have arrived here. I would ask you for allegiance if you are true in your previous promises; in that case I shall be satisfied and shall go with you to the city.”
Hur and His Companions Offered Salaat Under the Imam’s Leadership
When the address was over; there prevailed a complete silence; none spoke about the address then people asked the Mu'adhdhin to call for the Iqama, meanwhile Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) asked Hur, whether he will arrange his Salaat separately. Hur replied that he himself and his men would make Salaat behind him, and they did so. The Asr Salaat were also performed at the same place by the friends and foes together. After the Salaat, Imam delivered the second Khutbah (sermon).
Imam Husain's second khutbah
After Salaat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) delivered the second khutbah; he spoke:
“You will please Allah if you adhere to righteousness and support the claim of the right person. We the members of the Holy Nabi’s family have a stronger claim to Caliphate than others. They rule over you tyranni-cally. If you dislike us and do not concede our right; if you have gone back on the promises contained in your communications addressed to me and conveyed through messengers, I am willingly prepared to go back.”
Letters from the citizens of Kufa
Hur asked Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) about the letters which Imam had mentioned in his discourse expressing his ignorance about such letters. The Imam (radiyallahu ‘anh) asked ‘Aqba bin Sam’an to bring the two bags which were full of letters sent by the people of Kufa. Hur told Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh): “We are not those people who wrote these letters to you.” He further explained, “I have been ordered by Ubaidullah bin Ziyad to take you before him.” Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) told him that his appearance before Ubaidullah bin Ziyad was not possible before his death.
He then ordered for departure to Makkah, but he was stopped by the opponents to do so. Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) asked Hur in anger, “Thy mother may curse you.” Hur replied, “Had these words been spoken by some one else, I would have replied him in the same manner, but alas! I can’t name your mother.” “What do you want of me,” asked Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). “I wish to take you before Ubaidullah bin Ziyad,” replied Hur. “But by Allah, I won’t go with you,” replied Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). “At all cost I have to follow you, until you reach Kufa, and I have no orders to fight against you,” argued Hur. “If you are not willing to go to Kufa better you choose some other way which may neither lead to Kufa nor Madinah, meanwhile I am writing a letter to Ibn Ziyad to find out a suitable way to avoid any conflict. It would be better if you too write a letter to Yazid or ‘Ubaidullah in this regard.” Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) agreed to the suggestion extended by Hur.
At this stage Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) delivered another sermon; he spoke:
“O people! The Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) says that whoever comes across a ruler that perpetrates cruelty and transgresses the Divine limits, breaks the covenant made with Allah, violates the Nabi’s traditions and rules over the people with coercion, if he does not oppose that ruler with word and deed, Allah will not grant him a good abode in the life Hereafter. Look! They have become Shaitan’s followers and are opposing Allah’s Commandments. Corruption has appeared. They are violating the limits imposed by Allah Ta’ala. They are in illegal possession of booty. The lawful is made unlawful and unlawful is rendered lawful. I am the right person to prevent them from going astray and lead them to truth and justice. Your numerous letters were received and messengers approached me with the message of allegiance. You have pledged your word that you would not betray me, nor would you hand me over to my enemies. If you abide by your pledge, you will be on the right path. However, it is not beyond our expectation if you break the promise. You have meted out a similar treatment to my cousin. Whoever trusts you, is actually under the spell of illusion. Beware! You have already harmed yourself and even now you continue to harm yourself. You have lost your share and marred your fortune. Whoever breaks the promise, he will break it to the detriment of his own self. It may be that Allah will soon rescue me from your hands. As-Salaamu Alaikum wa rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu.”
Speech of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) at Another Place
At another place, he observed:
“You witness the existing state of affairs. The world has changed its colors. It is completely devoid of virtue. Only the sediment is left. Alas! Don’t you see that truth has been relegated to background. Falsehood is deliberately being acted upon. There is none who could prevent the wrong-doing. It is high time a believer should try to defend the truth for the sake of Allah. I wish to die a martyr’s death. It is an offense in itself to live with oppressors.”
Reply from Zaheer
Listening to this address, one named Zaheer bin al-Yaqin al-Jali from amongst the audience stood up as spoke as under:
“Ya Grandson of the Holy Nabi! May Allah be with you. We have listened to your discourse. By Allah! If the world were eternal and we were to live therein forever, even then we are prepared to give up our life for extending assistance to you. We should like to die with you rather than to lead an eternal life.”
Retort to Hur’s Threat
In the course of the journey, Hur had been repeatedly threatening Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) that if he waged war, he would surely be killed. Once roused to indignation, Sayyidina Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) replied: “Do you frighten me with death? Has cruelty gone to that extreme that you people intend to kill me? I am at a loss to understand in what terms I shall replay to you. I want to repeat the same words uttered by one of the Companions of the Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) while proceeding on Jihad in reply to a threat by his brother:
‘I am proceeding. Death does not mean humiliation for a brave person when his intention is genuine and he performs Jihad in the Cause of al-Islam.’”
Four Kufans’ Arrival
At a place known as ‘Azib-ul-Hijanat, four horsemen were seen coming from Kufa by Tarmah bin ‘Adi who was reciting the following verses:
“O my she-camel don’t be afraid of my scolding move forward with courage, before the dawn. Carry the pious travelers and go forth for the best voyage until the pious person may meet you. He is honorable, free, and warm-hearted; Allah has brought him for the performance of best deed. May Allah save him forever.”
On listening to these verses, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) spoke: “By Allah! I believe Allah will favor us; may I be killed or be a conqueror.” Hur bin Yazid told Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh), “these people are from Kufa and they are not your companions, I shall stop them or I shall ask them to go back.” Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) reminded him of his promise, “You have already committed yourself to me that you will not fight against me till a reply is received from Ibn Ziyad. Moreover though these people have not come with me yet they are my companions. If you showed any sort of atrocity towards them I shall fight against you.” This made Hur calm and quiet.
Conditions at Kufa
Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) ascertained from persons arrived from Kufa about the situation in the city. They replied at the time of their departure the citizens were being persuaded through bribe. At heart they were for Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) but they would draw their swords against him.
Assassination of the Envoy
They further said, “The messenger, earlier sent by you named Qais bin Masher, had been killed by Ubaidullah bin Ziyad.” This news shocked Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) and with tearful eyes he expresed:
“Some of them already died and others are awaiting the death. But stand firmly on the right path and do not change their minds.”
The Imam prayed: “O Allah open the doors of Paradis for them and let us enter the place of Thy blessings and reward and gather together there.”
Tarmah bin ‘Adi’s Offe
At this juncture, one of Imam Husain’s well-wishers, Tarmah bin Adi, said:
“By Allah! I am making a keen observation, but I see noby who may stand by your side. Death seems to be inevitable for you, if the people who are following rush upon you. I never saw such a big crown anywhere as I witnessed behind Kufa. They all have assembled to fight against one individual—Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). I advise you not to move an inch further. If you want to go to a place where you would be quite safe from enemies, you may follow me. I shall take you to my mountain Aaja. Within a period of less than ten days, you will find 20,000 armed strong men belonging to a tribe Tai arrayed before you. As long as they are vigilant, no body will have the courage to look at you with an evil intent.”
Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) invoked Allah’s blessing on him for his offer and said that he had a commitment with the men following him and in view of this, he could not go a step forward. He said, “Nobody could predict how the enmity between us and our enemies will end.”
Now Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) was sure that he was heading towards death. At the time of leaving the place called Qassar ban Maqtal, Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) had a nap. Suddenly he awakened and said loudly: “Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raa-ji’oon. Alhamdulillahi Rabbil-‘Alameen.” He repeated these verses thrice; his son ‘Ali asked him as to why he recited these verses. The Imam replied, “O son! I had just taken a short nap, meanwhile I saw a horse rider who was moving ahead and expressing words: “People move onward and the death too moves with them.” I am sure this is the prediction of our death which is being conveyed to us.” Ali spoke: “Are we not the righteous; may Allah save you from the doomsday.” Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) replied, “No doubt, we are the righteous one, that is why we should not fear death.” He was the son of Sayyidina Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) who faced martyrdom at the battlefield of Karbala and later on became known as Ali Akbar.
Ibn Ziyad’s Letter
Next day, Imam Husain rode on horseback and posted his men at strategic points for defense. Hur took exception to it. A tussle continued between the two for a long time. Eventually, an armed rider was seen coming from Kufa. He presented communication addressed to Hur by Ibn Ziyad, governor of Kufa, which reads as follows:
“Do not allow Husain to stay at any place. He should not be permitted to get down anywhere except in an open space. See that he does not take refuge either in a fort or a fertile piece of land. My messenger will remain with you to see how far you comply with my order.”
Hur informed Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) about the contents of the governor’s letter and told him that he was helpless, as such, he could only allow him to encamp in an open place in a desert.
Zaheer suggested that a fight with the force that existed at that time was far easier than the massive army that was expected to arrive later.
Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) disagreed, because he did not like to initiate war.
Zaheer then said: “Let us encamp in this village which is situated by the side of river Euphrates.” Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) enquired its name. Zaheer repled: “Its name is ‘Aqr which means fruitless. On hearing this Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) remarked: “May Allah save us from ‘Aqr.”
Arrival at Karbala
Eventually, on the 2nd of Muharram, 61 AH, Sayyidina Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) with his entourage camped at a forlorn place known as Karbala which was situated at a long distance from river Euphrates with a hill in between the two.
Umar bin Sa’d’s Arrival
Next day, Umar bin Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas arrived with an army of 4,000 Kufans. Ubaidullah bin Ziyad deputed him on this expedition by force. Umar never wanted that the situation should take a serious turn. He tried that the matter should amicably be settled. No sooner did he arrive at Karbala, than he sent a messenger to Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) inquiring the reason of his arrival. In reply Imam Husain stated that the Kufans had invited him. He further added that in case they disliked his arrival, he was prepared to go back.
Ibn Ziyad’s Stern Attitude
Umar bin Sa’d was delighted at this reply and became optimistic. He addressed a letter to Ubaidullah bin Ziyad explaining the position. In reply, he issued the following instructions:
“Ask Husain first to take bay’ah to Yazid along with his companions and then we shall see what is to be done… See that water is not supplied to Husain and his companions. They should not have even a drop of water just as Uthmân bin Affan was deprived of it.”
Friction on Water
Being constrained by Ubaidullah’s order Umar bin Sa’d posted 500 sepoys to guard the bank of the river. Water supply was stopped to Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) and his party (radiyallahu ‘anhum). As such, Imam Husain ordered his brother ‘Abbas bin Ali (radiyallahu ‘anh) to fetch water from the river under escort of thirty horsemen and twenty sepoys. Arriving at the bank, they were resisted by the guard commander Umar bin al-Hajjaj. A regular struggle ensued. Eventually, Hazrat Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anh) succeeded in getting twenty leather bags filled with water.
Imam Husain Meets Umar bin Sa’d
In the evening, Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) sent a messenger to Umar bin Sa’d to talk in the night. They both set off from their respective tents each followed by twenty horsemen and met midway. They had a talk in camera till late in the night. Although the talk was quite confidential the lobby circle revealed that Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) suggested to Umar that they should leave their arms at Karbala and both would go to Yazid. Umar replied that if he acted according to this suggestion, his house would be destroyed. To this, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) replied that he would have it reconstructed. Umar said that his entire property would be confiscated. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) guaranteed that he would compensate from his own property situated in Hijaz. But Umar never agreed to it.
Husain’s Three Conditions
Subsequently they had three more interviews with each other. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) offered three alternatives:
Let him go back to the place he had came from;
Let him have his case decided by Yazid himself;
He may be allowed to go to a border place.
Umar’s Letter to Ibn Ziyad
After protracted negotiations, Umar bin Sa’d wrote to Ibn Ziyad again in the following terms:
“Allah has extinguished the fire of mischief. He has resolved the differences and created unity. He had set right the community’s case. Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) held out a promise to accepty any of the three alternatives. Therein lies your as well as the community’s welfare.”
This letter created a favorable reaction on Ibn Ziyad. He appreciated Umar’s efforts and said that the proposal was acceptable. Opposing the proposal, the wretch Shimr bin Zil Joushan said:
“Husain is now in our grip. If he escapes without taking the bay’ah, he might gain respect and power and comparatively you may be rendered weak and helpless. It is advisable that he is kept under watch until he surrenders himself. I am told that Husain and Umar bin Sa’d hold secret talks during the whole night.”
Ibn Ziyad’s Reply
This advice was approved and Shimr was deputed within a letter containing the following text:
“If Husain surrenders himself with all his companions, there should be no war and he should be sent to me alive. If he does not agree, there is no other alternative except war.”
“Shimr has been instructed that as long as Umar complies with my orders, the former should obey him, otherwise, he should remove Umar and take over the command of the army. Husain should be murdered and his head be sent over to me.”
In this letter, Umar was severely admonished with a warning that he was not deputed to defend Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) and communicate recommendations in his favor. Further, the letter contained the following specific instructions:
“My orders are clear. If he surrenders himself, he should be sent to me alive. In case he refuses, he should be attacked unhesitatingly. Shed his blood and disfigure his body, as he deserves it. After killing get his body trampled by horses, be cause he is a rebel and has deserted the community. I have resolved that if he is murdered, all this should be done. If you obey my orders you will be eligible for a reward and if you contravene then you will be dismissed.”
Shimr Zil Joushan and Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh)
It should be remembered that the paternal aunt of Shimr, Umm Banin bint Kharam, was the wife of Hazrat Ali (Karramallahu ta’ala wajhah) and whose off-springs were ‘Abbas, Abdullah, Ja’far, and Uthman and all the four brothers were accompanying Imam Husain in this encounter. Thus Shimr was the paternal cousin of all the four brothers and also of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). He requested Ibn Ziyad for the protection of his above relatives which was granted to them. He therefore called all the four brothers and said: “You are my relatives from the paternal side. I have secured safety and protection for you.” But they replied: “Curse be upon you! You give us protection but there is no such safety for the grandson of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam).”
Shimr handed over the letter of governor of Kufa to Umar bin Sa’d and he reluctantly agreed to comply with the orders.
Army’s Preliminary Movement
After Salat-ul-Asr, Umar bin Sa’d ordered his army to move. From the opposite side, Hazrat Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anh) appeared with twenty horsemen. Umar apprised him of the reply he received from Ubaidullah bin Ziyad. Hazrat Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anh) returned to convey the same to Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). In the meantime, there was an exchange of dialogues between the representatives of the rival parties which was secured by the narrators.
Exchange of Words Between Men of Rival Forces
From Imam Husain’s side, Habib bin Mazahar came forward and said: “The worst people in the sight of Allah Ta’ala are those who present themselves before Him, while their hands are stained with the blood of the descendants of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) and the pious persons of Kufa.”
Urwa bin Qais from the opposite side replied: “Boast as much as you can. Carry on propaganda about your own piety and purification.”
To this, Zaheer said: “Allah Himself has purified these persons and led them to the right path. Fear Allah and do not be an accomplice to the wrong-doers by killing innocent persons.”
Urwa replied: “O Zaheer! You were not the supporter of this family. Were you not a supporter of Hazrat Uthmân (radiyallahu ‘anh) earlier than today?”
Zaheer replied: “No doubt, it is true. I neither wrote any letter to Imam Husain nor sent any messenger to him but this journey had gathered us together. I saw him; that reminded me of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) and also his love and affection for Husain. When I found that he was confronting with a mighty enemy, Allah put love in my heart for him. It is all due to my love for the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) that I have resolved to help him and to safeguard the very right of Allah and His Holy Last Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) which you have neglected.”
When Imam Husain came to know about the contents of Ibn Ziyad’s letter, he said that confrontation might be avoided on that day, so that they might be able to pray to Allah Ta’ala and ask for His Forgiveness. He added, “Allah knows how much I am fond of Allah’s ‘Ibadah and reciting Ayat from His Book.” This message being conveyed, the hostile army retreated.
Imam Husain’s Grief and Faithfulness of His Companions
After the retreat of forces, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) addressed the assembly of his supporters:
“Alhamdulillah. I am grateful to Him in an hour of distress as well as in comfort. I am thankful to Allah Who bestowed Nubuwwah on our family; gave understanding of the Holy Qur’ân; favored us with the knowledge of Deen; and blessed us with the faculties of seeing, hearing, and of taking a lesson. Thereafter, O People, I am not aware if there are persons who are better than my colleagues or more sympathetic and comforter than my Ahli-Bayt. O people! May Allah reward thee. I believe that tomorrow will be the final day of decision between me and those of the enemies. After a deep consideration, I have come to the conclusion that you should disperse quietly. After taking my life, the enemy would not bother about others. Hence I advise you to disperse along with my family members.”
On hearing this all of the Ahli-Bayt were extremely aggrieved. Hazrat Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anh) said: “Why is it so? Do you want that we should survive after your death? Allah may not keep us alive to see that day.
The relatives of Hazrat Muslim bin Aqil (radiyallahu ‘anh) were advised to go back, as Hazrat Muslim’s murder was too big a sacrifice.
They unanimously replied, “If we disperse, people will accuse of that we deserted our Sheikh, leader, and cousin. They will criticize that we never threw an arrow, never used the spear, nor wielded the sword. Never! We shall never do it. We would sacrifice our property, life, and progeny. We shall fight along with you. We shall meet the same fat as yours. Allah may not keep us alive after you quite the world.”
Imam Husain’s other companions also stood up and emphatically assured him of the cooperation at the risk of their life. Muslim bin ‘Ausja Asdi stood up and said: “Should we leave you alone? By Allah, we should never leave you alone. I shall pierce my spear in the chests of enemies. I shall wield the sword and in case I was de-sworded I shall throw stones on the enemies so long as death embraces me.”
Sa’d bin Abdullah al-Hanafi said: “By Allah, I shall not leave you alone unless they kill me, burn me in fire and reduce me to ashes and blew it in the air. I am ready to meet the same fate seventy times till I diminish in your support.”
Zaheer said: “By Allah, I am ready to be cut by a saw a thousand times than to leave you alone. I shall be fortunate if I shall be able to save you and members of your family at the cost of my life.
Morbid Anxiety of Hazrat Zainab
Hazrat Imam Ali bin Husain Zain-ul-‘Abidin (radiyallahu ‘anh) reported that the very night of the following morning when my father was assassinated I was ailing and my aunt Hazrat Zainab1 (radiyallahu ‘anha) was looking after me; suddenly my father called his colleagues inside his tent. At that time the slave of Hazrat Abu Dharr Gheffari (radiyallahu ‘anh) named Hawi was smearing the sword and my father was reciting the following verses:
“O world! How deceitful friend thou are. How many people are killed day and night by your hand. But the time does not spare any one and never accepts compensation and everything is in the control of Allah. Every living creature is aheading towards death.”
Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) repeated these verses four times. My heart was filled with grief. Tears were about to tumble down from my eyes by I stopped them.
From the march of events Imam Husain’s ailing son, Ali Zain-ul-‘Abidin came to the conclusion that the calamity was inevitable. When Imam Husain’s sister, Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) came to know about it, she started shrieking and crying. Imam Husain tried to pacify her with exhortation, “What is all this sister? I am afraid our faith and endurance are overpowered by our passions and devilish forces.” Sayyidah Zainab replied how could she control herself when Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) was killing himself with his own hands. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) answered that such was Allah’s Will. This reply added much to Sayyidah Zainab’s distress and she went out of control due to excessive grief. Witnessing this, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) made a lengthy speech on Sabr (patience and perseverance). He observed:
“Sister! Fear from Allah. Take solace from Allah’s Mercy. Death is destined for each and every living being. Even those living in heaven cannot lead an eternal life. When every thing is mortal in this world, why so much distress and grief with the thought of death. For every Muslim, the life of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) provides the perfect model. What does this model teach us? It teaches us to have forbearance and perseverance. It also teaches us to rely on Allah and to reconcile ourselves to the Will of Allah Ta’ala. We should not deviate from that teaching.”
A Night of Prayers
Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) and his companions passed the whole night in offering prayer, invoking forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala, weeping and crying. A division of the enemy’s cavalry had been patrolling round Imam Husain’s camp. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) was reciting the following Ayats of the Holy Qur’an loudly:
“And let not those who disbelieve imagine that the rein We give them bodeth good unto their souls. We only give then rein that they may grow in sinfulness. And theirs will be a shameful torment. It is not (the purpose) of Allah to leave you in your present state till He shall separate the wicked from the good.” (Surah Aal-e-Imran, Ayats 178-179)
10th Muharram, War Begins
On the 10th of Muharram, Friday, Umar bin Sa’d set out with his army. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) too posted his men at strategic points. His army consisted of only 72 men; 32 horsemen and 40 foot-soldiers. The right wing of the army was given in the charge of Zaheer while Habib bin Mazahar was appointed Commander of the left wing of the army. The flag was held by Imam Husain’s brother, Hazrat ‘Abbas bin Ali (radiyallahu ‘anh). A trench was dug behind the camp which was filled with fire so that the enemy could not attack from the rear.
Shimr who went past the camp on a galloping horse noticed fire and cried aloud, “Husain! Did you accpet fire before the Day of Resurrection?” Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) retorted, “O son of a Shepherd! You deserve fire more than any one else.”
One of Imam Husain’s men, Muslim bin Ausja, sought permission to shoot an arrow at him, as he was standing at a point blank range. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) did not allow him to do so as he did not want to initiate war.
Imam Husain Raised His Hands in Du’a
As the enemy’s forces advanced, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) raised his hands praying to Allah:
“O Allah, I trust upon You in my hour of distress and calamity. Thou are my protector in every misfortune. I have lost my heart due to my miseries. Allah my prudence has failed. Friends have turned foes. Enemy is rejoicing. I have sought only Thy help. Thou are the Master of every fortune. Thou are kind. Today I beseech Thy help.”
Imam Husain’s Discourse to Enemy
When the army approached closer, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) mounted a camel, kept the Holy Qur’an in front and addressed the enemy forces in the following words:
“O people! Listen to me. Do not be rash. Let me admonish you. Let me say a few words in my justification and let me explain the reason of my arrival here. If my excuse is reasonable and if you can accept it, do justice in my case. You would be lucky if you desist from taking arms against me. Even after hearing me, if you refuse to accept my excuse, I will be ready for you. Rush upon me all at once. Do not allow a moment’s respite. Whatever be the eventual outcome, I repose confidence in Allah Who supports righteous men.”
When this speech was heard by the female members of the Ahli-Bayt there began hue and cry inside the tents. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) asked his brother Hazrat Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anh) and his son Ali to go and console them for they had yet to weep a lot. Thereafter, he remarked: “May Allah bless a long life to Abdullah ibn Abbas.” The narrator states: “It was due to the fact that Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anh) suggested Hazrat Imam Husain at Madinah leaving the women at home but the Imam did not pay any heed to it. Now when he heard their hue and cry, it reminded him of the submission of Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anh).” He resumed his speech:
“O people! Remember my lineage. Pause to think for a while who am I. Take stock in your conscience! Is it fair for you to kill me and discard the respect due to me? Am I not the son of your Nabi’s daughter, and the son of his cousin? Was the leader of Shuhadaa, Hamza (radiyallahu ‘anh) not my father’s uncle? Is Ja’far al-Tayyar (radiyallahu ‘anh) not my uncle? Don’t you remember the famous tradition of the Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam), ‘Sayyids (Chiefs) of the youths of Paradise,’ concerning me and my brother? If my statement is true, it is certainly true, as since the time I am conscious of myself, I have not uttered a lie. Tell me is it right for you to receive me with unsheathed swords? If you don’t believe in my word, there are persons among you who can testify to the correctness of my statement. Ask Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansari and Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radiyallahu ‘anhuma). Inquire from Sahl bin Sa’d Sa’di and Zaid bin Arqam (radiyallahu ‘anhuma). They can tell you wheter they heard the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) saying this about me and my brother or not. Should not this fact prevent you from shedding my blood? By Allah, there is no grandson of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) on the surface of the globe at this time except myself. I am the direct descendant and grandson of your Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). Do you want to kill me, because I have taken the life of any one? Did I shed anyone’s blood? Have I usurped the wealth of anyone? Tell me what is the matter? What is my fault?”
Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) repeatedly asked this question, but nobody answered. At last, he called out, by name, the prominent persons of Kufa and inquired whether they had not written to him: “Fruits are ripe, the soil has become green and the canals are overflowing. If you come, you will come to the great army of your own; come soon.”
Thereupon those persons opened their mouth and said that they had never written to that effect. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) expressed surprise at it and cried out, “what a blatant lie.” Then Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) again called out loudly, “O people! As you dislike me, it is better that I am released, I shall go back.”
Humiliation is Unacceptable
At this juncture, one of the Kufans named Qais bin Ash’ath said: “Is it not advisable that you should surrender yourself to your cousins? They will mete out the treatment to you worthy of your position. You will receive no harm from them.”
To this, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) answered, “All of you are tarred with the same brush. O man! Do you want that Bani Hashim should demand ransom for one more life, in addition to that of Muslim bin Aqil? No, I shall not surrender myself to them with humiliation.”
Zaheer’s Address to Kufans
Zaheer advanced towards the enemy on his horse and shouted: “O Kufans, fear from the wrath of Allah. It is a duty of every Muslim to advise his brother Muslim. Look! We are all Muslims till this time. We believe in the same Deen and the same Shari’ah. So long as the swords are unsheathed, you deserve our advice and well-wishes. But when the swords are drawn the mutual respect will vanish and shall become two rival groups. Look! Allah has test our faithfulness towards the descendants of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). We call you to the love for Ahli-Bayt and to the rivalry of Ubaidullah bin Ziyad. Believe you would gain nothing from these rulers. They would make you blind; they would cut your hands; they would disfigure your faces; they would hang you and would kill the pious men one by one; they have already done this. The incidents of Hajar bin ‘Adi and Hani bin ‘Urwa have not become so old that you have forgotten them.”
On hearing this, Kufans began to abuse Zaheer and offered praise for Ibn Ziyad. “By Allah, we shall not go back unless and until we kill Husain and his companions or produce them before Amir,” was their reply.
Zaheer replied: “Well! If the son of Sayyidah Fatimat-uz-Zahra (radiyallahu ta’ala ‘anha) is not comparable with the son of Sumiyya (Ibn Ziyad) you should pay this much regard to the progeny of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) that you would not kill him. Let him talk with his cousin Yazid bin Mu’awiyah and settle the issue. I swear by Allah that it is not necessary to shed the blood of Husain to please Yazid.”
Hur Joins Imam Husain’s Army
It is narrated by Adi bin Harmla that when Ibn Sa’d ordered his army to advance, Hur asked him whether he really wanted to fight against Imam Husain. Ibn Sa’d replied, “Yes, a battle would be fought in which heads will be cut and hands will be amputated from shoulders.” Listening to this, Hur left his own place and proceeded slowly towards Imam Husain’s camp. One of his tribe’s men, Muhajir bin Aws, inquired whether he wanted to attack Imam Husain. Hur kept quiet. Suspecting him due to his reticence, Muhajir said, “I never found you in such a state during any war. If I am asked to name the bravest man in Kufa, I can point out none except you. But what are you doing now?”
Hur grew serious and replied, “By Allah, I am making a choice between Hell and Paradise. By Allah, I have selected Paradise, no matter if I am cut to pieces.” With those words, he whipped his horse and joined Imam Husain’s army. He presented himself before Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) and said: “O Grandson of the Holy Nabi! I am the same unfortunate person who prevented you from going back. I pursued you along the way and compelled you to encamp at this place. I never suspected that these people will not concede your terms and will go to such an extreme in your matter. By Allah, had I known that they will act in this way, I would have never done what I did earlier. I am ashamed of the misdeed I have committed and come to you for repentance. I want to sacrifice myself and I think that would serve the purpose of atonement.” Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) very kindly invoked divine blessings for him and said, “May Allah accept your repentance and forgive you. As your mother has named you Hur, you are a free man and insha-Allah you will remain free both in this world and in the Hereafter.”
Hur’s Address to the Enemy
Hur then addressed the enemies and said that they should have accepted any of the conditions offered by Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh), so that Allah might save them from an ordeal. They said that his question would be answered by their Commander Umar bin Sa’d. Umar said that he himself wished to accept this offer, but his proposal was rejected. Thereafter, Hur made a passionate speech and put the Kufans to shame for not abiding by their promise. In reply, they started shooting arrows. Hur was forced to return to the camp.
When Imam Husain’s sincere efforts to bring round the enemy failed, encounter became inevitable. Umar bin Sa’d strung his bow and shot an arrow towards the camp of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) saying: “Be witness! I have shot the first arrow.”
Yasar and Salam, the slaves of Ziyad bin Umayya and Ubaidullah bin Ziyad came forward and challenged for a single combat, as was the ancient custom of warfare in Arab. From the Husaini forces, Habib bin Mazahar and Barbar bin Hasir volunteered themselves to meet this challenge by Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) did not permit them to fight. Then Abdullah bin Amir al-Kalbi stood up and sought permission to go out. This man came from Kufa along with his wife to support Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). He was a dark-complexioned tall statured man with broad shoulders and strong limbs and was looking like a warrior in all respects. Having a look at him, the Imam was pleased to observe that he was a true warrior and gladly permitted him to meet the challenge. In a few brief exchanges, Abdullah put his both rivals to death. His wife Umm Wahab stood close by with a staff in her hand inciting her husband to fight. Then suddenly she became so passionate that she started advancing towards the battlefield. Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) was deeply impressed by her enthusiasm and said: “May Allah reward you for support to Ahli-Bayt, but fighting is not meant for ladies.”
After that, right wing army of Ibn Sa’d launched an attack and as they drew nearer, front line of the Husaini forces knelt down and straightened their spears towards the horses. Horses were frightened. The enemy mounted troopers could not advance and were repulsed with heavy losses.
Later on, ensued a full-fledged battle. In the beginning the chivalrous men from either side came out in response to the challenge and fight with each other. Every challenger of the rival army who came forward was killed by the partisans of Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). On seeing this discouraging start Umar bin al-Hajjaj who was in command of the enemy’s right wing, shouted:
“O fools! First realize to whom you are fighting with. These people are not afraid of death! In this way you will be killed one by one. They are but a handful of souls. You can kill them even with stones.”
Umar bin Sa’d approved of the suggestion, and disallowing individual duels ordered for a general attack. Both the sides came to grips and then ensued a hand to hand fight.
After some time when the fighting was stopped it was found that a Husaini brave hero Muslim bin Awsja was writhing in blood and sand. Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) ran towards him. He was still breathing. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) lamented with a deep respiration saying, “Muslim! May Allah shower his choicest blessings on you:
“Some of them have already died and others are awaiting death. But stand firmly on the right path and do not change their minds.”
Muslim bin Awsja was the first martyr from the side of Husaini forces in this battle.
Horses Rendered Useless
After the right wing, the left wing also joined in attack with Shimr as its Commander. This attack too was very severe but the Husaini right wing resisted it manfully. There were only thirty-two horsemen in this wing but wherever they struck they caused a great loss to the enemy. Soon the powerful enemy realized that with the present strength of forces at its disposal it could not achieve the desired goal. They, therefore, sent for reinforcement and soon five hundred archers came to their succor. They, on their arrival, started shooting arrows at the horsemen crippling their horses and forcing them to dismount.
Ayyub bin Musharrah reported that he had himself injured the horst of Hur bin Yazid, piercing it with his arrows. Hur bin Yazid jumped to the ground. He was holding a sword in his hand and he was looking like a lion. His sword was moving rampantly and he was reciting the following verses:
“It does not matter if you have made my horse useless. I am of noble blood and am braver than a fierce lion.”
The fighting was in its full swing. It was now midday but neither side seemed to have gained the upper hand. The reason was that the Husaini army had pitched the tents at one place and the enemy could only attack from one side. When Umar bin Sa’d realized that he could not succeed in this way he deputed some of his men to uproot the tents. Only four or five men from the Husaini army pushed them back. Failing in this attempt Umar bin Sa’d ordered his men to set the tents on fire. His soldiers rushed towards tents carrying fire in their hands. Husaini forces were perturbed due to this grave situation but Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) said: “No matter, let them burn the tents. It will be better for us because they cannot attack from the rear.”
Assassination of Hazrat Umm Wahab
At this stage Zaheer bin al-Yaqin launched a severe attack on Shimr’s forces and put them to rout but this state did not obtain for long. In a short time the enemy gathered its strength. Now the helplessness of Husaini forces was evident. Several warriors and renowned leaders were killed one by one. Abdullah bin Amir al-Kalbi was one of them. His brave wife Umm Wahab was sitting in the battlefield and was wiping dust from the face of her martyred husband saying repeatedly: “Greetings to you for attaining an abode in the Paradise.” Shimr saw her and killed her (radiyallahu ‘anha).
Abu Thumama Amr bin Abdullah Samdi realized his helplessness and said to Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh): “Enemy is approaching fast. By Allah, I shall defend you even at the cost of my life. Enemy will not harm you as long as I am alive. However, it is my earnest desire to offer my Prayers before meeting my Rabb.” On hearing this Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) raised his head and said: “Ask the enemy to give us respite for offering Prayers.” But the enemy did not accede to their requests and the battle continued.
Martyrdom of Habib and Hur
It was a very tough time. The enemy had put in the battle its full force. Unfortunately, Habib bin Mazahar, Commander of the right wing of the Husaini forces, was also killed. It was a dead blow to the Husainis. The next came the turn of Hur bin Yazid who advanced straight into the enemy forces reciting the following verses with great enthusiasm:
“I have sworn no to be killed unless and until I have killed them. I shall die only while I am advancing. I shall inflict heavy casualties with my sword. I shall neither fear no shall I run away.”
He boldly attacked the enemy and eventually, sore and weary with fatal wounds, gave up his life.
Martyrdom of Zaheer
Now the Zuhr time was over. Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) offered Salat-ul-Khawf along with his companions. After the Salat the pressure of the enemy increased all of the more. On this occasion Zaheer bin al-Yaqin, Commander of the left wing, took command of the army and attacked the enemy reciting the following verses:
“I am Zaheer, son of al-Yaqin. I shall keep them away from Husain with the point of my sword.”
After dispersing the lines of rival forces he returned and putting his hand on Imam Husain’s shoulder recited the following verses:
“Advance, Allah has guided you to the right path. You will be meeting today with your grandfather, the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam), and Hasan, and Ali al-Murtaza, the young grave Ja’far al-Tayyar, and the living martyr Asadullah Hamza (radiyallahu ‘anhum).”
Then he turned towards the enemy and put a number of them to death until he himself was killed.
Bravery of the Ghiffari Brothers
Companions of Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) now realized that it was quite impossible for them to stop the enemy. Therefore, they all decided to sacrifice themselves one by one. Accordingly, to Ghiffari brothers moved forward and began to fight with the enemy. While fighting they were reciting the following verses:
“Bani Ghaffar and tribes of Nazar have known fully well that we will cut the vicious people into pieces with our glittering swords. O people! Support the pious ones with they spears and they swords.”
Sacrifice of the Jabri Brothers
Thereafter two Jabri brothers came forward who were weeping bitterly. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) said to them: “O sons of my brother! Why are you weeping? By Allah, I believe you will be killed after a few minutes.” They replied that they were not shedding tears due to the danger to their lives, but it made them weep seeing that the enemy had surrounded them and they could do nothing to save him. Then both of them began to fight courageously chanting aloud: “As-Salaamu ‘alayka O’ Son of the Holy Nabi!” Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) replied: “Wa ‘alaykum-us-Salaam wa Rahmatullah.” At last they were also killed.
Martyrdom of Hanzala bin As’ad
After than Hanzal bin As’ad stood before the enemy shouting: “O people! I fear for you the same disaster as befell upon the nations of Aad and Thamud. I fear you may be destroyed. O’ People! Don’t slay Husain lest Allah should send calamity on you.” He fought manfully until he was martyred.
Ali Akbar’s Martyrdom
By now all the companions were killed one after the other. It was now the turn of the Bani Hashim and the family of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). First of all, Ali Akbar came into the battlefield and attacked the enemy, reciting the following verses:
“I am Ali bin Husain bin Ali. By the Rabb of Ka’bah, we are more deserving being nearest to the Holy Nabi.”
“By Allah the son of the man whose father is unknown cannot rule over us.”
He fought heroically but was killed by the sword of Marra bin Manqaz al-‘Abadi. The narrator said that he saw a woman hurrying out of the tent. She was beautiful like the full moon and was crying: “Ah! My brother! Ah! My nephew.” When he enquired as to who she was, he was told that she was Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab bint Fatimah al-Zahra (radiyallahu ‘anhuma). Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) caught hold of her hand and took her to her tent. Then he lifted the dead body of Ali Akbar (radiyallahu ‘anh) and placed it before the tent.
A Graceful Youth
Thereafter, other scions of the Hashimite blood and members of the Ahli-Bayt came to the forefront, and fighting courageously sacrificed their lives one by one. Meanwhile a graceful young man appeared on the scene. He was wearing a simple dress and putting sandals on his feet. He was a very beautiful person and his face was shining like a moon. He came out like a roaring lion and attacked upon the enemy with his immense force. Amr bin Sa’d Azdi struck on his head with a sword. The young man cried: “O’ Uncle!” and fell upon the ground. On hearing his cries Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) came to his rescue and attacked upon the killer with a sword like a hungry falcon and ferocious lion. The assailant raised his hand in his defense but could not succeed. His hand was cut off from the elbow. Being wounded the killer called for help. The army came to his help but rode over him in a state of utter confusion. The narrator said that when the dust was slightly subsided he saw Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) standing near the youngman who was in the agony of death. Imam Husain was saying: “Disaster seize them who killed you. What answer will they give to your grandfather on the Day of Resurrection? By Allah, it is heart-rending for your uncle that you cried for help but he could not save you from the clutches of the enemy. Alas! Enemies of your uncle have increased in number than his friends.” Then he took the dead body in his lap and pressed it close to his chest. He brought the dead body to the tent with its feet trailing on the ground and laid it beside the body of Hazrat Ali Akbar (radiyallahu ‘anh). The narrator enquired of the people as to who he was and was told that he was Sayyid al-Qasim bin Hasan bin Ali bin Abu Talib (radiyallahu ‘anh).
Martyrdom of Newly-Born Babe
While Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) was standing there, he was apprised of the birth of a son. The babe was put in his arms and as he was calling the Adhan in his ears, an arrow was shot from the opposite direction that pierced the throat of the infant. The infant died instantaneously. He pulled out the arrow from the throat of the infant. The blood gushed out of the wond and by taking a handful of it, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) smeared the body of the infant. He then said: “By Allah, you are more dearer in the sight of Allah than the she-camel of Nabi Salih (alaihis-Salaam). And Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) has more prestige in the sight of Allah than Nabi Salih (alaihis-Salaam). O’ Allah! Thou has withheld they succor to us. Do what Thou may deem fit for us.”
Likewise most of the prominent personalities of Bani Hashim and Ahli-Bayt were martyred. Historians have recorded the names of the following Shuhadaa:
Muhammad bin Abi Sa’id bin ‘Aqil
Abdullah bin Muslim bin ‘Aqil
Abdullah bin ‘Aqil
Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Aqil
Ja’far bin ‘Aqil
Muhammad bin ......
‘Abdullah bin Ja’far
‘Abbas bin Ali
Abdullah bin Ali
Uthman bin Ali
Muhammad bin Ali
Abu Bakr bin Ali
Abu Bakr bin al-Hasan
Abdullah bin al-Hasan
Al-Qasim bin al-Hasan
Ali Akbar bin al-Husain
Abdullah bin al-Husain
Boldness of a Child
Now it was the Imam’s turn to sacrifice himself for the cause of Allah. He was standing alone in the battlefield but no one dared attack him. Enemy tried a number of times to kill Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh), but nobody was willing to take the responsibility of killing him, and wanted to bear the burden of this sin. At last, Shimr started provoking his army men to attack. They encircled Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) from every side. Now there were only woman and a few teenagers in the camp of the Ahli-Bayt. A teen aged boy saw Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) in danger and became impatient. He picked up a wooden stick in his hands and ran out to help the Imam. Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) saw him and caught hold of him. Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) also said to his sister: “Stop him. Don’t let him come out.” The boy, however, forced himself loose from her grip and ran to the side of the Imam. The same moment Bahrain bin Ka’b drew his sword to strike the Imam. The boy remonstrated: “O’ wicked! Will you kill my uncle?” The stone-hearted assailant brought down his sword on the boy who took the blow on his arm. His hand was severed. The boy cried with pain. Hazrat Husain clasped him to his bosom and consoled him saying: “Be patient, my child! Let this suffering be the means of reward from Allah. Allah Ta’ala will join you with your elders: Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam), Ali bin Abu Talib, Hamza, Ja’far, and Hasan bin Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhum).
Valor of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh)
Eventually, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) remained alone to face the grim situation single-handed. The enemy now passed close to the Imam who began to wield his sword right and left and forced the enemy to retreat. Abdullah bin Amar who was himself taking part in the fight reported that he attacked Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) with his spear and might have killed him, but he desisted, thinking not to carry the sin on his head. He said: “Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) was being attacked from all sides but he made the enemy to retreat. He was wearing a shirt and a turban. By Allah, I have not seen such a disheartened man whose family members were killed before his eyes, so valiant, bold, resolute, and steadfast. The position was that the attackers were running right and left like sheep before a lion.” This position continued for a long time. Meanwhile Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha), the sister of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) came out of her tent and cried: “O’ Umar, would Abu Abdullah be killed before your eyes.” Umar turned his face but tears began to roll down from his eyes upon his cheeks and beard.
Arrow Pierced the Throat of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh)
While fighting Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) felt very thirsty, and went towards Euphrates to quench his thirst but the enemy did not allow him to drink water. Suddenly his throat was pierced by an arrow. He pulled out the arrow and threw the blood which oozed out of his throat towards the sky saying: “O’ Allah! I complain only to Thee. See how the people are treating the grandson of Thy Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam).”
Shimr was Reprimanded
Then Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) turned towards his camp but he was resisted by Shimr and his companions. Then Imam Husain realized that their intent was to plunder the tents. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) said: “If you have deserted your religion and are not afraid of the Last Day, at least you should respect the worldly morals. Keep safe my tents from your vagabonds and debauchees.” Shimr replied, “Yes, we shall not harm your tents.”
The Last Warning
Now it was too late. The narrator reported that had the enemy wished it would have killed Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) earlier but nobody was inclined to take the responsibility of this heinous crime. At last Shimr [the Damned] cursed his army men and shouted: “May you meet with ill-fate. What are you waiting for? Why don’t you kill Husain?” The enemy surrounded him again. The Imam (radiyallahu ‘anh) said to Shimr: “Why are you inciting your army to kill me. By Allah, Allah would not be displeased on anyone else’s murder so much as of mine.”
Sinan bin Anas Kills Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh)
The time of Imam Husain’s martyrdom was now drawing near. Zur’a bin Sharikh al-Tamimi injured Imam Husain’s left arm and then struck a blow on his shoulder. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) swerved due weakness. People being frightened moved to the rear but Sinan bin Anas of Najaf 2 came forward and attacked Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) with a spear. Imam Husain fell down upon the ground. Shimr ordered a savage to sever the Imam’s head from his body but he could not do it. Sinan bin Anas, in a mood of indignation, cursed him; dismounted from his horse and cut off Imam Husain’s head from his body.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (radiyallahu ‘anh)3 narrated that after the murder of the Imam, thirty-three injuries of swords and thirty four wounds of arrow and spear were found on his dead body.
The Murderer (may Allah curse him)
Sinan bin Anas was extremely confused after killing Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). He did not allow any body to come near the dead body. He was running to and fro lest some one else should sever the head and take it away. The killer (may Allah give that wretch what he deserves!) himself severed the head and handed it over to Kholi bin Yazid Asbhi and then ran to Umar bin Sa’d’s tent shouting:
“Load me with gold and silver for I have killed a Great King; I have killed him whose parents are most venerable and who is the best among his lineage at present.”
Umar bin Sa’d called him inside the tent and showed his indignation. “By Allah, you are insane!” Then striking him with his stick said: “O’ mad man! Don’t say so. You are saying a thing which if it comes to the notice of Ibn Ziyad, he will definitely get you killed.”
Plundering and Looting
After the perpetration of the murder, the Kufans took off the clothes of the dead body of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) and then rushed to his tents. Ali Zain-ul-‘Abidin was lying sick in the bed. Shimr reached along with some soldiers and said: “May we not also kill him,” but some of his companions dissuaded him, saying: “Will you kill even the children?” Meanwhile Umar bin Sa’d arrived on the spot and ordered that no one should enter the ladies’ tents or tease them. If someone had plundered anything, he should return it forthwith.
On listening these words Imam Zain-ul-Abidin (radiyallahu ‘anh) said in his ailing voice: “Umar bin Sa’d! May Allah reward you for this act of kindness. Your orders have saved us from the culprits.”
Umar bin Sa’d ordered that Imam Husain’s body should be trampled over by the horses’ hoofs. He called for volunteers. Ten men came forward and trampled the body.
“When on the day of Judgement Naziri shows up with a blood-stained shroud, people will cry aloud: ‘Who the petitioner is!’”
In this battle, seventy-two men of Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) were martyred, while eighty-eight of the Kufans were slain.
Hazrat Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) Beholds the Mangled Corpse
On the following day, Umar bin Sa’d left the battlefield of Kufa taking the women and children of the Ahli-Bayt with him as prisoners. Qara bin Qais, an eye witness, narrated that when these ladies saw the mangled corpses of Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) and that of his relatives and his companions, the could not restrain their grief and lamentations. Qara could not forget the bewailing of Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab bint Hazrat Fatimah (radiyallahu ‘anhuma):
“O’ Muhammad! May the blessings and salutations of the angels in heaven be upon you. Behold! Your Husain is lying in blood and sand in the desert. His body has been cut to pieces. Your daughters have been made prisoners. Your progeny has been killed and is lying in dust.”
Qara bin Qais added further that there was no eye that did not shed tears on hearing this lamentation.
Then the heads of all the Husainis killed in the battlefield were severed. These heads were seventy-two in number. Shimr Zil Joushan, Ibn al-Ash’ath, Umar bin al-Hajjaj and Gharmara bin Qais took all these heads to Ubaidullah bin Ziyad.
Imam Husain’s Head was placed before Ibn Ziyad
Hamid bin Muslim who accompanied Kholi bin Yazid while carrying the head of Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) to Kufa reported that when Imam Husain’s head was placed before Ibn Ziyad, he repeatedly struck his stick on the lips of the Imam. On seeing this, Zaid bin Arqam stood up and admonished him not to do so, as he had seen the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) kissing these lips. He then began to weep bitterly. Ibn Ziyad got annoyed and said: “May Allah make you weep! Had you not been decrepit I would certainly have put you to death. Zaid bin Arqam (radiyallahu ‘anh) left the meeting, saying:
“O’ people of Arab! Henceforth you are slaves. You have killed Ibn Fatimah. You have appointed Ibn Marjana (Ibn Ziyad) as your ruler. He puts your noble men to death and enslaves your pious persons. You have chosen humiliation. May Allah destroy them who accept humiliation.”
Ibn Ziyad and Hazrat Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha)
The narrator reported that when the women and children of the Ahli-Bayt were brought before Ibn Ziyad, Hazrat Zainab was wearing ordinary clothes and was surrounded by her maids. Ibn Ziyad inquired as to whom she was, but no one responded. When he inquired for the third time, a maid servant replied, “She is Zainab bint Fatimah (radiyallahu ‘anha).” Thereupon Ibn Ziyad (May Allah give him what he deserves!) shouted: “Praise be to God who has disgraced and destroyed you and brought dishonor to your name.” Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anh) replied: “All praise is due to the Almighty Allah Who honored us by raising the Holy Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) amongst us and purified us. Only the wicked and vicious are disgraced.” Ibn Ziyad said again, “Don’t you see how Allah has treated your family?!” Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) replied, “Death was their fate, so they met with death. Allah will gather you and them together very soon and then you can cross question each other in His Court.” Ibn Ziyad said: “Allah has rejoiced me with the death of your arrogant leader and the rebels of your family.” Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) tried to restrain herself but could not suppress her tears and said: “By Allah, you have killed my leader, destroyed my family, slashed my branches, and cut off my roots. If this rejoices your heard, you may rejoice over it.”
Ibn Ziyad smiled and said: “Bravo! This is heroism. Your father was a poet as well as a hero. Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) replied: “What a woman has to do with heroism? My misfortune had made me unmindful of heroism. What I say comes out of my mouth with a burning heart.” Ibn Ziyad was enraged. Seeing him in this condition Umar bin Harth said: “My Allah ennoble the Amir! She is merely a woman. A woman’s utterance should be taken lightly.”
Ibn Ziyad and Imam Zain-ul-Abidin
After these bitter exchanges, Ibn Ziyad cast a glance on Ali Zain-ul-Abidin bin Husain bin Ali (radiyallahu ‘anh) who was seriously ill at that time. Ibn Ziyad inquired his name. He replied: “Ali bin Husain.” Ibn Ziyad asked with astonishment: “Has Ali bin Husain not been killed in the fight.” Hazrat Zain-ul-Abidin (radiyallahu ‘anh) did not reply. Ibn Ziyad said: “Why don’t you speak?” Imam Zain-ul-Abidin replied: “Another brother of mine was named Ali. People killed him. Ibn Ziyad said: “People did not murder him, but Allah has killed him.” On this Hazrat Zain-ul-Abidin recited the following Ayat of the Holy Qur’an:
“It is Allah Who deprives one of his life at the time of death. And no one dies except by Allah’s Command.”
On hearing this Ibn Ziyad shouted: “May Allah kill you! You are also one of them.” Ibn Ziyad wanted to kill him but Hazrat Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) cried impatiently:
“I implore you in the name of Allah not to kill the boy. In case you are bent upon to kill the boy, kill me also along with him.” Imam Zain-ul-Abidin said in a loud voice: “O’ Ibn Ziyad! If you have even the remotest kinship with these ladies, send them after I am killed under the escort of a pious man who should treat them gently in accordance with social principles of Islam.” Ibn Ziyad fixed his gaze upon Hazrat Zainab for a long time and then said to the people: “Relationship is a very delicate sentiment. By Allah, I am sure she really wants to lay her life along with the lad. All right, leave the lad and allow him to go with the women of his family.”
Murder of Ibn Afif
After this incident Ibn Ziyad instructed the citizens to assemble in the main Masjid and delivered a sermon before the assembly as follows:
“All praise is due to Allah Who made the truth manifest and has granted victory to the followers of truth. Yazid bin Mu’awiyah, the Commander of the faithful and his party became victorious and defeated Husain bin Ali and his companions, the liars.”
On hearing this, Abdullah bin Afif Azdi, a well-known companion of Hazrat Ali (Karramallahu Ta’ala wajhah) who had lost his eye-sight in the battles of Jamal and Siffin, stood up and shouted: “By Allah! Ibn Marjana, you are a liar and a son of a liar, and not Husain bin Ali (radiyallahu ‘anh).” Ibn Ziyad, the wretch, got annoyed and put him to death.
In the Court of Yazid
Ibn Ziyad fixed the head of Hazrat Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) on a pole and sent the same to Yazid through Zahr bin Qais. Ghaz bin Rabi’ah reported that he was sitting in the court of Yazid when Zahr bin Qais arrived. Yazid inquired: “What is the news?” Qais replied, “I have brought the news of victory. Husain bin Ali came to us along with eighteen members of the Ahli-Bayt and sixty supporters. We stopped them and demanded them to surrender or fight. They preferred to fight than to submit. So we attacked them at the break of dawn. When swords began to strike their heads, they ran to and fro to save themselves just as pigeon ran away on seeing the eagle. Then we put them all to death. At this moment their dead bodies are lying naked. Their clothes are stained with blood. Their dead bodies are rotting in the sun and are serving as a food for vultures.
Yazid Began to Weep
The narrator reported that on hearing this pathetic story, Yazid’s eyes brimmed with tears, and he said: “I could be pleased at your loyalty even without the murder of Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). May Allah curse the son of Ibn Sumiyya (Ibn Ziyad, la’natullahi ‘alayh)! By Allah, had I been present there, I would certainly have forgiven Husain. May Allah shower his blessings upon Husain.” Yazid did not give any reward to the messenger.
Qasim bin Abdur-Rahman, a slave of Yazid, reported that when heads of Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) and that of the Ahli-Bayt were placed before Yazid, he recited the following verse:
“The swords sever the heads of those whom we love, though they were in fact tyrants who neglected the truth.”
Then said: “By Allah, O’ Husain! Had I been there I would not have killed you.”
Ahli-Bayt in Damascus
After sending the head of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) Ibn Ziyad dispatched the remaining members of the Ahli-Bait to Damascus under the escort of Shimr bin Zil Joushan and Mahzar bin Tha’laba. Imam Zain-ul-Abidin kept quiet throughout the journey. He did not speak even a single word to anybody. On arrival in the court of Yazid, Mazhar bin Tha’laba cried: “O’ Commander of the faithful! I have brought sinners before you.” On hearing this Yazid got annoyed and said: “No woman had given birth to a more vicious and wicked child than Tha’laba’s mother.”
Yazid and Imam Zain-ul-Abidin
Yazid then sent for his Syrian chiefs to his court, and addressing Imam Zain-ul-Abidin, he said: “O’ Ali! It was your father who broke off family relationship, forgot my rights, tried to oust me from my rule. You have already seen the results of disobedience committed by your father.” In response, Imam Zain-ul-Abidin (radiyallahu ‘anh) recited the following Ayats of the Holy Qur’an:
“There falls not a calamity either in the earth or on yourself but it is recorded in a book before We bring it into being. Surely that is easy for Allah, that you may not grieve over what is lost to you or exult because of that which He has given to you. And Allah loves not the conceited and the haughty.” (Surah al-Hadeed, ayats 22-23)
Yazid was displeased to hear this. He desired that his son Khalid should give the answer but Khalid did not understand anything. Then Yazid, pointing out to Khalid said:
“And whatever misfortune befalls you is due to what your own hands have earned. And He forgives many of your sins.” (Surah al-Shura, ayat 30)
Then Yazid turned his attention towards other children and women who were made prisoners. Yazid was greatly moved at their sad plight and declared: “May Allah curse Ibn Marjana (Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad)! Had he been related to you he would have have treated you in such a way, no sent you to me in this pitiable condition.”
Fearless and Daring Conversation of Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha)
Hazrat Fatimah bint Ali reported that when we were brought before Yazid, he took pity on us and treated us gently. While we were sitting in a court a Syrian lad stood up and pointing to me requested Yazid to deliver me to him. I was in teen and was very pretty. I began to tremble with fear and caught the hand of elder sister Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha), who was older than I. She was very wise and knew that it could never happen. She shouted at the lad: “You are a wretched fellow. Neither you nor he (pointing at Yazid) has the power to do so.
Yazid got angry at this boldness and said: “You tell a lie. By Allah, this is within my powers if I wish to do so. Hazrat Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) retorted: “No, Allah has not given you this power. It is otherwise if you leave our party and become apostate by renouncing our religion.” Yazid got annoyed further and said: “It was your father and brother who renounced the religion.” Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) promptly replied: “It was Allah’s religion, my father’s religion, my brother’s religion, my grandfather’s religion from which you, your father, and your grandfather obtained guidance.” Yazid shouted: “O’ enemy of Allah! You tell a lie.” Hazrat Zainab replied, “You have become a ruler by force. You are misusing your powers with tyranny and are oppressing the people with your force.”
Hazrat Fatimah bint Ali added that this conversation made Yazid to feel ashamed because then he kept silent. The Syrian lad, however, stood up again and repeated his request. On this, Yazid scolded him, “Be off, O’ wretch! May Allah send death to you!”
Consultation with Syrian Chiefs
Yazid consulted the Syrian courtiers in regard to the treatment of the prisoners. Some suggested harsh treatment while Nu’man bin Bashir said: “They should be treated in the matter the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) would have treated them on seeing their plight.” On hearing this, Hazrat Fatimah said: “O’ Yazid! They are daughters of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam).” This reference moved Yazid and his courtiers to tears and he ordered for their lodging in an independent house.
Yazid’s Wife Expresses Grief
Meanwhile, the news of the arrival of the prisoners reached Yazid’s household. His wife, Hind bint ‘Abdullah, put on veil on her face and came out. She asked Yazid: “O’ Commander of the Faithful! Is it the head of Husain ibn Fatimah, daughter of the Holy Last Messenger of Allah?” Yazid replied, “Yes, weep as much as you can on the murder of grandson on the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) and of the scions of the Hashimi house. The wicked Ibn Ziyad made haste in killing him. May Allah kill him too.”
Yazid’s [Arrogant] Address
Thereafter addressing the courtiers, Yazid said: “Do you know how did it happen? It was the outcome of Husain’s error in judgment. He remained under the impression that his father is better than Yazid’s father; his mother is better is better than Yazid’s mother; his grandfather is better than Yazid’s grandfather. And he himself is better than Yazid, hence he deserves more to rule over the country than Yazid. His stand that his father was better than my father was wrong. Ali and Mu’awiyah fought with each other and the world saw who emerged successful in the contest. As regards his statement that his mother is better than my mother, is undoubtedly true. Fatimah (radiyallahu ‘anha), daughter of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) is decidedly far more prestigeous than my mother. Similarly, his grandfather is certainly better than my grandfather. By Allah, no one who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgement can grade anyone equal to, not to speak of better than the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). Husain erred in judgment and forgot the following Ayat of the Holy Qur’an, which reads as follows:
‘O’ Allah! Malik-ul-Mulk! Thou givest sovereignty to whomsoever Thou wills, and Thou takest away sovereignty from whomsoever Thou wills. Thou exaltest whomsoever Thou wills and Thou abasest whomsoever Thou wills. In Thy hand is all good. Verily, Thou hast power over all things.’” (Surah Aal-e-Imran, ayat 26)
Then the ladies of the Ahli-Bayt were sent to Yazid’s palace, where the women of the family of Mu’awiyah began to weep bitterly on seeing their sad plight.
Yazid Tries to Make Amends
When Yazid came into the palace, Fatimah bint al-Husain asked him: “Have the daughters of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) become slave-girls?” Yazid replied, “O’ Daughter of my brother! It would never happen.” Fatimah said, “We have been deprived even of our earrings.” Yazid promised to compensate their loss and he did repay them two-fold or even more.
Yazid used to take his breakfast and dinner along with Hazrat Ali bin Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). One day he called Hazrat Hasan’s young child Amr to him and by way of joking asked him if he would have a duel with his son Khalid who was of his age. Amr bin al-Hasan replied in the affirmative, adding that both of them should be given daggers in their hands and then their duel be watched. Yazid laughed and holding Amr in his lap remarked: “A serpent begets a serpent.”
Yazid entertained the Ahlul-Bayt as his guests for some days. He used to stay in his private meetings that had he been a little circumspect, he would have kept Hazrat Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) with him for a few days and considered his terms, though it might have weakened his own position to some extent. This attitude would have discharged himself of his obligations towards the rights and relations of the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). He repeatedly cursed Ibm Marjana (Ibn Ziyad) who forced Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) to fight by not agreeing to his terms of participating in Jihad on the frontiers or of approaching him for settlement of dispute. Yazid stated Ibn Ziyad (la’natullahi ‘alayh) had thus made him (Yazid) the victim of people’s wrath.
Departure of Ahli-Bayt to Madinah
While bidding farewell to the Ahli-Bayt on their departure to Madinah, Yazid assured Imam Zain-ul-Abidin (radiyallahu ‘anh) cursing Ibn Ziyad: “Had I been there in the battlefield, and had Husain offered his terms to me, I would certainly have accepted them. I would have saved his life at all costs, even at the cost of the life of my own son. But what Allah willed has happened. Keep in touch with me through correspondence and let me know your needs. Afterwards Sakina, daughter of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh), used to say that she had not seen any ungrateful person who was more hospitable than Yazid.
Generosity of the Ahli-Bayt
Yazid dispatched the Ahli-Bayt under reliable military escort. It treated the ill-fated Ahli-Bayt gently throughout the journey. On reaching Madinah, Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab (radiyallahu ‘anha) and Fatimah bint Husain sent to the escort leader their bangles and bracelets as a token of reward for his kind treatment during the journey. He, however, refused to accept these ornaments and returned saying: “By Allah, this treatment was not for worldly gains but it was all due to the love and respect for the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam).”
Lamentation in Madinah
This sad news was the talk of the town before the arrival of the Ahli-Bayt. When the party arrived in Madinah, the Hashimi ladies hastened to them, lamenting the loss of lives of the near and dear ones. The daughter of Hazrat ‘Aqil bin Abu Talib (radiyallahu ‘anh) was in the forefront crying and reciting the following verses:
“What excuse will you have to offer to the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) when he questions you as the last of his followers: ‘How did you treat my family and my progeny after me?’ Some of them are prisoners and the others are writhing in blood.”
Hazrat Sayyidah Zainab bint Ali bin Abu Talib (radiyallahu ‘anha). Daughter of Sayyidah Fatimah az-Zahra (radiyallahu ‘anha).
Najaf is an area in Iraq, outside of Baghdad. The majority of its inhabitants being those who claimed to be so-called partisons of Hazrat Ali (Karramallahu Wajhah) and the Ahlul-Bayt. However, their actions (even present-day) proved, beyond the shadow of doubt, otherwise. The deaths of many members from the Ahlul-Bayt is sufficient evidence of their treachery.
The Spirit of Imam Husain's Martyrdom
Nature of Umayyad Rule
To illustrate a few points, it may be stated that the Umayyad’s rule was unIslamic. Any rule which is based on force and violence can never be Islamic. The Umayyads crushed the spirit of democratic freedom. They laid the foundation of their authority on unscrupulous tactics and coercive methods instead of on mutual consultation and Ijma’ (Consensus). The Umayyad state craft did not follow the Shari’ah in total, but it was motivated merely by lust of power and political ends. Such a serious menace to the basic values of Islam demanded a heroic struggled against arbitration and a crusade for the vindication of truth and freedom.
Imam Husain’s character as a Mu’min
These were the changes that appeared in the wake of converting the Islamic Khulafat into dynastic imperialism. No one can deny that Yazid’s nomination as successor to his father was the starting point of all these transformation. It cannot be gainsaid that after a short span of time from the point of origin all the corrupt practices mentioned above came into existence. At the time when this revolutionary step was adopted, there was no indication of these evils, but a man of vision could have predicted these inevitable consequences of such a beginning and that the reforms introduced by Islam in the administration and political phases of the state would be rendered null and void by these charges. This is the reason why Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) could not remain indifferent to this undesirable development. He, therefore, decided to stem the tide of the evil forces taking the risk of confronting the worst consequences by rising the revolt against an established government. The consequences of his bold stand are known to every one. The fact which Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) wanted to emphasize by plunging himself into grave danger and enduring its consequences heroically was that the fundamental features of the Islamic State are valuable assets. It would not be a bad bargain, if a believer sacrificed his life and get his family members slain for preserving this valuable object. A believer should not hesitate to sacrifice all that he possesses for preventing the changes which constitute a serious danger to the religion of al-Islam and the Muslim Community which is a custodian of the constitutional values. One is at liberty to contemptuously disregard it as merely a maneuver for securing power, but in the eyes of Imam Husain bin Ali (radiyallahu ‘anh), it was primarily a religious obligation. He, therefore, laid down his life in this cause gaining the crown of martyrdom.
Imam Husain’s Role
Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh), Sayyid-ush-Shuhadaa, initiated the holy war against the oppressive regime of the Umayyads and refused to take the oath of allegiance to that authority. It is a sacred legacy bequeathed to posterity by Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) that Muslims should never submit to any authority which defies the Divine Law, maintains itself by force and foists it arbitrary decisions on the people at the cost of inherent freedom. The struggle in this cause does not necessitate mobilization of men, money and material on the scaled possessed by the hostile temporal authority. Husain bin Ali (radiyallahu ‘anh) did not possess the sinews of war. He had the support of only a small band of helpless and un-armed individuals. A person entrenched in righteousness and truth does not care for consequences. The outcome of the struggle lies in the hands of the power that is always on the side of Justice and Truth. Cruelty eventually suffers a set back, gains despair and despondency despite its overwhelming superiority in number and resources. On such occasions, one surrenders to considerations of expediency through the agony of the accursed Shaitan who creates doubt in the mind of defenders of Truth whether the result is worth achieving at cost of much bloodshed. This can very easily be contradicted. Apart from numerous instances of Jihad, there is the event of Karbala that is a glaring example of a fight heroically fought by 62-72 scantily armed persons against the massive forces of a formidable state. It is true that Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) saw his kith and kin in utter distress suffering the agonies of hunger and thirst; witnessed each and every one of them writhing in dust and blood one after the other; it is also a fact that he did not even possess the force to wrest a morsel of bread from the enemy sufficient for their survival, but he eventually surrendered himself to the Supreme Being, sustaining grave injuries all over his body. However he came out successfully in the test. His wounded head was adorned with the crown of victory.
Imam Husain’s Martyrdom and Humanity
Now the question arises whether Imam Husain’s martyrdom was only the result of his attempt to seize the throne and the sympathy it evokes in the readers is the natural reaction to a splendid failure? Or, is this merely the recalcitrant attitude or unscrupulous policy of a short tempered leader who, by chance, happened to be the grandson of their beloved Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) and solely on this account, do they come out for his defense. Whether this is a heart-rending story of the ruthless and brutal destruction of a weak party, the narration of which induces you to burst into tears? The history of the world provides a number of instances appealing to our sympathy. It is so much replete with individual and collective incidents of failure and frustration, on one hand, and those of cruelty and barbarism, on the other, that the world will not be particularly impressed with the tragic episode of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh). No! Imam Husain’s story does not purport to be anything of this kind. It is in the main, a story of human dignity; a tale of revealing the essential nobility of man; an account of a man’s ascent to the peak of grandeur. It presents a lofty deal of individual and collective human life; it is a mile-stone in the long journey from beastly slavery to human freedom; it is a proclamation of Allah’s Kingdom in this ephemeral world; it is an irrefutable proof of the possibility of its establishment among human being; it is a beacon light which guides humanity to perfection. Whenever evil forces make a bid to put out this light with their breath, the monumental performance of Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) intensifies its refulgence. When humanity falters in adhering to the path of truth and freedom, the example set up by Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) gives it a support and comes to its rescue. When the tyrants proud of their wealth, power, and authority harass the unassuming and helpless followers of Truth and when the incessant failure of the champions of truth cast doubt upon the validity of its claim, Imam Husain’s heroic stand in its cause teaches them the lesson of perseverance and save them from falling a prey to despair and despondency. When the rising power of tyrants overawes the individual, Imam Husain’s example reminds him that the duty of stimulating resistance against brutal power ultimately devolves on him. It matters not if for making such an attempt, the enemy offers him a cup of poison, sends him to the gallows, stones him to death, or stains the earth with his blood. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) brings this fact home to the worldly persons that “life” does not mean just living, no matter how. He asserts that life sometimes means to live and sometimes to surrender it.
Real Object of Imam Husain’s Sacrifice
Every year, in the month of Muharram, millions of Muslims mourn Imam Husain’s martyrdom. It is regretable that among those mourners, there are very few persons who focus their attention on the real cause for which Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) not only sacrificed his own life, but also the lives of his kith and kin. It is but natural for the adherents and devoted followers of a man to feel grieved at his martyrdom. This sort of sentiment does not carry much of moral value; it is nothing but a spontaneous reaction of the mind of his relations and sympathizers. But the point at issue is what is the special feather of Imam Husain’s martyrdom that keeps the grief for him afresh although about 1,400 years have elapsed since this tragic event took place. If the martyrdom is not associated with any high ideal, it is meaningless to say that the mourning continues for centuries on personal grounds. If viewed in correct perspective, one may well ask what value Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) himself would attach to such devotion. If his own person were dearer to him than any ideology or subject, why did he sacrifice it at all? His sacrifice is a conclusive proof that this object was dearer to him than his own life. If we do not have a clear idea of Imam Husain’s purpose, but continue lamentation at each anniversary of his martyrdom, we can neither expect any appreciation from Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) on the Day of Resurrection, nor will it have any value with his Allah.
Let us ask what was that ideal or object! Did Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) affirm his claim to succession to the Caliphate and did he stake his life to vindicate this claim? Any one who knows the high moral standard of Imam Husain’s household cannot harbor this vile notion that the members of such a sacred family could have caused bloodshed among the Muslims for gaining political power for themselves. If, for argument’s sake this viewpoint is taken for granted that members of Bani Hashim had a claim for power, even then the 50-year’s history, from Hazrat Abu Bakr’s (radiyallahu ‘anh) Caliphate down to the period of Hazrat Amir Mu’awiyah, bears evidence that waging war and causing bloodshed merely to seize power had never been their motive. As a logical corollary, one has to admit that Imam Husain’s keep eye discerned symptoms of decay and corruption in the system of the Islamic State, and the felt impelled to resist these evil forces. He even deemed it his duty to wage war in this connection, as the situation so warranted.
Fight Against Falsehood
Turn over the pages of history! The early period of Islam which is considered to be the best of all that has elapsed. Even the period of the true successors to the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) has terminated. The age of the secular authority, viz., the period of autocratic government has been ushered in. In flagrant contravention to the Divine Authority, the Muslim kings look upon the state exchequer as their person property. In each Muslim State, the monarch fills his treasury with gold and jewelry and with his political power reinforced by the power of money he forces this people to obey his arbitrary commands. Some people submit to him out of fear and others do so to gain their selfish ends with his help. There is always a hard core of steadfast Muslims who refuse to yield. The Nabi’s grandson, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh), falls in the last category. Persuasion, threats, and crafty measures were employed, but Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) remain adamant. How could Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh), in whose veins the blood of Hazrat Ali, Sayyidah Fatimah (radiyallahu ‘anhuma), and Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) was pulsating, who was Allah-fearing, who had devotion for Truth, treat falsehood at par with Truth? Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) flatly refused to take bay’ah to Yazid. In effect, Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) declared that Yazid’s authority, being in conflict with the Divine Authority, should not be obeyed by true Muslims. This was the first step in the direction of martyrdom.
He was driven out of his native place. He could not live in peace even in Makkah. He, therefore, resolved to migrate to Iraq. This amounted to a proclamation, on his part, that Yazid’s claim to authority in the Muslim State was untenable. The idea of submitting to Yazid was so repugnant to him that he decided to renounced the security and comforts of his homeland. This was the second step leading to martyrdom.
On his way to Kufa, at Karbala, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) was intercepted by Yazid’s forces. The small band of his followers was surrounded by Yazid’s army. This was the last sacrifice and the final ordeal. He successfully passed the test. Each and everyone from amongst his relatives and companions were killed one after another. Children were slain. Finally, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh), with a mass of wounds and bruises fell down from his horse. His heart harbored and his lips uttered the belief that “There is no worthy of worship, except Allah and Absolute authority is vested in Him alone.” This was martyrdom, the sacrifice of one’s life for the vindication of Truth. Thirteen centuries have since elapsed, the example set up by Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) gives and will continue to give evidence, till eternity that Command rests with Allah Ta’ala.
Whenever Divine Authority is respected, men will remember how the grandson of the greatest Benefactor of humanity sacrificed his life in defense of Truth. In future, when, with the increase of human knowledge, the obstacles to progress would be removed and men will be marching confidently to the goal of self-realization, they would surely recall the glorious sacrifice offered by Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) at the altar of Truth. When the human mind will be rid of ever fear except the fear of Allah, Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) will be accorded the respect which he deserves and men will often think how Sayyidah Fatimah’s beloved son displayed the sublimity of obedience to Allah by the voluntary sacrifice of his own life. Then alone this helpless man will come into prominence as the ruler of rulers. This frustrated man would be regarded as the custodian of religion and faith. Once covered with blood and dust, his head will become the symbol of absolute submission to Divine Authority and fearless defiance of any other type of temporal power.
Morals of Imam Husain’s Performance
This exemplary conduct displayed by Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) teaches us not to care for consequences. If the temporal authority is aggressive, sacrifice on the part of followers of Truth becomes all the more essential. Numerical minority and majority, or the lack of resources should not deter them to continue their struggle. Grandeur of coercive government does not carry the seal of Divine approval that it should necessarily be obeyed. A truth-loving person has to face an oppressor whether weak or strong.
Adherence to Truth and Justice is, no doubt, and ordeal. At every step, there is diversion of attention due to attachment to one’s own life, honor and family. But Imam Husain’s lofty ideal teaches the believers and sincere followers of al-Islam that at the ver outset they should take stock of the strength of their resoluteness, so that these temptations may not prove a stumbling block immediately after embarking on that mission. Everyone knows that in the presence of various attachments, the great martyr of Karbala sacrificed his all at the altar of Truth. All the stages of ordeals are categorically described in the Holy Qur’an: Allah intends to test the believers by bringing them under the throes of various ordeals:
“And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the steadfast. Who say when a misfortune strikes them: Surely! We are from Allah and surely unto Him we are returning.” (Surah al-Baqarah, ayats 155, 156)
Fear and apprehension, hunger and thirst, love of wealth, property, life and progeny form an acid test for human beings, and as such, the sacrifice of these interests have been declared an ordeal in the cause of Allah.
The helpless hero of Karbala had all these stages, at a stretch. He could have got rid of them within a short span of time and secured relief, position, grandeur, had he only made a compromise with aggression government ignoring the dictates of Truth and Justice. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) preferred Allah’s Will to his won personal choice. Devotion for Truth overcomes love for life and its luxuries. He laid down his life, being the only asset with the lover of Truth, but he never stretched his hand for taking bay’ah which could be extended only in the cause of Truth.
The most valuable lesson that can be deduced from this grave event is Sabr (perseverance) and determination in the cause of Jihad and Truth.
In spite of being helplessly besieged by enemy with members of family, relatives, and friends witnessing his own kith and kin wailing and shrieking with the intensity of thirst and hunger and later lifting with his own hands their bodies stained with blood. Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) never swerved from the path of truth, even for a moment. In short, he underwent these calamities, being tacitly grateful to Allah Ta’ala. Those who are surcharged with the intoxication of devotion and love willingly accept a cup of poison from the hands of their friends in preference to the cup of honey and elixir. Even today, every particle of the dust of Karbala gives the lesson of patience and endurance of those who keep their ears open to listen to its message.
Imam Husain (radiyallahu ‘anh) was the torchbearer of absolute values. He lived, fought, and sacrificed his life in defense of these ideals. He lit an ever-lasting beacon light for humanity by his heroic struggle for Truth and righteousness that could not be extinguished even after his death. The glorious example of his life enables mankind to purify the social life and checking the evil that brings corruption into the body politic. This light is a source of guidance in every walk of human life.
The Noble Life and Martyrdom of al-Imam Husayn (r.a.a.)
by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak al-Jerrahi
It was in the fourth year of the Hijra that our Master the venerable Husayn (r.a.a) came to adorn this world in Madinah the Pure, on the fifth day of Sha'ban. It was fifty nights after the birth of his brother, the venerable Imam Hasan (r.a.a.), that he was conceived in the womb of the noble Fatima (r.a.a.). It was none other than our Master, the glorious Messenger, who performed the ritual of inserting his blessed saliva into the newborn baby's mouth. It was his blessed lips that recited the Call to Prayer in the infant's ear, prayed for him and gave him the exalted name Husayn when he was seven days old. It was he who made the sacrifice for his gandson at the time of the naming ceremony.
The venerable Imam Husayn (r.a.a.) , so dearly loved by the glorious Messenger, was courageous and bold, learned, pious, eloquent, fluent, and concise, and fine and moving speaker, in every respect pleasing to let Lord, in Whom he placed all his trust. According to Hazrat Abu Hurayra, the Messenger to Men and Jinn would use words like: " Where is the tiny fellow?" when looking for the venerable Husayn as he sat in his noble Masjid. The venerable Husayn would come running immediately, sit on our Master's lap, hug him affectionately, then run his fingers through the blessed beard of the noble Messenger. The King of Ambiya would then kiss the venerable Husayn, saying: "O my Lord, I love this child. May You also love my Husayn and those who love him."
Once, after the blessed time of the Nabi, the venerable 'Abdullah bin 'Umar was sitting in the shade of the honored Ka'ba when he saw our Master, the venerable Husayn, approaching. Turning to those at his side, he said: "Here comes the person most dear to those in heaven of all the people on earth." As he said these words he pointed to the venerable Husayn.
Pressing himself against the honored Ka'ba, Imam Husayn communed with Allah, the Lord of Glory, saying: "My God, You have blessed me with Your bounties in abundance yet You have found me ungrateful. O Lord, You have put me to the test, yet You have found me impatient. In spite of my ingratitude, You have not deprived me; in spite of my impatience, You have not prolonged my hardship. My God, nothing but grace and generosity flows from the All-Generous."
He always accompanied and served his noble father, Imam 'Ali, while he was in Madinah the Illuminated. He also went with him to Kufa. He fought alongside his revered father in all his battles and stood by him constantly until his martyrdom. After that he was with his brother, the venerable Hasan. After the latter resigned from the Khalifate, he returned to Madinah the Illuminated where he stayed until the year 60 of the Hijra, near the fragrant resting place of his noble grandfather, the Final Prophet.
According to Imam Suyuti: "In the year 60, the people of Syria paid homage to Yazid. Yazid sent men to Madinah the Illuminated to call on the people there to pay homage to him also. Imam Hasan, Ibn 'Umar, and Abdullah bin al-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with them all, refused to pay allegiance to Yazid. Abdullah bin 'Umar said: "I shall not pay homage to Yazid as long as there is no general consensus to give him allegiance." That same night he left Madinah the Illuminated and moved to Makkah the Ennobled.
Abdullah bin al-Zubayr would neither pay homage to Yazid himself nor call on other people to do so.
As for the venerable Imam Husayn, since he had been appointed heir to the throne of Yazid's father, he was invited by the people of Kufa. The Kufans kept writing letters urging him to come to their city. In spite of this the noble Imam neither accepted their invitation nor agreed with the Kufans' line of action. Since homage had been paid to Yazid, he was faced with making a decision either to stay as he was or to respond to the Kufans' invitation. He was finding it impossible to decide where his duty lay. He eventually consulted Ibn Zubayr, who advised him to accept the invitation of the Kufans.
The venerable Ibn 'Abbas, however saw things differently: "Beware of accepting Kufans' invitation, O Imam," said he. "The Kufans betrayed both your father Imam 'Ali and your elder brother, Imam Hasan. The people of Kufa are not to be taken at their word."
Abdullah bin 'Umar also advised him to beware of leaving Madinah the Illuminated. However, what had been divinely decreed would come to pass. Imam Husayn had decided to go to Iraq. The venerable Ibn 'Abbas implored him not to go but he could not persuade the venerable Imam to change his mind. "O Husayn," he pleaded, "I swear by Allah that you are likely to be slain like venerable 'Uthman in the midst of your own family." When this was of no avail, Ibn 'Abbas said: "O Husayn, by going to Iraq, you are leaving the Hijaz to Ibn al-Zubayr." Still he could not sway the venerable Imam, whose resolve was unshakable. He could not abandon the Community of Muhammad to a depraved ruler.
Meanwhile, the people of Iraq were sending a stream of couriers with letters of invitation. Finally, on the tenth of Dhul-Hijja, the venerable Husayn set out from Makkah the Enobled with his family and retinue and started on the road to Iraq. Several members of the Prophet's household traveled with him.
In reality the people who invited the venerable Husayn to Iraq were the mischiefmakers working for the cause of Yazid. When Yazid the Damned heard of his departure for Iraq, he sent written orders to Ubaydullah ibn Zayyad, commanding him to take military action against the venerable Husayn. On receiving these orders from Yazid, the accursed Ibn Zayyad dispatched four thousand troops, under the command of 'Umar bin Sa'd, against the venerable Imam.
As for the people of Kufa, they gave the venerable Imam no more help than they had given his father before him. Indeed, they did not even attempt to join him. Some of the Kufans who had invited him to Iraq were actually enrolled among the four thousand troops sent to oppose the venerable Husayn.
Seeing himself surrounded by four thousand armed soldiers, the venerable Imam Husayn made it known that he was willing to return to Hijaz in order to save his people from being cursed because of his murder, but he said that the proper course was either to pay homage to Yazid or else risk battle. Rejecting the idea of returning to the Hijaz, he entered the fray. The die was cast and there was no going back. They slew and martyred that beloved grandson of the Prince of the Universe, that dear child of Fatima, the best of women; they cut off his blessed head and brought it in a basin before the accursed Ibn Zayyad.
Surely the curse of Allah falls upon evildoers. [Holy Qur'an, 11:18]
Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we are returning. [Holy Qur'an 2:156]
It is said that when Hazrat Imam Husayn (r.a.a) knew for sure that the approaching army would do battle with him, he gathered his companions and the members of the Prophet's household and delivered this brief sermon:
"Praise and thanks to the Lord Allah and blessings and peace upon the noble Messenger...
"O my companions, relatives, friends and fellow members of the Prophet's household (a.k.a. Ahl al-Bayt)! You see the state of affairs we have reached. This world has changed and turned its face from us. Its goodness has retreated and very evil days lie before us. You must surely see that the truth is no longer put into practice. Falsehood is by no means at an end. Let those who are believers desire to meet Allah. For me there is no doubt that death is a blessing. I count it a crime to live in the company of tyrants."
May Allah be pleased with him and make him pleased.
His martyrdom occurred on the day of 'Ashura, the tenth of Muharram of the year 60, at a place in Iraq called Karbala, which lies between Hilla and Kufa. Martyred with him on that day were twenty-three members of the his household. These twenty three victims came of the pure line of our Master, the noble Messenger, and were close relatives of the revered Prophet. Among those martyred were cousins of our blessed Master, children of the venerable Hasan and the infant children of our Master the venerable Husayn, except for his son, Zayn al-'Abidin. The tears of the ladies of the Prophet's household flowed like the Nile and Euphrates and their sighs reached the Throne-on-High and made the soul of Fatima the Radiant weep. They distressed the blessed soul of the Prophet and threw the angels and jinn into mourning.
When her noble brother Husayn was martyred, Zaynab screamed through her tears at the cruel murderer: "You tyrants! You do not know what you have done, whom you have martyred and whom you have caused to weep. How will you answer the glorious Prophet if he asks you on the coming Day of Resurrection: "What did you do to the people of my household and to my children after I was gone? Some of you made captive, some you enslaved and some you steeped in crimson blood. How will you look him in the face and how can you expect his intercession if he says: 'Is this how you display your gratitude to your Prophet? Is this how you show your affection?' Will you not be ashamed of yourselves if he says: Would you dare to drink from the fount of the Messenger, when you condemned the people of my household to go thirsty and refused a single drop of water to my beloved Husayn and his Innocents?' "
On those roads, in those deserts
throughout those lonely wastes,
Houries and jinn bewail poor
On the night when Imam Husayn was martyred, our Mother Umm Salama, may Allah be pleased with her, dreamt that she saw the most Noble Messenger looking sorrowful and sad. She asked the reason for his grief and received this reply: "O Umm Salama, they have martyred my Husayn, that is why I am full of sorrow and despair."
Such cruelty the turning spheres
had ever known
The glorious Messenger was in despair
there by the most high Throne
The venerable Ibn 'Abbas had a vision in the middle of the day, in which he say our blessed Master holding a bottle full of blood. "What blood is that, O Messenger of Allah?" he asked. The answer came: "This is the blood and tears of my Husayn and the people of my household. I am gathering from the ground the blood and tears they shed this day." The venerable Ibn 'Abbas checked the date and found that his vision had occurred on the day when the venerable Husayn was martyred.
Our Mother, the venerable Umm Salama, said: "I heard the jinn weeping and mourning the venerable Husayn."
We should not be surprised to hear that the very jinn wept at the martyrdom of Imam Husayn. All the angels in heaven and earth were weeping. Sun, moon, stars, and all the heavenly bodies trembled and made moan for the fear of Allah.
How beautiful are these words of Sayyid Jalil Shihab al-Din Ahmad ibn Rufa'i in his elegy for the venerable Husayn: "Heaven and earth wept for the martyr cruelly wronged, as he lay with his radiant countanance all stained with blood. The blessed hands of Imam Husayn, so thirsty when he fell a martyr by the sword, were powerful enough to make the oceans flow."
While people at the Resurrection drink
Kawthar's water from Haydar's hand
You lie a thirsty martyr, O Husayn, in
Karbala's desert sand.
Even as the treacherous Shimr was pinning him down and preparing to make him a martyr, Imam Husayn addressed these words to the man who refused him water: "You made me and my children wander thirsty in these desert wastes. You gave me no water and I know better than to expect any from you. But at least give my children a drop to drink, so that I may forgive you for the great wrong you have done to us."
The brigand's only reply was to say: "If the earth and sky were full of water, I would not give one drop to you and your children."
The venerable Imam Husayn then said to the accursed Shimr: "You have denied me water and refused my children even one drop. But at the Place of Resurrection we shall not sink to your level by letting you go thirsty. For the owner of Kawthar is my grandfather and the waterbearer of the fountain in Paradise if my father."
He then quickly kicked the ground, from which a crystal spring burst forth. Pointing to this water, he said to the accursed Shimr, whose eyes had opened wide in amazement: "Now you see the quality of our patience. We have only suffered like this in order to teach the Community and make them understand that they must be prepared to sacrifice everything they have, when they engage in a necessary struggle agains the tyrannical and the corrupt. Otherwise, water was at our command. If we had wished, we could have drawn it up and drunk it before now. We refrained from doing so, however, in order to set the Community of Muhammad and example of self-sacrifice." As soon as he had uttered these words, the wine of martyrdom quenched his thirst.
O Lord, do not deprive us of the Intercession of Husayn...
The accursed Ibn Zayyad sent the blessed head of our Master Husayn to Yazid the Damned, who was safe and sound in Damascus, waiting impatiently for the fruits of his crime. Also sent to him were Imam Husayn's beloved son, Imam Zayn al-'Abidin, and the sister, the venerable Zaynab. The child and his aunt had been at Karbala that day, but they had been to sick to take part in the fighting and had somehow survived.
The ill-famed Yazid stuck that blessed head on a rod in his hand and dared to mock it, carry disrespect for the Messenger's family to an extreme degreee. He appeared enormously pleased with his criminal act, never thinking that he would be damned and cursed till the Day of Resurrection, not only by all the Muslims but by all men od conscience and common sense.
Even this did not satisfy Yazid. He gave orders for the blessed head to be exhibited throughout the lands of Islam. Only when he heard of the discontent expressed by all the Muslims when they heard of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, did he feel compelled to send the Imam's noble relatives back to Madinah in safety. The blessed head of the venerable Husayn was sent to 'Asqalan, where the local governer had it buried.
When Ascalon was captured much later by the Crusaders, a Fatimid vizier called Salih Tala'i paid a lot of money to buy the blessed head from them. He received it with a great military parade. He bored the blessed head of the venerable Husayn upon his own head, set it upon an ebony throne and wrapped it in green silk. He had a casket made out of solid gold and lined with musk. The blessed head was placed in this casket and laid to rest in a special mausoleum in the Mosque of Husayn, which that vizier had built in Cairo. Despite the inevitable differences of opinion about what did actually become of that blessed head, the great saints and most Sufis maintain that it does indeed repose in Masjid al-Husayn in Cairo, where it is visited every day by the Qutb (Cardinal Saint) of our age.
The Martyrdom of Hazrat El-Imam Sayyidina Husain
(Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) by Syed Mumtaz Ali
secondary edits to this file by: The Ahlus-Sunnah Lovers of Ahlul-Bayt
In Islam, it is binding on every Muslim to acknowledge Allah as the Sovereign, the Master, the King and the Absolute overlord in his moral, social, cultural, economic and political spheres of life.
The Holy Qur'an reiterates this fundamental doctrine repeatedly. I will quote only a few short verses:
"Say: I seek refuge in the Rabb (Lord) of mankind, the King of mankind." (114:1-2)
"Say: O Allah! Master of all the Kingship" (3:26)
"Is not Allah the best of all judges" (95:8)
"No one has the authority to pass judgment except Allah" (6:57)
"To Him belongs whatever is in the Heavens and in the Earth, and all that lies between them, and all that is beneath the soil" (20:6)
According to this principle, then, it follows that anyone who holds power and rules in accordance with the laws of Allah could undoubtedly be viceregent of the Supreme Ruler. In such a capacity, i.e., by virtue of his delegated authority, he will not be authorized to exercise any powers other than those delegated to him.
"It is He Who had made you viceregent on the earth" (35:39)
The Khaliphate granted by Allah to the faithful is the popular viceregency and it is not limited to any family, clan or race etc. And even in this context, the guiding principle that determines superiority of one individual over the other depends solely on his piousness and good moral character (taqwa) which serves as the sole criterion.
"Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous" (49:13)
In view of this limitation on his authority and powers, the head of the state shall not function in an autocratic but in a consultative (shura) manner. He is required to discharge his duties in consultation with persons holding responsible positions in the government and with the elected representatives of the people. This fundamental principle that in an Islamic State, the government should be constituted and run in mutual consultation with people is clearly set out in the Qur'an. The Chapter which contains this verse is itself given the designated title/name of 'Al-shura'. Allah says in Ayat 38:
"Conduct their affairs with mutual consultation" (42:38)
This injunction has come to be known popularly in our times as the basic democratic principle of Islam. In his book, Introduction to Islam, Dr. M. Hamidullah elaborates this point in the following words:
"Islam attaches no importance to the external forms of government. It is satisfied if two conditions are fulfilled:
- the well-being of man in both worlds is aimed at, and
- the Shari'ah (Divine Law) is applied."
To further clarify, he states that "the constitutional question takes a secondary place and a republic, a monarchy, or a joint-rule, among other forms of government, are all valid in the Islamic Community."
When discussing the background and the turmoil that lead to the declaration by Amir Muawiya to appoint his son Yazid as his successor, we must bear this in mind that it was not the external form of government per se which alone caused Hazrat El-Imam Husain (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) to take exception and vehemently oppose Yazid's succession after his father's death which occurred four years after his appointment as an heir-apparent or crown-prince was initially made.
It was the abuse of power by Yazid which made it impossible for Hazrat Imam Husain (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu)to put up with the prevailing state of affairs. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely! It was indeed the absolutely corrupt power of hereditary monarchy which became the bone of contention because the indications and signs of such corruption had already become quite apparent. The beginning of the gradual decline of the moral fibre of the Islamic society was gaining a rapid momentum. As a matter of fact later developments proved it to be so. The tragic consequence was that Islam never recovered from that political epidemic and the creeping moral cancer.
Sovereignty of Allah was marginalised and the Rule of law was openly jeopardised. These two fundamental concepts received lip-service, and remained a mere theory. Everyone was aware of the fact that these human characteristics have been commonplace among monarchies throughout human history. Imam Husain (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) had the wisdom, and the deep insight deep inside to recognize that the trends of corruption and gage the speed of the potential destruction. He felt he had to try to stop it at any cost. He knew it was his religious duty to follow Allah's Commands to try his best and leave the rest to Allah as the He clearly directs us all:
"These are the people who, if We establish them in the land, will establish Salah, (ritual service of worship) and pay Zakah, (religious dues) enjoin justice and forbid evils; the final decision of all affairs is in the hands of Allah" (22:41)
Hazrat Imam Husain (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) had no difficulty in recognizing the fact that the breach of a Divine Trust (of governing people) placed in the hands of a ruler of an Islamic state was a very grave matter that could cause much irreparable harm to the Community and future generations.
"Allah commands you to give back the trusts to their rightful owners, and when you judge between people, judge with fairness" (4:58-59)
Let me explain: Just as a servant is entrusted with certain property for which he is responsible to the master, the king or the ruler is entrusted with the care of the people and guarding their rights. Accordingly, in order to discharge his duties, he is responsible in the first place to Allah Who is the Real Master, and then to people in relation to whom he occupies a position of a servant.
The signs of grossly abusing the power and instances of nonchalant disregard of the terms of the sacred trust were becoming apparent for anyone to see.
For instance it was not difficult to observe that:
-politics was getting more and more devoid of morality and ethics.
-the king, the members of his family, the nobility and the governing class were being given preferential treatment and were often exempt from many routine religious or legal obligations.
-the king was becoming the master of the life, property and honour of his subjects - sovereignty of man was replacing sovereignty of Allah.
- justice, law and order were being replaced by oppression, disorder and injustice.
a life of luxury, pomp and splendour was becoming the norm and the cherished goal.
instead of encouraging people to fear Allah and obey the laws, strengthen their faith and conscience, they were being bought and sold through enticing offers of power, position and gold.
- distinctions between the haram and halal and the desirable and the doubtful were getting blurred; undesirable social activities were spreading like wildfire.
Granted that in the time under discussion these evils were not yet as fully developed as they did in later years. Nevertheless the trends were obvious to all those who cared about such things. The potential for total destruction of the true spirit of Islamic life was so very apparent.
However it was clear that the rulers were not really functioning as servants of humanity as they were supposed to. How then to deal with the flagrant breach of the divine trust?
The answer to this question is to be found in the Holy Qur'an which lays down the ground rules of a clear-cut policy:
"O you with Iman! Stand firmly for justice, giving witness for Allah, maybe therein your own loss, or of your parents or of your relations." (4:135)
And the basic philosophy of life, or philosophy of Shuhud (Martyrdom), if you will, has never been a hidden secret:
"Say you, 'Undoubtedly, my prayer, and my sacrifices, and my living and my dying are all for Allah, who is the Lord of all the worlds'" (6:162)
Allah Ta'ala clearly declares that:
"their mischief is more grievous than killing" (2:191),
"And obey not him whose hearts We have made neglectful of Our remembrance and who followed his own desires and whose affair exceeded the trust." (18:28)
Such are the clear instructions and guidelines for those who care to stand up to the bullies and try to reform the society. Evidently, to each according to his capacity and merit and piety.
People are free to interpret history in the light of their own conceptions of truth and fairness or in the darkness of their own narrow and biased mental blind spots. Some people may and some have actually interpreted Imam Husain's reactions and actions as mere acts of political nature. People with such a non-ideological, materialistic mind-set may also consider Hazrat El-Imam Husain's (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) actions to be imprudent and unwise bravado in view of the heavy odds stacked against him.
In order to bring a reasonably fairness to this discussion, it is important to try to take into account some other relevant aspects of the total scenario. In this context, as the story unfolds according to various reports, two developments deserve to be briefly mentioned with their necessary background:
According to Tabari in Volume 6, page 226 (d. 923, a polyhistor whose works on the Holy Qur'an, the law and history are a marvel of erudition), El-Imam Husain received the news on his way towards Kufa that his emissary Muslim bin Aqeel was imprisoned and then slain by the authorities. This changed the whole picture. Imam Husain felt it necessary to inform all his companions about the devastating repercussions of this unexpected turn of events, particularly to those Beduins who, with a view to support him, had joined him on his way to Kufa. He then gave them all permission to leave him and return back if they so chose. Taking advantage of this offer, almost all the Beduins left and only those who had come with him all the way from Mecca stayed with him.
Tabari (Vol. 6, pg. 220) gives us an account of how Hazrat Imam Husain took the initiative at the appropriate time to offer the olive branch. Tabari's account is based on the report by El-Imam Sayyid Muhammad al-Baqar, the grandson of Hazrat El-Imam Husain (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu). According to this report (assuming this to be an accurate and a more reliable version, as there are other reports too), Imam Husain's offer contained three alternatives. He made it clear that any of the three options would be acceptable to him. The offer was:
Let me return back to where I came from, i.e., Mecca or Medina.
Let me go to Yazid.
Let me move out of here, out of your way, and proceed to the frontiers (where Jihad activities were in progress). Imam Husain made this offer to Umar bin Sa'd bin abi Waqqas, who accepted it and conveyed his acceptance to his superior, Ibn Ziad. The response from Ibn Ziad was in the negative. He insisted that Imam Husain must first take the oath of religions at his hand and only then Imam Husain's proposal would be considered. Whereupon, Imam Husain retorted: "No, by Allah No! This will never happen."
Now, the point to be born in mind is that Imam Husain did not hesitate to a) take appropriate steps to face the music and let people go freely, and b) explore reasonable, peaceful means of settling the dispute -- amicably and at the appropriate time!
After taking this into consideration, let us now resume the discussion of numerical superiority and the situation of tremendous odds which Imam Husain (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) faced. Suffice to say that those who have high aims and lofty ideals know it very well that numerical superiority has never been a deterring factor for those who stand for the Truth. Here lies the greatness of Hazreat El-Imam Husain (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) who stands a head and shoulders above his contemporaries: he chose to follow the most beautiful example of his own beloved grandfather, Sayyidina wa Mawlana Muhammad (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) as well as the examples of so many other great reformers who started off with an even smaller minority -- a minority of no more than one!! As far as Hazrat Imam Husain (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) was concerned, it was nothing but a religious act, a religious duty that had to be fulfilled even at the coast of his own life and the lives of his dear ones. He felt strongly that the mischief (fitnah) had to be nipped in the bud. This effort of his was quite in accord with the very aim of human society which is none other than
controlling temptations towards mischief in an environment where it would be wiser to diminish the occasions in which such evil could occur, and b) remedying the damage already done.
Is it not an inherent human right of every child of Adam and Eve to enjoy the liberty of conscience to choose their own ideology and also defend their convictions? How then can Imam Husain (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) be denied his right to defend his convictions and also to establish the fundamental Islamic doctrine of religious tolerance at the same time -- all in obedience to Allah's commands? Is it also not the case that every Muslim is duty bound to not only establish the Sovereignty of Allah on earth, but also to make it possible for everyone to exercise their liberty of conscience?
Let's all reiterate once again that there is no objective more meaningful than the cherished dedication to establish on earth Allah's Kingdom and His Sovereignty. Can anyone declare this philosophy of life and death in words which are more comprehensive than the beautiful Qur'anic exhortation:
"Say, my Salah (prayer) and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are all for Allah Who is the Lord of all the worlds" (6:162)
Excerpted from the keynote address given by Syed Mumtaz Ali at the philosophy of Martyrdom Conference held in Toronto, Canada in1998.
Imam Sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Bâqir by M. Jamaal al-Din Abdul-Wahid al-Hanafi
A king requested the presence of a Sayyid in his court, but with the intent of destroying him. When the Sayyid appeared, the king sought his forgiveness, begged his pardon, bestowed many gifts upon him, and then dismissed this Hashimite in a very courteous manner. In response to the inquiry as to why he acted in such a manner, the king said “When he came in, I saw two lions, one on his right and one on his left who threatened to destroy me if I should attempt to do harm to him.” The Wali whom Allah Ta’ala protected in this story is Al-Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir, Radhi Allahu ‘Anhu. This tremendous conveyer of ‘Ilm is a great asset of Al-Islam, though very few know about him.
His full name and lineage is Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abu Taleb al-Qurashi al-Hashimi, born in the Holy City of Madinah in the year 57 A.H. His father and teacher was Hazrat Imam Ali Zaynul-Abideen, survivor of the tragedy of Karbala, son of the Sayyid of Shuhadaa, Sayyidina Husayn bin Ali, Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu. His mother was Sayyidah Fatimah bint al-Hasan bin Ali (Radhi Allahu Anha). From this marriage was born the first generation of the Ahlul-Bayt that was both al-Hasani and al-Husayni, therefore both the paternal and maternal sides were connected to Sayyidina Ali bin Abu Taleb and Sayyidah Fatimah az-Zahra, may millions of Salaams be upon them.
Hazrat Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu Anh) had three brothers, Abdullah, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, in addition to being the half-brother of Imam Zayd bin Ali al-Shaheed (Radhi Allahu Anh). Hazrat Zayd and Hazrat Muhammad shared different opinions in light of various political situations that existed in their time. While Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu Anh) chose not to become involved in political matters, Imam Zayd al-Shaheed (Radhi Allahu Anhu) marched against the Umayyads to claim the Khalifat, but fell victim to Shi’ah conspiracy, thus becoming a martyr, similar to his grandfather’s being betrayed and deserted in Karbala.
The kunya for Hazrat Muhammad bin Ali (Radhi Allahu Anh) was Abu Ja’far, though his was given many titles, such as Abu Abdullah, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, and Maulana al-Baqir ul-‘Uloom. The most commonly used title is “Al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir.” Baqir literally means to rip open or cut open, and in the case of Imam al-Baqir, he split open knowledge, that is scrutinized it and examined the depths of it so that it can be spread to all people, therefore, his title also meant “The Expounder of Knowledge.” Those who were fortunate to be in his presence would unanimously report that he would rip knowledge down to its very root, reaching its origin, and then convey that knowledge to the people. Hazrat Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Makki, Rahmatullahi alayh, wrote in his book, As-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa:
“Al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir has disclosed secrets of Ilm and Hikmah and unfolded the principles of spiritual and religious guidance. Nobody can deny his character, his God-given knowledge, his divinely-gifted Hikmah, and his obligation and gratitude towards the spreading of knowledge. He was a sacred and highly talented spiritual leader and for this reason, he was popularly titled al-Baqir, which means the expounder of knowledge. Kind in heart, spotless in character, saved by soul, and noble by nature, the Imam devoted all his time to Allah’s Ibadah. It is beyond the power of a man to count the deep impression of knowledge and guidance left by the Imam on the hearts of the faithful. His saying in devotion and abstinence, in knowledge and wisdom and in religious exercise and submission to Allah are so great in number that the volume of this book is quite insufficient to cover them all.”
Hazrat Shibli Nu’mani, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh, writes in his book, Sirat-e-Nu’mani that “the Ahli-Bayt were the fountainhead of Hadith, Fiqh, and in fact, all religious learning,” and because of this truth, many seekers of Islamic knowledge sought after Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, Radhi Allahu 'Anh, as he possessed great knowledge of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasul-e-Akram Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam. Many of the Tabi’een, Taba at-Tabi’een, fuqaha, and mujtahideen, related and reported numerous Islamic sciences on the authority of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, Radhi Allahu 'Anh, as he was distinguished for his extensive knowledge of Islamic science and for his subtle indication as to the meanings of the Ayats of the Holy Qur’an. Because of the great knowledge of Hadith Allah blessed him with, his name is found in the isnad of many Sahih Ahadith collections. He was also known for his conveying the history and life of Nabi Akram, Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam, and his family. He became recognized as one of the Fuqaha of Madinah who many learned men would come to for answers to questions of jurisprudence. A famous quote from him that describes this station held by the Ahli-Bayt came from the question he was asked regarding Allah’s Ayat in Surah an-Nahl: “Ask the Ahl al-Dhikr if you do not know,” he answered: “We are the Ahl al-Dhikr.”
The Saliheen from amongst the Ahlul-Bayt of Sayyidina Rasul-e-Akram, Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam, never chase after Dunya, nor do they have any regards for this worldly life. They devote their time and efforts to the service of the Ummah, seeking the pleasure of only Allah Ta’ala. This was the case with Sayyidina Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) as he was not only well-known for his vast knowledge, but also for the immense Ibadah he would put time into. Imam Abul-Hasan Ali bin ‘Uthman al-Hujweri (Rahmatullah alayh) and Qadi Abu Fazl Iyad bin Musa al-Yahsubi (Rahmatullah alayh) relate in their works, Al-Kashf al-Mahjub and Al-Shifa, respectively, that Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) was a very devout Muslim and spent very much time performing ‘Ibadah. He would spend much of his nights glorifying Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. As a result of his devotion to Allah Ta’ala, he was endowed with ‘Ilm of many sciences of the Nafs, thus endowed with knowledge of both the exoteric and esoteric sciences of the Deen.
Sayyidina Rasulullah, Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam, related that his Ahli-Bayt will be faced with adversities. Such was true for Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu 'Anh), because he lived in a time of much internal strife amongst Muslims, where the period of bloodshed of Muslims at the hands of Muslims took place. In addition, there was much friction between Bani Hashim and Bani Umayya. Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) lived in the period of the Umayyad Dynasty of Sulayman, Hazrat ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-‘Aziz, Yazid II, and Hisham bin Abdul-Malik. The period of the Khalifat of Hazrat ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-‘Aziz was a positive one for the Ahli-Bayt because not only did he bring and end to the bad-mouthing of Sayyidina Ali bin Abu Talib (Karam Allah Wajhu) and his descendants, but he also gave the orchard of Fadek to Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) out of his tremendous respect for and devotion to the descendants of Sayyidina wa Mawlana Muhammad, Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam, which was well-accepted by Imam Abu Ja’far (Radhi Allahu 'Anh).
Imam Abu Ja’far (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) married the great grand-daughter of Khalif Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (Radhi Allahu 'Anh), Hazrat Umm Farwa bint al-Qasim bin Muhammad bin Abu Bakr. From this marriage to Hazrat Umm Farwa, he was the father of another great Sayyid Imam of Ahlus-Sunnah, Hazrat Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (Radhi Allahu 'Anh), who much ‘Ilm was passed on to, becoming another great Faqih (and Wali) of Madinah.
The contributions to Al-Islam by Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and his progeny are very great, and one such example of that is found with the Hanafi Madhhab. It is safe to say that The Madhhab of Ahlul-Bayt (or most directly linked to Ahlul-Bayt) is the Hanafi Madhhab. Al-Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifah Nu’man bin Thabit (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) gained much knowledge from Al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, as well as his son, Al-Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq. In Sirat-e-Nu’man, it is written that “Abu Hanifah sat for a long time at Imam Muhammad al-Baqir’s feet and acquired from him much valuable knowledge of fiqah and Hadith not available anywhere else.” Even Shi’ah books fully attest to this fact and much more. Ibn Mutahhir al-Hilli, a famous Shi’i scholar, wrote in his books Nahjul-Haqq and Al-Minhaj al-Karamah Fi Tariqat al-Imamat that Imam Abu Hanifah learned from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) as well as from his son, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (Radhi Allahu 'Anh), attaining high grades in his company. Al-Hilli also brings forth the fact that Al-Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifah (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) was given ijaza to give fatwa and perform ijtihad by at least three members of the Ahli-Bayt: 1.) Al-Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, 2.) his half-brother, Al-Imam Zayd bin Ali Shaheed and 3.) his son, Al-Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq. In light of this fact, Abdullah Suwaydi writes in his book, An-nahiyatu an-ta’ni Amir al-mu’minin Mu’awiya that
“Imam Abu Hanifah’s requirements of ijazat is testified by the faultless A’immah. To speak ill of Al-Imam al-A’zam would mean to deny the testimony of the twelve Imams, who were sinless people. And this in its turn would be disbelief, according to the Shi’ah credo. Since there is not a Ma’soom Imam today, is it not especially fardh now for all Shi’ah to join the Madhhab of Imam al-A’zam?”
And the Madhhab he speaks of is known as the Hanafi Madhhab.
In Sirat-e-Nu’man, it is written that “both the Ahlus-Sunnah and the Shiites are in agreement that Imam Abu Hanifah derived much of his learning from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir.” It is related in Al-Majmua az-Zuhdiyya that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) looked at Abu Hanifah (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) and said:
“When those who defile my ancestor’s Shari’ah are on the increase, you will enliven it. You will be the savior of those with taqwa and the refuge of those with taqwa and the refuge of those who are confused! You will bring heretics round to the right path! Allah Ta’ala will help you!”
The purpose of the information of Imam Abu Hanifah’s interaction and studying under the Ahli-Bayt is not to brag about the virtues of the Hanafi Madhhab. Rather, we are bringing to light important aspects of the Hanafi Madhhab in relation to its connection to the Ahli-Bayt: 1.) Ijaza was given to Al-Imam al-A’zam by Imam al-Baqir and other members of Ahli-Bayt. 2.) Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) made it clear to Imam Abu Hanifah (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) that he would be one who would bring heretics and those lost souls back to the straight path. 3.) In light of the fact that neither Imam al-Baqir nor Imam as-Sadiq founded a Madhhab, their teachings are preserved in the Hanafi Madhhab. Therefore, those who claim that they “only follow Ahlul-Bayt” have no excuse for not being a Hanafi in light of their absence of Saliheen from Ahli-Bayt who are capable of giving ijtihad, instead of attributing falsehood and heresy in the name of the Sayyid A’immah.
It is a shame how the enemies of Ahlul-Bayt have taken the statements of Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Baqir out of context, but have even went to the extent of fabricating statements attributed to him. Such blasphemous statements proclaiming heresy on behalf of the Sahabi Ikram (Radhi Allahu 'Anhum) have been fabricated and with the name of Imam al-Baqir (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) attached to them. In reality, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir never promoted schisms, nor advocated any factions, thus separating from the Ummat-e-Muhammadi, Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam, known as Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'at. Proof of this can be found in the Ahadith found with ancestral succesion to Hazrat Ali (Karam Allah Wajhu), where the advice was given to not have relation with schismatic groups as they will spoil your religion.
Hazrat Abu Ja’far (Radhi Allahu 'Anh) returned to Allah on the 7th of Dhul-Hijjah in the year 114 A.H. in the Holy City of Madinah. He is buried in Al-Baqi cemetery where many other members of the Ahlul-Bayt, Shuhadaa, and Sahabi (May plenty of Salaam be upon them all) rest. The world benefitted from this Imam of exalted memory as he was an educator for many of the Ulama of Al-Islam as well as a preserver of the Sunnah of Nabi Muhammad, Sallallahu 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam. It is unfortunate that not many know about him. The well-respected scholars of Al-Islam have had nothing but good to say about Hazrat Abu Ja’far al-Baqir and to sum it up, Muhammad bin Khavendesh bin Mahmud wrote in Rauza-tus-Safaa that “neither pen nor tongue can describe the merits and the traditions of Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir.” May millions of most perfect Salaams be upon Sayyidina Rasulullah, his progeny, and his descendants. Aameen
May Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace
"I have discovered -- and exaggeration is not in my nature --
that he who is my sustenance will come to me.
I run to him, and my quest for him is agony for me.
Were I to sit still, he would come to me without distress."
cUrwa ibn Adhana.
The son of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, son of al-Imam Zain al-'Abidin, son of al-Husayn, son of Ali bin Abi Talib (r), Ja'far was born on the eighth of Ramadan in the year 83 H. His mother was the daughter of al-Qassim (r), whose great grandfather was Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r).
He spent his life in worship and acts of piety for the sake of Allah. He rejected all positions of fame in favor of cuzla or isolation from the lower world. One of his contemporaries, cUmar ibn Abi-l- Muqdam, said, "When I look at Ja'far bin Mu ammad I see the lineage and the secret of the Prophet Muhammad (s) united in him."
He received from the Prophet (s) two lines of inheritance: the secret of the Prophet (s) through 'Ali (r) and the secret of the Prophet (s) through Abu Bakr (r). In him the two lineages met and for that reason he was called "The Inheritor of the Prophetic Station (Maqam an-Nubuwwa) and the Inheritor of the Truthful Station (Maqam as-siddiqiyya)." In him was reflected the light of the knowledge of Truth and Reality. That light shone forth and that knowledge was spread widely through him during his lifetime.
Ja'far narrated from his father, Mu ammad al-Baqir, that a man came to his grandfather, Zain al-'Abidin, and said, "Tell me about Abu Bakr!" He said, "You mean as-Siddiq?" The man said, "How do you call him as-Siddiq when he is against you, the Family of the Prophet (s)?" He replied, "Woe to you. The Prophet (s) called him as-Siddiq, and Allah accepted his title of as-Siddiq. If you want to come to me, keep the love of Abu Bakr and 'Umar in your heart."
Ja'far said, "The best intercession that I hope for is the intercession of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r)." From him is reported also the following invocation: "O Allah, You are my Witness that I love Abu Bakr and I love 'Umar and if what I am saying is not true may Allah cut me off from the intercession of Mu ammad (s)."
He took the knowledge of hadith from two sources: from his father through 'Ali (r) and from his maternal grandfather al-Qassim. Then he increased his knowledge of hadith by sitting with 'Urwa, 'Aata, Na'fi and Zuhri. The two Sufyans, Sufyan ath-Thawri and Sufyan bin Ayinah, Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa, and al-Qattan all narrated hadith through him, as did many others from later hadith scholars. He was a mufassir al-Qur'an or master in exegesis, a scholar of jurisprudence, and one of the greatest mujtahids (qualified to give legal decisions) in Madinah.
Ja'far (r) acquired both the external religious knowledge as well as the internal confirmation of its reality in the heart. The latter was reflected in his many visions and miraculous powers, too numerous to tell.
One time someone complained to al-Mansur, the governor of Madinah, about Ja'far (r). They brought him before Mansur and asked the man who had complained, "Do you swear that Ja'far did as you say?" He said, "I swear that he did that." Ja'far said, "Let him swear that I did what he accused me of and let him swear that Allah punish him if he is lying." The man insisted on his complaint and Ja'far insisted that he take the oath. Finally the man accepted to take the oath. No sooner were the words of the oath out of his mouth than he fell down dead.
Once he heard that al-Hakm bin al-'Abbas al-Kalbi crucified his own uncle Zaid on a date palm. He was so unhappy about this that he raised his hands and said, "O Allah send him one of your dogs to teach him a lesson." Only a brief time passed before al-Hakm was eaten by a lion in the desert.
Imam at-Tabari narrates that Wahb said, "I heard Layth ibn Sacd say, I went on pilgrimage in the year 113 H., and after I prayed 'Asr I was reading some verses of the Holy Qur'an and I saw someone sitting beside me invoking Allah saying 'Ya Allah, Ya Allah...' repeatedly until he lost his breath. He then continued by saying 'Ya Hayy, Ya Hayy...' until his breath was again lost. He then raised his hands and said, 'O Allah, I have the desire to eat grapes, O Allah give me some. And my robe (jubba) is becoming so old and tattered, please O Allah grant me a new one.' Laith bin Sa'ad said that 'He had hardly finished his words before a basket of grapes appeared in front of him, and at that time there were no grapes in season. Beside the basket of grapes there appeared two cloaks more beautiful than I had ever seen before.' I said, 'O my partner let me share with you.' He said, 'How are you a partner?' I replied, 'You were praying and I was saying Amin.' Then Imam Ja'far said, 'Then come and eat with me,' and he gave me one of the two cloaks. Then he walked off until he met a man who said, 'O son of the Prophet (s), cover me because I have nothing but these tattered garments to cover me.' He immediately gave him the cloak that he had just received. I asked that man, 'Who is that?' He replied, 'That is the great Imam, Ja'far as-Sadiq.' I ran after him to find him but he had disappeared."
This is only a sample of the many anecdotes and stories of the karamat (miraculous events worked by Allah through whomever He chooses) of Ja'far as-Sadiq (r).
From his knowledge he used to say to Sufyan ath-Thawri, "If Allah bestows on you a favor, and you wish to keep that favor, then you must praise and thank Him excessively, because He said, "If you are thankful Allah will increase for you" [14:7]. He also said, "If the door of provision is closed for you, then make a great deal of istighfaar (begging forgiveness), because Allah said, "Seek forgiveness of your Lord, certainly Your Lord is oft-Forgiving" [11:52]. And he said to Sufyan, "If you are upset by the tyranny of a Sultan or other oppression that you witness, say "There is no change and no power except with Allah," because it is the key to Relief and one of the Treasures of Paradise."
From His Sayings
"The Nun [letter "n"] at the beginning of Surat 68 represents the light of Pre-eternity, out of which Allah created all creations, and which is Mu ammad (s). That is why He said in the same surat [verse 4]: 'Truly Thou art of a sublime nature' -- that is: you were priviledged with that light from pre-eternity."
"Allah Almighty and Exalted told the lower world, "Serve the one who serves Me and tire the one who serves you."
"Prayer is the pillar of every pious person; Pilgrimage is the Jihad of every weak one; the Zakat of the body is fasting; and the one who asks for Allah's grants without preforming good deeds is like one trying to shoot an arrow without a bow."
"Open the door of provision by giving donation; fence in your money with the payment of zakat; the best is he who wastes not; planning is the foundation of your life, and to act prudently is the basis of intellect."
"Whoever makes his parents sad has denied their rights on him."
"The jurists are the trustees of the Prophet (s)... If you find the jurists sticking to the company of the Sultans, say to them, 'This is forbidden,' as the jurist cannot express his honest opinion under the pressure of the Sultan's proximity."
"No food is better than God-fear and there is nothing better than silence; no enemy is more powerful than ignorance; no illness is greater than lying."
"If you see something you don't like in your brother try to find from one to seventy excuses for him. If you can't find an excuse, say, 'There might be an excuse but I don't know it.'"
"If you hear a word from a Muslim which is offensive, try to find a good meaning for it. If you don't find a good meaning for it, say to yourself, 'I do not understand what he said,' in order to keep harmony between Muslims."
Imam Ja'far (RAA) passed away in 148 H. and was buried in Jannat al-Baqi in the same grave as that of his father, Muhammad al-Baqir, his grandfather, Zain al-'Abidin, and the uncle of his grandfather, al-Hasan ibn 'Ali (r).
"O Allah! We seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) We seek strength, and We ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and We do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action (We are about to take) is better for my religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for us and make it easy for us and then add blessings [baraka'] in it, for us. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for us, bad for our religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from us and turn us away from it and whatever is better for us, ordain [destine] that for us and then make us satisfied with it."
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Importance of a good shaykh by Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi Allahu anhu
Al Ghawth al-Adham Shaykh Sayyad Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi 'Allahu anhu said: You must work hard to ensure that your hearts are not locked out of the door of His nearness. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must seek the company of a Shaykh who is learned in the law [hukm] and knowledge ['ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who will show you the way toward Him. Without seeing the successful [muflih], one cannot succeed. If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice ['ulama 'ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen.
Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is get up, take an ablution [yatawadda'], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak'atain] and say: "O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path." The instrument [sabab] is necessary. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) was quite capable of guiding [His servants] to Him without the Prophets [anbiya']. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must awaken from your heedless folly. As the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: If someone relies entirely on his own subjective judgement, he will go astray. Try to find someone who will be a mirror for the face of your religion [din], just as you look in the mirror to check the appearance of your outer face, your turban and your hair. Be sensible! What is this crazy foolishness? You say, "I don't need anyone to teach me," and yet the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: The believer is the believer's mirror [al-mu'minu mir'atu 'l-mu'min].
When the believer's faith is sound, he comes to be a mirror for all creatures. They behold their religious faces [wujuh adyanihim] reflected in the mirror of his speech, every time they see him and get close to him. What is this craziness? Not a moment goes by without your begging Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to provide you with more than you already have to eat, to drink, and to wear, with more sexual opportunities and more income. These are not things that could increase or decrease, even if you were to be joined in your plea by every supplicant whose prayers are answered [da 'in mujab].
Supplication [da 'wa] will neither increase one's sustenance by so much as an atom, nor reduce it by an atom. This is a foregone conclusion [mafrugh minhu]. You must devote your attention to doing what you have been commanded to do, and to avoiding what you have been forbidden to do. You should not worry about that which is bound to come your way, because He guarantees that it will come to you. Allotted shares [aqsam] arrive at their appointed times, whether they be sweet or bitter, whether you like them or dislike them.
The people [of the Way] attain to a condition in which they no longer have any prayer of supplication [du'a] or request [su'al] to make. They do not beg [in their prayers] to gain advantages, nor to get rid of disadvantages. Their supplication comes to be a matter concerning their hearts, sometimes for their own sake and sometimes for the sake of all creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication without conscious premeditation [fi ghaiba].
"O '' Allah, endow us with good behaviour in Your company under all circumstances!
[When the believer's faith is sound], fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], remembrance [dhikr] and all acts of obedience [ta 'at] become second nature to him, mingled with his flesh and blood. Then he receives protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. The restraint of the law [hukm] does not desert him, not for an instant, while he is on this course. The law comes to be like the vessel in which he sits, as he travels over the ocean of the power [qudra] of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He goes on traveling over it until he arrives at the shore of the hereafter, at the shore of the ocean of grace and the hand of nearness. Thus he is sometimes in the company of creatures and at certain times in the company of the Creator. His work and toil are with creatures, while his relaxation is with the Creator.
From Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, "The Sublime Revelation (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)," translated by Muhtar Holland (Al-Baz Publishing, Houston, 1992), p. 426-8.
Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him. (It was related by al-Bukhari)
“Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.”
Sunday, March 30, 2008
THE AHLUL BAYT
It is an absolute necessity for Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamâ'at (a.k.a. Sunni's) to love the Ahl al-Bayt, that being Hazrat Sayyidina Ali bin Abi Tâleb (KarramAllah wajhu), Hazrat Sayyidatina Fâtimah (Radhi Allahu Anha) and their descendants (Radhi Allahu 'Anhum Ajma'in). Loving the Ahl al-Bayt will result in one to die in a state of Iman. Books written by the Ahlus-Sunnah have always included writings commending their love. One can NOT be of the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamâ'at and NOT have love, respect, and admiration of the Ahl al-Bayt.