Written by:
Yasin T. al-Jibouri

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

This book contains a brief yet documented narrative of an incident that took place in Kerbala’, Iraq, in 61 A.H. (After Hijra, or Hegira)/680 A.D. It has stamped the history of the Muslim nation ever since, and it will continue to do so till the reappearance of the Awaited One, the Mahdi from among the offspring of Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ). It refers to a revolution against tyranny and oppression led by Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) son of Imam Ali ibn [son of] Abu [father of] Talib (ﻉ) and grandson of Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ). The confrontation left a lone male survivor from Imam al-Husain’s camp: Imam al-Husain’s son Ali, titled “as-Sajjad,” the one who quite often prostrates to Allah, and also “Zain al-Abidin,” the best of worshippers of Allah. He later became the fourth in the series of the Twelve Infallible Imams (ﻉ). His offspring migrated to north Africa where they founded the Fatimide caliphate that lasted from 296 – 566 A.H./909 – 1171 A.D. Having conquered Egypt in 358 A.H./969 A.D., they built Cairo in order to make it their capital and founded in the next year the al-Azhar mosque and university. The latter was founded by caliph “al-Muizz li Deenillah,” Abu Tameem Maadd ibn al-Mansur who was born in 319 A.H./931 A.D. and died in 365 A.H./975 A.D.; he ruled from 341 A.H./953 A.D. till his death.

The bloody confrontation between Husain’s tiny group of family members and supports and the huge army raized according to orders issued by the ruler of his time, namely Yazid “son” of Mu’awiyah , which is referred to in history books as the Taff Battle, started on the first day of Muharram, 61 A.H.October 4, 680 A.D. and ended ten days later with the barbaric killing of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) and all males with him__with the exception of his ailing son referred to above, namely Ali__, including his infant Abdullah, who was six months old and who was shot with an arrow in the neck. Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) was pleading to those folks to give Abdullah some water to drink. Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) and his small band were not permitted to the end to have access to the water of the Euphrates that lied a short distance from their camp. This reveals the extent of cruelty of those who fought Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) and his small band of supporters, the brave defender of principles and the reformer of the nation that he was, the man whom the Prophet on many occasions praised and honoured as one of the Masters of the Youths of Paradise, the other Master being his older brother Hasan (ﻉ). Imam al-Husain’s body was trampled under the hoofs of the soldiers’ horses and his head was cut off, placed on top of a spear and paraded before his women and children, who were all tied and chained as captives and conveyed in the most cruel manner the entire distance from Kerbala’, as the Taff area came to be called, to Damascus, Syria, seat of the Umayyad tyrant Yazid “son” of Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan. The heads of the other heroes who fought on Imam al-Husain’s side were also cut off and paraded in the same manner as trophies although Islam does not permit the mutilation of anyone’s body, be he a Muslim or a non-Muslim. Little did those killers care to know about Islam, and the same can be said about those who refrain from condemning them and who, thus, share in the burden of sins those killers shall bear on the Day of Judgment.

The primary sources of this book are: Maqtal al-Husain by Abdul-Razzaq al-Masawi al-Muqarram, and Tarikh al-Umam wal Mulak by Abu Ja’far Muhammed ibn Jarar at-Tabari (better known as Tarikh at-Tabari). Several secondary references, in Arabic and English, have been consulted and are cited in elaborate footnotes.

It is hoped that this book will open the eyes of new Muslim converts in the West in general and here in the U.S. in particular so that they may see the other side of the coin. Most of them were not taught Islamic history because, in most likelihood, it would indict their mentors. It is also hoped that such converts will realize the pitfalls of little knowledge which is surely a dangerous thing.

There is a story behind every book. This one is no exception. As of the date of writing this Introduction (Shawwal 1419 A.H./February 1999), Northern Virginia Muslims who love and revere Imam Husain (ﻉ) do not have a place of their own where they can assemble to commemorate the Kerbala’ tragedy, the greatest of all; therefore, they have to meet here and there, mostly at homes and apartments of their brethren who can accommodate them. The most prominent of such dedicated brethren have been: Hamzah al-Shawwaf (nicknamed Abu Muhammed-Ali), Abdul-Muhsin al-Sa’igh (Abu Abdul-Aziz), and Ahmed al-Haddad (Abu Abdullah). These brethren have always opened their homes and hearts to all those who cherish the memory of Imam Husain (ﻉ) and of all other Imams belonging to the Prophet’s Progeny, “Ahl al-Bayt,” peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of them. During the past commemoration (Muharram 1419/May 1998), an Azari brother named Salashour who runs a rug store tried his best to make us feel at home, permitting us to use the premises of his business for the first ten days of the month of Muharram. It was there and then that another very dedicated brother named Ja’far Madan suggested that I write a few pages in English about the martyrdom of Imam Husain (ﻉ) in order to circulate them on the Internet. Alhamdu-Lillah, both I and he did what we promised. Then Br. Madan asked me whether I would consider turning those few pages into a book for the American and Europrean readers. We liked the idea. You see, a good word, a wise suggestion, is like a seed; if it finds the right soil, it will shoot roots and sprout, and soon a seed becomes a tree bearing fruit, and the fruit carry seeds that will eventually be sowed, and they, too, will set roots, sprout and bear fruit…, and so on. May the Almighty bless and reward our dear brother Ja’far Madan for his suggestion, and may He bless all other dedicated brethren like him. May He forever guide our steps to what He loves and prefers, Allahomma AAameen.

As the Dedication suggests, the publication of this book has been made possible by the generosity of a number of such dedicated lovers of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), and of his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ), and who reside in metropolitan Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. The author apologizes if some of the photographs are not of good quality. May the Almighty reward all those who brought this book to light and who circulate it and help others benefit from it with the very best of His rewards in the life of this world and in the hereafter, Allahomma AAameen.


This is a tale of an ongoing struggle between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, piety and impiety, worldliness and spirituality. Such struggles take place in our life each and every day on different scales. Other religions, too, have immortalized the struggle between right and wrong: the struggle of Rama against Ravana, the contest between Moses, peace be with him, and Pharaoh, the challenge of Abraham, peace be with him, to Nimrud, the contest of Jesus Christ, peace be with him, against Herod… All these are examples of the contest, the struggle, the ongoing war, between right and wrong, truth and falsehood. Falsehood appears to the eyes of most people as being very strong, armed with material power. It has the authority of the ruling government, of the veto at the “U.N. Security Council,” of the awe of military might, the carriers and the cruise missiles, the satellites and the spy planes, the lackeys and the stooges, the silver and the gold, and the numerical superiority… Its ostentatious grandeur and splendour cannot be denied, nor can its glittering crowns, thrones studded with gems, palaces and dazzling swords… And the truth! The humble truth! The meek and weak truth! It appears helpless, handicapped, powerless… But the truth possesses the vigor of faith, the reliance on the Almighty God, and the precious asset of spiritual power. These armaments of the truth are so powerful, they smash the head of falsehood, reducing its splendour and grandeur to dust. Truth, in the end, triumphs, achieving success so splendidly that the world is awe-stricken thereat… Such is the epic of heroism recorded on the pages of history not with the ink of the writers but with the blood of the martyrs. Such is each and every epic of heroism… Such is the epic of martyrdom of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ).



Abu Sufyan was a wealthy and influential man who belonged to the Banu Umayyah clan of the once pagan tribe of Quraish of Mecca, Hijaz, that fought the spread of Islam relentlessly during the time of the Prophet of Islam (ﻉ). He was contemporary to the Prophet of Islam (ﻉ) whom he fought vigorously. His date of birth is unknown, but he died in 31 A.H./652 A.D. “Abu Sufyan” is his kunya, surname; his name is Sakhr ibn Harb ibn Umayyah. He is father of Mu’awiyah and grandfather of Yazid.

Abu Sufyan led pagan Quraish in its many wars against Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ) and his small band of supporters, making alliances with other pagan tribes and with the Jews of Medina against the new rising power of Islam. He kept leading one battle after another till the fall of Mecca to the Muslims in 630 A.D. It was then that he had to either accept the Islamic faith or face a sure death for all the mischief he had committed against the Muslims, so he preferred to live in hypocrisy as a “Muslim,” though only in name, rather than accept death. He was the most cunning man in all of Arabia and one of its aristocrats and men of might and means. He saw Islam as the harbinger of the waning of his own personal power and prestige and those of his tribe, Quraish, not to mention the decline of his faith, paganism, and the pre-Islamic way of life to which he and his likes were very much accustomed, the life of promiscuity, lewdness and debauchery, with all the wine, women and wealth aristocrats like him very much enjoyed. His likes are present throughout the Islamic lands in our time and in every time and clime… This has always been so, and it shall unfortunately remain so…

Mu’awiyah son of Abu Sufyan was born out of wedlock in 602 A.D. during the jahiliyya, the time of ignorance, the period that preceded Islam. His mother, Maysun, was one of his father’s slave-girls. Maysan had a sexual intercourse with one of Mu’awiyah’s slaves and conceived Yazid by him. Mu’awiyah, in total disregard for Islamic or traditional Arab traditions, claimed Yazid as his son. A testimony to this fact is the well-documented tradition of the Prophet (ﺹ) wherein he said, “The murderer of my [grand]son al-Husain is a bastard.” This tradition is quoted on p. 156, Vol. 1, of Kanz al-Ummal of al-Muttaqi al-Hindi. The stigma of being a bastard applies actually not only to Yazid but also to both Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan and Ubaydullah ibn Sa’d, the accomplices about whom the reader will read later; all of these men were born out of wedlock.

Mu’awiyah played a major role in distorting the Islamic creed by paying writers to tailor design “traditions” to serve his interests and support his deviated views. He installed himself as ruler of Syria in 40 A.H./661 A.D. and ruled for twenty long years till his death at the age of seventy-eight. Shortly before his death, which took place in the month of Rajab of 60 A.H./May of 680 A.D., he managed to secure the oath of allegiance to his corrupt and immoral son Yazid as his successor. He did so by intimidation once and once by buying loyalty and favours, spending in the process huge sums of money that belonged to the Muslims. The weak-minded majority of the Muslims of his time swore allegiance to him. This proves that the majority does not necessarily have to be right. Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), together with a small band of devotees to the cause of truth, refused to bow their heads to the oppressive forces, hence this tale of heroism.

Mu’awiyah declared himself “caliph” in Syria when he was 59 years old and assumed authority by sheer force. He was not elected, nor was he requested to take charge. He did not hide this fact; rather, he bragged about it once when he addressed the Kufians saying, “O people of Kufa! Do you think that I fought you in order that you may establish prayers or give zakat or perform the pilgrimage?! I know that you do pray, pay zakat and perform the pilgrimage. Indeed, I fought you in order to take command over you with contempt, and Allah has given me that against your wishes. Rest assured that whoever killed any of us will himself be killed. And the treaty between us of amnesty is under my feet.”[1]

Mu’awiyah’s rule was terror in the whole Muslim land. Such terrorism was spread by many convoys sent to various regions. Historians have narrated saying that Muawiyh summoned Sufyan ibn ‘Awf al-Ghamidi, one of the commanders of his army, and said to him, “This army is under your command. Proceed along the Euphrates River till you reach Heet. Any resistance you meet on your way should be crushed, and then you should proceed to invade Anbar. After that, penetrate deeply into Mada’in. O Sufyan! These invasions will frighten the Iraqis and please those who like us. Such campaigns will attract frightened people to our side. Kill whoever holds different views from ours; loot their villages and demolish their homes. Indeed, fighting them against their livelihood and taking their wealth away is similar to killing them but is more painful to their hearts.”[2]

Another of his commanders, namely Bishr ibn Arta’ah, was summoned and ordered to proceed to Hijaz and Yemen with these instructions issued by Mu’awiyah: “Proceed to Medina and expel its people. Meanwhile, people in your way, who are not from our camp, should be terrorized. When you enter Medina, let it appear as if you are going to kill them. Make it appear that your aim is to exterminate them. Then pardon them. Terrorize the people around Mecca and Medina and scatter them around.”[3]

During Mu’awiyah’s reign, basic human rights were denied, not simply violated. No one was free to express his views. Government spies were paid to terrorize the public, assisting the army and the police in sparing no opportunity to crush the people and to silence their dissent. There are some documents which reveal Mu’awiyah’s instructions to his governors to do just that. For instance, the following letter was addressed to all judges: “Do not accept the testimony of Ali’s followers (Shi’as) or of his descendants in (your) courts.” Another letter stated: “If you have evidence that someone likes Ali and his family, omit his name from the recipients of rations stipulated from the zakat funds.” Another letter said, “Punish whoever is suspected of following Ali and demolish his house.”[4] Such was the situation during the government of Mu’awiyah, Yazid’s infamous father. Historians who were recording these waves of terror described them as unprecedented in history. People were so frightened, they did not mind being called atheists, thieves, etc., but not followers of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), Prophet Muhammed’s right hand, confidant and son-in-law.

Another aspect of the government of Mu’awiyah was the racist discrimination between Arabs and non-Arabs. Although they were supposed to have embraced Islam which tolerates no racism in its teachings, non-Arabs were forced to pay khiraj and jizya taxes that are levied from non-Muslims living under the protection of Muslims and enjoying certain privileges, including the exemption from the military service. A non-Arab soldier fighting in the state’s army used to receive bare subsistence from the rations. Once, a dispute flared up between an Arab and a non-Arab and both were brought to court. The judge, namely Abdullah ibn amir, heard the non-Arab saying to his Arab opponent, “May Allah not permit people of your kind (i.e. Arabs) to multiply.” The Arab answered him by saying, “O Allah! I invoke You to multiply their (non-Arabs’) population among us!” People present there and then were bewildered to hear such a plea, so they asked him, “How do you pray for this man’s people to multiply while he prays for yours to be diminished?!” The Arab opponent said, “Yes, indeed, I do so! They clean our streets and make shoes for our animals, and they weave our clothes!”

Imam al-Husain’s older brother, Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ), was elected in Medina on the 21st of the month of Ramadan, 40 A.H./January 28, 661 A.D. as the caliph, but his caliphate did not last long due to the terrorism promoted by Mu’awiyah who either intimidated, killed, or bribed the most distinguished men upon whom Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) depended to run the affairs of the government. Finally, Mu’awiyah pushed Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) out of power after signing a treaty with him the terms of which were, indeed, honourable and fair, had they only been implemented. Finding his men too weak or too reluctant to fight Mu’awiyah, Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) had no alternative except to sign the said treaty with a man whom he knew very well to be the most hypocritical of all and the most untrustworthy. Since there are too many ignorant folks who dare to blaspheme and cast doubt about the integrity of Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ), we have to review the terms of that treaty and leave the reader to draw his own conclusion; those terms, in brief, were:a

1) Mu’awiyah shall rule according to the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﺹ) in the territories under his control.

2) Mu’awiyah shall have no right to nominate his successor.

3) All people in Syria, Iraq, Hizaj and Yemen shall lead their lives safely and securely.

4) The lives and properties of the followers (Shi’as) of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), wherever they may be, shall remain safe and secure.

5) Mu’awiyah shall not try, openly or secretly, to harm or to kill Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) son of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), his brother Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), or any other member of the family of the Prophet (ﺹ), nor shall they be threatened or terrorized.

6) The abusive language, the cursing of Imam Ali (ﻉ) during prayer services (ordered by Mu’awiyah and continued after his death for a long period of time) at the Grand Mosque of Damascus shall be stopped.

Mu’awiyah had ordered all Imams who led congregational prayers not to descend from their pulpits before cursing Ali (ﻉ), a practice which they labeled as “Sunnah.” It is documented that one such Imam forgot once to curse Ali (ﻉ), whereupon people shouted at him that he had violated the Sunnah. Those who prayed at home and who forgot to curse Ali (ﻉ) after their prayers felt obligated to repeat them, being convinced that such cursing was an integral part of the compulsory prayers without which they would not be accepted by Allah… Such abominable blasphemy continued from the year when Uthman was killed, that is, 35 A.H./656 A.D. till it was terminated by orders of the only righteous Umayyad caliph, namely Omer ibn Abdul-Aziz, one year after his becoming caliph, that is, in 100 A.H../718 A.D., for a total of 62 years. Historians say that the public actually did not stop cursing Ali (ﻉ) even then but continued to do so for at least 18 more years, extending the total to 80 years… Omer ibn Abdul-Aziz was killed in 101 A.H./719 A.D. after having ruled for only two years and five months because he was fair and just and, most importantly, because he was sympathetic to the Prophet’s family (Ahl al-Bayt); peace and blessings of Allah be with him.

Shortly after concluding the said treaty, Mu’awiyah lured Imam al-Hasan’s wife, Juda daughter of al-Ash’ath ibn Qays, into poisoning her husband with the promise that he would marry her off to his son and heir apparent Yazid. Juda killed her husband who died on Safar 28, 50 A.H./March 30, 670 A.D. She was cursed by the Almighty with an embarrassing ailment for which nobody could find any cure. Mu’awiyah, as expected, did not fulfill his promise.

Having succeeded in getting Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ), Imam al-Husain’s older brother, killed, Mu’awiyah sent letters to one of his Umayyad relatives, namely Marwan ibn al-Hakam, a cousin of Uthman ibn Affan and bearer of his seal, a seal which he used quite often for his own gains and even without the knowledge of the aging caliph, instructing him to obtain the oath of allegiance for his son Yazid as his (Mu’awiyah’s) successor. By the way, the Umayyads succeeded in making this same Marwan caliph in 64 A.H./683 A.D., and his government lasted for seventeen months till it ended in 65 A.H./684-85 A.D. when he died at the age of 63 and was buried in Damascus. Marwan, accordingly, delivered a speech following the prayers and concluded it by saying, “The commander of the faithful (meaning Mu’awiyah) is of the view that he chooses his son Yazid to succeed him as your ruler following in the footsteps of Abu Bakr and Omer ibn al-Khattab…” He was at that moment interrupted by Abdul-Rahman son of first caliph Abu Bakr. “Nay!,” Abdul-Rahman ibn Abu Bakr shouted, “You mean in the footsteps of Kisra (Khosro, emperor of Persia) and Caesar (emperor of Rome)! Neither Abu Bakr nor Omer appointed their sons or relatives as their successors…!”

In 51 A.H./671 A.D., Mu’awiyah performed the pilgrimage then went to Medina where he called to his presence Abdullah son of second caliph Omer ibn al-Khattab. His father, Omer , succeeded Abu Bakr as the caliph in 13 A.H./634 A.D.; he remained caliph for ten years till he was killed by a Persian slave in the month of Thul-Hijja, 23 A.H./November 644 A.D. He was succeeded by Uthman ibn Affan who ruled for eleven years (till 35 A.H./656 A.D.). Mu’awiyah said to Abdullah ibn Omer, “O son of Omer ! You used to tell me that you never liked to sleep one night without knowing who your Imam (here the word means “ruler”) is, and I warn you against spreading the seeds of dissension among the Muslims or corrupting their views.” Abdullah praised Allah then said, “There were other caliphs before you who had sons who were not inferior to yours, yet they did not decide to do what you have decided to do regarding your son. Rather, they let the Muslims make their own choice. You warn me against dissension, and I am not an advocate of dissension. I am just one of the Muslims, and if they are unanimous regarding an issue, I will then add my voice to theirs.” Having said so, Abdullah left. Then Muhammed, son of first caliph Abu Bakr, referred to above, was presented before Mu’awiyah. The latter started his rhetoric but Abdul-Rahman interrupted him by saying, “All you want to say is that you wish we obey your son after obeying Allah, and this, by Allah, we will never do. And, by Allah, we shall settle this issue by mutual consultation among the Muslims; otherwise, we will treat you as you were treated at the dawn of Islam…!” Then he, too, stood up and left.

Yazid son of Mu’awiyah was born in 17 A.H./645 A.D. and inherited his father’s post in 60 A.H./680 A.D. He ruled for only three years and one month then died in mid-Rab’iul-Awwal of 64 A.H./December 14, 683 A.D. at the young age of 38. He was a playboy, a drunkard, and a man who used to enjoy seeing animals fight. He used to play with animals. Monkeys were dressed in gold-embroidered multi-colored clothes and trained to dance for him, and he had salaried “officials” to look after his animal collection. Such collection included monkeys and race dogs. He was fond of gambling and wine drinking, and he demonstrated disrespect towards the Mosque of the Prophet (ﺹ) and towards the Ka’ba itself, causing very serious damages to its structure as the reader will come to know in a later part of this book. He forced women to take their veils off and killed thousands of innocent people and encouraged the rape of women, girls, and children during the uprisings that took place in Hijaz, particularly in the Harra incident, details of which will follow. In short, Yazid did not have one iota of respect for Islamic tenets or moral ethics. Strange enough, there are some ignorant Muslims who sing his praise, justify and defend his barbaric conduct…

This much gives the reader an idea about what type of persons Abu Sufyan, Mu’awiyah, and Yazid were. Now let us review the brief biography of their opponents.

Imam al-Husain’s father, Ali (ﻉ), needs no introduction, but for the benefit of those who do not know much about him, we would like to state the following:

Ali was born in May of 600 A.D. inside the Ka’ba, the holiest of all holy places in Islam, the cubic symbol of “Allah’s House” in Mecca, Hijaz, northern part of today’s Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world named after its ruling dynasty! No other human being was ever born in the holiest of holies besides him. Ali (ﻉ) was raised and cared for by his cousin Muhammed (ﺹ), the Messenger of Allah, who wished to return the favor Ali’s father had done him when he was a child. You see, when Muhammed (ﺹ) was orphaned, Ali’s father, Abu Talib, took him in his custody and raised him, so Muhammed (ﺹ) wanted to return the favor especially after seeing how Abu Talib’s trade business was not doing well in his old age. Muhammed (ﺹ)’s upbringing of Ali (ﻉ) polished the lad’s personality and prepared him to play a major role in the dissemination of the Islamic creed. He was the first male to believe in Muhammed (ﺹ) and to offer prayers with him. The second was another young man who was also raised and cared for by Muhammed (ﺹ), namely Zaid ibn Harithah who later commanded the army of the Muslims during the Battle of Mu’ta of 629 A.D., and so did his son Usamah in 632 A.D., both proving their military ability, insight and wisdom. The third to embrace the Islamic faith was Muhammed’s longtime friend Abu Bakr.

When pagan Meccans wanted to assassinate Muhammed (ﺹ) in 622 A.D., Ali (ﻉ) slept in his (Muhammed’s) bed, offering his life as a sacrifice to save his, while the Prophet succeeded in leaving his house safely even under the nose of the infidels, having recited the first eight verses of Surat Yasin (Chapter 36 of the Holy Qur’an) and thrown a handful of dust before their eyes. They could not see him leave. Muhammed (ﺹ) safely reached Quba, a suburb of Medina where he camped and waited for Ali (ﻉ) to rejoin him. He did not want to enter Medina triumphantly without Ali (ﻉ). After a few days, Ali (ﻉ) walked all alone the entire distance from Mecca to Medina, about 250 Arabian miles, arriving there with swollen and lacerated feet, bleeding and fatigued.

Ali (ﻉ) defended Islam in the Battle of Badr (624 A.D.) and married Fatima, the Prophet’s only surviving offspring, in the same year. He also fought in the Battle of Uhud in the next year, in the Battle of Moat (Khandaq) in 627 A.D., in the Battle of Khayber (against the Jews of Medina) in 628 A.D., and took part in the Conquest of Mecca in 630 A.D. He also fought in the Battle of Hunain in the same year. On Thul-Hijjah 18, 10 A.H., corresponding to March 19, 632 A.D., and according to divine orders which Muhammed (ﺹ) had received from his Lord in the form of Qur’anic verse No. 67 of Surat al-Ma’ida (Chapter 5), the Prophet of Islam delivered a speech at a place between Mecca and Medina known as Ghadir Khumm in the Juhfa valley wherein he enumerated some of Ali’s merits and informed the huge crowd of an estimated 132,000 pilgrims who had accompanied him during his last pilgrimage, the Farewell Pilgrimage, that just as they had accepted him as the Prophet, they were bound to accept Ali (ﻉ) as “Ameerul-Mo’mineen,” Commander of the Faithful, title of one who rules the Muslims as the supreme political leader and, at the same time, as the highest religious authority. Details of and references to this historic event are recorded, with the entire original Arabic text (23 pages) of the Prophet’s historic sermon, are in my book titled Ghadir Khumm: Where Islam was Perfected.

Because of the numerous battles in which Ali (ﻉ) participated and the number of those whom he killed, he was not popular with those who considered blood relations more important than earning the Pleasure of the Almighty; therefore, only a few months after that date did some people promote Abu Bakr, a wealthy Meccan and a very successful businessman, to the post of “Ameerul-Mo’mineen.” This took place in 11 A.H./632 A.D. He ruled for two years and a half, dying on a Tuesday, 13 A.H./634 A.D. at the age of 63… They promoted Abu Bakr to be “Ameerul-Mo’minnen” instead of Ali (ﻉ), forgetting or pretending to forget what they had heard from and pledged to the Prophet (ﺹ) only two months and nine days ago at Ghadir Khumm[5]. This took place immediately after the Prophet’s demise on Safar 28, 11 A.H./May 28, 632 A.D. (By the way, like all lunar Hijri years, the solar calendar year 632 of the Christian Era coincided with both the 10th and the 11th Hijri years.)

Imam Ali (ﻉ) did not receive any significant recognition during the reign of the first three caliphs, and even his wife’s property, Fadak, was confiscated; thus, his family was deprived of a good source of income. Abu Bakr ordered the confiscation in 632 A.D. The only just and fair Umayyad ruler, namely the last one, Omer ibn Abdul-Aziz, returned Fadak to Fatima’s offspring in 718 A.D., 86 years after its confiscation with profound apologies. When Ali (ﻉ) was elected as caliph in 36 A.H./657 A.D., tribalism and racism were as rampant as they used to be during the pre-Islamic era. Islam’s teachings were either forgotten or distorted. In Syria, Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan had declared himself “caliph” and was buying people’s conscience and loyalty. He was, once more, raising one army after another to fight Ali (ﻉ) just as his father Abu Sufyan had raised one army after another to fight Muhammed (ﺹ), causing tens of thousands of Muslims to be killed in the process. Most of Ali’s time was spent in defending law and order; he hardly had time to rest and to improve the conditions which he knew were in need of improvement because of the injustices of past regimes that did not protect the Islamic creed from liars and fabricators of traditions, indirectly assisting in the distortion of the Sunnah.

Caliph Ali (ﻉ) had to fight the Battle of Jamal (Camel), which broke out at the end of Rab’i II 36 A.H./June 28, 632 A.D., the forces of dissent which had been herded and led by Aisha daughter of the same Abu Bakr mentioned above and one of the Prophet’s wives. She was then nineteen years old and was riding a huge camel named Askar, hence the name of the battle: Harb al-Jamal, battle of the camel. She kept urging her men to fight Ali (ﻉ) and his men. It was the first time that Muslims killed Muslims, and such killing has been going on ever since. Look at Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq and Iran (during the 1980s when more than a million Muslim lives were lost), and remember the civil wars in Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen, and elsewhere… History repeats itself. Those who do not learn from the mistakes of past generations are doomed, condemned and destined to repeat them, rest assured. Aisha accused Ali (ﻉ) of having collaborated with those who had killed her Umayyad relative Uthman ibn Affan who became caliph in 24 A.H./645 A.D. and ruled till he was killed in 35 A.H./656 A.D. when he was 89. Ali (ﻉ), in fact, had sent both of his sons, Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) and Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) (the latter being the hero of this brief report), to defend Uthman who was placed by the angry protesters under virtual house arrest and his mansion was twice subjected to a siege. Water and food supplies were blocked from reaching him. Ali (ﻉ) used to get water and food smuggled to Uthman’s mansion during the night passed on from one person to another from one flat rooftop to another till they reached Uthman’s mansion. The public outrage stemmed from Uthman’s mismanagement of public funds and preference of his own relatives over all others for top government jobs even when such relatives were not fit at all to occupy any government post. He himself lived in luxury unseen before, getting mansions built for him and for his wife, and silk clothes and exotic perfumes were being imported especially for him and for her. His wife, Na’ila daughter of al-Qarafisah, used to wear so much jewelry that people could hear the jingle from a distance! Such should not be the conduct of successors of Prophets. While defending Uthman, Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) received a wound on his forehead. But the huge number of the angry crowd finally assaulted Uthman’s mansion and dealt him blows with their swords, killing him instantly. It was the first time Muslims killed their caliph. Na’ila tried to defend her husband with her bare hands, getting four of her fingers cut off. She sent those fingers together with the copy of the Holy Qur’an which Uthman was reciting when he was killed and which was stained with his blood to Mu’awiyah in Damascus to use them to excite people and to urge them to seek revenge for Uthman’s murder.

Aisha, ironically, was one of those who had urged the Muslims to kill Uthman, making her historic statement which we would like to quote here in its original Arabic text verbatim: أقتلوا نعثلا فقد كفر “Uqtulu Nathal faqad Kufar,” that is, “Kill Nathal, for he has committed apostasy.” Nathal was a contemporary Jew famous for his untidy and too long beard; hence, Aisha was comparing Uthman with a Jew. She, in fact, was trying to get either Talhah ibn Ubaydullah, her cousin who aspired to marry her after the demise of the Prophet (ﺹ), something which Islam prohibited, or az-Zubair ibn al-Awwam, son of her older sister Asma’ daughter of Abu Bakr, become caliph instead of Ali (ﻉ). Al-Zubair ibn al-Awwam did, in fact, succeed in declaring himself as the caliph after rebelling against the Umayyads as the reader will come to know in the chapter dealing with the Harra incident. Aisha disliked Ali (ﻉ) very much despite all the praise lavished on him by her husband, the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), and although he did not do anything to warrant such an attitude.

There is no room here to detail all the grievances the Muslims raised against their caliph, Uthman, in addition to the above, for these would fill an entire volume, and books have, in fact, been already written about this subject. One such book is titled الفتنة الكبرى Al-Fitnatul-Kubra (the greatest dissension) by the renown Egyptian scholar Dr. Taha Husain (winner of a Nobel prize for literature) and published in Cairo, Egypt, a book which the author may have modelled after at-Tabari’s book bearing the exact title and dealing with the same theme. One of the best references written about the Battle of the Camel is al-Mas’udi’s famous book مروج الذهب Muraj al-Thahab. Ali (ﻉ) won the battle; 13,000 men from aisha’s camp and 5,000 from Ali’s were killed, according to p. 177, Vol. 5, of Muraj al-Thahab. The heaviest casualty was the loss of thousands who knew the entire text of the Holy Qur’an by heart and whose knowledge, during that critical time, was crucial. The Prophet of Islam has said: موت العالم موت العالم “Mawt al-aalim mawt al-aalam,” that is, “The death of a scholar spells the death of the world.” What is the world without scholars? It is darkness without light, trees without fruit, river without water… Islam very much encourages scholarship and reveres scholars, writers, intellectuals, researchers, scientists, etc.

After the Battle of Camel, Ali (ﻉ) had to fight the Battle of Siffeen (40 A.H./661 A.D.) against the army of Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, Yazid’s father. Shortly after that, and in the same year, and to be exact on the 19th of the month of Ramadan, 40 A.H./January 29, 661 A.D., Ali (ﻉ) was killed by Ibn Muljim al-Muradi, one of the Kharijites, those who were fed-up with certain Muslim caliphs and with some of the latter’s un-Islamic practices. These Kharijites had been crushed by Ali (ﻉ) in the Battle of Nahrawan, which started on Safar 6, 38 A.H./July 17, 658 A.D., but their remnants scattered thereafter throughout the Islamic lands. When he was killed, Ali (ﻉ) was leading the morning prayers at Kufa’s grand mosque. Ali (ﻉ) was the embodiment of everything Islam stands for. Even his name, Ali (ﻉ), is derived from “Al-Aliyy,” one of the Amighty’s ninety-nine Attributes known as Asma’ Allah al-Husna, Allah’s most beautiful names. Scholars of tafsir, exegesis of the Holy Qur’an, have identified numerous Qur’anic verses praising Ali (ﻉ) and his family, his Ahl al-Bayt أهل البيت. The most widely known of such verses is No. 33 of Chapter 33 of the Holy Qur’an (Ayat al-Tathir, Surat al-Ahzab).

This much should suffice the reader to form an idea about Imam al-Husain’s father, so let us now discuss the hero of our story.

Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), the Master of Martyrs and the hero of this brief history review, was the greatest spiritual leader of his time in the entire world of Islam. He was an Imam, the brother of an Imam, and the son of an Imam. None in history ever enjoyed such merits. All religious authorities admitted his moral, spiritual and religious superiority over everyone else. They admitted that if there was an individual fit for the spiritual and religious vicegerency of the Holy prophet of Islam (ﻉ), Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) was the person best suited for it. Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) was born in Medina on the 15th of the month of Ramadan, 3 A.H./March 1, 625 A.D. and was named ” al-Husain” which means “Junior al-Hasan,” since his older brother is named ” al-Hasan.” Ali (ﻉ) chose to name both his sons after Shabar and Shubayr, sons of prophet Aaron, older brother of Prophet Moses, peace be with both of them. Even during his childhood, Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) was known for his brilliance, piety, and lofty upbringing. His grandfather, the Prophet of Islam, surrounded him with his affection and taught him a great deal, making him the custodian of Allah’s knowledge, and so did Imam al-Husain’s mother, Fatima (ﻉ), the Head of all the Women of the World, and so did his father Imam Ali (ﻉ) whom the Prophet (ﺹ) took as a “brother” when he joined the Ansar and the Muhajiran with the bond of brotherhood following his historic migration from Mecca to Medina. The Prophet (ﺹ), who never uttered a word out of favoritism or in response to an emotional outburst, called Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) and his older brother Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) “Masters of the Youths of Paradise;” all the residents of Paradise are young.

Imam al-Husain’s life and status in the Islamic history are formidable. Fatima (ﻉ), his mother, was the dearest daughter of her father (ﻉ). Al-Tirmithi cited Usamah ibn Zaid ibn Harithah (referred to above) saying that the Prophet (ﺹ) had said, “The dearest member of my family to me is Fatima.” She was declared by the Prophet as the Head of all the Women of the world. She and her husband were members of the family who were distinguished for their qualities and services to Islam. They are role models for all Muslim men and women. Their role was an extension of the Prophet’s role in leading the great cultural transformation from the darkness of an infidel culture to the light of Islam, the beacon of guidance and the guarantor of happiness in this life and in the one to come.

Historians recorded the birth of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) as an exciting event for the Muslims of Medina and especially for the Prophet of Allah (ﻉ). The Muslims congratulated each other for the new child whom the Prophet considered as his own son. The Prophet once declared, “Husain is of me, and I am of Husain. O Allah! Be pleased with whoever pleases al-Husain!” This testimony was not accidental, nor was it the result of emotional expressions. This declaration came from a responsible wise leader, the Prophet of Allah, who would never commit a mistake during the performance of his Prophetic mission. It is easy to understand the first part of this weighty statement: ” al-Husain is of me,” for surely Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) was of the Prophet’s own lineage through his daughter Fatima.(ﻉ). But what about the other half, that of “and I am of al-Husain”? How could the grandfather be of his grandson? If you consider this statement in the light of the role Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) played in Islam’s history, you will understand what the Prophet meant. He simply meant to say, “And my Message is to be continued through al-Husain’s martyrdom.” The Prophet, in this statement, was delivering an important message and foretelling people of who would act as the fountainheads of Islamic guidance and who would guard his divine message in the future. Emotions and sentiments are not loose in a Muslim’s life but are controlled by Islamic concepts and principles. There is always a criterion for “like” and “dislike” which evolves from the deeply rooted Islamic concepts. Although Abu Lahab was an uncle of the Prophet (ﺹ), his infidelity made him cursed till the Day of Judgment. The same applied to another uncle, Abu Jahal. The Prophet of Allah made another statement which leaves no doubt about Imam Imam al-Hasan’s and Imam al-Husain’s roles. As indicated above, he (ﻉ) said, ” al-Hasan and al-Husain are the masters of the youths of Paradise.” This was presented as a credential to the Muslim nation so that it would uphold their leadership.

At a certain time, the Muslims in Medina realized and appreciated the Islamic message’s glory and sweet tasting fruits, so they intended to reward the Prophet (ﺹ) for his efforts in guiding them out of the darkness of jahiliyya and into the light of Islam. The gift they presented to the Prophet (ﺹ) was some gold which they had collected. The Prophet’s answer came not from him personally but, rather, from his Lord on his behalf in the text of the following Qur’anic verses which were revealed during this very incident:

Say (O Muhammed !): “No reward do I ask you for this (conveying of the Message) except that you be kind to those of my kin.” (Qur’an, 23:42)

Muhammed Jawad Maghniyyah, author of تفسير الكاشف Tafsir al-Kashif[6], narrates saying that when this verse was revealed, people asked the Prophet (ﺹ), “O Messenger of Allah! Who are these of your kin for whom respect is made obligatory on us by this verse?” The Prophet (ﺹ) answered, “They are Ali, Fatima, and their two sons.” However, this did not imply disrespect for other members of his kinsfolk or companions. Looking objectively at the message of this verse, it will indicate to you, first of all, reluctance to accept material rewards. If a reward is not suitable, it cannot, and it must not, be accepted. Hence, the verse was enjoining respect for specific people, not because they are only the Prophet’s relatives. But the real reason behind this respect was to safeguard the Islamic message. The role these holy personalities played in the Islamic history required such respect in order to enable them to perform their duties.

Al-Hakim quoted Au Sa’d al-Khudri saying that the Prophet (ﺹ) once said, “One who dislikes us, we Ahl al-Bayt (family of Prophet Muhammed [a]), Allah shall hurl him into the fire of Hell.” This implies that those who dislike the Islamic conduct and way of life as personified by these individuals, through their exemplary conduct, shall receive the Almighty’s condemnation and shall taste of His torment.

Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari[7], a maternal relative and one of the greatest of all companions of Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ), narrated once saying that in a speech delivered immediately following the performance of his last pilgrimage, the Farewell Pilgrimage referred to above, the Prophet (ﺹ) said, “O people! I am leaving among you the Book of Allah and my Itrat (Progeny) for your guidance. So long as you hold fast to them both (at the same time), surely you will never stray.” This tradition was narrated not only by Jabir but also by at least twenty other eyewitnesses who heard it in person and who participated in that same pilgrimage, and their statements are recorded in numerous references. Such statements were transmitted by chains of trusted narrators of hadith. In his renown book Sahih, Muslim cites some of them. In another tradition transmitted by Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, the Prophet (ﺹ) is quoted as saying, “O people! Let my family act among you like the head of the body, and like the eyes of the head among you.” These traditions are impressive in many respects. First, they were narrated by different sources of different inclinations; this adds to their credibility. Second, the same content indicates their consistency, underscoring their authenticity.

Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) was one member of the family of the Prophet (ﺹ). He was brought up in the Prophetic guidance where he received the direct attention of the Prophet (ﺹ). The ideal atmosphere where he had grown up with his grandfather, father, mother, and elder brother, was the highest level ever attained. Thus, he acquired wisdom and learned generosity, bravery, piety while attaining the highest knowledge. He occupied outstanding posts during his father’s caliphate. During the terror and corruption which swept the Muslim world at the hands of the Umayyad dynasty that ruled the Islamic world (from 661 – 750 A.D.) with an iron fist, he was the sole hope of the Muslims to restore the Islamic laws and to thus bring them prosperity, peace, and happiness in both worlds.

Having seen how his older brother Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) was betrayed by his friends and poisoned by his foes, Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) remained in seclusion from the public for ten years, feeling helpless against the tide of Umayyad corruption and tyranny. Gradually, people realized that none could save them from such tyranny except Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) himself, so they kept appealing to him to lead them against the Umayyads, and he kept ignoring their pleas due to his knowledge that he could not rely on them to remain steadfast on the battlefield against Mu’awiyah’s mighty Syrian army, being convinced that they would betray him just as they had betrayed his older brother and his father. They did exactly so as you will see…

Most of the pleas came from the people of Kufa, Iraq, mostly Shi’as who were subjected to untold atrocities by Kufa’s then governor (appointed on behalf of the central Umayyad government in Damascus) Muhammed ibn al-Ash’ath and the top men who supported him and his Umayyad superiors, namely Shurayh, Kufa’s judge, a typical preacher of the rulers, by the rulers, and for the rulers, a man who was issuing verdicts according not to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah but to please the Umayyads who were paying his salary and showering him and his likes with gifts from time to time, and Omer ibn Sa’d. The letters those Kufians sent to Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) numbered ten to twelve thousand, and many of them threatened Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) of questioning him before the Almighty on the Day of Judgment as to: “Why did you not respond to the people who sought your assistance to put an end to tyranny and oppression?” Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) had to oblige despite all the odds against him. He, in fact, knew fully well that he was marching to his death, having already been informed of his martyrdom in the land of Kerbala’ by none other than his holy grandfather who even named his killer. He was informed of his women and children taken captive and of the time and day when he would be martyred. Everything was already decreed, and Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) had no choice except to fulfil a decree by sacrificing himself and all the dear ones with him for the sake of Islam. We only wish here to unveil the startling aspects of the revolution’s message which is often neglected in its traditional commemoration.

Confronting all the details of this momentous event, we have to answer many pressing questions such as: Why did this revolution take place? What were its implications and procedures? And what were its conclusive results? The answers may provide a guiding light so that we may form our conclusions. The following account is based on the most popular and trustworthy authorities on the subject.

To understand Imam al-Husain’s personality and the collective culture of the society, a summary of Islam’s view of life is necessary.

Islam is a way of life. It gives reasons and sets a purpose for living. We were not placed on earth by accident or without a purpose. Everything in life has a purpose; every being has a role to play; every inanimate object serves an end. Islam elevates the spirit while satisfying the material needs…

Islam considers man as God’s vicegerent on earth. This status is a lofty and weighty one, but it is also critical: the requirements must be met, the conditions must be satisfied; the mission must be accomplished. Thus, man is in an envied position and, consequently, his acts and norms of conduct are expected to conform with the high level he is to occupy.

The Islamic concepts and laws are inseparable parts of the Islamic ideology; milk is inseparable from water. They make up the practical expression of Islam in society and in life as a whole. These concepts and laws are essentially to harmonize people’s relationships with each other, with other beings, with nature and the environment and, above all, with the Creator.

The basic Islamic outlook of this life is one of an introductory course; the real life is the one to come, not this one. This worldly life is a prelude to another eternal one; therefore, this world is a preparatory stage for people in order to attain the spiritual level which permits them to enter Paradise. It is a microcosm of the real eternal macrocosm. The other side of the picture is the horror of Hell for people who misuse or abuse the power placed at their disposal. Hence, success and failure are not measured by the known criteria of this world, by, say, materialistic supremacy, wealth and power. The Islamic criteria differ from the materialistic ones; they account for the life hereafter; they take into consideration the next phase of our existence. Death is not the end of everything; it is the beginning of real life. To die is to wake up from a brief dream. To please Allah is the sublime goal which surpasses all other wishes and desires, or so should it be. This by no account means that we should neglect acquiring materialistic supremacy, wealth and riches, by legitimate means; it only means that we must put such supremacy, or such wealth, in its rightful place: to serve man and to please Allah. What a noble concept! It is with pleasing Allah and with His support that Muslims seek materialistic supremacy. Alas! The Muslims now do not have any materialistic supremacy at all. Their natural resources are being sold for less than it costs to produce them; their countries are supermarkets for goods manufactured by those who despise them and look down upon them; their leaders can hardly agree on one common cause, and their nations have no say about who should rule them and who should not, and they are robbed of their freedom of expression, worship, and movement. Turkey, for example, used to be the center of the Islamic world and the source of its pride and glory. Now its ruling juntas, supported by non-Muslim and anti-Islamic “superpowers,” by Zionists and imperialists, are fighting Islam with all their might and means. The same can be said about the rulers of many other countries who are Muslims only in name. The Muslims are now prisoners in their own homes. They are the underdogs of the world. Gone are the days of their supremacy and glory and shall never return unless and until they regret and return to their creed and practice it as it should be.

How did Mu’awiyah ascend to the post of ruler of the Muslims, and how did he dare to claim succession to the Prophet (ﺹ), the irreligious, liar, cheating, cunning and conniving man that he was? What happened to the Muslim world? Why was it silent at seeing the assumption of power by an ignoble person like Yazid? Indeed, it is astonishing to witness the indifference and irresponsibility demonstrated by the vast majority of Muslims. One is tempted to say that such indifference is present even in our own time. Our time, in fact, can best be described as the neo-jahiliyya. There are already too many Yazids but no al-Husain to come to the rescue. Islamic values and ideals were as if totally alien to the society. What happened to the dynamic forces that had awakened the world and shaken it like never before? The Prophet’s voice had not yet died away regarding the responsibility of the Muslims. He once said, “One who sees a cruel governor violating Allah’s laws, breaking His covenant, acting in contrast to the tradition of the Prophet, committing mischief and intruding upon peoples’ rights, without trying to change that governor through his action, or speech, Allah will then reserve a suitable place for him in Hell.”

We all may wonder about the causes of deviation which led to this deplorable state of affairs. We know for sure that Islam is a perfect and practical religion, a complete way of life. Islam, no doubt, assured us of guiding us to a secure and prosperous life. The question of deficiency in the Islamic message, however, if there is such deficiency at all, or in the way it was conducted by the Prophet (ﺹ), has no place here. The only possible shortcomings, therefore, are confined to the subsequent status of the Muslims, to their way of handling their affairs, and to their conformity to the Islamic laws besides the “natural” obstacles encountered in the sequence of events. Following is the major cause that contributed to the deplorable status quo of the Muslims of the time and is still contributing to that of our own and will continue to do so till the end of time.

The worst mischief upon which Mu’awiyah embarked was the fabrication of hadith, traditions detailing what the Prophet of Islam (ﻉ) said or did. Hadith is one of the two sources of Islam’s legislative system, the Sharaa. Selecting Imam Ali (ﻉ) as his lifetime’s adversary, Mu’awiyah soon found out that his cause was hopeless. Ali’s merits were very well recognized by every Muslim while Mu’awiyah’s family and dismal conduct were the objects of their contempt. Mu’awiyah’s past record was dark and shameful whereas that of Ali (ﻉ) was glorious and shining, full of heroism in defense of Islam.

In order to sustain his campaign and raise the status of his likes, Mu’awiyah had to attract the remnant of some companions of the Prophet (ﺹ) whose characters were known as weak and who had a genuine interest in this world and in its vanishing riches. He employed them to fabricate traditions custom-designed to his own tailoring. This trend of fabricating hadith constituted a grave danger to the integrity of the Islamic tenets. Hadith is second in importance to the Holy Qur’an. It was very important to ward off such a danger. To expose such a trend to the Muslims at large was very vital, pivotal, of the highest priority. It would be accomplished by exposing and disgracing those who embarked upon committing and nurturing such a terrible mischief. Imam al-Husain’s revolution broke out in order to undertake this very task.

Let us now review a few samples of fabricated traditions[8].

Abu Hurayra is supposed to have quoted the Prophet (ﺹ) saying, “Allah has trusted three persons for His revelation: Myself, Gabriel and Mu’awiyah.” We wonder what Allah was doing for the revelation when Mu’awiyah was in the camp of the infidels. Abu Hurayra claimed the Prophet (ﺹ) gave Mu’awiyah an arrow then said to him, “Take this arrow until we meet in Paradise.” What a lucky arrow to enter Paradise! Let us stop here to discuss this man, Abu Hurayra, who may have had the lion’s share in distorting the Prophet’s Sunnah especially when we come to know that he was quoted by a host of tabian who in turn are quoted by hundreds others who in turn are quoted by thousands…, and so on. This is why his name is in the forefront of narrators of hadith.

There is no agreement about what Abu Hurayra’s name was, nor when he was born or when he died. He is said as having died in 59 A.H./678 A.D., and some say that his name was Abdul-Rahman ibn Sakhr al-Azdi, while others say it was Umair ibn amir ibn Abd Thish-Shari ibn Taraf. But it is agreed upon that he belonged to the Yemenite tribe of Daws ibn Adnan and that his mother’s name was Umaima daughter of Safeeh ibn al-Harith ibn Shabi ibn Abu Sa’d; she, too, belonged to the Daws tribe. It is said that the Prophet (ﺹ) nicknamed him “Abu Hurayra” after a kitten to which he was attached. He accepted Islam in 7 A.H./628-9 A.D. immediately after the Battle of Khaybar, and he was then more than thirty years old. He was one of those indigent Muslims who had no house to live in, so they were lodged at the Suffa, a row of rooms adjacent to the Prophet’s mosque at Medina. These residents used to receive the charity doled out to them by other Muslims. He used to see the Prophet (ﺹ) mostly when it was time to eat. He missed most of the battles in defense of Islam waged after that date although he was young and healthy and capable of serving in the army.

The time Abu Hurayra spent in the company of the Prophet (ﺹ), that is to say, on and off, is by the most generous estimates three years, yet this man narrated more traditions of the Prophet (ﺹ) than anyone else in history. The total number of “traditions” which he attributed to the Prophet (ﺹ) reached the astronomical figure of 5,374 of which only 326 are quoted by al-Bukhari, the most famous compiler of hadith, and who endorses no more than 93 of them! Muslim, another compiler of hadith, endorses only 89 of Abu Hurairay’s alleged ahadith. These facts and figures are stated in the famous classic reference titled Siyar Alam al-Nubala’ by al-Thahbi. Compare this unrealistic figure of 5,374 “traditions” attributed to the Prophet (ﺹ) and compiled during less than three years with the 586 traditions compiled by Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law who was raised by the Prophet (ﺹ) since his birth in 600 A.D. and who followed the Prophet (ﺹ) like his shadow for 32 years. Compare it with the figure of 142 traditions narrated by Abu Bakr, one of the closest companions and a longtime friend of the Prophet (ﺹ) and one of the earliest to embrace Islam. Compare it with the figure of 537 traditions narrated by the second caliph Omer ibn al-Khattab and with the 146 traditions narrated by Uthman ibn Affan, keeping in mind that all these men knew how to read and write whereas Abu Hurayra was illiterate; he could neither read nor write…

The Umayyads found in Abu Hurayra the right man to fabricate as many “traditions” as they needed to support their un-Islamic practices and then attribute them to the Prophet (ﺹ), hence the existence of such a huge number of traditions filling the books of the Sunnah. And the Umayyads rewarded Abu Hurayra very generously. When he came from Yemen to Hijaz, Abu Hurayra had only one single piece of striped cloth to cover his private parts. When Mu’awiyah employed Abu Hurayra to work in the factories producing custom-designed “traditions,” he rewarded him by appointing him as the governor of Medina. He also married him off to a lady of prestige for whom Abu Hurayra used to work as a servant and built him al-Aqeeq mansion. Abu Hurayra found himself during the Umayyads’ reign of terror and oppression a man of wealth and influence, owning slaves and having servants. Prior to that, Omer ibn al-Khattab appointed him as governor of Bahrain for about two years during which Abu Hurayra amassed a huge wealth, so much so that people complained about him to Omer who called him to account for it. Finding his excuse too petty to accept, Omer deposed him. Omer also questioned him about the unrealistically abundant traditions which he was attributing to the Prophet (ﺹ), hitting him with his cane and reprimanding him for forging traditions and even threatening to expel him from the Muslim lands. All these details and more can be reviewed in famous references such as: Al-Riyad al-Nadira الرياض النضرة by at-Tabari, in Vol. 4 of the original Arabic text of al-Bukhari’s Sahih, where the author quotes Abu Hurayra talking about himself, in Abu Hurayra by the Egyptian scholar Mahmoud Abu Rayyah, in سير أعلام النبلاء Siyar Alam al-Nubala’ by al-Thahbi, in شرح نهج البلاغة Sharh Nahjul-Balagha by Ibn Abul-Hadad, in البداية و النهاية Al-Bidaya wal Nihaya by Ibn Katheer, in طبقات الفقهاء Tabaqat al-Fuqaha by Ibn Sa’d (also famous as Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d), in تأريخ الأمم و الملوك Tarikh al-Umam wal Muluk by at-Tabari, in تاريخ الخلفاء Tarikh al-Khulafa by al-Sayyuti, in فتح الباري Fath al-Bari by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, in المستدرك Al-Mustadrak by al-Hakim, and in numerous other references. Yet some Muslims label Abu Hurayra as “Islam’s narrator,” propagating for his fabrications without first studying them in the light of the Qur’an and going as far as invoking the Almighty to be pleased with him….

Abdullah ibn Omer (ibn al-Khattab), too, claimed that the Prophet said, “You will see greed after me and things with which you will disagree.” People, he went on, asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What do you order us to do then?” The Prophet, Abdullah continued, said, “Give the governor what is his and plead to Allah for yours.” Islam, true Islam, never condones toleration of unjust rulers. Another fabricated tradition is also by Abdullah ibn Omer who quoted the Prophet (ﺹ) saying, “Put up with whatever conduct you do not like of your rulers because if you abandon the جماعة Jamaa (group) even the distance of one foot and then die, you will die as unbelievers.” Surely many despots ruling the Muslim world nowadays can appreciate such “traditions” and will not hesitate to publicize for them and be generous to those who promote them; they would give them generous salaries and build them mansions… Such fabricated “traditions” are not only in total contrast with the Qur’an and the Sunnah as well as with other verified traditions, they invite the Muslims to be the slaves of their rulers. This is exactly what Mu’awiyah wanted, and this is exactly what so-called “Muslim” rulers like him want in our day and time… Unfortunately for the Muslims and fortunately for their enemies, there are quite a few “Muslim” rulers like this Mu’awiyah. This is why there is poverty, ignorance, dictatorship, injustice, oppression and subjugation to the enemies of Islam throughout the Muslim world nowadays.

Yazid’s grandfather, Abu Sufyan, advised and managed the infidel’s campaigns against Islam till the conquest of Mecca, as stated above. His wife Hind (mother of Mu’awiyah and grandmother of Yazid) tried to chew the liver of Hamzah, uncle of the Prophet (ﺹ), because of her burning hatred and cannibalism. Mu’awiyah, too, was an active opponent of Islam. Indeed, Abu Sufyan’s family was performing the strategic, financial and morale boosting in the infidel’s campaign against the Muslims for many years. Their efforts, wealth and diplomacy formed a great obstacle in the way of spreading Islam.

Time had lapsed and Mecca was suddenly besieged with the considerably large forces of the Muslims. The unbelievers in Mecca were stunned at seeing the Muslim fighters who had caught them by surprise, thanks to the shrewd military tactics of the Prophet (ﺹ). Thus, the infidels, including Abu Sufyan, had no choice except to abandon their arrogance and to accept Allah’s sovereignty, or so did most of them pretend. Mu’awiyah was then 28 years old. Having seen how his father “accepted” Islam, though reluctantly, he fled for Bahrain where he wrote his father a very nasty letter reprimanding him for his “conversion.” It is not clear when Mu’awiyah brought himself to profess adherence to the Islamic creed. During this incident, i.e. the fall of Mecca to the Muslims, which was accomplished on a Friday, the 20th of the month of Ramadan, 8 A.H., corresponding to January 14, 630 A.D., less than two years before the Prophet’s demise, historians recorded some peculiar stories about Abu Sufyan’s family; however, there is one thing certain: They accepted Islam unwillingly, and they were treated in a special way on that account. For instance, they were given more than their share of the treasury in order to gain their hearts and win them over to Islam. But whether this generosity had any effect in producing any change at all in their attitude is quite another story. Indeed, subsequent events revealed the fact that no change at all had taken place in their way of thinking.

Yazid was brought up in such a family whose atmosphere was electrified with emotions of its dead who fought Islam and who were killed mostly during Islam’s first major battle, that of Badr which broke out on a Friday, the 17th of the month of Ramadan, 2 A.H., corresponding to March 16, 624 A.D. and to which the Holy Qur’an refers in 8:5-11. Seventy prominent pagan Quraishites were killed in it, half of them at the hands of Imam al-Husain’s father Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ). That, by the way, was Ali’s first battle; he was 24 years old. Among the Umayyads who were killed in it were: Utbah, father-in-law of Yazid’s father Mu’awiyah, Utbah’s son al-Walid ibn al-Mugharah (father of the famous military leader Khalid ibn al-Walid), and Shaybah, Utbah’s brother. Al-Walid ibn al-Mugharah is cursed in the Holy Qur’an in 74:11-30 (Surat al-Muddaththir). Utbah is father of Hind, mother of Yazid, who tried to chew the liver of Hamzah, Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ)’s dear uncle and valiant defender of Islam. Add to this the fact that such family witnessed how those who had killed their kinsfolk received full honour, recognition, and respect by the entire community, not to mention the wasted wealth, the injured pride, and the loss of privileges which they used to enjoy during the pre-Islamic period known as the jahiliyya. Yet Yazid himself had some unique characteristics in the negative and adverse sense of the word in addition to what we recorded above. He was known as a playboy; he is on record as the first person ever to compose pornographic poetry. He described each and every part of his aunt’s body for sensual excitement, doing so without being reprimanded by his father or mother or anyone else. Historians record his being seen drunk in public, his committing adultery, and his leading quite a corrupt life, a life which did not last for long, thank Allah. In one of his poetic verses, Yazid stated, “The family of Hashim (the Prophet’s clansmen) staged a play to get a kingdom. Actually, there was neither news from Allah (wahi) received nor a revelation.”

Mu’awiyah was not ruling as an individual but was representing a way of thinking which differed in nature from everything Islam stands for. However, he was not satisfied to leave the ruling stage without making sure that it was properly looked after. His pragmatic and materialistic mind drove him to prepare for the crowning of his son, Yazid, as his successor. Mu’awiyah had made many pledges not to install Yazid when he saw the conditions at the time not conducive to such a plan because Muslims were still politically conscious and desired to see the restoration of the Islamic laws and values. Mu’awiyah, hence, had a difficult job at hand before leaving this world. He, in fact, tried his best to buy the allegiance for his son from his army’s commanders, tribal chiefs and chieftains, and entire tribes as well as men of distinction and influence, spending huge sums of money in the process. But his efforts did not succeed with everyone.

One of his failed attempts was when he wrote Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) soliciting his endorsement for his appointment of Yazid as the heir apparent to the throne. Imam al-Husain’s answer was a scathing criticism of all what Mu’awiyah and Yazid had committed. Mu’awiyah, therefore, forewarned his son Yazid to beware of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ).

Yazid eventually succeeded his father Mu’awiyah as the ruler. Yazid now spared no means to secure the submission for his unholy practices, oppression and aggression, from everyone. He knew very well that in reality, he had no legitimate right whatsoever to make claims or to issue demands. On the contrary, he was guilty of having committed many illegal and sacrilegious deeds for which he should have been killed, had there anyone powerful enough to implement the Islamic code of justice.

Once in charge, Yazid took his father’s advice regarding Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) seriously. He wrote the then governor of Medina, al-Walid ibn Utbah, ordering him to secure the oath of allegiance to him as the new ruler from everyone in general and from Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), Abdullah ibn Omer (son of second caliph Omer ibn al-Khattab), and Abdullah ibn az-Zubair in particular, being the most prominent personalities. Yazid in an unmistakable language ordered al-Walid to secure such an oath for him by force if necessary, and that if Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) refused, he should behead him and send his severed head to him in Damascus. But al-Walid’s efforts were fruitless. Imam al-Husain’s reply was exact and direct; said he, “Ameer (Governor)! I belong to the Ahl al-Bayt (family) of the Prophet. Allah has consigned to and charged us with the Imamate (spiritual and political leadership of the Muslims). Angels pay us visits. Yazid is a wicked sinner, a depraved reprobate, a wanton drunkard, a man who sheds blood unjustly, and a man who openly defies Allah’s commandments. A man like me will never yield his allegiance to a person like him.”

Such motives were numerous. Some of them stemmed from the grievances of the general public, while others were ideological in nature and noble in objective. They may be summed up as follows:

  1. The most urgent need was to stop the attempts to distort the Islamic concepts and code of conduct, particularly the falsification of hadith as discussed above. This was of the utmost significance; it preoccupied the minds of responsible Muslims at the time. Such fabrication was quite rampant, epidemic in nature, festered by the funds available for those who rushed to please the Umayyads with their pens, those who did not hesitate to sell their religion for a trifling. Such fabrication was poisonous in effect, and it affected the lives of all Muslims, and it still does. It was giving the Umayyads a free hand to do whatever they desired of unfair and unethical policies in dealing with their subjects. The mask of religion with which they used to hide their un-Islamic conduct was quite dangerous. In the long run, such danger would eventually change the pristine concepts introduced by Islam and substitute them with anything but Islam. Stripping such a mask and exposing the true picture of the Umayyads was the most urgent task of a revolutionary like Imam al-Husain (ﻉ).
  2. The State’s structure was built on un-Islamic premises. Quraish was born to rule; non-Arabs were second-class citizens who formed the base of the society’s pyramid. That was the general social picture of the Islamic world under the Umayyad’s rule. Anyone who dared to express an opinion which did not agree with that of the Umayyads had to be placed under house arrest if not altogether eliminated. His property would then be confiscated and his life would be at stake. He would live in fear for the rest of his miserable life. Nowadays, there are millions of Muslims who live under such conditions. You see, the Umayyads are not dead; they are very much alive and well…
  3. The Umayyads considered the Islamic world as their own real estate property. The zakat and other Islamic taxes were levied, but nobody knew where the funds went. Large gifts were doled out from the state treasury (called in Islam bayt al-mal) to governors, government officials, tribal chiefs, army commanders, and officers who surpassed others in their cruelty and oppression… Large sums of money were spent on activities which Islam prohibits: racing, gambling, wines, slave women to entertain the high class and the people in power, etc. The majority of Muslims were left on the brink of starvation while the ruling clique enjoyed the social and material privileges. It very much is like what one sees happening nowadays in many Muslim countries. Let us face it; most Muslims are nowadays the laughing stocks of the world; انا لله و انا اليه راجعون Inna Lillah wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon (We belong to Allah, and to Him shall we return).
  4. The Muslims had apparently become accustomed to the un-Islamic rule of the Umayyads as time passed by. Their resistance gradually slackened, and some people began adjusting to the new realities. The revolutionary spirit of Islam began to disappear little by little from the Muslims’ lives and thoughts. A new stimulant to their souls was necessary in order to bring life back to their misled souls and to restore the Islamic conduct and way of life to the society.

Having refused to swear the oath of allegiance to Yazid, Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) realized that his stay in Medina was becoming impossible, unsafe; therefore, he decided to bid farewell to it. Bidding his people and friends to get ready for the journey, he went at night to the tomb of his grandfather Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ). Approaching the grave, he greeted him then said, “Assalamo Alaikom, O Messenger of Allah! I am the son of the beloved portion of your heart Fatima. Grandfather! You yourself had bequeathed to our Umma (nation) urging them to look after me and to take care of me, but they have neglected doing so and quite forgotten all of that.”

He spent the entire night at the tomb occupied in prayer the entire period, returning after daybreak. He did the same in the following night. One of his prayers in that second night was:

Allah! This is the resting-place of Your beloved Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ) and I am his grandson. You know well the present situation in which I am, and You know what is in the innermost of my heart. I invoke You, Lord, to keep me by the grace of this holy place firmly steadfast in my pursuit of whatever meets Your Pleasure and the Pleasure of Your Prophet.

At-Tabari, Abu Mikhnaf and many other historians record saying that Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) saw his grandfather the Prophet (ﺹ) in his vision at the end of that same second night calling unto him thus:

Come to me, O Husain! Come to me going by and passing through the torturous stage of martyrdom and claim the right position reserved for you. The Lord, Allah, will resurrect me, your parents, your elder brother ( al-Hasan ) and yourself at the same time and gather us all at the same place on the Day of Judgment.

Umm Salamah, the virtuous wife of Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ), hurried to Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) as soon as she heard that he intended to depart from Medina. She said to him, “Son! How will I be able to bear your journey to Iraq? I have heard your grandfather (the Prophet [a]) saying, My son al-Husain will be murdered on a tract of land people will call Kerbala’.’” “By Allah, mother,” Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) answered, adding, “I know all that. I also know on what day I will be murdered, and the name of the man who will murder me. I know, too, the people who will inter my dead body and the members of my Ahl al-Bayt and friends who will meet their martyrdom along with me. If you desire, I will show you the exact spot of my grave.” On Rajab 28, 60 A.D./May 7, 680 A.D., Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) left Medina for good accompanied by 21 male children in addition to the ladies.

When Yazid came to know that al-Walid had allowed Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) and Abdullah ibn az-Zubair to leave Medina for Mecca without taking their oath of allegiance to him, he became very angry and immediately deposed al-Walid from his post and appointed Amr ibn Sa’d in his place. Amr, in turn, appointed Omer ibn az-Zubair as his chief executive officer. Omer began to harass and intimidate the supporters of Abdullah ibn az-Zubair. The Imam (ﻉ) understood that those were scaring tactics meant to convey the message that he would be next to harass and intimidate; therefore, he felt that it was not safe for him to stay even in Mecca. There, Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) received thousands of letters, mostly from the people of Kufa, pleading to him to rescue them from the Umayyads’ tyranny. According to the renown writer al-Balathiri, Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) received as many as six hundred letters in one day and a total of twelve thousands, all requesting the same. Among those who wrote him were these renown Kufians some of whom betrayed him then fought him: Shabth ibn Rab’i, Hijar ibn Abjar, Yazid ibn al-Harith, Izrah ibn Qays, Amr ibn al-Hajjaj, and Muhammed ibn Omayr ibn Utarid. First, Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) did not respond to any of these letters, then he wrote one letter which he entrusted to Hani ibn Hani al-Subayi and Sa’d ibn Abdullah al-Hanafi wherein he said,

“In the Name of Allah, the Most Benevolent, the Most Merciful
Hani and Sa’d brought me your letters, and they are the last to deliver such letters to me. I understand what you narrate, and the gist of most of your letters is: “We have no Imam; so, come to us, perhaps Allah will gather us with you on the path of guidance and righteousness.” I have sent you my brother and cousin and the confidant of my Ahl al-Bayt and ordered him to write me with regard to your conditions, views and intentions. So, if he writes me saying that your view is united with that of those of distinction and wisdom from among you and in agreement with what your messengers and letters state, I shall, by the Will of Allah, come to you very soon. By my life, an Imam is one who acts upon the Book [of Allah] and implements justice and follows the path of righteousness; he dedicates himself to follow Allah’s Commandments, and peace be with you.”

He handed his letter to his cousin Muslim ibn Aqeel saying, “I am dispatching you to the people of Kufa, and Allah shall deal with you as He pleases. I wish that I and you should be in the company of the martyrs; so, proceed with Allah’s blessing and help. Once you get there, stay with the most trustworthy of its people.”

Muslim left Mecca on the fifteenth of the month of Ramadan, corresponding to June 22, 680 A.D., via the Mecca-Medina highway. He reached Medina and went to the Mosque of the Prophet (ﺹ), then he bade his family farewell after having hired two road guides from the tribe of Qays. One night the road guides were lost, and they became extremely thirsty, and it was very hot. They said to Muslim (ﻉ) once they recognized some road marks, “Take yonder road and follow it, perhaps you will be saved.” He, therefore, left them, following their advice. Both road guides died of thirst. He could not carry them because they were about to pass away. What those road guides had actually seen was not the road itself but some landmarks leading thereto. The distance between them and water was not known, and they were unable to ride on their own, nor could they ride with someone else. Had Muslim (ﻉ) stayed with them, he, too, would have perished. The most urgent matter was to preserve precious lives and to continue the march till water could be reached, hence his decision to abandon them where they were. Muslim and those serving him barely survived till they reached the highway and the water source where they rested for a short while.

Muslim sent a letter to Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) with a messenger whom he hired from those who settled near that water source. He told him about the death of the road guides, about the hardship he underwent, and that he was staying at a narrow passage at Batn al-Khabt awaiting his instructions. The messenger met Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) at Mecca and delivered the letter to him. Al-Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) wrote him back ordering him to continue his march to Kufa without any delay. Having read the letter, Muslim immediately resumed his trip and passed by a watering place belonging to the tribe of Tay. He Alighted there then departed. He saw a man shooting and killing a deer, so he took it as a sign of good omen: the killing of his foe.

On the twenty-fifth of Shawwal, 60 A.H./July 27, 680 A.D., Muslim ibn Aqeel entered Kufa and stayed with al-Mukhtar ibn Abu Ubayd al-Thaqafi who was highly respected among his people, a generous man, a man of ambition and daring, one well experienced and determined, and a formidable opponent of the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be with them. He was a man of great discretion especially with regard to the rules of the battle and the means of subduing the foe. He kept company with the Progeny of the most holy Prophet (ﺹ), so he benefitted from their ethics and virtuous morals, and he sought their advice publicly and privately.

The Shi’as of Kufa came in groups to meet Muslim as he stayed at al-Mukhtar’s house, pledging to him their obedience. This increased his happiness and elation. When he read to them Imam al-Husain’s letter, Abis ibn Shibeeb al-Shakiri stood and said, “I do not speak on behalf of the people, nor do I know what they conceal in their hearts, nor do I deceive you in their regard. By Allah! I can tell you what I personally have decided to do. By Allah! I shall respond to your call, and I shall fight your enemy. I shall defend you with my sword till I meet Allah desiring nothing except what He has in store for me.” Habib ibn Muzahir said, “You have briefly stated your intention, and by Allah, the One and only Allah, I feel exactly as you do.” Sa’d ibn Abdullah al-Hanafi made a similar statement. Other Shi’as came to swear the oath of allegiance to him till his diwan counted as many as eighteen thousand men. Some historians say that they were as many as twenty five thousand men. According to al-Shabi, however, the number of those who swore allegiance to him reached forty thousand. It was then that Muslim wrote Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) a letter which he handed to Abis ibn Shibeeb al-Shakiri informing him of the consensus among the people of Kufa to obey him and to wait for his arrival. In it, he said, “A scout does not lie to his people. Eighteen thousand Kufians have already come to me; so, hurry and come here as soon as this letter reaches you.” That was twenty-seven days before Muslim’s martyrdom. The Kufians, too, added to it their own letter wherein they stated the following: “Hurry and come to us, O son of the Messenger of Allah! A hundred thousand swords are in Kufa on your side; so, do not tarry.”

This angered a group of the Umayyads with vested interests. Among them were Omer bin Sa’d, son of the renown Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas, Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Rabi’ah al-Hadrami, and Imarah ibn Uqbah ibn Abu Mueet. They wrote Yazid warning him of the arrival of Muslim ibn Aqeel and the rallying of the people of Kufa behind him, adding that al-Numan ibn Basheer, governor of Kufa, was not strong enough to stand in his [Aqeel’s] way. Yazid deposed al-Numan ibn Basheer and appointed Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad in his place. The new governor was a man very well known for his ruthfulness. Yazid ordered Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad to rush to Kufa in the company of Muslim ibn Omer al-Bahili, al-Munthir ibn al-Jarad, and Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Nawfal escorted by five hundred soldiers whom he hand-picked from among the people of Basra. Ibn Ziyad rushed to Kufa, paying no attention to anyone who fell off his horse due to exhaustion even if he were one of his own closest friends. For example, when Shurayk ibn al-A’war fell on the way, and even when Abdullah ibn al-Harith fell, thinking that Ibn Ziyad would slow down for their sake, Ibn Ziyad paid no attention to them, fearing that Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) might reach Kufa before him. Whenever he passed by a checkpoint, its guards thought that he was Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), so they said, “Welcome, O son of the Messenger of Allah!” He remained silent till he reached Kufa via the Najaf highway. When he arrived, people welcomed him and said in one voice: “Welcome, O son of the Messenger of Allah!” This only intensified his outrage. He continued his march till he reached the governor’s mansion. Al-Numan did not open the gate for him, and he spoke to him from the mansion’s roof-top. Said he, “I shall not return the trust to you, O son of the Messenger of Allah!” Ibn Ziyad said to him, “Open the gate, for your night has extended too long!” A man heard his voice and recognized him. He, therefore, said to the people, “He is Ibn Ziyad, by the Lord of the Ka’ba!” They, therefore, opened the gate for him then dispersed, going back home.

In the morning, Ibn Ziyad gathered people at the grand mosque. There, he delivered a speech warning them against mutiny and promising them generous rewards for conforming. Said he, “Anyone found to be sheltering one of those who scheme against the authority of the commander of the faithful [meaning Yazid] and who does not hand him over will be crucified on the door of his own house.”

When Muslim ibn Aqeel came to know about Ibn Ziyad’s speech and his explicit threats and having come to know about people’s conditions, he feared being assassinated. He, therefore, left al-Mukhtar’s house after the dark and went to the house of Hani ibn Urwah al-Mathhaji who was a very zealous Shi’a. He was also one of Kufa’s dignitaries, one of its qaris of the Holy Qur’an, and the shaikh and chief of the Banu Murad. He could easily raise four thousand troops fully armed and eight thousand cavaliers. If he includes his tribe’s allies from Kindah, the number would swell to thirty thousand. He was one of the closest friends of the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) on whose side he fought in all his three battles. He had seen and was honoured by being a companion of the Prophet (ﺹ). When he was later killed in defense of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), he was more than ninety years old. Muslim ibn Aqeel stayed at the house of Shareek ibn Abdullah al-A’war al-Harithi al-Hamadani al-Basri, one of the main supporters of the Commander of the Faithful, peace be with him, in Basra. He had participated in the Battle of Siffeen and fought side by side with the great sahabi Ammar ibn Yasir. Due to his distinction and prominence, Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad appointed him as Governor of Kerman on behalf of Mu’awiyah. He used to be in contact with and in the company of Hani ibn Urwah.

The Shi’as kept meeting Muslim ibn Aqeel secretly at Hani’s house without attracting the attention of Ibn Ziyad, admonishing each other to keep it to themselves. Ibn Ziyad, therefore, could not know where Muslim was. He called Maqil, his slave, to meet him. He gave him three thousand [dinars] and ordered him to meet the Shi’as and to tell them that he was a Syrian slave of Thul-Kila and that Allah blessed him with loving Ahl al-Bayt of His Messenger (ﻉ), that it came to his knowledge that one of the members of Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) had come to that country, and that he had with him some money which he wanted to deliver to him. Maqil entered the grand mosque and saw Muslim ibn Awsajah al-Asadi offering his prayers. Having seen him finish his prayers, he came close to him and made the above claim to him. Muslim ibn Awsajah prayed Allah to grant that man goodness and success. He then accompanied him to the place where Muslim ibn Aqeel was hiding. The spy delivered the money to Muslim and swore the oath of allegiance to him. The money was handed over to Abu Thumamah al-Saidi who was a far-sighted and a brave Shi’a dignitary appointed by Muslim to receive the funds and to buy thereby weapons. That man kept meeting Muslim every day. No secrets were kept from him, so he kept gathering intelligence and getting it to Ibn Ziyad in the evening.

When the matter became clear to Ibn Ziyad, who by now knew that Muslim was hiding at the house of Hani ibn Urwah, he had Asma’ ibn Kharijah, Muhammed ibn al-Ash’ath and Amr ibn al-Hajjaj brought to him. He asked them why Hani had not been coming lately to visit him at his governor’s mansion. They told him that it was due to his sickness, but he was not convinced especially since his informers had already told him that Hani used to sit at the door of his house every evening. These same men rode to Hani and asked him to meet the sultan, for “He cannot stand you staying away from him,” they said, pressuring him till he yielded. Hani, therefore, rode his mule and went. As soon as Ibn Ziyad saw him, he said, “His feet, the feet of the treacherous one, have brought him to you.” Then he turned to his judge Shurayh and cited verses about judges who rush to please their tyrannical rulers who appoint them in their positions rather than implement Islam’s legislative system, the Sharaa. Ibn Ziyad turned to Hani and said, “You brought Aqeel’s son to your house and gathered weapons for him, did you not?” Hani denied, and when their argument intensified, Ibn Ziyad ordered Maqil to be brought to him. Hani, hence, understood that that man was actually Ibn Ziyad’s spy, so he said to Ibn Ziyad, “Your father had done me great favors, and I now wish to reward him. Why do you not listen to my good advice and safely depart for Syria with your family and wealth? Someone who is more worthy than you and your friend [meaning Yazid] of taking charge has come here.” Ibn Ziyad said, “And under the foam is the pure sour cream.”

Ibn Ziyad then said to him, “By Allah! You will not stay out of my sight before you bring him to me.” Hani said, “By Allah! Had he been under my foot, I would not have lifted it!” Ibn Ziyad then spoke rudely to him and even threatened to kill him. Hani, therefore, said, “In that case, there will be plenty of swords around you,” thinking that the tribesmen of Murad would protect him from Ibn Ziyad who then pulled Hani’s braids, hitting his face with his sword, breaking his nose and scattering the flesh from his cheeks and forehead on his beard. He then jailed him at his mansion.

Amr ibn al-Hajjaj heard that Hani had been killed. Hani’s wife Raw’a, who is well known as the mother of Yahya son of Hani, was the sister of Amr ibn al-Hajjaj. The latter, therefore, rode with a multitude from the tribe of Mathhaj, and they all surrounded the mansion. When Ibn Ziyad came to know about it, he ordered Shurayh, the judge, to see Hani and then to tell those horsemen that Hani was still alive. Shurayh narrates saying, “When Hani saw me, he said in a loud voice, O Muslims! Should ten persons enter here, you must come to my rescue!’ Had Hameed ibn Abu Bakr al-Ahmari, the policeman, not been with me, I would have conveyed his message, but I had to simply say instead that Hani was still alive. Amr ibn al-Hajjaj then praised Allah and went back accompanied by the other men.”

When Muslim came to know about what had happened to Hani, he feared being assassinated; therefore, he rushed to rise before the time he had set with the people. He ordered Abdullah ibn Hazim to call upon his men, who had then filled the houses surrounding him, to gather together. Four thousand men assembled. They were shouting Badr’s call which was: “O Supported One! Annihilate them!”

Ubaydullah ibn Amr ibn Aziz al-Kindi was placed in command of the Kindah and Rabi’ah quarters. “March ahead of me,” said Muslim, “in command of the cavalry.” Muslim ibn Awsajah al-Asadi was placed in command of Mathhaj and Banu Asad. “Take charge of the infantry,” Muslim ordered him. Abu Thumamah al-Saidi was placed in charge of Tameem and Hamadan, whereas al-Abbas ibn Jadah al-Jadli was given the command of the Medina troops.

They marched towards the governor’s mansion. Ibn Ziyad fortified himself inside it, locking all its gates. He could not resist because there were only thirty policemen with him and twenty of his close men and slaves. But the substance from which the people of Kufa were made was treachery; so, their standards kept disappearing till no more than three hundred men remained out of the original four thousand. Al-Ahnaf ibn Qays described them as a whore who demanded a different man every day.

When those inside the mansion called upon the people of Kufa saying, “O Kufians! Fear Allah and do not expose yourselves to Syrian cavaliers whose might you have already tasted and whom you have already tested on the battlefield,” the remaining three hundred dispersed, so much so that a man would come to his son, brother, or cousin and tell him to go home, and a wife would cling to her husband till he returned home.

Muslim offered the evening prayers at the [grand Kufa] mosque accompanied by only thirty men. Then, when he went to Kindah’s quarters, only three men accompanied him. He hardly proceeded for a short while before finding himself without anyone at all to show him the way. He alighted from his horse and cautiously traversed Kufa’s alleys not knowing where to go.

When people abandoned Muslim, their noise died down, and Ibn Ziyad could not hear the voice of any of their men. Ibn Ziyad ordered his bodyguards to inspect the mosque’s courtyard to see whether there were any men lying in ambush. They, therefore, kept lowering their lanterns down its walls and lighting reeds then lowering them down with ropes till they reached the mosque’s courtyard. They could not see anyone, so they informed Ibn Ziyad who ordered his caller to call people to assemble at the mosque. When they filled the mosque, he ascended the pulpit and said, “Aqeel’s son has caused the dissension and disunity with which you all are familiar; so, there is no security henceforth to any man in whose house we find him. Anyone who captures him and brings him to us will be paid his blood money. O servants of Allah! Fear Allah and safeguard your obedience and oath of allegiance, and do not expose yourselves to peril.”

Then he ordered al-Haseen ibn Tameem, chief of his police force, to search homes and highways, warning him that he would kill Muslim should he succeed in escaping from Kufa.

Al-Haseen stationed his guards at highway crossroads and pursued the dignitaries who had supported Muslim, arresting Abdul-Ala ibn Yazid al-Kalbi and Imarah ibn Salkhab al-Azdi. He threw them in jail then killed them. Then he jailed a group of prominent leaders as a safeguarding measure against what they might do. Among them were al-Asbagh ibn Nubatah and al-Harith al-A’war al-Hamadani.

When Muslim marched out, al-Mukhtar was at a village called Khatwaniyya. He came accompanied by his supporters raising a green standard while Abdullah ibn al-Harith was raising a red one. Having planted his standard at the door of Amr ibn Hareeth’s house, he said, “I want to stop Amr.” It became obvious to them that both Muslim and Hani had been killed, and it was suggested to them that they would feel more secure in the company of Amr ibn Hareeth, and so they did. Ibn Hareeth testified that they had both avoided Muslim ibn Aqeel… Ibn Ziyad ordered them jailed after having reviled al-Mukhtar and hit his face with a lance, gouging one of his eyes. They remained in prison till Imam al-Husain, peace be with him, was martyred.

Ibn Ziyad ordered Muhammed ibn al-Ash’ath, Shabth ibn Rab’i, al-Qaqa ibn Shawr al-Thuhli, Hijar ibn Abjar, Shimr Thul-Jawshan, and Amr ibn Hareeth to surrender and to discourage people from rebelling. A number of men who were controlled by fear responded positively to his call in addition to others who coveted rich rewards and were thus deceived, whereas those whose conscience was pure went underground, waiting for an opportunity to launch an attack on the camp of falsehood.

Ibn Aqeel’s feet took him to the quarters of Banu Jiblah who belonged to the tribe of Kindah. He stood at the door of a house of a freed bondmaid named Tawa who had a number of sons. She used to be the bondmaid of al-Ash’ath ibn Qays who freed her. Aseed al-Hadrami married her, and she gave birth to his son Bilal who was in the crowd when his mother was standing at the door waiting for him. Muslim requested her to give him some water, which she did. He then requested her to host him, telling her that he was a stranger in that land without a family or a tribe, and that he belonged to a family capable of intercession on the Day of Judgment, and that his name was Muslim ibn Aqeel. She took him to a room which was not the same one where her son used to sleep, and she served him some food. Her son was surprised to see her entering that room quite often, so he asked her about it. She refused to answer his question except after obtaining an oath from him to keep the matter to himself.

But in the morning he informed Ibn Ziyad of where Muslim had been hiding. Ibn Ziyad dispatched al-Ash’ath accompanied by seventy men who belonged to the Qays tribe in order to arrest him. Upon hearing the horses’ hoofs ploughing the ground, Muslim realized that he was being pursued, so he hurried to finish a supplication which he was reciting following the morning prayers. Then he put on his battle gear and said to his hostess Tawa: “You have carried out your share of righteousness, and you have secured your share of the intercession of the Messenger of Allah. Yesterday, I saw my uncle the Commander of the Faithful in a vision telling me that I was going to join him the next day.”

He came out to face them raising his unsheathed sword as they assaulted the house, succeeding in repelling their attack. They repeated their attack, and again he repelled them, killing as many as forty-one of their men, and he was so strong that he would take hold of one man then hurl him on the rooftop.

Ibn al-Ash’ath sent a messenger to Ibn Ziyad requesting additional enforcements. The messenger came back to him carrying the latter’s blame of his incompetence. He, therefore, sent him this message: “Do you think that you sent me to one of Kufa’s shopkeepers, or to a Nabatean from Heera?! Rather, you sent me to one of the swords of [Prophet] Muhammed ibn Abdullah !” Ibn Ziyad then assisted him with additional soldiers.

Fighting intensified. Muslim and Bakeer ibn Hamran al-Ahmari exchanged blows. Bakeer struck Muslim on the mouth, cutting his upper lip, wounding the lower and breaking two of his lower teeth. Muslim fiercely struck him with one blow on his head and another on his shoulder muscle, almost splitting his stomach, killing him instantly.

Then they attacked him from the house’s rooftop, hurling rocks at him. They kept burning reed bales then throwing them at him. He attacked them in the alley. His wounds were numerous; he bled extensively, so he supported his body on the side of the house. It was then that they assaulted him with arrows and stones. “Why do you hurl stones at me,” he asked them, “as non-believers are stoned, the member of the household of the pure Prophet that I am? Do you not have any respect for the Messenger of Allah with regard to one of his own descendants?” Ibn al-Ash’ath said to him, “Please do not get yourself killed while you are in my custody.” Muslim asked him, “Shall I then be captured so long as I have some strength in me? No, by Allah! This shall never be.” Then he attacked Ibn al-Ash’ath who fled away before him. They attacked him from all directions. Thirst had taken its toll on him. A man stabbed him from the back, so he fell on the ground and was arrested.

Another account says that they dug a hole for him which they covered then fled before him, thus luring him to fall into it, then they arrested him. When they took his sword away from him, he wept. Amr ibn Ubaydullah al-Salami was surprised to see him weep. A man without his weapon is helpless, defenseless and vulnerable.

Muslim ibn Aqeel was brought to Ibn Ziyad. At the entrance of the mansion he saw an urn containing cooled water. He asked to drink of it. Muslim ibn Amr al-Bahili said to him, “You shall not taste one drop of it till you taste of the hameem in the fire of hell.” Muslim asked him, “Who are you?” He said, “I am one who knew the truth which you rejected, and who remained faithful to his imam as you betrayed him.” Muslim ibn Aqeel said to him, “May your mother lose you! How hard-hearted and rude you are! You, son of Bahilah, are more worthy of tasting of the hameem.” Having said so, he sat down, supporting his back on the mansion’s wall.

Imarah ibn Uqbah ibn Abu [son of] Mueet sent a slave named Qays to give him water. Whenever Muslim was about to drink of it, the cup became full of his blood. In his third attempt to drink, the cup became full of his blood and both his front teeth fell in it, so he abandoned it saying, “Had it been prescribed in destiny for me to drink it, I would have drunk it.”

Ibn Ziyad’s guard came out to escort Muslim. Having entered Ibn Ziyad’s room, Muslim did not greet him. The guard asked Muslim, “Why did you not greet the ameer?” “Shut your mouth,” said Muslim, “he is not my ameer.” It is also said that he said to Ibn Ziyad, “Peace be upon whoever followed the right guidance, feared the consequences in the hereafter, and obeyed the Exalted King,” so Ibn Ziyad laughed and said, “Whether you greet or not, you shall be killed.” Muslim said, “If you kill me, someone worse than you had already killed someone much better than me. Besides, you shall never abandon committing murders, setting a bad example, thinking ill of others, or being mean; having the upper hand will be the doing of anyone else but you.”

Ibn Ziyad said, “You disobeyed your imam, divided the Muslims, and sowed the seeds of dissension.” Muslim said, “You have uttered falsehood. Rather, those who divided the Muslims are Mu’awiyah and his son Yazid. The seeds of dissension were sown by your father, and I wish Allah will grant me to be martyred at the hand of the worst of His creation.”

Then Muslim asked permission to convey his will to some of his people. He was granted permission, so he looked at those present there and saw Omer ibn Sa’d. “There is kinship between me and you,” said he to him, “and I need a favour of you which you should oblige, and it is a secret between us.” But he refused to listen to it, whereupon Ibn Ziyad said to him, “Do not hesitate to tend to your cousin’s need.” Omer stood with Muslim in a way that enabled Ibn Ziyad to see them both. Muslim conveyed his desire to him to sell his sword and shield and pay a debt in the amount of six hundred dirhams which he had borrowed since entering Kufa, to ask Ibn Ziyad to give him his corpse to bury it, and to write al-Husain to tell him what had happened to him. Omer ibn Sa’d stood up and walked to Ibn Ziyad to reveal the secret with which he had just been entrusted by Muslim! Ibn Ziyad said to Muslim, “A trustworthy person never betrays you, but you have placed your trust in a treacherous person.”

Then Ibn Ziyad turned again to Muslim and said, “O son of Aqeel! You came to a united people and disunited them.” Muslim said, “No, indeed, I did not come to do that, but the people of this country claimed that your father killed their best men, shed their blood, and did what Kisra and Caesar do, so we came to them in order to enjoin justice, and to invite all to accept the judgment of the Book [of Allah].” Ibn Ziyad said, “What do you have to do with all of that? Have we not been dealing with them with equity?” Muslim said, “Allah knows that you are not telling the truth. You, in fact, kill when angry, out of enmity, and for mere suspicion.” Ibn Ziyad then verbally abused him and abused Ali, Aqeel, and al-Husain, whereupon Muslim said, “You and your father are more worthy of being thus abused; so, issue whatever decree you wish, you enemy of Allah!”

It was then that Ibn Ziyad ordered a Syrian to go to the top of the mansion and to behead Muslim and throw both the head and the body to the ground. The Syrian took Muslim to the flat rooftop of the mansion as the latter kept repeating, “Subhan-Allah! La ilaha illa-Allah! Allahu Akbar!” He also kept repeating, “O Allah! Judge between us and the people who decevied, betrayed and lied to us,” then he faced Medina and saluted Imam al-Husain (ﻉ).

The Syrian struck Muslim’s neck with his sword and threw his head and body to the ground and hurried down; he was very, very much startled. Ibn Ziyad asked him what was wrong with him. “The moment I killed him,” said he, “I saw a black man with an extremely ugly face standing beside me biting his finger, so I was frightened.” “Perhaps you lost your mind for a moment,” said Ibn Ziyad.

Hani was taken to an area of the market place where sheep are sold; his arms were tied. He kept saying, “O Mathhaj! Any man from Mathhaj to help me this day?! O Mathhaj! Where has Mathhaj gone away from me?!” Having seen that there was none to respond to him, he somehow managed to get one of his arms out of the ropes and said, “Is there anyone who would hand me a stick, a knife, a rock, or even a bone so that a man may be able to defend himself?” Guards attacked him and tied him again. He was ordered to stretch his neck so that they might strike it with their swords. “I am not going to give it away to you so generously. I shall not assist you at the cost of my own life.” A Turkish slave named Rasheed owned by Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad struck him with his sword, but he missed. Hani said, “To Allah is my return! O Allah! To Your Mercy do I come and to Your Pleasure!” Rasheed hit him again and killed him. This same slave was killed by Abdul-Rahman ibn al-Haseen al-Muradi after having seen him at the Khazar (Caspian Sea, also the Basque Sea, Tabaristan Sea, and Baku Sea, bahr baku in Arabic, an area where Islam reached in the early 9th century A.D.) in the company of Ubaydullah.

Ibn Ziyad ordered the corpses of both Muslim and Hani to be tied with ropes from their feet and dragged in the market places. Then he crucified them upside-down at the garbage collection site then sent their severed heads to Yazid who displayed them at one of the streets of Damascus.

He, Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad, wrote Yazid saying,

“Praise to Allah Who affected justice on behalf of the commander of the faithful and sufficed him for having to deal with his foes. I would like to inform the commander of the faithful, may Allah bless him, that Muslim ibn Aqeel had sought refuge at the house of Hani ibn Urwah al-Muradi, that I assigned spies for them and let men infiltrate their assemblies and plotted against them till I forced them out. Allah gave me the upper hand over them, so I killed them and sent you both of their heads with Hani ibn Abu Hayya al-Wadii al-Hamadani and az-Zubair ibn al-Arwah al-Tameemi who both are from among those who listen to and obey us; so, let the commander of the faithful ask them whatever he pleases, for there is knowledge with them, and there is truth, understanding, and piety. And peace be with you.”

Yazid wrote Ibn Ziyad saying,

“You do not cease to be the source of my delight. You have behaved with strictness and assaulted with courage, maintaining your composure. You have done very well and testified to the correctness of my good impression of you. I invited your messengers and asked them and confided in them, and I found their views and merits just as you indicated; so, take good care of them. It has also come to my knowledge that al-Husain ibn Ali has marched towards Iraq. You should, therefore, set up observation posts, prepare with arms, be cautious for mere suspicion. Kill anyone whom you suspect (of dissent). Your tenure is put to the test by this al-Husain rather than by anyone else, so is your country and your own self as governor. The outcome will determine whether you will be freed or whether you will return to slavery; so, you have to either fight him or arrest and transport him to me.”

Let us now leave Kufa and its Kufian men of treachery and to al-Husain in Mecca where he was performing the rites of the pilgrimage. As he was thus engaged, Yazid dispatched thirty men disguised as pilgrims with strict instructions to assassinate him. Commenting on this attempt to assassinate him, al-Husain said, “Even if I were to bury myself in some hideout, they are sure to hunt me out and to try to force me to swear the oath of allegiance to Yazid. And if I refused, they would kill me and would not spare me without inflicting upon me the same torture as the Jews had done to Jesus.” There were unsuccessful attempts to prevent him from leaving Mecca.

Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) did not mask his intentions and determination to fight the Umayyad regime of corruption. The speeches he delivered at Mecca were consistent with those he made elsewhere. So does his will which he wrote and entrusted to his brother Muhammed ibn al-Hanafiyya who stayed in Medina when al-Husain (ﻉ) left it first for Mecca then for Kerbala’, Iraq. This said will was, in fact, a formal declaration of his holy revolution. He, peace be with him and upon his Ahl al-Bayt, wrote saying, “I am not campaigning because I am unwilling to accept righteousness, nor do I intend to do mischief or suppress people. Indeed, I have decided to seek to reform my grandfather’s nation. I want to enjoin what is right and to forbid what is wrong. If people accept my call for righteousness, Allah is the Master of the righteous people. Those who reject my call, I shall remain steadfast till Allah passes His judgment; surely Allah is the best of judges.”

Imam al-Husain’s statements were aiming directly at stripping the “religious” mask behind which the Umayyads were hiding as they ruled the Muslim masses. He was introducing himself to people and explaining his message to the nation. In fact, the very personality of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) and his religious devotion and impeccable character were all beyond question or doubt. No wonder, then, that he shouldered such a tremendous task, one which many distinguished personalities were not able to shoulder or even to raise a finger and point at the oppressors.

Let us now follow the Imam on his journey to martyrdom and eternal bliss.

Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) left Mecca on Thul-Hijja 8, 60 A.H./September 12, 680 A.D. accompanied by his family members, slaves and Shi’as from among the people of Hijaz, Basra, and Kufa who joined him when he was in Mecca. According to p. 91 of Nafas al-Mahmum by Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, he gave each one of them ten dinars and a camel to carry his luggage.

The places (including water places and caravans’ temporary tent lodges), cities and towns by which Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) passed on his way to Taff area, where the famous Taff Battle took place, were: al-Sifah, That Irq, al-Hajir, al-Khuzaymiyya, Zarood, al-Thalabiyya, al-Shuqooq, Zubala, al-Aqaba, Sharif, al-Bayda, al-Ruhayma, al-Qadisiyya, al-Uthayb, and Qasr Muqatil. At al-Sifah, Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) met the famous poet al-Farazdaq ibn Ghalib and asked him about the people whom he had left behind, since al-Farazdaq had come from the opposite direction and had been in Kufa. Al-Farazdaq, as we are told on p. 218, Vol. 6, of at-Tabari’s Tarikh, said, “Their hearts are with you; the swords are with Banu Umayyah, and Destiny descends from the heavens.”

When the Imam reached Qasr Muqatil, a place not far from Kufa, he found it like a beehive, full of men and horses with rows of pitched-up tents spread all over, far and wide. Ibn Ziyad had sent a detachment of 1,000 troops (very brave ones!) under the command of Hurr ibn Yazid al-Riyahi to divert the Imam and his small band to a particular site chosen for them, and not to permit them to go anywhere except to Kufa. At that time, when the Imam reached there, Hurr’s army had become thirsty. Its water supply had been fully exhausted, and no water could be seen around for miles. On becoming aware of this, the Imam at once ordered his men to serve water to the thirsty enemy army and to their horses as well. When the time of noon prayers approached, the Imam admonished Hurr’s army to give up fighting on the side of tyranny and falsehood adding, “But if you disapprove of us, and are wilfully ignoring our claim and reneging from your pledge to support us, a proxy pledge that you expressed in your letters and through your messengers, well, in that case, it does not matter, for I am quite prepared to go back (where I had come from).” But orders had already been issued to Hurr to take the Imam in his custody. The Imam asked Hurr, “Why have you come here at all?” “In obedience to my imam (meaning Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, the governor),” answered Hurr. In obeying your imam,” responded Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), “you have committed a great sin against Allah,” adding after a short while, “You have lost your all, ruined your life here as well as your life hereafter. You have kindled the fire of hell for your own self and kept it ready for you to be hurled therein on the Day of Judgment. As for your imam, Allah has explicitly said in the Holy Qur’an, And We made them imams inviting them to the fire, and on the Day of Judgment, no help shall they find. In this world We made a curse to follow them, and on the Day of Judgment, they will be among the loathed and the despised’ (Qur’an, 28:41-42).”

Later on, another order to Hurr came from Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad to confine the Imam and his companions to a water land waste at a distance of about 9 – 10 miles from Kufa off the bank of the Euphrates river. This area, known as al-Taff, later came to be called “Kerbala’.” It is there that the historical battle which stamped and is still stamping the Islamic history and the conduct of all Muslims, took place. As a matter of fact, this battle was already predicted in the Old Testament in the following verse in Jeremiah 46:10:

… For this is the day of the Lord Allah of hosts, a day of vengeance, that He may avenge him of his adversaries, and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiated and made drunk with their blood, for the Lord Allah of hosts has a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.

In his famous book titled الصواعق المحرقة Al-Sawaiq al-Muhriqa (“the burning thunderbolts), Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani writes saying that when the Imam came to that place, he took a handful of its soil and, having smelt it, he declared, “By Allah! This is the land of karb (affliction) and bala’ (trial and tribulation)! Here the ladies of my haram will be taken prisoners! Here my children will be butchered and our men will be slain! Here Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet (ﺹ) will be subjected to indignities! Here my beard will be stained with the blood of my head! And here our graves will be dug.”

Historians contemporary to the Imam related that after coming to Kerbala’, the Imam purchased that lot from its owners for 60,000 dinars, although it was only four miles square, so that it would be the site of his and his family’s and relatives’ graves.

Different accounts of he full number of al-Husain’s camp range from seventy-two to a hundred fighters…, but how many were al-Husain’s foes?! Omer ibn Sa’d was dispatched to Kerbala’ to fight the Imam with 6,000 strong. Then Shabth ibn Rab’i went there to take charge of the largest fighting force of 24,000 men. The commanders’ names and the numbers of their troops are here provided for the kind reader:

1. Omer ibn Sa’d 6,000
2. Shabth ibn Rab’i 24,000
4. Sinan ibn Anas 4,000
5. Haseen ibn Nameer 9,000
6. Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan 4,000
7. Mazar ibn Ruhaynah 3,000
8. Yazid ibn Rikab 2,000
9. Najr ibn KharShi’ah 2,000
10. Muhammed ibn al-Ash’ath 1,000
11. Abdullah ibn Haseen 1,000
12. Khawli ibn Yazid al-Asbahi 1,000
13. Bakr ibn Kasab ibn Talhah 3,000
14. Hijr ibn Abjar 1,000
15. Hurr ibn Yazid al-Riyahi 3,000
TOTAL: 68,000

The reader can notice that some of these commanders had already written al-Husain (ﻉ) inviting him to go to Kufa so that they would support him in putting an end to the tyranny of the Umayyads. The details of how those men changed heart and the amounts of money they received are too lengthy to include in this brief account.

The access to water was cut off on the seventh day of Muharram and, before the evening of the eighth, the young, the children, and the women grew extremely restless, being overcome by the pangs of thirst. On the morning of the eighth, al-Abbas son of Ali ibn Abu Talib, al-Husain’s brother, who was appointed by al-Husain (ﻉ) as commander-in-chief of the tiny force, began digging wells assisted by all loyal companions and kinsmen of the Imam. They succeeded in boring a well, but stones were found instead of water. They soon dug another, but no water was found in it. The Imam then requested his brother al-Abbas to go to fetch water from the Euphrates. Al-Abbas took thirty cavaliers and twenty footmen and twenty large-size empty water-bags. After a fierce battle at the river’s bank, they succeeded in fetching water. Although they themselves were extremely thirsty, they refused to drink before the others. Al-Abbas, hence, was given the title of “Saqqah,” the water-bearer, ever since. When Omer ibn Sa’d came to know about this incident, he reinforced the detachment sent to guard the Euphrates against al-Husain’s people having access to the water. The total force guarding the water now reached 800…! Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad himself sent a letter to Omer ibn Sa’d telling him that, “It is necessary to take more precautions so that they (al-Husain’s folks) may not be able to obtain a drop of water.”

Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) knew that war was unavoidable, so he asked his foes to put off the fighting for one night since, he said, he wanted to spend it praying to Allah. It was grudgingly granted. On the other hand, the misery of the prevailing conditions at al-Husain’s camp due to the shortage of water caused by the water supply being intercepted could not be imagined. The only survivor of that tragedy, namely al-Husain’s ailing son Ali, said later on about their suffering, “We, all in all, were twenty children, and we were very thirsty and crying for water, gasping with thirst.” It is also noteworthy that this same survivor’s offspring and supporters later on established the Fatimide ruling dynasty in north Africa with its capital first at Qairawan, Tunisia, then at Cairo, Egypt. The Fatimide caliph al-Muizz li Deenillah founded Cairo and built its renown al-Azhar mosque and university.

Burayr al-Hamadani, a loyal companion of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), tried to fetch water, igniting a fierce battle at the river’s bank. He and only three brave warriors had to face the entire 800-strong regiment guarding the watering place. The battle cries reached al-Husain’s camp, whereupon the Imam ordered a rescue mission. Water was miraculously brought in a single water-skin. All the children rushed to it, frantically trying to quench their thirst therewith. Crowding around it, some were pressing it to them, others falling upon it till, alas, suddenly the mouth of the water-skin flung open by the children’s crowding upon it and all the water flowed out on the dusty floor. All the children loudly cried and lamented saying, “O Burayr! All the water you have brought us is gone!”

In the eve of the ninth of Muharram, Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) gathered all his companions together and said to them, “Whoever remains with me will be killed tomorrow; so, consider this opportunity as Allah-sent and take advantage of the darkness and go home to your villages.” He then extinguished the light so that those who wanted to go away might not be too embarrassed when seen by others. al-Husain’s loyal companions burst out in inconsolable weeping and distressfully said to him, “Mawla (master)! Do not thus shame us before the Messenger of Allah, before Ali and Fatima! With what face will we present ourselves to them on the Day of Judgment? Were we to desert you, may the wild beasts of the jungle tear us to pieces.”

Having said so, the faithful companions drew their swords out of their scabbards. Then they threw the scabbards in the fire of a ditch dug to protect the tents of the ladies. Holding their naked swords, they offered humble supplications to the Almighty beseeching Him thus: “O Lord of the creation! We are passing through the sea of trouble and sorrow in obedience to Your Prophet (ﺹ) and in defense of the religion. You are the Sustainer of our honour and reputation. You are our Lord and Master. Grant us the strength of will and the spirit of enduring patience and perseverence so that we may remain firm and give our all in Your Path.”

Al-Qasim son of Imam al-Hasan son of Ali ibn Abu Talib, nephew of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), was a 13-year old lad. He sought audience with the Imam in order to inquire whether his name was on the list of martyrs. “Your name,” answered al-Husain (ﻉ), “is also included in the list of martyrs. You will be killed, and so will my suckling baby Ali al-Asghar.” After a short while, the Imam continued saying, “I, too, will be killed, but Allah will continue my lineage. How would the cruel oppressors succeed in putting an end to his [Ali Zain al-Abidan’s] life when eight Imams are to be born as his offspring?”

In a tent sat Umm Kulthum, sister of al-Abbas, watching her brother polishing his weapons. She wore a woe-begone face, and tears kept trickling down her cheeks. Suddenly al-Abbas happened to look up. Seeing her tears, he inquired, “Honoured sister, why are you weeping?” “How could I help doing so,” she replied, adding, “since I am an unlucky childless woman? Tomorrow, all the ladies will offer the lives of their sons for the Imam, whom shall I offer, having no son of my own?” Tears trickling down his cheeks, al-Abbas said, “Sister! From now on, I am your slave, and tomorrow you offer me, your slave, as a sacrifice for the Imam.” Who else, dear reader, would call himself a slave of his sister besides al-Abbas? Such are the Ahl al-Bayt , and such are their manners.

The author of صلاح النشأتين Salah al-Nash’atayn records saying that the tragic and historical battle culminated on a Friday, the tenth of Muharram, 61 A.H., corresponding to October 13, 680 A.D., a day known in Islamic history as Ashura. Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) delivered two sermons to the misled souls that surrounded him from all directions, trying to bring them back to their senses, but it was to no avail.

ثمّ دعا براحلته فركبها ، و نادى بصوت عال يسمعه جلّهم : أيّها النّاس اسمعوا قَولي ، ولا تعجلوا حتّى أعظكم بما هو حقّ لكم عليَّ ، وحتّى أعتذر إليكم من مَقدمي عليكم ، فإن قبلتم عذري وصدقتم قولي وأعطيتموني النّصف من أنفسكم ، كنتم بذلك أسعد ، ولم يكن لكم عليَّ سبيل . وإنْ لَم تقبلوا مِنّي العذر ولَم تعطوا النّصف من أنفسكم ، فأجمعوا أمركم و شركاءكم ثمّ لا يكن أمركم عليكم غمّة . ثمّ اقضوا إليَّ ولا تنظرون . إنّ ولييّ الله الذي نزل الكتاب وهو يتولّى الصالحين. فلمّا سمعنَ النّساء هذا منه صحنَ وبكينَ وارتفعت أصواتهنَّ ، فأرسل إليهنَّ أخاه العبّاس وابنه علياً الأكبر وقال لهما : (سكّتاهنَّ فلعمري ليكثر بكاؤهنّ. ولمّا سكتنَ ، حمد الله وأثنى عليه وصلّى على محمّد وعلى الملائكة والأنبياء وقال في ذلك ما لا يحصى ذكره ولَم يُسمع متكلّم قبله ولا بعده أبلغ منه في منطقه ، ثمّ قال : عباد الله ، اتقوا الله وكونوا من الدنيا على حذر ؛ فإنّ الدنيا لَو بقيت على أحد أو بقي عليها أحد لكانت الأنبياء أحقّ بالبقاء وأولى بالرضا وأرضى بالقضاء ، غير أنّ الله خلق الدنيا للفناء ، فجديدها بالٍ ونعيمها مضمحل وسرورها مكفهر ، والمنزل تلعة والدار قلعة ، فتزوّدوا فإنّ خير الزاد التقوى ، واتقوا الله لعلّكم تفلحون. أيّها النّاس إنّ الله تعالى خلق الدنيا فجعلها دار فناء وزوال متصرفة بأهلها حالاً بعد حال ، فالمغرور من غرّته والشقي من فتنته ، فلا تغرّنكم هذه الدنيا ، فإنّها تقطع رجاء من ركن إليها وتُخيّب طمع من طمع فيها . وأراكم قد اجتمعتم على أمر قد أسخطتم الله فيه عليكم وأعرض بوجهه الكريم عنكم وأحلَّ بكم نقمته ، فنِعمَ الربّ ربّنا وبئس العبيد أنتم ؛ أقررتم بالطاعة وآمنتم بالرسول محمّد (ص) ، ثمّ إنّكم زحفتم إلى ذريّته وعترته تريدون قتلهم ، لقد استحوذ عليكم الشيطان فأنساكم ذكر الله العظيم ، فتبّاً لكم ولِما تريدون . إنّا لله وإنّا إليه راجعون هؤلاء قوم كفروا بعد إيمانهم فبُعداً للقوم الظالمين . أيّها النّاس أنسبوني مَن أنا ثمّ ارجعوا إلى أنفسكم وعاتبوها وانظروا هل يحلّ لكم قتلي وانتهاك حرمتي ؟ ألستُ ابن بنت نبيّكم وابن وصيّه وابن عمّه وأول المؤمنين بالله والمصدّق لرسوله بما جاء من عند ربّه ؟ أوَ ليس حمزة سيّد الشهداء عمّ أبي ؟ أوَ ليس جعفر الطيّار عمّي ، أوَ لَم يبلغكم قول رسول الله لي ولأخي : هذان سيّدا شباب أهل الجنّة ؟ فإنْ صدّقتموني بما أقول وهو الحقّ ـ والله ما تعمدتُ الكذب منذ علمت أنّ الله يمقت عليه أهله ويضرّ به من اختلقه ـ وإنْ كذّبتموني فإنّ فيكم مَن إنْ سألتموه عن ذلك أخبركم ، سلوا جابر بن عبد الله الأنصاري ، وأبا سعيد الخدري ، وسهل بن سعد الساعدي ، وزيد بن أرقم ، وأنس بن مالك يخبروكم أنّهم سمعوا هذه المقالة من رسول الله لي ولأخي ، أما في هذا حاجز لكم عن سفك دمي ؟! فقال الشمر : هو يعبد الله على حرف إنْ كان يدري ما يقول . فقال له حبيب بن مظاهر : والله إنّي أراك تعبد الله على سبعين حرفاً ، وأنا أشهد أنّك صادق ما تدري ما يقول ، قد طبع الله على قلبك . ثمّ قال الحسين (ع) : فإنْ كنتم في شكّ من هذا القول ، أفتشكّون أنّي ابن بنت نبيّكم ، فوالله ما بين المشرق والمغرب ابن بنت نبي غيري فيكم ولا في غيركم ، ويحكم اتطلبوني بقتيل منكم قتلته ؟! أو مال لكم استهلكته ؟! أو بقصاص جراحة ؟! ، فأخذوا لا يكلّمونه ! فنادى : يا شبث بن ربعي ، ويا حَجّار بن أبجر ، ويا قيس بن الأشعث ، ويا زيد بن الحارث: ألم تكتبوا إليَّ أنْ اقدم قد أينعت الثمار واخضرّ الجناب ، وإنّما تقدم على جند لك مجنّدة ؟ فقالوا: لَم نفعل . قال : سبحان الله ! بلى والله لقد فعلتم. ثمّ قال : أيّها النّاس ، إذا كرهتموني فدعوني أنصرف عنكم إلى مأمن من الأرض. فقال له قَيس بن الأشعث : أولا تنزل على حكم بني عمّك ؟ فإنّهم لَن يروك إلاّ ما تُحبّ ولَن يصل إليك منهم مكروه . فقال الحسين عليه السّلام : أنت أخو أخيك ، أتريد أن يطلبك بنو هاشم أكثر من دم مسلم بن عقيل ؟ لا والله لا اُعطيكم بيدي إعطاء الذليل ولا أفرّ فرار العبيد ، عباد الله إنّي عذتُ بربّي وربّكم أنْ ترجمون ، أعوذ بربّي وربّكم من كلّ متكبِّر لا يؤمن بيوم الحساب ). ثمّ أناخ وأمر عقبة بن سمعان فعقلها.

The dumb and stone-hearted rogues were not affected by al-Husain’s eloquent sermons. He asked them, “Am I not your Prophet’s grandson? Am I not the son of the Commander of the Faithful, cousin of the Prophet and the first male to believe in the divine message of Allah? Is not Hamzah, the head of the martyrs, my father’s uncle? Is not the martyr Ja’far al-Tayyar my uncle? Did the Prophet not reach your ears with words spoken in reference to me and to my elder brother (al-Hasan), saying, These (al-Hasan and al-Husain (ﻉ) are the masters of the youths of Paradise’?”

The renown historian at-Tabari and all other historians unanimously record that when al-Husain (ﻉ) proceeded so far in his sermon, the audience was moved against their wish, so much so that tears began to flow from the eyes of friends and foes alike. It was only al-Hurr, however, who was truly moved to the extent of stirring to action. Slowly did he walk as he kept saying, “Allah! I turn to You in repentance from the depth of my heart, so do forgive me and forgive my sinful misconduct towards the Prophet’s beloved Ahl al-Bayt.” Approaching the Imam with eyes streaming with tears, with his shield turned the other way and his spear turned upside-down, he knelt down and kept crawling on his knees till he reached the Imam and fell on his feet kissing them, begging for his forgiveness. Al-Husain (ﻉ) accepted his apologies and prayed for him. Meanwhile, al-Hurr’s defection alarmed Omer ibn Sa’d, the commander-in-chief of the enemies of al-Husain (ﻉ) and of Allah. He was afraid such defection might encourage other commanders of his army to do likewise. Calling his slave, who was bearing the standard, he put an arrow on the string of his bow and discharged it at al-Husain (ﻉ), signaling the beginning of the battle. Martyrs fell one after another, recording epics of heroism unlike any others in the entire history of the human race. Their names and deeds of heroism are recorded on the pages of history for all generations to come.

خطبة الحسين الثانية
ثمّ إنّ الحسين (ع) ركب فرسه ، وأخذ مصحفاً ونشره على رأسه ، ووقف بإزاء القوم وقال : ((يا قوم ، إنّ بيني وبينكم كتاب الله وسنّة جدّي رسول الله (ص) ) (3. ثمّ استشهدهم عن نفسه المقدّسة وما عليه من سيف النّبي (ص) ولامته وعمامته فأجأبوه بالتصديق . فسألهم عمّا أخذهم على قتله ؟ قالوا : طاعةً للأمير عبيد الله بن زياد ، فقال عليه السّلام : ((تبّاً لكم أيّتها الجماعة و ترحاً ، أحين استصرختمونا فأصرخناكم موجفين ، سللتم علينا سيفاً لنا في أيمانكم وحششتم علينا ناراً اقتدحناها على عدوّنا وعدوّكم ، فأصبحتم إلباً لأعدائكم على أوليائكم ، بغير عدل أفشوه فيكم ولا أمل أصبح لكم فيهم . فهلاّ ـ لكم الويلات ! ـ تركتمونا والسّيف مشيم والجأش طامن والرأي لَما يستحصف ، ولكنْ أسرعتم إليها كطيرة (1) الدبا وتداعيتم عليها كتهافت الفراش ، ثمّ نقضتموها ، فسحقاً لكم يا عبيد الأمة وشذاذ الأحزاب ونبذة الكتاب ومحرّفي الكلِم وعصبة الإثم ونفثة الشيطان ومطفئيّ السّنَن ! ويحكم أهؤلاء تعضدون وعنّا تتخاذلون ! أجل والله غدر فيكم قديم وشجت عليه اُصولكم وتأزّرت فروعكم فكنتم أخبث ثمرة ، شجى للناظر وأكلة للغاصب ! ألا وإنّ الدّعيّ بن الدعيّ قد ركز بين اثنتَين ؛ بين السّلة والذلّة ، وهيهات منّا الذلّة ، يأبي الله لنا ذلك ورسوله والمؤمنون وحجور طابت وطهرت واُنوف حميّة ونفوس أبيّة ، من أن نؤثر طاعة اللئام من مصارع الكرام ، ألا وإنّي زاحف بهذه الاُسرة على قلّة العدد وخذلان النّاصر)

. ثمّ أنشد أبيات فروة بن مُسيك المرادي(2.) أما والله ، لا تلبثون بعدها إلاّ كريثما يركب الفرس ، حتّى تدور بكم دور الرحى وتقلق بكم قلق المحور ، عهدٌ عَهَده إليَّ أبي عن جدّي رسول الله ، فاجمعوا أمركم وشركاءكم ، ثمّ لا يكن أمركم عليكم غمّة ثمّ اقضوا إليَّ ولا تنظرون ، إنّي توكّلت على الله ربّي وربّكم ، ما من دابّة إلاّ هو آخذ بناصيتها إنّ ربّي على صراط المستقيم (2. ثمّ رفع يدَيه نحو السّماء وقال : ((اللهمّ ، احبس عنهم قطر السّماء ، وابعث عليهم سنين كسنيّ يوسف، وسلّط عليهم غلام ثقيف يسقيهم كأساً مصبرة ، فإنّهم كذبونا وخذلونا، وأنت ربّنا عليك توكّلنا وإليك المصير (3. والله لا يدع أحداً منهم إلاّ انتقم لي منه ، قتلةً بقتلة وضربةً بضربة ، وإنّه لينتصر لي ولأهل بيتي وأشياعي

Wahab ibn Abu Wahab, a Christian, and his wife, also a Christian, were married only a fortnight ago. Having witnessed what went on between al-Husain (ﻉ) and his foes, they sympathized with al-Husain (ﻉ) and embraced the Islamic creed at his hands. The words of the Imam’s sermons penetrated their hearts and found an echo. Wahab’s mother, still Christian, said to her son, “I will not be pleased with you till you give your life away for the sake of al-Husain (ﻉ).” Wahab charged at the enemies of Allah like a lion, and when a man from Kufa severed his right arm, he transferred the sword to the left and went on fighting as if nothing at all had happened. Soon his left arm, too, was lopped off by a single stroke of a sword, and the hero fell to the ground. His wife watched the whole scene. She pleaded to the Imam thus as she darted towards his enemies, “O Imam! Please do not ask me to go back! I prefer to die fighting rather than to fall captive in the hands of Banu Umayyah!” The Imam tried to dissuade her, explaining to her that fighting is not mandated on women, but at seeing her husband martyred, she ran to him and, putting his lifeless head in her lap, she began to wipe it with her clothes. Soon a slave of Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan put an end to her life while she was thus engaged; may the Almighty shower His blessings upon her. It is unanimously agreed upon by the historians that she was the first lady to be martyred on that day. Wahab’s mother was very happy. She said, “Allah! Thank You for saving my honour through my son’s martyrdom before the Imam.” Then the old Christian lady turned to the Kufians and said, “You wicked people! I bear witness that the Christians in their churches and the Zoroastrians in their fire houses are better people than you!” Saying so, she seized a stout candle (or, according to other accounts, a tent post) in her hand and fell upon the enemies, sending two of them to hell. The Imam sent two of his companions to bring her back. When she stood before him, he said to her, “O bondmaid of Allah! Women are not allowed to go to war. Sit down; I assure you that you and your son will be with my grandfather in Paradise.” Another martyr to be mentioned here, who was also Christian, is John, a slave of the great sahabi Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, may Allah be pleased with both of them. He had been for many years in the service of Abu Tharr, and although he was a very old man (according to some accounts, he was 90 years old), he fought al-Husain’s enemies till he was martyred.

The story of the martyrdom of al-Abbas is a very sad one. Unfortunately, there is no room here to provide you with all its details due to the lack of space; therefore, we have to summarize it to you in a few words. Al-Abbas ventured to bring water to the wailing thirsty children. He individually had to face the eight hundred soldiers guarding the bank of the Euphrates against al-Husain (ﻉ) and his small band having access to it. He was al-Husain’s standard-bearer. Both his arms were severed, one after the other, and arrows made his body look like a porcupine. One of those arrows penetrated his right eye… When al-Husain (ﻉ) saw his brother fall like that, he wept profusely as he said, “Now I have become spineless…” When al-Husain (ﻉ) tried to carry him to his camp, al-Abbas pleaded to him not to do so since he could not stand hearing the cries of the thirsty children especially since he had promised to bring them some water. He hated to go back to them empty-handed. Al-Husain (ﻉ), therefore, honoured his last wish; al-Abbas breathed his last as his brother al-Husain (ﻉ) was holding to him…

The Imam was also very courageous, so much so that he had already been called “the lion of Banu Hashim.” He had participated in the wars waged by his father, the Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), in defense of the creed against the hypocrites led by the Umayyads and against the Kharijites, proving his military ability and mastership of the art of war. Had the Muslims of today mastered this art, and had they been able to make their own weapons rather than import them from others, they would not have been forced to sell their God-given natural resources, especially oil, dirt cheap to those who do not wish them any good. Had the rulers of the Muslim world learned how to get along with each other, they would have cooperated with each other for their own common good. Had the Muslims of the world implemented the commandments of their creed as strictly as they are supposed to, no unjust or tyrannical ruler would have ever ruled them… I think that such rulers, the likes of Yazid, are the main cause of the pathetic situation wherein the Muslims of the world find themselves at the present time, yet these rulers derive their strength from the weakness of their subjects; so, one problem is connected to the other…

Narrators of this incident record saying that there was hardly any place in al-Husain’s body that escaped a sword stroke or an arrow, and the same can be said about his horse al-Sahab which used to belong to Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ) who, shortly before breathing his last, gave it to his right hand, cousin, and son-in-law Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ). Al-Husain’s older brother, Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ), inherited it; after his martyrdom, it became the property of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ). Having become too feeble to fight, he stood to rest. It was then that a man threw a stone at him, hitting his forehead and causing his blood to run down his face. He took his shirt to wipe his blood from his eyes just as another man shot him with a three-pronged arrow which pierced his chest and settled in his heart. He instantly said, “In the Name of Allah, through Allah, and on the creed of the Messenger of Allah [do I die].” Raising his head to the heavens, he said, “Lord! You know that they are killing a man besides whom there is no other son of Your Prophet’s daughter.” As soon as he took the arrow out of his back, blood gushed forth like a drain pipe. He placed his hand on his wound and once his hand was filled with blood, he threw it above saying, “Make what has happened to me easy for me; it is being witnessed by Allah.” Not a single drop of that blood fell on the ground. Then he put it back a second time, and it was again filled with blood. This time he rubbed it on his face and beard as he said, “Thus shall I appear when I meet my Lord and my grandfather the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), drenched in my blood. It is then that I shall say: O grandfather! So-and-so killed me.’”

Bleeding soon sapped his strength, so he sat down on the ground, feeling his head being too heavy. Malik ibn al-Nisr noticed his condition, so he taunted him then dealt him a stroke with his sword on the head. Al-Husain (ﻉ) was wearing a burnoose which soon became full of blood. Al-Husain (ﻉ) said, “May you never be able to eat or drink with your right hand, and may Allah gather you among the oppressors.” Having said so, the dying Imam threw his burnoose away and put on a turban on top of his capuche cap.

Hani ibn Thabeet al-Hadrami has said, “I was standing with nine other men when al-Husain (ﻉ) was killed. It was then that I looked and saw one of the children from al-Husain’s family wearing a robe and a shirt, and he was wearing two ear-rings. He held a post from those buildings and stood startled looking right and left. A man came running. Having come close to that child, the man leaned from his horse and killed that child with his horse. When he was shamed for thus killing a helpless child, he revealed his last name…”

That child was Muhammed ibn Abu Sa’d ibn Aqeel ibn Abu Talib. His mother, dazed, stunned, and speechless, kept looking at him as the incident unfolded before her very eyes…

The enemies of Allah waited for a short while then returned to al-Husain (ﻉ) whom they surrounded as he sat on the ground unable to stand. Abdullah son of Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ), grandson of the Prophet (ﺹ), who was eleven years old, looked and saw how his uncle was being surrounded by those people, so he came running towards him. Zainab, al-Husain’s revered sister, wanted to restrain him but he managed to evade her and to reach his uncle. Bahr ibn Kab lowered his head to strike al-Husain (ﻉ), so the child shouted, “O son of the corrupt woman, are you going to strike my uncle?” The man dealt a blow from his sword which the child received with his hand, cutting it off. The child cried in agony, “O uncle!” Then he fell in the lap of al-Husain (ﻉ) who hugged him and said, “O son of my brother! Be patient with regard to what has befallen us, and consider it as goodness, for Allah, the most Exalted, will make you join your righteous ancestors.” Then he raised his hands and supplicated saying, “O Allah! Let them enjoy themselves for some time then divide them and make them into parties, and do not let their rulers ever be pleased with them, for they invited us to support us, then they turned their backs to us and fought us.”

Harmalah ibn Kahil shot the child with an arrow, killing him as he sat in his uncle’s lap.

Al-Husain (ﻉ) remained lying on the ground for some time. Had those rogues wished to kill him, they could have done so, but each tribe relied on the other to do what it hated to do itself. Al-Shimr shouted, “What are you standing like that for?! What do you expect the man to do since your arrows and spears have wounded him so heavily? Attack him!” Zarah ibn Shareek struck him on his left shoulder with his sword while al-Haseen shot him with an arrow which penetrated his mouth; another man struck him on the shoulder. Sinan ibn Anas stabbed him in his collar bone area of the chest then shot him with an arrow in the neck. Salih ibn Wahab stabbed him in the side…

قال هلال بن نافع كنت واقفاً نحو الحسين وهو يجود بنفسه ، فوالله ما رأيت قتيلاً قطّ مضمّخاً بدمه أحسن منه وجهاً ولا أنور ، ولقد شغلني نور وجهه عن الفكرة في قتله . فاستقى في هذه الحال ماء فأبوا ان يسقوه . وقال له رجل : لا تذوق الماء حتّى ترد الحامية فتشرب من حميمها . فقال عليه السّلام : ((أنا أرد الحامية ؟! وإنّما أرد على جدّي رسول الله وأسكن معه في داره في مقعد صدق عند مليك مقتدر وأشكو إليه ما ارتكبتم منّي وفعلتم بي). فغضبوا بأجمعهم حتّى كأنّ الله لَم يجعل في قلب أحدهم من الرحمة شيئاً.

Hilal ibn Nafi` has said, “I was standing in front of al-Husain (ﻉ) as he was drawing his last breath. Never did I ever see anyone whose face looked better or more glowing as he was stained with his own blood! In fact, the light emanating from his face distracted me altogether from the thought of killing him! As he was in such a condition, he asked for some water to drink, but they refused to give him any.”

A man said to him, “You shall not taste of water till you reach hell from whose hot boiling water shall you drink.” He, peace be with him said, “Am I the one who will reach it? Rather, I will reach my grandfather the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) and reside with him in his abode of truth near an Omnipotent King, and I shall complain to him about what crimes you committed against me and what you have done to me.” They all became very angry. It is as if Allah did not leave an iota of compassion in their hearts. When his condition worsened, al-Husain (ﻉ) raised his eyes to the heavens and said,

“O Allah! Sublime You are, Great of Might, Omnipotent, Independent of all creation, greatly Proud, Capable of doing whatever You please, Forthcoming in mercy, True of Promise, Inclusive of Blessings, Clement, Near to those who invoke Him, Subduing His creation, Receptive to Repentance, Able, Overpowering, Appreciative when thanked, Remembering those who remember Him! Thee do I call upon out of my want, and Thee do I seek out of need! From Thee do I seek help when in fear and cry when depressed! Thine help do I seek in my weakness, and upon Thee do I rely! O Allah! Judge between us and our people, for they deceived and betrayed us. They were treacherous to us, and they killed us although we are the Itrat of Your Prophet and the offspring of the one You love: Muhammed (ﺹ) whom You chose for Your Message and entrusted with the revelation. Do find an ease for our affair and an exit, O most Merciful of all merciful ones! Grant me patience to bear Your destiny, O Lord! There is no Allah but You! O Helper of those who seek help! I have no Allah besides You, nor do I adore anyone but You! Grant me to persevere as I face Your decree, O Helper of the helpless, O Eternal One Who knows no end, O One Who brings the dead back to life, O One Who rewards every soul as it earned, do judge between me and them; surely You are the best of judges.”

Al-Husain’s horse came circling around him, rubbing his head on his blood. It was then that Ibn Sa’d shouted, “The horse! Get the horse, for it is one of the horses of the Messenger of Allah!” Horsemen surrounded that horse which kept kicking with its front legs, killing forty riders and ten horses. Ibn Sa’d then said, “Leave him and let us see what he does.” Once he felt secure, the horse went back to al-Husain (ﻉ) to rub his head on the Imam’s blood as he sniffed him. He was neighing very loudly. Imam Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (ﻉ) used to say that that horse was repeating these words: “Retribution! Retribution against a nation that killed the son of its Prophet’s daughter!” The horse then went to the camp neighing likewise. When the women saw the horse without its rider and its saddle twisted, they went out, their hair spread out, beating their cheeks, their faces uncovered, screaming and wailing, feeling the humiliation after enjoying prestige, going in the direction of the place where al-Husain (ﻉ) had been killed.

Umm Kulthum, Zainab the wise, cried out, “O Muhammed! O father! O Ali! O Ja’far! O Hamzah! Here is al-Husain in the open slain in Kerbala’!” Then Zainab said, “I wish the heavens had fallen upon the earth! I wish the mountains had crushed the valley!” She was near al-Husain (ﻉ) when Omer ibn Sa’d came close to her flanked by some of his men. Al-Husain (ﻉ) was drawing his last breath. She cried out, “O Omer ! Should Abu Abdullah be killed as you look on?!” He turned his face away. His tears were flooding his beard. She said, “Woe unto you! Is there any Muslim man among you?” None answered her. Then Omer Ibn Sa’d shouted at people, “Alight and put him to rest!” Al-Shimr was the first to do so. He kicked the Imam with his foot then sat on his chest and took hold of his holy beard. He dealt him twelve sword strokes. He then severed his sacred head…

Those folks now took to maurauding the Imam: Ishaq ibn Hawayh took his shirt. Al-Akhnas ibn Murthid ibn Alqamah al-Hadrami took his turban. Al-Aswad ibn Khalid took his sandals. Jamee ibn al-Khalq al-Awdi, and some say a man from Tameem named al-Aswad ibn Hanzalah, took his sword.

Bajdal came. He saw the Imam (ﻉ) wearing a ring covered with his blood. He cut his finger off and took the ring… Qays ibn al-Ash’ath took his velvet on which he since then used to sit, so he came to be called “Qays Qateefa.” Qateefa is Arabic for velvet. His worn out garment was taken by Jaoonah ibn Hawiyyah al-Hadrami. His bow and outer garments were taken by al-Raheel ibn Khaythamah al-Jufi and Hani ibn Shabeeb al-Hadrami and Jarar Ibn Mas’ud al-Hadrami. A man among them wanted to take his underpants after all his other clothes had been taken away by others. This man said, “I wanted to take it off, but he had put his right hand on it which I could not lift; therefore, I severed his right hand… He then put his left hand on it which I also could not lift, so I severed it, too, and I was about to bare him and take it off when I heard a rumbling like that of an earthquake, so I became frightened. I left him and fell into a swoon, a slumber. While I was unconscious, I saw the Prophet, Ali, Fatima, and al-Hasan, in a vision. Fatima was saying, O son! They killed you! May Allah kill them!’ He said to her, O mother! This sleeping man has severed my hands!’ She then invoked Allah’s curse on me saying, May Allah cut your hands and legs, and may He blind you and hurl you into the fire!’ Indeed, I am now blind. My hands and legs have already been amputated, and nothing remains from her curse except the fire.”


When al-Husain (ﻉ) was martyred, people fell upon his luggage and belongings looting everything they could find in his tents[9], then they set the tents to fire. People raced to rob the ladies of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ). Daughters of Fatima al-Zahra’ (ﻉ) tearfully ran away, their hair uncovered[10]. Scarves were snatched, rings were pulled out of fingers, ear-rings were taken out, and so were ankle-rings[11]. A man took both ear-rings belonging to Umm Kulthum, riddling her ears in the process[12]. Another approached Fatima daughter of al-Husain (ﻉ), taking her ankle-rings out. He was weeping as he committed his foul deed. “What is the matter with you?,” she asked him. “How can I help weeping,” he answered, “since I am looting the daughter of the Messenger of Allah?” She asked him to leave her alone. He said, “I am afraid if I do not take it, someone else will.”[13]

Another man was seen driving the women with the butt of his spear, having robbed them of their coverings and jewelry as they sought refuge with one another. He was seen by the same Fatima. Having realized that she had seen him, he went towards her, and she fled away. He threw his spear at her; she fell headlong and fainted. When she recovered, she saw her aunt, Umm Kulthum, sitting at her head crying.[14]

A woman from the clan of Bakr ibn Wa’il, who was accompanied by her husband, saw the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) in such a condition, so she cried out, “O offspring of Bakr ibn Wa’il! Do you permit the daughters of the Messener of Allah (ﻉ) to be robbed like that? There is no judgment except Allah’s! O how the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) should be avenged!” Her husband brought her back to his conveyance[15].

The rogues reached Ali son of al-Husain (ﻉ) who was sick on his bed unable to stand up[16]. Some were saying, “Do not let any of them, young or old, alive.” Others were saying, “Do not be rash in your judgment till we consult the governor Amr ibn Sa’d.”[17] Al-Shimr unsheathed his sword with the intention to kill Ali. Hameed ibn Muslim said to him, “Glory to Allah! Do you really kill children?! He is only a sick lad!”[18] He said, “Ibn Ziyad ordered all al-Husain’s sons killed.” Ibn Sa’d went to extremes to stop him[19] especially after having heard the wise lady Zainab daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) saying, “You will not kill him before killing me first;” so, they left him alone[20].

Ibn Sa’d himself came to the ladies who burst in tears upon seeing him. He ordered the men to stay away from them. Those men had already taken all the ornaments those ladies had had and never returned any of them back. He assigned to a group of men the task of protecting them, then he returned to his tent.

Ibn Sa’d shouted, “Who volunteers to make sure that the chest and the back of al-Husain (ﻉ) are run over by the horses?” Ten men stood up.[21] Those miscreant “volunteers” were: Ishaq ibn Hawiyyah, al-Ahbash ibn Murshid ibn Alqamah ibn Salamah al-Hadrami, Hakeem ibn al-Tufayl al-Sinbisi, Amr ibn Sabeeh al-Saydawi, Raja’ ibn Munqith al-Abdi, Salim ibn Khaythamah al-Jufi, Salih ibn Wahab al-Jufi, Wakhit ibn Ghanim, Hani ibn Thabeet al-Hadrami, and Aseed ibn Malik. They rode their horses and trampled upon the body of the fragrant flower of the Messenger of Allah…

Ibn Ziyad ordered liberal awards to be given to them[22]. Al-Bayruni has said that they did to al-Husain (ﻉ) what no other nation had ever done to their most evil ones: killing with the sword or the spear, with stone throwing, and with horse trampling[23]. Some of those horses reached Egypt were their shoes were pulled out and fixed on doors as means of seeking blessings. This became a custom among them, so much so that many of them started making the like of those shoes and hanging them over the doors of their houses.[24]

Ibn Sa’d ordered the heads to be severed from their bodies. They were distributed to various tribes that used them as means to seek favour with Ibn Ziyad. The Kindah tribe took thirteen brought by their envoy Qays ibn al-Ash’ath. The Hawazin tribe brought twelve with their “man” Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan. The Tameem tribe brought seventeen; the Banu Asad tribe brought sixteen; the Mathhaj tribe brought seven, and the other tribes brought the rest[25]. The tribe to which al-Hurr al-Riyahi belonged refused to cut anyone’s head or to let their horses trample on the Imam’s body[26].

On the tenth day, Ibn Sa’d had already entrusted the head of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) to Khawli ibn Yazid al-Asbahi and Hameed ibn Muslim al-Azdi. He entrusted the heads of the Imam’s family members and those of his companions to al-Shimr, Qays ibn al-Ash’ath and Amr ibn al-Hajjaj[27]. Khawli’s house was one farasang from Kufa. He hid the head from his Ansari wife whom he knew to be loyal to Ahl al-Bayt, peace be with them. But when she saw a light emanating from the bakery oven [where it was hidden], she was terrified. When she came closer, she heard the voices of al-Husain’s women mourning al-Husain (ﻉ) in the most somber way. She mentioned this to her husband then went out crying[28]. Since then, she never used any kohl nor any perfume out of her grief for al-Husain (ﻉ). She was called Ayoof[29].

In the morning, Khawli took the head to the governor’s mansion. By then, Ibn Ziyad had returned from his camp at al-Nakheela. Khawli put the head in front of Ibn Ziyad as he recited these poetic verses:

إمـلأ ركابي فضّة أو ذهبا إنّـي قتلت السيّد المحجّبا
وخيرهم من يذكرون النسبا قـتلت خير الناس اُمّاً وأبا

فساء ابن زياد قوله أمام الجمع فقال له : إذا علمت إنّه كذلك فلِمَ قتلته ؟ والله لا نلت منّي شيئاً.

Fill my stirrup with silver or with gold:

I killed the master of every honour told,

Their best when they mention descent.

I killed the best of people, son of the best parent.

But these words, spoken in front of everyone, were met by Ibn Ziyad with outrage. “Since you knew that he was that honourable,” said Ibn Ziyad, “why did you then take part in killing him? By Allah, you will receive nothing from me at all.”[30]

When Ibn Sa’d sent the heads to Kufa, he remained with the army till noon on the eleventh day [of Muharram]. He gathered those killed from his army and performed the funeral prayers for them then buried them, leaving the corpses of the Master of the Youths of Paraidse (ﻉ) and those of his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) and companions unwashed, unshrouded, and unburied[31], exposed to the wind and to the wild beasts of the desert.

After the time of zawal, Ibn Sa’d left for Kufa with the women, the children, the bondmaids, and the surviving family members of al-Husain’s companions. They included twenty women[32] whom they mounted on camels without saddles just as was the custom then with Turks or Romans taken captive although they belonged to the best of all prophets (ﻉ). With them was as-Sajjad Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ) who was twenty-three years old[33]. He was placed on a lean camel without a saddle, and he was worn out by sickness[34]. His son [the later Imam] al-Baqir[35], who was two years and a few months old[36], accompanied him. Among the children of Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) taken captive were: Zaid, Amr, and al-Hasan II. The latter was captured after he had killed seventeen men. He received eighteen wounds, and his right arm had been cut off. Asma’ ibn Kharijah al-Fizari intervened to get him freed because his mother was also Fizari, so Ibn Sa’d left her husband take him[37]. With them was Uqbah ibn Saman, a slave of al-Rubab, al-Husain’s wife. When Ibn Ziyad came to know that that man was al-Rubab’s slave, he released him. Ibn Ziyad was informed that al-Muraqqa ibn Thumamah al-Asadi had scattered his arrows around then fled to his tribe where he sought and received protection, he ordered him to be banished to al-Zara[38].

The ladies pleaded to thus: “For the love of Allah! Please take us to those killed.” When they saw how they had lost their limbs, how the spears had drank of their blood, and how the horses had trampled upon them, they screamed and beat their faces in anguish[39]. Zainab cried out, يا محمّداه ! هذا حسين بالعراء ، مرمّل بالدماء ، مقطّع الأعضاء ، وبناتك سبايا ، وذريّتك مقتّلة . فأبكت كلّ عدو وصديق”O Muhammed! Here is al-Husain in the desert covered with blood, his limbs cut off! Here are your daughters taken captive and your offspring slaughtered!” These words caused friends and foes alike to weep[40], even the horses’ tears ran on their hooves[41]. Then she put her hands under his sacred body and lifted it as she supplicated saying, “O Lord! Do accept this sacrifice from us[42].”

Sukayna[43] hugged the body of her father al-Husain (ﻉ) and kept telling him how she had heard him saying,

شيعتي ما أنْ شربتم عَذْبَ ماء فاذكروني

أو سمـعتم بغريـب او شهيد فاندبوني

O my Shi’as! Whenever of water you drink

Never from mentioning my name should you shrink.

And whenever you are a stranger on a sojourn

Or see a martyr, me should you remember and mourn.[44]

Only a number of them could collectively remove her from his corpse, forcefully dragging her away.[45]

When Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ) looked at his slaughtered family, he felt greatly grieved and worried. When his sister Zainab al-Kubra read his face, she felt upset on his account and took to consoling him and admonishing him to be patient although even the mountains could not match him in his patience and fortitude. Among what she said to him is the following:

ما لي أراك تجود بنفسك يا بقيّة جدّي وأبي وإخوتي؟ فوالله إنّ هذا لعهد من الله إلى جدّك وأبيك ، ولقد أخذ الله ميثاق اُناس لا تعرفهم فراعنة هذه الأرض ، وهم معروفون في أهل السّماوات ، إنّهم يجمعون هذه الأعضاء المقطّعة والجسوم المضرّجة ، فيوارونها وينصبون بهذا الطفّ علماً لقبر أبيك سيّد الشهداء لا يُدرس أثره ولا يُمحى رسمه على كرور الليالي والأيّام ، وليجتهدنّ أئمّة الكفر وأشياع الضلال في محوه وتطميسه ، فلا يزداد أثره إلاّ علوّاً.

“Why do I see you pleading for death, O the legacy of my grandfather, of my father and brothers? By Allah, this is something which Allah had divulged to your grandfather (ﻉ) and to your father (ﻉ). Allah took a covenant from people whom you do not know, the mighty ones on this land, and who are known to the people of the heavens, that they would gather these severed parts and wounded corpses and bury them, then shall they set up on this Taff a banner for the grave of your father, the Master of Martyrs (ﻉ), the traces of which shall never be obliterated, nor shall it ever be wiped out so long as there is day and night. And the leaders of apostasy and the promoters of misguidance shall try their best to obliterate and efface it, yet it shall get more and more lofty instead.”[46]

Zajr ibn Qays came to them and shouted at them to leave as he kept whipping them. Others surrounded them and mounted them on camel humps.[47]

Zainab the wise rode her own she-camel. She recollected the days of lofty honour and inviolable prestige, guarded by fierce and honourable lions of Abdul-Muttalib’s offspring. And she used to always be surrounded by servants who would not enter without her permission.

When the daughters of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) entered Kufa, the city’s residents gathered to see them, so Umm Kulthum shouted at them, “O people of Kufa! Do not you have any sense of shame before Allah and His Messenger so you look at the ladies of the Prophet?”[48]

One of Kufa’s women came to them and saw their condition for which even a most bitter enemy would feel sorry. She asked them what captives they were, and she was told: “We are captives belonging to the Progeny of Muhammed.”[49] The people of Kufa kept doling out dates, walnuts and bread to the children, whereupon Umm Kulthum, that is, Zainab al-Kubra, shouted at them that they were prohibited from accepting charity. She threw away what had been given to the children[50]. A poet once composed these lines addressing Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ):

O Ali, father of al-Hasan!

She overlooks and in the slumber she delights,

But only with her hand can Zainab now cover her face.

O father of al-Hasan!

Does this sight you please:

Each of your women chained, uncovered the face,

While Banu Harb’s women in their chambers veiled with grace?

Does your side on the bed find comfort and ease,

While your daughters on the camels to Syria are brought?

Are you pleased when your wise ladies are exposed?

With lashes they are whipped when they cry, having no rest..

To the east they are once taken by the mean gangs, the worst,

And once towards the land of shame are taken, to the west.

None to protect them as they cross every plain,

None heeds their complaints when they complain.

Their voices were lost and their hearts squeezed,

Their breath by grief is almost snatched away

Amazed am I about one who thinks of fate

And wonders and upon it does he contemplate:

A fornicator leisurely turns about on his throne,

As al-Husain on the ground is left, unburied, alone,

And his head is on a lance openly carried,

And with the crown is crowned the son of a whore.

For three days did Husain stay unburied or more.

One’s body is to cruel elements is left exposed

As the other covers his with silk and with gold.[51]

The daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) explained to people Ibn Ziyad’s villainy and meanness in a speech which she delivered to them. When she signaled to them to calm down, they did. They stood speechless and motionless, and even the bells of their animals stopped ringing. It was then that she, calm and composed and with courage reminiscent of that of her father Haider (ﻉ) addressed them saying,

All Praise is due to Allah. Peace and blessings be upon my father Muhammed (ﺹ) and upon his good and righteous Progeny (ﻉ). May the resounding [of this calamity] never stops. Your similitude is one who unspins what is already spun out of the desire to violate [a trust]. You make religion a source of your income… Is there anyone among you who is not a boaster of what he does not have, a charger of debauchery, a conceited liar, a man of grudge without any justification, one submissive like bondmaids, an instigater, a pasture of what is not wholesome, a reciter of a story to someone buried? Truly bad is that which your souls have committed. You have reaped the Wrath of Allah, remaining in the chastisement for eternity. Do you really cry and sob? By Allah, you should then cry a great deal and laugh very little, for you have earned nothing but shame and infamy, and you shall never be able to wash it away, and how could you do so? The descendant of the Bearer of the Last Message (ﻉ), the very essence of the Message, the source of your security and the beacon of your guidance, the refuge of the righteous from among you, the one who saves you from calamity, the Master of the Youths of Paradise… is killed. O how horrible is the sin that you bear…! Miserable you are and renegades from the path of righteousness; may you be distanced and crushed. The effort is rendered futile, the toil is ruined, the deal is lost, and you earned nothing but Wrath from Allah and His Messenger (ﻉ). You are doomed with servitude and humiliation. Woe unto you, O Kufians! Do you know whose heart you have burned, what a “feat” you have laboured, what blood you have shed, and what sanctity you have violated? You have done a most monstrous deed, something for which the heavens are about to split asunder and so is the earth, and for which the mountains crumble. You have done something most uncanny, most defaced, as much as the fill of the earth and of the sky. Do you wonder why the sky rains blood? Surely the torment of the hereafter is a greater chastisement, and they shall not be helped. Let no respite elate you, for rushing does not speed it up, nor does it fear the loss of the opportunity for revenge. Your Lord is waiting in ambush for you.[52]

Imam as-Sajjad (ﻉ) said to her, “That is enough, O aunt, for you are, Praise to Allah, a learned lady whom none taught, one who comprehends without being made to do so.”[53]

Fatima, al-Husain’s daughter[54], delivered a speech wherein she said,

“All Praise is due to Allah, as much as the number of the sands and of the stones, as much as the Arsh weighs up to the ground. I praise Him, believe in Him, and rely upon Him, and I testify that there is no Allah other than Allah, the One and Only Allah, there is no partner with Him, and that Muhammed is His servant and Messenger, and that his offspring have been slaughtered by the Euphrates river neither on account of blood revenge nor out of dispute over inheritance. Lord! I seek refuge with You against telling a lie about You and against saying anything contrary to what You have revealed of taking many a covenant regarding the vicegerency of Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), the man whose right is confiscated, who was killed without having committed a sin, just as his son was only yesterday killed, at one of the houses of Allah, the most Exalted One, at the hand of those who give Islam nothing but lip service. Destruction may afflict their heads that did not ward off from him any injustice as long as he lived nor at his death, till Allah Almighty took his soul to Him while his essence was praised, his dealing with others was commendable, his merits were well known, and his beliefs well admitted by everyone. Never did he ever accept anyone’s blame nor the criticism of any critic in doing what is right. Lord! You guided him to Islam even when he was a child and praised his virtues when he grew up. Never did he ever cease enjoining others to follow Your Path and that of Your Messenger (ﻉ). He always paid no heed to the riches of this world. He always desired the hereafter, a man who carried out jihad for Your Cause. With him were You pleased, so You chose him and guided him to a Straight Path. O people of Kufa! O people of treachery, of betrayal and conceit! We are members of a Household tried on your account by Allah, afflicted by you. He made our dealing with you good, and He entrusted His knowledge to us, and He bestowed upon us its comprehension; so, we are the bastian of His knowledge, understanding and wisdom, and His Arguments on the earth which He created for the good of His servants! Allah bestowed upon us His blessings and greatly honoured us with His Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his Progeny, favouring us over many of those whom He created. Yet you called us liars and apostates, and in your eyes you deemed killing us as lawful, and so is looting our possessions, as if we were the offspring of the Turks or of Kabul, just as you killed our grandfather in the past. Your swords drip with our blood, the blood of Ahl al-Bayt, out of past animosity. Thus have your eyes been cooled, and thus have your hearts been elated, telling lies about Allah and out of evil plans which you hatched, while Allah is the very best of planners. So do not be carried away with your excitement because of our blood which you have spilled or our wealth which you have snatched, for what has befallen us is truly a great tragedy and a momentous calamity “In a Book even before We created them; surely this is easy for Allah, so that you may not be grieved because of what you missed nor feel happy because of what you acquired, and Allah does not love anyone who is coceited, braggard” (57:23). May you be ruined! Expect to be cursed and to be tormented, for it seems as though it has already befallen you, and more and more signs of Wrath are on their way to you from the heavens till He makes you taste of the chastisement and make some of you taste of the might of others, then on the Day of Judgment shall you all remain for eternity in the painful torment on account of the injustice with which you have treated us; the curse of Allah be upon the oppressors. Woe unto you! Do you know what hand you have stabbed, what soul found fighting us agreeable? Rather, by what feet did you walk towards us with the intention to fight us? Your hearts became hardened, and Allah sealed your hearts, your hearing, and your vision, and Satan inspired to you and dictated, placing a veil over your eyes, so you can never be guided. Destruction is your lot, O people of Kufa! What a legacy of the Prophet (ﺹ) is standing before you, and what blood revenge will he seek from you on account of your enmity towards his brother Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), my grandfather, and towards his good and righteous offspring, yet you even brag about it saying,

بسيوف هندية ورماح نحن قتلنا عليا و بني علي
ونطحناهم فأي نطاح وسبينا نساءهم سبي ترك
We killed Ali and Ali’s sons, With Indian swords and spears
And we placed their women in captivity Like the Turks! We crushed them with severity.

May stones and pebbles fill your mouths! You brag about killing people whom Allah chose and whom He purified with a perfect purification and from whom He kept away all abomination. Suppress it, then, and squat just as your fathers did, for each will get the rewards of what he earns and will be punished for what he committed. You envied us, woe unto you, for what Allah, the most Exalted One, favoured and preferred us. Such is Allah’s favour: He bestows His favours upon whomsoever He pleases, and surely with Allah are great favours. For whoever Allah does not make a noor, he shall have no light at all.”

Voices were raised with weeping and wailing, and they said to her, “Enough, enough, O daughter of the pure ones, for you have burnt our hearts and necks,” so she took to silence.

Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ) was brought on a lean camel. Chains were placed on his neck, and he was handcuffed. Both sides of his neck were bleeding. He was repeating these verses:

O nation of evil, may your quarter never tastes of water!
O nation that never honoured in our regard our Grandfather!
Should we and the Messenger of Allah meet
On the Judgment Day, how would you then plead?
On bare beasts of burden have you
Transported us, as if we never put up a creed for you!

He signaled to people to be silent. Once they were silent, he praised Allah and glorified Him and saluted the Prophet (ﺹ). Then he said,

O people! Whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not, let me tell him that I am Ali son of al-Husain (ﻉ) ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ). I am the son of the man whose sanctity has been violated, whose wealth has been plundered, whose children have been seized. I am the son of the one who has been slaughtered by the Euphrates neither out of blood revenge nor on account of an inheritance. I am the son of the one killed in the worst manner. This suffices me to be proud. O people! I plead to you in the Name of Allah: Do you not know that you wrote my father then deceived him? Did you not grant him your covenant, your promise, and your allegiance, then you fought him? May you be ruined for what you have committed against your own souls, and out of your corrupt views! Through what eyes will you look at the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) when he says to you, “You killed my Progeny, violated my sanctity, so you do not belong to my nation”?

Loud cries rose, and they said to each other, “You have perished, yet you are not aware of it.” Then he, peace be with him, said, “May Allah have mercy on anyone who acts upon my advice, who safeguards my legacy with regard to Allah, His Messenger (ﻉ), and his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ), for we have in the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) a good example of conduct to emulate.” They all said, “We, O son of the Messenger of Allah, hear and we obey, and we shall safeguard your trust. We shall not turn away from you, nor shall we disobey you; so, order us, may Allah have mercy on you, for we shall fight when you fight, and we shall seek asylum when you do so; we dissociate ourselves from whoever oppressed you and dealt unjustly with you.” He, peace be with him, said, “Far, far away it is from you to do so, O people of treachery and conniving! You are separated from what you desire. Do you want to come to me as you did to my father saying, No, by the Lord of all those [angels] that ascend and descend’?! The wound is yet to heal. My father was killed only yesterday, and so were his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ), and the loss inflicted upon the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), upon my father (ﻉ), and upon my family is yet to be forgotten. Its pain, by Allah, is between both of these [sides] and its bitterness is between my throat and palate. Its choke is resting in my very chest.”[55]

Historians record saying that the Master of Martyrs (ﻉ) set up a tent on the battlefield[56], ordering those killed from among his companions and Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) to be carried to it. Whenever a fresh martyr was brought, he, peace be with him, would say, “You have been killed just as the prophets and the families of prophets are killed.”[57] He did so to everyone with the exception of his brother al-Abbas, peace be with him, whom he left where he fell near the river bank of the Euphrates.

When Omer ibn Sa’d accompanied those whom he arrested of the custodians of the Message and left for Kufa, he left behind those who were described by the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) as the masters of martyrs in the life of this world and in the hereafter, an honour to which nobody ever preceded nor will anyone suceed them[58], lying on the sands incinerated by the sun and sought by the wild beasts of the desert.

Among them was the Master of the Youths of Paradise who was in a condition that would split the hardest of the stones, yet divine lights were emanating from his corpse, and sweet scents were surrounding him from all directions.

A man belonging to Banu Asad has narrated the following:

Once the army left, I came to the battlefield and saw light emanating from those corpses that were covered with blood and smelled sweet scents. I saw a terrifying lion walking between the amputated parts till he reached the embodiment of sanctity and the sacrifice of guidance. He rubbed himself on his blood and rubbed his body on his as he kept muttering and letting out a very strange sound. I was amazed. Never have I ever seen such a fierce lion abandon what would be for his likes nothing but a meal. I hid among the marshes and kept watching to see what else he would do. I was more amazed when midnight came. It was then that I saw candles with voices that filled the earth with painful cries and wailing.[59]

On the thirtheenth day of Muharram, Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) came to bury his martyred father, peace be with him, since only an Imam buries another Imam.[60]

When as-Sajjad (ﻉ) came to the place, he saw Banu Asad assembled around the slain not knowing what to do. They could not identify the corpses especially since their killers had separated the heads from the bodies. Had it been otherwise, they could have inquired about them with the families and the tribes of those slain. But he, peace be with him, informed them that it was his task to bury those pure bodies. He informed them of the names of the slain, identifying those who belonged to Banu Hashim from the rest. Crying and wailing rose, and tears filled the eyes of everyone present there and then. The ladies of Banu Asad loosened their hair in grief and beat their cheeks.

Imam Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) walked to his father’s body, hugged it and wept loudly. Then he came to the grave-site and lifted a handful of its soil. A grave already dug appeared, and so did a pre-constructed shrine… He placed his hands under the Imam’s back and said, “In the Name of Allah, and according to the creed of the Messenger of Allah. Allah has said the truth, and so has His Messenger (ﻉ). The will of Allah be done; there is neither power nor might except in Allah, the Great.” Then he took it and went down without being assisted by anyone from among the Banu Asad to whom he said, “I have with me someone who will assist me.” Once he laid it down in the grave, he put his cheek on his father’s sacred neck and said, “Congratulations to the land that contains your pure body, for the world after you is dark whereas the hereafter in your light shall shine. As to the night, it is the harbinger of sleep, while grief remains forever, for Allah shall choose for your Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) your abode wherein you shall abide. From me to you is Salam, O son of the Messenger of Allah, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.”

On the grave he wrote: “This is the grave of al-Husain son of Ali son of Abu Talib, the one whom they killed even as he was a thirsty stranger.” Then he walked to the body of his uncle al-Abbas, peace be with him, and he saw him in a condition that had left the angels in the heavens’ strata baffled and caused the huris to weep even as they were in the chambers of Paradise. He fell upon it kissing his sacred neck and saying, “May the world after you be obliterated, O moon of Banu Hashim, and peace from me to you, O martyr, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.”

He dug a grave for him and took him down in it by himself just as he had done to the corpse of his martyred father (ﻉ). He said to Banu Asad, “There is someone with me to help me.”

Yes, he gave a piece of jewelry to Banu Asad as a token of appreciation for consoling him in burying the martyrs, and he assigned for them two places, ordering them to dig two pits in the first of which he buried those slain from Banu Hashim and in the second those slain from among the companions[61].

As regarding al-Hurr al-Riyahi, his corpse was taken away by his tribe that buried it where it now stands. It is said that his mother was present then and there, and when she saw what was being done to the corpses, she carried her son’s corpse somewhere else.[62]

The closest in proximity to the grave of al-Husain (ﻉ) from among the martyrs is his son Ali al-Akbar, peace be with him. In this regard, Imam al-Sadiq (ﻉ) says to Hammad al-Basri, “The father of Abdullah was killed a stranger away from home; he is mourned be whoever visits his grave-site, and whoever does not visit it grieves for him; whoever doe not see him is very depressed on account of being deprived of doing so, so he grieves; whoever sees the grave of his son at his feet in a desolate land, far away from his kins, invokes Allah’s mercy for him because of the fact that he was not supported when he called upon people to uphold righteousness, and because the renegades assisted one another against him till they killed him and did not have any respect for him, so much so that they exposed his corpse to the wild beasts and prohibited him from drinking of the water of the Euphrates of which the dogs drink. They disregarded their obligations in his respect towards the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) who had enjoined them to be kind to him and to his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ). He became abandoned in his grave, slain among his kinsfolk and Shi’as. In loneliness, being near his grave removes the pain of loneliness and so is his being distant from his grandfather (ﻉ) and from the house which none could enter except those whose conviction of heart Allah tested, and by those who recognize our rights. My father has told me that since he was killed, his place has never been empty of those who bless him from among the angels, the jinns, mankind, and even the wild beasts. Whoever visits it is envied and is rubbed for blessing, and looking at his grave is done in anticipation of earning goodness. Allah boasts to the angels of those who visit it. As far as what such pilgrim receives from us, we invoke Allah’s mercy for him every morning and every evening. It has come to my knowledge that some Kufians as well as others in Kufa’s outskirts pay it a visit in the eve of the middle of Shaban. They recite the Holy Qur’an; they narrate his story; they mourn him, and women eulogize him while others compose their own eulogies.” Hammad said to the Imam (ﻉ), “I have personally witnessed some of what you have described.” The Imam, peace be with him, then said, “Praise to Allah Who has made some people come to us, praise us, and mourn us, and praised is He for making our enemy shame them for doing so, threaten them, and describe what they do as ugly.”[63]

Having returned from his camp at Nakheela, Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad went straight to his mansion[64]. The sacred head was brought to him, and it was then that the walls started bleeding[65] and a fire broke out from one part of the mansion and made its way to the place where Ibn Ziyad was sitting[66]. He fled away from it and entered one of the mansion’s rooms. The head spoke out in a loud voice that was heard by Ibn Ziyad as well as by those who were present there and then. It said, “Where do you flee to? If fire does not catch you in the life of this world, it shall be your abode in the hereafter.” The head did not stop speaking till the fire was out. Everyone at the mansion was stunned; nothing like this had ever taken place before[67]. Yet Ibn Ziyad was not admonished by an incident such as that, so he ordered the captives to be brought to him. The ladies of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) were brought to him, and they were in the most pathetic condition[68].

Al-Husain’s head was placed in front of him, so he kept hitting its mouth with a rod which he had in his hand for some time. Zaid ibn Arqam said, “Stop hitting these lips with your rod, for by Allah, the One and Only Allah, I saw the lips of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) kissing them,” then he broke into tears. Ibn Ziyad said to him, “May Allah cause you never to cease crying! By Allah, had you not been an old man who lost his wits, I would have killed you.” Zaid went out of the meeting place saying, “A slave is now a monarch ruling them, treating them as his property. O Arabs! Henceforth, you are the slaves! You have killed Fatima’s son and granted authority to the son of Marjana who kills the best among you and permits the evil ones among you to be worshipped. You have accepted humiliation, so away with whoever accepts humiliation.”[69]

Zainab daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) kept a distance from the women as she remained disguised, but she could not disguise the prestige of being brought up in the lap of prophethood and in the glory of Imamate, so she attracted Ibn Ziyad’s attention. He inquired about her. He was told that she was Zainab, the wise lady, daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ). He wanted to tell her how rejoiced he was at what had happened. Said he, “Praise be to Allah Who exposed you to shame, Who killed you and proved you liars.” She, peace be with her, responded with: “Praise be to Allah Who honoured us by choosing Muhammed [from among us] as His Prophet and purified us with a perfect purification. Rather, only a debauchee is exposed to shame, and a sinner is proven to be a liar, and we are neither.”

Ibn Ziyad asked her, “How have you seen what Allah has done to your Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ)?” She, peace be with her, said, “I have seen Him treating them most beautifully. These are people to whom Allah prescribed martyrdom, so they leaped from their beds welcoming it, and Allah shall gather you and them, and you shall be questioned, and your opponents shall charge you[70]; so, you will then find out whose lot shall be the crack of hell, may your mother, O son of Marjana, lose you.”[71]

This statement enraged Ibn Ziyad, and her words incinerated him with ire, especially since she said it before such a huge crowd. He, therefore, was about to kill her when Amr ibn Hareeth said to him, “She is only a woman; can she be held accountable for what she said? She cannot be blamed when she thus prattles.”

Ibn Ziyad turned to her one more time and said, “Allah has healed my heart by letting me seek revenge against your tyrant and against the rebels and mutineers from among his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ)!” The wise lady calmed herself and said, “By my life! You have killed my middle-aged protector, persecuted my family, cut off my branch and pulled out my roots; so, if all of this heals your heart, then you are indeed healed.”[72]

He then turned to Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ) whom he asked what his name was. “I am Ali son of al-Husain (ﻉ),” came the answer. Ibn Ziyad asked Ali, “Did not Allah kill Ali (ﻉ)?” Al-Sajjad (ﻉ) answered, “I used to have an older brother[73] also named Ali whom people killed.” Ibn Ziyad responded by repeating his statement that it was Allah who had killed him. Al-Sajjad, therefore, said, “Allah takes the souls away at the time of their death; none dies except with Allah’s permission.” Ibn Ziyad did not appreciate him thus responding to his statement rather than remaining silent, so he ordered him to be killed, but his aunt, the wise lady Zainab, put her arms around him and said, “O Ibn Ziyad! Suffices you what you have shed of our blood…, have you really spared anyone other than this?[74] If you want to kill him, kill me with him as well.” Al-Sajjad (ﻉ) said [to Ibn Ziyad], “Do you not know that we are used to being killed, and that martyrdom is one of Allah’s blessings upon us?”[75] Ibn Ziyad looked at both of them then said, “Leave him for her. Amazing is their tie of kinship; she wishes to be killed with him.”[76]

Al-Rubab, wife of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), took the head and put it in her lap. She kissed it and composed poetry lines mourning

When it became clear to Ibn Ziyad that there were many people present who were voicing their resentment of what he had committed and how everyone was repeating what Zainab had said, he feared an uprising, so he ordered the police to jail the captives inside a house adjacent to the grand mosque[77]. Ibn Ziyad’s doorman has said, “I was with them when he issued his order to jail them. I saw how the men and women assembled there weeping and beating their faces.”[78] Zainab shouted at people saying, “Nobody should tend to us except either a bondmaid, a freed bondmaid, or umm wuld[79], for they were taken captive just as we have been.”[80] Only a female captive is familiar with the pain and humiliation of captivity; therefore, she would be sympathetic and would not rejoice nor enjoy seeing them in captivity. This is undeniable.

Ibn Ziyad again called them to his presence. When they were brought to him, their women saw al-Husain’s head in front of him with its divine rays ascending from its curves to the depth of the heavens. Al-Rubab, al-Husain’s wife, could not check herself from falling upon it and composed more poetry eulogizing him.

Hameed ibn Muslim has said, “Ibn Ziyad ordered to hold a congregarional prayer service. They assembled at the grand mosque. Ibn Ziyad ascended the pulpit and said, All Praise is due to Allah Who manifested the truth and elevated those who act according to it and Who granted victory to the commander of the faithful Yazid and to his party, and Who killed the liar and the son of the liar Husain son of Ali and his Shi’as.’[81] Nobody among that crowd that had sunk in misguidance objected to such a preposterous statement except Abdullah ibn Afeef al-Azdi and also one of the sons of Walibah al-Ghamidi who both stood up and said to him, O son of Marjana! The liar and the son of the liar is you and your father, and so is everyone who accepts your authority and his son! O son of Marjana! Do you really kill the offspring of the prophets and still talk about who is truthful and who is a liar?!’[82] Ibn Ziyad asked who the speaker was. Ibn Afeef answered by saying, I am the speaker, O enemy of Allah! Do you really kill the righteous offspring from whom Allah removed all abomination then claim that you are a follower of the Islamic creed?! Oh! Is there anyone to help?! Where are the sons of the Muhajiran and the Ansar to seek revenge against your tyrant, the one who and whose father were both cursed by Muhammed (ﺹ), the Messenger of the Lord of the Worlds.’ Ibn Ziyad’s anger now intensified. He ordered him to be brought to him. The police grabbed him.[83] It was then that Ibn Afeef shouted the slogan used by the Azdis which was: يا مبرور! Ya Mabroor!’ This caused a large number of the Azdis present there to leap to his rescue and to forcibly free him from the police and take him safely home.”

Abdul-Rahman ibn Makhnaf al-Azdi said to him, “Woe unto someone else other than you! You have surely condemned yourself and your tribe to destruction!”[84]

Ibn Ziyad ordered Jandab ibn Abdullah al-Azdi, who was an old man, to be brought to him. He said to him, “O enemy of Allah! Did you not fight on Abu Turab’s side during the Battle of Siffeen?” The old man answered, “Yes, and I love him and am proud of him, while I despise you and your father especially after you have killed the grandson of the Prophet (ﺹ) and his companions and the members of his family without fearing the One and Only Allah, the Great Avenger.” Ibn Ziyad said, “You have less feeling of shame than that blind man, and I seek nearness to Allah through shedding your blood.” Jandab said, “In that case, Allah shall never bring you closer to Him.” Ibn Ziyad, on a second thought, feared the might of the man’s Azd tribe, so he left him alone saying, “He is only an old man who has lost his mind and his wits.” He released him.[85]

At the same time when Ibn Ziyad ordered the captives to be brought to his meeting place, he also ordered al-Mukhtar son of Abu Ubayd al-Thaqafi to be brought to him, too. Al-Mukhtar had been in prison since the assassination of Muslim ibn Aqeel. When al-Mukhtar saw that horrific and most deplorable scene, he sighed loudly and an exchange of harsh words took place between him and Ibn Ziyad wherein the harshest words were al-Mukhtar’s. Ibn Ziyad became burning with outrage and ordered him to be sent back to jail[86]. Some say that he whipped him, blinding one of his eyes.[87]

After the execution of Ibn Afeef, al-Mukhtar was released due to the interference of Abdullah son of Omer ibn al-Khattab who asked Yazid to have him released. Yazid was the husband of al-Mukhtar’s sister Safiyya daughter of Abu Ubayd al-Thaqafi. But Ibn Ziyad postponed carrying out Yazid’s order for three days. Having ordered the execution of Ibn Afeef, Ibn Ziyad delivered a speech wherein he abused the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ), causing al-Mukhtar to denounce and to taunt him to his face saying, “You are the liar, O enemy of Allah and enemy of His Messenger! Rather, Praise to Allah Who dignified al-Husain (ﻉ) and his army with Paradise and with forgiveness just as He humiliated Yazid and his army with the fire and with shame.” Ibn Ziyad hurled an iron bar at him that fractured his forehead, then he ordered him to be sent back to jail, but people reminded him that Omer ibn Sa’d was the husband of his sister while another brother-in-law was none other than Abdullah ibn Omer [ibn al-Khattab]. They reminded him of his lofty lineage, so he changed his mind of having him killed, yet he insisted on sending him back to prison. For the second time did Abdullah ibn Omer write Yazid who in turn wrote Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad ordering him to release the man[88].

Al-Mukhtar incessantly kept after that informing the Shi’as of the merits which he knew of the companions of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ), of how he rose seeking revenge for al-Husain (ﻉ), and how he killed Ibn Ziyad and those who fought al-Husain (ﻉ).[89]

One incident he narrated was the following which he recollected about the time when he was in Ibn Ziyad’s jail:

Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Nawfal ibn Abdul-Muttalib and Maytham al-Tammar were two of his cell mates. Abdullah ibn al-Harith asked for a piece of iron to remove the hair in certain parts of his body saying, “I do not feel secure against Ibn Ziyad killing me, and I do not want him to do so while there is unwanted hair on my body.” Al-Mukhtar said to him, “By Allah he shall not kill you, nor shall he kill me, nor shall you face except very little hardship before you become the governor of Basra!” Maytham heard their dialogue, so he said to al-Mukhtar, “You yourself will rise seeking revenge for al-Husain’s blood, and you shall kill the same man who wants us to be killed, and you shall trample on his cheeks with your very foot.”[90] This came to be exactly as these men had said. Abdullah ibn al-Harith was released from jail after Yazid’s death and became the governor of Basra. After only one year, al-Mukhtar rose seeking revenge against the killers of al-Husain (ﻉ), killing Ibn Ziyad, Harmalah ibn Kahil, Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan and a large number of the Kufians who had betrayed al-Husain (ﻉ). As Ibn Nama al-Hilli tells us, he [and his army] killed eighteen thousand Kufians, then almost ten thousand[91] of them fled away from him and sought refuge with Mus’ab ibn az-Zubair. Among them was Shabth ibn Rab’i who reached him riding a mule whose ears and tail he had cut off and who was wearing a torn outer garment and shouting, “Help! Lead us to fight this debauchee who demolished our homes and killed our honourable men!”[92]

Since his early childhood, the martyred grandson of the Prophet (ﺹ) remained an ally of the Qur’an. Thus were both he and his brother (ﻉ), for they were the legacy of the Messenger of Allah and his vicegerents. The greatest Prophet (ﺹ) had stated that they and the Holy Qur’an would never part from one another till they would meet him at the Pool of Kawthar. Al-Husain (ﻉ), therefore, never ceased reciting the Qur’an all his life as he taught and cultivated others, when he was at home or when travelling. Even during his stand in the Battle of Taff, although surrounded by his foes, he used the Qur’an to argue with them and to explain his point of view to them. Thus was the son of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) marching towards his sacred objective energetically, so much so that now his sacred head kept reciting the Qur’an even as it stood atop a spear, perhaps someone among the people would be illuminated with the light of the truth. But this lamp-post of guidance did not see except people whose comprehension was limited, whose hearts were sealed, and whose ears were deafened: “Allah sealed their hearts and hearing, and over their vision there is a veil” (Qur’an, 2:7).

Zaid ibn Arqam has said, “I was sitting in my room when they passed by, and I heard the head reciting this verse: Or do you think that the fellows of the cave and the inscription were of Our wonderful signs?’ (Qur’an, 18:9). My hair stood up, and I said, By Allah, O son of the Messenger of Allah! Your head is much more wonderous!”[93]

When the severed head was placed at the money changers’ section of the bazaar, there was a great deal of commotion and noise of the dealers and customers. The Master of Martyrs (ﻉ) wanted to attract the attention to him so that people would listen to his terse admonishment, so his severed head hawked quite loudly, thus turning all faces to it. Never did people hear a severed head hawking before the martyrdom of al-Husain (ﻉ). It then recited Surat al-Kahf from its beginning till it reached the verse saying, “They were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased their guidance” (Qur’an, 18:13), “… and do not (O Lord!) increase the unjust aught but error.” (Qur’an, 71:24)

The head was hung on a tree. People assembled around it looking at the dazzling light that emanated from it as it recited the verse saying, “And those who oppressed shall come to know what an end they shall meet” (Qur’an, 26:227)[94].

Hilal ibn Mu’awiyah has said, “I saw a man carrying the head of al-Husain (ﻉ) as it [the head] was saying, You separated between my head and my body, so may Allah separate between your flesh and bones, and may He make you a Sign for those who stray from the Straight Path.’ He, therefore, raised his whip and kept whipping the head till it ceased.”[95]

Salamah ibn Kaheel heard the head reciting the following verse from the top of the spear where it had been placed: “Allah shall suffice you for them, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing” (Qur’an, 2:137)[96].

Ibn Wakeedah says that he heard the head reciting Surat al-Kahf, so he was doubtful whether it was, indeed, the voice of the Imam (ﻉ), whereupon he, peace be with him, stopped his recitation and turned to the man to say, “O son of Wakeedah! Do you not know that we, the Imams, are living with our Lord receiving our sustenance?” He, therefore, decided to steal and bury the head. It was then that the glorious head spoke again to him saying, “O son of Wakeedah! There is no way to do that. Their shedding my blood is greater with Allah than placing me on a spear; so, leave them alone, for they shall come to know when the collars are placed around their necks and when they are dragged with chains.”[97] Al-Minhal ibn Amr has said, “I saw al-Husain’s head in Damascus atop a spear and in front of it stood a man; the head was reciting Surat al-Kahf. When the recitation came to the verse saying, Or do you think that the fellows of the cave and the inscription were of Our wonderful signs?’ (Qur’an, 18:9) , the head spoke in an articulate tongue saying, More wonderous than the fellows of the cave is killing me and thus transporting me.’”[98]

When Yazid ordered the killing of a messenger sent by the then Roman [Byzantian] emperor who resented what Yazid had committed, the head loudly articulated these words: La hawla wala quwwata illa billah! (There is no power nor might except in Allah).”[99]

Ibn Jarar at-Tabari, the renown historian, narrates the following:

“Ibn Ziyad wanted to send Abdul-Malik ibn al-Harith al-Salami to Medina in order to inform Amr ibn Sa’d al-Ashdaq[100] of the killing of al-Husain (ﻉ), but he sought to be excused of such an undertaking, claiming to be sick. Al-Ashdaq refused to accept his excuse. Ibn Ziyad is described as very heavy-handed, nobody can tolerate his ire. He ordered the man to rush and to buy another she-camel if the one he was riding was not fast enough, and not to let anyone reach the destination before him. He, therefore, rushed to Medina. A man from Quraish met him and asked him why he seemed to be in such a hurry. The answer rests with the governor,’ was his answer. When Ibn Sa’d was informed of al-Husain (ﻉ) having been killed, he was very happily excited and was subdued with elation. He ordered a caller to announce it in the city’s alleys, and before long, the cries and the wailings coming from the Hashemite ladies mourning the Master of the Youths of Paradise (ﻉ) were heard like never before. These cries reached all the way to the house of al-Ashdaq who laughed and quoted a verse of poetry composed by Amr ibn Madi-Karb. He maliciously added saying, “A wailing noise like the one we raised when Uthman was killed.”[101] Then he turned to the grave of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) and again maliciously said, “Now we have gotten even with you, Messenger of Allah, for what you did to us during the Battle of Badr.” A number of men from the Ansar rebuked him with shame for having made such a statement.[102]

He ascended the pulpit and said, “O people! It is a blow for a blow, and a crushing for a crushing! A sermon followed another! This is sound wisdom, so no nathr can do any good. He condemned us as we praised him, cut off his ties with us though we did not, just as it was his habit, and just as it was ours, but what else can we do to a man who drew his sword with the intention to kill us other than to put an end to the danger to which he exposed us?”

Abdullah ibn al-Sa’ib stood up and said to him, “Had Fatima (ﻉ) been alive, and had she seen al-Husain’s [severed] head, she would have wept for him.” Amr ibn Sa’d rebuked him and said, “We are more worthy of Fatima than you: Her father was our uncle, her husband was our brother, his mother was our daughter. And had Fatima been alive, she would have cried but would not have blamed those who killed him in self-defense.”[103]

Amr was very crude and uncouth, a man of legendary cruelty. He ordered Amr ibn az-Zubair ibn al-Awwam[104], head of the police force, after al-Husain (ﻉ) had been killed, to demolish all the houses of Banu Hashim [the Prophet’s clansmen]. He did, oppressing them beyond limits… He also demolished the home of Ibn Mutee and beat people with cruelty. They fled from him and went to join Abdullah ibn az-Zubair[105]. The reason why he was called “al-Ashdaq” [one whose jaws are twisted to the right or to the left] is due to the fact that his jaws were twisted after having gone to extremes in taunting Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ)[106]. Allah, therefore, punished him [in this life before the hereafter] in the worst manner. He was carried to Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan chained; after he profusely remonstrated with the latter, he was ordered to be killed[107].

Escorted by a number of women from her kinsfolk, the daughter of Aqeel ibn Abu Talib went out to visit the grave of the Prophet (ﺹ) where she threw herself on it, burst in teras then turned to the Muhajiran and the Ansar and came forth instantaneously with these verses:

What will you on the Judgment Day
To the Prophet stand and say?
Surely what you will hear will be true:
Those who betrayed his Progeny were you.
Were you present, or were you not there at all
And justice is combined in the Lord of all…?
You handed it over to those who are never fair
So your intercession with Allah will go nowhere.
Though on the Taff Day absent was he,
Yet all the dead did your very eyes see.
You saw all those who did die,
So to Allah you shall never come nigh.

All those present wept. There was no such weeping ever before[108]. Her sister Zainab kept mourning al-Husain (ﻉ) in the most somber manner.

Ibn Jarar at-Tabari has said that when the news of al-Husain’s martyrdom was announced, Abdullah ibn Ja’far held a mourning majlis, so people came to him to offer their condolences. His slave Abul-Lislas[109] said to him, “This is what we got from al-Husain (ﻉ)!” He hurled his sandal at him as he said, “O son of the stinking woman! How dare you say something like that about al-Husain (ﻉ)?! By Allah! Had I been with him, I would not have liked to part with him before being killed defending him. By Allah! What consoles me is that both my sons were martyred in his defense together with my brother as well as my cousin who all stood firmly on his side.” Then he turned to those in his presence and said, “Praise to Allah! It surely is very heavy on my heart to see al-Husain (ﻉ) get killed, and that I could not defend him with my life, but both my sons have.”[110]

Ibn Ziyad sent a messenger to Yazid to inform him that al-Husain (ﻉ) and those in his company were killed, that his children were in Kufa, and that he was waiting for his orders as to what to do with them. In his answer, Yazid ordered him to send them together with the severed heads to him[111].

Ubaydullah wrote something, tied it to a rock then hurled it inside the prison where the family of Muhammed (ﺹ) was kept. In it he said, “Orders have been received from Yazid to take you to him on such-and-such a day. If you hear the takbeer, you should write your wills; otherwise, there is security.” The post returned from Syria with the news that al-Husain’s family is being sent to Syria[112].

Ibn Ziyad ordered Zajr ibn Qays and Abu Burda ibn ‘Awf al-Azdi as well as Tariq ibn Zabyan to head a band of Kufians charged with carrying al-Husain’s severed head and of those killed with him to Yazid[113]. Another account says that Mujbir ibn Murrah ibn Khalid ibn Qanab ibn Omer ibn Qays ibn al-Harth ibn Malik ibn Ubaydullah ibn Khuzaymah ibn Lu’ayy did so[114].

They were trailed by Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ) with his hands tied to his neck in the company of his family[115] in a condition the sight of which would cause anyone’s skin to shiver[116].

With them was Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan, Mujfir ibn Thulabah al-a’idi[117], Shabth ibn Rab’i, Amr ibn al-Hajjas, in addition to other men. They were ordered to mount the heads on spears and to display them wherever they went[118]. They hurried till they caught up with them[119].

Ibn Laheeah is quoted as saying that he saw a man clinging to Ka’ba’s curtains seeking refuge with his Lord and saying, “And I cannot see You doing that!” Ibn Laheeah took him aside and said to him, “You must be insane! Allah is most Forgiving, most Merciful. Had your sins been as many as rain drops, He would still forgive you.” He said to Ibn Laheeah, “Be informed that I was among those who carried al-Husain’s head to Syria. Whenever it was dark, we would put the head down, sit around it and drink wine. During one night, I and my fellows were guarding it when I saw lightning and creatures that surrounded the head. I was terrified and stunned and remained silent. I heard crying and wailing and someone saying, O Muhammed! Allah ordered me to obey you; so, if you order me, I can cause an earthquake that will swallow these people just as it swallowed the people of Lot.’ He said to him, O Gabriel! I shall call them to account on the Day of Judgment before my Lord, Glory to Him.’ It was then that I screamed, O Messenger of Allah! I plead to you for security!’ He said to me, Be gone, for Allah shall never forgive you.’ So, do you still think that Allah will forgive me?”[120]

At one stop on their journey, they put the purified head down; soon they saw an iron pen that came out of the wall and wrote the following in blood[121]:

Does a nation that killed al-Husain really hope for a way

His grandfather will intercede for them on the Judgment Day?

But they were not admonished by such a miracle, and blindness hurled them into the very deepest of all pits; surely Allah, the most Exalted One, is the best of judges.

One farasang before reaching their destination, they placed the head on a rock; a drop of blood fell from it on the rock. Every year, that drop would boil on Ashura, and people would assemble there around it and hold mourning commemmorations in honour of al-Husain (ﻉ). A great deal of wailing would be around it. This continued to take place till Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan ascended the throne in 65 A.H./684 A.D.. He ordered that rock to be removed. It was never seen after that, but the spot where that rock stood became the site of a dome built in its honour which they called “al-Nuqta” (the drop)[122].

Near the town of Hamat and among its orchards stood a mosque called “Masjid al-Husain (ﻉ).” People there say that they escorted the rock and the head of al-Husain (ﻉ) that bled all the way to Damascus[123].

Near Aleppo there is a shrine known as “Masqat al-Saqt.”[124] The reason why it was called so is that when the ladies of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) were taken to that place, al-Husain’s wife had miscarried a son named Muhsin[125].

At some stops, the head was placed atop a spear next to a monk’s monastery. During the night, the monk heard a great deal of tasbeeh and tahleel, and he saw a dazzling light emanating from it. He also heard a voice saying, “Peace be upon you, O father of Abdulah!” He was amazed and did not know what to make of it. In the morning, he asked people about that head and was told that it was the head of al-Husain (ﻉ) ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), son of Fatima (ﻉ) daughter of Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ). He said to them, “Woe unto you, people! True are the accounts that said that the heavens would rain blood.” He asked their permission to kiss the head, but they refused till he paid them some money. He declared his shahada and embraced Islam through the blessing of the one who was beheaded just for supporting the divine call. When they left that place, they looked at the money the monk had given them and saw this verse inscribed on it: “And those who oppressed shall come to find how evil their end shall be” (Qur’an, 26:227)[126].

When they were near Damascus, Umm Kulthum sent a message to al-Shimr asking him to let them enter the city from the least crowded highway, and to take the heads out so that people might be diverted by looking at them rather than looking at the women. He escorted them as they were in a condition from which skins shiver and senses quiver. Al-Shimr instead ordered his men to take the captives for display before onlookers and to place the severed heads in their midst[127].

On the first day of Safar, they entered Damascus[128] and were stopped at the Clocks Gate[129]. People came out carrying drums and trumpets in excitement and jubilation. A man came close to Sukayna and asked her, “What captives are you all from?” She said, “We are captives belonging to the family of Muhammed (ﺹ).”[130]

Yazid was sitting at a surveilance outpost overlooking the mountain of Jerun. When he saw the captives with the heads planted atop the spears as their throng came close, a crow croaked; so he composed these lines:

تلك الرؤوس على شفا جيرون لما بدت تلك الحمول و أشرقت
فقد اقتضيت من الرسول ديوني نعب الغراب فقلت: قل أو لا تقل
When those conveyances drew nigh And the heads on the edge of Jerun,
The crow croaked so said I: Say whatever you wish to say

Or say nothing at all,

From the Messenger have I today What he owed me he did repay.[131]

It is due to these verses that Ibn al-Jawzi and Abu Yali, the judge, as well as al-Taftazani and Jalal al-Sayyuti permitted cursing Yazid and labelling him as kafir.[132]

Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saidi came close to Sukayna daughter of al-Husain (ﻉ) and asked her, “Is there anything I can do for you?” She asked him to pay the man who was carrying the head some money and to ask him in return to stay away from the women so that people would be distracted by looking at the head instead of looking at the women. Sahl did so[133].

An elderly man came near as-Sajjad and said, “Praise be to Allah Who annihilated you and Who granted the governor the upper hand over you!” At such a juncture, the Imam poured of his own kindness over that poor [ignorant] man who was barainwashed by falsehood in order to bring him closer to the truth and to show him the path of guidance. Such are the Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ): their light shines over those whom they know to be pure of heart and pure of essence and, as such, who are ready to receive guidance. He, peace be with him, asked the man, “Have you read the Qur’an, O shaikh?” The man answered as-Sajjad in the affirmative. “Have you read,” continued as-Sajjad, “the verse saying, Say: I do not ask you for a reward for it [for conveying the Islamic Message to you] except that you treat my kinsfolk with kindness,’ the verse saying, And give the [Prophet’s] kinsfolk their due rights,’ and the verse saying, And be informed that whatever you earn by way of booty, for Allah belongs the fifth thereof and for the Messenger [of Allah] and for the [Prophet’s] kinsfolk’?” The man answered by saying, “Yes, I have read all of them.” He (ﻉ) then said, “We, by Allah, are the kinsfolk referred to in all these verses.” Then the Imam (ﻉ) asked him whether he had read the verse saying, “Allah only desires to remove all abomination from you, O Ahl al-Bayt, and purifies you with a perfect purification” (Qur’an, 33:33). “Yes” was the answer. Al-Sajjad, peace be with him, said to him, “We are Ahl al-Bayt whom Allah purified.” “I ask you in the Name of Allah,” asked the man, “are you really them?” Al-Sajjad, peace be with him, said, “By our grandfather the Messenger of Allah, we are, without any doubt.”

It was then that the elderly man fell on as-Sajjad’s feet kissing them as he said, “I dissociate myself before Allah from whoever killed you.” He sought repentance of the Imam (ﻉ) from whatever rude remarks he had earlier made. The encounter involving this elderly man reached Yazid who ordered him to be killed[134]…

Before being brought to Yazid’s court, they were tied with ropes. The beginning of the rope was around the neck of Zain al-Abidin [Ali son of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), also called as-Sajjad, the one who prostrates to Allah quite often], then around the necks of Zainab, Umm Kulthum, up to all the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ)… Whenever they laxed in their walking, they were whipped till they were brought face to face with Yazid who was then sitting on his throne. Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ) asked him, “What do you think the reaction of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) might have been had he seen us looking like this?” Everyone wept. Yazid ordered the ropes to be cut off.[135]

They were lined up on the stairs leading to the gate leading to the [Umayyad Grand] mosque as was their custom with all captives, and the sacred head was placed in front of Yazid who kept looking at the captives and reciting poetry verses extolling his foul deed and demonstrating his elation. Then he turned to al-Numan ibn Basheer and said, “Praise to Allah Who killed him [al-Husain (ﻉ)].” Al-Numan said, “Commander of the faithful Mu’awiyah used to hate killing him.” Yazid said, “That was before he rebelled. Had he rebelled against the commander of the faithful, he would have killed him.”[136]

Yazid turned to as-Sajjad (ﻉ) and asked him, “How did you, Ali, see what Allah did to your father al-Husain (ﻉ)?” “I saw,” answered as-Sajjad (ﻉ), “what Allah, the One and Only Allah, the most Exalted One, had decreed before creating the heavens and the earth.” Yazid consulted those around him as to what to do with as-Sajjad (ﻉ), and they advised him to kill him. Imam as-Sajjad Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) said, “O Yazid! These men have advised you to do the opposite of what Pharaoh’s courtiers had advised Pharaoh saying, Grant him and his brother a respite.’ The adiya do not kill the prophets’ sons and grandsons.” This statement caused Yazid to lower his head and contemplate for a good while[137].

Among the dialogue that went on between both men is Yazid quoting this Qur’anic verse to Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ): “Whatever misfortune befalls you is due to what your hands commit” (Qur’an, 45:22). Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ) responded by saying, “This verse was not revealed in reference to us. What was revealed in reference to us was this verse: Whatever misfortune befalls the earth or your own selves is already in a Book even before we cause it to happen; this is easy for Allah, so that you may not grieve about what you missed nor feel elated on account of what you receive’ (Qur’an, 57:22)[138]. We do not grieve over what we missed nor feel elated on account of what we receive.”[139] Yazid then cited the following verse by al-Fadl ibn al-Abbas ibn Utbah:

Wait, O cousins, wait, O masters, do not hurry!

Do not bring to surface what we did bury.[140]

Al-Sajjad, peace be with him, sought permission to speak. “Yes,” said Yazid, “provided you do not utter verbal attacks.” He (ﻉ) said, “I am now standing like one who ought not verbally attack anyone, but tell me: How do you think the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) would have felt had he seen me looking like this?” Yazid ordered him to be untied.[141]

Yazid ordered the person who used to recite the Friday khutba to ascend the pulpit and insult Ali and al-Husain (ﻉ), which he did. Al-Sajjad (ﻉ) shouted at him saying, “You have traded the pleasure of the creature for the Wrath of the Creator, so take your place in the fire [of hell].”[142]

He asked Yazid saying, “Do you permit me to ascend this pulpit to deliver a speech that will please Allah Almighty and that will bring good rewards for these folks?” Yazid refused, but people kept pleading to him to yield, yet he was still relentless. His son Mu’awiyah II said to him, “Permit him; what harm can his words cause?” Yazid said, “These are people who have inherited knowledge and oratory[143] and spoon-fed with knowledge[144].” They kept pressuring him till he agreed.

The Imam said,

All Praise is due to Allah for Whom there is no beginning, the ever-Lasting for Whom there is no end, the First for Whom there is no starting point, the Last for Whom there is no ending point, the One Who remains after all beings no longer exist. He measured the nights and the days. He divided them into parts; so, Blessed is Allah, the King, the all-Knowing… O people! We were granted six things and favoured with seven: We were granted knowledge, clemency, leniency, fluency, courage, and love for us in the hearts of the believers. And we were favoured by the fact that from among us came a Prophet, a Siddeeq, a Tayyar, a Lion of Allah and of His Prophet (ﺹ), and both Masters of the Youths of Paradise from among this nation. O people! Whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not recognize me, let me tell him who I am and to what family I belong: O people! I am the son of Mecca and Mina; I am the son of Zamzam and al-Safa; I am the son of the one who carried the rukn on his mantle; I am the son of the best man who ever put on clothes and who ever made tawaf and sai, of whoever offered the hajj and pronounced the talbiya. I am the son of the one who was transported on the buraq and who was taken by Gabriel to sidrat al-muntaha, so he was near his Lord like the throw of a bow or closer still. I am the son of the one who led the angels of the heavens in the prayers. I am the son to whom the Mighty One revealed what He revealed. I am the son of the one who defended the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) at Badr and Hunayn and never disbelieved in Allah not even as much as the twinkling of an eye. I am the son of the best of the believers and of the heir of the prophets, of the leader of the Muslims and the noor of those who offer jihad and the killer of the renegades and those who deviated from the straight path and who scattered the ahzab and the most courageous one, the one with the firmest determination: such is the father of the grandsons of the Prophet (ﺹ), al-Hasan and al-Husain (ﻉ), such is Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ). I am the son of Fatima al-Zahra’ (ﻉ), the Head of all Women, the son of Khadaja al-Kubra. I am the son of the one with whose blood the sand mixed. I am the son of the one who was slaughtered at Kerbala’. I am the son of the one for whom the jinns wept in the dark and for whom the birds in the air cried.

Having said this much, people’s cries filled the place, and Yazid feared dissension, so he ordered the mu’aththin to call the athan for the prayers. The latter shouted: Allahu Akbar! The Imam (ﻉ) said, Allah is Greater, more Magnanimous, and more Kind than what I fear and of what I avoid.” The prayer caller now shouted: Ashhadu an la ilaha illa-Allah! He (ﻉ) said, “Yes, I testify with everyone who testifies that there is no Allah besides Him nor any other Lord.” The caller shouted: Ashahadu anna Muhammedan rasool-Allah! The Imam (ﻉ) said to the prayer caller, “I ask you by Muhammed to stop here till I speak to this man,” then he turned to Yazid and asked him, “Is this great Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) your grandfather or mine? If you say that he is yours, everyone present here as well as all other people will come to know that you are a liar, and if you say that he is mine, then why did you kill my father unjustly and oppressively and plundered his wealth and took his women captive? Woe unto you on the Day of Judgment when my grandfather will be your opponent.”

Yazid yelled at the prayer caller to start the prayers immediately. A great deal of commotion now could be heard among the people. Some people prayed whereas others left.[145]

Yazid ordered al-Husain’s head to be brought to him. He put it in a gold washbowl[146]. The women were behind him. Sukayna and Fatima stood and tried anxiously to steal a look at it as Yazid kept hiding it from them. When they did see it, they burst in tears[147]. He then permitted people to enter to see him[148]. Yazid took a rod and kept hitting al-Husain’s lips with it[149] saying, “A day for a day: this day is [in revenge] for Badr[150].” Then he cited these verses by al-Haseen ibn al-Hamam:[151]

To be fair to us our folks never did dare,
So swords dripping with blood were to them fair;
We split the heads of men dear to us
For they severed their ties and did oppress.

Abu Barzah al-Aslami said, “I bear witness that I saw the Prophet (ﺹ) kissing his lips and those of his brother al-Hasan (ﻉ) and say to them: You are the masters of the youths of Paradise; may Allah fight whoever fights you; may He curse him and prepare hell for him, and what an evil refuge it is!’” Yazid became angry and ordered him to be dragged out of his courtroom[152].

A [Christian] messenger sent by emperor Caesar was present there; he said to Yazid, “We have in some islands the hoof of the donkey upon which Jesus rode, and we make a pilgrimage to it every year from all lands and offer nathr to it and hold it in as much regard as you hold your sacred books; so, I bear witness that you are wrongdoers.”[153] This statement enraged Yazid who ordered him to be killed. The messenger stood up, walked to the head, kissed it and pronounced the kalima. At the moment when that messenger’s head was cut off, everyone heard a loud and fluent voice saying, La hawla wala quwwata illa billah! (There is neither power nor might except in Allah).[154]

The head was taken out of the court and hung for three days on the mansion’s gate[155]. When Hind daughter of Amr ibn Suhayl, Yazid’s wife, saw the head on her house’s door[156] with divine light emanating from it, its blood still fresh and had not yet dried, and it was emitting a sweet fragrance[157], she entered Yazid’s court without any veil crying, “The head of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) is on our door!” Yazid stood up, covered her and said, “Mourn him, O Hind, for he is the reason why Banu Hashim are grieving. [Ubaydullah] Ibn Ziyad hastily killed him.”[158]

Yazid ordered the heads to be hung on the gates and on the Umayyad Mosque, and his order was carried out[159].

Marwan [ibn al-Hakam] was very happy about al-Husain (ﻉ) being killed, so he composed poetry lines and kept hitting al-Husain’s face with a rod.

Historians record that a Syrian looked at Fatima daughter of Ali (ﻉ)[160] then asked Yazid to give her to him to serve him. This daughter of the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) was terrified; she clung to her sister Zainab and said, “Serve him?! How could I do that?!” Zainab said to her, “Do not be concerned; this shall never happen at all.” Hearing her, Yazid said, “It could if I would!” She said to him, “Not unless you renege from our religion.” He answered her by saying, “Those who reneged from the religion are your father and your brother.” Zainab said, “By Allah’s religion and the religion of my grandfather do I swear that it was through my father and brother that you and your father received guidance, had you been a Muslim at all.” He said to her, “You lie, you enemy of Allah!” She, peace be with her, toned down her language and said to him, “You are an emir over the destiny of people; you oppressively taunt and subdue others.”[161] The same Syrian man repeated his plea to Yazid who now rebuked him and said, “May Allah grant you a fate that will put an end to you!”[162]

Both Ibn Nama and Ibn Tawoos[163] say that Zainab daughter of Ali ibn Abu Talib[164] (ﻉ) heard Yazid quoting the following verses by Ibn al-Zubari[165]:

I wish my forefathers at Badr had witnessed
How the Khazraj are by the thorns annoyed,

They would have Glorified and Unified Allah
Then they would make tahleel and say in elation:
“May your hands, O Yazid, never be paralyzed!”

We have killed the masters of their chiefs
And equated it with Badr, and it was so, indeed

Hashim played with the dominion so indeed,
No heavenly news came, nor was there a revelation revealed.

I do not belong to Khandaf if I do not
Seek revenge from Ahmed’s children
For what he to us had done.

She reacted to these lines and said the following:

All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Allah has blessed His Messenger and all His Messenger’s Progeny. Allah, Glory to Him, has said the truth when He said, “Then the end of those who committed evil was that they disbelieved in Allah’s Signs and they were ridiculing them.” (Qur’an, 30:10) Do you, O Yazid, think that when you blocked all the avenues before us, so we were driven as captives, that we are light in the sight of Allah and that you are superior to us? Or is it because you enjoy with Him a great status, so you look down at us and become arrogant, elated, when you see the world submissive to you and things are done as you want them, and when our authority and power became all yours? But wait! Have you forgotten that Allah has said, “Do not regard those who disbelieved that We grant them good for themselves? We only give them a respite so that they may increase their sins, and for them there is a humiliating torment” (Qur’an, 3:178)? Is it fair, O son of taleeqs, that you keep your free as well as slave women in their chambers and at the same time drive the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) as captives with their veils removed and faces exposed, taken by their enemies from one land to another, being viewed by those at watering places as well as those who man your forts, with their faces exposed to the looks of everyone near or distant, lowly or honourable, having none of their protectors with them nor any of their men? But what can be expected from one [descended from those] whose mouths chewed the livers of the purified ones and whose flesh grows out of the blood of the martyrs? How can it be expected that one who looks at us with grudge and animosity, with hatred and malice, would not hate us, we Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ)? Besides you, without feeling any guilt or weighing heavily what you say, you recite saying,

Then they would make tahleel and say in elation:

“May your hands, O Yazid, never be paralyzed!”

How dare you hit the lips of Abu Abdullah (ﻉ), the Master of the Youths of Paradise? But why should you not do so, since you stirred a wound that almost healed, and since all mercy is removed from your heart, having shed the blood of the offspring of Muhammed, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his Progeny, and the stars on earth from among the family of Abdul-Muttalib? Then you cite your mentors as if you speak to them… Soon shall you be lodged with them, and soon shall you wish you were paralyzed and muted and never said what you said nor did what you did. O Allah! Take what belongs to us out of his hands, seek revenge against all those who oppressed us, and let Your Wrath descend upon whoever shed our blood and killed our protectors! By Allah! You have burnt only your own skin! You have cut only your own flesh! You shall come face to face with the Messenger of Allah, peace of Allah be upon him and his Progeny, bearing the burdens of the blood which you have shed, the blood of his offspring, and of his sanctities which you violated, the sanctities of his women, his kinsfolk, his flesh and blood, when Allah gathers them together and seeks equity on their behalf. “And do not reckon those who are slain in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay! They are living with their Lord, receiving their sustenance” (Qur’an, 3:169). Allah suffices you as your Judge and Muhammed, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, as your opponent, and Gabriel as your foe. All those who instigated you to do what you did and who put you in charge so that you might play havoc with the lives of the Muslims, how evil the end of the oppressors is and which of you shall have the worst place and will be the least protected? Although calamities have forced me to speak to you, I nevertheless see you small in my eyes and find your verbal attacks great, and I regard your rebuke too much to bear, but these eyes are tearful, and the chests are filled with depression. What is even more strange is that the honoured Party of Allah is being killed by the taleeq party of Satan. Such hands are dripping with our blood; such mouths are feeding on our flesh, while those sacred and pure corpses are offered as food to the wild beasts of the desert and are dirtied by the brutes. If you regard us as your booty, you shall soon find us as your opponents, that will be when you find nothing but what your hands had committed, and your Lord never treats His servants unjustly. To Allah is my complaint, and upon Him do I rely. So scheme whatever you wish to scheme, and carry out your plots, and intensify your efforts, for by Allah, you shall never be able to obliterate our mention, nor will you ever be able to kill our inspiration, nor will your shame ever be washed away. Your view shall be proven futile, your days numbered, and your wealth wasted on the Day when the caller calls out, “The curse of Allah be upon the oppressors” (Qur’an, 11:18). All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, Who sealed the life of our early ones with happiness and forgiveness, and that of our last with martyrdom and mercy. We plead to Allah to complete His rewards for them and grant them an increase and make succession good for us; He is the most Merciful, the most Compassionate. Allah suffices us, and how great He is!

Yazid responded to her speech by quoting a couplet of poetry demonstrating his excitement. This should not surprise anyone. Anyone who is familiar with Yazid and with his misguidance cannot be surprised at all to hear him asking with a full mouth the Syrian jackels around him: “Do you know where Fatima’s son came from, and what prompted him to do what he did and to fall into the pitfalls of what he committed?” They answered in the negative. Said he, “He claims that his father is better than my father, that his mother Fatima (ﻉ) daughter of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) is better than mine, that his grandfather (ﻉ) is better than mine, and that he is more worthy than me of taking charge. As regarding his saying that his father is better than my father, my father had asked Allah, the Great, the Sublime, to arbitrate between them, and people know best in whose favour He ruled. As regarding his saying that his mother is better than mine, by my life, Fatima (ﻉ), daughter of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), is better than my mother. As regarding his saying that his grandfather (ﻉ) is better than my grandfather, by my life, nobody who believes in Allah and in the Last Day can find anyone among us equal to the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ). But he speaks with a little understanding of what he says and has not read the verse saying, Say: Lord! Owner of the domain! You grant authority to whomsoever You please, and you take the authority from whomsoever You please; You exalt whomsoever You please, and You abase whomsoever You please,’ (Qur’an, 3:26) and he did not read the verse saying, Allah grants His domain to whomsoever He pleases.’ (Qur’an, 2:247)”[166].

The speech quoted above, which was delivered by Zainab, shook the very foundations of Yazid’s court, and people started discussing with one another as to what extent they had been misled, and in what valley of abyss they had been hurled. Yazid had no choice except to get the women out of his court and to lodge them at a house of ruins which could not protect them against any heat or any cold. They remained there weeping and wailing, mourning al-Husain (ﻉ)[167] for three days[168].

One evening as-Sajjad (ﻉ) went out for a walk. Al-Minhal ibn Omer met him and asked him, “How have you received the evening, O son of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ)?” “We have received the evening,” the Imam (ﻉ) answered, “like the Israelites among the people of Pharaoh: they kill their sons and take their women captive. The Arabs brag before the non-Arabs saying that Muhammed (ﺹ) was one of them, while Quraish boasts before the rest of the Arabs of Muhammed (ﺹ) belonging to it. We, his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ), are now homeless; so, to Allah do we belong, and to Him shall we all return.”[169] Al-Minhal is quoted as saying, “While he was thus talking to me, a woman came out after him and said, Where are you going, O best of successors?’ He left me and hurried back to her. I inquired about her, and I was told that she was his aunt Zainab (ﻉ).”[170]

Yazid was very happy about killing al-Husain (ﻉ) and those with him as well as the capture of the ladies who descended from the Messenger of Allah, peace of Allah be upon him and his progeny[171]. He was seen at his court looking very excited, being unaware of the fact that he was an atheist and an apostate as testified by his own citing of the poetry of al-Zubari quoted above to the extent that he denied that the Messenger of Allah Muhammed (ﺹ) had ever received any revelation. But when he was rebuked by more and more people, it gradually appeared to him how he had failed and erred in what he had committed: a sin the like of which had never been committed by anyone who belongs to the Islamic creed. It was then that he realized the implication of Mu’awiyah’s will to him wherein he said, “The people of Iraq shall not leave al-Husain (ﻉ) till they pressure him to revolt. If he rebels against you, forgive him, for he was begotten in sacred wombs, and he enjoys a lofty status.”[172]

His closest courtiers, and even his family members and women, stayed away from him. He heard the statements uttered by the most sacred severed head when he ordered the messenger of the Roman emperor to be killed: La hawla wala quwwata illa billah! (There is neither power nor might except in Allah).[173]

Yazid’s most abominable crime and extreme cruelty were now being discussed at every gathering, and such discussions were finding an echo throughout Damascus. Yazid at that juncture had no choice except to shift the blame to the shoulder of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad in order to distance the taunting from him, but what is already established cannot be removed.

When he feared dissension and repercussions, he rushed to get as-Sajjad and the children out of Syria and to send them back home. He carried out their wishes, ordering al-Nu’man ibn Basheer and a number of other men with him to escort them to Medina and to treat them with kindness[174].

When they reached Iraq, they asked the road guide to take the highway leading to Kerbala’. They reached the place where al-Husain (ﻉ) had been martyred. There, they found Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari accompanied by a group of Banu Hashim and some of the family members of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ). They had all gone there to visit al-Husain’s grave. They met each other weeping and grieving, beating their cheeks. They stayed there mourning al-Husain (ﻉ)[175] for three days.[176]

Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari stood at the grave and burst in tears then thrice called out al-Husain’s name, then he said, “Why a loved one does not answer one who loves him?” But soon he answered his own query by saying, “How can he answer while his cheeks are torn and his head is separated from his body? Yet I testify that you are the son of the Seal of Prophets (ﻉ), the son of the master of the faithful (ﻉ), the son of the inseparable ally of piety, the descendant of guidance, the fifth of the fellows of the kisa’, the son of the master of naqeebs, the one who was brought up in the lap of the pious, that you were raised on the milk of iman, that you were weaned with Islam, so you were good when you were alive, and you are so when dead. But the hearts of the faithful are not pleased with parting with you, nor do they have any doubt about goodness being yours. So peace of Allah be upon you and His Pleasure. And I bear witness that you treaded the same path treaded before you by your brother [prophet] Zachariyya.”

Having said so, Jabir turned his head around the grave as he said, “Assalamo Alaikom, O souls that abide at al-Husain’s courtyard! I bear witness that you upheld the prayers and paid the zakat, enjoined what is right and prohibited what is wrong, struggled against the atheists and adored Allah till death overtook you. By the One Who sent Muhammed, peace of Allah be upon him and his Progeny, as His Prophet sent with the truth, I testify that we have a share in what you have earned.” Atiyyah al-‘Awfi [his companion[177] who was leading him, since he, a maternal relative and one of the greatest sahabis of Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ), as indicated above in a footnote, was by then a blind old man] asked him, “How so when we did not descend upon a valley nor ascend a mountain, nor did we strike with a sword, whereas the heads of these people have been severed from their bodies, their sons have been orphaned and their wives widowed?” Jabir answered: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) whom I very much love saying, One who loves a people will be lodged with them, and one who loves what some people do will have a share in [the rewards of] their deeds.’ By the One Who sent Muhammed (ﺹ) as a Prophet with the truth, my intention and that of my companions is similar to that for which al-Husain (ﻉ) and his companions were all killed.”[178]

Once Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) came to know of Yazid’s consent, he asked him for the heads so that he could bury them. Yazid showed no hesitation to do so, ordering the heads, including those of Zain al-Abidin’s family members, to be handed over to him. Zain al-Abidin reunited them with their respective bodies.

The list of writers of biographies who recorded his bringing the heads to Kerbala’ includes Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, author of Nafas al-Mahmum, who discusses this issue on p. 253 of his book, and it is also discussed on p. 155 of Riyad al-Ahzan of Muhammed Hasan al-Sha’ban Kurdi al-Qazwani.

As regarding al-Husain’s head, we read about it on p. 165 of al-Fattal’s book Rawdat al-Wa’izeen, and on p. 85 of Muthir al-Ahzan by Ibn Nama al-Hilli. The latter reference is the one the Shi’as consider as the most accurate as stated on p. 112 of Al-Luhuf by Ibn Tawoos. On p. 151 of al-Tibrisi’s book I’lam al-Wara bi A’lam al-Huda, as well as on p. 154 of Maqtal al-‘Awalim, as is the case with both Riyad al-Musa’ib and Bihar al-Anwar, the same view is the most famous among scholars. On p. 200, Vol. 2, of his book titled Al-Manaqib, Ibn Shahr Ashub says, “In some of his letters, al-Murtada has stated that al-Husain’s head was reunited with its body in Kerbala’.” At-Tusi has said that that incident was the basis for ziyarat al-arba’een. The author of Bihar al-Anwar cites Al-Udad al-Qawiyya by the brother of allama al-Hilli. On p. 67 of his book Aja’ib al-Makhlooqat, al-Qazwani indicates that it was on the twentieth of Safar that al-Husain’s head was returned to its body. Al-Shabrawi says, “The head was returned to the body after forty days.”[179] According to Ibn Hajar’s book Sharh al-Bawsari’s Hamziyya[180], forty days after his martyrdom, al-Husain’s head was returned [to its body]. Sabt ibn al-Jawzi has said, “It is most widely known that it [the head] was returned to Kerbala’ and buried with the body.”[181] On p. 57, Vol. 1, of his book Al-Kawakib al-Durriyya, al-Qatari al-Biladi al-Bahrani records the consensus among Imamite Shi’as that the head was returned to Kerbala’, and that this view was the one accepted by al-Qurtubi. He did not list his sources but attributed it to “some people of knowledge as well as eye witnesses,” becoming evident to him that the head was, indeed, returned to Kerbala’. Abul-Rayhan al-Bayruni states that it was on the twentieth of Safar that al-Husain’s head was reunited and buried with its body.[182]

Based on the above, any statements to the contrary should not be taken seriously especially those claiming that he was buried with his father (ﻉ), a claim with which the scholars mentioned above are familiar and which they all discard. Their rejection of such a claim proves that it cannot be relied upon especially since its isnad is not complete and its narrators are not famous.

It is customary to pay tribute to a deceased person forty days after his death by doing acts of righteousness on his behalf, by eulogizing him and enumerating his merits. This is done at organized gatherings in order to keep his memory alive just when people’s minds start to forget about him and their hearts start to ignore him. Thus, he remains alive in people’s minds.

Both Abu Tharr al-Ghifari and Ibn Abbas[183] quote the Prophet (ﺹ) saying, “The earth mourns the death of a believer for forty mornings.”[184] Zurarah quotes Abu Abdullah Imam al-Sadiq (ﻉ) saying, “The sky wept over al-Husain (ﻉ) for forty mornings with blood, while the earth wept over him for forty mornings with blackness. The sun wept over him for forty mornings with an eclipse and with redness, whereas the angels wept over him for forty mornings. No woman among us ever dyed with henna, nor used any oil, nor any kohl nor cohabited with her husband till the head of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad was brought to us, and we are still grieving even after all of that.”[185]

This is the basis of the ongoing custom of grieving for the deceased for forty days. On the fourtieth day, a special mourning ceremony is held at his grave-site attended by his relatives and friends. This custom is not confined to Muslims. Adherents of other creeds hold commemorative mourning ceremonies for their lost ones. Some gather at a church and conduct a special funeral prayer service. Jews renew their mourning service thirty days after one’s death, nine months after one’s death, and one year after one’s death[186]. All of this is done in order to keep his memory alive and so that people may not forget his legacy and deeds if he is one of the great ones with merits and feats.

At any rate, a researcher does not find in the band described as reformers a man so well shrouded in feats of the most sublime meanings, one whose life, uprising, and the tragic way in which he was killed…, a divine call and lessons in reform, even social systems, ethics, and sacred morals…, other than the master of the youths of Paradise, the man who was martyred for his creed, for Islam, for harmony, the martyr for ethics and cultivation, namely al-Husain (ﻉ). He, more than anyone else, deserves to be remembered on various occasions. People ought to make a pilgrimage to his sacred grave-site on the anniversary of the passage of 40 days since the date of his martyrdom so that they may achieve such lofty objectives.

The reason why most people hold only the first such an anniversary is due to the fact that the merits of those men are limited and temporal, unlike those of the Master of Martyrs: his feats are endless, his virtues are coutless. The study of his life and martyrdom keeps his memory alive, and so is the case whenever he is mentioned. To follow in his footsteps is needed by every generation. To hold an annual ceremony at his grave on the anniversary of his Arbaeen brings his revolution back to memory. It also brings back to memory the cruelty committed by the Umayyads and their henchmen. No matter how hard an orator tries, or how well a poet presents his theme, new doors of virtue, which were closed before, will then be opened.

This is why it has been the custom of the Shi’as to bring back to memory on the Arbaeen those events every year. The tradition wherein Imam al-Baqir (ﻉ) says that the heavens wept over al-Husain (ﻉ) for forty mornings, rising red and setting red[187], hints to such a public custom.

So is the case with a statement made once by Imam al-Hasan al-‘Askari (ﻉ) wherein he said, “There are five marks for a believer: his fifty-one rek’at prayers, ziyarat al-arbaeen, his audible recitation of the basmala, his wearing his ring on the right hand, and his rubbing his forehead with the dust.”[188]

Such a statement leads us to the ongoing public custom being discussed. Holding a mourning ceremony for the Master of Martyrs and holding meetings in his memory are all done by those who are loyal to him and who follow him. There is no doubt that those who follow his path are the believers who recognize him as their Imam; so, one of the marks highligting their iman, as well as their loyalty to the master of the youths of Paradise, the one who was killed as he stood to defend the divine Message, is to be present on the Arbaeen anniversary at his sacred grave in order to hold a mourning ceremony for him and remember the tragedies that had befallen him and his companions and Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ).

To twist the meaning of ziyarat al-arbaeen by saying that it means visiting the grave-sites of forty believers is simply indicative of twisted minds, an attempt at distortion, one which good taste resents. Moreover, it is without any foundation. Had the goal been to visit forty believers, the Imam (ﻉ) would have used the term “ziyarat arbaeen [mu’mineen].” The original wording indicates that ziyarat al-arbaeen is one of the conditions enumerated in the hadith cited above saying that it is one of the marks of one’s iman and an indication of his loyalty to the Twelve Imams (ﻉ).

All the Imams who descended from the Prophet (ﺹ) were the gates of salvation, the arks of mercy. Through them can a believer be distinguished from a non-believer. They all left this world after being killed as they stood to defend the divine Message, accepting the possibility of their being killed for the stand which they took in obedience to the Command of their Lord, Glory to Him, the One Who sent His wahi to their grandfather the Prophet (ﺹ). Father of Muhammed, al-Hasan (ﻉ) son of the Commander of the Faithful Ali (ﻉ), has pointed out to this fact saying, “The mission which we undertake is assigned to Twelve Imams (ﻉ) each one of whom is either to be killed or poisoned.”

For all of these reasons, the Imams from among the Prophet’s Progeny (ﻉ) found no alternative to attracting the attention to such a glorious revolution because it contains tragedies that would split the hardest of rocks. They knew that persistence in demonstrating the injustice dealt to al-Husain (ﻉ) would stir the emotions and attract the hearts of sympathizers. One who hears the tales of such horrible events will come to conclude that al-Husain (ﻉ) was a fair and just Imam who did not succumb to lowly things, that his Imamate was inherited from his grandfather the Prophet (ﺹ) and from his father the wasi (ﻉ), that whoever opposes him deviates from the path of equity. Whoever absorbs the fact that right was on al-Husain’s side and on that of his infallible offspring would be embracing their method and following their path.

This is why the Imams (ﻉ) did not urge the holding of mourning ceremonies for the Arbaeen anniversary of any of them, not even for that of the Prophet of Islam (ﻉ), so that it alone would be the memory of his tragedy that would make a strong case for safeguarding the link with the creed. Turning attention to it is more effective in keeping the cause of the Infallible Ones dear to all those who discuss it: “Keep our cause alive, and discuss our cause.”

The kind reader, anyway, can easily see why ziyarat al-arbaeen is an indication of one’s iman when he gets to know similar indications to which the hadith has referred.

The first of such marks, namely the 51-rek’at prayers, legislated during the night of the Prophet’s mi’raj, and which, through the Prophet’s intercession, were reduced to only five during the day and the night, are: seventeen rek’at for the morning, the noon and the afternoon, the sunset and the evening, and the nafl prayers timed with them, in addition to night’s nafl prayers: they all make up thirty-four: eight before the noon-time prayers, eight befor the after-noon prayers, four after sunset prayers, and two after the evening prayers regarded as one, and two before the morning prayers, and finally eleven rek’at for the night’s nafl prayers. Add to them the shaf and witr rek’at, and you will come to a total of obligatory and optional prayers of fifty-one rek’at. This is applicable to the Shi’as only. Although they agree with the Shi’as with regard to the number of obligatory rek’at, the Sunnis differ when it comes to optional prayers. On p. 314, Vol. 1, of Ibn Humam al-Hanafi’s book Fath al-Qadeer, they are: two rek’at before the fajr prayers, four before the noon prayers and two after that, four before the afternoon prayers, or just two rek’at, two more after the sunset prayers and four thereafter, or just two, making up twenty-three rek’at. They differ about the night’s nafl prayers whether they ought to be eight, only two, or thirteen, or even more. Hence, the total of optional and compulsory rek’at will in no case be fifty-one; so, the fifty-one rek’at are relevant to the Imamite Shi’as only.

The second on the list of marks referred to in the said hadith is the audible pronunciation of the basmala. Imamites seek nearness to Allah, the most Exalted One, by making it obligatory to pronounce it audibly in the audible prayers and voluntary in the inaudible ones, following the text of their Imams (ﻉ). In this regard, al-Fakhr ar-Razi says, “Shi’as are of the view that it is a Sunnah to audibly pronounce the basmala in the audible prayers as well as the inaudible ones, whereas the majority of faqihs differ from them. It is proven through tawatur that Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) used to audibly pronounce the basmala. Anyone who follows Ali (ﻉ) in as far as his creed is concerned will surely be on the right guidance by token of the hadith saying, O Allah! Let right be with Ali wherever he goes.’”[189] This statement of ar-Razi was not digested by Abul-Thana’ al-alasi who followed it with his comment in which he said, “Had anyone acted upon all what they claim to be mutawatir from the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ), he will surely be an apostate; so, there is no alternative to believing in some and disbelieving in others. His claim that anyone who emulates Ali (ﻉ) in as far as his creed is concerned will be on the right guidance of Islam is accepted without any discussion so long as we are sure that it is proven as having been said by Ali, peace be with him. Anything else besides that is steam.”[190]

Shi’as are not harmed when al-‘alasi and others assault them especially since their feet are firm on the path of loyalty for the master of wasis (ﻉ) to whom the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) says, “O Ali! Nobody knows Allah, the most Exalted One, (fully well) except I and you, and nobody knows me (full welly) except Allah and you, and nobody knows you (fully well) except Allah and I.”[191]

Sunnis have opted to do the opposite with regard to such a pronouncement. On p. 478, Vol. 1, of Ibn Qudamah’s book Al-Mughni, and also on p. 204, Vol. 1, of Badai’ al-Sanai’ by al-Kasani, and also on p. 216, Vol. 1, of al-Zarqani’s Sharh of Abul-Diya’s Mukhtasar of Malik’s fiqh, audible pronouncement is not a Sunnah in the prayers.

The third mark mentioned in the said hadith, that is, wearing a ring in the right hand, is something practiced religiously by the Shi’as on account of the traditions they quote from their Imams (ﻉ). A multitude among the Sunnis disagrees with them. Ibn al-Hajjaj al-Maliki has said, “The Sunnah has recorded everything as abominable if handed by the left hand and everything tahir if handed by the right. In this sense, it is highly recommended to wear a ring in the left hand to be taken by the right one and then placed on the left.”[192] Ibn Hajar narrates saying that Malik hated to wear a ring on his right hand, believing it should be worn on the left[193]. Shaikh Isma’eel al-Barusawi has said the following in Iqd al-Durr: “Originally, it was a Sunnah to wear a ring on the right hand, but since this is the distinguishing mark of the people of bid’as, innovations, and of injustice, it became a Sunnah in our time to place the ring on a finger on the left hand.”[194]

The fourth mark mentioned in the said hadith is the placing of the forehead on dust [or dry soil]. Its message is to demonstrate that during the sajda, the forehead has to be placed on the ground. Sunnis do not place their forehead on the ground. Abu Haneefa, Malik, and Ahmed are reported as having authorized the prostrating on turban coils[195], or on a piece of garment[196] worn by the person performing the prayers or any piece of cloth. Hanafis have authorized placing it on the palms if one feels grudgingly that he has no other choice[197]. They also permit prostrating on wheat and barley, on a bed, on the back of another person standing in front of you who is also performing the same prayers![198]

The objective behind such a reference is that it is highly commendable, when one prostrates to thank Allah, to rub his forehead on the dust as a symbol of humility and to shun arrogance. An examination of the original text will show any discreet person that it is equally commendable to rub both sides of the face on it.

Rubbing the cheeks exists when reference is made to sajdat al-shukr[199], something whereby prophet Moses son of Imran [Amram] (ﻉ) deserved to be drawn closer to the Almighty whenever he addressed Him silently [during the munajat][200]. Nobody contradicted the Imamites with regard to such rubbing, be it on the forehead or on the cheeks. Sunnis never bound themselves to rub their foreheads on dust when they perform their prayers or when they perform sajdat al-shukr. This is so despite the fact that al-Nakhi, Malik, and Abu Haneefa have all disliked to perform sajdat al-shukr, although the Hanbalis observe it[201], and so do the Shafi’is[202] whenever they receive a divine blessing or whenever a sign of Allah’s wrath is removed from them.

Al-Sajjad (ﻉ) had no choice except to leave Kerbala’ and set forth to Medina (which used to be called Yathrib during the pre-Islamic era) after having stayed there for three days. It was too much for him to see how his aunts and the other women, as well as the children, were all crying day and night while visiting one grave after another. Bashir ibn Hathlam has said, “When we came close to Medina, Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ) alighted and tied his she-camel then set up a tent where he lodged the women. He said to me, O Bashir! May Allah have mercy on your father! He was a poet. Can you compose any of it at all?’ I said, Yes, O son of the Messenger of Allah! I, too, am a poet.’ He (ﻉ) said, Then enter Medina and mourn the martyrdom of Abu Abdullah (ﻉ).’ So I rode my horse and entered Medina. When I came near the Mosque of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, I cried loudly and recited these verses:

قُتل الحسينُ فأدمعي مدرار يا أهل يثربَ لا مُقَام لكم بها
والرأس منه على القناة يُدار الجسم منه بكربلاء مضرّج
O people of Yathrib! May you never stay therein! Al-Husain is killed, so my tears are now like rain,
His body is in Kerbala’ covered with blood While his head is on a spear displayed.

Then I said, Here is Ali ibn al-Husain (ﻉ) accompanied by his aunts and sisters; they have all returned to you. I am his messenger to you to inform you of his place.’ People went out in a hurry, including women who had never before left their chambers, all weeping and wailing. All those in Medana were in tears. Nobody had ever seen such crying and wailing. They surrounded Ali, Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ), to offer him their condolences. He came out of the tent with a handkerchief in his hand with which he was wiping his tears. Behind him was one of his slaves carrying a chair in which the Imam (ﻉ) later sat, being overcome by grief. The cries of the mourners were loud. Everyone was weeping and wailing. Ali signaled to people to calm down. Once they stopped crying, he, peace be with him said,

All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the King of the Day of Judgment, Creator of all creation Who is Exalted in the high heavens, Who is so near, He hears even the silent speech. We praise Him on the grave events, on time’s tragedies, on the pain inflicted by such tragedies, on the crushing of calamities, on the greatness of our catastrophe, on our great, monstrous, magnanimous and afflicting hardships. O people! Allah, the most Exalted One, Praise to Him, has tried us with great trials and tribulations, with a tremendous loss suffered by the religion of Islam. The father of Abdullah, al-Husain (ﻉ) and his family have been killed, and his women and children taken captive. They displayed his head in every land from the top of a spear… Such is the catastrophe similar to which there is none at all. O people! Which men among you are happy after him, or which heart is not grieved on his account? Which eye among you withholds its tears and is too miser with its tears? The seven great heavens wept over his killing; the seas wept with their waves, and so did the heavens with their corners and the earth with its expanse; so did the trees with their branches and the fish in the depths of the seas. So did the angels who are close to their Lord. So did all those in the heavens. O people! Which heart is not grieved by his killing? Which heart does not yearn for him? Which hearing hears such a calamity that has befallen Islam without becoming deaf? O people! We have become homelsss, exiles, outcasts, shunned, distanced from all countries as though we were the offspring of the Turks or of Kabul without having committed a crime, nor an abomination, nor afflicted a calamity on Islam! Never did we ever hear such thing from our fathers of old. This is something new. By Allah! Had the Prophet (ﺹ) required them to fight us just as he had required them to be good to us, they would not have done to us any more than what they already have. So we belong to Allah, and to Him is our return from this calamity, and what a great, painful, hard, cruel, and catastrophic calamity it is! To Allah do we complain from what has happened to us, from the suffering we have endured, for He is the Omnipotent, the Vengeful.

“Sasaah ibn Sawhan al-Abdi, an invalid who could barely walk on his feet, stood up and apologized to the Imam (ﻉ) for not rushing to help his family due to his handicap. He, peace be with him, responded to him by accepting his excuse, telling him that he thought well of him, thanked him and sought Allah’s mercy for his father. Then Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) entered Medina accompanied by his family and children.[203]

Ibrahim ibn Talhah ibn Ubaydullah came to the Imam (ﻉ) and asked him, “Who won?” The Imam, peace be with him, answered, “When the time for prayers comes, and when the athan and iqama are called, you will know who the winner is.”[204]

Zainab took both knobs of the mosque’s door and cried out, “O grandfather! I mourn to you my brother al-Husain (ﻉ)!”

Sukayna cried out, “O grandfather! To you do I complain from what we have been through, for by Allah, I never saw anyone more hard-hearted than Yazid, nor have I ever seen anyone, be he an apostate or a polytheist, more evil than him, more rough, or more cruel. He kept hitting my father’s lips with his iron bar as he said, How did you find the battle, O al-Husain (ﻉ)?!’”[205]

The ladies who were born and grew up in the lap of Prophethood held a mourning ceremony for the Master of Martyrs (ﻉ). They put on the most coarse of clothes; they shrouded themselves in black, and they kept weeping and wailing day and night as Imam as-Sajjad was cooking for them[206].

Once Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (ﻉ) said, “No lady who descended from Hashim used any dye, nor any oil, nor any kohl, for full five years; it was then that al-Mukhtar sent them the head of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad.”[207]

As regarding al-Rubab, she wept over [her husband] Abu Abdullah (ﻉ) till her eyes were no longer capable of producing any more tears. One of her bondmaids told her that using a particular type of herb was tear stimulant, so she ordered it to be prepared for her in order to induce her tears[208].

Ali Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ), the only surviving son of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), stayed aloof from the public in order to avoid being involved in their disputes with one another and in order to dedicate his entire time to worshipping Allah and mourning his father. He kept weeping day and night. One of his slaves said to him, “I fear for you lest you should perish.” He (ﻉ) said to him, “I only convey my complaints and my grief to Allah, and I know from Allah what you all do not know. Jacob was a prophet from whom Allah caused one of his sons to be separated. He had twelve sons, and he knew that his son (Joseph) was still alive, yet he wept over him till he lost his eye sight. If you look at my father, my brothers, my uncles, and my friends, how they were slain all around me, tell me how can my grief ever end? Whenever I remember how Fatima’s children were slaughtered, I cannot help crying. And whenever I look at my aunts and sisters, I remember how they were fleeing from one tent to another…”

To you, O Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), is our complaint from the way whereby your nation treated your pure offspring, from the oppression and persecution to which they were subjected, and all Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.


What place does Imam al-Husain’s revolution occupy in Islamic history? Those who are not familiar with its motives “innocently” or ignorantly inquire about its results, outcomes, fruits, achievements, etc. Others have even questioned its wisdom, arguing that to challenge a mighty force like that of the Umayyads of the time was fatal, suicidal, futile.

The revolution’s motives have already been discussed; therefore, a brief review of the changes brought about in its aftermath throughout the Muslim world is appropriate at this stage.

Murdering Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), grandson of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), produced great shock waves throughout the Islamic world due to its horrible nature, to the unprecedented cruelty with which he and his family members and companions were treated, to the fact that he and his family were forbidden from having access to water while dogs and pigs were drinking of it, to the fact that he and his family were recognized as the most prestigious people on the face of earth, securing the highest esteem and regard of the Muslims who still remembered some of the statements made by their Prophet (ﺹ) in honour of al-Hasan and al-Husain (ﻉ) in particular and of Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) in general. Muslims, as a result, loathed to associate themselves with his murderers or with anyone who had a hand in that massacre, in effect performing an act of civil disobedience of their rulers. Many of them openly cursed his murderers, for who can call himself a Muslim and who does not curse the murderer of his Prophet’s family? Thus, the revolution achieved the task of unveiling the Umayyad’s un-Islamic character to the general public, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind about what kind of barbarians those Umayyads were.

The concepts which the Umayyads were promoting were now being questioned by everyone; they were for the first time being recognized for what they really were: a distortion of everything Islam stands for. This isolated the Umayyads and changed the public’s attitude towards them and towards anything they said or did.

Imam al-Husain’s revolution set a living example as to what every Muslim should do in such situations. It had deeply penetrated people’s hearts, producing a great pain and feeling of guilt at thus abandoning al-Husain (ﻉ) and leaving him to be slaughtered at the hands of Allah’s worst creatures without assisting him. Such feeling of shame grew greater and greater, transforming itself into sincere repentance and translating into open and massive popular revolutions against the Umayyads’ regime of terror and, in the end, succeeding in putting an end to Yazid’s authority and to that of his likes. Thus, al-Husain’s revolution prompted the public to shake the dust of neo-jahiliyya brought about by the Umayyads and to stir, in a dynamic movement, to action to demolish all its edifices and altars.

Now let us review some of these massive popular uprisings. Among the references the reader can review for more information are: at-Tabari’s Tarikh, al-Mas’udi’s Muraj al-Thahab, and Ibn Katheer’s Tarikh.

The first of those revolutions took place in Mecca after the news of the barbaric way wherein Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) and his small band of supporters were butchered had reached the Meccans who started discussing them. It was led by Abdullah bin az-Zubair and is known in history books as the Harra incident which, according to p. 374, Vol. 4, of the Arabic text of at-Tabari’s Tarikh (the issue consulted by the writer is dated 1409 A.H./1989 A.D. and is published by al-A’lami Establishment for Publications, P.O. Box 7120, Beirut, Lebanon), broke out on a Wednesday, Thul-Hijja 28, 63 A.H./August 31, 683 A.D.

This incident started on a Wednesday, Thul-Hijja 28, 63 A.H./August 31, 683 A.D. and was led by Abdullah ibn az-Zubair. Let us stop here to introduce the reader to this man although he is too well known to any average student of Islamic history.

His full name is Abdullah ibn az-Zubair ibn al-Awwam. His mother was Asma’, the oldest daughter of caliph Abu Bakr and sister of Aisha, the youngest wife of Prophet Muhammed (ﺹ). He was born in 1 A.H. and died in 73 A.H. (622 – 692 A.D.) and participated in the Muslim invasions of Persia, Egypt and North Africa and sided with his maternal aunt Aisha during the Battle of the Camel against Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ). He lived most of his life in Medina and rebelled against the government of Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah and against Umayyad rulers of Hijaz, declaring himself caliph. He extended his influence to Iraq after the Battle of Marj Rahit till al-Hajjaj ibn Yousuf al-Thaqafi[209] succeeded in putting an end to his reign, executing him in the most ruthless way by nailing him to the Ka’ba..

Abdullah ibn az-Zubair delivered a sermon once wherein he strongly condemned those responsible for killing Imam al-Husain (ﻉ), his family and friends, describing Yazid as a shameless drunkard, a man who preferred to listen to songs rather than to the recitation of the Holy Qur’an, who preferred wine drinking over fasting and the company of his hunting party to any majlis where the Qur’an is explained. Amr ibn Sa’d ibn al-as was then governor of Mecca, and he was quite ruthless in dealing with Abdullah ibn az-Zubair, keeping him under constant surveillance, sending spies to his meeting places and constantly harassing him. When Yazid heard about Ibn az-Zubair’s denunciations, he pledged to have him chained, so he dispatched some of his men with a silver chain, ordering them to tie Ibn az-Zubair with it. His deputies passed by Medina on their way to Mecca and met with Marwan ibn al-Hakam who joined them in their effort to arrest Ibn az-Zubair, but the party failed in carrying out its mission, and more and more people pledged to assist Ibn az-Zubair against Yazid.

Having come to know of such failure, Yazid called to his presence ten men from among the most prominent supporters of his bloody regime, and there are always those who support bloody regimes in every time and clime. He ordered these ten men to meet with Ibn az-Zubair to dissuade him from rebelling. But they, too, failed in their attempt due to the public support Ibn az-Zubair was enjoying. Yazid now resorted to deposing Mecca’s governor Amr ibn Sa’d and appointing al-Walid ibn Utbah in his place, prompting Ibn az-Zubair to write Yazid to describe his newly appointed governor as an idiot who never listened to advice nor enjoyed any wisdom. Yazid deposed al-Walid ibn Utbah and replaced him with Uthman ibn Muhammed ibn Abu Sufyan, a young man who knew absolutely nothing about politics or diplomacy.

The first action the new governor undertook was dispatching a fact finding committee to Damascus to ascertain all the rumours about Yazid being a corrupt bastard, a man unfit to rule. Among the members of the mission were: Abdullah ibn Hanzalah al-Ansari[210], Abdullah ibn Abu Amr al-Makhzami, al-Munthir ibn az-Zubair, and a good number of the most prominent men of Hijaz. Yazid received them with open arms and showered them with money and presents, but when they returned, they cursed Yazid for his blasphemy and un-Islamic conduct and encouraged people to revolt against him, using the money they had received from him to finance the rebellion against him. While passing by Medina, the residents heard the report of the members of this committee. They, therefore, deposed their governor, Uthman ibn Muhammed, and elected Abdullah ibn Hanzalah as their new governor.

When the Umayyads saw how the public turned against them, they sought refuge at the house of Marwan ibn al-Hakam, cousin of Uthman ibn Affan, where they were besieged. The siege was not lifted till those Umayyads solemnly swore not to take any measure against those who laid the siege against them and not to help Yazid in any way, a pledge which they did not keep, for Abu Sufyan, Mu’awiyah and Yazid were their mentors, and these men never honoured a pledge.

When the rebellion reached such a point, Yazid realized that he had lost control over the people of Hijaz, and that only an army sent against them from Damascus would do the job. He, therefore, appointed a ruffian named Muslim ibn Uqbah al-Murri who was, at the time, quite advanced in age, to undertake such a task. Despite his age, Muslim agreed to shoulder the responsibility of quelling the rebellion. An army, hence, of twenty thousand strong set out from Damascus to quell the rebellion in Hijaz with clear orders from Yazid to “… invite the people to renounce their rebellion and to renew their pledge of loyalty [to Yazid]. Give them three days to consider doing so. If they persist in their defiance, let the soldiers have a free hand in the city for three days: Any money or weapons or food they lay their hands on is theirs. Once the three days are over, leave the people alone, and spare Ali son of al-Husain (ﻉ), and admonish everyone to be good to him and show respect to him, for he did not join the rebellion,” as at-Tabari tells us.

Yazid’s troops first attacked Medina then Mecca. In Medina, according to al-Mas’udi and al-Daynari, they demolished homes, raped women, girls and even children, plundered anything and everything they found in their way, committing untold atrocities justified only by those who follow Yazid and who do not curse or condemn him, hence they shall receive their share of the Almighty’s condemnation on the Day of Judgment and shall be lodged in hell in the company of Yazid and his likes. In his renown Tarikh, Ibn Katheer tells us that as many as seven hundred men who knew the text of the Holy Qur’an by heart, including three close sahabis of the Prophet (ﺹ), were killed in that incident which is referred to in the books of history as the Incident of the Harra, a reference to “Harrat Waqim” where Yazid’s army first attacked. This place is named after a man belonging to the Amaliqa (“the giants”) and is one of two Medina suburbs bearing the same name: the eastern Harra, this same “Harrat Waqim,” located on the eastern side of Medina, and the western Harra, as we are told by Imam Shihabud-Deen Abu Abdullah Yaqat ibn Abdullah al-Hamawi al-Rami al-Baghdadi, famous as Yaqat al-Hamawi, who describes several places each one of which is called “Harra,” then he details Harrat Waqim and comments saying the following on pp. 287-288, Vol. 2, of his voluminous work Mu’jam al-Buldan:

It was at this Harra that the famous “Harra Incident” took place during the lifetime of Yazid son of Mu’awiyah in the year 63 A.H./683 A.D. The commander of the army, who had been appointed by Yazid, was Muslim ibn Uqbah al-Murri who, on account of his ugly action, was called “al-musrif” (the one who went to extremes in committing evil). He [Muslim] came to Harrat Waqim and the people of Medina went out to fight him. He vanquished them, killing three thousand and five hundred men from among the mawali, one thousand and four hundred from among the Ansar, but some say one thousand and seven hundred, and one thousand and three hundred men from among Quraish. His hosts entered Medina. They confiscated wealth, arrested some people and raped women. Eight hundred women became pregnant and gave birth, and the offspring were called “the offspring of the Harra.” Then he brought prominent personalities to swear the oath of allegiance to Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah and to declare that they were slaves of Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah. Anyone who refused was killed.

The people of Medina had re-dug the moat (khandaq) which had been dug during the Battle of the Moat, preparations for which started at the beginning of the month of Shawwal, 5 A.H. (the end of February, 627 A.D.), according to the orders of the Prophet (ﺹ) and in response to a suggestion presented to him by the great sahabi Salman al-Farisi as they stood to defend themseles against a huge army raised by Abu Sufyan to fight them. They also tried to fortify their city with a bulwark.

Yazid’s army succeeded in putting an end to the rebellion at a very high cost, but Abdullah ibn az-Zubair survived unscathed. A number of the sahaba and tabieen were branded like animals as an additional insult.

Having finished with the people of Medina, Muslim, the aging commander of Yazid’s hand-picked troops, marched to Mecca. On the way, he camped at a place called al-Mushallal. There, he felt that death was approaching him, so he called to his presence al-Haseen ibn Nameer al-Sukuni and said to him, “O son of the donkey’s saddle! By Allah, had I not felt that death was approaching me, I would never have given you command of this army. But the commander of the faithful (meaning Yazid) had put you second in command, and none can override his orders. Listen, therefore, carefully to my will, and do not listen to any man from Quraish at all. Do not stop the Syrians from slaughtering their foes, and do not stay for more than three days before putting an end to the reprobate Ibn az-Zubair.” This is sated by at-Tabari on p. 381, Vol. 4, of the Arabic text of his famous voluminous Tarikh where he provides details of this incident. Muslim died and was buried there. Once the Syrian army left al-Mushallal, people dug up his grave, took his corpse out and hanged it on a palm tree. When the army came to know about this incident, a detachment was sent to investigate and to kill those suspected of hanging the corpse which was buried again and soldiers were assigned to guard it at all times. These details and many more are stated on p. 251, Vol. 2, of al-Ya’qubi’s Tarikh.

Catapults were installed around Mecca and in the vicinity of the Ka’ba, the holiest of holies in Islam. Fire balls were hurled and the Ka’ba was soon in flames… Its walls collapsed and were burnt, and its ceiling crumbled… According to pp. 71-72, Vol. 3, of al-Mas’udi’s voluminous book Muraj al-Thahab, a thunderbolt hit the Syrian army on a Saturday, Rab’i I 27, 61 A.H./December 28, 680 A.D., only eleven days before Yazid’s death, burning eleven of the attackers. Pleas to spare the Ka’ba went unheeded, and the fighting went beyond the three days’ deadline put by Muslim. The fighting took place during the last days of the month of Muharram and continued through the entire month of Safar. When the news that Yazid had died reached Mecca, Ibn az-Zubair addressed the Syrians thus: “Your tyrant has just died; so, whoever among you wishes to join the people (in their rebellion) may do so or he may return to Syria.” But the Syrians attacked him. The people of Mecca saw the extent of savagery of the Syrian army, so they collectively shielded Ibn az-Zubair and forced the army to retreat and to confine itself to its camp. Slowly the Syrians slipped out of their camp and joined the Umayyads in Mecca who sheltered them and transported them back to Syria in small groups, as we are told by at-Tabari who details these events on pp. 16-17, Vol. 7, of his Tarikh.

Abdullah ibn az-Zubair declared himself as caliph and appointed a new governor for Mecca, and the people of Hijaz enjoyed a measure of self-rule till the year 72 A.H./692 A.D. when al-Hajjaj ibn Yousuf al-Thaqafi was ordered by the Umayyad “caliph” then, namely Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan, to bring the people of Hijaz back under his rule. It was in the month of Thul-Qida 72 A.H./March 692 A.D. that Mecca was attacked again (some of the war equipment used then included five catapults, predecessors of today’s field artillery) and burnt again and its governor was deposed. A new governor loyal to the Umayyads was installed in his place, and he was a Syrian named Thulabah who demonstrated utmost disregard and disrespect toward the Islamic tenets and toward the people of Hijaz while still claiming to be a Muslim!

Detailing the events of the year 73 A.H./692-93, at-Tabari, on p. 202, Vol. 7, of his Tarikh, narrates saying that when the Ka’ba was burnt, a dark cloud came from the direction of Jiddah roaring with lightning and thunder. It stood above the Ka’ba and poured its water on it and put the fire out. Then it went to the Abu Qubays mountain area where its lightning damaged one of the five catapults, killing four of the soldiers tending to it. Another lightning hit, killing forty other men. This incident is narrated by several other historians besides at-Tabari. It was not long before al-Hajjaj was able to arrest and behead Ibn az-Zubair whose severed head he sent to Damascus together with those of Abdullah ibn Safwan, Imarah ibn Amr ibn Hazm and others. Those who carried the heads and displayed them on the way in Medina were generously rewarded by Marwan ibn Abdul-Malik.

Not everyone supported the revolt led by Abdullah ibn az-Zubair. The famous sahabi and cousin of the Prophet (ﺹ), Ibn Abbas, that is, Abdullah ibn Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib, was among those who did not support Ibn az-Zubair, considering him as an opportunist. When Imam Husain (ﻉ) was in Mecca immediately after his departure from Medina, and when the Meccans expressed their support for him, Abdullah ibn az-Zubair isolated himself and did not show any support for the Imam (ﻉ), considering him as a competitor for his own bid to power. When the Imam (ﻉ) left Mecca, Abdullah ibn az-Zubair felt relieved. Ibn Abbas composed poetry depicting such an attitude of Abdullah ibn az-Zubair. The reader is already acquainted with Ibn Abbas in a footnote above. Since Aisha could not get Ibn az-Zubair, son of her sister Asma’ daughter of caliph Abu Bakr, to become the caliph following the murder of her cousin, caliph Uthman ibn Affan, Ibn az-Zubair now tried on his own to acquire the caliphate for himself, and he met with success though for a short while.

Having come to know that Abdullah ibn Abbas refused to swear the oath of allegiance to Ibn az-Zubair, Yazid wrote him saying,

It has come to my knowledge that the atheist son of az-Zubair invited you to swear the oath of allegiance to him and to be obedient to him so that you might support him in his wrongdoing and share in his sins, and that you refused and kept your distance from him because Allah made you aware of our rights, we family members of the Prophet; so, may He grant you the rewards due to those who maintain their ties of kinship, those who are true to their promise. No matter what I forget, I shall never forget how you always remained in contact with us, and how good the reward you have received, the one due to those who obey and who are honoured by being relatives of the Messenger of Allah. Look, then, after your people, and look at those whom the son of az-Zubair enchants with his words and promises and pull them away from him, for they will listen to you more than they will to him; they would hear you more than they would hear that renegade atheist, and peace be with you.

Ibn Abbas wrote Yazid back saying,

“I received your letter wherein you mentioned Ibn az-Zubair’s invitation to me to swear the oath of allegiance to him, and that I refused due to recognizing your right. If that is the case [as you claim], I desire nothing but being kind to you. But Allah knows best what I intend to do. And you wrote me urging me to encourage people to rally behind you and to discourage them from supporting Ibn az-Zubair… Nay! Neither pleasure nor happiness is here for you; may your mouth be filled with stones, for you are the one whose view is weak when you listened to your own whims and desires, and it is you who is at fault and who shall perish! And you wrote me urging me to hurry and to join my ties of kinship. Withhold your own, man, for I shall withhold from you my affection and my support. By my life, you do not give us of what is in your hand except very little while withholding a lot; may your father lose you! Do you think that I will really forget how you killed al-Husain (ﻉ) and the youths of Banu Abdul-Muttalib, the lanterns that shone in the dark, the stars of guidance, the lamp-posts of piety, and how your horses trampled upon their bodies according to your command, so they were left unburied, drenched in their blood on the desert without any shrouds, nor were they buried, with the wind blowing on them and the wolves invading them, and the heinas assaulting them till Allah sent them people who do not have shirk running through their veins and who shrouded and buried them…? From me and from them come supplications to Allah to torment you! No matter what I forget, I shall never forget how you let loose on them the daiyy and the son of the daiyy, the one begotten by that promiscuous whore, the one whose lineage is distant, whose father and mother are mean, the one because of whose adoption did your father earn shame, sin, humiliation and abasement in the life of this world and in the hereafter. This is so because the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) said, “The son is begotten by wedlock, whereas for the prostitute there are stones.” Your father claims that the son is out of wedlock, and it does not harm the prostitute, and he accepts him as his son just as he does his legitimate offspring! Your father killed the Sunnah with ignorance while deliberately bringing to life all misguidance. And no matter what I forget, I shall never forget how you chased al-Husain (ﻉ) out of the sanctuary of the Messenger of Allah [Medana] to that of Allah Almighty [Mecca], and how you dispatched men to kill him there. You kept trying till you caused him to leave Mecca and to go to Kufa pursued by your horsemen, with your soldiers roaring at him like lions, O enemy of Allah, of His Messenger (ﻉ), and of his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ)! Then you wrote Marjana’s son ordering him to face al-Husain (ﻉ) with his cavalry and infantry, with spears and swords. And you wrote him ordering him to be swift in attacking him and not to give him time to negotiate any settlement till you killed him and the youths of Banu Abdul-Muttalib who belong to Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) with him, those from whom Allah removed all abomination and whom He purified with a perfect purification. Such are we, unlike your own uncouth fathers, the livers of donkeys! You knew fully well that he was most prominent in the past and most cherished in the present, had he only sought refuge in Mecca and permitted bloodshed in its sanctuary. But he sought reconciliation, and he asked you to go back to your senses, yet you went after the few who were in his company and desired to eradicate his Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) as if you were killing dynasties from Turkey or from Kabul! How do you conceive me as being friendly to you, and how dare you ask me to support you?! You have killed my own brothers, and your sword is dripping with my blood, and you are the one whom I seek for revenge. So if Allah wills, you shall not be able to shed my blood, nor shall you be faster than me in seeking revenge so you would be more swift in killing us just as the prophets are killed, considering their blood equal to that of others. But the promise is with Allah, and Allah suffices in supporting the wronged, and He seeks revenge for the oppressed. What is truly amazing is your own transporting the daughters of Abdul-Muttalib and their children to Syria. You see yourself as our vanquisher, and that you have the right to humiliate us, although through me and through them did Allah bestow blessings upon you and upon your slave parents. By Allah! You welcome the evening and the day in security indifferent to my wounds; so, let my own tongue wound you instead, and let my tying and untying not provoke you to argue. Allah shall not give you a respite following your killing of the Progeny of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) except for a very short while before He takes you like a Mighty One, and He shall not take you out of the life of this world except as an abased and dejected sinner; so, enjoy your days, may you lose your father, as you please, for what you have committed has surely made you abased in the sight of Allah.”[211]

Ibn Abbas never swore the oath of allegiance to the tyrant Yazid till his death.

Following the revolt of Abdullah ibn az-Zubair, other revolts erupted throughout the Islamic lands. One of them was the Revolt of the Tawwabeen (the penitents) which broke out in Kufa in 65 A.H./684-85 A.D., then the revolt in 66 A.H./686 A.D. which was led by al-Mukhtar who killed all those who had participated in killing al-Husain (ﻉ). The Alawites (Alawids) followed with revolts of their own, including that of the great martyr Zaid ibn Ali and his son Yahya and finally the revolt of the Abbasides who put an end to the Umayyads’ rule for good.

Anyone who is lucky enough to visit Imam Husain’s grave-site stands awe-stricken at the beauty of the magnificent shrine housing his tomb, a shrine which has been renovated time and over again all these centuries. It truly is a masterpiece of architecture, a jewel of art, and a pleasure to the eyes of the beholder. It also houses a grand center for theological studies. Yet many tyrants and fanatics tried to obliterate it and reduce it to rubble, while the Almighty has always been protecting it and getting it rebuilt and renovated. This is made partially possible through the generous donations of those who love the Imam (ﻉ) and who seek nearness to Allah by visiting the grave-site of one of His true servants, a man of honourable descent who sacrificed his life and family and everything he had for the sake of reawakening the Islamic world and getting it to refine Islam from the distortion introduced into it by the Umayyad tyrants and miscreants. Let us, therefore, stop here for a minute to review the history of the attempts aiming at obliterating Imam Husain’s grave and identify them, call them and shame them, condemn them and condemn those who do not condemn them. What is truly amazing is that all those who attacked this shrine claim to be Muslims who follow the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ)!

In 236 A.H./850-51 A.D., the Abbaside caliph al-Mutawakkil Billah aimed at demolishing the shrine and all its attachments by razing it to the ground and planting the area where it stands. He hoped to prohibit anyone from visiting it or visiting any places held by Shi’as as sacred, threatening their pilgrims with stiff penalties. During his reign, which lasted from 232 – 247 A.H. (847 – 861 A.D.), he issued such orders four times. The first time such an attempt was made is dated 232 A.H./846 A.D. He was outraged because one of his singing concubines had gone to perform the pilgrimage to it during the month of Shaban of that year. The second attempt was four years later (in 236 A.H./850 A.D.). The third attempt took place in the next year, 237 A.H./850-51 A.D. The fourth attempt took place in 247 A.H./861 A.D., in the aftermath of which he himself was killed by his son, the later Abbaside caliph al-Muntasir, who was a pious and ascetic and sympathetic towards the family members (Ahl al-Bayt) of the Prophet (ﺹ). All these attempts were carried out, according to al-Mutawakkil’s orders, by a Jew named Ebrahim (Abram) who was nicknamed Deezaj, the dumb donkey. Yet despite all these attempts, the shrine kept standing again and again due to the zeal of those who believed in the message for which Imam Husain (ﻉ) sacrificed himself and all those who were dear and near to him.

Another demolition attempt was carried out by one Zabbah ibn Muhammed al-Asdi, a highway robber by profession, who, assisted by a number of bedouin tribesmen, committed his foul act in 369 A.H./979-80 A.D. for which he was chased and punished by the Buwayhid ruler Izzud-Dawlah who put the shrine of Imam Husain (ﻉ) in Kerbala’ and that of his father Imam Ali (ﻉ) in Najaf under his protection. This incident took place during the reign of the Abbaside ruler al-Ta’i Lillah.

In 407 A.H./1016 A.D., during the reign of the Abbaside ruler al-Qadir Billah, a mid-night fire engulfed the shrine, damaging the dome and the corridors. Some historians believe that it was not an accident but a deliberate sabotage. The said Abbaside ruler was siding with one Muslim sect against another, sowing the seeds of discord among various Islamic sects.

The most serious damage to the shrine was inflicted by the Wahhabis, followers of Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab who invented an odd interpretation of Islam which does not respect the grave-sites of any holy person, including that of the Prophet of Islam (ﻉ). Since the Wahhabis have proven to be the most antagonistic[212] towards the followers of Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ), it is not out of place here to introduce the reader to their man, Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab, while narrating the mischief he and his bedouin zealots committed against the shrine of Imam Husain (ﻉ) in Kerbala’ and that of his father, Imam Ali (ﻉ), in Najaf.

go to top of page Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab was born in 1115 A.H./1703 A.D. in the small town of Uyayna in Nejd, the southern highland of Arabia’s interior, and died in 1206 A.H./1791-92 A.D. He belonged to the tribe of Tamim. His father was a lawyer and a pious Muslim adhering to the Hanbalite sect founded by Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal who, with the most rigid consistency, had advocated the principle of the exclusive validity of the hadith as against the inclination among the older sects to make concessions to reason and commonsense, especially since Islam is the religion of commonsense. In Baghdad, Muhammed learned the jurisprudence of the Hanbali Sunni sect which remains to be predominant among the people of Nejd and Hijaz: Whabbis constitute no more than 8% of the entire population of today’s Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world named after its ruling clan. The reader has already come to know how much distortion exists in hadith and can appreciate the danger of believing in each and every hadith as though it were the inviolable and irrefutable gospel truth. He also studied jurisprudence at Mecca and Medina where his mentors were admirers of Ibn Taymiyyah who, in the 7th Century A.H./the14th Century A.D., had revived the teachings of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal. The founder of the sect, the last in the series of the four Sunni sects, namely Ahmed ibn Hanbal, was a theologian born in and died in Baghdad; the year of his birth is 164 A.H./780 A.D. and that of his death is 241 A.H./855 A.D.

Since his childhood, Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab was influenced by the writings of Ibn Taymiyyah[213] and, therefore, looked askance at many religious practices of the people of Nejd. Such an influence convinced him that the dominant form of contemporary Islam, particularly among the Turks of his time, was permeated with abuses. He, therefore, sought to restore the original purity of the doctrine and of life in its restricted milieux. The facts that the Wahhabis are the minority of all Muslim minorities, and that the people of Nejd and Hijaz are still predominantly Hanbalites who do not subscribe to Wahhabism by choice, prove that he did not achieve his objective and, most likely, such an objective will never be achieved despite all Saudi Arabia’s petro-dollars and the abundance of those who solicit such dollars, the ruler-appointed preachers.

Having joined his father, with whom he debated his personal views, Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab caused a seriously violent confrontation to erupt from such an exchange of opposite views, for his father’s views were consistent with mainstream Hanbali Muslim thought. He performed the pilgrimage for the first time, visiting Mecca and Medina where he attended lectures on different branches of Islamic learning. His mentors included Abdullah ibn Ibrahim ibn Saif and Hayat al-Sindi, who both were admirers of Ibn Taymiyyah. They both rejected the principle of taqlid (imitation) which is commonly accepted by all four Sunni schools of jurisprudence as well as by Shi’a Muslims. These men’s teachings had a great impact on Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab who began to take a more aggressive attitude in preaching his views and, hence, he publicly expressed his denunciation of the sanctification of the holy precincts of the Prophet’s shrine and of the shrines of any “saint.” Then he went back home and decided to go to Basra, Iraq, on his way to Damascus, Syria. During his stay in Basra, he expressed the same views, whereupon its people kicked him out of the city. He almost died of thirst once, due to exhaustion and to the intensity of the heat in the desert, when he was on his way from Basra to the city of Zubair but was saved by a Zubairi man. Finding his provisions insufficient to travel to Damascus, Muhammed had to change his travel plan and to go to the (Saudi) al-Ahsa (or al-Hasa) province then to Huraymala, one of the cities of Nejd, to which his father and the entire family had to move because of the public’s denunciation of young Muhammed’s views, reaching it in 1139 A.H./1726-27 A.D. By then, Muhammed’s good and pious father had lost his job as qadi (judge) on account of his son’s radical preaching. The denunciation continued till his father’s death in 1153 A.H./1740 A.D.

His father’s death emboldened him to express his thoughts more freely and consolidate his movement. His preaching found an echo among some of the people of his town, and his fame started on the rise, so much so that he was welcomed by the ruler of his home town Uyayna, namely Uthman ibn Muammar Al Hamad, who offered him protection and appointed him as his personal assistant. In order to cement his ties with Uthman, Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab married Jawhara, Uthman’s aunt. Uthman ordered his townsmen to observe the Wahhabi teachings, and Muhammed now felt strong enough to demolish the monument erected on the burial site of Zaid ibn al-Khattab. But the new alliance between Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab and Uthman ibn Muammar Al Hamad disturbed the scholars of Nejd who complained against the first to the emir (provincial governor) of the al-Ahsa province. The emir wrote Uthman reprimanding and warning him of dire consequences for encouraging Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab to revolt against the established authority and creed. Finding himself in a precarious situation and his job in jeopardy, Uthman dismissed Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab from his service and asked him to leave the town.

In 1160 A.H./1746-47 A.D., having been expelled from Uyayna, Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab sought refuge in Dar’iyya, only six hours away from Uyayna, at the invitation of its ruler, Muhammed ibn Saud[214], ancestor of the Al Saud dynasty now ruling Saudi Arabia. Muhammed ibn Saud lived in a fortified settlement as chief of the Unayza clan. Soon, an alliance was forged between both men, each promising the other glory, fame, and riches for his support. The people of that town lived at the time in utter destitution, and something was needed to bring them relief. Muhammed ibn Saud rejected any veneration of the Prophet (ﺹ) or of other men of piety. It was there that Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab stayed for more than two years. Both men felt that it was time to declare “jihad” against all those who rejected the new Wahhabi dogma, forming a small band of raiders mounted on horseback to invade various towns, kill and loot. The lives and property of all those who did not subscribe to the views of these two men were now in jeopardy for they were considered as guilty of being pagans fighting against whom is justified by the Qur’an until they converted or extirpated. These raids extended far beyond Dar’iyya to include all of Nejd and parts of Yemen, Hijaz, Syria and Iraq. In 1187 A.H./1773 A.D., the principality of Riyadh fell to them, marking a new era in the lucrative career of Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab.

During a short period of time, the destitutes of Dar’iyya found themselves wearing sumptuous clothes, carrying weapons decorated with gold and silver, eating meat, and baking wheat bread; in short, they found their dreams come true, going from rags to riches, thanks to those raids which continued till Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab died in 1206 A.H./1791-92 A.D., leaving his band to carry out more and more raids and his form of “Wahhabism” embraced by the Al Saud clansmen who eventually ascended to power, due to the support they received from the British who used them to undermine the last Islamic power, the Ottoman Sultanate. Al Saud became the sole rulers of Nejd and Hijaz, promoting and publicizing for Wahhabism by any and all means, spending in the process funds which belong to the Muslim masses, not to them.

After the death of Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab, his band of raiders, under the leadership of the Al Saud dynasty, pursued their campaigns in the pretext of disseminating Wahhabism. In the years that followed Muhammed ibn Abdul-Wahhab’s death, the Wahhabis gradually became burdensome to their neighbours. They pursued their northward advance; therefore, the Pasha of Baghdad found himself complelled to take defensive measures against them, having heard about their ruthlessness and disregard for the lives of all non-Wahhabis. He, therefore, led an army of about seven thousand Turks and twice did his army of mostly Arabs attacked them in their richest and most fertile oasis, that of al-Ahsa, in 1212 A.H./1797 A.D. but did not move on their capital, Dar’iyya, at once, as he should have, laying a siege for a month to the citadel of al-Ahsa. When Muhammed ibn Saud himself advanced against the Pasha, the latter did not dare to attack him but concluded a six-year peace treaty with him, a treaty for which the Wahhabis later demonstrated their disregard. By then, they had already set their eyes on plundering the shrine of Imam Husain (ﻉ) and all the valuable relics it contained.

On the anniversary of the historic Ghadar Khumm incident, that is, Thul-Hijja 18, 1216 A.H./April 21, 1801 A.D.[215], Prince Saud mobilized an army of twenty thousand strong and invaded the holy city of Kerbala’. First they laid a siege of the city then entered the city and brutally massacred its defenders, visitors and inhabitants, looting, burning, demolishing and wreaking havoc … The city [Kerbala’] fell into their hands. The magnificent domed building over the grave of Husain was destroyed and enormous booty dragged off.[216]

More than five thousand Muslims were slaughtered. Then the Saudi prince turned to the Kerbala’ shrine itself; he and his men pulled gold slabs out of their places, stole chandeliers and Persian rugs and historical relics, plundering anything of value. This tragedy is immortalized by eulogies composed by poets from Kerbala’ and elsewhere. And the Wahhabis did not leave Kerbala’ alone after this massacre; rather, they continued for the next twelve years invading it, killing and looting, taking advantage of the administrative weakness of the aging Ottoman Sultanate responsible for protecting it. During those twelve years, more and more bedouin tribes joined them for a “piece of the action.” In 1218 A.H./1803 A.D., during the time of hajj (pilgrimage), the Wahhabis, led by Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, attacked Mecca, which surrendered to them after putting up a brief resistance. They looted whatever possessions the pilgrims had had. The governor of Mecca, Sharif Ghalib, fled to Jiddah which was shortly thereafter besieged, and the leader of the Syrian pilgrim caravan, Abd-Allah Pasha of Damascus, had to leave Mecca, too. On Rajab 19, 1218 A.H./November 4, 1803, Abdul-Aziz Al Saud paid with his life for what he had committed; he was killed in Dar’iyya. His son, Saud ibn Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, lifted the siege of Jiddah and had Sharif Ghalib sent back to Mecca as his vassal in exchange for Jiddah’s customs revenue.

In 1220 A.H./1805 and 1221 A.H./1806 A.D., Mecca and Medina fell to the Wahhabis[217] respectively. The Wahhabis unleashed their wrath on both holy cities, committing untold atrocities and razing the cemetery, where many relatives and sahaba (companions) of the Prophet (ﺹ) were buried, to the ground[218]. Having spread their control over Riyadh, Jiddah, Mecca and Medina, all of today’s Saudi Arabia became practically under their control.

The next major invasion of the holy city of Kerbala’ by the Wahhabis took place on the 9th of the holy month of Ramadan of 1225 A.H., corresponding to October 8, 1810 A.D. It was then that both Kerbala’ and Najaf (where the magnificent shrine of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) is located) were besieged. Roads were blocked, pilgrims were looted then massacred, and the shrines were attacked and damaged. The details of this second invasion were recorded by an eyewitness: Sayyid Muhammed Jawad al-Amili, author of the famous book of jurisprudence titled Miftah al-Karama which was completed shortly after midnight on the very first day when the siege was laid. The writer recorded how terrified he and the other residents of Kerbala’ felt at seeing their city receiving a major attack from the Wahhabis. A large number of pilgrims were killed. Their number varies from one account to another, and the most realistic figure seems to be the one provided by Sayyid Muhammed Jawad al-Amili who puts it at one hundred and fifty.

The Wahhabis no longer attack and demolish Imam Husain’s shrine, but they have been relentlessly attacking the creed of those who venerate him through a flood of books written and printed world-wide. They fund their writing, publication and circulation. They sometimes distribute them free of charge during the annual pilgrimage season while prohibiting all pilgrims from carrying or distributing any literature at all… During recent years, they have been beheading Shiite scholars wherever they can find them, destroying Shiite shrines, such as the famous ‘Askari Shrine in Samarra, Iraq, which was bombed and destroyed in February of 2006 and in June of 2007; it houses the remains of both Imam Ali al-Hadi and Hassan al-‘Askari, peace be with them, who descended from the immediate family of the Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of the Almighty be with him and his progeny. Many other Shiite mosques and Husainiyyas were bombed by the Wahhabis and are still targets of their mischief, yet these rogues will never be able to destroy Shiite Islam till the Resurrection Day. They have plenty of money, so they send their filthy money to Iraq to get the Muslims to kill each other, the Shiite to kill the Sunni and vice versa, thus making Satan the happiest being on earth, for nothing pleases this damned creature more than seeing Muslims at each other’s throats. Such is the desire of all the enemies of Islam and Muslims. Actually, due to the barbarism of these fundamentalist Wahhabis, more and more Muslims are getting to be curious about Shiite Islam, so they study it and many of them end up eventually switching their sect from Sunni to Shiite Islam. There is no harm in a Sunni becoming Shiite or in a Shiite becoming Sunni: Islam is one tree stalk having two major branches. After all, religions of the world have sects, and people change the sect they follow according to their personal convictions and satisfaction. It happens every day, and nobody fusses about it. Thus, the Wahhabis’ mischief is actually having the opposite result of what these fundamentalist fanatics, who have ruined the reputation of Islam and Muslims world-wide, anticipate.

When you visit a dignitary of a special social or political status, you are expected to follow a protocol of etiquette which you may have to learn from a secretary or a protocol specialist. Muslims believe that the soul never dies; it only travels from one stage of life to another. The Holy Qur’an tells us that we should not consider those who die in defending His cause as dead; they are living though we are not aware of it; here is the Qur’anic proof: “And do not reckon those who are slain in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay! They are living with their Lord, receiving their sustenance” (Qur’an, 3:169).

So, when you visit Husain’s sacred shrine or greet it from a distance, wherever you may be in Allah’s spacious earth, you have to observe certain basic principles of etiquette such as having ablution and wearing clean clothes. There are many statements you can recite, but we have chosen this one which is known as “ziyarat warith,” visiting the heir, the one who inherited the message and the knowledge of his pious predecessors. We would like to quote it here for you in its original Arabic text, then we will translate it for you:

اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ آدَمَ صَفْوَةِ اللهِ، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ نُوح نَبِيِّ اللهِ، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ اِبْراهيمَ خَليلِ اللهِ، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ مُوسى كَليمِ اللهِ، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ عيسى رُوحِ اللهِ، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ مُحَمَّد حَبيبِ اللهِ، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا وارِثَ اَميرِ الْمُؤْمِنينَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ مُحَمَّد الْمُصْطَفى، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ عَلِيِّ الْمُرْتَضى، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ فاطِمَةَ الزَّهْراءِ، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا بْنَ خَديجَةَ الْكُبْرى، اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا ثارَ اللهِ وَابْنَ ثارِهِ وَالْوِتْرَ الْمَوْتُورَ،

اَشْهَدُ اَنَّكَ قَدْ اَقَمْتَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَيْتَ الزَّكاةَ، وَاَمَرْتَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَيْتَ عَنْ الْمُنْكَرِ، وَاَطَعْتَ اللهَ وَرَسُولَهُ حَتّى اَتاكَ الْيَقينُ،

فَلَعَنَ اللهُ اُمَّةً قَتَلَتْكَ، وَلَعَنَ اللهُ اُمَّةً ظَلَمَتْكَ، وَلَعَنَ اللهُ اُمَّةً سَمِعَتْ بِذلِكَ فَرَضِيَتْ بِهِ،

يا مَوْلايَ يا اَبا عَبْدِاللهِ، اَشْهَدُ اَنَّكَ كُنْتَ نُوراً فِي الاَْصْلابِ الشّامِخَةِ، وَالاَْرْحامِ الْمُطَهَّرَةِ، لَمْ تُنَجِّسْكَ الْجاهِلِيَّةُ بِاَنْجاسِها، وَلَمْ تُلْبِسْكَ مِنْ مُدْلَهِمّاتِ ثِيابِها، وَاَشْهَدُ اَنَّكَ مِنْ دَعائِمِ الدّينِ، وَاَرْكانِ الْمُؤْمِنينَ،

وَاَشْهَدُ اَنَّكَ الاِْمامُ الْبَرُّ التَّقِيُّ الرَّضِيُّ الزَّكِيُّ الْهادِي الْمَهْدِىُّ وَاَشْهَدُ اَنَّ الاَْئِّمَةَ مِنْ وُلْدِكَ كَلِمَةُ التَّقْوى، وَاَعْلامُ الْهُدى، وَالْعُروَةُ الْوُثْقى، وَالْحُجَّةُ عَلى اَهْلِ الدُّنْيا،

وَاُشْهِدُ اللهَ وَمَلائِكَتَهُ وَاَنْبِياءَهُ وَرُسُلَهُ اَنّي بِكُمْ مُؤْمِنٌ وَبِاِيابِكُمْ، مُوقِنٌ بِشَرايـِعِ ديني وَخَواتيمِ عَمَلي، وَقَلْبي لِقَلْبِكُمْ سِلْمٌ وَاَمْري لاَِمْرِكُمْ مُتَّبِـعٌ، صَلَواتُ اللهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَلى اَرْواحِكُمْ وَعَلى اَجْسادِكُمْ وَعَلى اَجْسامِكُمْ وَ عَلى شاهِدِكُمْ وَعَلى غائِبِكُمْ وَعَلى ظاهِرِكُمْ وَعَلى باطِنِكُمْ

Assalamo Alaikum, O heir of Adam, the one chosen by Allah (as His vicegerent on earth)!

Assalamo Alaikum, O heir of Noah, the prophet of Allah! Assalamo Alaikum, O heir of Abraham, the Friend of Allah!

Assalamo Alaikum, O heir of Moses who spoke to Allah!

Assalamo Alaikum, O heir of Jesus, the Spirit of Allah!

Assalamo Alaikum, O heir of Muhammed, the one loved by Allah!

Assalamo Alaikum, O heir of the Commander of the Faithful, peace be with him!

Assalamo Alaikum, O son of Muhammed, the chosen one!

Assalamo Alaikum, O son of Ali, the one with whom Allah and His Messenger are pleased!

Assalamo Alaikum, O son of Fatima al-Zahra!

Assalamo Alaikum, O son of Khadaja al-Kubra!

Assalamo Alaikum, O revolutionary for the cause of Allah and the son of a revolutionary for the cause of Allah, the oppressed one who is yet to receive redress and the son of an oppressed one who has not been redressed!

I testify that you upheld the prayers, paid the zakat, enjoined what is right, prohibited what is wrong, and obeyed Allah and His Messenger till death overtook you;

so, let the curse of Allah be on a people who killed you, and the curse of Allah be on a people who oppressed you, and the curse of Allah be on those who heard about you being oppressed and were pleased thereby!

O master! O father of Abdullah! I testify that you were a light in the lofty loins and purified wombs: the jahiliyya never polluted you nor spread its garments over you!

And I further testify that you are among the pillars of the creed and the corner-stones of the believers!

And I further testify that you are the Imam who is kind, pious, pure, guiding to righteousness and is rightly guided, and I testify that the Imams from among your offspring are the embodiment of piety and the flag-poles of guidance, the strong niche and the argument against the people of the world!

And I further implore Allah, His angels, prophets and messenger, to testify that I believe in you, being convinced that you shall return according to the tenets of my faith and the conclusions of my deeds, and that my heart is at ease with whatever pleases you, and my will is subservient to yours!

The blessings of Allah be upon you, upon your souls, upon your bodies, upon your being, upon those present from among you and those absent, upon what you reveal and what you conceal.

Having thus saluted the Imam, you should kiss the tomb then say the following:

بِاَبي اَنْتَ وَاُمّي يَا بْنَ رَسُولِ اللهِ، بِاَبي اَنْتَ وَاُمّي يا اَبا عَبْدِاللهِ،

لَقَدْ عَظُمَتِ الرَّزِيَّةُ وَجَلَّتِ الْمُصيبَةُ بِكَ عَلَيْنا وَعَلى جَميعِ اَهْلِ السَّماواتِ وَالاَْرْضِ، فَلَعَنَ اللهُ اُمَّةً اَسْرَجَتْ وَاَلْجَمَتْ وَتَهَيَّأَتْ لِقِتالِكَ،

يا مَوْلايَ يا اَبا عَبْدِاللهِ، قَصَدْتُ حَرَمَكَ، وَاَتَيْتُ اِلى مَشْهَدِكَ، اَسْألُ اللهَ بِالشَّأنِ الَّذي لَكَ عِنْدَهُ وَبِالَْمحَلِّ الَّذي لَكَ لَدَيْهِ اَنْ يُصَلِيَّ عَلى مُحَمَّد وَآلِ مُحَمَّد، وَاَنْ يَجْعَلَني مَعَكُمْ فِي الدُّنْيا وَالاْخِرَةِ .

By my parents (do I swear), O son of the Messenger of Allah, by my parents (do I swear), O father of Abdullah,

that the calamity is great and the catastrophe magnanimous, and it has afflicted us and all the residents of the heavens and the earth, so may the curse of Allah be upon a people that gathered their forces to fight you,

O master, O father of Abdullah! I have come to your sacred site and desired to be at your shrine, pleading to Allah by the status which you enjoy with Him to bless Muhammed and the progeny of Muhammed and to permit me to be with you in the life of this world and in the life hereafter

After that you should perform two prostrations (rek’at) at the Imam’s head, and you may recite in them whatever suras you wish. Once you have finished your prayers, you should recite the following:

O Allah! I have performed my prayers, and I have knelt and prostrated to You, and only to You, the One and Only God, there is no partner with You, for the prayers, the kneeling and the prostrating cannot be to anyone but to You, since You are Allah, there is no god but You! O Allah! I plead to You to bless Muhammed and the progeny of Muhammed and to convey the best of my Salam to them and the best of salutation and, O Lord, do convey their own greeting to me! O Allah! These two rek’at are a gift from me to my master al-Husain son of Ali, peace be with both of them! O Allah! Bless Muhammed and bless him, and do accept it from me and reward me for it with the best of what I anticipate, and my hope rests upon You, and upon Your servant, O Master of the believers!

Imam al-Husain’s revolution was not only for changing a government, as noble an objective as it was. Had it been so, it would have been wrong to call it a revolution. Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) advocated a drastic change in the social order, in the economic and political structure, and he enjoined the refining of the Islamic concepts from foreign ideas that had crept into them. In other words, Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) wanted to change the life of the Muslims for all time to come in conformity with the established Islamic laws and principles.

In our time and age, there are many Yazids ruling our Muslim world. This is why when the Muslim women were raped in Bosnia, massacred in Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, or southern Lebanon, very, very few Muslims stir to action while the rest remain in their slumber, preferring to close their eyes rather than see the horrors of what happens to their brethren. Yes, there are many Yazids throughout our Islamic world, but there is no Husain to lead the revolution against them; so, the oppres­sion and the inequity shall continue unabated, and the Muslims shall remain the underdogs of the world till they take Islam more seriously and defend its pristine tenets with all their might and means. Meanwhile, the suffering continues.., Inna Lillah wa Inna Ilayahi Raji’oon (We belong to Allah, and to Him shall we return).

It is sincerely hoped that the discreet reader has benefitted from this book, that it has brought him closer to His Maker, the One Who created him for one and only reason: to worship Him, and only Him. It is hoped that this book has brought him closer to Him, to His last Prophet (ﺹ), and to the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) and distanced himself from all those who do not denounce the murderers of Imam Husain (ﻉ), those who do not learn any lesson from his epic of heroism, who do not mourn his tragedy, who do not shed tears during the month of Muharram to commemorate this tragedy the like of which has never been recorded in history…, and unfortunately this description fits the majority of Muslims, for the majority is not always right. Seventy-two verses in the Holy Qur’an condemn the majority. Let this be a lesson for all of us. Might and numerical superiority do not necessarily have to be right. In most instances, they are not.

For sure, whoever bases his belief in the Almighty on solid foundations will be the winner in this life and in the life to come, and the most solid of all foundations is one built on knowledge and conviction, not on ignorance, nor on taking things for granted, nor on hiding the truth or distorting it. This address is directed specifically to new Muslim converts in the West in general and in the U.S. in particular, those who have been taught to glorify certain sahaba and to forget about everyone else, to study the first few years of the dawn of Islam, and to forget about the rest. These converts should spare no time nor effort to study Islamic history and to find out who actually took Islam seriously and who did not, who shed the blood of innocent Muslims, including members of the Prophet’s family, the very best of all families in the entire history of mankind, and altered the Sunnah to serve his own ambition.

One authentic hadith says, “For everything there is a zakat, and the zakat of knowledge is its dissemination.” The reader who reads this book ought not keep what he/she has learned to himself/herself but share it with others, believers or non-believers. It will then enhance the conviction of the believers and plant the seed of iman in the hearts of the unbelievers. Who knows? Maybe one day that seed will grow. It is the Almighty Who permits its growth, and He does so at the right time, the time which He chooses. Pass this book on to a relative or a friend. Translate it into another language. Let on-line computer services benefit from it. Make photocopies of some of its contents and distribute them to others. Write a dissertation or a thesis utilizing its text. Extract excerpts from it for inclusion in your newsletter or magazine, book or booklet. Or write one like it or better. All these options are yours; so, do not sit idle. Move to action, and let the Almighty use you as His tool for disseminating useful knowledge.

Do you, dear reader, think that you have a choice whether to disseminate the knowledge included in this book with others or not? If you think that you do, read the following statement of the great grandson of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), namely Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (ﻉ), who quotes his forefathers citing the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) saying,

One who reneges from his oath of allegiance, or who promotes what misleads people, or who hides some knowledge with him, or who confines some wealth with him unjustly, or who know­ingly aids an oppressor in committing oppression while being fully aware of his oppression, is outside the folds of Islam.

This tradition is recorded on p. 67, Vol. 2, of al-Majlisi’s Bihar al-Anwar. It clearly demonstrates that one who hides knowledge is on the same level with that who deliberately assists oppressors and tyrants. We, therefore, should spare no means to share what we know with others, with those who listen and who follow the best of what they listen to. Earn rewards by bringing the servants of Allah closer to their Creator Who made and sustained them, Who will try them and place them either in His Paradise or in His hell. If acts of worship are based on shallow conviction, they are as good as nothing. Strengthen your brethren’s conviction through this book. They will surely appreciate it and, above all, Allah, too, will.

If the reader appreciates the time and effort exerted in writing this book, I, the author, kindly request him/her to recite Srat al-Fatiha for the soul of my father, the late qari al-Hajj Tuma Abbas al-Jibouri who died in 1991 of diabetes and for the souls of all believing men and women, the living and the dead. If you do so, rest assured that your rewards will be with the Most Generous of all those who reward, with Allah Almighty Who appreciates even the smallest of good deeds. Why do I request the kind reader to recite Surat al-Fatiha for my parents? Well, this is the least a son can do for his deceased father who worked very hard to raise him as a Muslim. My father was a qari of the Holy Qur’an who refused to read any other book besides the Qur’an as long as he lived, a man who never intentionally hurt anyone all his life. Not only will my father receive blessings when you recite Surat al-Fatiha for his soul, but you, too, dear reader, will get your rewards as well. How will you be rewarded? Well, read on! Here is a glimpse of what you will Insha-Allah receive:

On p. 88, Vol. 1, of Mujma’ al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, al-Tibrisi cites a tradition through a chain of narrator wherein the Prophet of Islam is quoted as saying, “Whoever recites Srat al-Fatiha will be rewarded as though he had read two thirds of the Holy Qur’an and will be (in addition to that) given rewards as though he gave charity to each and every believing man and woman.” Just imagine how generous the Almighty is! Ubayy ibn Kab is cited in the same reference saying, “I once recited Surat al-Fatiha in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, who said to me, I swear by the One Who controls my life, Allah never revealed any chapter in the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms, or (even) in the Qur’an like it. It is the mother of the Book, and it is the seven oft-repeated verses. It is divided between Allah and His servant, and His servant will get whatever he asks Him for.’” The Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) said once to Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Anari, one of his greatest sahaba, may Allah be pleased with all his good sahaba, “O Jabir! Shall I teach you the merits of a Sura which Allah revealed in His Book?” Jabir said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah! May both my parents be sacrificed for your sake! Please do!” The Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) taught him Srat al-Hamd, the “Mother of the Book,” then said to him, “Shall I tell you something about it?” “Yes, O Messenger of Allah,” Jabir responded, “may my father and mother be sacrificed for your sake!” The Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) said, “It cures everything except death.” Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq is quoted on the same page as saying, “Anyone who is not cured by the Book’s Fatiha cannot be cured by anything else.” Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) has said,

The Messenger of Allah has said, “Allah, the Exalted One, the Sublime, said to me: (O Muhammed!) We have bestowed upon you seven oft-repeated verses and the Great Qur’an (verse 87 of Surat al-Hijr); so, express your ap­preciation for it by reciting the Book’s Fatia,’ thus comparing it to the entire Qur’an.” Srat al-Fatiha is the most precious of the treasures of the Arsh. Allah specifically chose Muhammed to be honoured by it without having done so to any of His prophets with the exception of prophet Sulayman (Solomon) who was granted (only this verse) of it: Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim (verse 30 of Chapter 27, Surat an-Naml); don’t you see how He narrates about Balqees[335] saying, “O Chiefs (of Yemen’s tribes)! Surely an honourable letter has been delivered to me; it is from Solomon, and it is: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful…” (27:29-30)? So whoever recites it sincerely believing that he/she is following in the footsteps of Muhammed and his progeny, abiding by its injunctions, believing in its apparent as well as hidden meanings, Allah will give him for each of its letters a good deed better than all this world and everything in it of wealth and good things. And whoever listens to someone reciting it will receive a third of the rewards the reciter receives; so, let each one of you accumulate of such available goodness, for it surely is a great gain. Do not let it pass you by, for then you will have a great sigh in your heart about it.”[336]

Rewards of reciting Surat al-Fatia are also recorded on p. 132 of Thawab al-Amal wa Iqab al-Amal cited above. Abu Abdullah Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq has said, “Whoever recites Surat al-Baqara and Surat al-Fatiha, they will both shade him like two clouds on the Day of Judgment. And if the reader wishes to read more about the merits of the Basmala (Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raham), he is referred to pp. 70-71 of my book Fast of the Month of Ramadan: Philosophy and Ahkam published by Ansariyan (P.O. Box 37185/187, Qum, Islamic Republic of Iran). As for the merits of Surat al-Fatiha, I would like to quote for you here what is published on pp. 71-73 of the same book:

At-Tibrisi, in his exegesis Mujma’ul-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, provides nine names for the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an, namely Surat al-Fatiha: 1) al-Fatiha, the one that opens, for it is like a gate: when opened, it leads one to the Book of Allah; 2) al-Hamd, the praise, for its verses are clearly praising the Almighty; 3) Ummul-Kitab, the mother of the Book, for its status is superior to all other chapters of the Holy Qur’an, or like the war standard: it is always in the forefront; 4) al-Sab, the seven verses, for it is comprised of seven verses and the only one whose verses are seven, and there is no room here to elaborate on the merits of the number 7 especially since most readers of this book are already aware of such merits; 5) al-Mathana, the oft-repeated Chapter, for no other Chapter of the Holy Qur’an is repeated as often as this one; 6) al-Kafiya, the chapter that suffices and that has no substitute; you simply cannot replace its recitation with that of any other chapter of the Holy Qur’an in the first two rek’ats of the prayers, whereas it can substitute others; 7) al-Asas, the basis or foundation or bed-rock, a connotation of its being the foundation upon which the Holy Qur’an stands just as the Basmala (“Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim”) is the foundation of the Fatiha; 8) al-Shifa’, the healing, due to the fact that the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) has said that the Fatiha heals from all ailments except death, and 9) al-Salat, the prayers, or the basic re­quirement of the daily prayers, one without the recitation of which no prayer can be accepted. The Prophet has quoted the Almighty as saying, “The prayers have been divided between Me and My servant: one half for Me, and one for him;” so when one recites it and says, “Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil-alaman,” the Almighty says, “My servant has praised Me.” And when he says, “Arrahmanir-Raham,” the Almighty says, “My servant has lauded Me.” And when he says, “Maliki Yawmid-Dan,” Allah says, “My servant has exalted Me.” And when he says, “Iyyaka Nabudu wa iyyaka nastaan,” Allah will say, “This is a covenant between Me and My servant, and My servant shall be granted the fulfillment of his pleas.” Then if he finishes reciting the Fatiha to the end, Allah will again confirm His promise by saying, “This is for [the benefit of] My servant, and My servant will be granted the answer to his wishes.”

The Messenger of Allah (ﻉ) is quoted by Abu Ali al-Fadl ibn al-asan ibn al-Fadl al-Tibrisi, may Allah have mercy on his soul, saying that one who recites al-Fatia will be regarded by the Almighty as though he recited two-thirds of the Holy Qur’an and as though he gave by way of charity to each and every believing man and woman. “By the One in Whose hand my soul is,” the Prophet continues, “Allah Almighty did not reveal in the Torah, the Gospel, or the Psalms any chapter like it; it is the Mother of the Book and al-Sab’ al-Mathani (the oft-repeated seven verses), and it is divided between Allah and His servant, and His servant shall get whatever he asks; it is the best Sura in the Book of the most Exalted One, and it is a healing from every ailment except poison, which is death.” He is also quoted by al-Kaf’ami as saying, “He (Allah) bestowed it upon me as His blessing, making it equivalent to the Holy Qur’an, saying, And We have granted you al-Sab’ al-Mathani and the Great Qur’an (Surat al-ijr, verse 87).’ It is the most precious among the treasures of the Arsh.” Indeed, Allah, the most Sublime, has chosen Muhammed alone to be honoured by it without doing so to any other Prophet or Messenger of His with the exception of Solomon (Solomon) who was granted the Basmala. One who recites it, being fully convinced of his following in the footsteps of Muhammed and his Progeny, adhering to its injunctions, believing in its outward and inward meanings, will be granted by Allah for each of its letters a blessing better than what all there is in the world of wealth and good things, and whoever listens to someone reciting it will receive one third of the rewards due to its reciter.

There is no doubt that you, dear reader, know that it is very costly to print books, and philanthropists in the Muslim world are rare and endangered species. Once you find one, you will find out that he is willing to spend money on anything except on a book! This is very sad, very tragic, very shameful. Islam spread through a Book: the Holy Qur’an. That was all the early generations of Muslims needed besides the presence of the Messenger of Allah. But times have changed; we do not have the presence of the Messenger of Allah in our midst to ask him whenever we need to know, and his Sunnah has suffered acutely of alteration, addition, deletion, custom-designing and tailoring to fit the needs of the powerful politicians of the times, so much so that it is now very hard to find the pristine truth among all the numerous different views and interpretations. This is why the reader has to spend more effort to get to know the truth; nobody is going to hand it to you on a golden platter. You have to work hard to acquire it. “Easy come, easy go.” Yet readers who would like to earn a place in Paradise through their dissemination of Islamic knowledge, such as the knowledge included in this book, are very much needed and are advised in earnest to send their contributions to the Publisher of this book in order to help him print more copies of it and make them available to those who cannot afford to purchase them. Some readers erroneously surmise that book publishers are wealthy people who make a lot of money selling books, but, alas, this applies ONLY to non-Muslim publishers. After all, Allah will judge our actions according to our intentions, and if you help promote a book seeking the Pleasure of Allah, rest assured that you will be richly rewarded. It remains to see how strong you are against the temptations of Satan who will try his best, and his worst, to dissuade you from doing so. He very well knows that nothing in the world stands between him and corrupting the minds of Muslims more than accurate knowledge about Allah and the men of Allah. May Allah Taala include us among the latter, Allahomma Aameen.

May Allah Taala accept our humble effort; may He forgive our sins and shortcomings; may He take our hands and guide us to what He loves and prefers, Allahomma Aameen, Wassalamo Alaikom wa Ramatullahi wa Barakatuh.

[1]Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 16, p. 15.

[2]Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 86.



[5]For complete details of the historical incident known as “Ghadir Khumm,” refer to my book titled Ghadir Khumm: Where Islam was Perfected.

[6]The fourth edition of this famous 7-volume tafsir adorns our library and it was published in Beirut, Lebanon, in Thul-Qida 1410 A.H./June 1990 A.D. by Dar al-Ilm lil Malayeen (P.O. Box 1085, Beirut, Lebanon).

[7]Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari is a maternal relative and one of the greatest sahabis of Prophet Muhammed (ﻉ), a first-class traditionist and a most zealous supporter of ImamAli ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ). When the Prophet (ﺹ) migrated from Mecca to Medina in 622 A.D., he was hosted by Jabir for one week. According to Al-Istiab, Jabir died at the age of 94 in 74 A.H./693 A.D. (some say in 77 and others in 78 A.H./696 or 697 A.D. respectively), and his funeral prayers were led by Aban ibn Uthman, then governor of Medina. He was the very last to die from among the Prophet’s closest companions.

[8]For more information about this man, Abu Hurayra, refer to Shi’as are the Ahl al-Sunnah, a book written in Arabic by Dr. Muhammed al-Tijani al-Samawi and translated into English by myself. It is available for sale (for $18.95) from Vantage Press, Inc., 516 West 34th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001, or you may order it through the Internet’s worldwide web: www.amazon.com. Its title in the said web is “Shi’as are the Ahl al-Sunnah.”

[9]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 32.

[10]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 260.

[11]Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 40.

[12]Muhammed Jawad Shubbar, Al-Dama al-Sakiba, p. 348.

[13]al-Saduq, Aamali, p. 99, majlis 31. al-Thahbi, Siyar Alam al-Nubala’, Vol. 3, p. 204.

[14]Mawla Husain ibn Mawla Muhammed al-Jammi (known as the virtuous man of Jamm) Riyad al-Musa’ib fil Mawaiz wal Tawarikh wal Siyar wal Musa’ib, p. 341. al-Qazwini, Tazallum al-Zahra’, p. 130.

[15]Ibn Tawoos, namely Sayyid Ali ibn Musa ibn Ja’far, Al-Luhuf fi Qatla al-Tufuf, p. 74. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 41.

[16]Reference to the sickness of Ali son of al-Husain, as-Sajjad (ﻉ) is referred to by at-Tabari on p. 260, Vol. 6, of his Tarikh. It is also mentioned by Ibn al-Atheer on p. 33, Vol. 4, of his book Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, by Ibn Katheer on p. 188, Vol. 8, of his book Al-Bidaya, by al-Yafii on p. 133, Vol. 1, of his book Mir’at al-Jinan, by Shaikh al-Mufid in his book Kitab Al-Irshad, by Ibn Shahr Ashub on p. 225, Vol. 2, of his book Manaqib, by al-Tibrisi on p. 148 of his book I’lam al-Wara bi A’lam al-Huda, by Muhammed ibn Ahmed ibn Ali al-Nishapuri on p. 162 of his book Rawdat al-Waizeen, and by al-Mas’udi on p. 140 of his book Ithbat al-Wasiyya.

[17]al-Qazwini, Tazallum al-Zahra’, p. 132.

[18]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 260.

[19]Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, Nafas al-Mahmum.

[20]al-Qarmani, Tarikh, p. 108.

[21]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 161. Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 33. al-Mas’udi, Muraj al-Thahab, Vol. 2, p. 91. al-Maqrazi, Khutat, Vol. 2, p. 288. Ibn Katheer, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 189. al-Khamees, Tarikh, Vol. 3, p. 333. Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Irshad. al-Tibrisi, I’lam al-Wara bi A’lam al-Huda, p. 888. Muhammed ibn Ahmed ibn Ali al-Nishapuri, Rawdat al-Waizeen, p. 662. Ibn Shahr Ashub, Al-Manaqib, Vol. 2, p. 224.

[22]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, p. 75. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 41.

[23]Al-athar al-Baqiya, p. 329.

[24]al-Karakchi, Kitab al-Taajjub, p. 46.

[25]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, p. 81. Al-Ayni, Umdat al-Qari fi Sharh al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, p. 656, where the name of Urwah ibn Qays is included among them.

[26]Al-Hajj Shaikh Muhammed Baqir ibn Mawla Hasan al-Qa’ini al-Birjandi al-Safi, Al-Kibrit al-Ahmar fi Shara’it Ahl al-Minbar.

[27]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Irshad.

[28]Muhammed al-Nishapuri, Rawdat al-Shuhada’. On p. 190, Vol. 8, Ibn Katheer says that his wife saw the light emanating from underneath the lid and stretching to the heavens as white birds kept hovering around it. He adds saying that his other wife, Nuwar daughter of Malik, said to him, “Have you brought the head of the son of the Messenger of Allah, peace of Allah and His blessings upon him and his family, here?! I shall never share a bed with you henceforth.” She separated from him.

[29]al-Balathiri, Ansab al-Ashraf, Vol. 5, p. 238.

[30]According to p. 133, Vol. 1, of al-Yafii’s book Mir’at al-Jinan, Ibn Ziyad was very angry with him, so he killed him, but the author does not identify the name of the head bearer. On p. 213, Vol. 2, of Al-Iqd al-Farid fi Marifat al-Qira’a wal Tajwad of Sayyid Muhammed Rida ibn Abul-Qasim ibn FathAllah ibn Nejm ad-Din al-Husaini al-Kamali al-Asterbadi al-Hilli (died in 1346 A.H./1927 A.D.), the head bearer is identified as Khawli ibn Yazid al-Asbahi who was killed by Ibn Ziyad. Historians contend among themselves about who had brought the head and who had said the above verses. According to Ibn Jarir at-Tabari, who indicates so on p. 261, Vol. 6, of his Tarikh, and Ibn al-Atheer who states so on p. 33, Vol. 4, of his book Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, the poet was Sinan ibn Anas who recited them to Omer ibn Sa’d. On p. 144 of Tathkirat al-Khawass of Ibn al-Jawzi, the grandson, Omer said to him, “You are insane! Had Ibn Ziyad heard you, he would have killed you!” On p. 193, Vol. 1, of al-Sharishi’s Maqamat, the author says that the poet recited them to Ibn Ziyad. According to al-Irbili’s Kashf al-Ghumma and al-Khawarizmi’s p. 40, Vol. 2, of Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Bishr ibn Malik recited them to Ibn Ziyad. On p. 76 of Ibn Talhah’s Matalib al-Saool, there is the addition of “… and whoever says his prayers in both Qiblas,” whereupon Ibn Ziyad became very angry with him and had him beheaded. On p. 437 of Riyad al-Musa’ib, it is stated that al-Shimr is the one who recited these verses. Since you know that al-Shimr is al-Husain’s killer according to the text of the ziyarat of the sacred area and according to a host of historians, you likewise know that he must be the one who recited them. It is very unlikely that he kills him and lets someone else take the head and use it to seek favour with Ibn Ziyad. We have mentioned the story from Khawli only to follow in the footsteps of those who wrote about the Imam’s martyrdom.

[31]al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 39.

[32]Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, Nafas al-Mahmum, p. 204. On p. 234, Vol. 2, of al-Nawari’s book Mustadrak al-Wasa’il (first edition), both Shaikh al-Mufid and Sayyid Ibn Tawoos cite Imam al-Sadiq (ﻉ) saying that he, peace be with him, had prayed two rekats at al-Qa’im, a place on the highway leading to al-Ghari (Najaf), then said, “Here was the head of my grandfather al-Husain (ﻉ) placed when they went to Kerbala’ then carried it to Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad.” Then the Imam (ﻉ) recited a supplication to be recited following the prayer saying, “This place is called al-Hananah.”

[33]Misab az-Zubairi, Nasab Quraish, p. 58.

[34]Ibn Tawoos, Al-Iqbal, p. 54.

[35]Muhammed Hasan al-Shaban Kurdi al-Qazwini, Riyad al-Ahzan, p. 49. al-Mas’udi, Ithbat al-Wasiyya, p. 143.

[36]al-Mas’udi, Ithbat al-Wasiyya, p. 143 (Najaf edition). According to p. 203, Vol. 1, of Abul-Fida’‘s Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 203, he was three years old.

[37]al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 10, in the chapter discussing the offspring of Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ). According to p. 28 of Isaf al-Raghibeen, commenting on a footnote in Nar al-Absar, and also according to p. 8 of Al-Luhuf by Ibn Tawoos, he treated him at Kufa, and when he healed, he transported him to Medina.

[38]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 261. Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 33. According to p. 367, Vol. 4, of Yaqat al-Hamawi’s Mu’jam al-Buldan, al-Zara is a village in Bahrain, and there is another in West Tripoli as well as another in the upper Delta of the Nile. According to p. 692, Vol. 2, of al-Bikri’s book Al-Mu’jam mimma Istajam, it is a place in the Bahrain area where wars waged by al-Numan ibn al-Munthir, who was nicknamed al-Gharoor (the conceited one), battled al-Aswaris. It also is a city in Persia where a duel took place between al-Bara’ ibn Malik and the city’s satrap, al-Bara’ killed the latter and cut his hand off. He took his belt and both his bracelets the value of which was thirty thousand dinars. Omer ibn al-Khattab took the khums of the loot, and that was the first time in the history of Islam that a loot was taxed by 1/5 and delivered to the caliph (whereas it was/is supposed to be given to the Prophet’s descendants according to the injunctions of the Holy Qur’an). On p. 10, Vol. 4, of his book Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Ibn al-Atheer says that Ibn Ziyad threatened to banish the people of Kufa [who refused to fight al-Husain (ﻉ)] to Oman’s Zara. Also on p. 86, Vol. 8, where the events of the year 321 A.H./933 A.D. are discussed, it is stated that Ali ibn Yaleeq ordered Mu’awiyah and his son Yazid to be cursed from the pulpits in Baghdad, whereupon the Sunnis were outraged. There, al-Barbahari, a Hanbalite, used to stir trouble; he ran away from Ali ibn Yaleeq. The latter captured al-Barbahari’s followers and shipped them in a boat to Oman. It appears from the latter account that Zara is a place in Oman. On p. 256 of al-Dainuri’s book Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, Ibn Ziyad banished al-Muraqqa to al-Zabada where the latter stayed till Yazid’s death and Ibn Ziyad’s flight to Syria. Al-Muraqqa, therefore, left it and went back to Kufa. On p. 9, Vol. 8, of Nashwar al-Muhadara wa Akhbar al-Muthakara by al-Tanakhi, the judge, namely Muhsin ibn Ali ibn Muhammed Abul-Fahm (329 – 384 A.H./941 – 994 A.D.), it is stated that Muhammed al-Muhallabi banished Muhammed ibn al-Hasan ibn Abdul-Aziz al-Hashimi to Oman in a boat because of something he had done which angered him.

[39]Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 41. Ibn Tawoos, Al-Luhuf, p. 74. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 39. Al-Turayhi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), p. 332.

[40]al-Maqrazi, Khutat, Vol. 2, p. 280. According to the authors of both Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ) and Al-Luhuf, the mourning was even on a much larger scale.

[41]al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 39. Shaikh LutfAllah ibn al-Mawla Muhammed Jawad al-Safi al-Gulpaigani, Al-Muntakhab al-Athar fi Akhbar al-Imam al-Thani Ashar (usually referred to as simply Al-Muntakhab), p. 332.

[42]al-Birjandi al-Safi, Al-Kibrit al-Ahmar, Vol. 3, p. 13, citing Al-Tiraz al-Muthahhab.

[43]According to p. 163, Vol. 1, of al-Nawawi’s Tahthib al-Asma’, p. 58, Vol. 1, of Shaikh Muhammed Ali ibn Ghanim al-Qatari al-Biladi al-Bahrani’s book Al-Kawakib al-Durriyya, p. 160 of al-Shiblinji’s Nar al-Absar, and Ibn Khallikan’s Wafiyyat al-Ayan, where the author details her biography, Sukayna daughter of al-Husain (ﻉ) died on a Thursday, Rabi’ I 5, 117 A.H./April 8, 735 A.D. According to Abul-Hasan al-Amri’s book Al-Mujdi and to al-Tibrisi’s book Alam al-Wara bi Alam al-Huda, p. 127, where the biographies of the offspring of Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ) are discussed, and also according to p. 163, Vol. 12, of Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani’s book Al-Aghani, she married her cousin Abdullah ibn al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) who was killed during the Battle of al-Taff. She did not bear any children by him. But the author I’lam al-Wara bi A’lam al-Huda, namely al-Tibrisi, says that he was killed before marrying her, and that during the Battle of al-Taff, she was a little more than ten years old, and that she was born before the the death [martyrdom] of her uncle Imam al-Hasan (ﻉ). The statement in her honour made by the Master of Martyrs (ﻉ), “Sukayna is overcome by deep contemplation upon Allah,” as is recorded by al-Sabban in his book Isaf al-Raghibeen, clearly outlines for us the status his daughter occupied in the sacred canons of Islam’s Sharaa.

[44]These verses are recorded on p. 376 of the Indian edition of Misbah al-Kaf’ami.

[45]al-Qazwini, Tazallum al-Zahra’, p. 135.

[46]Shaikh Abul-Qasim Ja’far ibn Muhammed ibn Ja’far ibn Musa ibn Qawlawayh al-Qummi (died in 367 A.H./977 A.D.), Kamil al-Ziyarat, p. 361, chapter 88, virtues of Kerbala’ and merits of viziting the grave site of al-Husain (ﻉ).

[47]Radiyy ad-Din ibn Nabi al-Qazwini (died in 1134 A.H./1722 A.D.), Tazallum al-Zahra’, p. 177.

[48]Muhammed Jawad Shubbar, Al-Damah al-Sakibah, p. 364.

[49]Ibn Nama, p. 84. Al-Luhuf, p. 81.

[50]al-Rashti al-Ha’iri, Asrar al-Shahada, p. 477. Al-Qazwini, Tazallum al-Zahra’, p. 150.

[51]Excerpted from a poem in praise of al-Husain (as) by Shaikh Hassoon al-Hilli who died in 1305 A.H./1888 A.D. as we are told on p. 155, Vol. 2, of Shuara’ al-Hilla.

[52]This speech is compiled from the writings of Shaikh at-Tusi in his Aamali as well as that of his son, from Al-Luhuf, Ibn Nama, Ibn Shahr Ashub, and from al-Tibrisi’s book Al-Ihtijaj.

[53]al-Tibrisi, Al-Ihtijaj, p. 166 (Najaf’s edition).

[54]Fatima daughter of al-Husain (ﻉ), peace be with him, was a great personality; she enjoyed a great status in the creed. Her father, the Master of Martyrs, testifies to this fact. When al-Hasan II approached him asking him for the hand of either of his two daughters, he, peace be with him, as we are told on p. 202 of Nar al-Absar, said to him, “I choose for you Fatima, for she, more than anyone else, is like my mother Fatima daughter of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ). As far as the creed is concerned, she stays awake all night long offering prayers, and the daytime she spends fasting. In beauty, she looks like the huris with large lovely eyes.” On p. 442, Vol. 12, of Ibn Hajar’s Tahthib al-Tahthib, she is said to have narrated hadith from her father, brother Zain al-Abidin, aunt Zainab, Ibn Abbas, and Asma’ daughter of Umays. Her sons Abdullah, Ibrahim, al-Husain (ﻉ), and her daughter Umm Ja’far, offspring of al-Hasan II, quote her hadith. Abul-Miqdam quotes her hadith through his mother. Zuhayr ibn Mu’awiyah quotes her hadith through his mother. On p. 425 of Khulasat Tahtheeb al-Kamal, it is stated that the authors of sunan books, including al-Tirmithi, Abu Dawud, and al-Nassa’i, have all quoted her ahadith. So does the author of Musnad Ali. Ibn Majah al-Qazwini does likewise. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani says, “She is mentioned in the book of funerals in Bukhari’s Sahih, and Ibn Haban holds her reliable, adding that she died in 110 A.H./729 A.D.” So do both authors al-Yafii, on p. 234, Vol. 1, of his book Mir’at al-Jinan, and Ibn al-Imad on p. 39, Vol. 1, of his book Shatharat. Based on what Ibn Hajar says in his book Tahthib al-Tahthib, she must have lived for almost ninety years, placing her year of birth at about 30 A.H./651 A.D. Hence, she must have been almost thirty years old during the Battle of al-Taff. She died seven years before her sister Sukayna. On p. 35, Vol. 4, of Ibn al-Atheer’s book Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, and also according to p. 267, Vol. 6, of at-Tabari’s Tarikh, Fatima was older than her sister Sukayna. On p. 18 of Tahqiq al-Nusra ila Maalim Dar al-Hijra by Abu Bakr ibn Husain ibn Omer al-Maraghi (d. 816 A.H./1414 A.D.), one of the signs of her lofty status with Allah is that when al-Walid ibn Abdul-Malik ordered to deposit the relics at the mosque, Fatima daughter of al-Husain (ﻉ) went out to al-Harra where she had a house built for her. Then she ordered a well to be dug up; moutain stone appeared in it, and she was informed of it. She made her ablution then sprinkled the leftover water on it. After that, it was not difficult at all to dig that well. People used to seek blessings through the use of its water, and they named it “Zamzam”. On p. 474, Vol. 8, of Ibn Sa’d’s Tabaqat (Sadir’s edition), Fatima daughter of al-Husain (ﻉ) used to use knots on a string as her rosary beads.

[55]All these speeches are mentioned by Ibn Tawoos in his book Al-Luhuf and by Ibn Nama in his book Muthir al-Ahzan.

[56]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 256. Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 30. Al-Mufid, Al-Irshad.

[57]This is narrated on p. 211, Vol. 10, and p. 125, Vol. 13, of al-Majlisi’s Bihar al-Anwar where al-Nu’mani’s book Al-Ghaiba is cited.

[58]al-Qummi, Kamil al-Ziyarat, p. 219.

[59]al-Bahrani, Madeenat al-Ma’ajiz, p. 263, chapter 127.

[60]al-Mas’udi, Ithbat al-Wasiyya, p. 173.

[61]See Al-Kibrit al-Ahmar fi Shara’it Ahl al-Minbar by the narrator Shaikh Muhammed Baqir son of Mawla Hasan al-Qa’ini al-Birjandi al-Safi, Asrar al-Shahada by Sayyid Kazim ibn Qasim al-Rashti al-Ha’iri (died in 1259 A.H./1843 A.D.), and Al-Iyqad.

[62]Al-Hajj Shaikh Muhammed Baqir al-Birjandi al-Safi, Al-Kibrit al-Ahmar fi Shara’it Ahl al-Minbar. On p. 344 of his book Al-Anwar al-Nu’maniyya, Sayyid al-Jaza’iri cites testimonials to this statement. He, for example, details how [sultan] Isma’eel al-Safawi [founder of the Safavid dynasty; he lived from 904 – 930 A.H./1499 – 1524 A.D. and ruled Iran from 907 – 930 A.H./1502 – 1524 A.D.] dug up the place, whereupon he saw the deceased as though he had just been killed; there was a bandage on his head. Once he untied it in person, blood started pouring out, and the bleeding did not stop till he tied it back again. He built a dome above the grave and assigned an attendant for it. So, when al-Nawari, in his book Al-Lulu wal Marjan, denies that he had been buried, he did not support his denial with any evidence at all. On p. 37, Vol. 1, of Tuhfat al-Alim, Sayyid Ja’far Bahr al-Ulum states that Hamid-Allah al-Mustawfi has indicated in his book Nuzhat al-Quloob saying that there is in Kerbala’ the grave of al-Hurr [al-Riyahi] which is visited by people. He is al-Hurr’s grandson up to 18 generations back.

[63]al-Qummi, Kamil al-Ziyar al-Ziyarat, p. 325.al-Tibrisi, Mazar al-Bihar, p. 124, citing the previous reference.

[64]According to p. 142, Chapter 9, of al-Thaalibi’s book Lataif al-Maarif, Abdul-Malik ibn Ameer al-Lakhmi has narrated saying, “I saw the head of al-Husain (ﻉ) ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) at the government mansion of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad placed on a shield, and I saw the head of al-Mukhtar with Mis’ab ibn az-Zubair on another shield. I saw the head of Mis’ab in front of Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan on yet another shield! When I told Abdul-Malik [ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam] about that, he regarded it as a bad omen and left the place.” The same is narrated by al-Sayyati on p. 139 of his book Tarikh al-Khulafa’, and by Sabt ibn al-Jawzi on p. 148 of his book Tathkirat al-Khawass (Iranian edition) by Ibn al-Jawzi, the grandson..

[65]Ibn Asakir, Tarikh, Vol. 4, p. 329. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, p. 116. Thakha’ir al-Uqba, p. 145. Ibn Tawoos, Al-Malahim, p. 128 (first edition).

[66]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 103. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Mujma al-Zawa’id, Vol. 9, p. 196. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 87. Al-Turayhi, Al-Muntakhab, p. 339 (Hayderi Press edition). Ibn Katheer, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 286.

[67]Sharh Qaseedat Abi Firas, p. 149.

[68]Abul-Abbas Ahmed ibn Yusuf al-Qarmani, Akhbar al-Duwal, Vol. 1, p. 8.

[69]Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, p. 118. At-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 262. Ibn Katheer, Al-Bidaya wal Nihaya, Vol. 8, p. 190. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Mujma al-Zawa’id, Vol. 9, p. 195. Ibn Asakir, Tarikh, Vol. 4, p. 340. These authors have expressed their disbelief of what he has said. The fact that he was blind does not necessarily render his statement inaccurate, for it is quite possible he had heard the same. Ibn Asakir’s statement that Zaid was present then and there supports his.

[70]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 262.

[71]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, p. 90.

[72]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 33. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 42. At-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 263. Al-Mufid, Al-Irshad. Al-Tibrisi, I’lam al-Wara bi A’lam al-Huda, p. 141. According to p. 145, Vol. 3, of Kamil al-Mibrad (1347 A.H./1735 A.D. edition), Zainab daughter of Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ), the eldest of those taken captive to Ibn Ziyad, was quite eloquent, driving her argument against the latter home. Ibn Ziyad, therefore, said to her, “If you achieved your objective behind your oratory, your father was an orator and a poet.” She said to him, “What would women do with poetry?” Ibn Ziyad, in fact, used to stutter, and he had a lisp; his speech had a heavy Persian accent.

[73]Such is the statement of Muhammed ibn Jarir at-Tabari in his book Al-Muntakhab in a footnote on p. 89, Vol. 12, of his Tarikh. So does Abul Faraj al-Isfahani on p. 49 of the Iranian edition of his book Maqatil al-Talibiyeen, and al-Dimyari in his book Hayat al-Hayawan, as well as al-Turayhi’s book Al-Muntakhab, p. 238 (Hayderi Press edition). It is also indicated on p. 58 of Misab al-Zubayhi’s book Nasab Quraish.

[74]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 263.

[75]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, p. 91. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 13.

[76]Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 4, p. 34.

[77]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, p. 91. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 43.

[78]Muhammed al-Nishapuri, Rawdat al-Waizeen, p. 163.

[79]”Freed mother of son” means a bondmaid who bears sons by her master and who is set free on that account but remains in his custody as his wife.

[80]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, p. 92. al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-Awalim, p. 130.

[81]Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 1, p. 34.

[82]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 263.

[83]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf.

[84]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 263.

[85]Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 51. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 55.Muhammed Hasan al-Shaban Kurdi al-Qazwini, Riyad al-Ahzan, p. 52.

[86]Riyad al-Ahzan, p. 52.

[87]Ibn Rustah, Al-Alaq al-Nafisa, p. 224.

[88]al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, pp. 178-179. The author of Riyad al-Ahzan, namely Muhammed Hasan al-Shaban Kurdi al-Qazwini, briefly narrates it on p. 58.

[89]al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 10, p. 284, citing Ibn Nama’s book Akhth al-Thar.

[90]Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, Vol. 1, p. 210 (Egyptian edition). Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 10, p. 284. Al-Mufid, Al-Irshad.

[91]Abu Hanifah al-Dainuri, namely Ahmed ibn Dawud (died in 281 A.H./894 A.D.), Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal, p. 295.

[92]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 7, p. 146.

[93]al-Mufid, Al-Irshad. Al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, Vol. 2, p. 125. On p. 362, Vol. 1, of Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, Ibn Abul-Hadid says, “Zaid ibn Arqam was one of those who deviated from the line of the Commander of the Faithful Ali, peace be with him. He was reluctant to testify that the Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) was appointed [by the Prophet] to take charge of the nation after him, so he (ﻉ) condemned him with blindness. He, indeed, became blind till his death. According to Ibn al-Atheer, who indicates so on p. 24, Vol. 4, of his book Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Ibn Ziyad ordered the head of al-Husain (ﻉ) to be paraded throughout Kufa. The same is stated by Ibn Katheer on p. 191, Vol. 8, of his book Al-Bidaya, and also by al-Maqrazi on p. 288, Vol. 2, of his Khutat.

[94]Ibn Shahr Ashub, Vol. 2, p. 188.

[95]Sharh Qasidat Abi Firas, p. 148.

[96]Asrar al-Shahada, p. 488.

[97]Sharh Qasidat Abi Firas, p. 148.

[98]al-Sayyati, Al-Khasa’is, Vol. 2, p. 127.

[99]al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-Awalim, p. 151.

[100]According to p. 240, Vol. 5, of Nar ad-Din Abul-Hasan, namely Ibn Hajar al-Haythami’s book Mujma al-Zawa’id wa Manba al-Fawa’id, and also according to p. 141 of Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, Abu Hurayra is quoted as saying, “I have heard the Messenger of Allah, peace of Allah be upon him and his progeny, saying, One of the tyrants of Banu Umayyah shall have a nosebleed on my pulpit, and his blood will flow thereupon.’” Amr ibn Sa’d did, indeed, have a nosebleed as he was on the pulpit of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ), staining it with his blood.

[101]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 368.

[102]Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, Nafas al-Mahmum, p. 222. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 1, p. 361.

[103]al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-Awalim, p. 131.

[104]According to p. 23, Vol. 4, of al-Balathiri’s book Ansab al-Ashraf, the mother of Amr ibn az-Zubair was Ama daughter of Khalid ibn Sa’d ibn al-as. Her father was in command of an army which Amr ibn Sa’d al-Ashdaq dispatched to Mecca to fight Abdullah ibn az-Zubair. Abdullah’s army captured Amr ibn az-Zubair, so Abdullah ordered everyone who had suffered an injustice at his hand to whip him. The whipping led to his death.

[105]Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani, Al-Aghani, Vol. 4, p. 155.

[106]al-Mirzabani, Mu’jam al-Shuara’, p. 231.

[107]Abu Hilal al-‘Askari, Jamharat al-Amthal, p. 9 (Indian edition).

[108]Shaikh at-Tusi, Al-Amali, p. 55. On p. 227, Vol. 2, of his book Al-Manaqib,Ibn Shahr Ashub says it was Asma’ who had composed those verses.

[109]His name as stated on p. 194 of al-Irbili’s book Kashf al-Ghummah was “Abul-Salasil,” the man of the chains.

[110]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 218.

[111]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, pp. 95-97.

[112]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 266. On p. 96, at-Tabari states that Abu Bukrah was given one week by Bishr ibn Arta’ah to go to Mu’awiyah. He went back from Syria on the seventh day. On p. 74 of his book Muthir al-Ahzan, Ibn Nama says that Ameerah was dispatched by Abdullah ibn Omer to Yazid in order to get him to release al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi. Yazid wrote a letter in this regard to Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad. Ameerah brought him the letter to Kufa, crossing the distance from Syria to Kufa in eleven days.

[113]Ibid., Vol. 6, p. 264. Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 4, p. 34. Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 191. Al-Khawarizmi. Al-Mufid, Al-Irshad. Al-Tibrisi, I’lam al-Wara bi A’lam al-Huda, p. 149. Ibn Tawoos, Al-Luhuf, p. 97.

[114]Ibn al-Atheer (died in 630 A.H./1232 A.D.), Al-Isaba fi Tamyeez al-Sahaba, Vol. 3, p. 489, where Murrah’s biography is discussed.

[115]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 254. al-Maqrazi, Khutat, Vol. 2, p. 288.

[116]al-Qarmani, Tarikh, p. 108. Al-Yafii, Mir’at al-Jinan, Vol. 1, p. 134. In both references, it is stated that the daughters of Imam al-Husain (ﻉ) son of Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) were taken into captivity, and Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) was with them, and that he was sick. They were driven as captives; may Allah be the Killer of those who did it. Only Ibn Taymiyyah differed from all other historians when he stated on p. 288 of his book Minhaj al-Itidal saying that al-Husain’s women were taken to Medina after he had been killed.

[117]On p. 165 of Ibn Hazm’s book Jamharat Ansab al-Arab, it is stated that, “Among Banu aidah are: Mujfir ibn Murrah ibn Khalid ibn amir ibn Qaban ibn Amr ibn Qays ibn al-Harith ibn Malik ibn Ubayd ibn Khuzaymah ibn Lu’ayy, and he is the one who carried the head of al-Husain (ﻉ) son of Ali, peace be with both of them, to Syria.”

[118]al-Turayhi, Al-Muntakhab, p. 339 (second edition).

[119]al-Mufid, Al-Irshad.

[120]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, p. 98.

[121]Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Mujma al-Zawa’id, Vol. 9, p. 199. Al-Sayyati, Al-Khasa’is, Vol. 2, p. 127. Ibn Asakir, Tarikh, Vol. 4, p. 342. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, p. 116. Al-Kawakib al-Durriyya by al-Qatari al-Biladi al-Bahrani, Vol. 1, p. 57. Al-Shabrawi, Al-Ithaf bi Hubbil-Ashraf, p. 23. On p. 98 of his book Al-Luhuf, Ibn Tawoos attributes this statement to Tarikh Baghdad by Ibn al-Najjar. On p. 108 of his Tarikh, al-Qarmani says, “They reached a monastery on the highway where they stayed for the afternoon. They found the said line written on one of its walls.” On p. 285, Vol. 2, of his Khutat, al-Maqrazi says, “This was written in the past, and nobody knows who said it.” On p. 53 of his book Muthir al-Ahzan, Ibn Nama says, “Three hundred years before the Prophetic mission, there was some digging in the land of the [Byzantine] Romans, and this line was found inscribed in the Musnad on a rock, and the Musnad is the language of the offspring of Seth.”

[122]Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, Nafas al-Mahmum, p. 228. It is stated on p. 23, Vol. 3, of Nahr al-Thahab fi Tarikh Halab that, “When al-Husain’s head was brought with the captives, they reached a mountain to the west of Aleppo. One drop of blood fell from the sacred head above which a mausoleum called Mashhad al-Nuqta [mausoleum of the drop] was erected.” On p. 280, Vol. 3, it cites Yahya ibn Abu Tay’s Tarikh recounting the names of those who constructed and renovated it. On p. 66 of the book titled Al-Isharat ila Marifat al-Ziyarat by Abul- al-Hasan Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-Harawi (who died in 611 A.H./1215 A.D.), it states that, “In the town of Nasibin, there is a mausoleum called Mashhad al-Nuqta, a reference to a drop from al-Husain’s head. Also, there is at Suq al-Nashshabin a place called Mashhad al-Ras where the head was hung when the captives were brought to Syria.”

[123]The mentor and revered muhaddith Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi says the following in his book Nafas al-Mahmum, “I saw that stone on my way to the pilgrimage, and I heard the servants talking about it.”

[124]On p. 173, Vol. 3, of Mu’jam al-Buldan, and on p. 128 of Khareedat al-Ajaib, it is referred to as “Mashhad al-Tarh.” On p. 278, Vol. 2, of Nahr al-Thahab, it is calle “Mashhad al-Dakka.” Mashhad al-Tarh is located to the west of Aleppo. In the Tarikh of Ibn Abu Tay is cited saying that Mashhad al-Tarh was built in the year 351 A.H./962 A.D. according to the order of Sayf al-Dawlah. Other historians have said that one of al-Husain’s wives had miscarried in that place when al-Husain’s children and the severed heads were brought with them. There used to be a useful mineral in that area, but when its residents felt elated upon seeing the captives, Zainab invoked Allah’s curse against them; therefore, that mineral lost its useful qualities. Then the author goes on to document the history of its renovations.

[125]In the discussion of the subject of “Jawshan,” on p. 173, Vol. 3, of his work Mu’jam al-Buldan, and also on p. 128 of Khareedat al-Ajaib, where reference to the Jawshan Mountain is made, it is stated that one of al-Husain’s family members taken captive asked some of those who worked there to give him bread and water. When they refused, he invoked Allah to curse them, thus condemning the labour of all labourers at that place to always be unprofitable.

[126]Ibn al-Jawzi, the grandson, Tathkirat al-Khawass, p. 150.

[127]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, p. 99. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 53. Maqtal al-Awalim, p. 145.

[128]Such is recorded on p. 331 of the offset edition of al-Bayrani’s book Al-athar al-Baqiya, al-Bahai’s book Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, p. 269 of Musbah al-Kaf’ami, and p. 15 of al-Fayd’s book Taqwim al-Muhsinin. According to p. 266, Vol. 6, of at-Tabari’s Tarikh, the time from their imprisonment till the post coming from Syria informing them of their arrival at Syria in the beginning of the month of Safar must have been a lengthy one except if birds had been used to carry such mail.

[129]According to p. 61, Vol. 2, of al-Khawarizmi’s book Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), they were brought to Damascus through Toma’s Gate. This Gate, according to p. 109 of Al-Maqasid, was one of the ancient gates of Damascus. Abu Abdullah Muhammed ibn Ali ibn Ibrahim, who is known as Ibn Shaddad and who died in 684 A.H./1286 A.D., says on p. 72, Vol. 3, of Alaq al-Khateera, “It was called the Clocks Gate because atop that gate there were clocks marking each hour of the day: small copper sparrows, a copper raven and a copper snake marked the timing: at the end of each hour, sparrows would come out, the raven would let a shriek out, and one (or more) stone would be dropped in the copper washbowl [making it sound].”

[130]al-Saduq, Al-Aamali, p. 100, majlis No. 31. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p.60.

[131]According to p. 161 of the offset Damascus edition of Ibn Hawqal’s book Sourat al-Ard, there is none in the Islamic world better than it. It used to be a temple for the Sabeans, then the Greeks used to worship in it, then the Jews as well as Pagan kings. The gate of this mosque is called Jayrun’s Gate. It is over this gate that the head of John the Baptist (Yahya son of Zakariyya) was crucified. It was on this same Jayrun’s Gate that the head of al-Husain (ﻉ) ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) was crucified in the same place where the head of John the Baptist was crucified. During the reign of al-Walid ibn Abdul-Malik, its walls were covered with marble. It seems that this is the same as the Umayyad Mosque.

[132]al-alasi, Rah al-Ma’ani, Vol. 26, p. 73, where the verse “So do you wish, if you take charge… etc.” is explained. The author says, “He meant, when he said, I have taken back from the Messenger (ﻉ) what he owed me,’ that he avenged the loss which he had suffered during the Battle of Badr at the hands of the Messenger of Allah when his grandfather Utbah, his uncle, and others were killed. This is nothing but obvious apostacy. Such was the similitude struck by Ibn al-Zubari before accepting Islam.

[133]al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-Awalim, p. 145.

[134]Ibn Tawoos, Al-Luhuf, p. 100. According to p. 112, Vol. 4, of Ibn Katheer’s Tafsir, p. 31, Vol. 25, of al-alasi’s Ruh al-Ma’ani, and p. 61, Vol. 2, of al-Khawarizmi’s book Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), as-Sajjad (ﻉ) had recited the verse invoking compassion (for the Prophet’s family) to that old man who accepted it as a valid argument.

[135]al-Yafii, Mir’at al-Jinan, p. 341. On p. 35, Vol. 4, of his book Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Ibn al-Atheer, as well as the author of Muraj al-Thahab, both indicate that when the head was brought to Yazid, the latter kept hitting it with a rod in his hand as he cited these verses by the poet al-Haseen ibn Haman:

Our people refused to be fair to us, so

Swords in our hands bleeding did so,

Splitting the heads of men who are to us dear

Though they were to injustice and oppression more near.

On p. 313, Vol. 2, of Al-Iqd al-Farid, where Yazid’s reign is discussed, the author says, “When the head was placed in front of him, Yazid cited what al-Haseen ibn al-Hamam al-Mazni had said.” He qouted the second verse [in the above English text, the last couple]. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, on p. 198, Vol. 9, of his book Mujma al-Zawa’id wa Manba al-Fawa’id, quotes only the second verse. On p. 61, Vol. 2, of his book Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), al-Khawarizmi contents himself by simply saying that they stood on the steps of the mosque’s gate. These verses are cited by al-amidi on p. 91 of his book Al-Mu’talif wal-Mukhtalif. Then he traces the lineage of the poet al-Haseen ibn Hamam ibn Rabaah and cited three verses, including these couple, from a lengthy poem. On p. 151 of Al-Shir wal-Shuara’, three verses are cited which include this couple. On p. 4 of Al-Ashya wal Nada’ir, where immortalized ancient poems and those composed during the time of jahiliyya are cited, only the second verse is quoted. On p. 120, Vol. 12, of the Sassi edition of Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani’s voluminous book Al-Aghani, thirteen lines are quoted, including this couple.

[136]al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 59.

[137]al-Mas’udi, Ithbat al-Wasiyya, p. 143 (Najafi edition).

[138]al-Kamali al-Istarbadi al-Hilli, Al-Iqd al-Farid, Vol. 2, p. 313. At-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 267.

[139]Ali ibn Ibrahim, Tafsir, p. 603, where the Chapter of al-Shura is discussed.

[140]al-Raghib al-Isfahani, Al-Muhadarat, Vol. 1, p. 775, in a chapter about those who boast of antagonizing their kinsfolk. This is one of five verses by al-Fadl ibn al-Abbas ibn Utbah ibn Abu Lahab recorded by Abu Tammam in his book Al-Hamasa. Refer to p. 223, Vol. 1, of Sharh al-Tabrizi.

[141]Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 54.

[142]Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, Nafas al-Mahmum, p. 242.

[143]Kamil al-Bahai.

[144]al-Qazwini, Riyad al-Ahzan, p. 148.

[145]Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, Nafas al-Mahmum, p. 242. This lengthy sermon is quoted on p. 69, Vol. 2, of al-Khawarizmi’s book Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ).

[146]al-Yafii, Mir’at al-Jinan, Vol. 1, p. 135.

[147]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 35. Al-Haythami, Mujma al-Zawa’id, Vol. 9, p. 195. Ibn al-Sabbagh, Al-Fusool al-Muhimmah, p. 205.

[148]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 35.

[149]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 267. Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 35. Ibn al-Jawzi, the grandson, Tathkirat al-Khawass, p. 148. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, p. 116. Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali, Fiqh al-Hanabilah, Vol. 3, p. 549. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Mujma al-Zawa’id, Vol. 9, p. 195. Ibn al-Sabbagh, Al-Fusool al-Muhimma, p. 205. Al-Maqrazi, Khutat, Vol. 3, p. 289. Ibn Katheer, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 192. Al-Shareeshi, Sharh Maqamat al-Harari, Vol. 1, p. 193, at the end of the 10th maqam. Muhammed Abul-Fadl and Ali Muhammed al-Bijawi, Ayyam al-Arab fil Islam, p. 435. Ibn Shahr Ashub, Al-Manaqib, Vol. 2, p. 225. According to p. 23 of Al-Ithaf bi Hubbil-Ashraf, Yazid kept hitting al-Husain’s front teeth, and so is stated by al-Bayrani on p. 331 of the offset edition of his book Al-athar al-Baqiya.

[150]Ibn Shahr Ashub, Al-Manaqib, Vol. 2, p. 226.

[151]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 35. Ibn al-Sabbagh, Al-Fusool al-Muhimma, p. 205. The first line, according to p. 135, Vol. 1, of al-Yafii’s Mir’at al-Jinan, is:

We took to patience, so patience proved to be our will

Even as our swords kept severing hands and arms.

It is narrated by Sabt ibn al-Jawzi on p. 148 of his book Tathkirat al-Khawass with some variation in its wording. A host of historians have contented themselves by citing only the second verse. Among them is al-Shareeshi who does so on p. 193, Vol. 1, of his book Sharh Maqamat al-Harari, so does al-alasi on p. 313, Vol. 2, of his book Al-Iqd al-Farid. So does Ibn Katheer on p. 197, Vol. 8, of his book Al-Bidaya, the mentor Shaikh al-Mufid in his book Al-Irshad, and so does Ibn Jarir at-Tabari on p. 267, Vol. 6, of his Tarikh, adding that the verse was composed by al-Haseen ibn al-Hamam al-Murri.

[152]Ibn Tawoos, Al-Luhuf, p. 102. The incident is abridged on p. 205 of Al-Fusool al-Muhimma, on p. 267, Vol. 6, of at-Tabari’s Tarikh, and on p. 26, Vol. 2, of Ibn Shahr Ashub’s book Al-Manaqib.

[153]Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, p. 119.

[154]al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-Awalim, p. 151. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan. On p. 72, Vol. 2, of his book Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), al-Khawarizmi states the dialogue between the Christian and Yazid and how the first was killed, but he does not indicate that the most sacred head spoke.

[155]al-Maqrazi, Al-Khutat, Vol. 2, p. 289. Al-Ithaf bi Hubbil-Ashraf, p. 23. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 75. Ibn Katheer, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 204. Siyar Alam al-Nubala’, Vol. 3, p. 216.

[156]al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-Awalim, p. 151. In the Introduction to this book, her father is introduced to the reader and so is her husband.

[157]al-Maqrazi, Al-Khutat, Vol. 2, p. 284.

[158]al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 74.

[159]Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi, Nafas al-Mahmum, p. 247.

[160]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6. Ibn Katheer, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 194. Al-Saduq, Al-Aamali, p. 100, majlis 31. Both Ibn Nama, on p. 54 of his Muthir al-Ahzan, and al-Khawarizmi, on p. 62, Vol. 2, of his Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), say that she was Fatima daughter of al-Husain (ﻉ).

[161]Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 4, p. 35.

[162]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 265.

[163]This sermon is documented on p. 21 of Balaghat al-Nisa ‘ (Najafi edition), and on p. 64, Vol. 2, of al-Khawarizmi’s book Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ).

[164]In his book Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), al-Khawarizmi identifies her mother as Fatima (ﻉ) daughter of the Messenger of Allah (ﻉ).

[165]These verses are attributed by Ibn Tawoos to Ibn al-Jubari, as he so states on p. 102 of his book Al-Luhuf, but they are not all his. Al-Khawarizmi on p. 66, Vol. 2, of his book Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Ibn Abul-Hadid on p. 383, Vol. 3, of his book Sharh Nahjul Balagha (first Egyptian edition), and Ibn Hisham in his Seerat, where he discusses the Battle of Uhud, all state sixteen lines which do not include except the first and the third lines mentioned by Ibn Tawoos. Al-Bayrani cites all of them on p. 331 of the offset edition of his book Al-athar al-Baqiya, excluding the fourth line.

[166]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 266. Ibn Katheer, Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 195.

[167]Ibn Tawoos Al-Luhuf, p. 207. al-Saduq, Al-Aamali, p. 101, majlis 31.

[168]al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 34. This shed, or say jail, as stated on p. 146, Vol. 4, of al-Yunini’s Mir’at al-Zaman, where the events of the year 681 A.H./1283 A.D. are discussed. Says he, “On the eleventh night of the month of Ramadan, the felt market in Damascus caught fire and was burnt in its entirety, and the fire engulfed the Booksellers’ Bridge, the fountain square, and the cloth market known as Saq AsAllah, as well as the watering area of Jayrun. The fire reached the Ajam street in the midst of Jayrun, scorching the wall of the Omeri Mosque adjacent to the jail were Zain al-Abidin (ﻉ) had been jailed.”

[169]Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 58. Al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), Vol. 2, p. 72.

[170]Al-Anwar al-Numainiyya, p. 340.

[171]al-Sayyati, Tarikh al-Khulafa, p. 139.

[172]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 180.

[173]al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-Awalim, p. 150.

[174]al-Mufid, Al-Irshad.

[175]Ibn Tawoos, Al-Luhuf, p. 112. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 79 (old edition).

[176]Muhammed Hasan al-Qazwini, Riyad al-Ahzan, p. 157.

[177]Some accounts say that Atiyyah was his slave.

[178]Abu Ja’far Muhammed ibn Abul-Qasim ibn Muhammed ibn Ali at-Tabari al-Amili, Bisharat al-Mustafa, p. 89 (Hayderi Press edition). This author is one of the 5th century A.H./11th century A.D. scholars who were tutored by Shaikh at-Tusi’s son.

[179]al-Shabrawi, Al-Ithaf bi Hubbil-Ashraf, p. 12.

[180]”Hamziyya” means a poem the rhyme of which ends with a hamza.

[181]Ibn al-Jawzi, the grandson, Tathkirat al-Khawass, p. 150.

[182]Al-Athar al-Baqiya, Vol. 1, p. 331.

[183]His full name is: Abdullah ibn Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib, a cousin of the Prophet of Islam (ﺹ). He is known as the Islamic nation’s scholar. The traditions of the Prophet which he reported fill the Sahih books. He died in Ta’if in 68 A.H./687 A.D. after having lost his eye-sight.

[184]al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 2, p. 679.

[185]al-Nawari, Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, p. 215, chapter 94.

[186]Nahr al-Thahab fi Tarikh Halab, Vol. 1, pp. 63 and 267.

[187]al-Qummi, Kamil al-Ziyarat, p. 90, chapter 28.

[188]This is narrated by Shaikh at-Tusi on p. 17, Vol. 3, of his Tahthib, in a chapter discussing the merits of visiting the grave-site of al-Husain (ﻉ) wherein he quotes Imam “Abu Muhammed” al-Hasan al-‘Askari, peace be with him. It is also narrated on p. 551 of the Indian edition of Musbah al-Mutahajjid.

[189]Mafatih al-Ghayb, Vol. 1, p. 107.

[190]Ruh al-Ma’ani, Vol. 1, p. 47.

[191]Al-Muhtadir, p. 165.

[192]Al-Madkhal, Vol. 1, p. 46, in a chapter dealing with the etiquette of entering mosques.

[193]Al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyya al-Kubra, Vol. 1, p. 264, in a chapter dealing with what to wear.

[194]This is narrated by the authority Shaikh Abdul-Husain (ﻉ) Ahmed al-Amini al-Najafi in his 11-volume encyclopedia titled Al-Ghadir quoting p. 142, Vol. 4, of the exegesis titled Ruh al-Bayan. This is not the first issue wherein Sunnis practice the opposite of what the Shi’as practice. On p. 137, Vol. 1, of Abu Ishaq al-Sharazi’s book Al-Muhaththab, on p. 47, Vol. 1, of al-Ghazali’s book Al-Wajeeza, on p. 25 of al-Nawawi’s Al-Minhaj as well as on p. 560, Vol. 1, of its Sharh by Ibn Hajar titled Tuhfat al-Muhtaj fi Sharh al-Minhaj, on p. 248, Vol. 4, of al-Ayni’s book Umdat al-Qari fi Sharh al-Bukhari, on p. 681, Vol. 1, of Ibn Muflih’s book Al-Furoo, and on p. 505, Vol. 2, of Ibn Qudamah’s book Al-Mughni, planing graves is looked upon as a mark of innovators. On p. 88, Vol. 1, of al-Sharani’s book Rahmat al-Ummah bi Ikhtilaf al-A’immah, a book written as a comment on the exegesis titled Al-Mizan by allama Tabatabai, the author states the following: “It is a Sunnah to plane graves. But since it became a distinguishing mark for the Rafidis, it is better to do contrariwise.” Among other issues wherein Sunnis do the opposite of what the Shi’as do is blessing the Prophet (ﺹ) and his progeny (ﻉ). Some of them suggest its elimination altogether. For example, al-Zamakhshari states the following comment after being tried to explain verse 56 of Surat al-Ahzab in his book Al-Kashshaf: “It is makrooh to bless the Prophet (ﺹ) because it causes one to be charged with being a Rafidi, especially since he [the Prophet {P}] has said, Do not stand where you may be prone to being charged.’” The same theme exists on p. 135, Vol. 11, of Ibn Hajar’s book Fath al-Bari, in “Kitab al-Daawat” (book of supplications), where the author tries to answer the question: “Should one bless anyone else besides the Prophet (ﺹ)?” Says he, “There is a disagreement with regard to blessing anyone besides the prophets although there is a consensus that it is permissive to greet the Living One. Some say it is permissive in its absolute application, while others say it is conditional because it has become a distinguishing mark of the Rafidis.” Even in the manner of dressing do some Sunnis want to distinguish themselves from others: On p. 13, Vol. 5, of al-Zarqani’s book Sharh al-Mawahib al-Saniyya, it is stated that, “Some scholars used to loosen their tassels from the left front side, and I have never read any text that a tassel should be loosened from the right side except in a weak hadith narrated by al-Tabrani. Now since this has become a distinguishing mark of the Imamites, it ought to be abandoned in order to avoid looking like them.” Imagine! Notice the prejudice and the narrow-mindedness!

[195]al-Sharani, Al-Mizan, Vol. 1, p. 138.

[196]al-Marghinani, Al-Hidaya, Vol. 1, p. 33.

[197]Abdul-Rahman al-Jazari, Al-Fiqh ala al-Mathahib al-Arba’ah, Vol. 1, p. 189.

[198]Ibn Najeem, Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, Vol. 1, p. 319.

[199]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Kafi ala Hamish Mir’at al-Uqool, Vol. 3, p. 129. Al-Saduq, Al-Faqih, p. 69. Shaikh at-Tusi, Al-Tahthib, Vol. 1, p. 266, in a chapter dealing with what ought to be recited following the prayers.

[200]Shaikh al-Saduq, Al-Faqih, p. 69.

[201]Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, Vol. 1, p. 626. Ibn Muflih, Al-Furoo’, Vol. 1, p. 382.

[202]Kitab al-Umm, Vol. 1, p. 116. Al-Mazni, Al-Mukhtasar, Vol. 1, p. 90. Al-Ghazali, Al-Wajeeza, Vol. 1, p. 32.

[203]Ibn Tawoos, Al-Luhuf, p. 116.

[204]Shaikh at-Tusi, Al-Aamali, p. 66.

[205]al-Qazwini, Riyad al-Ahzan, p. 163.

[206]al-Barqi, Mahasin, Vol. 2, p. 420, in a chapter dealing with providing food for a mourning ceremony.

[207]Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, Vol. 2, p. 215, chapter 94.

[208]al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 10, p. 235, citing Al-Kafi of Shaikh al-Mufid.

[209]al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi’s cruelty and disrespect for Islamic tenets are matched only by those demonstrated by Yazid. His date of birth is unknown, but he died in 95 A.H./762 A.D. He was born at Ta’if, not far from Mecca, and was famous for his loyalty to the Umayyads. Marwan ibn al-Hakam, with whom the reader is already familiar, placed him in command of an army he raised to subject Hijaz to the Umayyads’ control, rewarding him for his success by appointing him as governor of Mecca and Medina to which he later added Ta’if and Iraq. He founded the city of Wasit (located in Iraq midway between Basra and Kufa), where he died, and expanded the territory under the Umayyads’ control. He also crushed the Kharijites. He was proverbial in his ruthlessness and love for shedding blood. His passion for shedding blood can be understood from the way he was born. Having just been born, he refused to take his mother’s breast. It is said that Satan appeared in human form and said that the newborn had to be given the blood of animals to drink and to be fed with insects for four days. His cruelty towards those whom he jailed was unheard of. His prisoners were fed with bread mixed with ashes. At the time of his death, may he be placed in the deepest depths of hell, he and his Umayyad mentors and their supporters, his prisoners numbered 33,000 men and women, 16,000 of whom were completely naked and left to sleep without any blanket or sheet covering whatsoever.

[210]Abdullah ibn Hanzalah belonged to the Ansar of the Aws tribe, and he was one of the most famous of the tabieen, a man of legendary courage and fortitude. When the people of Medina rebelled against Yazid, they chose him as their governor. He was killed during the Harra incident.

[211]This text is compiled from the contents of p. 250, Vol. 7, of Mujma al-Zawa’id of Abu Bakr al-Haythami, p. 18, Vol. 4 (first edition), of al-Balathiri’s book Ansab al-Ashraf, p. 77, Vol. 2, of al-Khawarizmi’s great book Maqtal al-Husain (ﻉ), p. 50, Vol. 4, and of Ibn Katheer’s book Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, where the events of the year 64 A.H./684 A.D. are detailed, an account which agrees with what is recorded in al-Mas’udi’s book Muraj al-Thahab.

[212]Such antagonism has proven to be bloody especially in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Wahabbis also justify the killing of other Sunnis who do not subscribe to their beliefs.

[213]Ibn Taymiyyah is Ahmed ibn Abdul-Halim ibn Abdul-Salam ibn Abdullah al-Khidr, “Taqiyy ad-Din ,” “Abul-Abbas,” a Hanbali scholar who was born in Harran (ancient Carrhae where Mudar Arabs lived, a town built by Harran brother of prophet Abraham [a] from whom it derived its name), Iraq, in 661 A.H./1263 A.D. and died inside a Damascus, Syria, prison in 728 A.H./1328 A.D. He had his own radical and un-orthodox way of interpreting hadith which was different from everyone else’s, distinguishing him from all other scholars of jurisprudence. Those who adopt his views are called “Salafis,” followers of the “salaf,” the “pious” predecessors. He is on the record as the first person to disbelieve in intercession (shafaa). For more details, refer to the 463-page book titled Ibn Taymiyyah by Sa’ib Abdul-Hamid, published in Arabic in Qum, Islamic Republic of Iran, by the Ghadir Center for Islamic Studies. There are many fanatical groups in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan that adopt this “Salafi” ideology disseminated by government-sponsored Saudi missionary activities and funded by petro-dollars.

[214]The correct pronunciation of “Saud” is Sa’ood,” but we will stick to the commonly used spelling of this word.

[215]Other references consulted for this book indicate that the said attack was carried out on Thul-Hijja 14, 1215 A.H./April 28, 1801 A.D., but we are of the view that the above date is more accurate.

[216]Carl Brockelmann, ed., History of the Islamic Peoples (London, 1980), p. 354.


[218]The Wahhabis have carried out their campaigns against the burial grounds of the Prophet’s family and companions well into the next century. For example, in 1343 A.H./1924 A.D., they demolished the grave-sites of many family members and companions (sahaba) of the Prophet (ﺹ) against the wish and despite the denunciation of the adherents of all other Muslim sects world-wide. And in 1413 A.H./1993, they also demolished the house of Khadaja, wife of Prophet Muhammed (ﻉ), as well as the house where the Prophet (ﺹ) had been born, which stood approximately 50 meters northward from Khadaja’s house, turning both of them into public bathrooms…

[219]In the writing of this chapter, I utilized one of the books which I edited: Biographies of Leaders of Islam by Sayyid Ali Naqi Naqwi, published in 1990 by Imam Husain Foundation, P.O. Box 25-114, Beirut, Lebanon.

[220]The city of Antioch is situated on the banks of the river al-asi (Orontes). It was founded about 300 B.C. by Celeucus I (Nicator) who died in 280 B.C. Celeucus I was a general of Alexander the Great. Antioch is the city where the followers of Jesus Christ were called “Christians” (rather than Nazarines) for the first time. It is the seat of a Melchite, or Maronite, and a Jacobite patriarch. It fell to the Persians in 538 A.D., to the Arabs in 637 A.D. (16 A.H.), to the Byzantians from 969 – 1084 A.D. (358 – 477 A.H.), to Seljuk Turks in 1085 A.D. (478 A.H.), to the Crusaders in 1098 A.D. (491 A.H.), to Egyptian Mamlukes in 1268 A.D. (666 A.H.), and to Ottoman Turks in 1516 A.D. (922 A.H.). It was transferred to Syria by Western powers in 1920 (1339 A.H.) but restored to Turkey in 1939 A.D. (1358 A.H.). This is why the reader sometimes may see Antioch identified as a Syrian town and some other times as Turkish! What a busy little town!

[221]Merv is an ancient city located in a large oasis of the Kara Kum desert, Turkmenistan (formerly part of the Soviet Union). During the Abbaside period, it served as the capital of ancient Persia and a thriving center of Islamic culture.

[222]One of the greatest of all Arab poets, al-Farazdaq was born in Basra in about 641 A.D. and died in about 732 A.D. His real name is Hammam ibn Ghalib ibn Mujashi al-Darmi al-Tamimi. He was contemporary to another very famous poet, Jarir, with whom he had exchanged extensive literary criticism which lasted al his lifelong. Al-Farazdaq once praised Imam as-Sajjad with a poem considered as one of the best masterpieces of Arab poetry, and he did so in the presence of then caliph Hisham ibn Abdul-Malik who asked him why he did not compose one like it in his own praise. Al-Farazdaq said, “Had your grandfather been like his grandfather (ﻉ), and had your father been like his father (ﻉ), and had your mother been like his mother (ﻉ), I would have done so.” Hisham was so angry that he ordered him to be jailed at a place called Usfan, located between Mecca and Medina, where he continued to compose poetry taunting and belittling Hisham who finally had to set him free, hoping he would leave him alone and stop the barrage of poems exposing him and his likes from among Banu Umayyah.

[223]The extent of al-Hajjaj’s passion for shedding blood can be realized from this recorded and referenced incident: He entered once al-Heera’s jail and commented about the prisoners saying, “I see heads the time for whose harvesting has come.” They were all beheaded and their heads were brought to him at his government mansion. He ordered a carpet to be placed on the heads whereupon he sat and was served his lunch. Having finished eating, he said, “This has been the tastiest meal I have ever had.” More about al-Hajjaj is stated in another footnote above. No wonder some Muslims do not teach Islamic history at all: It indicts them.

[224]So that the reader may not misunderstand this statement, let him be informed that whenever the Abbasides built a house or a mansion, they used to bring a number of descendants of the Prophet (ﺹ) whom they would place inside the new structure’s column; then they would continue the construction, making their bodies part of the construction, slowly killing them by suffocation, keeping their corpses inside the structure… For numerous such incidents, the reader is referred to the book titled Maqatil al-Talibiyyin by “Abul-Faraj” Ali ibn al-Husain ibn Muhammed ibn Ahmed ibn Abdul-Rahman ibn Marwan ibn Abdullah ibn Marwan ibn Muhammed ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam ibn Abul-As ibn Umayyah ibn Abd Shams ibn Abd Munaf, of the Umayyads of Quraish, famous as “al-Isfahani.” This great Sunni author was born in Isfahan, Iran, in 284 A.H./897 A.D. and died in 356 A.H./967 A.D. He wrote more than 31 books, the most famous of which are: Al-Aghani, Jamharat Ansab al-Arab, Nasab Bani Taghlib, and, of course, Maqatil al-Talibiyyeen. Mankind seldom produces writers as prolific and as fair this Isfahani. May he be rewarded most generously by the Almighty, Ameen.

[225]Jabir’s name is immortalized in both the East and the West: it is from his first name that the science of Algebra is derived. He was its pioneer and founder.

[226]Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 4, p. 375. “Al-Mansur,” Muhammed ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Hasan, was brought in, and he was the most handsome man people ever saw. The Abbaside caliph asked him, “Are you the one nicknamed the yellow silk?” He answered, “Yes.” He said, “I shall certainly kill you in a manner which I have not employed to anyone else,” then he ordered him to be placed in a cylinder and it was built up on him while he was still alive; thus, he died inside it.” al-Isfahani, Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 136, indicates likewise.

[227]‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, pp. 180-183.

[228]al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 49, p. 211, as quoted by Ibn Maskawayhi’s book Nadam al-Taraf.

[229]Ibid., Vol. 49, p. 100. It is narrated from al-Hakim by Abu Abdullah, the hafiz of Nishapur.


[231]al-Saduq, ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 1, p. 203.

[232]Ibid, Vol. 2, p. 184.

[233]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 203.

[234]al-Maghazili, Al-Manaqib, Vol. 4, p. 362.

[235]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Kafi, Vol. 4, p. 81.

[236]al-Saduq, ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 226.

[237]Qur’an, Surat Al-Hujurat:13.

[238]Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 174.

[239]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Kafi, Vol. 4, p. 23.

[240]al-Saduq, ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 237.

[241]Shaikh al-Mufid Al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 298.

[242]Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol. 3, p. 147; Surat Al A’raf:32.

[243]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 516.

[244]al-Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 178.

[245]Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol. 3, p. 143.

[246]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al Kafi, Vol. 3, p. 502.

[247]Ibn al-Maghazili, Al-Manaqib, Vol. 4, p. 361.

[248]Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 360.

[249]Al Balad:11.

[250]al-Saduq, ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 264.

[251]Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 8.

[252]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 297.

[253]Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 288.

[254]Qurb al-Isnad, p. 222, and Al-Kharaij wal Jaraih, p. 237, with a slight textual variation.

[255]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Kafi, Vol. 5, p. 111.

[256]Shaikh at-Tusi, Al-Ghaiba, p. 29.

[257]‘al-Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 1, p. 28.

[258]Ibid., p. 27.

[259]Ibid., p. 28.

[260]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 381; also al-Mufid’s Al-Irshad, p. 286.

[261]‘Shaikh al-Mufid, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 1, p. 20.

[262]al-Kashi’s Rijal, p. 398.

[263]al-‘Ayyashi, Tafsir, Vol. 2, p. 115 where verse 115 of Surat al Tawba is discussed.

[264]Qur’an, Surat Ibrahim:27.

[265]al-Saduq, ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 1, p. 32.

[266]al-Saduq, ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 226.

[267]‘Umdat al-Talib, p. 185, 1st edition (Najaf, Iraq).

[268]al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 48, p. 249.

[269]Shaikh at-Tusi, Al-Ghaiba, p. 22.

[270]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 487. It is also mentioned in al-Saduq’s book ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, in Al-Manaqib, and in Al-Irshad.

[271]Rawdat al-Kafi, p. 257.

[272]Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin, Ayan al-Shi’a, Vol. 4, Part I, p. 138.

[273]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil Vol. 5, p. 138.

[274]al-Sayyati, Tarikh al-Khulafa’, p. 284.

[275]Ibid., p. 308.

[276]Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 49, p. 210 as quoted in Ibn Maskawayhi’s book Nadam al-Farid.

[277]al-Saduq,’Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 1, p. 88.

[278]Ibid., p. 112.

[279]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 5, p. 113.

[280]al-Sayyati, Tarikh al-Khulafa, p. 290.

[281]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 5, p. 138.

[282]al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, p. 290. Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani, Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 375.

[283] al-Isfahani, Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 375.

[284]al-Saduq, Ilal al-Shara’i, p. 266.

[285]al-Saduq,Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, P. 148.

[286]It appears that al-Hasan ibn Sahl was al-Ma’mun’s ruler over Iraq at that time, and we cannot explain why the name of al-Hasan is mentioned in this story except in the case al-Ma’mun had called him to meet with him to consult regarding the issue of selecting Imam al-Rida (ﻉ) as the regent as presumes Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin in his encyclopedic work titled A’yan al-Shi’a. But al-Fadl’s letter to his brother al-Hasan regarding regency, as Ibn al-Atheer and at-Tabari and other historians indicate, negates all that, and the addition may have been the action of the narrator who was ignorant of all of that, thus causing a major problem afflicting narratives.

[287]al-Mufid, Al-Irshad, p. 291.

[288]al-Isfahani, Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 375.

[289]al-Mufid, Kitab Al-Irshad, p. 291.

[290]al-Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 153.

[291]Founded in the third century A.D. by king Shapur I, Nishapur was a major cultural center under the Seljuks. It is the town where Omer al-Khayyam was born and buried.

[292]al-Saduq, Ilal al-Shara’i, Vol. 1, p. 226.

[293]al-Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 167.

[294]Ibn Khaldun, Al-Muqaddima, Vol. 3, p. 249.

[295]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 8, p. 564.

[296]Ibid., p. 565.

[297]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 491. Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Irshad, p. 294.

[298]at-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 565. Ibn Khaldun mentions a similar story in Vol. 3, p. 250, of his work titled Al-Muqaddima fil Tarikh.

[299]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 8, p. 558, “Events of the Year 203 A.H.”.

[300]Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddima, Vol. 3, p. 250.

[301]al-Saduq,Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 242.

[302]Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani, Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 380.

[303]Shaikh al-Mufid, Al-Irshad, p. 297. A similar narrative is mentioned in al-Isfahani’s book Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, pp. 377-378.

[304]al-Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 1, p. 18.

[305]al-Isfahani, Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 378.

[306]Ibid., p. 380.

[307]Ibn al-Atheer, Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, Vol. 5, pp. 175-177.

[308]Nawraz is the first day of Spring and, hence, the first day of the Persian (and Kurdish) new year. It is celebrated outdoors by enjoying the beauty of nature.

[309]al-Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 233.


[311]al-Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 208.

[312]Ibid., pp. 19-20.

[313]Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin, Ayan al-Shi’a, Vol. 4, pp. 2, 143 and 144.

[314]The reader can correctly conclude that there were many Christian and Jewish scholars and scientists who received a great deal of respect and support from caliph al-Ma’mun who was a scholar in his own right. His time was, indeed, a golden period of learning and scholarship despite all the contemporary political turmoil.

[315]“Mazar Sharif” means: a sacred mausoleum. It is named so because it houses the shrine of Khavajeh Abu Nasr Parsa, a pious man from the Persian region of Parsa who died and was buried there.

[316]This great encylopedia falls in ten volumes, excluding its thorough and very well arranged Index which constitutes a volume by itself. The copy we have in our library is dated 1406 A.H./1986 A.D. and is published by Dar al-Ta’aruf lil Matbu’at (P.O. Box 8601, Beirut, Lebanon). It lists thousands of Shi’a men of letters, scholars, theologians, poets, authors, politicians, narrators of traditions, etc. It is edited by the author’s son, the renown scholar Hasan al-Amin, author of many books probably the most famous of which is the 11-volume encylopedia titled Al-Ghadir..

[317]al-Saduq, Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, Vol. 2, p. 121.

[318]For the benefit of our reader, the full address of the said Publisher is: ATP, 10900 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46231. This book should be in every personal and public library.

[319]This misleading statement exists in Vol. One of the world renown Encyclopedia Britannica III. How many other errors exist in this Encyclopedia?

[320]That copy was later deposited at the Imperial Library at Vienna. It was at a much later date translated into English and edited by Lonsdale and Laura Ragg.

[321]This statement, among many others in the Gospel of St. Barnabas, agrees with what we, Muslims, have in the Holy Qur’an. Jesus Christ was not crucified.

[322]The reader can easily see that there were two men among the disciples of Jesus named Judas; one of them was crucified, so he was rewarded in heaven, and the other was not, so he was rewarded by the Romans for his treachery. The latter is Judas Iscariot.

[323]The Great News: The New Testament (Colorado Springs, Colorado: International Bible Society, 1984).

[324]This is a rough translation of the original Arabic text. A thorough research of the Bible may yield better results and reveal the exact Biblical verse the Imam was referring to. Unfortunately, the Imam did not specify which of the four Gospels he was quoting. Consulting a Bible in Arabic may also produce the same anticipated result: the number of the exact verse and the name of the Gospel the Imam had in mind.

[325]al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 14, pp. 331-333. Again, since this text is my translation from the Arabic original, the Imam’s quotations may not be exact. Consulting a Bible written in Arabic will be worthwhile and will provide the numbers of the chapters and verses to which the Imam here refers. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of the Bible in Arabic.

[326]Since there is no copyright on The Gospel of Barnabas, the copy of it consulted for this book does not contain the Publisher’s name nor the place nor the date of publication.

[327]Qur’an, Surat Al-Thariya:54.

[328]Qur’an, Surat Al Thariyat:55.

[329]This is a direct reference to the Abbasides who regarded themselves as more worthy of ruling the Muslims than all others although they proved to be among the very worst who ever ruled the Islamic nation. The title of the founder of their government, namely “al-Saffah,” which means “the blood-shedder,” says it all.

[330]The very fact that the so-called “election” of the first caliph, Abu Bakr, took place at Saqafat Bana Saida before the Prophet (ﺹ) had been buried opens the eyes even of the blind to the fact that those who were involved in such “election” masquerade were more concerned about power and politics than about burying the corpse of their Prophet (ﺹ).

[331]Qur’an, Surat Al-Baqarah:229.

[332]Qur’an, Surat Al-Nisa’:34.

[333]al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 8, p. 119, Amari edition.

[334]A footnote above discusses the city of Nishapur for the curious reader.

[335]Balqees Queen of Saba’ (Sheba) belonged to the Arab tribe of Himyar which for centuries has been residing in Yemen. Her people used to worship the sun and the moon and other stars, and some of the ruins of the temples she had built for them can still be seen in Saba’. Solomon (Sulayman), on the other hand, was headquartered in Jerusalem (Ur-O-Shalom, the city of peace, as it is called in Hebrew; the Arabs used to refer to it as Eilya). The place where Balqees met Sulayman, that is to say, his palace, had been built in the 10th century B.C. Reference to the grandeur of this palace exists in 27:44: its glass-covered floor was so smooth, Balqees thought she was in front of a lake. Damascus, a very ancient city not far from Jerusalem, had by then established a reputation for its glass industry. Damascus, in 940 B.C. (around the same period of time when Sulayman was ruling in Jerusalem) was the city capital of the Aramaeans, the nations that spoke Aramaic, mother-tongue of prophet Jesus Christ (ﻉ). This is why Syria used to be called Aram, the land of the Aramوans. Aramaic is still spoken in some part of Syria even today.

[336]at-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 88.