Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A PROBE INTO THE HISTORY OF ASHURA

Regime of Mu'awiya The topic of this book is an account of the sacred rising of Imam Husayn, which is a glorious chapter in the history of Islam. We propose to state briefly the important events of this period of less than a year which is quite short from the viewpoint of duration but extremely effective and eternal so far as its role is concerned. Distortions have taken place and continue to take place in every chapter of Islamic and non-Islamic history. They change the very shape of events and make the task of the future researches more difficult. Usually these distortions are made either by the extravagant supporters or by spiteful opponents. There is not a page of history that has escaped distortion. We find that treacherous hands have changed the real features of historical facts. It can, however, be said in connection with the event of the rising of Imam Husayn that the spiteful enemies have not been able to temper with this chapter of history and this movement has been so explicit, clear, sacred and unblemished that even the enemies of his father Imam Ali and his brother Imam Hasan have bowed their heads respectfully before him and admired his movement whole-heartedly. Of course the circumstances in which this movement was started and the condition of the Islamic government of that time have helped understand the need for this movement, and whoever has undertaken to write about it has admitted the greatness, bravery, frankness, courage, and love for freedom, of its leaders. It is a matter of great regret, however, that many baseless matters, vulgar stories, and misleading falsehoods by ignorant supporters and extravagant friends have become apart of the writings and speeches about this movement. One of the greatest services, which can be rendered to the Doyen of the martyrs, is to keep the event of Karbala free from every sort of falsehood, myth and baseless matter. However, this is a task, which the common and illiterate people cannot be expected to perform, because it is they, who have been instrumental in bringing about this calamity. They act against the sacred object of the leader of this revolution and think that it is possible to promote truth by means of falsehood, honesty by means of treachery and piety by means of impiety and carelessness. To segregate the event of the movement of Imam Husayn from all sorts of unreliable, irrational and baseless matters and to content themselves with the writings of the writers of third and fourth centuries A.H. is the task of pious research scholars, and it is their duty to tell the truth with their tongues and pens and promote it, and refrain from telling false and baseless things in their writings and speeches. It is possible that one day this very sacred, clear, and explicit chapter of the history of Islam as befits the magnanimous and infallible leader may be based on truth and honesty in writing and speech. It is in this way only that the value of this great movement, and the greatness of its leader, will become evident all the more, and even in the mourning groups signs of his greatness, devotion, sincerity, jihad, steadfastness and manliness will be clearly apparent. About fifty years after the death of the Holy Prophet, twenty years after the martyrdom of Imam Ali, and ten years after the martyrdom of Imam Hasan, Mu'awiya bin Abi Sufyan breathed his last in the middle of the month of Rajab of the year 60 A.H. He was the governor and caliph in Damascus for about 42 years. He held the office of the governor of Syria for five years under the Second Caliph and for twelve years under the Third Caliph. He also ruled over Syria for a little less than five years during the Caliphate of Imam Ali and for about six months during the Caliphate of Imam Hasan and campaigned against both of them. He also held the Islamic Caliphate for a little less than twenty years, and towards the end of his life he obtained oath of allegiance from the people for his son Yazid for the office of Caliph. Mu'awiya was the progenitor of the fourteen Umayyad caliphs, who were the descendants of Abu Sufyan and Marwan and held the Islamic Government in their hands for one thousand months from 41 A.H. to 132 A.H. During the time of his caliphate Mu'awiya had complete control over the situation and could violate openly the agreement that he had concluded with Imam Hasan; for example, one of the conditions of the peace treaty was that the supporters of Imam Ali would not be persecuted and killed and all of them would enjoy security. The name of Hujr bin Adi Kindi, who was one of the companions of the Holy Prophet and a supporter of Ali was specially mentioned in the Peace Pact. However, as the Islamic historians have written unanimously, Mu'awiya killed Hujr bin Adi and six of his companions, and one of them named Abdur Rahman bin Hannān Ghazzi was buried alive by Ziyad bin Abihi in Iraq. Mu'awiya's power and domination had assumed such proportions that he did what he liked and none could raise any objection. Ali bin Husayn Mas'udi, one of the greatest Muslim historians and geographers of the 4th century writes thus in his book entitled Murujuz Zahab: At the time of return from the Battle of Siffin, a Kufian, mounted on a camel, came to Damascus. One of the Syrians disputed with him and said: "This she-camel which you have mounted is mine. It was looted in the Battle of Siffin and has fallen in your hands". Their dispute got prolonged and both of them went to Mu'awiya. The man belonging to Damascus produced fifty witnesses, who deposed that the she-camel belonged to him. On the authority of the evidence given by fifty persons Mu'awiya also decided that the she-camel belonged to the Syrian and compelled the Iraqi to surrender it to him. The Iraqi said: "May Allah bless you. It is a he-camel and not a she-camel". Mu'awiya, however, said: "I have already given a decision and it cannot be altered". When the people dispersed Mu'awiya called the Iraqi and asked him as to what his she-camel was worth. Then he gave him something more than the price of the he-camel and said to him: "Tell Ali that to fight against him I have 100,000 men, who do not distinguish between a he-camel and a she-camel" (i.e. if I say that a he-camel is a she-camel or vice versa, they will not dispute). After narrating this story Mas'udi writes that Mu'awiya acquired such a grasp over the people that at the time of proceeding for the Battle of Siffin he called them to Friday prayers on Wednesday and offered Friday prayers with them, but none asked him as to why Friday prayers was being offered on that day when it was Wednesday. Thereafter he has narrated another incident which we reproduce below in detail from the book entitled An-Nasāyah al-Kāfiya Li Mun Yatawalla Mu'awiya: Ammār Yasir was killed in the Battle of Siffin at the hands of Mu'awiya's men. As narrated by Bukhari in his Sahih, as well as by others, Ammār was striving more than others at the time of the construction of the Masjid of Madina and when the Holy Prophet saw him he said: "Alas! Ammār! An oppressive group will kill him at a time when he will be calling them to Paradise and they will be calling him to Hell". Ammār's being killed made truth manifest, and it was established that the oppressive group was Mu'awiya and his supporters. In order to extricate himself from this difficulty he said: "We have not killed Ammār. He has been killed by him, who brought him in the battlefield" (i.e. by Ali). When Imam Ali was informed about the stand taken by Mu'awiya he said: "If that be so Hamza, the Doyen of the Martyrs was killed by the Holy Prophet, because he brought him along with him to fight against the polytheists". However, as Mu'awiya was confident that his friends would accept whatever he said, he remarked: "It is true that we have killed Ammār, but the word Baghiya used by the Holy Prophet does not mean unjust and oppressive. On the contrary it means one, who seeks or demands, and it is we, who have risen to seek vengeance for the murder of Uthman. Hence the meaning of the Holy Prophet's remark is that Ammār would be killed by those who rose to seek vengeance for the murder of Uthman and there is nothing wrong about it". This argument of Mu'awiya was also absurd and the later part of the tradition provides a reply to it, because the Holy Prophet said: "Ammar will be killed by those, who will invite him to Hell, and whom he will invite to Paradise". However, Mu'awiya had become so powerful and dominant that none could convince his followers by argument. We do not intend to study the period of Mu'awiya's rule and the short account given above appears to be sufficient to invite the attention of the readers to the social and religious conditions of those days. In case, however, someone desires to become fully conversant with the period of Mu'awiya's rule he should refer to An-Nasayah al-Kafiya Li Mun Yatawalla Mu'awiya and then judge fairly. Regime of Yazid When Yazid attained to the caliphate, the Governors of Madina, Makkah, Kufa and Basra were Walid bin Utba bin Abu Sufyan, Amr bin Sa'id, Nuamān bin Bashir and Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad respectively. In the first instance Yazid decided to obtain oath of allegiance from Husayn bin Ali, Abdullah bin Zubayr and Abdullah bin Umar, who had not acknowledged him heir-apparent during the time of Mu'awiya. He, therefore, wrote a letter to Walid bin Utba, the Governor of Madina, desiring him to obtain allegiance from these three persons as early as possible and not to accept any excuse from them. To accomplish this task Walid called Marwan bin Hakam for consultation, ignoring their previous strained relations. Marwan said: "Summon them immediately, and ask them to take the oath of allegiance to Yazid. If they agree to take the oath well and good otherwise execute them before they come to know about the death of Mu'awiya, because, if they learn about his death, everyone of them will become a claimant for caliphate and refuse to obey, excepting Abdullah bin Umar, who need not be feared, because he is not the type of man, who may rise or oppose". Walid sent Abdullah bin Amr bin Uthman to Imam Husayn and Abdullah bin Zubayr. He found both of them in the mosque and conveyed to them the message of Walid. They said to him: "You may go back and we too shall meet Walid soon" Then the Imam said to Abdullah: "I think Mu'awiya is dead and the object of this untimely call is that we should take the oath of allegiance to Yazid". Imam Husayn summoned a group of his men and told them to arm themselves. He said to them: "Walid has called me just now, and I think that he will propose something which I may not accept. In that event I cannot trust him. You should, therefore, come with me and when I enter his house you should stay at the door and as soon as you hear me speaking aloud enter the house to prevent him from doing me any harm ". The Imam went to meet Walid and saw that Marwan was also there. Walid informed him about the death of Mu'awiya and also conveyed to him the orders of Yazid. The Imam said: "You I will not certainly be contented with my taking the oath secretly and would like that I should take it in the presence of the people". Walid said: "Yes". Thereupon the Imam said: "Then you should wait till tomorrow so that I may arrive at a decision in the matter". Walid said: "All right. You may go now and come tomorrow along with the people to take the oath of allegiance". Marwan said: "I swear by Allah that if Husayn bin Ali leaves this place without taking the oath of allegiance it will no longer be possible for you to lay hands on him without bloodshed. You should, therefore, detain him till he takes the oath and in the event of his refusing to do so, you should chop off his head. On hearing the words of Marwan the Imam got up from his place and said: "O bastard! Is it you, who will kill me or Walid? By Allah you have told a lie and become a sinner". Then he departed and reached his house along with his men. Marwan said to Walid: "Now that you have not accepted my advice I swear by Allah that you will not be able to lay your hands on him again". Walid said: "Marwan! What are you saying? You have suggested to me something that must spoil my faith. By Allah, even if the entire wealth of the world is placed at my disposal I will never kill Husayn bin Ali. Should I kill him if he declines to take the oath of allegiance to Yazid? By Allah I believe that whoever sheds the blood of Husayn, the grandson of the Holy Prophet, shall be very unlucky and helpless before Allah on the Day of Judgment". Marwan who did not like Walid's words said to him: "It is all right if you think so". On the following day which was Saturday the 28th of Rajab 60 A.H. Walid sent for the Imam again so that he might take the oath of allegiance from him. The Imam, however, told his messenger to tell him to wait for that night, so that he might take a decision by the following day. During the same night he left Madina along with his wives, brothers and nephews and most of the members of his family, and proceeded on his journey to Makkah, remembering the words of Prophet Musa, son of Imram: "So he left the city afraid and cautious saying: Lord! Protect me against the unjust people." (Surah al-Qasas, 28:21) When it was said to Imam Husayn that it would have been better if he had adopted a deviated path so that the enemies might not have been able to lay hands on him he replied: "By Allah I shall not go by a deviated path. Let that which Allah wills happen". Eventually he arrived in Makkah on Friday night after the 3rd of Shaban. Remembering the story of Prophet Musa, he said: "When he started his journey to Midian he said, "Perhaps my Lord will show me the right path '." (Surah al-Naml, 28:22) The pilgrims used to visit the Imam in Makkah. Even Abdullah bin Zubayr, who knew very well that none would take the oath of allegiance to anybody in the presence of the son of the Holy Prophet and the Imam enjoyed a position higher than everyone in all respects, came to see the Imam every day. The news of the death of Mu'awiya spread throughout Iraq and the people also came to know that Imam Husayn and Abdullah bin Zubayr had declined to take the oath of allegiance to Yazid and had gone to Makkah. The distinguished supporters of Imam Ali gathered in the house of Sulayman bin Surd Khuzai and thanked Allah for the death of Mu'awiya. Sulayman bin Surd then said addressing those present: "Mu'awiya has departed from the world and Husayn bin Ali has declined to take the oath of allegiance to Yazid and has gone to Makkah. You are the supporters of Husayn as well as of his father Ali. If you think that you are ready to assist him and to fight against his enemy and can lay down your lives for his sake, you should inform him of your readiness through a letter. In case, however, you are scared that you will show slackness and will abstain from rendering him assistance, you should not deceive him by claiming unduly to be his supporters and devotees". When Sulayman bin Surd said these words he had in mind the fact that so long as there is no question of making sacrifices the people can distinguish very well between truth and falsehood and make no mistake about it. They understand clearly as to who is truthful and who is a liar, where lies the truth, and where lay the falsehood; who is wise and who is ignorant and who is a guide and who is a bandit. However, they can make such a correct assessment only so long as the question of profit and loss does not arise and they do not suffer any loss by supporting the truth and fighting against falsehood. But when the preliminaries for test become available and truth and falsehood stand facing each other most of the people side with falsehood, and as truth cannot be supported without sacrifice the views of the people alter and they abandon truth and support falsehood. Sulayman bin Surd knew well that the sentiments of the people at that time could not be relied upon, because it might so happen that if Husayn bin Ali rose against Bani Umayya later and they employed their full strength to kill him and rendering him help became something dangerous, the same people might turn away their faces from him, ignore the letters written by them, close their doors in his face and even join his enemies. They might consider it a religious duty to kill him and might put him and his friends to sword to gain the pleasure of Allah and His Prophet. And after killing those godly persons they might stand and cry: "Allah is the Greatest. I testify that there is no God but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is His Prophet"; as if they had committed no sin at all! It was for this reason that he explained the position to the distinguished supporters and said: "Even now you should judge the result in your minds and visualize the situation which is bound to arise and then decide whether you can make him hopeful of your assistance and invite him to Iraq with perfect confidence and final determination. It should not be that today, when your sentiments are roused, you should be writing letters, making covenants and taking oaths and pull the son of the Prophet of Allah from Allah's sanctuary to Iraq, but tomorrow when the enemy surrounds him and compels him either to take the oath of allegiance or lose his head you should desert him and forget the promises made by you". The distinguished supporters replied with one voice: "We are prepared to perform jihad and make sacrifices and shall lay down our lives for the sake of our Imam". Thereupon Sulayman said: "In that case you should write a letter to the Imam". They, therefore, wrote a letter as follows: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful This letter is being written by Sulayman bin Surd, Musayyab bin Najbah, Rafa bin Shaddad Bajali, Habib bin Mazahir and other Muslim and. faithful supporters of Husayn bin Ali residing in Kufa. They write to Husayn bin Ali: Peace be upon you. We join you in praising the Almighty Allah except whom there is no god. Praised be Allah Who has destroyed your oppressive and spiteful enemy, the man who prevailed over this nation, assumed unlawfully the reins of government, usurped the public treasury and became the ruler of the Muslims without their consent. He then killed the pious persons and spared the bad ones and placed the property of Allah at the disposal of the oppressors and the rich. May Allah deprive him of His blessings as He deprived the people of Thamud. At present we, the Iraqis, do not have any leader and Imam. Hence, we request you to proceed to us. Maybe the Almighty Allah may draw us together on truth through you. We have nothing to do with Nau'man bin Bashir in the matter of Friday and Eid prayers. He is alone in the governor's House. If we come to know that you have left to join us we shall turn him out and shall, God willing, pursue him up to Syria". They sent this letter through Abdullah bin Suba Hamdāni and Abdullah bin wal and instructed them to leave for Makkah immediately. They reached the Imam in Makkah on the l0th of Ramazan, 60 A.H. and delivered the letter to him. Letters of the Kufians to the Imam After two days the people of Kufa sent about 150 letters, each of which was from one, two or four men. Most of these letters were brought from Kufa to Makkah by Qays bin Mashar Saidawi, Abdur Rahman bin Abdullah bin Shaddad Arhabi and Ammāra bin Abdullah Saluli. Two more days passed and then the supporters of Kufa sent a letter to the Imam through Hāni bin Hāni Sabi'i and Sa'id bin Abdullah Hanafi. The following are the contents of the letter: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful This is a letter to Husayn bin Ali from his Muslim and faithful supporters. Be quick and hurry up, for the people are waiting for you, and they do not look towards anyone other than you. Hurry up. Hurry up. We repeat: Make haste. Make haste. And peace be upon you." Thereafter Shabath bin Rabie, Hajjar bin Abjar, Yazid bin Harith bin Ruwaym, Urwah bin Qays, Amr bin Hajjāj Zubaydi and Muhammad bin Amr Taymi wrote the following letter: "The gardens and the deserts are green and fresh and the fruits have ripened. Proceed whenever you like. Your Iraqi soldiers are ready to receive you. And peace by upon you". Letters from the Kufians piled up with the Imam and the messengers from Iraq gathered in Makkah. The Imam sent the following reply to the Kufians: "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From Husayn bin Ali to the believers and Muslims of Iraq. Hani and Sa'id, your last messengers, have brought your letters. I have read what you have written and pondered over it. You have written that you do not have an Imam and asked me to come to you so that Allah may perhaps draw you together on truth and guidance through me. Now I am sending to you my cousin Muslim bin Aqil in whom I have full confidence. If he writes to me that your elders and wise men confirm what your messengers say and what you have written in your letters I may proceed towards you soon. I swear by my life that a true Imam and leader is only he who takes decisions according to the Qur'an, establishes justice, promotes the Divine religion and dedicates himself to the path of Allah. And peace be upon you". The Imam sent this letter through Hani and Sa'id. Then he ordered Muslim bin Aqil to proceed to Iraq along with Qays bin Mash'ar Saidawi, Ammara bin Abdullah Saluli and Abdul Rahman bin Abdullah Araji. He instructed him to tread the path of piety, to keep his mission secret, to be lenient and moderate, and to inform the Imam immediately if he found that the people supported the rising and revolution. Muslim bin Aqil proceeda to Kufa Muslim went to Kufa via Madina and stayed in the house of Mukhtar bin Abi Ubayda Thaqafi. The supporters perhaps thought that the task would be accomplished quite easily. Husayn bin Ali would gain victory over Yazid without facing any trouble. Justice and piety would replace injustice and sin, and the people would easily forget what Mu'awiya had taught them for forty two years. They used to visit Muslim frequently and when the Imam's letter was read for them, they shed tears of delight with perfect sincerity, and took the oath of allegiance at the hand of the special representative of the Imam. According to Shaykh Mufid seventeen thousand persons took the oath of allegiance to Muslim bin Aqil, but the number mentioned by Tabari is twelve thousand. Now Yazid came to know that Muslim had arrived in Kufa and the supporters of Imam Ali had taken the oath of allegiance to him, and Nua'man bin Bashir had shown weakness in taking action against him. He, therefore, appointed Ubaydullah bin Ziyad, the Governer of Basra as the Governor of Kufa as well, and also entrusted him with the task of carrying out his oppressive orders. He wrote to him: "You should go to Kufa, pursue Muslim and captivate, kill, or banish him." Ubaydullah proceeded to Kufa immediately and on the very first day of his arrival in the city he addressed the people and spoke about the kindness as well as harshness of Yazid. He summoned the chiefs of the tribes and various classes of the society and behaved very harshly towards them. Now the people of Kufa reached the stage at which the number of the supporters of truth diminishes, and that of the followers of falsehood increases. The Almighty Allah says: "Do people think that they will not be tested because they say, "We have faith?" We tested those who were before them. Thus Allah knows those, who are truthful, and knows those, who are liars." (Surah al-Ankabut, 29:2- 3) The truthful are those persons who stick firmly, even at the time of test and trial, to what they have said and assessed. Fear and desire do not dissuade them from the truth, which they have recognized. Nothing can place them amongst the supporters of falsehood. As regards the liars they are those, who really speak the truth and correctly distinguish between truth and falsehood before they are involved in the difficulties of Divine test, and think themselves to be the supporters of truth and enemies of falsehood, and say that they would defend truth even if they have to lay down their lives for it. The promises of falsehood and the allurements of the world would not make them deviate from the right path, but as soon as the circumstances change and the time for making sacrifices for truth arrives their mental attitude changes. Fear and poor spirit take the place of courage; doubt and hesitation that of faith; and polytheism and treachery that of sincerity. The liars are not only those, who have no intention of siding with truth and opposing falsehood even before the time for test arrives, but liars are also those, whose condition changes at the time of Divine test, and what they consider falsehood today was considered truth by them till yesterday. The people of Kufa i.e. those who, after receiving the news of the death of Mu'awiya, gathered in the house of Sulayman bin Surd Khuzai, delivered speeches, took into consideration the position of the Muslims at that time and wrote a letter to the Imam from that very place and similarly those who visited Muslim after his arrival in Kufa and took oath of allegiance to him in his capacity of the special representative of the Imam of the time, did not in fact intend to tell lies and deceive their Imam and to provide means for his martyrdom and the captivity of the members of his family. Truly speaking their intentions were quite good. They deemed the caliphate of a person like Yazid, and that too after fifty years of the death of the Holy Prophet, to be shameful and inadmissible for the world of Islam, and did not consider anyone amongst all the Muslims to be more competent and more deserving than Husayn bin Ali the son of the Holy Prophet. They thought that they had always rendered him assistance and would continue to do so in all circumstances and would bear all hardships to achieve their Divine object. They turned out to be liars and forgot what they had been thinking about themselves earlier. So long as Nu'aman bin Basir Ansari had been running the administration of the city moderately and leniently the supporters were very enthusiastic. They claimed at every place and in every meeting to be the supporters of Husayn bin Ali and wrote that they would pursue Nu'aman bin Bashir up to the gates of Damascus. However, as they had previous experience of the harshness of Ubaydullah bin Bashir Ansari had been running the administration of the changed as soon as Ubaydullah assumed the Governorship of Kufa. Previously they talked about Jihad (the Holy war), but now they began to recite the Qur'anic verse: Do not subject your lives to destruction with your own hands. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:195) The greater was the hold of Ibn Ziyad over the affairs of Kufa, the greater was the danger for Muslim and his companions and now there was no possibility of their success. The mental and religious disposition of the people proceeded towards a direction contrary to that which they had assessed earlier, so much so that the entire atmosphere of the city was completely changed. The attitude of the people, who really wished that Imam Husayn should come at the helm of affairs and Bani Umayya should be deprived of the Islamic Government, underwent such a change that although Muslim bin Aqil was keeping himself aloof and seldom met the people, he was obliged to shift from the house of Mukhtar bin Abi Ubayda Thaqafi to that of a well-known and powerful person named Hāni bin Urwa Murādi. His supporters used to visit him there secretly. The conditions in Kufa at that time indicated that all the letters which had been sent to Imam Husayn and the promises made with him were mere lies and could no longer be relied upon. Ibn Ziyad succeeded in locating the place where Muslim was then residing. He gave three thousand dirhams to his slave named Ma'qal and said to him: "Associate with the friends and supporters of Muslim for a few days and pretend to be one of them. Give them this money also and say that you are interested in their success and the money is meant for being spent on the procurement of implements of war. After gaining their confidence you may find out the place where Muslim is residing and meet him". Ma'qal acted as ordered by Ibn Ziyad. In the first instance he contacted, in the Masjid of Kufa, Muslim bin Awsaja (who was one of the distinguished supporters of the Imam and was martyred on the day of Āshura) because he had heard that Muslim bin Awsaja was obtaining the allegiance from the people on behalf of Imam Husayn. Ma'qal, who was prepared to tell any lie, and commit any treachery to achieve his end, said to Muslim bin Awsaja: "I am a man from Syria and Allah has blessed me with love for the Holy Prophet's family and their supporters". Saying this he also shed some crocodile tears and then said: "I have got three thousand dirhams. I wish to present this money to the man who, I understand, has come from the Hijaz to Kufa to take the oath of allegiance for the son of the Holy Prophet. However, I have to say with much regret that it has not been possible for me to see him and have not yet met anyone, who may guide me to him, and thus enable me to achieve this blessing. I have enquired from various persons and have since come to know that you are acquainted with this Holy household. I have, therefore, to request you to take this petty amount from me and take me to Muslim bin Aqil. I am your Muslim brother and you should trust me. If you so wish I am prepared to take the oath of allegiance to the Imam before I go and see Muslim". Muslim bin Awsaja said: "I am glad to meet you, for you may possibly render some assistance to Ahlul Bayt. However, I am worried on account of the fact that the people have come to know before the accomplishment of the task and achievement of the goal that I am associated with this movement. I am apprehensive of the tyrannical Ibn Ziyad in this regard". Ma'qal said: "God willing, all will be well. You may please take the allegiance from me". Muslim took the oath from him and obtained a promise that he would remain loyal and would not divulge the secret. Ma'qal made all the promises and took all the oaths demanded by Muslim bin Awsaja without any hesitation. He even added something to it and satisfied him. Then he visited the house of Muslim bin Awsaja for a few days and eventually had access to Muslim bin Aqil and took the oath of allegiance once again. As directed by Muslim bin Aqil he also presented three thousand dirhams to Abu Thamama Saidi Hamdāni, a staunch supporter and one of the martyrs of Karbala, who was then responsible for the procurement of arms, food and other provisions. Ma'qal used to come to see Muslim bin Aqil earlier than all others and was the last to leave. He thus acquired information about all their activities and submitted reports to Ibn Ziyad regularly. Ibn Ziyad thought that he should first arrest Hani and then take steps to arrest Muslim. Consequently Rani also confined himself to his house on the pretext of illness and did not go to the Governor's House till Muhammad bin Ash'ath, Asma bin Kharija and Amr bin Hajjāj Zubaydi approached him in compliance with the orders of Ibn Ziyad. As a measure of expediency they made him mount an animal, and took him to Ibn Ziyad. With the arrest of Hani the situation in Kufa became absolutely favourable for Ibn Ziyad. Although Hani expressed ignorance about the presence of Muslim bin Aqil in his house the secret was divulged by the arrival of Ma'qal there. Hani was, therefore, obliged to confess before Ibn Ziyad and said: "I did not take Muslim to my house. He himself came and asked me to admit him. I felt ashamed to refuse his request and, therefore entertained him. As regards his activities whatever has been reported is correct. N ow I can promise you that no harm will come to you from me and I will have nothing to do with him. As an alternative I can go and apologize to him, and ask him to go wherever he likes". Ibn Ziyad did not, however, accept either of the two offers made by him and said: "By Allah you must surrender him to me". Hani replied: "By Allah I will not surrender him to you". When he declined to surrender his guest Ibn Ziyad broke his face, nose and head with a stick, which he had in his hand, and put him under arrest. Then he went to the Masjid, mounted the pulpit and severely threatened the people in a brief speech. He had not yet come down from the pulpit when the spectators rushed into the Masjid and said that Muslim bin Aqil was coming. Ubaydullah then entered his palace hurriedly and shut the gates. It is very surprising that twelve or seventeen thousand persons had taken the oath of allegiance to Muslim, but, when he came to know about what had happened to Hani and called his supporters to rise, not more than four thousand persons turned up. And still more surprising is that at the time when Muslim came out with four thousand armed men and Ibn Ziyad closed the doors of his palace, not more than fifty persons were with him, and out of them thirty were policemen and the remaining twenty were some dignitaries and the members of his family. The people had encircled his palace and were abusing him and his father. This apparently favorable state of affairs became so unfavorable in the early part of night that Muslim bin Aqil offered evening prayers in the night of 9th Zil-Haj in the Masjid of Kufa with only thirty persons and when he left the Masjid only ten persons were with him, and when he came out of the Masjid there was not even one person, who might accompany him. Allah knows those who are truthful, and knows those who are liars. (Surah al-Ankabut, 29:3) It is a sufficient proof of the falsity of the claims, correspondence and pretences of the Kufians that four thousand armed men could not subdue Ibn Ziyad, who had not more than fifty persons with him, and gain control over the city, and only one false rumor spread by the supporters of Ibn Ziyad that the Syrian army was arriving, scattered all of them. Martyrdom of Muslim bin Aqil The situation in Kufa became so dangerous that even good and distinguished supporters like Sulayman bin Surd, Musayyab bin Najba and Rafa bin Shaddad were not seen anywhere and the person, who was the chief of twelve thousand men a day earlier, was wandering in the streets of Kufa in a state of distress and perplexity and could not find his way. Tabari's account of this event which is almost identical with that quoted by Shaykh Mufid in "al-Irshad" is as follows: "Muslim bin Aqil came out of the gate of the Masjid and suddenly found himself alone. There could be seen not even one person, who might show him the way or guide him to a place or defend him if he faced an enemy. He, therefore wandered in the streets of Kufa without knowing where to go". There is a point that it will not be inappropriate to mention here. It has been for centuries now that the people have reproached the Kufians for their perfidies and breach of promise. Just as they have praised and greeted the faithful companions and friends of the Imam, they have cursed these persons who promised support to him on one day but drew their swords against him on the other day and continued their opposition till he was martyred. To be fair, however, it may be said that the people of Kufa did not do anything that might be unusual or surprising and on both the occasions they acted according to rule i.e. when they wrote the letters to the Imam and also when they drew their swords against him. So long as they were leading peaceful lives and the swords had not been unsheathed and a lenient man namely Nuamān bin Bashir was the ruler of Kufa they could distinguish between truth and falsehood by means of the light which Almighty Allah has bestowed upon man to enable him to differentiate between right and wrong, and between truth and falsehood, and correctly assessed as to who was fit for the Imamate and leadership of the people. They did not consider any other Muslim of that time to be equal to him. This correct discernment of truth and falsehood by them was as usual and according to rule, because so long as a person has not deviated from the path of nature and sound mind by means of factors of deviation, and fear, hope, avarice, profit or loss have not confused and misled him, he knows which is the right path and which is the wrong one and makes no mistake in distinguishing between them. Allah says: Have We not given him two eyes, a tongue and two lips. Have We not shown him the ways of good and evil? (Surah al-Balad, 90: 8 -10} However, when these very persons, who could distinguish between truth and falsehood were put to test, the question of fear and avarice and profit and loss arose; hence the paths of religion and expediency got separated from each other. They acted as most of the people usually do i.e. they kept aloof from truth and the truthful, and began to talk about prudence, wisdom, precaution and foresight instead of jihad, sacrifice, resistance, reform and valor. Truly speaking it is not strange that the Kufians did not sacrifice their lives to carry out their responsibility. Those who wonder at their conduct should in the first instance imagine themselves to be placed in the same situation and then decide fairly whether in these conditions and circumstances, would they have acted in a different way? In fact one should wonder at those persons, who remained steadfast in all circumstances, and in spite of all hardships, supported truth and laid down their lives for it. So much so that even when their bodies were torn to pieces and they fell down on the ground, they were worried whether they had performed their duty of self-sacrifice and combating against injustice and oppression properly, and consequently would feel ashamed before Allah and His Prophet on the Day of Judgment! Qarza bin Ka'b Khazraji was one of the companions of the Holy Prophet. He participated in the Battle of Uhud and later battles. During the Caliphate of Umar he came to Kufa and imparted instruction in jurisprudence to the people. His son Amr bin Qarzi Ansari was one of the devoted companions of Imam Husayn. As stated by Ibn Tawus in Luhuf so long as Amr did not collapse on the day of Āshura owing to excessive wounds, the Holy Imam did not sustain any injury. Amr received the arrows on his hands and the blows of the swords on his body, and when eventually he fell on the ground and rolled in dust he looked at the Holy Imam's face and said: "O son of the Prophet of Allah! Have I acquitted myself of my duty? Then Imam said in reply: "Yes, you have, and you will enter Paradise I earlier than me. Convey my greetings to the Holy Prophet and tell him that his Husayn is also arriving soon". The steadfastness and constancy of these noble souls is really astonishing. One must wonder at their resolution and firmness and praise and greet them, because the different aspects of life and severe pain did not change their attitude and did not make them deviate from their Divine course. Many persons who have read or heard Zahhiik bin Abdullah Mashriqi Hamdiini have regretted his weakness, bad luck, and lack of foresight and wondered that while his Imam was surrounded by the enemies this man took leave of the Imam and went away. However, very few have judged fairly and realized that in the particular circumstances it might not have been possible to show even that firmness and steadfastness which was shown by him. One should wonder at his staying with the Imam and participating in the battle rather than upon his eventual departure. Tabari quotes the story from Zahhiik himself in these words: "Malik bin Nazr Arji and I went to see Imam Husyan and sat down before him after paying due respect to him. He welcomed us and said: "For what purpose have you come to see me?" We said: "We have come to greet you and to seek your blessings, so that we may renew our pledge, and also inform you that the people of Kufa are ready to fight against you. The Imam said: "Allah is sufficient for me and He is the best Helper". When we bade farewell to him Imam Husayn said: "Is there anything against your rendering me assistance? My companion Mālik bin Nazr said: "I am indebted and have also to support my wife and children". I said: "I, too, am faced with the same problems. Notwithstanding this, however, if you give me an option that I may go away in case you become alone and my support is no longer of any use to you, I am prepared to stay on and assist you till that time". The Imam accepted my services on this condition and I stayed on with him. When on the day of Āshura all his supporters were martyred and the enemy reached up to the Imam and the men belonging to his family, and none remained with him except two persons namely Sawayd bin Amr bin Abi Muta Khasami and Bashir bin Amr Hazrami I said to him: "O son of the Prophet of Allah! As you are aware, we had agreed that so long as you have supporters I shall also remain with you and assist you and when they are killed I shall be free to go away. The Imam said: "You are right, but how can you escape this army? If you can find a way out I have no objection to your going away". Zahhāk adds: "When the soldiers of Amr bin Sā'd were pursuing our horses I had tied my horse in one of the tents and was fighting on foot, so that J succeeded in killing two enemies of the Imam and amputated the hand of another. On that day the Imam praised my performance repeatedly and said: "When he permitted me to leave I brought out my horse, mounted it, and struck it till it stood up on its hind hooves. Then I let it go. The enemies were, therefore, forced to let me pass and I came out of their rows. Eleven persons pursued me and were about to capture me, but Kathir bin Abdullah Shabi, Ayyub bin Musrah Khaivani and Qays bin Abdullah Saidi identified me and I was saved on account of their intercession". It is true that one must feel sorry for this man, because he missed such a blessing, left such an Imam alone, and lost such an opportunity in vain, although he could also become one like Habib ibn Mazahir Asadi and Burayr bin Khuzayr Hamdani. However, his case is quite different from that of the people of Kufa. This man had not written any letter to the Imam and had not promised any sacrifice. He had also not taken an oath of allegiance to Muslim bin Aqil. And when he reached the Imam he did what he had undertaken to do, and did not boast that he would go to any length in making sacrifices. On the other hand he himself stated to what extent he was prepared to go. However, the people, who took the oath of allegiance to Muslim bin Aqil left him alone during the night of 9th of Zilhaj in the streets of Kufa, and if a woman had not admitted him into her house and quenched his thirst, there was no one who might have rendered him even that much service. Muslim spent the last night of his life in that woman's house and when on the following day Ibn Ziyad took steps to arrest him and his men besieged the house, he was obliged to come out of the house to meet martyrdom. When Muslim was taken prisoner he made a request to Muhammad bin Asha'th that he might send someone to inform Imam Husayn about his (Muslim's) martyrdom and also to convey the following message to him: "May my parents be your ransom! Return from this journey along with the members of your family lest the Kufians should deceive you. They are the companions of your father, who wished to get rid of them by means of death or martyrdom. The people of Kufa lied to you as well as to me, and nothing can be achieved by means of falsehood". In the court of Ibn Ziyad also he made two requests to Umar bin Sād; firstly that he should sell his coat of mail and sword and repay his debt amounting to seven hundred dirhams; secondly that he should obtain his dead body from Ibn Ziyad and bury it". Muslim and Hani were martyred on the same day and their heads were cut off and sent to Yazid in Damascus. Muhammad bin Hanafiya When Imam Husayn left Madina for Makkah along with the members of his family, his brother Muhammad bin Hanafiya remained in Madina. The mother of Muhammad, the son of Ali, belonged to a tribe named Bani Hanafiya and on this account he was called Muhammad bin Hanafiya. He was a magnanimous, brave and pious person. Although Kaisaniya sect considered him to be an Imam he himself believed in the imamate of his brother Imam Hasan after his father Imam Ali, and thereafter in the imamate of his second brother Imam Husayn and then in the imamate of his nephew Ali bin Husayn. He was a distinguished person among the Ahlul Bayt and showed great valor in the battles fought by Imam Ali the Commander of the Faithful. [18] When Imam Husayn left Madina for Makkah he wrote a testament for his brother Muhammad bin Hanafiya. It has been narrated by Ibn Tawus. In this testament the Imam mentioned the motive for his rising and clarified the policy which he intended to pursue in all circumstances. He also referred to the false motives which instigate a man and make him fight to satisfy his carnal desires and stated that the godly persons are free from such motives. The testament reads as follows: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. "This is the testament of Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib written by him for his brother Muhammad, known as Ibn Hanafiya. Indeed Husayn testifies that there is no god except Allah and no being other than Him is fit to be worshipped and He has no partner. He also testifies that Muhammad is Allah's servant and messenger, who has brought truth from Him, and that Paradise and Hell do exist and the Day of Judgment is bound to come and there is no doubt about it, and on that day, Allah will bring the dead to life". What the Imam said consists of the very doctrines which it is necessary for every Muslim to hold, and one who does not hold them cannot be a Muslim. Apparently the Imam meant to say that these very principles were in danger and, if the matters were allowed to continue in that manner, it was possible that the regime of the time might not refrain even from attacking these Principles of Faith. In fact the real motive for the Imam's rising was the protection of these very principles on which other religious and social tenets of Islam are based. The Imam continued: "This movement of mine is not on account of stubbornness, rebellion, worldly passions or instigation by Satan. It is also not my object to create trouble or to oppress anyone. The only thing which invites me to this great movement is that I should reform the affairs of the followers of my grandfather, eradicate corruption, undertake enjoining to do good and restraining from evil and follow the tradition of my grandfather, the Prophet of Allah and my father, Ali". This testament does not mention the formalities that usually form part of the last will made nowadays. On the other hand the Imam wished to clarify his motive. He wanted to tell the people that his movement was not an ordinary one based on human passions and worldly desires. He, therefore, says: I am not going out for merry-making and amusement or to create mischief. I am also not perusing the path of oppression". He adds: "I have come out to reform the followers of my grandfather". These words show that in the year 60 A.H. the Muslim ummah was faced with a dreadful social and religious crisis, which could not be overcome with a severe and bloody revolution. It was a danger that could be faced only by a leader like Husayn bin Ali, whose infallibility has been testified by the Holy Qur'an in the verse of Purification of Surah al-Ahzab (33:33). It was a peril that could not be dealt with by means of speeches and religious sermons. He added: "If the people respond to my call, and accept truth from me, well and good; and if they do not accept it, I shall observe patience and am not afraid of unpleasant events, hardships, and sufferings". By saying that he would observe patience, the Imam did not mean to say that he would sit with folded hands so that Yazid might do whatever he liked. On the contrary he used this word in its correct sense, which is suited to the position of an Imam, and is the basis of faith and godliness. In other words he said: "Even if I am alone I shall pursue this path till Allah decides justly between me and these people, and He is the most Wise and the most Powerful of the judges". Thereafter he wrote: "O my brother! This is my testament for you. I do not seek assistance from anyone except Allah. I depend on Him alone and have to return to him". Notes [18] It is said that the Roman Emperor sent two herculean athletes to Muawiya to measure their strength with the Muslim athletes. One of them was tall and corpulent and the other was powerful with a strong grip. Muawiya said to Amr bin As: "We have got a match for the tall man in the person of Qays bin sad bin Ubada, but as regards the other man you should think over it as to who can measure his strength with him and defeat him". Amr said: "I have two persons in view but you are inimical towards both of them. One of them is Muhammad bin Hanafiya and the other is Abdullah bin Zubayr". Muawiya said: "You should summon him who is nearer to us at present. Amr asked Muhammad bin Hanafiya to meet the challenge. Muawiya took his place in the general assembly and the dignitaries of the State also attended. The powerful person was the first to enter the field and came face to face with Muhammad. Muhammad said to him: "Either you should sit down and let me hold your hand so that I may pull you off from your seat, or I may sit down and you may lift me from my place. Now let me know whether you are going to sit down or I should do so?" The Roman said: "You may sit down. Muhammad sat down and let the Roman hold his hand. In spite of his best efforts, however, the Roman could not move Muhammad from his place, and acknowledged his weakness. Then Muhammad stood up and the Roman sat down and let Muhammad hold his hand. Muhammad immediately lifted him from his place with one jerk, held him in the air, and then threw him on the ground. Those present applauded him for his strength and Muawiya too was very happy. Now the second Roman champion who was tall statured entered the field to compete. Qays bin Sād who was present went in a corner, took off his underwear and gave it to the Roman to wear. When the Roman put it on it reached his breast and also trailed along behind his feet. Thereupon, he felt ashamed and sat down. The elder amongst the Ansar were very much annoyed on Qays having taken off his underwear in such a formal meeting and rebuked him. He, however, composed some verses in which he apologized for his conduct. Causes of the rise of Imam Husayn Truly speaking if we wish to find out the causes of the rising of the Imam we shall have to make a search for its preliminaries during a period of at least thirty years preceding that time, because about thirty years after the migration of the Holy Prophet, there had taken place such developments as had made necessary a movement like this in the Islamic society. Uthman bin Affan Umavi ruled over the Muslims for about twelve years as the Caliph of Islam. It is clearly recorded in the history of Islam that the shape of the Islamic Government underwent a change during the six years covering the second half of the Caliphate of Uthman. In fact the Islamic rule should strictly enforce law otherwise the people should be free in all matters and no limits should be laid down for them except those prescribed by law. This Islamic method underwent a change and it assumed another posture that made the Muslim free in all matters, except that it was necessary for them to have regard for the interests of the ruler. Taking advantage of this state of afairs the people began to amass wealth and property from the Baytul Mal (public treasury) of the Muslims. It was the same Baytul Mal that was guarded so carefully by Imam Ali during the period of his caliphate. The same policy was adopted by the caliphs preceding Uthman and even Uthman exercised necessary care in spending from it during the earlier part of his caliphate. However, later this wealth, instead of being spent on the general welfare of the Muslims, fell into the hands of a few persons. These were the malpractices, started thirty years earlier, which Imam Husayn decided to restrain in 60 A.H. by means of a sweeping and bloody revolution, which resulted in his own martyrdom and his everlasting honor. Mas'udi writes in Murujuz Zahab that at the time of his death the Third Caliph left behind in cash 150,000 gold dinars and one million dirhams. However, according to the same Mas'udi, when Imam Ali was martyred Imam Hasan mounted the pulpit and announced: "My father has not left behind any gold or silver except 700 dirhams. This money, too, had been saved by him from his salary to procure a servant for his house". Thereafter Mas'udi writes: "The value of the property owned by the Third Caliph in Wcidiul Qura and at other places reached 100,000 gold dinars. Besides it he also left behind a large number of horses and camels". About Zubayr he writes: "Besides the well-known palace at Basra he built a large number of houses in Basra, Kufa and Alexandria and at the time of his death he owned 50,000 gold dinars, one thousand horses, one thousand slaves and slave-girls and numerous estates in different cities. Talha bin Ubaydullah was a well-known companion of the Holy Prophet. His daily income from the property owned by him in Iraq alone reached 1000 gold dinars and according to another version it exceeded this amount. In Syria he owned even larger property. Abd ur Rahman bin Awf Zuhari was one of the distinguished companions. He had 100 horses, 1000 camels and 10,000 sheep. At the time of his death he had four wives and as he had children also his wives inherited, according to the Islamic law of inheritance, 1/8 of the property left by him. This was decided between the four wives and every wife got 1/32 of the property. This 1/32 amounted to 84,000 gold dinars. When Zayd bin Thftbit died he left behind such a large amount of gold and silver that it was broken with a hatchet and distributed among the heirs and the value of his other property was 100,000 gold dinars. Yala bin Umayya, whose mother's name was Munayya, is also called Yala bin Munayya. The Battle of the Camel was started against Ali with his financial assistance and most of its expenses were borne by him. At the time of his death he left behind 500,000 gold dinars and the people also owed him large sums of money. Besides this the value of property etc. left by him was 300,000 dinars". Thereafter Mas'udi himself writes: "During the Caliphate of Umar there was no such financial disorder and he did not permit these persons to grab all this wealth from the property of the Muslims. On the other hand everything was done in a straightforward manner and according to a clear-cut policy. In the light of the system of government and collection of wealth and its distribution among the Muslims none of the Muslims could acquire so much wealth. After Caliph Uthman Imam Ali attained to the caliphate. The difficult task for Ali, on account of which battles were also fought, was to control these influential persons and not to permit any person any longer to take even one dinar from the Baytul Mal of the Muslims without proper accounting. He wanted to restrain the people from all sorts of covetousness, greed, and bad habits. For about four and a half years covering the period of his caliphate he had to struggle against these very persons who had been prevented by him from amassing wealth. He used to say: "It is no longer possible that I should be at the helm of affairs and this plundering should be renewed. On the contrary I shall recover whatever has been given or taken unlawfully and shall deposit it in the Baytul Mal". On this very account Ali was eventually martyred. Departure of Imam from Madina After his departure from Madina Imam Husayn reached Makkah on 3rd of Shaban and sent his cousin Muslim bin Aqil to Kufa in the middle of Ramazan. From that time till the 8th of Zilhaj he continued to stay on in Makkah. None could imagine that on the 8th of Zil-Haj when the people were putting on Ehram (pilgrim's garb) to perform Haj the son of the Holy Prophet of Allah and child of Makkah and Mina would leave Makkah without performing the ceremonies of Haj and would abandon Ehram after performing Umra. However, the Imam decided to depart from Makkah. He went round the Ka'ba, performed Sa'i between Safa and Marwa and then abandoned Ehram, because there was the danger of his being arrested or killed within the precincts of the sanctuary, and in case he was killed in that way his object could not be achieved. The Imam did not leave Makkah to escape from being killed. He left Makkah so that if he was killed it should be in such a way that Islam should always benefit from his martyrdom. According to Luhuf the Imam addressed a gathering before his departure. After praising the Almighty Allah he said: "Death has marked the human beings in the same manner in which a necklace leaves its mark on the neck of a young woman" (i.e. every human being is destined to die). In these words he hinted at the fact that during those days the social and religious corruption could not be remedied except by the martyrdom of me like him, who was the son of the daughter of the Holy Prophet of Allah. In the discourse delivered before his departure from Makkah he speaks about martyrdom, death, going before his grandfather, the Holy Prophet of Allah, and before his parents and falling into the clutches of the hungry wolves of Karbala. He told the people that his journey would end in this manner. We know that Imam Husayn delivered this discourse earlier than the 8th of Zil-Haj and possibly on the seventh of that month before a gathering of the pilgrims of the House of Allah. At that time the political conditions were apparently favorable for Imam Husayn, and the people thought generally that Yazid bin Mu'awiya would soon step aside and his caliphate would topple down and the Imam who was entitled to the caliphate would attain to it. This was because Muslim bin Aqil, his special representative, had sent a report from Kufa saying: "All the people are with you and do not recognize the caliphate of anyone else. They are also not prepared to acknowledge anyone as their ruler except you. Hence you should come as early as possible". Apparently the conditions were very favorable and reassuring, but in spite of this Imam Husayn was talking about death and martyrdom and the fierceness of the Iraqi wolves. The fact is as already stated by us i.e. Imam Husayn wanted to tell the people that he had already assessed that no result could be achieved and nothing useful and positive could be done without his own martyrdom as well as that of his friends. That is why he said that man cannot avoid death. He said: "I am keen to see the Prophet of Allah, Ali, Hamza, Ja'far and my mother Fatima in the same way in which Ya'qub was keen to see Yusuf. A site of martyrdom has been selected for me by Allah and I am going there". It transpires from this sentence that this was a Divine plan and not one drawn by Husayn bin Ali. The Almighty Allah had destined since eternity that such deviation and corruption, could take place in the Muslim society, and Husayn bin Ali would make an unprecedented self sacrifice and meet martyrdom to remedy the situation. The Imam said: "I can see as if the desert wolves of Iraq are attacking me between Nawāwis and Karbala and tearing me into pieces. They are filling their hungry flanks and empty pockets. It is for them to fill their pockets and to feed themselves to satiety, and for me to fight against this social and religious corruption. This is the plan devised by Allah and it is He who has considered my martyrdom to be the remedy and the means of reforming the present state of affairs. It is impossible to escape from whatever has been destined by Him. We the family of the Holy Prophet are happy with what Allah is pleased with, and like whatever He likes. We bear with patience all the difficulties which He makes us face and He also gives us full reward which is admissible to the patient people. I am a part of the body of the Prophet of Allah and a part of his body cannot remain separate from him. I shall join him in Paradise so that he may be pleased to see me and fulfil the promises made with me. Only he, who is prepared to sacrifice his life for my sake and to meet Allah, should accompany me. God willing I intend to depart tomorrow morning". The Divine religion, the rights of the people and the interests of the Islamic society can be defended at different times in different ways. It may be by spending money in the path of Allah. It may be by speaking for the sake of Allah and bringing the people to the right path by means of useful and instructive words. It may be by writing a book for the sake of Allah and bringing the people nearer to truth and reality with useful publications and increasing their religious and moral insight. However, Imam Husayn declared that at that juncture the problem with which Islam was faced could not be solved with financial assistance or through writing or verbal benevolence. On the contrary the matters had taken such a turn that it was not possible to restrain corruption and eradicate its foundation except by means of self-sacrifice and martyrdom. It would not have been right for anyone to think that as Imam Husayn was going to take a step forward in the path of Allah he too would contribute some money or present five swords, seven coats of mail and four spears to him or say like Ubaydullah bin Hur Juafi in response to the Imam's call that he would give him a strong horse. Husayn bin Ali did not, however, require swords, lances, horses or money, but was prepared to accept only that person who was sincerely prepared to lay down his life for his sake. He said: "Only that person, who is prepared to sacrifice his life for the sake of Allah and to meet the Almighty, can join me in this journey. God willing I shall be departing tomorrow morning". It is surprising that in spite of all these emphatic pronouncements of the Imam many unfortunate opportunists also joined him under the impression that the circumstances were favorable and perhaps most of them remained with him till the news of the martyrdom of Muslim bin Aqil was received. The fact is that from the very beginning these people sided with him, who became caliph and assumed authority. They were not prepared to support the Imam who was going to die and meet martyrdom, who was to be deprived of water, and whose companions were one day going to die the honorable death of martyrs. Merits of Imam Husayn We should now like to quote some traditions relating to Imam Husayn from Ibn Athir's book entitled Usudul Ghabah. A man asked Abdullah bin Umar: "What will be the position if the blood of a mosquito touches the dress of a man?" Abdullah bin Umar said: "Look here! This Iraqi enquires about the blood of a mosquito, although these very Iraqis killed the son of the Prophet of Allah and I myself have heard the Holy Prophet saying: "Hasan and Husayn are my two fragrant flowers in the world". The Holy Prophet said: "Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn. Allah loves him who loves Husayn. Husayn is the son of the Prophet and father of the Imams". Anas bin Harth Kahili, and his father who were the companions of the Holy Prophet, says that he heard the Holy Prophet saying: "This very son of mine (i.e. Husayn) will be killed at a place in the region of Iraq. Whoever is present at that time and is in a position to assist him should assist him". The prelude to what had been said by the Holy Prophet became apparent in 60 A.H. and Imam Husayn also got ready to meet martyrdom. However, it was not, as some persons have imagined, that, as there was no chance of his escaping death, and he knew that even if he surrendered he would be killed, he became helpless and exposed himself to martyrdom. In fact this was not the position, and whoever says or writes this, says something flabby and baseless. If that had been the case what value would there have been of the Imam's action and how could the world attach all this importance to this sacred rising? This movement is the central point of all the sacred movements of the history of Islam and is in fact the center of all sacred religious movements, whether they were initiated before Imam Husayn or were led after him by Zayd bin Ali, Husayn bin Zayd, Sahib Nafs Zakiyya and his brother Ibrahim, Husayn Shahid Fakh and others. How is it possible that such a movement should be analyzed with such baseless explanations? The correct position is the same to which we have referred earlier and said that towards the end of 60 A.H. and in the beginning of 61 A.H. Imam Husayn felt that the Islamic society had reached a stage of spiritual and moral degradation which could not be reformed except by means of rising and martyrdom. It does not, however, mean that it was not possible for him to continue to live and he, therefore, chose to be martyred. What is meant is that he could not find any prospect for the existence of religion and the Islamic ummah except by means of sacred revolution. He concluded that if he wanted the Muslim ummah to live, and there should be a Muslim ummah in the world, he himself must be sacrificed and his dear ones like Zaynab, Umme Kulthum, Fatima bintul Husayn and Ali bin Husayn (Peace be upon them) who were the greatest and the most eloquent orators of the world of Islam should continue Imam Husayn's mission by inviting the attention of the Muslim ummah to its shameful condition, in the bazaars of Iraq and Syria, deliver the Muslim ummah permanently from the danger of death and annihilation, keep alive the sacred movements which were started before Husayn bin Ali and open a smooth path for the future religious movements of the Muslims. After Walid bin Utbah, the Governor of Madina, tried to coerce the Imam under the orders of the caliph of the time to submit and take oath of allegiance, and the incident of the night of 28th Rajab took place, the Imam did not take the oath of allegiance and deferred his final decision to the following day. Thereafter Abdullah bin Zubayr got alarmed and ran away from Madina on the following day, but the Imam stayed on in Madina. On that day he came out of his house to find out whether there was any fresh news. Marwan bin Hakam met him on the street and said to him during the course of their conversation: "Sir, I am your well-wisher. You should hear me and listen to what I say". The Imam replied: "Let me know what you have to say. If it is something good for me I shall surely accept it". Marwan said: "I suggest that you should take the oath of allegiance to Yazid. This will be beneficial to your world as well as to your faith (i.e. if you recognize Yazid as the caliph, Imam and leader of the Muslim nation, and endorse his leadership of the Muslims of the world, you will preserve your faith as well as your worldly interests, but in case you do not take the oath to him, and oppose him, you will destroy your faith and the world will also slip away from your hands)." The Imam said in reply to these presumptuous words of Marwan: "We are from Allah and to Him we shall all return." (Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 156). This verse is usually recited to console ourselves or others when a calamity befalls us. The calamity in connection with which the Imam recited this verse to console himself and others was the intellectual degradation of the Muslims i.e. they had deviated from the true path of religion to such an extent that Marwan had the audacity to say that if Husyan bin Ali took the oath of allegiance to Yazid his faith as well as his worldly interests would be secure, but otherwise both of them would be jeopardized. Then the Imam said: "If the affairs of the Muslim ummah have really taken such a turn that a person like Yazid is going to be the protector of Islam and the Muslims and the ruler of the Muslim world and successor of the Holy Prophet, one should say: "May Allah save Islam", because I have myself heard the Prophet of Allah saying that caliphate is unlawful for the family of Abu Sufyan". Thereupon the discussion between the Imam and Marwan got protracted and eventually Marwan parted with the Imam in a state of anger. Imam Husayn went from Madina to Makkah and on the 8th day of Zil-Haj, which is called tarwih day and which coincided with the day on which Hāni bin Urwah was arrested by Ibn Ziyad, and Muslim bin Aqil staged arising in Kufa, he (Imam Husayn) proceeded to Iraq. The Muslims wondered much at the Imam's sudden departure from Makkah at a time when the ceremonies of Haj were to be performed. Farazdaq, a poet whose name is well-known in the history of Islam says: "In 60 A.H. I took my mother to Makkah to perform Haj. When I arrived in the precincts of the sanctuary and was driving my mother's camel I saw Husayn bin Ali. He was armed and was going out of Makkah. I asked the people: "To whom do these camels belong?" They replied that they belonged to Husayn bin Ali. Thereupon I went to the Imam, saluted him, and said: "O son of the Prophet of Allah! May Allah grant your wishes and may my parents be your ransom, why are you leaving Makkah without performing the ceremonies of Haj?" He replied: "If I had not made haste and not come out of the city I would have been arrested". Then he asked me: "Who are you?" I replied: "I am an Arab." I swear by Allah that he did not make any further investigation or inquiry about me. Then he said: "Do you know anything about the people you have left behind (i.e. the Iraqis)?" I replied: "You have enquired about it from the right person. I know those people very well. Their hearts are with you and their swords are against you. The Divine decree descends from heaven and Allah does what He likes". The Imam said in reply: "You have spoken the truth. Only that thing which Allah wills happens. If the Divine decree is according to our wishes we shall thank Allah for His blessings, and it is also He who can make one succeed in the matter of thanksgiving. And if the Divine decree does not accord with our wishes, and blocks the path of hope, even then one, who has good intentions and a pure heart, does not perish". Farazdaq said: "May Allah grant your wishes and protect you from all calamities". Then Farazdaq enquired from the Imam about Haj ceremonies and took leave of him after obtaining the requisite answers. What the Holy Imam said to Farazdaq needs very careful consideration. The Imam meant to say: 'I am not one of those persons who have an object in view and strive to achieve it, but mayor may not meet success. I have a set objective before me and, whatever the circumstances may be and whoever gains victory or sustains defeat, I shall attain to that objective. A person may work hard to acquire wealth. Another may strive to attain to a high position. Another may go to a doctor for his own treatment or that of his patient. Another may step into the battlefield to defeat his rival. Some may perform good deeds or apparently good deeds to acquire renown and honor. It is possible that such persons may achieve their object, and it is also possible that in spite of their best efforts they may not meet success. It is not necessary that man should achieve what he desires. More often than not our earnest desires suddenly turn into failures. That is what happens to most of the people. They make efforts to achieve their object. At times they are successful, but at other times they not only fail to achieve success but also lose their wealth, and occasionally their life, without getting anything in return. The Imam says: 'I am not one of those people and whatever the future circumstances and the political conditions of Iraq may be, I shall achieve my object. I have risen only to perform the duty which devolves upon me from Allah in the present circumstances. It is not my object to become a caliph or to rule over the Muslims. If I am successful I shall have performed my duty and it will be quite right, and if my enemy is the winner, even then I shall have performed my duty. There is no other object of my movement'. Truly speaking it makes no difference for the godly persons, and those, who have no material motive and perform jihad for Allah, with a view to perform their duty, whether they are victorious or defeated. This interpretation is also on account of the inadequacy of words, otherwise the word defeat does not exist in the dictionary of the godly persons. This was what Imam Husayn said while going to Iraq when he told Farazdaq: "If we succeed we shall thank Allah, but even if destiny does not favor us we shall not perish, because our intention is good. It is possible that we may be killed but we shall not die, because there is a great difference between being martyred in the path of Allah and for the sake of enjoining to do good and restraining from evil on the one hand and dying and perishing on the other". The Imam said exactly the same thing on the day of Āshura in one of his addresses to the people of Kufa. By reciting some poetical verses of the companion of the Holy Prophet named Farwa bin Murādi, he hinted that if some of his friends or enemies thought that that was a day of his death, defeat and destruction, they were sadly mistaken, for the fact was that it was the day of his martyrdom -a martyrdom which would be the first step towards his eternal life. Ibn Tawus writes that when Burayr bin Khuzayr Hamdani counseled the people but they did not pay any heed to him, the Imam himself mounted a camel and asked them to become silent. When they became silent and attentive he praised Allah in a befitting manner and invoked blessings for Muhammad, the angels and other Prophets. Then he said: "O People! Woe be to you! You have deceived us. You cried for help, and we got up quickly to come to your rescue. However, you wielded against us the same sword, which we had given in your hands and kindled for us the same fire, which we had lit to destroy our common enemy. You joined your enemies to fight against your friends and well-wishers, although you have not received justice from them (i.e. from the enemies) in the past and cannot also entertain any hope in the future. Woe be to you! Why did you not take a final decision and forsook us when the swords were still sheathed and the people were tranquil and calm? Why did you begin to fly hurriedly like newly-winged locusts, and why did you fall in the fire of mischief like moths? May you never be blessed, O mean people! who have thrown the Qur'an away and tampered with its words. "O you supporters of sins and friends of Satan and those who have wiped out and destroyed the traditions of the Prophets! Have you withdrawn your hands from our assistance and are you going to support the oppressors? I swear by Allah that you have always been unfaithful. You are inherently faithless people. You are the most filthy fruit, which is of no use to your friends and well-wishers, and chokes their throats, but is easily swallowed by the enemies. By choking the throats of the friends it is meant that you promise assistance and support and boast of your devotion and manliness, but when you are put to test and when it is time to defend Islam and offer sacrifice, you are not only useless, but your oppression and injustice does not spare even your friend, and threatens his life like a choking morsel!" Then the Imam said: "O people of Kufa! You should know that this bastard (i.e. Ubaydullah) son of that bastard (i.e. Ziyad) has obliged me to choose one of the two things; either the swords be unsheathed i.e. there occurs a fierce battle, which culminates in my martyrdom and self-sacrifice or I should fall into disgrace and humiliation and submit to his will so that he may do with me whatever he likes. However, disgrace and humiliation are not acquainted with us. Allah does not like that we should be put to shame and humiliation. The Prophet and the godly persons do not yield to abjectness and humiliation. We have been brought up in the laps of pure mothers. The young men with the sense of honor and the gentlemen with undaunted courage will not go the way of ignoble and weak persons so long as the path of death and martyrdom is open before them, and will not also agree to our humiliation and abjectness. Although at present my faithful friends are few, and many others have ceased to support me, I shall not choose any path other than fighting, and shall not go except the way of martyrdom". It was here that the Holy Imam recited the following poetic verses of Farwa ibn Musayk Muradi which represent a world of spiritual greatness, peace and vigor. "If we have been victorious today it is not something new, because we have always gained victory and even if we are defeated, predominance and victory is ours; and truth is victorious in all circumstances, whether it wins or loses. We are treading this path with courage and manliness and are not accustomed to fear and cowardice. However, what can be done if it be so destined that we should meet martyrdom and others should attain to rulership. It is customary in the world that after attacking the people and trampling upon them death goes back and then renews its attack and crushes another group. Fate is drawing the gentlemen of Bani Hashim towards death in the same manner in which it did in the past ages. If the kings of the world had been immortal, we, who are the rulers of the Kingdom of heaven, would have lived for ever. And if the virtuous and magnanimous persons had continued to live in the world, we, who are the basis of magnanimity and the essence of virtue, would have continued to live. Tell those who rejoice at our misfortune and affliction today: "The time of your affliction is also drawing near, and time will bring down a terrible disaster on you". With this spirit, showing his greatness, determination, devotion and faith, the Imam proceeded from Makkah to Iraq. He knew very well what he was doing, where he was going and what the result of his action would be. However, others and even the relatives and devotees of the Holy Imam were worried lest the favorable circumstances should become unfavorable and eventually the Imam should be martyred. The Imam was going to meet martyrdom but his friends and relatives were requesting him not to go lest he should be killed. One of those persons was Abdullah bin Ja'far, the nephew and son-in-law of Imam Ali. After the departure of Imam Husayn from Makkah Abdullah sent him a letter through his sons Awn and Muhammad. In that letter he entreated the Imam in the name of Allah to return. He also wrote: "I am afraid that you and your men will be martyred, and if you are killed today light will disappear from the world, because people are guided by you and all faithful persons count on you. You should not, therefore, be in a hurry, because I am coming after this letter". Then Abdullah left along with the brother of Amr bin Sa'id, the Governor of Makkah. He was carrying a letter from his brother (the Governor of Makkah) to the Imam wherein he assured him of security and asked him to return to Makkah with full confidence. Both of them came to the Imam, presented the letter of the Governor of Makkah to him and insisted on his returning. The Imam told them in reply: "I have seen my grandfather, the Prophet of Allah, in a dream and he has directed me to continue my mission". They asked him as to what else he had dreamt, but he told them that he had not informed anyone about his dream and would not do so throughout his life. Abdullah bin Ja'far lost hope of the Imam's return. However, he ordered his two sons, Awn and Muhammad to join the Imam. Later they were martyred on the day of Āshura. The Imam continued his journey towards Iraq till he reached near Kufa. From there he wrote a letter to the people of Kufa and sent it to them through Qays bin Mashar Saidawi. He had not yet received the news of the martyrdom of Muslim bin Aqil. In this letter he wrote to the Kufians: "I have received Muslim's letter and have come to know about your allegiance, sincerity, and firm determination to assist me in the path of Allah. I pray to Allah that He may not withhold His kindness from us and grant you handsome reward for your sincerity and firm determination. I left Makkah on Tuesday the 8th of Zil-Haj i.e. on Tarwih Day and have proceeded towards you. When my messenger reaches Kufa you should reinvigorate your resolve and quicken your efforts. If Allah wills I, too, shall join you soon". Qays took the Imam's letter and proceeded to Kufa, but when he reached near the city he was arrested and taken before Ibn Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad asked him to mount the pulpit and abuse Husayn bin Ali. Qays mounted the pulpit, praised Allah and then said: "O people! Husayn is the best of all creatures living at present, and is the son of Fatima, the daughter of your Prophet. I have been sent by him. All of you should rise to assist him". Thereafter he cursed Ubaydullah and his father and invoked blessings for Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib. As ordered by Ubaydullah he was hurled down from the roof and consequently all his bones were cracked. The Imam continued his journey towards Kufa till he reached a place called Zurud. There he learnt about the martyrdom of Muslim and Hani and said: "We are from Allah and to Him we all will return." He also said repeatedly: "May Allah's blessings be upon both of them". At the halting place called Uzaybul Hajanat he received the news of the martyrdom of Qays bin Mashar. He invoked blessings for him and prayed that Allah might grant him a place in Paradise. At the halting place called Zabala he informed his companions about the martyrdom of Muslim and Hani and the state of affairs in Kufa, and said: "Our supporters have withdrawn their support from us. Whoever wishes to leave us and go his way should do so". It was here that most of his companions went away, and only a few of them remained with him. Muhammad bin Jarir Tabari, the famous Islamic traditionalist, exegetic, historian and jurist, in his famous history book entitled Tarikh-e Umam Wal Muluk, has stated that "Imam Husayn addressed the people at the halting place called Zi Hasam and delivered a brief speech. In this speech he stated more clearly the motive of his rising and announced his readiness to be martyred. He said: "You can see what turn the matters have taken. The people are becoming disloyal and unkind. Their goodness is disappearing. The world is passing quickly and nothing except something insignificant and a mean and worthless life remains out of it. The world today is just like a pasturage in which nothing grows except harmful grass". Why did the Imam speak ill of the state of affairs at that time and why did he complain and express regret? He himself explains this in his concluding sentences. There he does not speak about the anxieties of life, or drought or lack of security and peace. The thing which had made life unpleasant and unbearable for the Imam was other than those things which usually make life unpleasant and unwholesome for the people. Just think what the situation at that time was. It was the time when the vanguard of the needy had arrived and there was a danger of the Iraqi soldiers crowding round the Imam. Some persons, therefore, wished that the Imam had not taken this step. Possibly some short-sighted persons imagined that the Imam himself also thought in the same way and regretted his action and its consequences. It was, therefore, necessary that the Imam should reveal the motive of his rising to some extent and mention more clearly what had made his life unpleasant, difficult and unwholesome. It was for this reason that in the above-mentioned brief address he also said: "The present condition of the Muslims is such that truth is not being followed and falsehood is not being abandoned". Imam Husyan meant to say: 'In these circumstances it is necessary for an able and self-sacrificing personality like me, the son of the Prophet of Allah, to rise. Don't you see and in other words why don't you ask me as to why I don't surrender and take the oath of allegiance, and why I don't recognize the present Islamic Government formally and acknowledge Yazid, the grandson of Abu Sufyan as the leader and Imam of the Muslims of the world? Don't you know that there is now no occasion for asking these questions? Don't you see the present condition of the Muslims and don't you realize that the people do not act upon Truth?' Apparently the Imam might mean that, for example, the people told lies or indulged in back-biting in their meetings or kept asleep in the morning and allowed their prayers to lapse. However, it is not so, because such sins have always existed among the people to a more or lesser extent. It seems that the Imam wanted to say: 'Don't you see that the present leadership of the Muslims does not conform to the real Caliphate and Succession of the Prophet of Allah. It does not follow the Prophet and has deviated from its natural course which ought to be adherence to truth and justice. The present caliphate is committing oppression, leaving the tyrants free and even encouraging them.' Then Imam Husayn said: "In such circumstances a pious person should crave for death and this regrettable condition makes a believer fond of martyrdom and meeting Allah". In the sermon delivered by Imam Husayn in Masjidul Haram he spoke about death, martyrdom and self-sacrifice. Here also he spoke about martyrdom and lack of interest in life. He said: "Living with oppressors does not bear any fruit except weariness, annoyance and vexation". What the Imam said here briefly was stated by him in detail and he explained more clearly the conditions prevailing in those days when he came face to face with Hur bin Yazid Riyahi who had come from Kufa along with one thousand horsemen to arrest him. Imam Husayn Encounters Hur Imam Husayn encountered Hur and his companions on the 1st of Muharram, 61 A.H. and provided them water to satiate their thirst. It was now the time for noon prayers and Hajjāj bin Masruq Juafi, one of the honorable martyrs of Karbala, pronounced azān (call to prayers) under the orders of the Imam. The Imam then came out of his tent and conversed with them after the call to prayers. Then after praising the Almighty Allah he said, "O people! My excuse before Allah and you Muslims of Kufa is that I did not proceed to Iraq without reason. Your representatives came to me and you wrote in your letters that you had no Imam and asked me to come to you so that Allah might guide you through me. I have come now. If you are prepared to assure me by renewing your promises and covenants I shall come to your city, but if you don't do so or are worried and disturbed on account of my arrival I am prepared to return to the place from which I have come". Hur and his companions did not, however, give any reply to the Imam. As directed by the Imam, Hajjāj pronounced iqāmah and both the armies offered congregational prayers led by the Imam, and after taking rest they also offered the afternoon prayers in a similar way. After the prayers the Imam spoke to the companions of Hur once again and said: "O people! If you fear Allah and are pious and recognize the right of the rightful persons Allah will be pleased with you (here also by the word 'right' the Imam did not mean to tell the people that, for example, they should not pare the wall of their neighbor while they are constructing a building, or should not try to board a vehicle earlier than another passenger who enjoys priority. The Imam meant the right, which is the basis of all the rights i.e. the right of Imamate and leadership of the Muslims of the world, for if that right is secure all other rights are also secure, but if that right is eliminated all other rights are also violated). Then he said: "We the members of the family of the Holy Prophet are the fittest persons to govern you and to exercise authority over you in material and religious matters as compared with the persons, who are at the helm of affairs these days. They are unreasonable persons and claim to hold a very sacred and delicate office which they do not deserve. They oppress you. Such persons cannot be recognized to be the successors of the Holy Prophet, Imams of the Muslims, defenders of the sacred religion of Islam and the protectors of the Holy Qur'an". Hur bin Yazid Riyahi said in reply to the remarks of the Imam: "I swear by Allah that I am not aware of the letters and the messengers." The Imam asked Uqbah bin Samān (who was made captive on the day of Āshura but was set free later) to place the letters of the Kufians before Hur and his men." However, Hur said again: "We have not written any letter and we shall not leave you until we take you before Ibn Ziyad". The Imam said: "This is not possible before death". The Imam and Hur mounted along with their respective companions and adopted a route that led neither to Madina nor to Kufa. In the meantime Hur said to the Imam by way of sympathy and advice: "I entreat you in the name of Allah not to fight, because if you fight you will be killed". The Imam got excited and said: "Do you threaten me with death? Will you be comforted by killing me? My reply is the same which the man from Aws tribe gave when he wanted to support the Holy Prophet, but his cousin warned him of being killed and said: "Where are you going? You will be killed". That Awsi man replied: "I have selected my path and for a brave man, whose intentions are good, who does not lose the spirit of Islam in the path of jihad and does not care for his life in assisting the good people, keeps aloof from the ignoble persons, and does not accompany the wicked, it is not a matter of shame to die honorably. If I live I will not have to regret and in case I lay down my life in this path I shall not be reproached. The baseness of man lies in the fact that he should live an ignominious and shameful life." Imam Husayn and Hur accompanied by their respective companions, reached a halting place called Bayza. Here also the Imam spoke to those people and made it more clear than before that at that time he was under an obligation to perform a duty. The contents of this speech of his are as follows: "Yazid is a tyrannical and oppressive caliph, who considers lawful the things declared by Allah to be unlawful. He breaks Divine covenants, opposes the path of the Prophet and oppresses the people. The Holy Prophet has said that in such circumstances if someone does not restrain such a caliph with his words and conduct from committing evil deeds it is necessary for Allah to send him to the same place to which He sends that oppressive caliph". It is the same thing to which the Holy Qur'an has alluded in these words: We have made some of the Imams {leaders} lead their followers to the Fire. (Surah al-Qasas, 28:41) All the leaders do not take their followers to Paradise. Some of the Imams and leaders of the nation guide the people towards Paradise and good fortune, and that Paradise means in the general sense of progress, prosperity and greatness in this world as well as in the Hereafter. However, according to the Holy Qur'an and historical experience some Imams, like Yazid, drag their followers towards fire, torture and certain downfall. The Imam then explained more explicitly the conditions prevailing during those days in 60 A.H. and said: "You should know that these people namely the agents of the Caliphate of Bani Umayya follow Satan, carry out his orders and do not forsake his obedience. In the same proportion they have disobeyed Allah and started committing crimes openly and have suspended the Divine punishments. They have appropriated the property of the Muslims to themselves i.e. they have allocated to themselves the money which should have been credited to the public treasury of the Muslims; spent for their own selfish desires. They have treated the things made lawful by Allah to be unlawful and those made unlawful by Him to be lawful. Now that they have created these conditions, who can be more responsible to change them and eliminate the causes of the decline of the Muslims in accordance with the orders of the Holy Prophet than myself. I am Husayn bin Ali, the son of Fatima, and one of those for whose sake the verse of Purification (33:33) and the verse of Mubahila (3:61) were revealed, and I am the disciple of Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful". Indeed, who could perform the task performed by Husayn bin Ali? Who could obtain friends like his friends and who could take his place in this movement? Ibn Abbas was a great scholar and commentator of the Holy Qur'an, a distinguished companion of the Holy Prophet and his cousin. However, he could not perform the task performed by Husayn bin Ali. Muhammad bin Hanafiya was the brother of the Imam and son of Ali ibn Abi Talib but he was not equal to this occasion. Habib ibn Mazāhir Asadi was a companion of the Holy Prophet, but was not capable of doing what Imam Husayn did. Same was the case with Muslim bin Awsaja and Hani bin Urwa Murādi. Imam Husayn's cousin Muslim bin Aqil, his worthy and honorable brother Abbas, and his dear, brave and pious son Ali bin Husayn were all very great and magnanimous persons, who displayed astonishing valor and self-sacrifice in this great Islamic movement and cooperated with him fully. However, notwithstanding all their magnanimity and great personality none of them could become the central point of this sacred movement. The nucleus and the spiritual power of this Divine movement was hidden in the personality of Imam Husayn. It was this very spiritual power which guided this movement till its last stage and even prepared his survivors for its guidance till they were subjected to extreme torture and captivity. Then the Imam said: "I am in receipt of your letters through messengers telling me about your allegiance and steadfastness in the path of truth. You have written that whatever the circumstances might be you would not forsake me and would not surrender me to the enemy. Now if you stick to your oath of allegiance and your decision and, as was written by you, do not desist from assisting me you will enjoy good luck, for I am the son of Ali and Fatima and shall remain with you in this sacred jihad. My wives and children will share the fate of your wives and children. It does not also behoove you to hold the lives of your wives and children more dear than the lives of my family. When I am ready to sacrifice my own life as well as the lives of the members of my family, you, too, should not spare your own lives as well as the lives of the members of your family". In other words he said: "Now that I am prepared for being martyred along with my companions and for my women and children being made captives in the path of enjoining to do good and restraining from evil and have brought my dear ones along with me so that you may have no excuse left, it is also your duty that you should follow your Imam and should not falter in the path of Allah. You should not be distressed on account of being killed or made captives, and should not lag behind in assisting the Imam of the time and son of your Prophet. However, if, in spite of all this, you break your promise and abandon allegiance to me I swear by my life that such an action by people like you will not surprise me, because you have behaved in this very manner towards my father Ali, my brother Hasan and my cousin Muslim bin Aqil. A person who trusts you and becomes proud of your promise is deluded. Nevertheless you should know that if you do so the loss will be yours. You will be deprived of good luck. Whoever breaks his promise is a loser himself and it is possible that Allah may soon make me independent of your assistance". The Imam delivered this address before one thousand persons who were the companions of Hur and all of them heard it, but there was only one person who was impressed by it and showed after a few days that he had properly comprehended the lesson taught by the Imam. That person was Hur bin Yazid Riyahi. In the morning of the day of Āshura he went to Umar bin sad and said to him: " Are you really going to fight with Husayn bin Ali? Umar replied: "I swear by Allah that I shall fight with him and it will be a tough fight too". Hur said: "Is there any harm if you accept one of the offers made by the Imam?" Umar replied: "If I had possessed authority there would have been no harm and I would have accepted it, but Ibn Ziyad is not prepared to accept anyone of them." It was at this time that a dangerous conflict commenced between the intellect and passions of this lucky man. It was necessary that he should submit either to the spiritual power or the Satanic temptation. At last, however, the celestial spark which the Imam's words had kindled in his heart prevailed over the devil of his passions and he chose the Divine path and said: ..By Allah; I have reached a place where the ways to Paradise and Hell part. By Allah, even if I am cut to pieces and burnt a number of times I shall not prefer anything to Paradise". Then Hur proceeded to the camp of the Imam. There he confessed his sin, adopted the right path and said: "Almighty Allah knows that I was not aware that the matters would take such a turn. I have now come to repent, but I do not know whether my repentance can be accepted". The Imam replied: "Of course, Allah will accept your repentance and shall forgive you". Then the Imam asked his name. He replied: "I am Hur bin Yazid". The Imam said: "You are a free person as your mother named you Hur (free). You are free in this world as well as in the Hereafter. You should dismount now:' He said: "Will it not be better that I should combat with these horsemen for some time and dismount after attaining the honor of martyrdom?" The Imam replied: "May Allah bless you. You may do as you like". Hur returned to the people of Kufa and began talking to those persons who were his colleagues and fellow-soldiers an hour earlier. He reproached them for their betrayal and faithlessness and spoke thus to the army of which he himself had been a commander: "O people of Kufa! May you die and may Allah make your mothers mourn. You invited this servant of Allah, and when he accepted your invitation and came to you, you withheld your assistance from him. You who promised earlier that you would sacrifice your lives for his sake, have encircled him today and have drawn your swords to kill him. You have besieged him and made it impossible for him to breathe. You are troubling him from every side and do not wish that he should be free, and he and the members of his family should find refuge somewhere. You have made him helpless like a captive. You have deprived him and his women, children and companions of the water of the river Euphrates which is drunk by all Muslims and non-Muslims, and in which the desert birds of Iraq bathe. They are almost exhausted on account of thirst. How badly you have treated the descendants of the Holy Prophet after him! If you do not repent even now, and do not abandon the idea of killing him Allah will not quench your thirst on the Day of Judgment". These were the words of the fortunate man who had one day blocked the way of the Imam of his time, alarmed his women and children, made him camp under the orders of Ibn Ziyad in a desert away from human habitation and had collaborated with his enemies from the 2nd of Muharram till the morning of the l0th Muharram. However, within less than an hour his spirit underwent a change and he suddenly began to crave for martyrdom. He became so self-sacrificing in the path of truth that he could no longer content himself with worldly thoughts and hope for life; he did not forsake eternal happiness. Allah says: Allah is the Guardian of the believers. He takes them out of darkness into light. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:257) The same invisible Hand, which pulls out the undeserving persons from martyrdom and eternal good name, aids the people of noble spirit from different places into the domain of martyrdom and self-sacrifice and places Hur bin Yazid Riyahi, the commander of the enemy's army into the row of Habib ibn Mazāhir Asadi and Burayr bin Khuzayr Hamdani and even in the row of Ali bin Husayn, Qasim bin Hasan and other Hashimi young men. Arrival of Imam Husayn in Karbala On Thursday, the 2nd of Muharram 61 A.H. Imam Husayn camped at a place in the region of Naynava called Karbala. On the following day Umar bin Sād bin Abi Waqqas Zohari reached there from Kufa with 4000 soldiers and encamped opposite the camp of Imam. Sād belonged to the family of Bani Zohra bin Kilab of the tribe of Quraysh and was a near relative of Lady Amina, mother of the Holy Prophet. Umar's father Sād bin Abi Waqqas was one of the five persons who embraced Islam, in the beginning of the Holy Prophet's mission, owing to their acquaintance with Abu Bakr. He is well-known in the history of Islam and in connection with the Islamic conquests. Umar bin Sād sent someone to the Imam enquiring of him as to why he had come to Iraq. The Imam said in reply: "The Iraqis themselves sent letters to me inviting me to come. Now if you do not like my coming I am prepared to return to the Hijaz". Ibn Sād wrote a letter to Ibn Ziyad and informed him of what the Imam had said. Ibn Ziyad said: "Now that he has been caught in our clutches he hopes to escape and return to the Hijaz. There is now no question of showing indulgence and no way is open for him". Further he wrote to Ibn Sād: "I have carefully read your letter and understood what you have written. Tell Husayn bin Ali that he and all his companions should take oath of allegiance to Yazid. When this has been done we shall take some decision about them". Soon after Ibn Sād received another letter from Ibn Ziyad asking him to prevent Husyan and his companions from utilizing water and not to allow them to drink even a drop of it. Umar immediately dispatched 4000 men under the command of Amr bin Hajjāj to stand between Imam Husayn and the river Euphrates and to check the use of water by the Imam and his companions. This event took place three days before the martyrdom of the Imam. The Imam asked Ibn Sād to see him. They met at night at a place situated between the camps of the two armies and had protracted discussions. When Umar bin Sād returned to his camp he wrote a letter to Ibn Ziyad saying: " Allah has extinguished the flames of war. We have reached an agreement and the matter has been settled according to the national interests. Husayn bin Ali is now prepared to return to the Hijaz or to proceed to some Islamic frontier". In order to make Ibn Ziyad agree to his suggestion he also added a lie justified by its motive. Ibn Ziyad cooled down and was impressed by the suggestions made by Ibn Sād. However, Shimr bin Zil Jawshan, who was present there said: "You are making a mistake. You should make the most of this opportunity and now that you have gained control over Husayn bin Ali, you should not let him go, because you will not get such an opportunity again". Ibn Ziyad said: "You are right. You should, therefore, go to Karbala personally and deliver this letter to Ibn Sād telling him that Husayn and his companions should surrender unconditionally, and then he (Ibn Sād) should send them to Kufa, and failing that he should fight with them. If Ibn Sād is not agreeable to this and is not prepared to fight with Husayn bin Ali, you yourself should assume the command of the army and cut off his (Ibn Sād's) head and send it to me". Then he wrote a letter to Ibn Sā'd saying: "I have not sent you to behave leniently toward Husyan Ibn Ali and to intercede with me for him and to make his life secure. Now you should note that if he himself (i.e. Husayn) and his friends surrender, you should send them to me, and if they decline to do so, you should attack and kill them and mutilate' their bodies i.e. cut off their ears and noses, for they deserve this treatment. And if Husayn bin Ali is killed you should make the horses trample upon his chest and back because he is a cruel, quarrelsome and ungrateful man. This does not mean that I wish to hurt him after his death. However, I have pledged my word that if I kill him I shall get him trampled upon by the horses. Now if you act according to my directions I shall reward you, but if you do not act as you have been advised, you should hand over charge of the army to Shimr bin Zil Jawshan, who has been given necessary instructions by me". When Ibn Ziyad wrote this dangerous letter and gave it to Shimr, Ummul Banin's nephew (brother's son) Abdullah bin Abil Mihal bin Hizam was also present. He stood up and said: "O Emir! My cousins Abbas, Abdullah, Ja'far and Uthman, sons of Ali bin Abi Talib have come with their brother. If possible you may please write a letter of security for them' '. Ibn Ziyad replied: "All right". What a great difference there is between the thinking and assessment of the two parties! The cousin of Abi Fazal renders, in his own opinion, a great service to his cousins (aunt's sons) and obtains a letter of security for them from Ibn Ziyad. But the question is: Will they make use of this letter and go away deserting their brother, master and Imam? When the slave of Abdullah brought the said letter of security to Karbala and called the sons of Ummul Banin and said to them: "Your cousin Abdullah has sent a letter of security for you". He was perhaps thinking that on hearing this the sons of Ummul Banin would become extremely happy. However, the sons of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib replied to him with one voice: "Convey our greetings to our cousin and tell him that we do not stand in need of security from Ibn Ziyad. Divine Security is better than the security granted by the son of Sumayya". When Shimr reached Karbala he delivered Ibn Ziyad's letter to Umar Sād and they exchanged views. Eventually Umar Sād agreed to carry out the Emir's orders himself. Shimr was related to the mother of these young men (Abbas and his three brothers) and, therefore, announced that they had been granted security. However, he received the same reply. Then Umar Sād mounted his horse, occupied a place in front of his army and said: "O riders of Allah! Mount, and be it known to you that your place is in Paradise". Strangely enough this is the same expression which was uttered by the Holy Prophet in a battle when he invited his companions to defend Islam, and Ibn Sād uttered the same words on the 9th of Muharram against the son and the right successor of the Holy Prophet and his sons and dear ones. At this moment the Imam was sitting in front of his tent, with a sword in his hand and had gone to sleep with his' head resting on his knees. Suddenly the uproar of the army approached nearer and nearer. Lady Zaynab ran to her brother in a state of perplexity and said: "Brother! Don't you hear the uproar of the enemy army which has reached near? The Imam raised his head from his knees and said: " Just now I saw the Holy Prophet in a dream and he told me that I was going to him. On hearing this Zaynab slapped her own face and said: "How sad it is for me!" The Imam said: "Sister! Don't be sad. Be tranquil. Allah will bless you". In the meantime Abbas bin Ali arrived, submitted a military report and said: "My master! The enemy has reached. What is to be done?" The Imam stood up and said: "My brother Abbas! May my life be sacrificed for you. Mount your horse, go and ask them as to why they have launched an attack at this time and what new development has taken place". Abbas approached the enemy army accompanied by twenty horse-men including Zuhayr bin Qayn and Habib ibn Mazahir Asadi and enquired from them about the reason for their sudden attack. They replied: "We have received orders from our Emir that either you should surrender immediately or we should fight against you". Abbas said: "Don't be in a hurry. Let me go to the Imam and inform him of the position". While Abbas went and informed Imam Husayn of the matter, his companions remained in front of the enemy forces and counseled them. Imam Husayn said to his brother: "Go back to them and, if possible, obtain extension of time from them till tomorrow morning, so that tonight we may offer prayers to Allah and make supplications and seek His forgiveness. Allah knows that I love to offer prayers, to recite the Qur'an, to make supplications and to ask His forgiveness". Somehow they granted respite to the Imam and his friends till the following morning. The Imam also availed of this short opportunity and prepared himself for martyrdom. He tested his companions once again so that if anyone had been ignorant of the result of the rising, he should come to know that the Imam had no way before him except martyrdom and sacrifice, and whoever had not stayed on with a view to meeting martyrdom should go away and vacate the field of sacrifice for those noble persons who did not care for their lives. Imam Zaynul Abidin Ali bin Husayn, the fourth Imam, who had accompanied his father during this journey says: "My father called his companions after sunset and addressed them. Although I was ill I went there to hear his speech". It should be kept in mind that this speech was delivered by a person, who had less than a hundred supporters with him and was encircled by more than 20,000 men of the enemy and had been given extension of time till the following morning only. The Holy Imam knew very well that he could not agree to surrender and take the oath of allegiance and tolerate the ignoble persons. He also knew that the enemy would not leave him alone and the matter would not be settled without fighting and in the circumstances his own martyrdom as well as that of his companions at the hands of the Iraqis, who had gathered to kill him, was certain. In spite of all this he spoke to his companions with perfect composure and confidence. He pointed out to them that the following day was the day of martyrdom, and insisted upon them that each one of them should hold the hand of one of the members of his family and get out of trouble, and then they could go to their respective cities, so that Allah might grant them relief, because the enemies were after him only, and, after having overpowered him, they would have nothing to do with anyone else. Imam's Sermon on the Night of Ashura The Imam commenced his speech thus: "I thank Allah to the best of my ability and praise Him during the time of weal and woe. a Lord! I thank You because You have honored us by means of Prophethoodt taught us the Qur'an, made us comprehend the religion and its commandments, granted us eyes, ears and hearts; kept us free from the pollution of polytheism and then enabled us to thank You for Your blessings. It is a fact that I am not aware of any companions more faithful and honest than my companions, and any relatives more righteous and kind than my relatives. May Allah grant all of you a good reward. I think that the day of our fighting with this army has arrived. I permit all of you to go away. You are free to depart without any restriction and should take advantage of the darkness of night". This speech has been quoted by Shaykh Mufid, Tabari, Abul Faraj and Ibn Athir, but none of them has written that any companion of the Imam went away on this occasion. Those who had to go had already departed on the way when the news about the martyrdom of Muslim bin Aqil, Hani, Qays bin Mashar and Abdullah bin Yaqtar was received. The Divine Hand had already driven away the cowardly persons from the Holy Imam. The great historians have recorded nothing after the Imam's speech of the Āshura night except the self-sacrifice and steadfastness of the companions of the Imam. All of them write that when the Imam finished his speech and he insisted that they should leave him and escape trouble, his brothers, sons, nephews (sons of his brothers) and the sons of Abdullah bin Ja'far led by Abbas bin Ali said first of all with one voice: "Should we go away to live after you? We pray to Allah that the time may not come when you may be killed and we may remain alive". Then the Imam turned to the descendants of Aqil and said: "O children of Aqil! It is sufficient that Muslim has been killed. You are now free to go away". They replied: "Allah be praised! If we leave our chief and the best of our cousins and go away and do not fight along with him with arrows, spears and swords and do not know how he and his friends have fared with the enemy, what will the people say? We swear by Allah that we shall do no such thing. On the contrary we shall sacrifice the lives and property of our family in the path of Allah and render you assistance, and shall fight along with you so that we may also acquire the honor of martyrdom. What a shame to live the life which is without you!" Then Muslim bin Awsaja got on his feet and said: "If we withdraw our support from you and leave you alone what excuse shall we put forward before Allah? I swear by Allah that I shall not go away and shall not leave you. I shall thrust my spear in the chest of your enemies and shall quench the thirst of my sword with their blood as far as possible. And when there are no arms left in my hand to fight with, I shall shower stones upon them. By Allah we shall not leave you, so that Allah may see that in the absence of His Prophet we have honored the rights of his son. By Allah, even if I come to know that I shall be killed and then burnt in fire and shall be brought to life again and eventually my ashes will be scattered in the air and I die and become alive in this way seventy times, even then I shall not leave you till I lay down my life for your sake. Then why should I not do so when I am going to be killed only once and will thereafter be honored, happy and exalted, for ever". When the speech of Muslim bin Awsaja came to an end, Zuhayr bin Qayn Bajali stood up. He was the same man, who was at one time an enemy of Imam Husayn, remained away from him on the route to Iraq, and did not at all wish to meet him. Allah, however, willed that Zuhayr should meet martyrdom in His path in the company of Imam Husayn so that he might be honored for ever and his good and glorious name should illuminate the history of the tragedy of Āshura. He commenced his speech thus: "By Allah, I wish that I am killed and then brought to life and then killed once again and this act should be repeated a thousand times and this becomes the means of Allah protecting you and the young men of your family, and all of you remain alive". Others also expressed similar views. The Imam invoked Divine blessings for them and returned to his tent. Imam Sajjad says: "During the night preceding the day on which my father was martyred I was ill and my aunt Zaynab was nursing me. My father had at that time retired into his own tent and only Jaun bin Jaun, the former slave of Abuzar Ghifari was with him. Jaun was setting my father's sword right and my father was reciting some couplets. He repeated these poetic verses twice or thrice and I understood what he was saying and what he meant by it. By reciting these verses he referred to the inconstancy and unkindness of the world, which at times smiles like a kind friend, and enchants the people with its pleasing countenance and one feels that the circumstances will always be favorable. However, it suddenly changes its attitude and becomes unkind and unfaithful. It makes bitter with its poison the life which had once been sweet like honey. It drives away the friends, about whom one thinks that they would remain friendly for ever and boasts of their friendship and devotion when the circumstances are favorable; rather it makes most of those friends stand before one in the shape of blood-thirsty and war-like enemies. N o one knows what is going to happen tomorrow, and when he is going to be deprived of the glory, strength and security which has been bestowed upon him. Who is the person, who has not lost the game during his life, and where is the powerful man, whose strength has not been damaged by the vicissitudes of events? By reciting these verses the Imam meant to say that on the following day many magnanimous persons would meet martyrdom. It is not possible for any person to make someone else take his place to face the events of time. The end of the matter is in the hands of Allah. Every living being must traverse this path. It was not only he and his companions who were faced that day with the unfavorable time. On the contrary the world at one time assumes the same countenance against everyone. The fourth Imam says: "I understood that my father meant to inform us of his martyrdom, and tears almost choked me, but I controlled myself. I realized that a calamity was about to fall. However, my aunt Zaynab also heard what I had heard, and as she was a woman, and the women are tender-hearted by nature, and lose patience, she could not control herself. She got up suddenly and went before her brother without wearing a veil and said: "Oh! That I should become brotherless! I wish that I had died earlier. O successor of the deceased and O the refuge of the survivors! It is today that I am going to be left without mother, father and brother". On seeing his sister in a distressed condition Imam Husayn said: "Sister! Be patient lest Satan should make you lose your self-control". It may be said that these words of the Imam were a lesson for his sister which prepared her to face the difficult situations in Kufa and Damascus later. It was Zaynab who had to assume the leadership of this movement from the time of the Imam's martyrdom till the return of Ahlul Bayt to Madina, and by means of this lesson the Imam was entrusting this Divine trust to her. The Imam said: "Dear sister! Be patient lest Satan should make you lose your self-control". In other words he said: 'Recognize yourself and do not forget your personality and the importance which you enjoy in this great movement. The task which you have to perform is not easier than that which I can perform, and you can discharge your duty only by means of greatness of soul and spirituality which you have acquired and inherited from your parents, Ali and Fatima. If you lose patience today because you have received a hint that your brother will be martyred or you have heard some touching verses, how will you endure the events of tomorrow? At the same time how will you be able to deliver speeches in the bazaars of Kufa and the Islamic capital (i.e. Damascus) with perfect composure, and say what remains to be said, and bring to light what is hidden, and disclose the deceitful acts of the enemies of Ahlul Bayt and apprise the people of true facts in the center of the caliphate and government of the descendants of Abu Sufyan, and frustrate their unjust propaganda by delivering speeches?' The Imam in his brief speech gave a significant lesson to his sister. Tears came in his eyes and he said: "Sister! What am I to do? You can see with what condition I am faced and what a large army has gathered to kill me". Zaynab also uttered some touching words and became unconscious. Imam Husayn consoles Lady Zaynab Imam Husayn made her sister recover her senses and repeatedly requested her to remain patient and persevering. He said: "Dear sister, be tranquil and patient. It is not that only the inhabitants of the world die. Those in the heavens do not also continue to live. Everything dies except the Almighty, Who has created the people with His power, and will one day bring them to life again, whereas He Himself is Unique. Dear sister! My grandfather was better than me. My father was better than me. My mother and brother were better than me. It is necessary for every Muslim to follow the Prophet of Allah". After these consolatory remarks the Imam said: "Dear sister! I administer an oath to you that you will follow my advice. Do not tear your dress on account of my suffering, do not scratch your face and do not lament". The night of Āshura came to an end -the night which will never come again in the history of mankind, because the great personalities who had prepared themselves during that night for martyrdom in the path of Allah and were waiting for the morning to repay their debt to the Holy Prophet and Imam Ali cannot make their appearance once again. How can time reproduce such personalities when the conditions in which they appeared and attained so much perfection cannot be repeated. The night of Āshura and the eleventh night of Muharram can be repeated only if another Qur'an is revealed once again and a prophet as great as the Last Prophet is appointed to the prophetic mission and a father like Ali and a mother like Fatima come into existence, and an atmosphere like that of Ahlul Bayt is present in the world. That night can reappear only if the conditions are like those in which the seventeen young men of the family of Bani Hashim could return, men, about whom the Imam said that they were matchless on the face of the earth, and the means for the appearance of men like Habib ibn Mazāhir Asadi and other companions of the Holy Imam come into existence. That night can come again only if Islam is threatened by the dangers which it had to face in those days from Bani Umayya, and all the favorable and unfavorable conditions which prevailed in the year 61 A.H. come into existence once again. Morning of Ashura During the night of Āshura the Imam and his companions offered prayers, sought Divine forgiveness, and made supplications. The night eventually came to end and the morning of their day of glory arrived. It has been written by Shaykh Mufid in his book entitled al-Irshad and by Tabari in his Tarikh that after dawn prayers the Imam arrayed his companions, out of whom thirty two were mounted and forty were on foot. He entrusted the command of the right wing to Zuhayr bin Qayn and that of left wing to Habib ibn Mazahir and also entrusted the standard to his brother Abbas. Umar bin Sād also arrayed his forces in the morning of that day. He entrusted the command of the right wing to Amr bin Hajjāj Zubaydi, of the left wing to Shimr bin Jawshan, of the mounted soldiers to Azra bin Qays Ahmadi and of the infantrymen to Shith bin Rabie and gave the standard in the hand of his slave. On the day of Āshura the Imam addressed the people, and delivered speeches a number of times. However, he commenced the day with supplication and every time before he addressed the enemy he sought strength and guidance from Allah. All the invocations and addresses of the Imam are couched in highly eloquent and expressive language. He addressed the soldiers of the enemy army with a perfectly calm and composed mind as if all of them were his friends and devotees and had gathered together to assist him, although he knew very well that after these addresses those very people would attack him with 30,000 spears and kill him. These speeches were being delivered by an orator, who was thirsty and did not have even a drop of water to moisten his lips. He was an orator, who knew that after a short time his women and children would be made captives by his impudent and sworn enemies. He was an orator, who had not eaten any food and was also thirsty, although on the day of Āshura he did not complain about hunger on account of his lofty character and patience and mentioned thirst only. Imam Sajjad has said: "The son of the Prophet's daughter was killed when he was thirsty and hungry". It is really surprising that an orator, who is hungry and thirsty, should speak before thousands of enemies who are ready to kill him. Though there are numerous causes of his anxiety and uneasiness, yet he speaks in such a way that whatever he says is eloquent and expressive. He speaks with perfect peace of mind and courage. Whatever he says is firm and logical. He seldom expresses helplessness and broken-heartedness. As his companions are killed and the place around him becomes vacant his speech becomes all the more eloquent, and he displays more courage and greater peace of mind. Where can one find such an orator in the history of mankind -a helpless and friendless orator, whose speech is not affected by the prevailing conditions and who is perfectly calm and composed, although there is nothing to mitigate his anxiety and mental disturbance. Supplication of Imam in the Morning of Ashura In the morning of the day of Āshura the horsemen of the enemy launched an attack on the ranks of the Imam. The Imam raised his hands in prayer and said: "O Lord! I depend on you in every affliction and am hopeful of Your blessing in every hardship. In every difficulty with which I am faced, You are my only remedy and resort. There have been many embarrassments which weakened my heart and no remedy for it was available. The friends did not assist me and the enemies rejoiced at my misfortune. However, when I ceased to seek assistance from everyone except You and sought the remedy only from You, You provided me solace and relief and removed the difficulty. Every blessing and goodness reaches us from You and everything should be sought from You only". Sermon of Imam to the Army of Yazid Then the Imam mounted his camel and addressed the people with a very loud voice, which could be heard by most of them: "O people of Iraq! Listen to me and do not make haste to kill me so that I may tell you what I must, and appraise you of the reason for my coming to Iraq. If you accept my excuse, believe in what I say, and behave towards me fairly, you will level for yourselves the path of prosperity, and then you will have no reason to kill me. And even if you do not accept my excuse and deviate from the path of justice, you must ponder over the pros and cons of the matter before you kill me, and should not undertake such a delicate task rashly and without deliberation. My supporter is the Almighty Allah Who has revealed the Qur'an. Allah guards His deserving slaves". When the Imam's speech reached this stage, he heard the wails and lamentations of his sisters and daughters, who were hearing him. Thereupon he said to his brother Abbas and his son Ali: "Go and silence these women, because hereafter they will have to weep much". When the voice of the ladies of the Holy and impeccable family was no longer heard the Imam praised Allah and invoked blessings for the angels and the prophets. He spoke in more eloquent and expressive words than any orator, who had existed before him, or would come after him, and said to the people of Kufa: "O people! Identify me and see who I am. Then you will come to your senses and reproach yourselves. You should reflect carefully whether it is permissible for you to kill me and to disregard the reverence due to me. "Am I not the son of your Prophet's daughter? Is the wasi (vicegerent) of your Prophet and his cousin and the first person, who expressed belief in Allah and confirmed what was brought by His Prophet, not my father? Is the Doyen of Martyrs Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib not the uncle of my father? Is the martyr Ja'far bin Abu Talib who has two wings and flies with Allah's angels not my uncle? Have you not heard that the Holy Prophet has said about me and my brother: "These two sons of mine are the chiefs of the young men of Paradise". If you think that whatever I am saying is true so much the better. I swear by Allah that I know Allah hates the liars, and I have never told a lie. And even if you do not believe in my words and refute me, there are still some companions of the Holy Prophet amongst you who, when asked, will apprise you of the facts. Ask Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari, Abu Sa'id Khudari, Nahl bin Sadi, Zayd bin Arqam or Anas bin Malik, so that they may tell you that they have heard these words from the Holy Prophet about me and my brother. Is this tradition itself not sufficient to restrain you from killing me? If you are doubtful about this tradition can you doubt even this that I am the son of your Prophet's daughter? I swear by Allah that between East and West there is no son of the daughter of a Prophet except me either amongst you or amongst others. "You should tell honestly whether I have killed anyone from amongst you so that you may take revenge! Is it that I have appropriated your wealth and you are claiming it? Have I injured you for which you have risen to compensate?" None of them, however, came forward to give a reply to what the Imam said. He was, therefore, obliged to call some of them by their names and addressed them in these words: "O Shabath bin Rabie, Hajjār bin Abjar, Qays bin Ashath and Yazid bin Harith! Did you yourselves not write letters to me saying: "The fruits have become ripe and the lands are green and fresh and the soldiers of Iraq are ready to sacrifice their lives for you and you should, therefore, proceed to Iraq as early as possible?" Tabari writes that in reply to the Imam they said: "We did not write any letter and are not aware of what you are saying." Truly speaking it is the height of meanness and foul play that the same persons who invited their Imam by means of a large number of letters and had signed those letters, were replying to him with utmost impudence that they had neither written any letters to him nor invited him ! Here we introduce to the readers one of those mean persons so that they may come to know to what extent one can go on account of worldliness and lack of will-power. They appear before the people in one guise today and in another guise tomorrow. One day they draw their swords for the sake of Allah and on another day against Him. If they are friends of Ali on one day they become his enemies on the following day. One day they kill Imam Husayn and on another day they claim to be the avengers of his murder. Shabath bin Rabie i.e. the very person who was the Commander of the Iraqi army on the day of Āshura and one of the killers of the Imam was at one time the mu'azzin of Sajāh and he accepted this office when she claimed to be a prophetess in the tribe of Bani Tamim. However, when Sajāh was disgraced he embraced Islam. He had also a hand in the murder of Uthman. Then he became one of the followers of Ali. Later he revolted against Ali, became one of his opponents and joined the Khawārij. After some time he left the Khawārij also and went in seclusion. In 61 A.H. he participated in killing Imam Husayn and his companions with great savagery. Afterwards when Mukhtār bin Abi Ubayd Thaqafi rose to avenge the murder of Imam Husayn, he (Shabath) who himself was one of the murderers of the Imam joined Mukhtār as an avenger of the Imam's murder. Later he became the chief of Kufa police. He had a hand also in the murder of Mukhtār bin Abi Ubayd. He died in about 80 A.H. How can those persons who do not have the least moral sense benefit from the celestial spirit of Husayn bin Ali and how can their untalented and corrupt souls receive any reflection of the sublime soul of the infallible Imam. The Imam continued his address till he said: "By Allah I will not swear allegiance to these people like weak and mean persons and will not flee the battlefield like slaves while fighting against the rascals. I seek refuge in Allah from the mischief of you people and of every arrogant person who does not believe in the Day of Judgment". In the meantime the preliminaries of the battle began to take place gradually. Umar bin Sād drew his bow, shot an arrow towards the companions of Imam Husayn and said: "You should bear witness before Ibn Ziyad (the governor) that I have started the battle earlier than everyone else". Severe fighting continued till about noon. Most of the companions of the Imam were killed. The Imam offered the noon prayers along with his surviving companions in the form of emergency prayer (Salātul Khawf) i.e. he offered two rakats. The fighting continued after the prayers till all the young men of Bani Hashim were killed. They met martyrdom one after the other. Even young children and sucklings had also the honor of being martyred. Gradually the moment arrived which changed the course of the history of Islam and recorded the honor of martyrdom for them in the pages of history. It is definitely so and there is no tragedy like the tragedy of Imam Husayn. The exact number of the persons who were martyred on the day of Āshura is not known. It is usually said that seventy two persons were martyred with Imam Husayn. Tabari writes that seventy two companions of the Holy Imam were martyred. Shaykh Mufid writes that Amr bin Sād sent the head of Imam Husayn to Ibn Ziyad on the very day of Āshura and ordered the heads of his companions and Ahlul Bayt to be severed from their bodies and these heads were seventy' two in number. Furthermore, in the homage (Ziyārat) which has been quoted in Iqbal of Sayyid bin Tawus the names of 72 martyrs of Karbala have been mentioned. This Ziyārat, the date of issue of which is 252 A.H. from the sacred region of Samarra (Iraq), must have been issued by Imam Hasan Askari and not by Imam Mahdi because in that year i.e. 252 A.H. Imam Mahdi was not born and his father Imam Hasan Askari remained alive for another eight years i.e. till 260 A.H. In this Ziyārat the names of seventeen members of the family of Bani Hashim followed by the names of fifty five other companions of the Imam have been mentioned. In fact it is necessary to study the performance of these seventy two persons more minutely so that we may understand how this small group could bring this marvelous and eternal movement into existence. If Imam Husayn and his companions had a worldly motive and had they been killed like ordinary persons in order to achieve a material objective it would not have been possible for them to acquire such greatness in the world. Moreover, the very shape of this movement shows that it was not a material rising tainted by worldly and personal motives. The importance which this movement acquired in the history of Islam, rather in the history of the world, was for those very reasons which have already been mentioned and explained i.e. the conditions of the world of Islam of that time had cast a responsibility on the Imam. He assessed that he must rise and sacrifice his life, as the safety of Islam depended upon his rising.

1 comment:

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