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28th Rajab, Start of Journey of Imam Husain (A.S.) Towards Iraq

After hatching the conspiracy and achieving ultimate martyrdom of Imam Hasan(A.S.), Moawiya started campaigning openly for the succession of his son Yazid to the office of Caliphate. Until that time he had always planned in secret about this intention. To materialize his plans, he started his campaign among his most trusted people in Syria where he had established his headquarters. Later on, his missionaries took the message to other parts of the Islamic world and with the help of lot of money and bribery he got support for the caliphate of Yazid from a number of important Islamic cities.

After his death in Shabaan of the 60th Hijrah, Yazid sat on his throne and started the campaign of getting Baiyat of all Muslims so that they would accept him as the Caliph. The materialistic personalities of that time came forward and accepted his caliphate. Among them were mostly the people who were known for their enmity towards the Ahl-e-Bait(A.S.)of our Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.). The other group was of the people who were either coerced by force or treachery or their loyalties were bought through material offers.

When the campaign crossed the borders of Syria, instructions were sent to the Governor of Madinah – Walid ibn-e-Aqba ibn-e-Abu Sufyan – as well to get the baiyat of Imam Hussain(A.S.). According to some historians, Yazid also mentioned that if Imam Hussain (A.S.) declines his baiyat then Walid should kill him and send his head to Syria. Walid invited the Imam (A.S.) to his court and gave him the orders of Yazid and demanded his baiyat. Imam (A.S.)replied “A person like me would never accept the baiyat of a person like Yazid”. In this statement, Imam (A.S.)gave a clear guideline for all the future time to come.

One of the advisors of Walid named Marwan bin Hakm incited Walid on getting Imam (A.S.) killed right there but Imam (A.S.)was joined by a few of his followers from Bani Hashim under the leadership of Hazrat Abbas(A.S.)and returned safely from the court.

Within a few days time, the political developments made it very clear that Yazid is going all out to either obtain the baiyat of Imam Hussain (A.S.)or to get him killed. Imam (A.S.)had the sanctity of Madinah as well as the salvation of the religion of Islam in his mind, therefore, he decided to leave Madinah and go towards Iraq. He asked for the preparation of a Caravan of his selected family members and his trusted friends and set off for this long journey on the 28th of Rajab.

When Imam (A.S.)had made his decision to leave Madina, he went to the grave of his brother Imam Hasan (A.S.)with a very heavy heart. There he stayed for some time talking to his brother saying "O brother now your killers are after my blood. It looks like time for my martyrdom is near and I am leaving you now.". I imagine that Imam Hasan (A.S.)would have replied from his grave – O my brother I bid you farewell and give you my son Qasim to become your sadqa in Karbala.

After that Imam (A.S.)went to the grave of his grandfather, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). He stayed there for a long time and wept a lot until he went to sleep. He saw the Prophet (S.A.W.) in his dream and said to him "O my grandfather, my salutations to you. The land of Madinah has become small for me. Tyrants among your ummah are after my blood and I am leaving Madinah with a heavy heart".

Finally Imam Hussain (A.S.) came to the grave of his mother Hazrat Fatima Zahra (S.A.). Historians write that Imam (A.S.) ran towards her grave just like a child runs toward his mother and he fell on her grave just like a child falls in the lap of the mother. Imam (A.S.) said "O my mother accept my last salam. I am leaving the land of Madinah and would not come back. The prophecy of my grandfather is about to come true". I imagine that Bibi Zahra(S.A.) would have said from her grave "O my beloved son, O the one whom I have raised by keeping awake in the night, I would not let you go alone. From this day I would not rest in my grave but I would accompany you throughout your journey."

Historians write that throughout the journey various people reported to Imam (A.S.)that when everyone goes asleep during the night, we hear feminine voices of weeping and a Bibi’s voice crying "Ya Hussain, Ya Hussain". Imam (A.S.) told them "O my trusted companions this is my mother Zahra(A.S.)who is with me ever since I have left Madinah".

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