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Ahlul Bayt's (A.S.) Captivity in Damascus

The utterance of the word "Syria" reminds the believers of mournful words of Imam Sajjad (a.s.). Whenever he was asked about the place where his grief reached to its extreme, he replied "Syria! Syria! Syria!"

It is recorded in the books of histories that on 21st Rabiul Awwal, 61 A.M., on Wednesday the caravan reached Damascus. The author of Manaqib has related from Zaif and he related from his forefathers that Sohail Bin Sa'ad narrated "Once I had been to Baitul Muqaddas. In Syria I reached in such a locality where trees and streams were in abundance. The whole city was adorned lavishly. The doors and windows were draped with colorful silk curtains. The inhabitants of Syria were gay and cheerful. The women were joyously beating drums. I thought that there is no such festival of the people of Syria of which I am not aware. Suddenly I saw a few men talking among themselves. I inquired that there is some kind of Idd which I am not aware. They replied "O Sheikh you seem to be an Iraqi". I said that I am Sohail Bin Sa'ad and I have seen the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They said that it is surprising that why not blood rains from the sky and why not the earth sinks. I said why is it so? They replied the head of Imam Husain (a.s.) will be brought today from Iraq. I expressed surprise that how Syrian people celebrate at the arrival of Husain's head? From which direction will it be coming? They pointed towards one of the doors, which was known as 'Babe As Sa'aat'. In the meanwhile a horse rider appeared from that door carrying a spear in his hand, while a head placed on top of it, which had a remarkable resemblance to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The rider was followed by a few women. I approached a young girl and asked "O child who are you?" She replied "I am Sakina, the daughter of Husain". I said, "Can I be of any help to you..." She said "O Sohail ask this rider to go further ahead so that the people may be busy in watching the head and thus they may be prevented from looking at the sight of the unveiled womenfolk of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)."Then I went to this rider and said that you take this 400 Dinars from me and go ahead. He accepted the money from me and took the head to Yazid."

Sayed has related that a man who was from the eminent Tabein (followers) that he became a recluse for a month. When he came in public again, people asked about the reason of seclusion. He replied that are you not aware what an enormous calamity and a huge disaster had befallen. Then he recited the following verses:

"O Son of Batool! As if the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was killed knowingly and deliberately. You were slain thirsty. They did not think of any reason or revelation while killing you. Reciting takbeer at your murder. Infact by your murder the oppressors have killed the takbeer and praise.”

One of the tortures of Syria as written by the author of Lohuf is about the prison in which Ahle Bait were imprisoned for approximately a year. The faces of the inmates were charred due to the scorching sunlight and the color of the skin was changed. And once after release from the imprisonment, when Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) saw his aunt praying while sitting, he asked with surprise, "O Aunt you were not performing even optional prayers in sitting position, while today you are performing obligation prayers in this posture. "Tears came in the eyes of Janabe Zainab (a.s.), she said "While in prison, the food and water were supplied in such a meager quantity that I used to pass on my share of food and water to the children. Due to continuous starvation I have become so weak that I could not pray by standing straight."

It is mentioned in some of the books that when they reached near the town of Balbak, the ruler of the city was informed. He sent his men for according welcome to the army of Yazid. When the welcome party after seeing the caravan of orphans and Ahle Bait (a.s.) six Farsakh away from the town, started celebrating the welcome of army persons of Yazid. When Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) saw there was celebration, he recited the verse which meant:

"The afflictions and agonies of the time does not reduce. How long will we be plunged into turmoils? We are driven on unsaddled camels,-As if we are prisoners of Rome."

Ibn Numa has narrated from Imam Ali Ibne Husain (a.s.) that, "We were twelve persons chained and shackled driven to Yazid, when we were made to stand in front of the accursed, I said: 'O Yazid! By Allah what do you think (will be your fate) if the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) will see us in this condition?' Janabe Fatema (s.a.), the daughter of Husain said, "O Yazid! The daughters of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) are made prisoners'.

At this everybody started weeping. Even the family members of Yazid started to weep. In short the palace of Yazid was filled with crying and wailing.

Imam (a.s.) under the same condition of captivity said: "Permit me to say something". Yazid said "Speak up but don't speak meaninglessly". Imam (a.s.) said "It does not suit a person of my caliber to speak meaninglessly. Yazid do you wish that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) should see me in such a condition". Yazid nodded at his soldiers and they unchained Imam (a.s.).

It is recorded in Masabih that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said that my father told me when I asked from my father during the journey of Syria, what were you riding at? He replied: "On unsaddled camel, the head of Imam Husain (a.s.) was atop a spear, women were behind us on the bare backs of the camels and the oppressors with spears were moving around us when anyone of us used to cry the tyrants used to poke spears in his body. We traveled in the same condition until Damascus. When we entered Syria, a Syrian called and said "O Syrians! (God forbid) these Ahle Bait are accursed."

It is written in Kitabe Manaqib that it is quoted by Kitabe Ahmar from Auzaiee that when Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) reached Syria in the court of Yazid. He instructed a speaker to mount on pulpit and calumniated the forefathers of Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.). The speaker did as he was told, not sparing a single unbecoming remark against Ahle Bait. When the speaker descended from the pulpit Imam (a.s.) rose and after praising Allah and sending salutations on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

"O People! Those who are acquainted with me, know me and those who do not know me then recognize me. I am the son of Mecca and Mina, I am the son of Safa and Marwah. I am the son of the one who was elevated, who ascended so high that he went beyond the heights of Sidratul Muntaha. He drew so near to his Lord that the distance of two bows or even less remained in between. I am the son of one behind whose head whom the angels of heaven prayed in couples. I am the son of one who was killed unjustly. I am the son of one who was beheaded from the nape. I am the son of one who was not given water till his last breath. I am the son of one who rolled in his own blood in the sands of Karbala. I am the son of one whose turban and robe were looted. I am the son of one on whom angels of heaven have wept. I am the son of one was placed atop of spear and presented as a gift. I am son of one whose womenfolk were made prisoners and dragged from Iraq to Syria.

O People! Praise be to Allah, who tested us firmly and gifted us with the knowledge of Guidance, Justice and Piety. The way he gave the sign of deviation to our enemies. Allah bestowed six privilege on us Ahlebait. He bestowed knowledge, forbearance, bravery, generosity and love and respect for us in the hearts of the believers."

Imam (a.s.) kept on saying such sentences that until signs of restlessness appeared in the audience. Yazid in order to keep the circumstances under control gestured towards the Muezzin to give Azaan. When he delivered testimonies Imam (a.s.) said "I too testify to one whom you testify". When he testified the Prophethood of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Imam (a.s.) asked from Yazid, "O Yazid tell me whether Muhammad was your grandfather or mine? If you say that he was your grandfather then you are a liar and if you say that he is my grandfather then why did you slay my father and captivated our female kin?" Then he turned towards the public and said "O Men! Is there anyone amongst you whose father or grandfather was the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)." Thus the audience broke into mourning and crying aloud. (Maqtal Abi Makhnaf, pg 135; Behaarul Anwaar, vol 10, pg 233; Riyazaul Quds, vol 2, pg 328

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