Rafed English

Al-Husayn’s (a.s.) Second Sermon

Adapted from: "Maqtal al-Husayn; Martyrdom Epic of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.)" by: "Abd al-Razzaq al-Muqarram"

Al-Husayn (‘a) rode his horse and took a copy of the Holy Qur’an which he spread over his head then stood in front of those people and said, “O people! The Book of Allah and the Sunnah of my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S), are the arbitrators between you and me.”23

Then he asked them whether the sword, the battle gear, and the turban that he was wearing belonged to the Prophet (S), and they all testified that they, indeed, were. Then he asked them about the reason why they were planning to kill him. “In obedience to the governor ‘Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad,” they said. He, peace be upon him, then addressed them in these words:

“Woe unto you, O people, shame and infamy! You sought our help in earnest, so we came to help you in apprehension, then you unsheathed your swords in violation of your vows, kindling a fire against us which we ignited against our enemy and yours.

Now you have sided with your own enemies against your friends. Such enemies have disseminated no equity among you, nor do you hope for their reform; so, be forewarned of calamities!

You abandoned us, keeping your swords resting in their scabbards, enjoying your comfort and ease, thinking you are acting wisely! But you opted to fall greedily upon life like the swiftest of all birds, throwing yourselves on it as butterflies fall into the fire! So, thus do you violate your vows!

May you be crushed, O slaves of this nation, splinters of the parties! You have forsaken the Book of Allah, distorted His Word, becoming the party of evil, the breath of the devil, the ones who put out the Sunnah! Woe unto you!

Are you really supporting such sort of people while thus betraying us?! Yes, by Allah! It is your same age-old custom of treachery which goes back to your own roots and upon which your branches grow! You, hence, are the worst fruit, an eyesore to the beholder, a morsel to the usurper!

Truly the bastard-son who is the offspring of the bastard-son has bidden us to either unsheathe our swords or succumb to humiliation! Far, it is, from us to do either!

Far, it is, from us to accept humiliation! Allah Himself refuses that we should ever be thus humiliated, and so does His Prophet, and so do the believers! Ours are honourable chambers, men of dignity, souls that refuse to prefer obedience to the lowly over dying in honour and dignity! I most surely am attacking with this family, though small in number, though being betrayed by those who promised to support me...”
Then the Imam (‘a) cited the following poetry verses by Farwah Ibn Musayk al-Muradi24:
So if we chase, we do so headlong,
But if we flee, none chases us away,
Not out of cowardice at all,
But it is only our fate that we should be
Thus, and because of others' authority;
So tell those pleased with our calamity:
They shall meet what we have just met;
If Death spares some people his throes,
It is only because to others he goes.
Having said so, he continued his speech thus:
 “By Allah! You shall not linger after this incident except as long as one stays on his horseback. The grinding stones shall then spin you, shaking you as the axis shakes; this is a promise which my father had been promised by my [grand]father, the Messenger of Allah (S): [then he cited the verse saying]:

“... then resolve your affair and (gather) your associates, then let not your affair remain dubious to you, then have it executed against me and give me no respite” (Qur’an, 10:71).
The Imam (‘a) then raised his hands as he supplicated thus:
“Lord! Keep rain water from them and send upon them years like those of Yousuf's, and send upon them the slave of Thaqif to make them drink of a most bitter cup, for they lied to us and betrayed us, while You are our God; upon You do we rely, and to You is our destiny.25

Allah will not let a single one of them without having sought revenge on him on my behalf: my killer shall be killed; whoever deals a blow against me shall be dealt likewise; He shall most certainly seek victory for me, for my Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), and for my supporters”.26


23. Ibn al-Jawzi, the grandosn, Tathkirat al-Khuwass, p. 143.

24. This text we have quoted from p. 54 of Ibn Nama’s book Al-Luhuf. It is also narrated by Ibn ‘Asakir on p. 333, Vol. 4, of his book Tarikh al-Sham and by al-Khawarizmi on p. 6, Vol. 2, of his book Maqtal al-Husayn. Their texts differ from one another. On p. 205, Vol. 3, of his book Al-Isaba, Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani says, “Farwah Ibn Musayk came once to meet the Prophet (S) in 9 A.H./630 A.D. accompanied by men from the tribe of Mathhaj. The Prophet (S) put him in charge of Murad, Mathhaj and Zubayd.” According to Al-Isti’ab, he resided in Kufa during ‘Umar's reign. In his Sirat, Ibn Hisham, commenting on the text on p. 244, Vol. 2, of Al-Rawd al-Anif, says, “When a battle broke out between Murad and Hamdan tribesmen, he composed nine verses.” Ibn Nama, in Al-Luhuf, cites seven of them. On p. 49, Vol. 19, of his book Al-Aghani, Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani cites al-Farazdaq, the poet, attributing the following verse to his uncle, al-’Ala' Ibn Qarzah:
    As time subdues some people,
    It had already bent the necks of others.
These verses are cited on p. 334, Vol. 4, of Tarikh al-Sham and on p. 7, Vol. 2, of Maqtal al-Husayn by al-Khawarizmi without stating the name of their author. On p. 181, Vol. 1, of his book Al-Amali, al-Murtada attributes them to Thul-Isbi’ al-’Adawani. Ibn Qutaybah, on p. 114, Vol. 3, of his book ‘Uyun al-Akhbar, and both al-Tabrizi, on p. 191, Vol. 3, of his book Sharh al-Hamasa, say that they were composed by al-Farazdaq himself. Yet on p. 30 of Al-Hamasa al-Basriyya, they are said to be excerpted from a poem by Farwah Ibn Musayk but are attributed to ‘Umar Ibn Qa’as.

25. Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, Vol. 4, p. 334. al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn, Vol. 2, p. 7. Ibn Nama, Al-Luhuf, p. 54.

26. al-Bahrani, Maqtal al-’Awalim, p. 84.


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