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An Route to Iraq

The Ummayyads were extremely worried at the news of the success of Hussein (a.s.) in Mecca. He had won over nearly the whole city. Fearing the spread of the opposition movement, Yazid dispatched an army from Syria. He appointed Umar bin Sa'id bin al-Aas as its commander-in-chief and ordered him to kill Imam Hussein (a.s.) whenever he found him and at whatever price.

Imam Hussein (a.s.) had got the word that the Ummayyad army was on its way to Mecca. Given the Ummayyads disrespect of the Sacred House of Allah, he had decided to leave the city. It was impossible for him to allow the sacredness of the city to be violated because of him. In advance, he knew of his inevitable fate in Iraq. He expressed it in the speech be delivered in Mecca before he left. He said:

"Praise be to Allah. What Allah desires is certainly done. There is no power but in Allah. Blessings of Allah be on His Messenger. Death had been decreed on man, as the neckless encircles a girl's neck. How great is my desire to see my predecessors. It is as strong as Ya'qoob's (Jacob) desire to see (his son) Yusuf (Joseph).

"It is better for me to face my death. It is as if I am seeing now my members being torn to pieces by the wolves of the desert, in a place between Nawawees and Karbala. They will fill their empty stomachs and their hungry bellies. There is no escape from a day decreed by the divine pen ..." 51

Lots of people could see Imam Hussein (a.s.) leaving, for fear of being killed within the holy precincts of the Ka'ba. While he expressed his final decision to leave, he was assuring them that he would be killed. When Ibn Abbas pleaded with him to change his mind, he said:

"... By Allah, they will not leave me till they tear the very heart from the depths of my chest. When they do that, Allah will give power to someone over them who will humiliate them. They will be more humiliated than even a woman's menstrual cloth." 52 And to his brother Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyyah, he said:

"After you left me, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) came to me and said, 'O Hussein! Go out (to fight). Allah certainly willed to see you being killed." 53

And to Abdullah bin Umar, he said:

"... By Allah, even if I go into hiding in a hole of an insect, they will flush me out, till they do with me what they wanted. They would abuse me the way the Jews desecrated the sabbath." 54

Certain as he was of his own death, Imam Hussein (a.s.) marched on. But he was sure that the faith would be revived after his death and there was no defender of the faith next to him. It is because of these considerations that he went on to achieve the real, historical victory. Only with shedding his blood and sacrificing his soul would Islam be immortalized.

En route to Iraq he would ask the travellers he met about Iraq and the current situation there. The only reply was: "The people were with the Ummayyad, but their hearts were with him!"

He knew and understood that duplicity on the part of the people. Terror was ruling. Anyone there was being torn apart by two faces: His belief in the faith and the right of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) to steer the ship of Muslims' lives on the one hand, and fear from the Ummayyad authorities, the terrorism of the rulers, and the love of life and a comfortable, easy living on the other.
51. Ibid., p. 180.

52. Maqtal al-Hussein (a.s.), p. 193.

53. Ibid., p.197.

54. Ibid., p. 195.

Adapted from the book: "Imam Hussein Bin Ali" Published by: "Al-Balagh Foundation"

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