Rafed English

At the Battlefield

At the Battlefield

It is a great honour to be asked to translate the tale of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s.) into English. However, in undertaking the task, I was faced with the problem of translating the Arabic poetry which normally accompanies the account of Imam Hussains martyrdom and which may lose its meaning in the process. To circumvent this difficulty, I resorted to English poetry from the book "Sunshine at Midnight, the Kerbala Epic" written by the late Syyid Ali Mahdi, an eloquent poet and writer. Thus the reader will notice befitting passages of his poetry adorning the translation throughout.

Najim al-Khafaji, B.A.

In the Name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful

Why the Recurrence of Recounting the Story of the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as.)?

Perennial conflict between truth and falsehood did not cease for a moment. At times, the conflict resulted in difficult periods with disastrous consequences for humanity. Had it not been for the Providence, it was about to cause a setback to the human procession towards peace, justice and equity.

The advent of Islam with the Prophet, Mohammad (S) and Imam Ah and his eleven descendants (A) at the helm of guidance for humanity was the grace of Allah.

Perhaps, the most glaring manifestation of this bitter conflict at the early days of Islam was the hostile stance adopted by the Umayyads towards the Messenger of Islam and his pure progeny. Readers of history will have noticed that the Ummayad clan, rivals of the Hashimite clan, although belonging to the same tribe - Quraish, did not spare any way or means to show their enmity and grudge against the Hashimite.

At the time of the Prophet (S) Abu Sufian, Sakhr bin Harb bin Umayya was the commander of the infidel armies who fought the Muslims in the battles Badr, Uhud and al-Khandaq. He professed Islam for fear of his life in 81 H., the year of the conquest of Mekkah.

Abu Sufian's grudge against Islam was all apparent. When Othman, an Ummayyad, assumed the mantle of caliph, Abu Sufian hurried to the grave of Hamzah bin Abdul Muttalib, who was martyred in the battle of Uhud. Kicking the grave with his foot, he uttered his now infamous words: "By him whom Abu Sufian take an oath, there is neither heaven nor hell. Snatch it, Oh children of the Umayyads!, as if you were catching a ball; Hold to it (power) with the skin of your teeth".

This hostile stand against Islam was handed down from Abu Sufian to his son, Mu'aawiya. This was clearly manifested when Imam Ali (A) was chosen as caliph. Mu'aawiya waged three devastating wars against the legitimate caliph; these were (al-Jamal), headed by Umul-Mo'mineen (Mother of the believers), A'isha at the pretext of venging the blood of the caliph Othman, (Siffeen), commanded by Mu'aawiya at the same pretext and (al-Nahrawan) at the behest of Mu'aawiya; Mu'aawiya's unrelenting efforts and schemings culminated in assassinating Imam Ali (A), while he was leading congregational prayer.

After the death of Imam Ali (A), his son Imam Hassan (A) inherited the caliphate. Mu'aawiya did not give him a respite. He commissioned a big army and marched from Syria to Iraq to fight Imam Hassan (A). With deceit and carrot and stick he managed to manipulate the military situation in his favour. With many of his military commanders defecting to the enemy side, falling prey to Mu'aawiya's promises, Imam Hassan had no alternative but to sign a (truce) with Mu'aawiya, driven by concern to preserve what was left of the disciples (companions) of the Prophet in his camp, who were tracked down by Mu'aawiya's agents. It was for this and the fact that Imam Hassan wanted to buy time to re-organise his depleted army. Imam Hassan was forced to sign the cease-fire agreement with Mu'aawiya. However, Mu'aawiya did not keep his part of the agreement. He unilaterally revoked the agreement. For him, extending his power base to include Iraq mattered the most. He made this evidently clear in his address to the Kufans:

"Oh people! I did not wage war against you in order to make you observe prayer, fast, pilgrimage, and pay religious dues. I only did so to be able to be in charge of your affairs".

As the era of Mu'aawiya was drawing to a close with all the calamities inflicted on the followers of Imam Ali (A), especially the elite amongst them, he appointed his son wayward Yazid as heir-apparent. This move inflamed the feelings of the majority of Muslims. In protest they refused to endorse his appointment due to his public debauchery and the fact that he did not meet the most basic of requirements of the Islamic office of Caliph. On top of those who publicly rejected Yazid's appointment at the helm of Muslim's affairs were Imam Hassan and his brother, Imam Hussain (A). Thus, Mu'aawiya decided to get rid of them so that he may have a free hand in his plan for the succession to the Ummayyad rule. He was successful in assassinating Imam Hassan (A) through poisoning by his wife Ju'dah bint al-Ash'ath, having promised her marriage from his son Yazid. After implementing the plan, he did not deliver, accusing her of betrayal and fearing for his own son as she might do the same thing to him.

As for Imam Hussain (A), the circumstance were not right for Mu'aawiya to kill him. He left the task of liquidating him to his son, Yazid. When Yazid rose to power after the death of his father, he ordered the governors of provinces to get the pledge of allegiance for him from the Muslims. Accordingly, the governor of al-Madinah requested the allegiance from Imam Hussain (A). His answer was unequivocal, "The like of me do not swear allegiance to Yazid, the playboy and the killer of respected soul". This statement amounted to a declaration of war against the Umayyads.

In his decision to travel to Iraq, Imam Hussain (A) wanted to spare Mekkah and Madinah the honours of war and blood shed, especially during the sacred months. And the fact that the Iraqis invited him to come to them as they, "have brandished swords for him against their enemy, the Banu Umayyah". Yet, even before his arrival in Kufa they betrayed him. They unveiled their true colours in unprecedented dishonesty and cruelty against the Imam, members of his family and companions at the battle of Karbala - as detailed in this tale; a glaring demonstration of enmity, oppression, ruthlessness, and brutality was meted out by the Ummayyad rule.

The question that lingers in the minds is: Why is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A) commemorated every year in this public display of outpourings, as if it were an ever-fresh memory?

You will find the answer at the tip of every tongue of those infatuated with the love of Imam Hussain (A): We bring our children up on his memory, teach our youth to follow in his footsteps, remind the elderly of the magnitude of the tragedy so that it remains alive in the hearts and minds; and learn lessons, from his sacrifices and firmness in faith, to be emulated in our lives. At adversity, he never wavered, saying:

"If the religion of Mohammad was not going to live on except with me dead, let the swords tear me to pieces".

I used to listen to the account of Imam Hussain's martyrdom related in commemorative gatherings in Najaf and Karbala at a tender age. As time passes and circumstances change as a results of adverse events engulfing Iraq in general and Najaf and Karbala in particular, we ended up settling in London. And when we inaugurated Ahlul-Bayt Islamic Centre in 1982, we marked this occasion with the mourning assembly in memory of Imam Hussain following the traditional family commemoration of this solemn occasion. On the tenth day of Muharram, the tale of the tragedy of Karbala used to be recounted by the late Ayatullah as-Sayyid Moharnmad Taqi Bahrul Uloom. 1 After his death, I took the responsibility of reciting it. Since I assumed this responsibility, I consulted many a book dealing with the story of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A). Shorn of sentiments, my aim has always been accuracy of the reports, doing away with exaggerations and half truths. I hope I have been successful. And in order to reach a wider audience, I asked al-Haj Najim al-Khafaji to translate it into English. Also, to ensure veracity of the text, I kindly requested the eloquent orator, al-Haj Mulla Asgharali Jaffer, President of World Federation of K.S.I. Muslim Communities to revise it; he thankfully obliged and contributed to its publication. May their reward from Imam Hussain, in whose memory this publication has been commissioned, be great. From us are due the thanks and from the readers appreciation.

After all this my only hope is that all of us may have contributed, each in his own humble effort, to keeping the memory of Imam Hussain, the lord of martyrs so that the people of Kisa (mantle): Mohammad, Ali, Fatima, Hassan, and Hussain be our intercessors on the day of reckoning, when neither wealth nor offspring would avail. Allah, the Most High is the only Bestower of success.

Dr Mohammad Bahrul Uloom


10th Muharram, 1415

20th June, 1994

Hussain - the Universalist

Hussain (4-62 AH. - 614 AD.) was the youngest son of Ali (A.D. 600-661) by Prophet Mohammed's daughter Fatimah. Ali was the fourth Caliph of Islam. When Yazid, son of Muawiyah, became Caliph he demanded allegiance from Hussain. He refused because of Yazid's wayward ways. Ultimately he had to confront Yazid. It had to be done, to preclude any further deterioration and eventual disintegration of Islam. He had to clear up the damage -the transgression of Islamic values, the frivolous social behaviour, in the name of Islam - the sickening dashing of dreams about future glories of Islam. Hussain had no illusions about the extent of that damage. Was it to ask too much of Hussain to take the responsibility? Certainly not. He as the Prophet's grandson had to do his duty. But there was no easy option for him. He had to bear the brunt. When a situation of this kind arose, a very heavy burden fell on Hussain.

Atonality from Yazid's degenerated symphony

Little wonder that Hussain's patience snapped when the Caliph firmly demanded allegiance. He realised that the consequences of this prolonged anarchy in Islam and a shattering triumph for immorality would permanently deface and disfigure the true faith and a pseudo-religion would emerge under the guise of Islam. Blasphemy would be practised till it dulled the senses and mob psychology took over. Religion would be compromised and its long term effects disregarded.

But for the men behind Islam, with their eyes on the future, this was not to be tolerated at any cost. They had to act before it was too late to halt or reverse the inexorable decline.

Hussain intensified his campaign. He was determined to accomplish his mission by means more vigorous than had hitherto been used. He deserves full credit for the exemplary courage and aplomb with which he handled the ugly situation. He did not resort to aggression yet firmly resisted Yazid's bluster.

Can man stand up to these conditions? When the scene moved to the battle-field of Kerbala, Hussain managed to say daringly: "Man can - but not necessarily with ease He, and a small group of followers including his immediate family were mercilessly massacred. The day of this tragedy is universally commemorated every year and is called "Ashura" (10th Muharram, Islamic calendar) and is marked by processions and mourning. It is observed as a national in holiday certain countries.

Hussain is buried in Kerbala (Iraq). His holy shrine is visited by millions of people, from all over the world, as a mark of veneration.

It is in the very nature of great reformers that they belong to everybody, everywhere. Hussain's noble deed is so relevant to the entire human race, that I am sure there is a far bigger audience waiting for him somewhere than the one he has already. All that is required is to draw people's attention.

The contemporary society, irrespective of race and religion, would do well to have a closer look at the Hero of Kerbala as his message transcends the barriers of caste and creed, race and religion. Advocates of human rights, sociologists, reformers, theologians, all included, will find "delightful wisdom, sweet instructions, and a meaning suited to their mind", in his story. His message is certainly not an exclusive preserve of any particular group. It embraces the entire human race. It was not a power struggle. Hussain persistently and explicitly expounded: "what matters to me is to 'correct', not conquer" - an affirmation that he would die in the firm belief that a despot's idiosyncrasies could never be an effective instrument of religious policies.

Yazid became too big for his boots and assumed the characteristics of a despot who, almost as a condition of his position, made boastful and frivolous claims that he alone could lead the nation.

Hussain was, however, committed to redeeming Islam and maintaining the faith intact.

He hoped that matters will improve and kept a law profile to preserve amity. He had a clear choice: stand aside and let Yazid act according to his whims; (and thus join in and implicitly justify his abominable escapades) or counter his devious bluster. Hussain had to decide: to take the situation in its stride as a price worth paying for the "status quo"; or view it as an ominous foretaste of the consequences of the extensive damage done by the far-reaching anti-Islamic activities of Yazid, the mammon of unrighteousness, whose lust for power prompted him to beat the nation into the mould he favoured. He and his profane crew conspired to scuttle the ship of Islam by worse than heinous deeds, violating the aims for which Islam was born.

Hussain had no desire to live under such a corrupt Caliph. He wanted to act as quietly and "spontaneously" as possible so as to limit the possibilities of an open clash with the Caliph. But Yazid bargained hard. Hussain could not take his effervescent nonsense perpetually and did what was right.

If the moral standards of human behaviour were as high as they were in the person of Hussain the world would be a better place to live in, is the obvious inference. His incredible cool and superhuman moral courage to achieve his mission stirs our deepest emotions. His exemplary conduct, throughout, and adorable, conscience tore Yazid's monstrous designs to shreds.

The virtuous people will continue to do their duty to maintain righteousness in this world and in this they are entitled to universal recognition and support. Hussain's acceptance of persecution in the cause of humanity was most convincing and moving proof of God's immanence in men. He was a man par excellence who maintained the highest standards set by the martyrs and heroes of all ages. With a courage that was more than human he managed to leave a message for the entire world: "Do not submit to exploitation, of any kind; maintain a tenacious grip on veracity; better die with honour than live in shame". He surely deserves universal recognition. "He is an immortal heir of Universal praise". Fourteen Hundred years have passed but the memory of that adorable hero, who resolutely faced the soul-searing trials and tribulations, has not diminished. On the contrary, it has grown in intensity. Imbued with exemplary fortitude, moral fibre and aplomb, Hussain has emerged as the most revered and meritorious martyr the world has produced, who established the highest standards of excellence of which humanity prides itself.

He was the odour of sanctity; the beauty of holiness. Here is a resolute hero, well past the prime of life, who is prepared to brace himself to confront the lurking menace and the acrimonious campaign of the powerful Caliph - to forestall a social and moral disaster. By this action he affirmed forever that it is both a social and moral duty to act when confronted with such situations and people who do not act have only themselves to blame if false values arc imposed on them. Virtuous people who were endowed with sagacity and foresight always disliked sitting on the fence just listening to scheming delinquent busybodies. They acted. They were people who valued rectitude.

And all they asked of the party in power was that they enunciated edicts which were not obnoxious and did not blatantly infringe the higher values of life. The society would indeed pay a heavy price if it ignores reformers and thus extrudes righteousness for good. Any social order, if it seeks continuous satisfaction with a bad regime, of lives in constant fear of it, when all is not well, is heading towards abject catastrophe and total disintegration. These are the situations where a "Hussain" is required. He positively had a clear concept of a healthy social order. His endearing story could not have survived without the impetus of a powerful personality behind it.

Faith and conviction prompted his motley band of men, women and children, of widely differing ages, to defy the stupendous odds. The youngest martyr was Abdullah, Hussain's infant son, the buoyancy of whose innocent brood refloated the sinking ship of Islam. It seems extraordinary that a handful of men, including small boys -some of them hardly eight or nine years - could produce results that were not only amazing but perfectly sustained through the long passage of time. It was an intense collective action - immaculate, controlled, restrained and selfless.

The conflict between good and evil remains perpetual. Both persist in their efforts to sustain. We are besieged by irresistible evil forces. We helplessly oscillate between the two and find ourselves pathetically bogged down in this quagmire. But somehow "the foot prints" of Hussain, "On the sand of time", show us the way. It is for us follow them or go astray.

Our society is swamped by mindlessness. We find ourselves perpetually obsessed by a nauseating craving for terrestrial and temporal gratification, beckoned by the primrose path of pleasure, oblivious of the values of life.

In this situation remember Hussain. Had he surrendered to Yazid, there was "bed or roses" for him but he opted for "bed of thorns".

Total abandonment of the worldly pursuits and progress, for ordinary mortals like most of us, (barring canoodling with debauchery and other frivolous sensual pleasures which are certainly execrable), is neither desirable nor feasible, in the present day world. But if we shift the stress from temporal to spiritual gains we will neither get "icebound" nor tossed around in the turbulent ocean of terrestrial life. This inexorable logic is perfectly rational and a readily accessible compromise. It would do us a deal of good. It would mean that we would be able to devote more time to honest activities. It has the simplest logical ways of making the world a better and more peaceful place to live in. It sounds rather a grandiose kind of idea but it is one that could be perfectly feasible, efficacious and irrefrangible. There is nothing really demanding about such an approach towards life, only a bit of self discipline and genuine introspection will serve the purpose. Our lives will be characterised by benevolence and magnanimity and through individual goodness a healthy society will emerge, peace and justice would prevail.

Finally: Hussain realised that no common beliefs held him and Yazid together. Hussain thought that Islam should be better acted, better practised and better observed. In short, better presented to comply with the holy text (Qur'an) and the divine will.

He administered a shock treatment, to achieve this aim, and the world of Islam came out of the deep slumber, with a jolt, as a direct result of his sacrifice. He deployed a singular strategy; lost the battle yet won the campaign. The total effect was immensely impressive all of which stemmed from his steadfastness that is to say faithfulness to the religious principles. Hussain established a new moral and religious consensus to which even (most of) his opponents felt constrained to make obeisance.

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" - Winston Churchill

At the dawn of the 10th of Muharram, 62 A.H. (680 AD.) after Imam Hussain (A) led his followers for the morning prayer he wore the coat of arms of his grandfather, the Apostle of Allah (SAW), and put his turban on; he wore his father's sword, "Thul-Fiqar" or The two-pronged.

He then addressed his followers, stating with praise of and thanks-giving to Allah, "Allah has destined that you and me shall be killed today. I, therefor, would urge you to be resilient in fighting".

Thereupon, he mobilised his band for war. They were, as later related through Imam Mohammad al-Baqir (A), 45 horsemen and 100 foot soldiers. He made Zuhair bin (son of) Alqain commander of the right flank, Habib bin Mudhahir the left flank, and his household in the centre; he en-trusted the bearing of the standard to his brother Al-Abbas (A). The troops gathered in front of the tents where women and children were housed. He ordered the digging of a trench, surrounding the tents enclosure from the back, filling it with firewood during the night of the tenth of Muharram, setting fire to it when fighting broke out so that it may serve as a back buffer between his fighters and the enemy's army.

A sweltering, simmering, broiling land

Igneous, sultry, arid sand.

No bramble (or thistle) it boasts

A crop of humpbacked dunes it hosts

A torrid, baking, seething place

Even delusion, cannot verdure trace.

Exhausted earth's infecund plot

Anhydrous, husky, soapless, spot.

Parched fragment of a barren world

A glowing meteor to the earth hurled.

No cheerless, forlorn cactus grows

Hellish, blustering simoom blows.

The blazing, fiery, flaming sun

An eerie desolation; the valiant shun.

A spooky silence, ominous hush

The wind escapes it, with a rush.

The terra firma appears ablaze

The earth stunned, in a languid daze.

A vision, on earth, of a virtual hell

A stretch of furnace, a fiery shell

The heatwave diffuses thermal haze

The fervid ether forbids the gaze.

The primeval sands primordial heat

With contempt does inferno treat

Behold a dauntless, valiant band

Stands, resolutely, on this land.

The Profit's grandson; with his group

A tranquil Guild, not a militant troop.

In this sombre, dreary terrain

They, their reverence did sustain.

Omar bin Sa'ad, the commander of the enemy's army came with 30,000 of troops. He made Amr bin al-Hajjaj az-Zubaidi the commander of the right flank of his army and Shimr bin Thil al-Jawshan the commander of the left flank. Izra bin Qais Al-Ahnasi was made the commander of the horsemen, Shibth bin Ribi'e took charge of the archers.

"Suddenly a deafening tumult I heard,

Thundering of myriad hooves, converged.

A tremor struck, the earth did shake,

My tranquillity disrupted, I was awake.

Loomed, ominously, a host of swords,

Rush, headlong, did furious hordes.

The glint of tinsel arms appeared,

As their coursers they spurred.

My waves, in terror, rushed, did flee

As their identity dawned on me.

Their sinister countenance, hideous looks,

Depicted a pack of depraved crooks.

Their obliquity; their visage betrayed,

A flash flood hit me (was dismayed)

When the two belligerent sides confronted each other and the fire was raging in the trench, Shimr shouted, "Oh Hussain! you are in a hurry to go to hell fire before the day of judgement!" Hussain enquired: Isn't this Shimr bin Thil al-Jawshan; he was told that it was him. Hussain then retorted "Oh son of goatherdess! You are more deserving to burn in it".

When Imam Hussain (A) saw their gathering, which was like a torrent he raised both his hands to the sky and prayed, "Oh My Lord! You are my haven in every mishap, my hope in every predicament my refuge and defender in every ordeal. How many a distress that weakens the heart, makes the enemy rejoices at the misfortune when I entrusted it to You and resorted to You out of preference over others, you did not let me down and had driven away and eliminated all these distressing things. You are the Giver of every boon and the ultimate source of every wish to be granted."

Qaiyim bin Haseen Al-Fizari shouted, "Oh Hussain and followers of Hussain! Can't you see the water of the Euphrates the currents of which twist like the bellies of snakes? I swear by the Almighty you are not going to drink a drop of it until you taste death in doses". It is worth noting that Imam Hussain and his followers were denied access to the water the days earlier at the orders of Ibn Ziyed through Ibn Sa'ad. This was achieved by stationing 500 horsemen between Imam Hussain's camp and the River Euphrates. Imam Hussain was forced to ask his brother Al-Abbas to bring them water on two occasions before the 10th of Muharram. The enemy troops made it exceptionally difficult for Imam Hussain and his band to get water supplies on the night and day of 10th Muharram.

Imam Hussain, convinced of the enemy's determination to fight him, asked for his horse and mounted it; he then addressed them in a high voice saying, "Oh people!, heed my speech and do not get restless until I preach you as I see it my duty towards you and until I explain why I came to you. If you accepted my reasoning, believed in my speech, and were fair to your selves and mine, you would because of that be happier, then you would have no reason to attack me. If you do neither, resolve upon your affair and (gather) your associates, let not your affair be in darkness to you, then have it executed against me and do not reflect (any further). Allah is my helper and He is the Guardian of the righteous."

When the women heard him say this, they raised their voices screaming and crying. He sent his brother Al-Abbas and his son Ali Al-Akbar to the women to calm them down and remarked, "Alas! they will be crying a lot". When the crying came to an end, Imam Hussain (A) resumed his talk and said, "Oh people!, Allah created this world and made it an abode of destruction and transience, taking its inhabitants from one phase to another. It deceives the conceited and seduces the wretched. Let not this world deceive you for it is capable of dashing the hopes of those who put their trust in it and let down those who are greedy for its riches. I can see that you agreed on an affair capable of bringing the wrath of Allah upon you, causing Him to turn His face away from you, spread amongst you His revenge. Glory be to our Lord, and woe to you. You pledged allegiance (to Allah) and believed in the Messenger Mohammad (S), then ganged up against his progeny intent on killing them. Satan has taken hold over you, precipitating you to forget the remembrance of the Almighty. May evil befall you and may your aspiration come to nothing."

"From Allah we come and unto Him we return. Those are people who disbelieved after they had believed; so away with the unjust people."

Hussain was coaxed to change his heart

Induced, to play that heathen's part

Adamant to surrender, though he remained

Aggression he shunned, conflict abstained.

Hussain, explicitly, did explain:

"Vain, 0' Yazid, is temporal gain.

Through calumnious and dissolute ways

Your prevaricate what the Prophet says.

Your evanescent, sordid, slippery boon

will vanish, like a mirage; too soon.

The morbid manoeuvers; you deploy

Islam will ruin, the faith destroy.

Through muddled thinking and notions dark

On a feckless mission do not embark

Potentially hazardous whims dispel.

This mood of bleak despair expel.

This sense of spiritual emptiness

By rational thinking do suppress.

Sanity do not in this bog sink

And push Islam to disaster's brink

Decay of the faith, I do perceive

The Prophet's mission I will retrieve.

Like a looming disc, on the horizon

Poised is the religion's setting sun.

To bury the hatchet, and heal the breach

I show an olive-branch; peace I preach.

A vain strife do not provoke

Save your necks from a hellish yoke.

Listen to me for goodness' sake

(Do not just acquiesce - advice take)

"Oh people! Track back my lineage. Relate me and consider who I am. Then look back and remonstrate with yourselves. Consider whether it is right for you to kill me and encroach upon my integrity. Am I not the son of your Prophet's daughter and the son of his vicegerent and cousin, the first of the believers in Allah and his Messenger? Was not Hamza, the master of martyrs, the uncle of my father? Was not the 'winged' Ja'far my uncle? Have you not heard of the tradition of the Prophet (S) concerning myself and my brother, "These are the two lords of the youth of the inhabitants of paradise". Whether you believe in what I say - and it is the truth, for I swear by the Almighty I have never told a lie since I learnt that Allah hated people who told them - or you regard me as a liar, and chose not to believe my statement, there are amongst you who, if you asked them, would tell you! Ask Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari, Aba Sa'eed Al-Khudri, Sahl bin Sa'ad Al-Sa'idi, Zaid bin Arqam and Anas bin Malik, to tell you that they heard these words from the messenger of Allah (SAW) in favour of me and my brother."

"Is there not (sufficient) deterrent in this to prevent you from shedding my blood?"

"If I understand what you are saying," interrupted Shimr bin Thil al-Jawshan, "then I only worship God (very shakily) on the edge".

"I think that you worship God (very shakily) on seventy edges", said Habib b. Mudhahir, "For I testify that you are right. You do not understand what he is saying. For God has impressed (ignorance) upon your heart".

"If you are in any doubt about this", Imam Hussain (A) told them, "you are in doubt that I am the son of the daughter of your Prophet. By God there is no son of a Prophet other than me among you and among the peoples from East to West. Shame on you, are you seeking retribution from me for one of your dead I have killed, or for property of yours I expropriated, or for a wound I have inflicted?"

They did not say anything to him. Then he called, "Shabath b. Rib'ie, Hajjar b. Abjar, Qays b. al-Ash'ath, Yazid b. al-Harith, didn't you write: 'The fruit has ripened; the dates are ready for picking; come to an army which has been gathered for you' ?"

"We don't know what you are talking about", said Qays b. al-Ash'ath, "Submit to the authority of your kinsmen (the Umayyads). They have never treated you with anything but what you liked".

"By God, I will never give you my hand like a man who has been humiliated; nor will I flee like a slave", said al-Hussain (A). Then he called out, "0 servants of God, I take refuge in my Lord and your Lord from your stoning." (44:20). "I take refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every haughty man who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning." (40:27).

A holy war it means, indeed

If waged to crush the devil's creed.

No rancour, 'gainst you, I hold

But faith do cherish - as I told.

Islam I will resolutely shield

Burnt will stand and never yield.

Would welcome death (and make it tame)

Would rather die than live in shame":

"Your Prophet's scion I'm - you know

At least some regard to his name show.

His singular dictum is my creed

"Universal good" I adore, indeed

Ali, the paragon, the seraphic Imam

Cham of the faith, the shield of Islam

Inimitable, impeccable: I am his son

His peerless attributes I have won.

My heart is virtues' abode and nest

Blessedness harbours in my breast

Condone the rule of right, I do

And believe, that right is might too

Your vulgar sway vanquish I will

This sacred duty will fulfil

My soul is couched on eminence

I was born with a divine sense.

He then dismounted his camel and ordered Aqaba bin Sam'an to hobble it with a tie. The troops of the enemy marched towards him. Among them was Abdullah bin Hawza al-Temimi who shouted, "Is Hussain amongst you?" He said it three times. The followers of Hussain (A) replied, "This is Hussain, what do you want from him?" He retorted, "Oh Hussain! You lied. Be sure you will be consigned to hell". Hussain answered, "I come to a Lord who is forgiving, generous, commanding and intercessor. But who are you?" He replied, "I am Ibn Hawza". Hussain raised his hands very high so much so that his armpit showed and said, "Oh Allah! posses him to hell fire." Ibn Hawza became very angry and charged Hussain with his horse; there was a stream between them; he fell from his horse but his foot got entangled in the stirrup; the horse dragged him on the stones and trees; his free leg was severed; the rest of his body was still attached to the horse who threw him in the fire which was raging in the trench; he was burnt to death.

Imam Hussain (A) raised his voice and said, "Oh Allah! We are the Household of your Prophet, his progeny and his kinship, shatter those who did us injustice and usurped our fight. You are All-hearing, Near".

Masrooq bin Wa'il Al-Hadhrami said, "I was at the forefront of the horsemen which advanced to fight Hussain in the hope that I succeed in dealing a blow to him in order to get a prize from Ibn Ziyad. But when I saw what happened to Ibn Hawza, I was certain that the members of this house (the Household of the Prophet) have sanctity from and position with Allah. I then left their ranks and said to myself, "I am not fighting those people lest I should be in hell fire".

When the followers of Hussain (A) saw the determination of the people of the opposite camp to fight their Lord and Imam Hussain (A) Zuhair bin al-Qain came forward and stood in front of them and addressed them, "Oh people of Kufa! I warn you of the chastisement of Allah. It is incumbent on every Muslim to give counsel to his fellow Muslim. We are still brethren of one religion unless we resort to war. You need advice more than we do. If you resort to the sword there will no longer be any bond between us. We will be two nations (Ummas). Allah has entrusted us with the progeny of His Prophet, Mohammad (S) as a measure just to see how you and we behave towards them. We call upon you to support them and let down the dictator Yazid and Obaidullah bin Ziyad. Under their rule, you will only reap mistreatment, gouging of eyes, chopping of limbs, making a dreadful example of you, hanging you on tree trunks, killing your good men and reciters (of al-Qur'an) like Hijr bin Adi and his followers, and Hani' bin Urwah and his likes". He was heckled and interrupted by the people of Kufa; they swore at him and praised Ibn Ziyad and added that they would not budge until they killed Hani's companion (Imam Hussain) and those who were with him or sent them under escort to Ibn Ziyad.

Zuhair retorted, "Oh Men! the sons of Fatima have more right to befriend and support than the son of Sumayya. If you do not support them I pray to Allah that He guard you against killing them. You are therefore, requested to dissolve this man from Yazid; upon my life! He will be contented with your obedience without the killing of Hussain (A)".

Shimr shot at him with an arrow and said, "Shut up, May Allah silence your camel; we are fed up with your excessive talk".

Zuhair said, "Oh! you son of the incontinent, I do not mean you in my address for you are no more than an animal. I swear by the Almighty that you cannot master not even two ayas (verses) of the Book of Allah (Al-Qur'an). Surely, disgrace and chastisement will befall you on the day of judgement".

Shimr said, "Allah will kill you and your companion in an hour's time".

Zuhair said, "Are you threatening me with death. By the Almighty! Death with him is dearer to me than eternity with you".

Ziad then moved forward raising his voice and said, "Oh bondsmen of God! do not let this rude ruffian and his like deceive you. By the Almighty! Mohammad's (S) intercession is denied to those who shed the blood of his Progeny, and killed their supporters who protected their women."

A man from Hussain's camp called him and said, "Aba Abdillah (Hussain) says to you to come back. Upon my life! Like the faithful of the Pharaohs, you counselled and warned those people to the best of your ability. But alas! they do not seem to heed your admonition".

"When mortals to heinous gains are lured

Their doom, eternal, is procured

Wallow in lustful lap of wealth

With a joyful face, sparkling health

Gloat over, regale, waver not

Indulge, frolic; then meet your lot

Perpetual remorse, unceasing pain

(Ceaselessly equate the ephemeral gain)

Truth sustains, exists, prevails

Knavery flops, infamy fails,

Repent you surely will, I warn

Callously, my "platitudes" you scorn.

A dealer in platitudes, l am not

Explicit support for the faith I sought

Sanity, ethics, sense I preach

Pursue I do whatever I teach.

With effortless clarity I speak

I never talk with tongue-in-cheek

A torch, to light your way I show

Follow its beam and safely go.

Initiate don't an abject act

'Tis futile if done and then retract.

All discernible trends in human thought

As it was very hot, Hussain and his household, and supporters were very thirsty. Therefore, Burair bin Khudhair Al-Hamadani who was an old devout man, an authority on Qur'an recitation, and well placed and revered by the Hamadani's asked to be permitted to address the people of Kufa. He was given the permission. He called, "Oh you people! Allah has sent Mohammad as a harbinger and warner, calling for the way of Allah, and a shining lantern. And this is the River Euphrates, the water of which is free for all kinds of animals pigs and dogs. Yet you have denied the son of daughter of the Messenger of Allah access to it. Is this the way Mohammad should be rewarded?".

A group of people from the camp of Ibn Ziyad retorted, "Enough of this nonsense. By the Almighty! Hussain shall not quench his thirst with its water like those who were denied to quench their thirst before him".

Burair said, "Oh you people! The heritage of Mohammad has ended up in your midst. And these are his progeny, household, daughters and holy members of his family. So what do you have to say and what are you going to do with them?".

They replied, "We want Emir Obaidullah bin Ziyad to get hold of them, and then decide what he would do with them".

He said, "Are you not satisfied that they go back whence they came? Oh people of Kufa! Woe unto you! Did you forget the letters you wrote and the pledges you made to me to which Allah bears witness? You invited the progeny of your Prophet and claimed that you would protect them with yourselves. When they responded and came to you, you want to hand them over to Ibn Ziyad, and denied them access to the water of the River Euphrates. What evil heirs to your Prophet and his progeny you turned out to be! What has become of you! May Allah not give you a drink on the day of judgement. What an evil folk you are!.

A group of them replied, "We do not know what you are talking about".

He said, "Praise be to Allah for making me more discerning. Oh Lord! I seek refuge with you and disown the actions of these people. Oh Allah! Sow discord among their ranks and make them use their fortitude against each other until they meet with Your wrath."

The response from them was that they fired arrows at him which made him retreat.

Enervate them, this tirade did

The foe still sustained its bid.

Woe to those whose hearts were sealed

Their promiscuous prattle, thus unveiled:

"Confound us not by harangues, Hussain

Unleash not your diatribes, in vain.

The Prophet, some message did convey

Concede, that Yazid now shows the way.

To usurp the Caliphate do not try

Your revolt, does envy imply.

What the Caliph avers, is verily best

Submit, and don't his dictums test

You shouldn't his celestial place dispute

Withhold not allegiance, pay tribute.

The Caliph pilots our faith and fate

Divinely commandeers our love and hate.

His words, divine truth contain"

At forenoon of the tenth of Muharram when the heat of the sun started scorching the earth, Hussain, his household and companions began to feel the severity of thirst. The enemy was adamant not to give them access to the water of the River Euphrates out of Jahili'ite enmities and Badri'ite grudges. Therefore, Aba Abdillah AI-Hussain, feeling the strain of thirst, mounted his horse and opened the leaves of Al-Qur'an over his head and stood in front of the belligerent camp and shouted, "The Book of Allah and the Sunna (tradition) of my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S) are the arbiters between you and me". He then made them bear witness on his pure soul and that he was wearing the coat of arms of the Prophet (S), his buckler and his turban.

They said that his statement was true. He then asked them what made them decide on fighting him. Their answer was that it was out of obedience to the Emir Obaidullah bin Ziyad. He then delivered this sermon:

Hussain's sermon:

"May grief and evil befall you, You wretched bunch! You distressfully called upon us to come to your rescue and when we responded fully, you unsheathed your swords against and pushed us unto the fire which we set alight for our enemy as well as yours. You, therefore, played into the hands of your enemy against your masters (the friends of God). Without justice the enemy administered amongst you and without hope you placed in them. Woe unto you! You abandon us while the sword is still blemished, oneself is collected, and the mind is yet to be made up. Yet, you rushed like the creeping bird and fell over yourselves like butterflies crowding on a flower; then you wrecked it; to hell with you! Oh you slaves of the bondmaid! Ahzab outlanders, forsakers of the Book [of Allah], distorters of facts, bunch of evil, blow of Satan, extinguishers of norms! Woe unto you! Have you chosen to support those, and let us down? Yes, by the Almighty this emanates from an old intrinsic treachery, fed to your origins and handed down to you; therefore, you are like a malignant fruit - distressing to look at and sickening when eaten."

"The bastard and the son of a bastard has left us but two choices, either resorting to the sword or capitulating. How preposterous! Humiliation is not our cup of tea! Allah shall never let this happen to us; so shall His Messenger, the believers, and chaste and pure laps and proud souls. For the sake of these values we would rather die in an hour and not submit to the ignobles. Hence my march leading this family albeit meagre in number and deserted by would-be supporters."

Hussain thundered: "0, wretches you

Before the swine pearls I threw.

Don't venom spit in religion's name

Comprehend I do, your noxious game.

When degeneration marks its way

An entire nation goes astray.

Delusion, do not let you sway

Confounded whims induce decay.

For you is mild profoundest hell

That infernal jail can't match you well.

A hideous deed, sponsor not

Save your conscience, mend your lot

Erase and efface your sins' stains

With tainted conscience, no one gains

The lure, the virtuous to pursue

The crass chase it, to grab it, run.

This pathless desolation, do not tread

'Tis disquietude, self-imposed dread

Don't your conscience push and goad

Vainly, trudge not a craggy road".

He continued with his address stating, "By the Almighty, soon you have done away with us, you will be shaken like a stone mill, like an axis."

"This is a covenant passed, to me from my grandfather the Messenger of God (SAW) through my father. 'You may resolve upon your affair and gather your partners then let not your affair be in darkness to you, then have it executed against me and do not reflect (any further)'. (10:71) 'Surely I rely on Allah, my Lord and yours; there is no living creature but He holds it by its forelock; surely, my Lord is on the right path'. (11:56)"

Then he raised his hands towards heaven and said, "Oh Lord! give them no rain, afflict them with barren years like the years of Yusuf (Joseph) - (draught and famine). Give mastery over them to the boy from Thaqeef (reference to Al-Hajjaj al-Thaqafi), who will give them bitter water (torment them) because they branded us as liars and let us down. You are our Lord; we rely on You and unto You we return."

He returned to his camp and was surrounded by his brethren and followers. He said to them, "The folk are intent on fighting you. May Allah have mercy on you." Then he appealed for help and support.

When Al-Hur bin Yazid ar-Riyahi heard his plea for help he went to Omar bin Sa'ad and asked him, "Are you fighting this man?" Ibn Sa'ad replied, "Yes, by the Almighty! a kind of fighting the bottom line of which is heads will roll and limbs will be chopped".

Al-Hur said, "Are you not satisfied with what to you?" Ibn Sa'ad replied, "Had it been for me I would have accepted his proposal. But your master is adamant".

Al-Hur then stood a middle ground and shuddered, gradually drawing nearer to Hussain (A). One of his companions asked him, "What are you doing?" Al-Hur answered, "I am giving myself the choice between heaven and hell; by the Almighty I choose nothing short of heaven so much so that I do not mind if I were chopped into pieces and burnt. He then spurred his horse aiming towards Hussain (A) with his lance turned around, his bow upside down. He stood before Hussain (A), eyes cast down, and asked him, "0! could I but sacrifice myself for you, You son of the Messenger of Allah! I have been stalking you all the way. It was me who prevented you from going back (to where you came from), kept close watch on you, and roared on you in this place. I have never thought that the people would not agree to your proposition. Oh Lord! I turn to you in repentance for I frightened the hearts of Your friends, the offspring of Your Messenger."

"Oh father of Abdullah! I seek penitence from Allah for what I did. Do you, think that He will accept it? "Hussain (A) answered, "Yes, he will accept your repentance".

He then asked Hussain (A) for permission to address the belligerent camp; he was given it. He called in the highest pitch of his voice, "Oh, people of Kufa! You called on this good servant of God; when he responded you welcomed him and claimed that you do not mind getting killed to spare him. Then you changed your minds, transgressing against him with a view to killing him. You put a stranglehold on him, stretched his patience, and besieged him to prevent him from seeking a safe haven in Allah's vast land. He became like a hostage. You denied him, members of his household, and companions access to the waters of the River Euphrates from which Jews, Christians, and fire worshippers drink, and pigs and dogs wade in. Yet Hussain, his family, and companion, are dying of thirst. What misery you inherited the offspring of Mohammad (S)! May Allah not give you drink on the day of thirst." A group from the camp of Ibn Sa'ad attacked him shooting at him with arrows forcing him to retreat.

Omar bin Sa'ad drew nearer to the camp of Imam Hussain (A) and called Draid, the bearer of the standard, to move forward. He then took an arrow, placed it in his arch and released it in the direction of Hussain's (A) camp, and said, "Bear witness for me with the Emir that I was the first to shoot." The arrows then followed like rain, causing injuries among the companions of Imam Hussain (A).

Having made sure that the enemy is intent on fighting them, Hussain (A) ordered his followers, "Rise to certain death; may Allah have mercy on you; the arrows are the messengers of those people to you".

The companions of Hussain (A) waged a campaign and fought for an hour or so. When the dust settled, there were fifty dead. When Hussain (A) saw this elite group of his companions killed he held his beard and said, "Allah's wrath on the Jews was great because they claimed that he had a son, on the Christians because they made him one of the trinity, on the Magians because they worshipped the sun and the moon, and on the people who were unanimous in the agreement to kill the son of their Prophets daughter. By the Almighty! I am not going to give in to them until I meet Allah blood-dyed".

"Your predilection for conceit

And profane wiles, entranced with deceit

Have driven me to prove, with sword, my case

To screw my courage to the sticking place.

When my sword, to act, is forced

My views, by the apostates, are endorsed.

Bathed in the foe's infernal blood

Zooms, imbrued, through the gory flood.

As I draw my sword (and wield)

premptorily the rivals yield.

A conquest, when I plan to clinch

To elude the battle the bravest flinch.

Launch an assault, and attack you do

A veritable rock will confront you.

In your quest to win; prevail

Assume the aggressive; charge; then fail

To feed hell's fire, be dispatched

Midst devils perform misdeeds, unmatched.

He then shouted, "Is there any one who can come to our rescue? Is there any one who can protect the sanctity of the family of Allah's Apostle?" The screaming and crying of women could be heard as a result of his plea.

One by one the companions of Hussain (A) asked for permission to meet in combat with the enemy bidding him farewell, saying, "Peace be with you Oh Aba Abdillah!"; he answered. "Peace be with you; we will follow", reciting, "...so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed the least". (33:23)

Then the two Jabiri cousins, Saif bin al-Harith bin Sari' and Malik bin Abid bin Sari' emerged crying and asked for permission to fight. Hussain asked them, "What makes you cry? I am hopeful that you will after a very short time have peace of mind and tranquillity". They answered, "We are not crying for ourselves, but for you. We can see that you are beleaguered, and we have no power to be of any good to you". Hussain thanked them. They fought till death.

Then the two Ghifari brothers, Abdullah and Abdul-Rahman sons of Urwah followed and fought and were killed close to Hussain (A).

A group consisting of Omar bin Khalid as-Saidawi, his servant Sa'ad, Jabir bin Al-Harith as-Salmani, and Majma' bin Abdullah Al-A'aithi came out and raided the enemy, the Kufi'ites; when they went deep into their ranks, they were encircled by the troops and cut off. Hussain sent his brother Al-Abbas in a bid to rescue them, which he did successfully. But due to their severe wounds they were overpowered by the Kufi'ites and were killed in one place.

Al-Hur bin Yazid ar-Riyahi attacked the enemy troops killing over forty of them. When his horse got wounded he fought them on foot and fell to the ground. Hussain stood over him wiping away soil and blood which was oozing from his face, saying, "Congratulations oh you Hur! You are Hur (free) as your mother named you". He passed away.

Wadhih, the Turkish servant of Al-Harth al-Mithiji came forward and asked for permission to fight. He fought until he was severely wounded; he called Hussain by name to come to his rescue. Hussain responded. But it was too late as he was in his final moments of life. Hussain hugged him. He said, "I am so lucky; the son of the Messenger of Allah putting his cheek on mine". He died immediately after that.

Aslam, the servant of Hussain (A) was next. He fought bravely. When he was badly wounded he called on Hussain for help. Hussain came to him and hugged him. He was still alive. He smiled, thanked God for granting him martyrdom and passed away.

Muslim bin Awsajah assaulted the enemy and fought very bravely. Amr bin al-Hajjaj and a band of his companions counter attacked the camp of Hussain from the direction of the Euphrates. When the two belligerent forces clashed and the dust settled, Muslim bin Awsajah was found fallen but still with a spark of life.

Hussain (A) and Habib bin Mudhahir walked towards him. Hussain said to him, "May Allah have mercy on you oh Muslim!" and recited, " ... so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed the least". (33:23)

Habib bin Mudhahir approached him and said, "God knows how sorry I am that you will die, Oh Muslim! the good news is that you will go to heaven". Muslim replied in a faint voice, "May Allah bring good news to you

Habib added, "If I am not absolutely sure that I will follow in your foot steps I would have asked you to let me know of your will". Muslim answered, "I urge you to take care of this", pointing to Imam Hussain, "You should sacrifice your life protecting him". Habib said to him, "Feel serene and be confident about that". He gave up the ghost to its Creator.

When the followers of Ibn Sa'ad knew of the death of Muslim bin Awsajah they shouted in elation. Shibth bin Rib'ii said to those who were around him, "May your mothers be bereaved. You are killing yourselves with your own hands and bring humiliation to yourselves Do you rejoice at the death of Muslim? He has credit in the service of Muslims. I saw him at the battle of Azerbaijan killing six atheists before the horsemen of the Muslim army had the chance to re-group.

When the troops of Ibn Sa'ad suffered many casualties at the hands of the followers of Hussain (A), Amr bin Al-Hajjaj shouted at his followers, "Do you know who you are fighting? You are fighting clear-sighted knights, bent on killing you; by the Almighty! if you would use only stones against them you would have killed them!." Omar bin Sa'ad retorted, "You are right. Tell the troops not to meet with them in duel, for if you do so you will all perish".

Amr bin AI-Hajjaj attacked the right flank of Hussain's camp. The remaining combatants withstood their ground, falling on their knees, aiming their arrows at the enemy. Thus, forcing the horses of the enemy to refrain from forging ahead. When they resumed their attack they came under a hail of arrows from Imam Hussain's (A) followers causing many casualties among their ranks.

Shimr bin Thil al-Jawshan took on the left flank of Hussain's (A) camp. The combatants proved to be as steadfast as their companions in the right flank. The result was complete failure of the enemy to break through the solid defences of Hussain troops.

Among those who remained alive at this stage of the battle was Wahab bin Abdullah Al-Kalbi who was with his mother and wife. His mother urged him to come out and support the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah. He answered, "0 mother! I will do my best". He came out chanting these sonnets.

"You better deny me not as I am the son of Al-Kalbi. You will see me and how fatal my blows are. How my assault and campaign seeking my revenge and that of my companions. I repulse the attack in the wake of the attack. For my struggle in the battlefield is not a playing matter."

Then he attacked the enemy killing some and wounding others, returning to his mother, saying to her, "Are you satisfied with my deed?" She answered. "Never! unless you are killed before Hussain (A)".

His wife intervened asking him, "I put you to oath by the Almighty! Do not bereave me by getting killed". His mother said to him, "Do not pay attention to what she says; go back and carry on fighting in front of the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah; you will be worthy of his grandfathers intercession on the Day of Judgement". He resumed combat, killing nineteen horsemen and twelve infantry troopers. He lost both his arms and was killed. May his soul rest in peace.

His wife walked towards his body and sat near his head, wiping away blood and saying. "Congratulations for you are guaranteed a place in heaven; I pray to the Almighty to bestow it on me to make me join you". Shimr was very angry at the spectacle. He dispatched his servant to kill her; he dealt a fatal blow to her head with a truncheon; she died instantly. She was the first women among the companions of Hussain (A) to be killed.

The enemy chopped off Wahab's head hurling it towards the tents of Hussain (A); his mother hugged it and wiped the blood off his face. She then was seen holding a tent pole and heading towards the enemy. Imam Hussain (A) prevented her from engaging in combat saying, "Go back. May Allah have mercy on you. You are relieved of jihad (holy war)". She returned uttering, "Oh Lord! do not frustrate my hope". Hussain said to her, "Allah will not do so".

Shimr attacked the tent of Imam Hussain (A) using his spear threatening to set it ablaze. The ladies inside the tent fled screaming and were in a distraught state. Hussain (A) called on him, "Oh you son of Thil Jawshan! Are you calling for my house to be burned while my family are inside? May Allah burn you in hell fire."

Shibth bin Rib'ii said to Shimr, "You have become a source of fright to women. I have never come across neither a deed nor a stance worse than yours". He felt ashamed and withdrew.

It was just after midday when the fighting was still raging. Aba Thummamah as-Sa'idi approached Hussain (A) and said, "I can see that the enemy is getting very close. By God! I will not let them kill you and I am still alive. I wish to meet Allah, the Exalted after I have said my prayers in your company". Hussain raised his head towards the sky and said, "You remembered prayer! May Allah make you among those who say prayer and invoke Him; indeed, this is the start of (Dhuhr) Noon prayer". "Ask those people to give us a respite until we say our prayer", he added. Al-Hosein (of the enemy camp) said, "It will not be answered". Habib bin Mudhahir replied, "You claimed it will not be accepted from the house of the Messenger. Would it then be accepted from you? Al-Hosein attacked him dealing a sword blow to the head of his horse causing it to rear; he fell of and was rescued by his companions.

Hussain (A) then got ready for prayer - several versions as to how and what sort of prayers was said have been related. One version is that he led what was spared of his followers at that stage of the battle in 'fright prayer'; Zuhair bin Al-Qain and Sa'eed bin Abdullah Al-Hanafi together with half of the followers were in front of him. A second version claims that they said their prayer individually i.e. not in a congregational manner. A third story is that he led them in a quick prayer.

When Sa'eed was badly wounded he fell to the ground and said, "Oh God Almighty! Damn them as you have condemned the people of A'ad and Thamoud; give my regards to Your Prophet and let him know of the pain I am suffering; my aim is to be rewarded by You for defending the progeny of Your Prophet (S.A.W.)". He turned to Hussain and asked, "Have I lived up to my vow?" Hussain replied, "Yes, you are preceding me in entering paradise". He perished. He was found to have received thirteen arrows apart from wounds caused by swords and spears.

When Hussain (A) had finished his prayer he said to his companions, "Oh you noble folk! The gates of paradise are ajar, its rivers are flowing, its fruits are ready to be reaped; its dwellers - the Messenger of Allah and the martyrs who were killed in the way of Allah are waiting to welcome you; they yearn for your company. It is, therefore, incumbent on you to protect the religion of Allah, and His Messenger; drive away the enemy from his family. Their answer was, "Our souls are a protection to yours and our blood for yours; By the Almighty no harm will befall you and members of your kindred as long as we still breathe".

Omar bin Sa'ad ordered Amr bin Sa'eed who was in command of a group of archers to stun the horses of the followers of Hussain (A). The result was that no horseman was spared save Adh-Dhahhaq bin Abdullah Al-Mashriqi. He said the sight of our combatants falling led me to enter my horse in a tent to spare it destruction.

Abu Thamama as-Sa'idi came out and fought valiantly until he was critically wounded. A cousin of his, who had a grudge against him, set upon him and killed him.

Salman bin Mudharib al-Bajli, who is Zuhair bin Al-Qain's cousin, forged ahead fought and got killed.

Handhala bin Sa'eed ash-Shabami shouted "Oh people! I fear for you the like of what befell the (Al-Ahzab) parties, the like of what befell the people of Nuh (Noah), and A'ad and Thamoud, and those who came after them, and Allah does not desire injustice for (His) servants; 0 my people! I fear for you from the day of calling out, the day on which you turn back retreating; there shall be no saviour for you from Allah, and whomsoever Allah causes to en, there is no guide for him. (40:30-93)

O my people! do not kill Hussain "lest Allah should destroy you by a punishment, and he who forges (a lie) indeed fails to attain (his desire)". (20:61)

Hussain rewarded him with a good recompense and said "May Allah's mercy be with you; surely, they will deserve the punishment when they brushed aside your call for them to follow the truth, and rose to shed your blood as well as that of your coreligionists Just imagine how much more would befall them as they killed your good brethren!.

He retorted. "You told the truth, 0 son of the Apostle of God! Is it not then the time to leave for the hereafter? Hussain gave him the permission to join the fray; he saluted Hussain and attacked the enemy and got killed.

Meanwhile, Aabis bin Shabih ash-Shakiri approached Shawthab, the servant of Shakir, who was a trustworthy follower in whose house Shia Muslims used to gather together and talked of the exploits and virtues of Ahl al-Bayt. Aabis said, "What do you like to do?" He replies, "I would like to fight alongside you until I got killed. Aabis wished him well and said to him, step before Hussain so that he can acclaim you as he did with the others who preceded you for that which we can expect reward in the hereafter". Shawthab saluted Hussain and pressed on, fought and got killed.

Aabis drew near Hussain and said, "Th

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