Rafed English

Hani ibn 'Urwah

When Ibn Ziyad was sure of Muslim's residence in Hani's house, he sent spies to watch the activities outside and inside the house and see who comes and who does not. Then, he sent some people to Hani, saying, "The governor missed you and he asked about your health and we have told him that you are an old man and cannot come, but he said he wanted to see you." They insisted that Hani would visit the governor. He refused, but they insisted and finally succeeded. When he arrived in the castle, Ibn Ziyad said to him, "A traitor comes on his feet!"

Shurayh al-Qadi sat by his side as Ibn Ziyad said to Hani, "You have brought Muslim Ibn 'Aqil to your house! You have gathered arms for him!"

Hani denied. When the argument became heated, Ibn Ziyad called Ma'qil. Then Hani said to Ibn Ziyad, "You know I know your father, and I would like you to be honored, I would like to advise you. You and your people should leave this city and go to Sham (Syria) because now we have someone who is more deserving to be obeyed than you and your friends."

Ibn Ziyad said, "You are not going to leave me until you bring him to me."

Hani said, "If he was under my feet, I would not lift my feet for you."

Ibn Ziyad threatened him with death, and Hani replied, "That would be a declaration of war."

Ibn Ziyad took his sword and cut Hani's nose with it, then ordered the guards to take him down to the dungeon.

'Amr Ibn Hajjaj, Hani's brother in law, heard that Hani was killed. He and a group of his tribe went and surrounded the castle. Ibn Ziyad ordered Shurayh al-Qadi to announce that Hani is alive and not dead. When he did that, they left, but he never told them that Hani was in the dungeon. When Shuray¦ went to the dungeon to see Hani, Hani said to him, "Ten of my people would take me away from this."

Shurayh did not even let Hani know that his people actually did come, but they were tricked. Instead, he told Hani not to worry and everything will be fine.

When Muslim heard the news about Hani he left Hani's house and called his followers. They gathered, and there were 4,000 in all. They chanted the slogan of the Muslims at the battle of Badr during the time of the Prophet. Muslim divided them into four groups and they marched towards the castle. Ibn Ziyad had only thirty people. He locked all the doors and told Shurayh al-Qadi to deceive the people. Shurayh went to the roof of the castle and announced, "O people of Kufah! Do not kill yourselves. An army of reinforcements is coming from the capital Damascus!"

One by one they left, and the four thousand shrank to three hundred, then to thirty, then when Muslim started praying the 'Esha -Evening- Prayer, there were only three people behind him. When he finished praying, there was no one left. He walked around the streets of Kufah, not knowing were to go.

When Ibn Ziyad realized that his trick worked, he sent his spies to look from the high towers of the castle to check the reaction of the people. When he noticed that not many people were around, he ordered soldiers to see if any of the people left were rebellious. Then he tied torches to ropes and lowered them from the roof of the castle over the wall of the masjid to see if there was anybody hiding there.

When they could not find anyone, Ibn Ziyad announced that anyone who gives shelter to Muslim would be killed, and he ordered his soldiers to search all the houses and capture Muslim. Then, he ordered guards at the entrance of the city to catch all of those who were on Muslim's side.

Meanwhile, Mukhtar Ibn 'Ubaydullah al-Thaqafi was in his village, Khatwaniyyah. Ibn Ziyad ordered everyone to denounce Imam Husayn and carry the white flag of surrender, and everyone did, including Mukhtar, but Ibn Ziyad ordered to imprison Mukhtar and 'Amr Ibn al-Harith, and hit them with his sword. They remained in prison until the day of Ashura. 1

Muslim walked alone in the streets of Kufah in the neighborhood of Kindah. After some time, he became tired and stood in the middle of the street. The owner of one of the houses there was a woman called Taw'ah who had a son named Bilal. She was looking for her son to come home but she saw Muslim standing in the street. She did not recognize him at first, but when she realized that he was Muslim Ibn 'Aqil, she gave him shelter, fed him, and kept him in a different room than her son's. When her son came home and saw his mother going to the other room, he asked her what was going on, and she refused to tell him. He kept insisting until, after making him promise to keep it secret, she told him.

But, in the morning, her son Bilal went and told Ibn Ziyad where Muslim was. Ibn al-'Ash'ath came with seventy soldiers to capture Muslim at dawn while he was praying. When he heard horses galloping, Muslim knew that he was discovered. He finished his prayer and said to Taw'ah, "You have done what you should do, may the Messenger of God intercede for you. Yesterday, I dreamed that my uncle 'Ali, Leader of the Faithful, told me: You will be with me tomorrow."

The soldiers got off their horses and came in, but Muslim went to them, fought them, and forced them out of the house. He fought bravely, pushing all of the soldiers back into the street and killing forty-one of them. He fought with the strength of a man that knows it is his last fight. He cut, hit, and pushed soldiers out of his way. Some of them, he grabbed by their hands and threw them onto the rooftops. With more than half of his troops dead and the rest injured, the leader sent a message to Ibn Ziyad requesting more troops. Ibn Ziyad responded, "What? I sent you out to get one man, not an army!"

The leader replied, "Do you think you want me to catch a grocery boy of Kufah' You want me to capture a sword of the People of Mu¦ammad!" Muslim fought one-on-one and hit Bukayr twice. Bukayr's sword hit Muslim on his mouth and cut his upper lip. Muslim hit him on his head and neck and killed him. They realized that they could not get him one by one, so they went on the rooftops and hit him with stones. Then, they set reeds on fire and threw them at him.

He said:

"I swear I am not going to die except as a free man!
Though death is a bad thing,
Everyone faces difficulty some day.
Hot and cold would mix one day.
His soul would return to him, and be permanent.
I am afraid that I would be lied to, or deceived."

He became weak from his wounds and loss of blood and he leaned against a wall. They continued shooting arrows and throwing rocks until he said, "Why do you throw rocks on me and we are the family of the Prophets? We are not unbelievers!"

Ibn al-'Ash'ath, the chief of the army, came close to him and said, "Do not kill yourself, you are under my protection."

Muslim answered, "I am not going to be captured as long as I have power. No! That will never happen!"

Muslim attacked him and the chief ran away. Once he retreated away from Muslim, the chief gave the order and the soldiers all attacked at once from all sides. Someone hit Muslim from behind. He fought and retreated backwards until he fell into a covered pit that they dug as a trap for him. After he fell into the pit, they took his sword from his hand and captured him. When they took his sword away from him, he cried.

1. Day of 'Ashir i s the tenth of Muharram, celebrated as a day of mourning (the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussayn).

Adapted from the book: "Karbala & Ashura" by: "Ali Hussain Jalali"

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