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Hur ibn Yazid Riyahi, the Free Man of Karbala


Hur ibn Yazid Riyahi was highly respected by the people of Kufa. Ibn Ziad sent him to Imam Hussein (A.S). When Hur Riyahi left Ibn Ziad’s palace in Kufa to meet Imam Hussein, he heard a voice, saying, “You, Hur! You will be admitted to Heaven.”? when he looked back, there was nothing there. He thought that the voice could not be a true one as he was going to fight Imam Hussein (A.S).

When he met Imam Hussein, he told him about what he had heard and the Imam told him that he had been appointed to end up a happy man.

Although Hur Riyahi was there to fight Imam Hussein, he was very polite. On the second day of Muharram in year 61 AH, he blocked the way to Imam Hussein and did not let him return to Medina.

Imam Hussein told Hur Riyahi, “I wish your mother suffer your death soon. What do you want from us?”?

Hur Riyahi said, “I swear if anyone else but you had told me that, I would have said the same thing to him. But I will never talk about your mother, but with the best words I can.”?


When Hur Riyahi heard Imam Hussein’s cry for help, he asked Omar Sad, “Will you fight this man?”?

“I swear I will fight against him and I will slaughter them all.”? said he.

“What do you want to do? Don’t you like his suggestion?”? asked Hur Riyahi.

“I would not fight against him if I could; but Ibn Ziad wouldn’t let us quit.”? Said Ibn Sad.

Then Hur Riyahi went towards Imam Hussein’s residence.

Mohajer, Ows’ son, asked, “Do you want to attack him?”?

Hur Riyahi was shaking.

“You are the bravest man in Kufa. Why are you shaking?”? asked Mohajer.

“I am stuck between Heaven and Hell. I swear I would pick Heaven even if they burn me in fire.”?

And he went to Imam Hussein.

A Time for Farewell

Hur Riyahi was ashamed of detaining Imam Hussein and his men in a desert, without any water.

When he got to Imam Hussein he said, “You, grandson of the prophet! I am the same person who prevented you from going back to your home and made you stay here. I did not expect them not to listen to you and to treat you so unfairly. I swear I would have never done this if I knew this would happen. I want to repent and beseech God to forgive me. Will He forgive me?”?

“Yes, God will forgive you,”? said Imam Hussein, “Dismount your horse now.”?

“Let me stay on the horseback and fight for you.”? said Hur Riyahi.

With the permission of Imam Hussein, Hur Riyahi went to Omar bin Sad’s army and said, “You people of Kufa! You called upon this man of God and you said that you would sacrifice your lives for him. But now, you have besieged him. You do not even let him go anywhere. He is a captive in your hands. There is nothing he could do now. You do not let him, or his women and daughters to drink from the water of Euphrates, while you let the non-Muslims to drink from it. They are perishing away out of thirst. You have disrespected Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). You will pay for this on the Day of Judgment!”?

He impressed many of Omar’s soldiers with his remarks, but some others tried to attack him. Hur Riyahi had to withdraw.

Ascent to Freedom

During the battle Hur Riyahi’s horse was injured, but he did not quit. He continued until his horse got killed.  Hur Riyahi dismounted his horse and kept fighting. He killed forty more people of the enemy’s army, but Omar bin Sad’s army attacked him and martyred him.

Imam Hussein said about Hur Riyahi’s martyrdom that he was killed like a person from Prophet Muhammad’s household. Then he looked at the body, wiped the blood from Hur Riyahi’s face and said, “You are free, just as your name means. You are free both in this world and in the hereafter.”?

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