Imam Husain (A.S.) on way to Kufa
Our Shaikh Sadooq, through his successive chain of narrators, relates from Umro bin Qays Mashriqi, who says that I alongwith my cousin came to the presence of Imam Husain (a.s.) at Qasre Bani Maq?til. We saluted the Imam and my cousin asked him, “The colour of your hair is due to the dye or a chemical dye”a Im?m replied,
“It is dyed, for we, the Bani Hashim turn old very soon.”
Then the Im?m turned towards us and asked,
“Have you come to assist me”?
I answered, “I have a large family and I also have the trust of other people with me. I do not know what will be the outcome of this, and hence do not desire that the wealth of people (with me) may go waste.” My cousin too said something similar. Then Im?m said,
“Then go away from here and do not remain so as to hear our cry or see our gloom, for the one who hears our cry and beholds our gloom and yet does not hasten to assist us, then it is the right upon Allah, the Honoured, the Glorfied, to throw him headlong into the fire of hell.”
(Irshad) Then in the last part of the night, Im?m ordered water to be taken and left from Qasre Bani Maq?til.
Uqbah bin Sam’?n says, that we went alongwith the Im?m and he took a short nap on the horse’s back. Then he woke up and uttered the words:
“Verily we are All?h’s and verily unto Him shall we return. Praise be to All?h, the Lord of the worlds.”
Then he repeated it twice or thrice. His son Ali bin Husain (a.s.), who was riding a horse, came upto him and asked, “Why did you (suddenly) praise Allah and utter the words of “returning to Him”? Imam replied,
“O my dear son! Sleep overtook me, and I saw a rider come up to me from behind and said: These people are proceeding further, while death is advancing towards them. I perceived that they were our spirits informing us of our death.”
Ali bin Husain said, “O dear father! May your Lord not bring forth evil! Are we not on the right”? Im?m replied,
“Why not, by Him towards Whom all servants return.”
Then Ali said, “Then we do not fear, for we shall die on the right.” Imam said,
“May All?h reward you abundantly, the reward which is due from a father to his son.”
(Irsh?d and Kamil) When it dawned, Im?m Husain (a.s.) recited the morning Prayers and hastily ascended his horse and turned towards the left. He tried to dispel his companions (from Hurr’s army). Then Hurr bin Yazid came up to him and desisted him and his companions from doing so. And as much as Hurr tried to take them to Kuf?, they resisted until they stopped, but they followed in the same way until they reached Ninaw?. When Im?m Husain (a.s.) haulted there, a rider, equipped with arms and carrying a bow on his shoulder, arrived from Kufa. Everyone stopped and watched him, and when he came, he saluted Hurr and his companions and did not salute Im?m and his companions. Then he handed over the letter of Ubaydull?h bin Ziy?d to Hurr, whose contents were as follows: “Now then! As soon as my letter and messenger reaches you, be severe towards Husain. And let him hault at a barren land, devoid of fortresses and water. I have instructed my messenger not to part with you until you have carried out my orders, Salutations.”
When Hurr read the letter of Ubaydull?h, he told them, “This is the letter of the commander Ubaydull?h, in which he has ordered me to stop you wherever this letter reaches me. And this is his messenger, who shall not part with me until I carry out his orders.”
(Tabari) Then Yazid bin Muhajir Abul Sha’sa Kindi looked at the messenger of Ibne Ziy?d and asked him, “Are you not Malik bin Numayr”? He replied in the affirmative, while he was from the clan of Bani Kinda. Abul Sha’s? said, “May your mother mourn you! What order have you brought”? He replied, “What have I brought, but the orders of my Im?m and fulfilled my allegiance to him.” Abul Sha’s? said, “You have disobeyed your All?h and obeyed your Im?m in that which will doom you. And you shall earn disgrace and the fire of hell, what an evil Im?m you have. All?h says in the Qur’an: And we made them Imams who invite unto the (hell) fire, and on the day of Qiyamah they shall not be helped, (Sur?h al Qasas: 41) while your Im?m is one of them.”
(Irshad) Hurr thus forced Im?m and his companions to hault at that place, devoid of habitation nor water. Im?m said,
“Woe be to you! Leave us, so that we may hault at this village (Ninawa or Ghaziriyyah) or that (Shufiyyah).”
Hurr replied, “By Allah! I cannot permit you to do so, they have appointed that man as a spy over me.” Then Zuhayr bin Qayn said, “O son of the Prophet of All?h! I see that the matter will get worse than this. It is much easier for us to fight these people now, than to fight with the group who shall come after them. By my life! So many people will come afterwards that it is beyond our strenght to confront them.” Im?m replied,
“I shall not (be the first to) fight them.”
Saying this he dismounted, and that was on Thursday, the second of the month of Moharram sixty-first year of migration.
Sayyed ibne Tawoos says, that Im?m Husain (a.s.) stood amidst his companions and delivered a sermon. He praised and glorified All?h and sent salutations upon his Grandfather and then said, “You have seen as to what have they brought forth ..... (till the end)” And he delivered a sermon similar to that which we have quoted earlier when Im?m met Hurr.
Im?m Husain (a.s.)’s hault at the ground of Karbal?, Umar bin Sa’ad’s entry, and the circumstances thereat
When Imam Husain (a.s.) stopped at the plain of Karbal?, (Kamil) he inquired as to what was the name of the place. People replied that the place was known as “Aqar.” Imam said,
“Almighty All?h! We seek your refuge from Aqar” (Aqar means barren, sterile).
Sibt ibne Jawzi has written in his Tazkirah, that Im?m Husain (a.s.) asked as to what was the name of the place. They replied that it was Karbal? and was also called Ninaw?, which was a village therein. Then Im?m started weeping and said: Umme Salm? has informed me, that one day Jibra’eel came to the presence of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.s.), and you (Imam Husain) were with me. Suddenly the Prophet said, “Leave my child”, hearing this I left you and the Prophet made you sit on his lap. Jibra’eel asked him, “Do you cherish this child”a The Prophet replied in the affirmative. Then Jibra’eel said, “Your Ummah will kill him, and if you desire I shall show you the earth of the place where he shall be martyred.” The Prophet showed his willingness to do so. Then Jibra’eel spread his wings towards Karbala and showed the Prophet the place.
Thus when Im?m Husain (a.s.) was told that the name of the place was Karbal?, he smelt the earth and said,
“This is the same place regarding which Jibra’eel had informed the Prophet, and I shall be killed herein.”
Then Sibt ibne Jawzi relates from Sha’bi, that when Im?m Ali (a.s.) was proceeding towards Siffeen, he came face to face with Ninaw?, which was a village near the river Euphrates. Im?m haulted there and commanded his companion, who had the job of providing water for ablutions that, “Tell me the name of this place.” He replied that it was called Karbal?. Hearing this he wept bitterly until the earth became wet with his tears. Then he said,
“One day I went to the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) when he was weeping and asked him as to what made him weep.”
“At this moment Jibra’eel came to me and informed me that my son Husain will be killed at a place called Karbal? near the river Euphrates. Then Jibra’eel lifted a handful of earth and gave it to me, I smelt it, thus I could not control my tears.”
Furthermore it is related in Bih?rul Anwar from Khar?ej, that Im?m Mohammad al B?qir (a.s.) says, that one day Im?m Ali (a.s.) went out with his companions one or two miles away from Karbal?. Then he advanced further until he reached a place called Maqdaf?n and started wandering there. Then he said,
“Two hundred Prophets and the progeny of the Prophets have been martyred at this place, and this the haulting station, the place of martyrdom of the felicitious martyrs, which has not been acquired by the ancient, while those after them shall not reach it too.”
(Malhoof) When Im?m Husain (a.s.) reached that place, he asked as to what was the name of that place. People replied that it was called Karbal?. Im?m said,
“O Allah! I seek your refuge from Karb (Grief) and Bal? (trials)”
Then he said,
“Grief and trial dwells herein, hence alight down, and this is our haulting place. Here will our blood be shed and here shall we be buried. My Grandfather, the Prophet of All?h (s.a.w.s.) has foretold me regarding it.”
Everyone complied to his order and dismounted, while Hurr too pitched his tents with his companions at another place.
(Kashful Ghummah) Everyone complied to his orders and dismounted and off-loaded their equipments, while Hurr dismounted his army opposite Im?m Husain (a.s.). Then Hurr wrote to Ubaydull?h informing him that Im?m Husain (a.s.) had haulted at Karbal?.
It is stated in Murujuz Zahab, that Im?m Husain (a.s.) proceeded towards Karbal? accompanied by five hundred horsemen and around a hundred on foot from his family and companions.
It is related in Biharul Anw?r from Manaqib that Zuhayr bin Qayn said, “Take us along, so that we may hault at Karbal? near the bank of the river Euphrates, and we shall hault there. Then if they fight us, we shall fight them and seek help from Allah.” Tears rolled down the eyes of Im?m and he said,
“O All?h! I seek your refuge from Karb (grief) and Bal? (trials).”
Imam settled therein and Hurr dismounted too facing him with a thousand soldiers. Then Im?m ordered that pen and paper should be brought and he wrote a letter to the affable chiefs of Kuf?:
“From Husain bin Ali, to Sulaym?n bin Surad, Musayyab bin Najabah, Ruf?’ah bin Shadd?d, Abdull?h bin W?’al and the group of believers. Now then! You very well know that the Holy Prophet in his lifetime said that the one who witnesses a cruel and oppressive ruler ...... (till the end)”, which has been related earlier in context of his sermon delivered in the presence of his companions and that of Hurr’s. Then he folded the paper and affixing his seal over it, handed it over to Qays bin Mushir Saydawi ..... (till the end), which has already been related earlier.
When he received the news of the Martyrdom of Qays, tears flowed from his eyes and he said,
“O All?h! Assign an exalted station for me and my followers (Shi’ah) near You. And assemble us into the place of repose of Your Mercy, for You have power over all”
Then one of the companions from among the followers (Shi’ah) viz. Hil?l bin N?fe’ Bajali leapt forward and said, “O son of the Prophet of All?h! Your grandfather, the Prophet of All?h (s.a.w.s.), could not force his affection into the hearts of all men, nor could he bring people to his command, for there were hypocrites among them, who would say that they would assist him but in their hearts intented to deceive him. Their attitude was sweeter than honey in his presence and behind his back they were bitter than Colocynth, until the Almighty Allah summoned the Prophet to Himself. And your father was similar to him. A group of people united to assist him but later he had to fight the N?keseen, the oppressive Qaseteen and the perverse M?reqeen. Then the end of Imam Ali (a.s.) came and he proceeded towards the bliss of Paradise. And now today those with us are similar to those people of that day. And the people have not broken off the pledge and the allegiance, except that they have done loss to none other than their ownselves, and All?h has made us independent of them. You may, with sobriety and welfare, take us to whichever place you desire, whether it be in the east or the west. By All?h! We do not fear the decree of Allah, nor do we despise His meeting. We shall take the opportunity with our determination and sightedness, and will befriend your friends and will bear enmity with your enemies.”
Then Burayr bin Khuzayr Hamad?ni arose and said, “By Allah! O son of the Prophet of All?h (s.a.w.s.)! Allah has graced us through you that we may be cut to pieces in front of you and on the day of Qiy?mah your Grandfather would intercede for us. The one who has betrayed the grandson of their own Prophet, shall not find salvation. Fie upon them for what they shall see tomorrow in Qiy?mah, and shall groan and wail in (the fire of) hell.”
Then Im?m Husain (a.s.) gathered his sons, brothers, relatives around him and wept for some time and said,
“O Allah! We are the progeny of Your Prophet. These people have dragged us out of our houses and have driven us and have constrained us from the place of our Grandfather (Madina). The Bani Umayy?h have oppressed us. O All?h! Take away our rights from them and help us over these tyrants.”
Then he proceeded from there and on Wednesday or Thursday entered Karbal? on the second of Moharram 61 A.H. Then he turned towards his companions and said,
“People are the slaves of this world and Religion is only a lip-service for them, and they will take care of it until it is pleasurable, and when the crucible of trials approaches, only a few religious ones remain.”
Then he asked,
“Is this place Karbala”?
The people replied in the affirmative. He said,
“This is the place of grief and trials and this is the place of the resting of our Camels, our haulting place, station of our martyrdom and where our blood shall be spilled.”
Then they dismounted there, and Hurr accompanied with a thousand men too alighted facing him. Then he wrote to Ubaydull?h bin Ziyad saying that Husain had encamped at Karbala.
Ubaydullah bin Ziyad’s letter to Im?m Husain (a.s.)
“Now then O Husain! I have been informed that you have haulted at Karbal?. Yazid has written to me not to recline my head on the bed and not be satiated until I send you to All?h, or you submit yourself to me and Yazid bin Mu’?wiyah. Greetings.”
When his letter reached Im?m Husain (a.s.), he read it and threw it away saying,
“The one who seeks the pleasure of people against the displeasure of Allah can never succeed.”
The messenger asked him the reply for the letter, to which Im?m said,
“He has no reply, but has the wrath (of Allah).”
When the messenger reached Ubaydull?h and conveyed the Im?m’s message to him, he was infuriated and looked towards Umar bin Sa’ad and appointed him to fight with Im?m Husain (a.s.). Before that Ubaydullah had given the governorship of Ray to Umar bin Sa’ad, thus when Umar excused himself, Ubaydull?h told him to return the post bestowed upon him. Umar asked for respite and thereafter agreed in fear of the governorship being taken away from him.
The author says that this (Umar bin Sa’ad’s excuse to Ubaydullah not to fight) seems unlikely to me. The reliable biographers and historians have mutually agreed that Umar bin Sa’ad reached Karbal? one day after Im?m Husain (a.s.) entered therein, and it was the day of third of Moharram (thus it proves that he was prepared for it from the very beginning).
Shaikh Mufeed, Ibne Aseer and others relate that Umar bin Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas left Kuf? towards Karbal? the next day accompanied by an army of four thousand horsemen. Ibne Aseer says that the reason of Umar bin Sa’ad going to Karbala, was that Ubaydull?h bin Ziyad had sent him on duty to Dashti, with a well-equipped army of four thousand, for the people of Daylam had gained control over it and secondly that Ubaydull?h had given him authority over Ray. Umar bin Sa’ad had made Hammamul A’ayan as his encampment. When the matter of Im?m Husain (a.s.) reached here, Ubaydullah called Umar bin Sa’ad and said, “Go and confront Husain and after accomplishing our task, return back to your position.” Umar bin Sa’ad tried to excuse himself when Ubaydull?h said, “Very well, then you may return back what has been conferred upon you.” When Ubaydull?h said this Umar replied, “Give me respite for today so that I may take a decision”, saying this he left and asked the opinion of his well-wishers, all of whom adviced him to refrain from it. His nephew Hamz? bin Mugheera bin Sha’bah came to him and said, “I request you in the name of All?h not to confront Husain, for by doing this you will be sinning and severing the bonds of relationship with him. By Allah! Even if you have to leave this world, the wealth and the kingdom upon the earth, it is better for you than go to the presence of the Almighty Allah with the blood of Husain upon your neck.” Umar replied that he would not do so and he spent the entire night pondering upon it saying, “Could I decline the governorship of Ray, while it is my dream, or should I return back blamed for killing Husain? should I kill him, then I will wind up in the hell from which there is no escape, while the governorship of Ray is the refreshment of my eyes.”
Then he returned to Ubaydull?h and said, “You have deputed me for this task and all the people have heard it. If you desire send me for this job, otherwise send someone else against Husain from the noblemen of Kufa, who would be better than me”, then he named some of them. Ubaydull?h replied, “If I have to send someone else I will not ask your opinion, then now if you are ready to go to Karbal? with the command over our army, do so, or else return back the post which we have conferred upon you.” Hearing this Umar replied, “I myself will go”, saying this he proceeded until he encamped opposite Im?m Husain (a.s.).
The author says that what Im?m Ali (a.s.) had predicted came out to be true. Sibt ibne Jawzi in his Tazkirah relates that the eminence of Im?m Ali (a.s.) became apparent here. One day he met Umar bin Sa’ad, who was a young lad at that time, and said, “Woe be to you O son of Sa’ad! What would be your state at the moment when you will be standing between Paradise and hell and you shall choose the hell.” When Umar reached Karbal?, he haulted at Ninaw?.
(Irsh?d) When Umar bin Sa’ad reached Karbal?, he called Urwah bin Qays Ahmasi and said, “Go to Husain and ask him as to why he has come here and what he desires.” He replied that he was ashamed to go, for he was among those who had written to the Im?m inviting him to come. Then when Umar put the same offer to whomsoever in his army, they all refused, for they were among those who had written to Im?m. Then Kaseer bin Abdullah Sha’abi, who was a brave man and would never turn his face away from any task, arose and said, “I shall go and if you desire I shall kill him.” Umar replied, “I do not desire his murder, then go to him and ask him the reason as to why he has come here.” Kaseer went until Abu Samamah Saedi saw him and said, “May All?h reconcile you O Aba Abdillah! The man is coming towards you, who is the worst among the dwellers of this world and who is the boldest and who had shed the most blood among them.” Then Abu Sam?mah himself arose and went up to him and told him to keep his sword down. He refused to do so and said, “I am only a messenger, then if you desire, I shall convey it to you or else I shall return back.” Abu Sam?mah said, “In that case I shall keep my hand over the hilt of your sword then you may deliver your message.” He said, “No, I shall not let your hand reach there.” Abu Sam?mah said, “Then deliver your message to me and I shall convey it to Husain, but I shall not let you go to him for you are a wicked man.” Then they started abusing one another until Kaseer returned back to Umar bin Sa’ad and informed him.
Umar called for Qurrah bin Qays Hanzali and said, “Woe be to you! Go to Husain and ask him as to why he has come here and what he desires.” When Im?m saw Qurrah he asked,
“Does anyone know this man”?
Habib bin Maz?hir replied, “Yes, he is from the Hanzala clan of Tameem, and is the son of our sister. I had known him to be a believer and had never thought that he would come here like this.” Qurrah came and saluted the Im?m and delivered the message of Umar. Im?m replied,
“The people of your town have written to me and requested me to come here. Then if you hate my presence I shall return back.”
Then Habib bin Maz?hir said, “Woe be to you O Qurrah! Are you returning back to the oppressive ones? Then assist this man because of whose Fathers All?h will favour you.” Qurrah replied, “I shall return back and convey Imam’s message to Umar and think over it.” He returned back and conveyed to Umar what Imam had told him. Then Umar said, “I hope that Allah will spare me from fighting him.”
Then he wrote to Ubaydull?h: “In the Name of All?h the Beneficent the Merciful. Now then! When I reached my destination, I sent a messenger towards Husain asking him as to why he came here and what he desired. He replied that the people of this town had written to him and sent messengers inviting him, hence he has come here. He says that if these people do not like my presence and have turned against their words, which were conveyed to me by their messengers, I shall return back.” Hassan bin A’ez Asabi says, that I was present there when Umar’s letter reached Ubaydull?h. When Ubaydull?h read the letter, he said, “When he has got trapped in our claws, he hopes to escape, now there is no escape.”
Then he wrote back to Umar bin Sa’ad: “Now then! I have received your letter, and I have understood whatever you have written therein. Offer a proposal to Husain that he and his companions should take the pledge of allegiance to Yazid. Then if he does so, we shall see what is to be done. Greetings.” When Umar received the letter he said, “I had feared that Ubaydull?h would not seek fairness.”
Mohammad bin Abi T?lib says, that Umar bin Sa’ad did not convey this proposal of Ubaydull?h bin Ziyad to Im?m Husain (a.s.), for he knew that the Im?m would never pledge his allegiance to Yazid. Then Ubaydull?h ordered all men to gather at the great mosque of Kuf?. Then he came out, mounted the pulpit and said, “O people! You have very well tested the family of Abu Sufyan, and you have found them such as you desired them (to be). This is the commander of the faithful Yazid, who is well-behaved, a person with a pleasant countenance and kind to his subjects. He bestows rights upon everyone and the roads are safe in his kingdom. And similar was his father Mu’?wiyah in his own time. And after him his son Yazid too respects the slaves of Allah and makes them rich with wealth and honours them. He has increased your rights by a hundred times and has commanded me to increase it further and prepare you to fight his enemy Husain. Then listen to him and obey his orders.” Saying this he alighted the pulpit and distributed abundant gifts among people and despatched them to assist Umar bin Sa’ad against Husain.
(Manaqib) Ubaydullah started despatching troops to Karbala until twenty thousand horsemen (Malhoof) gathered with Umar bin Sa’ad till the sixth of Moharram. (Tasleeyatul Majalis) Then Ubaydullah sent someone to Shabas bin Raba’ee saying, “Come to me so that I may despatch you to fight Husain.” He pretended to be sick and excused himself. Ubaydull?h sent him a letter stating: “Now then! My messenger has informed me that you pretend to be sick, and I fear lest you be one of those who when they meet with those who believe, they say ‘we believe’, but when they go apart to their devils, they say, ‘surely we are with you, verily we did but mock’ Then if you persist in our obedience, hasten to come to us.” Shabas came after the Prayers of Isha, so that Ubaydull?h may not see his face, which was free of any illness. When Shabas came, Ubaydullah welcomed him and made him sit near him and said, “I desire that you go to fight that man (Husain) and thus assist Umar bin Sa’ad.” Shabas replied that he would surely do so (Manaqib) and he despatched him with an army of one thousand horse-men.
(Irshad, Tabari) Then Ubaydull?h wrote to Umar bin Sa’ad: “Now then! Prevent Husain and his companions from getting water. They should not get a single drop of water as was done with (Caliph) Usman bin Affan.”
Umar bin Sa’ad immediately sent Umro bin Hajjaj with five hundred horse-men to go to the bank of the river Euphrates and block the supply of water for Im?m and his companions. They did not allow them to take even a single drop of water, and that was three days before the martyrdom of Imam Husain (i.e. the seventh of Moharram)
(Tabari) Ubaydullah bin Haseen Azdi, who was registered (in the army) of the clan of Bajila, called out in a loud voice (Irshad): “O Husain! Do you see this water similar to the heavens? By All?h! You shall not taste even a drop of it until you perish of thirst.” Im?m Husain (a.s.) replied,
“O Allah! Make him die of thirst and never forgive him.”
Hameed bin Muslim says: By All?h! Later I visited him during his illness. By Allah, besides Whom there is no Deity, I saw him drinking water until it reached his stomach and he vomitted it. Then he shouted “Thirst, thirst” and drank water until it reached his throat and he was never satiated, he remained in that state until he died (May Allah’s curse be upon him).
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