‘Umar Ibn Sa’d said to Shabth Ibn Rab’i, “Why don't you attack them?”
He was even heard saying, “For five years did we fight the offspring of Abu Sufyan on the side of ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (‘a) then on the side of his son [al-Hasan] after him, then we transgressed on his son [al-Husayn] who is the best man on the face of earth, fighting him in support of Mu’awiyah's offspring and in support of the son of Sumayya, the adulteress!
How we have strayed! By Allah! The people of this country will never be granted goodness, nor will they ever be rightly guided!”21
Yet he sent him al-Hasin Ibn Namir in charge of five hundred archers, and fighting intensified. Al-Husayn's companions suffered most of the wounds, their horses were hamstrung. The riders were thus forced to fight on foot22.
Yet the enemy forces failed whenever they attacked them from any direction due to the fact that their homes were close to one another. Ibn Sa’d, therefore, dispatched men with instructions to demolish those homes then surround them. Each group of three or four persons from among al-Husayn's band would stand before each tent.
They would attack and kill every man as he attempted to plunder, shooting him with an arrow from a close distance.
Ibn Sa’d issued his order to burn all the tents. His order was carried out. Women screamed in fright; children were dumbfounded. Al-Husayn (‘a) said, “Let them burn them, for once they have done so, they would not touch you with any harm. And so it was.23
21. Ibid., Vol. 6, p. 251.
22. al-Tabarsi, I’lam al-Wara, p. 145. Ibn al-Athir, Vol. 4, p. 28.
23. Ibn al-Athir, Vol. 4, p. 28. al-Khawarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn, Vol. 2, p. 16.